Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010


by Meg Cabot

I have been blazing through these books so fast I can barely remember what I was going to write. Let's just say I loved it, and was glad that I am reading these years after they were published so I didn't have to wait 4 years before the 5th book came out. This book is great, but is not a satisfying ending to the series - it definitely needed one more.

In Sanctuary a new family moved in across from Jess's. However, shortly after the family's teenage soon turns up dead in a cornfield. There are rumors of gang activity, despite the family denying it. A few days later and young Jewish boy disappears, and a few days after that the Jewish synagogue is burned down. Jess and Rob discover that there is a white supremacist militia group living in the backwoods that is responsible for the recent events. Jess knows where to find the missing boy, but the problem is getting to him. Jess and Rob believe they can find a way to get in, but how will they get out with the boy and put this group to a stop?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Safe House

by Meg Cabot

Third book - darker and more mysterious than the first two. This time, Jess is searching for someone she knows.

Jess returns from her summer working at camp to learn that one of the cheerleaders has been found dead in the quarry. Not only that, but her classmates blame Jess for not finding the girl - even though Jess wasn't in town and knew nothing about it. When a second girl goes missing everyone turns to Jess to find her. How can she say no? But also, how can she keep the FBI away if she says yes?

This series is reminding me more and more of the Mediator series with the darker turn. I love the mystery and suspense and trying to figure out just who the culprit is. I was fooled. Love that even more.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Code Name Cassandra

by Meg Cabot

I like the second book in the 1-800-Where-R-You series even better than the first. In this book, Jess and Ruth are working at a summer orchestra camp for kids. Jess has gotten the press and the FBI to leave her alone by telling them she no longer has her powers. However, she's still working secretly with Rosemary from the 1-800-Where-R-You call center to find missing kids who Rosemary researches and makes sure they really want to be found. Jess is looking forward to a summer of flute playing, and story-telling and hair-braiding with the little girls in her cabin. It's not long though before Jess gets moved to a boy's cabin because the camp is short on male counselors. Jess's campers include a big bully name Shane, who seems to make it his personal mission to make everyone miserable.

Things are pretty normal, if not exactly how she planned, until a man shows up at the camp begging Jess to help him find his lost little girl. Jess wants to help, but how can she do so without tipping off the world that she lied about her powers?

I love the parts of this book with the kids - particularly the many sides of Shane and how Jess interacts with him. And we can't forget the ever-obnoxious Karen Sue Hankey. Meg Cabot has a talent for characters.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When Lightning Strikes

by Meg Cabot

After buying the first books of this series nearly two years ago, I am finally getting around to reading them - and I'm glad I did.

I loved Meg Cabot's Mediator series, and the 1-800-Where-R-You books remind me a lot of it.

The main character is Jess, an ordinary, if somewhat anger-prone high school sophomore. Jess's best friend Ruth meets her after school and insists on walking home, despite the gathering clouds that suggest a storm is coming. Ruth and Jess don't get very far before the hail starts and they must take cover under the metal bleachers. As Jess leans against the bleachers, a bolt of lighting hits them, and runs right through her. Despite being knocked quite a distance away, Jess seems to suffer no problems after her brush with death.

However, the next morning Jess wakes up knowing exactly where to find the little boy whose face she saw on the milk carton yesterday. From then on Jess learns that she can find any person, so long as she sees a picture of them and then goes to sleep. Of course, Jess starts making calls to 1-800-Where-R-You to report where to find the missing kids, and that's how she gets a lot more attention than she bargained for. Soon the FBI is following her, wanting to know just how she knew where these kids were and when they learn of her powers, they want her to come work for them. Not long after, reports from all over are camping out in Jess's front yard, hoping to get a glimpse of "lightning girl".

And in case things weren't complicated enough, Jess learns that the first little boy she found, didn't really want to be found. Now Jess must get the press off her back, make things right with this boy, and try to keep the FBI from controlling her life.

It's a fun start to the series, and certainly leaves you wondering, "What's going to happen next?!" Onto book 2!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


by Gloria Skursynski

It took me a while but I finally figured this book out. This book is the republished version of the first two books in a science-fiction series entitled The Virtual War Chronologs. Devastation contains books 1 (The Virtual War) and 2 (The Clones).

Since the books are so vastly different I will write about them separately first.

The Virtual War was the better of the two books. We start off by meeting Corgan, a 14-year-old boy who has lived his entire life in isolation, with his only company being a virtual world and computer program mother/father named Mendor. Corgan was created by the government to fight in the upcoming virtual war. The winning region will receive the Isles of Hiva - the last piece of land on Earth that humans can live on without the protection of giant domes. Corgan isn't fighting alone though - he's soon joined by his code-breaker Sharla and strategist Brig. While Corgan is used to obeying every command, Sharla is much more prone to breaking them, and it's not long before she starts telling Corgan things about the government he's never even dreamed.

