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Monday, June 28, 2010

Still Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

Title: Still Sucks to Be Me: More All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton Smith, Teen Vampire.
Author: Kimberly Pauley
ISBN: 9780786955039
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Page #: 374
Source: From my library

"Why it still sucks to be me
1. Here I am, some all-powerful (ha), all-knowing (yeah, right), in-control (totally not) vampire, and my parents and the stupid Vampire Council still get to dictate everything I do.

2. Not only did they make me fake my death and funeral (I didn't even get to go!), but I had to leave behind my BFF Serena and move really far away.

3. Meanwhile my boyfriend George is off "reconnecting with his parents" in Brazil. Land of beaches, bikini babes, and the biggest party in the world. He's probably going, "Mina, who?"

4. Grady asked me to Homecoming and won't take no for an answer.

5. Did I mention cute but oh-so-complicated Cameron, the only other bloodsucking teen in town? That's because I'm trying not to think about him, thank you very much.

6. And ugh, Raven. Is she seriously stalking Serena?

7. Vampire superstrength can't fix this trainwreck. But can I?"
First Lines:

"I, Mina Hamilton, am officially dead. Officially, officially. You name it, I've got it: death certificate (which I'm not allowed to keep in a scrapbook, per the Vampire Relocation Agency rules), obituary in the paper (depressingly short, if I do say so myself, and ditto on the scrapbooking), and a funeral."
Page 1

So, I read the first book over a year ago now... and I think the characters have improved with this book. My last review was a little dumb, so I'm just going to ignore everything I said there.

There's a lot to love about this book. One of the things that really gets my attention is the amount of humor used in this story. It's mostly the snarky side comments throughout, but it keeps the book light and funny even during the insanely drama-tastic moments. Of which, there are quite a few.

I think this second book is tons better, but I think that's because there's a lot more going on. In the first book you're dealing with whether Mina wants to become a vampire and what that would mean and who that would effect. Now it's all about the people around her and trying to keep her family's secret. Not to mention the number of romantic encounters she has to diffuse.

I'll continue recommending the first book to anyone looking for a funny and lighthearted take on the vampire story. This one does the trick. And very well, I might add. It's great for just about everyone - including middle grade readers. So yeah, go pick this one up. You won't regret it.

This story is definitely growing with age... into something more fun, interesting, and mature-ish. I had a few actual "laugh out loud" moments while reading this book. That always leaves a good impression on me. I really hope the author writes another book for these characters. The ending is a full ending, but there's more story to come, it seems.

Speaking of the author, check out her website. She's also the founder of Young Adult Books Central. I was a part of that for a while - very cool. So look around, because she's always involved. Hopefully we'll see more books from her. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Manga Maniac Cafe
Karin's Book Nook
Book Crazy
So Many Books, So Little Time
Novel Novice
Fantasy Book Critic

Friday, June 25, 2010

Robyn (Making a Splash) by Jade Parker

Title: Robyn (Making a Splash #1)
Author: Jade Parker
ISBN: 9780545045407
Publisher: Point
Page #: 233
Source: From my library

Robyn's Park Rules:
1. Get the kids down the Splash ride safely! So Supervisor Sean will stop checking up on me.

2. Talk with BFF Caitlin about cute boys by Tsunami Wave Pool.

3. Figure out new co-worker Whitney - is she hiding something?

4. Why is Sean always on my case? And when did he get so cute?

5. Survive the summer!
First Lines:

"'Brawk! Welcome to Paradise Falls! Brawk!'
With my large tote bag slung over my shoulder, I looked up at the parrot sitting on a swing hanging from a tall pole."
Page 1

First off... I just need to complain a little about Barnes and Nobel and Amazon's online summary of the book. They didn't even get the name right for one of the main characters! It wasn't super accurate either... who gives those summaries? Did they even read the book?!? This is why I take summaries from the backs of books. Those tend to be about right.

Rant over. Okay... I really loved this book. Like, love love loved it. There are times when I feel like I've read too much paranormal or heavy topic stuff. This is the perfect cure. It's a lighthearted romance novel about two best friends who start working at the water park for the summer. They meet boys, they break up with boys, they realize boys they didn't look at before. And so on. It's wonderful.

The writing is really easy to get into - I really did wish to pick it back up after I started reading. Now... it did only take me a day to get through. That's one downside with these easy, light books. They're just so fast! Now I have to go search for the second book so I can keep my brain in this wonderful space :).

