Monday, December 03, 2012

Secrets of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar

The fact that it has taken me months to "get around" to reading this book just might tell you how I thought it was.  I kept picking it up and putting it down, picking it up and putting it down, you get the picture. The tone of the book, I felt was over all appropriate for the story, a light adventure tone, and the characters were believable for their ages (Maya,16, Simon,14, Penny,5), the plot, good, but the voice for the story was boring.  In my opinion the author did not live up to what is a great plot and what could have been an excellent book.  In school, english teachers tell you to always put details in your stories because it provides for a more interesting book and helps the reader visualize the story.  I generally agree with this, except for the details in this book.  The author OVER-detailed everything. Even things that were unnecessary to detail, making it very hard to get through certain areas. That doesn't go to say that there were never areas I didn't enjoy.  I thought there were great characters and I enjoyed the interesting names of the locations they went to, other peoples names etc.  Maybe if I had read the first book in the series I would of been more immersed into the book, but I really doubt it.  I would not recommend The Secrets Of Tamarind to others because the writing style is dull and not very interesting or enthralling.  I am fourteen so maybe a younger reader would enjoy this. 
Maya, Simon and Penny return to Tamarind, the mysterious island they first encountered in The Lost Island of Tamarind(Book one in the series), after alarming messages from their friend Helix and strange deceased animals washing onto the shores of Bermuda.  The three children and Helix board the Pamela Jane (the family boat) and sail to Tamarind only to find the Island to be invaded by the Red Coral a mysterious, private and dangerous organization.  The children discover the island in chaos as the Red Coral is invading and destroying homes looking for the valuable and magical element, Ophalla.  The children go on a quest to save and restore Tamarind to its former glory, before it's to late.Reviewer Age:14Reviewer City, State and Country: Annandale, VA United States


I Am More Than Just a Girl is an empowering book all about girls, for girls. This book is dedicated to allowing girls to be themselves, be safe, and live happy healthy lives. It includes lots of cute graphic images and plenty of space for journaling. Topics covered in this book include beauty, self defense, anger management, confidence building techniques, and so much more. Every girl should know how to deal with everyday things like these and this e-book is the perfect resource for them.

 I really didn' t get a whole lot out of this book. There was a lot of information that was good, but I kept feeling like I was being forced to read a pamphlet at one of my old girl scout meetings. I felt like they were pushing the journaling a little too much too. I thought, originally, this was just a nonfiction, possibly historical, book about empowering women, not a journal to write down my feelings in. Overall, the information was good, I didn' t necessarily learn anything new, but I could see how it could be a use to others.  Younger girls may want to consult with an adult before talking about more serious topics in this book such as eating disorders and sexual abuse. Reviewer Age:16Reviewer City, State and Country: Hopkins, MI United States

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We Are Savages (eBook) by Jessie Atkin

Tris has never felt like anyone. Her parents want her to be more ladylike, and she has no friends except her dog, Mars. But that all changes on a mysterious night when Tris falls down the sewer into an amazing world full of children that call themselves savages. Fireflies that fly above the children s' heads light everything and kids sleep at any time they want to. But that' s not even the weirdest part. There are no adults. Join Tris on an adventure where she' ll meet some pretty weird kids and monsters that snack on children.

To tell you the truth, this book did not intrigue me very much. It was hard to continue on with the book, and I felt like I was being forced to read it. When I was reading, I didn't have any of those " ooh" or "ah" moments that make a book really good. I didn't feel the emotion from the characters like I have in many other books I have read. Even though you were supposed to feel bad for Tris for a chunk of the book, I could not really empathize with her. Overall, this book did not intrigue me, and I did not enjoy it very much.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, North Carolina United States

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Shining City by Fiona Patton

The Shinning City takes place in a world where Gods rule over the people who dwell inside the God-wall.  A newly rising God, Hisar, must stake his claim in the world, but he is not without struggles. From the hovering threat of hungry spirits to the mortal battle moving closer and closer to Anavatan, it is even more important that he comes  to his full powers.  But he is not to fight the battle alone.  Three children of prophecy: the seers Spar and Graize and the warrior Brax have sworn to help him if only they can get past the animosity and distrust among themselves in order to help the young God to survive.  The third book in Fiona Patton' s Warriors of Estavia is a thrilling and mystical adventure cast in a fantastical world that expounds the bond between gods and men. 

This book by Fiona Patton is well written and an enticing novel that caught my eye just by the title.  Patton will blow you away with her dexterous descriptions and delectable dialogue.  It is a dense book that requires the reader to pay attention.  Therefore, I would recommend starting with the first book of the trilogy to prevent getting lost in the complex prophecies and characters.  Patton has created a new world that is both mysterious and enthralling.  This fast-paced novel will not leave you disappointed. 

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Middlebury, CT USA

Monday, October 29, 2012

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk

Guy Langman is a quiet, self-centered, 15-year-old with one friend, Anoop. Nothing much has ever interested Guy, except for girls and sleep. His friend Anoop convinces Guy to sign up for the Forensics Club at school, but he insists only to meet girls. After a few weeks of detective training, Guy begins to enjoy, and become good at, detective work, especially lifting fingerprints. And when someone breaks into his recently deceased dad' s pirate treasure, The Forensics Club is called on to solve a real crime. As they search for evidence and answers to the mystery, they uncover another crime scene. After another week or so, The Forensics Club must compete in a competition against their rival school to solve a fake crime, until Guy and Anoop find a real dead body along with some suspicious fingerprints. As Guy uncovers more secrets about his father's past and begins to piece together the boy 's death and the coin robbery, Guy makes new friends and uncovers new things about himself.

Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator is a funny, page-turning story that keeps the reader engrossed throughout the entire book. The plot starts out a little slow but picks up after the first couple chapters. The author expertly combines mystery and crime-solving with the life of a grief-stricken teenager. By creating a sad and lonely main character, the author is able to develop both Guy' s and his friend s' character traits and personalities. I extremely enjoyed this book and found myself not being able to put it down. I enjoyed the rich but humorous plot and narration, but I was also able to pick out clues while reading the book. I believe that Josh Berk did a fantastic job, and I would love to read another one of his stories.

I would give this book a 2 for content because there are some more mature things going on such as crime and emotional difficulties and high school conversations. If someone younger than about 12 wanted to read this, I would recommend parent guidance.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Parker, Colorado USA

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ruby (eBook) by Amanda Burke

Ruby is a book about a girl named Ruby who has a gift. This gift is not one that she knew of for most of her life, only recently has her gift arisen in her. Ruby is special, her gift provides her with abilities beyond human capabilities. She was known as a witch. Ruby is a witch from one of the most powerful witching families in the world, the Sullivan clan. As a child, she and her grandmother would practice magic, but when her father found out, he took her and forced the grandmother to plant a spell that stops Ruby from using her powers. The grandmother had a different idea though, she put the spell on Ruby, but made it so that when she turned 18, the spell would lift and Ruby would be able to use her powers again.  Her father was a man who hated wizardry and witchdom, even though he himself was one, so he kept his identity as well as Ruby s own identity secret during the time she couldn t use her magic. Then one night, a few days after Ruby turned 18, Ruby s father was found with his insides cut out and his blood covering the wall. So now she must find her grandmother, and accept the truth of who she is. She must learn to control her magic and use it stop the evil that is threatening to destroy the world as we know it. It is up to Ruby and her cancer-ridden grandmother to perfect her abilities and accept her fate.I loved this book! I loved it so much, I finished the whole thing in one day. It kept me intrigued with high action, but also wasn t too much. The book was amazing, but the prologue could be a little more interesting, I almost wanted to put the book down until I got to chapter one. The author could change the wording from old English to today s form of English because a lot of teens and young adults don t really know that form of English anymore.  Other than that, I felt the book itself was spectacular and I hope the author writes a sequel. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read it. It will keep anyone intrigued, from 8-100 years old. Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, North Carolina USA

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Time Fighters: The Shifter Prince (eBook) by Mark Budman

The Shifter Prince is a book about two gifted teens whose stories collide a few chapters into the book. One character is a high school exchange student named Amber, and she is visiting the country of Poslopia, her father' s native country. Poslopia is a dictatorship, heavily enforced by the government, with a rebel group on the loose trying to overthrow them. While in Poslopia, she meets a boy named Yaroslav, a native Poslopian boy with the ability to shape shift, a common Poslopian trait, and one that Amber envies. There is something special about Yaroslav though, and that is that he is a Talent. Talents are special because, while normal shape shifters have a glow surrounding them, they are able to completely change themselves into another being without any trace. When Amber and Yaroslav meet, they instantly have a connection, and that is when Amber tells Yaroslav about her gift, the gift of time travel. At that time, they get the news that Libya, the leader of the rebels, has been captured. Amber and Yaroslav must travel back in time to find important information so they can free Libya and free Poslopia.

This book was very intriguing and well written. I felt that Mark Budman left you at just the right moment at the end of chapters and at the end of the book. I really hope he writes a sequel because if not, the end will leave a lot of people hanging, but if he does, it will definitely sell well. I would absolutely recommend this book to any of my friends because I felt it had just the right amount of mystery, action, and even some romance. Mr. Budman kept the story flowing while adding just the right amount of detail. He explained the characters well and always kept us wanting to read more. I predict that The Shifter Prince will be a huge success.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC USA

Friday, October 19, 2012

Faith, Hope & Reindeer (eBook) by Joe Moore as told to by Santa Claus

This book is about families who lost faith in Christmas.  They are chosen to go to the North Pole to see Santa Claus and all the toys that the elves make.  They learn a lot during the week they stay.  They buy souvenirs from the stores.  Each item had a price tag with unique prices.  One said, "Take orphans to the movies," Another one said, "Donate all your unwanted clothes to the homeless shelter."  The elves and Santa changed the lives of each and every family that went on the week trip to the North Pole.

