Category Archives: 2010 Debut Author Challenge

Book Review of Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Title: Nevermore

Author: Kelly Creagh

Release Date: August 31, 2010

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: I have a friend who has been talking about this book for a while now, so I wanted to check it out myself.  Now that I have read the book, I am sitting here typing this review and I think my mind is still racing from everything that transpired.  It was amazing!  My copy of this book now looks like I have been editing it rather than reading it.  I have underlined passages, written notes and scribbled everywhere.  I am sorry Kelly, there was just so much going on and I had to try and keep track of it all.  You know what?  I actually think I am going to go back and re-read this book to try and catch some of the things I might have missed. There were events that just happened too fast for me to catch it all.  As a result, I left some things underlined to go back and look at later.

Since finishing the book, I have also been looking up various Poe stories and references from the book.  But I definitely want to re-read, and that is the highest compliment I can give a book, because I am not a re-reader.  Once I am done with a book that is usually it for me, I put it down, write the review and walk away.  I do go back sometimes and re-read passages, which means I am very interested, but wanting to read the whole book again is rare for me.  I am seriously fighting the urge right now to pick it up and read it again.  Kelly, you have done your job because your book is running though my mind and I cannot get it out!!

What is the book about you might wonder…well besides that summary up top I am not going to be much help to you.  Your probably saying, “why can’t you tell me more?” Well, I will tell you why, because I am done with the book and I am still a little fuzzy about what went down.  Here is a line from the book that I think sums up my feelings on this very well:

He was always talking in circles like this, always leaving her with more questions than answers.  It made her want to scream at him, to demand one single cut-and-dry, yes-or-no-reply.

Seriously, that is how I feel.  Just when you thought you could maybe figure out what was  going on something else would happen or an explanation would get cut off mid-sentence and then you were left hanging, again.  It left me with a weird mix of frustration and intrigue churning in my head that would not let me put the book down!  Even though the book is 500 pages, I still devoured it in one day.  The story had a firm grip on me and I was not able to walk away until I knew where it was going to take me next.

Nevermore will take you on a twisted, dark, haunting, tale of mystery that is impossible to walk away from not changed.  I cannot say enough good things about this book, I will warn you though that you should keep a pen handy to make notes or a computer nearby to look up references because you will go crazy if those resources are not close by for you to use.  I read on Kelly’s site (which is sweet and you should check it out here)  that there is a sequel in the works!  So exciting!  I will be eagerly awaiting it so I can be swept away again by this world.

Language Love:

All she could do was stare, reaching toward him with her gaze alone, pulling him to drown in the sorrow of the depthless black pools.

I like this line for two reasons

1.  I love the haunting description of this character and

2.  I think much of the book feels like this, a little sad, and mysterious, yet you are dying to know what is going on

FTC:  I received this ARC from the publisher

Book Review of Other by Karen Kincy

Title: Other

Author: Karen Kincy

Release Date: July 1st, 2010

Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.

When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:

I got my copy of this book when I was at ALA and I actually got to meet the author too and she signed my book.  She was so friendly and she even had a little pooka with her.   I on the other hand was a total dork and got nervous and called the pooka a boy instead of a girl.  Yeah, that was embarrassing!!  I still get nervous in front of authors, they are my version of meeting a rock star so I sometimes freeze up.  Hopefully, if I meet her again, I will not say something stupid again.  Knowing me though, it is bound to happen :)

Alright onto the book.  This is the story about a girl named Gwen, who is an “other.”  An “other” is basically any paranormal being that you can think of, all of them fall into this label.  Some others inherit their unique qualities, like Gwen who is half pooka.  While some others are infected, like a bite from a vamp or a werewolf.  Gwen inherited her pooka heritage from her biological father, who she has not met and has no idea who he is.  She lives with her mother, sister, and step father in a very small town in Washington.  While others are known about in the world, they are frowned upon and not really accepted in society as they should be.  It mimics racism, just in a different form and is a constant theme woven throughout the story.  As an outsider it is infuriating to see how Gwen and those like her are treated, and probably more upsetting because unfortunately we see these things happen in our society every day.

Another problem Gwen faces is telling her boyfriend, Zack what she is.  She has dating him for over a year and she has still not revealed her true identity to him.  The secret has stared to come between them and Zack has been noticing that Gwen has been pushing away lately.  When the moment finally comes for Gwen to tell Zack I found myself crossing my fingers for her because I wanted so much for her to get her happy ending.  Of course I am not going to tell you how that goes down, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I am sure you will have some intense opinions on the situation, just like I did.

