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Currently Browsing: YA Literature
Sep
20

Review: Blood Forever by Mari Mancusi

Review: Blood Forever by Mari Mancusi Blood Forever Author: Mari Mancusi  Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade Blood Coven Vampire #8 ISBN: #978-0425253038 Genre: YA Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (256 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sunny and Rayne McDonald have had their lives turned upside down thanks to the Blood Coven. But when the past itself is changed, the sisters will do anything to get back what they’ve lost… After making a deal with the devil, Rayne and her twin sister Sunny have been given the chance to go back in time—preventing that fateful night when Sunny was bitten by Magnus from ever happening. But while Sunny has been offered a vampire-free existence, she finds she doesn’t want to live without Magnus by her side. And although Rayne puts up a stoic front, she secretly wishes that vampire Jareth was back in her arms.  To reclaim their lives, Sunny and Rayne team up to figure out a way to change history for the better. Problem is, Jareth and Magnus aren’t that eager to help two unfamiliar girls who somehow know everything about their vampiric organization. Now, if the twins can’t get the boys on their side, history may spiral out of control—destroying not only the Blood Coven, but quite possibly the entire human race…  What B is talking about: Once again, Sunny and Rayne McDonald are back, wreaking panic and mayhem on a level that would make the four horsemen of the apocalypse proud. Thanks to a bargain with Hades himself, Rayne has secured her twin another chance to live, and possibly an opportunity to make the world a better place for everyone they love. If they can just manage to stay away from their yummy vampire boyfriends, that is. This is the final novel in the Blood Coven series, and Ms. Mancusi unleashes the twins on the world she’s created with something akin to unholy delight. Tampering with the past with disastrous consequences? Check. Zombie attacks that threaten all mankind? Oh yes. Being hailed as heroes when everything miraculously turns out all right (along with the groveling and heartfelt apologies of anyone who ever doubted them)? Certainly! As with the other novels in this series, Blood Forever is best read when any expectations of consequences and life lessons are set aside in favor of watching from a safe distance while Sunny and Rayne try to save the world. After they’ve endangered it in the first place, of course. The twins...
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Sep
7

Review: Showtime by Chloe Kayne

Review: Showtime by Chloe Kayne Joining VampBard for her review today, is her daughter, DramaTeen (DT…although she won’t qualify for long…).  DT is an undergraduate student of psychology, ultimately pursuing a doctoral degree in psychiatry.  She likes to read for fun, but doesn’t often get the opportunity.   Showtime Author: Chloe Kayne Release Date: Sept. 14, 2012 (expected) Publisher: self-published Marvelle Circus #1 ISBN: 9781300109 Genre: YA Historical Romance/Suspense Format(s): according to the author’s website, the book will be available in hardcover, paperback & ebook Book Source: Author About the book: The grandeur of the traveling circus is at its peak in the early 1920s when sixteen-year-old Laila Vilonia is searching for an escape from her bleak future. Behind the gates of the legendary Marvelle Circus, she is thrust into a mysterious world she never knew existed—a paradise populated with outcasts. It’s in this glamorous new home that Laila sparks a controversial romance with notorious sideshow performer, “The Disappearing Man,” and learns just how dangerous her new life can be. Touring the picturesque eastern coast of America, Laila’s immersed in friendship, vaudeville, festivals, sequins, and serial killers. But behind the curtain, a sadistic plan is brewing that will crack the very foundation upon which she’s become so dependent. What VampBard’s talking about: VB:  As I was reading Showtime, by Chloe Kayne, I did like her use of language.  The vocabulary was great for me – fed my linguistic side.  The plot moved, and kept the reader interested in the story by providing the perfect amount of detail to propel the reader through the story.  Until the end.   DT:  I did like the vocabulary, but at times it was awkward.  Sometimes she chose a big, impressive word when another, simpler word, would have worked.  It was kind-of like an SAT study guide.  I thought the story was really mysterious, so you’d want to keep reading to find out what happened.  Ms. Kayne had GREAT timing for revealing facts!  Additionally, Showtime kind of felt like a modernized period piece to me.  There’s pros and cons to that.  It was relatable, but if you’re searching for a good historical, this probably isn’t for you. VB:  Showtime, to be followed by a sequel entitled Spotlight, was pretty awesome, albeit light in the romance department for my tastes, for ninety percent of the title.  However, the ending totally ruined the story for me, leaving me wondering whether said ending went with this book or another.  Oh, and I wondered...
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Aug
6

