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Pub. Date: December 2010
Format: Paperback , 320pp
ISBN-13: 9781439190333

SYNOPSIS

Sovereign Power. Eternal Pleasure.

Revealed at last in this new vampire saga for the ages: the true, untold story of the “Virgin Queen” and her secret war against the Vampire King of England. . . .

On the eve of her coronation, Elizabeth Tudor is summoned to the tomb of her mother, Anne Boleyn, to learn the truth about her bloodline—and her destiny as a Slayer. Born to battle the bloodsucking fiends who ravage the night, and sworn to defend her beloved realm against all enemies, Elizabeth soon finds herself stalked by the most dangerous and seductive vampire of all.

He is Mordred, bastard son of King Arthur, who sold his soul to destroy his father. After centuries in hiding, he has arisen determined to claim the young Elizabeth as his Queen. Luring her into his world of eternal night, Mordred tempts Elizabeth with the promise of everlasting youth and beauty, and vows to protect her from all enemies. Together, they will rule over a golden age for vampires in which humans will exist only to be fed upon. Horrified by his intentions, Elizabeth embraces her powers as a Slayer even as she realizes that the greatest danger comes from her own secret desire to yield to Mordred . . . to bare her throat in ecstasy and allow the vampire king to drink deeply of her royal blood.

As told by Lucy Weston, the vampire prey immortalized in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this spellbinding account will capture your heart and soul—forever.


My Review

This was a really good book.  I read it over a few days and enjoyed it, though I wish there was more to it.  The ending just broke off abruptly, leaving me wanting more.  The author does have a website set up at www.lucywestonvampire.com/lucyweston/, as well as pages on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. 

Elizabeth's story is intertwined with Mordred's, the bastard son of Arthur who made a pact and became a vampire, slaying his own father to gain control of the throne.  His lover, Morgaine, stood against him but was unable to completely defeat him.  Elizabeth is a descendant of Morgaine, the slayer promised to come to defeat Mordred.

This is said to be the first in a sumptuous new series, so I look forward to reading more.



 


Delirium, by Lauren Oliver



Pub. Date: February 2011
Format: Hardcover , 448pp
Age Range: Young Adult
ISBN: 9780061726828

SYNOPSIS

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.  They didn't understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold.

Things are different now.  Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen.  Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured.  A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable:  She falls in love.


My Review

Lena has always looked forward to the day she'll be cured of amor deliria nervosa.  She's seen firsthand the effects it has on the uncured, girls who weep and cry - loudly proclaiming their love for a boy.  One girl managed to escape the doctors and leaped to her death while in the grips of the disease.  Lena was told that her own mother committed suicide in the name of love.

Then she meets a boy named Alex, and a whole new world is revealed to her.  One without monitors, without someone telling her what to do and how to behave, one full of love.  A modern twist on the tale of Romeo and Juliet.


Michael Spradlin’s third novel in his Youngest Templar series, ORPHAN OF DESTINY, comes out on October 28th.

Description:

Tristan and his companions—the fiery archer Robard Hode and the assassin maid Maryam—have escaped to England. But tragedy has occurred to Tristan’s beloved abbey while they were on the Third Crusade, and Robard’s home in Sherwood Forest suffers under the rule of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Many obstacles still prevent them from delivering the Holy Grail into safe hands. Tristan must defeat the evil Sir Hugh in one final battle. And he must learn the secret of his birth, a secret Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine are willing to kill to protect!
 
More info here: www.michaelspradlin.com/books/youngest-templar/orphan.php




The Search for WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi



Pub. Date: September 21,2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN-13: 9781416983101

SYNOPSIS

When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.” Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong.

Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout reveal another dimension of Tony DiTerlizzi’s vision, and, for those readers with a webcam, the book also features Augmented Reality in several places, revealing additional information about Eva Nine’s world.

MY TAKE

From the moment I started reading, I was completely sucked into Eva Nine's world.  I made a few guesses as to what might happen later on while I was reading, and was pleasantly surprised at how things actually turned out.  Eva Nine had lead a very sheltered and protected life, and was completely unprepared for what the world really held in store for her.  The book is a coming of age story for Eva, as instead of trying to go back to the safe and secure world she once knew, she bravely ventures forth, trying to find answers to her questions.

What makes this book even more fun and interesting is the interactive features that are available for it as well.  (Though at this time, since I only have an ARC, I couldn't look at all of them.)  Readers need to have a webcam, and download  D'Vision in order to access the interactive content, but there are also regular maps available.  The website is wondla.com and all you have to do is go to the lower right hand corner and click on the "Click Here for WONDLA-vision" icon, then follow the instructions on the next page.


 


Matched, by Ally Condie



 

Publication Date:  November 2010
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Format: Hardcover, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9780525423645

Synopsis

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


My Review:

I could NOT put this book down!  From the start of the book when Cassia is heading to her Matching Banquet, to the Final Banquet with her grandfather, to the end of the book where she has to make the choice to follow her own choices, this book was absolutely riveting. 

The Society controls everything:  from the food people eat, to their jobs, when they die, even what music or writing or movies are preserved.  At some point in the not too distant past from the events in the book, a group of people decided on 100 items in various subjects that would be saved.  100 poems, 100 paintings, 100 songs, and so forth.  They believed that there was too MUCH information for people and that 100 items in each category was the perfect number.  Deviating from 'acceptable' behavior is not permitted.  Losing an item results in an infraction.  Too many infractions and you are considered an Aberration, or perhaps even an Anomaly.  If you step one foot out of bounds, there is an Official reprimanding you, warning you, or even citing you.

While reading this book, I couldn't help but see the similarities between it and The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  A controlled society where the majority of the citizens are passive, ready and willing to accept whatever they are told.  Cassia's parents rebel quietly in their own way, so does Cassia's grandfather.  

