Monday, December 13, 2010

I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

Kidd doesn't want to remember his past, but sometimes he's forced to.  Now part of a group home for teens, his counselors ask him to remember.  Maria is the one Kidd likes the most but now she's.  But he remembers their sessions, and tries very, very hard to take her advice.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Now, he's bound and locked away for pushing someone off a cliff.  And he has all the time in the world to think about his life, from beginning to end....

Kidd remembers his mother, whom he lived with and loved very much.  And a father who tried to love, but used his fists instead.  He remembers seeing Mr. Red, Maria's friend, for the first time at Horizons, in his floppy sombrero and tie.  He remembers Maria telling Kidd to stay away from Devon.  But he's the only guy in Horizons who helped out Kidd, even though it may have hurt.  But he also loves flirting with danger and death - it's a thrill ride Devon can't pass up on and one Kidd isn't too sure he wants to experience.

And one day, Kidd just walks out of Horizons, intent on finding a new life....He ends up finding Mr. Red again, who works at a campsite in Encinitas.  Red hires Kidd on, and now all Kidd wants is a normal life.  A hard worker, he does everything Red asks and more.  He knows this won't last long, especially when Devon shows up and starts causing problems. 

Devon takes Kidd on adventures, but they're dangerous and life-threatening.  Kidd doesn't understand how Devon knows so much about him and what he's thinking, but even if he is dangerous, Devon makes sense.  But then again, so does Mr. Red, who's the nicest guy Kidd ever met.  But the person who changes his life is Olivia....

Some people have scars on the outside, some on the inside.  Devon and Olivia have a lot of similarities, and that makes each one trust the other.  And Kidd is determined to keep Olivia away from Devon, even if it means breaking all ties with him.  Devon isn't about the leave....and one night, when the grunions come onto the beach, when Kidd and Olivia are sitting by the cliff, the dark comes out.  But is the dark there to hurt or help Kidd? 

Matt de la Pena is one of those authors who gets it right everytime.  This book combines different voices in the form of diaries to flashbacks, to stream of consciousness to the present, all from the main character.  De la Pena also combines characters that are in direct contrast with each other, from the privileged, to the lost; the capable to the troubled.  It's the striking use of contrast that makes this book such a good read.  It doesn't bog down, but instead makes the reader become incredibly close to Kidd, Red, and Devon.  And it will definitely keep the reader in suspense until that sudden epiphany happens, when the reader is slowly drawn into the reality of what is happening in the novel.  It will pull you and keep you turning the pages.  One of the best I've read this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie lives an interesting life. She's lived in the foster care system for as long as she can remember, until the night she met a vamp in the cemetery. And from there, her life has been surrounded by paranormalcy.

Now, at 16, her life revolves around bagging, tagging, and neutralizing those creatures that go bump in the night, keeping humanity safe from their deadly grip. Evie has the ability to see through glamours. What a normal human would see, she can see the rotting corpse of a hag, vampire, or zombie underneath.

Through her work at the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency), she's neutralized, or "neutered" a vampire named Steve, become best friends with a mermaid named Alisha, works with a werewolf named Jaques, and is trying to avoid Reth, whom she had a brief and dangerous fling with. The only real person in her life is Raquel, the head of IPCA, but Evie still feels alone and lonely. At least she has her normalcy to rely on.

But something strange is going on. Evie keeps hearing whispers in her dreams, which she doesn't understand. Then she meets the most extraordinary paranormal - a cute shapeshifter named Lend. He's broken into the IPCA to information, but about what or whom? And then the murders of paranormals begins...someone or something is killing them. The IPCA needs to find out who's behind the murders before it becomes worse. Is Lend behind the murders or is it someone on the inside of IPCA?

If you have readers who enjoy YA romance, this is one they'll enjoy. How about those who want romance and the supernatural? Again, this is a great choice. White creates unusual but unforgettable characters of the paranormal, from the evil but beautiful fairies to the enigmatic newcomer who's part liquid, part shapeshifter, to a teenage heroine who yearns for the normal life of a teenager and only wants the life like the characters on her favorite television teen drama. White writes about the dark world of those things that go bump in the night with a light, witty hand. Readers will be drawn to this one. Drama, action, romance and humor all wrapped up between the covers of a great YA read.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Themis Academy has the best and brightest. You see the ivy-covered walls, the graduates going on to prestigious colleges, students performing at the top of the game, both academically and athletically. It’s the perfect, picturesque campus….but it’s only the surface of what really happens.

Alex, a junior a Themis, is gifted with musical talent. She does everything a model student is expected to do, but one night changes her life. When she wakes up in Carter’s room, all she wants to do is disappear and hide, but it doesn’t happen. Now, everywhere she turns, he’s there telling everyone what happened, and the shame she feels for that one mistake is now becoming the new fodder on campus. The stares, the whispers, and the lies…

Alex doesn’t realize that there is help on campus, even if the teachers and administrators only want to see the fa├žade they’ve created. Now, walking on campus, going to the caf, even trying to study in the library is extreme torture for Alex. She does everything to avoid Carter, but he keeps showing up. With the help of her roommates, Maia, and TS, Alex is introduced to the Mockingbirds, a group on campus dedicated to underground justice.

In bits and pieces, her nightmare comes back to her and the reality of the situation is serious – date rape. It’s after the Mockingbirds decide to “take the case” that Alex begins to feel that there is justice, especially after hearing and seeing other cases of bullying and student abuse that go on at Themis Academy. But she also knows that her situation is a he said/she said situation, and will it be that easily remedied?

Drawing on personal experience, author Daisy Whitney takes the reader inside the walls, hearts, and justice of the students in this novel. The complexity of the Mockingbirds itself creates a system that has a complex structure for both the accuser and accused. Alex’s character runs deep, from the personal shame, to fear and humiliation, to a sense fresh beginnings. Whitney writes an excellent novel on the psychological and emotional response of and from a victim who has nowhere to turn but inwardly and a group who saves her from it. This is an excellent novel and one that will resonate with readers, especially after a year where bullying has made headline news. Highly recommended

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Even the Greatest would like to be like us....

What a GREAT way to share Secret Santa!!

If you're like me, then you enjoy the great days before Christmas, when colleagues join forces and show their spirit with the traditional Secret Santa.
Well, I just joined the coolest one I've ever seen!!  It's a book blogger swap!  So, if you're an avid book blogger and want to participate, the deadline is November 14!  Here's the link:

It'll be so cool to see who I get and who got with an online presence (or is that presents?)  Have a great day!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Mikey knows he has a smart mouth, but he makes up for it with style.  He wears a suit everyday and it doesn't matter is people think he doesn't fit in or that he's short...his suave style gets him through the day.  And a good day is one where he doesn't have to meet up with his sister Marie's boyfriend, Jon.  Everyone in school knows that Jon's the major pusher, whatever your drug is.  He's got the looks, the money, and whatever he wants.

But one day, when the cops come in with a drug dog, Jon forces a bag onto Mikey for "safekeeping."  And when Mikey ditches it, Jon Brandt makes his presence in Mikey's life more known, and he and his gang, Trey and Kyle, will make sure Mikey repays.

In perfect timing, Shayne arrives.  Driving a beat up BMW motorcyle and sporting dark clothes, Shayne doesn't shed a ruffled feather as the new guy.  He sees what's going on between Mikey and Jon, and decides to do something to help Mikey.  Through a series of events, it seems that everything Shayne does to help makes matters worse for Mikey.  When you get two alpha guys against each other, something is going to snap....

Detective Rawls has seen them come and go.  When it comes to teens, he can pretty well read them since he's spent his life in that department.  It's at the opening of this book that the reader sees Shayne sitting in the police station, wanting to make a blank confession of murder.

