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.