January 17th, 2011

Book Review: Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings

Book Review: Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Release Date: Dec. 2010
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning...

If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?
Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting...

The Short of It: The first word I think for this book is cute. Boudreau spins a fast paced, coming of age story that will be enjoyed by all ages although I think tweens will like it the most.

Plot: There were some cheesy and stretching moments, but honestly, it’s what makes the book so charming. Yes, most of the book is about Jade freaking about about being a mermaid (but wouldn’t you?), but the emotions and situations she goes through in every day life are something anyone can relate to. Getting tongue-tied in front of a crush? Freaking out about a first period? Afraid of losing your best friend? Check, check and check! Most of us have been through some version of those freak-outs and make Jade feel like a typical 13 year old girl. Enough so, that I can ignore the silly factor of salt bath causing her to sprout a tail and scales and the convenience of the mother-rescuing plot.

Characters: Jade can be a bit over dramatic, but what 13 year old isn’t? Despite that, she is a lovable character that I could connect with almost off the bat. I wanted to give her a hug when she started her period and then die of embarrassment as her dad Googled what to buy. While the situation with her mother was kind of eh, Jade handled it as well as any teenager could. I rooted for her as she overcame the obstacles in her way using her brain and creativity.

As a side note, I wanted to briefly mention body image. Jade several times over describes herself as “plus size”. However, I was never sure if she truly was or if that was just how she saw herself. Her best friends did make reference to hiding her trouble ares/mid-section, but I think most women today have trouble with some belly fat. I suppose I would have like to know if plus size mention size 10 or size 20, because one of them is plus-sized but the other is not.

Romance: There’s a bit of flirting and lots of crushing, but there is no true romance here. There is a promise of one, but we don’t get to see it fulfilled truly. Without going into spoilers, I will say that the thing Luke reveals is way too predictable. I had a moment of that’s cute, but overall I wish it hadn’t been put in.

Writing: I really don’t have much to say in this category. My few issues has been already pointed out, as have my compliments. However, I do want to repeat how great a job Boudreau in making a believable, fast-paced story.

Librarian-Mode: Admittedly, I haven’t read many mermaid books. However, after talking with others, it is safe to say this book would be well placed with The Mermaid’s Mirror and Forgive My Fins.

So, now it’s your turn…have you read Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.

 

August 29th, 2010

Book Review: Low Red Moon

Book Review: Low Red Moon
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: Sept 2010
Pages: 192
Source: ALA

Avery Hood is now an orphan. Her parents were brutally murdered at their home; a murder that Avery witnessed. But all she can remember is flashes of silver moving inhumanly fast, and lots of blood. What exactly happened and who did it remains out of her grasp.

While nothing will ever be the same again, Avery tries to keep things semi-together by returning to school. A place where she is completely friendless--that is until Ben arrives. The new boy in town--one with a dark secret and one that she is utterly drawn to. But when she learns that Ben is a werewolf with inhuman silver eyes and no memory of the night her parents died, she doubts everything she knows about him. Could he be the mysterious killer they’re looking for? Or is it all just a case of odd coincidences? Avery holds the key to the truth...if she could just unlock her memories before time runs out

The Short of It: So, I kind of knew I’d love this one before even starting. The author has rarely let me down and definitely did not disappoint this time. The only thing I wish is that it has been a little longer.

Plot: I’m trying to be careful about the plot without ruining anything. As far as paranormals go, this was something I hadn’t really seen before. Okay, yes, werewolves are nothing new, but it was the additional elements that Devlin added in that I enjoyed. For example, the connection that Avery has to the forest? Kind of love it. And I can say that I kept switching my vote on who killed her parents. I will admit that I didn’t guess the right person, but I was so very close! There is still a lot of unanswered questions by the end of the book, especially about her grandma. I certainly hope that a sequel is in the works because I would love to see where the story leads.

Characters: Avery. I’m not sure what to really say about her. Her upbringing made her a bit different from any other YA character I’ve read before. I mean, after all, you don’t see too many main characters who have grown up secluded. Yes, I know they did go into town, but she didn’t have many friends. And being home-schooled just made her seem more isolated from her peers. However, she really acted like a normal teenager would. She was kind of down to earth and had her head on straight. And considering her parents were just murdered, that is saying quite a lot. I just wish she would have been a bit more cautious at certain times and had learned to trust the right people a little more.

