Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: June 28, 2011
ISBN: 978-0061799310
Pages: 288
Jacket Design: Becky Terhune

Book One of a series: The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey

Tallulah Casey is a 14 year old girl who signed up for a performing arts program at a college to get out of eating butterfly sandwiches while camping with her brother.  Really.  She is incredibly excited about being away from her family, with the theatre crowd and of course - the boys!!!

Imagine her surprise when the program is an all-girls school!  Poor thing.  BUT, there is an all-boys school just across the way, so all is not lost.  I loved Lullah and her mates, especially young Ruby, they quite acted their age and talked about things I talked about at that age.  Things like boys, kissing, getting boobs, being too tall/too short, why doesn't he like me???, grades - it was nice for a change!

This is a perfect book for the 12 - 14 year old group.  It's clean and funny.  The British slang used is hilarious and generally easy to figure out using context clues.  But if you get stuck, Lullah has cheerfully provided a glossary of terms in the back.  You should just go ahead and read them, they're as funny as the book.

This is a delightful start to a series, I look forward to reading more of them.  Now I think my niece is going to need them. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Conversation with Fans - go check it out!

You can chat live with author Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of WISDOM'S KISS on September 20, 2011 8:00pm -9:00pm on her facebook page!

A synopsis of WISDOM'S KISS:  (from goodreads)  Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.  

Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.

Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.

These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can't even be in the same room together.

Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.

Books Out This Week: August 29 - September 4, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood (book #1) by Kendare Blake
Release Date:  August 30, 2011

From Goodreads:  Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.  But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

 The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Release Date:  August 30, 2011

From Goodreads:  Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.  Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.  Everyone except Jenna Fox.

 Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Release Date:  August 30, 2011

From Goodreads:    Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them. Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive? In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.

 The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Release Date:  August 30, 2011

From Goodreads:  Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.  Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.  In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.  But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

 The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima
Release Date:  August 30, 2011

From Goodreads:  Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.  Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough. 

 My Own Worst Frenemy (A Langdon Prep Novel) by Kimberly Reid
Release Date:  August 30, 2011

From Goodreads:     Straight outta the Mile High City, Chanti Evans is an undercover cop's daughter and an exclusive private school's newest student. But Chanti is learning fast that when it comes to con games, the streets have nothing on Langdon Prep.  With barely a foot in the door, fifteen-year-old Chanti gets on the bad side of school queen bee Lissa and snobbish Headmistress Smythe. They've made it their mission to take Chanti down and she needs to find out why, especially when stuff begins disappearing around campus, making her the most wanted girl in school, and not in a good way. But the last straw comes when she and her Langdon crush, the seriously hot Marco Ruiz, are set up to take the heat for a series of home burglaries--and worse. . 

 Witch Song by Amber Argyle
Release Date:  September 1, 2011

From Goodreads:  The world is changing. Once, Witch Song controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons-but not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by a traitor. All but Brusenna. As the echo of their songs fade, the traitor grows stronger. Now she is coming for Brusenna. Her guardian has sworn to protect her, but even he can't stop the Dark Witch. Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find the traitor. Fight her. Defeat her. Because if Brusenna doesn't, there won't be anything left to save.

 Bronxwood by Coe Booth
Release Date:  September 1, 2011

From Goodreads:  Tyrell's father is just out of jail, and Tyrell doesn't know how to deal with that. It's bad enough that his brother Troy is in foster care and that his mother is no help whatsoever. Now there's another thing up in his face, just when he's trying to settle down. Tyrell's father has plans of his own, and doesn't seem to care whether or not Tyrell wants to go along with them. Tyrell can see the crash that's coming — with his dad, with the rest of his family, with the girls he's seeing — but he's not sure he can stop it. Or if he even wants to.

 Floors by Patrick Carman
Release Date:  September 1, 2011

From Goodreads:  Charlie had his chocolate factory. Stanley Yelnats had his holes. Leo has the wacky, amazing Whippet Hotel.
The Whippet Hotel is a strange place full of strange and mysterious people. Each floor has its own quirks and secrets. Leo should know most of them - he is the maintenance man's son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when a series of cryptic boxes are left for him . . . boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. Leo had better be quick on his feet, because the fate of the building he loves is at stake . . . and so is Leo's own future!

 Notes from an Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne
Release Date:  September 1, 2011

From Goodreads:  Elsie Wyatt is a born French horn player, just like her father and her grandfather before her. In order to qualify for the prestigious summer music camp of her dreams, she must expand her musical horizons and join - gasp! - the marching band. There are no French horns in marching band (what the heck is a mellophone??), but there are some cute boys. And marching band is very different from orchestra: they march, they chant, they . . . cluck? Elsie is not so sure she'll survive, but the new friends she's making and the actual fun she's having will force her to question her dad's expectations and her own musical priorities.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Do you see what I see?

