Monday, October 3, 2011

Ghost Stories!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong 
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder 
Dark Souls by Paula Morris
The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham 
Deep & Dark & Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn 
The Dream Merchant by Isabel Hoving
Everlost by Neal Shusterman
The Ghost & the Goth by Stacey Kade
Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret
Ghost Huntress: Awakening by Marley Gibson (pbk)
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
Ghost Soldier by Elaine Marie Alphin
Ghostgirlby Tonya Hurley
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 
The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein
Haunting Emma: Deception by Lee Nichols
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Hereafterby Tara Hudson
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw
I So Don’t Do Mysteries by Summy Barrie
The Intruders by E. E. Richardson
Lily Dale: Awakening by Wendy Corsi Staub 
Manifest: A Mystyx Novel by Artist Arthur 
Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard 
Nightspell by Leah Cypess
The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith
The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin
Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris
Shadeby Jeri Smith-Ready
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Spellbinderby Helen Stringer
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

After soundly trouncing the son of her employer Finley Jayne is once again jobless. Running from the scene of the beating she crashes into Griffin King, who feels obliged to take the unconscious young woman to his home while she heals from her injuries.  His unconventional friends and employees, brainy engineer Emily and the hulking metaloid Sam, as well as his psychic aunt, Cordelia are all wary of the Finley, who seems to house two personalities in her fragile human body. But before Griffin can assist Finley in uniting her two selves, the group must uncover a plot by an evil mastermind known as The Machinist. The dastardly devil is somehow reprogramming robots to wreck havoc in the streets of London. Griff and his friends must sift through the random pieces of information they've found to uncover The Machinist's true intent and stop whatever devious scheme he has planned.

This novel is great fun. It successfully combines Steampunk and plot elements from several classic novels (I can't reveal which ones or I might spoil the plot) to form a very readable teen novel with memorable characters. I highly recommend this novel to fans of adventures, thrillers, historical fiction and fantasy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Charlie went to bed with a grin, staring at the phone number Beth had written on the back of his hand that afternoon at school. Charlie woke up beaten, burned and cut, strapped to a chair in a room filled with torture devices....a year later. What happened in that year? The police say Charlie killed his best friend, was tried and went to prison only to escape a few months into his sentence. A stranger with a familiar face says Charlie's a Homelander, an American terrorist recruited by Islamic extremists. But Charlie knows he'd never murder anyone, nor would he do anything to hurt the country he loves. But even as he tries to recover his memories he has to also evade capture long enough to uncover - and stop - an assassination plot. Can he make it on time? Or will there be another death on his conscious?

This excellently paced book is a full-on action adventure mystery. Charlie is a likable character and readers will believe him and believe in him, even when the police don't. They'll also be clamoring for the next title, because the plot doesn't end when you turn the last page.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Place it on hold today!
Kate Grable is a student trainer for her high school's football team. Not because she's a football fan, but because it's one step closer to med school. When one of the football players vomits black goo onto her car at a party she assumes he's had too much to drink. When he appears to die and then revives she thinks it's a little odd. It's when he tries to kiss her and bites a chuck out of her lip she really starts to get worried. It turns out that football players have been injected with a performance enhancing drug and it's changing them into zombies. Now Kate has to find the cure before the virus spreads through her high school.

I gave this book five stars because it's fun, plain and simple. It's a zombie-filled romp with gore and ick and a cute romance. Think Shaun of the Dead for teens.

Check out the official book trailer for this title - too cute!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Based on the audiobook:
This incredibly gory tale is the story of Sam, a Plumpy's fry cook who finds out he's a necromancer. Though his powers are bound, he's leaking just enough energy to come to the attention of Douglas, an incredibly powerful, creepy and evil necromancer who's not above kidnapping and torture to get what he wants. What follows a the gruesome, witty and occasionally very funny story. Recommended for older fans of Darren Shan.

Reserve your copy of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer today!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

Review of audiobook:
Newly orphaned Alexandria "Alex" Lee moves from the Rain Catcher Farms commune in California, where she and her mother were herbalists, to her grandmother's mansion in Savannah, Georgia. The transplant is difficult. Alex is out of touch with modern culture and is very vocally against the money and power of the Magnolia League, her grandmother's social set. Alex would rather spend time working for others, giving money to charity, etc. But over time she starts to fall in line with the Magnolia Girls (MG's, learning the secrets to their power and incorporating them into her own life. Until the night she discovers something shocking in the Lee Mansion...

