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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Angel by James Patterson

Title: Angel (Maximum Ride #7)
Author: James Patterson
ISBN: 9780316036207
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Page #: 291
Source: From my public library

"How do you save everything and everyone you love...
Max Ride and her best friends have always had one another's backs. No. Matter. What. Living on the edge as fugitives, they never had a choice. But now they're up against a mysterious and deadly force that's racing across the globe - and just when they need one another the most, Fang is gone. He's creating his hown gang that will replace everyone - including Max.

When you can't be together...
Max is heartbroken over losing fang, her soul mate. Her closest friend. But with Dylan ready and willing to fight by her side, she can no longer deny that his incredible intensity draws her in.

But you can't stay apart?
max, Dylan, and the rest of their friends must soon join with Fang and his new gang for an explosive showdown in Paris. It's unlike anything you've ever imagined... or read."
First Lines:

"I know he'll come for me. He has to come for me. Fang wouldn't let me die here.
I'd been in the cage for days. I couldn't remember eating. I couldn't remember sleeping."
Page 3

Here are the other titles in this series that I've blogged about - the rest were pre-blog:
Max (#5)
Fang (#6)

I'm definitely a fan of this series. This book was a bit different than the others because the group of friends has split up. But because of this, you end up with a whole lot of new characters with different abilities and outlooks on the world. which, for the most part, was a really good thing. It's nice to get some more characters.

The whole "saving the world" shtick comes to a head during this book. You finally get a picture of how things are going to end. I won't spoil it for you, but it's pretty epic. Especially when you imagine something happening on a huge scale - massive brainwashing. It's just intense to think about.

As always, you are left with several questions in the end. You lose a few characters on the way that are fairly important, so you know the next book is going to catch those people up. And to figure out how they are involved in the whole end of the world thing. I'm a little nervous for the fate of a few important people. :)

This whole series has been such an easy read. They take no time at all, but they are packed with action, drama, and family. Such a great story in all. I think each book standing alone needs more to it, but when you have the whole series, you've got a wonderful story.

As I've said in the past, this whole series is great for middle grade boys - and everyone else, really. I think anyone could love this story, but it seems great for those "reluctant readers." Even though the main character is a girl, I know that boys love these books. I'm always happy to suggest these books to readers - because I already know they will love them.

At the end of this book, it says there is only one more book in the series. I really look forward to see what they end up doing for the ending. I feel like it has to be epic! Otherwise they built up to nothin. :) But I'm sure it will be awesome like the rest of the books. Can't wait!
Other Blog Reviews:

Reading Vacation
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Had a hard time finding reviews on this one, but I know more people have read it. Feel free to tag your review in the comments. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flirt Club by Cathleen Daly

Title: Flirt Club
Author: Cathleen Daly
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Page #: 281
Source: From my public library

"Having trouble meeting boys? Feel just a little bit too awkward? Isabelle and Annie (aka Cisco and the Bean), two self-professed theater geeks, sure do. So when all else fails, they start flirt club, an after-school support group for the similarly afflicted.

This uber-confabuloso (in the words of the Bean) book is told entirely through their notes passed in school, diary entries, and the occasional e-mail."
First Lines:

"Dear Cisco,
Well, it turns out 8th-grade math is just as breathtaking and exciting as 7th-grade math. (NOT!) My math teacher, Mrs. Heinick, is a rover, so I have to write you in spurts and spasms... She likes to stroll down the aisles real slow - she's like a silent hovercraft or some scary sci-fi phenomenon... like a big floating eyeball with teeth."
Page 1

This book was hi-larious. There is something so real and honest and quirky about the voices of middle school girls, isn't there?

The story is of two girls who constantly write letters back and forth throughout their school days. They are the ultimate definition of BFFs. Nothing to tear them apart. And they decide it's time that they learned how to talk to boys and not be total spazzes. They are completely into drama and love making up words and such. They are seriously funny and lovable. And they are excellent at creating nicknames - a skill I wish to develop.

