September 2007


THIS BOOK WILL BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 2, 2007.

 

Claire’s life isn’t getting any easier since the last time we saw her in DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE.  Everyone should be safe now that she has signed a contract with Amelie.  Shane, Eve, and Michael should be protected and Claire should be able to rest easy, except for the fact that she has to keep her contract a secret, because her housemates would freak if they knew.  There is already enough tension in the house since Shane can’t forgive Michael for becoming a vampire.  Claire doesn’t want to add to the turmoil already in the house, but can’t avoid it when Amelie finally contacts her with her assignment and sends her a bracelet to wear for proof of protection.

Amelie wants Claire to become the apprentice to Myrnin, the vampire with the knowledge of the portals that are used throughout the town.  At first, Claire doesn’t know why she is being asked to learn, but eventually realizes Amelie’s motives aren’t simply to pass on the knowledge of the vampires because Myrnin is getting old and senile, but because Amelie wants Claire to assist Myrnin in finding a solution to a bigger and more deadly problem the vampires are facing in Morganville.
Dead girls are turning up around Morganville as well and vampires aren’t the cause.  It so happens that Eve’s brother, Jason, is out of jail and skulking around so everyone assumes he is behind the murders, but the police can’t find any evidence to link him to the crimes.  Everyone is on edge because he is threatening to harm Eve and he’ll hurt anyone that gets in his way.  Claire and Shane are injured in different confrontations with Jason which leaves Claire in a deadly situation and Shane fighting for his life.

If you’ve enjoyed the other books in the Morganville Vampire series, you’ll love MIDNIGHT ALLEY.  Rachel Caine uses her skills as a writer to take you on a wild ride that you’ll hate to see end.  You’ll feel like you have been transported into the story with the characters.  MIDNIGHT ALLEY has a cliffhanger ending like the other books in the series and leaves you begging for the next story.  It is clear that Claire’s life isn’t going to get easier any time soon.

Beth Frasier is on the right track.  She is editor of the school newspaper, has a great best friend, and is lined up to the be valedictorian of her senior class.  Her life has been so focused on academics though that she doesn’t feel like she has enough variety on her transcript to attract the great film schools that she wants to be accepted to.  In order to remedy this she trys out for an empty spot on the drill team.  She is devasted when she finds out she doesn’t get the spot.  She is totally shocked though when she is approached by the head cheerleader and told that she didn’t make drill team because the cheer squad wanted her to join their squad instead.  Reluctantly, she agrees.  In part because she finds out that Stephen Wills, the hot, star quarterback, is going to be at her first practice.  She wants to have the opportunity to hang out with him.  She totally ends up regretting her decision.

It turns out that Stephen and most of the football team are vampires.  He wants Beth to become one as well so she can work on the problem of vampires being in the sunlight.  If she doesn’t find a solution to the sunlight problem, Stephen says there is no reason to keep her around so she is working on a timeline with no idea how to even start.

Beth is very upset over the whole situation.  The fact that she isn’t able to walk around during the day like everyone else really has hampered her life plans.  She fights her desires to feed from her mother by getting her hands on some blood bags from her father who is a doctor at the hospital.  With the help of her best friend and an unlikely ally, Clayton who has been her arch rival at school, she comes up with a plan to get rid of Stephen and attempt to return her to her normal self.

If you like this story, check out the sequal, Good Ghouls Do which is already out.

 

 WOW!!!  I loved this book.  I’m an only child and as a kid I used to play alone a lot.  One of the games I used to play was “Survival.”  I would pretend my bed was a life raft and that I was drifting out to sea.  I would pile all my worldly possessions on the bed like my stuffed animals, my magazines, my favorite books, records, etc…  Anyway, I don’t know why this was a game I’d play but…

So, of course, I love survival fiction, apocolyptic fiction, natural disasters, calamities, etc…..

Life As We Knew It is about life on Earth after an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it out of its orbit.  The moon comes closer to Earth and it causes huge tidal waves, earthquakes, floods, and other weather problems.  Climate drastically changes and people are stuck without electricity and food.  Survival becomes extremely difficult.  This story is written in journal form from the point of view of the main character, Miranda.  I definately recommend this book.

I’ve listened to the audio books of the Left Behind series, I’ve read most of the books in the Countdown series so what I want to hear from all of you is what are some great books in this category that you know about?

 

Hold on to your hats people!  Things are getting serious.  Like with the previous books in the series, PERFECT picks up the story right where FLAWLESS left off.  If you have been disappointed by a book series in the past that dwindled in excitement, be assured that the PRETTY LITTLE LIARS series isn’t going to let you down.

 

 

The story continues to follow Hanna, Spencer, Aria, and Emily as they attempt to find out who keeps sending them threatening messages and exposing their deepest, darkest secrets to their friends and family. The police renew their efforts in the investigation of Alison’s death and begin to question the girls about the night she disappeared again.  A video that Aria took while they were all still friends is leaked to the media and leads Aria to discover the secret Ali was keeping from all of them.  Spenser begins therapy in order to deal with the stress of everything and discovers a horrible secret as well.  Hanna, however, receives the biggest clue and actually knows who the killer is by the end of the book, but is unable to tell anyone because of a terrible accident that leaves her in the balance between life and death.

