Archive for the ‘ya’ Category


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

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Can you believe that we are back again with another amazing novel by Maria V. Snyder?! The first of the series left me breathless and craving for more action, magic, and, of course, KERRICK! Touch of Power (the first contest and info here) dove straight into the life of Avry, Healer and outlaw. We learned the history of the land, of Prince Tohon and his horrible plans to take over every Realm with the use of atrocious methods such as reanimating the dead. You cried for their losses, feared the worst, and fell in love as Avry did.

Now they are back with an even greater adventure that seemed to have started faster than any Snyder has written before. Here is the synopsis:

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.
Maria1Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible… again.

Are you already ordering the book? You should! Snyder does it again with her incredible talent at keeping pace, bringing a completely different world to life, and delivering characters that will stick with you well beyond finishing the book. You will have a difficult time putting this one down and, like me, will be begging for the next one.

The previous characters bleed into this second installment, bringing new friends and foes along with them. In ToM, you get to know Avry, Kerrick, the  Monkeys, and Tohon. In SoM, Snyder pulls out the lives of the other royalty, Avry’s sister, and the military leaders she meets along the way while still diving deeper into our favorites.

This time around Avry and Kerrick have separated to help on opposite ends of their world. As per usual, the author has kept a quick pace, jumping between their individual, but connected, adventures. I love that about Snyder’s writing. Just as Avry is trying to save Prince Ryne from assassination, Kerrick is finding out his brother made a deal with Tohon to use their army! AH! The suspense and intrigue never end!

Any fan of Snyder’s work, fantasy, love in action, or reading, will coddle this book until it is finished. Maria V. Snyder has yet to disappoint.

If that isn’t enough to get you reading this series, maybe this will persuade you…

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Oh yes, did I mention that there is a contest? Of course! Maria and her team at Harlequin are giving away one copy of Scent of Magic to one of my followers! Yahoo! The contest will run as long as the rest of this blog tour to give you all enough time to enter. That means you have until the 21st to enter. Here are the rules:

US/Canada Only

Up to 5 entries!

There is also a Harlequin TEEN Prize Pack!!! Click on the image and enter for a chance to win:

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12/10/2012 Parajunkee  review and Q&A

12/11/2012 Paranormal Urban Fantasy Reviews  review

12/12/2012 Read Now Sleep Later  Interview with Maria

12/13/2012 The Book Heroine  review

12/14/2012 We Fancy Books Playlist

12/17/2012 Two Chicks on Books Guest Post From Belen

12/18/2012 The Starry-eyed Revue   Guest Post

12/19/2012 A Great Read  Review

12/20/2012 YA Reads Guest Post

12/21/2012 The Book Hookup  Review


Author: Karen Sandler
Publisher: Lee and Low Books
Released: September 28, 2011
Pages: 384
Genre: YA, Sci Fi
Source: NetGalley

Best friends, Kayla and Mishalla, know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-Humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises; not the least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet, can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.

This book grabbed my attention instantly. Just the title alone reminds me of the Matrix, humans being genetically engineered and grown in tanks. I didn’t even read the synopsis before jumping into this novel. I kind of wish I did, though. It might have prepared me for some of the strange language.
The story itself is pretty amazing. The author weaves a world where the caste system is strongly in place and the selfish quality of humans is well portrayed. Earth crumbles and humans move to Loca where they start over. They don’t learn from their mistakes, though. They worsen in their ways. The most important things are status, wealth, and land. Part of that is owning GENs, to abuse and use in whatever way. The GENs have been raised to believe that their god has designed all this and their servitude is a part of the plan. There is some romance, but it does not muddle the plot, nor does it take away from it.
The characters are not as developed as I had hoped for. There is so much action, that it seemed rushed to get to know them. If this was a series, I would have been okay with that as there would be time later, but this seems to be a stand alone novel. What was developed, I loved! Mishalla has such a huge heart, Kayla so courageous, and Zul such an amazing leader despite his handicap.
Back to the language part. Just like most sci-fi books, Tankborn does have its share of slang. For some reason, the words used to replace today’s is odd. For me, it did not flow well and it distracted from the whole point. I don’t know what to recommend because an author has full liberty in science fiction. It didn’t take away to omuch, but enough for me to say something.
In all, I really enjoyed this novel. The struggle of the lower class, the reasoning to explain how the human race got to where it is in the storyline, and the disillusionment of the GENs. I wish the story could have been longer or there was a sequel because I would love to see where Kayla’s life could go from here.

Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: February 1, 2011
Pages: 441
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Source: Bookshelf

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Every girl grows up waiting until the moment when she falls in love for the first time. For some, it’s the first time one lays eyes upon him from across the room. For others, it takes years to develop that sense of loyalty. Our dreams explode with the possibilities and our pillows are stained with our tears. Imagine waking up one day to never being capable of those feelings ever again. For some who have dealt with the grief of losing a loved one, that might be the ideal way to live out their lives. But for the rest of us who cling on to our heartstrings, that seems like a terrible loss of emotions.

Lena has grown to accept that love is a disease that must be treated before it attacks. Schools taught that life with love is disastrous and cruel, no way for a reasonable adult to live. Take out love and you have a world of order where no one risks anything for such a feeling.

It is an interesting idea that love can be cured and I was pleased with how well Oliver thought the deliria through in detail. So many authors have incredible ideas, and then throw the book to shambles when it is not thought out well enough to believe in the possibilities. The problem I had, was the repetitiveness of the explanations. It seemed to drown out the excitement of the storyline and I got lost…and bored…with the book. The beginning was fast-paced, the ending marvelous, the middle slow, slow, slow.

I did like how well the “cured” characters were portrayed: harsh, unyielding to emotions, distant. I really did not want the cure after seeing the relationships between parent and child. It made me sick thinking that was the “normal way”. I had a hard time reading it because I see it so often in my students’ eyes. The desire for love from their families.

In all, I would recommend this as a quick read. I don’t know that I will read the other two books in the series. To those of you who have read the sequels, what do you think?

Author: Kady Cross
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: May 24, 2011
Pages: 473
Genre: YA, Steampunk
Source: Netgalley ARC

She thought there was something wrong with her. She was right. Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal’, but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.
Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne — the girl in the steel corset.

This is my first introduction to the genre Steampunk. What an intro it was! If all the novels from this genre are this exciting and unusual, then I am in for a treat. Old-fashioned morality, flowing gowns from the west to the orient, all mixed with machines that defy the time-period can only keep the reader intent on not setting the book down.

Kady Cross is a rising star of my top authors. Well versed and continuously surprising, she writes in a way that you want to lap up every word. She is able to illustrate the details down to the clothing without losing the attention of the reader.

Oh and the characters! Finley is your tomboy heroine, but has the gorgeous physique that every woman desires. Tough and rocks a strong attitude, she is still self conscious in a way that you can’t help but warm up to. The two side-kicks, Emily and Sam, are one of a kind. Emily is sweet but incredibly smart while Sam is burly and head strong. And then there is Griffin. *swoon* There aren’t many male characters that I fall for (yes, I am on neither the vampire or werewolf team), but Griffin stands out among them all. A gentleman by nature, reassuring to his team, and a leader by heart. Yet, he is unafraid to explore his imperfections and emotions. Even his natural abilities to manipulate the aether reflect that side of him.

Romance…YES! Did I mention Griffin King yet? Oh yes I did! The entire novel is a struggle of boundaries between Griffin, Finley, and Jack (the handsome and conniving henchman).

I cannot wait until I get my hands on the second of this series, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar,

Author: Pat Schmatz
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 240
Genre: YA, realistic fiction
Source: Netgalley
ISBN: 0763653349

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa; a new school and the dreaded routine of passing when he’s called on to read out loud. But that’s before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take “pass” for an answer-a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own.