Review: Blood Fever by Veronica Wolff

Review: Blood Fever by Veronica Wolff Blood Fever Author: Veronica Wolff  Release Date: Aug. 7, 2012 Publisher: NAL Trade The Watchers #3 ISBN: #978-0451237033 Genre: Young Adult (Urban Fantasy) Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME —        EVEN IF HOME IS WHERE THE DEAD LIVE.        It’s the start of the fall semester, and a new crop of Acari and Trainees has descended on the Isle of Night. Watcher training has intensified, and Drew has a new roommate named Mei-Ling. But Mei-Ling harbors a dangerous secret that drove the vampires to abduct her against her will. Drew knows she shouldn’t get involved, but she can’t seem to leave her roommate to fend for herself.       Luckily, Drew has other things on her mind—like vampire Carden. A blood bond to a brawny, eighteenth-century Scottish bad boy tends to preoccupy a girl. And though she’s still figuring out what this bond means, one thing has become clear: She craves him in a major way.       But then bodies start turning up on the island. All the evidence points to the existence of a rogue vampire, and the sinister vampire Alcántara is gunning for Carden, even though Drew has proof that Carden had nothing to do with the murders. Now she has to find the true killer—without endangering Carden, Mei-Ling, or herself… What G & U are talking about:       Gikany and Una make no qualms about it, this Watchers series is excellent. It is for truly for young adults (high school and older) unless your middle school child is mature enough to handle the violence and romantic situations.       The latest installment in the Watchers series is Blood Fever, and, man, did it heat up! If you haven’t picked up this series yet, what are you waiting for?!  The premise, characters and mythology are fresh, enthralling and invigorating.  Sadly, Ms. Wolff has no qualms about killing characters; however, it is never done without reason.        The Watchers is a series told from the perspective of Annelise Drew.  If you think of the Isle of Night as a combination of the evil Twilight vampires and the Hunger Games, you’ll have a good idea of what this series is about.  Drew is brought to the Isle of Night under false pretenses to be trained as a Watcher.  Watchers are highly trained and...
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Jun
26

Review: Blazing the Trail by Deborah Cooke

Review: Blazing the Trail by Deborah Cooke Blazing the Trail Author: Deborah Cooke  Release Date: June 5, 2012 Publisher: NAL Trade Dragon Diaries Trilogy #3 ISBN: 978-0451236821 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance) Format(s): Paperback (320 pages), E-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and Zoë Sorensson’s love life is heating up. Cute, loyal, and understanding, wolf shifter Derek is pretty much the perfect guy. He likes Zoë, and he knows what it’s like to have to keep a secret. Yet, Zoë can’t help but wish it was rebel rocker Jared asking her to the Valentine’s dance instead. But Jared’s too busy playing hot and cold with her heart, calling Zoë his dragon girl one minute and then taking special interest in her best friend the next. Zoë is just about ready to breathe fire, especially once she uncovers a new threat that targets her friends. Although Zoë thought the Mages were defeated, they’re back and have invoked an old spell to give them new power—they plan to eliminate all shape shifters on the night of the big dance. Now, Zoë must lead an alliance of young shifters to battle the Mages and figure out exactly what—and who—she wants, before it all goes up in smoke… What G & U are talking about: Blazing the Trail, it seems, is the final book in the young adult Dragon Diaries series. As it comes to a close, Gikany and Una are proud to see the young woman Zoe has matured into.  In fact, we actually hoped to see more of her until, while researching for this review, we discovered it is a trilogy, and this is the end. In Blazing the Trail Zoe must finally choose what she wants in life, more importantly: who.  This final decision may have ramifications that will affect the alliance and the future of the shapeshifters.  The strife between Zoe and Trevor is finally resolved.  Through this novel, Zoe fully comes into her powers or at least can recognize them better. There were a few moments that felt a little simplistic and obvious, but that could be because Gikany and Una are adults reading this – lacking the naivety of a high school girl.  However, the body count in this novel is a little shocking.  Blazing the Trail has a few more gruesome moments compared to the previous novels.  With the death of classmates, we would recommend that high school and older students read this series. Although there is some...
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May
29

Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep Dark Frost Author: Jennifer Estep  Release Date: May 29, 2012 Publisher: Kensington Mythos Academy #3 ISBN: #978-0758266965 Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book:      I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me–again.      Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects–and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me? It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me–and I’m in for the fight of my life. What G & U are talking about:      Gikany and Una are happily stunned.  We decided to read the previous two Mythos Academy books before reading Dark Frost.  We are so glad we did.  This is an outstanding series!  Una started the first book and read through all three in a couple days… because it was too good to put down!  Gikany did it in a day!      We recommend that you start from the beginning of the Mythos Academy series with Touch of Frost.  It will help you connect with the characters and there is a build up through the first two books to the climax at the end of Dark Frost.  There are two novellas, one is a prequel to Touch of Frost and the other is between Touch of Frost and Kiss of Frost, but they are not necessary to read.  Gikany and Una did not feel we missed anything and we didn’t know about the novellas until we started our review.      Ms. Estep has created a stunning world in the Mythos Academy series.  We loved the blending of the...
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May
11

Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara

Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara Silence Author: Michelle Sagara  Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: DAW The Queen of the Dead #1 ISBN: #978-0756407421 Genre: YA Paranormal Format(s): Hardcover (256 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: It began in the graveyard…       Ever since her boyfriend Nathan died in a tragic accident Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there—Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death…. What I’m talking about:       As most of you know, I am not a big YA (young adult fiction) reader. I find a hard time connecting with the (much younger than me) characters, I am annoyed by the teenage drama, and well, frankly, I like smut in my story! With that said, I am so thankful I took a chance and picked up Silence. Right from the get go, I was drawn into this unique story. The prelude, titled Emma, is really well written! I feel like I know her after a few short pages – we see a window into her soul.       Emma is not your typical teen. She is a bit of a loner – but has many friends and is well liked. After losing her boyfriend, Nathan, to a car accident over the summer, Emma grieves privately by just being. No drama, no tears – she sits at his graveside at night, all alone. She doesn’t even talk with him, but feels better just being there. Her best friend, Allison, is a bit of an odd-duck, not one of the “in crowd,” yet Emma is also buddies with the “cool chick,” Amy. And then there is Michael – a high functioning autistic boy that Emma, Allison and Amy all help get around the school.       One night while chasing her escaped dog Petal, Emma finds new student Eric at the cemetery. Before they have time for too many pleasantries, a strange woman approaches Emma and causes Emma to fall and hit her head.  Once Emma wakes she...
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Apr
27

