Monday, August 27, 2012

And Now A Small Pause...

while I attend Dragon*Con!

If you are not familiar with the fabulousness that is D*C click here.

Blogging will resume Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Here's a re-cap of some of my favorite past posts to keep you entertained while I'm gone:

Pure by Julianna Baggott
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Right Behind You by Gail Giles
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Program Ideas:
Comic Book Swap
Eyebombing Challenge
Holi Water War
Interactive Labyrinth Screening
Love Bites

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Urban Fantasy Reads

This list is for those who like their magic mixed with their current events.
Please note that I have only listed the first title of series.
Highly recommended books are marked with an ‘ * ‘.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Halo Novels Book 1)
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves Novels Book 1)
*White Cat by Holly Black (Curse Workers Book 1)
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (Faeriewalker Novels Book 1)
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
*Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires Book 1)
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (Fins Novels Book 1)
Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (Heir Novels Book 1)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments Series Book 1)
Haven by Kristi Cook
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Novels Book 1)
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush Novels Book 1)
Beautiful Creatures byKami Garcia
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall Novels Book 1)
*Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter (Shadow Falls Novels Book 1)
Need by Carrie Jones (Need Novels Book 1)
The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones (Faerie Path Novels Book 1)
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (Firelight Novels Book 1)
Fallen by Lauren Kate (Fallen Novels Book 1)
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange Novels Book 1)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely Novels Book 1)
*Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Novels Book 1)
Silence by Michelle Sagara (Queen of the Dead Book 1)
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Immortal City by Scott Speer
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvader (Wolves of Mercy Falls Book 1)
*Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone Novels Book 1)
My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent (Soul Screamers Book 1)
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Oh the Horror!

This list is of great horror reads for teens.
Please note I have only listed the first book in a series.
Highly recommended books are marked with an ‘ * ‘.

*Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendara Blake
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Rotters by Daniel Kraus
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
*Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Quarantine by Lex Thomas
The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
*I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Edge of the Map

Here’s a list for teens who like Myths, Legends, Folklore & Fairytales.
Please note that I have only listed the first title of series.
Highly recommended books are marked with an ‘ * ‘.

Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Abandon by Meg Cabot
*Enchanted by Orson Scott Card
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Scarlet by A.C. Goughen
*Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
*Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Dystopia Rising

Dystopian novels for teens.
Please note I have only included the first book in a series.
Highly recommended books are marked with an ‘ * ‘.

The Compound by Ann Aguirre
*Pure by Julianna Baggott
Above by Leah Bobet
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Matched by Ally Condie
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
*Wither by Lauren DeStefano
*Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
*Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
*Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Starters by Lissa Price
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Article 5: Compliance is Mandatory by Kristen Simmons
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Partials by Dan Wells

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: 'Masque of the Red Death' by Bethany Griffin

The cold air hits me and I realize that we're outside.  It's raining.
Out of the club, in open air. I feel myself begin to panic, not because I care,
but because I've been programmed to fear the airborne contagions. 
I put my hand up, fell the ridged porcelain surface of my mask, and sigh with relief. 
I've worn this thing so long that I no longer feel it.

Society is on the brink of complete collapse, brought low by an invisible killer, an illness that has no cure and can only be prevented by the constant employment of a specially designed mask.  Production of the life-saving masks is limited and only the richest can afford to protect themselves and their children.  Araby is the daughter of the man who invented the mask, an act that brought her family into the echelons of the upper class, but which came too late to save her twin brother.  Since the death of her brother, Araby has existed rather than lived, pulled along by her only friend, April, to the risque clubs of the Debauchery District where alcohol and drugs flow freely.  While in the pursuit of oblivion, Araby comes to know two young men whose passions ignite her own and who make Araby realize there are things worth living for; and worth fighting for.

Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's short story of the same title, Bethany Griffin has penned a haunting, gut-wrenching realistic world where life is uncertain and fear rules all.  Araby is wonderfully broken; emotionally distant, self-destructive and disconnected from the world around her.  It's not that she doesn't feel anything, but that she feels everything too much.  Readers will be drawn into Araby's perspective even if they have never flirted with the darker thoughts and emotions that rule her life.  'Masque of the Red Death' will have readers glued to the pages, anxiously turning the page to discover what happens.  Warning: this novel has a cliff-hanger ending will leave readers anxiously awaiting Griffin's next novel.

Make sure to look for 'Dance of the Red Death' coming in April 2013!

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 16+ Drug use & violence

Recommended for Readers of:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Program: Ghost Hunting 101 for Teens

Now that Summer Reading is finished (whew!) and school is just about back in session it is time to look at Fall programming.  For me, this means hosting a series of programs around my SECOND FAVORITE holiday - Halloween!

