Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SAY THE WORD by Jeannine Garsee

Wow!  This was a tough one to put down!  The story and characters just sucked me in and held me until the very last page.

Shawna goes to a private school, gets terrific grades, and has already been accepted to her first choice college.  It's her senior year, and she knows exactly where her life is headed.  It comes as a surprise to most people when they learn that Shawna was an innocent seven year old when her mother left her behind to run off with her female lover.  Ever since, Shawna has been raised by her doctor father and nannies or housekeepers.

When a late night call brings news that her mother has had a massive stroke and isn't expected to live, Shawna feels her perfect life spiraling out of control.  She heads to New York City to pay her final respects to her dying mother and finds herself thrust into life with her mother's "wife" and the woman's two children.  What no one expects is that secrets will soon be revealed that will change their lives forever.

SAY THE WORD by Jeannine Garsee is an emotional roller-coaster that takes readers into the inner workings of two families and their heartbreaking turmoil.  Readers will experience anger, joy, stunning surprises, and even humor as they get to know Shawna and her family, friends, and enemies.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

THE LAST DANCE by Kiki Hamilton

Kellen's life is football and Ivy's is all about preparing for her future career.  The two teens attend the same high school, but their paths rarely cross.  That is until Kellen's tragic football injury.

After an unusually hard hit leaves Kellen with a closed brain injury, he finds that maybe there is more to life than football.  His cheerleader girlfriend drops him faster than he can sit up in his hospital bed, and he finds himself recovering alone. 

When he returns to school, the principal has arranged for Ivy Ly, an honor student, to attend his classes with him and act as his private tutor.  He recognizes her as a fellow student in his AP English class, but other than that, he doesn't know a thing about her. 

Ivy only knows Kellen as the star quarterback her best friend Mira has had a crush on for years.  What Ivy doesn't expect is that she will begin to think of him as much more than just a guy she has to tutor. 

Author Kiki Hamilton takes two totally different teens and sets them out on an incredible, emotional journey.  THE LAST DANCE will appeal to teens looking for intensity and romance.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS by Carole Estby Dagg

It is 1896 and Clara Estby is seventeen. Her goal is to attend college and become a writer, but first she must help her family. Her mother Helga recently took to her bed claiming she suffers from consumption. Clara is used to her mother's bouts of what is likely depression, and she tries her best to lend a hand caring for her siblings and her father.

Clara knows another concern her mother has is the threat of losing the family farm.  Harvest have been extremely poor in recent years and the bank may soon force them to move.  Everyone is surprised when Helga suddenly makes a quick recovery and proposes a plan to save the farm.  She has figured out a way to earn the money they need by walking from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City in hopes of selling rights to a book of her adventures.

It is decided that Clara should accompany her mother on the journey across the country.  The two use Clara's college savings to purchase a minimum of supplies and their trek begins.  The plan is to follow the railway lines, stopping at newspaper offices along to way to have their story recorded and published.  After writing letters to numerous publishers in New York, Helga receives a commitment of $10,000 if they can complete their journey by a required deadline.

The two women survive blizzards, flash floods, and getting lost in a lava field.  They camp with Indians and meet the president-elect of the United States.  Readers will become fascinated with the adventures of Helga and Clara as they strive to make their deadline and show the country just what determined women can accomplish.

Author Carole Estby Dagg has based THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS on the true story of her great-grandmother and great-aunt.  Their story will live on in the minds of readers and perhaps inspire a few to follow their own dreams.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


James may love Walt Whitman and his poetry because they share the same last name, or it could be because he knows it annoys his father.  Whatever the reason, James relates almost everything to Whitman's famous lines.  Besides, when he focuses on poetry, he isn't thinking about the other things that make his life suck.

His sister Jorie was expelled from school supposedly for fighting and sending a girl who used to be her best friend to the hospital.  Another reason given was that Jorie was also guilty of throwing a teacher's laptop in the library.  James misses Jorie and decides to plead her case with the school administration in hopes of reversing her expulsion.  If he is successful, she might be able to walk at graduation, and his parents might agree to allow her to move back into the house.  God, he misses her.  Life at home has become unbearable.

