Thursday, July 30, 2015

Steven Universe - Rebeca Sugar

Steven universe is your normal everyday kid. Or is he?

Steven's life is not was it seems. He is part of the Crystal Gems. A group of magical beings that fight monsters that try to cause havoc in his home city. A cute story about team work and facing every day challenges when you are growing up as a half-alien.

Cute art and colorful designs once you pic up this comic book you won't want to stop reading.

Read all about while you wait for the show!

Deadly Design - Debra Dockter

Kyle and Connor are twins, but Kyle was born two years later.  Their parents are carriers of a fatal disease called spinal muscular atrophy, and their mom has had six miscarriages.  They went to a fertility doctor who designed them in the lab, and while Connor was inside his mom Kyle was frozen in the lab.  Kyle started asking questions right after his preschool graduation.  His dad explained things to him later that day.  Connor knew they were twins, but was told to keep it to himself until their parents felt it was the right time to tell Kyle.  Fast forward eleven years to Connor's last track meet and graduation a few weeks later.  Kyle is considering not going to either one.  Emma, Connor's girlfriend, is trying to convince him to go.  She tells him that Connor would want him there to support him.  After getting the guilt trip by his father Kyle goes to Connor's last track meet.  He runs into Cami, Emma's best friend, and she is surprised to see him there.  After the meet they all go to Luigi's to celebrate.  Cami and Kyle are off to the side while Kyle's parents praise Connor and Emma about how they will graduate in a few weeks and then after the summer head to Kansas State University.  Later that night Connor comes in Kyle's room and they play video games for half the night.  The next morning Kyle goes to wake Connor up and finds him dead in his bed.  The day after the funeral Kyle's parents tell him Emma wants him to read Connor's valedictorian speech at graduation.  He reluctantly agrees, but thinking he's not worthy to read his brothers words.  At graduation Kyle reads the speech that would make Connor proud of him.  Shortly after graduation the autopsy results come back saying Connor died from a heart attack.  Kyle goes and gets tested, and the tests come back clean.  As Kyle comes back from getting a job application he hears on the news that Alexis Warren collapsed and died, a day before her eighteenth birthday.  His parents knew her and her parents from the fertility clinic where Connor and Kyle were made.  Later that night Kyle does some research and he finds a blog for another kid Triagon Summers, who also died on his eighteenth birthday back in April.  The next day Kyle tells Cami what he found out, and asks her to take him to the fertility clinic where it all started.  They see his dad walk out of the clinic when they get there.  Kyle talks to Dr. Preston who says all he can do is direct Kyle to Dr. Hodges, the same thing he told Kyle's dad.  Dr. Hodges tells Kyle's dad, Kyle, and Cami that Dr. Mueller, the one who started Genesis, disappeared eighteen years ago.  Dr. Hodges explains to them how after fertilization happens the embryos with undesired traits are discarded, leaving only the best traits.  Dr. Hodges suggests they find who ever is left and do genetic screens on them.  Kyle puts out a Facebook post about a missing dog named James M. to try and make contact with one of the other Mueller babies.  He goes out for a run and encounters a bully named Teddy.  As they start to fight and Emma shows up and intervenes.  After the fight is broken up Emma tells him she needs a fresh start and she's leaving and moving to Minnesota.  Kyle says good-bye to Emma the next morning, and goes to eat at Don's Diner where Cami spots him and joins him.  They see a strange man they had noticed at Connor's track meet and the Sac and Save taking pictures.  They think nothing of it and make plans for later that night.  They set off fireworks as a distraction from everything, and Kyle contemplates about how things will never be the same again.  On the Fourth of July Kyle and his parents head down to Dallas to have tests run on him.  He meets a few other of the kids made by Dr. Mueller, and runs into James M. in the flesh.  Amber only has a few weeks till she's eighteen and James has a month. Kyle runs into Amber again and as they are talking Kyle sees a woman that was also at their hotel.  As Kyle tries to figure out who she is Amber collapses and dies. The doctors tell everyone they tried to save Amber but couldn't.  They have mapped out their DNA and found a sequence that causes catastrophic heart failure around the age of eighteen.  Their solution is to put a pacemaker into James to keep his heart going.  If it doesn't work then James will die in a few weeks.  While waiting for the taxi outside the hotel Kyle spots the same person who was at Connor's track meet taking pictures.  He chases after him and the guy gets hit by a car.  Before the guy dies he tells Kyle he was made differently, and he won't make it to seventeen.  Can Kyle figure out a way to live beyond seventeen? 

