Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Sword in Her Hand by Jean-Claude Van Rijckechem

On what is supposed to be a spring night (but instead cursed with a overly long winter) the Countess of Barbant is giving birth to the future Count. To everyone's horror, the baby is turned sideways in the womb. The baby survives, but an even more horrifying discovery is made - the baby is not to be a future Count, but a future Countess - it is a girl. Lady Marguerite grows up with a rough childhood, after many miscarriages her mother goes crazy, and her father despises her for not being the male heir. When she is old enough, she is forced upon marrying Edward, whom she despises. After managing to escape her ill fated wedding, she discovers that the plague has come to haunt her and her people. She flees with her new husband, Prince Phillip, only to find he has obtained the dreaded plague. Prince Phillip dies, but Marguerite is not affected by the plague, and so with grief she goes to the convent to escape her life of hardship and sorrow. When her father comes for her, they battle, but Marguerite comes to accept her life as ruler, and steps back into the world.

This was a great book and extremely interesting due to the setting and details to Marguerite and her people's lifestyle. The book was quite realistic and exciting. I always had to wonder what would happen next and sometimes wondered why in the world why so-and-so would do such a thing. Also, Marguerite is quite a unique character. Her life is full of hardship, and although ours is much easier it is still possible to relate to her. A fascinating book, I would much anticipate a sequel.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Santa Fe, TX USA

Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel

It's been a year since her older sister's murder, and Echo is still far from being completely okay. Since Zoe's untimely demise, Echo has been trying her hardest to be the strong one, while her mother takes too many antidepressents and her father works too much. But at the start of her freshmen year of high school, Echo receives an unlikely gift from Zoe's old boyfriend: her diary. Echo is hesitant to read it, but can't put it down after she gets caught up in Zoe's secret life. Can Echo learn to separate her and Zoe's lives, all while saving Zoe's memory?

I thought that Saving Zoe was an extraordinary novel. It was sad and tragic, but remained full of hope until the very end. It was really interesting reading Zoe's diary along with Echo, because she was very enigmatic and mysterious. She also got into quite a bit of trouble and did the things most people wish they could do and get away with it. Echo learns more about her sister from the diary than she did living with her for thirteen years, which is a sad fact. But Echo comes to understand Zoe better than ever, and I loved how Saving Zoe showed that the bonds of sisterhood could actually be strengthened after death. I do wish there was more about Zoe and Echo and their relationship before Zoe's death, because that's something I think was lacking. But regardless, Saving Zoe is very well-written and poignant, and will appeal to fans of books about sisters.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

The Tiger Rising is a short novel written by Kate DiCammillo. It is about a young boy named Rob living in Florida. His mother has recently died and he now lives with his father at The Kentucky Star, a small motel. One day while exploring the woods behind The Kentucky Star, both owned by a man named Beauchamp, he discovers a tiger, locked in a cage. This knowledge, like many of his other memories and feelings, he shares with no one until he meets the new girl at school - Sistine. They quickly become friends as they are both outsiders at school. Rob starts to open up, and he shares his secret tiger with Sistine, but things start to get out of hand. The adventure that ensues is one of remarkable self-discovery and human reliance. Although it is simplistic and child focused in nature, it has the ability to appeal to all age groups.

I really enjoyed this short novel because although it was somewhat predictable, it was a fun read and quite adorable. I did not want to put it down simply because it was enjoyable and sweet. The detail DiCamillo puts into the descriptions, such as the way she describes the tiger through Sistine's poem, and the description of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel capture you mind and transport you into those places. I liked the characters because they were so realistic. Sistine is a strong minded young girl that pushes you to think about the hard questions. Rob was a child, trying to handle both his own pain and his father's pain from the loss of his mother. The traits and expressions are ones so common it is hard not to believe in the characters. I also enjoyed the foreshadowing, but some of it was far too obvious which ruined some of the later effect though. Overall, it is simplistic, but highly real and enjoyable. And while it is more focused at younger age groups, I would recommend it to all.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Minnetonka, Minnesota United States

Held by Edeet Ravel

In Held, by Edeet Ravel, a seventeen year old girl named Chloe is kidnapped while volunteering in Greece. Locked away in a mystery location, she is terrified and lonely. It is not surprising that when one of her hostage-takers appears, friendly, handsome and apologetic, Chloe begins to have feelings for him. The story follows the kidnapper and kidnappee for four months, as Chloe's friends and family struggle for the retrials the kidnappers have given as the requirements for her release, and Chloe herself has to figure out if everything around her is real or a game her kidnappers are playing.

Held was a fantastic book. It was written with many details of Chloe's confinement, from stuffed monkeys to scented shampoos. Chloe's attention to miniscule details made me aware of how intensly lonely and bored she must have felt with little company and the huge amount of information we are so used to getting from the internet and television. I also enjoyed trying to figure out whether Chloe's feelings for her kidnapper were Stockholm Syndrome, true love, or just an attachment felt towards the only human she had had contact with for four months. Through some cleverly placed scenes, you also wonder if the kindness shown to Chloe was real or just a way to have Chloe think of the kidnappers as friends, and not want to get them in trouble. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and a story that will leave them trying to figure out the complex actions of the characters.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Pennsylvania United States

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

It is 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is shipped off to her cousin’s house in hopes of finding a worthy match. At the cousin’s house, Amelia meets a charming young man named Nathaniel who steals her heart. Trying to hide her forbidden romance, she spends the rest of her time with her cousin’s daughter, who soon becomes her best friend. One day, Amelia finds out something new about herself; she can see into the future. The word about her visions soon gets around, and she is in demand from all sorts of people. Nevertheless, will her visions bring her happiness and friendships or, will they only bring her to her demise?

