Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Hallowed Ones Book Review

Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Publisher: Graphia
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0547859262

320 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

I picked up this ARC at the ALA Conference this summer because the premise is so wildly unique. There's all this Amish romance out there, but I'd never -- EVER -- seen Amish horror before. It would either be brilliant or a bust.

It's bloody brilliant.

Laura Bickle introduces readers to Katie, a young Amish woman who's looking forward to Rumspringa, that time when Amish teenagers leave their sheltered community and go among the "English." She fantasizes about going to the movies and wearing blue jeans. But she expects she'll return after Rumspringa and marry Elijah, the boy next door and her best friend.

While the Amish community is strict, Katie has small rebellions like reading comic books at the drug store in town and drinking Coke. But Katie knows that her biggest flaw is lack of blind obedience to the rules of the Elders. She likes to make up her own mind before she follows orders.

When strange things start to happen Outside, even the isolated Amish community isn't safe. Katie knows there's no hope of Rumspringa now; there might be no hope there will be another tomorrow. But Katie can't follow the Elders' orders to leave a young "English" man to die.

So she hides him. And waits for the end of the world. She doesn't have to wait long.

Katie is an engaging character with plenty of spunk and intelligence. She's completely believable as a girl who sees all her dreams turn into a nightmare. The horror comes on slowly, and then POW! It doesn't let up. A super-creepy read that's perfect for Halloween.

The Hallowed Ones book trailer:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bushman Lives! Book Review

Title: Bushman Lives!
Author: Daniel Pinkwater
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0547385396

256 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

Bushman Lives! is the latest book by Daniel Pinkwater and in case you've missed it, he's been serializing the novel for the past year, one chapter a week. But if you want to read the entire novel at once, it's slated to be published next month.

Bushman Lives! takes place in 1960's Chicago, but except for the lack of cell phones and the Internet, it doesn't read as a historical piece. It does, however, read as a quirky piece, which one would expect from Daniel Pinkwater.

Harold Knishke and his friend Geets are fans of the dearly departed gorilla known as Bushman. They greet each other with "Bushman lives!", sort as a secret code to each other and to people that they meet. It's the start of summer vacation and Harold has no real plans for the summer. But then he stumbles into a museum one day and decides he wants to be an artist.

The novel almost reads as a picaresque novel with Harold having odd adventures that sort of connect to each other and meeting odd people who sort of connect to each other as Harold learns how to be an artist.

But there's no real plot to the novel, which I was fine with because I enjoyed having adventures with Harold. But there's also no real ending, either. Just as it seemed that all the adventures and characters were coming together to actually have a point, it just ends.

And I'm like .... wha ...?

I hope that this is the first of a series because I dug Harold and want to have more adventures with him. And because I really, really want to know how this book ends.

I would recommend Bushman Lives! to readers who enjoyed Holes by Louis Sachar or How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Send Me a Sign Book Review

Title: Send Me a Sign
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0802728401

384 pp.

ARC from publisher via Netgalley

I chose this title mostly because it was available on Netgalley when I needed something to read. I didn't know anything about it beforehand and I thought I'd give it chapter or two.

Well, I read the whole thing. It's a good, solid read by debut author Tiffany Schmidt.

Send Me a Sign centers on Mia, a happy, popular girl about to go into her senior year. So when she's diagnosed with leukemia, she's determined to keep her life as normal as possible. Even if that means not telling anyone about her cancer.

All Mia succeeds in doing is alienate her friends, including the one friend she does trust enough to tell, cute boy-next-door Gyver.

There were times when I wanted to throttle Mia, who is so deep in denial that she makes some seriously misguided choices. But I can also understand why she desperately wants to hold onto the illusion of normalcy.

I also wanted to throttle Mia for not being quicker on the uptake about how Gyver feels about her. I mean, seriously, Mia, if you were really looking for signs, you couldn't miss them.

But that just shows that the characters are real and relatable. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt or Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reader's Corner - August 2012 Update

"I'd change my name to Lola."
 Oh, August, with your heat and humidity, I can't say I'm sorry to say good-bye to you.

It was a pretty good reading month, though. I read Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt (review pending) and I'm almost finished with Amish-meets-vampires horrorfest The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle.

I also got onto the audiobook bandwagon. They are the perfect antidote to road rage during my commute. For starters, I listened to Jesse Eisenberg do a good job as Cassel in Holly Black's White Cat.

I also listened to What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. It's a nominated Teens' Top Ten book, and I can see why. The books centers on McLean, a girl whose parents have gone through a bitter divorce and who recreates herself each time she moves into a new town with her dad. Until the one town where she ends up having to be herself. Whoever that is.

Bonus video: Sarah Dessen talks about What Happened to Goodbye



Happy reading!

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