Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Top Ten of 2009

It took me forever to narrow this list down to ten! In order to make it easier, I only included books published in 2009. If I were to include books I read in 2009 that were published earlier, my top three would be Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, Paper Towns by John Green, and Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Here were my top reads of 2009:

Honorable Mentions: Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz Logsted-a beautiful fairy tale re-telling that gave me warm fuzzies, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler-a heart wrenching tale of loss and love that made me cry, and Blue Moon by Alyson Noel-a book that surprised me the entire way through

10. Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford-This book is laugh out loud hysterically funny and it's a great go-to book for guys and girls who enjoy humor. I've recommended this one and have heard back rave reviews from everyone who reads it. The audiobook is also wonderful and worth checking out.
My Review

9. Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern-It's great to see some nerd love in YA, especially with main characters instead of the nerdy best friend. This one has a sweet nerdy romance, a girl sticking up for herself and learning to be strong, and it made me want to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons. My Review

8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman-This book had me crying, laughing and feeling sad yet hopeful all at the same time. I loved it and thought it was perfectly written-this is a gem in YA lit and I hope more great things are to come for this book. (It's my pick for a Printz winner or honor book this year) My Review

7. Something Maybe by Elizabeth Scott-This book was perfect-wonderful characters, a swoon-worthy romance without any paranormal aspects, a somewhat dysfunctional but making it work family, and writing I fell in love with. Elizabeth Scott can write no wrong in my opinion and this book proved that-and pulled me out of a reading slump and left me smiling. My Review

6. Charles and Emma by Deborah: The Darwin's Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman-I really am not a non-fiction fan or biography fan, but this was a book that I looked forward to reading. The story came to life and I found it to be an interesting look at Charles Darwin-I learned a lot! (review to come)

5. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev-The perfect blend of fantasy, romance, theater and magic. This book pulled me in and didn't let me go until I was finished. I can't wait to return to Bertie's world-and if it were up to me, she'd pick Nate. My Review

4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater-If I'm going to read paranormal romance, I want it to be like this. Maggie Stiefvater's writing is lyrical and this story was so touching and romantic and I'm in awe of her talent. It's beautifully written and the ending had me gasping and wanting more. My Review

3. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor-To borrow words from my review, dark, dangerous and delicious. Three amazing stories told in a beautiful lyrical voice. This is a book that left me wanting to gush over it to everyone I knew. This book deserves many many shiny stickers on it. (It's another of my Printz picks for this year) My Review

2. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams-I stayed up late reading this one and this book stayed with me long after I finished it. It's a powerful story and one that needs to be read. If you get a chance, pick this one up-you won't be disappointed. My Review

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins-Yeah, it's everyone else's favorite too and so many people have sung it's praises I never even posted my review for it. But I thought it was an amazing sequel that was full of surprises and proved that Suzanne Collins is amazing and a genius. (And for the record, I'm totally Team Peeta!)

So those are my top ten reads of 2009. I could have made this list much longer! Here's to another great top ten in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century is encouraging bloggers to post their New Year's Resolutions. Here are mine (mostly reading related):

1. Read 200 books in the year. This year I made it to 150 (not counting any picture books) so I'm pretty sure I can make it to 200 next year.
2. Read review books faster.-I had a hard time with this one this last semester due to my class schedule, but no more lit class! (Kristen had this one too and I thought it was a great goal)
3. Post my reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, etc. more often-I always forget to due this unless it's Bloggiesta time and then I spend my entire weekend copying and pasting reviews everywhere!
4. Read the books that win the ALA Media Awards if I haven't read them already (I still haven't read this year's winners-gasp!)
5. Actually use the Wii Fit! (Yep, we have one, but it's getting dusty at the moment)
6. Try out a new hobby-I just think it would be cool to try something new-any suggestions?

And for work, since my work year starts over in January, my goal is to make YA Reader's Advisory my big push. I'm hoping to encourage more staff in my library to read YA and to come up with more booklists for them to use when I'm not around.

So, that's mine-what are you hoping for in 2010?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Set your DVRs...

Georgia Nicolson is coming to the US! Finally!! I have been waiting for this movie forever. You've read my blogs about this series, I even got people signed up for the Georgia Nicolson reading challenge (which the Mr. Linky then broke for, so if you want to sign up or post a review, leave it in the comments please!). I think Georgia is fabbity fab fab and the books always make me laugh out loud. When the movie was released I was very excited to see it, but it never made it's way over here-until now.

On January 1st, Nickelodeon will be airing Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging at 7pm (Central Time). One of my very awesome teens told me about it and we squealed with delight. (Thanks Morgan-you rock!) I can't wait!

Tween Tuesday

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme where I highlight books for tweens. Add your Tween Tuesday link in the comments!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Historical/Time Travel

About the Book: It's 1979 and Miranda's mom is gearing up to appear on the $20,000 Pyramid. Miranda is trying to deal with the sudden end of her friendship with her best friend Sal and immerses herself in her favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time. When Miranda starts to receive mysterious notes, she has to determine what she believes about time travel and what truly makes a friendship.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I read this book many months ago, but I've held off on blogging about it because I didn't find myself gushing over it like everyone else and I wanted to think about why. I enjoyed it, and I think it's a good read, and I'm featuring it on Tween Tuesday because I think some tweens will enjoy it. It just didn't strike me as a book that could have a huge tween audience. If you have a tween reader who has enjoyed books by Kate DiCamillo, Sharon Creech, or Katherine Patterson, I would give them this one.

