Friday, October 31, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Ophelia, her sister Alice, and their father are still grieving from her mother's death when her father gets a special commission to prepare the world's greatest exhibit of swords.  As an expert in swords, Mr. Whittard takes the job hoping to distract himself and his daughters from their grief.

But this is no ordinary museum.  The displays are strange and shifting, and the museum curator, Miss Kaminski, is strange and beautiful.  Mr. Whittard is too distracted by the swords to pay much attention, and Alice is enamored by Miss Kaminski who gives her clothes and makeup.  This leaves Ophelia to explore alone.

Soon she finds a door hidden in a mosaic image of the sea.  The door is locked, and inside is a boy.  He does not know his name, and he has been the Snow Queen's prisoner for many many years.  Slowly, he tells Ophelia his story, the story of how he was trained to fight the Snow Queen, but he is now her prisoner.

And slowly, our scientific Ophelia begins to believe.  And she knows she must help him no matter how terrible the danger because if she doesn't, the Snow Queen will bring about the end of the world.

I love Karen Foxlee's new book about magic and friendship!  It is a sweet and delicate tale.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sure Signs of Crazy

Sarah's life is ruled by one event in her past.  When she was little, her mother tried to drown her and her twin brother.  Simon died, Sarah survived, and following trials for both of her parents became media sensations.

It would be nearly impossible to put something like that behind you anyway, but the media dredges the story up every few years, and Sarah's father uproots their lives to move to a new city.  This means they always live in a rent house, Sarah's always the new girl, and she's always ready to pack up and go at the first sign that her mother's story is coming back.

To make things worse, Sarah is worried that her mother's crazy is hereditary, so she's always examining herself for signs of it.  Her father is an alcoholic who drinks until he passes out pretty much every night and on the weekends.

Sarah has always tried to hide her true feelings until her language arts teacher gives her an assignment to write over the summer, suggesting the students start by writing to their favorite characters.  Sarah writes a series of letters to Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, and this is when she starts to be honest with herself, and she even writes all the things she wishes she could say to her father.

Sarah thought Garland was the armpit of Texas, but as the summer progresses, she will find new friends and start to make her peace with herself and her mother.

I loved Karen Harrington's new book!  It is heartbreaking but funny, and, of course, I appreciate Sarah's fascination with words.  This is a must read!

Friday, October 3, 2014


Velvet lives in a world of monsters.  She used to think all that horror movie stuff was a joke, but that was before the first wave, before thousands of people suddenly turned into mindlessly violent creatures.  Connies--short for contaminated.

ThinPro protein water was the most popular diet drink in the country.  People were drinking it everywhere.  It wasn't until after the second wave when Connies were rounded up to be experimented on that scientists discovered the truth.  The protein in the water was contaminated causing a mad cow effect on humans.  Many people know someone contaminated.

For Velvet it's both her parents, and now she is left to take care of her little sister, make ends meet, and try to finish high school.  Add to that the stress of the unaccounted for Connies still living in some remote areas.

Most of the Connies have been rounded up and neutralized with collars that send shocks to their brains to control their violent urges.  These Connies live in kennels like animals waiting for family members to claim them.  Most don't.  Even though they aren't violent anymore, they are like dementia patients.  They can't talk, they need help going to the bathroom and feeding themselves, and they have to be tied up to keep them from wandering off.

But Velvet is different.  When she finally finds her mother, she brings her home where she faces violence and prejudice.  But Velvet is convinced her mom is different.  If she can just get her back into a familiar routine, maybe her mom's brain will be able to repair itself.

Even as Velvet is struggling with all the responsibility of caring for her family, more contaminated are starting to appear.  Is this the beginning of a new wave?  And how will she be able to protect her family and survive in a world gone mad?

This is was a great sci-fi thriller.  There are plenty of dystopian elements with just enough horror to keep you on edge!  Read Em Garner's new book for a new take on zombies.  I already ordered the sequel!