Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review~Deviant by Adrian McKinty

Danny Lopez finds himself relocating to Colorado with his stepdad because his mom got a job running a new casino. He is enrolled in a local school that follows the Direct Instruction method: kids and teachers cannot talk other than to read from the scripted lesson of the day. Danny is befriended by Tony, the girl who lives across the street. There's a local scandal that Danny and his new friends start to investigate: someone is kidnapping cats and killing them. Danny decides to try and catch the killer on his own and things don't go quite the way he planned.

Danny was likable enough and the storyline kept me wanting to read to find out who is killing these cats and whether they move onto humans. But, there was a little something missing. The secondary characters were not very developed, actually Danny's skateboard was more developed than the characters were-the trick references were lost on me, but would surely appeal to skateboarders.

Thanks to ABRAMS, Amulet Books and Net Galley for access to this title.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review~The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Kate has given up her high school years to take care of her mom who has been beating cancer for three and a half years longer than the doctor's prognosis. Kate's mom has her drive them to Eden, Michigan so that she can die in the town she was born. Kate enrolls in high school and is an immediate curiosity in the small town. She ends up reluctantly agreeing to go to a party with the local beauty/head cheerleader Ava. She soon discovers there's no party and Ava plans to leave her stranded in the middle of nowhere. Things quickly take an unexpected turn when Ava hits her head in the river and Kate decides to save her even though she is afraid of water and cannot swim. A stranger appears offering to help and Kate promises to do anything if it will make Ava live. Kate soon finds herself facing the prospect of becoming the wife of Henry (who is actually Hades) if she passes a series of tests.

I really enjoyed this book! It was a good, fast read! I was thrilled to find out it is part of a scheduled trilogy and can't wait to read the next one!

Thanks to HarlequinTEEN and Net Galley for access to this title.

Book Review~Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Luce is fourteen-years-old and stuck living in Alaska with her uncle who she tries her best to avoid, especially when he's been drinking. After nearly being raped by him one evening, Luce abruptly finds herself being rescued underwater. She discovers that she is now part of a group of mermaids that were all transformed after something equally horrible happened to them. Luce discovers that the mermaids use their voices to enchant people on boats, but no human ever seeing or hearing a mermaid can be allowed to live. Luce struggles with this, she does not hate humans the way the other mermaids do. Luce retreats to her own cave to practice her singing and becomes a bit of an outcast. Things change drastically when a new girl, who shows the shimmer of a possible mermaid, is changed.

I did not like this book at all and was dismayed when I discovered it is the first in a planned trilogy!! The story barely limped its way through to the end! The characters were annoying and the whole premise just did not resonate with me at all. I had been excited by the prospect of a mermaid story, but was sadly disappointed.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Net Galley for access to this book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review~I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson

When Emma discovers that her mom (who seems to be more of a kid than Emma is) tells her she's going to be home schooled, she figures this will help her escape from the misery of being teased for being so tall, skinny, red-haired twelve-year-old with a name that describes her when spoken aloud (am-a-freak). Being so different from her mother, Emma wonders if she's adopted. When she's invited to attend a family reunion by the Freke side of the family, she thinks everything will be explained once she meets these long lost relatives. When she arrives at the reunion, and discovers there are very specific rules and a rigid schedule to follow, she realizes there may not be as much wrong with her unstructured life as she thought.

A very cute story! Will definitely recommend it to my students!!

Thanks to Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Books and NetGalley for access to this great read.

Book Review~The Crepe Makers' Bond by Julie Crabtree

Ariel, Nicki, and Mattie are three best friends about to head into their last year of middle school. When Mattie finds out her mom plans to move, she & Ariel decide the only solution is for Mattie to move in with Ariel. What they think will be a fantastic year turns ends up threatening their whole friendship.

There are recipes for the dishes that Ariel makes throughout the book, a very cute addition. The lessons about friendships and family are abundant and the story will definitely be enjoyed by girls of all ages.

Thanks to Milkweed Editions and Net Galley for access.

Book Review~The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

Image from Goodreads
Vivienne de la Mare gets her two young daughters ready to evacuate their home on the island of Guernsey before the Germans invade. They are waiting in line for the boat when Vivienne decides it is better for them to stay. When the Germans do arrive, a couple of them settle into the house next door. Vivienne is troubled by their presence. They are the enemy, but they are kind to her. One of the men intrigues Vivienne and they soon become lovers. She is walking a thin line, worried that people will discover her affair, but unable to stop at the same time.

I was surprisingly taken in by this book. Historical fiction is not my favorite genre. The author did quite well with this one. I would definitely recommend it.