I was excited to read a book about time travel, especially one that featured a main character who was an avid reader and who was a fan of a book I loved as a tween. But unfortunately, I never felt like I connected to Miranda. She just never appealed to me. But, I'm also an adult, and I think readers who are in the same situation and trying to figure out friendships, may find solace in Miranda's struggles.

I'm also a huge fan of time travel books, but I thought the time travel element never really worked. It felt very subtle to me, and since I was really looking forward to that aspect, it fell flat for me. I also wonder how much of the time period tween readers will understand-how many of them even know what the $20,000 Pyramid is?

I did enjoy this one, I just wasn't blown away by it. It's a quick read and I think the author makes some great statements about friendships. I really enjoyed Miranda's friendship with Annemarie and I loved the relationship between Miranda's mom and her boyfriend Richard-her mom wasn't using him to get ahead or needed him financially, she could stand on her own, thank you very much.

Really, I wouldn't be surprised if the Newbery buzz on this one comes true. It really struck me as a typical Newbery novel-one that adults, librarians and teachers love much more than the kids themselves. I'm not saying there won't be tweens who read this one and love it, I just don't think it will be adored as much by the tweens who read it. Maybe my expectations were too high after hearing it was amazing from so many people.

Since every review I've seen of this one has come from an adult, I'd really love to hear a tween's reaction to this one!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Author Interview: Derek Landy

Back in August, I had to travel to Texas for school and my husband came with me. We always take audiobooks on road trips, but rarely ever agree on what to listen to and if we both like it. For this trip we picked up the first book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy-and we're both addicted! (And we haven't agreed on anything since Harry Potter!)

Skulduggery is a snarky, wise-cracking skeleton detective. He meets up with Stephanie at her uncle's funeral and the two are off on an adventure full of magic, secrets, and lots of humor.

This has become my go to series for anyone looking for a great read. I've booktalked it to tweens, teens and adults. I've gotten all our children's librarians addicted. I gave these books as Christmas gifts this year. Seriously, this is a must read series!!

With as much as I love this series, you can imagine my delight when author Derek Landy agreed to answer some questions on my blog! Welcome Mr. Landy!

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Is Skulduggery's character and personality based on anyone or is he all from your imagination?

Derek Landy: Skulduggery is, basically, a smarter, more competent version of me. We’re very close in terms of how we see the world and how we see people, and we also share a knack for making jokes at VERY inappropriate times.

Valkyrie is also based on a real person- she’s based on a very good friend of mine. The real Valkyrie is a few years older than the one in the books, but whenever I start to wonder what Valkyrie Cain would do in a certain situation, I just have to think of my friend and then I know the answer.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: I know Skulduggery's birthday is coming up this month. What is on his wish list?


Derek Landy: Probably a rescue mission…! At the end of The Faceless Ones he was left in quite a predicament, so I’d say he’d be wishing really hard for someone to come help him…!

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!

Derek Landy is visiting more library blogs all this week. Read more about him and about Skulduggery Pleasant at these great blog sites:
Essex Library Teen Space, Library Lounge Lizard Blog, Read Kiddo Read, and Wondrous Reads.

You can also read Derek Landy’s hilarious new personal blog,
“Derek Landy Blogs Under Duress.”

Seriously, read these books!! It's my librarian mission to spread the Skulduggery love-so go and read them-you won't be dissapointed!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Christmas is almost here-yay!

I'm spending mine with family and friends and this is my first year hosting. Luckily, everyone is bringing something, so I'm only in charge of the stuffing (I'm making spinach and artichoke stuffing-yum!) and I'm making a chocolate pie. It'll be a fun day and I'm looking forward to it.

Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you have a great day and have lots of fun-and of course get lots of books!:)

P.S.-Celia asked about my chocolate pie recipe. Really it's just chocolate pudding in a pie crust and put in the fridge to set overnight. Really easy, but I get to count it as pie, right? :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 6/30/2009

About the Book: Kat is a country girl and doesn't know anything about her parents. When her caretaker dies, Kat journeys to London looking for answers about her past. Her talent in embroidery opens the door for her to serve at court with Queen Elizabeth. Little does Kat know how close she is to discovering her true identity...

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I go back and forth on if I like historical fiction or not. Sometimes I really enjoy it, and other times I find it too dense. The Stolen One is a book that will make you fall in love with historical fiction.

Author Suzanne Crowley fills her book with historical detail, but the story never gets bogged down with facts and descriptions, which is often the case of historical fiction. There are so many wonderfully fleshed out side stories of supporting characters that make this a richly layered novel. It can be a little confusing keeping track of the numerous characters at court, especially since I listened to half of this one on CD and then read the second half. I highly recommend the audiobook-the narrators accent is perfect!

The thing I liked the most about The Stolen One was that it was a very fast paced read which I think is somewhat rare in historical fiction. There is plenty of mystery and romance to keep the reader turning pages. I especially liked the author's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth and I found myself wanting to read more on her life.

Give this one to teens as well as adults who are interested in Tudor England-it has great crossover appeal. I have already recommended this to my teens who enjoy historical fiction, which is high praise from a librarian! I love when I can read a book and know exactly who to give it to next.

Reviewed from copy provided by the author

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tween Tuesday

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme where I feature great read for tweens! Add your own Tween Tuesday post in the comments.

The Unsigned Valentine: And Other Events in the Life of Emma Mead by Johanna Hurwitz

About the Book: Fifteen-year-old Emma journals about daily life in Vermont 1911 including her many adventures and a possible romance.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I discoverd this book when I first started working as a librarian via another tween librarian's blog. I'm so glad I found it and picked it up, because it's a very delightful book!