One thing I really appreciated was the lack of cattiness. Lately when you read stuff that is for teen girls and is romance-centered... there's usually some sort of cattiness that keeps you from liking several of the characters. In this book, there are hints of it, but it's never full blown and characters end up hating. That always takes away from the story, and this one did it perfectly.

This is a great series for girls who need something fun, light, and romantic. It made my inner-teenage-girl all giddy. I think I may have actually said "aww!" a couple of times. But I'll deny it if you ever bring it up.

As for the author... Jade Parker. I just found out that Jade Parker is actually Rachel Hawthorne who writes other fun romance books and some paranormal. She's a good author, so I'm not particularly surprised. She wrote one book Caribbean Cruising that I ended up reading a few times because it was such a great story. That romance stuff reels me in from time to time.

Great book! Read it :).
Other Blog Reviews:

Litter Box... Scoop Daily!
Goodreads has some reviews
Okay, so perhaps these books are a couple years old, but they're still worth picking up. If you can find them, read them. Otherwise you're just missing out! :)

Friday Fill-In (19)

Friday Fill-In is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. On vacation, I like lounging by a pool with a book. But I usually end up going to see my family instead :).
2. I usually get a massive sunburn while I'm in the ocean.
3. One of my favorite vacation spots is yet undiscovered. I don't vacation enough to know :).
4. Don't werewolves come out during a full moon.
5. Up, up and away, I'm wishing for a vaca!
6. Bananas are one of my absolute favorite fruits. And are great mixed with pineapples and mandarin oranges. yum!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being off work late, tomorrow my plans include having a restful day and maybe reading and Sunday, I want to clean the apt. It's getting a bit grimy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

Title: Picture the Dead
Author(s): Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
ISBN: 97814022371326
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page #: 258
Book borrowed from my library.

"After losing her parents and her brother, falling in love with Will was Jennie Lovell's last opportunity for happiness. But then she lost him too...

As Jennie tries to mend the pieces of her broken life, she feels an eerie presence from something otherworldly... something that won't let her leave the past beind.

Acclaimed author Adele Griffin and bestselling illustrator Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted, and death is not always the end."
First Lines:

"It's dark outside, an elsewhere hour between midnight and dawn. I lie awake, frozen, waiting for a sound not yet audible. My eyes are open before I hear the wheels of the carriage at the bottom of the drive."
Page 1

I picked up this book purely because of the author. I hadn't read any reviews - though I've seen some floating around. That means I really didn't have any context for what this book might be. Having said that, I really, really loved this book.

I wasn't anticipating a historical novel (honestly just thought it was a ghost story), but I was delighted to realize that it was. I don't think I have read any historical novels set in Civil War times. That alone made this story stand out for me. It was a perspective that I've never known much about (as a proud Southerner and all - we only studied the effects down there). It was a nice change of pace for me.

It was very interesting that this book started almost in the middle of a story. You don't get any of life before the war - it's all when one of the cousins returns and the things that happen afterward. That's not a problem, the story is so well written that you feel like you know all about the past. There are plenty of cues to what life was like and how relationships formed. Just as a side note... I had to get over the cousins marrying thing at first. I get it's a thing of the times. still. ahem.

One thing I really enjoyed about this story was how well the mystery developed. I honestly thought I had the ending figured out, but there was so much more to it than I expected. It kept me guessing and I really appreciated that. It's more history than mystery, but i definitely works as both.

I can't review this book without talking a little bit about the illustrations. Having the pictures between each of the chapters made this book flow really well. Each of the images gave a little bit of the story that was to come in the next bit. I loved how they were done and how well it enhanced the book.

I absolutely recommend this one - even possibly to middle grade students. i think anyone up through high school and beyond can enjoy this one. Check out the author's website. The illustrator has a Red Room Profile. I'll definitely keep reading their books. Absolutely.
Other Blog Reviews:

Linus's Blanket
Good Books & Wine
Kid's Lit
Novel Novice
Katie's Book Blog
Tempting Persephone
Lots of other reviews out there, so give them a little look-see. :) Enjoyed this one!

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Clique: The Manga v.1
by Lisi Harrison
Published: July 13, 2010

Annotation from Barnesandnoble.com:
"Wealthy Massie is determined to exclude middle class Claire, the daughter of her father's old friend, from her seventh-grade clique at a very exclusive private school in Westchester, New York, but after Massie steals her only friend, Claire strikes back."

