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Posts tagged ‘Death’

I’m forgetful, but not to this extent!

So I picked up a book I would have never in a million years chosen to read, and decided to give it a shot.  I went through a few basic stages that one goes through when reading a new book they are not sure about.  First there was disgust; I could not believe I was reading this book that was written in such a convoluted way.  The second was despair, this book would never end!  After disgust came grudging respect, the plot was picking up and things were coming together, I hated life a little bit less.  Lastly was acceptance and love.  While I may have wanted to throw the book across the room when I started, by the end I was so involved in reading it I would not have heard if someone had thrown my entire book collection across the room.

The book that had me so emotionally confused was As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott.  Poor Ava wakes up in a room she doesn’t recognize, surrounded by people she doesn’t recognize, being told who she is and that everything will be okay.  She just has a minor case of memory loss.  Ava is convinced that something isn’t right; she remembers nothing about the world she lives in, but keeps having flashbacks to a world she feels is where she belongs.  A world filled with a nasty government, secret agencies that spy on you, and Morgan.  All of these memories jumble together with impressions of people she vaguely remembers, she knows her friends, but in a very different world then the one she lives in.  Is she really the Ava that everyone says she is?  Or is there another world out there, one in which she truly belongs?

This book did not impress me at first.  The book is written from Ava’s point of view, so for the first few chapters as she is struggling with what is happening to her, you are struggling right alongside her.  You keep waiting for the explanation that will make everything clear, that will let you truly grasp what is going on in this book.  Fortunately, as Ava figures things out, what has happened to her becomes clearer, the writing style fleshes itself out, and just like Ava is gaining balance in her world, the writing of the book gains balance as well.  Elizabeth Scott does a good job of separating what is happening in the world where Ava is and the world where she remembers being.  The characterization of the people in the different worlds is done wonderfully and helps to add to Ava’s confusion, as well as helping her solve some problems she is facing.  This is a book that I feel I am going to have to revisit, just because there is so much happening under the surface that I feel like things were explained to me and I completely missed them when I was caught up in the action of the book.  Overall, As I Wake is a wonderful work and I hope you come to the Tucker Free Library to check it out for yourself!

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Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing…

To state the obvious, it’s summer.  Time to don the shades, gas up the vehicle and drive off into the great wide open.  Or maybe not.  So you can’t road trip this summer, eh?  So you’re stuck at home, watching paint dry and grass grow?  And you’re bored you say?! Bored?!  How can you be bored?!  You have the LIBRARY at your disposal!  We are full of one thing and one thing only, entertainment!  So this summer, instead of just laying outside talking about all the things you could be doing but aren’t, grab a few tomes from the Tucker Free and read.  Read about murder and love and parties and road trips and fights and heartache and triumph and zombies.  Then plan.  And when the time comes and your adventure begins, you have some practical, or not so practical, bookish advice to follow!  While others complained, you sought to better yourself through books, and trust me, when someone says, “I know what to do, I read it in a book!”  others listen.  To start you off on your summer knowledge quest (doesn’t that sound fancy!?), I present for your reading enjoyment, Pretty Bad Things.

 

Pretty Bad Things is the debut book of one Ms. C.J. Skuse.  She loves Gummi Bears (does not specify whether candy or cartoon) and hates carnivals.  This puts her on pretty solid ground with me, though I wish she would clarify her stance on zombies.  She writes of the tale of Paisley and Beau, whose lives to this point have been filled with great woe (I promise the rest of this review will not rhyme.)  Their mom was an abusive alcoholic and their dad robbed a hotel at gunpoint and was put in jail.  The robbery happened around the time that their mom died of an overdose and they were wandering around the woods looking for him.  So their wicked, and I mean wicked, Grandmother takes them in and milks their fame for all its worth.  Paisley and Beau work the circuit of TV shows and endorsements until their Grandmother has a nice lump sum of money to spend on her Botox and Prada.  Paisley becomes temperamental and gets shipped from boarding school to boarding school.  Beau is wasting away in the prison of a house that is their Grandmother’s.  That is until Beau finds a letter one day.  A letter from their father, recently released and waiting in Nevada.  Now Paisley and Beau just need to be able to figure out exactly where he is and how to get to him.  It looks like their best option might just be getting back into the public eye, only this time in a less legal fashion.

Borrow it.  Read it.  Love it.  Borrow it again.  Just don’t go to Vegas and rob a store.  Really.  I’m not going to bail you out.  Again.