James's sensitive nature has sent him into a deep depression.  To cope with his suicidal feelings, he often confides in an imaginary therapist he refers to as Dr. Bird.  What he isn't comfortable sharing is that Dr. Bird is actually a bird who nods and bobs in response to James's confessions. 

Unfortunately, Dr. Bird is not as effective as in the past so James begins to consult a real therapist recommended by his sister, but paying for the sessions is becoming increasingly difficult without his parents' help.  Without Jorie and without someone to help him deal with his deepening depression, James is afraid he might not be able to hang on.

DR. BIRD'S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS is author Even Roskos's first novel.  Readers will fall in love with James and cheer him on as he fights for his sister and his own personal sanity in a family that just doesn't meet his emotional needs.

Friday, April 19, 2013

ZOM-B: CITY by Darren Shan

When all hell breaks loose in the underground science lab containing the revitalized zombies, B is miraculously able to escape.  After witnessing the flame throwers, chainsaws, and other instruments of violence used against the revived zombies and any humans unlucky enough to get in the way, B is determined to find somewhere to hole up by herself.

Dressed in multiple layers, wearing sunglasses and an Australian-style Outback hat, she is able to withstand the sunlight enough to head toward home.  B isn't sure why that's important since she knows her parents have probably become victims and are either dead or zombies, but she needs to see for herself.  When she finds her home, everything is just like she expected.  Hopefully, her mother was able to make it out of the city to safety, but she accepts the fact that she will never know.

As B continues to wander, she begins to formulate a plan.  Maybe she can locate some soldiers and offer herself to them in hopes that they could use her revitalized blood to concoct some sort of serum that would save some of the zombies.  She knows from what the scientists revealed that her life is limited to maybe a year and a half tops, but at least she can still think and expressive herself.  The zombies she sees as she travels are just too pathetic for words.

Darren Shan continues the ZOM-B series with this third installment.  As he describes the wanderings of B, he includes more fascinating characters including a surviving artist struggling to remain human as he captures the death and destruction in his paintings and also an odd group claiming to be the final survivors with some sort of alien connection.  The terrifying Mr. Dowling and several others from the underground make a reappearance that reinforces just how sick the world has become.  Fans of this new series will not be disappointed as the action and adventure continues.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

JERSEY ANGEL by Beth Ann Bauman

It's the summer before her senior year, and Angel wants to make the most of it.  Living on the Jersey shore usually means plenty of carefree fun, and this summer promises just that.

Angel is taking a break from her on and off relationship with boyfriend Joey.  She likes to keep her options open especially during the summer.  While her best friend, Inggy, is off doing college visits, Angel hooks up with Cork, Inggy's boyfriend.  One thing leads to another and they begin having sex.  She knows Cork really loves Inggy, and she feels guilty about cheating on her best friend, but Cork fills a need Angel can't quite explain.

When Angel is not out with Cork or partying with friends, she is trying to keep up with her mother's various relationships and trying to stay connected with her dad who has remarried and has two little girls.  Angel's family life is far from traditional, but she knows both her parents care about her and are there for her when she needs them.  Although, as she struggles with her future plans, whether to attend the local community college or head out into the workforce, she looks more to her father for encouragement and support. 

JERSEY ANGEL follows Angel and her friends through the summer and into their senior year as they experience love and loss and prepare to step out into the world awaiting them.  Author Beth Ann Bauman realistically captures the experience of late teen life, complete with its insecurities and uncertainties about the future. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Announcing the winners of the Chris Crutcher and Charlie Price caption contest!!!

The first place winner is KRISTIN! and the runner up is Renee Giraldy!

Chris and Charlie are all ready to send out the prizes, but they will need email addresses to contact the winners.  Kristin and Renee can leave their email addresses as a comment here.


Monday, April 8, 2013

MENACE FROM THE DEEP by Michael P. Spradlin

Emmet Doyle isn't happy to leave his snowboarding life in Montana, but his scientist father has been offered a job in the Florida Everglades.  Emmet is still adjusting to the death of his mother and relocating and starting at a new school has him very nervous, but he will soon learn there is something even more frightening about to enter his life.

Mr. Doyle has been hired for his expertise in the study of predatory birds.  The woman in charge of the Everglades National Park is hoping he can help discover the reason much of the wildlife has been disappearing from the park. 

