Book Display Newsletter: Birds!

Celebrate spring with this fun April newsletter featuring birds!  New books, a fun craft and a delicious recipe!  If you’re looking for some bird books the next time you visit, check out our display on the Picture Book window (as pictured on the Newsletter).  We have everything from realistic stories about robins to silly stories about grumpy birds.

Enjoy!

monthly newsletter april 14 birds

Happy Reading!

::Kelly::

Audio Review: Half Moon Investigations

And…here’s another audio review!  It’s a mystery this time, from a popular author of fantasy adventure books.  I was actually expecting some kind of fantasy element in this one, but it’s a straightforward follow-the-clues-to-the-end mystery.  And a good one!

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Half Moon Investigations
By Eoin Colfer, Read by Sean Patrick Reilly
6 CDs, 7 hours, 17 minutes

half moon investigationsFletcher Moon is a private detective.  He’s seen it all, heard it all, is a little world-weary…and he’s only in seventh grade.  It’s not easy to train to be a detective at such a young age, but Fletcher got his degree online, from the Bernstein Academy in Washington, D.C..  Of course, he had to use his father’s name and ID to get certified, since there was an age requirement.  But Fletcher and his father share the same name and birthdate, so it was pretty easy to do.   He’s probably the only seventh grader in Ireland, maybe even the world, who has completed the requirements for the Bernstein private detective certification and received the highly prized silver private detective badge.  Fletcher has used his qualifications for good, solving cases and bringing justice to his fellow students at Saint Jerome’s Elementary and Middle School.

Because of his successful solve rate, Fletcher’s reputation has spread around the school.  So it’s no surprise when one of his elementary school informants comes to get him to help break up a wrestling match caused by a theft.  Herod Sharkey, the youngest member of the infamous Sharkey crime family, has been accused of stealing the fancy new computer organizer of Bella Barnes, the biggest girl in the elementary school.  There’s even a witness; April Devereaux, the wealthiest girl in the school (as well as the one most likely to wear pink.)  Fletcher follows the clues and finds the organizer.   It looks like an open and shut case until Red Sharkey, Herod’s older brother and Fletcher’s classmate, gets involved. In spite of the witness and the general reputation of his brother,  Red claims his brother is innocent and has been framed.  Red threatens Fletcher, and warns him to shut down his detective agency.

But then April Devereaux puts Fletcher on retainer to investigate the entire Sharkey family and their connection with some odd crimes at the school and around town.  Fletcher is at first reluctant, but then intrigued once he starts looking into the case.  Are the Sharkey’s really behind all the crimes?  Or will his trail lead to someone else?  Fletcher enlists his allies, his informants and even an enemy or two to follow the dangerous trail to a surprising conclusion…and a new view on detective work.

half moon investigations audioSean Patrick Reilly’s narration of Half Moon Investigations has the appropriately hard-boiled tone down for this first-person narration.  I loved his Irish accent too.  The “film noir” tone continues throughout the story, with musical breaks between the chapters.  The kids in the story all have slightly different voices, and the adults sound completely different.

The story is populated by a huge amount of characters with genuine character…crooks with hearts of gold, police inspectors who are more patient than a whole realm of teachers, and lots of kids with different ideas about school, life and honesty.

Half Moon Investigations was a fun CD to listen to in the car.  I enjoyed trying to follow the clues along with Fletcher, and worrying about the red herrings thrown in his path.  I have had several families tell me that Half Moon Investigations was their favorite CD ever.    I would recommend the book to readers in fourth through sixth grade.  The audio recording could be enjoyed by the whole family.  Adults will enjoy the Philip Marlowe-type narration, while younger listeners will just enjoy the mystery, the story and the colorful characters.

If you’re going on a trip for April vacation, both the e-book and the audio (e-audio?) are available through the Minuteman Digital Catalog.

::Kelly::

Another Audio Review!

