Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date:  May 11, 2010
ISBN:  978-0385736626 
Pages:  352

Lester Tripp is rich.  He's also a crazy Bridge player and Alton Richard's favorite Uncle.  At least that's what Alton's mother always tells him.

Oh yeah, Lester is also blind.  So he needs someone to tell him what cards he has and he tells them what cards to play.  He hires Alton.  Alton's parents hope that this will lead to Lester leaving them his money.  The problem is that Lester used to employ another relative.

So yeah, what's Bridge?  It's a card game.  You know, the one that old people play.  The one with about amillion rules.  Yeah, that one.

The relationship between Alton and Lester is slowly uncovered as Alton uncovers the mystery in their family.  A lot is uncovered during the Bridge plays.  Sachar gives detailed descriptions of the play, BUT he marks them with a whale and you can skip to the end of each passage for a brief description.  I've read that the whale is a nod to MOBY DICK - which was full of whaling detail that no one cared about.

Even though you think you can't get through a book about a game as boring as're caught up in the story before you know it.

As Uncle Lester would say "Nicely played."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

King of the Screwups by J.Lo.Going

King of the Screwups by J.L. Going
Publisher:  Graphia
Publish Date:  April 6, 2009
ISBN:  978-0547331669 
Pages:  320

Liam Geller is the only child of a former model and a CEO.  The only thing he seems to be good at, in his opinion, is screwing up.  Finally his Dad throws him out.  Instead of going to his hated grandparents, which his Dad thinks he's doing, he goes to live in a trailer park with his "Aunt" Pete, his Dad's brother.

Aunt Pete is a cross dressing gay glam rocker.  Liam's Dad doesn't approve of or speak to Pete.  Pete agrees to take Liam in and tells him he needs to figure out what he's going to do.  The problem is - no matter how much Liam tries to be unpopular - the more popular he becomes!  Except with the girl next door -Darleen.  He just wants to be friends with Darleen, he thinks his Dad would approve of the friendship.

With the help of Aunt Pete's friends, an English teacher, police officer and store owner (Pete is a DJ); Liam comes into his own and surprises even himself.

While not the most amazing book I've ever read, it was nice to read a book about a teenage guy who isn't gay but knows all the fashion stuff, who isn't trying to get some girl to sleep with him and who seems to have a lot going on. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Deadline (Newsflesh #2) by Mira Grant

Deadline (Newsflesh #1) by Mira Grant
Publisher: Orbit
Publish Date: June 1, 2011
 ISBN:  978-0316081061   

When I got to the end of Book 1 - FEED - I couldn't imagine reading a second book without my favorite character.

I read DEADLINE and while not quite the same feel, it's still an amazing book.  Shaun is a fantastic narrator.  While very different from George, his single-mindedness is very human.  Of course George is still here...just not the same way.  The only thing I could have done without was Shaun saying over and over that people think he's crazy because he talks to someone in his head...and they talk back.  We go t it the first time, Shaun.

This book dealt much more with the medical side of the conspiracy and less with the zombie killing.  Zombies are used sparingly, more as a threat than anything else.  So while we learned a lot about the politics and how the leaders were dealing with, or using, the Uprising; this time we learn about the medical side and how deeply the CDC is involved.

A CDC doctor, Kelly Connolly fakes her death and shows up at Shaun's doorstep.  She slowly reveals more information on the Uprising and medical statistics. It was great to find out which areas of the world are a complete loss, who came up with the blood tests and how, what happened to India, renegade scientists/researchers...fascinating stuff.  Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory?

The After the End Times staff has changed somewhat - Mahir has taken on the lead for the Newsies, with Alaric his second in command; Maggie has taken on the Fictionals and Beck has taken on the Irwins.  That's left Shaun as the head of the company and in the past year he hasn't done much. 

There were a couple moments where you find out things that at first make you feel squicked out, but then when you think them through, they aren't bad at all and it even makes sense.  Power through them and get on with the conspiracy!  Excellent book, my hat's off to Ms. Grant - she's an amazing writer! 

