Friday, May 31, 2013

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas is a middle grade fantasy novel and the first in The Books of Beginning trilogy by John Stephens.

For ten years Kate, Michael, and Emma have been floating from one orphanage to another – only the faintest memory of their loving parents in Kate’s mind to sustain them.

It had been a snowy Christmas Eve when their mother whispered her goodbyes and asked Kate to look after her two younger siblings. There was a vow of seeing them again. That was ten years ago.

Having taken her promise seriously, Kate has worked hard to make sure she and her siblings are not separated, and are ready to be found by their parents when that time comes. If it ever does.

But after being shipped off yet again as hopeless cases, the siblings find themselves as new residents in an entirely odd new orphanage. First of all, there seems to be no other children. Secondly, the mansion and mountains surrounding it were invisible until they got very close. Third, it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s something magical there.

After finding an emerald colored atlas, the three children are suddenly transported to the past – to a time that this land was ruled by a beautiful but dangerously powerful young woman that was desperately searching for something. With an army of horrifying creatures called Screechers, she uses her abilities to terrorize the town as she hunts for the item.

Kate, Michael, and Emma don’t know how or why they’re here – but they do know that they will take care of each other. Like they always have.

And this time they may need to help others too…

The Emerald Atlas was an admirably good fantasy tale.

I liked the sometimes absurd, adult-friendly humor that John Stephens provided at times. It’s great when middle grade literature can be read by an older set of readers pleasantly.

However, I did feel like the transition into the past was sort of… quick. I liked the story, but I never loved it. It jumped into everything quite fast, which I felt lessened the impact it could have had.

The siblings have a great, loving, relatively realistic relationship – and the mixture of fantasy, magic, and an epic quest to find the “books of beginning” that have great power was interesting.

I really did like it… I just wanted it be funnier, more suspenseful, more exciting… just more.

Perhaps a reread would do it more justice.

Even so, though, I do recommend it for fans of the genre!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Darkling Plain

A Darkling Plain is the fourth and final book in Philip Reeve’s YA dystopian adventure series Predator Cities.

As the conclusion to a quartet of novels, you obviously don’t want to pick up any spoilers here if you haven’t read the first three books yet, right?! So, instead of reading this review you can check out my thoughts on Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold and Infernal Devices by clicking on their titles.

Now, if you HAVE read those books, here’s a brief synopsis of A Darkling Plain:

Six months after Infernal Devices left off, Wren and her father Tom Natsworthy hear of a secret they never thought possible.

London, the great Traction City of the past, has lain in ruins for many, many years. A testament to a complete loss of life.

Or is it?

But while Tom and Wren search for answers regarding London, a lonely and dangerous child is also hiding a secret – one that could destroy the entire human race.

Time is running out…

So, the three previous books in this series have encompassed a rather large amount of time and material. Philip Reeve made me care for these complex, flawed characters and focus on their noble qualities. In Infernal Devices, however, the heartbreaking, disturbing turns led me to not be so happy with the twists it’s taken over time.

Not that I need to be. That doesn’t always make a good story, after all.

My point is that as I began A Darkling Plain, I found that I was fascinated in some things, such as the progression of the Anna/Stalker Fang plot and the interesting, futuristic world that has developed and evolved since the start of Mortal Engines. There’s such a wonderful sense of creativity and devotion to the world-building in these novels.

Other things, though, just depressed me. Like the current state of Tom and Hester. Their adult lives, in general, are not what I would have hoped for them. And so, as I read A Darkling Plain, it all felt like too much. Too much sadness, too much emotional turmoil, too many moments diverted from our main characters to outside activities that sometimes did not interest me as much.

As much as I hate to admit it, I actually began to skim this final book. My heart was just not as invested in it, I think I may have lost hope that things would turn out the way I wanted – or in any way that would leave me feeling satisfied.

However, there were many touching, meaningful moments filling the finale. Tears almost burst through my protective bibliophile cocoon a couple of times.

