Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl
May 7, 2013; Little, Brown Brown Books for Young Readers
Stohl’s done an amazing job on her first solo venture – she’s woven beautiful imagery with a creative concept and I can’t wait for more!!
The Day changed everything, for the world and for Dol. When “they” came they planted 11 Icons around the world to control the masses, and in doing so killed millions and millions of people. Dol survived, but her parents did not. She was raised on the Mission in the Grasslands by the Padre and led a simple life with best friend Ro. Again her life changes when the Occupation Sympathizers capture her and Ro.
They are wanted for their powers. Dol is an empath, she can feel what others are feeling and Ro is a rager, and his anger creates a firestorm of fury that makes him virtually unstoppable. When they arrive at the Embassy they find two others just like them – Lucas, the lover who has charisma and charm and can bend others to his will and Tima who relies on fear and anxiety to control those around her.
Things that had me jumping up and down:
* Dol’s name, Doloria Maria de la Cruz. I will name a car this some day, mark my words.
*Lucas. Granted he wasn’t the most “trust worthy” (the quotes are important here), but if he isn’t the ying to Dol’s yang. Seriously.
*Ro, aka Furo Costas. I love him for his black and white/right and wrong views. This dude sees no gray and it’s refreshing to see him not waver with his beliefs.
*The concept. I had no idea this was an alien book. Really none. I find it interesting the idea of the Icons used as power sources welding the Lords powers over the earthlings.
*The setting. This story takes place in the Los Angeles of the future and I recognized so many things while reading. I kept saying, “I’ve been there and there!”
*The ending. I won’t go into details, just know that there is not a cliff hanger.
*The AI. Yes, all good scifi’s need an AI and this one is awesome.
What had me scratching my head:
*A few things seemed a little too easy , too convenient. I’m hoping these issues will be addressed in the next book. *The ending. Yes, overall I liked it, but there was this one part I was like, “How did (redacted) happen?”
Taking a page out of Amanda’s book (like that book metaphor), I thought I would write my own series of mini-reviews, but for audiobooks. FYI: I found all of these fabulous books at the library-a great place to find good reads (don’t be afraid to ask the library to buy copies of great audiobooks-often, they just need a recommendations).
The Diviners Published: 2012, Audiobook Publisher: Listening Library/BOT
LibbaBray at her finest! You can check out Nancy’s interview with Libba about Diviners here, but do note, it makes more sense after you read the book. I heart Libba Bray; she was gracious enough to do an interview with me about cool words (on my VocabGal blog here), and she is one of my absolute favorite YA authors. Stay tuned to our book club selection in May if you want an impetus to read my favorite of her novels!
The Diviners, Libba’s most recent work, is awesome; I learned so much history about the 1920′s (and my students and I have been studying the Harlem Renaissance for years, so I knew a fair bit) -and Libba makes the history fascinating-she clearly has done her research, and the book is that much better because of it. A great story with a motley crew of unique characters, I had to make sure I was listening with the lights on so as not to be freaked out by all the occult. Essentially, a mystical serial killer, a cult religion, flappers, numbers’ rackets and more-this book is widely appealing for girls and guys. Plus, the audio is awesome with January LaVoy as a reader who can tackle the whole range of characters.
Author Joshua C. Cohen delivers a riveting story about football players who take their bullying of the guys’ gymnastics team too far, but still think they can get away without consequences. I loved how it was told in alternating chapters from the team’s newest football star and the boy’s best gymnast.
The book is definitely Friday Night Lights meets Speak, and I was outraged at how the football players treated others (but hello, I live in Ohio, and we have seen the consequences when football players think they are indomitable). This book isn’t heavy handed with the issues but packs so. many. punches. -wow! I was satisfied that I had somewhat predicted the outcome, and that the jocks did get their due. Cohen was a gymnast himself, and I totally want to track him down now and ask him about his own high school experiences. The two readers-Kirby Heyborne and Paul Michael Garcia-really articulated each character’s emotional range in the story-which went from elation to terror and back.
Published: 2008, Publisher: Penguin Audio Authors: Dick Francis and Felix Francis
My Dad turned me on to Dick Francis novels in high school; essentially author Dick Francis was a jockey for the queen of England, got injured, and turned his talents to writing horse-racing mysteries. You would think these would be ordinary mysteries, but they are not! Each book (with the exception of a small series of three), has a hero with his/her own profession that somehow gets entangled with horse racing (the research Francis does to get the nuances of every profession from jewelry to art fascinates me). The language is excellent, the pacing is gripping, and I think Francis’s most recent ones with his son are superb. I highly encourage all Anglophiles to check out these novels-they do not disappoint, especially with reader Martin Jarvis and his lovely his British accent.
