Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Books I Have Read in 2010

It seems everyone does a top 10 or best books list. So here is mine in the order that I read them throughout the year. Keep in mine, not all were published in 2010. As usual, I had a hard time determining my top pick.

  • Graceling by Kristen Cashore
  • Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (First two books in the Linger trilogy)
  • The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare(City of Bones, City of Ashes & City of Glass)
  • The Maze Runner trilogy. Only two so far: The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  • White Cat by Holly Black (First in the Curse Workers series)
  • Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (First in the Infernal Devices series and a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series)
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (National Book Award finalist)
  • The Replacement by Breanna Yovanoff
  • Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
  • Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Books one & two in the Caster Chronicles)
  • Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (First in the Nightshade trilogy)
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Cannot wait for the movie!)

Beastly by Alex Flinn

"Ever wonder what it was like for the Beast?"

Beastly is the modern day retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale set in New York. Kyle Kingsbury has it all; money, looks and an elitist attitude to go along with it. He first notices Kendra Hilferty when she openly objects to the ninth-garde dance ballot on which Kyle is running for prince. She claims the people on it were chosen only for their physcial beauty. Kyle's father is a big-time network news anchor and he has been raised with the attitude that only the beautiful succeed and everyone else who is ugly should try and become beautiful. Kendra, who Kyle thinks looks like a witch, tells him that he is beastly.

When he notices her again sittting on the bleachers in P.E., they once again begin their debate on whether beauty is only skin deep or if true beauty is on the inside. He decides to ask her to the spring dance even though he already has a date with the very vain and social climbing Sloane Hagen. Sloane finds out about his plans with Kendra and is most pleased to find out that Kyle plans to make a mockery out of Kendra by standing her up at the dance. Sloane asks for a purple orchid for her slinky black dress. In continuing to string Kendra along, Kyle asks what color dress she will be wearing for the coursage, She asks for a single white rose, the symbol of purity.

The night of the dance, Kyle becomes livid when the housekeeper buys a white rose coursage. She tells him an orchid is a proud and vain flower but a rose is a beautiful thing. The box is dropped and a petal falls off. The housekeeper wishes he could be happy and see beautiful things. Instead she pities him. Kyle places the loose petal in his pocket and goes to pick up Sloane. She is not happy with the coursage and knocks it from Kyle's hand. Another petal falls off and he places it in his pocket as well.

At the dance, the girl taking tickets at the door comments on how beautiful the white rose is. When he sees she is serious, he gives her the flower. When Kendra arrives, Kyle and Sloane kiss in front of her to show that they are together. Kyle walks over and makes fun of her. He is surprised when Kendra is not hurt but knew all along Kyle was playing her. She tells him he just made her decision easier. When he asks what the decision is, she says, "You'll see."

After Kyle and Sloane are crowned prince and princess, Kyle begins to blow her off and a big scene occurs at the dance. Kyle leaves and when he gets home, Kendra is waiting for him. He is terrified at the sight of her and she says she has come to give Kyle his comeuppance. As she speaks, she begins to transform into a beautiful girl who tells Kyle that she is indeed a witch. She tells Kyle that he has done ugly things all his life and has received special treatment because he was beautiful. At the stroke of midnight, she turns him into a beast, a transformation of his inner self.

Kendra gives Kyle a slim second chance since he did perform a small act of kindness in giving the rose coursage away. Since he kept two petals, he will have "two years to find someone willing to look beyond your hideousness and see some good in you, someone to love. If you will love her in return and if she will kiss you to prove it, the spell will be lifted, and you will be your handsome self again. If not, you'll stay a beast forever."

What will happen to Kyle now that he is a beast? Will he find true love in time to break the spell? But more importantly, will Kyle learn the lesson Kendra hopes to teach him?

Visit Alex Flinn's website.

The movie Beastly opens in theaters March 18, 2001 starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens.

Beastly official movie web site.

Movie trailer

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

"In the beginning, there were nine of us. We left when we were young, almost too young to remember. Almost.
Three are gone, dead.
There were six of us left.
They are hunting us, and they won't stop until they've killed us all.
I am Number Four.
I know that I am next."

Nine small children, including Number Four, and their Keepers/guardians left the planet of Lorien for Earth when the Mogadorians attacked. Four, now known as John Smith and his keeper, Henri now reside in the small town of Paradise, Ohio after fleeing Florida when the third circular scar burned on his right ankle. A charm protects and warns the nine of impending danger. They must be killed in number order. The burning of the third scar tells Four that he will be next.

John and Henri stick to small towns and try not to draw attention to themselves. When John starts high school, he quickly catches the eye of Sarah Hart, the daughter of their real estate agent. Unfortunately he also catches the wrath of Sarah's former boyfriend, star football player Mark James who would like to reclaim her affections. For the first time in his life, John decides to stand up to Mark's abuse. Soon he and Sarah are friends. John also befriends Sam Goode, a nerdy kid who is fascinated with aliens.

Besides his confrontations with Mark, John begins to come into his Legacy, Lumen. He begins to work with Henri on his new found ability, to be able to control light and resist heat. John's grandfather had the same Legacy. As Henri begins John's training, John begins to remember memories of the battle on Lorien. He recalls what happened the day the Mogadorians attacked Lorien and leaving for Earth. As time passes, John falls in love with Sarah and becomes friends with Sam, something he has never done before. When he sees a newsletter of Sam's called "They Walk Among Us", John is distressed to see a short article about the Mogadorians quest to take over Earth.

What happens when John tells Henri about the article? Will they leave or see if there is some truth to the article? What happens with John's relationship with Sarah? Will the animosity between John and Mark continue? Does Sam figure out his new friend is his wildest dream come true? And what will happen when the Mogadorians discover that John and Henri are living in Paradise? John Smith is Number Four and he knows that he is next.

Visit the I Am Number Four website.

Book two in the Lorien Legacies, The Power of Six comes out June 7, 2011.

The movie version starring Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Argon will be in the theaters February 18, 2011.
Below is the theratical trailer for the movie.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven't read the first book in the trilogy, The Maze Runner, please don't read any further. I don't want to ruin the suprise for you.

 "The maze was only the beginning ... "

For Thomas, Teresa and the other Gladers, solving and leaving the Maze was suppose to be the end. Once in the dorms, everyone is relaxed, well-fed and sleeping well for the first time in ages. Teresa has been separated from the boys but she and Thomas are still able to communicate telepathically. After talking, Thomas falls back asleep only to hear Teresa yelling at him. He ignores her when he is unable to rouse himself awake. The next morning, Thomas awakes to chaos and the realization that Teresa is gone.

