Sunday, March 30, 2008

Project 17

by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Derik LaPointe wants to be a movie producer—not the owner of the family diner like his parents expect him to be. So when he hears about the internship/movie contest on Reality TV Network, he knows he has to take his chance and try to win the thing. But where to shoot the movie? What would be dramatic, interesting, attention-catching? How about Danvers State Hospital, the abandoned mental institution? Derik decides that this is the perfect setting, and since it’s about to be bulldozed next week, he needs to move fast. The cast is a hodgepodge of students: Liza, who does it for her college application; Tony and Greta, who do it for their acting careers; Chet, who does it for fun; and Mimi, who does it because she needs to find out something. The six teens couldn’t be more different from each other, but nothing about their everyday social circles matter once they’re inside Danvers State. The place is forlorn and rotting—an eerie memorial of all the terrible things that once went on inside it. Derik is determined to get his movie filmed and then quickly get out of there, but things don’t turn out that easy. It seems almost like there’s someone or something in the building with them, but that could just be their jumpy nerves. As the companions progress through the building and things become more and more bizarre, they subtly become closer and more trusting of each other. But will this be enough? Does the ghostly voice Mimi hears mean them harm? And what will they do if it does?

Yes, this book is a supernatural thriller, and yes, the very idea of exploring an old mental institution is oddly disturbing. But Ms. Stolarz kept the story haunting and interesting, not full of gore or distasteful things like that. The characters had a lot of personality and you actually cared about them—plus it was interesting to see how each one of them changed, since the chapters alternated between their different points of view. There was a lot of unnecessary cursing, but other than that I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story with some spine-tingles included.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


by Lisa M. Klein

Ophelia has admired Prince Hamlet since the days when she and her brother Laertes played in the streets of their village. Because she is not a nobleman’s daughter, Ophelia has little hope of speaking with the dashing prince, until her father’s greedy ambitions bring their family to the palace. Noticed by the queen, Ophelia is asked to become a lady-in-waiting. Though she is the lady with the lowest social standing, her quick wit and charm soon make Ophelia a favorite of Queen well as Prince Hamlet. The lovers begin secret trysts in the village, dressing as peasants and calling each other “Jack” and “Jill,” whose simple lives they sometimes wish they could live. Even with their love a secret from most, Hamlet and Ophelia are happy enough—until King Hamlet’s ghost is sighted. As the Prince begins to go wild with the grief of his father’s death, Ophelia realizes that she must free herself from Hamlet before it’s too late.

Beautifully written, Ophelia begins long before, leaves off far past the end, and delves much deeper into the entire story of Hamlet, creating an Ophelia who is not just Hamlet’s mad-with-grief lover, but a smart, headstrong young woman who comes into her own despite the challenges placed before her.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Six (Not So) Random Things

Em tagged me with this meme:

1. I'm horrible at coming up with anything random. At all. It takes me about 10 minutes for some reason. That's why I enjoy being around random people so much, and why my answers for this meme probably won't be very exciting.

2. I have never read an anime but I have a deep dislike for them and never plan on reading one.

3. I'm only up to three things and am already nearing the end of my randomness.

4. I was in a "car accident" when I was four; There wasn't enough space inside the Little Tykes car for three little kids, so I rode on the roof. And since I "had a tickle" I had to let go to scratch it and fell head-first onto my friends' concrete patio. I have a flat spot on my forehead to this day (fortunately it can only be seen in certain lights), and it probably also permanently killed off some important brain cells.

5. I love bare feet, and if I can't have them, I like flip flops. Shoes are a last resort for when it's raining (I don't want to slip), freezing/snowing, or I'm going hiking or whatever.

6. I have never been in an airplane or outside of my own little time zone, but I want to go to England some day (and see everything in London and then go to Portsmouth and see the H.M.S. Victory), and also Ireland because I have a pen pal there, I would love to go to a real Céilidh, and just because.

So here are the rules for this meme in case you want to play:
1. You link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

I'll tag Tasha, Katie, Felicity, Pilar Mutya, The Compulsive Reader, and Tyto Alba (I don't care if we have two of these things on the same blog).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


by Donna Jo Napoli

Persian Prince Orasmyn—with a soft spot for roses and no desire to go on hunts—is a good Muslim boy, but when a sacrificial camel is found to be imperfect right before the Feast of Sacrifices, Orasmyn covers it up. For his careless decision, a pari—or fairy—curses him as a Beast, tells him that no woman will ever love him, and announces that the Prince’s own father will kill him tomorrow.
To survive, Orasmyn must leave the palace, but to survive outside of the kingdom’s walls means he must give in to his feline instincts. If he can find a woman who loves him as Beast, Orasmyn might be able to break his curse, but he must search far and wide. What will his wanderings teach him?

Beast was a lot more about the lives of lions than I imagined it would be, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I was expecting in a lot of ways. For a large part of the novel the prince tries to live as a lion without becoming entirely Beast, and it took quite a while to get into the parts that are actually in the fairytale, making it almost a Beauty and the Beast prequel. The ending seemed very sudden to me, and there was no indication of how Orasmyn knew he had to find his Belle to be changed back into a human.

