Friday, March 1, 2013

Rocketing through the TBR2012 Challenge (reflective) - February update

mock pulp magazine cover Amazing Wonder Stories BooksYALove from 2012 created at webomator
With February being the shortest month, I had fewer TBR2012 Challenge titles on BooksYALove than in January (as listed here), but I am moving on through my to-be-reviewed stack at a fairly decent pace.

Check out a few recent titles that you might have missed:

Down the Mysterly River  - Bill Willingham
Something Red  - Douglas Nicholas
The Treachery of Beautiful Things  - Ruth Frances Long

Graphic Novel:
Peanut  - Ayun Halliday, art by Paul Hoppe

Dangerous Boy  - Mandy Hubbard
Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator  - Jill Baguchinsky

AlteredJennifer Rush
A Girl Named Digit  - Annabel Monaghan
Safekeeping  - Karen Hesse

So far in 2013, I've recommended 22 of my old-year titles for y'all  (and no spoilers) - hurry to your library or bookstore to get some today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Something Red, by Douglas Nicholas (fiction) - white winter journey, red beast of death prowling

book cover of Something Red by Douglas Nicholas published by Atria
If only they can make the coast before winter,
If only they can get through the pass before snowfall,
If only they can escape this winter hell with their lives.

Dangers on all sides as Molly's pieced-together family survives the treacherous pass (thanks to warrior monks!), but must reach the inn and the castle on their own. A deadly dangerous something is magically shielding itself from even  Nemain's fey perception and is waiting...

Fantasy, fear, mythology, a desperate trudge through snow and snow as Something Red,  something evil stalks the travelers.

Can you spy it just there, out of the corner of your eye, as Hob does?

Book info: Something Red / Douglas Nicholas. Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2012. [author interview] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Just out of sight, danger stalks them along the remote forest roads. Dame Molly, her niece Nemain, mysterious Jack, and the orphan Hob push their ox-drawn wagons fast as they dare, hoping to escape the oncoming snows. But when an attacker is snowed-in with them, their castle safe haven becomes a death house.

This is Hob’s first journey through the Pennines since Irish healer Molly adopted the young teen from the priest in his small north English village. Bandits regularly rob and kill travelers on these mountain byways, despite armed escorts by St. Germaine’s monks, veterans of the Crusades. Molly and burly Jack are on high alert, for something is trailing them on this steep road, hiding among the dense trees, its night-call darkening their souls.

From the monastery-guarded mountain pass to the double-walled palisade of Osbert’s Inn, patrolled by a dozen vicious mastiffs, they hear tales of recent tragedies and join forces with pilgrims to travel together to Sir Jehan’s castle before the road is closed by snow.

The caravan is ambushed as snow falls harder still. Molly and Nemain of the old religion try to interpret the omens appearing in the blizzard’s shadows. Even within the castle stronghold, they will not be safe, it seems, for the relentless evil being stalking them along the road has arrived there, too.

How did the death-bringer pass through prayers and countercharms around the castle?
Can massive warrior Jack protect those he claims now as family?
Why has this dreadful evil chosen them for its prey?

Wooden-wheeled oxcart, the traveler and the knight, mysterious forces consulted by Molly and Nemain, the high-born and the low, all spring forth in the intricate tapestry woven by poet Douglas Nicholas’first novel recounting this inexorable hunt by a hidden enemy. (Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dangerous Boy, by Mandy Hubbard (fiction) - good girl, daredevil boyfriend, dangerous twin

book cover of Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard published by Razorbill
New guy in the small-town high school.
Handsome, rich, daring.
Falling for everyday girl Harper?
Swept off her feet, toward danger.

Logan wants a fresh start to his life after the difficulties he and his brother had in their hometown. Harper's life after her mom's death had gotten quieter and quieter. Boom! Romance like a whirlwind, eerie vandalism, brother Daemon mocking Harper's affection for Logan.

If you sense a whiff of Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (read it free at Project Gutenberg here), you've found one inspiration for author Mandy Hubbard's fast-moving story of Harper's hope for happiness and the too-real peril she faces.

Grab this one today at your local library or independent bookstore but do watch for strange happenings in your neighborhood, won't you?

Book info: Dangerous Boy / Mandy Hubbard. Razorbill, 2012.  [author's website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: When handsome Logan Townsend moves to her small town, Harper is intrigued. When he asks her out, she’s amazed and delighted. When his twin brother threatens her, she doesn’t know what to think.  But if she merely thinks instead of acting, it might just be too late.

Living in the old Carson mansion with their uncle way out on the river road must be boring for Daemon, who’s doing school online instead of at Enumclaw High with his twin brother. He never comes along with Logan and Harper as they go to a Halloween haunted corn maze with friends or riding four-wheelers. Logan says that Daemon messed up relationships for him at their old school, so it’s better that he doesn’t want to be with their group anyway.

Bloody cow bones showing up in rural mailboxes, red handprints on every car in the school parking lot, stop signs stolen – this new rash of vandalism is getting dangerous.

Harper has never really liked doing dangerous things, but after her mother’s death, her own father is like a ghost, going through the motions at their farm, without enough energy to warn her against trying reckless things that Logan loves to do. That four-wheeler rollover when a wheel fell off was just an accident, right?

Wondering what Daemon did at the twins’ former school to make them leave that town, Harper does some checking on Facebook and the newspaper, but comes up with more questions than answers.

Why isn’t Logan tagged in any pictures with his former classmates?
What did Daemon do that was hushed up so quickly in the media?
Why does his twin want Harper to stay away from the creaking house that he shares with Logan?

Echoes of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde drift through this spooky tale, with a young woman’s safety and sanity depending on her reactions to the dangers she uncovers.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.