Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

The Story Siren is hosting a challenge called the 2011 Debut Author Challenge...and since we are did the challenge last year (successfully), we decided to participate in the challenge again this year. The challenge is to read at least 12 debut novels, but you can do more or less if you prefer. Since there are two of us, we decided on twenty-four total on the same list.

The challenge goes from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012, and you can start at anytime, but it has to be before November 20, 2011.

We would recommend that if you love to read, this is a great opportunity to introduce yourselves to some great new authors! We loved it last year and read some terrific books in the process. Here is our list this year!

1) The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
2) Head Games by Keri Mikulski
3) The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
4) Across the Universe by Beth Revis
5) The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
6) How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen
7) Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
8) Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
9) The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander
10) I Am J by Cris Beam
11) Possum Summer by Jen K Blom
12) Wither by Lauren DeStefano
13) Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
14) Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
15) Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
16) Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
17) Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave
18) Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
19) The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg
20) The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
21) The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless by Allan Woodrow
22) Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
23) My Un-Fairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski
24) Alice-Miranda at School by Jacqueline Harvey

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Across The Universe

Title:  Across the Universe
Author:  Beth Revis

     From GoodReads, "A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. 

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. 

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming."

     The first thing that I have to admit is that when I first read the description of the book, I wasn't too excited about reading it.  I liked the cover, but the premise of the book seemed a little strange.  A girl that is cryogenically frozen?  Doesn't that sound a little odd or at least something Walt Disney or Ted Williams would do?  I'm not a huge fan of science fiction/fantasy, but have been reading more in this genre lately and liking some of the books that I have read (Hunger Games, Twilight, and the Chaos Walking series), but I wasn't sure if I could make the jump to this book.  I finally decided to give it a try and from the opening chapter it caught my attention and kept it throughout the entire book.  I was right that the book is strange and there are a lot of concepts that were difficult to think about, but I truly underestimated this book before reading it.  
     The book is told from alternating perspectives between a teenage girl (Amy) that is cryogenically frozen and later is woken up on a starship and the future leader of the ship (Elder).  I really enjoyed both these characters and the dilemmas they are faced with.  Both of the characters are likable and realistic.  Which is strange to say when the whole book takes place in a world that is completely different from our own.  It was great to see characters written with such depth.  I loved the fact that the characters in this book were never truly good or evil, there was some aspect of both in the characters that made me identify with all of them in some way or another and made them human.  
     This book was full of mystery, suspense, and romance and left me wanting to know more about the characters and what happens next.  I am hoping that this is a first book in a sequel or trilogy and that readers are able to hear more from debut novelist Beth Revis.  Outstanding work from beginning to end!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Falling Under

Title:  Falling Under
Author:  Gwen Hayes

     From GoodReads, "Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul."

     If you are looking for a quick-read romance, this is not the book for you.  The story itself is a romance, but it is one that I felt I had to read methodically and really search out the meaning behind what was going on in the story.  I believe that author, Gwen Hayes, really took the time to describe the details and is looking for a sophisticated reader to really grasp her work.  
     I felt that this book had something different to offer than other books in this genre because it is different from any other book that I have read.  The main character, Theia, is a strong character and although she knows that she might have to give up the things that she loves, she makes sacrifices that are believable, even though this is a fantasy. I have to admit that there were a few terms introduced in this book that I had never heard of before so I had to either look them up or do some more research about them once I found out what they were.  By the way the story ends, it lends itself nicely to a sequel... so we may be hearing more from Gwen Hayes in the future.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Girl, Stolen

Title:  Girl, Stolen
Author:  April Henry

      From GoodReads, "Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen—with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?"

     This book starts off intensely (an accidental kidnapping) and never lets go.  Every moment of this book was fascinating and unpredictable.  I loved the main character, Cheyanne.  She was likable, believable, and each and every moment of her ordeal, I felt like I was living it right along with her.
     I also liked the character of Griffin, who the readers get to know because they also get to see his perspective.  We learn at the same time as Cheyanne that he isn't the person she thinks he is.
     This novel is an intense read that contains many twists and turns that add to the story.  A particularly harrowing scene at the end really added to the suspense of the novel.  April Henry should be proud of this book and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Books We Love!