Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meg-A-Rae Episode 13: A Very VERY Special Halloween Episode

In this episode of Meg-A-Rae, Meg and I discuss Halloween! This is the fifth and final episode in our Spooktastic October Series - all month long we talk about ghosts, the paranormal, magic, and anything we consider scary!

Here we talk about Scary Stuff, wear fantastic hats, and find out that Rae's idea of "scary" is a little different! Meg reviews The Stand by Stephen King (I wonder if she had to put the book in the freezer...). Rae reviews a particularly scary story: The Twilight Saga, namely Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer. Hey, romance is scary, too! Be sure to stick around till after the credits where something...funny...happens!

Be sure to join us again next week when we don't review something scary! Yay November!

Meg-A-Rae Episode 12: A Very Special Ghostly Episode

In this episode of Meg-A-Rae, Meg and I discuss October and all things Spooktacular! This is the fourth episode in our Spooktastic October Series - all month long we'll be talking about ghosts, the paranormal, magic, and anything we consider scary!

Here we talk about Ghosts and find out that Rae has been possessed and likes pancakes! Meg reviews Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan (a local author!), about a man who's obsessed with an old movie star, a la Marilyn Monroe, and ends up being haunted by her! She also reviews Ghost Hunters, a non-fiction history of ghost hunting by Deborah Blum. Then Rae reviews The Graveyard Book by the brilliant Neil Gaiman (you can find my full review here).

Be sure to check out Episode 13 - the final episode in our Spooktastic October series! It seems appropriate that the Halloween episode takes place in the 13th episode...makes you wonder...

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Monday: What are you Reading?

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.

I've finally got back into the reading zone. For a long while, I just wasn't in the mood. I blame school, even though I've been finished with my Masters program for over a year. Still, I've been reading a ton lately and it's been great! So many fantastic new discoveries!

For more reviews, plus a lot of awesome, check out my blog posts with our Meg-A-Rae vlog episodes! The Adult Programming Librarian and I discuss various genres and other things we geek out on (like tea and Doctor Who), then we review some amazing Adult, Teen, and Tween titles!

What I'm reading now:
I just started Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) this weekend. So far, so awesome! It's kind of a present day Gothic. Kami lives in a small village in England called Sorry-in-the-Vale, where the Lynburn's estate towers menacingly over the town. The Lynburns have just returned after 17 years in America, and Kami, a budding journalist, wants the deets. And the fact that everyone in the town is acting all mysteriously silent on the issue just makes her even more curious. Add to that the fact that everyone thinks she's kinda weird because she's had an "imaginary friend" talk to her as long as she can remember...and then she meets him in real life - create some added excitement in her life. That, and someone's trying to kill her. I'm not terribly far into the book, but I can already tell that I'm going to love it!

What I've recently finished:
Sooooo, while I've been reading up a storm, I haven't really had the same drive to write my book reviews. I'm catching up, though, so here are the books that I've recently finished, both the one's I've reviewed in this blog and the one's I haven't had a chance to review quite yet!

A Spy in the House (A Mary Quinn Mystery #1), by Y.S. Lee - Four Stars!
Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan (of the previously mentioned Unspoken) - Four Stars!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1), by Laini Taylor - Four Stars for the audio book!
Hourglass (Hourglass #1), by Myra McEntire - Four Stars, and I can't wait to read the sequel!
Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura #1), by Jonathan Maberry - Four Stars...it would have been Five, but I don't like zombie or post-apocalyptic novels. That being said, it was really well written and definitely worth reading, whether it's your preferred genre or not!
Croak (Croak #1), by Gina Damico - Five Stars! Soooo good!

Here are the books that I've finished and have yet to review:
Scorch (Croak #2), by Gina Damico - Gina will break your heart to pieces, then immediately glue them back together so you think you're ok...until she does it again. I need book #3. NOW!
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1), by Lish McBride - this book is just as great as it's title! Can't wait to get my hands on Necromancing the Stone (I loved that movie...)
White Cat (Curse Workers #1), by Holly Black - two words: Magic Mafia.