ARC Review: Black Dawn

ARC Review: Black Dawn Black Dawn Author: Rachel Caine  Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: NAL Morganville Vampires  #12 ISBN: #978-0451236715 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal) Format(s): Hardcover (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       With its eclectic mix of vampire and human citizens, Morganville, Texas, has always been a risky place to call home.  But with the invasion of the vampires’ deadliest enemy, Morganville isn’t just in danger – it’s dying…       Ever since the draug – mysterious creatures that prey on vampires – took over Morganville, the lives of Claire Danvers and her friends have been thrown into turmoil.  Most of the residents have evacuated, but Claire, Shane, Eve, and Michael have chosen to stay and fight.       By using the town’s water system to spread, the draug have rapidly multiplied.  Things in Morganville look grim, especially since vampire Amelie – the town Founder – has been infected by the master draug’s bite.       If Claire and her friends don’t figure out how to cure Amelie and defeat the draug, it looks as though Morganville will become little more than a ghost town. What Una is talking about:       Black Dawn is the twelfth book in the Morganville Vampires series.  We were left with a huge cliffhanger in the last book, Last Breath.  I will say this novel is aptly named and I enjoyed it.       This novel is action packed and was quite difficult to put down.  Black Dawn is longer than the previous novels, but it still feels like a fast read.  I believe it to be due to its engaging plot and the realization of more of the citizen’s secrets, both human and vampire.  Morganville continues to evolve, even through the threat of annihilation that the draug present.       Ms. Caine continues to use the new format, multiple POVs (points of view) in this book.  It allows the reader to see more of what is going on and gives the reader more insight into different characters.  However, I felt there may have been a few too many.  Multiple POVs can be a very powerful tool if it isn’t over used.  Trying to follow too many different characters can become confusing, and although that didn’t happen, I just want to caution Ms. Caine.  So far, Black Dawn is appropriately balanced between our main characters and a couple of smaller characters.  However, I wonder if that is a signal that they may become more important.       The continuing...
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Mar
26

Review: Soul Bound

Review: Soul Bound Soul Bound Author: Mari Mancusi  Release Date: March 6, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade Blood Coven Series #7 ISBN: #978-0425245477 Genre: YA Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (272 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: Sunny McDonald and her vampire boyfriend Magnus are on the run—accused of treason and wanted alive…or undead. And her own twin sister is the slayer sent to track them down.  Rayne would do anything to save her sister Sunny from the Vampire Consortium dictator who wants her dead. Instead, she’s been commissioned by Slayer Inc. to bring her twin back for justice…which Rayne knows means certain death. She also knows that if she and her boyfriend Jareth go against orders, they’re not only signing their own death warrants, but those of every vampire in the Blood Coven.  As a rival slayer with a personal vendetta moves in, Rayne and Jareth know they must do something to stop her. So they embark on their most dangerous journey yet, deep, down beneath the streets of New York City and through the Gates of the Underworld itself. But when a greedy god demands the ultimate sacrifice, will Rayne be forced to choose–between her sister…and the vampire she loves? What B is talking about: One of the more persistent problems I have with the Blood Coven Series as an adult is the effort it takes for me to remember that this series is all in fun, as well as the notion that it shouldn’t be so much work to do so. Rayne McDonald, in particular, is exasperatingly self-absorbed. She’s impatient, narcissistic, irresponsible, and over-indulged by everyone around her. I’ve never read a character that causes so much chaos and destruction, yet gets praised for her valor and courage by those who’ve suffered the most. It makes me want to bang my head on my desk. Here’s the fun part though: Soul Bound is not written for adults. Once I put on my mental Doc Martens and stomped my way through the novel, it was a lot of fun. The entire story is filled with a busload of oddities, from a 700-plus-year-old vampire pouting his emo-hazed eternity away (but I kind of like emo—shh—don’t tell!), to a horrific, yet fairly avoidable, slaughter (oops!), and even an Underworld ruled over by a Vampires vs. Zombies-addicted Hades. And Rayne’s the one driving. The entire story is impossible and fun; even more so than the previous stories in this series I’ve read. The twins...
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Mar
23

