Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wish You Were Dead

By Todd Strasser
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating: 4 stars

When popular girl Lucy Cunningham disappears, everyone in the elite community of Soundview is surprised, but no one fears foul play. Not until the days begin to stretch out and no one calls for a ransom demand. Madison is particularly worried since she was one of the last people to see Lucy before her disappearance. Then Madison receives a note, warning she might be the next to disappear. She also is harried by an online stalker, PBleeker. And what about Tyler, the attractive new student who seems to be obsessed with books on serial killers? Is he trustworthy? Or is he hiding more information than he is sharing? Str-S-d, a girl who writes a blog, is also concerned--she wished Lucy dead on her blog and now she's gone. And when the next person she names also disappears, Str-s-d can't deny that there seems to be a connection. Who is behind these disappearances? And why? Madison knows that time is running out for her missing friends. Can she figure out the culprit before it is too late for them and herself? This is a very engaging thriller of a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they try to unscramble the clues they have to figure out who is behind the crime.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


By Malinda Lo
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Fans of fairy tale retellings will have much to cheer about in this excellent twist on Cinderella. Ash (Aisling) is devastated when her mother dies, and takes refuge in the fairy tales and stories she used to tell, and even wonders if some of them could be true. Do fairies really exist? Then her father remarries, bringing two stepsisters into the mix, and true to the Cinderella story, soon Ash is a servant in what was her home. But when she goes into the Wood for solace, she meets Sidhean, an actual fairy. He is beautiful in an unearthly sense, and Ash is drawn strongly to him. Her life is so miserable that she wishes he would take her away with him to his land. But although Sidhean also seems to desire Ash, he tells her the time is not ripe. Ash returns to her miserable life, but one day she meets the King's Huntress who commands the Royal Hunt. Kaisa is kind to Ash, treating her not as servant but as an equal, and the two strike up a friendship as Kaisa teaches Ash how to ride. When Kaisa asks Ash to participate in the first hunt of the season, Ash wants to accept but how can she escape her stepmother? She goes to Sidhean for help, but he warns that if he does help her, Ash will have to pay by going off with him forever. Ash is willing to pay the price...or is she? Is she ready to give up this world for one so different and unknown, even if Sidhean is with her? What about her feelings for Kaisa? And can one every escape a fairy bargain? Readers will be drawn into Ash's world and will eagerly turn the pages until the very last one. Fabulous storytelling of a familiar fairy tale with a dark side.

Monday, December 14, 2009


By Scott Westerfield
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Readers won't want to put down this fast-moving adventure mixing history with science fiction to create "steampunk." If you took the historical events surrounding World War I and mixed them with more advanced war machinery and genetic experimentation far ahead of its time, you'd get this story. Alek is the son of the Archduke Ferdinand and his commoner wife, the heads of Austria. When the archduke is murdered, teenage Alek (as heir to the throne) and a few loyal retainers must flee for their lives to neutral Switzerland, with Germans in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, Deryn is a girl who loves flying. She has disguised herself as a boy so she can join the British air forces, something women were outlawed from at the time. The British have seized upon creating different creatures out of DNA strands, including flying jellyfish, and Leviathan--an airborne whale-ship cross which uses many other creatures like bats and bees to keep its hydrogen panels full. Can't picture it? Don't worry, the book is littered with illustrations to help your imagination along. As Alek dodges his would-be killers, Deryn finds herself a midshipman on the Leviathan which is bound to Europe to help out in this new war. But when the Leviathan crashes near Alek's hiding place, it is destined for the two to meet and to form an alliance. The action is non-stop and we are left with some questions and a bit of cliffhanger, eager for the next installment in the series. Thumbs up!