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Friday, January 30, 2009

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

From the back cover:

"Rose Hathaway knows it's forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa, is the last Dragomir princess - must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken....

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil draing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing, but suddenly there's way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heartstopping batle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most... but will her choice mean that only one can survive?"

This series has yet to disappoint me. I had been expecting "just another vamp novel" when I picked up the first book of the series.... but it has totally proven me wrong. It has a similar setting to others I've read, but it takes it to a whole new level. I love the idea of the different ranks/divisions/races within the vampire community.

I do have to say that the ending of this book took me completely by surprise. I'm not going to tell you what it is, of course, but I was a bit shocked. And it's very much a cliffhanger that has me searching for the publication date in the next book. If you've never read any of this series, I highly recommend starting with the first. Vampire Academy. It takes a little time to get used to the words a little bit, but it's a pretty great story.

There are other blog reviews of this book: Here (watch out for spoilers on that one), here, and here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez

Product description:

"Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It’s home to the pyschic 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!

Teenage girls are being mysteriously attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy Giordano is a junior. When Daisy discovers that a vampire may be the culprit, she can’t help but suspect head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new “look.” Samantha appears a little . . . well, dead, and all the most popular kids at school are copying her style.

Is looking dead just another fashion trend for Samantha, or is there something more sinister going on? To find out, Daisy joins the cheerleading squad."

This book was such a fun and easy story to get into. I was expecting it to be a lot more fantasy, but I really enjoyed the mystery aspect that pulled me in. It's such a simple story and is definitely predictable... but that doesn't really put a damper on the story. I was expecting more to happen with a few of the story lines, but there's a second book in the series.... so maybe it will be fleshed out a little more in the next one.

I'd recommend this to absolutely any type of reader - especially those "reluctant readers" that need something fast paced and interesting. Here are some other blog reviews: Here, here, and here. And there is an author interview done by Cynthia Leitich Smith here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

At Face Value by Emily Franklin

Synopsis from barnesandnoble.com:

"In this modern love story, Cyrano de Bergerac is reinvented as a brilliant and funny seventeen-year-old . . . girl. A tennis champion, straight-A student, and editor of the school paper, Cyrie Bergerac has learned to live with her (ahem) peculiar proboscis. And she's got an armory of witty retorts for every schnoz joke that comes her way. But despite her talents and charm, Cyrie is convinced that no guy—hot or otherwise—would deem her crush-worthy. Certainly not Eddie "Rox" Roxanninoff, who's gorgeous, smart, and genuinely nice to boot!

There's someone else smitten with Rox, too. It's Leyla, Cyrie's pretty yet tongue-tied best friend. Helping Leyla seduce Rox through email provides a wonderful way for Cyrie to express her true feelings. But watching her crush hook up with Leyla may be more than she can take. Will Cyrie find the strength to risk it all—nose be damned—and confess her love?"

I know this sounds really ridiculous, but I didn't realize this was a retelling of Cyrano. I guess I've been out of the classic literature so long, I didn't even think about it. I was just enjoying the story! But that aside... I really liked this book. It took me back to the thoughts and feelings I definitely had through high school about friends and life in general. It's a little predictable and I had a few moments of feeling embarassed for the main character, Cyrie. But besides that, I had a lot of fun with this one.

Girls in general are really going to like this book. It's got a bit of the "moral of the story" ending, but that doesn't so much take away from the overall feel of the story (which it usually does for me). Here are some other blog reviews: Here, and here. And check out the author's Librarything account :).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

From the cover:
"Morganville, Texas. Just south of normal.

In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans have coexisted in (relatively) bloodless harmony... until the arrival of Bishop, a master vampire who threatens to put the evil back in evil undead and smash the fragile peace. But Bishop isn't the only threat...

Violent black clouds promise a storm of devastating proportions. As student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against the elements - both natural and unnatural - the unexpected happens: Morganville's vampires begin to vanish one by one."

This is the fifth book in the Morganville Vampires series - and I have really loved every one of them. The story is of a girl, Claire, who decides to go to college (early because of being basically a genius :)) in a small Texas town - that just happens to be run by vampires. The series is the story of how the human's lives get entangled with the vampires. Each story leaves you on a serious cliff hanger - enough that you really do wish you had the next book waiting for you.

