Cryer’s Cross

Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Number of pages: 233
My copy: ebook from Galley Grab

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.

* * *

I liked Lisa McMann’s Dreamcatcher trilogy, so I was thrilled to know that she would be coming out with a new book next year. I was even more thrilled when I found out through Grace that this is available through Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab…well, I cannot not have it.

Cryer’s Cross tells the story of Kendall Fletcher, a girl with OCD who lives in the small town of Cryer’s Cross in Montana. It starts with the entire town searching for Tiffany Quinn, who disappeared without a trace shortly before Kendall’s junior year ended. When the town eventually gives up on looking for her, everything sort of goes back to normal until Kendall’s best friend and sort of boyfriend, Nico, also disappears. Kendall is distraught, until she finds something very peculiar: Nico and Tiffany sat in the same desk in school, and Nico seemed to be sending Kendall graffiti messages through this desk.

Lisa McMann delivers again in this deliciously creepy novel about a small town with secrets through the eyes of a girl with OCD. It’s almost similar with the Dreamcatcher series in terms of its sparse prose, and yet Cryer’s Cross has a more poetic feel about it with how the town was described and the people who live there. It had a somewhat initial similar feel to Sara Zarr’s Once Was Lost, but it got creepier and creepier especially after reading some of the messages from “WE” in between some chapters such as this one:

WE

When it is over, We breathe and ache like old oak, like peeling birch. One of Our lost souls set free. We move, a chess piece in the dark room, cast-iron legs a centimeter at a time, crying out in silent carved graffiti. Calling to Our next victim, Our next savior. We carve on Our face:

TOUCH ME.

It came to a point that I was too scared to read this book when I was traveling alone or when I’m the only one left awake at home, which was why it took me a while to read this book (I’m a big chicken, too bad). The book’s pacing was slow at first, but the author takes this time to set it all up, building up to a very creepy climax.

Perhaps my only gripe in this book is the reason why the things were happening felt a little…I don’t know, abrupt? It was a perfectly creepy and horrifying reason, but it felt like it totally came from nowhere. Of course, this may be done on purpose to hike up the creepiness factor, although I kind of wish for a bit more foreshadowing on that piece of Cryer’s Cross history.

Nevertheless, this is another solid book for Lisa McMann. I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.

Cryer’s Cross will be out on February 8, 2011. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ebook ARC!

Rating:

Cover and Blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
Reclusive Bibliophile
Shut Up! I’m Reading
YA Librarian Tales

In My Mailbox (10): Hodge-Podge

It’s been a while since I did an In My Mailbox post, and I’ve been meaning to do one for the past weeks but life has been a little bit hectic lately. So I apologize. Like I mentioned in one of my last posts, we moved to an apartment down the street because our house is being renovated. Moving is a pain when you have so many books, and I realized as I was packing that I do have a lot of books. More than I thought I owned!

This next picture is rather depressing, but I promised my books they’d have a better home once the house is finished by early next year (my parents promised me a bigger shelf in my room). I am planning to let go of some of my books though, but I’ll sort them out soon, probably after NaNoWriMo.

So, my books. In 9 huge plastic bags:

I’m pretty sure my favorite ones won’t be dented in those plastics.

Anyway, so the moving thing kind of stopped me from acquiring books since I really have no place to put it. But…does that stop me? Of course not. Especially when there are ebooks to get and read! And I’m using books as a reward for me to get to certain word counts in NaNoWriMo!

But now you also know why my word count is way behind. Shiny books = procrastination. :P

Anyway, here are the books I got for the past few weeks for today’s In My Mailbox post! In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store.

