Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee is an exhilarating western filled with numerous twists, turns and near misses. Set during the California gold rush, the story follows the unlikely pairing of two young women: a young Chinese fiddle player and a runaway black slave who must fight to stay alive. Brought together by unfortunate circumstances the girls lean on each other as they begin the treacherous journey West towards safety and a potentially better life. Pretending to be boys to keep their identities hidden, the girls befriend a group of young cowboys and struggle to learn the pioneering skills necessary to stay alive. This is a book filled with painful moments of racism, the power of friendship and the difficulty of unrequited love. But most of all, it is about adventure, survival and the ability we all have to surprise ourselves with our own strength. Though the events are at times implausible, it is still a good read if you enjoy exciting stories about the Wild West.
The library is all decorated and ready for some holiday cheer. Remember, if you are looking for something to read during the holidays, books can be taken home over the break. So get ready to put up your feet and enjoy some reading and relaxation!
In We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach an astroid called Ardor is barrelling towards Earth and has a 66.6% chance of destroying the world forever. Told from 4 different points of view, the story follows 6 high school students as they come to terms with the possibility that their lives are over in a few weeks. With the Apocalypse looming, the main characters make the most of the little time they have left and go after the things they`ve always wanted, causing their lives to intersect in unusual ways. Suddenly the dead-beat is hanging out with the straight A student, and the star basketball player is second guessing his relationship with the popular beauty. But as they work to maintain a human connection, the world around them starts spinning out of control, with violence and destruction at every turn.
Though this story is about the end of the world, it is actually quite hopeful and is filled with lots of humour, friendship and love.
Recommended for fans of Eleanor and Park and We Were Liars.
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands combines historical fiction with a little bit of fantasy and magic. It is a little bit Da Vinci Code and a little bit The Apothecary, but what matters most is that it’s a mystery that is exciting until the very end.
This story revolves around Christopher Rowe an apothecary’s apprentice in 1600s England. Note: an apothecary is similar to today’s pharmacists in that they treated illnesses and mixed medicines.
Christopher is particularly talented at solving puzzles and when his master is found murdered, it’s up to him to figure out who did it. But what he uncovers is much more complex, dangerous and magical than he could have ever imagined. As things progress he must fight, not only for what is right, but to stay alive!
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santaya
Remembrance day is the time for Canadians to come together to remember those members of our armed forces who died in battle and to consider the implications of war. At Alpha library we have a number of books related to the military, to help you remember the past and we have an especially good collection of books on World War I and World War II.
Come check out the display of non-fiction books in our window for some ideas of what to read next.
And if historical fiction is your thing, check out the fiction books in the window that take place during periods of war.
Some of my personal favourite stories all take place during World War II:
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak –> Narrated by “death” this book tells the story of a young German girl who steals books banned by the Nazis to learn to read.
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne –> The son of a Nazi officer befriends a boy in a concentration camp.
- City of Thieves by David Benioff –> A young man in Russia goes on the impossible task of finding eggs for the Colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake, or else he dies.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer –> Told in alternating points of view between a blind girl in German occupied France, and a young genius boy who is recruited by the Nazi’s and whose paths inevitably cross.
I will start this post off with the fact that I am not generally a fantasy fan. I have always had difficulty picturing imaginary worlds, but in an effort to expand my horizons I read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and absolutely loved it.
Though it is fantasy, the world is accessible and filled with the perfect amounts of gore, mystery and romance. Fans of the Hunger Games, will definitely enjoy this book.
This is the first book in a four part series and Tahir creates a gore filled world which is allegedly based on Ancient Rome. In this world, the Emperor rules with an iron fist and kills anyone who goes against his will, but a revolution is rising amongst the lower classes.
Told in alternating points of view, the story follows a young woman named Laia who agrees to spy for the rebel cause after her brother is arrested. Her seemingly impossible mission is to spy on the head of the world’s elite military academy where hand-picked children are trained to become deadly assassins.
There she meets Elias, the school’s best soldier who is having second thoughts about his life of violence and murder. As the story develops their destinies become intertwined as they each struggle with how to fight against the tyrannical system.
Halloween is almost here, so stop by the library for a creepy scary read. Need a book suggestion? Check out the list of popular horror titles we have at Alpha.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a story about family and basketball that is written in verse. This means that the entire novel is made up of poems. But don’t be turned off if you don’t like poetry, these poems are more like hip-hop lyrics and spoken word than ‘traditional’ poems.
The plot is easy to follow and focuses predominantly on the basketball games and lives of star athletes (and twin brothers) JB and Josh. Josh is the narrator and spends a large part of the book competing with his brother for acclaim on the court, and this competitive spirit is only heightened by their father, a former European league basketball champion who works them hard off the court. But when JB gets a girlfriend and Josh starts to realize that his dad is quietly suffering from a life threatening illness, everything changes.
This book is for you if you like sports, basketball, hip-hop/ rap or if you’ve ever felt that you were in competition with a friend or sibling.
Congratulations to the winners of the Summer Reads Contest!
The first place prize of two movie tickets went to Ashtan Prasaad who recommended:
Runners up were Katie Kuchihskaya who recommended:
and Julia Wagner who recommended:
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Be sure to check the blog/ the library for future contests, but in the mean time, keep reading!
Queen Elizabeth the Second has proclaimed that October 2016 is library month and October 24th 2016 is school library day. And if the Queen says it, you know it must be important!
So stop by the library and say hello. Who knows, you just might find something interesting to read!