Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bliss by Lauren Myracle


Bliss is the offspring of hippie parents. They have gone off to Canada to dodge the draft. Bliss is living with her grandmother. She will be attending Crestview Academy. Having recently been living in a commune Bliss is unaware of how normal teens act.

Being assigned a student mentor that blows her off she becomes friends with another set of girls that all seem to be enthralled with the girl who was supposed to mentor her. Being kind-hearted Bliss is very disturbed when she sees a girl named Sandy being treated badly because she is "different" from the other girls. Deciding that she is not going to be like that she befriends Sandy.

From her first day Bliss feels an undercurrent of evil in the school. She hears a voice in her head. She learns about the "ghost" of a girl who killed herself. She feels that every time she goes by Hamilton Hall she hears the voice of this girl. She tries to block her out.

It doesn't take long for Bliss to realize that there is something  not right about Sandy. She senses an underlying evil in her and tries to avoid her. Sandy is very much interested in things of the occult. Everything comes unravelled at the Winter Dance, and a horrible event changes everything.

I have to admit I was really liking this book until the end. It was a fast read interspersed with quotes from The Andy Griffith Show and some Manson trial transcripts which were very interesting. I felt like the scary part of the book was building and building and then I was just disappointed. And maybe this is my fault, but I just wasn't "getting" the end of the book. Seems like things were just left hanging and unresolved. Did Evil win?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This is the story of Susie Salmon. When the story opens she is already in "heaven" telling the reader her story.

Susie was viciously raped and murdered by her neighbor Mr. Harvey. The details of that crime are in the first few pages of this novel. The rest of the story is Susie's account of how her family and friends cope with her death. Also about how she herself copes with her death. Susie is in what she calls "my heaven".

It was a struggle for me to get through this book. Since the movie came out a lot of the students at work are asking for this book. I do not think it is appropriate for the middle school age student. The rape and murder scene is pretty graphic. There are other references to sex throughout the story. Not a story for me, but others may find it to their liking.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Nina disappeared two years ago. Leaving her mother and sister to wonder where she went or if she is even still alive.

Ellie, Nina's sister, works at a coffee-house her friend Amanda works at a shop called Attic. When the girls are going through a box of junk dropped off for "crap day" a drawing falls out of a book. The drawing is one that Ellie recognizes as her sister's. While reviewing the video camera they spot the person that dropped the box of junk off leaving a flyer on the public bulletin board. The flyer is for a party. Ellie decides to attend to see if she can find anyone that recognizes her sisters picture. At the party she meets a boy wearing a mask. They seem to hit it off but don't have enough time to get to know each other.

The next day the boy shows up at Ellie's work. What transpires after that is Ellie and Sean taking off across country following clues to find Nina's whereabouts. Ellie just knows that she is on the right track to find Nina alive, but with a scary twist to the story will Ellie herself make it home alive?

I'm kind of torn with this book. I want to give it 4 hearts because I really liked the twist to the story. But seriously I almost put this book down after the first couple of chapters. The language, the party scene, drug and alcohol usage by underage teens, sexual situations and innuendo's would keep me from recommending this to too many people. And especially not young teens. So that is why I gave it 3 hearts instead of 4.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

So I haven't ever done this before...changed my rating.  At first I gave Bad Girls don't die 4 hearts. But the more I talked about it with a friend the more excited I got about it. And then she asked me why I gave it only 4 hearts. Well, my 4 hearts says that I really like it, not just "like it"  but then that got me to thinking if talking about it brings tingles to my spine then that is a 5 heart worthy book. AND, it is my blog so I can change my mind if I want! So there...And another thing, I don't recall any cussing or sexual situations or inuendo's in the story so the author didn't have to use those avenue's as a draw to the reader. I still say a GREAT read!

Do you believe in ghosts or demon possession? Alexis didn't until her sister Kasey started acting strange.

Kasey is Alexis's younger sister. She collects dolls which Alexis thinks is strange, but nothing evil involved with it. When Alexis starts hearing strange noises, doors slamming for no apparent reason, Kasey seeming to forget chunks of time, and other strange events she at first denies that anything is wrong. But the evil soon escalates.

Something evil seems to have taken over Kasey. Alexis doesn't know where to turn. An unlikely helper turns up in the form of her nemesis Megan, a cheerleader. Will they be able to find a way to rescue Kasey from this possession?

Wow! This book was creepy, and scary, and GREAT! A must read!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finally by Wendy Mass

Rory is counting the minutes until she turns 12. She has a list of things that she wants to do once she is 12. A couple of the things that she will be allowed to do  are get a cell phone, get a pet, shave her legs and get her ears pierced. One mishap after another follows.

Wendy Mass did not disappoint me with this book! It made me laugh- out- loud in some parts. I think my favorite part was when Rory tried shaving her legs for the first time~oh my goodness it was funny! Even though there were laugh-out-loud moments in Rory's attempts at working through her list you could see the life lessons that she was learning and the maturity that she is reaching by the end of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eleven Birthdays by Wendy Mass

Amanda and Leo are born in the same hospital on the same day. Every year they celebrate their birthday together. Until their 10th birthday. Amanda overhears Leo saying something about her that causes her to walk out of their party and not talk to him for a year.

