Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves–fifteen years in the future It’s 1996, and JoshOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, Reviewed by Nikki.
Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves–fifteen years in the future It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long–at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates–it’s all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right–and wrong–in the present. In Josh and Emma’s world, the Internet is just taking off. Email and instant messenger is all the rage, and no one has even heard of Facebook. When Emma’s dad gets her a computer, Josh brings over a CD-ROM to install the Internet, and their lives are changed forever. When Emma boots up the CD, this thing called Facebook pops up. It seems to be some kind of Internet page dedicated to their lives in the future. Josh is married to the hottest girl in school, and Emma, well, Emma’s life changes every few minutes. She goes through several husbands, finds herself living in places she’d never dream of living, and finds things out about friends that she doesn’t really want to know. And then it becomes clear … the things they do in their daily lives now are affecting the lives that exist in the future on this Facebook page. Even the tiniest little thing completely alters their future. This novel is narrated through a dual perspective. Both Josh and Emma have a voice, which is cool. I really liked Josh, and I feel that teenagers will really relate to him. He’s that average kid that gets overlooked all the time; he’s the nice guy that finishes last; he’s pretty, well, normal. Emma, on the other hand, is less enjoyable to read. She’s selfish, incredibly shallow, and everything always has to be about her. As I read, there were several points in the story where I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Josh is so patient with her and he’s far too good to her. She doesn’t deserve his kindness, especially after the way she continually abuses their relationship. This story is written so well that it’s impossible to tell it was penned by two different people. I’ve always been a big fan of both Jay and Carolyn, so I was excited to see how well they worked together, and it gives me great pleasure to say that they’re an amazing team! This one is an easy read, folks. Pages: 356 Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: Razorbill Rating:: 4.5 Teaser quote: I have a computer in my car? Josh is going to freak out when he hears this....more
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never beOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nikki
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. Hazel has cancer. The bad kind that just won’t go away. No one is sugar coating anything for her – it is inevitable, just a matter of time. She hasn’t been to school in three years, which means her list of friends can be counted on one hand. She hauls herself up in the house reading the same novel over and over and subjecting her parents to re-runs of bad reality TV programming. Hazel’s mom thinks she’s depressed and forces her to go to a local support group for kids like her. She protests, of course, but even cancer can’t get you out of some things. Enter Augustus Waters. Cancer survivor, amputee, life optimist, cancer support group resident hot guy. And he’s looking at Hazel like that. By the end of the meeting Augustus has managed to convince Hazel to go back to his place and watch a movie with him, and just like that Hazel’s terminally ill cancer life changes to terminally-ill-but-now-she-gets-to-live-a-little-too. Here’s what you need to know about this book: YOU WILL NEED LOTS AND LOTS OF KLEENEX. This is a story about kids with cancer, so I think the plot probably speaks for itself, but what I did find utterly astonishing was just how funny it was. John Green has somehow managed to spin the situation Augustus and Hazel find themselves in so that it’s completely and totally hilarious without discrediting the seriousness of a disease like cancer. In fact, the first time I picked up a tissue was to wipe the laughter from my eyes. You will fall hopelessly head over heels in love with Augustus and Hazel. By the end of the first chapter, I wanted to wrap Hazel in bubble wrap and hug away all the badness she’d endured throughout her life. Then Augustus came along and I realized he wanted to be the one that did all that for her, so I stepped off. Regardless of the humor, regardless of how much I laughed out loud while reading, Augustus and Hazel’s story is heart crushingly, soul destroyingly sad. Perhaps that’s what makes this book the shining diamond that it is: it’s ability to be both brilliant and horrifying all in one. There’s not much else that needs to be said about The Fault In Our Stars, except that this is, without a doubt, the best book I’ve read in any genre for a really, really long time. And not because it’s about cancer, but because it’s about people, love, and making it count. Five stars isn’t a high enough rating for this masterpiece. If I could give it more, I would. John Green, thanks for your brilliance. The Fault In Our Stars will change lives....more
**spoiler alert** James Morgan is one of those privileged kids. He comes from one of the most prestigious families in all of England, has servants to**spoiler alert** James Morgan is one of those privileged kids. He comes from one of the most prestigious families in all of England, has servants to boss around, and he can even read. This fact alone is a pretty exceptional thing and is definitely a sign of his social status. Raised mostly by his Aunt, James is nothing short of a spoiled little brat. But when his father returns from years away, chaos follows his arrival home. In mere moments, Jim’s life is thrown into darkness as people he thought he could trust deceive him and place his life in danger. Before he even has time to comprehend what happened, James finds himself on the run.
Taking the only thing that remains of his father – a box a gypsy put a spell on and now James can’t open – he heads to London where he crosses some very interesting characters indeed.
Enter The King of Thieves. He’s conniving and manipulative, but he’s charismatic enough to have won the trust of London’s finest street urchins and pickpockets. You see, the King of Thieves is looking for something very special indeed, and he’s using the homeless kids of London to find it for him. James, being James, finds himself in a bit of a pickle and The King ends up claiming his father’s box.
Meet the Ratt Brothers and lovely little Lacey. In accordance with The King’s wishes, this little clan of pickpockets agrees to take Jim into their group and show him the ropes. Nothing short of hilarity ensues. Jim is clumsy, naïve, and his innocence radiates off of every page as readers watch him attempt to settle into a life on the streets. Lucky for him, the Ratt Brothers are pros, and they’ve got his back at every turn.
The Ratt’s and Lacey vow they’ll help Jim get his box back, and as the group start their mission to retrieve what’s rightfully his, Jim and his new friends find themselves in one dangerous situation after the next. How on earth are they going to get Jim’s box back and stay out of trouble at the same time? Friendship, that’s how.
Can Jim and his new friends outsmart the King of Thieves and get his box back? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out.
This is one of those outstanding adventure stories that has a little something for everyone. Action? Check. Drama? Check. Humor? Double check. But most importantly, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is full of great characters. Jim himself starts out as a petulant little snob, but as readers watch life bite him in the butt, it’s hard not to fall in love with him. Perhaps my favorite of all the characters, though, is the Ratt Brothers – all three of them. They’re a constant source of entertainment throughout the story, but what I loved the most about them was their optimistic and positive outlook on life. They’ve been dealt some pretty difficult cards, yet they’re able to tackle each day with vigor and purpose. I’d be proud to call them my friends.
Beautifully written and perfectly paced, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is a must read for everyone who loves to step into world colored with a little magic and a lot of adventure. Bring on book two.