Pete Hautman's books are short but powerful, and this is another fine example of a quick read with high impact.  What exactly happened between the first showdown between Shayne and Jon to the present, where Shayne is at the police station?  Told in flashback, Hautman draws his characters out, allowing the reader to take small glimpses of who they are while maintaining the pace of the story until the climactic denoument at the end of this novel.  The reader is drawn into the personas as much as the storyline, and that is what gives this book excellent qualities of a great YA read.  Compelling, intense, mystifying....all wrapped up in a perfect package Hautman delivers to his audience.  Highly recommended

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude

It’s been thirty years since Elisha’s (like the Biblical prophet) Bear hit world-wide. In this world, there is no war, prisons are not full, not mass deaths, slavery or environmental disasters. Elisha’s Bear took care of all of that. Because now, 97% of the population are women. Most of the men died thirty years ago….

In the PE (Post-Elisha) world, Kellen lives with his mother, who is has an upper-level job with PAC, the Population Apportionment Council. They ensure that the current percentage of population gaps don’t close in, making the earth a more dangerous and vulnerable place that includes males. Kellen feels the sting. At school, girls are given the chance to become who and what they want to be. He has limited choices and a tough battery of tests to pass to be able to do something.

Kellen takes Tia and Sunday, two new girls, down Epitaph Road, a place where mass graves for the dead men in the Seattle area are buried. Burning crosses dot the field with Frathiests coming to make their pilgrimages. Epitaphs on a granite monolith are carved with the words of the survivors, including the epitaph to Kellen’s grandfather. Life is tough, but now governments focus of healthcare, educational reforms and clean environments instead of nuclear devices, prison reform.

Kellen soon learns that Tia is looking and searching for truth behind cover-ups and conspiracy theories, including what exactly happened thirty years ago. And when his history project turns up a defunct website, junkyarddog.bites, he begins to fit some missing puzzle pieces together….

It isn’t until Kellen overhears his aunt and mother arguing about the safety and life of his father, now a loner living at Afterlight, to spur Kellen into action. Something big is about to go down and wipe out his father’s last breath, and Kellen is determined to save him. And it’s what happens to Tia, Sunday and Kellen when they begin their journey that opens to the door to more chaos, conspiracy and death.

What a unique and different twist on a future dystopian world. Patneaude takes the minority in society to create a very strong main character in this book, creating a balance between the two. Starting as a flashback to Kellen’s father as a teen who survived, the reader gets in touch with how the world is run now, but it isn’t until Patneaude takes the reader into the unseen history that changes the novel into one of intense suspense. This book is thought-provoking, page-turning, and will have readers reading fast and furious to find out the truth in the hidden history of this book’s past, but what the outcome will be for Kellen, Tia, and Sunday. Highly recommended

Saturday, October 23, 2010

For those treading the uncertain waters of e-readers

This couldn't come at a better time for me. The SLJ Leadership Summit focused on the 21st century. I am a changed person. Change is difficult and not very well received because people sometimes become entrenched in personal beliefs and status quos. But we need to make sure we look at the change and why it's needed and be careful....don't look at one side but BOTH sides. It's so much easier finding info YOU want to support reasons for not supporting change. I had the honor of listening to Stephen Abram, among other leaders, talk, and here are some key highlights of his speech for the change from traditional books to e-books:

The internet has passed it's infancy - it's now moving into its terrible twos, and we have to control it.

"Shift happens"

Teens have collaboratively created a new language (texting) in two years. Who are we to stifle their creativity because we don't understand this change paradigm?

9 percent of books through Amazon sales has gone down.

Women are predominant buyers of e-readers. This is going to filter down to their children as reading models

Google is in collaboration with 80 percent of publishers for online books.

We don't buy albums anymore but singles online. Kindle has singles, which is a fundamental shift that will change reading of short stories and poetry.

20 percent of the population is text-based learning while 80 percent is experience-based. Think of the preference of watching a video vs reading a manual.

Reading goes on with and without binding.

50 percent of people go to Amazon to look at a book and its reviews et al before going to the OPAC.

If you feel like you're drowning in technology and it's overwhelming, start small!

And there are still some questions. Another speaker said

we don't have a common vocabulary when it comes to e- books. There are e- book and enhanced e- books. Do you know the difference?

Books now come with directions

Do we buy or subscribe? What exactly do we own when we have an e-reader

The Carnegie Foundation speakers showed that 4 million US homes have e-readers and predicts sales of more than 29 million devices by 2015.

57 percent of kids 9-17 are interested in e-readers and are more likely to read for pleasure on this format.

So I'm changing my focus and looking at the evidence to embrace 21st century reading. If I don't, then the library I work in will be the one that never changes while the rest of my school goes forward in the classroom with educational technology and standards and the new state standards that have been revamped to integrate new technologies. I'm not one who wants to be a dinosaur...I like the hip, on the top of the newest out there instead.

Now to change some mindsets....!

Remember....10 years ago with the advent if the Internet, pessimists predicted the demise of libraries. But we proved them wrong and adapted to it. We can do it again in this new digital age.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hot New Books For October!!

I was creating a new list for October, and am posting this to share with everyone. These books have been published in the last three years and have appeal outside the month of October. But since October lends itself to the spooky, mysterious, and supernatural I thought an updated version would do nicely. On top of that, I've created a playlist of excellent booktrailers from Youtube that go along with most of these books. So look for the ones with an asterick - those have a trailer with them. I also listed sequels if there is one - that's always a good thing to display as well.
First the booklist:

2010 Books
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies graphic novel by Tony Lee
* The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
* The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
* The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer
* Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (associated novel: I Heart You, You
Haunt Me)
* Dark Divine by Bree Despain

2009 Books
* The Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (sequel: Guardian of the Gate)
The Twilight Zone graphic novels
* Sleepless by Thomas Fahy
* Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (sequel: Linger)
* Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith (sequel: Solitary)
* Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
* The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (sequels: Dead Tossed Waves
and Dark and Hollow Places)
* Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill
* Ruied by Paula Morris
* Malice by Chris Wooding (sequel: Havoc)
* Eternal by Cynthia Leitech Smith
* Need by Carrie Jones (sequels: Captivate; Entice)

2008 Books
* Parliament of Blood by Justin Richards
* The Devouring by Simon Holt (sequels: Soulstice; Fearscape)
* Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley (sequels: Ghostgirl: Homecoming;
Ghostgirl: Lovesick)
Angel by Cliff McNish
* Bliss by Lauren Myracle
Night Road by A.M Jenkins
* Wake by Lisa McMann (sequels: Fade; Gone)

Story Collections:
Restless Dead
Love is Hell
666: The Number of the Beast

And here is the Youtube playlist I created. This can also be found on my Youtube channel, YA Books and More if you wanted to run it from a computer for display (of course, if you get it at school...grrrrr!!):

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Here's my newest trailer - this was published in 2009 but the sequel is now out.  Sometimes I review a book in advance and have to wait a year or more for the sequel...not this time!!

This is also posted on my Schooltube channel if you'd like to embed it:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Tennyson doesn’t really like the Bruiser. He’s weird, standoffish, and just a huge bulk of nothing. But when his sister Bronte begins dating the Bruiser, that’s when Tenny’s had enough. The only way to break them up is to confront the guy, and that’s what Tennyson plans to do.

But his confrontation with the Bruiser isn’t what he expected. Brewster, aka Bruiser, doesn’t fight back, even though he’s big enough to pound Tennyson down. But it’s what Tennyson sees that makes him realize there’s more than meets the eye. Brewster’s back is covered with scars, bruises, bump, blisters…like someone has beaten the living daylights out of him….

