Author Archive

2013 Thumbs Up! Award Winner

Monday, November 18th, 2013

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen The votes have been tallied and a winner has been announced!  The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen received the top Thumbs Up! award for 2013. This is a phenomenal book dealing with bullying and loss.  Henry’s family is shattered after his brother Jesse leaves the house with a hunting rifle. The book is about Henry coming to terms with everything that happened to his brother and his family and how he slowly lets people into his life. This book already has received numerous awards including the 2013 Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year. A great read for a reluctant middle or high-school reader!

There were three additional books chosen for honor nominations:  Every Day by David Levithan, How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller and The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.

Every Day       How to Lead a Life of Crime       The Last Dragonslayer

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Aviation History Month

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

onesummerNovember is Aviation History month — it has been 110 years since the Wright Brothers first flight!

If you need a great audiobook for your upcoming holiday trip, be sure to check out One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson.  While the book covers much more than aviation, it does have extensive information on the early aviation field as well as Lindbergh’s famous 1927 flight from New York to Paris.  Plus Amelia Lostthe audiobook is read by the author, which adds to the audio experience.

For the kids, try Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming.  Amelia has been missing for 74 years but her legend lives on.  This book covers the life of Amelia as well as interesting sidelines about the history of aviation.


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Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Teen books have always been heavily featured in the movies and this year is no exception!  Here are a few great books to check out BEFORE they are released next month.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is set to be released on November 1.  This science fiction thriller centers around Andrew “Ender” Wiggins who is selected for an elite military training course.  Ender becomes a leader in the zero gravity mock battles but struggles with loneliness for his sister and the darkness inside himself that could force him down the path of his older brother.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will be released on November 8.  This is a beautifully written historical fiction set during World War II.  Liesel is fostered to a couple living just outside Munich and is caught up in the turbulent events in Germany during World War II.

Finally, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins will be released November 22.  This is the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy (2 of 4 planned movies).  Katniss won the Hunger Games but her fight isn’t over yet.  Forced to take an emotional tour of the districts, Katniss tries to hold off a rebellion that already is bubbling over.

endersgame          bookthief          catchingfire


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Spooky Reads for Halloween

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Let’s start October off right by listing some spooky reads for teens:Happy_JPG

An oldie but goodie — and a personal favorite – is Garth Nix‘s Abhorsen series (Currently it is a trilogy, but a fourth book is set to be published next year). The first book is Sabriel, which introduces the Old Kingdom magic and the Abhorsen, a powerful person who controls the bells and the gates of death.  When the Abhorsen goes missing, Sabriel will journey through the kingdom trying to find him, uncovering some dark secrets along the way.

If you like vampires but want something a little different, try The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly BlackWhen a rogue vampire started contaminating humans with the vampire virus, whole cities were walled off to keep the epidemic contained. When Tana wakes up the morning after a party to find everyone dead except her ex-boyfriend and a vampire who was left chained, she decides to enter Coldtown with the two boys. But not everything is as it seems on the video streams, and Tana might not make it out alive.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is for those who like creepy ghost stories. Cos Lowood kills ghosts, following in his father’s footsteps. But Anna, the 16-year old-ghost in Thunder Bay, has killed everyone who enters her house. Can Cos take care of the problem without loosing his heart or his head? Be sure to check out the sequel, Girl of Nightmares.

Sabriel                 The Coldest Girl in Coldtown                  Anna Dressed in Blood


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Author Tom Clancy Dies at Age 66

Friday, October 4th, 2013


Author Tom Clancy died unexpectedly on Tuesday at the age of 66.  He was born in 1947 and read naval history instead of the standard children’s literature.  He attempted to join the Army R.O.T.C. but was told he was nearsighted.  The accuracy of his descriptions of submarines and weaponry came from his readings of technical manuals and interviews with experts.

Tom Clancy published his first book, The Hunt of Red October, in 1984.  This book was the first work of fiction published through the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis. Clancy approached them after being rejected by major publishers.  The paperback book was picked up by Berkley Publishing.  He went on to publish many other books featuring Jack Ryan, with the final one, Command Authority, to be published December 3.  A number of Clancy books became blockbuster movies, including The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.