It’s been busy here, with no time for blog entries!  Fortunately, there’s still been time to listen to audio books to (eventually) report back and review.   I’ve listened to six different books since the last audio entry, but I’m not sure all six will make it into this blog entry.  We’ll see.  So, without further ado…

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No Place For Magic
by E.D. Baker, Performed by Katherine Kellgren
6.25 Hours; 6 CDs

no place for magicEmma is the princess of Greater Greensward, but even more important, she’s also the Green Witch of Greater Greensward, in charge of all the magic use in the kingdom.  Not bad, for a sixteen-year-old former cursed frog. After attending the spur-of-the-moment swamp wedding of her Aunt Grassina and her beau, the former enchanted otter Haywood, Emma and her fiance, Prince Eadric of Upper Montevista decide that it’s time to clear up some issues with Eadric’s parents, King Bodamin and Queen Frazzela.  Although it pains Emma to admit it, it’s time for a visit to Upper Montevista.

The biggest issue that Emma is avoiding is Queen Frazzela’s hatred of any magic and magic users.  For Emma, who uses magic daily for everything from cleaning her room to weeding her garden to settling a dispute between warring factions of witches, the queen’s attitude is incomprehensible.  But she is the Queen, and Eadric’s mother.  And the two of them have been avoiding facing the King and Queen of Upper Montevista for months.  Adventures with dragons and curses are fun, but even Eadric has admitted that it’s time to start planning for their own wedding.

no_place_for_magic 2The first snag is when Emma’s mother, Queen Chartreuse, decides that she must join Emma.  Although the queen understands the need for magic, she really doesn’t approve of it any more than Eadric’s mother does.  So long, quick magic carpet ride!  Since the queen doesn’t think it’s proper for a princess to be traveling unchaperoned, she can’t even ride horseback with Eadric.  So it’s an uncomfortably long horse-drawn carriage ride for Emma, complete with maids, trunks of wardrobe, dressmakers, a trousseau, and the company of her mother.  And her grandmother, the formerly evil witch, her grandfather the ghost, her aunt, the royal fairies…pretty much everyone at the castle! Emma manages to leave quickly though, leaving the queen and her entourage to follow a few days behind.  In the carriage it will be just Emma, her friend Lily, a bat who can talk, and Shelton, a crab she’s taking care of for her mermaid friend.

The journey isn’t easy, and Emma is tempted to use her magic as they run into problems along the way.  Their arrival in Upper Montevista is no happy homecoming though, as they learn that Prince Eadric’s younger brother, Prince Bradston, has been kidnapped by trolls!  Emma and Eadric set off on a mission to rescue the prince, even though Emma isn’t sure that he hasn’t brought this catastrophe upon himself.  The problem is that, to satisfy both Queen Frazzela and Queen Chartreuse, Emma has promised not to use magic.  Even as a last resort.  What’s a Green Witch to do?  When it becomes apparent that there are trolls, dragons, vampires, sea monsters and other creatures after Emma and Eadric (not to mention the girls fluttering over and flirting with the prince, right under Emma’s nose) Emma has to make some difficult decisions about magic and friendship, not to mention allies, enemies and family.

no place for magic audioThe audio recording of No Place for Magic is absolutely, incredibly wonderful! Katherine Kellgren, the reader, has a huge range of voices, each with a different accent, speech pattern and tone.  I absolutely adored her vocal range and voices.  Not surprising!  When you look her up online, you will find that she has recorded over a hundred audio books, and she won the Audie Award for Best Voice in Young Adult and Fantasy from 2008 through 2011.  She’s a finalist for the 2014 Audie Award for the narration of a book that’s near and dear to my heart, Magic Marks the Spot, by local author Caroline Carlson.  In other words, she’s a shining star of audio books!  I would highly recommend anything Ms. Kellgren has narrated, not just No Place for Magic.