A little side note story about this.  When I was at BEA, a book blogging friend and I were talking about the love triangle situation that seems to appear in books so often and how we decided which team we were on.  She remarked that most of the time you root for the guy you meet first, because you are introduced to him first and get to know him before the new guy comes into play.  Normally, this is very true with me, I am with Edward (Twilight), Marc (Shifters),  or Dimitri (Vampire Academy) you see my point, right?  In this book I thought I might be rooting for Zack, until we meet Tavian.  I am totally with Tavian, he is so sweet and I love how he treats Gwen.  He really took me by surprise, because I did not think I would end up liking him, but he blew Zack out of the water, very quickly.

I did enjoy all the different types of others that were incorporated into this book.  There are dryads, and water sprites, and leprechauns, oh my!  Okay sorry, couldn’t resist.  The point is I like how the story weaves all these different characters lives into one web that connects all of them.  They are all so unique and fascinating in their own way, I loved reading about them and I was sorry to see the story end because it meant my journey with them was coming to an end for now.  I know that there is a sequel in the works, I do not think it focuses on Gwen, it focuses on someone who was a secondary character in this story, Brock.  It is called Bloodborn and it is due out in 2011.  I know I will be on the lookout for it because I want to learn more about the others and life from their point of view.

Language Love:

“Clouds clot in the sky behind my house, as if the roof is damming their flow.”

I love clouds, they are so fascinating to me and I love watching them make shapes across the sky.  This sentence just helps bring them to life even more for me.

“Evening ripens into a blackberry sky seeded with stars.  The moon peeks above the horizons, fat and nearing full, dripping silver juice.”

Do I really need to explain why I love this?  I mean, c’mon…that is just beautiful!

Book Review of 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Title: 13 to Life

Author: Shannon Delany

Release Date: June 22, 2010

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide–secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: I got this book as part of the Traveling Arc Tours and was so excited when I did because I have been looking forward to reading it.  I actually read the book in one day because I could not put it down:)

In 13 to Life Jess has just suffered a major loss in her family and she is desperately trying to deal with all her inner demons. Even though I don’t think she would want to admit to that.   Jess as a character is a much more forgiving person than I think I ever could be.  She is also selfless, she takes it almost to a point where she hurts herself by helping others.  It is hard to watch her do that to herself, but she is just trying to do what she thinks is right and I cannot fault her for that.

A good example of this is Pietr, she is obviously drawn to him and he returns those feelings.  The problem comes in when Jess’ best friend Sarah likes Pietr too.  Instead of telling Sarah how she feels, Jess shy’s away and lets her friend pursue Pietr.  It really started to burn me up later down the road when you start to put together some of the pieces from Sarah’s past.  But, I am going to leave it at that so you can discover what I mean one your own, I am sure you will all have some opinions when you reach that point in the book as well.

One of the little details about the book that I really enjoyed were all the Shakespeare references.  They are sprinkled throughout the book through the eyes of numerous characters and I loved seeing them pop up.  However, not all of the references were Shakespearean.  Some came in the form of movies or other literature that is well known.  I really enjoy books, where other literary or movie related influences come into play and my favorite one in this book was this line:

“The Junction Jackrabbit glared out from my shirt, hind legs twisted to kick and unseen opponent, the rabbit’s teeth so big and pointy my dad had proclaimed it a beast worthy of a Monty Python sketch.”

Seriously, that is one of my favorite movies and to see it come into play here was just hilarious to me.  If you have not watched that movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you need to put down the computer and go watch it now, then you will understand the hilarity to that reference.

Okay, back to the book.  The last few chapters have so much going on that if you blink, you are going to miss something.  I was so caught up in it all that when I finished the book it took me a couple of minutes to realize that I still had a ton of questions left.  Shannon gave you so much excitement at the end you almost forget that there are so many mysteries left unsolved and you walk away almost confused.  In a good way, but still confused.  This book raises new ideas about old legends and only lets you unravel the secrets one very small layer at a time.

This is one of those books, that for me, feels like it is setting the scene for the rest of the series.  13 to life has built a solid foundation for this world and has paved the way for future books in this series.  I know the next book is called Secrets and Shadows and is set to release February 15, 2010, so I am waiting until then to see what happens next.

Language Love:

“A good writer should get people to feel something,”

I chose this because this is exactly how I feel about reading.  If I finish a book and I don’t have any kind of emotional reaction to it, then in my opinion the author did not do their job.  Now by emotional I don’t mean I am crying or even having any kind of physical reaction, I just mean I am attached to the characters in some way and the book made me feel.