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! :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010


by Lisa McMann

The sequel to Wake, this book is much darker than it's predecessor. In Fade Janie and Cabel start working a new case - one involving a possible sexual predator at their high school. And guess who's acting as bait?

I liked this book. It's was interesting and engrossing, however it was just a bit too creepy/disturbing for me to love it.

There were a few instances where McMann's sentence fragment style of writing or her intentional vagueness was annoying, but most of the time you don't even notice. Once you get used to it, it reads much the same way our brains think. "Vanessa's at her computer. Typing. Her blog. Running out of things to say." - It's a lot like that. And it makes the book read really fast.

A few complaints:
- I realize Janie's mom is so pitiful to suit the story and to make it easier for Janie to basically do anything, but really? She doesn't even come to the graduation?
- Lots of drugs mentioned in the case. A few more descriptions might have been beneficial. We learn that Janie has researched them, but what exactly has she learned? (There's that intentional vagueness!)
- *spoiler* Why oh why wasn't Janie bugged with a camera or a mic when she was undercover at the party? They could have gotten their evidence a LOT sooner, Janie would have been in less danger and perhaps some of the other students could have been rescued sooner as well. The one "panic button" tool they did give her was too risky. It very nearly wasn't helpful at all! Why in the world would they put her in such a dangerous situation with out extra precautions? Heck, even Drew Barrymore has better undercover tools in "Never Been Kissed" and she wasn't ever in danger! *end spoilers*

So, in summary: It's an interesting book. For mature readers. The ending is mostly satisfying despite some odd turns throughout the story. And I'm still planning on reading part three.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Lonely Hearts Club

by Elizabeth Eulberg

I don't really remember how I first heard about this book, but it's been on my list for a few months. Last weekend I finally got my hands on a copy.

First off, I like the Beatles references. It helps if you actually know the songs. Often the songs are names, and the content of the lyrics in mentions, but not really explained, so if you don't know the lyrics, you might miss something.

It's kinda nice to read a romantic book where many characters aren't coupled up by the end. Granted, we want the main character to, but it doesn't seem so "you're life is hopeless if you don't have a boyfriend" in this book.

A few minor annoying things:
- Penny's parents refer to her using both her first and middle name often - Penny Lane. A little silly sounding.
- And the end *minorly spoilerish* - why did Ryan leave with Todd when Todd was being such a jerk? I was just sure there would eventually be a really good, noble reason even for him to have done so, but there isn't really.
- The principal of the school is a unrealistic jerk. Much of the stuff he was doing he'd never be able to get away with.

All in all though I really enjoyed this book. It's fun. It's different. It's a great alternative to all the "I have to have a boyfriend!" books lurking out there in the YA section.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Magic Under Glass

by Jaclyn Dolamore

I have slacked on in posting this review for over a week, and unfortunately, don't remember all the little details I wanted to write about. Thankfully, I did jot down a few quick notes before moving on to my next book:

Ends too quickly. Is it a sequel or not?
My biggest complaint! This book ends way too soon and their is not indication if there will be a sequel. There probably will be, since it's seems most books are series now, but still, I would have liked some confirmation.

Annalie and her orbs are a little bizarre.
There are a few details to the book that seem strange, and not fully explained.

Wish there was a map of the worlds.
Minor complaint, but I like maps.

Like that Nimira makes Hollin grow a spine.
Yes, the girls are tough! The men are either weaselly or wimps. At least Nimira makes one of them grow up a little.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Little Miss Red

by Robin Palmer

I love a good fairy tale retelling, and they're actually seeming to pop up more and more lately. However, this book is based on one of the lesser common stories - Red Riding Hood.

Sophie is a good girl, but she's tired of everyone thinking they know everything about her. For example, she loves that red cowboy hat she spotted in a store window, even if all her friends tell her that it's "not her". When Sophie has to go visit her grandmother during her spring break, she's not exactly thrilled about it. However, on the plane ride to Florida she meets a mysterious, romantic stranger (just like Dante from her beloved Devon Devoreaux books) who invites her to take a walk on the wild side.

