Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

“Sometimes you can’t look away.”
Sylvia “Vee” Bell has struggled the last five years since her mother’s death from cancer. She sports pink hair so that she doesn’t look so much like her mother in the mirror. Her highly successful surgeon father is absent a lot and Vee and her younger sister Mattie are frequently left alone. Vee, a former cheerleader, now sits on the sidelines watching Mattie go down her former path. But Vee is hiding a secret. Since her mother’s death, everyone thinks she is suffering from narcolepsy. What really happens to Vee is that she “slides” or slips into someone else’s body and experiences the world through their eyes. Having touched something that has a strong emotional connection to a person determines whose mind Vee is forced to inhabit. And her refusal to tell anyone, especially her best friend Rollins, leaves her alone for fear of being rejected and labeled as crazy.

Vee and her former friend/co-cheerleader Samantha both liked the same guy their sophomore year, Scott Becker. Samantha turned downright nasty when Scott asked Vee to the homecoming dance. Samantha spreads lies and untrue rumors about Vee so she strikes back by getting a fabulous dress to wear. Unfortunately while slow dancing with Scott, Vee realizes she is about to slide and asks him to help her sit down. She passes out before she gets off the dance floor and slides into Samantha. Through Samantha’s eyes, she watches Scott drag her body into the locker room. She comes to finding the new boy in school, Archie Rollins, punching Scott and getting her out. On Monday at school, the rumors run rampant and Samantha begins dating Scott. At lunch, Vee is sitting alone until Rollins joins her and their friendship begins.

When Mattie rejects her best friend Sophie for Amber, a fellow cheerleader, Sophie is hurt. Since Sophie has been dating Scott Becker, Amber decides to spread a naked photograph she has of Sophie on her phone around school. Mattie doesn’t stop her. Later, Vee inadvertently slides into Sophie crying on her bed being comforted by her mother. After a fight on Friday night with Rollins, Vee is left home alone when Mattie and Amber leave to go to a party. Overcome by exhaustion, Vee begins to slide once again after her hand brushes against the calendar page she found taped to the front door. She finds herself back in Sophie’s bedroom but quickly realizes that something is wrong. Vee isn’t in Sophie’s body but rather looking down at Sophie’s dead body. She has slid into the body of her killer and Vee doesn’t know who it is.

The police believe that Sophie’s death was a suicide but Vee knows differently. Unable to tell anyone the truth without divulging her secret and looking crazy, Vee struggles with knowing the truth while her sister suffers thinking she helped drive Sophie to suicide. When Amber turns up dead from an apparent suicide, Vee realizes that maybe her ability could finally be put to good use.

Can Vee figure out who the killer is before she or Mattie becomes the next victim? I really wasn’t expecting the ending of this book. Shocked and saddened but loving the story none the less. I cannot wait to see where Vee’s story goes with book two, Imposter.

Visit Jill Hathaway's website.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (Lumatere Chronicles book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Finnikin of the Rock, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.
Blood sings to blood … Those born last will make the first … For Charyn will be barren no more.
Three years have passed since the events in Finnikin of the Rock. Froi has lived with Lord August and his family in the village of Sayles working to restore the land to its former brilliance. He also has worked with Captain Trevanion and his men of the Guard at the Palace protecting Queen Isaboe, Finnikin and their daughter, Princess Jasmina. Froi has become an excellent fighter with a sharp mind who continues working to contain his temper and control his actions. Perri is training a group of men for a mission to assassinate the King of Charyn and Froi is one of them. He continues to feel a bond to Finnikin and particularly to Queen Isaboe and would do anything to prove his worth.