And that’s where the story truly begins. Brewster and his little brother Cody live with his Uncle Hoyt, a mean drunk who works a steamroller at night and stays home during the day. Uncle Hoyt keeps Brew and Cody close, not wanting any outsiders in their “circle” and when Tennyson and Bronte step over that boundary, they don’t quite understand what they stepped into….

Strange coincidences – Tennyson’s bruised knuckles from lacrosse disappear, Bronte’s sprained ankle feels instantly better….and when they’re around Brew, they notice his red, injured knuckles and the limp he now has. Cody knows the secret and knows that his big brother would never let anything hurt him. Now Bronte and Tennyson know his secret as well, but they don’t know all of it or the ramifications it will have not only on Brewster himself, but on their family and friends as well.

If your family is falling apart; if you want so badly to be the next MVP; if you want to make a person’s life better by showing them true friendship….how far will you go? But more importantly, would you be willing to sacrifice one for the sake of all? Which hurts more – living in your own bubble without any meaningful relationships or caring for the people around you and making whatever hurts them your own?

I know I have an amazing book in my hands when I read through it in one sitting, but don’t want to read it all because then it’ll be over. Such is the case with Neal Shusterman’s newest YA novel. This isn’t just about child abuse, but something much deeper, much more emotional, and very thought-provoking. What seems innocent and helpful at first can be deadly and dangerous if put in the wrong hands. Shusterman not only wields a powerful tale told in different voices of the main characters, but also works magic on the reader by pulling them in on a rollercoaster ride of emotional and edge of your seat situations. I also loved his subtle use of vocabulary enhancement as well…something all readers get when they read, perhaps more so with this book. Excellent read for all secondary grade levels.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

In Victorian England, the protocol for young ladies was to learn the gentle arts (embroidery, music, hosting parties) and her goal of achievement was to marry a gentleman, start and family and become part of a social network of genteel ladies that included visiting cards and tea, and socials. But Louisa wants none of that….

Living in a home with the perfect Victorian mother as a model, Louisa struggles against her mother’s wishes and runs to her father for support. And it’s there that her father gives Louisa a look at the “other side,” a place of learning about medicine, reading and studying Latin, wanting more from life than scones, teas and garden parties. And Louisa wants this so badly.

Because of her gregarious nature, Louisa fights against becoming a gentlewoman. At her aunt’s house, she shows her true nature by speaking outright against the position women are held in and wants nothing of marriage, but a career instead. And this alarms her family more than she realizes…

With the passing of her father, the fate of her future now rests with her brother Tom, who is now head of household. He has deemed it fit for Louisa to become a companion to a friend’s sister, and there she must find her meaning in life. But what she doesn’t realize is that she’s been committed by her family to Wildthorn, the local insane asylum, to cure her of her “insanity.” And it’s at Wildthorn that will make or break Louisa, but is her will strong enough to survive the horrors she faces there?

This is Eagland’s first YA novel, and she tackles the historical side of Victorian England from all viewpoints, including parents, siblings, fiancees, men and women. What the reader realizes after reading this book is that problems young women face today are the same ones they faced over a hundred years ago. The only difference is the way these problems have been handled by society. Eagland writes not only about the forward movement of women into the workforce, but tackles personal issues as well, including assault against teens and feelings Louisa has toward the "gentler sex." The setting takes main stage in this book, looking at the horrors of what happened in an insane asylum in the Victorian Age. The only caveat would be the epilogue, which seemed to be a hasty happy ending of Louisa’s and Eliza’s relationship with each other. Otherwise, the allusions, situations, and twists Eagland writes within her novel makes this an outstanding new debut for YA fiction.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Need to know the Newest YA out there?

I have a partial solution!  This blog features YA authors who are debuting novel this year!!  There's a list from April Henry, to Lisa Schroeder to Michael Northrup.  Not only are they debuting new novels, but there's also videos, booktrailers and just some pretty interesting stuff on there....
I'm going to start following this one : )

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Violet knew she had an unusual gift the day she found the dead body when she was nine years old....Flash foward...
Vi is now a junior in high school.  She has a pretty good life, her circle of friends are there for her, her best friend since third grade, Jay, is still her best friend.  She has parents and an uncle who love her.  Life couldn't be better.  Except for the imprints...
What are they?  They're what's left of animals or people the moment they die.  They linger, following and finding Vi through sound or color.  Vi can see which people have imprints, from war veterans to policemen and firefighters.  She can also see the imprints left on the dead...

HE is looking for his next victim.  He can't help himself.  The hunt is extravagant...making him feel so good.  He looks for those that are alone, the beautiful helpless one, and takes her.  But his hunting grounds have to change.  Restrictions are now making him hunt in a more confined area.  But he's careful, because he's been doing this for years...

Vi's friendships, especially with Jay are slowly changing.  She can't shake the feeling that she wants to be more with her best friend, but at the same time is afraid of losing him as a friend if he doesn't feel the same way.  What is a girl to do?  And then she finds another body, this time at a party at the lake, and the imprint is calling out to her louder than ever before....

HE can't believe the body was found so quickly?  What does the sheriff's niece know and how?  He thought he was being smart, hunting quickly and quietly.  He's decided this girl who keeps finding his body may have to be next....

What an excellent mystery novel!  Not only does Derting use murder mystery as a backdrop, but she is able to deftly weave in a story about friendship, love and connections at the same time.  The two even each other out, while not losing the reading to either storyline.  The reader gets to know all the characters involved with each other, and will think they know who the elusive "HE" is but like all good mysteries, not until the last part of the book.  And yes...there is a twist!  Sensual, supernatural, suspenseful all wrapped up in a great YA novel!  Highly recommended.

Friday, September 10, 2010

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

Annaleah loves Brian.  He's the one....the one that makes her feel weak in the knees.  The one whose kisses she craves and whose arms feels best around her.  Annaleah would do anything for him.  She forgives him when he doesn't return phone calls.  And forgives him again when he says he'll show up but doesn't.  And she'll forgive him again when he says he'll meet her friends, but he doesn't...

And then the most terrible thing in the world happens.  Brian dies...and Annaleah goes into a tailspin.  She has her friends Marissa, Parker and Joy who want to help, but she pushes them away.  She has her mother, but doesn't want to tell her anything.  She's fallen into a depression that wraps its arms around her and kisses her, promising to stay with her if she's faithful.  And she is.  Annaleah goes to Brian's grave, lays down beside him and tells him everything. 

Slowly life changes.  Her friends move on, her mother continues to work, and Annaleah is left alone with the Dearly Departed and Brian.  But it takes someone and something to alter her life and see it for what it truly is.  But can Annaleah resist the urge to isolate herself or fall headlong into the only comfort zone she knows?

Schutz has written a beautiful novel in verse about how one teen deals with depression on her own terms and slowly realizes the world she's created.  Readers will know from the onset the persona of Brian and feel for Annaleah, while also trying to help her friends get her to know the truth.  This is a fast read of a great story about love, loss and healing, with perfect characterization that will take the reader to the ending.  A perfect pairing for those who enjoy novels from Lisa Schroeder.   Recommended.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher - booktrailer

Just finished this not too long ago. I tried to upload it to blogger...can't.

Click here to watch the video

You can also embed it onto your website : )

Friday, September 3, 2010

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Junior year is upon Lani. She's been looking at the stars and tracking her horoscope and knows this year will be the best ever. She has her friends Erin and Blake beside her, and although she's not part of the Golden Circle, she is still likeable by her classmates.

Erin, her best friend, is also ready for high school, especially when she sees Jason, the guy she's been crushing on. Erin usually gets what she wants, and Lani is there cheering her on. Blake is hoping to get through his last year without any bumps in the road, and Lani is keeping his secret. Life couldn't get any better.