I was not jumping up and down in love with it. I wasn’t always 100% involved in the story. Yet, I know that the Predator Cities series is a special one, and someday when I have the time I’d like to reread the whole series again – word for word – and maybe appreciate the melancholy a little more.

A Darkling Plain might not be the best conclusion, but it is not an ordinary one.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Crocodile on the Sandbank

Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first in the humorous historical Amelia Peabody Mystery series by Elizabeth Peters.

Independently wealthy and ready for an adventure, Amelia Peabody, Victorian spinster of thirty-two, embarks on a trip to Egypt.

Armed with all the necessities – unwavering self-confidence, sharp intelligence, and a pointy parasol – Amelia embarks and finds herself utterly enthralled with the landscape and history.

As she is ready to travel to Cairo, though, she ends up rescuing the young and lovely Evelyn Barton-Forbes, a fellow Englishwoman left disgraced and alone – abandoned by the lover that estranged her from her grandfather, ready to end it all.

Well, Amelia certainly can’t have that. Especially when the lady has been so wronged! So, instead of letting the girl go off herself she employs her as a companion and sets off to sail the Nile with her by her side.

The trip is turning decidedly enjoyable.

When they reach an archeological site ran by the Emerson brothers – one sweet and gentlemanly, the other an ogre of a man with a wit to match Amelia’s – their party is halted as a rather absorbing mystery takes place.

It appears that a mummy is haunting the dig.

Amelia is certainly going to stick around to figure that one out.

Crocodile on the Sandbank was originally released back in 1975. If it weren’t for a bookish friend that told me about it, I may have missed this delightful novel! So, I definitely wanted to make sure all of you knew about it! It’s never too late to grab up a copy, after all.

Whenever I hear of a Victorian mystery, I’m there! But when you add a headstrong, clever, unpredictable and hilarious heroine like our Amelia here? Why, you can’t keep me away!!!

The first person narration is just SO fun as we sop up Amelia’s consistently droll, amusing tone. We get enough background and history of the character to very much appreciate her and feel that it’s not too much of a stretch for this woman to be a result of this exhilarating era.

Plus, Evelyn and the Emerson brothers get enough dialogue and story to become fully lively, likable characters themselves! The exotic locales sparkle with just enough detail, the fascination with antiquities buzzes, and the mystery slowly but surely come into light with a mix of curiosity, minor creepiness, and hilarity. I’ll say it again: FUN!!!

I was happily surprised by all the twists and truly pleased with the excellent chemistry that sneaks up and sizzles between Amelia and… Are you kidding?! I’m not gonna give it away!

There are a gazillion books in this series at this point – to be more accurate, about nineteen.

I will enthusiastically be obtaining as many more as I can, as quickly as I can! How about you?

Read Crocodile on the Sandbank, you fool! :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of Blood & Starlight is the YA fantasy sequel to the astonishing Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.

You know the drill. Roll your eyes if you want to. It’s still true.

If you have not yet read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, you MUST do so before reading this review or accidentally getting any minor to major spoilers. Okay?!?!? Thank you.

You can read my review of that first book here.

Moving on… IF you have read Daughter of Smoke & Bone, that is.

Blue-haired, raised-by-a-monster, eccentric art student Karou now knows who she is.

What she is.

And that truth comes with the bitter betrayal of knowing that the enemy, whom she risked everything to love, has done the unthinkable.

He has facilitated the murder of her family. Her family of monsters.

The world she left behind is in tatters. Because of her.

Karou now faces the question of how she will avenge her people when they don’t trust her…

Will there ever be any hope?

Obviously my synopsis for Days of Blood & Starlight is rather thin. You know why. As a fan of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, do you really want to know anything about the sequel?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Days of Blood & Starlight is dramatic with intensely evocative writing that creates a hypnotic, dark fantasy world wrapped around the ultimate forbidden love story.

