Friday, July 30, 2010

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Jessie barely remembers the day she died in a car accident. Her life did not end there. She is a zombie, but don't you dare call her that. She lives in the woods with a small pack of other undead, living and surviving in a sort of mock-society. They hunt, they sleep, they have a fearless leader. Then Jessie runs into her brother Jim, an uninfected human who works at a lab to research zombies. However, as Jessie's friends and acquaintances begin to get sick and die (again), she realizes something much more sinister may be at work.

This book was SO gory! Seriously. But I suppose a certain amount of gore is to be expected from a book where the main characters are dead and rotting. Still... would advise against snacking while reading this one. There were some interesting bits on theories about what it means to be alive. Joan Frances Turner has obviously spent time thinking about zombies as dead or alive, and her characters reflect her deep thoughts. Her writing style was nice too - I thought it brought a specific level of calm and poetry to the lifestyle of the undead. Not a bad book, but I couldn't really get into the mind and life of Jessie.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 7/28/10

LOVE ME TENDER by Janice Hanna

As "Love Me Tender" play in the background, Debbie Carmichael determines to salvage her family’s restaurant, Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe, when her father’s health fails. Teen heartthrob Bobby Conrad, agrees to perform at a fundraiser concert. But just two weeks before the highly publicized event, Bobby backs out of the benefit. Enter...Johnny Hartman...a young, unknown singer to take Conrad’s place.

Debbie soon realizes the twists and turns leading up to the concert are divinely orchestrated. And it isn’t dreamy Bobby Conrad who has stolen her heart—but the tender love of Johnny Hartman.

I read Janice's book Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas, and liked it. Made me chuckle out loud a few times! This book I anticipate liking even more because of the fun time period. What do you think?

Release Date: September 1sr, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Kate is anything but plain, despite the name the village folk call her. She has eyes of two different colors and can carve any piece of wood into a good luck charm. But Kate lives in a world where special skills and odd looks are thought of as witchery, and a deal with a shady character causes Kate to be cast out of her village in fear of her life. At least she is not alone for long. Her faithful cat Taggle is constantly by her side, and she befriends a fellow traveler named Drina. Still, Kate must keep her wits about her if she ever plans on returning to her home.

I have some rather mixed feelings about this book. I wasn't too excited to read it, but still wanted to give it a try. Then I started and it was totally rocking my world. Then the action slowed and I began to lose interest. Luckily, there was an explosive ending that had me tearing through the last pages. But when all is said and done, still just an average YA book for me. Kate was unspectacular, save for her unique carving talents. Taggle, on the other hand, was awesome. He was a dream-come-true companion to Kate, and it was nice to see a heroine with a pet friend, instead of a boy friend. I was also into Erin Bow's story telling style, like that of an old fashioned tale. I would be interested in reading more by this author, I think, to give her another try. Will have to see what's next!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fear Street Flashback (6)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in January, 1994.

First thing I want to say about this book is omigosh how totally vintage that cover looks! LOL Those models do NOT look like they are in high school! But moving on... this was an okay story. I was frustrated at how it seemed like every other character liked scaring Janie and that poor Janie was so gullible. Other than that, the reader really is fooled as to who is murdering Janie's friends, right up until the end surprise. My overall feeling? Not very scary. Perhaps next time!

Fear Rating: 1 out of 3 Screams

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Haven Moore has had memories of a girl named Constance and a boy named Ethan for as long as she can remember. The story in these memories is always the same - Ethan and Constance loved each other deeply. But the people in her small, religious Tennessee town do not take kindly to her visions, and shortly before her eighteenth birthday, she flees to New York City in search of some answers from the mysterious Ouroboros Society. Once there, it doesn't take her long to run into celebrity heir Iain Morrow, who seems to know an awful lot about her life. As Haven gets closer to figuring out who Constance was and what may really have happened, dangerous things start to occur around her. Learning the truth may cost her more than she knows!

