Archive for March, 2012

Rabbi Rocketpower and the Mystery of the Missing Menorahs

Oy Vay! Up, Up and Away!

Rabbi Rocketpower and the Mystery of the Missing Menorahs: A Hanukkah Humdinger by Rabbi Susan Abramson and Aaron Dvorkin; illustrated by Ariel DiOrio

Faster than a speeding matzah ball!

The Passover and Easter holidays are almost upon us, and in a random karmic universal moment (or something), I happened upon this fantastic title… and at a local rummage sale, no less! And sure, I’m about four months off as far as holidays go (this title is clearly about Hanukkah), but it’s one in a series that covers many of the traditionally celebrated Jewish holidays, and Passover has its own title. So, moving forward:

Meet the Mensches, a completely normal family: mom Rabbi Beatrice Ann Mensch (B.A. Mensch, for short) has a superhero alter-ego as Rabbi Rocketpower. Dad is super-smart and has a super-smart computer on which he uses his mad search engine skills to solve epic puzzles. Aaron, their son, is a Super-Boy-In-Training, and his cranky cat Purr (short for Purreneal Pest) is actually an alien. Like I said, pretty normal, right? (more…)

No Safety in Numbers

Let’s Go to the Mall!

No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz (Book One TBA Trilogy)

(Review based on Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of the book.)

Hundreds of people go to the mall everyday, but for 4 teens, a trip to the mall could be deadly. Marco, Lexi, Shay and Ryan have come to the mall for reasons all their own. Marco works as a busboy at a mall restaurant. After being chased by school bullies in the parking garage, he discovers a device attached to the AC unit for the mall. Lexi is out with her parents for some family time, which rarely happens because her mother is a state senator. Shay just wanted to escape the house her family has just moved into, but she had to come with her grandmother and sister. Ryan is running an errand for his older brother, a QB for the local football team, of which he is a member too.

Told from alternating points of view from these four teens, we start to get a picture of what each of them is like and how they handle the situation at hand as their world descends into chaos. We also start to get a feel for each of their personalities, which I hope the author will delve into more in the remaining two books in the trilogy.

The tagline for this trilogy in “Contagion meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours.” I haven’t read LOTF, yet, however I know the story. I thought Contagion was a huge bore. My favorite disease on the loose move is Outbreak. Dustin Hoffman rocks! Sorry, getting off topic a bit. (more…)

I Hunt Killers

YA Author Barry Lyga is coming to Seattle!

Who doesn’t love a scary book? The kind that keeps you up at night, frantically turning pages, fearful of what lays ahead for the protagonist. A book that you’re so hooked on you can’t sleep until you finish.

In I HUNT KILLERS (April 2012), Barry Lyga instantly creates an unforgettable and unique town and characters.  Jazz is a typical teenager. Likeable, charming, and yes—he’s the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer.

Fans of Dexter, CSI, and Criminal Minds will devour this book.  Current fans of Lyga and other teens be caught up in this edgy title, and adults looking for a fast-paced and enthralling murder mystery will also be hard-pressed to put it down. I HUNT KILLERS is only the first of the series, but readers will be instantly hooked with his quirky characters, flashlight-needed suspense, and grisly murder scenes.

Warner Bros. TV has already acquired rights to produce I HUNT KILLERS as a series with producer Joel Silver! (more…)

Soulbound: Legacy of Tril by Heather Brewer

A Healer Wants To Be A Fighter In This Fantasy-Adventure World

Soulbound by Heather Brewer (Legacy of Tril book one)

Review based on Advanced Reading Copy (ARC).

What’s worse than being blackmailed to attend a hidden school where you’re treated like a second-class citizen? How about nearly getting eaten by a monster when you arrive? Or learning that your soulmate was killed in a centuries-old secret war? And then there’s the evil king who’s determined to rule the world unless you can stop him…

“  – Goodreads

In the land of Tril, war against the Graplar King has ravaged the land for ages, but only a handful of the population really knows it: the Barrons and Healers. Barrons are warriors, and each Barron is soulbound to a Healer who, you guessed it, heal them when they’re injured. Once bound, they are bound for life, and Shadow Academy protocol dictates that they will stay together, the Barron protecting and the Healer lingering in the background out of danger.

Kaya is seventeen, a Healer, and seriously doesn’t like protocol. In fact, she wouldn’t even be at the Academy if they hadn’t threatened her parents (two married Barrons, a serious protocol no-no). When she gets to Shadow Academy, she learns that her soulbound Barron died in battle, and she becomes bound to a new Barron, a gorgeous guy who makes her melt any time he’s around. When Kaya starts meeting others at the school, though, things are not so smooth–Healers are expected to be complacent and serve, something Kaya cannot stop challenging. When her Barron refuses to teach her how to fight, she learns illegally from a young, brooding teacher who, for some reason, seems to have it in for her. As Kaya learns more about the centuries-old war and the people in her new life, she digs herself closer to the truth and further into danger. Nothing is truly as it seems, and Kaya is thrown about in the waves of conflict, both from within academy walls and in the outside war against the Graplar King.