I guess I should start with the books in picture, first. :)

  1. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (Fully Booked). I gave in to curiosity because I know a lot of people like this and recommend this. The only reason I’m hesitant to jump in this series is because it has 11 books — too much investment, IMHO. But let’s see. Got this as a reward for myself in reaching 12,000 words last week. :P
  2. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (Libreria). I’ve been eying Robin McKinley books in Fully Booked ever since I’ve heard praises about her from Chachic, so I was really planning to buy Sunshine first (the sparkly vampire book LOL). But I never got around to it, then Chachic reviewed her latest book, Pegasus, and she said that she recommends reading other McKinleys first before reading that, especially Beauty and The Blue Sword. Just my luck, I got to visit Libreria earlier with some Filipino Book Bloggers (more detailed accounts of that in Jason‘s and Blooey‘s blogs), there was a copy of The Blue Sword. :) I call that fate. :P
  3. Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (Fully Booked). This one is an impulse buy, really. I don’t know why I got it, except I know it’s really a reprint of a YA book published in 1942. I guess I was feeling the need to read some contemporary books, and this one just jumped out at me. I know Chris from Ficsation liked this one, so I thought it was worth a try. :)
  4. Skin by Ted Dekker (Book Sale). I’ve been wanting to buy more Dekker books, but some of them are just too expensive. I saw the hardcover of Skin in Booksale, and well…I didn’t let it go. :)

Not in picture:

  • The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (Book Depository). My first Book Depository order is a zombie book. Not surprising, of course. I’ve been looking for this book for ages but I can’t find it here, so I got it online. And I think I love Book Depository already, especially for hard to find books. :) There’s a more detailed post on how to order in Book Depository in Ariel’s blog if you’re curious.

Ebooks (no more background stories for this one, since I’m a bit tired of writing…plus I don’t think I should explain why I got free ebooks, right? :P):

  • Awaken by Kate Kacvinsky (NetGalley)
  • Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann (Simon and Schuster Galley Grab)
  • The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (NetGalley)
  • Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish (NetGalley)
  • Deceit by Brandilyn Collins (Amazon)

Pretty hefty mailbox. Of course, I have no idea when I’ll be able to read this, but I think that’s a given already. Mt. TBR, hello!

So, what’s in your mailbox this week? :)

Dreamcatcher

Gone by Lisa McMann

OPEN YOUR EYES.

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves: She has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life — and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out….

I thought I reviewed the first two books in the Dream Catcher series on my personal blog, but I was mistaken, so the review of the third book would have to have some kind of recap of the first two.

The Dream Catcher series by Lisa McMann is about Janie Hannagan, who has the strange ability to get into other people’s dreams. The series deals with Janie and dealing with her strange ability, the people around her, her relationships and the uses of her powers. In the first book, Wake, we meet Janie and we get a glimpse of how her ability is a problem for her because she can’t stop entering other people’s dreams. It’s fine if the dreams were nice, calm ones, but nightmares were a different story. Janie tries to live her life as normally as she can with her ability and her alcoholic mother, until she meets and falls for Cabel, and realizes that her ability may be used as a gift to help other people.

In Fade, Janie starts to discover more about her abilities when she finds out that one of the elderly woman she takes care of in an elderly home (where knee walkers at rentakneewalker.com were a common sight) her job has the same abilities as she does. Janie and Cabel enter a relationship and a job that would secure their future and would give Janie more reasons to practice her ability. However, Janie discovers something horrifying about her future if she keeps on doing what she was doing: a future that she doesn’t know would make Cabel stay with her.

Now with Gone, Janie still thinks of her future if she continues using her ability. She and Cabel try to treat things normally, but she’s uncertain if Cabel would stay for the long run. And as if the emotional turmoil is not enough, she gets news that her biological father is in the hospital and dying. Janie prefers not to care, but something about her father draws her to him, and what she finds out could be the key to the future she found out about in Fade, that is if Janie is willing to make a choice.

Now that we’ve gotten the recaps in order (and I tried to be as spoiler-less as possible), let’s get on to the review.

I have very mixed reactions with the last book in the series. I liked Wake, and I liked the concept that McMann introduced. Janie isn’t a particularly lovable character, but she wasn’t all annoying either. One would tend to sympathize with Janie’s situation — no one wants to see other people’s nightmares, let alone experience them. In Fade, we see Janie making use of her abilities and it was fun, although it wasn’t that impressive in terms of story. The revelations of what could happen to Janie, however, was interesting, and it provided enough suspense to the story and the characters to make me want to know what’s going to happen next.

