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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Title: The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Author: Catherine Jinks
ISBN: 9780152066093
Publisher: Harcourt

"Contrary to popular opinion, vampires are not sexy, romantic, or powerful. In case you hadn't noticed, vampires are dead. And the only ones who don't get staked are the ones who avoid attacking people, admit they have a problem, and join a support group.

Just ask Nina Harrison - fanged at fifteen, and still living with her other. She hasn't aged since 1973, and the highlight of her sickly, couch-bound life is probably her Tuesday-night group meeting, which she spends with a miserable bunch of fellow sufferers, being lectured at.

But then one of the group is mysteriously turned to ashes... and suddenly they're all under threat. That's when Nina decides to prove that every vampire on earth isn't a weak, pathetic loser. Along with her friend Dave - a former punk rocker who could be pretty cute, if he weren't such a vampire - she travels way out o her comfort zone to track down the killer.

It could be that there is a lot more to being a vampire than Nina realized."

I've really become a big fan of the snarky vampire story. True, I always enjoy the vampire/paranormal romance... with all it's drama, love, hate, and intrigue. But there's something to be said for authors throwing a wrench into the mix of vamp stories.

This book was very clever and took the vampire thing to a whole new level - namely that vampires aren't cool in any way, shape, or form. They're more pathetic than anything else. That makes for a very fun premise when it comes to a vampire story - especially one of a girl trying to figure out her "illness."

There are plenty of plot twists that I wasn't really expecting. They would be questioning something in the story and I'd be thinking, "this is obviously going to end with ____." But never ended up that way! I was always a little more surprised than I expected - which was a great change of pace as well.

I'd definitely recommend this to YA fantasy lovers. It might not be the best book for anyone who is into the intense, drama-filled vampire stories - unless they're looking for a release from that heaviness.

The Author's Website (be sure to look at her YA stuff - apparently she writes for all levels)
Other Blog Reviews:

About Books
Teen Librarian
Book Chick City

Bookshelves of Doom

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Must Love Black by Kelly McClymer

Title: Must Love Black
Author: Kelly McClymer
ISBN: 9781416949039
Publisher: Simon Pulse


Sounds like a coffee-loving, seclusion-seeking goth girl's dream job. Philippa isn't fazed by the fog-enshrouded mansion on a cliff, the weirdest twins on the planet, or even the rumors about ghosts, 'cause when she meets the estate's hot gardener, Philippa's pretty sure she's found her dream boy, too. Too bad Geoff's already taken... by a girl whose wardrobe is head-to-toe pink. Still, Philippa can't get Geoff out of her head. What will it take to lure him to the dark side?"

There are times when I really love a short, easy, fun story - one that can pull you in and just as easily tie up the ending. It's a nice change to all of the series fic that's out there right now.

I was expecting this story to be a bit darker than it ended up. A bit more girly than I was expecting. That's not a bad thing, for sure. It was a nice bit of mystery as well - without it being an obvious mystery.

I do have to agree with one of the reviews I read about this one - that the ending is a bit rushed. It's almost like there are pieces of the story missing from the last couple of chapters. I think the book could have been much longer (with all of the stuff it could have put in the ending). But I did love the book, nonetheless... perhaps I could have hoped for more in the end.

The main bit of this book is about a crush - something we all know about. I loved how this turned out and I feel like everyone wishes for their crushes to turn out this way. I'd definitely recommend this story to anyone in middle or high school - it's a little younger than the high school reader... but it's a nice, fun story that would help in between all that school work :).

Here's a link to the author's blog.
Other Blog Reviews:

Love to Read
Em's Bookshelf
That Teen Can Blog
Karin's Book Nook
The Compulsive Reader

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: The Van Alen Legacy
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
ISBN: 9781423102267
Publisher: Hyperion Books / Disney

"With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live in the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry; love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Schuyler has made her choice. She has forsaken Jack for Oliver, choosing human over vampire. But old loves die hard... And even coldhearted Mimi seems to suffer from the ties that bind."


I have loved this series since I opened the first book - the covers are amazing and the story is even better. But I do have to admit that I had to go read an online "spoiler" from Revelation to remember where the last story left off. I guess that's what happens when you read too many ya vampire stories - they all seem to run together at some point.

But once I got back into this story, I immediately remembered how much I loved the author. The writing is so clear and you get sucked in before you know what happened to you. I did have one little complaint about the whole "bonding ceremony" thing.... there was just SO much made of the ceremony... it was almost too much for my liking. But I do understand why it was so important to the story - and, of course, important in that world. I just felt like it was stretched out a bit long.

Otherwise I have absolutely no complaints about this book. I do hope for an ending to the story - just because I want to know what happens to the characters. This book made me fall even more for the people in the book - just because they seemed to have a bit more depth. And that really goes for everyone. Not just the main few characters that are followed.

If you love vampire stories, there is absolutely no reason you haven't picked up these books yet. They're well written, interesting, and well thought out. I'd recommend them to literally anyone (over the age of 12, of course)!

