Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Favorite Summer 2012 Reads: Part 1

According to the Zombies calendar hanging on my wall, today is the official first day of Summer.  However, it's felt like summer here in KY for the past month.  During that time, I've read some pretty great books, so I thought I'd share my favorites here.

City of Lost Souls
by Cassandra Clare

The fifth novel in the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, COLS picks right up where CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS left off.  Jace has gone missing, thanks to crazed Sebastian.  Clary and the rest of the Shadowhunters are doing everything they can to bring Jace back home.  But they soon learn he's not the same Jace they once knew.
While I loved this book, it wasn't my favorite in the series (CITY OF GLASS is still, by far, the best MORTAL INSTRUMENTS book).  I did appreciate that my favorite character of the entire series, Magnus, is much more prominent in this book.  I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, but I must question one thing: can Sebastian really be that smart?

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi

This was a book I'd been wanting to read for quite some time, and finally got the chance to do so recently, and it did not disappoint.  In a future where a scientific society lives within it's safe walls, teenage Aria finds herself outside where she believes she'll soon die.  She, instead meets a group of Savages, people who live outside the walls, in a primitive nature.  All she wants is to return home, to her mother, and needs Peregrine, a Savage, to help her.  When his nephew is taken by some of Aria's people, he uses her as much as she uses him, but both realize they need each other more than they ever intended.
This turned out to be a great love story, full of suspense and passion.  I really loved the evolving relationship between Aria and Perry.  It wasn't one that was instant, they needed time to know each other and fall in love.  And Perry's best friend, Roar, quickly became one of my favorite characters.

The Hunt
by Andrew Fukuda

What would you get if you mixed equal parts THE HUNGER GAMES with 30 DAYS OF NIGHT? You'd get THE HUNT, a terrifying vampire novel that doesn't sparkle in anyway.  The world has changed: vampires now rule all societies and humans are believed to be extinct thanks to their voracious appetites and hunts.  Little do they know that some humans, including one very brave teenage boy, lives among them, seamlessly blending in by learning all their actions, keeping their scents and emotions at bay, and only coming out at night.
One day, the Heper Hunt returns, a terrifying hunt within a dome with rare humans.  A lottery takes place and our hero (vampires do not take on names, so he grows up without knowing or remembering his own) is one of the lucky participants.  Unable to take any of his masking comforts from home, he's in danger of being discovered for what he truly is: a walking meal.
This book starts out with great action and never lets down.  From learning how the vampires coexist to the entrance to the Dome, I was scared for our hero's very life.  He begins to learn more truths, not only from those inside the Dome awaiting to become prey, but from his fellow hunters.  The ending was incredibly shocking, allowing for an even more intense sequel!

by Lauren deStefano

In the future, the life span of the human race is drastically diminished.  Girls only live to the age of 20 years old, boys to the age of 25.  Scientists and doctors are desperate to find a cure to the genetic disaster.  Everyone is encouraged to reproduce as quickly, and as often, as possible.
Rhine, along with her brother, are orphaned teens.  One night, she's abducted and taken far away from her home, along with two other girls, to become wives of a very prominent doctor's son.  Linden takes the girls on as wives, though he's not as creepy or scary as one would think.  He believes the girls came on their own will, when in fact, they were kidnapped and barely escaped death at the hands of their captors.  His overbearing father encourages Linden to get over his grief of his lost love and to reproduce with these girls.  Rhine, however, refuses to submit, even when it becomes apparent Linden is truly falling in love with her.
I really loved the spirit of Rhine.  At times, she thought she could fall in love with Linden, but could never get over being brought here, along with the other girls, against their will.  She knows his father is manipulative, having found out about the bodies he experiments on in the basement.  With the help of Gabriel, a house servant, Rhine learns that there is hope, but outside the walls of this house.

Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin

When I first saw the cover of this book in a literary magazine, I immediately wanted to read it.  I grew up loving Poe, so reading a re-imagining of one of his greatest tales definitely intrigued me.
An airborne plague has swept across the country, leaving many to die horrible deaths.  Only masks developed by a brilliant scientist can protect people, but only those with enough income can afford the masks.  The poor are at most risk, most being unable to afford the protection.
Araby doesn't have to worry about never having a mask.  It was her father who helped develop the protective guides, and her family is wealthy.  Having lost her brother when the plague was starting, Araby is overcome with massive guilt, often turning to various narcotics to help her pain.  She loves the Debauchery Club, a place she attends with her best friend and is able to score the drugs she needs to help her cope.  There, she meets Will, a bouncer, and learns that her own selfish needs are tiny compared to his family needs.  He and his two very young, orphaned siblings live very poorly.  The children do not have masks, leaving them very vulnerable.  After saving Araby's life, she meets his family and starts to learn how to truly live life.
But a new threat has come to town, one that threatens lives just as dangerously as the Plague.  Not knowing where to turn or who she can really trust, Araby suddenly becomes desperate to live and save those she loves.  I really loved this story.  At first, Araby isn't very likeable, but once you learn her back story, it's easy to sympathize with her.  I enjoyed watching her develop and become a better person, putting others before herself.  The intrigue and suspense throughout this novel was exciting, making it a read hard to put down.

Sea Change
by Aimee Friedman

I've read a couple of mermaid/mermen novels, but none really caught my attention, until this one.  Miranda and her mom come to the southern coast to her late grandmother's home.  While there, Miranda tries to blend in with other teens her age, in spite of having nothing in common with the rich, snobby, southern debutantes in town.  She relents and becomes friends with the popular group, even attempting to date one of their male counterparts, until she meets the mysterious Leo.  The girls laugh at the notion of her dating him, after all, they see him as an ordinary (but very good-looking) local.  But Miranda sees something different in him, something no one else can see.
After learning more about her grandmother's past and the local mermaid/mermen legends of the area, she soon begins to believe Leo may be a part of the legend.  He remains a mystery, even when he admits how much he cares for her.  Her mother lets her know that she intends to sell the home, but once Miranda realizes her feelings for Leo, she becomes desperate to hold onto the family home.
This is a great summer read, perfect for the beach (even though I actually read it in my grassy front lawn).  Unlike the other books in this post, this one is a stand-alone (though I'm hoping for a sequel soon!)

Ok, so that's the first part of my Favorite Summer 2012 Reads.  Since I have some time off from work for a few weeks, I have plenty of time for catching up on some great books!  First up: finishing my ARC of DEARLY, BELOVED.  Part 2 coming soon...