Romance: This is the one spot I felt was a little weak. I would have liked to see a bit more relationship building when it came to Ben and Avery. I know that Devlin explains why they have an instant connection–especially Ben, but I would have liked to see more. I know I’m being kind of vague, but I don’t want to ruin the paranormal parts of their relationship. I will say that it has been done before, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

Writing: No complaints here. Devlin’s story kept me entertained throughout. I will say there were a couple of spots that I would have liked to be fleshed out more. I don’t mind being kept in the dark sometimes, and I get that’s where the mystery/suspense part comes in, but there were some parts I just wanted to know MORE. Again, I assume there is to be a sequel, but I really wish there had been just a little bit more answered in this book.

Librarian-Mode: This one will go easily with the paranormal lovers. It can be grouped easily with Shiver, Dark Divine, and the like. Although, I think those who like mystery/suspense will eat this one up as well, as long as they’re not totally turned off by paranormal.

So, now it’s your turn…have you read Low Red Moon? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.

June 11th, 2010

Book Review: The Ghost and the Goth

Book Review: The Ghost and the Goth
Ghost and the Goth, The by Stacey Kade
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: July 2010
Pages: 288
Source: ALA

After a close encounter with a bus, Alona Dare goes from homecoming queen to Queen of the Dead. She's stuck as a ghost in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her to a better place. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast. More than anything, Will wishes he didn't have the rare ability to communicate with the dead, especially the former mean girl of Groundsboro High

The Short of It: Interesting concept that held my attention throughout the entire book. There were times that it moved a little slow, but this was mainly when Kade was getting important/relevant background info in. I was pretty excited to learn there will be more books with these two and cannot wait to see their story develop more.

Plot: So, this brings “I see dead people” to a whole new level. Poor Will. While I love to go “ghost hunting”, I can safely say that I would never want his ability. I mean, to hear all those people talking around you whenever you’re in public. How could you honestly NOT go crazy? And of course, he can’t really tell anyone for fear they’ll think he really should be in a mental ward. I have no idea how he made it as long as he did and still stayed reasonably sane. Like I understand his little tricks worked, but how was he ever able to concentrate on school and not hear what was being said? I enjoyed how Alona was able to come in and basically save the day. I figured she would be important, but I never guessed how important she would be. Of course, I don’t think they knew either. After all, Will had spent his whole life avoiding the dead and all Alona wanted was the bright lights. I’m anxious to see how their roles will continue to develop as the series progresses.

Characters: Poor, poor Will. I really did feel sorry for him. Most people thought he was a freak of nature, well, ok maybe he is a little. After all, he can see dead people. However, he isn’t just some goth kid who enjoys wearing black and talking about death. Honestly, he’s just misunderstood. Yes, he’s sarcastic and aloof, but that’s his defense mechanism. As long as people generally leave him alone, he doesn’t care what they think. His main goal is to survive high school and move to where there are less people and less of the dead. It was heartwarming to see how he cared and his few friends and his mom, especially his mom. He would bend over backwards to make his mom happy and on several occasions resisted a fight because he can see how much it wears on his mom. And once you got down to who Will really was, he was a pretty cool guy, one I would easily love to have in my life.

Oh, Alona. Make way for another misunderstood character. Yes, she may be miss popular and look like everything is perfect, but it truly isn’t. Once you learn what her life is really like, you can’t help but have a little sympathy for her. After all, no teen should have to deal with the home life she had. But that’s when she was alive. I’m not sure that death has been all that much kinder to her. I mean, being hit by a bus…ouch! Not to mention, she got to see people’s true colors once they thought she was gone. And the comments she heard and actions she witnessed were probably things that no one would want to hear or see. However, death and Will acted as a small wake-up for her. She was used to being blunt and even mean, but the problem was she didn’t see it that way. When she told someone their sweater was ugly, she was trying to help by getting them to care more. Good intentions, but totally wrong way to do it. In death, she has to learn to say nicer things. (There is a reason but I won’t say why.) She learns how to be honest in more gentle fashion. I also enjoyed that she wasn’t just some dumb blonde. Alona proved time and time again how strong and intelligent she was. It was fun to see Alona grow into someone with much more character and I am excited to see how she continues to transform as their story continues.