Watch for BLACKOUT (Newsflesh #3) in (tentatively) May 2012.  I'm sure we won't be disappointed with the final piece!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Books Out This Week: Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 2011

My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger.
Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breath. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on.
Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers.

 The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax (Mephisto Covenant #1) by Trinity Faegan
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.
With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over.  But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Release Date:  September 27, 2011


Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

 A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.  In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

 Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 Abarat: Absolute Midnight (Abarat #3) by Clive Barker
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  “I know that many of you here have waited years for this Hour,” Mater Motley said, using that voice that, though it was barely conversational in volume, was somehow heard everywhere. “The waiting is over. Tomorrow there will be no dawn. Only midnight, absolute and eternal.”
And so begins a new chapter in the epic story of sixteen-year-old Candy Quackenbush and her journeys through the world of the Abarat, where every hour is an island in one eternal day, and nothing is as it seems.
Candy travels through the Abarat from island to island and across the sea with an unlikely band of friends: the escaped prisoner Malingo the Geshrat, the quarrelsome John Brothers, who all share the same body but never the same opinion, and the many other colorful characters they meet along the way.
The problem is that trouble finds Candy wherever she goes. And soon she discovers a secret plot, masterminded by the diabolical Mater Motley, who is obsessed with becoming Empress of the Islands. Her method is simple. She will darken the skies, putting out the suns, moons, and stars. She will bring absolute midnight.

 If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) by Rachel Vincent
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.But the next scream might be for Kaylee.
Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.
But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.

 Lost inTime (Blue Bloods #6) by Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option.

Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she'll have to put her own feelings aside if she's going to save her crumbling Coven. 

 Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target. 

 Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Being the new girl is tough—just ask sixteen-year-old Rio Jones. A New York transplant, Rio has no clue how she's going to fit in at her fancy new private school in Southern California. Plus, being late, overdressed, and named after a Duran Duran song doesn't make the first day any easier for her.

Then Rio meets Kristi. Beautiful, rich, and a cheerleader, Kristi is the queen bee of Newport Beach. And Kristi isn't friends with just anyone, so Rio is thrilled when she's invited to be part of the most exclusive, popular clique. Of course, like any club, Kristi and her friends have rules: Always smile (even if you don't mean it), always dress cute (and never repeat outfits), and always flirt (but only with jocks, preps, and rich college guys).

At first Rio is having a great time, but as she becomes more immersed in this jet-set crowd, she figures out there is one last rule that her new friends forgot to mention: Don't cross Kristi . . . 

 Day of the Predator (Timeriders #2) by Alex Scarrow
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029. But all three have been given a second chance - to work for an agency that no-one knows exists. Its purpose - to prevent time travel destroying history.

 Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Billy is a street urchin, a pickpocket, and a petty thief. Mister Creecher is a giant of a man whose appearance terrifies everyone he meets. Their relationship begins as a matter of convenience. But before long, a bond develops between these two misfits as they embark on a bloody journey that will take them from London northward on the trail of their target . . . Doctor Victor Frankenstein. It seems the good doctor had promised Mister Creecher a bride, and Mister Creecher will stop at nothing to get what he's been promised. Nothing.

 The Vision (The Mark #2) by Jen Nadol
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:  Cassie Renfield knows the mark tells her when someone is going to die and that she can intervene and attempt to change fate. But she still doesn't understand the consequences, especially whether saving one life dooms another. With no family left to offer guidance, Cassie goes in search of others like her. But when she meets Demetria, a troubled girl who seems to have the power of the Fates, Cassie finds the truth isn't at all what she expected. And then there's her heady new romance with bad boy Zander. Dating him has much graver repercussions than she could ever have imagined, forcing Cassie to make choices that cut to the essence of who she is and what she believes. 

 Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date:  September 29, 2011

From Goodreads:  udding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson
Release Date:  September 29, 2011

From Goodreads:  The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

 If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
Release Date:  October 1, 2011

From Goodreads:  Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

 Phoenix (Beautiful Dead #4) by Eden Maguire
Release Date:  October 1, 2011

From Goodreads:  Darina is in denial. Even after all she’s been through, the Beautiful Dead can’t be real. They must be a figment of her grief-stricken imagination. But visions of Phoenix and Hunter prove otherwise and soon she’s drawn back to Foxton, to the barn, to Phoenix - where they have, what may just be, their final reunion.

