Category Archive – Reading Lounge

Week of Geek Holiday Edition: What’s Coming Up in 2018 Part 2

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And we’re back

So, what else can we look forward to in 2018?  How about books?  We are a library, we’re kind of famous for our love of books.  So, with that in mind, here are some upcoming YA titles you can put on your reading list.

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu: Book 2 in the DC Icons series, after last year’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer.  Long before Bruce Wayne became Batman, he was about to turn 18 and inherit the family fortune and company, but first he’ll have to handle a stint of community service in Arkham Asylum, a group of criminals calling themselves the Nightwalkers and a mysterious young lady.  That’s a lot for a teen aged future Dark Knight, but I’m confident he can handle it.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton:  In an alternate version of New Orleans, everyone seeks the services of a ‘Belle’, a person who controls beauty and can make the gray citizens beautiful and saved.  Camellia Beauregard is one such Belle, and she has her sights set on working for the royal family of Orleans, but her attempts to move up could reveal dark secrets…

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: Alice has always steered clear of her grandmother’s estate, Hazel Wood, but after her grandmother dies and her mother is kidnapped by something otherworldly, Alice has to delve into her grandmother’s series of books and their devoted fans to find answers.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: Supernatural author extraordinaire Holly Black is at it again, and The Cruel Prince kicks off a new series called The Folk of the Air.  A mortal girl named Jude wants so badly to be a member of the fairy court who stole her and her sister away, but to do so means a whole lot of intrigue and defying Cardan, the youngest and cruelest son of the high king (hey, I bet that’s where the title comes from).

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones: Last year I was all stoked over Wintersong, and was not disappointed.  This year we get part 2.  Still stoked!

The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro:  Book three in the Charlotte Holmes series, which has modernized and gender swapped the classic character of Sherlock Holmes for a new generation.  More mysteries await!

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson: Mila Flores has always loved amateur witchcraft but she must put her limited skills to use when her best friend and two other girls are murdered.  Mila brings them back for 7 days to find their killers, but the girls are distracted by unfinished business.  Can Mila keep everything on point with only a week to spare?

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth:  A sequel to last year’s Carve the Mark, which combines Sci Fi and Fantasy, often a winning combination.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland: On the battlefields of Gettysburg the dead begin to rise, changing the course of American history forever.  That’s where we meet Jane, the daughter of a wealthy white southern woman and a black father who’s expected to fight the undead, but she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that may be even deadlier than the zombie plague.

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy:  A long awaited companion novel to 2015’s Dumplin’, which was a book about a plus-sized teen named Willowdean who participates in a beauty pageant along with other unlikely candidates.  Puddin’ will follow Millie, a lifelong fat camp attendee, and Callie, a dance team captain wannabe, as they are forced together over a semester.

Legendary by Stephanie Garber: A sequel to last year’s Caraval, this one featuring Scarlet’s younger sister Tella and a mysterious bargain.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare: Book three of the Dark Artifices series, from the same author who brought us the Shadowhunters.

Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova: Book two of the Brooklyn Brujas series, after 2016’s Labyrinth Lost.

The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan:  Apollo, the millenia-old god who had been cast out of Olympus and must now live as a teenaged boy, is back in his third outing and still trying to get back to his immortal state.  Maybe third time’s the charm?

Lizzie by Dawn Ius: A modern retelling of one of the most infamous crimes in American history.  In this version 17-year-old Lizzie is forced to work in her parents B&B and feels stifled by her lack of freedom and plagued by an affliction that causes her to have blackouts.  She is drawn to the new maid Bridget, but when Lizzie’s parents keep trying to restrain her from the life she wants it sparks something dark in her…

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli:  A sequel/companion novel to the award-winning Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.  This time Simon’s best friend Leah takes center stage as she deals with senior year, drumming, her bisexuality and tensions among her friend group.

Ship It by Britta Lundin: This is the one I think I’m most excited for, for reasons that will become painfully apparent as I describe it.  Here we meet Claire, 16 years old and obsessed with a TV show called Demon Heart.  Yup, fangirl (I bet Demon Heart is a stand in for Supernatural; we’ll see if I’m right on that).  But things go awry when Claire meets Forest, her favorite actor on Demon Heart, during a Q&A and he breaks her heart by dismissing her shipping of his character with another male character.  Unfortunately for the show though, video of that Q&A goes viral and causes a PR disaster.  In order to save face among fans and the LGBTQ community the show hires Claire to join them on the rest of their publicity tour, leading to clashes, questions about sexuality and Claire’s noticing of a cute fanartist named Tess.  Just… all the yes!

So there’s a few suggestions, but there are plenty more.  See more books here and here and here and here (there are a lot).  Anything I left out that you’re super excited for?  Post away, or be sure to write up all the stuff you think people should see or read in 2018 over at WriteIt.

Stay tuned Geeklings, have an amazing 2018, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: The DCEU fumbles again, What heck?

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Well Geeklings, it has arrived.  The Justice League movie.