From their dorm windows, the boys see a diseased, bloody and sunburnt man who keeps yelling that he is a Crank and to kill him. They soon realize their door is locked. After breaking the lock, the boys flood the commons room where they ate the night before and discover their rescusers hanging from the ceiling, dead. They cross the room and find Teresa's door locked. Thomas notices a sign on the door that reads "Teresa Agnes. Group A, Subject A1. The Betrayer." Once they open the door, they hear someone in the bathroom. When the door opens, a boy instead of Teresa comes out. His name is Aris and he has no idea what happened to Teresa. He slept in the room the entire night. After hearing his story, Thomas and the other Gladers realize that WICKED ran two separate experiments. one with Teresa and the boys and one with Aris and girls. Thomas soon realizes that he can speak telepathically with Aris. Aris tells him that he had a relationship with a girl named Rachel the way Thoams and Teresa did but that Rachel was killed.

The boys discover they now have tattoos on their necks that say "Property of WICKED" with a group and subject number and a few have a description. Minho is the leader, Newt the glue, Aris the partner abd Thomas's says "To be killed by group B", the girls. They soon discover that things might not necessarily be what they seem when the dead bodies and Cranks dissappear. The boys go three days without food and Thomas seems to have strange dreams about his past. He awakens from one with Minho by his side with some food. Even more bizarre than the pile of food thathas appeared in ther commons room is a thin man in a white suit behind a desk reading a book. All he will tell them is that "we still have forty-seven minutes before I've been authorized to implement Phase Two of the Trials".

When the man finally speaks, he informs the boys that the Maze was just Phase One and now things will start to get difficult. He explains what has happened to the Earth; rampant disease and scorching heat from sun flares. WICKED was formed by the surviving nations to "fight the problems of this world." The man states the boys will help because they are infected with the disease called the Flare and at the end of the trials, the cure will be their reward. Phase Two, The Scorch Trials, will begin the following morning. Failure to go result in immediate execution.

The rules are simple, there are none with few supplies. Go through the Trans Flat at the time indicated and find open air. Head due north for one hundred miles to reach sfae haven or die. Will Thomas and the remaining Gladers be up to the challenge? What lies beyond the Trans Flat? Who is Aris and what happened to Teresa? What is Thomas' fate? Is her to be killed by the girls and where are they? Join Thomas and the Gladers for Phase Two of WICKED's experiment, The Scorch Trials.

The trilogy will conclude with the publication of The Death Cure in the Fall of 2011.

Visit James Dashner's website.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

"Calla Tor has always known her destiny."

While on patrol, Calla Tor betrays her masters' laws all to save a human boy who was attacked by a bear. To make matters worse, Calla shifts from wolf to human form in order to keep him from bleeding to death. She finds that she is inexplicably drawn to him. And Calla is surprised that he doesn't seem to be afraid of who or what she is.
Calla is the alpha female of the Nightshade wolf pack and is betrothed to Ren Laroche, the alpha male of the Bane wolf pack. Their union is set to take place on October 31st, Samhein and their eighteenth birthdays, and until that time Calla reamins pure and chaste while Ren is the campus heartbreaker at Mountain School. Once joined, a new pack will be formed with Calla and Ren as the leaders. Ren is doing all he can to draw Calla close to him because underneath it all, he really does care for her. He seems to be making headway in that department but their burgioning relationship hits a roadblock when a new student arrives at the school, Shay Doran, the same boy that Calla rescued from the bear.

After spending time alone with Shay, Calla is soon drawn into questioning everything that she has been taught and finds herself pulled between Shay and Ren, but also what her heart desires and her sense of duty to her pack. Join Calla on her journey of self discovery as she tries to figure out the truth and the mystery that surrounds Shay Doran.

There are plenty of shocking twists in the final chapters as the union ceremony draws near to leave the reader eagerly awaiting the continuation of Calla's story in Wolfsbane out July 26, 2011. Book three,  Bloodrose will be out in the Spring of 2012 . A companion novel to Nightshade that is still untitled is due out in Fall of 2012.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

"Some loves are meant to be. Others are cursed."

Beautiful Creatures - Book one

"There were no surprises in Gatlin County. At least, that's what I thought. Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end. there was a grave. I never saw it coming."

Ethan Wate has just awaken from the same dream he has been having for months, ever since his mom died in a car accident. In the dream, Ethan and a girl are falling and he is unable to catch her. This is the only part he can remember. He cannot see her face, but he feels like he is in love with her, even before first sight. Even after he wakes up, Ethan can still smell her scent; lemons and rosemary. He sees an unfamiliar song on his iPod, Sixteen Moons, and listens. The song is moody and creepy but he feels as if he has heard it before.

In a town where change is a rarity, there is a new girl at school for the first time since the third grade. Ethan's dream is to escape Gatlin where it seems that the War of Northern Aggression is still being fought. And everything about you and your family matters, down to your family tree to what clothes you wear. The new girl already has several strikes; her choice in clothes and no tan. The biggest strike against her is the fact she is Old Man Ravenwood's niece, the town's recluse who no one has seen since before Ethan was born. Lena Duchannes begins to haunt Ethan and he finds himself explicated drawn to her. Even if it means becoming a social outcast himself.

While in art class, Ethan hears the band practicing in the room below. The sound soon changes from Dixie to the haunting viola solo playing a melody that Ethan remembers from his iPod, Sixteen Moons. He quickly slips back into the falling girl dream. When the bell rings, Ethan rushes to the band room in hopes of finding Lena. The stage is empty but he smells lemons and rosemary and finds out from the band director that the soloist is the new girl in town. He skips basketball practice and borrows his friend's car in hopes of finding Lena and getting some answers to his questions. A torrential rainstorm has hit Gatlin and Ethan is having trouble staying on the road. Ethan slams on the brakes and is spinning out of control when he notices someone standing in the road, Lena Duchannes. Ethan suddenly remembers that she is the girl from his dream. She denies everything but Ethan remains convinced. He takes her home to Ravenwood Plantation. They begin to talk, but in the end, Ethan feels overwhelmed and brushes Lena off.

The next day in English class, Lena bumps into Ethan. Sparks fly and an overhead light shorts out. Lena asks in front of the class if he was trying to kill her just like the night before. Those last two words could be a social killer at Stonewall Jackson High School. But Ethan's ex-girlfriend Emily and her gang of popular cheerleaders are out to humilate Lena. Ethan attempts to block this attack but they begin to compare Lena's uncle to Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird. Ethan starts hearing a voice inside his head. He thinks it is coming from Lena. When pushed, the voice screams and the window shatters. Ethan notices that Lena looks frightened and the voice says that "I didn't mean to." He sees her hand is bleeding but she runs from the room before he can ask if she is alright.