After reading a few Novel-to-Mangas this week, I've decided I'm very interested in this book that's coming next month. I think it's going to be a lot of fun - as I think the author is fantastic. I haven't read any of this series, so I look forward to it.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (16)

Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This week I'm reading:

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

"My dreams are bursts and jolts. I see the bloody steel blade of a bayonet . I hear the drum beat to the sound of soldier's boots and feel cold earth, cold hands, a chain, choking me."
Page 113

I am absolutely loving this book. I'm about halfway through and I can't wait to see how things turn out. I have an inkling about what's going to happen... but I look forwad to being proved wrong. The pictures throughout are such a great slingshot into the rest of the story. It almost gives you hints about what you're going to read. Great so far! I'm beginning to love this author. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cirque du Freak (Manga, v.1&2) by Darren Shan

Title: Cirque du Freak (Manga, Vol 1 & 2)
Author(s): Darren Shan and Takahiro Arai
ISBN(s): 9780759530416 (v.1)
9780759530386 (v.2)
Publisher: Yen Press
Pages: 199 & 191
Got book(s): From my library

(Volume 1)
"Darren Shan was an average kid until destiny brought him to the Cirque Du Freak. Now Darren's been immersed into a shadowy world inhabited by vampires, werewolves, and strange creatures the likes of which he's never imagined, and his life will be changed forever!"

(Volume 2)
"Darren Shan's days as an ordinary schoolboy over and his life as the vampire's assistant has begun! With his mentor, Lartan Crepsley, Darren joins the Cirque Du Freak and slowly begins settling into his new role there, an adjustment made simpler when he makes a couple of new friends. But his life as a half-vampire can never be easy or ordinary - as Darren learns only too well when tragedy strikes!"

This is now the second novel-to-manga that I've read and I've decided that I really like the concept. Earlier I read one that I had read the novel from (Maximum Ride) - this one is a story I haven't read yet. Mostly because I haven't gotten my hands on number one. When the manga became available, I jumped at it. And I'm so glad I did!

I did find myself paying more attention to the story than the art. The story is very interesting. It was about what I expected, but there were some twists and turns that caught me off guard. I had several "Oh no!" moments while reading both of these volumes.

It's definitely a bit more "horrific" than I was expecting. I've read one of Shan's other books (Demonata) and it wasn't quite as gorey and frightening - but perhaps it would be if I were seeing pictures of it instead. The story flows really well and I found it very interesting how things played out.

One thing that bothers me in retrospect is that while reading the first volume, I didn't realize we weren't carrying a lot of those characters on in the story. I spent too much time trying to figure out who everyone was - only to be ripped away from them. A little bit of the same in the second volume, but as much. I do get that you can't very well say "Don't worry about this dude, you'll never see him again." That would ruin the whole story. Perhaps future volumes would pick these people up.

Speaking of future volumes - I absolutely plan on reading the next ones as soon as I order them for my library. I think they are up to volume 5 (don't quote me on that), so I look forward to reading more of this story.

Here's the official website for Darren Shan. I didn't find any sites for the illustrator - am I just overlooking it somewhere?
Other Blog Reviews:

Manga Recon (PopCultureShock)
Graphic Novel Reporter
Tiamat's Manga Reviews
Manga Maniac Cafe
About.com Guide
Manga News

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Maximum Ride (Manga, v.1) by James Patterson

Title: Maximum Ride (Manga, Volume 1)
Author: James Patterson and NaRae Lee
ISBN: 9780759529519
Publisher: Yen Press
Page #: 246, I think. Had to count...
Got book: From my Library

"Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of her "flock" - Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel - are just like ordinary kids, except they have wings and can fly! It may seem like a dream come true to some, but for the flock it's more like a living nightmare. When the mysterious lab known as the "School" turns up and kidnaps their youngest member. Now it's up to Max to organize a rescue, but will help come in time?"
First Lines:

"Here we can be ourselves. No grown-ups. No schools. No doctors. No cages...
I force myself out of my cozy bed, taking in the mountain view. Safe, just me and my family."
Page 9

If I remember correctly, this is the first graphic novel I've read that is directly from a book. I know there are more out there (because that's my next read), but this is the first I've read. Something tells me that you get a whole different thing when you're reading this story for the first time in graphic form. That is to say, I was comparing it to the novel the entire time. I probably should just stick with one or the other.