It’s the moment they’ve been dreading - time to solve Phoenix’s mystery. Everything has been building to this but Darina knows that revealing the true circumstances of Phoenix’s death will lead to their final parting. With this impossible mixture of emotions, Darina begins to unscramble the facts, but she’s up against mounting obstacles: the distraction of Hunter’s personal mystery, Phoenix’s returning father, threats of gang violence and conspiracies to blur and block the truth.

With time pressure mounting and the risk of Phoenix being sent back into unending limbo, Darina puts herself in danger, and so the mystery of the Beautiful Dead builds into a heart-breaking climax ...


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Winner of Happy Birthday Giveaway!

Sandra Lovejoy is the winner of the Happy Birthday Giveaway!  She has won the Vlad Tod Minion Horde zip up hoodie.

Congratulations Sandra!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do you see what I see?

While this week's video isn't a book trailer, it's a great video and you should watch it and pass it on.  Secrets can be full of happiness, sadness, self-loathing or just something you don't think you can share.  We all have secrets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fifth Specter by T. S. Welti

Publisher: CreateSpace
Publish Date:  June 26, 2011
ISBN: 978-1461046387
Pages: 362
Illustrations: Alex Corrales

I was excited to receive this book from the author for review.  It sounded great and was compared to Harry Potter in the only review I could find.  Being a big fan of the Potter series, I was understandably excited.  It IS similar to HP (Harry Potter) - in fact, to me, it seemed to be HP rewritten.  I found so many major similarities that I actually stopped reading and just skimmed for the ones that jumped out at me.

The only other review I found was done by a friend of the author.  I would love to read what other reviewers have to say.

Here's a quick list of the similarities of the two books:

1 - both boys orphaned and live with mean families
2 - both boys are famous in 'their' worlds
3 - one has super powers, one has magic
4 - both have an authority figure who seems to hate them and gives out horrid detentions
5 - both have a physical notifier - Parker has a streak of white hair like his mother and HP has a lightening bolt scar and green eyes like his mother
6 - both had mothers that loved them more than anything and that gives power
7 - Lost Forest near school, Forbidden Forest near school
8 - 5 houses named after scientists for Parker, 4 houses named after founders for HP
9 - got a micrograph Level 1 (communication device, unheard of for newbie) Parker, wand special one of only two made for HP
10 - neither are supposed to use their powers as newbies
11 - tabloid names: The Smoking Quill for Parker, The Quibbler for HP
12 - weird candy descriptions sound a lot like Weasley Wizard Wheezes
13 - Human Studies for Parker, Muggle Studies for HP
14 - Cosmic Ball for Parker, Quidditch for HP - neither ever played yet made team as a newbie
15 - neither knew anything of their powers or their world before
16 - Parker's bffs:
           Norah Legrande - girl, smart, brown frizzy hair   and    Lucas Sherwood - boy, always lived there, eats a lot
       HP's bffs:
           Hermione Granger - girl, smart, brown frizzy hair    and   Ron Weasley - boy, always lived there, eats a lot

17 - both books the boys are late for their first class on the first day

I don't think that I need to go on or even say anything more.  The differences are so slight that it just doesn't matter.  Even the author story is similar:  single mom, out of work.  Even the names:  J.K. Rowling - T.S. Welti.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Giveaway!

In honor of my lovely sister's birthday, I am doing a giveaway of a brand new Vlad Tod Minion Horde zip up hoodie!  Why does my sister deserve special recognition, you may ask?  Well, because without her, there wouldn't be a minion horde!  She's none other than Heather Brewer, author of the Vlad Tod series and now the Slayer Society Chronicles, and today happens to be her birthday!  Check out the hoodie:

All you have to do is to comment by Friday night (September 23, 2011) on this post and a random winner will be picked.  I'll be emailing you for your mailing address, do NOT include it in your comment.  :)  Have a great day!

