2/27/11

The Titan's Curse

Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 304
Publisher: Miramax
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads): When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. Now it's up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. Who is powerful enough to kidnap a goddess? They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared -- a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever.


--- 


My Summary: It's been almost 3 months since Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson retrieved the Golden Fleece and saved Camp Half-Blood - along with restoring Thalia to her body. Now, Percy, Thalia, and Annabeth must set off to help rescue a pair of Half-Blood siblings that Grover's found. The only problem is, Grover isn't the only person who caught the scent of Bianca and Nico de Angelo - there's a monster hiding in the midst of the children's school, and he's not going to let them leave without a fight.


Just when all seems lost, Artemis (the goddess of maidens and the Hunt) appears with her Hunters, who do their best to help. But just when it looks like they've won, the monster disappears - taking Annabeth with him.


Percy's desperate to go after the thing, but Artemis stops him, saying Annabeth has been taken somewhere he can't follow. Instead, he is to take the de Angelo kids to Camp, along with the Hunters.


Forbidden to leave the camp and told he isn't allowed to come on a quest, Percy does the unthinkable: he breaks out and follows the group on their quest, hoping that the chilling dreams he's been having link the disappearance of Artemis and Annabeth. He only hopes he won't have to chose between the two when the time comes to fulfill the prophecy...


My Thoughts: I loved this one! It definitely made up for the second one, and I loved the inclusion of the Hunters of Artemis (my favourite myth from when I was younger, along with the Persephone & Hades myth). 


Zoe was a great character - at some points I hated her guts, but I knew she was only doing what she though was right. And Bianca was cool too, although her abandonment of her brother really irked me... I forgave her, though (eventually).


Like I said in previous reviews, I really like the way that Riordan matures his characters - they always seem totally believable, and they act and think the way you would expect kids their age to. 


Final Thoughts: If you haven't picked up this series yet (or at least put it on your TBR list) I definitely recommend you do! They're great books that are guaranteed to keep you hooked from start to finish, and they're great reads for boys and girls of any age.  

2/26/11

The Sea of Monsters

Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 279
Publisher: Miramax
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 


Summary (from Goodreads)After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson is finding his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson, a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any normal friends. But things don't stay quiet for long. 

Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: the magical borders that protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters. To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters, the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millennia. Only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name: The Bermuda Triangle. 

Together with his friends, Percy must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes or Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed. But first, Percy will learn a stunning new secret about his family, one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon's son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.

---

My Summary: After spending the year at yet another school, Percy Jackson is excited to go back to Camp Half-Blood. He's proud of myself for having made it through an entire year without any trouble - of the bully or mythological monster variety - but he's sad to be leaving his buddy Tyson - a six foot something sweetheart who gets bullied constantly for being a 'charity case'. Percy is his only friend, which (unfortunately) means Tyson is Percy's only friend.

On the last day of seventh grade, the kids are rallied into the gym to play a regulation game of dodge ball. Unfortunately for Percy, his opponents aren't what they seem. Percy is defenseless without his sword, and he's sure it's the end - until an old friend from camp comes to his rescue. Now, Percy, Tyson, and Annabeth have to make it back to camp without getting killed... but what they find their isn't even close to what they expected.

My Thoughts: This is the second book in the series, and for some reason, I didn't like it as much as the first one (this happens a lot, though, so I was expecting it). The plot seemed a little bit different than the first book - I think it was because the plot of The Lightning Thief had a few more twists and turns and secrets, while the plot of The Sea of Monsters was a little bit more straight-forward. Anyway, it wasn't a HUGE difference. I still enjoyed this one a lot.

There were a lot of things in this one that I really enjoyed. Firstly, Tyson was a great addition to the series! The poor kid is treated so badly by everyone that I just wanted to give him a big hug (and a pony, but you won't understand why until you read the book). Second, I loved the way the characters have matured since the first novel - it's very believable. You see the development of anxiety about the way they look (totally believable) and the strengthening of the relationship between Percy and Annabeth (and you get the sense he already has feelings for her - so cute!).

And the ending! Man, I did NOT see that one coming!

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend continuing with the series if you've already read The Lightning Thief, and if you haven't, I recommend you do! It's a great break from the stuff I usually read, and there's enough action and mystery to keep you hooked no matter what your age.   

Contest!


If you're still interested in winning a copy of Ravena & The Resurrected, I have some good news! The contest will be extended until tomorrow (February 27) at midnight, so be sure get your comments in! The person with the most comments wins, and all you have to do is comment on this post telling me you're the winner (I trust you guys!). 


A Brief Summary of Ravena & The ResurrectedLife has never been smooth for Ravena Doomlah. Yet when she admits her fascination with Seattle's vampires to her coworkers, she feels all the more dejected. Not only do her coworkers shuffle away quickly anytime she approaches the company water cooler, but Ravena hears colleagues talking about her behind her back. 

Once bitten, she tries to hide her new "condition" and wants to keep her job but quickly learns lessons in self reliance when she discovers highly motivated Assassins are actively pursuing her trail.

* There's a LOT of Seattle in this book! 
* Part of Ravena Doomlah's new vampire experience is spent underground in the ruins of old Seattle! 
* Fresh view on what it's like to suddenly become turned vampire amidst skeptics and ancient old beings who love to recite history. 
* Experience the raw forces of wild vampire nature safely, by living vicariously through the main character. 
* Beautifully written, well-researched and imaginative. (Even hilarious in some places.) 
* Modern (present day) vampires with historic accuracy. 
* Encourages obsession with vampires! (Guilty pleasures realized.) 

Who wouldn't want to win this awesome book? 

You can check out my review of Ravena & The Resurrected HERE!

2/25/11

Interview & Giveaway with Author Tami Jackson!


Hey guys! Welcome to my much-anticipated interview with the author of Ravena & The Resurrected - Author Tami Jackson!

Let's welcome Tami to the blogosphere! *Waves to Tami*









Tami: Thank you, Stephanie, for inviting me to interview here in Windsor Ontario today. I feel so grateful that you would make your blog, "Beyond The Bookshelf" available. I'm just thrilled to be getting to know you, not merely through this blog, but also through all the postings you make at GoodReads.com.

Steph: No problem, Tami! It was my pleasure. Getting to know you has been a lot of fun! :)


Now for some info about Tami:
Tami Jackson
Tami earned her bachelor's degree in communications/English from Washington State University, which is about the same time she received an Emmy Award. Tami has sold many magazine and trade journal articles, written as a news correspondent for Seattle area newspapers, and worked as public relations writer and editor in business and marketing. Born in Seattle, the fifth among seven children, with two school teachers for parents, Tami is the mother of three adult children and two grown step-sons. She is happily married to Doug, and the couple live with a Pug, a Dachshund and two rescued house cats, as well as with back yard chickens and a rabbit named Oscar.
As always, she loves writing and remains an avid fan of all things vampire, werewolf and sleuth! In addition to writing, Tami loves nature and reading action/adventure and dark fiction.  

---


Tami agreed to answer some questions for us today! (the questions will be bolded, and Tami's answers will be italicized).

STEPHANIE: What made you want to write a vampire novel?
Tami: Like most intelligent humans, I have always been mesmerized by the idea that we CAN defeat death and rise from our coffins stronger than ever before. People suggest the vampire craze just started here a few years ago but I grew up watching the Munsters and The Addams Family on T. V. I was ten when my little brother was born, and he learned math from Sesame Street's "Count von Count." I also have always loved Halloween, when "Dracula" would be on television. Then the soap opera "Dark Shadows" came out with Vampire Barnabas Collins. I have been fascinated by vampires ever since (the 1960s)!