One of the program I am super-excited about for Fall 2012 is my Ghost Hunting 101 program, which is easy, inexpensive and sure to be a hit with the teenage crowd.  All you have to do is reach out to a local paranormal investigations group (in my case Houston Paranormal Investigations) and inquire about visiting the library.  Most groups are very willing to share their knowledge and love answering questions teens have about the paranormal, ghost hunting and the equipment they use.  What better way to get in the spooky spirit than talking with real-life ghost hunters?

Books to Set the Mood:
Texas Ghosts: Galveston, Houston, and Vicinity by Olyve Hallmark Abbott ISBN: 978-07643341
The Everything Ghost Hunting Book: Tips, tools, and techniques for exploring the supernatural world by Melissa Martin Ellis ISBN:978-1598699203
The Other Side: A Teen's Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal by Marley Gibson, Patrick Burns and Dave Schrader ISBN: 978-0547258294
Ghost Files: The Collected Cases from Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes ISBN:
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places by Brad Steiger ISBN: 978-1578591466
Ghosts Along the Texas Coast by Docia Williams ISBN: 978-1556223778

Films to Set the Tone:
Ghostbusters 1 & 2
The Haunting
The Others
White Noise

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: 'The Peculiars' by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Lena lives in a Britain run on steam power and wrestling with the issue of the less-than-civilized territory of Scree to the north.  Scree is an almost-mythical place where "peculiars", those who are not quite like the rest of humanity, originate.  Born with abnormally long hands and feet, a characteristic her grandmother says was handed down from her goblin father, Lena yearns to discover her true place in society.  In an effort to discover the truth about her mysterious father, Lena travels to the northernmost outpost of Britain on the border of Scree where she discovers that truth can be fluid and being true to oneself is more important than discovering the past.

McQuerry has created a fascinating world that seamlessly blends aspects of steampunk and fantasy fiction into a melting-pot world of people, steam engines and creatures from legend.  People with wings, goblin-human hybrids and Scree cats leap from the pages to grab readers' imagination.  Lena is a character teens will relate to who's journey will keep readers pinned to the pages (though some of her choices will have readers gritting their teeth).  Her mistakes make her even more believable.  Secondary characters are given a depth not often found in YA fiction, which just adds to the development of the world.  Motivations for all the characters are multi-layered and very human.  There is a bit of a learning curve for readers as the novel starts, but the story and characters are enough to keep teen interested.  Highly recommended.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended for Ages: 12+

Recommended for Readers of:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

September 2012 YA Author Events: Houston, TX

Below is a compiled list of upcoming YA Author Events
that you WILL NOT want to miss!

Make sure to check the individual book store website for signing/event details.  Details of these events are subject to change; please contact individual bookstore directly with questions.
September 5
@ 7:00pm
Kenneth OppelBlue Willow
September 9
@ 3:00pm
Melissa MarrMurder by
the Book
September 10
@ 5:00pm
Lisa McMannBlue Willow
September 10
@ 5:00pm
Margaret Peterson
Blue Willow
September 11
@ 7:00pm
Ellen HopkinsBlue Willow
September 12
@ 7:00pm
Tera Lynn ChildsBlue Willow
September 12
@ 7:00pm
Sophie JordanBlue Willow
September 24
@ 5:00pm
Obert SkyeBlue Willow
September 27
@ 7:00pm
This Is Teen:
Martha Brockenbrough
Jeff Hirsch
Eliot Schrefer
Blue Willow
September 30
@ 2:00pm
Libba BrayMurder by
the Book

Special thanks to: 
Blue Willow Bookshop & Murder by the Book for hosting such wonderful events!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: 'Friends with Boys' by Faith Erin Hicks

Maggie has spent all of her academic life being homeschooled by her mother, but is now starting public high school and is more than a little worried.  Her three older brothers will be there to keep an eye on her, but she'll face the trials of freshman year alone.  Well, alone that is except for the ghost that has started haunting her!

Hicks has created a compelling, emotional graphic novel sure to touch a chord with many readers.  Maggie is headstrong and independant with a quirky sense of humor.  Her relationship with her father and brothers feels real and each of the characters in the story is given a depth of character not often found in the graphic novel world.  The art is clean and shading well-done.  My only criticsism is that the paranormal aspect seems a bit unnessessary.  While this seems to be a stand-alone graphic novel, I would love to see more of Maggie's high school adventures and plan to keep an eye out for Hicks's forthcoming work.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 12+ Mild swearing, bullying, fighting

Recommended for Readers of:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Program: Blackout Poetry

Above image courtesy of:

Blackout Poetry is an easy, creative way for your teens to express themselves while encouraging them to read newspaper articles or the pages of a book!

