Review: Cryer’s Cross

Cryer’s Cross

Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Pages: 240
Source: Borrowed from Danielle B
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on… until Kendall’s boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it’s crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear…and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating…and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico’s mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.
This book was creepy. It takes a lot for a book to actually creep me out, but this book was able to do that.
Cryer’s Cross was an excellent blend of creepy, mystery, suspense and even romance. I loved how Lisa McMann unveiled the story and mystery. The mystery is unveiled slowly, but not too slowly, just slow enough to keep you on the edge of your seat wonder who, or what, is behind the disappearance of two students. I was unsure who or what was the cause of the disappearances until the end, and when I found out I was extra creeped out.
I love how Lisa McMann writes. I writing was perfect in this book. The writing for the “WE” was perfect, creepy yet adding to the story. You’ll understand what I mean when you read the book. I also loved how she unveiled the story. It was perfect.
Kendall was such a great character. Not only does she struggle daily with her OCD, but add to that the fact that her best friend, and sort of boyfriend that she has know her who life, has disappeared. Kendall’s emotions were raw. I loved how her OCD, the thing she was most embarrassed about was the thing that helped save her the most. I loved how through the book Kendall grew as a character, with the help of Jacian. Jacian and Kendall had great chemistry and I loved how there relationship progressed. It was perfect.
I recommend that when you read this book, don’t stay up late at night reading it because it will leave you creeped out. I definitely will be picking up a finished copy of this book when it is released.

Review: Dark Goddess

The Dark Goddess
Sarwat Chadda
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release Date: January 25, 2011 (USA release)
Pages: 384
Source: Bought
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
*SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS BOOK*
New enemies, new romance, and new horrors,
Billi’s back, and it seems like the Unholy just can’t take a hint.
Still reeling from the death of her best friend, Kay, Billi’s thrust back into action when the Templars are called to investigate werewolf activity.  And these werewolves are like nothing Bilil’s seen before. 
They call themselves the Polenitsy – Man Killers. The ancient warrior women of Eastern Europe, supposedly wiped out centuries ago. But now they’re out of hiding and on the hunt for a Spring Child — an Oracle powerful enough to blow the volcano at Yellowstone — precipitating a Fimbulwinter that will wipe out humankind for good.
The Templars follow the stolen Spring Child to Russia, and the only people there who can help are the Bogatyrs, a group of knights who may have gone to the dark side. To reclaim the Spring Child and save the world, Billi needs to earn the trust of Ivan Romanov, an arrogant young Bogatyr whose suspicious of people in general, and of Billi in particular. 
Dark Goddess is a page-turning, action-packed sequel that spans continents, from England to the Russian underworld and back. This is an adventure of folklore and myth become darkly real. Of the world running out of time. And of Billi SanGreal, the only one who can save it.
While visiting London this summer, my one requirement was to visit a book store and pick up this book since here, in the United States, the book is not released until next year. I am extremely glad I did this. I loved Devil’s Kiss the first book featuring Billi SanGreal and I was really looking forward to seeing where Sarwat Chadda would take Billi next.
Dark Goddess, the sequel to Devil’s Kiss, was more than I expected, in a good way. Sarwat Chadda continues Billi’s adventures as a Templar Knight and in this book expands the world Billi lives in. I loved that this book took Billi away from London and brought her, along with the rest of the Templars, to Russia where we get to meet the Russians equivalent of the Templars. Russia provides Billi many more challenges and has her continuing to question herself and her duty as a Templar.
In the Dark Goddess, the events from the previous book have truly taken a toll on Billi. In this book, Billi, who still have those characteristics I love about her, such as her stubbornness and devotion to those she loves, has been deeply effected by the previous events in her life. Billi has grown as a character, and continues to grow even more because of the events of these books. I often forgot that Billi is a fifteen year old girl. She seems more mature that because of the harsh life she has been subjected to as a Templar. Even though Billi gets put through more events that have her questioning her beliefs, I love that she stayed true to herself and ended up growing up even more from her experiences.
One of my favorite parts about this book was that it took place in Russia and that in Russia we met a whole new set of characters. I must confess, I have a weird love of Russia and really would love going there and I was so glad that Billi got to go there in this book. I also really loved how Sarwart Chadda took the Russian myth of Baba Yaga and made it his own. I’ve read a few different takes on Baba Yaga and I really like his spin on her and how well it fit with the story. Along with just loving Russia, the characters Sarwart Chadda introduced to us in Russia are probably some of my favorite. I loved Ivan Alexeivich Romanov, even if he did fulfill Kay’s role in this book. Ivan is basically a male version of Billi, and I loved that what you see with him is not what you get. He is battling many personal battles, like Billi, and it was interesting to see his story revealed.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Dark Goddess and ended up reading it all in one sitting. I think I ended up enjoying this book more than it predecessor, probably cause it had Russia in it (just kidding). I found this book very enjoyable, and the ending left me wanting more since it was left opening, hopefully for a sequel to help resolve it. I was not disappointed in my buy in the UK and extremely glad I brought it. Definitely check this book out when it is released in the US.