When Lena's voice inside his head says "Don't", Ethan commits social suicide and runs after her. Just because he was never the bully, Ethan still stood by and watched others. This time he wouldn't sit idly by. He walked out of school and followed Lena home. "Even if home was Ravenwood, and she had gone home to Gatlin's own Boo Radley." Ethan finds out that Ravenwood is impressive even if it is run down. He opens the door hearing the Sixteen Moons melody and realizes that Lena is near. The interior of the house was shocking. Bright and airy and filled with modern furniture. He comes across a large black dog or wolf with odd looking eyes. Ethan runs from the house when the dog growls.

As Ethan runs down a path to find Lena, they continue to talk in their minds to one another. He finds her crying in an overgrown garden and she asks why he didn't he leave. He came to check on her and they soon discover they share a love of books. He realizes that he is sitting on a stone slab and they begin to talk about the dream. Neither realized the other was a real person until they met. Lena doesn't want Ethan around because her life is complicated and it would be better if he wasn't involved. Ethan is touching Lena's hand when he finds a small stone next to the slab. Soon they are thrown into a dream where General Sherman and the Union soldiers are burning down the plantations neighboring Ravenwood. They see the dream through the eyes of a young woman named Genevieve.

Upon opening his hand, Ethan realizes he unearthed a cameo locket. "Greenbrier" is engraved on it along with the date "February 11th, 1865." Feb. 11th is Lena's birthday and she tells Ethan that "nothing in my life is a coincidence. Ethan finds himself inexpliciably drawn to Lena, even though her life is shrouded in mystery. Why is her uncle so reclusive? What is the mystery surrounding Ravenwood? And who or what is Lena Duchannes?

More questions than answers occur but you have got to love a book where the librarian is one of the good guys.

Visit the Beautiful Creatures website

Some secrets are life-altering. Others are life-ending."

Beautiful Darkness - Book Two

"A few months ago, I believed nothing would ever change in this town. Now I knew better, and I only wished it was true."

The continuation of Athan and Lena's story where endings are not always happily ever after. Their story picks up a few days after book one ends. The Caster Chronicles will continue with book three in the Fall of 2011 amd book four follows Fall of 2012.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

"Welcome to the Marlowe School where some very gifted students are having a hell of a year."

Five children who had nothing in common, disappeared on a single night. Victoria was from London and driven to be perfect at everything in an attempt to make her parents proud of her. In Glasgow, Christian was homeless after his father's despair over his mother's death. He stole to survive and was a strong athlete. Indentical twins, Belle and Bice', resided in Rome where Bice' could speak numerous languages and Belle wished to be beautiful. In Paris, Valentin is a budding poet who wishes for fame. All of them end up at a secluded country house somewhere in Europe where they are brainwashed into believing they were orphans who had always lived together. Their parents or anyone else never missed them.

Nicola Vileroy referred to herself as a governess, although as beautiful and refined as she looked, was anything but. She secures an exclusive invitation to an annual Christmas Eve party for herself and her five children. It is the opportunity for her and the children to step into New York society and become its' focus. "Now that her children were well prepared, now that she had taught them enough, she could finally give them everything she had promised, everything that they had bargained for - here in this city where life is lived in the present, where today's moguls are yesterday's nobodies, and where no one cares to delve too far in the past - a city that asks no questions."

When Madame Vileroy's five charges enroll mid-semester at the exclusive Marlowe School, each has their own agenda. Victoria, the brain, wishes to be the top student at Marlowe and especially at Lucy Spencer's expense. Belle, the beauty, desires Thomas Goodman-Brown as her boyfriend, even though Miss Spencer also has her eye on him. Christian, the super athelete, joins every available sports team and is out to win it all. The aspiring poet, Valentin, like to manipulate time and people to suit his needs. Belle's twin, Bice', is still learning new languages but has become an expert on hiding. As they rise through the ranks at Marlowe, they soon realize that what seemingly started as innocent talents (cheating, hiding, lying and stealing) are more powerful and addictive than they ever imagined.

But what happens when two discover the dark and terrible secret about their very existence? And at what price does your most wished for desires come true? In this modern day retelling of the Faust bargain story, these five children make a deal with the devil for their hearts' greatest desires.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment agency (IPCA). She is the only human on earth who can see through a paranormal's glamour to see their true facades. In the crazy world of vampires, werewolves, etc. which she takes part, she considers herself normal, even though her best friend is a mermaid and her ex-boyfriend is a faerie. Evie has resided at the IPCA center since she was eight-year-old. Never knowing her parents, she spent her early years in foster care until the day she wandered into a graveyard and started screaming. That's when the APCA found her and took her in. Other paranormal agencies where clamoring for Evie's services so the IPCA was formed.

For the past eight years, Evie's job has been to "bag and tag" paranormals around the world to save them from humans. Her life is on the solitary side since she is one of the few normal people who work there. But things change when an unknown paranormal breaks into the center and takes Evie's boss' form. Evie is able to see through his glamour and captures him. She soon finds herself drawn to the shapeshifter known as Lend. They are close in age and Evie is lonely for companionship since Reth, her faerie ex-boyfriend did something to repel her. She begins sneaking into Lend's cell and a friendship soon forms. Evie's boss, Raquel, is not happy and orders her to stay away. Since IPCA doesn't know who or what Lend is, they keep hin prisoner. When Lend informs Evie that someone or things is killing paranormals, she realizes that IPCA has been less than truthful with her.

As Evie and Lend's friendship grows, Reth starts to become meddlesome. When Evie starts to have weird dreams about a prophecy and Reth becomes possessive, she begins to wonder who or what she is. When the paranormal killer breaks into the IPCA center, Evie breaks protocal and escapes with Lend. Why are the paranormals dying and who is doing it? What is with Reth's possessive nature and why the werid dreams? What is Lend's secret, but more importantly what is Evie's? Join Evie on a fast paced and hilarious adventure to find where she belongs in the world. Her story will be continued in Supernaturally in 2011.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mistwood by Leah Cypess

"The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realmis peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood.
But when she is needed she always comes."

