Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Reformed vampires admit to their addiction and instead of living on human blood they live on guinea pigs.  They attend a support group, work night jobs, sleep all day and just exist.  When one of them is destroyed, Nina sets out to find the killer with the aid of other vampires and the local priest.  Along the way they rescue a werewolf (who will be featured in the upcoming sequel THE ABUSED WEREWOLF RESCUE GROUP) and continue preventing more people from being fanged.

This book is laugh out loud funny and a totally different take on vampires.  It almost makes you think about what really goes on in the basement of the local church after hours. I recommend it to YAs and adults who are having TWILIGHT withdrawal.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Clara is an angel-blood (part angel) as are her mom and brother.  When Clara learns her "purpose" in life through visions, she and her family move from California to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to accomplish her task.  Apparently she is to save Christian, the hottest and most popular boy from a forest fire.  Meanwhile, Clara befriends a few schoolmates and over the summer, while she learns to fly, she slowly falls for all around nice guy Tucker.  Cynthia Hand goes into detail about how Tucker and Clara spend their time together from hiking to fishing, how Clara learns to fly, introduces the concept of glory and begins the tale of the dark angels.  While the writing is simple the story is divine.  The Wyoming scenery is described in wonderful detail.  Clara's powers grow as the summer wears on and there is a great big twist at the end that I was not expecting. "Unearthly," the first in a planned trilogy only begins to tell the story of angels and Clara's family history.

Never in a million years did I think that I would enjoy a book about angels. And yet "Unearthy" was an extremely enjoyable, romantic, exciting quick read.  Cynthia Hand, in her debut has a pulse on what the YA audience wants.  There is just enough romance to satisfy those who crave it while it is adventurous and thrilling too.  It is refreshing to read a YA book with so much to offer that doesn't include drugs and sex (one scene with drinking but it's quite minor) .  Recommended for tweens and teens.  "Unearthly" was read as an ebook arc courtesy of HarperCollins via Netgalley.  It will be published by HarperCollins on January 4, 2011.

Incareron by Catherine Fisher

Written from two points of view this is a book I could barely put down.

Finn is a prisoner in Incarceron.  The other prisoners claim he was born there but Finn has flashes of memories of being "outside."  He and a few others attempt to escape by following the path (and legend) of Sapphique, the only one believed to make it out.  Claudia is the warden's daughter, raised and groomed to be the future queen by marrying the prince (she is not happy about this).  Claudia and her tutor discover a way to communicate with Finn and are determined to get him out of Incarceron and for Claudia not to have to marry the prince.  Claudia and the other outsiders believe Incarceron to be a paradise.  Finn and the prisoners know differently.

Dystopian literature for the YA crowd is ablaze with excitement.  "Incarceron" by Catherine Fisher won't disappoint.  Incarceron and the outside are not what they seem and teens will enjoy reading about both worlds.  Seemingly old fashioned and yet futuristic is the outside.  We are never really sure what Incarceron is or who the prisoners really are.  This is an original and exciting book and I am so glad I don't have to wait for the sequel, "Sapphique" due December 28.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie

Katniss in THE HUNGER GAMES.  Katna in GRACELING.  Katarina (Kat) in THE HEIST SOCIETY.  Claudia in INCARCERON.  And now, Cassia joins the ranks of strong, intelligent and brave young women.

Cassia lives in a dystopian society. Couples are "matched," told how many children they will have, where they will work, what they eat, and when they die.  In a very rare situation Cassia is matched with a childhood friend, Xander and all seems perfect until she begins to develop feelings for another boy she has grown up with, Ky.  Cassia and Ky slowly fall in love and together they share Ky's family story, poetry, and writing (Ky teaches Cassia as writing has been replaced with computerized scribes.)  The story moves slow as the relationship blossoms and pieces of a puzzle begin to be laid out and as you near the end of the book you know
it will have to continue in a sequel.  While I do wish it was a stand alone book, I will wait a year for CROSSED, the sequel and look forward to reuniting with Xander, Ky and Cassia.

MATCHED has been compared to THE GIVER and is recommended for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy.  I concur.  I recommend it for tweens and teens (no underage drinking or promiscuity.)
While some books don't always live up to the hype, MATCHED is one that did.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Daughters Break the Rules by Joanna Philbin

This book continues right where "The Daughters" left off. To see my review of that book  click here. Carina, the daughter of a media mogul has leaked unfavorable information about her father to the press. To punish her he cuts off her credit cards, replaces her iPhone with an archaic cell and puts her on a $20 a week allowance. Carina manages pretty well recycling her own clothes and brown bagging her lunch but in the process finds a job and a nice guy and learns a lot about her parents and herself. While Lizzie and Hudson take back seats to Carina's story we do get to meet Alex who every tween/teen girl will adore. There is definitely boyfriend potential in him. Carina proves that she is a very intelligent and resourceful girl and although she claims to not want to major in business we can only imagine one day she will be a successful businesswoman. Of course the book ends right where the third in the series will begin with Hudson's story and I for one will be looking forward to reading that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Here Lies Bridget (Harlequin Teen)Publisher's book description : "Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved--Liam Ward--can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a lasting impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her. And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough."

Reading the first half of this book made me cringe. Bridget was so mean to everyone. Teachers, her friends, her stepmom and even to Liam whom she adores. Paige Harbison brilliantly puts Bridget into their shoes and Bridget at once sees the hurt and pain she has caused. While the theme of being in limbo is not new and the premise of mean girl rules school is used a lot this book is still original in tone and a fun read. Teens will be drawn to the book for it's alluring cover and I predict it will be a hit. Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Harlequin Teen via Netgalley. It will be published February 1, 2011 by Harlequin Teen.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

"Darkness Becomes Her" takes place in New Orleans, now New 2 many years after Hurricane Katrina. The city has not been completely rebuilt and most of the original residents never returned. However, vampires, witches, and any odd creature imaginable inhabit the city and try to protect it from anyone or anything seeking to do it harm.

Ari, a foster child since the age of 12 enters New 2 searching for information about her mother.
And so begins a wonderful adventure that made me question why Athena has always been my favorite goddess.

The premise of this book is awesome and the author had my attention throughout. Ari is a strong, brave and intelligent female character. She meets an odd group of people who she quickly bonds with. I would love to meet them all and look forward to hearing more about them especially Sebastian and little Violet. I really enjoyed this book and I'm sure YA's and adults will too however the use of the "f' word did bother me. So I would recommend it for older YA's for that reason. Read as an ebook arc from Simon & Schuster and it will be published in February, 2011.