Monday, October 29, 2012

Colin Fischer

Title: Colin Fischer

Authors: Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

Rating: 4 stars


Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions.

But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate's birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It's up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin's frequent tormenter, didn't bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn't have didn't have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun...

Review:  Colin Fischer is a fun YA mystery that appeals to all age groups. There's an engaging cast of characters, from Colin the modern-day Sherlock Holmes, Danny the angry and attention-deprived little brother, their parents who want to help Colin but sometime get frustrated, even Wayne, who turns out not to be so bad. The book is funny, fast-paced and sprinkled with footnotes. If you're looking for a laugh and a quick read, check out this book.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Title: Unspoken

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Review: This book was hilarious, as on laugh-out-loud at almost every other page. Kami is a witty, quirky, intelligent, and strong female protagonist.  Kami and Jared have been talking to each other in their heads their entire lives, and when they meet, they don't immediately start a romantic relationship! This is very exciting! The story was eery and Gothic, complete with magic and mysteries. It became very serious very quickly, though, and sometimes I became a bit lost. Overall a good story, and I will be looking for the second book when it comes out.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Interview: Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the author of Cinder, a sci-fi twist on the Cinderella story.

Me: Which of your characters do you think you're most like?
Marissa Meyer: Peony because we both daydream a lot.

Me: Where did you get the idea for Cinder?
MM: I entered a writing contest for a Sailor Moon fanfiction. I then took the story I wrote and developed it into a novel.

Me: How is it being a debut author in the YA lit scene, and what's your favorite part?
MM: It's awesome. The other YA authors are really nice, and it's a great community.

Me: Did you plan on making Cinder into a series?
MM: I knew I wanted to write four books, but wanted there to be little crossover between them. As I wrote, they just came together into a series.

Me: Why did you decide on the four fairytale characters the books are about?
MM: I started with a list of about 15 characters, and as I wrote, those four characters' stories just fit together.

Me: What is your favorite genre to read?
MM: I enjoy all young adult books.

Me: What is Scarlet like as a character?
MM: She's feisty, hot-tempered, makes rash decisions, and doesn't think things through.

Interview: Ally Carter

Ally Carter is the author of the Heist Society books and one of my favorite series ever, the Gallagher Girls series.

Me: Did you want to be a writer growing up?
Ally Carter: Yes, but I never thought that it could be a real career.

Me: Which of your characters do you think you are most like?
AC: Cammie, because I spent the most time with her, so more of me is in her.

Me: Would you rather attend The Gallagher Academy or be a part of Kat's family?
AC: I'd want to go to the academy, but I wouldn't want to do field work. I'd rather be in the lab, like Liz.

Me: If the Gallagher series were to become a movie, who would you want to play Cammie?
AC: It changes almost every day, but for now it's Morgan Saylor.

Me: Who has had the greatest impact on your writing?
AC: Jennifer Lynn Barnes. We're best friends and we talk a lot about books together.

Interview: Libba Bray

Libba Bray is the author of The Diviners, Beauty Queens, Going Bovine, and the Gemma Doyle Trilogy.

Me: Did you want to be a writer growing up?
Libba Bray: Not really. I enjoyed art and animals, but didn't think of writing as a career until after my accident.

Me: Do you prefer writing realistic fiction or historical fiction?
LB: I love reading different genres, and I didn't want to be limited to one genre in my writing. When I get caught up in an idea, I try to follow it through. Historical fiction does take longer, because there's a lot of research involved.

Me: How much of an impact did your editor have on your books?
LB: I write in a chaotic fashion, so my editor helps in putting my manuscripts in order.

Me: Which of your characters do you think you are most like?
LB: Some part of me is in every character, so I can't really pick a specific one.

Me: If you were a character in Beauty Queens, what do you think you would do when the plane crashed?
LB:  Cried for a while, try to find a source of water, then lead a sing-a-long.

Me: When will the second Diviners book come out?
LB:  It's supposed to come out spring of 2012, but it will probably come out in the fall of 2014.

Me: What do you have against unicorns?
LB: They are filthy and they cheat at poker. They taste very good in a sandwich, though.

Me: Who has had the greatest impact on your writing?
LB: My mom, who was a high school English teacher. She took me to the library all the time and gave me my love of literature.

Austin Teen Book Festival: We're not in Kansas Anymore Panel

The We're Not in Kansas Anymore panel authors were Libba Bray, Leigh Bardugo, Rae Carson, Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, and Sarah Rees Brennan.

This was a high-stakes panel. Sarah Rees Brennan was the games master, and whichever author got the least amount of applause would have to be killed. The fantasy-fiction authors talked about how they came up with their settings, and how they developed the magic systems in their books. 

Libba Bray found the 1920s fascinating, and decided to make it the setting of her new novel, The Diviners. She enjoyed all the lingo and events of the time. Her idea for the magic came from there is darkness in us all, and how do we defeat it.

Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone was inspired by Tzar Russia, and how she wanted to leave behind the fantasy-fiction norm of a medieval setting. The magic system came from wanting to know what physically happened to a person when you cast magic spells. The Grisha magic is based on science, it's actually called the simple science. 

Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia wanted to create a small town in the real world where magic still happened. The main character of Beautiful Creatures and her family are cursed to not be able to choose whether to be good or evil. They found many to teens could relate to feeling like they're not in control of their own lives.

Rae Carson found her inspiration in South Africa, a setting to which she added medieval technology for The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Rae wanted to mess with the typical fantasy story. The Godstone, the jewel the chosen one has in their navel, was invented when Rae was getting her navel pierced.

All these authors are amazing and hilarious, and everyone in Austin should stop by to see them and others today until 5 p.m.!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rebel Heart

Title:  Rebel Heart

Author: Moira Young

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants?

Review: This second installment of Saba's adventure definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. As with Blood Red Road, the book is written the way the characters talk, which means plenty of misspellings and very little punctuation. The lack of quotation marks became a problem when I wasn't sure what was dialogue and what wasn't, but I was able to adjust to it with minimal difficulty. Most of the book is Saba trying to find Jack, and they have plenty of adventures on the way, so you don't have to worry about getting too bored. 

Saba is strong and determined, but also makes some stupid decisions. She's not as strong here as she was in the first book. Despite her flaws, she's a great main character. I a;ways love animal side-kicks, and Nero and Tracker are no exceptions. Nero is Saba's trusty crow who is always by her side, and Tracker is Mercy's wolfdog that somehow found his way to Saba. There was one too many romantic interests, but fortunately there wasn't an excessive amount of time spent focusing on the romance. 

The ending wrapped the book up nicely, but still left it open enough for a third book. While not quite as good as the first book, this was still an excellent continuation of the series.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Best news ever.

Guess what?

Shadow and Bone is going to be a movie!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!

This book is super amazing and I love it so much. (read my review here) (Also, the author, Leigh Bardugo is coming to the Austin Teen Book Festival!) Dreamworks bought the movie rights two days ago, and I don't know how long I can wait for the movie to come out. I am definitely going to its midnight premiere, whenever that may be.

Link to the article:


Monday, September 10, 2012

Sapphire Blue

Title: Sapphire Blue

Author: Kerstin Gier

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.
Review: AHHHHH! It can't be over yet! 

These books aren't long enough; I need more of the story. There was a cliff-hanger ending and now I have to wait another year for the next book! 

I was torn between wanting Gwen to punch Gideon in the face and find a new love interest, and wanting Gideon to stop being such a jerk so that I didn't want Gwen to punch him in the face and they could be together. I was hoping to get answers to some questions from the first book but now all I have are more questions. I loved Xemerius, and characters like Xemerius in general. They're hilarious and I wish they were real because they're so awesome. This is a great series that readers can't help but fall in love with.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What's Left of Me

Title: What's Left of Me

Author: Kat Zhang

Rating: 2 stars

Summary: Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

Review: This book was better than many dystopian books out there nowadays, but the ending just didn't work for me.  There were a few flaws in the logic: Why are hybrids considered dangerous? Is it because of society's need for normalcy? Except, all other countries are populated by hybrids so really people who settle are abnormal. When a hybrid man is surrounded by a mob in the streets, Hally/Lissa gets arrested because she was too close to the hybrid guy. This doesn't make sense because how would the police know that Hally/Lissa was a hybrid? They can't tell just by looking at her, and the police wouldn't know that she had taken a long time to settle since they wouldn't know her name or be able to look at her medical files.   Second, how would people live their lives if they're sharing a body with another person, with both of them switching in and out of control of the body? The two souls still have different personalities, so how would you be married if you're not always the person who got married and your spouse is not always the person you married?  What if each soul prefers a different line of work? Does the body have two jobs and some days you go to one job and other days you go the different job? When Ryan/Devon and Hally/Lissa were helping Eva to regain control over her and Addie's body, there were some days where she couldn't even speak. Yet around the time of her entering the hospital, Eva is suddenly able to slip into control of the body, even when Addie isn't sent to sleep by the drug. There was no insta-love, and as the story neared it's end I assumed that there would be no romance at all. But it was right at the end that the author decided to have Eva and Ryan kiss. The fact that Addie is very much against kissing Ryan is mentioned, which is what I was saying about being married when you're two people. Also, many of the characters were very two-dimensional. Eva was narrating so the reader got to know her well, but all I really got of Addie was that she didn't want Eva to be in control of their body and was mean to Eva. We know almost nothing of Ryan/Devon and Hally/Lissa aside from the fact that they're both hybrids. Are their parents hybrids? Do their parents know that their kids are hybrids? Another problem I have with the book is that world-building was sub-par. The story takes place in present-ish time United States, except the U.S. shut itself off from the rest of the world after fighting the Great Wars where the got rid of all hybrids and immigrants in the U.S. I had only the vaguest idea of what the world was like. 

