Monday, July 21, 2008

GONE by Michael Grant

As a fan of apocalyptic science fiction, I was very excited to read GONE by Michael Grant.

In the blink of an eye, everyone over the age of fourteen disappears. POOF! Teachers in the middle of a lesson, mothers preparing their babies’ bottles, people driving down the road - all just GONE! Panic begins to spread and no one knows what to do. Sam, who proved himself a hero in the past, is automatically given the role of leader in Perdido Beach or the FAYZ as it becomes known.

Sam, together with Astrid, her autistic brother Little Petey, Quinn, and Edilio begin to attempt to piece together what happened. They eventually discover a transparent barrier surrounding the area and the power plant at its center. The barrier forms a ten mile radius around the plant. It is painful to the touch and there don’t appear to be any openings.

On top of being forced to care for themselves, Sam and the others must make sure that the young children are cared for. Several people take up the task of caring for the babies and toddlers at the day care. One young man even inventories stock and continues to run the local McDonalds so people can come in for something to eat. Everyone is nervous, but things seem to be under control - until the kids from Coates Academy show up.

Coates Academy is the prestigious boarding school up the hill from Perdido Beach. The Coates Academy leader is Caine and he makes it very clear that he intends to take charge of the town. Things start to take a turn for the worse shortly after Caine takes charge. Bullies are the ones running the town and many don’t feel safe.

Three other things are causing everyone to feel scared:

1) Some of the kids are gaining powers. Some can heal wounds, others can move things around with their mind, and some develop super speed.
2) Animals are mutating. There are seagulls with talons, coyotes that can talk, and cats that can teleport from place to place.
3) Once you hit your fifteenth birthday (exactly to the minute you were born) you POOF!

It’s a frightening world. Bullies against the weak; Rich kids against the townies. Lines are drawn and sides are chosen and everyone prepares for battle. If you enjoy science fiction or liked LORD OF THE FLIES , this is a book for you. Don’t let the length scare you off because it is definately worth the read. My only complaint is the ending. It leaves you with many unanswered questions. Nothing was really solved. Michael Grant has said that he plans this to be a six book series and is finishing up book #2 now. He intends for a book to be released every summer until the series is complete.

Monday, July 7, 2008

CORALINE (Graphic Novel) by Neil Gaiman

I was extremely excited when I saw the Coraline in graphic novel form. When the book first came out I totally fell in love with it. For a children’s book, it was completely frightening. The graphic novel does a great job of hitting the high points of the story and the illustrations are great, but I don’t think it should be used as a replacement for the original book. The illustrations that are in the book publication are even creepier than the color illustrations in the graphic novel. For example, look at this illustration of the Other Mother from the book.


If you aren’t familiar with the story at all, here is a quick summary. Coraline has just moved to a new flat with her parents. School is still a couple of weeks away so she is left to explore her surroundings including the grounds of the building and the flat itself. Her parents are extremely involved in their work and have little time for Coraline so she is left on her own a lot.

There is one door in the flat that is locked and when she asks her mother what is behind the door she is told that it leads to another flat, but the passage way has been bricked over - her mother opens the door to prove it.

Later that night, while Coraline is in bed, she hears a clicking across the floor, curious about what made the noise, she gets out of bed and creeps into the hallway. She notices the door that leads to the other flat is open. Her curiousity forces her to walk into the dark opening and what she finds is a mirror image of her own flat - including her Other Mother and Other Father.

After entering the flat next door, Coraline’s life takes a horrifying turn. She must enter a battle with the Other Mother in order to save not only her life, but the lives of several others.

This is an awesome book. You should definately read the book in addition to reading the graphic novel.

Friday, July 4, 2008

PAPER TOWNS by John Green

Quentin and Margo have been next door neighbors for years. As young children they were very close, but grew apart as they got older. Margo became distant and both her and Quentin became interested in different things. So, when Margo appeared at Quentin’s bedroom window in the dead of night, dressed entirely in black, he was confused and curious.

What Margo had planned was an elaborate scheme of revenge and after the most exciting night of his life, Quentin feels his connection to Margo grow a little stronger. That is, until she disappears. But, Margo’s disappearance leads Quentin on the second most exciting adventure of his life.

John Green has done it again. He has written another novel about a young man who can’t understand the girl he loves. He has developed characters that you’ll want to know more about as you get deeper and deeper into the story. It will leave you wondering even after you finish.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Hannah has just moved with her father to a new town AGAIN. She can’t understand how her father doesn’t understand that he can’t run from his problems. Once she gets settled someplace they seem to get into a financial situation that her father would run away from rather than solve. It never seems to work. Her father promises that Maplecrest is going to be different. Boy was her ever right – just not in the way he meant.

Hannah is used to being the new girl in school. She has made picking out the rulers of the school an art form. At Maplecrest, they are the Cheerleaders and the Cheerleaders are led by Maggie Turner – with her pale skin, glowing blonde hair, and brilliant blue eyes, Hannah can see why she attracts so much attention.

Lukas approaches Hannah at lunch on her first day. He comes to warn her. He doesn’t want her to get pulled into the popular crowd. The popular crowd, he warns her, are flesh eating zombies that are slowly killing off the people in town. Hannah’s mind immediately flashes to all the For Sale signs she saw in the yards of the homes her and her father passed on their way into town but zombies? There was no way she was going to believe that. She could clearly see by the comic books Lukas carried with him that he was letting his imagination get carried away. While glad to have a friend at school, she didn’t like him talking about zombies and quickly put it out of her mind as crazy talk.

When the Cheerleaders approach Hannah she is both excited and nervous. Can she make the cut and win a spot on the squad? What will she have to do to be accepted by the girls?

Brian James has written an exciting horror novel set in an everyday teen setting – high school. What could be more horrifying?

Sunday, June 29, 2008


This installment of the Vampire Kisses series is a delight. It is much better than the last couple in the series. Granted, there are still problems with the novel, like Raven ALWAYS gets out of trouble too easily and she never gets caught by the adults in her life when she is doing something she isn’t supposed to. These issues don’t take away from the storyline thought.

It’s summertime in Dullsville and Raven is chomping at the bit to get out of school. The only thing putting a damper on her plans is that Alexander still hasn’t returned from Hipsterville from reuniting Valentine with his brother and sister. The only thing she can think to do is to hop the bus to Hipsterville for an impromptu visit to her Aunt Libby’s house.

Raven takes the first opportunity she gets to head to the house Alexander and Jameson have rented. Her time with Alexander is never long enough. After a quick dinner it’s time for her to head back to her Aunt’s house. Before she goes inside though, she decides to check out The Coffin Club, the goth club she visited the last time she was in Hipsterville (even though Alexander warned her not to go there alone.)

Once inside, she immediately can tell the place has changed. It is a lot more crowded and it seems a little more intense. She is intrigued by one person in particular - a motorcycle riding, leather wearing, purple haired man. She can’t seem to take her eyes off of him. He scares her and intrigues her at the same time.

While looking around the club, Raven gets turned around and stumbles upon something called The Dungeon. The Dungeon is located underneath The Coffin Club. Some very interesting people are in attendance, including Jagger, Alexander’s long time enemy. Is it possible that Raven is in over her head this time?

Ellen Schreiber has written an enjoyable installment in Raven and Alexander’s complicated relationship. It seems clear that she doesn’t have any plans to stop writing this series. Even after 5 books, only a couple of months have passed since the beginning of the series.