STEPHANIE: Do you share any of Ravena's personality traits?
Tami: In some ways I wish I had more of Ravena's personality traits. She's much quicker with her wit than I am. As her writer, I had to think long and hard about what her response to any particularly snide comment might be. Ravena speaks her funny opinions instantaneously. She also evolves to where she no longer allows mean criticisms to bother her. Through writing her story, I began to examine why someone might behave in a very cruel manner. Most often they are not motivated by any intelligent means. It became very clear to me that enlightened people have neither the desire nor time to be cruel. Nice people do not provide non-constructive feedback. Ravena realizes that when she's only in her twenties. Point is, if she's like me at all, it's because when she makes mistakes, she attempts to learn from them so she doesn't make the same lapse in judgment again. In that way, I wish we were all like her.

STEPHANIE: What made you choose Seattle as the backdrop of the novel?
Tami: I love Seattle. I was born here and grew up just south of the city. At age 17, I took a job downtown at Pacific Bank as a clerk typist, which meant I rode the bus into the city and walked a number of blocks to work on 4th and Olive streets. I learned the downtown area rather intimately by traveling on foot and met quite a number of homeless people back when I was just a teenager. Seattle's homeless are quite different from the homeless I've met in San Francisco, where the city hands out drugs and addicts are allowed to urinate in the street. It's much cleaner in Seattle and the homeless here don't just come up to touch you like they do in San Francisco.

I also realized how special Seattle was when I took a back-pack trip alone to New York around the 4th of July in 2009. I couldn't believe that New Yorker's don't recycle paper or cans. I walked around carrying my empty water bottles for an entire day before finding a New York Police Officer who admitted the Big Apple just spits its seeds everywhere. Everything gets thrown into the garbage (unless you're in a wealthy neighborhood, then people might have the opportunity to recycle something). In Seattle - people everywhere can behave like recycling Nazis. If a visitor throws something in the trash that doesn't belong there, someone's bound to come up from behind, pull it out and put that item in the appropriate recycling bin.

Even while I'm a woman of a certain age, I can travel :30 minutes and be downtown Seattle so I walk the city's hills quite often. It's a beautiful place to live and visit. Seattle always feels like home to me.

STEPHANIE: What would you rather be: a vampire, or a werewolf?
Tami: Vampire. Definitely.  Vampires can feast without necessarily killing their prey. I'm not sure werewolves really have that option - or that much self control. On the flip side (as a human being) I'd also rather be attacked by a vampire than by a werewolf! Wouldn't you?

STEPHANIE: Why do YOU think the paranormal fiction genre is such a big hit?
Tami: There are so many reasons. Here's seven reasons why vampires rank so high in popularity.

VAMPIRES REPRESENT: 

1. Guilt-free sensual power/forgiven sex. (While church or social circles might attempt to impose sexual "ethics," vampires are regarded as powerful predators and someone whose sexually ravished by such a fantastical being is not considered guilty they're considered "the victim!")
2. Vampires seem mysterious. We all LOVE experiencing a good mystery ... They offer a fantastic escape from the daily grind.
3. Some of us have that "rescuer" mentality and yearn to fix what's broken. If we find a brooding (possibly guilt-ridden) vampire, we can satisfy our personal need to be the rescuer and comfort that dark creature.
4. Most vampires in popular fiction show old world chivalry and adorably good manners (something that's often missing from modern society).  
5. Because vampires do not die, they have no sense of urgency. They can take their time while pursuing someone, amorously. They also offer humans the opportunity to never grow sick or ever feel frail again.
6. Most people, at some time or other, have felt like a social misfit or wall flower, which is what makes the lonely vampire seem like someone we can utterly relate to.
7. Vampires appeal to our rebellious nature. It's considered "evil" to commit murder and yet vampires do and seem to get away with breaking all the rules.
Since that was the last question, I'd like to thank you again, Stephanie, for allowing me to visit. If any of your subscribers would like to follow me during this blog tour, your website and all other blog-stops I make are posted (with hyperlinks) on this calendar: 

Thanks Tami! 


