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Results 1 - 25 of 33
1. Book Review: Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jekel Loves Hyde
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Series: None
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Released: May 3,2010
Website: http://bethfantaskey.com/

Book Summary:
Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents rules; especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father's office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To improve her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen's sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill's accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything, even Tristen's love just for the thrill of being . . . bad.

I'd read some mixed reviews on Jekel Loves Hyde but I'd really enjoyed Beth Fantaskey's book Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side so I decided I'd give this one a try.

Jekel Loves Hyde was very different from Jessica Rules. If you are looking for more of the snarky, arrogant, irresistible Lucius found in Jessica Rules you'll be disappointed. Tristen is a completely different type of guy. If you don't expect him to be like Lucius and give him a chance you'll probably end up pleased with him.

I think Beth is a great writer.  Her stories keep my attention and are enjoyable to read.  There were twists and turns that I didn't see coming and I flew through this book in a couple of sittings.  It contains a good mix of romance, adventure and mystery.

Rating: 3.5 Stars - Good Book!

Content: Some language including a half dozen uses of the F word, talk of sex, some crude comments.

Source: Library

5 Comments on Book Review: Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey, last added: 3/28/2012
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2. Book Review: Awakened by Ednah Walters

Title: Awakened
Author: Ednah Walter
Series: Guardian Legacy
Publisher: August 22, 2010
Released: Pill Hill Press
Website: http://www.ednahwalters.com/

Book Summary:
Most teens turn sixteen and get the license to drive, but Lil Falcon gets the license to kill demons. Orphaned as a child and raised by an eccentric grandfather, Lil is concerned with surviving high school and is unaware that she's a Guardian-a being with super powers charged with killing demons and protecting humanity. When she meets Bran, a mysterious boy with amazing abilities, his psi energy unlocks her latent powers. But Bran has a secret that can ruin their growing relationship, and the truth she discovers may destroy everything she believes in unless she finds the right balance between love and sacrifice.

When originally given the chance to review this book I turned it down. I took one look at this cover and dismissed the book. I really had no desire to read it thinking it was likely going to have content I'd find objectionable.

However over the past year or so I've had many interactions with author Ednah Walters. A recent plea for me to review the sequel to this book opened a line of discussion in which I was assured there wasn't anything really objectionable in this book so I agreed to read it.

They say don't judge a book by it's cover and for me that applies to Awakened. My initial judgement of this book based on the cover was far from accurate. Other than a couple mild swear words there wasn't anything objectionable in this book. In fact it was far cleaner than most of the young adult books I've read lately.

I found the mythology of the Xenithians and Hermonites to be both unique and intriguing. The glossary of terms, characters and lineage at the beginning of the book came in handy more than once as the story unfolded. I'd expected this book to be more romance than anything else but the romance was just a part of the story line.  This book was a fast paced good verses evil tale that was full of great characters and relationships. I will definitely be picking up the next book Betrayed.

Rating; 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Cleaner than most YA I've read lately- just a little mild language

Source: From Author for Review

5 Comments on Book Review: Awakened by Ednah Walters, last added: 3/2/2012
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3. Book Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Take
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: Soul Screamers Book #1 of 7
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: July 29, 2009
Website: http://rachelvincent.com/

Book Summary
She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

I probably should have reviewed this book as soon as I finished it earlier this week. Instead I found and read its prequel, then picked up the 2nd book in the series, and then the 3rd. I started the 4th book at midnight last night and have already finished it and just bought book number 5. As soon as I'm done with that I'm planning to buy the 2 novellas I've not yet read. I'm sleep deprived but just can't seem to get enough of this series.

It's been way too long since as series of books kept me up because I couldn't put them down.  I'm sure it helps that the first five books in the series are already out.  I've loved being able to finish one and jump right into the next one.  In fact part of me wishes I'd waited to start this series until all the books were out. I have a feeling the wait for the last two books in the series is going to be excruciating.