PENDRAGON: MERCHANT OF DEATH by D.J. MacHale (Graphic Novel)

The Pendragon series is extremely popular at my middle school, but I’ve never read any of them for myself. So, this graphic novel is my first introduction to the series.

Bobby Pendragon is a “traveler,” but he doesn’t know it. His Uncle Press picks him up the day he is on the way to a big basketball game and takes him to an abandoned subway station. Once there, he makes it to the flume and is transported to Denduron. Bobby has no idea what he’s doing there. His Uncle hasn’t had time to explain anything. It turns out he is meant to save worlds like Denduron from disaster.

Bobby becomes very frustrated with the responsibility of saving Denduron and is asked to keep a journal of the events he is going through in order to keep everything straight and for future reference. He was given a way to send his journals to someone he trusts back on Earth and the only person he can think of is his best friend Mark. Through Bobby’s journal entries to Mark, we get the whole story of Denduron and the problems they are facing.

I enjoyed the story, but I do feel that I missed some of the story. I feel like I need to go back and read the whole story.

AUDREY, WAIT! by Robin Benway

Have you ever broke someone’s heart? Broke up with them when they weren’t expecting it? Audrey did. And boy did it come back and bite her in the behind.

When typical teenage girl, Audrey, broke up with her self-involved, rock star wannabe, boyfriend Evan, she never expects him to write a song about it. She definately didn’t imagine that song, “Audrey, Wait!”, to skyrocket to the top of the charts. In the blink of an eye Audrey goes from a normal music loving girl to a star.

Audrey is hounded by paparazzi, begged for interviews from newspapers and magazines, and rumored to be a muse for the music industry. Basically, her life is turned upside down.

One perk, that her best friend enjoys more than she does, is when Audrey receives the royal treatment. For instance, when attending the concert of one of their favorite bands, Audrey and Victoria are wisked up to the special VIP balcony area where food and drinks are freely available and there is an unobstructed view of the hot band members. They even have an opportunity to rub elbows with the band - with some interesting end results.

Throughout all the challenges Audrey faces during the song’s popularity, you really get to see what kind of girl she is. She is strong, confindent, and smart - definately someone you’d like to have in your corner. She learns a lot about herself, her friends, and popularity. AUDREY, WAIT! is just plain fun to read. Audrey’s voice comes through so clear through the book that she’ll feel like a friend when you get to the end.

EPIC by Conor Kostick

What if the quality of your life depended on how well you played a MMORPG? What’s a MMORPG you ask? It is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Well, on New Earth that is exactly the way life is.

On New Earth, violence is illegal. Epic (the MMORPG) was created for people to clip up, enter the world of Epic, and take out their agression on fictional characters rather than doing harm to a real person. However, over the years, the purpose of the game shifted and became the determining factor for what kind of job you had, where you were able to live, and what supplies you received. Central Allocations, a small group of people in charge of all the decisions, controls everything.

Erik’s family is having a tough time. They have had some solar panels break and aren’t able to produce enough olives to meet their quota. Their attempts at getting replacement solar panels have been unsuccessful and the family is afraid Central Allocations will require them to move to the salt mines for punishment. In addition to the family problems, Erik isn’t doing well in the game himself. In order to have a chance to go to University you must accumulate wealth and status in Epic. Erik just continues to get his characters killed because he trys to kill the same dragon everytime he enters the game. His last “death” is the final straw though. Out of frustration he does something he has never done before. Erik creates a character that is female instead of his usual male character that resembles him in real life. Instead of going by his own name he chooses one he thinks befits a beautiful character - Cindella. Immediately upon entering the game as Cindella, things begin to look up. Characters that are a part of the game begin talking to her and giving her things. Soon she realizes the characters are pointing her toward a quest.

With his newfound status in Epic, Erik uses his accumulating wealth and the help of his friends to take on Central Allocations - once and for all. They are up against the most dangerous players of all. Ones with more wealth and experience. But, if Erik can defeat Central Allocations, he’ll be able to save his family and possibly create a better life for them and those of his friends - possibly even the world.

EPIC is an interesting story. There is no problem keeping up with the “real” world and the “Epic” world. The author does a great job of distinguishing the two. If you enjoy Fantasy or Sci-Fi, then you’ll enjoy this story. There is a sequel called SAGA that has already been released.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Look at the cover. What do you see? Yep, a demon! Demons don’t generally promote a feeling of tranquility do they? However, this one is smiling which is unusual. When you read the first line of REPOSSESSED, First thing I did was, I stole a body, you don’t quite know what you are getting into. Thoughts of a demon inhabiting a teenager and running around causing havoc enters your mind. But, you soon find out that isn’t the case at all.

Kiriel is one of the fallen, condemned to a life in hell tormeting the poor souls that are unfortunate enough to end up there. He’s performed the same function for thousands of years and he is sick of it. All he wants is a little vacation. He knows he can’t run away from Hell forever, but really, who is gonna know if he leaves for a while? No one checks up on him to make sure he is tormenting enough souls or anything.

After a lot of observing, Kiriel inhabits a young teenager named Shaun right before he is about to be hit by a bus. He was going to die anyway; so what if he didn’t get to experience the last 2 seconds of his life. Kiriel wants to experience life for a change instead of just watching. He enjoys everything: walking, feeling the breeze blow across his skin, and, of course, eating (he falls in love with ketchup).

Not knowing how long he is going to be able to stay inside Shaun’s body, Kiriel doesn’t waste anytime experiencing life. While he begins to interact with the people in Shaun’s life, he realizes that he doesn’t just want to disappear. He wants to leave a mark on the world before he goes back. He comes up with four things that he can influence for the better before his time ends on Earth. He plants 4 seeds, hoping they’ll grow after he isn’t around to tend them anymore.

REPOSSESSION is a delightful book. There are many sections that make you laugh out loud and definately even more that just cause a smile to spread on your face. I love the unique idea that a “demon” from Hell comes to our world and understands how important life is. He knows you should make the best of every minute you have. Granted, all of his motives aren’t selfless. He definately has some things he specifically wants to accomplish for himself but in the grand scheme of things, Kiriel is just a really great guy.

It is clear why this title won a Printz Honor. See my previous post about NIGHT ROAD by the same author.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

IDENTICAL by Ellen Hopkins

One family - damaged by tragedy. A father who drinks too much; an absentee, professionally-driven mother. Twin girls left in the middle.

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical twins - each with their own deep, dark secret. One daughter attracts the inappropriate attention of their damaged father. The other daughter, usually ignored, takes part in riskier and riskier behavior just screaming to be heard. Both girls suffer in silence, living behind the facade of a perfect, all-American family.

Ellen Hopkins has written another gripping novel in verse that will leave you on the edge of your seat. If you are at all familiar with her work you know to expect the unexpected. Prepare for your jaw to drop when you reach the end of this gripping tale. You absolutely won’t believe your eyes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

FEAST OF FOOLS by Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine has done it again. She starts FEAST OF FOOLS like she does the other books in the Morgenville Vampire series - right in the middle of the action which grabs you by the hair, yanks you in, and won’t let go until the story is over.

At the end of MIDNIGHT ALLEY, the foursome living in the Glass House gets some unexpected visitors in the form of Claire’s parents and (in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Speak) the Big Bad - Mr. Bishop A.K.A. Amelie’s “father.” With him in town there has to be trouble a-brewin’.

On top of the trouble that is inevitably on the way, Claire has to deal with the stress of her parents being in town. She is, of course, worried about their safety, but also has to convince them that she isn’t going to move in with them - that she is perfectly capable of staying at the Glass House. Claire’s duties to Amelie are still a high priority which requires that she continues her work with Myrnin while at the same time making it to all of her classes during the day.

