Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

I was eagerly awaiting this 3rd book in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan, and it didn't disappoint. The story goes to Annah, who is Gabry's twin sister that she was separated from when they were little girls. Annah is waiting for Elias to come back from joining the Recruiters. Annah has decided to quit waiting and go look for Elias, but as she is on her way out of the Dark City (which we learn is New York), she sees Gabry, or Abbigail as she knows her going in to the city. Gabry is helping Catcher escape, and she gets taken by the Recruiters.

Well, things go downhill from here. A horde of the zombies take over the city, and Annah must find her sister and get out. First, Catcher shows up. Next is Elias. And the only way they know to save Gabry is to take Catcher to the Recruiters. They want him because he is immune and can help where normal people can't go without getting turned. But when they get to the island, it is just as the horde has pretty much overrun the city, in fact, they must run through the subway tunnels just to get there. They find though that the Recruiters are really bad people. They torture people by putting them in cages with the undead and watching them try to live until they are so exhausted they are finally turned. They punish Annah several times in pretty brutal ways.

Annah, Catcher, Gabry and Elias must find a way off the island to be safe. Annah sees that Elias is now in love with Gabry, and yet she felt he was in love with her right before he left. I'm not sure if this is the end of the series or not, it did leave in a way that could probably be continued from, and I kind of hope it does.

My only complaint, Annah and Catcher fall in love WAY too quick/easy. They barely know each other, and Catcher was in love with Gabry before. So I don't quite understand the intensity of Annah and Catcher's feelings in this book. That was the only thing that I had trouble with as I was reading. Still a good book though!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Past Midnight Series #1-2 by Mara Purnhagen

When I checked out the Nook again last week, I was unsure what book I wanted to read first. So I went to my Goodreads page to my young adult books to read area and searched through. I wasn't really getting excited about any of them until I came to one called Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen. As someone who has gone on a few "ghost hunts" and is very interested in this, I decided this would be the book to start with. Especially in honor of going to see the premier of the American Ghost Hunter movie this summer and getting to meet the cast of Paranormal State tv show.

The main character is Charlotte Silver. Her parents are famous for a ghost hunting show they film. The difference is that her parents go out to debunk ghost stories. In fact they have their van for the show that is black with the word "Doubt" written on it. After a research trip to Charleston, something paranormal attaches itself to Charlotte and her parents have to face the fact that maybe there is some truth in it. Charlotte's mother is more open than her father. It turns out there are some parents who want to know what happened to their daughter, also named Charlotte. Up until now, the Silver family has moved constantly. Charlotte and her sister convince their parents to settle down near Charleston for Charlotte's senior year. And so for the first time Charlotte is able to make real friends, even a best friend named Avery. Avery has some secrets, and these secrets will be another mysterious thing to pull Charlotte into the paranormal world. That is the story behind the first book, Past Midnight.

The 2nd, or as it is called 1.5 book in the series, was a very short book, only like 83 pages on the Nook, and actually only available as an ebook. And in this, there is a huge rainstorm and flooding down in this area, and tons of coffins are washed out of cemetaries. Charlotte's parents of course volunteer to help with this, and now there is a mystery in the coffins that are found. There is a creepy man who is hanging around the cemetary that the Silver's are trying to help clean up, and he has a strange connection to the old man who cares for the cemetary. It was a really good book for as short as it was. I'm so glad the author went ahead and made it into an ebook. One thing that really connected with me in this, was the boy, Noah, that Charlotte likes. She finds out from Avery, that after homecoming, he said he was only interested in Charlotte as a friend. I felt the hurt she felt, knowing I've felt that way about several guys, only most of the time I never had anyone tell me that was all it was.

And the actual 2nd book is called One Hundred Candles. In this book, if you've heard of the 100 candles game, it does take place. A fellow student named Gwyn has other students come to her house to play this. Everyone tells a ghost story then lights a candle, until 100 stories have been told and all 100 candles have been lit. At that point the room is supposed to be filled with ghosts. Charlotte knows her parents would have a fit at her doing this, they disapprove of things like this and the Ouija board. But she is hanging out with a football player from school that supposedly is interested in her. And he holds her hand, and kisses her, and treats her really well. We also start out the story with the Silvers going to participate in an investigation in an old insane assylum with another really famous author. Now, while this person has a different name for the book of course, I wonder if it is supposed to be modeled after an actual author with a very similar name. I think is is Hans Holder? Something like that. When they are in the asylum, the assistant grabs Charlotte and is twisting and hurting her arm while he is possessed by something. And it is this something that Charlotte and her family must figure out to do. At the same time her parents are growing apart as her mother becomes more accepting and her father refuses to change his point of view on ghosts. The ending was very dramatic, and it left me hanging for book 3, which is supposedly out this fall? I hope!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Hazards of Working at a Bookstore Vol. 1.8

Saw several books on Tuesday night that I would be interested in reading. Even actually saw one in the young readers that sounded pretty good.

