Monday, June 25, 2012

Deadly Intentions (eBook) by Lisa Kuehne

True to her word, Ava O'Brian is back and ready for action in the second book of the Intentions Trilogy, Deadly Intentions, by Lisa Kuehne.  Just recovering from her near death experience involving a run in with some deadly demons, Ava is hoping for some rest and relaxation, including spending one-on-one time with her boyfriend, the irresistible Sam.  But, alas, as always, therein lies a problem.  It just so happens that her one and only is a dark angel himself.  There goes the recreation Ava was pining for. It also doesn't help matters any that William, one of God's true angels, is also vying (and lying) for her attentions.  Yet Ava's problems aren't finished.  Ava carries a special gift, a gift that helps influence others to do well something her ol'  buddy The Devil isn't exactly fond of.  With a slew of Satan's followers on their tails, Sam and Ava are desperate to end the unrelenting tirade of angelic against demonic. When Ava starts having nightmares that actually come true the very next morning, she doesn't know where to turn.  Is she creating good or evil?  She also discovers her ability to read her enemies thoughts only solidifying her belief that maybe her gift for goodness isn't exactly flowers and unicorns.  But it doesn't end there.  Aiden, Ava twin brother that was killed in a car accident, hands his soul over to Lucifer under one condition.  Satan cannot harm Ava in any way, shape, or form.
The Devil agrees--reluctantly.  As soon as Ava is brought up to date on her brother's situation, she, Sam, William, and a few others set out to save her brothers spirit literally.  Things go downhill from there.  Sam and William are constantly at each other's throats.  Ava is fighting the temptation to end everything and fall to her knees at the devils beck and call.  Aiden is slowly causing disaster around the globe.  Caught between two different sides, who will Ava give her gift--and her heart to?
Her soft brown eyes widen in obvious alarm, and a green pallor takes over her face.  She mouths the words, oh my God-.
This. Book. Was. Absolutely. Brilliant.  There is no other way to describe it.  It had everything action, romance, intrigue, drama all perfectly mixed together better than your Grandma's cookie batter.  There was enough romance to keep me sighing, but it never got to sappy or obsessive.  The story progressed beautifully, always keeping me on edge.  Besides sometimes being dark and terrifying, Ava had a humorous sarcastic wit, along with an independent spirit.  Seriously, this little lady could win the Miss Firecracker Award.  Easily. I recommend you read the first book, True Intentions, beforehand, as it will catch you up on what happened before the chaos.  I loved how this book had such a wide range of characters. I could at least connect to one of them.  The ideas of heaven and the underworld this book portrays are interesting, too,the afterlife, the relationship between angels and demons, the ways mortals are smashed right in between.  I also like how the story is told through Ava's point of view it helped me understand the method behind the madness.  The vocabulary was fresh and definitely drew you into Ava's plight.  After the dynamic ending, I am extremely anxious to read the final book in the series, needless to say.  If you love almost having a heart attack from all the suspense in your books, this novel is for you!

 I keep bouncing up and down in the back of the cargo van but now Stephen and Susan are taking me to face Satan.  Since they killed Rick, I suppose they'll have to find another human to end my life and make me one of his immortal followers.
I would recommend this book for ages thirteen and up, or for mature readers.  The novel did have some mild expletives in it, and casual sexual references.  Even though it does talk about God, it is not a faith based book.
Will Ava and Sam's relationship survive through all trials and tribulations?  Will they be able to save Aiden's soul in time, or will evil rule?  Read Lisa Kuehne's new novel to find out!

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri U.S.A.

Rivals by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

The Ivy: Rivals by Lauren Kunze is the third book in the Ivy series. It follows freshman Callie Andrews through her second semester at the prestigious Ivy League school, Harvard. This semester, Callie maneuvers the tricky waters of college journalism, parties, and elite organizations. She meets people who are worth knowing and others who she could definitely live without. Callie still has a lot to adjust to at Harvard, but maybe she s finally getting the hang of things.
I thought that Rivals was an average book. Not particularly good, not particularly bad. However, I must admit that I was previously unfamiliar with the Ivy series. I was fairly lost at first because I had no prior knowledge of the events that occurred in the first two books of the series, and Lauren Kunze s writing style did not happen to include a nice summary of said events.

That being said, the book s plot was entertaining after I figured out what was happening. The writing was not profound, but it did not detract from the story either. The plot seemed almost like a television show an overdramatization of real life. Maybe I m wrong, though, and Harvard really is such a crazy place! Personally, I did not particularly like the protagonist, Callie Andrews. I like strong female characters, which she did not come across as.

The book ended with a cliffhanger, obviously leading up to the next sequel, but I do not plan on continuing to read the series. I did not enjoy it enough that I would recommend it to others.

