26 May 2011

The First Part Last

Title: The First Part Last
Author: Angela Johnson
Genre: Fiction-Teen pregnancy/parenting
Grade Level: 9-12
Pages: 132

Bobby is 16 and he loves art, pizza, hanging with his friends, and his girl Nia. But life never really turns out as you expect it to. Nia is pregnant, and Bobby must face fatherhood like the man he doesn't feel old enough to be. The book goes back and forth between past and present. Although the teen parents discuss adoption and struggle through everything, you are aware that Bobby is parenting his little girl, Feather, by himself. At the end you find out why he has to parent her alone, and the story while uplifting is also very sad. Teen pregnancy is always a difficult topic. The book is written just like Bobby is speaking to you, so if major grammatical errors bother you, you probably want to steer away from this book. Definitely written for a young audience. In fact, the reading level is much lower than the grade level I placed above, but due to the subject matter, I placed it higher.

Note: This was a book I had to read for my Young Adult Library Materials course.

The Tide Lord Quartet: Books 3 and 4

I finished the series so fast, I haven't been able to collect my thoughts enough to type up anything, so I'm doing the last two books together.
Title: The Tide Lord Quartet: The Palace of Impossible Dreams, Book 3
Author: Jennifer Fallon
Genre: Fantasy
Grade: Adult
Pages: 461

Arkady cannot escape immortals, no matter how much she wishes she could. Sold into slavery by Bryndon to get back at Cayal, Arkady must choose the lesser of two evils. She becomes a very wealthy man's wi-ah (a slave mistress). When swamp fever breaks out in cities, the physician's guild send the physician and his wi-ah into the swamps to "cure" the fever at its source. The swamps are home to many chameleon crasii and before too long, Arkady realizes that the "cure" is a cure for life rather than the death by swamp fever. However, her revelation doesn't come before the Immortal Trinity who protect these creatures find out. Dr. and his wi-ah are tied to the Justice Tree to be devoured by the gobi ant. But wouldn't you know Declean is an immortal now, and he is determined to find Arkady. Can he save her in time?  

Title: The Tide Lords Quartet: The Chaos Crystal, Book 4
Author: Jennifer Fallon
Genre: Fantasy
Grade: Adult
Pages: 476

Saving the world can be tricky business, especially when you have to save it from alot of someones just like you. Declean cannot condone Cayal's death once he realizes that the method to dying is to open a rift in the world and in so doing destroy the world the immortals leave behind. The problem is that those who really understand things, have their own agenda and it's all about them. Can Amyrantha actually survive? Can Arkady survive in a world of immortals?

I have really loved the series.  However, I admit to being disappointed by the ending, simply because the series is suppose to be only 4 books and the way it was ended leaves you really hanging. I'm not expecting neat little wrap ups because that doesn't make a great book either, but there needs to be a happy medium and this one really leaves you.  I loved the story though and found myself both putting the book down because I was afraid of what would happen and totally unable to put them down.

22 May 2011

The Tide Lord's Quartet: The Gods of Amyrantha, Book 2

Title: The Tide Lord's Quartet: The Gods of Amyrantha, Book 2
Author: Jennifer Fallon
Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: Adult
Pages: 493

The Tide is on the rise and so are the Tide Lords. Jaxyon has found a way to destroy Stellen and exact revenge on Arkady. Arkady has befriended Kinta and with her help escapes Jaxyon's clutches only to be handed over to Bryndon, a man who will do anything to exact revenge on Cayal. Tryan and Elyssa show up in Glaeba to demand their little princess back. With all these immortals on the rise, how can anyone even hope to stop them.

Fallon continues the story of the immortals in the second book of the Tide Lord series. This particular book really leaves you panting for the next one, which makes it really nice to read as part of the entire finished series. When I first read it, when it first came out, I was dying for the third book. Fallon truly holds a talent for writing characters that you can't help but become involved with.

19 May 2011

The Tide Lord's Quartet: The Immortal Prince, Book 1

Title: The Tide Lords Quartet: The Immortal Prince, Book 1
Author: Jennifer Fallon
Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: Adult
Pages: 493

Arkady Desean is the Duchess of Lebec. An intelligent woman who married to save her father's life and who tries to live a good life regardless of the world around her and their ideas about women. When a man sentenced to die, just won't oblige, Arkady is asked to interview him to prove he's either a con man, a spy, or just plain crazy, because of course, his claims that he is in fact Cayal, the Immortal Prince--an immortal Tide Lord--just cannot be true. Afterall, the Tide Lords are merely myth.

