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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Playground by 50 Cent

Butterball winds up having to talk with a therapist twice a week after beating up Maurice, someone Butterball thought was a friend.

Butterball is not happy with his life.  His mom NYC and away from his dad and he gets teased because of his weight. 

Until Butterball hits Maurice.  Now the popular guys are paying attention to him.  They want him to beat up another guy.  And home life is changing too, as Butterball begins to understand what's really going on with his mom.

A good story and thought out.  Not necessarily for reluctant readers like I thought at first.  There are some real issues here, and a good first teen novel for 50 Cent.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Sadie has been in love with her best friend Garrett since they met 2 years ago.  She's just been waiting for him to feel the same.

Then Garrett gets into a writing camp and Sadie doesn't.  Now she has to get a job and fill her time until Garrett comes back.  When he calls her to tell her he's fallen in love with a girl at camp, Sadie knows it's time for her to get over Garrett.

It isn't easy though.  Especially when she's spent the last 2 years liking everything Garrett has.  Now she has to get over him AND figure out who she is. 

An exceptional chick book.  Funny, poignant, and enjoyable.  I found details of myself in Sadie, as I'm sure most girls would.

12 Things to Do Before You Crash & Burn by James Proimos

Hercules' father dies and his mom sends him to stay with his uncle Anthony in Baltimore.

Herc is sure the two weeks at his uncle's will be boring beyond belief.  The train ride looks promising when he sits by a really hot girl.  When she leaves a book behind, Herc is determined to find her to return it.

His uncle also has a plan.  Herc is to accomplish a task each day he's visiting, in order to keep him busy.  He can't blieve it--but when he does the first task by accident and the day works out, he decides it can't hurt to try the rest.

A very short novel.  The story isn't bad and there's enough to keep you entertained.

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

The events of Sept 11th changed things forever.  For New Yorkers Claire, Jasper, and Peter, things will never be the same.  Claire, when the first tower is hit, only thinks of her mom and younger brother.  They aren't allowed to go home, and for Claire, the whole event has changed how see sees things.

Jasper sleeps through the whole attack.  He's hungover and unsure of what's going on.  He does know it's big--and he can't get away from it.

Peter actually sees everything and he feels it keenly.  He was suppose to go on a date with Jasper that evening and he goes to school with Claire.

As these three are drawn together by what has happened, Levithan provides a perspective of what being in NYC during and after 9/11 was like.

A moving and short book.  Claire is the most developed, or at least the one I liked the most.  Told from all 3 viewpoints.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Ok ok, this isn't a teen book. I've been branching out.

Although, to be fair, other than the swearing and the violence...and actually because of's still ok.

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter living in the area of a werewolf pack. She's a mechanic who deals with vampires, witches, and the fae...along with those pesky werewolves. So when a new werewolf appears at her shop looking for work, she doesn't turn him away even though she thinks about it. Mac's a pretty good kid but it's apparent he's never been trained by an Alpha on his new abilities.

Then two men appear and try to take Mac with them. Mercy steps in at that point and kills the werewolf--something she shouldn't really be able to do. Before long, the whole werewolf pack is involved, their Alpha is down, and Mercy is up to her neck in all sorts of supernatural trouble.

An involved story with lots of twists and characters. Mercy is a great main character--full of spunk and sarcasm. There is some romance in the story, but not a lot--just overtones. I love books with some paranormal aspect, some romance, and a lot of kicking a**. This book has all spades.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Redemption of Althalus by David Eddings

Althalus is probably the best thief in the world. He has quite the reputation...but also the skills to back that up. So when his luck goes sour, he wonders if something is wrong. Then he meets Ghend, a seedy-looking character who wants to hire Althalus for a job. He wants Althalus to steal a book from the House at the Edge of the World.

Althalus wonders at Ghend's sanity, but when Ghend offers to pay him the Book's weight in gold, he decides he can't pass it up. He spends a few weeks traveling to the House, but once he gets there...nothing will ever be the same.

Althalus gets trapped in the House with a cat he names Emerald who can talk. He spends the next couple centuries learning how to use the Book to make things happen--all in preparation to save the world. First though, he must venture out of the House to find the people he needs. Those people all have tasks that need to be done as well, if they're to succeed.

