08/08/11



Book Review

The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen

The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen

Release Date: June 1, 2011
Publisher: Point
Age Group: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Interest: Author
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world–and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn’t exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.

How absolutely fantastic is the concept of this book? A fictional character escaping from their fictional worlds! I know a lot of fellow readers who would love this!

Amy was such a fun character. Any book lover would adore her, because she is just like us! The book opens up with Amy and her two friends standing in line at the bookstore to get their pre-ordered books… sounds like a few crazy people I know! They stay up late to finish the books… anticipate the next one… obsess about it on forums… it’s like she was channeling me! And the fictional crush… I don’t think I’ve met a reader that hasn’t had at least one of those! It was fun reading about another reader, even if she was a fictional one.

And don’t think that because Amy may have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with her fiction crush that she believes Alexander when he shows up. It takes quite a bit of convincing and it’s only because Amy knows his “character” so much that she’s able to validate his claim, that he is in fact “the” Alexander Banks.

I also loved the overlapping setting of Amy’s Chicago vs. Alexander’s Chicago. It was very entertaining as Amy tried to explain modern technological advances to Alexander… like the computer and the cell phone!

Great characters and just an overall fun and unique story. I really enjoyed reading this one! I think it’s a great story for middle grade readers too!

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07/19/11



Book Review

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Release Date: July 16, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Advance Reader Copy
Source: Publisher
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: Paranormalcy
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.

This is such an awesome series! If you haven’t read it… you need to do so NOW!

I love the brilliance of Kiersten White (she is BRILLIANT, people!!) and her witty one liners and hilarious antics…. Kiersten truly breathes life into Evie. If you enjoyed Evie’s personality in Paranormalcy, have no fear, our girl is back and even better in Supernaturally. With the characters that we loved from book one: Lend, Raquel, Reth Arianna and a new addition: Jack.

We get to see a whole different side of Evie in Supernaturally. White does an excellent job fleshing Evie’s character out, that really made this book exceptional! I was so excited to be back in this world, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it! And it was so easy to get completely absorbed in it… I read this book in a day it was so addicting!

And this is a great paranormal for readers who don’t really want that darker aspect that you often get with  the genre. These books are light and fun, and just downright funny at times. This series would appeal to a broad spectrum of readers from middle grade all the way to upper young adult!

Trolls… vamps…. selkies… oh my! I can’t wait to join Evie on another adventure!


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04/29/11



Book Review

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

Release Date: April 17, 2008
Publisher: Puffin/Speak
Age Group: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
Interest: Story
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her dead.

Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy and one of Aurelia’s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line—her life, her kingdom, her heart—Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

What a fantastic book! I can’t believe I waited so long to read this one! I had such a great time reading it and I absolutely adored the character Aurelia! She’s the type of girl I always imagined a Princess would be. Not as stuck up snob, but someone that actually cares about the people around her.

The mystery in this novel was enthralling! I had multiple guesses as to who the killer may be and in the end I was terribly wrong! If you enjoy reading a good mystery, I definitely suggest Aurelia to you! There was mention of romance in the summary as well, and while I could see the hints and slight mentions, I wouldn’t go as far as saying there is a love story present. I was sort of disappointed in that aspect, but I am hoping that perhaps there will be more resolution in that department in the companion novel, Exile.

The story was beautifully written as well. I felt like I was right at court with Aurelia and Robert! Osterlund has such a great talent when it comes to story telling, I loved her novel Academy 7, that came out a year after Aurelia, and I never thought to go back and read her earlier novel…. I’m glad I finally did!

Great characters, an enthralling mystery and a perfect setting, Aurelia is a wonderful read!

03/22/11



Book Review

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Release Date: March 22, 2010
Publisher: Antheneum
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 224
Source: ARC
Interest: Debut
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation–and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in “like” with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

Ten Miles Past Normal is a heartwarming and funny coming of age story!

Initially I was not very impressed with the story. I didn’t really care for Janie and her insistent complaining about every aspect of her life. BUT then the story started growing on me…. as did Janie. I loved watching her start to discover herself and the person that she wanted to be. And I loved the other characters in this novel. They were all quirky and unique in their own way. Sarah, Janie’s best friend, and her older sister Emma were totally not what I was expecting! In a good way. And I can’t fail to mention MONSTER! I loved Monster… what an out of the box character!

I also really enjoyed was the historical component that the author added. The project that Sarah and Janie worked on was so fascinating! I loved hearing about the Civil Rights Movement! I’m not sure if the instance that was in the novel was factual, but I’m sure that something similar happened somewhere during that time.

Besides the story, I really enjoyed the humor in this novel. It was a short, quick entertaining read that I was able to read and enjoy in one afternoon. I wish the story would have meshed together a little better, but overall it was a good read!

02/28/11



Book Review

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

Release Date: Feburary 22, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Source: ARC
Interest: Summary
Challenge: YA Historical Fiction Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon

A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York.

Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?

If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.

With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery?

Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.

This was a great historical novel about a disease and a person that I only thought I knew about. If I had to describe this novel with one word it would be interesting. And I don’t mean that in a bad way…. I was fascinated by the way Prudence mind worked. I think to constantly question everything as she does would be absolutely exhausting… but at the same time I remember that curiosity that I once had myself. I remember my mom bought me a microscope and I spent hours looking at slides on that thing… and I wonder where that curiosity went.

I would categorize this novel more as a middle grade than a young adult, although I don’t mean to imply that YA readers wouldn’t enjoy this novel, because they would…. but this is definitely something that MG readers would enjoy. Prudence has a very “young” voice, ultimately I think it has to do a lot with the time period in which she is growing up in, but still MG readers would devour it!

I was especially fascinated with the author’s note at the end of this book. She described her experience with Typhoid Mary and it was much the same that I had. I had never pictured Mary as a person… someone who couldn’t understand how she could be perfectly healthy yet carrying this awful disease and infecting people with it…. I had always assumed that she was a villian, infecting people on purpose, I think perhaps that is why I enjoyed reading this novel so much. It was a learning experience! And Prudence was a wonderful narrator to follow.

I recommend this book for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793!



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