First is Timeless by Alexandra Monir. Our main character is named Michele Windsor, who is from a famous blue blood family. She discovers her great-great-grandmother's diary, and as she reads through it, she gets transported back in time to the Gilded Age. She meets the man of her dream in the past, but also learns some family secrets, and must try to deal with both of her lives. This is a teen book.

Second is the young readers book: The Danger Box by Blue Balliett. Now this author has had several bestselling kids' books in the Chasing Vermeer series. None of which I've read, although they sound like they have a decent plot. But this book sounds really good. The main character is named Zoomy, a 12 year old with pathological myopia, and at the beginning of the story, his absent alchoholic father shows up and leaves a box for him. Inside the box is only an old notebook, but it leads to lots of adventures. It is a journal that Zoomy goes through and then tries to find out more history about the author.

Third is a grown up book called Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran. Her other books have been about Nefertiti and Cleopatra. Both people that I enjoy reading about. I haven't read her books, but if this one is good, then I'll put them on my list. As you can tell by the title, it is about Madame Tussaud, she who is famous for the wax museum, but she was also an eye witness to the revolution. The royal family is impressed with her talent and invite her to the palace. But as tides turn, she is now considered a traitor for this favor she has been shown. And to save herself she is commissioned to make the death masks of the beheaded royal family.

Fourth is the book Living Hell by Catherine Jinks, a teen novel. Again, this author has many teen books, none of which have quite appealed to me when I picked them up to read the summaries on the jacket flaps. However, I picked it up anyway, and it sounds very intriguing. The main character is a 17 year old boy named Cheney. He has lived his whole life on a spaceship searching for an inhabitable planet. The spaceship hits a radiation wave, and at first it seems everyone is okay, there is no damage. But what has happened is the ship is now an organic organism, and it thinks the humans living in it are parasites and sends things to kill them, just like white blood cells would in our body. The science teacher in me LOVES this story idea!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

After reading the Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann, I was eager to read more books by her. And this book did not let me down.

Our main character is Kendall, she is a senior in a small town. Kendall has OCD. She has to arrange the classroom every morning, the desks, the curtains, the markers on the board, etc. At the end of the last year, one of the students in the small town, a girl named Tiffany, disappears. Even though the town spends tons of time looking for her, she is never found. Kendall's best friend/boyfriend Nico, is the next to disappear. Right before though, he gets distant, and Kendall wonders what is wrong with him. Some new students have moved to town, and when Kendall finds out the boy Jacian was accused at first of kidnapping or having something to do with Tiffany's disappearance, she looks at him with suspicion. Even when she becomes with his younger sister Marlena. One thing that helps Kendall with her OCD is playing soccer. But when Nico goes missing, and Marlena gets hurt, the small town no longer has enough players for a team. Kendall gets closer to Jacian through socceer.

Soon, Kendall notices that one of the desks keeps getting put out of place when she comes in each morning. And normally the desks only have to be rearranged at the beginning of the year. She realizes it is the same desk that Tiffany and Nico sat at before they disappeared, and so she sits at it, at first just to feel closer to Nico. As she sits there, she hears Nico's voice, telling her she can save him.

And this is where it gets kind of spooky.

A fun, quick read. Again something I'll be recommending to my students and at the bookstore I work at.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Hazards of Working at a Bookstore Vol. 1.7

Two new books. One I actually meant to write about in another post, because a friend reviewed it, and I've seen it sitting on a table at work several times. The other a teen book that I saw for the first time yesterday, and I actually had a minute to go back and read the cover to see if it sounded like something good other than just the cover and title.

