Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Title: rainforest
Author: Thomas Marent
Location: 577.34 MAR 2010 (in the adult area)
Level: adult

rainforest is a DK book that was reviewed in the Oprah magazine O. As with any DK book the pictures are very important and these are great pictures! The pictures start with a few panoramic views. You'll see animals you recognize and some you don't. In the Arms and Armor section you might be left asking, "What's that?" See if you can find all the critters hiding in the Deception section. There are a few pictures of creatures being eaten by another and mating, but none are graphic in any way. Lots of colorful frogs, snakes and butterflies. Also a full spread sequence series of a cicada coming out of it's shell. Check out the bats living inside a leaf on page 323,or the fantastic shot of a strangler fig on page 160 (Guess how it got that name.) or maybe say eehhh when you see the millipede on page 344. This photographer definitely spent numerous hours in the rainforest. Wonder how many mosquito bites he has? Just check out the pictures of other animals that have to endure mosquitoes too.

Bottom Line: This book has amazing pictures of all kinds of rainforest animals and plants (mostly animals) with just a few sentences about each picture. There is a page or two of text at the beginning of each section. Read it if you want to learn more or just skip it and read the captions as you enjoy the pictures. This book is worth the trouble of placing a hold to see it. You'll want to share it with friends or family so you can eeww and wow together. And yes parents this adult book really is ok for children of all ages.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Collins

This review contains no spoilers for Mockingjay but may contain details from the two previous books in the Hunger Games series. If you have not yet read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, skip ahead to The Bottom Line.

Mockingjay picks up about one month after the events of Catching Fire. With her home destroyed, Katniss resides in District 13 with the few refugees that survived the Capitol's bombing of District 12. President Coin and the rest of the leaders of District 13 are managing the rebellion and need Katniss to be their Mockingjay, the symbol and hope of the rebellion. Unfortunately, the physical and emotional damage Katniss suffered in the arena coupled with her guilt over the fate of Peeta has left her emotionally unstable and unwilling to be used as a pawn for yet another cause, however noble. As the rebellion takes hold in more districts and her fellow citizens fight and die brutal deaths in massive numbers, will Katniss give them the strength they need to continue their struggle? Or will she retreat from the spotlight, unwilling to be the cause of more death and destruction?

I find it difficult to discuss this book, not only for fear of giving away any of the major spoilers, but also because reading this book was so emotionally draining. While the first two books set up the country of Panem, its controlling government and the brutality of the games, Mockingjay introduces the reader to the horrors of war and the atrocities both sides, of any war, are willing to commit. Make no mistake, the blood runs freely in Mockingjay. Even the characters that are spared remain forever altered by the experience. The book has a lot of action and many characters die making it impossible to put down but difficult to read at times.

I've heard a few complaints about Katniss in this book but I thought her character was written perfectly. I got frustrated with her at times, but her actions are consistent and understandable in the face of all the ruthless brutality she encounters. The other characters, both from the first two books, and the new ones introduced in this installment, added a lot of interest to the story. I enjoyed seeing how their stories all played out, even if I was upset about some of their fates. I particularly loved getting a different perspective on Finnick and Prim; I just fell in love with both of them in this book.

The Bottom Line: This was a great ending to a unique and amazing series! Even though Mockingjay was extremely bloody and depressingly sad it was a magnificent ending to the series. I think fans will love it! If you have not yet read the Hunger Games trilogy, it is truly one of the best for both teens and adults, so give it a try!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maze Runner

Title: Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Location: YA Dashner
Age: Young Adult

Thomas, with no memories of anything, is delivered to a controlled guarded place called the Glade. The only residents are teenage boys. Everyday these boys are trying to stay alive, with the supplies given weekly, as they attempt to solve the massive maze. Thomas soon becomes a runner for the maze and things start happening - including a mysterious girl being delivered with a message that she's triggered the "end".

Bottomline: This was an excellent story that kept me on edge! It has a slow start as Thomas tries to get his bearings, and figures out who is friend or foe. But, once the climax started, I couldn't put it down! I'm anxious to read the sequel because the book definitely leaves you hanging!

Here is the book trailer:

Friday, August 20, 2010


Title: Evil?
Author: Timothy Carter
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Carter

Stuart is a gay teen who lives in a small, conservative town and attends church every Sunday with his mom, older sister, and younger brother. No one had any problem when Stuart came out a few years prior so he is surprised one afternoon when his brother walks in on him in the shower committing the biblical "Sin of Onan" (err.......having a good time by himself) and all hell breaks loose. Now the town, fueled into a frenzy by some seriously misdirected fallen angels, is out for Stuart's blood and will stop at nothing to ensure that Stuart and other "spillers" never committ their sin again. Stuart teams up with the local priest, Father Reedy, his dimwitted friend (and current crush), Chester, and the demon Fon Pyre to break the angel's hold over the people and make the town safe for "spillers" and all other people everywhere.

As you can probably tell from the description above, this is meant to be an amusing, farcical fantasy tale. Although it can be quite clever at times, the writing is not amazing and the storyline fairly predictable. Stuart shows a little growth throughout the story, but he is relatively flat and one-dimensional. The primary purpose of this book is to entertain and to make you laugh, and it accomplishes this goal very well! I laughed out loud throughout much of the book. Stuart has an authentically sarcastic, teen voice that successfully kept various situations comical when they would have otherwise been a little dark. Althought the supporting characters were all fairly undeveloped, they succeed in adding interest to the storyline. I, personally, was a big fan of Fon Pyre.

The Bottom Line: I'm a little ashamed to say it, due to the lack of good writing, but I really enjoyed this book! Everyone loves to have a good laugh and this book definitely accomplished that. With it's humor and short length, it is perfect for reluctant readers, particularly boys. Even though Stuart's sexual preference is never really an issue in the book, teens who want a good GLBTQ read or a different take on the typical fantasy novel should check this one out.