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Showing posts from July, 2011

Pretty Bad Things

Pretty Bad Things is a YA contemporary novel by C. J. Skuse.

Ten years ago, when Paisley and Beau were six-years-old, they became famous. But not for being child actors or anything. They became famous because after coming home to find their mother dead, they wandered off into the woods trying to find their dad, whom they did not know was already in prison, and survived for three days alone. The paparazzi called them the Wonder Twins - and everybody loved them.

Their grandmother, who took custody after they were found, built up quite a trust fund for Paisley and Beau by keeping them on TV as much as humanly possible - strictly requiring they act sweet and innocent at all times, and keep the camera on as much as it was available. A trust fund she liked to dip into...

But Paisley was too much trouble to keep around, so their grandmother shipped her off to what ended up being multiple boarding schools and kept Beau at home - the act of separating the twins adding to her cruelty.

And now, both…

The Empire of Gut and Bone

The Empire of Gut and Bone is the third YA sci-fi/fantasy novel in M. T. Anderson's Norumbegan Quartet.

Let me just say: this series is awesome! And if you haven't read both The Game of Sunken Places and The Suburb Beyond the Stars then you should NOT read The Empire of Gut and Bone. This story is too amazing and intricate to spoil, not to mention I think you'd be pretty darn confused. So just hop over to my review of The Game of Sunken Places here, or if you've read that book you can read my review of The Suburb Beyond the Stars here... but until then - avoid this review!!!

Now I am left with the fans of Norumbegan Quartet. You already love the series. How could you not? Okay, I'm sure there are a couple of you who didn't think it was so great - but the majority of you must have been as flabbergasted as me! You don't really need any persuading to read the third book - The Empire of Gut and Bone. So, in order to avoid any spoilers, I'm just going to give…

Forgotten

Forgotten is the YA debut of Cat Patrick.

Sixteen-year-old London Lane can't remember what happened yesterday. She never can. At 4:33AM each morning her memory wipes clean, and all she has to keep a handle on what happened the day before - or in fact, any day since she was six and this started happening - London reads all of her notes. Her notes inform her of what she wore the day before, what she needs to bring to school, what's going on with her best friend, etc. Each morning her life is new.

But she does "remember" the future. Not all of it. Just pieces. Just like a memory of the past. And in this memory of the future she sees various upcoming heartbreaks or joys for her classmates, including her best friend. But when her flash-forwards don't warn of the gorgeous new guy named Luke who seems interested in her - she's afraid that means it's not going to go anywhere anyway. And how can she keep up a potential romance with a guy she'll forget tomorrow a…

Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens is a new YA novel by celebrated author Libba Bray.

Fifty Miss Teen Dream contestants, one representing each state, were on their way to do Pageant beach promos and final rehearsals before the live show - but the airplane carrying them all to their destination ended up being a dud. So instead of frolicking on the beach in front of cameras, they're plummeting thousands of feet to crash on a desert island.

Most of the people on the plane die, but those starry-eyed beauty queens that survive are left with very little food, no shelter, and next to no water.

But what's even worse?

They are lacking in enough make-up, razors, perfume, and non-tattered clothes to look their beauty queen best!

Miss Texas takes it upon herself to keep the gals focused, and since she's convinced rescue is imminent, what is a better way to spend their time than to practice for the talent portion of the pageant and do mock interviews? But not everything is as civilized as Miss Texas would like …

The Vampire Stalker

The Vampire Stalker is a YA book lover's dream come to life, by Allison van Diepen.

Amy, along with almost every other teen girl in the world, hangs on every word of the insanely popular YA novel Otherworld. But unlike most readers, she's in love with the character Alexander Banks, the brooding, handsome vampire hunter instead of the romantic, gentle James. Amy's problem is that she really feels like she loves Alexander, which is depressing since he doesn't exist, except on the page. No other guy measures up. She can't help but feel that this makes her kinda pathetic.

But then one night as Amy is walking home through the park she runs into none other than Alexander Banks. No way, right? At first she thinks he's a fanboy who's taken things too far with the whole getup and way of speaking - but then she realizes that he is too perfect, too similar for it to be anything but real. And he is hunting down Vigo, the ultimate vampire psychopath from the books. Someho…

Starcrossed

Starcrossed is Josephine Angelini's YA twist on Greek mythology.