A thought-provoking premise, but it was badly executed. 


Monday, September 3, 2012

False Memory

Title: False Memory

Author: Dan Kroko

Rating: 5 stars

Summary:  Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability.

Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn’t easy—especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can’t remember loving.

Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn’t seem to matter... when there may not be a future.

Review: This was a fast-paced action/science fiction story that I simply could not put down. Teens who can send out waves of psychic fear? Brilliant. Miranda, Noah, Peter, and Olive were all total ninjas, so the fight scenes were extra awesome. I couldn't stop reading this book because there were so many twists and I had to find out what happened next. I can't wait for next year when the second book comes out!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Lost Girl

Title: The Lost Girl

Author: Sangu Mandanna

Rating: 3 stars

Summary: Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

Review: The concept of echos was pretty interesting, but the book went on for too long and the ending annoyed me. There were plenty of places where the book could have ended and I would have been completely satisfied with it, but it just went on and on and on. Also, the ending made it seem like the romance was a huge deal when really it was just the characters announcing their crushes on each other.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Title: Prodigy

Author: Marie Lu

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: Jan. 4. 1932 Hours.

Ocean Standard Time

Thirty-Five Days After Metias’s Death

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengence, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Review: Prodigy was just as amazing, if not better, than the first book Legend. This book was action-packed, so lots of explosions and fight scenes and such. I want Day and June to end up together but at the same time I'm okay if they don't. But I just can't deal with that cliff-hanger!!!! Even worse, I have to wait TWO YEARS to find out what happens!!!! I love the futuristic United States the author has created, it's the absolute perfect setting.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

ATBF 2012 Panels

The 36 authors coming to the Austin Teen Book Festival have been split up into 6 different panels based on their most recent book. The authors will talk about their books and answer questions from the audience. So if you have something you've always wanted to ask one the authors, here's your chance!

This will all be happening September 29th at the Palmer Events Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also get a picture of yourself inside the bubble on the cover of Ally Condie's Reached!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just for Fins

Title: Just for Fins

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.

Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!

Review:  This is my favorite mermaid series and I love it so much. It's a cute, light read and I finished this book in two hours. While Quince and Lily's relationship face another ancient mer law, it's not the focus of the book. The spotlight is trained of environmental issues, specifically the problems in the mer kingdoms surrounding Thalassinia. I really liked this because the author is talking about problems that are actually happening in the real world. I hope there's a fourth book because I don't think I'm quite ready to say goodbye to Lily yet. 

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Author: Shannon Messenger

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

Review: Sophie is an elf. It's nice to see someone stray from the beaten path of YA/middle-grade non-human characters and show the elves some appreciation. The elves live in their own world full of the cities from human mythology, like Atlantis and Shangri-la. I loved the mysterious Black Swan group and the rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding it. I could barely put the book down because I wanted to figure it out and I was kept guessing until the end. The nexus, light-leaping, pretty much all of the elven technology was really awesome and original. Too many love interests for a twelve year old main character, but this is a must-read for any fantasy lover!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

52 Reasons to Hate my Father

Title: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father

Author: Jessica Brody

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Boulevard either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

Review: Lexi is unbearable at the beginning of the book; she's a spoiled and selfish brat who always gets her way. As the story progresses and she completes more of the jobs, she discovers things about the world and about herself that she never knew. Lexi's family life isn't the best, and struggles with that and, near the end, trying to fix it. The romance wasn't really needed, but at least it wasn't inst-love. This is a sweet and funny contemporary novel that's a great book for the summer. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ATBF 2012 Line-Up

Hey readers! The Austin Teen Book Festival is coming up (September 29th!) and we now have the complete list of attending authors. This is the festival's fourth year, and they've got some of the best authors in the Young Adult genre! Here they are:

Neal Shusterman   (Keynote) – Unwholly
Jesse AndrewsMe, Earl, and the Dying Girl
Leigh Bardugo - Shadow and Bone
Elizabeth Scott -Miracle
Marissa Meyer - Cinder
Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlBeautiful Redemption
Will RichterDark Eyes
Kresley Cole - Poison Princess
Jessica Khoury Origin
Tracy DeebsTempest Rising, Temptest Unleashed
Libba Bray (Closingnote) – The Diviners
Rachel CohnBeta
Tamara Ireland StoneTime Between Us
Lex ThomasQuarantine: The Loners
Jessica ShirvingtonEmbrace, Entice
E.M. KokiePersonal Effects
Eliot SchreferEndangered
Anna BanksOf Poseidon
Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers
Ally CondieReached
Scott Speer - Immortal City
Jeff HirschMagisterium
Greg Leitich SmithChronal Engine
Jessica Lee AndersonCalli
Guadalupe Garcia McCallUnder the Mesquite
Ally CarterOut of Sight, Out of Time
Dan KrokosFalse Memory
John Corey WhaleyWhere Things Come Back
Tara Hudson –  Hereafter, Arise
Gina DamicoScorch
Sophie Jordan –  Firelight, Hidden
Jennifer Lynn BarnesEvery Other Day, Raised by Wolves
Martha BrockenbroughDevine Intervention
Sarah Rees BrennanUnspoken

