Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2011 Sequoyah Books

With the summer on its way it is time to introduce some of the 2011 Seqouyah books. The books on the list this year are smokin' (just like ole Sequoyah himself), which is kind of disappointing because they will have to beat out Hunger Games to win and I think that's going to be hard to do. With that being said, I was impressed by Paper Towns  by John Green (one of my favorite authors on the planet), The Compound  by S.A. Bodeen was twisted and came with a surprising punch at the end, Burn by Suzanne Phillips was a tough and emotional read, Shift by Jennifer Bradbury was entertaining and made me want to do some bike traveling(and possibly friend losing), and Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman makes me smile just thinking about it (Antsy Bonano is one of my favorite characters of all time). I haven't got to all that I want to read from the lists but it is a great list to snag ideas from if you don't know where to start.

Check out the Intermediate and High School masterlists @ you can also find reviews of some of these books on the same site if you go to the side bar labels and click on Sequoyah2011 (or just click here if that's too much for your brain to handle, well not here exactly but on the Sequoyah2011 would work). 

(BTW despite the pipe in the mouth of our good buddy, smoking is not encouraged by anyone associated with this blog, the Sequoyah list makers, anyone who publishes the list, people who like books on the list, or by anyone who doesn't find that appealing. If you do find yourself with this habit already, just ask yourself "does Sequoyah look happy with the pipe in his mouth?" I don't think he does, I think that would make him look like Popeye, who also smoked but ate spinach as well.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Enemy: Intense, Disgusting, and Awesome

You killed your parents, or at least watched them die. Everyone has lost parents and the “grownups’ that are left aren’t much for giving advice and taking care of you, unless taking care of you means tearing you up into nice little juicy steaks. Party time, freedom, and fun have run their course and now it’s survival time. Everyone over the age of sixteen has come down with a mysterious illness that leaves them rotting alive and hungry. Main course: kids (and maybe an occasional dog.) The kids aren’t going down like that though and are determined to survive and fight back. After finding themselves drawn to a supermarket called Waitrose, a diverse group of survivors dig deep to become the family that they all lost. But, the losses aren’t over. Resources dwindle and they have to look for options outside their area forcing them to take an offer for refuge at Buckingham Palace. The journey is not easy and opens them up to threats and questions beyond what the grownups have thrown their way.

The Enemy was described to me as “disgustingly awesome,” and I would have to second that. I really liked this book. Kids aren’t stupid and this book draws on that point again and again. This is ultimately a story about people pulling together in the face of extreme adversity and making it work. It’s also a story about people, so with that you get lots of conflict, you get mistrust, you get deception, manipulation, kindness, caring, and love. Oh, and you get the people attacking other people to eat them, not metaphorical. This book keeps rolling right on to the final page. I was left satisfied but still thinking about where it would go next. Charlie Higson has done a tremendous job reminding us of the resiliency of kids to carry on even when there seems to be no hope. He’s also done a tremendous job creeping me out. This book is a recommend for everyone who enjoys reading and is not squeamish. Hey even if you are a bit of a softy, go ahead and give it a whirl. It’s a bit like going to the haunted house because you know it will mess with your head.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Rise of Renegade Xcellent

Are your parents supervillians or superheroes? If you are anything like me or Damien Locke then your parents might be both. Sixteen year old Damien Locke wants to be a badass from top to bottom and has set out to follow in the footsteps of his supervillian mom, the Mistress of Mayhem. Thing is, there might be a small problem standing in the way of everything he has planned. He seems to give a rats@$$ about other people. Damien moves in with his dad, a superhero, and plots to prove he is the supervillian he always dreamt to be. And they live happily ever after. The End…. Yeeaaah, don’t think so. Let’s just say, things don’t go according to plan.

Come on, admit it, doesn’t The Rise of Renegade X, sound a bit ummmm corny? I had a funny feeling that was the expected result but you just never know. I knew that if I was right, then this book had to be good. I guess I was right because the book was great. Superheroes and supervillains are the package for an intelligent way of talking about families. We all have families and most days we just live with them and other days we would rather not. Well, like many teens, Damien Locke has two families and eeeuuuhhh they don’t get along. Actually he has his mom, who he lives with, and his dad and family, who he just met. Anyway, this book is about Damien trying to work this out and trying to figure out who he is while dealing with a thumbprint issue (read the book). This book has a very Neal Shusterman The Schwa Was Here or Antsy Does Time feel to it. Damien is the kind of friend that you blindside and knock on the ground because he tripped you in front of the girls and then you laugh and run around calling eachother names. Fun to read. The Rise of Renegade X  is a definite read if you like snarky teens that manage it with a smile, add in a helping of superpowers and gadgets and it’s yummy.   This is just the beginning for author Chelsea Campbell. That’s good for us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zombies vs. Unicorns GOOOOAAAAL! (Limited Edition Bound Manuscript)

Killer unicorns and romantic zombies.  This anthology was full of surprises on both sides of the debate. With an all-star cast of authors writing for both sides this book did not disappoint.  Writing for Team Zombie was: Libbay Bray, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan, and Scott Westerfeld. Writing for Team Unicorn was: Kathleen Duey, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik, and Diana Peterfreund.  The stories alternate between Zombie and Unicorn and each is prefaced by point and counterpoint by editors Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalastier (Team Zombie) trying to make their case for which team wins with each story. In the end I think we the readers are the real winners.

