Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrate Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week (theme: Turn Dreams into Reality) is October 12-18, 2014, but we're celebrating it all month long! 

Stop by the Teen Desk beginning October 1, 2014 and pick up a Teen Read Month activity card and booklet. Complete it by October 31 and be entered in a drawing to win special prizes.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What If, by Randall Munroe

What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe, is pretty much the most awesome book I've ever encountered.

Know this about me: Mythbusters is my favorite show, which, I suppose, makes me a nerd/geek/dork of the highest degree...but a sort of hip nerd/geek/dork, since the Mythbusters show still has a certain amount of cool associated with it (but for how long since Kari, Grant, and Tory are no longer going to be a part of the show?). This book is Mythbusters--and then some. In fact, What If attempts to use science (hypothetical, of course) to answer all the questions and quandaries the Mythbusters crew couldn't tackle because nearly all actual experiences would result in global annihilation...or, at the very least, certain and painful death.

So... what would happen if you sealed a running hair dryer up in an airtight box?

Or created an actual periodic table where each block was actually made out of the element it represented?

Or placed a nuclear bomb into the heart of a volcano in attempt to stop it from erupting? 

Or strapped C4 (see any Mythbusters episode) to a boomerang?

Or attempted to change the color of the moon's surface with 5 billion of the most powerful lasers in existence?

Of course these are just a select few of the things to ponder in this nearly 300 page book. There are, of course, silly questions as well. My favorite having to do with the actual energy output of Yoda's Force (I told you I was a nerd). And ones that would have far less devastating results (but still, you probably shouldn't try this at home).

Enhancing most Q & As are stick figure illustrations. Simplistic, but funny...and just graphic/accurate enough to drive the point home. 

So if you've ever wondered what will happen to your Facebook account after you die...or if it's possible to create a tornado by swinging a heavy object in a circle really fast (think the Thor movie)... or what would happen if all your DNA suddenly disappeared...

If you've ever wondered any of that, this book is for you.

Or if you've ever pondered the mysteries of the universe, this book is for you.

Heck, this book is probably for you anyway. Just check it out. --AJB

Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll

Don't go into the woods. There are things waiting there. Strange things. Monstrous things. Hungry things. Things waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting traveler foolish enough to wander off the path.

Artist and writer Emily Carroll's Through the Woods is a collection of five deliciously creepy stories about things that happen to those who dare to venture into the woods. 

A young woman trapped in her house during a snowstorm does the only thing she can: Wait for the thing that took her sisters to return for her

After marrying a wealthy man, a new bride learns too late the awful truth her husband's last wife. A fate that will soon be hers as well?

Two brothers enter the woods to stop a monster that has been terrorizing their village. One brother comes out. The monster is not what the reader first believes.

Two young women make a living fooling people into thinking they can communicate with the dead (they can't really). Then one of them really does become haunted. 

A young girl, home from school for the summer, visits her brother and his pretty new fiancee in their pretty new home. Then the girl wanders into the woods...and learns the horrible truth.

The girl walked safely through the woods at night. It was lucky the wolf didn't find her. Or did it?

Through the Woods is shivery, creepy, and lots of fun to read. The illustrations are gorgeous and vivid. Pick it up and read the stories all in one sitting, or savor them one by one. Either way, you've got a treat in store.

And maybe next time you're faced with the choice of taking the shortcut through the woods, you'll think twice and take the long way around. Because there are things in the woods. Strange things. Monstrous things. Hungry things.

Waiting to pounce.


The Lonely, by Ainslie Hogarth

Easter Deetz is dying, but she's not wasting away from cancer or any other tragic condition popular teen literature has romanticized as of late. No, Easter's demise is coming about from something much more gruesome: She's slowly bleeding to death, alone in the woods, after a boulder has fallen on top of her, crushing her legs.

Or is she?

Easter is a chronic liar. She admits as much early on in Ainslie Hogarth's debut novel, The Lonely. Of course, this confession could also be a lie, leaving readers locked in the paradox of whether you can trust her or not... But for the sake of argument, let's say she's dying under a rock, legs crushed and blood and guts soaking into the forest floor for insects and worms and other things to feast upon (Easter is very graphic). For this horrible, bloody death, Easter blames her sister, Julia, who apparently dropped the boulder on her.