Her ankle was hurt or she would have ran. But something made her wait for the prince. He made it through her old forest and called out to her, "Isabel?" She was unable to flee and instead claws at the prince's face. The prince pulls a crystal bracelet out from a pouch and she instinctively holds out her wrist. The prince says "Isabel, by the Shifter's Seal on your wrist, do you swear to serve me and mine with all your abilities and powers, to defend us and protect us and keep us safe from all harm?" Then he asks if she will come to his castle with him and she accepts.
Isabel is a Shifter, or at least that is what they tell her she is. Unfortunately she doesn't remember, anything. Not who she is or what her powers are. Prince Rokan has brought her to his castle because he needs her powers to ensure his reign. As Iasbel tries to keep her ignorance under wraps, Prince Rokan and his domineering sister Clarisse begin to see through her. Fortunately Isabel realizes that Rokan is lying to her but she still feels the overpowering need to protect him. Isabel soon finds that Ven, the sorcerer's apprentice who wishes to study the Shifter, may be her only ally, especially after an attempt is made on Prince Rokan's life.

Isabel knows something is wrong, not only in the kingdom, but with her. She is unable to shift on demand. Isabel can make minor changes to her appearance or to her body while in the heat of battle. A full change is not possible. Isabel struggles with her feelings but feelings are a human trait, something that the Shifter should not have to deal with. What happens with the trust is shattered between Isabel and Rokan? Will Isabel figure out what exactly is happening to her since she cannot shift? And where do Isabel's loyalities lie, with Prince Rokan or the Kaer, the "true" prince?

The plot twist at the end of the novel really caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting it. Leah Cypess is currently working on a companion novel, Nightspell.

Visit Leah Cypess website.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

At the age of nine, before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreams that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the Lumatere's royal house. Eventually Finnikin and his friends, Prince Balthazar and Lucian of the Monts, climb a rock and make the sacrifice and pledge. All was well until the five days of the unspeakable. The king and queen and their four daughters are slain and Balthazar's bloody handprints are found. Finnikin's father is arrested for treason and imprisoned. The matriarch of the Forest Dwellers cries a blood curse as she is burned at the stake. Those who escaped the kingdom are forced to walk the land as refugees and those trapped inside the kingdom's gates were never heard from again. Finnikin recorded the story for those not around to live the horror in the Book of Lumatere, so no one will ever forget. Until the day Finnikin decided the climb another rock, ten years later.

Sir Topher, the king's First Man and his apprentice, Finnikin, climb a rock to reach the temple of the goddess Lagrami. Finnikin received a message delivered in a dream. One word was spoken, "Balthazar" and he is told to visit the isolated cloister. Upon their arrival, the high priestess Kiria tells them of a novice, Evanjalin, who arrived two years earlier. Kiria tells them she believes Evanjalin has a gift, the ability to walk through people's sleep. She claims to have walked through the sleep of the people still trapped in Lumatere, as well as the lost hier. Sir Topher and Finnikin don't believe what they are told. Kiria informs them that Balthazar has a message for them, a name of a trusted friend. She tells Finnikin that Balthazar has chosen him, by way of Evanjalin, to lead his people home to Lumatere.

Finnikin has conflicted feelijngs for Evanjalin. He doesn't trust her or want her around yet feels sorry for her and at times confused by his feelings. But as they continue their journey to the kingdom of Sorel, where Evanjalin "claims" all the answers lie, Finnikin learns that Evanjalin is not at all what she first seems and neither is he. And the truth will rock Finnikin to his very core.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dragonfly by Julia Golding

"It's alright, Your Highness, I do not need you to swear your innocence to me. I will not accuse the Blue Crescent Islands of an act of war. I have a higher opinion of your honor than you do of mine. No, I think respoonsibility lies elsewhere: we share a common enemy." Ramil lay back on the straw and closed his eyes. "Either that, or it's a joke in desperately bad taste by my friends to throw us together."
"You think this is possible?" asked Tashi, bewildered.
Ramil sighed. "No, that last suggestion was a joke of my own." Was he never going to find the right note of conversation for this girl? She took everything so seriously.

The Blue Crescent Islands lie to the west in the known world. Their rulers consist of four Crown Princeses, one from each of the islands. Princess Taoshire id the Fourth Crown Princess and the youngest at sixteen. Tashi's life is dictated by the religious rituals she must conduct each day to Goddess.

To the northeast lies Gerfal, King Lagan is worried about his nation's future. The warlord, Fergox Spearthrower of Holt, has recently conquered the nation of Brigard and it is feared that Gerfal is next. King Lagan believes if a pact is made with the Blue Crescent Islands and their powerful navy, Gerfal would stand a chance against an invasion from Fergox. An arranged marriage between Princess Taoshira and Lagan's son, Prince Ramil, is desired.

Where Tashi's life is refined and disciplined, Ramil's days are taken up with horseback riding and hunting. Neither is happy with the idea and things go from bad to worse when they meet. Not understanding Tashi's customs, Ramil knowingly and unknowningly offends her. She takes to her rooms and refuses to come out. When Ramil realizes how he has treated her and is berated by his father, he decides to take Tashi horseback riding since she has shown an interest. Having been confirmed to the castle, Ram is excited to ride and enthuasicatically takes off. Having never ridden before, Tashi becomes terrified and screams to stop. Fed up, she takes off on foot and heads back to the castle. Ram soon realizes he has made the situation worse and takes off after her.

Ramil soon discovers that Tashi is gone. In looking for her, Ram is caught in a net and captured by a traveling circus troop. He is thrown into a tiger's cage and soon realizes his fellow prisoner is Tashi. Each is sceptical of the other but soon discovers that a third party is responsible. Can Ramil and Tashi put their differences aside abd escape or are they doomed to be pawns in someone else's game? Join Ramil and Tashi's journey as they discover not only who they are but the other as well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate is an orphan who live in a market town by a river. Kate was raised by her woodcarver father afer the death of her mother from childbirth. She was named Katerina Svetlana after her mother but when she is intoduced to the butcher, he says that he calls her plain Kate. The butcher laughs and says that judging by her appearance, Plain Kate is a good name and it sticks.

From an early age, Plain Kate is taught woodcarving skills by her father until she is quite good. Growing up in a superstitious village with the odd appearance of having two different colored eyes and the ability to carve with a knife, Plain Kate is viewed upon by the villagers as an oddity. When a sickness referred to as "witch fever" strikes the village, fingers begin to point her way. Her situation goes from bad to worse when her father falls ill and dies before Plain Kate can become his apprentice. Soon a new master carver from the guild arrives and Plain Kate finds herself homeless.

Plain Kate decides to live in the bottom drawer of her father's market stall. She is soon joined by three motherless kittens whom she cares for. Plain Kate earns some money by carving amulets and other items for the townspeople who don't wish to patronize the master carver. Two kittens go off on their own but the one she named Taggle becomes her companion. Soon several visitors arrive in the town. Linay, who could be described as an albino, sells trinkets to ward off witchcraft in the village square. Turns out Linay is a witch. He offers Plain Kate her fondest wish for the price of her shadow She turns him down. When devasting situations occur in her village, the townspeople begin pointing fingers her way. Harshly awakened by an axe destroying her stall one night, Plain Kate decides her luck has run out. She turns to Linay for help leaving the town. He will help her, for the price of her shadow. She agrees and Linay warns her to find a place to fit in before someone realizes her shadow is gone.