I personally love Fallon's books and so far she hasn't disappointed me. This is an adult fantasy book, in that their are some sexual scenes.  The book reads so fast and I love that I finally have all four in hand so that I can read the whole series as one. Fallon has a real talent of interweaving both Arkady's story and Cayal's. The book really is a tapestry woven by two different stories, and each draws you in on different levels. You find yourself both hating and rooting for Cayal, at least I do. I both hope he can find a way to kill himself without taking the world with him but I also hope he can find redemption and a reason to live with Arkady. The love relationships are so well done, you feel yourself rooting for so many different people and also hating others. There are very few authors that can write characters that are so real you want to jump into the story and strangle them yourself, but Fallon is definitely that kind of author.

16 May 2011

Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, Book 10

Title: Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, Book 10
Author: John Flanagan
Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 3-9
Pages: 438

Horace has been on a mission to Nihon-Ja, to learn and better understand the unique fighting styles of the Senshi. During his time there, he has befriended the Emperor of the Nihon-Ja, a kind man who believes that the lower classes of his society should have more say and kinder treatment from the elite Senshi. However, an evil Senshi leader called Arisaka desires the throne himself and he uses the kindness of the Emperor, Shigeru, to spread lies that allow him to rebel and come after the Emperor. Horace cannot leave this good man to die and have his people perish with an evil usurper, and so he helps Shigeru to safety. However, his absence is noted and of course, Will, Halt, Alyss, Selethen, and Evalyn come to his rescue. With the help of all these brave gajiin, the Emperor finds allies among the lower social classes and they are all able to gather and create a brave resistance to Arisaka's evil. Will all of this be enough to save Nihon-Ja from Arisaka's evil? Will the people finally feel like they are worthy to fight and defeat the Senshi? Find out in the final installment to the Ranger's Apprentice series.

After 10 books, I get why the author has decided Will and his friends' story must come to a close, but I find the moment bittersweet. I have really loved each and everyone of these books, sitting on the edge of my seat at times--you know that moment in a book when you want to put it down because you are terrified of what will come next, but you can't put it down because it is that good!! Well, that is the world of the Ranger's Apprentice, and this final chapter was worthy of all those that came before. I will even miss these characters since no more books are to come.  Like all stories, there could be many more books--no story is ever finished, the author has just chosen to stop telling it.

13 May 2011

A Matter of CHILDREN'S Privacy

***Note: Although the rights of children are advocated by the American Library Association, this post is my opinion on a specific situation as it relates to a broader issue.***

I currently volunteer in my children's charter school library. I am not the crew lead but just a lowly volunteer, at least, that's how our crew lead tends to make us feel. Her only qualification, she was crew lead first and has been volunteering in the library since the school was formed 3 years ago. I've been there for two and am a current graduate student in Library Science. This by no means makes me more qualified but rather when I am learning things, I like to share, and I like to have those thoughts acknowledged. Not everything needs to be implemented, but there are certain issues that really get under my craw and the worst is that most of the parents on the crew just don't see the point. The one issue that really bothers me is the rights of children to privacy.

Regardless of what most parent's seem to think, children do have a right to privacy. They are citizens of the U.S. from birth and are thereby endowed with the same constitutional rights of all us adults. As I watch interactions with parents and their kids, even with myself and my own, I notice, we haven't grown up all that much--we've just aged. What I mean by this is: when we were kids we knew we knew more than our parents and as adults we know we know more than our kids.

In this particular situation, I brought up the fact that having a list of all overdue books displayed on the door to the library was a violation of children's privacy laws. I was pretty much dismissed. I was told several things: (1) parent's like to be able to just glance at the door and know if their kids have things overdue (2) we are a small school so it doesn't matter (3) we don't have books on teen pregnancy and stuff so it's not important (4) we just won't put your kids' names on it.  To say I was pissed by this response would be putting it mildly.