This was an intriguing book.  It shows how much we trust science to make everything perfect, including children.  Most parents will do anything for their children, but what happens when science takes over?  What is to stop the scientist from using the children as guinea pigs for their own personal goals?  Children are the future of humanity, and if we let science manipulate them then humanity may not have much of a future. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

During Kelsey's junior year of high school, her family moved away. She started fresh at a new school and gladly left behind her first two years of school. During her senior year, however, her past found its way back into her life. When David moves to her new school, she can't avoid the memories of the fact that they'd been inseprable best friends. That was before he started dating girls who hated her and suddenly things became complicated. One event changed it so that for an entire year she didn't have any communication with him. Now he's back in her life and she has to figure out if she ever really let go of the past.

This book is told in alternating chapters between present (senior year) and past (freshman and sophomore year). It jumps between the fact that Kelsey is currently at odds with the fact that David is in her life and the way things had been between them. The novel is fairly typical in the teen drama department. You have the tension between David and Ryan's current boyfriend - not only in terms of Kelsey's affections but also because they're both competing for spots on the baseball team. There's also drama as Kelsey sees her best friend dating someone and not seeing the same side of the girl that she sees. Then there's also the fact that Kelsey doesn't fully understand her own feelings - then and now - as she struggles with him being just a friend and not more. When it comes to the big culminating event that drove them apart, it's a little bit anticlimactic. In my opinion, it makes Kelsey's reaction to completely cut him out of her life a little juvenile and that their entire relationship meant nothing to her. 

The novel is a good read if you're looking for teen romance and a tale of second chances. The drama is fairly typical, but what would the life of a teen be without drama? It has more meat than other teen romances, so it is worth picking up.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Messengers by Edward Hogan

In the Final Destination movie series, people try to cheat death. In this novel, certain people are messengers of death. While one messenger believes death is inevitable once they receive the message, another tries to change the course, hoping that there aren't negative consequences.

Frances has this odd condition where she blacks out and the draws a weird picture when she wakes up. To everyone else, the drawing are abstract shapes but to her, the drawings have emerged as detailed pictures of someone's death. None of it makes sense until she meets Peter who has her deliver a postcard. The day after she delivers the postcard, she witnesses the exact scene she saw on the card. Peter explains to her that they are "Messengers." They draw people's death and have two days to get the person to see the picture (even though the people only see shapes) or else someone they love will die instead. Peter has always delivered the message, but when Frances draws the death of someone she knows, she intervenes and prevents the person from dying. Now she's on a mission with Peter's help to do what they can to cheat death. When Death changes the game, though, they begin to wonder if they really have any chance of making a difference. 

The struggle of being a messenger really pulls you in, although the novel has a slow start. Frances is dealing with a lot of personal issues with a mother that's abandoned her and a brother that's on the run. A lot of time is spent on that and her memories of her brother, and while it seems to drag out the story, its importance does emerge at the end. The story is really engaging and pulls at you emotionally as you realize the sacrifices these people make and the burden they carry. Every picture is a mystery and you're right along with them, hoping that they're successful in solving it. Then, once they get on the path to saving people, the stakes are raising and you're praying for a happy ending. Failure is ultimately devastating to them and to you. I think this novel takes place in England, so there are some language things that seem odd, but nothing that detracts from the story. The only thing I really did not like in the novel was the death of a cat, which seemed a little cruel, although maybe I'm just overly sensitive as a cat lover.

This novel draws you in the with mysteries of a messenger. With a ticking clock over their heads, they're up against Death and you're along for the ride. It is definitely worth the read. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Third Twin by CJ Omololu

Having an identical twin sounds like a lot of fun, especially when you think about all of the hi-jinx you can't away with. It's a lot of fun until people die and you look exactly like the killer.

Ava and Lexi are identical twins. Alicia is their made-up triplet they've created so that they can date guys when they're just looking for a little bit of fun. It's all fun and games until one guy gets a little too hands with Lexi while she's pretending to be Alicia. Although she wants to put an end to "Alicia," Ava is having too much fun. When guys that Alicia has dated, though, start turning up dead, it's not so much fun, especially when Lexi becomes the prime suspect. While she knows she didn't do it and she knows that Alicia isn't real, the only explanation is that Ava killed these people. Is it possible that her sister really is a killer, or is there something else going on?