It’d been a while since I read the first book, and without time to reread Daughter of Smoke & Bone I was playing catch-up for a bit. Yet the impression it left on me was still there – the thought of Brimstone, and the others’, death still upset me.

This is one of the few books that I really had no idea where the story was going. No guesses or predictions – it’s just so totally unique. I love that!

As the novel went along, though, the surprising, enigmatic, heavy twists were stunning. The foreign environments, human and otherwise, felt real. Days of Blood & Starlight is a suspenseful, heart-breaking, nerve-wracking tale.

By the end I was thinking: Whoa.

What a gorgeously done, memorable book!!!

I am DYING for book three.

My advice? If you haven’t already – read Days of Blood & Starlight!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scarlett Dedd

Scarlett Dedd is a YA humorous ghost story by Cathy Brett.

Scarlett wanted to get out of a school trip – and she knew her parents wouldn’t buy a fake illness.

So, what’d she do? Well, she picked some mushrooms that a schoolbook said would make her mildly sick and made a dish out of them.

She missed the fact that very similar mushrooms cause death. Of course, those were the ones she actually picked.


While being violently ill in the bathroom, her Mom, Dad, and brother all decided to try the meal Scarlett made.

Double oops.

So, now Scarlett is absolutely mortified that she not only accidentally killed herself – but her entire family!!!

As a ghost, she finds that it may be sorta fun to haunt the place. She was a goth horror-movie fanatic, after all.

But it doesn’t take long to get bored and miss her relatively recent best friends and crush. So, Scarlett begins to wonder how she could make her afterlife more exciting…

Scarlett Dedd is filled with illustrations from the author herself. What I really liked about that is that the drawings matched the descriptions – you don’t always get that when someone other than the author does it.

I’m sad to say, though, that Scarlett Dedd did not tickle my fancy.

Do I appreciate dark humor? Yes. Do I like eccentric stories? Absolutely yes. Did I like Scarlett Dedd? Unfortunately, no.

For me, Scarlett Dedd was just a little too much. Scarlett really wasn’t all that likable to me. Her friends didn’t seem to care she was dead, except for one, which made me actually dislike them. I know that the story isn’t supposed to be taken all that seriously, but it was hard to get past the overall annoyance I had with this.

Then, the story itself just didn’t come across as all that interesting to me. We essentially learn how Scarlett died, watch her realize she’s dead, and then deal with it. I didn’t find it particularly funny or poignant in any way. The illustrations and wavy/spiraling text didn’t help enough to make it less flat.

You might completely disagree. I hope you do!

But for me, I prefer the Ghostgirl books from Tonya Hurley. They were dark but funny, with a plot that centered on her finding herself – not to mention an interesting world of dead people, and dead school!

So, I hate to say it, but Scarlett Dedd did not come alive for me.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Paladin Prophecy

The Paladin Prophecy is a supernatural adventure novel, the first in a series, by Mark Frost.

Fifteen-year-old Will West is used to moving. He’s used to purposefully not making himself too noticeable.

It’s not something he’s ever really thought about. He’s just been following the direction of his loving parents whom he’s very close with. It’s served him well so far.

While out running one morning, though, he realizes he’s being followed. Black vans, unusual people. Already alarmed, once Will gets a text from his Dad telling him to run, he feels like it’s not just encouragement for his track practice – but that somehow his Dad knows something he doesn’t know.

And he runs.

Almost more alarming is how fast he goes. For the first time he isn’t proactively trying to stay under the radar – and the speed is not normal. It’s insane.

Then everything changes.

Arriving at school, Will’s told that his latest testing on a nationwide exam is off the charts. Like literally far and above anyone else. An extremely hush-hush, exclusive private school wants to offer him a full scholarship.

Getting home, his Mom is thrilled with the news.

That’s not right.

She and her Dad have specifically wanted to avoid something like this – attention. It doesn’t take long for Will to conclude that this is not his Mom.