One of the things I loved about this story was the emphasis on written letters. So many books have texts, emails, blog entries... this one is notes written during class. Now, this will absolutely date me, but my years of middle and high school were all about passing notes all day long. We didn't have all that tech stuff :). Okay, it was there, I just didn't have it. ANYWHO! This book took me back to my high school years. We used to write notes like it was our job.

I also loved the amount of theater love throughout the story. Anyone who did theater in high school knows that most of the actual drama took place off the stage. This book does a great job giving the theater geeks a voice. What book about middle school girls would be complete without a look at cliques? It's a very funny and realistic look into school drama, that's for sure.

There were some parts of this book where I found myself literally LOLing. I think it's because it reminds me of my high school years so much (minus the obsession with learning how to flirt). Friend group lines blurring, best friend teasing, the awesome nickname giving.... just an all around fun book.

I just have to mention this because it bothered me a little bit. The cover is super-duper cute. Really. I envy that chick and her cuteness. But here's the thing... there are no specifically blond characters. Black haired? Yes. Blond? No. So... who's this supposed to be?! I kinda decided that she was one of the non-physically described girls. Still... annoying.

This book really is perfect for the middle school girl. It's written in their voice and about their drama. I think the author does a great job keeping her audience in mind. There's enough juice there for some serious boy stuff... but also enough silly friendship stuff to keep your spirits high. It's a worthwhile read, for sure.

Anyway, this author is a YA/MG debut this year and I've officially fallen in love with her first book. I'll be looking out for more excitement from her! It looks like Ms. Daly has created a brand spankin new blog! So, go give her some love and more followers :).
Other Blog Reviews:

The Book Pixie (Author interview)
Moirae (The Fates) Book Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Middle Grade Reads
Clearly, not nearly enough people have read and reviewed this book. It's hilariously awesome, people. Give it a go!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

Title: Cloaked in Red
ISBN: 9780761457930
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Page #: 127
Source: From my public library

"So you think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl with the unfortunate name and the inability to tell the difference between her grandmother and a member of a different species? Well, then, try your hand at answering these questions:

* Which character (not including LIttle Red herself) ist he most fashion challenged?

* Who (not including the wolf) is the scariest?

* Who is the strangest? (Notice we're not 'not including' anyone, because they're all a little off.)

* Who (no fair saying 'the author') has stuffing for brains?

Vivian Vande Velde has taken eight new looks at one of the world's most beloved (and mixed-up) stories. You may never look at fairy tales in quite the same way again."
First Lines:

"Once upon a time, after fashion was discovered but before people had makeovers on TV, there was a young girl named Meg."
Page 16 (From The Red Cloak)

This book was a lot different from what I was expecting. I didn't realize it was going to be several short stories that took the Little Red Riding Hood story and altered it. Though, what a cute idea?! There are so many different ways this story can be told - and tons of perspectives. I loved how the author explored every one of them.

From the "first lines" section up there, you can see that the author took a really humorous view of the Red Riding Hood story. And, to be honest, she's right about how it doesn't always make sense. Especially when you consider all of the weird things that happen in the original versions. But the author took those stories and gave them a facelift for the better. Not to mention the great first lines of each story - I'd write them all here, but I don't wanna give them all away :).

There are a few of the stories in this book that pull in a couple of other fairy tales or myths. My favorite was the one about the nearsighted old man who gathers wood in the forest. Very fun. And I also loved the one about the cloak being given the gift of being smart. The ending on that one made me smile.

I really think that anyone who loves retold fairy tales will get a kick out of this book. The author does a fantastic job deconstructing the story and putting it back together in weird and awesome ways. I'll definitely be recommending it to many of my teens - it seems that retold stories are seriously in vogue right now. This is also a really quick read with all of the stories broken up.

Check out the author's website to see all of the amazing books she's written. I'm in awe :).
Other Blog Reviews:

Waiting on Wednesday (47)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Goddess Test
by Aimee Carter
To be released: April 19, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
"It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess."