Wander Dust by Michelle Warren

Check out Michelle's Facebook for giveaways and updates on her book!  Michelle Warren on Facebook and on her website: Wander Dust Trilogy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Publisher:  Viking Adult
Publish Date:  February 8, 2011
ISBN:  978-0670022410  
Pages: 592

Book One of a trilogy:  All Souls Trilogy.  Book Two is due out in 2012 and will be reportedly titled SHADOW OF NIGHT.

My mind keeps wandering back to the world of Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont.  I know it was amazing simply because it makes sense - scientifically and historically.  I was asked to slightly suspend belief, but there was so much history and science involved that it was easy to believe.  Especially since Matthew was studying genetics - my favorite science!

So...Diana Bishop is an American professor on a research trip in England at Oxford. She is a history professor studying alchemy.  Diana knows that her family is full of witches and that she herself is one.  But she refuses to use her powers, going so far as to note how many times she uses her power and getting mad if she goes over a certain limit.  So Diana is hanging out at the library calling up books for her research when she ends up with a weird book.  She can tell it's enchanted, but all she does is lay her hand on it and it opens.  So she uses it and sends it back.  Little does she know that all the beings (witch, vampire and daemon) want that book and no one has seen it or touched it in hundreds of years.  Now they want her to call it up again.  Some of them believe that the book shows the genetics of all three lineages, some believe that it shows their future.

So the three lineages - are they really separate?  That's the question, isn't it?  Are they totally separate from humans?  Another good question.  Let's see:  witches are magical; vampires have near immortality and super senses and speed; while daemons are usually born of human parents, are highly creative and often mad.

One of the beings looking for the book is Matthew Clairmont.  Matthew is a 1500 year old vampire.  Currently he's a genetics scientist, but he's studied a great deal of things in his time.  Matthew starts out wanting the book and ends up wanting only Diana.  However, there is Diana's distaste and fear of vampires to get around as well as the law against relationships that cross the lines between species.

The author, Deborah Harkness is a professor of Western European History at the University of Southern California as well as a very popular wine blogger.  She uses all of her expertise in both areas for this book.  I think that's what makes the whole thing believable - it's got some basis in fact.  Isn't that what's always said about lies?  The best ones are based in fact?  Similar idea.  I read that Ms. Harkness said that she began the book by wondering what vampires would do for a living in our modern world.  Well, working long hours as a research scientist would be dandy, wouldn't it?

I know a lot of us were creeped out by the stalkerish/protectiveness of Edward toward Bella in Twilight.  There was never a good excuse for it and it came off badly.  Matthew is also territorial and protective - however, it's explained using wolves and packs; and Diana is no Bella, she's a grown woman who's been on her own for a long time!  I was never reminded of Edward and Bella, even though some reviewers have stated that this story is Twilight for grown ups.  Let's just toss that idea right out the window.  The two stories are nothing alike.  These are adults with ideas and feelings and they know what they want to do.  They may sometimes be stupid or do the wrong thing, but they are adults.

The intelligence of the writing was a joy to read.  The characters are fully fleshed out and have some real issues to deal with.  The daemons were fun to read about and finding out who, in history, was a daemon was a hoot!  While this isn't listed as a YA book, I think that many YA readers would enjoy it.  It's a bit long, but the story never lags and I spent several nights up way too late as I couldn't put it down.  I cannot wait for the second installment, I really need to know where Matthew and Diana went and how they fare!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Last Thing I Remember (Homelanders #1) by Andrew Klavan

Publisher - Thomas Nelson
Publish Date - April 2, 2009
ISBN - 978-1595545862
Pages - 352

Ok, so I have a secret.  Wanna know?  Of course you do, who doesn't love secrets?!  I love to read Clive Cussler books.  Not familiar?  Go check them out.  I do so love Dirk Pitt! That would be the leading man of a good number of Clive's books.  Yeah, I know he didn't write this book.  But to get why I like it, you have to know about my secret love of Clive and Dirk.

This is a total guy book.  Charlie West last remembers having a great day at school even getting the phone number of the girl he's infatuated with, having an argumentwith a guy who used to be his bff, doing homework and playing games on the computer.  But he doesn't remember how he got into a torture chamber.  That's where he is when he wakes up and he has no idea of how he got there or why he's there.  But he does hear someone order him killed and the phrase "Homelander".  Charlie manages to get away, but it's a constant race for him to keep away.  Someone is looking out for him, but he doesn't know who it is and he doesn't know what he's done.  It's not just the bad guys, the good guys are after him too.