When their 11th birthday arrives they wake up as usual and start their routine as usual. Each has planned a separate party for themselves. Neither is happy without the other. Most of Amanda's guests leave to go to Leo's party. Amanda goes to bed without opening her gifts.

When her alarm goes off the next morning she is confused. Not remembering why she would set her alarm on a Saturday. When her family starts to wish her "happy birthday" she believes that they are pulling a prank on her. But she soon realizes that she is back to the day of her birthday again! Everything is the exact same as it was on her original 11th birthday. Afraid that she is going crazy she goes through the day doing exactly what she did originally. Once again she is woken up by her alarm only to start her birthday day all over again. This happens several "days" in a row. Leo realizes that they are both re-living their birthday first.

Once they realize that they are both reliving their birthday they set out to try and find out how to make it stop. They learn about an old family feud between great grandfathers. They take a day to do whatever they want to do. They do nice things for people hoping that that will break the spell. They become best friends once more.

This is such a cute story! I loved every bit of it. There is humor in it. There is renewed friendship. There is family relationships and there is self-discovery in it. Wendy Mass has also written Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life which was very good and I'm looking forward to reading Finally.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Guardian of the Flame by T.L. Higley

Sophia is the keeper of the Lighthouse in Alexandria. When Caesar and his armies invade Alexandria Sophia finds that she must keep more than her Lighthouse safe from their invasion.

Bellus a commander in the Roman army finds himself disgraced. As punishment Caesar orders him to "take the Lighthouse"  and babysit the inhabitants until he can prove himself to Caesar once more.

Sophia has kept herself secluded in the Lighthouse for more than 20 years. False guilt for the loss of her husband and son have caused her to become bitter and lonely. Sparks fly when Bellus and his army take over her Lighthouse.

Sophia finds that she needs to accept the love of the One True God before she can open her heart to anyone else in her life.

Against the historical background of Alexandria, Caesar, Cleopatra, T.L. Higley has written an exciting novel that I found very hard to put down. I am usually not a historical fiction fan but I REALLY enjoyed this book.


Okay, so my to-read shelf has not been getting read. I have decided to TRY to get through some of these books. So for the rest of the month of April I am going to start on the top shelf and work my way right. Here is what is ahead of me:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater


Before Beck turned into a wolf forever he made some new wolves. One of those wolves is Cole. Cole was the lead singer for a huge rock band. He was burned out and wanted out. He thought being a wolf would keep him from thinking about what a poor excuse for a human he was.

Sam no longer has to worry about turning into a wolf. They found the "cure" for him. But it is now his responsibility to take care of the other wolves that show up at Beck's house. His girlfriend Grace was bitten many years before but has never turned into a wolf. They thought she was immune. Unfortunately that is not the case.

Shortly after the story opens Sam is caught in Grace's bed by her parents. He and she are forbidden to see each other. Having been absentee parents for all of Grace's growing up years Grace is not about to bow to their authority now. She refuses to be separated from Sam.

Something is happening inside of Grace's body that has her too scared to tell Sam. Sam knows something is going on, he can smell the faint wolf smell coming off of Grace's body. Neither one of them want to admit though that Grace may soon be out wandering the forest with the rest of the wolves.

Cole can't figure out why he can't stay a wolf longer. His friend Victor can't seem to stop changing at all. Grace was bitten years ago and just now the symptoms of transforming to a wolf are manifesting. Everyone thinks Sam has been cured. 

 Unfortunately we won't find out the answers to any of these problems until the 3rd book. And since this is an Advanced Copy I don't see the 3rd one being available for a long while. I hate being left hanging!

Obviously this wasn't my favorite between Shiver and Linger. But I still am caught up in the love story between Sam and Grace. I am still wrapped up in all the emotions of the characters. And I can't wait for the 3rd book to be available as an ARC or purchased copy. Please hurry Ms. Stiefvater!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Random Reading Activity Challenge

My friend Karin is hosting a Random Reading Activity Challenge. For each activity she will give away a free book. The first challenge can be found here:

So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

Bella Kirkwood was living the life of luxury. She had her own credit cards, lived in Manhattan, the best boyfriend, in the "in-group" at her all-girls school. That life changes when her mother re-marries and she is forced to move to Truman, Oklahoma.

From the moment she arrives things do not seem to go well. In an effort to unite the family her mother cancels all of her credit cards. She is forced to ride to school with her step-brother in his "hearse". When she writes some non-flattering things about the people in Truman and posts them on her blog things go from bad to worse. At every turn she is trying to find anything to get her back to Manhattan.

Being forced to work on the school paper she meets Luke the newspaper editor. Immediately sparks fly between the 2 of them. Being invited to a secret party, she uncovers a mystery that puts her and Luke together on a story that will affect the whole town.

Bella's character seems to mature throughout the story. At first her prima-donna attitude kind of got on my nerves, but as she matured and grew out of herself I started enjoying the book more. Bella's humor is very amusing and the climax of the book has the reader turning the pages as fast as they can! I don't know that I would consider this book "Christian" although God and Jesus and prayer are mentioned, that theme is not what the story revolves around. It is a clean read that keeps the reader involved with humor, mystery and suspense. Well done!