As soon as Emmet and his father arrive, she shows them the remains of an alligator-like creature discovered in the park.  Mr. Doyle explains that the terrifying creature has the characteristics of not only an alligator but also that of a prehistoric bird.  DNA studies reveal that the creature may very well be an engineered creation and there is the possibility that more may exist. 

Readers quickly learn there is another scientist at work with a far different goal.  The creator of the deadly hybrid creatures wants to use the new species to rid the Everglades of the pythons and boa constrictors he feels are threatening the very survival of the famous Florida swamp.  But will he be able to control the creatures he has created or will they control him and endanger everyone else?

MENACE FROM THE DEEP is Book #1 in a new series by author Michael P. Spradlin.  Adventure lovers will want to get their hands on this one.  Scary swamp creatures, a "mad" scientist, and two likable young heroes make for a fast-paced, riveting adventure.  Readers will be begging for more!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I'll be honest, I was attracted to this one by the cover. The blurb on the back also promised a "freak disease", a "quirky girl", and a connection to Of Mice and Men, that sealed the deal. I quickly added it to the shopping cart and decided it would be at the top of the TBR pile.

Nick Gardner's best friend is dying.  The Scoot has actually been dying since the day he was born with the rare disease called progeria syndrome which causes accelerated aging.  Even though the Scoot has made it clear he is at peace with his premature death, Nick has never been able to accept that his friend won't always be there.  Maybe that's why they have grown apart over recent years.

Jaycee Amato sort of filled in the gap in the friendship between Nick and Scoot.  She got to know Scoot in a mutual class, and they became close enough that he trusted her with a dying request.  Scoot wants Jaycee to locate his estranged father and return a valuable book.  Jaycee agrees, and when Scoot takes a turn for the worse and dies, she enlists the help of Nick.

There is plenty of material in THE PULL OF GRAVITY to make it a thoroughly depressing read, but author Gae Polisner adds just the right amount of adventure and humor to make it inspirational instead.  The power of friendship and the desire to make the best of life's situations make this book a must-read.  I'm so glad the publishers decided on the eye-catching cover.

Monday, April 1, 2013

BLIND SPOT by Laura Ellen

Roz is furious.  It is her first day as a sophomore at Chance High, and her schedule is wrong.  According to the paper she's holding, she has a class called Life Skills on her schedule.  She made it perfectly clear last year that she would not be taking that class for special ed students.  It was suggested because of her disability, but Roz refuses to acknowledge that she has any limitations.

Diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration which severely limits her vision, Roz is considered to be legally blind.  She has learned to cope with her condition and most people don't even know she has a problem seeing things that are directly in front of her.  Her IEP requires she be given a front seat and copies of notes given in class, but including Life Skills on her schedule is not what she agree to.

Mr. Dellian teaches the class and is determined from day one to get Roz to admit she has a disability.  She dislikes him instantly, especially when he assigns each student a partner and insists that looking out for their partner is their number one job.  Roz is partnered with Tricia, an odd girl who spends her time spinning around in a brown, hooded cape.  It doesn't take long for Roz to discover Tricia has a drug problem and that it isn't going to be a walk in the park to be her partner.

When Roz finds out Mr. Dellian is also her history teacher, she can't believe it.  Her late arrival to class results in a tardy and the threat of being marked absent.  She soon learns that her trouble with Mr. Dellian has just begun.

Roz's life becomes complicated with romance issues, best friend difficulties, and of course, pressure at home, and when her partner Tricia disappears, Roz becomes involved in a murder mystery that threatens her own safety.  As one of the last to see Tricia alive, Roz is determined to find out what really happened and if her attractive ex-boyfriend, Jonathan is involved or if Mr. Dellian is guilty of taking the life of the girl who has become her friend.

BLIND SPOT is the first novel of author Laura Ellen.  Ellen suffers from macular degeneration and artfully captures the effects of the disease in the development of her main character.  The often snarky Roz fights to be recognized for her strengths and not her weakness as she deals with the difficult characters that surround her.  This reader was reminded of the stressful aspects of high school and teachers who misunderstand their students.