These are a fast read and every vampire story-lover could get sucked in (hah. get it? sucked in. sorry). And I'd almost recommend them to just about anyone - as long as they can get into the fantasy stuff. It's a very interesting idea that makes vampires seem possible and part of reality (ahem, not saying they are). It is more on the tame side for a vamp story, but high on the adventure.

Anyway, there are other blog reviews online: Here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

From the book jacket:

"When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their NEw York apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats - but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever."


To be honest, I picked up this book purely because of my love of Hunger Games. I've heard wonderful things about this series for a long time and decided to finally give it a go. I really wasn't disappointed. It was written a bit for the younger kids - early teen years, so it's not nearly as intense as Hunger Games (I'm going to stop with the comparisons there). I enjoyed the setting and the possibilities of what's living deep beneath NYC. There was plenty of humor and action to keep the story from being too heavy.

I really think all kids should read this in their transition into the more meaty YA lit (even if it is fantasy/sci fi). I will look forward to getting my hands on the next book in this series! Other blog reviews are here, here, and here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

From the book jacket:

"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sisteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love."


I picked up this book because it had so many requests at my library. I had heard of it through my general collection development for YA Fic, but I didn't think it would be such a hit! I managed to get my hands on a copy and have been so thankful ever since!

I was absolutely blown away by this book. The cover is just so unassuming, but I got completely sucked in. It's totally cliche, but I honestly couldn't put this book down. Of course, I got kinda bummed when I realized this was only the first of a trilogy. But it kept me on the edge of my seat and biting my fingernails. It's a totally far fetched idea that almost hits close to home. I would almost say it's reality tv gone very wrong. But there's much more to it than that. This is a really well thought out and interesting concept and I'll be sure to read the next installment.

I've honestly talked up this book to everyone I've seen. I personally think that anyone could love this book (if they can get over the violence factor). So yeah, I'd read it if I were you.
Other blog reviews: Here, Here, Here, Here, and many other places! See? Everyone wants you to read it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

From the book jacket:

"All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. They are coming back to life, but they are no longer the same. Termed 'living impaired' or 'differently biotic,' they are doing their best to blend into society agian.

But the kids at Oakvale High don't want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn't breathing. And there are no laws to protect the differently biotic from the people who want them to disappear - for good.

With her pale skin and goth wardrobe, Phoebe Kendall has never run with the popular crowd. But no one can believe it when she falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids: not her best friend, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has realized that his feelings for Phoeve run much deeper than friendship. He would do anything for her - but what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?

Generation Dead is a sharp, funny, and original novel from an exciting new talent."

I loved the way this book describes the reasons for teenagers turning into zombies - namely fast food. It's a very clever look at the possibilites of humanity living with zombies... or the undead.... or the "differently biotic." It actually takes this possibility as reality and describes the racism that could follow. The book was very funny - I caught myself laughing out loud a few times. I just thought it was really clever and enjoyed it very much.

If you're interested, the author has a blog: Daniel Waters

Other blog reviews: Here, Chicklish, Here, Here, Bookshelves of Doom, and more :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey

From the Book Jacket:

"Far away on Wilde Island lives a princess born with a dragon claw.

No one, save her mother, the queen, knows her terrible secret. And the queen has forced her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found. Rosalind is a princess, so she must be perfect - how else can she fulfill Merlin's six-hundred-year-old prophecy that will restore her banished royal familiy to its rightful throne?

But Rosalind's flaw cannot be separated from her fate. And soon the bloodthirsty dragon that plagues Wilde Island carries her off. The dragon sees beauty in her talon where her mother sees only shame. And on Dragon's Keep, Rosalind comes to understand the truth behind the prophecy that has haunted her since birth.

Is Rosie a princess? Or the spawn of a dragon? Which part of her blood holds the secret to who she really is?"

This story pulls you right in to the life of Rosalind and all of her worries, successes, and realizations. She is convinced that no man will ever love her with a dragon's claw - it's a sure sign of witchcraft. Because of this, her mother has sent away for every type of healer or magician to rid her of the curse. When none of these options works, Rosie finally begins to realize the reason for her curse - and how to live with it.

