Monday, January 28, 2008

The Midnight Twins by Jacqueline Mitchard

Meredith and Mallory Brynn are identical twins - born on different days. Meredith was born at 11:59 P.M. on December 31st and Mallory was born at 12:01 A.M. on January 1st of the next year. Merry and Mally share many of the things that other twins do like a special language, sympathy pains, and telepathy. No matter how much they share with each other and how identical they look, they do have differences. Merry is the head cheerleader and Miss Popularity whereas Mally is all business. She is a jock and prefers to spend time alone.

The Brynn twins are known and loved all throughout town but even more so after a New Year's Eve disaster. While babysitting their little brother and cousins, a mysterious fire breaks out that nearly takes the twins' lives. The physical devastation is nothing compared to the emotional damage they endure. Merry and Mally notice they don't dream the same dreams after the fire and begin seeing visions. Mally sees things that are going to happen and Merry sees what has already happened.

The girls begin to get disturbing visions of a long time family friend which end up putting them in an extremely dangerous situation. They must rely on their special "gifts" to survive.

THE MIDNIGHT TWINS is a fascinating novel. The first two chapters were hard to get into because of the detailed explanation of the twins and their "gifts" but once you get to the night of the fire, the story really takes the reader on an emotional ride.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Upcoming Releases I CAN'T Wait To Read!

Here are some of the books that I can’t wait to read when they come out. Leave a comment and tell me what you are waiting for.

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Feb. 7th

Circle of Blood by Alane Ferguson
Feb. 28th

Moby Clique: A Bard Academy Novel by Cara Lockwood
March 4th

Final Warning: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson
March 17th

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
March 25th

Frostbite: Vampire Academy 2 by Richelle Mead
April 10th

Unbelievable: Pretty Little Liars #4 by Sara Shepard
May 27th

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Pfeffer
June 1st

Feast of Fools: Morganville Vampires #4 by Rachel Caine
June 3rd

Well, I’m sure there are more, but this is all I can think of right now. There are always new books coming out so sometimes I forget. Maybe writing these down will help me remember. Remember to leave me a comment to tell me what you are waiting for.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Would you make the choice to live forever even if it meant you wouldn't be allowed to have children? In the year 2140 most people do. In order to take Longevity, people have to sign the Declaration. People that choose to have children anyway are arrested and put in prison and the children are taken and put into something that resembles an orphanage. The children are referred to as Surplus.

Surplus Anna is one of the most promising occupants of Grange Hall, a bleak and cold housing unit for illegal children. She is proud of her accomplishments as a housekeeper. She will soon reach the age where she leaves Grange Hall and is placed in a permanent job. Anna is happy she has been able to pay back society for exisiting. She feels anger toward her parents for even putting her in this situation and adding to the drain on the world's resources. Anna doesn't think much about a life of freedom until Peter shows up at Grange Hall and tells her things that only her parents could know.

Together, Anna and Peter set out on an adventure that changes their lives forever. They both find family they didn't know existed and Anna learns just how much she can care for another person.

THE DECLARATION is a frightening look at what can happen when the government takes control over the life itself. As appealing as living forever may seem, it is clear the consequences far outweigh the benefits.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

the dead and the gone by Susan Pfeffer

Companion Novel to Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer. Release date: June 1, 2008

As is the problem in Life As We Knew It, the moon has been hit by a meteor and is knocked off of its axis. The moon is now closer to the Earth which sets off a chain reaction of natural disasters throughout the world. Alex Morales lives in New York City which is devastated right from the start. The Statue of Liberty has been wiped out and many people were washed out to sea by huge tidal waves caused because of the change in the location of the moon. Water is slowly seeping its way farther and farther into New York and closer and closer to where Alex lives with his family on 88th Street.

Alex is working at a pizza place the night of the event that changes his life forever. When he gets home from his shift, he finds out that his mother has been called into work at the hospital in Queens, leaving his two sisters by themselves. Their father had already left for Puerto Rico to attend a family funeral so it is left to Alex to take care of his sisters until they return.

Alex and his sisters must deal with food shortages, random electricity outages, and extreme weather changes. They attempt to keep their hopes up even though their parents never make contact, information is hard to come by, and they are forced to do gruesome things just to survive. Alex and his sisters learn how important family is and that tragedy can sometimes bring people closer together than ever before.

