Friday, December 16, 2011

Best of 2011 - The Second Half

There are not too many books that I read that I do not thoughly enjoy. So for this posting, I am going to list the top 10 books I enjoyed the second half of 2011.

  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices book 2)
  • Stephanie Perkins. I adored both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. I cannot wait to see what she does with Isla in 2012!
  • The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima. Han and Raisa, enough said.
  • Eve by Anna Carey. I really hope this one becomes a television show.
  • The Pledge by Kimberly Derting. Excellent start to a new trilogy.
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendrae Blake. Horror at it's best and a BIG thanks to Shelburne for turning me on to it.
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell. Love the Romeo and Juliet forbidden romance.
  • The Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel. Hope to see this one on the Big Screen.
  • Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer. Desperately hanging on the cliff for Bloodrose in January. Team Ren all the way!
And watch for these in 2012 that I have already got a sneak peak at.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices book 2)

SPOLIER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy, Clockwork Angel, STOP! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you!

In Victorian England, Tessa Gray has found safety from the Magiater within the confinds of the Institute and the Shadowhunters who have become her friends. Her safety is in jeopardy when Benedict Lightwood goes before Counsel Wayland in an attempt to remove Charlotte Branwell as head of the London Institute. If Charlotte is replaced, Tessa will be out on the streets and easy prey for the Magister.
In an attempt to find out why the Magister’s war against the Shadowhunters is personal, Tessa travels to York with the fiercely loyal James Carstairs and the brooding William Herondale. There, a shocking discovery is made that sends one member of the trio into a tailspin. Back in London, the Shadowhunters realize that Mortmain’s web reaches further than they ever imagined and that one of their own has betrayed them.

As questions are answered, even more secrets come to light and the mystery surrounding not only Tessa and the Magister, but Will deepens. Tessa is soon caught up in not only finding out what she is but torn between two boys. Even though her rejected her at the end of Clockwork Angel, Tessa still finds herself longing for Will while at the same time discovering her burgeoning feelings for Jem, who is more than willing to reciprocate.

Join Tessa and the London Shadowhunters as they race against the clock to uncover the Magister’s evil plan.

The Infernal Devices trilogy will conclude with the publication of Clockwork Princess in the fall of 2012.

Visit Cassandra Clare's website.
Visit the Infernal Devices website.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

“I don’t believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be the same person every day.”

Seventeen-year-old Lola Nolan has three simple wishes in life. She wants to dress as Marie Antoinette for her winter formal, complete with the extra wide dress and elaborate wig. Beneath the dress will be platform combat boots “so everyone can see underneath the frills,” she is punk-rock tough. Lola wishes her parents would approve of her boyfriend. Twenty-two-year-old Max is in a band and has no aspirations of college. Lastly, she never wants to see her former neighbors, The Bell twins, ever again.

For Lola, life is good. She has a part-time job at a movie theater and she knows her boyfriend Max is the one. Life could be better. Her parents could accept Max instead of continuing their weekly Sunday brunch plans that involve an interrogation session. But things go quickly from good to bad when Lola’s birth mother comes back into her life. Just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, they do. The Bells move back into their house and the twins, Calliope and Cricket come with them. Calliope, a hopeful Olympic ice skater returns to her old coach and Cricket starts college at Berkeley. Lola still carries a grudge about the time Cricket, whom she had a huge crush on, rejects her and then moves away.

Running into the Bell twins is inevitable, especially since Lola’s bedroom window looks out at Cricket’s. Still hurt from his rejection two years earlier, Lola is shocked when Cricket asks her out for a date every night for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t help when Max overhears and becomes jealous. Lola soon finds her heart and mind pulled in two different directions; the boy she thinks is the one and the boy who was her first love. Join Lola on her heart wrenching journey of self-discovery as she learns just what it truly means to be in love.

Lola is a companion book to Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and Etienne make several appearances as Lola and Anna are coworkers at the movie theater and Etienne and Cricket live in the same dorm at Berkeley. Etienne imparts some of his relationship wisdom to a struggling Lola. Perkins gives a little insight into Anna and Etienne’s relationship for those readers who fell in love with these two characters as I did.

Isla and the Happily Ever After will be published in the Fall of 2012.

Visit Stephanie Perkins' website.

Crave by Melissa Darnell

At recess in the fourth grade, Savannah Colbert pretended to marry Tristan Coleman in a mock ceremony on the school playground. The next day, Tristan and all of the other Clann kids turn their backs on her and refuse to have anything to do with her. For the past five years, Savannah has tried to ignore the bullying by the Clann kids and make new friends. Even though Savannah’s mother and grandmother warn Savannah to stay away from Tristan, she finds herself inexplicitly drawn to him.

Tristan, the son of the ruling head of the Clann, is strictly forbidden to even speak to Savannah. When she becomes ill in their Algebra class, Tristan fights to stay away from her. Savannah’s absence from school for the week nearly drives him insane with worry. When Savannah is well enough to return to school, Tristan finds that he is not the only person to notice the physical changes in her. Boys begin to swarm around her whether she wants them to or not and Tristan cannot help but be near and protect her.

Sick for the first time in her life, Savannah is shocked to awaken after five days of being unconscious to find not only her mother and grandmother standing over her but her father who has been out of the picture most of her life. Even more unsettling to Savannah is when her parents fill her in on her true heritage and why it has been kept a secret from her until now. Her father is a vampire who wasn’t supposed to be able to father children and her mother a witch who use to be a member of the Clann. Savannah realizes she really is a freak and both the Vampire Council and the Clann fear that she will join the opposite side. She will not be trained in magic and must watch for any blood lust she might have.

Nervous about returning to school, Savannah’s physical changes immediately cause problems. When she unwittingly meets the eyes of three boys from her Algebra class, they are struck by her “gaze daze” and become enamored with her. Unfortunately they literally become stalkers. Savannah is no longer able to trust the feelings of any boy she encounters. When Tristan can no longer fight his attraction to her, despite the Clann’s ruling of no contact with Savannah. She is not sure whether or not to trust his feelings. Is he under her “gaze daze” spell like the others or are his feelings genuine?

Which side will win out in Savannah; vampire or witch? Will she be able to trust Tristan’s feelings and finally be able to reciprocate? What is the connection between Savannah and Tristan? What happens when the Clann and Vampire Council discover Savannah and Tristan’s true feelings for one another? And what will happen when Tristan discovers the truth about Savannah?

Told in alternating viewpoints between Savannah and Tristan, readers are not kept in the dark about the true feelings simmering between this Romeo and Juliet pairing. Darnell leaves quite a cliffhanger at the end to set up the next book, Covet, in the trilogy that will wrap up in 2013 with Consume.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Nikki Beckett was at the depths of despair last spring. Her mother was dead at the hands of a drunk driver and she had broken up with her boyfriend, Jack Caputo, the starting quarterback of the football team. So when she meets Cole and he offers to take all of her pain away, she is grateful not to feel anything anymore. To her friends and family, Nikki just vanishes one day. In reality, Cole, an immortal who feeds on human emotions, has taken Nikki to the Everneath. After Cole feeds on Nikki’s despairing emotions for six months, a century in Everneath time, he offers to make Nikki an immortal as well. Only she cannot get a boy’s face from her mind. She asks to go back to the mortal world. She will have six months to make things right with those she left behind before returning to Everneath permanently.

