March 7, 2013 by Reader's Connection
On Saturday, March 30, from 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m., the Spades Park Library will be hosting a Mini Book Festival. This will be a chance to meet local independent authors and learn about the writing and publishing process during this free event for adults, families and children of all ages
Beginning at 1:00 p.m., As part of the festival, there will be a Young Adult Authors Workshop. Individuals of all ages are invited to get up close and personal with popular young adult authors, including Mia Castle, Christine Johnson, Saundra Mitchell and Mike Mullin. This event is co-sponsored by Bookmamas of Irvington.
Claire de Lune (2010)
On their sixteenth birthdays, the women in Claire’s family begin a three-month transformation into werewolves–a secret kept from the girls until they turn 16. Beginning with Claire’s suburban birthday party–which is abruptly broken up by a werewolf attack in another part of town, causing panicked parents to demand that their teens get home at once–Johnson spins out an engaging and provocative riff on the werewolf tradition. Are they intrinsically antihuman? Bloodthirsty? Due the same respect other animals should receive in laboratory situations? Those questions are underscored by a romance between Claire and Matthew, the son of the prime public-hysteria-provoking werewolf hunter. Smooth writing and engaging main characters make for an easy read, while a feminist focus offers just a bit more for thoughtful readers. — Booklist
The Gathering Dark (2013)
Pianist Keira Brannon is determined to let nothing deter her from enrolling in Juilliard, thus escaping Sherwin, Maine, and her dull existence. But once she meets Walker, her goals seem less important. Their attraction is immediate but somewhat unnerving once Keira realizes that when Walker touches her, she begins to hallucinate. Tattoos crawl around Walker’s biceps; dark forest hovers over his shoulders. Gradually Walker draws her into another world, one that is terrifying and life threatening. Johnson explores a rather unusual topic, even for YA science fiction–dark matter, dark energy, and the possibility of an alternate universe. In the alternative universe from which Walker tries to protect Keira, all music has been lost. But Keira, an “experimental” cross between a darkling father and a human mother, can either save the Dark Side through her music or be assassinated as a failed experiment. This is an interesting amalgam: a lusty romance made more so by its self-imposed repressed desire, a nod to astrophysics and the theory of dark matter, and a suspenseful adventure into another world, all grounded in references to classical piano repertoire. — Booklist
The Vespertine (2011)
In 1889, seventeen-year-old Amelia is sent from her village in Maine to stay with her cousin, Mrs. Stewart, in Baltimore so she can find a suitable match. Amelia quickly makes friends with Zora, the Stewarts’ daughter, and joins Zora’s circle of friends as they party, dance, practice archery, and consider whom they might marry. But it is Nathaniel Witherspoon, a young struggling artist paid to attend social events as a fourteenth member, who literally sweeps Amelia off her feet. For teens who enjoy gothic romances, there is much to savor, including the passionate, wild romance between Amelia and Nathaniel. The supernatural is manifested through Nathaniel’s ability to appear as though through air and Amelia’s visions during vespers, which to the delight of Zora and her friends, grows until she can predict the future . . . Amelia and Zora are appealing young women who enjoy breaking rules; and Mitchell delineates well their fateful fascination with the supernatural. — Voya Reviews.
The Springsweet (2012)
A lovely historical romance takes readers back to the 1890 Oklahoma territory. In this sequel to The Vespertine, Zora decides to escape from her life in Baltimore when she can’t get over the death of her true love. In despair, she travels to live in her aunt’s sod house on the parched prairie. There she discovers that she has a supernatural ability to find water. She also finds that two men want her affections: Theo, a wealthy man she met over Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in Baltimore, and Emerson, an attractive young man who might have some paranormal abilities of his own. Zora starts her adventure by surviving a stagecoach robbery, and subsequently learns that she can’t fetch water while wearing her corset. When she tries to make desperately needed money with her water-finding ability, though, she runs into trouble. Throughout, the author conjures a convincing picture of life on the Oklahoma prairie, painting an absorbing portrait of the landscape and of the people there. Paranormal abilities aside, this is an effective historical novel. — Kirkus Reviews
Alex Halprin’s world ends one Friday evening, and there is no dawn the next day. The end of the world comes with a bang, a giant rock thrown 900 miles from the exploding supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park, destroying Alex’s house and signaling the coming volcanic winter. After the rock comes the fire, then the noise, like Zeus “machine-gunning thunder at you,” then a high-pitched whine, power outages, and ash, burying Alex’s world. Rains turn the ash to muck, over which Alex skis in search of his parents who had taken a weekend trip over a hundred miles away. Alex walks out into a world that has quickly gone bad, populated by refugees, killers, rapists, and even cannibals, a world where Alex’s tae kwon do skills come in handy more than once. But there’s human kindness, too, and love, as Alex finds Darla and the two save each other’s lives time and again. Mullin’s debut novel is carefully researched and vividly imagined, a post-apocalyptic backdrop for an intense tale with adventure, graphic violence, and two young teenagers learning to love. A sure hit for older readers who like intense action, a believable narrator, and a dystopia that could actually happen. — Horn Book
Ashen Winter (2012)
Almost a year after the Yellowstone eruption in Ashfall, Alex and Darla are drawn back to dangerous Illinois, which has only grown worse. Life on Alex’s uncle’s farm has settled into a routine, and while the eruption has triggered an extended subzero winter, Alex and Darla’s heated relationship keeps them warm. When a small flenser gang–cannibals–attack the farm, they drop the shotgun that Alex’s uncle gave Alex’s parents before they ventured into Illinois looking for their son. This discovery prompts Alex–accompanied by the more competent Darla–to head out in search of his parents. After a false start and a disastrous run-in with their old enemies, FEMA military contractors Black Lake, the story picks up with an even more catastrophic run-in with well-organized cannibals. The encounter leaves Alex trying to survive without Darla’s help, struggling against flensers who trade in humans–both as food (in explicit detail) and for sex (tastefully inexplicit). Alyssa, a former slave of the cannibals, and her high-functioning autistic brother, military expert Ben, join Alex’s rescue mission . . . The cliffhanger ending leaves readers craving the next installment–and dreading what it may bring. A violent, desperate adventure in a chaotic, post-disaster world. — Kirkus Reviews