Romance: This one is a little…odd. I don’t know how else to describe it. After all, Alona is dead. And while the dead do have a solid substance when they’re near Will so that they can touch and what not, but um still dead. Yet, despite all that I still kind of rooted for something to develop between them. After all, Will has been crushing on her since they were in the sixth grade and, well, being the only living being to see her kind of gives him the advantage. In all seriousness, while there are some sparks flying, at this point it was more about a friendship and getting beyond their old stereotypes to the point of actually caring about each other.

Writing: Another alternating view point book. I’ve read TONS of these lately and I’m discovering that I really like them. I enjoy being able to step into both main characters’ points of view. Adds a whole new depth to what is happening, especially when they’re not together. And the alternating chapters keeps the story from jumping all over the place. Of course, it does annoy me a little. There were times I had wanted to stay with Alona or Will a bit longer and was instead thrown into the other POV.

On the story telling front, Kade does an excellent job. I had this book for months before reading it because initially hadn’t caught my attention. And, honestly, I may have passed it up all together had it not been for some of the buzz going around. I was pulled into the story within the first few chapters and had a hard time putting it down on occasion. In fact, I had a temptation to skip an author event to finish up the book…or at the very least read the whole way there and ignore the person driving. (I promise I did neither!) All in all, this one ended up a very pleasant surprise indeed.

Librarian-Mode: Hmmm, I think one is going to go well with the paranormal readers. Yes, it’s not your typical werewolves or vampires, but ghosts are just as much fun! I would say that those who liked Once Dead, Twice Shy or Shiver would enjoy this one as well. There are still romantic undertones in this one (as with any good paranormal read), but it isn’t your straight out romance. I think the romance-crazed readers will like it as well, but it may be a harder sell for them.

So, now it’s your turn…have you read The Ghost and the Goth? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.

May 5th, 2010

Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Mini Reviews

Mini-review time! I’ve never been much of a vampire girl, but my friends kept insisting I needed to read the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer and I finally broke down and picked them up. Boy, am I ever glad I do. Vlad is unlike any vamp (well, half vampire) I have ever meet. In fact, I almost hate lumping into the whole Twlight-vampire craze; he really belongs more with someone like Harry Potty. And honesty, if Harry Potter turned into a vampire you would have Vladimir Tod. Needless to say, I devoured these books as fast as I could get them from the library. And since I read them all back-to-back I figured doing a mini-review for each book would be the best way to go…and then when the final book comes out I’ll do a normal one!

The Short of It: If you can’t tell from my intro, I loved these books. They’ve become one of my top recommendations and I’m even trying to get it on the middle-school reading program for next year! I can’t believe I missed these books and simply cannot wait for the next/last book!

Series
[Rating: 4.5]

Eighth Grade Bites
Publisher: Dutton Juv
Release Date: Aug. 2007
Pages: 182 pgs
Buy from (affil. links): Amazon, Powell’s, Indie Bound

Vladimir Tod is unlike any teenage boy you’ll ever meet. Yes, he’s a little gothy, sarcastic, and likes to play video games with his best friend (Henry), but, well, he also has fangs and craves blood. That’s right, Vlad is a vampire, but he’s not ordinary vampire. In fact, he’s really only half-vampire (his mother was human) and he’s sure he’s the only one left of his kind. Since his parents’ death three years ago, he’s been living with his “Aunt” Nelly and living as normal of a life as possible. That, however, becomes impossible as a new teacher joins Vlad’s middle school and begins to pay a little too much attention to Vlad. The questions Mr. Otis asks are too close to comfort and Vlad is terrified he’ll figure out his secret.  Not to mention, things only get worse when he realizes there’s a vampire killer out to get him! Can Vlad manage to keep his secret under wraps and remain alive?

Eighth Grade Bites is a wonderful first book. Brewer pulls you fast into the world she has created and doesn’t let you go. Even though it was relatively short, I felt like I knew all the characters fairly well. I adore Vlad and his sarcastic wit. I mean all the jokes about vampire and the whole “Vampires Suck” t-shirt were a lot of fun. Of course, Nelly and Henry are wonderful characters as well. I wish I could have seen a little more of them, but there’s still lots of time for that! There were a couple of things I would have liked to have explained more, like the whole drudge thing, but I assumed that Brewer would flesh out the vampire rules/ways as the series progressed. The books wraps up well, but I was very anxious to see what the next book would bring Vlad.