I would remind you, however, to take my opinion with a grain of salt. The fact that I am new to this series definitely changes my views whether it makes them more or less objective is as yet undetermined.
some mature themes such as sex, partying, drinking, and other such college activities
Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Columbus, IN USA

Deadly Descendant (A Nikki Glass Novel) by Jenna Black

This book is about a girl named Nikki Glass, an immortal descendant of the Greek Goddess Artemis. Nikki is on a mission to stop a serial killer descended from a death god. Nikki lives with a group of people like her, called liberi. This family of liberi was led by a god named Anderson. Anderson and his family worked for the good of mortals and other liberi, unlike their enemies, the Olympians. The Olympians trained mortal demigods how to kill enemy liberi so they could steal their immortality. For the only way to become immortal to was to kill another immortal as a mortal descendant. This is about how Nikki, the main character, goes on a hunt to find and destroy a liberi who was given a seed of immortality from a madman. This seed caused this man to go crazy in the head and start a killing streak. It is up to Nikki and her friends to stop him and his wild Jackals.
I really enjoyed this book because it was always an adventure and kept you up late at night, your mind never being able to tell you to shut it. It was suspenseful and you never knew what was going to happen next. It also made you feel like you could almost relate to it in a weird sort of way. It s as though you feel like the characters are alike to you and yourself acting like them in real life. I thought it was exciting and interesting. I would definitely recommend it and pick it up again myself in no time.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: charlotte, North Carolina United States of America

The Deserter by Peadar O. Guilin

Peadar O. Guilin's The Deserter, sequel to The Inferior, follows Stopmouth as he is forced to leave his new tribe and enter the loud, flashy, technologically advanced Roof. The diggers are coming and Stopmouth has to find the love of his life, Indrani, and the weapons she promised if the tribe is to survive. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. The Roof has its own society with it's own problems. A strange virus is destroying the nanotechnology of the roof and angry citizens have started a  rebellion. Stopmouth must navigate this crazy new world and find Indrani, all the while doing his best to avoid the governments nano-enhanced agents.
I'd give this book a solid three out of five stars. It was good, but honestly I felt it could have been better. The setting, the main characters, the whole idea of the story was great, insanely creative, but the actual writing of the tale was kind of disappointing.  The story got predictable after a while. Every plan went wrong no matter how carefully thought out. Even if they won there was no real sense of triumph because something bad or sad had to happen to get there. Even the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. Truthfully  I just wasn't all that impressed with this book.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cibolo, Texas United States

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

In Tarzan of the Apes, a young couple sent on a diplomatic mission end up marooned in the Africa jungle. They build a platform house and live fairly comfortably, until a unfortunate series of events leaves the couple dead and a toddler orphaned. Luckily, a passing ape who just lost a child hears the young boy's screams, finds him, and raises him as her own. She names the child Tarzan, and he soon becomes the most powerful beast in the jungle. The intelligent child, using picture books he finds in his parent's old jungle house, even teaches himself how to read English. When Tarzan grows up, he stumbles upon "white apes" just like him. Jane Porter and her befuddled father, along with Tarzan's cousin, were the unlucky passengers on a ship whose crew mutinied. Tarzan takes it upon himself to protect the strange creatures, and falls in love with Jane. The story follows Tarzan as he figures out in which world he belongs- the jungle, or civilization?
Despite the "classic" feel of the book, Tarzan of the Apes is a fantastic read. The plot is completely unique and believable, with plenty of fun personification and helpful details. Tarzan himself is incredibly interesting- as a man raised by wild animals, one is constantly amazed at his instincts, both human and ape. Jane is a likable heroine, who knows how to shoot a gun and remains brave throughout her adventures. She is not drawn to power and riches, and her down-to-earth thoughts about her situation added greatly to the story. I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy adventure, as well as those who enjoy the "summer reading list" type of book. Don't get scared away because it was written almost 100 years ago- the story is timeless. 

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: , Pennsylvania USA

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Unbearable Book for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher

When I first picked up The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls, I wasn 't at all sure how it would turn out. Some of the topics brought up at the beginning were heavy and I worried it would be a depressing book. This novel, told in first person, and written as an essay for school, is from the perspective of Adrienne Haus, a pretty much average girl (or at least she thinks so) who is stuck in a knee brace and forced to join an unbearable book club for girls.  The book club in question has some of the most mismatched girls in all of West New Hope: CeeCee, the slightly snobby, incredibly blunt and somewhat rude girly girl, Jill, the adopted, responsible and academic one, and Wallis, mysterious and quiet, the one no one knows anything about, the only one who actually wants to be in the book club and, of course, Adrienne.
The one thing that intrigued me the most, was the characters. They are all different, and not friends in the least, yet it s not difficult to read their story, to understand all of the girls feelings, at least once in the novel. I think that Julie Shumacher has created a wonderfully unique book, like nothing I ve ever read! My favorite character is Adrienne, because I can fully relate to her inthe way that she feels about being a part of the books she reads, and feeling like the outsider, the one no one can place. I also liked how Wallis wanted to be part of the book club, how everyone thought she was kind of strange, and I understand the feeling of worry that you are younger than everyone else. I like the mixture of family drama, teen angst, new friendship, and mystery because it added a bittersweet true to life touch.  This was one of those stories where you feel like you are the characters, living their lives with them. The writing style is comfortable to read, one that I enjoyed a lot. Most of all I like how the characters perspectives change. Although they still stay themselves, and maybe even figure out more about who they are, the girls see things through a different stand point, and I like that a lot. They change, but they stay themselves. The ending was a bit rough, but I still think it was a satisfying story through and through.
There are some mild sexual references, along with drug, alcoholic, and smoking references.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon United States

When You were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, but what about Rosaline?  You know, the girl Romeo loves before he falls for Juliet?