Everyone is stunned when Nikki returns home. Her father and most of her classmates assume she was strung out on drugs. Her little brother Tommy just wants his old sister back, but Nikki is physically weakened by her ordeal. Upon returning to school, she runs into her best friend Jules and her former boyfriend and the love of her life, Jack. Nikki cannot help but be drawn back towards Jack but she knows she won’t be able to stay it’s not fair to him to become involved again. Nikki is searching for the words to say goodbye and find redemption if it exists.Jack is determined not to let Nikki slip away again if he can help it and reaches out to her. Nikki finds her resolve slowly slipping away until Cole comes back into her life. Even though Nikki must return to Everneath, Cole offers to make Nikki his queen so that she can escape the dreaded existence in the Tunnels. Nikki is unwilling to feed off the emotional pain of others and steadfastly refuses. But when Cole puts pressure on her by hurting those she loves, Nikki is determined to uncover the secrets of Everneath, Cole and possibly find a way to remain in the mortal world.

Nikki’s father, the town mayor, decides she can volunteer at the local soup kitchen. She agrees thinking it may be a way to redemption. It is there that she meets Mary, a homeless woman who sees to have dementia. Mary is said to be looking for the Daughters of Persephone and Nikki starts to believe that Mary may hold the key to getting her life back.

Can Nikki find a way to keep from returning to Everneath? What secrets is Cole hiding? Will Nikki find her way back to Jack? And is redemption a possibility for Nikki?

Nikki’s story is told in alternating timelines of what happened in her life to allow Cole to Feed from her and what occurs in the six months she has left on Earth before returning to the Everneath forever. This modern day retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth is interspersed with other myths about the underworld. Ashton sets up a great beginning to her Everneath trilogy.

Visit Brodi Ashton's website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Unearthly yet, STOP! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

Clara Gardner, part-angel, had a purpose on Earth to fulfill, just like all angel bloods. Only instead of completing her task, she runs into a fallen angel who takes her on a five minute trip to Hell and tries to kill her mother. Clara is able to fight him off using her glory, a holy light, and rushes off to save a boy from a forest fire, just like in her vision. Only Clara rushes off to save her boyfriend, Tucker Avery, instead of Christian Prescott, the boy from her vision. When Tucker is safe, Clara goes to the forest from her vision to find out that it has already been destroyed by the fire. Distraught, Clara soon discovers that Christian didn’t need to be saved since he is part angel as well.

Hallowed picks up five days after the events in the conclusion of Unearthly with Clara and Tucker back at the sight of the first forest fire looking for signs of his horse, Midas. Clara is becoming increasingly torn between her love for Tucker and her growing feelings for Christian, who is not who she originally thought he was. To add to her complicated feelings, she realizes that her purpose on Earth is not straightforward like she thought. Soon Clara begins to have a new vision and someone important in her life is not there, it seems to be their funeral.

Join Clara on her continuing journey of self-discovery that is filled with shocking twists and provides some much needed background information for her to make some major decisions and her purpose on Earth and the future.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Reverie is the enclosed pod city that is home to Aria and her geneticist mother, Lumina. Like most Dwellers, Aria enjoys spending all of her time with friends in the Realms, virtual environments that are accessed through devices that fit over the left eye known as Smarteyes. When Aria’s mother takes a work assignment at another pod called Bliss, they are separated and keep in touch by meeting in the Realms. When one week goes by without any word from Bliss, Aria becomes desperate. She and her friend Paisley agree to meet up with the ever popular Soren and two of his friends for a night of fun. Soren’s father, Counsel Hess, is a ruling member of Reverie and Aria hopes to get Soren alone to pump him for information about Bliss. Unfortunately, Soren’s night of fun involves breaking numerous laws. They turn off their Smarteyes and go into the Unknown. When Soren decides to create fire, Aria knows she is in over her head. She and Paisley fail to escape and the fire is soon out of control, just like the boys. When all hope is lost, a stranger from the Outside comes to Aria’s aid.

Perry left his encampment due to a fight with his older brother Vale, the tribe’s Blood Lord. He disagrees with his brother’s leadership and thinks the tribe should move elsewhere to escape the increasing and destructive Aether storms that threaten their existence. An outsider amongst his tribe, Perry possesses uncanny abilities to sense food, danger and even human emotions. He only stays and doesn’t challenge his brother because of his nephew. Left motherless after her death, Perry is able to sense that his nephew’s time is also limited. Perry returns to his tribe after venturing to where the Dwellers live. While there, he has a fight with a boy and rescues a girl from a fire. He places her in an airlock where she will be found safe. Perry leaves with an apple and the girl’s Smarteye.

Aria awakes in a medical unit where she learns Paisley has died. Soon she is brought before Counsel Hess to testify about the fire. He thanks her for her testimony and is promised to be reunited with her mother in Bliss. She quickly boards a hover but soon finds that she is dumped in the outside world, known as The Death Shop. She is being punished for a crime she did not commit. Alone, Aria knows her death is imminent. She begins to walk across the desert.

Perry takes his nephew Talon hunting and to give him the apple. While out, two hovers approach. Perry easily takes out one but men from the second soon overpower him. They demand he give them the Smarteye. He resists but only until they threaten Talon. While attacking one man, another grabs Talon, takes him to the hover and leaves. Perry is devastated. After a confrontation with Vale and the tribe, Perry leaves. He is crossing the desert when he senses a Dweller in danger and realizes it is the same girl from the pod, Aria. Neither trusts the other but an unlikely alliance is waged when each realizes they need the other. Aria needs Percy’s help if she is going to survive and Percy needs Aria’s assistance if he hopes to rescue Talon.

Can Aria and Perry bridge their uneasy alliance in order to work together? What has really happened to Aria’s mother? Will Aria find her way back to reverie and regain acceptance? Can Perry rescue Talon from the Dwellers and why did they want him in the first place? And what happens when opposites attract?

Told in alteranting points of view between Aria and Perry, readers gain insight into each main character. The book does start off slow at first but the reader will be quickly sucked in.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles book one)

In this futuristic retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale, Cinder is a gifted mechanic who is also a cyborg. Adopted be her stepfather while he was on a trip in Europe, he died from the plague before they could get back home to New Beijing. Cinder lives in an apartment with her stepmother/guardian Adri and her two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder supports the family be working as a mechanic in the market. It is in her stall that Cinder encounters Prince Kai when he comes looking to find the best mechanic in the city to work on his personal android. Cinder does her best not to become flustered by his attentiveness and hides the fact that she is a cyborg. After the prince leaves, panic breaks out in the market when the baker realizes that she is infected by the plague. Cinder hides in her stall until the coast is clear before heading back towards the apartment.
When Cinder arrives home, she finds that Adri has hired a seamstress to make new ball gowns for Pearl and Peony. Adri tells Cinder that if she is able to repair the magbelt that she might see about getting a gown for Cinder. Cinder knows she is lying but doesn’t let on. Instead she heads to her basement workshop to deposit Prince Kai’s broken android. It is here that Peony finds her and offers to accompany her to the landfill to look for the necessary parts. The girls head off and find what they need. The evening turns to tragedy when Cinder notices that Peony has the telltale signs of the plague. The med droids arrive to take Peony to quarantine and Cinder eventually heads back to the apartment. When Cinder arrives home, she finds her stepmother and several droids waiting. Cinder tells them she has no sign if the disease but Adri informs her that she has signed the papers for her to become a cyborg volunteer for research to find a cure for the plague.

