Monday, February 28, 2011

Paranormal Romance Pick: Angel Burn

Angel Burn
by L.A. Weatherly
Candlewick, 2011
page count undetermined
Due out May 24, 2011

What if Angels aren't sent from the heavens to help humans? What if they have a more sinister and devious plan for humankind?

The first in a planned romantic trilogy, Angel Burn catches fire. Whether running for their lives, fighting evil angels, outsmarting old friends who are now enemies, fleeing the CIA, or digging up secrets, Willow and Alex are likeable characters young adult readers will latch onto.

Willow is unique. She has the gift of knowing other people's fates, their pasts and futures, their pain and their promise. It takes just one touch for her to see what is likely to unfold. When Willow sees Beth's future, she warns Beth that her new religion and church of choice, The Church of Angels, is hurting her. Willow sees danger and violence in Beth's future.

Alex is a trained AK, or Angel Killer, hired by the CIA in a secret program to hunt and kill Angels who have been proven to feed off the humans, leaving them with "Angel Burn," an untreatable sickness which will destroy them. If the CIA can't stop the Angels, humankind will cease to exist.

The Church of Angels is becoming more powerful as humans flock like sheep to its doors. Then Alex gets his next hit--an Angel in Pawtucket, New York.

When Alex breaks into the house, he sees a ethereally beautiful teen-age girl asleep, but he knows this is no ordinary Angel--she is something else entirely, and he is drawn to her. He leaves without hitting his target.

Later, Alex and Willow are thrown together and forced to flee--they know they have to disappear from the Angels and the CIA.

Can an Angel Killer like Alex rely on Willow, who is half-Angel and his hit? Can Willow trust Alex, the man sent to kill her?

Exciting, well-paced, and suspenseful, Angel Burn is a sure hit.

Recommended grades 9-up. Language.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the galley from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Paranormal Pick: Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her
Darkness Becomes Her
by Kelly Keaton
Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), 2011
273 pages

Masterful storytelling. Darkness Becomes Her is set in sinister and creepy moss-covered and overgrown New Orleans, now named New 2, after a series of wrenching hurricanes destroyed it. Nine families whose ancestors first settled New Orleans band together and form the Novem, the only law recognized beyond the Rim.

When seventeen-year old Ali Selkirk goes in search of her birth mother and answers to why she was given up as a ward to the state of Louisiana, she finds dark secrets about her mother's life...and death. Returning to her hotel, Ali opens a box of things left behind by her mother thirteen years ago. There is a letter for Ali... and it's frightening. The letter warns Ali "Please, baby girl, just run..." --to leave New Orleans and those who are looking for her.

Ali wants to follow directions and means well, but after killing a strange Greek warrior who vanishes before her eyes, she wants answers: Who was the creepy Greek guy and why does he want her dead? Why does she need to run? Where is her real father? Did her mother really commit suicide, or was there something more sinister going on?

On a whim, Ali catches a ride beyond the Rim and into New 2. And that's when strange things really start to happen! Macabre characters inhabit New 2 and dark secrets boil over. Joining a band of misfits, Ali begins untangling the mysteries and getting answers.

This dynamic page-turner will appeal to fans of paranormal and adventure--fans of Twilight and The Lightning Thief will like this read.

The line "Run, baby girl" gave me actual goosebumps at the end of Chapter One. I was hooked.

Highly recommended grade 9-up. This novel should be okay for some grade 8 readers--it is as tame as The Hunger Games.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Book of Spells book giveaway winners!

The Book of Spells: A Private PrequelThe Book of Spells by Kate Brian

Lucky winners will receive a copy of the exciting ya novel The Book of Spells. Books will ship from Simon & Schuster


April VanBuran (New Mexico)
Catalina Charles (New York)
Kathleen Breitenbach (New Jersey)
David Bilmes (Connecticut)
Syndra Cunningham (New York)

Thanks to all who entered and posted comments. A new giveaway has just posted. Win a copy of Held from Annick Press. Post a comment to Held.

Book Giveaway-Held by Edeet Ravel

Win a free copy of the YA novel Held by Edeet Ravel compliments of Annick Press

Exciting YA psychological thriller. When seventeen year old Chloe is kidnapped, she discovers her inner strength; however, as time drags on, she finds herself falling for her kidnapper. Is this love, or could it be the Stockholm Syndrome?

Post a comment to this post. Please include your name, your library's name and location and your email address. (This information is sent to the publisher only if you are a winner).

Deadline is March 3 at 12:00 noon MST (mountain standard time). Winners will be notified by email on March 11. Books will be shipped from Annick Press by March 18th.

Good luck, and thank you for entering!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Romance Pick: If I Stay

If I Stay
If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Speak (Penguin Group), 2009
234 pages

Beautifully written and evocative of Love Story, If I Stay will resonate with teen readers.