36 authors all in one place. You can ask the authors questions at the author panels, get your books signed, buy each authors' latest books, and have lots of fun! It's completely free and you don't need to register.  I'm especially looking forward to Libba Bray, Leigh Bardugo, Marrisa Meyer, and Ally Carter. 

Here's the link to the ATBF website with all the event details:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spirit's Princess

Title: Spirit's Princess

Author: Esther Friesner

Rating: 2 stars

Summary: Himiko shouldn't have a care in the world. As the daughter of the most powerful powerful man in the Matsu clan, she has her every need catered to. But Himiko isn't like other girls. She doesn't want to gossip and play silly games. She'd much rather learn to hunt and forage in the woods like the boys. So time and again Himiko sets out on her own adventures to prove what she can do. The day she was born there was a devastating earthquake, and the tribe's shaman had an amazing vision revealing the young girl's future—one day this privileged child will be the spiritual and tribal leader over all of the tribes. Book One revolves around the events of Himiko's early teen years—her shaman lessons, friendships, contact with other tribes, and journey to save her family after a series of tragic events.

Review: I love the Princesses of Myth books, but this one missed the mark. My main problem is with how easily Hikimo gives up on her dream of becoming a hunter. She tells her family she wants to become a hunter, and though they all laugh at her, she still believes she can be one. Hikimo even climbs a giant tree (she's seven at this time) to prove to her beloved big brother that she's brave so he will train her. She ends up breaking her leg, so everyone treats her like she's made of glass. With all the pampering, Hikimo slowly gives up her dream of hunting. Not only that, but she never really tried to become a hunter, aside from the tree incident. Hikimo didn't try to teach herself how to use a weapon, how to hunt, and never brought up the topic with her father after that first time. Instead, Hikimo becomes a shaman. That's cool and all, but the author makes it seem like she's breaking down barriers the same way she would be if she became a hunter. Her clan already has a female shaman, and they even had a female chieftess not long ago. Hikimo is too uninteresting of a character to enjoy.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Title: Unwholly

Author: Neal Shusterman

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa — and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp — people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Review: It's been a long wait for this book, but Unwind fans will not be disappointed. Several new characters are added to the mix; some good, some bad, but they all have their own agenda. Connor, Lev, and Rise not only have to deal with Juvies and harvest camps, but also with parts pirates, those who kidnap kids to meet the demand for organs the Cap-17 law has created. There's plenty of suspense and action that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. I absolutely could not put the book down during the last hundred pages because I just had to find out how everything worked out. This series also calls into question ethical issues and moral values: How far would you go to stay alive? Would you take the body part of a kid who maybe wasn't a bad person, but their parents found them to be too much trouble? I can't wait to read the third book and find out how the story ends!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Title: Origin

Author: Jessica Khoury

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Review: This book is a must-read. I really like how some of the science is explained to the reader, and it's almost fantasy-like. The characters were well-developed. Pia is sheltered in her isolated compound, her whole day is scheduled, and everyone (except her Uncle Antonio) is constantly telling her she's perfect. You'd think that would make her really full of herself, but Pia simply accepts it and doesn't let it get to her head. Pia's dad (Uncle Will) seems nice and Uncle Antonio is pretty cool but Uncle Paolo is a total psycho, same with Pia's mom. Pia doesn't obsess over escaping from the compound; she's content, if a little curious about the outside world. When she meets Aunt Harriet and finds a hole in the fence, she decides it couldn't hurt to look around. I think it's better this way than if Pia really wanted to leave, because as the book progresses she realizes the place she thought was safe isn't safe at all. The scientists are keeping dangerous secrets from her, ones that would change everything she's believed.  Eio is the first boy Pia's age that she's ever met, so it's not surprising that she's attracted to him. But the insta-love bothers me. Despite that, after a while I could wait for them to just kiss already! Khoury has some serious skills seeing as she got me to be okay with insta-love. The other thing that I didn't like was how the flowers are dumped into the river. Throwing an entire field of flowers filled with poisonous nectar into their water supply is not the smartest move. Still, Origin is definitely something to look forward to in September.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