While the dead and the gone covers the same event as Life As We Knew It, it is told in a different way. Where LAWKI is told in first person, tdatg is told in third person. The third person perspective gives the reader a broader look at the story, but was hard to get used to after reading LAWKI. All in all, the dead and the gone is a gripping tale of love, faith, and survival. It is a page-turner and will consume you when you start the book.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Naomi Porter regains consciousness as she is being put into an ambulence. She hears an unfamiliar voice claiming to be her boyfriend and opens her eyes to see him sitting beside her on the way to the hospital. The pain in her head is so severe that she doesn't worry about the fact that she has no idea who the guy is holding her hand and telling her everything is going to be okay.

In the hospital, Naomi learns that she fell down the steps of her high school and hit her head hard enough to cause brain trauma. The mysterious boy who kept her company in the ambulence and stayed in the hospital with her until her father arrived turned out to be a boy she didn't really know. James is a boy with a troubled past and new to her high school and just happened to be there when Naomi fell. He didn't want her to be alone so he lied to the paramedics in order to get permission to ride to the hospital with her. Naomi feels an immediate attraction to him especially after she realizes she can't remember anything in her life from the past four years. She can at least remember James since she met him after he woke up.

The next several months are difficult for Naomi. Her father, a writer by trade, calms his nerves in the hospital by starting a list of things Naomi doesn't remember. Things on the list include:

1. Will Landsman - her best friend and her co-editor on the high school yearbook.
2. The divorce of her mother and father.
3. The fact that her mother has had a child with her new husband and she now has a sister.
4. Ace - her boyfriend.
5. How to drive.

When her father is finished with the list it is five pages long and contains one hundred and eighty-six items on it.

Once Naomi starts the school year everything becomes more complicated. She has to deal with people that knew her as she was before the accident and change her behavior based on their cues. She begins to analyze her life and make decisions about what is important to her now - and sometimes she realizes that what was once very important to her might not be as important to her now and visa versa.

MEMOIRS OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC is another wonderful novel by Gabrielle Zevin. The characters come alive on the first page and find a place in the reader's heart. It is a love story without being a "love story." Pick it up and you won't be disappointed.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

If you didn’t think the nineteenth century was full of drama then think again. Life in New York in 1899 was very eventful. At least it was for the very wealthy. Elizabeth Holland has been a perfect daughter her entire nineteen years of life. She has been groomed for years to be perfect - to talk when she was supposed to, to receive visitors on Sundays, and always appear happy no matter when she was feeling on the inside. People in New York expect her to marry well and continue the traditions of high society.

Life for Elizabeth isn’t easy though, even though all she has to do is sit around and look beautiful. It turns out, since the death of her father, her family is having financial problems and aren’t able to keep up the type of lifestyle they are used to living. One thousand dollar gowns, priceless works of art, and trips abroad are a thing of the past unless something can be done to secure the family’s place in society before everyone learns of their trouble. Mrs. Holland thinks Elizabeth can save the family by marrying Henry Schoonmaker – New York’s most eligible and most sought after bachelor.

The news of her impending engagement is a surprise to Elizabeth. She has always held out the hope that she would marry for love and in fact, has been in love for quite some time. Elizabeth has been having a secret relationship with Will Keller for many years. The relationship must be kept a secret because Will is an employee of the Holland family. He works in the stables and drives the carriages for them and carrying on a relationship with someone of lower status would be something that would ruin Elizabeth’s reputation and the Holland family name. Word of her engagement puts a strain, understandably, on Elizabeth’s relationship with Will.

Elizabeth’s secret relationship with Will isn’t the only thing that becomes more difficult after the wedding becomes public. Henry doesn’t want to get married any more than Elizabeth does. He resents the fact that he is being forced to wed and give up his freedom. Penelope, her supposed best friend, is infuriated by the news of the wedding. She expected to marry Henry herself and is planning to break up the wedding by any means necessary. Elizabeth’s personal maid, Lina, finds out about Elizabeth and Will’s relationship and is hurt because she has grown to love Will herself. Even more problems crop up when Elizabeth’s younger sister, Diana, begins to have feelings for Henry. Finally, and most devastating to Elizabeth, Will tells her he is leaving New York and heading west to California. How can a proper girl deal with all of these problems and be expected retain her poise?