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are supposed to be together and when he finally kisses her for the first time, it's perfect.  Rosaline thinks her senior year will go exactly as she dreamed it would be.  Then Juliet, Rose's cousin whom she hasn't seen in almost ten years, moves back to town. The two used to be best friends but now Juliet hates her and even worse...has her heart set on Rob. 

When Rose loses Rob to Juliet, her world crumbles into a million pieces and she can't put the pieces back together...alone.  She gets help from Len, the social outcast of her class, who sees Rose even more clearly than she sees herself.  But can Rose finally get over Rob, even when his life is being threatened?  Just because Shakespeare got some of the characters wrong, doesn't mean his ending is.
I really liked When You Were Mine.  There are several modern-day-takes of Romeo and Juliet but not very many from Rosaline's point of view.  Serle does a good job of weaving in the different elements from Shakespeare's play and making them more modern. The hardest part, I think, would have been coming up with the reason as to why the Caplets and Montegs hate each other.  The only thing I wish would have been different is Rosaline's innocence of the feud between her parents and her aunt and uncle.  But overall this book was good.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes modern spins of old plays and books, as well as people who like romance.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America

Secrets of a Summer Village (eBook) by Saskia Akyil

When 17-year-old Rachel Guo learns of an opportunity to spend the summer abroad in Turkey, the opportunity seems almost too good to pass up. She anxiously wonders if she will like her host family and whether she can assimilate to a completely different religion and culture. When Rachel meets her host family, especially her host sister Aylin, her fears are put to rest and she begins to experience a life very different to her own in Washington. As Rachel grows closer to Aylin, she discovers that despite a few differences in culture, the two teenagers are very much the same. As the summer progresses, Rachel finds new  experiences, especially in her blossoming romance and Turkey s exciting culture.
Secrets of a Summer Village, a novel by Saskia Akyil, is a culturally rich tale that weaves American and Turkish traditions with love and friendship. I found the book to be engaging as well as enlightening, and I learned about Turkish customs, from reading coffee grounds to the many sayings for good luck. The plot held my attention at first, but could have been more engaging and tended to be slightly repetitive as the action progressed. I enjoyed learning about Turkey, and I could also easily relate to the two main characters. Overall, I would recommend this book to teenage girls interested in becoming more culturally aware, as well as anyone looking for a unique summer read.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

Worst-Case Senario Ultimate Adventure: Amazon by David Borgenicht and Henna Khan

This book is about your choices.  You have to choose if you run from a wild cat or you stare at it.  Choose between trading your rain coat and rubbers for candy or keeping them.  There are twenty endings.  But only one ending is the Ultimate Success. 
This book is a one of my favorite books ever!  It is filled with excitement and suspense.  I liked it because the choices are completely your own.  The book is the first of a really great series.  I recommend it for anyone who likes choosing their own endings.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, VA USA

Legacy Road by Graham Garrison

Wes Watkins is trying to make things right, but it s tough going. As he reads letters from his father, some sent years ago, he knows he needs to mend their relationship, which has just barely begun to improve. Then Wes discovers a deeply unsettling family secret that tests his relationships with all those close to him. He knows he needs to find it in his heart to forgive them, but it s going to be hard. Wes sometimes even turns to God for help and as he struggles to overcome his haunting past, he will need all the strength he can get.
I 'll start off by saying this book was outside the range of book types I usually like to read. I decided to try something new, but it turns out this just really isn 't my thing. This book didn' t capture my attention or interest. The characters were very realistic, but the story needed a little more plot for my taste. I personally wouldn' t recommend it to others my age, but maybe someone else will love it. Overall, this book was just okay.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tigard, OR USA