This book was just okay. I was surprised by the amount of devil imagery and lore. Was not expecting to see that, but that's not what turned me off. I found I had to work a bit harder to suspend my disbelief during a bunch of scenes. It wasn't entirely disappointment though, there were good parts too. I liked the best friend Beau (gay football player? yes, please!) but there was not nearly enough of him. And I was intrigued by the thoughts on past lives and a society to benefit those with gifts, but I didn't think it was as built out as it could have been. There was a lot of hype leading up to this book, and it simply didn't measure up for me. If there is a sequel, I will most likely pass.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 7/21/10

BEHEMOTH by Scott Westerfeld

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

Umm, can I tell you how much I enjoyed Leviathan? It ended way too early. Caught my attention, held onto it, and then BAM the book was over! I am SO looking forward to getting more of the characters and drawings in Scott Westerfeld's wonderfully realized world. WANT!

Release Date: October 5th, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Bianca Piper has to hear from the biggest womanizer in school that she is the Duff - the designated ugly fat friend - in her group of friends. She tries not to take the name to heart. After all, it was Wesley Rush who called her that, and she hates his guts. Then in one moment of courage/weakness she kisses him and all the stress in her world melts away. Soon she is fully engaged in a secret relationship with him, and as long as Bianca keeps her heart at arms length, things are fine. Trouble is, her heart may other ideas...

I was totally enamored with this book! I would snap it shut and hold it to my chest and exclaim "Awwwwwwww" and sigh and then open it right back up and keep reading. It was predictable sure, but I wanted the story to end up for Bianca the way it did. I must say, I was surprised at the amount of sex and sexual acts there were in the book. I'm no fool when it comes to knowing what teens are up to these days, but I was still shocked at reading about them in a young adult novel. It was rather refreshing! Bianca's voice is raw and her pain is intense. All teen girls will find something to identify with in Bianca's life. I certainly hope this is not all we will get from Kody Keplinger. Can't wait to see what's next!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bound by Book-To-Movie Law: I Love You, Beth Cooper

Book-to-Movie Law states that once you have read the book, you are bound by the media to go see the movie based on said book, and therefor compare to two.

I will admit it now- I had very low expectations for this movie, which can be blamed on one thing: casting. From the very first trailer, I thought the characters cast were WAY to old for high schoolers. That's a quick way to take me out of the movie. Granted, Paul Rust was only born in 1981 (not THAT old), but they seriously could have chosen someone more suited to the high school-looking atmosphere. that having been said, it was a fairly close adaptation to the book. It has been a few years since I've read the book, but all of the important moments were there. I adored Hayden Panettiere in her role as Beth. In the book, I thought the Evan Dorkin drawings were way more graphic than what Denis actually went through in the movie, but I was okay with less gore. The scenes that made me laugh out loud were worth sitting through the slower, more awkward moments.

Bottom line? The book is still better.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Love Remains by Kaye Dacus

Zarah Mitchell is less-than-thrilled to run into her one time fiance Bobby Patterson at a singles mixer for her church. Bobby left town over fourteen years ago to go into the military at the same time Zarah's father kicked her out of the house for dating a man in the military. Sounds like a lot of baggage, no? It gets worse when neither of the two actually knows the truth of why the other left. But both are finding it hard to ignore the remnants of chemistry still lingering between them. Add to the mix three feisty grandmothers looking to get some babies out of their grand kids, and things heat up even more.

I liked this story! It was sweet and sappy and full of ex-boyfriend angst! I thought the harsh relationship between Zarah and her father was a little understated. The reader was constantly told how bad it was, but there wasn't much to show that this was actually true. I also liked that the chapters switched points of view between Zarah and Bobby, because hearing Bobby's thoughts on the matter added a lot to make me think he was a totally great guy. I thought the criminal investigation was a bit weak for a plot device to get Bobby and Zarah back together, but at least those parts of the book moved quickly so we could get back to the romance.

I've also read Dacus' previous books Stand-In Groom and Menu For Romance, but I think I will like this series more than that one. Perhaps it is simply because of the matchmaking premise. Cute stuff! Can't wait for the next in the series, The Art of Romance!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 7/14/10

COLD MAGIC by Kate Elliott

Young Cat Barahal thinks she understands the world she lives in and her place in it, but in fact she is merely poised unaware on the brink of shattering events. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood, betrayal and old feuds, she will be forced to make an unexpected and perilous journey in order to discover the truth, not just about her own family but about an ancient secret lying at the heart of her world.

