Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday Haul 2016!!

 Every good reader gets a few good books under the ol' tree and I am definitely no different! I'm thrilled that I didn't get any duplicates this year! My husband has bought me Divergent for 2 years in a row despite the fact that I had already read the book. BUT since I loved it, I kept the copies and decided to collect the series! This year my daughter went with my husband to the book store and I was finally able to get book 2 - INSURGENT!! Woo Hoo!! Can't wait to read it!!

Along with Insurgent, I got a biography on Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson. Walter Isaacson is PHENOMENAL when it comes to biographies!! He did a great job with Steve Jobs. Although the book was HUGE, it was captivating all the way to the end. He is completely unbiased, but entertaining without filler. Just good reading if you are interested in the person that you are reading about. I checked out the Benjamin Franklin bio from the library a couple years ago and read 2 chapters before I knew that I had to own a copy. There was just way too much that needed highlighting! Ben was an amazing man!!

The last book I got was City of Bones which is the first book in The Mortal Instruments series. I've been wanting to read this series. I really wanted the next book in the Endgame series, Sky Key, but my daughter and husband couldn't find it in paperback. City of Bones was a great second choice.

So what books did you get?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Library Larvae Now On YouTube!!

Before my computer dies (my phone is already there!)...I just wanted to let everyone know that The Library Larvae is now on YouTube!!! I just posted two new book trailers! Check out the trailers and don't forget to subscribe!!

PS - I'm still getting the channel together so please pardon the dust. Hopefully it'll be complete in a day or so, but enjoy the trailers! Thanks!

Amber Smoke: The Escaped

Ice Dogs By Terry Lynn Johnson

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Amber Smoke: The Escaped by Kristin Cast

Amber Smoke (The Escaped #1)Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One big problem with having a wildly successful series is trying to move on and move forward. This is how I feel about Amber Smoke. Kristin Cast co-wrote the wildly successful House of Night series with her mom, P. C. Cast. Being I'm a huge HoN fan, I had to give Kristin Cast's solo project a try. Although I enjoyed the book, I'm not truly committed...yet. Amber Smoke: The Escaped lays the groundwork for this new series. It begins in the depths of the Underworld known as Tartarus where the Furies watch over the souls of the worst of the worst. The Furies are represented as Maiden, Mother and Crone. Maiden falls for one of the convicted who is a good man taking the place of his not-so-good son. As love enters Tartarus, it leaves a curse and a child. As son of the Furies, it's Alek's task to collect all the souls the curse has freed from Tartarus and return them. He must find the descendant of the Oracle of Pythia and combine strengths to make this happen. How easy is it to find and convince a young mortal woman that she is needed to save the mortal realm? That's quite a task Alek has!

I thought Amber Smoke: The Escaped by Kristin Cast was a pretty good read. It didn't knock my socks off, but I am intrigued. I think the storyline gave a good foundation for further books. The characters were believable yet still needed more depth which will probably come in future books. I was a little confused with Alek. In some parts of the story he's definitely clued in to mortal life and then in other parts he seems rather confused. I really liked the plot twist with Bill. Not wanting to spoil anything, but it was way smooth how Eva's mom was concerned about his sudden changes and then we find out why! Although we did find out Bill's deal, the whole scene somehow was a bit odd. I'm not sure how to explain it. Nonetheless, I was captivated and never once had the desire to stop reading. I'm really looking forward to book two Scarlet Rain coming out May 2016.

Do I recommend Amber Smoke? Sure, if fantasy/paranormal is a genre you like. It's a pretty good mix of the modern world and Greek mythology. I really think that Amber Smoke has the makings for a highly enjoyable series. Get a copy today before book two comes out in May 2016!

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The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Advanced Readers Copy Review

I'm not sure if I've ever started a review with OMG, but OMG! What a great book! The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier is a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan nominee this year which is why I read it AND it's also an advanced readers copy that I had. The story begins with Molly and Kip who are two orphans from Ireland who are on their way to the Windsor home to work as servants. They lost their parents at sea after they fled Ireland during the Great Famine. Now Molly, 14, and Kip, 10, need a place to live. There was something strange about the house and the family from the very beginning, but things soon became more strange with the first visit from who the Windsor daughter, Penny, calls the night man. Things got stranger still when Molly borrowed the key to the green door at the top of the stairs. Inside the door Molly found letters from her parents hidden in the knot hole of the old tree that grew too close to the house. Molly wasn't alone. Everyone was getting something from the tree and tree was getting something in return.

I found The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier to be a classic thriller. There were parts that had me physically cringing and afraid to read on and then there were parts that had me crying which was weird since I was sitting in a gym waiting for my daughter. The story line was intricate and well thought out and as twisted as the tree itself. There were several poignant moments of wisdom and reality especially between Hestor Kettle and the kids. The characters in The Night Gardener were rich and developed. I really felt for Molly who spent so much energy protecting Kip from the truth through her stories that she forgot her own insecurities. It was amazing to see Kip grow from a naive kid to a young man able to handle the truths around him. Mr. Windsor reeked of desperation as much as Mrs. Windsor reeked of longing. The characters were believable which helped to create a rich story.