Cinder is taken against her will where she is injected with the plague antibodies instead of getting sick. The doctor is awestruck as he watches Cinder’s body fight off the antibodies before she is given the experimental drugs. In the meantime, Emperor Rikan lies dying from the plague at the palace. Prince Kai knows that within the week he will become emperor whether he wants to or not. New Beijing is dealing not only with the plague crisis, but with the continuing threats from Queen Levana of Lunar. When the emperor dies, Queen Levana announces she is coming to visit New Beijing and continue their negotiations in person.

Why is Cinder immune to the plague? Can a cure be found in time to save Peony? What exactly is the mystery behind Cinder’ origins? Will Prince Kai discover that Cinder is a cyborg? What are Queen Levana’s true intentions? And what happens when Queen Levana lays eyes on Cinder?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“Every other day, I was human. Every other day, I was not.”

Kali D’Angelo had lived with her father, Professor Armand D’Angelo, since her mother left when she was three. With her mother’s departure, Kali is at a loss as to what she really is. Every other day, Kali is human; a high school student who attends pep rallies and is aloof. Every other day, she becomes a demon hunter with the uncontrollable desire to hunt down hellhounds and other demons. Kali is always counting down the time until she becomes something other than human.

Kali is currently attending Heritage High School, home of the krakens, at the insistence of her father whose new boss sends his daughter to as well. Attempting to make herself inconspicuous, she sits on the back row of the gym. Muttering to herself whole her fellow students cheer, Kali is surprised that she has drawn the attention of Skylar Hayden. Skylar introduces herself as the school slut, a name the popular clique of girls has bestowed upon her. Kali isn’t looking to make friends but finds herself drawn to Skylar’s little group of friends. 

While eating lunch with Skylar and the gang, Skylar’s brother’s Elliot comes over with his popular cheerleader girlfriend. Kali realizes the girlfriend is none other than Bethany Davis, the daughter of her father’s boss. Kali notices the mark of the ouroboros on Bethany’s skin. Hoping it’s just a tattoo, Kali knows that it really the mark of a chupacabra who feeds on a person’s blood and memories until death occurs. Kali decides that if she can get the chupacabra to leave Bethany’s body for hers and survive until dawn as a human, her nonhuman body can destroy it.

Things don’t always go according to plan and Kali is quickly in over her head. With the help of her new unlikely friends, Bethany and Skylar, they race against time to find a way to destroy the chupacabra before it kills Kali. Along the way, the trio uncovers a few secrets about Kali’s condition and discovers the true meaning of friendship.

Visit Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ website.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Two hundred and twenty-three years after the Revolution of Sovereigns, Queen Sabara is eighty-one years into her reign. She is failing but there is no suitable female heir to take her place. The country of Ludania is in turmoil with rebel forces advancing on the capital daily. Refuges are straining the city’s resources and Queen Sabara is looking for The One, the survivor to the old throne before the Revolution, the lost heir to take her place.

The citizens of Ludania are strictly divided by class and the language they speak. If you look someone of a higher class in the eye while speaking their class language is an offense punishable by death. For seventeen-year-old Charlaina “Charlie” Hart, a member of the merchant class, she has spent her entire life hiding a secret that if known, will cause her death. She has the ability to understand all languages, even those she has never heard before. Working in her family’s restaurant one night, a political family comes in and sits at one of her tables. The daughter is the same girl who makes fun of Charlie on her way to school in the merchant’s language. She doesn’t realize Charlie can understand her until Charlie slips up while taking their order. A ruckus ensues in the restaurant as Charlie’s friend Brooklynn and the three gentlemen she is serving look on. The girl is calmed down and her parents apologize. Charlie goes to the kitchen to collect her wits and steel herself for her father’s disapproval.

Brooklynn talks Charlie into going to an underground club the three guys at her table tell her about. Charlie agrees to give her father some time. He ended up being more distraught than she had over the possible outcome. Once inside the club, Brook goes to do her thing, flirting with guys and soon she finds two of the three guys from her table. The one who wouldn’t pay Brook any attention is focusing all of his on Charlie. He tells her his name is Max. Charlie becomes unnerved when his two companions begin talking about Brook in a language she shouldn’t understand and their words are not nice. Charlie is desperate to keep Brook from learning her secret and the real reason she wants to leave, but Max seems to realize Charlie’s abilities. Charlie finally convinces Brook to leave much to her dismay.

Charlie soon finds her thoughts straying to Max even though she shouldn’t and he seems close to uncovering her secret. She is torn be her physical and emotional attraction to him but can’t seem to get past the mystery surrounding him. But when tensions rise and the threats of an invasion become imminent, Charlie is forced to put not only her life, but that of her mute younger sister into Max’s hands.

Why is Charlie blessed/cursed with the ability to understand not only languages but the inflections of voices as well? Why has her sister never spoken and what secret ability does she hide as well? What secret is Max hiding and why? And will Queen Sabara find a suitable heir before it’s too late?

Join Charlie on her harrowing adventure in Kimberly Derting’s new trilogy. I for one cannot wait to see what else she has in store for Charlie.

Visit Kimberly Derting's website.

Twilight : The Graphic Novel, Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim, illustrator

In this is the concluding volume, Young Kim wraps up Stephenie Meyer's first book, Twilight. Once again, the graphic novel version follows the novel. Drawings are mainly black and white but does include subtle hints of color. I thoroughly enjoy the graphic novel versions more than the film and love how the pictures bring one of my favorite books to life.

No word yet as to whether Ms. Kim will bring any other books in the Twilight Saga to life.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Caster Chronicles book 3)

“This summer had changed everything, in both the Caster and Mortal worlds, even if the folks in Gatlin didn’t know it.”

SPOLIER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the Caster Chronicles, STOP! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

When Lena’s mother Sarafine forced the Seventeenth Moon, Lena claimed herself both Light and Dark and split the Moon. A crack in the Order of Things occurred after a battle between the Casters and Demons and everything changed in the Caster and Mortal worlds. Ethan Wate once found Gatlin, South Carolina confining and couldn’t wait to leave. Now Lena has come back to him, but the End of Days has started.

As Mrs. Lincoln fears, the Apocalypse has arrived in Gatlin. Scorching heat and an infestation of lubbar grasshoppers have devastated the landscape. The powers of the Casters are out of control, but Ethan and Lena are together once again. Link is dealing with his transformation into the Linkubus and is taking lessons from Macon Ravenwood deep in the tunnels. Ridley is having a difficult time adjusting to her new mortal existence and Link’s newfound popularity with the ladies. Amma is visiting voodoo priest in New Orleans and making deals with the devil himself. And Ethan’s father decides to write a new Civil War book with the help of Mrs. English, Ethan’s English teacher and the title, Eighteenth Moon. All is not right in Gatlin.

Lena and Ethan are attempting to right all of the wrongs caused by her Claiming before Gatlin ceases to exist. Heading into the tunnels to visit Macon, Lena and Ethan overhear a conversation between Macon and Olivia, the former keeper apprentice to Marion Ashcroft, the town’s librarian and the Caster Keeper. They are discussing their research into the parentage of John Breed, the Dark Caster/Incubus hybrid. It is a conversation Lena wishes she had not overheard. In the meantime, Ethan seems to be losing himself slowly, even forgetting his phone number.

