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Currently Browsing: YA Literature
Jan
13

Review: Touch by Michelle Sagara

Review: Touch by Michelle Sagara Touch Author: Michelle Sagara Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: D+ What I’m Talking About: Touch opens with a short prelude from the POV of Nathan, the deceased boyfriend of protagonist Emma who was not present in the first title, Silence. Nathan chronicles his thoughts and existence from the moment of his car crash to “present day,” roughly three or four months after his accident. We discover that he was given an order by the Queen of the Dead to go home and watch his family and friends. The book then begins its story shortly after the conclusion of the first title. Emma’s friends are trying to adjust to a routine after learning about her ability to see ghosts and the existence of Necromancers, humans like Emma who have the ability gain powers from using ghosts’ energy. Necromancers work for the Queen of the Dead, who wants to kill off Emma’s friends and family. Although I don’t normal read and enjoy YA literature, I was completely enamored with Silence, the first book in Ms. Sagara’s Queen of the Dead series. The story was engrossing and characters strong, keeping me glued to the pages, despite some confusion while reading the book. Unfortunately, the second story, Touch, did not hold my attention like the first book did. The small issues I had when reading Silence only grew and became problematic the second time around. The plot is slow moving and seemingly without a clear direction at times. There is entirely way too much introspection by these characters, and at times I just wanted to skip over the repetitive analysis of true friendship, love and death. Overall, Touch focuses on the emotional development of each character rather than be driven by the plot and action. If that is your cup of tea, you may enjoy the book. However, I wanted a cleaner/clearer storyline that moved from point A to point B. There are side stories which are critical for the further development of the characters, but did nothing for the overall plot of the book. Unfortunately, each of the characters fell flat for me. The strength I found in each before, seems to have fizzled under the weight of insecurity. Too often characters are harshly judging themselves or uncertain what course of action would be best. The only character who seemed to have her act together is Amy, the Cordelia-like (Buffy) friend of the gang who takes charge, even over the knowledgable elders. And don’t...
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Dec
14

Review: Dark Craving by Veronica Wolff

Review: Dark Craving by Veronica Wolff Dark Craving Author: Veronica Wolff Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una are still recovering from finishing Dark Craving, the latest in the Watchers series.  Wow!  Since it is a novella, we were curious as to why it was given a full number in the series progression instead of the usual .5 – denoting it as a filler or extra between two novels.  Well, though it is novella length, Dark Craving packs the punch of a full novel with an ending that continues to blow our minds. The Watchers series follows Drew, the main character and only point of view to date, as she finds herself on a desolate island run by vampires.  She was recruited and is being trained to be a Watcher, if she doesn’t die first.  However, all is not what it seems, and for the first time, we read things through the eyes of Ronan, and we find out a little more backstory and a huge plot twist.  Ronan was the Tracer charged with bringing Drew to the island, but his duties didn’t stop there.  Through his limited time with her, he finds something he thought never to dream of: hope.  It may not seem like much, but when you are a slave to the whims of the ruling vampires, hope is blessedly rare and infinitely precious. Our only compliant is that Ronan is a Tracer; he grew up knowing about these vampires.  It stands to reason he would know considerably more than Drew about the island and the vampires.  However as we read a portion where Drew confronts Ronan about a discovery she made at the end of the previous novel, it felt a little anticlimactic.  Although Tracers are different from the Trainees, we thought Ronan would know more about what goes on in the Keep, things that Drew had just discovered.  Moreover, we thought he would know more about the status of Emma – whether she is alive, dead or something else.  As we read his point of view of this conversation, we are not rewarded with anything from his private thoughts or subconscious.  This seemed rather cryptic and odd.  As much as Tracers are given much responsibility, they would naturally have seen more and know more.  We understand Ronan keeping Drew in the dark (for her protection) but why not ponder such things to himself?  It just struck a sour chord with us. If you haven’t...
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Nov
5