Saundra Mitchell has put together a wonderful story. This book holds suspense, romance, friendships, and betrayals on every page. She did a good job of telling Amelia’s story, but there is room for improvement. The flash-forward parts of the book are nice, but at times, they are a bit confusing. However, I would definitely recommend this book to ages 13 and up.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shadowrise: Volume Three of Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

Shadowrise is the 3rd Book of the ShadowMarch Trilogy of Briony and Barrick Eddon, the Twin Regents, as they continue to fight the Qar armies that have besieged ShadowMarch and their evil cousins.
                Briony, who has had the throne of ShadowMarch usurped by her relative, Hendon Tolly, is beginning to make allies in the Court of the King of Syan.  However, there are those who don't want these alliances, and they will resort to violence to ensure it doesn't happen.  Barrick, who disappeared into the twilight lands, continues his journey with Skurn, the talking crow.  Eventually, he must flee to a place even his attackers fear, and there he finds out the only way to get to Qul-na-Qar, through the city of Sleep, the home of the dreamless.
This book is well-written, but a little difficult to read.  Williams uses many complex and advanced words that add a different depth to the meaning of what is being written.   The way the book is written can make it frustrating to follow one character's storyline for a length of time, because Williams likes to switch from one character's viewpoint to another.  The characters are, in my opinion, well-developed, and Williams describes the events of the story so well that sometimes I would forget I was reading a book and think I was there, experiencing it. I liked this book, and recommend it to anyone who likes reading about wars, magic, and Gods. But make sure to read the first two books first, or you will be lost.

Review by Michael Bart, Ardmore, OK

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

When Payton finds out the hard way that her family has been hiding her Dad's diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis from her for six months, she is devastated. She is forced to attend meetings with the school counselor, who asks her to pick a focus option to get her through the hard time. After long contemplation, she decides on the head of the boy sitting in front of her- Sean Griswold's head. She realizes that after many years of sitting behind him, she still doesn't know hardly anything about him. As part of her "researching" she decides to learn more about him and his history. In the Book Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt, Payton learns what things in life really matter, and the real things she should be focusing on.

Sean Griswold'd Head by Lindsey Leavitt was very relatable, I could understand where the thought and feelings of the main character were coming from. This book was very fast-paced. The ending was perfect-it left me satisfied with how everything worked out. I would recommend this book to most people. It was a little on the girly side, but it showed overall what the experience of having a family member with MS in a very understandable way. This book was not the run of the mill chick-lit, it had all of the aspects I like plus extra feeling and depth that blew me alway. I was astounded and loved this book!!!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake BLuff, IL USA

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ask Amy Green: Summer Secrets by Sarah Webb

Amy Green's life had just gotten perfect, and then her family had to go and ruin it. Her parents decided to go on a family trip; with her mom's ex-husband and his wife and kids. Meanwhile, her new boyfriend is going to be spending the summer in Rome, without her. Thankfully her cousin Clover is going too, so Amy won't go nuts while on vacation. Just as Amy's summer started to take a turn for the worse, Clover's magazine company decides to send her to the U.S. to interview America's new teen movie star and uncover his secrets. The best part is: Amy gets to go with her! Will Amy's summer finally get better, or will it only get worse?

Sarah Webb has put together a wonderful book for teens. This book takes place mainly in Ireland, and it uses just the right amount of the Gaelic language to make the setting authentic. The only thing I would have added would be a glossary at the end of the book to tell the readers what the different phrases of Gaelic mean. I would recommend this book to younger teens, and girls in-between the ages of twelve and fourteen.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Monday, April 18, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

You Killed Wesley Payne is a neo-noir, murder mystery novel set in the town of Salt River. Dalton Rev, the protagonist, is a Private Dick, or detective for hire, who transfers to numerous high schools to solve cases. Dalton is hired to investigate the suspicious death of Wesley Payne, a focal figure in the Salt River High School caste system. Thrust into a school divided by profit-driven cliques and a corrupt administration, Dalton must search through the bloshite and learn who to trust in order to discover who killed Wesley Payne. However, as Dalton digs deeper into the story, he realizes Wesley's death is only the tip of the iceberg.

This novel reminded me of the 2005 film Brick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What I loved about You Killed Wesley Payne is the element of noir that gives the book a vibrant setting. This adds an additional layer to the book which separates itself from other school mysteries. The author is very ambitious in the storylines with complex issues surrounding Dalton and the students at Salt River High School. However, some of these storylines were not necessary. I could not determine what the subplot of Dalton being courted by a Harvard admissions representative added to the story. Also, the chapters devoted to Dalton's past could have been integrated more seamlessly into the pace of the story. Nevertheless, You Killed Wesley Payne is an entertaining and enjoyable read. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy mysteries with a teenage backdrop.

Reviewer Age:21
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Four Seasons by Jane Breskin Zalben

Allegra Katz has been playing the piano ever since she was four years old. And ever since she was ten, she has been attending the Pre-College Program at The Julliard School. Now Allegra is feeling the pressure of being perfect. She has some choices to make; Piano or math? Let her parents down or Let herself down? And what about Brad or should she choose Alex? What on Earth is Alley going to choose?

I thought that Four Seasons was a very good "coming of age" type book. The characters were very engaging to follow throughout the story. I also thought the themes in the book were very similar to life even if you aren't a musical prodigy. The plot was a little slow since you followed Alley throughout an entire year, but it was ok overall. Four Seasons is a very good book if you are interested in music or if you just want a good book to curl up and read with. I would recommend this book to a friend.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan United States of America

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Baby Grape and Huskey by Thom Rogers

Baby Grape and Huskey is the story of an adventurous boy named Toby who finds himself in trouble with the law after he injures another boy while defending himself. Feeling the need to dissapear for awhile, he accepts a job delivering a still from Pittsburgh to Sligo, Pennsylvania. He is accompanied by a man, Lew, who Toby's late father had once described as mean spirited. Lew proves Toby's father correct, and soon Toby is forced to take responsibility beyond what he had imagined the delivery would require. On the journey, Toby discovers a plot to steal the still, befriends a servant girl named Gina, and continues on the hard road to delivery, meeting many interesting people and visiting unforgettable places along the way.

Baby Grape and Huskey was a great adventure story with realistic characters and an interesting plot. Toby was very believable as a person, and the detailed writing made it easy for me to picture him and the other characters throughout the story. It was also easy to imagine the landscape, weather and general atmosphere around the characters thanks to the wonderful descriptions. The story was somewhat episodic, with many sets of characters that appeared in the story with their own mini-plots. I enjoyed this, because it kept the story moving while still coming together to tell a larger story. While reading this story, I got a feel for what it would feel like to live in the mid-1800's, and what Pennsylvania looked like at that time. I would recommend the book to anyone who likes historical fiction and adventure stories, along with a smidge of romance. I would not recommend it to those who don't like historical fiction, because the book takes place in 1845.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Pennsylvania USA

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Celeste Parker has everything; she has the perfect boyfriend, amazing friends, and lives on the Eastside or right side of Legend's Run. All that changes when Brandon moves to Legend's Run. Celeste is instantly drawn to him, but her friends would never forgive her if she dumped her perfect boyfriend for him. When Celeste gets lost in the woods everything changes. But for a girl who tries to see the good in everyone, she may lose her faith in someone.

This book was good, but the beginning was not very good. It droned on and on, but it did get better. I was instantly drawn to Celeste and Brandon. I do not think this was as good as Vampire Kisses but it was interesting. I recommend this book to people who like Vampire Kisses, Shiver, and Need.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northglenn, Colorado United States

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 ‎$500 Scholarship Essay Contest - THE IMMORTAL LOST ‎$500 Scholarship Essay Contest - THE IMMORTAL LOST

Flamingnet Teen Book Reviews April Giveaway Book
Book reviews and reading lists for preteens and young adults, including advance literature reviews.

Ranger's Apprentice - The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan

In the beginning of the book, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, you find yourself in Nihon-Ja with Horace.  Horace ends up being in a revolt against Emperor Shigeru, who is the Emperor of Nihon-Ja.  Will, Halt, Alyss, and Evanlyn have to come to his aide.  They end up having to train the Kikori as soldiers against an almost invisible force known as the Senshi.  The odds are against them but will they still win?  Read this truly  amazing book to find out.
In the beginning you know that you are reading a book like no other.  John Flanangan's writings take you away to a world that you can only dream about.  He closes the series with a book sure to be read over and over again.  Any 12-100 year old will instantly fall in love with it.  His writing is going to leave you wanting for more.  I have read all of his books and although they are all great, this one is
by far, the best!   
Reviewer Age:12: Uxbridge, Ma USA

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to be a Werewolf by Serena Valentino

What type of werewolf would you be? Find all types of facts about werewolves in the book, 'How to be a Werewolf' by Serena Valentino. One interesting fact was that there is more than one type of werewolf. I would like to turn into an arctic wolf.

The book was informative about the topic. It was, however, a disappointment. I found that it was quite repetitive in means of content. It seemed as if my mother was nagging me to clean my room, over and over. The book was also quite a short read. The pictures were captivating, but the words did not bring them to life.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Coconutcreek, Florida U.S.A

Monday, April 11, 2011

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Ellie is a reincarnated warrior with her guardian Will by her side. She fights the reapers; creatures that take souls to directly Hell. The difference is this time her memories are coming back too slow and she had 40 years between her and her last reincarnation, when it is only suppose to be 18. When the memories refuse to come back, Will intervenes and tries to help but it is no good. The reapers continue to fight and Ellie's power becomes stronger and stronger until she faces the reapers that haunt her dreams and memories.