So where is his Mom? And what the hell is going on?

All the lessons he’s been taught as he’s grown up have prepared him for this… he hopes.

Fleeing to the school, Will knows he needs to get himself safe so he can find out what’s happening, what he is, and what to do next

The Paladin Prophecy jumped right into mysterious action in less than ten pages. At first I felt it was screaming from the rooftops that it was a book for GUYS! This was based off descriptions of motorcycles, cars, and an overall testosterone vibe.

That’s not a bad thing, though, as long as it can offer up a good story.

Despite being thrown into a chaotic chase scene so quickly, I did find myself intrigued by Will’s abnormally smart noggin and physical abilities. Plus, after being a little disgruntled about not really knowing anything about Will’s personality, it starts to shine through with some deliciously snarky, sharp humor.

So, I let go of the desire for lovely writing and deep character development and let myself just enjoy the pure entertainment factor, which The Paladin Prophecy definitely has. Some of the descriptions of creatures and weapons confused me – I’d get a little lost in the swiftness of it all occasionally – but the plot kept getting better.

At the school we meet more funny/interesting characters, started delving into more mystery, and we got to see the tough-guy Will in action. Laugh-worthy sarcasm and dialogue (that actually worked!) won me over. Nick (one of Will’s classmates) is pretty darn hilarious.

The Paladin Prophecy was an exciting, adventurous, and overall pretty original and fun novel that made me eagerly anticipate the next book!

Friday, May 17, 2013

When Love Calls

When Loves Calls is the first in The Gregory Sisters series, a historical romance novel by Lorna Seilstad.

Faced with the death of her parents in 1908 Iowa, Hannah Gregory left law school behind to return home and support her two younger sisters. Shortly thereafter a handsome young lawyer drops by and lets them know that the bank owns their farm – and they have to leave it.

Good at many things, but not at following rules, Hannah butts heads with the lawyer. She might not be pursuing her dream anymore, but she certainly won’t let her sisters starve. So, when she applies for a position as a Hello Girl, a switchboard operator, she knows she’ll be utilizing every inch of her self-control.

Why? Because they have strict rules – some of which she finds laughable – that her employment depends on. One of which is that she is to have no consorting with gentlemen during training.

The problem with that is that circumstances keep bringing Hannah and the lawyer together – and she’s starting not to mind…

When Love Calls really had a lot of fascinating details about being a switchboard operator in the beginning of the twentieth century. My Grandma was a switchboard operator much later on, but I couldn’t help but want to ask her so many questions about her job – if any of these rules or methods of training featured in When Love Calls had been retained in the 60s and 70s. I’ll ask her in Heaven!

Hannah is a likable character, and her strong bond with her sisters creates a nice tone. I already know that I’d like to read books about each of them – especially the youngest, Tessa, who most definitely has a mind of her own.

The romance sometimes felt a bit bland. I liked all the characters and they had decent chemistry, but I felt that Lorna Seilstad’s The Ride of Her Life was stronger on the romance and character level. Yet I still very much enjoyed When Love Calls.

Perhaps some more light peppering of historical details from the period could have enhanced the atmosphere a bit. Other than those few things, however, When Love Calls is a fun, amusing, romantic family drama that also gives a glimpse of some early union issues.

Like I said earlier, I’ll definitely be following this series – but I do hope a bit more of the sparkle I saw in The Ride of Her Life starts to show up to whisk me away next time!

*Available May 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I received a copy of When Love Calls from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

The Fire Horse Girl

The Fire Horse Girl is a YA historical novel by Kay Honeyman.

A Fire Horse is the worst Chinese zodiac sign for girls. In 1923, no one wants a girl to be stubborn, reckless and headstrong. Yet it fits Jade Moon well.

Often she is considered a curse on her family.

Marrying her off is their hope, but who would want to marry a Fire Horse?