Review: The Lair by Emily McKay

Review: The Lair by Emily McKay The Lair Author: Emily McKay  Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: A, 4.5 Stars What We’re Talking About: The Lair is the exciting sequel to the YA novel, The Farm.  Although The Farm wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, we liked it. But right from the start, The Lair was a gripping read which we enjoyed, and we look forward to more. The story starts off near where The Farm ended.  Mel has been turned by Sebastian, and he has taken her under his wing to “raise” her.  For the first time in Lily’s life, she is not only not watching over her sister, but they are physically separated.  However, being with Carter, softens the blow.  Gikany and Una enjoy that we continue to have both Mel and Lily’s points of view in The Lair.  It was fascinating to observe Mel’s transformation and her time being mentored by Sebastian.  The abilities of vampires seem to develop quickly.  And, as we observe through Mel’s eyes, we question whether Sebastian’s motives are entirely pure. While Mel learns how to be vampire, Lily and Carter finally reach the home base of the resistance.  But all is (of course) not well.  Once they reach the base they realize something is not right…horribly not right.  We would love to say that they do get better, but who are we kidding.  This IS a post-apocalyptic world.  It does not get better… but it does spiral and twist in ways we did not expect.  Keeping us glued to the pages, we could not put down The Lair as we kept trying to figure out Sebastian with Mel and what on earth was going to happen with Lily and the choices she endures.  Let’s just say (we realize we are being utterly vague but we would hate to spoil things for you) there are arguments, break ups, betrayals and more betrayal. We do enjoy Carter’s point of view, but Lily is the main narrator in The Lair with Mel giving us snapshots of her journey.  However, Carter’s point of view does add a richness to the overall world.  He is struggling with being the leader of the resistance without the abductura he was supposed to retrieve.  In Carter we see the epitome of a leader – calm, decisive, confident.  Someone anyone could follow and would.  However, through his points of view we discover he questions every choice, struggles with thoughts of the future while grieving his lost soldiers...
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Oct
29

Review: Daylighters by Rachel Caine

Review: Daylighters by Rachel Caine Daylighters Author: Rachel Caine Reviewer: Una Rating: A-, 4 Stars What I’m Talking About: Wow…I am speechless over the final book in the Morganville Vampires series.  I started this series from reading a novella (how Eve came to be a member of the Glass House) and enjoyed the novella so much, I started the series with the first book.  Daylighters ties this series up with a big red bow it seems.  Although there is the option, if Ms. Caine decides, for us to be able to return to Morganville.  However, the story of Claire and her Glass House friends has come full circle, and I’m happy to say, the ending is all I hoped for. As we were left in Fall of Night, our friends return to a Morganville much different than when they left.  The Daylighters have taken over the town, placing all the vampires in an enclave – for not only the town’s protection, but the vampires as well.  The head of the Daylighter’s claims he can rehabilitate the vampires and cure their vampirism.  However, as Claire and Eve learn more about the cure, they find out it is not as sunny as it appears.  There are quite a few references that tie the Daylighters to the Nazis and the allusion is quite accurate.  This mandatory cure kills more than it heals.  As understanding about this cure comes to light, Claire begins to learn what the “dog bite” to Shane has truly done. There are some very tense moments during the story, making it difficult to put down. Another long-standing issue is the marriage of Eve and Michael. In this the town, it seems they stand united; a vampire and a human are not meant to be married.  The nature of a vampire cannot ignore its natural prey.  It happened only once before in the town’s history – and it did not end well.  This “Romeo and Juliet” situation becomes much dire with the Daylighters now in charge.  Eve finds out only shortly after arriving back into Morganville that her marriage may be annulled.  With the vampires imprisoned and miserable while the humans are overjoyed and happily living without fear, Claire finds herself at a moral dilemma.  She knows the treatment of the vampires is wrong.  However, the town has been transformed – people freely walk the streets, well into the evening.  People are truly living in Morganville without the fear that has hung heavy throughout their...
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Aug
20

