Trisha’s August roundup
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Oh. My. God. I’m tempted to bust out the profanities but will try to control the urge. If you’re a fan of dark thrillers and don’t mind reading about blood and guts, you must read this book. Tortured cop (literally) back on the job, leading a task force tracking a serial killer, even though he’s still haunted by what was done to him by another serial killer. It’s twisted, it’s sick, it’s disturbing, and it’s bloody—and I really mean bloody—brilliant. Available now, so go and find a copy! Totally worth missing an ALA program for.
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
So I didn’t love this book like Patti of Oops…Wrong Cookie or A Fuse #8 Production. I like long books, but in this case, the length worked against the book. On one hand, we get to read about Cadel as he ages from seven to fourteen and all the chaos he creates. On the other hand, the last part of the book totally made me roll my eyes, like the train sequence in Speed. Was it really necessary? But the sequel is coming out next year, so who knows, maybe it did need to end that way. Also reviewed by bookshelves of doom and a host of other blogs.
Lily Dale: The Awakening by Wendy Corsi Staub
Calla is spending the remains of her summer with her grandmother in the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York. Her mother died in a freak accident, her father’s leaving for California, where the family had planned to spend his sabbatical year, and there’s no way Calla’s staying in Florida with her best friend and her family, which includes Calla’s ex-boyfriend. But when strange things start happening to her in Lily Dale, how long will it take Calla to start believing in the supernatural?
I probably would have liked Lily Dale: The Awakening had it been published fifteen years ago. It’s reminiscent of those YA horror/thrillers I read as an adolescent and, yeah, I can see teens wanting to read it now. But it’s being published in hardcover, and in my opinion, it’s not worth that price. As a paperback original, sure. It’s one of those books to borrow from the library instead of buying your own copy.
Black Tuesday by Susan Colebank
Jayne is Miss Perfect. Even though she’s only a junior, she’s captain of her high school tennis team, has the top GPA in her class, and is well on track to achieving her goal, or rather, her mother’s goal, of getting into Harvard. Everything Jayne has done for as long as she can remember has been done with Harvard in mind. Until she answers her cell phone while driving to tennis practice. She hits another car, and the child in the passenger seat is injured and later dies.
Black Tuesday started off strong but lost momentum. Jayne is at first understandably depressed and despondent, but then just becomes lost, and the story loses its way along with her. There were a few too many coincidences involving the mean girls at school, I didn’t completely buy Jayne’s relationship with her (male) best friend, and everything was resolved a bit too neatly for my taste.
When Tomas and his son, Peter, settle in Chust as woodcutters, Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut, so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn’t understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long, battered box, whose mysterious contents he is forbidden to know.
But Tomas is a man with a past: a past that is tracking him with deadly intent, and when the dead of Chust begin to rise from their graves, both father and son must face a soulless enemy and a terrifying destiny.
I think this book was a victim of reader expectations. That is, I was expecting to read a spooky and scary story, and I wasn’t scared at all. So as much as I wanted to like the book, as much as I love the title and the British cover, My Swordhand is Singing was ultimately a disappointment. Mostly, I kept on waiting for Tomas to OPEN THE FREAKING BOX! It was shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize, though (via bookshelves of doom). It’s also the kind of story that probably would freak me out if it was a movie, even though it didn’t do much for me as a book.
Back to the cover. The American cover (which I cannot find online and my ARC is at work, so no picture here) is so blah. The British cover, on the other hand, is perfect. Spare, simple, and striking.