Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Second book in the Raven Cycle. Our story picks up right were Raven Boys left off. Adam is still dealing emotionally with his abusive past and the choices he made at Cabeswater. A mysterious Gray Man has appeared in town along with other treasure hunters searching for a mysterious artifact. Now Gansey’s search for Glendower has become a race not just to find Glendower but to protect Adam, Noah and most surprisingly, Ronan. Ronan discovers his family secrets and how special he really is. Can’t wait for book three!
Nicola’s Russian grandfather was persecuted for his paranormal abilities, thus she has kept her paranormal talent hidden. By holding objects she is able to retrieve memories of people who have held the object. However, she decides to track down the origins of a family heirloom said to have been a gift from the Russian Empress Catherine. Nicola knows that the family tale is true, but will need to find proof for the object to have any value. She enlists the help of Rob a man she previously dated, but ran away from when their psychic talents got them noticed.
On the negative side: Rob is way too perfect, always there, super talented. Even worse though is the love-interest in the parallel tale of Anna and Edmund. Anna is repeatedly humiliated by Edmund and finds herself falling for him. Yuck! Gross! There are 2 surprises towards the ending of Anna’s tale. You can see the first one from a mile away. The other one surprised me.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the coziness of the settings – London, Scottland, Russia…
I also enjoyed the amount of authentic detail worked into the background of the book. For example, in the book Slains Castle was being renovated into apartments – which when I looked online, is actually the case. In the book Nicola and Rob visit a Russian chain restaurant named Stolle that serves pies (meat pies I think). Turns out such a chain actually does exist in Russia. Just neat!
The Lovecraft Anthology is a graphic collection of Lovecraft’s tales, adapted and illustrated by a variety of authors and artists. Featured in this first volume are several classics, including Call of Cthulhu, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Beyond the artwork, these adaptations also are quick verbal sketches of Lovecraft’s work. I enjoyed them, but often regretted the stories weren’t covered in more detail. Creating artwork is very time consuming, though, and being exposed to the styles of multiple artists was worth missing out on a few story details. As with any multiple-artist anthology, I had style preferences (D’Israeli!), but this will vary by reader. Recommended as an introduction to dark Lovecraftian worlds.
Bess starts off life in the 16th century, her happy peasant family life is disrupted when plague breaks out. After her older brother, her sweet sister, and father die of the plague, Bess’ Mom makes a deal with the local and evil warlock Gideon, which brings Bess back from the door of death. Then a witchhunter is called and accuses Bess of witchcraft, since she survived the plague, her mother confesses in order to spare her daughter and directs her daughter to study with Gideon. But when the town comes for her and plan to burn her the next day, she speaks invocation by the light of her cell windows. 300 years later she is still on the run from Gideon, who wants her to combine their powers. She is able to settle down for brief periods before he tracks her down.
Paula Brackston’s books are so captivating. I can’t wait for her next book in 2014, The Midnight Witch. Make sure you have plenty of time to read, because her books are hard to put down. This book was originally released as the Book of Shadows in 2009.
When Irene Sauvelle’s father dies, she and her family find themselves moving to a small coastal village in Northern France where her mother, Simone, finds employment as a housekeeper for an eccentric toymaker named Lazarus. At first the small family is enchanted (if slightly caught off-guard) by the sheer volume and intricacy of Lazarus’s automatons. Village life treats them equally well. Irene quickly becomes friends with one of the house’s other employees, Hannah and then is introduced to (and quickly falls for) Hannah’s cousin, Ismael. The family appears to lead a charmed life until Hannah turns up dead in the forest near the estate. The house and its contents cease to be amusing as things take a turn for the menacing.
The narrative shifts from character to character, which means that the reader will have multiple perspectives with which to decipher exactly what sort of evil is at play here. The plot has echoes of other famous tales, most notably Wuthering Heights and Faust, though the book itself has a distinctly “Zafon” feel to it. The setting is characteristically atmospheric and the juxtaposition of the beautiful against the terrifying is also very much in keeping with Zafon’s other work. The plot is merely OK; it manages to be both a bit confusing and predictable at the same time. The end comes crashing to a close, which feels somewhat anti-climactic after the action leading up to it. It’s OK though; the intriguing setting and evocative language more than make up for any plot-based missteps.
