Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Name of the Star

I am completely breathless over The Name of the Star (watch the trailer here) by Maureen Johnson.  I've had this book on my mind ever since I saw the cover posted on The Compulsive Reader's list of favorites from a book festival she attended.  Needless to say, it did not disappoint.

This book is a combination of a Jack the Ripper tale and a modern ghost story.  First their is Rory, not Aurora, who has been uprooted from her home in Louisiana by her parents.  They have accepted positions as professors of law at a university in Bristol, England.  Rory happily agrees to go along on the condition that she is able to spend her time attending a school in London.  She begins to attend Wexler where she attempts to acclimate herself into her new surroundings.  Simultaneously, brutal Jack the Ripper type crimes begin happening in close proximity to her school.

Rory's new friend Jerome has taken quite an interest in these crimes.  So much so that he wants to watch for "The Ripper" and persuades Rory and her roommate to sneak out of their dorm to his in order to keep watch.  On their way back from their stakeout, Rory sees a man who seems a bit out of place.  But, the crazy thing is that even though Jazza was right there, she didn't see weird.

The murders begin to stack up, and Rory's mysterious sighting begins to seem important.  So she shares this with the investigators on the case.  As the investigation continues, Rory finds herself involved in the case in ways she could not have imagined.  Why can Rory see this killer when no security camera in London can?

I'm telling you, this is an awesome one!  Maureen Johnson has written several novels including Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope.  I have these on my to-read list as well.  My sincerest advice to you to sneak away from the traditional Black Friday run on televisions and buy this book.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Eleventh Plague

You may have noticed a theme in the books I read.  I certainly have.  They are all pretty "girly."  I almost never saddle up to a book that I would recommend to a boy, but The Eleventh Plague (watch the trailer here) on the other hand is a book that I would undoubtedly put in the hands of those guys out there.

The Eleventh Plague, by Jeff Hirsch, tells the story of Stephen Quinn.  Stephen is a fifteen year old "salvager" who has lived the past several years with his hardened ex-Marine grandfather and his kind hearted fathers.  Stephen lives in a future America that has been ravaged by P11, a plague introduced by the Chinese after America entered a war with them.  As a salvager, Stephen has always traveled around collecting items to trade for things he needs.  But, when his grandfather dies, Stephen and his father make a few changes in their lives.

As a result of these changes, Stephen's father is horribly injured.   After the accident, Stephen finds a group of people who shockingly seems to want to help the Quinns.  Despite his instincts, Stephen does go with these people and accept their help. 

This group of people has somehow been able to survive P11 and create a community reminiscent of those before the plague.  There are real houses, schools, a doctor.  Stephen thinks this has to be too good to be true, and his wandering tendencies make him restless.  But then he meets Jenny.

Jenny is a Chinese-American girl.  This fact alone makes her an outsider because of the negative feelings about the Chinese after the war.  In addition, Jenny is determine not to fit in.  Jenny and Stephen get to know each other and realize they share more than they could have expected. 

Will they be able to stay in the idyllic Settler's Landing?  Do they believe that the neighboring Fort Leonard is really full of evil people waiting to strike?  Are they going to be able to adhere to the rules to enjoy these comforts of home?  Well, you'll need to check this one out.  Even if you're a boy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I would like to go on record once more and say that I love the Hush, Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick.  I mean LOVE it.  I can see it so vividly in my mind.  And, sadly enough I even find myself wishing I was Nora.  I know, but, Patch, he's just so dreamy.  Besides, what girl doesn't want her own personal guardian angel.

So, obviously I eagerly awaited the arrival of Silence (watch the trailer here), the third installment in the series.  This book finds some new twists and dangers.  First, our dear Nora has been taken hostage by the evil Black Hand.  While under his watch, her memory of the last five months of her life has been erased.  She no longer remembers Patch or anything she has learned about the world of the Nephil or the angels, including anything that happened while she was being held captive.  Nora doesn't know whom she can trust.  To make matters worse neither Vee nor her mother have the ability to remember Patch either.  Could Patch actually be the cause of her problems?

But, Nora becomes stronger and begins to regain glimpses of her past.  She slowly begins to understand her connection to Patch as well as the nefarious Black Hand.  Nora begins to take matters into her own hands and enlists the help of Scott in order to truly put her life back in order. 

PhotobucketOne of the best things about this book is that it's not the end of the series.  I had thought it would be, but no, my friends; it is not.  In September, Becca Fitzpatrick announced that there would indeed be a fourth book.  Our new problem is that we will have a whole year to wait for its amazing arrival.  Until then; however, Fitzpatrick's site has some really cool features for those of us who love her books.  Please make sure you visit it.  There is even a Patch and You section that allows readers to insert themselves into the story or into a picture with Patch. Are you kidding me?  It truly can't get any better.   And, there will be a graphic novel version coming soon.  Equally awesome.