Monthly Archive June, 2011

Down-to-Read with Daniela: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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DeliriumBook photo

Age Group:
Young Adult

Genre:
Adventure, Coming-of-age, American, Fiction, Dystopian, Mystery, Science Fiction

Summary:
Imagine a world in which love is a disease to be cured of, a world in which you are stripped of the choice to love against your will. This is the America that young protagonist Lena finds herself living in.

Lena is looking forward with anticipation to the surgery that will prevent her from contracting the ‘deliria.’ She’s witnessed first hand the dangers of not being cured after her mother committed suicide. She is determined not to suffer the same fate.

Everything’s going on schedule for Lena. But then she meets Alex, an Invalid from the Wilds, who teaches her that life is better with freedom and choice. When they discover an eerie truth about Lena’s mother, Alex and Lena realize their lives will never be the same.

My Thoughts:
This is a strong second novel from author Lauren Oliver. The novel’s plot is an interesting concept and one that is easily explored from many dimensions. The ability to love, and with it, to experience great sorrow and overwhelming passion is the source of many a great fictional tale.

Oliver provides a unique and stunning twist to the traditional narratives, forcing readers to imagine a world stripped of strong emotions and immense joy. The reader must decide for themselves which world is more threatening: the safety, peace and calm of routine, or the floodgate of feelings stirred by love.

A great spin-off choice for fans of The Hunger Games, borrow Delirium from your local Vaughan library today!

Share: Is it just me, or who else is excited about the upcoming Hunger Games movie? Sooo pumped!

What’ll it be? – Princess of Glass
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Last year I read Jessica Day George’s book Princess of the Midnight Ball, which I really enjoyed.  Princess of Glass is a sequel that features one of Rose’s younger sister, with a Cinderella twist.  After spending years dancing the entire night in the court of the evil King Under Stone, Poppy isn’t interested in dancing anymore but has learned a number of skills from her brother-in-law, like playing cards and knitting. 

In an effort to rebuild relationships with surrounding countries, the King is sending his younger daughters on an exchange to visit other countries.  Poppy is sent to Breton, where she stays with her mother’s cousins.  During one of the many parties the family attends, Poppy meets the Prince of Danelaw and both find the other intriguing.  But not long after they met, a mysterious young lady appears on the scene and seems posed to steal the Prince away.  But Poppy, wearing magical protection, recognizes her as the clumsy maid in her cousins’ household and realizes that Ellen, who at her parents’ death lost her inheritance, is being used by an evil ‘fairy godmother’ but for what purpose?

This was another enjoyable read by this author.  I liked the fairy tale twist and I really hope she’s going to write another story about one of the other sisters.

Mondays are murder
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The Gracelings are born different from others.  Gracelings are born with a skill – a talent, a gift, an exceptionality – that sets them apart from others.  It might take some time before their Grace demonstrates itself, but its presence is indicated early by the eyes – one each of different colours.

cover image

Katsa has one green and one blue eye.  She is employed in her uncle’s court as King Randa’s chief enforcer.  For, unusually (and especially for a girl), Katsa’s Grace is killing.  But Katsa is not satisfied just to act as the long arm of the King against his enemies, real or perceived.  She has grown weary of punishing insignificant underlords for petty sleights and violations.  She has begun to use her skills to the benefit of others, through the work of The Council.

However, on a Council mission to rescue the kidnapped father of a neighbouring king, Katsa will meet someone who changes everything.  For there is another Graceling, his Grace is fighting, who might just prove to be her match.

I read this YA fantasy novel at the behest of my lovely wife.  And I am glad (yet again) that I succumbed to her suggestions (as I should always do, for it usually works out well for me!).  Katsa is a fascinating creature – all the prickles and angst of an adolescent female, coupled with a set of skills that would fare well in a martial arts film!   If you are looking for a strong female character, in a complete and well-drawn fantasy universe, check out Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit
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The Woodbridge Book Club will be discussing The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado.  This book chronicles the life of a Jewish family in Cairo, Egypt and their exodus to the New World.  Lucette Lagnado writes a memoir about her family, faith , tragedy and at times happiness.   Have a read !