Ninth Grade Slays
Publisher: Dutton Juv
Release Date: Apr. 2008
Pages: 278 pgs
Buy from (affil. links): Amazon, Powell’s, Indie Bound

Vlad must say good-bye to summer and his uncle Otis and hello to freshman year. Hello to the same old bullies, the wanna-be journalist nerd with a camera who tails him, and Henry’s cousin, Joss. Basically, it’s life as usually for Vlad. The only bright spot is a trip to Siberia that helps him learn new vampire abilities such as mind reading and mind control. But will these new powers be enough to conquer the newest threat in his life? Will he really be strong enough to recognize and defeat a vampire hunter? Or will he be just another vampire who finds a stake in his heart? 

Ninth Grade Slays is a nice continuation to the series. I really enjoyed the new character, Joss, and was sad to see he wouldn’t be sticking around after this book. Of course, maybe I liked Joss because it reminded me of Joss Whedon (Buffy!) and felt like a total homage to him/Buffy! (No idea if is actually is though.) I also had fun seeing Vlad’s power expand and his relationship with Meredith edging into the next stage. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole prophecy/Harry Potter vibe. While I may grow tired of it fast, I’m willing to overlook it because I like Vlad so much! And, yes, the same bad guy is in the background, but it’s fun to see what other evil do-ers he can pull into his grasp. Although, in this case, I felt sorry for the slayer. He was sort of tricked into the role he played and things got way more mixed up than they should have. It’ll be interesting to see if it plays a part in the future books (which I knew it would). Again, a very nice wrap-up, but couldn’t wait to move on to the next one!


Tenth Grade Bleeds
Publisher: Dutton Juv
Release Date: June 2009
Pages: 292 pgs
Buy from (affil. links): Amazon, Powell’s, Indie Bound

Another year at Bathory High for Vlad, but things have yet to really look up for him. Yes, his long-time crush, Meredith, is now his girlfriend, but now he’s on the edge of losing his best friend. Henry has been acting distant and hanging out with the popular crowd more and more. Vlad knows that this may be the end for him and Henry, especially when he learns there is a way to release drudges. Without Henry to hang out with, Vlad finds himself spending his free time with the goth kids. He’s introduced to a new world called the Crypt where being a “vampire” is cool, but the overwhelming urge to feed makes his time there limited. Add in the chilling nightmares that D’Ablo is sending about him being tortured and bled to death and anyone can see why Vlad is having a rough time. Without his uncle or faithful friend, Vlad may be facing this latest threat all alone. Will Vlad’s nightmares become reality or will he manage to escape yet again?

Tenth Grade Bleeds may have been my least favorite of the four, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good. This is the book were the whole prophecy thing started to annoy me a bit. I was tired of D’Ablo and his schemes and I was ready for one of them to burst into flames already. (And by one of them, I mean D’Ablo.) I understand not wanting to bring in a whole new bad guy every single book, but I do go weary of him. And while I wish he were gone for gone, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. (Are we sure Vlad is the only one who can’t die?) It really is a lot like Voldemort where I just wish he’d GO AWAY. But, eh, what I can I do; every book needs its villain. I was glad Brewer spent some time developing the Vlad-Henry relationship some more. I adore both boys and it broke my heart to see them growing distant. I was pretty worried that this would be the end of these two, something I don’t think I could have handled! And can I also just say how sweet Vlad & Meredith were? I won’t give it away, but I was sad to see what happened to them. They really were a cute couple! And the whole Crypt events could either be a big mess or a big leg up for Vlad; something I was anxious to see how it would all play out. So, while not my favorite book, still good and had enough appeal where I was ready to continue on right away.


Eleventh Grade Burns
Publisher: Dutton Juv
Release Date: Feb. 2010
Pages: 309 pgs
Buy from (affil. links): Amazon, Powell’s, Indie Bound

Life has hit a new all time low for Vladimir. Not only has Joss moved back to Bathory for good, but his uncle is to be tried and probably executed by the vampire council. Add in a weird vampire, love sick drudge, and dealing with the memories of his dead parents as they renovate his old home and Vlad’s hands are truly fully. The only bright spot is that with the upcoming trial, Otis no longer has to run and can spend more time with Vlad. While things look bleak, there is always some hope that they will be able to free Otis of all the accusations against him. Surely the council will see be able to see the truth, right? Or will Vlad be saying goodbye to the only family he has left?

