Posts Tagged ‘Marci B.’s Picks’

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

November 24, 2014

In the year 2083, Anya Balanchine is unlike most of her peers. She is heiress to the Balanchine Chocolate Company. Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately for Anya, it makes her a mafya Princess, a criminal. Chocolate and caffeine are illegal substances in the United States, much like alcohol was in early 20th Century America. As hard as that is, her life is complicated even more by the fact that she is the primary caregiver in the family. On paper it’s her bedridden grandmother, but in reality Anya takes care of her grandmother, her younger sister Natty, and older brother Leo who suffered a traumatic brain injury after the assassination that killed her mother. Her father was murdered later while Anya and Natty watched from under a desk.

Anya still has all the typical teenage stuff to worry about. She has a boyfriend Gable who turns out to be a frog rather than a prince, and just wants to use Anya for her connection to the illicit chocolate. Things come to a tipping point when Anya meets the new boy Win, and he also seems to like her. The catch: Win is the son of the assistant District Attorney for NYC and, well, Anya is the daughter of a crime boss. Neither Anya’s family nor Win’s parents approve of the two of them dating.
As Anya’s life takes unexpected twists and turns, she must decide who she wants to be when she becomes a legal adult. Can Anya live her life on her own terms, or will familial pressure draw her down a path she cannot foresee?

This compelling read is the first in the Anya Balanchine trilogy. Zevin writes a coming of age trilogy where there are no easy solutions.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

October 10, 2014

The Strange Case of Origami YodaDwight, a 6th grader at Ralph McQuarrie Middle School has created an Origami Yoda that seems to know the future. At least, that’s what it seems like to Tommy, another boy in Dwight’s class. Tommy, however, needs to know for sure whether Origami Yoda can really know the future. Why? Tommy’s asked Origami Yoda advice on what to do about a girl he likes, named Sara.

In order to satisfy his curiosity, he collects stories from other students at school to see what advice Origami Yoda gave them and what happened as a result of said advice. The result is a binder full of stories, illustrated by Tommy’s friend Kellen, with commentary from his other friend Harvey, who is an unbeliever in the power of Origami Yoda.

The casebook proceeds to tell the stories of kids who ask Origami Yoda advice. It includes some practical advice, such as: Kellen gets water on his pants and it looks like he wet his pants; Yoda’s advice, get your shirt wet as well, and that way no one notices the wet pants. Some of Origami Yoda’s advice seems crazier, like learn the Twist. What’s the Twist and why should Tommy and his friends learn to do it? Well, what happens at the next dance? The DJ plays the Twist.

The various stories of Tommy and his friends are a reminder of traps and trials of middle school. Told as an interwoven collection of stories this book and its illustrations are a fun look at middle school with an unusual Star Wars twist. Five more books follow in the series.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Join us on Saturday, October 11 from 3-5 p.m. for Star Wars Reads Day when we’ll have fun crafts, trivia, books, and more in an event for all ages to celebrate all the reasons why we love Star Wars.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

September 29, 2014

This was one of those books I practically devoured in one sitting. The story sticks with me, particularly in light of the Ebola virus running rampant in West Africa.

Prenna is an immigrant to the USA, but it’s not where she’s from that makes her so unusual, it’s when she’s from. Prenna and her group are time travelers. They come from a future in which a blood borne illness carried by mosquitoes has wiped out large chunks of the population. Her world is a wetter, hotter, and swampier environment because of climate change. There is no government to speak of, schools are closed, and there is mass panic. For Prenna and others in her group the rules are simple. Assimilate to modern 21st Century life, don’t get too involved with time natives, and you can’t go to doctors or hospitals.

For Prenna these rules are hard. She likes a time native boy, Ethan, who is in her AP Physics class. He seems to be interested in her as well. Prenna also loves to be outside in nature, even though most 21st Century kids prefer TV and video games. How can she explain her love for an outdoor world, a pristine world in her eyes? Her mother struggles to keep Prenna from breaking the rules to much. However, her mother is grief stricken from losing two children to the plague, and a husband who chose not to come.

