Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boo Hag by David Morgan

Boo Hag by David Morgan
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN:  978-1470007317
Pages:  328

It's generally my policy not to accept self-published books anymore.  However, every policy has an exception and this is one of mine.  The premise of the book sounded exciting and interesting and it didn't fail me.

Main Characters:
     Lenny - regular 16 year old girl. Good grades, bit of a neat freak.

     Anna - Lenny's bff, always willing to back up Lenny, doubly so when it brings her closer to her crush, Brian.

Minor Characters:
     Brian - football star, crushed on by Anna, crushing on Katie

     Katie - cheerleader, obnoxious, self-absorbed

     Paul - nerd, crushing on Lenny

     Mr. Brown - teacher, into the supernatural

I haven't read a story in years that made me want to sit up all night in a well-lit room with a weapon handy, but BOO HAG did it.  The Boo Hag is from the South Carolina Gullah culture.  The Gullah are a group of African-American people who have preserved their language and culture.  Boo Hags gain sustenance from a person's breath and will steal a person's skin to wear, as they have none.  They take the skin off to go 'riding', or stealing sustenance.  Kudo's to Mr. Morgan for bringing such a terrifying creature to light!!

For the story:

Lenny gets up early one morning because she's sure someone has been in her room while she was sleeping.  When she finds gross sticky red stains under her bed, she's even more weirded out.  Her parents have gone out of town and it's up to her to figure it out.  Lenny goes to Anna for support and together they go to Mr. Brown.  He gives them advice on how to handle it and off they go.  But Mr. Brown seems to know more than he's letting on.  Pretty soon the two girls have involved Brian, Katie and Paul.  Some on purpose, some by accident.

The pace is quick, the scare factor is always just around the corner and the writing is great.  There are a few editing issues, but another proofreading will fix those, I'm sure.  I hope to see more of this series, as I need to know what's up with Lenny!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shift by Kim Curran

Shift by Kim Curran
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publish Date:  September 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1908844040
Pages:  416

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

Sixteen year old Scott Tyler is a Shifter.  He has the ability to undo any decision he's ever made.  Shifters come to the attention of a covert government agency that wants to train Shifters to use their powers for the good.  Of course, there's also a rebel faction of Shifters.

C'mon, if there's a governmental agency, there HAS to be a rebel faction!

My issues:
     Scott and the other teems sound like much older adults, not teens

     We never really learn that much about Shifting, such as: how did the ability develop? How do both side track you down? Why do they lose the power later?

     Benjo, the villian.  Seriously.  I get that every story needs a villian, but Benjo seemed off the wall for this story.

I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about it.  I love stories where people get unusual abilities, but this was (to a point) overdone - I saw/read 'The Butterfly Effect' and 'Jumpers'.  Both were done better.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cuttlefish by Dave Freer

Cuttlefish by Dave Freer
Publisher: Pyr
Publish Date:  July 24, 2012
ISBN:  978-1616146252
Pages: 300

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

Mr. Freer is a former Marine Biologist and was conscripted (at 17!) as a Medic in the Angdan/South African conflict.  He's done all sorts of interesting (sometimes weird) jobs and you can read all about him on his website:  Oh yeah, don't be startled by the burly wild man in the photos - that's Mr. Freer!

CUTTLEFISH is a steampunk novel set in 1976.  There has been a disastrous global warming and much of the world has flooded.  Britain's answer was to return to military rule. The people thought it was a temporary solution, but you know how groups in power are - they like to stay in power!  The story centers around two teens:

     Clara Calland - on the run with her mom. Mom's a scientist who holds a secret she wants the world to share, but we all know the world never learned to share.
     Tim Barnabas - a boy from the drowned tunnels of London, he signed on as a cabin boy for the submarine in order to be taken care of and to send money home for his mother.

The story centers around the group's travel iln a submarine.  Even the technical parts were fascinating, due to Mr. Freer's beautiful writing.  I could actually 'see' how the submarine sails worked.  Wait, did I just say 'submarine sails'?!  Oh yes, indeed.  The submarine is amazing and I loved it!

The characters are wonderful, they come across as real people.  They were, in turn, scared/nervous/angry with nothing supernatural about them.  What a breath of fresh air!

So we have a fascinating submarine that has quite a few modes of energy, a scientific secret, exotic locales, two teens who are exploring the possibilities of a relationship and the possibility of spies and more.  Do yourself a favor and buy this one, it's a great read and will have you daydreaming of sailing on a submarine.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Publish Date:  August 7, 2012
ISBN:  978-1599906959
Pages:    416

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

If you want to get a headstart, there are four novellas that take place before THRONE OF GLASS, they're all available as e-books - three are out now, the fourth will be out in July.

In 2002, Ms. Maas began posting chapters of her story online.  She received very positive feedback and ten years later - Ta-Da!