So did I like the first book My Soul to Take? Most definitely.  It is original and full of twists and turns and some amazing characters.  I loved both the story line and the characters.  My knowledge of folklore is obviously lacking because I didn't even know what a bean sidhe was prior to starting this book. Rachel Vincent's version of banshees & grim reapers is both creative and entertaining.

Content: language, making out, innuendo, sexual tension. (Having now finished the first 4 books of the series I should note that the intensity of the content has increased with each book).

Rating: 4.5 Stars - Highly Recommend to Older Teens & Adults

Source: Audible.com Download

5 Comments on Book Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent, last added: 2/5/2012
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4. Book Review: Reaper by Rachel Vincent

Title: Reaper
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: Soul Screamers Novella 3.5
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: November 16, 2010
Website: http://rachelvincent.com/

Book Summary
Tod Hudson was a typical teenager. He liked girls, sports, food and tolerated his younger brother, Nash. In fact, he had his whole life in front of him--and due to his bean sidhe heritage, it was going to be a very long life indeed. And then the car accident occurred.
Suddenly Tod's future wasn't so sure, and he had to make a choice. Life... Death... or something Between....
An ebook exclusive Soul Screamers series novella.

I started reading the 5th book in The Soul Screamers series (If I Die). About 1/4 of the way in I had to stop and read this book. I had a sudden desire to learn more about Tod. I've always liked Tod but as he started to take a big role in I was compelled to learn more about him.

If you are a Soul Screamers fan this novella is a must read. It's a short read but provides so much vital information within its pages.  This fits in as book 3.5 in the series but I would recommend reading book 4 first and then going back and reading this one. Sabine is mentioned and I liked not knowing anything about her relationship with Nash when I started book 4.

Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Similar to the others in the series - language, innuendo, crude comments, talk of sex

Source: Bought

3 Comments on Book Review: Reaper by Rachel Vincent, last added: 2/15/2012
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5. Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: None but read Anna and the French Kiss first
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Released: September 29, 2011
Website: http://www.stephanieperkins.com/

Book Summary:
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

First off I should have read Anna and the French Kiss before reading this one. Lola and the Boy Next Door is not a sequel but a "companion" novel. It takes place after Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and St. Clair play a minor role in this story but obviously I now know how their story ended without having read their book.  Having enjoyed Lola I'll be going back and reading Anna and the French Kiss ASAP.

Lola and the Boy Next Door was one of those feel good, make you smile, read in a day kind of books. I loved the quirky characters in this story. Cricket was by far my favorite, he is just so sweet. I'm a succor for the boy next door turns into much more than a friend story line.

I'm not a fan of sex in young adult books. However if it is going to be there I wish it were always written the way it was in this book. It was done without the blow by blow details. Statements such as I lost my virginity on my seventeenth birthday work for me. I know it happened but I don't have to skip paragraphs or pages as every step is detailed. Of course there is still the issue that Lola was just 16/17 and her boyfriend was 22. I wasn't a fan of Max and appreciated Lola's parent's concerns and attempts to monitor and limit Lola's interactions with him.  I don't usually enjoy reading about gay characters but I loved Lola's parents.

Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Some language including a couple F words, there is sex but it's never graphic or described in any details, just things like - on my birthday I lost my virginity or I put my shirt back on, a few crude comments and some innuendo, Lola's parents are 2 gay men.

Source: Download from Overdrive

2 Comments on Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, last added: 2/24/2012
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6. Book Review: The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams

Title: The International Kissing Club
Author: Ivy Adams  (Emily McKay, Shellee Roberts and Tracy Deebs write under the pseudonym Ivy Adams)
Series: None
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Released: January 3, 2012

Book Summary:
The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams is the story of four best friends: Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy--the misfits of Paris, Texas. Their whole lives, they’ve dreamed of escaping small-town life and seeing the world. So when Piper is the victim of an embarrassing prank that goes viral online, she gets the idea that the girls should escape via the school’s international exchange program, in search of fun, love and internet redemption.