Ok, hold on a moment while I scream. AHHH! So, Eleventh Grade Burns is really, really good. I enjoyed seeing Vlad and Otis’ relationship grow more than it had now that he was around a lot more. And how Vlad’s powers are developing, almost super-vampiric, is fun, too. Vlad is developing powers more and more that no one else has seen before. It all keeps leading the reader toward the fact that he is the one from the prophecy. And it was nice to see him repair his friendship with their nightly “practices” even if it is a little dangerous. And risk of spoiling anything, I’ll stop right after I say one more thing. I.Hate.Cliffhangers. And this is the MOTHER of all cliffhangers. Brewer’s only saving grace is that the last book will be out this fall, so the wait won’t be that long. (And may all the book god/goddesses hear my plea and let there be an ARC @ BEA!)

So, now it’s your turn…have you read the Vlad books? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought!

March 25th, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Dead: Jonas

Book Review: Beautiful Dead: Jonas
Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
Series: Beautiful Dead #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Release Date: March 2010
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher

Darina has just entered the world of the Beautiful Dead. A world that contains four of her classmates...her dead classmates, including her boyfriend Phoenix. This world is supposed to be secret from those of the living, but Darina makes a deal in order to be the exception. She must help solve the mysteries that surround each of her classmates' deaths.

Jonas was the first to die and the first to need her help. Darina must discover the real reason that Jonas crashed his motorcycle, causing his death and crippling his girlfriend. He was an experienced and cautious rider, could Jonas have really been driving too fast and risking himself and his love? Or was there something more that happened on that tragic day? And more importantly, will Darina be able to discover the truth and finally allow Jonas to pass on in peace?

The Short of It: This is one of those liked, but didn’t love. And honestly, it’s really hard for me to say why. There was a lot of potential, but it kind of fell short. I felt like the world could have been fleshed out a bit more, but it was still a decent read overall.

Plot: I will warn you, that you are instantly thrown into the plot. There is no introduction, no hello this is where you are…you’re just there. I know many have not liked this, but I didn’t mind it too much. Although, I was a little confused as first and had to go back and reread a few pages to understand what was going on.  And I really do wish things had been fleshed out a bit more, but I’m hoping the future books will help with that issue. Other than that, I thought the plot was an original concept; I would have never thought of making zombies beautiful, intelligent, and almost like they had been before they died. The mystery behind the deaths is interesting, although, Jonas’ death was a little predictable. Then again, I’m not sure it was supposed to be hard to guess as Darina was calling it long before the end of the book. This book is truly just one slice of the pie and am I interested to see where Maguire plans to take it.

Characters: I’m sort of indifferent when it comes to the characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know them well enough to care what did or did not happen to them, especially Jonas. I mean, I didn’t want him to disappear without having his mystery solved, but I also wouldn’t have cried any tears if he had. And he seemed like a nice, loving boy, but I never felt like I knew him. To me, he was some casual person I knew in passing and nothing more, which made me a little sad since it was his book.

Honestly, I think the book focused a little too much on Darina and Phoenix – like it was really more their book and Jonas was just in the background. Still, I’m not sure I really know them. Darina is close, but I’m still not sure what really makes her tick. I want to know if there is a reason, beyond Phoenix, that she’s willing to help them out. I just wanted more about her and her life in general. Right now, she feels more like someone who is just there to fill a role – not a true character, but I have hope that that will change as the books progress.

Romance: This one is really hard to talk about. After all, by the time we meet Phoenix he’s already dead. It is obvious that they care a great deal about each other, but their time together is very limited. What we learn about their relationship is mainly through Darina’s reflections on the past, which I’m not sure if it can be taken as accurate or a girl in love shading the truth. Although, you can tell that Phoenix is protective of her and wants her to be happy. I only worried that in his new zombie-state the emotions he sends are not real. There have been several hints at that, but it’s impossible to say for sure.

Before I move on I do want to mention Jonas and Zoey’s relationship. What tiny bit we saw of it was truly sweet, but tragic. He truly did love her, even if she did doubt it a little after the accident. Although, I think deep down she knew he did. It was a relationship that seemed to be blooming and was kind of sad that it ended before it really began. I am glad that she was able to find closure though.

Writing: I didn’t think the writing was bad. Some of the descriptions and dialogue felt silted, but nothing that made me shout and scream in frustration. I know I had a couple of eh moments, but nothing that had me ranting.

Librarian-Mode: This is a hard one for me. It’s unlike any zombie book I’ve ever read, so I’m not sure the normal zombie-lovers would like it. There’s no gore or brain eating here. I don’t really think this book can sit neatly in a niche, but I would try recommending it to other paranormal lovers.

