Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 407
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)
Summary: Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled party girl, numbing herself to forget the violent and fatal tragedy that robbed her of her birthright--and her entire family. She feels nothing and truly cares for no one, until one night, when she witnesses her best friend, a dark immortal, torture a human. and her world is ripped apart. She flees her "friends" and seeks refuge at River's Edge, where wayward immortals are rehabilitated. There she meets a gorgeous, undeniably sexy immortal (aka Viking god), who seems inexplicably linked to her past. Nastasya finally begins to deal, to actually care about life, and to feel safe. But when she discovers the dark immortals are after her, she suspects that danger may be closer than she ever imagined.


Towards the beginning of this novel I was a bit confused as to the significance of Nastasya's friends, and I still am not quite sure how they tied in to the story, but I was drawn into the main plot of River's Edge. I was pleased with the attention to detail but quick movement through each main event that took place throughout the story. 

At no point did the story drag on or become boring, and I always was kept interested and in tune. I know this is the start of a series, but I was disappointed with the seemingly dangerous friends of hers at the beginning. They were explained well enough, but with the rising action at River's Edge, they seemed to be forgotten and weren't given anymore pages to come back and find Nastasya. That is my single complaint, but I know it will be wrapped up in later books. I did enjoy the connection between Reyn and Nastasya. It seemed real and love/hate, which always makes for a fun relationship. Simple ones where they fall in love all too quickly bore me, so the bantering between the two of them was especially fun to see unfold. I was extremely pleased with how this novel was written and can't wait for more!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (6/21 - 6/27)

In My Mailbox was started at the Story Siren!

Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr

Kenzie trades New York streets of Key pollution cleanup, and now instead of hailing cabs, she's tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer. Her new home does have some benefits- mainly Angelo, and island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit. But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans?


Folly by Marthe Jocelyn

When Mary Finn falls into the arms of handsome Caden Tucker, their frolic changes the course of her life. Shat possesses her? She's been a girl of common sense until now. Mary's tale alternates with that of young James Nelligan, a new boy in an enormous foundling home. Three fates intertwine in this moving and fascinating story about life-changing moments.


Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she's been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Traveling the world on her steed gives LIsa freedom from her trouble at home-- her constant battle with hunger and her stuggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places hwere hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effect of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power--and the courage to fight her own inner demons?

Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell
Kenzie Williams has it all: wealth, friends, popularity, talent. But when her father declares bankruptcy, her whole New York City would turns upside down. Her parents' solution, while they sort though their problems, is to send Kenzie to live out the summer with her relatives in Paris... Idaho! Feeling like she's been sentenced to three months in Hickville Prison, Kenzie arrives in Idaho feeling like a square peg with name-brand clothes, crammed into a round, horribly podunk hole. Leaving everything she loves behind, Kenzie is forced to get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, and hang out with her cousin's loser friends. She feels like she's about to die...until she meets Adam White, the town outcast, who has been accused of killing his best friend and is being blamed for some trouble that's been happening around town. Not only is Adam the best looking guy she's ever met, he's also the most fascinating, and Kenzie is determined to get to know him better and discover his secret.

Spin by Catherine McKenzie
Kate Sandford has just landed an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line. It's the chance of a lifetime. So what does she do? Goes out to celebrate--and shows up still drunk at the interview. No surprise, she doesn't get the job, but the folks at The Line think she m
ight be perfect for another assignment for their sister gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow "It Girl" Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop on Amber (and complete the thirty-day program without getting kicked out), they'll reconsider her for the job at The Line. Kate takes the assignment. But things become complicated when real friendships develop, a cute celebrity handler named Henry gets involved, and Kate begins to realize she may be in rehab for a reason. She has to make a decision--is publishing the article and winning the job worth the price she'll have to pay?

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
Sixteen-year-old Celestia vacations with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held
in place by an earthen dam. Tired of the superficial cheer and sly judgements of the society crowd, she much prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel's hired boy. It's a friendship she must keep secret--her parents would never approve--and when companionship turns to romance, it's a love that could get Celestia disowned. These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May 1889. After d
ays of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing twenty million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below--the town where Peter lives with his father.

The Queen's Daughter


The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 373
Format Read: signed hardcover from author (thank you!)

Summary: Joan's mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England and a renowned military leader. Joan loves them both-- so what is she to do when she's forced to choose between them? As her parents' arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn. When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself stuck with a man ten years her senior. She doesn't love her husband, and she can't quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond. As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents world-view is warped by their political ambitions, and that hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And more importantly, whom to love?