Helen has never been normal - but she's tried very hard to pretend she is. Not an easy task on an island as small as Nantucket. But in her sixteen years of life she has never been branded the freak she knows she is, so she think she's been successful overall. Sure, the popular crowd hates her - but she has Claire, her best friend since forever, her dad, as supportive and awesome as can be, and Kate, her dad's business partner and the closest thing she's ever had to a mother. None of them know her secrets, but they come the closest.

But when all of a sudden she starts seeing three women weeping tears of blood, while she's awake and certainly not dreaming, Helen has a lot harder time trying to ignore/hide her oddness. Especially when these disturbing women seem to be urging her to hate every member of the new Delos family with a wrath so strong she can't seem to control it, even in public. And Hel…

The Healing Spell

The Healing Spell is a middlegrade contemporary novel by Kimberley Griffiths Little.

Eleven-year-old Livie and her mother have never gotten along well. She's not girly like her sisters and would rather go frogging out in the bayou with her daddy than shopping with her Mamma. They've had many an argument and seem to never see eye-to-eye. But then her Mamma is in a coma, unable to wake up - and maybe she never will. And suddenly Livie is keeping a very big secret about what happened. She knows she is responsible for it, but she can't tell anyone - she can't see her daddy's eyes hate her.

But everybody wants her to help out with Mamma, and Livie can't even bring herself to touch her. What if she hurts her again? So she's branded selfish and uncaring by her older sister, and seems to keep hurting her sensitive little sister. The only friend she seems to have, besides her BFF whom she still can't bring herself to tell the truth to, is a baby alligator she foun…

Tighter

Tighter is a YA modern-day retelling of the classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, reimagined by Adele Griffin.

Seventeen-year-old Jamie has had a rough time of it lately. Her back injury has gotten her attached to pills and she's still trying to get over a painful rejection. The idea of accepting the position of a summer au pair on the New England island of Little Bly is to get away from it all and get over it.

But what she didn't know was that horror preceded her.

The last au pair, Jessie, and her boyfriend died last year in a shocking, tragic accident. And when Jamie realizes that the islanders' stares aren't just about a new girl in town - but more the shock of how much Jamie looks like Jessie - she is even more disturbed.

In the midst of caring for young Isa, her charge, Jamie struggles with leaving. The thing is, she finds herself becoming more and more consumed with the need to learn more about Jessie's death and why she seems to be seeing their ghosts.

Her …

Kindred

Kindred is a YA fantasy novel by Tammar Stein.

Miriam is the quieter twin. She's a college freshman, and just working hard - keeping her head down. Mo, her twin brother, is the more vivacious, outgoing one. It's strange being apart from him - but they are both dealing with it like adults.

But then one evening as Miriam is studying the archangel Raphael visits her - it's terrifying, confusing, and utterly overwhelming. She deciphers what he said in ancient Hebrew and finds herself given a mission, of sorts. At first she doesn't believe it, not sure if she was just hallucinating, but then she meets the girl mentioned in the unsolicited message and finds herself believing more and more that she is meant to save her.

What happens sends Miriam into a tailspin - her entire life changes course. She's not sure what to do, where to go. But what only increases her fear is that Mo tells her that he was visited as well - only his visit was from the opposite end of the spectrum an…

Tomorrow Girls#1: Behind the Gates

Tomorrow Girls #1: Behind the Gates is the first book in a new dystopian suspense series written for the middle-grade set by Eva Gray.

Louisa is sick of dirty and crowded Chicago. Ever since the War, the disaster and destruction have taken more and more away from her. There is no longer anywhere unpolluted enough for her to swim, and she just feels suffocated by how many people surround her. But her parents, being doctors, still are able to provide for her better than many. And she does love them, and her best friend Maddie, very much. Yet the prospect of being able to go away to school can't help but excite her.

At thirteen, any child that has parents with money to pay for it can be sent to Country Manor School - an opportunity to get out of the filthy cities and learn survival skills, among regular classes, and get the chance to be out in the fresh air. Plus, the locations are super-secret in order to protect them from the Alliance, their enemies in the War.

Maddie's parents d…

The Midnight Palace

The Midnight Palace is a YA horror novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Sixteen years ago an English lieutenant raced to save newborn twins from the unthinkable danger of a mysterious and deadly man. The twins were separated for their own safety, never being told of the other, their pasts a complete secret - and now they find themselves on the cusp of their sixteenth birthday in 1930s Calcutta.

