Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (published by Delacorte Press, March 2009)

Mary is a teenage girl growing up in a bleak future where the world has been overrun by flesh-eating zombies called the Unconsecrated. She lives in a fenced village that is controlled by the Sisterhood, an order of women charged with protecting the survival of the village and it’s people. The forest that surrounds the village is infested by zombies and never to be ventured into. But Mary longs to leave and see the ocean that her mother told her about. And she longs for a different life than that chosen for her by the Sisterhood, who have arranged for her to marry Harry, when it is Harry’s brother Travis that she loves.

When an outsider arrives in the village, the truths of Mary’s world begin to crumble. But the arrival of this outsider unexplainably leads to tragedy and the overrunning of the village. Mary and a few others are the only survivors and they must leave the village and find a way to survive outside, not knowing whether or not they are the last people alive on earth.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a wonderful debate novel by the talented new writer Carrie Ryan. Although the story is grim, there are bits of hope in it too, as we see the strength of humanity to survive no matter what. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good young adult novel - it’s definitely not just for science fiction fans. I look forward to reading more by this promising new author.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday: Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund (Published by Penguin Books, May 14, 2009)

With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin—son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance— consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship—and romance—begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. . . .

I've read some great reviews of this book recently and I can't wait to read it! It looks sooo good and I really enjoyed the author's first book, Aurelia.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New books this week

Trying this out for the first time, inspired by the "In My Mailbox" from The Story Siren! Here are the books I bought in bookstores or got in the mail this week:

The King's Rose by Alisa Libby

Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king’s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life—and her heart—threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn—sacrificed at the altar of family ambition?

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French

It is 1915. War is being fought on a horrific scale in the trenches of France, but it might as well be a world away from sixteen–year–old New Zealander Midge Macpherson, at school in England learning to be a young lady. But the war is coming closer: Midge's brothers are in the army, and her twin, Tim, is listed as 'missing' in the devastating defeat of the Anzac forces at Gallipoli .
Desperate to do their bit – and avoid the boredom of school and the restrictions of Society – Midge and her friends Ethel and Anne start a canteen in France, caring for the endless flow of wounded soldiers returning from the front. Midge, recruited by the over–stretched ambulance service, is thrust into carnage and scenes of courage she could never have imagined. And when the war is over, all three girls – and their Anzac boys as well – discover that even going 'home' can be both strange and wonderful.

My Australian Story: Atomic Testing by Alan Tucker

When the army assigns Anthony's father to work on the topsecret atomic testing project in outback South Australia, the family relocates from Townsville to Woomera. His mother is unimpressed with outback life, but for Anthony, who has spent the past six years recovering from polio, it offers freedom and excitement. The controversial rocket and munitions testing captures Anthony's imagination. It seems like something out of a Superman comic, but is it really as safe as the government says?

A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson by Barbara Dana

Before she was an iconic American poet, Emily Dickinson was a spirited girl eager to find her place in the world. Expected by family and friends to mold to the prescribed role for women in mid-1800s New England, Emily was challenged to define herself on her own terms.

Award-winning author Barbara Dana brilliantly imagines the girlhood of this extraordinary young woman, capturing the cadences of her unique voice and bringing her to radiant life.

Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott

Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book review: The Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey

Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey (Published by Simon Pulse, Feburary 10, 2009)

Mulan is not like most other girls in ancient China. She has grown up without a mother, and rather than spend her days doing ladylike tasks and dreaming of marriage, she has learned to fight using a sword and bow. Her father is somewhat distant and doesn’t like to speak of his late wife, and Mulan often wonders if she is a disappointment to him.

When the Emperor forms an army to fight the Huns, every household must send one male to fight. Mulan’s aging father has recently remarried, and Mulan remembers well that her own mother died giving birth while her father was away at war. Fearing for her father’s safety and not wanting her stepmother to go through what her mother did, Mulan decides to disguise herself as a boy and go in her father’s place. She becomes close to Prince Jian, the commander of her unit, but telling him that she is really a girl, and her feelings are deeper than friendship, could lead to disaster.

This was an overall enjoyable book from the Once Upon a Time series. I liked that it had a very unusual setting compared to other books in the series, and the story isn’t one that has been retold many times. Although this book wasn’t among my top favorites, it was a solid, enjoyable read that should appeal to readers who enjoyed other books in this series.
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