Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Nonfiction Policy

Just a heads up, I have updated my review policy with the following language:

I am currently serving on YALSA's Award for Excellence in Nonfiction committee. The policy says Committee appointees must not discuss books on social media that are eligible for their award in any way that could lead to a conflict or lack of confidentiality in regards to their committee. Mentioning the existence of a book is fine. Discussing its merits as pertains to the award criteria is not. Yes, I could review books that are eligible as long as I divorce them from the committee and... that sounds like a lot of work. Rest assured, I'm taking very good notes and writing reviews, but you won't see anything until February 2013 and then, maybe not everything. I'll decide then.

Now, you'll still see Nonfiction books reviewed this year-- I'm still posting reviews from last year's Cybils, and I'm reading some nonfiction that's not eligible for the ENYA (because it came out before November 1, 2011 or it's for adults). BUT, you won't see any new nonfiction for teens this year. Which is really, really hard, because I'm reading some really good books.

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Friday, March 30, 2012


OK! It's time to start Bloggiesta-ing!

Here are my goals for the weekend:

Review books. I have 61 unreviewed books. I'll be happy if I review at least 10.

Preschedule Reviews. I'd like to preschedule all of April. I'll be happy if I get next week and the week after done.

Deal with my Google Reader. This involves cleaning out starred posts and reading all my unread posts. Currently, I have 2581 unread posts. I'll be super happy if I just get this under 1000, but I'll settle for reading 1000.

Do some work on my programming blog, Library Noise. I need to write up an introduction to Toddler Storytime, come up with a post template, change some stuff on the intro to Baby Storytime, record and post a video or two, and make a rhyme page.

I've changed my review policy on Nonfiction, but only in my head and actions. I need to get it in writing and let y'all know what's going on and why.

Change my domain registration. GoDaddy's ads are effective in that I use them because I remember they exist, but they also skeeve me out, so I would like to not use them anymore.

Clean up my sidebar.

Let's get going!!!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Out of Sight, Out of Time

Out of Sight, Out of Time Ally Carter

Cammie remembers leaving school to find the Circle of Cavan, to keep everyone else out of danger.

She wakes up 4 months later in a convent in the Alps.

She remembers nothing in between.

But suddenly she's back at school, trying to discover what she did on her summer vacation. The adults are freaked. Her friends are treating her oddly. And Zach is apparently now a student.

Oh, and if you think that the teachers at Gallagher Academy will cut you a break because you have amnesia and missed the first month of class, then you haven't been paying attention.

Love! First, off Gallagher Girls, of course there's love.

I like Cammie's struggle as she tries to come to terms with this person in the mirror that she doesn't recognize, as her friends try to come to terms with her, their anger at her leaving, the mystery of what the hell happened.

Not as many cool gadgets, or spy lessons, but enough snipers and car chases and explosions to keep a girl happy. This book really focuses on who Cammie is now, and the mystery of what happened to make her that way.

Now, some things I caught onto right away (and if you know how "Early one Morning" and Spike go together, you will, too.) But who the bad guys were and why was a surprise.

It's a page turner that kept me up all night.

AND! MY FAVORITE PART! I can't talk about here, because it's a spoiler, but click here if you've read it already.

Book Provided by... the publicist, for review consideration,

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Deadly Julie Chibbaro

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a virologist*, a disease hunter for the CDC. The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story, And the Band Played On, Outbreak, and The Andromeda Strain were rather influential texts.

Then I realized that I have a pretty crap immune system, so it probably wasn't the best career path to choose.

BUT! I do still enjoy a good virus-hunting thriller, something that I had kinda forgotten about until we rented Contagion a few weeks ago. Fresh off my "what is killing everyone? Smart people will figure it out!" high, I remembered that I wanted to read Deadly. So I did.

Prudence Galewski isn't like most of the other girls in her finishing school. She wants to know real things. Science things. She wants to know why people die and how it can be stopped. She had to watch her brother die after a carriage accident when his wounds became infected. Her mother is a midwife and Prudence often helps-- why do some births go well and some go so wrong? She applies for a job a secretary at the Department of Sanitation and Health. She's hired to do more than take notes, but to take an active part in an investigation in a new series of typhoid outbreaks. Soon, the only thing linking the outbreaks together is an Irish cook named Mary Mallon, but Mary's never had typhoid, so she can't be making everyone sick, can she?

An excellent look at the investigation that brought in Typhoid Mary and the controversy surrounding it-- a controversy dealing with personal rights, crazy ideas in science, and discrimination against immigrants.

