Sunday, June 12, 2011

Paranormal YA Book: "Hereafter" is ghostly love story...

Book Publisher's Summary:

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Tara Hudson graduated with a degree in law, mostly because she believed all the horror stories about English majors and their careers in the food-service industry. Luckily, she soon remembered how much she loved telling ghost stories, particularly to her girlfriends who liked visiting abandoned cemeteries as much as she did. Tara currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband, son, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets.

My Review:

Beautiful cover, ghostly, isn't it? Another one of those pale girls with long hair and their backs turned to the reader, leaving us to fantasize about how beautiful she is. I like the idea, frankly. Somehow seeing faces makes me feel the book is an old-fashioned romance novel. But, now, seeing this sort of cover gives away the idea of a spirit-driven story. Or, paranormal theme as it were.

Young adult literature is stepping up, and has been in recent years, taking its place in literary circles. It seems to me that we have to give credit to dear Harry Potter for this revival. I'm one of those who cast aspersions on it to begin with but I'm a believer now! Once I dained to read Harry, it was YA lit. for me, forever...

"Hereafter" is a book that reads like a dream. It picks us up immediately and carries us through the horrors of gasping for breath, through the dark waters of drowning, and the fear of sleeping. Chilling.

I enjoyed this book and the idea of a ghostly love story that redeems both the girl and boy who overcome their watery grave and would be grave. Bound in a need to find redemption, these characters are well developed and sympathetic.

Tara Hudson, in this writing of her first book, is an author I was left hoping would write more, very soon. I found her a capable and interesting writer. Her imagination caught me up immediately. Her success at drawing the reader into the life of her characters was done in a seamless and effective way. I was simply captured by Amelia and Joshua...their love, and their commitment to each other as they strive to uncover the mysteries that consume them.  Her sense and reinactment of the ghostly and ethereal is wonderful.

Ms. Hudson's handling of the tension between the couple and the villian who attacks them makes for a novel that brings just the right amount of horror and anxiety to the mix.

This is a beautiful young love story tinged with sadness and light horror... I bought the whole thing without reservations and found it a good, "get away" novel. It will be great for the YA crowd, and their moms will love it, too. In fact, I'm sending my copy along to my 30-something daughter to read!

Another note: The inside of the book smells heavenly. I wonder if HarperTeen is perfuming their paper for the YA crowd? I love the smell of the paper.... Yummy

Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think about the cover and what story it tells about the book before you read the cover summary.

All in all 4 stars for a first time effort. 

Happy reading this week!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Bookish Libraria:The Bookish Dame Reviews: Books on My "To Read" Shelf from the UK

A Bookish Libraria:The Bookish Dame Reviews: Books on My "To Read" Shelf from the UK: "Book Summary : Irene Stanley thought her world had come to an end when her teenage son, Shep, is murdered. Daniel Robbin, who had spent ..."

Dystopian Novels Foretell Disaster! "Life As We Knew It," "The Dead and The Gone," and "This World We Live In," by Susan B. Pfeffer

"THE DEAD AND THE GONE" by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Library Journal Review:

An asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, and every conceivable natural disaster occurs. Seventeen-year-old Alex Morales's parents are missing and presumed drowned by tsunamis. Left alone, he struggles to care for his sisters Bri, 14, and Julie, 12. Things look up as Central Park is turned into farmland and food begins to grow. Then worldwide volcanic eruptions coat the sky with ash and the land freezes permanently. People starve, freeze, or die of the flu. Only the poor are left in New York—a doomed island—while the rich light out for safe towns inland and south. The wooden, expository dialogue and obvious setup of the first pages quickly give way to the well-wrought action of the snowballing tragedy. The mood of the narrative is appropriately frenetic, somber, and hopeful by turns. Pfeffer's writing grows legs as the terrifying plot picks up speed, and conversations among the siblings are realistically fluid and sharp-edged. The Moraleses are devout Catholics, and though the church represents the moral center of the novel, Pfeffer doesn't proselytize. The characters evolve as the city decomposes, and the author succeeds in showing their heroism without making them caricatures of virtue. She accurately and knowingly depicts New York City from bodegas to boardrooms, and even the far-fetched science upon which the novel hinges seems well researched. This fast-paced, thoughtful story is a good pick for melodrama fiends and reluctant readers alike.—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library

My Review:

I found these YA audiobooks while browsing my local library's downloadable media, recently. I'd never really heard of Susan B. Pfeffer, so I had no idea what I was in for but the story premises sounded good. Now that I've discovered her, there's no turning back for me! I'm a huge fan.

Dystopian novels are my newest craving and I'm always looking for good ones. It seems to me that YA fiction is hitting that mark best. The authors are rising to the challenge, and their work is stellar...interesting and engaging. With historical foundations such as "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, which I reviewed last month, the young adult genre has a "grandmothered" path laid for them.

It's difficult for me to listen to audiobooks. I find them sleep inducing for one thing, and they make me want to do something with my hands for another thing..."idle hands are the devil's workshop" my grandmother taught I want to stitch or knit! When I do find something to do it often distracts me from the book! And, further, it makes me wish I were reading the book instead of listening. Hence, a little anxiety accompanies these things for me and I don't often make use of them.

This time, I listened attentively while making jewelry and found I was lost in the books, hardly knowing what I was making! These books are very special. The narrator is perfect for the main character, Miranda. Her voice reached to the heart and captured the true essence of Miranda. This alone made the books more believable.

Ms Pfeffer clearly is a veteran writer. Her dialog is perfectly pitched and her characterization is excellent. It reaches an ordinary cadence to the listener/reader making each character both real and full-bodied. They were individuals that I felt close to and loved knowing. I was, of course, especially fond of Miranda, but I also found myself protective of her mother, who tried so hard to maintain a safe and "normal" existence for her children amidst the decay that leached life all around them. All of the characters lend themselves to one's interest and concern. I've rarely found this in novels of any genre.

In these novels a meteor has crashed into the moon and set the Earth into a disaster of such proportions that life hangs by a thread. The sun is hidden, ash and smoke covers everything, thousands of people die and continue to die from catastrophic disasters. Without the sun the plants and crops are contaminated and fail, and such common things as running water and electricity become non-existent. Food becomes rationed and is minimal. Miranda and her brothers scavenge abandoned homes for such simple items as toilet paper, books and soap.

Relationships take on a new significance in this uncertain new world. People become more precious and a new baby becomes even more a treasure. Sickness and any sort of medical condition becomes a disaster waiting to happen with no hospitals and no medical supplies. When one of the family is seriously injured, Miranda is faced with a moral dilemma that could affect all of them.

All of these books are very special reads or audiobooks, whichever your choice may be. While I haven't read "The Dead and The Gone" yet, I hope to as soon as I can get a copy of it.

Ms Pfeffer is a very gifted writer who makes characters rise above the ordinary. She is more than imaginative, she's able to create worlds that are so believable you could walk into them in a blink of the eye. It was frightening at times to hear the struggles Miranda and her family were enduring...making me wonder if life after a horrendous disaster of such proportions would be viable for the elderly and infirm at all.

"Foretelling" and eye-opening, these are books you really don't want to miss this year. Dystopian books at their best.

5 stars

Here is a cover preview of Pfeffer's new book to be released in September. I can hardly wait, and am hoping for a copy to review. Stand by!

Please take a moment to visit her site to see her other books. She's quite a prolific author of YA fiction. And, she has amassed considerable awards for the books above reviewed books.

Happy reading!