Charlie remembers that he is patriotic, honest, religious and loves his family.  What everyone is telling him, what he's reading in the newspapers...that's not who he remembers being.  Can he prove that he isn't the person they think he is?  The first installment in this series left me wanting more!

I will say that I was a little concerned about the patriotic and religious tones, but honestly they just added to the story.  I generally get a bit annoyed by too much of either, but it just seemed to define who Charlie is and that's important to the story.  I think that boys and reluctant readers would love this book (girls, you'll love it too!).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Hey gang! Sorry about no post yesterday, I'm not sure what happened with my scheduler - I've been taking a few days off from things to do end of summer stuff and it didn't work right.  We should be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!

Books Out This Week: August 22 - 28, 2011

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads: Set in the same world as VAMPIRE ACADEMY.  When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

 Sweetly (Sisters Red #2) by Jackson Pearce
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.  Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.   Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

 Nocturne (Claire de Lune #2) by Christine Johnson
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  Some secrets are too dangerous...

After the tragic events of the summer, Claire is looking forward to a new school year. All she wants to worry about is finding the most gorgeous dress to wear to the Autumn Ball with her perfect boyfriend.  But as Claire knows all too well, the life of a werewolf is never that simple, or that sweet.  When Claire’s human and wolf lives start to collide, her worst nightmares come true. She is hurting her best friend. She has been caught lying. And then the unthinkable happens: Someone discovers Claire’s secret.  If Claire’s werewolf identity is exposed, everyone she knows will be put at risk. And the pack’s response comes at a cost higher than Claire can imagine. Claire will be forced to determine just how far she is willing to go.

Possess by Gretchen McNeil
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.  Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

 Switch by Tish Cohen
Release Date:   August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  Careful. Some wishes do come true.When you have 37 siblings, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Andrea Birch feels totally ignored by her parents even though she’s their only biological child. The constant revolving door at her house full of foster kids can be cool sometimes, but really it just makes Andrea sad.  Still there’s one thing—one hot person—who makes Andrea happy: Will Sherwood.  Only he’s dating Joules Adams…the girl with the perfect life. She’s got the perfect body, the perfect clothes, and she’s the daughter of a famous rock star.  Andrea would give anything to switch places with Joules.
But when her wish comes true, Andrea’s new life isn’t dream scenario she envisioned. In fact, it turns out to be the one wish she didn’t want to come true. Will she ever be able to switch back?

 Beyond the Grave (Past Midnight #3) by Mara Purnhagen
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  Being Charlotte Silver, the daughter of famous paranormal investigators, means my life isn’t like that of other teenage girls. Especially after what happened to my parents. Things changed. I missed prom and deferred my big college plans. But I still have my boyfriend, Noah. He’s everything I could want—if I can figure out what’s up with him. Suddenly Noah is secretive. I fear it has something to do with what happened to us three months ago. The bruise Noah suffered during a paranormal attack has never completely faded. Now I’ve learned Noah is researching demons. And when he disappears, it’s up to me to find him—before something else does.

 Hades (Halo #2) by Alexandra Adornetto
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  Bethany and Xavier are even closer since battling Jake Thorn and his evil influence (in Halo) and Beth and her angel siblings must still protect Venus Cove from the Dark Forces.  When a party game – a séance – inadvertently releases Jake from the Underworld, he disguises himself and tricks Beth into taking a ride on his motorcycle. When the highway opens up and swallows them, Beth learns too late that she’s now a prisoner in hell. What happens to angels there? As her archangel brother, Gabriel, her sister Ivy, Xavier, and her best friend, Molly search for her, Beth must weigh Jake’s bargaining for her freedom: one night with him, and she will be released back to Earth.  Can Jake be trusted in this wager? And is he also using Beth to engineer the fall of the archangel Gabriel? Xavier has already lost one love – when Jake tricks him into thinking that Bethany is dead, his grief and anger result in a betrayal that will leave Bethany – and readers – wondering if he is so good after all.  It will be up to Beth to use everything she’s learned about her powers as an angel – and about love – to free herself and those she loves from the clutches of Hades.

