Saturday, March 31, 2012

Do you love me?

I've entered the Independent Book Blogger Awards Contest! Please go check it out and vote for me! :)

Independent Book Blogger Awards

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Publish Date:  June 7, 2011
Pages:  352
ISBN:  978-1594744761

 Note:  Lots and lots of spoilers here.  If you don't want to know, don't read it!!

Doesn't the cover picture just creep you out?  That picture and the title are the biggest reasons I finally bought this book.  I was very excited about it - a good old fashioned scary book, with scary children.  The photos scattered throughout the book are amazing - I adore weird old photos like these.

The story began well enough - Grandpa always told Jacob stories and Jacob believed them until he was older and his parents 'set him straight'.  Then he just thought good old Grandpa was a crazy old Polish war veteran.  Then Grandpa dies and Jacob thinks he might be the crazy one.  See, I liked that part.

What I didn't like:
1 - Jacob's best friend.  I'm not sure why it even needed noting that Jacob had a friend.  He's there for a scene or two, it's noted that they aren't really friends, then he's never mentioned again.  I feel that the author went to a lot of trouble to describe him and his car and their relationship to just ditch him.  I really felt like he did all that and then couldn't fit him into the story, so just let him wander off.

2 - Jacob didn't come across as a 17 year old.  I would have guessed maybe 12.  There was nothing, except his car and job, that said he was an older teen.  The Peculiar children come across as younger too - I know they all appear to be younger, but are really older, but you would think that they would ACT older anyway.

3 - The love story.  Jacob meets a girl, Emma, and falls for her.  She seems to fall for him too.  But seriously, who is she really falling for - Jacob or his Grandpa?!  Ick.  I mean, she's Grandpa's age, but looks Jacob's age and he looks like Grandpa, so what the heck, she'll take him?  And he's ok with that too?  It was too weird for me.

I felt like the story did better before we meet the peculiar children than afterward.  I was disappointed.  Once we met them, the story should have taken off.  I wanted, and felt promised, a creepy, weird and ghostly story.  I got magic and timeloops and confused writing.  Now, I love magic and timeloops, but not when I'm expecting something else.  Hold on, wait a minute.  That's not entirely true either.  I don't even mind that happening if it's done in a cohesive amazing manner where it all flows and makes sense.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date:  January 3, 2012
ISBN:  978-0312641894
Pages:  400

Note:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I always approach the retelling of a fairytale in a skeptical manner.  However, Marissa Meyer did a beautiful job and I can't wait to read more!  She kept the basic idea of Cinderella and updated it to a sci/fi cyborg story with death and disease and a horrid Queen trying to overtake Earth.  What more could you ask for?

The Characters:
Cinder - a true delight!  She knows what she is and what she isn't, seems proud that she can do things as a cyborg that regular humans can't, yet at the same time is embarrassed about being a cyborg.  She's reasonable, romantic, adventurous...I just love her! Did she remind anyone else of FIREFLY's Kaylee?  I mean, Kaylee wasn't a cyborg...but if she was, she would have been Cinder.

Kai - Prince of New Commonwealth, has a temper, hates that he has to do things he doesn't want to do, wants to be a regular guy sometimes, is prepared to do all the things he doesn't want to do, and seems to only really want one thing for just himself - Cinder.

Peony - the youngest stepsister, loves Cinder, very sweet and lovable.

Pearl - the oldest stepsister, rude, mean, haughty, but still shows humanity here and there.

Adri - the stepmother (guardian), awful, but does show other emotions.

Iko - the family android, but really hangs out with Cinder most, has a delightful personality chip (remember the android in Robin Williams' BICENTENNIAL MAN?)

Dr. Erland - research doctor in the palace, trying to figure out how to cure the plague and maybe has his own research going on....

Queen Levana - Lunar Queen, true evil, a royal B...

The Plot
 First off there's the whole Cinderella thing, you know - Cinder has to work to support the family, she does all the dirty work, she never gets updated parts or clothes, she sleeps in a tiny room and isn't allowed to attend the ball.  There's a tiny bit of romance, but just enough to keep you wanting more.

Then there's the fact that there's a plague in the world - Letumosis.  No one seems to know how the plague starts, spreads or how to cure it.

The whole book was wonderful and I really enjoyed it.  I love that Miss Meyer took a traditional fairytale and updated it so well.  Congratulations!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Books Out This Week: March 19 - 25, 2012

When You Open Your Eyes by Celeste Conway
Release Date:  March 20, 2012

From Goodreads:  The more you love, the more you stand to lose….Tessa’s head over heels for Lucien, the son of a French diplomat. Sexy, artistic, and daring, he brings out a completely new side of her. With him, Tessa feels beautiful and exotic. So when Tessa’s strict father forbids her to see Lucien, she’s determined to keep their relationship a secret.But as Tessa gets caught up in Lucien, he becomes increasingly volatile. What she once found alluring about him now feels alarming. Tessa must figure out how far she’ll go for Lucien before she risks losing not just him, but everything she loves.

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Release Date:  March 20, 2012

From Goodreads:  When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse #3) by Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date:  March 20, 2012

From Goodreads:  Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories.
In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world.
But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

 Croak (Croak #1) by Gina Damico
Release Date:  March 20, 2012

From Goodreads:  Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.
Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

 Traitor's Son (Raven Duet #2) by Hilari Bell
Release Date:  March 20, 2012

From Goodreads:  In Trickster's Girl, when Kesla's journey comes to an end, she pass the pouch and the quest on to someone else. She picks Jason, a native boy she thinks will be able to finish the job. But in fact, a family feud has cut Jason off from his traditional roots, and he is even more doubtful and resistant than Kesla was. But Raven, now a beautiful girl, is quite persuasive and manages to convince Jason this is something not only that he can do, but that he must if he wants to heal his family and the earth.

 Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
Release Date:  March 20, 2012

From Goodreads:  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends and neighbors, allow me to change your lives! Step inside Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show! You’ve read about them in magazines, these so-called human curiosities, this tribe of misfits—now come and see for yourselves. We’ve got a gent as tall as a tree, a lady with a beard, and don’t miss your chance to see the Wild Albinos of Bora Bora! Ask Madame Doula to peer into your future (only two dollars more if you want to know how you’re going to die).

And between these covers behold the greatest act of our display—Portia Remini, the strangest of the menagerie because she’s a ‘normal’ among the freaks, searching for a new beginning on the bally, far away from McGreavey’s Home for Wayward Girls, where Mister watches and waits. He said he would always find Portia, said she could never leave . . .

Oh, it’s not for the faint of heart folks. If you’re prone to nightmares or you’ve got a weak ticker, you’d best move on. Within these pages lies a tale of abandonment, loss, misfortune for the rich and glory for the poor (and a little murder doesn’t hurt). It’s a story for the ages, but be warned: once you enter the Wonder Show you will never be the same.