Full disclosure; I haven’t seen it yet.  But I and the rest of the world do know two things about it.  Critics aren’t crazy about it.  And it underperformed at the Box Office it’s opening weekend.


This was supposed to be it!  The culmination of… FOUR movies!

The film that brings everyone together, including some we hadn’t really met yet!  What the heck?!  (There might be a bit of sarcasm in there, my bad.)

So what’s going on?  This is the fifth movie in this series thus far, and out of the five of them only one has actually performed well with critics, fans and with ticket sales.

Well, I was reading this article the other day, and I think it really hits the nail on the head.  Give it a read for the full picture but here’s a few things I’d like to highlight…

  • This was really rushed: Four movies may seem like a lot, but only three of them really had anything to do with Justice League (Suicide Squad was more of a standalone).  DC’s decision to go the opposite route that Marvel did (with five movies all tying in to the lead up of The Avengers) while developing a Cinematic Universe means that we now have a Justice League film where we only really know half the members.  Where’s the investment?
  • Over saturation: Justice League only followed Thor: Ragnarok by two weeks.  Someone like me is happy to have several super hero films at once but the average movie goer may not be thrilled.
  • Backstage shenanigans: Though some fans may disagree with me, I’ve never been thrilled that Warner Bros decided to put Zack Snyder in charge of this operation.  I’m not crazy about the decisions he’s made thus far, or about how dark and dreary he seems to be insisting on making this universe.  And the only time the franchise has had any real success was when they put someone else in charge.  Snyder had to back out of finishing Justice League for very legitimate reasons, and WB brought in Joss Whedon to finish the movie.  I love Whedon, but it’s never easy to take someone else’s work and try to finish it, and there were A LOT of reshoots.  Often what this all leads to is two very different visions competing against each other and a very unbalanced final product.
  • Fans are just getting sick of all of this:  From the backstage drama to the bad reviews to the constant disappointment and divisive decisions DC and Warner Bros are making, some fans have likely had enough of the whole thing.  I think I’m starting to get to that point myself.  This isn’t working!  And it makes it all the more painful to know that it can work.  Wonder Woman proved it!

Having said all that, I will probably go and see Justice League.  One thing a lot of critics have been saying is that even though it’s not a perfect film it is fun.  Sometimes that’s all I want from a superhero film, and that sense of fun was sorely lacking in Man of Steel and especially Batman v SupermanSuicide Squad tried to be fun, but only as a last minute add on.  And though Wonder Woman had the emotional depth the story needed it definitely had it’s fun moments.  That’s part of what made it such a great film; it could do both.

What do you think Geeklings?  Will you go see Justice League?  Give it a pass?  Either way, how come?  Post in the comments or for more extensive thoughts head to the WriteIt site and pour your hearts out.

And, just to reassure ourselves that DC can win in other mediums, here’s a list of their TV shows…

And some awesome graphic novels…

Have a great week Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek Breaking News: The title of the next Fantastic Beasts movie revealed!

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Rejoice Wizarding World fans!  The next film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series has a title and release date!  AND a cast photo!

Click here to learn more details about each character, and here for more about the movie.  And while The Crimes of Grindelwald won’t be out until next November, go ahead and sign out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to catch up (find the textbook here and the screenplay here).  Stay tuned for more, until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: YA Books that started in NaNoWriMo

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Hi again Geeklings!  How we doing?  Experiencing the November blah’s yet?  I may have something that’ll distract you…

As I mentioned on this site before, I’ve been trying something new this month.  Yay, new things!  I’m giving NaNoWriMo a shot.  For those who aren’t familiar yet, it’s a challenge to write 50 000 words of a novel in one month.  I’ve just passed the halfway point, both in November and in word count, so I like to think I’m giving it a solid effort.

To clarify, no one is expecting the participant to have a completely edited, polished and ready to publish novel in a month.  And you don’t have to write the entirety of it all in November either; if you had some things written before it all counts as long as it’s the same project.  It’s all on the honor system and it’s all for the personal challenge.  NaNoWriMo just wants you to get the words out, just to get them finally written down in a first or second draft, and then in January and February they host online help for editing and publishing.  It’s a great system.

So far I’ve found it interesting, challenging, stressful and so rewarding all at the same time.  This is the most I’ve written on a single project, and I’m a little worried at how the next 24 000-ish words are going to go.  Will I think of enough to write about?  Will all the placeholders I’ve put in the work so far have to be fleshed out?  So many ‘what if’s, but I’m determined.

And one of the best things about it is that they have a Young Writer’s Program.  Busy?  Overloaded with school and extracurriculars?  Wanna give this a try but feel like 50 000 words is WAY too much?  The Young Writer’s Program let’s you set your own word count and helps you through it.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got some YA novels that started as NaNoWriMo projects.

CinderCinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer

From Cinder: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”

The Lunar Chronicles feature a mix of fairy tale characters and a lot of sci fi.  Creating the first book during NaNoWriMo worked well enough for Meyer that she used the challenge to create some of the follow-ups.  That’s commitment.

