Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, December 9 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

cover art

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; Narrated by  Fajer Al-Kaisi, Feodor Chin, Gisela Chípe, Michael Crouch, Janina Edwards, James Fouhey, Renata Friedman, Catherine Ho, Nicole Lewis, Omar Leyva, Guy Lockard, Jesus E. Martinez, and Lisa Renee Pitts
Listening Library
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
ISBN: 978-0593121610

Through poetry, essays, lists, and letters, The Talk  gives 17 different conversations that delve into race, racism, identity, and self-esteem. Coming from a variety of experiences, which are often intergenerational and intersectional, this is a conversation starter for dissecting structural racism, moves to be more antiracist, and ways to be more inclusive with a focus on being affirming to listeners. 

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, April 2 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Invisible Kingdom, vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward
Berger Books / Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
ISBN: 9781506712277                                                                                    

In a far away galaxy, a freighter pilot and a religious disciple find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy between the largest religious group and largest employer in the universe. Vess is a new “none” which is a disciple of the teaching of the “Renunciation.” Grix is an experienced fighter pilot that has been working for the mega-corporation of Lux. When Vess catches the eye of an elder and becomes the new scriptorium, she realizes that large sums are deposited from Lux into the elder’s account each month. Grix notices that the cargo she carries does not match the manifest and begins to realize that something is going on at Lux. Both Vess and Grix know they risk death if they are caught before they can receive assistance from the Duni Government. Will they give in and hide or fight to make sure the conspiracy is known?

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Continuing Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

Last month was Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

As described by the Library of Congress, this month is a “celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States” (Asian Pacific American Heritage, n.d., para. 1). It is when we celebrate the achievements and contributions, as well as the culture, traditions, and roles Asians and Pacific Islanders have played in shaping our society.

To continue celebrating past the month of May in your libraries and with your patrons, here is a list of books written by Asians and Pacific Islanders, that will take your readers on emotional journeys, fantastical adventures, romantic and hilarious moments, and into edgy and daring worlds.  But most of all it will introduce readers to new cultures and diverse characters whom they can relate to.

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#QP2018 Nominees Round Up

Warcross by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
ISBN: 9780399547966

Bounty hunter by day and hacker by night, Emika Chen launches herself into accidental overnight viral fame by projecting herself into the Warcross Championship, a global virtual reality/video game sensation. Emika’s luck finally seems to be looking up when game creator Hideo Tanaka invites her to join the championship as a spy for him, but the answers she finds may cost her everything.

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#QP2018 Nominees Round Up: Graphic Novel Edition

These graphic Quick Picks nominees are sure to draw in readers.

Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli by James Parks
Illustrated by Ben Costa
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
ISBN: 9780399556135

In this graphic novel readers join the overly chatty skeleton bard, Rickety Stitch, and his best friend, a gelatinous Goo (a la Dungeons and Dragons). Freshly fired from their jobs as low-level dungeon goons, the two friends end up making their way through a zany fantasy world. Continue reading #QP2018 Nominees Round Up: Graphic Novel Edition

Women in Comics: Young Adult & New Adult Novels

If there has been one feature of every book that I have discussed in this series of posts, it is a focus on artwork. Even the one non-comic work included in these posts focused a significant amount of text on the artwork of Wonder Woman. But, this month, I am branching out from volumes focused on artwork to discuss an emerging trend – prose novels that are based on comic book characters.

cc image via Flickr user
cc image via Flickr user RyC

While this concept is hardly a new one, recently DC and Marvel have greatly expanded their offerings in this regard to include new adult (albeit not promoted by that name) and young adult novels. These novels can serve the dual purpose of introducing comic book characters and storylines to readers who aren’t comfortable with comics and graphic novels and encouraging comics fans to read works by leading young adult authors. Even more importantly, these novels are just a lot of fun! Right now, there are only a limited number available, but many more are appearing on the publishing horizon. Continue reading Women in Comics: Young Adult & New Adult Novels

Booklist: If You Like The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Rose Society, the sequel to Marie Lu’s The Young Elites hit the shelves on October 13th and has spent four weeks on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List. In The Rose Society readers revisit Adelina Amouteru, one of the survivors of the blood plague that made her and many others into “young elites” gifted with strange powers. The book opens with Teren Santoro, lead inquisitor set on ridding the kingdom of Adelina’s kind. Fans of the courtly intrigue, fast paced plot, and atmospheric setting in the first book will not be disappointed by the second. If your library’s copy is checked out consider recommending some of these backlist titles to tide over your eager patrons while they wait.

If You Like The Young Elites

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Fans of the unique and complex world building in The Young Elites will appreciate Bardugo’s “czar punk” setting. Likewise, readers  will see many of Adelina’s strong points in Bardugo’s Alina.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (2003 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

Turner’s Queen’s Thief series is an older one, making it more likely to be on the shelf, and more likely to be one that your patrons have not yet read. Readers who loved the element of spying and espionage in The Young Elites will be hooked by Turner’s plot twists. Continue reading Booklist: If You Like The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Scary Stories to Set the Mood for Halloween

If you are like me, you’ve been ready for Halloween since August 1st. Not everyone is so Halloween-happy. Maybe you haven’t bought out the grocery store’s stock of canned pumpkin or purchased a new shade of orange nail polish, but, like it or not, October is upon us, which means you may have teens swarming your stacks in search of something to creep them out and give them nightmares. In my experience I get more requests for “scary stories” than horror novels.  With that in mind I’m going to highlight some collections of short stories sure to meet various spine-chilling needs as well as give some horror specific readers’ advisory tips.scary stories for halloween

Remember-

  • “Scary” is subjective. Every reader is going to be comfortable with different levels of the supernatural, violence, gore, etc. A good way to assess what type of horror a reader wants is to ask them what their favorite scary book is. If they are not an avid reader you may need to ask about their favorite scary movie or scary television show. You are probably going to want to recommend a different book to a fan of The Sixth Sense than you would to a fan of Saw.