Alex is preachy and whiney and a very difficult character to like. I actually preferred the secondary characters in this novel, and would have liked knowing them a bit better. The author also needed a good continuity editor, as there are many contradictions in the text. However, the plot is intriguing and the descriptions of the South are spot on. The reader is wonderful, portraying upperclass Savannah with just the right amount of Southern drawl. I will probably read the second book in the series to find out how the shocking discovery is handled, and to revisit the secondaries.

Magnolia League audiobook
Magnolia League book

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Aoife (pronounced Eefa) is just a few weeks shy of her sixteenth birthday. Unlike most teens, this is an event she’s dreading. At age sixteen Aoife’s mother, Nerissa, and her brother, Conrad, went mad, and the necrovirus that ate away at their logic and reason lies dormant in Aoife’s blood. Aoife, now a ward of the city of Lovecraft, expects that she, too, will go mad on her birthday. Until then she applies herself to the thing she loves – engineering. She’s always had a knack for working with machines, and she studies hard at the School of Engines. Perhaps the numbers, figures and pure science running through her mind will keep the madness at bay.

Then Conrad makes contact via a stained letter slipped under Aoife’s dormroom door. The ghost ink yields a strange and frightening message:

“The ink of the HELP lifted off the page, suspended in the smoke, corpse-pale. As the smoke dissipated, the ink stretched and re-formed, spelling a new phrase in its ghostly hand, the encoded message the ghost ink had kept hidden.

Go to Graystone

Find the witch’s alphabet

Save yourself

With these words Aoife’s life changes and expands in ways she could never have imagined. Along with her best friend, Cal, Aoife hires the handsome guide Dean Harrison to sneak them out of the city to her father’s house in Arkham. Aoife thought that getting out of Lovecraft would be the difficult part, but more hazards lie ahead than behind. Once at Arkham the trio will find long-buried family secrets, dangerous creatures and maybe even romance…if they survive.

This novel was simply amazing. The author has invented an alternate reality where logic and reason dictate social norms, and those who believe otherwise, the heretics, are hunted down and punished by cowled, over-lording proctors. In the midst of this closed environment Aoife shines in her determination and stubborn refusal to be anything other than herself. Her personality is deftly drawn by Kittredge, and readers will find themselves cheering for her as she risks everything to find her brother. Personally, I can't wait for the second book in this new, exciting series, and I highly recommend it to fans of steampunk, fantasy and adventure.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (A Seven Realms Novel)

The destinies of four teens begin to intertwine in this intriguing fantasy. Raisa, princess heir of the Fells, feels restricted, trapped in her royal duties. Amon, her childhood friend, has returned from Warrior school a different, more soldierly, man. Han "Cuffs" Alister is a street rat and former thief struggling to lead life on the straight and narrow. And Dancer, son of the clan and Han's friend, has become secretive and moody, prone to long silences and snappish remarks. Secrets, both those they keep and those kept from them, drive these teens inexorably toward their destinies.

This first book in a trilogy has a slow start, but the author takes that time to really develop the characters. About a hundred pages in the book really grabbed my interest, and by the end I was totally riveted. I can't wait to get my hands on book two!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fracture by Megan Miranda (pre-publication review)

17-year-old Delaney fell while crossing the iced-over lake near her Minnesota home.  She heard the pings and snaps that meant the ice was cracking, but before she could move she was gone, falling down into the frigid water. She couldn't figure out which way was up, and when she did finally locate the surface she couldn't find her original entry point and the way out. And then it was over. Delaney drowned. Only she didn't. Despite spending eleven minutes under water, despite six days in a coma with severe brain damage, Delaney woke up. And she was fine....and not fine. Delaney can feel death and those who are dying. A strong pull when death is imminent and a light, almost faint, flutter when death is in the future. Delaney must find out why she now has this ability. Is she supposed to use it to save people...or to help them die?

One of the fun benefits of going to the American Library Association Annual Convention is getting free copies of yet-to-be-published books (aka: ARCs). I went this past week and picked up several titles, but this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I thought it was going to be a supernatural/paranormal book. Instead it was a tightly-paced thriller with interesting characters and an unusual premise. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Unfortunately it doesn't come out until January 2012...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Misfit by Jon Skovron (pre-publication review)

Jael is tired of moving around so often. Every time she gets settled in one Catholic school her father whisks them away to yet another, in another out-of-the-way place. Jael understands, really. After all, the demon Baliel has been hunting her since before she was born. He hates halfbreeds, and he really hated Jael's demon mother, so if he finds Jael he'll kill her. But Jael's uncle, Dagon, believes that Jael may have the untapped potential to destroy Baliel and bring back the era of the gods. If, that is, Jael can learn to harness her power before Baliel destroys her and everything that she loves.