Although No Place for Magic is Book Four in The Tales of the Frog Princess, you don’t necessarily have had to read the previous volumes to enjoy this title.  Although the listener (or reader) would perhaps have a better idea of the background characters if they did read the previous books, No Place for Magic does stand well on its own.  It’s an enjoyable story with fairy tale characters, monsters and humor each playing a sizable role.  The stellar performance of Ms. Kellgren is a reason to listen as well.  There are currently eight volumes in the Tales of the Frog Princess series

No Place for Magic is written for third through sixth grade readers.  The audio recording would be enjoyable for the entire family, with good listeners as young as four or five.  Fans of fairy tales would love it.  It would make a perfect audio book for a family car ride!  It’s also available as an e-book through the Minuteman Library Network Digital Media Page.  If you’re going on vacation, it would be a fun pick to bring along.

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And that’s it.  I think I’ll try to write one review every day until I catch up with all the listening.  So…until tomorrow!

::Kelly::

 

 

 

Booklist — Daring Girls! (in Honor of our Very Special Author Visit)

Booklist—Girls who Adventure!

In celebration of our visit from Caroline Carlson, author of Magic Marks the Spot, here’s a booklist of girls who leave society behind to do their own thing!

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magic marks the spotCarlson, Caroline.  Magic Marks the Spot
Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle?   Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There’s only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.  But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

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The Other Books:
          (Many of them have sequels or are the first book in a trilogy or a series, so make sure you look for the other titles!)

Amaranth EnchantmentBerry, Julie.  The Amaranth Enchantment
When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive within minutes of each other  in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda’s course takes a surprising turn. With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past.

wrappedBradbury, Jennifer.  Wrapped
Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a 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 on the 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.  This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options. 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 unleashing mystery, international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.

kat incorrigibleBurgis, Stephanie.  Kat, Incorrigible
Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her late mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?

runaway princessCoombs, Kate.  The Runaway Princess
King Stromgard offers his daughter’s hand in marriage and half his kingdom to the prince who can rid the kingdom of evil and restore peace and prosperity to our realm.  But Princess Margaret is not your traditional princess. Meg firmly objects to her parents’ giving her away, and she certainly has no intention of remaining in the tower where she is sequestered. Instead, she sets out to win the contest herself by enlisting the help of her good friend, her loyal maid, an eager guardsman, a young wizard, and a tenacious witch. Does Meg find her distinct place in the kingdom, or is she doomed to fulfill her royal duties?

bewtching seasonDoyle, Marissa.  Bewitching Season
In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t. Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for “coming out” is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn’t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.  YA

howls-moving-castleJones, Diana Wynne.  Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl–and herself–than first meets the eye.

alex and the ironic gentlemanKress, Adrienne.  Alex and the Ironic Gentleman 
A student at the prestigious Wigpowder-Steele Academy, Alex is often mistaken for a boy because of her haircut, but that’s okay—she has an excellent sense of humor.  As much as she enjoys learning, she doesn’t enjoy anything else about school. Luckily for Alex, the new school year brings an exciting new teacher. Mr. Underwood makes lessons fun and teaches her how to fence. But Mr. Underwood has a mysterious family secret and not everyone is glad he has come to school. When the pirates of a ship called The Ironic Gentleman kidnap him, Alex sets off on a journey to rescue him, along the way encountering a steady stream of hilarious and colorful characters!

piraticaLee, Tanith.  Piratica 
Artemesia is the daughter of a pirate queen, and she’s sick of practicing deportment. Escaping from her school, she hunts up her mother’s crew and breezily commands them out to sea in a leaky boat. Unfortunately, Art’s memories of her early life may not be accurate-her seasick crew are actors, and Art’s infamous mother was the darling of the stage in a pirate drama. But fiery Art soon shapes her men into the cleverest pirate crew afloat. And when they meet the dread ship Enemy and her beautiful, treacherous captain, Goldie Girl, Art is certain that the Seven Seas aren’t large enough for two pirate queens!  Art will have the battle of her life and the race for the most fabulous treasure in pirate lore. YA

flora segundaWilce, Ysabeau.  Flora Segunda
Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall–the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler–and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever. Flora has to deal with soldiers, Dainty Pirates, amazing hounds, magical potions and a magical butler who may be her undoing.

