Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I love the Lisa Yee books...and one of the things I love best is that you don't have to read them in order.....each one stands alone, though they intertwine like through the various events and children's lives.  Warp Speed stars Marley who is lightning fast at running, but only because he uses it as his only escape from all the bullying he goes through on a daily basis.  The issues tackled are real, but not overwhelming and are solidly aimed at middle school.....and the kids feel like people I know.....all around a good, solid book.

Sparrow Road is one of those amazing books that's hard to's a book about family and about growing up and is such a pleasant quiet read that it never seemed like something I would enjoy....but I did.  The story centers around an artist retreat where Raine and her mother go for the summer.  Raine isn't sure why, but is positive she will be miserable in this quiet sleepy town....instead she bonds with the various artists and begins to discover her own talents.  She also meets her biological father for the first time and begins to come to terms with who he is and how she feels about him.   This is a really good example of a "sleeper".....but if you are someone who wants a good story, then this is for you.

Personal Effects is a really hard read, but completely worth it.  Matt's brother died in action in Iraq and his father's decision of how to deal with it is to ignore it and work on "toughing" Matt up so he too can join the military.  When Matt finds some personal letters in his brother's personal effects, he decides to take a car and travel across country to meet this girl his brother was involved with but had never mentioned.......and when he arrives, he finds that there are many aspects of his life that his brother kept secret.   This was an emotionally packed story that hit me hard, but I would highly recommend to anyone.

I wasn't sure about this book, seemed like it would be yet another werewolf book, but it isn't......instead it was a completely original tale delving into the Native American legends of skinwalkers (aka shape changers).  Maya is dealing with backlash of the death of her best friend, when Rafe, the new kid in town, shows her that her birthmark marks her as a skinwalker.  She is trying to figure this out as well as what really happened to her friend when a fire breaks out and they have to evacuate.....this is the start of a trilogy, but was an exciting and fast read.

Boy at the End of the World is an alright story of a young man who wakes up in a birthing pod who is trying to figure out the world around him and also save the other "stored" animals and people from machines gone awry.  This is an alright story but rather predictable.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

An interesting graphic novel, not amazing.....but not bad.....the basic premise is exactly as it sounds.....a couple of guys who kick is a dwarf, the other....well, he doesn't define himself, so let's call him a really big dude......they go after monsters, for a price and usually cause mayhem while doing it.....sort of Lethal Weapon, but with monsters in a fantasy setting........give it a shot if you're looking for something different

Orchards is a book in verse.....and while it's sad in content, it stays uplifting and speaks to the power of family.  When a classmate of Kana's commits suicide, her mother sends her to her extended family in Japan in an effort to get her away from the situation and also keep grounded while getting to know her mother's family better.  The family has orchards and Kana helps with various pruning and maintenance duties as well as generally getting used to an entirely different culture.  This is a quiet book, with moments of sadness and triumph but it was a really good look at the survivors of suicide.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Berlin Boxing Club is a rough read....and you know it's going to be with a setting of Nazi Germany and the main character being a Jewish kid who wants to be a boxer.....that being said, I am glad this was assigned to me to read.  It was a quick read, very on point with the characters and an engaging story that hasn't been done a million times (which is hard in Holocaust fiction)........I really enjoyed this, despite the depressing story setting it managed to be uplifting and enjoyable to read.

Aaaand now another sad shootings.......however, this one isn't a tragic story and is a VERY fast read due to being told in poetry format.  Andy is the janitor's kid and is one of a few bullied kids.  He befriends Blake and through the course of their friendship he discovers that Blake has a gun, courtesy of his father who died in the military.  Andy enjoys shooting the gun at cans and trees, but is worried at his friends obsession with "getting even" with all the bullies.  He is left with a choice, betray his only friend or risk a greater betrayal if Blake isn't joking and indeed intends to carry through with his threats.  I liked that this story isn't from the shooters point of view, and I liked the flowing nature of the narrative.