The cover alone is reason enough for me to be waiting for this one. Um, hello? Beautiful! Intriguing! Hope it's as good as it looks.

Release Date: September 9th, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cover Colors Part 2

This color pallette comes in the form of the ever so popular Blue and Orange/Yellow. I must admit it is rather pleasing to my eyes. I have read all of the below books!

Show me your blues and yellows!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

Jessamine knows more about plants than you do - her father runs an apothecary out of their house and grows all of his own plants for the medicinal recipes. He even has a garden full of plants that are poisonous to humans. Jessamine has been watching him and learning the trade secrets her entire life. Then one day a mysterious boy is brought to their door, named Weed. At first he seems like an unwanted orphan boy, but as Jessamine and her father quickly learn, Weed may have a special talent when it comes to being around plants.

I feel as if I can't say too much here without giving away the plot surprises, but I will do my best. I liked this story a lot! I definitely have to say that the diary parts were minimal compared to the rest of the book, and because of that, I liked it a lot more. The first half of the book surpassed my expectations, but the second half completely captured my attention. I thought the little tidbits about what medicinal properties some pants have were fascinating. I enjoyed Maryrose Wood's soft, poetic prose and writing style. Weed was totally my favorite character, and all I wanted was to learn more about his unique talents! The very end seems like there may be a sequel coming, but I have not yet heard news. Anyone else know?

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, July 9, 2010

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

Charlotte just wants to spend her senior year of high school as a boring, normal girl. Kind of hard to do, when both of her parents are famous TV paranormal investigators. But when the opportunity arises to start over in a new place, Charlotte jumps on it. Unfortunately, something not-quite of-this-world has followed her and is going to make fitting in and meeting friends rather difficult. Then Charlotte gets the chance to use her experiences to help out her new friends, and life takes some very interesting turns.

This book was spooky! I admit my pulse quickened on more than one occasion, even while reading during daylight! It makes me want to put off other ghost story books in my reading pile for a while. Scares aside, I enjoyed it. I like Purnhagen's Tagged (reviewed here) and so I had high hopes for her second book. I loved the fact that Charlotte's parents researched the paranormal for a living, even though I cringed at their detachment towards their daughter's feelings. I liked meeting Charlotte's friends Avery and Noah. And best of all, I like how Purnhagen really saved the best surprises for the climax! This book would be a good choice for teens who like their ghost stories with a bit of science mixed in. Give it a try!

Overall rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fear Street Flashback (5)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in August/September/October, 1994.

Ahh... the classic trilogy format. How I heart thee. This Fear Street Trilogy was GOOD. I enjoyed it, many times. The First Horror was scary! Moving into a creepy old house where tons of accidents occur would be terrible! I love the sisterhood between Kody and Cally, and (not-really-a-spoiler-alert) when Cally sees her own ghost I was utterly shocked. A total surprise ending! This poor family. I would be so scared of that house too, if I lived in Shadyside.

The Second Horror was a neat idea for a sequel, and scarier than the first, I thought. Poor Brandt is being haunted by Cally, but only the reader knows exactly what the evil in the house is. I was a little put off by the way Brandt was able to get away with having so many "girlfriends", but the big reveal at the end was worth it. That Brandt's father was a collector of all of that tribal stuff was a unique element for Fear Street books.

I remember that I was eager for The Third Horror to come out, because it was going to be about them filming a Hollywood movie in the haunted house. How cool! The Hollywood types in the story are all kind of funny and over the top. And Kody's love for her sister Cally is genuine. I also liked how in the whole trilogy, the three characters (the real estate man, the housekeeper, and the exterminator) continue to make appearances throughout the story ark. It's a much more rewarding experience reading these books one after another, without having to wait a month like I they were originally released.

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 7/7/10

HEALER'S CHOICE by Jory Strong

In a post-Apocalyptic world where supernaturals have emerged from hiding, ancient, unseen enemies play a game that began at the dawn of human civilization. War is coming and neutrality isn’t an option. For Were shapeshifters, a healer’s gift holds the key to their survival…

Born into a world of violence and paid-for-sex, Rebekka longs for a family of her own and dreams of freeing those trapped in the shapeshifter brothels of the red zone. A witch’s prophecy claims she’ll one day use her gift to heal the Weres made outcast by their mixed human-animal forms. But Rebekka knows all too well that everything comes at a cost.

