Thursday, April 28, 2011


by Josephine Angelini

Helen has always been freakishly strong, freakishly fast, and freakishly beautiful.  She's never understood why she's been so freakishly everything, but she's also freakishly afraid of any attention.  All she wants to do is make it through high school and get off the island of Nantucket that she's lived on for as long as she can remember.

Then Lucas comes to town.

At first, all Helen wants is to murder Lucas.  She's got an extreme need to quite literally kill the most gorgeous boy on Earth, even though she has no idea why.  Of course, the three creepy women who cry tears of blood and appear whenever Lucas is near may have something to do with it.

Things get even more complicated when she finds out that the reason she's so freaky is because she's a demigod, the direct descendant of one of the gods of Greek mythology, and Lucas is the descendant of Apollo, God of the Sun.

No one knows who Helen's descended from, but they know she's an enemy of Lucas's family, and he's not the only family member around.  In fact, there are at least a hundred cousins who would gladly kill her.

Now she's being attacked by different people and, while technically enemies, Lucas has made it his job to protect Helen from those coming after her.

Can they find out who she is and end the blood feud that has been haunting their families for thousands of years?

Final thoughts:  This is one of those books that drags you in and keeps you reading, even when things don't always make sense.  I read an ARC on my Kindle from, so some of the formatting was off, which contributed to the confusion a bit.  Initially, the book seemed entirely from Helen's point of view, and suddenly, for only a paragraph or two here or there, the author would switch viewpoints and then switch it back.  I understand why she felt the need to do it, but it got distracting when the PoV would suddenly change without warning.  Some of the events happened so fast, especially at the end, that they didn't always make sense, and I'm still confused about the last 5% or so, but I'm looking forward to reading the sequel in what I suppose will be yet another trilogy.  I LOVED Helen and Lucas and so very much want them to be able to work this all out (even with all the Bella/Edward undertones haunting the book).  The whole Delos family was just fun to read.
It's Romeo & Juliet meets Greek mythology.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


by Lauren DeStefano

In the future, the world has been destroyed by war.  North America is allegedly the only thing left standing on the planet that can still be seen from space.  Everything else is in pieces.

In an effort to rid the world of diseases like cancer, scientists created what they thought would be the perfect children.  They were born healthy, free of illness, and ready to fix the world and make it a better place.

Scientists got it wrong.

The first children were healthy.  But THEIR children were not.

Now all of the next generations have a deadline.  Males die at 25.  Females die at 20.

Like clockwork.

As some scientists strive to find a cure, other "pro-naturalists" fight against them and argue that it's time for the humans to die out as a species.

In the middle of all of this is Rhine Ellery.  Kidnapped and sold to a wealthy household, she and two other girls are forced to marry one man in the hopes of keeping the human race alive.  

All she wants to do is escape and back to her twin brother, Rowan, but she must play the dutiful and loving wife if she ever wants a chance to get out.

Now it's a fight against time.  She's only got four years before she's scheduled to die.  She can only play out her "relationship" so long before she'll be forced to commit herself.  She can only survive so long against her husband's father, who seems to be on to her and will do anything to prevent her from leaving.

Even kill.

Final thoughts:  Another good dystopia.  Was there a memo sent out about this?  Something like "In lieu of vampires and werewolves, try talking about the end of the human race as we know it."  This is very good, but I hadn't quite realized what I was getting into.  I also found myself questioning the fact that, if the human race is dying out, why are girls being murdered left and right?  Wouldn't people keep even the ugly ones around just to help keep the population up?  This is kind of A Handmaid's Tale meets Logan's Run.  It works and I LOVED Rhine.  I look forward to the next two in yet another trilogy.  (And I LOVE the cover!!)

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test
by Aimée Carter

Kate Winters and her mother move to Eden to prepare for her mother's death.  After four years of her body being ravaged by cancer, her mother's body has finally given up and it's time to say goodbye.

When they arrive, her mother directs her to a huge estate surrounded by a large hedge that blocks the view of the mansion within.  But Kate gets a better look later when she's tricked there by a jealous high school girl who thinks Kate is after her guy.

This starts off a string of events that eventually leads Kate to her "goddess test".  It seems that the Greek Gods of mythology really do exist.  And now, with the world's population growing so quickly, Hades (now known as "Henry") has become overwhelmed and can barely keep up with the arriving dead.  