And can you say super-crazy-cliffhangers ten times fast? Fans will be clamoring for the next book before the first is even published! (more…)

Starters

What If Your Mind & Body Were No Longer Your Own?

Starters by Lissa Price (book one in Starters series)

Review based on an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)

In a dystopian world in which only the very old and very young have survived, sixteen-year-old Callie is trying to make it on the streets while taking care of her sick younger brother. After the Spore Wars tore the country apart–only the weakest members of society, old and young, received the limited vaccine and survived–there was a strong division between rich and poor. Starters (the young) have virtually no rights, while Enders (adults age sixty through their hundreds) control all. Callie is an unclaimed Starter, legally unable to take a job and with no surviving parents or grandparents as guardian, giving her and her brother little choice but to squat in abandoned buildings to avoid being rounded up and sent to a terrible institutions.

When Callie hears of a company willing to pay Starters under the table, she ends up at Prime Destinations where, with the technology of a neurochip, Elders can “rent” the bodies of Starters for recreation and be young again. Creepy? Yes. Easy money? So it seems. But when Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the middle of a rental–in her own body but with the belongings and credentials of a wealthy Ender–she discovers that she has been rented for a malicious, illegal purpose, and the high-suspense race to the truth begins. (more…)

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Happy Birthday, Ruby!

I’m a bit late in the day for this, but…

 

Happy Birthday to the Awesome-est Partner in Crime (a.k.a. book reviewer) the World Has Ever Seen!

 

Image from a music album at Amazon. Click here to listen to Ruby’s song!

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (book three in Graceling companion series)

Fantasy Adventure with Beauty, Intelligence, and Depth

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Book three in the Graceling series)

Review based on an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC).

Let me start off by saying if you’re not familiar with Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series, go here first to read our review of the first book, Graceling, in this companion book trilogy. It’s a great fantasy adventure with an active, feisty female protagonist, and both Ruby and I loved it (and all consequent books!). If you have read Graceling and it’s companion Fire, carry on.

Bitterblue is, obviously, the long-awaited third book in Cashore’s fantasy world of the Seven Kingdoms. While Graceling focuses on Katsa (a young woman with a killing grace) and Fire goes over the mountains and into the past to show us the Dells and a human monster named Fire, Bitterblue focuses on the young queen of the same name. (Never fear, Katsa and Po fans: they, along with other familiar faces, are woven throughout the pages and in Bitterblue’s life.)

It has been eight years since Bitterblue’s father, the mind-controlling graceling King Leck, was killed, and she has been growing up under the title of Queen of Monsea. Surrounded by old advisors who would like to pardon all crimes under Leck’s horrific reign and pretend those decades never happened, she finds herself under a mountain of paperwork, governing a land she does not feel she knows. At first Bitterblue trusts her advisers’ judgment, but her growing frustration and a sense of ignorance about the reality of her father, his reign, and the people and society of Monsea makes her realize that she has much to learn. In a moment of exasperation, Bitterblue sneaks out of the castle one night in servant’s clothes and finds herself in a crumbling city full of thieves–some friendly, some dangerous–and finally realizes that the “truths” she is being told in her castle are not real. Through her budding relationship with two thieves and printers, Bitterblue slowly learns about her kingdom through her disguise and starts to uncover the fog that Leck left on his subjects, as well as the deceit and misinformation making its way to her palace. As her own mind wakes up to the realities of her kingdom–both beautiful and tragic–and she starts a secret project to uncover who Leck really was and how she can bring her people back to the light. Bitterblue is more of a mental adventure than its predecessors, but it still holds the key ingredients that have made all of Cashore’s books a success, including romance, adventure, suspense and intrigue, and difficult, sometimes philosophical questions about self and others. I loved Bitterblue, and my only (minor) regret is that I didn’t re-read the companion novels before diving in. (more…)

Put this on your calendar!

Author Events for March!

It’s hard to believe that March is already upon us. Once again, there’s lots of fantastic author events going on in the Seattle area. Hopefully Jenny and I will be able to attend a few. Lots of great debut authors. Jenny and I have been inundated with lots of fantastic new titles from publishers, so be on the lookout for lots of great reviews in the coming month.

Saturday, March 3rd @11am University Bookstore

Karen Henry Clark Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale

Monday, March 5th @7pm @ Third Place Books Lake Forest Park

Alexander Gordon Smith Fugitives: Escape from Furnace 4

Robin Wasserman Frozen

Tuesday, March 6th @7pm Third Place Books Lake Forest Park

Jeyn Roberts The Dark Inside

Friday, March 9th @10am Third Place Books Lake Forest Park

Alexandra Day Fairy Dogfather

Wednesday, March 14th @7pm Third Place Books Lake Forest Park

New Kids on the YA Block!

Kathy McCullough Don’t Expect Magic

Carole Estby Dagg The Year We Were Famous

Helen Landalf Flyaway

Megan Bostic Never Eighteen

Kiki Hamilton The Faerie Ring

Kendare Blake Anna Dressed in Blood (more…)

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