The story ends on an almost abrupt note, leaving you wondering what Cassia will choose to do, now that her family has, for all intents and purposes, been banished to the Farmlands because her mother knows too much about something forbidden.  I will be eagerly waiting for the sequel to this book, because I would love to know more about the Society, how it came to be, and what Cassia will do to follow her own choices and be true to her heart.

I give this book five stars, and cannot wait to read more.

The Poison Diaries, by Maryrose Wood

 

Synopsis:

In the right dose, everything is a poison.  Including love...

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.

When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .


My Review:

I had such high hopes for this book.  It sounded like such an interesting premise, but there wasn't very much to the book.  Jessamine and her father, Thomas, both live in an abandoned cathedral - which Jessamine refers to as 'The Cottage'.  They both care for gardens full of plants, including a poison garden, which Jessamine is forbidden to enter.

At the start of the book, Jessamine is waiting for her father to return home, but is also finally responsible for soaking belladonna seeds in preparation for planting.  At sixteen, she is eager to start learning more about the plants in the poison garden, to take on more responsibility to help her father, but he still views her as a child and refuses to let her help.  They continue to live their solitary existence, until one day when a stranger comes riding up to their home with a burden for Thomas.  That burden turns out to be Weed, an orphan boy believed to have cured mad people and made sane people mad.

In the course of the book, Jessamine and Weed grow closer together and eventually fall in love.  For reasons never clearly explained, Thomas poisons his daughter on the same night he announced that she and Weed shall be betrothed. 

It is at this point that the book took a turn into the absurd.  Weed is able to hear the thoughts of plants, and is very afraid of the poison garden.  Yet he enters it to search for a cure for Jessamine.  The plant lord Prince Oleander.  Weed is given three tasks to do in order to get the cure to save Jessamine's life.  The first, to stand by and do nothing as an innocent newborn ewe is killed by a raven.  The second, to kill a stoat that is attacking a rabbit....only to discover afterward that the stoat left behind babies that will now also die slow deaths.  The third....to kill the man who poisoned Jessamine. 

Prince Oleander stops Weed from killing Thomas, giving him the cure to save Jessamine...but in the process, Weed must leave and never return.

The first part of the book kept my interest up, but once I hit the latter portion of the book, I had to push myself to keep going.  It grew too disjointed...first talking from Jessamine's point of view, then from Weed's.  The ending of the book left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Thomas had discovered that Weed had the ability to hear plants, and he wanted to use that ability.  But Thomas had also made the mistake of gathering poisonous plants from all over the world, putting them in one garden together, where supposedly they would grow stronger.  Strong enough perhaps to influence the thoughts of others. 

I would have enjoyed the book more, had the fanciful bit of Prince Oleander been left out.  To me, it would have made it a much more compelling story if Weed had worked to expose Thomas, and not fallen into the unseen hands of the plant prince. 

This is the first in a planned series, and it may be interesting to read the next to see what happens...if Weed's story is followed, or if Jessamine's story is followed.

Three of five stars.  A light read, mostly entertaining, but too weird at the end to keep me enchanted in the world.

I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore



  • Pub. Date: August 2010
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Format: Hardcover, 440pp
  • ISBN-13: 9780061969553
Synopsis

 

Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.



I managed to pick this book up as an advanced reader copy, although it is currently on the shelf at the bookstore. 

'John Smith' is number four.  He and his Cepan (basically a guardian), Henri, have been on the run ever since seeking shelter on Earth.  The Mogadorians, after laying waste to their own planet and destroying all its resources, turned their eyes to the planet Lorien, attacking and destroying it in their greedy search for more raw resources.  John and eight other children and their Cepans manage to escape, fleeing to Earth to blend in, to wait until the children have grown into their Legacies, their powers.  A charm is placed on all of them, ordering them from 1 to 9, a charm that will be broken if any of them ever come face to face with each other.  They can be hunted, they can be tracked, but they cannot be killed out of order.

In the book, John and Henri have just left the Florida Keys for the small town of Paradise, Ohio.  The rules are always the same:  Keep your head down, don't do anything to stand out, always be prepared to leave on a moment's notice.  All of this is thrown out the window as John finally develops his first Legacy -- an immunity to fire.  He also meets a beautiful girl and slowly starts to get involved with her, despite Henri's warnings to the contrary.

Henri warns John not to get involved with the human girl, Sarah, but he also goes out of his way to give John and Sarah private time together.  John also doesn't keep his head down to avoid undue attention.  He tangles with several of the students in the school, fighting them, which raises questions about how he could be so strong.  Part of his first Legacy is the ability to create light with his hands, which he uses in front of other students, raising even more questions about just WHO or WHAT he is.

The stakes are raised higher when, during a party, a student's house catches on fire and John uses his new-found immunity to fire to run into the house to save Sarah.  He is caught on camera, and from there the action explodes.  Mogadorians move in for the kill, tearing down everything in their path to get to John.  In the midst of the fight, number six appears, breaking the charm that protects all of the children.  Together, she, John, Henri, and a few of the regular students are caught in the middle of a fight for their lives.  They destroy the soldiers sent after them, but at a cost.

The book was rather interesting, and was a quick entertaining read, but it brought up a lot of questions.

If the Lorians felt that it was possible that the Mogadorians could attack them, why weren't better safeguards in place?
Why were only nine children, out of an entire planet, saved?
It was easy to understand why Sam accepted who John was so quickly, but when other students found out, they also accepted it with little question.  Why?

A good read, and worth it for the entertainment value.  I'd be interesting in reading the rest in the planned series to see how it all plays out.

It'll be interesting to see the movie too, which is planned for 2011

Four of Five stars, simply because of such an interesting premise.