When his wife, Persephone, left him for a mortal generations ago, Henry let her go in the hopes that he would find happiness, but now it's all getting to be too much.  He and the council have come to the agreement that if he can find a new wife within a century, he would stay on as the guardian of death.  However, if he can't, he must give up the responsibility and fade from all existence.

Kate Winters is his last chance.  The previous eleven girls selected for the test never made it to Christmas.  They either failed the test or were murdered.

Now Kate must find a way to pass the test and survive the evil intentions of whoever is plotting to kill her.  In return, she gets 6 more months with her mother before her mother finally dies, and she gets to become a goddess herself, to rule over the domain of the dead six months out of the year, immortal.

Oh yeah... if she passes, she must also marry Henry, so no pressure.

Final thoughts:  This is a good story with some interesting twists.  It's a great way to get girls involved with Greek myths.  Boys have Riordan's Percy, and now girls have Kate.  I liked Kate and her honesty.  Her reasons for beginning the test are clear, even if it's all a little unbelievable.  She does seem to accept her situation more quickly than many would, but once she's there, it all makes sense.  There's some drama, some romance, and some good "moments", so it's an easy recommendation.  The one thing I think the publisher should do is remove the character chart at the end of the book.  I read this on a Kindle, so it wasn't an issue with me (I didn't even know it was there until the end), but a person reading this in a classic book format could easily find this and then spoil the ENTIRE book.  The chart is nice, but it would be better to redirect people to a website with the chart instead; that way, there's no accidental spoilage for the casual reader.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Cellar

The Cellar
by A. J. Whitten

It's only been a few months since Meredith and Heather lost their father in a horrible car accident when Heather was driving.  Things haven't gotten better for them.  Heather still blames herself.  Meredith still doesn't know how to talk to her.  Their mother spends every free moment using "retail therapy" to try and make the pain go away.  And an aunt has moved in with her twin sons to try and keep the family running.

Now the decrepit eyesore of a house next door has been rented out by an extremely reclusive boy and his mother.  The mother is never seen in public.  The windows and doors are always closed tight even in the hottest weather.  The boy is always wearing sunglasses.  There are bugs, vultures, and piranhas at the house.  People who enter don't leave... alive.

Heather is completely in love at first sight.

Meredith sees right through him even though every female around thinks he is amazing.

Mom doesn't care as long as she can spend money.

Things are wrong and no one but Meredith seems to see it.

And something is going on in the cellar that's too horrendous to consider.

Final thoughts:  UGH!  This was a horrible attempt to mix Romeo and Juliet with zombies and it is one of the most horrendous things ever written.  It's only slightly better than R. L. Stine books (though that's not hard, since those are complete trash).  Are zombies mindless undead dragging limbs around to eat humans or are they intelligent creatures who can manipulate minds?  Even that can't be answered since there seem to be more than one type of zombie, though it's never explained why.  The authors (a mother/daughter team) can't make up their minds about if Adrien is evil and manipulative or completely lovesick.  There is a LOT of detailed descriptions of torture, eating of humans, tearing of flesh, etc...  Don't read if you have a weak stomach or recently ate.  Boys who love horror books will probably love this, but it's poorly written.  This could be a step between Stine and almost any other author of horror who is a better writer, but it really should just be avoided.

Rating: 1/5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dead Is Not an Option

Dead Is Not an Option
by Marlene Perez

Graduation is on the horizon and Daisy's life is about to change in more ways than she could imagine.

Her nemesis, Circe, is back in town.  The Weres and the vamps are fighting for the first time in decades. Her best friend's dad seems to be rolling in the proceeds of his newest book.  And college acceptance letters are arriving.

Well... They're arriving for everyone else.  

For some reason, Daisy isn't getting her letters.  She also isn't getting Lily and Balthazar changed back from being a jukebox and a pig, respectively.  She isn't getting answers as to where her father had been taken when he was imprisoned by the Scourge. And she sure as heck isn't figuring out what she's going to do if Ryan goes away to college when she still doesn't know where she's going.

But things finally seem to be coming to a boil when vamps and Weres start getting attacked and disappearing, and now Daisy only has a few weeks to solve the mysteries that surround her and her hometown of Nightshade before it's all too late.

And there's Prom to think about, too!

Final thoughts:  Like all the rest in the series, I really like the premise.  Like all the rest, I felt really rushed through it.  Like watching a movie on 2x speed or being dragged through a museum by a stubborn child, there was just NO time to really sit back and enjoy what I had in front of me.  I love Daisy and Ryan, as well as the whole town, but I wanted to savor it more.  The end was a big blur and still felt a little unfinished.  I kept expecting just one more thing to happen or be said to tie it all up, but it just never "completed".  It's still an enjoyable read and the series as a whole is great.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group
by Catherine Jinks

Toby Vandevelde is famous.  You may not know him by name, but you've probably heard of him.  He's the kid who was found naked in a dingo cage after being reported missing by his mom.

