Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Masque of The Red Death

Masque Of The Red Death
by Bethany Griffin


Everything is in ruins. 

 A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.  

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?  

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.  

But in the depths of the club? in the depths of her own despair?  Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.  

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for? no matter what it costs her.

My thoughts:

This book was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story which bears the same name but having never read the short story that didn’t help me too much.  All I knew was the short story was about the plague.  So I guess I was expecting a story that was dark and maybe even tragic and I wasn’t disappointed.  At the start I wasn’t pulled in immediately but that changed quickly and I couldn’t put it down.  Araby lives in a world of dead and decay, where every day to not contract the deadly weeping Sickness.  Dead bodies are everywhere and air-filtering masks are necessary to avoid contracting this illness but only affordable for the rich.  A domineering Prince rules the city from afar and lives apart from the threats that exist within the city.  Araby spends her time in the Debauchery Club trying to forget and encounters two very different but equally mysterious boys. But the city holds even more mystery and there are rumors of an uprising and then the attacks begin. I liked the world that Griffin has created-part gothic, part dystopia.  I loved how even when I had my set opinions about each character but then the author would manage to change everything and all of a sudden my opinion was the exact opposite.  When starting this book I had thought it was just one book and not a series but sadly I was very mistaken.  But even though there will be a second book the end was very very abrupt and it had me feeling a little lost and kind of agitated.  There is this huge build up and then the story just stops.  The second book comes out in April 2013 if I had known that in the beginning I might have wait to read this book till then so I was not left hanging.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed In Blood
Kendare Blake


Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

My Thoughts:
Not going to lie I picked up this book solely based on the cover.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I thought the book would be from Anna’s point of view based on the title and some kind of horror story again because of the title.  What I actually got was a surprisingly good read and not even close to your typical ghost horror story.  Cas is actually the main character in this book; he was easy to relate to, but at the same time he was believably male. Since his father’s murder by a vicious ghost, Cas and his mom have been travelling around the US (and Canada too!) killing any ghosts that have been harming humans.  Someday he hopes to avenge his father’s death but before that he has one final test. A spook to rival all spooks, a powerful and wicked goddess of death. . . Anna Korlov. But as Cas founds out Anna is not at all what she seems. Instead she is both a murderess and a victim all at the same time. I liked the writing in this story I was able to clearly see how the relationships of the characters changed and developed and the best part was it was believable.   I was captivated from the very first page and thrilled to discovery that there were two different mysteries not just one and an amazing twist that I did not see coming at all!  I thought the book was more gory than actually frightening. I would say if you’re squeamish beware but don’t let that stop you from picking up this book.  It was amazing and so very different!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Where Things Come Back

Where Things Come Back
John Corey Whaley

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.
Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax.
This extraordinary tale from a rare literary voice finds wonder in the ordinary and illuminates the hope of second chances.
Winner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz Award
Winner of the 2012 William C. Morris YA Debut Award

My thoughts:
I had high hopes for this novel.  I mean reading the description and the glowing reviews,  I expected an eerie story that was unique.  Instead what I got was a highly predictable plot with very little character development. There were times when I felt twies of emotion for the characters.  For instance,  when Cullen's mom locks herself in Gabriel's room and when Gabriel begs to be released I felt something.  But overall, these feelings didn't last.  I, however, did find the switching of the narrator from first person to third made the book a more interesting read. I would be very interested to know what others thought? This morning in book club someone mentioned that maybe the book ending wasn't what I believed.  Mmmmm...if so, that makes the book more interesting.  You can pick up a copy in the Scona LIbrary today and let me know ...was the finale heartbreaking or rather, as the optimist in me believes, reaffirming?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

YRCA Nominee #8: Winter Shadows


Tells the joined stories of Cass, whose father remarried a woman with a nasty, ill-tempered daughter; and Beatrice, who more than a century earlier explores her own problems through a journal that connects both girls.

YRCA Nominee #7 : Bruiser


Inexplicable events start to occur when sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Brontë befriend a troubled and misunderstood outcast, aptly nicknamed Bruiser, and his little brother, Cody.

My thoughts:
Told from four very different points of view, Bruiser is a story about a  troubled, withdrawn kid with an amazing gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it).  When Brontë starts dating Brewster (nicknamed Bruiser by others), Tennyson sets out to prove how terrible he really is but instead discovers Brewster's closely guarded secret. As the twins start to spend more time and become close friends with Brewster, his gift and it's "benefits" becomes more apparent to them and the situation gets a lot more complicated.  I think Shusterman has written an incredible and very thought-provoking story about the theory that happiness is the contrast to sorrow. And that you can't know one without the other. What's a life devoid of pain? Is it full of pure happiness? And what would you sacrifice to have it?


YRCA Nominee #6: Crazy


Fifteen-year-old loner Jason struggles to hide father's declining mental condition after his mother's death, but when his father disappears he must confide in the other members of a therapy group he has been forced to join at school.

YRCA Nominee #5: Will Grayson, Will Grayson


When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.

YRCA Nominee #4: The Replacement


Sixteen-year-old Mackie Doyle knows that he replaced a human child when he was just an infant, and when a friend's sister disappears he goes against his family's and town's deliberate denial of the problem to confront the beings that dwell under the town, tampering with human lives.
My Thoughts:
The cover of this book is what made me pick it up last year.  The story is very engaging and kept me flipping pages.  If you enjoy horror and action this is the book for you.  I could see this being at least a runner up, if not the winner of this years YRCA.  

YRCA Nominee #3: Matched


All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, who to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn't be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky's face show up on her match disk as well?
My thoughts:
I found the story concept really interested but never really felt that I was drawn into the story.  It is slow moving and if you crave action, this is not the story for you.  This book is popular in the library so I was sure that I missed the point and picked up the sequel Crossed...but won't be reading the third instalment Reached.  It was predictable and I felt like my emotions were being manipulated.  Yes, I felt for Ky but not enough to think that this will be the winner this year.

YRCA Nominee #2: Before I Fall

Annotation:  After she dies in a car crash, teenaged Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again until, on the seventh day, she finally discovers a way to save herself.  

My thoughts:

I struggled through the first half of this book.  Not because it wasn't well written but because I disliked actually disliked is too too weak-- I hated the main character Sam.  She was shallow, cruel and a follower.  But as she relives the day over and over she evolves into a character that I wanted to survive. The ending was perfect.  Will it be good enough to win the award?  I don't really is a girl book so I don't think so.  What are your thoughts?

YRCA Nominees #1 Ship Breaker

Join me as I work my way through the 2013 YRCA Nominees.


In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
My thoughts:   
Lots of action and if you enjoy dystopian fiction you will enjoy this novel set about 100 years into the future.  Our teen hero, Nailer, is a small scavenger with a vicious speed addicted father.  His friends eventually include other teens, swanks, and a halfman.  When a super-hurricane stops work and wrecks the flying yacht of a super-wealthy family, Nailer and his friend Pima start to salvage the best bits, until they find a dying girl whose wealth tempts them (and other, more dangerous people) to help her find her family. Nailer is a strong, conflicted boy who is not sure he has done the right thing, whether it's saving Nita, the rich girl, or fighting certain enemies to the death.  Although I really enjoyed the story, I don't believe that this will be the winner.  
What are your thoughts?