Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review: Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

Thirteen Days to Midnight
By: Patrick Carman
304 pages
Will be released April 12, 2010

Jacob Fielding has a superpower.  He is indestructible.  He received the power when his foster father said those words to him when they were in an automobile accident.  His foster father, Mr. Fielding, died in the accident, leaving Jacob to live with the priests who run the small private school that he attends.  When he returns to school after the accident, his best friend, Milo Coffin, whose parents own a rare bookstore, introduces Jacob to a new student, Ophelia James.  Ophelia or Oh for short is beautiful and the first thing she asks Jacob to do is sign the cast on her broken arm.  He is the first person to sign it and for some reason, he is compelled to write "You are indestructible."  Somehow this passes the power on to Oh, who later has an awful skateboarding accident that she walks away from without even a scratch.  This opens up a whole can of worms in which the trio investigate the limits of the power.  Oh becomes addicted, believing that she must help save lives with it.  Each time that Jacob releases it, a strange feeling grows, making him wonder if he should be allowing the transfer.  Jacob and Milo go in search of answers, believing that Mr. Fielding had many secrets.  What they find will turn their worlds upside down and change them forever.

This was a fascinating story that really makes you wonder.  Are superpowers really worth all the trouble?  Would it be a blessing or a curse to have such a thing?  What would you use the power of indestructibility for?  These are just a few of the questions that Jacob and his friends have.  The answers they reveal are painful and sometimes disturbing.  Milo is a very likeable character but Ophelia seems to be trouble most of the time.  In the end though, she's not so bad and neither is the future in store for Jacob.  Despite all, he's really a pretty lucky guy, all things considered.  This was a fast-paced, enjoyable read.

Review: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker
By: Paolo Bacigalupi
336 pages
Will be released May 1, 2010

Nailer is a teenaged boy of about fourteen or fifteen who is part of a ship breaking crew.  He lives somewhere around a fictional New Orleans, where the city has been flooded.  He climbs down into small ducts in search of copper wires and other valuable salvage.  One day a duct that he's working in collapses, dropping Nailer into a pit of oil.  He calls for help, but the young girl, Sloth, who comes in looking for him, realizes that she has the opportunity to take his place and possibly get rich from his find.  Oil is like gold to their people.  Everybody hopes to be the next Lucky Strike, a fellow worker who now has his own crew and  loads of influence in the community ever since he found a valuable salvage that he claimed for himself.  Nailer keeps pushing himself and finally finds a way out of the pit by releasing a door, allowing him and the oil to flow out into the ocean.  His friends nickname him Lucky Boy and give him gifts.  The next day, a huge storm demolishes shacks and kills several crew workers.  In the aftermath of the storm, Nailer and his friend and co-worker Pima are out scavenging when they come upon a broken clipper ship.  The contents are luxurious and they both excitedly believe that they have found their way out of their miserable lives.  Everybody aboard is dead, with the exception of a beautiful young girl named Nita.  Nita claims that her family will pay even more than what her ship is worth for her safe return.  Nailer must defend Nita against his abusive, alcoholic father who wants to sell Nita to her father's enemies.  The pair escape to the city along with a half-dog, half-man creature named Tool in search of those loyal to Nita and her father.  They settle into a routine of work and exploration while they stay on the lookout for Nita's people.  It's difficult to know who they can and cannot trust and what lies in store for them.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  The reference to New Orleans being flooded and rebuilt several times is interesting.  You have to wonder if the world will see something like this one day.  Our poor children of today, if they ever had to work like Nailer and his crew, then surely they wouldn't survive.  Ship Breaker held my interest though it was a little slow to start.  It is definitely a unique read and should appeal to both adult and YA readers.

Contest Reminder

Contests end on March 31, my birthday, at 11:59 p.m. eastern time. 

Contest for Demonia Bat Wing Wallet is here.

Contest for Alice in Wonderland Locket Necklace is here.

Contest for Twilight Graphic Novel Volume 1 is here.

Spring is here...

and I now have 100 followers!  Yay!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon
By: Sarah Addison Allen
288 pages
Buy from Amazon
Source: Pump Up Your Book!

