"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Fourth in Becca Fitzpatrick's Series Due to Come This Fall

Following Hush Hush, Crescendo and Silence will be the fourth in the series, appropriately named "Finale".


Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver - children's book review

Liesl & Po
Author:  Lauren Oliver
Illustrator: Kei Acedera
Published:  2011
Publisher:  Harper Collins Children's Books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers
Pages: 320
ISBN 9780062014511 (trade bdg)
          9780062107398 (international edition)
Genre:  fantasy - middle grade 
Source:  free ebook at www.harpercollinschildrens.com

Track your favourite author on:  www.authortracker.com
Also available as an ebook

Coincidence; mix-ups;
harmless mistakes and switches,
And so a story is born

My review: 
The world has not seen the sun for 1728 days and little Liesl has been locked in the attic for 13 months.  Her father had been ill in the hospital and died three days ago when the story begins.  Liesel's wicked stepmother keeps Liesl locked up, telling her it is unsafe to come out.  Young and naive, Liesl believes...that is...until she meets Po, a shadowy form of a figure, an "it", neither boy nor girl, and its pet Bundle which is neither cat nor dog or perhaps it is both. Po and Bundle are ghosts from the Other Side.  Since her father's death, Liesl has ceased to draw, her grief is to great.  This is what draws Po and Bundle to her.  It is also what draws Will to her. 

Will is a young orphan working in slavitude for the Alchemist.  Beaten and near starvation, he is a prisoner too.  When sent on an errand one evening, he stops to look up at Liesl's window, where she once sat while drawing.  He has seen her there before but tonight she is not to be seen.  This is also the night Will mistakes a box for another at the mortician's and changes the events of his life and Liesl's and countless others.

Liesl & Po is written for middle grade, ages 10 and up, but its whimsical and sweet message and beautiful artistry captures the imagination and attention of the older child and even the adult reader.  Though it is not adult fare, I did enjoy reading it.  I found this story quite charming, particularly when I read the author's note at the end of how her own personal experience with a friend's death left her feeling like she was in a sunless world, all grey and dreary, and somewhat alone, as Liesl and Will felt.  I enjoyed the parallels and how Lauren Oliver pulled it all together in an intense climax.  There is a happy ending.  Would I recommend this book?  Without a doubt, yes! 

CBC Books - Canada Reads 2012

Read up on the contestants for this years Canada Reads!

The Game by Ken Dryden

On A Cold Road by David Bidini

Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat

Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre

The Tiger by John Vaillant

Canada Reads 2012 - Marina Nemat on The Next Chapter

Canada Reads 2012 - Marina Nemat on The Next Chapter

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday's Musings

This week’s musing asks…
How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you’ll read next?
My answer:
I am always thinking of what I want to read next.  I have bookshelves full to overflowing and I have the best job:  I work in a bookstore!  How can you not be constantly checking out what's exciting and new, reading the jackets, perusing reviews, etc., and not be running a mental or physical "must read" list?
I found Musing Mondays at Should Be Reading.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less: A Stranger Recommends

A while ago, rather quite a long time now, I began a new idea here on My Bookshelf.  It was A Stranger's Choice.  Today I am revisiting this in kind.  Not quite the same but similar.  Well, you'll see.

On Friday I was assisting a customer in the book store and she was purchasing Jeffrey Archer's Only Time Will Tell and we got to talking about the author.  She simply adores his writing and mentioned a few of his works that she has enjoyed.  I was happy to inform her that Only Time Will Tell is the first in a new series of Mr. Archer's, the Clifton Chronicles.  As we discussed a bit further, she made a recommendation to me.  She said I simply must read Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer.  