Now for the goodies. Below, you'll find the book trailer for Ravena & The Resurrected (check it out!). Underneath that you'll find a link to my review of R&R. 






And if you'd like to read the first chapter of R&R, click here!

Wanna win a copy of R&R?

*CONTEST DETAILS: Comment on this post and leave your email if you've been commenting on my past posts regularly - the person with the most comments wins (hopefully you've been keeping track)! The winner will get a free e-copy of Ravena & The Resurrected, which can be read on ANY platform (even your computer!). 

If you don't win and you'd still like to read R&R, visit the smashwords page and buy it on your preferred platform:


2/24/11

Just a Reminder...

Tomorrow is my author interview / giveaway with Tami Jackson, author of Ravena & The Resurrected.

You can read my review of Ravena & The Resurrected here: click here to read the review! and find the rules for the giveaway here: click here!! 


Good luck guys! The contest closes to entries tonight, so make sure you keep track of your entries and check back tomorrow!

2/23/11

The Lightning Thief

Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 377
Publisher: Miramax
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 


Summary (from Goodreads): Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. 

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

--- 

My Summary: Percy Jackson has been kicked out of 5 schools in 5 years, and it's about to be 6. Percy, struggling with ADHD and dyslexia, has always been labelled as 'the trouble-maker' ... but really, it's not like he tries to get into trouble; with Percy, things just tend to happenAnd lately, things have been getting worse - Percy's been having these weird dreams that don't make any sense. Add to that the fact that his best friend's been acting super-protective since he was attacked at the museum, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

On his first night home from boarding school, Percy and his mom decide to get out of town for a week. Just as they're beginning to unpack, they're attacked again, and Percy's mom is sent to the Underworld. Badly hurt, Percy drags his friend through the forest and into Camp Half-Blood: the place his mom told him they'd always be safe.

Accepted into the camp, Percy discovers he is the prime suspect in the theft of Zeus' master lightning bolt. Now, Percy must find a way to clear his name... and hopefully save his mom.

My Thoughts: I'm not gunna rave about this series like I want to... I gotta say, though - it was really great, and you should DEFINITELY check it out if you're into mythology and anything paranormal. It was more of a middle grade novel, but the next book picks up after a year, and the series grows into YA as the story progresses. 

I know most people tend to shy away from MG books because they feel 'young' to them, but Rick Riordan's writing doesn't 'talk down' to the reader, which I really appreciated. Also, there's enough plot and character development that you never lose interest, which is good in a series (have you ever tried to read a series where the last 5 or 6 books stink compared to the first couple? I hate that!).

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this series to reluctant MG or YA readers - especially if they're boys - I got my brother to read them, and after the second book, he asked me to buy him the whole series. I also recommend them to anyone looking for a light paranormal read, and a big plus? They're almost always available at the library. An even bigger plus? Logan Lerman plays Percy in the movie... anyone else think he's adorable? ;)

Quotes & Quarries

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief." 


--- 

Let me know what you think of this one! Do you agree? Do you disagree?

2/22/11

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week

Well, ok, I don't actually have a teaser for this week, but I do have a recommendation! For the past couple of days I've been reading the Percy Jackson series, and I gotta say, it's pretty awesome. It starts off as a middle-grade series, but the characters grow from novel to novel, and they end up around age 17 (I think).    Anyways, if you're a fan of Greek mythology, I definitely recommend you check it out!

2/20/11

XVI (Sixteen)

Author: Julia Karr
Pages: 325
Publisher: Puffin/Speak
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from the author's website): In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad...
--- 


My Summary: Nina Oberon is a lower-tier girl who knows what suffering is. Amidst the world of "sex-teens" - sixteen year old girls who are treated like their only purpose in life is to drop their pants for any guys who asks - Nina is just trying to get through her teen years, take care of her sister, and escape her mom's abusive boyfriend. She questions her mom's reasons for staying with Ed - a married man who brutally beats her - and why her mom left her high-paying job to work as a cashier, but every time she voices her concerns, her mother gives her a cryptic explanation and changes the subject.