The Unsigned Valentine is actually the third book to feature Emma, but I didn't realize that when I read it, so you can read this without being familiar with the companion books. Don't let teenage Emma fool you into thinking this book is too old for tweens. This is actually the perfect book for readers who have enjoyed the American Girl or Dear America series and are looking for something new. I also think those tween girls who have read everything about Laura Ingalls Wilder will fall in love with Emma.

The premise sounds like it might be dull-who would want to read about daily life in historical Vermont? But Ms. Hurwitz does a wonderful job of making the reader feel as though they are there with Emma and you really do care about her life and what's happening around her. There's also a very sweet romance that will put a smile on your face.

The Unsigned Valentine is the perfect escape to a simpler time and it's a great curl up and read in the winter book.

Full Discolsure: My review copy was a library book

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shadowland by Alyson Noel

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: 11/17/09

About the Book: Ever and Damen are back in the third installment in The Immortals series. Ever and Damen are searching for an antidote to the curse that prevents them from being together. Ever remains hopeful that she and Damen will be together again, but when she meets Jude, she finds herself unsure of her destiny and her true soulmate.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: It was easy to fall back into Ever and Damen’s world and get caught up in their epic love story. Author Alyson Noel keeps up the twists and turns and she never ceases to surprise me. I didn’t think anyone could pull me away from being a Damen fan, but Jude makes a strong case. I can see why Ever ends up confused!

Haven and Miles take a backseat in this one and the story concentrates more on Ever and Damen, but for the moments we do see them, they shine. We also get to hear a bit from Riley (via the help of others) and her appearances, even if they are not really seen, still make me smile. And my favorite twins, Romy and Rayne are back. I think these two are my favorite characters in the entire series and I looked forward to every scene they appeared in.

Shadowland explores the magical world Ever and Damen are part of in more depth and the subjects of reincarnation, spells, and fate are explored in more detail in this offering. I really liked learning more about how the magic works in this world and the intricacies Alyson Noel added were lots of fun to read about.


The only complaint I had was the over-use of the word “gape,” but I was able to overlook it because I was caught up in the story as a whole. The ending of this one will keep you turning pages and eagerly awaiting the next volume.

Shadowland is another exciting and addicting read in The Immortals series. Alyson Noel knows how to keep her readers hanging and it’s easy to see how this series is continually gaining new readers. Once you start reading about Ever and Damen you won’t want to stop!


*Also reviewed for TeensReadToo.com, reviewed from ARC provided by publisher

Friday, December 18, 2009

YA Movie News

Not a lot to post about this week, but as always I'm excited about the news that did appear.

Did you read
The Borrowers by Mary Norton as a kid? It was a series my mom and I shared before bed and I loved it. Japan's Studio Ghibli is adapting the book to film and setting it in modern day Japan. The film won't be directed by Miyazaki, but it being directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and he worked on Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. The movie is set for a summer release Japan as Karigurashi no Arrietty (or Borrowing Arrietty) and I'm crossing my fingers it makes it's way over to the U.S.

The new Alice in Wonderland trailer appeared this week. I'm getting very excited about this film and I think I'll really enjoy it-which is saying something, because I'm not really a fan of
Alice in Wonderland!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 9/29/2009

About the Book: Cassie wants a husband, family and a perfect Christmas, so she decides to enlist the help of a professional matchmaker. In order to meet her match, Cassie must complete three tasks. Cassie is in for a Christmas she'll never forget.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: So I've never read a Debbie Macomber book and I really didn't think I would. Her books are cozy romances and grandma's read them. I even met Ms. Macomber at ALA and she was very sweet, but I didn't really think about picking up one of her books.

But then I was in the mood for a cozy holiday read and this showed up when I started searching for Christmas books. I have to say, if you're in the mood for a light and fun fast read, read a Debbie Macomber book. I finished this one in two nights-which is unusual when I'm reading during the week-I usually take a week to finish a book unless I'm reading on the weekends.

The story is predictable, but it's still cute. I liked Cassie and her tasks were pretty humorous. This is a book I could see easily being made into a holiday TV movie-it kind of read that way. (Debbie Macomber's other holiday offering this year, Mrs. Miracle, was made into a movie for Hallmark and it's currenly in my TBR pile and recorded on my Tivo.) I just wish the romance would have been a little better-there were some goofy parts at the end and I wasn't sure if Cassie's prince charming really was her best match. But there was plenty to smile about and there were some moments I really enjoyed. (Prince Charming had some shining moments too, so I can't say I didn't totally hate him).

Since Ms. Macomber writes a yearly holiday book, I could easily see reading a Debbie Macomber book at Christmas becoming a tradition of mine. You know it will be light, sweet and fun and it'll be a good book to read with some hot cocoa.

-This also counts towards my holiday reading challenge.

Full Disclosure: Review copy from library

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle

Note: This is a recycled post from last year, but I wanted to share the love of this one again since I think it's one to read every holiday season. Also, the cover changed this year from the one on the left (which I love) to the one on the right (which I think is just ok) What do you think?


Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Romance

Release Date: October 2008

About the Book: Let It Snow is a new holiday offering from three popular teen authors. Each author contributed a holiday romance short story to add to the collection. Maureen Johnson starts things off with The Jubilee Express, in which Jubilee (no, not a stripper, but named for a piece in her mother’s collection of the Flobie Santa Village) finds herself stranded on a train in Gracetown in a huge snowstorm. A trip to the Waffle House introduces her to Stuart and friendship, or maybe something more, starts to form. In A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, author John Green hilariously describes the mission of three friends to get to the Waffle House where a group of cheerleaders are stranded and wanting to play Twister. And Lauren Myracle’s The Patron Saint of Pigs shows that lost love can be found again with the help of Starbucks, angels, and even a pig.


GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I’m a sucker for romance any time of the year, but something about the holiday season makes me want to curl up in a nice blanket, drink hot chocolate, and read love stories. Let It Snow is the perfect holiday read. Each story stands well on its own, but it was nice to have a common thread throughout. I loved how the authors found ways to connect all three stories. Characters you meet in the beginning show up later on, and places like Starbucks and the Waffle House are important to all three tales. The only thing I didn’t like was that they were all short stories - I could have kept reading about each of the characters! Let It Snow is a great, warm, fuzzy read for the holidays, so grab some hot chocolate and curl up because you won’t want to stop reading until you’re finished and happily sighing.



*Also reviewed for TeensReadToo.com

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from personal library copy purchased from Borders

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tween Tuesday and Blog Tour: Just Grace and the Snack Attack

This Tween Tuesday is part of a blog tour for KidzBookBuzz. Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme where I highlight great tween reads. Be sure to add your Tween Tuesday link in the comments!

Just Grace and the Snack Attack by Charise Mericle Harper

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 12/14/09

About the Book: Grace's class has a new project-find out about unusual food around the world. Grace decides to research potato chips. Grace finds herself a little jealous when her dad seems more interested in helping her best friend Mimi with her hot dog project than he does with Grace's potato chips.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is the fifth Just Grace book and the first one I've read. The nice thing about the book is that I didn't feel lost, so a reader could pick up any title and jump right in.

There are lots of illustrations, because Grace loves to draw, so the book would be great for readers who enjoy the Wimpy Kid books and are looking for other humorously illustrated books.


There were a few times that I felt that Grace's wisdom was a little wise beyond her years, but for the most part she is very funny and has some great observations about life that will be sure to leave readers laughing.

Grace is perfect for fans of Clementine and Allie Finkle. She somewhat reminds me of a less crazy Clementine-Grace seems not quite as wild, which I think readers who might not relate to Clementines crazy antics will appreciate.


Find more about the Just Grace series on author Charise Mericle Harper's website.

Here are the other tour stops: The Hungry Readers Our Big Earth All About Children’s Books Looking Glass Reviews Fireside Musings Green Bean Teen Queen KidzBookBuzz.com Book Crumbs My Own Little Corner of the World Reading is My Superpower Never Jam Today The 160 Acre Woods Carrie’s YA Bookshelf Everyday Reading Cafe of Dreams

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher for tour

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Fast Do You Read?

I've never thought of myself as a fast reader. I've read anywhere between 10-25 books a month this year, which includes about 2-5 audiobooks since I'm a multi-tasker when it comes to reading.

But sometimes when I look at blogs and see a list of books someone is planning to read that week or a roundup of what they've read that month, I feel like I don't read fast enough!

I guess I don't feel like I'm a fast reader because I'm the type of reader who wants to savor each word on the page, where my husband reads fast because he has no problem skimming parts.

So if you're a fast reader, are there any tricks you have? And if you're not a fast reader, what do you do to get that huge TBR pile read quickly?

Pitch Black Holiday Gift Guide

HarperTeen is getting into the holiday spirit with their Pitch Black Holiday Gift Guide.

If you're a paranormal fan, you should check this out! The site lets you pick what sort of paranormal book you're interested in reading, vampires, faeries, werewolves, witches, and then creates a list of books that fall under that category. You can then add titles to a wish list and share them with friends and family via e-mail, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter and tons more. It's very cool and the best way to hint to those gift givers you might need a little help! :)

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, December 11, 2009

YA Movie News

Some exciting movie deals happened this week in the YA world.

-The upcoming novel
Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg was optioned by Mandalay Pictures. The novel is about a girl who says no to love and forms a club of girls who refuse to date. The novel is released on December 29. I'll be reviewing this one soon, so stay tuned!

-
Natalie Portman is set to star and produce a movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I love this idea and I think she'll be great and the movie very funny.

-
Disney picked up rights to Lauren Kate's Fallen. Anyone else think fallen angels are the next big thing?

And of course, for your viewing pleasure, here's the first trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One. Movie six let me down because they cut out so much, but I have my hopes high again for this one (anyone else notice the Weasley wedding scene?)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge

I'm really looking forward to break this year because I'll have time to catch up on all the reading I've pushed aside for school.

Karin (from Karin the Librarian) had the same idea and started the Holiday Break Reading Challenge. If you're planning on reading at all this break, you should join up! Here's the rules:

1) Anyone can participate. I'm focusing on teachers and students, but if you want to cram a little extra reading in during the holiday season, please join us.

2) The Reading Challenge is designed to be self-paced. I will ask for you to set a goal for the number of books you want to read, but if you don't reach the goal - no big deal. This is for fun.

3) You don't have to provide a list of books you plan to read in advance. You can, but it isn't required. My mood determines what I read so I usually don't stick to a list. If I can't do it, I don't want to force others to do it.

4) The Holiday Break Reading Challenge corresponds with my time off from school. So, it starts on Friday, December 18, 2009 and ends on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at Midnight.

5) I'll have a section set up on the blog for reviews. Please link your reviews of the books you complete during the challenge.

6) Everyday there a new "Challenge" will be posted. These "Challenges" are designed to help you get to know other bloggers, talk about what you are reading, and share information about books. A new Mr. Linky (if I can figure it out) will be used in each post to record everyone's responses.

7) HERE IS THE BIG ONE! At least one prize will be given out everyday during the Reading Challenge. This might be a book, a bookmark, or other swag. No specifics lined up yet.

8) Be sure to follow the Reading Challenge on Twitter. New challenges and prize information will be announced there, too.