Who and what exactly is John Breed? What is the purpose of his existence and who is responsible? What is causing Ethan’s memory loss? What is Lena discovering about her mother? Can Lena and Ethan survive the latest trials to their relationship? Join Ethan and Lena on their journey to not only save Gatlin, but themselves.

Visit the Beautiful Creatures website.

Dream Dark

An eBook short story that gives a quick glimpse into the life of Wesley Lincoln, who now calls himself the Linkubus since he was bitten by John Breed at the end of Beautiful Darkness. He is on a mission to deliver a message for Macon Ravenwood.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush book 3)

“When silence is all that’s left, can the truth finally be heard?”

SPOLIER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, Hush, Hush and Crescendo, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

When Nora Grey awakens in the Coldwater city cemetery, she cannot remember how she got there. When she is spotted by a security officer, he becomes of the reward being offered by Hank Millar for her return. When Detective Basso finally gets her cornered, Nora is shocked to hear she has been missing for the past eleven weeks. No one has heard from her since she disappeared from the Delphic Amusement Park on June 21, the summer solstice. She is even more stupefied to learn it is now September. Nora doesn’t remember anything about the summer or her seventeenth birthday. In fact, she cannot recall anything since April.

Nora attempts to get back to her old life but everyone else’s life continued while she was missing. She becomes increasingly frustrated when everyone around her, including her best friend Vee, treats her with kid gloves. As she slowly attempts to piece together what happened at the amusement park, Nora’s memories keep flashing back to the color black. When her mother breaks the news that while she was missing, she started dating Hank Millar, the father of her sworn enemy Marcie, Nora is downright nasty to her mother and Hank before they go out to dinner one night. When their party unexpectedly runs on to Marcie and her mother at the restaurant, Marcie holds nothing back with her father. Nora announces she is going to the restroom and Marcie follows her. While their parents are dating, Marcie calls a truce. She then asks if Nora really has amnesia or if she is faking. Nora says she is not and Marcie slyly asks if she doesn’t remember anything that happened between them, then it didn’t happen. Marcie then blurts out that she must not remember Patch. The name brings up a memory of the color black before vanishing, but nothing familiar remains. Marcie asks for her necklace back but Nora doesn’t remember that either.

Nora runs from the restaurant without her cell phone or jacket and comes to a 7-Eleven where she can call Vee to come pick her up. The store is mysteriously empty and she leaves to call 911 from a pay phone when she is stopped by a guy slightly older than herself. He gives Nora the opportunity to leave but she stupidly decides to play the Good Samaritan. Caught in the middle of a fight between Nephilim and Fallen Angels, Nora’s life is in danger. When a dark and mysterious guy named Jev comes to her rescue, a spark of recognition flickers in Nora’s mind that she knows him. He gets her away from the scene and out of danger. Nora has a flashback/dream sequence when she sees a conversation between Jev and Hank and wakes up on the side of the road. She walks to a store, calls a cab and goes home.

What exactly happened to Nora Gray between June 21 and the first of September when she finds herself in the city cemetery? Why is Hank Millar dating her mother and what are his motives? Can long-standing enemy Marcie really be trusted or is she playing by her own agenda? Why has someone wiped Nora’s memories not only of the time she was held captive but the weeks leading to the incident at the Delphic Amusement Park? Who is this mysterious Jev and why does Nora feel a connection? What significance does the necklace Marcie wants returned hold? And why is everyone keeping things from Nora, like the fact that Patch was her boyfriend?

If it has been awhile since you have read Crescendo and forgot some of the details, don’t fret. Join Nora on her journey to recovering her lost memories and attempt to find her way back to the love of her life.

The author has announces that there will be a fourth book published in the Hush, Hush saga in the fall of 2012. Hush, Hush the Graphic Novel will be published on November 8, 2011.

Visit Becca Fitzpatrick’s website.
Visit FallenArchangel, the official fan site for the series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel

“The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.”

When sixteen-year-old twins Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are rough housing with their distant cousin, Elizabeth Lavenza, in the library, they unwittingly discover a secret passageway hidden behind a bookcase. The trio is delighted to find a passage they had yet to explore. Fetching a candlestick, they begin to explore the broad square shaft by going down the stairs. Part of the way down, they come across a door. Instead of a handle, there is a hole with the words, “Enter only with a friend’s welcome.” Victor is curious to see what’s behind the locked door and slips his hand into the hole where something immediately grabs it. Elizabeth decides to go for help but discovers the exit to the library closed. Victor panics to free himself but Elizabeth realizes that the saying above the door is actually a riddle and to open the door, Victor must shake hands as if greeting a friend. He does and his hand is freed when the door swings open. Inside they find a library that looks like it hasn’t been used since Wilhelm Frankenstein built the chateau 300 years earlier. Konrad and Elizabeth want to leave but Victor is intrigued by the books and wants to stay. They are soon discovered by their father. He tells them the history of Wilhelm and his Biblioteka Obscura or Dark Library. Wilhelm was an alchemist who tried to find the forbidden Elixir of Life before mysteriously disappearing at the age of 43. Victor is even more intrigued by the library but their father makes them promise never to speak of the library or return again. Victor is deeply disappointed.

When Konrad falls ill, the Frankenstein’s bring in several doctors. No one can determine the cause of his illness and Victor becomes distraught over the “loss” of his brother. When he inadvertently overhears his mother and Maria the housekeeper talking about Konrad’s condition, Victor picks up the word alchemy. He begins to think that maybe the Dark Library may hold the answer to cure his brother. Victor enlists the help of Elizabeth and their friend Henry to sneak back into the Dark Library to look for answers. They find a recipe for the Elixir of Life but it is written in code. They locate a book that contains the cipher for the code, but it has been badly damaged by fire. Victor decides to approach Maria to see if she will tell him what she mentioned to his mother. Victor goes to Maria and asks her what she meant by using alchemy. Hesitant at first, Maria tells Victor about an alchemist who cured a general’s daughter when no one else could. Victor knows his father Alphonse “cannot bear talk of alchemy.” He pressures Maria and she tearfully gives him the alchemist’s name, Julius Polidori. Victor has never heard of him and questions whether he still resides in Geneva. Maria doesn’t know but suggests that he find out.

The next morning, the trio convince Victor’s father to allow them to join him in going to Geneva under the pretense of touring the city as part of their schooling. City Hall and the outlying apothecary shops yield no traces of anyone named Polidori. After scouring newspaper accounts of the incident that Maria recalled, Elizabeth finds the article that mentions Julius Polidori of Wollstonekraft Alley. They find what appears to be Polidori’s shop in a state of disrepair. The threesome become even more alarmed when Mr. Polidori appears to be wheelchair bound. He asks if they are in need of some medicine and Elizabeth states they are searching for the Elixir of Life. He bids them good day but stops when Victor pulls out the Occulta Philosophia. Polidori tells them that both the book and the elixir are nothing but grand delusions and tells them of the path his life took after the general’s daughter was cured. Consequently the elixir worked for some but not for all. When a wealthy merchant’s wife died after taking it, he was brought before a magistrate who forbade him from making the elixir ever again. The magistrate turned out to be Victor’s father. The merchant vowed vengeance and Polidori survived a fall only to be paralyzed from the waist down.

