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Posts tagged ‘New Books’

Seven and Sweets all around!

This was a weekend of epic reading.  I wish I had been reading these books while punching a shark.  Or jumping out of a flaming dirigible.  Or building a log cabin out of toothpicks and unicorn tears.  But alas, I read these books on my couch, which is epically awesome in its own way, but nowhere near as cool as a couch made out of live badgers.  Then again, I cannot imagine a live badger couch would be very comfortable.  Or conducive to reading.  Thankfully my couch is, and I therefore spent some quality time reading The Power of Six and the haunting Sweetly.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore is the long awaited sequel to the thrilling I Am Number Four.  This is a continuation of Four, Sam and Six’s adventures, with the added bonus of number Seven!  While at times I found I Am Number Four to be slow and tedious, I never felt that way with the sequel.  Talk about fast paced and riveting.  The constant switch between Four and Seven, noted by slight but noticeable text changes, was well executed. We go easily from chapter to chapter alternating between Four and Seven, following two stories at once.  You never feel lost or out of place, and everything flows together very naturally.  When it comes time for the separate stories to merge, it is such an awesome back and forth that you just do not want to put the book down.  I loved all the action in the sequel, most of the set up was taken care of in the first book, so we can really get into the alien slaying action.  Now questions are answered in this book, and in a very satisfying manor.  Things that could be ridiculous are handled in a wonderfully believable way as well, not once was I left feeling like the author pulled an answer out of thin air just to appease me.  While the first book left me a little wanting, the sequel has only left me wanting more.  You can trust that this librarian will be on the edge of her seat until Mr. Lore deems it time to release the next book.

I love fairy tales.  I love fairy tale retellings.  I have never had a retelling haunt my dreams quite like Sweetly by Jackson Pearce.  Seriously, this book made me wake up in the middle of the night panicking, and I don’t even have a ton of woods around me.  The writing is wonderful and descriptive, and I love the heroine.  You all know how rare it is for me to love a heroine.  They really need to be awesome to win my respect and Jackson Pearce has written an extremely awesome heroine.   Sweetly is the story of Ansel and Gretchen, a brother and sister who lost Gretchen’s twin one fateful day in the woods.  After their mother died and father remarried, they knew their step mother held no love for them.  This was confirmed when she kicked them out of the house the moment that Gretchen turned 18.  Glad to be able to get away from the forests of Washington which haunted them, the siblings drove as far away as humanly possible.  All the way to South Carolina in fact.  It may have been bad luck, or fate, that made their car break down in the middle of a washed up town.  Things look up when the pretty woman who runs the local candy shop lets them stay with her in exchange for doing some work around the house.  While Ansel is trying to impress the pretty Sophia, Gretchen is being draw to Samuel, a loner who seems to know more about what is happening in the woods around town that anyone cares to know.  What is going bump in the woods at night?  And does Gretchen really want to find out?

 

No one finds it weird when a stranger kisses you awake? Really?

As a fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty always weirded me out.  A strange guy climbs into my bedroom and wakes me up with a kiss?  After which I decide to run away with him and live happily ever after?  No way.  I would have some questions for this guy.  How long exactly have you been watching me sleep?  Who told you about me?  Did you know the kiss was going to wake me up, or are you just a perv?  Why did you kiss a girl who hasn’t brushed her teeth or bathed in 100 years?  Just basic things I would need to know before running off with my supposed hero to his castle.  When it came to my attention that there was a modern retelling of the story, I was of course skeptical.  I really could not see how you could modernize a tale that felt so thoroughly stuck in the past.  Lo and behold it is possible, but with a spin that one would never expect.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan is the modern retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale with a wonderful twist.  Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep of sixty-two years, locked away in a chemically induced slumber in a stasis tube.  Talk about an awesome premise for a fairy tale retelling.  She slept through events that killed millions and radically altered the world in which she now lives.  In this strange new world, she is the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire.  Because in this brave new world, we have gone and colonized other planets and now freely roam all over the galaxy.  Most people in this new world don’t know what to do with Rosalinda, and some heads of the corporation would rather she disappear.  Now Rosalinda has to navigate this new world with the help of her savior, Bren, and a unique individual by the name of Otto.  Will she ever figure out how to fit in, or will the forces that kept her in stasis stop at nothing to have her back?

Goths and Magicians took over my weekend

Yay!  A new book review!  I have been anxiously waiting for a new shipment of YA books to come in, so when they finally did I tried hard not to just pounce on them and scurry away to read them.  Instead, I elegantly walked down to my bat cave and then devoured them like a madwoman.  Double lucky for me, one of the books is by one of my all-time favorite authors.  The other one I have chosen to review was picked at random when I closed my eyes and grabbed.  Enjoy!

