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Archive for May, 2012

Endure (Need #4)

 

 

by Carrie Jones
Published May 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

 

Summary:

It’s all-out war (and no-holds-barred romance) in the climactic conclusion to Carrie Jones’s bestselling series.

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

 

Review:

I have read this series from the beginning and found this book to be a pretty good ending to the series. Things are tied together and there is closure to the story. As with any series, there is always room to write more if the author so desired, but the Pixie war is over and there is a nice tidy ending. I am not going to tell you what happened in the book, or who Zara ends up with, but I am going to say that Endure kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was hooked from the beginning.

This final installment is fast paced and if you blink, you will most definitely miss something important. There were parts of this book that made me laugh, and quite a few that made me cry, there were even more that made me sigh like a teenager in love, which I am far from being at my age. (Though I am very much in love, so I love stories with romance in them!) All of the characters in this series are likable, and even though at times the reader is upset with them, everything ends up good in the end, so that should make readers happy.

You DO need to have read the rest of the series to understand this book, as any good author who wants faithful readers of her series, Ms. Jones does not fill in many of the blanks in the story or repeat things from previous books over and over again, which is one of the most annoying things a series author can do. I actually had to brush up on the previous books since it had been a while since I read them and couldn’t exactly remember how the last one ended.

Endure, is a rather quick read, I couldn’t sleep last night and read the whole thing before falling asleep at 2:00 am. I then got up this morning and read the “4 months later” part again because I wanted a few questions answered that were not explained well by the ending. I think I have a good grasp on how Ms. Jones wanted the ending to go. No, I am not writing it here, but it makes me happy that Zara is still a pixie in the end.

This book is appropriate for 7th grade and up (adults included). There is no sex or compromising situations. There is a lot of violence since the characters are fighting a war. This book, as well as the series, would probably appeal to girls more than boys since the main character is a girl and there is quite a bit of romance in it.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Tamra Torero

Published May 8th 2012 by Cedar Fort

 

Summary:

A brief moment of disappointment washed over me as I approached Jace’s lifeless body. Here I was, about to kiss a boy on the lips for the very first time, and he was completely comatose—possibly paralyzed—and would never even know or remember the experience. This was not how I’d envisioned my first kiss—me invisible, him unconscious.

Shayla Witherwood is not exactly normal. First of all, she’s spent her entire life being homeschooled, traveling in an RV around the country with her grandparents. And second, there’s the kind of inescapable fact that her mom was a genuine faerie.

But now that she’s starting a real life in a regular high school, Shayla desperately needs to stay out of trouble in both worlds because even her faerie powers might not be enough to protect her from what’s coming.

In her latest novel, Tamra Torero spins a magical tale filled with laugh-out-loud sarcasm, surprising twists, and spell-binding romance. Perfect for fairytale fans of all ages, this is one story you won’t want to miss!

 

Review:

Let’s just say this book was a bit of a letdown.  Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale, started out strong, I was excited and really sucked into the plot.  Shayla is a very likable character; she is spunky, funny, and friendly to everyone.  The supporting characters are also likable, well except the mean ones.  The story even has a nice happy, tidy ending, though there is an opening if the author wants to write another book.

What I didn’t like, was the ending.  Things just started to happen, way too quickly, and then everything ended, and I felt like I was cheated.  The last quarter of the book felt like the author spent tons of time developing the plot and characters in the beginning of the book, and then wasn’t sure how to end the story, or didn’t want the book to be too long, so she just rushed everything out as quickly as possible.  That disappointed me.

Now, a younger kid, like 5th or 6th grade, probably wouldn’t notice, but if the kid is an avid reader, advanced reader, or from say 9th grade and up, they probably will notice the really rushed ending, adults will most likely notice it too and just think, why did I waste my time?

I am giving this book 3 stars, even though it wasn’t all that great, mostly because it is completely appropriate for kids to read.  There is no sex, no compromising situations, very minor violence (it comes as part of the very, very quick ending), and the characters are likable and good role models for kids, well except for the mean ones.  Shayla is a great example of a stand up kid; she is friendly to everyone, sticks up for her friends, and doesn’t abuse her powers.  Just what every teacher or parent would want their kids to be like, if those kids had special powers that is!

