07. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, read by Courtney, on 05/26/2014

“We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine.”

In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his barding school in Barcelona. For seven days and seven nights no one knows his whereabouts…

His story begins in an old quarter of the city, where he meets the strange Marina and her father, Germán Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the last Sunday of each month. At exactly ten o’clock in the morning, a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman, her face shrouded be a black velvet cloak. Holding a single rose, she walks to a gravestone that bears no name, only a mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her, they begin a journey that transports them to a forgotten, postwar Barcelona–a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons–and reveals a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.

07. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books

Poison by Bridget Zinn, read by Courtney, on 05/12/2014

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

07. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books

Splintered by A.G. Howard, read by Courtney, on 05/05/2014

Alyssa Gardner has spent her entire life trying to separate herself from the legacy of her grandmother, Alice Lidell (i.e. the Alice of “Alice in Wonderland” fame). It’s bad enough that Alyssa hears the voices of insects and the occasional plant, she doesn’t need to be reminded that crazy runs in the family. Each generation of women in Alyssa’s family begins to go mad shortly after coming of age. Alyssa has been dreading what seems to be the inevitable. After a visit to her mother in the mental hospital, Alyssa becomes convinced that madness might not be at the root of all this. She instead finds herself stepping through the proverbial looking glass and stumbling into Wonderland. She accidentally drags her best friend/crush, Jeb, through with her. Once in Wonderland, she has to perform a series of tasks in order to break the curse that has been wreaking havoc in her family for decades. Unfortunately, it’s very seldom that anyone in Wonderland will tell her the whole truth about anything and there’s this gorgeous Morpheus character making things more confusing…Can Alyssa break the curse and free the remaining female members of her family? 

I liked this re-imagining well enough. Many of the updates from the original were rather inspired. The plot tends to get bogged down in endless details and the sexual tension, while entertaining at first, wears thin quickly. I really wanted to see Alyssa strike out on her own, but it didn’t really pan out like that. Slightly formulaic and a bit on the angsty side, Splintered is more a book for the die-hard paranormal romance fans looking to branch out from the high school setting.

07. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Attack on Titan, Volume 01 by Hajime Isayama , read by Courtney, on 05/01/2014

I picked up this series because my teens are massive fans and our anime club has watched several episodes. The premise is interesting enough: a race of massive humanoid creatures known as Titans have destroyed enough of humanity that the entire remaining population lives within the concentric walls of a single city. One hundred years goes by without any attacks and humanity has developed a false sense of security. Eren Yeager joins the guardians of the wall and dreams of a life outside. Then the Titans return. Destruction and bloodshed ensue.

I didn’t really get into the manga and a lot of that might have been due to the translation. Unless the writing wasn’t very good to begin with. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I kept stumbling across lines like “Your father, Dr. Yeager, said…” and unless there’s something seriously wrong with Eren, I’m guessing he knows that Dr. Yeager is his father. I might have forgiven it once, but it happened multiple times alongside other examples of clumsy translation. I’ll leave this one to my teens. 

05. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy · Tags:

MirrorMask by Neil Gamain, read by Tammy, on 06/05/2014

mirrormaskThis is one of those rare books that comes after the movie. Neil Gaiman wrote the screenplay for MirrorMask which was directed by Dave McKean. The book contains images from the film as well as original art by Dave McKean. This novella tells Helena’s story in her words.

Helena was raised in a family of circus performers so she’s used to things being a bit unusual. However, when an unusual tune draws her into a different realm her place is stolen by a runaway from this other world. To earn her way home, Helena must first rescue the realm. A visually stunning story.

03. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Fire : tales of elemental spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, read by Kira, on 05/29/2014

fire1 hellhound5 stories around the motif of fire beings.  I preferred Robin’s tales over her husband Peter’s (big surprise, since I’d never heard of him before).  The best tale was called Hellhound, about a demon who changed sides.  Peter’s tales had some very excellent sections, and then other parts seemed liked they needed fleshing out (also, could have done without the sexism – no it was a made-up time, so did Not need to be part of the context).

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tracy · Tags:

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein, read by Tracy, on 05/22/2014

Is the kingdom’s fate in the hands of an orphan cat?

Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn’s always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so and Aldwyn is happy to play along.

He just has to convince the other familiars the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert that he’s the powerful cat he claims to be.

Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia.

On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship.

