A beautiful summer of books…

I have read so many books since I last posted… especially over the last month or so while I have been on ‘summer holidays’.

I do not have the time, or the phenomenal amount of energy necessary to review all of the books in detail – so I’ll list most of them, review some and only go into detail about a few! Here goes:

  • Misfit by Jon Skovron
Jael has never fit in – but then she has never stayed in one place long enough to make a serious attempt. Her father is an ex-priest with trust issues. Her mother died when she was very young. This time things are different though – perhaps she will be able to stay here for longer than a year! As her 16th birthday arrives, Jael must face up to her destiny and come to terms with her new and potentially devastating powers… with the help of her uncle (a five thousand year old demon) and the cute skater boy who wants to date her…
Really enjoyed this one! Maybe I spent too many years at Catholic School – but I found the characters likeable and enjoyed the action sequences!
  • The Lunar Chronicles : Cinder by Marissa Meyer
At first I thought this would be a Steam Punk novel based on the Cinderella fairytale. It isn’t. It is a science fiction novel based on Cinderella with some very interesting twists. Set in the future, after World War IV has totally rearranged the world and the moon, Cinder is a cyborg (mostly human but part machine) who earns her way by working as a mechanic and giving all the proceeds to her mean and nasty (but not necessarily wicked) stepmother. The empire, based in New Beijing, is being devastated by the Letumosis Plague. As the old Emperor dies of the plague, after years of frantic research fails to find a cure, his son, Prince Kai finds himself desperately holding of the political machinations of Queen Lavana, the ruler of Lunar. As Kai and Cinder’s stories collide and entwine through their personal experiences with the plague, the plot thickens as the plague originates from Lunar and Queen Levana uses her personal magic (bioelectricity) to enthrall the people as she attempts to take over the Empire and eventually, the world!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book – loved the idea (I have a soft spot for re-told fairytales), and the characters who though not perfect, show strength and humour as they battle their personal demons and try to do what is right for the greater good!
  • Legend by Marie Lu
I actually read this one to review it for Penguin, my review will hopefully be included on their blog in January/February! I’ll twitter the link if they do!
  • Daughters of Saraqael : Becoming by Raine Thomas
  • Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Red Handed by Gena Sholwater
  • 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
  • Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  • Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne
  • My Sould to Take by Rachel Vincent
  •  The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Not the series recommended to me by one of my students, (Isabel recommended the Darkest Powers series by the same author), but I thoroughly enjoyed this shape shifting / Native American Indian fantasy for young adults! The second book in the series, The Calling is due out in the USA in April.
  • Darke Academy : Secret Lives by Gabrielle Poole
Not a bad take on the Boarding School / scholarship kid who doesn’t belong / some supernatural evil and general teenage drama…
  • Swoon by Nina Malkin
Ghost bad boy set on revenge… misfit adolescent girl with some witchy abilities thrown in…
  • Through her eyes by Jennifer Archer
More ghosts, but really enjoyable ideas for this one – big city girl, out of place in a small Texan town, taking photos to stay sane. She is being haunted by a ghost that at first she can only see through the lens of her camera, but he is becoming more and more real!
  • Emily the Strange : the Lost Days by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker
I have a many requests for this recently at work – thought I better read it before putting it in the Library… thoroughly enjoyed this, but not for younger students and the writing can be left of centre.
  • Demon Trappers Daughter by Jana Oliver
Demons are not easy, Demon trapping is even more so when your father gets killed and the demons are out to get you!
  • The Mortal Instruments : City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • The Mortal Instruments : City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Demon Hunters, Vampires, Werewolves, magic and mayhem… What’s not to love about this Urban Fantasy?!
  • The Walker Papers : Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy
Native American Indian shamanism meets Celtic legend in the form of the Wild Hunt!
  • Don’t kill the messenger by Eileen Rendahl
Feisty protagonist – vampires – werewolves… someone has to be the messenger!
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
Not for the faint hearted – I read this one for Book Club… the story of a kidnap and rape victim who is kept in a small shed in the back garden, told from the point of view of her 5 year old son, also held captive in the shed…
  • Dark Secrets 3 : The Back Door of Midnight by Elizabeth Chandler
I tend to enjoy Elizabeth Chandler’s ghost stories with a supernatural twit – and this one was no exception!
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Caught up in the Jack the Ripper returns frenzy when she attends her new boarding school in London, Rory Deveaux from the bayous of Louisiana is way out of her depth, when she can see the ghost who is impersonating the Ripper…
  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Another American attending school in London, this time set in the 50s with Janie stumbling into the intrigue surrounding the disappearance of her new friend Benjamin’s father – the Apothecary! Magic and mystery surround his activities as the Russians and German spies chase Janie and Benjamin across London and even over the sea to Greenland!
If you are interested in any of the books I haven’t commented on or reviewed – please feel free to post a comment or ask a question!!!

Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings

Nearly Departed

Nearly Departed

Woodsville is a scary spooky place to live. Violence, gangs, death, curfews, strange things happen. An oddly mixed group of students is set a homework task as a punishment. The disparate students give each other attitude and grief, none of them want to be there, until Emily totally freaks out and brings the group face to face with the supernatural. Ghosts.

This book really had me going. The group slowly band together to help Emily, each taking her under their wing in their own way, confronting their own demons along the way. I did not pick the twist in the book until right at the end! I was so drawn into the characters and story, that I overlooked what should have been obvious, but was not!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book… and I’m not usually a huge spooky ghost story fan!

Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler

Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler

Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler

This book contains 2 novellas about two girls who are haunted by the past  and destined to relive it. Legacy of Lies deals with Megan who is bundled of to stay with an uptight Grandmother she has nothing to do with in the ancestral home, where strange things begin to happen. Megan finds herself dealing with the secret past of her Grandmother’s sister and her lover. A past littered with dark mysterious and a mysterious death.

Don’t Tell sees Lauren returning  to the place where her mother drowned seven years before in an atempt to deal with her demons, only to find even more demons and mysteries waiting for her as as series of events seems to mimic the days leading up to her mother’s death.

In each story the characters are very sympathetic, trying to deal with their issues and the ghosts if past events and lives as best they can. The families in each story are largely disfunctional, but then most families are these days! And of course there is the obligatory romantic interest!

I enjoyed these stories and am interested in reading more of Elizabeth Chandlers work!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman Chris RiddellI had been waiting impatiently for this book to be published and then after I had bought it, cataloged and processed so that I could read it. I had previously read a short story by Neil Gaiman, I think it was in his collection of stories, M is for magic, and was intrigued with the idea of life in a graveyard.

Through a series of misfortunes and good luck a baby finds itself alone in the graveyard at night. His family is dead and the murderer is now seeking to kill him. Lucky for the baby, the ghostly inhabitants of the graveyard take him under their protection. After much debate the baby is adopted and given the name Nobody Owens, Bod for short.

Growing up in a Graveyard has distinct possibilities for adventures and unusual friends. Neil Gaiman does have some fun with his characters, but I’m not sure that he fully explores some of his ideas. I sometimes felt the book was a bit disjointed, almost reading more like a collection of short stories than a novel in it’s own right. I think this was due to the book covering so many years, from Bod’s babyhood to the moment he is ready to go out into the world on his own as a young adult.

I enjoyed the book immensely, although I would have liked to know more about Silas, Bod’s brooding-not-dead-but-not-alive-either guardian! The book won the Newbery Medal 2009 and is very different to anything else on the market at the moment. I recommend the book for youngish readers who are looking for something different but with a bit of a chill factor – not too scary, but a definite chill.