Angelfire was fantastic. It was written perfectly for young adults with the setting and characters jumping out of the page. I thought it jumped into the story a little too fast but after that it was amazing. Because it was told in first person, I really felt Ellie's emotions and pain. I can't wait for a sequel to come out. I recommend this book to people who like Shadow Chase, I am Number Four, and Invasion.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northglenn, Colorado United States

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fallen Grace

Two sisters, orphaned in London, must seek a way to survive another winter. Grace, our protagonist, had been raped nine months ago. Just as she begins to cope with the fact that she is pregnant, she is told she gave birth to a stillborn. With this terrible event in her life she decides that she is going to begin a new life for herself and her sister, Lily. Unfortunately things take a wrong turn when she and Lily end up homeless. With nowhere else to turn she becomes employed as a servant for the Unwins. All the while, the Unwins have made an astounding discovery—Grace and Lily are the heiresses to their father's fortune. The Unwins then attempt to steal the fortune from the unenlightened girls. Soon after the Unwins' plotting begins, Lily disappears and Grace finds out the truth about her fortune. Now it is up to her to reclaim her father's fortune and find her sister before it is too late.

I adored this book. I knew little about the 1800's in London but I was able to grasp every bit of detail and piece together pictures of life for the poor versus the life of the rich. The only problem I really had was that I knew nothing about this time period, so I had to look up a lot of terms used in the book. Other than that I couldn't put the book down. I recommend it to everyone. Even if you do not have an interest is this sort of book, you will definitely like it. This book, although it does not use the term, is referring to rape.

Reviewer Age: 20

Reviewer City, State and Country: Az city, Arizona USA

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Publisher's Book Trailer

Kylie's life is breaking down around her: her parents consider divorce, her boyfriend dumps her and immediately starts going out with another girl, and a stalker has been introduced into her life. It isn't until Kylie gets caught at a party -- with under-aged drinking and drugs galore -- that her life gets turned completely upside down. Her Ice Queen mom decides to send her to Shadow Falls Camp, a psychologist-recommended institution for troubled teens. And soon, Kylie discovers herself stranded in the midst of brainwave-reading paranormal creatures that couldn't and shouldn't exist. Confused but feeling an undeniably weird sense of belonging, Kylie begins to realize just how special she really is. Kylie's stalker also starts to make sense -- a startling relief after all the anxiety. But then trouble invades the camp, and the paranormals are pointing fingers at each other. Beware, happy little campers, someone has an agenda of their own, and they are quite the determined bunch.

C.C. Hunter's debut, Born at Midnight, was attention-grabbing and hard to put down. However, the plot started out incredibly slow. It is slightly understandable, as the author has to first describe the characters and the setting of this new series. But the predicament, which should be central to every novel, was brief and felt like an after-thought. Imagine this: pages after pages of descriptions and little action, a few chapters devoted to the build-up of tension, the short resolution, and then the end of the novel, which ends up feeling like accidentally running smack into a brick wall and maybe losing a few teeth in the process.
And onto the apparently mandatory element of a YA PNR book: the love triangle. The one that exists in this book felt pretty much superfluous. There was no reason for its creation in the first place, and Kylie's indecision and fluctuating feelings becomes a bore to read about after a while. Girl, it is not right to be lusting after three guys (her ex-boyfriend included) at once, especially if you alternate between thinking about kissing one boy and then switches to thinking about the hotness of another a second later.
Born at Midnight is a nice read, not entirely original, but still interesting nonetheless. The second installment of the series, Awake at Dawn, will be released in October 2011.
Teen pregnancy and drug use
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA US

The Fairytale Trilogy by Valerie Gribben

Marianne and her brother Robin are orphans. Their parents were killed by the wizard Grimholdt. In the first story, Fairytale, Marianne finds her brother ( they had been separated ) and discovers that a paperweight containing a dragonfly, when broken, can become a full grown dragon, whom she names Leopold. With Leo's help, Marianne and Robin travel a long way, and in one town, Robin purchases a disk with a dragon etched into one side. After a while, Marianne is kidnapped by Grimholdt and Robin must rescue her from the wizard's clutches. In The Emperor's Realm, Marianne and Robin visit a place in China, where they are accused of having stolen the dragon disk and learn that not everyone is who they seem. In the third story, The Three Crowns, Marianne discovers that she is destined to be the next queen of the fairies, and humans threaten to take over the final fairy colony. How will Marianne face the tasks that will bring her to the throne and then save her new home from extinction?

The Fairytale Trilogy was an amazing set of stories. Marianne and Robin had many disputes and challenges, but they managed to get past them all. I love the idea of a paperweight that could turn into a dragon. I thought it was unusual that the fairies eyes were swirling clouds of color, and only the royal line had wings. The Journey Fruit was also interesting. I wonder how many types there were. These stories had many wonderful and intriguing qualities, and I would recommend them to anyone who loves fairytales and wants something a little different.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Glass Minstrel by Hayden Thorne

It's winter in mid-19th century Bavaria, and two men,Andreas Schiffer and Abelard Bauer, are trying to overcome the pain of their sons' deaths, and the scandal they left behind. When Schiffer sees a glass minstrel in Bauer's shop, he know's that Bauer is trying to keep his son alive, and is angry with him, having blamed him and his son for the scandal. However, Schiffer must learn to live in the now and take care of his family, as Bauer must try to understand why his son died.

