11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 7 by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 01/17/2012

Yay! Origin story for Niche!

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 6: Letter Bee by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 01/12/2012

The Lighthouse in the Wasteland  Lag finds his long-lost hero Gauche Suede! But Gauche’s heart is so depleted that he has no memory of his former self, and now goes by Noir the Marauder. Lag’s only hope to recover the real Gauche is a special letter bullet that will convey Lag’s heart to his friend. Lag’s not sure how to go about writing the perfect letter, but his Letter Bee duties offer some good lessons in connecting hearts.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 5 by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 01/12/2012

Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu–colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

The Man Who Could Not Become Spirit In the town of Honey Waters, Lag seeks out “the Man Who Could Not Become Spirit,” who might have information on the missing Gauche Suede. Lag’s disappointed to find out that he’s a charlatan. However, the heart of this strange man in this strange little town yields a surprising clue. Lag might be closer than he ever imagined.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Short Stories, Steam-punk, Teen Books

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link , read by Courtney, on 01/10/2012

A wee bit hit or miss as far as the quality of the stories goes, but overall a fun collection. Particular favorites of mine are the tales by Libba Bray, Cory Doctorow and Kelly Link. Extremely varied, both thematically and in setting, the steampunk element is represented in its broadest definition.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 4 by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 01/12/2012

A Letter Full of Lies Lag, now a Letter Bee rookie, meets Dr. Thunderland, Jr. a peculiar man who collects and catalogs the various Amberground species. When the doctor takes a particular interest in Steak, Lag and Niche have to hustle to keep him off the doctor’s dissection table! The ensuing chaos pays off for Lag when the doctor reveals that Gauche—Lag’s missing hero—paid the doctor a visit before he disappeared.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Black Butler, Vol. 7 by Yana Toboso, read by Courtney, on 02/13/2012

I read this volume shortly after finishing viewing the Black Butler anime series. I was feeling all sad and missing the characters and then was like, “oh yeah! I’ve got another volume laying around that I haven’t read yet!” and all was good. Though I noticed that this whole circus story arc wasn’t in the anime. Too bad, ’cause it’s an intriguing little story.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Vol. 3 by Nagaru Tanigawa, read by Courtney, on 02/28/2012

The SOS Brigade gets browbeaten into entering a baseball tournament to help their fearless leader stave off boredom. But despite the Brigade’s clear lack of skill Haruhi has no intention of losing…and she’s ready to pitch a fit if her team doesn’t step up to the plate!

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Vol. 4 by Nagaru Tanigawa, read by Courtney, on 03/07/2012

When the SOS Brigade receives an urgent message that the Computer Research Society’s president has gone missing, Haruhi confidently promises to locate him, and the SOS Brigade is off!
Of course, they have no idea where to start…
Is the new SOS Brigade insignia that Haruhi designed to blame for all of this???

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Vol. 5 by Nagaru Tanigawa, read by Courtney, on 03/12/2012

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Manga Volume 5 Manufacturer: Yen PressIt’s summer break, but not for the SOS Brigade! With only a month of vacation left, Haruhi has devised a plan to pack as much fun as possible into their final days of freedom. But is Kyon up for the “endless summer” Haruhi has in mind?Story by Nagaru Tanigawa and Art by Gaku Tsugano.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury, read by Courtney, on 11/13/2012

Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history.

Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.

Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.

Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.

This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.

Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 10 by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 09/30/2012

Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu–colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

The Shining Eye

With Lag out sick, Aria Link, second in command at the Beehive, takes over the job of delivering his letters. But even with Niche at her side, Aria finds that Amberground has become a dangerous place. Can she defend herself armed with nothing but a violin? Meanwhile, Lag’s illness takes a strange turn.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 9 by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 09/30/2012

Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu–colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

The Dead Letter Office Lag’s hero, Gauche Suede, has returned to the Beehive; but not in the way Lag had hoped.While Gauche lies injured and unconscious, two mysterious government operatives show up to take him away, arousing the suspicions of the Beehive staff. What is the Amberground government trying to hide from the Letter Bees?

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Blue Exorcist, Vol. 1 by Kazue Kato, read by Courtney, on 09/30/2012

Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won’t be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Tegami Bachi, Vol. 8 by Hiroyuki Asada, read by Courtney, on 09/24/2012

Lag has now found Gauche, but Gauche is not himself. Under the moniker of “Noir” he has joined the rebel organization, “Reverse”. Hot on his trail and armed with a letter bullet, Lag infiltrates a convent that he is convinced may be connected to Reverse.
As charming and tragic as ever.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Helen, Teen Books

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, read by Helen, on 04/30/2012

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa, Teen Books

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, read by Lisa, on 01/30/2013

Standing on the fringes of life…offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons , read by Angie, on 03/18/2012

Imagine a world ravaged by war and taken over by the religious right. This is the dystopic future of Kristen Simmons Article 5. Sometime in the not so distant future the United States has lost a war with foes unknown. The outcome of that war is that the moral majority takes over and takes away the civil liberties of the population. Sounds scary and just a little bit possible doesn’t it? This is the world of Ember. She is a regular 17-year old worried about mom, school, friends. Then she comes home one day and the Moral Militia are arresting her and her mom for article violations. Why? Because her mom became pregnant without being married. Ember is a bastard. Doesn’t matter that it happened long before the MM took over. They are still arrested and taken away. Ember has no idea what happens to her mom; she is taken to a reform school with a bunch of other girls like her. Then her childhood love, Chase, who now belongs to the MM comes and rescues her. They embark on a race to find a safe place in a world that is hunting them.

