Scary Stories

September 21, 2016 by

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With Halloween right around the corner, all things scary are coming out of the dark. Scary movies are on TV, your favorite shows are doing Halloween themed episodes, and you can’t walk into a store without encountering a skeleton.

Well, here’s a way to bring those terrors into your reading list as well. These ten books can help you immerse yourself in the Halloween spirit, and the best part is that you can read these even when someone else is hogging the TV!

Amity by Micol Ostow 

You know about the Amityville horror, right? There are so many movies for it it’s become a classic, and some people have even taken pieces of the house itself for themselves. This one is different. This story focuses on the house and the way that it influences not just one family. Get to know the entity haunting the halls of the Amityville house, and see how it gets its inhabitants to do its dark work.

Harmony House by Nic Sheff 

If you want a new and different story about a haunted house, check out Harmony House. This time, though, the house isn’t the only one with powers, and when Jen and her father move into the house and her powers awaken along with those of the house, things get…interesting. Maybe a new house will haunt your dreams.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga 

Serial killers are fascinating for everyone. Jazz, though, doesn’t necessarily feel the same way. See, he knows one. Lives with one. Was fathered by one. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up with a murderer for a father? Worse, what it would be like to watch those murders happen as a child? Jazz knows, and when bodies start popping up in his home town, he helps the police search for the killer. After all, who would know better how killers think than a kid who was raised by one?

The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth 

Finding out that you have powers is every kids dream, and there’s always that wise old mentor there to help you figure them out. Right? Wrong. Kenna doesn’t know what kind of powers she has, but she doesn’t want them and tries to tamp them down. When an attack brings out her gifts in full force, she’s exiled to a commune to live with relatives she’s never met. But while they help her hone her gifts, Kenna tries to figure out exactly what they’re helping her master them for, and something tells her it’s not anything good.

Tell Me What You See by Zoran Drvenkar 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been afraid of walking over someones grave and falling into it. You know, when the wood is old and your weight is just the last straw, and you fall in and end up face-to-face with a skeleton. That’s basically what happens to Alissa, except it’s not a full grown skeleton. She’s faced with the body of a child, and something growing there that won’t let Alissa go.

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The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude 

Definitely nothing bad could ever happen in a remote town full of farmers and superstition, right? That’s the kind of place that Ivy Glen lives, and she certainly has no qualms about the oddities that occur in towns like that. Until her cousin Heather, who is also Ivy’s best friend, goes missing. Then Ivy is left on her own to uncover the secrets that have hidden in the woods around her town for centuries. And not all of them aged well.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey  

Hunting and studying monsters for a living comes with a certain amount of risk. Especially when dealing with monsters that probably shouldn’t exist. But that’s what Will does, as the assistant to a doctor who studies these creatures. Naturally, not much phases him at this point, but one night brings a new monster that is nothing like anything that Will and Dr. Warthorpe have ever seen. They have to find out where it came from, and what it is, and that’s never an easy task with monsters.

Shallow Graves by  Kali Wallace 

Being at a party and then waking up a year later to find out that you’re dead, you don’t know who killed you, and that you can kill others just by touching them is rough. Then finding out that there’s a cult looking for people like you so that they can hunt you down makes things even more difficult. Welcome to Breezy’s new life, in which she has to find out who killed her and what she is before someone else comes along to kill her again.

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco 

Here’s another story that might sound familiar, just like Amity did. This one focuses on a girl who lives in a well (ringing any bells yet?) who hunts murderers. Like the guy who murdered her. By throwing her down a well. When she encounters a boy who has an even deadlier secret, and they start working together, things get darker and ever more dangerous.

Burning by Danielle Rollins 

You know things aren’t ideal when you’re in juvie, but things get worse when you get a new 10 year-old inmate. And worse yet when things start happening at the same time as the youngster arrives. No one gets into juvie for small things, but a child? You know that kid did something bad. Now juvie is more dangerous than ever, and Angela Davis has to find a way to get herself and everyone else out before something really bad happens to all of them.

What’s on your reading list for Halloween? Let us know your favorite horror books in the comments!

Reviewer: This article was written by Elizabeth from Harrington Library.

