Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday 8/31/11


A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.

Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

I wasn't really interested in this book when I first saw it. But I have watched interest spread through the blogs and now I seriously can't wait to read it. Talk about word of mouth! And I do have to admit that the cover is super hot and alluring!

Release Date: September 8, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

After Obsession by Carrie Jones

Aimee begins noticing that her best friend Courtney is acting weirdly around the same time Courtney's cousin Alan comes to town. In fact, it's not just Courtney who's acting oddly. Aimee's boyfriend Blake is suddenly rude and angry at everything, a change that conveniently works in Aimee's favor, since the chemistry between her and Alan is sending sparks flying. As the creepy occurrences stack up (dark shadows in the shape of a man, knives spinning upright on their own) Aimee and Alan decide they need to fight whatever horrible thing is terrorizing their town and friends. But fighting an ancient evil is not going to be easy.

This book was spooky! I got the chills in a number of places, like I was watching some classic teen horror movie from the '90s. While I was careful to read this during daylight hours, I totally soaked up the romance between Aimee and Alan. When we first learn that Alan is into Indian Gods, I got nervous that he was going to be much too nerdy for me to like. But that was totally not the case, when he turned out to be super manly and romantic! I loved Carrie Jones' previous trilogy (Need, Captive, and Entice), which surprised me with it's addictive story line and generally cool characters. This book seems to be stand-alone, and while it didn't carry quite the same intrigue for me, it was still a great read.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Even though Alison is not like other sixteen-year-olds, she has learned to hide her differences in order to appear normal. This means keeping hidden the fact that she can taste words and see numbers as colors. But then an event occurs with a strong and immediate impact on Alison's life and world. She's not sure if she killed her classmate Tori, and the aftermath from that incident has landed her in a mental institution called Pine Hills. The other residents there are truly crazy, and her psychiatrist is untrustworthy. But how do you prove to others that you aren't crazy, when you aren't entirely sure you believe it yourself?

I was completely under Alison's spell from the very first chapter. Ultraviolet has one of the best looks into mental wards that I have seen in fiction in a long time. Alison had some fun superpowers- the colors were totally cool, but the other talents that manifested throughout the story were pretty impressive. I was nervous about getting to the end, having heard that the big reveal is a bit of a let down. But I honestly did not see that twist coming and enjoyed it all the more for the surprise. I found myself tearing through this book, not being able to turn away and needing to know what would become of Alison's fate. Anderson teases that she may write a companion novel to this story, and I sure hope she does!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday 8/24/11

NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morganstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

One word to be excited about this one: CIRCUS!! This book has been generating a ton of pre-release buzz, and I certainly hope it lives up to the hype. You can bet I will be the first in line to get a copy on its release day!!!

Release Date: September 13, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bridge to Neverland by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Sarah and Aiden Cooper are playing around the house when Aiden accidentally opens a hidden compartment in an antique desk. Inside is an old, mysterious message, and the two quickly decide to follow it and see where it leads. They track leads from Pennsylvania, all the way to London (due to a convenient family trip), then back again through multiple states. But with every mystery they solve, a dark force is gaining strength and chasing their trail behind them.

I read the previous four Starcatchers books, and they were just okay. The series had an awesome premise that I was totally drawn to, especially since it related to Peter Pan. But I felt a lot of the books were drawn out too long. There was plenty of action, sure, just not enough interesting story to keep me glued to my seat. With The Bridge to Never Land, I was hooked from the first chapter. The series became self referential and mentioned the previous books by name! How cool is that?? I enjoyed this story much more, perhaps because it took place in modern times, with easily recognized technology and places (Disney World!). Ombra was also better in this book than in previous ones, with his control over Raven's being honestly spooky! I am not sure I agreed with the authors that Sarah was seventeen - she acted much younger. And then the reader is asked to pretty strongly suspend their disbelief towards the end. But these little missteps are largely over shadowed by the fun and action of the rest of the story. Definitely the best book in the Starcatchers series - and would be a great tie-in to the Kingdom Keepers!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric

Teodora is certain about two things in her life: the first that she is adopted, and the second that she belongs in Venice. Hanging out at the old bookstore all day is the perfect life for Teo. That is, until a mysterious book falls onto her head and knocks her unconscious. The book is titled The Key to the Secret City, and suddenly Teo's life will never be the same again. There is more to Venice than meets the eye, and Teo and her friend Renzo are about to see it all firsthand. Plus, something evil lurks beneath the murky waters of the great floating city, and it has plans to destroy everything in its way.