THRONE OF GLASS picks up following the 18 year old assassin Celaena Sardothien.  She's served a year hard labor in the salt mines and the Crown Prince is offering her a chance at freedom.  All she has to do is win a competition for the new Royal Assassin and serve in that capacity for three years.  How hard can that be?

Celaena was the most notorious assassin in the land, but no one ever knew she was just a girl.  So none of the other competitors suspect who she is.

The Main Characters:

Celaena - 18 year old assassin, pretty, eats heartily, athletic, smart, stubborn
Prince Dorian - flirty, good looking, afraid of his father
Captain Westfall - trains Celaena
Princess Nehemia - visiting royalty

Even without the novellas (which I didn't read), I was able to jump right in and figure things out easily.  There weren't a lot of 'extra' characters, which made it easier to concentrate on the ones we did have.  I was a little put out that I didn't care for Prince Dorian.  I'm not sure what it was, I wanted to like him, but I felt like he was too cowed by his father to really shine.  I like Captain Westfall a bit better, but still not enough.  I did like Princess Nehemia and want to hear more about her.

I've read a lot of reviews where bloggers compared THRONE OF GLASS to HUNGER GAMES.  That's ridiculous!  It was nothing like it at all.  I love HUNGER GAMES, don't get me wrong, but that was a staged game between 12 - 18 year old children to prove a point that the different regions were under the Capitols control  This is a full-on competition with adult assassins, court intrigue, relationships and a few surprises.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kiss of Life (Generation Dead #2) by Daniel Waters

Kiss of Life (Generation Dead #2) by Daniel Waters
Publisher:  Hyperion Books
Publish Date:  May 25, 2012
ISBN:  978-1423109244
Pages:  432

At the end of the first book of the series, GENERATION DEAD, Adam stepped in front of Phoebe to protect her from Pete and ended up dead...or as a zombie...biotically different...whatever.

So now Phoebe is spending all her time with Adam.  She's confused on loving Tommy and Adam and feels responsible for Adam ended up 'dead'.  On the up side, Adam's stepdad now treats him like a real son.  Adam is having trouble getting his movement and speech back and Phoebe wants to test the theory of acceptance and love making it happen quicker.

The trouble isn't over though - Reverend Mather is still gathering followers and Pete is on his way into the group.

It doesn't help that a group of renegade zombies are staging stunts to draw attention to their plight.  They're not harmful in any way, in fact, rather funny, but Reverend Mather is using the stunts to his own advantage.

The bonuses:  the zombie dance club AFTERMATH, Collette, Margie and Karen. I love these girls!

There really isn't any down side, it's a well thought out series and the characters are always touching and doing something to change how you look at them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Delacorte
Publish Date:  June 12, 2012
ISBN: 978-0385742016
Pages:  320

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

Calder White is the only male in a family of mermaids.  He lives in Lake Superior, but when his sisters call on him, he has to go home.  The lowdown on these mermaids is that they have to kill humans in order to absorb their energy.  It's the only way they can survive.

This time, when his sisters call him home, it's so he can help them with revenge.  They want Jason Hancock, they blame him for their mother's death and the sisters want Calder to lure his daughter Lily to fall in love with him so they can get access to Jason and kill him.

The mermaids are delicious in a maniacal, violent way.  Calder is creepy, he's dark and stalkerish.  Not even in a 'ooh, that's hot' Twilight way either (sarcasm), but in a restraining-order-right-now kind of way.  The sisters are just demented and weird.  There were a couple points where I wondered just how close they all were...

Lily is a decent character.  She isn't easily led by Calder and I think that's why I liked her.  At least she didn't throw herself at him because he was hot.

If you like the old-fashioned, lure-people-to-their-death mermaids, you might love this one.  Calder just creeped me out too much to really enjoy it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Books Out May 21 - 27, 2012

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Release Date:  May 22, 2012

From Goodreads:  Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

Dead Time (The Murder Notebooks) by Anne Cassidy
Release Date:  May 22, 2012

From Goodreads:  When Rose was twelve, her mother and stepfather went out for dinner and never came back. Now seventeen, she lives with her grandmother and goes to school in London. She’s always wondered about her stepbrother, Joshua, whom she only lived with briefly and who was also relocated after their parents’ disappearance. When Rose and Joshua meet again, they find they have much in common, including a desire to uncover the mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance . . . and a mutual attraction to each other. But when Rose witnesses the murders of not one but two of her classmates, she must uncover who is behind these violent crimes. And when she and Joshua discover that a much larger conspiracy is underway, both of their lives will be in danger.

 Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Release Date:  May 22, 2012

From Goodreads:  Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.
Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.
Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?
Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it.

