Posts Categorized: YA fiction

Book Review- Vampire’s Kiss

28 Mar, 2012 by in nal, vampire's kiss, veronica wolff, YA fiction 3 comments

Vampire’s Kiss
by Veronica Wolff
Paperback, 304 pages
Published:  March 6th 2012
by NAL
ISBN  045123572X
Book Source: Publisher
3.5 Stars
Book Summary From Goodreads: As someone who has survived her first year as an Acari recruit, Drew’s ultimate goal is to become a Watcher and be paired up with a Vampire agent. 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. They’ve captured one of the Watcher vamps and are torturing him for information-and Drew is going undercover to rescue him.
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…
Review by ephrielle:  In this novel, vampires take their rightful place on the evil shelf. That doesn’t mean they are cookie cutter vampires from the old days. The vampires have set up a training compound where they collect runaways and put them through intensive training. Don’t imagine they are doing the runaways any favors. They aren’t giving them life skills; more like using them for entertainment and food.


Life is hard for Annelise: her fellow initiates are trying to kill her, undead creatures are trying to eat her, she is training to be a Watcher, and she is walking a fine line of obedience to the vampires. Apparently that isn’t enough to keep her busy since she has a slew of love woes which I have illustrated here:
(In case you can’t decipher my masterful art.)
Yasuo (baby vampire)- Eww, not interested, he’s my best bud.
Ronan (mesmerizer)- I LUV him!
Alcantara (vampire)- You disgust me… you disgust me not.
Josh (baby vampire)- Maybe.
Carden (vampire)- We are bound by chains of love, my hunky skeleton man.
She manages to get around without actually getting around. Is that possible? At least there isn’t a love triangle. How can you fall in love with someone who will either eat you or torture you without a pang? Especially when those same people see you as little more than a toy or possession? Alcantara is a piece of work. He has some game afoot and when it is fully laid out it will be a doozy. I don’t trust that fellow for one minute. He is too sly and too perfect at playing a person right into his hands. The best character is Carden McCloud, who doesn’t show up until the end of the book, but he is worth the wait. Perhaps I have been infected with her crazy since I like the skeleton. I want to read the next book just to spend more time getting to know Carden.
It seems to me that the bullying in this story is caused by their desperate need for control. They are helpless and at the mercy of evil beings.
One downside to this novel is a smattering of mentionings of current fictional events, such as Voldemort or Twilight. It doesn’t add to the story, but breaks the dividing line between reality and this fictional world. Thankfully, these references are only near the beginning of the book. The evil verses more evil was something I couldn’t understand. I didn’t see any difference between vampires. They were all evil and cruel.
Nothing is as it seems. Everyone has more secrets than truth on the table. There is quite a bit of terror and etiquette. For the most part, the book focuses on romance or the lack of commitment in that area. Even so, there is enough story and a good pace to make the pages slip by quickly. What tortures await for these characters in the next book?
Content: moderate swearing, bullying, and heavy violence

About the author: Once upon a time there was a girl. She liked horses and Shaun Cassidy and Gunne Sax dresses, like many of the other girls her age. She had a big, loving family and, since their dad was in the Navy, they moved around. A lot. She was shy, though, and generally preferred a day spent in the company of her Trixie Belden books to running around with the other kids, whom she really didn’t know very well anyway.

She grew up and she still preferred the company of books, so she read, and she read some more, and she loved romantic stories, and stories about dragons and young men on quests, and stories by Jane and Daphne and Emily and Charlotte. But this girl realized that seeing all different kinds of places and all different kinds of people had become a part of who she was, and so she studied languages and art from faraway places. But she could be dramatic, and so she decided to study all of that while living in India. And then she studied in India again. For a long time. And she thought that, when she grew up some more, she would be a fancy professor and write linguistic papers and teach students about art and do other fancy-professor things.

But first she moved to California, where she had never been, because it seemed the place to move to start such a new and fabulous life. And she got a job to pay the rent. She discovered she still loved books that drew her in, and made her cry, and kept her awake till she had to scrunch her eyebrows to see the words clearly. And she realized too that she much preferred those books to the ones that mostly just taught her stuff and made her feel anxious that she wasn’t busy making grand statements in grand journals. And while she was figuring all this out, she needed money, and so she did what many of the other girls in California were doing and she got a job doing Internet stuff.

And she met her hero, and they married, and they got some pets and had some kids. But she still liked to go places in her mind as she stared out the window while doing things like washing bottles and burping babies, and so she started writing a story. And you can imagine the rest.

Now that she’s grown up, she likes to see movies and read books, cut flowers from her garden, spend time with friends and drink wine, and go snowboarding. Not all at the same time of course. And she still loves stories about dragons, but mostly she loves stories about love.