Meanwhile, fifteen-year-old Jakob Diederich has a problem of his own. He becomes infatuated with a traveling Englishman who is staying at the Inn he works at. As he tries to understand himself, and learn more about the scandal that Schiffer and Bauer's sons were involved in, he is drawn to Bauer, tying the three characters together in the end.
Normally, I don't read historical fiction, but this book was wonderful. The author really hooks you with the flow of his writing and accurate details. He gives a life to this time and these characters that keeps you reading until the very end. Jakob was probably the most fleshed out character, and I love how accurate the author was concerning the thoughts of someone his age. He was three-dimensional and well-balanced. Schiffer was featured less prominently, and so I didn't feel the same sense of character, but you could still connect to him in his hardships. Bauer didn't really develop as a character until the end, but he mixes into the story very nicely when he does develop. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and have lent it out 3 times already. I give it a 9/10 and recommend it for ages 15 and up because of allusions to sex, and a homosexual character.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sykesville, MD United States

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Killer Pizza: The Slice by Greg Taylor

In the beginning you find yourself at the Killer Pizza Headquarters in New York City with Toby Strobe and
Annabel. They get sent on a chilling mission to track and help a Dekayi girl called Calanthe, all the while being chased by a morphing invisible Rukh. They get her safely away with the Rukh hanging on his last shred of life. Calanthe then becomes a "normal"  Hidden Hills teenager.  She admits that she is expected to be the offering to one of her gods in a sacred ceremony. Then she tells them her people will stop at nothing to get her back. Will they win the battle and save Calanthe from death? Read this monster busting book to find out.

 Greg Taylor creates a world where danger hides behind every corner. The book makes you feel like you're fighting the monsters yourselves. This is one of the great monster books for teens and older kids. Fans would want a third book. This book may lead you on to other action books!

Reviewer Age:12  Uxbridge, Ma USA

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Leah Clifford's "A Touch Mortal" is all about a human that sparks the attention of an angel. The angel falls in love with her and the drama ensues. Suicide and death inch their way into the story, too. There are categories of angels and special rules for what happens when angels and humans interact. There are also various sides that humans and angels take. Love triangles form and new characters are shoved into the plot in an attempt to somehow make the story more interesting. There is some mystery as readers are trying to figure out all the different types of angels and who is against whom.

Full of cursing, this book is not for young readers. While the romance is not overtly graphic, it is still there. Most shocking is the notion that people fall "in love" very shortly after meeting someone and spending time with them. Also, cohabitation being approved of will raise some eyebrows. Clifford is subtle in how she uses characters to voice opinions about spirituality. However, she does not use angels in the sense that they are used in the Bible (even though she quotes a verse about immoral women at the beginning of the book). Some dialog hints at the fact that it is okay for angels (and humans?) to be gay, angels can be "good" while still lusting after humans, that there is no God, there is no Heaven, and that there is no Hell. For those that like lewd fantasy novels, have your fun, but for everyone else, please know that the ideas present in this book are not at all Biblical in the least.

There is a plethora of swearing and inappropriate romance.
Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Troy, NY USA

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Blessed, the third installment in the series with Tantalize and Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith, continues the tale of vampire Quincie P. Morris from Tantalize and the angel Zachary from Eternal. Quincie must find time to run the family restaurant, clear her best friend Kieren (a werewolf) of murder and must also make sure the vampire who turned her into one, Bradley, doesn't come back. With the help of new friends from Eternal like Zachary, Nora, Freddy and Harrison, Quincie learns more about the vampiric world. Unfortunately for them Bradley is trying to take over the powers of Dracula. If he succeeds in becoming like Dracula there would be no stopping him from coming back to the town and taking Quincie to live with him forever. Will Brad succeed in becoming Dracula? Or will Quincie and her cohorts find a way to stop him forever?

This was a great conclusion to the series. It was cool to have both sets of characters for the first two books combine into the final installment. The combination of Bradley and the essence of Dracula were very interesting since Bradley became basically insane by the end. This book was very well written and developed nicely. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes the supernatural-ish books like Twilight and House of Night.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois United States

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

First Generation White Collar by L. Marie Joseph

First Generation White Collar is about college graduates staying out of debt and becoming wealthy. It's a guide from everything such as debt and saving to life insurance and your kid's college fund. The author begins telling you ways to stay out of debt and how much you should be saving to one day become wealthy. The author also talks about investing, living simply and buying things the right way.

This book was very helpful to me. I may only be a college freshman but one day I am going to graduate and I will have lots of student loans. This book is perfect for any college student or graduate who is starting to think about their future or just trying to start out things right. After reading this book, I am going to wait a long time before opening a credit card. I would recommend this book to every single person living in my college dorm. In my opinion every young adult should read this short book before going out into the real world. I got through this book in less than a 3 days and it helped me out greatly.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, NJ USA

Blood Heat by Maria Lima

Blood Heat by Maria Lima is a story of a Kelli heir, who has returned from training to take her rightful place to the throne in the place of White Rock. The news of neighboring werewolves going missing catches the attention of Kiera. White Rock is a seemingly innocent place but the more research that is being done on White Rock the guiltier the residents of White Rock seem. The werewolves tried to fit in the White Rock community. Being new to the town and having a different religion causes sticky situations. Read this book if you like a good mystery including murder, cover ups, and hate crimes.