The Big Event (where everything hits the fan) takes place during an invitation only masquerade feast. Claire manages to get herself an invitation and is front row center when everything comes to a head. Mr. Bishop is in Morganville for one reason and if he doesn’t get what he wants he will declare war on those that oppose him. Battlelines are drawn, people are in danger. You’ll never believe how this one ends.

Rachel Caine is an amazing writer. She writes so vividly that you can picture everything that is happening in your head like a movie. As crazy as it sounds, I feel like I know the characters from the book and I love the developing relationships between Claire and Shane / Eve and Michael. The one drawback to the series is they are definately NOT stand-alone novels. If you picked up FEAST OF FOOLS without having read the other three in the series I think you’d be lost. So, take my word for it. If you haven’t read GLASS HOUSES, THE DEAD GIRL’S DANCE, and MIDNIGHT ALLEY go do it right now! You won’t regret it.

UNWIND by Neal Shusterman

In a not specified future, the battle between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice reached the boiling point and culminated with the “Second Civil War” also known as the “Heartland War”. After many deaths on both sides, an agreement was reached - a compromise. The Bill of Life was added to the Constitution.

The Bill of Life states that life starts at conception and is protected until the age of thirteen. Once a child reaches the age of thirteen, the parent has the right to Unwind them. Unwinding is a possibility until the child reaches eighteen and once the child is eighteen, they are safe. Unwinding is a process where the child officially remains alive - but in a “divided state.” Every part of the body is harvested at a Harvest Camp and preserved and later used for people that need replacement parts. For instance, if someone is suffering from heart failure - instead of have bypass surgery you just get a new heart that once belonged to a child that was Unwound.

The story follows three kids - Connor, Lev, and Risa - strangers until fate brought them together on their separate ways to be Unwound.

Connor is a hot-head and has caused his parents just a little too much trouble. He accidentally comes across the papers his parents signed to agree to the Unwinding and decides to escape instead of allowing the government come and take him away.

Risa is a ward of the state living in an orphange. She is a gifted pianist, but not quite gifted enough to prevent her from being Unwound.

Lev is a tithe. His parents are so dedicated to their religion that they tithe 10% of everything they have. Lev is the 10th child in the family and knew he was going to be a tithe from the moment he could understand. He looked forward to the Unwinding and felt he was fulfilling a special purpose with his life.

UNWIND by Neal Shusterman is a frightening look at what a technologically advanced society could turn out to be when the government has the ability to control life to the extent that every part of the human body is available for a problem-free transplant. Yes, it would be nice to replace the part of your brain that was causing epilepsy, but would you want to know that some child between the age of thirteen and eighteen “died” for you to get it? Shusterman gives us a brief look at the possible ramifications of a society that has a Bill of Life.

SUCKS TO BE ME by Kimberly Pauley

Being a high school student is stressful all by itself. Crushes, friendships, homework, the list goes on and on, but for Mina Hamilton life just got a little more complicated. You see, Mina’s parents are vampires. Her dad was accidently turned by her Uncle Mortie and since her mother was pregnant with her at the time, she waited to become a vampire until after Mina was born. The problem?? Mina’s parents never told The Council about having a baby and humans are NEVER supposed to find out about vampires and since Mina is human, she isn’t supposed to know. Once The Council finds out, Mina is told she must make the biggest decision of her life. To become a vampire or not.

She’d be able to continue seeing her mom and dad.

She’d lose her best friend Serena
She wouldn’t sleep anymore (and she LOVES a good nap)
She’d never be able to have children
She’d always look sixteen
She’d have to move around every 10 years or so

Mina is forced to take vampire classes for a month prior to making her decision. There she meets other kids her age contemplating the same decision and some information about vampires she never learned from her parents. In the beginning, she doesn’t see much good to becoming a vampire.

Follow Mina’s thought process through her witty narrative and frequent lists she includes in the story. Lists like, “Why It Sucks To Be Me,” and “Why It Really Sucks To Be Me.”

Mina is a strong female character that you can’t help but like. She stands up to the resident “mean girl” at school, she is nice to most everyone, and she is struggling in the romance department like most teenage girls. What more could you ask for in a young adult book?

The author, Kimberly Pauley, is the creator of YA Books Central.

NIGHT ROAD by A.M. Jenkins

Do you love vampire stories? Do you like it when an author takes a unique approach to the vampire myths? Well, Printz Honor winner, A.M. Jenkins, has created a very unique story indeed. Cole, a hemovore, lives a life of solitude. He travels from town to town - never staying more than a week or two in any one place. He feeds just enough to keep the Thirst at bay.

Cole receives word that he is needed at The Building in New York City. The Building is an apartment building that was purchased by Johnny, the hemovore that created Cole, in order to create a safe place for other hemovores that make up their Colony. The Building has everything a heme needs to survive. Rooms with complete darkness, humans (omnis) for feeding, and companionship. Cole is uncomfortable in The Building. He feels it makes a heme weak and less prepared to deal with the harsh realities of the world. He desperately wants to get back to his traveling routine.

Johnny has a mission for Cole. One that is suited to his lifestyle. It seems that one of Cole’s long-time friends has had an accident and created another heme. A young eighteen-year-old named Gordon. Gordon needs to learn the ways of a heme in order to survive and to keep The Colony safe by preventing people from finding out about them due to reckless behavior. Cole accepts the challenge and hits the road after only staying at The Building one day.

Together with Sandor, the heme that created Gordon, Cole prepares to become a teacher. Gordon must learn the proper place and way to feed, how to protect himself during the day, and the importance of cutting his ties with his old life. The journey leads to great revelations for both the teacher and the student.

NIGHT ROAD by A.M. Jenkins is a faced-paced book, even though it isn’t action packed. This is definately a story for those of you that enjoy character development. Cole is a character that you’ll want to see happy. You’ll want the story to continue after you finish the last page.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm Back After A Long Absence

I just started exploring DeweyMonster’s blog and found this fun and interesting blog activity. Weekly Geek is of course a weekly event. Each week there is a different topic to respond to or an activity to complete. One week might be “rearrange your blog” week or like this week, Weekly Geek #7, is Photo Week, where we post our book related photos. Favorite reading nook, to-be-read pile, to-be-reviewed pile, etc… Visit Dewey’s Blog for more information. Every Saturday a new Weekly Geek activity is posted.

So, on top of getting my pictures posted which will be easy, I’m going to use WG #6 as an excuse to kick myself in the rear and get caught up on my book reviews. Here are the reviews to come this week. I hope!!

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

Epic by Conor Kostick

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Undone by Brooke Taylor

Paper Towns by John Green

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

The Sky Inside by Clare Dunkle

Twisted Sisters by Stephanie Hale

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pageflipper's April Contest - Don't miss your chance!

Visit The Pageflipper's blog for a chance to win a bundle of books. The up for grabs this month are:

Class Favorite by Taylor Morris

Totally Joe by James Howe

Hershey Herself by Cecelia Galante

Shug by Jenny Han

Dumped by Popular Demand by P.G. Kain

Sunday, March 30, 2008

RUNAWAYS VOL. 1 by Brian Vaughn

RUNAWAYS is a graphic novel published by Marvel Comics revolving around six teenagers with nothing in common except for the fact that their parents know each other. Once a year they are forced to spend an evening together while their parents have a secret meeting. Unable to stand the boredom during one of these nights, the kids decide to sneak in and see what really goes on behind the closed doors of these meetings. They learn that their parents are supervillains with powers that are maintained by sacrificing a human life on an annual basis. Witnessing the sacrifice shatters the kids' world and sends them running for their lives.