That being said, I was really, really picky about things. This is probably because I love the MR series so much... and I want things to be perfect like they are in the novel. There were a few little things. Like, they have lunch in a Taco Bell (it's pretty much labeled) and they're eating burgers. Erm... And Nudge seemed a little too filled out for the image in my head. Now, I know the artist is from Korea, so this could really have something to do with some things getting lost in translation. So I'm going to attempt to ignore some of the inconsitancies.

There were a few things that seemed to be left out from this version that I loved about the novel. When the flock is in trouble, there was a saying Max or whoever would yell when they were in trouble - the "up and away!" thing. I loved that. It was very telling about how they lived their lives. But that wasn't in this version.

I know I'm complaining a lot. I apologize. It's well done. I loved the drawings - it really captured the essence of flying and the power they have ... it does a pretty decent job of sticking with the story you get in the novel. So, even though I've been picking at it, I still recommend this graphic novel. Now, I am recommending it only to people who haven't read the full novels before. Someone who wants to get the story (as though the novels take that long to read anyway). If you've read the novels, you might have the same problems I did. Maybe not.

I hope you all enjoy this one. It was definitely fun - but it's a great story. I'll always be a fan! :) The illustrator has a blog of his artwork. It's pretty cool, so check that out.
Other Blog Reviews:

Graphic Novel Reporter
Tiamat's Manga Reviews

Friday, June 18, 2010

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick

Title: Girl Parts
Author: John M. Cusick
ISBN: 9780763649302
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page #: 218
Got Book: ARC from BEA

"David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David's parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat "dissociative disorder," he can't get enough of luscious, redheaded Rose - and he can't get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets and electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up to her, knowing that she isn't real. With Charlie's help, the ideal "companion" is about to become her own best friend.

In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at Internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uber-connected world."
First Lines:

"Even before Nora and the power died, Charlie and David's lives were mixed up together like pigments on a palette."
Page 1

I almost wrote realistic fiction for the category on this book - and it's basically about robots. I know that's a weird start to a review, but that's almost how I felt about the book. This story is about the Internet age and how it's keeping people connected online... but totally seperate in real life. One company decided that the way to cure this for the many boys who waste their days online - create a girl for them! A really hot, really devoted girl.

At first, my feminist sense started going off when I heard the premise. I mean... all a boy wants is a chick to love him? Really? That's all it takes? Surely there's a lot of fallout from that whole idea. That is sort of what this book is about - the fallout for one guy and his Companion. So I felt a little better about the idea when all of the problems started showing with the idea of a robot girlfriend.

I'm still a little bothered that there's no dude for the girls who spend way too much time online and such. I mean, we all know those girls exist (I'm trying not to look in a mirror), so it's hard to think that this company decided to only make girls instead of both. That's just me, I guess. But this book is about more than just the robots.

One of the reasons this book feels like almost realistic fiction - as in right now - is that it deals mostly with relationships and how people create and maintain them. I did really like seeing how all of the different characters interacted with each other. You see each of them from several different viewpoints - which makes the whole thing fit together really well. And you get a more complete view of the characters.

I do wish this book was a little longer - only because I feel like there were some things that could have been hashed out a little more. You get a really unlikely friendship toward the end and would have liked to see more of how that worked out.

I think I will be recommending this one when it comes out in August - but mostly to older guys. I think the whole subject matter (girl parts) is described in enough detail that it shouldn't be for the middle grade kids. It's a bit too... graphic for that. For lack of a better explanation, there's sexual content. A bit of it. Oh, and some drug use as well. Just fyi.

This book is the first by the author... and I wasn't able to find a full website. There is a blog that he seems to update fairly often. So check that out. Hopefully we will see more from this author in the future.
Other Blog Reviews:

Dog Ear
Hmmm. I only saw this one other review. Have you read this one?? Did you like it? Let me know and I'll add your review to my list here.

Friday Fill-In (18)

Friday Fill-In is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. Tonight, I will be on the desk at my library @ 6:58.
2. It was the reason, of course, that we even went to see the movie!! :)
3. Doing math problems is something I no longer feel the need to do.
4. I have another errand to run, then I'm on my way to work.
5. I don't know where that book is ...just go find it
6. What were once vices are now irritating.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being off work late, tomorrow my plans include working all day and Sunday, I want to have some nice, quiet scrapbooking time!

A New Hop!