I like this book because of the characters.  They started out as a family that avoided each other and had a transformation throughout the book.  The setting was very different than most books.  It has more truth to it than other books I've read. It was fun to see how each character changed. I recommend it to anyone who likes to read about changing lives.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The United States of American has fallen. It' s now The United Northern Alliance: an alliance between America, Canada, and Mexico. The government has decided that at the age of sixteen you must take a personality profile test to determine if you are a threat to society. If you fail, you will be sent to The Wheel, the harshest prison set up by the government. You have been be forsaken.

Orphan Alenna Shawcross goes in to take her personality profile test expecting to pass. The next thing she knows, she's waking up on The Wheel frantically trying to figure out what' s going on. She meets a girl named Gadya, who takes Alenna to her tribe, where she meets Liam, a boy trying to find a way to escape the Wheel. Soon, Alenna finds out that this all may have started with her parents, and she is determined to find out what secrets the Wheel is hiding about them. As Alenna and her fellow tribe members try to plan an escape, she begins to learn that not all of the teens are forsaken and that there' s something sinister running below the surface.

I was a little disappointed with The Forsaken. I had this book on my to-read-list for at least three months before it came out, so I was anticipating great things. The main thing that disappointed me was the detachment I felt from most of the characters. I didn't feel that connection with any of the characters in the beginning. It did change toward the end. Another disappointment was how slow the book starts. If fact, I did not feel hooked until page 170. That's when you learn more critical things, and it started to live up to my expectations. Then I got to page 251, and I COULD NOT STOP READING. I was sucked in to the story, and at page 298 I was sold. By then, I started to connect with the characters. Lisa Stasse really put the emotion into the ending, and I hope that and the development of the characters will continue in the second book.

I loved the setting of this book. To me, it felt like Lost's jungle with a Hunger Games fight-for-survival feeling.  I also felt that Lisa Stasse did a superb job of giving just enough detail to make it seem like you were there. Overall, I liked it, and I loved the ending. I, for one, will be looking for Lisa Stasse 's next book, The Uprising, which is due to come out summer 2013.

Throughout the whole book there 's a lot of violence, so I would definitely recommend it only for older teens.. It' s quite graphic and bloody at times.
There are no sex scenes, although there are some comments about it (they 're not graphic) and a few mild kissing scenes, but overall I was very happy with how little there was in that area.
There was also some language in this book, but not as much as I would expect from a teen novel.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sharpsville, Indiana USA

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Flappers Diva by Jillian Larkin

Diva, the third installment of the Flappers trilogy, focuses on the lives of three girls living in New York during the 1920s. Clara, the budding journalist, struggles to get over the one man she truly loved and his sudden engagement to a suspicious social climber. Her cousin, Lorraine, is free from prison but is forced to investigate a shady businessman. Gloria, having been left by her two former friends, finds herself ostracized at her new school. The three girls struggle to find who they really are amidst the dazzling life of high society. Along the way, they learn more about themselves and each other and put their loves to the test.

Diva, by Jillian Larkin, is a fast-paced, exciting read. The setting is especially intriguing to any lover of New York in the Roaring Twenties, and the characters are true to the time period, but are also relatable to the modern reader. Without reading the first two books in the series, the plot can be somewhat baffling, but the original confusion is soon forgotten as the novel progresses. The series closely resembles Anna Godbersen's Bright Young Things novels, but without the charm and sophisticated writing style. Any lover of this series would also enjoy the Flappers trilogy.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Summoning Sphere (eBook) by Jennifer Kloss

Blake and his brother Riley are bored over the summer, so they go to see if their neighbors need help.  Their neighbors, Grace and Rachel, offer to have them clean out a shed in the back yard. The boys get to work and find a  wheelbarrow containing a  mysterious sphere, stone, book, and a talisman.  The brothers hold the sphere along with the other contents, and it transports  them to the land of Tor Forlough.  This begins a grand adventure. While exploring, they learn that the inhabitants of Tor Forlough need help to expose the evil Lord Dario. Lord Dario has poisoned the king and queen to gain power. The Priestess uses the stone of disappearance to investigate the crimes but is captured by the Lord. The brothers then know they must help to save the people of Tor Forlough. But how are they going to get home?

This book was very exciting.  The main characters were smart and used detective skills to solve the crime.It was action packed with magic and suspense.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries. 

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Glen Burnie, MD USA

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Eyeballs Growing All Over Me . . . Again (eBook) by Tony Rauch

For my inaugural Flamingnet book request and subsequent review, I eagerly selected Eyeballs Growing All Over Me&Again by Tony Rauch, from the great literary intellect of which sprouted such imaginative concepts as 40-foot chickens, not to mention heads the size of elephants and elephants the size of heads. Symbolism abounds throughout, and is eluded by neither the teenage generation s disordered bearings on body-size nor the cyclic nature of agoraphobia. But then again, to mangle Freud, sometimes a bee the size of a tricycle is just a bee the size of a tricycle. Yah, don t ask.

Opinions are hard to formulate, and literary works even harder to judge, particularly when, as is the case with Eyeballs Growing All Over Me&Again, I fear instances of brilliance soared over my head not unlike the characters whom, in one intriguing read, wound up shriveling and floating away. My dear Mr. Rauch, what is perhaps my most emphatic and only complaint is this: When symbols are as bountiful and profound as yours, I ask you- no, I beg of you-do not constrain them to the smallest housing suitable. Many a story ended with my pounding my head on the desk in frustration, and I wouldn t be surprised if it soon must be replaced by that of a goat. That being said, however, I must congratulate you on generating such frustration, as few students weep at the end of their math book. Despite my slight criticisms, I recommend this book to any and all, and anxiously await the completion of your upcoming works. Job well done.

Brief references to alcohol, drugs,and/or mature behaviors, the stories' content may be interpreted by younger readers as mildly disturbing.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yardley, Pennsylvania United States

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Superpowers by Frederic Neuman

Superpowers by Fredric Neuman is the story of Chipper, a frail, asthmatic, pitied high school student who is given the choice of a lifetime.  After the passing of his loving mother, Chipper meets Hal, an eccentric, otherworldly being with a very unique wardrobe.  Hal grants Chipper the choice of any one and only one, superpower.  Chipper must weigh this difficult choice while also coming to terms with his mom's death and the life she left behind.  This is even more difficult with a distant father, few career prospects, and frequent asthma attacks.  However, Chipper takes it all in stride with his group of friends, showing that the weakest of bodies may hold the strongest of hearts.

Despite the good intentions of the book to shed a humorous light on important societal issues, the incredibly loose structured narrative is very distracting to the reader. Inner monologue and scene description are mashed together with no consistency. This makes the attempts at humor fall flat.  This flow also causes the development and description of characters to leave much to be desired.  Where Chipper begins to describe the quirks of his friends soon turns into incessant rambling.  This poorly written story ultimately diminishes any lasting impact from themes or morals.  There are certainly important issues that young adults will debate, but it' s hard to be inspired by these topics when they are delivered at a significantly lower reading level.

There is some language in this book.
Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Brother from a Box by Evan Kuhlman

Matt finds a crate that has been shipped to his house. Inside it is a kid? The boy turns out to be a French-speaking robot named Norman. At first, Matt is excited to have a robot brother, but there are complications. Matt 's mother does not want the robot because it reminds her of her first son, who died as a baby. Also, Matt' s new brother is a lot to care for. He flirts with girls, shows off, shuts himself in lockers, and always wants to go back to his crate. In spite of all this, Matt loves Norman. When he starts malfunctioning, Matt is concerned. These are not mere programming problems; someone is trying to hurt Norman! Can Matt protect his brother? Will Norman' s mad robot skills save them all?

Brother From a Box held my interest to the end with unique twists in the plot. It is appropriately told in first person, giving us a glimpse of how Matt sees life. He has many characteristics that resemble a real person. The girl who tries to kiss him drives him crazy, but sometimes he has to play with her because his parents tell him to be polite. He is jealous of Norman, yet somehow loves him. He gives Norman advice, but also exaggerates to him because he is so vulnerable. Their relationship resembles a real relationship between brothers. Even Norman, the robot, had a distinct personality. The mood of the book is funny and lighthearted, but it had some sad parts and some exciting parts. All in all, Brother from a Box is a fun read for kids of all ages.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Calhoun, GA USA

Monday, October 01, 2012

Flutter of Luv (eBook) by LM Preston

When Tony moves into Dawn's neighborhood, Dawn is nothing to him but one of the guys. On the other hand, Dawn sees Tony as something she will never have. Soon they become good friends, and they are pretty much inseparable. As the years go by, and as Dawn changes, Tony's view of Dawn changes as well. Their relationship quickly evolves into something more than just friends. Will their relationship last, or will it go down the drain?

This story was alright. It didn't flow very well, and the mini stories at the end threw me off. However, the story line was very cute, and it made me wish for more. This is a book for middle schoolers and above.

