Currently Browsing: YA Literature

Review: Flying Blind

Review: Flying Blind Flying Blind Author: Deborah Cooke Release Date: June 7, 2011 Publisher: NAL Trade The Dragon Diaries #1 ISBN: 978-0451233882 Genre: Young Adult Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Zoë is the Wyvern of the Pyr – the one female dragon shape shifter with special powers. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr, and her powers are AWOL. Worse, there’s no reference book to consult, and the last Wyvern is dead…. Everything changes when Zoë’s best friend is bullied and Zoë reacts. Before she can blink twice, her inner dragon is loose, and she’s suspended from school and headed to a shape shifter boot camp with guys she’s known all her life. But soon she’s doubting her powers – and even some of her friendships. Zoë quickly realizes she has to master her powers yesterday – there’s danger ahead and boot camp is a trap. A secretive group, the Mages, want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line – unless Zoë and her friends can solve the riddle and work together to save their own kind… What Gikany & Una are talking about: Flying Blind is the debut novel in the Dragon Diaries. This series seems to be a spin-off her adult Dragonfire series. Although neither of us have read this series (however it is on our TBR list), you do not need to have read it to enjoy this book. The premise is intriguing with the mythology of the existence of dragon shape-shifters. Within this group known as Pyr they are all male, except for a single female Pyr called the Wyvern. She has similar abilities to the men; superior senses, shape shifting, and longevity, but she also has additional powers. We found the world-building to be pretty good. Like most first books in a series, there are always, what Una likes to refer to as, growing pains. This book felt a bit jumpy, the continuity was not smooth between the chapters. Occasionally it felt as if it skipped or glanced over matters. The main character, at first, was quite annoying. However, if you are junior high school age, maybe you can identify better with her than an adult can. We felt she was a bit whiny, although this lessened through the course of the book. Flying...
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ARC Review: Bite Club

ARC Review: Bite Club Bite Club Author: Rachel Caine  Release Date: May 3, 2011 Publisher: New American Library The Morganville Vampires series #10 ISBN: #978-0451233189 Genre: Young Adult Format(s): Hardcover (352 pages), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:        After discovering that vampires populate her town, college student Claire Danvers knows that the undead just want to live their lives. But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble. There’s a new extreme sport getting picked up on the Internet: bare- knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against each other-or humans. Tracking the remote signal leads Claire- accompanied by her friends and frenemies-to discover that what started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville… What Una is talking about:       I started reading the Morganville Vampire Series after discovering it via a short story.  When I read it, I didn’t realize it was young adult, and it wouldn’t matter anyway. Out of the many YA series I read, The Morganville Vampires series is one I truly enjoy.       One of my favorite things about The Morganville Vampires is that the main characters have teenage angst without being overly annoying to the reader.  It helps characterize them and give them a young feel while not alienating adult readers.  The teenage characters also are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.  I enjoy the authentic feel of these kids.  Sometimes, like most teenagers, they are quite intelligent while other times can be completely clueless.  Ms. Caine accomplishes this without making the characters seem like they are bi-polar.       The flow and pace of Bite Club is steady while gripping.  I found myself wanting to yell at the characters about the clues I saw along the way that they just didn’t quite grasp.  It reminded me of watching a stereotypical horror movie, but does so without being cliché.  In this story, the main characters are pitted against each other while dealing with very real elements of prejudice, which I found educational.  As the town struggles to rebuild itself after a thwarted coup in the previous story Ghost Town, it is remaking social policies and infrastructure.  This process mimics that seen in the civil rights movement in the United States, all marauding vampires aside.       I thoroughly enjoy the on-going adventures of Claire, Eve, Michael and Shane, especially now with them dealing with this very real...
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Review: Falling Under