I don't usually pick up Joan Bauer books, and I don't know why....because every time I read one, I quite enjoy it.  Close to Famous is no exception to this rule.  I was assigned this title, and while it looked like it would be a lame book about a kid who liked turned out to be quite good.  Foster loves baking, it is her armour against all the other difficulties in her life; like her mom's abusive boyfriend, like her inability to learn to read and her father's death in Iraq.  When Foster and her mother end up in West Virginia in a tiny little town, she doesn't have high hopes; but as she meets various residents things start to change......Foster finds her niche and real friends and the strength to deal with all that life throws her way.   I really enjoyed this...perhaps a bit more than I might've if I hadn't just finished two VERY depressing titles, but still....a nice fun light book with well drawn characters and an interesting story.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This is a very odd book......and not in a fun way......the main character is convinced that he was abducted by aliens and the reader is never completely sure whether he is delusional or if this is true.  Even at the end, the question is left open, and I hate that.........I don't really believe that aliens come down to probe humans, but I DO expect a story that clearly defines what is true....the whole idea of a hanging ending doesn't work when we're talking about delusions vs. least not for me.....

Thankfully, THIS title was MUCH better!  Jael is a halfling in a demon/human mix rather than the traditional elven/fae/angel fiction that is popular now.....and she doesn't find out what this truly means until her 16th birthday.  That is when she has to first master her powers, find out about her mother and slay the demons that want to destroy her for having the gall to exist.   Skovron does a marvelous job with this book.  Jael is a strong character and completely believable; the action is smooth and quick and it all adds up to a fast and delightful read......definitely one to grab!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

 This title reminded me of Freak Show by James St. isn't the same book or anything, just the main character is so sure of himself, his strengths and his abilities and also completely unapologetic about not following the crowd. 
The story centers around a boy in high school determined to leave his mark on the world, and he plans to do it through makeup.  He gets a job at Macy's at the makeup counter and the experiences he has there change his whole life.
I found that Carlos' experiences were scary and enlightening and completely amazing....and Bil Wright hits all the right notes.  My only complaint is that I didn't want the story to end....and that I really want to meet Carlos....and have him do my makeup and make me beautiful  =)

Nikki Grimes does another book in poetry format in Planet Middle School.  It's a simple story but aptly done.....Joylin is a jock, and then suddenly puberty hits and not only is she being treated differently, but she WANTS to be different.....if only as it concerns one special boy.  This is a quick, fun, realistic book for middle grades.

Morning Glories is a dark story of teens brought to a boarding school, that is creepy and odd.  They are subjected to terrible things, and neither they (nor the reader) completely understand the point of it all.  The story jumps around a bit, but I think (and hope) that things will be more easily understood as the series continues.

Takio is the story of ordinary kids, exposed to an unknown element in an explosion...resulting in super-powers.  Yes, it's a story we've seen before, but it is sweetly done with two sisters and set in the "regular" world so they bumble along as best they can. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This title follows Hold Me Closer, Necromancer......and is equally awesome!  I love that the chapter headings are song lyrics.....I love the dry wit of the writer and the protagonist.  I absolutely love that McBride has given me a necromancer with a heart of gold, who literally wouldn't hurt a fly....unless he had to.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next, and she BETTER be writing another title in the series.....

Oh, yeah, you probably want to know what the book is about...well, ok then.  Sam is a necromancer, as in he can speak to and raise the dead.  He was born with it, it's a rare power, but it's his.  He has "inherited" the estates of Douglas, due to Douglas' death at his hands (it was a kill or be killed sort of thing).  So now Sam, who was an underachiever working at a burger joint, has a mansion, a seat of power, cars and oh yeah, a hot werewolf girlfriend.  Sam is lost and feeling completely out of his depth.  Then the dead Douglas comes back and things get really crazy.

yeah, it's that awesome......plan for some time because you won't be able to put it down......=)  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hartley is having a heckuva a day.....first she is the last to find out her boyfriend is cheating on her, then when she goes to his house to confront him.....she finds a dead body....of the girl he was cheating with......So, now her (ex)boyfriend is a suspect (and so is she) but Hartley is determined to find out who did the crime (she knows her boyfriend isn't that smart, wait, make that evil).  This was a fun frothy murder mystery that I completely enjoyed.  You will too, try it

