Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doing My Part for Borders

I was devastated to hear about the bankruptcy of Borders, even though I'd all heard it was coming. Although I'm a big believer in supporting independent bookstores, Borders is the closest one to my house, and those of you with small children know that you often have to take the easiest route. Plus, my kids LOVE the kids' section at Borders. We had to do an errand at the mall today, and my kids got really excited, which is not their typical reaction when I announce errands. They asked, "Can we go to Borders?" Being the great mom that I am, I responded, "Why, yes. Yes we can!"

Luckily, the one by my house is not one of the multiple stores closing in Colorado. I'd like to think it's partly because of me--my holiday shopping there alone should keep them in the black for awhile. After my 3-yo picked out a Tangled book and my 6-yo chose the newest Geronimo Stilton adventure, I left them in the capable hands of my hubby and meandered to the YA section--my favorite! So what did I add to my never-ending TBR pile?

NEED by Carrie Jones...

...and Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder.

There were so many other pretty covers calling out to me, but that's okay. I'll be back.

Have you purchased any books recently? Anyone else feel like bookstores are a little slice of heaven?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Book Recommendation--UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

Happy Friday! My pick for this week is UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld:

Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. 

Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty. The fast-moving story is enlivened by many action sequences in the style of videogames, using intriguing inventions like hoverboards that use the rider’s skateboard skills to skim through the air, and bungee jackets that make wild downward plunges survivable -- and fun. Behind all the commotion is the disturbing vision of our own society -- the Rusties -- visible only in rusting ruins after a virus destroyed all petroleum. Teens will be entranced, and the cliffhanger ending will leave them gasping for the sequel. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell

Kristi's take:  I knew I was going to love this book from the first line: "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit." I'll keep this short--if you love dystopian, you'll love this book. I can't wait to read the rest in this series. Has anyone read the rest? Are they as good as the first?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Book Are You Reading Now?

I stayed up way too late last night in order to finishing my judging duties for a regional writing contest. I'll give some input into the process in my post next week, but thought I'd do a quick poll for today. It's that time for me again...I'm almost finished my book club book and need a new read. I took your prior recommendations to heart and finished Nightshade,  Paranormalcy, and The Sky is Everywhere. Since you clearly give great recommendations, I'm asking for help again. What are you reading this week?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Recommendation--Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Happy Friday! I guess I'm on a male protagonist kick lately, as my last two picks were The Maze Runner by James Dashner and The Giver by Lois Lowry. I'll continue the streak with a strong recommendation for Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card:

Summary from Goodreads:
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Kristi's take: If someone told me (before I read this) that I'd like a book centered around military tactics and war, I'd have said they were crazy. But I loved this book, because the book isn't just about war, it's about Ender Wiggin. His character felt so real and heart-breaking to me, and his connection (or lack thereof) to the humanity (or lack thereof) around him had me rooting for him in every battle. Also, I love it when I'm thrown by an ending and this book did that to me. This book was also one that I thought about long after I put it down. Has anyone else read this? What did you think?