Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 3/31/10

THE NOBODIES ALBUM by Carolyn Parkhurst

Bestselling novelist Octavia Frost has just completed her latest book—a revolutionary novel in which she has rewritten the last chapters of all her previous books, removing clues about her personal life concealed within, especially a horrific tragedy that befell her family years ago.

On her way to deliver the manuscript to her editor, Octavia reads a news crawl in Times Square and learns that her rock-star son, Milo, has been arrested for murder. Though she and Milo haven’t spoken in years—an estrangement stemming from that tragic day—she drops everything to go to him.

The “last chapters” of Octavia’s novel are layered throughout The Nobodies Album—the scattered puzzle pieces to her and Milo’s dark and troubled past. Did she drive her son to murder? Did Milo murder anyone at all? And what exactly happened all those years ago? As the novel builds to a stunning reveal, Octavia must consider how this story will come to a close.

Parkhurst's first novel, The Dogs of Babel, is still in my Top 10 favorites. It's one of those books where I will buy copies just to give out to people so they will read it too. Enjoyed her second book as well, and now can't wait for this one!

Release Date: June 15, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough

Luke hasn't been back to Lookout for eleven years, so he is not sure what he expects to see. Certainly not the welcome he received from his old flame Rachel's spunky daughter. But as Lookout's new town Marshall, Luke is determined to pick up the life he left off and get Rachel out of his system once and for all. And he's not alone - unknown to him, he has the help of his cousins Garret and Mark - they want to find Luke a woman to settle down with him. However, as beautiful women begin to arrive in Lookout, Rachel and Luke are forced to deal with their feeling for each other and slowly rekindle the love they once had.

I have not read any of McDonough's novels before, but this book was sweet. The plot gets right into the heart of the story by the fifth chapter, so there's no long waiting for something to happen. It was fun to watch the whole town get involved with the boardinghouse bride situation, with scenes that made me laugh out loud. Rachel's daughter Jack is a treat to watch, always getting into trouble with the other local boys. Rachel overcomes some difficult and trying times, but does so with grace, making her an inspiring character. Her actions will remind the reader to think about their own.

Stay tuned for the next book, SECOND CHANCE BRIDES, due out in September!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

I enjoyed Mandel's first book, reviewed here, and her second book provides another great read.

Anton Waker is at a crossroads in his life. Until recently, his existence was largely based on participating in the shady dealings of the family business. Now he wants to clean up his morals and get out, but not before his cousin Aria demands he run one last job for her. Torn between thoughts of his affair with his co-worker and his indifferent bride to be, Anton agrees and heads towards events that are ultimately inevitable.

THE SINGER'S GUN is a worthy sophomore novel that reads true enough to be ripped from today's headlines. Emily St. John Mandel has a liquid style of writing where she can tell multiple story lines simultaneously and switch tenses between present and past, all the while keeping the pacing flowing smoothly. The way she unfolds Anton's story through the chapters captured my attention and held it rapt until I finished. Mandel understands that people are never one-dimensional, and so she writes her characters deeply layered. It will be interesting to watch her grow as an author in her future books.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Abby Carnelia's One & Only Magical Power by David Pogue

Abby Carnelia is a special kid. While helping her mother make lunch one day, she discovers she can make a hard-boiled egg spin simply by tugging on her ears. In support of this new talent, her parents send her to the prestigious Camp Cadabra to learn more about magic. Once there, she meets other kids just like her. But it soon becomes clear that something at the camp is not quite right. Abby and her new friends need to figure out exactly what is going on... before it's too late!

This book is totally super cute. It is full of age appropriate pop-culture references, fun and interesting little tid-bits about magic, and has a fun "summer camp" atmosphere. The kids' dialogue is true to life, the story is believable, and the writing does not condescend to the reader. David Pogue has written a whimsical story about coming into your own, and kids all over will be racing to find their unique power!