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

Fire In the Streets by Kekla Magoon

14 year old Maxie wants desperately to be a part of The Black Panther Party, but she s too young. No matter how much she works, Maxie can t help but feel like everyone sees her as the little girl who is invisible. She starts to try to prove herself worthy of being a Panther, risking relationships with both her best friends and her older brother. But when she unveils a shocking secret that will give her the chance she needs, she must decide what matters most and where her loyalties lie. Throughout the book, Maxie has to figure out how she will live with any of her decisions once she s made them.This is an okay book. I like the way you can learn about the time, but from the perspective of someone living it, which I feel makes it more enjoyable and sheds light on the subject and how everything effects her as a person. Fire In The Streets, is one of those books that is not necessarily a must read. Kekla Magoon has created a cast of characters who are knit together like a big family which I think shows how hard it must have been to actually work as a Panther while trying to figure out who you are and what loyalty really means to you.
 This book just didn t truly interest me, and it was kind of bland in my opinion. Fire In The Streets for me is like a piece of candy I think I ll enjoy, but the flavor fades fast. I keep chewing finding little bits of flavor left, but not enough for satisfaction. It s not my favorite, I don t think I would read it again, but it wasn t a total waste of my time.Reviewer Age:14Reviewer City, State and Country: Canoga Park, California United States

Storm of Arranon by R E Sheahan

In Storm of Arranon, by R.E. Sheahan, Erynn has to deal with
both a hidden secret and her feelings for Jaer.  When an
alien society is discovered on their planets, Erynn and Jaer
are thrust into battle and Erynn s secret may be their
worlds only hope. Struggling with her feelings and the war
raging constantly Erynn must figure things out quickly
before horrible things happen. When Jaer and Erynn are
finally together, war drives them apart. Will they ever be
able to be together? Will their planets be saved?I
enjoyed this book a lot. It was a great romance/sci-fi novel
without going overboard. My one, tiny complaint is that at
some points in the story things are over-described and it
gets boring. I really liked this book and would recommend
this for anyone 12 and up. I felt this story was interesting
and can t wait for sequels!Reviewer Age:12Reviewer
City, State and Country: Rochester, New York USA

Desert Fire by H.M. Prevost

Desert Fire is about a 17 year old boy named Nick whose goal in life is to be an investigative journalist.  His life takes a drastic turn when he, his mom, and sister move to Abu Dhabi to escape his domineering and cheater of a father. Abu Dhabi was the perfect place because it was far away and had the only job opportunity for the mother and sister.  The day he arrives in Abu Dhabi, Nick looks out the window and finds himself staring his newest journalism project in the face. A plane was falling out of the sky with a flaming tail. Nick decided to investigate and finds a military officer at the scene, blood sliding down his face, slowly losing the light in his eyes. The man slides a disk into Nick s pocket - a disk that Nick later finds holds key military information. This information will make everything around him change, placing him in life-threatening danger, dangerous missions, and gut wrenching decisions. Nick is a determined teenage journalist who becomes a Canadian spy in order to stop the men who want the disk so badly, they re ready to kill for its secrets.  I personally loved Desert Fire. It reminded me a lot of the Alex Rider series, but it seemed like it was geared toward a slightly more mature reader. There were so many moments where I felt like I couldn t stop. I would read a chapter before a school night, try to sleep, then turn the light back on and pick it up again to find out what happens. I never felt like I was reading, I felt like I was a part of the action. There were no moments where I was bored and wanted it to end. It always kept me intrigued and curious about what would happen next. All in all, this book is a 10 out of 10, no contest. I hope other readers will pick this book up as well because it is definitely top of my shelf, next to Hunger Games.Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC USA

Alice Parker's Metamorphosis (ebook) by Nicola Palmer

13 year old, Alice Parker has had some strange things happen to her. Extreme fruit cravings, mysterious back aches, and perfect grades are just some examples. Join Alice as she learns who she is and what she is, and how she keeps all her secrets from her parents. Lucky for Alice she has caring friends that help her along the way. If you like fiction, adventure, and mystery Alice Parker s Metamorphosis is the perfect book for you.I loved this book so much. It was great how the fictional characters were different- not the usual mermaids and fairies. That was the main attraction for me. I got so involved with the characters that I didn t want the book to end. I really liked how friendship was so important in this book. Overall Alice Parkers Metamorphosis deserves 5 stars!Reviewer Age:10Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC United States of America

Friday, September 28, 2012

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Mary used to live on Jar Head Island but left four years ago because of a bully.  That bully has been in the back of her mind since the day she left.  Now she's back and ready to prove that she's not the same scared little girl she used to be.

Lillia's always been popular in school...especially with the boys.  But when one goes too far and starts to mess with her younger sister, she will do anything to protect her.

Kat has been tormented by her ex-best friend for way too long.  The rumors and jokes never used to bother her too much before, but now they threaten her relationship with the one person that she thought she could count on.  It's time to make her old friend pay for the pain she's caused.

These three extremely different girls join forces for the one goal they have in common...revenge.  And they won't stop until each of their enemies is begging for mercy.

I really liked this book.  It was interesting reading the story through three different perspectives of three very different girls.  The idea of revenge was really appealing and interesting.  It was a very fast read despite being over 300 pages.  Once I started reading, I wasn't able to stop.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a hint of mystery in their books and wants to feed their inner evil side.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Four Secrets by Margaret Willey

Nobody likes a bully.  Nate, Katie, and Renata are no different.  They just want to stop the bullying.  So they devise a plan.  A devastating, horrible plan.  A plan that will crush the bullies, but also crush their lives.  They don t care.  They re at the bottom of the social ladder as it is. They re already outcasts.  What have they got to lose?    When the plan is in full swing, they re certain that they' ve thought of everything.  They 've accounted for every minute detail.

Except getting caught and being thrown into Juvie.From page one you know something is awry.  Why are these kids in Juvie?  What have they done wrong?  DID they do something wrong, or is this just a big misunderstanding?  And the questions pile up from there.  But by the last page everything s resolved.  All your questions are answered.  Some answers are not what you want them to be.  They are anything but what you expected.

This book grabs you and pulls you into its dark story from page one.  You are sucked in, and you won t want to escape until you read the last page.  Suspenseful and intriguing, the plot is excellently crafted.  The style of writing differs with each chapter.  That in turn helps the plot become even more twisted and unpredictable than it already is.  Most of the characters are realistic and believable from the beginning.  Katie, Nate, and Renata - while having completely different personalities - are all such fantastic characters.  They compliment the plot nicely, and they seem as if they were created to fit the roles that they play.  As if they truly were real.  The author has succeeded in making her readers forget they are reading.  She has instead made us feel as if WE are the detectives.  We must find the answers to the questions we ask.  She makes us feel as if this is real life; as if we are right there with the characters, experiencing life alongside them.
I cannot express my delight in reading such a well-crafted novel.  I truly cannot put into words how amazing this story is.  All I can say is this:  Go out and read this book for yourself.  You will not be disappointed.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Under My Hat by Johnathan Straham

Under My Hat is a collection of short stories written by notable fiction authors such as Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, and Jane Yolen. The stories have an equally notable subject - witches!  One of the greatest figures in fantasy and folklore, witches have come to life, spellbinding as never before, in the pages of this book.  A vengeful grandmother skeleton, a lovely cat-woman, and a certified wizard are a few examples of the variations of the classic witch that appear in the tome.  The magical qualities of these stories come not from a potion, spell, or familiar, but from the words the authors have written, collected into one bewitching book.

I was spellbound!  I swear, every time I closed the book, it took a moment for the world to come back into focus, as I had to shake of the magic woven in the words.  Every story was written so clearly, I could see it happening - and I still can!  I loved each tale, and am sure that when I read them next, they will captivate me just as much as the first time.  Nothing in this book seems as if it should be real, and yet it is, brought to life by the authors' pens.  Many of the witches were not traditional, as woodcarvers, men, or rock musicians!  Even those who don't believe in magic will find this book bewitching - and may change their views!  This book has as much magic as a boiling cauldron (probably more)!

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

Avalonia: The Three Realms by Ashley Kate Simmons

Book Title: Avalonia: The Three Realms
Author: Ashley Kate Simmons
ISBN: 9781843868323
Summary: "Avalonia The Three Realms" by Ashley Kate Simmons is an enticing fantasy story with love, adventure, and self-discovery. Lily is just a normal teenage girl until one day she finds herself in a world where faeries, werewolves, and vampires all exist and are trying to live peacefully, but that is all about to change. Artemis, the vampire queen, is awaiting Lily so that she may fulfill an ancient prophecy that will bring true peace to all the realms. She learns that the vampire princess is faced with killing her father and becoming queen of the vampires with her beautiful lover, Marcus, or returning home and forgetting everything. To learn what destiny she chooses read Ashley Kate Simmons "Avalonia The Three Realms."
Opinion: This book is very well written with a great plot and unique characters who keep you enthralled until the last page. This book is fairly easy to follow considering it changes point of view very often, which I didn't expect. Ashley Kate Simmons did a good job developing the characters.  It feels like they are real and draw out certain emotions from the reader. The story takes place in a magical land called Avalonian that is broken up into three magical realms, each more fanciful than the next.  They draw even the most picky reader into a state of awe. I would recommend this book to any teenage girl who is looking for a good read.