Review: Falling Under Falling Under Author: Gwen Hayes  Release Date: March 1, 2011 Publisher: New American Library (NAL) ISBN: #978-0451232687 Genre: Young Adult, paranormal Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: In her dreams he’s irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she’s awake—and captivates her just the same—she’s not sure which way is up and which is down.Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life, not allowed the same freedoms as the rest of the teenagers in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, she feels every urge she’s ever denied burning through her at the slightest glance from Haden Black. Theia knows she’s seen Haden before—not around town, but in her dreams. Theia doesn’t understand how she dreamed of Haden before they ever met, but every night has them joined in a haunting world of eerie fantasy. And as the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her forward one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And as she slowly discovers what Haden truly is, Theia’s not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul. What B is talking about: Theia Alderson is an anomaly. She’s shy, overprotected, has a British accent, is a brilliant violinist, and is the object of affection of an irresistible half-demon. Haden Black is the handsome new boy in school but carries a dark secret, one that will change Theia’s life forever.  Although I’m fairly new to YA novels, Falling Under seems wonderfully dark for the genre. It also addresses some very grown-up themes. Hayes doesn’t try to pretend that high school is a bastion of innocence, nor does she insinuate that her characters, and teenagers in general, I believe, will not be able to navigate the unraveling of their own naivety.  There is a strong undercurrent of awakening sexuality running throughout the novel. Thanks to Haden’s restraint, however, Theia is able to experience, and is sometimes hurt by, various stages of desire, from curiosity to longing to desolation. Hayes also addresses the reality of high school promiscuity through one of Theia’s best friends who is a sexually...
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Review: Night School

Review: Night School Night School Author: Mari Mancusi Release Date: January 4, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade Blood Coven Vampire Series, Book 5 ISBN: 978-0425240427 Genre: Young Adult, paranormal Format(s): Paperback (256 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Vampires, Slayers and…FAIRIES? Sunny and Rayne McDonald are about to get SCHOOLED. After their parents’ shocking revelation about their fae heritage and an attack on their lives, the McDonald twins find themselves on the run—forced to hide out at Riverdale Academy , a boarding school for vampire slayers, deep in the Swiss Alps. With no cells, no internet, and no way to contact their vampire boyfriends—the twins are on their own.  Being a vampire stuck in a school full of slayers isn’t easy. Especially with no blood substitute stocked on campus. Soon Rayne finds herself succumbing to her bloodlust and losing control—especially around the arrogant, but devastatingly handsome Corbin Billingsworth the Third—who isn’t sure whether he wants to kiss her…or kill her.  But when Sunny starts acting strange, Rayne realizes Riverdale Academy may be hiding some deadly secrets of its own—leading to a showdown in Fairyland that may cost the twins their lives.  What B is talking about: Rayne and Sunny McDonald have just found out that their hippie parents are actually Sidhe, or fairies. Not only that, but the twins’ mother is fairy royalty, and they are fairy princesses! The bad news is that Rayne is really a Goth vampire/vampire slayer working for Slayer, Inc. (but she only slays “baddie vamps”), while Sunny wants to live her life as a normal, human girl. When a band of fairies attack them and their parents, they escape and are hidden away in Riverdale Academy, a training academy for future slayers. They both miss their boyfriends, who are vampires, and Rayne is getting awfully hungry without the synthetic blood she depends on for survival.  I don’t read many Young Adult novels, so this was quite a change from what I’m used to. Bearing that in mind, I had a surprisingly good time reading Night School. Rayne is a flawed protagonist who makes some very serious mistakes, but does her best to deal with the consequences. The events are often erratic, if not Disney World (literally) outrageous, but Mancusi somehow makes it work. I had a “You decided to ride the roller coaster; so you might as well sit up front...
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Review: Hexbound

Review: Hexbound Hexbound Author: Chloe Neill  Release Date: January 4, 2011 Publisher: Signet Dark Elite Series Book #2 ISBN: #978-0451230799 Genre: Young Adult, paranormal Format(s): paperback (256 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. Please welcome Guest Reviewer Stacy of Stacy’s Place on Earth. She graciously agreed to read and review today’s book. Stacy’s Summary: In book 2 of Chloe Neill’s YA Dark Elite series, we once again meet up with our young intrepid heroine, Lily Parker, and find out what she’s been up to.  It’s only been a few weeks since she first arrived at Chicago’s St. Sophia’s school for girls, and in such a short time, she’s become quite acclimated to her new school, her restrictive school schedule, and has even found a best friend in her colorful roommate, Scout Green.  And oh yeah, she’s spending time working on her newly discovered magical powers… Patrolling the underground tunnels at night for signs of the darker forces, Lily spends these occasions with other teens who have similar abilities, like Scout, and some of the boys from the nearby boys’ school, Montclare Academy, such as hottie Jason Shepherd and Jason’s best friend Michael Garcia.  Defending their world from the Reapers is only part of an Adept’s job.  They also have to master unique gifts that have just a limited shelf life in order to protect the innocent.  During one night while patrolling, the gang come across a hideous group of creatures they’ve never seen before, and it forces them to use their powers without much preparation, but fortunately things work out and no one is seriously hurt.  Yet they are now aware of a brand-new danger to the Enclave, and must figure out who and what they are dealing with before they can destroy it. Along the way Lily and her friends encounter warring vampires, budding romance, and an enemy who may not be what he seems…. Stacy’s thoughts: I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Firespell, and was pleasantly surprised to find the young characters sharp, mature, and incredibly likable, so naturally I was pretty excited when Jen asked if I’d like to review Hexbound.  This time around however, I found the tone to be a little too “goody goody” and that was a bit frustrating when you take into consideration the circumstances these teens faced, even in just their ordinary, everyday lives.  Yes there are a lot of good, decent kids out there, but even the best kid can rebel on occasion, and I...
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Review: Ghost Town