This book has the coolest, creepiest cover ever!  I had to read it (call me shallow if you must), and while it wasn't what I thought it would be AT ALL, it was fun.  The gist of the story is that Jacob is trying to determine what happened to his grandfather all those years ago on this small Welsh island (he was sent there when he escaped Poland just before the Nazis).  All his life Jacob thought his grandfather was full of it when he told stories of the people he met on the island, but now he finds that they are all true.
I love how Riggs incorporates the pictures into the story, and the touch of fantastical makes for an intriguing premise to be sure......I know that this won't be a book everyone likes, it's kind of quirky.....but if you LIKE quirky, give it a try

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Astrid loves to sit on her picnic table and send love up to the passengers on the planes flying overhead. She does this because "she doesn't need any love for herself, no one loves her anyway". This heartbreaking look at both a dysfunctional family and a girl struggling with her sexual identity is striking and unforgettable. Astrid is so much like myself and many people I know, passively accepting the negative thoughts others send her as truth. Watching her break through and find herself was heartwrenching and amazing to watch. This is an unforgettable book.

Alex Gregory did a stupid thing. He got drunk and decided to confront his father (which was admittedly dumb) and then he lost control of the car and ran over a lawn gnome on someone's lawn. Now he is stuck with working at a senior center for his community service hours. He is assigned the most grumpy irrascible man ever but somehow, in spite of himself, they start to become friends....and they change each others lives.

I absolutely adored this book. I had heard good things but was turned off by the horrid cover (I admit it, even though I should know better)......but Sonnenblink strikes just the right chord with Alex.......he's like your annoying kid brother who does stupid things but has a good heart. You REALLY need to read'll laugh, you'll cry, you won't want it to end.

Felton went from an awkward geek to a jock almost literally overnight. He got angry in gym class, and ran his fastest in gym and suddenly he's everyone's favorite topic....because suddenly he's "Stupid Fast" it's summer, and even though he's finding himself more popular (working out with the football team, hanging out with them), he's also struggling with other things; like, why is his mom suddenly so angry at him all the time, why is his artistic brother suddenly acting crazy and emo and does he have a chance at all with the beautiful girl who just moved in down the street? Herbach does a bang-up job with this title.

Poor Emma.....her name is Emma Freke....yeah, no one needs to try hard to find a name to call her. She doesn't really fit in anywhere and so when her mom shows her an invitation to the Freke family reunion, she jumps at the chance to meet the side of the family she's never known.

This is a sweet story and fun for the tween crowd.

Finally, got a chance to read Mark of Athena! It started out kind of slow, but once it picked up, it ran like a freight train.......this is the first volume where we see the Greek and Roman camps together. Of course, things get messed up so the group of 7 heroes are on the run from not only the bad guys but also the entire Roman camp.....Some of the characters get more fully fleshed out as they all get to know each other. My only complaint is that I have to wait for the next volume......

I absolutely adore the Iron Fey books, and so I was really happy to see that she has decided to add on to the series. In this though we have left Meghan and now move onto her baby brother Ethan. He is now 17 and trying not to be pulled into faery troubles....but of couse he is......I really liked Ethan as a main character, flawed but strong and willing to admit his shortcomings. I also like how Kagawa uses the time differences to make some really interesting twists in storylines and character issues.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Son of Neptune was EVERY bit as good as the first Heroes of Olympus title "Lost Hero"....and I cannot WAIT to read Mark of Athena!   In this book we rejoin Percy Jackson as he suffers amnesia and goes to the Roman camp.....of course there are adventures a-plenty.....and best of all, in the final showdown, ALL the camps are re-united (though we still aren't sure if it will work or they will kill each other).  Edge of your seat adventure throughout the novel, fun story....just awesome!  Keep it up Rick Riordan!

Lucky Linderman has been living with the Vietnam War his whole life.....what makes this interesting and sad is that he lives in the modern world, but since his grandfather went MIA in Vietnam and was subsequently declared dead (though they never found a body or even went looking for it); his father and his grandmother never lost hope he would return someday.  Lucky has dreams of turning into a war hero and rescuing his grandfather, but his everyday reality is of a distant father, a mother who is escaping through exercise, and being bullied every day at school.  When his mother takes him to his aunt and uncle's house for an extended stay after an argument with his dad, Lucky starts to get a grip on some things he can change.....and some things he doesn't want to. 