In The Clones, Sharla is working on a new project - analyzing human DNA. Shortly into the novel we (and Corgan) learn that she has been working on making a clone of Brig. She started with 4, and 2 survived. The government only wants one and tells Sharla to destroy the other. She can't bring herself to do it, and so she brings the tiny baby Brig (named Seabrig) to Corgan and asks him to take care of it. Corgan is shocked to hear what Sharla's been up to, and even more shocked to learn that this version of Brig (as well as the Clone Sharla has kept, named Brigand) will mature at an incredible rate. Things get even more complicated when Sharla comes back a few months later with Brigand in tow, and the two clones (who now look about 12) will actually meet.

Like I said, The Virtual War was better than The Clones, despite having a rapid conclusion. The Clones doesn't seem to know what genre it is. It starts out much like the first book - as a sci-fi post-apocalyptic novel, but somewhere along the way it turns strange. Brigand can communicate with the boars? The cannibal kings have given him their power? It was strange and oddly reminiscent of The Lord of the Flies though this is supposed to be sci-fi, not fantasy fiction. I was confused. Some things got half-heartedly explained toward the end and it did improve from that point.

I might read the next book sometime.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Infinite Days

by Rebecca Maizel

Some book are just hard to rate! I liked this interesting and atypical teen vampire novel, but parts of it still bugged me.

Lenah is a sixteen-year-old girl, attending a prestigious boarding school for the first time. She's nervous, timid and at times naive. But Lenah's got a secret - she's been hibernating for 100 years underground, and only recently awoke from the ritual that turned her back into a human, after hundreds of years of existing as a powerful vampire queen.

In Lenah's world, being a vampire truly is a curse. Vampires lose their souls and therefore can never experience happiness or kindness. They delight in evil and give no second thought to killing humans. The thrill of the kill gives them a temporary respite from the constant pain and suffering, but there is never a relief that lasts. Lenah was tired of the suffering, and after much begging and threatening to walk out into the sunlight to end herself, Lenah's love Rhode performs the ritual that will give Lenah her humanity back. Rhode sacrifices his life for her.

And so Lenah wakes up in a unfamiliar place and time period, with virtually no instruction on how to live. She makes quick friends with a boy named Tony, and despite promising that she not "one of those girls", she soon finds herself falling for the heart-throb of the school - Justin Enos.

However, Lenah's time is running out as she knows her old coven will soon discover she is missing and hunt her down - and she's sure they won't be happy to find her human.

So the premise of this book is what grabs me - a girl who's hundreds of years old, turned from vampire back to human, trying to live a normal teen life in a time period so foreign to the one she's known. Lenah is smart, but she's also often clueless - she doesn't know what snorkeling is, or a prom. The book is peppered with flashback sequences where we get to learn what Lenah was like as a vampire. However, I didn't understand her many times. She makes friends with Tony, but gradually ditches him when she discovers that Justin likes her. She trusts Justin more than Tony even though Tony has given her more reasons to trust him.

Also, I really didn't understand why Rhode waited 100 years to perform the ritual. The hibernation was supposedly to throw her coven off the trail so Lenah could escape them to become human. If that was the case, why didn't they just tell the coven she was hibernating 100 years, then Rhode could dig her up after 5, perform the ritual, and then Lenah could live out her entire life before the vampires ever figured it out. By the time they realized she wasn't there anymore she'd be dead! Maybe there was a reason for it, but it wasn't explained and therefore made the whole time line of the story seem silly.

I'm still interested though, and anxious to see where Maizel takes this story with the next two installments in the trilogy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1

by P.J. Haarsma

Virus on Orbis 1 is the start to a four-part series entitled, The Softwire.

Thirteen-year-old Johnny has spent all of his life living on a spaceship in route to the rings of Orbis. His parents (as well as all of the other parents on board) where to complete 4 years of work on the rings of Orbis with the hope of eventually becoming citizens. However, there was an error on the ship and all of the adults died in the hibernation pods. The ship continued to pilot itself there, even somehow "hatching" the embryos of the hundreds of children. When the ship docks on Orbis the children are put to work in factories to pay for the cost of passage that their parents were originally supposed to work off. Soon after arrival, the aliens of Orbis discover that Johnny is a softwire - a being with the ability to enter a computer simply with his/her mind. But when the supposedly all-powerful, all-knowing, never-failing central computer starts to malfunction, suspicious is caste upon Johnny and he must find a way to clear his name, as well as save Orbis' computer.

Despite lack of description in some areas (I never really had a clear picture of what things on Orbis looked like, except maybe for Weegin's World), and a few strange plot twists, this was an enjoyable trip into kids' sci fi. I'm curious enough to read another entry and see how things continue to work out with Johnny and his friends.