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Showing posts from April, 2012


Belles is a YA contemporary fiction novel by Jen Calonita.

Isabelle “Izzie” Scott loves Harborside, even if most of the rest of North Carolina considers it the ghetto of their state. She knows better, having been born and raised there. She loves her lifeguard job and her surfing lessons from the cute and mysterious guy she’s gotten friendly with over the summer. She’s got friends here. This is where she lived with her Mom, before she died. This is where she’s been living with her Grandmother.

But her Grandmother’s failing health has gotten the attention of a social worker, and Izzie’s life is about to change. Overnight she’s informed her grandmother had made provisions for when she got worse for her to go to a nursing home and Izzie to go live with long-lost relatives that she only recently located.

Izzie’s in for a culture shock when she finds her broken heart transported to a politician’s home, apparently her uncle, where he lives with his wife and two kids. They have money – lots o…

The Nightmare Garden

The Nightmare Garden is a YA fantasy novel by Caitlin Kittredge, and the sequel to The Iron Thorn

Oh my – The Iron Thorn was way too awesome to ruin with spoilers! So, if you haven’t yet read it don’t read the review of its sequel! It’ll inevitably give something away. Instead, read my review of The Iron Thorn here, and go get yourself a copy! Got it?

Now, for all of you who HAVE read The Iron Thorn, you probably don’t need much nudging to read The Nightmare Garden! I know I didn’t!

I’ll give you a general idea of the start of the book, but in my opinion if you loved the first book there’s no reason to spoil all the bombshells with the inside jacket flap. That’s why I didn’t (and often don’t) read it. Just a personal opinion there, but why you’ll find very few details in this review.

Aoife (pronounced EE-fah) has recently turned sixteen, found out she has Fae blood in her, abilities called a Weird, and was tricked into using said Weird to destroy Lovecraft Engine in order to brea…

Liar's Moon

Liar’s Moon is a YA Renaissance-era fantasy adventure, and the sequel to StarCrossed, by Elizabeth. C. Bunce.

If you haven’t read StarCrossed yet, I’d recommend you do NOT read this review. It will contain spoilers of the first book. Instead, read my review of StarCrossed by scrolling down on the home page - and read the book!

Final warning to anyone who doesn’t want spoilers on StarCrossed

Digger’s back in Gerse after a highly eventful time in Llyvraneth. She’s settling back in to being a pickpocket in the city, rooming with her friend Rat and finding jobs. Thing is, it’s harder finding jobs now that she stupidly revealed that she’s the sister of the Lord High Inquistor, leader of the Greenmen and persecutor of religious freedom.

When she suddenly is picked up and thrown in jail, she’s not necessarily surprised at the turn of events but confused as to what the charge is – she hadn’t actually been doing anything at the time. But then she sees that she has been put in the same cell as a f…


StarCrossed is a YA Renaissance-era fantasy adventure by Elizabeth C. Bunce.

Sixteen-year-old Digger’s past is a closely guarded secret. For years now she has been a thief, working with her more-than-partner Tegen on many jobs inside the city of Gerse.

But her way of life has finally caught up with her. One of the Greenmen, officers and bullies of the secret guard of the king – executers of the staunch law against practicing religion for any god other than Celys – were about to catch her and Tegen as they celebrated over a just-completed job.

Now she’s bloody, on the run, and mourning a surely dead partner.

While trying to get out of the city, Digger comes across a boat full of young nobility and plays along as they invite her aboard. Before she knows it she is in the snowy, cold mountains of Llyvraneth in a castle full of some of the top family’s in the country.

Not exactly low-profile.

Yet she’s far away from immediate danger. Or so she thinks.

Digger is lady-in-waiting to sweet Merista Ne…

Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise is a middlegrade fiction Newberry Honor Book by Jennifer L. Holm.

Eleven year old Turtle knows life isn’t like the movies, and she most certainly is nothing like Shirley Temple. It’s 1935 and only people like Turtle’s mom continue to dream. Turtle’s grown to know the truth, and worries about her mom when she has to leave her for a while. Her mom has a new job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, so Turtle moves in with her aunt and cousins in Key West, Florida.

She’s never met them before and her life is certainly different when surrounded by so many people – especially boys! It’s hot there – and full of family secrets, buried treasure, and innovating babysitting business plans.

Unlike ever before, Turtle finds her new environment opening her up a bit and letting go of her hard shell, which gave her her nickname, for the first time.

Turtle’s life is about to change…

Now, this is a quality fiction middlegrade book! Every once in a while I wonder if I’ve grown ou…

The Princess Plot

The Princess Plot is a YA/middlegrade contemporary novel by German author Kirsten Boie.

Fourteen year old Jenna has always felt she paled in comparison to her thinner, prettier best friend Bea. But when movie producers hand out flyers for an audition, they all seem to think that SHE is perfect for the role of a princess!

Before she knows it, the movie people have convinced her domineering Mom to let her give it a shot, and whisk her away to a small country she’s never heard of, Scandia, to start prepping for the role.

Yet, when she arrives, things start to smell fishy. The real-life princess of Scandia apparently wants to take a break from public life after the sudden death of her father the King, according to what Jenna’s told. So, they tell Jenna – who looks remarkably like the true princess after some make-up, colored contacts, and a blonde wig – to step in to her shoes for actual royal outings, as a sort of final audition.

It doesn’t take long, however, for Jenna to realize Scandia is…


Pure is a YA post-apocalyptic dystopian novel and the first in planned trilogy by Julianna Baggott.

Since the Detonations life has been different. Pressia, sixteen, barely remembers the Before. Her reality is the harsh world of rubble, ash, and annihilation. There are new species that have been born out of the chemicals and nuclear waste – new fusions of animals and humans – more ways to die.

