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.