 Ambitious (A Premiere High Novel) by Monica McKayhan
Release Date:  August 23, 2011

From Goodreads:  There's only one thing tougher than getting in to Premiere High: Staying in…At Premiere School of the Performing Arts, nicknamed Premiere High, talent is a must and competition is fierce. But the payoff is worth it. Some of the biggest stars in music, movies and dance are on the alumni list. New student Marisol Garcia dreams of taking her place among them one day. And being chosen to take part in a local dance contest where a film role is the prize could possibly be her first step into the spotlight.
Almost as big a challenge: getting Drew Bishop to see her as more than a friend. But Drew is preoccupied with his own dilemma of either playing basketball, which could be a free ticket to college, or pursuing the stage where he really comes alive. But every dream comes with a price. And as Marisol becomes consumed with winning, the once straight–A student risks losing everything. Starting with her parents' approval, her friends and her place at Premiere High…

 With a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo
Release Date:  August 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others they visit— it is exactly the kind of nothing Ollie has come to expect. But on their first day in town, Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent, and Ollie believes him. Still, even if Ollie convinces her daddy to stay in town, how can two kids free a grown woman who has signed a confession?  Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny town where everyone seems bent on judging and jailing without a trial. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Auntie Heather Brewer!!

Are you all excited about the new Slayer Chronicles by Heather Brewer?  Who isn't?!  Here's a video where Heather talks about Joss,Vlad and the whole gang, answering questions from the Minion Horde.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Darwin's Children by Natasha Larry

Publisher - Penumbra Publishing
Publish Date - May 10, 2011
ISBN - 978-1935563518
Pages - 260

I received a copy of DARWIN'S CHILDREN from the author for an honest review.

 I was a little disappointed by the cover, it seemed very...80's to me.  I felt that something more could be done to make it a bit more modern and eye catching to the YA market.  I know that authors get very little say in covers, so I understand that part.

I wanted to like this book.  It has people with super powers!  I adore X-Men and all things super-y.  But I just couldn't like Jaycie, no matter what.  I couldn't like her or her family or her friends.  I just was annoyed by them.  I mean, if you're going to live in a town and be 'normal', do you really think no one is ever going to see you doing all these crazy things?  Oh yeah, your Dad can wipe their memories and replace them with something else.  So, how many times can he do that?  Turns out - quite a few times.

Jaycie also can't control her powers when she's kissing the boy she likes.  She cracks glass and shakes the house and all that good stuff.  Oh yeah, and her tutor/governess lets her boy spend the night when she's only 16.  Like that would be happening!  She said she trusted them not to have sex and they didn't so I guess it's ok, right?.  I'm not really ok with it.  Oh yeah, but they live much longer than regular humans do so I guess it's ok.

Where is Jaycie's mom, you ask?  It would seem that she ran off when she realized what Jaycie was.  Ok, so you just up and dump your kid when you find out she has powers.  Nice parenting.  Why does one parent always have to ditch to make the story better?  Can't both parents be there and still have a story?  I'm not as mad when both parents are killed off.  Honestly.

I think that it's a good idea, but that it could be reworked to be better.  There seemed to be too many things going on at once to make one storyline really good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Publisher - Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date - May 1, 2011
ISBN - 978-1402256363
Pages - 304

This is a really hard book to read.  I think it would be that way for everyone.  We've all known someone with cancer and how the family had to deal with it.  It doesn't matter if it's someone young or old, male or female, rich or poor.  Some families deal with it well and some don't.  Anyone can get it.  But still it kind of confuses Tess - why would her gorgeous popular sister get cancer?  That doesn't seem right. But right or not, that's what happens.

The story isn't just about an athletic, popular, pretty, smart girl getting cancer.  It's about her family and how they deal with it.  It's mostly about her sister, it's written from Tess' viewpoint. I know that some reviewers thought that it was unrealistic that a family would let Kristina isolate herself from her friends.  It's very realistic actually.  When you have cancer, sometimes you don't want anyone to see you how you are NOW.  You'd rather they remember how you were BEFORE.  Besides, teenagers are pretty isolated anyway (within their groups) and honestly, I feel that her friends would have given up pretty quickly.  My brother was in an accident that left him bedridden for a few months at age 21 - all but one of his friends dropped off after the first couple of weeks.  I thought that it was a very realistic portrayal.

In the end, some families will deal with it better and some worse, but this was an excellent story.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Publisher:  Scribner
Publish Date:  January 9, 2006
ISBN: 978-0743247542
Pages: 288

I don't generally read memoirs (true stories) but am trying to be more open-minded on what I read, so I gave this one a go.  The GLASSCASTLE is the story of a woman who grew up with 'different' parents.  To me, it's amazing that she and her siblings became who they are.