Curiosity peaked, I did a little investigating and this is what I discovered:

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less

First published in hardback in 1976
The conned: an Oxford don, a revered society physician, a chic French art dealer, and a charming English lord. They have one thing in common. Overnight, each novice investor lost his life's fortune to one man. The con: Harvey Metcalfe. A brilliant, self-made guru of deceit. A very dangerous individual. And now, a hunted man.
With nothing left to lose four strangers are about to come together -- each expert in their own field. Their plan: find Harvey, shadow him, trap him, and penny-for-penny, destroy him. From the luxurious casinos of Monte Carlo to the high-stakes windows at Ascot to the bustling streets of Wall Street to fashionable London galleries, their own ingenious game has begun. It's called revenge -- and they were taught by a master.
Interesting fact:
It took Jeffrey some time to find a publisher for this first novel. When it was published, it only sold 3,000 copies in hardback. The paperback did a bit better, selling about 20,000 in the first year. However, as word-of-mouth took over, demand increased. Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less has now been reprinted 57 times.
Marvellously plotted, with just the right amounts of romance, wit and savoir-faire...
~ from the author's site http://www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk/site/node/26.  You may read an excerpt on Jeffrey Archer's site.
Sounds fascinating, rather like a James Bond film...just a little!

So, if I want to get back into writing that novel I began over a year ago, I feel I need a little assistance with the planning, the plotting and the research.  I discovered this "You Can Write a Novel Kit" at the book store and decided to give it a try.  

It contains five notepads designed to aid the writer in the planning process:

  • Scene Development: Outline your crucial scenes to keep your story on track
  • Master/Major Character: Know what makes your main characters tick and how they move your story forward
  • Minor Character: Make sure each supporting player has a real part to play
  • Chapter Log: Maintain continuity from scene to scene and chapter to chapter
  • Revision Tracker: Keep notes on what you want to revise and how you plan to go about it
Also included is an instruction book, "You Can Write a Novel" by James V. Smith.  

It looks promising.  Ultimately it is up to me.  To do, to try, to write and believe.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's Monday... Again....What Are You Reading?

Hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey, It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme that helps us, as book bloggers, stay on top of reading while offering the opportunity to see what others all over the world are reading.  (Sheila has a huge following!)  I just love visiting her blog to see what she's been up to so once a week I enjoy joining in this fun meme.

This last week I finished reading:
American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
 Onstage Offstage by Michael Buble (yes, the young crooner has a book!)

I am still reading:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Sat aside for a short while are (to be read this upcoming week):
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow
Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

And I just started reading Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (thanks to Freda who posted about a free read on the Harper Collins site which ends at the end of this month).  This is sooooo good!  Lauren is delightfully talented!

Other posts include:
Happy Family Literacy Day
Buble says 'Onstage Offstage' is a 'picture book' | CTV News interview with Michael Buble
One For the Money Movie Trailer (yes, it's coming out in theatres soon!)
Upcoming New Release The Sins of the Father
Cinder Author Marissa Meyer Interviews with Book Blogger I Am A Reader, Not a Writer
Poets Haven Reading Series - Moments of Sweet Lingering

Thanks for visiting.  Please comment and share:  How has your week been since we last "met"?  What's next on your reading agenda?

One For The Money Movie Trailer

*One For the Money by Janet Evanovich (first in the series)

Here's another book to movie that I cannot wait to see!  Have you seen it yet?

Michael Buble: Onstage Offstage

Onstage Offstage

Author:  Michael Buble
Published: 2011
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Genre/classification: Picture/coffee table book
ISBN 9780385676267
Source:  I own this book

"An intimate portait, in pictures and his own words, of the enormously successful Canadian singer Michael Bublé became an international phenomenon with the release of his first, self-titled album of 2003, which reached the top ten in Canada and in the UK. Since then he has sold more than 25 million albums, and filled concert halls and stadiums worldwide.