Flicker & Burn by T.M. Goeglein
August 20, 2013; Putnam Juvenile
Sara Jane Rispoli is back and dude, she is so ghiaccio furioso. Her cold fury is so potent and lethal that, yeah… bad things happen. All for the good though. Sort of.
In this book, Sara Jane is still looking for her parents and her kid brother, Lou. Though, this time creepy androgynous people putting around in ice cream cone trucks are slowing her down. Plus, her best friend and confidante, Doug almost gets indoctrinated into an occult. Throw in some long lost family ties, some action sequences fit for the big screen, a little romance and lots of mafia (the Outfit) trials and you have yourself an equally thrilling book as the first.
Sara Jane, she is not the same naïve girl from Cold Fury. Not only has she taken over for her father as the Outfit Counselor-at-Large, which she’s quite good at, but she’s constantly thrown into situation after situation where she has to examine and redefine who she is. Or better yet, what she doesn’t want to become. Truly, for SJ (I like that nickname) it’s the whole Job thing – how many bad things can happen to her before she breaks?
As much as I like SJ, and her plight to find her parents I found certain parts of the story lacking – Max and Heather (didn’t see her coming). I won’t delve into specifics for fear of spoilers. However, my biggest complaint was the amount backstory information (info dumps), I feel that at times it slowed the story down.
If you’re looking for a street smart, tough heroine who just wants her normal life back with her family and is willing to do almost anything to get them back, then this is the story for you.
Stacy, who’d like to employ a little ghiaccio furioso on the laundry. That is, if it worked on inanimate objects.
So I liked Swim the Fly- the first book with these same goofball boy characters by Don Calame-a funny coming of age story about teen boys in the summer wanting to see a girl naked (note: the plan backfires miserably). I picked the pseudo-sequel, Beat the Band (you don’t actually have to read Swim the Fly to get it) audiobook up because I needed something to listen to, and was a little curious.
I had NO IDEA just how much I would laugh out loud at the crazy antics of Cooper and his two amigos, nor the number of times I would cringe at Cooper’s stupidity in failing to realize that the girl he has to work with -who he sees as totally bringing down his reputation (really Cooper-you are NOT THAT COOL so get over yourself) – has been completely bullied by mean girls and is so much cooler than he can possibly understand.
My favorite scene-when Cooper and buddies are in a drugstore and Cooper decides that he should split up all of his contraceptive items (purchased for his health project on contraceptives with the under-appreciated Helen). His one friend Sean balks at the idea, so Coop does what any sophomore boy would do-he sneaks some in to Sean’s basket anyway. Of course, the elderly woman at Sean’s cash register can’t get the item to ring up, so she loudly requests over the PA system for the manager to tell her the price of the spermicidal lube – completely traumatizing Sean.
It is this wacky adolescent boy humor and so many scenes that made me both cringe and better understand the teenage boy mindset that truly made me love this book. I do also appreciate that Cooper finally (agonizingly slowly, but finally) recognizes the cost of believing in high school reputations, and the message about the ugliness of rumors is made, but not with a heavy hand.
The reader, Nick Podehl, made me laugh with his wise-cracking voice and his very Cooper-esque outrage over petty details. I actually still remember all the character names because his unique voice can be called up at any moment when considering the book.
I got my copy of Beat the Band from my local library, so alas, no book to give away to you!Happy Listening! Sarah
We’re excited to be today’s stop on The Shadow Girl blog tour. The book sounds super creepy spine tingly good. Just read the description below, the tiny excerpt and then watch video of the area where the scene takes place and you’ll see what we mean.
Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she’s with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I’m crazy.
For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily’s movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily’s secret.
But when Lily’s father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily’s mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily’s own identity
When I began writing The Shadow Girl and started thinking about the love story between Lily and Ty that is woven into the mystery, I knew the perfect place for them to meet in private for the first time, away from the watchful eyes of Lily’s mother. If you’ve been following this blog tour, you already know that I based the story’s fictional location on the real location of a cabin my husband and I own in the Spanish Peaks area of Colorado. Every time my husband and I go there, we ride four-wheelers or drive our Jeep to the “Springhouse Trail,” then hike past a small waterfall to a clearing with a trickling stream and patches of wild raspberries. When I wrote the scene in the book in which Lily meets Ty at the clearing, I concentrated more on that destination and what takes place there, than on the hike down the trail to get to it. Nevertheless, it’s a nice hike through the forest, and the only thing I changed about it is the way the waterfall tumbles down the mountain. I made it so that Lily had to pass under the waterfall, when in reality, she would pass across the top of it where it flows beneath the ground before descending down the hill. It seemed more visual that way, and I thought it would be easier for the reader to picture.
