Monday, February 28, 2011

The Replacement

Publisher:  Razorbill (Penguin Group)
Publish Date:  September 21, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59514-337-2
Pages: 343
Cover Art:  Designed by Natalie Sousa and photographed by Jonathan Barkat

The Doyle's are your typical family...kind of...if the typical family had a child go missing and a changeling left in his place.  For 16 years, they've hidden the fact that Mackie Doyle is not really human.  His Dad lectures him on how not to stand out and his sister devotes her life to making sure he's okay...his mom, well, she loves him.

However, Mackie is getting sick, or at least more sick than usual.  Things with iron in them seem to be affecting him more and more.  Then his sister makes a new friend, Janice, and she gives Mackie something that makes him feel great!  Who is Janice and can Mackie get more of this wondrous potion?

The town of Gentry has a secret and all the townspeople ignore it.  Children come up missing every once in awhile.  Sometimes other children are left in their place, but they die quickly.  The townspeople follow all the old wives tales, such as tying a pair of steel scissors over the baby's crib to keep the fae away, nailing horseshoes over their doorways and other things. But it's just not helping and no one will do anything about it. Then a child dies, but her sister knows it wasn't really her that died.  Mackie has to help, for the girl, her sister and himself.

Mackie Doyle has to be one of the best, most easily liked characters I've read in quite some time.  I certainly hope we'll see more of him and his friends.  Mackie is more human than most...humans.  It just goes to show you that it doesn't matter where you come from, genetics don't even matter - it matters who you love and what you believe in.

Have you read this one?  Do you like novels of the fae?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Do you see what I see?

Another new feature for the blog - every Friday will be book trailer day! 

For the first one, I've chosen a book I've already reviewed that just came out in January.  I REALLY like this book and have been recommending it to everyone I know.  If the reviews haven't convinced you, maybe the trailer will!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe

Publisher:  Razorbill (Penguin Group)
Publish Date:  December 7, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59514-353-2
Pages:  336

An honest-to-goodness mystery!  I hate to even say much, I hate to spoil the surprise.  Let's just say that I changed my mind about who-dun-it several times.  Here's my take on it:

Jane thought she had:
2 bff's
1 fantastic, although controlling, boyfriend
1 mother who doesn't care
1 soon-to-be slimy stepdad
1 great friend who might be in love with her

NOW, Jane things she has:
1 bff with a secret...good or bad?
1 bff who's loyal and true
1 boyfriend who might be a cheater
1 mother who doesn't care
1 soon-to-be stepdad who might not be so slimy
1 new great friend
1 killer coming to get her

Does she have it right yet?  Maybe...maybe not...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wayback Wednesday

So I thought I would add a new feature to the blog. I'm going to call it Wayback Wednesday (for now at least!). It will feature books that are from at least 10 years ago that I think you should all read. :)

For our first selection, here's a book that I was thrilled to find is being re-released!

 The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott

Publisher: DAW
Original Publish Date:  September 1996
Re-Release Date: June 7, 2011
Pages:  784
ISBN: 978-0886776916
Cover: Michael Whelan

I'm going to take a moment here to talk about the authors and cover artist.

Melanie Rawn has written numerous books since 1988 and been nominated for the Locus Award on three occasions.  The rumor is that a prequel to The Golden Key is coming up later this year, the title?  The Diviner.  Jennifer Roberson has been publishing since 1984.  She has multiple stand alone books as well as series and is still releasing books.  Kate Elliott has been publishing since 1988 under her Kate Elliott name and also under Alis A. Rasmussen.  She is still publishing and has more books in the works right now.  Cover Artist Michael Whelan  has done illustrations for authors such as Stephen Kin, Isaac Asimov and Anne McCaffrey.  Pretty impressive, eh?  He's also done CD covers for Sepultura and Meatloaf.  If you look at the picture on The Golden Key you'll see many elements of the story and it's an amazing picture.  The most amazing part - go look at a picture of Michael Whelan from the 1990's and then look at the painter on the cover.  Look familiar? :)

This book was a World Fantasy Award finalist for Best Novel of 1996 and Voya's 1996 SF, Fantasy, and Horror Books of the Year.