This is the first book I’ve read for Enna Isilee’s Twisted Fairy Tale Challenge.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bloody Jack Adventures

Being Full Accounts of the Life of the Notorious Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, Pirate, Keelboat Captain, Lily of the West, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy, and Queen of the Ocean Sea
by L.A. Meyer

This series centers on spunky Mary Faber, who gets into—and out of—every kind of scrape imaginable. In the first book she starts out as a London street orphan who signs aboard the H.M.S. Dolphin to make an honorable living. Disguised as a boy and newly christened “Jacky,” she hopes to voyage to far lands and see the Bombay Rat and the Cathay Cat. But it’s not that easy: life on a royal warship during the Napoleonic Wars is harsh in many ways, including cruel officers and bloody battles with pirates.
In a strange turn of events, Jacky is discovered as a girl by the Dolphin’s crew, separated from her true love, Mr. James “Jaimy” Emerson Fletcher, and sent to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls to be gentrified.
But learning to be a lady by all odds won’t keep Jacky Faber inside making samplers or away from her beau. No way, she roves the world from the streets of London to a gaol in Boston, the hills of Ireland to the mud of the Mississippi, the swells of the Caribbean Sea to the guillotine in France, and everywhere in between.

Along the way Jacky makes friends in high places and in low (very memorable and almost over the top, but never annoyingly so characters), and the acquaintances of many handsome young men....

There is something for everyone in these novels: adventure, romance, humor, sentiment, drama, even a little action. They are filled with lots of fun little references to legends, characters from classic novels, historical figures, and—most particularly—songs from the period. Like most series, Jacky’s adventures have high and low points, but over all are simply amazing and can be described in one word: WOW. The series is definitely one of my favorites, and has its own small fan club on the Bloody Jack Boards (which I don’t recommend visiting until you’ve read the series because of spoilers).
Fans of Celia Rees’ Pirates! and the Piratica Trilogy by Tanith Lee will love Jacky Faber!

Note: These are definitely at least age 12-and-up books due to mature content matter (some violence and sexual references).

Check out this awesome fan-made trailer!

Read every one of Jacky’s exciting adventures in:

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy
Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady

Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber

In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber
Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and the Lily of the West

My Bonny Light Horseman: Being the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War
Rapture of the Deep: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy
Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Adventures of Jacky Faber, on her Way to Botany Bay
The Mark of the Golden Dragon (working title)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Face Lift!

It took a while, but I finally figured out the correct size picture to make a banner for my blog, so I put one up. And after that...I just realized that the background color of templates can be changed. So I chose one that matches the banner well. And here it is!

So, what do you all think? Is there WAY too much blue (sorry, it's my favorite color!) or is any of the post/sidebar/header text too hard to read? Let me know 'cause I don't want anybody needing glasses because of me me. ;-)

Hope you like it!
-Ink Mage

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Declaration

by Gemma Malley

The year is 2140, and the general population has decided that they want to live forever. The drug Longevity allows them to do just that. But since no one dies, there isn’t enough room or resources for any new babies to be born. Therefore, the Declaration is written and signed, outlawing the very existence of all children. Illegally born people (called “Surpluses”) are quickly taken away to live in institutions that train them for a life of manual work—they repay the sin of having been born with near slave labor. Surplus Anna has lived almost her entire life within the cold walls of Grange Hall; Surpluses aren’t allowed to go Outside, and why should she want to anyway? She doesn’t deserve to exist. Anna has only one goal, one point, and that is to be the most useful and obedient Surplus she can. But when Peter comes to stay at Grange Hall, everything is different. He tells Anna that he knows her parents, that they still love her and are longing for her to come home. At first Anna is skeptical and resentful, but still the news makes her curious. Through Peter, Anna finds her own rebellious spark and realizes that she has to run from Grange Hall. But can she and Peter escape the twisted headmistress, Mrs. Pincent? And if so, what will await Anna in the Outside?

I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, but by no means was it shallow. If you like The Giver or Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series, you’ll like The Declaration. I’m greatly looking forward to the sequel, The Resistance, which will be available in September.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


by Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury is rich, handsome, and friends with the cool people in his exclusive private school. But weird and mysterious Goth classmate Kendra Hilferty sees through his Mr. Popular façade to what he really is; to where he’s mean—anyone who’s not beautiful is ugly, anyone who’s not someone is worthless, to where he’s cruel just for a laugh. To where he’s beastly. Kyle sees her as just another unattractive freak, but there’s more to Kendra than he thinks—like the fact that she’s a witch. On the night if the spring dance, Kyle is especially spiteful and Kendra gives him what he deserves: for the next two years he’ll be in his appropriate form of a beast—unless true love’s kiss breaks the spell.
It doesn’t take long for Kyle to realize he has to change his ways—and fast, or else he might take a turn as an outcast freak...and for the rest of his life.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Beastly, since it was nothing like the author’s previous books, but it didn’t let me down. It’s another easy-to-read, creative novel from “the queen of writing troubled yet multi-dimensional teens,” but with a new twist.
Alex Flinn cleverly weaves events from the original Beauty and the Beast story into the modern era, and gives it real emotions.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Twisted Fairy Tale Challenge

I just joined the

Hosted by Enna Isilee at Squeaky Books.

The goal is to: Read 4 books about twisted fairy tales by May 5, 2008, with the exceptions of:
You may read a book that is not directly based on a fairy tale, but has a very fairy-tale theme (i.e. Sarah Beth Durst's Into the Wild)
You may read more than 4

The books I'm so far thinking of reading are:

The Swan Maiden, by Heather Tomlinson
A Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce
The Swan Kingdom, by Zoë Marriott
Beast, by Donna Jo Napoli
Cindy Ella, by Robin Palmer