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

“Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?”

For those looking for a little romance in an exotic locale, give this one a try.

RampantRampant by Diana Peterfreund

“Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns…

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student … an attraction that could jeopardize everything.”

Deadly unicorns.  What more could you ask for?

CrewelCrewel by Gennifer Albin

“Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, wherethey live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.”

Token of DarknessToken of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

“Cooper Blake has everything going for him–until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.”

The Forest of Hands and TeethThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

“In Mary’s world there are simple truths.
   The Sisterhood always knows best.
   The Guardians will protect and serve.
   The Unconsecrated will never relent.
   And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the villa≥ the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
   But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
   Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?”

Side Effects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

“When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.”

Now THAT is a twist if ever I heard one.  What the heck do you do if you act like your actions won’t have any consequences and suddenly they do?  We’ll have to read to find out how Alice deals.

AlienatedAlienated by Melissa Landers

“Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet..”

The first book in a whole series.

Livvie Owen Lived HereLivvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley

“Olivia ‘Livvie’ Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they again face eviction, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.

The problem is, Livvie burned down that house.

But she’s not giving up. Here is her story.”

Books featuring autistic characters are on the rise but still few and far between.  Author Sarah Dooley was a special education teacher who worked with autistic children, so she does come from a somewhat knowledgeable background on the subject.

And, gotta give a special shout out to one of my favorite books of all time…

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

That’s really a small snippet of what this book is all about.  Cath is a fan.  Cath is an introvert.  Cath is a writer.  And Cath is going through a seismic life change.  As a fan, introvert and kind-of writer myself, Cath resonated with me in a way that few literary characters have, before or since.  It’s a great book.  Read!

So there you have it.  Quite an eclectic mix of subjects but all are proof that the system can work as long as you want it.

And if you’re looking for a place to write, or meet other writers, or get some ideas, we’ve got you covered too.

Good luck Geeklings!  Hope to see you at the club, and until next time, End of Line.

Ready Player One שחקן מספר אחת

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Hebrew to follow עברית בהמשך…

Hello friends!

I do this on For Your Leisure sometimes, but haven’t here yet. So welcome to the Teen Vortex’s first ever English-Hebrew post!

One of my responsibilities at VPL is the library’s Hebrew collection. The collection is housed at Bathurst Clark Resource Library, Dufferin Clark Library, and Pleasant Ridge Library (our three east area libraries). It’s an awesome collection and we are constantly adding to it, which is to say that if you want to read a book in Hebrew look no further than this link to find it. And if it’s not there, send out a request here and we will try to get it for you.

Okay. Enough shop talk. What I really came here to talk about is Ready Player One.

As you might know, this book by Ernest Cline has been adapted into a major motion picture that will be in theatres soon. Yay! I am so excited about this! Can you tell?

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is the trailer for the film:

I highly recommend reading this book before the movie comes out (and also just in general because it’s great!). And now, if you wish, you can read it in Hebrew.

And that was basically the point of this post…

So, without further ado, the Hebrew portion of our day.

שלום חברים/ות!

אני כותבת פוסטים כאילו לפעמים בבלוג הראשי, אבל פה עדיין לא יצא לי. אז ברוכים/ות הבאים/ות לפוסט האנגלי-עברי הראשון של בלוג הנוער שלנו.

דבר ראשון, קצת קונטקסט: אחד התפקידים שלי בספרייה הוא האוסף העברי של הספרייה. האוסף נמצא בספריית בת’רסט קלארק, ספריית דפרין קלארק וספריית פלסנט רידג’ (שלושת הספריות באיזור מזרח). יש לנו אוסף מעולה ואנחנו מוסיפים ומעדכנים אותו כל הזמן, משמע אם יש משהו בעברית שאתם רוצים לקרוא או לראות כל שעליכם לעשות זה ללחוץ על הלינק הזה ולהתחיל לחפש. בנוסף, אם אתם/ן לא מוצאים/ות משהו שאתם/ן רוצים/ות תלחצו פה, תמלאו את טופס בקשה ואנחנו ננסה להוסיף אותו.

אוקיי, אז מספיק ענייני עבודה. מה שבאמת רציתי לדבר עליו זה שחקן מספר אחת.

ייתכן שכבר שמעתם/ן את השם הזה. מדובר בספר של ארנסט קליין שבקרוב מאוד הגרסה הקולנועית שלו יצא לאקרנים. יאיי!! אני ממש מתרגשת מזה!! שמתם/ן לב?

אם לא ראיתם/ן או אם בא לכם/ן לראות שוב, הטריילר לסרט נמצא למעלה.

אני ממש ממש ממש ממליצה על הספר הזה. גם אם אין לכם/ן רצון לראות את הסרט, כדאי לכם/ן לקרוא אותו. הוא מרגש, כיף וסחוף ומליון דברים אחרים!! ועכשיו אפשר לקרוא אותו גם בעברית.

וזהו… בעקרון זה כל מה שהיה לי לומר.