So, first off the book is called Save As Draft by Cavanaugh Lee. This is a novel told mostly through email, texts, and other computer types of exchanges. I love books in this format. They're so much fun! And so much like how our lives seem to be these days. The main character is Izzy, she has a great first date, but then kind of dumps that guy to get together with the guy who has always been her best friend. But of course things change in that relationship after a while, and Izzy goes back to first date guy. So it's like a love triangle type story. This is the type of chick lit that draws me in. Sounds fun!

The 2nd book is Epitaph Road by David Patneude. I don't know that I've read a book by this author before, but have seen them. This is another dystopian type book for teens. In this future, most of the men have been killed off by a virus, and women rule the world. There are men who live away from the female rule, and when an uprising is threatened, another outbreak of the virus occurs. Our main character is Kellen. What intrigues me about this book is how often the dystopian society books have men in charge and women being 2nd class, as in the last one I read, Wither. So this one should be an interesting change of pace.

The Unspoken by Thomas Fahy

In my goal to read 5 books this week, which I barely made by the book I finished today, this was one I chose because I figured it would be a quick read. But now I'm behind on blogging! So here goes!

As I read through the other reviews of this on Goodreads after I finished reading this, several reviews stood out. First was the one that was not what the book was about at all. Which was really weird. Second, several of them said this was just like a teen horror slash film. And I got to thinking, yeah, it could totally be one of those.

Basically our main character is Allison. She and 5 other teens survived a cult that ended in a horrible fire. But before they got away, the leader of the cult, Jacob, told them that in 5 years they would all die by their worst fear. When the first one dies by drowning, although he is found in the middle of a field, they all go back to the hometown for the funeral. One by one they start dying. As we go through this, we learn what really happened to them in the cult and why it was so horrible.

I didn't like the way the story was told, there were times I wasn't sure who it was we were following. But other than that, the story was good, the ending was a bit of a surprise, I didn't quite realize that would be what would happen.

Again, maybe they should make a movie out of this! It would make a great teen slasher flick.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux

I have to start with when I first started reading this book. I was sitting in the break room at the bookstore I work at reading about the main character, Allison Hewitt, sitting trapped in the break room at the bookstore she worked at. The name of her bookstore was Brooks & Peabody. The name of my bookstore, Barnes and Noble. She's trapped with the store manager, and two of the assistant managers. One of the assistant manager's name is Matt, so is one of my store's. The other assistant manager is Janette, well, our other assistant manager is named June, or we also have Jolynn. She's also trapped with two regular customers. Their break room, like ours, has no windows. The nice thing about her's though, is that it has a bathroom in it. We unfortunately have to share with the customers. Which can be a real pain on really busy days.

So anyway, they are trapped by zombies. Somehow the people have changed to zombies, and these are the people left. Allison has her laptop, and is able to log into an internet called SNet. On here she blogs about what is going on. And there are other people around who follow her blogging as well as comment and tell what they are also dealing with where they are.

Well soon, they decide they must leave, in search of food, etc. There are apartments above the store, so they decide to go up there. Once up there, there is a guy named Zack that they find in one of the closets, and he becomes a part of their group. Until, one of them is killed by a squirrel that bites her and turns her into a zombie. And when they are done mourning her, they return to their apartment to find that Zack has taken off with all their supplies. In the meantime they've heard a voice on the radio inviting them to come to the college campus nearby for more supplies and other people and safety. So they decide to head there, but first Allison and Ted decide to go after Zack to get their supplies back. Turns out Zack was also a thief that stole from the college campus people. Allison gets her first look at how this situation can change what you would do.

Allison gets a message from her mother on the internet, and that makes them decide to wait on her before they go to the college, but her mother never shows up, so Allison goes to the college hoping maybe her mother got that far and couldn't get out to Allison.

The book follows Allison through all the stops on her search to find her mother. Clear to Colorado. Along the way there are zombies, she falls in love, then has a setback with that. She has to do surgery on a friend, and set up a big rescue mission.

This was a really fun read. I wish I'd been in on the internet beginning of this before it became a book. I feel kind of out of it. But that's okay. The book was good. And I read at the end there is going to be a sequel called Sadie Walker is Stranded. So I'll be looking out for that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge 4: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The funny thing about this book is that I had received an ARC several months ago I think, but it got put under some other books, I forgot about it, and actually picked up another ARC at the bookstore the other day and brought it home. It wasn't until I was up in my office/2nd bedroom trying to weed out some books to see if I can get any money for them that I found it. But, anyway, on with the review.

