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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Hexed, by Michelle Krys

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn't get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that's seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she's a witch too.
Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie's about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Witches. While I'll admit I read a lot of adult books with witches as characters, I've not really read a lot of YA books that have them. Or at least, not a lot of well done YA books.

Hexed is pretty well done, for a first novel. First novels are frequently hit or miss and this one is a hit, in my opinion.

Indigo's story is really good. She's a typical teenager--well, teenage cheerleader dating the captain of the football team. It's all juuuuuuuust right and perfect in her world, until this guy dies in front of her. From that point forward, the world is a bit more complicated than she ever knew.

It's fairly fast-paced, but not too quick to do the plot justice. It's what you expect--Indigo has to "hit the ground running," as it were, when her life is flipped upside down. There's a steep learning curve (she thought witchcraft was just a quirky thing her mom was into...it wasn't real.), but she handles it well, with help. And the magic isn't there for the sake of having magic. Instead, it's a vehicle for the plot, not the plot itself.

Characters...wow...I wanted to smack the annoyance out of Bishop. He's got that typical teenage "I know I'm hot" guy thing. It's a personality that annoys me, not Bishop himself. He's perfectly written. Indie is amazing. Right on the mark with her voice and personality.

I will say that there was a bit more sex in the book than I'd have preferred. Nothing crassly overt, but it's in there. And honestly, after a bit, the drama of it just got to be too much. 

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Delacorte Press (Random House Chidlren's) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

REVIEW: We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.


What an amazing book. I pride myself on being able to sort out the ending for books with a secret central to the story line by about mid-way through. I didn't have it this time. I wasn't prepared for the ending. There were some distinct one-line foreshadowing hints, but they didn't catch my eye until everything was revealed...and then I had an epiphany moment.

The relationships of the "Liars" is intricate and deep. There's an intensity that makes sense, even when the world of the book doesn't. 

The writing style (short sentences and tightly chosen words) and slow-slow-slow plot will annoy some readers, but I really think it's necessary in this story. If you feel annoyed, give it a chance.

I really can't do more with this review without destroying both the secret, and the story itself. Just trust me...it needs to be read.

What do you think??





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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Children's through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

World Book Night

For more information, visit. World Book Night US.


What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Enter Text Here through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl and the Raven, by Pauline Gruber

Sixteen-year-old Lucy Walker just wants a normal life, but finds herself thrust into a world of witches, demons and a mysterious yet irresistible upstairs neighbor who claims to be her protector. All the while she’s desperately searching for the family raven that carries her magical legacy. She's walking a tightrope between good and evil, drawn to both, uncertain which she will ultimately choose.

This book was a fun, quick read. It's not particularly deep and doesn't require a lot to keep up with it.

Which is good and bad. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but this cover (and the premise) made me think there'd be more than what I got.

You get that Lucy is supposed to be strong-willed and simply just strong after the life she lived with her mother. But she's too often flighty and passive about her situation. I mean...someone wants her dead and it might be the father she never knew before. 

None of the characters seemed particularly well-developed to me and I felt like I'd been plopped in to the middle of their lives, rather than introduced to them and being part of the story. Sort of like picking up a soap opera in the middle of season 6 and never watching the first 5 seasons. The learning curve was a bit steep.

Speaking of soap operas, the writing style felt like that. Frequently, Gruber jumped from scene to scene without any cohesiveness--why was this happening now

It has a lot going for it, it really just needs to be better polished.


What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from DragonFly Ink, Ltd. through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, April 11, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Far From You, by Tess Sharpe

Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick. 

The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.


Looking for a good, raw story? One that leaves you feeling raked over the coals emotionally, but still be sincere in its intensity?? Here ya go. 

Far from You is a murder mystery, but so much more than that. Sharpe tells Sophie and Mina's story in alternating time lines--before and after Mina's murder. The before her death timeline is jumbled, as Sophie remembers times spent with Mina, and what was going on the night she died. Each scene fits perfectly in its place in the bigger story.

