Posts Categorized: book review

Deadly Little Secret

21 Feb, 2010 by in book review, touch series, YA supsense 5 comments

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (November 10, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423111982
4 stars

Some secrets shouldn’t be kept…
Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia’s life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia’s life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She’s reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She’s inexplicably drawn to Ben…and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help–but can he be trusted? She knows he’s hiding something… but he’s not the only one with a secret.

From the best-selling author of Blue is for Nightmares comes a story of paranormal romance that’s sure to be a thrilling and chilling teen favorite.

One benefit to having the flu, I can stay in bed and read a whole book in one afternoon. Coming from a woman who loved Encyclopedia Brown and Christopher Pike series when I was a little girl this was a fun thriller. It kept me on the edge, trying to figure out who is stalking Camelia. Once I picked up this book I never put it down until the case was closed and mystery solved.
Camelia and Ben have a chemistry that is undeniable and wonderfully selfless. I enjoyed that Camelia seems to have all of these boys flirting with her and is oblvious. She is down to earth and in touch with who she is. Ben… well I adored him! Just wait until you read the scene in her pottery studio/ place of employment! But I will say no more! The book is written from two perspective’s…the main female character Cameila and notes from the person who is watching her. LOVED this book. I am fascinated to see what happens next in Deadly Little Lies. Going to read it, now I have to!

My Fairy Grandmother by Aubrey Mace

19 Feb, 2010 by in book review, utah authors, YA ficiton 1 comment

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Bonneville Books; 1 edition (March 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599552175

Product Description from Amazon
Descended from fairies? It sounds unbelievable, but according to Kaitlin’s grandmother Viola, it s true. In spite of her initial reluctance to visit Viola, Kaitlin finds herself being drawn into Viola s stories of elegant castles, evil counts, and exciting escapades. But as Kaitlin learns more about her family, Kaitlin s mother becomes increasingly concerned about Viola s mental health. Good thing Kaitlin knows better! From the author of Spare Change, this enchanting tale shows how a good story can bring a whole family together.

quote from the book…”Everyone comes to this earth and lives their life. It might be a long life or it might be short, but most of the basic details are uninteresting. We go about our daily chores, we might marry, we might have children, and we die … Each of us has one story worth telling, one moment of glory and triumph or pain and despair; something that defines us. It might be one second, or it could extend over several years, but for better or worse, it is the most interesting part of who we are.”

I bought this book at the Utah Atuthorpalooza because I love fairies and the cover was even glitttery! Cheesy, but oh so true for me…I judge a book my it’s cover! I got to page 66 and almost put it away because the main villain of the book Count Diavolo is just so evil. I asked Aubrey about him and how she came up with his character, she responded “Count Diavolo was a really fun character to write. I don’t get a chance to write the really evil characters in chick lit, so it was a refreshing change for me. I can’t say that he was really based on any one character in fiction– just bits and pieces of the scariest guy I could imagine!” that pretty much sums him up!

Plowing through all of this evil ways I came to really enjoy the story and wanted to find out what happened! The tale is spun into t a little fishing net that pulls you in and makes you have to keep reading!

Set in the modern day, the books is mainly written as told by a grandmother to her 10 year old granddaughter about her heritage. Much like a fairytale, there are heroes, morals and a little bit of magic. It is a message of courage and hope in the midst of absolute loss. The end leaves me wondering if there will be a sequel? Who is the other fairy?

But, I guess I will have to ask Aubrey at our upcoming online author chat next Wednesday. We are giving away a signed My Fairy Gradnmother” to one lucky participant of our author chat with her on Wednesday February 24th, 2010 at 7:30 PM MST. Come chat with Aubrey and win her third, most recent book!

The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith

11 Feb, 2010 by in book review, the way he lived 3 comments

published November 1st 2008 by Flux

details Paperback, 240 pages

isbn 0738714046

Synopsis From Goodreads Six stories. Six voices. One reality.

