Friday, October 29, 2010

Jane by April Lindner

Jane Moore is desperate for a job so she can get back into college. With her parents' deaths, she can't afford tuition.

She finds a job as a nanny to a famous rock star, Nico Rathburn. Mr. Rathburn is ready for a comeback and Jane is perfect for the job--she knows almost nothing about him or his music. She finds a place for herself taking care of his daughter and enjoying nature on her time off.

Then Mr. Rathburn returns and seems fascinated by Jane. Not happy to leave her in the background, he insists she come to the parties he throws with the band, their rehearsals, and on his walks around the grounds. Jane begins to feel in over her head, then Nico proposes.

But not everything is as it seems, and Jane can't help but feel she's missing some important information about Nico's life.

This is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Told in modern English, the story has been updated to fit modern times. That makes it all the more captivating, as the imagery and plot stays the same. Fantastic retelling--I couldn't put it down!

Crave by Laura Burns & Melinda Metz

Shay has a rare blood disease that leaves her weak all the time. She can usually have three good days a week where she can make it through school and normal activities. But Shay is tired of being "The Sick Girl".

Then her doctor--and stepfather--says he has a new blood transfusion to try. Shay is shocked with the results. She feels powerful. But the blood wears off quickly, leaving her needing transfusions more often. Along with the new blood come visions of someone named Gabriel, with whom Shay becomes enraptured.

Of course, when she discovers Gabriel is real, she does what she can to save him as her world is completely turned upside down.

But can she trust him?

This is not a typical vampire romance story, although all the elements are there. The reader might realize what Shay is before anyone else reveals the truth (I had my suspicions the whole time). The ending suggests a definite sequel. I enjoyed the story,especially with Shay sharing Gabriel's memories through his blood.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nightmarys by Dan Poblocki

Timothy's been having nightmares since he learned his brother was injured in Iraq and is now in a coma.

Abigail has nightmares too--only hers come when she's awake. When the two are suppose to do a history project together, they realize their nightmares may have a common source.

Stalked by two faceless beings, attacked by a painted dragon, a skeleton brought to life, and chased by Timothy's injured brother, neither believe it could be a curse.

Until they learn the truth. And their only hope is to defeat the man responsible.

More creepy than scary, this book definitely hits the right tone. Action-packed, especially at the end, and a heavy dose of disbelief. Timothy and Abigail stumble on the truth before they realize it, which clues the reader into what's going on. Mystery and creepy all at the same time.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Kendra and her brother Seth are sent to stay with their grandparents for a couple weeks while their parents are on a cruise. They don't know Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson very well, in fact, Grandma Sorenson isn't even at the house. Kendra and Seth are given full reign of the house and yard, but are told to stay out of the forest.

Of course, Seth can't help but wonder what's in the forest, and he wanders in one day. Kendra wonders at the giant butterflies and dragonflies in the yard, until she notices their odd behavior. They drink milk--so Seth and Kendra also try it. Turns out, their grandparents are the caretakers of Fablehaven--a sanctuary for mystical and magical creatures. And when Seth accidentally insults the fairies, everything dissolves into chaos. Grandpa Sorenson is kidnapped and it's up to Kendra and Seth to put aside their fears to save him.

The first in the series, there are a lot of things going on here. The point of view shifts a little at the beginning of the book, but the story distracts from that. The whole book is part mystery, part fantasy, and part realistic fiction. Kendra and Seth are well developed and likable. An excellent first book in a series.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Jacob Reckless has traveled through the mirror in his father's study far too often. One of those times, he makes a mistake and his younger brother, Will, follows him through.

Now they're both in Mirrorworld. Caught unaware by a squad of goyls, Will is attacked and now their curse is covering his body in stone. Jacob is desperate to save his life, calling in favors and tricks to find a cure no one believes exists.

Will Jacob be able to lift the curse? And will the price be too high?