I highly recommend The Nigh Gardener by Jonathan Auxier to 12 years of age and older. too! It's a thrilling story you're going to love!!!

View all my reviews

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holiday!!

Happy Holidays from The Library Larvae!! Hope your day is filled with family, friends and brand new books! Mmmmmm, new book smell!!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson

Ice DogsIce Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brrr! It's cold in here! There must be some ice dogs in the atmosphere! Ha! Seriously, what a great story! Vicky is a young musher who lost her Dad down an icy river. Her Dad was her hero and his loss really put a strain on the relationship between Vicky and her Mom. One day Vicky had decided to hook up the team and take a short trip to a neighbor's house to look at some of his dogs. Along the way, Vicky runs into a hottie her age who ran his snowmobile straight into a tree. Chris is new, Canadian, cute and clueless. The Alaskan wilderness is a bit foreign to him, but with eagerness and a quick wit, he's willing to learn. He must learn quickly too because their lives depend on each other. Vicky collects Chris' crumpled frame into the sled and realizes not soon enough that he is too dazed to correctly tell her where he lives and now they're lost.

I know as much about dog sledding as I do about physics. This story was totally out of my knowledge base, but I can rate it as the biggest surprise of 2015! Judging (and I know I shouldn't) from the cover (which is gorgeous by the way), I assumed that this was an animal story. Oh boy was I wrong! I can't stand animal stories. There are animals in Ice Dogs, but there's more to it than just the pups. Ice Dogs was about survival. It was about coming to terms with death. It was about taking care of relationships instead of pushing the world away. The characters portrayed realistically whereas Vicky wasn't Super Girl, but struggling and concerned and heavy with the burden of responsibility for both her dogs and Chris. Chris began as shallow, but developed a depth to him as he learned more about Vicky and her dogs. Although I know absolutely nothing about dog sledding, I don't think it detracted from the story and I did learn a bit. "Ice Dogs" by Terry Lynn Johnson is a good read that's full of fast-paced action and adventure. I think it's a great book for middle school and maybe 5th grade.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hardback or Paperback

I'm going to take a break from the books for a second. What is your opinion? Hardback or paperback? Which do you prefer to read? Which do you prefer to buy?

I was writing out some gift ideas for me for my family when I started thinking about a few books that I would like. I don't buy too many books simply because I hoard them and refuse to get rid of them. We had our home built in 1997 and I happily carried in about 4 large boxes stuffed with books. My husband was less than thrilled and vehemently encouraged me to get rid of them. All? How about just some. It was rough, but I whittled away my collection. Unfortunately, years later I go back to look for a book I thought I had, but don't anymore. I'll never get rid of books again unless I am SURE that I'm done with them. Back to the point...I do have a few collections and the format the first book comes in, is what I continue the series in. All my Harry Potters are first edition hardbacks. I started the first two books in paperback and fell in love with the series and bought the hardback editions to continue the collection in hardback. Anyway, the other night I was thinking about The Land of Stories which is a series by Chris Colfer. I have the first two books in paperback and would like to continue the series like that. It's interesting to ask myself why some books I prefer to collect in hardback and some in paperback.

What about you?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Castle Hangnail By Ursula Vernon

Castle Hangnail
By Ursula Vernon

From Goodreads:

From the creator of Dragonbreath comes a tale of witches, minions, and one fantastic castle, just right for fans of Roald Dahl and Tom Angleberger.
When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.
This quirky, richly illustrated novel is filled with humor, magic, and an unforgettable all-star cast of castle characters. 

This book caught my interest because the cover looked much younger than the book. I would expect the cover to be on a easy reader chapter book, but this book is quite lengthy at 372 pages and probably for older grades like 3rd through 5th. In case you didn't know, Ursula Vernon also wrote the Dragonbreath graphic novel series. I would be interested in hearing about this book when readers finish.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pennyroyal Academy By M. A. Larson

Pennyroyal Academy
By M. A. Larson

From Goodreads:

Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights….Come one, come all!
A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.
Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academymasterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.

I wasn't too thrilled about the cover of this book, but it must have done something because I picked it up and read what it was about. Very interesting story and I love all things fairy tale!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Book Scavenger By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Book Scavenger
By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

From Goodreads:

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .
Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold's attackers make them their next target.

This was one of our new books this year. I'd never heard of it before, but the cover was intriguing. It sounds a little bit like Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. You haven't read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library? WHY?!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Humming Room By Ellen Potter

The Humming Room
By Ellen Potter

From Goodreads:
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life. 
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.
Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret. 

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

I saw this book at one of our book fairs and I thought the cover was really cool. It looks a little like Alice In Wonderland. I also really like the title - The Humming Room. It's so very intriguing! I haven't read the book yet and honestly can't say if that will happen in the near future (my To Read list is VERY long), but maybe you will read it and come back and give us your opinion? Huh? Maybe? ;)