Leviathan

September 2, 2016 by

LeviathanTitle:  Leviathan

Author/Artist:  Scott Westerfeld

Why I picked it up:  I came across this book through my interest in utopian fiction.  Though not completely a book about utopian and dystopian society, this book is still interesting.  Although this books takes place during World War I, Westerfeld gives a completely new twist on the Great War with the Clankers fighting against the Darwinists.  Furthermore, Westerfeld is able to even weave in a story of love and compassion into a period of chaos and warfare.

Why I finished it:  First of all, this book gives a fresh, new twist on World War I, with Clankers, machinists, fighting against Darwinists, whose technology is based on new species.  As the story continues, two teens unexpectedly cross paths blurring the lines of the enemies and weaving love into the tale.  All in all, this book is very interesting and captivating, leaving the readers unable to put the book down and wanting for more.

I’d give it to:  This book is suitable for any middle and high schooler.  The two main teens of the story are a male and female, meaning that both girls and boys alike would find this enjoyable.  Those who are interested in utopian or historical fiction would definitely enjoy this novel.

Star rating:  4 stars

 

Reviewer:  Nicky (Plano teen)

Get in Trouble

August 29, 2016 by

get in troubleGet in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link

Kelly Link’s new book, Get in Trouble, offers the perfect set of chilling tales to keep my mind off the blazing hot weather. Each story is told from a unique character’s perspective. I listened to the audiobook and every story’s narrator was cast perfectly. One of my favorite stories was ‘The Summer People.’ A young girl is in charge of taking care of mysterious visitors who inhabit a cottage behind her house. She shares her secret duty with a new found friend, who starts to help her with the care taking duties. Another interesting story is ‘The Slumber Party.” Doll-like “monster” Boyfriends are all the rage and a group of girls’ friendship strains after one of them gets a limited edition ghost Boyfriend.

These stories are perfect for anyone who can’t wait for fall (or really just October tbh) and are fans of Kelly Link in general. For more spooky, magical books check out the author Carlos Ruiz Zafon, What I Didn’t See: and Other Stories by Karen Joy Fowler, or The Unfinished World: and Other Stories by Amber Sparks.

Reviewed by: Kate at Parr Library

Genesis

August 24, 2016 by

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Genesis

by Bernard Beckett

Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be. In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy.

So, recently I decided to take a month and reread a bunch of books I’d read before at some point that I loved, but that I didn’t actually remember much about anymore. This book came out in 2009, and I read it when it was new and all I remembered was being kind of blown away by it. It’s tiny–only 150 pages long–but it is really interesting, and really powerful, and there are some serious twists! And even though at this point there are a billion dystopian fiction novels out there, this one still surprised me. If you have a thing for philosophical questions about the nature of intelligence, or robots, or are bored with the typical dystopia or are just looking for something short, give this one a try!

Happy reading!

Lara (Haggard Library)

Traitor Angels

August 22, 2016 by

Traitor Angels

by Anne Blankman

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects (except for Elizabeth Milton). The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society. (Summary taken from cover flap)

Why I picked it up:

I enjoyed Anne Blankman’s previous books Prisoner of Night and Fog as well as Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke.  Although this one is totally different, I thought I would give it a try.

Why I finished it:  This unusual work of historical fiction includes actual historical figures such as Thomas Milton, Galileo and King Charles II along with historical events such as the Great Fire of London and the Plague of 1666 all wrapped up in an intriguing mystery full of romance, hidden clues and dark secrets.   As the mystery slowly unraveled I had to continue my journey through a plot that (for better or worse) frequently reminded me of The DaVinci Code.

 I’d give it to:  Teens who like their historical fiction with a taste of adventure and intrigue. Not to mention like their heroines to be strong young women with a will of their own who are determined to break convention.

I’d give it: 3 stars

 

Reviewed by: Connie (Schinmelpfenig Library)

 

 

 

The Things They Carried

August 19, 2016 by

The things they carriedTitle:  The Things They Carried

 Author/Artist:  Tim O’Brien

Why I picked it up:  I was interested in this book because of the great reviews it had and seemed very interesting to me.  I enjoy suspenseful and dramatic stories and this one definitely fit the bill.

Why I finished it:  The stories were gripping and very interesting.  I just had to finish the book to know the stories and overall experience of the characters of the book.

I’d give it to:  I would give this to teens and young adults looking for a good war book.

Star rating:  5 stars

Reviewer:  Justin (Plano teen)

Animal Farm

August 17, 2016 by

Animal farmTitle:  Animal Farm

Author/Artist:  George Orwell

Why I picked it up:  There are two reasons why I decided to read this book.  First and foremost is the fact that I was required to read it for this coming 9th grade year.  The second reason is because I have read a few of George Orwell’s other books, such as 1984, and really enjoyed them.