Doesn't this book look amazing? I love the cover and the premise sounds wonderful. The author is a debut this year and I can't wait to get my hand on her first installment of her series!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Torment by Lauren Kate

Title: Torment (Fallen #2)
Lauren Kate
ISBN: 978038573914
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Page #: 452

Source: ARC from the publisher

"Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on a rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous.

What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?"
First Lines:

"Daniel stared out at the bay. His eyes were as gray as the thick fog enveloping the Sausalito shoreline, as the choppy water lapping the pebble beach beneath his feet. There was no violet to his eyes now at all; he could feel it. She was too far away."
Page 1

Before I start my review of Torment, here is my review for Fallen.

After re-reading that post, I realize that some of the things I had to say about the first one can be repeated for this book. Unfortunately, the thing to be repeated is that there are parts of this book that are very slow. Again, not boring, just took a little while to really get to the meat of the story.

This story starts out with the two enemies (Daniel and Cam) from the last book creating a truce in order to keep Luce safe. From what and why, you don't find out until really far into the story. Because Luce has no idea what's going on, you the reader will have no idea what's going on either. You start to pull the pieces together, but it doesn't come to a full picture until the very end.

Though, while Luce is trying to figure things out, there are a lot of fun, new characters introduced. I think one of my favorites is Miles. I'd like a Team Miles shirt, please. And Shelby (Luce's roommate) is a great snarky friend who doesn't sugarcoat anything. She adds a nice texture to the story. A lot of the characters from the last book make an appearance as well - I just had to figure out who everyone was :).

I had a hard time jumping into this book. I suppose it's because I couldn't easily remember the ending of Fallen. I remembered the premise and all, but not the specifics. And some of those specifics are important. But she does some explaining throughout that helps a bit.

I really think people who are into the whole paranormal romance stuff will (or already have) easily get into this series. It's very much worth your while. This second book felt a little slow and I spent a lot of time being angry with the character Daniel - I just wanted to shake some sense into him. But otherwise it's a really good book. I will definitely get excited to read the third book, Passion, later this year.
Other Blog Reviews:

Literary Explorations
For What It's Worth
Novel Novice
Stiletto Storytime
A Bookworm's Haven
I was a Teenage Book Geek
There's a lot of reviews out there for this book because it's been out for a while. Lots of great things to read :).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spray by Harry Edge

Title: Spray
Author: Harry Edge
ISBN: 9780312613440
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Page #: 228
Source: ARC from the publisher (published December 2010)

"A group of teens sign up for an assassination game on the streets of a big city. Their weapons: pressurized water guns. It's meant to be a game, a sport. But for some, it's more than harmless fun. To win, they'll use any means necessary.

Two hundred players. Three weeks of tense cat-and-mouse action. Every stalker is being stalked and only one player will be left standing. No one will be the same.

Through multiple points of view, Harry Edge puts readers right in the middle of the action - watch your back!"
First Lines:

Someone was after him already. The game didn't start until midnight tomorrow. There should be no immediate danger. Most likely, the assassin planned to follow Mac to his rented apartment, where he would lay in wait. But that wasn't where Mac was heading."
Page 3

It's really nice when the publishers tell you up front that you're jumping into a book with multiple points of view :). That was a little snarky, but seriously, this book had to go back and forth between the players - otherwise you would have a fairly boring book. But instead, this author does a great job giving you all of the information you need to get a full picture of the game.

Honestly, I had a lot of fun with this book. It's a very cool idea to have a huge cat and mouse game all over a big city. My fiance informed me that this sort of game actually exists. Apparently, they had them every once in a while where he's from (and it's a small town, so there's only so far you can go). So I can only imagine what it would be like in a big city. I liked that the author didn't specify which city this book is set in. That gives you more freedom to picture this game anywhere you are.

