Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (Body Finder book 3)

SPOILER ALERT!: If you haven’t read the first two book s in the series, The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead, Stop! I don’t want to ruin this series for you.

“In the end, all that’s left is an echo.”

Life has dramatically changed since Violet Ambrose began working with Sara Priest and her team of others like herself with psychic abilities. Between high school and spending time with her boyfriend Jay, she is now using her ability to locate bodies that have met with violent ends. For the first time, she doesn’t feel like a freak and now sees that she could truly do something productive with her ability. Even though her teammates’ abilities are still a mystery to her, Violet feels as if she has found a place to fit in. The only problem is Rafe. Violet feels a connection to him but is confused and a bit disturbed by her feelings, especially when the others say he is a different person around her. It doesn’t help matters when Rafe begins to cause some conflict in her relationship with Jay Heaton.When the team begins working on the case of a serial murderer that has been dubbed “the collector” because of the way he cares for his victims, Violet feels that maybe she could use her ability to stop him before he strikes again. What she fails to realize is that “the collector” has set his sights on her.

Will Violet be able to stop “the collector” before she is his next victim? Who exactly is the mysterious Rafe? What is his psychic ability? Will Violet and Jay be able to salvage their relationship?

Violet’s story will conclude with book four in 2013. In the short story anthology Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions edited by Melissa Marr, Ms. Derting has included a short story that provides readers with a tiny peek into Rafe’s background that is touched upon in this book.

Visit Kimberly Derting’s website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Blood of Eden book 1)

“In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.”

Allison Sekemoto barely survives life as an Unregistered. In a post-apocalyptic world where vampires rule, humans are viewed as two things; food and slaves. Registered humans are tattooed as property of Prince Salazar but are available to any vampire for whatever they need. Registered are provided food in exchange for bloodletting once a month. Unregistered must scavenge and steal in order to eke out an existence. If caught, the punishment is death.

Allie lives with her small gang in a dilapiated school. When the food runs out and no more can be found in their sector, she decides to scavenger in the Fringe; the unprotected no man’s land outside the massive walls of the city. Allie should have no problems if she can return to the safety of the city’s walls before darkness falls. Looking through an abandoned house, she comes across a rabid deer. Allie is able to escape unharmed and hides in a backyard shed. While exploring, she notices a trapdoor in the floor. Jackpot! In the underground bunker, the previous resident stored enough food for Allie’s gang to live off of for months. In climbing the shelves, she falls pulling the cans on top of her. When she comes to, she sees that darkness has fallen and the moon is out. The Fringe at night is no place for humans.

On her way back through the abandoned sewage tunnels, Allie is trapped when a group of mole men corner a man. Warning them to back off, one mole man goes down in a heap and a struggle ensues. When the scuffle is over, Allie peers around the corner to find all four men dead. Seeing a valuable flashlight and no fifth body, she decides to risk grabbing it only to be confronted by a vampire. He lets her go without a fight and Allie returns home.

At home, Stick tells Allie that the city is on lockdown because the vampires are supposedly hunting one of their own. She flashes back to the vamp in the tunnels and wonders how he might be involved. The next afternoon, Allie is rudely awakened by Lucas banging on her door. Relieved to see her, Allie tells Lucas about her incredible find. She pushes to go on a retrieval mission before nightfall and the rest reluctantly agree. The boys are ecstatic by her find and gorge themselves. With the rain now a downpour, light is quickly fading and Allie hears a noise. They run back towards the tunnels but quickly run into trouble. The rabids are out and everyone is attacked. Left dying, Allie is found by the vampire from the night before. He offers Allie a deal; die or become a vampire. She decides on an immortal life in her weakened state.

Upon her rebirth, Allie begins to rethink her decision but Kanin, the vampire. Tells her he will help with her adjustment to her new existence. She wants to know if she can be sustained by drinking only non-human blood. Kanin responds by saying, “let me give you your first and most important lesson, Allison Sekemoto – you are a monster. A demon who feeds on human beings to survive." They go into the city to hunt for prey and come across the Blood Angels gang. Without realizing it, Allie quickly is on the offensive and the blood lust quickly sets in. Kanin has to stop her before she kills her first human. He tutors Allie not only in reading, writing and math but vampire history and survival as well. They go to a long forgotten museum storage are and procure a katana as her weapon.

When the Prince’s men discover where they are living, Kanin and Allie must flee the city. Separated, Allie finds herself on her own, not knowing what to do. She wanders in the wilds for several days before she finds an abandoned town and a lost little boy, Caleb, who is hiding. Realizing that he cannot be alone, Allie feels like she must help him. They soon run into his older sister, Ruth, and a boy her own age, Zeke. Ruth is very suspicious of Allie but Caleb begs her to join their small group and Zeke concurs. As a vampire, Allie knows she shouldn’t interact with humans but they may be the only ones she will come across in the wild. Against her better judgment, Allie agrees to join them.