Saturday, June 23, 2012

MMM (ebook) by J.E. Shoup

Matt Matthews is a 16 year old genius, who has no friends and is addicted to a computer game that is set on a planet called Ruan3. The game is a war between the government (also known as the Foundation) and the rebels, set in the year 2813. One morning, Matt learns that there has been a third murder of a teenage girl that school year. That night, Matt hypnotizes himself into a trance, where he sees a girl from the game, the three real murder victims, and a little girl in trouble. The next time Matt attempts self-hypnosis, he finds himself on Ruan3. When he returns, Matt becomes a huge part of the murder cases. Graylin, a school friend with a secret identity, and Matt experience a roller coaster of clues and hunches as they search for the murderer and the murderer’s posse. During the search for the murderer, catastrophe occurs at school and there is a shooting. When Matt is shot, he is transported to Ruan3 where more chaos is in progress. As Matt risks his life for his friends in the future, he must stay strong for his friends in his time while he fights for his life in two dimensions.
MMM by J.E. Shoup, was a page-turning novel with both modern and futuristic settings, which essentially created two completely different plots for the book.  It was interesting as to how the author made the transition between the year 2008 and the year 2813 and how he was able to connect two completely different time periods. I also liked the way that he chose to introduce new information or characters at specific places in the book. This made the book flow nicely and made me want to keep reading. I didn’t especially like that in the middle of the book he only actively focused on one part of the story and you had no idea what was going on in the other part of the story. I think that this book gives a realistic outtake of what it is like to live in a lower income family while also balancing the life of a highschooler. This book gave a new take on what the future might be like and indirectly encourages us to take care of our planet. I was unhappy with the excessive profanity that the author used but it did help make the story more realistic. I think that this story was a riveting page-turner that kept the reader on their toes. I would recommend this book to fourteen or fifteen year olds looking for a science fiction story that they can relate and connect to. 
I gave this book a three because of several components. There was a ton of language i.e. cuss words and also a lot of gruesome violence and murder.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Parker, CO USA

Embers by Laura Bickle

Anna Kalinczyk is not your average arson investigator. Ever since she was a child, paranormal Lantern Anya and her salamander familiar Sparky have been followed by spirits and other beings. She has the power in inhale ghosts like a giant vacuum, but refrains from doing so unless it is absolutely necessary to revive a human being. Being a Lantern has never really affected their lifestyles--until now. An arsonist is on the loose, dropping cryptic clues and devouring spirits, leaving the city of Detroit in flames. His motive? To awaken a fiery entity that will destroy the city and Anya. With the help of her team of Detroit ghosthunters, she embarks on a quest to stop this dangerous Lantern who uses his powers for evil from destroying all that Anya holds dear, including a man who sees her for what she truly is. To take on this task requires an immense amount of skill and power, but Anya Kalinczyk is up for the challenge to save all that she knows.
This book was painful to finish. If it were not for my obligation to Flamingnet, I would have chucked this book in the back of my closet after reading halfway through the novel, never to return to it. The major problem I had with this book is the terrible characterization. Anya's character is left undeveloped, and I really don't feel compelled to read more about her crime-fighting antics. The other characters have even less of a story behind them; the supporting characters are just names written on a page. The other big issue with this book is that it's actually marketed for adults. There are some romantic scenes that teens really wouldn't relate to at all; they're not like the paranormal romances teens read today. The action, or lack thereof, might be what adults like rather than what is popular in teen fiction. The final reason why this book didn't work for me is the farfetched plot. The story of magical people who eat spirits didn't really appeal to me, and it probably won't appeal to you unless you like plots that are really different from other books. I would recommend Embers to adult women who want to read about a crime-fighting woman and her endeavors with her lover and her fight against evil.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Torrington, CT United States

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

Zach was London’s best friend and she was closer with him than she was with anyone. They were the ideal brother and sister duo. Zach was only sixteen when he died. Now, London must face her broken family and world on her own. Her mom hasn’t said a word to her since his death, and her friends have all distanced themselves from her. Trying to build herself back up, London struggles with the two boys in her life: her brother’s best friend and the new boy in town.

I really enjoyed this book. Everyone can relate to the idea of coping with loss, and that is a major theme
represented in this book. This book is stylistically different from other realistic-fiction novels; it does not
have chapters. The text is broken into pieces, the longest being four pages, and the shortest being a sentence. This
makes the book different from others because the pieces are just short thoughts or events from her point of view. It
makes you feel closer to London as a reader.

Rating: 8
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky

My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan was a very different approach to normal YA literature. The protagonist is a young (and gay) Broadway fan. He is dying to go out with the quarterback of the football team. Unpopular Justin soon gets tangled up into pretending to be going out with Becky, a good friend of she can cover up going out with the quarterback of the football team. A book that will make you laugh out loud and cry, in hopes that Justin will finally get what he wants.

To be very honest with you, I wasn't very sure about this book at first. But Justin is such a lovable character that you end up rooting for him. The ending was very cliche, but it almost made the book even better. As you delve into this novel, I highly suggest getting comfortable; this is a read-in-one-sitting book.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Silver Spring, MD USA

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fated (Soul Seekers Series) by Alyson Noel

Fate has brought together a pure soul and a dark soul in a girl who will change everything. Daire Santos, a daughter of a makeup artist, sees strange things and time stops around her. She feels like she is going insane with all the visions and ends up in Enchantment, New Mexico with her peculiar grandmother she has never met before. In Enchantment, she finds herself surrounded in magic and meets the beautiful boy of her dreams. She also encounters an enemy she is destined to destroy. Does Daire have what it takes to be a Seeker and save her people, or will she run away and leave those she loves perish?
Fated by Alyson Noel takes place in New Mexico with dirt roads and dusky, brown colors that are almost like a desert. I can picture the setting in my head with the mood of lonely and deserted feelings. Yet peace and happiness are there too. As for the main character, Daire Santos, she is a very strong girl with characteristics I wish I had. The author makes me believe Daire is a real person in high school. She argues a lot with people but it is appropriate. I liked the book and after a couple of chapters, I couldn t wait to keep reading. The writing was clear and had emotions that made me feel like I was there in that particular place and time. The end of the book was unsettling and it made me wonder: this is the end? This isn 't bad though since the book will continue as a series. When I finished Fated, I didn't feel the same as when I finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Towards the end of Fated, it seemed like everyone was in a hurry to end the scene to go to the next one, and I hoped the author would slow down to fill in all of the details. From the book, I learned to take care of nature and to help those who need it. It also made me think about what home and friends really mean to me in life. I would recommend the book to everyone because it makes people stop and pay attention, wonder what it 's like to find a home, and think about how people are all meant to live with purpose and destiny.