Then, suddenly, on a night when her mom goes out to a 'meeting', Nina's whole life is turned upside down: her mother is stabbed and left for dead in the street for no apparent reason. She is rushed to the hospital, where she delivers a warning to Nina with her dying breath.


Armed with nothing but an old baby book and a mysterious - not to mention highly unlikely - secret, Nina must not only fight to keep her little sister from her father, but also somehow manage to deliver a secret to someone who may or may not be dead.


My Thoughts: I've been on a little bit of a dystopian-only diet lately, and I was a little reluctant to start this one at first... I'm glad I did, though! This book was awesome and angst-filled - just what I needed right now.


The book starts off with Nina and her best friend Sandy going to visit Nina's grandparents in a different city. Nina is the kind of girl who doesn't like to be noticed - especially by the creepy XVIIIs (the 18 year old guys). Her friend Sandy, on the other hand... not so much. Sandy is everything the Media says a sex-teen should be: fashionable and overly-hormonal. To be honest, Sandy was my least favourite character - every time she spoke, I couldn't help but think, "how can you be this stupid?!?!". The author intends for Sandy to annoy you that way, but I think it was made worse by the fact that Sandy reminded me of someone I know... Anyway, in this new society, sixteens are seen as nothing but sex-toys; even worse, if a girl is raped, her attackers almost always get away scott-free by swearing that the girl "wanted it". Disgusting, I know. Reading this book made me want to hold a feminist rally (seriously). The way girls were treated was appalling, but I think it was necessary in the context of the novel - it added to the repression-feeling of the world Nina was living in.


Onto the characters. I loved Sal, Derek, and Mike - they were such good guys, and I'm glad they were around. I gotta admit, I formed an attachment to these characters - they were just so likeable! Of course, some of them (Sandy, for example) made me want to slap them, but like I said before, I'm pretty sure the author intended for me to feel that way. 


I also really liked the style of the novel. The chapters were relatively short, and the writing was smooth. Ed was a believable antagonist - I hated him from the moment I read about his treatment of Ginnie (Nina's mom).


Final Thoughts: I really liked it! I'll definitely be getting the sequel, and it's gunna be hard to wait, because I really want to know what happens! I think this book is worth checking out, and it definitely makes you appreciate your rights and the freedom to guard your sexuality. Be careful, though - it should only be read by older, more mature teens. 

2/18/11

Follow Friday & Blog Hop!

Book Blogger Hop
 

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event 
hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday 
to Sunday. Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by 
Parajunkee.com. 

Have a good weekend everyone!!

2/16/11

She Said / She Saw

Author: Norah McClintock
Pages: 224
Publisher: Orca Books
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Tegan was in the backseat when her two best friends were gunned down in front of her. Was it an argument over drugs? An ongoing feud? Or something more random? Tegan says she didn't see who did it. Or know why. Nobody will believe her. Not the police; not her friends; not the families of the victims; and not even Kelly, her own sister. Is she afraid that the killer will come back? Or does she know more than she is saying? 

Shunned at school and feeling alone, Tegan must sort through her memories and try to decide what is real and what is imagined. And in the end she must decide whether she has the strength to stand up and do the right thing.

---

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


My Summary: Tegan and Kelly are sisters. Born in the same year, the girls are often referred to as the "Twins" - in reality, they couldn't be more different. Tegan is popular and a gifted student, while Kelly is... not. Tegan likes to party, while Kelly won't go near any of the stuff her sister dabbles with. Neither sister is particularly fond of the other...


But when word gets out that Tegan was in the backseat of their mutual friend Martin's car when he and Clark were shot point-blank through the windows, Kelly doesn't know what to think - should she believe her sister, who insists she didn't see anything, or is Tegan selfishly concealing what she knows in order to protect herself like everyone suspects?


