Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 9/29/10


The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advance of the Americans east of the river.

An American government desperate to expand its territory sends Thomas Alva Edison out West to the town of Tombstone, Arizona, on a mission to discover a scientific means of counteracting magic. Hired to protect this great genius, Wyatt Earp and his brothers.

But there are plenty who would like to see the Earps and Edison dead. Riding to their aid are old friends Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. Against them stand the Apache wizard Geronimo and the Clanton gang. Battle lines are drawn, and the Clanton gang, which has its own reasons for wanting Edison dead, sends for Johnny Ringo, the one man who might be Doc Holliday's equal in a gunfight. But what shows up instead is The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo, returned from the dead and come to Tombstone looking for a fight.

We haven't seen a truly good steampunk Wild West tale since that movie with Will Smith came out. I am literally drooling over this one. Have never read Mike Resnick before, but am hoping for a great story from him!

Release Date: December 1, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Petty Magic by Camille DeAngelis

Miss Evelyn Harbinger is a witch. But not the warty-nose and pointy-hat kind. Evelyn is plain, with the same insecurities as everyone else. Oh, and she's over 140 years old, can travel through toilets, and can do magic. Set during both world wars, Eve is hired by various agencies to work as a spy. During this time, she meets her soul mate Jonas, who's life eventually ends due to wartime causes. However, years later, Eve meets Justin, a split-image of her former love. Could it be possible that Jonas has somehow returned to her?

I read Camille DeAngelis' Mary Modern back when it was released in 2007 and absolutely loved it. The premise was neat and the writing was new and exciting. This sophomore book doesn't quite pack the same punch, but I still enjoyed it a lot. The coven of witches reminded me of a group of sweet, kooky old ladies. DeAngelis teases the reader with sex but never shows any of it, and the scenes are yummy nonetheless. My heart ached for Eve's longing to have her former lover again. The best part was the completely swoon-worthy ending. Drool!

DeAngelis has a very witty and smart voice, the likes of which I have not seen in quite some time. I loved reading from Eve's POV. It felt like I laughed out loud in almost every chapter. And though the plot spanned across centuries, DeAngelis obviously thought out the smaller details, because the story is tight and wraps up nicely. I am looking forward to her next book!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beautiful Dead: JONAS by Eden Maguire

Darina is still reeling from the death of her boyfriend Phoenix, the last of four kids to die within the same year. And it's not just her - the whole town seems to have a gray cloud of misery hanging over it. But then Darina starts to see Phoenix around town, visions which are accompanied by the sound of a thousand beating wings. Darnia soon learns that Phoenix is one of the Beautiful Dead - the lucky chosen few who get to come back and attempt to bring some justice to the manner in which they died. Darina is also lucky. She has been elected to help the Beautiful Dead in their missions, starting with Jonas.

Though there are many topics in this series - love, friendship, paranormal powers - it is first and foremost a series about grieving for those we love. My hear ached for Darina when she was trying to accept that she would never see Phoenix again, and then again when she was granted more time with him. The whole concept is quite an titillating little fantasy, especially being the only one who can see/help the Beautiful Dead. I was not sure how, exactly, Eden Maguire was going to pull this off, but there were never any moments when I couldn't understand. The paranormal elements were well thought out. And the ending was a complete page-turning climax! Next up is Arizona's story, and I can't wait!

A small side note: what's with the low resolution cover image? Such a beautiful cover, but slightly blurry!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Rating in Series: As far as firsts go, this series start was top notch!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 9/22/10


Kate Archer left home years ago, swearing that she would die before she returned to Maine. As plans go, it was a pretty good one — simple and straightforward.

Not quite fast enough, though.

Before she can quite manage the dying part, Kate gets notice that her grandmother is missing, leaving the carousel that is the family business untended.

And in Archers Beach, that means ‘way more trouble than just a foreclosure.

This book looks like it will combine two of my favorite things - a juicy mystery and an old carousel! YUM. Cover is a little spooky, honestly, but I can't wait to check it out!

Release Date: November 2, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla is slated to be the next alpha for her pack of werewolves, but only if she mates with rival pack leader Ren. Surprisingly, this is okay with her, until one fateful night when she impulsively saves a human boy from a deadly bear attack in the woods. Now Calla is unsure of everything in her life - from her place in the pack, to the truths she has grown up believing to be true. To top it off, with the upcoming Blood Moon celebration, time is running out for Calla to figure out her role in the larger events at play.

