Thursday, June 29, 2017

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Darcy Patel  is 18 years old and has just landed her first book contract. She packs up to move to NYC to finish editing her novel and start writing her next. 

Instead of sitting in college classes, Darcy find herself enjoying life on the author circuit, attending YA parties, making new friends and sleepless nights while she struggles with re-writes and finding a new ending.  Dary is "finding" herself and struggling to make her way in a world that might just be too adult for her.

Darcy's novel, is interweaved in the book and told in alternating chapters. Darcy's novel is based upon a young teen girl named, Lizzie who is the soul survivor of a terrorist attack. Darcy's brush with death has given her access to the afterworld. The afterworld is made up of lost spirits who walk the earth, one who lives in her home and has a special connection to her!  Lizzie alternates between the "real" world and the afterworld as a  reaper, or psychopomp. 

This book is creative, interesting and thick! It's a hefty 2.6 pounds and 599 pages. Despite this being longer than the average YA book you will turn the pages at a furious pace and be propelled to keep on reading long after you should have gone to bed. 

I am not the biggest fan of Darcy and find her to be a rather annoying character but I loved the characters and storyline in the book she is writing. I was actually left wanting to know/read more about her book instead of the her life. 

In fact, I would have been happiest just reading Darcy's book and forgoing Darcy's life however it works because it is rather interesting to explore the life of a YA author and the process that goes along with it. 

If you have some time to kill and enjoy Westerfeld's work -- you might find yourself enjoying this book.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Bruce Cameron knows how to write and how to capture the special bond between humans and dogs.

This book is the story of a lovely dog named, Bella. Bella is found hiding underneath a structure that is sent be to demolished. She is found with "momma cat". Bella is taken in by a young man and his mother but a series of breed discrimination laws against pitt bulls puts Bella's life in pearl.

Lucas is distraught at the thought of Bella being euthanized and send her to a foster home until he can figure out a plan of action to make life possible for the both of them. Separation bears to be too much for Bella and she makes it her mission to "Go Home" ( a game she use to play with Lucas). Bella has to trek through 400 plus miles in the Colorado wilderness to find her way home but all the way she encounters a variety of "adventures" some much more dangerous than others.

Pick up the book today and find out of Bella and Lucas reunit. Cameron knows how to capture the essence and love between a dog and its human.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

Hold Back the Stars has such a unique plot and is full of strong and interesting characters.

Our main characters are Carys and Max and after a series of unfortunate events find themselves floating alone in space together with only 90 minutes of oxygen left.

It is the far future, the USA and Middle East are decimated, Europe is a Utopian society and Carys and Max are part of this Utopian society until their love for one another makes them question the rules set forth.  As the minutes tick down on their oxygen tanks, they seek solutions and relive their lives through a series of flashbacks.

Max and Carys are young in their mid twenties but their society does not allow for coupling, relationships, marriage until mid thirties but they find themselves falling in love and like every good love story ever told love must prevail.

The ending left me surprised - then confused then adequately satisfied.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hare Moon: An Original Forest of Hands and Teeth Story by Carrie Ryan

Another short story from Carrie Ryan. This one gives us a backstory to the book the started it all and follows Tabitha who lives in the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Tabitha has a feeling that something else exists outside her village, so she sneaks out past the gates into a forest and meets a young man.

The make arrangements to meet up, they have a rendezvous or two and then everything starts to fall apart, Tabitha is caught sneaking out is forced into being a "Sister" and then when the young man reappears caution is thrown into the wind and difficult choices have to be made.

If you don't remember Sister Tabitha from the Forest of Hands and Teeth novel, she is the one who was the most strict with Mary but this story unveils why and how she actually was compassionate and protecting Mary from the same heartache and life.

This books gives much needed insight and since it's so short, only 33 pages, pick it up and read it today.

Friday, June 16, 2017

What Once We Feared: An Original Forest of Hands and Teeth Story by Carrie Ryan

What Once We Feared is a prequel told in short story to the Forest of Hands and Teeth Series.

This short story is a glimpse of when it all started. Jonah and his friends are on a class trip when all hell breaks lose and the zombie apocalypse hits. Jonah and his friends seek refuge in an apartment that belongs to a friends father.  This story is only 25 pages but it covers what life was like for these group of  five teens in those first, dark days. It shows the ramifications of choices and how when it comes down to survival it often comes to an everyman for himself mentality.

Expect many emotions to take place during this short read. You will be drawn and crave more. I love this version of events and want more, more and more! I am disappointed that the story is so short and if Carrie Ryan is somehow reading this blog, please write more, expand on this story!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

"That as long as there’s hope and love in this world, there will always be the living." - The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

I know I read this entire series but how did I forget so much of it?
I will soon be revisiting old favorite series and rereading them.