Kate remembers the last time she saw her parents and remembers her mother telling her to protect her younger siblings. Michael and Emma, the younger two, have no recollection of their parents; the only life they know is fending for themselves in orphanage after orphanage. Kate is positive that her parents are coming back, but even she has to admit is seems less and less likely. When an adoption opportunity goes sour, the kids are sent to the most remote orphanage they’ve ever been to. When they arrive, they realize it’s the strangest one they’ve ever been to as well. In fact, they’re the only kids in the orphanage. Not only is the orphanage strange, the town is too. The inhabitants are grim and there aren’t any children.
One day, the children stumble upon a book in the basement of the old orphanage and shortly thereafter discover that the book has magical properties. The book is, in essence, a portal through time. Thus begins and epic and decidedly non-linear adventure to save the world of magic.
This was an especially charming, if slightly confusing middle-grade adventure story. The three children, Kate, Michael, and Emma, all have very distinct personalities. Kate is the headstrong leader. Michael is the bookish one (who is also obsessed with dwarves) and Emma is one of the most adorably sassy young ladies I’ve ever come across. My main criticism for this book is that there are a lot of moments when characters get separated and, upon regrouping, demand to have events recounted. Not only does it get repetitive, it feels like a crutch for the author. Still, high adventure and lots of fun. My middle-school kids loved it.
Becky Randle has not lived the most exciting life. She lives in a single-wide trailer with her 400lb mother. She works as a cashier in a failing supermarket. She has exactly one friend in the tiny Missouri town they live in. Becky doesn’t really ask for much, though she dreams of more.
When her mother dies, Becky discovers a name and a phone number hidden in her mother’s things. The name is Tom Kelly, one of the most prestigious fashion designers in the world. Against her better judgement, Becky gets in touch and is whisked away to New York where she is told by Tom and his handlers that, if she wears three dresses designed by him, she will become the most beautiful woman in the world. Becky is highly dubious, believing herself to be set up for some sort of embarrassing reality show or something of that ilk. When she looks at herself in the mirror, she sees bad skin, limp hair and a body she’s less than happy with. How can she possibly become the Most Beautiful Woman in the World (hereafter “MBWitW”)?
The first dress is red and Becky quickly discovers that it does indeed make her the MBWitW, but only when she’s with other people. When she’s alone, she looks like an overdressed version of herself. She eventually begins to get used to the adulation and creates a persona to match, dubbing herself “Rebecca” and reserving “Becky” for her non-MBWitW-self. Only after she realizes that Tom Kelly’s talents are indeed exceptional, she is presented with the other half of the bargain: she has one year to meet someone, fall in love and get married. If not, she’ll go back to being Becky forever. If she can make it happen, she’ll continue to be the MBWitW for the rest of her life. Her rise to super-stardom (because extreme beauty evidently becomes famous on its own) puts her in a position to meet plenty of potential princes to enable her “happily ever after”. Imagine her surprise, however, when a very real prince takes an interest. Is a year long enough to fall in love and get married? Can Becky really fall in love when she’s living her life as Rebecca? Who is the prince really in love with: Becky or Rebecca?
It’s an interesting enough premise, but it kind of felt like a mess to me. I get the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc., and that’s a good one to send to a teen audience. I just felt like everything was a bit of a stretch. Tom Kelly as a character is more than a bit perplexing. I’m not even entirely sure what he is, though he’s clearly modeled after Calvin Klein. Most of the characters have some sort of real-life counterpart, which points to satire, but doesn’t quite pull it off. While the twists in the book were surprising, I felt like they ultimately dragged it out even more. This really should have been a novella or a short story to maintain maximum effect, but at novel-length, it lagged in places for me. I had heard that this book was supposed to be really funny, but I wound up finding it a bit over-the-top, particularly when it came to Becky’s rabidly protective BFF. This one probably works for some folks, but I don’t think it was the book for me. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for.