So not only can you see dead people, you can talk to them too? And bring them back to life!? I’m gonna go stand over here…

So it is new book time once again!  My weekend was a jumble of reading and breaking furniture and then more reading!  If I had the powers over furniture that Kate Winters has over the dead, you can bet that all my broken furniture would have been resurrected this weekend instead of being haphazardly piled in a corner.

Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw is the story of Kate Winters, a fifteen year old girl who just wants to work in her uncle’s bookstore and not get involved in war.  Her dreams are soon shattered when the wardens descended, taking all the people from her small town of Morvane.  But they are not just drafting people from towns at random, they are looking of someone.  Someone who can raise the dead. Someone like Kate, who just brought a blackbird back to life.  Now Kate is the prisoner of the toughest warden of all, Silas.  He has some sort of plan for her; Kate just is not sure what.  She is sure of two things: firstly, that she has to save her uncle from a life of slavery; and secondly, that her old friend Edgar is more than he seems.  Kate’s entire existence is coming apart before her eyes; can she build it back up and come to terms with her new powers before it is too late?

Shadowcry was an amazing first from Ms. Burtenshaw, I was duly impressed.  The relationship between Kate and Silas was one of the highlights of the book and was touchingly realistic.  In fact, Ms. Burtenshaw’s strength is in developing complex relationships between characters and making them all flow together.  There are many characters in this book, and they are all pretty much thrown at you, no time to get adjusted.  It is through dialogue and interaction that you really learn about them.  The scenes where Kate goes into other peoples’ memories is pretty impressive as well.  Normally I am very anti explanations via some sort of convenient ability to see the past, read minds, etc.  The way this book treats them, however, does not annoy me as much as I thought it would.  They are not leaned upon or used as a crutch; they are just part of the overall story.  Shadowcry is a book that I devoured quite quickly and I would love to visit Kate Winter’s world again.

A nice relaxing book about the beach…and death.

Not murder mystery death, but sad, heart wrenching find yourself death.  While the cover of Moonglass by Jessi Kirby may lead one to believe that it is a schmaltzy summer romance, that assumption is far from the truth.  Moonglass is a touching story about Anna and her journey towards accepting her mother’s death, which happened many years ago.  Her mother drowned herself in front of seven year old Anna, and while Anna has grown up to be a confident and accomplished young woman, questions about her mother still remain.  Her father accepts a new job at the beach where he first met Anna’s mother, and she slowly uncovers the mysteries of her mother, as well as discovering the many different shapes of grief.

This book is at its strongest when it focuses on Anna, her father and her mother.  There is some great character building and a few truly touching moments.  Where the book falters is when Anna goes off to start her new high school and things become a little too stereotypical “new girl at school is amazing and gets the hottest boy.”  If it were a whole separate story, it would be wonderfully entertaining and a lot of fun.  Mixed into the heaviness of the other plotline, it looks vapid and makes the serious issues lose some weight.  I found myself getting whiplash from how quickly Kirby would jump back and forth between the two plotlines, often with no warning.  It took some effort to keep things straight, but the characters, especially the Dad, made me stick it out.  Kirby had so many wonderful characters and ideas, that I wish that I had gotten more time with all of them so they could fully develop.  Overall, I did enjoy this book, and it is a wonderful first effort from Jessi Kirby.  You should check it out for yourself at the Tucker Free Library.

Corsets and the Underworld. Yay!

Alright, two new facts about your intrepid blog writer.  Fact number one: I was a HUGE fan of Greek mythology.  Huge.  Started reading it in 3rd grade and had it all memorized by the beginning of 4th grade.  I loved all the gods and goddesses and fights and romances and the creatures, especially the creatures.  Though I did want the Chimera for a pet instead of the Pegasus.  Enough of that, time for fact number 2: I love steampunk.  My college roommate got me into the world of steampunk and really, I am not going to say no to anything that allows me to wear a corset.  So there you have it, two new facts, revel in them.  Astonishingly enough, these two new facts match up rather nicely to two new books we just so happen to have at the Tucker Free Library!  So I will just go ahead and tell you about them now so when you come here and check them out you can be properly excited.

Meg Cabot is at it again with another stunning example of why she is just such a gosh darn good author.  Her latest, Abandon, takes its cues from the ancient Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.  Pierce, our heroine, has moved to her mom’s childhood island home to have a chance to start fresh.  Why does she need to start fresh you ask?  Well Pierce died and was then revived, and ever since her near death experience, she has been a little off.  Maybe it is because now she claims that she can see people who are truly evil and wants to protect everyone around her from this evil.  Maybe it is because she has had trouble focusing on academics when there are bigger problems in the world.  Maybe it is because of the tall, dark, mysterious man who tried to keep her in the Underworld as his bride who is now following her around.  Either way, her new life on the island is not going to be the fresh start she was looking for, it may in fact, be her ultimate end.