It took me forever to get into this book.  I just didn't care about the characters or the story line for the first half of the book.  It took me a couple weeks to get through the first half because it just didn't hold my interest.    Once I hit he half way point I finished up the second half really quickly.

Kissing for points is just not a concept that works for me and the whole premise just seemed shallow to me. The book did have some funny parts and by the time I got half way through I wanted to know how it all turned out for these four girls and the boys they had fallen for.

In the end I'd say this was a good book, I didn't love it but I don't regret taking the time to read it.

Rating: 3.5 Stars - Good Book

Content: language, innuendo, talk of sex

Source: Review Copy

1 Comments on Book Review: The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams, last added: 2/26/2012
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7. Blog Tour: Book Review - Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger.
Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.
Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Fabulous debut!

There is already a lot of hype about this book and its release date is still 3 months away.  In my opinion it is well deserved hype.  Shattered Souls is an original, engaging book that is sure to be a hit with those who enjoy young adult paranormal fiction.  I was hooked right from the start and loved the characters and storyline.  This book stands alone but I would love a sequel. 

There is an overwhelming number of books in this genre being released and it is impossible to read them all.  Shattered Souls is one you don't want to miss.

Content: A little language and innuendo

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Source: ARC Tour through The Teen Book Scene

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey will be released by Philomel/Penguin on December 8, 2011.

0 Comments on Blog Tour: Book Review - Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey as of 1/1/1900
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8. Book Review: The Pirate Ruse by Marcia Lynn McClure

Abducted! Forcibly taken from her home in New Orleans , Cristabel Albay found herself a prisoner aboard an enemy ship—and soon thereafter, transferred into the vile hands of blood-thirsty pirates! War waged between the newly liberated United States and King George. Still, Cristabel would soon discover that British sailors were the very least of her worries—for the pirate captain, Bully Booth, owned no loyalty—no sympathy for those he captured.
Yet hope was not entirely lost—for where there was found one crew of pirates—there was ever found another. Though Cristabel Albay would never have dreamed that she may find fortune in being captured by one pirate captain only to be taken by another—she did! Bully Booth took no man alive—let no woman live long. But the pirate Navarrone was known for his clemency. Thus, Cristabel’s hope in knowing her life’s continuance was restored.
Nonetheless, as Cristabel’s heart began to yearn for the affections of her handsome, beguiling captor—she wondered if Captain Navarrone had only saved her life to execute her poor heart!

Oh how I love Marcia's Books! Seriously love them. Today is my birthday which meant my husband got up to get our 5 kids off to school so I could sleep in. But I'm used to waking up so I was wide awake. Since I didn't have to get up and couldn't sleep I decided I could spend my time how I wanted so instead of sleeping I chose to read a Marcia Lynn McClure book.  Good choice!

As is the case with all of Marcia's books, The Pirate Ruse did not disappoint. I loved this one! So much fun to read. It made me smile and laugh! How can you go wrong when you cross Marcia's writing with a pirate tale - You can't! And with a title like The Pirate Ruse you know you are in for an adventure... romance, battles, mystery, a devilish pirate, feisty heroine and lots of kissing.  A great way to spend the morning.

Content: Clean

Rating: 5 Stars - I love it!

Source: From Author

The Pirate Ruse was released on November 1, 2010 by Distractions Ink

3 Comments on Book Review: The Pirate Ruse by Marcia Lynn McClure, last added: 9/22/2011
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9. Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Title: If I Tell
Author: Janet Gurtler
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

Janet Gurtler is a phenomenal writer of Young Adult contemporary fiction.  Her book I'm Not Her was a very realistic portrayal of life with cancer.  If I Tell delves into so many topics it almost sounds like a soap opera: teen pregnancy, homosexuality, biracial issues, depression, betrayal, teen drinking & drugs, romance, secrets... However the novel is not soap opera like at all, it has a very realistic feel to it.

The characters are quirky, likable and easy to relate to in this coming of age story. Valuable lessons about trust, choices and rising above difficulties are taught. The subjects dealt with in this book are not light and fluffy but I didn't find anything to be over descriptive.

