Monthly Archives: August 2012

Book Review: Changeling – Philippa Gregory


About the Book – From Goodreads:

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.

     Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.

     Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.


Changeling is the first young adult novel from Philippa Gregory, the author of many historical fictions including The Other Boleyn Girl. Set in 1453, this historical fiction follows two main characters, Luca and Isolde. Luca is working to become a priest, but he is kicked out of his monastery after using logic to question the authenticity of a religious artifact, and is instead asked to use his logic to travel around and study strange occurrences in the land. Isolde is the daughter of a great ruler, who is forced by her brother to live at an abbey after her father’s death. The two come together when Luca is sent to investigate strange happenings at the abbey, witchcraft that is being blamed on Isolde herself.

This is a good read for lovers of historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. While the book is not set in a fantasy world, there are elements of sort of “realistic fantasy” strewn into the story, because of the superstitions and beliefs people held at the time. There is a lot of mystery in this story, too, and I am guessing, since this is the first book in a new series, that there will be a lot more mystery to come as well. There is not a lot of romance in this story (although that might build as the series continues), and there is not much action. But for those who like historical fiction and enjoy mysteries solved with the use of logics, this might be a great choice.

My favourite thing about the book?  There was a lot of mystery in this book. Sometimes I could guess what was happening, but a lot of the time I couldn’t, which was nice. The mysteries sort of sat on the line between real events and supernatural happenings, too, and it was fun to try and guess what the end result would be.

My least favourite thing about the book? I didn’t connect with the characters too much in this book. Isolde seemed a bit oblivious to what was going on around her, and relied too heavily on her friend for advice. Luca seemed to be angry all the time; I can’t count all the times he said something “irritably”! However, these characters might develop more as the series progresses, and their personalities might become a bit more rounded as we learn more about them.


Looking for similar titles?  Try these!

The Kingmaker’s Daughter – Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers

A Temptation of Angels – Michelle Zink

August Summer Blog Giveaway Winner

The final blog giveaway for the summer is over! Congratulations to Jessica F.!

Jessica is looking forward to seeing The Hobbit in theatres this fall. This is definitely a long-awaited movie, and if you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer!


And if you haven’t read the book yet, make sure to check it out at your local library branch!

***Change of Date*** August Summer Blog Giveaway

Because the end of August is a busy time, we’ve had to change the draw date of the August Summer Blog Giveaway to be a little early this month.

The draw for the final $15.00 Chapters Gift Card of the summer will take place this coming Monday, August 27th.

That means you only have the weekend to get in your final entries! So let us know what you’re looking forward to this fall, and enter the giveaway here!

Teen Book Reviews

 Less than two weeks left to enter the August Summer Blog Giveaway, for your chance to win a $15.00 Chapters Gift Card!

And now, here’s another batch of great book reviews from WCL teens. Check them out!

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

Review By: Anonymous

The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill – I read this book because i loved the movie! It was overall pretty good, but the book didn’t include as much as the movie which made it less thrilling. Overall I don’t think it would be something i’d read again.


Second Fiddle – Rosanne Parry

Review By: Robin A.

Today I finished reading Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry. It was pretty good overall, but there were some parts that I didn’t understand. It was a fairly good sized book with 224 pages. Out of 5, I would give this book a 3 or 3.5. In my opinion, it started to be more interesting about 20-30 pages in which is good.


Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover – Ally Carter

Review By: Jessica

The book “Don’t judge a girl by her cover” is a book I would reccomend to people who like reading about young spies. It is full of adventure, disguises and a bit of mystery. I hope you like it!


The Ruby in the Smoke – Phillip Pullman

Review By: Anonymous

I read this book because I had read the Golden Compass trilogy by him and enjoyed them. This book was excellent as well! It took place in 1872, Victorian London and was a mystery. There are still 3 more in the series and I can’t wait to read them.


The Calling – Kelley Armstrong

Review By: Miranda H.

i just read an amazing book called the calling by kelly is an amazing installment to the darkness rising trilogy. in the last book it left off with them flying away and after a chilling helicopter crash they have to survive in the wilderness and figure out what was really going on in their small medical research town

What’s New at WCL

Summer may be winding down, but there’s still plenty of time to get in some more reading before August is over! Here are some of WCL’s newest books. Check them out at your branch!

And don’t forget…you still have just over two weeks left to enter the August Summer Blog Giveaway for your chance to win a $15.00 Chapters Gift Card!

The Baby Experiment – Anne Dublin

From Goodreads:

Johanna is a 14-year-old Jewish girl who lives in Hamburg, Germany, in the early 18th century. She feels stifled by the daily drudgery of her life and dreams of seeing what lies outside the confines of the Jewish quarter. Johanna lies about her identity and gets a job as a caregiver at an orphanage. Until it’s too late, she doesn’t realize a secret experiment is taking place that results in the deaths of babies.