This is another dystopian setting book. Thanks to genetic engineering, every human born after a certain generation now only lives to a certain age, males 25, females 20. In order to keep the population from dying out, girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages. Our main character is 16 year old Rhine. She ends up with two other sister wives, Jenna who is 19, and Cecily who is 14 I think. Rhine first meets the original wife, Rose, when she gets to the house. She grows close to Rose, and learns that the man she is now married to, Linden, was in love with her. And when she dies, he turns to Rhine as the "first wife." Rhine puts Linden off in consumating the marriage. But Cecily, the youngest wife, gets pregnant right away. She comes from an orphanage, so this beautiful big house with servants to wait on her hand and foot is like a dream for her. Jenna, who must have been a prostitute before she was captured, also gives in. There is a servant named Gabriel that Rhine meets and takes an interest in when she first gets to the house. Rhine is okay with being first wife, it means she gets more priveleges and may be able to figure her way to escape.

As I read the story, you see that Linden isn't actually the bad guy. It is his father, one of the first generation that is older, but able to live a long time thanks to genetic engineering. I almost felt like if I was Rhine, I would have just stayed. Linden did love her. and he was a pretty nice guy, and attractive, and it was a beautiful house. But, all the things going on in the basement or that his father was up to were scary to think about. And I think this is going to be a trilogy. With where the book ends, I'm not sure what will come next. Will we follow Rhine? Or will we stay with another sister wife? Or will we meet another girl in a similar situation. Or, will we follow Rhine's twin brother after Rhine disappears. It'll be interesting to see where it goes next.

This wasn't originally on my list for the Debut Author Challenge http://www.thestorysiren.com/2010/11/2011-debut-author-challenge.html, but it fits in so I'm using it.

The Hazards of Working at a Bookstore Vol. 1.6

There were actually some real hazards, or should I say irritations at work last night. But as my blog is about the books that I want to buy after working, I won't go into those things. Both books I'm going to talk about in this blog are Teen books. Not that I got to spend much time in that section last night, but I did see these as I was straightening.

First is Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster. It is a science fiction story. The main character's name is Kyle. Kyle goes to a hypnotism show and agrees to go up on stage and get hypnotized. When he wakes up, everyone other than those hypnotized are different. In a way, they've evolved, or in technological terms, they've been updated. Telephones, TV's, Computers, none of them really work anymore, although there is a strange language running across them. All the other humans are kind of zombie like. I can't wait to read this one. I will either check it out, or a Nook again soon, to read it on.

The 2nd book is called A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford. It is a "paranormal romance" according to my bookstore. I'd call it another angel story. Our main characters name is Eden, fitting then that she is going to be swept up by a fallen angel named Az. I'm not exactly sure what happens, but I know that somehow Eden ends up not being actually living, or dead, and is sucked in to the battle between heaven and hell. Some reviews I've found mention maybe ghosts? I don't know, but the plot sounds good, and I also see it is a planned trilogy. So again, something I'll be checking out soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ill Wind by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason

Well, I feel like this is the first adult fiction I've read in a long time. Wait though, I really don't like using the term "adult fiction". In my mind it brings up the idea of an "adult bookstore" with it's XXX signs and showing an ID to get in. So maybe, just to help my own sense of silliness, I'll say this is my first "grown-up" book in a while. :-)

This was a pretty good book. I talked about it in one of my Hazards of Working at a Bookstore blogs a few weeks ago. I can tell, now that I know it was published over 10 years ago, that it wasn't published that recently. While it probably was repackaged and released with the big oil spill we had last year, there are surely some things that could stand to be updated technology wise. But, all in all, it was a good story.

Basically it is the largest oil spill in history, and it happens in San Francisco Bay. The oil company tries to save their image by releasing an untested "designer microbe" that will eat the oil and anything made of petrocarbons. It should be done once it eats the oil spill, but as it was untested, they don't realize it can travel through the air, and it does. And it eats not only oil, but gasoline right out of cars gas tanks, synthetic fabrics, and plastic. In a few days, there is no way to make cars go with no fuel. And any plastic has dissolved, and this causes problems that you don't even realize because of how many minor things are made of plastic that we don't even realize.

The world turns into the past, with really no communication other than a few science labs that figure a way around it. The president is killed as he is visiting one of the oil supplying nations and his plane has brought the microbe with it and destroyed their countries as well. The Speaker of the House ends up as president and decides Martial Law is the best way to keep the nation safe. But not everyone agrees with hanging kids who are out after curfew or who have stolen a can of tuna. And when one military commander decides to stop a science testing area where they may be able to solve the energy problems, people decide to fight back.

