Friday, September 27, 2013

Moving Blogs!

Hey guys! I've decided to move my blog from here on blogger to tumblr, and change the name. You can now find me at I'm currently moving all my posts to tumblr, and I'll post all my ATBF stuff directly there. (the austin teen book festival is tomorrow, and i'm going to be spending all day interviewing authors and covering panels!)

Friday, June 21, 2013


Title: Starglass

Author: Phoebe North

Rating: 3  3/4 stars

Summary: Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.

But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain's guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship's idyllic surface. As she's drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime--one that will determine the fate of her people.
Review: Did I hear someone say spaceships and secret rebellions? *pulls up chair* Let us discuss.
I loved the world-building in Starglass; society would be much different from not only now but also from on Earth in the future and the author explored that very well. She took time to establish the intricate details of life on Asherah. We as humans often look to the future as much better than how it is now, but dystopian futuristic books revel in showing us that that's not always the case. Many YA protagonists have lost one or both parents, and Terra Fineberg is no exception. The death of a parent and how it can affect a person is handled seriously and with purpose.  Despite the blurb, it was more of a coming of age story than a thriller, but enjoyable none the less.  Also, I was really hoping for a romance-free experience because nothing romantic was mentioned in the summary, but romantic love plays a huge role in the story.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Title: Poison

Author: Bridget Zinn

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Review: Poison was a fun, fantasy-adventure book. Kyra was a strong and capable heroine, not only physically but mentally as well. She could throw a poison dart with ease, the same way she knew how to mix up the perfect poison. Fred was neither Prince Charming nor a bad boy; just a cool guy who was nice and had a good sense of humor. I enjoyed the banter between him and Kyra. In the case of Rosie the magical pig, well, I happen to have a soft spot for animal sidekicks. Rosie was adorable and while Kyra was harsh to her at first, they bonded over the course of the story. I really liked the world-building, especially all of the magical monsters. The book was well-paced and had a several surprising twists. It's a stand-alone, and the ending wraps up quite nicely. I would definitely recommend this book to middle-grade fantasy fans.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Eleanor & Park

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: "Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Review: I've always harshly judged romance in the books I read; it's always too fast, too unbelievable, too just-written-for-sex-appeal. But for me, Eleanor & Park was different. Wonderfully different. It was sweet, beautiful, and heartbreaking. It didn't take long for Park to fall for Eleanor, but she held back, hesitant to believe in young love. Eleanor struggles with wanting a happy relationship with Park and trying to hide her horrible family life: the abusive step-father, the absent father, the mom and four younger siblings trapped. Park will yell a thousand i-love-yous before Eleanor would whisper one. They're two misfits: Park is half-Korean in a white-majority neighborhood, and Eleanor is the weird fat girl from a broken family. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was how the author treated Eleanor's weight.  It's presented simply as a physical characteristic of Eleanor, not as some hurdle she has to overcome in order to be happy. I loved the third person POV that switched between the two of them because it allowed the reader to observe Eleanor and Park fall in love with each other. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

False Sight

Title: False Sight

Author: Dan Krokos

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: All Miranda wants is a normal life. She's determined to move past the horrible truth of her origin as a clone so she can enjoy time with her boyfriend, Peter, and the rest of her friends at school. But Miranda quickly learns that there's no such thing as normal - not for a girl who was raised to be a weapon. When one of her teammates turns rogue, it begins a war that puts the world in jeopardy. Now Miranda must follow her instincts - not her heart - in order to save everything she's fought so hard to keep. with the image of a terrible future seared into her mind, what will she have to sacrifice to protect the people she loves?

Review: I love the technology Krokos comes up with in this series. The memory downloads, giving kids the psychic power to cause fear; it's fantastic.I particularly enjoy the Roses' (the name for the kids with powers) abilities because it's something I haven't ever seen before and also it shows just how powerful of a weapon fear can be.

Even though Rhys and Sequel are new to the group, they and Miranda, Peter, and Noah quickly form strong bonds. They become a family, willing to risk each willing to risk their lives for one another. Peter and Miranda's relationship is well-written and low-key, which allows it to be enjoyable and leaves the action at the forefront of the story.

Just like the first book, False Sight absolutely blew me away. It's chock-full of action and plenty of twists, but with steady pacing. Also, it has explosions. From clones to parallel universes, this sci-fi thriller will have readers on the edge of their seats.

A big thanks to BookPeople for the ARC

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Out of the Easy

Title: Out of the Easy

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

Review: By the first few pages I was absolutely enraptured, and the final chapter came all too soon.

 The characters, from wonderful to despicable, were enthralling. Though Josie has had a rough life (raised by an cruel mother who steals from her and constantly degrades her, got her own place and a job at age eleven, works as a maid in the brothel in addition to her job at the bookstore), my bond with her grew from more than just sympathy. Josie is smart - both book-wise and street-wise. She's a funny, caring, and driven young woman.  She struggles with whether to stay or go, and what she's willing to do to get what she wants. Her mother couldn't care less what Josie does, unless it concerns money. Willie is a strong, independent woman who, though she might not show it very often, truly cares for Josie. I love how Sepetys presented the women of the brothel; not simply as prostitutes, but as humans with individual quirks and personalities that happened to be prostitutes,  empowered women who weren't just defined by their profession. 

The story, a seemingly simple who-dun-it that is much more complex; a tourist's death shrouded in a mystery that tangles everyone in its web.

Out of the Easy is one of those books where once you finish it, you can't help but just stop and go "Wow."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Rising

Title: The Rising

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they're quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it's not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they're so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she'll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can't keep running forever.
Review: Filled with adventure, surprises, and action, The Rising was an exciting conclusion to the Darkness Rising trilogy. I loved how the author brought in the characters from the Darkest Powers trilogy, a sister series. She melded the story-lines together excellently. I enjoyed the both series immensely. With a a bit of a twist ending, this third book is sure to please fans.  

Monday, February 11, 2013


Title: Asunder

Author: Jodi Meadows

Rating: 4 stars

Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.


I was intrigued by the concept of a city of perpetually re-incarnating souls in the first book, Incarnate, and couldn't wait to see where the author would take the story in this sequel. 

I loved how Ana became much stronger as a person. She had been raised by her mother to believe that she was nothing, and her initial reception in Heart was anything but positive. Even so, she overcame that, found a cause to support, and stood up for herself. 

Ana is trying to figure out the mystery behind Janan's power, and I couldn't help but search along with her. The story pulled me in and was evenly paced. I was kept guessing until the end, and I really enjoyed the explanation of the re-incarnation, the temple, and Janan's power.

I also enjoyed the explanation of the sylph, though I wish that more of the creatures introduced in the first book could have made a reappearance here.