But then summer arrives, and as with all summers, life unexpectedly changes. Lani faces some major challenges before her senior year ever starts. And the biggest obstacle? How to tell her best friend that Jason and her are seeing each other. And Blake's secret? Oops.... Senior year isn't what Lani is hoping or wishing for, and the fates are definitely working against her.

Need some light and fun reading? This is one to pick up. It's a definite magnet for girls to want to read. What can be more taboo that dating someone's ex when the ex won't let go? Colasanti has weaved together two episodes in one life about love, friendship, betrayals, and healing. This will be one handed from one girl to another!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I have been reading!!!!

I don't know about you, but the first two weeks of school just DRAINS wouldn't believe the work me and my library assistant have to do to help get the school up and running. I have been reading, though I can't remember the titles. Ever have one of those days? I plan on posting the reviews this weekend. Finally, a loooooong weekend....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Secret of Priest's Grotto by Peter Lane Taylor

There is something about the Holocause that still draws an audience, young or old. And when you have a story that once again defies all odds, readers will be drawn to it. So it is with this book. A non-fiction pictorial of a story one man heard and then researched, it takes into account three Jewish families and the limits of humanity they endured in order to survive.

What's the record for the longest amount of time man has spent in a cave? Human isolation, sensory solitary but darker, deeper under the earth, claustrophobic...
The record was 205 days set my Michel Siffre in Texas's Midnight Cave. And he was given food, had modern clothing and lights. Toward the end of his stay, his mental and physical capacities had seriously deteriorated. It was excruciating.

This book is about the story of three families who fled into the longest horizontal cave in the world in the Ukraine, called Priest's Grotto. They survived in the not as modern world of 1943 far beyond what a modern explorer experienced but for much, much longer...and lived to tell their tale.

One word - intriguing... An amazing book for reluctant readers (short with many photos of the past and present) as well as for those whose interest lie in the Holocaust or tales of human struggle and survival against nature. An excellent addition to collections for junior high and up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Immortal Beloved by Kate Tiernan

Nastasya has seen it all, done it all. She's lived a hundred lives and goes on to see another day. Tonight, she's with her friends Incy, Mal, Katy and Boz for a night of clubbing...anything to dull her reality. But then she witnesses the true degradation of an immortal, and she doesn't like what she sees, not only in what Incy did, but how she reacted to it...

Nastasya and her friends are immortals - people who have lived hundreds of years and are eye-witnesses to all the world events mere humans can only read about. Nastasya hides her true beginnings even from herself and makes sure she doesn't attach herself emotionally to anyone or anything, except the amulet and scar she carries with her constantly. She and Incy have been inseparable for a very long time, but now she knows she must cut her ties. She remembers a woman named River whom she met over a hundred years ago and the invitation given to her then. And that's where Nastasya goes for safety.

But her lifestyle and the way things are run by River, Asher and other immortal teachers at River's Edge are not mixing very well. Not only that, but she feels that the other students there don't like or even want her around, particularly Nell and Reyn. And what she thought would be a haven for her to turn away from the dark side may actually be more dangerous. Someone is after her, but what for? Why? The more Nastasya learns about her past and the power she has, the more she is being hunted. Or is that the real reason?

What a great book for YA readers who enjoy reading fantasies that are dark, mysterious, and romantic. The characters are not vampires, but true immortals who struggle with something far larger than a simple person can concieve. From London and around the world to a small town in Massachusetts, the lives of the immortals, especially Nastasya, are revealed slowly but carefully, leaving the reader wanting to know more about her past as well as her present. Tiernan does an excellent job of weaving Nastasyas two stories through a series of flashbacks and present day that makes the reader understand not only who she is, but what she's fighting against. This will be a series of books, and after reading the first one, I'm already ready for the sequel! Due out September 2010.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

It's the future of the United States. A place where black-market and side alley deals are made for video games...a place where computers and their peripherals are high commodities. There is no Las Vegas, and Sam knows he's the one responsible for the downfall of the United States....

It started out harmlessly. A little hack to get some free neuro headsets for him and his best friend Fargas. Sam knew the hack was easy, but he still couldn't shake the feeling someone was watching. And then the invitation arrived. Neoh@ck would invite him to the elite of the elite if he could find their con. What did he have to do? Crack the firewall of the White House and find the virtual con. Sam did, and now the feds are knocking on his door.

But there is more to it than meets the virtual eye. Sam runs into Dodge while incarcerated and makes a daring plan to escape. And his escape turns into the a proposition he can't refuse, working on what he does best. One that means life or death, protection of countries and their resources and governments, and a battle against Ursula, a virtual being that wants to take control of not only the what Sam and the crew are trying to protect, but of people as well, using the only means available to her...neuro headsets.

WOWOW!!! Okay, this isn't quite a word you'd use for a review, but from the beginning I was hooked. Brian Falkner writes a YA thriller that does exactly what he set out to do - thrill the reader. A dystopian novel in a very futuristic, realistic way, Falkner writes about the dangers of the future involving technology, and one that could quite conceivably happen. Sam is one of those teens we all extremely bright and talented person who walks, talks and lives for technology. He is vibrant, intuitive, and leaps off the pages as well as the other characters in this novel. The prologue will capture and the book will follow suit.
I requested a guy read on the floor of ALA...the next best novel that will capture this audience. The rep at Random House handed me this...Brian Falkner's book will too with the guys. Due out late September.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book trailer: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

So, I picked this galley up at ALA and read it from Texas to Illinois when I went on a family vacation....and I LOVED IT! In fact, I loved it so much, I enlisted the help of my father-in-law to help put together some farm implements he has laying around for most of the background video in this trailer. We left it up in the backyard for a few days...hope anyone who came up to his farm didn't think we were joining a weird club or something. I put my iphone to good use on this one : ) Anyway, hope you enjoy this!

Use this link if you want to embed it : )

Dark Song by Gail Giles

Ames lives a more than comfortable life....large house, private school, expensive vacations and clothes. She has her circle of friends, with Em at the center. Ames is known as the "good girl," one who never challenges the rules and does well in school. But Em has given her a taste of what it feels like to bend rules, and Ames likes that feeling.

And then her world crashes. Her way of life is completely shattered, thanks to her father and she learns the hard and fast way of what life will be like. Her circle of friends have abandoned her, her way of life given away at garage sales, and what little they have left is swept away in a tide of embarrassment to Houston, where she now lives in the projects, mucking away discarded drug needles and animal droppings in her new home. She hates her life, her parents...everyone except her little sister. And that's where she meets Marc.

Marc takes him time when it comes to approaching Ames. His attraction to her began the first time he saw her. He knows the dangers and the unfamiliar territory Ames has moved into and he sees something in her that others don't - he tests her dark song, that feeling of living on the edge, the thrill of breaking rules without attracting attention, and finds hers without ever letting her know his own dark song he plays so well...

Ames feels the dark song too and the music is getting louder and stronger the more she follows Marc into his world. And she likes it...but will what she likes destroy her and her family or rescue her from a world she knows nothing about?

Gail Giles is a master of YA fiction on the edge. She's crafted a book where readers are drawn to Ames's privileged life and the deliberately crafted downhill ride she finds herself in. Picture perfect on the outside, the dysfunctional family side is revealed to the reader in perfect literary accompaniment. Fans of her body of work will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

YOU by Charles Benoit

You see the jocks who walk the halls with their packs, looking like kings and making sure the weak know where they stand. People like Jake….

You see the girl that will be with almost anyone and uses them as much as they use her. People like Kristi….

