Friday, April 27, 2012


by Brodi Ashton

After feeling abandoned by the men around her, Nikki Beckett abandoned them.  She left them to have her emotions drained in the Everneath by an Everliving and the Shadows.

Now, after one hundred years in the Everneath (though it was only six months on the Surface), Nikki has come back.  She has six months to set things right.  She has six months to make up with her dad.  She has six months to prove to her younger brother that she didn't completely abandon him.  She has six months to prove to her friend that she didn't go to rehab for a heroin addiction.  And she has just six short months to prove to her boyfriend that she still loves him.

Unfortunately, she also only has six months before she's dragged back forever by the Shadows and forced to become a kind of battery in hell, keeping the Everlivings and their Shadows alive.  And she also has to spend those six months dealing with Cole, the Everliving who started the whole thing.

When she left, she thought there was nothing to live for and therefore nothing to lose.  Now she knows how very much there is to keep her alive, if she can only figure out how.

Final thoughts:  A very good read.  This one pulls you in and keeps right on going.  Jack is a true hero, both flawed and genuine.  While his constant seeming need to walk away from Nikki can get frustrating at times, it's all firmly rooted in real emotion.  Cole is a hard read, but I'm curious to see what happens next with him.  The ending was both sad and filled with a little hope.  All around, it's worth reading.  Plus, I LOVE the cover.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Council of Mirrors

The Council of Mirrors
by Michael Buckley

It's time for the final battle.  

There's almost no one left to fight, but they'll fight anyway.

Witches, fairies, knights, bears, princesses, and more, but what it really comes down to is two girls.

Together, the Mirrors have presented a prophecy that states that the only hope to survive and defeat the First is the skills and determination of the Sisters Grimm: Sabrina and Daphne.

Unfortunately, Sabrina can't bring herself to believe that she and her sister can save the 20 or so remaining Everafters from the thousands who are determined to defeat them.

It's time for the final battle... and the entire world depends on two young girls.

Final thoughts:  I really wish I'd re-read the series before reading this one; there is just too much going on and too many references to past events going all the way back to the first book.  Sabrina finally comes into her own and stops whining (esp. after others point out that fault to her), so that was nice to see.  I will ALWAYS love Puck.  And Daphne was a kick to see, but there was too little of her in this story.  The final resolution was reminiscent of Harry Potter, which was a bit of a disappointment.  The time lapse at the end was also HP familiar, but too short for me.  There was also a hint of a possible second series, so I'm not sure if Buckley will push this any further.  Overall, it was a solid end to the story and one, when read from start to finish with the rest of the series, that will surely satisfy.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Last Echo

The Last Echo
by Kimberly Derting

Not long after surviving a murder attempt by a man who had finally been found out for killing his own wife years before, Violet has now joined with the people who helped save her.

It's hard to balance school and this new job, but it's even harder when her job essentially entails using her "gift" to find the dead via their echos and then finding their murderers via their imprints.  Each time she comes across an echo or an imprint, she's haunted for days, has trouble sleeping, and simply can't relax.  And now she's supposed to do it for a living.

Her colleagues include a medium, an empath, a boy who knows the past of an object by touching it, and a young man who can see the future by touching an object belonging to the person affected. 

But none of these people has figured out how to stop "the collector": a man who "collects" girlfriends, kills them, and leaves them for Violet and her crew to find.

Throw in a gang banger killer, a flirty co-worker, and a somewhat jealous (but still completely hot and awesome) boyfriend, and Violet's life has definitely not gotten any easier.

Final thoughts:  This was a good, solid continuation of the series, but I still like the first one best.  I didn't see nearly enough Jay and the final events just seemed really rushed. (Jay was missing too much from those events, too.)  The Collector was creepy enough to start and his story rolled along, but there just seemed to be a sudden shift at the end where everything just pushed through quickly without the same care as the beginning and middle.  The final scene was also a little strange and felt out of context.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret

The Shapeshifter's Secret
by Heather Ostler

Julia was just trying to get by in high school.  Her dad won't let her go anywhere.  Her mother is nowhere to be found.  And her teacher really really seems to hate her.

But trying to get by in high school is nothing like trying to NOT turn into a white tiger when you're ticked, which is made more difficult when you didn't even know you could do that.  

Julia just found out.

She also just found out that she's descended from an old family and an old name in an old world linked to our own.

Now she must go back to that world, survive the journey, survive love, survive the school... Heck! She just has to survive.

Final thoughts:  
This is a wanna-be Harry Potter and it's horrendous.
A "chosen one" who is needed by the enemy to make the enemy stronger.  Check!
A best friend and roommate.  Check!
A third friend who knows the (quite literal) castle and it's secrets/rumors/history and who just happens to like the best friend. Check!
The secret passages/rooms leading to secret things and only the hero can get into them/find them (with the help of the third, knowledgeable, friend).  Check!
The hero willing to jump into the line of fire to prevent others from being injured on his/her behalf.  Check!
Magical castle with magical guards and magical protections.  Check!
The enemy trying destroy this magical world through the government so that he/she can rule with absolute power while others form a rebellion/group against the enemy. Check!
The secrets are left by someone with the initial 'S'.  Check!
Studying in the library for subjects like plants/herbology and the detailed history of this world.  Check!
Portals (portkeys/floo) to travel around everywhere.  Check!
Someone leaving messages that basically encourage genocide of the non-pure/non-cat (whatever!) and then making others think the hero did it.  Check!
And so, so, so much more.
On top of all that, the author writes in a kind of shorthand.  It's obvious that SHE knows what's going on, but she's not very good at sharing it with others.  And when she does share, she OVER-shares.  How the HECK did Julia fall in love with this boy when she barely knows him??  Either Ostler skipped over tons of conversations/letters that we missed OR Ostler just decided to tell us all that Julia was in love.
Rating: 0/5  (yes, it's that bad)

As an added note: publishers/editors/author... please take a moment and check your spelling!!  Is it Solider Union or Soldier Union?!?!  It kept switching back and forth.  For a chapter or two it was Solider and then Soldier for a bit and then Solider.  And this wasn't just once or twice; it was a CONSTANT problem throughout the book.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


by Andrea J. Buchanan

Daisy Jones has tried her entire life to be "normal".  Born with the gift to control (or fry) electronics, she spends each day just trying to keep her powers from destroying every cell phone and computer near her.

After being sent one day to find a classmate who'd been gone on a pass a bit too long, Daisy finds that she's not the only girl with a strange secret.

Daisy, her friend Danielle, and this new, mysterious girl, Vivi, end up being drawn into a strange adventure, complete with ghosts, past lives, and possessions.

Lucky for Daisy, she meets Kevin, a cute senior with issues of his own.  Together, they may actually be able to survive the coming ordeals.

Final thoughts: It was a decent read.  I got distracted by the constant referrals to aura colors, especially when it was never discussed how Daisy could read them.  Every person that walked into her life had calming colors or angry colors; purples, greens, reds, yellows, and more were just everywhere.  I also had some problems with the fact that her powers are mentioned in the beginning and then aren't really talked about until about two-thirds of the way through the book.  The powers themselves don't seem to follow their own rules.  Daisy can't have a TV or a cell phone because she tends to accidentally fry them, and even school fire alarms and clocks react, but she can use a regular phone??  Those someone nit-picky things kept pulling me out of a fairly decent, though sometimes inconsistent story.

Rating: 3/5


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