Enter the dark and eerie world of Hopeless, Maine. You may notice that there are an awful lot of orphans for such an isolated place. You may also notice a girl named Salamandra who refuses to stay put in the orphanage that she’s been placed in. While this is going on, you’re probably trying to squint through the enveloping fog to see if there really are monsters crawling through the shadows. Hopeless, Maine is the type of town where anything can happen and where the most monstrous of the monsters may not even look like monsters at all.
Beautiful, atmospheric artwork and a dark sense of humor make this a comic series to watch.
Welcome to the town of Never Better. It’s the home of young Jeremy Johnson Johnson, a teen with the unusual ability to hear ghosts. He is presently accompanied by a rather famous ghost: Jacob Grimm (of the Grimm Brothers). Jacob has been “haunting” (yes, I’m using the term very loosely) Jeremy for quite some time, protecting him from the Keeper of Occasions (an entity only Jacob seems familiar with). Jeremy, for his part, is quite content to be constantly accompanied by this ghost. Life has been rather lonely for him. His father became a shut-in after his mother ran off years ago. Jeremy has been doing his best to keep the tiny family afloat, which is rather difficult as their sole source of income is the family bookstore, The Two-Book Bookstore. The bookstore really does have only two books, volumes one and two of his grandfather’s autobiography. Needless to say, business is not good and foreclosure is imminent.
When redheaded, gregarious Ginger takes an interest in Jeremy, the two set off a series of events that will lead them into a deadly situation that only Jacob Grimm can help undo.
Narrated entirely by the ghost of Jacob Grimm, this book is one of the most original and intriguing fairy-tale-related stories I’ve come across. It takes a moment to get used to Jacob’s manner of speaking, which is appropriately didactic and peppered with German phrases, but the narration does wonders to set up the atmosphere of the book. The town of Never Better has a slightly menacing and dreamlike quality to it. For instance, there’s a Santa-like baker in town whose bakery makes a rare type of cake with superstition on the side. Whenever the green smoke rises from the chimney of the bakery, the town then knows that delicious Prince Cakes will be on the menu the next day. There’s also the matter of the town’s runaway problem. Young folks leave and never come back, yet the townspeople are largely unconcerned. All the mysteries eventually tie in together to create a truly unique and timeless world where it seems anything might happen, particularly if you have the ghost of one of the Grimm brothers on your side.
Retired rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for damaged young women and for the macabre. He has a list of ex-girlfriends that he found entertaining for awhile but then sooner or later tired of. He doesn’t even call them by name but by the state they are from. He also keeps a mysterious collection of objects in his home including sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose and Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard. So, he’s thrilled when his assistant tells him a ghost is for sale on an online auction site. He ends up winning the sale.
But then the black, heart-shaped box arrives in the mail. It not only contains the suit of a dead man but his vengeful ghost. The ghost is the stepfather of an ex-girlfriend who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne sent her home on the train. Let the vengeful haunting and soul searching begin!
In the not too distant future a plague has wiped out the population of Earth. All that is left are those who took to the water to escape. They live on clan ships, pirate ships and there is a small community on Hatteras Island. This community of 14 people has set itself apart from the others; they are different. These people have control of the elements: earth, wind, fire, water. When a storm comes up the Guardians (adults) send the children to nearby Roanoke Island to shelter. When the storm is over the kids realize the Guardians have been kidnapped by pirates. It is up to them to first make sure they don’t get kidnapped as well and second rescue their parents.
Our cast of characters includes Alice, fire element, who has a secret and who is kind of an outcast; Rose, water element, the darling of the community and daughter of the leader; Dennis, wind element, brother of Rose; Griffin, earth element, deaf and lame boy who is also a seer; and Thomas, no element, brother of Griffin and true outcast of the community who no one will touch. On Roanoke, secrets are revealed about the Guardians and the past and more questions arise. Everyone’s elements seem to work so much better there than on Hatteras. And there is the question of why the pirate Dare wants “the solution” and what exactly that is.