I wasn't sure if I was ready to read yet another werewolf book, but the cover of this one is so stunning, it was hard to ignore. All in all, I was pleased with the result. There was some interesting Latin and Samhain lore that was new to me. The mystery of betrayal was deep and engrossing. And I really liked Andrea Cremer's writing. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of elements in this book that prevented me from totally loving it. One, I was unsure how such large packs of werewolves could co-exist so easily with humans (especially in a town like Vail, Colorado). Wouldn't someone else have noticed the vastly different students? Two, I couldn't always follow the love triangle between Calla, Ren, and Shay. It seemed she wasn't really into either boy until she was physically near them. The romance felt mostly awkward, at least until the end. Last, it annoyed me a little bit to know that Calla was supposed to be an alpha in her pack, but she didn't actually have any power over what was going on around her. I wanted a stronger central female! As I mentioned though, it wasn't all complaints for me. I loved Calla's friend Bryn. And pack members Mason and Neville would be great starring in their own spin-off novel! By the last third or so of the book, my brain let go of the faults and I really enjoyed the ending suspense. Perhaps the best part of this book is the open ending, teasing the reader with hints of the next book!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fear Street Flashback (8)

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

Originally released in July, 1997.

I admit I was not expecting a lot from this two-part story. It was the first time Fear Hall was mentioned in the Shadyside universe and I was unwilling to believe it had even existed up until now. But the books surprised me and I enjoyed them! I was most impressed by the difference in voices between friends Hope, Jasmine, Angel, and Eden (and later Darryl). Writing in such unique voices is not always easy for a single writer to do! I also happen to think mental illness is scary enough as it is, but when Hope discovers she is the one who is not-quite-right in the head, that is even more horrifying! The Conclusion picks up right where The Beginning left off, which I totally appreciated. The action never let up for one minute! Perhaps my only complaint is that this was not a trilogy - there could have been plenty more story to tell from the "three M's" point of view! So thank you, Mr. Stine. These books were great!

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 9/15/10


Aside from their annual block party, the neighbors on Fuller Court tend to keep to themselves—which doesn’t mean that they aren’t all watching and judging each other on the sly. So when pregnant teenager Diana Jones shows up, literally, on her biological father's doorstep, the neighbors can't stop talking. Joe Montana is a handsome restaurant manager who failed to tell his wife Allison that he fathered a baby with an ex-girlfriend seventeen years ago. Allison, already harboring her own inner resentments, takes the news very badly. She isn’t the only one. Diana's bombshell arrival in their quiet cul-de-sac sets off a chain reaction of secrets and lies that threaten to engulf the neighborhood along with the approaching flames from two huge wildfires fanned by the Santa Ana winds.

A former reality TV contestant who receives a steady stream of gentlemen callers at all hours, two women forced to hide their relationship in order to keep custody of their children, a sanctimonious housewife with a very checkered past, and a family who nobody ever sees—these are just a few of the warring neighbors struggling to keep up appearances and protect their own interests. But when lovely, troubled Diana disappears in the aftermath of the wildfire evacuation, leaving her newborn baby and many unanswered questions behind, the residents of Fuller Court must band together to find her before all of their carefully constructed deceptions come unraveled.

I've been an enormous fan of Ginsberg's since Blind Submission and then The Grift. This one sounds like a different speed than before, but I am anxious to try it out!

Release Date: November 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jane by April Lindner

Jane Moore is at her wits end when she applies for a job at Discriminating Nannies in New York City. With her parents having recently died and her siblings both gone away, there is no one to help support her. Then she lands a dream job - nanny to rock star legend Nico Rathburn's daughter. Things go well and first for the first time in her life Jane feels like she belongs. But then strange and dangerous things start happening at the estate and Jane begins to fear something is not right. On top of that there is the small matter of Jane's growing attraction to her employer. Suddenly Jane's simple life is a lot more complicated!

Omigosh this book ROCKED. No pun intended. I was so captivated! Things were going along smoothly until all of a sudden she found herself crushing on Nico... but perhaps that is the way it happens in real life too. Love sneaks up on you. I loved Jane's character- her earthly innocence, her honest voice. She is so tender-hearted and patient with Maddy and Nico! And the deliciously deserving happy ending sealed the whole experience for me. There were times when I wondered if a story like this could actually come true, and April Lindner completely makes it seem possible. I also wondered if reading this book would make me want to go back and read the original Jane Eyre. To be honest it did, but I have a strong feeling the original won't be nearly as yummy! Perhaps it will inspire other readers to pick up the classic. I definitely think teen girls will eat this book up - it's such an exquisite fantasy! Did I mention I LOVED this book?