Content: 2
There is some sexual content and gore.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Makanda, IL USA

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Elisa is the first ever ruler to also be a bearer.  She takes the throne in the aftermath of the war against the Invierne and her husband's death.  One day, as she is praying in the catacombs beneath Brisadulce (her capital city), an attempt is made on her life.  During a thorough investigation of the cavern where it happened, a secret passage leading to a hidden village beneath the city is discovered.  Their leader speaks of a secret power, zafira, that is mysteriously linked to the Godstones.  Elisa feels called to find the zafira, and decides to set out for a place where it is said to be found, in the south, at the gate of life.  She sets out on a journey that quickly begins to seem impossible.  Elisa must make sacrifices, trust people she's certain about, brave terrible storms, and hold true to her mission, all while battling something improbable and slightly improper - love.

Wow! I totally loved this book!  I'm definitely going to read it many times in the future.  Elisa is an astounding protagonist because she continually gets into sticky situations and always works her way free from them.  This book was impressively easy to get into - it practically absorbed me!  The descriptions were so vivid and clear, it was like I was there; and the book was so captivating, I finished it by 7:00 PM of the day I found it in the mailbox after school!  My favorite part was Elisa's revelation about the zafira, and how she chose to save the life of an Invierne, rather than leave him to living death.  Elisa was brave and loyal, standing true to her beliefs no matter the circumstances.  As for the romance, let's just say I saw it coming in the first book.  The Crown of Embers is another truly magnificent novel to add to anyone's list of favorites (It's on mine! :).

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

Skylark by Meagan Spooner

Lark has always known she was different from the rest of her people, and her people always knew Lark was different from them. Every year, Lark wishes her Resource will finally be harvested, and finally, her wish is coming true. However, upon entering the city and learning what being harvested really entails, Lark finds that all she wants to do is get away. Will she be able to flee and survive outside the Wall, or will she find where she truly belongs?

Skylark by Meagan Spooner is a tale full of romance, lies, and betrayals. Once I started the book, it was hard for me to put it down. The whole story was very serious. From the minute I started reading, I could tell that something big was going to happen and that there was going to be an adventure for Lark. The storyline was amazing, but I was upset at the end. I hope Ms. Spooner writes a sequel to this thrilling novel. I would recommend this book to girls age thirteen and up.

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

Diary Of A Parent Trainer by Jenny Smith

Katie Sutton is an expert in parent training. She is excellent at getting the exact results she wants from every adult in her life. And by reading her guide on the operation of grown-ups, you 'll be able to control your parents too! But as Katie discovers throughout the story, grown-ups are complicated, and at times, very unpredictable. Katie has had to endure the loss of her father, and now that she and her family are finally recovering, new problems are popping up around Katie. This journal-style book evolves from a manual-like guide into a funny, sweet story about Katie' s struggles to stay in command when her life spirals out of control.

Katie' s narrative is witty and insightful, but at times, heart wrenching. Katie and her family members are so realistic; I feel like I know them! Most of Katie 's problems seem like those of any teen, while some of her deeper troubles will bring a tear to your eye. Comedic relief keeps things from getting too heavy, though. I loved the ending, which was very bittersweet. It was realistic, which I like. All in all, a great read!

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tigard, OR USA

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring

The Grass King's Concubine is a descriptive fantasy following the journey of wealthy Aude Pelerin des Puiz as she struggles to understand why some people in her nation are rich while others are poor.  As a young woman, she takes to wandering the streets of the dirty, dangerous Brass City, where she encounters and falls in love with Jehan Favre, a soldier who likewise questions the wealth inequities of their nation.  Together, they travel to the original lands of Aude's family in order to discover the origins of her family's wealth.  When Aude is kidnapped and taken by the Grass King's protectors, the Cadre, to the realm in the WorldBelow, Jehan must journey to save her while Aude fights to learn the reason for her captivity, and she must find a way to save her own life.

Although a slow plot makes the story difficult to enjoy in the beginning, the story quickly picks up pace and becomes an exciting read.  Its Indian-like atmosphere and exquisitely detailed land create an unusual and enthralling world that traps the reader - especially when the puzzling palace of the Grass King is introduced.  Each character: human, superhuman, and ferret alike are presented as uniquely flawed individuals, adding to the story's overall conviction.  Even the twin shapeshifters, whose friends and enemies struggle to tell apart, are each shown to posses their own personalities by which the reader can distinguish them.  The Cadre and their powers are especially captivating - for each defines himself by his power, yet uses it for a different reason than his fellows.  The story itself is told through the eyes of four characters: Aude, Jehan, and the twin ferrets.  Though the author's choice to switch between personages every chapter does foster suspense, it also creates easy confusion.  However, the description of both characters and setting is fantastic, and the overall story is fascinating.  Although the book takes time and concentration to read, I would recommend it to any fantasy-lover.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Middlebury, CT USA

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One (ebook)

Aine (pronounced Ah-nee) has always thought of herself as a normal teenager in Depression-Era Alabama. With her blind brother Spenser, she lives in her grandmother's farmhouse, playing in the woods, reading books, and going to school--but never going outside the farmhouse other than school. But on the one day that their grandmother lets them go to town, Aine and Spenser return only to find that the person they call grandmother isn't actually their grandmother at all, and that she's been murdered. Not to mention that they've actually been living in a book all along. Soon Aine and Spenser are on the run from their grandma's killer, Biblos, with the legendary Gilgamesh. The two siblings hop from novel to novel as they embark on a quest to find three objects to save their world.

There were a number of things that hindered me from enjoying The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One. First of all, the narrative was told in the present tense and in the third person. This is not automatically a bad thing for a book, but the style of the prose constructed really awkward sentences at times, e.g. "The size of her failure feels epic." The premise for the book felt incredibly uninspired at times; I truly had a lot of trouble getting into and finishing the book. We also never find out what book Aine and Spenser were living in. Speaking of Aine and Spenser, I thought that their characters could be developed a bit better. However, Jess Lourey did do a wonderful job creating Gilgamesh s character and using her vivid imagery. The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One is not a bad book, but I wouldn' t recommend it to my friends.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Great Neck, New York United States
Rating:  5
Content Rating:  1

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spark: A Sky Chasers Novel by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Waverly has finally gotten the girls back on their home spaceship of the Empyrean, but the parents are still stuck on the New Horizon, and everyone thinks Waverly should have tried harder to save them. Meanwhile, she thought she would be happy to be reunited with her fiance, Kieran, but he has turned into a power-hungry leader who uses the pulpit to control the children on the Empyrean. Waverly knows that they somehow have to catch up to the New Horizon and rescue their parents, but that's hard when her friend Seth is locked in the brig by Kieran. Matters become even worse when they think there might be a stowaway on board from the enemy ship. How will Waverly, Kieran, and Seth protect the Empryean when they are hurtling through deep space?

I really enjoyed the first novel in this trilogy, Glow, so I was super excited to receive the sequel. Luckily for me, Spark was just as good as its predecessor. The novel follows the points-of-view of Waverly, Kieran, and Seth, so the reader is able to get into each character's mind and see the motivations behind their actions. All of the characters are incredibly complex, and you are able to have sympathy for all of them. Since all the adults are trapped on the New Horizon, it's a bunch of teenagers running the ship. It was a little like Lord of the Flies, and it was interesting to see what happens when kids are in charge. The plot was always exciting and a little mysterious, especially when there's a stowaway on board. The ending was a cliffhanger, so I definitely cannot wait to see how the series ends!

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pa USA

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Toppling by Sally Murphy

Toppling is about a boy named John who loves making domino topples with his friends. John has four friends: Christian, Joseph, Tran, and Dominic. Dominic, who is his best friend, gets sick at school and is taken back home. When he doesn't come back the next few days, he and his friends get worried. One day their teacher, Mrs. Timms, says that Dominic is in the hospital and won't come back to school for a few months. The pressure is on as John copes with Ky, the school bully, the Domino Topples paper that is due and the fact that his best friend may be dying.

I like this book because of the plot. It shows what people have to face when someone they know is sick or hurt. Even the bully was kind and really sad about Dominic in the end. The book was very touching as the friends go through their tragedy together. I recommend it for anyone.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, Virginia USA

Me and Jack

Me and Jack

Me and Jack by Danette Haworth is a story about a boy named Joshua, whose dad is in the Air Force. Josh thought things were going to be same as usual, move to a new place, make new friends, and then move again and have to leave them behind, until his dad surprised him with something great, a dog, which he later named Jack. Just when things were going good, things take a turn for the worst, involving missing chickens, a shredded cat, and a dead horse. Everybody blames Jack for all the problems, but Josh knows the real culprit, a coyote. One night, Josh set a trap and as he had planned, the coyote came, but before Josh knew it, Jack had squeezed past Josh, who was standing in the doorway, and chased it up the mountain, with Josh and his dad right behind him. Eventually, Jack chased the coyote into a bully's yard, who blames Jack for the death of his beloved horse, and comes running after Jack and Josh with a loaded gun, but when they come to a clearing, the bully, whose name is Alan, is shocked to see Jack, Josh, and a coyote in a death triangle, and drops the gun. When Josh turns around to get the gun, the coyote lunges toward him, but when Josh turns around and shoots, Jack had stepped in to defend his boy. With a dead coyote and a dog laying on the ground in front of him, Alan is still petrified, but Josh finally got his attention and they carried Jack to Alan's house where Alan's dad called the vet, and because of Josh's rush to save his best friend, Jack survived with only a scar where the bullet had passed through his neck.

