Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum

The future is uncertain. The battle to control the past has begun. The final book in the riveting Hourglass Door trilogy begins when Abby steps through the black door, and she doesn't dare look back. Though it means leaving Dante—wounded, bleeding, and possibly blind—she knows it is the only way to save her family and stop Zo from manipulating the river of time and throwing the future into chaos. In the end, Abby must face a final confrontation that will take her to the very origins of the hourglass door.

The third and last book in the series, The Forgotten Locket, will make you want to reread the whole series. A good, clean young adult read!
The world in the Hourglass Door Trilogy is different than any I've read. I enjoyed reading the two worlds and I have to admit sometimes the intelligence of it all went over my head. But the time travel were intriguing.
I wanted to go back and read more about Leo and the relationships he has/makes from the beginning. I like reading about him, his past and the choices he made that rippled through time.
The love story is just right; not a tons of "poor us! how will we ever be together? Wah! Wah!" Their relationship was something they had to fight for, which strengthened it.
Zo is intense, charming and psycho. He tries everything to stop Dante and Abby and disrupt time.
A big part of the books that I LOVED was how important family was to the characters and story.

Rating: PG 13
V:Some fighting
L: None
S: Kissing

Wanna win this book?! Of course you do! Head over to GoodReads here and enter to win! The contest goes until May 31st.

Wanna buy the book? Click the link.

25% test (p. 91):
""Interesting question. We'll have to save that impossible situation for another round." Orlando said with a grin.
I laughed. "And playing this game helped your brother sleep?"
"Actually, no, not very often," Orlando said. "What did work, though, was when we'd come down to the fireplace, and I would brew up a warm drink for him to help him sleep." Orlando nodded at the empty cup still in my hands. "He was particularly fond of Father's special tea, too. Though when I made it for my brother, I always mixed in a wish."
"A wish?" I repeated. A quiet memory chimed inside, a feeling of light and the taste of pink.
Orlando nodded. "He always took his wishes very seriously. He would stop and think for a long time about exactly what he wanted to wish for. And his working was always exact--it wasn't 'I wish for happiness,' but 'I wish for the sun to shine tomorrow so that the flowers will bloom and make Mother happy.'" He shook his head in fond memory. "He was always more concerned about other people then he was about himself."
"What kinds of things did you wish for?"
Orlando turned his attention to the fire, avoiding my gaze. "Oh, I never made a wish myself."
"Why not?"
"I don't know. Maybe it was because I didn't want to look at my life and see what was missing.  Once you identify what you lack, then it's all you see anymore. Wanting something  couldn't have would only lead to unhappiness, so I tried to be content with what I had."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Die For Me by Amy Plum

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

Along the vein of Twilight, Kate falls for a paranormal, gorgeous guy she can't have. Vincent and his "kindred" are revenants or zombies or the undead who are good the good guys. They save people, often getting killed. But then three days later, they resurrected and live again.
Ms. Plum did a good job of building the world but not taking me out of the story with too much detail. She gave a distinct voice and characteristics to each character.
I loved the way Vincent, Jules and Ambrose treated Kate with kindness and good manners.
Kate and her sister became orphans and within the next few weeks, flew to Paris to live with grandparents. Kate is depressed until she meets Vincent, a very handsome distraction.
Kate's life turns a corner as her heart opens to love again. But then things get wonky when she witnesses a deadly accident and the victim is alive the next week.

There are a few differences between Die For Me and Twilight: no love triangle; Vincent doesn't want to drain Kate's body of blood; Kate has a sister but no parents; the setting is in Paris.

Similarities: Intense pull of main characters, though they shouldn't be together; almost instant attraction; to kill a revenant you must cut off the head and burn the body; Vincent belongs to a "family" of similar paranormals, one hates Kate, the others love her; there is a discussion rather or not to disclose the revenants true identities; Kate tries to save Vincent; Vincent saves Kate and kills the bad guy; the revenants appear to be 19 or 20 but are much, much older.

Rating: PG 13
V: Fighting, death, decapitation
L: few swear words sprinkled throughout, Lord's name in vain
S: lots of tension

Want to buy it?

