Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck

After Years of Service,
Tried and True,
Heaven Stamped Her –

When the tornado hit in the spring of 1914, fourteen-year-old Eleanor “Peewee” McGrath thought the winds would die down after the bodies were reburied in the cemetery and the window repaired in the defunct town library. An orphan being raised by her older brother Jake, the two run a small garage out of an old horse livery and dream of the business coming their way when the asphalt road finally comes from Indianapolis. But the tornado was only a foreshadowing of the events to come when four co-educational students in the Library Science course at Butler University cruise into town and set their sights on reopening the library. Shocked to learn that Peewee is actually a girl, Irene Ridpath decides to take her under her wing and Peewee slowly realizes that there may be more to life than working with her brother in a dirty garage.

Friday, May 18, 2012

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments book 5)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read any of the previous four books in the Mortal Instruments series, Stop! I don't want to ruin one of my favorite series for you. Go back and read them along with the Infernal Devices series as well. For maximum understanding, read Ms. Clare's books in publication order.

When Maryse Lightwood went to the roof to see the remains of Lilith’s ritual to bring Sebastian back to life, what she found is not what she expected. Jace was gone. So was Sebastian. His glass coffin was shattered and blood stains covered the area. The Shadowhunters begin the search for Valentine’s son while Clary collapsed from her loss. Two weeks have passed with no signs of either boy and Clary has undergone extensive testimony before the Clave holding the Mortal Sword. Isabelle has been Clary’s staunchest supporter. When the Clave finds Clary broke no laws in asking the Angel Raziel to save Jace’s life, she is ready to join the search for Jace. Alec stops her by saying the Clave is pulling back on the search for Sebastian to deal with some important wards being down. With no clues to be found and other matters to be dealt with, the Clave is waiting for Sebastian to make the next move.

Clary and her friends decide to take matters into their own hands to find Jace. Using the bell the Seelie Queen sent her, Clary goes to see if she can tell her where Jace is. Never one to just give away information the Queen asks Clary to return a set of faery rings the Shadowhunters have. She agrees knowing exactly where they are. Clary sneaks into the Institute’s library to retrieve the rings while everyone is in a Clave meeting. While on the balcony, Jace and Sebastian suddenly appear out of thin air looking for a book. Clary notices that both boys look well and is concerned when they seem to be getting along. They leave before Clary is spotted.

Everyone is stumped by Jace’s behavior but all agree not to tell the Clave for fear they would kill him. Asleep at Luke’s house, Clary has a dream about the two boys and awakes to find Jace in bed with her. He is there with Sebastian and tells Clary and tells Clary that he wants her to come with them. Before she can give an answer, Jocelyn and Luke discover the three of them. A confrontation ensues and two critical things happen; Sebastian stabs Luke in the chest and Clary realizes the extent of the bond between the boys. The two are now connected; hurt one and you hurt both of them. If the Clave were to kill Sebastian, Jace would also die.
Devastated by the news, Clary will stop at nothing to save Jace, even if it means her own. Going against everyone’s wishes, Clary does the unthinkable and leaves with Jace and Sebastian. Is Jace truly lost to Clary? Can the connection between Sebastian and Jace be severed? Will Luke’s life be saved? What is Sebastian up to and can he be stopped? And what will become of Clary?

Cassandra Clare’s next book, Clockwork Princess, the final installment of the Infernal Devices trilogy is due out March 13, 2013 while the Mortal Instruments series will be completed with the publication of City of Heavenly Fire on March 19, 2014.

Visit Cassandra Clare's website.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Julianna Baker first met Bryce Loski just before the start of second grade when his family moved in across the street from hers. Bryce immediately finds Juli too clingy and just hopes that she will leave him alone. On the other hand, Juli is lonely for someone her own age to play with and is just a bit too eager. Soon she begins to crush on Bryce and the feeling is not mutual. Told in alternating viewpoints of Juli and Bryce, several events that occur during their eighth grade year cause some eyes to finally be opened and some feelings to suddenly flip!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

“She wasn’t suppose to survive the accident. But she did.”