The story starts slowly, but does speed up towards the middle of the book. This is one of those on the fence books, it could be Juvenile, it could be Young Adult. The characters in the book are actually in their teens or early 20s, but it is written more for the middle school crowd. There are many fairytale elements involved in the story, and in fact, all apart of what's going on. That wasn't clear until about halfway through.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate

This is the second book in the Fallen series, so I don't want to say much about it. I do feel I have to say something though, since my feelings towards Fallen were not pleasant.

Torment was much better. My big problem with Fallen was it could have been 3/4 shorter, since hardly anything happens in the book until the end. Torment could have been shorter, but not by much. There are a lot of things going on, and Luce and Daniel are still the main characters, even if Daniel is barely in the book. However, I enjoyed reading the story and could barely put it down.

(One thing I will say about teen romance books in general, though, I'm getting tired of the whole love triangle. Sure, the concept works, but it's so far from reality that it gets a little aggravating.)

Passion is the third book in the series, and comes out next summer. I will definitely be picking up a copy. Fallen was worth sitting through, if only to make it to Torment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

Yes, this book has been out a while, but since it's more on the Juvenile side of fiction, I haven't picked it up before now.

Cassandra is an eleven-year-old survivalist. She's prepared for any--and every--thing. While spending time with her grandfathers who own an antique dealership, a box of items is delivered with an unusual briefcase inside. The briefcase is labeled "Symphony of Smells" and is filled with vials of different powders, each with a distinct smell. The box came from a magician's home, so Cassandra, with her new friend Max-Ernest, decides she needs to investigate. Once in the house, they find a secret room and a notebook with a riddle. They also meet the bad guys--Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais.

Cassandra knows the couple will be looking for her and Max-Ernest. She is proven correct when the two show up at her school. What she doesn't expect is Benjamin Blake--a classmate--disappears after Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais leave. Now Cassandra must convince Max-Ernest to help her save Benjamin from a fate they don't want to think about.

A good mystery and suspense novel, especially for the older elementary grades. This is written in the style of the Lemony Snicket books--so the narrator is extremely involved in the plot and the action. There is a lot of things going on with the plot, too much to explain here, but the book is pretty engrossing. And descriptive.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Clockwork Angel, book 1 of Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Tessa Gray crossed the Atlantic to join her brother in England. Instead of her brother Nathaniel, she's met and kidnapped by the Dark Sisters. They torture her into learning how to use her shape-shifting power, using her brother as bait. She learns their plan of preparing her for someone named the Magister, who plans on marrying her.

Before she can save herself, Tessa is rescued by William, a Shadowhunter. Shadowhunters hunt down the Downworlders who harm humans. Tessa is taken to the London Institute where she learns the Downworlders are beings like vampires, demons, and warlocks who thrive on certain humans--her brother being one of those humans. Tessa is determined to find her brother and rescue him, hopefully with the Shadowhunters' help.

As details unravel and the enemy becomes clear, Tessa may be making some hard decisions.

The first in a new trilogy, I couldn't put it down. This is a prequel series to Clare's Mortal Instruments series, which I haven't read yet. The story is well-written, characters fleshed out, and the plot is exciting. Lots of vivid action, setting, and plot to keep anyone happy. It is more in historical fiction, but that shouldn't stop anyone from picking up this great story.

Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

Doug feels a little cheated. He was accidentally turned into a vampire, doomed to spend eternity chubby and unappealing. His first few attempts to convince girls to let him bite them fail miserably, and get a vampire hunting tv show on his tail.

Sejal is an exchange student from India, in America to escape her addiction to the Internet. Doug falls for Sejal hard, but she doesn't share his feelings. He finds a willing (or semi-willing) victim, his best friend falls for Sejal's host sister Cat, and Doug himself starts to think about finding the parent of his little vampire family so he can return to normal. Although he finds being a vampire gives him a few extra quirks...almost like superpowers.

This book had good and bad moments. I did enjoy reading it, but I didn't find all of the characters completely believable. I don't think you're intended to really like Doug, and the description on the inside cover doesn't really describe the book all that well.