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: a little bit of just about everything but not enough of anything to make me quit reading.

2 Comments on Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler, last added: 10/19/2011
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10. Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Book #1
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Released: January 11, 2011
Website: http://acrosstheuniversebook.com/
Author Website: http://www.bethrevis.com/

Book Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance, Mystery, Adventure... There's a little bit of everything mixed into this debut novel by author Beth Revis.

Across the Universe is told by two narrators Amy & Elder. The book begins with Amy about to be frozen in cryogenic sleep for a 300 year journey on the ship Godspeed. Our second narrator is Elder, the future leader of the ship Amy's frozen body is traveling on.

This was a fast paced book full of twists and turns, lies and deceptions.  I had a hunch fairly early on who the murder was but there were other story elements that took me by surprise. There is a great cast of characters who are all flawed but likable.  As is the case with most first books in a series the ending left many unanswered questions that I'm assuming will be addressed in future books.

Fans of young adult dystopian books are likely to enjoy this one. I found it to be a unique, entertaining story and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel.

Rating: 4.5 Stars - Highly Recommend to older teens & adults

Content: just a couple instances of mild language and then some substitute swear words similar to what was done in the Maze Runner. Some sexual content including an attempted rape scene and some animalistic type mating practices that occur during "The Season".  Not overly graphic but I wouldn't let a young teen read it.

Source: Download from Audible.com

Download an Audiobook to Your iPod for only $7.49

The Sequel A Million Suns was released today January 10, 2012.

The 3rd book Shades of Earth will be released in January of 2013.
11. Book Review: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Series: None
Publisher: Speak
Released: February 16, 2012
Website: http://www.melissajensen.com/

Book Summary:

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy.

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

I loved the way this book was written, it was quite witty. It starts off with Ella sharing her undying love for Edward Willing. The only problem with this is that he died...long ago, as in years before Ella was even born. Through the course of the book she has many an interesting conversations with her idol Edward. If only she could find someone alive who could live up to Edward. Of course there is always her crush Alex Bainbridge, but he's a "Philitte" who will likely never notice her.

Ella and her friends Sadie & Frankie attended Willing School where they are at the bottom of the social ladder. Sadie has money but has a less than perfect body, Frankie is gay and Ella is a scholarship student with a scarred body. This leaves the three of them nearly invisible among the many elite students (Philittes) who attend Willing. At least they have each other and their close friendship with many a game of Truth or Dare.

When Alex is assigned to be Ella's French tutor Ella finally has a chance to be noticed by Alex.

I loved the first couple chapters but then found it really slow going for a while. It picked up again by mid book and I enjoyed the story.  I ended up really liking many of the characters: Sadie, Ella & especially Alex.  I liked Frankie too but I just don't enjoy reading about same-sex relationships and was a little turned off by how often his relationships were mentioned.

Full of many great quotes and laughs I'm sure this will be a hit with those who enjoy contemporary young adult literature.

Rating: 3.5 Stars - Good Book

Content: a little language include 1 use of the f word, one of the main characters is gay so there many conversations about who he was dating/liked, one of the characters makes crude comments to and about Ella, a scene where a shirt is removed but done to show a scar, etc.

Source: ARC Tours set up by The Teen Book Scene

Also by Melissa Jensen:

12. Book Review: Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Outside In
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: #2 of 2 Insiders Series
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: March 1, 2011
Website: http://mariavsnyder.com/

Book Summary:

Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.
I wouldn't go so far as to say I was disappointed with this sequel because I did like it.  I just didn't love it like I hoped I would.  Being such a fan of Maria's Study Series I had high expectations for this book and this sequel didn't quite live up to those high expectations.

Outside In was full of action and adventure and plot twists.  There was a lot going on in this story but I finished the book not really understanding exactly how everything had played out.  It seemed like there could have been a little less going on and little more detail and back story filled in.  The first book Inside Out was a clean read while Outside In had content I wish wasn't included.