Find more about author Veronica Wolff on Goodreads/ Twitter/ Website/ Facebook

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Book Review and Giveaway- Tempest

29 Feb, 2012 by in St martins griffin, tempest, YA fiction 22 comments

Tempest
by Julie Cross
Hardcover, 334 pages
Published: January 17th 2012
by St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN  0312568894
Book Source: Publisher
3 Stars
Book Summary From Goodreads: The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Review by ephrielle:  The cover picture doesn’t make any sense until the very end. It is also a bit misleading. I got the impression the book would be related to weather, or more specifically, the power to control it. This thought was aided by the title. The blurb does dispel any such notion and once the book is read the cover and title fit.
Jackson finds that he can ghost travel through time. By ghost travel, I mean that his travels don’t have the ability to change the future. It seems to be a funny pointless trick until one day everything he knows is upset. Turns out his ability is at the center of a serious and long standing war. Lies will be uncovered and secrets revealed. He is left to pick sides and deal with the consequences. There is more to time travel than entertainment.
As a character, Jackson is pegged as that rich spoiled kid. He uses his time travel as a minor entertainment. His life is full of avoiding hard work and even harder choices. Even his relationships are lacking commitment. The book follows his metamorphosis from shallow playboy to mature and responsible, if somewhat misguided hero.
There were three things I rather disliked about this book. The first is the vast amount of swearing. Second, I wasn’t that interested in their very healthy sex life. Luckily, there wasn’t gads of details. Third, I wasn’t very impressed with the title for the bad guys. Enemies of Time, EOTs, just felt a bit silly for how crazy dangerous they are. They really deserve something with a bit more umph, perhaps those dudes who must not be named. Or not, but definitely something more sinister.
A few things made this book unique for the young adult genre. The biggest was the age of Jackson; he is nineteen and a college student. Another unique aspect is the choice of topic. Julie Cross has taken time travel and changed the playing field.  This isn’t your average time travel book. Throw out your preconceived notions and get ready for a small mix up. She uses time travel to hint at and sometimes unveil secrets. The direction of the book is more backwards than forwards. By that, I mean we don’t ever reach the date the book begins at. Time travel takes us back and dumps us places for a short time. Where others time travel books have failed to keep my interest and make a thrilling read this one has succeeded. That doesn’t mean I agree with Jackson and how the book ends, I heartily disagree. A phrase that comes to mind is “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” You will have to read the book to find out what I mean. Ever wished you had a photographic memory? Well, how about a photographic memory hopped up on Red Bull and other stimulants? It would drastically ease the work load to learn new knowledge. Remember that kid who was sleeping through classes and still getting an A? He just might have been a time-traveler.
Overall, a fascinating read and worth the time I spent. It might have been a bit better for me minus a few distracting elements. The future of this world looks like there is still a lot of interesting things to come. What mysteries and developments will be unveiled next?
Content: heavy swearing and sex
About the author:
Julie lives in central Illinois with her husband and three children. She never considered writing professionally until May of 2009. Since then, she hasn’t gone a day without writing.
Find more about author Julie Cross on Goodreads/ Twitter/ Website/ Facebook
Fire and Ice is giving away one ARC of Tempest to our readers. To enter use the rafflecopter form below. You choose your own entries. Good luck!

Book Review- Fracture

07 Jan, 2012 by in megan miranda, walker, YA fiction 3 comments

Fracture
by Megan Miranda
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected Publication Date: January 17th 2012
by Walker and Company
ISBN 0802723098
Book Source: BEA
5 Stars

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine

-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she’s reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy’s motives aren’t quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

 (This is really intense.  It helps set the mood for the book.)
Review by ephrielle:
A book that really delves into what is life and why are we living it?  Who is to define it?  And most importantly don’t assume you are always right as their are two sides to any coin.  Who should live and who should die isn’t such an easy question.  Delaney is a miracle by all standards.  She cheated death, or did she?  In the days following her ordeal she will have to discover life all over again and decide what to do about it.

Phenomenal!  I love that this is so completely real.  That reality helps make this so much more tragic.  I can feel the emotions and completely understand them.  For instance, the relationship problems between Delaney and her best friend make complete sense.  In reality we “ruin” relationships all the time by saying or doing the wrong things.  It really does seem like something permanent.  When Delaney plunges head long into the deeper darker parts of her experience I felt as if I was in the same boat.  It is just written so convincingly.  I love that the author has taken something so real that I would normally balk at reading and softened the edges by adding something “other”, as she would put it.  It made it so much easier for me to put down my barriers and fully take in the many messages contained among the pages.  By far my favorite is how it ends.  When I first read the ending I accidentally skipped the second and third pages from the end.  I guess they were sticking.  I felt a bit let down.  On turning back I discovered two very crucial and perfect pages that made the book complete.  As with reality, there aren’t any concrete promises of happy endings.  Simply the author prescribes a strong dose of hope that leaves life feeling worth living. 