Although the book's beginning did not start off well, I did enjoy it by the end. I suppose I was expecting something different, but there was much more to this novel that I originally thought there would be. The plot revolved around the kingdom and war heavily, which I wasn't expecting. I got used to it, however, by the end. I believed part two and three were considerably better because Joan had grown older. The story lines became more developed as did her character. I was also impressed with the amount of research that must have been done about every kingdom and community, in addition to the knowledge of all the rulers and their successors. Joan did not always get a choice, which was a highly accurate account of a young girl from the middle ages, and I wasn't expecting quite a bit of the ending. Another character I liked was King William. Even though he was too kind and sweet to be a good king, his development was nice and he became a respectable man. The book's beginning was not that great, but it was worth the read!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (6/14 - 6/20)

This was a very good week as far as books go, and I've even finished one I got two days ago (which will be linked to my review!) In My Mailbox was started at the Story Siren.

Deception
by Lee Nichols
When Emma Vaile's parents disappear on a mysterious business trip, her life begins to unravel. The eerie visions she had as a child return, her best friend abandons her, and a new friend notifies social services that she is living alone. Enter Bennett Stern, her older brother's best friend and Emma's knight in J. Crew armor. Bennett whisks Emma away to New England to live in his family's museum-like mansion and attend Thatcher, an old-fashioned private school. Emma makes friends with the popular legacy crowd quickly and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the haunting visions are only getting worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher she can't explain--it's as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Bennett finally confides that he and Emma are ghostkeepers, people who can communicate with ghosts. He's been keeping Emma close to protect her, but now Bennett needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.
(I've already read this one and it was wonderful! Go to my review!)

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
by Josh Berk
It was a da
rk, gloomy class field trip. Because it was in a coal mine. Somewhere the star quarterback swore as he tumbled to the bottom of a mine shaft. Probably. Will Halpin could only guess about the cursing. Because he's deaf, y'see? But here's the thing about murder: even if it's silent, it's still deadly. Being hefty, deaf, and the new guy in school isn't an easy ticket to popularity. at Carbon High, Will is put in the corner in every class. True, it's to help him read lips. And true,most treat him like a houseplant. But Will doesn't intend to stay stuck in any corner. And houseplants are privy to a lot of dirt. So when he teams up with the second least popular guy to figure out what happened in that mine, Will discovers that the suspects are many and not so usual. Was it the too-sexy-for-calculus math teacher? The crackpot bus driver? The sad prom queen? That scuzzy guy who talks to his fingers?

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about
to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her Internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels. Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead -- except Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts -- a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen. And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother. As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy might be the right buy... and that some secrets -- especially the dangerous ones -- were never meant to be unraveled.
I also received the sequel to this, And Then I Found Out the Truth. I plan to have both reviews
up soon!

Lifted by
Wendy Toliver
Poppy Browne had never stolen anything in her life before moving to Pleasant Acres and meeting M
ary Jane and Whitney. But when Poppy walks out of the mall with her two new friends and her first pair of stolen jeans, she's hooked. Before long, Poppy is lifting whenever she gets the urge -- it's never about the merchandise, it's always about the thrill. But when her secret gets out, the girls in Poppy's clique turn on one another. As she watches her life collapse around her, Poppy must decided where her loyalties lie... and how far she'll go to protect herself.

The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry
Joan's mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England and a renowned military leader. Joan loves
them both-- so what is she to do when she's forced to choose between them? As her parents' arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn. When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself stuck with a man ten years her senior. She doesn't love her husband, and she can't quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond. As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents world-view is warped by their political ambitions, and that hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And more importantly, whom to love?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Deception


Deception by Lee Nichols
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 310
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)

Summary: When Emma Vaile's parents disappear on a mysterious business trip, her life begins to unravel. The eerie visions she had as a child return, her best friend abandons her, and a new friend notifies social services that she is living alone. Enter Bennett Stern, her older brother's best friend and Emma's knight in J. Crew armor. Bennett whisks Emma away to New England to live in his family's museum-like mansion and attend Thatcher, an old-fashioned private school. Emma makes friends with the popular legacy crowd quickly and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the haunting visions are only getting worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher she can't explain--it's as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Bennett finally confides that he and Emma are ghostkeepers, people who can communicate with ghosts. He's been keeping Emma close to protect her, but now Bennett needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

I received this book for review this morning in the mail. It is now 4:23 and I'm finished with it, if that gives any indication as to how much I enjoyed it. Now I'm just disappointed the next one doesn't come out for ages. The story was a strange one, and I was not entirely sure which characters were good and which ones were evil, which always makes for an interesting novel. I like being kept in the dark about significant plot secrets and love for the author to reveal those much later in the novel. 


Deception had that exact suspense factor. It kept me intrigued but did not reveal too much of the ending until it actually hit you in the face. By the end, I was shocked, and I couldn't stop. Before I knew it, the book was finished. Emma and Bennett's relationship was one I truly loved, as well. In addition, I stand by my belief that the best stories don't always end completely perfectly. 


