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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dead is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez

Title: Dead is a State of Mind
Author: Marlene Perez

ISBN: 9780152062101
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

"Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It’s home to the psychic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries. During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom- shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case!

There’s a gorgeous new guy at Nightshade High: Duke Sherrad, a fortune-teller claiming to have descended from Gypsies. Even though she’s psychic herself, Daisy is skeptical of Duke’s powers. But when a teacher who was the subject of one of his predictions ends up dead, she begins to wonder if Duke is the real deal after all.
Maybe if Daisy can track down the teacher’s killer, she can find out the truth. The only trouble is, all signs point to the murderer being of the furry persuasion. Is Daisy any match for a werewolf? Maybe she is . . . in more ways than she bargained for!"

So far, I've loved this series. The characters are easy to identify with and are always surprising. This book is great for the mystery and fantasy lover. The story is fast and keeps you guessing. If anything, the story is a bit short (175 pages), but dare I say it's good for the "reluctant reader."

Go pick it up! I don't think you have to read the other one first, either. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one (Dead is So Last Year). :) Enjoy!

There are plenty of book reviews out there! Go check them out: Here, here, and here. Marlene Perez has her own blog as well - so you should go see what's up there!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gem X by Nicky Springer

Title: Gem X
Author: Nicky Singer
ISBN: 9780823421084
Publisher: Holiday House

"Sixteen-year-old Maxo Strang is the most perfect human ever created. He is a GemX genotype - preposterously intelligent and physically flawless. Anything he desires is instantly available to him in the Polis, an exclusive district where only enhanced humans are allowed to live. But one afternoon something goes very wrong. Maxo discovers a small but noticeable crack in his face.

Horrified, he searches desperately for a cure but soon becomes lost in the violent and ugly streets of the naturally born Dreggies. As Maxo's reality begins to shatter, he encounters the inexplicably beautiful Gala and her brother, Stretch, two naturals on a quest of their own. Yet mortal danger soon intertwines their lives as they become pawns in a much bigger game - one that could bring disaster to both of their worlds."

This book was really very easy to get into - the story and its premise was very interesting. I'm a sucker for the whole dystopian concept. You do have to get beyond the crazy-futuristic language before you can get to the meat of the story. The whole world painted in this book was extreme and pretty unimaginable. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it - I did. To a point.

I'm not sure how much sympathy I actually felt toward the main character. It was all so unbelievable that the character of Maxo wasn't even touchable (literally, in this story). So it was a bit extreme in that way. Also, I took a pretty big issue with the ending of this book. Or perhaps its LACK of an ending. I have no idea if there is going to be a sequel, but the story just stopped - almost mid-thought. That, honestly, left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I think I will recommend this to a few of our sci-fi fans - the ones who have read pretty much everything else - because I think they will appreciate some of the more subtle story lines. But if you're looking for this type of dystopian story, might I suggest Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. Or perhaps the new Skinned series by Robin Wasserman.

There are only a couple other reviews out there you might wanna check out: Here and here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Title: Impossible
Author: Nancy Werlin
ISBN: 9780803730021
Publisher: Penguin Group


"Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. How can lucy succeed when all of her ancestors have tried and failed? But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Fair," this spellbinding novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale. "

I was honesly surprised by this book because the cover is so unassuming. Some of my coworkerrs recommended this book to me and it was fabulous. The story takes a minute to get into, but once you get there you fly through it - trying to figure out the ending. It combines the realistic fiction stuff with a hint of fantasy - enough to be considered fantasy, but not so much that it hits you over the head with it.
I will absolutely hand this book to anyone asking for realistic or fantasy books. Oh, and it was also a finalist for the national book award. If that isn't a glowing review, I can't imagine what would be.
Just in case ya need more though, here are some blog reviews: Here, here, and here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hot Girl by Dream Jordan

Title: Hot Girl
Author: Dream Jordan
ISBN: 9780312382841
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

"It's summertime in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and Kate is feeling down in the dumps. Not only is she tired of her raggedy, tomboy image but she's also missing her best friend, Felicia, who's away for the summer. Lonely and not exactly getting along with her new foster mother, Lynn, Kate so badly wants to be out and about, twirling pretty, and partying - and maybe catching the attention of her longtime crush, Charles.

Opportunity knocks one hot summer day when fly-girl Naleejah struts her stuff straight up to Kate and takes a seat. Full of smiles, Naleejah tells Kate that she remembers her from school, but Kate can't remember ever having such a fabulous chick trying to befriend her. Kate's suspicion turns to trust once Naleejah gives her a much-needed makeover.