The relationships in this story (Mina and Sophie, Sophie and Trever, Mina and her boyfriend) are honestly drawn and not contrived to carry the story. There's no drama for the sake of teenage drama (as so often happens). This is dramatic because the relationships are. It's simple because the relationships are.

My only complaint is that the ending felt rushed. Sort of "Oh wait...I've got to wrap this up" and it came across a little forced.


What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Disney Book Group (Disney Hyperion) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Adaptation, by Malinda Lo

Flocks of birds are hurling themselves at aeroplanes across America. Thousands of people die. Millions are stranded. Everyone knows the world will never be the same.
On Reese's long drive home, along a stretch of empty highway at night, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won't tell them what happened.
For Reese, though, this is just the start. She can't remember anything from the time between her accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: she's different now. Torn between longtime crush David and new girl Amber, the real question is: who can she trust?





I like stories that are imaginative, yet don't require that I completely suspend reality to believe the story. Adaptation hits that on the mark. To believe in the science fiction aspect of this, I don't have to stretch too far. It works.

There was just too much written in that kept me wondering what this story was about. I was good to go when the story line was full of government conspiracy...and that thread does run through the whole story. But, the crazy "finding myself" and love triangle mess just bothered me. It didn't seem to have anything to do with the story itself. Seriously, was this a sci-fi/government conspiracy novel, or a lovesick/don't know what I want romance story? Reese spent too much time dwelling on the fact that she'd never wanted to date and now she was. 

The instant lesbian relationship (that quite literally came out of nowhere in the story) was too much. It felt like the author threw it in there more to push the envelope than to be a honest story element. Even if it had been a boy-girl relationship, it went so fast as to be creepy and detracted from what the story is advertised to be.

I think it could be a great story, but the romance arc killed it.

What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Hachettle Children's Books through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Here and Now, by Ann Brashares


Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 



I have to admit, I'm torn. I usually love Brashares' books, but this one isn't particularly loveable. 

It has the potential to be a really good time travel story. Really good. Prenna is one of a mere 1,000 chosen to go back in time from the late 21st/early 22nd century to now-ish (2010, though the story is NOW) with a mission to prevent the events that became the downfall of mankind and earth. They've got rules for how they can and can't interact with today's world, which all make sense but Prenna can't shake the feeling that that it's not all on the up and up. The book could work with these great bones for the story.

But then it turns into a teenage novel. Enter love interest (who she isn't supposed to be too close to) who has zero difficulty handling the "I'm from the future" bombshell she drops on him. And there's a murder to prevent, but first let's go shopping for bikinis and have sangria on the beach. Really? I'd like to think even teenagers starting out a romance would have some urgency about stopping a murder that could potentially destroy the world as we know it.

Prenna's character was well-written until she got involved with Ethan. After that, she's a mess. It's hard to like someone who ceases being a strong person. Ethan never particularly develops, which makes him uninteresting to me. I don't get the feeling that he's really important to the story in this book. The adults in the book were really the only ones who consistently worked for me, because they seemed to be the best described, while still maintaining the "rules" for the group.

I wish Ethan had more to him. I wish the romance didn't just happen, instead of having to grow a bit. I wish that the story didn't seem disjointed--is this sci-fi, or action, or a romance, or teen angstyness at its finest? I just don't know. Perhaps if more time had been spent on building up the world in the book (Why those 1,000 people and not others?) and less time on beaches it could've been okay.


What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Children's Press through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, April 4, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Midnight Witch, by Paula Brackston

"The dead are seldom silent. All that is required for them to be heard is that someone be willing to listen. I have been listening to the dead all my life." 

Lady Lilith Montgomery is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch.


When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes on his title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her engagement to her childhood friend and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt. 

Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves. To tell him will risk everything.


As much as this seemed to be pushed on my Amazon recommendations, I'd really sort of expected more from this book. For those that know my reading habits, it took me 3 days to finish this book. (I typically read a book a day. Long books in a day and a half.)

The story itself is fine, if a bit disjointed. The were some inconsistencies that bugged me that might not bother others (like why the "all-powerful coven" was hamstrung by its own Head Witch). My issue was with Lilith and the writing.