Review: Ghost Town Ghost Town Author:Rachel Caine  Release Date: October 26, 2010 Publisher: NAL Hardcover Morganville Vampire Series Book #9  ISBN: #978-0451231611 Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Format(s): Hardcover (352 pages), e-book, audio I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From Goodreads:       The fragile peace between humans and vampires in Morganville is in trouble, and when Claire takes drastic action, she’s put under serious pressure to re-establish the barriers that keep the town residents inside, and wipe the memories of those who leave. But working with her half-crazy vampire boss Myrnin means that things don’t always turn out as planned … and as the people of Morganville begin acting strangely, Claire and her friends must solve the mystery and try to put things right. But one by one, her allies are turning on her … even the ones she trusts most. What I’m talking about:       This is my first Morganville Vampire book. Yes, I skipped books 1 through 8 and started here with #9. This goes against all of my rules for reading, but I received the book from the publisher and was told that it would be okay to jump in.  And she was right – I was able to read and enjoy the story without knowing the entire history of Morganville. HOWEVER – it was very clear to me that I have missed out on a rich backstory and a lot of character development. I think fans of the series will get much more of an emotional impact from the book than I did.  However, the story captured my interest, and I find that now I want to read the first 8 books to fill in those holes.       Here is the brief background I inferred from reading Ghost Town – Morganville is a unique town – one where humans and vampires coexist in a tenuous relationship. Vampires founded the town (here is where one place I wish I knew more), and they make the rules. Apparently residents cannot leave unless permission is granted by the vampires. Our heroine, Claire, is a student at the local university and is a very special and bright girl. She works for/with the town’s “mad scientist” Vampire, Myrnin. Clare lives with boyfriend, Shane, and best friends, Eve and Michael (a vampire). They have some special privileges granted from the “head” vamp, Amelie – clearly something that happened in earlier books.       In Ghost...
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Review: DUST

Review: DUST DUST Author: Joan Frances Turner  Release Date: September 7, 2010 Publisher: The Berkley Group (Penguin) ISBN: #978-0-441-01928-1 Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal/Zombies Format: Hardcover I received this book from the publisher for purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Nine years ago, Jessie had a family.Now, she has a gang.Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian.Now, she eats very fresh meat.Nine years ago,Jessie was in a car crash and died.Nine years ago, Jessie was human.Now, she’s not. After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs. But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life… What I’m talking about: I’m going to start by telling you that this is my first zombie book. I didn’t know what to expect, but my ideas of zombies were formed by horror movies. This is NOT what Jessie is about. She is a teenage girl that died and was reborn into a new life of the “undead.” The undead don’t feed on human brains (unless they want to), but rather the freshly killed flesh of any animal.  The story, told in the first person POV of Jessie, opens with a hunt for a deer and slides into Jessie’s memories of being “reborn” and meeting her gang. It took me a while to adjust to reading the gore that is zombie. It’s not that this is a gruesome tale or a horror show, it’s just that well, these characters are undead. They are missing body parts, full of bugs, black-bloated gas-bags and turning to dust.  Ms. Turner does a wonderful job provided detailed descriptions of her world and its inhabitants. Just be prepared to see maggot-infested bodies...
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Review: Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Review: Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon Infinity: Chronicles of Nick Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon Release Date: May 25, 2010 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Chronicles of Nick Series Book #1  (with direct tie-in to the Dark Hunter Series) ISBN: #0312599072 Genre: Young Adult – paranormal From GoodReads: At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.  Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.  But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.  As if starting high school isn’t hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that? What I’m talking about: WARNING: there are mild spoilers contained in this discussion. Nick is your “typical” 14-year old boy… trying to fit in, hoping the girls will like him, etc. Little does Nick know that his city (New Orleans) is full of paranormal activity and his classmates range from human to shifter to demon (and some other things we don’t know about). Oh, and not to mention that Nick is destined to be the destroyer of humanity and evil incarnate.  Sounds like a lot, but surprisingly, this tale is lively, witty and full of action. It highlights the best of Kenyon’s Dark Hunter (DH) world and expands on the already amazing series. Nick is a good kid, and it will be interesting to watch him struggle with right and wrong as he comes into his powers and gets closer to the betrayals that set him on the path of destruction.   One of the best themes through the book is Nick’s love for his mom. It is tender and sincere. Their moments together are...
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Guest Post – Rum: Books In The Spotlight