OnStage OffStage is an intimate portrait of this extraordinary singer, told in his own words and through the photographs of Dean Freeman. Bublé talks about his BC upbringing, his early nightclub days, the excitements and temptations of fame, and the sometimes gruelling demands of the road. Buble is a man who takes his music seriously, and himself less so, telling his story with refreshing candour and frequent flashes of self-deprecating humour. You might be tempted to use the expression "warts and all" -- except that the stunning photos in this book clearly show he doesn't have any. But they do capture Bublé in his every mood and in every setting, at home and at leisure, in rehearsal, in the heat of peformance. OnStage OffStage 
adds up to the second closest encounter any fan could wish for." (From the publisher's site

My Review:

On Stage Offstage is a beautifully illustrated coffee table book that admirers of this young crooner will cherish.  Beginning with a short history of Michael Buble's life, his dreams and the road to his career, Michael shares with his fans an intimate view.  The journey begins in a manner much like many of us, singing into a hairbrush. Michael's determination, desire and incredible talent and perseverance took him from local clubs and weddings in Vancouver to the meteoric rise which included meeting David Foster, Paul Anka, and Tony Bennett.  All were accomplished and admired by Michael.  To work with them, to emulate the masters, is a dream come true.

Today Michael is married to beautiful Luisana, an actress from Argentina (they married April of 2011).  His time is divided with tours, family and friends and the love of his life, his wife Lu.  Life 
is good, though incredibly hectic.  The trip here was tough but worth it

Some little tidbits I learned about Michael are:

  • He is a huge Star Wars fan!
  • He's Italian and his culture played a huge role in him becoming the man he is today.  (no one croons like the Italians)
  • His grandfather is one of his biggest fans and will travel across the world to watch him in concert.  As a child Michael would sit for long periods of time listening to his grandfather's record collection.  His grandfather loved Sinatra's music!
  • His family keeps him grounded.  For that he is grateful.
  • He has quite a sense of humour!  See his Hollywood video on YouTube!

For all Buble fans, Onstage Offstage is a must.  From gorgeous photography by Dean Freeman, to an index of the photos, to a chapter by chapter exploration of his life and career, Michael Buble's Onstage Offstage is a book to prominently grace your coffee table.

*the beautiful blonde in this video is his wife who flew home from Argentina for one day, taking the red eye, to film this with her husband Michael.  The choreography was done by the same choreographer, Kenny Ortega, who orchestrated the parade dance scene in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'.

About the author:

"Michael Bublé, born in 1975, is a Canadian singer. He has won several awards, including two Grammies and multiple Junos. He has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide and his concerts have grossed $65 million.

Dean Freeman has achieved critical acclaim photographing major cultural figures, including sporting icons and musicians. He is now one of the most sought after photographers of celebrity and reportage in Europe. In recent years the huge sales of his books, including Just for the Record with Geri Halliwell, Forever Spice with The Spice Girls and My World with David Beckham, have cemented his reputation." (from the publisher's site)

Buble says 'Onstage Offstage' is a 'picture book' | CTV News

Check out this interview with Michael Buble as he discusses his new book, Onstage Offstage and his Christmas album, "Christmas". Buble says 'Onstage Offstage' is a 'picture book' | CTV News

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Family Literacy Day!

What are you reading to celebrate and encourage family literacy?

The Sins of the Father

The Sins of the Father, the second book in the Clifton Chronicles written by Jeffrey Archer is set to be released March 15, 2012!  I can tell you I am incredibly pumped to continue the Clifton story!!

Catch my review of the first book in the Clifton Chronicles, Only Time Will Tell.

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar

American Dervish
Author:  Ayad Akhtar
Published: January 9, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 352
Genre/Classification:  Fiction 
ISBN 978-0316183314
Warning:  adult content including sexual situations that some readers may find offensive.  Also, physical abuse.

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.

Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah's doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat's skeptical father can't deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina's side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher. When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act—with devastating consequences for all those he loves most. American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life. Ayad Akhtar was raised in the Midwest himself, and through Hayat Shah he shows readers vividly the powerful forces at work on young men and women growing up Muslim in America. This is an intimate, personal first novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.
— Publisher’s Summary 

My review:  
When I picked up a copy of American Dervish, I was immediately immersed in the story and didn't want to put the book down.  Ayad Akhtar writes compellingly with a great talent for pulling the reader into the story with characters so realistic and imperfectly flawed that we feel an intimate knowledge of each person therein.  