When Polidori finds out that Victor also has The Archidoxes of Magic, which contains the elixir’s cipher, he is immediately intrigued and offers to help repair the fire-damaged book. In the meantime, a young doctor by the name of Murnau has arrived at the Chateau from the university to see if he can determine what ails Konrad. He is engrossed by Dr. Murnau’s laboratory of needles, flaks and a microscope with which he studies Konrad’s blood. Murnau realizes something is terribly wrong with Konrad. He tells the Frankensteins that after a few days of preparing the necessary treatment, he will slowly inject it into Konrad’s veins over the course of a week. In the meantime, the threesome begins gathering the necessary ingredients that Polidari needs to replicate the Elixir of Life.

Can Konrad’s life be saved? Will it be modern medicine or ancient alchemy? Is Polidori to be trusted? And what happens when a bitter love triangle is uncovered? Join young Victor Frankenstein on a life-altering quest to replicate the Elixir of Life in an attempt to save his twin brother’s life.

Check out Kenneth Oppel’s spine-chilling and climatic prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It might make you want to pick up the original story. Book two in the series, Such Wicked Intent is due out in August 2012.

Visit Kenneth Oppel’s website. Be sure to check out Victor Frankentein’s sketchbook.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book One - Raised by Wolves
Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare is a fifteen-year-old human who carries the Mark, a scar that ties her to Callum, the alpha wolf and his pack. A human member of the pack since the age of four when she was found by Callum after a rabid werewolf killed her parents. Bryn struggles with keeping her human identity and being a member of the pack. Besides Callum, Bryn only feels accepted by Ali, her human adopted/foster mother, and her best friend Devon, a rare purebred werewolf. The other members of the pack are under direct orders from Callum not to harm her.

When Callum comes to Bryn in her garage studio/sanctuary, it’s not good news. After discussing school, he tells her that she must abide by her curfew, which is dusk and in the winter, incredibly early. He lets her know there is unease in the pack and he wants her safe. Since she doesn’t want to play by the rules, he has assigned a team to watch over her. Bryn is not happy. At home, a very pregnant Ali tells Bryn to drop it and leave pack business to the pack. For the past eleven years, Ali has shielded Bryn from the pack hierarchies and stood up for her against the pack. As a human pregnant with a werewolf, Ali more than likely will not survive the birth. With this knowledge hanging over her head, Bryn tells Ali she will drop the matter. As the week goes on, Bryn comes to realize that the pack doesn’t just want her safe; they want her kept in the dark as well.

Bryn tries unsuccessfully to pry some information out of Devon. When Ali goes into labor, Bryn is on edge and if she cannot be by her side, she is going to leave the house. She sneaks out and decides to head to Callum’s house. When she is discovered by Marcus who doesn’t like either Ali or Bryn, she fibs and says Callum is hurt and needs help. Marcus leaves but Devon’s mother Sora realizes Bryn is lying. Sora ties up Bryn and leaves to head off Marcus and keep Ali out of any more danger than she is already in. While restrained, Bryn hears someone screaming and then the words come. “Is somebody up there? Please, please, help me. Ca n you hear me? Can anybody hear me?” They are coming from Callum’s basement. Bryn manages to free herself and she knows she shouldn’t, but soon she is descending into the basement.

First thing Bryn notices are the cages, lots and lots of cages. She doesn’t realize she has her back to the caged person until he speaks. She is surprised to see that it is a boy her age and she immediately sees that he is a werewolf but not a member of Callum’s pack. He introduces himself as Chase and tells Bryn that Callum was supposed to let him out at nightfall. Bryn lets Chase know that he is busy with pack business. Chase tells her that Callum believes he is adjusting to his situation well since he got bit just a month earlier. Bryn is sent reeling by Chase’s words, “I got bit” and suddenly changes into his wolf form. She realizes she shouldn’t be there but is floored by Chase’s confession. Werewolves are born and for Chase to be changed a pack alpha would have to be present to forge the bond and no one could survive the attack it would take to change someone. Yet Chase is standing in front of Bryn. Her mind keeps flashing back to the attack that killed her family, even though she can only recall snippets of the event. Callum finds her and offers comfort. He lets Bryn know that Ali is fine and that she gave birth to twins. Bryn is relieved but unsettled that a Rabin werewolf is on the loose.

Bryn feels a draw to Chase and she needs to see him again. They are both survivors of a rabid werewolf attack and she needs answers about her past. Callum agrees to let Bryn see Chase but only after she meets certain conditions set forth by him. Three members of the pack will act as chaperones/bodyguards and Bryn must yield to their dominance. Lastly Bryn must open her bond to the pack and become one of them. She agrees because she wants her memories back and to know that the Rabid who bit Chase is dead, just like the one who killed her parents are. Over the next several months, Bryn fulfills her conditions that Callum placed and integrates herself into the pack. She is pleasantly surprised when Callum lets her meet Chase. Bryn becomes frustrated when her chaperones deny them the opportunity to talk about their attacks. She soon realizes that the two of them are able to talk in each other’s minds. Even though Callum has made Chase part of their pack, everyone in the room is floored when Chase struggles to keep from changing. Not only has he been marked by Callum but he also carries the mark if the Rabid who bit him. As Bryn is pulled from the room and Chase is restrained, he answers one final question in Bryn’s mind. “You asked what I liked, before. Before, I loved cars, Yeats, having a bedroom that locked from the inside, and you.” Bryn is stunned and answers back, “You didn’t even know me then.”

Why does Bryn feel this sudden pull towards Chase, a boy she has never met? What is their connection and how deep does it run? Has Callum been truthful to Bryn or is he keeping secrets from her? Who is the rabid werewolf? And what transpires when the Alpha Senate becomes involved? Join Bryn on her adventure of self-discovery as she realizes her role in the pack.

Book Two - Trial by Fire
Nine months have transpired since the conclusion of Raised by Wolves. Bryn and the wolves of the Cedar Ridge pack are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving, werewolf style. Steaks are the main course. Tensions are already running high around the table when Ali’s ex, Casey, shows up for a visit. When Bryn and the pack smell a foreign wolf other than Casey, everyone is on full alert. With the young wolves, Ali and Casey in the kitchen; Bryn, Mitch, Lake, Devon and Chase are left to confront whoever is at the door. Putting all of her fears for her safety behind when she smells blood, Bryn makes Mitch open the door. She is horrified to see a wolf near her age bleeding on the doorstep. Lucas has been brutally beaten within an inch of his life. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, Devon informs Bryn that he belongs to the Snake Bend pack, who’s Alpha is Shay. Shay is Devon’s older brother and Bryn’s biggest enemy.

When Lucas has recovered enough for Bryn to visit, he informs her that he wants to transfer packs. Shay is a brutal Alpha who no doubt will kill him if her returns. Mitch lets her know that claiming another Alpha’s wolf without permission is considered a declaration of war. It’s a war that Shay already desires. As an Alpha, Bryn is up against her toughest and gut wrenching decision yet. Does she send Lucas back to a brutal and cruel Alpha or risk her pack’s safety for one stranger? Is Lucas telling the Cedar Ridge pack the truth or is he there under sinister circumstances? Will Shay see Lucas’ defection as the perfect opportunity to exact revenge against Bryn? What happens when Shay turns out not to be the pack’s biggest threat? And who can Bryn trust when she needs help the most?