When I close my eyes picturing this plot I see the forest on the werewolf property and the unbearable sun beating down through the trees. The feeling I get is suspense, because of the mystery and excitement. I didn't know what to expect, and the book constantly kept me on my toes. The story has a mysterious voice. I liked the writing style because it gave enough detail without giving too much away. The ending was great! The book definitely is better than other books I have read, because it had a little of everything. The beginning of the book is a bit boring, but improves if you stick with it. I would recommend this book.

Reviewer Age:13,  Uxbridge, MA USA

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Two broken people, destroyed by circumstance and the irreversible passage of time.

There is Tom -- the uni drop-out who spends his time pining for the girl whose heart he broke so many winters ago. Drowning in regret, he finds solace in escape, just as his alcoholic father blots out the world when life becomes too much to handle. And then there is Tom's Aunt Georgie, confused and yearning for understanding after that one little event that fractured her life, even though the one person who can mend her is the one who broke her in the first place.

This is the story of the rediscovery of hope, as bits and pieces of Tom and Georgie's lives continue to chip off and crumble in front of their weary eyes. This is where the healing begins.

I would never have given this book a second glance if shown its American cover: A boy guitarist in a striped shirt? Come on - How much more unoriginal can you get? However, I've had the luck to read a few of the brilliant Melina Marchetta's works before and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one. To say that I was excited to start The Piper's Son would be the understatement of the century.

Who would have thought that Marchetta could take something that resembled a cheesy Asian drama in character and plot and portray it as something so raw and real? You have your heart-broken protagonist with the messed-up family and the unrequited love and an adult counterpart with a marriage ripped apart by an affair. As usual, angst is always present, snaking its way through the story and leaving slimy trails of betrayal in its wake. It takes talent to write cliche into something of beauty and sadness and growth and forgiveness. Even though this book is as far from the fantasy genre as you can get, The Piper's Son was magical. Yes, realistic novels can be magical, too.

And despite the almost depressing feel of the synopsis, there is also an abundance of humor - puns, sarcasm, and witty remarks about random things such as a certain grandfather's bum in super short jogging shorts and the mortification that accompanies said shorts during morning jogs around the neighborhood.

A sort-of sequel of Saving Francesca but with a side character as the main one instead, The Piper's Son is one of those rare books that deserves a re-read. Even the second time will be as engrossing as the first.

Profanity and sexual content.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA US

Ada Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald

Ada’s life has never been easy.  Shifted from one terrible foster home after another, she hasn’t ever caught a break.  She knows she is different.  She has abilities that make her capable of identifying health problems in others and herself and heal them.  At fifteen, she’s been in and been kicked out of eight horrid foster homes, when she finally gets contact with a family member, the only one shes ever had contact with, her Aunt Jessie.  Once she is reunited with her aunt, she takes things into her own hands, and, after learning of her mother’s past and possible survival, plunges into a fast-paced journey to find her mother, on the run from those who would abuse her ability,.  Her expedition will lead her to Canada, Paris, and more as she rushes to complete her quest, and, as she finds new friends, she will wonder where her happiness will fit into the equation.  This book had a bit of a darker adventurous mood, but was also a bit of a coming-of-age novel, as Ada struggled to find herself and her purpose in the world and as an individual.
The overall mood of this book was a little bit sinister and gloomy to begin with, but it develops to become brighter as the main character finds herself and develops her talents.  The descriptions left a lot to be wanting at some points and sometimes I think it would’ve benefited the story to slow it down a little, to explain more of what was going on, or add more character development scenes.  At some times, I could picture the setting, but it happened very rarely, so I would suggest more setting information, and also, adding some more color.  Even little details thrown in help, such as an adjective in front of the name of an object (ex:  “the fraying lavender jacket” ) because it helps create a clearer picture of everything to see it like a movie in your head.  The first person voice was appropriate for the storyline; it revealed Ada’s gradual transformation from start to finish in a way that helps the reader grow with her.  Vulgar language and a couple of questionable or disturbing scenes included made it a PG-13 book.  I felt like sometimes there were convention errors (weirdly capitalized words, misplaced or missing commas, et cetera), but nothing that detracted from the story.  This wasn’t a book I just couldn’t put it down book, per se, but it did have a bit of a drive to finish it, which made it easy to read.  The ending was a cliffhanger for a purpose (I believe this is the first of a series), but it also had a sense of closure, or at least the reader feels like they and Ada both learned an important lesson: that everyone matters, and to try to help them, and that everyone’s happiness counts as well.  I would recommend this book to anyone who will appreciate a medium-sized read with some life lessons and self-discovery if they will not mind a couple of bad scenes/crude language.
This book involves some crude language and inappropriate/disturbing images and scenes.
Content:  2                       Rating:  7

Reviewer Age: 14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, OR USA

Saturday, April 02, 2011

All You Get Is Me by Yvonne Prinz

Roar (Short for Aurora) is a city girl at heart, even though a year ago her father uprooted her to become an organic farmer in the middle of nowhere. Life is simple there and she is becoming ok with that. Then she witnesses a car accident that results in the death of a migrant farm worker, Sylvia, and everything changes. Now her dad is trying to fight the system and causing trouble. To make matters worse Roar develops a crush on the new boy, but his mother hit Sylvia. Plus roar is still haunted by her mother's disappearance. Roars simple farm life just got complicated.

