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Monday, November 23, 2009

Vamps by Nancy A. Collins

Title: Vamps
Author: Nancy A. Collins
ISBN: 9780061349171
Publisher: Harper Teen

"Night school never looked so good.

When the sun goes down, New York's true elite all head to one place: Bathory Academy, where the young ladies of the finest vampire families are trained in shapeshifting and luring their prey.

Bathory's reigning queen, Lilith Todd, is the daughter of a powerful vampire businessman, and she knows exactly what she wants from life. She wants to look beautiful for eternity and party till the sun comes up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Jules. And she doesn't want any New Blood upstarts standing in her way.

Enter Cally Monture, an unexpected threat from a trash zip code. When their first meeting leads to tragic results, Lilith is hungry for revenge."

There is something about a young adult vampire book that makes me pick it up and read it. I think I have to read all of them to make sure I know what's the best. I'm sorry to say this isn't the best. It's not bad, for sure... but it feels a lot like fluff.

Let me explain. It does have the Gossip Girl feel to it - being an NYC private school for girls... mean girl against the world. So, perhaps someone who is into that kind of story would enjoy this series. But then you have this vampire element that is a little undetermined. Every vampire story seems to shift the expectations on what vamps can do/can't do and all that. This book didn't lay that out very well, so I was left trying to pick up the pieces afterward.

This book also felt like a set up for the rest of the books in the series - almost that the story was just chopped up at the ending. Only one thing was remotely resolved... everything else just sits out there. And, unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'm going to find the next one. I do think these books have an audience - the lover of gossipy vamp stories. But guess I just don't fit into the group at the moment. On the plus side, it was a really fast read.

There are two more books in the series so far, and I couldn't find any more info about upcoming books. Good luck with this one, guys.
Other Blog Review:

Harmony Book Reviews
Vita Dei
Wantz Upon a Time
Kinnelon Library Teens
What I'm Reading (Ms. Hill)
Michele Lee's Book Love

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
ISBN: 9781416989417
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

"A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love

Nora Grey is responsible and smart and not inclined to be reckless. Her first mistake was falling for Patch. Patch has a past that could be called anything but harmless. The best thing he ever did was fall for Nora.

After getting paired with Patch in biology, all Nora wants to do is stay away from him, but he always seems to be two step ahead of her. She can feel his eyes on her even when he is nowhere around. She feels him nearby even when she is alone in her bedroom. And her attraction can be denied no longer, she learns the secret about who Patch is and what led him to her. Despite all the questions she has about his past, in the end, there may only be one question they can ask each other: How far are you willing to fall?"

This book has only been out a little while (only a few weeks) and I've already heard plenty of people interested in it - or loving it. That's what made me pull the arc out of my pile and read it. I was intrigued by the cover and the description, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I am so glad I did! This book was wonderful. I pretty much devoured it in two days. The whole concept of the dark fallen angel and modern teens is a very unique and interesting idea. Perhaps angels will become the next vampires (as I have another fallen angel book in my stack of things to read). But the attention to detail in this story is what really put this one on the map for me.

Almost needless to say, there are definitely characters in the story that are completely unlikeable. Or, maybe, you WANT to hate them. Nora's character is so innocent and sweet and it almost seems a shame that she gets pulled into the orbit of these insane dudes. But it all makes sense in the end.

I guess when I started this book, I was expecting a lot more of the fantasy/angel aspect in the story. That portion doesn't really even come about until over halfway through the book. Most of it is mystery and brooding characters that are suspicious. I almost label this story mystery instead of fantasy - just because the angel thing comes into play so late. But when it does, the story absolutely takes off.

But that sure didn't ruin the book for me. And I also just stopped by the author's website and realized there is going to be a sequel! I was so worried there wouldn't be, but I'm relieved to see it's in the works - even if I have to wait a year for it.

I will recommend this book to anyone looking for the next fantasy/romance/mystery. It covers a lot of genres and that will help it's popularity - not to mention how well it's written. I think this might be a book for just about everyone reading YA Fic... but perhaps best suited for the more mature crowd.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Book Smugglers
J. Kaye's Book Blog
Books and Movies
Library Lounge Lizard
Just Your Typical Book Blog
Book Chick City

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

Title: The Cupcake Queen
Author: Heather Hepler
ISBN: 9780525421573
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books

"When her mom decides to leave Manhattan and open a cupcake bakery in Hog's Hollow, Penny gets dragged along. She doesn't know how she'll survive high school without her lifelong friends and big-city comforts. To make matters worse, her father is staying behind, and Mom isn't talking about what the future holds for them. And as if that wasn't enough, Penny's clumsiness leads to a cupcake-avalanche mishap at the Queen Bee's birthday party that instantly makes her a social pariah.

But small town life isn't all bad. Penny finds bright spots in Hog's Hollow - like the art studio and her free-spirited friend Tall. Then there's Marcus, the cute and enigmatic boy who is always running on the beach... and into Penny.

Just when Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again."

I'm not gonna lie... this book made me wish for cupcakes! Not good for my so-called-diet. haha.

