December 2008


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Things aren’t getting any easier in the FAYZ (Fall-out Alley Youth Zone) since the big Thanksgiving Battle against Caine and the other Coates Academy kids.  In fact, everything seems to be going from bad to worse.  Sam, the appointed leader of Perdido Beach, is feeling the pressure of all the day to day decisions.  The biggest problem that everyone is facing is starvation.  With the fear and confusion that followed the disappearance of everyone 15 and over, the kids that were left did what they wanted – including eating what they wanted. Nothing was done to preserve food for the future, so meats and vegetables went bad, leaving food in short supply.  The kids in Perdido Beach and Coates Academy are left eating what canned food is left.  One day it might be asparagus for breakfast, wax beans for lunch, and hot dog relish for dinner.  No one is in good spirits and when Caine recovers from his encounter with The Darkness and makes another move for power, things only get worse.

Sam is suffering from all the stress, Little Pete’s powers are getting scarier every day, some of the kids that haven’t developed powers are beginning to start trouble, and important people are switching sides.  Danger is at its all time high.  Death seems imminent.  

Michael Grant has produced a very satisfying sequel.  The tension and excitement in the story is palpable.  Character development continues to be a strong point.  The new characters that are introduced add to the plot, but our favorites from GONE continue to play a large role in the story.  HUNGER is the second book in a six-part series.  Michael Grant is currently working on the third which will be titled LIES.  HUNGER will be released June 2009, but be sure to read GONE first, you’ll need the backstory to really appreciate the sequel.

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Are you a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?  If so, you’ll enjoy YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME by Stacey Jay.  The similarities begin with the cover of the book.

Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler.  When people die, but have left something undone, they come see Megan.  She is completely out of practice though because her Settling powers have been dormant for five years.  When Megan was ten-years-old, she had a terrifying experience.  She was attacked by zombies and left with several serious wounds.  Five years later, she is still plagued by nightmares of that horrible night.

Now, just when she thought she was free of her Settling duties forever, the zombies have started appearing at her door again.  This alone would be bad enough, but someone is reanimating corpses and sending them after her.  Megan is sure it is because of Homecoming.  Someone doesn’t want her going with Josh, the big man on campus, and they are resorting to Black Magic to make sure that she doesn’t.

Thankfully, Megan has a little help.  Ethan, a friend from the past and fellow Settler, shows up to give her a little direction.  He tutors her to use her powers to give peace to the zombies and send them back to their graves safely and without the civilian population seeing them.  Megan enjoys her time with Ethan and begins to develop feelings for him, but there are two problems: 1) Monica, another Settler and senior at Megan’s high school that seems to be putting the moves on Ethan, and 2) the fact that Ethan treats her like a younger sister instead of a romantic interest.

Stacey Jay has written a fun zombie novel that will quench the thirst of any die hard Buffy fans.  Like Buffy, Megan suffers from nightmares from previous experiences and doesn’t want the responsibility that has been thrust upon her.  Megan can’t just decide not to be a Settler, like Buffy couldn’t give up being a slayer.  Megan finds it difficult to have a normal relationship with Josh since zombies tend to show up where ever she is, thus making it difficult to keep her “calling” a secret just like Buffy never had a successful relationship with anyone that didn’t know about her slaying.  All in all, YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME is a great choice for anyone who enjoys stories with paranormal activity mixed with a little humor and romance.

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Kelley Winslow is seventeen and living every young person’s dream.  She is living on her own in New York City pursuing her passion.  Kelley dreams of being an actress and Broadway is her goal, but until she can get there, she will settle for anything she can get.  Even if it means working as a stage hand while also acting as Understudy to the main role in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.

In Central Park, where Kelley likes to spend some of her free time, there is a world hidden to the human eye.  It is the location of the Samhain Gate which is set to swing open on Samhain when the Fae will fight their way across into the human world to cause havoc.  King Auberon, Winter King and Lord of the Unseelie Court, has placed the responsibility of keeping the gate secure on thirteen guards referred to as the Janus.  Sonny Flannery is the newest member of the guard detail and excited about his first Samhain.

When Kelley and Sonny meet, their lives change forever.  Kelley finds out there is more to her ordinary life than she thought and Sonny realizes he’ll do anything to protect her from the dangerous forces around her.  As they spend more time together, their feelings for each other grow.  Will Sonny and Kelley be able to navigate the treacherous world of the Fae? 

WONDROUS STRANGE is a delightful story.  Lesley Livingston has created a cast full of wonderful characters and blended the realistic with the fantastic in a seamless way.  The romance between Sonny and Kelley is palpable and the ending will leave you begging for a sequel so you can enter their world again.

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It has been years since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but she still hasn’t recovered.  The three things that give her any peace at all are writing and playing music, her best friend Claire, and her loving boyfriend Blaze.  Sadness covers her like a blanket and prevents her from enjoying some of the new things going on in her life.

Alice’s father has remarried and he and his new wife are expecting a baby.  Alice feels nothing but resentment toward Victoria, the new wife, and the baby that is on the way.  When Ivy finally does arrive, Alice doesn’t even go to the hospital to see her and doesn’t want anything to do with her once she comes home.

Alice is devastated when her father tells her the whole family is going to visit Victoria’s parents over Thanksgiving break.  She is forced to ride the whole way sitting next to Ivy in the backseat acting as a human pacifier in order to keep her quiet. 

While Thanksgiving is relatively painless, Alice is ready to get back home.  With her father called away for a work emergency, Victoria and Alice must make the drive home alone.  A big winter storm is moving into the area fast and Victoria decides to leave a little early to stay ahead of it.  Alice takes a Tylenol PM to prepare herself for the ride so she can get some sleep and not be expected to talk to Victoria or take care of Ivy. When she wakes up with the car stuck in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but white, she realizes she may have made a mistake.  Maybe she should have been paying attention.

Lisa Schroeder weaves together individual poems to create a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and healing.  Alice is forced to take stock of her life and decide what really matters.  Working together with Victoria becomes a necessity, not only for their survival, but for Ivy’s survival as well.  Alice’s struggle with her family and faith come alive for the reader as we experience everything through her eyes.  The relationship between Alice and Blaze is refreshing.  The devotion the two have for each other is rare for two teenagers in this day and age.  Readers will be brought to tears while reading this incredible story of personal triumph and transformation.

For more information about Lisa Schroeder and her books visit her website at http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com

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Mia has been happy being on the fringe of the popular crowd.  She is happy to have her hypochondriac best friend, Candice, and watch what is going on around her until…Rob, the super hot football star, asks her to Homecoming. 

Everything is going fine between Mia and Rob.  They’ve been on five dates and she can’t believe her good fortune.  Her luck begins to change though, when Samantha, the extremely popular cheerleader, sets her sights on Rob.  Samantha will stop at nothing to secure her spot as Homecoming Queen and since Rob is the most likely guy to be chosen as the Homecoming King, she is determined to get Rob for herself.

Mia begins to panic.  She doesn’t really stand a chance against Samantha so she resorts to a pretty extreme measure.  Candice, being the hypochondriac she is, takes Mia to a place she goes for a lot of her natural medicines for a love spell to make sure Rob doesn’t dump her for Samantha.  They choose to perform the spell during a Senior assembly and boy does that turn out to be a mistake.  The spell is actually an ancient ritual called Viral Zombaticus.  The entire Senior class has been infected and will be going through the four stages of the zombie virus in the next couple of days.  Since Mia performed the ritual, she is their queen and once everybody gets to stage four of the virus, they will want nothing more than to eat her.

Thank goodness for Chase.  He’s a new guy with a huge secret.  As a team, Chase, Mia, and Candice work to reverse the Viral Zombaticus – even though Candice is suffering from the virus herself and has to fight the urge to take a bite out of Mia whenever she is around.  Can Mia reverse the spell before she becomes a zombie meal?  Is Rob really as great as she thinks he is?  After her brush with popularity, will she be happy to go back to her place on the fringe?

ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH is a quick read.  The characters are fun to get to know – Mia is likable, Candice is quirky, and Chase is calm, cool, and collected in a crisis.  The story isn’t complex, but the humor throughout the book makes ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH a great reading choice.

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Coming March 2009

The third and final installment in the Mortal Instruments trilogy definitely lives up to the reputation of the first two – CITY OF BONES and CITY OF ASHES.  CITY OF GLASS picks up a short time after CITY OF ASHES ends.  Clary has a mission.  Madeleine, her mother’s friend, is possibly the only person who knows how to wake her mother from a coma.  Clary will have to travel to Alicante in Idris to get what she needs.

Alicante is the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters.  It is known as the City of Glass because of the beautifully tall glass towers that guard the city from harm.  The only way to get to Idris is through a portal and Magnus, the warlock, has arranged one.  Clary is planning to go through the portal with Jace and the Lightwoods.  The only problem is, Jace doesn’t want Clary to go so he lies to her about when he and the Lightwoods are leaving.  He thinks it is too dangerous for Clary. 

After being left behind, Clary eventually finds her way to Alicante.  She uses her ability to create runes and makes a portal for herself.  Being new to the Shadowhunter world, Clary doesn’t know that using a portal and entering the city without permission is against the law. If she is found she could be put to death. 

Once in the City of Glass, Clary is thrown in the middle of the largest battle the Shadowhunters have ever had to face.  Valentine’s evil plans are in the final stages and everyone is on full alert, not knowing what he will do next.  Jace and Clary’s complicated relationship keeps them just as confused as ever, but provides great excitement for the reader. 

Cassandra Clare works magic with this novel.  The excitement begins on the first page and doesn’t stop until the final sentence.  She brings everything full circle for a completely satisfying ending – even though fans would be more than happy to read about these beloved characters forever.  One thing Cassandra Clare fans need to keep an eye out for is the release of THE CLOCKWORK PRINCESS: VOLUME 1 of THE INFERNAL DEVICES.  THE INFERNAL DEVICES is a trilogy of prequels set one hundred and forty years ago in Victorian England.  Tessa, a warlock, is the main character.  The first prequel to the Mortal Instruments trilogy is scheduled to be released Fall 2010.

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Are you tired of the typical vampire novel?  Are you sick of vampires with super speed, super looks, and super strength?  Well, this might be the book for you.  THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP by Catherine Jinks is like no other vampire novel I’ve ever read.

Nina Harrison has been a vampire since 1973 when she was fifteen years old.  She lives at home with her mother and earns a living by writing novels about a powerful vampire named Zadia Bloodstone.  Every Tuesday night she joins several other vampires for a support group run by Father Ramon at St. Agatha’s church hall.  As a group, they have made the decision not to drink human blood.

The boring routine of their isolated lives completely change when Casimir doesn’t answer his door when it is time to go to their weekly meeting.  Upon entering Casimir’s apartment, Nina and her friends find nothing but a pile of ashes in his coffin and they realize there is a slayer on the loose. 

While searching for clues as to who the slayer could be, Nina finds herself in many dangerous and exciting situations.  She travels farther from home than ever and attempts to save a werewolf being used in an illegal fighting ring.  Nina does things she never thought was possible.  Things she has written only for her character, Zadia Bloodstone.

THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP is definitely unique.  Some issues that take away from the story are: 1) things work out a little to easily for the group, 2) the romance that is eluded to in the description takes too long to surface, and 3) the reasons for the physical problems the vampires suffer from aren’t explained very well.  For example, why do they throw up so much?  Why do their eyes hemorrhage when they get too much light?  On the flip side, there are several things that are very humorous about the book.  The fact that their only source of blood is guinea pigs is hilarious. 

THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP will be coming out in April 2009. 

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