Nico, Gertrude, Chase, Karolina, Molly, and Alex learn their true heritage and each get a weapon or a power that they didn't know they had. Nico is the daughter of dark wizards and carries the "Staff of One," which allows her to cast spells. Gertrude is the daughter of time-traveling criminals and receives a genetically engineered deinonychus which she shares a telepathic bond with. Chase is the son of mad scientists and he uses high-tech gadgets he stole from his parents' laboratory to help them with their missions. Karolina is the daughter of alien invaders and can fly and manipulate solar energy. Molly is the daughter of evil mutants and has super strength, and Alex is the son of crime bosses and turns out to be a big surprise.

The kids run underground and hide in a place they call "The Hostel" and try to come up with ways to thwart their parents' evil plans and help the world -- while at the same time, stay alive.

Comic book fans will be glad to see some familiar superheroes make appearances throughout the book, such as Captain America and Cloak and Dagger. RUNAWAYS VOL. 1 is the collection of comic book issues #1 through #18 in hardback format. Volume 2 is already out and Volume 3 will be released in April 2007. Beginning with Issue #25, Volume 2, Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will take over writing responsibilities. The graphic novel world is very excited about this development.

RASH by Pete Hautman

Picture, if you will, life in the year 2076. You are living in The United Safer States of America and things such as obesity, verbal abuse, and dangerous activities are against the law. The legal driving age is twenty-six. Even sports such as football are illegal. Sports that are allowed are hindered due to all the safety gear the participants are required to wear. This is the world that sixteen-year-old Bo Marsten inhabits.

Bo has inherited a bit of a temper from his father who has been in prison since 2073 for road rage. He has been in trouble at school many times for “failing to control his antisocial impulses,” but when he is falsely accused of causing a rash that spreads throughout the school, his anger gets the best of him and he assaults a classmate. This action lands him in a work camp in the middle of the Canadian tundra that is surrounded by hungry polar bears.

The work camp Bo is sent to is a factory that makes pizzas. He becomes a member of a four man team with the responsibility of using the pepperoni gun. Each pull of the trigger on the pepperoni gun delivers twenty-six pepperoni on each pizza. When the team works in sync, life isn’t so bad. There is only one group that causes Bo problems while he is there, the Goldshirts. The Goldshirts are an elite group at the pizza factory that have special privileges like a variety of food, when the others only have defective pizzas to eat for every meal, every day. The Goldshirts main job is to play football for the warden.

All new editions to the work camp eventually have a tryout in front of the warden. This entails running and catching a pass. If you catch it, you become a Goldshirt and are placed on the team. Bo makes the team and experiences physical activity without protective gear for the first time in his life. The warden requires that the team practice every day for several hours in order to prepare for an illegal game with another work camp. If you want to remain a Goldshirt, you play even if you are injured.

After surviving work camp and brutal football games, Bo, with the help of an unlikely attorney, is released from his sentence and allowed to go home. Bo begins to think about life in the USSA and considers where else he can go that would allow more freedom.

Pete Hautman has written a unique sports novel for the sci-fi/fantasy lover. This interesting look at what might happen to a society more concerned with safety than freedom is a page-turner. The reader will enjoy comparing today’s life with the life Hautman has created.


Barry Lyga explodes into the teen literature world with his unique debut novel. THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL is a novel about one young man’s journey through confidence development.

Fanboy, a sophomore in high school, floats through life hoping to remain invisible since he has, more than once, fallen victim to bullies. His life is a lonely life. His parents have been divorced for six years; his mother is remarried and pregnant, visits with his father are becoming less frequent due to his father’s increased social life, and he doesn’t relate to his stepfather at all.

Fanboy has been compiling a list for quite some time. The list includes people that have “pissed him off" for no particular reason. Once you are on the list, you never get off. This includes the jock jerks and girls from the cliques that seem to dismiss him as if he has no business even attending school with them.

One bright spot in Fanboy’s day is visiting with his friend Cal. Cal is a jock jerk, but also has a passion for comic books, and the two often debate, in depth, about different issues in the comic book universe. The problem with being friends with Cal is, since he is a jock jerk, he doesn’t act like much of a friend at school. Fanboy knows to back off when Cal’s teammates approach them at school. Most of their conversations take place on the weekends or at night through instant messages.

Fanboy’s life begins to change when he receives an instant message from an unknown person. Fearing it is another trick to humiliate him, he doesn’t respond. After several messages and an email, he learns that it is a girl from his gym class. Kyra has been witnessing his torment the entire year. She has taken pictures of a bully hitting him in the arm while the teachers do nothing. After this initial contact through instant messaging, they agree to meet and Fanboy’s life will never be the same.

The biggest secret in Fanboy’s life, which he hasn’t even shared with Cal, is the graphic novel he is creating. Schemata takes up all of his free time and he can’t stop himself from sharing it with Kyra. She becomes a huge supporter and inspiration for the graphic novel. Fanboy is planning to attend a comic book convention where Michael Bendis himself is going to be signing autographs. Fanboy intends to show Bendis his work and truly believes it will be the break he needs to get Schemata published. Surprising and disastrous events at the convention lead Fanboy to worry about Kyra’s well-being. While thingsdon’t work out exactly as he plans, Fanboy realizes confidence is the key to his problems. After many uncharacteristic behaviors, he manages to come to terms with some of the issues in his life and makes plans for the future. He even takes someone off “the list.”

THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy teenage problem novels. Comic book fans will enjoy the graphic novel references, especially the cameo appearance by Michael Bendis. While the ending left me slightly unsatisfied, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this novel. This will be a great addition to any collection.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

UNLEASHED by Kristopher Reisz

Daniel’s doesn’t feel in control of his life. He is a senior in high school and seems to have everything going for him. He just received word from Cornell that he has been accepted and everyone is excited - except him. Daniel knows he doesn’t deserve the early acceptance into Cornell. He feels like a cheater.

Daniels parents found a doctor that agreed to diagnose Daniel as ADHD which allowed him more time for his SATs. He has never felt comfortable with this decision, but his parents insist he deserves his spot at Cornell despite how he got it. With his feelings unsettled about his future, he begins to notice a group of kids that are on the fringe of school society. The outcasts.

Misty and twin brother Marc are of mixed race in Birmingham, AL where thoughts of the civil rights movements are still fresh on peoples’ minds. They are frequently referred to as “stray” or “mutt” by their peers and struggle to maintain the motivation to attend school. Misty and Marc, together with their friends Val and Eric, begin to visit an abandoned furnace and discover a wild mushrooms growing in the dank and dark building. They decide to eat the mushrooms hoping for a wild ride. They discover animalistic instincts they didn’t know they had after ingesting the mushrooms and shift into wolves, leaving behind their humanity. At first, this transformation is short, but as they continue to make the transformation their ability to stay in wolf form gets longer and longer.

Daniel and Misty begin to form a relationship. Daniel just wants an out from his pre-determined life. Misty is looking to the future. She invites him to join the pack and sets Daniel’s life on a very different path.

While this book isn’t a MUST read, it is enjoyable and a unique concept for a werewolf story. The language is rough (sometimes crude) and there are many sexual situations between various couples. This is definately not a book for the typical middle school reader.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

PREY by Lurlene McDaniel

In the same vein as Teach Me by R.A. Nelson and Boy Toy by Barry Lyga, Lurlene McDaniel writes PREY, the story of a fifteen-year-old boy who gets involved with his much older female teacher. This is a very short book told in alternating chapters by Ryan (the young man), Lori (the teacher), and Honey (Ryan’s best friend who has been nursing a major crush on him for years).