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books

Chalice by Robin McKinley, read by Kira, on 05/22/2014

chalice2chalice3chalice - Copy - Copy  Beekeper Mirasol is unexpectedly chosen as the next Chalice, the most important adviser to the Master.  I was absolutely delighted with this tale.  Previous Chalices usually used water, or some milk, rarely blood.  But Mirasol’s element seems to be honey.The pacing, the worldbuilding, the level of tension, was perfect for me.  I am now seeking out all of Robin McKinley’s works.-Gold-Plated-Chalicechalices - Copychal - Copylggoblet - CopychalicecircleArdagh_Chalice - Copy

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, read by Angie, on 05/31/2014

Alice is orphaned and sent to live with her uncle in the country. Uncle Geryon lives in The Library and has a fortress-like library filled with all manner of strange books. There are invisible servants and talking cats to add to the strange mix of the household. Alice discovers quite by accident that she is a Reader, a magician who can read herself into magic books. The books can be prisons for dangerous creatures or portals to other worlds. Alice tries to find out what happened to her father and what is happening to her. She doesn’t know who to trust and ends up working with Isaac, another young Reader who has snuck into the Library trying to locate a book. 

I love books like this that deal with books in a mysterious and dangerous way. Basically any book with Library in the title will get my attention, but it has to be quite enthralling to keep me reading. This one pushed all the right buttons. Alice is a spunky and smart girl who is not afraid of doing what’s right even when it hurts. She isn’t gullible or easily led, but thinks for herself and looks out for herself. I loved the idea of books as prisons and portals. I especially loved the cats. They are just as you would image magical cats to be full of attitude and mystery. This is the beginning of a series and leaves several questions unanswered, but I was ok with that. The main story is wrapped up nicely with just a few threads left dangling to keep your attention. Definitely a series to watch. 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Horror, Tammy · Tags:

Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman, read by Tammy, on 05/10/2014

harlequinHarlequin sets out to win the heart of his next valentine, but with Harlequin there’s always a trick. Also includes a brief history of Harlequin character.

 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman, read by Tammy, on 05/24/2014

miss finchA spooky tale of three friends and a new acquaintance, Miss Finch attend a unique circus performance.

 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 3: Sky Jacks by Andy Diggle, read by Tammy, on 05/15/2014

doctor who 3After the Tardis goes on the fritz the eleventh Doctor interacts with pilots from World War II. Another rollicking adventure with the Doctor and Clara.

 

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 2: The Eye of Ashaya by Andy Diggle, read by Tammy, on 05/12/2014

docor who 2The eleventh Doctor, Rory and Amy have three adventures in this Doctor Who collection.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 1: The Hypothetical Gentleman by Andy Diggle, read by Tammy, on 05/08/2014

doctor who 1Collected in this volume are two 11th Doctor adventures with Rory and Amy. The first story, “The Hypothetical Gentleman” sees the Doctor trying to visit the Crystal Palace in London for the Great Exhibition. 
The second story, “The Doctor and the Nurse”, is a comedy where Amy, frustrated that the Doctor and Rory seem to bicker with each other a bit too often, orders the two to spend some quality “guy time” together in a Victorian pub. However the Doctor and Rory have other ideas.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time Volume 1 by Scott Tipton, read by Tammy, on 05/06/2014

doctor who prisonersVolume one in a special 50th anniversary comic book series featuring Doctor Who, all 11 of him. You get to experience an adventure with each of the first five Doctors and their companions in this volume.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Batgirl, Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends by Gail Simone, read by Tammy, on 05/10/2014

I didn’t enjoy this one a much as volume one. One of the plot batgirl 2lines seems to just stop and then pick up later. I’m wondering if I’d have to read a comic in the Batman series to get my answers.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone, read by Tammy, on 05/04/2014

batgirl 1Volume one of DC Comics “New 52″ event that started in September 2011. Darkest Reflection starts a new vision of the Batgirl story after her back injury. Barbara Gordon has to deal with secrets from her past and determine if she can still be Batgirl. Her first major challenge comes in the form of a brute named Mirror. This volume collects issues 1-6 of Batgirl.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 2 by George R.R. Martin, read by Tammy, on 05/30/2014

Continuing story of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. I don’t want to give any details away. So, I will just say, a fast-paced fantasy story that pulls in and keeps you wanting to know what happens next.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 by George R.R. Martin, read by Tammy, on 05/27/2014

game of thrones 1A comic version of the Game of Thrones novel. As the author explains: this is the same story as the novel but it may be slightly different, just as the TV show is different. He feels each medium has it’s own challenges and rewards and as long as the main core is the same it is the same story. This shorter version has made me even more curious about the popular novel series.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy

Hedge Knight (The Tales of Dunk and Egg vol 1) by George R.R. Martin, read by Tammy, on 05/25/2014

hedge knight gnA Pre-story to the Game of Thrones series. This tale follows Dunk, a squire as he tries to became a Hedge Knight and his squire, Egg. Set in Westeros there’s plenty of adventures and a lively joust.