Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

It's the Suicide Forest.  I'm walking through the fucking Suicide Forest with
two witches, and a knife that flashes to the dead like a damn lighthouse.

Available August 2012
Anna Korlov was dead long before Cas Lowood met and fell in love with her and he knows he should be moving on. But he can't. In the months since Anna Dressed in Blood dragged the Obeahman into Hell, Cas finds himself haunted by a specter he can't slay. He sees Anna everywhere; asleep or awake she appears, visible only to him and seemingly caught in some tortuous circle of punishment that leaves her unable to truly rest in peace. Cas is determined to discover what kind of underworld Anna has become trapped in and rescue her from her torment.  But opening the door between worlds requires a steep price, one that Cas cannot pay alone.

With her trademark blend of creepy images and relatable characters, Kendare Blake continues the story of Anna Korlov, ghost, and Cas Lowood, ghost hunter, in her newest novel Girl of Nightmares.  I'll admit, I was a bit hesitant when I heard that Anna Dressed in Blood was going to have a companion novel, I loved the first book so much that I was concerned another novel set in that world would fall short.  But Girl of Nightmares lives up to it's predecessor and provides the reader with another intriguing chapter in the life of Cas Lowood and his friends.

Girl of Nightmares has all the elements of horror and paranormal mystery that readers expect.  The writing is vivid and evocative without being overdone and the voice of Cas is jarringly authentic. One of my biggest complaints about paranormal/horror mysteries, as a genre, is that characters involved in that type of world rarely show signs of PTSD or stress related to their constant battles (both mental and physical). Blake creates characters that could, and might even, be at any high school.  Her characters are real and the events of their lives impact their mental, emotional and physical health. Cas's suffering makes him real.  When haunted by visions of Anna being slowly torn to shreds or burned alive, Cas does not automatically assume a paranormal root, but that may be images created by his own scarred psyche.

Blake knows how to give the reader just enough detail to make them create their own personal horror that will haunt their brains long after the book is finished and the light turned out.  Highly recommended.

**These books should be read in order.**

Book Source: ARC courtesy of Tor Teen
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 14+ Some profanity & disturbing images.

Recommended for Readers of: 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Well Deserved Break

Lunanshee's Lunacy is on VACATION
July 23, 2012 to July 29, 2012.

We will return Monday, July 30, 2012 with a review
of Kendare Blake's forthcoming novel
"Girl of Nightmares" (releases August 7, 2012).

This gives you time to catch up on our 30+
YA Book Reviews and Program Ideas!

Have a YA Book that needs reviewing? 
Email me and lets talk!
lunanshee AT gmail DOT com.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: "Bunheads" by Sophie Flack

When I was in third grade, my teacher, pretty, willowy Mrs. Eaton, would say,
'Dance each step as if it were your last.' ... It was another ten years before I
understood what Mrs. Eaton had been saying. What she meant was:
 Time is precious.  And it speeds up.

Nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward is a dancer with the prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company. Her world consists solely of hours of intense rehearsals, soaring performances in front of crowds both critical and awe-struck, and backstage friendships that are by turns fiercely protective and fiercely competitive. But when Hannah meets Jacob, an endearing college student and aspiring musician, she begins to realize that there are new and exciting possibilities outside of ballet. As Hannah struggles to build a relationship with Jacob and advance out of the corps, she must reevaluate what she wants most out of life.

I am not a dancer, but I have a deep and abiding adoration for movies and books that revolve around the world of dance. This book was no exception. I loved Bunheads. I loved how real Hannah and her world felt. Flack's obvious knowledge of the ballet community shines through beautifully and gives Bunheads that extra oomph other dance books lack. Flack isn’t afraid to move past the glitzy, perfect exterior and expose the gritty, harsh reality of ballet. I was afraid the use of the technical terms would detract from my ability, as a non-dancer, to enjoy the book but, fortunately, the opposite was true. The ballet jargon felt real and natural, and didn’t hamper my understanding in the slightest. I may not have known what specific move Hannah was doing, but the novel would have felt unrealistic if everything was written in layman’s terms.

What I most appreciated in this novel was how Hannah's struggle to decide her future is universal. Everyone goes through this struggle at least once in life, sometimes revisiting decisions later on. It doesn't matter if you are a dancer or not, because the emotions and the upheaval and the stress are the same in every situation. Hannah's struggle was familiar to me and the turmoil she experienced resonated with thoughts and feeling I have had. As a consequence, I empathized with her, could relate to her life, and appreciated the book more for its universal themes.

More than just a simple dance book, Bunheads is a multi-layered story about loving something so much, devoting your entire life to that one thing, and then realizing that there might be something even better waiting in the wings.

Book Source: My local library
Reviewer: Kimberly

Recommended Ages: 14+ for mild language, underage drinking, mild discussion of eating disorders

Recommended to Readers of:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Can't Hardly Wait! YA Coming Soon

Waiting for new books to release makes me as antsy as a kid on Christmas morning.  Here are some upcoming titles I can't wait to get my hands on.

