Sample Fridays (2)

And it’s time for Sample Fridays! :) Sample Fridays is when I share three to five new samples I got from Amazon’s Kindle Store. Note that they’re not to-be-released books, but books that are already out that I want to get sometime, preferably soon. Sampling is a fun way to get to read the first few pages of the book to see if I really want it. :) So yay.

Here are this week’s samples!

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.

To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s “flying lessons” that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city–despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights–thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.

This sounds like Sky High meets The Incredibles, in a book. All my geeky tendencies are tickled pink with this book — I’m excited. :) I’m not much of a fan of the cover, though, since it looks more like a graphic novel, but the first few pages seem very interesting. Although maybe I shouldn’t put this in as a sample anymore, as I bought it yesterday. :P Heee.

Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney SalterSwoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter

It’s the summer before senior year and Polly Martin has sworn off boys. Who needs the hurt and confusion? Five recent breakups have left her with an unnatural knowledge of NASCAR, the ultimate hiker’s outfit, a student council position, the sixth highest score on the Donkey Kong machine at the mall, and a summer job at Wild Waves with ex #2 Sawyer Holmes.

Success seems a sure thing when Polly’s grandmother, the syndicated advice columnist, Miss Swoon, moves in for the summer. Polly almost doesn’t mind sharing a room with her little sister, Grace. Think of all the great advice she’ll get!

Everything is going according to plan except… Miss Swoon turns out to be a man-crazy septuagenarian! And then there’s Xander Cooper. If only he wouldn’t keep showing up at Wild Waves with his adorable cousins every afternoon — and what is he writing in that little notebook?

No advice column in the world can prepare Polly for the lessons she learns when she goes on a group camping trip (with three too many ex-boyfriends). Polly is forced to see people for who they are — a blend of good and bad qualities that can’t be reduced to a list or a snappy answer in a Miss Swoon column.

This sounds a bit like Judy Blume, for some reason. I read the sample already and it seems pretty interesting, because Polly feels like an endearing protagonist and narrator. Plus it’s a summer book, and I like summer books because I miss summer already. :(

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one.

I’m not a fan of vampire fiction, even before Twilight, but I’m willing to read Meg Cabot’s try at this. I’m guessing Meena is named after that vampire lady that’s included in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen cast (I think she was originally from Dracula)? This book seems very interesting, although I’m not too crazy about the cover — it looks like those dangerous romance novels that I avoid in the bookstore. Heh.

Zombie BlondesZombie Blondes by Brian James

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.

A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders — the most popular girls in school.

The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.

But Hannah wants desperately to fit in — regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead — just like all the other zombies in this town….

How awesome does this sound? Zombies! I saw this book while looking at The Book Smugglers archives, and they got me at the word zombies. :P The cover looks simple but effective, too. Look at that barbie cover — can you imagine her being a zombie?

Shadowed Summer by Saundra MitchellShadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Iris is ready for another hot, routine summer in her small Louisiana town, hanging around the Red Stripe grocery with her best friend, Collette, and traipsing through the cemetery telling each other spooky stories and pretending to cast spells. Except this summer, Iris doesn’t have to make up a story. This summer, one falls right in her lap.

Years ago, before Iris was born, a local boy named Elijah Landry disappeared. All that remained of him were whispers and hushed gossip in the church pews. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she’s certain it’s the ghost of Elijah. What really happened to him? And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris to come back to?

I’ve been seeing this book in the blogs I follow in the web, so I finally gave in and got the sample. I haven’t read it yet, but from the looks of the blurb, it’s about ghosts, and from the looks of the Amazon reviews, it’s comparable to Twilight. I hope it isn’t like that, though — please no more of that. But hm, if it has the same story as Twilight, does this mean Iris will fall in love with a ghost? Interesting.

So that’s it for this week’s samples. I am still on my YA kick, and I can’t help it. I just like them so much. :) But because I splurged on the Kindle Store this week, I can’t really spend so much up until the next few weeks. I have a feeling I’ll just end up sampling and sampling and sampling. Oh well. :)

When will you rise?

Feed by Mira GrantFeed by Mira Grant

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Note: Will you just look at that awesome cover???

It was a normal afternoon at work. My colleagues and I were preparing to attend a required meeting when the boys started discussing their last Left 4 Dead 2 gaming session. I listened to them talk about how hard it was to get through whatever level they were in and how they blasted the zombies in the game, then I interrupted them with a question: “What if a zombie apocalypse actually happens?”

That simple question started a string of discussions about what could happen if zombies actually walk among us, hungry for our brains. We talked about the zombie apocalypse at length and what we would do: where to hide, how to kill zombies effectively, what weapons to use given our location, how to survive, even what to do if one of us were to get infected. Answers drew from sources of zombie wisdom ranging from movies like Zombieland to games like Resident Evil and even Plants vs. Zombies, all discussed with absolute seriousness, as if a zombie invasion was a real possibility.