Eighteen months have passed while Jenna Fox laid in a coma. She has gone from sixteen to seventeen and cannot remember her past. Her father still resides in Boston but Jenna, her mother and grandmother now live in California. She is steadily improving each day but knows that something is off. Her grandmother, Lilly, is distant and her mother constantly hovers, unwilling to let Jenna even leave the house. Only doing what she is told, Jenna begins watching old video discs of her life, starting with ones from before she was even born. The strongest memories she has are ones she shouldn’t be able to recall. Jenna is further surprised to spurt off facts like an encyclopedia. As each day passes, Jenna begins to question her very existence.

What happen to cause Jenna to be in a coma for the past eighteen months? Where are her memories? And who exactly is Jenna Fox?

Join Jenna on her journey of self-discovery as the mystery is unraveled. Book two in the Jenna Fox Chronicles is entitled The Fox Inheritance. Book three will be published on March 19, 2013.

Visit Mary Pearson’s website.

Dead To You by Lisa McMann

“Some memories are better left untouched.”

At the age of seven, Ethan De Wilde and his younger brother Blake were playing in the front yard when a car pulled up. Two strange men call Ethan over and he gets in. They drive away and Ethan is not to be found after his parents and the community conducts an exhaustive search. It turns out he went to live with a woman named Ellen who couldn’t have children. They scarped out an existence until she wasn’t able to keep him anymore and left him in a group home in Nebraska. Ethan lived there for a short time before eking out a merger existence on the streets. After spending time at the public library researching missing children, Ethan finds the website his parents set up to search for him. He makes the phone call and his family comes to pick him up.

Things have changed in the last nine years. His sister Grace, the replacement baby, is now six and is just as confused as Ethan over his sudden reappearance. Back home in Minnesota, Ethan has trouble remembering anything about his life prior or his abduction and steadfastly refuses to talk about Ellen. Blake is angry with him over not only his leaving but his abrupt reentry and subsequent turmoil her has brought to everyone’s life.

Struggling to fit into his old life, Ethan is just looking for another escape. Very few of the pieces of his former life are making sense and it seems that once again he is tearing his family apart. Why did Ethan leave with complete strangers nine years ago? What happened to him during the nine years he was gone? Why is Ethan having difficulty trying to recall even the simplest of memories about his life before his abduction? What really happened to Ethan De Wilde?

Visit Lisa McMann’s website.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insurgent By Veronica Roth (Divergent book 2)

SPOLIER ALERT! If you haven't read Divergent, Stop! I don't want to ruin one of my favorite series for you. It is totally worth the read!

Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged. – From the Candor faction manifesto.”

Insurgent dives right in where Divergent left off. No recap is given in the beginning of the book but Veronica Roth did provide a very detailed synopsis on her blog dated April 24, 2012.

Tris, Tobias, Caleb, Peter and Marcus have fled the Dauntless compound after stopping Erudite’s attack on the Abnegation faction. With the attack simulation data in hand, they head towards the relatively safety of the Amity compound. With both of her parents sacrificing their lives for Tris’ survival, guilt and depression are hitting her hard. To add to her stress, Tris has told no one that she has to kill her friend Will during the simulation before he killed her. She tries to stay strong and keep up appearances.

When the Erudite come to the Amity compound, Tris’ group flees. They become separated and Tris, Tobias, Caleb and Susan head into the city. They board a train and run into some factionless who are not friendly. A gun is pulled on them and Tobias lets them know his real name. They are taken to a factionless safe house where they meet the leader and shocking secrets are revealed. When Tris discovers that Jeanine, the Erudite leader, is trying to get her hands on information that most of the leaders of Abnegation died trying to protect, Tris is determined to uncover the mystery.

Why did the Erudite use the Dauntless to attack Abnegation? What information does the Abnegation have that Jeanine wants? What secrets does Tris uncover about her parents? Will she ever be able to forgive herself for Will’s death?

If you read only one book this year, this is it! Fans of Divergent will not be disappointed but are left hanging at the end for the final book in the trilogy.

Visit Veronica Roth’s website.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

"35 girls. 1 crown. The competition of a lifetime."