The Life in the Angel Carving by J S Warren

Miranda was carved out of stone long, long ago. For some unknown reason, she has a living soul and a mind that can think. But for many, many years she is trapped inside of the stone carving of an angel. She can only look and think, movement is impossible. The world passes her by. In the middle of a terrible war, Miranda falls from her high perch on the church into a pond down below. Much to her surprise, Miranda falls through a gateway into another world.  And she becomes human.
The story is about Miranda's life on Arbarron, the strange world she came to, and her quest to save the world from an unknown evil.

I thought 'The Life in the Angel Carving' was a good plot idea. It had great potential and I was curious from the beginning. But it took too long to get going. The story was very slow and it seemed as if there was too much unnecessary information, or information that just wasn't brought to life. My attention wasn't caught until the last few pages of the book. I thought the characters were nice, but nothing special. Also, some of the characters weren't described as well as I would have liked. I thought the King was an older man but in truth he wasn't as old as he looked. I thought that was a bit confusing because he spoke of how old he was and yet he didn't appear old.
In the story, there is a massive gateway in space connecting the Artex Galaxy with the Milky Way Galaxy. Earth is in shambles and is falling apart with every horrible thing imaginable. Disease, war, famine, drought, death, greed - the list goes on and on and it was very depressing. It was too much like someone was giving me a lecture on how bad Earth could become if we don't do something. The author portrayed humans as if they were the most detestable creatures alive and it was all their fault. Personally, I don't enjoy being "yelled at” when I'm trying to read an enjoyable book. It was much too heavy and gloomy to drag into the book. If the description had been shorter and not so terribly uncomfortable and preach-y, that would have been fine. But I'm so tired of everyone shouting to save the world while we can, to recycle and save Mother Earth! I find it tedious and not enjoyable to read about.

 Some of the words and phrases the author uses would be too hard for younger children to understand. There were a few curse words here and there that might bother younger children.  Also, the pages and descriptions about a futuristic Earth gone to shambles could be disturbing.

Reviewer Age: 15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Doylestown, PA USA

Faking It by Joseph K. Smith

The Revolutionary War was going on, and Deborah Sampson wanted to fight for her country. Disguised as a man, Deborah became a soldier. Although she experienced many setbacks and close calls, Deborah kept on trying. All through her life, she fought for what she believed in. Deborah gave many speeches and presentations. She inspires many people to be brave and go for their dreams. Deborah is now the official heroine of a state.
Although a wonderful topic, this biography seems to drag. It seems the story could have been more exciting; more of a page-turner. It is more of a narrative about her life than an engaging story. It has no dialog. The timeline was interesting because it showed what was going on in her life during famous historical events. The Introduction, Conclusion, and timeline turned out to be the best parts of the book. Faking It is much shorter than I thought, which could be good or bad depending on the age of the reader. All in all, it is sort of a dull book that I do not highly recommend.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Calhoun, GA USA

Monday, June 18, 2012

Singled Out by Sara Griffiths

Taylor Dresden is not so sure she made the right move. After lots of drama many years before over her playing baseball, she is about to play again. However, this time she is playing on scholarship at a boy's private school. For a while, Taylor thinks everything is going along okay, but when one of her fellow scholarship classmates gets blamed for something she didn't do, Taylor is not sure what to do. As she struggles to stay at the school and earn her time on the field, she also struggles with mixed emotions for the guy who is trying to get her thrown out of the school. What will Taylor do? Will she last the year, or will she be singled out?

Singled Out by Sara Griffiths is fantastic book that teaches one to never give up, and to fight for what one believes in. It is also the second installment in a series about Taylor Dresden and her dream to play baseball. This story is very realistic in the fact that its main character is a girl who is told she can't do something because she is not a guy. Many girls today are told they cannot do things because they do not have the abilities guys do. This story is a very motivational one, and I suggest it to both guys and girls who believe anything is possible if you try hard enough.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Spirit's Princess (Princesses of Myth) by Esther Friesner

As the daughter of her clan s chief, Himiko and her family knew she was destined for greatness. However, the greatness that finds her is not one that her clan will readily accept. To prove her family wrong, Himiko goes out behind her family's back to try and live her dream.  As she struggles to find her inner self, everything else in her life starts to crumble around her. Can Himiko make everything all right again? Will her will to live her dream ruin her chances of surviving?