So finally.  The story is multi-generational and covers approximately 400 years.  It concerns two families; the Grijalvas - an artistic family and the do'Verradas - the royalty.  The Grijalvas give up one female member of every generation to be the official mistress to the reigning Duke, while one male member is the official artist to the Court (Lord Limner).  The d'Verradas don't always realize that they are given these Grijalvas, they believe that they are choosing them.  Some of the male artists in the Grijalvas family have an ability to manipulate time and reality in their paintings.  All records - birth, death, marriage, treaties, etc., are documented by paintings rather than written documents in thisstory.  The language used in the book seems to be a blend of several languages with made up words added in.  There is a dictionary of sorts in the back of the book, but I caught on quickly and thought that this is such an easy language, we should adopt it!

The two main characters are Sario and his cousin Saavedra Grijalvas.  Both have been born with the genius for painting, although girls aren't supposed to have it so no one believes it.  Sario loves Saavedra and cannot stand for her to give her heart to another.  He uses his talents in a new and dangerous way to prevent it.

The story moves along quickly and the political elements keep the story fresh and exciting.  This is a must read!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Giveaway!

Do you love the French Revolution? Wouldn't you love a copy of Michelle Moran's new book "Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution"? But wait, there's more! She's also giving away a pair of Marie Antoinette earrings that are to die for! Go check it out at Historically Obsessed

New Books in February

I'm going to be adding some new features to the blog and I decided to do a listing of the new books coming out every month.  This month's list might be a little shorter as I'm doing it in the middle of the month.

February 14th Release:

Angel (a MAXIMUM RIDE novel #7) - James Patterson

Evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world and now they're saying that the newest flock member is her perfect mate.

February 15th
The Girl Who Became A Beatle - Greg Taylor

A high school musician wishes her band were as famous as the Beatles.  The next morning she wakes to find that her band has REPLACED the Beatles in history.

February 17th

Instruments of Darkness - Imogen Robertson

Set in 1780, this one is a mystery set in Georgian England.

The Other Life - Ellen Meister

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, but she has a secret.  She knows how to cross over to an alternate reality.  The question is...should she?

February 22nd
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Finally!  Steampunk!!  Featuring an alternate, Victorian-flavored America.

Darkness Becomes Her - Kelly Keaton

New Orleans has been decimated by natural disaster and 9 families have purchased it from the government.  

Exposed - Kimberly Marcus

16 year old Liz is a photographer.  Suddenly her bff, as well as everyone else, is avoiding her.  What happened?!

Darkest Mercy (the final Wicked Lovely book) - Melissa Marr

The courts are in an uproar:
             The Summer King is missing
             The Dark Court is bleeding
             A stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The trouble with half a moon by Dannette Vigilante

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: January 6, 2011
ISBN #: 978-0399251597
Pages 181

I'll admit that I had a really hard time with this book.  At first I couldn't decide if it's because it's considered Middle Grade reading and maybe I was expecting too much or if it just isn't my style.  What I decided is that there was so much detail - every tiny conversation - but I didn't get any emotion, just words.  This could have been a very powerful story, but it was just words on paper.

Dellie's brother died the summer before the book begins, but no one says what happened to him, but it seems that Dellie thinks it's her fault.  Her mom stays in her room and cries a lot and her dad seems to try to make things 'normal' again.  She has the usual teen troubles - she likes a boy but isn't sure he likes her; her best friend gets made at her and she doesn't know why.  In the midst of all this, a new family moves into the building.  A little boy like her brother was.  Dellie takes a special interest in the boy and feels like it's her responsibility to take care of him.

Matched by Ally Conde

Publisher:  Dutton Books (Penguin Group)
Publish Date: November 30, 2010
ISBN#: 978-0-525-42364-5
Pages: 336
Cover: Irene Vandervoort

'Everyone had technology, too much of it, and the consequences were disastrous.' This is used as the reason why society is the way it is in Cassia's time. Citizens are only allowed to keep the technology they need for their jobs and daily lives.  Cellphones?  Nope.  Laptops? Nope.  Although they do have a device used for work and communication - but only approved activities.  The Top 100 have been chosen for things such as art/music/movies/books/etc and everything else has been destroyed. Can  you image no new books?!?!

Everything is predicted and expected.  There's a cutoff age for childbearing, marrying, and dying.  Even your spouse is chosen for you! The society matches everyone based on personality aspects.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, immediately I thought of eharmony (dot) com too.  It totally creeps me out!

However, once Cassia gets her match, things start to get weird.  Well, weirder.  Her match is her best friend and she's thrilled.  But when she views her disc of information, another face shows after Xanders, just for a second, but she knows him.  Why does she have two matches, did someone make a mistake? (in a society where mistakes aren't made?) Can she ignore the second boy? (can she?!) Should she tell anyone? (wouldn't you?!)