Now a brand-new Kate suddenly has the attention of her dream boy. But is Naleejah checking for him, too? Against Kate's better judgement, she ignores the warning signs and continues to let Naleejah lead her down a treacherous path. Soon, what seems like a fun and exciting summer ends up being a harsh reality check. Now Kate must decide how to get back on the right track.... or is it already too late?"

Honesly, urban lit isn't a genre I've ever read before. I picked up this book because of that 9/9/09 challenge thing - where I read nine different genres. But I'm glad I did, because this book totally reminds me of almost every teen I work with. I work in a very urban/innercity-type area and I should probably be reading more of this type of book.

Genre aside, I really did enjoy this book. It's a great story and the characters are absolutely believable. There was one thing that threw me off a little - the language. Yeah, it's written in street-speak... but that's not what caught my eye (that's what the teens in this area sound like anyway). It was the lack of cursing. When someone in the book does go off, the author uses things like "the F word" and so on. Which is definitely not true to reality - AT ALL. Most of our kids have seriously foul mouths. I do understand that this allows the book to appeal to a wider range of readers (and younger), it just threw me off that the girls were calling each other "broads" not "the B word."

The story is solid and the plot carries you straight through. I ended up rooting for the main character to do the right thing, for sure. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to get started in reading urban/street lit. As for teens who already are street enough, this might seem a bit tame. Happy reading!

There aren't a whole lot of blog reviews, but here is what I've found: Here and here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Envy: a Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen

Title: Envy: a Luxe Novel
Author: Anna Godbersen
ISBN: 9780061345722
Publisher: HarperCollins

"Two months after Elizabeth Holland's dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana's side, however, those watching New York's favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city's most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope's finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope's social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune - and her fame - are anything but secure, especially now that one of society's darlings is slipping tales to the eager press."

I absolutely loved this third installment of the Luxe series. I've never much been into historical fiction, but this series has pulled me in. When I first read about the series, someone wrote that it was Gossip Girl meets the 1890s. And I have to wholeheartedly agree - in the best of both worlds (even though we've moved in to 1900 in this book). It's definitely gossipy and snippy... but it's so much fun!! Nothing ever turns out like I expect it to - but isn't that always the way :).
Definitely recommended for historical fic lovers... and if you're into the realistic fiction stuff, I'd recommend it. Just cause you feel like you're there :). It's a great series, and I can't wait for the next book to come out!
Other online reviews: Here, here, and here. There are plenty of other glowing reviews out there as well. Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Title: The School for Dangerous Girls
Author: Eliot Schrefer
ISBN: 978545035286
Publisher: Scholastic Press

"Step 1 - Cause trouble.
Step 2 - Get Caught.
Step 3 - Get sent to teh school for dangerous girls.

Who knows what goes on behind the doors of The School for Dangerous Girls?

The school's mission is clear: To take girls who've caused trouble and to reform them into model citizens.

Its methods?
No freedom.
No medication.
No leniency.
No escape.

Some girls are meant to get better. And, as Angela is about to learn, some girls are meant to stay forever."

This book was amazingly written. It absolutely drew me in immediately and I couldn't put it down. It's a realistic fiction book that has a bit of mystery/suspense to it. The whole idea of a boarding school for girls who can't make it anywhere else is an interesting idea. I mean, they probably exist, I just hope they aren't this rough! The story had me guessing till the end.

I'd recommend this to almost anyone. It's great for all ages! I promise it's less cutesy than it seems! :). There are some other blog reviews out there: Here, here, and here. Watch out though... not everyone's a fan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Title: Persistence of Memory
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
ISBN: 9789385734370
Publisher: Delacorte Press


"Sixteen-year-old Erin Misrahe just wants to be like everyone else in her new school. But Erin has more to worry about than passing AP Chemistry and making friends. In times of stress, she has always been overcome by her alter ego, Shevaun, whose violent behavior wreaks havoc on those around her. Erin can never remember anything about these episodes, and she's grateful to have been spared them for a while.

But when a protective old friend comes back into Erin's life, he insists that Shevaun is a vampire who actually exists apart from Erin. Shevaun has dangerous allies, like the handsome witch Adjila - and they're determined to sever Shevaun's connection to Erin once and for all."