Content: some swearing, sexual tension and underage drinking

About the author: Megan is a scientist – turned – teacher – turned – stay-at-home-mom – turned – writer. She is not nearly as indecisive as she sounds. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she volunteers as an MIT Educational Counselor, does the mom thing by day, and writes by night. 


Find more about author Megan Miranda on Goodreads/ Twitter/ Website/ Facebook

Borrowing Abby Grace Part 1: The Shadow

21 Oct, 2011 by in YA fiction Leave a comment

Borrowing Abby Grace (The Shadow #1)
by Kelly Green
ebook, 47 pages
Published October 17th 2011 by Backlit

source: author
Rating: 3.75 stars

Sent to repair the lives and loves of teenagers on the edge of disaster, smart and sassy Abby Grace has everything going for her, except one thing: a body. This fast-paced and exciting episode is the first installment in an ongoing monthly series, Borrowing Abby Grace.

This was a fun, yet quick read. The action starts off right away, when we meet the main character as she wakes up in a van being driven by people in ski masks. She has absolutely no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, yet she can tell that she shouldn’t be in this van and begins making escape plans. Her adventure continues when she meets a father she doesn’t recognize and then the mysterious Will who explains that she is a Shadow. While she is Abby Grace, everyone around her sees her has the blonde haired, fabulous singer, Brooke. She has to help Brooke with a big problem and then she will move on…to what, she doesn’t know.

I am definitely curious about future installments in this ebook series. Abby has spunk and the writing is fun. I do wish that it was a bit longer, but that is probably because I tend to breeze through books that I enjoy, and this one did not take long!

Content: swearing

I was sent a copy of the ebook in order to provide this review. The opinion expressed is 100% my own.

Book Review- The False Princess

30 Dec, 2010 by in book review, YA fiction 12 comments

The False Princess
by Eilis O’Neal
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: January 25th 2011
by EgmontUSA
4.5 stars

Summary: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia’s led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it’s revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she’s ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins – long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control – she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history, forever.

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.

The False Princess was a pleasant surprise for me. I picked it up expecting just a fairy tale and finished it thinking, “I REALLY like this book.” Eilis O’Neal is a strong storyteller. First off, I’m glad the cover image for the final book is different from the first ARC cover which I didn’t care for much. This one is much more appealing. (My copy looks similiar to the CD cover image) Despite my initial hesitation, once I got past the first page of The False Princess I did not put it down.

The fantasy begins with Nalia, princess of Thorvaldor and her childhood friend Kiernan seeking for a hidden gate in the surrounding palace walls. Nalia is sixteen, quick to trip over herself, shy and some what quiet. Kiernan, her sidekick is a tease, quick witted and constantly happy. The two are inseparable. That is,until, the King and Queen make an announcement that Nalia is not really the princess but merely a stand in- an imposter, switched at birth. Nalia’s role was to protect the real princess who lies hidden away to avoid a prophecy that she would be killed. Now Nalia must step down from her acting role and become nothing more than a mere commoner, Sinda Azaway.

Sinda is pushed from King’s court to live with her aunt in the tiny village of Treb. Her one living relative is cold without affection for Sinda. Feeling completely alone, Sinda turns to a local boy Tyr with his “unruffled smoothness and silky voice.” All the while Sinda has two new emotions raging inside of her. A force welling up that she does not understand a longing for what she left behind in the city…Kiernan. If he is truly just a friend why did she feel so conflicted?

“But Kiernan and I weren’t like that, I thought, confused. We were just…friends, even if we had been friends so long that neither of us could remember a time when we weren’t. Even if we were so close we could sometimes finish each other’s sentences or say a joke in the instant before the other did,. Even if, every time I thought of living a life without him it was like stepping of into darkness with no lantern and no chance of very finding one again.” p. 49

Sinda’s inner conflict plus a breach of trust by village boy Tyr lead her back into the city of her royal upbringing- Vivanskari. There a dangerous plot to usurp the King’s power and crown yet another false princess are unfurling. Who is the real heir to the throne? Can Sinda resolve her feelings of inadequacy to save her kingdom?

