Friday, April 29, 2016

Lady Midnight


TITLE: Lady Midnight
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
RELEASE DATE: March 2016
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderberry Books
PAGES: 668 pages
GENRE: Fantasy/Supernatural
SERIES: Dark Artifices
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12 

SUMMARY: Its been five years since the Dark War, and parabatais Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn star in this next installment of the Shadowhunter series. All grown up, Julian takes on the role of guardian to the four younger Blackthorn children, while also secretly running the Los Angeles institute for his absentminded uncle, Arthur. Emma is still convinced her parents were not killed by Sebastian and is working to investigate a series of demonic murders. But when the faeries call on the help of the Shadowhunters, they refuse, until the Fae offer up their brother, Mark of the Dark Hunt, as collateral. With the Shadowhunters go against the Clave, and break the Law to help the Fae? 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "And if there were two things he believed were limitless, it was love and imagination." (Clare, 168)
WHAT I LIKED: I am a complete Shadowhunters fan, I have read all of the books. My favorites are The Infernal Devices, which I just found out has a follow up series (The Last Hours) coming out in 2017. I liked seeing the story continue on with the next generation of Shadowhunters. I also liked that all of the characters from The Mortal Instruments play a part in this series. Getting to see all your favorite characters like Clary, Jace, Simon, Izzy, Alec and Magnus finally get their Happily Ever After just leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. 


SERIES UPDATE: The next book in the series is Prince of Shadows but does not have an expected release date yet

BOOK TRAILER: I could not find an official book trailer for Lady Midnight (shame shame, Simon and Shuster), but I would like to point you in the direction of the Official Shadowhunter Chronicles website. Check it out here at

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Glass Sword


TITLE: Glass Sword
AUTHOR: Victoria Aveyard
RELEASE DATE: February 2016
PAGES: 444 pages
GENRE: Fantasy
SERIES: Red Queen series
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12 

SUMMARY: Mare Barrow continues her struggle after Red Queen to live as a Red Blood with the powers of a Silver. She joins the Scarlet Guard as they lead a rebellion against the Silver Bloods who control their kingdom. Will she be able to find other New Bloods like herself, and will they be willing to risk their lives to help fight for freedom?

FAVORITE QUOTE: "I cling to Cal, Kilorn, Shade, to saving all the newbloods I can, because I am afraid of waking up to emptiness, to a place where my friends and family are gone and I am nothing but a single bolt of lightning in the blackness of a storm." (Aveyard, 250)
WHAT I LIKED: Strong female character, love triangle (square?), and superhuman powers. Three of my favorite things in any Young Adult Fiction. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I felt Glass Sword was the typical book two, story filler. All of the build-up took place in book one, book two is just a flatline till we get to book three and the finale in book four. There was one scene of action and it was too short with not a lot of truly important things taking place. I'm not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, I will definitely be on pins and needles till book three comes out.

SERIES UPDATE: I spoke with the author, Victoria Aveyard on April 21, 2016 at TLA in Houston. She informed me that she is currently working on book #3 of the series, but wouldn't give me a title or release date at this time. 

BOOK TRAILER: uploaded by Epic Reads 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Black Butler


TITLE: Black Butler I
AUTHOR: Yana Toboso
RELEASE DATE: January 2010
PAGES: 184 pages
GENRE: Graphic Novel
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12 (language)

SUMMARY: Sebastian Michaelis is the faithful servant to twelve-year-old, Ciel Phantomhive, earl to the Phantomhive empire. On his own, after his family was taken from him by a fire, Sebastian does everything for the boy, from bringing him tea, trimming the edges, to killing all his captors when the boy is kidnapped. How does he do it all? It is truly more than any human can handle, but it makes you wonder if Sebastian is truly human at all. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "...I am a devil... of a butler." 
WHAT I LIKED: My favorite part was when Sebastian has gone to save Ciel and all the servants are sitting around useless because they don't know what to do without Sebastian. When Finn goes to the drawer to retrieve the silverware for dinner and notices everything is gone, except the spoons. Then the next panel shows Sebastian throwing knives and forks like daggers, killing all of the people shooting at him. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The story was a little cheesy. The spoiled brat, Ciel, and the clueless servants, Baldroy, Mey-Rin, and Finnian, that ruin everything. Sebastian, the butler that does EVERYTHING in the house, then the servants completely screw it up. I'm sure it is at the same standards of other manga-style stories, but it all seemed superficial to me. It seemed to be lacking a storyline, I understand it is only book one in a series with over twenty books. So I'm sure the story plays out over time, but I really don't see myself picking up book two. 