Sophie is a funny character to read about, although sometimes being inside her head is cringe-inducing. In nearly every instance of her life Sophie compares it to some occurrence in one of the many books about Devon Devoreaux. It's not as annoying as you'd think, mostly it just gives you a better understanding of Sophie's "head-in-the-clouds" state of mind. Plus it was amusing to read the many many titles and summaries of these books.

I was close to giving this book 5 stars, however the ending wasn't as great as I thought it was going to be. The wrong people were villains, the right people were not, and the hero just wasn't quite heroic enough for my taste. I was hoping for something a little more dramatic and a little less ordinary - after all this IS a book. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010


by Lisa McMann

Wake is the beginning of a series about a girl named Janie who finds herself pulled into other peoples' dreams. She can't help it. If someone in the same room as her falls asleep Janie is along for the ride. This makes life increasingly difficult for Janie as she can't control or predicted when she'll be pulled into a dream, she can't pull herself out of the dreams, and she loses control of her body during them.

I enjoyed the premise of this book a lot. The characters were ok and the story moved quickly with some interesting twists. The things I didn't like were the drinking and drug use by teens that's not always portrayed as bad, as well as a bit too much swearing for my tastes. But I liked the story enough to make me want to continue the series.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


by Catherine Fisher

At some point in the future, as a result of great world trauma, an incredibly advanced system is created for containing and reforming the criminals of society. It is meant to be a paradise, as well as completely self-sustaining. This prison is called Incarceron. No one goes in, no one comes out. Incarceron is reported as a success, however the prison has a mind of its own....

Meanwhile, on the Outside, citizens are forced to live in a fabricated past century. There is no time, no advancement, just a static predictability and strict control held by the ruling parties.

Finn lives in Incarceron. Claudia lives Outside. Both are trapped in their worlds, and both will need to other's help escape. With the discoveries of a crystal key by both, Claudia and Finn find they can use the objects to communicate. As they learn more about each other and life on the other side, they soon realize things are a lot more complicated than they seem.

This book has a fascinating premise. I really like the general plot and the main characters are interesting. People who seem like "bad guys" have moments where you can understand their point of view and even sympathize with them. In turn, some "good guys" have definite flaws and even moments where you're not sure if they will turn out working as a enemy. I love that complexity of character. It makes you think, read closely, all the while trying to determine if someone should be trusted, forgiven, or forgotten.

There were a few things I didn't like about this book though. There are a couple sequences when what's going on is a little unclear. And possibly this is just because I'm trying to read so fast, but the random appearance of a flying boat just seems a little random to me. Also, despite that I usually enjoyed the unpredictability of characters, on a few occasions the unpredictability of a character made them seem incredibly untrustworthy and I wished the main characters were more cautious.

Lastly, this book does not end! I knew it was a series, and that's fine - I love a good series, but I still feel like each component of the series needs to have it's own ending, not just leave us hanging. Granted, some story lines are going to be left unfinished because it's a series, but this book had virtually no wind-down from the climax. It was just the big moment we've been waiting for, then the end. A giant "To Be Continued" - white words on a black background - is floating in my mind. Like some horrid season finale for the tv show you really like and have to wait til September to see the continuation of it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Chestnut King

by N. D. Wilson

I have one complaint for this book: it's the final entry to the series!

I love, love, love N. D. Wilson's writing, and the 100 Cupboards series. I almost feel outraged that more people don't know about it.

The Chestnut King is, regrettably, the last installment in N. D. Wilson's tale of a boy who discovers a wall of cupboards behind the plaster wall in his aunt's and uncle's attic. This discovery leads Henry to new worlds, new friends, new family as well as new danger. In this final book, the evil and undying Nimiane is rising in power, and seeking to destroy Henry. Henry finds himself separated from most of his family and friends, and must rely on himself for answers on what to do and who to trust.

It's hard for me to say much more without telling the whole story, but this is a wholly satisfying end to Henry's story - while also making me want it to continue!

N. D. Wilson's way with words continues to make the narrative shine, and makes this book (and series) stand out from the sea of children's literature in my mind. It's amazing, and touching and beautiful and inspiring. I want to grab book one and start it all over again!