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin was the biggest surprise of the summer for me.  I have never been so taken by surprise as I was by this book.  Aggie Winchester is a junior in high school, the principal’s daughter, and is very much a gothic outsider.  Ever since she was bullied her freshman year, she has depended on her goth friend Sylvia to protect her from the nasty cheerleaders.  But now Sylvia is pregnant and the father is one of the most popular boys in school.  Not that anyone else knows that he is the father.  With Sylvia becoming more and more withdrawn, Aggie is wondering who she really is, and if she is really happy.  Add in a dash of bass fishing, some suspicious ballot box action, and a sexually demanding ex-boyfriend, and life as Aggie knows it is falling down around her.

 

Switching from goths to magicians is no easy feat, and I have no clever segue.  Umm…both books have teenage girls!  Now that the clever segue is out of the way, I can continue telling you about the fabulous Across the Great Barrier by the wonderful Patricia C. Wrede.  Wrede is the woman who wrote the book that shaped a vast majority of my young life.  Many a day was spent trying to be more like Princess Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons and I am better for it.  I was overjoyed to see the Wrede has once again written a heroine that I can get behind, strong, with a good amount of humility, a little magic but not too super special and just the right hint of bravery.  Eff is the thirteenth daughter who is not sure just what she wants to do in life.  Her twin brother Lan, the seventh son of a seventh son, thinks she should be going off to college and honing her magical skills.  With Eff on the fence about what she wants to do with her life, she decides to take on more responsibilities at the college menagerie.  While working there, a Professor asks her to go a journey west, out into the settlements, where animals, both natural and wild, roam free.  When Eff makes a discovery that could shake the settlement of the unknown west to its core, what is the free world going to do?

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.

Beauty Queens, Debutantes, Mummies and Government Overthrows!

So before I run off to a tropical paradise and get eaten by a jaguar, I figured that I would give you a book review before I left.  Mostly so that there is something to remember me by after I’m nommed by a giant cat.  Because if there is one way in which I definitely want to be remembered it is by my stellar book reviews.  Surprisingly, one of the books I reviewed is about getting stranded on a tropical paradise and having to survive!

Libba Bray, author of Going Bovine (also in our library, hint, hint) is at it again with another amazing book that kept me up for most of the night, mostly due to my unwillingness to put it down.  Beauty Queens is all about the survival of a few teen beauty queens whose plane crashed onto a deserted island.  They are without food, water, shelter, communication and make up.  There is no way for them to know who is going to survive to become Miss Teen Dream, but they are not going to lose their sparkle power!  This island’s new leadership is based on the core foundation of the pageant industry, smile and shine!  The beauty queens survival is in jeopardy thanks to a shady government, a crazed dictator, and a few larger than life snakes.  Nothing that a Teen Dream Queen cannot handle.  The hunky pirates on the other hand, they could cause a few problems.

This book is a wonderful combination of snark, adventure, romance and social commentary.  Libba Bray does a wonderful job of making a cast full of beauty queens identifiable, an especially hard job considering the number of characters that this book contains.  The relationships between girls, pirates, government agents and political leaders are all well thought out and make complete sense.  The humor is tempered with serious commentary, and gives one a chance to look at the beauty industry, reality TV, our culture and what it means to be a woman without being overwhelmed.  I was in stitches the whole time thanks to Libba Bray’s wit, and strongly recommend this book for everyone who has existed ever.

Not to be outdone by Ms. Bray, the lovely Jennifer Bradbury has a book coming out as well and once again, strong heroines and political drama reign supreme!  Wrapped is the tantalizing story of Agnes Wilkins, a girl getting ready for her debut season and all of the rigors of finding the perfect husband.  Too bad Agnes will never be the perfect wife.  She is fluent in ten languages, loves learning and wants to travel the world, not travel to the next party in London.  Agnes is sure that her fate is sealed when Lord Showalter pays special attention to her, making it obvious to everyone that she is his intended.  Agnes decides to rebel a little, taking an ancient artifact from a mummy unwrapping party.  Lord Showalter did say they got to keep what they found, so what harm was it really?  Anyway, that artifact belongs to the Egyptian people, not the English.  Then people who were at the party start getting hurt, their homes ransacked.  Agnes knows that something is not quite right with this situation, and it is up to her, and a very handsome museum worker, to figure out how mummies, Napoleon, and Egyptian death gods fit together.

I love me a good debutante drama.  I love it even more when it is brilliantly crafted, with a smart, competent heroine who is not about to shriek the moment a dead mummy is placed before her.  Agnes’ has all the sense I would wish on a heroine, plus the historical sensibility one would expect in a historically set piece of fiction.  The political intrigue is wonderfully woven into the story, and feels quite right for the time period.  There are no far-fetched happenstances, you are never left trying to piece something together that does not quite make sense, a welcome thing in a historical romance, where you can sometimes trip over plot holes.  Bradbury does a wonderful job crafting this story, and leaves me wanting more.  I loved Agnes and Caedmon and want more adventures with them, preferably with the same historical bent.  So Jennifer you can just go about writing a sequel right now, I’ll just sit here and wait impatiently.

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.