Friday, February 25, 2011

Book trailer for Delirium by Lauren Oliver

video

Review of The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey; Simon & Schuster, 2010.

In this sequel to Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist, Dr. Pellinore Worthrop and his young apprentice, Will Henry, travel to snowy Canada to search for fellow scientist and former best friend, John Chanler. Chanler had gone off to hunt for the Wendigo, known by the Indians as outiko, aka Lepto lurconis, a type of cannibalistic monster which is perpetually starving, even after gorging, and can travel on the wind! While in Canada, Dr. Worthrop and Will Henry are “deserted” by their guide, who has gone insane, and must travel back to civilization, carrying the ill John Chanler through freezing temperatures and many feet of snow. Once back in New York, Chanler seems to be getting worse, and Dr. Worthrop, who is in town for the annual congress of the Society for the Advancement of the Science of Monstrumology, orders him to be taken to the hospital. Much to Worthrop’s dismay, his teacher, Abram von Helrung, has decided to present a proposal to the society about the Wendigo, which Worthrop believes to be a myth! Will Henry is introduced to von Helrung’s thirteen-year-old niece, Lilly, who tries to lead Will astray, while Chanler escapes from the hospital and begins leaving a trail of blood and gore in his wake! He leads a band of monstrumologists on a chase to capture and kill him before he can kill, eat, and mutilate the poor immigrant residents of the New York City tenement neighborhoods.

Rick Yancey has produced another fantastic gory thriller! Many of the new characters in this book are extremely funny and likable! Muriel Chanler, John Chanler’s wife and Pellinore Worthrop’s former fiancĂ©’, is elegant, and presumptuous. Chanler, on the other hand, is portrayed as cynical and mean-spirited, and then, of course, as a monster! I find it interesting that Chanler’s monster speech patterns are reminiscent of Gollum’s in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Lilly, the teenage niece of von Helrung is a talkative “know-it-all”, and the scenes with Will and her are quite amusing! There are a number of cameo appearances by well-known historical figures, the most famous being Thomas Edison. The inclusion of Abram von Helrung is a veiled reference to Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing vampire hunter. The descriptions of 1888 New York City and, especially, its manure blocks, “crossing sweepers” and slums are dark and depressing, contrasting with those of the more prominent and wealthy parts of the city.

Readers will again have to get out their dictionaries, for there are many unusual words in the novel. There is plenty of blood and guts to keep the pages turning until the end! Even though this book is a sequel, readers will not necessarily need to read the previous volume. However, I do prefer The Monstrumologist over Rick Yancey’s most recent work. I highly recommend it for high school and public libraries!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sequel to Delirium by Lauren Oliver!

I just found out that a sequel is going to be coming out to Lauren Oliver's fabulous book, Delirium, which I reviewed recently!  The title is Pandemonium, but I have no release date right now!  Stay tuned!

Review of Ivy's Ever After by Dawn Lairamore


Ivy's Ever After by Dawn Lairamore; Holiday House, 2010.

Princess Ivory Isadora Imperia Irene, known as Ivy, heiress to the kingdom of Ardendale, finds out when she is ten-years-old about “The Dragon Treaty”. Under its terms, she is to be locked in a tower and guarded by a dragon until a prince can slay the dragon and lay claim to Ivy as his bride, her kingdom as his own, and the dragon’s treasure. The treaty is in effect to insure that Ardendale will always have a king and so that the dragons living in the nearby Smoke Sand Hills will not become extinct. When Prince Romil arrives with his entourage from faraway Glacia to fight the dragon, Ivy tries everything she can think of to persuade him to leave. She cannot bear the thought of such an unpleasant, arrogant prince ruling her beloved Ardendale. After being placed in the tower, she manages to escape, befriend a dragon, and hatch a plan to save Ardendale from sure destruction.