The conclusion to the Raised by Wolves trilogy is Taken by Storm is due out in June 2012.

Visit Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ website.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief - Book One

When twelve-year-old Percy Jackson learns that his father is actually Poseidon, god of the sea, and that several other gods of Mount Olympus are unhappy about that, he takes refuge at Camp Half-Blood. Here he learns more about his half-boy, half-god heritage and a few skills before he must embark on a quest to find Zeus' master lightning bolt. On a cross-country quest with his friends Grover, a satyr and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, their mission takes them to Los Angelos, home of Hades and the Underworld. Can they find the master lightning bolt and prevent World War III on Mount Olympus before the Summer Solstice? Will Percy be able to save everyone he loves? And will he finally meet his father?


The graphic novel version of the novel leaves out some of the smaller parts and background infromation, but does follow the original story.

The Sea of Monsters - Book Two

Percy's seventh-grade year was surprisingly quiet until a game of dodgeball unearths a gang of cannibal giants. Things get worse with the unexpected arrival of Annabeth who bears bad news. Thalia's tree at Camp Half Blood was poisoned and the safety of the camp is in danger. Can Percy and the gang complete their quest in time to save Camp Half Blood? What will Percy think when he meets his previously unknown half brother? Hilarity once again ensues wherer Percy is concerned but readers will be shocked by the twist at the end.

The Titan’s Curse - Book Three

When Percy receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he must rely on his mother to drive him, Annabeth and Thalia to Maine to help him out. Upon their arrival, they are stunned to learn that Grover has discovered not one but two half-bloods, sister and brother Bianca and Nico di Angelo. The di Angelos have no idea that they are demigods and the escape from Westover Hall doesn’t fair well for all of them. Soon our young heroes learn that Kronos, the Titan lord, has set his most devious trap yet and Percy and the gang have unwillingly fallen prey.

The Battle of the Labyrinth - Book Four

When Percy goes to Freshmen orientation in June at Goode High School, the last person he expected to run into was Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Unfortunately the two also encounter two empousai and a brief battle entails that is interrupted by Percy’s mother’s boyfriend, Paul Blofis. Fleeing from the school, Percy runs into Annabeth and tells him they must go to Camp Half-Blood immediately.

As Percy’s fifteenth birthday nears, the Titan Lord Kronos and his army are gathering strength and have the once impenetrable camp in their sights. When the campers begin putting the clues together, they realize that Luke is trying to enter the camp through the labyrinth and bypass its borders. It’s up to Percy, Annabeth and the gang to go on a quest through the labyrinth.

The Last Olympian - Book Five

It’s been one year since The Battle of the Labyrinth and Percy’s sixteenth birthday is one week away. After a flawed mission to destroy the Princess Andromeda, Percy finds himself for the first time in his father’s realm. Things are going very badly for the Olympians in their war against Kronos and his army. Percy is disappointed when his father sends him back to Camp Half-Blood instead of joining his army.

At camp, Percy finally gets to hear the prophecy surrounding his sixteenth birthday. He is shocked by what he hears but then receives even worse news. The mighty monster Typhon has escaped Mount St. Helens and is rampaging towards New York City and Mount Olympus. When Percy hears that the Gods are battling Typhon and Olympus is unprotected, he believes that it is a ploy of Kronos’ to destroy the Olympian gods once and for all.

Is Percy right about Kronos’ plan and can he convince his fellow demigods to join him on the fight? Can Olympus be saved? And who will survive in the conclusion of Percy’s tale?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Ultimate Guide by Mary-Jane Knight

A short, illustrated guide that highlights important people/Gods, places and events that transpire in the Percy Jackson series. Does contain some spoilers if you haven’t read the entire series yet.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

“Not everything is as sweet as it appears …”

As small children, Ansel, Gretchen and her twin sister venture further in the woods behind their house than they ever have before looking for the witch from a story they had read. Ansel didn’t believe in witches but his twin sisters did. When they realize that they are not alone. They take off running hand-in-hand. When Gretchen dares to look behind her, all she sees are yellow eyes. The three drop hands to run faster. As they reach their house panting, their parents scream, “Where is your sister?”

Twelve years have passed and Ansel is nineteen and Gretchen has just turned eighteen. Both of their parents have died and their step-mother tells them she no longer has an obligation to keep them on. With their meager belongings packed in the car, Ansel and Gretchen leave Washington State and head across the country to Folly’s Island, South Carolina. Unfortunately, their car breaks down just shy of their final destination in Live Oak. A town that is slowly dwindling, Ansel and Gretchen stick out like two sore thumbs. They soon have the pity of a kindly gentleman, Jed, who knows of someone in need of a handyman. Sophia Kelly is the town’s chocolatier who lives on the outskirts at the edge of the forest. Jed offers to take them to Miss Kelly’s place but not before a young man with green eyes comments, “Stay as far away from her as you can.”

Upon arriving at the candy shop, Gretchen sees that it looks like a gingerbread house, straight out of her imagination. Jed starts talking about it begin a spell and then she smells it, that sweet vanilla scent that makes Gretchen and Ansel think of their mother and lose all of their cares. It turns out that Sophia Kelly is a young, beautiful girl and Ansel is immediately smitten. While Ansel is working on the checklist, Gretchen follows Sophia into the candy kitchen where she tries Miss Kelly’s specialty and immediately gets an excitement rush. Soon Gretchen is spilling her guts and they tell each other their life stories. At the end of the day, Sophia invites Ansel and Gretchen to stay the night since they really have nowhere else to go. They reluctantly agree and before Gretchen can fall asleep, the warning of the green eyed young man echoes in her mind, “Stay away from her.”

Soon days turn into weeks and Ansel and Gretchen make new lives for themselves in Live Oak with Sophia Kelly. As Gretchen helps Sophia prepare for her annual chocolate festival for the young girls of the town, she begins to hear rumors of the young girls who have gone missing after Sophia’s festivals. The townspeople believe she talks them into leaving town. Ansel works up the courage to ask Sophia on a date and Gretchen offers to leave the house so that they can be alone. She reads on the front porch for a while before working up the courage to venture into the woods for a walk. She takes Sophia’s dog with her and soon they come across a creek. When Luxe cowers behind Gretchen and growls, she sees a man on the other side of the creek. She notices he has yellow eyes, she takes off running. He gives chase but she cannot tell at times if a man is chasing her or a large animal. When she escapes the woods, she turns and sees that a monster is now chasing her. As she is running down the road trying to escape, a shot rings out. Gretchen sees a real man standing over the body as it explodes to dust and disappears. He raises his gun at her and asks “Who are you?”

It turns out it is the green-eyed boy who gave her the warning about Sophia. He tells her that his name is Samuel Reynolds and that Gretchen’s witch is really a werewolf or Fenris. He is surprised when Gretchen tells him that one took her sister and she realizes the Fenris are responsible for the town’s missing girls. Samuel insists that Sophia is the only witch around but she disagrees. He retorts by saying remember that I warned you.

Who or what is Sophia Kelly? What has happened to the girls of Live oak? Who is Samuel Reynolds, town lunatic or Gretchen’s savior? Can Gretchen solve the mystery of the town’s missing girls before she becomes the next victim?