If you are looking for a simple, fast paced book about fairies, your kids will probably enjoy this book.  Feel confident in recommending this title, as there is nothing in it that you wouldn’t want your kids to be exposed to, unless you are against fairy tales.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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Hollyweird

 

 

by Terri Clark
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Flux Books

 

Summary:

Aly King is about to fall for the fallen

My best friend, Des, and I totally freaked when we won the contest to meet THE Dakota Danvers in Hollywood. But now we’re finding out he’s SO not the angel everyone believes him to be. In fact, Dakota is the son of Satan, wreaking havoc on Hollywood and creating an evil army hellbent on world domination.

Lucky for us, Dakota’s super-cute personal assistant, Jameson, is a fallen angel trying to get his wings back, and he’s working undercover to squash his demon boss’s plan. If Jameson hadn’t taken me under his wing I’d be in serious trouble, because I’m a total newb when it comes to conquering evil. But, truth be told, that sexy angel’s got me all aflutter and may be one temptation I can’t resist.

 

Review:

I enjoyed this book. It is a quick, light read. I read it in less than a day while we were sitting in our hotel room in-between doing things on our vacation. This story takes place in modern times and really does a good job of capturing the way tweens act about their favorite actors. Unfortunately, the author sometimes seems to try too hard to sound “young” using often outdated slang. That aspect is a bit annoying, as is the Des’ propensity for making up slang words that sometimes took me longer to understand than necessary. Note: If you need to explain what the meaning of the “new” word is, it is not effective and also not necessary.

Overall, this is a cute story and I will read the next in the series, if there is one. Though it may seem religious, it is not biblically based at all. The characters do quote the bible, using real passages, but the angel in the story is actually a boy who died, raised “hell” in heaven, and was booted back down to earth to try to get his wings. Not a biblically sound version of angels at all. With all that said, it is a very clean book and does not have any sex or swearing in it, which is great for a YA book.

There is some violence; this is due to some fighting, but nothing gory or disturbing. Basically this is a story about good vs. evil, and not just a bad person but literally the son of Satan himself. The characters are likable, except Dakota, but he is not supposed to be. There is minimal character development in this story. The reader does not get to know much about the character beyond superficial details.

There is a bit of romance mixed in with the evil butt kicking between Aly and Jameson. They make a cute couple and both are trying to follow the rules so that Jameson can get his wings back, even though they have fallen for each other. There is a bit of other paranormals introduced in this story, and the ending is open so you never know what the author might do if she were to write another book, but it really isn’t necessary since you do have closure to this plot and a happy ending.

I highly recommend this book to kids in middle school (6th grade) and up. Adults might find this book a fun, quick read as well, but it is more of a kids book than other YA books I have read. This book would be perfectly fine for a teacher or parent to recommend to their kids, unless someone is anti-angels, but since this really isn’t a Christian book, I wouldn’t see it as a problem.

Again, there is no sex, swearing, and minimal violence. Basically the violence is the good guys fighting the evil bad guy and his minions, trying to save the world.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Allison K. Pittman
Published April 5th 2011 by Multnomah Books (first published March 29th 2011)

 

Summary:

He’d lost his zest for life. She was just lost. Will they find the healing and love they long for?

After a roaring night on the town, fun-loving flapper Lilly Margolis, dazed and disoriented, twists her ankle and falls into the backyard of a wealthy family where the effects of the Great War—over for more than half a decade—are still endured. Inside the walls of the Burnside mansion, Cullen Burnside, a disillusioned and disfigured veteran, and his widowed mother, Betty Ruth, who daily slips a little further into dementia, lead a lonely existence … until Lilly. Whimsical, lighthearted, and beautiful, she rejuvenates their sad, disconnected lives and blossoms in the light of their attention.

But Lilly, like Cullen, is hiding from a painful past. And when Cullen insists on returning her to her faraway home, their budding attraction seems destined to die on the vine. The resulting road trip becomes a journey of self-discovery—but what will Cullen and Lilly find at journey’s end?