Waiting On Wednesday - Torn (Missing book 4) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Waiting on Wednesday is sponspored by Breaking the Spine where we discuss books we are eagerly anticipating.

I saw the ad for this in a recent Shelf Awareness newsletter and just keep forgetting or getting too busy to blog about it on Wednesdays. I've really enjoyed this series since I read the first one as a possible Mark Twain Book award nominee a couple years ago.

Where we left our main characters was on their way out of Roanoke in 1600, now Jonah and Katherine are in 1611 right before a mutiny on Henry Hudson's ship. This series is the story of children who were kidnapped out of time periods right before they would die and then adopted to people in the future. They are now trying to go back to their original time periods to fix history. And we just left one at Roanoke Island.

I know this is a really short blog, but this is a great series that I've blogged about before, so go check it out!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

This book was actually not one I had intended to read. Don't think it was even on my to read list. It was just a stripped cover book I'd picked up at the store to put on the bookshelf in my classroom for my students to read. Well, last week at school, I didn't bring my book to school with me, feeling I had too much else to do during my lunch than just sit and read while I ate. But of course, I'm so stressed by lunch with the 8th grade schedule, that I just need to sit and do nothing during that time. Well, not nothing, I need to read. So I had to pick one of my own books off my shelf. I decided to pick up Bound by Donna Jo Napoli.

I guess I'd not really ever read what the book was about. I just assumed it was about life in China when they made the womem have their feet bound. And yes, this was a major part of the story. But really, this was a Cinderella story.

Xing Xing lives with her stepmother and her half sister Wei Ping. Wei Ping has had her feet bound, but really later than it should be. So because of that her feet are already too big to be dainty. Xing Xing is basically treated like a servant. And so must find ways to be happy.

I love the way it goes into the traditions with their ancestors and the dead relatives. I also love the poetry and the animals as symbols that were included in the story. It was a very unique story, andone I will definitely be promoting when possible.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fatal Distraction by Emmi Fredericks

I must say, reading all the YA books lately has kind of gotten me out of the mood of my chick lit books. Or else, maybe I don't have as many that are as great as ones I've had in the past.

This was an okay book. But it wasn't one that I couldn't put down. I kept it for when I took bubble baths, and sometimes, unless I had the Nook, I might read something else instead because it just wasn't as good as other things I was reading.

The main character in the book, Eliza, is a celebraholic, and not only that, she wants to be famous, even if the only way for her to do that is through her friends' fame. Her friend Dinah gets in trouble with the law, and Eliza thinks she will become famous by saving the day in court for her. Her friend Danny is an actor, he's extremely attractive, but actually not a very good actor. She wants to help get him famous though, on a tv show or in a movie, so she can ride along on his coat tails.

Her plans and machinations get both her friends upset with her. And at one time they get really irritated with her celebrity obssession and she tries to quit.

Now, one thing I didn't like, is that she works for a publishing company, yet hates it. I think it would be so cool! To read manuscripts all day? That sounds like my dream job. I want to be a writer, but don't quite think I have the talent for it, so being in publishing and getting to be paid to real all the time woulc be heaven for me.

There was some humor in it, so there were some funny parts, and as I said, it wasn't horrible, just not my cup of tea.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Hazards of Working at a Bookstore Vol. 1.5

Last night I found two really great books! I also have a few that I forgot to talk about in my last Hazards post, and I'm not even sure if I posted after I worked Saturday night either. Now the funny thing is that the two I found last night weren't even in the store. I was looking for some kind of blank book that was for helping a blogger with organizing. Like, for instance, sometimes when I go to do a Waiting On Wednesday post, I can't remember if I've already listed that book. So I want to keep track of a list in a special book. But, couldn't find any such blank book set up for that. Which is really okay, because I am such a weirdo about buying cute little notebooks, that I'm sure I have one in my office/2nd bedroom that I can use. And enough with that, on with the books I discovered last night.

First is Little Blog on the Prairie:

The main character is Gen, and her family goes to a summer camp where they are "living" in the 1890's. She is able to email her friends about the "little hell on the prairie" existence, even though all modern day equipment was taken away. And her friends post it in a blog. I think this book sounds really cute! Can't wait to read it! Not sure if it is in my store, but I will get it soon.