No one seems to know how he got there, least of all him.  He was just kicking back on his bed, enjoying a few minutes of privacy and then he was on a hospital bed being told he'd disappeared the night before. 

Was he kidnapped?  Was it a prank?  Was it, as his mother suspects, drugs?


Toby is about to find out that he's inherited a strange genetic disorder: lycanthropy.

Of course, Toby can't believe any of this.  Werewolves are just myths.  He and his friends are determined to prove Reuben (also a werewolf) and the priest who've come to convince him of his heritage that they're wrong.

But things go from bad to worse when Toby is kidnapped by men running illegal werewolf fighting rings.

Final thoughts:  Much like The Reformed Vampire Support Group, this was good, but not great.  I got caught up in the action from time to time, but the action sometimes got a little too confusing.  I was often faced with either backing up to re-read or just push through and hope I figured it out.  My usual choice was to push through.  It took a long time to get to the action, as well.  The reader is forced to sit through multiple episodes of Toby and his friends trying to trick Reuben into revealing that he's been lying about Toby's "condition".  It gets repetitive fast and becomes frustrating because Toby never seems to give up on these traps.  It also took too long to see Nina, and Dave was just a blip at the end, so I missed them, though it's understandable since this is Toby's story.  LOVE the cover, though!

Rating: 3/5

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Education of Hailey Kendrick

The Education of Hailey Kendrick
by Eileen Cook

Ever since her mother died in a freak accident while crossing the street, Hailey has been the perfect daughter focusing on never causing trouble and always being safety conscious.  Now in her senior year, with the perfect boyfriend, great grades, tons of popularity to keep her company, and college applications on the way, there's really not much bad going on for her.

But bad news often comes like a snowball rolling downhill and Hailey's gotten caught in the damage.  Everything, and I mean everything, has suddenly gone completely wrong.  She loses her perfect boyfriend.  Her grades are suffering. She's shunned by everyone.  And no college will take her if her record doesn't clear up.

Hailey's made a HUGE mistake that may never be able to be fixed, but she's just got to try and make things right.

Final thoughts:  Meh.

Ok.  Really.  This book could have been more fun.  It wasn't a disaster, but it's definitely not memorable.  Hailey's choices make absolutely no sense and then she just keeps making more bad choices.  It might make sense if Cook hadn't already introduced her as a super-responsible girl, but this sudden about-face into stupidity makes little sense.  It was fun to watch.  I'll admit that.  But thinking back on it, I just don't get the choices that were made.

So, yeah... Meh.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her
by Kelly Keaton

Ari has always hated her hair.  Her hair has caused her more trouble than she can handle.  It makes her stand out.  It makes her different.  It makes her an easy target for the hunters who are after her.  And someone really wants her even though she has no idea why.

After discovering that the mother who abandoned her to foster care (and quite a few evil foster parents) killed herself while in an insane asylum because she kept thinking that snakes were crawling in her head, Ari must head back to the city of her birth to find out why her mom is dead and weird men dressed in black and speaking a foreign language are trying to kill her.

So Ari heads to New 2, which is the new New Orleans that is still recovering from the aftereffects of hurricanes that decimated it more than a decade before.  The only people who live there are the freaks, the paranormal, and the businessmen who see money in the tourist trade.

But as she starts to get her first questions answers, new ones keep coming up and Ari has no idea who she can trust.

Final thoughts:  This could have been soooo much better.  Keaton seems determined to touch on every single possible paranormal creature there is from Greek mythology to vampires, but it never fully engages.  She flits from scene to scene with no real transitions and doesn't spend enough time going into depth on anything.  She literally could have doubled the length of this book and I still think there would have been more she could have said.  I was also bothered by the somewhat sudden change of heart of Ari's romantic interest as he went from appearing to hate her one moment to being completely in love the next, with no real explanation as to why.  Finally, the tag on the book is "Beneath every beauty, evil stirs." but I can't see it.  Ari's not evil, at least not yet.  Her circumstances were not of her making and she wants a little revenge, but she's not the evil one.  Now if the author or tag writer meant the antagonist, that really should be made more clear.  Hopefully the next book will get better.

Rating: 3/5


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