Plain Kate is shocked to discover that her cat Taggle can now talk. He tells her that her greatest wish was a companion to talk with and now she has him. They go off to find the supplies Linay provided them with. Plain Kate decides she must take the woodcarving she made for the baker to him. When she goes to drop it on his doorstep, she has forgotten that he would be up at the early hour. The baker is concerned about where she will go and offers to take her to the Roamers, who are leaving the town, to see if Plain Kate can go with them. When Mother Daj learns that Plain Kate is a woodcarver and her cat a mouser, she tells her that they can travel with them for one month. Plain Kate sees this as a test and is eager to please.

Will Plain Kate be able to find her place in the world? Can she be accepted by the Roamers before someone notices her shadow is missing or will her secret be discovered? And what does Linay want her shadow for?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Everlost and Everwild : the skinjacker trilogy by Neal Shusterman

Everlost - book one

Allie and Nick meet in the aftermath of a traffic accident that claimed both of their lives. Neither were wearing seatbelts when they were thrown through the windshields of their respective cars. As they are flying through a tunnel toward a bright light, they bump into one another and go off course. Allie and Nick fall to the ground and sleep a long, dreamless sleep. When they awaken, they see a boy younger than they are and decide to call him Lief since he cannot remember his name. He has been alone for quite a few years. Nick and Allie slowly realize they didn't survive the accident and make it to heaven. They are now known as Afterlights.

Lief is content to spend the rest of his eternity in his beloved forest but Allie and Nick desire a trip home to see if their respective families survived the accident. Lief begs them to stay. He claims they don't know the dangers beyond the dead forest. He warns them to keep moving so they don't sink to the bottom of the earth and beware of the McGill. Anyone who meets up with the McGill is never seen again. They construct "roadshoes", based on the concept of snowshoes, to help them on their journey. They soon find "dead spots" along their way, places where someone has died that Afterlights cannot sink through the earth. On the third day, Nick and Allie come across a welcome sign situated on a dead spot. They stop for an unneeded rest when they are soon surrounded by Johnnie O and his rogue band of Afterlights. They confront Allie and Nick and Allie tells the boys to leave them alone or she will call the McGill. Johnnie O realizes they are "Greensouls", new Afterlights, and calls her bluff. The gang pushes Allie into the ground. She soon realizes that she is being pulled back up and sees that Nick and Lief have rescued her. Lief has been following them and scared off Johnnie O and his boys when they think he is the McGill.

The trio continues traveling until they reach the outskirts of New York City.  Lief is overwhelmed by the sight of the great modern city, as are Allie and Nick but for other reasons. Allie wants to continue on to New Jersey but Nick is determined to go into the city. Once in Manhattan, Lief is overcome by the sight of the World Tarde Center but realizes something is wrong when Allie tells him the buildings no longer exist. The twin towers became a part of Everlost because they could never be truly lost, not when they were "held forever by the memories of a mourning world."

When Allie, Nick and Lief arrive at the twin towers, they are shocked at what they find. Afterlights are playing in the marble plaza in a variety of clothing styles dependent on when they crossed over. They soon meet Mary Hightower, aka the Queen of Snots, who is the leader/caregiver for the assembled band of Afterlights and takes in the trio. Mary explains what it means to be an Afterlight and live in Everlost. Nick is drawn to Mary but Allie doesn't trust her. Allie convinces the boys to leave the towers and go find the Haunter. He has the ability to teach the "criminal arts" such as skin jacking or ecto-ripping. When Lief and Nick are unable to perform and are captured. Allie flees when she realizes that she possess some special abilities but doesn't want to be under the thumb of the Haunter.

What will happen to Nick and Lief and is Allie able to rescue them and with whose help? Will Allie be able to put her special talents to good use? And is the McGill real or just a myth? And are the Afterlights stuck in Everlost forever or is their a way to leave? Join Allie and Nick on their journey through Everlost and see where they go.

Everwild - book two

SPOILER ALERT! : Don't read any further if you haven't read Everlost. I don't want to ruin the story for you.

The further story of Allie the Outcast, the Chocoalte Ogre, the Sky Witch and Mikey McGill as they go their separtae ways into Everwild in an attempt to keep the other faction from having dominance over the Afterlights.

The trilogy concludes with Everfound in June 2011.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

"Something's rotten beneath the town of Gentry ..."

Mackie Doyle is a replacement. When his sister was four, a man in a black coat came in through a window and grabbed her baby brother. In his place, a thing was left. Emma walked to the crib and put her hand between the slats. She pulled her hand out but didn't leave when it tried to bite her. They spent the night staring at each other. The thing turns out to be Mackie, her new baby brother.

Mackie lives in the town of Gentry, a former steel town. During the day, the town is a "sea of minivans and lawns and golden retrievers." Almost everyone works at one of the computer plants, the dairy farm or the community college. Gentry is the town where everyone wants to be and people rarely leave it's prosperous borders.. But at night, it's a different story. The town is full of secrets. Residents double lock their doors and follow superstitions in an attempt to keep the unwanted out of their lives.

The Doyle family works hard to keep Mackie's secret. It is never discussed and his exposure to metal is kept to a minimum. His pastor father has trained him from an early age not to draw attention to himself so that no one will notice that something is not right about Mackie. But when Tate Stewart's baby sister dies, she refuses to stay quiet about what is going on in the town. She comes to Mackie with her questions and accusations and refuses to take no for an answer. Unfortunately for Mackie, he begins to realizes that living with humans for sixteen years is a rarity. He is slowly dying from his constant exposure to metal. Soon Mackie discovers the secret world that exists under the town of Gentry, the world which he is from. When he is offered a cure for what ails him, Mackie must decide if feeling well is worth the cost, as Tate continues to push him to see that things aren't right in Gentry.

Join Mackie on his journey as he must deide where he truly belongs, what he believes in and make some gut-wrenching decisions. An excellent read especially for those fans of Holly Black.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Torment: a Fallen novel by Lauren Kate

"These questions were all detours, which eventually flowed back to the most important one: Would love be different with someone else? Was love even possible with someone else? Love was supposed to be easy, wasn't it? Then why did she feel so tormented?"

SPOILER ALERT!!! Please do not read any further if you haven't read the first book Fallen in the series. I don't want to ruin the ending for you.