What choice would you make? Life or letting go? Mia is in the position to choose life with all its tragedies or simply fading away--the easy way out. Mia wakes and finds herself at the side of the road and realizes her body is on a stretcher bound for the hospital. Her body is in a coma after a horrible car accident leaves her without her mother and father and little brother, but her mind is active and alert.

The reader looks back at Mia's life through her eyes: her early years with her semi-hippie parents, her dad's playing in a rock band, her mother's feminism, the birth of her baby brother, her dad quitting the band and becoming "responsible."

Mia loves life and her boyfriend Adam. In her "out of body" experience, she is able to hear and see her grandparents and friends as they visit her in the hospital. A bright musical future awaits Mia, the classical prodigy who may earn a spot at Juilliard. If I Stay tells the story of Mia and Adam meeting and falling in love and how much Adam wants her to live.

Break out the tissues! Readers will be weeping while Mia decides "if I stay..."

Recommended grades 9-up. Mature grade 8 readers will probably be okay with this novel. Some langauge.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I purchased this book for my grade 8 romance readers. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Cover image not yet available

by Rebecca Lim
Hyperion (Disney), 2011
288 pages

Book Available May 2011

What if you always woke up in another place, in someone else's skin, in someone else's world but with your own thoughts intact? You know nothing about the person whose body you have hijacked--nothing about their history, their thoughts, dreams, emotions, likes or dislikes. Mercy has no idea of who or what she is; only that she has certain strange powers--super-human strength, the ability to disguise her voice and use others' voices, the ability to blend in, the ability to start fires, and the ability to get even.

When Mercy finds herself on a bus bound for Paradise, yeah, no kidding, the small town of Paradise, she inhabits the body of Carmen, a slight girl with terrible, itchy skin, who is the brunt of bullying from the other more popular girls. The girls are in town for a choir concert with two other schools and are housed in town residences. Mercy is unlucky enough to be the guest of Stewart and Louisa Daley and their son Ryan. Life is tough for the Daley's since their daughter Lauren went missing. Carmen soon finds that Ryan hasn't stopped looking for his sister.

Mercy searches for her own past in her dreams where she meets Luc, a beautiful, yet terrible man who haunts her nights. Only Luc has the answers that Mercy seeks.

Dark, gripping, and convincingly told, Mercy is a paranormal book without vampires--finally. For readers who like paranormal and a little romance, Mercy is the answer.

Book Available May 2011.

Recommended for high school collections. Not recommended for middle school due to mature subject matter.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for my review.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

High School Pick: Nobel Genes

Nobel Genes
Nobel Genes
Rune Michaels
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
(Simon & Schuster), 2010
192 pages

Following the success of Genesis Alpha and The Reminder, Michaels tells the tale of a nameless teen boy who has no idea who his father is, other than the fact that his mother tells him she picked a Nobel Prize winner as a sperm donor. What is it like to know your dad is a genius and that you'll never measure up--you're just average?

Things get progessively worse as the boy's mother shows signs of mental illness, bi-polar behavior, and suicidal tendencies. Even Drum, the renter who lives in the garage apartment, is ready to move on. When the boy's mom slips into a coma from a third attempt at suicide , the boy's grandmother and grandfather enter the picture.

Does the boy really want to know his real father? Why has his mother kept his identity secret all these years? What is happening to his mom?

Compelling, poignant, and tragic, Nobel Genes is a riveting read. For fans who liked Genesis Alpha, they will gravitate towards this book--albeit a much darker choice.

Recommended for high school collections. Not recommended for middle school due to adult content. Some language.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dystopian Pick: Matched


by Ally Condie
Dutton Books (Penguin Group), 2010
366 pages

In a futuristic society, free will is no more--the Officials decide everything--who you will marry, where you will work, where you will live, how many children you will have, and the exact date of your death--because it's been decided that eighty years old is the optimal age--if you live past eighty, you will get diseases and die. Better to plan your death, have one last meal, say good-bye to your friends and family and go peacefully away.

In this society, the Officials have decided what songs are important, what poems are great, what texts to save, what works of art are worth saving, what history is important--there are no free-thinkers or creators.

Cassia is just sixteen and is waiting for her matching banquet, the day when she will see who it is she will be matched with and marry. She can't wait! It's a strange twist of fate when she sees her match--it is her childhood friend Xander--a boy she already knows and loves like a brother. It gets complicated when she sees another face on the screen. It's a mistake, of course. She is meant to be with Xander. But, what if, that other boy is really the one she wants?

Fans of science fiction, dystopian fiction, and romance will like this novel. The reader will keep turning the page wondering what will Cassia choose? The ending leaves an opening for a second book and possibly a trilogy.

Fast-paced, well-written and entertaining, Matched is a must-read.