Turns out that Zeke is the “son” of Jeb Crosse, a religious leader who is searching for Eden, a mythical city that is supposedly free of vampires. As Allie assimilates herself into the ragtag group, she begins to wonder how she will ever be able to feed off of her newfound friends, especially when Zeke causes certain emotions to stir in her.

Who exactly is Kanin and why has he taken an interest in Allie? Why is he being hunted by the other vampires? Does Eden exist or is Jeb Crosse leading his group on a wild goose chase? Can Allie come to grips with her true nature? And what happens when Zeke shows an interest in Allie?

Visit Julie Kagawa's website.
Visit The Blood of Eden series website.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

“I SMACK into him as is shoved from behind. He doesn’t budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he’s waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he’s waiting for me to gather my pride. I hope he’s got all day.”
Emma McIntosh chooses option four when she peels he cheek fro Galen Forza’s chest and attempts to apologize. Emma is spending the last days of summer in Florida with her best friend Chloe. Chloe thoroughly embarrasses the clumsy Emma in front of the gorgeous Galen. His sister Rayna shows up and Chloe remarks how the three of them share the same unusual eye color, violet, but it ends there. Emma is pasty white with blonde hair, whereas Galen and Rayna have dark hair and olive skin. Galen notices that they are carrying a surfboard and that the Florida waves are woefully inadequate. Emma agrees by telling him that they are from Jersey and are just going to float in the water.

Emma and Chloe are splashing in the water and chatting about Galen and how he keeps staring at Emma. Emma thinks Chloe is joking around but soon realizes that she is being attacked by a bull shark when she goes underwater and doesn’t resurface. Galen notices but thinks Emma will have the situation under control. He eventually shifts to help with the rescue but he is too late. When Emma isn’t drowning and orders the shark to leave, Galen realizes that he is right about Emma even if she doesn’t know what she is.

After the rescue, Galen and Rayna argue over whether Emma is truly a Syrena. He knows what he saw during the shark attack but wonders if he just isn’t attracted to her. Deep down, Galen knows what he felt when they touched. He calls Rachel, his human assistant, to make plans to move to New Jersey and start high school. Rayna decides to tag along.

Just over two weeks later, Emma starts her senior year at Middle Point High School. Her first period class, World History, is with Mr. Pinned. While listening to the class rules, Emma hears someone whisper “gorgeous” and looks up to see that Galen has entered the classroom, the same Galen who has haunted her nightmares about Chloe every night since her death. He takes the desk besides of hers. She notices that she gets all tinglely around Galen until it feels like her body is on fire. Emma notices that he is staring at her and she blushes.

It turns out that they have duplicate schedules when Galen asks Emma for help finding his next class. The two begin a conversation that eventually turns to the day of Chloe’s death. Galen says that if Emma cooperates, he could get her some leniency. She insists bumping into him was an accident. Realizing that they are talking about two different things, Galen tries to get her attention again. Unfortunately, Emma begins screaming that Chloe is dead and runs down the hallway, knocking herself out on the cafeteria door.

In talking with Rayna and their friend, Toraf, Galen believes that Emma may actually be Nalia, the sole heir of the Poseidon king who was believed to be killed during a human war. Nalia had argued with her future mate, Grom the Triton heir and Galen’s older brother. Grom was badly injured in the incident. If Emma is actually Nalia of Poseidon, then with Grom now king if the Triton, by laws, the first born of the third generation, must become mates. What Galen cannot figure out is why Emma is living as and with humans? When he tells Toraf, a Syrena tracker, of his attraction to Emma, Toraf believes it is really a signal that she is Galen’s special mate. He tells Galen it seems as if he is chasing Emma when she still needs time to mourn Chloe. If he takes things slow, maybe she will open up to him.

If Emma really is a Syrena, why is she living as a human? Who would have kept the secret from her and why? Is she really Nalia and Grom’s intended mate or is she destined for Galen?

Ohmysweetgoodness! (This is a favorite phrase of Emma’s) What a book! It sucked me in and wouldn’t let go until the end. I just loved all of the banter between Emma and Galen. And the ending! I saw it coming but the way it played out caught me off guard. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Visit Anna Banks website.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fear by Michael Grant (Gone series book 5)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first four books in the Gone series, Stop! I don't want to ruin the story for you.

“It’s been one year since all the adults disappeared. Gone. Despite the hunger and the lies, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive.”