dealing with dragons (2)Wrede, Patricia.  Dealing with Dragons
The youngest of seven beautiful princesses in the kingdom of Lindenwall, Princess Cimorene wants more out of life than to be the wife of a boring, proper prince. Tired of her sedate existence, she takes up fencing, cooking, Latin, even magic. But each endeavor is ended with the admonition that “princesses just don’t do that.” Faced with marriage, she decides it’s time to find some adventures of her own and runs away, ending up as the dragon Kazul’s princess, and finding adventure, danger, and challenges galore.  It turns out that the life of a dragon’s princess is exactly what Cimorene needed!

mairelon the magicianWrede, Patricia.  Mairelon the Magician
Kim doesn’t hesitate when a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into the travelling magician’s wagon in search of a silver bowl. Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. Growing up a waif in the dirty streets of London has schooled her in one hard lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But there is something odd about this magician. He isn’t like the other hucksters and swindlers that Kim is used to. When he catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for–until he suggests she become his apprentice. Kim wonders how tough it could be faking a bit of hocus pocus. But Mairelon isn’t an act. His magic is real.

sorcery and cecelia (2)Wrede, Patrica & Stevermer, Caroline.  Sorcery & Cecelia
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season. For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There’s also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he’s not doing a very good job of it–so just what are his intentions?) And then there’s Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is. Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. Strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . .if only they weren’t having so much fun!

Weston Public Library
March 2014
Kelly Wood

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And there you have it–a list of some remarkably determined young women!  After reading Caroline’s book, try one of these others and get lost in a magical adventure!

And don’t forget to join us tonight and hear Caroline talking about her writing experience.caroline magic marks the spot3

Open Book: March 14, 2014

OPEN BOOK: AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER FOR
TEENS 
from the Weston Public Library

Open Book is an email newsletter of book recommendations for teens. It is sent twice a month and includes book excerpts in six teen fiction categories (realistic fiction, historical fiction, action/ adventure/fantasy/science fiction, romance, the buzz: middle school, and the buzz: high school). If you wish to subscribe to Open Book, please email smitchill@minlib.net or sign up in person at the Youth Services desk at the Library. Open Book email newsletters are also archived here on our blog.

Here are the picks for this week…

Don’t forget to click on the title to be connected to our catalog where you can

-Request the book

-Read reviews of the book from multiple sources

Realistic Fiction

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

Read an excerpt

Read reader reactions to this bestselling novel

Historical Fiction / Nonfiction

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

Presents an account of the 1944 civil rights protest involving hundreds of African-American Navy servicemen who were unjustly charged with mutiny for refusing to work in unsafe conditions after the deadly Port Chicago explosion.

Read an excerpt from National Book Award Finalist Steve Sheinkin

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Half Bad by Sally Green

In modern-day England, where witches live alongside humans, Nathan, son of a White witch and the most powerful Black witch, must escape captivity before his seventeenth birthday and receive the gifts that will determine his future.

Read an excerpt

Watch the book trailer

Romance

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.

Read an excerpt

Buzz: Middle School

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielson

In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king’s long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.

Read an excerpt

Buzz:  High School

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

See what book made John Green say “Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.” The New York Times Book Review

 Read an excerpt

 

Getting Ready for February Vacation…

Don’t let the snow fool you!   Spring is coming!  Visit the library during your vacation week, and get out a book about spring.  Or the Olympics, or a great book on CD for a car ride, or a craft book to keep you busy…  We have all kinds of great things for kids and teens at the library!

Including the following programs during vacation week:

February vacation programs 14 February Vacation movie

 

 

So don’t forget to visit!

::Kelly::