I found this novel difficult to read. The omniscient narrative created an emotional barrier, keeping me from truly caring about Jael and her worries. The dialog was also problematic, sometimes spot-on teen and other times rather stilted and dryly academic. The flashback scenes of the relationship between Jael's parents was much more touching and realistic. The story has potential, though. Many aspects of the plot are unique and original, which can be difficult to find in today's teen lit. And somewhere around the last third of the novel it began to really catch my interest, though it was primarily the secondary characters who sparked my interest. Hopefully any sequel will develop Jael to the same level. Finally, as with many series openers, the climax wrapped up very easily, belying the drama of the buildup and the worries of Jael and those around her. The book will move because of the plot description, but readers will need to be determined to keep reading.

This review refers to the NetGalley digital advanced readers version of the novel. Misfit has a publication date of August 1, 2011.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Nailer works light crew. His job is to shimmy into the tight spaces of wrecked ships on Bright Sands Beach and strip out the usable copper wire. He's the reason his crew makes quota each day. Then one day the Fates take their eyes off of him and he almost drowns in a hidden oil reservoir. His survival earns him the name Lucky Boy.

But Nailer doesn't feel lucky.  Not with a father who's most always sliding, high on whatever he can find and unpredictably mean. Those times Nailer hides out in his friend Pima's home with her and her mom, Sadna. In fact, Nailer was with Pima after the city killer storm, when they found their Lucky Strike. It was a ship, one of the swank ones, and it had run aground during the storm. The crew was dead and there was valuable salvage all over. They even found a dead girl about their age, with a diamond nose ring and gold on her fingers. Pima was going to cut the girl's swollen fingers off to get the gold when the dead girl's eyes opened.

Nita's survival is unexpected, and it starts Nailer down a new path. For Nita he will stand up against his father. For Nita he will leave everything he's ever known. And for Nita, Nailer will kill. This thrilling futuristic story is set in a time when killing hurricanes have flooded the Gulf Coast and life is an unending cycle of death and hunger. I highly recommend this novel to fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

More than anything else in the world, Erin wants to be a published writer. Erin's cold and stern grandmother, her caregiver since she was 12, plans to send her granddaughter to college in New York to major in business and take over the family horse farm.When Erin reveals her dream, her grandmother responds by cutting Erin off and naming Hunter, the stable boy, her new heir.

Erin doesn't care. She heads to New York to take her place in the creative writing program of a prestigious college. She gets a part time job, scrimps and saves, and just about manages to hold everything together - until Hunter walks into her class. Erin is convinced that Hunter hates her, that he has stolen her inheritance and is so manipulative that every conversation, every story he writes, is just another way to humiliate her. But could she be wrong?

Love Story is an engrossing novel about very likeable and realistic characters. I read it in 24-hours, stopping reluctantly to eat, sleep and work and returning to my marked page with anticipation. I highly recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen and Justina Chen Headley. The publication date isn't until July 19th, though, so you'll have to wait a little while. In the meantime, check out Echols' other novels, Going Too Far, Forget You, Endless Summer, Major Crush and The Ex Games. And check out Jennifer Echols herself here at the Homewood Public Library on June 25th!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

When Tiffany Quinn disappeared, 178 of the 212 residents of Cryer’s Cross, Montana, searched their small town and the surrounding farms., calling out in vain for the missing teen. They searched for five days but Tiffany was nowhere to be found. Juniors Kendall Fletcher and her best friend/boyfriend Nico Cruz helped in the search. Kendall has OCD, and her mind cannot escape the endless whir of thoughts about Tiffany getting lost, getting abducted, and being murdered in horrible ways. It doesn’t help that she’s spending her days riding a tractor on her parent’s farm. Long, hot days with nothing to distract her from the fear. But when school starts back Kendall begins to forget some of her fears, exhausted by soccer and dance and back into her normal routine. Then Nico disappears, too, and Kendall doesn’t think she can survive his absence.

This thriller is packed with great characters, a creepy mystery and an unexpected evil. It’s also a quick read, so you have time to devour it between study sessions!