I really got sucked into this story. Enough that I spent my time figuring out what I would do if I were part of a game like that. There are lots of rules of where you can spray someone - not at work or a block from it, not unless they invite you into their home, etc. It made me realize that I could never play in this game. I walk about ten blocks to and from work! I would be out of the game in a flash! But it's such a cool idea and I can see why people would get so involved in it.

Another aspect of this book is that the game takes place during a huge drought. It's during a time that they even gave water restrictions on the amount you can use and when. So this game throws a huge wrench into the government's plans. It's sort of an underground game - so the head gamekeeper is anonymous and they keep in touch via emails and phone calls. He travels all over the world to hold these games and many players follow him.

The characters in this book were kind of hard to keep up with at first. Luckily, you have a character list in the front of the book. Without that, I would have had a hard time getting into this book. I spent the first half of the book flipping back to the front to make sure I knew who was who. But the beginning of this book has a lot more characters - the game starts with 200 players, so there's a lot of names being thrown around (at least, not 200 of them :)). Once you get to know certain characters, you really only find out the surface information about them. But I guess the book is more about the game than it is about the characters.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing and thinking about it when I wasn't face-in-book. That's gotta count for something :). I think a lot of people could get into this one - but specifically a great read for guys. It's got lots of action with only a hint of the romancey stuff. I'll be giving this one to a few of my teens to read, for sure. I'm always happy to find a new book I can hand to mothers looking for books for their middle grade boy who doesn't wanna read. This one is a really good fit for that.
Other Blog Reviews:

Jawa's Read Too!
Good Books and Good Wine
Reading Teen
Whatchamacallit Reviews
Frenetic Reader
Book Chic

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray
To be released: May 24, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count."

I. Love. Libba. Bray. I think I'll literally read anything she's written. So this one that sounds hilariously awesome?! I'm amped for it! It's going to be epic. If you haven't read any of her stuff before, you should definitely give it a go! woo hoo! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Title: What Can(t) Wait
Author: Ashley Hope Perez
ISBN: 9780761361558
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Page #: 232
Source: ARC from the author

"'Another day finished, gracias a Dios.'
Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They worked hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin - a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere - and suddenly neither her best friend nor her boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants - other than a life where she doesn't end every day thanking God it's over.

What Can't Wait - the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Perez - tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future."
First Lines:

"You'd think that by now I'd know how to get out of the house.
Easy, right? Scrape together an outfit, make Papi and Gustavo some breakfast, grab my books, walk out the door."
Page 1

Everyone, wave a nice hello to Ms. Perez. She's going to be around for a while, as can be seen from the awesomeness of her book. This is her debut novel and I'm so happy to have gotten an early copy of it so I can tell you how much I loved it.

There's something very real about the story of Marisa and her family. Being a first generation anything-American has it's cartload of troubles. There's always a culture gap that seems to leave a family split down the middle (it seems). This story brings to light the differences in Marisa's life plan - even in comparison with her siblings.

She's expected to cook, help out with her niece, and work to help the family be financially stable. Her parents cannot imagine another life for her, so when she gets ideas about college and becoming an engineer, she is met with a lot of resistance. The character of Marisa is one I feel like lots of girls can identify with. There were parts of her that I remember thinking, "That's totally what I would have done." She seems easy to relate to.

I don't have any first-hand experience with this sort of family life, but I know a lot of the teens I work with do. This book will absolutely resonate with them and help them question the things they are being told from every end. I sort of put myself in the roll of Marisa's calc teacher who was helping her make those dreams of college a reality. It made me wonder what I would say to a student - and almost revise some things I've said in the past.

I only had one teeny tiny issue with this book. I don't know any spanish. Well, besides gracias. hah. And that's none, really. But there are bits of this book where I wondered if I had missed out on something because a word was in spanish. I had to pull out the translator a few times just to make sure. But that's not much of a complaint, considering the characters and the authenticity of the novel. So we can all ignore that :).

It's a very powerful story that really leaves you wishing to know how the characters turn out. I'm not going to talk about the ending, but the last few sentences really put a smile on my face. It is just a perfect end to the novel - because it's not really an ending. It gives you hope for the future of these characters and I can imagine them giving students a lot to discuss.

