Friday, July 29, 2011

Lark by Tracey Porter

Lark was kidnapped, raped, then left tied to a tree to die. Nyetta, a young girl Lark use to baby-sit, sees Lark's ghost now. Lark only has so much time before the tree traps her soul. In order to be free, someone has to acknowledge her wounds and what happened to her--Lark has chosen Nyetta for this 'honor'.

Eve was Lark's best friend, and she is also haunted, but by her own guilt. They had a fight and couldn't work past it.

The three of them are lost and not sure where to turn. Lark's time is running out but Nyetta can't do what she wants. And Eve is tormented by her guilt and knows she needs to do something.

Short and sweet, but serious. The story is told in alternative voice and very well-done. Each character, while not fully formed, has a strong enough voice it keeps the pages turning. Emotional but not overkill.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

Everyone over the age of 16 has come down with an illness that rots their brains and bodies and makes them crave human flesh. Fresh human flesh, which is why all the grown-ups are chasing around children. Children are the only ones who have survived. At least until they turn 16.

Maxie is second-in-command to Arran and their group of kids live in a supermarket reinforced to keep the grown-ups out. They also fight another group of kids--Blue's crew--for food. They soon realize some of the grown-ups are still intelligent and join forces to find a new place to live. They head to Buckingham Palace with Jester, who was sent out to find groups like theirs.

Traveling through London isn't easy though. A big group like theirs draws a lot of attention, and not just from the grown-ups. Once they arrive at Buckingham Palace, things are not as they seem. David, the one in charge, has plans to be on top and to unite all the kids of London together. Maxie and Blue, however, have something to say about that.

Ok, not a book for the faint-at-heart. While the adults eating kids isn't exactly described to the bare bone, it does have some description to it. The adults are vicious and hungry. The children are great characters and their fear and survival are well-portrayed. Looking forward to reading The Dead, which is a companion/prequel, and the third one that brings everything together.

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

Mercy is a servant girl in the Putnam household. Her life hasn't been easy, especially since her whole family was murdered when she was young. Ann Putnam, Jr. follows Mercy around and wants to be like her. Her mother practically ignores her existence. Their friends Margaret Walcott, trying to attract a boy she wants to marry, Elizabeth Hubbard, who is beaten by her relatives on a regular basis, and Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, who both started this whole mess, begin a dangerous game of devil possession and naming witches. So many innocent, and maybe not so innocent, people die because of their stunts.

Each girl has her own motivation and doubts. And as the 'witches' are put to trial and then killed, each girl has to decide if it was all worth it.

Exceptional retelling. Completely told in verse, each of the main 'Afflicted' have a side. No one is victimized or villainized. A new look at the Witch Trials of Salem.

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

Cadel has not always been...good. He's a genius, and easily gets into trouble. After hacking several security agencies, he's no longer allowed access to a computer. And he has to start seeing a psychiatrist, Thaddeus Roth.

Thaddeus has another agenda. He's been hired by Cadel's real father, who is in jail, to take care of him. Nurture his bad side. And enrolls him into the Axis Institute, where Cadel can learn all sorts of things to begin his criminal career. He learns disguises, embezzlement, and gets access to all the computers he wants.

But putting together a lot of criminals and in a small space only works so long. And if Cadel has a change of heart and no longer trusts anyone...where can he turn? And who would survive being nice to him?

A good story, but A LOT of things happen. Lots of plot and intelligence. The book picks up about halfway through and goes faster.

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Pierce is very unusual. She died when she was 15. When she died, she went to the Underworld, but didn't know it. So when she saw John, the man she met after her grandfather's funeral in the cemetery, she asked him to save her. And he did.

Two years later she's alive--she was brought back to life--and moving with her mom to Isla Huesos, where her mother grew up and where she met John for the first time. Where she runs into John again, after having escaped his palace in the underworld when she was 15. She feels drawn to him, despite the danger. John fears for her safety, since the Furies try to destroy anyone he cares about. Can Pierce save herself and John? Or is it hopeless?

A good love story and twist on the Persephone and Hades story. This is the first in a trilogy, and although Pierce is a little slow on the uptake, it's well-written and she is a strong character. Can't wait for the other books!!

Flygirl by Sherri Smith

Ida Mae has always belonged in the skies. Her father was a pilot and taught her to fly. Trying to get her pilot's license, she is saving up enough money to attend a flight school in Chicago.

Then World War II begins and Pearl Harbor is bombed. Ida Mae's dreams go up in smoke. When she learns the army is looking for female pilots to fly cargo and supplies, she attempts the riskiest plan of all--passing as a white girl in order to enroll. She forges her license and she's in.

What she didn't count on was having to live two lives--fitting into the colored world back home and the white world outside of home. She feels like she's fading, the longer she holds up this farce. All in order to fly.

A fascinating historical book. The historical aspect is done well, but the main focus is on Ida Mae. I loved her character and the courage she has to face every obstacle. Highly enjoyable.

Department 19 by Will Hill

Jamie Carpenter's dad has been labeled a traitor when Jamie was younger. In fact, Jamie saw him shot down right in front of their house by the government, and since then, Jamie's been in trouble.

One night Jamie's attacked by a girl his age who's a vampire. He can't believe it, but when he runs home to find his mother missing and an odd guy waiting for him, he starts to believe. Especially when he's rescued by Frankenstein.

Turns out, all the stories we shrug off as folklore are actually true. Dracula did exist and the men responsible for killing him started a secret government division--Department 19. Jamie's dad was a member, but he sold information about the department to keep Jamie and his mom safe. Now Jamie must learn all he can and fast, despite half the agency thinking him a traitor too. His mother's life depends on it.

While the story is pretty engrossing, it is a little long (over 500 pages). There are moments when it seems everything crawls by, but it picks up again. There are lots of flashbacks to explain how we got where we are today. The only point I found odd was every once in a while, you'd get a random thought from another character, not Jamie. Not usual. This is probably the first in a series too.

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Ann has been dating Connor for the past year. For their relationship, she's given up track, her friends, even her mom. She's even moved in with him now.

But Connor isn't the perfect boyfriend Ann envisioned. While he promised her from the beginning he would never hurt or hit her--he breaks that promise. Ann knows it's her fault--she's not doing things right--and he's always sorry afterwards.

The night of their one year anniversary, though, things go too far. And she has to figure out if she can really stay with someone like him.

An emotional and harrowing book. Ann and Connor are both sympathetic, although Connor loses that as time moves on. This book starts at the end of the year and moves backward in time, while flashing forward again to the present. A hard book to read, but even harder to put down.

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

Nas has reached a crisis in her 459 years of life. While out partying with other immortals like her, her best friend Incy uses magick to snap the back of their taxi driver when he gets angry. Nas, shocked and disgusted, flees to find River, another immortal she met 80 years before.

Life with River and her 'school' of immortals isn't what Nas expected at all. They grow their own food and spend their days learning how to control the good side of magick. Nas doesn't know if she can survive this type of living, but recognizes she may not have a choice. Something has to change and just maybe, this is the change she needs. And one of the other immortals on the farm--Reyn--looks familiar to her in a way she can't figure out. But he definitely draws her attention.

The longer she spends with River, the more Nas' memories come out and the most painful ones are yet to surface. Nas must accept her past, however, to move into the future.

Ok, so yes, this is a paranormal romance. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story and can't wait for the next one in the series. I have serious doubts as to whether this should even be considered a 'teen' novel though--the main character may look like she's 18 or 21; she's actually much older. I enjoyed the story and the romance is there but not very strong, for the first book in the series. Highly recommended for those who like paranormal with a splash of romance.