Following the death of her mother, city girl Emily Benedict, moves to the small Southern town of Mullaby, North Carolina, to live with her only remaining relative, one her mother never spoke of.  The relative is her mother's dad, called a giant and feared by many residents of Mullaby.  She is dumbstruck from the moment she arrives, that night seeing the mysterious Mullaby Lights, and hearing tales of her mother that sound nothing like the way she remembers her.  Dulcie Shelby, Emily's mother, founded a girl's school along with many other altruistic efforts that never seemed to satisfy her.  She never seemed to feel as if she had done enough.  According to townsfolk, Dulcie was a popular, spoiled girl who hurt others with her words and actions.  Emily has a hard time believing the things they say.  She meets her next door neighbor, Julia Winterson, a woman with a troubled past, who runs J's Barbecue (which was Julia's father's restaurant) when she thinks she wants nothing more than to move back to Baltimore and the "perfect" life awaiting her there.  Julia's father died, leaving behind a restaurant in death, so she begrudgingly stays on in Mullaby to nurse the restaurant out of debt and sell it for a profit.  On Emily's first walk to town, she has an anxiety attack, inadvertently attracting the attention of a teenaged boy who is her own age.  Regardless of the weather, he's always wearing a white linen suit and bow tie.  His name is Win Coffey and he claims to have history with Emily.  She is inexplicably drawn to him as was her mother to Win's uncle twenty odd years ago.  That particular attraction caused such an irreversable tragedy that some wonder if history will repeat itself in Emily and Win.

Sarah Addison Allen is my favorite author in what I like to call the mainstream paranormal fiction genre.  What I mean is that, even people who claim not to enjoy books of a paranormal nature will find books of this kind interesting.  I've previously read her novel, Garden Spells, which was her debut, and was very impressed.  Though I haven't read The Sugar Queen, I haven't been disappointed so far.  The magic is in the details, such as the wallpaper of Emily's room that changes with her moods and the Mullaby Lights that seem to have a mind of their own.  The story stands alone, but Ms. Allen has a way of seducing you with her words.  The way she describes things is a powerful gift that I can't wait to see more of.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Future Releases I Hunger For

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (10th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series)
releases May 4
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (5th book in the Vampire Academy series)
releases May 18
Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine (8th book in the Morganville Vampires series)
releases April 27
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon (1st in a new series, Chronicles of Nick)
releases June 8
Insatiable by Meg Cabot (stand alone novel)
releases June 8

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Interesting Article posted an interesting article recently entitled 10 Movies that Were Better than the Books.  Check out the article and be sure to read some of the comments.  They'll have you rolling. lol

Review: The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage

The Stillburrow Crush
By: Linda Kage
Young Adult
212 pages
Buy from Amazon
Source: Around the World Tours

Carrie Paxton is an average girl, daughter of a mechanic and a homemaker, from a speedbump town where the kids are put first in the city's list of priorities.  She writes for the school newspaper, which is read by everyone in town due to the fact that there isn't a city newspaper.  In her eyes, writing is the one thing that makes her special, her claim to fame.  Writing is actually how she ends up falling for the "it" boy at school.  She meets him after a game and interviews him for the newspaper.  His name is Luke Carter; he's the star quarterback, the banker's son and the town's hope for someone to make it famous in the world of professional sports.  Prior to this, Carrie had managed to avoid the mass hysteria for him but hates herself when she realizes that she is just like everybody else in her adoration for him.  She deliberately riles him up and when the interview is printed, he notices that she called him Lucas, which he despises.  A fact which he calls her on when he shows up at her dad's small used-car lot, claiming he's car shopping.  He asks her to take a walk with him and they end up at the park.  He pushes her in the swing but steps in front of her when some girls from school drive past, in effect, hiding Carrie from their view.  She confronts him about it and he denies that he's ashamed of being seen with her.  She storms off feeling more confused than ever.  That marks the beginning of their relationship and sets the stage for future interactions between the two of them.

Carrie's brother and his own crush play a signicant role in the book too.  He's estranged from the family and is involved in a secret that will bring the whole world crashing in on Carrie, hurting her and others in the process.
I'm going to call this the little novel that could.  I was blown away by how good it was.  I was prepared for a sappy, cute, predictable love story.  What I got was a heart-wrenching, roller coaster of emotions that kept me reading until the wee hours of morning.  The writing was easy to read and the story was realistic.  I absolutely fell in love with the characters.  Linda Kage will definitely be on my watch list.

Pick this one up and you will not be disappointed.  A great read for adults and one that you won't mind your teen daughters reading.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gothic Doggie Clothes

I got an interesting email from Pretty Scary showing the most darling gothic clothes for doggie.  I don't even have a dog right now, but I can't resist the adorable goth mini skirt above.  Find this and lotsa other things that pets do and do not want at The Ritzy Rover Pet Boutique.