There are a LOT of Teen Vampire novels on the market now and I think I'...moreSucks to be Me - the All-True confessions of Mina Hamilton Teen Vampire (maybe)
There are a LOT of Teen Vampire novels on the market now and I think I've read about 3/4 of them. This one is a worthy addition to the genre. Mina's voice is so clearly just a normal teen girl with loving parents (who happen to be vampires) and a best friend (who she can't confide in regarding the whole vampire thing) and a crush on a boy or two (one of whom is totally into the vampire thing, and one of whom isn't).
Summary: Mina is a 17-year-old girl who has known since she was 10 that her parents were vampires, but it hasn't really affected her average suburban life. True, they don't exactly love sunbathing, and they don't sleep, and they forget to eat, but Mina has adjusted to all that. But the Vampire Council didn't know that Mina existed, and now that they know, she has to attend Vampire Sessions and her weird Uncle Mortimer is her sponsor. Worst of all, she has just 4 weeks to decide if she wants to become a vampire or not. She slowly learns all the things about the vampire life that her parents never told her, in order to give her a normal upbringing. On top of all that, there's a trio of cute to gorgeous boys that seem to suddenly be interested in her. This book is Mina's journal, and Mina never met a situation that couldn't use a good pro and con list along with little chapter header stickers of vampires myths and the truth as Mina sees it.
The most difficult thing about book about alternative worlds is getting the "rules of the world" in there without having a big boring chapter about how the world works. This is a clever way of doing that, we learn what the vampire rules are right along with Mina. The chapter headers of myths and truths with little drawings of bats and other pictures that illustrate the myths are really cute. All the characters are fully drawn, but Mina's voice is what really made me love this book. She's so typically a teen, who thinks a lot of this vampire stuff is TOO GROSS FOR WORDS. I laughed out loud at several places because of Mina's observations.
Light and funny - a GREAT beach read for teens and anyone who likes vampires in any guise! (less)
Biological terrorists release a virus that kills everyone over the age of 14. This story focuses on the children who are at Isles of Wonder, a Disney-...moreBiological terrorists release a virus that kills everyone over the age of 14. This story focuses on the children who are at Isles of Wonder, a Disney-like theme park. In many ways, these kids may be better off than those outside the park. The park is completely automated and self-contained, with recycling of water and creation of their own electrity. They are gated off from the outside world, and they have several children who are the offspring of employees at the park. They have some specialized knowledge of the park systems, just by listening to their parents talk about their work. Some children step up to become leaders and organize all the things that need to be done. A world without adults, it could be paradise for kids....or could it?
This was an engrosing and interesting book. It's very much like Animal Farm in that it examines the governing system that the kids work out and how it comes about. It looks at the personal relationships between the kids and looks at how people decide how to do the "right" thing. It was a really good book, but the idea of watching your parents die right in front of you, might be disturbing for younger readers. It's not graphically mentioned but as time goes by, some of the older girls do become pregnant. It is fascinating how many of the kids form their own unrelated "families" with older children playing the role of parents.
If you think you can handle the more graphic scenes, you should read this book; it really gives you a lot to think about. (less)
In spite of the name and cover art, this isn’t historical fantasy; it’s really a straight historical fiction with a...moreHow far would you go, to be loved?
In spite of the name and cover art, this isn’t historical fantasy; it’s really a straight historical fiction with a little mystery thrown in. In fact, it reminded me a bit of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Maud is an orphan, “plain, clever and bad” at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans, when suddenly to everyone’s surprise 3 elderly sisters adopt her. Maud is determined to leave behind her bad ways and behave like a lady for the three sisters, one of whom she completely adores at first sight. Even as it becomes apparent that the sisters aren’t what they seem to be, Maud is so happy to have a home and family, that she’s happy to be a “secret child” and will do whatever the sisters want of her….or will she?
This was a good read, Maud is enchanting and realistic and the writing was very good and the plot moved right along. It was interesting to revisit that time period in American history. I’ll be looking for more novels from this author.