I really liked this book because one of the main characters was a dog. I love animals and loved the story because the dog became a hero. He was very protective of Josh. I would love to have a dog like that. I liked that I didn't know what was going to happen until the very end of the book. I would recommend this book to boys or girls 10-13 years old.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Mo Bollinger

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Callie LeRoux is living in Kansas during the Dust Bowl. All the farmers have moved away, intense dust storms make it hard to breathe, and the hotel Callie's mother owns has long been empty. But when one day her mother disappears in a storm, Callie decides to head to California to search for her. She meets a young hobo named Jack, and together they set off. Little does she know, Callie is about to learn about her supernatural background and the prophecy that she is the center of.

I really enjoyed Dust Girl. When I read the synopsis, it compared it to The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, which is one of my favorite book series, so I was looking forward to reading this novel, and I'm glad it met my expectations. Callie was a very interesting character, especially once we learn more about her paranormal background. I also liked her relationship with Jack. They meet up and decide to stick together as they travel around the Midwest. He was such an asset to Callie on her journey, and I'm looking forward to some prospective romance between them. Dust Girl ended on a cliffhanger, and now I can't wait to read the sequel! I hope the author writes it quickly.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, PA USA

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Mallory McDonald, Super Snoop

Who is super sneaky, but always gets caught when trying to spy on her older brother and his girlfriend? Mallory! Mallory McDonald in the book Super Snoop by Laurie Friedman is the super snoop who is always getting caught. In this book Mallory is trying to see what her older brother and
his girlfriend, Winnie, are doing. They say they are working on a science project but Mallory doesn't believe a word they say. Who would spend ALL their free time working on a science project... there must be something more going on with them. In the end Mallory finds out the truth.

I have read many Mallory books and I think this one is the best of all I have read. Once I started reading I had a hard time putting the book down to do other things. If you like a realistic fiction book with just a bit of mystery you will like all the Mallory books. I think girls between 8-12 will like this book.

Reviewer Age:9

Jackson, MO USA

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Queen's Lady (The Lacey Chronicles Book II) by Eve Edwards

Jane s life is full of hardships and complications. Born into a controlling family who wishes to use her as a pawn for their own gains, having the man she thinks she might love practically despise her, having one of her few friends, the wise and elderly Jonas Marquess of Rievaulx, breathe his last breath before her, and much more. In The Queen s Lady , Jane begins her trip to court to join those serving the Queen, as was the dying wish of Jonas. While there, she meets once again, James, the man who had stolen her heart. She tries to clear the confusion on her real reasons for rejecting his brother. Jane becomes re-entangled with her family, who still views her as a way to gain power. Along with a gaggle of conniving stepsons, a needle woman with a difficult romance, not to mention trying to reconnect with James, Jane s life is as busy and confusing as before. Tangled up in more than she can handle, she looks to her closest friends to assist her as she tries to stumble through the problems she faces, and, hopefully, end up alive and married to the man she loves.       I began reading The Queen s Lady with high hopes for the story, and was thrilled to see that the book definitely did not disappoint. Set in a time and place where a Queen ruled, a dowry came with every marriage, and even the most common speech had a wisp of poetic nature, the book remained true to the wonderful history and culture of the United Kingdom. It told the marvelously intriguing story of Lady Jane. The characters too were wonderful, each having extremely distinctive personalities, speech, and habits. The storyline was unique, the twists fascinating, and the writing style captivating. Though there were times when I wished the author would have delved into more detail, the book itself was magnificent and I will be waiting anxiously for Eve Edward s next book.   Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Phillipsburg, New Jersey USA

Out of Control by Rick Jasper

In the book, Out of Control, by Rick Jasper, Carlos 'Trip' Costas is a key player in his all-star team, the Roadrunners. But when baseball starts becoming more of a chore than a sport to Trip, he asks for a break. When his father, the international superstar Juilo Costa, hears that Trip will be sitting out for a few weeks he threatens the whole team into financial devastation. Trip must decide to live out his father's dream or his own, music. With the help of his best friend, Lisa, the coaches and an unexpected injury, Trip finds a way to continue his music and baseball.The book "Out of Control" by Rick Jasper was a book about Trip trying to break away from his father's expectations and follow his own dreams. This book was a quick read with an easy to follow plotline and an insight on the sport of baseball. The characters and situations were all well developed by the end of the story and were easy to relate to. The story was also fast paced and never settled at one point for too long. I would recommend this book to whoever is looking for a quick read or any sport/baseball fans.Reviewer Age:14

Chasing the Falls (eBook) by C. Leigh Purtill

Lila is a relatively normal girl living in Ladder Falls, Massachusetts, who cares lovingly for her sick, single mother. When her mother s cancer becomes too powerful, Lila is left with a funeral and an uncaring father who lives on the opposite coast. Lila is quickly sent to live with her father, Lionel, as much as she despises him. At first, Lila can t understand why he would use his talent of photography to capture pictures of movie stars and sell them to the media. Lila and her mother had always shared the obsession of photography but had always disapproved of her father s decision to photograph only for money.  When Lila begins to accompany her father on some of his frequent outings to capture shots for the media, however, she starts to comprehend why he still engages in his unsuccessful, perilous, and widely detested career.  Before long, Lila has begun to weave her way into a life with her father, but not before she faces some serious questions about what she wants, what is right, and who she is.When I first starting reading Chasing The Falls , I expected to be disappointed. The main character seemed grossly undeveloped, and the plot seemed dreary and undefined. But it didn t take C. Leigh Purtill long to get the book moving. By the end of the book, I was thoroughly pleased with both the characters and the plot. The writing was so strong that I frequently felt frustrated when Lila made terrible decisions, and delighted when she made the correct ones. At the beginning of the book, Lila is understandably upset and disoriented. More important, however, are her lack of friends and lack of confidence.  With time, the character grows; she gathers friends and  courage, and finally, at the end of the book, Lila has blossomed into a intricate, unwavering, character.  Surprisingly, my favorite character is Erika. Girlfriend of the Hollywood paparazzi, I expected her to be a vicious, lip-sticked tyrant. But she turns out to be a kind, funny and empathetic woman. Throughout the book, Lila questions her father s choices and his character. But I felt that Erika s compassion and devotion to Lionel forshadowed the fact that in the end, Lila s father means well, despite his career. This book was interesting and fun to read, and I think I will definitely read it again sometime.Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle River, Alaska United States

Chance Falls (eBook) by James Unger

This book, Chance Falls, by James Unger was about a student who is given a full scholarship to an elite high school in Baltimore. There he meets Elaine, a girl he quickly falls in love with. During the fall break, he travels to Chance Falls, to meet Elaine's parents. Soon unexplainable things begin to happen, and nobody will give Ryan answers. When Ryan begins to suspect Elaine is plotting against him, in his frenzy for answers he is watched and followed. When everything leads back to a familiar place, Ryan is forced with the decision that could change the lives of more than just the occupants of Chance Falls.The book Chance Falls, by James Unger, is a fast paced mystery that is full of suspense. It will keep any reader wondering what Ryan will do next throughout the whole book. With a riveting plot and shady characters, this book has a unique tension and written in a new and upbeat fashion. The emotions described in the book were realistic and descriptive and Ryan, the main character, was easy to relate to. I would recommend this book to people who like a fast paced book that has a more in depth, complicated plot line.Reviewer Age:14Reviewer City, State and Country: ,

Escape from Texas by James W. Russell

James, a slave, thinks like no other slave. He wonders about things and thinks a lot. When he is told that slavery is over, he runs away from his Master. But when slavery starts back up again, he is taken back to his Master. He has to decide whether he should run away again, or stay a slave.I found this book rather boring. I was expecting it to be better, since I love Historical Fiction, but.... it was just bad. I actually had to skip over some parts because there was just so much description and no action or dialog at all. There were very long words, and at times there were parts that were confusing. All in all, a very boring book which I am unhappy with.Reviewer Age:13Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa, CA USA

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

Seemingly derived from the typical Jersey Shore character, Angel is a teen girl having fun and partying constantly during the summer before her senior year of high school. At the beginning of the novel, she is shocked when her on-off boyfriend, Joey, does not want to mess around anymore. He wants a relationship, and Angel refuses. Instead, she ends up having romantic encounters with her best friend s long-time boyfriend, Cork, and two other guys as well. As the book progresses, Angel makes decisions impacting her family, friends, and lovers.The main conflict in Jersey Angel is that Angel does not want to be in a relationship with Joey, but still wants the romantic benefits. She finds herself attracted to several other guys, like Cork and the more-or-less social outcast, Kipper. Personally, I find reading a novel where the majority of the story is about a girl sleeping around a bit pointless. I would describe the plot as an indecisive teen girl who is looking for love, and the boys who fall for her. The book itself is not bad per se, but it is not your typical romance book.This book contains multiple sexual encounters between the main character and other characters. Reviewer Age:14Reviewer City, State and Country: Leawood, Kansas United States

Friday, August 31, 2012

Moon Dust (eBook) by J.E. Nicassio

Moon Dust is a sci-fi adventure that begins when Samantha Hunter is the only survivor of a car crash that claims the life of her mother and younger brother, Cody. Although her car accident wounds are healed by a mysterious stranger, Samantha is haunted by the knowledge that the accident was her fault. When she and her father move to New Mexico, it is a chance to get away from the bittersweet memories of her family, and start over new. However, the arrival of a pale, dark haired stranger into her life changes everything. The stranger, a boy named Lucien, introduces Sam to the hidden world of real-life aliens. Romance and adventure follow Sam in her new life as she works to decipher her complicated alien-human relationship, and to discover what connects her to this strange alien boy. 