 

Review:

This is a great, classic, no bodice ripping romance novel. Lilies in Moonlight, is just the perfect, sweet and romantic tale, of two lost souls who heal each other through their love and devotion. Lilies, take place in the 1920’s and combines two things that people at that time were fond of, baseball and flappers. I have never read a romance novel that took place in that time period and did not just revolve around speakeasies. I found this story completely refreshing and unique.

Lilies, made me cry at a few parts, just like any good romance does. Too bad I was in the airport when I was crying, embarrassing my husband. There are both happy and sad parts in this book and you really get to see quite a bit of character development in the two main characters. I fell in love with their story. It is a bit predictable, but what good romance isn’t? There are also elements that I would not have expected, like the verbal abuse that Lilly has taken her entire life from her mother. The reader can easily see why she is the hurt, lost soul that she is. You cannot help but want to reach out and hug her and tell her that she is not what her mother says she is.

Cullen is also lost. He has failed at his passion, baseball, and was severely injured when he went off to war. This obviously makes him very self conscience about his looks since he is scarred. He is also tied to his mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. He is not your typical hero and Lilly is not your typical heroine. This book does not follow the norm of one wounded soul being saved by a strong hero or heroine, or a bad boy being saved/redeemed by the girl. Lilly and Cullen need each other to find peace, but they must overcome their demons in order to do so.

I highly recommend this book to anyone grades 7 through adult. Even though this was primarily written for an adult audience, there is absolutely nothing that would make this a bad book for school aged kids. This book is cleaner than most YA books nowadays.

There is no sex, swearing, or violence. There is some illegal drinking, since that is how the two main characters come together, but it is not excessive and there is a positive outcome. Drinking is not shown in a positive light.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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The Peculiars

 

 

by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Published May 1st 2012 by Amulet Books

 

Summary:

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

 

Review:

Peculiars, is a combination of two of my favorite things, steampunk and “peculiar” people/beings. I really enjoyed it. There are several main characters in this novel, Mr. Beasley, an eccentric inventor who has caught the attention of Thomas Saltre, a marshal, Lena, who has the characteristics of a peculiar, specifically a goblin, and Jimson, whom Lena meets on her way to Scree and is on his way to be the librarian for Mr. Beasley. The lives of all three intersect and their worlds are forever changed.

Peculiars are people that are either part or wholly peculiar, meaning they have the traits of non-humans, (ie: offspring of peculiars) or are wholly non-human. Some are goblins, and some have angel type characteristics, these are the two mentioned in this installment. Lena’s father was a peculiar and her mother was human. Peculiars are persecuted and used as slaves, if caught, by humans in the mines of Scree. They have no rights and cannot own property. They are not allowed to live outside of Scree, based on a new decree from the government. Some people do not even believe they exist since a full peculiar had not been seen outside of Scree in a long time.

This is an exciting book, with a lot of adventure. The plot keeps you on the edge and provides for a quick fun read. There is no sex or swearing, and a minimum of violence, nothing too bad. There is both action, suspense, mystery, and a bit of romance mixed in, making this a very enjoyable read. This book would probably be more enjoyable to a girl, though the action and inventions could be intriguing for a boy to read about as well. The romance is not overwhelming. This book is the first in a series, there is some closure to this part of the story, but you are left hanging until the next one comes out. I would definitely read the next book in this series.

I would recommend this book for 7th grade and up. It would be fine for you to recommend to students, if you are a teacher, or to your kids, if they are looking for something new to read. There really isn’t a reason why this book would be for older Middle School kids, other than the concepts and language could be hard for a younger one to grasp.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by J.R. Wagner
Expected publication: June 5th 2012 by Live Oak Book Company (first published May 5th 2012)

 

 

Summary:

James has never known an ordinary life. As long as he can remember, he and his family have been on the run—moving from place to place, never settling down, never growing roots. Now, just when he’s on the brink of manhood, the very thing his family has been trying to prevent tears him from all he has ever known and thrusts him into a place where he is powerless and alone.