You can see other reviews by tour participants at the Teen Fire Ning

November 24th, 2009

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Series: Beautiful Creatures #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Dec. 2009
Pages: 626
Source: ALA

Welcome to Gatlin, a small town where there are never any surprises. Ethan Wate is following the rules of the "in" crowd, but longs for the day that he can break free and leave the town far behind. That is until Lena Duchannes appears and everything begins to change. The girl who has been haunting his dreams is now real and Ethan will do whatever it takes to get closer to her. Their connection and attraction is undeniable, but everything is not what it seems. Thanks to a locket, a curse, and a secret danger threatens to destroy them both. Will Lena and Ethan be able to solve the mystery in time or will they be just more victims to an old curse?

 

 

The Short of It: Loved it, loved it, loved it. So it may be a little massive and scary, but how could I not love a book that has a viola player in it?! Ok, ok, so even without the viola aspect Beautiful Creatures would be an awesome book. Garcia and Stohl hook you in from almost page one and draw you deeper and deeper into their world to the point that you feel like 600 pages is not nearly enough. So, um, yeah, book two now please?

Plot: Mystery, intrigue, magic, romance…what more could a girl ask for? Garcia and Stohl weave a twisted web that keep you flipping the pages to discover the answers. They do a good job at keeping a reader interested without frustrating you. There were many times I didn’t fully understand what was going on, but I knew enough to draw a close enough conclusion. I still feel as if there are some questions that aren’t answered, like the connection between Ethan and Lena, but I have faith that Garcia and Stohl will reveal the truth when the time is right. I can’t wait to see where their story goes.

Characters: Lena is a viola player, enough said, right? No? Oh, all right. Lena is one of those girls who comes off as aloof and distant on the outside, but once you get behind her wall you understand why she is the way she is. She truly is the tortured soul; yet, she still has dreams of being a normal girl-next-door. It was fun watching her bloom under the attention of Ethan. (And really Link, too!) I also loved that even though she was scared she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself. Lena has true strength. I mean really, Bella-who?

Ethan. Well, what can I say about Ethan. He’s the all American boy, but isn’t afraid to loose it all for the girl he loves. Of course, Lena wasn’t the only tortured soul. I just wanted to scoop Ethan up and give him a great big hug. I think it would have been easy for Garcia and Stohl to have him buried in the grief surrounding his parents, but I’m glad they didn’t. I loved that he was able to focus on others that anchored him in the world and didn’t let him go too far away. I was glad that he stood his ground and didn’t let Lena or Amma push him away from what he truly wanted.

Romance: Lena and Ethan have a very awww relationship. Yet, at the same time it’s very push and pull. Lena is so scared of hurting Ethan that she continues to push Ethan away. Even when she knows it doesn’t work, she tries so hard to keep him way beyond arm’s length. But Ethan knows that they belong together and has no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. I love how he tries to give her as many normal high school experiences as he can, even if it usually does lead to trouble most of the time. Yes, Ethan is certainly perfect boyfriend material and I have a feeling their relationship will be hot, hot, HOT.

Writing: Overall, Garcia and Stohl have a nice writing style. There were a couple of times I had to go reread a passage because I didn’t understand what had just happened, but these were few and far between. And really could have been because I was up until after 5:00 am finishing it.

Librarian-Mode: Hmm, I think this could be an easy sell to all the Twilight fans. Most of them aren’t really after the vampires, but the romance itself. But with the paranormal aspects that Beautiful Creatures has it would easily please them. While the paranormal groupies will eat this up, I think it’s an easy sell to other teens as well. Teens should still be able to relate to Lena and Ethan on an every day level even with all the supernatural going on. Definitely an easier sell to girls, but I think some guys may be interested in it, but it’ll take a little more work!

Ok, Contest Time! I have an extra ARC for one lucky reader.

Edit: Contest now Closed…thanks for all who entered~12/09

So here are the rules, fill out the Beautiful Creatures Contest Form to be entered by Dec 8th. You must be a in the US (International if you have someone to ship in US that’s fine, too).

You can earn extra entries for the following:

+1 for being/becoming a follower

+1 for blogging/putting on blog

+1 for posting on social network (Twitter – make sure to include @awaitinserenity, Goodread, etc)

Good Luck and don’t forget to fill out the Contest Form…no comment entries will be counted!