The Hidden Sun by J.Lloyd Morgan

The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan

I received this book from the author in return for an honest review.

THE HIDDEN SUN is a wonderfully crafted fairytale.  There's a Princess, forbidden love, an evil overlord and a happy ending.  What more could you ask for?

The plot moves along quickly and has great twists and turns.  I was a little worried that it would be high fantasy at first, but it wasn't at all.  It was a lovely story and one that I could easily imagine the author telling his four daughters.

The characters were well-written with their own voices.  A few of the names were groan-worthy, but cute, nonetheless.  Ofcourse in most fairytales the names mean something and they help the story along, the same is true here.

The plot revolves around the Book of Law and how it is interpreted, which was definitely interesting.  It makes you think of our Constitution and how different groups use it to prove what they want proved.

All in all, a great book and I highly recommend it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Books Out This Week: September 19 - 25, 2011

Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads: 
Nobody gets away with telling Eleanor Crowe what to do. But as a pregnant sixteen-year-old, her options are limited: move to Kenya with her missionary parents or marry the baby’s father and work at his family’s summer camp for overweight kids.  Despite her initial reluctance to help out, Elly is surprised that she actually enjoys working with the campers. But a tragedy on the very day her baby is born starts a series of events that overwhelms Elly with unexpected emotions and difficult choices. Somehow, she must turn her usual obstinance in a direction that can ensure a future for herself—and for the new life she has created.

 The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads:  Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

 Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads:  When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.
Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart. 

 First Kill (Slayer Chronicles #1) by Heather Brewer
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads:  With over a million copies already in print, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is still sinking its fangs into new readers every day. Now, bestselling author Heather Brewer brings us the other side of the story, from the perspective of Vlad’s former friend turned mortal enemy: vampire slayer Joss Macmillan. In five books that can be read alongside Vlad Tod or entirely on their own, Joss discovers his powers as the youngest, strongest slayer in history. And just in time, too: with all the vampires running rampant, he’s going to need all the help he can get. This action-packed series will quench the thirst of even the hungriest veteran minions.

 Beautiful Days (Bright Young Things #2) by Anna Godbersen
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads: 
For the bright young things of 1929, the beautiful days seem endless, filled with romance and heartbreak, adventure and intrigue, friendship and rivalry.
After a month in New York, Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur are small-town girls no longer. They spend their afternoons with Astrid Donal at the Greys’ lush Long Island estate and their nights in Manhattan’s bustling metropolis. But Letty’s not content to be a mere socialite. She is ready at last to chase her Broadway dreams—no matter the cost.  Cordelia is still reeling from the death of her father at the hands of Thom Hale, the man she thought she loved. Now she is set to honor Darius Grey’s legacy . . . and take her revenge.  Promised to Cordelia’s half brother, Astrid is caught up in a world of dazzling jewels and glittering nights—and the sparkle is blinding. Charlie Grey is a gangster playing a dangerous game; and for Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty, the stakes could be deadly.

 Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads: 
Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.  So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.
Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . .

 Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions Edited by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong
Release Date:  September 20, 2011

From Goodreads: 
A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.
Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do you see what I see?

Auntie Heather Brewer's Newest Book Trailer!
First Kill: Book One of the Slayer Chronicles
In Stores September 20, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome to Bordertown Edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner

Publisher:  Random House for Young Readers
Publish Date:  May 24, 2011
ISBN:  978-0375867057
Pages:  544
Jacket Art: Steve Stone
Jacket Design: Ellice M. Lee

Contributors:  Terry Windlings, Steven Brust, Cory Doctorow, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Jane Yolen, Emma Bull, Janni Lee Simner, Charles de Lint, Sara Ryan, Will Shetterly, Dylan Meconis, Amal El-Mohtar, Tim Pratt, Annette Curtis Klause, Delia Sherman, Nalo Hopkinson, Christopher Barzak, Neil Gaiman, Patricia A. McKillip and Catherynne M. Valente.

