Monday, November 12, 2012

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Mel lives in New Whitby, a town founded by vampires.  She isn't a big fan of the Shade, where most of the vampires live.  When Francis, a teen vampire, enrolls in their high school, Mel knows it will cause trouble.

The trouble comes in the way of Cathy, Mel's best friend, and vampire lover.  While most of the girls in their school are enthralled by Francis, he seems to return Cathy's attention.  Mel is determined to save Cathy from Francis--even when she doesn't want to be.

Not only that, but their friend Anna is also upset and wonders about her mother.  Anna's dad ran off with a vampire over the summer break, and it seems to be hitting Anna and her mother hard.  Anna's brought her mother's behavior to Mel's attention and Mel feels she needs to help figure out what's wrong. 

On top of everything else, Mel meets Kit, a human living in Francis' home.  He plans on becoming a vampire when he's 18.  Mel doesn't know what to think of that--she was beginning to like Kit. 

Everything soon comes to a head and Mel and her friends need to figure out what to do. 

Not quite what I was expecting but still a good story.  Definitely not your normal vampire book, and it's about time too!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

I am still here!  Just not reading as many teen books as before...and forgetting to put down the ones I do!  I'm also taking an opportunity to read some full series, instead of just the first book or two.


Alex is left alone for a weekend in his Cedar Falls home while his parents and younger sister head off to a family's home in Illinois.  Alex expects the weekend to be very low-key.  The world has other plans.  A volcano erupts at Yellowstone National Park and throws the entire world off-kilter.  The earthquake ruins Alex's home and the ashfall from the eruption causes total blackness.

Staying with the neighbors seems like the best option...until one of the men kills an intruder.  Scared and nervous, Alex takes off, determined to find his family on the other side of the Mississippi.  What he doesn't realize is how desperate people are or how determined to survive at the cost of everything.  Especially others' lives.

The scariest part about this story is the fact that it could happen.  While the book could have been a little shorter, it is definitely a page-turner.  Alex meets all sorts of obstacles along the way and while he's not afraid to take help, he becomes leery of it as the book moves on.  A good survivalist novel...there's a sequel on the way!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Miss Beregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Just as a side note...I haven't stopped reading teen fiction!  I've just been reading all sorts of other things too.'s all about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:

Jacob has always wanted to believe his grandfather's stories about the unusual children he knew in the 1940s.  The pictures he had, the stories he told, and the experiences he shared all fascinated Jacob, from a very early age.  As Jacob grew older, though, he had a harder time believing stories about a girl who floated about the ground, a boy filled with bees, not to mention all the other peculiarities. 

When his grandfather calls one day in a panic because he can't get into his gun cabinet, Jacob thinks he's finally lost his marbles.  But when he finds his grandfather dying in the forest behind his house, he can't deny something's going on.  Especially when Jacob sees a creature not far off that no one else seems to see.

Following his grandfather's directions, Jacob sets off for a remote island off the coast of Wales, to find Miss Peregrine and get the answers he seeks.  What he discovers is his grandfather may not have been making up anything at all...

I did enjoy this book and story, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting.  The beginning half, when Jacob is learning about the different peculiar "children", I thought this would be something along the lines of a scary freak show.  This story follows a fantasy line more closely than a mystery, although it takes most of the book to realize that.  It sounds, from the ending, like there is a sequel in the mix.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Natalie has been mute ever since her mother died.  He lives with her father in early 20th century New York and assists him with his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When Natalie hears of the painting of Lord Denbury, she insists on seeing it.  The owner, Mrs. Northe, decides to loan the painting to the museum for safekeeping, and entrusts Natalie with some knowledge she has of the paintings origins.  When observing the painting one day, Natalie notices it seems to be moving.  When she touches it, she's pulled into the painting.  Lord Denbury is real--and trapped!  She must learn about the curse in order to set Lord Denbury free.

Written in a very descriptive format, the author paints a vivid picture.  Natalie's character is interesting and the story is written in a journal format from her point of view. 

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Helmuth lives in Germany as the country struggles to survive the aftermath of World War I and the penalties brought by the Treaty of Versailles.

Then Hitler comes to power and before anyone realizes it, Germany is prospering.  Any wrongdoing is blamed on Communists or Jews, and while Helmuth doesn't really agree, he knows to keep his mouth shut.

When his brother brings home a contraband radio that allows Helmuth the chance to hear what's really happening, he decides to take action.

This is based on the true story of Helmuth Hubener, executed at 16, for his crimes against Nazi Germany.

The author tells how she collected her story together and her sources.  Very moving and easy to get into.  The story flashes from Helmuth's time in prison to the events leading to his capture.

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

I believe this was the only book I hadn't read of Clement-Moore's, and it was worth the wait.

Sylvie can't believe her life's ambition is over--a severly broken leg means she'll never dance again.  Life might as well be over too as her mom and new step-dad ship her off to stay in Alabama while they're on their honeymoon.  Convinced she's having a spychotic break, they want someone to watch her all the time.

Can Sylvie help the fact she can see ghosts?  As she settles into life at Bluestone Hill, the strange occurrences keep happening, convincing her that maybe she is crazy.  A baby's wail at night, the cold pockets on the landing, and a blur of clothing out of the corner of her eye convince her something is happening.  When the rivers rise and threaten to flood the town, she may be the only one to stop the supernatural catastrophe behind it all.

Once again, Clement-Moore creates a world of magic and wonder.  I was reminded of Marion Zimmer-Bradley's work while I was reading this.  A definite pageturner.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Drew took the order the night Kayla disappeared.  No one knew right away the intended victim was Gabie, who would have been working, had the girls not switched.

The police don't believe that, of course.  They start looking for everyone who might have had a grudge against Kayla.  When the guy they think did it kills himself, the case is considered closed.

But Drew and especially Gabie don't believe it.  And the real kidnapper could still be waiting to catch Gabie when she least expects it.

Definitely a thriller.  Henry builds the pace nicely and the point of view switches between characters.  Great story and good ending.  The characters all have some flaws, which makes the story more believable.