What you need:
Newspapers or Old Book Pages
Chisel Tip Permanent Markers in Black
Scrap paper

How to make a Blackout Poem?
Just have your teens read articles/pages writing down words that catch their eye on scratch paper.  Once they have the poem written all they need to do is go back through the article and black out the unnecessary words using a permanent marker.  If you want to make them super-clean looking scan the final image and touch up the blackout using photo software.

Use Blackout Poems in the Library!
- String photo copies of the poems across the lobby or Teen Area
- Have Blackout Poem contest
- Passive Program
- Poetry Month Program
- Pick several poems to feature in newsletters or promotional materials

Need more inspiration?
- Check out Austin Kleon's site.  He is the author of Steal Like an Artist and has some fabulous examples of Blackout Poems on his blog.
- There is also a Blackout Poetry Tumblr blog
- Newspaper Blackout

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Parents & the Teen Librarian

Parents can be a tricky issue when working with teens.  They run the gamut from completely absent to helicopter parents.  The trick is to figure out what kind of parent you are dealing with and address that issue individually.

The Cling-Ons
These parents are incapable of leaving their "child" alone; they keep their offspring within sight at all times and often seem to overpower them to a certain extent.  While this can be very frustrating for a YA Librarian you need to remember that you don't necessarily know the motivation behind the parent's actions.  There could be a background reason why the parents feels they need to be present.  There could be medical, legal or safety reasons.  Your job is to provide the best YA programming/library experience possible - even if it means a parent is in the room.

Now, there are clingy parents who don't present much of a problem to the running of the event.  I've got one mother who never leaves her daughter alone at a program, but will bring her laptop and set up in a corner of the room to work.  She doesn't try to participate in the program and I sometimes actually forget she is present.  There have also been times when an extra adult has come in handy and she's helped out.

Then there is the opposite.  The parent who stays in the program and tries to be an active participant.  What do you do then?  The best approach I've found is to just talk to them.  Explain to them that the program is for teens and having an adult try to actively participate has a negative impact on the teens' experience.  Most of the time the parent is willing to move off to the side.  You can also try distracting them by starting a conversation and letting them talk to you rather than pay attention to their teen (of course, this only works if you aren't having to provide a lot of instruction in your program).

The Extremely Conservative
If you work with teens chances are you've come into contact with the uber-conservative parent.  They are the ones that won't allow their teen to attend any program featuring zombies or vampires, who ask for "clean" books for their teens and forbid their children from having anything to do with Harry Potter.  You job is to provide for EVERY teen, this means dealing with both liberal and conservative extremes.  Try to keep this in mind when you are planning programs and teen events.  By "keep in mind" I don't mean cater to a specific family's needs, but make sure to offer some programming that ANY teen can attend.  I've found the best way to deal with the conservative parents is to just talk to them.  Once they know that you aren't out to subvert the values they are trying to instill in their child they are far more likely to allow their teens to attend most programs.

The Absent
I find this group of parents to be the most difficult simply because I never see them!  The Absent parent is one whose teen always shows up at the library by themselves and often for the majority of the day.  One trick I've found for actually meeting the parents of my teens to to host several after-hours programs throughout the year.  Teens who participate are required to be signed in and out by an adult and have a permission form, so I get to actually talk to a parent I might not otherwise see.

Truthfully, the best thing you can do as a YA Librarian is try to get to know the parents of your teens as much as possible.  When the parents know you and know what you have to offer their teen they are far more likely to encourage their teen to participate in library programs.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: 'Immortal City' by Scott Speer

More than one hundred years ago angels revealed themselves to the human population and changed the way they performed their "miracles".  Now Guardian Angels offer Protection to anyone - if you can afford it.  Angels have become some of the riches beings on the planet and have become the new celebrities.  Instead of actors having stars on the Walk of Fame, angels get a star on what has become Angel Boulevard.  Jackson Godspeed is the most famous angel of his generation and the time for his Commissioning (when he becomes a Guardian Angel) is drawing close.  All he has ever wanted was to wear a Divine Ring and provide Protection.  But now something is hunting angels; leaving severed wings on Angel Boulevard and somehow the not-so-ordinary human teenager Maddy Montgomery is involved.

This novel has a LOT going on, but the pacing is a little strange and the first two-thirds seem to take twice as long to read - perhaps because Mr. Speer has created such a detailed world.  Jackson is wonderfully conceited without realizing it and the transition between the self-involved boy he starts as and the thoughtful young man he becomes is realistic.  Maddy's character is an interesting blend of confidence and insecurity that many a teenage girl will relate to and the fact that this mix wins her the heart of the hottest angel on the planet is sure to appeal as well.