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman (August 2012)
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (August 2012)
Diviners by Libba Bray (September 2012)
Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel (September 2012)
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (September 2012)
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride (September 2012)
Ironskin by Tina Connolly (October 2012)
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (October 2012)
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (November 2012)
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (February 2013)
Sever by Lauren DeStefano (February 2013)
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (March 2013)

What are YOU waiting to get your hands on?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Simply Fabulous Reads

I've been reminiscing over the number of really 
amazing books that I've read lately and decided to share!  

These are the titles that I've fallen in love with in the last several months:

Texas Gothic
by Rosemary
Grave Mercy
Robin LaFevers
Daughter of 
Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor
The Girl in the
Clockwork Collar
by Kady Cross
Break My Heart
1,000 Times
by Daniel Waters
Otomen, Volume 1
by Aya Kanno
Right Behind You
by Gail Giles
Anna Dressed
in Blood
by Kendare Blake

What are your recent faves?
First 20 people to comment* and DM me a mailing address on Twitter** (@Lunanshee) will get a FREE Book Monster Bookmark from my Etsy Store!  

I'm a Book Monster.  Rawr!
*Comments must contain at least ONE title that you've loved reading recently.
**When you DM me make sure to mention the Screen Name your comment is posted under or link to your comment.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

TV Show Read-A-Likes: Burn Notice & Covert Affairs

Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Shadow Project by Herbie Brennan
Dangerous Times by L. Brittney
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott
Specialists by Shannon Greenland
SilverFin by Charles Higson
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Traitor by Andy McNabe
The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
Hunchback Assignments by Arthur G. Slade
Sleeper Code by Tom Sniegoski
Spy Goddess by Michael P. Spradlin

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

TV Show Read-A-Likes: CSI & Criminal Minds

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Death Cloud by Andy Lane
Dooly Takes the Fall by Norah McClintock
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Framed by Malcolm Rose
Written in Bone: The Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

Devil in the White City: Murder Magic & Madness at the Fair that Changed the America by Eric Larson
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TV Show Read-A-Likes: Teen Wolf & Once Upon A Time

If you work with teens, you know that sometimes the hardest part of readers' advisory is getting the teen to tell you what was the last book they liked.  My fall back question has become "what TV shows or movies do you like?" and that has helped me a lot.  For some reason, teens seem to be much more willing to discuss current television with an adult than books (at least until they are comfortable with the adult).  Go figure.

So stay tuned! This week I'll be doing a series of posts for YA reading recommendations based on popular teen TV shows.

  Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Unleashed by Nancy Holder
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schrieber
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Bewitching by Alex Flinn
Need by Carrie Jones
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Dust City by Paul Robert Weston

Monday, July 9, 2012



One lucky reader will win an ARC of Daniel Waters's uber-creepy forthcoming title.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: 'Right Behind You' by Gail Giles

“On the afternoon of his seventh birthday, I set Bobby Clarke on fire.  I was nine.”

These are the first lines of a journal that chronicles Kip McFarland’s journey from normal little boy, to incarcerated youth, to star swimmer and, ultimately, to the young man he will become.  In one horrible instant Kip’s life changes into a nightmare from which he can’t escape.

Written in simple, straight-forward language, ‘Right Behind You’ hits all the right notes and creates a poignant blend of honesty, hurt, anger and healing.  Kip spends years in a mental hospital for the dangerous juvenile offenders where he is surrounded by true monsters.  Readers may have trouble accepting the Kip (a.k.a. Wade) whose P.O.V. they share to the monster the outside world sees.  But that very dichotomy is part of what makes this book so potent; nothing is as black and white as it may seem and readers must conclude for themselves whether Kip is worthy of redemption.  Or forgiveness.

The fundamental difference between Kip and his fellow patients is subtle but obvious to the reader.  However, for Kip it is an elusive truth that takes many years and hours of therapy for to accept.  Readers will cringe with Kip when he self-destructs and share his sense of peace when he finally begins to accept himself and his past.  They will also sympathize with secondary characters in this novel and their reactions to Kip; reactions that are ripe for starting class discussion.  Ultimately readers learn, as does Kip, that forgetting the past isn’t the key to moving forward, the trick is living with the past.
Discussion Questions:
  • Is Wade’s third therapist correct?  Was there more than one victim of Kip’s crime?
  • Was Kip’s punishment enough?  How does intent affect a criminal’s sentencing? 
  • Discuss why proving intent is so important in criminal cases. 
  • The Buddhist idea of “feeding hungry ghosts” is used several times throughout the novel.  Is this an appropriate allegory?
  • Sam says “you can’t just stop when you have an addictive personality”.  How does this impact reader’s perception of Sam as a character?
Book Source: Local Library
Review by: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 16+ underage drinking and drug use, incarcerated youth, psychological issues/illness, murder, mild foul language

Recommended for Readers of:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: 'Touch of Power' by Maria V. Snyder

Enter a world ripped apart by plague where the very people who might offer hope to the populous are hunted.  Avry of Kazan is a Healer, able to fix injury and cure illness with the touch of her hand.  But this gift is not without a price and each injury or sickness she heals in another taked upon herself.  After being caught and waiting for her dawn execution she is "rescued" by a band of rogues intent on using her gift to heal their king, the only man who they believe can stand against the darkness spreading in the wake of the plague.  Avery had met this king and is not convinced he is worth healing.  But as enemies grow in number, dangers abound and friendships are forged, Avry begins to question her conviction and wonder at the truth.  Can peace be achieved?  Is the chance for peace worth her life?

