Tag Archive | visions

Hysteria, by Megan Miranda (fiction) – murder, memory, missing pieces

book cover of Hysteria by Megan Miranda published by Bloomsbury Walker Books

Thudding heartbeats in the night,
bruises appearing each morning,
the rumors, the gossip, the lies…

Welcome to the tradition-filled halls of Monroe Prep, Dad’s alma mater, where Mallory’s reputation precedes her – the knife, Brian’s blood on her kitchen floor, the self-defense verdict.

Are her nightmares just reaction to the trauma or something more sinister? Surely Reid believes that Brian’s mom’s car was parked outside the school gates, that someone keeps entering her room, that she’s not seeing things – they’ve known each other since they were kids because their dads were high school roommates up here.

The crazy things happening now at Monroe cannot just be Mallory’s imagination… can they?

Read chapter one of Hysteria free here, then rush to your local library or independent bookstore to get it tomorrow on its publication day.

Megan Miranda crafts another chilling story teetering between paranormal and murderous; her debut novel Fracture  (my review) just came out in paperback – don’t miss either mysterious book!

Book info: Hysteria / Megan Miranda. Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation:

The blood, the knife, the holes in her memory – Mallory knows she should be glad for the “self-defense” ruling, but the pulsating hum in her brain won’t stop. Neither will the nightmares or Brian’s mom stalking her, asking where her dead son is.

Maybe boarding school in the New Hampshire woods will be far enough from her seaside house where Brian died in a pool of his own bright-red blood. Dad pulled strings to get her admitted to his alma mater at the last minute; he couldn’t stop the rumors about Mallory from getting there first.

Being a new student at Monroe Prep is worse than being at a regular high school since the snooty rich kids have known each other forever. Well, Reid is nice to her, probably because their dads were roommates here and their families got together often over the years. Last time she saw him was his dad’s funeral, not a good memory on lots of levels.

Despite her sleeping pills, Mallory still has nightmares, hears the booming echoes of Brian’s heart, wakes up with a handprint-shaped bruise on her shoulder that she couldn’t have done to herself, window unlocked when she knows she locked it. No cellphone service in these mountains, so she can never get through to her best friend Colleen at home, the only person who understands what she’s enduring.

A green car glimpsed through the fog – is Brian’s mother stalking her again?

A red handprint on her door, vandalism in her dorm room, menacing whispers – is her presence threatening someone at Monroe?

A hidden ruin in the woods, tribute to a lost student – is she supposed to be next?

Once again Megan Miranda crafts a chilling story of the hazy boundary between death and life in this psychological thriller with traces of the paranormal. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Adaptation, by Malinda Lo (fiction) – bird disasters, brain waves, conspiracy, love and mystery

book cover of Adaptation by Malinda Lo published by Little Brown

All flights grounded due to bird accidents.
Panic, chaos, cellphone systems overloaded.
Desert car crash, coma, 27 days lost…

Lucky their flight was delayed, but their headlong car trip from Phoenix to San Francisco lands Reese and David in a super-secret hospital near Area 51– and it gets weirder.

Extraterrestrials, conspiracy, visions that Reese can’t explain and can’t erase, comfort in Amber’s arms, what is going on??

As authors often do, Lo wrote Adaptation  while listening to playlists of songs that evoked different characters and scenes; listen to her 12 favorites here and read her reasons for selecting each one.

So, aliens among us or not??

Book info: Adaptation / Malinda Lo. Little Brown, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Recommendation: All flights cancelled due to multiple plane crashes with birds? After her dismal performance at the national tournament, now her debate partner David will be stuck with Reese even longer, as they drive from Phoenix to San Francisco – and it all goes crazy.

Speeding across the Nevada desert near Area 51, their rental car flips when a bird flies into it, and the teens wake up 27 days later in a secret military hospital. Confidentiality statements signed, they’re taken home to their very anxious parents, and Reese’s dreams (or nightmares) begin.
She sees doctors from the secret hospital in town – or does she? David doesn’t call her anymore – did he ever realize that Reese had a crush on him? These dreams of dripping yellow, of a red here, a red there – after-effects of the concussion?
Meeting Amber was a welcome change, with her punky pink hair and her see-it-all attitude for the city she’s visiting while she apartment-sits for her uncle. Reese is a bit mystified that Amber is attracted to such an average person as herself, but relishes the attention and affection.
Her best friend Julian helps Reese paint her bedroom to match the glossy reds and yellows of her dream-nightmare-dream, asks her more about Amber than she really knows, and answers the call for help when David finally contacts her to discuss his dreams, the same dreams, the same doctors seen where they shouldn’t be.
How could her scars heal so quickly?
Is Amber more than she seems? Has their relationship gone too far, too fast?
Why are those doctors following Reese and David?
The city is different without bird song, without any birds anywhere…   
(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions from Pop Culture, by Laura Barcella (nonfiction)

book cover of The End 50 Apocalyptic Visions by Laura Barcella published by Zest Books

Global warming.
Mutant diseases.
Alien attacks.