You see the guys who wear hoodies, black shirts and baggy jeans and really don’t care about anything. People like Derrick, Max and Ryan….

You see the girl that gets along with everyone. The one you think about all the time, talk to as much as possible, just to look at her. People like Ashley….

You see the one the sparkles along the outer edges. He gets along with adults and can bring down the strongest by knowing what makes them tick. People like Zack….

And you see yourself. Wondering how you got where you are now. Looking at the choices you’ve made that altered your course of life and wondering which one was THE one that changed your life. Looking at the anger that bubbles deep inside of you and how you’ve tried to ignore it. And then you really look around you and see all of the blood….You’re name is Kyle Chase and this is your story.

What a POWERFUL book. This is Charles Benoit first venture into YA literature, and he comes in with welcome arms. You is the story of one main character, but the story cannot be told without the characters that surround Kyle. But makes this novel such a strong one is how Benoit writes about the STARK REALITY of high school from the perspective of the main characters. When you read this, you are walking down the halls of high school and understand what Kyle is going through as well as his reasoning for acting the way he does toward his teachers and parents. Reminiscent of Gail Giles’s Shattering Glass and Chris Krovatin’s Venomous, this is a book that goes the distance and doesn’t stop. I read this is one sitting and think teens and adults will too. Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Booktrailer Tech Tip (a little early, a little late too!)

I haven't done a book trailer tech tip in awhile, and I thought I'd share with you an excellent way to begin your book trailer training. After making several for awhile, I realized I was looking at television commercials, beginnings of programs and even movie trailers in a completely different light. Now, it's, "Look at that transition! Look at how they incorporated music into the action!!"
Well, of course my next logical step was to look at some really good trailers in order to see what it took to make them. There are many found on that are made by publishers who spend big bucks to create them. It was literally a library of trailers that I sat down and watched and realized what mine lacked. I went back to the drawing board and began using techniques from what I saw and creating some of my own.
So, here is a link of book trailers that I found on youtube. Included is a virtuoso of book trailer making, which you'll see on the big screen on the Youtube Book Trailer tab...she's amazing...
So look, take notes, and watch watch watch!! It'll definitely help with your trailering!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh the creative genius....

This was shared from another librarian and I couldn't help but pass it along...the things librarians and/or library students come up with! The vintage aerobics one is by far the most disturbing : )

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

**this will be out September 2010

Malcolm lives in the quiet town of Gentry, where it's safe and normal...but only on
the outside...
Malcolm has always known that he was different. He can't stand the iron smell of blood, and even touching the metal makes him deathly ill. His father, the local pastor, knowns his son is different, especially because Malcolm cannot step onto sacred ground without his skin burning. He's not of Them...the normal humans in town, and his only goal in life is to stay under the radar, become unseen and invisible.

But his world is shattered when Tate, a girl in his high school looks at him and begs for help. Her sister Natalie has died, but it isn't Natalie - she was switched
with something inhuman, ugly, deformed. And Tate seems to know that Malcolm the
unusual may know something about it.

Not quite human, Malcolm himself was switched at birth with the real human Malcolm. Now, the real one is gone and this revenant who inexplicably lived has to take on a new role, a new skin...and new revelations not only about him, but about his family
as well. And his past comes to reality when he opens the door to the House of Mayhem
that lies under the slag heap and speaks with the Morrigan for the first time.

Now a battle rages between the Houses of Mayhem and Misery, and Malcolm, not quite human but not quite the Others, is caught in the middle and must make a decision to go with what he knows or dispel traditions that has kept his town safe and bountiful. But can he do the opposite of what he's been taught or continue living a
life of lies and deceit, along with everyone else in town?

Yovanoff has written an intriguing tale of faerie and humanity that is sure to grab not only the attention of those genre lovers, but those who haven't read many urban
fantasies. It captures your attention from the great cover to the story that weaved so well throughout the book, intermixing characters' lives and their own stories into one....Only one person of three that call themselves the Merry Sisters of Fate (and includes Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver and Linger), YA readers will pick up and devour this one.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The amazing things you learn in workshops!!

SO, this summer I had the opportunity of providing some professional development for librarians and teachers around this grand old state, and had a great time doing it! Not only did they learn some things from me, but I also learned from them as well!! And then there were those moments I just stumbled into....and here's one that I had to share!!
If you use Prezi, did you know that you can embed youtube book trailers into the presentation? This is the place where publishers are putting their trailers, and they are very professionally done...
Well, if you embed them into Prezi and then use it offline, the video is still maintained even if you're not online - LOVE IT!!
And there are some great prezis to search through too! Someone in a workshop found this Prezi, and I LOVED the layout...had to share it as well!! Thanks Cassandra, for making this a public prezi!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Booktrailer Tech Tip: What do I write?

What you write in your booktrailer is completely up to's what makes a trailer unique. But here are some tips to get started:

1. Use quotes out of the book. Did you read something that make you stop to read it again? Use it in a quote with an image to reflect it!

2. End with a rhetorical question. It'll make the viewer ask him/herself, "What happens next?" That's the response you're wanting. I usually put mine at the end of the trailer

3. For a more polished trailer, Do NOT add wording to every single slide! Your images should tell the story as much as your words. Putting words between every single slide takes away from a more elegant trailer.

4. Say it simply...and yes, use two word slides together if you need more room.

Monday, June 28, 2010

After by Amy Efaw

Devon sits wrapped up tight after IT went away. Even when her mother gets home, Devon continues to wrap herself up tight emotionally and physically. But when the police come into the apartment, her blankets are ripped away and what is exposed is what happened to Devon, what she did….

For most of her life, Devon felt like she was control of her world. Soccer was the center, but her academics revolved around that. She had her coach, her best friend Katie, and her mother, with no on else allowed into her world. But one summer she met him….the one who took her breath away, the one she let her guard down for. And that one time left Devon punishing herself for letting her carefully orchestrated life go. That was nine months ago. Today, the police found the baby in a trashcan outside of the apartment. Covered in trash, with the plastic bag tied shut, it was barely alive when they took her to the hospital.

Now Devon sits in a juvenile facility for criminals, awaiting trial to determine whether she should be tried as an adult or not. Her only hope is to divulge in detail what eve she denies to a lawyer she doesn’t quite trust.

Amy Efaw has written an emotionally charged novel about one fifteen year old’s experience. Horrific to imagine is the act of what Devon did herself, but what makes this novel even deeper is the psychological and emotional layers that Efaw writes about as well. Those teen readers who enjoy reading realistic fiction will devour this novel. Includes a short afterward about this topic that has made headlines in national news.

Trying to keep up....

To anyone following this blog, please forgive my lack of posts. I've been going going going online and offline since summer started. Traveling for workshops and moderating a 23 Things as well as representing our state's school libraries is slowly cathcing up with me. I'll be back up soon with plenty of reviews, a new trailer in the works, and some more tech tips. Going to start working on those today before heading out the door tomorrow for more workshopping : )

Besides all this, I have to say there is payback. Seeing how the librarians who've gone through the workshops come out with new ideas and products they've made during our time together; me learning tricks and tips from them as well; sitting with librarians from all over the country looking at the issues facing them and how it reflects our profession as a whole; getting to visit our nation's capital and some of the best cities in our state; meeting up with old friends and making new acquaintances; working side-by-virtual-side with my fellow colleagues in my district and seeing the AMAZING work they've done with this pilot program....all worth it...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Trailer Tech Tip Monday: The TRINITY...

I'm in San Antonio doing a booktrailer workshop with some wonderful librarians from all over South Texas. Linda Holder (of TLC listserv) and Pat Strawn are even sitting in on this one too!! : )
As I was talking about booktrailer tips, I remembered I haven't done one today, so here it is.

