Tag Archive | horror

V for vampires, preparing for The Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda (book review)

book cover of The Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda. Published by St Martins Griffin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

As a human in his vampire-majority world, Gene learned survival rules from his father:
Never smile.
Never sweat.
Never sleep in public.
Never stand out.
Never forget who you are.

Having to drink water in secret, to remove all body hair, to train himself to always react exactly as his schoolmates react, to stay a loner even after being orphaned – it’s a wonder than he’s made it undetected into his teens.

If the other members of the Heper Hunt discover that Gene is a human with false fangs, then there will be one more heper to be chased and devoured alive by the unimaginably swift and vicious vampires.

Publication date in the USA is May 8, 2012 – The Hunt begins!

Book info: The Hunt (The Hunt, book 1) / Andrew Fukuda. St Martin’s Griffin, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] [UK book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: No one in his classes sweats or smiles or cries or has trouble seeing in dim lighting like Gene does. He can’t run fast, doesn’t thirst for blood. As a human “heper” in the vampire world, he’s hiding in plain sight, just trying to make it through another night alive. Then the Hunt is announced – a lottery for the right to chase and kill the last known hepers – and his number is called.

His father drilled rule after rule into him as he grew up: don’t giggle, never get any suntan, don’t fall asleep away from home, keep his grades only average. Somehow he knew that Gene would have to survive on his own someday, would have to pass for a true vampire all alone, just a number instead of a name. One look at their house with the unused sleeping perches and drinking water would doom him to immediate death and dismemberment by ravenous vampires.

The Ruler announces the Heper Hunt one night during school hours, and the Director of the Heper Institute explains the rules – training days, Hunt date, and the added bonus of providing some weapons to the slow, warm-blooded Hepers to make the Hunt last more than a few minutes. Everyone rushes to their computer terminals to get their lottery numbers, waiting for the night when the Hunt winners will be drawn. The excitement at school is unbearable – two students will join the Hunt, Gene and a girl he’s always called Ashley June.

And so his nightmare begins. There’s really very little training for Hunt members to do – the waiting is meant to build up the suspense for citizens who will avidly watch the last humans die in a haze of bloodlust and bone-cracking. How can Gene keep his own human sweat from alerting the vampires when there’s no running water at the Heper Institute to wash with or drink? Will someone come into his room and find him sleeping on the floor instead of hanging from his sleeping perch?

When he finds the Scientist’s journal and watches the heper group through the thick glass dome, Gene realizes that they’re much smarter than any vampire imagines. Can he alert the Hepers to the perils ahead? Is he going to survive waiting for the Hunt to begin? Will Ashley June be the one who discovers his secret?

First in a series, The Hunt takes readers to a dim and hungry future where humankind has one last chance to survive. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (fiction) – H for Haven, Hotel, and Hell?

Al Capone had his gangster headquarters at The Lexington Hotel,
President Benjamin Harrison enjoyed its luxuries as he dedicated Chicago’s famous World Columbian Exposition,
and now shy Haven Terra will be part of its gala grand re-opening.

She doesn’t recall applying for an internship in hotel management, but is glad for anything that will help pay for college…and she gets to live there full-time instead of enduring spring semester at her high school, too! Great!

But soon she and fellow intern Lance find flaws in The Lexington’s quest for perfection – a hidden agenda that will require guests to check their souls at the door, their beautiful bosses’ evil alliances, and mysterious messages telling Haven how to stop this devilish enterprise.

It’s up to her to find a way to Illuminate the dark secrets of this surface-bright world and to keep her friends from being lured into its depths…forever. First book in The Gilded Wings series and Agresti’s writing debut – it’s a thrill ride!

(p.s. LAST DAY! Giveaway for ARC of Cat Girl’s Day Off continues here closes at 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 9, 2012.)

Book info: Illuminate / Aimee Agresti. Harcourt, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation: Haven was surprised to be chosen to intern with the successful young owner of the swanky Lexington Hotel – and get school credit, too. The suave and glamorous trainees there seem rather soulless, though, like being a member of “The Outfit” has polished away their own personalities…

It’ll be hard to give up working at the children’s hospital and living with Joan, the nurse who found her as an abandoned five-year-old and gave her a home. Nothing ever discovered about Haven’s past, why she had those terrible scars on her back, why she had been left in the frozen mud. But it’s only for the spring semester.