American Dervish is the story of a Muslim family in America, with a great deal of reference to the Quran, the teachings of the Muslim religion and how time and maturity and experience can change how one interprets anything, including religious texts.  There are a great number of trials, even amongst the community of fellow Muslims, and their perceptions of one another are often a source of contention amongst themselves.  There are characters we come to admire, to empathize with, and others we loathe.  That's how well developed they are.  

In saying all this, how wonderfully planned and executed this entire book is, there are portions I take exception to.  Vividly detailed descriptions of a boy's coming of age and of the act of sex was blatantly portrayed in the novel.  In my personal opinion, American Dervish would have been much better without all the graphic details!  It deterred from the story that, up to that point, I had been enjoying.  

One more thing:  I know that there are misunderstandings about many cultures and religions but it would have been nice for the author to have researched the Mormons a little more.  Perhaps it is not that it wasn't researched, but that amongst some, it is a running joke, so he included it in American Dervish to show contrasts and the limited understanding of some based on lack of knowledge.  Let me set the scene a bit so you know to what I refer:  As a few boys talk while attending a wedding, one mentions multiple wives and that, while in their homeland it is a common practice, that in the States it is not.  It is said by one that you would have to move to Utah where Mormons have more than one wife.  Let me just make it known that it is not true.  Mormons do NOT practice polygamy.  Not in Utah.  Not anywhere.  

That being said, American Dervish helps us, the American and Canadian born and raised, understand the difficult transition it can be for those of other faiths and/or cultures to acclimatize to an entirely new life.  With a few exceptions, as noted previously, American Dervish tells a compelling tale of transitions, loyalty, love and honour in a book that may just make it to the big screen.

Cinder Author Marissa Meyer Interviews With Book Blogger I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not a Writer had the awesome opportunity of interviewing Marissa Meyer, debut author of Cinder!  Be sure to check out the interview here:


Monday, January 23, 2012

Poets Haven Reading Series - moments of sweet lingering

Tonight, for the first time in recollection, I attended a poets' reading of the Poets Haven Reading Series, hosted by the Edmonton Stroll of Poets and held at The Upper Crust Restaurant.  Gathered together in a cozy annex of the restaurant, a small number of poetry and arts lovers sat with rapt attention as four writers, and then an additional two brave souls who joined in the open mic segment, shared their work. 

This event is sponsored by Edmonton Arts Council, City of Edmonton, Edmonton Public Library, Writer's Guild of Alberta, and Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and is well worth the short trip to either Upper Crust Restaurant (on 109 Street and 86th Avenue) or Greenwoods Books (79th Avenue and 104 Street) on Sunday afternoons.  While you delight your mind and senses with the imagery through recited poetry, light refreshments and tea or coffee are available as well.

From the Edmonton Stroll of Poets Facebook page I quote the background and purpose of the society:
"The Edmonton Stroll of Poets Society was founded in 1991 to address the need to promote poetry as an art form. Currently we organize a reading series that runs weekly from September to March every year. We also publish an annual anthology, offer writing workshops to members, and are involved in the Edmonton Poetry Festival. For more information, visit http://www.strollofpoets.com."
To partake in a relaxing but entertaining and stimulating evening or afternoon, as the case may be depending on the date and location, check out the schedule posted at Stroll of Poets.  Take a good friend and enjoy!


It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Hey there!  It's Monday again.  What are you reading?  This little meme, hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, is a terrific way to keep track of what we are reading and see what is new on the horizon.  I love to see what everyone has in store for the week and to get new ideas to add to my must read list!  So, without further ado, here is what I am currently reading:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I was supposed to have this finished by Wednesday for book club but I don't think I will.  It'll be close though!  To Kill a Mockingbird is a wonderful old classic that was once on the banned list, back in its day.  Today, this novel serves as a reminder of the rights of everyone, regardless of their race or creed.