It has been four months of relative quiet in the FAYZ since the events that occurred in Plague. Sam, as well as Edilio, Dekka and some others has set up a new community along the shores of Lake Tramonto. Astrid is spending some time alone, beating herself up over her decision to sacrifice Little Pete during the beetle attack on Perdido Beach. Caine, along with Albert and Quinn, stayed behind in the town. Sadistic Quinn is lying in wait in the liar of the gaiaphage. Lana is living in the Clifftop resort along with Sanjit and his siblings. Diana realizes that her pregnancy is progressing too quickly and fears that her unborn child may be evil. The peace in the FAYZ crumbles as the inhabitants discover that the barrier is changing as a dark stain begins to grow up the walls of the dome.

As the darkness falls across the FAYZ, the fear begins to set in. What is the mission the gaiaphage has sent Drake/Brittany on? Will chaos come to the FAYZ or will Sam and Caine be able to work together? Can Astrid find her way back? What really happened to Little Pete? Why is the darkness covering the dome? And what is going on with Diana’s baby?

Fear is the creepiest book yet in Michael Grant’s Gone series and fans finally get to see a glimpse of what is going on outside the dome. The series will conclude in 2013 with Light.

Visit Michael Grant’s website.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Black Heart by Holly Black (Curse Workers book 3)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the first two books in the series, White Cat and Red Glove, Stop! I don't want to ruin a terrific story for you.

“In a world where magic is illegal, Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all.”

Cassel Sharpe has recently given up everything he thought he could never have; the girl of his dreams, power and being the right hand of Zacharov. But Cassel cares about who he has hurt in the past. A transformation worker, Cassel was used by his two older brothers to kill people and dispose of their bodies. Thanks to his brother Barron, a memory worker, Cassel cannot recall his past. The one thing he regrets most of all is the fact that he was used to turn Lila Zacharov into a white cat. Kept hidden by his brothers, Cassel recently released Lila to her human form. Cassel has loved Lila for years and she has kept his secret from her crime lord father. To make matters worse, Cassel’s mother is an emotion worker who worked Lila to love Cassel. He discovered the truth and convinced his friend Danica to wipe her emotions clean. Lila was furious when she found out and Cassel was devastated.

Now attempting to complete his senior year at Wallingford Prep, Cassel is caught between the good guys and the bad. With Philip dead, Barron is now a junior federal agent in training and he is supposed to be teaching Cassel the tricks of the trade, before he officially joins. When their mother is caught working Governor Patton, he is on the news every night calling for her blood. She goes into hiding. When Lila takes Cassel to her father’s apartment, he doesn’t know why. When they arrive, Cassel is surprised to find his mother. Turns out years earlier, she stole Zacharov’s Resurrection Diamond and replaced it with a fake. Zacharov discovered the deception and is holding Cassel’s mother until the real diamond is returned.

When FBI Agent Yulikova asks Cassel to use his powers to transform Governor Patton into something else, it is assassination without a trace. Since being worked by his mother, Cassel realizes that Governor Patton is spinning wildly out of control. Cassel realizes that the government just wants him for his unique talent, just as Zacharov does. So what happens when the supposedly good guys turn out to be just as evil as the bad ones?

Can Cassel find the Resurrection Diamond and free his mother from Zacharov’s grasp? Will Governor Patton continue to spiral out of control or will he be stopped before any harm comes to workers? Who can Cassel trust? What becomes of Cassel Sharpe? And will he finally get the girl of his dreams?

I really enjoyed Holly Black’s conclusion to the curse Workers series and cannot wait to see what she writes next.

Visit Holly Black's website.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

“It never rains in California
But girl, don’t they warn ya
It pours, man, it pours”
Albert Hammond

Mia Price describes herself as a human lightning rod. She will tell you she is a lightning addict, craving its Strike. Her need is the reason her family moved to Los Angeles, a place where it rarely rains and lightning strikes are virtually nonexistent. Mia trades lightning for earthquakes and her life forever. The day the worst natural disaster to occur in the U.S., it pours down rain

The Puente Hills earthquake has struck LA and some people believe it was caused by lightning. Ten square miles, including downtown LA, were destroyed and the city government is on the verge of collapse. The federal government is of no help with too many problems of its own. The Midwest has been battered by drought and wildfires causing food shortages and unseasonal; hurricanes along the Gulf Coast wiped out the fishing industry. Tornadoes have destroyed communities where they don’t normally happen and the US is involved in more conflicts than ever. Humanitarian organizations are stretched too thin with famine in Africa and plague in India. Los Angeles and its residents are left to fend for themselves.