The last piece of advice that her Grandpa gives her is 'It's okay to wonder.' And wonder she does - about everything and everybody.

Cassia is a great character, she comes across as very human.  She gets emotional, hides things, tries her best and refused to unquestioningly follow society rules.  She tries hard not to hurt anyone, but is determined to follow her heart.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On the Volcano by James Nelson

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (division of Penguin)
Publish Date: April 14, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-25282-2
Pages: 288
Cover: Christian Fuenfhausen

I want to say right up front that I did enjoy this book. However. My thought is that this book is going to appeal to a couple of select groups – not that there is anything wrong with that – most books appeal to select groups, right? I think that if you like historical fiction, you’ll love it. The younger end of the YA group will also enjoy it and it is ‘safe’ for them to read. There’s a minor bit of violence here and there, but most things are alluded to instead of right in your face. It reminds me a bit of the old books like Little Women or Betsy and Tacey or even Eight Cousins, but with a little more oomph. That being said, let’s carry on.

On the Volcano is set in the 1870’s. What a great period in history! There were still unsettled areas in the United States and people brave enough to go off on their own got to live in beautiful, peaceful areas. Katie MacDonald is fifteen years old and has never strayed from home. She lives on the edge of a volcano in the forest with her father. Her mother died when she was young and she’s only ever seen two people. Can you imagine being fifteen and only having ever seen two people besides your dad?! One is a family friend, Dan and the other is a visiting nurse, Lorraine.

Katie has lots of adventures in just 288 pages and ofcourse she eventually meets some people, including a young man named Adam Summerfield. The story is sweet and nice and does indeed show what life must have been like in the 1870’s. I will say that at times it struck me as a YA harlequin romance, but maybe that’s just me.

There are a couple of things that bothered me about this one:
1) Lorraine stays for months at a time. We are told there are two bedrooms – Father’s and Katie’s. Where the heck does Lorraine sleep? At one point her father refers to ‘our bed’. Wouldn’t a young girl question that? Won’t readers question that? I was a bit confused and went back to see if I had missed something. Then I decided that Father and Lorraine were sharing the room and no one was going to mention it.
2) In over fifteen years no one at all but Lorraine and Dan ever found the cabin, even accidentally? But suddenly several people find them and/or the cabin? If people were hunting and gathering, it seems that eventually someone would have run into them.
3) At times Katie seemed very young in the way she talked and thought. I’m putting this down to the fact that she must have been very sheltered, not seeing anyone or going anywhere. However, there are times that she seems very mature and knowledgeable, so I was confused. Sometimes she seemed to act like an adult and sometimes like a little girl. I decided to chalk it up to the fact that she is so sheltered yet knows how to survive in the wilderness.

I do think that this is a worthwhile read, the historical information is good and it does take you back to a simpler, quieter time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin Group)
Publish Date: January 11, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59514-397-6
Pages: 400

I haven't read sci/fi this good since ENDER'S GAME. Beth Revis is a genius - her world sucked me in and I finished the book in less than 24 hours!

In the first chapter, 16 year old Amy and her parents are being cryogenically frozen for a 300 year long space trip. The process completely freaked me out and I couldn't stop thinking about it. As Amy goes under, the last thing she hears is the techs discussing how there's a one year delay for the mission. All Amy can think is 'I want my year back.'

Elder is a 16 year old leader-in-training on the spaceship 'Godspeed', 250 years AFTER it's launch. He talks about a Plague that ran through the ship years ago and how everything changed, including how the ship is set up and used. We learn that everyone on the ship is now monoethnic, because one of the biggest causes of discord are differences. Everyone has olive skin, brown eyes and brown hair.

The chapters alternate between Amy and Elder, it was interesting to see what was going on from both viewpoints when they are apart.

The real trouble begins when Elder finds out that the ship holds the cryogenically frozen people. What ensues isn't just a story of how things go wrong, or have gone wrong, on the ship. It's a love story and a story of how rulers go bad (like and how being different is wonderful.

This is an excellent read and one of the best books I've ever read. Beth Revis is planning on a trilogy for these characters and I can't wait for more!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge!

Go check out The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge!

This will be my first year joining in and it sounds like great fun! I'm bound to find lots of new books to read and review while doing the challenge too!