Guest Post – Rum: Books In The Spotlight Greetings friends… Once again, I am honored to have a guest post. Today I would like to introduce you to another good friend of mine, Rum. She has a wonderful new book review blog, Books In the Spotlight, and is holding her FIRST giveaway. Please help me welcome RUM… Hi, my name is Rummanah, but most people call me Rum. I met Twimom on the Twilight Lexicon and ever since then we’ve been online pals. I started my blog, Books In the Spotlight for two main reasons: One, I wanted to keep up with my reading where I can keep track of what I’ve read, what I thought about it, and more importantly discuss it with others. My reading goal for this year is to read 200 books. So far I’m on 120 so 80 more to go. Two, I work as a teacher-librarian in a high school setting and I’m constantly asked by parents and teachers on what books are appropriate for their kids/students, so I wanted to give them a place where they can find that info on my blog.  My blog has challenged me to go beyond my YA boundaries, which is why I also review contemporary Adult literature, children literature, and graphic novels/manga. It also challenges me to state why I don’t like a particular book. I love my blog and am continually learning on how to make it better. Now I can’t believe that my blog will be 3 months old, and I now have over 30 followers. I’ve enjoyed sharing my book reviews and thoughts with the online population. I look forward to sharing my passion for reading with all of you every day. Thanks to my readers and followers, blogging has been really fun. I want to continue to grow, get better at blogging, reach new book lovers and followers, which brings me to my first giveaway. Please help me reach my next goal of 60 followers. For those that have been following my blog from the beginning, you will know that I have a soft spot for YA literature. Like many of you, I’m also counting down the days for Suzanne Collin’s Mockingjay, the third and final book of the blockbuster seller Hunger Games series. So to celebrate my first 3 months and my first 37 followers, I am going to give away a copy of Mockingjay! Why not start off the first giveaway with a bang?! If I reach my goal of...
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My Blood Approves – review

My Blood Approves – review My Blood Approves Author: Amanda Hocking  Release Date: currently available Publisher: lulu.com also available in Kindle format from Amazon My Blood Approves Series Book #1 ISBN: #0557364639 Genre: Paranormal Young Adult NOTE: An e-copy of this book was given to me by the author for review purposes. From the author’s website: Seventeen-year-old Alice Bonham’s life feels out of control after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylors and New Wave hits aside, Jack’s unlike anyone she’s ever met. Then she meets his brother, Peter. His eyes pierce through her, and she can barely breathe when he’s around. Even though he can’t stand the sight of her, she’s drawn to him. But falling for two very different guys isn’t even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood… What I’m talking about:  Alice is your average high school Junior, with a best friend that likes to party and a younger brother who is more of a parent than her mom.  She likes to hang out, sleep all day, text her friends, etc. Then she meets Jack. He’s cool and different, and Alice likes to spend time with Jack. He takes care of her, but leaves Alice in a world of confusion when he refuses to explain the “strange” things that she notices about him and his family. We spend the first half of the book reading how Jack and Alice become friends and learn to trust one another. But I just don’t know WHY Alice would ever trust Jack. He never once answers her questions – always avoiding the truth. Yet over and over she says she trusts him and wants to be with him and his family. I didn’t buy it. And, I have to say, I spent the first half of the book comparing Jack and his family to another famous literary vampire family: The Cullens. Jack and his family are unbelievable gorgeous, his family is wealthy and he has a fondness for driving fast in fancy cars. He even saves Alice from a car wreck. Mae was the perfect “mom” figure and doted on Alice. I have to say that there were so many similarities, I found it a bit distracting.  However, the story changed pace for me about halfway through the book. Once Alice FINALLY figures out the truth and the family opens up to her, I became engrossed. I wondered what...
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