Ivy Ever After is a delightful fairy tale, with a twist on the stereotypical damsel in distress! The main characters are charming—Ivy is an unconventional, funny, and resourceful. Since Ivy has been grown up without a mom and has free rein of the entire kingdom, she is friends with everyone in court; in fact, her best friends, Rose and Clarinda, are daughters of the kitchen staff! The girls are loyal and fierce in their devotion to Ivy. Ivy’s nursemaid, Tildy, is loving, but disapproving of how Ivy behaves; Ivy’s father, the king, is a little addled, but dotes on his daughter and is happy to let her have fun while she is young. Elridge, the small dragon who was to guard the tower, is sweet, but very protective of Ivy. Drusilla, Ivy’s long-lost fairy godmother, and her goat, Toadstool, were hilarious in their antics! On the other hand Prince Romil and his staff are evil, critical, and devious in their plans to take over Ardendale and destroy it! The way that Ivy, the dragons, and Drusilla plot to save Ardendale was ingenious!

The plot has lots of action, suspense, and funny moments to keep the reader wanting more! I highly recommend Ivy Ever After for upper elementary, middle school, high school, and public libraries!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Review of Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle; Abrams/Amulet Books, 2011.

Sixteen-year-old Cat was sexually assaulted by her brother’s best friend when she was thirteen years old, and, afterwards, closed herself off to people. To deal with her pain, she dropped all her friends, including her best friend, Patrick, and pretended not to see “certain bad things”.

Now Patrick is in the hospital in a coma, the victim of a vicious hate crime, and Cat is left wondering who in the small community of Black Creek, North Carolina might have done it. Or could it have been some college kids stopping to buy beer or snacks at the Come ‘n’ Go, where Patrick worked? If she had still been good friends with Patrick, would she have seen the attack coming? Could she have prevented it?

Since Sheriff Doyle is only pretending to solve the crime, Cat decides she will do some sleuthing on her own. What she finds out is that underneath its surface, Black Creek is full of drugs, prejudice, and hate; people she once considered friends are hiding secrets...some of them dangerous. With the help of Jason, a college friend, and her brother, Christian, Cat discovers who beat up Patrick and left him for dead.

WOW! That is all I can say about this fabulous book! What great characters Lauren Myracle has developed. Cat is a strong, persistent heroine, braving so many of her fears to bring the attempted murderer to justice. It is through her eyes that we see the poverty, cliques, and bigotry of her town, where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. As Cat observes her classmates, and even her brother, in a different light, the reader sees her weigh each piece of the puzzle as she uncovers it.

It was amazing how drugs and underage drinking took over so many young lives in such a small town and lay hidden underneath the surface, apparently unnoticed by its citizens. A lot of research went into this part of the story; there were drug terms I was not familiar with inserted into the plot. I appreciate the humorous details, especially those dealing with eleven-year-old Robert, brother to Cat’s friend, who always recklessly spoke his mind.

Shine is an edgy, realistic novel and a real page turner! It is due to be released on May 1, 2011. I highly recommend this book for the upper grades of high school libraries and for public libraries!

*Note…The copy of Shine that I read was an Advanced Readers Copy from netgalley.com.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review of Violet Eyes by Debbie Vigue'


Review of Violet Eyes by Debbie Vigue'; Simon Pulse, 2010. 
   
The only life Violet has ever known is living on a farm and helping her parents. One morning following a terrible storm, the family’s farmhand finds a man who has been hit in the head by a falling tree branch. The family provides food and shelter while the man heals, and they discover, to their surprise, that he is Prince Richard, heir to the country’s throne. It is love at first sight for Violet, who decides to compete against many princesses for Prince Richard’s hand in marriage.

This charming story is the retelling of the fairy tale, “The Princess and the Pea”, with added twists and turns. In the original, the only test given is sensitivity to a pea under a mattress, which is the last test in this book. In this version, there are a number of challenges, which are hidden, disguised as other tests. While the princesses think they are being tested on what they see, the actual contests turn out to be challenges of strong character. The princesses, three of whom become Violet’s close friends, are portrayed as strong, smart women, extremely capable of running any kingdom. This contradicts most stereotypes of fairy tale princesses, usually portrayed as weak, fragile creatures. Prince Richard feels that since he is a man, he should be the one competing for the hand of a princess, and not the other way around; he actually resents his parents for forcing princesses to display their worthiness of him. Violet is a brave, energetic, and endearing heroine, and readers will be cheering for her to pass all of the princess tests.

This book will appeal to young and old, alike. I recommend it for middle school, high school, and public libraries.