9. Grab the button to put on your blog.


Spread the news and happy reading!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thank You Secret Santa!!

I got my Secret Santa gift for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap today! My Secret Santa, Janice from Janicu's Book Blog sent me the Vampire Academy Box Set. I'm super excited because these books are on my TBR pile and I've been wanting to read them for awhile. Not only did I get an awesome gift, but I got a new blog to follow!:)

Thanks Janice!

Forever by Judy Blume

I reviewed this one for my children's lit blog and I wanted to re-post my review here. I'd love to know if you ever read this one (as a teen or an adult) and what your thoughts were.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: Originally published in 1975, but still circulating today.


About the Book: Forever is the story of teens Michael and Katherine-from their first meeting, to their first date, and the first time they have sex. Of course they think everything will last, but will your first love always last forever?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I never had the chance to read this one as a teen, and I'm glad I read it now. While some of the story is outdated (Katherine's sister Jamie has a hobby of hooking rugs, the teens listen to records, Michael and Katherine are asked if they "go together") the emotional impact of the story still resonates today.
I remember my first love-I felt like Katherine-wanting to be with him, not caring about school as senior ended, and thinking that it will last. Ms. Blume captures these emotions so perfectly and she was able to transport me back to my teen years. I know teen readers will relate. It did take me a couple chapters to get into it-the writing style is very different compared to current YA books, but I think readers who are interested will stick with it.
The biggest complaint about this book is that it deals with sex, birth control, and teen pregnancy, and that the sex scenes are graphic. I honestly found the scenes handled in a way that I think teens will appreciate-they were honest and I didn't find them all that graphic. Compared to books like Gossip Girl, this book is tame. But I think that's what readers appreciate about it-this book is much more real.
As much as we would like to think that all teens have an adult to talk to or that they pay attention in health class, that is not the case. Teens also can get embarassed when talking about sex and I think Ms. Blume presents a positive look of a sexual relationship-she also gives options-Sybil gives her baby up for adoption instead of having an abortion. Ms. Blume never talks down the reader and tells them her opinion-she provides information and lets the reader come to their own conclusion.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from my personal library copy that I purchases at Borders.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tween Tuesday

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme where I highlight
great reads for Tweens!


Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm

-I love Babymouse! She's the best pink superhero. She's a a spunky little mouse who has quite the imagination. Each book is a new adventure from Rock Star to Beach Babe and you know you're in for a treat with each new volume. Babymouse is the perfect graphic novel for tween girls.



Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
-This is an action packed graphic novel! The second volume was released this year, which is great because my tween readers have been asking for it forever. There's a good mix of adventure and fantasy, and the books have been optioned for a movie.



Jellaby by Kean Soo

-Jellaby is one of my favorite graphic novels-especially if you're looking for one that will make you warm and fuzzy and leave you smiling long after you finish it. This is followed up by Jellaby: Monster in the City and you can also find several Jellaby short stories in the various Flight comic collections, which are edited by Kazu Kibuishi and well worth checking out!

Have your own Tween Tuesday post? Leave your link in the comments and share the love!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magic Under Glass Trailer

If you read this blog, you know I've been book lusting after this title for months now! The trailer is wonderfully done and makes me want to read this book NOW! Check it out:


Want to win a hardcover of MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolamore plus more prizes? See
http://fabulousfrock.livejournal.com/ for details!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Biblio File's Birthday Party Reading Challenge

Jen at Biblio File is celebrating her blog's 5th birthday and in honor of that she's hosting a reading challenge. The goal is to read for five hours this weekend and read something you've been wanting to read.

I decided to participate and use this as a chance to catch up on the books I'd pushed aside because of grad school. I started Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. So far I really like it, although it had kind of a slow start for me. But I'm enjoying it and I'm hoping to spend some time later this week finishing it.

I'm glad I took the time to make reading my focus today. I try to take time to read every day, especially when I have the day off from work, but with taking a children's lit class this semester, I haven't had a lot of time to read extra books. I'm looking forward to my winter break when I can catch up on my TBR pile even more!

YA Movie News

-The biggest news this week was that movie rights to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl were sold. I'm really looking forward to this one!

-Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is released on DVD on Tuesday 12/8 and you know I'll be first in line to buy my copy. I plan on rushing home and watching the special features, which includes a teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Even though I felt let down in movie six, I have high hopes for seven, since they'll have two movies.

-So it looks as though Summit will be splitting Breaking Dawn. Can I just say I think this is a terrible idea? That book does not need to be split. The plot is not complicated, and we really don't need to spend an hour watching multiple vampire families arrive to the Cullen estate. There's not even the big fight that we're supposed to get in the end. I just don't see why (other than Summit wants to cash in and make money) there needs to be two movies. What does everyone else think about the Breaking Dawn split?

Biblio File's Birthday Readig Challenge

Jen at Bibio File is celebrating her blog's 5th birthday and in honor of that she's hosting a mini-reading challenge. The idea is to read for five hours this weekend and you have to read something you WANT to read, not something you HAVE to read. I'm planning on reading my five hours today and I hope you can join in and find five hours to remember why you love reading!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Author Interview: Liby Schmais PLUS Contest

You've read my review of The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein and now you can get to know the author, Libby Schmais.

1. I know you work as a corporate librarian-what's that like?

I work for a large accounting/consulting firm where I do research on a variety of topics, mostly financial, from bios of bank executives to research on talent management to finding data on the hedge fund industry. Working as a corporate librarian is a good profession for a writer, because it uses an entirely different part of your brain than writing fiction. At work, instead of trying to create a fictional world, I’m trying to uncover facts and data. And one of the highlights of my job is that I have a flexible schedule, which allows me time to write.

