Saturday, January 28, 2012

Envy by Gregg Olson

Katelyn's body was found by her mother shortly after her death. She was electrocuted by an espresso machine in the bathtub. Everyone is shocked to hear of her death--although it wasn't unexpected.

Twins Hayley and Taylor are convinced it wasn't suicide. The twins get feelings every so often that often turn out to be true. So they decide to figure out what happened to Katelyn, and who did it. They need to be careful...they don't want someone to find out about their special talents. There is already a reporter snooping around, connecting the three girls to the bus accident that happened when the girls were 5. Every girl on that bus is now deceased...except for the twins.

As the story moves on, more and more secrets are revealed. It takes a while to really get into the story...I wasn't sure where it was going at all. The chapters are mostly short and easy to get through, although the foreshadowing at the end of most of them got old.

The author talks a lot about evil, but that doesn't really go anywhere. The story was "inspired" by the events that have surrounded the deaths of many teenagers who have been bullied or harassed on online social networks by parents of other teenagers.

Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann

Once again I read a whole series before reviewing any of the books. Mostly I did this because I am often behind in my posting. This time, I couldn't wait to read all three books in the Wake trilogy, so I basically checked out all three (ok, I bought the first one) and read them all...almost in one sitting.

Wake is the first book in the series. In Wake, we learn that Janie has a unique gift. Or curse. She, against her will, gets pulled into the dreams of the people around her. So when people fall asleep and start dreaming, often Janie is right there with them. Experiencing their dreams...or nightmares. Sometimes she can pull herself out, but not often. She starts noticing Cabel and realizes she's been in his nightmares before. His especially are scary.

When she realizes something big is happening in Cabel's life, she has a decision to make--help him or stay away from him.

And without giving the ending away of Wake, I can't talk about Fade or Gone. Just that Janie's powers grow as well as her ability to control them. And she has to make a life-altering decision before the series is over.

What I liked most about the series was the characters. Janie and Cabel are well-written and realistic. Janie's abilities are odd, yes, but fit into the storyline and come across as believable. Fade especially has been hard to get out of my head, but that's because the situation Janie finds herself in is so disturbing. Highly recommended, but perhaps for older teens.

The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

As everyone boards the maiden voyage of the Titanic, even third class passengers are excited. This is the largest ship afloat, ready to cross the Atlantic.

While the crew deals with the usual--demands of the first class, rats, the captain--they try to keep an eye on things.

When the first notice of ice comes across the wire, the captain wants to be notified. After a while, the reports get repetitive. And no one expected to run into an iceberg they couldn't see.

Told in many voices, in verse form, this is the tale of the Titanic. It begins April 1st and goes through the 26th with the recovery of some of the dead.

A fictionalized account and moving. The iceberg even has a voice here, waiting for the Titanic to cross its path. While it does get confusing to keep following the different voices, the flow of the story never stops. What caught me the most was when the survivors are in the lifeboats, listening to the people dying in the water.

Historical notes at the end and an acknowledgement of some factual errors.

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Daphne lives in Hell with her parents, Lilith and Lucifer. She's never left, not even to just go explore Earth. Her older brother, the only person Daphne really cares about, is gone for long periods of time, as his job is to save the souls of the Lost Ones--children of demons or angels and humans. Obie, Daphne's brother, decides he's had enough of this kind of life and choose to leave. On his way, he stumbles across Truman, a Lost One who wasn't suppose to be there. Daphne, trying to stop Obie from leaving, can't explain what draws her to Truman. Before she knows it, they're both gone.

Before long, Lilith reaches out to Daphne in a panic. Obie has gone missing and Daphne must go to Earth to find him. Determined to find him, Daphne heads to Earth and searches for the one person she's sure will know where Obie is. Truman. Only Truman has no idea how to find Obie and is on his own path of self-destruction. Can Daphne save Truman in order to save her brother?

Not as good as The Replacement, the story does grow on you. There are some elements of Percy Jackson-type quest here, as Daphne and Truman travel from Chicago to Las Vegas to find someone they aren't sure how to find, and following clues they're not completely sure of. The beginning is a little complicated but it gets more even as the story plays out. An enjoyable supernatural story with romantic overtones.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Hartley doesn't want to believe the rumors, but after breaking into her boyfriend Josh's locker and finding a condom wrapper, she knows she can't deny it. He's cheating on her. Not only that, but he's cheating on her with the president of the chastity club, Courtney Cline.

After breaking into Josh's house to confront him, Hartley and her best friend Sam find Courtney's dead body--in Josh's closet. Josh is on the run and begging Hartley to help clear his name. She reluctantly agrees, and relies on the help from the school newspaper editor, Clint for help. After another dead body surfaces, Hartley begins to wonder if they're in over their heads. And if she should be helping Josh clear his name or trying to save her own life.

A good murder and suspense novel. I enjoyed the plot and sarcasm from Hartley and her friends. I did guess at who the killer was about 2/3 of the way through the book--and found out I was right!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor's mom is slowly dying of cancer but they're both in denial about what's happening. Conor can't imagine a world without his mom, so tries to ignore it. He's haunted by a nightmare he has most nights and this night is no different.

When he wakes up, he hears something calling his name. Out in the yard, he watches as the yew tree pulls itself out of the ground and shapes itself into a being. An extremely tall being or monster. The monster wants Conor to be afraid of him, but after his nightmare, Conor doesn't find the tree fearful at all.

The monster has a strange request--Conor must listen to three of the monster's stories and then tell one of his own.

But Conor would rather face death than admit to his greatest fear...and the source of his nightmare.

Conor's pain, anger, and fear leap off the page. The monster's motives are unclear until the end of the book. Conor is a likable character who is going through a horrible experience. The illustrations throughout make the story more enjoyable and add depth to the setting.

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven Wedel

Aimee has been having nightmares for a long time. When her mother was alive, she would share the details of these nightmares. With her mother gone, Aimee struggles to appear normal to her family and her friends. Her visions are getting stronger and harder to hide.

Alan is new to town, moving to Goffstown, Maine after his cousin Courtney's dad goes missing. Alan is not happy with the move, especially since the high school doesn't have a football team. Then he meets Aimee--first in a dream and then in real life. Alan tries to remain true to his Native American heritage and realizes something isn't right in Goffstown and Courtney may be at the center of it.

Together, Aimee and Alan must find a way to confront and defeat an ancient evil plaguing the town--specifically, Courtney. Aimee also believes her mother may be involved. The River Man is powerful and Aimee and Alan aren't sure if they can do this and survive.

Engrossing. I enjoy paranormal romance stories anyway, but the alternative voice here is an added bonus. The River Man is creepy and powerful. Alan and Aimee come across as believable and their story works well together.

One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Eliza discovers her boyfriend Cooper is only dating her as an initiation to get into the 318s, a secret fraternity at their high school. Enraged, she goes online to a website her older sister set up to post about Cooper's misdeeds.

In return, the 318s steal Eliza's purple notebook. The one she writes all of her fears in. And over the course of the night, they're going to make her do the ones they think are the most embarrassing. Eliza knows she has to get the notebook back--and not let them post it online. Some of the secrets in that notebook aren't hers to share.

Nothing is the way it should be--Cooper's trying to help her, her best friends Marissa and Clarice keep disappearing, and Eliza ends up hurting everyone in her life she cares about.

But she might just learn something along the way.

A realistic story with romantic overtones. Eliza is a believable character and her story is very entertaining. There's humor and friendship here too.