Monday, July 27, 2015

REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review


Expected Publication: October 20, 2015

Illuminae is so truly unique it is difficult to describe in mere words.  This is a multigenre, fast paced futuristic science fiction drama. Set in the year 2575, readers learn that two megacorporations are at war over the tiny, ice encrusted Kerenza. The morning of a devastating attack on her planet, our feisty teen heroine and hacker extraordinaire, Kady Grant, has just broken Ezra Mason's heart. However, while barely on speaking terms, they have to work together to survive. Separated on two separate ships, Kady soon discovers that the only person who can help her is her ex who she vowed to never speak to again.

And yet, surviving this attack is just the tip of the iceberg. While trying to outrun the Lincoln, which wants to blast both the Hypatia and the Alexander to bits, we learn that a deadly plague (think homicidal Jack from Stephen King's The Shining) has broken out aboard a ship carrying survivors and the ship's Artificial Intelligence A.I.D.A.N., whose primary job is to protect, might actually be plotting to kill them all.

It is hard for me to express the coolness factor for this book.  It is a visual feast and readers really need to get their hands on it to absorb the experience. Truly, the composition is like nothing I've ever seen before.  It's an action packed thriller filled with big, bad greedy corporations, tight lipped and corrupt political leaders and a psycho super computer! Plus, it's a love story with realistic characters! Teen readers will love the format and the snarky dialog.

The feels are tremendous. I had more than a few panic stricken moments spent shouting at the book pages, willing Kaufman and Kristoff to quit torturing me. I know that I will wait with baited breath for the next book now that even more delicious characters and complications have arisen at Illuminae's conclusion.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Follow the authors on Twitter: @AmieKaufman @MisterKristoff

#illuminae #review #YAlit #sciencefiction #awesomeness

Sunday, July 26, 2015

REVIEW: The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review


Expected Publication: April 5, 2016

The Nameless City is the first volume in a trilogy slated for Spring 2016 publication from acclaimed graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks and First Second Publishing.  Taking place in a historical China or fictional counterpart, readers learn that the 'Nameless City' in fact has thousands of names and is a geographical and political stronghold. Whenever a new regime takes over, the city is renamed.  

Enter young Kaidu, who has just come to the city to train as a Dao warrior. He soon learns that such training will be difficult as will garnering the affection of his busy and often absent father.  Soon Kai meets Rat, a homeless street urchin. She, like so many others, is not treated as a person because of her lack of social status.  Kai and Rat build a realistic friendship that is in many ways the crux of this story.

Perhaps, more importantly, greater themes of rebellion, freedom, and social inequality are intrinsic notions throughout this work. As the political situation of the Nameless City, appears to unravel, the next parts of the story will see all factions of citizens working together for a common goal.

I enjoyed the art, characters, themes and overall story. I am intrigued to see what Hicks explores for the rest of the trilogy.  Fans of Hicks' previous works (i.e. Friends with Boys) will recognize the common ties of friendship and a desire to fit in despite outside odds.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars


#review #netgalley #faitherinhicks #namelesscity #graphicnovel #YAlit

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

REVIEW: Apollo-the Brilliant One (Olympians #8) by George O'Connor


Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review

Slated for a January 2016 release, Apollo: the Brilliant One marks the 8th release in O'Connor's graphic novel Olympians series. Within this volume, O'Connor continues to blend thoughtful illustrations with an approachable history for each major Olympian.

What I enjoyed most was that each story is told by at least one of the nine muses.  As in other volumes, the stories include the background of Apollo's birth and other notable stories including the slaying of Python, which illustrates the significance of the Pythian oracle at Delphi. Also included are Apollo's ill-fated infatuations with both Daphne and Hyacinth. 

The last two stories round out Apollo as a multi-faceted and often vengeful deity.  The tragedies of Marsya and Asklepios exhibit for readers that the god of the sun, inspiration, music, and medicine is not without the dark side present within the other Olympians.  Readers learn of Apollo's cruel vengeance against the satyr, Marsya, for daring to best the god is a musical competition. 

Likewise, the story of Apollo's son, Asklepios, his rise, and tragic death at the hands of Zeus, illustrates Apollo's brash reactions (killing Zeus' beloved cyclops') while demonstrating his distress over losing his son.

Perhaps the following quote per the Muses best sums up Apollo and this particular volume: 

"He is the best of what Olympus has to offer, and the worst...The most divine god is the most human."

I highly recommend this novel for upper juvenile, middle school, high school and readers of any age who are interested in Greek mythology and graphic novels.  If you have not read the previous titles, please do so. They are very well done and would be a great purchase for any public, school, or personal library.

Final rating: 5 out of 5

#olympians #apollo #greekmythology #graphic novel #YAlit #netgalley

Saturday, July 11, 2015

PROGRAM: Sharpie Tie-Dye

My favorite crafting supply is the Sharpie. It is cheap, versatile, and relatively mess free.  This past week, the Teen Tuesday project was DIY sharpie tie-dye.  Each teen received a pair of plain, white socks purchased by the library.  During previous interactions, I shared with them that they could bring additional items of their own to tie-dye as well.

Supplies:

  • Something to tie-dye (socks, shirt, scarf, etc...)
  • Sharpies 
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Small plastic cups
  • Eye droppers or chemistry pipettes
  • Lots of newspaper
Instructions:

Line your tables with a healthy layer of newspaper. This will make cleanup easier and should keep the messes to a minimum. Distribute additional supplies onto tables as necessary. We made sure each teen had a cup with rubbing alcohol, a pipette, socks, and some extra newspaper.  There was an assortment of Sharpies in the center of each table.

Make sure to have a few examples handy at the beginning of the program. Work with your teens during each step.
  1. Grab a sock and let the creativity flow! Design a pattern on each side. Do the same for sock #2.
  2. Stuff each sock with newspaper. (This step will soak up the excess rubbing alcohol and prevent seepage to the other side.
  3. Using a dropper or pipette, drip alcohol onto the sock design where the tie-dye effect is desired.
  4. Let dry!
Aftercare:

Doing research online, it is recommended that any of the items be heat set. I made little 1/2 sheets with instructions on how to wash and dry this items. The teens took these home to their parents. Per recommendation:
  1. First, wash the items separately on the hottest washer cycle.
  2. Then, dry the items separately on the hottens dryer cycle.

Here are some pictures of their creations!