I like the characters of Thomas and Griffin. They are intriguing because they are different from everyone else and they share a strong brotherly bond. I like how Antony John seems to always have deaf characters in his books and how they are not shown as weaker than others, just different. I am not sure why the romance element had to be brought up. It seemed a little forced to me. There is a love triangle between Thomas, Rose and Alice that plays throughout. Thomas seems to go back and forth between which girl he likes at any given moment. In such a small community I really wondered how they planned to continue the population. It isn’t really brought up, but I kept thinking about it throughout the book.
This book left more questions than it answered. It is clearly the start of a series and as such does a great job of peaking your interest and making you want to read more. I like the fact that it is set in the real world and the not so distant future. I really want to know what is so special about Roanoke and why these people have powers and what it has to do with the original colony there. All questions I hope will be answered in future books. This is an intriguing start and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
In the waning months of World War II, young Evelyn Roe’s life is transformed when she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier, all but completely buried in the heavy red-clay soil on her family’s farm in North Carolina. When Evelyn rescues the stranger, it quickly becomes clear he is not a simple man. As innocent as a newborn, he recovers at an unnatural speed, and then begins to changeÃ¢#128;#148;first into Evelyn’s mirror image, and then into her complement, a man she comes to know as Adam.
Evelyn and Adam fall in love, sharing a connection that reaches to the essence of Evelyn’s being. But the small town where they live is not ready to accept the likes of Adam, and his unusual origin becomes the secret at the center of their seemingly normal marriage.
Adam proves gifted with horses, and together he and Evelyn establish a horse-training business. They raise five daughters, each of whom possesses something of Adam’s supernatural gifts. Then a tragic accident strikes the family, and Adam, in his grief, reveals his extraordinary character to the local community. Evelyn and Adam must flee to Florida with their daughters to avoid ostracism and prying doctors. Adrift in their new surroundings, they soon realize that the difference between Adam and other men is greater than they ever imagined.
Intensely moving and unforgettable, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope captures the beauty of the natural world, and explores the power of abiding love and otherness in all its guises. It illuminates the magic in ordinary life and makes us believe in the extraordinary.
Sweet Legacy is the final book in the Medusa Girls trilogy. This book picks up immediately where the second book ended with Grace, Gretchen and Greer, and their posse, trying to rescue the gorgons and open the gate to the world of the monsters. They are surrounded by enemies on all sides; gods and monsters who either want the gate opened or who want it sealed forever. The sisters must solve the riddle, find the gate, open it and not die all while battling their enemies and saving their friends.
I really enjoyed this series; it is fun and exciting. I like the Greek Mythology mixed into the story and the little bit of romance for each of the sisters. In this final book they have all paired up with the boys of their choice and the romances all seem nice and hopeful. It is really great to read about teen romances that do not include a love triangle and do not have sinister intentions. I like the way this series ended with hope and family and the promise of battles to come.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers at ALA 2013.
Horace is the apprentice for Enoch Middleditch, a photographer in 1870s New York City. When hired by the wealthy Von Macht family to photograph them in mourning for their lost daughter, the unscrupulous Middleditch has Horace help him create a fake double-exposure ghost image of the dead daughter within the Von Macht portrait, in order to lure them into continuing to use his services. Soon, however, Horace realizes that more than a scam is at work, for it seems that a real ghost is showing up on his photographic plates.
This tale is equal parts ghost story, mystery, and history. The descriptions of the old photographic techniques are interesting, but it is the interactions between Horace and a servant girl, Pegg, which supply the heart of the story. As the secrets of the Von Macht family are unveiled, and the creepy atmosphere builds, I can see why Avi remains a beloved children’s author.
Blue is the teen daughter of a psychic and has grown up in a house of women all with different psychic abilities but she doesn’t have any powers except to boost the powers of anyone she’s around. She’s fine with that but sometimes she wishes she knew what it felt like to see and feel something magical.