Julia is the only thing that stands between Easter and what she calls The Lonely, a debilitating mental condition that cripples all the women in her family (her mother, her witch of a grandmother). Julia also makes Easter do horrible things like shut the neighbor's cat in a garbage can to die in the summer vandalize her grandmother's neighbors' lawns with set fire to the cabin her parents are renting one summer. 

Another important thing about Julia: She only exists in Easter's imagination.

And what an imagination! Stephen King would sell his soul (maybe) for the sort of horrid thoughts and images that regularly pop into Easter's head.

But then one day Easter walks into the upstairs bathroom and sees Something Terrible. Something even more Terrible than she could ever dream up. Of course she's wished for it more than a few times, but to see it in cold, hard reality... It's too much.

This is what sends Easter fleeing into The Woods where she encounters Julia and the fateful boulder. 

As Easter lies under that boulder, watching her body slowly bleed out and decay, she reviews her life with hamburger-eating, cigarette-smoking squirrels to bear witness.  And when the sun finally sets and darkness takes over the woods, she must finally face the Something she knows has been coming for her all day.

The Lonely is a very different sort of story. Easter is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and she will keep you guessing until the very end. And even after you've finished the book and set it aside, you'll still be wondering what exactly happened. A great choice for those who like a little horror and mystery and confusion (in a good way) mixed with their weird and bizarre reading choices. Awesome! --AJB 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Upcoming Teen Department Events

Stay tuned: There is much awesomeness in store for Teen patrons in October. 

Teen Read Month
All Month Long
Pick up a Teen Read Month activity card starting October 1. Complete it by October 31 and turn it in for a chance to win awesome prizes.

Franken-Toy Workshop
Saturday October 4 @ Noon-3 p.m.
Drop in and create creepy new toys from pieces of old ones. We'll have on hand a huge selection of action figures and Happy Meal prizes that you can disassemble, dismember, and reconfigure into new and bizarre creations. We'll post photos of the best Franken-Toys on this blog and on our Facebook page. No registration necessary.

LEGO Program for Teens
Tuesday October 14 @ 6:30-7:30 p.m.
While the Youth Lego program is on break, we're giving our Teen patrons the chance to have some stop by and make something! Prizes will be awarded for height, originality, and functionality (your creation does something). Creations will be judged by on-duty library staff. Registration required.

Halloween Spooktacular Film Festival
Saturday October 25, beginning @ 10 a.m.
Looking to scare up something fun to do? We'll be showing creepy, scary, and generally ghoul-ish movies all day long the Saturday before Halloween. Drop in and watch a while...if you dare! Movies will be PG & PG-13. No registration necessary.

Do YOU Have a Card?

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and there's still plenty of time to get yours (if you haven't already). Get more info here.

Or just ask your friendly local librarian. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Down A Dark Hall, by Lois Duncan

When Kit is accepted into the ultra-exclusive Blackwood Academy, she is thrilled! But upon arriving, things start to feel "off". Kit is only one of four students, the place itself is creepy (that constant feeling of being watched), and there are rumors that the school is haunted. Plus there are no cell phones or any of the usual connections to the outside Kit feels completely cut off and isolated.

Then, one by one, the students begin displaying sudden and extraordinary talents that weren't present before their arrival at Blackwood. Lynda can create beautiful paintings, Ruth can solve complex math equations, Sandy can compose poetry, and Kit experiences an unusual boost in her previously awkward musical abilities. The teachers won't explain it, and school's creepy headmistress vaguely credits Blackwood's unique environment. This is partly correct. Kit learns that those who run Blackwood are using the students (hand-picked for hidden psychic abilities) to channel the restless ghosts of artists, writers, and musicians who died before their time. Problem is, all the previous hosts have gone insane. Or worse. Can Kit and her friends escape Blackwood before it's too late? Or are they doomed to the same fate as those who came before?

Lois Duncan's Down A Dark Hall is one of the author's creepiest titles! Originally published in 1974, the new edition has been updated for 2014 and includes, among other changes, mentions of advancements in technology (cell phones, computers, flat-screen TVs, etc.). Unfortunately, these new inclusions make the story feel awkward and inconsistent (there is an instance where two characters are discussing a song on a CD being played...but a few paragraphs later, the media source is referred to as a 'tape'). 