I chose this location in the woods for the setting of a scene for other reasons besides the beauty of the place. It provides real insight into Lily. Some people might be nervous about being alone in a forest, but she has grown up hiking by herself in the woods, and she is obviously comfortable being alone there, surrounded by the trees, the birds, the animals, and the quiet. In fact, she is more comfortable alone in these surroundings than she is with people. That’s because Lily is never really alone; she’s never without Iris. And because Lily is so tuned in to Iris’s essence, she easily tunes into the emotions of other people, too, as she does with Ty in this scene when she takes the SpringhouseTrail to meet him:
I think I’ll get to the springhouse before Ty and surprise him, but instead he surprises me. His car is already parked behind it when I arrive. I pull up next to it and cut my engine, then walk the narrow rocky pathway that crosses beneath a small waterfall.
When I reach the clearing, I see Ty throwing rocks across the creek, his back to me. I pause in the shelter of the trees to watch him. It’s as if he’s trying to torture the opposite bank, pummeling it with stones in rapid succession, bruising the sodden carpet of moss, the fallen leaves.
After a few seconds, he stops chunking rocks and sits down on a boulder at the creek’s edge, his forearms crossing his knees. He’s not wearing the bandanna now, and as he stares into the trickling water, his hair falls over his forehead, gleaming in the sun. He seems so lost in thought that I almost don’t want to disturb him. But the wind does it for me. A gust rushes past me, clattering the tree limbs above.
Ty turns as if startled by the sound, and when he spots me his face lights up and he grins. “Hey!” He pushes to his feet. “You’re early.”
Starting toward him, I say, “So are you.”
He reaches out a hand and helps me across the uneven jumble of rocks in the gulley and over to the edge of the burbling creek. “I was afraid you might not come.”
“Mom decided to nap instead of going into town so I was able to sneak out.” I realize that I’m still gripping his hand, and drop it, although I don’t want to. “You have any trouble finding this place?”
“Not at all. It’s an amazing spot. Isolated.” His eyes meet mine.
“Not always. The bears like it.” I point out the green plants flanking both sides of the slender stream and poking up between low-lying, slick gray boulders. “This is a raspberry patch. By mid-August it’ll be thick with fruit. More than enough for the bears and us, too.”
“I doubt the bears would be happy to share,” Ty says with a laugh.
“You just have to hold your ground. Stare them down.”
He squints at me, his amused expression doing crazy things to my insides. “You’ve done that?” he asks, tilting his head to one side.
“Yeah. A black bear came up on me here a couple of years ago. I figured she could run faster over rocks than I could, so I just stayed put and glared at her with my mouth stuffed with raspberries.”
“She eventually took off, and I threw up.”
He leans his head back and laughs.
I laugh, too, then go quiet. “I guess you must think it’s ridiculous that I have to sneak off to meet up with you.”
“Not ridiculous.” Ty crouches and dips his hand into the stream, letting the water flow through his fingers. “Maybe a little old-fashioned, but that’s cool. It just shows that your Mom cares about you.”
“I guess. What about your parents? Are they strict?” I cringe inside. Stupid question. He’s traveling alone. How strict could they be?
“They probably aren’t strict enough,” Ty says, as if reading my thoughts. He picks up a stone and tosses it across the stream, lightly this time, but I detect a hint of tension in his shoulders and his words. “What was it like for you growing up here? I mean, not many people have an entire forest right outside their door.”
The air is damp and musky and alive with energy. I breathe it in, feeling revived like I always do when I come to this spot. “I loved growing up here.”
“Don’t you ever get lonely?”
I think of Iris and how isolated my childhood would’ve been without her. “Sometimes,” I say. “But I’ve learned to be alone.”
I thought you might like to see the Springhouse Trail and the clearing in this scene for yourself, so I made a couple of videos the last time I was there. The first one includes an oddly-angled close-up of me doing weird facial expressions, talking out of the side of my mouth, panting, and sniffing. (Yes, I have many talents ). Enjoy!
Hi Stacy. Thank you so much for having me on your blog to talk about Abby Road. Lovely place you have here!
Please, give our readers your best elevator pitch for ABBY ROAD. Abby Road is a rom-com about a famous singer named Abigail Kelly. When the story opens, she’s been working, touring, recording non-stop for five years. There’s a break in her schedule and she runs away to a secluded beach for a summer vacation and for some major decompression. There, she meets a hunky surf shop owner. Shenanigan ensue, romance blooms. But will that last when the summer ends and the pressure of being under the spotlight returns?
What is it about Abby that draws the readers in, that makes her relatable to others? I’ve had readers tell me how much they felt for Abby and understood what she was going through. Let’s face it, none of us are rock stars, but on some level, most women have experienced loss, pressure at the work place, feelings of inadequacy, guilt and depression, as well as overwhelming love. I worked really hard at making Abby relatable…which was difficult at first, seeing as she’s famous. So I did quite a bit of “method acting” as I wrote the book. I put myself in Abby’s superstar shoes and tried to figure out what I would do if I was in her situation. I think that made her more of a “regular” girl. She has parts of all of us in her.
