I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

March 2, 2015 by

I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill youI’d Tell You I Love you, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

Ally Carter

Why I picked it up:

A friend recommended this book to me, because I like books that are filled with adventure. This book not only has action, it has humor and romance as well. The plot sucked me in, and I wasn’t able to put the book down. When the book is centered around an undercover school for spies, it ought to be good.

Why I finished it:

I finished the book because of the interesting plot lien. The book not only had an interesting idea, it was also well written. However, the book also illustrated that sometimes, even if you are a genius, you won’t survive in the real world without common sense.

Who I’d give it to:

This book would be perfect for teen girls looking for an adventure. With a secret school for spies that is exclusively for girls, any teen girl would like this book.

How many stars would you give this item?

4 stars

Nicky (Plano teen)

March 2015 Book Giveaway

March 1, 2015 by

Everything leads to youWe have an Advance Reader’s Copy of Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour for one lucky reader of the teen blog. An Advance Reader’s Copy is a pre-publication paperback copy of the book. This version may contain small errors and it is distributed to book reviewers and librarians to promote the book. This title was published in May 2014.

A talented young production designer with a genius for décor, Emi can’t help but see coral-colored melancholy in wallpaper and happily ever after in a gold-embroidered green sofa. Armed with this artistic talent, she’s thriving in the competitive LA film scene but perpetually floundering when it comes to designing a love life that’s more than make-believe.

But when she discovers a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi must move beyond the walls of her carefully crafted world and into a grittier reality. With her best friend at her side, she chases down clues that lead to a beautiful and enigmatic girl with a not-so-glamorous past, a long-lost secret, and the potential for true love at last. (Taken from the cover).

To participate in the drawing for this book, send an email to reneek@plano.gov with Everything Leads To You in the subject line. Include your phone number and the Plano library branch where you would like to pick up the book. We will have a drawing for the winner of the give-away on Monday, March 16th. One must be a resident of Plano, Texas in order to qualify for the monthly book giveaway.


Good Luck!



Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir)

February 27, 2015 by

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir) CoverPopular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir)

By Maya Van Wagenen

Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at “pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya has never been popular.  But before starting eighth grade, she decides to begin a unique social experiment:  spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. (Summary from book cover flap)

Why I picked it up:

It’s on the 2015 Texas Lone Star reading list. I thought that it sounded interesting – especially since it really happened!  In fact, the author is Maya herself who was 13 when she conducted “the experiment” and now, at the age of 15, has released this book about her experience.

 Why I finished it:

How could advice written for 1950’s era teens possibly apply to teens in 2012, especially in a Brownsville, TX middle school that had its own set of modern problems?  I had to find out if Maya would succeed with her personal quest for popularity using 1950’s guidelines.

As it turns out, Maya faithfully adheres to Betty’s suggestions by tackling one chapter a month, beginning with figure problems (dieting), and moving on through grooming, hair, dress and make-up (1950’s style complete with girdle and pearls!), posture, money and hardest of all personality.  The results are hilarious and touching, even painful at times but Maya’s strength and determination are so eloquently described in this diary-format autobiography I had to keep turning the pages.  Added features are actual photographs of Maya taken during this experiment as well as actual excerpts of Betty Cornell’s book accompanied by Maya’s own playful tips and advice for teens. The result is a beautifully and expertly written memoir.

 I’d give it to:

Middle school girls who enjoy reading memoirs as well as those trying to puzzle out the mystery of middle school popularity.

I’d give it:  

 Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

Mother-Daughter Book Club

February 23, 2015 by

The Mother-Daughter Book ClubTitle: Mother-Daughter Book Club

Author/Artist: Heather Vogel Ferderick

Why I picked it up: This book is a fun, easy read. I picked it up because I wanted to read a realistic fiction book, and this was a perfect match. Each girl in the book has their own chapter and they each describe their lives in their own point of view. This makes the book interesting. The characters and plot are well developed, and adopt a realistic atmosphere.

Why I finished it: This is a fabulous novel on fiction, family, and friendship. I read until the very end so I could find out how the very unlikely friendship turned out.

Who I would give it to: This is a great book for middle school girls! It covers many problems that a tween may face such as protective parents, bullying, and cliques.

Star rating: 3 stars

Reviewer: Nicky (Plano teen)

The Darkest Part of the Forest

February 20, 2015 by

darkest part of the forestDarkest Part of the Forest

By Holly Black

“Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?” – Summary from Goodreads

I heard a lot of excitement for this book, so I immediately put a hold on it. This story did not disappoint! The plot is a nice blend of fantasy and realistic fiction. Despite there being faerie folk and enchanted objects, the relationships and struggles that the characters go through are easy to relate to. For the most part the story is told through Hazel’s point of view. However, every so often a chapter is told through Ben or another character’s perspective. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy in a contemporary setting.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Need by Carrie Jones

Summerland by Michael Chabon

Review by Kate (Haggard)

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

February 19, 2015 by

Cody and Meg were inseparable…
Until they weren’t.