Down A Dark Hall has been picked up by Lionsgate to be adapted into a movie (no release date set as of this blog's publication). My advice is to grab the book NOW before it becomes so popular there is a mile long wait list to get it. --AJB

Banned Books Week 2014

Celebrate Banned Books Week! 
Sunday, September 21-Saturday, September 27 is Banned Books Week. Celebrate your freedom from censorship by reading a book that has been banned or challenged (for various reasons) over the years.

Not sure which book you want to read? We've got a huge display highlighting selected "banned" books as well as well as a list of the top most banned and/or challenged books. Check out our display. Books will rotate throughout the week depending on checkouts. And while your at it, grab a FREE 'Celebrate Banned Books Week' button (did we mention they're free).

FREE Banned Books Week buttons.
Are YOU 'with the banned'?
Check out our list of "Most Banned".
Bet your favorite book is there.
Mine is :)

You can find more info on Banned Books Week here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mary: The Summoning, by Hillary Monahan

First-time author Hillary Monahan's Mary: The Summoning explores the famous urban legend of Mary Worth, a.k.a. "Bloody Mary." Paranormal fiction of recent years has turned nightmare creatures like vampires, werewolves, and spirits (oh my!) into glittery, romantic figures meant to make readers swoon rather than scream in terror. Not this book, though. Mary: The Summoning is straight-up horror, reminiscent of the Fear Streetesque stuff I used to scare myself silly reading when I was a teen in the 1990s. 

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon the vengeful ghost of Bloody Mary. And Jess, Shauna, Anna, and Kitty do it all wrong. Jess, as it turns out, secretly wants to do more than just see Mary. She wants to speak with her. There's much more to this story, but no spoilers.

Unfortunately, this lapse of judgement releases Mary (and all of her rage) from her mirrored prison. Once out, Mary attaches herself to the girls, particularly Shauna. Now Mary is popping up in all sorts of shiny surfaces and terrorizing the teens at every turn. No place is safe from Mary's wrath. As the girls search for a way to put Mary back behind the mirror where she belongs, they unravel the horrifyingly tragic story of Mary Worth, a young woman from the 1800's who died under horrible circumstances. There is blood, there is horror, there is death... 

And there is a cliffhanger.

Yep, In true Horror Story fashion, Mary: The Summoning is apparently only the first in a series of books involving Bloody Mary. But don't all worthy horror story villains deserve a sequel or two? (Freddy, Jason, Chucky... even that creepy kid from The Ring got a second shot to scare audiences)

Hopefully the rest will be as horrifyingly good as this one. --AJB

Friday, September 19, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Shy Isla has been crushing on quirky-artsy Josh since their freshman year at the School of America in Paris. But each time she's tried to start a conversation with him she's either gotten tongue-tied, embarrassed herself in a major way, or both. It's not that Josh could never like her anyway (not in that way), because he's a super cool guy and she's...well...she's Isla. Shy. Clumsy. Red-headed. Awkward. Isla. 

Thankfully, a trip to the dentist may have saved this (obviously) meant-to-be relationship from being doomed before it had the chance to get off the ground.

Hyped on happy pills (wisdom teeth removed--ouch!) and unable to sleep, Isla ends up at Cafe Kismet...and, who should she encounter there, but Josh. Maybe it's the pain meds talking, but Isla receives a rush of confidence (stupidity?) and she and her crush chat for hours. Of course the next day Isla barely remembers anything about the night except that she and Josh hung out and he sketched her portrait and he walked her home and...oh yeah, at some point during their not-quite-a-date she dozed off over a slice of cheesecake. Yikes!

Fall begins and the two are back in Paris to complete their senior year. There are some hilarious moments, some near-miss situations, and some awkward misunderstandings involving Isla's BFF (who's a guy). And then there's some more misunderstandings involving Josh's ex-GF, some family drama, and Isla's own insecurities that she's not good enough for Josh. There's a tearful breakup. But eventually things resolve themselves in the most romantic of ways and Isla and Josh get together for good, like you, the reader, always knew they would. YAY! Ah... L'Amour! 

Isla and the Happily Ever After (by Stephanie Perkins), the final companion to Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door is probably my favorite of the author's. But you don't have to have read the author's other books to enjoy Isla. But those who have will be happy to learn that beloved characters from previous books make cameo appearances in this one (and will be especially thrilled with what happens to Anna and St. Clair). 

