Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

I'm not sure why she's wearing a red hoodie in the cover, because it's not a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Yes, there is a werewolf, but Austin Bridges isn't the big bad wolf!

This quick, easy read has lots of spaces between the lines, so I breezed through it. Ariel is stuck with a wicked stepmother who pushes her away to a camp for bad kids over the summer. She's not a huge troublemaker, but her dad doesn't care too much and sends her away. Once at Camp Crescent in the Oregon woods, she befriends Austin Bridges, who quickly confides his werewolf secret to her. A little too quickly, I thought. Austin is the son of a rock star, and it seems to run in the family. The entire book is trying to prevent Austin from turning during the full moon when the camp counselor takes his "drugs" away.

I wasn't too thrilled with this book, but it read easily and smoothly at least.

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Wow...it took days to finish this, and you all know I'm a fast reader. But something about the pacing that I just didn't like.

Dana runs away from her alcoholic mother to her dad she's never met, who is a fairy living in Avalon, a town in England. Avalon is on the border between the human world and the fairy world, and in this book's world, everyone knows it, I guess. She isn't sure that Avalon is better than living with her mother though. Fey and humans are trying to kill her because she is a Faeriewalker, someone who can walk in both worlds. This means she is the perfect assassin and everyone wants her on her side.

The sequel Shadowspell comes out January 2011.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock

Billed as the first case of the The Boy Sherlock Holmes, this author does a pretty good job of establishing why Sherlock Holmes becomes what he is. Sherlock's the son of a Jewish professor who can't find work because he married a rich lady above his class. Sherlock is bitter and believes that his education can't get him where he wants to be (rich and important) because he's a half-Jew. So he skips school and practices his observation skills instead. When a lady is murdered in Whitecastle, Sherlock is arrested, along with an Arab who had the murder weapon. And thus Sherlock's crime solving begins, along with his own lawbreaking to do so.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brain Camp by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Faith Erin Hicks

Heehee. This graphic novel is more my speed. It's not dark and the females don't like strippers. Jenna and Lucas are misfits--even their parents don't want them. So when a mysterious man selects them for Camp Fielding, the parents graciously let them go. But camp is strange. The food is horrible. The learning is advanced--both physical and mental. Jenna and Lucas find a separate building in the woods where kids/birds live and they must find out the mystery. Oh no, the aliens want to have baby birds in our brains! lol. I LOVED the plot! The two tweens must save the world (and the camp) from the birds, and luckily the tweens are magically smart enough to do so. Very cute book! And a bit gross, too.

The Good Neighbors: Kith, Book Two, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

The Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee is making me do it--I had to read the sequel to Kin. Book Two was more exciting. Rue's half fairy-half human and her world is changing. Her grandfather fairy is trying to take over her portion of the human world--vines are growing everywhere and humans are turning dark with the help of some bad fey. Rue's own boyfriend is being tempted with some sneaky, sexy river sisters, but Rue doesn't mind so much when she has her grandfather's sexy servant Tam around. There's a cliffhanger ending (of course) that leads into the third book of the series, Kind.

The Good Neighbors: Kin, Book One by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

Thankfully graphic novels are quick reads so I don't waste too much of time. I'm just too much of a traditionalist. I want my tales told linearly and I want my questions answered. And, um, that doesn't happen in most graphic novels.

Rue is a goth girl whose mother has disappeared and whose father is in a deep depression. And she's started seeing things--goblins and fairies and other weird looking people when she's out and about. Her professor father is arrested for the murder of a university student and under suspicion for the disappearance of her mother. But, of course, Rue is a fairy. That's why her mother was always naked in the garden--of course!

I know people out there like this book. It's checked out often in my library, but I'm just not a fan.

Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen

Elizah moves with her mother to the edge of a cematery, where her mother is keeper. She isn't thrilled with the move, especially because her father is on the run for gambling and theft. Elizah's response is to act out--she's quiet in school and sarcastic when she has to talk. Her mother forces her to see the school therapist, go to a party, and socialize, but Elizah would rather spend time in the woods with her mysterious new friend Nathaniel. But Nathaniel isn't what he seems and Elizah's time with him is short.

The plus: It's short and a quick read.
The minus: It's a ghost story that isn't that scary, so I'll say it's more appropriate for ages 10-14 than teens.

For some reason today I'm looking up book trailers. Here's what I found...

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Finally! This novel took forrrrever to read because it's 563 pages. It's slow-going, too. I knew there was some fuss over this in the YA literary world so I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Last week I got the sequel, Beautiful Darkness, in my library, even though the first book isn't too popular yet. But I can push it now that I've read it. Here's the video trailer for the YA novel....

Lena is a caster with powers, but she won't know if she's Light or Dark until her sixteenth birthday. She's terrified that she'll be Dark and use her powers for evil, and this causes stress on her relationship with Ethan, a local Southern boy who falls in love with her. The two of them have special powers with their love, and Ethan is convinced that she'll be light.

