Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Review: The Long Weekend, by Savita Kalhan

Oh wow!  The Long Weekend was a heart-pounding, gut-wrenching thriller.

Two boys, Sam and Lloyd, through a misunderstanding, end up locked in a car and eventually in a house with a crazy man. They are brand new friends, so when a car pulls up at school and someone says “get in,” they both think it’s the other one’s father. Creepy, huh? Mostly because it seems really plausible!  These kids weren’t stupid. They didn’t take candy from a stranger. They thought they were safe.  And then they weren’t.

They try to convince each other that this is surprise from one of their dads. There’s a game room, and the guy is really nice – except – why does he lock the doors? I loved how it slowly becomes apparent, at least to Sam, that they are in trouble.

So begins Sam’s determination to escape. He’s one feisty, brave kid. Not to say he isn’t afraid. I thought Kalhan got that part right. Sam had to do things to escape and to save his friend. He was terrified, but he did them anyway. I agree with some other reviews that said Sam seemed older than 11 years at times, but maybe that’s what has to happen to prevail in a situation like this. I hope I never have to find this out for real.

My heart was literally pounding for the last thirty pages. It really doesn’t seem like the boys have much chance to come out on top. But, do they? Well, I’m not going to tell you that part. There is a nice epilogue, but everything isn’t perfect. How could it be after going through this experience? But it is a hopeful and believable ending.

I want to give this to middle schoolers – especially boys – but I’m afraid. I think I would be selective. If my son had read this book when he was in middle school, he would not have been able to sleep for weeks. It is realistic and scary. Just keep that in mind when you recommend this book.

Note: I’m really happy I got my hands on this book. It isn’t available in the US as far as I know. I won a copy from Sarah @ That Bookish Girl, and received the autographed copy in the mail from the author in the UK!

Published by Anderson Press, London, 2009
My own copy, won as described above
180 pages

Rating: 3/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 29, 2011

Novella Review: Sin's Daughter, by Eve Silver

Sin's Daughter is a prequel to Eve Silver's Otherkin Series. This novella introduces two main characters, Kai and Amber who had a relationship fifty years ago, before Kai died and became a soul reaper, working for a God of the Underworld.

Amber isn't human either, and when fate brings these two back together, the sparks do fly. There isn't much time for story development, so it doesn't take long for these two to fall into bed, after Kai saves Amber's life a couple of times.

This is an interesting paranormal story, that to me is unique.I felt it was rather dark, but still romantic. The sex was steamy, and this is definitely an adult book. The premise and characters intrigued me enough that I will definitely look up this series if I'm in the mood for some adult paranormal romance. The books in the series are called:  Sins of the Heart, Sins of the Soul, and Sins of the Flesh.

Published by HQN Books, 2010
Ebook read on my Kindle

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

End of the Week Fun - Follow Friday and Blog Hopping

Over at Parajunkee's View the Follow Friday question is:

Q. Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

I actually was going to prepare this post last night, but after I read the question I decided it required too much thought, and I had better sleep on it.  This is important stuff!! I'd like to take Harry Potter, but that's 7 books, so I'm going to nix that idea.  Here's what I can come up with:

1. Something EPIC that I've never read, probably Pillars of the Earth.
2.  Memoirs of a Geisha, one of my favorite books ever
3-6.  Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - 4-book series
7.  A book of Shakespeare's Sonnets
8.  Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre (I can't decide)
9-10. OK, maybe I'll just take the last two Harry Potters......

Whew! That was hard....

Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books is celebrating her Birthday this weekend! Hope you have a great day, Jennifer.  Here's the blog hop question:

"Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?"

Another difficult question for me, because I'm not really up on what's coming out. I have so much to read that's already out, so maybe I'll just list some of the books I'm looking forward to reading this summer during my time off.

The Vampire Diaries series!
Between Shades of Grey
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Devil's Kiss
Fixing Delilah
Bright Young Things

I could go on, but I won't bore you.....

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & Ruin is an excellent addition to my recommended zombie reading list. I fell in love with zombie books when reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the follow-up books in that series, and while Rot & Ruin is a different take on the zombie theme, I really enjoyed this one too. (Well actually, I read The Passage first, so I guess that’s when I got hooked.)

The non-zombie population is living inside fences to keep the zombies out, as is typical. These zombies are scary, and they are a force to be dealt with, but the focus of Maberry’s book is the people. The struggle in this book, and it’s a big struggle, is the conflict among the humans.

Maberry introduces us to this society as Benny, the main character, and his friend try to find jobs at the beginning of the book, a creative, entertaining way to build this world for his readers. Benny is extremely likeable. He grows up a lot in this book, and it is interesting to see the hope for the future as all of the teen characters in the book grow up. You see, these teens don’t remember the world before “first night” (when the zombie war began), so they have a different perspective about what’s outside the fence. I think this book ends more hopefully than any zombie book I’ve read, and I liked that.

But before we get to the end there’s lots of action, suspense, violence, and hardship to be dealt with. The supporting characters are important to the story and they are described enough that it is easy to either care about them, or hate them, as the case may be. The villains are beyond evil. And, like I said, I’m not talking about zombies, these are human villains.

The only character that annoyed me is Tom, Benny’s older brother. I just didn’t care about him that much, and I thought he got really preachy at times. But older brothers can be like that, so this isn’t a huge criticism.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot. There’s a message about humanity here, as well as an exciting adventure, and I don’t want to spoil that for future readers.  You should find out for yourselves…

Recommended to fans of apocalyptic fiction, zombies, and teen adventure stories. I’m going to give this one to some reluctant boys and see if I can get them hooked.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2010
Copy obtained from the library
458 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday -- Forgotten, by Cat Patrick

Every once in a while I read about a book that I haven't heard much about, so I decide to participate in Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  This is the case with Forgotten, by Cat Patrick.

Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Let me know if you've read this -- I'm anxious to hear!  Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: What is Real, by Karen Rivers

What is Real is not the book for me. The title is the premise of the book. Throughout the whole book the reader is trying to figure out What is Real?

Dex Pratt is our narrator, and has every right to be a disturbed teen. His once happy family, with a nice house, money, and friends has fallen apart. His mother has left, and remarried, and Dex had moved in with this new family for a while, but after his dad tries to commit suicide and is confined to a wheel chair, Dex is required to go back and help take care of his father.

On top of his emotional turmoil, Dex spends pretty much 100% of his time stoned out of his mind. He lives in a dumpy house, and he helps his father grow pot in the basement. He tries to fit in at his old school, but he’s just faking it. He has a girlfriend, but he’s faking that too—or is he?

There are other characters involved in the mysteries. Dex’s step brother, his sister, his girlfriend, his friend, his dad’s caretaker, Gary, and the landlord, Our Joe all play a part in Dex’s reality. And there’s a character that might or might not be real, Olivia.

The story is very disjointed. Dex lies a lot – I found myself re-reading statements and thinking, “Wait, didn’t he just say the opposite of that on the previous page?” I felt very uncomfortable and confused during the entire book. I have no doubt that this was Karen Rivers’ intention.  That’s why I said the book isn’t for me; I didn’t say it was a bad book.

I wanted to shake Dex. I wanted to yell at his mother, and I hated his father. These parents left so much to be desired that it was pitiful.

There is no big “Aha!” moment at the end. More and more of What is Real is slowly revealed and the ending does leave you with hope.

This is contemporary fiction about a disturbed teen. There may be teens, as well as adults, who relate to this story better than I did, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Published by Orca, May 1, 2011
ARC obtained from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
295 pages

Rating: 2/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Memories: The Notebook

Welcome to my new meme, Monday Memories, where I'd like to feature favorite books we've loved from the past. You can link to an old review, or write something new about a beloved book from your past. Really, what's important is not the book, but why it is memorable to you. So, have fun reminiscing, and add your link below, so we can all enjoy your memories.

The Notebook wins the prize for the novel that made me cry the most. I read this on vacation with my family, and began crying after a few pages, and I feel like I didn't stop until the end. We passed it around to my sister, sister-in-law, and others, and we would all laugh at each other while reading this book because we all cried so hard. This was when the book first came out, and way before the movie. I never did see the movie and I don't intend to. I read another Sparks novel, Message in a Bottle, and cried for much of it too. After that I quit reading Nicholas Sparks. And I don't really consider myself much of a "crier" when it comes to books! So what book wins your "crying prize?"

Share one of your cherished book memories!

1. Do a Monday Memories post on your blog. Copy my button and link back here, so others can see all the other posts.
2.  Enter your Monday Memories link in the Link List below.
3. Visit some other blogs who have posted their links.

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox "Lite"

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you have a great holiday. I only received one book in my mailbox this week, and really that's a good thing.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with my reading list, and am trying to catch up.

From LibraryThing Early Reviewers:
What is Realby Karen Rivers. I'm already reading this one because it will be released May 1, 2011.

Thanks to Kristi, the Story Siren for hosting this every week. Thanks for visiting and I hope you had a good week!

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book Review: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair, by Elizabeth Laird

I wouldn’t have wanted to live in the time period I learned about in The Betrayal of Maggie Blair. We’re talking seventeenth century Scotland. And we’re not talking about royalty; we’re talking about very poor people who struggle every day just to survive.

Maggie is an orphan who is living with her grandmother on a very isolated island off the coast of Scotland. As I said, most of Maggie’s existence involves daily hard work trying to keep food on the table. Granny is a superstitious, cranky old woman who doesn’t get along well with their neighbors, and this is what starts all the trouble for Maggie. Granny is accused of witchcraft, and Maggie, by her association, is also thrown into prison with her. 

Maggie escapes, and begins an adventure that will carry her all across Scotland. She ends up with her Uncle Blair and his family—and what a difference from Granny. These are very devout Covenanters-Presbyterians, who defy the English government to practice their religion. So, at first Maggie thought she had finally found safety and security, but because of this religious zeal, her uncle is thrown into prison and Maggie is once again struggling for survival.

Maggie is a typical 16-year-old.  She’s malleable – she goes from chanting curses and spells to reading the bible and praying to God. I didn’t feel that she was without conviction – well I guess she was, but I don’t blame her for that – try to remember what it’s like to be sixteen. Maggie is brave and daring, although she doesn’t realize it.  The adventures she survives throughout this book give her heroic status, and I think teens will enjoy rooting for this plucky character.

The rest of Laird’s characters are worth knowing too.  Tam, Maggie’s rescuer, is a somewhat elusive character, but this is intentional, and you can’t help but admire him. Maggie’s cousins and aunt and uncle give us a very clear picture of what it was like to be a family driven only by their convictions to God.  Annie is a perfectly snotty, evil character and is easy to hate.

The Scottish setting is described, but didn’t really come alive for me. There is a map at the beginning that helps, but reading on a Kindle, I didn’t tend to flip back as often as I would have with a printed book.

The book is a bit long for teens, but fans of historical fiction, with an admirable teen heroin that gets stronger and stronger throughout the book will find this worth the time. It isn’t action-packed, but the story moves at a steady pace, and I didn’t lose interest.
Published by Houghton Mifflin, April 18, 2011
eBook Copy obtained from NetGalley
432 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 3/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...