I did like watching Trella grow and change especially in her relationship with her mother and Riley.  She makes some stupid decisions at times but learns from her mistakes.  I did like this book and don't regret reading it.

I'm going to start on Maria's Glass & Healer series soon to see if they better capture the magic I felt while reading the Study Series.

Rating: 3.5 Stars - Good Book

Content: Some language and sexual content, no sex scene but clothes were off

Source: Download from Audible.com

Also by Maria V. Snyder:

Inside Out - Book #1 in the Insiders Series

Study Series (One of my favorites - although this is adult not YA)

Glass Series

Touch of Power

2 Comments on Book Review: Outside In by Maria V. Snyder, last added: 1/28/2012
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13. Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title: Midnight in Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Austenland was a stand alone, this is a follow-up novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: January 31, 2012
Website: http://www.squeetus.com/stage/main.html

Book Summary:
When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end?

I'm a huge Shannon Hale fan.
I love Jane Austen.
Cross the two and inevitably you will come up with something I will love.

I got a kick out of reading Austenland and am looking forward to the upcoming movie. Austenland was a stand alone book so I was both surprised and excited when I heard there was a sequel coming out.

Shannon Hale entertains me. Her books draw me in and make me laugh. There is no denying I had high expectations for this book. In all honestly, through the first half of this book I was a little disappointed. I wasn't relating to the characters, I wasn't falling for the love interest, I wasn't laughing... But this was Shannon Hale so there was no way I was going to put the book down so I kept reading. It took me until nearly the half way point of this book to really start loving it. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book but my expectations were really high. By the half way point I finally started laughing and relating to the characters and falling for the love interest. I'm not sure why there was a delay for me, but I'm glad I stuck with it because it was worth it.

Midnight in Austenland is based upon Austen's Northanger Abbey which is not one of my favorite Austen novels. Like the book it's based on, Midnight in Austenland is a little more mystery and wild run away imaginings than some of Austen's other book. Not a bad thing but I would obviously prefer more swooning Mr. Darcy moments instead of over-active imagination ramblings.

Midnight in Austenland is a fun, lighthearted read that fans of Austen & Hale should definitely read!


3 Comments on Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale, last added: 1/31/2012
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14. Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: Book 1 of 4
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: March 16, 2010
Website: http://www.kimberlyderting.com/

Book Summary:
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

This was a creepy, suspenseful, romantic read.  A great mix of mystery, romance and fantasy.

Most of the book is told from Violet's point of view.  Violet hears "echoes" of both the dead and of those who've killed others.  For the most part this unique ability usually finds her digging up the bones of dead animals but occasional she stumbles across something much more horrifying.  No one knows of her ability except for her family and childhood friend Jay.

I loved watching Violet's relationship with Jay develop into something more than just friendship.  I'm a succor for the "best friend turned more than friend" kind of relationships.

Most of the story is told from Violet's perspective but there are short snippets thrown in that are written from the mind of a serial killer, that's that creepy part.

For those who scare easily you might not want to read this while home alone at night.  I don't scare easily and enjoy an occasional suspenseful, creepy book so I thoroughly enjoyed this one.  I'll definitely be reading the sequels.

Rating: 4.5 Stars - Highly Recommend

Content: Some language including 1 F word. No sex but some passionate making out. Creepy & suspenseful.

Source: Download from Audible.com

Also by Kimberly Derting

4 Comments on Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, last added: 2/4/2012
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15. Book Review: Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

The only one who escaped . . . And the one who could destroy them all.

Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe.

Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.

Catherine Fisher has created an intriguing world with her Incarceron series. I'm still not sure if Sapphique is the final book or if it is a trilogy. It could easily go either way. I was satisfied with the ending of Sapphique but would read another book if there is going to be one.

The first book Incarceron was narrated by Finn and Claudia. In Sapphique we get multiple narrators so the story jumps all over the place with lots going on. This is a well written book but it is not a light read. At times I found myself confused at what was happening and had to go back and read portions again.