Shy, smart Haven sure won’t miss feeling like an outcast at her high school, especially since her best (and only) friend Dante will be shadowing The Lexington’s amazing chef. And Lance from their school will be there, working with handsome manager Lucien. Everything will be fine, especially when owner Aurelia gives Haven a great camera and charges her with filling the lobby gallery with large-format portraits of The Outfit for The Lexington’s grand opening.

Browsing the hotel library for more history about its heyday when Al Capone was a regular, an odd little book intrigues her. And later, the book starts to write messages to Haven in its back pages… messages that warn her to trust no one, to explore carefully, and to train her muscles and stamina for a future challenge.

As the hotel’s grand opening nears, The Vault basement club starts welcoming Chicago’s elite and famous to its “ring of fire” seating and exquisite cocktails. All the gorgeous young people of The Outfit spend their evenings there too, so Lucien and Aurelia ask Haven to take lots of publicity photos. Lucien particularly enjoys having Haven nearby…

When Haven sees Lucien open an iron basement door into a fiery pit, she knows that The Lexington is not just another fancy hotel. And surely it’s not coincidence that her own high school has scheduled its prom there!

Why are hideous distortions appearing on every photo of The Outfit that Haven takes? Why is Dante suddenly so distant? Can Haven and Lance stay clear of the hotel’s mysterious perils? Why is the book warning her to be prepared against evil? What’s this about Haven keeping souls from…extinction?

Agresti’s stunning debut novel is the first book in The Gilded Wings trilogy. Step into The Lexington with Haven, if you dare. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

G for Ghost Flower, by Michele Jaffe (book review) – missing heiress, ghostly best friend, forever?

The resemblance is uncanny.
This no-money runaway looks just like a missing heiress,
the one who will inherit millions on her birthday this month.
What could go wrong with a short-time acting gig?
Oh, Eve, if you only knew…

With no roots and no need to be protected, Eve is even more like the desert’s ghost flower than Aurora was. Perhaps that’s why Bain and Bridgette chose her to fill in as their missing cousin, so it’s that much easier to sweep her away later and let The Family’s money flow to those who appreciate it and badly want it??

And why does Eve get such conflicting stories about Aurora’s best friend Liza? There’s something wrong about Liza’s suicide, something that Eve can almost figure out – when the phone calls start, from ‘unknown number‘ – phone calls from Liza, trying to warn Aurora about something, someone,
reminding her that they’re best friends… forever.

Grab this page-turner at your local independent bookseller as soon as it’s published on April 12, 2012 – and once you get to the halfway point, plan on staying up late to finish it.

(p.s. Giveaway for ARC of Cat Girl’s Day Off continues here through 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 9, 2012.)

Book info: Ghost Flower / Michele Jaffe. Razorbill, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Oh, she looks just like their missing cousin! Two rich teens offer Eve a chance to break out of poverty. Just convince the family that she really is runaway Aurora, come home in time to collect her inheritance, then conveniently disappear again once she’s given most of the money to them. What has she got to lose?

Maybe it’s time for her to take a chance on a better future, one far away from Tucson and the troubling flashbacks to terrible times in foster care which have increased since she moved here.

Studying photographs of Aurora’s relatives and school friends, eating only her favorite foods, wearing only her favorite colors – Eve is being transformed into wild, crazy Ro under the exacting instructions of Bridgette and Bain, secluded in a desert hideaway.

Bridgette has Aurora’s return to Tucson society meticulously planned for the week of her high school’s graduation, just before the memorial to its two lost classmates – Aurora and her best friend Liza, who committed suicide on the night that Ro disappeared.

But the new Aurora has her own ideas for convincing everyone that she’s the real deal and jumps back in early, encountering a psychic medium with a chilling message at a graduation party séance, a police officer who believes her memory is gone but sees her sorrows too well, and eerie phone calls day and night – from Liza!

Glaring omissions in the detailed information that Bain and Bridgette provide Eve to study – do the cousins want Eve to succeed or fail in her attempt to convince her wealthy grandmother, the rest of the Sterling family, and Tucson’s high society that she truly is their wild, impetuous Aurora?

Ghostly phone calls from Liza – can the dead truly communicate with us?
Who is she warning Eve about?
Why don’t all the puzzle pieces surrounding her death fit together right?

The desert’s Ghost Flower only blooms where the spirits of the dead rest uneasy. Lock the door, turn off the cell phone, and venture with Eve into Aurora and Liza’s privileged and perilous world. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)