I will absolutely be purchasing this book for my library when it comes out in March. I can think of a few teens that I want to put this directly in their hands. Maybe I'll pass along my nicely signed ARC to them :). But it's definitely a great realistic fiction title - one that many will gain a lot from. If you can get your hands on it, I recommend it!

Take a look at the author's website. It looks like she's got a second novel all lined up for 2012. I'll be adding that one to my TBR pile, for sure!
Other Blog Reviews:

Mostly Reading YA
GoodReads Reviews
Katelyn's Blog
Forever Young Adult
Readers Unite
Brave New Adventure

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Awakened by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Title: Awakened (House of Night #8)
Author(s): P.C. and Kristin Cast
ISBN: 9780312650247
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page #: 290
Source: From my public library

"Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa's House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being queen would be cool, wouldn't it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same - and her relationship with her super-hot warrior, Stark, may never be the same either.

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

In the pulse-pounding eighth book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl's heart?"
First Lines:

"A disquieting sense of irritation awakened Neferet. Before she truly departed that amorphous place between dreams and reality, she reached out with her long, elegant fingers and felt for Kalona."
Page 1

First of all... the other books in this series I've reviewed: (first four pre-blog) Hunted, Tempted, Burned

Okay... so this book was... disappointing and a little too intense at parts. I've been a fan of this series in the past. But the last two books have really lost me. Not in a confused kind of way. More in a "what the hell" kinda way. Things are just getting really muddy and it's not seeming to get better.

One thing that has really gotten to me (and several other reviewers I've read) is the amount of current event references. Seriously, mentioning Glee, Tru Blood and more does not help this series in the next few years - even if those shows are still around. It's going to be really hard for them to stand the test of time with those. Not to mention alienating people who don't understand them. I didn't really get one or two of them and I felt like I missed something. It felt like there's something cop-out-ish when an author does that.

Also, I had a really hard time with the amount of dirty business that went on in this book. I mean, I get that teens are aware of sex and sexual stuff... but there are parts of this book where I really thought it was too much. Enough so that I don't want to hand it to kids younger than 16 or so. That's another way this series has kept itself from spanning a larger amount of readers. The books before this one would have been perfect for any teen looking for vamp stuff - but this one really takes it to another level.

But speaking of other levels... there are lots of life-changing things going on in this series. It's pretty much constant. But the characters don't really seem to change with them. They are still really immature-seeming. I was really hoping for some serious (new) development of our characters. They can't seem completely unaffected by the things going on around them - which is how it seems sometimes.

And I don't mean to complain about language, but there are a few words used in this (and the other) book that just make me want to throw it across the room. Namely: Bullpoopie. Really?! Come on now. Another blogger mentioned this, and I cannot agree more. Also, the light tones used at very serious times got on my nerves. I need the characters to have grown up beyond that. It's almost like the characters are trying to remind you that they're teenagers. "Hey look! We're still young! We aren't mature at all, so ignore any silliness we say!" arg.

All in all, I was disappointed. I was hoping for more from the last book - because it was so different. I thought we would head in an interesting direction. While it was interesting, it felt really forced. The whole time I was reading, I was asking myself if I would read the next one. I'm not sure of the answer, honestly. At the moment, I'm leaning toward no. But I've read so many of them - it's almost dumb to stop now.

I'm not very good at giving bad reviews. It makes me nervous. But I just had a hard time with this book, in general. And I'll have a hard time recommending it. Which is unfortunate, because now I have a caveat when I recommend the series as a whole.
Other Blog Reviews:

Silent T's Book Blog (favorable review)
[a]musing reviews (LOVED this review - I wanted to copy and paste, but only because they sum up the book up so well. kudos!)
The Cajun Book Lady
Gone with the Words
Off My Bookshelf
Nocturne Romance Reads (favorable review)
Vampire Book Club

Waiting on Wednesday (45)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

by Heather Dixon
To be released: March 29, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"Confined to their dreary castle while mourning their mother's death, Princess Azalea and her eleven sisters join The Keeper, who is trapped in a magic passageway, in a nightly dance that soon becomes nightmarish."