It's not as fast-paced as the books and movies I mention above and it's not gross (there are NO descriptions of what happens during typhoid!) but I still really liked it. I liked how Mary was a real person, not villainous joke she's become. I liked the relationship that Prudence has with her mother-- there are a lot of walls (but no acrimony) between them at the start of this book and it's interesting to read how their relationship grows and changes over time.

A very solid historical fiction novel about something that we don't often read about.

Also! I like the original cover, but I have to say I think the new paperback cover is much more exciting and enticing to readers.

Oh, and here's an excuse to link to Hark! A Vagrant!'s cartoon about Dr. Sara Baker, who is a character in the book.

*A (guy) friend of mine initially thought this meant I wanted to study (male) virility.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick Joe Schreiber

On the night that Perry's band finally gets a gig in Manhattan, his mother makes him take their dumpy Lithuanian exchange student to prom.

After sending some jerks to the ER, she takes Perry out on the town, where she changes into a super-hot assassin, reigning death on some very bad dudes.

We have a super-fast paced thriller that's very much a guy book (dumpy girl turns out to be hot and knows how to use weapons, all while driving your dad's Jag through Manhattan? BOY FANTASY!) Which makes for a very fun and exciting read.

Not a lot of substance or character development (the majority of the book takes place in a single night) but it's a great, fun read that I couldn't put down on Sunday afternoon.

I liked how (despite the premise) it's a realistic fiction. I mean, yeah, the fact that your weird exchange student is really a smoking hot killer? Not realistic, but no crazy gadgets, no unrealistic technology. Just a girl who hides her body and how to handle herself in a fight.

I really enjoyed how every chapter name was a college admissions questions, and even more enjoyed that they used one from my alma mater. I'm not sure if it's a real question or one the author made up (I applied to college a really long time ago and used the common application.) Minor quibble-- he was wait listed at Columbia, but his essay was about that crazy night? I... don't understand the timeline there but whatever. It didn't really bother me.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Countdown to Bloggiesta!

Bloggiesta starts on Friday!

And the bloggers said, Ole! (Points to anyone who gets the picture book reference)

Bloggiesta is one of my favorite times of year. It's not as fun as a read-a-thon weekend (speaking of, did you see that sign-ups have started for the spring edition of Dewey's Readathon?) But, it's almost more useful.

Bloggiesta is a weekend to catch up on your blog.

Pre-schedule some posts.

Clean out your reader.

Change your layout.

All that stuff that you always *mean* to get around to, but never quite have time for.

I've been making a list a mile long for the past few weeks. We'll see what happens. A bunch of stuff that I wanted to get done this weekend so I'd have time next weekend didn't get done, so it'll have to get done next weekend (bathroom, me and my spray bleach, we're coming for you!) BUT, still, lots will get done. I'm excited.

Will you be joining me?

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Nonfiction Monday: Start it Up!

Start It Up: The Complete Teen Business Guide to Turning Your Passions into Pay Kenrya Rankin

This book covers EVERYTHING teens need to know about starting their own business. Picking a business, writing a business plan, the legal stuff, balancing school + work + life, hiring employees, dealing with cranky customers, marketing, what to do with your business when you graduate high school, and even how to be a responsible corporate citizen.

There are sample forms, lots of examples from other teen entrepreneurs all in an easy-to-read and use format. This is so well done, I’d recommend it to adults wanting to start their own business. I mean, it even makes the insurance stuff sound interesting!

BUT. There are some serious copy-editing/design issues. Sentences start and when you turn the page, a new chapter begins and the sentence never ends. This happens more than once.

It’s such a shame, because this book could be truly excellent. It’s so useful and deserved so much better.

Despite the errors, I still recommend it. Just not as highly as I want to.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is over at Booktalking. Be sure to check it out!

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Only the Good Spy Young

Only the Good Spy Young Ally Carter

I'm sure I'm not the only blogger who has this problem-- you read a book and are ready to review it, only to realize that you never reviewed the previous book in a series? Or am I the only who's stupid enough to try to review every book they finish?

And it's not because I didn't enjoy the book. I mean, I pre-ordered this one and it arrived on my doorstep during ALA Annual 2010. Now, 2010 was in DC, so after a day of conferencing, I came home to shower, eat, change and then go back for the Printz reception. Only, NEW GALLAGHER GIRLS. Never mind the huge bag of highly-anticipated ARCS I had just carried home. NEW GALLAGHER GIRLS. Of course I started reading it. Of course I got so caught up in it that I was late the Printz reception and missed the 1.5 acceptance speeches.