This book was a sugary treat and satisfied just as well. The story was a fun and light without getting bogged down with some of the more serious issues that are faced. There are some real-life issues that Penny deals with (parents divorce, making friends/enemies, etc) that could have dragged the story down, but the author deals with those things really well. It's almost like the power of laughter kept the story light.

There are definitely some parts that are handled a bit TOO lightly. And things seem to turn out a bit too rosey in the end. I mean, that is sort of the point, it's just too easy for things to turn out perfectly. Perhaps I'm just bitter :). Kidding... and wishing my life was a storybook.

Anyway, I would recommend this one to anyone reading YA lit - especially the younger readers. It's a solid story and is a fun lower high school stuff. Check out the author's website. I've also read Dream Factory by her and loved it. She's great at the realistic, light chick lit!
Other Blog Reviews:

Butterfly Book Reviews
The Story Siren
Fade Into You
Erin Reads
A Maze of Books

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tempted by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Title: Tempted: a house of night novel
Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
ISBN: 9780312567484
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

"So…you’d think after banishing an immortal being and a fallen High Priestess, saving Stark’s life, biting Heath, getting a headache from Erik, and almost dying, Zoey Redbird would catch a break. Sadly, a break is not in the House of Night school forecast for the High Priestess in training and her gang.

Juggling three guys is anything but a stress reliever, especially when one of them is a sexy Warrior who is so into protecting Zoey that he can sense her emotions. Speaking of stress, the dark force lurking in the tunnels under the Tulsa Depot is spreading, and Zoey is beginning to believe Stevie Rae could be responsible for a lot more than a group of misfit red fledglings.

Aphrodite’s visions warn Zoey to stay away from Kalona and his dark allure, but they also show that it is Zoey who has the power to stop the evil immortal. Soon it becomes obvious that Zoey has no choice: if she doesn’t go to Kalona he will exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. Will Zoey have the courage to chance losing her life, her heart, and her soul?

I have been a fan of the House of Night series since the beginning. Each book builds on the story perfectly and always leaves me surprised. Tempted is no different.

The story of Zoey and her friends picks up exactly where Hunted left off - the instant after a battle. I almost felt like I needed to re-read the last chapter of the last book in order to be in the right mindset for where the story started. But after a second, getting back into the story was just like returning to a conversation with your best friend - easily restarted and always comfortable, but interesting.

Of course, to say these stories are comfortable is a bit of a stretch. They are comfortable in that I know they will be written well and that the story will be amazing and worth discussing with others who have read it. But it definitely keeps me on my toes! I was so surprised at the ending... shocked, really. I'm not going to spoil that here for you, but just be aware that it will be more than you would have expected. Cliffhanger, much? And now I have months to wait. Arg! :).

If you haven't read the House of Night series, I highly recommend you do. Especially for people who are looking to get out of the Twilight era into a place where women are strong and in charge :). That always makes for an interesting story, no? Enjoy it and good luck finding them all!

P.C. Cast's website!

*update* After finding some reviews for the book, I have to agree with one spot of irritation for the book Tempted. See, it really does feel like a set up for the next book... a little like it's throwing info at you so you can get to the next bit of story. I don't say that in a disappointed way, just a realization. And it's not going to keep me from reading the next book... and the next... and the next :). Just an observation! */update*
Other Blog Reviews:

Darque Reviews
Robots and Vamps
Mundie Moms
The Crooked Shelf

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crashed by Robin Wasserman

Title: Crashed
Author: Robin Wasserman
ISBN: 9781416974536
Publisher: Simon Pulse

"Everyone has something to lose.
Before the accident, Lia Khan was happy.
Before the accident, Lia Khan was loved.
Before, Lia was a lot of things: Normal, Alive, Human.

Lia no longer believes in before. Six months after the crash that killed her, six months after being reborn, Lia has finally accepted her new reality. She is a machine, a mech, and she belongs with her own kind. It's a wild, carefree life, without rules and without fear. Because there's nothing to fear when you have nothing left to lose.

But when a voice from her past cries out for revenge, everything changes. Lia is forced to choose between her old life and her new one. Between humans and mechs. Between sacrificing the girl she used to be and saving the boy she used to love.

Even if it means he'll hate her forever."

I read Skinned earlier this year and I loved it. I had been a little worried about it's similarities to Westerfeld's Uglies series. Let me just say that this second book puts it very far in another direction. I was also worried a bit about the "second book slump" that seems to happen with series'/trilogy sometimes. But this book was a great story and was just as interesting and fully fleshed out like I had hoped.

There were a lot more characters in this story that were fully developed and I loved some of the personalities. Of course, with that there were people I loathed :). That's just the way it goes, I suppose. But I really liked where the story went and how things turned out.

I look forward to the next installation to the Skinned series. It's definitely one to look out for when someone needs a good science fiction series. It will be interesting to see where the next book goes - because a lot of loose ends were tied up. I will definitely be looking for it though - so should you!

Check out the author's website.
Other Blog Reviews:

Karin's Book Nook
/- La Femme Readers -/
Presenting Lenore

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Good Neighbors: Kith by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

Title: The Good Neighbors: Kith
Author: Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
ISBN: 9780439855631
Publisher: Graphix

"For generations, the faerie realm has been waiting to take over the human realm.