Esther Friesner has done an amazing job on her latest book, Spirit 's Princess. Spirit 's Princess is the fifth book in the Princesses of Myth series, and Himiko is the third princess to be written about in the series. Out of all the books so far, Spirit' s Princess is my favorite because of Himiko' s spirit. She is lively and at times wild, but she has a kind and wise soul. Himiko is a character you' d want to be best friends with, and the book is well written that one thinks it is entirely true. I recommend this book to everyone, and especially to those girls who take a chance to make their dreams come true.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fresno, California USA

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Kitty Tylney has always been best friends with Catherine Howard, living in the Duchess of Norfolk's manor with other young girls. Kitty and Cat have dreamed of the opulent court of King Henry VIII, but never expected to go. But when Cat is selected to attend to Queen Anne of Cleves, she leaves Kitty behind and begins her ascent. When Cat catches the eye of the king and soon after marries him, she invites Kitty to join her at court. Kitty is excited for the balls, pretty gowns, and expensive jewels, but she isn't expecting the gossip, secrets and power-seeking enemies. Can she protect Cat from those who wish to bring her down?

The Tudors and King Henry VIII is one of my favorite subjects, so I was very excited to read Gilt. I already had some knowledge about Catherine Howard, but it was interesting to read the story from the point-of-view of her best friend, Kitty. From what I can tell, most of the novel is pretty accurate, which is good for history buffs like me. Some parts of the book were a little boring because Kitty isn't at court as long as Catherine, but once she becomes a lady-in-waiting, the plot picks up. I knew what happened to Catherine, but I was looking forward to see how everything would end for Kitty. Fans of history and the Tudors will definitely enjoy Gilt.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, PA United States

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bloodman by Robert Pobi

FBI Special Agent Jake Cole has the remarkable ability to recreate crime scenes in his mind.  Every detail and every clue is stored in his brain to help him solve the most difficult cases.  However, this skill comes with a price-a delicate and compartmentalized psyche developed in an attempt to forget his broken past.  Jake is forced to revisit this haunted past when he returns home to care for his father, one of the most influential American painters of his era, after an accident caused by his affliction with Alzheimer's puts him in the hospital.  Upon his arrival, Jake is called to investigate a grisly double murder that catapults him into a whirlwind of mystery, violence, and shattered memories.  Jake will have to confront the very things he spent 25 years to avoid in order to find the Bloodman, a cold-blooded killer that won't leave Jake alone.

Bloodman is not an easy read, nor is it an incredibly fast read.  However, Bloodman is certainly a rewarding and enjoyable read.  To fully grasp the essence of the book, one must explore in a manner similar to a painter constructing a masterpiece, a central theme in the book.  In a similar fashion, the pace of the book varies.  The excitement and drama of the beginning and final acts are offset with a slower-paced middle.  This allows for plenty of tension while also providing an opportunity for characters and back-story to develop.  The ending is satisfying and unexpected, although it may be considered during the course of the story.  However, the thrilling plot may not be the landmark of Bloodman.  Instead, it is the character study of Jake Cole that steals the show.  His journey is exhilarating but also difficult to swallow as he ponders what must be done to protect his friends and loved ones from the past and perhaps more importantly, himself.  Robert Pobi has written and outstanding thriller that I recommend to mature readers.    

For language, graphic violence, sexual content, and drug references.

Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

Laura della Scalla has finally adjusted to the monotinous routine of daily life in the convent where her father banished her when news comes that she must come back to her home in Venice. Instead of being able to relish the new freedoms of her old life, Laura reels with the shock of her sister's death and the revulsion of having to marry her sister's hideous old fiancee. Just when she thinks there is no hope left, Laura is approached by a member of the secret sociey of women in Venice, the Segretta. These women have the power to change Laura's fate, but they require one dangerous entry fee - a secret. Laura must balance her new responsibilities of her newfound life, as well as deal with her increasing attraction towards a mysterious painter and the powerful yet dangerous members of the Segretta. Laura struggles to accept her sister's passing as it seems more and more apparent that her death was no accident, reminding her of the danger of meddling with the wrong people in Venice, as well as the power even one secret can have.
Sasha Gould's Cross My Heart was the perfect mixture of romance, mystery, and historical fiction. Laura's character appeals to any audience because of her sweet and naive nature as well as her undaunted courage and bravery. I especially loved the theme of appearance vs. reality prevalent throughout the book as Laura struggles to understand who her friends and enemies really are. I was constantly engaged and the ending proved to be an unexpected surprise as the conditions of Laura's sister's death are revealed. I loved this book, and I would recommend it to any historical fiction enthusiasts, as well as anyone looking for a good book. I am looking forward to any more books by this author!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

Wild Horses (Sadie's Montana) by Linda Byler

This book is about a girl named Sadie.  She was being driven to her job as a housekeeper, when Sadie and her driver saw a hurt wild mustang in the middle of the road.  Some men were also on their way to work.  They stopped and said they would take the mustang with them to drop off at the vet.  Sadie s boss surprises her by getting the horse back for Sadie.  Sadie had to choose her husband out of her two favorite men.  At the same time, her mom is struggling with mental problems that her father refuses to accept.  Sadie has tough choices to make.  Will they be the right choices?  Or will they not?