She’s also been careful to never fall in love or even kiss a boy or let one kiss her because every psychic she’s ever been too has told her that she will kiss her true love and then he will die. Then on St. Mark’s Eve her mother sends her with a visiting psychic, Neeve to the abandoned church yard to see the “soon to be dead” walk by. She has never seen them herself even though she comes every year with her mother. Her job has always been to boost her mom’s psychic ability and write down the names as her mother says them. But something is different this year and there with Neeve she sees a boy emerge from the darkness and he speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey.
Blue discovers that he is a Raven Boy, one of the student’s attending the local private school, Aglionby. She’s always avoided the raven boys, they can only mean trouble and she could mean trouble for one of them. But she is drawn to Gansey in a way she can’t explain.
I’ve got the Joy Joy Joy Joy down in Joyland. Where? Down in Joyland. Stephen King has once again delivered another masterpiece of a short story. Joyland isn’t scary or sexy but more of a mystery. Sure there is a ghost a bad guy and a pretty lady but this story has a sweetness to it and heartache as well. Character development is King’s greatest strength and I thank him for it. The carnival has always been a fascination with me. It is mysterious and creepy and even though I’m a rube, I just love the atmosphere of it.
Mac is a Keeper; it is her job to patrol the Narrows and return awakened Histories to the Archive. Histories are people who have died (sort of like ghosts but corporeal); the Archive houses all the Histories (sort of like a cross between a graveyard and a library). The Librarians maintain the Archive and send assignments to the Keepers like Mac. Mac inherited her job from her grandpa, Da, who was a Keeper up until his death. She is the youngest Keeper in history and good at her job. Then her brother is tragically killed and her family moves to the Coronado for a fresh start. The Coronado is a dusty, crumbling hotel turned apartments and it seems the site of a tragic past no one wants known. Mac discovers that the history of the Coronado has been tampered with and Histories associated with the Coronado have been changed. Then there is the increase in escaped Histories, the cute, goth Keeper in her territory and the strange young man hanging out in the Narrows. Things do not add up and the more Mac digs the worse things become.
Mac is a tragic figure, full of pain and loss and misery. She lies constantly to protect her job, she misses her little brother and her Da, and she is scared to touch anyone because people are loud with thoughts and feelings that she can hear. I found this story intriguing. I liked the idea of an Archive housing the dead with Librarians able to read them. I’m not sure why this is necessary, but it was interesting. I liked Mac and Wes (the goth Keeper) and how Wes brought a lightness and a sense of fun to Mac’s world. I did think the story moved a little slowly and/or could have been edited down. I liked the mystery but I thought it was drug out too long and the explanation/conclusion was hurried at the end of the book. There is a lot of world-building in this book and Schwab does a great job setting it up. This is the start of a series so I am a little intrigued about where she is going to take it from here.
Claire finally is granted her wish to attend the graduate program at MIT and leave Morganville, TX. But of course, strings are attached. Amelie has arranged for her to be enrolled in an advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native and she will have to continue some of the research she started with Myrnin and report back to him and Amelie.
She is able to live off-campus with a high school friend who has troubles of her own and Claire soon discovers that life is full of dangers anywhere you live and little does she know that Morganville isn’t the only town with vampire issues.
Professor Anderson finds out about Claire’s vampire “control device” and immediately has Claire bring it in to her secret lab but when Dr. Anderson starts testing Claire’s machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make.
This is the story of who Neferet, high priestess of the Oklahoma House of Night, was before becoming a high priestess.
Set in Chicago in 1893 as the city prepares for the World’s Fair, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be enjoying her last few days as a carefree youth of a prosperous family. But her whole life changes when her mother dies leaving her the adult responsibility of being Lady of Wheiler House as her father, a powerful bank president, needs her to entertain and conduct the house as her mother would to help him keep his social standing and influence among the city’s wealthy and powerful and the designers and leaders of The White City: The Chicago World’s Fair.
As Emily tried to adjust to her new role and it’s many responsibilities that she is unprepared for she realizes that her father has a dark violent side she’s never seen before and she reaches out to a handsome young man and his family at one of her father’s parties. But then she is marked by a vampyre and once again her whole world changes.