I loved this book, though I must say the dream sequences are played out in such a way that you really don't know if Lucky is delusional or just sleep walking.....or maybe he does spiritually travel to find his lost grandfather (who btw gives him great advice).   Either way, the journey of Lucky isn't easy or simple....and there are no pat answers provided for his bullying problem.....but I still finished this satisfied with the story.  Not one to hand to everyone, but definitely one to check out if you like thoughtful, introspective novels.

Why We Broke Up was a 2012 Printz Award Honor Book.....which could mean anything to a picky reader like me...but I wanted to give it a try...and the premise seemed cool:  a girl dumps everything that reminds her of her boyfriend on his front stoop....and has a note explaining why she kept those things and what they signify....and why they broke up.   Unfortunately for me, the man writing this had some very simplistic views on girls in love......and Min Green and Ed Slaterton are so stereotypical it isn't funny (literally).   Min is a movie geeks and punctuates every sentence with references to obscure old movies....which makes it very hard for the average reader....I actually DO like old movies and only understood about 1/3 of those what would an average teen of today think?  Probably skip right over it....but still they must be important right?  Not so much.....they just seem to be there to show how out of the norm Min is...and football jock Ed is so stereotypical it mad me gag.....tough guy with a soft center who (SPOILER ALERT) ends up two-timing Min with a cheerleader (which is why they actually broke up)
I finished this only because I kept hoping it would take a left turn somewhere......kept hoping that Min would stop whining (and WHY is she so obsessed with Ed that she literally keeps EVERYTHING he ever gave her?)   I really don't understand, I'm sure there is some deep literary meaning to this book that I missed, all I got as bored, and frustrated......and angry that I wasted my time reading it.

I had this sitting on my side table for a month......let's face it, it doesn't sound very good...what kind of title is Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight anyway?  Turns out, I read it in only a couple was really really, I feel stupid for judging a book by it's title  =)
This book starts with a girl who's going to her dad's wedding, and misses her flight....she isn't really upset, she doesn't want to go anyway....and then she meets a young man also on his way to England.   Their connection to each other is instant and deep.....and I can't say much else about what happens except that they help each other with family issues once they land.....oh, and that there IS a happy ending......I really enjoyed this, flirty, romantic......perfect summer read!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

This was not the book I thought it was.  It is dystopic, it is also a runaway novel, but mainly it is a book about relationships.  Skip (age 11) meets Billy (older, not identified, but old enough to pass as grandfather)on the streets as a runaway, and they bond, but only loosely as most street relationships must be....then the war happens (the aggressor is never named) and they become dependant on each other for survival.  They also pick up Max (age 6) and begin to take care of him until they can find his parents.  They make a home at an amusement park, and meet Tia (age 15) who has a newborn baby.  What they do to form their family, keep it safe and get away, is really what makes this story so good.....the relationships formed in spite of themselves.  This is a quick, but intense good

The Letter Q is a simple premise, but effective.  Writers of all sorts send notes back to themselves as when they were in middle school or high school.  The emotion and information provided is intense and will be most appreciated by teens.  I don't know if teens will pick this up by themselves, but perhaps if you leave it laying around, they will thumb through it......and perhaps, they will draw some comfort from those who have been there that it gets better.  That is really all we can do....and honestly, wouldn't it be amazing if we could really send ourselves a note of encouragement back when we really could have used it most?

Angel is a prostitute.  She didn't intend to be, and still isn't sure how it happened, but doesn't feel she has any choice any longer.  Then her john brings home an eleven year old girl, and she is becoming more and more certain that someone is stalking "working girls" and killing them.  She starts to do on behalf of Mellie, what she couldn't do for herself.....starts thinking of how she can get out of this, starts thinking of how she could, just maybe, be someone's savior, and perhaps fuel her own escape as well.  This is an intense read, made more so by the short sharp verses of the prose Leavitt created.......

Finally got around to reading this, and feel stupid for not getting to it sooner!  I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson books, and this is an amazing sequel/next chapter.  See, turns out that there are secret Roman camps as well......and Jason has been sent (minus his memories) to put together a team to save the world from another team of god-like creatures.....and to do that they need to fulfill a few prophecies, keep everyone alive and find Jason't lost memories.....not much to accomplish in four days right?  Riordan sets a manic pace and doesn't let up until the end......can't wait to read the sequel!

