Sunday, September 29, 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

"They know how we think. They know how to kill us. They've taken everything worth living for. Now they've come to take the things worth dying for."

In the 1st wave, the lights went out. In the 2nd wave, the surf was up. Pestilence came with the 3rd wave. The 4th wave was silence. The Others aren't stupid, not like the aliens of film and television. The Others are much more advanced than human beings. Once they found Earth, humanity didn't stand a chance. They wanted and needed Earth for themselves. David never had a chance against Goliath...

Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, was sixteen when The Others arrived on the planet. Her mother died during the 3rd Wave, from the Red Plague. Sometimes she believes that she is the last human on Earth, even the universe. To Cassie, to stay alive means to stay alone. No one can be trusted. The Others can look and act like humans, up until the moment when it is too late. She lost her father and little brother Sammy at the beginning of the 4th Wave. Living in a refugee camp, The Others came disguised as U.S. military. They wore gas masks saying they didn’t want to risk exposure to the Red Plague. First, they separated the children from the adults and said they were sending them to Wright-Patterson Air Force base on the yellow school buses. Cassie had to stay behind with the adults and that was the last time she saw her brother. He had left her his teddy bear to return to him when they would be reunited. The soldiers collected everyone's weapons before debriefing them. Cassie's father had given her a M16 rifle which she had hidden behind a tree and a pistol that she kept on her. When Cassie realized that the teenage boy who had hit on her was missing from the group, she volunteered to go find him but had to take an escort. She finds him at the ash pit where the dead bodies are buried and her military escort shoots him before she realizes what is happening. Cassie survives because she pulled her pistol and shot the escort. He was too surprised to see that Cassie still had a gun and his reaction was slowed. She heads back to find her father but witnesses him being shot by Colonel Vosch, the man in charge of the military group.

With the two guns her father gave her and Sammy's teddy bear, Cassie decides to fulfill her father's promise; to continue on to a possible refugee camp at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. On her trek, she smells the stench of Cincinnati as she nears the city. On the highway, she is shot in the leg by what she assumes is The Others. Bleeding under a car and awaiting certain death, Cassie realizes that it must have been a sniper when no one comes for her. While lying on her back and thinking of the refugee camp she had just fled from, it dawns on Cassie that the Others must have wanted just the children. She begins to theorize that after three waves, why they would be interested in saving the children now.

Will Cassie make it to the camp at Wright-Patterson? Is she the last human alive? Who is following Cassie and why? What do the Others want with the children? Do we ever find out just who the Others are and what do they want with Earth? What is the 5th Wave? Who can really be trusted! is Cassie truly alone in her fight? And will staying alive really mean staying alone?

Told from multiple points of view with heavy flashbacks to the first sighting of the mother ship, readers will be shocked to see how the story comes together. The story will be continued in 2014 with The Infinite Sea.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Paper Towns by John Green

"The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle."

For Quinton Jacobsen, his miracle was that he lived next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman in the Jefferson Park subdivision in Orlando, Florida. To Q, "she was the most fantastically gorgeous creature that God had ever created." Living next door to one another since the age of two, Margo and Quinton were childhood best friends. At the age of nine, the two of them found a dead body in the neighborhood park. Margo spent the day investigating why the man committed suicide. She always loved mysteries and to Quinton, Margo was always a mystery.

The longest day of Quinton's life was May 5. School is dwindling down with thoughts of prom, graduation and college on everyone's mind. Even though they continue to live next door to one another, Margo has become an enigma to Quinton. Popular with friends and a steady boyfriend, she rarely talks with him. He is just fine with routine. So when just before midnight, Margo opened Quinton's bedroom window, dressed all in black, his life drastically changes.

Margo needs his car. Technically it is his mom's minivan but Quinton was given a key to it for his sixteenth birthday. And she needs him to drive it. She has eleven things she needs to do that night and for five of them she needs a getaway man. Reluctant at first, Margo reassures him that they won't be committing any felonies. After getting caught by her father and sneaking out again, she meets Quinton in the van and they are off.

After a shopping trip for an assortment of several unusual items when purchased all together at midnight, Margo explains her plan to right some wrongs. It turns out that her boyfriend of several months was cheating on her with her best friend and no one told her. Her plan is to get back at all of those who have wronged her and to make up to the one who was brave enough to break the bad news to her. Quinton and Margo make a whirlwind, late night trip through Orlando getting revenge. At the end of the night, Margo whispers to Quinton, "I. Will. Miss. Hanging. Out. With. You."