Waiting on Wednesday (32) – Divergent

Divergent
Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins
To be released: May 3, 2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
One choice
One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever.
Or, one choice can transform you.
In Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance.
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book from people who’ve read it. I love dystopian and this book is going to hopefully be a great addition to the genre. I can’t believe the author is only 22 years old! Cannot wait to read this come May!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Teaser Tuesday: Dark Goddess

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should be Reading
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the books for others!)
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser this week comes from:
Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda
Out in bookstores today!

But there was something strangely out of time about Ivan. An archaic elegance, even as he wiped the snow off his shoulders and straightened his black leather gloves. 

Author Interview with Sarwat Chadda

I’m excited to introduce Sarwat Chadda today on the blog for an interview. Sarwat Chadda is the author of Devil’s Kiss and it’s sequel Dark Goddess out in the United States tomorrow, January 25, 2011. Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess follows the life of Billi SanGreal, the first female in the Knight’s Templar, as she kicks butt out of supernatural Unholy creatures. Sarwat Chadda lives in London. You can visit Sarwat Chadda on the web at http://www.sarwatchadda.com/.


What inspired you to write a series about a modern, female Templar knight?

Firstly, I love action heroes. Secondly, I have daughters, so I thought it would be far more fun to write something inspired by them.
A lot of hero myths centre around a son following in his father’s footsteps. Star Wars of course,  but also in the Arthurian legends and even in comic books, the Batman / Robin dynamic replays this theme constantly.
But hey, what about daughters?
It was far more interesting with Billi being a girl following her father, who is a very macho warrior. Arthur [her father] symbolises the grim, brutal and single-minded male view; it clashes beautifully with Billi’s. The father-daughter dynamic is a found relationship for all girls, and of course is highly personal to me.

In Dark Goddess, Bill and the Templars head to Russia. What type of research did you have to do for this book?

I’ve read about Russian mythology for many, many years. The first draft of Dark Goddess was written in 1994, so this has been a long time in coming. I studied the Russian Revolution at school and politically, Russia casts a long shadow over Europe, so I’ve always had some awareness of it.
But when I knew I was writing Dark Goddess, I went out there and spent a week in Moscow. Nothing beats walking the streets to get that down low feel. I love exploring cities and Moscow is something else. The biggest city in Europe, a very different culture to Western Europe, and the architecture is of a monolithic scale. Since Devil’s Kiss was written in my home city of London, Dark Goddess had to have the same level of detail. I couldn’t just rip my information out of Wikipedia!
The same applies to my new project, which is set in India. I had to go out there to absorb the atmosphere and pick up the minute details that you can’t get any other way. Talking with the locals gives the story far greater depth. I hope to be able to tell you more about that soon.

What scene was the most difficult for you to write? 

The romance, as ever! It’s getting easier but it’s the area I have to work the hardest in. Action, battle scenes and moment of high tension are easy in comparison. Part of the problem is it’s not a genre I’m familiar with. I don’t know how far to go without it sounding cheesy or overly melodramatic. I’m learning it’s more in the small gestures than the grand.
I’m really proud of the scene with Ivan and Billi in the forest. They’re both exhausted, scared and at the end of their endurance. But they share a common past, both isolated and lonely. Billi’s been brought up to be hard and tough, but with Ivan she let down her guard and allows herself to be tender, which is a brand new territory for her.

What was the most difficult part of writing a sequel?