Join Jackson Pearce as she retells the classic fairy tale of “Hansel and Gretel”, her way. Sweetly is a companion book to Sisters Red. This is NOT a sequel but readers of Sisters Red will see notice where some previous knowledge is slipped in.

Visit Jackson Pearce's website.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

“Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story …”

Theseus Cassio Lowood, aka Cas, is a ghost killer, just like his father before him. Since his father’s death when he was just seven years old, it has been just Cas and his kitchen witch mother, a practicing a Wiccan who reads tarot cards, does aura cleansing over the phone and sells occult supplies online. They move across the country to wherever there is a ghost that needs killing. Their latest move is to Thunder Bay, Ontario and a date with a ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood.

Anna Karlov, aka Anna Dressed in Blood, was brutally murdered in 1958. No one ever discovered who or why. Anna was sixteen at the time and on her way to a school dance. She was nearly decapitated and the white party dress she wore was soaked in blood. She haunts the boarding house her mother ran and rumor has it she has killed 27 known people but no bodies have ever been found.

Ghost killing since the age of fourteen, Cas and his mother go to Thunder Bay based on a tip from Rudy “the Daisy” Bristol, a Goth kid from New Orleans. Cas’ first order of business is to get the attention of his new high school’s Queen Bee, Carmel Jones. By lunch, Cas has Carmel wrapped around his finger and garnered the wrath of her newly former boyfriend, Mike Andover and his gang of cronies. Carmel is Cas’ social and informational pipeline to the background scuttlebutt and teenage gossip he needs in order to find out about Anna before going to do her in. What Cas doesn’t count on is being followed by Thomas Sabin on his way home. Turns out that Thomas is telepathic and knows why Cas is in town. Cas assumes Thomas tipped off Daisy about Anna and he isn’t happy to learn that he has been played.

Cas goes with Carmel to the End of the World party traditionally held the night of the first day of school. He hopes to get her alone to learn more about Anna. Before he can get too much information out of her, they are interrupted by Mike and his gang who begin teasing Cas about his mother. He soon turns their attention back to hearing Anna’s story. To Carmel’s dislike, the two join Mike and his friends on a car trip to Anna’s house. Cas is thrilled to learn where Anna resides but soon finds his life in peril. Knocked out by a jealous Mike, Cas awakes inside Anna’s house. Before he can regain his footing, Anna descends the staircase. She is everything Cas imagined she would be but finds he is unable to escape. Fortunately Anna passes him by to Mike’s misfortune. Watching through the window, Mike soon finds himself in Anna’s clutches and literally torn in half. Cas finds himself being dragged from the house.

Cas wakes up to find that Thomas rescued him and took him back to his grandfather’s antique store. There he meets Morfran Starling Sabin, Thomas’s grandfather and he realizes that he is the one who tipped Daisy off. Cas is a little angry but Morfran soon explains that something is changing with Anna. He too is in tune with the dead but doesn’t elaborate. Anna has become stronger and killing people who she normally wouldn’t be bothered with. Both agree that Anna needs to be stopped but not before Cas does damage control with those who witnessed Mike’s death and learn more about what Anna has evolved into.

The plan is to perform a spell to learn how Anna died and how to stop her. They decided that Thomas will be the witch and Cas, Carmel and Mike’s friend Will round out the remaining four for the spell to work. Can the spell be performed without Anna killing one of them? How did Anna die and who killed her? Why is she bound to the house? What happens when one of the four goes rogue? Who is still killing the townspeople if it’s no longer Anna? Will Cas discover how and what killed his father? And can Cas make a life for himself if he desires?

Join Cas as he goes on a life altering journey as he learns more about himself. Cas’ story will be continued in book 2, Girl of Nightmares.

This book is really quite unlike anything currently being published. The story was refreshing bit of air and I loved that the text was in a blood red color a la Maggie Stiefvater Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you’d been promised to since birth and one unexpected violent attack made survival – not love – the issue?”

When the human race made survival on earth nearly impossible, two spaceships, launched one year apart, are headed towards New Earth to repopulate. The residents of the New Horizon were mostly Christian while the Empyrean housed the heathen population. Forty-three years into the mission, the New Horizon struggles with infertility and no children have been born since leaving Earth. Its sister ship solved the fertility issue and has an entire generation in training to take over. But when one ship’s crew is determined to populate New Earth with their beliefs, lives become endangered.

The residents of the Empyrean are initially excited when they spot the New Horizon through their windows. When questions to Captain Jones about the other ship’s unexpected arrival go unanswered, the ship’s mood quickly turns to fear. Sixteen-year-old Kieran Alden is the Captain’s favorite. He was the first child born aboard the Empyrean. His parents are concerned with the New Horizon’s sudden appearance but Kieran has other things more pressing on his mind. He has met Waverly Marshall in the ship’s orchard. Fifteen-year-old Waverly is the ship’s oldest female and Kieran’s girlfriend. A relationship between the two of them was expected by most everyone aboard the ship even though Kieran’s family is one of the few Christians on board. When Kieran proposes, Waverly is taken aback. She feels that she is too young to make a commitment and become a mother even though having children is essential to their mission. Kieran would do anything Waverly asked him to. But Waverly also holds a soft spot in her heart for the sullen and unpopular Seth Ardvale.

Panic ensues when some of the crew from the New Horizon forcibly enters the Empyrean. Some of the Empyrean adults are immediately killed and Waverly gathers all of the children in the auditorium. The invaders make their way to the children and separate the girls from the boys. The New Horizon members leave the boys behind and take the girls to a shuttle. Another skirmish breaks out when the remaining adults try and stop the shuttle from leaving. Waverly watches in horror as the crew of the New Horizon continues to shoot but one man offers her a choice; come aboard the shuttle or the shooting will continue and takes aim at Kieran. As she backs aboard the shuttle, Seth begs her not to and she makes eye contact. Kieran notices and both boys are devastated.

Why has the New Horizon attacked the Empyrean if their missions are the same? What has happened to the missing parents? Why were only the girls taken and for what purpose? And what happens when the Empyrean’s engines have a nuclear meltdown?

Join the adventure as the boys are separated from the girls and survival not love becomes the issue. Broken into parts, the reader is left hanging as to what happens to one group while the other group begins their story. Readers will be left hanging at the end eagerly awaiting book two in the series.

Visit Amy Kathleen Ryan's website.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Prized by Caragh O'Brien (Birthmarked book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Birthmarked, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

A couple of weeks have passed since the climatic ending of Birthmarked. Gaia Stone and her newborn sister, Maya, are traveling to the dead forest in search her grandmother, Dani Orien. With both of her parents dead, her brother missing and Gaia herself a wanted girl. She flees the Enclave and Leon in hopes of securing her freedom. But when the formula for Maya runs out and it looks like she won’t live, Gaia is found by a man and he takes the two by horseback to his village. At Sylum, Gaia meets the Matrarc. A wet nurse is found for Maya and the Matrarc informs Gaia that her grandmother has been dead for ten years and she is her replacement. Maya will remain in the village if she lives but Gaia has a choice to make. Visitors can only remain in the village for two days before becoming tied to it. If anyone tries to leave after that time, they become sick and die.

