Four Mini-Reviews to Start 2013

January 6th, 2013

I think it’s time we all acknowledge that I am the worst book blogger ever. I’m okay with that, because this is just a hobby, and I know a lot of my reviews are pretty squee-full because I only read books I think I’ll like and really only bother to write about things I love and want to share. And I only do that once every six months or so. Whoops! But rather than heading into 2013 staring at the books I’ve read, trying to remember enough to write full reviews, here are a slew of mini-reviews of stuff I read in 2012 and never got around to writing about. In three paragraphs or less each, I’ll be covering Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan, and Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier.
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We interrupt your irregularly-scheduled blogging to stump for a good cause.

October 26th, 2012

If you live in New York and are interested in kids’/YA lit, you probably already know about Books of Wonder. Located about midway between the Flatiron and Union Square, it’s the oldest, biggest, and best independent kids’ bookstore in the city. A perennial favorite of Time Out New York Kids readers and staff alike, Books of Wonder boats a vast collection of kids’ lit from picture books to YA, plus scads of signed bestsellers, rare editions, original children’s book art, and one of the biggest Oz collections in the world. It was also the body double for The Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail.

More importantly for our purposes, Books of Wonder holds frequent events: readings and signings where fans can meet their favorite authors and discover new ones. Your AV bloggers have attended countless ones over the years and met oodles of writers, including Holly Black, Libba Bray, Kristin Cashore, Cinda Williams Chima, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Karen Healey, Justine Larbalestier, David Levithan, Malinda Lo, Dean Lorey, Andy Marino, Ann M. Martin, Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, Cindy Pon, Robin Wasserman, and Scott Westerfeld.

Last night at this event, I picked up the last book in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series (OMG SO EXITED) and Libba Bray’s The Diviners; Becky scored The Diviners plus books from new-to-us authors Rachel Cohn and Sarah Crossan. And we’ll be returning on Sunday to meet Bruce Coville. (Don’t worry, I’m bringing smelling salts for Becky.)

Why am I telling you all this? Well, Books of Wonder is in financial trouble right now. The cute little cupcake bakery they were hosting went out of business, and long story short, BoW needs to raise $100,000 to stay open. They’ve started a campaign on indiegogo.com, and they’re already nearly a third of the way to their goal with 27 days to go, but it’s by no means a sure thing.

If you love kids’ lit, NYC, or just want to support an independent store where the staff loves their jobs and knows their stuff backwards and forwards, please consider donating. Aside from all the money I spend there on the regular, I’ll be kicking in a donation to help them meet their goal. If you can’t afford it right now, please signal boost via Twitter, Facebook, or your own blogs.

I grew up in a New York City that was full of independent businesses – mom and pop shops that were put out of business by major chains, which were themselves put out of business by Amazon. Books of Wonder is the kind of store we don’t see much of anymore, but it’s exactly what a childhood bookstore should be – bright, cosy, and dedicated to making reading a wonderful experience for young people. Please help them continue that tradition for the next generation.

The Spindlers

September 21st, 2012

By Lauren Oliver [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Liza and her little brother Patrick know all about the Spindlers – evil spider-creatures who live underground and steal souls. And when Patrick starts acting cold and distant, Liza knows right away that the Spindlers have gotten to him. To save her brother’s soul, she must descend to the world Below – a world of giant talking rats, fairy balls, treacherous trees, and lethal rivers – and face the Queen of the Spindlers in the heart of the Web of Souls.

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Devine Intervention

September 12th, 2012

By Martha Brockenbrough [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Jerome has been Heidi’s guardian angel ever since his own untimely death at 17. A chronic screw-up, Jerome’s been given the chance to redeem his soul and go to Heaven by looking after Heidi. But when the unthinkable happens, Jerome and Heidi have to figure out how to fix things before Jerome is condemned to Hell – and before Heidi’s soul is lost forever.

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Unison Spark

July 10th, 2012

By Andy Marino [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Unison is the first fully immersive social network, wildly popular and totally addictive. Mistletoe, living below the canopy that separates the haves and the have-nots, has never been in it; Ambrose, heir apparent to the Unison empire, has never wanted for anything. When the two are thrust together by violence and conspiracy, they discover a shared secret past – but even that is less terrifying than what the shadowy figures behind Unison have planned for their future.

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The Invisible Order #1: Rise of the Darklings

May 31st, 2012

By Paul Crilley [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Emily Snow’s life has been vastly disrupted ever since her parents disappeared, but even she’s not prepared to see tiny people battling in the streets of Old London Town. It seems that faeries are real, and they’re at war – with each other, and with a secret society of humans called the Invisible Order. Emily wants no part of it, but when her brother is kidnapped, she’ll need to team up with a piskie named Corrigan and her street thief friend Jack in order to end the war and get her brother back – if she can decide who to trust.

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Old School Review: Ender’s Game

May 22nd, 2012

A quick admin note: we’ve shifted some things around over here. It shouldn’t disrupt your reading in any way, but the review blog is now found at active-voice.net/books. Okay, carry on.

Ender's GameBy Orson Scott Card [LibraryThingGoodreads]

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. Brilliant young Ender Wiggins is the best solider the school has ever seen, with skills that make him a respected leader in the battle room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. But growing up in battle school isn’t easy, and Ender is under so much pressure he might snap at any moment… and if he does, will anyone else be able to stop the next alien attack?

(Massive unhidden spoilers behind the cut.)
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Breadcrumbs

April 11th, 2012

By Anne Ursu [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Imaginative daydreamer Hazel doesn’t really fit in anywhere – except with her next door neighbor Jack, who’s been her best friend since practically forever. That is, until he suddenly stops talking to her. Her mother tries to convince her that this is just something that happens, but then Jack disappears, the prisoner of the Snow Queen. Only Hazel knows enough about fairy tales to follow him into the woods – but even she’s not prepared for everything she finds there.

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Cold Cereal

January 29th, 2012

Cold Cereal by Adam RexBy Adam Rex [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Scottish Play Doe (please just call him Scott) has always been a little weird, what with his migraines that make him see really strange things, but everything in his life gets a lot weirder when his family moves to Goodborough (home of the GoodCo Cereal Company) and one of his hallucinations steals his backpack. And then it turns out he hasn’t been hallucinating at all: he can see things no one else can, and oh yeah, that includes cereal mascots that might actually be faeries… and they’re all on the run from GoodCo itself.

With the help of his new friends Erno and Emily (who have their own weird connection to GoodCo), plus Mick the leprechaun, Harvey the rabbit man, and a suspiciously hairy housekeeper named Biggs, Scott has to figure out what’s really going on at GoodCo… and how to save the world from one seriously sinister cereal company.

(Mild spoilers within.)
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Imaginary Girls

January 12th, 2012

Imaginary GirlsBy Nova Ren Suma [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. London might not be dead after all, Ruby is hiding deadly secrets, and something in the reservoir wants to find Chloe…

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