Safekeeping is another dystopic novel, but done differently and Oh so well.  This one has an election that puts into power a group that is determined to silence all dissidents.......and the ripples that they set off turn the US into a police state where everything can get you arrested, or dead.  Radley was in Haiti, trying to do some good work at an orphanage when she hears about all the trouble.  She comes running home, but home isn't what she thought it was.  Her parents aren't anywhere around, she has no money, and no permits for traveling.  She hikes to her home, and finds that her parents are definitely missing, and in order to stay safe, she decides to hike to Canada, which, from Vermont, isn't impossible; just incredibly dangerous.  She takes with her some of her mother's photos (she's a famous photographic artist) for the company, and sets off to hopefully find her parents and some sense of safety.

This was another intense read, and the accompanying photos add to the story so well.  This felt like something that could so easily happen, and that sense of fear and immediacy really made the story unforgettable.

This is a quick, sad, important book.  Leslea Newman writes a poetic tribute to Matthew Shepard that is truly touching and emotionally wrenching.

Daniel's grandfather has of course makes him say some crazy things....but when some of his grandfather's old coworkers start coming around more often, and keeping an eye on him...Daniel starts to wonder, how much of what he's remembering is made up? Could his grandfather really have done all those things?  Are there people who really want him to keep silent and are angry that he's "forgotten to forget"?  This is a quick and intense read, and I can't say too much without giving it all away....but I love a book where the reader isn't sure what's real and what's delusion!

Stolen is eerily life-like......a young girl abducted from a busy airport and transported to an unknown isolated location.  He loves her, he says........he just wants to keep her safe......

This story follows the steps of a kidnap victim, the anger, the desperation, the loneliness and even how a captive can come to rely and even care for their captor......a haunting totally made me grab my daughter and give her a hug.

Friday, June 08, 2012

I absolutely adored Finnikin of the Rock, so I've been on pins and needles waiting for the sequel....and hoo-boy.....was it worth it!   This book is definitely skewed for an older audience (dare I say adult?) with Finnikin now a parent and Froi sent off to be an assassin for the kingdom....but nonetheless, this is a dense, beautiful, exciting adventure...and the only complaint I have is that I now have to wait ANOTHER year to find out the conclusion  =)  

Froi was always a complex character (I don't think Marchetta knows how to do boring one dimensional plots or people) and getting to know him further has resulted in me being half in love with a fictional character......sigh.....If you haven't read the first installment, you won't understand a lot of the background material so go and read it (and then go to Facebook and give it a yes vote for the Garden State Teen Book Awards!)

When it rains, it pours......Black Heart is the conclusion to a trilogy I also fell in love with's dark and compelling and complex and just amazing!   In Black Heart we see Cassel dealing with his decision to go to the Feds, and then discovering that the Feds aren't that different then the crime families he was running from.  I can't say too much without giving away the story, but Holly Black is a master, and you will fly through this and won't see the ending coming (but you WILL love it).

Start reading this trilogy from the start with White Cat, followed by Red Glove......I lovelovelove this world......=)  Can I be a curseworker?  Please?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