The plot of Moon Dust moved at a fast, exciting pace, and the details of Sam and Lucien's world were interesting and detailed. Sam was very realistic as a character, but Lucien did not make a lot of sense to me. The story lacked clarity, and even at the end of the book I was not able to understand even the surface of alien politics.

Another problem I had with Moon Dust was its similarity to many currently popular teen novels. With the love interest being an alien in lieu of a vampire, the plot could have been wildly different than that of Twilight, but I couldn't help but notice the many parallels- Lucien's skin changes when he is in the sunlight, a blood transfusion heals Sam but leaves her part alien, and Lucien eats only raw meat.

All in all, Moon Dust is an alien love story aimed at teenage girls, and I would recommend the book to fans of Twilight and others looking for a quick read. I would not recommend Moon Dust to those who prefer getting the whole story, or those who are looking for a unique plot.

There is some sexual content.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Keeper Of The Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Sophie Foster is a 12 year old misfit. But all that changes when she meets a strange boy named Fitz who has the same special talent Sophie has: They can both read minds. Join Sophie on her adventure in a new world as she tries to find who she really is, and what she really is. If you like suspense, action, emotion, and magic you should definitely read Keeper of the Lost Cities.This book was amazing! I'd have to say it was the best Flamingnet book I have read yet. I didn't want to put it down. The book made me think of things in ways I'd never have thought to. Each chapter got better and better and better. The characters were developed so strongly. I want to give this author a round of applause.Reviewer Age:10Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, NC United States of America

Sophia's War by Avi

You’ve probably heard of the famous spy Nathan Hale, but have you ever heard of Sophia Calderwood? When Sophia witnesses the execution of Hale, she finds herself horrified by it. So horrified, in fact, that she makes a pledge to help the American cause in the Revolution. Soon Sophia becomes a spy and discovers a plot involving a traitor in the American army. Will she succeed in thwarting the plot, or will she end up being executed herself?

With so many novels written about the American Revolution already, I worried that Avi’s latest effort wouldn’t bring anything new to the table. Instead, Sophia’s War turned out to be a breath of fresh air in a crowded genre.  The book strikes a perfect balance between factual and fictional characters. Sophia is a courageous and resourceful character that we truly care about. Meanwhile, the supporting characters, whose names you may recognize from history textbooks, are just as interesting and multilayered.  The antagonist is especially memorable, and is skillfully portrayed as a human, rather than just another one-dimensional villain.  The historical background is full of detail; it’s clear that Avi did his research when he wrote this book. The plot is the part of the book I enjoyed the most, and perhaps the best aspect of the book. It’s both believable and suspenseful, and nearly every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. I simply did not want to put the book down; in fact, I finished it in a day! Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains or just books about the American Revolution in general will enjoy this book, and Avi’s fans will certainly not be disappointed. Even ten years after his Newbery Medal winner was published, and over seventy books later since he was first published, Avi is still going strong.     

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Great Neck, New York United States

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is 16 years old. Her old tutor is a dragon, and she is currently assistant to the court composer. She gives harpsichord lessons to the princess Glisselda, so she lives at the palace, for convenience.  She also has scales around her waist and left wrist, as well as strange mental powers. The reason? Seraphina is a half-dragon, and her dragon tutor is her uncle. Thrown into the maelstrom of confusion at court after the death of Prince Rupert, uncle to Glisselda and her cousin/fiance Prince Lucian, Seraphina must search for the truth. Many Goreddis, her country's people, suspect a dragon, as Prince Rupert had lost his head, and it was never found. People were antsy enough about dragons under a treaty that some suspect is false, but the Ardmagar(ruler) of the dragons is due for a visit. He is coming to honor the 40th anniversary of the treaty. With the help of Prince Lucian and her Uncle Orma, and several other half-dragons(which aren't supposed to exist)that she's collected along the way, Seraphina must prevent as many deaths as she can.

Dragons, check.  Palace intrigue and gossip, check. Music, check.  Controversial saints, check. Assassination attempts, check. Prince Charming, sort of. Half-dragon girl, of course.  This is definitely not an ordinary sort of book.  That may be my favorite thing about it, as well as some of the things mentioned above. I absolutely loved the saarantrai, dragons able to become humans, hoarding knowledge in place of gold. The quigutl were also fun, almost human cousins of saarantrai that go begging for metal to make little figurines. The story starts a little strangely, but once I got into it, it was hard to put down. The writing has a lyrical quality, with a bright thread of humor throughout. This book reminds me of the Inheritance books by Christoper Paolini, one person set to bring two separated worlds together, joining them in a common cause. Rachel Hartman's debut novel is truly magnificent.

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summoning the NIght by Jenn Bennett

Summoning the Night is about a female magician who has gotten caught up in a mystery concerning her demon boyfriend and his son. In the book Cady, the female lead, goes on a hunt for a person found in a supposed myth. This demon she is trying to find is called the snatcher, due to the fact that he steals demon children to perform a crazy ritual. This ritual will open up the world of humans to the world of demons and no one will be safe from the demons any longer. When the snatcher steals Cady’s boyfriend’s son, Jupe, Cady must take on a quest to take down the snatcher and save Jupe. Jupe’s life is in Cady’s hands.

I really enjoyed this book because of its adventurous storyline and the fact that you can never guess what is going to happen next. This book intrigued me because it never stopped sending surprises toward the reader. I stayed up late every night not wanting to put the book down due to the cliffhangers provided at the end of every chapter. This book is best for people who like adventure, fighting, and fantasy. This book is definitely one I would recommend to many of my friends. This book drew me in and wouldn’t release me until it was over. It is a very well done novel by Arcadia Bell.

There are some references to sex and sexual behaviors in this book. Possibly not suitable for children.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Charlotte, North Carolina United States of America

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Keeping Secrets (Sadie's Montana) by Linda Byler

Sadie is a spirited young woman living in an Amish community. She has finally come to terms with her simple life when several startling events change this outlook. From mysterious orphans to the return of a former flame, Sadie's life is far from mundane. She regularly encounters danger, especially since the horses are being shot and she continues to ride. In the end, Sadie must come to terms with her own hopes and dreams and must also face the dark secrets of those closest to her.

Linda Byler's novel, Keeping Secrets, proved to be a slow and difficult read because of the poor plot and inferior writing style. The main character, Sadie, was frustratingly predictable and lacked relatability. I found myself struggling to finish the novel and at times put it down for days on end. I have not read the first novel in the series, which made the dialogue and characters a little difficult to keep up with. I would recommend this book only to those interested in the life and culture of the Amish.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams

Maile Manoa has been blessed with a beautiful voice and an insatiable thirst for music. However, the options for musical growth are almost nonexistent in Hawaii, and she must sing to provide for her family. Unsatisfied with the same Hawaiian songs she has sung all her life, Maile becomes determined to travel to New York, in search of opera and stardom. Funds run low quickly, and jobs are unforthcoming and forbidden, as the wrong gig could potentially ruin a future career. Maile quickly discovers that singing is not solely a career, but a lifestyle in which appearance is everything. When her voice teacher recommends a move to Salzburg to save money and grow musically, will Maile be able to succeed amongst a city torn by the previous World War II and budding Cold War, but held together by music and tradition?

Aloha, Mozart was an extremely unique read focused on music and success amongst young adult books typically far more action packed. It was actually very refreshing, and Maile, the main character was extremely relatable. The contrast between the different cultures and locations in the book: Hawaii, New York, and Salzburg, made Aloha, Mozart extremely interesting. I especially enjoyed the method Williams used in incorporating the different languages and vernaculars in the book.  While certain parts of the book could be slow at times, Maile’s character development was enhanced by the political and romantic subplots. Overall, Aloha, Mozart was a fantastic read, especially for readers interested in music.



Content:  1

Rating:  7

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Colleyville, Texas US


Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

It's been almost a year since the Yellowstone Super Volcano erupted and Alex Halprin journeyed across a snow and ash covered battlefield to Illinois.  A couple months after he arrived at his aunt and uncle's house, they receive news about the whereabouts of Alex's parents.  Alex and his girlfriend, Darla, decide to travel back into Iowa to find his parents and bring them home to safety.  However, shortly into their rescue mission, Darla and Alex are separated.  He is left making this treacherous expedition on his own and is tasked with making two rescue missions, saving some unexpected guests, and evading gangs, cannibals, and death.

Ashen Winter was a pretty decent book, but I think the first book in the trilogy, Ashfall, was better.  This book got a little dry at certain points, and it was just a long read.  Also, this book goes more into the "darker" effects that the eruption had on people, such as gang violence, prostitution, corruption of the government, etc.  Mike Mullin added in new characters, which I liked (Ben is my favorite), and he really showed the changes in the characters from pre-eruption to post-eruption. These changes are seen in the main characters as well as characters that only appear for a page or two. I liked how all throughout the book you can see Alex's mental struggle to decide what is moral and what isn't. A lot of people in his life think that because of this new world, all the rules are different. Alex doesn't believe that, but he struggles with it sometimes, and that makes him more relatable.  I would recommend this book to anyone you likes dystopian and apocalyptic action books.