Onstage, Offstage by Michael Buble - again I thought I'd have this finished up in no time, especially considering a large portion of the book is glossy photography!  This is what happens when you are reading too many books at once!  Something I am guilty of this week, for sure!

The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow - a cultural study of the world of brides, based on a little wedding dress store in a small town.  This wedding shop opened generations before and has been in the family for three generations.  The stories shared therein are of some of the patrons journeys to matrimony and some from the perspective of the store owner, interspersed with research about the bridal industry.

Coming Up For Air by - Patti Callahan Henry - From the first paragraph, I was immersed!  Totally chick lit, but written incredibly!  

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar- This is rumoured to be the hit of the season!!  After reading two excellent reviews on this very book, I had to see for myself what this new release and debut novel have to offer!  I began it on the bus on the way home and didn't want to get off the bus!!  Now, that says something!

Last week I finished only one book!  See, the downside of reading too many at once!  It was Delirium by Lauren Oliver and I LOVED every second spent with this novel!!  See my review here.

What are you reading?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Is This The Next Big Hit?

The American Dervish 

by Ayad Akhtar

Read more about this debut novel here.  

The book industry and Hatchett Books liken it to The Help and The Kite Runner, saying it is the book of the season.  Keep your eyes on this one!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Delirium Is Contagious!

Author:  Lauren Oliver
Published: 2011 (on sale date 2/1/11)
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Pages: 448
ISBN 9780061726828
Genre/Classification:  Teen Fiction ages 14 and up
Source:  Borrowed ARC

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.
They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.  (from the author's website http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/delirium.php)

My Review:  
"The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well." - Proverb42, The Book of Shhh

Delirium is set in future day USA (Portland) where scientists have discovered a cure for the terrible disease...amor deliria nervosa...love.  Sixty-four years previous, love was identified as a disease.  Twenty-one years later, scientists have a cure!  Sure it requires a surgery involving a laser and the patient's brain, but everyone has the procedure at or slightly before their eighteenth birthday.  Everyone looks forward to it!  The government has effectively brain-washed the population into believing that love is an awful contagious disease that must be eradicated.  Cities are patrolled and electric fences run their perimeters, in the effort to keep out The Wild, the Invalids, those who don't believe and are not treated.  It is in this society that Magdalena (Lena) has grown up. It is graduation year.  She will be evaluated and receive the procedure.  She will be paired up with her future husband.  Her life is mapped out for her.  That is, until the disease strikes.

New trade paperback cover

I loved this book!  I know, my readers know I don't read much Young Adult Fiction but this one is definitely worth every second of your time!!  I was mesmerized as I read of this society, captivated by the story, drawn into Lena's life.  I laughed. I cried. I cheered.  Not necessarily in that order.  

Do I recommend it?  Wholeheartedly!!  Am I following author Lauren Oliver's blog?  You bet!!!  Am I anxious and excited for the second book in the series?  That is an automatic and enthusiastic yes!!

Delirium is contagious!

Pandemonium, book 2, will be available February 2012!

Requiem, book 3, will be available Spring 2013!

Cinder Makes the Top Ten Bestseller List With the New York Times!!!

Amazing news everyone!  Cinder made the New York Times Bestseller List!!  To see all the books in the children's category who made the list, click on the following link:


Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday again, yawn.  Do you get the Monday blues?  Back to work.  I love my job, I do work in a bookstore so... good times,  but Mondays mean the weekend is over. Stretch..... On the bright side, we can visit each other to see the exciting books everyone is reading.  I love to see what's new and what everyone is enjoying.  My wish list is ever so long but I keep adding to it and perhaps someday it'll dwindle somewhat.  Who am I kidding?  It likely won't.  There are no limits are there?  Not when you love to read!