With Gone, I’m at my own crossroads. I liked how McMann wrote Janie’s emotional turmoil about her future, and bringing in a person from the past is an effective way to face them. I also liked how the author made Janie’s heart soften towards her father, and how she faced her problems without really thinking of what other people will think. She knew she had to put herself because she was the one who’s going to deal with everything, not others. People may say that they will always support her, but she knew that they can only go so far. I also liked that McMann introduced more of Janie’s past, and how she executed the “conversation” Janie had with her father. That part teared me up, and I felt that it was fitting that I read the book during Father’s Day.

What’s really making me indecisive about how this book fared for me was the ending. I think that’s what most of the readers of this book would face. When I got to the ending, I thought there was more. I wanted to know more, I wanted to see what Janie would pick. But it ended where it did, and while it was frustrating to be left hanging like that, I also feel like the ending was just right. I mean, there is no real good choice — both of Janie’s possible choices would lead to undesirable outcomes. What she needed to choose was which was the lesser evil, which frankly, even I don’t know what.

I have always had a penchant for ending stories with a sort of cliffhanger, one that doesn’t tie up all loose ends and makes the reader wonder what happened next. I think Lisa McMann executed that beautifully here. I can’t say it’s satisfying, but I can say that it might be the proper — if not the best — ending for this series.

It’s not my favorite book or series, but I’m glad I read it.

Rating:

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 46 out of 100 for 2010

→ Get Gone by Lisa McMann from Amazon.com
→ Lisa McMann’s website

Up and Coming: February 2010

Oh boy. More new books coming. I was going through Goodreads last night and saw some books that I was looking forward to getting in the next month. I don’t know when these books will get here, but Fully Booked usually gets them immediately…so yeah, I might be poor in February again. Haha.

Little Miss Red by Robin PalmerLittle Miss Red by Robin Palmer
Release Date: February 9, 2010

Sophie Greene gets good grades, does the right thing, and has a boyfriend that her parents — and her younger brother –just love. (Too bad she doesn’t love him.)

Sophie dreams of being more like Devon Deveraux, star of her favorite romance novels, but, in reality, Sophie isn’t even daring enough to change her nail polish.

All of that changes when Sophie goes to Florida to visit her grandma Roz, and she finds herself seated next to a wolfishly goodlooking guy on the plane. The two hit it off, and before she knows it, Sophie’s living on the edge. But is the drama all it’s cracked up to be?

I loved Robin Palmer‘s first two books, Cindy Ella and Geek Charming, and I was delighted to know that she has another book coming out, this time based on Little Red Riding Hood. Awesome, awesome. :) Fairy tale re-tellings are always fun to read, and Robin Palmer has done great in her first two books. This should be just as interesting, I think. :)

Gone by Lisa McMannGoneby Lisa McMann
Release date: February 8, 2010

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves–she has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life–and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out…

I read the first two books in this series (Wake and Fade), and I liked it very much. I’m the type of person who can’t be silenced until I finish an entire series (which is why I finished reading Breaking Dawn…and totally regretted it), and this is the end for Janie and Cabel. I remember not being able to sleep while reading Wake — not because it was scary but because it was very captivating. Fade was just okay, but I liked what I found out about Janie there. This is the final book, and I can’t wait to learn what will happen to Janie now.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (paperback)
Release Date: February 9, 2010

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future – between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Okay, I know this has been released, but forgive me, I want the paperback. And the paperback won’t be released until February, so it’s technically an up and coming for me. :P Plus I’ve mentioned this book before, and this is an idea for you why I want this book so bad. Come on: young adult fantasy…with zombies! I want!

And I should write about why I like paperback books better than hardbound ones.

* * *

So it’s only three books for now, and all young adult! I’m still kind of getting the hang of blogging about books and checking out release dates. I’m not sure where else to find a list where the to be released books can be found and easily sorted, so I just relied on searching for the authors and books I want. ^^; There are other books in the list, but I’m not so sure what they are about…so for now just these three books. Maybe next month I’ll have more to write about. :)

Now where to buy these? I can pre-order this at Amazon and get it when my dad gets home, effectively stopping me from reading them immediately so I can work on my to-be-read pile. Hm. Let’s see. But if I spot any of these in the bookstores around me, bet that I’ll get them fast. :P