I don't remember what the recommended age is for this book, but I feel at should at least be 14+.  There are several occurrences with graphic violence, and because there is prostitution of young girls within the gangs and military, there are some graphic descriptions related to that, as well as derogatory language.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America

The Curiosities: A Collection Of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovano

In 2008, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and Maggie Steifvater joined forces to create the website They created the website for one purpose, to expand their writing horizons. They decided to each write a story and not re-write or revise it once it was posted.  After those stories received quite a few followers and fans, Tessa, Brenna, and Maggie decided to keep going. They added more stories, and now they have over 250 on the website. In this book, you can find thirty of their favorites. Some of them are wacky, some are crazy, and some are down right insane. But they all have one thing in common: they will make you curious.

This is a marvelous collection of thirty stories. They will make you think, they will scare you, they will fascinate you. And most of all, they will make you curious. While there are some bad stories in this volume, it is still a welcome addition to my personal library. I shall re-read my favorite stories in the years to come as I wait - not so patiently - for a sequel to this amazing book.

While most of the stories in this collection are pretty tame, some include very graphic depictions of violence and very difficult concepts that are hard to understand.

Rating: 3

Summary: When Nicole finds out there 's a vampire living in her basement, she 's not really frightened. But her parents are. Will she decide to let the vampire stay or let him go?

Opinion: This short story is only 10 pages long. There are a ton of useless descriptions and WAY too many flashbacks for my liking. But without those things, all you' d have is a two-page story. And most of those two pages would be dialogue with absolutely no action whatsoever.
This is a bland story. The characters are immature and unrealistic. I don t understand why the authors would choose this as the opening story for their book.

Rating: 9

Summary: When Helen meets Grin, she knows something is wrong about him. Something 's just not stable. When fire ravages the teacher 's lounge, Helen wonders what, or who, could' ve caused it. Could it possibly be Grin?

Opinion: While this story DID sport some minor curse words, I actually enjoyed it. It had minimal descriptions, and the characters - while being children - show a seriousness and maturity you 'd normally find in a young adult. They are realistic and enjoyable to read about.

Rating: 2

Summary: Harper is invisible. But she d doesn 't want to be. All she wants is a date with Colin. And when she finds out she can do magic, she tries a spell on Colin. Just a simple one. One that will make him go out with her and take her to the prom. But will this spell make her life better? Or just plain worse?

Opinion: I loathe love-sick girls. I really do. Needless to say, I hated the main character of this story. Wimpy, pathetic, and so in love that it makes her blind.  Little does Harper know, she is in for a serious consequence. And it 's the worst kind possible.  This is a blah story but still has a good life lesson to learn.

Rating: 10

Summary: Emma feels like a lady-in-waiting to Daphne. Andy feels like a man-servant to Apollo. Daphne and Apollo seem to be madly in love, but when Daphne suddenly changes something about herself what will Apollo think? And how will it affect Emma and Andy?

Opinion: While I am wary of most teen romance, I found this one to be quite refreshing. The characters are exquisitely realistic and believable, the plot is engaging and funny, and the one major twist in the storyline is extremely enjoyable. I enjoyed the laughter that this story brought with it.

Rating: 9

Summary: Hadley is on the lacrosse team, but all she wants is to be perfect. Like Valerie. Valerie is one of the most popular girls in school, but she s missing something. She feels like there 's a hole in her heart that can never be filled. Like a wish that can never come true. A desire that will never be quenched. Someone made her feel this way. And she almost thinks she hates that someone. Almost.

Opinion: This story doesn't have one word of humor. And yet, I love it. I honestly thought I was watching this story happen before my eyes, and that' s all thanks to the author, who perfectly described the emotions and thoughts of the two characters. The girls in this story are perfectly flawed, so you can feel their pain, anguish, and fear.  You have a feeling you know what they' re going to do before they even do it, and when they do it....your assumptions are completely incorrect. These twists and turns are a great edition to the story.  This story will keep you guessing from beginning to end.

Rating: 8

Summary: Vera just happened to slip her name into the drawing. No. She 'd NEVER be picked. Not in a million years.  But she was.  And now she has to go out on a date with a dragonslayer.

Opinion: This story is interesting in the single fact that while it takes place in our world, it' s twisted. It 's a world where Norse Mythology is reality.   Gods and goddesses and mythological creatures really do exist.  The plot of this story is pretty much non-existent. I 've honestly read better. But what this story lacks in plot, it makes up for in its characters. Though perfect and flawless at first glance, these characters slowly grow into lovable and realistic additions to the story.

Rating: 10

Summary: She comes home from work, tired and ready to go to bed. It has been a long day. She goes into the kitchen, and drops her bag on the counter. She glances over to the open windows. Wait. Open? She' s certain  she closed them before going to work. And now they' re wide open, rain spilling through them and soaking the counter tops. She scans the room for anything unusual.  That 's when it hits her.  Her knives. She glances over, frantically looking for what she fears to be true. The sharpest one is missing.

Opinion: This story may only be 6 pages long, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in suspense. This murder mystery is an amazing short story with characters so real they leap off the pages, and a plot-line so think, twisted, and suspenseful that after reading the last page, you' ll beg for more.  After reading the last word of this story, you' ll want to flip right back to the beginning and read it again.

Rating: 6.5

Summary: Morgan trusts the wizard like she trusts King Arthur. But on a cold and windy night, someone tries to kill her. Has her trust been placed in the right person?

Opinion: This is a twist on the original legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I do not like King Arthur stories of any kind, but this one I kind of liked. It' s a far cry from the original.  In this story, Morgan, Arthur, and the wizard are SO different, it' s almost like they; re different characters. Some supporting characters seem weak and unrealistic, but for the most part, the main characters are life-like and believable.  The plot is excellent, and I enjoyed reading it very much.  However, there are far too many unnecessary elements to this story. The descriptions are too long.  There are too many needless discussions, and the action is bland, not intense. It almost seems as if you 're simply sitting in front of a screen watching the action happen in front of you on the most boring channel on the planet. Truth be told, I 'd rather be IN the action than WATCH it.

Rating: 2

Summary: Asher lost his love. Viv lost her town. Together they set off to swim their sorrows away. But what they find at the bottom of the lake doesn't exactly push sorrow away from them.

Opinion: A boring and completely bland story. The only redeemable part of this train wreck is the twist.  This twist, unfortunately, comes at the VERY END of the story.  The main character is just so paper-thin and unrealistic. She 's just...childish. The supporting character, Asher, is more believable than the main one! And he is pretty unrealistic as it is!  The plot and style of writing is bland solely because 90% of the story consists of descriptions.  As for the doesn't even have anything to do with the story! Lancelot isn't even mentioned in this story, nor is anyone even related to the King Arthur legends! Why Yovanoff would name this story the way she did is a mystery to  me.

Rating: 9

Summary: Eoine was the woman' s seventh son.  Even though she loved all her children, she loved Eoine the most. Her children were all hard workers, but Eoine was the most quiet.   He didn't squabble, didn't make noise.  He was so content that he didn't need to be loud. That all changed when her husband started the beatings. Each child received at least one a week, and the beatings would last for hours. Every child had it bad, but Eoine had it the worst. 

When King Arthur came to their home and told them he needed someone quiet and gentle to take care of his hounds, the woman agreed to let him take Eoine.  After a year of being without her son, the woman began to have doubts. Would her son ever return to her? Would she never see him again?

Opinion: Yet another twist on the King Arthur legends, this tale has a melancholy feel to it. Steifvater does an amazing job making the reader feel pity not only for Eoine, but also for his loving mother. The characters are so life-like and realistic, the setting and plot so beautifully created, how could one not feel sorrow?  This piece of writing, though sad and sorrowful, is a beautiful addition to the many stories that grace the pages of this book.

Rating: 3.5

Summary: When Auburn needs a ride home, he comes and offers her one. But as they' re driving, Auburn realizes that he 's not taking her home. She begins to doubt her decision. Did she really choose the right person to trust?

Opinion: The plot is almost non-existent; the characters are flat, uninteresting, and unbelievable; and the setting is a Mosh Pit.  The ending was the best part but leaves you with the message that letting someone take you away is perfectly fine. Overall, it's a horrid story that I will most likely not be reading again.

Rating: 9

Summary: Jamie hates Andrew. The only thing they have in common is Annette, who is Jamie' s best friend and Andrew' s fiance. One day she mysteriously goes missing. And when Jamie and Andrew find her, it 's anything but a happy reunion.

Opinion: I abhor zombie stuff. I've never enjoyed books about them, and the movies are always unnecessarily graphic and...just too unrealistic for my taste. This is a story about zombies. And yet, I loved it.  The ending, while gruesome, was amazing. It wasn't the average ending to a zombie tale, and that was exactly why I enjoyed this so much. The characters were believable and as realistic as anyone in a zombie novel could be. The plot and vividly horrific scenery were part of what made this story seem so real.

Rating: 9

Summary: Izzy loves puddles. Tiergon loves pushing Izzy into them. Izzy wonders why Tiergon hates the puddles. Can't he see how wonderfully magical and amazing they are?  One day Izzy runs into the woods after a heavy rain, scouting out the perfect puddle to sit and stare into. She finds one and situates herself next to it. She slowly glances down and stares at her own reflection.
What happens next will change her life forever.