Things turn really weird when the homeless guy in town wants to talk to Prenna. She gets suspicious because he knows things he shouldn’t. How does he know these things? He wants her to stop something in the future that would alter the time line. Of all her group’s rules, this is the most sacred, never interfere with the timeline. However, there might be a chance of a better future if Prenna intervenes. Can she find the courage to do the right thing?

Ann Brashares’ The Here and Now was an interesting dystopia romantic suspense book. A perfect read for a sunny day by the pool, or a rainy day stuck indoors.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

September 12, 2014

OrleansIn 2005 Hurricane Katrina ripped thru New Orleans and the surrounding areas with devastating results.  In her new novel, Sherri L. Smith has imagined a different world in which Hurricane Katrina was only a mild storm and subsequent other hurricanes were far more destructive with a greater loss of life.  After the destruction from these subsequent hurricanes, came Delta Fever.  Delta Fever sounds like something easily cured with antibiotics, but for those suffering from it there was no cure.  The United States is not quite sure what to do,  so it quickly quarantines the entire city of New Orleans, and then completely abandons it. The United States has more pressing internal problems.

While there is no cure for Delta Fever, those afflicted quickly learn that segregation among blood types prevents the symptoms of the fever.  Now fast forward to the year 2056 where lawlessness and an uneasy truce between the blood types make life difficult for the residents of Orleans.  Most people in the Outer States think that there are no more people living in New Orleans.  When Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States, sneaks thru the quarantine zone, he is surprised to find a tribal society.

Daniel meets up with Fen, who up until a recent ambush had been living with her O-positive tribe.  The ambush left her tribe in splinters, with the most vulnerable member of her tribe in her care– her chieftain’s newborn child.  Fen’s goal is to keep Baby Girl uninfected so she can smuggle her out of the city into the Outer States.  Can Daniel and Fen make it or will their luck run out?

This book is one of my favorite recent post-apocalyptic books.  It is very fast paced and has an interesting premise.  Recommended for most sci-fi fans.

Find and reserve this book at the library.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

July 8, 2014

UngiftedLooking for an audio book the whole family can listen to? Try Ungifted by Gordon Korman, where we meet Donovan Curtis, aka Donny. Donny is a middle schooler who has lots going on his life. He frequently gets in trouble for the poor choices he makes, usually with his two best buds, the Daniels.

Donny’s home life has become very strange as well. His very pregnant sister has moved back home while her husband is serving as a tank commander in Afghanistan. She has brought with her his brother-in-law’s dog, a Chow-Chow named Beatrice, who hates everybody but Donny.

Donny’s life becomes more complicated when he impulsively smacks a statue at school, causing the globe Atlas is holding on his shoulder to be dislodged. Once loose, the globe races down through the parking lot ultimately crashing through the gym doors into a basketball game being watched by the Superintendent of Schools. Donny is caught almost red-handed.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Donny ends up as a student at the gifted school. He is not sure how this happened, but he’s counting his lucky stars that he escaped punishment for the Atlas incident. However, Donny does not belong with the gifted kids. He knows it, his classmates know it, and even the teachers know it. What Donny lacks in school smarts, he makes up for by helping his new classmates be more “normal.” Well, that, and helping with the robotics project. The gifted students are trying to beat their archrivals for the state championship.

Ungifted is a story about finding your place wherever you land. It also explores the gifts of friendship and what it really means to be accepted for who you are.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand

March 14, 2014

Do you like sizzling romances of opposites attract? How about when Paris and chocolate are involved?  Then try The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand.

Cade Corey is THE name in American chocolate, literally. Corey chocolate bars are enjoyed across the country, around the campfire as s’mores, or in the vending machine at the office. Cade has grander dreams for Corey chocolate, though. She wants to compete with European chocolate companies and create a more artisinal chocolate. Her only problem, none of the artisan chocolate companies want to do business with her.