Deciding to kidnap one of the orphans, Johanna sets off for Amsterdam. She faces many dangers on her journey, including plague, bandits, storms and, not least of all, anti-Semitism. Johanna has a lot of courage and determination, but will it be enough to save the baby and reach her destination? Will she finally find a place where she can be free?

Railsea – China Miéville

From Goodreads:

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it’s a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for. Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.

Choke – Diana López

From Goodreads:

If she could — if her parents would let her — eighth-grader Windy would change everything about herself. She’d get highlights in her hair, a new wardrobe; she’d wear makeup. But nothing ever changes. The mean girls at school are still mean, and Windy’s best friend Elena is still more interested in making up words than talking about boys.

And then one day, Windy gets the change she’s been looking for. New girl Nina — impossibly cool, confident, and not afraid of anyone — starts hanging out with Windy! Nina even wants to be “breath sisters.” Windy isn’t sure what that means, exactly, but she knows she wants to find out. It sounds even better than a BFF.

Windy is right, at first. Being a breath sister gains her a whole new set of friends, girls she feels closer to and cooler with than anyone else. But her inclusion in the new crowd comes at a dangerous price. Windy wants to change everything about her life … but is she really willing to give up everything in the process?

Devine Intervention – Martha Brockenbrough

From Goodreads:

There is a great legend of the guardian angel who traveled across time and space for the human girl he loved, slaying those who would threaten her with a gleaming sword made of heavenly light.

This is not that story.

Jerome Hancock is Heidi Devine’s guardian angel. Sort of. He’s more of an angel trainee, in heaven’s soul-rehabilitation program for wayward teens. And he’s just about to get kicked out for having too many absences and for violating too many of the Ten Commandments for the Dead.

Heidi, meanwhile, is a high school junior who dreams of being an artist, but has been drafted onto her basketball team because she’s taller than many a grown man. For as long as she can remember, she’s heard a voice in her head – one that sings Lynyrd Skynyrd, offers up bad advice, and yet is company during those hours she feels most alone.

When the unthinkable happens, these two lost souls must figure out where they went wrong and whether they can make things right before Heidi’s time is up and her soul is lost forever.

Teen Book Reviews

Today is the final day to get your ballots in for the TeenSRC reading contest at your library branch! If you want to be entered to win a $25.00 Chapters gift card or a Kobo Touch E-Reader, make sure to get your ballots in by the end of the day today!

But don’t forget, you have until the end of August to enter the August Summer Blog Giveaway on the TeenSRC blog, for your chance to win a $15.00 Chapters gift card!

And now, we’ve got some more book reviews, straight from WCL teens.


Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Review By: Kaylee H.

Between the Lines is Jodi Picoult’s very first Young Adult novel and it was incredible! I couldn’t stop reading it. Joe Picoult wrote Between the Lines with her daughter Samantha Van Leer. It is about a teen girl who is obsessed with a fairytale book. She loves it because she can relate to the prince in the book. One day she’s reading the story and noticed that something had changed in one of the pictures in the book. She finds out that the main character (a teen prince) is real and wants to escape the story. She helps him create a plan to get him out of the book and into real life. This story was amazing and I highly suggest you read it too!


The Night She Disappeared – April Henry

Review By: Elizabeth

I just recently read “The Night She Disappeared” by April Henry. This book is a suspenseful mystery and I loved it. I think the age is a teen read. It was a shorter book but it was very exciting from the beginning to the end. I would definitely recommend this book to any teen reader!



Pigboy – Vicki Grant

Review By: Robin A.

The other day I finished reading a book called Pigboy by Vicki Grant. It was short-101 pages- but interesting. I personally didn’t enjoy the book as much as some of the other short mysteries I’ve read lately, but it was OK. Out of 5 I would rate this book 2.5 – 3 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone above the age of 11 or 12 -to people who enjoy mystery and don’t mind slightly graphic details. If you are going to read this book, I hope you enjoy it!


The Vampire Stalker – Allison Van Diepen

Review By: Hannah

I’m into mystery right now and i just read a book called The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen… it was interesting and something different, I’d probably rate it about 3 or 4 stars! It was a pretty good book! What is a good mystery book that you would suggest??

***Mystery seems to be a popular trend right now!  Here are some other YA Mysteries available through our library system:

What She Left Behind – Tracy Bilen

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson

A Spy in the House – Y.S. Lee

I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You – Ally Carter

I Hunt Killers – Barry Lyga

August Summer Blog Giveaway

First, a big congratulations to Miranda, for winning the July Summer Blog Giveaway!

And now, welcome to the fourth and final Summer Blog Giveaway post for 2012! It is the final full month of summer, and what better way to celebrate August than by participating in our last blog giveaway? If you want a chance to win a $15 Chapters Gift Card, simply follow the rules below!

The rules are:
1. You must be between the ages of 12 and 19.
2. You must have a valid Wellington County Library card, or if you are under 16, you or your parent or guardian must have a valid WCL card.
3. You must leave a comment on this post answering the following question: What are you most looking forward to this upcoming fall?

Post your comment, and check back here at the beginning of September to see who the winner is!


***This contest is now closed***