25% test (p. 85):
"I met his eyes as I wiped my tears away with shaking fingers.
"Oh my God, I've terrified you," he said, taking his first good look at me. He stepped backward. "I've done this all wrong. I'm such an idiot." Be careful, I told myself, he might just be acting. But he's sure doing a believable job with the remorse.
"Okay, let me explain"--he hesitated--"as much as I can. I'm not going to hurt you. I swear, Kate. And I promise Vincent will be fine. It's not what it seems. But I just need to talk to the others--the other people who live here--before I can let you leave."
I nodded. Jules was acting a lot saner than he had a few minutes before. And he was looking so apologetic that I almost (but not quite) felt sorry for him. Even if I want to run, I thought, I can't get past the security gate outside.
He reached his hand toward me, this time in a peaceful way, as if he wanted to place it comfortingly on my forearm, but I recoiled.
"Okay. It's okay," he soothed, raiding his hands in the air in an I surrender gesture. "I won't touch you again."
He looked really upset now. "I know,' he said, speaking to the air. "I'm a total moron," and began walking down the hallway toward the foyer. "Please follow me, Kate," he said in a downcast voice.
I followed him. What other choice did I have?
He led me up the winding double staircase to the second floor and down a hallway. Opening a door to a darkened room, he flicked on the lights and stayed in the hallway as I walked in."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FALLEN by Lauren Kate

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Intriguing story of who is good and who is evil and angels. Luce is sent away because of an accidental death that she feels is her fault, in a way. She meets two guys at school but who is right for her?
Luce also makes friends and they are fun and quirky.
I enjoyed the writing and story and want to learn more about Luce and the others in the next book.

Rating: PG 13
V: Fighting
L: Can't remember any
S: Kissing, tension

Want to buy it?

25% test:
"...along the sides of the movie scree, and finally traced the lines of the floorboards like spilled ink. Luce gripped the bottom of her chair and felt an ache of fear swell through her legs and arms. She tightened all the muscles in her body, but she couldn't keep from trembling. A squeeze on her left knee made her look over at Arriane.
"You okay?" Arriane mouthed.
Luce nodded and hugged her shoulders, pretending she was merely cold. She wished she was, but this particular chill had nothing to do with Sword & Cross's overzealous air conditioner.
She could feel the shadows tugging at her feet under her chair. They stayed like that, dead weight for the whole  movie, and every minute dragged on like an eternity.
An hour later, Arriane pressed her eye up against the peephole of Cam's bronze-painted dorm room door. "Yoo-hoo," she sang, giggling. "The festivities are here!"
She produced a hot-pink feather boa from the same magic carpetbag the bag of popcorn had come from. "Give me a boost," she said to Luce, dangling her foot in the air.
Luce hooked her fingers together and positioned them under Arriane's black boot. She watched as Arriane pushed off the ground and used the boa to cover the face... (p. 113)."

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother.

Love Janette's writing. She is funny, clever, witty, smart and a fantastic writer. I know her books will have be a clean read and have a moral. I can recommend her books to anyone from ages 11 to 101.
This time only two stories/fairy tales come to life: Robin Hood and Rumpelstiltskin. And another unsuspecting, cute, teen boy is taken along for a ride into another dimension from whence he can only leave if the teen girl can figure out how to leave.
The only problem with this book? Waiting for the next one!

I have a few favorite quotes from the story:

"By the time Tansy was twelve, she had worlds without number unfolded in her heart. And each on of them was built with the scaffolding of her father's voice (p. 4)."
"Oh, and recently there's been a ban on inserting yourself into the Twilight series. The Cullens are tired of different teenage girls pinging into their story every time they turn around (p. 47)."
"I thought after our conversation about Robin Hood's story, you would have learned that you can't trust writers. They're a shiftless and unreliable bunch who spend their time making stuff up (p. 170)."
"Women. This is why no one ever puts you in charge of wars, butchering animals, or assembling hockey teams (p. 182)."
"We should at least choose a name that works in the time period. Edward, or maybe Jacob..." "You are not naming our son after Twilight characters (p. 277)."
"You can't stick 'gorgeous' at the end of a stanza. Nothing rhymes with it." Friar Tuck frowned. "Poor us." Will added, "More fuss." Little John grumbled. "Boar pus (p. 310).""