If you enjoyed Incarceron then this is a must read. Sapphique held my interest and was full or twists and turns. The ending was not what I expected but it's nice to be surprised once in a while instead of knowing the ending from the first chapter.

Content: Some mild language

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Download from Overdrive

5 Comments on Book Review: Sapphique by Catherine Fisher, last added: 1/22/2011
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16. Book Review: Pearl by Jo Knowles

Bean (aka Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry’s mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean’s mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean’s beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.

Gus’s death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything—including Bean’s relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.

I have such a hard time reviewing and rating books like this one. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a conservative reader. Thus there is certain content that I prefer not to read about. This book has some of that content which makes me hesitant to recommend it. Since I hate spoilers I'm not going to share what it is... but conservative readers beware that the family secrets that unravel although not graphic may not be for you.

That said Pearl is a well written book, one I read in one sitting.  Delving into family secrets, relationships, love, grieving and friendship Jo Knowles packed a lot into this fast paced family drama.  The characters were well developed in a short time and I was drawn into this story and enjoyed it (for the most part).

Pearl by Jo Knowles will be released in July 2011

Content: Some language and other content that may bother conservative readers.  Email me if you want more details as I don't want to post spoilers.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Source: ARC Tour

4 Comments on Book Review: Pearl by Jo Knowles, last added: 1/23/2011
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17. Blog Tour: Book Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley:

Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems....

In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.

I really enjoyed reading Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley.  Charming characters and a believable storyline made this a well done contemporary young adult book.

As the book begins we are introduced to Corrine who is shallow, self-centered and spoiled rotten.  Life suddenly changes when her dad's investments go bad and he loses his job.  Shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas with her younger brother, Corrine must attend Public School *gasp*.  Adjusting to country life does not come easy.

I loved Corrine's down to earth grandparents.  This book has a great message about priorities, the importance of family and true friends.

I was hoping for a different ending then the one we got but was still happy with the book.  This is a stand alone but I'd love to see a sequel.  If you are looking for a light, fun read give this one a try.

Where I Belong will be released on February 8, 2011:

Content: Some language

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Source: Teen Scene Book Tour

1 Comments on Blog Tour: Book Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley, last added: 1/24/2011
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18. Book Review: Dreaming Anastasia by Joyce Preble

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

I accepted a review copy of Haunted which is the sequel to Anastasia Dreaming. As I don't read books out of order I quickly read this one so I can start Haunted.

Dreaming Anastasia is a book that is right up my alley... magic, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, adventure, fairy tale with a little romance mixed in.  The legend of Anastasia Romanov mixed with the Russian folktale character Baga Yaga meets modern day Anne Michaelson for a unique story that I enjoyed.

Without reading the epilogue this book could have almost been a stand alone.  However after reading the prologue I'm intrigued and looking forward to reading the sequel tonight.

When I put this book down I was drawn back to it wondering how it was going to end.  The story is told from alternating narrators of Anne, Anastasia and Ethan which meant great character development for all of them.  Twists and turns kept this from being a predictable read.

Content: Language throughout, talk of boyfriend's groping hands, smoking

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Library

4 Comments on Book Review: Dreaming Anastasia by Joyce Preble, last added: 3/6/2011
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19. Book Review: Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy into the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI, and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town goes missing, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.

In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed—about God, your family, and yourself—is transformed.

I started this book this morning - it sucked me in and I had to stay up to finish it.  Once Was Lost is a young adult book about a pastor's daughter.  Although religion plays an integral part of this book it was not at all preachy.  Much more the story of a young girl questioning her faith, family and friends as she faces the trials in her life.

Sam's "perfect life" begins to crumble - her mother is in rehab, an acquaintance has gone missing, her father is too busy to be there for her, there is never enough money... Not knowing when her mother will return home or who is responsible for the disappearance of the missing girl creates a story that held my attention from start to finish.