This is an amazing first novel, and I hope the first of many set in this world. One often hears of young adult fantasy novels touted as the "Next Harr...moreThis is an amazing first novel, and I hope the first of many set in this world. One often hears of young adult fantasy novels touted as the "Next Harry Potter", this is the first novel I've read in a long time that truly could be. The world of the Republic of Califa is so positively dense with a fully realized society with political structure and intrigue, wars and religion, different cultures, races and magical creatures with complicated alliances to humans. All this and wonderfully quirky characters who come to life and interact with each other in believable fashion.
Flora Fyrdraaca, a Girl of Spirit, is approaching her 14th birthday when she'll celebrate her Catorcena, coming-of-age party that she has certain tasks she needs to complete before then or her Mother, the General will give her the Look that has reduced colonels to tears. But it also means that next semester she'll be old enough to go to the Barracks and follow her mother into the military, and she doesn't want to, but hasn't mustered the courage to tell her mother that. On top of that the family home which has 11 thousand rooms that move around randomly, due in part to the fact that her mother has banished the family "Butler", a magical creature bound to the family for centuries. Flora finds Valefor, the banished butler and he helps her with some of her tasks, but seems to have some ulterior motives.
She also has her occasionally mad father, Poppy to deal with, a mass of exuberant dogs, a fashion plate of a best (boy) friend, Pirates (well, one anyway!), murderous bird creatures. Thank goodness, Flora has some magic skills of her own to help her along, even if they are occasionally undependable.
It would easily take me pages and pages to describe everything that's going on in this book, but take my word for it; it doesn't overwhelm you at first, but slowly draws you in and when you've finished you just go ......Wow. There's also a tone to the book that's quite catchy, I found myself naming all the nooks and crannies of my own home. (I often walk down the Inevitable Short Hallway of Doom and think, I need to vacuum this ISHoD.) Did I mention it's also sneaky funny? The kind of funny that you don't see coming and then all of a sudden there you are, chuckling madly at the book while your family eyes you warily.
There are so many other books that could be written about this world, and characters that haven't even been addressed yet. I found myself wondering about Flora's two sisters (one disappeared, one in the military) who were barely mentioned in the book. I'll be standing in line to buy (or waiting on Amazon to ship) any more books by Ms. Wilce set in this world.
There is mild violence in the book, but the vocabulary and length (431 pages) would make it difficult for any reader under 12. If you love fantasy, you owe yourself the pleasure of this book. You can join me in waiting for the next one!
I loved this book! The clearly drawn character of Dashti is a good part of the reason why. But I also cared about what happened to Saren, even though...moreI loved this book! The clearly drawn character of Dashti is a good part of the reason why. But I also cared about what happened to Saren, even though she’s not as brave, smart or funny as Dashti. The mark of a really excellent writer is when you care about the welfare of characters that you don’t really like that much. The prose is very well-written, Dashi says a number of very quotable things, it’s very clear exactly why the characters are behaving the way they are, the plot moves right along and unlike many fantasy YA books, I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief at all. The romance is believable and light. Must Read! (And now I must go read all of Shannon Hale’s other books!) (less)
Aggie is offered a job at Murkmere manor to be a lady’s companion to the Lord’s ward, Leah. She accepts the job...moreJane Eyre meets The Golden Compass....