There's a new hop going around! Check it out... here's the info:

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  3. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  4. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  5. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  6. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
Ta da! Look forward to seeing who is on the new hop! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Title: Claire de Lune
Author: Christine Johnson
ISBN: 9781416991823
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page #: 336
Got Book: From my library

"Torn between two destinies...

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and her crush keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: She's a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she finds her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart. Burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, she will be forced to make a choice that will change her life forever ..."
First Lines:

"The smooth mirror of the pool's surface shattered as three boys cannonballed into it at the same time. Shrieks erupted from the cluster of girls who got splashed."
Page 1

I picked this one up mostly because of all the wonderful reviews I have read on all the book blogs. Of course, the very awesome cover doesn't hurt either. It's the story of a girl who has just been told that she's a werewolf from her mother who has been distant all of her life. The whole course of the book follows her acceptance and understanding of what her new life is going to be like.

One thing I thought was interesting was the relationship Claire had with her mother. You can watch it transform throughout the story. She starts out very stand-offish and uncaring. As the pieces of reality unravel, you can see their relationship change to a mutual understanding and beyond. It seems rare-ish to have such a prominent parental character in these paranormal teen books. Maybe I just haven't noticed, but this one really shines in that relationship.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is that the love relationship doesn't take massive forefront throughout the story. There are times when the romance part of paranormal romance is just overpowering. There is a taste of romance, but it's not the whole story - it's refreshing.

Honestly, I thought I had this story pegged about halfway through. I was sure I knew who was killing the humans... I knew who was hiding something... all of it. But I was soooo wrong. Absolutely threw me for a loop. I really kinda enjoy it when a book can do that for me. This one definitely succeeded. But I do have to say that once I thought I had it figured out, I got a little bit bored. Like... there wasn't anything shocking or interesting until it started to unfold at the end. But that's the only downside on this one.

I will be recommending this one to all my fantasy reading girls. It's a great addition and will be loved by many. Pick this one up for sure if you're into the fantasy stuff - especially in the werewolf genre :). I hope to see a lot more from this author. Check out her website to get updates - I look forward to anything she might be coming out with!
Other Blog Reviews:

Katie's Book Blog
Pure Imagination
Book Crazy
Luxury Reading
The Story Siren
The Compulsive Reader
Reclusive Bibliophile
And lots more. Take some time to check them out - there are varying opinions on this one. But perhaps you should read it and make your own! :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
ISBN: 9780525421580
Publisher: Dutton Books

"One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens - both named Will Grayson - are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions. Building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

Superstar authors John Green and David Levithan join forces on a collaborative novel of awesome proportions, brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of faithful fans."
First Lines:

"When I was little, my dad used to tell me, "Will, you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick you friend's nose." This seemed like a reasonably astute observation to me when I was eight, but it turns out to be incorrect on a few levels."
Page 3

I've always been a John Green fan - as in, I used to watch the Nerdfighter wonderfulness videos he and his brother used to do. So very full of awesome. I haven't read any of his stuff lately, so this book reminded me of why I like him as a writer so much. I think I've read one of David Levithan's books and I enjoyed his writing very much. I think this book is a great combination of the two authors.

On one side you've got the Will Grayson who has hilarious friends and has a better life than even he understands. And on the other hand you have the other Will Grayson who has problems with depression and finds himself at odds with the world at every turn. The way these two meet and become involved in each others lives is just really well done.

There's a huge (literally) character in the middle of this story who is almost the main focus of the book. His personality, his lifestyle, his friendship... all of it is what the book is about. It works really well though, because you never get his point of view. You only are looking through the eyes of the friends he has - and getting to know him that way. The story is definitely about both Will Graysons... but it' also a lot about the people around them.

I did enjoy the dialog a lot. These writers are just so clever. I had a few moments of actual laughing out loud. So props on that. I'm going to say that this book is mostly recommended for older teens though. Mostly because of topics and language throughout. Not like younger teens don't know, but just for the sake of parents :). It's an older teen book.

One of the great things about this book is how honest it is. It's very real. I think that's something teens will like and identify with in this story. I will absolutely recommend it. And what a perfect book to be reading for pride month :). That's certainly not what the book is about - but it's a huge (hah) aspect. It makes the book what it is. Wonderful!