Jeannette's father was a drunk and a gambler and couldn't/wouldn't keep a job.  He wasn't above using his own children to 'get away' with things.  For instance, when she was a teenager, she had to play up to a grown man so that her dad could win money at a pool game.  When she got mad about it, her dad said that he knew she could handle herself and she did.  What kind of father does that?!

Jeannette's mother was a free spirit, an artist who believed that she could paint and write and just hadn't been discovered yet.  She also had a teaching certificate but hated to teach as it kept her from her artistic endeavors.

Both parents came across as fun at first, but they spiraled down to immaturity and selfishness as the story went on.  The fact that all the children made it out and made something of themselves is a miracle.  Ms. Walls, at times, seems like she's trying to say "but it was fun at times!" to make it all better; but it's not okay.

What really gets me is that these children never had a chance to really truly be children.  I sympathize as I grew up having parents that were immature and by an early age, I was also taking care of things that I shouldn't have.  Of course, these children had it much worse than I could ever imagine.  This is one that's worth reading.  There is a prequel that goes on to show how Jeannette's mother grew up, I'm interested to see what insight that will give.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Gates by John Connolly

The Gates by John Connolly
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster)
Publish Date:  October 1, 2009
ISBN:  978-1439172636
Pages: 239

I've never read anything by John Connolly, so I am quite pleased to have started with THE GATES.  I was quite amused by the covers - this one says "The Gates of Hell are about to open, nind the gap", my copy says "The Gates of Hell are about to open, want a peek?"  Both are funny!

The writing is clever, humorous and darkly funny.  The tone is sarcastic and mocking, which I find very desirable in a smart, funny book.  It definitely reminded me of Neil Gaimon's GOOD OMENS.  If you liked that, give this one a try!  There are footnotes in most of the chapters, but instead of being annoying, I began looking forward to them.  Here's my favorite:

26. Actually, teleportation is not nearly as far-fetched as you might think. Scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute in Maryland recently managed to teleport the quantum identity of one atom to another a few feet away.  However, teleportation of humans is a long way off, as the experiment only  works once in every one hundred million attempts. Therefore the chances of you being teleported and arriving as interesting goo at the other end, if you arrive at all, are very high indeed. You don't want to be the subject of the following conversation: "Is he there yet?"  "Well, bits of him are..."

So, anyhow, young Samuel Johnson and his faithful daschund, Boswell se his neighbors crack open the Gates of Hell three days before Halloween.  See, Samuel was trying to get a jump on all the best candies by trick or treating early.  Unfortunately, no one believes him about the Gates of Hell.  He does end up finding some unexpected help from a minor demon named Nurd: The Scourge of Five Dieties and a scientist who works on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Who knew that the LHC could be partially responsible for opening the Gates of Hell?

The demons seem to expect humans will be pretty easy to conquer and are surprised when they put up a fight...or ignore them altogether.  Of course, arriving on Halloween probably didn't help.

I giggled most of the way through this book and look forward to reading more by Mr. Connolly.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Books out this week: August 8-14, 2011

The Cupid War by Timothy Carter
Publisher: Flux
Publish Date: August 8, 2011
ISBN: 978-0738726144  
Pages: 240

From Amazon: 
 Ricky Fallon had decided against killing himself — just before slipping off a bridge to his death. Now he's a Cupid in the afterlife, helping people fall in love. The job would be cool if it weren't for the dorky pink bodysuits, his jerky boss, and attacks from joy-sucking shadowy entities called Suicides.
When Fallon discovers a dangerous new breed of Suicide, a terrific battle erupts. To save the girl he's falling for — oh, and prevent total world domination — Fallon uses a secret weapon to kick some serious Suicide butt.

 Siren's Storm by Lisa Papademetriou
Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date:  July 12, 2011
ISBN:  978-0375842450  
Pages:  288

From Amazon:  Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.

Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.

Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?

 Now Playing Stoner & Spaz II by Ron Koertge
Publisher:  Candlewick
Publish Date: August 9, 2011
ISBN:  978-076365081
Pages:  208

From Amazon:  The repartee between Ben and Colleen -- funny, suggestive, and intense -- is spot-on, and readers will easily sympathize with both teens and their frustrating choices, while the adult characters and their problems are equally unique and well-developed. A rollercoaster of authentic emotions, Koertge's novel offers readers a fast, furious, and satisfyingly upbeat view of the world.