Monday’s Child has just lost her brother, but that’s not why she’s crazy. Tuesday’s Child is a star and wishes she wasn’t. Wednesday’s Child is obsessed with getting revenge. Thursday’s Child is on a quest to find herself. Friday’s Child is in love with a dead guy, and Saturday’s Child is in love with a guy in gray sweats–who isn’t her boyfriend. And the child born on the Sabbath day is the one to set it all in m

When sixteen-year-old Joel Espen dies of thirst on a Boy Scout hiking trip, it shakes the small town of Haven, Utah to its socially conformist foundation. And the six teens who were closest to Joel start to view their community–and themselves–in a new light.

From Amazon
With his uncanny sensitivity and boundless heart, Joel made people love him. Now that he’s gone, the ones he left behind are coping with their immense loss. His older, “crazy” sister pours her grief into a blog, while his younger sister runs away to New York. One friend is consumed by anger and revenge, while another discovers who she really is. Two learn to be true to their hearts–and all question who they are and what they’ve become.

Told from six heartbreaking perspectives on love, loss, and faith, this is the poignant story of how the life–and death–of one teen can have a profound effect on the lives of many.

When sixteen-year-old Joel Espen dies of thirst on a Boy Scout hiking trip, it shakes the small town of Haven, Utah to its socially conformist foundation. And the six teens who were closest to Joel start to view their community–and themselves–in a new light.

I first met Emily at the Beautiful Creatures release party and what struck my how outgoing and welcoming she was. A couple of days later we ran into each other at the local craft store. Since then it seems we run into each other a lot! She is part of a group of local writers called “The Six” who support each other’s events and signings. After meeting Emily I really wanted to read her book. I bought a copy at last weekend’s Authorpalooza, then sat down to finish it in 24 hours.

What intrigued me about the story is that it is written from six different points of view. Emily leaves questions swirling in your head after reading bits and pieces of Joel’s life told from others’ perspectives. The book seeps into your veins. I lost a couple of very close friends to accidents in High School so I related to the hole that someone leaves when they die, and the empty ache as well as the wondering. I give it four stars for handling a tough subject in a captivating manner. I am excited to read her second book.

Visit Emily’s website:
Emily signing my book at Authorpalooza

Book Review-Wintergirls

06 Feb, 2010 by in book review, penguin USA, speak, Wintergirls 3 comments

by Laurie Halse Anderson
published March 9th 2010 by Speak (first published March 19th 2009)
details Paperback, 288 pages
literary awards An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2010), Cybils Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2009), An ALA Best Book for Young Adults (2010)
isbn 014241557X
“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

I read Wintergirls a couple of weeks ago and it took me a while to process. Laurie Halse Anderson does a wonderful job of taking her readers into the mind of an anorexic. Counting calories with each meal, feeling guilt and anger eat her from the inside out. Lia is born to a perfectionist physician mother who is cold and measures worth by her accomplishments. Her father isn’t quite sure how to handle the situation and step-mother is stuck in the role of weigh-in nurse. Lia’s thoughts become more and more erratic and disorganized as she spirals further into the pit of self-destruction, telling herself over and over again “must not eat.”
This is not a fun read by any means, nor a feel good fuzzy book. It has graphic descriptions of cutting, suicidal thought and anger. Wintergirls may not be a wise choice for any girls recently in recovery for eating disorders because of triggers to relapse.

This is my favorite review I read on the book
Some really good quotes from the book
“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles. “

“Do I want to die from the inside out or the outside in?”
“I am angry that I starved my brain and that I sat shivering in my bed at night instead of dancing or reading poetry or eating ice cream or kissing a boy…”
“I don’t just use yarn from a store. I buy old sweaters from consignment shops. The older the better, and unravel them. There are countries of women in this scarf/shawl/blanket. Soon it will be big enough to keep me warm. ”
“I’m learning how to taste everything. ”
“There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.