Corsets & Clockwork is one of those books that is awesome and wonderful because it is a compilation of short stories, 13 to be exact.  So you can sit and read all of them in a row or skip around to the ones that sound the most interesting or read every other one or do it alphabetically, really it doesn’t matter how you read them, you should just read them.  These stories will introduce you to 13 new authors, each with the own style and take on the world of steampunk.  You have a few airships, some clockwork people, a dash of magic, some explosives, a few examples of fine royalty and one flying 1950s T-Bird.  There are some true gems in this collection, and it is a wonderful way to become acquainted with the world of steampunk.

If you do not check out this book, I will cry.

So once again I found myself perusing the YA collection, laughing at a title here, reminiscing about the poignant moments another book had to offer there, and I stumbled upon a book I had never seen before.  A book that appeared, for all intensive purposes, to be brand new.  I decided to place it on the new book shelf, where I figured it rightly belonged.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that we had possessed this book for OVER A YEAR.  After I regained consciousness, I sprinted to my desk to write this missive.  If you like magic and orphans and old cities and graveyards and general supernatural spookiness, then we have had a book waiting here for you for a year.

 

The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick tells of the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve where magical occurrences happen frequently.  A magician, Valerian, must figure out how to save his own life in those few short days or he will be forced to pay the price of a pact he made with evil many years ago.  Demonic forces are after him and no amount of skill or magic seems to be able to stop the inevitable from happening.  Valerian has only his servant, Boy, helping him, and soon acquires the help of a savvy orphan girl by the name of Willow, who lends her services on their journey though graveyards and into the sprawling darkness of the city’s underbelly.  How can the two street orphans trust a man who has made a deal with the devil?  Will finding this mythical Book of Dead Days really save Valerian’s life?  And is it even a life worth saving?

 

Please find out by checking out this book.  I really do not want to faint from shock at work anymore, it interferes with my shelving.

We’ve got new books, you need to read them.

Really, you NEED to read them.  These next three books are so gosh darn cool that they do not deserve to stay on the shelves.  They need to be out in the hands of the reading public, having holds placed on them and being secretly read during class.  Or openly read everywhere so people know just how cool you are with your excellent choice in books. So without further ado, let me introduce you to the newest additions to the Tucker Free Library’s already stellar collection.

 

Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson

 

The same woman who brought you the book The Luxe now brings you this stirring adventure of three very different girls.  In Manhattan.  In the 1920s.  Flappers, prohibition, speakeasies, the Jazz Age!  Letty (great name) and Cordelia head to New York City from their tiny Midwestern town, both with incredibly different desires.  Letty wants to become famous, while Cordelia is searching for her mysterious missing father.  Into Cordelia’s life waltzes the flapper Astrid, a girl who has it all but whose perfect veneer hides a multitude of family secrets.  What exactly is Astrid hiding beneath her perfect façade?  Will Cordelia find her father, or will someone kill her before she gets the chance?  Will Letty ever become a star, or will the price of fame be too much for her to pay?

 

Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

 

Jonathan’s twin brother Telemachus (bonus points for anyone who can tell me the origin of the name) was hit by a car.  Since that fateful day, Jonathan’s fragile grip on reality, and his will to do anything at all, has been dwindling down to nothing.  He’s taken to being a tortured artist who is doomed to repeat his junior year, except for the fact that his English teacher, principal and crew of friends will not just sit by and watch him fail.  He has one huge project to do if he wants to become a senior on time, write about the life of David, a World War II veteran.  He either writes the story, or he flunks out.  So Jonathan starts spending time at Delphi House (bonus points again for anyone who can tell me the significance of this name), a hospice for the sick and dying.  Jonathan is struggling to find a voice, a voice for himself, his pain, the sick of Delphi House, for David and especially for his brother, Telly.  Let’s hope for his sake he can find it in time.

 

A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills by Lizabeth Zindel.

 

Shakespeare was a great playwright, you may have even heard of some of his stuff:  Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet.  Now take the last title, Hamlet and have all of the characters switch genders.  So Hamlet is now Holly, Claudius is Claudia, and Ophelia is Oliver.  Them take them out of Denmark and place them in modern day Hollywood.  What do we have then you may ask, I’ll tell you what we have.  What we have is one of the most refreshing and interesting versions of Hamlet this lady has seen in a good long while.  Definitely worth a read if you are a theatre buff or Shakespeare fan, and a great read if you were confused by the original work.  Do not, however, read this as a substitute for the original work, if you do that, you will be sorely disappointed.