We don’t learn a whole lot about the war or the group that brought about this dystopian power. Now most of the time I would rage about the lack of world building and how it makes the book weaker, but in this case it is ok. The present time of the world is developed enough that I don’t think you need the whole back story of the world. It makes it scarier in my opinion to leave parts up to your own imagination. The articles themselves are pretty interesting and don’t seem that out of the realm of possibility: you have to worship the one religion; family is defined as man, woman, children; you can only read appropriate materials; you have to behave morally; etc. Seems like things you hear about in present day. Of course the military isn’t killing you if you violate any of these right now. I thought the MM coming in and cleansing towns and people was also a really interesting idea and well thought out. I can just see this systematic taking over of the country. I also liked the rebellion because of course there will be a rebellion. Not everyone is going to fall in line.

I think my biggest issue with this book was the main character. Ember is a really hard character to like or root for. She is whiny and stupid for most of the book. She is 17 so you would think she would be a little smarter and she is about some things but then she is really stupid and naive. Her relationship with Chase is one example. They were in love, he joins the military (because he is drafted and has no choice), he is there when she and her mom are arrested, he rescues her, but then she runs away from him and doesn’t trust him several times even though he has shown no reason for this. I didn’t get her motivation for most of the book and she really didn’t grow into a decent character until about the last 50 pages or so. If I was Chase I probably would have left her on the side of the road. Chase was a great character. You could see his conflict and his determination to do what is right. He was a character I could root for.

Of course there were things about the book that were very predictable as well. The storyline with the mom was so predictable I couldn’t believe it. I was waiting for the twist throughout the whole book because I couldn’t believe it would be so obvious, but it was. I couldn’t believe Ember didn’t ask more questions or pick up on the signs or that situation. The MM was also very one dimensional. I wish we could have seen a little bit more from the bad guys. However, I like where this world is going and I will probably read the next book in the series.

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocolyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking, read by Angie, on 03/17/2012

The world has come to and end and zombies are run amok. This is the world of Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland. This is a fast paced zombie adventure novel. It reads almost more like a movie than a book and I could definitely see it unfolding on screen. There are things I like about this book. I like the heroine; I think she kicks ass and has come to grips with the world as it now is; she isn’t sentimental except about her brother. She sees things as they are and she is realistic. So often the characters in these post-apocalyptic books don’t seem to be in touch with the reality of their world and she is. I like that. I also love Ripley the zombie eating lion. I know…not very realistic, but for some reason it worked for me and I liked it. I didn’t really like the boy in this one. Didn’t get the romance angle didn’t see the point and not sure why it was in there. Didn’t make sense to me why she was attracted to him or why they got together in the first place. My quibble since all these teen books seem to have to have a romance angle. This was a fun zombie book and I am glad I finally got to read it.

10. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Cress by Marissa Meyer, read by Angie, on 02/08/2014

Cress is the third installment in the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder and Scarlet) and might just be my favorite so far. I loved how all of the characters from the previous books came together and how the final book (Winter) is set up. This is such a creative and fun series that it really sucks to have to wait a year between books.

Cress, our title character, is a young Lunar null who has been exiled to a satellite between Lunar and Earth. She is tasked with spying on Earth and reporting back to her mistress. However, Cress has become fascinated with everything Earthen and instead of turning Cinder and her band over to the Lunars she has decided to help them. Her rescue attempt goes awry however leaving Wolf injured, Scarlet kidnapped and Cress and Thorne falling out of the sky in a disabled satellite. Cinder is still determined to stop the wedding of Kai and Levana and take her place as Princess Selena.

I devoured this book in a day despite its size. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. I love how Meyer wove the traditional Rapunzel tale into Cress’s story. I really enjoyed her introduction to Earth and her infatuation with Captain Thorne. This book progresses the story of this series really well. Everyone moved forward and things are lined up perfectly for Winter, which I can’t wait to come out. I really can’t say enough about how much I love this series!

07. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 5 by Kiiro Yumi, read by Courtney, on 08/25/2013

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves–the Library Forces!

Iku is about to face her most difficult challenge–her parents are coming to visit the library where she works! When she joined the Library Forces, she told her parents that she was just going to be a librarian Now they might discover that she’s on the ultra-dangerous Task Force. Can her parents ever accept that she’s a library warrior?