 This is part two and part three of Tiger's Curse series.  I liked (but didn't love) part one, absolutely LOVED part two and then sadly kind of didn't like part three.......and am now waiting to see what part four looks like.  I can completely see the potential in this series which involves a girl from Oregon who goes to India to help break the curse held by two Indian princes who are doomed to spend their lives as tigers.  Each book involves solving one part of the curse and of course gets them closer to the evil magician who cast the curse in the first place.  I really love the imagery and the folk tale and mythology ties to the stories.  Houck does a great job of laying a firm fantasy setting, when magic works, when it doesn't, etc.  My main complaint is that as the books continue the romantic angle is getting more and more formulaic.  There is a classic triangle (with some magical interference to spice it up a bit) between the two brothers who have both fallen in love with the main character, Kelsey.  The one brother (Ren, the white tiger) is set up as the perfect man and is who Kelsey meets first....and promptly falls deeply in love with.  In book two she is forced to be closer to the other brother (Kishan, the black tiger) and fights to stay true to Ren.  By book three things are really thrown a loop when Ren forgets Kelsey and even somehow develops an aversion to her, so she tries to give him up and fall for Kishan......and this is where the formula gets really annoyingly predictable.   Ren is mistreating Kelsey because he can't have her, but doesn't want her to have anyone else.....Kelsey is following along, but resentful and Kishan waits patiently for her to love him.....and it's even spelled out......Kishan loves her for who she is, is patient and kind and all the things a girl should want, but Ren is controlling, incredibly romantic, yet scarily possessive (SO exciting!) and of course she can't resist him........I am hopeful that Houck will go "off-book" and change the story of their romance a bit in the fourth book, but am worried that it will follow the typical formula it has thus far.  I hate predictable books...and I especially hate romantic books where girls fall for the controlling and possessive guy who does bad things, but out of just irks me and encourages girls to think abuse=love.......but hey, it worked for Twilight and has been a part of the romantic formula for eons so who am I to judge?

Friday, March 16, 2012

This was an insightful biography and written in a highly readable style.  I really enjoyed getting to know of of the USA's most notorious traitors a bit better.....History rocks!

In this highly lauded story (in poetry format) we get to know Ha, who escapes from Vietnam with her family and comes to the US.  We watch the struggles they go through and how they adapt.  Lai does a great job of putting the words together just right so that the reader feels what Ha feels, and the lesson of acceptance as well as how hard it is to be a refugee is there without hitting you over the head.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I had been told that this was an amazing I had to try it....and you know what?  They were right!  I really enjoyed this the entire way through (and actually didn't want to put it down).  The basic story is that it is 2044, and the world is a mess.  Fortunately for the masses of working poor, there is an online place where everyone can go to get away from the disaster that is our world, and that is OASIS.  When the creator of the online interactive game dies, he declares that he has left keys and games and challenges behind, and that the one who can find his "Easter Egg" (which is a computer game term for a hidden object) will win controlling interest in his company and his entire fortune.  Of course the entire world is looking, but years go by without any progress.....until one young man just a few months away from graduating high school finds the first key.  Finding the key sets off a series of events that feel like a tidal wave....unstoppable and destructive and also turns him into a target for everyone else who wants to win the Egg.   As a fun bonus, all the clues and all the games are from the late 70's and 80' there are lots of pop culture references along with the intrigue and game play.   You MUST read or listen to this book!

Chime started with a bang, with the main character declaring herself a murderer at a trial....and then goes backward to all that happened before.  It has some slow parts as the reader catches up to the events that have happened......but it was all in all a good book.  Billingsley grabs your attention and makes the main character feel real, with all the flaws and self-hatred she brings....which makes her an unrealistic narrator so the reader isn't sure what's right or wrong......I thought the ending was a bit obvious, but satisfying nonetheless.

This is the 3rd volume in the Chronicles of Nick.....and honestly wasn't one of my favorites.  Let me clarify....I love Sherrilyn Kenyon.  I love Nick.  I just thought that this particular book was a bit dark and unsatisfying.....lots of attacking, lots of bad guys lining up to take a shot....but no shining light, no "it's going to be ok".....and I realize it's because the series isn't done yet, and he's trying NOT to become the worse demon ever and the destroyer of all worlds......but it still just felt really sad and harsh (although a swift read).  I shall be hoping the next episode is more satisfying.....

I quite enjoyed this story.  Essentially the main character is brought her by a rift in space from a manga universe (complete with all the stereotypes of googly eyes and crazy hair).  Everyone is kind of stunned by him, except for one girl who falls in love with him.  This is sort of a comic version of a "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" with the "cartoon" character interacting with the "real" world in unexpected ways.  Definitely a fun, fluffy read  =)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lost Boy, Lost Girl is a tale of two children caught in the civil war in Sudan.  Eventually they marry, but the tale unfolds in both voices as they describe the trials and horrors they dealt with on their way to the U.S. and to their happy ending.  An enlightening tale and told in a simple, yet effective style.