2. Have you ever traveled to Paris? What would you suggest visitors do on their trip?

Oui, I have been to Paris, but not in many years, sadly. Writing this book made me really long to get back there, although much like the characters in The Pillow Book, the closest I’ve gotten to Paris lately was a recent trip to Montreal, where they have the most amazing farmers market, and these great bakeries, excuse me, I digress. Back to the question. If I was in Paris, what I would recommend is to wander around aimlessly, getting lost, drinking tons of cafĂ©, eating delicious food and seeing the occasional historic site or museum. I might take a pleasure boat down the Seine, like they do in that movie Before Sunrise, see a lot of French movies, maybe rent an apartment for a week or two, going out for baguettes every morning as if I really lived there.


3. Lotus tries to eat lots of French foods. Do you have any French favorites?

Like Lotus, j’adore French food. Luckily, I have a great bakery near my house where they make amazing croissants and pain au chocolat. One of my biggest food weaknesses is cheese and French cheeses are amazing, especially all the raw milk cheeses that you can’t even get here. But then again, everything tastes better in France. I remember the first time I was in Paris, and I had the most amazing plain omelette in a restaurant that here would probably be considered a diner. The omelette was thin and golden and perfectly cooked – and delicieux! There is just such care that goes into the cooking, even for a dish that is very simple. Wow, now I’m really getting hungry. I think I may have to run around the corner for a croissant.


4. What can we look forward to from you? Will we be seeing more of Lotus?

I’m not sure what Lotus will be up to in the future, but I can kind of imagine her coming back for a second act, perhaps pursuing her serious international fashion journalism career. In the meantime, while I’m waiting for her to figure out her next move, I’ve been working on a novel about a teenager who is obsessed with Tudor England and starts dressing and acting like Anne Boleyn to improve her status in high school.

5. What is the French word de jour?

Today’s French Word du Jour is bises (kisses). If you collect all the French words du jour on the Blog Tourapalooza, you can enter a contest to win fabulous prizes (A $25 Sephora gift card and a personally autographed Pillow Book!). Once you’ve visited all the blog tour stops and collected all the words, email the list of words to lotuslowenstein@gmail.com with the subject line “French Word du Jour Contest.” The deadline for entries is December 20th and a winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2009. The complete My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have-a-Bonnes-FĂȘtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza schedule can be found at lotuslowenstein.com. Our next tour stop is
Pop Culture Junkie on December 7, 2009. See you on the road, mes amis!

Not only is Libby hosting a very cool contest, but you can enter to win an ARC of The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein. Just leave a comment below (with a way to contact you if you win, blog, e-mail, etc.). Must be US resident and13 years or older. Contest ends Friday December 11 at midnight (central time)

Blog Tour: The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstien

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 12/8/09

About the Book: Lotus dreams of living in Paris and becoming an existentialist. She' s trying to learn French, she's following the rules of French Women Don't Get Fat, and she even started a French Club at school and got her best friend Joni to join-even though Joni does not share in her love of all things France. Then Sean joins French Club and both Joni and Lotus find themselve crushing on the new boy. Will these best friends let a boy come between them?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book, because I have a pet peeve with books that contain a lot of forgein language that I can't translate. But I had lots of fun reading this one. And author Libby Schmais does a great job mixing in French and I never felt like it was distracting and I still understood it!

Lotus is a fun character and there were several times I was laughing over her thoughts and sayings. She's very quirky, funny, and has an awesome fashion sense, which I 'd love to steal. I really enjoyed the supporting characters especially Ms. G, Lotus' English teacher who inspires her to start her pillow book. There's even a bit of romance, which is very sweet.

With popular diary series such as The Princess Diaries and The Georgia Nicolson Series ending this year, The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein helps fill the void. Lotus' voice reminded me a lot of Georgia and I think fans of that series will devour The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein. I love what Carrie said in her blog tour stop-"Lotus is exactly who Eloise would be as a teenager." So true!!

I did feel the book was a little too long and it did hit a minor lull towards the middle, but overall it was a fun read. Lotus is someone I wouldn't mind reading more about, but the book stands on it's own for readers who aren't looking for an ongoing storyline. This is a great friendship story that will put a smile on your face.

Be sure to check out my interview with author Libby Schmais!

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher at ALA Annual

Thursday, December 3, 2009

2010 Debut Authors Challenge

I am joining the 2010 Debut Authors Challenge hosted by The Story Siren. My goal is to read at least 15 debut books in 2010. Here is my list of books to start with-I'll be adding more as the year goes on.

2010 Debut Author Reading List
1. A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
2. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
3. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
4. A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis
5. Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
6. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
7. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
8. Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
9. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
10. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
11. The Mark by Jen Nadol
12. Forget Her Nots by Amy Brecount White
13. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
14. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
15. Gaurdian fo the Dead by Karen Healey

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Playing With Matches by Brian Katcher

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 7/8/2008

About the Book: Loner and self-professed nerd Leon finds himself befriending Melody, a girl whose face was disfigured in a fire years before. No one has ever talked to Melody and everyone thinks she's a freak and Leon is self concious about his growing attraction to her-especially when beautiful and popular Amy starts to show and interest in him.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I read this one because it was on the Gateway premlinary nominee list and I'm so glad it was. I'm not sure if I would have come across it otherwise. I wasn't sure what to expect-I'll admit when I first saw it on the list, I thought "oh, it's just on there because it's a Missouri author." But I was blown away by this book.

Brian Katcher packed so much emotion into this story-I found myself tearing up at parts and honestly, I don't cry that much in books. The characters are all well drawn and the writing flows easily. I wanted to keep reading this one and found myself staying up late to do so.

