Thursday, January 26, 2012

Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Name of the Star
By Maureen Johnson
Published by Penguin Group, 2011
384 pages (hardcover)

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.(from

During Winter Break I read Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson. I LOVED Maureen Johnson’s writing so I was excited to pick up her latest book Name of the Star. I usually don’t like creepy books with blood and gore, but I wanted to read something else by this author so I got up my courage and opened this book. The premise of the novel (copycat Jack the Ripper murders) is really intriguing PLUS the main character is at a boarding school in another country where her southern accent and stories make for some interesting interactions…. how fun!

Then Maureen Johnson moves from creepy reality to creepy fantasy where a few people with special powers have some extraordinary encounters with ghosts. The best part is that it doesn’t seem cheesy and fake at all. In fact, ghosts and a city gripped by murders seems perfectly normal. I think I was holding my breath the last few chapters because it was so intense!

The only bad part of Name of the Star is that it is part of a series (which I didn’t realize until I was almost done with it) and obviously the next book won’t be out for a while. Arg!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Riggs Ransom

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
By Riggs Ransom
Published by Quirk Books, 2011
352 pages (hardcover)

A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. (from

At first I was wary of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Not because I didn’t think it would be good; I had only heard good things about book. It was just that the book seemed so creepy. The pictures were weird and I wasn’t sure if I was adventurous enough to read it. But, alas, I picked up the book and I pretty much couldn’t put it down.

The beginning, in particular, was unique and it was refreshing to read something that wasn’t similar to so many books out there. I have read/seen plenty of books about dystopian societies, love, vampires, etc. lately but this was really quite different, especially the use of real photographs to tell the story.

Toward the end of the book it did become a bit more fantastical/paranormal than I thought it would, but overall it was an interesting and fun read. I just hope a sequel comes out because I really need to know what happens to Miss Peregrine and all her peculiar children!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Books I'm Excited To Read in 2012

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books I'm Excited To Read in 2012.

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson
WHERE IS THIS BOOK? No, seriously. Where is it? Chains and Forged were awesome and I really want book #3. And now that 7th grade has read Chains there are lots of requests for Ashes. Where is it?
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (sequel to Divergent)
Divergent was amazing and I am definitely excited for May to come so I can read book #2

The sequel to Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Sooooooooo good. And so many unanswered questions.

The sequel to Matched & Crossed by Ally CondiThis is a sequel to a good series. Of course I need to find out what happens next!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsThis book looks kind of creepy and I am not sure I want its creepiness in my house. But it also looks fascinating. I just can’t look away.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Anna & the French Kiss and Lola & the Boy Next Door were awesome. And I kinda love Stephanie Perkins. I am looking forward to hearing Isla’s story this fall.

The Name of the Star by Maureen JohnsonThis is the next book I will be reading. Maybe I will start tonight. Whoo hoo!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I have read this before but I need to re-read it before the movie comes out in December. Hooray for Bilbo Baggins!!!

Fire by James PattersonThe kids on those commercials crack me up.

Legend by Marie LuI have heard great things about this book so I am looking forward to picking it up.

*BONUS (too many great books!): The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithJust the title makes this book sound great!