Throughout the book the reader can see that Lori intends to start a relationship with Ryan from the first minute she meets him. She is manipulative and easily seduces Ryan. We can see that Lori suffers from deep scars caused by her father and is plagued by bouts of depression. She isn’t a likeable character because of her attitude towards men. She uses her body as a tool to get what she wants and doesn’t consider it a bad thing at all.

Ryan is a typical teenager. He has a nice group of friends, plays video games, and keeps up with his school work. Once his relationship with Lori starts though, things change. He stops hanging out with Honey and his other friends and his school work begins to suffer. Most of the time he loves being with Lori, but sometimes misses his old life where there wasn’t anything to worry about except grades and getting a car.

Honey is the first person to realize that Ryan isn’t acting like himself. She takes it upon herself to find out what is going on and her actions lead to some major fallout.

My main problem with the book is the final chapter which takes place three years after the affair ends. I have a feeling the author was trying to illustrate how emotionally damaging it is for a young person to be in this type of relationship, but it came off weird. Things about Ryan’s personality that we were never introduced to in the book come out in the last couple of pages (things about his life even before his relationship with Lori). Whereas without this final information I liked Ryan, but after reading the final chapter, he seemed like a creep. I’m anxious to hear what other people think about this. Is it just me? Let me know in a comment.

There is some strong language in the book, but the sex scenes aren’t very graphic. Still this isn’t a book for middle schoolers. Boy Toy and Teach Me are much better examples of this storyline.

THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer

Wanderer has just arrived on Earth and been implanted into her new host. She has lived on seven worlds before coming here. She is arriving toward the end of the alien invasion when very few humans remain. The aliens are known as "souls" and are a peace loving type that don’t know of violence or lying.

Very few humans remain on Earth. When the remaining humans are discovered, they are captured by Seekers - the closest thing to a police force the "souls" have. Once captured, they are prepared for implantation where a small cut is placed at the base of the skull and the "soul" is put in the body. The "soul" connects to the body and takes control. The first experience the "soul" has is the receiving of the host body’s memories. Typically, the host recedes and leaves the "soul" alone to continue life as usual. For Wanderer, this didn’t happen.

Since the only humans left are ones that are rebels, placing a new "soul" into an adult has become risky. The rebels seem to resist the implantation since they know what is happening. The Wanderer was granted this request because of her experience on so many other worlds and has proven herself as a strong and brave "soul." Melanie is the name of Wanderer’s host and Melanie doesn’t go away quietly.

Melanie remains active and talks to Wanderer all the time. Melanie bombards Wanderer with her memories of life so much so that Wanderer feels the same feelings that Melanie did when she had control over her own body. Melanie hides the memories that Wanderer needs though. A Seeker has been assigned to Wanderer in order to get information about the human rebels that worked with Melanie. Melanie is strong enough to block those memories from her.

Eventually, in a weakened state, Melanie allows something to slip through the wall she has constructed to keep Wanderer away from the people she loves. She shows her memories of Jared, the man Melanie desperately loves, and Jamie, her younger brother. These memories overwhelm Wanderer and she physically aches for Jared and Jamie herself. Melanie knows where they might have gone into hiding since she was captured. She convinces Wanderer to go search for them and when the chance presents itself she slips away from the Seeker and sets off to find the people THEY love.

When Wanderer finally stumbles upon the rebels she is both elated and terrified. She is so relieved to know that Jared and Jamie are both alive and well, but at the same time, is frightened for her own life. Wanderer endures weeks of isolation and deprivation once in custody while the rebels decide what to do with her. Slowly some people warm up to her and begin to allow her some freedom around the hideout, but she is never alone. They are afraid she is there to get information to take back to the Seekers and then come back and capture them all. It takes a very long time for them to see that she has no intention of turning anyone in to the Seekers.

The story is complex. Not only is there the issue of Melanie loving Jared and the Wanderer loving Jared because of Melanie’s memories; we also have Ian, another member of the rebels. Ian takes it upon himself to become a permanent fixture in Wanderers life. He is friend and protector and begins to have feelings for her and her alone (not Melanie since he didn’t know her prior to the invasion).

The story ends on a note of hope. It is an emotional ride from beginning to end - all 631 pages. Any science fiction fan will enjoy this story, but I think Stephenie Meyer may have done for science fiction what she did for fantasy when she wrote Twilight. THE HOST is set in enough of a realistic setting that even people who aren’t sci-fi fans will enjoy this story. I want to read it again, but I have so much else to read that I can’t right now, but THE HOST is definately on my "to be read again" pile. I hope Stephenie Meyer writes another novel after she finishes with the Twilight Series.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Win City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare from The Story Siren

The Story Siren is giving away a copy of City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare. It is the second book in the Mortal Instruments series. It is absolutely fantastic. Check out earlier posts to see reviews for both books in the series. But first, go to The Story Siren's site to sign up for the free copy.

WAKE by Lisa McMann

After reading many great things about WAKE by Lisa McMann, I decided to pick it up and give it a try. It took me a little over 3 hours to read it and I was disappointed when it was over. Luckily there is a teaser of the sequel, FADE, in the back that gave me a little bit more. Unfortunately, FADE doesn’t come out until February of 2009, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Janie gets sucked into other people’s dreams. She tries to stop it, but can’t resist the overwhelming pull. She first noticed it happening when she was eight-years-old. Janie has witnessed everything from the typical falling dream and standing naked in front of a crowd dream to World War II battle dreams. Most of the time she is just an observer. Even if the dreamers ask for her help, she can’t manage to do anything.

Janie’s life has been hindered by this "curse." She found out early that sleepovers weren’t good for her. The close proximity of the other girls caused her to experience their dreams and not get any rest for herself. It doesn’t have to be nighttime for this to happen though. Anytime someone around her is asleep - she gets sucked in - at school, on the bus, driving down the road, etc. When she is in someone else’s dream it looks as if she is having a seizure. All she knows is that she loses feeling in her limbs and becomes paralized. The more frightening the dream, the faster the numbness occurs.

Janie has an alcoholic mother, an unknown father, and is extremely poor. She lives on the "wrong" side of town and has one loyal friend. She lives in isolation in order to avoid being stuck in someone’s dream.

A new addition to her life is Cabel. He lives in her neighborhood and seems to be a loner. She has several interactions with him throughout the book, but their lives become intertwined when she has to let him know about her problem while they are on a school trip together and she is stuck on a bus for several hours with her napping classmates being sucked into one dream after another the whole way. Cabel must help her through. This is a comfort to Janie as well as a new stress. She grows to like Cabel very much, but when she begins to get sucked into his gruesome dream and hears some particularly damning rumors about him, she questions her feelings for him.

With the help of an unlikely person she meets at the nursing home (and some books from the library), Janie begins to gain a little control over her "curse." The reader will be sucked into the dreams with Janie. Your heart will go out to her and cheer as she makes her way through life given the obstacles she must overcome. WAKE is a very inventive story and I can’t wait for the sequel.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

GEEK HIGH by Piper Banks

Miranda Bloom’s world has been turned upside down. Her mother, a famous romance author, has decided to move to England in order to research her next book, but isn’t planning on taking Miranda. Instead she has to move into her father’s house and live with her step-mother, Peyton, and her step-sister Hannah - neither of which want her around EVER.