THE LUXE is a fascinating look at life at the turn of the century. It is historical fiction at its best. For those of you that fall in love with the book like I have can look forward to the fact that the author is currently working on a sequel.

The Market by J.M. Steele

Kate Winthrop exists at Millbank High School. She isn’t on the lowest rung of the social ladder, but definately isn’t at the top either. The story begins with Kate attending a party put on by the Proud Crowd, the A-listers of the school. An invitation showed up in her locker and even though she was reluctant to go since she doesn’t run in those circles, her two best friends, Callie and Dev, insist she go so she can tell them all about what happens. The party isn’t a fun experience for her though. Gretchen, the queen bee of the school, lets her know with catty remarks that she was never supposed to be there. She also calls her 71 and Kate becomes curious about the reference.

One night at home while on the computer, Kate gets the answer to her question about 71. She receives an IM giving her a website leading her to the Millbank Social Stock Market. The MSSM is a ranking of all 141 girls in the senior class at Millbank High. Kate learns that she is ranked number 71. After filling in Callie and Dev about the stock market, they device a plan to increase Kate’s value. In order to enter the market, you have to put in $500. At the end of the school year, the person with the largest portfolio, wins the pot which would be about $25,000.
After developing a business plan, Dev, Kate, and Callie, begin to implement the changes to her wardrobe, hair, and other daily behaviors. Throughout the ups and downs of the market, Kate learns about friendship, love, and the importance of popularity.

J.M. Steele, author of The Taker, has written another relevant novel about the pressures of high school. The unique angle to this story is the stock market element. It would be a great way to connect literature to an economics class.

Fake Boyfriend by Kate Brian

Isabelle Hunter, a beautiful, valedictorian of her senior class, has had her heart broken again and her three best friends, Vivi, Lane, and Curtis, can’t stand it. Shawn Littig, the on again - off again boyfriend of Isabelle has humilated her in a very public way and caused Vivi, Lane, and Curtis to come up with a plan to keep Izzy and Shawn apart for good. Their main obstacle is prom. Izzy has been planning the perfect prom since her freshman year and Shawn has always been the date in her plan. With prom only a few weeks away, Izzy’s three friends are forced to do something drastic.

Vivi comes up with a plan that she feels is fool proof. Lane isn’t so sure, but lacks the confidence to stand up to her more outgoing friend. In the end, they create a Myspace profile for an invented guy that is sure to peek Izzy’s interest. They name him Brandon and after adding a few friends to his profile, take the plunge and put a friend request in to Izzy. Little do Vivi and Lane know, but Izzy is online and immediately accepts the friend invitation and IMs Brandon out of boredom. Not knowing how to respond as a “guy,” Lane enlists the help of Vivi’s younger brother, Marshall, to act as Brandon.

Everything seems to go fine until Izzy makes comments about taking Shawn back because she wants a date to the prom. This forces Vivi, Lane, and now Curtis to go looking for someone to play Brandon. They hire Jonathan, a gorgeous boy from a neighboring town to be Brandon and take Izzy to the prom.

FAKE BOYFRIEND has everything. Friendship, love, and life lessons. Of course, everything doesn’t turn out exactly like Vivi intended in her original “fool proof” plan, but everyone gets something in the end. As I was reading this story I kept wishing I had friends like Vivi, Lane, and Curtis. They definately went above and beyond. FAKE BOYFRIEND is a one-sitting read. I devoured it in one day and was sad when I reached the end.

Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Have you seen the movie Session 9? Did you like The Blair Witch Project? If so, you need to read Project 17.

Derek wants to be a film maker and he has come up with the perfect subject for a movie. He is planning to enter his film about teens spending the night inside the haunted Danvers State Hospital into a contest. The only thing he needs now is a cast.

Mimi is a goth chick. She begins helping Derek plan by drawing story boards for possible scenes and showing him the ways to get into the hospital at night without getting caught by the security guards that are always on duty. Mimi has a special reason for wanting to see inside the abandoned mental institution and has been thinking about it for a long time.