Things moved a little fast, but I reminded myself I was reading about teens. I did like that it didn't take long to get the book going-I hate when the book jacket tells you a main plot point that doesn't happen until halfway through. That is not the case here-the story starts right away.

The only complaint I really had was Amy's character wasn't what I expected. I thought the way she turned out was a little unrealistic. I did like that she surprised me and had more depth though. (I don't want to spoil the book, so I won't say much else).

I would give this one to readers who have enjoyed John Green's novels-I can see the audience being the same. I'm looking forward to reading Brian Katcher's latest novel, Almost Perfect, and I'm very proud to say he's a Missouri author!

Full Disclosure: Book provided by my local library

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Contest!

Ok, so I didn't want to tell you about this, because really, I want to win this one! But the lovely Karin is giving away a SIGNED ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater! Good luck-and if you win, will you let me borrow it?

Tween Tuesday


Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme I started to feature great books for tweens! If you'd like to participate and post your own tween books, put your link in the comments below.
If your tweens (and teens) are anything like the ones at my library, they love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books! Since the success of these books, we've seen a growth in books told in cartoons which is great because my tweens can't get enough of them. Here are some of my favorites to give to Wimpy Kid fans.

Alivin Ho Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things
Alvin is younger than Greg Heffley, but I think readers of all ages will have fun reading about him. (my Dad picked up the second book since it was about camping and he loved it!) Alvin is nervous and he has a lot of things he's allergic to-or so he claims. His adventures are lots of fun and they're great picks for young readers wanting something similar to the Wimpy Kid series.



Ellie McDoodle Have Pen, Will Travel

These books are the most like Wimpy Kid and are great to give readers while waiting for the next in the series. Ellie loves to write in her journal. Her parents force her to camping with her cousins and she hates it! She writes it all down in her journal-but when it goes missing, Ellie starts to wonder if she should have written all the mean things she said.
Ellie is very spunky and I loved her. Pair this one with the Allie Finkle series for a fun girl book set.

Herbert's Wormhole

Two boys discover a wormhole in their backyard and travel to a future that has aliens living with humans-and an evil alien janitor. Herbert's Wormhole is a science fiction time travel adventure told in cartoons. I felt like there is more text in this one than in the Wimpy Kid books and it's also much longer. But for readers who love adventure with a splash of cartoons, it' the pefect read. It's also a great read for adults-there's a lot of humor for grown ups too, so I suggest reading this one together with your tween!











Friday, November 27, 2009

YA Movie News

Not a lot happening this week (probably because last week was so crazy busy!)

-Ok, this is
n't movie news, but I wanted your thoughts. Hallmark is bringing Rainbow Brite back and she's gotten a makeover. Apparently, she's also getting new toys and horse collection. What do you think of the new Rainbow Brite? I think I'm still partial to the original, but I am a child of the 80's!

-Did you know that there is a Guardians of Ga'Hoole movie which should be out next year? Check out the cast list for the voices-I'm pretty excited!

-Check out the Beastly teaser trailer! I'm so excited and I think I may be able to suffer through Vanessa Hudgens for the very cute beast (well, in human form) and Neil Patrick Harris! (who sadly is not in the teaser)




And here's the trailer for How to Train Your Dragon which I think looks super cute!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Will you be getting up to watch the Macy's Parade? I know I will-it's tradition! I love all the Broadway previews before the parade and I can't pass up a chance to see Sesame Street and the Muppets.

I wanted to say a HUGE thank you today to all my readers-I'm amazed every day that people actually read this blog. Also, thank you to all the amazing young adult authors who write the greatest books out there. Without you, I wouldn't have a job as a teen librarian and I love promoting your books.

I'm off to Chicago to spend the holiday with the in-laws and my family for our first combined family event since the wedding. And I'm going to try my hand at cooking-I'll be making spinach artichoke stuffing. Cross your fingers for me, because if you knew my cooking horror stories (like how I put too much baking soda in cupcakes, or how I burn pretty much everything I've ever made, or how I tried to make bacon and my husband came home to a very smoke filled house and alarms) you would be very worried for my family!:)

Enjoy your holiday and have a wonderful weekend!! I'll see you all when I get back!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Want It Wednesday

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Release Date: May 2010

About the Book: Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: It's such a small world! A couple weeks ago, Holly e-mailed me and after chatting a bit, we discovered we're in the same town! I was thrilled! We never have local YA authors here! Today Holly stopped by the library and we got to talk and we're both very excited about planning some YA events. My teens have been asking for author vists and I think Holly's book will make a great discussion book. Plus, I've enjoyed everything that's put out out by Flux, so I know she's in good hands and it'll be a great read.
And congrats to Holly who sold two more books this year-I'm sure she's got a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Keep an eye out for Holly's book and I'll keep you posted on any events we have happening at the library.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tween Tuesday: Picture Books

Tween Tuesday is a meme where I feature great tween reads. Leave your Tween Tuesday link in the comments below.

I thought I would feature some great picture books for tweens this week. This is just a short list-there are many many more, so I may try to feature picture books every few weeks.
Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers, Illustrated by Christopher Myers
-Looking Like Me is the story of a young boy and all the things he sees himself as when he looks in the mirror. Is he a brother, a writer, a runner? This collaboration between father and son is a great read. The text flows and has a wonderful rhythm and the illustrations are a mixture of paintings and photographs. Even though it does skew a little young, I could see it being used with fifth and sixth graders to make their own "who I am" poems and stories. I would also highly recommend Jazz by this father/son duo if you're looking for a great book of poetry to read aloud.