Life has been in constant disruption since the Puente Hills earthquake four weeks prior. For Mia and her younger brother parker, their mother is no help. She was trapped for three days before rescue workers pulled her free, the only survivor. Not badly injured, she was quickly released from the hospital to make room for more life threatening injuries. With no psychiatric care, she spends her days in her darkened bedroom watching Rance Ridley Prophet on television proclaiming that the end of the world is upon us. Suffering from Acute Stress Disorder, Mia has been treating her mother with medications bought off the black market. Parker is distraught over the fact that he cannot fix her, but in order to get free lunch, extra food rations and priority aid, both must start attending school again. This means that their mother will be left alone.

Back at Skyline High School, Mia immediately notices that the Prophet’s student followers are now numerous. She sees white everywhere. While trying to pull herself together in the bathroom, a girl by the name of Rachel Jackson comes in. Before the quake, Rachel was a Goth. Now she is one of Prophet’s followers and tries to convince Mia to join them. Suddenly, a refined girl that Moa doesn’t recognize comes in and tells Rachel to leave Mia alone. Skyline is Seeker territory. Rachel eventually relents and leaves. Katrina introduces herself and goes to shake Mia’s hand. Mia notices a reddish, circular scar on the palm of Katrina’s right hand. They shake and Katrina pulls back quickly. She tells Mia that she has the Spark. Mia is a little unnerved and she doesn’t know what Katrina is talking about. Katrina then pulls out a deck of antique tarot cards and asks Mia to draw one, an invitation of sorts. Mia ends up pulling the Tower card. The Tower was the only building in downtown LA to survive the quake. Katrina grabs the card, reshuffles the deck and has Mia draw again. Once more, Mia pulls the Tower card. Katrina tells her to keep it and to meet her after school in room 317. Mia refuses but Katrina tells her she will see her then.

Mia goes to lunch but doesn’t see Parker. The softball team tries to cut in line but is stopped by a small group of random kids who normally wouldn’t hang out together. Mia recognizes one of them as a friend of Parker’s, Quentin. He tells them to go to the back of the line with the authority of an adult. They obey. Mia also sees that Quentin has the circular scar in the palm of his hand. He tells Mia it is good to see her and goes to shake her hand. She refuses and he briefly grabs her wrist and reacts the same way that Katrina did. Mia leaves the cafeteria to go in search of Parker. She finds him in the hallway were missing person and memorial posters are on display. Parker is depressed that all of his close friends have left the area when he shows Mia earthquake survivors’ group meeting sign that is held in the evenings in room 317. They discuss whether they could get their mother to attend when Mia spies another sign for a lightning strike survivors’ group to meet after the earthquake group in room 317.

Mia’s last class of the day is English lit with Mr. Kale in room 317. She arrives late and Mr. Kale immediately draws her into the discussion on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and how it relates to the Greek myth of Prometheus. Mia gives him a blank stare when a male voice gives the answer. Mia is immediately attracted to him but realizes that something is off about him, just like Katrina. She finds out that his name is Jeremy Parish. In class, Mia keeps looking at Jeremy and he notices. Mr. Kale asks who Prometheus was and Jeremy answers again without being called on. Mr. Kale chastises him and turns the discussion to lightning. Several students bring up the theory that a lightning strike triggered the earthquake. When class ends, Mia is in a hurry to leave before Katrina arrives, but she fails. Katrina joins Mr. Kale and Jeremy comes over to Mia’s desk.

Several things happen at once. Jeremy tells Mia that he needs to talk to her. She tells him to wait as she realizes she senses a storm off in the distance, even though there are no clouds in the sky. Mr. Kale and Katrina are watching the exchanger when Quentin enters the classroom. Jeremy tells Mia that they need to leave and to trust no one. Mia blacks out and dreams of being on the Tower in downtown during a lightning storm where the lightning is red, not white in color. She awakens to find Parker leaning over her and Jeremy gone. Katrina wants to know what he said to her but Mia doesn’t respond. Katrina tells her not to trust him. Mia wants to leave but Parker is willing to them out. Five minutes tops responses Mia and Mr. Kale explains that they are members of the circle of Seekers and are looking for people like Mia. Katrina tells her that they are going to save LA from the Prophet and his followers and then save the world. And Mia is the one to help them.

What happened to Mia’s mother when she was trapped by the earthquake? How did Rance Ridley Prophet correctly protect the earthquake and are his predictions for the end of the world accurate? Was the quake caused by a lightning strike? Who are the Seekers and why do they need Mia? What happened in Arizona that caused Mia’s family to flee to Los Angeles? Why is Mia so addicted to lightning strikes? Who is the mysterious Jeremy? And who can Mia trust when there is a storm brewing on the horizon?

Visit Jennifer Bosworth’s website.