Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Alona, dealing with her usual issues at home, didn't realize she had stepped out into the street until it was too late. Now a ghost, she is left with a lot of unanswered questions--and there is nothing Alona can't get when she sets her mind to it.

Will would like nothing more than to be left alone. He can see and hear ghosts, but tries to hide that as much as he can. But when he sees queen Alona fading and sobbing, he can't help but laugh. And then his secret's out.

Alona refuses to leave Will alone until he answers her questions. And Will can't seem to get the rest of the ghosts at school to leave him alone. Especially the one trying to kill him.

So, I did like the story. It wasn't completely light-hearted, there are serious issues. But for the most part, this was chick lit with paranormal thrown in for fun. Many humorous moments. My only issue was the title--cutesy--but the character even says he's not goth. Otherwise, a good choice for someone looking for lighthearted paranormal romance/chick lit!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Jessie can't believe she's been assigned to show new boy Pietr around their school. It's the last thing she wants, especially since Pietr can't seem to stand her, and every girl in the school is trying to climb all over him. She tries everything she can to stay away from him, while he's just as determined to stick around.

Pietr, however, has a big secret. And after learning about hers, he can't help but feel drawn to her more than ever.

A great love story. Jessie is believable and sarcastic. Her falling for Pietr is kind of predictable, as is their romance. That doesn't make it any less entertaining or page-turning. The rest of the plot really picks up at the end, making way for a possible series. (There will at least be a sequel)

Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

Billi's father is the Master of the Knights Templar--all nine of them. They fight against the Unholy, which these days include vampires, demons, and werewolves. They battle against the darkness that constantly strives to overtake humans.

Billi is their only female. Having passed her last test, she is a full-fledged member. Then Kay, the only friend she's allowed to have, returns. Angry at him and her father, she turns to Mike, the first guy ever to show interest in her.

But Mike's interest isn't in her--it's in getting the Cursed Mirror and freeing the other dark angels cast out of heaven.

King Solomon wasn't powerful enough to destroy Michael. Can Billi and Kay?

An interesting concept and story. A little slow to begin with, but the action picks up quickly and everything comes to a head. A few inconsistencies, but overall a great book and a fantastic twist.

The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli

Don Giovanni thought he had everything, but a flood showed just how wrong he was. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he wanders Sicily, looking for a kind soul to take pity on him.

Then a gentleman appears one day, with a wager too good to be true. All Don Giovanni has to do is not bathe, cut his hair, change his clothes, or shave his beard for three years, three months, and three days. He can have all the money he wants until that time is up. If he fails, the devil gets his soul.

What he finds is staying dirty isn't easy. But with his wealth he has a chance to do some good. And hopefully keep his head about him until he wins the wager.

Interesting and pretty easy to read. Not sure how much teens will actually pick up this book--it doesn't feel like it was written with teens in mind. However, it is based on actual folklore.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl II is a genius. And 12 years old. He bargains with a drunk fairy for a copy of The Book, a book of all the fairies'--The People--rules and secrets.

Armed with The Book, he plans on kidnapping a fairy to get gold--enough gold to get their family back to the lavish conditions they had before his father disappeared.

Holly is a fairy in the Recon division. She has one more chance to prove herself before being demoted. She goes to recharge her magic and that's when Artemis captures her.

Now the fairies are trying to get Holly back with any means necessary. But just maybe, she can save herself and spare them the trouble.

Interesting beginning to a series. Action and a back story. There are some down times, but the story is enjoyable and starts a great theme for the rest of the books.

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Lia had everything, until a freak accident ruined it all. Her body was destroyed in the car crash, so her father had her brain downloaded into a mechanical body.

Not only does she have a hard time accepting her new body, but her life has drastically changed along with it. Her friends and boyfriend abandon her, her sister Zo is now living the life she had, and her parents can hardly look at her, even though they were the ones to make the choice. Lia's only friend is Auden, one of the outcasts at her school she never paid attention to before.

She's unsure if she should try to fit with the humans or spend more time with the other people like her. Mechanical. Her choice could be the last for Auden.

A good sci-fi story--takes a bit to get started, but then it moves quickly. Lia is a selfish creature who ends up putting everything she cares about in danger. Interesting enough for me to want to read the sequel, and a third book is coming out as well.

The Mark by Jen Nadol

Cassandra, or Cassie, has a gift--or a curse. She sees a mark on people the day they will die.

When she sees the mark on her grandmother, she spends most of the day trying to save her life. To no avail.

When she sees the mark on her new boyfriend after going to live with her aunt, she intervenes and saves his life. Now she's forced to show him she can really tell when people will die, but should she?

Once she convinces him, Lucas is obsessed with her cheating death by saving the ones she sees are Marked.