The verdict: Although predictable, this sweet and delightful love story will make you 100% happy. --AJB

Island of Misfit Books

From time to time, staff from each of the three library departments must go (book by book) through their collections and "weed" out those books that are either outdated or haven't checked out in a long time (usually a couple years). This is a necessary thing so we can make room for new books & other materials.

In Teen, we just completed this task... and we have amassed a sizable stack of "weeded" books. But rather than just chuck them into the discard pile, we're giving them a second (last?) chance through our Island of Misfit Books Display, which we have set up near the Teen Desk. We hope that by singling these books out in this way they'll get noticed by YOU--those who visit our little corner of the library--and maybe, just maybe, get checked out. 

Books on the Island of Misfit Books display will be rotated weekly, and those that haven't gone out will be "weeded" and sent to that place where all unwanted and unloved books go where no one wants to read them anymore (so sad!). So would you, could you... Won't you please rescue a Misfit Book today? They're all great books--we promise!

FEATURED BOOK: Invisible I (The Amanda Project #1), by Stella Lennon

When new girl Amanda Valentino singles Callie out to show her around Endeavor High, Callie doesn't think too much of it. Then Amanda mysteriously disappears, leaving in her wake a series of cryptic clues about her whereabouts. As Callie pieces together the clues, she is joined by fellow students Hal and Nia, who Amanda also pulled into the mystery. Where is Amanda? And, more importantly, who is Amanda? Read the book to find out.

Invisible I, the first in the eight-book Amanda Project saga sets the stage for the rest of the series. Read the book and follow the clues on the accompanying website to see if you can solve the case before Nia and Hal do. 

This interactive series sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it hasn't really been checking out all that well. Invisible I is currently being featured on our Island Of Misfit Books display. So if this sounds interesting, stop by and check it out...and be sure to request the rest of the series while you're at it. If this, and the other featured books, don't get rescued, they'll lose their place in the collection.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FEATURED BOOK: Whispers from the Dead, by Joan Lowery Nixon

Today's featured book, Whispers From The Dead, by Joan Lowery Nixon, can be found on the Island of Misfit Books display.

Sarah isn't the same after her near-death experience. There seems to be a shadowy presence trailing her every step. And when her family moves into a new home, the truly creepy stuff starts: Screams and pleas for help only Sarah can hear, nightmares, grisly ghostly sightings of a young woman being dragged across the floor by a man carrying a knife... This sort of thing would send the average teen straight to a padded cell in the local asylum, but not Sarah. Instead, she investigates...and helps crack an the disappearance and unsolved murder of Rosa, a young immigrant girl who had been working at the house before she and her family moved in. Whodunit? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Originally published in the early 1990s, Whispers From The Dead is, if anything, a bit dated. For example, Sarah doesn't just open her laptop and jump on the internet to look for clues to Rosa's murder. There are no smart phones or MP3 players. And any pop culture references would likely be unrecognizable to teens of today. That said, today's teens might find it difficult to relate to Sarah. 

Aside from that, Whispers From The Dead is a solid murder mystery with a strong female lead. There's a bit of light romance, but for the most part situations remain pretty innocent and appropriate for younger teen readers. 

And the big reveal will give you chills. --AJB

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bar Code Tattoo, by Suzanne Weyn

"There's an app for that..."

Well, pretty much.

In the not-so-distant future (2025 to be exact), everyone is getting it: A Bar Code Tattoo that contains ALL one's personal information. To be able to shop, drive, or do anything, you must get one. Rebellious Kayla, 17, hates the idea of being labeled and plans to resist getting the tattoo. Then people with the tattoos begin dying in mysterious ways, and Kayla is sure there is a link between the two. 

When the government agency distributing the tattoos makes the marking mandatory for everyone, Kayla runs away and joins a group of other young rebels. Together, they plan to fight and take down those responsible for the tattoos and their tragic/creepy side effects. Of course there's a romance, plenty of drama, and some seriously sci-fi worthy stuff that, in today's age of apps and smart phones and other micro-technology, isn't really that far off base. 

Suzanne Weyn's 2004 dystopian is a great, if undiscovered, read. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel adaption)

I've been waiting for the release of the graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman's award-winning The Graveyard Book for the better part of 2014, and it finally arrived in my hands. YAY! I'd read the actual book a few years back when it was a selection for our annual Middle School Battle of the Books competition. It was quirky, creepy (ish), weird (in a good way), 100% creative, and unlike anything I'd encountered in the past. It had a certain Tim Burtonesque quality about it..and I loved it!

