Friday, October 18, 2013

My Ramblings on Annihilation of Foreverland

The Annihilation of Foreverland
By: Tony Bertauski
Release Date: December 21, 2011
Author Website

When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds.

Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane.

Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works?
(from goodreads)

My Ramblings: 

The summary of this book is what really caught my eye, but the book is much, much better. Where the summary hints at what you'll find in Foreverland, but what really lurks on the island is much more intoxicating and terrifying. What I loved is that the author didn’t shy away from the horrible things that were happening on the island and the effects they have on the people who are trying to resist, as well as how they affect the people that try to just go with the flow. It left me really wondering how much I would endure before giving in and just letting go. Is it better to have fun but possible lose yourself completely or to suffer in pain, but at least stay you?

While Danny Boy was the main character for the story, and we see Foreverland collapsing around him and his actions, it's really Reed who I was drawn to. He was the lone man standing alone, holding onto a past that he couldn't quite remember but he wasn't willing to part with yet. Where Danny Boy was on a path of self discovery and will ultimately make the choices that change Foreverland, it's Reed who provides a sad moral compass for him. He's a a counterpoint to the other boys who are giving into the self indulgent things in Foreverland and he allows Danny Boy to see that everything isn't as perfect as it seems.

Admittedly, some of the plot was a tad bit far fetched and left me rolling my eyes a little, but there wasn't enough there to undo all the excellent stuff that surrounded it.

There is a sequel to this book called Foreverland is Dead that came out at the beginning of the year that I’m looking to get my hands on soon. Unlike other series where you finish one and just want to devour all the others, this is one I think I want to take a break from. There’s enough food for thought woven into the story that I think to go right to the next book would be a little bit of an overload. That said, I definitely want to know what happens now that Foreverland is dead, so the break won’t be for too long!

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Ramblings on Wolf Sirens by Tina Smith

Wolf Sirens- Forbidden: Discover the Legend 
By: Tina Smith
Release Date: July 20, 2012

Author Website

When Lila unwillingly moves to the country town of Shade, she can’t imagine the life-altering events that lie in wait for her. Shade has a curfew and has always been surrounded by myths. A central feature of the town is its famous statue of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, whose spirit is said to protect the innocent.

Lila falls in with a group of intriguing teenagers with luminescent eyes and soon she is drawn into the shadowlands of fantasy and reality, where destiny collides.

A mysterious local girl, Cresida, warns her to stay away, but Lila is drawn to them like a moth to a flame.

Cresida knows their fatal secret and she is honour-bound to protect those who are endangered. But she underestimates Lila’s passion for the mysterious and charismatic clan of youths. Lila begins to feel a call she cannot ignore. Yet her heart is filled with vulnerable desires that begin to turn the underworld upside down, for both hunter and hunted, as she learns they have been waiting for her…

Inspired by the legend of the mythical femme fatale, Wolf Sirens is an intimate tale of unrequited and forbidden love in the underworld, a masterpiece of romance fantasy.
(from goodreads)

My Ramblings
So did it live up to the summary? Yes and no. I loved Smith’s version of the werewolf and how she tied in some ancient mythology to the origin story. I also really liked the main characters, especially Lila and Cressida. Both are trying to figure out who they really are and how they fit into the world of Shade. Shade itself is a pretty interesting little town, and I liked how Smith wove in the history of the other wolves and how and why they came to Shade.

The story was fast paced and for the most part flowed really well. However, there were a few things that felt almost too rushed for my liking. The ending, for me, was too abrupt. I had pretty much figured out what Lila was before it was revealed in the story, but I thought her transition into her new role was too easy. There wasn’t quite enough push back from her and there also wasn’t enough time spent on what her new role would do to the relationships she had built. And then the book just kind of ended. It also fell trap to my most hated type of ending. The epilogue. This was actually a really well written epilogue, but why was it an epilogue? Why wasn’t it just the last chapter? It really through me off and made the book end on kind of a down note.

There are two more books in the series that are out, and while I enjoyed the story, I'm not really drawn to see what will happen next. They, to me are a plan b type of book. In other words, I'm likely to buy them for the iPad and then when I find myself in a lull I'll read them, but I'm not rushing out to grab them and devour them right away.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

September Reads

So school has started back up and I'm slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things... which means finding time to read, even if I'm not finding tons of time to blog. That's okay though- because at least once a month I'll recap what I've read! So here it is, my September reads!

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Release Date: 9-10-13
Author Website

They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.
(from Goodreads)

Wasserman is one of my absolute favorite authors and I was super excited to see that she had another book coming out. I bought it on release day and plowed through it in just about a day.  In this book Wasserman pays homage to Stephen King by entering the world of suspense and she does it really, really well.

The book took me a chapter or two to get into, simply because there were so many characters and intersecting stories that are woven together. It takes a minute to figure out who is who, who is helping who and who to root for. Once you get an idea of the landscape of the town of Oleander, KS and it’s residents the story really starts to flow, twisting and turning until the very end.

What I particularly liked what that for the bulk of the book I wasn’t sure what the heck was happening. Even when I was done, it was left open ended enough that I wondered who and what was the real cause of all the blood on the hands of the people who live in Oleander. Was it really just a matter of time before the inevitable would have happened? Was all orchestrated by outside forces? Or was it truly a perfect storm of circumstances that left a town in ruins?

This is one of those books that I didn’t just want to read. I want someone else to read it. Then I want to discuss it, pull it apart and try to figure it all out. It’s a book that makes you really think and that really is the best kind of book!


The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Release Date:

Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him "Captain Dwight." This is embarrassing, particularly for Tommy, who sits with him at lunch every day.

But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that's when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions.

Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force? It's crucial that Tommy figure out the mystery before he takes Yoda's advice about something VERY IMPORTANT that has to do with a girl.

This is Tommy's case file of his investigation into "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda."

My Ramblings:
Yes. I know I am WAY behind the game with this book. Years behind. I've been hearing about this whole Origami Yoda business for years, but never picked the books up. I don't even have a good excuse. I love YA books, I'm a middle school librarian and I'm a Star Wars geek. This really should have been in my hot little hands back when it first came out.

I'm so glad I grabbed this book last week when I went to Barnes and Nobles. It's so good and it will be an awesome addition to the library (along with the other books in the series).

This book couldn't be more entertaining. I loved how you were never quite sure whether Dwight was insane or a genius, whether he was flying by the seat of his pants or whether he had a very specific plan all along. I especially loved how the story was told from multiple perspectives, each with their own opinion of both Dwight and Yoda. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

NOTE: I also blog at Eve's Fan Garden. Some recaps and ramblings will be cross-posted to both sites since there is a different audience for both blogs. If you'd like to check out what's going on over at Eve's Fan Garden please visit our site!