Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nightmare City

Nightmare City
by Andrew Klavan
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Thomas Nelson 
 
From Goodreads:
  
Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute.
As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life—when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty . . . his street empty . . . his whole town empty . . . empty except for an eerie, creeping fog—and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog.
Now Tom’s once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell?
Tom is a good reporter—he knows how to look for answers—but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything—including Tom’s life—hangs in the balance.
 
My Thoughts:
 
A brilliant piece of young adult fiction! Klavan is fabulous at writing thrilling, fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat page-turners! And the best part...he does it with wholesome main characters who have morals and values. He is not afraid to have them be religious - though it is not the main point of the story, it is part of who the character is. The books are clean - no foul language, no adult situations - something almost unheard of in today's teen literature. There is trauma and some drama and some violence, but it is not explicit in any way. If you haven't yet read any young adult novels by Klavan - do so. And have your kids, especially teen boys read his books. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meltdown Madness

Meltdown Madness
Looniverse #2
by David Lubar
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Scholastic Inc. 
 
Strangeness still surrounds Ed. He just wants to be on the soccer team, but he first has to sell 30 chocolate bars. Sounds easy, right? Not when your brother suddenly can control the weather and turns the heat waaaaay up! How is he supposed to sell melted and deformed chocolate bars? Maybe the guy at the new Curiosity Shop can help him? Or maybe things will just get worse? Read this second volume of Looniverse to find out. This is such a fun story for 1st-3rd graders. The illustrations are fun too!

Switchers

Switchers
by Kate Thompson

Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Open Road Media Young Readers

Young Tess keeps to herself, mostly because of her big secret - the ability to change into any animal at any time. So she is quite bothered when a young man seems to be stalking her at the bus stop. When she finally begins to trust him she finds out they have a lot in common. And for some reason the city's rats are summoning them to the home of a dotty old lady who also knows their secret. This little jaunt escalates into a full-fledged quest to "save the world". The Earth needs to be rescued from the krools that have emerged from the North Pole and are taking over the planet with cold and snow. Only problem is, the military doesn't know the two of them, in an alternate form, are not the enemy and are launching missiles at them. I wasn't a big fan of the ending and I don't think I will move onto the next one.
I did enjoy this book but I know I would have liked it a lot more if a couple things had been different. Number one, the characters seemed older - like 16 or 17 - than the 13 and 14 years old that they were said to be. Maybe it is the fact that they were in Dublin and kids act older than they do here? I don't know. I have really liked everything else I have read by this author - The New Policeman Trilogy for one - but the writing in this one seemed a little more awkward and unpolished. 

Hey, Charleston!

Hey, Charleston!
The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band
by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Colin Bootman
Library, 32 pages
Published November 1st 2013 by Carolrhoda Books 
 
This is a fascinating non-fiction picture book about the beginning of Rag music. It all started with a pastor of a small church in Charleston. The tender-hearted man began taking in orphans and caring for them. He not only saw to their basic needs, he taught them to care for themselves. The group outgrew his home and they found an old warehouse that was turned into an orphanage. The only problem was the prison next-door. The prisoners were loud and vulgar which was not the examples the pastor wanted for his charges. His decision to teach the boys music may have seemed like a small and rather insignificant thing, but it would change the course of all of their lives in a major way. It also would have a lasting influence in the world of music as well. This beautifully illustrated book is sure to get some attention when awards are being handed out this year!

(P.S. It did not win any awards:( )


 

Blackwood

Blackwood
by Gwenda Bond

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Strange Chemistry 
 
Living on Roanoke Island would be interesting for anyone. It is a place steeped in mystery and history due to the disappearance of 114 of the original settlers. Miranda is a misfit among her peers, affected in many ways by her ancestors who have been tied to the island and all of its curiosities. Things get even more bizarre when another massive disappearance occurs taking 114 people of today. What is the connection to the island's past? Where are the people and who is responsible? Miranda's life is complicated further as her father is one of the missing and a boy from her past returns and entwines his life and purpose with her own. This was a decent read in the paranormal historical young adult genre. However it wasn't fabulous.

Blood Zero Sky

Blood Zero Sky
J Gabriel Gates

Paperback, 373 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Health Communications 
 
From Goodreads:
Unprofitables are banished to work camps to pay off their credit. Other tie-men and women look on apathetically. "Fair is fair. Everyone knows you shouldn't use more credit than you are worth to the Company. "They turn their attention to the next repackaged but highly coveted N-Corp product on the market, creatively advertised on the imager screens that adorn virtually every available flat surface. All the while, their mandatory cross-implants and wrist-worn "ICs" keep them focused on the endless cycle of work and consumption to which they are enslaved.

May Fields the CEO's daughter would like to believe she is above all that. Head of N-Corp's marketing team, the young woman who has almost everything anyone could want spends her days dreaming up ingenious ways to make workers buy more of what they already have and don't need. Even before May discovers that the Company is headed for its first loss in thirty years, she is feeling the stirrings of dissatisfaction with the system that has given her everything she's ever wanted . . . except the freedom to be herself.

When she is kidnapped by a member of the Protectorate a secret order dating back to the American Revolution May is suddenly faced with the frightening truth of what the Company's greed has done to our most basic human rights. Will she embrace who she is and join the battle to restore America's democratic freedom, or put her blinders back on and return to her safe and passionless life?

More prediction than fiction, "Blood Zero Sky "is a riveting, nonstop, and suspenseful gaze into the looking glass, destined to rise with the zeitgeist of our times to become the anthem of a generation.
 
 
My Thoughts:
 I really did try to read this. But I did not like the author's style at all. I did not care for the main character. I did read some ways in, but the only thing I liked was the premise. I should have known that there was something wrong when they needed to include such a lengthy summary to try to intice people to read it.

Buried: A Goth Girl Mystery

Buried
A Goth Girl Mystery #1
by Linda Joy Singleton
Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 8th 2012 by Flux
From Goodreads:
 A new, darker paranormal mystery series from award-winning author Linda Joy Singleton—featuring popular goth girl Thorn from The Seer series

Thorn Matthews is a Finder, a person with the psychic ability to find things just by touching an object. The visions she gets from objects—events and memories—are what guide her to the things that need to be found.

When Thorn locates a mysterious locket, it leads to a shocking and grim discovery. Now she’s implicated in a crime and surrounded by people she’s just met at her new school, any one of whom could be hiding a terrible secret. To clear her name, Thorn reluctantly uses her music skills to enter a school talent competition, which she suspects is part of the killer’s cover. Could one of her new friends be a murderer?


My thoughts:
This was an interesting young adult mystery with a supernatural edge. However, I felt it a bit shallow at times - superficial might be a better term. It had potential to be deeper and more intense, but it just wasn't. Though I do know a certain group of girls that would appreciate it. I kind of liked Thorn's character, but I liked Jay's better. I didn't think much of any of the others. I liked it okay, but I didn't love it as much as I wanted to. I don't think I will be reading any others in the series.