The plus: Think Twilight. If you liked it, you'll like this.

The minus: I didn't like Twilight, so I had to suffer through the cheesiness. However, at least there were some snarky moments that made me smile. Lena is a smart-aleck, which helps.

I won't read the sequel, but I know plenty of teenage girls at PCHS who would absolutely love this book, so I'll recommend it to them next week!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney, Performed by Christopher Evan Welch

I finished the first book of this series Revenge of the Witch a few weeks ago so I placed the second book on hold. Luckily the same narrator performed the second book! Tom Ward is into his six month as the Spook's apprentice, and the two of them have their work cut out for them. The Bane is gaining power, and the Bane almost killed the Spook years ago when he tried to kill it. Now the Spook is ill and more responsibility falls on Tom. He must make choices between following orders and sacrificing his own life to save the people he loves. Alice with the pointy shoes is back and making good and bad choices. She's a witch, that's for sure, but is she a good witch or a bad witch? Can't wait for the third book!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wereling by Steve Feasey

Trey doesn't know who broke into his room and destroyed and clawed everything, but he's looking for an explanation. He finds it when a man claiming to be his uncle appears at his orphanage and whisks him away. Instantly rich and connected, Trey discovers his werewolf heritage and just amazingly kicks everything into high gear. Things dropped into place pretty easily in this novel. He's magically a good fighter and instantly able to control his change. Uncle Lucien trusts him to help save the world, too, and save the girl. My eyebrows raised quite a bit and I thought, "Oh, realllly?" in true Saturday Night Live fashion. The epilogue was pretty funny, too, with the plot leading into Trey and Lucien's daughter off to save Lucien's life. Ugh.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, Narrated by Steven Boyer

I will be honest and admit that I've attempted this Printz honor award winner before. On Good Reads I wrote, "Well, Rick Yancey, your wordiness made my attention wander. I have two shelves of ARCs from ALA Midwinter calling my name and I choose them over you....I stopped on page 78." An English teacher at my school will be using this novel in a new course called Monster Lit, so I wanted to give it another shot. And I'm glad I did. The audiobook was wonderful and the narrator grossed me out while I was eating breakfast in the car.

Will Henry is apprenticed to Dr. Warthrop, an self-proclaimed monstrumologist who studies the obscene. When a grave robber brings in a corpse of a young woman with a "thing" wrapped it, the doctor and his boy embark on a strange adventure. There are creatures living in their town and the two of them must call in help and exterminate the population of Anthropophagi. They're ugly, huge, and hunt people for food, and it won't be easy. The Victorian-era language will be difficult for some teen readers, but the gross factor is a plus. I'm glad I returned to this book and see why it's an award winner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trance by Linda Gerber

Ashlyn has always had trances. She explains them as epileptic seizures, but she and her sister know they aren't. They "disappear" for a few minutes and have visions of the future and write series of numbers on papers. The sisters discuss their trances, and can figure out what is going to happen. When Kyra has a vision of a car wreck involving their mother, Ashlyn is too drunk to know if she has had a vision or not. So when their mother dies, Kyra blames Ashlyn. The trances don't stop, but Ashlyn is determined to understand the numbers on the paper. With the help of a new friend who has studied numerology and a possible boyfriend named Jake, Ashlyn learns to control her trances and figures out where she belongs.

All in all, this book is pretty cheesy. I prefer the author's Death by Bikini series.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard

I know identical twins often have a connection, but this book took things a little into the supernatural world. The twin girls can see each other's dreams and communicate very strongly with each other. They not only feel each other's pain, but can predict the future, so their lives get complicated when they start seeing death. Someone is going to get raped or killed and the girls have to try to stop him.

I liked The Deep End of the Ocean, but I struggled with this book. Not only were Mallory and Meredith interchangeable, but the other characters didn't have much personality either. I felt like I needed a character list because the author didn't do a very good job distinguishing between them. And the writing was choppy. For example, when the book is almost over, (p. 214), the following paragraph occurs: "That was true enough. Despite everything, Kim had lost the only brother she would ever have, unless Bonnie and David adopted a Chinese baby or something. And they were old, at least probably forty, like her parents." The twins are supposedly smart and almost 14. I really don't think they would throw the "Chinese baby" comment out there. There were lots of moments like these during the book that I just thought, "Really?"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer

I was ready to read a book with multiple narrators, so I picked up this YA novel. A freaky man is watching five sisters, but they don't know it. The sisters tell their story and, when one of them goes missing, the girls aren't sure what to do. The entire plot revolves around the missing girl, which makes this book a quick, easy read. I didn't want to stop reading because I wanted to know the fate of the missing sister. Bland posting, I know, but the book was just a good mystery that was a welcoming breath of fresh air between zombie reads.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

So the front cover claims this is a #1 New York Times Bestseller, but, whoa, evidently I don't have the same taste as twelve-year-old girls. I like the plotline, but I'm just not thrilled with how she told it. Narration was choppy and I kept thinking, "That could have been written better."