Highly, highly recommended grade 7-up.
No language, no sex.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I purchased this book for my library through the Scholastic Warehouse. Matched is available through Scholastic.

Friday, February 11, 2011

YA Thriller-Choker


by Elizabeth Woods
Simon & Schuster, 2011
233 pages

Thrilling, twisted, taut, and tantalizing, this debut novel delivers shock waves! Sixteen year old Cara never really fits in; she sits with the other track girls at lunch but feels miles apart from their lively banter. What she longs for is to be popular and date someone dreamy like Ethan, a star track runner and boyfriend of mean girl Alexis. Unfortunately, Cara nearly chokes to death on a carrot in the cafeteria one day, and thenceforth the student body refers to her as "choker."

The bullying and teasing are too much for introverted Cara, and she longs for a friend. Then, her prayers are answered when her childhood friend Zoe appears unexpectedly. Cara agrees to help her hide out, and the two friends bond again. Once Zoe shows up, everything is wonderful: Cara does well at the track meet and flirts with Ethan. She changes her appearance and people begin to notice. Everything is going great until girl-next-door Sydney ends up drowned in the backyard pool. Then, another girl goes missing.

What is happening? And why are the police blaming Ethan? What is worrying Cara's mom and dad? Readers will be mesmerized by the solid story-telling and well-paced plot; the characters of Ethan and Cara are well-developed and unforgettable.

Choker is a real page-turner that will have teen readers up late into the night reading and relishing the rocking pace and seriously twisted ending. This one is unputdownable and not to be missed! Personally, I even had dreams about this novel after reading it.

The cover of this book and one sentence on the back cover, "What are best friends for?" really don't do this novel justice. Tell teen readers that this is one book NOT to judge the book by the cover.

Highly, highly recommended for ya collections. Grade 8 and up.

No sex; some language.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

High School Pick: Girl Wonder

Girl Wonder
Girl Wonder
by Alexa Martin
Hyperion, 2011
304 pages

Book available May 3, 2011

Changing schools is hard enough but it's crazy when it's your last year of high school! When Charlotte's mother accepts a job in Seattle, clear across the country from Tallahassee, the family is forced to move. Charlotte's test scores and grades don't qualify her for the ritzy Barclay School where her genius younger brother gets in, so she goes to Shady Grove High School, which seems aptly named--kids aren't encouraged to excel and Charlotte finds that her new school is eons away from the "normal" school she's always attended. At Shady Grove, kids are tough, bathrooms are off limits unless you want to fight, and it's hard to make friends. When Charlotte joins the debate team, she makes friends with the ruling queen of the school, Amanda, and falls for handsome hunk Neal.

Charlotte's new friend Amanda is beautiful, outgoing, popular, talented, smart and rich--all the things Charlotte is not. As Neal and Charlotte bond and Charlotte finds herself really falling for him--the trouble is, he seems ashamed to let anyone else know about their relationship. Is he hiding something?

This novel has all the teen drama a teen girl faces--relationship woes, fear, jealousy, disappointment, heartbreak, and finally accepting who you are for real--not what you think you should be but what you can be. Charlotte is a touching underdog and readers will empathize with her as she finds herself and realizes that outward appearances are deceiving and shallow.

Sometimes the boy you think is the ONE turns out to be a frog and the boy who has been there all along turns out to be the ONE! And sometimes, weird quirks make someone even more appealing.

Recommended for high school collections. Not appropriate for middle school. Sex and mature situations.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for my review.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

High School Pick: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
260 pages

Charming and witty, this novel is sure to please both male and female readers. Told in chapters by Dash (Levithan wrote Dash's chapters) and Lily (written by Cohn), readers see both sides of a blooming friendship. Although Dash and Lily have only communicated through their words--written in a red moleskin notebook and hidden on an overcrowded bookstore shelf in the Strand, a goofy, yet avant-garde bibliophile's haven. Dash finds the notebook and reads the first dare which sends him through the stacks in search of his next clues. Dash decides to play along with this sappy yet sweet scavenger hunt and leaves clues of his own for Lily--of course, he doesn't even know Lily's name at this point.

Can two ordinary teens with a penchant for books find true friendship and maybe even something stronger? When they finally meet, will they be able to communicate face to face? Will they be able to share as deeply as they did in the notebook? Will wordsmith Dash find true love with bibliophile Lily?

Dash is sarcastic and pessimistic, and quite the esoteric philosopher, yet somehow comes across as surprisingly lovable. It is Levithan at his literary best. Lily is spunky and funny but kind of a word nerd. Both the strong characters and the quirky plotline carry the story. What teen wouldn't want to meet the mysterious person who is leaving him secret messages all over New York City? This novel is a teen romance that is the teen set's "When Harry Met Sally."

Recommended grades 9-up. Some language, mature content.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from another librarian. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.