Rating PG

Want to buy it:

25% test (page 85):
"I called the police. Those calls are always recorded."
Even better. They had a soundtrack of the whole thing too. I leaned my head against my locker. Did surveillance tapes ever end up on YouTube?
"You obviously knew those guys. Who are they? Friends form New York out here to visit you in the hick town?"
I ignored him, pulled my books out of my backpack, and put them on my locker shelf.
"Why the swords?" he asked. "What are they trying to prove?"
I hung my backpack on its hook, then took my history book from the shelf. I went to shut my locker door, bu Hudson put his hand on it to force me to look at him. "If you cared about hose guys, you would help us stop them before a few get shot. That's how a lot of armed robberies end up: with the bad guys leaking blood onto the pavement."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you what I knew." I pulled my locker door away from him and shut it. "And I was trying to reason with them, trying to get them to stop robbing places. But I can't do that anymore, thanks to you. My father is keeping me under lock and key from now on."
Hudson ignored my complaints. "What wouldn't I believe?"
"I just need a little time to take care of them." I said. Surely, Chrissy would check in on me today. I still had two wishes left. She had to come back sometime to grant them. "Could you talk to your father and make sure the police don't shoot anybody before I can get rid of them?"
"What wouldn't I believe?" Hudson asked again.
I hesitated, then told him. "It's Robin Hod and the Merry Men."
"Robin Hood?" Hudson ran a hand across my locker door, tapping it in annoyance. "Sure he is. But what did I expect from you? You girls all think the guy is dreamy."
"I wouldn't exactly describe him as dreamy.' I tucked my book under my arm. "Buff, yes. Handsome, I suppose.Daring..."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

25% of Page 69 Change

Have any of you read Storyfix.com?
Larry Brooks has come up with the concept that within the first 25% of the story, the reader should be hooked. We should know the hero, his back story and inner demons, what motivates and drives him? By now the reader should also know what the primary conflict of the story is.
So, in light of this information, I'm going to use the 25% mark in the book reviews instead of page 69. They are roughly near each other. But the 25% mark comes on different pages in different books.
I'll give this new method a try for a few months and see what happens.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

My 11 year-old insisted I read this book. It's only fair that I read what my kids suggest since I'm constantly making suggestions for them. :)
GREAT BOOK! I love learning about mythology while being entertained. I know you've heard this before: the book is better than the movie. But I still enjoy the movie.
My 11 year old gave me the next book in the series with a note: "If you enjoyed Lightning Thief you'll like this book too!"

Rating: PG

Want to buy it?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

I told Dan I checked out this book FOUR times at the library and THREE times returned it without reading it. I was a chicken, I admitted it. He told me if I could get past chapter one, it wasn't bad.
I made it past one and kept going. Fascinating, troubling, brillant, strange story!
I don't read or watch horror. I don't recommend this book to anyone who doesn't like horror.
Then I had an interesting story pop into my head about a girl who can't have a BFF because they all die. So I thought I should read Dan's book, ya know, compare horror.  
But mine isn't really horror either...

Rating: Adult (max)
L: None
S: None
V: Yes

Page 69 test:
"...people in them to hear me. Freaks respected each other's privacy. "He stole a kidney from the first one, but what did he take from the second?" The police weren't talking, but we'd get the body at the mortuary soon. I picked up a rock and threw it in the lake.
I looked down the road a few hundred yards to the nearest car; it was white and old, and the driver was staring out at the water.
"Are you the killer?" I asked softly. There were five or six people here today, at various points on the road. How long before Mom's prediction came true, and people in town started blaming each other? People feared what was different, would win the witch-hunt lottery. Would it be one of the freaks who escaped to the lake? What would they do to him?
Everyone knew I was a freak. Would they blame me?

The second body arrived at the mortuary eight days later. Mom and I had spoken little about my sociopath, but I'd made sure to try harder in school as a way of throwing her off the scent--making her think about my good traits instead of my disturbing ones. Apparently it worked, because when I came home to the mortuary after school and found them working on the second victim's body, Mom didn't stop me from pulling on an apron and mask and starting to help.
"What's missing?" I asked, holding bottles for Mom as she poured formaldehyde into the pump. Margaret had only a few organs on the side counter, and she was busily sticking them with the trocar and vacuuming them clean. I assumed the rest..."