Like video transitions, title transistions work the same way. Simple is better. The three title transitions that should be the most often used are:
zoom in
zoom out
fade, slow zoom

Of course other transitions could be used depending on the book, genre, theme et al, but there are the "Coco Chanel" of the lot...timeless, beautiful, and never out of style.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Trailer Tech Tip: Less is More

One thing that really bogs down a trailer is adding TOO MUCH...too many transitions, too many effects... Simple is better by far. Here are the three transitions on moviemaker I use the most because they're hard-working and do the job everytime:
1. fade
2. dissolve
3. page curl (for multiple images in a row), and
4. shatter in where the denouement is revealed.

There are lots of other transitions, but the ones the are simple are the ones that seem to make the trailer more polished...
Next week I'll talk about effects : )

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Need to laugh today?

Even if you don't, you have to try this. A fellow librarian in my district shared this with our group.
Type into Google "Things Librarians Fancy" and be prepared!! Hilarious stuff!!!

The Gardener by S.A.Bodeen

Living in Melby Falls surrounded by the almighty corporation TroDyn can change the way you view your future, and this is especially true for Mason. He sees what the corporation has done to his mother and wants no part of it. Mason plans to attend Standford and get out of town, but there’s a catch….he doesn’t have the money for Stanford unless he gets a scholarship that requires him to work for TroDyn. Mason is in a catch-22. But one night changes his entire life….

Mason knew his mother was keeping secrets, but he didn’t know how big those secrets were. When he opens his mother’s private documents, the secrets she’s been hiding from him confuses him even more…and they all involve TroDyn. Mason decides to confront his mother at work, and when he gets there he sees something very creepy. Accidentally, he awakens one of them and when she begs for help, he takes her, one of TroDyn’s best kept experimental secrets, with him. And the chase begins…

I’ve been wanting to read this book, and it was a pleasant surprise to see it on my front door when I came home one day. Combining science with fiction, S.A. Bodeen has written another great YA thriller. The topics this author has taken on are not in the regular norm of topics, but that’s what makes her stand out in the crowd. She takes the bleak scenario of the world food bank vs. the world population explosion and creates a fictionalized scientific way to combat that, but then continues to explore what would happen if could be used in an ulterior way the experiment was created for. Students who’ve read The Compound or enjoy YA thrillers, will want to pick this up. Perfect for all middle and high school readers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday tech tip cancelled...just for this week

Graduation, baby!!! My foreign exchange student is walking the stage and going to leave us soon, and my daughter is going to be in high school next year...where did the time go?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Gemma Toombs remembers her old life. She hung out with her friends in the park, took the double-decker bus to school everyday, came home to parents who wanted only the best for her, which she didn't see as in her best interests. She traveled with her parents because of her mother's job and this is where her old life slammed to a halt - in an airport in Bangkok.
She was irritated with her parents and needed a break. It was just one cup of coffee...just one cup of coffee with a stranger she felt like she knew. His ice blue eyes, strong body, tanned skin. It was just harmless flirtation with a guy older that what she'd ordinarily flirt with. When he brought back her coffee, it was only a matter of minutes before she started feeling lightheaded, disoriented...then the world blacked out.
And she woke up in hell. Outside of the shack he took her to, all she could see for miles was red sand and some giant boulders. No one else in sight. No movement. No sound. And then he told her, "I'm keeping you forever."
This is Gemma's story, told to the reader through a letter she wrote to Ty. Her letter shows the duality of Ty's role in her life, past and present - when she didn't know he was there and when she is only too close to him. All Gemma wants is to leave, but how?
For a first novel, Lucy Christopher brings out the best in white-knuckled reading. The reader can only guess what will happen between Gemma and Ty and the ultimate ending of their relationship. Along the way, Gemma describes her eventual psychological breakdown, not realizing it for what it truly is until it is named at the end of the book. This is one that will capture the YA audience within just a few pages. If your teens liked Feathered by Laura Kasischke, they'll equally enjoy this one. Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Summer Reading List

I'm shooting for at least twenty books read over the summer, but it's like losing weight...sometimes the intentions are better than the outcome. But at least books aren't calories!! So here's what I'm reading and/or going to read:

1. Stolen by Lucy Christopher (halfway done, so consider this my cheat!)

2. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (1/3 done...this is my "challenge" book - not a genre I read too much but the kids love it!)

3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green (I've heard the premise, want to see what it reads like)

4. Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess (he's gritty, gutsy - wonder if this is another great Burgess novel)

5. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab (okay, I admit it...cover looked good)

6. My Invisible Boyfriend By Susie Day (I need romance sometimes to cut through the taste of the stark reality and/or dark romance that permeates YA fiction)

7. Fallen by Lauren Kate (got to read a fallen angel book....)

8. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (followed by a werewolf book)

9. Zen & Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan (love this author and am hoping for good things with this one - it's a short read too!)

10. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (murder mystery)

11. The Poison Eaters and other stories by Holly Black (short stories)

12. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell (saw the second movie, and this book got rave reviews by the girls who read it in the library)

13. After by Amy Efaw (this is a TAYSHAS nomination...I want to stay on top of that incredible list)

14. The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (this has been sitting in my "to read" box long enough - time to read it)

15. Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern (the subject of some excellent reviews. I can't help but want to read it too)

16. The Read Leather Diary by Lily Koppel (historical fiction...yes!)

17. Me, The Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine (can she top her amazing Broken Soup novel?)

18. Jane: a modern retelling of Jane Eyre by April Lindner (this time I hope Rochester GETS IT!!)

19. Procession of the Dead by Darrern Shan (boy book, boys, come's Darren Shan)

20. Hold Still by Nina LaCour (realistic fiction I've had in my "to read" pile since October)

Of course, this is a static list - things can come and go, but it's a beginning. A lot of these are arcs, and I can't wait to see what else comes in, but I'm set!! So, while teachers are turning in their grades, I can turn me some pages. Let summer begin!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Booktrailer Tech Tip: Easiest Way to Save Your Sanity

This is a small, simple, easy-to-do tip and one you should do often. It will save countless minutes (or maybe hours!) of frustration. Say it like a mantra, especially if you're using Windows XP...

XP has a little kink in it where you'll freeze up. Then you have to do an alt-control-delete to shut down the program and bring it back up again. And if you didn't save, you'll have to start from the beginning again! So remember...


If you're using Windows Vista, the kink isn't there - they must have fixed it. But from past experience, this one tip will make you happy : )


Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Six Rules of Maybe booktrailers

Want a summer read? Here's one!!

You can download this for your OPAC or a presentation on the NHS Library webpage. Look for the "Digital Booktalk" link under the Mighty Red N :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Booktrailer Tech Tip Monday: Cool Effect to Create!

Want to subtly change the color of your text? Here’s how:

1. Create a textbox in the “make titles or credits” in step two of Moviemaker when you’re on the timeline view (the technical part of MM, NOT the basic storyboard)
2. Go to animations, and select “Basic.” This technique won’t work if there is an effect added to you.
3. Highlight your text, copy
4. Click behind the original and paste
5. Right-click and go to “edit title”
6. Go to “change the text font and color” and select a different text color. Make sure to click done!
7. Slowly drag the second slide on top of the first one. Your text color will next subtly change from one to another.
You can do this for multiple texts on texts, depending on how long you want this effect to last.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

They Called Themselves the KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Before the Civil War, slaves were considered property and treated as such. Displaced by those that bought them, families were ripped apart, lives were taken, and brutality was the norm.

After the Civil War, the southern way of life was decimated politically, economically, and most importantly, socially. White Southerners were filled with trepidation and even fear that their way of life, as well as their own lives and livlihood, would be taken over and controlled by the population of freed black. The tier of socio-economics had shifted radically and those in charge weren't ready to give that up.