Will learning more about her family and her past help her decide if she can--or should--save people?

Interesting concept, not well put together. The story is entertaining, but there are a few plot developments that could have developed more effectively. On the whole, the book was an interesting read and I enjoyed that aspect of it.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Barnes

Bryn's family was attacked by a werewolf when she was just 4 years old. She's the only survivor.

As the only human in the pack of werewolves that saved her, Bryn finds her life difficult and complicated. She was Marked by the pack's alpha, so the rest accepted her--or were forced. She still doesn't fit in.

Bryn then learns that Callum lied to her about the rogue werewolf who attacked her family. He escaped their wrath and continued to attack humans. One such human, Chase, was rescued by the pack.

Now Bryn breaks the rules to be with Chase, which also pushes her out of the pack for good. Determined to bring down the Rogue that stole her and Chase's lives, she sets out to finish him off for good. No matter what the pack has decided.

A fantastic new story about werewolves/shapeshifters. Well-written, paced, and executed. I enjoyed reading about Bryn and Chase and learning about their world.

Vampire Rising: Alex Van Helsing by Jason Henderson

I believe this is the first book in the Alex Van Helsing series.

Alex has been sent to yet another boarding school after an incident at the last one. As he's walking through the woods one night (yeah, he breaks the rules sometimes), he hears a scream. He finds a dead body and what appears to be a vampire. Not sure how, he stakes her and watches as she turns to dust. Convinced he was hallucinating, he returns to school and what he hopes is his sanity.

No such luck. Alex starts to wonder if the stories about Van Helsing are true. And if there really are vampires, is he destined to fight them? His friends are kidnapped and he knows he has no choice in the matter. He must charge into the lair of the vampires to save his friends.

An interesting premise and story. The story does waiver a little, but the action is solid and pretty believable. No romance here, just vampire hunting and plenty of it!

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

Eli and his family have lived in the Compound for the past six years, right after a nuclear attack on the United States. There was no time to wait for Gram or for Eddy, Eli's twin brother. Eli's response is to pull back from everyone and try to survive without getting attached to anyone else. They have another 8 years before they can think about leaving.

But things aren't going well. They are running out of food, and Eli can't stomach the idea of his dad's solution. His mom is pregnant again, the vegetable garden is dying, and Eli's dad is acting crazy. Then Eli finds a wireless connection. Soon he questions whether there was an nuclear attack at all--especially when he finds out Eddy is still alive.

Crazy paranoid but fantastic book. I enjoyed the character development and although I'm not surprised at the ending, I thought it worked with the book.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham

This novel-in-verse follows Jane recovering from a shark attack that leaves her without most of her right arm. Jane is an artist and a successful one--but without her right hand she's not sure she'll ever be able to draw again.

Jane's life isn't the only one that changes, but Jane has a hard time seeing that. Her friends don't know how to act and the only one who understands is a 10-year old, Justin, who lost his leg. But Justin is still living his life and adapting while Jane struggles to accept what's happened.

Jane strives to teach her left hand to do all that her right no longer can.

A great novel-in-verse. There are plenty of flashbacks and doubts. Eventually Jane realizes the good in things--which works with this story. Well-written and told.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Elizabeth doesn't have the best life--or the worst. Her dad remarried, her stepsisters aren't mean, but not nice either, and her stepmother can't stand her. Her close relationship with her dad is also a thing of the past.

Then she gets a job a the New York Circulating Material Repository to make some money and friends. The job is not what she expected. The Repository is a huge building filled with items from history that people can check out. Elizabeth is amazed.

She then learns of the Grimm Library--actual items from the Brothers Grimm's stories. These items all have a magical component--and they're being stolen. The staff are all on alert and Elizabeth is determined to find the culprit. Then one of her new friends disappears and she must decide what's more important.

There is a lot going on in this book. The concept is great but the story could have been polished a bit more. Plenty of action and characterization, it was just missing a little realism amongst all the fantasy.

Rush by Jonathan Friesen

Jake has a compulsion to take risks. It clears his mind and frees him to think. He's always doing stunts and risking his life for the rush and thrill.

The only other risk/thrill Jake has is Salmone. She clears his mind the same way. They have strong feelings for each other, but Jake keeps her at a distance. Anyone too close to him ends up getting hurt.

Then Jake pulls a stunt that gets him expelled from school. His dad pulls strings and gets him into the forest firefighters' ring--one of the riskiest jobs around.

Jake is pumped--until everything he's ever cared about is put on the line.

Fast-paced and full of action. Jake is an interesting character and his need for thrills fuels this story. Lots of things happen here and it's all exciting. Ending wraps up almost everything.