One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish. As a teacher, I find that a cute and witty name for groups in a classroom. Just like any other creative name to keep track of the groups. But never would I have thought of using them as names for kids in certain reading levels. That is just too easy of a way to segregate students and it’s down right harsh.

I can see how Travis links his deficiency to the name of a title of a Dr. Seuss favorite. That label has stayed with him throughout his school hopping no matter what the name of the group is. You see, Travis can’t read. It is demeaning to a child and is in no way encouraging to them. I love that Schmatz defines this, but shows how one student was able to slowly overcome. To describe such a teacher as McQueen who defies the odds and uses literature to fight past demons is amazing. As you read, you see the walls in Travis’ life begin to break down as he learns to trust a teacher and fellow classmates for the first time in years. He learns to channel his anger and forgive others. There are so many lessons to be learned in this novel and all were tied perfectly to the character and finished with such grace.

I found the novel easy to follow with such descriptive words that you truly felt like you were walking with Travis in his life. The is a switch in point of view between Travis and Velveeta during each chapter. At first, I found it confusing, but once I realized what the author was doing, I found it inspiring. When reading Travis’ side, it was done in third person p.o.v. so the reader could sense his emotions, but not grasp fully. It was more the point of witnessing his change. We learned about Velveeta by seeing a close side of her reading into her journal entries of the day. Her summary of events, her confusions, and her struggles.

My final review: a great story for middle school and wonderful for group reading in the classroom.

Publisher: Trident Media
Version: Kindle
Genre: YA Paranormal, Thriller
Source: Author
“BULLIED” is the first novella in THE BULLIED SERIES, which focuses on Seth Moore, a relentlessly bullied 17-year-old boy who is gifted an amulet that ignites within him telekinetic powers.

If Seth uses the amulet properly, it will protect him from those determined to crush him. But after so many years of being beaten down and humiliated by the school’s popular crowd and the teachers who protect them, the question is whether Seth can keep away from the dark side the amulet offers–and not become a bully himself, even when all hell breaks loose.

BULLIED is an intense thriller that will speak volumes to anyone who has ever been bullied and wished they had a powerful way out. It’s also a cautionary tale on the act of bullying itself.

When Christopher first asked me to read his novella series, I was hesitant.  I hadn’t heard of many book reviewers accepting author requests.  But, I figured being a new book blogger meant that I couldn’t be picky.  I have to say that I was really lucky with what Christopher threw my way.

Bullied will keep your heart pounding with every turn of the page.  You are introduced to Seth, a kid who has been bullied his entire life for reasons he never had control of.  With every punch or mocking word, you real in disgust at the torment he goes through.  But, he is given a chance to redeem his last year of school. With a magical token from his uncle, Seth has the opportunity to take revenge and turn the tables. It’s not every day that a victim of bullying gets that chance.

I LOVE SETH. Can I make that any more clear? Who hasn’t had their days of being bullied? Who doesn’t have a tale to tell? I recall being slammed into a locker my freshman year. I will never forget the tears of rage that burned my eyes or a fury that was unleashed in my veins. Thankfully I let that taunting go only one more day before I stood up to her and put an end to it. Not everyone has the courage to take that stand or the opportunity. Having that knowledge of my own past, it was not difficult to attach myself to this character.

In an interesting twist, I can put myself on the other side of bullying as a teacher. No, I have never let a bully get away with anything in my classroom, but I have seen teachers do so. It is sick, demeaning and an injustice. It is easier to stop in elementary school, though. High school is a whole other world of bullying. Smith outlines the true horrors and gets the reader wanting to take a stand right then.

I was glad that once I finished reading Bullied, Smith had just completed book two, Revenge. The second novella in the trilogy follows Seth’s journey of payback. One bully at a time, he works his path to revenge. With some humor laced into the story, the reader has a chance to breath every once in a while. Smith keeps the pace quick, forcing the reader to turn the pages fast as they want to keep up.

Coming soon is the final release in the saga, Witch. As always, The Book Heroine will keep you posted!