Made a pawn in a game she can barely glimpse, by beings whose motives she can only guess, she must navigate a dangerous course that might well cost her life. With her gift changed in terrifying ways, a plea to save five children sends her into the arms of Aryck, a Jaguar enforcer—and into territory controlled by pure Weres.

It’s a place where humans and outcasts aren’t welcomed. Where dead ancestors watch from the shadowlands and have the power to judge and punish the living. It’s a place where plague threatens and the fate of the Weres hangs in the balance. And where the choices Rebekka and Aryck make are paid for with their hearts…if not their souls.

I was surprised at how much I ended up liking Jory's Ghostland, and though I haven't read Spider Touched yet, I have a feeling I will like it too. Will definitely be buying this third one to add to my collection!

Release Date: September 7th, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan

Lena just turned sixteen and wants more than anything to learn how to surf. Problem is, her father refuses to let her. When she finally does get a chance to learn, she realizes that not only does surfing come naturally to her, but she is good at it, too! That is, until she spots what certainly looks like a mermaid off in the ocean's distance. Suddenly everything Lena has known about her life so far is turned on it's head. Figuring out who her mother really was is not going to be an easy task, but it will be necessary if Lena wants to learn who she is as well.

My first thought about this book was that it read a lot younger than I expected it to. I am a huge fan of mermaid stories, and so I was super stoked to read this one. However, when I began reading, I was immediately turned off by how young and spoiled Lena sounded. The rest of her family is so understanding and nice! I also liked her boyfriend Kai a whole lot better, and would have liked to see more of him in the story. After a few chapters I got into the story, but then the second half of the book (when Lena begins to really get some answers) slows way down. This slower pace pulled me out of the story and made it a lot less urgent to keep reading the chapters. The parts I did enjoy about the book were the surfing scenes, and the scenes where Lena was super tender with her brother Cole. There was also some interesting mermaid lore, for those mermaid fiction fans out there. A good story and a worthy read, but in the end was nothing special.

Overall rating: 3 Stars

Friday, July 2, 2010

Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye

When Noah travels to Misquah, Minnessota, to see his aging father Olaf, he is not sure what to expect. He certainly didn't expect to see the sick and frail man Olaf has become. But it has been many years since Noah and Olaf have seen each other, and even more years filled with tension between the two. Olaf is one of the few survivors of a horrific shipwreck on Lake Superior, and the ghosts still haunt his every footstep. Knowing the end is near, Olaf wants to finally share with Noah the events of that fateful night, a story Noah has been yearning to hear since it happened. Sharing this and other stories, the ties that bond these two men will become stronger than ever.

Safe From the Sea was very beautifully written. That can sound cliche, but when I find myself reading passages form the story aloud, I know the writing has truly captured me. It was a sad and touching book, but some scenes made me laugh out loud, while others were so moving that I had to take a moment away from the pages. The atmosphere is rich with history setting. I would have liked to see more of his wife Natalie, as some of the best parts of the book were when Noah was reflecting back on both the good and not-so-good moments of his marriage. Peter Geye has given me a short read that I enjoyed so much, his next book is sure to be on my list as well.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How I Made It To Eighteen by Tracy White

Stacy Black is seventeen years old when she puts her fist through her boyfriend's window and decides to check herself into Golden Meadows (restoring mental health since 1938). She doesn't intend to be there that long, but as the days stretch out, she realizes she is not quite well enough to be released yet. Stacy knows her time talking to the doctors and other patients is ultimately supposed to be helping her, but she just doesn't feel it yet. With the aid of fellow patient and friend Ashley, Stacy will have to learn to ask herself the hardest question of all: Why.

First off, I think the simple drawing style will appeal to graphic novels fans and non-fans alike. Tracy White (cute name change to protect the author's poetic licensing) has a very raw and damaged voice that will speak to young adults with the same problems. I also thoroughly liked the faded gray past flash-backs- the ones that showed the reader what had happened to Stacy to make her what she is today. A quick read and short novel that will make a large impact on the reader, and will be a book they won't soon forget.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars