Saturday, April 7, 2012

Across the Universe

By Beth Revis
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

In a mind boggling first chapter, 17 year old Amy has to choose whether or not to be cryogenically frozen along with her parents before embarking on a 300 year journey across space to a new planet.  The book then picks up a couple of hundred years later as we hear from Elder, a 16 year old in training to become the next leader of the ship.  Someone pulls Amy out of her cryo chamber early, and while she survives, she is devastated to discover they are still 50 years away from planet landing.  But being woken early is the easiest of her problems, because someone is trying to kill multiple people who are frozen and no one knows who it is. As Elder and Amy race to figure out who the killer is before they strike again, more secrets are revealed about the way the ship is run, the thousands of people on it, and the twisted history of the past 300 hundred years.  A fantastic mindbending adventure and mystery that will have readers more than ready to pick up book two, A Million Suns.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Healing Wars: The Shifter

By Janice Hardy
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

In this interesting fantasy, people have the power to be healers by drawing injury or illness out of a person into themselves.  They they are able to "dump" the pain into a material called pynvium.  The Guild is full of healers and apprentices with these skills.  Nya and Tali are orphaned sisters, victims of the endless wars.  Tali is at the Guild as an apprentice, but Nya has a different skill.  She can't heal, but she can "shift" pain by drawing it out of one person and passing it to another instead of putting it into the pynvium.  The implications of how this skill could be used in the wrong hands is why Nya keeps her talent hidden. So instead, she struggles for her existence on the streets of the city. But one day, her secret inadvertently comes out and Nya finds that there is much more than her skill at stake--there are big plots underfoot and she may be one of the only people who can do anything about it.  This is a very involving plot with a lot of character development and good world building and readers will be ready and willing to get to book 2, Blue Fire.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

By Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

I wanted to read this based on the cool title alone, but it is a great story as well.  Karou has been raised from infancy by four demons, who despite their appearances, have loved her dearly.  Now 17, Karou lives in Prague and attends school as an art student, but she lives a secret life.  She can enter the portal to where her demons live and then exit into other places in the world to run errands for Brimstone, mainly collecting teeth. Although she has questioned Brimstone many times about his magics and what he does with the teeth, he never tells her.  Then one day, she and an angel named Akiva lock eyes in Marrakesh and Karou discovers there is much, much more to the mystery of who and what she is and where her demon family comes from than she ever dreamed of.  This is the beginning of a series and readers will be dying for the next installment.  Taylor creates a lush, well-imagined world and backstory for her characters, and readers will be fascinated.  There is a strong dose of romance here, but I can't imagine anyone would mind.  Fantastic!


By Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science fiction
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

This is a retelling of Cinderella and how many of THOSE have there been?  Well, I can't recall the last one that took place in the future and our heroine was a cyborg, so there's that. Cinder has no memory from before she was 11 years old and in some kind of accident which resulted in the surgery that added many cyborg parts and lost Cinder her parents.  She was adopted, but the man who brought her back to New Beijing died shortly afterwards, leaving Cinder with her bitter stepmother and two stepsisters.  Cinder happens to be a crack mechanic, bringing in all the family money, and meets handsome Prince Kai when he brings her his favorite robot to repair. That doesn't stop her dream of escaping, maybe with her favorite stepsister, Peony. But when Peony comes down with the dreaded plague, her stepmother sells Cinder for research, which is when Cinder discovers the astonishing news that she is immune to the plague...and there's a reason.  You may think you know Cinderella, but there's some twists to this tale you may not be expecting.  And for better or worse, this story leaves you on a cliffhanger for there is going to be a sequel. If you like fairy tale retellings, scifi and a bit of romance, this is a story you'll eat up.

Friday, February 3, 2012


By Fran Billingsley
Genre: Paranormal with a bit of romance
Rating: 4 stars

Briony Larkin is the reverend's daughter, a twin, with pale skin and hair and dark dark eyes.  She lives in her small swamp-side town which is slowly draining the swamp to make way for progress.  And Briony is a witch.  How else can she explain her ability to talk to the swamp spirits and to the ghosts of the dead?  How else can she explain the terrible things she's done, like calling up Mucky Face to attack Stepmother or calling up the fire to burn up the parsonage's library or having her jealousy cause her sister Rose to fall off the swing and never be right in the head again?  Briony cannot love, is not capable of love. But when Eldric comes to board at the parsonage, Briony's heart wants to open. He is handsome and fun-loving and seems to want to spend time with her.  But what if he finds out what she really is?  When Rose develops the dreaded Swamp Cough, Briony realizes she needs to make some sacrifices to save her.  But when you deal with the Old Ones, you better be sure of what kind of bargain you are making.  It is creepy and dark, just how you like your paranormal stories, and there's definitely something "not right" going on you'll be eager to uncover.

Blink & Caution

By Tim Wynne-Jones
Genre: Adventure/Realistic
Rating: 4 stars

"Blink", AKA Brent, has been living on the streets of Toronto for months, snagging breakfast off of room service trays. He fled home when his stepfather got just a bit too violent.  "Caution", AKA Kitty, has been living with a drug dealer boyfriend after leaving home when her brother died.  They don't know each other...yet.  But when Blink accidentally witnesses a faked abduction and picks up an abandoned Blackberry, he becomes drawn into a web of possible intrigue which eventually leads him to cross paths with Caution.  Both teens are grappling with their unhappy pasts as they struggle with the here and now, but when they get together and are caught up in the whirlwind surrounding the abduction, things begin to change, for both of them.  But first they have to survive the night.  There are a couple of loose ends that don't quite get wrapped up, but otherwise, a well-told story with memorable characters both guys and girls can relate to.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


By Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Steampunk/science fiction/adventure
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

We finish the Leviathan trilogy in this book, so everything has to come out.  Alek and Deryn are back aboard the Leviathan after their successful aid in the revolution in the Ottoman Empire.  Now, flying over Russia, the Leviathan rescues the one and only Nikola Tesla and his crew.  Tesla claims to created a weapon called Goliath that is so powerful, it will be able to end the entire war.  Alek can't help but be drawn in by this idea--if Tesla truly has a weapon with such power and if Alek helps him, then perhaps he really CAN end this horrible world war.  Deryn has her doubts, but even worse, she is finally pushed into a corner when Alek figures out that his best friend is not only a girl, but a girl with feelings for him.  But how can a peasant hope to love a crown prince?  While Deryn hides her secret for as long as she can from the rest of the world, the Leviathan travels across the world to the United States and to Tesla's great weapon.  But can there possibly be a happy ending with so much at stake?  Readers will be eager to see how the story turns out and no one will be disappointed.  A fabulous trilogy.