The novel starts off a little bit slow in building the suspense, but once the situation develops and the stakes are raised, it become a roller coaster ride as Lexi tries to prove her innocence and protect the people she cares about. The book has its twists and surprises. Some teen mysteries can be a little over the top in plausibility, but I think this novel does a good job of toeing the line without going over. It is definitely worth the read if you're looking for a suspenseful murder mystery. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Galgorithm - Aaron Karo

After a girl Shane nicknames Voldemort breaks his heart, he becomes a love guru to the hopeless guys at Kingsview High.  Shane has come up with a formula he has named the galgorithm to help out the clueless guys.  He doesn't charge for his services, as he believes this is a calling for him.  His next client is a skinny kid named Reed, who has a crush on Marisol.  She didn't know who he was until Reed accidentally hit her with a tennis ball in gym class.  From there they became friends on social media.  Now in Shane's view he's ready to ask her out.  When he's not giving out advice to the hopeless romantics, Shane spends his time with his best friend, Jak.  They have known each other since they were babies.  As they hang out Jak is telling Shane that Harrison, resident jock, and Rebecca, the one who is involved in everything at school, have hooked up.  They don't understand how, but it happened.  The next day at school Anthony and Brooke a.k.a. Hedgehog and Balloon, tell him they want to set him up on a date with Tristen Kellog, the hottest girl of the junior class.  Shane declines as he remembers what Voldemort did to his heart.  As Shane heads to his next class his old math teacher, Mr. Kimbrough, comes looking for him.  He wants advice on how to ask out the history teacher Ms. Soloman.  Shane tells him to do a group e-mail but put her address in the BCC, so it looks like he's sending the e-mail to the group when it is going to her.  Mr. Kimbrough thanks him and they agree not to mention this conversation to anyone.  On Saturday Shane is helping Reed pick out new clothes.  A few girls overhear Shane and Reed talking, and Shane asks where they got the belt buckle.  The girl with the nose ring points to the display.  Shane asks if it's for her boyfriend and she says no it's for her.  She asks if that is weird.  Shane asks Reed what he thinks and he freezes for a moment.  Then he answers it is weird, but the color doesn't go with her nose ring.  After the girls walk away Reed is amazed at what happened and puts his trust into Shane.  Later that night Shane is hanging out with Jak and asks her if it's a good idea for him to go out with Tristen.  She thinks so and he should go for it.  After school the following week there is a college fair, and this is a good way for Reed to talk to Marisol.  She is with Rebecca and while Shane distracts Rebecca about senior parking, Reed talks to Marisol.  Everything works to a T and Reed gets a date with Marisol. The next day he goes on the double date with Tristan along with Anthony and Brooke.  It goes well and he already has a second date with her.  The following day Shane is held up by Mr. Kimbrough.  Everything went well at the Civil War exhibit and wants to know how to get a second date.  Shane gives him more advice, but is questioning whether his methods work with adults.  Jak is pissed at him as they get to the gym to work out on free passes.  He tells her he got held up in Spanish.  While they are there Tristen is texting him and Jak makes fun of him about his textual relationship with Tristen.  Later that night Shane is driving to the beach to meet up with Adam.  Adam tells him that Olivia cheated on him and ended it.  Shane tells him that everything will be OK and he'll meet someone who understands how busy he is.  The next day Reed is telling Shane about his date with Marisol when Harrison throws a baseball in their direction.  As he comes to get it Harrison is pissed at Reed thinking he was out with Rebecca, when Reed was out with Marisol and Rebecca showed up.  Later while Shane is with Tristan at the mall for their second date they run into Jak.  Tristen invites her to stay for lunch, but Shane communicates with her that he wants it to be him and Tristen.  The following day Jak plays hooky from English class so she and Shane can go get lunch.  When Shane comes out of the bathroom Adam is there hitting on Jak, using some of the galgorithm techniques.  After some awkward moments Jak suggests they hang out sometime.  Adam agrees and heads off to class while Jak and Shane go to lunch. Later on Shane and Tristen head to the movies, but the movie they want to see is sold out.  They head back to her house where she questions him about past relationships.  He realizes that unlike Voldemort, Tristen is into him.  The next day Shane runs into Adam at the beanery waiting for Jak.  Shane waits with Adam until Jak shows up and leaves them be.  After a few days Jak had two more complementary passes for the gym and she and Shane head there to work out.  They make friendly jabs at each other about who they are going out with.  They decide to go to one of the jock parties they hear about the following week.  The night of the party arrives and Jak is drinking like crazy, as she isn't comfortable in social situations.  Adam shows up followed by Rebecca.  Harrison comes over to give them crap about recycling, and then Tristen shows up.  Jak, who has had a lot to drink already, excuses herself and Shane follows shortly after.  Shane ducks into a bathroom after hearing Harrison and Rebecca argue, only to find Jak throwing up in the toilet.  Shane takes her home and as he is getting the vomit stained clothes off of her in the shower he realizes that he has feelings for her.  After this night everything begins to fall apart for Shane. 