 Ingenue (The Flappers #2) by Jillian Larkin
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: August 9, 2011
ISBN: 978-0385740364
Pages: 368

From Amazon:  Bobbed hair. Short skirts. Cool jazz. Dark speakeasy. Anything goes. Meet the flappers, Gloria, Clara, Lorraine . . . and the rich young boys who love and loathe them.
 Hooked by Catherine Greenman
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: August 9, 2011
ISBN: 978-0385740081 
Pages: 288

From Amazon:  Thea Galehouse has always known how to take care of herself. With a flighty club-owner mom and a standoffish, recovering-alcoholic dad, Thea has made her own way in her hometown of New York, attending the prestigious and competitive Stuyvesant High School. But one chat with Will, a handsome and witty senior, and she's a goner—completely hooked on him and unable to concentrate on anything else.
Always worried that she loves Will more than he loves her, Thea is pleasantly surprised when their romance weathers his move to college and Will goes out of his way to involve her in his life. But then, Thea misses a period. And that starts Thea and Will on a wild ride that neither of them could have possibly prepared for. When they decide to keep the baby, their concerned parents chip in what they can to keep Will in school and give both teenagers a comfortable place to raise their child. But when a freak accident leaves Thea shaken and threatens to upend their little family altogether, Thea is forced to turn to the last place she would have chosen for comfort: her stiff, uncompromising father.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Publisher:  Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin)
Publish Date:  April 20, 2009
ISBN: 978-0152066093
Pages:  362
Jacket Illustration:  Heath McKenzie
Jacket Design: Scott Magoon

This is not your run of the mill, sexy vampire story.  It's quirky and snarky and funny as heck.  These vampires aren't powerful supernatural beings.  Heck, they don't even sparkle.  The vampires in THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP are sad, sick, weak specimens.  They bicker...a lot...about the same stuff...for years on end.  They've sworn off human blood and raise guinea pigs to feed off of (or 'fang' if you will).  They should be frustrating and boring, but they are hilarious.

One of the members of the support group gets staked in his coffin.  The group finds a clue and off they go!  There are werewolves, illegal fights, vampires, vampire slayers, priests, humans and guinea pigs.  That's quite a cast! 

Father Ramon heads up the support group.  He picks them all up, with the help of Dave (another vamp), and keeps them from bickering too much.  Dave was a musician and is pretty capable, better than the rest of them anyway.  Nina was fanged when she was 15 years old in 1973 and lives with her mother, to help support them she writes a series of vampire novels.  Her vamps are sexy and mysterious, everything she is not.

To top it off, these vamps live in Australia.  I don't know, but once you get out of the big cities, it seems that it would be hard to live as a vamp.  We definitely get the chance to find out!

There's a very very small love story in there, but it won't slow you down.  Promise.  This book won't appeal to Twilight fans who are looking for sparkling romance, but it will appeal to the sarcastic nerdy vampire lovers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Best of the Best

One of my friends asked me if I would do a Best of the Best for the books I've reviewed so far.  Great idea!  So I picked the books that I thought I'd be sad if I had missed out on and came up with 15 of them.  It's not to say that I didn't find many, many others that I really liked; but these were my favorites.  Series are counted as one for the sake of my sanity.  I will list the link to the review I did, book cover and a summary from Amazon or Goodreads.  So, in no particular order (except maybe in order that I read them?)...

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King  Pirates, reincarnation, dogs, teenage angst, a romance that spans the centuries, magic, treasure—all are wrapped up inside a fun Goth cover that belies the very adult story within. Emer Morrisey, the youthful scourge of the South Seas in the 17th century, has lived through 100 lifetimes as a dog, and now shares the body of 20th-century teen Saffron Adams. Along with fantasies about torturing and murdering most everyone around her, Saffron's sole ambition is to escape her pathetic family and find the treasure she knows lies buried somewhere in Jamaica. The book is not for the faint of heart or stomach, with painful scenes of animal and human abuse, attempted rape, battles, and murder. Particularly difficult is the character of Fred Livingston, the reincarnation of the French captain who killed Emer's lover, and who is quite obviously crazy. His very disturbed mental state is shown through his truly evil actions toward his dog and the voices that taunt him day and night.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff   In this grim debut novel, the Doyles hide the terrible secret that 16-year-old Mackie is a changeling who was swapped for their real son when he was a baby. In their town of Gentry, there is an unspoken acknowledgment that a child is stolen every seven years in an uneasy bargain for the town's prosperity. Mackie's struggles to go unnoticed are made more difficult by his severe allergies to iron and other metal, his inability to set foot on consecrated ground such as his minister father's church, and his tendency to become severely ill around blood. Now he is dying. When a classmate's baby sister is abducted and a Replacement left in her place, Mackie is reluctantly drawn into the age-old rift between the Morrigan and the Lady, sisters who lead the two changeling clans who live underneath Gentry. Mackie agrees to help the Morrigan maintain the unwitting townspeople's goodwill in exchange for a drug he needs to survive. Meanwhile, he and his friends plot to rescue Tate's stolen sister from the Lady. Yovanoff's innovative plot draws on the changeling legends from Western European folklore. She does an excellent job of creating and sustaining a mood of fear, hopelessness, and misery throughout the novel, something that is lightened only occasionally by Mackie's dry humor and the easy charm of his friend Roswell. The novel ends with a glimmer of hope, though the grisly and disturbing images throughout may overshadow the more positive ending.