Yeahhhh...there seems to be a bit of a paranormal theme going on with my reading lately. What can I say, I love it!

What I'm going to read next:
Oh boy. I don't know. I never know until I see it in front of me and have to have it. Books that are calling my name and may be next on the list include Timepiece (Hourglass #2), Necromancing the Stone (Necromancer #2), Mothership (Ever-Expanding Universe #1)and The Last Dragon Slayer (The Last Dragonslayer #1).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meg-A-Rae #11: A Very Special Magical Episode

In this episode of Meg-A-Rae, Meg and I discuss October and all things Spooktacular! This is the third episode in our Spooktastic October Series - all month long we'll be talking about ghosts, the paranormal, magic, and anything we consider scary!

Here we talk about Magic and find out that Meg has some real skills! Meg works her magic and then reviews Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (which I've also read and reviewed here) the story of two men that bring magic back to Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. She also talks about the ultimate magical series, your favorite and mine: Harry Potter! I discuss two books: Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, the story of two girls in Regency England who find themselves mixed up in a magical mystery (how's that for alliteration?!?). I then talk about White Cat (Curse Workers #1), by Holly Black, about a teen and a magic mafia!

Seriously, though, why didn't Meg get a letter to Hogwarts? She's a natural!

Stay tuned for next week's episode all about ghosts! I wonder if the ghost from the Paranormal Episode will make another appearance...

Meg-A-Rae #10: A Very Special Mystery Episode

In this episode of Meg-A-Rae, Meg and I discuss October and all things Spooktacular! This is the second episode in our Spooktastic October Series - all month long we'll be talking about ghosts, the paranormal, magic, and anything we consider scary!

Here we talk about Mysteries and live one of our own! What's that maid doing to my tea?!? Meg talks about our Mega-Awesome Mystery Dinner that will be happening this weekend! Woohoo! Then we talk about mysteries: I review Storm Front (Dresden Files #1), by Jim Butcher, an adult mystery series about private detective and magic wielder Harry Dresden as he tries to solve a missing person's case and a mysterious murder. I then review A Spy in the House (The Agency #1), by Y.S. Lee, about a girl who becomes a spy in 1800s England. Meg reviews Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden #1), by Charlaine Harris. Harris is the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series (aka True Blood), but this series doesn't have any vampires or werewolves, but there are librarians and plenty of MURDER!!!

Annnnnnd thennnn - shenanigans.

Don't worry, guys, I'm ok! For proof, you'll see me hale and hearty in our next episode: A Very Special Magical Episode! (Spoiler Alert: Meg is MAGICAL!!!)

Book Review: A Spy in the House

A Spy in the House: A Mary Quinn Mystery (The Agency #1)  ****
by Y.S. Lee

She spun about. "What is it?"
"Stay out of wardrobes!"

This book opens with Mary Lang on trial for theft. It's the mid-1800's England, and despite her young age and fairly minor crime, Mary is sentenced to hang. Instead of meeting that fate, though, she is rescued by a woman who runs a school for girls. This school provides an education for girls who wouldn't receive it otherwise, girls with no money and no hopes for a good future. They teach the girls skills that they'll need to provide for themselves in a world that treats women like property. Mary accepts this woman's offer to attend the school, and we jump several years into the future where she's now 17, has changed her last name to Quinn, and teaches at the school. However, she doesn't feel fulfilled by this role, she wants more, and the woman who saved her has a new offer. And this is where our story really begins.

Mary becomes a spy for The Agency, a sort of private-detective, under-cover operation run by women and employing women. Mary is hired as a lady's companion in the house of a suspected smuggler. She is supposed to keep an eye on things and make herself available to the real agent who has already been installed in the household, but of course, Mary can't keep from investigating. In the process, she meets a young man who's also investigating the family, and they decide to work together.