Undaunted, she comes to Paris with high hopes of finding a partner. Enter artisan chocolate maker, Sylvian Marquis. The attraction between Cade and Sylvian is palpable from the first interaction. He wants nothing to do with Cade’s visions of a partnership to produce a gourmet Corey chocolate line. Cade is stubborn and unwilling to give up on her dreams. She rents the vacant apartment above Sylvian Marquis’ shop.

Cade gets creative when Marquis refuses to discuss a business partnership. Upon learning that his shop is hosting a seminar on chocolate making, Cade bribes a student so she can take her place. Passions and tempers really begin to fly as Sylvian Marquis chooses to lead the seminar himself. The seminar does not go well for Cade. To retaliate she breaks into Sylvian’s shop after hours. And then the story of The Chocolate Thief gets out when picked up by a Parisian food blogger. I really enjoyed spending time with both Cade and Sylvian and found myself rooting for them to live happily ever after.

Laura Florand is one of the local Romance Authors who will be visiting regional libraries this month in our series of Meet the Romance Author events. Ms. Florand will be at the East Regional Library in Knightdale on Sunday, March 16 at 2:30 p.m., the Cameron Village Regional Library on Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m., and the Southeast Regional Library in Garner on Saturday, March 29 at 2:30 p.m.  See our library event calendar and choose category “Author Event” for dates  and times.

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Greatest Hits: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

January 6, 2014

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

We’ve kicked off the new year with The Book-A-Day Blog’s most popular posts of 2013!

“Princesses should be beautiful and smart and clever, but Princess Elisa feels like none of those things. Elisa would rather be off reading a book than among the court, unlike her older sister Alodia who enjoys the court scene.

As princesses of the kingdom of Orovalle both girls are destined to have certain obligations they must fulfill. Elisa, however, has a second obligation as the Chosen One; she has a gem embedded in her stomach called a Godstone. The bearer of a Godstone shows up once every 100 years to perform a great act of sacrifice for God.

As The Girl of Fire and Thorns opens up Elisa is turning sixteen as well as getting married to King Alejandro from the neighing kingdom Joya d’Arena. When she arrives at her new home she finds a court not much different from her own, but with more political intrigue. They are not sure what to make of this newcomer. When tragedy strikes, can Elisa summon up the internal strength to do what needs to be done?

Once she makes it to Joya d’Arena she finds a Court not much different than her own, but with more political intrigue. They are not sure what to make of this newcomer.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson is a book that is hard to put into a nice neat little box. However, I could see it appealing to those who like Games of Thrones by George RR Martin (albeit a lot less bloody) and The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Best New Books of 2013: Marci B’s Picks

December 13, 2013

Hi, I’m Marci Byers.  I read all types of genre fiction, but I am partial to Young Adult books.  I enjoy YA books because I like watching the characters journey into their adult selves.  Here are some of the gems I uncovered this year.

Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
This book is the conclusion of an outstanding trilogy. See here for my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Over the course of three books we’ve watch Princess Elisa grow up and mature into a strong leader.  Gone is the shy, sheltered girl, who was afraid of her shadow.  Elisa is trying to find happiness in her current situation; can she succeed without risking her country’s security?

Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Madness Underneath continues the story of  Rory Devereux in The Name of the Star. Rory just wants to be a normal teenager.  As an American living in England, she already stands out.  Also there is the pesky matter of her ability to see ghosts.  Her first year at boarding school was marked by a serial killer stalking her.   This year Rory just wants to get her life back to normal.  She wants to go back to boarding school and her friends.  However, her parents are being a bit overprotective of her this year.  Can Rory get her life back on track or will the past continue to haunt her?

Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
How far would you go for someone you love?  Criminal is just that story.  Nikki, is a street smart young woman, except for her flaw, her boyfriend Dee.  Her friends tell her Dee is trouble and she should dump him.  She cannot because she loves him and sees good in him.   Then Dee asks her to lie to the police and alibi him.  By the time Nikki discovers the reason she lied it’s too late to save herself and she must now face the consequences of that lie, which is prison time.  Can Nikki find redemption for her part in Dee’s crime?

