Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Always Summer Here

The weather outside might be chilly, but Jenny Han's Summer trilogy will make you feel as though you've stepped onto the beach.

In Summer I Turned Pretty, readers are introduced to Belly and the two boys in her life, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has always spent her summers at the Cousins Beach house with the brothers, her mother, and Suzanna. But this summer is different. This summer Belly is 15, and the boys are finally beginning to notice her in that way. Trouble is, the one boyBelly loves may or may not feel the same way.

In the second installment, It's Not Summer Without You, Belly is dreading her first summer away from the beach house and away from the boys. Most of all, she is torn up by Suzanna's death earlier that year. Belly's not sure she could have faced the familiar place anyway--especially after what happened between her and Conrad after prom. But when Jeremiah calls with the news that Conrad has disappeared, Belly jumps at the chance to help track him down. But what is her real motive behind this offer?

The final book, We'll Always Have Summer,  finds Belly at college, a freshman. She and Jeremiah have been exclusive ever since that night at the motel where Conrad broke her heart yet again. One night at a party, Belly discovers Jeremiah did something forbidden over spring break. Of course she breaks up with him, but then Jeremiah apologizes--and proposes. Suddenly Belly is thrown into the world of planning a wedding, a wedding neither set of parents approve of. But Belly is determined to marry Jeremiah. But she soon finds herself questioning whether this is the right boy for her--especially when Conrad comes back into the picture.

The Summer Trilogy is everything a reader could ask for in a chick-lit romance. Which boy will Belly end up with? Read to find out. --AJL

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hidden Treasure

Where do fads begin? Who or what determines what music, fashion, ideas (etc) will be popular and which will fall into the black hole of oblivion? Sandy Foster, a scientist at Hi-Tek Corp, is studying just this. She has seemingly hit a brick wall in her research when an accident (or is it?) has her throwing her lot in with Bennett O'Reilly, a chaos theorist working elsewhere in the building. Eventually, the two unexpectedly hit upon a common thread that allows each of their research projects to be surprisingly successful--but not before a whole mess of chaoitic and humorous situations happen.

Connie Willis' Bellwether is packed with humor, satire, and interesting facts about historical fads. The inevitable romance that happens between Sandy and Bennett is predictable, but the story is oh-so-good. Those who liked the quirkiness of Libba Bray's Going Bovine will enjoy this one. Check it out! --AJL

When Nightmares Walk

Connor wakes at 12:07 a.m. from a terrifying nightmare, screaming. It's the same nightmare he's had each night since his mother began her chemotherapy treatments. But tonight is different. Tonight a monster stands outside his window, waiting to talk to him. Over the next few nights, the monster arrives at the exact same time (12:07) and tells Connor three twisted true tales, each designed to illustrate some sort of lesson. On the fourth night, the monster demands a true tale from Connor. But will Connor be able to give voice to the truth he won't even admit privately to himself? 

Developed from Siobhan Dowd's final story outline and penned by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls is part horror, part coming-of-age, part parable, and part story of grief and, finally, of acceptance. Although fairly short, this story is a powerful one. Read it at midnight by flashlight. Creepy illustrations by Jim Kay further enhance the eeriness of this tale. --AJL

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To Chill Your Bones...

In Harvest Cove, a remote tourist town in northern Canada, sightings of bears, wolves, and other predatory animals are not uncommon. But none of these creatures is what attacks Danny on his way home one winter night. As the town freezes over, Danny and his friends discover there is an ancient evil plaguing their home. An evil that is part of winter itself. This creature has marked Danny--and if he does not stop it, he will become the next victim.

For those of you who are sick of werewolves, vampires, zombies, and other typical, predictable horror movie creatures, Bonechiller by Graham McNamee will be terrifyingly welcome. Give it a try.

Just remember: Winter is coming... --AJL 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Something Rotten

Nearly 15 years ago, the dead rose and Zombies took over the world. Now what remains of humanity live in small protected settlements, fearful of another invasion. Beyond is the great Rot & Ruin. This is the only life Benny has ever really known, a life spent hating the zoms that destroyed the world. Benny, like all teens, must find work upon turning 15 or have his rations cut. After several failed tries at landing cushy, effortless jobs, Benny signs on as an apprentice to his famous zombie-hunting brother, Tom. But there's more to hunting zoms than Benny first thought. Benny and his friends soon find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time: Mixed up in the dangerous and malicious games played by a rival zombie hunter. Turns out there's more to the Rot & Ruin than meets the eye.

Think you've read one zombie story you've read them all? Not so. Jonathan Mayberry's Rot & Ruin is not your typical brainless tale of the walking dead. Also look for the exciting sequel, Dust & Decay, where the adventures of Benny, Nix, Chong, Tom and Lilah continue. --AJL 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Exceptionally Creepy

Perfect for Halloween is Rotters, by Daniel Kraus. Shortly after Joey's mom dies, he is sent to rural Iowa to live with his father--whom Joey discovers is a grave robber (a.k.a. a "Digger.") Soon Joey is joining his father on Digs, where he learns more than he ever thought he wanted to know about this melinnea-old vocation that was once honored and respected: The history, the philosophy, the stages of decomposition... If you're easily grossed out, this book is not for you (warning: contains graphic details). But the fantastic writing and unique subject matter makes Rotters a worthwhile read.