Lilith is now the leader of a major coven. Senior witches expect her to be a strong leader, like her father, and to protect the coven and its interests. With this comes a certain "don't let your emotions rule you" caveat.

So, what's she do? She tells a man she barely knows her secret. All her secrets. And she uses her power and knowledge as the coven leader to bring someone back from the dead--but doesn't keep control of the situation. She's wishy-washy about the men in her life, and just generally doesn't think sometimes.

The back and forth between a 1st person narrator and 3rd person just drove me up the wall. I wasn't sure what the purpose was in doing that--seemed a bit much to me. I also couldn't decide if being set in Edwardian England had a purpose. I honestly felt like it could've been set at any point and the story would've carried just as well. I guess, it felt like a device for the sake of a device--not because it needed to be in that time period.

It's one that if you don't read too critically, you'll enjoy it.


What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from St. Martin's Press (Thomas Dunne Books) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Panic, by Lauren Oliver

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

LOVED this book. It wasn't hard to--it's a Lauren Oliver book, after all--but everything about it was wonderful. The story is perfectly crafted, the characters are incredibly real and easy to connect with.

Every recent graduate is out to win the game, if only to get the money and get out of this town. The class system is over the top (as it can be in small towns) and makes living in Carp so much harder. And then, everyone sees the aftermath of the game....like the girl from 2 years ago who will probably never walk again.

The book started slow, which is fine. There's a lot of psychological discussion and study that has to happen. You need to understand Heather (who isn't a strong person until she's in the middle of the game), Dodge (who has a specific mission), and Bishop (who isn't playing but sure is having a hard time of it). It's deep and there are some twists you don't see coming. The characters aren't easily likeable (much less loveable) and everyone has an air of desperation at some point in the story.

Panic is more than just the game. Oliver's crafted a multi-faceted story--the "upper story" of the characters and their motivations and response, and the "lower story" of the game itself. Amazing story.

  

What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I  purchased this title for my own collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

BOOK REVIEW: Tanker 10, by Jonathan Curelop

A timely and compelling story about a bullied and overweight boy and his love of baseball. "Tanker 10" opens in Brockton, MA, in 1976, where bashful and overweight 10-year-old Jimmy just wants to read his books and toss the ball with his best friend Ben. Unfortunately, Jimmy is an entertaining victim for his older brother Cliff and his buddies. When Jimmy tries to stand up to Cliff, the verbal abuse turns physical and an accident sends Jimmy to the hospital with an injury that changes the trajectory of his life. 

Tanker 10 depicts the story of Jimmy during his pre-teen and teenage years as he struggles to mend his physical and psychological injuries. Finding salvation through baseball, he dedicates himself to a strict regimen, taking him from intramurals baseball to Little League. By the time he reaches high school, Jimmy is no longer the fat kid throwing a ball against a wall but an up-and-coming right fielder on the freshman baseball team. 

Yet despite his successful recovery, Jimmy remains ill at ease with himself. He longs for emotional and physical intimacy and grapples with finding his place in his family, among his friends, and with his brother Cliff. 


I've been putting off this review all day long. NOT because I didn't like the book--I did. NOT because I don't think there's a group of students who could use it--because I do.

It was hard for me to read. And not for the usual reasons. The writing is very good. The story itself is very good. In fact, the biggest negative I can give you is that I feel like the story just ended. I literally said "but what happened next??" at the end of the book.

SPOILER AHEAD

I feel the need to spoil part of the story because if I were a librarian considering this book, I'd rather not be blind-sided.

SPOILER AHEAD--LAST CHANCE!

Jimmy's injury  (the day his brother's bullying goes too far) results in the loss of his testicles. At age 10. And yes, obviously, his life is significantly altered forever.

And, like I said, I think I would need to know that, since the blurb (as all good blurbs should do) just teases you a bit.