Both of the authors have great websites: John Green's Site. David Levithan's Site. And pick up more of their novels because they're both made of awesome.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Book Smugglers
Attic Salt
Kid's Lit
Forever Young
Frenetic Reader
And this is just the first page of google results. So you should check out more and read the book. It's worth it. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson

Title: Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising
Author: Jason Henderson
ISBN: 9780061950995
Publisher: Harper Teen

"Fourteen-year-old Alex has no idea that he's descended from the world's most famous vampire hunter, but that changes fast when he arrives at Glenarvon Academy and confronts two vampires in his first three days.

Turns out that Glenarvon isn't the only school near Lake Geneva. Hidden deep underground lies an ancient university for vampires called the Scholomance. And the deadly vampire clan lord known as Icemaker? You might say he's a visiting professor.

When two of Alex's friends are kidnapped by Icemaker, it's up to Alex to infiltrate the Scholomance and get them back - alive. Assisted by the Polidorium, a top-secret vampire hunting organization with buried ties to the Van Helsings, Alex dodges zombies, bullets, and lots - and lots - of fangs on his way to thwarting Icemaker's plans and fulfilling his family destiny."
First Lines:

"Alex Van Helsing ran. He ran instantly and without a second thought in the direction of the scream, bursting from the side of the road into the trees as fast as his legs could move, rubber soles churning against soft earth and leaves slick with dew."
Page 1

As you can probably tell from the first few lines, this book kicks off with a ton of action and it doesn't let go until the very end. And even then, you know there's more action to be had.

This is a wonderful action-packed, horror story that fits squarely in the middle grade guys fiction stuff. It's got enough detail to be interesting and enough things going on to keep you reading. Honestly this book didn't take me very long - I was surprised to be at the ending so soon. I definitely was left wishing for more, but this story leaves you with a few questions. So hopefully there will be another one.

You may be thinking that this is just another of those vampire books. And yeah, it's a vamp book... but none of your main characters are. And every vamp you encounter actually fits the mold of vamp - pasty skin, hates holy stuff, snarly, and will attack you in an instant. That makes for a lot of fun. Not to mention that it pulls in characters from literature. That makes my lil' librarian heart go pitter pat. I really liked all of the Van Helsing references. I think it will spark some interest in anyone who doesn't know the original stories.

The setting for this book is really cool too - Switzerland @ Lake Geneva. It's possible that I google mapped this while I was reading the story. I can just see how things pan out and it would be very awesome to visit there. I think that it also makes for a great setting for a movie - that's one of the great things about this book. I could see everything happening just as it's written in a movie. How cool would that be?

I will definitely be recommending this to all of our guys who are looking for the next best thing. This story will absolutely satisfy and they will be itching for more. Girls will love this one too, but it's not very often that a book is solidly dude - especially with all that newfangled romance stuff they're throwing in fantasy books these days :). It's good. It's solid. And a really fun read.

The author has an Alex Van Helsing blog that has interviews, news, and other reviews. Check it out!
Other Blog Reviews:

Library Lounge Lizard
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Bookworming in the 21st Century
There are lots of reviews out there - and it seems like everyone really likes it. Therefore you need to pick this one up immediately. Obvs.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Daykeeper's Grimoire by Christy Raedeke

Title: The Daykeeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days #1)
Author: Christy Raedeke
ISBN: 9780738715766
Publisher: Flux

When her safe-cracker mom and code-breaker dad inherit a dreary Scottish castle, sixteen-year-old Caity Mac Fireland is not happy. Ripped from her cushy life and friends in San Francisco, Caity's secret fantasy of being discovered by a Hollywood agent, talent scout, or even just a pageant coach seems more unlikely than ever.

But when Caity stumbles across a hidden room in the castle, its walls covered in strange symbols, her life takes a bizarre turn. She finds herself center stage in an international conspiracy involving warring secret societies, assassins, the suppressed revelations of the Mayan Calendar and the year 2012, plus the fate of humanity.

With the help of her friend Justine back home, and Alex, a gorgeous and mysterious Scottish boy, Caity must race to decipher the code and reveal its message to the world before time runs out."
First Lines:

"First off, I'm going to save you from reading seventy-two pages of how I got to a Scottish castle on the Isle of Huracan in the middle of a black churning sea. I need to tell it fast because if you read the long, drawn-out version you're going to think you've heard it all before."
Page 1

To be honest, from looking at this cover you would assume this book is fantasy. It's really, really not. I knew it wasn't once I read the blurb, but many people have asked me about it since I started reading it (that's what librarians do - we like to know what others are reading. It's one of our super-nerdy habits.)