Without giving too much away, which scene was your favorite to write? Oh, this is a tough question, because there are so many. I love the scene when Abby and Todd first meet. I love their first kiss. But I also loved to write when things started going very wrong for her. When something makes me cry as I’m writing it, I hope some of that emotion carries over onto the page. I cried many times (both happy tears and sad tears) while writing Abby Road.
We’d love to know what you been reading this year, any book recommendations? I just started reading The Mystery of Mercy Close, the new Marian Keyes novel. She lives in Ireland so it’s not available here in America yet, but a friend took a trip in England and snagged me a copy. I’m already loving it so hard! All of her books are wonderful and clever. I’ve never read such sparkling dialogue. She’s a brilliant writer. She can take a tragic theme and add warmth and humor. It’s a real skill; one that I envy!
About Abby Road by Ophelia London Touted by the tabloids as the biggest rock star of our generation, Abigail Kelly is used to being in the spotlight. But beyond the glam of Hollywood, her world is falling apart. Still reeling from the death of her brother and wilting under the iron fist of Max, her manager, Abby banishes herself to the secluded beaches of Florida for the summer, thinking some anonymity and sunshine are just what she needs. What she finds, instead, is Todd, an ex-marine eager to embrace life after war. Together, Abby and Todd find the balance Abby’s life has been missing.
That is, until Max resurfaces, demanding Abby return to Los Angeles to record her band’s newest album. As the pressures of public appearances, paparazzi, and late-night recordings start to mount, Abby will have to risk everything or lose the life she always dreamed of.
Ophelia London’s ABBY ROAD is a love letter to music—both the kind you cherish and the kind you create—as well as a beautiful love story that proves even when everyone in the world can recognize your face, the only people who matter are those who can see inside your heart.
Y’all. Today we have the pleasure of hosting the dark and wonderful YA author Amy Carol Reeves on the show. We talk Ripper, the first book in the Ripper series and then get down to bushiness discussing Renegade, book number 2. If you’re a fan of Jack the Ripper tales, than this is the series for you and hello, Renegade is blurbed as “Brimming with romance and danger, the suspenseful Ripper series continues.” What more could one want?
We also discuss writing, other YA books and more!!
Without further ado, here is the fabulous cover of SCORCHED by Mari Mancui…
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Brown is used to her grandfather’s crazy stories, so she never believed the latest treasure he brought home was a real dragon’s egg. Not until their home is invaded by soldiers trying to steal it and a strange boy who tells her the world as she knows it will be wiped out in a fiery dragon war—unless they work together to stop it. Meantime, there’s a different voice whispering to Trinity, calling to her, telling her what to do…the dragon inside her egg is not ready to give up without a fight.
Coming September 3rd 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire, but until then you must add to your goodreads.
This cover screams, “READ ME NOW, READ ME NOW.” Which, is exactly what we’re saying. *hint hint Sourcebooks Fire*
What does Mari think? It all started with one of those Scholastic Book Club flyers, being passed around my elementary school. As I scanned the pages my eyes fell to one particular book and I found I couldn’t look away. The cover depicted a mighty dragon, filling up almost the entire page—claws outstretched, teeth bared, fire blasting from its throat. At the bottom, there stood a girl, wielding a mighty sword, determined and unafraid as she took on a creature ten times her size.
The book was Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown. And the cover is still one of my favorites—even today. (As is the book itself!) In fact, I reread the paperback so many times it eventually fell apart. But my love for dragons has lasted forever.
Now I have my own dragon book. Set in our world—in our time—with one last dragon egg, unearthed from a melting glacier and ready to hatch.
But will this dragon have the power to save our world? Or will its very existence serve to tear us apart?
Because we’re cool (oaky, really Sourcebooks Fire is cool) we have the first chapter for you to read, prepare yourselves for greatness…
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry Publisher: Amulet Books Release Date: May 1, 2012 Find the author: website / Facebook / Twitter From Goodreads.com: This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into [...]
Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith Publisher: Candlewick Press Release Date: January 24, 2012 Links: cynsations, goodreads Prepare for a hell of a ride as Cynthia Leitich Smith calls on characters from her previous novels – and conjures up new ones – for a climactic showdown. When “slipped” angel Zachary and his werewolf pal, Kieren, arrive [...]
It’s May and it’s time for another round of BOOK BUZZ. This month’s books have a creepy death theme, but we’re rolling with it. Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charaline Harris May 7th 2013 by Ace Alas, the end of an era has come and the biggest question on everyone’s [...]