(1)  Parent's like to be able to just glance at the door and know if their kids have things overdue.
  Yes, I know, it's so hard to open the library doors, walk 5 feet, and ask the librarian to check on your kids' status!!! However, this issue is not about what parent's want or like!! This is about the children's right not to have what they are currently reading broadcasted to everyone and anyone who reads the list. It's about their right to privacy, not what is more convenient for their parents.

(2) We are a small school so it doesn't matter.
  Whether you have 200 or 2000 students, privacy matters. It doesn't matter how many students are in a school, each and every child has a right to their privacy.

(3) We don't have books on teen pregnancy and stuff so it's not important.
  It doesn't matter what you are reading, some kids can find things to make fun of. Perhaps a boy is reading Twilight or a girl really loves Hardy Boys. Sometimes the least innocuous books can still be fodder for making fun.  Kid's can be mean, and there is no need to add another thing to their plate.  As for books on "teen pregnancy and stuff" we should have those books!! I know, I know, this is Utah and the school only goes up to 9th grade, so these kids don't need to read about sex, pregnancy, drugs, or abuse because it does not happen here. I wanted to smack someone!!! This is not a private LDS school and even if it was, those LDS parents who live in a fantasy world of "my child will not have sex, do drugs, drink alcohol, or ever be abused" are really kidding themselves. The notion that if a child reads about something, they are more likely to do it is absolutely ridiculous. It's those kids that don't get talked to about sex or read about the consequences that are far more likely to get into trouble. Someone please pop the bubble before I have to throw some people up against a wall!! I know, I'm a little violent. Truth is, I would never hurt anyone, but expressing that anger sure helps my heart not feel like it's going to explode.

(4) We just won't put your kids on the list.
  Totally a moot point!! My kids generally don't have late books. Why? I'm nowhere near being a perfect parent, but I do make sure I know when my kids have library and I take the two seconds to remind them to put their library books in their backpack on those days before school. We are all busy parents, I accept that. I have to round up 4 small kids each morning and it is stressful, but it's no excuse not to take a moment and know what your kids are reading and when they are due.

Children are seen as not knowing what is best for them so of course we adults need to protect them. For one moment, I'm just asking you to look at it from their point of view. And also, you are an adult now but there is always someone older or in a position above you--do they have a right to tell you what to read and what is best for you? No!! We have all been given a mind. The best way to help a child is to talk with them, not a blanket "I'm the adult and I know what is best for you." That line never got a parent anywhere!!

11 May 2011

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

Since the second installment just came out and I hadn't read the first one since it first came out, these two were read together and herein reviewed together.
 Title: The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid, Book 1
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, Egyptian Mythology
Grade Level: 5-12
Pages: 516

Carter and Sadie Kane are brother and sister with an ancient past. Kept apart for the last 6 years in order to keep down their ancient power. But Ma'at has been slowly eroding and their father in an attempt to restore balance, tries to release Osiris from the Rosetta Stone. When the stone explodes, 5 Gods are released. Osiris enters Sadie and Carter's father and is immediately entombed by his evil brother Set. Unbeknown to Sadie and Carter at first, they too become hosts to two Gods, Horus and Isis. Together they must find the path of the Gods, learn to both harness their powers and control the Gods within, try not to be killed by a bunch of magicians who believe the Gods are evil, save their father, defeat Set, and save the world. 

Title: The Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire, Book 2
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, Egyptian Mythology
Grade Level: 5-12
Pages: 452

Apophis is rising and in order to stop him, Sadie and Carter must find all the pieces to the Book of Ra and awaken the decrepit King of the Gods. Sounds easy. But this is the Kane family we are talking about, and nothing with them is ever easy. They must find the book, fight evil magicians, fight other Gods who wish to thwart them, travel the underworld, gamble their souls, find and restore Ra, and stop Apophis. Thing is, one cannot bring forth the God of Order without also freeing the God of Chaos. Can the Kane's find the answers they are looking for? Can they save their family from the wrath of the Gods? Can they save themselves?

The Kane siblings are just as compelling as Percy Jackson, and their story is just as much fun. I personally have a major soft spot for ancient mythology so I find the storyline alot of fun. Ancient world brought successfully into the modern world. Two unlikely heroes, must fight the world around them and the world inside them. They must find the strength of the ancient Gods without succumbing to them. I greatly look forward to seeing how this series progresses, but I fear by the time the next book comes out, I'll have to reread them again. Good thing these books are as good the second time around as they are the first. Riordan truly has a talent of merging the ancient with the modern and leaving you wanting to take the journey over and over again.

