Conspiracy 365: January by Gabrielle Lord YA Fiction Review


Title: Conspiracy 365: January

Author: Gabrielle Lord

Publisher: Kane Miller

ISBN: 9781935279495


May Contain Spoilers

From Barnes and Nobles:

On New Year’s Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a staggering, sick man with a deadly warning…"They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days.” Hurled into a life on the run the 15-year-old fugitive is isolated and alone.

This is a pretty good gimmick – for the duration of 2010, a new book in this series will be released each month.  The story unfolds in short, fast-paced chapters that are divided into segments by time and location.  Callum, the hapless hero, is thrust into one dangerous adventure after another, and he is trying to discover the truth behind his father’s mysterious death. 

I wasn’t expecting much from this story, because I made a hasty judgment about the book.  I looked at the cover and thought that the book was mainly targeted to boys, and that I wouldn’t be able to relate to 15 year-old Cal.  I quickly found a lot to like about him, as he scrambled to keep from getting himself killed by lots of nasty individuals, including a very hungry shark.  If that didn’t keep the pages turning, I don’t know what would!

Cal’s well-ordered life quickly collapses after the death of his father.  Things get really weird after an unkempt stranger warns him to be careful for the next 365 days, or he’ll find himself very, very dead.  Cal brushes the guy’s warnings off as the ramblings of a madman, but he quickly discovers that the guy wasn’t so crazy after all.  Soon he doesn’t know who he can trust, because even his own family might be plotting against him. 

The first installment of the series is very suspenseful, and I found the pages turning faster the closer I approached the end.  It ends on a very painful cliffhanger, and I am engaged enough in the plot now that I want to know how Cal gets out of the mess he’s in.  He’s a great character, and one I found easy to relate to.  He is all alone, with no money and no safe place to stay, and he is somehow managing to keep from losing his mind.  He’s scared, but he is determined to find out why his father died and the meaning behind the mysterious drawings that his father left for him. 

Though I am a little leery about committing myself to reading a twelve volume series, the first volume was a fun, exciting read.  Even the packaging is engaging; there are illustrations and graphics scattered throughout the pages to emphasize discoveries or new puzzles as Cal moves from one dangerous situation to the next. Conspiracy 365: January proves that venturing outside of your usual reading zone can be a good thing.  I am looking forward to reading February!

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

Waiting on Wednesday – The Rise of Renegade X, Everlasting, & Sand Chronicles

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

As I mentioned in my Video Book Brunch post on Monday, this book had no appeal for me when I first saw the cover of The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell,  which is odd, considering that it has the look and feel of a comic book.  You’d think that  would be right up my alley, but no, this filled me with “meh.” Then I saw the trailer and now I can’t get my hands on this book fast enough.  It will be in stores next week! I can hardly wait!

From Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.

To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city–despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights–thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier has a pretty cover and looks like an exciting romantic adventure.  Tipping the scales, I  like the time period and the setting.  Everlasting will be in stores in June.

From Goodreads:

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.

Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.

I love, love, love Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara, and I am eagerly looking forward to volume 8.  It is such a consistent emotional read! Volume 8 should be in stores now.

From Amazon:

Can the sands of time heal all wounds?; Can the sands of time bury the pains of the past? Revisiting scenes and people from earlier days drives Ann to an impulsive act of desperation. Who will stand by her now? And will she ever make peace with her past…and herself?

What are you waiting on?