After her dad died, Milo took over his hobby of tagging and tracking deer. She wasn’t really supposed to continue his endeavors but it helps her stayAfter her dad died, Milo took over his hobby of tagging and tracking deer. She wasn’t really supposed to continue his endeavors but it helps her stay ‘close’ to him, if that makes sense. One afternoon, she finds the fawn she’s been looking for. She aims her tranquilizer gun, takes the shot, but then something very strange happens. Instead of the deer simply falling, as it should have, a flash of golden light radiated through the trees. It was a few moments before the initial shock wore off, but when it did, Milo was astounded by what she saw. Instead of the baby deer, laying on the ground in its place was a boy. She tranquilized a boy! But where did the deer go, and where the freaking heck did this boy come from? Understandably, Milo panics. As the boy comes to, it becomes apparent that he doesn’t remember anything about whom he is, or where he came from, which does absolutely nothing to ease Milo’s fear and guilt over shooting the kid. She does what anyone would do in such a situation – she takes him home and patches him up. Then, strange things start happening. The power goes out in the entire area, the TV somehow works without the use of a generator, and the boy – who Milo decided to call Nick – starts having very weird and creepy moments. Nick knows something isn’t right. He can’t remember a single thing about who he is but he can remember all kinds of crazy scientific details. He can fix things without knowing how, and recall all the details in all his textbooks, even though he has no memory of ever learning it. Milo begins to realize that whoever Nick is, she needs to keep his identity – his new identity a secret. Then the Department of Defense shows up and all hell breaks loose. Chaos ensues, drama erupts, motorbike chases are had, and in the moments of life and death, declarations are made. All the ingredients of a good old action packed paranormal romance. So WHO is exactly is Nick? Well I’m not going to tell you that, but I will say that my first suspicions were incorrect. My second hunch was also a miss, but I got it on the third, and let me tell you, I was pretty excited by the whole thing. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything involving THESE kinds of creatures. Milo is one of those characters that is easy to read. Being inside her head is simple because she’s a pretty ordinary girl. She makes irrational choices occasionally and fusses a lot of over Nick – but I think that can be pretty typical of girls her age. She doubts herself sometimes, which is also typical of girls her age, and I wanted to smack her once or twice, but that makes her all the more believable. Nick acts in the interest of self-preservation a lot, which I loved! While it’s clear there’s definitely an emotional connection between himself and Milo, and he also acts to make sure Milo is safe, he gets himself out of the sticky situations and makes sure HE is safe too. So many YA heroes and heroines these days are completely self sacrificing of their own safety and needs in order to ‘protect’ the one they love. There aren’t too many REAL sixteen-year-olds that I know that wouldn’t try and save themselves first in the face of danger. Here was a great start to what I’m expecting to be a compelling series. Ella James, bring on installment number two! Pages: 176 Publisher: Independent release Publication date: February 15, 2012 Rating:: 4 Teaser Quote: Jerky like a wind-up doll, I leaned over his body and splayed my palm across his cheek. It was creamy—not pale or flushed—and to me it looked unnaturally perfect. He didn‟t have a single blemish. Not even a freckle. I wiggled my fingers, tap-tapping on his cheek below his eye. “Hey… c‟mon. Talk to me!”...more
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments tEverything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, solemn and brooding; Cas, lighthearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who’s stolen Anna’s heart. Reserved and always controlled, Sam does everything with purpose. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to go, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab — not even their true identities. Anna has a different kind of life. She’s home schooled, doesn’t have a mom, and she works with her dad in the basement of their farmhouse monitoring and studying four young men whom the government is ‘molding’. But what are they being molded for, and why doesn’t Anna have more answers? She’s privy to limited information, and although she wants more, she’s never really made any real concerted efforts to get it. It becomes very clear very quickly that Anna doesn’t have any friends … except, well, the boys. Although they live in ‘cells’ and there is a glass wall that separates her from them, she knows them well, spends time with them, entertains them, and connects with them. It’s clear within the first few pages that Trev, Cas and Sam all adore Anna in their own unique ways. Nick, however, is a bit of a surly one and seems to hate the fact that Anna even exists. Mostly, Anna just ignores his sourness, but she can’t always hide the teeny tiny blob of fear that nestles deep in her belly when she has to interact with him personally. After spending four years with Anna and her dad in their basement, Anna and the boys, albeit locked up, have grown up together. But what kind of life is this? Anna, who cares about her boys more than she lets on, ponders this often. How is this fair to them and why, why is it so important that they be locked up like this. In their midnight games of chess, Sam has, in so many ways, made it clear that all they really desire is a life outside their cells. Sam. The apple of Anna’s eye, the thump thump of her heart, and the very single reason she plods down into that basement every single day. Is it possible for her to love him so much, when their relationship is already so unconventional? What’s more, does Sam know? God, Anna hopes not. Then, one day, they get their wish. The government rocks up and announced that they’ve decided to terminate the project, which means terminating the boys. In the middle of the extraction process, Sam miraculously defies all odds and defeats his captors. Anna, in a moment of pure panic, joins in the fight to free her boys and suddenly, after much blood is spilled, finds herself on the run from a secret government agency with four boys who have been wired and programed into some kind of superhuman being. What exactly that entails, none of them know. They’re not safe from the government, they may not even be safe from each other… As they run for their lives, Sam, Anna and the boys discover secret after secret about themselves, their pasts, and their ugly fated future. As the story careens to the finish line, one thing becomes blindingly obvious: even though they didn’t know it, this all started with Sam and Anna, so it only seems fitting that it end with them too. This book has it all: romance, action, oh-so-much action! It’s a contemporary reality smeared together with just a hint of fantasy that barrels along at warp speed! It’s both character and plot driven, descriptive without being overbearing, and the best thing? Both guys and gals are going to dig this one! The relationship between Sam and Anna, although completely central to the story, doesn’t take over and turn this into a wishy washy chicklit read. At times I was incredibly frustrated at the distance Sam put between himself and Anna, but the wedge only drew me in further as their romantic tensions sizzled the pages to life. So little touching, so so much fire. I laughed out loud at Cas’ witty humor and inflated ego, I gasped loudly as trouble found them at every corner they turned. I wanted to cry as people they cared about were gunned down, left behind to bleed out alone. I swore loudly as betrayals broke their circle down. But the thing that had me allllllll wound up in a bundle of anxious nerves was the fact that no one could trust anyone, and it seemed that no one was exactly who they said they were. There were times when I thought everything was false, and then others when I completely doubted my instincts. I LOVED the unpredictability of everything. It was refreshing and incredibly invigorating to read. A debut author couldn’t want anything better than this for herself. Perfectly written, utterly engaging, Altered hit every single one of my literary taste buds. It’s addictive and perfect in every single way. Everyone on the face of the earth needs to read this book right now! Pages: 323 Publisher: Little, Brown & Co. Publication Date: January, 2013 Teaser Quote: Brakes screeched behind us. I looked back but Nick urged me on with a shove. Footsteps pounded after us. Cas reached the Jeep first. Sam tossed him the keys and Cas snatched them from the air before sliding behind the wheel. Trev ripped up on the back door handle. “Get the girl first!” someone shouted. Rating: 5...more
A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high walA dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable–they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed–but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths. Natalie is the Emissary’s daughter. She’s got power, status, prestige, and she’s beautiful. Ash is a Darkling – half blood drinker, half human. As a half-breed, life deposited him on the exact opposite end of the scale. He has no power, no prestige, and absolutely no status within Black City. He’s considered the lowest of the low. Darklings and royalty don’t socialize together, and they certainly don’t mate, but sometimes it’s impossible to ignore the heart’s inner desires, especially in this case. One night while she’s trying to out smart her security detail, Natalie runs into Ash, and her life won’t ever be the same again… As a Darkling, Ash’s heart doesn’t beat. Ever. At all. It’s something that has plagued him always and he hates being reminded of the fact. Until he meets Natalie, that is. Standing under a bridge, looking into her eyes, he feels something inside his chest stir, like actually move, and it scares him senseless. How is it possible that his heart actually moves whenever she’s around him? He knows its wrong, and he knows that its going to take him no place good, but he can’t stay away from her. The attraction he feels for her is more than some cosmic pull … every time he’s around her, his heart flutters, thumps, POUNDS in his chest. They’re destined to be together. But Ash and Natalie are from opposite sides of the tracks, and being together isn’t really an option for them. Will they fight for each other and hide their love from the world around them, or will they do what’s right, and walk away before anyone gets hurt? The premise behind this book is really quite outstanding. I loved the world Richards has created. It’s dark, grimy, and ruthless – all good ingredients for a heart-wrenching tale. There’s a good old love triangle woven into the mix, too. Instead of just depositing a third party into the story, though, Elizabeth Richards takes the notion of following our hearts desires to the next level. There’s an unexpected twist that link Natalie, Ash and party #3 together, in more ways than one. There was one thing that bugged me a little, though. I felt the characters of Ash and Natalie were a little shallow and undeveloped. They both seemed incredibly flippant. Within just a few chapters it felt like they were declaring their love for each other and flipping anyone off who stood in their way. It was jarring and inorganic. They were telling us as readers that they were deeply in love with each other, but I just couldn’t see it. I didn’t feel their need for each other and when their declarations of love were made, I wasn’t particularly rooting for them as a couple, either. I would rather have been able to see their love for each other before declarations of doom and gloom were made. The plot kept me going, however. Even though I wasn’t particularly taken by the lead characters, I definitely wanted to keep reading. Black City is unpredictable, highly creative, and engaging. Save some energy for the finale, though, as Black City goes out with a bit of a bang! Pages: 373 Publication date: November 2012 Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons – an imprint of Penguin Teaser quote: The boy clutches his chest, like he’s in pain. He looks up at me with sparkling black eyes, and my heart stumbles and races to catch up with the beat. ...more
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as uOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nikki
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. When Divergent ended, Tris and her crew were in deep trouble. As the pages of Insurgent begin, her situation hasn’t improved at all. In fact, and to my glorious delight, this novel picks up exactly where Divergent ended, so we don’t miss a thing. Knowing they can’t stay out in the open for long, they head for the Amity headquarters, seeking refuge – as temporary as it will inevitably be. But the Amity has rules. Rules that the likes of Tobias and Tris, accustomed to the Dauntless way of life, have difficulty following and their stay at Amity is short lived. Was it really ever going to be any other way? However, before they depart, Tris confronts Marcus, demanding answers and he gives her some insight into a situation that affects them all. Problem is, when she tells Tobias, he dismisses the information as lies, a mere attempt to manipulate her and everyone around her. Tris tries to forget what Marcus told her, but his words rest in the base of her stomach, even though she promised Tobias she’d let it go. The factions continue warring and Tris and Tobias find themselves in the very thick of it at every turn they make. It seems wherever they go, trouble soon follows, and in war, you’re only as safe as those whom you entrust your life with… But whom can she trust? As the story unfolds, Tris unexpectedly runs into several other characters that she never thought she’d see again, each one offering up pockets of information about their bleak fate. As their bank of information continues to grow, it becomes obvious to Tris that her and Tobias might not sit on the same side of the fence. She loves him with everything in her heart, but she can’t make him see what she can see, and in the end, Tris realizes, in an act of complete Abnegation, she must sacrifice his trust and love to save everyone from the big bad evil that lurks outside the fence. There is not one single moment of down time in this installment. As 500 + page novels go, this one is quite the showstopper. After re-writing it three times, I still feel like my above plot review does not do the story justice, but in the interest of not giving away the absolutely jaw dropping plot turns that unfold, I decided a more generic explanation of events was required. Tris, and her character development, however, is something I am completely willing to discuss. She becomes so Dauntless in this novel that it’s infuriating. She places herself in reckless after reckless situation without, as Tobias so aptly phrased it, ‘any regard for her own life’. And I hated her for it.For a good 300 pages, I wanted to punch her in the face. But for the life of me I couldn’t put the darned book down! I yelled at my book, slammed it shut in fury (only to open it again immediately), and harassed various friends via facebook at several points in the story. Repeatedly. For someone who was so meek and unsure of herself at the beginning of Divergent, Insurgent sees her grow into a ruthless fighter. My heart ached for Tobias as she ran off into the night, went behind his back, kept information from him, and used his own weaknesses against him – all in the name of the greatest good for the greatest number of people. And that’s what she’s doing, I get that – the Abnegation in her pushes her to forgo her own desires to save everyone else, because she knows she can. But, as I came the end of the novel, I realized that it wasn’t completely self-sacrificing. Tris wanted to do those things. The Dauntless inside of her is a scary, wild lioness not to be messed with. And maybe, just maybe, she’s too Dauntless for Tobias… This is not one of those warm fuzzy reads. My stomach was in knots as I flipped page after page. Betrayal after betrayal will follow these characters on their journey, rendering everyone’s actions questionable. By the end, I was a hot, anxious mess. This story is thrilling, addictive, and fantastic in every single way. Once you pop this one, there will be no stopping till the last word on the last page. Technically perfect, creatively brilliant, Insurgent reminded me why I’m a compulsive reader. Veronica Roth, you’re my version of a rockstar. Pages: A whopping 525 Publication date: May, 2012 Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books, a HarperCollins Imprint. Teaser quote: “You’re more than Dauntless,” he says in a low voice. “But if you want to be just like them, hurling yourself into ridiculous situations for no reason and retaliating against your enemies without any regard for what’s ethical, then go right ahead. I thought you were better than that, but maybe I was wrong!”
Ever since the draug—mysterious creatures that prey on vampires—took over Morganville, the lives of student Claire Danvers and her friends have been tEver since the draug—mysterious creatures that prey on vampires—took over Morganville, the lives of student Claire Danvers and her friends have been thrown into turmoil. Most of the town’s residents have evacuated, but Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael have chosen to stay and fight. Using the city’s water system to spread, the draug have rapidly multiplied. Things in Morganville look grim, especially since vampire Amelie—the town founder—has been infected by the master draug’s bite. Now, if Claire and her friends don’t figure out how to cure Amelie and defeat the draug, it looks like Morganville will become little more than a ghost town… When Black Dawn opens, Morganville is, yet again, in a whole bunch of trouble. The most dangerous vampires known in existence – the draug – has finally made their way into the city limits, crippling the town and spreading fear to all. They got to Amelie – something Claire thought would never happen. Without Amelie, the humans and vampires of Morganville have no hope of ever making it out. The town is despairing, trying to figure out what in the heck they’re going to do. Like always, our trusty friends Claire, Shane, Eve, and Michael are right in the middle of everything. But there’s so much else going on. As if the draug isn’t enough, Michael and Eve are in a really bad place. At the end of the last installment, Michael took a big old chunk out of Eve, and now she’s not sure she can trust him. The beast that lives inside of Michael finally bared its fangs and put a huge wedge between our favorite vampire/human couple. Will they be able to get through this, or was everyone else right? Is it just too dangerous and unrealistic to think Eve and Michael could ever have a lasting relationship? Claire and Shane are … well, Claire and Shane. As messed up as Shane is, it becomes abundantly clear to everyone that he can’t function without his girl. Claire makes him a better man, makes him want to be a better man. For that, he realizes they have to make it through this stuff with the draug. He decides they have to be defeated, no matter what. Shane wants his happily ever after. Everyone knows I’ve been a big advocate of this series right from the very beginning but Black Dawn solidified a concern I’ve been having for a while now. Rachel Caine, I ask, whhhhhyyyyyyyyyyy did you, after all this time, decide to start including perspectives of characters OTHER than Claire? Moreover, why are those other perspectives written in first person, while Claire’s is in third? If the series had started out that way, I’d have less of an issue with it. But the series is nearly over, and including the new perspectives interrupts the flow of the narrative. To me it feels like the story has shifted from an action driven plot line, to a more character driven plot line. It doesn’t feel like the same Morganville anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still completely enjoyed reading Black Dawn, but now it feels like a different story – not the Morganville we all fell in love with. Publication date: May 2012 Pages: 367 Publisher: New American Library, a division of Penguin Publishing Group Rating: : Teaser Quote: Claire and I were married in the church by Father Joe, and Eve and Michael were our maid of honor and best man....more
As Michael and Eve make preparations for their wedding, certain undead members of the Morganville community begin making all kinds of noise objectingAs Michael and Eve make preparations for their wedding, certain undead members of the Morganville community begin making all kinds of noise objecting to the idea. Everyone seems to have an opinion on why Michael and Eve shouldn’t get married – except the couple themselves. Even Shane and Claire express concern. Michael is a vampire; Eve is human. A lifelong predatory union such as that is bound to end in tragedy, right? At least, that’s what the history books show. Eve wonders … could her relationship with Michael go down in history as the first human/vampire relationship to really make it?
In Bite Club we saw Shane and Claire face all kinds of adversity. Shane let Claire down – repeatedly – and both of them still have wounds to heal from that experience, but Last Breath opens showing Shane and Claire more in love, stronger than they’ve ever been before. It’s obvious they’re meant to be together, through thick and thin, the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful – but what about in death? Last Breath sees Shane and Claire face the ultimate challenge – the biggest one they’re likely to encounter ever.
Meanwhile, outside the Glass House, Morganville is in a state of disarray. Vampires are going missing and something has spooked Amelie out of her mind. She’s packing up the vampires and planning a mass exodus out of Morganville. It looks like the humans will finally have their town back.
Or will they?
If I know Amelia – and I think by now I do – leaving the humans to their own devices is not something she’s particularly known for. She says they’re leaving and allowing the humans to reclaim the town, but is that really what’s going on? Would she really leave a bunch of humans behind untouched, uncontrolled? Not very likely.
And Claire and Shane know it. Complacency, happiness, contentment – these are things that Shane and Claire will never get to experience. Not while they’re living in Morganville, anyway. In an epic battle – more epic than anything Morganville has ever seen – the Glass House gang will join the vampires, again, in the fight for their very lives.
Last Breath threw many curve balls that I never saw coming. Predictable is not a word I would choose to describe this series. Just when you think Caine can’t possibly develop this world any further, she does. Just when you think these characters have grown as much as they possibly can, Caine manages to mould them into even more dynamic, even greater characters. I never get tired of reading these books. With Last Breath Caine delivers one of the most thrilling cliffhangers to date, and as always, I’m now anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next chapter in this awesome series....more
If you’ve read any of the Perfect Chemistry novels, then you’re no stranger to the Fuentes brothers. Confident, attractive, alluring – trouble. Well,If you’ve read any of the Perfect Chemistry novels, then you’re no stranger to the Fuentes brothers. Confident, attractive, alluring – trouble. Well, Carlos and Alex have tried really hard to shelter their youngest brother, Luis, from all that, but it seems that Fuentes boys are destined to meet trouble in one way or another.
Luis is smart – so smart he’s got plans to head to college, and then move on to NASA. Then the Fuentes move back to Chicago, and back to the heart and soul of the Latino Blood – the ruling Mexican gang in that area. And the LB wants Luis.
Luis is smart enough to know that the LB is all kinds of bad news, and he knows he should stay the heck away, but the Fuentes curiosity, the Fuentes arrogance and thrill-seeking nature prevents that from happening.
There’s a problem though, and she goes by the name of Nikki. Hot, firey Latina from the better parts of Chicago, Nikki was raised away from all the violence and devastation that the LB delivers to Chicago. Nikki and Luis can’t stay away from each other, but like every Fuentes before him, Luis doesn’t always make the right choices. When Nikki finds out he’s pledged his allegiance to the LB behind her back, there’s no way in hell she’s going stick around for the show.
And then Luis learns the shocking truth about his family that his brothers and his mother tried so desperately to hide him from. He realizes he doesn’t belong in the Fuentes clan anymore, and without Nikki by his side, he’s really got nothing left to strive for. He turns to the one place that is offering him family and brotherhood, and willingly allows the LB to jump him in – old school style.
When are these boys ever going to learn: you don’t need to hit rock bottom to get what you want; you don’t have to follow in the footsteps of ALL the men that came before you!?
Like both Fuentes boys before him, I fell in love with Luis instantly. How could I not, what with that Fuentes charm radiating off of every single page? My heart raced and thumped dramatically as I entered his world.
He’s got the charisma of Alex, the passion of Carlos, and enough sense to see that he’s probably a little too much like his brothers sometimes. Where Alex’s stupidity was infuriating at times, Luis only incited feelings of sympathy when he made bad choices. Where Carlos’ outright confidence bordered on arrogance most of the time, Luis’ just seemed to know what he wanted – and how to get it.
The first thing I’d like to say about this novel is hubba hubba, look at that cover! It definitely qualifies as one of the most eye catching, tantalizing covers around at the moment. It leaves very little to the imagination, and not one part of me is sorry about that!
I’m a big fan of character driven stories, and Simone Elkeles really knows how to make her characters come alive. Her prose is flawless, her imagery perfect. The only thing I disliked about this novel was that it’s probably the last in the series. BOO!
Two very big thumbs up from a happy, satisfied reader!...more
Sara has two goals this year: get into her college of choice and score herself a very hot boyfriend. The first one should be pretty easy, since she’sSara has two goals this year: get into her college of choice and score herself a very hot boyfriend. The first one should be pretty easy, since she’s super smart and has been working her booty off. When it comes to the second goal, though, Sara isn’t totally sure she can pull it off.
Enter Dave – new kid at school and totally hot property. When he starts casting his eye Sara’s way, she can’t believe her luck.
Tobey, also can’t believe his – his bad luck, that is. His two goals this year are to take his band to the next professional level, and score Sara as his girl. So when Dave beats him to the punch, Tobey enters serious boy moping mode. Tobey doesn’t understand why such a cool chick like Sara would be interested in a douche like Dave, but he doesn’t have the guts to ask her. He doesn’t have the guts to really even talk to her, which is probably why he missed out on dating her in the first place.
But then something changes. He watches Sara and Dave incessantly, and Tobey knows that Sara isn’t really happy dating Dave. He enlists the help of Sara’s friend, and before you know it, Tobey has Sara falling all over the place for him.
Being with Dave really isn’t all Sara thought it would be anyway. He’s boring, and really, she just doesn’t feel that spark. All of a sudden, Tobey is everywhere she is, and he’s all she can think about. Everything about Tobey feels right and everything about Dave feels wrong.
Tobey and Sara both feel the same way: they just can’t pass up the chance to feel something real, something honest. But is being with each other worth it? When you think you’ve found your soul mate, shouldn’t it be easy?
As Tobey and Sara learn, nothing about love is easy. Especially the real, honest-to-God kind.
I’ve read a couple of Susan Colosanti books before and absolutely adored them, and while Tobey and Sara’s story is indeed high up there on the cute meter, When It Happens wasn’t a real page turner for me. I just wasn’t feeling their love in the way I wanted to. I do, however, thing the younger YA readers will really dig this one. Sara’s innocence and drive to be a good person is inspiring, and she’s really a great role model for young girls. Tobey’s honesty and silly teenage lust is adorable, and the girls will really dig him.
If you’re looking for heart breaking romance, then this isn’t the book for you, but if you’re looking for something light and entertaining, then it sure might be. I’ll let you decide…...more
As Ghost Town opens, life looks like its actually going well for the inhabitants of the Glass House for once. Michael and Eve are good, Claire is atteAs Ghost Town opens, life looks like its actually going well for the inhabitants of the Glass House for once. Michael and Eve are good, Claire is attending classes danger free these days, and things with Shane are … well, pretty darned great. But of course, this is Morganville, and the Glass House was kidding itself if they thought life would go along all peachy keen for long.
Enter dangerous situation number one. Eve attends a rave with a new friend of hers only to have it crashed by vampires on the hunt, and they want fresh blood. Claire and Shane rush to Eve’s rescue, of course, but Claire manages to land herself in a little hot water when she stakes a vampire. According to Amelie’s new rules, that’s strictly forbidden in Morganville these days, and Claire’s up for murder – of a vampire. She lands herself with an unusual sentence though, and finds herself hauled up in Myrnin’s lab slaving away at a project Amelie and Myrnin insist must be completed. Claire can’t leave, eat, sleep, or do anything until she gets it done. She does, of course, and life settles back down – for a few hours, at least.
Enter dangerous situation number two. Everyone starts forgetting things, and it’s like the last three years didn’t even happen. That means no one even knows who Claire is, because she hasn’t been in Morganville that long, and everything is crazy weird. Fortunately, no one in the Glass House seems to be affected, until of course they do become affected, and it’s up to Claire to fix this one all on her own. Without the help of her friends, Claire’s chances of fixing this seem bleak. That is, until she gets the help of a very unlikely person…
Ghost Town is rocking in every which way. Caine is totally on point with this one, giving readers the right amount of action, drama, romance and suspense to keep us turning the pages obsessively. In a true act of genius, we get to re-live the first moments of the Shane/Claire, Michael/Eve romance all over again, without losing the intensity and connection between the characters that the series has worked so hard on developing.
Caine’s prose is tight, witty, and absolutely perfect in every way. Her narrator is more lively and real than ever before. After reading Ghost Town I can see why the Morganville Vampires is now a major force to be reckoned with. Vampire enthusiasts, eat your heart out....more
From the onset, it’s pretty clear that Dancia is supposed to be an average, run of the mill character that teenage girls everywhere should be able toFrom the onset, it’s pretty clear that Dancia is supposed to be an average, run of the mill character that teenage girls everywhere should be able to relate to. With her average, grades, average appearance, less than impressive wardrobe, and no money or classy possessions to show off, Dancia has pretty much resigned herself to a life less lived. Except, although she seems unwilling to admit it, there is something exceptional about her. She has an odd kind of power and can make things happen with her mind. She doesn’t understand it, she can’t really control it, but whenever she ends up using it, bad things happen. Dancia chooses to ignore her power and enters the big fat land of denial.
The Delcroix Academy recruits her. She doesn’t understand why – Delcroix is supposed to be for talented people, and talent is something she’s seriously lacking. Still, there is no possible way they could know about her abilities, right? That couldn’t really be why they want her, could it?
Jack seems to think so. He’s another recruit, just like Dancia. No special, obvious talents (unless you count a juvie record and a bunch of failed efforts under his belt). But Dancia senses something special about Jack immediately. Something special, in her kind of way. Just when Dancia starts getting close to Jack, Cam puts himself in her line of vision. Dancia doesn’t understand his newfound interest in her – he is the most attractive guy in school after all – but when his attention seems unrelenting, Dancia allows herself to roll with it. Suddenly, she finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle. Has the world gone completely mad?
Except, she doesn’t like Jack. Honest. She likes Cam. Smart, funny, handsome. Jack is nothing but a troublemaker. So why, if she feels nothing for Jack, does the world stop spinning when he kisses her?
Then the truth comes out about why she was really recruited to Declroix, and all hell breaks loose.
I found Dancia’s naivety completely and utterly frustrating, but if I’m honest with myself, the way she behaved is completely and utterly believable. It’s every girl’s dream come true to have the school hearth throb chasing after you. Unfortunately, I don’t buy it. Even though Cam does seem genuinely interested in Dancia, I refused to let myself believe its true. I can’t pin point it exactly, but there’s just something about it that makes my stomach turn – and not in a good way.
Jack, on the other hand, is totally nuts about Dancia, but I’m not entirely sure it’s for the right reasons. Is he interested in her because of her power, or does he really like her for who she is? I can’t tell yet, but I’m really hoping it’s the latter. In case you didn’t already figure it out, I’m Team Jack.
Delcroix Academy: The Candidates starts off a little slowly, but once the action gets going, it becomes one of those novels that you just can’t put down. It’s Inara Scott’s first novel, and I’m definitely going to be watching to see how this story pans out....more
Dru and Graves finally made it to the Schola Prima – the djampir training facility she was originally supposed to head to when Christophe rescued herDru and Graves finally made it to the Schola Prima – the djampir training facility she was originally supposed to head to when Christophe rescued her from the evil clutches of his dad. Now their finally here, Dru should be able to relax and let her guard down a little, right?
Although she’s obviously supposed to feel safe in an environment like this, Dru knows better. Someone is trying to have her killed, and until she figures out exactly who that is, she’s not trusting anyone.
Except Graves, of course. She trusts him with her life. Apart from her deceased family, she’s never trusted anyone so much, ever.
And Christophe. Even though she’s not so sure she should, Dru trusts him too. But she doesn’t tell this to Graves, who thinks there’s more than meets the eye to Christophe. Or maybe its just that he’s jealous of the hold that Christophe seems to have over Dru. So when Dru decides to be plain and clear about her feelings for Graves, she’s more than a little confused when he pushes her away.
He liked her, right? What was he waiting for?
And so starts the frustrating game that is Dru and Graves. He says its not the right time, that she’s got too much going on, and maybe he’s right. But that doesn’t make it any easier, lessen the sting of rejection she’s trying so hard not to feel.
Dru find opposition from Anna – the other svetocha living at the Scholar Prima – and things take a turn for the worse.
Then, almost as if it were right on cue, the vampire attack happens. They’re after Dru – that much is obvious – but they’re not discriminating who they take down in the process. Dru and her friends become injured, and Graves … well, he’s nowhere to be found.
Suddenly, the game changes, and all Dru cares about, all she can think about, is finding where he is.
Is he still alive? God, she certainly hopes so.
Readers are treated to a different side of Dru in Jealousy. Her strong, fierce exterior is shelved for a while as she tries to negotiate her feelings for Graves, and the mess that has become her life. She doubts herself, misses her family desperately, and searches for a little comfort in a cold, hard world that affords her none. She’s still that kick-ass heroine we’ve all come to know and love, but this time, her human, sixteen-year-old adolescnet side just shines a little brighter than it did in the last two books.
Jealousy is an outstanding addition to the Strange Angels series. Dru’s world is one I love to get lost in, time and time again....more
Currently, life sucks for Katrina. Since Java Heaven opened up shop next to her Grandmother’s Scandinavian coffeehouse, business has pretty much comeCurrently, life sucks for Katrina. Since Java Heaven opened up shop next to her Grandmother’s Scandinavian coffeehouse, business has pretty much come to a screeching halt. The bills are piling up, no customers are walking through the door, and yet Katrina and her grandmother must find a way to make ends meat. Katrina is sixteen years old. She should be worrying about boys, her homework, and what she’s going to do on the weekend. Instead, she gets up before school every morning to work in the coffeehouse, and promptly returns after classes have finished to do much of the same.
To make matters worse, her best male friend, Vincent, starts hanging around with Heidi Darling. Katrina thinks this is bad for many, many reasons, but mainly she’s ticked off because Heidi is Mr Darling’s daughter, and Mr Darling owns Java Heaven – the very reason Katrina and her Gran are struggling so much. Where is Vincent’s loyalty? How could he do that to Katrina?
But that’s not where the crazy ends. Katrina finds a strange boy passed out in the alley behind the coffeehouse one morning. Although she’s a bit freaked out by him, she mistakes him for a homeless person and in an act of pitying kindness, she leaves a coffee and a stale pastry for when he wakes up. But then he keeps showing up, saying that her act of kindness must not go unrewarded, and promises to fulfill her greatest desire. Katrina thinks he’s a nut job at first, but then things start happening that make her think there’s more to this strange boy than meets the eye.
Coffeehouse Angel is a super easy read and I totally dug being in Katrina’s head. When she ached, I ached. When she hurt, I hurt too. But mostly, I was impressed that I didn’t become irritated by her jealousy – and believe me, she spends a good chunk of this novel impersonating the green-eyed monster. Usually, I have little tolerance for such unrelenting self-pity, but I felt like I could empathize with her situation a little. I think all of us have had to deal with the kind of friendship problems Katrina goes through in this story. I was super happy that, at the end, she seemed to learn her lesson, though, and tucked her green-eyed monster impersonation away. I was exceptionally surprised by the outcome of the conflict that arose with Vincent, though. I thought the whole thing was going to turn out very differently. While I’d love to discuss my reasoning for this in this review, that’d be giving away the ending – and we can’t have that!
I drank way too much coffee while reading this novel. Must have been something about the constant mention of Java goodness.
Coffeehouse Angel is a lovely read. As good as red velvet cupcakes, if you ask me....more
We live in an era obsessed with body shape, size, and beauty. We live in a world of constant scrutiny from media outlets, peers, and most importantly,We live in an era obsessed with body shape, size, and beauty. We live in a world of constant scrutiny from media outlets, peers, and most importantly, ourselves. Ever corner you turn, a magazine cover or billboard is plastered with a half naked girl the size of a toothpick. When did this become the norm, the standard? Products are being shoved down our throats that claim to help us look younger, skinnier, fitter, more tanned, more perfect. What’s wrong with us just the way we are?
Meet Lia. I’d love to tell you she’s your average, run of the mill teenager, but I’d be stretching the truth a little there. Lia suffers from a serious eating disorder, but don’t tell her that, because she’ll vehemently disagree with you. She’s already been to rehab twice, but according to Lia, she’s just fine. But if she’s just fine, why does she feel like she needs to hide her weird eating (or non-eating) habits from her family?
Then her best friend and partner in all things ‘thin’ dies one night under suspicious circumstances in a hotel room. Although the police are investigating all avenues, Lia has a pretty good idea about what happened to her: Cassie’s body simply shut down. Instead of setting an example for Lia, Cassie’s death only adds more fuel to her smoldering fire, and Lia’s eating habits (or lack thereof) take a deathly turn for the worse.
She’s not eating. She’s down to 98 pounds, but its not enough. All she sees when she looks in the mirror, all she feels when she runs her fingers over her skin is fat fat fat fat fat. She starts working out in the middle of the night when her family is asleep, creating ridiculous calorie deficits. She cuts herself. She fights with her family about her eating habits, but mainly, she fights with herself.
Every. Single. Moment. Of. Every. Single. Day.
Lia’s story is completely and absolutely unputdownable, and a must read for women and teenagers everywhere who have ever struggled with, or contemplated an eating disorder. Now I understand why Laurie Halse Anderson is an award winning author. Not only does she create shining characters with strong, loud voices, but she writes from the heart - her blood, sweat, and tears are all over the pages of this novel.
Lia’s internal struggle with food, her inability to love herself, and the overtly warped reflection that she sees when she looks in the mirror is something many women can relate to. Her lack of control and the lengths she goes to in order to achieve a state of what she considers perfection is a heart wrenching, sobering lesson.
Wintergirls doesn’t point fingers, doesn’t lay blame. It doesn’t deal with the why so much as the what is. For people that simply don’t understand the grasp eating disorders have over their victims, Wintergirls is a must-read for you. For those of you who are currently struggling with issues of self-esteem and have a delicate relationship with food and your body, Wintergirls is a must-read for you. For family and friends of victims of eating disorders, Wintergirls will help you understand your loved ones motivations a little better. Absolutely everyone can learn something from this book.
A powerful story that should be shouted from the rooftops. Laurie Halse Anderson, I heart you for telling it so honestly.
There’s no sugar coating on this one, folks. Kleenex may be required....more
When Linger kicks off, Sam finds himself in quite the situation. Their temperature is still cold enough to keep the wolves tied to the forest – and BeWhen Linger kicks off, Sam finds himself in quite the situation. Their temperature is still cold enough to keep the wolves tied to the forest – and Beck, his father-figure-type – is still lost to the wolves as well. So is Grace’s friend, Olivia. So when a wolf/kid shows up in his house well before winter’s grasp should have let him go, Sam can’t help but wonder why.
Cole is brash, outspoken, conspicuous, and not exactly what Sam wants around right now. Not that there is ever a right time for someone like Cole to come crashing into your life, but it just seems that Sam’s patience has worn a little thin of late. Cole is charming in that in-your-face-annoying kind of way, but he won my heart in no time, just like he won Isabel’s.
In the absence of her brother, Isabel is going through some stuff in this novel and finds comfort in the least likely of places. Cole irritates the hell out of Isabel (and just about everyone one else, too) but she’s unable to resist his charm. Will they get together? Well, that depends on your perspective, and your definition.
But I know that you’re all dying to hear about Sam and Grace. Sam and Grace keep that innocence that makes their relationship so unique, but at the same time, they take their relationship to a new place of finality, a new place of permanency. For me, reading about Grace and Sam has always felt more like I was reading about two adults, rather than two hormonal adolescents. This time around, though, I think its safe to say that Grace and Sam make choices that very much resemble the stubbornness that teen relationships are so often littered with. It was great to see them in such a way.
I guess you’d probably act all crazy if you thought you were losing the one person you love more than life, too. And that’s exactly how Sam sees it. That’s exactly how Grace sees it. It’s exactly how I saw it.
Linger is a solid second chapter in what is possibly the best young adult werewolf tale of our generation. Grace and Sam stay true to their characters, and we even get to see them grow a little, too. It’s always so great to learn new things about your favorite characters after you thought you already knew everything there was to know. These characters will touch your heart, make you weep, and hollow you out on the inside all at the same time.
Although she’s still a fairly young and fresh writer, Maggie Stiefvater’s prose reads like that of an age old pro. Her imagery and descriptions paint a picture so vibrant and colorful I felt like I was sitting front and center in a cinema. There are four points of view in this installment, and each character’s voice is unique and distinctive enough that following their individual journeys is easy as eating pumpkin pie.
A very impressive novel from a very impressive writer....more
Sam Kingston and her three besties – Elody, Ally, and Lindsay – epitomize the image of high school popularity in the 21st century. They’ve got rockinSam Kingston and her three besties – Elody, Ally, and Lindsay – epitomize the image of high school popularity in the 21st century. They’ve got rockin bods, bitchy attitudes to match, and of course, the cutest boys falling all over them. Those at Thomas Jefferson High that don’t worship these four femmes fear them.
When the narrative begins, Cupid Day is in full swing at Thomas Jefferson High School. The girls have their sexy, far too revealing outfits on as they parade from class to class, collecting roses from friends, admirers, boyfriends, and boys in general. To the casual observer, this particular Friday looks like any regular Friday, but what said casual observers don’t know is that today is the day – Sam is spending the night at her boyfriend’s house with the intention of losing the big it. But things don’t go according to plan. Rob and Sam agree to meet at a party first and both of them end up arriving completely and totally wasted. In what seems like the blink of an eye, things go from bad to worse, and before Sam even realizes what’s going on, she’s collecting her friends, leaving the party without her boyfriend, and getting in a car with a drunk driver. Not surprisingly, they crash, and Sam dies.
That’s not where the story ends, though. Like the teen version of Groundhog Day, Sam wakes up and gets the chance to re-live that day seven times over. She gets the chance to take a long hard look at herself, the choices she makes, and the way she treats those around her. If only she’d known earlier, if only she’d been less concerned with her popularity, maybe she would have seen the irreversible damage that herself and her girlfriends were doing to those around them.
Maybe, but maybe not, too.
It took me a good long while to really get into this story. I picked it up and put it down a few times before finally resigning myself to the fact that I had to finish it, and I forced myself to sit and read it. Let me be very clear about this, though – my lack of personal investment in Sam’s story was simply because I couldn’t bring myself to like her. I found her vanity, her lack of respect, and the way she used her popularity to makes those around her feel horrible about themselves exceptionally unattractive. I was unable to sympathize with her quest for redemption simply because she’d been such a nasty individual right up till the moment she actually died. I understand that we’re supposed to identify with the wrongs she tries to right, but by the time she actually started to learn from her mistakes, it was too late for me. I already hated her too much.
Having said that, I found Lauren Oliver’s prose utterly engaging, and if I’m honest, her writing was the real reason that I continued to pick Before I Fall up, again and again. The imagery she used matched her character’s psyche completely, and I actually believed I was listening to Sam tell the story, rather than Oliver herself.
What I did love about this story, though, is the indirect, but blindingly obvious way in which the narrative highlights the disastrous consequences of bullying. No fingers are actually pointed, and no conclusions are comprehensively drawn, but the message is definitely there: the way you treat those around you can scar them in ways you can’t even conceive. Think before you act, speak, live.
This debut author is outstandingly talented and I can’t wait to see what she produces next....more
Hero is like a comic book without the pictures. It is the tale of Thom, a young kid that can heal things with the touch of his hands. He wants to joinHero is like a comic book without the pictures. It is the tale of Thom, a young kid that can heal things with the touch of his hands. He wants to join the League – a group of supernaturally talented people charged with the mission of protecting the citizens – but Thom has a secret that could shatter all his dreams.
Thom comes from a line of League members; both his mother and his father worked for them at some point. When Thom was young, his father was responsible for a major accident that resulted in the death of a lot of people. He was shunned from the League, and from society as well. Consequently, Thom isn’t even allowed to mention the League around his father, let alone entertain the idea of actually joining them. When Thom’s superhero idol invites Thom to try out for a position with the League, Thom decides it is time to take matters into his own hands.
But Thom’s problems run deeper than just a problematic parent. Thom is gay, and where he comes from, being gay is totally frowned upon. Thom knows that if the League members find out that he likes boys, they’ll kick him out and he’ll suffer all kinds of public humiliation. However, even as he tries to hide his sexuality from the world, Thom knows that you can only deny yourself for so long before the truth must come out. As Thom navigates a very public ‘outing’ will he allow himself to fall in love, or will he continue to wallow in shame and self-pity?
It is obvious that Thom is supposed to be a role model for gay kids everywhere, but his lack of courage to fight for his cause, his unabated acceptance of his community’s overt homophobia and his expressions of shame and self-loathing negate any possibility of him presenting as a positive role model. He is likeable enough, though, and I did feel sorry for him in the beginning, but as the narrative came to a close I realised that Thom is an enabler of his own problems. He allows people to treat him with disrespect and discriminate him based on his sexuality.
The superhero aspects of this novel adhere pretty closely to traditional conventions. Heroes are dressed in fabulous costumes, wear capes, fly, and have names like Uberman and Golden Boy. The superhero elements are largely overshadowed by Thom’s sexuality, and Hero is essentially a coming out story dressed up in a superhero costume.
It is a little disappointing to see gay teen characters continually placed in such abusive, negative situations. The time has come for positive stories for queer teens that don’t include overt displays of prejudice and homophobia. In saying that, I hereby challenge writers everywhere, if you’re thinking about writing a gay character into your story, do so respectfully, without reverting to any direct or implied slurs against their sexual preference. I am now officially on the hunt for books which portray gay kids in a positive, non-discriminatory manner. Let the games begin…...more
Meet Jill – she’s on a mission. Prom is coming up and she is determined to bag herself the perfect date. But Jill is harbouring a big secret that coulMeet Jill – she’s on a mission. Prom is coming up and she is determined to bag herself the perfect date. But Jill is harbouring a big secret that could not only destroy her chances of showing up to prom on the arm of a hottie, but could also ruin her entire life.
Meet Jack – his parents don’t like him much, but he’s misunderstood. They keep him locked up in his bedroom so he can’t cause any trouble, but Jack is tired of being their prisoner. And anyway, he has his sights set on a girl, and he can’t very well capture her attention sitting in his bedroom, can he?
But Jack and Jill share a common problem that might stop them both from achieving their goals. Unbeknownst to all, they actually share the same body. For four days out of every month, Jill sprouts man bits and transforms into Jack. And Jack is all boy.
The concept is original. How many novels have you read where the female protagonist turns into a boy when she should be having her period? For me, this is the first. The story is narrated through both Jack and Jill’s perspectives, so readers get a chance to get inside both their heads. While they’re both so different, essentially they want the same thing: love. Will their gender mutation problem hinder their individual quests?
If you’re into the whole girl-meets-boy, girl-gets-boy type of story then Cycler is definitely a novel you’ll enjoy. Jill is awkward in her pursuits for love and is a character that I’m sure many teenagers all around the world will relate to. You’ll laugh with her, you’ll feel her pain, and mortification too. She’s a very real, three-dimensional character. Interestingly enough, even though he’s the cause of most of Jill’s problems, readers will undoubtedly also fall hopelessly in love with Jack. He’s a victim of circumstance and forgiving his poor behavior is an easy task.
As the novel closes, Jack and Jill appear no closer to a resolution than they were at the beginning of the novel. I can’t help but wonder (and hope) that McLaughlin is planning a sequel. Jack and Jill’s adventures seem far from over.
Cycler is quirky, funny and highly creative. Cycler is a standout debut novel that Lauren McLaughlin should be proud...more
This book comes with an extreme tear-jerker warning attached to it. If you spend your entire reading experience blubbering, don’t say we didn’t warn yThis book comes with an extreme tear-jerker warning attached to it. If you spend your entire reading experience blubbering, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Suffering from leukaemia, sixteen-year-old Tessa only has a few more months left to live. She has compiled a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies. More than anything else she wants to lose her virginity, so her friend Zoey takes her out clubbing one night to see if she can help make Tessa’s wish come true.
As Tessa works her way through her list she meets Adam, her next-door neighbour. On the brink of death, Adam makes Tessa feel more alive than ever before. What could a nineteen-year-old boy possibly see in a dying, cancer-ridden girl? Believe me when I say, more than you think.
Adam’s character is so real, so mature. Readers will fall in love with him from the very first moment he is introduced into the story. He becomes Tessa’s life force as he injects a new enthusiasm, a new desire to live just that little bit longer. Adam’s devotion and attentiveness, his adoration for a dying girl completely restored my faith in teenage boys everywhere.
But don’t be fooled, this is not one of those stories where everything works out in the end. The title itself indicates that Tessa will in fact pass on. I don’t feel like I’m giving away any crucial plot elements by divulging this, if anything, I’m preparing you for the inevitable. And I think that if you approach this book knowing that your beloved protagonist is not going to make it through, her experiences, her emotions and revelations become all the more important.
I cried, I laughed and then I cried some more. Before I Die is a beautifully written tale that readers everywhere will enjoy....more
These are the words that come to mind when I think of Jason Myers’ novel, Exit Here. It is the very, very messePowerful. Dramatic. Utterly compelling.
These are the words that come to mind when I think of Jason Myers’ novel, Exit Here. It is the very, very messed up story of nineteen-year-old Travis Wayne. Travis is mixed up in some pretty serious stuff. He’s into all kinds of drugs, drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney, he doesn’t work, and he just flunked out of college. Sounds bleak huh? Well, I wish I could say that is the worst of it, but I’d be lying.
There is nothing warm and fuzzy about this read, so if you’re looking for something feel-good, this is the wrong book for you. Yet, it is definitely a novel that I think everyone – teens and parents alike – should experience.
When Travis comes home for the summer, his father hopes he can convince him to go back to school and make another go of it. But as soon as Travis rolls back into town, he falls back into old habits, hanging around his old buddies doing the same old thing: smoking, taking drugs, drinking and taking more drugs. And then there is Laura – Travis’s ex-girlfriend. He desperately wants to get back together with her, but first he needs to figure out what went wrong with them in the first place.
The drug taking in this book goes way beyond the realms of recreational usage, and there are many lessons to be learned from it. It is hard to say whether Travis’s problems arise because he is a heavy drug user, or whether he became a heavy drug user because of his problems. What I like about this positioning, though, is that is forces the reader to try and understand Travis a little more, and about half way through the book I found myself comparing aspects of my own life and my own personality with his. Even though we have very little in common, I can still identify with him on some level.
Because Travis and his friends are ultimately ‘cool’ kids, their drug taking is a little glorified. But make no mistake, Exit Here projects a very clear message that taking drugs leads to all kinds of trouble. Readers just have to watch Travis’s sister’s storyline unfold, or the horrific events that occur as a direct result of Cliff’s – Travis’s best friend – drug abuse. I felt uncomfortable throughout my entire reading experience because I knew, I had a sinking feeling, that Travis and his friends were going to meet a horrible demise.
And I was right.
Exit Here is powerful and compelling because its so believable. While not based on a true story, as the events unfold, the reader can’t help but ask if some small aspect of this story might be true. Travis’s voice is convincing, and at no point in the reading process did I find myself becoming bored with his thoughts, or uninterested in his actions. I recommend this book to all....more