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry   It’s been 14 years since First Night, when the dead came back to life. Six billion people have died (and reanimated) since then, and America has collapsed into isolated communities living within the great “Rot and Ruin.” Benny is 15, which means it’s time to get a job or face cut rations, but his general laziness leaves him with only one employment option: join his stuffy, sword-swinging, Japanese half-brother, Tom, as an apprentice bounty hunter. This means heading beyond the gates to slice and dice “zoms,” but Benny quickly begins to see the undead in a new light—as well as realizing that Tom is much more than he ever let on. The plot is driven by an evil bounty-hunter rival and the cruel games he plays, but Maberry has more than gore on his mind. The chief emotion here is sadness, and the book plays out like an extended elegy for a lost world.

If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman   Summary for If I Stay:  The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents' corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia's singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold's adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope: Please don't die. If you die, there's going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school, prays Mia's friend Kim. I know you'd hate that kind of thing. Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living.  Summary for Where She Went:  In the three years since the tragic accident Mia barely survived in If I Stay, she and high school ex-boyfriend Adam have lived separate lives on opposite coasts. But then Adam, now the dissatisfied front man of popular LA-based band Collateral Damage, stops over in New York City for one night before kicking off the European leg of his tour. It happens to be the same evening that Mia, now well on her way to becoming a renowned cellist, is performing at Carnegie Hall. Adam buys a ticket, planning to slip in and out, but Mia spots him and for the first time in years they’re face-to-face with each other and their shared past. Over the course of one evening, as Adam and Mia traverse the city’s streets, they relive the four days Mia spent in the intensive care unit as well as her departure to Juilliard and from the life she knew. Emotionally raw and incredibly moving, Gayle Forman again showcases her considerable talent for drawing complex characters who face impossible decisions and then bear the consequences.

 Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses by Ty Drago 
"On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the 'Holy Crap Factor.'"
Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers-a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who've banded together to battle the Corpses.

Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan   Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan 

Summary of Forest of Hands and Teeth:  Mary knows little about the past and why the world now contains two types of people: those in her village and the undead outside the fence, who prey upon the flesh of the living. The Sisters protect their village and provide for the continuance of the human race. After her mother is bitten and joins the Unconsecrated, Mary is sent to the Sisters to be prepared for marriage to her friend Harry. But then the fences are breached and the life she has known is gone forever. Mary; Harry; Travis, whom Mary loves but who is betrothed to her best friend; her brother and his wife; and an orphaned boy set out into the unknown to search for safety, answers to their questions, and a reason to go on living. In this sci-fi/horror novel, the suspense that Ryan has created from the very first page on entices and tempts readers so that putting the book down is not an option. The author skillfully conceals and reveals just enough information to pique curiosity while also maintaining an atmosphere of creepiness that is expected in a zombie story. Some of the descriptions of death and mutilation of both the Unconsecrated and the living are graphic. The story is riveting, even though it leaves a lot of questions to be explained in the sequel.
Summary of Dead Tossed Waves:  Timid, thoughtful Gabry has grown up safely in the city of Vista. She lives in a lighthouse with her mother, Mary, the daring heroine of The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Delacorte, 2009), whose job it is to kill Mudo—zombies—as they wash ashore. Then one night, Cira, Gabry's best friend, and Catcher, Cira's brother, convince her to sneak outside Vista's walls. With the attack of one Breaker—a fast zombie—everything changes: a friend is killed, Catcher is infected, and Cira is imprisoned and destined for the Recruiters, the army that protects the loose federation of cities left after the Return. Feeling both guilty for having escaped punishment and self-destructive after the revelation that Mary in fact adopted her, Gabry pushes herself to cross the city's Barrier again. Some pieces of the narrative are well constructed: the constant, looming threat of the Mudo, Gabry's quiet determination and daring in the face of fear, and villainous soldier Daniel's palpably frightening power-grabbing sexual advances. Other details are less believable, like Mary's suddenly abandoning her daughter and her duties to seek her past in the Forest. Though flawed, this volume has enough action, romance, and depth of character to satisfy, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave fans hungry for the third book.