What’ll it be? A relaxing cottage weekend
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My siblings and I were up at the cottage this past week to open it for the season.  I was only able to be there for a three day weekend but the weather was beautiful and I can’t wait for my next visit.  We spent our evenings watching movies.  My brother also very quickly hooked me on the TV show Burn Notice.  The premise is that spy Michael Westen is burned, meaning that he has been dismissed/discredited as a counterintelligence agent, all his assets are frozen and he’s stuck in Miami under constant surveillance.  I only saw a couple of episodes of season three, but when I got back to town, I picked up season one from the library!

I’ve been catching up on my cozy mystery reading.   Fruit of all Evil by Paige Shelton is the second Farmers’ Market mystery, featuring berry grower and jams/preserves maker Becca Robins.  Her best friend and market stall neighbor Linda is getting married to Navy SEAL Drew.  Her mother-in-law to be, Madeline, is head of the local bank and abrasive to say the least.  So when she doesn’t show up for the rehearsal dinner that she is hosting, the guests search her house and find her dead body.  Becca’s hoping that the mystery can be solved quickly, before Drew has to leave on a mission but with members of his family falling under suspicion and a number of bank customers with grudges against Madeline due to fraudulent foreclosure notices, can Becca solve the murder in time?

I’ve also recently read the first book in two new series.  Cookie Dough or Die, A Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery by Virginia Lowell, finds Olivia, the owner of The Gingerbread House, a store that sells cookie cutters and cookies, one of the main suspects in local business owner Clarisse Chamberlain’s death.  Olivia and Clarisse were close, and Clarisse left Olivia some prize antique cookie cutters sparking rumours that Olivia killed Clarisse for her money.  When the local postman falls ill after eating one of The Gingerbread House cookies, it is up to Olivia to figure out who’s framing her before she loses either her business or her life.

Sweet Revenge, A Lady Arianna Regency mystery by Andrea Penrose, starts off with Arianna disguised as a male chef in an aristocratic household because she is trying to solve her father’s murder.  When the Prince Regent falls ill after eating her special chocolate creation, suspicion falls squarely on her.  The Earl of Saybrook is made head of the investigation due to his expertise in chocolate and soon discovers Arianna’s secret.  In exchange for his silence, she promises to help him track down the real culprit.  I very much enjoyed the setting and character interaction and I’m looking for to book two, due out in December.

Down-to-Read with Daniela: The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
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The%2BBig%2BCrunch%2Bby%2BPete%2BHautman photo

Age Group:
Young Adult

Genre:
Young Adult, American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Coming-of-age, Romance

Summary:
Far from love at first sight, Jen and Wes slowly begin to encounter each other in ordinary situations, eventually discovering that they share a strong chemistry. But Jen has always been a drifter, leaving city after city because of her father’s job. When it’s time for Jen to move again, the two must decide if the relationship is worth salvaging.

My Thoughts:
Like the movie Going the Distance (starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long), Wes and Jen, an average young couple, must decide if their intense connection can overcome the miles that separate them. Hautman has created a refreshing novel that challenges the conventional boy meets girl love story.

Borrow The Big Crunch from your local Vaughan library today! For a movie to go along with the novel try Going the Distance.

Share: Do you think long distance relationships are harder and if so why?

eBooks, eAudio, eVideo, oh my!
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The summer is coming, and instead of lugging a stack of paperbacks around with you on your vacation, you’re tempted by those sleek new e-readers. Or maybe you love to listen to talking books, but you’re wishing you could just put them all on your mp3 player instead of hauling around a pile of CDs everywhere you go.
 
koboereaderandroid-logoblackberrytourapple-logo     zune 
 
If you’re interested in borrowing e-books, e-audiobooks, or e-videos from the library but don’t know where to get started, we invite you to sign up for one of the Digital Collections Tutorials held at Dufferin Clark Library, on Wednesday, June 29 and Wednesday, July 27 at 7 pm. We’ll show you: 
  • how to get the software you need installed on your computer, smartphone or tablet;
  • where to search or browse to find material you’d like to borrow;
  • how to checkout and download titles you’re interested in;
  • and how to get those titles transferred on your portable devices!

We’ll also highlight little tips and tricks for savvy users to make your experience smooth and easy.

Whether it’s dedicated e-readers, mp3 players, smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers – we can help you figure it out for any device. Feel free to bring them and any specific questions you have to the tutorial! Please pre-register in advance.

For more information ask for Colleen at 905-653-READ (7323) ext. 4243.