Reviews: Winterborne & Ravenstroke

Reviews: Winterborne & Ravenstroke Winterborne & Ravenstoke Author: Augusta Blythe  Release Date: Winterborne: January 27, 2012                   Ravenstoke:  February 8, 2012 Publisher: Self-Published Universe Unbound Books #1 & 2 ISBN: Winterborne 978-1469930473             Ravenstoke 978-1469966113 Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy Format(s): Winterborne –  Paperback (300 pgs), e-book                      Ravenstoke –  Paperback (228 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Winterborne: Sixteen-year-old Mia Winterborne is destined to be special. Details are sketchy, though, as her dad disappeared when she was five. Mia only knows that she’ll inherit her kickass superpowers on her seventeenth birthday. Helping Mia prepare for her anticipated ascendancy is Loie Bryce, her best friend and eternal sidekick extraordinaire. The girls’ intense friendship has never wavered until now, when Andreas arrives in Salcey Ridge. They both fall hard for the British hottie, who quickly becomes a fixture in their lives. When they discover that Andreas is not who he appears to be, the frightening reality of Mia’s powers finally hits home. The nearer Mia’s birthday draws, the more the danger escalates and long-buried lies are exposed, putting the girls on a path that they never expected. Ravenstoke: In Winterborne, Loie and Mia’s seventeenth birthdays brought more drama and surprises than they ever expected. Now, in Ravenstoke, they are adjusting to the aftermath and struggling to keep those newfound powers in check. When Andreas is called away to England under mysterious circumstances, a new guy is sent to Salcey Ridge in his place. Cian is smarmy and cocksure and Loie wants nothing more than to unleash a hellhound on him. Unfortunately, Cian isn’t the only complication in their lives as the girls must also contend with the reappearance of Mr. Winterborne himself and Loie’s most dreaded fear of all – a part in the school musical. Can the girls survive the rest of junior year unscathed? What VampBard’s talking about: Winterborne was a great YA read.  I liked the world-building, and I was glad that I had the first book of the series to read, so I wouldn’t miss anything.  Had I read only Ravenstoke, I think I may have been a little lost. There were some great plot twists that I hadn’t predicted in Winterborne.  While I felt most of the story was predictable, the twists threw me for a loop!  When they presented themselves, about ¾ of the way through the story,...
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Mar
1

Review: Vampire’s Kiss

Review: Vampire’s Kiss Vampire’s Kiss Author: Veronica Wolff  Release Date: March 6, 2012 Publisher: NAL Trade Watchers #2 ISBN: #978-0451235725 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal) Format(s): Paperback (# pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE PARTNERED WITH A VAMPIRE, YOU HAVE TO WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT.       By her wits, blood, and sacrifice, so far Drew has survived the intensive training on the Isle of Night. As a second-year Acari, her ultimate goal is to become a Watcher, and now she has a shot at her first mission. Except nothing is as it seems. The vampire Alcántara is as sinister as he is sexy, Ronan is more distant than ever, and it turns out there are other vampires out there. Bad ones.       Ancient, bloodthirsty, and powerful, these undead are really old school. They’ve captured one of the Watcher vamps and are torturing him for information. The only chance to save him is to infiltrate a major summit the baddies are holding on their own island. There will be mortals there, serving as butlers, maids, and various hired help. Drew had better brush up on her skills as a serving girl, because she’s about to go undercover…       But, when their vampire prisoner turns out to be a gorgeous bad boy, Drew’s first mission quickly turns into more than she bargained for… What G & U are talking about:        Vampire’s Kiss is the second novel in the young adult series, Watchers.  After the amazing cliffhanger ending to the first novel, this second installment was not quite what we expected, but Gikany and Una were not disappointed.       The Watchers series continues to be a very interesting young adult series.  Drew is a complex character who struggles with both the situation she finds herself in and to try to retain her sense of self while doing what she needs to do to survive her environment.  She is both a young lady maturing into a reluctant champion and an insecure girl struggling to grow up.  The inner battle that Drew wages with herself struck a chord with us.  We related to her being intellectually mature and yet having much to learn about life, social situations, and the opposite sex.       Vampire’s Kiss ramps up the tension of living on the Isle of Night as more information is gleaned about the vampires and life...
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