That being said, the way some things are handled made it difficult for me to read. Sadly (yes, sadly), I was prepared to be faced with some locker-room talk about girls and sex. There's not much in here. The discussions about sex were frank and blunt, and were the kind of frank and blunt conversations you'd expect a guy to have with his doctor. Not necessarily his dad, although in this case it's probably more likely.

Jimmy was 10, then 12, then 16, then in college with very difficult questions about what his future would look like. A few sexual scenes were fairly detailed, but not graphic in a stomach turning way.

I think this book was hard for me to read because it wasn't quite what I was expecting, and I wasn't expecting the more clinical feeling conversations. That was me and my experience.

Still and all, I don't believe I'd hand this to just any of my boy readers. It's deep and emotional, to an extent. My 9th and 10th graders wouldn't stand a chance reading this, but mine are fairly immature. A reader needs to be fairly emotionally mature for this book.



What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from JKSCommunications--Literary Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Time After Time, by Wendy Godding

She has died countless times before, and she is not going to let it happen again.
Abbie Harper dies just before her eighteenth birthday. It has happened before, more times than she can remember — and always at the hands of the same man. Her dreams are plagued with past lives, cut short.
But this latest dream feels different. Her past life as Penelope Broadhurst — an English pastor’s daughter in 1806 — keeps bleeding into her present life in ways both sinister and familiar. As Penelope meets and falls in love with the dashing Heath Lockwood, so too does Abbie meet the brothers Marcus and Rem Knight. One wants to love her; the other to kill her.
Time is running out for Penelope, but as Abbie mourns her inability to change the past, she chases the slim chance to save her future. To survive, she must solve the puzzle of an ancient love story…and Penelope just might be able to help

There's a lot to like about this book. And a lot that needed some help. 
The Good:
  • I liked that Abbie is a strong female character who stands up for her principles when challenged.
  • I like the 2 story arcs--Abbie's and Penelope's and how they were intereconnected.
  • Relevant to nothing, but I LOVED that Abbie's part time job was at the local library.
  • I really liked the reincarnation premise. 

The not so good:
  • Abbie was a bit too self-absorbed. Everything she did screamed "look at me" but then she didn't want to be looked at. Choose one.
  • Abbie's reactions to people were just a bit over the top at times. (LIke talking about a teenager slitting other teenagers throats. Why?)
  • I didn't like how the reincarnation premise was presented. Well, more how it was a "well, obviously these dreams indicate I've been reincarnated" presentation. Maybe I needed more backstory--why'd Abbie decide it was reincarnation and not just an overly active imagination/dream life involving historical settings? (I ask this because I've regularly dreamed I'm IN the story I'm reading--so there's a lot of Tudor England dreaming in my world.)
  • I didn't appreciate her Aunt Meredith (her guardian). She wasn't a central enough figure in the story to be so involved with making Abbie "normal." I didn't get the impression they were close enough for her to make that judgement.
It's not a bad read, but reads like a first novel (since I can find almost nothing about this author, I don't know if it is a first or not). I feel like it needed more polishing to be a great read.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Escape Publishing through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, March 28, 2014

What's coming up?

I spent some time this week sorting out my review calendar. Currently, I've got reviews scheduled through the end of June. I'm excited to have that much to read! (My husband is excited that most of that is in ARCs or galleys!) 

So, I thought I'd give a preview of what's down the line for Mean Old Library Teacher.

April 1

April 3

April 4



What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Enter Text Here through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Little Women & Me, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

lwam1  Emily is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe what she'd change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can't change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was Louisa May Alcott thinking?!) But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the world of the book, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won't be easy. And after being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, it may be Emily-not the four March sisters-who undergoes the most surprising change of all. 



After all the dark dystopia and other things I've read, it was SOOOOO nice to grab something that is definitely lighter fare to read.

First...you'll either love or hate both the premise and the story. There really is no middle ground. If you've never read the original Little Women, a lot of things won't make much sense to you. Die-hard fans may find it hard to reconcile the altering of the story with Alcott's original. But it's worth the read, regardless.

