Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Ok, this is one of the strangest books I've read in a long time. Nothing is explained right away, so it's hard to describe without giving too much information away.

Fancy and her older sister Kit live with their mom in a town named Portero. Their father, known as the Bonesaw Killer, is currently in jail due to the people he murdered, hacked up, and hid all over town. Portero isn't just any town however. It bridges a gap between our reality and others, so there are all sorts of creatures who come out to play--monsters. There are also doors that lead other places and those doors can be dangerous.

Back to Fancy and Kit. The two of them share a love of killing things, just like their father. When the first embark on their rampage, they decide to limit their killings to people who deserve it. Fancy worries about getting caught, so she is granted a wish of having a place where the bodies will never be found. This opens a door to the 'happy place' where everything is under Fancy and Kit's control. But soon that's not enough for fact, she loses some of her taste for murder as she gets more interested in boys.

And Fancy never foresaw the repercussions of doing something 'good' for their fellow townspeople.

A very strange book. Some romance but mostly blood. Not really fantasy, but not really realistic fiction either. I did enjoy it, but really very strange.

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Emily Webb has one leg out of her second story window when her best friend calls to tell her a classmate has been shot and killed not more than 3 blocks from Emily's house.

Shocked, Emily realizes just where she is..and what she's wearing. She has no memory of changing clothes or why she was climbing out her window. Unfortunately for her, this is only the first night this happens. Suddenly she's jumping from her second story window, chasing cars, beating up guys, and hitting on all the available guys in her path.

This is very unusual behavior for Emily. One she worries about. Why does it only happen at night? What causes it? Then another classmate is shot and Emily realizes she might be next.

This is the first in a series, so naturally, not everything is explained. Emily is on the hunt for a mate, which I could find almost offensive, but the rest of the story is interesting, and trying to figure out what's going on and what she'll do next keeps the book moving. I enjoyed the story, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Tory Brennan is adjusting to life with her dad. Just a year ago her mother passed away and she and her dad got the shock of their lives--they learned about each other. Now Tory is living on an island off the coast of Charleston, South Caroline, with Hi, Shelton, and Ben as her only friends.

The foursome spend a lot of time on Loggerhead Island, the research institute where most of their parents work. That's where Tory finds a set of dog tags that lead them on a search to find a missing person, then a murderer. Not to mention the change it makes to all of them.

The book starts off a little slow, but picks up quickly. The science can get heavy at times, but it rarely takes away from the pace of the book. There's lots of action and adventure to go with the science. I'm waiting for the next one to come out.

The Strawberry Picker by Monika Feth

Jenna is 18 and on her own for the first time. She lives with Merle and Caro, two of her closest friends. When a young woman is found murdered, the girls are concerned but continue their lives.

Until Caro goes missing. Before her body is discovered, in the same way as all the other girls, Jenna and Merle start to question what was going on with Caro's new boyfriend. And their determination to find him.

Nate is sure he's been careful, but he is worried the police are on to him. Caro seemed like the perfect girl but she disappointed him. And now he has new prey...Jenna.

The book was originally written in German, then translated to English. It took a while to get into, the perspective changes from various characters often, and it switches from 3rd person to 1st. About halfway through it picks up, but I'm not sure how much it will appeal to teens.

Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson

Sophie lives a normal life with her stepsister Caroline, her father, and her stepmother. She writes for the paper and is sure she'll be editor-in-chief when her junior year starts.

But her first assignment is not at all what she imagined it would be. There are 8 new students in school and she's asked to interview 4 of them for the paper--Vlad, Marisol, Violet, and Nevielle. Sophie notices strange behavior from all 4...a couple of them are very old-fashioned, and they look to Vlad as a leader. Thrown into the mix is her old neighbor James--tormentor extraordinaire--who is back in town and seems to know a little too much about Vlad and his group.

Sophie gets a chance to learn more for herself when she follows Vlad into the woods after school one day--more than she ever wanted to know. Now she's on a mission before Vlad bites every girl at school and stop him from finding what he believes is his ticket to acceptance in the vampire world.

Ok, so you basically know what's going to happen as the book begins. Vlad and his clan are all vampires, and they're looking for some girl who descended from a bunch of other vampires. Vlad has an evil plot to take over the vampire world...or just become part of it. Sophie and James obviously have feelings for each other, although things get complicated.

What I really enjoyed about this novel was the characters' abilities to laugh at each other and themselves. There's nothing new here besides humor. It did make all the difference.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Andi's younger brother Truman was killed and since that day, she's just been going through the motions. She believes his death was all her fault and feels she has no reason to keep on living. With her mother grieving and her father busy with his new wife, no one really seems to notice Andi on the edge.

Then Andi's father reappears and drags her off to Paris. Hoping to finish her senior project and get back to her mother, Andi finds the diary of a young woman stuffed in an old guitar case. The young woman lived during the French Revolution and was the companion to Louis-Charles, the young French prince. Andi feels a connection and affection for Alex as she reads more of what life was like during the Revolution. And somehow, after another attempted suicide, Andi is transported back to Alex's finish what Alex started for the young prince.

A moving and vivid novel. The imagery is fantastic, but the characters really make the story. I could hardly put the book down.

My only complaint is the lack of information at the end of the book, detailing what was fact and what was fiction. This could also be my laziness in not going to find out for myself, but I think the book would have only benefited from that information.

Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Vanessa and Jessica look forward to their summer vacation every year. They head up the coast of Maine to Winter Harbor and spend most of their time together with the two boys next door, Simon and Caleb.

But one night Jessica gets angry at her parents and jumps off their favorite cliff--and disappears, along with Caleb.

Determined to learn more about her sister and best friend's life, Nessa heads back to Maine to find and talk with Caleb. Instead, she learns far too much about the creatures inhabiting the coast, as more bodies wash up on shore.

A thriller I could not put down. Although I guessed Nessa's true identity long before she does, the mystery keeps the pages turning. This is more of a "will they stop them at some point" rather than a "will they stop it in time" thriller. Lots of action, some romance, and of course, family secrets.

Nomansland by Lesley Hauge

Keller is a Novice Tracker. She lives in FoundLand, a country of all women. The world has changed, and while a few items of the Old People exist, most of them are gone. The materials from the Old People must be purged from their area, to avoid the catastrophe which caused the earth's destruction so many years ago.

But Laing finds a hidden cave of forbidden items and Keller can't stay away. The more she tries to resist, the more often she risks getting caught. The more she learns about the Old People, the less she believes what she's always been told.

An interesting premise. I enjoyed the story and Keller is a likable character. A few characters were not so fleshed out, but it didn't detract from the story. Lots of questioning authority and adventure, along with human nature.

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B Dunkle

Tabby is taken to Seldom House to become the young maid. Once there, she finds the home in ruins, and instead of becoming the maid, she's asked to be the companion for the new young master.

Something strange is happening, though, and Tabby can't help but try to figure it out. The villagers all watch her when she's outside, and inside, Tabby is certain there's another young girl.

Only when Tabby finds the chamber full of old bones does she realize how threatening the whole situation is...she and the new young master are meant to be sacrificed.

A chilling tale that almost works. While it's chilling, the conclusion--and really the climax--stutter a bit and lost some momentum.