The Lost Code (The Atlanteans #1) by Kevin Emerson
Release Date:  May 22, 2012

From Goodreads:  The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry…

The Enchantress (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #6) 
                                                                                    by Michael Scott
Release Date:  May 22, 2012

From Goodreads:  Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

 37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon
Release Date:  May 22, 2012

From Goodreads:  Ellis only has four days of her sophomore year left, and summer is so close that she can almost taste it. But even with vacation just within reach, Ellis isn’t exactly relaxed. Her father has been in a coma for years, the result of a construction accident, and her already-fragile relationship with her mother is strained over whether or not to remove him from life support. Her best friend fails even to notice that anything is wrong and Ellis feels like her world is falling apart. But when all seems bleak, Ellis finds comfort in the most unexpected places.
Life goes on, but in those four fleeting days friends are lost and found, promises are made, and Ellis realizes that nothing will ever quite be the same.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Burn Mark by Laura Powell
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Publish Date:  June 19, 2012
ISBN:  978-1599908434
Pages: 416

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

In this modern world, witches are still hunted down and burned at the stake.  BUT if you develop the fae and agree to be 'bound', you can live and work.  Licensed witches wear iron cuffs to smother their abilities.

There are two main characters:

Gloriana - aka Glory, from a family of witches, they live outside the law

Lucas - son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition

Glory and Lucas both develop the fae - one wanting and waiting for it, one dumbstruck by it.  It will change both their lives.

Glory has been waiting and hoping to develop the fae, her family is one of the oldest and most feared witch gangs.  But now that she's got it, she can't tell everyone she's finally come into her powers, it's too complicated.

Lucas' future is destroyed as he was to become a witch hunter.  So he takes on an undercover role for the government.

Soon, the two are bound together in a crazy world of secrecy.

The writing is seamless, although a little slow on occasion.  Both characters are very introspective and I got a little annoyed with the inner dialogue, but the book was amazing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Books Out This Week: May 14 - 20, 2012

The Forgetting Curve (Memento Nora #2) by Angie Smibert
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads:  Aiden Nomura likes to open doors—especially using his skills as a hacker—to see what’s hidden inside. He believes everything is part of a greater system: the universe. The universe shows him the doors, and he keeps pulling until one cracks open. Aiden exposes the flaw, and the universe—or someone else—will fix it. It’s like a game.

Until it isn’t.

When a TFC opens in Bern, Switzerland, where Aiden is attending boarding school, he knows things are changing. Shortly after, bombs go off within quiet, safe Bern. Then Aiden learns that his cousin Winter, back in the States, has had a mental breakdown. He returns to the US immediately.  But when he arrives home in Hamilton, Winter’s mental state isn’t the only thing that’s different. The city is becoming even stricter, and an underground movement is growing.

Along with Winter’s friend, Velvet, Aiden slowly cracks open doors in this new world. But behind those doors are things Aiden doesn’t want to see—things about his society, his city, even his own family. And this time Aiden may be the only one who can fix things... before someone else gets hurt.

 Brothers to the Death (The Saga of Larten Crepsley) by Darren Shan
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads: After years of wandering, Larten has finally found his way back to his vampire family and resumed the vigorous, brutal training to become a General. But there are vampires determined to pull Larten into starting a war that could have global implications and casualties. Vampires who will stop at nothing. Vampires who would betray Larten in the most cutting way.

 From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads: 
KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in TIjuana. With less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring thier passports across the border--but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

 As Dead As It Gets (Bad Girls Don't Die) by Katie Alender
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads:  It's been three months since Alexis helplessly witnessed Lydia Small's violent death, and all she wants is for her life to return to normal.
But normal people don’t see decaying bodies haunting photographs. Normal people don’t have to deal with regular intrusions from Lydia’s angry ghost, sometimes escalating to terrifying attacks.
At first, it seems that Lydia wants revenge on Alexis alone. But a girl from school disappears one night, and Alexis spots one of Lydia’s signature yellow roses lying on the girl’s dresser the next day. Soon, it becomes clear that several of Alexis’s friends are in danger, and that she's the only person who can save them. But as she tries to intervene, Alexis realizes that her enemy is a much more powerful ghost than she's ever faced before... and that its fate is tied to hers in ways she couldn't possibly imagine.   Not even in her worst nightmares.

 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads:  I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

 Immortal Hearts (Vampire Kisses #9) by Ellen Schreiber
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads:  Athena "Stormy" Sterling is coming to Dullsville, and Raven is both excited and panicked in anticipation of Alexander's little sister's visit. Alexander tells Raven that she and his sister have a lot in common, but can the mini-Raven be everything she hopes for? Alexander calls her Stormy for a reason.

Stormy's visit stirs up the perfect immortal whirlwind. Raven is forced to take a good look at what it would really mean to be a vampire in the Sterling family, aside from some of the things she already loves, like shunning the sun and sleeping in a coffin with Alexander. When Raven compares her life with Stormy's, she can see that it's not all starry skies and black roses. But Raven knows she's always wanted to be a vampire.

Alexander is as romantic and dreamy as ever, and though he keeps showing Raven how much he loves her, will she ultimately be able to convince him that it's the right thing to turn her?

Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Release Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads: 
In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--
and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.