Exhausted but quite proud of himself later that day at school, Quinton notices that Margo didn't come to school. That afternoon, he notices her car missing from the driveway next door and her window shade is open. Quinton knows that once again, Margo Roth Spiegelman has disappeared. Forty- eight hours after their night around Orlando, the Spiegelmans and a police detective are at the Jacobsen's house. Since Margo is eighteen, legally an adult and has runaway before, her parents are washing their hands of their daughter. In the past, she has left clues to her whereabouts that are difficult to decipher. Her parents are just going to pretend that she has already left for college. Quinton does tell the detective in private about their night when asked.

After the Spiegelmans and the detective leave, Quinton notices that the detective is searching Margo's room. Her curtain has been lowered and Quinton spots the poster of Woody Guthrie taped to the back that wasn't there before. With the assistance of his two friends, Quinton waits until Margo's parents leave to go next door. They bribe Margo's little sister to let them into her bedroom. Quinton is determined to find out where Margo went.

Why did Margo leave after her night with Quinton? Where did she disappear to? Will she return home? Or will Quinton ever get the answers he is looking for? What impact will having Margo in his life have on Quinton?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Kyra use to be a member of the Master Trio of Potioners, along with Ned and Hal. They are the best poisonous weapons users in the kingdom but of the three, she was the best. Unfortunately for Kyra, she made a couple of mistakes. First, she fell in love with the well groomed and arrogant Hal but she ended up breaking his heart. Second, she betrayed every one she knew when she tried to murder the kingdom's princess and failed. Now she is on the run and being hunted by Ned and Hal.

At the age of twelve, Kyra was brought in by the Queen to be part of Princess Ariana's education. Born sickly, Ariana led a sheltered life. Kyra's job was to instruct the princess in the art of makeup since Krya excelled at cosmetic potions and charms. Neither girl wanted anything to do with the other. Since she was a first year apprentice, Kyra set out to complete a potion for homework. Ariana took an immediate interest in Kyra's work. She asked Kyra if there was a potion to get them out of the confines of the castle. Kyra set out to make one and Ariana was ecstatic that it worked. After one afternoon of fun, the girls' lessons quickly turned into secret adventures outside the castle. Soon, Ariana and Kyra turned into the best of friends and the adventures continued for five years. This is why everyone in the kingdom was shocked to learn that Kyra had tried to kill Princess Ariana and failed.

Desperate and in hiding in the three months since her failed assassination attempt on Princess Ariana's sixteenth birthday, Kyra cannot locate Ariana. She travels outside the town of Tippolow to find the King of Criminals, Arlo Abbaduto. Having turned down Arlo on two occasions for work, Krya is at his mercy. She offers to pay him with Potioners' coins and change their imprint to him. Potioners' coins always find their way back to their owner. In exchange, Arlo will give her a small Katzenheim pig, the best hunter he has, guaranteed to find the person she is looking for. Kyra isn't given a chance to protest and Arlo even provides her with an object belonging to the princess. He laughs as she leaves his hideout.

The next morning, the piglet leads Krya to a river. Not wanting to waste time looking for a bridge to cross, she decides to strip down to her undergarments, hold the piglet and her belongings above her head and cross. She is able to see the bottom. Just past half way, she hears a whistle and looks up to see a handsome boy a couple of years older than her. Asking him to leave, he says that he will stay in case she needs rescuing. Kyra then sees a wolf come out of the woods behind the boy. Soon the piglet notices it too and pokes Kyra in the eye with a hoof and she is caught in a swift river current. The handsome boy is able to rescue her after all. Back on shore, he introduces himself as Fred and the wolf is actually his dog, Langley. After getting her clothes back on and Fred naming her pig Rosie, Krya turns down the offer of a hot meal and departs.

Walking along, Kyra hears footsteps. She grabs Rosie and dives for cover with the aid of a cloaking potion. Turns out Dartagn, one of the king's elite soldiers who had trained Krya is right on top of her. She throws a rock and he turns his attention in the opposite direction and leaves. Kyra leaves once Dartagn is out of the area. She later hears footstep again and is almost discovered by Fred and Langley. They leave but soon she hears a scream. Running, Kyra comes across Fred being attacked by six goblins. He is knocked out and Kyra is able to knock several out and cha the rest away. She drags Fred to safety. When he wakes up, Fred repays her by cooking dinner and offering her a camp spot for the night. Tired of being alone and hungry, Kyra accepts against her better judgment.

The next morning, Krya leaves payment for Fred and sneaks off while he is still sleeping. She hasn't traveled far when Fred catches up to her. He is hurt and angry at Krya leaving. Realizing she actually cares what he thinks of her against her better judgment. She asks if they can continue to travel together knowing that eventually she will have to abandon him once more.