Review: Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

Review: Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon Title: Doon Author: Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon Reviewer: Ang Rating: A+, 5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Anyone who reads my reviews knows I am a tough grader. It is rare for me give anything higher than a B. I have exacting standards when it comes to books. I want a strong storyline, great characters and most of all I want to be brought into the story. I am the queen of show me, don’t tell me, which was why when I read Doon and found myself completely smitten with it, I was hesitant to turn in my grade. Don’t get me wrong when I turned the last page of this book I was ready to write A A A all over it, but I wanted to be certain it was because the book was, in fact, “A worthy” and not simply because it had been so long since I had read any good YA books.  So I decided to let it marinate for a while, and reread it, before writing this review. After 3 months and 3 readings I can say I am no longer smitten with Doon but completely in love with it and ready and willing to have its kilt wearing, Scottish speaking babies.  So if you will indulge me please allow me to gush. From beginning to end I seriously loved, loved, loved this book. I adored the setting; a magical, almost utopian like, kingdom that only appears every 100 years, count me in, the characters; hottie princes, devoted servants & subjects with a wicked witch whose trying to destroy their world? Fabulous!,  the language; before mentioned yummy princes with a Scottish brogue, yes please,   the humor, insides jokes between besties, a smart maid with a wickedly dry, matter of fact, sense of humor coupled with musical and book references,  perfection!, and this is just the basic overview. Seriously, what’s not to love? Kenna and Vee are fun, smart, witty, relatable characters with the kind of friendship I wish I’d had in a high school friend. Jamie and Duncan are the kind of princes Disney musical revolve around and the wicked witch would give Oz a run for their money. The story is told from both, Kenna and Vee’s points of view, alternating between them a chapter or two at a time. I was worried this would be distracting or feel disjointed, instead I found the approach refreshing and fun, allowing me to experience...
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Aug
2

Review: Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

Review: Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep Midnight Frost Author: Jennifer Estep  Reviewer: Gikany and Una  Rating: A, 4.5 Stars Here we go again … Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can’t get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities — until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I’m still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead.  As Nike’s Champion, everyone expects me to lead the charge against the Reapers, even though I’m still hurting over what happened with Spartan warrior Logan Quinn. I’ve got to get my hands on the antidote fast — otherwise, an innocent person will die. But the only known cure is hidden in some creepy ruins — and the Reapers are sure to be waiting for me there … What We’re Talking About: This is our favorite book in the series so far!  Midnight Frost is the fifth book in the Mythos Academy series.  It follows a brutal battle that ended Crimson Frost, the previous book, with serious ramifications for Gwen. ***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven’t read the previous book, please be warned there are unavoidable spoilers below In young adult novels, Gikany and Una are used to the whining and egocentric nature of the standard heroines.  After having the love of her life, Logan, stab Gwen through the heart… most young adult heroines would lament and whine about how unfair the world is.  We aren’t saying that Gwen didn’t do this, but she did show considerable maturity that wasn’t there before Midnight Frost.  Logan, completely broken over harming Gwen, has left the Academy with no plans to return.  Needless to say, Gwen is devastatingly heartbroken.  She tries to go about her studies but between nightmares of reliving her near death and being unable to reach Logan to talk, she is having a tough time.  However, she doesn’t recede into a ball of teenage angst, she realizes that she must try to move on. In an attempt to move on, she returns to do her normal routine at the Library, but the Reapers will not give her a break.  When they attempt to poison Gwen, someone else is poisoned instead.  The only cure is in a mountain top garden above an academy in Colorado and they all know the Reapers will be waiting for them.  Instead of doing nothing, Gwen and her friends...
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Jul
2

Review: Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep

Review: Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep Spartan Frost Author: Jennifer Estep  Release Date: June 25, 2013 Publisher: Kensington Mythos Academy #4.5 ISBN: #978-0758294777 Genre: Young Adult (Urban Fantasy), novella Format(s): E-book Book Source: Purchased with own funds About the book:      I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was–until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.      Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.      I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story. . . What G & U are talking about:      Gikany and Una have fallen in love with the Mythos Academy series.  We love Gwen and the world she inhabits.  We tend to get completely caught up in the stories and lose all sense of time.   Ms. Estep gives us a treat in this series with Spartan Frost – a short novella that gives us a glimpse into Login-freaking-Quinn’s mind.  If you are a fan of this series, this novella is a must read!      Through this very short novella, we see how torn and broken Logan is over his betrayal of Gwen.  He is still reeling from being tricked by his stepmother and bound and controlled by Loki through a necklace, which causes him to almost kill Gwen – his beloved Gypsy Girl.  Spartan Frost is a bit of an emotional jaunt as we see Logan home with his father – with whom he has a broken relationship.  However, we are given a glimmer of hope at the end.  That is until you read the short snippet from Midnight Frost and become agitated at the peril Gwen finds herself in.  Our only complaint is that it was a novella… and we just wanted more!      If you haven’t started the Mythos Academy series, you are seriously missing out.  This is a series parents can read with their kids (seventh grade and up) or as an adult to enjoy.  They are really just great reads. Their Rating: Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)     Purchase Info: Spartan Frost (Book 4.5) Reviews in the Series: Dark Frost (Book 3) Crimson Frost (Book...
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Jun
30

