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.