 

  • If you are not a horror reader yourself or get scared easily, it’s OK for you to tell teens this. Particularly with younger teens this may help them to be more open about how scary they want their stories to be. If you aren’t a horror reader, however, you will want to familiarize yourself with the popular horror titles in your collection. If you can pick the brain of a fellow staff member or teen volunteer who reads a lot of horror, this is a great start.

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Is This Just Fantasy? : Catching Up On Current Series

Just Fantasy catching upAs summer comes to a close, I inevitably look at my increasingly dusty ‘to be read’ piles and worry about the many books I failed to read during my vacation. Simultaneously, I peer towards the flood of shiny new titles set to be released over the next few months and I am overwhelmed.  This feeling only increases when I consider the number of current fantasy series with new installments hitting the shelves soon! It is a constant dilemma–how to catch up on current series while keeping up with the new ones? I admit I have yet discover a true solution but at the very least, I’ve found that it helps to step back and take stock of the current series that might be most timely to revisit.
Here are few series worth adding to any fantasy fan’s ‘catch up’ checklist.
 
of metal and wishesOf Metal and Wishes  – Sarah Fine (2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults)  Wen assists her father in the medical clinic that serves the Gochan One slaughterhouse. While Wen and her family are trapped by their debts to the factory, they remain better off than the Noor, workers brought in as cheap labor.  And now a ghost seems to be haunting the slaughterhouse– a of dreams and rustghost who will do anything to protect and please Wen. As Wen becomes increasingly involved with the Noor and their charismatic young leader, she must face both the volatile ‘ghost’ and the brutal system and decide if she dares to take a stand.
 The sequel, Of Dreams and Rust,  was just released earlier this month.
The Diviners – Libba Bray (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adultsdiviners
It’s 1926 and glamorous New York City is simply the only place to be—at least in small town flapper Evie O’Neill’s mind. So when her parents ship her off to visit her uncle in the Big Apple, Evie is thrilled. However, the trip also means staying in Uncle Will’s highly creepy museum and Evie is hiding her own supernatural secret. lair of dreamsThen, within days of her arrival, a young woman is found murdered and branded with strange occult symbols. Uncle Will is asked to consult on the case and soon Evie is in the middle of murder investigation—and perhaps something even more sinister.
 The long awaited sequel, Lair of Dreams, will be published the end of this month!
The Burning Sky – Sherry Thomas
the burning sky
Iolanthe Seabourne is an elemental mage with an special gift for fire.  Brought up in obscurity with her drug-addicted mentor, Iolanthe has never thought of her abilities as particularly extraordinary.  But when she pulls down a massive lightning strike from the sky in an attempt to mend a failed elixir, Iolanthe suddenly gains the attention of Prince Titus,  the young royal determined to follow through on his mother’s visions, revenge his family, and regain power over Atlantis.  Convinced that Iolanthe is the mage prophesied to battle and defeat the tyrannical ruler Bane, he leaps into action to hide her the immortal heightsin the non-magical world of London as they prepare for their possibly deadly fate.
The second book, The Perilous Sea, is currently available and the third volume, The Immortal Heights, is set to be released in October.

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Reader Response: The Flawed Heroine of The Young Elites by Marie Lu

young elitesThe following is a reader response from 2015 Hub Reading Challenge participant Hannah Rapp, who weighs in with her analysis one of the books she read for the challenge: Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, a Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten pick.

When it comes to books, we all have a few things we tend to gravitate towards.  For instance, I’m a sucker for high fantasy, from the rosy-tinged to the dystopian-esque.  For another, I love stories involving complicated female friendships or sibling relationships.  And I usually love a good anti-hero.  So when I picked up The Young Elites by Marie Lu, it didn’t take me long to realize that this book was going to be right up my alley – dark fantasy, a fascinating and deep relationship between the protagonist and her sister, and of course, an angry, vengeful, powerful, and bitter anti-hero.  Adelina Amouteru took this book from good to great for me, and I love her for it.

Of course, it is Adelina’s good qualities, as well as her bad, that make her a good character and anti-hero.  She is loyal, if wary of others.  She does, despite all the anger and bitterness between them, love her sister.  And she comes from a place of righteous rage.  Because we can all understand why someone who was hated and despised for something she couldn’t control, who watched those like her be persecuted, tortured, and executed, would become angry and vengeful.  It makes sense.  And a good anti-hero has to be relatable as well as flawed.

But it is Adelina’s flaws that make her so compelling to me personally.  The way she starts to love the power she can manipulate, and to love the power it gives her over others, is dark and terrifying but still somehow relatable.  The war between the dark parts of her and the gentler ones was more exciting to me than any of the battles she engages in with those around her.  It was like staring at a fight between two wild animals – it was horrifying and brutal, but also beautiful to watch all that power and rage being given form.

It’s not often that we get to see a heroine whose bad qualities are explored as much as their good, much less one whose worse qualities are part of what makes them powerful, exciting, and a protagonist.  But it’s so good to read, and so important.  Because of course, girls and women are just as capable of having dark impulses or cruel streaks as men.  They are not always just “good” or “bad,” and expecting that out of them is part of what makes us judge them so much more harshly than boys and men when they fall short of our expectations.  And so for that reason, readers of any gender don’t just need Heathcliffs and Humbert Humberts and Holden Caulfields – they also need Catherine Earnshaws and Arya Starks and Adelina Amouterus.  And with men so dominant in the realm of my beloved anti-heroes, is it any wonder that I was thrilled when I discovered Adelina, and that I fell for her so entirely?

-Hannah Rapp