It's pretty hard to sum up a 800-page book in a short blurb. This doesn't even scratch the surface of what happens in this book. Eddings was a masterful storyteller, and I already miss his great wit and story-telling. This is one of his few fantasy books that is told all in one book--the rest take several. He himself admitted it helped not making his characters travel by foot or horse most of the time. If you're looking for a great fantasy story, pick this book up. And, while it isn't teen, it's appropriate for them too--no swearing, nudity, or other things people find so objectionable.

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

When Ethan was 7, he was kidnapped from his front yard, in front of his 4-year old brother Blake. Now at 16, he's made his way back home.

It hasn't been easy. He remembers living with a woman named Ellen, then being dropped off at a group home and running away. Now that he's home with his family, nothing seems familiar--not the house, his parents, or his brother. Not even Cami, his best friend from childhood. As Ethan settles back into his life, questions remain. Why can't he remember anything from the years before he was kidnapped? Why is nothing familiar? Blake, Ethan's little brother, is especially suspicious, and has a hard time accepting Ethan back into the family.

But is everything as it seems?

Good suspense and believable. Ethan tells this story, and while he's reliable, you wonder what he's hiding and why.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Soulbound:The Legacy of Tril by Heather Brewer

I got this book from Heather Brewer (yay) as an Advanced Reader's Copy. The book is going to be published in July.

I'm not going to say a lot about it, but I will a little. Because I enjoyed it so much.

First of's the first in a new series by Brewer. I'm dying to read the 2nd book. I read the 1st one this morning. Yes, this morning. I couldn't put it down, and refused to until I had it read.

The basic story is this: The main character, Kaya, lives in a world that has Barrons, Healers, and the Unskilled. The Barrons are born with a fighting 'gene'--it makes them natural fighters. They are bonded with a Healer, someone born with the healing 'gene'--and Healers can bring Barrons back from the brink of death. The Unskilled are well, people who aren't born with one of these traits. Kaya is a Healer, but she's in hiding. Her parents broke the rules when they fell in love and got married--they're both Barrons. So when Kaya is discovered, she's threatened to either learn how to become a Healer or her parents will be imprisoned or killed. So she goes to the Shadow Academy. Healers are expected to learn some about healing, mostly about why they're suppose to follow their bonded Barrons around. Kaya wants to learn how to fight, which is forbidden.

This story has it all--action, adventure, intrigue, mystery, fantasy, and romance. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. And I still can't!

So...go preorder it now. I'll wait here.

Elenium and Tamuli series by David Eddings

So...every once in a while I branch out from YA/Teen literature and read something different. I've been an avid fan of David Eddings since I discovered his books in high school. I, like most of his fans, started off with the Belgariad series. While most fans have issues with the Elenium and Tamuli series, I really do enjoy them. Actually, I enjoy pretty much everything by David Eddings, may he rest in peace, because he was a fabulous author. And I really got his humor (which is sarcastic or mine!).

So...we'll start with the Elenium series. This series is made up of 3 books...The Diamond Throne, The Ruby Knight, and The Sapphire Rose. They feature a knight in his late thirties--a hardened warrior who fights for his church, but also serves as the Queen's champion. The Church Knight's name is Sparhawk, and he really is a disagreeable fellow. He returns from exile at the beginning of The Diamond Throne to find his queen has been poisoned and is near death. His quest is to find a cure, save the queen, and then the world.

It's hard to talk about the Tamuli series without giving some things away, but suffice to say, Sparhawk survives the battles and such in the first series. The three books in this series are called Domes of Fire, The Shining Ones, and The Hidden City. Sparhawk is once again called upon to save the world, with the help of his friends.

What I love about these books: There are good guys and bad guys and they're battling over the world. There's humor, there's adventure, and no swearing or sex (well, the swearing is there, but they aren't our swearwords). It's good wholesome fun. There's violence, but I mean, when you're fighting evil gods and have knights...of course there's going to be fighting! Whenever I have a teen looking for a good fantasy, I direct them to these books.

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Mason's mom is in a fatal car accident, so he's at the hospital when his school is blown up. Now everyone he's ever cared about is dead.

Aries is on the bus on the way back to school when the earthquake hits. Her best friend Sara doesn't survive and a stranger, Daniel, tells her to find a place to hide. He warns her things are going to get worse.

Clementine is at an emergency town meeting with her parents, worried about her brother Heath, when two men armed with guns enter the room. Clementine's mother makes her run...before everyone is shot.