Their time has come.

Something is going wrong - majorly wrong - in Rue Silver's world. Her boyfriend has changed. Her friends are drifting in strange - and sometimes homicidal - directions. And even the land around her seems to be shifting.

Rue is in a unique position to see these things. She's half faerie, half human... and her family history is tied directly to the fate of her friends and the future of everything around her. In order to save the humans, she's goin gto have to travel deep into the realm of the faeries - and resist the temptation to stay there."

I've always been a big fan of anything written by Holly Black. She's just a great author who does a great with the faerie stories. I'll pretty much read anything she's written. And I love that she's moved into the graphic world.

The story of Rue is very intriguing and I always wonder where it's going to go next. Its a quick book, but it's chock full of interesting twists and turns. The art is always cool as well - seems very much like a sketchbook of ink drawings. It's very well done.

I guess I don't have a lot more to say than "read it!!" The graphics are so fast, it's almost required to read them :). Especially if you like the dark faerie stories. Totally great! I'd also recommend anything else by Holly Black as well - if you haven't already read them.

Here's the author's website!
Other Blog Reviews:

Cindy's Love of Books
Robots and Vamps
Graphic Novel Reporter

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey
ISBN: 9780152063849
Publisher: Harcourt

"Marrying a vampire definitely doesn't fit into Jessica's Senior year "get-a-life" plan.

Enter a bizarre new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu who claims Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth and he's her long-lost fiance. He's arrogant, officious, embarrassingly overprotective, and, well, incredibly hot.

Armed with a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica tries to imagine the transition from an average American teenager to a glam European vampire princess. But just when things start to heat up with Lucius, a devious cheerleader sets her sights on him.

Soon Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war - and save Lucius's soul from eternal damnation. all of which leaves her to wonder: Wouldn't life be easier if she could just fall for a nice mortal boy?"

I picked up this book purely because I'm a fan of the vampire/paranormal romance. This one sounded (and did) fit into that category pretty well. I'm a sucker (haha) for the doomed love story that always seems just a little further than do-able. :)

I do have to be honest about one thing - I really hated the characters at the beginning of the story. They were too obvious. I could see exactly where it was going to go. There were things that were intensely unlikable about a few of them... enough that I was worried how the rest of the book was going to go. But I did turn out to care about them. Some of their unusual traits began to be endearing instead of annoyingly obvious.

One other thing that bothered me about the book was the rushed ending. There was so much content at the end of the book, it was almost hard to take in. Then you got to the last couple of chapters and it felt like, "And then... And then... And then.... The End!" Ta da! Like, you didn't get the full impact of what happened in the end. It almost seemed that there might be more story - which there is on the author's website! Imagine that.

Putting all that aside, I really did enjoy this book. Even though the characters had me concerned in the beginning, the story took me to a place where I loved them and really wanted the best for them. There are bits of humor as well throughout the story - especially the "learning to be a vampire" book that makes several appearances.

I'd recommend this book to anyone into the vampire romance genres of the moment. This is another good one - and you don't have to wait for the next one to come out! :). It was an interesting situation and would probably appeal to most middle American girl readers. Enjoy!
Other Blog Reviews:

Anna's Book Blog
Librarian By Day
Barney's Book Blog
Bookworming in the 21st Century
Karin's Book Nook
Library Lounge Lizard

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Me, My Elf & I by Heather Swain

Title: Me, My Elf & I
Author: Heather Swain
ISBN: 9780142412558
Publisher: Speak /Penguin

"It's not easy fitting in when you're the new girl in a strange school, especially when you're a tall, blonde, gorgeous elf. That's Zephyr Addler's dilemma when she finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a prestigious New York City performing arts high school, worlds away from the secluded woodland community she knows so well. Luckily Zephyr's new friends Mercedes and Ari are there to help her look and act the part of a normal teenager. Until they talk her into auditioning for a role against Bella Dartagnan, the most popular- and meanest - girl in school, who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. That is, until Zephyr snags a role in a commercial, beating out the most popular girl in school, Bella Dartagnan. Now with Bella and her friends out to get her, can Zephyr out-maneuver the mean girls (and catch the eye of a certain cute boy) without losing herself?"

The whole concept of this book was very interesting - I mean, the outsider in high school is a norm, but the idea of an elf coming from a woodland world to the most urban situation you can get in... it was just an interesting thought.

I do have to say that the story is fun and certainly pulls you in. There were a few things about it that didn't really add up for me. I mean, I get the whole concept of someone not getting the urban world... no idea what a cell phone is, how to use a computer, etc. From the way that it's written, she's only emersed in that for a week or less - and then she's an expert.

It's not a realistic story to begin with, but it's a little too much on that front. It's not super ikely that anyone would soak all that up in that little time. But I do have to say that this part was the only bit that I had much of an issue with me. The rest of the story is a fun, typical high school story. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for that younger YA reader. It's perfect for that age-range... so I'll still be giving it to them. :)

Here's the author's website.
Other Blog Reviews:

Em's Bookshelf
Kiss the Book

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