Visit the author's website!
Other Blog Reviews:

Blog Critics
That Chick That Reads
Juiciliciousss Reviews
Fantastic Book Review

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Title: Another Faust
Author: Daniel and Dina Nayeri
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763637071

"On a single night, five children suddenly vanish from their homes in Paris, Glasgow, Rome, and London. Years later, five enigmatic teenagers make an impressive entrance at an exclusive New York holiday party with their strange but beautiful governess, Madame Vileroy. Rumor and intrigue follow the Faust children to the elite Manhattan Marlowe School, where their very presence brings unexplainable misfortune.

Using "gifts" given to them by Madame Vileroy, these mysterious teenagers rise to suspicious heights at Marlowe. Though at first their abilities seem almost childlike in their simplicity, they soon learn that their newfound talents for cheating, stealing, hiding, and lying are far more potent than they had ever imagined - and far more addictive.

Ignoring the side effects of pursuing their individual obsessions, bargaining with the very devil in their midst as they claw their way to the top, these five ambitious teens draw ever nearer to their goals... until two of them uncover a secret even more shocking than their own most unforgivable sins. Dialing up the ancient dilemma of indulgence versus redemption, this modern day retelling of the Faustian bargain story, set in a twenty-first-century Manhattan, provides a look into the cutthroat world of high school competition that is both bitingly funny and scorchingly wicked."

I really didn't know anything about this book when I checked it out - I tend to do that sometimes... base my decisions on book covers, first few words of the summary, or even just because it's new. It's a horrible way to be, but alas. Once I got into the story, my interest was really piqued.

While I was reading along, I couldn't help but think about how choppy things were. I felt like I was piecing the story together as I went - only getting a little clue here and there as to who people were, what they were, what they knew, and how they got where they are. It was just a really confusing beginning for me, and it took a while to get the pieces to fit together.

But in retrospect, this was a very interesting book. I had not really remembered the Faust story when I started this book - but it made me go back and look it up to get a sense of where this story may end up. The concept of retold stories (that aren't fairy tales) is very interesting to me. I've read plenty that were fairy tales retold, but the idea of making a story modern and complete in this age is a very original idea. I just wish it had been more clear throughout the book.

I would recommend this book to the older YA reader - just because the Faust story probably hasn't been studied in school before that. The whole concept of that might slip through the fingers of someone younger - not that they wouldn't enjoy the story... just not get the full impact.

But I probably will recommend this book around to those looking for more literary fiction. It's an interesting read and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters (even though the ending didn't feel like much of an ending).

The Authors' Website
Other Blog Reviews:

Pop Culture Junkie
Karin's Book Nook
The Story Siren
Book Chic
The Epic Rat
Reverie Book Reviews

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Death by Denim by Linda Gerber

Title: Death by Denim
Author: Linda Gerber
ISBN: 9780142411193
Publisher: Sleuth Speak

"Aphra Connelly is being chased by some very dangerous people. She knows her survival depends upon staying far away from love interest Seth, and listening to her mom's lectures on the finer points of anonymity and survival. But how is a girl supposed to live under the radar and not think about her boyfriend when she's in Paris - the most glamorous and romantic city in the world? Aphra would like nothing more than to entertain her fantasy of strolling along the Champs Elysees with Seth, but when her mom's contact in Paris is found floating in the Seine with a deadly message stuffed in his mouth, Aphra realizes that she will never be able to stop running unless she confronts the situation head-on. Sneaking away from her mom, Aphra tracks down the criminal mastermind in Italy, only to unwittingly reveal Seth's location. And her mistake has just put them in mortal danger..."

I'm officially a fan of Linda Gerber. The "Death by..." series is wonderful and it makes me want to find all the other books written by this author. They are just solid, well written, interesting, and fun mysteries. I've said this before, but mystery just isn't a genre that is well covered in YA Lit. I was surprised and excited to find this series and hope for much more.

I believe this book is the end of this series, though. Or, at least, it doesn't really leave much story to be had - unless it goes in a different direction (which it very well could - and I hope it does!). If not, I hope this author comes out with more titles.


There was a little bit at the end where I was hoping for more of a BOOM at the end. I mean, it does get them out of their situation... but I wanted more than just a hospital bed and hugs all around. I dunno... I just wondered if there was more to be had. I suppose that's another reason I would like to see another book written in this series.


I would recommend this book to anyone interested in YA Fic - especially if they're a fan of mysteries. It's a girl protag, but I think the book stands well enough that guys can enjoy it too. And it's highly recommended as well. If you haven't read any of these books, get on it! It's totally worth it!