What to cut out. I’d done years, years of background research and there was so much I wanted to put in. I’d read the Master and Margherita by Bolgakov and want to put in a homage to that, I wanted to add Rasputin, more on the supernatural creatures out of Russian myth. The book could have easily doubled in size.
But the story is paramount. My job is to tell the tale as best and as economically as possible. It’s my style, I suppose. There’s a risk that an author’s vanity gets in the way of telling the tale. That must be avoided at all costs! Readers and editors will see it immediately and it will kill the story stone dead.

If you could live anywhere during any time period, where and when would it be and why?

I’m pretty keen on the 1960’s. The music, the fashion and the excitement of politics, the Kennedys, King, Malcom X and the Civil Rights movement were something I studied years ago. I’m a huge Sean Connery fan so it would have been cool to have been part of that period when Bond was all fresh and new. How awesome it would have to see the Beatles and the Stones at their peak? Plus the moon landing. Even now I get an electric thrill watching it.
I love the Mad Men series, so it would have been great to be suited and booted in that era.

What book do you wish had been published when you were growing up?

My first answer would have been His Dark Materials but I wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much as a child, maybe not. In which the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeves. Steam-punk terminators, kick-ass heroines and the motion cities. It’s the best, most original fantasy world I’ve come across since Tolkien and the characters are incredibly vivid. Reeve’s combines the grand scale with the personal perfectly. My favourite kind of tale.

What is your favorite part about being an author?

The writing and the sense of freedom launching into it. There are no limits. I love history and fantasy, so I feel I can go anywhere I want. I’m no limited to writing domestic kitchen sink dramas or by budgets. I write want I want, I write what I love. No matter how bad the day’s been, once I enter the story I am lost. It’s so clear in my head, so real, it’s a whole world I have to explore. An infinite number of dimensions open up before me. It’s an immense privilege being able to earn my living this way. I know how lucky I am.

Thanks so much Sarwat!! Come back later this week to enter to win finished copies of Dark Goddess in stores tomorrow!

Review: Prom and Prejudice

Prom and Prejudice
Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Pages: 231
Source: Bought
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.
I was greatly looking forward to Elizabeth Eulberg’s second novel after her lovely first novel the Lonely Hearts Club. Prom and Prejudice was exactly what I expected and wanted in Eulberg’s retelling of Jane Austen’s classic (and one of my favorite books) Pride and Prejudice.
I love how Elizabeth Eulberg was able to adapt Pride and Prejudice without making it feel forced. Eulberg stayed very close to the original story, yet was still able to make the story uniquely her own. I loved the idea about prom being this huge, important event, because for many people and schools it is. Eulberg was able to transport Jane Austen’s character and world into a 21stcentury high school.
One of my favorite things about this book was how Eulberg kept the characters the same as the original, but they had their own, separate personalities from the original. Lizzie was smart, strong, intelligent and witty. Will Darcy was just as swoon worthy as the original Darcy. He might not have been as brooding but he was definitely still swoon worthy. I think my favorite updating of Austen’s characters was Eulberg’s equivalent of Mr. Collins. Eulberg’s character named Collin, literally had me laughing out loud. He was just as awkward and annoying as the original Mr. Collins. I loved how he would drone on and on about pointless stuff.
Elizabeth Eulberg was able to write a great adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, one with everything I wanted and expected. One thing I know for sure from Elizabeth Eulberg’s writing is that she can never fail to make me smile or put me in a good mood. Both Lonely Hearts Club and Prom and Prejudice were able to do both and I expect anything else Elizabeht Eulberg will be just as wonderful as her previous two books. 

Waiting on Wednesday (31) – What Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye
Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin
To be released: May 10, 2011

Summary (from Goodreads):

Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean’s become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean’s ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?

Ever since Sarah Dessen announced the news of her new book, I’ve been dying to read it. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. She wrote one of the first YA books I ever read and I love all her books. I’ve read them all so many times. I cannot wait for this new one. It’s been too long since Along for the Ride came out.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Teaser Tuesday: Cryer’s Cross

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should be Reading
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the books for others!)
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser this week comes from:
Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

We move Our castiron anchors, creaking, slowly inching across the floor, hours and hours of strain in search of heat and life. Now butting against a soul-less We, now pushing the dead one out of Our way into the empty space.