Why was Krya trying to kill her best friend, Princess Ariana? Why does she think her death would be the best thing for the kingdom? Can Rosie the pig really track the princess? Will Kyra attempt to assassinate the Ariana again? Is Kyra captured? Does Fred find out her true identity and what will he do with that knowledge? And will Krya be able to find a happily ever after?

Bridget Zinn was a writer and librarian who unfortunately died two years before the publication of her only book, Poison.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Imposter by Jill Hathaway (Slide book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book Slide, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the series for you.

“What if a killer were in control of you?”

Six months have passed since Vee Bell's first love Zane was killed in a car accident while his crazy mother was driving. Vee is able to slide into others when she touches something of theirs that they have left a strong emotional imprint on. Now she is having nightmares of the accident that she witnessed while in Zane’s mind but now she is in the place of Zane. Her sister Mattie knows of Zane's death and nothing of her sliding ability. Only her best friend Rollins knows the truth about Vee. She has even gained some of control of her abilities in which she can slide into someone she chooses.

While listening to Rollins' radio debut one night, sleep wins out. Unfortunately Vee wakes up in not another dream about Zane's car crash but a real car crash in which she was driving her father's car. Five miles out of town and without her phone, she starts to walk towards home. The first car she encounters is her nemesis, Scott “Scotch” Becker and her former best friend Samantha is drunk in the back seat. Scott offers her a ride but she runs off. He leaves. The next car that comes along is driven by an older woman and Vee accepts her offer of a ride. She wakes up in her driveway bewildered because she doesn't recall telling the woman where she lives. Her father is furious that she snuck out of the house with his car. She explains that she was “sleep driving” and woke up when she wrecked the car. Reassuring her father that she is fine, Vee goes to her room and calls Rollins. He is furious at first but listens when she tells him that she thinks someone slid into her, forcing her to drive the car. She also tells him about the woman who drove her home. Rollins suggests that maybe she didn't remember telling the woman where she lives. They hang up and it's a long time before Vee falls asleep.

The next morning, Vee and Mattie catch a ride to school with Rollins. He talks about his radio show and mentions a girl named Anna. She meets up with Rollins at his locker and Vee is suddenly jealous. Anna looks much more like Rollins' type and they seem friendly. In class, Vee cannot help but notice Samantha’s disheveled appearance. She tries to be friendly in an attempt to see if she can find out what happened between her and Scott the night before. Samantha isn't buying into Vee's sudden concern. Deciding to slide into Scott to see if she can find out anything, she is shocked that he is talking about running into her on the side of the road and she was begging for him. Angry, Vee talks control of Scott's body and makes him say humiliating things about himself. At the end of school, Rollins confronts her about why she did it. After telling him, Rollins lets her know that he'll defend her honor if he ever catches Scott talking about her. Inviting him over for their usual Friday movie night, he vaguely tells her he has other things to do first. Vee is a bit disappointed.

During movie night, Vee works up the courage to try and finally admit her feelings for Rollins hoping that he still feels the same way about her. Leaning in her a kiss, Rollins wants to know what she is doing. Nothing she says and he makes an excuse to leave. Devastated, she goes to the bathroom to cry. The doorbell rings and she pulls herself together thinking that Rollins has come back. Instead, Vee is shocked to see a woman resembling her dead mother standing at the door. It turns out that her mother's long lost sister has come for a visit. Mattie is thrilled to meet her aunt for the first time and her father is going to let her stay for a few weeks. After settling down for the night, Vee wakes up to loud crashing coming from the living room. She is shocked to find her father smashing picture frames. She calls out to him and he turns towards her with a dazed expression on his face. It reminds her of when it felt like someone else had slid into her body and taken control. His expression clears and he asks Vee what is going on. He doesn't remember what he was doing. Vee begins to think someone is sliding into her and her father and that someone just may be the person who showed up on their doorstep that night, her aunt Lydia.

Vee and Samantha enlist the help of Mattie and her friend Regina to extract a little revenge on Scotch. The plan is to get him at a popular overlook and leave him stranded without any clothes. Vee plan is to slide into Scotch's body to get him to strip naked. When Vee is in Scotch's body, she sees herself and someone has slid into her own body. Close to the edge of the drop off, Vee as Scotch tries to keep herself from falling. She blacks out as she tries to take control of her own body. When Vee wakes up, she is horrified to see Scotch's body on the rocks below the cliff.

Who really killed Scotch and why? Will Vee be blamed for his death? Who is sliding into Vee and her father? What are they hoping to accomplish? Why has Lydia suddenly appeared at the Bell's doorstep? Who is the strange woman who drove Vee home the night she wrecked her father's car? Will Vee ever tell Rollins her true feelings, even if it means risking their friendship?