When a young man named Sterling Promise arrives at their home with ties to Jade Moon’s estranged uncle, he brings tales of opportunity and freedom in America – and a chance to go there.

Desperate for a possibility to live somewhere that her strong, outspoken personality might not make her so much of an outcast, Jade Moon is thrilled. But upon reaching Angel Island, California’s immigration stop, she is horrified to find that the Chinese aren’t as welcome as she thought.

And a betrayal could send her right back to China…

The Fire Horse Girl has an authentic, disquieting historical feel. I so very much wanted Jade Moon to be able to have the chance to be the tough, smart girl she is – yet the alarmingly upsetting procedures of coming into America in 1923 as a Chinese immigrant made me worry she’d not get that chance.

For a while, despite The Fire Horse Girl being well-written, the plot felt familiar. I have read plenty of novels that feature time in an Angel Island/Ellis Island setting. Certainly, Honeyman does excellently portray the horrifyingly unpleasant immigration principles and presents a journey of steadfastness – but I was still a little ho-hum about it.

Once Jade Moon’s colorful, hopeful stories start to bring bittersweet hope to the fellow immigrants at Angel Island, though, the novel started to take a turn for the better. And a really surprising turn of plot, which I don’t even want to hint at here, brings about a uniqueness that it was missing.

The Fire Horse Girl is a story of heroism, suspenseful and inspiring, with amazing history and the making of a brave female protagonist. Really quite good.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Ghosts of Ashbury High

The Ghosts of Ashbury High is a YA contemporary novel that mashes a lot of different genres by Jaclyn Moriarty.

This is also the fourth book in the Ashbury/Brookfield series, which I wasn’t aware of. I’d recommend starting from the beginning, as always. Yet I wasn’t even aware of the other books and was not lost.

But I really, really, REALLY want to read them now!

That’s right: The Ghosts of Ashbury High is AWESOME!!!

A little synopsis first, shall we?

Each senior is handling their final year of school differently. Lydia is having non-stop parties at her house. Toby is obsessing over the life of a local that lived in their area of Australia over 100 years ago. Emily is convinced there is a ghost haunting the Art Rooms.

That’s right. A ghost.

But the most prevalent thing on everyone’s mind is Amelia and Riley.

Mysterious, enigmatic, gorgeous and uber-talented, the two first-ever scholarship students have transferred to Ashbury High and thrown the senior class into a mania.

Who are they? Where’d they come from? Have they really been together since they were fourteen? Why do they have an otherworldly stare?

There are secrets being hidden that will come to light before the senior class must swallow their nerves and enter adult society…

Wow. From the title, I was expecting a paranormal ghost story set at a high school.

How wrong I was. And you are, if you’re expecting the same thing!

No, The Ghosts of Ashbury High is SO much more than that!!!

First of all, it’s eccentric. Truly zany, enjoyable humor! It’s imaginative, fun, witty, yet introspective and surprisingly intuitive at times. Jaclyn Moriarty writes great, strongly built characters, excellent friendships, adds a dash of mystery and allure and a LOT of flavorful writing.

The novel is written in the form of essays and school assignments that are autobiographical, switching viewpoints among numerous characters. As I got deeper into the book, the bittersweet coming-of-age tone slipped in. It became more and more fascinating, thought-provoking, and at times utterly heartbreaking.

The Ghosts of Ashbury High ended up being startlingly profound – far deeper than it initially seemed.

I mean, I loved it. Laugh-out-loud funny, subtle seriousness, plot twists, and an overall unable-to- pigeonhole-to-one-genre book, The Ghosts of Ashbury High was amazing!

And as I said, I want more! So, I will now be trying to read the previous books!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Believing Game

The Believing Game is a YA contemporary thriller by Eireann Corrigan.

Greer, after being caught stealing yet again, is sent to a rehab-type school called McCracken Hill. She’s a burden no one wants, really.

But McCracken Hill is not as bad as she was afraid of.

Plus, when Addison starts attending the school it’s a whole lot better.