I have really been waiting for Atwater-Rhodes to write a new novel. This one was just what I needed. The story is very interesting take on the whole vampire/shapeshifter/witch theme. It's mixed in with the whole "mental illness" topic. It makes for an interesting story.

If ya like the urban fantasy stuff, you'll like this too :). I've always enjoyed this author - and constantly give her novels to teens that want good fantasy that isn't going to take forever to read. Atwater-Rhodes' books are quick and easy, but always filled with plenty of drama and suspense. Go pick one of them up! Especially this one :).

Of course, there are other blog reviews: Here, here, here, and here. There are lots of other reviews out there, so I suggest taking a look around online. Or ya could just take my word for it and read the book yourself :).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Title: Dirty Laundry
Author: Daniel Ehrenhaft
ISBN: 9780061131035
Publisher: HarperTeen

"The School:
The Winchester School of the Arts, nicknamed 'The Laundromat' because it's where better schools send their 'dirty laundry.' Getting kicked out of Exeter, Hotchkiss, or Choate? End up at Winchester.
The Girl:
Carli, a gorgeous pigtailed Hollywood actress going undercover at Winchester to research her role.
The Boy:
Fun (short for Fellini Udall Newport), an embittered senior and graffiti artist who was almost expelled - until his dad (and a lot of money) convinced the headmaster to let him work off his time as Carli's assistant.
The Problem:
Beautiful, talented senior Darcy Novak, one of the least screwed-up people at Winchester, as disappeared.
As Carli and Fun discover each other's hidden talents, there's a villain setting them up. Can they save Darcy - and themselves - or will they wash out?"

This book was a quick, fun read that dabbled in a bit of mystery and a bit of fun. The premise was a bit silly, but it kinda worked well in the end. It's the story of a Hollywood actress moving across the country to go to a boarding school in order to do research for her latest gig. She gets way more than she bargained for - including friends and an unsolved mystery.

The story would totally work for those who would like a light mystery - it's never very intense :). Here are a few other people who wrote about the book too: Here and here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Title: Fragile Eternity
Author: Melissa Marr
ISBN: 9780061214714
Publisher: HarperCollins

"Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her—but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.

In Melissa Marr's third mesmerizing tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a milieu of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances, where old friends become new enemies and one wrong move could plunge the Earth into chaos."



I absolutely love reading advanced reader copies of books - only when it hasn't come out yet, of course. I jumped all over this book when a fellow librarian offered it up. This is the sequel to Wicked Lovely and a bit from Ink Exchange. The story picks up mostly from Wicked Lovely - so review that before reading this book (it doesn't give ya much to build your memory from). But the story is amazing and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Of course, the ending is left completely hanging and we won't have an answer for a while. Which is especially unfortunate in the "reading before it's published" thing. Alas. I'm glad I did! This book will be released April 21, 2009. I very much recommend you all go pick up a copy (at the library, of course).

Even though it's not out yet, there are other advance review blogs. Check it out: Here, here, and here. Enjoy!

Undone by Brooke Taylor

Title: Undone
Author: Brooke Taylor
ISBN: 9780802797636
Publisher: Walker & Company

1. Sing with Bleeder Valve.
2. Get a tattoo.
3. Work things out with Shay.
4. Confront D.
5. Tell Serena

Kori Kitzler is the "dark angel" of her high school: beautiful, mysterious, the subject of rumors. Serena Moore is just an average girl: unassuming, not sure exactly who she is or who she wants to be. But then a seemingly chance encounter ignites a fateful friendship - allowing Kori to draw Serena into her world.

When the girls are given an assignment to list five things they would never dream could really happen - their five ways to tempt fate - Serena doesn't take it very seriously. But then a tragedy leaves Serena shocked, alone, and in possession of Kori's five secret impossible possibilities. Can Serena complete her best friend's list, or will she leave Kori's dreams undone?

Did I pick this book up because of it's cover? Why, yes. I did. But I'm so glad I did!

I absolutely loved this book. It was a lot more heavy and intense than I expected it to be - but it pulled me in and I almost couldn't put it down. There were several twists that kept you guessing throughout the story. It's a very emotional book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I really am a fan of realistic fiction - and this one hit the "realistic" part on the head. It's a little more accurate to how I think teen girls react/behave/etc. It's not all sunshine and bubbles :).

I would definitely recommend this book to almost anyone. It's even appropriate for that middle-age reader that likes to read higher level stuff. It's a great story that can be appreciated by all readers.

There are more reviews online: Here, here, and here. There are lots more - good reviews, mostly. So you should go read this one :)!

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