After being assigned an essay in which she has to explain what she would change about a favorite book, Emily is transported into the world of the March sisters in Little Women. (This was the only bit that bothered me---it's just "whoosh" and she's there....really?) It's a fun idea for a story. And since she's here now, why not "fix" those things she didn't like in the original story? 

Emily is a rather typical self-absorbed modern teenage girl. Plopping her into the middle of a Civil War era story line isn't going to change that. It's subtle, but you do see that she changes as  she learns more about the sisters and the others. And she changes for the better.

I could get up in arms over the changes in the story (changes that change the arc and would've ruined the original for me), but this book isn't about the March sisters. It's about Emily, learning a little something about herself and her place in the world.

What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review (it just so happens that I did!). The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Miss last night's #yalove Twitter chat about Fantasy?

Check out the Storify in the wiki archives










Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Giver - Official Trailer - The Weinstein Company


What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Enter Text Here through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

#yalove chat TONIGHT

TONIGHT: 7:00-7:30 PM CT. We're talking Fantasy titles tonight. Don't miss it!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

REVIEW: Fractured Innocence, by Julia Crane

Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women.Vance's current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever.The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it's like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.

**This is book 2 in the IFICS series. The first book, Freak of Nature was reviewed on January 9, 2014.

Again, cover art that's actually relevant. It's a pretty miraculous thing, sometimes.

Crane delivers, again. I LOVED Freak of Nature (Who wouldn't?) and Fractured Innocence is a sequel that stands up well. Readers need to understand, though, that this story is very different from Freak.


Kaitlyn is on her first mission, and it's a tough one. Gone is the search for self-awareness story line, the struggle to balance cyborg and human. Understand, the struggles are still there, but that's not the story anymore.

It's pretty gritty. Pretty darn gritty. Aaliyah is abducted by a human sex-trafficking ring. That fact is not glossed over. You know what's happening to her even if it isn't described in specific detail. In other words, you can paint a picture in your mind very easily of the sex scenes and even more easily of the torture scenes (Dasvoik--the ringleader--is sadistic, to say the least). Nothing in those scenes is sugar-coated. Crane has done an amazing job portraying the fear and seriousness of this in the world today. She's made a connection for YAs.

I think the best part of this story is the way Kaitlyn and Aaliyah wind up relating. Don't want to give it away, but their relationship couldn't have been written any other way. I'm looking forward to more in this series, to see how this friendship plays out.

I was hooked in this story from the get go, and not simply because I enjoyed the first book so much. The romance between Kaitlyn and Lucas is still there, just played down some, as it's not central to the story. All of the characters deepen and develop (except Quess, who has a minute role in this book). It's really some masterful characterization. 

My only "cons"--- First, I can't hand this to my 9th and 10th graders. I've got some "young" 11th graders I can't hand this to. Second, the first 70% of the book (according to my e-reader) was build up--which is great. But the last of the story, from the climax to the end just went too quickly, and wrapped up a little too neatly, even knowing that there's more to come. It moved so quickly I re-read it this morning to make sure I hadn't missed something.

What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book for my personal collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

REVIEW: This House is Haunted, by John Boyne

Set in Norfolk in 1867, Eliza Caine responds to an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall. When she arrives at the hall, shaken by an unsettling disturbance that occurred during her travels, she is greeted by the two children now in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There is no adult present to represent her mysterious employer, and the children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, another terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.
 From the moment Eliza rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence that lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realizes that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past.


Touted as being a Dickensian ghost story. And I'll admit it had a certain Tell-Tale Heart feel to it. The setting, the creepy children, and the village's secrecy about what's really going on at Gaudlin Hall definitely put you in the mind of a Dickens story. 

I like the characters. I feel like I got to know those who had stand-out personalities. All except Isabella, that is, but I feel like not getting to know her made her character more realistic.

There were several anachronistic things...the language and interactions between characters wasn't in keeping with the Dickens time period. It's kind of predictable, but I still found myself immersed in it enough to keep going. Not the greatest Gothic supernatural novel, but worth the read if you like the very specific genre.

What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book for my own collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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