Author's Website
Other Blog Reviews:

Presenting Lenore
Book Aunt
The Story Siren
The Page Flipper
The Book Vault

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weregirls: Birth of the Pack by Petru Popescu

Title: Weregirls: Birth of the Pack
Author: Petru Popescu
ISBN: 9780765316417
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

"When sixteen-year-old Lily Willison and her friends Nikki, Arielle, and Grazia start up a girls' soccer club and name their teem the Weregirls, they soon find themselves drawn into a battle between good and evil. Lily's father, a supernatural guardian, makes contact with Lily after his death and reveals that she has magical powers - as do her friends.

As the girls learn more about their powers, they inadvertently awaken the Breed, sworn enemies of the Weregirls. To fight the Weregirls, the Breed calls upon Lily's soccer rival - the rich, conceited, and arrogant Andra Hewlit. Desperate for powers of her own, Andra will do anything she can to destroy Lily and the Weregirls..."

I like to keep an open mind when I start a book. You may have noticed that I tend to recommend books to specific "types" of people - or stick it in a genre. This is because I believe there is an audience for any story. It's not often that I read a book that I actually don't like. Even if it doesn't directly appeal to me, I'm sure it will appeal to someone else.

That being said, I had some pretty big problems with this book. Not the story - the story was an interesting idea and I kinda wanted to see where it went (which is why I finished reading the book). It was the execution of the story that really put me off this book.

I'm hoping this isn't just a "grammar/English snob" thing... but the sentence structure and descriptions of things were very awkward. I had a hard time getting to the meat of the story when I had to keep stopping to deconstruct a sentence to get it's meaning. Here's an example:
"...so Josh has no choice but to honk and maltreat the traffic around the Cherokee, braking hard and close behind back bumpers, darting ahead again..." I had to read this sentence at least 5-10 times. Can you maltreat traffic? I know you can maltreat people.... but objects? I dunno. It just sounded weird.

There's also the fact that the book doesn't sound like a teenage girl. The phrases she uses, the way she talks, the thoughts she has... not so much girly - or today's teen. The only point where I thought, "ah! An actual work teens use today!" was when he wrote that something was "sick."

Now, I do realize that the author is from Romania. This and his gender makes this book a hard one. I do know that he's written other books in English, but I have no idea how those are. I was also struck by something he said in his acknowledgements at the end of the book. He wrote about the challenges of writing for young adults (which I will admit is true)... but that it was a challenge he's been wanting to take on. I guess my thought is if you're taking this on just because it's a challenge - perhaps you shouldn't be doing it.

I know there are people out there who loved this book. I read other reviews while I reading (to see if anyone was feeling the way I was), and I realize that people liked it. I think this is probably because of the story - and it's originality. So I'll give it props there, but I'm not likely to read the second book when it comes out. Sorry about that.

But if you're into Native American folklore, you may really enjoy this book for the topic alone.

Author's Website
Other Blog Reviews:

Teen Libris
BSC Reviews
Harriet Klausner Reviews
Genrefluent Teens Talk About Books

Saturday, October 3, 2009

serafina67 *urgently requires life* by Susie Day

Title: serafina67 *urgently requires life*
Author: Susie Day
ISBN: 9780545073301
Publisher: Scholastic Press

"Friday, August 1
OMG, shiny new laptop! Shiny new blog! Behold my interestingness!

Rules for blog:
This is a proper blog for real friends, so spill everything. Except the Incident, when... ahem... *explodes with embarrassment*

NO SHOUTING IN CAPS LOCK. Except when ranting about mental parentals and the Stepmonster Stepmother.

Do not post about patchworkboy
*thinks about patchworkboy*
*blushes again*

Do not be boringly emo all the time.

Identify the woo-woo mystery-shrouded comment poster. Girl? Boy? Friend? Foe? Gooey chocolate goodness?



That was kind of a hard summary to write - enough that I had to figure out the strikethrough html cause there's not a handy-dandy button to do it for me :). But this isn't about me! ahem...

I'm always a fan of books that are written in crazy formats - like blogs or texts or IMs. It always makes reading them so much fun. I think I was really introduced to this through TTYL by Lauren Myracle and I haven't looked back since. For some reason, these books are just very interesting to me - and probably many teens who read them. I mean, what teen do you know who doesn't IM, Text, or have some sort of blog/social networking thing? None that I know of. So this is almost a great "reach out to those readers who only read blogs" kinda things.

I was given this book as a suggestion from one of our regular, big-reading customers. She said it was amazing and I had to read it immediately. I respond well to those types of requests and I'm glad I did. The book was a lot of fun - not to mention that I'm a sucker for Brit-lit. I love the little differences in terms and meanings and stuff.

I'm definitely recommending this book to any girls who are looking for fun/humorous fic. There were a few parts where I really "LOLed". This is another great chick-lit book to add to the collection. I was only a little confused about what the previous, and often mentioned "Incident" was... but I don't know if that makes much of a difference. Anyway, it's recommended!

Book was released in the UK as "Big Woo." I was confused about that for a sec.. but I'm good now :).

Author's Blog
Other Blog Reviews:

Ten Cent Notes
YA New York
Dragonfly Book Reviews
Write About What?

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