Addison is one of those guys. Super good looking, well built, and charming. All the girls dream about him. Greer suspects that includes some of the female teachers.

But for some reason, he wants Greer. Their relationship begins to grow and Greer finds herself being absorbed into his group of friends and socializing more than she ever has.

Yet he is also insistent about her being compatible with his sponsor, the person that he relies on most… Joshua. The man talks like a New Age life coach, preaches positivity and being a better you – yet Greer senses something darker, something less truthful in him.

As Greer becomes more and more involved with these people, she fears that being sucked into Joshua’s circle could be dangerous…

Despite mixed reviews, I really liked Corrigan’s Accomplice. So, I was expecting a solid cultish type novel here in The Believing Game.

The Believing Game is compelling, disturbing and fast-paced. However, it never went quite as far as I expected it to. It never got quite as suspenseful as I expected, either.

It has a good, decent, creepy vibe with the very bizarre Joshua – but it never reached the peaks that it could. Manipulation lies, and messing with young adults that are already fragile is a big thing – I was surprised that it didn’t FULLY go there.

Though it was not as magnetic as Accomplice, The Believing Game had the potential. There was some character growth and an admirable plot. Yet, I would just rate it as “fair”.

What say YOU?

Friday, May 10, 2013


Flutter is a YA romantic sci-fi novel by Gina Linko.

Since seventeen-year-old Emery Land can remember she’s been looping. That’s her word for when she has seizures and travels through wormholes in time. Essentially she’s time traveling. Even if it’s difficult for her father’s scientists and medical team to swallow.

But the loops are having a physical toll on her. With each one she returns from, her organs are aging. Instead of having a normal life hanging out with her best friend, going to school and looking at colleges, she is now living in the hospital being monitored constantly.

Deep down, Emery agrees that she doesn’t have much time left – the loops are killing her. But if her father’s team refuses to accept the truth about what happens when she has these seizures, how can they help her?

Using a clue from one of the loops, Emery escapes the hospital and travels to Esperanza, a small town. There she meets Ash – a young man who is enigmatically damaged and dedicated to performing some kind of penance.

Somehow Ash seems tied into Emery’s loops, and Emery wonders if unraveling the mystery might help her save her own life…

Flutter was certainly unique. One thing I’ll say is that I don’t love this cover. The lines across it (which you might not see in the picture) gave off this very futuristic, techie vibe to me – which Flutter is most certainly not.

Really, Flutter is a contemporary novel with a sci-fi twist when it comes to Emery’s loops. It reminded me of my favorite TV show Lost – Desmond Hume gets unstuck in time and randomly experiences past/future. It was also dangerous to his health. So, there was definitely a connection there.

For a while, I was a little disconnected. I got frustrated when I felt Emery was ignoring an obvious plot twist FOREVER – but I was wrong!!! Ha! It’s nice to give the bibliophile a kick in the pants every once in a while. That helped immensely; even if I was still a little exasperated Emery didn’t at least suspect what I was thinking sooner.

Emery and Ash, though, are two very, very likable characters. They aren’t mushy or unrealistic, they have issues, secrets, and their love story is very involving. They really saved the story for me in those less exciting moments.

Plus, Gina Linko did surprise me with the book’s later revelations. My predictions ended up being way off – which I like! Very cool.

If you’re in the mood for an introspective, contemporary, sensitive romance with a twist of sci-fi mystery, Flutter should be next on your reading list.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Sacred is a YA contemporary/paranormal novel by Elana K. Arnold.

Living on Catalina Island, off the California coast, tends to be quiet. For Scarlett it’s been even quieter since the sudden death of her brother. Shutting out her boyfriend, her grief-stricken, medicated mother, concerned father and close friends, Scarlett feels lost in her pain.

No one seems to be noticing Scarlett’s decreasing health or alarmingly fast weight loss.

Except for Will Cohen.

