Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Contagion by Joanne Dahme

This is a guest review from my friend Katie.

Set in the late 19th century, Rose Dugan is a young wife who is actively involved in her community. But when her best friend is killed while working at Philadelphia’s Water Works' gardens, the mystery around her death pulls Rose in. Will she save the city from a deadly typhoid outbreak that is threatening the city’s water system? Will Rose unravel the mystery behind her best friend’s murder—a fate that was actually meant for her? 

Warning: This book alternates between two first-person perspectives. So if that really bugs you then be aware and don’t say that I didn’t warn you. I’m not really one who finds it annoying to read a book with alternating perspectives. They can be awesome if done well. That being said this book had a few glitches on that front. One of the perspectives is female and the other is male. The chapters told from Rose’s perspective work well. The ones from Sean’s perspective were a little harder to adjust to. A woman is trying to write what goes on in a man’s head and is obviously having a hard time doing it. But Sean’s chapters get better as you go along so give it a chance.
Another negative thing about this book is that it sort of drags in places. The plot itself does not drag but the amount of detail given slows the book down. I felt that I got too much detail about buildings, places, and other things that were not really important. I know that the author did all of this research to make her book historically accurate and the use of all of these detailed descriptions is her making that work worthwhile. Unfortunately it would have been better to provide less description about some things because it would have made the book better overall. The reader would have been able to focus more on the interesting plot instead what City Hall looked like.
Well there’s a heaping helping of negativity. Anyway you may be surprised because I think that this was a pretty awesome book. It has a great plot full of twists and turns. It is sort of like a really interesting history lesson mixed with a mystery that keeps you guessing. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out something else happens that puts you right back where you started and leaves you more confused than ever. Your desire to figure out what is really happening gets you past the slow parts. This is a great book so if you have the opportunity to read it do so.

My Disclaimer:
This book is historical fiction. There is no vampire or zombie or werewolf or fairy or witch or wizard or dragon or well you get it. So if you require every book you read to have one or more of those things this is not the book for you. Again if that bothers you choose another book.

If you like Ann Rinaldi or really any historical fiction you’ll like this book.
Maybe even books like A Great and Terrible Beauty but without all of the supernatural stuff.

I give it a 4/5.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

This story is completely engrossing. It's a little slow to start, but the world is so intriguing that I had to keep reading. There's not a lot of action to speak of, though. Some people may be put off by that, but the internal struggle of the main character as well as the increasing odds against her will keep you hooked.
The futuristic world built by the author is very believable. At first, everything seems great, and it even feels like a place that I might like to live. As the novel progresses you begin to see cracks in the system, and things don't feel quite right. The ending was a little rushed and open ended, but here's hoping the sequel isn't too far off.
The movie rights have been bought by Disney, so be on the lookout for this story on the big screen!
Matched is a perfect read for fans of The Hunger Games and Uglies.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Before reading Nightshade, I participated in the Shay Doran Shadow Days promotion for the book. It was weird reading the book after seeing videos of Shay, but it was interesting because it's a prequel of sorts to Nightshade. You don't need to read the blog to read Nightshade, but it's fun.

When I started the book, it took me a while to get into it. It was that same problem I had with Graceling. The story starts and you're dropped in the middle of everything with not much explanation at the beginning. Once I got into it though, I couldn't put the book down.
Calla, the main character, is a Guardian - a person with the ability to shift into a werewolf. Her whole life is planned by the Keepers - magicians who control the town and gave the Guardians their powers. She's set to marry pack leader Ren and control the new wolf pack. But when she meets Shay, her world is turned upside down.
The story in this book is fantastic, and the characters are amazing. They are awesomely well developed. Nightshade is funny, suspenseful, and so, so good. It's a must read.


As a bonus, here's the cover for Nightshade's sequel, Wolfsbane!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cover Alert! Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Melissa's cover for her newest book Small Town Sinners has hit the blogosphere, and I'm excited to be sharing it with you! Contemp YA isn't my normal genre, but I love Melissa's books, and can't wait to read this one!

Awesome isn't it? Here's the synopsis:
Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

The cover story will be on Melissa's blog soon, so keep your eyes out!


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