Gaia learns that Sylum is ruled by the women. Their population is steadily dwindling since only one in ten babies born is female. Since she knowingly risked her sister’s life, Gaia is imprisoned. During the night, she thinks she hears Maya crying. Breaking the window slats keeping her prisoner in the lodge, Gaia walks around the village searching for her sister; she soon realizes that the cries are that of a woman in labor. She goes in the cabin and meets Dinah and Josephine. Gaia helps Josephine deliver her daughter and Dinah gives her the scoop on village life. Both Dinah and Josephine are outcasts or libbies since they refuse to marry and have the requisite ten children to repopulate the village. They tell Gaia as a woman and a midwife, she could become influential figure in the village if she chose to stay.

Gaia discovers the window has been fixed and she has no choice but to go to the neighboring lodge for assistance. Norris lets her in and tells Gaia that the Matrarc is waiting for her. He gives her a tea tray and tells her where to go. The Matrarc has Gaia sit down and asks where she has been. She is pleased to learn that Gaia is a midwife and that it changes things. The Matrarc asks to feel/study her face since she is blind. Gaia is uncomfortable due to her scar but eventually relents. The Matrarc can tell she is full of loss not only for her parents but a boyfriend she left behind. In the end, she offers Gaia a deal, stay and be the village midwife and go to school. She can see her sister on occasion but she will have a mother who can care for her. Or she still has time to leave Sylum behind. She lets Gaia know that there are a few rules to life in the village. Men cannot touch women and women speak first. Gaia is surprised but the Matrarc explains with such a disparity between the number of men and women, a woman can be free to choose who she wishes to marry. Finally she lets Gaia know that “any tender touch, any kiss, is strictly illegal until you choose the man you want to marry.”

Will Gaia decide to stay in Sylum? What happens when she butts heads with the Matrarc over personal choice? Why is the male to female ratio in the village so disproportional? And when Leon comes looking for Gaia, what does the Matrarc do?

Join Gaia on her journey of self discovery. Her story will be concluded in Promised due out in 2012.

Visit Caragh O’Brien’s website.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

By the time the Plague ended twelve years ago, 98% of the population was dead. Now the New American Monarchy is the government in charge with the king as its leader. Eve and her fellow classmates are kept secluded from men. They are taught that men are evil and they should stay clear of them. After twelve years of school, the girls graduate and go onto trade school for another four before making new lives in the City of Glass. Or do they?

Eve has been named valedictorian of her class. After her speech, she will lead her fellow graduates out of the walled compound of their school and cross the bridge to the trade school building. After a celebratory dinner, Eve notices that Arden, a fellow graduate and well known prankster, sneaking away from the others. She decides to follow and try and stop her from disturbing their special day. Eve sees Arden changing out of her school uniform into the attire of the guards. When Eve asks her why, Arden informs her that there is no trade school. The trade school building is just a baby making factory where all of the graduates essential become brood mares. Eve is horrified and watches Arden sneak into the back of a delivery truck and leave.

Later that evening after everyone else is sleeping; Eve is left wondering if Arden’s accusations are true. She sneaks out of the dormitory, slips past the guards and crosses the small lake to the trade school building. To her horror, Eve discovers that Arden was telling the truth. She crosses the lake once again and sneaks back into the dormitory only to be discovered by Teacher Florence. Always the obedient one, Eve admits what she discovered. To her surprise, Teacher Florence will help her escape but she must leave behind her friend Pip. Eve reluctantly agrees and just barely escapes with her life.

Eve is book smart, not street smart, and after one week on the run she finds herself tired and hungry. When she encounters a group of men who prove her former teachers correct, she hides in what turns out to be a mausoleum. Following Teacher Florence’s directions to Califica, a place where runaway orphans live, Eve soon comes across a town devastated by the plague. Smelling food at an abandoned house, Eve is desperate and makes herself known to the person inside. To her surprise and relief, Eve has stumbled upon Arden. Arden isn’t pleased to be saddled with Eve but eventually relents to let her tag along until she locates her parents. Arden was the one girl at school who wasn’t an orphan. The next morning, they split up to find food. Eve soon encounters a bear cub and unwittingly draws the mother bear’s wraith. To her good fortune, a young man on horseback comes to her aid. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Eve leaves with Caleb. She is weary to go with him but he laughs and promises her he isn’t interested in sexual intercourse. They eventually go back to find Arden.

Arden has had no luck hunting and is surprised that Eve has found a boy. Caleb caught three rabbits and both girls desperately agree to return to his camp with him before the skies threaten to downpour. After traveling a couple of hours in a downpour, they stumble upon a government jeep that begins chase. The three soon leave the road and dismount from the horse, but the jeep is still in pursuit. Eve thinks they are after Caleb but is horrified to learn she is their target. Caleb shows Eve the wanted poster for her with her graduation picture on it. It turns out Eve wasn’t headed to “trade school” after all. With her intelligence, the king wanted her for himself, for the production of an heir.

Can Eve escape from the king’s clutches and remain free to make her own choices? Do Arden and Eve stay together or go their separate ways? Where does Caleb fit in? And what exactly is Califica?

Absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Visit Anna Carey’s website.

Friday, September 9, 2011

All You Desire by Kirsten Miller (Eternal Ones book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read The Eternal Ones yet, Stop! I don't want to ruin a good story for you.

A year has passed since the events in The Eternal Ones and Haven and Iain are making a life for themselves in Rome. On a walk through the city, Haven hears three young girls discuss a past life and mention the name Adam. Haven senses that she and Iain are no longer safe in Rome and that the Ouroboros Society and its diabolical leader, Adam Rosier are aware if their whereabouts. When Iain suggests a trip to Florence to show her something, Haven readily agrees.

While in Florence learning about one of her past lives in which she and her best friend Beau were siblings, Haven’s world begins to fall apart. First, her credit cards are canceled because Iain’s mother is contesting his will. Then Haven’s mother calls to tell her that Beau is missing. He went to New York on the assumption that he would meet his soul mate from a past life just like Haven and Iain. Desperate to locate Beau before something befalls him, against her better judgment, Haven and Iain return to New York.

In New York, Haven and Iain stay with Frances Whitman, a relative of Haven’s from a previous life. On a vision from her friend, Leah Frizell, Haven and Frances go to an exclusive spa to visit Phoebe, a Pythia who can tell Haven about her previous life in Florence in an attempt to gain some insight into who may have a hand in Beau’s disappearance. Unfortunately Haven runs into Adam who claims he had no idea she was back in New York. He tells Haven that Phoebe is a fake. Adam tells her that he is willing to wait for her love and that he would be happy to help in the search for Beau. Frances is frantic when she finally locates Haven.

Haven decides that she needs some time to herself and takes the subway home. A woman beside of her warns her about being followed by one of Adam’s men. She helps Haven lose him and she gets back on the subway. Another woman finds her and insists that Phoebe can help her. She gives Haven directions on where to meet them later that night. Soon Haven and Iain meet the Horae, twelve sisters from ancient Greece who were killed because of Adam. They have made each of their reincarnated lives an opportunity to fight the evil that Adam embodies. He has escaped their imprisonments in the past but with Haven as bait, the Horae believe this time will work.

With Beau missing, Haven decides she would do anything to help find Beau, including being near Adam. Will Haven be able to resist Adam’s charms? Can the Horae finally imprison Adam once and for all? Will Beau be found? And will Haven and Iain survive not only as a couple but come out with their lives?

Visit The Eternal Ones website.