When I first read the back cover and learned that Roar was a city turned farm girl I was skeptical. Uprooting to a new life is a standard plot line. I was expecting the book to be cheesy and predictable. I was wrong. The first chapter hooked me in, after the car accident I couldn't wait to know what happened next. The plot kept me turning the pages but the characters kept me invested. Roar was funny and relatable. I loved the fact that she took pictures of everything, always carrying a camera around her neck. Storm, Roars rebel best friend, was a nice quirky addition. Overall the characters and plot were interesting and made me want to see more from Yvonne Prinz.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Amherst, MA US

License to Ensorcell by Katherine Kerr

License to Ensorcell is a mixture of mystery, adventure, romance, and the supernatural. The main character is a psychic agent, Nola O'Grady, who is assigned to work with Ari Nathan, an aggravating agent working for Interpol, in order to solve her most recent case. It involves a serial killer, running through the streets of San Francisco, killing werewolves every chance he gets. Ari believes the man is purely crazy but Nola knows better, as her own brother was a werewolf himself before he turned up dead. Ari and Nola may frustrate each other originally, but they are forced to combine their very different talents in order to get to the bottom of this increasingly dangerous and complicated case.

I found this to be a very creative plotline, with many twists and turns and lots of suspenseful action. Each character had a unique personality and was realistic. The multitude of complex characters also helped to create a much more reasonable setting. The supernatural element was very interesting but at times could be difficult to understand. Also, there was more detail needed to fully explain the different scenery and help me picture the events taking place as I read. I would certainly recommend this book to others who love murder mysteries and psychic elements, especially people who enjoy very intricate plots. Overall, I found this story to be very captivating and full of rich dialogue, and I enjoyed reading it.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Needham, Massachusetts United States

Daugher of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang

In Daughter of Xanadu, by Dori Jones Yang, 16-year-old Emmajin is the royal granddaughter of Khubilai Khan. Instead of marriage, her interests lie in joining the army. When her grandfather, the Great Khan, asks Emmajin to befriend the foreign traveler Marco Polo and to learn his secrets, she does. However, Emmajin starts to actually enjoy the company of this clueless man, instead of dreading it and dismissing his odd western customs. Emmajin begins to see some aspects of her country and culture through his eyes, such as the focus on conquering. She doubts her way of life and starts to feel closer to Marco Polo.

Daughter of Xanadu was an interesting book with a fairly original storyline and characters. Emmajin was very different from other girls of her age and rank, girls only concerned with marriage. This well-written book captured Emmajin's concerns and drew the reader into the story with its dialogue. While slow at times, the unusual plot keeps the reader going. Most readers will relate to Emmajin's character due to her strong will and ambition. It was very interesting to read about the Mongol Empire. This is a great novel for fans of historical fiction.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC United States

Hush by Eishes Chayil

Gittel grows up learning how to please Hashem. In the closed Chassidic community of Borough Park, everyone always works to please Hashem. The girls are modest (no skirts above the knees!) and always listen to what they are told. The men wear tall hats and, the most prestigious of them, devote their entire lives to studying His word. When Gittel sees something unspeakable that leads to even more horrible events, she is told to forget that it ever happened. Actually, it never did happen. This is the community that Gittel knows. She is taught that this is right because anything else is goyshe and that would be bad. Gittel does not want to be a goy.

 This story is based on true events and that is part of what makes it so powerful. Gittel is a strong girl who grows up and realizes that everything she was always taught may not be right. Sometimes, no matter what she is told, what she feels in her heart is right. It is a story of growing up, a story of friendship, love, propaganda, and death. At times it was difficult to read because of the strong religious overtones, but, if one looks past that, it is a story about overcoming hardships and, therefore, one that we can all relate to.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leverett, Ma USA

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin

Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers have the job of a lifetime. They play two undercover rockstars on the hit comedy Jenna and Jonah's How To Be a Rockstar and are beloved by millions of tweens across the world. Off-screen, Charlie and Fielding are also involved in a romantic relationship that the papparazzi and tabloids love documenting. However, no one knows that Charlie and Fielding actually hate each other and the relationship is a big publicity stunt for ratings. Forced to spend every waking moment in each other's company, Charlie and Fielding are just trying to make it until the end of the show, but a tabloid rumor gone wrong might just ruin everything.

When I first picked up Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance, I thought it sounded really cute. Two stars that are dating for only for publicity? It makes you wonder how often this happens in real life. Especially since the show in question is eerily similar to Hannah Montana. Charlie and Fielding really do seem to hate each other and always trading insults and rude remarks even when they are supposed to be acting like a couple. I loved their dialogue because it was always really funny! What I didn't like was that everything falls apart really quickly and not much time is spent on Charlie and Fielding pretending to be a couple. I would have liked to see more backstory as to what happened when they first pretended to be boyfriend and girlfriend - I think that could have been really interesting. Regardless, I liked both Fielding and Charlie as character and enjoyed watching them grow throughout the book. A little predictable, but fans of romantic comedies will enjoy Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance.

Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Awakened by P.C. Cast

With the help of her devoted warrior, Stark, the reluctant assistance of Kalona and the ever-watchful presence of the Goddess Nyx, Zoey has returned back to the land of the living. No longer the scared and broken girl she was before, Zoey and Stark are beginning to learn about their special bond as warrior and High Priestess from the powerful Vampyre Queen Sgiach and her warrior. But Zoey can't run away from her problems forever because the Vamyre High Council has returned the evil Neferet to her position at the House of Night and she's using her regained power to continue her evil plan. Once again, it is up to Zoey, her friends, the elements, and the blessing of Nyx to save everyone they love and the whole human race from the Vampyres who wish to exterminate them. Will Zoey be able to save everyone or will some have to be sacrificed for the greater good?

When you first look at any of the new, young adult, vampire novels you're first thought might be Twilight? but this is not the case. This book has it's own original story line which show s the ancient struggle of good verses evil in a modern setting. It is not particular deep writing filled with thought provoking questions, complex characters, and a wide verity of diction. It is, however, a nice, easy read for anyone who likes fiction novels with strong female leads. There is some mention and alluded to sexual actions so this is not the book for younger children. In addition, you would need to have read the earlier books in the House of Night Series to read this book or you will be completely lost.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Reston, Virginia United States of America

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Haunting: Ebram's Story by Esther Locascio

The main character Ebram moves to a new home in Texas. Shortly after moving, he finds out that a little girl who used to live in his house before him haunts the house. His brothers and sisters can all hear the little girl talk in their heads. The little girl sometimes does strange things, like lifting things up in the air and moving things around. This book is also about the struggles that Ebram has fitting in at his new school. He eventually becomes a Shrouda (a group of students who have many Christian faiths. They also try to improve the community and help the needy). He tries to carry out his own plan to help make the community a better place. Ebram also has to face bullies at school. This book tells how Ebram gets to know the little girl and how he adapts to his new school. I think that this book's genre fits in with realistic fiction and supernatural.

I thought that this book could have been a little more supernatural, and the supernatural element of it wasn't very scary. I did enjoy the book it was pretty good. I also found myself daydreaming a little bit during some slow parts of the book. I wish that it had been a little scarier and suspenseful. The writer did make me feel like I was in the book with the characters, and I had a great mental picture in my head. The characters in this book were very real. They didn't seem too perfect, so I could picture them in real life. I think that overall, the author achieved her purpose. The strengths of this book were that it flowed very easily from topic to topic, which I think is important. Some weaknesses are that this book at times was not very descriptive. Sometimes I got a little confused and had to go back and reread. This book is a series, so I think that the author didn't tell what happened to all of the characters.

The vocabulary was very age appropriate. Other books that I have read in this genre were more suspenseful centered than this book because this book also talks about Ebram at school. I have not read any other books by this author. My overall view of this book is that is was an interesting read, but if you are looking for a scarier supernatural book, I would suggest reading a book by a different author. But if you are one of those people who gets scared easily but likes to read supernatural books, this book is for you. I didn't really learn anything from this book, but I would recommend it to others.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States

Wildwing by Emily Whitman

As a young woman of no means in 20th century England, Addy has very few options for her future. When a rich classmate taunts her in school, Addy leaves and becomes the maid of mysterious local man, Mr. Greenwood. While in Mr. Greenwood's house, Addy comes across a time machine in a locked room. She is transported back to the 13th century where she is mistaken for a Lady. Addy is given the chance to live the life of the rich, and she couldn't be happier. But as time passes, she learns that the life of a wealthy lady is just as difficult as hers was. As she comes to this realization, Addy has to make a choice between staying a Lady in the 13th Century or returning back to the future and her family.
As soon as I picked up Wildwing, I got caught up in the story. I'm a huge fan of all historical fiction novels, and this story combined both the 13th and 20th centuries. The idea of time travel made the story more interesting. Addy was a great character to follow and I looked forward to all of her adventures. The only thing that bothered me about the novel was the way it was written; it's better suited for younger readers. But the story was excellent and I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

Reviewer Age:24
Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA USA

All About Daisy by O'Dell Hutchison

High School is a difficult time; this is usually a point at which people find themselves and figure out who they are. Daisy plans to become  popular by making a to-do list full of things like: get a boyfriend, find a BFF, grow boobs, land a spot on the cheerleading squad, etc. Throughout the book Daisy goes through twists and turns and high and low points. Different things happen throughout the book that lead Daisy to find out who she is and what she cares about. Daisy's emotions and personality are something someone her age can relate to in one way or another.  The book leaves you with a surprise ending and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this cute series.
I could really feel Daisy's emotions in this book. I felt like I was right along with her and I was in the book. I could visualize the characters clearly, from the charming Russ to the evil Megan-I felt like I saw them the way she saw them. I wasn't crazy about the writing style of the book, because there are some scenes where Daisy thinks things that didn't make the most sense to me and seemed unnecessary, but that's just a personal opinion. I liked the book and I thought it was a fun read and that the author did  a good job of capturing Daisy's emotions, though it wasn't one of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend this book to readers who like a girly high school coming-of-age book.
For most readers I think this book would be just fine(appropriate wise), though I was quite surprised by some of the scenes. Some of the scenes were just a little mature for what I expected.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Annandale, VA United States