I would probably describe this book as a DaVinci Code for teens. It has all the elements of a coding mystery - the hidden things that lead to something else that needs to be translated, the adventure to save the world, the ancient secret societies and their texts. It has all the pieces to fit into that category. And it even throws in a little lurve to make it interesting :).

One thing that is very different about this book is that it's very.... zen. You have many characters who study ancient civilizations and languages and are convinced of its importance in today's world. All of which is very possible, but it's almost like the main character is always surrounded by people who encourage her to dig into history and texts and find herself. That's a cool way to be, but I dunno how realistic that might be.

I did really enjoy this book. It's on another level from much of the teen stuff I read. The concept is very unique and I hope more come out like it. I do wish there were more mysteries like this written for teens. I look forward to reading the next book in this series - the adventure has only just begun. I think this book will be good for just about everyone. Older readers may have more to gain from the story - especially as there are a few particularly preachy areas about how we can change the world. But it's all very interesting and leaves you contemplating long after you've finished the book.

The author's website is here. I've found it to be a little glitchy, but she has a blog as well. So check those out! I hope the next book isn't too long in coming!
Other Blog Reviews:

Frenetic Reader
Pure Imagination
Shut Up! I'm Reading.
Thinking Beyond the Wall
Here's an interview done over at Pages with Christy Raedeke
I'm sure more reviews will show up in the next few weeks. It's a great book and everyone should give it a shot. And then review it! :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Fill-In (17)

Friday Fill-In is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. Home is my favorite place to travel to. (And then the beach!)
2. When I think about my childhood, I often remember the times with my brothers. The good and the bad :).
3. Someone who accepts all of you makes for a good friend.
4. The wind in the trees, the rain on my skin, what better way to relax from the day.
5. New books are so exciting! (Stereotypical, I know... but true!)
6. My best friend knows literally everything about me and still loves me.
7. As for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a night of peace and quiet, tomorrow my plans include working, unfortunately, and Sunday, I want to have a great day off - meaning reading, sleeping, and relaxing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

Title: Monster Street
Author: Lisi Harrison
ISBN: 9780316099189
Publisher: Poppy/ Little, Brown and Co
Full Disclosure: ARC received at work (it pays to be a librarian sometimes :))

"Frankie Stein just enrolled at Merston High School in the quiet town of Salem, Oregon. She is looking forward to all that the future holds: rockin' parties, shopping sprees, and, of course, cute boys!

But high school hides a MONSTER of a secret: The fantastically fabulous kids of the world's most famous monsters hang out in plain sight among the "normie" student body! Even though she was created only fifteen days ago, Frankie is wise enough to know that if her secret gets out, her high school dreams could be as fragile as her not-entirely-secure body parts@

When she meets normie newcomer Melody Carver, who has a crush on a boy from the monster clique, Frankie begins to wonder if Merston High is big enough for monsters and normies to coexist - but is it work the risk to find out?"
First Lines:

"The fourteen-hour drive from Beverly Hills, California, to Salem, Oregon, had been total Gitmo. It went from road trip to guilt trip in less than a minute."
Page 1

Sometimes it's a mistake to read an ARC - and that's the case with this one! Okay, okay... not a mistake. But it's one of those stories that leaves you hanging on the end. Maybe there will be a full ending in the real copy (probably not), but either way, I really want to know what happens in the end! But alas. I suppose there will be a second book that I will have to wait for. Wait even longer than I would have to normally because it comes out in September. My bad, I guess.

I do want to tell you how much I liked this book. Like other of Harrison's books, this one is super clever. Almost wish I had the cleverness to talk about the book in the same way. But alas it's just boring ole me. Anyway, the names, the places, the word play is all very fun. She's a great writer in that way. There are a few words that I'm going to put in my vocab cause they're so fun.

This is one of those books that is written from two perspectives, so you get some of both worlds. I was excited to see how those came together before I realized they were all that connected. It was a cool way to put the story together. And the back and forth really worked - it didn't seem as separated as it could have been.

I absolutely plan on recommending this book to people when it comes out in September. I think anyone who is a fan of Lisi Harrison will love this one. It's something a bit different than her other stuff, but she does it so well. It fits really well in that whole fun fantasy genre. Not dark in the least - but could it be with this author?! :)

Check out her website to get more info on this one. She seems like such a cool chick.
Other Blog Reviews:

Okay, so this one is still a while from being published. So I didn't find any other reviews. Please let me know if you have read this one!

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