First having met during one of Scarlett’s solitary horseback rides, Will has a magnetic pull that Scarlett can’t deny. And it’s not just that he’s gorgeous with startling green eyes, it’s that when he looks at her, she feels like he knows.

He knows the pain she’s in, somehow. What she’s doing to herself.

Will has secrets of his own, though, that may threaten to tear the tentative healing he triggers in Scarlett…

Sacred was… different.

It started slow. Kept being slow for a bit, and then the intensity of Scarlett’s agony, her increasing self-abuse, and the realistically melancholy tone began to grow on me. I began to care for Scarlett and appreciate the lyrical, contemporary writing.

When the lightly paranormal element tied to Will started to come in to pay, I was interested. The way it played into Scarlett’s healing was kinda cool.

But then it nosedived, in my opinion. Suddenly cheap, not-fully-explained wrenches are thrown into their relationship. I couldn’t understand why the novel would take such a weird, bizarre turn like that when it had so far established itself as a gritty, genuine, grounded story.

Then it also became, for me, extremely pushy and preachy. Scarlett’s introduction into a religious vision of Jewish mysticism took over the narrative and read more like a non-fiction book. It really threw me off, and didn’t come across well to me at all.

In the end, I sadly felt Sacred was very rocky, sort of boring, unstable and (as much as I hate to say this!) pointless. There’s going to be another book called Splendor, a sequel, coming out this summer. I really don’t know why, or what would be continued here.

Unfortunately, I won’t be reading it.

Remember, I am ONE bibliophile with ONE opinion. Please do read it for yourself and disagree with me fully, if you do! My opinion here is honest, but I do NOT want to dissuade you from reading it yourself.

So, go ahead and check out Sacred.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day is a YA comedic horror novel, and a follow-up to Bad Taste in Boys, by Carrie Harris.

Reading Bad Taste in Boys first is not a prerequisite here, yet I’d still recommend it. You can check out my review here.

Future Doctor of America Kate Grable is thrilled to geek-pieces to be shadowing the county medical examiner as part of her school’s premed program.

But of course nothing can go smoothly in Kate’s life, right?

Nope. Curing a zombie virus wasn’t enough, apparently.

When the county medical examiner she’s following gets arrested for a gruesome murder where the victim was literally torn apart, well, she just has to investigate.

As more bodies start to pile up, Kate finds she’s searching for a murderer that is big, hairy and possibly has claws.

That’s right. She’s chasing a werewolf.

Her logical brain, however, refuses to believe that. Zombies are one thing, but werewolves?

Evidence continues to build though, as Kate also deals with flying encyclopedia’s, a costume-wearing brother, an irritated best friend, and a boyfriend who she fears she may have ignored (accidentally) a little too long.

She couldn’t just have a quiet day of regular ol’ autopsies, could she?

Bad Taste in Boys was a hilarious, fresh take on zombies with a nerdy, intelligent, awesome heroine in doctor-in-training Kate Grable. I’m elated we get to follow her again as she lands another weird medical mystery!

Mixing absurd humor, including boundless witty dialogue, with a new take on werewolves, Carrie Harris is again treating us to some good old fashioned FUN in Bad Hair Day.

Secondary characters bursting with personality, a sometimes gory plot in the most light-hearted way, and a first-person voice to salivate over, I’m in book-love with Kate Grable and hope for many, many more books featuring this character!!!

It’s a fast, entertaining read meant to be enjoyed with a smile on your face. Mission accomplished!

*Note to my lovely Bibliophile Support Group fans, I'm starting a new job today! It's an exciting, great opportunity for my family and I but it could also mean changes to the blog's schedule IF my reading time is cut shorter because of it. I ask you all to understand this and take it into consideration if my posts get scaled back. But for now, everything is full steam ahead! Thanks for reading!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Catherine is a YA romantic suspense novel, and a modern retelling of Wuthering Heights, by April Lindner.