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cover Colors Part 3

This month's book cover topic centers on the graphic of the vampire mouth. Seems I have been seeing a lot of these around lately, and had to compile them in one place.

I have to admit, I am not much of a fan of the simple graphic. Would rather see real people and photos for vampires. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 9/8/10

PEGASUS by Robin McKinley

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close - so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo - and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

Something vastly different from the rest of the YA fantasy coming out these days. And a completely drool-worthy cover. YES, PLEASE!

Release Date: November 2, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Archvillain by Barry Lyga

Kyle Camden lives in the small town of Bouring, where nothing exciting ever happens. Until one strange night when the sky lights up with mysterious lights. All of a sudden, nothing is the same. Kyle discovers his body has developed so interesting powers. Even more perplexing is the arrival of a boy with similar powers, named Mighty Mike. Mike has been flying all over the nation saving lives, but Kyle knows there is something much more sinister going on. The question is, can Kyle exposed Mike for the fraud he is without making his own situation into something worse?

A super, drippingly cute book. I am a HUGE fan of Barry Lyga, so I was totally expecting to love this book. But it was not like I thought it would be. There were totally some surprises that threw me off, and I still enjoyed the book. First of all, Kyle's voice is both wise and funny. Then there's the fact that he is a super genius and yet still struggles with the things normal boys do (like having "the talk" with his Dad). I loved how Kyle takes everyday techie objects and turns them into boy fantasy items. This is how I imagine boys ages 6-12 see their world all of the time. Very clever! Kyle's friend Mairi is also a nice touch, to give the story a slight feminine side. And with an ending that is sure to leave readers wanting more, elementary school age boys will love it!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Candymakers by Wendy Moss

Meet Miles, Daisy, Phillip, and Logan. They are the four lucky twelve-year-olds chosen to compete in a contest of sugary goodness. At the end of a large factory tour, all candidates have to submit a brand new confection they invented themselves and the winning selection will be mass-produced for the whole world to enjoy! Logan has a leg up, being the head Candymakers son. But even though he can tell when the honeybees in the Life is Sweet factory are happy or depressed, he is not quite sure he wants to take over his Dad's business. And there's something a little bitter tasting about the other three kids, too. One thing's for sure, this contest if going to be a whirlwind ride!

Kids will be quick to compare this book to the Johnny Depp re-make of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but that may work in this book's favor. Most importantly, it will get them to pick the book up and start reading, diving into the mouth-watering concoctions of the Life is Sweet factory. From there, it doesn't take long for Wendy Mass to branch out and make this story completely her own. I thought some aspects seemed a little far-fetched (especially when it comes to Daisy's backstory) but middle grade readers will eat up the fantasy. Not to mention all of the whimsical junk food possibilities! Mass made a good choice in deciding to switch between the character's voices, as it was what really kept the book moving along. Staying on any one kid for too long began to get stale. Plus, the mystery grew exponentially each time the read learns what someone else was doing at the same moment as another. A clever and cute book! Also a good one for parents to read out loud to younger kids before bed at night.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 9/1/10



Jack Carr has been shuttled from foster home to group home to foster home his entire life. The only constant has been his interest in magic, especially handcuff escapes like those mastered by his hero, Harry Houdini. When he’s placed with the Professor, however, he feels like he’s finally found a home—but his new guardian is hiding a dangerous secret.

Years ago the Professor bartered his soul to the undead magician Mussini, and when the payment is due, he sends Jack in his place. Jack must travel with Mussini to the Forest of the Dead, a place in between the real world and the afterlife, where he’s forced to perform in Mussini’s traveling magic show. If he stays in the Forest long enough, he’ll die himself. To find his way home, he’ll have the help of Mussini’s other “minions”—kids stolen just like Jack—and his wits, nothing more. Can he follow the example of his hero, Houdini, and escape the inescapable?

Houdini, Carnivals, Dangerous Secrets, oh my! This book has all the ingredients to keep me glued to the pages all the way through. I am guaranteed to like it!

Release Date: October 1st, 2010