Rosalind's story a wonderful fantasy, but it also has some heftier topics to deal with. This book was recommended to me by a coworker (also a librarian). I really wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book (from the description, cover, etc), but I really ended up enjoying it. Once I got into the story, I couldn't put it down. It's a little bit predictable toward the end, but it's very satisfying.

Other blog reviews: Here, Here, and Here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Reading in 2008

To kinda get this blog off the ground, I thought I'd post my reading list from 2008. These are totally in the order that I read them - nothing more. I haven't really reviewed/starred any of these (besides the ones marked), so take this list for what you will. I know 80 books a year isn't a lot in the "reviewer" world... but it's what I got for this past year. Perhaps 2009 will hold a much loftier reading count. Who knows! ;)

*1. Hero by Perry Moore
2. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Book 3)
3. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
4. Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods Series, Book 2)
5. If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor
6. Beige by Cecil Castellucci
7. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
8. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires Series, Book 1)
9. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
*10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments Series, Book 1)
11. Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer
12. Suck It Up by Brian Meehl
13. Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar1
4. Avengers Disassembled by Brian Michael Bendis
15. House of M by Brian Michael Bendis
16. Going Nowhere Faster by Sean Beaudoin
17. My Life Uncovered by Lynn Isenberg
18. The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires Series, Book 2)
19. Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires Series, Book 3)
20. Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian
21. Test by William Sleator
22. TTFN by Lauren Myracle
23. Goddess of the Night by Lynne Ewing (Daughters of the Moon Series, Book 1)
24. Clubbing by Andi Watson
25. Airhead by Meg Cabot
26. Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn by Sarah Miller
27. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments Series, Book 2)
28. Gossip Girl: a novel by Cecily Von Zeigesar (Gossip Girl Series, Book 1)
29. Queen Bee by Chynna Clugston-Major
*30. The Luxe by Anna Godberson
31. Persepolis: The story of a childhood by Marjane Satrapi
32. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
33. Into the Cold Fire by Lynne Ewing (Daughters of the Moon Series, Book 2)
34. Lust by Robin Wasserman (Seven Deadly Sins Series, Book 1)
35. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series, Book 1)
36. Getting It by Alex Sanchez
37. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely Series, Book 2)
38. The Possibility of Fireflies by Dominique Pau
*39. Marked by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night Series, Book 1)
*40. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson (Maximum Ride Series, Book 1)
41. Frostbite by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series, Book 2)
42. Rumors by Anna Godberson (The Luxe Series, Book 2)
43. Paper Towns by John Green
44. Betrayed by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night Series, Book 2)
45. Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli
46. Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever by James Patterson (Maximum Ride Series, Book 2)
47. Read My Lips by Teri Brown
48. Chosen by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night Series, Book 3)
49. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson (Maximum Ride Series, Book 3)
50. Demonata: The Lord Loss by Darren Shan (Demonata Series, Book 1)
**51. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
52. The It Girl by Cecily Von Zeigesar (It Girl Series, Book 1)
53. Maximum Ride: Final Warning by James Patterson (Maximum Ride Series, Book 4)
54. Shadowland by Meg Cabot (The Mediator Series, Book 1)
55. Story of a Girl by Sarah Zarr
56. The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (The Rangers Apprentice Series, Book 1)
57. Bliss by Lauren Myracle
58. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
59. Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires Series, Book 4)
60. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
61. How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
62. Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladamir Tod, Book 1)
*63. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson\
*64. Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart
65. The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan (The Rangers Apprentice Series, Book 2)
66. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (Inheritance Series, Book 3)
67. Evernight by Claudia Gray
68. Hero-Type by Barry Lyga
69. Untamed by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night Series, Book 4)
70. Fact of Life #31 by Denise Vega
*71. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Power Series, Book 1)
72. How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
73. Uncanny X-Men: Rise & Fall of the Shi'ar Empire by Ed Brubaker
74. The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Lizabeth Zindel
75. Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods Series, Book 3)
76. Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
77. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
78. The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones
79. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
80. Emily the Strange: Lost, Dark, and Bored by Rob Reger

*Some of my favorite books this year. I only marked "Book 1" of any series.
**My favorite book of 2008

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