This book became the first anthology that I finished in one non-stop run. I was surprised at how deep into each story I was pulled in such a short amount of time. I usually enjoy the books that allow me time to hang out with the characters but these are just great stories that take you there from the start.  I have to admit that I still have a hard time with taking killer unicorns very seriously, but I’m also am not looking for any killer unicorns to make a believer out of me.  In the early part of the book I was ready to hand the match to Team Zombie but there were some pretty great Unicorn stories that brought it within reach for Team Unicorn. They both finished strong with The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey for Team Unicorn and Prom Night by Libba Bray for Team Zombie. In the end I still have to hand it to Team Zombie. At the end of the day I think I connect better with the kissing undead than the killer Rainbow Brite. This book is a great read and will be a great read for those who find it hard to get into books. This is an excellent book if you are a YA fan and it won’t disappoint. Zombies vs. Unicorns is set to release September 21, 2010.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Girl Parts (advance reading copy)

Charlie is the natural outsider. David is the natural insider. They are both alone and “disconnected.” The treatment for both,  a companion.  Companions are hot girly bots programmed to help those with “dissociative disorder” connect to something in a real and meaningful way, and Rose is the hottest of hot. When David’s companion goes AWOL she finds herself drawn to Charlie and the connection changes both of them forever.

This book was an interesting read. It definitely feels written for a girl audience but I think that some guys would find it at least entertaining considering it was written by a guy. Guys may find a reflective mirror for themselves in the character of Rose as we see how the guys interact with her and how it affects her. The book was an alright read. If you are a reader that doesn’t mind reading the age old girl loses boyfriend, girl connects with another guy, girl is a cyborg programmed to like the other guy then this is the book for you. Girl Parts by John M. Cusick will be released 8/2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Being born with a skill that is beyond your control can be quite scary especially if that skill leads you to kill. Katsa is a graceling, therefore, she would have been born to be a feared outsider if not for the fact that she is a niece to the king. Instead, Katsa embarks on a journey that forces her to discover herself and use her grace to change the way things are.

Katsa was a difficult character to connect with. She seemed invincible, like she could do whatever she wanted and nobody could stop her. Katsa seems to have little weakness and can be too cold to outsiders leaving you feeling like an outsider looking in. That being said, the book was entertaining. This is a book that many have liked and many who have not read it yet will like it as well. It has a few romantic moments (warm together moments) that felt as if they were thrown in to keep things soft, but they could have easily been left out without changing the story. If you are a book reader and enjoy a decent fantasy read then dig in, if you have other things to read then put it on the back burner but dont forget about it because you will eventually want to give it a shot.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fat Vampire (advance reading copy) by Adam Rex

Short, fat, and fifteen for eternity. Doug Lee is stuck in the worst of adolescence when he becomes a vampire. Not only is Doug in the middle of trying to find out who he is, but now has to figure out what it means to be a vampire. The action of the adventure kicks in when Doug becomes the vampire being chased on the Vampire Hunters, a basic cable TV show fighting to keep their ratings up.

This book is smirkingly funny. There were parts where a chuckle was necessary but the whole idea is funny in itself. This guy is fifteen and is a likable guy who now finds that his life has become a little more complicated by being a vampire. Life always gets more difficult when you have to wear a vinyl poncho to go out in the sun. This book has its moments but none that will bring a tear to your eye in the sad sort of way. Adam Rex is a funny guy and his addition to the Vampire genre is a break from the norm. This book won’t take you to deep places in your soul, but it is a read that will keep you entertained.Fat Vampire is set to release 7/26/10.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beautiful Darkness (advance reading copy)

Didn’t like the way that Beautiful Creatures ended? It’s not over. Ethan, Link, Lena and friends are back and better than ever.

Beautiful Darkness meets and beats the first book in the series and sets you up for more. The story and characters go deeper and darker in this book set to release 10/26/10. The only problem I have with this book is that I have to wait so long for the next.

Beautiful Creatures reminds me not to judge a book by its cover (or any of the other girly stuff on the book).


Dreams in the middle of the night of a strange girl, a creepy song that suddenly shows up on your Ipod and then just as suddenly disappears, waking up from your dreams with smells on your close that could have only come from your experiences in your dreams, the strange girl from the dreams showing up at school one day out of nowhere. Ethan thought his small little rural town of Gatlin, South Carolina, was a place where nothing changes and only “the stupid and the stuck” lived there. When Lena Shows up it turns his quaint small town life upside-down.

The first book of the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Creatures, unexpectedly pulled me forward from beginning to end. From the title, cover design, and even the quote on the back “some loves are meant to be....others are cursed” just seemed to say, “If you are a guy, keep out.” I’m glad I didn’t heed the warning because I would have missed out.

The romance stuff is always done in a way that guys could relate to even if we couldn’t admit it. Ethan struggles with understanding girls and the crazy things they do just like we do. There is plenty of action, some “crack a smile” funny parts, and there is that heavy dose of paranormal.
I have to admit that this book has moved into my top ten even though it’s hard to admit it with such a seemingly girly vibe. If you are a guy that is not afraid to admit he likes reading, then you are a guy that needs to give this book a shot.