Seems like humans have been trying to figure out how the world will end almost since its beginning. Fifty apocalyptic visions from pop culture are analyzed in this new book (published today) which has many of the usual (Welles’s “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast and Dr. Strangelove) and several lesser-known exemplars.

I’m intrigued by Steve McGhee’s painting “The Big Swallow” which portrays an enormous storm and whirlpool consuming Sydney harbour (I climbed that bridge, so I don’t want it to disappear!) and a 1912 novella “The Scarlet Plague” by Jack London (read here free).

Ask for The End at your local library or independent bookstore and decide which movie, book, song, or artwork has it right. How do you think the world will end?

Book info:The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions from Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late / Laura Barcella. Zest Books, 2012.   [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Climate catastrophe or zombies? Alien invasion or the Four Horsemen on earth? People have long pondered how the world might end. Go behind the scenes of fifty apocalyptic endings from the past five centuries of art, film, theater, books, and music in this fascinating book.
Michaelangelo’s “The Last Judgment” and Durer’s 1498 “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” translate Biblical “end time” words into stirring pictures. Sandow Bok’s 1995 painting “Course of Empire” shows Los Angeles fractured by ultimate destruction of unknown origin. 
“It’s The End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M. is a spotlighted song, as is Barry McGuire’s performance of “The Eve of Destruction”. The peppy tune of “99 Luftballons (99 Red Balloons)” by Nena might hide this Cold War protest song’s strong lyrics from casual listeners.
Barcella highlights important early books The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster (1909) and Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, which Stephen King acknowledges as a huge influence on his work, like The Stand, discussed here as a television miniseries. Alan Moore’s dystopian graphic novel series V for Vendetta and Watchmen are analyzed, as is Brian K. Vaughn’s 60-issue comic book saga of Y: The Last Man.
Almost a third of the book covers movies from “12 Monkeys” to “Waterworld,” with aliens, asteroids, melting ice caps, zombies, atomic war, and other disasters leading to the end of life on earth. Quotes and Unforgettable Moments from every play, book, and movie give the flavor of each one’s style.
The author consulted experts about “the Reality Factor” of The End proposed by each movie, song, or book (almost all are quite improbable) and also lists the impact of each creative work on subsequent popular culture.

Thought-provoking and entertaining, this book gives readers much to think about as its alphabetical list of titles covers the many and varied ways that The End might emerge slowly or drop suddenly from above. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lost Code (Atlanteans 1), by Kevin Emerson (book review) – ozone layer gone, Atlantis calls

book cover of The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson published by Katherine Tegen BooksArchery, crafts, swimming in the lake,
bright-colored “bug juice” that all tastes the same,
it’s summer camp, just like every other summer camp…
A future Earth unshielded by the ozone layer

Camp Eden is trying to make campers feel like everything is just fine, but their 22nd century world ravaged by global warming lurks just beyond the BioDome with its radiation-blocking panels and artificial sky.

So how does average guy Owen find himself drowned on the first day of camp, yet alive and a super-swimmer soon after? Why does any visit to the camp infirmary – from sprained ankle to skin rash – involve a blood test? And that voice beckoning him toward the light deep in the lake…an ancient prophecy? Can the legend of Atlantis be real? Is Lilly part of the prophecy, too?

I met author Kevin Emerson at KidLitCon in Seattle last September, shortly after this book was headed to his publisher, so I was pleased to see its “book birthday” scheduled for May 22 and truly enjoyed reading Owen’s adventures in a solar-scorched future with a mystery that ties him to the distant past.

Be sure to request The Lost Code at your local library or independent bookstore soon so you can help Owen puzzle out this mystery of the Atlanteans.