I wasn't sure this would be worth it, but the cover was good and let's face it....I have a thing for tales of the Fae.......and this was Trolls!  But not the ugly evil ones, no in this story they are simply different, with allergies to synthetics (food, clothing, etc).  The main character is devastated when she finds out that she was switched at birth, and struggles to adjust to her new life as a Princess.......and of course, there's trouble brewing with an evil band of trolls......all in all, this is a fun story with a new twist on changelings, try it and let me know what you think.

I lovelovelove this story.  It brings together two stories...the first is the family trying to adopt, the second is the girl giving up her child.  As they begin to get acquainted, readers become aware of all of the characters....their fears, their dreams and their flaws.  This story could have played out like a cautionary tale "don't have sex or this could be you" but instead Sara Zarr plays it in a completely new angle....and I adored it.   This was an amazing story, give it a shot!

Girl Meets Boy is a set of stories, told in sets of two.  I really enjoyed the variety of stories told as well as the quality of the stories within the collection.

In this play on the traditional Cinderella story, the main character is a true "non-person" due to her cyborg bodyparts.  When a plague takes one of her stepsisters, her stepmother sells her to the medical community as a test subject.  And that's where the tale takes a right turn.  All in all, Meyer did a good job of building a realistic futuristic setting.  The characters were interesting and though some parts of the tale were a given, it was still fun to see how it played out and how everyone got to where they needed to be.  I quite enjoyed this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I love love this series of books from Lockhart.  This title is a worthy successor of the line starring Ruby.  The irreverant style of writing and her view of the world as Ruby is enjoyable and fun.  It also makes one feel pretty normal about obsessing or worrying about being slightly freakish, as Ruby embraces her own insanity (not that she's insane but her life does get that way, much like so many "real" people's lives do)

Sorta Like a Rock Star is one that really got to me.  Amber is such an optimist in a situation that would bring so many people down: homelessness, an alcoholic mother and a life generally out of control.......instead she tries to maintain her happiness and to spread it to others.  This modern day Pollyanna learns how much she is valued and loved when tragedy strikes and she loses her mother.  When the reader sees Amber in the depths of a depression it feels like a punch in the gut because you've seen Amber withstand any number of pressures with a smile that when she cracks you feel the impact double strength.  This was an amazing book.  Did I see the happy ending (ala "It's a Wonderful Life") coming from a mile away?  Yes.  Did I care?  No, in fact I welcomed's nice to think that sometimes, just sometimes karma works and the good-hearted people get the happy ending....even if it only works in fiction.

Wildthorn is a rough read, due to the subject matter and (for me) due to its very strong roots in historical fact.  When Louisa is locked away in an institution for the insane, I knew why (mostly because I have an love of reading historical works on a variety of topics) a teen reader I probably would've been shocked to hear that a girl who dreamed of being a doctor could be locked away as insane.  The idea that in the 19th century it is deemed unnatural for a woman to want a career more than a family is one I did know, but probably will be eye opening to modern generations.  I don't know that the lesbian angle needed to be there, but it didn't detract from the story......and it was sort of nice for it to be a sort of addendum to the main story, rather than the main focus.  I am not a huge fan of historical fiction, though I will read anything.....this was a well written and well researched novel that some will love and others will find enlightening.  I think an English or History class could use this to highlight the progress of the women's movement or simply to give a human side to the history studies in this period.
This was a very interesting read, lots of pictures and verbal snapshots of people.

So, confession time, I tried to read this before but never quite finished as I found I didn't enjoy it much.  As it got more and more hyped I decided to take another look at it, especially as the movie preview looked pretty cool.  So I gave it another go....and decided that having read it all the way through it wasn't as horrid as I thought originally.....yes, still a bit dark and no, it will never be a fav of mine but it wasn't bad. I guess that's the best I can do on this one.....but I figure I read TONS of sf/fantasy so if I don't follow the crowd on this one, life will go on......and I get to keep my "queen nerd" pin due to the volume of books read in spite of disagreeing with the "OMG best book ever" statuses of the library world   =)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This was a tough book to read, but definitely a quality read.  I put off reading this one due to the subject....(I usually snatch up Peters' novels as soon as they come out).  It was every bit as rough as I expected, but Julie really nailed the blackness and emptiness that comes with suicidal depression.  I like that she left the ending open so that the reader could hope that she maybe changed her mind, but I just don't know.......someone who has attempted suicide multiple times it's hard to believe that they would suddenly have a change of heart or attitude, though one can always hope.  I have to say that this novel hit a little too close to home on the savage pain level....the protagonist goes into detail on the numerous incidents that have confirmed her opinion that the world would be better off without her and having been in that dark place, I saw a bit of myself.  I think that this is an important novel and I think that it's excellently written but it's not an easy read......and I worry that those who might benefit won't find it......or will misread the intention (which is to say how things CAN get better and you should fight to stay alive and not, hey, go ahead, kill yourself).  Try it, see what you think