City of Glass

Title: City of Glass

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 2 stars

Summary: To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

Review: Why the heck will no one train Clary! It's the third book for goodness sake! Not only does she have very little fighting ability, Clary continually puts herself in dangerous situations, expecting to be saved. The shifting point-of-view became annoying about three-fourths through the book. And after a while I just got sick of the "will they, won't they" romance with Jace and Clary. Everyone knew they weren't siblings because they were going to end up together, so the "big reveal" was only a matter time. There's another three books in this series, though I can't imagine what they're about seeing as Clare gave this book a nice neat ending. Wait. The fourth, fifth, and sixth books are about Jace and Clary's relationship problems, aren't they? Of course they are. What else would one do with an awesome demon-hunting world but ignore it and focus on minor, trivial things?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

City of Ashes

Title: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 3 stars

Summary:  Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. 

Review: I don't particularly like the story, but I keep reading this series because I want to find out answers. In this book, I wanted to know how the author was going to resolve the problem of sibling romance. I've got some questions from this book for the third book to answer for me. In the first book, Clary didn't fight because she had never been trained. For the second book, though, I expected that to change. It didn't, which makes me wonder: Is the Clave really just letting Clary run around demons without any instructions on how to kill them? I expected more from her in this book. A lot of people think Jace is a jerk, but I find him kind of funny, if a bit annoying. Simon did well in that battle during the first book (more than Clary did, that's for sure), but in the second book I just want him to die. I know that sounds heartless, but in this book he escapes from the brink of death exactly three times. Once, I could have been okay with, but twice? And the author doesn't even explain how he escapes death the third time! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Title: Endlessly

Author: Kiersten White

Rating: 5 stars!!

Summary: Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.

So much for normal.

Review:  After a whole year of waiting, I finally got to read the third Paranormalcy book! The Paranormalcy Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time. It takes many different creatures from fantasy and paranormal and combines them into something different, new, and absolutely amazing. I love the humor, and how there was some in just the right places. Many YA heroines today are either frustratingly useless fluff or I-refuse-to-share-any-characteristics-with-teenage-girls warriors. The latter is cool, but Evie is a girly-girl who can kick some serious butt. She proves that you can love pink and high school soap operas and still fight with your pink, jeweled  tazer. I thought I had figured out the ending, but I was happily surprised to find that it was completely different from expected. I  can't believe this series is over, but the ending was absolutely perfect. It was all tied up with a bleeping big pink bow, and knowing there's a happy ending helped ease the pain of having to say good-bye to Evie for good. Oh, bleep, I'm starting to tear up again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dust of 100 Dogs

Title: The Dust of 100 Dogs

Author: A.S. King

Rating: 1 star

Summary: In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of one hundred dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact.

Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

Review: This book had a lot more mature topics than I thought that there were going to be. I expected a certain level, given the pirates, but not that much. Then there's the little "doggy lessons" scattered throughout the book. Emer tells the reader how to take care of their dog, then follows with her own experience as a dog in whatever situation she's talking about. Saffron (that's Emer's current reincarnation) keeps talking about herself and Emer as separate entities, but she has all of Emer's memories and in reincarnation, don't you keep your soul? So Saffron is just Emer in a different body, yet she goes on about how Emer is telling her to cut out people's eyes and other violent things. Angry cannot even describe what Emer felt when her happy ending was destroyed and she was cursed, but no mention of revenge is ever made! If she's so upset and so violent, why not go get some revenge for how she suffered? Also, the ending was annoyingly tied up with a little bow. Everyone got reincarnated, Saffron escapes her horrible family, and she gets her own happy ever after. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Declaration

Title: The Declaration

Author: Gemma Malley

Rating: 3  1/2 stars

Summary: It's the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can't sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids--called surpluses--despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn't live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna's not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought? 

Review: Now that no one grows old, anyone who is born whose parents didn't opt out of the Declaration (document that says I won't have kids if I get the youth medicine), are illegal and sent away to be trained as servants. The kids, called surpluses, are not treated well, and are raised to hate their parents and believe they are don't deserve to live. The story drew me in, but I didn't feel for the characters. Usually, when characters are in situations like Anna's, I want to go into the book and save them, and I hate whoever is in charge of it all. That wasn't the case here, and I think part of the reason why is that Anna accepted her life, and believed that that was what she deserved. I didn't agree that she deserved it, but since Anna was so convinced, I didn't really disagree, either. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tiger Lily