But, afterwards, I got to talk to Ally Carter herself. And tell her that I was late and missed speeches because her book was (so far) really, really good. She didn't look at me like I was crazy or nuthin'. Because she's nice.

And then MT Anderson dropped some cake on me, but that's another story.

Anyway, because I've waited so freakishly long to blog about this (ALMOST 2 YEARS?! WTF?!) The details are hazy, so here's the description from the book jacket:

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn't know was that the serious, real-life danger would start as soon as her junior year. But that's exactly what happened when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie "The Chameleon" can't hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most trusted allies is actually a rogue double agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers--or even her own heart.

Despite the fact the details are hazy, here is what I remember


A whole new level of excitement and danger-- it's not a game anymore and things are getting real.

Shifting alliances-- you really don't know who's good and who's bad anymore-- lots of gray areas.

Even better? Lots of backstory. Exciting exciting backstory that's super-relevant to the plot.

LOVE this series. And luckily the next installment is out! Huzzah!

Book Provided by... my wallet

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Traitor in the Tunnel

The Traitor in the Tunnel Y. S. Lee

Everyone's favorite Victorian spy is back!

Mary's now a full-fledged member of the agency. She thinks her first assignment is a bit well... boring. She's posing as a housemaid in Buckingham Palace because someone is stealing random trinkets from the Blue Room.

BUT! It quickly heats up-- a known rogue was murdered in a Limehouse opium den, right in front of the crown prince. They immediately arrested a Chinese opium addict. Mary convinces the agency to let her stay on at the palace to see if the man was actually guilty or arrested solely because he was Chinese. She doesn't tell them her real interest in the case-- he has the same name as her long-missing, presumed-dead father.

AND! To make matters even more confusing, James is back on the scene, working on the sewers under the palace.

I love Mary and her secrets and double life. I loooooooooooooooooooove the chemistry between her and James.

I initially thought this would be a series, and it wraps up deliciously, with all the loose ends tied but with the promise of new adventure on the horizon. BUT! We're so lucky-- there will be more.

I continue to adore the way Lee writes historical fiction. She paints her Victorian world so well and with so much detail (her description of the sewers is fantastic) but it never overwhelms or detracts from the actual story. I also really liked her portrait of Queen Victoria-- fun and stern mother with her family, but proper and commanding Queen when needed. Lee gives her depth and complexity, even though she's a minor character that doesn't get much page-time.

This is a series that just gets better and better. The mystery isn't as exciting in this one, but Mary's personal journey is.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dead is a Battlefield

Dead Is a Battlefield Marlene Perez

I thought the Dead Is... series was well, dead, with Daisy graduated and off to college and the scourge taken care of.

And it is, kinda.

Remember Daisy's BFF Samantha's boyfriend, Sean? And how Sean had a million sisters? Well, this new book is about one of those sisters, Jessica, who's starting her freshman year at Nightshade. And she's just discovered that she's a Virago-- a woman warrior who's charged with protecting her town, and under the training to everyone's favorite waitress, Flo. Plus, new hottt boys, and well, a bunch of crazy love zombies (this is, after all, Nightshade.)

While I miss Daisy and her friends, I think this was a good way to keep the series going. And, we still get a lot of the characters that we're used to. It's a little annoying because as a reader, we know SO MUCH MORE about Nightshade than Jessica does, but she'll figure it out pretty quickly.

I'm really happy that this series isn't dead. I'd still start with Dead Is the New Black if you haven't yet, but if you're a fan, rejoice in the fact that there is more!

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Hi Guys! It's my very first TOP TEN TUESDAY. Today's topic is "Top 10 Books on your Spring Reading List"

Like I could narrow it down to 10! So, I have 20, or rather, 2 Top 10 lists. 1 is for sequels/series books, one is stand alone (or first in a series).

Top Ten Books That Aren't a Sequel That I Want to Read This Spring

The Princesses of Iowa M. Molly Backes

I'll be straight up and tell you that Molly and I go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back (we were both in high school when we first met) and I have read many versions of this book (including the final one) AND SOON IT WILL BE A REAL BOOK AND OMG YOU GUYS IT IS AWESOME.

Last spring, Paige and her friends were in a car accident. This fall, after being sent away for the summer so her mother could do damage control, Paige sees her friends and her life in a new light and realizes there's more than the Homecoming Court and her "perfect" boyfriend. Molly says it's a reverse Cinderella.