Overall rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 3/24/10

BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshlyn Jackson

Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy---one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, TX back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate---death by marriage---and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.

Have read all of Jackson's previous books and enjoyed them immensely. They are about tough issues and family drama, but her style of writing is smooth and beautiful. Highly anticipating this one.

Release date: June 8, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Heart Fablehaven

Happy Fablehaven 5 release day!

I was waiting outside my local B&N to pick up my copy bright and early this morning, to take it back home and read in the sun! Omigosh it feels like I've been waiting FOREVER for this book to come out.

I don't think there has been a series previously that has made me want to jump into the book as much as Fablehaven has. The non-stop action, the intrigue, the perfectly executed fairytale-ness... it all makes me wish I was there! The kids in the books have to do dangerous, exciting tasks. And the adults listen to the kids! With so many fantastic creatures throughout, any reader will find something about the story they like. I would recommend this series to all middle-grade children looking for the next great escape. And to any parents looking to read a fabulous adventure series to their kids. Or for themselves! My gushing could go on and on.

But that would take up more time. So this is just a short post to say have fun reading yours, cause I will be reading mine!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Books to Pine For, March 2010

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Heiber
Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Lightborn by Alison Sinclair
The World Above by Cameron Dokey

The Last Words of Will Wolfkin by Steven Knight
We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni

This post is inspired by the likes of The Story Siren!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Clearing by Heather Davis

Amy arrives at her Aunt Mae's house alone and looking forward to leaving behind the memory of her abusive boyfriend. She finds it tough to try and fit in with country life and a new school, but then she discovers the mysterious mist at the edge of Aunt Mae's property. Crossing through it one day, she meets the handsome Henry Briggs and it is love at first sight. But there is more to the mist than can be seen, and it is up to Amy and Henry to figure out the difference between what's real and what's not meant to last.

THE CLEARING is a short and tender-hearted read. Alternating chapters between Amy and Henry give the reader a chance to get to know both characters intimately. I though it took them a little too long to figure out what's going on, making it feel like an entire book of near-misses and misunderstandings, but I still felt rewarded when all was revealed. Davis writes beautifully, evoking an era long past. She adds gorgeous and subtle details, letting the reader get absorbed in the story without noticing the smaller bits, such as the hot summer and crickets singing or the cool sting of rain as it comes down. What originally drew me to this book was the theme of time travel, and I think Davis pulls it off without a hitch.

Since I enjoyed this book, I think I will add her previous book, Never Cry Werewolf, to my list!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 3/17/10

WORLDSHAKER by Richard Harland

(from the author's site)
Col is the grandson and nominated heir of the Supreme Commander. he'll become the most powerful person on the juggernaut when he's completed his schooling and training. but one night, a girl Filthy from the engine room down Below tried to hide in his bedroom. The Filthies are dirty and ragged, never spoken about in polite society - but this one is on the loose and running free. 'Don't let 'em take me,' she pleads.

Every rational though in Col's head tells him to call the officers and hand her over. Yet there's something about her...

Another steampunk book, I know. But I am so into this genre right now! Keep them coming! Totally looking forward to this one.

Releases May 18, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thirteen Days To Midnight by Patrick Carman

Jacob has a secret. A secret power, to be more specific. Moments before he and Mr. Fielding got into a car accident, his caretaker told him he was indestructible. Nothing can hurt him. He's never told anyone about it. Then the new girl Ophelia comes to town and suddenly he's told both her and his best friend Milo about it. The three of them set out to learn more about Jacob's power and the rules that govern it. But as time goes by, Jacob feels a sinister dark creeping in and Ophelia begins acting very strange. Soon it becomes very clear that Jacob is running out of time to help his friend, and he can't do it alone.

The first thing I must say about this book is that is was completely unpredictable. Really. I have not read Patrick Carman's Atherton books (though I will!) so I had no idea what to expect from him. My weakness for super powers brought this book to my attention and it delivered quite the fresh take on a unique power. It was easy reading and emotional without being too heavy handed. The action pulled the story along, leaving out boring lulls. This book is definitely good reading for boys. Give it a try!