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When Jace shows up on his brother, Christian's doorstep battered and exhausted; he isn't sure what to expect.  After all, his brother disappeared leaving him and his mother alone with the same dad who was abusing Jace isn't sure he'll care that the beatings didn't end or that he'll like having his kid brother living with him.
This book follows the struggles of both boys to deal with the legacy of their dysfunctional family.  The reader follows along as both guys learn to not only "deal" but to heal and to grow beyond the abuse and to try and end the cycle.   I liked this.  It's not the best thing I've ever read, nor is it the worst.  The characters read well and the anger and coldness feels read but I just couldn't fall in love the way I wanted Split and I will stay amicable acquaintances.....=)

 Blood Red Road takes place in the world many years after an unknown apocalypse has ended civilization as we know it.  Saba and her twin brother Lugh have never been apart, until he is kidnapped by soldiers.  She vows to get him back, and the journey as well as the separation will change both of them in innumerable ways.  I loved the writing style of Moira Young in this novel.  I also really enjoyed Saba as she struggled to learn her strength, as well as the strength to care and let others care about you.  This is what I call SF know it is science fiction, but it feels like an adventure.....and it was fun.  Looking forward to another installment......

Bruiser sat on a shelf for quite awhile.  I kept looking at it and thinking, "I should read that" but thinking it was a book about abuse, I kept putting it I wish I hadn't waited.  This is a very subtle science fiction/fantasy tale.  Bruiser (real name Brewster Rawlins) gets involved with Bronte and Tennyson.   Bronte begins dating him because she is intrigued, Ten is against it because he thinks Bruiser is a loser and not worth his sister's time.  As things progress, they both discover that Bruiser has some unique abilities that he's been hiding from the world.....and they get caught up in the use and usefulness of his gift.  I really enjoyed this book, especially as it takes all the viewpoints and shows them as the story progresses so that the reader can really see all sides as the tension mounts.  This wasn't anything like I thought it would be, and another great example of why Shusterman is such a good author.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Jason is dealing with a lot right now.  His mom just passed away, and she was the only one keeping his dad on his now, he is solely responsible for his mentally unstable father......and things are falling apart.  Jason has no money for food, clothes or bills and he's desperately afraid his father will hurt someone or himself...but he doesn't want to tell anyone because he feels like it'd be a betrayal of his father.  Then it's taken out of his hands when a few friends from his school support group (which he was placed in by the school for his growing erratic behavior) tell the authorities because they fear for Jason's life.  The whole story is told from Jason's point of view and he has an imaginary audience that he caters to, which helps him distance himself and also feel less alone.
I really enjoyed this realistic view of what it's like to be responsible for a mentally ill parent.  It truly is overwhelming (I speak from experience trust me, I know).  This is an awesome example of realistic fiction.....just grab the tissues, you'll need'em.

Dust and Decay is the continuing story begun in Rot and Ruin. And it's AMAZING!!!  I have to say it's got more sadness and less triumph than the first book, but it reads so realistically and it makes sense with the characters and the situations as they are drawn.......ok.....getting ahead of myself......first I should explain exactly WHAT the book is

Benny and the gang are leaving their small town to find out where the plane they spotted at the end of the last book was going.  They hope to find a place where people are clearing away the zombies and trying to live a somewhat normal life.  Unfortunately, things go wrong from the start and the gang is caught in the middle of a war for the zone they live in as well as the sights of the people who run the Zombie Games......(trust me, NOT good)........what they go through and how they get there is a speedy fast read and simply amazing.....READ.THIS.BOOK!

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...