 

Personal issues escalate for each of the girls too.  Emily has to do more self searching about her feelings for Maya.  Spenser has to deal with the aftermath of turning in her sister’s papers as one of her own.  Hanna becomes shunned by her best friend and stresses over the fact that she is putting on weight and Aria finds her feelings for Ezra aren’t as resolved as she thought they were.  Through every new development “A” is there taunting and threatening. 

 

By the end of PERFECT it doesn’t seem like it can get any worse.  I’m sure Sara Shepard has more surprises in store for us in the next installment of this wonderfully, suspenseful series.  UNBELIEVABLE is due to come out in March 2008.

FLAWLESS picks up right where PRETTY LITTLE LIARS leaves off with Spencer, Aira, Emily, and Hanna are all trying to figure out who keeps sending them nasty messages that threaten to reveal some of their deepest secrets.  They all feel guilty for the incident in seventh grade that they refer to as The Jenna Thing and now that Jenna and her step-brother Toby are back in town, the girls begin to suspect Toby is the mysterious “A”.

The story is still told in the same 4 story format, only merging together when the girls actually team up toward the end of the book to attempt to save Emily from a dangerous situation.  Hanna’s father comes to visit which opens up old wounds and cause her to start binging and purging again.  Spencer decides, after much thought, to keep seeing Wren, her sister’s ex-boyfriend.  Emily still struggles with feelings she is having for Maya, the girl that moved into Alison’s old house and Aria discovers that her father is continuing to see the girl she caught him with before they left for Iceland.  All four girls feel their lives are spiraling out of control, but none feel they can trust the other for fear their darkest secret, the ones that only Ali knew, would come out.

Even though we can eliminate one possible suspect at the end of this book, we still don’t know who “A” is or who killed Alison.  The girls are in worse shape than they were in PRETTY LITTLE LIARS which leads the reader to wonder just how much more they can take.  FLAWLESS is just as suspenseful as PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.  Once you start the book you need to be sure you have time to read because you won’t want to put the book down.  PERFECT, the third book in this series is already out and promises to be just as thrilling.  UNBELIEVABLE, the fourth book comes out in March of 2008.

Pretty Little Liars Cover

Pretty Little Liars Cover 

 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard is a story of four high school girls as they progress through their junior year of high school.  Once best friends, they have now grown apart and have gone separate directions.  Their friendship started to dissolve when the “queen bee” of their friendship, Ali, disappeared the summer between seventh and eighth grade.  Ali knew everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets, including one that ties them all together. 

 

The story is told basically in 4 separate stories, following each girl through the school year.  The one thread that ties them all together though, is the fact that they are all receiving messages, either by text messages or email, eluding to the fact that Ali may still be alive and watching their every move.  All the girls become paranoid, but can’t confide in each other since their friendship has long been dead.

Each girl is, on top of dealing with Ali’s possible return, stressing over their own problems.  Hanna, once over-weight and self-conscious in seventh grade, is now one of the most beautiful girls in the school.  Even though she has gotten rid of her unwanted weight, she still battles food on a daily basis, especially when she is stressed.  She puts herself in several dangerous situations.  Her unattached and uninvolved mother fixes everything, thus teaching Hanna nothing.  By the end of the book, Hanna is over eating again while at the same time obsessing about reverting back to her prior dorky self.

 

Spencer, the perfect, over-achieving daughter/student constantly has to compete with an older sister.  Nothing Spencer does is every quite as good as what Melissa has already accomplished.  When she scores almost perfectly on the PSAT, for a brief moment that changes.  Her life really becomes complicated when she meets her sister’s new boyfriend and feels an instant, mutual attraction. 

Emily, a swimmer on the road to a full-ride scholarship, was probably closest with Ali before she disappeared.  When she hears that a new family has moved into Ali’s old house she dreads going over there to deliver the welcome basket her mother made.  Once she gets there she is greeted by girl that is carefree and totally different from herself.  They strike up an immediate friendship leading Emily down a path that she never expected.

 

Aria’s family moved to Iceland shortly after Ali’s disappearance because of her father’s job.  (There is a deep secret here that haunts Aria.)  They move back into their old house right before junior year starts.  Aria is different though.  She is confident in who she is, not worried about fitting in to any particular crowd.  Their first day back her younger brother is all gung ho because he is heading out for Lacrosse practice.  Aria has to drive him, but instead of staying there to watch, she heads to a local bar.  There she meets Ezra.  She falls head over heels for Ezra and hopes to see him again.  Little does she know that she’ll see him sooner than she thinks, in her English classroom.  He turns out to be her teacher.  Although Ezra attempts to keep the relationship at an appropriate level, he realizes he can’t resist Aria and they see each other socially.  However, as the mysterious messages from –A has been messing with everyone’s lives, it ruins Aria’s time with Ezra as well.

 

My favorite story lines were Spencer’s and Aria’s, but the author does a great job of pulling the reader into the story to where you have to keep reading to find out what happens to the girls.  You will also be trying to guess along the way who it is that is sending the messages.  However, unfortunately we don’t find out.  There is a sequel called Flawless coming out in April of 2007.  I can’t wait to read it.