I am thawing. “
Laurie Halse Anderson (Wintergirls)

Visit Laurie Halse Anderson’s website at for a view inside the book, resources for teacher and other products
In this video Laurie talks about why she wrote the book and her conflicts in writing it…

Book Review- Gone by Michael Grant

05 Feb, 2010 by in book review, Michael Grant 3 comments

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 1ST edition (June 24, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061448761
4 stars

Summary from Amazon:

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else…

I received this book in the mail as part of a UK cover set from Egmont Books and I must say I prefer the English cover to the US one 😉 Gone throws a light on what would happen to the world if there were no adults and no accountability… starving children, bullies in the street, anarchy, rich kids against regular kids. As a reader you are pulled into a scene of chaos and wonder as teens and children fend for their lives against mutated forces of nature and residual nuclear fallout. You walk through the every day lives of each character as they search for an autistic brother, rescue a little girl from a burning building and cook food in an abandoned McDonald’s. I enjoyed the premise as well as the interaction between main boy Sam and smart girl Astrid. Super science fiction for young adults. Thanks again to Egmont for the thrilling read!
Book two, “Hunger” is out with part three, “Lies” to be released in May of 2010
Visit Michael Grant’s website at:

If you are interested in reading “Gone” or “Hunger” as a part of the book tour, please send me an email at and I will ship them out to you 🙂

Book Review-Baba Yaga The Flying Witch

04 Feb, 2010 by in book review, usborne 1 comment

Published February 29th 2008

by Usborne Publishing Ltd (first published January 2008)

details Hardcover, 48 pages

isbn 0746085605

4 stars

Story summary from the back cover

In this fantastic Russian folktale, Baba Yaga zooms through the forest on her flying pot. Her hair is greasy, her hands are arty. Her nose reaches down to her chin. And poor Tasha has been sent into the forest to find her…

First of all, let me say that Usborne Books are my very favorite in the whole world. Their editions are sturdy and withstand my children’s manhandling, chewing and reading. This one I picked up from the library. It has a cushioned hard cover and a ribbon inside to hold your place. I was interested in the subject because of the YA fiction book “Dreaming Anastasia” by Joy Preble. The folk tale of Baba Yaga was introduced within the story and I wanted to learn more.
The Usborne version is easy to read with beautiful illustrations and my children have all passed it around.  They are picky readers, so any book that holds their interest is impressive for me!  I can’t wait to pick up the other fairy tale book in the Usborne Easy Reader series.
To see images of Baba Yaga and the matryoska doll on Flickr see the photo galleries here:

Book Review- Far From You

01 Feb, 2010 by in book review, Simon Pulse, YA fiction 1 comment

December 23rd 2008 by Simon Pulse

details Hardcover, 368 pages

literary awards TAYSHAS High School Reading List (2010)


5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

Lost and alone…down the rabbit hole

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn’t quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can, by writing her music, losing herself in the love of her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half-sister, she’ll face issues she’s been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she’s not so alone after all

WOW. Is all I can say…
I picked up this book at my local library and started it earlier today. The entire book is written in prose. Each chapter a new poem. For me, it was a nice break from the every day writing style we are used to. I finished it in a couple of hours because I couln’t put it down.
Alice deals with the grief over losing her mother to cancer, adjustment to a new family dynamic, doubts of faith, and near tragedy. It is a beautifully rich yet down to earth and raw look at what it feels like to lose someone and have them replaced by new and strange people. I think it is a great read for any teen who has gone through trying to adjust to a new step-parent, or the loss of a parent. Alice also struggles with the question of abstinence and it is handled by her boyfriend Blaze in a mature and loving manner. I love that she held on to that belief and was supported in her decision.
The story touched at heart strings as Alice feels enveloped in a comfort and peace that is not of this world. She feels her life has been touched by an angel in the moments she struggles to save the life of her newborn half-sister. I was brought to tears by the encompassing process of healing and hope.
An absolute Gem. Five out of five stars!