Ben has spent his life in an orphanage, surrounded by friends that he has formed a society with - he has been cared for by the kind orphanage staff and is nervous, along with his sixteen-year-old peers, to be sent out as an adult into the world. But before that event can occur, an old woman accompanied by a girl Ben's age arrives at the orphanage with a warning - to get out of Calcutta as quickly as possible.

Because the threat that followed them as newborns has never given up. And now the threat is determined to reach them. Ben's brave and loyal friends try to help him fight the terrors lurking in…

I'll Be There

I'll Be There is a YA contemporary novel by Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Sam and Riddle have never had a home. And since 2nd Grade, Sam has never gone to school. That's when his unstable father snatched him and his younger brother Riddle out of the house they shared with their timid but loving mother. Paranoid and determined to never be in a system, Sam's father keeps them at the fringes of society, moving constantly. Sam, now seventeen, would escape if he could - but he would never abandon his brother.

Riddle has never been "normal" ever since he fell on his head, hard, as a baby. He clutches an old phone book devotedly, a phone book full of drawings he has done of the insides of clocks, engines, and other devices. He rarely speaks, and wheezes constantly - seeming to be in perpetually bad health. But Sam looks after him. After all, their father leaves them to their own devices as long as they don't wander around during the day, when people will wonder why they aren&…

Forever Princess

Forever Princess is the tenth and final book in the extremely popular Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot.

Just like I said about Princess Mia on Wednesday, if you haven't read the books before Forever Princess you'll find inevitable spoilers in the description of Forever Princess. I strongly suggest avoiding it till you get the chance to get caught up! Otherwise, lets see what Mia is up to you in this final (*sniff*) Princess Diaries...

It's been almost two years since Mia and Michael's epic breakup and Mia's epic breakdown. Now Mia is nearing her eighteenth birthday and her graduation from high school, and has changed quite a bit. For one thing, she has a non-obsessive relationship with J. P., a healthy friendship with Tina and (shockingly enough) Lana, and a senior project that is a real accomplishment.

Of course no one knows what it actually is, besides very few people. Mia has decided to keep the fact that her senior project is actually a historical romance nove…

Princess Mia

Princess Mia is the ninth novel in Meg Cabot's best-selling Princess Diaries YA humor/romance/drama series.

If you haven't read The Princess Diaries from the beginning, or aren't at the ninth book yet, I strongly recommend that you avoid this review and all the spoilers that will inevitably come from it. I know the book has been out for a while, but I managed to avoid spoilers, and you can too!

All right - you've been warned - synopsis begins NOW:

Mia is in shock. Her relationship with Michael, the guy she has loved forever, is over. She threw her snowflake necklace at him. He left on a flight to Japan and won't be coming back for a long time. And their relationship is over.

Life has lost its purpose for Mia. Especially now that Lilly refuses to speak to her and seems to hate her. J. P. tries his best to cheer Mia up, taking her to see Beauty & the Beast - but nothing helps. How can it? Michael's gone.

So, when Mia gets home she curls up in bed with Fat Louie an…

Valentine Princess

Valentine Princess is a Princess Diaries YA humorous novella by Meg Cabot.

Whatever happened on Mia and Michael's first Valentine's Day as a couple? It was never addressed in the many diaries we read from Mia's perspective. But at sixteen, Mia finds a long-lost journal covering all the Mia-craziness associated with that first momentous day as a couple, from her freshman year.

In it, Mia tries to figure out why it is that Boris can't seem to help himself but to proclaim his love for Lilly on Valentine's Day, and even Kenny presents Mia with a Whitman's sampler, but Michael just doesn't think the holiday is worth celebrating with heart-shaped candies and roses?

Mia is determined to make their first Valentine's Day a memorable one. And hopefully get Michael on board with it!

It had been a while since I had read my Princess Diaries books - and I just recently got the opportunity to read the final two (!), which I have long been in need of and have been having t…

Author Kat Gerard Visits!

Debut author Kat Gerard is visiting us today to talk about her new book In Transit and her journey in writing it. Let's give her a big Bibliophile welcome!!!

A Novel 17 Years-in-the-Making

My novel, IN TRANSIT, was released in May, but I actually started writing the book 17 years before it was published. A literary agent I had when I was in my early 20s, had an "in" with a romance publisher that was looking for "women in jeopardy" stories. The publisher recommended that aspiring authors read the book REBECCA by Daphne du Mauier (1938) to inspire their own stories. REBECCA is about a girl's transition into womanhood - how her innocent intentions grow into something much larger, as well as duplicity, secrets and lies. REBECCA really appealed to me because of the bold characterizations of a very powerful older man and a younger woman who is not quite so powerful and the surprises that befall their relationship as a result.