Sheila over at Book Journey hosts this weekly meme.  I'm glad you could stop by to say hi and see what I am up to, as I visit you too.

Last week I finished and reviewed:

Summer Shack by Kelli Sue Landon (young adult suspense/thriller)
Falling Backwards by Jann Arden (biography/memoir)
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (children 9 and up.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret was also written by Brian Selznick)

This week I am reading:

Off stage on stage by Michael Buble (memoir)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (young adult dystopian)
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow (not sure how to classify this one - non-fiction?)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (adult fiction - book club read)

Up Next:
To be determined.  Likely these books will last me another week at least.

What are you reading?  Do you have any favourites you'd like to recommend?  What is your favourite genre?  I love your visits and always welcome comments.  I'll even visit back!  Have a terrific week everyone!

Exciting News From Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles!!!!!

As mentioned in my previous post about Cinder and the Lunar Chronicles, I contacted the author, Marissa Meyer, to see if I could get a peek into the future of The Lunar Chronicles.  Here's our mini interview:

Hi Marissa,

I recently read Cinder and loved what you did with the retelling of a Cinderella story with a futuristic twist!  A few of us at work (we work in a bookstore here in Edmonton Alberta) have read it and we are all dying to know what the next book's title will be, who of the fairy tale realm it will be about and when to expect it out.  Some are hoping you will continue Cinder's story (me and another) and some don't think you will (gasp!).

Would you mind sharing some insight so we can share with our excited customers (and staff, of course)?

Hello Shirley,
Thank you so much! I'm delighted that you and your coworkers enjoyed the book and I'm more than happy to let you in on some of the upcoming books.
Scarlet - Jan. 2013 - based on Little Red Riding Hood
Cress - Jan. 2014 - based on Rapunzel
Winter - Jan. 2015 - based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Cinder will continue to be the main hero throughout the series, so you have much more Cinder and Kai to look forward to! However, in each book, there will be duel storylines between Cinder and the other fairy-tale based heroine. Eventually their paths will cross and they'll join forces against Queen Levana and her court.
I very, very much hope you'll enjoy the rest of the series just as much as Book 1!
Thank you again for your email.
All best,

Thank you Marissa!!  I just love it when authors take the time to write back to their readers!  We have one  year before we can read the continuing chronicles of Cinder and Little Red Riding Hood!  That gives all of you an ample opportunity to read Cinder before the next in the series comes out.  Enjoy!!!

Watch the book trailer: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2011/12/20/cinder-book-trailer-marissa-meyer-exclusive/

Blog: http://marissameyer.livejournal.com
Twitter: @marissa_meyer

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MarissaMeyerAuthor + http://www.facebook.com/lunarchronicles

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Next in the Lunar Chronicles.....

January 3 of this year (2012) saw the release of the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder, by Marissa Meyer.  It has not been out long and already several of us at work have read it.  I classify it as dystopian young adult fiction but others have put it in the science fiction for young adults genre. If you've read my review you'll recall that Cinder is a "mock-up" of the Cinderella story starring Cinder, a cyborg, who is orphaned and living in New Beijing with her stepmother and two stepsisters. Technically that is not correct.  It's more like the stepmother's deceased husband "adopted" her.  At any rate, the plague runs rampant, killing young and old alike within a very short period of time and scientists are working vigorously to find a cure.  Cyborgs are their guinea pig of choice.  When Cinder's step-sister is stricken with the illness, Cinder's cold-hearted stepmother offers Cinder as a test subject.  Thus begins the realization that there are more secrets around Cinder's true identity than perceived.  (though the reader often has them figured out long before Cinder does).

The ending left me mouth agape!  What happens to Cinder, Prince Kai, and the Lunar Queen?