Why I finished it:  This book first started off in a farm, where the perspective was placed upon the different animals on the farm.  It talked about how they interacted with each other, how they fulfilled their different roles on the farm.  However, one day, the animals on the farm revolted upon their owner, and ended up ruling the barn.  They created their own society, with the one animal on top, named Napoleon.  This is when I realized that this book was a reference to the French dictator Napoleon.  As I kept on reading, I found more and more references, and that was the biggest reason I finished the book.

I’d give it to:  I would recommend this book to anybody.  Depending on how you interpret the story, you either could get a very interesting fiction story about animals taking over a farm, or a very unique way of referencing a dictator.

Star rating:  5 stars

Reviewer:  Justin (Plano teen)

Teardrop

August 15, 2016 by

TeardropTitle:  Teardrop

Author/Artist:  Lauren Kate

Why I picked it up:  This book interweaves romance, mystery, fiction, and ancient myth all into one package.  Personally, I picked up this book because of its fictional content.  I enjoy anything fiction, from science fiction to fantasy, and this book fits right into this range.  However, this book also includes action and mystery, which were two other appealing aspects of the book.  After reading the compelling back cover of the book, I was instantly drawn in.  The plot twists and the interesting backstory is sure to keep you up at night.

Why I finished it:  This book is beautifully crafted, combining many genres into one.  Therefore, I wanted to see how the book ends, especially with all the fast paced action.  Furthermore, Lauren Kate manages to include serious topics in the backstory, prevalent in today’s society, which can teach the many young adults of today’s society a lesson.  All in all, this book pulled me right in with its interesting facades and significant social commentary.

I’d give it to:  This is an easy read perfect for any teen who wants to relax with a compelling story.  It would appeal to male and female readers alike, because of the balanced gender of the characters.  It is perfect for anyone who enjoys slight action and an interesting background.  Furthermore, with its inclusion of romance, mystery, and fiction, this book would appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Star rating:  4 stars

Reviewer:  Nicky (Plano teen)

VIII by H.M. Caster

August 12, 2016 by

VIII

Title: VIII

Author: H.M. Castor

VIII is a fictionalized account of Henry the VIII’s early years. We’ve all heard or read stories from history about Henry VIII,  his six wives (two of whom he had beheaded), and other horror stories of his reign. VIII shows the tender and compassionate side of Henry during his younger years, and in the beginning you can’t help but wonder how did this sweet boy turn into such a terrible person by adulthood? H.M. Castor uses historical records and entertains Henry’s transition from the sweet young boy in his young years to the time he comes to power. Highly readable and enjoyable, if you like any historical fiction this is a fun read.

Why I picked it up: I enjoy historical fiction and reading of the antics of Henry VIII.

 Why I finished it: I just had to know how Henry became the curmudgeon that he did.

I’d give it to: Recommended for YA readers who are interested in a light introduction to Tudor history or fans of Katherine Longshore’s Tudor fiction.

I’d give it: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Andrea H. (Haggard Library)

 

 

 

The Rook

August 10, 2016 by

Dear you,
The body you are wearing used to be mine… Do you know the name of the body you are in? It’s Myfanwy. Myfanwy Alice Thomas… You are probably aware of this next part already, since if you are reading this then you have survived several immediate threats, but you are in danger. Just because you are not me does not make you safe. Along with this body, you have inherited certain problems and responsibilities…

I recently came across a Doctor Who read-alikes list, and found The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley. It was described as X-Men in London, featuring a paranormal secret government agency. Enter Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas, a woman in a position of great power in this agency, with one slight problem: all of her memories are gone. She must figure out who betrayed her, making sure no one finds out she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, all while dealing with the everyday paranormal disturbances that plague Britain. The story was topped off with that famous British humour and wit, keeping things light and intriguing. Also: no unnecessary romantic plot plagues the characters. It’s the end of the world as they know it, and they do not feel the need to suddenly develop feelings for co-workers. And I feel fine with that.

The Rook is an adult fiction book, and a long one at that. I’d recommend it for Doctor Who fans and older teens, who feel ready to take on a challenge. This one is well worth its length.

I’d give it four stars (well, 4.5, but no halfsies for us.)

Reviewed by: Anna, at Parr Library