Sadie and Carter Kane. Yup, they really are brother and sister.

08 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day

 These are just a few of the great "Mom's" in my life. Thanks to all of you!!
My sister, my mother, and me.
 My mother-in-law and Hyrum when he was a baby.
 My sister-in-law with her husband and their little one.
 My sister-in-law and her son.
 My sister-in-law and her son.
My sister-in-law, who technically is not a mom yet (that's her niece she's holding) but who is one of the bestest aunties my kids could have, so of course, she gets a Happy Mother's Day too.

Thanks to all the Mother's and the Father's who love the little ones in our world, and remember they may be small, but they know far more than us adults tend to give them credit for.

04 May 2011

Beyond Foo: Geth and the Return of the Lithens by Obert Skye

Title: Beyond Foo: Geth and the Return of the Lithens, Book 1
Author: Obert Skye
Pages: 214
Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 4-9th grade

Foo is at peace. Geth is a Lithen, a being that has always rolled with fate. However, the merging of Geth with Ezra has caused unrest within his heart.  Geth goes searching for excitement and excitement finds him. Eve has come to Foo looking for a Lithen to save her world. A world known now as Zendor, a world beyond the border of Foo. A world that has been taken over by an evil man named Payt. Payt's voice has the power to seduce and steal the mind of everyone he talks to. Can the great Geth save Zendor as the prophecy has proclaimed?

Obert Skye is a very talented man. He has a knack for writing a compelling story with few pages like his Pillage books. This particular new series is after the Leven Thumps books have come to a close. I love his writing style, because it really feels like he is telling you the story, like a conversation. The story is compelling and the continuation and of Geth's story is alot of fun.

03 May 2011

April Books 2011

***This month I am finally including my textbooks for the semester. Most of them I actually did read every chapter, but not all, however, I am including the entire page count for each of them. Considering I read more than a 1000 pages in journal articles this semester, not counting those journals more than make up for the additional textbook pages.

Thirst No. 3          478
 By: Chirstopher Pike

The Gift: Chiveis Trilogy, Bk 2          411
 By: Bryan M. Litfin

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes          454
 By: Brandon Mull


Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction         580
 By: Lois Mai Chan

Developing Library and Information Center Collections         445
 By: G. Edward Evans and Maragaret Zarnosky Saponaro

Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management         407
 By: Peggy Johnson

Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century         461
 By: Kay Ann Cassell and Uma Hiremath

Foundations of Library and Information Science         471
 By: Richard E. Rubin

Total for April 2011:  3707
Total for 2011: 10,290

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Title: Beyonders: A World Without Heroes, Book 1
Author: Brandon Mull
Grade Level: 4-7 grade
Pages: 454
Genre: Fantasy/Juvenile Literature

Jason is intelligent, tall, loves baseball and animals, and is 13. Rachel is smart, homeschooled, 13, and an only child. Both magically find themselves in Lyrian, a world controlled by an evil magician Maldor. All they really want is to get home, but fate is funny that way, and instead they find themselves united in a quest to find a magical word that will unmake the evil magician.

I really love Fablehaven and thoroughly enjoyed The Candy Shop War, two of Mull's other books/series. However, I had a really difficult time getting  into this book. At about the 2/3rds mark, it finally pulled me in and I admit I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. However, I will say that the "heroes" in the book--Jason and Rachel--just are not believable as 13 year old kids. I think that was one of the most difficult things for me with this book. I may have been convinced that this was appropriate for their age, if they're background was expounded upon more. But Jason is the youngest child in his family, and while he is an independent person, I just don't see a 13 year old doing some of the things he does. Rachel is a little more believable in her more grown-up reactions simply because not only is she an independent child, she is an only child. Family dynamics speak volumes. Rachel is not a very compelling character anyway, but that may be a personal bias towards "home-schooled know-it-alls". The story went very quickly, and felt  more like a movie that should have been three times as long but the director just didn't feel like taking the time. This was very disappointing since normally I think Brandon Mull is a great author. The story is compelling, the characters just were not up to par with his other books. So as far as story goes, pretty good and compelling. Characters, need some serious work and if these two are 13, they need to act like 13  year olds not 16/17.