Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Milestones by Samira Armin Hodges

One day. That's how long it took for fourteen year-old Faye Martin's ordinary life to take a dramatic and completely unexpected turn. First, she gets struck by lightning. Second; Benjamin Parker, the object of her obsession, witnesses her near-death experience. Finally, her parents are forcing her to leave her friends and hometown of Seattle to attend a summer camp, aptly named Camp Milestone. Only, Camp Milestone is no ordinary camp. There are no phones allowed, shabby cabins and only a handful of campers. The only good turn of events is Benji her longtime crush is among the sparsely populated camp. Before she knows it, Faye finds herself caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty, torture, calamine lotion and romance....All in the name of summer camp. But as the summer unfolds, she realizes there is much more to Camp Milestone than meets the eye. Will she be able to unravel the mystery that surrounds this unusual camp? And more importantly, will she be able to survive the madness long enough to put the pieces together?

I’ve got to admit, I started this book with low expectations. Right away, I found things to nitpick at: the writing seemed amateurish, the characters and story a bit stereotypical. But, those problems soon rectified themselves. Within a few chapters, I found myself constantly picking up the book to read. The mystery surrounding Camp Milestone was just too intriguing to pass up. The characters began to take shape as they worked together to discover what they were doing at such a strange camp. And when that mystery was revealed—BAM! I never would have guessed it in a million years. This is what made Milestones shine: its unique storyline and shocker of an ending that leaves readers desperate for the next installment of this intended trilogy. A great book for pre-teens and teens, Milestones is a fresh, interesting debut.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. In Catching Fire, the second novel of The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

Wow!! Suzanne Collins has once again written an incredible, ground-breaking novel. Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games is just as riveting, just as action-filled, and just as utterly incredible as its predecessor. Suzanne Collins’ keeps up her intense, flawless writing, blend of action, horror, and romance, and well-developed characters. The only problem I found was that the first half of the book covered a lot of time, not allowing for deep detail found in the first book, but eventually, the narration slows down and Collins is back to her old detail-thriving self. The School Library Journal stated that “though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment”. The third and final book, to be released in 2010, cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.
Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

All Unquiet Things looks like a great mystery! I am very excited for it. This is Anna Jarzab's debut novel and I am sure it will be a hit. It will be published on January 12th.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Somewhere out there Ellie and her friends are hiding. They’re shocked, they’re frightened, they’re alone. Their world has changed, with the speed of a slamming door. They’ve got no weapons—except courage. They’ve got no help—except themselves. They’ve got nothing—except friendship. How strong can you be, when the world is full of people trying to kill you? Tomorrow, When the War Began is the first in an enormously popular series that became a legend.

This is my second time reading Tomorrow, When the War Began, a book about 7 friends who return from a camping trip to discover that their country has been invaded by foreigners. I loved it the first time, but it was even better the second time around. This book is filled with unique characters, great action and suspense, and flawless writing that keep you turning the pages. What I loved about the characters was that they were incredibly dynamic and all added something to the plot. Tomorrow, When the War Began is a book that should be read by all, young and old. I am greatly looking forward to reading the second in the series, The Dead of Night!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In My Mailbox (14)

Here are the books I got this week:


Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss and Peeta have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion.

Living Dead Girl-Elizabeth Scott
This is Alice. She was taken by Ray five years ago. She thought she knew how her story would end. She was wrong


To Catch a Pirate-Jade Parker

Once caught, it’s harder still to let a pirate go. When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. “A fair trade, m’lady,” he tells her afterward, before disappearing. A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father’s treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.

The China Garden-Liz Berry
When Clare moves with her mother from London to Ravensmere, an historic English estate, she can’t shake the feeling that the residents already know her, especially Mark, a maddeningly attractive biker. Clare also feels compelled to take midnight walks in Ravensmere’s abandoned China Garden. Then her mother reveals that their own past is tragically linked to the estate. But when Clare discovers that Ravensmere is in grave danger, will she risk her future—and Mark’s—to save it?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.

Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

This book looks absolutely amazing! I love dystopian fiction and am sure that this will be a great addition to my collection. The Line will be released on March 4th.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Enter the world of Mary Newbury, where being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her secret diary, fourteen-year-old Mary’s story begins as she flees the English witch-hunts to settle in an American colony. How long can she hide her true nature from the Puritans? How long can she keep running?

Witch Child is an entertaining read that chronicles the witch trials that plagued the nation years ago. The first line of the novel reveals that Mary Newbury is in fact a witch, who, after her grandmother is executed for being a witch, travels to a colony near Salem, MA to avoid persecution. Mary and the other characters are well-drawn and the historical facts accurate. Although some parts lagged a bit, Celia Rees writes beautifully and with great story-telling ability. The end is very abrupt, but thankfully Witch Child’s sequel, The Sorceress was released earlier this year and follows up on Mary’s life. I will hopefully be reading it soon.