So of course I was excited to hear there would be a graphic novel adaption!

I hoped it would do the story justice. 

For the most part, the graphic adaption was true to the book. Bonus points. Unfortunately, though, it only covers the first half of the book (unlike the graphic adaptions of Gaiman's Coraline and Stardust, both of which contained the complete story). This has become an unfortunate and annoying trend with book-to-movie adaptions, and book-to-graphic adaptions are no less annoying. It's the main reason I refused to read the graphic adaption of the Twilight series, which, I hear, is still in the works. 

Back to The Graveyard Book adaption. Each of the six chapters is illustrated by a different artist. While it is interesting to see how each interprets the characters and settings, it breaks up the continuity and distracts from the story. This is especially jarring when a particular artist's (or artists') style differs drastically from that of the others. Or when an artist's take on a character (or setting) wasn't what I imagined when I read the book. For example, I didn't like how Silas was portrayed. The artists made him way, way too Count Dracula-ish. This was not at all how I imagined him to be when I read the book. Also, I pictured Eliza (the witch from Chapter 4) as being much older (in her 20s), and in the graphic she didn't look much older than Bod. ...but I'm aware that this is a risk the reader takes when reading a graphic adaption of a beloved book (or seeing the film adaption, for that matter).

Fortunately, neither quirk ruined my enjoyment of the book. 

The verdict: A solid effort by the artists to rework this new classic. After all, they had a huge task to tackle. I'll probably end up reading #2 when it crosses my desk. --AJB

Thursday, September 11, 2014

FEATURED BOOK: Karma Club, by Jessica Brody

What goes around comes around...right?

That's how Madison feels after her longtime boyfriend, Mason, dumps her for uber-popular Heather. But when the Universe doesn't poop on either Mason or Heather (as Madison feels it totally should have done), Madison decides to tap into some of her mother's New Age-y wisdom and take matters into her own hands. Before long, she and a few trusted friends form The Karma Club, a super secret organization whose mission statement is To Clean Up The Messes The Universe Has Been Leaving Behind. In other words, they are in the revenge business, dispensing punishments to those they feel deserve it most. Unfortunately for Madison and the Karma girls, what goes around really does come around (or in their case, back around), and before long they find themselves in a whole mess of trouble. However, when they decide use their powers for good, they are pleasantly surprised by the results.

Jessica Brody's Karma Club is this week's Featured Misfit Book and can be found on our Island of Misfit Books Display. This book is hilarious, entertaining, and thought-provoking, and really deserves a second chance.

Check it out today! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Work At A Public Library, by Gina Sheridan

Usually this blog sticks to featuring books that can be found in the Teen Department, what with this being a Teen Book Blog. But occasionally we stumble upon a book from another department that's just too good not to call attention to. And we make an exception.

That said, I have made an executive decision to spotlight Gina Sheridan's I Work In A Public Library, which can be found on the New Book shelf in the Adult DepartmentThis slim (only 150 pages) little gem was brought to my attention while browsing the shelves for something interesting, but not too time-consuming, to read while taking lunch. I thought, "This is something I can relate to!" ('cause I DO work at a public library and have for almost 8 years now). And am I happy I discovered it!

Gina Sheridan, a librarian in St. Louis, has had her fair share of bizarre questions, strange encounters, and unusual discoveries--and she's listed some of the best ones in this book. There are photos of strange "found" objects, questions about things like the proper length of eyebrow hair, requests for autobiographies of mythical creatures, those seeking unusual (and sometimes unorthodox) advice, and more. And, of course, there's Cuckoo Carol, a colorful character (and repeat offender) who has been given her own chapter. Definitely a funny book that had me, quite literally, LOL-ing. 

Want more? Check out the author's website.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me, by Julie Anne Peters

Alix thought she and her girlfriend, Swanee, were destined to spend the rest of their lives together. They'd go to the same college after graduation, get an apartment (or a house), and live happily ever after. Then Swanee dies suddenly, leaving Alix grief-stricken and disbelieving. She's not sure how she's supposed to go on. Swanee was everything.