This is how good of a writer Molly is-- after over a decade of struggling with it, she taught me to use eyeliner. OVER EMAIL. With no visual aids. TRUE STORY.

One for the Murphys Lynda Mullaly Hunt

This is only on my radar because Hunt contacted me to be on her blog tour. I'm not accepting a lot of ARCs right now because I have so much to read, but something about this one grabbed me. Then, when I got it, I was flipping through and started reading in the middle right away before I realized I should probably, oh, I don't know, start at the beginning? I haven't finished it yet, but it's looking very promising right now.

Carley ends up in foster care and gets assigned to the Murphys, who show her a stable family life she thought only existed in fantasies. First up, can we just say "yay" to a positive foster environment? I know the system has serious problems, but I've known so many dedicated and wonderful foster parents and families over the years, I'm happy to see them shown in a book. (I really hope they don't end up being secretly evil.)

The Difference Between You and Me Madeleine George

Amazon says "Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss Army knife. She wears big green fisherman's boots. She's the founding (and only) member of NOLAW, the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos. Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She's vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend.

These two girls have nothing in common, except the passionate "private time" they share every Tuesday afternoon. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide what's more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?"

But it's more about Jesse's coming to terms than Emily coming to terms. Can't wait.

Happy Families Tanita S. Davis

Ysabel and Justin are twins with a good life and a perfect family. Until their world is rocked by the fact that Dad has started to live as woman.

Tanita S. Davis tackling such a heady topic? YES PLEASE!

Wonder Show Hannah Barnaby

Portia is trying to outrun her past and ends up as the only normal girl in a traveling freak show. As the back says:

"Oh, it's not for the faint-of-hear folks. If you're prone to nightmares of you've got a weak ticker, you'd best move on. Within these pages lies a tale of abandonment, loss, misfortune for the rich, and glory for the poor (and a little murder doesn't hurt). It's a story for the ages, but be warned: Once you enter the Wonder Show, you will never be the same."

Code Name Verity Elizabeth Wein

Verity is a secret agent, behind enemy lines and arrested by the Gestapo. And so she unwinds the tale of how she became a spy and her friendship with her pilot, Maddie, whom she left behind in the wrecked plane.

Lady spies that have been caught? Tell me more. I admit, I'm hoping for another Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal. I know it won't be, but hopefully it will blow me away in the same way.

The Book of Blood and Shadow Robin Wasserman

Nora's best friend is dead and his girlfriend is in a coma. Her boyfriend is missing and presumed responsible. Nora's desperate to clear his name. She ends up in Prague where she finds secret societies, ancient conspiracies, and clues hidden in a centuries old manuscript.

I'm sorry, how do you NOT want to read this?

And now we've come to the segment of the list that is historical fiction court intrigue:

Cross My Heart Sasha Gould

Venice, 1700s. Laura's sister has drownded and Laura's ripped from her convent to marry her sister's repulsive fiance. She joins the Segreta, a "shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency--secrets." And, as it turns out, may have been responsible for Laura's sister's death. This one promises "clandestine romance, political intrigue, and deadly secrets." I say, oh yes.

Ladies in Waiting Laura L. Sullivan

Three girls named Elizabeth who all end up as ladies-in-waiting on Queen Catherine as the court of Charles II.

Scandal? Treachery? British court? What more does a girl want? Well...

Gilt Katherine Longshore

What about a book about Catherine Howard's best friend? And following her to Henry VIII's court? And trying to keep your head?

This is the one ARC I got super-rabid about at ALA. Yes.

OH! And Extra One!

Enchanted Alethea Kontis

From Amazon:

"It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?"

I've never heard of this, but it caught my eye when I was linking to Happy Families as apparently they're often bought together? Anyway, it sounds awesome. Glad I stumbled across it.

AND NOW! My Top Ten List of Sequels!

Froi of the Exiles: The Lumatere Chronicles Melina Marchetta

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls) Ally Carter

The Agency 3: The Traitor in the Tunnel Y. S. Lee

Dead Is a Battlefield Marlene Perez

Spell Bound (A Hex Hall Novel) Rachel Hawkins

The Last Apprentice: Grimalkin the Witch Assassin (Book 9) Joseph Delaney

Caddy's World (Casson Family) Hilary McKay

The Popularity Papers: Book Four: The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang Amy Ignatow

Thumped Megan McCafferty

Ruby Redfort Look Into My Eyes Lauren Child

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.