Title: Tiger Lily

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

Review: Jodi Lynn Anderson takes the story of Peter Pan and focuses on a character that no one pays much attention to. This story of Tiger Lily is both heart-breaking and exciting, as you discover that there is so much more to Tiger Lily than meets the eye. I fell in love with her. I wanted everything to go her way, for everything to work out in her favor. I bemoaned her inability to share her feelings with others, I was close to tears after what happened to her father, I tried to convince myself that everything would work out with Peter, and above all I wanted her to find happiness. She is a wild, free-spirited tomboy living in a community where almost everyone wants her to be more of a girl, and be more like how they think she should be. Tiger Lily must discover who she is, and figure out her relationship with her friends, her tribe, and, of course, Peter Pan. The author give back stories for some things (how Tinker Bell originally belonged to Tiger Lily, how the crocodile got the clock in his throat), and re-imagines certain characters: Captain Hook is an old man who becomes an alcoholic after his dreams of finding Neverland and staying young forever fail; Smee is a serial killer who kills those he admires, then sheds tears for them; the lost boys were captured by the pirates and then rescued by Peter Pan. I dislike Wendy, not only because of the hold she had over Peter, but also because she was one of those girls who can't imagine things not working out the way they want them to. She never thought the lost boys would be against her bossing them around, she never thought Peter and Tiger Lily could love each other, and she never thought that Peter could not love her, or love anyone other than her. The story is told from the first-person point of view of Tinker Bell. This allows the reader to get to know her, because in the movies she's a mute fleck of light, in this book she describes what she sees, and tells her thoughts. This POV also allows the reader to a deeper look into the characters because although Tink cannot speak, she can hear other people's thoughts. This is a bittersweet coming-of-age story in a land where no one ages. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Author: Rae Carson

Rating: 3 stars

Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Review: Even though the magic-system is mostly religion-based, I really liked the concept of the Godstones and the animagi. Also, the world was wonderfully written. Elisa is described as really fat, and it's a refreshing change from most princesses. The problem is that she feels useless, and doesn't do anything important until after she's dropped some weight. It's like saying you have to be skinny before you can do anything that matters. The romance was minimal, which was good, but it was so much so that I wondered what the point of including it was. Elisa didn't love the king, and I think she got too much of an easy out on that one. All in all, an okay high fantasy novel.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Falling Kingdoms

Title: Falling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

 Cleo started out as a girl who got everything she wanted and didn't care about much else other than her own happiness. It takes the death of a stranger and her sister being on the brink of death to make her realize her responsibilities and her strength. 

I didn't understand Jonas' obsession with Cleo. Aron killed his brother, yet all Jonas can think about is get revenge on Cleo. He is one of the good guys, though; he wants to save his dying kingdom,  no matter what doing so entails. 

Magnus was not a favorite of mine. The author tried to make him a good guy who seemed like a bad guy; he pretended to be a ruthless warrior around his father, but in private he was much nicer. I would have liked to hate Magnus much more if he was completely evil. 

Lucia was magic prophecy girl. I think she could have been a really cool character, but there wasn't much to her aside from her magical powers. 

The author has no problem with killing off minor characters, so don't get too attached. That was actually something that I liked because in almost all YA books nowadays, characters manage to be pulled from certain death at the very last second. The switched point-of-view every chapter is cool during the battle because you're reading four different perspectives of it, both the offense and the defense. This is definitely one to make note of for high-fantasy fans. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shadows on the Moon

Title: Shadows on the Moon

Author: Zoe Marriott

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.

Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.

Review: Lots of people have called this book a Cinderella re-imagining, but Shadows on the Moon kicks Cinderella's butt. 

Suzume saw her father and her cousin (who was like a sister to her) murdered, and hates herself because she was able to get away when they weren't. She thinks it's her fault they are dead. Right after this, she must assume a new identity. Not only are the two people Suzume loved most in the world dead, but everyone is acting as if they never existed and that Suzume is someone she is not, so she beings cutting herself. This is a first for me because usually when main characters go through things like that, it makes them stronger, makes them become warriors, and they go for revenge. But watching loved ones die is emotionally scarring, and it doesn't really affect someone positively. I really enjoyed the feudal Japan setting. I totally called it on the stepdad, and the mom, too. I wanted Suzume to get her revenge so badly, but I didn't want her to give up everything for it. I wanted that monster to get his comeuppance, but I also wanted Suzume to stop blaming herself for her father and cousin's deaths and realize it wasn't her fault. As the saying goes, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Well, I got my cake, and I ate it too, but it wasn't very delicious. The revenge wasn't nearly enough. I wanted him to suffer, like he had made so many people suffer, and I was so angry that he got away with a punishment that wasn't harsh enough. I wonder who Suzume was at the end, though. Was she the Suzume she was at the beginning, or was she Yue, or perhaps Pipit?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Title: Birthmarked

Author: Carach M. O'Brien

Rating: 1 star

Summary: In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother’s footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve.

Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

Review: This is similar to many dystopian books: there is a huge difference between those that have who live in a secluded fancy area, and those that don't have who live outside the fancy area in not so great conditions. The main character has been scarred and/or is considered ugly, but she is still confident and intelligent. She discovers all is not right in her "perfect" society, so she fights back. In this case, there wasn't a total overthrow of the government or the beginning of a revolution, so it seemed kind of pointless. Gaia's life was completely destroyed, her parents were killed, she has to run away to a barren wasteland that may or may not exist, and the Enclave still got the information they wanted. Yes, now people outside the wall will be able to find out who adopted their children, but how does that help? And if those inside the wall are so eager to adopt children from outside the wall, why is there a wall? Not only is Gaia's life destroyed for nothing, the reasons for it being destroyed are questionable at best.     

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wings of the Wicked

Title: Wings of the Wicked

Author: Courtney Allison Moulton

Rating: 2 stars

Summary: Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.
Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She’s been warned.
Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed.
Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.

Review: In the first book, I enjoyed the idea of the Preliator, and a heroine that really fights. Now that I've read several books very similar to this, the shine has worn off. Ellie and Will's relationship seems to consist of make-out sessions and saying "I love you but we can't be together." The reason they can't be together is that Michael will kill Will for being with Ellie. Yet when they start making out and repeatedly proclaiming their love for each other, Michael doesn't even bother to show up.

 Why I can't stand Ellie: She whines about everything. How she can't be with Will, how much her life sucks, that her mom's dead, how mean Ava is, ... the list goes on.

 Ellie fights just as much as any other heroine in books like this, which is to say, not much. No matter how much she trains, she always relies on Will to save her when a battle gets really serious. Whenever he's in danger, she just freaks out about how she can't lose him.

 She keeps putting herself in potentially dangerous situations because she wants to be a normal teenager. She gets angry about how her life has changed and storms off, telling Will to stay away. He ends up coming in the end every time, because he has to save her from the mess she's made.

All the other characters do is either try to kill Ellie or save her. I'm surprised anyone's trying to save her at all.


Title: Unraveling

Author: Elizabeth Norris

Rating: 1 star

Summary: Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

Review: This was a pretty good young-adult science fiction book, but there were a few things that bothered me.

The science in the novel is never explained. It's simply "the science," it works because they called it "science." 

Janelle falls in love with Ben right when she wakes up. Now that he's brought her back to life, she realizes just how amazingly perfect he is. After a few weeks, she's all, "I feel like I've known you my whole life!" This is even more annoying when Janelle is described as a "clever, strong, intelligent, won't take no for an answer" kind of girl. The author seems to be adding components to her book based on what's popular: strong heroine and an instant, true-love romance. 

Elijah, one of Ben's friends, is constantly dropping f-bombs. He uses it in almost every sentence, and it was really annoying.

*This is a spoiler. Skip if you're planning on reading the book*

I don't understand why Reid (one of Ben's friends) is the one opening the portals between universes. (Ben, Reid, and Elijah are from an alternate universe, having accidentally traveled here and are trying to get back home) He ended up with a good foster family, and the only reason I can think of is to have a twist. Everyone thinks it's Elijah, but bam! It's not! Elijah makes more sense, though. He ended up with the worst foster family of the three, was really focused on getting home, and was really angry.

*Spoiler end*

The end of the world is Ben and Janelle's worlds colliding and obliterating each other. The main reason this book got such a low rating was that how they stopped it from happening was never clearly explained. At the end of a chapter it was all "OMG we have twenty hours until the world ends!", and at the beginning of the next they just said, "Everything is fine." How, exactly, did that happen? It just went from blowing up this Earth before it collided with the other Earth to no interuniverse travel for six months so this Earth can get adjusted to it's new position. How is it possible to just move a universe in a few seconds? One of the things I love about science fiction literature is getting to read the explanations and I found this book severely lacking in that department. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Title: Embrace

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Rating: 1 star

Summary: On her 17th birthday, everything will change for Violet Eden. The boy she loves will betray her. Her enemy will save her. She will have to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice.
 A centuries old war between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity chooses a new fighter. It's a battle Violet doesn't want, but she lives her life by two rules: don't run and don't quit. If angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.
LINCOLN: He's been Violet's one anchor, her running partner and kickboxing trainer. Only he never told her he's Grigori--part human, part angel--and that he was training her for an ancient battle between Angels and Exiles.
PHOENIX: No one knows where his loyalties lie, yet he's the only one there to pick up the pieces and protect her after Lincoln's lies. In a world of dark and light, he is all shades of gray.
Two sides: Angel or Exile.
Two guys: Lincoln or Phoenix.
The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity... 