When her best friend, Meg, drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

Why did I pick this book:  I have been a fan of Gayle Forman ever since I read If I Stay  and Where She Went a few years ago.   As many of her readers have already discovered I can count on Forman not to disappoint.

Why did I finish reading it:  This book has everything … romance, mystery, friendship …!

“I Was Here is a pitch-perfect blend of mystery, tragedy, and romance. Gayle Forman has given us an unflinchingly honest portrait of the bravery that it takes to live after devastating loss.”
Stephen Chbosky, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Ghosts of Heaven

February 18, 2015 by

indexCAZBEK20The Ghosts of Heaven

by Marcus Sedgwick

For those looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary, The Ghosts of Heaven just might do the trick! The book consists of four short stories that take place throughout time (three in the past and one in the distant future), and all are linked by a mysterious symbol. What does it all mean?!?

I’m not generally a huge fan of short stories, but all four of these are extremely well-written and compelling, and all four sucked me in completely. You can read them in any order as well! I read the book front to back in the traditional way, but I’ve heard from others more adventurous than I am that it works wonderfully no matter which stories you start and end with. Oh, Marcus Sedgwick, what will you think of next?

If you like The Ghosts of Heaven and haven’t yet read Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood, you should definitely give that one a try as well for more connected short story deliciousness.

Happy reading!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

I’ll Give You the Sun

February 13, 2015 by


I’ll Give You the Sun
By Jandy Nelson

Noah is a 13 year old boy making amazing art, discovering himself and falling in love.
Jude is a 16 year old girl making amazing art, discovering herself and falling in love.
Noah and Jude are twins, and their stories are told three years apart. A lot happens during those three years. Although they are going through a lot of the same things, Noah and Jude are drifting apart. Their jealous and selfish actions make the space between them grow wider.

The different perspectives taking place at different times of their lives takes a little getting used to, but it doesn’t jump around so much that you keep getting jolted out of the story. It’s a beautifully written book that will break your heart and put it together and break it again. Noah and Jude have a lot to deal with in their lives, and although they constantly do things to hurt each other and their relationship, there are also lovely moments where they remember they come from the same place and are able to calm each other down.

When I found out this was the 2015 Printz Award winner, I was very excited! It’s one more reason that you should read it!

Reviewed by: Nina (Haggard Library)


February 11, 2015 by

cover imageTicker

By Lisa Mantchev

Penelope Farthing was born with a congenital heart defect, one that has already claimed the lives of her two sisters and left her family a shadow of what it once was. When Penny’s health takes a sudden turn for the worse, brilliant surgeon and friend of the family Calvin Warwick saves her life with his prototype brass heart implant, called a “Ticker,” making her the first Augmented human.

But Penny’s Ticker is flawed. She needs an upgrade, but Warwick is currently on trial for the murders of over a dozen people–sacrifices to his obsession with creating Augments that will erase the fragility of bone and flesh.

On the day of Warwick’s verdict, the city is rocked by protests and riots. Then the Farthing family factory is bombed, the Farthing mansion, Glasshouse, is ransacked, and the Farthing parents are abducted. Who is behind these attacks against the Farthings? Penny and her twin, Nic, must find out, quickly, or they may never see their parents again.

Time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

Why I picked it up:

Mostly because of the cover art. I also wanted to know more about the mysterious Calvin Warwick: what drove him to commit multiple murders in the name of saving one life?

Why I finished it:

I was drawn in by the fast-paced action–the book hits the ground running and the characters only rarely get a breather before plunging into the next high-action scene. I also enjoyed all the little details that came together to give the story its great steampunk ambiance. And Warwick’s motivations, slowly revealed over the course of the story, are both heartbreaking and chilling.

I’d give it:

3 Stars



Three stars. It often stretched my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. The plot clearly takes a backseat to the romance, which would be fine, if only the romance didn’t feel quite so flat. However, it’s fast-paced and a quick, fun read.

Reviewed by: Francesca (Davis)

Mark of the Thief

February 9, 2015 by

Mark of the Thief (Praetor War, Book 1)mark of the thief
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar, filled with a magic once reserved for the gods—magic some Romans would kill for. Now with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes. In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders. [from the publisher]

Why I picked it up: I received an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of Mark of the Thief at a conference. Having read and enjoyed Nielsen’s The False Prince, I jumped right into this one.

Why I finished it: How could I not? The action picked up in chapter 1 and did not let up until the final page. This is a fun read.

I’d give it to: Anyone who loves adventure, fantasy, history, magic, and mythology. This book has it all. Also, if you are a fan of Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy (The False Prince, etc.), you will definitely want to read her new series surrounding the courageous Nicolas Calva.

Mark of the Thief is scheduled for release on February 24, 2015. Put it on hold now!

I’d give it: 4 stars

4 stars

Reviewed by: Jocelyn (Davis Library)