I have to start off mentioning how totally awesome Teo's paranormal power is in this book. Being able to see speech written in script above the speaker's head is the best power EVER. it made me wonder what font my voice would be? It was a totally cool idea. I am also a long time fan of Michelle Lovric. She writes beautiful books about Venice, yes, but she also tends to writes stories that involve powerful books. Books about books. And mermaids. Seriously, does it get any better than this? The mermaids in this story were so awesome. Their dialect was funny and smart and entirely unique. And that's another thing that keeps me coming back to Lovric's books. Her writing style is gorgeous. She can create atmosphere with ease and every single word on the page seems to serve a very specific purpose in her dialog and description. The last thing I will mention is that I think the UK cover for this book is much more inviting and pretty than the US cover. This US cover looks almost frightening. Regardless, I am looking forward to diving into the sequel, called The Mourning Emporium!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 8/17/11


The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Romeo and Juliet really does feel like a tale that has been told a million times over. But this new paranormal twist sounds like just the right boost this tale needs to make it fresh again! Plus I love the mopey girl on the cover.

Release Date: August 9, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Rose is only sixteen when she is awakened from stasis, but it is over sixty years after she was first put to sleep in the tube. Adjusting to life in the future would be a lot harder, but luckily Rose is heir to a huge corporation, which has taken care of all her needs upon waking up. She quickly starts back at High School and joins an eclectic group of friends. Among them is Bren, a handsome boy whose friendship makes Rose pine for her old (and long dead) boyfriend Xavier. But there is something else from Rose's past that has been awakened, and it is not entirely friendly.

Sleeping Beauty with robots. I totally did not expect the completely futuristic sci-fi side to this story, but it was worked pretty well. Anna Sheehan really thought through how she wanted to re-tell her fairy tale and her execution was thorough. But where I thought the dystopian future was pretty neat in the beginning, the language and world quickly became tedious to follow. Maybe it was because Rose is a fairly shallow character, thinking only of herself and whining when little annoyances happen to her. She just doesn't seem like a strong or brave character. Otto the alien was a little weird to get used to. If he can communicate with people's minds, why spend most of the book instant messaging? The further I got into this story, the more I wanted clarification on certain elements of the lifestyle and story, and my questions were never answered. Even the flashbacks to Rose and Xavier felt rather dull and insignificant. A great premise and neat idea for the future, but this book could have used a little more time in stasis.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fear Street Flashback (20)

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

Originally released in August, September, and October, 1996.

The First Scream: I remember my initial excitement and anticipation for this trilogy when it originally came out. Finally, my favorite author was going to tap into one of my favorite topics - amusement parks! And what can be creepier than rides and clowns? Stine did an amazing job inserting a theme park into the Fear Street world. I was surprised that a good two thirds of the story revolved around characters completely unrelated to the characters named on the back synopsis, but when it came together at the end, I was totally hooked! I almost wish there was some purple smoke represented on the covers...

The Loudest Scream: This was an excellent middle book for this trilogy. It spent time building tragedies in the wake of the end of the first book. We get to see more of Robin Fear motives and evil plan, as he wreaks terror on the poor, unsuspecting employees of Fear Park. And we also meet Jared, though why we didn't see him at all in the first book is a little too convenient. Like creating a character that wasn't really there before. But all of that aside and this is a great second book! I love the carnival rides and how Mr. Stine cooks up ways to make them scary!

The Last Scream: The least strongest section of the trilogy, this last book wraps things up for Fear Park. It does have a great twist ending, one that I don't think any reader will see coming. But it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Such as the fate of the Park and Dierdre's father. And this book didn't have as many horrible amusement park related deaths. Otherwise, it did have some great character development, and as I mentioned before, was a perfect ending to this saga!

Fear Rating: 3 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday 8/10/11


A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it?

A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRís calls to her body and soul.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in.