Summer Reading Club Launch
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xx 2011 42 v8 e photo

It’s officially summer!  And this Saturday marks the beginning of the 2011 Summer Reading Club!  Join us at any Vaughan Public Library branch for fun games and activities as we kick off this year’s theme, SPLASH! Celebrate Summer at your local library.  The goals of  the TD Summer Reading Club are to encourage and strengthen the habit of reading for fun, to create life-long learners, and to increase children’s reading skills and reduce summer learning loss.  We have tons of great programs planned all summer long for kids from ages 3 – 12, plus activity books and posters for everyone that signs up.  We will even be having weekly prize draws for summer fun kits.  Kids can enter this draw once a week when they come into the library to report on what they’ve been reading.

And we’ve got great programs planned for teens and adults too!

Teen Summer Reading Challenge:  Last year the teens of Vaughan read over 250,000 pages and beat the challenge.  But this year it’s going to be tougher.  Much tougher!  This summer we are challenging the Teens of Vaughan ages 13 to 18 to read 500, 000 pages!  And if they beat THIS challenge, WE, the librarians will dress up for an entire week in a fashion chosen by the teens.  To participate visit the Teen Summer Reading Challenge website . The challenge begins on June 28 and ends August 19, 2011.  The top reader in Vaughan will win a Kobo ereader!  There will be prizes for the second and third place winners as well!  Want more contests?  We’ll also have our second annual Photo Scavenger Hunt in July and our first Guess the Cover contest in August!  Watch for more details on these great contests at www.vaughanpl.info and on the VPL’s Teen Vortex blog.

Adult Summer Short List: Can’t afford to travel this summer? Let your library take you around the world with our Adult Summer Shortlist. Poke into the private lives of unlikely friends in the UK. Follow one family’s saga from India to Africa to the US and back. Track a ferocious predator in the Far East. Delight in the Austen-esque adventures of a mother and her daughters in Connecticut. Even venture into the inner-city of Baltimore in search of the truth about a woman who revolutionized medicine in the 20th century. Join us on this year’s once-in-a-lifetime summer reading excursion!  For more information visit the Adult Summer Short List Website

Mondays are murder
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… historical drama style! 

On a recent trip to my in-laws’, we managed to watch the Season 1 finale of The Borgias featuring Jeremy Irons as the Borgia pope.  Well, now that we know how the first season ends, we can’t wait to sit back and watch the beginning!  However, since it hasn’t come out on DVD yet, we were in desperate need of a TV series featuring elaborate period costumes, volatile real-life characters and salacious happenings.  Thank goodness for The Tudors!

Jonathan Rhys Meyers and his astounding eyes (watch the show, you will see why I mention his eyes as a separate entity…) lead a spectacular cast of historical and not-so-historical roustabouts in the tale of Henry VIII and his numerous wives, lovers and run-ins with the Pope.  Everyone’s favourites are there: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Mary and Elizabeth, the other Catherines, the Janes, and an incalculable number of handsome and rakish young men (as well as some stately older ones).  As a special bonus, Peter O’Toole has a turn as Pope Paul III.  Did you know that Pope Paul III had a British accent?  Because he did, and it is delightful!

We are about halfway through the series, and everything drips velvet and diamonds.  Henry seems to spend a full third of his waking time being fitted with some fantastic outfit or other and the other two-thirds riding the pendulum swing of his own borderline insanity.

So if you love costumes and you love drama and you don’t mind an occasional beheading, check out The Tudors today!

Susanna Kearsley
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I stumbled across Canadian author Susanna Kearsley a few months ago when I was browsing in a bookstore.  The lovely cover of a historical fiction book caught my eye; the cover of “Mariana” featured a woman in a vibrant red dress.   I actually forgot about the book until a library customer asked whether we had a copy (we didn’t) which I then proceeded to special order from the publisher. 

mariana-pic1rose-garden-pic2

Fast forward several months, and I’ve read “Mariana” and the other two novels available at Vaughan Public Libraries (another customer initiated a request for us to purchase “Every Secret Thing” which is now on-order with the publisher).  All of the novels have a similar story-line, essentially historical fiction set in both the present and the past, with some kind of romantic suspense tied in as well.

Susanna’s books are perfect for a light summer read.  From the author herself: “I write modern gothic novels that blend historical adventure and modern-day suspense with romance and a touch of something spooky, so they don’t fit neatly into any category, really…but they’re fun to write!”