Second is Dead Girl's Blog:

This books is an e-book only as far as I can tell. It's about a very popular girl who gets bitten by a "deader" and so of course becomes a zombie. This is two short stories. And is actually an introduction to a full length book coming out by Donna Burgess, called Diary of a Dead Girl. This actual book will come out in the later half of 2011 supposedly. So, next time I check out the Nook, I'll be reading this right away. And then looking forward to the full length book later this year.

I've decided 3 books per Hazards blog is probably good enough, so I'm only going to go back to one I forgot to do a week ago because I noticed it again last night.

Third is The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir:

Since I first saw the movie and read the book The Other Boleyn Girl I got extremely interested in that whole story. Then of course there was the tv series The Tudors, really good as well. So this is a book that gives a possible look at what Anne's last days were like. It is based of course on many sources from the Tudor era. And I like that it gives evidence for both her guilt and innocence. It will probably be one I pick up soon. I will probably buy it since as I said, it is something I'm extremely interested in. With nonfiction books like this, I need to take my time reading it, getting all the details. Unlike how with fiction, I often just read through fast to get the story, and then if it is really good I go back and re-read and get the details.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

I first heard about this book in the Shelf Awareness email newsletter about a giveaway of a signed copy by the author. So I emailed and entered. I hadn't heard any news of when they were drawing a winner, and I had to turn my Nook back into the store on Saturday, so when I saw the book was already on the shelves at my store, I checked it out. I really, really enjoyed this book. I actually even intend to recommend it to our Missouri Association of School Librarian's readers awards committees.

This book is about Typhoid Mary. Yes, it is told in story format, but in a really good way. The main character is Prudence. She is Mrs. Browning's school for girls to learn the skills that will hopefully win her a better life some day. But Prudence isi more interested in science, something her mother and father both encouraged her in when she was younger. And she really became interested when her brother was in an accident and his injuries got sores and he died. They allow the girls to take afternoon jobs. Prudence finds a job working with the Sanitation department trying to solve the recent typhoid outbreak.

Their research leads them to a common woman in all the cases, who after they test her and find she has the virus, but has never been sick, the papers soon dub her Typhoid Mary.

As a science teacher, I could totally see this being a book that you could base a whole integrated unit on, I see the science, social studies, and CA parts, and I'm sure there are many ways to bring math in as well. You've got all the history of the time as we learn about how things were for people back then, how women were just starting to be accepted as doctors, the wars of the time, etc. The science with disease and the human body is all stuff I studied this year with my students. Obviously the book could be read in CA, and math could maybe do the figuring of how the disease spread, etc. I wish we still had time to do these things in school, I'd totally recommend it. Instead, we are now into mastery learning and common assessments, instead of making kids understand that all the things they learn relate in some way and all are important and can be fun. Okay, off my education soapbox.

This was a great book! I will probably also make it one of my staff recommendations at the bookstore.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

This is the 2nd book I've read by this author, and I see a bit of a trend. But it's a good one! One that I think will bring about more books to read in the future.

Anyway, our main character is Mason, when he was a young boy, he was mauled by a neighbor's dog, and has grown up with a hideously scarred face. He lives in a town with a big science lab called TroDyn. He wants to go work there for the summer, because he is very interested in science, but his mother won't let him. One night when he stops by the nursing home his mother works at, he finds a girl, several young catatonic people actually, that are at what he assumed was a nursing home for older people. While he's waiting on his friend, he slips a DVD, the only thing he has of his father into the DVD player. It is a recording of his father reading a children's book. During certain lines, this girl wakes up. Then the next few lines, she goes back to being catatonic. Mason figures out the parts of the poem wake her up, and so he wakes her up. When he does, she freaks out a bit, not sure where she is, and starts talking about him getting her away before the Gardener comes.

So, Mason takes her away and tries to find out what is going on. It's obvious she was part of some experiment at the labs.

A big point of this story is how someday we are going to run out of food. And the scientists are looking for ways to make humans more like plants, autotrophs in other words, that can make their own food from the sun.

Mason gets wrapped up in the girl's mystery, and even finds some things out about himself.