READALIKES: Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: The Black Butler series is one of the most popular series in the Graphic Novel section of my library. When I came in, we had the first five, during my time here I have ordered another ten. They are always checked out. However, due to the extreme violence and offensive language, I question if they are appropriate for my 7-8 grade school. However, I haven't had anyone challenge them yet. 

SERIES UPDATE: Book XXII is to be released on May 24, 2016. 

BOOK TRAILER: This isn't a book trailer as much as a preview for the manga, posted on YouTube by a fan 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Walk on Earth a Stranger


TITLE: Walk on Earth a Stranger
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
RELEASE DATE: September 2015
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books
PAGES: 436 pages
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
SERIES: The Gold Seer Trilogy
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 7-12 

SUMMARY: Leah Westfall can sense gold, and California is calling to her, but she can't leave her family, her farm, and everything she has worked so hard for. But when her parents are murdered and she is taken into the care of her uncle, Hiriam; she finally sees the chance to leave. Disguising herself as a boy, and enduring hardships such as the Mississippi River, buffalo stampedes, cholera, and the deserts of the west, will Leah even survive long enough to see the gold that sings to her heart?

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Rear trigger, soft breath, hair trigger, crack! Smoke puffs up as the butt kicks my shoulder. Almost two hundred yards away, the poor animal's rear legs fly out sideways, and it goes down in a cloud of dust. 
Jefferson whistles as I hand the gun back to him.
'Not bag for a girl,' says Jonas Waters.
'It's not bad for anyone,' Jefferson snaps." (Carson, )
WHAT I LIKED: I absolutely loved the historical fiction aspect of this book. I don't normally read Historical Fiction books, but the magic "gold seer" part of the story intrigued me. I would probably shelve this book in the Fantasy section of my library. But I love how it includes actual dates and includes such details about the hardships of the trip overland America that so many made (and didn't make) during the Gold Rush.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The ending. Completely anticlimactic! Yea, they reached California, oh no, her uncle... and then he walked away. Seriously? Seriously? I feel like there needs to be a sequel, what happens next? Does she get married? Does she find gold and become rich? 
*EDIT: I found out this series is actually a trilogy, so I take back my "What I Didn't Like Comments

SERIES UPDATE: Book Two: Like a River Glorious will be released September 27, 2016

BOOK TRAILER: Epic Reads Explains Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Friday, April 8, 2016

We Are All Made of Molecules


TITLE: We Are All Made of Molecules
AUTHOR: Susin Nielsen
PUBLISHER: Wendy Lamb Books
PAGES: 248 pages
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Comedy
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12 

SUMMARY: Stewart is a socially awkward boy genius, Ashley is the most popular girl in school. Their worlds collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart always wanted a sister, but Ashley doesn't want to be seen with him in public. When Stewart's bully starts dating Ashley, Stewart thinks this can work toward his advantage. But when Stewart finds out what Jared, the bully, really thinks about his semi-stepsister, Stewart begins to wonder if he should step in and help the girl who makes his life hell every day.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "I have to wait another two years before I can hire a lawyer and get unconstipated." Just an example of how much an airhead Ashley is. 
WHAT I LIKED: Normally, it is easy for me to say I love the characters of the books I read. However, with this book, it was not the case. Stewart is a total nerd, who is socially awkward, and has a hard time making friends. Ashley is a total airhead who doesn't care who she puts down, as long as she maintains her spot on the social ladder. For the first several chapters, I absolutely hated both of the characters. However, the alternating point of views helped ease the annoyance of each character's story. It was nice to hear about one situation from Stewart's point of view and then hear the same situation told from Ashley's point of view in the next chapter. Overall, the message of the story is clear, and you're able to see the aspects of bullying from several different aspects up and down the social ladder.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: When I purchased this book for my middle school library, all of the reviews recommended it for grades 7-10. It was even part of the state of Texas's Lone Star Book List for 2016. I do not feel this book is appropriate for seventh graders. It's really pushing it for eighth graders. There are a lot of cuss words in the book (I always ask why the author feels the need to do this. Adding curse words into a book automatically makes me think it is not middle school appropriate). There are also mature scenes that involve drinking, and sexual situations (rape). 