WOW!  What a group of amazing writers!  Bordertown is a city on the border between the human world and the elfin realm.  There are several earlier collections: Bordertown: A Chronicle of the Borderlands (1986), Bordertown: Where Magic Meets Rock & Roll (1996) and The Essential Bordertown (1999).  I will be going to find the other books now that I've read this one.  These are the kinds of stories that drew me into reading fantasy and now I know where all the writers went - they all ran off to Bordertown!

The basis of this anthology is that the way to Bordertown has been lost for 13 years.  However, in Bordertown it's only been 13 days.  Imagine the issues that could cause!

I adore that some of the stories run together, sometimes it was hard to tell that it was a different author writing - that's an amazing talent.  Some of the characters went story to story and some of the settings were the same.  It was great to have short stories, poetry and graphic novels all in one book.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Valiant by Holly Black

Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publish Date:  Sept. 5, 2005
ISBN:  978-0689868221
Pages:  336

I quite enjoyed TITHE and was looking forward to VALIANT. The first chapter or two almost lost me and then the Holly Black writing took off.  You know what I mean - the ugly beautiful damaged writing.

Val takes off to NY after she catches her mom and boyfriend making out.  She meets some street kids, Lolli and Dave and Dave's brother Luis.  The kids run errands for faeries.  Not the pretty sparkly ones, but the dangerous tricky ones.  The troll Ravus makes a drug called Never for the faeries, it helps them live in the city surrounded by iron.  But for humans...the drug is magical.  It allows them to do magic and to be more like faeries, it's also highly addictive.

The faeries are dying and Ravus is the prime suspect. But Val is falling for him and needs to figure out whose behind the deaths.  She also needs to conquer her addiction to Never.  We catch a fleeting glimpse of the TITHE characters toward the end, which was nice.

This story touches on so many important issues and is a hard hitting story.  Ms. Black hits on love and trust, addiction and the harm it does everyone it touches, betrayal and hate and living with our choices.  Well done!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strays by Ron Koertge

Publisher: Candlewick
Publish Date:  May 8, 2007
ISBN:  978-0763627058
Pages:  176
Jacket Photography: Veer (boy) and Patricia Doyle (dog)

Ted O'Connor is 16yo and new to the foster care system.  His parents died in a car accident.  They ran a pet store and had LOTS of animals living in their home.  Ted was called "Litterbox Ted" on more than one occasion at school.  His parents cared for many things, but not necessarily Ted first:  his dad cared for money and women and his mom cared for the animals.

Ted has a weird ability to communicate with animals and I suppose he learns some lessons from their conversations.  He figures out how to toe the line in his foster home until he graduates, how to get along, takes pointers from his foster brother and makes friends.

It was a bit of an odd book, but not bad.  I think that Ted talking to the animals threw me a bit.  Without that, I would have liked it a lot more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Books Out This Week: September 12 - 18, 2011

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Release Date: September 13, 2011

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.

 Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads: 
Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother.
Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? As Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear her family apart.

 Perfect (Impulse #2) by Ellen Hopkins
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.
Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.
Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

 Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  Del is a good kid who's been caught in horrible circumstances. At seventeen, he's trying to put his life together after an incident in his past that made him a social outcast-and a felon. As a result, he can't get into college; the only job he can find is digging graves; and when he finally meets a girl he might fall in love with, there's a sea of complications that threatens to bring the world crashing down around him again. But what has Del done? In flashbacks to Del's fourteenth year, we slowly learn the truth: his girlfriend texted him a revealing photo of herself, a teacher confiscated his phone, and soon the police were involved. 

 Empire of Ruins (Hunchback Assignments #3) by Arthur Slade
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  Secret agent Modo's next assignment? Find ancient Egyptian ruins hidden deep in the Australian jungle and the mysterious God Face, rumoured to be a powerful weapon—anyone who looks upon it will be driven mad. And he must find the God Face before the evil Clockwork Guild does!

 After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her. 

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.

 Fateful by Claudia Gray
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  It's about a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the lecherous young lord of the manor. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless and until he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you?

But no. Their biggest problem -- though they don't know it yet -- is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic.

 Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

 Frost by Marianna Baer
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?

 You Against Me by Jenny Downham
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

 Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  On the day after Halloween, Nan wakes up in a subway car. She is not dreaming. She doesn’t know where she’s been or what she’s done. She’s missing a whole day from her life. And she’s wearing skeleton makeup and a too-small Halloween costume that she doesn't remember putting on.
Nan is not supposed to wake up in places like this anymore. She’s different now, so far from that dangerously drunk girl who hit bottom in the Nanapocalypse. She needs to find out what happened to her, and fast. As she tries to put together the pieces of the last twenty-four hours, she flashes back to memories of her previous life. But she would never go back to her old friends and her old ways. Would she?
The deeper Nan digs, the more disturbing things get. This time, she may have gone one step too far. This time, she may be a walking ghost.

 Kill You Last by Todd Strasser
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads: 
Shelby's life in Soundview has always been comfortable. Her dad provides a luxurious lifestyle for his family through his photography business. He makes a ton of money taking headshots of pretty young teens who are desperate to become models. Shelby has always enjoyed driving around town in a red sports car, shopping with her best friend at her side. And her Mom is laidback, so it's all good.
However, as reports of girls disappearing from nearby towns start to appear on the news, Shelby's seemingly perfect life begins to fall apart. The three missing girls have one thing in common - they were all clients of her dad's photography business. Secrets begin to surface as the investigation continues. Shelby receives threatening e-mails, battles the nosy media, and tries to keep her family together. Now that her dad is implicated in the disappearances, can Shelby figure out a way to clear his name? Or is dad not as innocent as he seems?

 Point me to Tomorrow (Amigas #6) by Veronica Chambers
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  After two years of planning the hottest quineaneras in Miami and beyond, the girls of Amigas Incorporated are facing their biggest challenge yet--high school graduation. While Carmen and Jamie know exactly what they want, Alicia is on the fence. Should she go to the school of her dreams even if it means doing exactly what has always been expected of her? Or should she try something new? With so many decisions to make, Alicia is beginning to feel like choosing a school is like preparing for a quince--without any of the fun. On top of it all, the group has gotten a mysterious request from a young woman who wants to throw the most secret of quinceaneras. The girl wants it to be so secret that she won't even tell them her name! Now the group must figure out how to throw the perfect party for a perfect stranger, nail the SATs, and figure out if there is anyone at the school willing and capable of taking on their business. Will it all work out? Or will the end of school mean the end of Amigas Incorporated?

 Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.  True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

 So Silver Bright (Theatre Illuminata #3) by Lisa Mantchev
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a  vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate. 

 Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Release Date:  September 13, 2011

From Goodreads:  What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

 As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott
Release Date:  September 15, 2011

From Goodreads:  Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them - and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers . . . but only in exchange for her trust.

 Away (The Line #2) by Teri Hall
Release Date:  September 15, 2011

From Goodreads:  After crossing the Line, Rachel finds herself in a world where survival is never guaranteed - a world where bizarre creatures roam the woods and people have strange abilities. Everything has gone to ruin Away and the survivors have banded into warring clans. Rachel finds her father being held prisoner by a tribe of Others, and she and her new friends set out to rescue him. But when they cross back over the Line, Rachel and Pathik make a foolish decision, bringing them into further danger that can only be resolved with an unthinkable sacrifice.

 The Downside of Being Up by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
Release Date:  September 15, 2011

From Goodreads:  Thirteen-year-old Bobby Connor is a normal adolescent boy - at least he hopes he is - just trying to survive middle school. But it seems he's being foiled at every turn, and even his own body is conspiring against him. And when his math teacher is seriously injured from the shock and fright of witnessing just how out of control Bobby's changing adolescent body is getting, he starts to worry he's anything but normal.  Faced with expulsion from school for violating the student handbook code, Bobby opts for therapy - Correctional Erectional Therapy. It's official: Bobby Connor is not normal. But in this uproarious and heartfelt novel, he's going to do his darndest to make it seem that he is . . . or maybe just try to make it through middle school.