Torment immediately picks up where Fallen stops. The angels and demons are caling a truce for eighteen days to protect Luce from The Outcasts: "a sect of spineless, waffling angels, shunned by both Heaven and Hell." News of Luce's mortality is spreading and it is decided that she will leave Sword and Cross in Georgia for the Shoreline school in California. For eighteen days at Shoreline, Luce must figure out everything about her past and Daniel on her own.
At Shoreline, Luce is an instant celebrity. It seems everyone there knows her and Daniel's history, except for her. Once again, she is in the dark about herself. But as she attends special clases with the Nephilim, Luce soon discovers what the shadows are and how they can help her glimpse into her past lives. And in doing that, begins to question her relationship with Daniel. Is he really the love of her life and what is he keeping from her?

There is an unbelieveable twist at the end that I didn't see coming. The ending explains why the author Lauren Kate is writing the third book in the series, Passions the way she is. It is literally a prequel to Fallen. Passions is due out the summer of 2011.

Visit Lauren Kate's website.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

"What if fairy tale magic really existed?"

Elizabeth Rew's life is straight out of a Grimm fairytale that she loved to read so much with her mother as a child. Her mother has died. Elizabeth is friendless at a new school she now goes to because the college expenses of her two older stepsisters. Life at home isn't much better with her father wrapped up in the whims of his new wife leaving little time for her. When assigned a term paper by her history teacher, Elizabeth enthusiastically writes about her beloved Grimm Brothers. Her teacher, Mr. Mauskopf, asks if she could use a part-time job. He refers her to his friend, Dr. Lee Rust, the head librarian at the New York Circulating Materials Repository. After a strange interview, Elizabeth is given the job.

The Circulating Materials Repository is a library of sorts. Not the kind where patrons check out books, but objects. Elizabeth soon falls in love with her job as she is very intrigued by the materials housed in the Repository's collection. She begins to form friendships with several of her fellow pages; Marc Merritt, Anjali Rao and Aaron Rosenberg. After passing a test, Elizabeth is soon given access to the elusive Grimm Collection. The collection consists of objects that the Brothers Grimm amassed related to their stories. Elizabeth soon realizes that magic does exist and that it can be dangerous at times. She relishes her new found responsibilities, but soon discovers that someone is stealing objects from the Grimm Collection for their own gain.

Join Elizabeth, Anjali, Marc and Aaron as they try and solve the mystery of the winged creature and who exactly is stealing the items from the repository before Elizabeth is blamed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Twelfth Grade Kills - Book Five

SPOILER ALERT!!!: Please don't read any further if you haven't read the first four books in the series and don't want to ruin the ending.

"Twelfth Grade Kills" picks up immediately where "Eleventh Grade Burns" leaves off. Dorian has just sacrificed himself to save Vload's life from the hands of his slayer friend, Joss. Vlad believes that he saw his deceased father but he can't be sure. Having drunk from Dorian before his death, Vlad wonders if he inherited some of Dorian's madness. In this conclusion of the final book in tne series, Vlad discovers the truth about his parents, who his real friends are, hopes to graduate from Bathory High and survive his trial with the council.

Heather Brewer is writing a spin-off series starring Joss and some of your favorite vampires in The Slayer Journals coming out in the fall of 2011.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

"Nailer shrugged and got his own knife. He set it against the joint where it would part easily. He pressed his blade into the girls's flesh. Blood welled up as he cut.
The girl's black eyes blinked"

Nailer is a ship breaker who works light crew for a scavenge team on what was the Gulf Coast. The region was devasted by a killer storm that obliterated the city of New Orleans and altered the region. His job involves crawling through the ductwork of grounded oil tankers looking for reusable materials. After a day of scavenging copper wire, his boss sends him back for more since there is a big storm coming up. The copper wire can be stripped on the beach during the storm and they can't leave behind any easy pickings for the next crew. Nailer reenters the tanker and in his haste to get back out falls through the duct into a room flooded with old oil. Struggling to hold on and find a way out, Nailer is left behind by a fellow crew member, Sloth, who may be intent on keeping Nailer's find a secret. Nailer is able to open an air-tight door and escape death.

Nailer is now seen as having the Fates on his side because of his harrowing adventure. Hailed as a sort of hero, he is showered with gifts while Sloth is left to fend for herself as an outcast. His crewmate Pima takes Nailer to her mother to stitch up his injuries. Upon his arrival back home, Nailer is dishearted to see that his no good father is there. In trying to gage his father's mood, Nailer gives him the last of his liquor. He is pleased by his son's good fortune and nicknames him Lucky Boy. That night, Nailer sees glimpses of the man his father was before his mother's death.

The next morning, Nailer wakes up to what he describes as a city killer storm. He sees everyone in Bright Sands Beach fleeing to higher ground to escape the storm surge. Unable to awaken his father, Nailer runs to Pima's shack for help. Nailer and Pima take shelter in a cave while her mother goes off to see about his father. The storm passes after two days and Pima and Nailer emerge to find their parents but several friends and coworkers are dead or missing. Everyone is in survival mode with the scavenge buyers inland. Until things are organized, people are on their own. Nailer's father takes a position as a strong hand and leaves without a second thought.

Nailer and Pima go to scavenge food and head off for a distant island that hasn't been picked over. There they discover a clipper ship that was wrecked during the storm. Once aboard, they see more than enough scavenge to make them wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. As they go through the ship, they notice that the crew has been killed. In one bedroom, they discover a beautiful young woman with enough gold on her hands to make their lives easier. Her fingers are too swollen for the rings to be removed. Pima decides to cut off her fingers. When Nailer presses the knife to her hand, the girl stirs. She is still alive! Nailer now has some conflicted decisions to make: kill the girl and become extremely wealthy or save her life and return her to her family.

Join Nailer on the adventure of his lifetime where he attempts to make a better life for himself in a world where natural resources are scarce and fierce weather patterns mold the landscape.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Linger: Wolves of Mercy Falls book two by Maggie Stiefvater

"This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one."

SPOILER ALERT! Please do not read any further if you have not read Shiver. I don't want to ruin the story for you.

A few months have passed since the conclusion of Shiver. Sam is trying to get use to being in his human form. He can venture out into the cold Minnesota weather and not worry about his body shifting back into wolf form. For now, he just wants to be with Grace and has trouble accepting that he can make plans for his future. On the other hand, Grace is unwell. She is running a high fever and suffering from headaches. Waves of nausea hit her and at times Sam can smell wolf on her. Is Grace's former wish now coming true when she no longer desires to be a wolf?