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Set in a future Earth, but based on the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, Scarlet is the 2nd book in The Lunar Chronicles (after Cinder). The people who populate Meyer’s books are anything but typical fairytale characters.  When Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother goes missing, she does not hesitate to go where she thinks she might find out information on her missing grandmother.  When she meets a street fighter named Wolf, both of their lives will be changed forever.  Cinder’s story is also continued in this book.

Orleans by Sherri Smith
For the city of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina was just the beginning.  Subsequent hurricanes and Delta Fever have left the residents quarantined and left  to fend for themselves. The Delta Fever means the population segregates itself by bloodtype in order to survive.  After an ambush by another blood type, Fen is entrusted with the safety of her chieftain’s newborn baby girl.  Her plan is to get the child out to the Outer States before she is infected with Delta Fever.  Will she be successful?

The Red Queen Dies by Frankie Y. Bailey

November 14, 2013

redqueenIn the first of what I hope will be a series, we meet Hannah McCabe a biracial cop, working the streets of Albany, NY in 2019. McCabe’s Albany is similar to ours, but not identical, Elvis retired in 2000. There are reports that the US Government covered up a UFO sighting in 2012. Scientists have created a drug called Lullaby that allows the user to forget traumatic events. The one thing that hasn’t changed is man’s inhumanity to fellow man.

McCabe’s most pressing case is the one currently getting the most press attention: the murder of two young women in their twenties with sodium phenol. McCabe searches for a link between the two victims, but keeps coming up empty. The only connection is the women are about the same age and the manner of their death. What is driving the killer and why use such an unusual method.
When a third victim is found who was killed with the same drug, the cops assume it must be the same killer. The victim this time was an older well-known actress, Vivian Jessup. Jessup’s defining role was the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland on Broadway. Jessup, now trying her hand as a playwright, was in town working on a trial run of her latest play at the University of Albany.

As McCabe and her partner dig further into the case a slim lead brings them to Ted Thorton, one of the richest men in the country and a good friend to the Albany mayor. Therefore, Thorton must be to be treated with kid gloves. Can they find the killer before he or she kills again? McCabe wonders if Alice in Wonderland might somehow hold the key to unlocking these murders, but what is it and will she find it in time?

Meet the Mystery Writers! Authors Frankie Y. Bailey, Jane Cleland, and Donna Andrews, are on tour visiting North Regional Library, Cameron Village Regional Library and West Regional Library. Mystery maven and local blogger Molly Weston will facilitate the panel discussion and audience Q&A.  Registration requested.

Cameron Village Regional Library Friday, November 15 at 2:30 p.m.
West Regional Library  Saturday, November 16 at 10:30 a.m.
North Regional Library Monday, November 18 2:30 p.m.

Find and request this book in our catalog.

Breaking Cover by J.D. Rhoades

September 20, 2013

When the best FBI undercover operative, Tony Wolf, goes missing and is presumed dead, the FBI wonders if the ruthless biker gang he was assigned to infiltrate, The Brotherhood, killed him for being a cop. Their other thought is maybe Wolf decided the money was too good and went rogue. Hawk is gone for years and they begin to think they may never know the answer.

Then two young boys are kidnapped from their North Raleigh home and the entire state of North Carolina is put on alert. Newcomer Tim Sanders is trying to keep a low profile in Pine Lake, NC. He only pays in cash, does not have a cell phone and lives miles away from his closest neighbors. One day he comes across a decrepit trailer in the woods. Stashed inside are the two kidnapped boys. Sanders know he must act to save those boys, but needs to figure out how to do so without being observed. Tim Sanders has a secret: he is really Tony Wolf and is worried about the blowback if he is discovered.

When word of the dramatic rescue of the two young boys gets out, and who did the rescuing, Pine Lake becomes a powder keg as the Brotherhood rolls into town. The conclusion of this book will have you glued until the last page. Readers of high action and suspense will enjoy this thriller.

J.D. Rhoades along with several other local authors will be at Cameron Village Regional Library on September 25th, please visit our website for more details.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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