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
-Wodney Wat is one of the funniest picture books and one of my all time favorites. Wodney Wat is a little rat who has a lisp and can't say his 'R's. Everyone in class knows that except the new girl, Camilla. So when Wodney is selected to be the leader of Simon Says, Camilla isn't sure what's she's supposed to do! This one works best with older readers who really understand the humor and it's a great read aloud!
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieskza, Illustrated by Lane Smith
-This is another one that's up there on my list of all time favorites. Another book that works best with older readers to really understand the humor. I read this one in fourth grade and laughed out loud-I still laugh when I read it. Anything by these two will be a hit with tween readers.
Full Disclosure: Looking Like Me was provided by the publisher, Hooway for Wodney Wat and The Stinky Cheese Man are books I have owned and read for years and years and long before I started blogging.

Friday, November 20, 2009

YA Movie News

Sorry this is a day late, but there's a ton that's been happening and it took me awhile to round everything up! This will be one long post!

Of course, we all know New Moon is hitting theaters this weekend. If you see it, keep your eyes out for two book to movie previews-a new Percy Jackson trailer and a trailer for The Lovely Bones. I squeeled when I saw the Percy one-can't wait! (Anyone else think Percy is just too adorable??) (Ok, because I'm so excited about it, you can find the Percy Jackson trailer at the end of this post!)

What's up with books getting movie deals before they are even published? From Cynopsis-"Pulitzer Prize winning writer David Lindsay-Abaire will pen the script for DreamWorks Animation SKG's movie The Guardians (working title), an adaptation of author William Joyce's upcoming kid's books The Guardians of Childhood." The books won't even be out until 2011!



This news just made me smile. Owen Wilson will be lending his voice to Marmaduke, an upcoming movie based on the long running comic strip.


A new made for TV movie of Harriet the Spy is currently being filmed and will be released on Disney Channel next year.


A Harry Potter Spells App for iPhone was released this week. I haven't downloaded it, but I may have to check it out since I love Harry Potter!

My husband's favorite news of the week: The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel will be coming to the big screen. When I told my husband this he had the whole movie cast by the end of the day! I think this series could do well and I'm excited to see what happens.

Film rights to Lauren McLaughlin's Cycler sold. Lauren is asking readers on her blog who they think should play the roles in the film and she also talks about how the book started as a screenplay.

Lots to look forward to! What are you most excited about?



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Rating: 5/5 Stars (If I had a gold star award, I would give it to this book)

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 10/1/2009

About the Book: Do you remember your first kiss? Three supernatural tales of first love (or lust) and that first kiss that can change you or overpower you. In "Goblin Fruit" goblins prey on young girls-and not the pretty popular ones-the ones that want to be them. In "Spicy Little Curses" a young woman is cursed with a voice that will kill anyone who is nearby to hear it. Can she risk telling her love the one thing he wants to hear? In "Hatchling" a young girl finds her fate intertwined with demons and secrets kept by her mother.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Dark, dangerous, and delicious! This collection is an amazing work of fiction-and it's addicting. You won't want to put this one down! I don't always enjoy short stories, but this collection blew me away.

Each story is wonderfully written and the characters are well developed. I was transported to each new world and it's hard for me to pick which one I enjoyed the best-they were all fantastic. The artwork by Jim Di Bartolo is gorgeous-I would love to have prints of these pictures framed. (And the red dress in the first picture for "Spicy Little Curses"-I want that dress!)

Even if you typically shy away from fantasy or paranormal romances, give this one a try. It's compulsively readable and the fantasy elements are weaved in to the stories in such a way that you won't even realize you're reading fantasy. (And I mean that in a good way.) These are stunning stories that will stick with you long after you finish reading.


Laini Taylor is an author to watch for. I will be picking up her Dreamdark series after reading Lips Touch: Three Times. I need more of her storytelling. Lips Touch: Three Times is easily one of the best books of 2009.

Full Disclosure: My copy is from the library-only the coolest place in the world!:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Carrie Diaries-Will You Be Reading It?

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell will be released April 27, 2010. It tells the story of teenage Carrie Bradshaw before Sex and the City.

I watched the show off and on in re-runs (didn't get HBO in college) and I have seen the Sex and the City movie. I have to admit I'm intrigued, but at the same time I'm nervous. This could either be great or fall flat. I do think it's a great way to bring in adult readers to YA who maybe haven't read YA recently. But is it going to be adult fans of the show that read this one or are teens going to pick it up? Today's teens were most likely not watching Sex and the City, but it is a big part of our culture, I'm sure most would know who Carrie Bradshaw is.

So what do you think? Will you be reading it? And do you think teens will be picking it up?

Good Holiday Reads

I posted a few days ago about how I'm participating in the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge. Right now I have Ex-Mas by Kate Brian and The Gift by Cecelia Ahern on my list to read. I have some others on hold and I'm hoping they get to the library in time. Hold lists for holiday books start early!!

I'd love your help making my Holiday Reading list. What is your favorite holiday read? Or what new release are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My New Addiction

So I had this great afternoon of reading planned for Monday afternoon. I had my books all lined up and ready to go. But then I discovered that the New Super Mario Brothers for Wii was released on Sunday! I have been so excited for this game, I of course ran out and bought it.

And now I'm addicted. I can't stop playing!! The game plays like my Super Nintendo Super Mario Brothers game, which I loved. But this addiction is terrible because the end of the semester is coming up and I have reading and projects to work on and I have to have all my Gateway nomination ratings in by December 2!

Sigh...I'll get it all done, but I'll be taking game breaks for sure!

What distracts you from reading?
 
Imagination Designs