Review: Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Review: Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes Viral Nation Author: Shaunta Grimes  Release Date: July 2, 2013 Publisher: Berkley Trade ISBN: #978-0425265130 Genre: Young Adult (Urban Fantasy) Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed. Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future. When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever. What G & U are talking about: Viral Nation is a new young adult novel in a post-apocalyptic world.  Due to a nasty viral outbreak, populations were decimated; leaving survivors encamped in walled cities.  The cure to the virus that saved the world turns out to be a future drug.  The suppressant was brought back from the future, manufactured by the Company who then started to take over… everything. It is an ominous world that Clover and West live in, although they don’t know it.  This new world is what they grew up in.  Children only attend primary school.  After primary school they either work growing food for the government or they go work for the Company.  If a child is particularly bright, they attend the Academy where, upon graduation, they are able to obtain high-level positions in either the Company or the government.  Life within the...
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Jun
5

Review: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Review: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Author: Laura Howard Release Date: April 30, 2013 Publisher: self-published Danaan Trilogy #1 Genre: YA Paranormal Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember. What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity. What G & U are talking about: The Forgotten Ones is the debut novel of Laura Howard. This is the first book in Danaan Trilogy.  We found this novel to have a few of the characteristics we seem to associate as new author issues; however, we did find the premise interesting and promising. The novel begins with our main character, Allison trying to ease her mother during one of her schizophrenic episodes. This sets the tone of Allison’s character. She is completely devoted to her mother, to the point that she neglects not only herself but living. Even though she has a long-standing crush on Ethan, her cousin Nicole’s boyfriend’s brother, she refuses to acknowledge or pursue her feelings even when they seem to be reciprocated. Her sole goal is to be educated so she can care for her mother, nothing else matters. Her plans are derailed when her long lost father, Liam, returns, to see her mother and meets his unknown daughter instead. The interesting mythology is centered on the Fae.  Liam has returned in hopes of curing Beth’s insanity, but Allison refuses to believe him and his crazy stories of the fair folk. Unfortunately she is dragged into this world when her mother goes missing. Allison will sacrifice anything to save her, even herself. One of the issues we had with the writing was that as a first person narrative, the reader is being told what happens one...
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May
28

Review: Fall of Night by Rachel Caine

Review: Fall of Night by Rachel Caine Fall of Night Author: Rachel Caine  Release Date: May 7, 2013 Publisher: NAL The Morganville Vampires #14 ISBN: #978-0451414250 Genre: YA Paranormal Format(s): Hardcover (352 pgs) Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Claire never thought she’d leave Morganville, but when she gets accepted into the graduate program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Saying good-bye to her friends is bittersweet, especially since things are still raw and unsettled between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane.        Her new life at MIT is scary and exciting, but Morganville is never really far from Claire’s mind. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native, Claire is able to work on her machine, which is designed to cancel the mental abilities of vampires.        But when she begins testing her machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make… What Una is talking about:       Fall of Night is the fourteenth book on the Morganville Vampire series. Ms. Caine has been successful as this series continues, which is no small feat with a long running series. Considering the end of the previous novel, Bitter Blood, I was concerned how Fall of Night would go. I am pleasantly surprised how Claire’s adventure to MIT went and even more intrigued with what awaited her in Morganville.       The love story between Claire and Shane has had its trials and triumphs. However, as Bitter Blood came to a close, Shane’s distrust of Claire was a final straw. With the Founder’s permission, Claire has a one-way ticket to her dream, an independent study at MIT. However, even though Shane has the same permission, Claire refuses to have him accompany her. She needs to see what life is like outside of Morganville and on her own. She has dreamed of attending MIT and pursuing high academic studies. Plus, after all of her time in Morganville, she dreams of a normal life.       Fall of Night begins with Claire leaving Morganville and heading to MIT to see what a normal life is like. However, normal is a matter of opinion, and Claire is a fully assimilated Morganviller.  From the start of her reunion with her BFF from high school to her new professor and boss, Dr. Anderson, Claire is not sure this was the right decision. Between the changes her roommate has...
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