Snyder's ninth book is as alluring and captivating as the Lilies found in her Fifteen Kingdoms.  This novel as an epic fantasy quality to is yet manages to remain grounded in emotion and character interaction.  Her world is a fascinating blend of beauty and danger, magic and politics with a cast of characters that will win the hearts of readers.  This book is marketed as an adult fantasy/romance, but certainly has wide YA appeal for fantasy readers.  Highly recommended.
Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca
Recommended Ages: 14+ Some violence and political manuvering

Recommended for Readers of:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You Can't Do It Alone: Great Teen Stats

If you work with teens and your library is structured anything like mine, than you are probably the only person in your branch who willingly works with teens.  In my branch, I am the YA Librarian, single.  I plan, prepare and execute programs on my own, for the most part, but have discovered several tricks for getting the rest of the branch staff to help me gather great YA stats.

Most YA Librarians operate independently in branches or schools and, for the most part, we tend to enjoy the freedom this gives us.  However, there are times when a single YA Librarian cannot get the job done alone.  The trick to getting the branch staff to assist in Teen Summer Reading comes down to motivation.  Discover something that your staff loves and use it as a reward for certain goals being met.  Example: last year I set a specific goal for Teen SRP registration.  I told the branch staff that, if we got 200 teens registered for SRP, I would bring in chocolate and ice cream cake.  By the end of the summer we had about 230 teens registered.

If you are lucky, there are likely several staff members in your branch who are willing to help you with Teen Programs that require more adults (like a Lock-In or Scream-In).  If someone expresses interest in a program gauge their interest.  If it seems genuine ask if they'd like to help out sometime.  You will need permission from their supervisor, but this can give you the help you need to pull off larger programs or programs you don't have the expertise to host yourself.  Example: Last summer I wanted to host an Indian Dance & Henna Program.  While I am familiar with and can apply simple henna patterns, I am not qualified to teach any sort of traditional Indian dance.  So I reached out to one of my co-workers, who happens to be Indian, to see if she would be interested in helping with the program.  She was thrilled at the opportunity to share her knowledge and the program was a huge success.

Inter-branch Cooperation
Another way to help boost your YA stats is to reach out to other branches around you and collaborate on programming.  Want to host a Lock-In but don't have the staff you need?  Talk to the nearest YA Librarian at a neighboring branch.  For the last several years I have co-hosted programs ranging from Lock-Ins to Writing Contests with the fabulous YA Librarian at a close branch.  Just remember, if they are willing to come help you run a program, you need to be willing to help them run one too.

The biggest thing to remember when you are working with teens is that you are not in it alone.  There are lots of YA professionals that you can reach out to for ideas, support, and expertise.  Don't be afraid to try something big and don't forget to reach out and ask for help when you need it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Multicultural Teen Programs: Holi Based

The Indian Festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is traditionally held in March and is a celebration of springtime. Festival-goers shower eachother with brightly colored powders until everyone looks like a rainbow with eyes! For more details about traditional Holi click here.


Library Holi Festival - During March have the library hold its own Holi Festival. Reach out to local Indian community organizations and Hindu temples for ideas and contact information for musicians. If local Indian musicians are not avaialble you can always play a Bollywood CD. Make sure that every attendee gets at least a small amount of Holi powder and turn them loose!

Holi Capture the Flag - Instead of t-shirts or bandanas make all teens wear a white t-shirt and throw Holi powder at them to "dye" shirts into team colors, red & blue. Them proceed with capture the flag as normal. Spice things up by giving a limited amount of players "holi hand grenades" (i.e. a pouch of yellow) that they can use during play. If a player is hit with yellow powder they are "dead". To really spice things up have the field set up like a paintball course and hide packets of color throughout the playing area. Yellow = hand grenade, Purple = invincibility, Green = medic (can bring the "dead" back to life.

Holi Water War - Set up tubs of water, 10-20 depending on number of participants, water bomb/splash balls (so much easier than water balloons) and a packet of color for each participant. (The larger packets can be broken down to 2 or 3 smaller packets to make it go farther.) Before starting mix some packets of powder into the tubs of water to make the water brightly colored. This battle is a free-for-all where teens just run around getting wet and colorful, but they LOVE IT. Before handing out the packets of holi powder let the teens get wet - the color shows up & stains better on damp clothing/hair/skin. To really get this going try setting up a slip-n-slide.

You can try online stores such as JyotiRaj Spices or your local Indian store. Wherever you get the powders from make sure they are natural with no heavy metals/chemical dyes that may irritate skin or present a health hazard. NOTE: These powders can be difficult to find out of season, so if you are planning to use them any time but March you will need to plan ahead and possibly stock up during Holi.

*You should get a permission form signed for each participant! Holi powder stains.*