Book info: The Lost Code (The Atlanteans book 1) / Kevin Emerson. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site]  Review copy courtesy of the author; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Drowning on the first day of summer camp was not on Owen’s agenda. He hadn’t planned on being underwater for ten minutes and getting cuts on his neck, either. Or being bullied by his bunkmates or hearing voices call him underwater or kissing a girl or being chased by terrorists…

Owen felt strange at Camp Eden, being outside under the huge BioDome with a real lake and trees instead of safely inside the caves of Yellowstone Hub with his dad. Could those TruSky panels really protect campers from the massive solar radiation blasting Earth since the ozone layer had vanished? Better safe than sorry, they slather on NoRad lotion for all daylight activities.

Failing the swim test was bad, but the itchy wounds on his neck are even worse. Dr. Maria said not to get them wet, but a shower makes the pain stop. Cute lifeguard Lilly told Owen to go with any strange urges he has near the lake, so a night swim with the counselors-in-training sounds great – and he’s suddenly in his element, swimming and diving deep using his new gills. During the daytime, the thick NoRad lotion disguises their necks, and every night the CITs and Owen explore the lake’s depths – and sometimes the voice calls him toward an azure light.

Long-time camper Leech bullies everyone in their cabin, goes fishing with the camp director, and generally is obnoxious. He knows the secret trails in the camp forest and cheats during team challenges. Does he suspect that Owen isn’t just a skinny kid from the Hub anymore?

Touring the Eagle Eye Observatory which watches over the 200,000 inhabitants of EdenWest Dome, wondering if Dr. Maria knows more than she’s telling him about why he survived so long underwater, trying to stay away from Leech while he listens for the lake voice – Owen’s summer is turning out to be no picnic.

Why does the voice tell him of a prophecy?
Can there really be people who live and survive outside the Dome?
Is the camp director friend or enemy?
Can Owen trust the visions about the future of his world and the Atlantis of its past?

First in a series, finding The Lost Code could be the secret that rescues humanity from itself or the final step in sealing their fate. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Fated, by Alyson Noel (book review) – spirit worlds, souls unbound, evil or good

book cover of Fated Soul Seeker book 1 by Alyson Noel published by St Martins GriffinShe sees him in her dreams,
those visions that sent her over the edge of sanity,
leading her to an adobe house in the desert,
to the grandmother she’s never known,
to the small town where she sees him, in the flesh.
Bound together by love or for evil?

Happy book birthday to Fated, hitting bookstore shelves today (May 22, 2012) in the USA – lucky UK readers have been devouring this first book in the Soul Seeker series for some time, and raving about it, too.

You may start to see its book trailer on TV or explore the Soul Seekers website or like its Facebook page, but you have to read the book for yourself to discover what Daine finds out about herself, her spirit animal guide, and twin brothers Cade and Dace.  Noel also has released a short story in which Ever from her popular The Immortals series meets Daire.

Book info: Fated (Soul Seekers, book 1) / Alyson Noel. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012. [author’s website]   [publisher site]   [UK book trailer]  [US book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk:  Time’s flow restarts, and the glowing people observe Daine from shadowed nooks, as she traverses the Moroccan marketplace on the way to her 16th birthday dinner. Not jet lag, no matter what her mother says – why can Daine alone move among the time-frozen people and animals? And why does she suddenly see severed heads on bloody spikes along the city walls, a murder of crows, the glowing ones attacking?

All her life, it’s been just Daine and her makeup-artist mom, traveling from movie set to movie set, her school classes done online, no other family, no problems. But now these visions and Daine’s uncontrollably violent reactions to them have changed all that.

Suddenly, her grandmother calls – for the first time in Daine’s life, she has another relative – and it’s decided that she must go to her rural New Mexico home and learn how to cope with her… abilities? For Paloma (mother of the father who died before Daine was born) is a seer and a healer who claims that these gifts are part of the teen’s heritage.

First time separated from her mother, first time to attend school, first time to ride a horse – Daine gradually shakes off her mental exhaustion to realize that whatever haunted her in Morocco is even stronger here. As she learns from grandmother Paloma about their family lineage as Soul Seekers, she also discovers that nearby vortexes lead to other worlds and that a strong family of ruthless soul-eaters will try to use them – and her – to bring more evil into this world.

A blind girl who sees auras, a vision quest for Daine’s spirit animal, twins separated at birth who mirror the light and the dark of this struggle – who could imagine that this small town of Enchantment would be the site of a soul-battle on Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead? First in the Soul Seekers trilogy, Daine strives to discover if she’s truly Fated to be part of all this. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)