The same can be said about the shifts in ideas as well...

Six men, whose claim was boredom after fighting for years as officers in the Civil War met one night and formed a club built on secrecy and personal friendship. Using a derivative of the word "Kuklos" (meaning circle), they built rules and rituals, using names like Cyclops, Dragon, Magi, Turks, Nighthawks and Licters.

It wouldn't take long for this group to form itself into a vigilante group, intent on keeping the power in the hands of those who've had it for so long. But it would be struggle. Black Americans were voting, becoming landowners, going to schools to become literate, and holding offices. The KKK would try what they knew would work - ripping families apart, taking lives, and using brutality.

Campbell Bartoletti brings the history of the KKK as well as the politics, ways of life, and first-hand experiences to live in her new non-fiction aimed at today's young adults. She handles the topic with care, and writes a foreword not only warning readers about the sensitivity of the issue, but also letting the reader know she is not trying to offend, but give accurate historical information about one of bleakest times in American history. Not only is the cover a stunning visual, but the pictures, newspaper posts, and how the nation viewed the South are just as powerful. It will make readers think...the highest form of praise for non-fiction. Highly recommended.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Booktrailer Tech Tip Monday: Adding and Converting Video Animation

You can use any different number of sources for using videos in your trailer. On moviemaker, there is a a track for you to lay your video, and this is also the place you add your images. Here's how to do a quick video incorporated into MM:

1. import your video and place it on the video track

2. Video in MM is best used with titles on the video. Simple slide your title in the timeline view and align it with your video

3. If you want to add an image with your video, simply drag you image behind the video, stretch your image so it's larger than the video (in seconds) and drag it as far into the video track as you can.

I am trying out the option of using my Flip video in order to create videos to use in moviemaker, but there is a glitch: Windows Moviemaker does NOT support .mp4 videos! But there is a solution :) Use the following link to convert your .mp4 into a .avi and then you can use it in Moviemaker.

Angie Strickland from Greenville ISD (Bowie Elem) showed me how to manuever through the sticky part. When the screen comes up, got to:
1. C:
2. Documents and Settings
3. Find your .mov or.mpg
4. convert!

Amy Jensen from Waxahachie ISD showed the steps to downloading this program:
1. paste the address from this blog
2. click download and save
3. extract all
4. open folder
5. click on "list" and find the .exe file. Double click!

Here is a list of fomats MM will support:
Video: .asf,.avi,.wmv
Movie Files: MPEG1, mpeg, .mpg, .m1v, .mp2
Audio files: .wav, .snd, .au, .aif,.aifc, .aiff
Windows media files: .asf, .wm, .wma, .wmv
Images: .bmp, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .jpe, .jfif
Audio: mp3

This can also be used if you want to loop a bunch of trailers for students on a computer or television. Convert the .mp4's and drag and drop the converted files (.avi) into Moviemaker for a long video with many video within it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

by Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri
Eva grew up in Romania in a family that had a true community outreach. Her mother was there to help anyone in need. Her father was a hardworking farmer, known for his reputation of honesty. Her sisters did well in school. And Miriam, her twin, would eventually be the one to save her life.

In the early 10940’s Eva and Miriam’s parents began hearing about the trouble between the Germans and Jews, but didn’t think it would ever reach their small rural farming community. But it did, and on her 10th birthday, they were marched to the rail station and taken to Auschwitz, where both tragedy and miracles worked and lived together.

Josef Mengele was waiting when the trains arrived and with a twitch of his cane, he made choices that killed thousands at people at a time. But his eye was trained on Eva and Miriam because they were twins. And he needed them for his experiments…

This is the memoir of a woman who tells her story of survival and torture and ultimate redemption through the eyes of her 10 year old self. Thousands of children were called Mengele’s twins, but not many survived the excruciating experiments he performed on them. She and her sister were some of those few.

What a powerful read for young adults. Teens know about the Holocaust, but this is a book that will take them inside a different part of Auschwitz and a story that hardly gets told. The voice in this book carries the lilt of an woman re-living those years and how it changed her life completely. Filled with haunting photographs, her story mixes well with them to bring the reader into the horror of the barracks and living conditions children were forced to live in from the moment they were separated from their family and lives. The appealing aspect of this non-fiction book is that the reader sees the suffering of concentration camp life through the filter of a child’s eyes, not that of an adult, which can be much more graphic in description. I only wished there was an appendix of sources, both hardcopy and digital to go along with Eva’s story…

Monday, May 10, 2010

Booktrailer tech Tip Monday - Attribution How To...


1. Go to Make sure you use the green areas for your search!! Click on the “find” button on the left hand side.
2. Click on the flickr tab. When this comes up, you need to use the green area at the top for your search. Click off commercial!!
3. Type in the keyword for the image you’d like.
4. When you find an image, click on it to go to the bigger one.
5. Save the image into a folder or anywhere you’d like
6. After you save the image, you need to go back and find the “Additional Information section on the screen where you saved your big image from. Under that, click on the blue hyperlink letters
7. This is where you’re going to find your attribution. It’s a rather long link, so right click and copy or do the control-c to copy this.
8. Go back to your image, do not open it, but right click on it. Click on “properties” and then click on the “summary” tab.
9. Paste your long attribution into the summary. It'll have lots of words, numbers, characters...
10. The only part of this you need begins with and ends with a number. Get rid of everything else to clean up your attribute
11. It should now look like this:

12. That’s all the attribution you need when using a creativecommons flickr image. It has the website, name of the imageholder and the photo ID. This is what you’ll use in your credits.

Hope this helps!! : )

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sometimes the best thing in the library is going back to the library

And I'm in the middle of that. It's all well and good to do cataloging, even better when working with web 2.0. And there's nothing like collaborating with teachers and creating presentations for them.
But there's something that has to be said about getting back into the stacks, getting dirty but putting everything in order. Should be done once a month, but it's been more than three and I've only gotten halfway through the 300's.
I'm sweating, my legs are getting a workout for standing up and bending down, but call me crazy, I like putting it in order, seeing the progress.
I think librarians have a touch of OCD. Me? LOVE to vacuum just to see the difference. Same with working in the dewey stacks.
Okay, enough weirdness for one day. Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Girl Stolen by April Henry

Cheyenne is sick, so she lays down in the back seat waiting for her step-mother to get her antibiotics for her pneumonia. When the car starts again, immediately Cheyenne knows something isn’t right…the sound of the door slamming, the breathing…it’s all different. How does she know this? Because Cheyenne is blind, and now she’s a passenger in a carjacking and the beginning of her nightmare.

Griffin scans the parking lot, looking for easy prey. It’s the holiday season, and people can be so stupid. It’s a mere matter of minutes to open a car, get the goods and resell it for easy cash. His dad has taught him well. But then he sees the glint of metal dangling from a steering wheel…the ultimate prize – a Cadillac Escalade. His father is going to be proud of this one. And when he drives off, he drives into a new nightmare.

Both teens are drawn together, although they are worlds apart. Cheyenne’s father is the vice-president of Nike while Griffin’s father cooks meth and has a secret chop shop for cars. Cheyenne has gone to private schools while Griffin dropped out. They don’t trust each other and can only suspect the worse. For Cheyenne, it’s the unexpected; for Griffin, it’s prison. The only two things they have in common is both lost their mothers…and each one holds a slender piece of compassion for the other.

But when Cheyenne’s identity is found out, the stakes are risen. It’s now about ransom, not a car. And Cheyenne’s fate becomes more solid when Griffin’s father and his two buddies decide that she is a liability, more a thing to be disposed of than a person.