 At the foot of the Monts’ mountain, some Charynites have begun to take refuge in the valley. Phaedra, a Charynite who married Lucian of the Monts, is requesting a meeting with either Isaboe or Finnikin. It turns out that Lucian, now leader of the Monts, rejected her as his wife and sent her back to Charyn. He saw her as weak whereas the Mont women have strong personalities. Unfortunately, it is a source of discontent between Lucian and Isaboe. When Rafuel, a Charynite, attacks one of Tesadora’s novices, he is quickly detained. Froi, Lucian, Perri, Finnikin and Trevanion question Rafuel with Phaedra acting as their translator. Rafuel soon finds a bargaining chip when he offers them a way into the palace to kill the King of Charyn. He lets the Lumaterians know that Charyn was responsible for their country’s five days of the unspeakable thirteen years prior when they were invaded. He also tells of Charyn’s own curse. Tesadora figures out pretty quickly that none of the refugees are children. Rafuel tells them that no children have been born to Charyn for the past eighteen years. The country’s youngest child is the King’s bastard daughter, Princess Quintana. The country was torn apart by internal strife. On the day Quintana was born, the oracle queen (holy woman) threw herself into the ravine and no children have been born since that day. The Lumaterians are stunned.

Rafuel continues the story that when Quintana was six, a phrase was found written on her bedroom wall in her own blood; “The last will make the first.” On her thirteenth birthday, better known as the day of weeping, the King decreed that every last born girl be marked since they were now of childbearing age. Since the message appeared on her wall, Quintana has claimed that hse was meant to be the first to bear a child, a boy child. If anyone else were to do so, it would cause the destruction of Charyn. Quintana will soon turn eighteen and the last remaining last born male who hasn’t been with Quintana will soon arrive at the Palace in an attempt to impregnate her. Finnikin wants to know why he is telling them this. “’Because you have a lad who speaks our language, who is of the same age as our last born, and who is not so useless. More important, he is trained as an assassin.’ Rafuel’s eyes caught Froi’s. ‘Yes?’”

The plan is for Froi to travel to Charyn under the guise of being Olivier of Sebastabal, the final last born. But when Froi arrives at the Palace, the situation is far from what he expected. Princess Quintana seems to be wrestling with split personalities, no one has seen the King for a year and his traveling companion seems to know something about Froi but isn’t saying.

Will Froi be successful in his mission to Charyn? What exactly is the situation surrounding Quintana and her supposed madness? Is Quintana the one to break Charyn’s curse and who will help her? And where does Froi’s journey lead him?

Even though Froi is the main character in this installment, don’t fret. There is plebty of action involving Finnikin and Isaboe, Trevanion and Beatriss, as well as Lucian to satisfy those fans of Finnikin of the Rock.

Melina Marchetta will conclude the Lumatere Chronicles with Quintana of Charyn due out in the US in March of 2013.

Visit Melina Marchetta's website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Red Pyramid: The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

Book One - The Red Pyramid

It has been six years since the death of Carter and Sadie Kane’s mother. Sadie was raised by her maternal grandparents in London while Carter has literally traveled the world will their Egyptologist father. Carter and Sadie only see each other twice a year. Raised separately with very little in common, each envies the other’s lifestyle. On Christmas Eve, their father Julius takes Carter and Sadie to the British Museum for a private visit with the promise of making things right. Julius asks his children to lock the curator in his office and not to disturb him. Carter and Sadie are horrified as they watch their father summon a mysterious man who causes the Rosetta Stone to explode and banish Julius to a golden sarcophagus that disappears into the museum floor. After a visit from what seems to be Scotland Yard, Carter and Sadie are both told they are being deported. A familiar looking man comes in and tells their grandparents he will take the children back to the United States. They do not object and Cater and Sadie learn that the man is Amos, their father’s brother. They also realize that they don’t know all there is to their family and begin to learn some shocking revelations. Soon Amos whisks them to New York where they learn that their family comes from a long line of magicians. Their father was performing a forbidden ritual in an attempt to summon Osiris, the lord of the dead. Unfortunately, his actions have released the gods of Ancient Egypt and it will be up to Carter and Sadie to rectify the situation.Why were Carter and Sadie raised separately as children? What is really in the mysterious toolbox that their father always kept close at hand? What are the circumstances surrounding their mother’s death? And can Carter and Sadie rescue their father and right his wrongs?