I expected hoped Marissa Meyer would carry the story forward to the next book in the series but an interview on Amazon reveals other intentions.  Below is a portion of the interview:

"The next book in the Lunar Chronicles is called Scarlet, and is about Little Red Riding Hood. What is appealing to you most about this character as you work on the book?
 Scarlet is awesome—she's very independent, a bit temperamental, and has an outspokenness that tends to get her in trouble sometimes. She was raised by her grandmother, an ex-military pilot who now owns a small farm in southern France, who not only taught Scarlet how to fly a spaceship and shoot a gun, but also to have a healthy respect and appreciation for nature. I guess that's a lot of things that appeal to me about her, but she's been a really fun character to write! (The two leading men in Scarlet, Wolf and Captain Thorne, aren't half bad either.)"

Surprised?  I was!!  This blogger has sent off an email to the author, Marissa Meyer, hoping for some secrets to be revealed.  I will keep you posted!  If you hear anything, please let me know in the comments below.  Until then, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Cinder and see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

PS Is there a Snow White story coming in the chronicles?

Cover Reveal: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

On sale February 28, 2012!

Meet a Charming Inspector in Louise Penny's Mysteries...Perhaps You Will Fall In Love!

Mystery lovers have you discovered Canadian author Louise Penny yet?  If not, you will definitely want to find a copy of one of her novels after you read this interview posted with CBC books wherein Louise Penny discusses her book "Bury Your Dead" featuring her famous detective Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.  He's the kind of man the author would fall in love with and want to marry!  Perhaps you will fall in love too!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Summer Shack by Kelli Landon - a YA book review

Summer Shack - A Killer Vacation
Author:  Kelli Landon
Self-published (Indie)
Pages: 258
Genre:  Young Adult Suspense
ISBN 9781463778323
Source:  A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

(from the back cover)  It's summer vacation and Deborah Walker invites childhood friend Kimberly Foster to stay in her parents' cottage retreat in Wisconsin.  Deb's goal is to film a documentary of the area as a pre-college project.  Shortly after arriving, they find out that a serial killer has just been arrested.  Deb's plans for her film soon change as curiosity takes over.  She wants to be the first person to film the killer's shack which is where he stashed the bodies.  They are successful in making their way into the shack on the beach, but will they make it out?

My Review:
I've read both Kelli Sue Landon's previous books, Sudden Moves and Nightmare at Camp Forrestwood, so when Kelli comes out with a new novel, I want to be among the first to know!  Kelli writes a gripping tale in Summer Shack, just as she masterfully wove the tales of her two previous young adult books.  

In Summer Shack - A Killer Vacation, high school is over and once childhood friends make plans to spend a few weeks together at a cottage in Wisconsin.  Deb, whose parents own the cottage, has an ulterior motive, though.  She needs a filmographer, and Kim is it.  Kim welcomes the opportunity for a vacation at a cottage, just the girls.  Beach, sun, no adults...sounds perfect right?  That is until curiosity and the desire to get an "edge" in her what Deb hopes to be her future profession as a journalist, drives her and ultimately Kim and two friends into the realm of nightmarish danger with a psychopath lurking in the background.  When they find out a suspected serial killer has recently been arrested, Deb and a reluctant Kim investigate.  The shack near the beach is where the bodies were found.  The shack is where they are headed to get some good footage.  The shack presents unsuspected lethal dangers to both Deb and Kim and their friends.

Kelli does a great job building the suspense in Summer Shack and casting suspicions about and though the reader suspects one, another is a great surprise!  The characters are believable and their life dramas have played out in many a high school.  Probably even yours!  Which makes it.  

One minor issue, there are a few instances where editing didn't catch small errors like a repetition of words, or a wrong word which spell check wouldn't have caught.  But these do not detract from the story.  

Each subsequent book shows the author's growth in her ability to create drama and suspense.  I've said it before but it bears repeating, with editing, the right marketing and a publishing house behind her, Kelli Sue Landon is a YA voice to be reckoned with.  She has a bestseller in the wings.  I just know it!

Rated:  4/5 adult themes


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