But things go from bad to worse for Alix when she goes up to Swanee's room after the funeral, finds Swanee's phone, and discovers someone named Liana has been texting Swanee...and continues to do so as she stands there, phone in hand. These are not the sort of texts you send to a friend or family member. They're the sort you send to someone you like (love?) in that way. Not stopping to think, Alix pockets the phone. Before long, she's struck up a tentative texting conversation with Liana. Then the two girls begin meeting up and talking about things... And they discover that Swanee hadn't been honest with either of them. About A LOT of things. 

Over the next several weeks, Liana and Alix try to come to terms with Swanee's death and how she played them both. What they didn't expect to come out of this tragedy, this betrayal, was a friendship. Maybe more.

Author Julie Anne Peters always writes a good story, and Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is no exception to this rule. Not your traditional romance, but still real. The connection between Liana and Alix felt very natural. No Insta-(gag me)-Love here. A solid friendship with the promise (maybe) of more. Characters were developed and the storyline unfolded with no lulls or slow spots.

Recommended. --AJB

FEATURED BOOK: Heavy Metal and You

Sam loves two things: 

1. Heavy metal music (his first love)
2. His new girlfriend, Melissa 

Unfortunately, straightedge Melissa just doesn't "get" heavy metal--and she pretty much hates everything else about Sam's life: His friends, his frequent partying, the fact that he smokes and enjoys the occasional drink, his clothes... Everything. Poor guy.

With a setup like this, you know right away this will be a very rocky relationship that is probably doomed to crash and burn before it even gets too far off the ground. It will be gruesome, it will be brutal, and the carnage will be messy and far-reaching. It will be a train-wreck that's so awful you won't be able to look away.

Or will it?

Heavy Metal and You, by Christopher Krovatin explores the all-important question: How far are you willing to go for love? 

As with all new relationships, Sam and Melissa's is, at first, all hearts and flowers and romance. Then the cracks begin to appear. She starts complaining and criticizing everything that makes Sam who he is. She picks fights over petty things. And Sam, 100% stupid in love, is willing to do anything to avoid being dumped. So he starts trying to change for Melissa. He quits smoking and drinking... He tries to quit partying... He tries to quit hanging out with his friends so much ('cause, of course, his friends are negative influences)... And so instead of defending himself, he tries to clean up and become the boy he thinks Melissa wants him to be. 

And soon Sam is absolutely miserable!

But what's a boy in love with the wrong girl to do?

Heavy Metal and You will make you laugh, cringe, and might even remind you of that one guy or girl you would have done anything for back when you were younger and dumber and less knowledgeable about relationships.

This rocking book can be found on our Island of Misfit Books display because, unfortunately, it's gotten buried in the shelves and isn't checking out. 

Please, please, please save this book! We'd hate to have to get rid of it!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Welcome to the Island of Misfit Books

It's that time of year again: 

Periodically (usually after returns start to roll back in following Labor Day), we have to go through our collection and get rid of books that haven't checked out in a while. Being librarians, we don't like having to do this, but it's the only way we can make room on the shelves for all the new books we've gotten in the past year or so.

So we are pleased to present to you The Island of Misfit Books display, located just in front of the Teen Desk. This display will feature books that haven't been checked out in a year or more. And it is up to YOU to save them from an uncertain, and possibly terrible, fate.

So stop by the Teen Area and save one (or two or three or more) of our poor, unfortunate Misfit Books today. You'll be happy you did!

Raven Cycle

The third volume in Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle quartet, Blue Lily Lily Blue, is due out next month, and we couldn't be more excited! Here, the adventures of Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, and Blue continue as they delve deeper into their search for the elusive mythical king, Owan Glendower, and the often exciting, and sometimes frightening, mysteries surrounding their hometown of Henrietta. Fans of the series who can't wait until the official release can read an official excerpt on the author's website. And trust me when I say this little taste is awesome! But be warned: It will make you want the book that much more.

For those who haven't experienced the series yet, here's a rundown of what's happened so far:

In book one, The Raven Boys, readers are introduced to a close-knit group of four guys brought together by their fascination with a myth that an ancient Arthur-like king was buried somewhere in the hills around their hometown. The story goes that whoever finds that king will be granted a wish. Each boy has his personal reason for wanting this. Each has his own dark secrets. Readers also meet Blue, the only ordinary person in a family of powerful psychics. She is drawn into the mystery after having a vision that one of the Raven Boys will die within the next 12 months--presumably by her hand.

