Friday, July 29, 2011

Wildefire Book Review

Title: Wildefire
Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1442421172
400 pp.

Advanced reading copy via Galley Grab

Wowohwowohwowohwow.

Wildefire grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go. There's action! Untimely death! Cute boys! Crazy-ass sisters! (not necessarily in that order)

Ashline and her big sis Eve were adopted from an Polynesian orphanage and they've grown up in an upper middle class Jewish family in upstate New York. They were close ... until Eve runs away from home. And when she returns, bad stuff happens. Really. Bad. Stuff. Stuff so bad that Ashline decides her only chance at normalcy is to transfer to a boarding school across the country.

And that's when stuff starts to get really weird.

There are too many twists and turns to give away the plot, but the long and short of it is that Ashline discovers that she's the reincarnation of a volcano goddess. And her new friends at boarding school? Also of the god class. And someone (thing?) wants them dead. For good.

Karsten Knight has crafted an amazingly good story, with memorable characters and funny dialogue. But there were two things that bumped me about this book. The first: I've read a lot of Buffyesque spec scripts and when every character throws out witty one-liners in the face of adversity/embarrassment/heartbreak/impending death, they tend to sound all alike. Karsten's characters are smart, witty, and have a tendency to sound alike.

The second thing: the last chapter is an info dump of what-happened-after-the-climax. Some of it is important information, some of it is not (the return of Ash's absent roommate in an obvious bit), but it's kind of rushed and clunky.

HOWEVER ...

There are two reveals in the last chapter that are awesome (one I figured, one I didn't see coming), which set up the next book for some mind-blowing good fun.

This was an out-and-out fun romp of a read and I would recommend it to readers who enjoyed Poison by Chris Wooding or Possession by Elana Johnson.

Bonus Video: Karsten Knight muses on Wildefire, the five-second rule, and lighthouses:

Friday, July 22, 2011

6 Favorite Harry Potter Videos

My husband thinks I'm a total Harry Potter nerd, but that's not true. I've never:

  • gone to a midnight book release party
  • dressed up in character
  • read one of the books in a single day
  • created a fan video

Now that the final movie has come out, I find myself unwilling to say good-bye. So I've collected some of my favorite Harry Potter videos to watch (over and over) again. (And it's quicker than re-reading all the books.)

Enjoy!


Harry Potter in 99 Seconds
: The entire series for those with ADD.



Literal Deathly Hallows Movie Trailer: Now that I've seen both parts, this is even funnier.




A Very Potter Musical: This is just the first part, but worth watching the entire musical (with Glee's Darren Criss as Harry!)




Gandalf vs. Dumbledore Epic Rap Battles of History: OMFG. Hilarious.



Potter Puppet Pals: There's a slew of these very funny videos, but I heart this one the most.



Harry Potter and the Brokeback Goblet: There's no shortage of slash-themed videos, but this one actually builds the best story and is more subtle than the rest (but still funny).




Bonus Video: Not a fan video, but made for fans (who still hope that someday this will happen)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Through Her Eyes Book Review

Title: Through Her Eyes
Author: Jennifer Archer
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0061834585
384pp.

Reading copy through public library

When I was thirteen, my parents moved our family from our suburban home to a small desert town. Let's just say that I was not happy with this new arrangement. Which means I instantly sympathized with Tansy Piper, the protagonist of Through Her Eyes.

Tansy is used to moving from town to town since her mom is a writer and likes to live in the cities where she sets her books. But instead of some place like Austin or Memphis or San Francisco, Tansy ends up in Cedar Canyon, Texas, the small town her grandfather grew up in. She loves her Papa Dan, who lives with her and her mom, since he's the one who understands her best and has been her best friend no matter where they are. But Papa Dan isn't doing well, rarely talking and barely eating. And moving into their creepy new home seems to be making Papa Dan worse.

Tansy finds out that a teenage boy named Henry used to live in the house and he committed suicide by jumping off a nearby bridge. And after Tansy finds some of Henry's belongings in a wood box, she suspects that Henry's ghost is trying to contact her. There's a watch, a crystal and a journal in the box, and these things begin to draw Tansy -- literally -- into Henry's world. In this world, she takes on the persona of Bell, the object of Henry's affection. And when she's Bell, she's also able to talk to Papa Dan as a young man, who is Henry's best friend.

Tansy is sure she is going crazy, and as she tries to figure out what really happened on the bridge so many years ago, she finds friendship with 13 year old genius Bethyl Ann and cute boy Tate.

This book is a really fun, suspenseful read as Tansy tries to fight the lure of Henry's world as her own world seems to fade away. Jennifer Archer uses Tansy's hobby of photography to establish the connection between Tansy and Henry in a way that truly original and downright creepy. The characters are all well-drawn and believable, and Cedar Canyon is given its own small town personality.

I would recommend this book to people who liked Dreamland by Sarah Dessen or Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora.

Bonus Video
: Through Her Eyes creepy book trailer

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Debut Author Challenge - June Update

Summer has officially started and I managed half of my reading goals for June. As reviewed here, I did finish Possession by Elana Johnson, but I didn't get to reading a play for the month. (I checked out Invention of Love by Tom Stoppard, and it still sits forlornly on my bookshelf.)

I've started Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer, which I'm really enjoying. The book review will be up soon. This, of course, still leaves me a month behind. I'm hoping to catch up with Wildefire by Karsten Knight, which I pulled from Galley Grab. I started the first couple of chapters of that and all I can say is ... wow.

And that's about it for June. The days are longer, but it seems like I have less time to do stuff.

How has your summer reading been going?

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