Liza is a straight A student hoping to get into Harvard. She has done everything she feels is in her power to get in. She is class valedictorian and devotes all her spare time to studying, but when she hears from her guidance counselor that being admitted isn’t a sure thing, she begins to panic. The only advice her counselor can give her is to get involved in extra-curricular activities, but at the end of the school year, there isn’t much to choose from. Once Liza hears about a student movie being shot, she decides it might be her only chance to show a little diversity in her school career.

Chet is Derek’s best friend. Basically he decides to tag along so he doesn’t have to be at home. Chet’s father is an alcoholic and sometimes knocks Chet around when he’s had too much to drink. Chet uses humor to hide his pain and embarrassment. He intends to be the comic relief for the night.

Greta and Tony are a loving, romantic couple that both are majorly into acting. They are members of the drama club and look for any chance to be in the spotlight. Tony’s main passion is directing, but Greta definately wants to be an actress. They use Derek’s film as an excuse to prepare for their future in the business.

Together, these six teenagers sneak past security guards and enter Danvers State Hospital. Tension fills the pages right from the start. Through the dark tunnels, in the run down hallways, and behind the doors to rooms where lobotomies and other frightening medical procedures took place, the kids learn about themselves, eachother, and the people that inhabited the walls of Danvers State Hospital.

Project 17 isn’t a book to read in the dark if you are easily creeped out. The weird occurances that take place while the kids are inside make you believe there are ghosts living in the hospital. Your heart will pound until you get to the last page - and maybe even after.

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen by Stephanie Hale

Aspen Brooks is stunning. She is beautiful, stylish, and destined to be homecoming queen. Aspen is dating Lucas, the quarterback of the high school football team. Her life is like a fairy tale. Until….the night of the homecoming dance when her arch rival, Angel Ives, is announced the queen. At first, Aspen can’t believe what she is hearing and is upset, but then she hears the name of the homecoming king. Rand Bachrach, the biggest dork in the school, wins the crown. Aspen thinks it is hilarious that Angel has to appear with Rand at the many functions during homecoming week as king and queen.

Angel is furious about Rand being the king and thinks Aspen is behind it, but it turns out that Lucas set it up for all the guys at the school to vote for Rand. Angel doesn’t know this though and vows revenge on Aspen. Soon after, Aspen finds her tires slashed, pornography in her locker, and her athesma inhaler stolen (which leads to an emergency hospital visit). Of course, Aspen thinks Angel is behind all of these incidents and is enraged. Then…Angel disappears. Aspen thinks it is a stunt, but everyone else thinks she’s been kidnapped.
Things start to change for Aspen as she spends more time with Rand, has to help her mother with a very difficult situation, and learns that being stylish isn’t always the most important thing in life.

REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN has it all. Romance, humor, family issues, and mystery. If you enjoy drama then this book is for you. It is fast-paced and sucks you in on the first page. Aspen, even though she is a privileged and somewhat spoiled girl, turns out to be a lovable protagonist.

Something Rotten: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery by Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz has created a wonderful mystery based on the Shakespeare play Hamlet. Horatio Wilkes is the best friend of Hamilton Prince and is spending several weeks with him at his family’s home in Denmark, Tennessee. Horatio and Hamilton know eachother from boarding school and even though they come from very different backgrounds, they are very close.

Hamilton’s father, Rex Prince, is dead and his uncle, Claude, married his mother about a month after the funeral. This alone has upset Hamilton very much, but when he and Horatio go to the family’s paper plant and find information in the form of a video tape that reveals that Hamilton’s father was murdered, Hamilton really loses it!

There are many suspects in this case. Could Claude have killed him for the business? Was it Ford Branff who is waging a hostile takeover of Elsinore paper - the Prince’s paper company? Did Olivia Mendelsohn, Hamilton’s ex-girlfriend, kill Rex because Elsinore paper has been polluting the local river for years?

Horatio attempts to get to the bottom of the murder by piecing all the clues together while at the same time keeping his best friend out of trouble and safe. It is a joy making the comparisons to Hamlet as this story progresses. Alan Gratz does a superb job creating a likeable character in Horatio Wilkes. The subtitle of this book leads you to believe there will be more books involving Horatio. I can’t wait to see what mystery he has to solve next.
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