Isabel Culpepper is still mourning the death of her brother Jack. She blames herself for his death since her idea for a cure didn't work for him like it did for Sam. Her life is thrown into turmoil when she meets one of Beck's new wolves when he starts shifting between his wolf and human forms. Cole St. Clair is looking to hide from his human life. A famous rock star, he has grown to resent who he has become and is loking for escape. When Isabel meets Cole, there is an immediate attraction between them, two tortured souls looking for peace. But can the two of them find it together or separately?

Told from four different points of view; Sam, Grace, Isabel and Cole, readers will be left hanging at the end of the book until the conclusion of the trilogy with Forever due out in 2011. And once again, I love how the font color matches the dust jacket of the book, mossy green.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Clockwork Angel: Infernal Devices book one by Cassandra Clare

"Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still."

The Infernal Devices series is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments and deals with characters related to those in the original series.

In 1878, sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray sailed aboard the Main from New York City to London to meet up with her brother Nate after the death of their only remaining relative, Aunt Harriet. Upon her arrival, Tessa is greeted by Mrs. Black and Mrs. Dark who have a letter from her brother stating that the Dark Sisters are his landladies and can be trusted. Tessa soon learns that the two have plans for her and they are not good. Six weeks after intense training with the Sisters, Tessa learns she has the ability to Change. When given an item belonging to someone, Tessa is able to transform herself physically into that person and recall details of their life and especially their deaths. The Dark Sisters praise her for a job well done and declare that she is ready to marry the Magister.

Tessa tries to escape but is soon caught and restrained to her bed. She Changes herself into the last person she atempted and soon makes herself smaller and is able to loosen her bindings. Upon hearing someone coming into her room, Tessa smashes a pottery jug on the arm of a figure who sees her but doesn't move  quickly enough. Tessa soon realizes the figure is a young man not much older than herself. Dressed like a workman with a variety of knives and daggers attached, it is his beauty that causes her to stare. Tessa has just met Will Herondale and he has come to her rescue. The Dark Sisters attempt to stop them from leaving and a battle ensues in the basement where Will is joined by two other guys. Tessa begins to realize that Will and the Dark Sisietrs are not what they seem and is knocked out during the battle.

Later, Tessa wakes up from a distribing nightmare in a room with two strangers. One is Charlotte Branwell who introduces herself as the head of the London Institute and the other Brother Enoch who Tessa thinks is a monster for he has no eyes and his mouth is sewn shut. Charlotte tells Tessa that Will has brought her there because she hit her head. Tessa wishes she could leave and Charlotte informs her that the Accords forbid Nelphilium from trapping Downworlders under duress. Tessa is confused and Brother Enoch draws up his robe hood to leave. In the doorway Enoch stops and "speaks" to Tessa or rather she hears his voice inside her head. "You are Eidolon, Theresa Gray. Shape-changer. But not of a sort that is familiar to me. There is no demon's mark on you." Tessa is surprised that he knows what she is.

Charlotte invites Tessa to stay at the Institute and promises her that she and her husband Henry will search for her brother. At dinner, Tessa meets the other Shadowhunters at the Institute, Jessamine Lovelace, Henry Branwell and once again Will Herondale. Henry is an inventor who works on new weapons and armor for the Shadowhunters. During the course of dinner, Tessa demonstrates her ability to the astonishment of her companions. After dinner, Will takes her on a tour of the Institute and shows her the library. Tessa is touched that he remembers her love of books. Will gives her a brief history lesson on the origins of Shadowhunters and gives her The Shadowhunters Codex to read. Tessa later wakes from a dream to hear beautiful violin music. She crosses the hallway to meet James Carstairs. Jem as he is called, was too ill to come down for dinner. Jem and Tessa soon realize that they are both orphans. 

As the Shadowhunters continue to search for clues about Tessa's powers and her brother's disappearance, they soon realize that something sinister is going. Soon Tessa is drawn into a plan to find out what the Magister is up to. She will have to face some difficult choices,not only whether to save her brother or save the world but between two best friends, Will and Jem. Join Tessa on her journey and discover some background on the Shadowhunters from the Mortal Instruments series. And for fans of the earlier series, one character makes a shocking appearance in this series.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black

In this collection of twelve short stories on which all but two have appeared elsewhere, Holly Black revisits in two of these stories the Modern Faerie Tale setting. The story "The Land of Heart's Desire" picks up at the end of Ironside and tells of an exchange between Roiben and Corny and fills in some background information about Roiben's life and what his thoughts are about Kaye.

And I love "Paper Cuts Scissors" where a library school student takes a job organizing  book collection for an older gentleman with some unexpected consequences. The flow of the story is even subdivided into headings based on the Dewey Decimal System.

Other stories have vampire and werewolves as characters.

Readers will enjoy Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale and Curse Workers series.

Visit Holly Black's website.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Ganes trilogy book #3

SPOILER ALERT!!! Please do not read any further if you haven't read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise for you.

"My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead."

It has been roughly a month since the breakout in the Quarter Quell arena. Katniss Everdeen's new home is now District 13 since 12 now lies in ruins. reunited with Gale and her family, it seems that Katniss is no longer a pawn in the Hunger Games but a pawn in a long simmering revolution against the Capital. The choice is hers, turn her back on everyone or become the face of the revolution, the mockingjay. What will Katniss choose? Is Peeta dead or alive? Thinhs will never be the same as Katniss is rocked to her very core.

Visit Suzanne Collins' website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series by Heather Brewer

Eighth Grade Bites: Book One
Thirteen-year-old Vlaidimir Tod is in the eighth grade at Bathory Junior High. Vlad is unlike his best friend Henry or any of his classmates for that matter. He is half vampire and lives with his "Aunt Nelly", his mother's closest friend. Both deceased, Vlad's mother was human while his father was a vampire. Vlad is bullied by his classmates while secretly harboring a crush on Meredith. Things begin to change when Vlad's English teacher, Mr. Craig, disappears around Halloween and is replaced by the mysterious Mr. Otis. Unbeknownest to Vlad, someone is looking for him and Mr. Craig has met his demise at the hands of a vampire.

Mr. Otis Otis is an odd man who until recently taught mythology at Stokerton High. He will substitute for Mr. Craig's English composition class but infuse a study of mythological and supernatural creatures. Class goes well until the day Mr. Otis assigns a written essay and oral report on a supernatural creature that each student will draw from a hat. Vlad prays he will not pull out "vampire". He is quite relieved to see "werewolf" until Mr. Otis clenches his fist as Vlad stares in disbelief and the letters rearrange themselves to say "vampire". "Vampire?" he says as Mr. Otis slyly tells Vlad he "looks forward to reading your perception of vampires."