This is one of the best and most captivating novels I've read in a long while, and I absolutely cannot wait for the second one. Because there most certainly will be a second one.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Astonshing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl


The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
Publication Date: September 6, 2006
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 311
Format Read: signed paperback from the author (thank you so much!)

Summary: Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and the popular kids), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy's new little brother or sister. Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and--most important--a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him. When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can't resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice--to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way. But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams... or down a path into his own darkness.


This novel didn't blow me away. It didn't really even entertain me. I did finish the novel, so I suppose the plot was good enough to keep me reading. The real problem I had was with the main character. Fanboy (who apparently doesn't have a name until Kyra christens him this) was a very whiny fifteen-year-old. He complained about jocks, bullies, Kyra, the most popular girl in school, Bendis (the most famous comic author), and everything else I can possibly think of. He couldn't stand when Cal, his only friend, couldn't come to a convention with him because of a sports team commitment. Even when Cal finally drug him to a party, all Fanboy thought about was what great material it would be for his graphic novel.

However, I did enjoy that it wasn't a typical read. I don't come across many adventures about comic books. And the cover is one of the best I have ever seen, being a blue metallic. I will probably read the sequel Goth Girl Rising because I am interested in the storyline, but if Fanboy doesn't grow up I might just have to quit reading it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

House Rules


House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 532
Format Read: Hardcover purchase

Summary: Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject--in his case, forensic analysis. He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do... and usually he's right. But then his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's-not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, flat affect--can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them. For his mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication of why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

Jodi Picoult astounds me with her ability to craft novels centered around character development when there are so many characters. The chapters rotate between Jacob, Emma, Theo, the lawyer, a police officer, and Jacob's father. It is clear an extensive amount of research was done to ensure Jacob's thoughts and behaviors lined up with traits of Asperger's. 

I was engulfed in the world of the characters, and the plot was just as gripping as the people themselves. Picoult uses vivid descriptors and imagery to describe elaborate crime scenes and the tiniest of details. However, I was able to predict the result of the crime well before the truth was revealed. Even with the well-developed plot and characters, I was disappointed with the lack of a surprising ending. 

In addition, the novel did not really end. It seemed as though she got bored writing and wanted to start a new novel. The ending is the only thing that keeps this book from 5 stars. The rest of it is so good, however, it is well worth the read. If you enjoy crime and mystery novels with a hint of romance, this novel is for you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In My Mailbox (6/7 - 6/13)

This is only the second In My Mailbox post I've ever done, but I'm going to attempt to keep up. Now that high school is finished I actually have time to spend here! In My Mailbox was started at the Story Siren!

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (thanks little, brown & co!)
(Sept. 2010)
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled party girl, numbing herself to forget the violent and fatal tragedy that robbed her of her birthright--and her entire family. She feels nothing and truly cares for no one, until one night, when she witnesses her best friend, a dark immortal, torture a human. and her world is ripped apart. She flees her "friends" and seeks refuge at River's Edge, where wayward immortals are rehabilitated. There she meets a gorgeous, undeniably sexy immortal (aka Viking god), who seems inexplicably linked to her past. Nastasya finally begins to deal, to actually care about life, and to feel safe. But when she discovers the dark immortals are after her, she suspects that danger may be closer than she ever imagined.


Half Way Home by Hugh Howey

We were sent out among the stars, five hundred of us, to be raised in vats and grown into dutiful colonists. Our mission, like so many thousands of others, was a coin-flip. Heads, and our planet is habitable. We emerge, fully-formed, and conquer a planet, extracting its resources, bending it to our will. Tails, however, and our planet isn't worth settling. My fellow colonists and I are treated to a chemical bath; we're given a baptism of fire as our mission is aborted, and we along with it. These are the odds. Heads or tails. Only, fate is never so simple. Our colony did something unique. Something no one ever planned for. It landed, like a coin on its edge, and it remained there, balancing and teetering, poised on this planet, our home halfway between anything. A mere fraction of us survived what happened next. Those of us who did were born fifteen years premature, and with only half our training complete. We stumbled out into a world full of possibility, but also of danger. Now we're in a constant fight for our lives. We struggle to feed ourselves. We struggle to solve the mystery of our new home. Even worse, we struggle to survive each other. We have no idea what we were expected to find here. We don't know what our forefathers had in mind when they sent us among the stars. It's impossible to guess what could have been, or should have been. All we can tell you is what happened.

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper. But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them. Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.) But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets-- then makes the mistake of falling in love with-- Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for. The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able to look into her own. and while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare. Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future...If she even has one.