As if the cover doesn't draw me in enough, the plot sounds awesome too! I have been looking forward to this one for quite some time now, and can't wait to finally meet the mysterious Adam!

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Machine Man by Max Barry

Charlie Neumann is a scientist and inventor for a company called Better Future. He creates new things to make the human world a better place. So after losing his leg in a freak lab accident, it is only natural that he develop a new leg. One that is faster, stronger, better than the original. When he is successful with that, Charlie endeavors to build himself a pair of legs. And why stop there? Legs, hands, skin, eyes... the possibilities are endless! Unfortunately, with every new creation, something gets destroyed, and Charlie needs to figure out just how Better he wants the future to be.

Machine Man would make a fantastic movie. Have you ever read a book and wished you could watch it on the big screen instead? That's how I felt with this book. It's a novel that should be brought to life! Even an animated feature would be awesome. With perfect timing, the suspense builds to a climactic ending that would totally appeal to science fiction fans. The whole idea of Charlie slowly creating a better version of himself is frighteningly realistic. Max Barry did a fantastic job with detailing every robotic clank and clomp of body part. There were some really creepy parts in the story too, especially when it came to Better Future employee Carl. I am a long time fan of Barry, and Machine Man is another brilliantly executed vision of corrupt companies. What's the next one going to be about??

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, August 5, 2011

Big Nate On A Roll by Lincoln Pierce

Nate is used to being the class clown and top dog in his school. But when foreign student Artur comes to town, Nate's whole world is turned upside down. Nate can't even escape Artur in the Timber Scouts, as Artur is the troop's newest member. Then the Scouts hold a fundraising contest, and Nate sees an opportunity to once again rise to the cream of the crop.

Dear Lincoln Pierce, I have been your biggest fan since buying Add More Babes back in '92. I was only 9 years old and your comics and Nate character rocked my funny bone. Seriously, though, Big Nate comics are awesome. The drawings are simple and the comedic timing is impeccable. Pierce has created such a genuine, trouble-making boy in Nate. It is hard not to smile while reading these books, and this latest installment may be the best yet. This story is so cute and sweet and honestly not predictable. And the ending was so good! Bravo, Lincoln Pierce, Bravo! If you have not tried Big Nate yet, give this book a whirl! These stories will especially appeal to those elusive young male readers out there. Can't wait for the next one!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday 8/3/11

VELVET by Mary Hooper

Rose is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry is scalding, back-breaking work and Rose is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Rose is noticed by Madame X, a famed medium, who asks Rose to come to work for her. Rose is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejeweled Madame. But soon Rose realizes that Madame X is not all that she says she is, and Rose's very life is in danger.

I recently read a book about Victorian mediums, and was captivated. Though I haven't read Mary Hooper's books before, this seems like the perfect place to start!

Release Date: September 5, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Out Of Control by Mary Connealy

Julia is halfway to delirious when Rafe Kincaid finds her in his old childhood hideyhole, but she isn't too far gone to remember who she is and how she got down there. Rafe only came back to the cavern to face a childhood trauma, but when he sees Julia, his one thought is to save her. After taking her home, he realizes she needs even more help, and Rafe steps right up to the plate. Adding to the drama is Rafe's younger brother Ethan, freshly returned to town following a long period away from the ranch. Rafe and Ethan jump easily into the roles of helping Julia and her sister Audra, but there is deeper trouble brewing. And if Rafe doesn't solve the mystery soon, he could risk losing the one thing that is dear to him.

Mary Connealy's books are the perfect staycation. They sweep me away to places I've never been before, to have adventures I have never experienced. All without leaving my seat! The caverns in this landscape were frightening and alluring all at once. What I also liked about this story was just how much smarter Julia was than her male counterpart in Rafe. I laughed out loud when the two of them would think the other was uneducated and bumbling. There were also the usual high-octane, intense action scenes that I have come to know and anticipate from Connealy's writing. How she manages to image such terrifying and realistic scenes, I will never know. But keep them coming, please! And of course, the romance. *sigh* Though I will miss reading these books in the classic Barbour format, I am looking forward to Mary's new relationship with Bethany House!

Overall Ranking: 4 Stars