There are so many twists that you’ll be reeling trying to keep all of characters straight. The one constant through the plot is Kiernan. He is a ray of sunshine. He stays with Sinda through all of her travels and is faithful to the end. I thought the plot was well paced and characters were interesting. Though I will say so many Princesses left little room for fully developed personas. I at times had a hard time identifying with Sinda because of her constant lack of confidence and blindness to Kiernan’s feelings. Her doubtful thoughts became a bit repetitive for me hence the 4.5 stars.

Overall, thought I was moved by O’Neal’s writing and the sweet spark of romance that develops. The False Princess is a winning pick for tween and teens who read fantasy. It’s a good match for readers who enjoyed Shannon Hale, Brightly Woven by Alex Bracken and The Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry. I will be picking up anything else written by Eilis O’Neal and will pass this book on to my children. Thanks to Egmont for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Visit the author and read more about The False Princess online at http://www.eilisoneal.com/

Cassandra Clare Teaser Giveaway

08 Dec, 2010 by in simon schuster, YA fiction 6 comments

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 2010
http://cassandraclare.com/cms/home

Book Summary (from Simon & Schuster): Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

See our Cassandra Clare inspired jewelry and journals on Etsy here.

We have two copies of Clockwork Angel for our US blog readers donated for BIR2010 by Cassandra Clare and Simon Schuster. To enter please fill out this form.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

25 Nov, 2010 by in tera lynn childs, YA fiction 2 comments

Hardcover, 293 pages
Published May 19th 2010
by Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN 0061914665
5 stars

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

A couple of months ago I got deep into a stack of YA books for review and one after the other was depressing. I asked my Twitter followers for suggestions of a light funny read to break it up. Forgive My Fins came highly recommended and I ordered it on Amazon. I’m a gigantic mermaid fan, so diving into the book head first was not difficult. This is the first book I’ve read by Tera Lynn Childs but it won’t be the last. Her conversations between characters was witty, hilarious, and splashtastic. The main character Lily is full of funny fish phrases like “beat the carp out of him” and “son of a swordfish” that had me giggling. Lily was kind of clueless but I still liked her and could relate. (I mean, really, how many of us never obsessed over some uber popular guy who was way out of our reach?) Then along comes Quince. Ah, Quince…the tough motorcycle boy who likes to tease. Underneath his rough exterior he has some pretty deep wisdom to impart about love.

I really enjoyed Lily’s relationship with her father, the King of The Sea. What little time they had together in Thalassinia, you could tell they respected and cared for one another. It’s so nice to see functional, loving family bonds in YA fiction. The concept of the Mermaid bond was such a fun twist. My only wish was that some of the side characters were more fully developed. Overall, Forgive My Fins was just delightful. A great gift for adults and teens looking for a quick and fun page turner.

The epilogue hinted at a sequel and ta-da…book number two titled Fins Are Forever is coming out in June 2011. Woot Woot!!

For more information see her website at http://www.teralynnchilds.com/

And be sure to enter our two related Etsy shop giveaways below!

Waiting on Wednesday- Ever’neath by Brodi Ashton

06 Oct, 2010 by in utah authors, YA fiction 2 comments

Photo of author Brodi Ashton by Heather Zahn Gardner

Our Waiting On Wednesday is

The Ever’neath
by Brodi Ashton
To Be Published Winter 2012
by HarperCollins
Book 1 of a series

“The first book in the deal, The Ever’neath, is partially based on the Greek myth of Persephone: a 17-year-old who’s been banished to the underworld escapes to her former earthly existence with her family and boyfriend. The catch is that she only has six months in the real world before being sent back to Hades, this time forever. “

Add Ever’neath your Goodreads to read list here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9413044-the-ever-neath
Follow Brodi @brodiashton in twitter and Visit her blog here

Waiting on Wednesday- Firelight

01 Sep, 2010 by in sophie jordan, YA fiction 1 comment

Our WOW today is Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Coming out in only 6 days!!

“With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.”

Here’s the trailer from Harper Teen

And the author talking about wy she chose to write it…

I’m Running A Little Behind

11 Mar, 2010 by in ARC tour, YA fiction 2 comments

Because I have been doing this!
20 food kits and 50 hygiene kits for the victims of the Chile earthquake. So far I have paid for it all out of pocket. We have $10 already donated in $75 in giveaway pledges. It is such a worth while cause. We really need a lot more money to help. This is enough for four-six families. It is a start and it goes in the mail today!!! Click the yellow DONATE button on the right hand sidebar. Every little bit helps and 100% goes directly to Chilean families.
So…since I am late :) Here are my last three week’s “In My Mailbox Posts”



If you are interested in being on my ARC tour lists for any of these titles, please email me the name of the book and your address. THANKS!