Laurel is shocked to find that something is growing from her back--a flower. They're not wings, but she's faerie, and that means that her whole world is changing. She has always been drawn to nature, but now that she's blossoming, it's an even stronger draw. With the help of David, a human she trusts, and Tamani, a faerie whom she learns to trust, she discovers her path. And, of course, the book leads into the sequel.

If you want fairies, I believe The Iron King or Extraordinary is the way to go. Evidently, I'm just not a fan of bestseller fairy literature, since I disliked the Wicked Lovely series, too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Intertwined by Gena Showalter

I know I'm sick of reading books with zombies, ghosts, mysteries, vampires, and werewolves, so bear with me. But I'm really sick of reading books with all of the above. I swear, this author put all of the supernatural into one young adult novel. Actually, everything is almost put into the main character. Aden Stone hears voices, raises the dead, kills zombies, attracts werewolves as enemies, and riles demons. He can see the future, too.

The characters and plot were so "intertwined" that I started to guess what was going to be thrown in next. Really, I was waiting for the headless horseman or alpha werewolf to show up. I know kids like books like this, but I just can't sing its praises. It was too long and full of too much supernatural phenomena for me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Clubbing by Andi Watson and Josh Howard

I've never hid the fact that I'm not a fan of graphic novels, even though a few have stirred me into rethinking the genre. But then I read something like this and I'm discouraged again. Ugh, I wasted my time. Lottie is sent to her grandparents' country club when she is busted by the London police with a fake ID. While there, she stands out in her skimpy goth outfits and is bored out of her mind. A local woman dies and she is determined to solve the murder with the help of a hot young golfer. She does, but I just didn't care. Sorry, but these books aren't for me. I'm not looking forward to reading anymore from the new Minx imprint from DC.

The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer

Books don't often make me cry, but this book for younger readers did. It's on the 2011 Rebecca Caudill list and recommended for grades 5-8. The book is sappy, but it hooked me in.

Gabe is a foster kid who arrives at his uncle's house alone and quiet. Gabe's been in many foster homes since his mom died when he was two. His uncle is a hermit who served in Vietnam and isn't the friendliest of the bunch, but the uncle and nephew get along just fine. Gabe learns how to survive on his own, how to love, and how to trust, and all of those serve him well throughout the course of this novel. I won't give too much away, but I think the ending wraps up a bit too nicely with Mr. Boehm, but the references to Of Mice and Men and The Call of the Wild make up for it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

I guess I can see why this series is popular. But, geez, I'm sick of vampire books that portray teenage girls as wimpy things who just care about popularity and boys. And that's what Miranda is. She's not a girl I would like, even after she's elevated to an Eternal by the Dracula. She's suddenly a princess--of the Dark. Zachary, her guardian angel, becomes a fallen angel after she is bitten, but he is given the chance of redemption if he can save her. If she can be saved. Zachary has lost his wings and some of his powers, but his love for Miranda hasn't changed even though she is now a vampire.

So, it's cheesy, but I can see why it's popular, darn it.

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

If I were still a member of the Alex Awards committee, I'd be nominating this adult novel as soon as possible! It's creepy and deliciously good. It's suspenseful, but not choppy. It's beautifully written (a little too verbose for me in parts) and very, very descriptive. And it's about zombies.

Temple is on her own wandering around (think The Forest of Hands and Teeth) and she reminds me of River Tam from Firefly. Temple can kick some booty, especially dead booty. But her internal struggle is like that of River's. Sure, Temple can kill and protect the weak. But she's still killing zombies, and even some alive humans in the process. She's searching for salvation, wandering across America searching for a reason to live.

Now, why didn't I give it 5 stars? I'm sorry, but no paragraph should ever consist of one sentence that is 16 lines long (as seen on page 177). I don't care if I'm reading a fun novel or high-fa-luting literature, that just isn't necessary.

Revenge of the Witch: The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, Performed by Christopher Evan Welch

I know I read this book years ago when it came out, but I didn't blog about it, so I figured I should read it again. I listened to the Recorded Books version and absolutely loved it! The narrator was awesome. Thomas Ward is destined to be the Spook's apprentice because he's the seventh son of a seventh son. He has the gift of seeing ghosts and boggarts, so he reluctantly takes on the job of apprentice. He begins his learning, but is thrust into his new job when some witches start bothering the county. His boss, the Spook, is tall, creepy, but snarky. This is the first book of a large series, and I plan on listening to as many of the audiobooks as I can.