Book Two - The Throne of Fire
Since the events of The Red Pyramid, Carter and Sadie Kane have been gathering other young magicians at the Brooklyn mansion to train them for the upcoming battle. Apophis, the Chaos snake, is rising and the Kanes have five days to stop him. In order to do that, they must revive the sun god Ra. First the book of Ra must be located and it’s in three parts. Next, they must learn to chant the spells. Finally Ra needs to be located only no one knows where he is. Once again told in alternating viewpoints between the siblings, lots of new characters are introduced in this global adventure.

The Kane Chronicles will conclude with book 3, The Serpent's Shadow on May 1, 2012.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

“Some race to win. Others race to survive.”

On the tiny, rocky outcrop of an island known as Thisby, every November brings the Scorpio Races. The island fills with tourists to see the capaill uisge race across the beach. The capaill uisge, better known as kelpie in folklore, are dangerous fairy horses from the water who want nothing more than to drag their prey back to the water and devour them. During October to the first of November, Thisby becomes a maze of safe and unsafe zones from the capaill uisge. As October progresses, the more capaill uisge emerge from the sea. Islanders wishing to compete in the future races, hunt down the horses when they are the most dangerous; hungry and sea mad. Those competing in this year’s race train the horses they caught years earlier. They are somewhat docile until they smell the fall sea and the magic inside calls to them.

For nineteen-year-old Sean Kendrick; horses, especially the capaill uisge are his life. A four time champion of the Scorpio Races, Sean watched hi own father die during the Races at the age of nine. His mother left for the mainland so he has lived and worked for Benjamin Malvern at his stable training both horses and capaill uisge for the past ten years. All he wishes for in life is a roof over his head that he can call his own and Corr, the red stallion capall uisge he has rode to victory. Somewhat of a horse whisperer, Sean is respected and a bit feared on the island but the Malverns’ own son, Matthew better known as Mutt, despises Kendrick with a passion. Sean has a lot on his mind with the upcoming Races and mainland horse buyers wandering through the stables before a local girl turns his world upside down.

The past year has been difficult for the Connollys. Kate, better known as Puck and her two brothers; Gabe, six years older and quiet, sensitive younger brother Finn have struggled since their parents’ death at the hands of the capaill uisge. When Gabe announces he is leaving for the mainland, Puck says she is entering the Scorpio Races. Gabe will stay until the race is over. With Gabe slipping through their fingers, Puck goes forward with her intentions to enter the race. The first girl to do so, she soon realizes that no one will take her seriously and allow her to be the rider of their capall uisge. In looking over the rules, Puck realizes that she can enter and ride her own dun mare, Dove. When Ben Malvern comes to the Connolly house, the news is not good. Delinquent on their mortgage since their parents’ death, he has come to evict them.

As Puck gets thrown into the competition, she soon runs into Sean Kendrick. She knows who is but having grown up in a family who was never involved in the Races; their paths haven’t crossed until now. With everyone on the island telling her she has no business racing; Kendrick tries to help her obtain a capall uisge for the Race. She eventually declines because of her parents’ death. One day while training with Dove, Sean privately tells her to get her pony off of the beach. At other times in public, his manner is aloof but he stands up for against the other competitors. Soon thoughts of Sean Kendrick begin to creep onto her mind, especially when he gives her a few pointers one day.

As the day of the Races draws closer, Puck and Sean continually find themselves in each other’s company. Sparks begin to fly as they share each other’s hopes and fears for the future. But only one person can win the Race and inevitability someone will die. Why is Gabe leaving the island for the mainland? Will Puck be successful in the Races? Can Sean escape from under the thumb of Benjamin Malvern and be on his own? Who will die during the Races? And will Puck and Sean’s dreams come true?

Visit Maggie Stiefvater's website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

“The only hope for humanity isn’t human.”