The Dream Thieves picks up where The Raven Boys left off. Despite having awakened the magical lay lines surrounding Henrietta, and despite disposing of their chief adversary, the five friends are still no closer to finding Glendower. This second book in the series focuses mainly on Ronan and his rare abilities that could either help or hinder the hunt. Worse, there are some very dangerous people following the friends, upping the overall sense of urgency overshadowing the plot. Meanwhile, Blue finds it increasingly difficult to keep from doing the one thing that could trigger a deadly curse.

For those who haven't experienced the series yet... What are you waiting for?

Friday, September 5, 2014

10 Minute Makeup

In today's busy world, what girl has hours to spend getting ready? Boris Entrup, makeup artist from America's Top Model, understands the busy schedules of today's girls and has gives us 10-Minute Makeup: 50 Step-by-Step Looks From Fresh & Natural to Catwalk Chic

The Review:
The first section of the book is devoted to proper skincare, explaining the right tools (brushes & sponges & such) for the right job, and which products you'll need to achieve the desired looks. One thing I noticed and liked about this section is the author does not try to promote any particular brands--so it doesn't matter if you buy expensive department store brands or the cheapest stuff you can find. Apparently it all works.

The second section is devoted to "how to's" for various looks, from barely-there natural to freaky-weird stuff you wouldn't likely see outside of a Halloween party (page 121 is particularly zombified!), and how to make them happen. Special attention is given to techniques for applying concealer, blush, mascara, and lipstick.  There are also tips and tricks for maintaining eyebrow shapes and how to successfully pull off the "smoky eye" look without appearing as if you lost a fight with this year's heavyweight champ. 

The book then discusses how to carry your makeup looks into your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Lastly, a special S.O.S. section gives attention to common beauty problems (dark circles, blemishes, etc) and beauty blunders (smudged mascara).

The Verdict:
I can see how parts of this book will be helpful for women of all ages. The health and beauty tips, for example. And some of the styles listed early in the book. I'm just not sure how practical some of the other looks are--unless, of course, you're Lady Gaga. There are the clownish (pgs. 127, 128, 133), the scary (pgs. 119, 121, 122, 125), the soon-to-be outdated, and the styles that make the poor models look like department store mannequins (and not in a good way).  

Of particular note, most of the models in this book were skinny white girls. There were a couple people of color, but they were, sadly, few and far between.

My advice, as a reader, is: Check out the book, experiment, have fun, but ultimately do what you think looks best for you. --AJB

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop

Did you know....

Edgar Allan Poe's iconic poem, "The Raven" was originally going to be about a talking parrot. (changes things, doesn't it?)

Or... The artificial sweetener Splenda was originally going to be marketed as an insecticide, but became a sweetener when an assistant misheard an order to "test" the product and tasted it instead. (good thing it wasn't poisonous)

Or... Elvis really did wear Blue Suede Shoes--to his senior prom. (Ah, irony)

Or... The first ever hot-air balloon passengers were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck. (There's a bad joke in there somewhere)

Or... There exists a type of horsefly that is named after Beyonce. (That fly must be pretty fly)

Or... An Olympic gold medal is 92.5% silver. (makes you wonder what silver medals are made of, doesn't it?)

Impress your friends and your teachers with weird, wild, wacky and, in some cases, totally freaky facts from John Lloyd's 1339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop (dewey# T031.02L). From the creators of the BBC quiz show QI and the sequel to 1227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off, 1339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop is positively addicting! Read it cover to cover or open it open it at random. Either way, you're sure to learn something new that will change the way you view the world! I know I'll never look at the Jurassic Park movie the same way again! Or Walt Disney, for that matter... I now know which curious tourist attractions to visit if I ever find myself in South Korea with a few hours to kill (I just won't use the Korean version of "lol" when I'm texting my American friends about it, 'cause that could be very awkward!)... I know that Winston (or any of our aquarium fish friends) should never, under any circumstances, be given Prozac... AND I know who first used "u" as an abbreviation for "you" (and it wasn't the texting generation).

Each fact in this fun book has been researched and proven true to the best of the authors' abilities. 

For more, visit the website.

p.s. In case you're wondering: Despite what Mythbusters say, you CAN fold a piece of paper in half more than 7 times (you can fold it 13 times, to be exact).