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Zombies + Pizza = A pretty decent weekend!

So this weekend I found myself with a little down time in the evening.  The other half was wrapped up in course work, so of course I had to be super studious by his side!  And by super studious I mean reading a whole bunch of amazing and incredible books.  Mine have fewer diagrams of human bodies, but they have way more magic and unexplained phenomena.  All the hard work of reading led to a brief pizza break, a viewing of a truly epic horror film, and then more reading!  All in all, a truly satisfying October weekend.

Unforsaken by Sophie Littlefield had me at zombies.  Though in all honesty it was not the zombies that kept me reading.  Instead, it was the amazing characters and the awesome adventure they went through.  Which more than made up for the fact that the zombies in this book are very much in the background.  Hailey is a sixteen year old girl with the amazing ability to heal.  This power is hers because she descends from the Banished, who came to America from Ireland centuries ago.  Healing, however, is not her only power, that would be too simple.  Hailey can also create zombies, but only if she tries to heal someone when it is too late.  She is finally getting a chance at a normal life, after surviving some unimaginable hardships she finally has a home with her Aunt Prairie and little brother Chubs.  That is all shattered after a secret call to her secret boyfriend Kaz.  Someone tapped the line.  Someone knows where she is living.  And that someone just kidnaped her aunt and brother.  Hailey and Kaz go on a cross-country journey to save their loved ones and protect the Banished from mysterious forces who would exploit them.  They can only hope they’re not too late.

Fantastic plot, wonderful concept and some beautifully created characters.  Littlefield gives herself a solid base on which to make crazy things happen in Unforsaken, and I loved every minute of it.  The powers that Hailey and her family have are understated in the best way.  They never discover an ability that can magically save the day, they have to rely on their wits and the power they already have and have mastered.  The action was superb.  All too often a girl can be overshadowed in a story like this by her oh so hunky boyfriend.  While Kaz does sound oh so hunky, he never becomes the main action guy.  He and Hailey are truly equals in all of the action scenes and plotting and that makes it wonderful to read.  They work so well as a team that I had no trouble believing that two sixteen year olds could take down this mysterious and evil corporation.  The back story is given to the reader in wonderful little hints and subtle remembering of the past.  Never feels out of place, never feels forced and it always is relevant to what is going on at that point in the story.  Overall, I loved this story and cannot wait to get my hands on its companion title!

So I spent my weekend destroying flesh-eating muties, how about you?

Okay, so I didn’t really unleash my righteous fury on some zombie scum.  But I did read a book where they did!  And that is almost totally like doing it yourself.  Almost.  There might have also been a little shape shifting bad-boy love in my life this weekend.  That was in book form as well, but a lady needs something to do when her partner in crime is out of commission (thanks wisdom teeth.)  So this weekend while I had only planned on reading one new book to review, opportunity smiled upon me and now you are the ones who benefit!  Without further ado I introduce the two newest books in the Tucker Free Library’s collection: Enclave and The Gathering!

 

 

Enclave is a first book by the lovely Ann Aguirre and I hope it is not her last!  Part I Am Legend, part Y the Last Man and a sprinkling of Hunger Games makes for an exciting read in one of the best post-apocalyptic dystopias I have seen in recent months.  These tribal societies have developed underground where you are not given a name until you turn 15, mostly because few make it to that age.  Once you turn 15, you either become a breeder, a builder or a hunter.  We follow the story of Deuce, recently given her name and branded as a hunter in her tribe.  She is partnered with Fade, the only boy who survived alone in the tunnels for years.  Deuce and Fade are supposed to get food for the rest of the tribe, and kill any freaks (flesh-eating monsters) that get in their way.  When they find out that the freaks are growing smarter, developing strategies, and have overrun the closest tribe they trade with, they find themselves at odds with the tribal elders.  It seems like the ruling faction does not want the true power of the freaks known.  When they are exiled, what choice to Deuce and fade have but to try out their luck, above ground.

Our next book takes place in a small close-knit community as well, on a island up in Canada.  The Gathering is the newest creation of Kelley Armstrong, who is a force in the world of Young Adult literature.  Maya is dealing with the loss of her friend, convincing her parents to let her get a tattoo, and generally dealing with the things life throws at you when you are sixteen.  And while most sixteen year old girls don’t have to deal with being catnip for mountain lions, or having the ability to speed up the healing process in animals, or have a best friend who can “read” people, Maya does.  She also has a birthmark which caused an uproar in a tattoo parlor, has attracted a bad-boy to her side, and makes her think twice about where she has come from.  Add in a reporter getting murdered and strange shenanigans going on around the island, and you get one confused teenager who just wants to solve the mystery of herself.

Both of these books have covers which are Black and Red.

So I’m writing about them!  They both also feature boys who alternate between being pretty cool and unbearably nerdy, some sharp tongued and sharp witted ladies, and various forms of darkness.

 

So Hold Me Close, Necromancer by Lish McBride deals with dark darkness, like dead darkness, like Night of the Living Dead darkness.  You have heard right ladies and gentlemen, this is another book that involves, in a very vague way, zombies.  Or at least the ability to make corpses become zombies.  See, Sam LaCroix has recently discovered that he is apparently a necromancer.  He has also found out that this is making some pretty evil and powerful people mad.  Well, one person really, whose name is Douglas and whose solution to this whole pesky problem is too eliminate Sam.  Sam, as one can imagine, is not very happy with Douglas’ solution.  He also has a few more problems on his hands, in the form of a stunningly gorgeous, yet completely wild werewolf, an undead friend (well, what’s left of her) and the mysterious case of the Zombie Panda.