Miranda attends Notting Hill Independent School for Gifted Children a.k.a Geek High. She is the most gifted math student at school and is known as The Human Calculator - which she hates because being a Human Calculator is pretty useless since everyone has regular calculators.
Miranda isn’t popular at Geek High. She has two loyal friends, Charlie and Finn. Charlie is a very talented artist and Finn is brilliant with computers. In fact, to shake things up this year, Finn has created a tell-all website at When word gets around about the website and a story is posted about the queen bee of the school the principal accuses Miranda of being the creator of the website. She assures the principal she doesn’t have anything to do with it, but refuses to reveal the author. For punishment she is forced to plan the Snowflake Gala - an event that isn’t very popular with the students.

On top of dealing with living in a house where she is considered a guest and being forced to plan the Snowflake she has to deal with the guy she’s been crushing on for two years fall for Hannah. Her principal also blackmails her into joining the competitive math team again even though she wants to be on the high school’s literary magazine instead.

Throughout all the stress of the semester, Miranda manages to learn a lot about herself while at the same time pulling off a wonderful Snowflake Gala. Her relationship with her father drastically improves and she and Hannah even form some kind of bond. Even though the story is a bit predictable, Miranda is an enjoyable character that you’ll want to see win in the end. You’ll be happy to know that GEEK ABROAD, the sequel will be available May of 2008.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jodi Picoult Giveaway from Girls Just Reading

Visit this link to go to the Girls Just Reading post about a wonderful giveaway opportunity. An autographed copy of Jodi Picoult's Change of Heart. All you have to do is leave a comment before midnight EST on March 12th to be entered. The winner will be announced on March 13th. Good Luck!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

MOBY CLIQUE by Cara Lockwood

Miranda Tate is heading back to Bard Academy after at a brutal summer working for her step-mother at her boutique, In The Pink, which sells everything imaginable that is pink. Miranda refers to it as In The Puke and spends most of her time there sitting at the cash register completing her required summer reading of Moby Dick. Miranda is excited about returning to school until she finds out that her sister, Lindsay, is going to be joining her there after running their father's new Land Rover through the front of In The Pink.

Once on campus, Miranda reunites with her friends Blade, Samir, Hana, and of course Heathcliff. She is disgusted to see that Lindsay, who is desperate for the approval of anyone popular, has fallen into the clutches of Parker, Bard's Queen Bee. Miranda also meets her new dorm monitor, Mrs. P, who happens to be Sylvia Plath and gets off on the wrong foot right away.

Miranda also has to deal with her feelings for Ryan - the boy that broke up with her at the end of the previous school year. She can't decide if she still has feelings for him or not, but feels jealous when he continually gives Parker attention and begins to hang around Lindsay. Mirandra knows she loves Heathcliff but has to keep in mind the rule the school places on them. They aren't supposed to have any romantic or physical contact or Bard will send him back to Wuthering Heights.

When Lindsay disappears, like a couple of the other Bard students, Miranda, Samir, Hana, Blade, Heathcliff, Ryan, and Parker all end up entering the forbidden forest to find her. What they find are pirates roaming the island, one of the faculty members behind all the trouble, and Lindsay causing part of the problems.

Can Miranda and her crew save the world again and put everything back into balance? Who does Miranda choose, Ryan or Heathcliff? To see how Moby Dick plays a part in this Bard Academy novel read MOBY CLIQUE by Cara Lockwood. While it can be read as a stand alone novel since the author gives background information to catch up the reader, it will be more enjoyable if the other two novels in the series are read first.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

LUNA by Julie Anne Peters

Regan’s brother, Liam, lives a double life and Regan is the only one who knows about it. Liam assumes the role of “boy” by day and only reveals his/her true self at night. During those moments of peace when she is trying on new outfits, experimenting with different wigs, and trying various makeup techniques she calls herself Luna. Regan witnesses these moments because they always take place in Regan’s room.

Regan’s own life suffers because of the time and effort it takes to keep Luna’s secret. Regan doesn’t feel like she can invite friends over because Luna might emerge. Regan had one slumber party and Luna couldn’t help but join in the dancing and toenail painting. After that humiliation, Regan vowed never to have people over again.

Regan knows her life isn’t full. She doesn’t have friends, doesn’t date, and her relationship with Luna is pretty much one-sided. She is constantly concerned about Luna’s mood; always wanting to make everything okay. When Regan meets Chris in Chemistry class things start to change for her though. She realizes how much she is missing by only focusing on Luna.

Not only do we get to see Liam transform into Luna; we also get to see Regan transform into a confident young woman. While the ending of the book is hopeful, getting there is sometimes heartbreaking.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

BOOT CAMP by Todd Strasser

Garrett is dragged out of his bed in the middle of the night, handcuffed, and taken to Lake Harmony, a teenage boot camp, completely against his will. His parents sent him to this behavior modification camp in order to teach him respect and self-discipline.

Garrett is an extremely bright fifteen-year-old. School has never been a problem for him. In fact, he quite often gets bored. He can finish in three days what it takes most students a whole week to accomplish. So, he doesn’t always go to school. Instead he goes to museums or the park to play chess with the old men.

The main reason Garrett’s parents sent him to Lake Harmony though, is Sabrina. Sabrina was one of his teachers until his parents found out about their relationship. His parents got her fired, but didn’t want to go to the police because they didn’t want the story to go public. His mother is always afraid of how things will look to others. Garrett doesn’t stop seeing Sabrina and even begins to stay at her house overnight. His parents feel that Lake Harmony is the only way to break off the relationship.

At Lake Harmony, Garrett experiences isolation, torture, and both physical and mental abuse. His resists the attempts of the staff to brainwash him into thinking he is wrong about everything. Garrett doesn’t accept the fact that just because his parents are paying $4000 a month for him to be at Lake Harmony, they are right about everything.

It is clear Todd Strasser has done a lot of research on the topic of behavior modification programs for teens. There is an afterword describing some of what he discovered and more importantly, a reference list of materials he used to put together his research for the book. Even though the story wraps up a little too quickly and a little too neatly in the end, it is a story that makes you think.

If you want to know if Garrett can make it through with his self-esteem intact? Read BOOT CAMP by Todd Strasser.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Story Siren's Fantastic Giveaway

The Story Siren is giving away Poison Study, Magic Study and the new Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder. If you haven't read PS or MS, I highly recommend them. They are wonderfully creative historical fiction/fantasy. A blend of two great genres.

Monday, February 25, 2008

FREAK SHOW by James St. James

Billy Bloom has been forced to move to Florida for his Senior year of High School. His mom, a little on the bi-polar side, couldn't take his flamboyant attitude toward life anymore. Billy is a self-proclaimed "Gender Obscurist". A fabulously creative drag queen and a character that is resilient, lovable, and stronger than anyone ever would have imagined, including himself.

After enduring unspeakable torture and bullying from his shell-shocked classmates, Billy ends up in the hospital and has a month long recuperating period. During this time, Billy develops a deep friendship with Flip Kelly, the star and golden boy of the high school. Flip, the one who saved Billy from the angry mob of students and whisked him to the hospital. Flip, who is feeling the pressure to be the best from his family and the entire school. Flip, the guy Billy falls head-over-heels in love with.

Billy relates his experiences at Eisenhower Academy with brutal honesty and laugh-out-loud humor. His decision to run for Homecoming Queen proves to be a true test of his character, strength, and resolve. Billy's message of tolerance and acceptance is important for everyone to hear. After all, "Gender is a choice, not a life sentence."