Vlad takes it upon himself to not only investigate the disappearance of Mr. Craig but the mysterious death of his parents. What does he discover when he reads his father's journal? Just who is Mr. Otis, why does he have a mysterious tattoo and hangs around Mr. Craig's house? And who is D'Ablo and what is his connection to Mr. Otis? Is Vlad's secret close to being discovered and is someone out to kill him?

Ninth Grade Slays: Book Two

If Vladimir Tod thought middle school sucked, just wait until high school. Tom and Bill still bully him, he can't get the nerve up to talk to his crush Meredith and best friend Henry's cousin Joss is new in town. Soon things begin to pick up when Vlad and Joss become friends and Meredith makes her move. Even better his uncle is taking him to Siberia over winter break to learn more about his vampire powers. The flip side of the coin is that fellow classmate and newspaper photographer Eddie Poe is out to discover exactly what Vlad is and there is a vampire slayer in Bathory looking for him.

Tenth Grade Bleeds: Book Three

Sophomore year of high school brings more of the same for Vladimir Tod. Eddie Poe bought a new camera and is determined to find Vlad's secret. Otis is searching for a ritual to save Vlad and D'Ablo is still trying to find a way to rid the world if him. Plus a hired killer is looking for revenge. But other things have changed for the better. Meredith is now Vlad's girlfriend. He hangs out with the Goth gang and Henry is pulling away from Vlad and no longer wants to be his drudge. On top of all of this, Vlad's thrist is spinning out of control. Will Vlad survive hi sophomore year?

Eleventh Grade Burns: Book Four
Things are still not looking any better for Vladimir Tod. All summer he has moped sround over his split from Meredith. School is starting and not only on his mind is the girl of his dreams but best friend Henry informs him that his vampire slayer cousin Joss is coming back to town. Otis' trial hyas been set and D'Ablo's secured a lucrative seat on the vampire council. And the one vampire who may be able to save Otis has a desire to drink Vlad's half vampire/half human blood. Will Vlad be able to survive his junior yuear of high school?

Don't miss the final installment of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod; Twelfth Grade Kills due out September 21, 2010.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty - book 1

In 1885, Gemma Doyle, her mother and Indian servant are passing through Bombay's market district to have tea and cake at Mrs. Talbot's house for her sixteenth birthday. Gemma is in a foul mood because she wishes she was in London with her grandmother to begin her life in society. When a dark-cloaked Indian man and his younger companion exit a train, Gemma realizes she is slightly attracted to the young man even though she shouldn't be. The older man tells Gemma's mother that "Circe is near" and she becomes horror-stricken. Gemma's mother gives her the necklace she always wears, a cresent moon with an eye above it, as a bribe to leave. Gemma is sent home but not before she tells her mother that she doesn't care if she comes home at all.

Gemma becomes lost on the way home and two men are terrified of her necklace. In her wanderings, Gemma once again encounters the young cloaked man when she is overtaken by a spell where is is no longer concerned with losing her virtue but her life. While unconscious, Gemma sees her mother being followed into a shop that bears the same moon and eye symbol as her necklace. There in desperation, Gemma's mother kills herself.

Two months later, Gemma's brother Tom is taking her to finishing school at Spence Academy to become a marriable woman. On their way through the slums of London, their carriage is stopped by a man and woman who argue with the driver. While stopped, Gemma has another vision similiar to the one she had when her mother died. A young girl tells her that Mary is looking for her but so is It. A hideous shadow creature appears and Gemma comes back to reality and tells the couple to leave and the carriage to continue. Tom is taken aback as that is no way for a young lady to behave. As they approach Spence, a gypsy woman appears and when she sees that it is Gemma, says "Oh, but it's you. You've come back to me." Gemma is thrown when she asks her where is Carolina and calls that "Mother Elena sees everything."

Upon her arrival at Spence Academy, Gemma finds it to be unwelcome place. Mrs. Nightwing, the headmistress, introduces Gemma to her classmates. Right away she notices a small group of girls about her age. One is a beautiful brunette but the blonde in the clique seems to be the leader. Gemma walks to evening prayers with her new roommate, Ann Bradshaw. Ann is an orphan who is a scholarship student at the school to become a governess. She soon learns that the two girls are Felicity and Pippa and are downright cruel. Felicity's clique of girls play a horrible trick on Ann after dinner but Gemma stands up for Ann and turns the tables on Felicity. Later in the night, Felicity comes to Gemma's room for a midnight initiation to their group. The girls take Gemma to the chapel to steal some of the communion wine to prove her worth. When she enters the chapel, she is locked in. Paybacks for standing up for Ann earlier in the evening. Gemma soon realizes that she is not alone in the chapel. The young dark-cloaked man from India who found her in the streets is there. He tells her his name is Kartik. He has followed her from India and wants to know the story of her mother's death. His brother was killed by the monster and tells Gemma to work to make her visions stop. They will be watching her. Gemma takes the wine and flees back to school before the vicar finds her.

On Gemma's way back to the schol, she runs into the young girl from her vision in London. Gemma follows her to a cave where she finds the dairy of Mary Dowd hidden behind a rock. Mary writes of having peaceful visions so unlike Gemma's. Later Gemma has a vision of her mother and awakes to find a piece of her mother's dress in her hand. But the tables are turned in Gemma's favor when she discovers a terrible secret of Felicity's. Will Gemma be able to stop her visions or will she try and embrace them? Who is Kartik and why does he want her to stop? What is the symbolism of the necklace Gemma's mother gave her? Do Gemma and Felicity become best friends or mortal enemies? And who is Circe and what does she want with Gemma? What secrets must Gemma unlock to learn the truth not only about herself but her other's past?

Rebel Angels - Book 2 of Gemma Doyle

SPOILER ALERT!!  Kartik has been given his orders by the brotherhood of the Rakshana. He must gain Gemma's favor and help her find the temple in the realm, the true source of the Order's power.

It is Christmastime at Spence Academy and Gemma is going home to London to celebrate with her family. Along with her closest friends can she accomplish what must be done in the realms and bind the magic in the temple? And can Gemma survive the ultimate fight against Circe when her true identity is revealed? And what choice must Gemma make when the charming and handsome Simon Middleton enters the picture?

The Sweet Far Thing - Book 3 of Gemma Doyle

SPOILER ALERT!! The conclusion of Gemma Doyle's story as she figures out who to trust and not, the mysteries of the Relams and who she is. Lots of shocking plot twists to keep the reader on the edge of your seat until the very end. The last 200 pages will be hard to put down.