With that in mind, I brainstormed, sear…

Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic

Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic is a YA supernatural historical novel by Suzanne Weyn.

Being the daughter of a famed clairvoyant isn't always a dream come true. This becomes more and more apparent to Jane as she and her four sisters grow up in the town of Spirit Vale, a place where their mother settled them at the turn of the twentieth century. The town is entirely inhabited by spiritualists, believers, and the tourists who come in seeking answers. When she was young, Jane was convinced of her mother's abilities - but her older, beautiful sister Mimi thinks otherwise. The twins, Emma and Amelie, further complicate matters by seeming to be the next in line to set up shop, since their strange bond and seemingly psychic connections hearkens to an inheritance of "the gift". But the youngest, Blythe, really couldn't care less - she just wants to be famous.

Jane just doesn't know. As she nears 1912 at almost seventeen, she tries not to worry much about what she…

To Win Her Heart

To Win Her Heart is a Christian historical fiction novel by Karen Witemeyer.

When the burly Levi Grant shows up in 1887 Spencer, Texas to be hired for the town blacksmith position, everybody is taken off guard by his large size - including Eden Spencer, daughter of the town's founder. His halting speech leads people to quickly believe he is more brawn than brain, but Eden is surprised when Levi starts turning up at her lending library, reading avidly. The two pieces just don't fit, and Eden can't help but find herself interested to know more.

But Eden has sworn to never be a fool again after her disastrous engagement five years ago. She has resolved herself to be a spinster, and find happiness in her library, charity work, and love of the Lord. Yet Levi's eyes are kind and her attraction to him deepens into friendship...

Levi Grant is glad he has a chance to start over after being released from prison. His was an unintentional crime, but the guilt and shame he feels from …

Life, After

Life, After is a YA contemporary novel by Sarah Darer Littman.

Argentina is Dani's home. But living there has brought on Dani's family serious, heartbreaking hardships. For one, a terrorist attack killed Dani's aunt and her unborn child. For another, government choices have thrown the country into economic ruin - causing Dani and her little sister Sari to go to bed each night hungry.

When her proud father can no longer deny the need to leave Argentina, as many families have done, Dani and her family arrive in America hoping for a brighter future. It's a hard adjustment. The apartment is even smaller, the high school is vast and full of students who are unkind, and Dani's father is still angry, still sullen.

But then Dani starts to make friends. First there is Jon, who is unusual and different from other students, and Brian whose grinning face proclaims himself her "personal GPS" around the school. And finally, popular, mean, cruel Jessica who might be hiding…

The Magnolia League

The Magnolia League is a mysterious YA novel by Katie Crouch.

Alexandria is still reeling as the sudden death of her beautiful and charming mother hits her hard. The two of them were close, and being without her is unimaginable. But then her wealthy, Southern grandmother, whom Alex has never met or heard of in her entire sixteen years of life, whisks her away to her Georgia home - taking Alex away from the organic farm community she has always known and loved.

And apparently her genes make her a member of an exclusive debutante society called the Magnolia League, which consists of multi-generations of attractive, thin, powerful women. Alex doesn't fit in, nor does she want to. Her dreadlocked hair, chubby form, and vintage tees aren't normal to these people - and she soon finds herself battling the cruelty of high school.

But how is it that the Magnolia League has so much? Luck? Or something more? Something darker? As she unwillingly gets sucked into their world, Alex begins to d…

Bitter End

Bitter End is a contemporary YA novel by Jennifer Brown.

Alex is spending her senior year of high school trying to put the finishing touches on her after graduation trip to Colorado with best friends Bethany and Zack. The three have been close since such a young age that the fact that Zack is now an athlete lady-lover, Bethany is an organizing, humantarian-in-training, and Alex is a budding poet doesn't cause them to split into different cliques. It's always been them, and it always will be.

And Alex is happy to have that stability as her father continues to not really say much of anything since her mother's death when Alex was young. Alex yearns to hear more about her Mom, why her Mom left that night drunk and insistent on going to Colorado, but she never receives any answers and has learned to stop asking. Her younger sister Celia doesn't seem to care, and her older sister Shannin has left for college without needing to seek more closure. But for Alex there never seems…