No matter your gender persuasion, FREAK SHOW by James St. James is a delightful story of bravery, trust, love, and friendship. So, put on your tiara and platform shoes and settle in for a FABULOUS ride.

Friday, February 22, 2008

GO FIGURE by Jo Edwards

It's like the author, Jo Edwards, lived inside my head during my high school years. The main character, Ryan, is so believable and authentic. As a person who had to deal with not being the thinnest person in her circle of friends, I can say that the thoughts and emotions of Ryan were right on.

Ryan Burke is overweight. She completely understands that she is too heavy, but like so many other "chubby" people out there, it is very difficult for her to do anything about it. Diets never last, exercise isn't a pleasant experience, and it is too easy to fall into the trap of food when she gets stressed or depressed. Ryan has a best friend that seems to be pulling away from her for no reason (although it will seem obvious to the reader why), she is on medication for depression, and has a weekly visit with a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Ryan isn't an unpopular girl; in fact, she has been extremely popular ever since her ex-boyfriend hit it big in the music business. Noah is on the cover of the most recent issue of Rolling Stone and awaiting the release of a new album and word has it, he has written a song inspired by her. Everyone wants to know what it was like being Noah's girlfriend and she is sick of that monopolizing every conversation see has.

The one thing she feels good about is her photography and she has been chosen for a special, weekend course with a well-known photographer. Her next-door neighbor and ex-best friend, Josh, was also accepted for this class which allowes her to reconnect with him.

One scene in the book that rings completely true is when Ryan attends a party with her friend Kimberlee. She meets Jared, a super hot college guy that seems to be interested in her. She doesn't feel secure, but after drinking a few beers she loosens up enough to agree to go outside with Jared. After some spectacular kissing she begins to really enjoy herself - until Jared's phone rings - AND he answers it. Ashley is on the phone, the girl he has a total crush on, and he agrees to pick her up to bring her back to the party. Ryan knows the reason Jared left the party to go get another girl is because of her weight. She thinks that if she'd been skinny he would have stayed with her.

This book had me in tears several times. I sympathized with Ryan when she had to deal with her changing friendship with her best friend, watched others enjoy relationships when she had none, and feared she made a fool out of herself with Josh. Even though it ends with pretty much a fairy-tale ending, it still is a great novel for anyone to read, especially girls that have issues with food.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

FROSTBITE picks up where Vampire Academy leaves off. Rose, a dhampir and guardian, and Lissa, her Moroi best friend, are attempting to get through high school with the added pressure that comes with being a vampire in a world that doesn’t know they exist. Lissa is the last member of the Dragomir royal family and a Moroi. A Moroi is a vampire, but a vampire that doesn’t kill to get blood. They take blood from willing donors and have the ability to use magic that comes from the elements. Usually a vampire only has the ability to use powers from one element. Lissa is special though - she has developed the ability to use an element that isn’t well known - the element of spirit. The spirit allows her to heal living things, but causes her to go a little crazy. Because of this, she must take medication that dulls her use of magic which is difficult for her to accept. In addition to being Lissa’s best friend, Rose is also her guardian. Dhampirs can go in the sunlight and are stronger which make them perfect protectors.

At the beginning of FROSTBITE, there is a massacre of a royal family and their guardians. Rose sees the aftermath when she and Dimitri, her trainer and mentor, go to the house to meet a legendary guardian for a test Rose must take. This massacre turns the Moroi world upside down and puts everyone on full alert. The Strigoi are behind the murders. Strigoi are vampires that kill when they drink blood. They are stronger than the Moroi and strike fear in everyone. The most frightening thing about these killings though is the fact that there is evidence that humans have been involved. With humans assisting the Strigoi there is virtually no safe place for the Moroi. The daylight isn’t even a safe place to be since humans are free to move around in the sun.

With security at its highest level, St. Vladmir’s Academy makes the decision to require everyone go to a Moroi ski lodge for Christmas vacation. By keeping everyone together in one place, they are hoping to keep everyone safe. The exclusive lodge is large enough to accomodate even the students’ family members so everyone seems excited about the decision.

During this luxurious vacation news of another massacre rocks the lodge. A group of headstrong students run off to follow a lead about where a group of Strigoi are hiding and Rose takes off after them so she can bring them back. Rose has learned a lot since the last book. She has developed SOME self-control and has seen first hand what these Strigoi can do and knows her friends won’t be able to handle them.

The events that take place on her rescue mission change her perspective on life and about what it means to be a guardian. Rose’s relationship with Dimitri is as complicated as ever and provides romantic tension throughout the story. The ending is a little too quickly wrapped up with not much discussion of the deadly group of Strogoi still roaming around or the ramifications of Rose leaving the protection of the “school”, but overall FROSTBITE is even more enjoyable than Vampire Academy, the first book in the series.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

CITY OF ASHES by Cassandra Clare

CITY OF ASHES is the much anticipated sequel to last year's City of Bones. Never have I been more excited to get a book in the mail. I have to admit, I was looking forward to CITY OF ASHES even more than when I was waiting for Harry Potter 7.

Re-entering the world of the Shadowhunters was thrilling. Clary and Jace are dealing with their father's theft of the Angel's Cup and are continuing to struggle with the fact that they are brother and sister.

In CITY OF ASHES we meet Alec and Izzy's parents with Mrs. Lightwood being the most prominent. She is doesn't trust Jace since Valentine has revealed himself. She is afraid that Jace is a spy for Valentine and tells him to move out of the Institute. She also calls The Inquisitor to determine Jace's punishment for his "alleged" role in theft of the Angel's Cup. Neither The Inquisitor nor Mrs. Lightwood believe Jace about the new plan Valentine has come up with to steal another of the Mortal Instruments - the Soul-Sword. Valentine will do whatever it takes to get it. His plan, once he has the sword, is to transform it from a sword that will kill demons to a sword that will kill members of the Clave. The transformation requires the blood of Downworlder children which leads to danger for Simon, Clary's best friend, and Maia, a member of Luke's pack. It falls to Jace and Clary, with the help of Luke and Magnus to engage Valentine in battle to prevent him from accomplishing his goal.

After reading CITY OF ASHES we know a little more about Alec, get to know Magnus better, discover some special abilities Clary and Jace possess, and get a hint that there might be more to Jace's lineage than we already thought. Cassandra Clare has the ability to create the kind of emotional tention that I haven't found since Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. You'll be sorry when you get to the last page and be tempted to turn back to page one and start the adventure all over again.

Friday, February 8, 2008

TIM: Defender of the Earth by Sam Enthoven

What secrets does your government keep from you? Nanotechnology? Genetic engineering? In TIM: Defender of the Earth, this and much more is going on.

Anna Mallahide is the daughter of scientist that works for the government. She is used to being the new girl at school because her father's work requires that they move quite frequently. Chris is a guy who cares more about what people think than about doing what is right. He wants to be cool, but feels like he really has to work at it. When Anna and Chris get paired up on a field trip at the Museum their lives become intwined in a ways they can't even imagine.

While wandering around the Museum, Chris runs into a woman who has been in charge of guarding a bracelet meant for a person that will be the channel for all the life force on the planet. By the way the bracelet reacts when Chris is near, Mrs. Plimpton determines that Chris is the person she has been waiting for. It will be up to Chris to funnel all of the world's life energy to the Defender because danger is coming and the earth is in trouble. The Defender has been called into action and he can only win if Chris cooperates.

TIM (Tyrannosaurus: Improved Model), is the Defender. It is up to him and Chris to save the world from Professor Mallahide, Anna's father, who has developed nanobots that devours everything in its path in order to "improve" the way of life. While Professor Mallahide's intentions are true in the beginning, power soon changes the outlook on his mission and he becomes the most dangerous and unstoppable emeny the world has ever known.

With battle scenes like the old King Kong vs. Godzilla movies, TIM provides heartstopping action and an incredibly entertaining storyline. The lesson of selflessness and friendship run throughout the story and make it clear that sometimes you have to think of others in order to have a life worth living.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cool Giveaway from Pageflipper

Click on the cover of Go Figure by Jo Edwards to read about the wonderful contest sponsored by Pageflipper. It is easy to enter for the free giveaway. All you have to do is email Pageflipper. I already have. I Want This Book!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

INK EXCHANGE by Melissa Marr

Welcome back to the world first created by Melissa Marr for Wicked Lovely. A world where faeries exist and roam among humans without their knowledge. In this companion novel to Wicked Lovely, we get to know Leslie, one of Ash's best friends. Since Ash and Keenan defeated the Winter Queen and gained power, peace has reigned between the Summer and Winter Courts. Ash doesn't go anywhere without guards and her closest friends are guarded too.

Leslie has had a rough home life ever since her mother left. Her dad is usually drunk and rarely comes home. Her brother is high all the time on a variety of drugs and brings dangerous people around the house. Leslie learned that the hard way and has the scars to prove it. Leslie enjoyed the time she isn't at home whether that means she is at work or at school.

Niall is Keenan's, the Summer King's, right hand. He often guards Leslie and feels his desire for her growing each time he sees her. He doesn't realize she feels the same way about him. If he knew, it would only make it harder on him to not be able to have contact with her. Niall can't physically touch humans. His touch is as addictive as a drug. It leaves humans begging for his constant embrace until they eventually go mad.

Keeping his distance from Leslie becomes impossible when Irial sets his sites on her. Irial is the King of the Dark Court and feeds himself and those connected to him by taking the emotions of fear, lust, anger, greed, and jealousy from other fey as well as humans. Since the peace between the Summer and Winter Courts there hasn't been enough of the dark emotions to sustain the entire Dark Court.

Irial has developed a way to feed through a human. His blood and the tears from the Dark Court Faeries are mixed with ink used to tattoo the person he'll use to feed. Leslie has decided getting a tattoo is a way she can reclaim some control over her life and decides on the symbol that will link her to Irial and eventually lead to her death. Niall must break his rule about human contact in order to keep Leslie safe and ends up falling in love with her.

The battle between the Dark Court and the Summer Court revolves around Leslie. Unfortunately, she doesn't know what is going on since Ash doesn't want her to know about the Faery world. Ash thinks if Leslie doesn't know, she'll be safe. Instead, Leslie gets the tattoo and feels the immediate draw to Irial where she is used to feed the Dark Court.

Niall is willing to do everything he can to ensure Leslie's safety once she is under Irial's control even if means breaking his ties to the Summer Court. Can Niall get Leslie's life back? Can he win her love? Will she be any better with him than with Irial? Read INK EXCHANGE to find out. You won't be disappointed. INK EXCHANGE is just as captivating as Wicked Lovely. I can't wait for the third book.

I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder

Ava loves Jackson and Jackson loves Ava. Her life has improved greatly since she met him and they started dating. So when Jackson dies unexpectedly at a school party she is devastated. Even the simplest things like getting out of bed and eating seem beyond her abilities. Her feeling of guilt over his death weigh heavily on her and prevent her from beginning the healing process.

During one of her darkest moments she feels a brush of coldness against her skin. Hope fills her up as she thinks it could possibly be Jackson. Thinking there is a chance that he hasn't completely left her makes her happy, but it also causes her concern because she thinks she might be going crazy. Soon after the first encounter though, she receives proof that Jackson is, indeed, still with her.

After some time with Jackson around, Ava begins to think about everything that happened and how she completely lost the sense of herself while she was with him. When asked what makes Ava special, her reply is, "Being Jackson's girlfriend." She experiences the love of her friends and family which allows her to gain perspective and be able to start the process of healing, even if that means giving up the thing she loves the most.

Lisa Schroeder has written a thoughtful story about love and loss, but with an interesting supernatural twist. Its free verse style makes this such a fast-paced story. You will not be able to stop yourself from turning the page to see what happens next and with it being a book of poems you won't have an excuse not to keep reading until you finish.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

SLAM by Nick Hornby

Sam's life is pretty planned out. He intends to go to University to study graphic design based on a teacher's recommendation. His mother has high hopes that he will attend University and have a successful life and not follow in her footsteps. His main concern besides school is skating. Sam doesn't like the term skateboarding and feels like he has to constantly educate people on the proper way to refer to the sport. His hero is Tony Hawk and he relies on him for advice in all aspects of his life via a poster he has on his wall.

Sam was born when his mother was sixteen and had to grow up seeing first hand what a challenge it was for his mother to put aside her future in order to raise him. When Sam meets Alicia and their relationship begins to get physical they are sure to use protection except for one encounter. This encounter ends up changing both Sam and Alicia's life forever.

Sam's quirky narration makes this a great book. I listened to the audiobook and found it very enjoyable. There is one part of the story that left me a little angry at Sam. I was saying to myself, "What a jerk," but he ended up being a really great guy. I totally recommend this book to anyone who enjoys humor mixed with a little seriousness.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Midnight Twins by Jacqueline Mitchard

Meredith and Mallory Brynn are identical twins - born on different days. Meredith was born at 11:59 P.M. on December 31st and Mallory was born at 12:01 A.M. on January 1st of the next year. Merry and Mally share many of the things that other twins do like a special language, sympathy pains, and telepathy. No matter how much they share with each other and how identical they look, they do have differences. Merry is the head cheerleader and Miss Popularity whereas Mally is all business. She is a jock and prefers to spend time alone.

The Brynn twins are known and loved all throughout town but even more so after a New Year's Eve disaster. While babysitting their little brother and cousins, a mysterious fire breaks out that nearly takes the twins' lives. The physical devastation is nothing compared to the emotional damage they endure. Merry and Mally notice they don't dream the same dreams after the fire and begin seeing visions. Mally sees things that are going to happen and Merry sees what has already happened.

The girls begin to get disturbing visions of a long time family friend which end up putting them in an extremely dangerous situation. They must rely on their special "gifts" to survive.

THE MIDNIGHT TWINS is a fascinating novel. The first two chapters were hard to get into because of the detailed explanation of the twins and their "gifts" but once you get to the night of the fire, the story really takes the reader on an emotional ride.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Upcoming Releases I CAN'T Wait To Read!

Here are some of the books that I can’t wait to read when they come out. Leave a comment and tell me what you are waiting for.

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Feb. 7th

Circle of Blood by Alane Ferguson
Feb. 28th

Moby Clique: A Bard Academy Novel by Cara Lockwood
March 4th

Final Warning: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson
March 17th

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
March 25th

Frostbite: Vampire Academy 2 by Richelle Mead
April 10th

Unbelievable: Pretty Little Liars #4 by Sara Shepard
May 27th

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Pfeffer
June 1st

Feast of Fools: Morganville Vampires #4 by Rachel Caine
June 3rd

Well, I’m sure there are more, but this is all I can think of right now. There are always new books coming out so sometimes I forget. Maybe writing these down will help me remember. Remember to leave me a comment to tell me what you are waiting for.
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