Or, even worse: is Tegan refusing to help catch her friends' killer because of something she's holding against her own sister?


Told in the alternating points of view of both sisters, She Said / She Saw will keep you guessing until the last page.


My Thoughts: First off, I have to say, this was a beautiful book: the cover is mysterious and attention-grabbing while still being simple and understated. Awesome. 


I loved the contrast between the two main characters! Kelly and Tegan are so different, I really couldn't chose a favourite. Ms. McClintock managed to weave a flawless story from two points of view, which made it a lot more enjoyable (and mysterious, I think). I literally could not. Stop. Reading.


Seriously! I got the book in the mail this afternoon, and I didn't couldn't stop reading until I found out whodunit. And it was so cool to know that this book was written by a fellow Canadian! *Waves to other Canadians* 


I loved the conclusion as well. It really made me think, ya know? Because the things we do to other people can come back to haunt us - they really can. And a lot of people wouldn't be willing to take the same risk Tegan took in order to avenge a loved one (or in this case, two).


Final Thoughts: Definitely go pre-order this one (or, you know, buy it when it comes out)! I recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone who likes a good mystery. 

Shine

Author: Lauren Myracle
Pages: 376
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Online Galley Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. 
Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

--- 
My Summary: Cat is a girl who is better than her circumstances. Born in a backwoods town in the middle of nowhere, Cat has been surrounded by poverty and hardship her entire life: her mother died when she was just two years old, and the only people left to care for her were her aunt and her alcoholic, out of work father.

But Cat has someone else looking out for her as well: her friend Patrick, with whom she's been friends with since before either of them could remember. Patrick and Cat are kindled spirits in their tiny backwoods town, and they know they'll be best friends forever.

After an incident when they're both 13, Cat pulls away from everyone she loves - including Patrick, who recently shocked the town by coming out. 

Three years later, Cat and Patrick are no longer friends; but when she finds out that Patrick has been the victim of a cruel hate crime, Cat knows it's her duty to investigate and bring Patrick's attacker to justice.

My Thoughts: I loved it! I've never been a fan of southern stories, but this one had everything - cover-ups, mysteries, romance...

Cat was a great character. We find out about Cat through her own stories - not what people say about her, and she's got a lot of heart. I found her thoughts to be really age-appropriate, and her reaction to what happened to her when she was younger was totally heartbreaking. I was cheering for Cat (and Patrick!) the entire time.

The back-drop of the story is Black Creek, a town built around an abandoned paper mill. After a tornado wipes out the mill, the citizens of Black Creek are left to fend for themselves - as a result, the place had been overrun  with drugs, alcohol, and poverty. Cat's family lives on her Aunt Tildy's measly pay-cheque, and they're struggling to make ends meet. Add to that the fact that Cat's dad is an alcoholic, and you really understand the hopelessness of the situation in Black Creek. 

Amid all the poverty and corruption, Cat is trying to uncover the truth about what happened to her friend Patrick. She's managed to convince herself of one thing: if she can figure out who did it, Patrick will wake up.

But there are lies everywhere, and Cat has been living under a metaphorical rock for the past few years. She has no idea what has been going on in her town, instead choosing to live inside the worlds of her books. Cat is smart, though, and she uncovers some clues that will eventually lead her to Patrick's attacker.

The question is this: does she want to know who in her small town was capable of such a brutal, senseless crime? Or is ignorance bliss?

Final Thoughts: I really liked this one, and I definitely think it's worth checking out (it'll be released on May 1st, 2011). The writing was smooth, clear, and easy to follow, and I really liked the flashback style utilized by the author. Do yourselves a favour and put it on your To Be Read list! 

2/15/11

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week

"We'll talk to my dad about this," Wei said, "He'll know what to do." She hooked her arm in mine. "Don't worry, no one will take Dee. I promise."
- XVI (Sixteen), p.148