And if you’ve read Beautiful Creatures don’t forget to leave me a comment to let me know what you thought!

November 13th, 2009

Book Review: Immortal: Love Stories with a Bite

Book Review: Immortal: Love Stories with a Bite
Immortal by P.C. Cast (editor)
Publisher: BenBella Books
Release Date: 2009
Pages: 264
Source: Publisher

Immortals: Love Stories with a Bite is a book of short stories dealing with paranormal romances centered on vampires. Edited by P.C. Cast the author line-up carries some big names such as Rachel Caine, Claudia Grat, Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, and Tanith Lee. Ok, so I kind of have to admit that normally I run away from vampires. With all the Twilight hype, I’m like most YA Librarians and groan when I hear vampires come out of my teens’ mouths. However, I can say that I really did enjoy reading Immortal. Normally short stories can be hit and miss, but I think there were only two that I didn’t really care for. By far, Binge by Rachel Vincent was my favorite. I love her play on the muse and was quite sad to see that story end. I could have easily spent an entire novel in the world she created with those characters. (EDIT: Ok, so I’ve been told that this is based off her Soul Screamers world. Thanks Lexie!) My other favorites were by Claudia Gray, Richelle Mead, and Rachel Caine. Although, to be fair Claudia Gray and Rachel Caine wrote stories in their pre-existing worlds. (Meade may have as well, but I don’t know enough about her other books to say so for sure.) It’s much, much easier to write a short story in a world you already know like a second skin then to try to create a brand new one in 25 pages. But man, they still did such an excellent job that I’m so very tempted to pick up their normal books and read them! All in all, I’m very glad I got the chance to read this book. It’s definitely one I’ll be recommending to my teens.

And my dear readers BenBella Books has offered an extra copy for one of you!

So here are the rules, fill out the Immortal Contest Form to be entered by Nov. 27th and must be in the US (International if you have someone to ship in US that’s fine,too).

You can earn extra entries for the following:

+1 for being/becoming a follower
+1 for blogging/putting on blog
+1 for posting on social network (Twitter – make sure to include @awaitinserenity, Goodread, etc)

Good Luck and don’t forget to fill out the Contest Form…no comment entries will be counted!

Edit: Contest now CLOSED. Winner will be announced soon! (11/28/09)

September 18th, 2009

Book Review: Zombie Blondes

Book Review: Zombie Blondes
Zombie Blondes Release Date: June 2008
Pages: 256

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.     A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.     The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.     But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: If she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .

I have to be completely honest and admit that the ending ruined this book for me. In fact, had the ending been different this may have received a much higher rating. Up until the last 30 pages or so I had really been digging the book. While the social commentary on popularity has been done before (and is a running theme in teen zombie books) it was kind of fun to see Hannah work her way into that “in” crowd. With each new page turn, I kept thinking that something big was going to happen. Lukas, with all his warnings, was going to be wrong and this was just going to be a small town with odd quirks. I mean, hello, she was making out with a zombie and he totally wasn’t going after her brains (or blood). Sure the “in” crowd was a little odd, but they looked and acted too normal to be zombies. How evil could blonde haired, blue eyed next-door-neighbor teens really be? Ok, so maybe that was the point and all. Who would ever think wrong of the All-American teens in a small town? Yet, I was still so disappointed when it turned out Lukas was right all along. And the very end itself just made me scream. (I’m trying very hard not to spoil that point. Very. Very. Hard.) I mean I get it and all, but it was certainly not a satisfying ending. In fact, I was left with a sort of depressed and hopeless feeling. Maybe I’m just too much of a happily-ever-after girl to appreciate this type of ending?

Now, remember, my opinion is just one among millions. I may not have liked Zombie Blondes but you might! I mean, really, it was just the ending that killed it for me;I really liked it until that point. If you have read Zombie Blondes, please leave a comment! I’m very interested to hear others thoughts on it!

P.S. Yes, yes I know I usually write my own summaries, but I’m strapped for time lately. You may see a couple more product description summaries as I try to catch up, but I promise they won’t be here to stay.