Thanks to Hyperion for the ARC.

Book Review~Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

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So, I found this book in the "library" at a resort I went to in Jamaica. I've always been a fan of the zombie genre, so I figured I'd give it a shot. It was awesome!! Great YA book!
Benny Imura and his brother Tom have never really been that close. Benny blames Tom for the death of their parents and Tom just wants to protect Benny from any further pain. Now that Benny is 15, it's time for him to figure out what job he's going to start so that his food rations don't get cut in half. It would make sense if Benny became his brother's apprentice and learned the ways of the zombie bounty hunter, but the last thing Benny wants is to have to spend time with his brother. When all other options are exhausted, Benny must relent and join his brother. He quickly learns that much of what he thought about his brother, zombies, and life in general is really not all that cut and dry and he starts to realize there's much more to his brother then he thought.

Book Review~Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher

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Dealing with his mom leaving after his dad did time for burning her with an iron, Bobby is spending the last few days of summer hanging with his two best friends. They decide to pull the ultimate prank and create an imaginary boy to apply to Whitestone, the nearby private school. They are all flabbergasted when Rowan is accepted and set to start in just a few days.
Bobby impulsively decides to pretend to be Rowan and goes to the new student orientation. He enjoys himself so much, he decides to continue the charade just a bit longer. When a couple of bullies from Whitestone threaten to tell the headmaster he's not really Rowan unless he pays them $10 a week, Bobby declines. He's pulled from class, suspended, and a hearing to decide Bobby's fate is scheduled.

I enjoyed this book tremendously! Bobby Steele, aka Rowan Pohi, was a really likable character! I would definitely enjoy reading more about him-sequel anyone?!?

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Clarion Books, and Net Galley for allowing access to this great read! I will definitely be adding it to our school's collection and recommending it for the students to read.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review~Bumped by Megan McCafferty

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If a virus existed that made women infertile after the age of 18, what would would society do to ensure continued procreation? Bumped takes on this premise by describing a society where a teenage girl's highest aspiration is to find the right couple to agree to have a baby for; the wealthier, the better. Some girls even enter into birthing contracts where in exchange for their services they receive a car, college tuition, and sometimes even a tummy tuck after giving birth.

The story centers around a pair of identical twins who were separated at birth. Melody ended up with a well-to-do family in New Jersey while Harmony has been raised in a Pennsylvania religious compound that has girls get married as soon as they are able to have children. Harmony decides to find Melody in an effort to save her. Harmony ends up being mistaken for Melody just as the ultimate partner has been found for her. Chaos ensues while each girl gets the chance to explore how different life could be.

I'm sure many young adults will enjoy this book as it was an easy read. The idea was interesting, but fell short in its delivery for me. Some of the references to the drugs used to make casual sex more comfortable and the masSEX parties where the main aim was for the girls to all get pregnant at the same time were approached too lightly with no mention of the repercussions of such actions.

Thanks to HarperCollins, Balzer + Bray and NetGalley for access to this egalley.

Book Review~Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

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Those That Wake presents a society not too far off from our own where people are focused on their cells more than on the people they walk by. What they don't realize is that there is a power that is taking control over their minds making them unaware of how many decisions are being made for them.

The main characters, Mal, Laura, Mike and Remak have become unplanned allies. Strangers, they all discover through one means or another that no one knows them anymore. As, or perhaps because, they try to figure out what has happened, they discover that their lives are in danger. Fighting together, they try to overcome the power that has made them the forgotten.

An interesting idea for a book, but a little too abstract for my taste. I thought the characters were never fully developed and the ending was mostly predictable. Yet somehow the book left me with more questions than answers. Maybe that was the idea?!?

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt and NetGalley for access to this egalley.

Book Review~Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

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Benny Imura, Nix Riley, Tom Imura and Lilah, the Lost Girl, are planning on going east out into the Rot & Ruin in search of a jet that they saw fly over Mountainside at the end of the first book. Tom has been training Benny and his friends, so they will be prepared to protect themselves. There are the zombies of course, but they're not the real danger. There are bounty hunters out there that will stop at nothing to get revenge on the Imura's and their friends.

This was a satisfying sequel to the first book, Rot & Ruin, and I hope there will be more to come. What I like about the series is that even though Tom is a zombie killer, the only zombies he quiets are for families in search of closure. He teaches Benny to value life and humanity by acknowledging that zombies were once human themselves. It's an interesting take on the zombie genre and I cannot wait for future installments!

Thanks to Simon & Shuster for access to the eGalley!