 

This is Lish McBride’s first book, and man does she make an entrance!  The dialogue is wonderful, the fight scenes well written, and the book pulls off scary and hilarious at the same time.  You feel so connected to all her characters, and Lish makes a real effort to give dimension to even the smallest role.  Ms. McBride also gets bonus points from this librarian for mentioning real bands in the book.  There is no vague, “Then she put on her favorite CD and he heard it playing, so they both talked about how much they loved the band that was playing” nonsense.  Between Rolling Stones, Get Up Kids, Paul Simon and Alkaline Trio, there are enough bands name dropped for you to make a killer playlist.  It is just one more feature that totally brings you into Sam’s world and cements it to a reality you know.

 

This next book, while not new, is new to our library, and deals with your basic familial issues in a new and comic oriented way.  The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga follows the trials and tribulations of two outsiders trying to exist in the world of high school.  Fanboy is your eternal comic book geek, hoping that one day hjis graphic novel will be his ticket out of his small town life.  Goth Girl is an outrageous girl who outwardly hates everything Fanboy seethes about on the inside.  Together they make an unstoppable, though slightly odd, duo, trying to carve out a place for themselves in a world that seems to have no room for them.  Goth Girl’s anger, however, may be too much for Fanboy to handle, especially when he starts finding a place for himself and leaving her behind.  Will Goth Girl’s secret’s drag Fanboy down a path he is ill prepared to handle, or can he help her find her own place in a confusing world?

 

Barry Lyga is phenomenal.  He is a force to be reckoned with in the Young Adult world and this book shows why.  His portrayal of Goth Girl and Fanboy’s relationship is what makes this book such a powerful and moving force, it’s never contrived or hard to swallow.  Lyga stays true to his characters and allows them to grow, progress and stumble in very natural ways.  He also wrote a stunning sequel, Goth Girl Rising, which follows both characters further on their journey of self-discovery.

 

So what are you all waiting for?  Run into the library, scoop up some Black and Red covers* and start reading!

 

*These aren’t the only Black and Red covers in the library.  So if you end up reading The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller instead, you cannot get mad at me.  Besides, reincarnation and true love is almost the same as necromancers and comic book angst, right?

It’s a Creature Triple Feature!

We interrupt the newly created Time Travel Tuesday to bring you a breaking story:

ZOMBIES!  VAMPIRES!  UNICORNS!

That’s right loyal readers; today we have got a triple threat!  Two new books, ready and waiting for you at the Tucker Free Library.  Why the triple threat for only two books you ask?  Because while one book only features Vampires, the second book has both Unicorns and Zombies!  But first, let us discuss the vampires.

In the long awaited finale to the much loved Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Twelfth Grade Kills is an amazing adventure that should definitely satisfy.  After the cliff-hanger of an ending that was the fourth book, I have been on pins and needles waiting for the action to continue and explanations to be given.  All I have to say is that Ms. Brewer did not let me down, in fact, she even raised the stakes (First vampire pun of the review!).  Not that I expect my books to be wrapped up in a neat little bow, with everyone getting a happy ending, but all the questions you would want answered are answered, and in a way that makes sense.

The pacing of this book is phenomenal, and I would highly advise that when you read it, you read it when you have a large chunk of time on your hands.  It was all I could do to put the book down, I am even guilty of sneaking reads of it during work, but keep that info on the down low.  Brewer’s characters are just so rich, well-written and compelling that it makes it easy to become swept up and involved in their affairs.  I also like my vampires to have bite, and these vampires definitely are ones I can sink my teeth into (I do believe I may be up to three vampire puns by now).  Still essentially human, with the right amount of animalistic bloodlust, plus a secret society that makes sense?  Kudos Ms. Brewer, for managing to breathe life into a subject that runs the risk of being played out and run into the ground (Four!).

Definitely a must read if you have read the rest of the series.  This series is also worth checking out if you like characters that overcome insurmountable odds, love a well written fight scene, or like your romance to be more angst ridden than lovey-dovey.  This book will please you; I’ll stake my life on it (Five! Five vampire puns, ah, ah, ah!).

In the eternal debate between Zombies VS. Unicorns, you know what side I’m on.  It should be obvious from my passion for skulls, b-rated horror movies and horse back riding that all this librarian wants in her life is a Zombie Unicorn.  Best of both worlds, I can ride my undead mythical beast to work and no one would steal him because all he wants to do is eat brains.  But for those of you who feel compelled to decided, this book gives you a chance to read a choice selection of stories from some of the most well-known names in the Young Adult field.  Libba Bray ring a bell?  How about Meg Cabot?  And we cannot forget to mention Garth Nix and Cassandra Clare!  All these authors have joined forces, either with team Unicorn or Team Zombie, and have put pen to paper to come up with some of the most fantastic stories touting the superiority of their chosen creature.  There is a little something for everyone in this collection, be you a reader of heavy, gritty, unicorn gore or a connoisseur of light hearted zombie romance.  Each story is a delicious chunk of creative goodness, and as a bonus, you get a taste of each authors style and perspective.  Conveniently, the Tucker Free has many of these same authors’ books, so if you like what you read, there is more to devour.  There is too much to say about this book and not enough space for me to sing its praises.  I promise that by the end of this book you will have either sided with Team Unicorn, Team Zombie or Team They Are Both Awesome.  From this librarian’s perspective, that is a win-win situation.

Go Team Zombie Unicorn!