Once Was Lost dealt with real life problems in a way that felt very realistic.  Despite the subject matter this book had a hopeful, satisfying feel to it. I felt connected to the characters and cared about what happened to them.

Content: Mostly clean (2 swear words that I remember) but deals with more mature subject matter (kidnapping, financial & marital problems, alcoholism).

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Source: Overdrive Download

5 Comments on Book Review: Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, last added: 3/25/2011
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20. Book Review: Flavors by Emily Sue Harvey

Flavors by Emily Sue Harvey:

Emily Sue Harvey’s first novel, Song of Renewal, was praised by New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis as “an uplifting, heartwarming story,” by bestselling author Kay Allenbaugh as a work that will “linger in the memory long after readers put it aside,” and by Coffee Time Romance as “a must-read book for anyone doing a little soul searching.” New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry said, “It captures your attention, and whets your appetite for more,” while Peeking between the Pages called it “quite simply a beautiful book.”

Now, in Flavors, this master storyteller of the human heart sweeps us along with twelve-year-old Sadie Ann Melton as she enters a life-altering season. The summer of 1950 will change everything for her. For in that summer, she will embark on an odyssey at once heartbreakingly tender and crushingly brutal. At times, she will experience more darkness than she has ever witnessed before. At others, she will thrill to lightness and joy she never imagined. By summer’s end, the Melton women in Sadie’s journey – loving her, coaxing her, and commanding her – will help shape her into the woman she becomes. And they will expose Sadie to all of the flavors of life as she savors the world that she brings into being.

Filled with charm, wisdom, and the smorgasbord of emotions that comes with the first steps into adulthood, Flavors once again proves Emily Sue Harvey’s unique ability to touch our souls with her unforgettable stories.

This one started off really slow for me.  It took me several attempts to get through the first 20 pages.  I found myself skimming and just not caring about it, wondering why I had agreed to review it.  However once I was 20 pages in I stopped skimming and started enjoying the story.

This had a memoir - remembering the past feel to it.  The book takes place over the course of a summer and is the recollections of twelve year old Sadie.  I saw this categorized as young adult on someones goodread shelf but think that is inaccurate.  The way it is written seems to be a book aimed at adults looking back at the good old days with a sense of nostalgia.

A heartfelt touching story of love and loss.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Author for Review

0 Comments on Book Review: Flavors by Emily Sue Harvey as of 1/1/1900
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21. Blog Tour: Book Review - I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler:
“For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel envy…”

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?

Janet Gurtler tests the bonds of sisterhood in this moving debut that readers of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen will savor.

I'm Not Her is a touching, emotional story that I enjoyed.  It seemed like a realistic portrayal of how cancer can effect not only the person who has it but their family and friends as well.

There is a great cast of complex characters in this story, all of whom I cared about.  This was not a depressing book to read but it was emotional.  Just when it seemed like things were looking up for Kristina were thrown a devastating twist that I didn't see coming.

A book I would recommend to those who enjoy contemporary young adult fiction.

Rating: 4 Stars

Content: language, teen sex is mentioned but there is no sex scene

Source: Blog Tour

2 Comments on Blog Tour: Book Review - I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler, last added: 5/5/2011
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22. Blog Tour: Book Review - Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.

Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?
After my senior year I took the "road trip" that Lil & Josh took so this was fun to read.  (Although my trip was with family and lasted full 7 weeks).  As they described the places they were visiting I kept thinking - been there, done that!

Don't Stop Now was a fun, quick read that I really enjoyed.  I liked the characters and found myself thinking about them when I was done reading.  With as crazy as my life has been it's been hard to find the desire or time to read, but this book hooked me and I want to know how the story ended so I spent a morning reading it.

My only complaint is that the ending was just too easy.  I'm a believer in fate and coincidence but I couldn't really buy how easily things all worked out - I've been to Portland and it's a big city - it just didn't seem plausible to me.  That said it was a fun enough read that I let myself suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the ride.

