Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Parties and Potions by Sarah Mlynowski

Rachel’s ready to start off her sophomore year of high school with a bang! Now that she’s gotten her powers, and learned to semi control them, there’s nothing holding her back from having the best year ever. Except there is one little hindrance, she has to keep her witch life and her “normal” life separated and the task is proving to be a lot harder then she thought.
First there is her Samsorta, which is pretty much a debutante ball for witches. Miri (her sister) and she have to take classes and learn that there are tons more teen witches out there. Rachel soon meets up with Adam, whose cute, funny, and a witch, but there’s also Raf- adorable, sweet, and doesn’t know Rachel’s secret. 
Then there is Wendalin - Miri’s new witch friend who just started high school and doesn’t understand why she can’t let everyone know that she’s a witch. Rachel kind of takes her under her wing and tries to change her into a more “normal” teenager.
And finally she has to deal with the fact that her dad still doesn’t know that her and Miri are witches, and she’s terrified to tell him.
Even though she’s a witch and it takes nothing to hop on over to Paris or to change the color of her shirt, Rachel still has many issues that can’t be solved with the snap of her fingers.
This whole series is seriously cute! The books always pick up right where the last left off with nothing missing. That said though, the story can definitely hold its own and it would be just as enjoyable read if no other book in the series had been read.  Rachel kind of retells her past adventures throughout the story in a way that sparks your memory if it has been a while since you read the previous books, or will catch you up if you haven’t read any of the other books.
One of the best parts of the book for me was the creativity of the plot. In all the types of fantasy realistic books I’ve read, I’ve never come across anything with a plot even remotely similar to this series and I feel that in Parties and Potions, Sarah Mlynowski’s creativity is exemplified more then it ever has been before. Having a witch debutante ball and popping to Arizona to attend Samsorta classes at a witch community center! I felt like the book was something out of my wildest dreams! It was truly a blast to read this book.
The characters were fairly well developed. There were some times when I got frustrated because Rachel would act the same way in a multitude of different situations. When this happened the book dragged a little, but then it quickly picked up again and was great. I also really enjoyed the author’s writing style. She made it really easy to see through Rachel’s eyes and I felt like I was walking down the hallway with her or zapping off to Paris and standing on top of the Eifel tower.
Overall I really enjoyed the book and think it was a great addition to a fun series. It’s a great book for all that provides a great adventure and some fun magic. I absolutely can’t wait for more from Sarah Mlynowski and urge you all to pick up this book, or at least one of the books in the series!  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Perfect Parker Fadley is crumbling. No more are her perfect grades, her role as role as cheer captain, and her relationship with the most popular guy in school. She’s taken up drinking in school, failing all of her classes and pretty much talking to anyone, unless of course it’s to tell someone to leave her alone.
All Parker wants to do is disappear into nothing, but ever since her parents placed her on suicide watch that’s impossible. Now the few friends she has at school are on high alert and the counselor and the rest of the school administration is breathing down her neck in search of the truth. 
Then she meets Jake, the new guy who just won’t leave her alone no matter how mean she is to him. From the very first day he arrived at St. Peter’s High she’s tried to tell him that she’s not interested and he shouldn’t be either, yet he’s still managed to fall in love with her. Now Parker’s starting to feel emotions again and life is spinning even more out of control.
Parker’s life wasn’t supposed to turn out like this and people find it harder and harder to understand this new Parker. Nobody will ever guess the truth though about what really happened that night that she changed. The worst part is, it just may have been Parker’s fault.
How to describe this book? Fabulous, dark, wonderful, unthinkable are just a few words that come to mind. I loved every aspect of the book from Parker’s depressed attitude (although there were times when I wanted to tell her to pull it together) to the intense feelings of suspense created by the author as to why Parker acted the way she did.
The author did a stunning job creating emotion in this book. With every pitfall characters experienced your heart felt for them. When they were happy you were elated by the fact that they found something to be happy in. It has honestly been a long time since I’ve read a book with such deep emotion, that I actually feel like I’m one of the characters, feeling the intense emotions and walking the halls with each character.
Overall I was extremely impressed with Courtney Summers’ debut novel and can hardly wait to read her future works. These book reminds me a lot of Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, SPEAK, and I believe it might equally compare to it! While this a great book, due to the power of some of the topics this book is best suited for older teenagers and above. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

J.J. Liddy has an amazing talent. He can play the fiddle better then pretty much everyone in his quaint Irish village. The thing is though, there just isn’t enough time in the day to practice, go to school, and digest the news that his grandfather is a murderer. What’s even worse though is that there seems to be less and less time as the days go by, and it’s not just J.J. noticing it.
When his mother asks for more time for her birthday, J.J. is determined to get it for her, even though it seems like an impossible task for a fifteen year old. That is until a neighbor offers her help and leads him to Tir na n’Og, a faery land of eternal youth. Here he meets Aengus Og, who agrees to help in his quest for time. The only constraint that J.J. must abide by in order to take some time is to help Aengus Og find out where the time leak is. You see Tir na n’Og, while a place where time stands still, is slowly starting to move again, and it’s not a good thing. Setting out on an adventure to not only find time, but also stop it, J.J. learns much about himself and the faery world of Tir na n’Og.
This book was average. To me, nothing stood out in particular, but there was nothing really bad about the book. The story was interesting, the characters were nice enough, and the book was well written. I think the main problem is the book didn’t really have anything that made it sparkle. The book moved very quickly, even though it was 400+ pages, and it gave you the feeling that you hadn’t gotten that far, when you really had. One thing that I thought was really neat was the author included little pieces of music at the beginning of each chapter, the titles of which gave a brief view into what was going to happen next. Another positive aspect of the book was the magnitude of Irish culture that was mixed into the book. I felt like I got a really accurate picture of Irish life and beliefs while reading this book. The folklore and myths, as well as the everyday activities that the characters participated were really interesting. Reading about them really made me feel like I was actually in Ireland feeling the rain and fresh air for myself. I think people who really like fantasy books, or relunctant readers looking for a good read, would greatly enjoy this book. While it wasn’t my favorite, it still was a good book and has very much proved itself in the fact that it has received prizes such as Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

