22 January, 2011

13 January, 2011

Choker - Review


Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Publication date: 4 January, 2011 from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN 10/13: 144241233X / 9781442412330

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Contemporary, mystery, thriller, creepy

From goodreads.com:
Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria. 

Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in. 
But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?
How I found out about this book: Grabbed the galley online thanks to Simon & Schuster and Publisher's Weekly

My review: I'm lucky my husband is a heavy sleeper. Choker had me twisting and turning in terror, cringing every few chapters, occasionally having to burrow into his side because the chills running up my spine were actually causing me to feel like my blood was literally running cold--despite 2 blankets, flannel jammies, and a snuggie. Shhh--What's that whimpering noise? (Oh wait, that's me.)

Fans of old-school teen horror like R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and Caroline B. Cooney will either delight in this new addition to the young adult thriller genre, or totally see the end coming. I hope it's the former--not being able to guess the ending, or thinking that I hadn't, gave me the freedom to enjoy the book. So if you want to enjoy it, believe me when I say that whatever you think the answer to the mystery is--you're wrong!


Choker is Elizabeth Woods's 1st YA novel.

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/rnslChoker

Find this book on goodreads.com or buy it now!

Comments? What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!)

12 January, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2011-2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's highly-anticipated novel is Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins. It's a sequel, so read the description below at your own risk if you haven't read Hex Hall yet. SPOILERS AHEAD!

From goodreads.com
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

It took me a while to get into Hex Hall, but I'm really looking forward to the sequel. The whole boarding school for the paranormally talented is old hat, but Rachel Hawkins makes it so fun to read, I completely dismiss the cliché.

Class dismissed!

11 January, 2011

Wither - Review


Wither (Chemical Garden, Book 1) by Lauren Destefano
Publication date: 22 March, 2011 from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN 10/13: 1442409053 / 9781442409057

Category: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Dystopian, romance, futuristic, science fiction

From goodreads.com:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

How I found out about this book: S&S sent an ARC to my former workplace. I took it home and read it immediately!

My review: I LOVE the cover. The image of a bird in a gilded cage may be pretty obvious given the premise, but the design just opens the path to my heart right up. I think it's a big part of why I was so enthralled by this book. Great work, Lizzy Bromley and Ali Smith!

Some of the political and sexual themes in Wither may go beyond the understanding of younger readers, but older YA fans will consume this lush, sexy thriller in one gulp; Destefano successfully juxtaposes the setting of a wealthy country manor with polygamous marriage and the speculative element of genetic manipulation. The sister wives--the regal Rose, shy Jenna, and the infantile but occasionally surprising Cecily form an interesting tier of secondary characters around Rhine. Each seems to represent facets of the captivity they all share through the ways they live and love.

I enjoyed this book so much that as soon as I finished, I read it again! The complexities of Rhine's new life--her aloof new husband, captivity with her sister wives, and her dangerous relationship with a serving boy drive most of the plot. I could barely hold the pages open--shivers were running up and down my spine and I actually dropped the darn thing a time or two.

Wither is Lauren Destefano's 1st novel. (Book 1 of The Chemical Garden)

Find the author at http://www.laurendestefano.com/, on Twitter @laurendestefano

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/rnslWither

Find this book on goodreads.com or pre-order it for delivery in March!

Comments? What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!)

10 January, 2011

ALA Midwinter Meeting 2011 - San Diego - Day 3

I think I'm just in shock now.

I didn't take nearly enough photos... maybe next time.

I'm going to go eat some salami.

09 January, 2011

ALA Midwinter Meeting 2011 - San Diego - Day 2

I picked up just a few more choice ARCs, and took one last roam around the aisles with John aka Mr. Schu. Attack-hugged Lauren Myracle at the Abrams booth--she was signing SHINE and re-enacting scenes from Modern Family. I nearly walked into a train (not on purpose) on the way to Chocolat Cremerie where Marianne and I had lunch with the young librarians of San Marino Library.

Earlier in the day, Alybee and I went to the Children's and YA preview hour at Random House. We heard about some gorgeous new books--so awesome, the sales reps were losing their voices raving about them:

Exposed Other Words for Love Tighter Rotters So Shelly The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3) The Revenant Passion (Fallen, #3) Flip Blood Magic Orchards The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals, #2) The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex, #1) Welcome to Bordertown Throat

Alas, not all ARCs (just Exposed, Tighter, Flip, and Other Words for Love--but I'm terrifically excited to read them all!

What are you waiting for? Add them to your TBR!

ALA Midwinter Meeting 2011 - San Diego - Day 1

Well, it's day 2 for most people--day 1 for me. I don't even want to tell you what ARCs I got my hands on... OK, I do, but really I don't want to sound like I'm bragging.

I'm flabbergasted. And Aly's back seat is 1/2 full of my stuff.

Then again, I was too busy to take photos, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Ok. Bragging commences.

While Penwallace hied off to the Fulcrum booth to sign her books, Alybee and I ran around the YA/Kids booths about 4 times... I really had to pace myself; there was so much good stuff, and I wanted to make sure I was only picking up books that I am going to want to read and review--not random items I'm not even interested in.

Also, was mildly interested in not breaking my back.

We ran off to lunch at Masala (yum) and found MrSchuReads and 100ScopeNotes next door. They rock. Check out their blogs, especially if you love middle grade and picture books!

We found Alexandra Bracken working the Random House YA area, and Kathryn Otoshi and her fabulous picture books at PGW.

Mary Pearson also spotted Aly and swooped in for a hug. :) Me, I hugged RobinEllen in front of the Flux booth (where we also met Sarah Jamila Stevenson--author of The Latte Rebellion, who signed my copy :)

At Harper Perennial, we met Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley were signing a couple of the Betsy-Tacy books (for which they had written forewords)... LOVE Maud Hart Lovelace!

A little while later we saw Lisa McMann over by the Simon & Schuster booth. We knew we were going to see her in a month or so--but we stopped to say hi anyway. She's just too adorable to pass by without a big hug!

Aly and I took another turn about the floor with Sarah and Suzanne from Writing on the Sidewalk.

I got some to-die for ARCs including (but not limited to)

Throat Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2) OyMG A Need So Beautiful The Lipstick Laws Fury of the Phoenix (Kingdom of Xia, #2) Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2) Lost Voices (Lost Voices, #1) The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine,  #2) Other Words for Love Across the Universe Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, #2) Sweetly (Sisters Red, #2) The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group Human .4 Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5) Where She Went (If I Stay, #2) The Vespertine (Vespertine, #1) Afterlife (Evernight, #4) Starstruck

Thing is... there are 2 more days of exhibits and events :o

Stay tuned for more exciting new items from ALA Midwinter Meeting!