Aggie is offered a job at Murkmere manor to be a lady’s companion to the Lord’s ward, Leah. She accepts the job because she can then send money back to her Aunt Jennet. Her mother worked at Murkmere before her death and she thinks that if she knows more about Murkmere, she’d know more about her mother. But Leah is so strange, wild and moody and she has a strange bond with the swans on the estate. The Master is trapped in a caged wheelchair and has blasphemous books. Silas, the steward, rules over the servants with an iron hand but is really pious, or is he? No one is who he or she seems to be and whom can Aggie trust? How can she protect Leah? This is one of those books that reads like historical fiction then all of a sudden you realize that it has major fantasy elements. Kind of a “whoops, I guess we’re not in Kansas after all” moment. In this case, this reads like the late 19th century until you learn that most books are blasphemous and there’s an alternate religion based on birds. Really, birds – the Great Eagle is the Almighty. The political structure is different too, as the aristrocrats are Ministers in the government that is considered the mouthpiece of the gods on Earth. The Lord Protector is the head of the Ministration and is involved in the plot as he comes to Murkmere for Leah’s debut birthday. This book is historical fiction/fantasy/mystery with some retold fairy tale (the swan maiden) too! There’s also political intrigue and questions about religion. I really enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s well written and the plot soars along. Highly recommended to anyone who likes any of the above genres! (less)
Winner of a 2008 Printz Honor Award Kiriel is a fallen angel, sometimes called a demon. He decides that he needs a vacation from tormenting the damned...moreWinner of a 2008 Printz Honor Award Kiriel is a fallen angel, sometimes called a demon. He decides that he needs a vacation from tormenting the damned and plans to “borrow” a body of teenaged slacker seconds before his death. A repossession. He’s planned this well, he wanted an American, so that he wouldn’t have to worry about food or shelter, a teen so that he wouldn’t have to worry about a job or a wife or anyone who might notice him acting strangely. After all, teens all act strangely don’t they? Except maybe he didn’t plan quite as well as he should have. He didn’t plan on how to deal with his disconnected little brother, or his best friend or the girl he knows has a crush on him. Will he have time to sample all the 7 deadly sins before either The Boss, or The Creator or one of the Unfallen comes looking for him? After all, somebody must have noticed that he’s gone, right?
A quick and FUNNY read. Kiriel’s attempts to understand what humans do and why they do it are very amusing. This book has some depth to it, with Kiriel’s musings on The Creator and the Fallen and Unfallen. (less)
Based on a true story, this is the story of Bridget and Maureen, two girls who grow up together and are very close friends. They look very much alike...moreBased on a true story, this is the story of Bridget and Maureen, two girls who grow up together and are very close friends. They look very much alike with similar colored hair, and very similar builds. Their personalities are different, Bridget is more of a spoiled girl who usually gets what she wants and often talks Maureen into doing what she wants.
One day there is a tragic accident, one girl lives and the other dies. The girl who lives is in a coma for weeks, and the girl who died is buried. The medical personal, the families and the townspeople are all sure they've mourned the right girl, but have they? Or is it a tragic tale of mistaken identity?
This was a fascinating story, for the first half of the book I was sure that it was heading into Jodi Picoult territory. Mitchard, appropriately for a YA book, never dwells on the morality tale but focuses more on the characters and allows her readers to work out the "bad" guys on their own. All the characters are allowed to shine in realistic ways, but the "girl who lived" is particularly well characterized with her frustration and anger at her physical disabilities and her changed relationships. This book is a gift for young adult readers and would make a great book club book for teens. The "what would you do if" questions are endless. (less)
Based on the old Grimm fairy tale of the princess who becomes a goose girl for a time, due to the betrayal of her servant, this story by Shannon Hale...moreBased on the old Grimm fairy tale of the princess who becomes a goose girl for a time, due to the betrayal of her servant, this story by Shannon Hale breathes new life into an old tale. Her story of Ani adds new elements, such as Ani's ability to speak to and understand bird and her new found ability to command the wind while keeping the basic structure of the old tale with it's elements of betrayal and political intrigue between kingdoms. Hale's kingdoms of Bayern and Kidenzee ring true as does Ani's relationships with her mother, the Queen and Selia, the Lady in Waiting with powers of her own that she uses to assume Ani's place as Queen in the Kingdom of her husband-to-be. Ani's ambivalent feelings about her own role as Princess of Kidenzee, future Queen of Bayern and then as a goose girl in hiding add dept and texture to this novel.
Although it didn't totally charm me as Book of a Thousand Days did, this was an excellent read and a great addition to the re-imagined fairy tale genre. (less)