In the fairly large, young country of Illéa, the King marries off his daughters to princes of other countries to form alliances. His son however marries a young woman from his country to strengthen its citizenry. Any young woman in Illéa can be Queen. With Prince Maxon Schreave soon coming of age, he is looking for a partner to rule their country. To find his perfect mate, The Selection is utilized. Every single woman between the ages of sixteen and twenty completes an entry form for the chance to compete for the Prince’s hand in marriage. One young woman from each of the thirty-five provinces of Illéa is chosen for the competition of a lifetime. Each family is generously compensated for their service to the royal family.

America Singer and her family are artists. As such, their caste number is a five, only three away from the bottom. Artists are only steadily employed during the three holiday seasons. Times can be tough but America is a beautiful singer and a gorgeous young woman. Her mother is a social climber and hopes America will marry above their caste as her older sister did. Secretly, for the past two years she has been in love with the handsome Aspen Leger. Unfortunately, Aspen is a six, a member of the servant class. Dirt poor, he is struggling to provide for his mother and six younger siblings since his father’s death. In Illéa, it is unheard of for a woman to marry down. With starts in her eyes, America dreams of becoming Aspen’s wife, even if it means downgrading her status and being on the brink of starvation.

When the letter for the Selection arrives, America is adamant about not registering. Her mother sees it as a way for her daughter to better herself and vehemently pushes. She sneaks out of the house later that night after everyone has gone to bed to meet Aspen in a tree house in her backyard. After a heart-to-heart, Aspen begs America to enter the Selection. He doesn’t want her to feel guilty about holding back when she could better herself. She reluctantly agrees. The next morning, her mother wakes her up early and offers her a deal. If America enters her name into the Selection, she promises to let her keep half of her earnings and perform by herself. Since she had already promised Aspen she would, America sees this as an opportunity to begin her nest egg for her life with Aspen.

When America and her mother go to the Province Service Center to turn in her form, a mob is already lined up. The two stand in line with Aspen’s mother and his twin sisters. His mother lets them know that the winners aren’t randomly drawn but individually chosen, hence why some of the girls are dressed to the nines. The conversation soon turns to how suddenly Aspen seems happy and his mother suspects a young woman is the reason. America’s heart pounds as his mother thinks Aspen is considering marriage. When the government takes her application photo, America is smiling radiantly while thinking of Aspen.

The Singer family gathers around the television to watch the Illéa Capital Report for the reveal of the Selection names. After a brief update on the war, the host begins. America isn’t even paying attention when her name is announced. Her family is ecstatic but America is shocked. She never dreamed that she would be chosen. Life abruptly changes in the Singer household as Palace officials descend to ready America for the competition. After going over the rules, she finds out that no matter what happens her status is now a Three. As America is trying to decide what to take, the doorbell rings. Her mother answers the door to Aspen holding a bouquet of flowers from his sisters. As a Six, America tells him she needs his services to clean the mess she made of her room packing. Aspen cannot turn her down and follows. After everything they have been through, America finds it ironic that he is now allowed in her room.

Aspen tells America her photo was beautiful. She lets him know it was for him but he doesn’t understand. She informs Aspen she thought he was going to propose. He lets her know that he was waiting on the outcome of the upcoming draft. Twice a year, all nineteen year old men are chosen at random to join the military until the age of 23. Soldiers become an automatic Two but are not guaranteed to survive their enlistment. Aspen tells her he didn’t want to complicate her life in that way. She understands but soon their conversation gets heated when America pays Aspen for his services. They both know that he needs the money but his pride continues to stand in the way of all their plans. Aspen leaves and America softly cries.

The next morning is the big day. America is leaving to join the other girls for the Selection at the Palace. Her good-bye is bittersweet and soon America finds that nothing is what she expected. Will America survive the competition to become Maxon’s intended? Can she and Aspen ever be together? What dangers does America uncover at the Palace? Will the competition be one huge catfight for Maxon’s attention? Is Maxon at all what America expects? And what happens when America isn’t sure where her heart is leading her?

America’s story will continue with book two in the spring of 2013 followed by book three in 2014.

Visit Kiera Cass’ website.