Chelsea has spent most of her life believing that her Mom, Catherine, had died when she was young. When she found a letter her Dad kept from her for years, though, all of that changes. Her Mom didn’t die, she left. With full intentions of returning… until she disappeared into thin air.

So, armed with this letter, Chelsea begins to follow the clues of where her Mom went, hoping that perhaps she can find her. First stop is the return address for the letter, The Underground, a famous Manhattan club featuring up-and-coming musicians. Currently being ran by the enigmatic, sullen Hence.

Twenty years before, Catherine focuses on schoolwork and the future – never giving all that much attention to boys, since most of them just want the attention of her wealthy Dad anyway, hoping for a gig at The Underground. But when Hence arrives, desperately in need of a roof over his head and a chance, Catherine can’t help but be pulled into his mysteriousness. Between them burns a fiery passion she never would have believed herself possible of, but their relationship is being tested…

With switching viewpoints between present-day Chelsea and her Mom in her teenaged years twenty years previously, April Lindner presents an original retelling of Emile Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

You may remember that I was very impressed by Lindner’s retelling of Jane Eyre called Jane. Here again I was pulled in by the dramatic, lyrical language. I liked the presentation of two different generations, mother and daughter. The mystery and gothic air was thick in the atmosphere of the novel.

Catherine is dark, sexy, and intense with both viewpoints grabbing me and not letting go. It’s heartbreaking, obsessive, and intriguing. I was constantly wondering what ended up happening, yet nervous at the same time. Its suspenseful romance – and a story of a girl learning the truth about her mother for the first time.

Not a happy-go-lucky book, but really something, Catherine is undeniably a page-turner! It made me more interested in reading Wuthering Heights, which I admit previously I had a hard time with. Before I always found the characters simply too unlikable. Maybe that’d be different now.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I felt Catherine was as good as Jane, but this spin of turning classic brooding male leads into rock stars is pretty irresistible! I felt it was quite good!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When We Wake

When We Wake is a sci-fi, futuristic YA novel by Karen Healey.

It’s 2027 and sixteen-year-old Tegan Oglietti is waking up feeling thrilled.

The day before she and her longtime crush confessed their feelings for each other and shared kisses! So, as she, her best friend and her brand-new boyfriend walk to a protest where they plan on taking a stand on the wrongs of the world, she’s extremely happy.

She wakes up 100 years later with no memory of what happened next.

Essentially, she died after she was killed in an attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister.

Used as an experiment for possible cryonic treatment, obviously it worked. But everything she knew, everyone she loved, is gone.

Between grief and disappointment with this uninspiring future, Tegan tries to start living the second chance at life she’s been given… but the true motivations for bringing her back might be darker than she was initially told.

I knew I wanted to read When We Wake because Karen Healey really knocked my socks off with Guardian of the Dead and The Shattering. Plus, this has an interesting premise.

However, I was surprised to find that I was not all that involved or engaged in When We Wake… I expected something more suspenseful, mysterious and exciting. Or, if not that, more contemplative and thought-provoking. I did not feel that here, I’m sorry to say.

When We Wake felt a bit political, but in a lackluster way, and unexpectedly bland. Tegan didn’t connect with me too much, and the story just did not have any oomph. Except for a few moments later on, it just felt like we were seeing the future, different schools, technology and drugs, etc., without any of it being all that interesting.

The Jenna Fox Chronicles from Mary E. Pearson takes a sort-of similar concept to a much higher level, in my opinion. I don’t know if Karen Healey was unable to go to that darker, deeper, more amazing place because this novel had no magical component? I don’t know. It’s weird how differently I felt about it from her other books.

Yet, even though I ended up skimming When We Wake, it’s not a bad book. Just doesn’t leave much of a dint. You know what I’m going to say though, don’t you?


This could be your favorite book ever! So, read it for yourself, ya crazy bibliophile!!!

Every book deserves a hard-core fan, maybe you’re it!