So... a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale? I'm all in. That sounds awesome. And the cover is so magical! I love it. I'll definitely be excited to get my hands on this one. And I could be wrong, but is this her debut? Even better! Bring it on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

"Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating."

This is my first Top Ten Tuesday post - but I'm super in love with lists... so I figure this is a good fit for me. Let's see how this goes:

Top Ten Characters That I'd Name My Children After

1. Tally - Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
2. Riley - Skinned series by Robin Wasserman
3. Gabriel - Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
4. Astrid - Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
5. Julian - The Julian Game by Adele Griffin
6. Gemma - Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
7. Lyra - The Golden Compss by Philip Pullman
8. Tessa - Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
9. Persephone "Phe" - Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus (honestly, I just like the nickname - the full name would remind me too much of Greek Mythology)
10. Schuyler (said Skyler) - Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz

A lot of people doing this list gave reasons for each of them. I'm lame. I just like the sound of them. :) So... no reasons! Except for #9.
What are yours?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

Title: The Agency: The Body at the Tower
Author: Y.S. Lee
ISBN: 9780763649685
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page # 337
Source: My own copy

"Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London - as well as childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want - to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city's needy doesn't distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend - or flame - just might."
First Lines:

"A sobbing man huddles on a narrow ledge, clawing at his eyes to shield them from the horror far below. It is dark, thus his terror is irrational; even if he wanted to, he could not make out what he's done, let alone note the gruesome details."
Page 1

Ever since reading the first Agency book, I knew I would be hooked on this series. It's a story of a girl who was saved from being executed by a group of women who conduct investigations. This all set in a time when women were seen as inferior and less intelligent. Mary Quinn is an original character because of her background and her heritage.

In this second book, Mary takes on a case where a man has fallen from a clock tower on an unfinished building site (namely at the Houses of Parliament... ahem, Big Ben). Because women aren't accepted in that sort of work environment, Mary dresses as a boy who is an apprentice. She spends her time meeting all of the main suspects and tries to make sure she's undiscovered.

There are several things I love about the character Mary Quinn. First of all, she's very quick witted and clever. In her dealings with James (*cough*loveinterest*cough*), she's so quick to be coy... but it comes across as being snarky. I love it. She's also really quick on her feet when it comes to dealing with new situations - aka being a boy on a building site.

Another thing I love about her character is her heritage. Her father was Chinese and her mother English (if I remember correctly). Through the last book and this one, her family has been a sore subject for her - because people are looked at a certain way. But that whole added level of information gives this character a very distinct outlook on life. I really appreciate that.

The Agency books are so great for their mysteries. Many times I complain about the lack of mysteries in YA lit. But these books have become some of my go-to books for teens who are looking for mystery. Of course, they hold that historical element as well, which I'm always a fan of. Not to mention that they're just plain written well. I can lose myself in the story without batting an eyelash!

I think these books are good for any grade, really - including adults. I'd like to think guys could get into them too, but the covers lend themselves to girls, for sure. I've already handed out the first book to as many people as will take it, and now I can say that the second book is just as amazing. Very action packed!

Check out Y.S. Lee's website for more information about her. I don't see anything about more Agency books, but I'm keeping the hope alive! :)
Other Blog Reviews:

The Book Smugglers
Erin Reads
Katie's Book Blog
The Story Siren
Books are Life
A Reader's Adventure
There are tons of reviews. Go check 'em out!

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

by Veronica Roth
To Be Released: May 03, 2011

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all."

I'm always looking out for the next awesome dystopian fic. And this one looks awesome. Not to mention that it's from a debut author! Honestly, I am excited to read this one. It sounds a little like Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series mixed with a little of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Needless today, that seems like an awesome combo. Yay!

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