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. 
MMK



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.

T.B.
6/20/15

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.

~AW

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.
MMK

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Be Not Afraid by Cecilia Galante

Some of the most classic horror stories revolve around demon possession and the accompanying exorcism. This novel doesn't disappoint as the main character comes face-to-face with the demon inside another person and her own identity.

Ever since her mom committed suicide, Marin has had a special ability that allows her to see people's pain in the form of shapes and colors. She can't figure out if this is a blessing or a curse. In the meantime, she's doing her best to make it through school, which means avoiding Cassie who tricked Marin into a horrible experience months ago. When Cassie freaks out in the middle of mass, Marin's ability allowed her to see something odd inside Cassie right before the girl collapses in a seizure. Cassie's brother knows that something more than seizures is going on with his sister. Somehow there's a connection between the two girls, something that they need to explore if there's any hope of saving Cassie.

This book was an interesting experience into possession. While it deals with trying to save Cassie, it also dips into Marin's family issues surrounding her mother's death, coming to grips with her abilities, and typical teenage relationships. This novel has a nice balance and still proves to be creepy.
MMK

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman

Initially I liked discovering who the bad, greedy guy was, but when it kept changing rapidly right at the end of the book, I just thought it was silly and that it kind of ruined an otherwise nicely creepy story for me.

Are there truly fairies, water nixies and other magical creatures?  Are witches real, do they really wield power?  Some folks believe and some do not.

Five of the King's men rushed through the village of Nags End on their way to Beggars Drift in search of something and never return.  Later they were found dead, one all torn up.  Believers suspected something evil.  Others just a big wolf.  

But something surely was unleashed up there and folks keep dying, some all torn up, some neatly drained of all their blood.  It was thought that the arrival of Fiona, a relative of Rowan Rose might have been the beginning.

Rowan's best friend Tom falls madly in love with Fiona just before she too is killed but no one ever really suspects him.  There is an eerie funeral at which Fiona has been placed on display in a glass casket when town's folk believe bodies fouled by evil should be burned not buried.

A royal relative of the king arrives with a young princess and all stay with Rowan's family. They supposedly looking into the deaths of the five soldiers - their real purpose is much more sinister.

Rowan and Tom's brother Jude begin to investigate and work out what is happening at Nags end and how to stop it.  Tom, though he has asked Rowan to marry him with Fiona dead, does not love Rowan and is grieving and useless in the pursuit for the truth. 

Anyone who likes to read stories filled with witches, fairies, and other such beings should like this just fine.  They might not even mind the ending.  JDW 5/15/15

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Down

Connor's mom is ill and treatments are failing.  His father lives across the ocean in America with a new family.  His grandmother is nearby but not accustomed to messy boys.  He has a best friend and is bullied by a group of boys at school. Many nights when he tries to sleep, a monster appears in the shape of the tree outside his window.  It appears to be real.  It insists that Connor called it and it would go away once Connor understood why it was called.  For Connor things get worse and worse.  He does some things like trash his grandma's house that normally he would not do.  Folks treat him almost he is invisible, letting him get by with anything like not doing his homework.  He wants normal back but it will be a while before that happens.  As Connor faces all the feelings he has about what has been tragically happening in his life, he and readers understand the reason the monster exists.  And it is heart wrenching and it will make very many folks cry.  One of the truest, saddest stories ever.  JDW5/1//15

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Don't Stay Up Late - R.L. Stine

Lisa and her parents moved to Shadyside back in February, and it took her a little while to make some friends and have a boyfriend.  On the night of April 12th her parents thought she was staying in her room, but Lisa snuck out to be with her friends.  She is hanging out with Nate, Saralynn, and Isaac at the local burger place when Lisa's father shows up there.  Lisa forgets her phone, and tells her dad to turn around when their car is struck.  She see her dog run out of the car before losing consciousness.  In the hospital she has hallucinations of her father in the bed next to her.  Her mother tells her he didn't make it.  After being home from the hospital for a week she is still having nightmares of her father and the car accident.  Nate is allowed to come over the following week.  While he is there someone comes claiming they have found her dog.  Lisa tells the guy it's not her dog, and keeps hoping Monty will come home.  Later that night she hears howls outside and sees a tall figure running through the trees.  She goes outside to investigate and thinks she is dreaming.  Her mom finds her in the woods, and Lisa is still confused about the creature she thinks she saw.  The next day she heads over to Nate's before her appointment with Dr. Shein.  Her friends are shooting Saralynn's horror movie for film class, and the costume of the demon nearly scares Lisa to death.  She leaves and heads to her appointment.  Dr. Shein recommends Lisa go back to school and have something else to occupy her mind.  Lisa used to babysit her cousin and Dr. Shein knows of someone looking for a babysitter for their eight year old boy.  The thing is the woman and her son live on Fear Street.  Her friends try and get her to understand the curse of Fear Street is real and she shouldn't go there.  Nate takes her over to meet Brenda Hart and her son Harry.  After Brenda explains what she wants Lisa to do and Lisa meets Harry she accepts the job.  There is one warning from Brenda, don't ever let Harry stay up late.  Lisa starts the next day and everything is going fine.  After Harry is put to bed she see a shadow figure darting across the landing.  She goes to check on Harry, but he isn't in his bed.  She sees what looks like a demon from a horror movie jumping out the bedroom window.  She finds Harry safe but scared in the coat closet. She doesn't say anything to Brenda because she might think Lisa is crazy, and Lisa does need the money.  She tells her mom and Nate about the intruder, but both of them think it's a figment of her imagination. The next day she tells Dr. Shein about the incident.  She thinks Lisa did see something, but it could be from the impact her brain had from the accident.  Friday night they all go and see Isaac's band play.  While at the club Nate's former girlfriend Summer tells her that they have to talk about Nate.  Nate thinks nothing of it, but something is bugging Lisa about the encounter.  The following Monday while she is babysitting, Summer calls her phone.  She lets it go to voice mail, and then hears a noise in the kitchen.  It turns out to be Nate who came in through the back door when she didn't answer the doorbell.  He was checking to see if she was ok.  He leaves, and Lisa hears another noise.  She sees the demon creature at the bottom of the stairs.  She tries to ask it what it wants, but it hisses and spits at her.  It runs out the back door, when she hears a scream for help.  Lisa looks outside and doesn't see anyone.  Brenda comes home only to find Harry still awake.  He was pretending to sleep so he could stay up late.  Just as Lisa is ready to tell Brenda about the intruder, Nate comes to pick her up.  As she gets into the car something catches her eye across the street.  They find the body of Summer clawed to pieces.

I really enjoyed this book, as I have all of the Fear Street novels over the years.  It felt like I was in a horror movie while reading this book.  I really liked the twist at the end.  If memory serves me right I don't think it's been done in a Fear Street novel before this one.  I can't wait for more tales from Fear Street. 

T.B.
5/12/15