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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Lorien Legacies book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read I Am Number Four yet, Stop! I don't want to ruin the story for you.

“I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me … he’s one of us.”

The Power of Six
is told from two different viewpoints, John Smith, aka Four and a new character, Marina, also known as Seven. Two different typefaces and the changing of viewpoints every two chapters help the reader keep track of who’s who.

John, Six and Sam have left Paradise, Ohio and the battle at the school with the Mogadorians. Soon John and Sam are suspected terrorists and on the FBI’s most wanted list. As they travel around the country incognito, readers learn more about Four and Six’s life since coming to Earth. John struggles with Henri’s death and leaving behind Sarah Hart, the love of his life.

While on the lam in the United States, Number Seven now known as Marina and her Cepan, Adeline, are introduced. For many years, the two have lived in relative obscurity in a convent in Spain. Adeline has chosen a life of God and steadfastly refuses to train Marina in her legacies. Left alone, Marina has come into them by accident at times. Upon seeing the news reports of the wanted fugitive John Smith from the US, Marina is certain that he is also one of the nine who escaped from Lorien. She begins to make plans to find him since Adeline is no help to her. Soon a new orphan, seven-year-old Ella comes to the convent and Marina enlists her aid to help locate her chest.

Before too long, the Mogadorians not only have John, Six and Sam in their sights but Marina as well. A bit slow in the beginning with the background details about Marina’s life, the second half of the book explodes as Four and Six attempt to join up with Seven. Three have been killed and only six are left.

This volume ends in a major cliffhanger and this reader is eagerly awaiting word if there will be another book.

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy

Six’s Legacy is a novella in eBook form that briefly tells Six’s background story on Earth with her Cepan Katarina. Their capture by the Mogadorians and Katarina’s death is chapter eight of The Power of Six if you don’t read the novella.

Visit the I Am Number Four website.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first two books in the Leviathan trilogy, STOP! I don’t want to ruin a great story for you.

It has been two weeks since the events of Behemoth and the airship Leviathan is heading east. Deryn/Dylan Sharp and Prince Aleksander are both aboard. The airship takes a detour to pick up a mysterious stranger in Siberia who promises that his new weapon, Goliath, will end the war. Who is this mysterious passenger and what exactly is Goliath? What happens when Alek finally discovers that Dylan is really Deryn, a girl, and her true feelings towards him? Why is the Leviathan heading east? And can the war be stopped? Join Alek and Deryn aboard the Leviathan as they go on their last voyage on the great airship.

Visit Scott Westerfeld’s website.