The year is 2076. It has been eleven years since the Break. The human race created Partials to fight for them in the Isolation War. Stronger and faster than humans, five years after the war’s end, the Partials attempted to destroy humanity. They released the RM virus and only those humans immune survived. With only 40,000 humans left in the world, newborns are not immune and die within days of birth. The youngest human in the world will be fourteen in a month and the entire race is on the brink of extinction.

Since the Break, the world has gone from a civilized society to a “culture one step up from the Stone Age.” In an attempt to find a cure for RM and repopulate the Earth, the Senate amended the Hope Act and dropped the pregnancy age to 18. “All women of a certain age are required, by law, to get pregnant as soon as possible.” All newborns are tracked in an attempt to find a cure. For sixteen-year-old Kira Walker, a medical intern doing her rotation in the maternity ward, she sees first hand RM’s threat to the very survival of human race. When her “adoptive” sister Madison informs Kira that she and her husband are expecting, she is heartbroken. Madison wants to be a mother even if it’s for a few hours or days. Kira decides that she wants to find a cure for RM and everyone has been going about it the wrong way.

As word in East Meadow spreads about possibly lowering the pregnancy age to 16, Kira sees her future dwindling away. Unable to spend her life mourning her children that will never live, Kira sets out to find a cure for RM. In looking through the research information, Kira notices that no one has ever studied a Partial. She decides that is where her research needs to go. The head doctor at the hospital vetoes her plans saying they are too dangerous for everyone involved. He mentions that the virus could spread or the war with the Partials would be rekindled. Undeterred, Kira sets out to obtain a Partial on her own. She is able to convince Madison’s husband, Haru; a construction specialist and her military brother, Jayden to join her on a mission to retrieve a Partial for testing. Unfortunately her boyfriend Marcus stays behind but promises to keep quiet.

With a plan in place, Kira and her friends head to Manhattan in search of a Partial. Once there, they run into trouble and are quickly discovered by the Partials. Extraordinarily, the group manages to capture and subdue a Partial. Getting out of Manhattan and back to East Meadow proves difficult with a group of armed Partials giving chase. When they call for help from the Defense Grid, their gig is up. What will happen to Kira and the others when the Senate finds out what they did? Will the Senate allow the Partial to be used to find a cure for RM? Can a cure be found in time to save Madison’s baby? Will Kira be able to patch things up with Marcus? What happens when the pregnancy age is lowered? And what if everything Kira knows and believes in is a lie?

Stay tuned to learn more about Kira Walker’s continuing journey in Failsafe in 2013.

Visit Dan Wells' website.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Across the Universe book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read Across the Universe, Stop! I don't want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

"It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed."

Eldest is dead and now Elder is in charge of the Godspeed. The 2,298 residents of the spaceship are no longer under the influence of Phydus and for Elder, the time for lies is over. When he goes to the Shipper level to discuss with the First Shipper Marae a possible solution to the decreasing speed of the spaceship, he finds out that the lies run deeper than he ever imagined. The Godspeed is an old ship whose systems are failing. Since the Plague and the Shippers development, the priority is improving life aboard the ship over fixing the engine problems. In fact, even Eldest didn’t know that the Godspeed isn’t moving at all.

For Amy, the walls are literally closing in. Missing her old life on Sol-Earth, she is having problems recalling memories of her friends and parents. When Doc comes to see Amy at her room in the hospital, he has a gift for her. Orion kept his wi-com and made it into a bracelet. For her safety, Doc thinks she should wear it. In fact, Orion left a note that he made it specifically for Amy. She is repulsed but knows she would be connected to Elder, especially since she has seen very little of him lately. Upon closer inspection, she notices a phrase written on one of the wi-com’s wires. “’Abandon all hope’ is the phrase written above the gates of hell in Dante’s Inferno.” Amy goes to the Recorder Hall figuring that Orion has left her a message. While there, someone has hacked into the floppies to display the message Lead Yourself. Amy realizes that Elder is going to have to prepare for the eventual rebellion that is brewing on the ship. When she pulls Inferno off of the shelf; a thin rectangular black sheet of plastic falls out. Before she can leave, Victria; a friend of Elder’s, rushes in. Behind her is Luthe, the man who tried to rape Amy. Amy escapes into a crowded area. Luthe tells her that Elder cannot stop him and shouts, “we can do anything we want.”