This was a very engrossing read. I will definitely be recommending it at the bookstore as well as to my students. The trend I see was that in The Compound, the dad was trying to find a way to keep his family alive underground, with some kind of sick experiments. Again, scientists trying to find a way to save the human race with some kind of sick experiments.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

As you might be able to tell, I'm quite into the dystopian teen novels these days. This was another great one.

In this world, there are no wars, no fighting, everyone is peaceful. And the way to this was by curing love. Seriously, everyone gets a surgery when they turn 18 to cure them from love. The scientists have determined that love is actually a disease, amor deliria nervosa. Our main character is Lena. She is less than a year from her cure, and she is eager to get it over with. She has seen first-hand how love can destroy a family and a person's life. Her mother committed suicide because she loved. The surgery had never worked on her mother, and before they could try a 4th time, she decided to end it.

Lena's best friend seems to want to push it. And when the two of them are out running one day, they run into a little bit older boy named Alex. He says he is cured, and even has a scar in the right place. Lena is drawn to Alex, and soon, her view begins to change, as she becomes infected with the disease. In the end, she must decide whether to go on with the surgery or run away for love.

This was a good story, many surprises popped up along the way. I was, however, not happy with the ending. Or, should I say, it was a good ending, and probably very fitting, but I still wasn't happy the way it ended. I won't spoil it for you, even with the way it ended, I would still read it again, it really is good, and as I say, the ending was fitting, it worked perfectly.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Hazards of Working at a Bookstore Vol. 1.4

This entry will actually be a combination of both last Saturday and last night. I just was too busy to get Saturday night's done. But both nights I found several books, and some of these I'm listing are ones that I had seen before, but forgot about, so my plan of keeping track this way helps me remember those.

First though, one of the books I mentioned in an earlier Hazards blog was Ill Wind, and they had actually stripped the books to send the covers back to the publisher, and were recycling all of the copies! Fortunately they had not sent the stripped books to the recycle bin yet, so I was able to grab a copy. As soon as I check the Nook back in this Saturday it will probably be the first book I read. So look for a review for that soon.

Okay, here are the books I want to buy:

1. Austenland by Shannon Hale: The main character's name is Jane Hayes, she lives in New York and is seemingly normal. However, she has a secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, well, the Colin Firth Mr. Darcy anyway. Because of her obsession, her dating life sucks, because there is no real man who can stand up to Mr. Darcy. She gets a surprise visit to an English resort that caters to Austen obsesseed women, where she gets to dress in regency period dresses and flirt with all the men there, whether they are only gardeners, or possibly actors hired by the resort.

2. Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse by Max Brallier: Okay, who remembers the Choose Your Own Adventures books that were the big deal when I was a kid in the 80's, that they've even brought back to our store? This is basically that same thing, only for adults. It's the same size as a normal trade paperback. And with all the zombie books and movies I've been into lately, this looks awesome!

3. Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford: I actually am a little bit over the whole vampire or zombie re-writing of classics. This however sounds interesting. It is actually a sequel to another that I wanted to read, Jane Bites Back. Where Jane Austen is actually a vampire, and is a bookstore owner in New York. In this sequel she is now the author of a new book, and now she has to really fight to keep her identity as "the" Jane Austen secret. I haven't read the first book, but I think Lord Byron is also a vampire. So she must deal with a Bronte sister coming back in revenge as well. Sounds like a fun romp to me!

4. Stolen by Lucy Christopher: This is a teen book I saw awhile ago and forgot about. But it sounds really intense! So I must make sure to remember to read it. The main character is 16 year old Gemma. She is kidnapped at the airport by a man named Ty. He takes her to the remote wild lands of the Outback in Australia. To Gemma who has always lived in the city, this is so scary how remote it is with no people for miles and miles. This book is told as a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper, as it seems she comes to understand her kidnapper. It brings up the Stockholm syndrome, which I think is very interesting for a teen to read about.

5. Claim to Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix: Well, first, this is one of my favorite YA authors. Second, the story, the main character was famous as a child, but the stress of fame and the fact she could hear other people's thoughts in her head caused her to have a nervous breakdown and disappear from the public eye. The rumor is that her dad kidnapped her. But really she's gone to live far from all the voices and has become less stressed. Unfortunately some former fans think she's been kidnapped, and these teens go to "save" her and bring her back to the headaches of hearing everyone's thoughts. Sounds really good!

There are actually a few others I want to talk about, but as I've got plans to go see a movie tonight, and need to leave in about 5 minutes, I'll post later on.