 Bug Smoot has had a rough life. First her mom died when she was a little girl, then she moved in with her grandfather and auntie. Then her auntie died and soon after her Papa C died too, leaving her his most prized possession, a 1958 Cadillac Biarritz. The thing with that car though is Papa C used Bug’s soul as collateral, yes that’s right her soul.
Now five years later Bug is still having to deal with everything her Papa C left behind. She’s dropped out of school, stopped playing basketball (which is what she used to live for), and working as a pizza delivery girl. Life really can’t get much worse until the day her landlord comes looking for the way past overdue rent. On top of having to find the money, Bug finds her car has been egged and absolutely reeks. Inside of her car she finds Beals, a demon that has come to collect her soul.
Being the rough and stubborn girl that she is, Bug refuses to let anything happen to her or the car. Her only problem is getting rid of Beals. In order to do this she has to find some loopholes in the contract, or risk giving herself up. With the help a pretty hot guy (who just happens to like her) and a special attorney, Bug sets out on a non-stop adventure to secure her soul and her Cadillac.
This book would truly have to be one of the best books I’ve read this year, hands down. It is jam packed with enough humor, sarcasm, and adventure to satisfy anyone’s reading needs and it is certainly well written.
Bug’s character was absolutely wonderful. While she isn’t your idyllic character, she’s rude, snarky, and doesn’t have the best grammar, she is completely lovable. Her courage and determination to stand up for herself is respectable, even in a fictional character. A great thing that the author did with Bug’s character is made her into a real person. She talked like a real person, not with perfect sentence structure and words, but just like a teenager would. Beals, the demon was also a great character. He reminded me of one of those evil butlers you see in old movies! I was able to picture him absolutely perfectly as I was reading, and found myself getting really aggravated (in a good way!) with his character when he was doing some of his dastardly deeds.
The plot of the story was also very unique and interesting. The whole idea that you would make a deal with the devil in order to get a car and then use a person’s soul as collateral is absolutely priceless. The story was able to hold my attention all the way to the very last word and I just couldn’t put the book down. I also loved how complex the story was. All the little elements of the book fit together like a puzzle and really came together to create one heck of a book.
I recommend this book to both boys and girls alike, as it is just superb! This is a brilliant debut novel from David Macinnis Gill and I absolutely cannot wait for more from this very promising author. Whenever you get the chance I strongly urge you to run out and get a copy (when it’s released in April 2009) and pick up a copy. You’ll have a good laugh and the story will make you reflect on what you have. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hunted by P.C. and Kristin Cast Book Trailer

While I haven't personally read these books, I've heard they're a hit. The trailer looks really intriguing and I'm actually thinking about picking the series up myself.

Also you can read the first chapter by clicking here .

And you can listen to the second chapter by clicking play here! 

Finally to pre-order the book click here .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Lucy Scarborough is only seventeen when she finds out that she’s pregnant. While originally shocked, she soon comes to realize that this is what happens to Scarborough girls. Lucy quickly discovers that the women in her family have been cursed for generations by an evil elfin king. When the women become pregnant they then must complete three impossible tasks before their baby is born or else they become crazy once their child is born.
Creating a shirt without a seam or any needlework, finding an acre of land between the salt water and sea strand, and plowing the land with a goat’s horn and sowing it all over with one grain of corn, all seem like impossible tasks, but they are what Lucy must do. Scared out of her mind, Lucy sets her mind to completing all these tasks in just nine short months, even though no other Scarborough girl has been able to do it before. Lucy has something though that no other Scarborough girl has had before, a loving family. Will the help of her foster parents and her best friend Zach be enough to break the curse, or will Lucy turn out just like the rest of the women in her family?
This book was completely breathtaking. The whole idea to base a book off a folk song is completely unique and kept me interested during the whole book. While it took me a few chapters to fully get into the story, once I had settled in I couldn’t put the book down.
Lucy was a completely believable character who faced real everyday problems. She had a level head, but she also dealt with many emotions that were genuine. I also felt that the supporting characters in the story were well developed as well. For example, Miranda, Lucy’s biological mother, didn’t appear much in the story, but every time she did it didn’t feel like we were meeting someone new. She had been talked about and described enough that she was made into an important person, even though she only appeared in the story a few times. Another character that I thought was really well created was Padraig Seeley. Again, he didn’t come up much in the story, but his personality really came through. The sliminess of his persona felt so real, that he immediately set up red alarms, the first time he was introduced. This was a really unique thing that I the author was able to create, and really added to the book.
It was also really neat to read this modern fairy tale. The book had all these modern technologies, but then incorporated this old fairy world, which made the book spellbinding. I loved how Lucy and her family figured out the tasks using modern conveniences, but then also looked at this from the past to help figure out the curse. This truly added to the book as it combined some of the best elements of a general YA book with that of a fantasy, creating this new type of book that I hope to see much more of.
I was very much impressed with Nancy Werlin’s writing style. It was graceful, yet intense, emotion packed, and very real. I am really interested in reading more of her books and can’t wait to see what she has in store for u next! 


Blog Widget by LinkWithin