Henry has written another incredibly suspenseful YA thriller that will leave readers gasping with surprise. What starts as another mystery novel quickly turns into a unique adventure of a completely blind girl who needs redemption to live. This adult author has taken to YA writing with fluidity, and writes for a genre that begs for more for mystery lovers. A great pairing with Abrahams Reality Check or Bradbury’s Shift.
Henry Holt, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

2010. New York: Walker & Co.

Lucy, Phil and Sara have lived with their mother and her habits most of their lives, which seemed to get worse after their father left the family. But now, Lucy is the only one left at the house, and she has to continue to keep her mother’s secret, even though it’s emotionally putting a chokehold on her.

At first it wasn’t too bad. Lucy was able to navigate through the house, and her room was always clean. They still had running water, and the appliances in the kitchen worked. But that was over three years ago. Now, there are only pathways between all of her mother’s “collectibles.” Running water is non-existent, and the kitchen floor is filled with dirty brown sludge. Mold is beginning to creep up the curtains, and the house smells…

“Garbage girl….” It’s the words that keep Lucy from making friends, becoming too close to anything, revealing her mother’s secrets. But regardless of how insulated she keeps herself, it doesn’t work. She has a best friend, Kaylie, and it’s here she finally finds relief from her everyday life. And now, Josh is beginning to notice her….and Lucy isn’t sure if she should get involved, even though her heart tells her differently.

But when her mother dies unexpectedly in the house, Lucy must make a choice. Call 911 and ensure that her life will become not only local news, but possibly headline news too, or try to clean up her life…and her house…on her own. No one ever needs to find out.

This novel takes the reader through the day in the life of Lucy, and not just any day but the most critical day. Her decisions are heavy and she debates these over and over in her mind. Not only does the reader see Lucy’s predicament, but they also see her past revealed with every layer of trash she shovels out of her house. The topic is new and news, and interest in it is high (ie television series about this psychological problem). Omololu writes about not only the character by this disease with clarity and feeling. Readers will keep turning the pages to find out what decisions Lucy makes and what ultimately happens. This is a book to watch....powerful, relevant, and intriguing.

Booktrailer Tech Tip Monday

It wasn't until this year that I started playing around with integrating video effects into my trailers. And while doing that I learned a valuable lesson, which I'm going to share with those who are doing it or are thinking about doing it.

If you're downloading and/or converting a video effect and using moviemaker or Sony Platinum, use the SD version and not the HD version of the video. Simply put, it's because SD can be played on anything, including HD players, but this isn't always necessarily true the other way around.

Case in point, check out my video transitions in my trailer "Sleepless". Stilted, to say the least. This is when I realized SD works much much better, hence why my "Dark Divine" runs so smoothly.

Hope this helps anyone out there!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So much to say blog about...

First, I want to blog about another blog. I tripped over this one while wandering through the www. I didn't hurt was a great fall though. There's something to be said about guybrarians. I like the way they write and think. And this blogger is one of those types. He points something out that I'm very guilty of...since reading this about a week ago, I've made some drastic changes. Here's his entry that'll make you think:

And dare I mention the three amazing books (galleys) I've been reading and juggling? One's about two sisters and a murder, another is about a blind girl that's been kidnapped, and the other is not a galley, but an already published book about a teen living with a hoarder.
Give me the titles of two of these books and I'll send you the galleys for review....
And they are GREAT!!
Hint: Scholastic and Bloomsbury, and Henry Holt

Monday, April 26, 2010

Booktrailer Tech Tip Mondays! Topic: Attribution

I've been asked time and again about where the link is to the blog post about how I create booktrailers. It's in the archive somewhere (I'll tag it after finishing this), but as I was thinking about all the questions someone may have, I decided to start a booktrailer tech tip of the week. Always on Mondays because it's just easy to remember.
These are going to be small things that I may miss during a workshop or just find out on my own! Not only will there be tips, but links, highlights, favorites and something a little juicy to (hopefully!) whet your here's BTT#1!!

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ON YOUR TRAILER...attribution! I use creativecommons flickr pretty much for everything I use. (and when I use caps, I'm not yelling...promise!) You can find these at: or on the website. If going that route, make sure you click on the flickr tab and CLICK ON THE FIND BUTTON IN THE GREEN.

Here's what a typical attribution looks like. You find this in the "Additional Information" on the right hand side hyperlinked by the "some rights reserved" words:

(click on the image to get a bigger view of the full link)
But all you need to truly attribute it on your trailer is this:

It's found within that huge first link towards the gives the name of the website, name of the imageholder, and number id of the image.

Hope this helps!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Less- Dead by April Lurie

Noah may not be famous, but his dad is. It seems everyone wants to meet the "Bible Answer Guy," one of the top-rated radio broadcasts on Christian radio in Austin, Texas. That is an oxymoron unto itself, but Noah can't run from his upbringing, although he tries.

Which is why he and his best friend Carson (who's dad is a DPCP - Demon Possessed Capitalist Pig) ended up at an alternative school for breaking school policy. And it's there that Noah's life takes a decidedly interesting, and perhaps deadly course. Because its at alternative school that Noah meets Will...

Will looks to be a typical, average Austinite teen, but there's more to him than Noah first realized. He meets Will on the Drag, while doing double duty at trying to win back his girlfriend Aubrey. The two form a friendship, tentative at first, but then slowly growing. Noah's buddy Carson sees what's happening and is the first to clue Noah in on the fact that Will is gay.

Noah has always seen himself as open, honest...not "uptight" like his Dad. But when he thinks about his reactions to Will, he knows what he thought isn't who he thinks he is. And Will will be one to test him on his levels of beliefs and bibilical teaching, as well as his emotions.

But their friendship doesn't last long...Will has been murdered. And his death is just another of many from a serial killer stalking the city. Noah has a clue the killer left behind, but who can he trust? With so many around him saying one thing and becoming another, who is telling the truth and who is lying?

April Lurie writes a YA fiction that combines prejudice against gay teens with the biblical teaching against homosexuality in one well-written and balanced book. The title suggests that while gay teens are considered less human, thus less-dead, the Bible and its scriptures say something else. The interpretation is what Lurie compiles on both sides very nicely. It's a book that not overtly heavy-handed one way or the other, but delivers a great mystery that will keep YA readers guessing, always the best quality of a well-written suspense novel.
There is an author's note where Lurie seems to state her opinion, pointing to scriptures about homosexuality, but that is the reader's option and doesn't impede on the actual novel itself. Recommended.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Booktrailers and Resources

So, I put this website out on the listserv today, and I can see so many possibilities with it! The little "let google help" button comes in handy!! Here's my binder, which is just a beginning attempt at putting together resources....there is so much out there!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not quite book reviews...

But just as important. I'd like to share with you websites I found while searching online for the next greatest web 2.0 to explore. There are just so many, I enjoy finding sites dedicated to web 2.0 and scrolling around in them. This is a great site I like: - Your daily web 2.0 dose. And boy, does it give you an injection of web 2.0 to kill your boredom! Over 9000 sites to pick and choose from. It'll take awhile to go through it all!! I'm actually looking forward to it and sharing the best of the best with ya'll! - (search engine optimization) best sites by category. Of course, these are from 2008, but if they're still around, that means they're keepers. This has things from online storage to games to collaborative writing to books. One that will also keep you busy, but better that it's classified. That way I can skip the retail and go straight to what I want to find.

So, with two gems to keep you busy, enjoy! And speaking of technology, get ready for booktrailer tech tips weekly. I've learned that there are so many tweaks and tricks when it comes to booktrailers, that instead of writing a rather lengthy article, I'll share a bite one week at a time. Watch the labels and tags! I'm going to start on Monday : )