A Spy in the House is a great title for anyone who is looking for a historical mystery. I recently had a teen ask me that very question - this title would have been a perfect fit. However, we didn't have it in our collection at the time; I borrowed this from my local library system to test it out and see if my library should get it. And we did! We now have all three books in the series in our collection!

I really enjoyed this book; it was a great palate cleanser for the heart-break of The Hunger Games, and I sped through it. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series: The Body at the Tower.

Meg-A-Rae #9: A Very Special Paranormal Episode

In this episode of Meg-A-Rae, Meg and I discuss October and all things Spooktacular! This is the first episode in our Spooktastic October Series - all month long we'll be talking about ghosts, the paranormal, magic, and anything we consider scary!

Meg reviews Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach, a non-fiction book that scientifically and hilariously looks into the science of death and what happens after (dun dun dunnnnnn!). I review Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs, a story about a teen who finds out the scary and fantastical stories his grandfather used to tell him may actually be real (for my blog review and the official book trailer, check out my post here!)

And check out our next episode: A Very Special Mystery Episode (in honor of our Mystery Dinner program). Beware, there are shenanigans and a shifty maid!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review: Team Human

Team Human
By Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
“Also, vampires don't eat food. You never get to eat chocolate again. Ever. I'd rather die.”
Mel lives in New Whitby, a town founded by vampires. But Mel isn't a vampire, doesn't know any vampires, and has no desire to change either. And then a vampire comes to her school, dressed in a ridiculous astronaut-type suit to keep off the sun, and her BFF promptly falls in love with him. And once Cathy makes up her mind about something, she's not going to change it...not that Mel won't fight tooth and nail to break them up.

Mel is a great character - she loves her friends and will do anything for them. She believes she's the caretaker of their little group and is determined to set all things to rights (not considering that she may, in fact, be in the wrong). She's snarky and strong, and in the end, supports her friends and realizes that she can't make choices for them.

I really enjoyed this book. It's got mystery, snark, relationship issues, and great friendships. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Banned Books Week - Meg-A-Rae Style: Read the FORBIDDEN

It's Banned Books Week and we're celebrating in style! My coworker and friend, the MEGA-fantastic Miss Meg, and I have been working hard for this week and we have a lot to offer our patrons!

With the help of some of our friends and teens, we've wrapped about 50 books that have been banned, censored, and challenged over the years. Inside each book is a card explaining why the book was challenged and a bookmark proclaiming "Join the Banned!" We finished the whole shebang off with caution tape. When you come to the library, make sure to grab one of these books - you won't know what's inside until you leave the library, but it's a fun surprise - like Christmas!

The Teen/Tween/Youth books are wrapped in red.

Notice the FORBIDDEN in the background.
We firmly believe in everyones Freedom To Read, as well as Intellectual Freedom, which is why we think Banned Books Week is so important! Find out more about MPL's Banned Books Week in our MEGA-awesome Meg-A-Rae Episode! One of the books I talk about is John Green's Looking for Alaska: you can find my full review here.

Then watch our hi-larious dramatic reading of the first two books in Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson series:

Please ignore my facial expressions in both of these video screenshots. They are...unfortunate.
Make sure to stop by and celebrate with us this week and read the FORBIDDEN! If you'd like more information about Banned Books Week and books that have been banned or censored, check out the American Library Associations page on Banned Books Week! (The PDF links at the bottom will take you to the banned and censored books from 2004-2011.) Or come to the Teen Room (the YAZ) at the library and take a look at our booklist binder for these titles!

Meg-A-Rae Episode 6: A Very Special "Talk Like A Pirate" Episode

On this week's episode of Meg-A-Rae, Meg and I discuss piratey things! We are also lucky to have a surprise visit from MPL's own Sammy the Toucan, who fully embraces the pirating look, if not lifestyle.

In addition to buckling swashes, we also review the Pirate King and Bloody Jack!

Join us for our next episode about Banned Books Week!