I enjoyed this book and was laughing through out.  While it was funny, it was also serious when it had to be.  Especially after Shane realizes he has feelings Jak, and the awkwardness between them after.  No matter who you go out with, the one you might end up falling for is the one you least expect.  The one thing that bugged me was the way the passage of time was done.  Some times I couldn't tell if a few days or a few weeks had passed in some parts of the book.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Thor the Goddess of Thunder. Jason Aaron

Thor the Goddess of Thunder took an interesting turn in the current world of the marvel comic universe, they took one of the most well known male characters and passed the mantle off to a female character making her into the new Thor. this comic goes through how our current world treats most women, saying they aren't suited to do certain things. but the goddess of thunder shows the characters who say she shouldn't be Thor by kicking their buts and showing some girl power. If you would like to have a read of a new story arc in the marvel world and want to read some girl power, you would enjoy this comic.


Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Heir by Kiera Cass

When I read the third book in the Selection series, I thought it was the end of the trilogy and series. I was wrong and the series continues twenty years later with the story of their daughter in much of the same addicting fashion as the first few books.

After everything that America Singer and Prince Maxson accomplished at the end of The One, things in Illea aren't perfect. They've eliminated the caste system, but the people are having trouble adjusting to the new way of life and the fact that their next ruler will be a woman. Eadlyn is the firstborn of four children and the future ruler, ready to do what needs to be done to prove that a woman is capable of leading the country. With the unrest of the people, the king and queen feel that a happy distraction is called for, so they create a new Selection for Eadlyn to find a spouse. Although she eventually goes along with it, she's an independent and stubborn woman who doesn't want to get married and doesn't believe in love. While she initially planned to push the guys away, slowly a number of them start to work their way into her heart, including Kile, the son of her mother's best friend whom she always thought was annoying, Henri from Swendway who doesn't even speak English and his translator Erik who seems to understand Eadlyn even though he's not even a contestant, but then there are the others who have her questioning what her grand plan is with this competition like Ean who is more than willing to her forever companion without demanding love. The Selection is not without its bumps, but if Eadlyn can stop being so scared, she might be able to find the same kind of love that brought her mother and father together during their Selection.

This is the second to last book in the series - there will supposedly only be five books. While it is helpful to have read the first three books, one can pick up this book and work their way through it without complete knowledge of the prior novels. While it has much of the charm of the first books with the whole teenage "Bachelorette" dating game, Eadlyn is a bit of a brat and unlikable. It has been a year since I read the first novels, but I felt like I could root for America and the other characters, whereas for most of the novel Eadlyn is annoying. She comes off as stuck-up, too good for their entire process because she doesn't want a man. She can do it all on her own. Then she starts to grow and you start to like her and in the next breath she's back to her old ways. It's nice to see her come around near the end and it'll be interesting to see how things turn out in the conclusion. Knowing there's only one book left, though, I wish the love connections were a bit stronger come the end of this book - that it was down to the final four so that we could see who really mattered to her. There's a lot going on that it's hard to think it will all get the right amount of attention in one book. Yes, there are the four or five who she keeps gravitating to, but I wish it was a little clearer who she was thinking about (the first three books had the clearly defined love triangle with America). The author has a plan, so who am I to really say anything. I know, though, who my top three are and it'll be interesting to see if that's the direction Eadlyn goes.

This novel succeeds like the previous three to pull the reader in. It creates a dating game scenario and then gives you unique contestants for you to root for as the main character grows and realizes that love does not make one weak. With the conflict of her heart on top of a country uprising, there's more than enough pull to bring the reader back for the hopefully stellar conclusion of this entrancing series.