She lives with her grandfather, her only surviving relative, in an old barbershop and sleeps in a cabinet. He helps the many with lost limbs fuse with something. That’s how Pressia’s lost hand became her favorite doll’s head.

But now that she’s sixteen, a brand new danger is beckoning. It’s the age that the militia, the group that semi took over in the bitterness and chaos that soon became the norm, takes the young to be trained to be soldiers. Or, if you can’t be a soldier because of a deformity, say having a doll’s head for a hand, become target practice for those who can.

Pressia realizes she mu…

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster is a non-fiction novel targeted at YA and middle grade readers by Deborah Hopkinson.

This Sunday, April 15th 2012, will be the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. To honor this, I wanted to post a review of this book, which is an first-rate reference of all the details concerning the famous, doomed ocean liner.

Most of you will have heard of the Titanic, and if you’re from my generation or older probably have seen the Kate Winslet/Leonardo DiCaprio movie as well, which is being re-released in 3D.

What we glean from Titanic: Voices from the Disaster are facts and tidbits about the launch, journey, and sinking of the Titanic.

But what is really cool about it, and makes it more unique than others, are the quotes from real-life survivors. She takes their stories and creates a narrative storytelling technique that allows you to imagine their experience on the Titanic.

At times you can tell it’s targeted toward a younger audience (an occasionally exces…

Madame Tussaud

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution is an adult historical fiction title by Michelle Moran.

Marie Tussaud has learned the art of wax sculpting from her uncle, whom she works alongside at the Salon de Cire, their wax museum. She has an impeccable eye for it, and their patrons often are amazed at how lifelike their models of popular heroes from the American Revolution like Thomas Jefferson are. Many also come to see the royal family in different moments of their luxe lives.

Yet, the Salon is also a place of gossip and news – so Marie soon begins to realize just how much people’s opinions of the royal family are changing. She knew already, of course, that there are many starving and having much financial difficulty – mostly due to famine and a heavy tax burden the lower classes must bear for the higher ones – but in December of 1788 she is starting to see the anger…

Still determined to keep the Salon open and active, creating new sculptures that reflect the days, news and desir…

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm is a YA historical fantasy novel, and the first in the new Katerina Trilogy.

In St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888 Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, is attending balls and dinners among other royal society.

Yet she is hiding a secret.

She has a power so dark and wrong that she tries desperately to forget that she ever found out about it when she was a young child. But when a member of the Imperial Family is threatened right in front of her, she uses her ability for the first time in many years, almost instinctively, to protect him.

This event sweeps her into a web of intrigue as there are some among society that recognized her power – and knows it came from her.

Among the bloodlines of Europe there are ties to light and dark magic – and suddenly the dark side is getting much stronger. Her abilities are now in demand by the kingdom of Montenegro. Meanwhile, she must deal with George Alexandrovich, the middle son of the tsar, who seems disgusted with abilities – but…

The Inheritance Cycle

The Inheritance Cycle is a fantasy epic for all ages by Christopher Paolini.

Recently the fourth and final novel in the Cycle, Inheritance, was released and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy. The last one I’ve read is Eragon.

I’m probably a bit behind most of you – or all – when it comes to these novels. I’m assuming most of you know that this is a high fantasy journey taking place in another world where we follow Eragon, a Dragon Rider, and his dragon Saphira in their adventures and battles and quests.

Thing is, when I read Eragon quite a long time ago, I really liked it. I especially loved all the times with Saphira as a baby. I can’t help it; I love baby animals (if we can classify dragons as animals) and their relationship with their human. That was sweet. When it got into the higher fantasy stuff, though, I still really enjoyed it but got a bit more confused. I ended up having mixed feelings, but I knew I wanted to continue with series when I got the chance.

From what I’ve hea…

Brave New Love: 15 Dystopian Tales of Desire

Today's post is in honor of Ritchie - a cat nearly incomparable in fluffiness, sweetness, and bravery right up to the very end. We had fourteen years with him, and he will be missed with an aching heart for all our lives.

Brave New Love: 15 Dystopian Tales of Desire
is a YA anthology edited by Paula Guran, featuring many authors including Carrie Ryan, Diana Peterfreund, and Jeanne DuPrau.

This book is pretty much summed up in its title. We’ve got fifteen short stories featuring a dystopian world (just in time for The Hunger Games movie) that also give a shot of romance. I don’t want to ruin the fun by giving away any details of the individual stories, as they are short and a little gives away a lot!

What I will say is that Brave New Love is published by the same people that provided us with phenomenal anthologies like Corsets and Clockwork and Kiss Me Deadly, both of which I ADORED. So, even though it’s a different editor this time around, I definitely had high expectations.

Sadly, th…


Illuminate is the first book in a YA contemporary paranormal fantasy series called Gilded Wings by Aimee Agresti.

Haven Terra has always been the shy, smart girl. She has just one friend, the out-and-proud, equally educationally ambitious Dante who also knows what it’s like to be on the outskirts of high school society. So when they both, along with fellow high school student Lance, get a special internship at Chicago’s ritzy Lexington Hotel that’ll look great on their college apps and take the place of school, their companionship helps Haven feel more comfortable leaving home.

When she arrives, though, Haven is stunned to find every single employee is model-worthy attractive. And somehow, Haven’s the super-successful, beautiful, powerful young owner Aurelia Brown’s protégé and the insanely good-looking second-in-command to Aurelia, Lucian Grove, seems to be interested in her. It’s as if she went from ordinary and slightly invisible to a shining star overnight.

Yet even as all the attent…