Opinion: While this story is extremely short, the characters are very well-created. They seem life-like and realistic.  There really is no setting or plot, but this story still has a moral at the end, and a wise one at that.  This short story is a perfect addition to this collection, and I m glad the authors decided to include it.

Rating: 7.5

Summary: Noah has helped heal people since he was little. Brendon has picked on everyone since he was little. When Brendon breaks his leg right before soccer season starts, will Noah choose to help his enemy?

Opinion: The characters are quite life-like, and the action is amazingly clear and different at every turn. The plot is engaging, and at many points you feel pity for Noah and for all the other innocent people who get hurt.

Rating: 1

Summary: She sits there...waiting for him to come home. But he never will. She knows that he' s gone. Dead. Sailing new waters where she cannot go. She sits there. Waiting. Just waiting at the Death-ship.

Opinion: Possibly the worst story in the collection. The plot is non-existent, the characters are depressing, and there are WAY too many descriptions. While reading this, I actually wanted to skip over it and read the next story. I wanted to stop reading it and throw the book against the wall just to make the depressing story come to an end. But of course I didn't.  I honestly don 't understand why Gratton would even include this story in the collection. It's completely horrid, and I will not be reading it again.

Rating: 6.5

Summary: Mark wants to know why everyone is so afraid of the Papillons. They only live for three days, they love children, and they have such sparkling personalities. So Mark decides to talk to one. Will the Papillons be as scary as people believe? Or will they be as magical and beautiful as Mark believes?

Opinion: This is a very sad story. And while it has a melancholy feel to it, I enjoyed reading it. The characters are very well-created. The setting and plot are magnificent. But at it's heart, this story is saddening. It's an awful reminder how we, as humans, judge so quickly without even knowing what we' re judging.

Rating: 3

Summary: Snow White longs to be beautiful, just like her stepmother. But her stepmother hates her and wants her gone. When the stepmother gets her hands on a pair of scissors, what will happen to Snow White?

Opinion: This bland, confusing take on Grimm' s Snow White is absolutely horrid. It is frightening, but not in the way that it should be. The fear is not really scary due to the confusing plot and point of view. If these things had been fixed, this story would 've been the thriller it was meant to be. The characters are flat, doing things without any reason.  Honestly, this is the worst Snow White inspired story that I've ever read.  The only reason I rated this as I did was because of the amazing ending. It was something I'd never dreamed the bland, tasteless characters would do.

Rating: 5

Summary: Parmander is a crazy Philosopher. I am his assistant. He tells me to fly to the Tower. But the Tower is death. My master surely doesn't wish me dead.  Right?

Opinion: This is yet another take on the steampunk genre. I generally dislike this genre, with the exception of older authors like Jules Verne. And yet, this story is alright. There are elements I enjoy in this story, and the characters I like as well. But the star of the show, the insane Parmander himself, is a weakling. The professor is a psychotic genius. He' s a bulimic, and he has strange notions and ideas that will NEVER work. He almost seems unreal and yet real enough to keep you reading.  The plot is confusing, but not so much that you have trouble figuring out most of it.

Rating: 7

Summary: Melea was created for one purpose, and one purpose only: To make Mister Curran fall in love with her. And when he' s least expecting it, she is to kill him.  But Melea has started to doubt her purpose. Was she really created just to kill?

Opinion: I normally dislike love stories, but I quite liked this one. While confusing at times, this story is a beautiful example of what love can do. The characters are believable and well-rounded; the plot is excellent; and while the setting is practically non-existent, the story doesn't really need it.

Rating: 10

Summary: Dominic knows that the world has gone crazy. No one buys bottled water. Oceans are overflowing. Floods ravage his town. He' s stuck inside all day, not being able to come in contact with anyone - not that he' d want to. Dominic thinks he 's seen everything, but when the pouring rain doesn't stop for months, that 's when the really crazy stuff begins to happen.

Opinion: This end-of-the-world story is one of my favorites out of the entire collection. With vivid and realistic characters and slightly wacked-out scenarios, I enjoyed reading every word of this story.

Rating: 9

Summary: I set the table for many guests, though only I plan to actually eat anything. I am silent. Since the dead cannot speak, why should I?  I wait for my guests to arrive.  Slowly and surely, each one does. But someone' s missing. Where is Travis?

Opinion: A different look at ghosts and Halloween, this story is actually very well-written. Most of the time I do not enjoy ghost stories, as I find them horribly unbelievable. But with this story, ghosts are portrayed in a different light. They are shown as young and youthful, not old and frail, not weaklings only attracted to humans because they live.  The characters are believable, and the plot is interesting.

Rating: 10

Summary: She sits, staring at the sky with a forlorn look on her face. She wants a friend. Then Abby moves in across the street. She has finally found someone, but is Abby really someone she can call a friend?

Opinion: I shall repeat myself. I've never enjoyed ghost stories. And yet, I adore this one. The characters are so vivid that they seem to leap right off the pages; and the plot, while saddening, is superb. I honestly wish this story was longer, as I want to see what happens next.

Rating: 8

Summary: Matt and Raphael have just taken over the United States of America. There 's not a person alive who 's over forty. With a teeming and restless crowd pounding at their door, what will Matt and Raphael do?

Opinion: This story is the shortest in the collection. It' s only three pages in length, which is tiny - even in short story terms. I really wished it was longer, with more details and a better plot-line, but as it is currently is still very good. Due to the length of the story, none of the characters are 100% realistic, and there 's really no
setting or plot.

Rating: 3.5

Summary: Riana loves Fourth Wind - her horse - almost as much as she loves her boyfriend Rhune. When Fourth Wind is chosen for the yearly sacrifice, what will Riana do?

Opinion: While the first page of the story is so superbly written that it draws you in, the rest of the story falls flat. It 's hauntingly strange, almost life-like in its aspects of fear and horror. But good descriptions couldn't really add anything to this story, and these aren't good descriptions. They' re just down-right confusing. The characters are all barely believable, with the exceptions of Riana, Rhune, Fourth Wind, and the devils and ghosts. The plot, while simple, is portrayed in a gruesome, bloody, and confusing way. If the first page of this story wouldn't have been as good as it was, I would've rated this story with a 1.

Rating: 10

Summary: She just wants some fun: some excitement in her life. So she heads off to a Hollywood party. While there, she meets a director. He tells her he can maker her a star. She spends the night with him, and ends up locked in her room - completely and utterly trapped. She wants to escape. She starts to wonder if trusting that director was such a good idea.

Opinion: In this retelling of Bluebeard , the heroine fights back instead of accepting her fate and ultimately, death. I actually loved the original tale of Bluebeard , and while this one has its differences, it' s still very well written. The characters are believable, as is the plot and circumstances.

Rating: 9.5

Summary: We are all called Thomas. I am one of us. I can tell when a fairy enters this world.  I can pick a waterhorse out of a crowd in seconds. I am called Thomas. And I am one of us.

Opinion: This is a confusing story at first glance. But when you focus and try to understand, the meaning becomes clear. The characters are quite amazingly crafted so that each and every one - the psycho murderer included - are so life-like that they leap off the pages. The setting is a compliment to the characters, so beautifully and richly created that it seems as if I've actually  been there. The plot in itself is compelling, making you want to keep reading. The only complaint I have about this story is the length. It' s much too short. It needs to be longer, as I want to find out what happens next.

Rating: 9

Summary: York is dying. He needs a heart-shaped box called a Locket. The Locket will keep him alive. Even though he' s a millionaire, he could never afford one. But his best friend, Jude, might be able to.  With York running out of time, will Jude be able to get him a Locket?

Opinion: This story is one of my favorites. The characters are so vividly described that they seem as if they' re real. The plot and setting are too awe-inspiring to even put into words.
Overall, a great - but sad - story.

Rating: 8

Summary: Luta lost her family to a troll attack.  Rein lost his family to a mysterious force. When their paths cross, will they choose to stick together or go their separate ways? To survive and live or be lost forever?

Opinion: This story s plot is what all plots long to be:   mysterious, yet cunning.  Bold and daring. Violent, yet sad. The characters are life-like and realistic, and go well with the plot.
I only have two problems with this story.  The descriptions are much too long, and the violence is way too life-like and gruesome.

Rating: 1

Summary: Rosa found the girl in the woods - dead as a doornail and hanging from a tree. When Rosa meets Bryce, she finds that he 's interested in the dead girl. Rosa decides to show the girl to Bryce. But something's loose in the woods. Will Rosa and Bryce survive their dangerous journey?

Opinion: This is the most confusing thing I've ever read. The ending doesn't make sense, nor does any part of the plot. The characters are paper-thin and unrealistic. It' s not THE worst story in the book - due to the very well-written first paragraph - but definitely one of the worst.

Rating: 7

Summary: Imagine a world where fire doesn't go out. Not with water, not with extinguishers, not with rain, hail, snow, or retardant. Not even with the help of firemen. That's the world we live in. That s the world we re going to show you.

Opinion: Up until the very last page, this story is excellent. The main character is the only one who' s realistic, but he 's really all that matters in this particular story. The setting is great, and the plot is good. But then you read the last page, and nothing adds up. Nothing makes sense.  It doesn't add up. The ending doesn't resolve questions. It adds to them.

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