I think this book is a really great book.  The literature was very impressive.  It had strong words and good writing.  I liked the way she had to deal with so many struggles, but she kept her head.  I would recommend it for anyone.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, Virginia USA

The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel No. 6) by Michael Scott

The last day of battle, and Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel are in San Francisco with Niten, a warrior from Japan, and Prometheus, an Elder without a Shadowrealm.  These four valiants must save the city from the Dark Elders Bastet and Quetzalcoatl and the horde of monsters stored on Alcatraz. With several unlikely allies and insane courage, the Flamels might just die knowing they've won.  Meanwhile, on the Isle of Danu Talis, ten thousand years ago, Sophie, Josh, Scathach, Palamedes, Joan of Arc, Saint-Germain, William Shakespeare, Virginia Dare, and Dr. John Dee must fight to keep Isis and Osiris from gaining the throne by trickery, rescue Aten, and complete the prophecy that started this whole business.  The gold and silver twins have been found. The two that are one have become the one that is all.  Now one must save the world and one must destroy it.

It is the last book of the series.  It is a good ending.  Not necessarily happy, but good.  The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is one of my favorite series, so of course I chose this book.  I believe that every character ended this book as something different than they started.  Some objects changed also.  Even the four swords of power, Joyeuse for Earth, Excalibur for Ice, Durendal for Air, and Clarent for Fire, changed their form and were united.  I really liked the idea of a fifth major power, an element, I suppose, a perfect mixture and balance of the other four - Aether. I doubt that any other person has taken traditional mythology and made it into something so different, so accurate, so realistic.  Michael Scott has outdone himself in this marvelous book, the dramatic conclusion to his original mythology series.

About the genre of this book: fantasy is the closest you had, but it's really a mythology book.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Saturday, June 09, 2012

See You at Harry's

In this book Fern faces several conflicts. She finds out shocking things and experiences a tragedy. She also gets embarrassed and aggravated.  Although not everything is a conflict, everything is alright when everyone s happy.. This book may not start out the way you expect, but in the end everything is better.

I enjoyed this book; it was very captivating. Once I started reading, I couldn 't stop. I think this would be a good book for kids 10 and up. My favorite part was when Fern s sister was pull over in the ice cream truck. There is nothing in my opinion that could make this book better.The author must have met her goal of this book. There was no part of this book that was boring.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Wray, Georgia United States

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The world's greatest minds have tried to crack the Voynich manuscript, but none have succeeded. That is, until Nora Kane, her friend Chris, and his odd roommate have at it. That is, until Nora's affinity for Latin and her strange connection with Elizabeth Weston, a 400 years dead poet who seemed to have cracked the code back in the 1500's, will make her the closest to finding out its secrets. But then those who wish for the secrets of the Lumen Dei to be kept in the dark are after them, sending her across the ocean, into a city that is still stuck in the past. There is no one Nora can trust, not the stricken Adraine, girlfriend of Chris; nor quiet Max, that odd roommate she had fallen so hard for; and especially not the mysterious distant cousin, Eli.
Beautiful, is the perfect word to describe this book. The language is woven in a complex pattern full of vivid words and deep meaning. It has a completely different feel than any other book I've ever read before, in a very good way. It's realistic, which with all of the Twilight wannabe's out there is an amazing feat. It sucks you in until you've read the last word, and even after that, it keeps you thinking and wondering over each mystery it presents you with. Of all the mystery novels I've read, The Book of Blood and Shadow has been the most surprising and suspenseful. With a little bit of romance, religion, history, and mythology, it has everything. It was not a book I would normally read, but it makes me want to read them, if they're as good as this one.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Colorado Springs, Colorado The United States of America

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart is the story of Clementine, a high school sophomore who sets out with her family to sail along the east coast for the summer. The extended family time isn't as horrible as it normally would be, mostly because Clementine has managed to lose her best friend, Amanda, after flirting with Amanda's boyfriend. Clementine uses the trip to reconnect with her parents and her little sister, as well as to sort out her own feelings about what happened between her and Amanda. As a little bonus to this soul-searching vacation, she meets a friendly boy named James, who is sailing the same route as Clementine's family.

Unbreak My Heart was an interesting story that added a sailing background to the typical teenage drama. The creative setting allowed for a different take on the genre, and limited the repetitiveness I have come to expect from teen girl books. The plot was a little bit slow, focusing a lot of attention on Clementine's thoughts and the mysterious mistake she made that cost her Amanda's friendship. The small amount of action the book had was in the sub-plots, and greatly underplayed. Clementine's character was not developed enough, and I never really felt connected to her. She did not have enough flaws to make her relatable; besides the one mistake that the plot revolves around, Clemintine seemed like a pretty, smart, social girl with everything going for her. All in all, Unbreak My Heart is a quick read perfect for a teen girl relaxing on the beach and looking for something to read. I would recommend it to fans of Sarah Dessen, and those looking for a quick look into the mind of a heartbroken teenage girl.