Review: Many YA books being published nowadays seem to all be about the same thing: secret world (or people with special powers in our world), female main character who doesn't know anything, and two hot guys she has to choose between. Some authors can take this and turn it on its head, but that's not the case here.
 The Characters
(The 3 important ones)

Violet:  She's annoying and whiny. She continually makes stupid decisions. She finds out she's Grigori, and completely overreacts to the fact that Lincoln lied to her. Exiled angels want to kill Violet, and she's pretty much a giant neon sign alerting them to fact that she's easy prey, yet she refuses to have Lincoln train her. That's incredibly idiotic because that makes her utterly vulnerable, but of course she has a hot guy to protect her. Not the hot guy who Violet is in love with and is trustworthy, but the hot guy who she just met and is, oh wait, HER ENEMY WHO WANTS TO KILL HER. No big.

 Phoenix: This guy is creepy. This is a guy that you should run away screaming bloody murder from if you ever see him. He stalks Violet, showing up at her apartment and using his powers to change her emotions. It takes two days for Violet to think that him showing up in her apartment while she's sleeping is romantic.

 Lincoln: He doesn't do anything. The main point of Lincoln is so there can be a love triangle.

Things That Annoyed Me

Violet's dad is never around. When he is, he's completely fine with Violet being alone in the apartment with a guy she just met and he has never met. He doesn't seem to care about anything except his work.
 After knowing him for only two weeks, Violet sleeps with Phoenix on a mountain in this fancy bed Phoenix just magically made appear. It was so convenient that he brought two beds but just didn't set the other one up.  Violet was almost raped by a teacher a few years ago and she makes this big thing about how there is no God and how that guy messed with her head, though after learning that Phoenix got her to sleep with him by messing with her emotions she's just, "Whatevs."

 In the summary it says "The boy she loves will betray her." I'm pretty sure that boy is Lincoln, and he never actually betrayed her. Did he wait until she was seventeen and began changing before telling her that she was Grigori? Yes, but it makes sense to tell her when she knows that you're telling the truth, and won't run off thinking you're crazy and end up being killed by an Exile.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Little Brother

Title: Little Brother

Author: Cory Doctorow

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Review: I was assigned this book for my English class, and it took me a bit longer than usual to finish because I had to annotate. Little Brother takes place in a slightly different America, with high-security public schools and the book begins with a terrorist attack on San Francisco. Marcus and his friends were close to one of the attacks, but not inside a shelter, so they were picked up by the Department of Homeland Security. They were released, but not after suffering torture by people who refused to believe that they were innocent. The story is really about Marcus getting revenge for the increased security measures in the city, being tortured, and the DHS probably killing his friend. The book also has explanations about the computer programming Marcus uses in his fight against the DHS. The Xnet was something Marcus started for his own purposes, but as other teens joined, it became a rebellion fueled by the teenagers of San Francisco. How far Marcus was willing to go for revenge surprised me. He put everyone on the Xnet in danger, and lost his friends who were either too scared to go with him or angry with what he was doing. This was definitely one of the best assigned reading books I've ever read.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tempest Rising

Title: Tempest Rising

Author: Tracy Deebs

Rating: 0 stars

Summary: Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kona, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Review: This book is just like every other mermaid/magic creature/paranormal book out there. Tempest has to make a choice between land and sea, hot boy and other hot boy. What I didn't see coming was the fact that sea hot boy is a seal. A seal prince, but a seal nonetheless. (okay, okay, technically he's a selkie) I hated how Kona kept Tempest in the dark, refusing to answer most of her questions. "You're not ready for the answers." He's known her for a few weeks, how would he know that she can't handle getting the answers? I also hate how every guy in these kinds of books talks down the the main character. "I know everything about magic-magic world and you don't get to know anything. You want answers? NO! You don't get any. But I'll make out with you to placate you and stop you from asking more questions." There are so many different takes on mermaids, but the author decides to go with: Lalalalalalala I have a magic fishy tail lalalalalalalalalala. Yes, there's a prophecy and a big fight scene and a big bad meany-pants enemy, but let's be clear: Tempest Rising is about Kona and Tempest's relationship. OMG you're so hot. OMG let's go to the magic seal kingdom. OMG big fight scene. OMG run away. OMG run back. Just like in every other book like this, Tempest is super in love with Kona but leaves him anyway: Boohoo, I love you so much. *jumps into the ocean with the intent of never seeing him again* Of course, she ends up running back to him. Just. Like. All. The other. Books. Not only is there no point to the runs-away/runs-back thing, Tempest abandons her family for a boy. The mom has already left, now they will have had two family member willingly leave them. What about Tempest's youngest brother? Who's going to stop Rio from picking on him? Who's going to help him with his spelling words? Who's going to make him pancakes and pack his lunch and read him bedtime stories? In the beginning, Tempest insists that she will choose to stay on land because she refuses to be like her mother. Her mother returned to the sea because she had to help save the people and the home she had known for over six hundred years from certain doom. Tempest is a cruel and heartless girl who abandons her already heartbroken family for a hot boy she's known for a little under a month. Also, she gets her mom killed. Great going there, Tempest. You didn't just totally beat your mom for the title of Worst Family Member Ever.