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Celebrating Comics and Graphic Novels

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

September 25 marks National Comic Book Day, so in honor of that event, here are some graphic novel recommendations. First up is Avatar: The Last Airbender by Gene Luen Yang. If you watched the movies and want to know what happens next, these are great additions to the story.  Currently there is a trilogy titled The Promise and a second trilogy, The Search, with the last book due out at the end of October.

Next up is for anyone who loves the mythology genre, like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. George O’Connor’s Olympians series is a great introduction to Greek mythology. So far there are five books, each one featuring a different god: Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. The books also feature brief summaries of other gods who were mentioned in the story but don’t have their own book.

The final recommendation is for Eric Shanower’s adaptations of Baum’s Oz books. This book series is a visually pleasing way to experience the wonderful world of Oz. The first Wonderful Wizard of Oz book is the most familiar because of the movies, but this series covers other L. Frank Baum’s Oz books as well.

avatar   olympians   oz


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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

steelheartIf you are very lucky and read a LOT, a book comes along that really grabs your attention and makes you beg for the next one!  Well, Brandon Sanderson’s soon to be released Steelheart is one of those books for me.  From the opening bank scene to the Reckoner’s hideout to the final battle, this book delivers the action, friendship, mystery and fight to the death!

Ordinary people started developing superpowers after Calamity came to the skies, but that type of power brought out the worst and the average person suffered under the iron fists.  David witnessed his father’s murder when Steelheart exerted his power over the city, destroying all other Epics who challenged him.  But David has devoted the last ten years of his life to studying the local Epics, especially Steelheart and now he wants to join the Reckoners, the only resistance group willing to take down Epics.

What he discovers will change the course of his life and his city forever.


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The European Reading Experience

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Although I have never been to Paris, I have visited through some great books. Just recently I finished reading Just One Day by Gayle Forman.  Although the book starts out in Stratford-upon-Avon, Paris is the real destination. Allyson’s parents give her a tour of Europe but nothing is like she imagined from the movies she has seen. Until Stratford, where she meets a Dutch boy, Willem, who takes her on a whirlwind journey to Paris for just one day. Luckily the next book, Just One Year, is from Willem’s point of view and will be released in October.

While reading Just One Day, I was reminded of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. The similarity was partly from breaking out of shells and experiencing life along with the travel aspect. Ginny’s aunt bequeaths to her 13 little blue envelopes and sends her around Europe following the directions given. The sequel is The Last Little Blue Envelope, which gives you a hint of what happens at the end of the first book.

And to end on Paris, I have to mention another of my favorite books, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Anna’s father sends her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. She isn’t thrilled until she meets Etienne St. Clair, who is gorgeous and funny but has a girlfriend. A light-hearted but engaging read.

                 Just One Day         13 little blue envelopes            Anna and the French Kiss


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Author Elmore Leonard Dies At Age 87

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Well-known Michigan author Elmore Leonard died at his home in Bloomfield Township on Tuesday at the age of 87. Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns for magazines in 1951.  60 years later he was still publishing a book a year because “it’s fun.”  In 2009, Elmore Leonard was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the American chapter of PEN.  Last year, he was presented with an award for distinguished contribution to American letters from the National Book Foundation.


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Teen Manga for the Beginner

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Interested in Manga but not sure where to start? Here are three teen-recommend titles for you to try:inuyasha

A great place to start is InuYasha by Rumiko Takahashi. This is an easy manga to read and understand, as long as you start at the beginning, which is the “back” of the book. There are 56 books in the complete series, so if you really like it there are a lot of books to read! “Kagome, a modern-day high school girl, is pulled into Japan’s ancient past! There her destiny is linked to a dog-eared half demon named Inuyasha.

pichipichiThe second recommendation is for Pichi Pichi Pitch by Michiko Yokote & Pink Hanamori.  This one is probably more appealing to girls due to the mermaid and romance. “Lucia is the new girl at school. She and her sister run a public bath that’s all the rage. When Lucia meets a terrific-looking surfer boy, there’s just one little problem: Lucia is a mermaid and a princess on an important mission to save the seven seas from an evil force.” There are currently seven books published.onepiece

Last but not least is One Piece by Eiichiro Oda. This is another large series, with 67 volumes. “As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally gained the power to stretch like rubber… at the cost of never being able to swim again!  Years later, Luffy sets off in search of the “One Piece,” said to be the greatest treasure in the world.”


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