In Mira Grant’s Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy, zombies have become a part of the normal everyday existence…click here to read the rest of the review.

Rating:

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 28 out of 100 for 2010
* Book # 12 out of 20 Fantasy books for 2010

→ Get Feed by Mira Grant on Amazon.com
→ Mira Grant’s website
→ Newsflesh Trilogy website

The Dead-Tossed Waves (Carrie Ryan)

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 404
My copy: ebook from Amazon Kindle Store

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

* * *

The Unconsecrated make a comeback, but this time they are known as Mudo, and the story is told in the eyes of Gabry, Mary’s daughter. Gabry has lived a safe and sheltered life, behind the barriers of Vista, and she’d like to keep it that way. She lived with her mother at the light house, helping her mom decapitate Mudo whenever some of wash ashore from the incoming tide. She knew her mother was not a local, and she was stranger than what the other people in the village, but she was used to it, being that her mother was from The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Gabry wasn’t one to question anything in her life — as long as she’s safe and her family and friends are, too, she’s okay.

But one night, she tagged along with some of her friends and the boy she likes to go outside of the barrier — and it was the mistake that changed Gabry’s life forever. In an instant, she saw her friends turn into zombies, and the guy she loves, Catcher, runs away into the forest after having been bitten. Gabry manages to run back to the safety of her own home, but not without repercussions of her actions.

The Dead Tossed Waves is a different kind of zombie novel, at least, very different from its prequel. Gabry was very different from Mary — while Mary was headstrong and dreamed big, Gabry was contented with where she was. She was afraid almost half the time. Mary acted with a purpose, while Gabry acted more out of impulse, out of need. Gabry was reactive, doing things because she had to, not because she wanted to, at least up until the last part.

We also see a few characters from the previous novel and even visit Mary’s old village again. There are a lot of new additions in the world of the Unconsecrated/Mudo: a cult, Breakers, and Recruiters, and the Dark City, which I think we’ll see more of in the next book. We get a lot more answers in this book, too, although they weren’t that clear, it’s enough to give an idea why there were fenced villages and why Mary’s village was shut off on its own with the Sisterhood.

This book kept me reading and guessing almost all the time. Just when I thought things were over, it’s not. I hated the part when Gabry comes to realize her feelings but then the guy (I’m not revealing who :P) is suddenly pulled from her grasp. My jaw was hanging open at that time! There was an overall depressing tone in this book’s prequel and this one is a lot better in terms of delivering hope in such a dire situation. It made me root for the protagonists more, and hope that they will come out of this alive and they will all see each other again.

Overall, I liked this book. It has a lot more romance in it as compared to its predecessor, but it wasn’t cheesy or annoying unlike other novels. Gabry wasn’t the best protagonist ever, but she has a lot of room to grow, and I look forward to reading about it in the next book (if there is a next one). :D

Rating:

Here comes the Unconsecrated

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth # 1
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 308
My copy: ebook from Amazon Kindle Store

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?

* * *

Altogether now: FINALLY. I finally got to read this book.

I’ve been trying to think of how I should dive into reviewing The Forest of Hands and Teeth, because I really have no idea how. I guess I’ll jump into it?

I’ve read a lot of reviews about this book and all of them told me to waste no time and read it. I was curious because I’ve never really read a book with zombies in it. Zombies are kind of a joke to us, you see, for several reasons: friends from NaNoWriMo use zombies (together with ninjas) to propel our plot forward when we have run out of things to write for our 50,000 word novels, and Plants vs. Zombies. I’ve never really thought that there’s a zombie book out there, and YA, no less. I’m curious.

Interestingly, the word “zombie” was never used in this book. In Mary’s world, the zombies are known as the Unconsecrated. There was little explanation on how their world became that, so the reader would just have to accept the truths that was presented in the context of the book. You can’t go near the fence. The Unconsecrated thirst for blood. The Sisterhood protects the village. You have to follow or else you’re dead.

But after Mary’s mom falls to the hands of the Unconsecrated and everyone leaves her behind, Mary starts questioning these “truths”. She wonders of the outside world, if there was an outside world at all. When things fall, she and her friends had no choice but to get out of the village and try to see if they can survive outside.

This book had a generally depressing mood, so it’s not a  book I’d recommend to be read when you’re already down. There’s a feeling of doom in the story, and you just know that not all of them will make it out alive. Even so, I couldn’t help but be sucked into the story and hope for more revelations about why the world came to that, and hope for the best for the main characters.

I had mixed feelings after I finished reading this — it was really good, but it was also very depressing that I don’t really know if I really like it — after all, I choose fluff over anything. :P But it is one of the best books I’ve read this year for sure. I’m not sure if I’d like to re-read it as often as I do for the other books I like. Did that make sense?

Oh, and the sequel to this book, entitled Dead Tossed Waves is coming on March 9, and I can’t wait to get to read that, too. I hope it sheds more light on the other unanswered questions in the first book. In the meantime, stay within the fences. :P

Rating: