Violet Ambrose has a special ability: she can find bodies of those who have been murdered. It doesn't usually matter, since it is often dead animals,Violet Ambrose has a special ability: she can find bodies of those who have been murdered. It doesn't usually matter, since it is often dead animals, but when high school girls start showing up dead, it becomes a major issue. Violet tries to solve the case while trying to resolve her newfound feelings for best-friend Jay. As the story progresses, the stakes get higher, and Violet herself becomes a target.
I had a fun time reading The Body Finder. I thought the romance between Violet and Jay was well-done, and far more fleshed out than in a lot of other teen paranormal romance books. I also thought the serial killer plot-line was more clever than I was expecting. Overall, a terrific book for anyone who likes serial killer stories or paranormal romance....more
Hanna is a mix: half Finnish, half black; raised in Finland but living in Texas; stunningly beautiful but devastatingly insane. After the death of herHanna is a mix: half Finnish, half black; raised in Finland but living in Texas; stunningly beautiful but devastatingly insane. After the death of her father, Hanna goes to live with her mother..who she has never met and who does not want her. It becomes apparent that in her mother's town of Portero, things are far stranger than they originally appear. Hanna has a hard time determining what strange events are in her head, and what are real.
Bleeding Violet is a wild ride! I felt that this book was fantastically strange, and unapologetically so. Hanna is a very strong, very brave character whose strength comes from her insanity -- not normally an admirable characteristic in a heroine. Hanna and her mother Rosalee are both sexually liberal, but it somehow seems right for their characters. While the monsters in Portero are dangerous, the real danger in the story is Hanna's emotional state and how quickly she can lose control and become violent toward herself and others. The story transcends the strange fantasy world by portraying the broken relationship between a troubled teen and the mother she needs, but who rejects her.
Bleeding Violet was a strong, original story, and I look forward to reading more from Dia Reeves in the future....more
Cassandra Renfield has just figured out what the strange glowing light she sometimes sees around people means -- that person will die that day. AfterCassandra Renfield has just figured out what the strange glowing light she sometimes sees around people means -- that person will die that day. After seeing the mark on her own grandmother, Cassie moves far away to Kansas for the summer and works to come to grips with her talent, debating whether it is a gift or a curse.
The Mark is a short, fast-paced read that, despite it's brevity, will make readers think. Cassie takes a philosophy course, which allows Nadol to weave discussions about free-will and fate into the plot. Cassie also questions what is better: knowledge or happiness? Part of what I liked about this book is that it is a supernatural teen-read without being overly reliant on paranormal creatures or people. Cassie's second-sight is about as far as it goes, and it is mainly a way to explore these other large questions about life. This was a sweet, thoughtful book, and a great debut....more
Not all vampires are made -- some are born. Up until now, all of the vampires who have been born as such have been male, but Solange Drake has changedNot all vampires are made -- some are born. Up until now, all of the vampires who have been born as such have been male, but Solange Drake has changed that. As the first-born female, she faces the pressures of an ancient prophecy that says she will be the vampire queen, the dozens of vampire suitors who are attracted by her pheromones, and the pressure of having a house full of over protective brothers. Not to mention the fact that she might not survive her change, which is set to take place on her 16th birthday.
Hearts at Stake alternates between the viewpoints of Solange and her human best friend, Lucy. As various kidnap/murder plots are hatched throughout the story, Solange and Lucy fight to keep the Drake family safe and to understand the sudden romances of which they find themselves part.
This was a fun, quick read. My main complaint is that the voices of the two main characters were very similar, which made me forget at times who was narrating. I'd have liked more difference in voices, or for Harvey to have written in third-person so she could have had one voice throughout without confusion.
I did have fun reading this book, and look forward to reading the next in The Drake Chronicles, Blood Feud....more
Lucy doesn't talk to many kids at school. She doesn't go out of her way to make friends, she doesn't date. She doesn't have sleepovers or invite otherLucy doesn't talk to many kids at school. She doesn't go out of her way to make friends, she doesn't date. She doesn't have sleepovers or invite other kids over for studying. Lucy doesn't do these things because she does not want anybody to know her secret: her mother is a hoarder. Lucy lives in a house that most would deem unlivable. There are piles of newspapers, National Geographics, and clothes everywhere. The kitchen is a mess of plates that have had the same food stuck to them for years. The hot water does not work because the repairman cannot reach the water heater. Yet, Lucy's mother will not allow anything to be thrown out. So, when her mother dies unexpectedly, Lucy feels that she is finally free. Until she realizes that the paramedics will see the state of her home, and then everybody will know. Lucy needs to find a way to take care of her mother's body without letting the secret of her house become known.
Dirty Little Secrets is a heartbreaking story about mental illness, desperation, and some of the worst that parents can put their kids through. Lucy's character was interesting because she is so wrapped up in not embarrassing herself and her family that she is largely insensitive to the fact that her mother has died. The family in this story is thoroughly dysfunctional. That isn't to say that Omololu gets it wrong. There are truly people who live this way, and teens do get horribly mortified by embarrassments perpetuated by those close to them. I can understand Lucy's actions to a point, but beyond a certain time in the plot I don't think I would have gone the same way she did if put in the same situation.
Something interesting about this book is how Omololu uses Lucy's digging through the layers of trash to expose memories of the past, and how things got to be this bad. Much of the story is based on these discoveries, and it is almost like flipping the pages of a photo album and explaining where you were when the picture was taken.
I have to say that while I'd never want to trade places with Lucy, Dirty Little Secrets was a gripping, fascinating read....more
When Lily Parker finds out that her parents are going to Germany on sabbatical for two years, she's excited. At least, until she learns that it meansWhen Lily Parker finds out that her parents are going to Germany on sabbatical for two years, she's excited. At least, until she learns that it means she will be leaving her public school in upstate New York to go to an intimidating, private all-girl's boarding school in Chicago. There she meets her new bff, Scout, a very rich, yet misfit student, garnering the hatred of a group of popular, mean girls. While this all sounds pretty standard, things take a turn for the strange when it becomes apparent that Scout is involved in some strange fight against monsters under the streets of Chicago. Lily is inevitably pulled into this struggle, setting up further books in the series.
Firespell doesn't really do anything new, by placing a normal girl into a school where things are not what they seem, and thus exposing her extraordinary hidden abilities. For what it is, this is a good, fun, quick read. There is an X-men quality to the characters' abilities, and potential for some good character development. Neill has also baited the reader with a mysterious sub-plot involving Lily's parents, so it will be nice to see how that develops later in the series. Overall, Firespell was a solid, if not overwhelmingly awesome, book and I look forward to reading more....more
Maxwell Unger sneaks out at night to explore, since he's been told he's allergic to sunlight. There he finds a rare silver owl, rare since the governmMaxwell Unger sneaks out at night to explore, since he's been told he's allergic to sunlight. There he finds a rare silver owl, rare since the government has sworn to kill all that remain. Max knows that owl's are symbols of goodness, power, and hope, things they need to overcome the dark times that have befallen his world. Max meets a new friend, Rose, and after dramatic events, they take off on an adventure to find the Owl Keeper, a mythical hero who is said to return when the world most needs him.
Christine Brodien-Jones has invented an interesting dystopian world with strong elements of magic and myth. Some elements of Max's interaction with his home environment reminded me of the kinds of childhoods in Roald Dahl's books. It seemed that the book had a large amount of build-up to an event that we know will probably happen from page 1 (no spoilers here), but once that event happened, I didn't feel much of a payoff as a reader. I think this may indicate that there will be a sequel or series in development, because many questions were left unanswered. Overall, The Owl Keeper was pleasant enough to read, but I wish there had been a bit more danger, and had felt like there was more at stake....more
Caity MacFireland's father has just found out that he has inherited a castle in Scotland, and moves their family from San Francisco to spend the summeCaity MacFireland's father has just found out that he has inherited a castle in Scotland, and moves their family from San Francisco to spend the summer there. Caity discovers that the mysterious castle has many secrets of its own, including a secret passageway from her room to a chamber with walls carved with strange symbols. What results is the discovery of a prophecy foretelling Caity as the savior of humanity in the year 2012. Caity goes on a quest to find out what she needs to do, and to race to do it before the Shadow Government stops her.
I think The Daykeeper's Grimoire could appeal to people who liked The Da Vinci Code. I, however, was not a fan of that book, for many of the reasons why I didn't much care for this one. The 2012 plot came across as very contrived. Characters are revealed to just happen to be the descendant of an older keeper of the Mayan prophecy, and the secret heir to the castle, along with having a secret evil twin. Every time a conflict came up, a solution would magically appear. Raedeke mentions a variety of esoteric ideas, such as the Hermetic Code, but tries to link too many things together. The story's heroine, Caity, was unbelievable as a person who could figure out the future of humanity. The character's voice came across as that of an airhead, and I got the feeling that Raedeke wrote the way she thinks teens speak, which made the character's voice sound awkward and ingenuous.
Like I said earlier, I do think there is an audience for this book. People who do not know much about esoteric ideas and societies will like "finding out" about them, but for me the book fell flat and was a disappointment....more
Large and somewhat unfriendly, Ellie Spencer really only has one friend, Kevin, at her new boarding school. When he enlists her help with a play he isLarge and somewhat unfriendly, Ellie Spencer really only has one friend, Kevin, at her new boarding school. When he enlists her help with a play he is in, a mysterious woman enters their lives and seems to hold thrall over Kevin. Ellie's crush begins to help, but he also awakens new abilities in Ellie. As she learns more about the hidden world around her, a dangerous plot is discovered, and Ellie must work to not only save her best friend, but the lives of millions.
Guardian of the Dead has a fresh feeling, because it is set in New Zealand and operates under New Zealand's cultural and mythological background, instead of the standard European-American pantheon that so many paranormal books now use. Ellie is a strong heroine, and her background in martial arts makes her butt-kicking abilities more believable than those of other flimsy female leads. I enjoyed hearing the different creation story, and fairy myths, but at a point the story seemed to shift into something altogether different. While still compelling, I think it could have been broken into smaller volumes, but it's not my call to make. Overall, Guardian of the Dead is recommended for those who like stories with dangerous fairies and magic, but have grown tired of the same old cast of characters....more
Ollie has received his Deathday Letter. It's the letter that everybody gets on the day they are going to die, giving 24 hours of warning. In response,Ollie has received his Deathday Letter. It's the letter that everybody gets on the day they are going to die, giving 24 hours of warning. In response, Ollie and his best friends, Shane and Ronnie, go for a last hurrah. They do a variety of fun, crazy things, like jump off a bridge, get high, and buying out three stores worth of pudding in the name of love. None of it changes the fact that Ollie will die, but it does give him the opportunity to make things right with the girl that got away.
I liked the idea of this book. How different would the world be if we all got notice of when we were going to die? I had a really tough time relating to Ollie, though. The relentless boy humor and talking about girls' anatomy really started to grate on my nerves after the first few times. I don't understand why so many male writers think talking about boobs and masturbation equals a good book for boys. Granted, women writers seem to fall into their own traps, but this makes it tough for me to stick with a book. I did like the other two main characters, Shane and Ronnie. I also wish more of the philosophy and mystery of the Deathday Letter had been explained. It got covered by the stoners, but I hoped Ollie would keep questioning throughout the rest of the book....more
All kids born after a certain date are able to see the pale-purple ghosts of the dead. Aura happens to have been born at the very moment when this pheAll kids born after a certain date are able to see the pale-purple ghosts of the dead. Aura happens to have been born at the very moment when this phenomenon occurs. Life is different for those who are able to see the dead. Aura doesn't pay too much attention (or tries not to), until her boyfriend dies in a very stupid accident. Now she can only see and hear, but not touch him. Things start to get complicated when she begins to have feelings for her living classmate. As if that weren't enough, she learns that she is being monitored by the government.
Shade was a fun enough read. Personally, there was too much emphasis on sex for my liking. Smith-Ready made it an integral part of the plot, but I found it to be awkward. I was embarrassed for Aura. I like the idea of young people being able to see the dead, and think it was interesting to see how having a remnant of the person still around disrupts the grieving process. The middle of the book was a bit slow for me, but I'll read on because I'm intrigued by the idea of having the Shift (the moment when people began to see the dead) explained....more
The Iron King started out sounding like so many other fairy stories. A young girl finds that her brother has been taken by the fae and replaced with aThe Iron King started out sounding like so many other fairy stories. A young girl finds that her brother has been taken by the fae and replaced with a changeling, so she chooses to brave the terrors of fairyland and rescue him. Had the story been only that, I would not have enjoyed it nearly so much. Instead, Kagawa steers the story into an entirely different direction, echoing some of the ideas of The Neverending Story. It turns out that there is much more to the land of fairies than meets the eye, and a new force is gearing up to take over. Rather than just needing to rescue her brother, Meghan Chase now needs to fight to save the same fairy courts she hates. I look forward to reading the rest of this series and seeing what new places the author takes us!...more
Gwen is a half-human, half-pooka, a Welsh magical being. That doesn't make her that much different than everybody else, other than the fact that she cGwen is a half-human, half-pooka, a Welsh magical being. That doesn't make her that much different than everybody else, other than the fact that she can shapeshift. The world is full of people who are Other, but the Others are largely discriminated against, so she keeps it to herself. But she needs to tell her boyfriend before they move their relationship on to the next physical step. At the same time, a new group of outlaw werewolves have moved in, and Others have started turning up dead. When it becomes personal for Gwen, she makes up her mind to find the killer, before she herself is a victim.
I liked the world that Other takes place in, where there are all sorts of magical creatures living within society. I was able to solve the mystery pretty early on, even though Kincy threw in a couple of red herrings. Something I really liked about the story was the relationship between Gwen and her step-dad. They had a nice, trusting relationship, and it isn't all that often that books portray a realistic, positive relationship between a father figure and a daughter. As with many characters in ya fiction, I often questioned Gwen's reasoning and bad, spontaneous decisions in situations. However, I guess she has to do those things because without them there wouldn't be much of a story. Overall, it was a fun book with some very interesting characters....more