Overall Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 3/10/10

Time for another Waiting on Wednesday. Oh, and today's my BIRTHDAY!!!


1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian-American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed 'The Roman'. However, as The Ghost soon discovers, there is more to The Roman than at first appears, and more bizarre happenings that he soon links to the man, including moss-golems posing as mobsters and a plot to bring an ancient pagan god into the physical world in a cavern beneath the city. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the center of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to stop The Roman and halt the imminent destruction of the city.

This one first captured my interest based on the cover alone. BEAUTIFUL! Then add superheroes and steampunk and 1920's New York? Yes, please! I read Mann's The Infinity Bridge and enjoyed it, so I am doubly looking forward to this one.

Releases April 27, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 3/3/10

FEVER CRUMB by Philip Reeve

Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. In a time and place where women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only female to serve in the order. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb-nearly the only person she's ever known-to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been singled out by city-dwellers who declare her part Scriven. The Scriveners, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she's been told: that she is an orphan. Is Fever a Scriven? Whose memories does she hold? Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London?

I am seriously frothing at the mouth for this one. Not sure if it is the steampunk elements, or the ever-so-enticing cover, or the mystery in the plot. All I know is that I CANNOT WAIT for this book to come out, because I will buy it and read it right away.

Philip Reeve is an established author, with five other books in this series (with planned re-releases in the US following this book) and I am hoping this book will make me want to read more from him. Looking forward to it!

Releases April 1, 2010.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Though I have never officially reviewed any of Maria V. Snyder's books before, I am a long time fan. Her Poison Study trilogy got a second read-through from me, which rarely happens. I will also recommend Poison Study to just about anyone who asks me for a good book recommendation. Her Glass series is equally excellent and I am looking forward to the conclusion this fall. So suffice it to say I was absolutely stoked to know she would be releasing a young adult book!

Trella lives Inside, a futuristic place where people are treated like scrubs and worthless machines. Trella is an anti-social teen - she'd rather sleep in the pipes she is assigned to clean than mingle with the other scrubs. Because of this, others call her the Queen of the Pipes. She has accepted her dreary life as just another hard-working scrub in the Lower Levels. Her best friend Cog (like the machine part) is a believer, one of many who perpetrate a rumor of the Gateway, or a way out of Inside. During some of her usual work shift mischievousness, she falls (literally!) into the friendship of an Upper named Riley, and her whole world changes. This meeting sparks a series of events that will push Trella's skills and beliefs to the limits. But along the way, she learns she may have more to believe in after all.

One word can sum it all up for me: WOW. Just... WOW. Once I had started reading it, walking away was out of the question. This was a fantastic dystopian vision of a future life. Inside was terrifying and claustrophobic. Snyder has a tendency to write strong female characters with seemingly endless amounts of stamina, and Trella falls into this role nicely. The action sequences were not only supremely intense, but there were many of them. My heart raced, my blood pounded, and I swear I even held my breath once or twice. And all racing towards an ending that left me gasping for more. I also feel strongly that both boys and girls will like Maria Snyder's stories, as they all have tons of action plus plenty of intimate elements as well. If you have never tried Maria V. Snyder before, this is definitely the one to start with!

All of this is making me wonder: when is the movie coming out?!

Overall Rating: 5 stars + Favorite

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Year Blog-oversary!

Well what do you know- this blog was started in March 2009, making it my 1 year blogoversary! How time flies!

In honor of this landmark, I am going to institute some changes. Namely, more entries. With special thanks to The Story Siren, I will be doing a weekly Waiting on Wednesday, and a monthly Books To Pine For. Plus a new log called My UPS Man, and all sorts of extra book-related commentary whenever the need arrives (and it WILL arrive).

Stay posted - I am looking forward to another fun year!