September 9th, 2009

Book Review: Another Faust

Book Review: Another Faust
Another Faust by Daniel Nayeri, Dina Nayeri
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 2009
Pages: 400

In this Gossip-Girl-meets-the-paranormal, nothing is ever as it seems. The Faust siblings are new to Marlow, a prestigious high school in New York, but they won't be unknown for long. With a little help from their "gifts", the teens dazzle and dominate any room they are in. After all, with powers like beauty, mind reading, stopping time, erasing events, and stealing powers they are notches above the rest.  However, a bargain with the devil is never easy or without complications. As the teens struggle to be the best, secrets threatened to be revealed...lies that could tear the Faust siblings apart. Who will rise above the rest, and who will be left to waste away?

 

 

 

Another Faust ended up being one of those books I liked, but just didn’t love. I had a hard time really connecting or liking any of the characters. I just felt like I never truly got to know them enough to fully understand the way they thought or what made them tick. There were some characters like Victoria or Valentin that I really wanted to like and kept looking for some vulnerability, but the more I learned the more I despised them. Their constant need for power and superiority left a foul taste in my mouth, especially after we learn the dirty tricks they’ve pulled on the others. The other three, by the end, I did have a twinge of sympathy for. They got caught up in a situation that they couldn’t fully understand/know about. I mean, they were only 10 when they sold their souls! A mere child cannot comprehend what they are doing. Although, I suppose the point was that the governess was preying on their weakness and desires. What better age to start than childhood.

Now, all that being said, I think the story premise was interesting enough. At times the plot was a little strange or hard to follow, especially the tales from another time, but I’ve always been interested in the selling your soul to the devil type stories. And I have to say this was a much different spin than I had heard before. The last 100 pages or so really picked up and I truly began to enjoy the story. I’m not sure I was totally happy with the ending though. I really wanted to know what would become of them. I’m secretly hoping there will be a sequel that will follow the kids in the aftermath. I would love to see how they’re faring and if anything changed. I know I’ve heard the next book will be at Marlowe again, so maybe we’ll catch glimpses (*crosses fingers*).

On a side note, I can really see teens who like Gossip Girls/Paranormal really liking this book. The teens that I work with seem to really be drawn to that rich and famous lifestyle…not to mention all the Twilight fans that are out there. (In fact, I’m not even sure the my copies have hit our shelves yet! It was one of those that went immediately to someone who had a hold on it.) I can certainly see this being one of those slow-creeping hits. The teens may not realize it’s around, but once they do they’ll eat it up!

Ok, now that you know what I think, let me hear from you! Have you read Another Faust? If so, what did you think?

September 3rd, 2009

Book Review: You Are So Undead to Me

Book Review: You Are So Undead to Me
You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: Jan. 2009
Pages: 272

Q: HOW MANY ZOMBIES DOES IT TAKE TO RUIN A SOCIAL LIFE?
A: NOT MANY.

Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she’s part-time shrink to a whole bunch of semi-dead people with killer issues. All Megan really wants is to go to homecoming, but when you’re trailed by a bunch of slobbering corpses whenever you leave the house, it’s kinda hard to score a date. Let’s just say Megan’s love life could use some major resuscitation. Megan’s convinced her life can’t get any worse – until someone in school starts using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into scary, hardcore flesh-eating Zombies. Now it’s up to Megan to stop the Zombie apocalypse. Her life – and more importantly, the homecoming dance – depends on it.

First, I’m going to have to admit that it has been quite a while since I first read this book. (I think it was back in Feb/March) I fell really behind in reviews around that time and would have just let this one go had it not been for Zombie week. So basically, I really apologize if this review stinks. That being said, I enjoyed this book, but didn’t really love it. Jay has a nice writing style and voice (the main reason I liked the book), but the plot didn’t sit well with me. I’m really not sure what’s up with this zombie invading school type plots, but I’m not sure I like it. There were times I wanted to slap Megan silly, especially when she was more concerned about her Homecoming dress and not the killer zombie after her. I mean, HELLO, dress = replaceable…your life = not so much. However, Megan does have this air about her and I can totally see the potential that her character holds. I also liked the little romance that was going on and am interested to see where it leads. And you can bet that when Undead Much comes out, I’ll be picking it up to see how the story continues. (That and I’m really hoping this whole zombie/high school thing starts growing on me.)

So tell me, have you read You Are So Undead to Me? If so, be sure to tell me what you thought!

P.S. This post is part of zombie week. Be sure to check out the September Zombie blog for even more Zombie-goodness.

P.S.S Yes, yes I know I usually write my own summaries, but I’m strapped for time lately. You may see a couple more product description summaries as I try to catch up, but I promise they won’t be here to stay.