Michael is on the road with his buddy Joe when they see a driver purposefully run a motorcyclist down. When the cops come, they kill the driver. Michael and Joe hitch a ride before they're next.

Something is really wrong with the world, and as these four teens try to survive in a world that has gone completely crazy, only one thing is for sure. They won't survive long.

A great dystopia! Hard to put down yet hard to keep going. The story focuses on five people (yes, I know I only mentioned 4) and switches from story to story. The things that happen to some of the characters during the story are disturbing. But the story is hard to put down.

The Price of Loyalty by Mike Castan

Manny starts middle school, relieved he's with his best friends Hernan and Cisco. When someone mentions they look like they're a gang during lunch one day, Manny jokes they're called the Conquistadors.

He may have meant it as a joke, but the joke gets serious fast. The guys suddenly take offense at the slightest things and dress and act alike. Manny goes along, unwilling to be a part of the group but afraid to break away.

The guys start getting into drugs, pulling pranks, and other kinds of trouble. Manny likes them less and less, but when a fight breaks out and two guys end up in the hospital, he struggles to decide the right thing to do. Should he stay loyal or should he tell the authorities what he knows?

Starts off slow, but it does get more interesting. Manny is a realistic and true character. While I'd like to believe these things are happening in middle school...reality is, they are. And middle school students will definitely relate to Manny.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Envy by Gregg Olson

Katelyn's body was found by her mother shortly after her death. She was electrocuted by an espresso machine in the bathtub. Everyone is shocked to hear of her death--although it wasn't unexpected.

Twins Hayley and Taylor are convinced it wasn't suicide. The twins get feelings every so often that often turn out to be true. So they decide to figure out what happened to Katelyn, and who did it. They need to be careful...they don't want someone to find out about their special talents. There is already a reporter snooping around, connecting the three girls to the bus accident that happened when the girls were 5. Every girl on that bus is now deceased...except for the twins.

As the story moves on, more and more secrets are revealed. It takes a while to really get into the story...I wasn't sure where it was going at all. The chapters are mostly short and easy to get through, although the foreshadowing at the end of most of them got old.

The author talks a lot about evil, but that doesn't really go anywhere. The story was "inspired" by the events that have surrounded the deaths of many teenagers who have been bullied or harassed on online social networks by parents of other teenagers.

Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann

Once again I read a whole series before reviewing any of the books. Mostly I did this because I am often behind in my posting. This time, I couldn't wait to read all three books in the Wake trilogy, so I basically checked out all three (ok, I bought the first one) and read them all...almost in one sitting.

Wake is the first book in the series. In Wake, we learn that Janie has a unique gift. Or curse. She, against her will, gets pulled into the dreams of the people around her. So when people fall asleep and start dreaming, often Janie is right there with them. Experiencing their dreams...or nightmares. Sometimes she can pull herself out, but not often. She starts noticing Cabel and realizes she's been in his nightmares before. His especially are scary.

When she realizes something big is happening in Cabel's life, she has a decision to make--help him or stay away from him.

And without giving the ending away of Wake, I can't talk about Fade or Gone. Just that Janie's powers grow as well as her ability to control them. And she has to make a life-altering decision before the series is over.

What I liked most about the series was the characters. Janie and Cabel are well-written and realistic. Janie's abilities are odd, yes, but fit into the storyline and come across as believable. Fade especially has been hard to get out of my head, but that's because the situation Janie finds herself in is so disturbing. Highly recommended, but perhaps for older teens.

The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

As everyone boards the maiden voyage of the Titanic, even third class passengers are excited. This is the largest ship afloat, ready to cross the Atlantic.

While the crew deals with the usual--demands of the first class, rats, the captain--they try to keep an eye on things.

When the first notice of ice comes across the wire, the captain wants to be notified. After a while, the reports get repetitive. And no one expected to run into an iceberg they couldn't see.

Told in many voices, in verse form, this is the tale of the Titanic. It begins April 1st and goes through the 26th with the recovery of some of the dead.

A fictionalized account and moving. The iceberg even has a voice here, waiting for the Titanic to cross its path. While it does get confusing to keep following the different voices, the flow of the story never stops. What caught me the most was when the survivors are in the lifeboats, listening to the people dying in the water.

Historical notes at the end and an acknowledgement of some factual errors.