Overall this is a decent first novel and there is potential for more novels set in this universe.  Readers looking for a quick paranormal read should find this one worthwhile.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 15+ Underage drinking, violence

Recommended for Readers of:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Program: Spa Day for Teens

These crafts are perfect for a Gals' Night In, Mother's Day, or Pamper Yourself program.

Ingredients & Materials: Sugar (fine or coarse depending on preference), Brown Sugar, Olive Oil, Vanilla Extract, Metal/Glass Bowls, Metal Spoons/Whisk, Plastic Containers for finished scrub.

Directions: In bowl mix 1 cup brown sugar with 1 cup white sugar.  Blend well.  Spoon into container (you want container to be pretty full since the oil will compress the sugars).  Add oil and let sink through the sugar until it hits bottom.  Stir gently.  Add more oil until the sugars are the consistency of wet sand.  Stir gently.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir gently.  Seal container and add a pretty ribbon for a finishing touch.  Note: Sugar Scrubs tend to settle over time.  You may need to stir them before giving them as a gift.

To Use: Scoop a small amount of sugar scrub onto hand and massage over rough skin (hands, feet, elbows etc).  Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.  *The oil in sugar scrubs can make bathtubs/tile slippery.

Ingredients & Materials: Epsom Salt, Sea Salt, Baking Soda (optional), Essential Oils, Metal/Glass Bowls, Spoons/Spatulas, Containers or Jars for finished salts (you can use glass, but I recommend plastic since these containers will be in bathrooms).

Directions: Scoop 3 cups of of Epsom Salt, 2 cup of Sea Salt and 1 cup of Baking Soda into bowl add 2 drops of essential oil of choice and slowly stir salt, mixing drops completely.  Add several more drops one drop at a time, mixing completely between drops.  (Adding too much oil at once will make the salt begin to dissolve.)  When the oils are completely mixed scoop salts into containers and seal.
Caution: When using Essential Oils use caution.  Oils can irritate skin and eyes, do not apply directly to skin.  Avoid contact with eyes.  Do not ingest.

To Use: While running bath water add a small amount of bath salts to water.  Let them dissolve completely before entering bath.


Ingredients & Materials: Dried Lavender, Dried Mint, Self-sealing Large Tea Bags, Iron or Hair Straightener, Metal/Glass Bowl, Metal Table Spoons, Sandwich bags.

Directions: Using a 3 parts Lavender, 1 part mint equation mix herbs in bowl until completely integrated.  Spoon 3 table spoons of the mix into a tea bag.  Use the iron (or hair straightener) to seal the open edge of the tea bag following the directions on the tea bag package.  Place completed tea bags in sandwich bag for storage until use.

To Use:  Place pouch in bath as water is running. Let pouch’s contents infuse as the tub fills.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: 'Enchanted' by Alethea Kontis

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is blithe and bonny and good and gay.

Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and, in a land where magic abounds, this can mean many things.  But Sunday has lived all her life in the shadow of her older sisters experiencing none of their adventures except vicariously through the stories.  Sunday loves stories, hearing them, collecting them, creating her own and writing them down in her magical never-ending journal.  But Sunday never tells stories, over time she has discovered that her tales have an unfortunate habit of coming true, so she contents herself with her journal and her dreams.  Until one day she befriends an enchanted frog in the Wood and unknowingly sets her own story in motion.

Alethea Kontis has woven an intricate tapestry of folklore, fairytale and myth into a beautiful, cohesive whole that will truly enchant readers.  Sunday is engaging and intelligent with an amusing habit of speaking frankly while Rumbold, the Prince, has a depth of character not often afforded to the hero of a fairytale.  Every character in Kontis's world has a unique quirk that impacts the story, but creates quite a cast for readers to track.  The world itself is reminiscent of Bill Willingham's Fables, familiar but individual to Kontis's world.  The plot itself is somewhat convoluted, especially for a novel of it's size, but all the threads do come together nicely in the end leaving readers hopeful for more adventures in this magical universe.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 12+

Recommended for Readers of:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

YA Books to Movies: The List!

I am launching a new tab (located at the top of this blog near the "About" tab specifically dedicated to tracking Books-to-Movies with TEEN appeal!

This list will be continuously updated, so if you don't see a title that you think should be on the list please either email me (lunanshee at gmail) or leave a comment.

My hope is that this list makes programming easier for YA Librarians and anyone who works with teens.