The Dark and Hollow Places introduces readers to Annah, who just might be one of the best characters in this entire series. Annah is a strong character. She is determined, self sufficient and has a very interesting story - this is her life, her story.

Annah has been alone for 3 years since Elias left but when he returns he "brings" with him Gabry and Catcher, which make the story more complex and dark.

The city is falling apart and their own hope for survival lays on the shoulders of Catcher's immunity but in order to truly survive the must band together to overcome obstacles that stand in their way.

Be prepared for more grit and violence. This book is the most realistic and it ties up many questions that have plagued readers and characters alike since the first book.  If you are looking for a fast, entertaining series read on zombies pick this one up! You will not be disappointed.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

I read The Dead-Tossed Waves back in October of 2010. The link to that blog post is HERE.

I can honestly say that this time around I enjoyed the book so much more! I believe this is because I read them right after one another and didn't have to recall characters and story lines. When I first read this book I found it to be slow paced but I was wrong! So much happens!

The main focus of this novel is Gabry but we do get some cameo visits from old characters!
Gabry is a teen girl who lives inside Vista. Vista is a "fortified" city that is trapped between the ocean and forest. Gabry is content and fears what lays behind the walls of her city especially the forest but one night she gives in to peer pressure and jumps the wall with her friends to visit the abandoned amusement park ( which is super creepy).

Chaos erupts shortly after when a breaker (zombie) attacks the group, at the insistence of a friend, Gabry runs and makes it back over the wall to safety. The rest of the group suffers to different degrees, some are turned to Mundo, others infection and others are "saved" yet will be punished for disobeying the rules.

Gabry is filled with guilty and journey's back across the wall and runs into a new and very interesting character! This is where the story really starts to unfold and secrets begin to unravel. Expect to learn more back ground stories. I strongly suggest that you read, The Forest of Hands and Teeth first as this book reveals and add to what happened in that book.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Forest of Hands and Teeth By Carrie Ryan

I am rereading The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I first ready it back in 2010. Here is a link to that review in the event that you are interested. Click HERE.

I was surprised by how much I had forgotten but not surprised at all by how much I still LOVE this book.

Seven generations (or so) have passed since the Zombie outbreak. A small village of survivors is living inside a fenced in area of the forest, known as The Forest of Hand and Teeth. Outside the fences the unconsecrated "live". Their moans are constant and like a background noise one has become accustomed to.

The village is essentially ruled by The Sisterhood and protected by The Guardians.  We have a handful of vital characters each amazing developed and our most flawed yet main character is Mary. She is by far my favorite.

Through pictures and stories passed on to her, Mary dreams of the ocean and buildings that reach into the sky but she has been taught that her village is the last surviving one and it is up to her and the others to keep humanity alive.

A series of events unfold and Mary is forced into joining The Sisterhood but her curious and  inquisitive mind lead her to discover that not everything they have been told is truth. A breach in the fence lines causes chaos and puts Mary and a few select into a journey plagued by heartache and life alternating choices.

I understand that many people didn't care for the ending of this novel but for me it was perfect!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

It's the early twentieth century, radium has just been discovered and is touted as a miracle and wonder drug of sort. It can be found in everyday products such as lotion and tonic water but this element hides it's secret and the young women who work in the radium-dial factors are to become it's victim of a horrible, painful death.

A dial painting factory opens up in different parts of the United States. It pays well and many young women jump at the opportunity for work. It's simple enough they used brushes to put  luminescence onto dials of watches using a practice of lip pointing. This practice of putting the brush in between you lips to make the end pointy before painting the dials results in countless deaths.

The company knew that radium wasn't a safe element, yet they reassured works over and over again that they would not be harmed. Women who worked for the company began experiencing a variety of issues most of them started with an unbearable pain in the jaw. Treatment made things worse and eventually pieces of the jaw would break off. Women's bodies were ravaged with tumors depending on where radium settled in the body and bones.

The company denied responsibility and lawsuits unfolded. Read Moore's "The Radium Girls" to learn about this seemingly forgotten piece of US history. Be prepared to be angry and feel anguish for the victims and their family members.

Moore has done an excellent job of re-accounting the life stories from the women who were harmed extensively by radium. This book is well researched and easy to read!

The Embalmer by Caillé Anne-Reneé and Mullins Rhonda

The Embalmer is a short book around 80 pages or so. It's not as macabre as I was hoping but it is rather interesting. The book centers a...