Feed by Mira Grant   Urban fantasist Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue) picks up a new pen name for this gripping, thrilling, and brutal depiction of a postapocalyptic 2039. Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman's daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office. Shunning misogynistic horror tropes in favor of genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what's true and what's reported.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

 Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.  The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

 Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures:  Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.  In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Beautiful Darkness:  Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.  Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

Hunger Games Trilogy Chat

The Hunger Games: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.  Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Catching Fire:  Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph. Instead, they have become the poster boys for a rebellion that they never planned to lead. That new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by The Capitol. Catching Fire maintains the adrenaline rush of Suzanne Collins's series launch.
Mockingjay:  Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

 Red Glove 

I don't know why I didn't review WHITE CAT.  But *sings* trust in me...it's just as good!

White Cat: Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen. 
Red Glove:  Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.  That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself? Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

 Generation Dead

Generation Dead: Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He’s strong and silent…and dead.
All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them.  The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the “differently biotic." But the students don’t want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn’t breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the “living impaired” from the people who want them to disappear—for good.  When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?

 Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Dreamland Social Club: Jane has traveled the world with her father and brother, but it's not until her fractured family-still silently suffering from the loss of Jane's mother many years before-inherits a house and a history in Coney Island that she finally begins to find a home. With the help of a new community of friends, a mermaid's secrets, and a tattooed love interest with traffic-stopping good looks, the once plain Jane begins to blossom and gains the courage to explore the secrets of her mother's past.  Colorful characters, beautiful writing, and a vibrant, embattled beachfront backdrop make this the perfect summer read for anyone who has ever tried to find true love or a place to call home.

 Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Rotters: Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.  Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.

The Overtaking by Victorine Lieske

The Overtaking: 
Shayne Bartlet has been kidnapped, his powers disabled and his memory altered. He's not having a good day. And he doesn't even know it.

When Shayne's telepathic abilities surface, he finds out Danielle isn't the normal teenager she appears to be. In fact, she's not even from his world. And when he finds out her race is responsible for the overtaking of his entire planet, he sets out to uncover the truth about her. Danielle didn't mean to fall in love with a Maslonian boy. Her job was to observe and report. But when Shayne's well being is at stake she goes against orders to help him, putting her own self in danger. Together, Danielle and Shayne discover that things are not as they seem. They must stop Danielle's race from destroying the Maslonian planet, and free Shayne's people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Publish Date:  May 12, 2011
ISBN:  978-1461179931
Pages: 264
Cover Art:  Laura Diemer

I received this book from the author and was thrilled with it!  As soon as I opened the package, I was excited to read the book - look at that cover - it's gorgeous!  It turns out that Ms. Diemer's sister is a fab artist - love, love, love it!  Then I read the acknowledgments, I always do, and they were sweet and open and made me want to be friends with the author.

This story is billed as a lesbian retelling of the myth of Persephone and Hades.  Most stories with gay characters deal with the issues associated with 'coming out' and everyone's reactions.  This story doesn't do that, it's just a fact.  I love that it's treated so...not casually...but just as matter of fact, I guess.  That's the way it should be.

Don't worry if you don't know the myth of Persephone and Hades, you'll read it within the story, where it's treated as a lie that Zeus told because he doesn't want anyone to know what Hades is really like. Ms. Diemer's story really expands on what Persephone did in the Underworld and how the dead exist there.

Persephone starts out as a sheltered young goddess who thinks she has to do whatever she's told and ends up as a strong woman fit to rule by Hades' side.  Hades is cast as kind and loving, even though everyone hates and fears her.  She keeps doing what she can to make the dead comfortable.  Having been isolated for so long, it takes awhile for her to allow Persephone in to all her duties and emotions.

There's never a slow moment, the action and emotions keep going and the characters are very well-written.  Mythology is always very pretty to read and I feel that Ms. Diemer kept up that tradition - it's a gorgeous, lush story.  I loved the explanations of some of the creatures and features of the Underworld.  My favorite was how Cerberus came to be Hades' guard dog.  I don't generally get too mushy over dogs, but now I kinda want a three-headed puppy of my own!

One of my biggest complaints about YA love stories is the quickness in which the characters fall in love and have a relationship.  I felt that Persephone and Hades really grew into their relationship slowly and carefully as they went, that it would be a lasting one.

I really can't say enough good things about this book, it's amazing!  I've already loaned it out to a good friend and his partner and have several others friends that I've recommended it to.