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Daphne lives in Hell with her parents, Lilith and Lucifer. She's never left, not even to just go explore Earth. Her older brother, the only person Daphne really cares about, is gone for long periods of time, as his job is to save the souls of the Lost Ones--children of demons or angels and humans. Obie, Daphne's brother, decides he's had enough of this kind of life and choose to leave. On his way, he stumbles across Truman, a Lost One who wasn't suppose to be there. Daphne, trying to stop Obie from leaving, can't explain what draws her to Truman. Before she knows it, they're both gone.

Before long, Lilith reaches out to Daphne in a panic. Obie has gone missing and Daphne must go to Earth to find him. Determined to find him, Daphne heads to Earth and searches for the one person she's sure will know where Obie is. Truman. Only Truman has no idea how to find Obie and is on his own path of self-destruction. Can Daphne save Truman in order to save her brother?

Not as good as The Replacement, the story does grow on you. There are some elements of Percy Jackson-type quest here, as Daphne and Truman travel from Chicago to Las Vegas to find someone they aren't sure how to find, and following clues they're not completely sure of. The beginning is a little complicated but it gets more even as the story plays out. An enjoyable supernatural story with romantic overtones.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Hartley doesn't want to believe the rumors, but after breaking into her boyfriend Josh's locker and finding a condom wrapper, she knows she can't deny it. He's cheating on her. Not only that, but he's cheating on her with the president of the chastity club, Courtney Cline.

After breaking into Josh's house to confront him, Hartley and her best friend Sam find Courtney's dead body--in Josh's closet. Josh is on the run and begging Hartley to help clear his name. She reluctantly agrees, and relies on the help from the school newspaper editor, Clint for help. After another dead body surfaces, Hartley begins to wonder if they're in over their heads. And if she should be helping Josh clear his name or trying to save her own life.

A good murder and suspense novel. I enjoyed the plot and sarcasm from Hartley and her friends. I did guess at who the killer was about 2/3 of the way through the book--and found out I was right!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor's mom is slowly dying of cancer but they're both in denial about what's happening. Conor can't imagine a world without his mom, so tries to ignore it. He's haunted by a nightmare he has most nights and this night is no different.

When he wakes up, he hears something calling his name. Out in the yard, he watches as the yew tree pulls itself out of the ground and shapes itself into a being. An extremely tall being or monster. The monster wants Conor to be afraid of him, but after his nightmare, Conor doesn't find the tree fearful at all.

The monster has a strange request--Conor must listen to three of the monster's stories and then tell one of his own.

But Conor would rather face death than admit to his greatest fear...and the source of his nightmare.

Conor's pain, anger, and fear leap off the page. The monster's motives are unclear until the end of the book. Conor is a likable character who is going through a horrible experience. The illustrations throughout make the story more enjoyable and add depth to the setting.

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven Wedel

Aimee has been having nightmares for a long time. When her mother was alive, she would share the details of these nightmares. With her mother gone, Aimee struggles to appear normal to her family and her friends. Her visions are getting stronger and harder to hide.

Alan is new to town, moving to Goffstown, Maine after his cousin Courtney's dad goes missing. Alan is not happy with the move, especially since the high school doesn't have a football team. Then he meets Aimee--first in a dream and then in real life. Alan tries to remain true to his Native American heritage and realizes something isn't right in Goffstown and Courtney may be at the center of it.

Together, Aimee and Alan must find a way to confront and defeat an ancient evil plaguing the town--specifically, Courtney. Aimee also believes her mother may be involved. The River Man is powerful and Aimee and Alan aren't sure if they can do this and survive.

Engrossing. I enjoy paranormal romance stories anyway, but the alternative voice here is an added bonus. The River Man is creepy and powerful. Alan and Aimee come across as believable and their story works well together.

One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Eliza discovers her boyfriend Cooper is only dating her as an initiation to get into the 318s, a secret fraternity at their high school. Enraged, she goes online to a website her older sister set up to post about Cooper's misdeeds.

In return, the 318s steal Eliza's purple notebook. The one she writes all of her fears in. And over the course of the night, they're going to make her do the ones they think are the most embarrassing. Eliza knows she has to get the notebook back--and not let them post it online. Some of the secrets in that notebook aren't hers to share.

Nothing is the way it should be--Cooper's trying to help her, her best friends Marissa and Clarice keep disappearing, and Eliza ends up hurting everyone in her life she cares about.

But she might just learn something along the way.

A realistic story with romantic overtones. Eliza is a believable character and her story is very entertaining. There's humor and friendship here too.