Amy finds Elder in Eldest’s room. She is able to enter because of Orion’s wi-com. Each can tell the other is keeping secrets and Elder finally spills about the Godspeed. Amy wants to wake up her parents and some of the others but Elder is determined that his people can fix the ship’s engines. During their argument, Elder says some mean things and calls Amy a freak. He tries to apologize but realizes something has frightened her. She refuses to tell him about Luthe. Elder asks Amy to come live with him but she refuses because she wants to choose who she loves not because they are the only two teenagers on the ship. Amy leaves and Elder is crushed.
Alone, Amy finally watches the video that Orion left for her. He basically tells her that being from Sol-Earth, she is the only one who can make the choice. The Godspeed is dying and without the Phydus, Elder will have a rebellion on his hands. He will not tell her the choice; she must find all the clues to the puzzle he left behind for her. Orion hopes that she will make the right choice as time is running out.

Why has the Godspeed stopped moving? What happened during the Plague? Can Amy figure out the truth about what is going on in time to save the Godspeed? Is Elder a strong enough leader to maintain order? Can Elder and Amy have a relationship? And will Amy be strong enough to make the decision that Orion knows must be made?

Elder and Amy's story will be concluded with Shades of Earth in 2013.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Death Cure by James Dashner (Maze Runner book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first two books in the the Maze Runner trilogy, Stop! I don't want to ruin a fantastic series for you.

"The time for lies is over."

It has been almost four weeks since WICKED picked up Thomas, Teresa and the others at the end of the Scorch Trials. In that time, Thomas was alone in a white-walled room with three meals a day and nothing else. On the twenty-sixth day, the Rat Man from WICKED tells him that he has finished his third trial. Everything he and the others have been through up until now has been “to analyze your brain patterns and build a blueprint from them.” The goal of the blueprint is to develop a cure for the Flare, the disease that is eating human minds. Thomas is wary of the Rat Man’s words but his memories are starting to come back to him. He remembers helping to design the Maze with Teresa and took over when the original Creators died. Thomas kept the program going with new recruits. The Rat Man tells Thomas that he and most of the others are immune to the Flare and it is a rarity. The general populace hates people like him.

Rat Man tells Thomas that the next step in the project is to restore everyone’s memories and help complete the blueprint. Eventually everyone but Thomas, Minho and Newt agree to the surgery to restore their memories. Thomas knows that WICKED is still lying to him and he cannot trust them. With Brenda’s help; Thomas, Minho and Newt make plans to escape the WICKED compound. Jorge will fly them out in a Berg but first they must get past the guards. Thomas begins to realize something is off when they encounter very few guards. He wants to attempt to rescue Teresa and the others before leaving. They find Jorge unconscious in the hanger. He tells them Teresa and the others knocked him out before they escaped. Thomas realizes they were left behind. With a final firefight, Thomas and the others finally escape WICKED.
Jorge is able to track Teresa’s Berg to Denver and Brenda is not surprised they went there. As his memories creep back to him, Thomas decides Denver is where they must go as well. What awaits Thomas in Denver? Will his memories be fully restored? Who will Thomas be able to trust? Who are Teresa and Brenda to Thomas? What is WICKED’s purpose? Can a cure for the Flare be found? And will Thomas (and the reader) be able to figure out just what has been going on in this thrilling conclusion to the trilogy.

The Kill Order, a prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy will tell the story of civilization’s fall before WICKED was formed and Thomas entered the maze. The book is due out August 14, 2012.

A short story entitled Thomas' First Memory of the Flare that takes place after The Maze Runner can be found at

James Dashner’s website.