Reviewer Age:16
 Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, Pennsylvania USA

Monday, June 04, 2012

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Leah Jones has always lived near airports and been fascinated by planes. When she is finally able to afford flying lessons, she goes to the owner of Hall Aviation, a small banner advertising business, to teach her. But when Mr. Hall dies suddenly, Leah fears her flying days are over. Luckily for her, Mr. Hall's two sons decide to restart his flying business, and they want to hire Leah. The only problem is that Mr. Hall's one son, impulsive Grayson, decides to blackmail Leah into dating his brother, and Leah finds herself stuck between the two of them.

I have never read a book by Jennifer Echols, and after reading Such a Rush, I think she is a terrific author. Such a Rush was a lot different than any other book I've read, especially since it involved flying planes. Everything about the planes was well-researched, and reading about Leah up in the air made me want to learn how to fly a plane, too. All the characters were interesting, and throughout the whole book I wanted to know their motivations. The mystery with Grayson and why he's blackmailing Leah was particularly engaging. Speaking of the protagonist, Leah grew up poor with an absent mother, but she was able to overcome her upbringing by the end of the book. Overall, I thought that Such a Rush was a fun read about a very interesting topic.

Reviewer Age:20
 Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions from Pop Culture that You Should Know About by Laura Barcella

What do 17 horror movies, 12 bone-chilling books, 4 creepy songs, 4 strange plays, 1 terrorizing radio broadcast, 5 sci-fi TV shows, 3 scary comic book series, and 4 frightening pieces of art have in common?

The end of the world.

In this book, Laura Barcella breaks down 50 of the world's most recognizable visions of the end times. For each vision there is a short summary, famous quotes, unforgettable moments, the impact the vision had on people, and a black and white photo. There is also a Reality Factor, which explains whether or not the vision could really happen or ever come true.

This is a stunningly well-put-together book. Laura Barcella adds her own funny captions to the pictures, and has an upbeat sort of vibe, which makes this book very amusing and easy to read. The only problem is that for some of the plays, movies, books, and comic book series the ending is clearly stated. The upside is that not every single one is spoiled. There are only a couple that are truly given away.

Laura Barcella has taken an impossible challenge and made it her own in a funny and laughable way. I will forever enjoy this book, as it is a welcome edition to anyone's library.

While this is an amazing book, there are quite a few pictures of bloody and gory scenes. There are multiple movies and books where people are killed in very vile ways. The aspects of the world ending are clearly present on every page of this book, so young or squeamish reader might want to steer clear.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa, CA USA

Vodnik by Bruce Moore

Tomas is a sixteen-year-old born in Slovakia, but due to a near-drowning accident when he was five, he and his parents moved to America-where he was raised. Ever since his accident, Tomas has been deathly afraid of water, and because of the mysterious burn scars he wields, he is constantly the recipient of everyone's jokes. A fire burns down their house, and their insurance is inadequate, so the family has no choice but to move back to Trenin, Slovakia. Befriending his cousin, Katka, Tomas learns that it was no accident that he almost drowned and that a vodnik, a mythological creature in Slovak lore, is trying to steal his soul. Together with Katka, Tomas must find a way to kill the vodnik, and along the way, he has to deal with daily racism against his people the Roma (Gypsies), three bullies who absolutely hate him, bizarre visions sent by a water spirit, and a dark-humored woman in black commonly known as the Zubat£.
This book was a compelling novel full of suspense, humor of various kinds, and, something I truly enjoy, culture awareness; throughout the book, you learn numerous facts about the Slovakian culture, language, and folklore, along with the eye-opening racism the Roma face every day. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a small segment from a tome mentioned in the book called Death in the Modern Day; each caption has a darkly humorous tone to it, along with interesting information about different things throughout the story. One such caption describes vampires in a never-before-thought-of way: instead of being elegant, beautiful, and aristocratic, in this book, they are "a lazy, slovenly lot, prone to long bouts of diarrhea and cursed with some of the worst body odor on this plane of existence."
Overall, this is a wonderful book that I highly recommend for anyone who loves everything previously mentioned. Tomas is very relatable to those who have major issues making friends-so instead spend their time watching movies or TV, or those who are harassed due to race or differences, or if haunted by any creature from Slovakian lore.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Oskaloosa, Iowa USA

BlackGold by Albert Marrin

Black Gold, it controls the world. Also known as crude oil, it shapes our society by being involved with everything we use and do on a daily basis. "Black Gold" explains this process of control. From the very beginning of time when it was created to the present day with our rising gas prices, "Black Gold" covers it all. "Black Gold" makes connections that you'd never even think of. If you're interested in history, any type of social studies, and even math, then you'll definitively enjoy this book. 
I thought this was a well written book. It was just a bit too "textbook-y" for me, I was looking forward to more of the effects that drilling and the oil industry has the personal lives of people all over the world. As I said, it was very informative and I learned a lot, I just wish there was some more personality to it. Overall, I might recommend this book to a friend if the circumstances were appropriate, though probably not just for pleasure reading.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, Michigan United States