Rating - 3.5 Stars - Good Book

Content - language especially at the start of the book, implied teen sex but no details, abuse but again no details

Source - From author for review as part of The Teen Book Scene Blog Tour

For all the tour stops please visit The Teen Book Scene

3 Comments on Blog Tour: Book Review - Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern, last added: 6/14/2011
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23. Book Review: Luminous by Dawn Metcalf

As reality slips and time stands still, Consuela finds herself thrust into the world of the Flow. Removed from all she loves into this shifting world overlapping our own, Consuela quickly discovers she has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones-skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. She is joined by other teens with extraordinary abilities, bound together to safeguard a world they can affect, but where they no longer belong.
When murder threatens to undo the Flow, the Watcher charges Consuela and elusive, attractive V to stop the killer. But the psychopath who threatens her new world may also hold the only key to Consuela's way home.

I had a hard time getting into this one. Luminous was very unique and different which is a plus in a world of young adult books where all too often it is the same story told over and over again. I had no clue where this story was going which is also a plus since so many books are so predictable.

Unfortunately I never really connected with any of the characters and at times was confused with how things worked in this strange world of the Flow. Reviews seem to be split on this one and I understand why. This book is very original and creative and has some very beautiful writing but I had a hard time caring enough about the story line & characters that it took me a long time to get through this book.

If Dawn writes another book I'll likely read it because I do like the way she writes.

Content: Some language including the F word

Rating: Tough call - 2.5 Take it or leave it - There are a lot of 5 star reviews so please read one of those before you decide to forgo reading this one.

Source: ARC tour through The Teen Book Scene

1 Comments on Book Review: Luminous by Dawn Metcalf, last added: 7/29/2011
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24. Book Review: Hope's Journey by Stephanie Connelley Worlton

Sydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other.

The author did a fabulous job capturing the emotions and thoughts of her characters. I could relate to what they were going through, connected with them and felt for them. When done reading I kept thinking about the story. I felt like I had learned something by reading this book.

This book truly had the potential to be a 5 star book. There are just a few things that detracted from the story. I wished there had been a couple more chapters at the end. For so long it felt like the story was headed one direction and then it headed another direction which was ok but I felt like it was just too easy. I wanted more resolution and closure and it just wrapped up too quickly. There were also several subplots that could have been left out or developed further. For example Sydney's brother abruptly decides not to serve a mission but we are never told why and he's never brought up again so why include that storyline at all.

Hope's Journey is a fabulous book I would recommend to any LDS teenager in a serious relationship as well as to the parents of LDS teenagers. This was a book I couldn't put down.

In the Author's Notes Stephanie says this:

Everybody makes mistakes; nobody makes it through this life unmarked. It just so happens that some sins are more visible to others. It is my desire to tell a story that will perhaps cause people to take a step back and take a deeper look before they cast judgment.

By sharing her story in this book she achieved her desire.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Content: Clean

Source: From Publisher for Review

1 Comments on Book Review: Hope's Journey by Stephanie Connelley Worlton, last added: 7/28/2011
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25. Book Review: Siren's Storm by Lisa Papdemetriou

Siren's Storm:
Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?

This is a book I definitely should have written a review on weeks ago when I finished it.  This is not a book that stuck with me.  I had to go reread the summary, a few reviews and flip through the book to remember what happened in it.

The sirens or more accurately seekriegers in this book are creepy.  They brought to my mind the mermaid creatures from the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie not The Little Mermaid Ariel.  There is some very interesting new mythology on sirens most of which is shared at the end of the book.

This book was a little slow to start but it was worth reading.  About half way through the book the story really starts to pick up when the main character Will reads through a captain's log and we start to learn the history of the sirens.  At the end of the book we finally get some of the information I'd been waiting for throughout the story. I do want to read the sequel because I'm interested to learn more about the mythology of these sea creatures.

Content: I didn't flag this as a clean read but can't remember anything objectionable so I'm guessing it just has a little bit of language but honestly I can't remember!

Rating: 3 Stars

Source: From author for review

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