READALIKES: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thirteen Reasons Why


TITLE: Thirteen Reasons Why
AUTHOR: Jay Asher
RELEASE DATE: October 2007
PUBLISHER: Razorbill
PAGES: 288 pages
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Chick Lit
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12 

SUMMARY: Hannah Baker commits suicide, but before she does, she creates a series of audiotapes that she mails to thirteen different people to explain how they had a part in her decision to end her life. 
Clay Jensen is one of the people on Hannah's list. As he begins listening to the tapes, he wonders what part he played in Hannah's decision. Clay never did anything to hurt Hannah, actually the complete opposite, he had a crush on her. But other than working together at the movie theater, he was never able to get up the nerve to let her know how he felt. But as he listens to the seven tapes, and hears Hannah's voice all over again, he begins to wonder if not doing something, is really the reason why. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: This quote comes from Part 3 and shows how Clay reacts to listening to one of Hannah's tapes:
     "Then come to realize that you're making mountains out of molehills. Realize how petty you've become. Sure, it may feel like you can't get a grip in this town. It may seem that every time someone offers you a hand up, they just let go and you slip further down. But you must stop being so pessimistic, Hannah, and learn to trust those around you. So I do! One more time."
      The last movie of the night is playing so the box office is empty. I stand in the swirling marble floor surrounded by posters of coming attractions. This was my chance, at this theater to reach Hannah. It was my chance, and I let it slip away.
     "And then, well, certain thoughts begin creeping around. Will I ever get control of my life? Will I always be shoved back and pushed around by those I trust?" 
     I hate what you did, Hannah. 
      "Will my life ever go where I want it to?" 
     You didn't have to do it and I hate the fact that you did.  
     "The next day, Marcus, I decided something. I decided to find out how people at school might react if one of the students never came back. As the song goes, you were lost and gone forever, oh my darling Valentine."
     I leaned back against the poster, locked behind a plastic frame, and I close my eyes. I'm listening to someone give up, someone I knew, someone I liked. I'm listening, but still, I'm too late.     

WHAT I LIKED: This book was definitely a page turner. I couldn't put it down, constantly wanted to know who the next person was on Hannah's list. What did they do to push Hannah over the edge. I think I read this book in about a day. While the whole premise of the story, someone committing suicide, is completely morbid; it was nice to hear Hannah explain each situation. How something so little can build and build. It makes you understand, that if you don't have a support system, if you  don't have friends to talk to, that it truly can feel like the end of the world. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I know the point behind the story was for people to realize how they treat others. How would things have changed, if you would have just talked to that girl in girl in the hall or not spread the rumors you heard? I didn't like the idea of placing blame on other people for a decision you make. 

READALIKES: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

BOOK TRAILER: wasn't able to find an official book trailer for the book, but I invite you to visit the Official website for Jay Asher's debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why:  and read more about the anti-bullying discussions as well as Jay Asher's Author Tour: 50 States Against Bullying.

Monday, April 4, 2016



TITLE: Dumplin'
AUTHOR: Julie Murphy
RELEASE DATE: September 2015
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PAGES: 375 pages
GENRE: ChickLit, Realistic Fiction, Comedy
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 8-12 (language)

SUMMARY: Willowdean Dickson is a self-proclaimed fat girl and Dolly Parton enthusiast. Her best friend is tall, blonde, perfect, and about to leave her behind in high school. Her mom is a former beauty queen who now runs Clover City's annual Miss Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant, but never expected Willowdean to compete. Bo, her crush, will kiss her by the dumpster behind Harpy's, but won't be seen in public with her. With all of this qoing against her, Will decides she will show them all that fat girls can win by entering the Miss Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Mom, I feel good." My voice starts out even and calm. "This dress makes me feel like someone I didn't know I could be. I've never owned anything like it. But if when you see this-when you see me-you think it's a pity, that it's a shame I didn't lose a few, then screw you, Mom. Try harder." (Murphy, 297)

WHAT I LIKED: I loved every single thing about this book. I loved all of the Texan quirks I could relate to, "...because on the eighth day God created ranch dressing." (Murphy, 13). I love WillowDean Dickson, her confidence, her attitude; she is the type of girl I wish I had as a best friend when I was in high school. I found myself chuckling at parts, tearing up at other parts and just busting out laughing too. Overall, I loved the message this book gave and I definitely think this is a book that every girl needs to read: fat or twiggy thin.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I will have to admit, I didn't like the ending. Not in a bad way, I just wanted MORE! I wanted the Happily Ever After, where the book only gave me the very smidge of a possible beginning for a Happily Ever After. 

READALIKES: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

BOOK TRAILER: After tweeting with the author, Julie Murphy, I found that there is not an official book trailer for Dumplin'. But Epic Reads has created a couple of videos, and I've included my favorite which is a video about the author, Julie Murphy.