Bent on finding a way back, James must brave a place reserved for the worst of his kind. He quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants and if he is to have any chance of returning, he must work with the very people he’s been raised to fear.

James has known magic since just after he was born. As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in The Never, his abilities are gone. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind and prevent escape forever.

 

 

Review:

I was very excited about reading this book because I really like books with magic in them, but this book left something to be desired. The story started out strong and had me hooked, but then it just went downhill. First, there was the switching between time periods and points of view, which we really confusing, especially since the time periods were jumping all over the place back and forth and not in any sort of order. I kept loosing track of when the different events occurred and in what order.

There were also issues with the time and how it passed in the Never. I am just reading along and all of a sudden a whole year has passed and there is nothing said about it, except that it is a year later. Frankly, I have no clue how long James has been in the Never when the story ended.

There is also the issue of jumping between characters and time periods, all at once, as is the case with the jumping back to the parts about Ankil. Then, the book just ends. This is by far the worst cliff hanger ending I have ever read. I didn’t even know the book was done, I actually thought that the download wasn’t complete so I went and re-downloaded it just to check. Nope that was the ending.

I am not sure I will read the next one in the series, maybe, but it won’t be high on my list of books to review. I would definitely not purchase the next in the series. I would recommend only getting it from the library, if your library has it. I was not impressed and I really enjoy reading and tend to give books, especially the first in a series, the benefit of the doubt. I would not recommend this book, there are other books with magic that I have enjoyed much more, but this is one of the only books that I have read that has a strong male character and that is a positive in my book.

This book does not contain any sex and very little violence. It is appropriate for kids 6th grade and up. Both boys and girls would like this book, since the main character is a boy and he has special powers. There is almost no romance, definitely no kissing, so that should make boys more likely to read this book too. The magic and action scenes would also appeal to a boy.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Kiera Cass
Published April 24th 2012 by HarperTeen

 

 

Summary:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

 

 

Review:

I was torn about whether to read this book or not based on the whole reality TV aspect. I am not a huge fan of Bachelor/Bachelorette TV shows, actually I have never watched one episode in my life. There is all the drama and backstabbing that you see in any reality TV show, and the majority of the contestants are shallow, mean, and just using the contest to become famous. Very few actually have any real feelings for the Prince. But, I do like princess books and cute young adult romance novels and this one fit that bill perfectly.

Now this is a bit of a dystopian novel, since it takes place in a time after a terrible event that caused the whole world to reorganize itself. There are no longer in states like in today’s world, but rather provinces that are set up different than society today. People also are put into a caste system based on what job their grandparent had at the time of the reorganization. This caste system is a mix of the caste system that was found in India and the caste system that existed in France before the revolution. Just as with the caste system in India, this creates haves and have not’s, but unlike the caste system in India where they were stuck at whatever level they were born into, one can become rich and/or famous, and move up in the caste system, usually by purchasing a higher rank, or joining the military, which boosts them up automatically.

As with caste systems in general, if a man marries a girl of a lower caste, the girl is elevated to that caste, but if a woman marries a guy from a lower caste, she becomes a part of that lower caste. Another one of the problems with this is that only certain jobs or pastimes are allowed based on caste and if you switch castes, you also must switch careers. This is a problem for the main character, America, because she loves to sing, but if she leaves the caste she is in, she will no longer be able to do that.

The caste system is just a part of the plot, the other part of the plot surrounds America and the two boys she likes; Aspen, her secret love from home who is in a lower caste and Prince Maxon, whom she begins to fall for despite her best intentions. Now I am not going to explain why or how she can fall for two guys, that is a big part of the story, but I am going to say that she is not a flake. America, despite her cheesy name, is genuinely torn and she is not just some girl toying with two boys, not at all. America is not necessarily the best role model for girls, but she is by far better than some. Her character represents the wholesome, down-to-earth, country, girl next-door.

There is no sex, swearing or violence; making this the perfect book for a teacher or parent to recommend to their kids. I would recommend this book to 7th grade and up. It isn’t at all bad, but has some topics that could be confusing for a younger kid.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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