Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NOT YOUR AVERAGE FAIRY TALE by Chnatele Sedgewick

Ash Summerland has it all-good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. but when he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings- aka the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after." But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, she doesn't want anything to do with Ash. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings.

First line:
"I stared at the gold-flecked envelope in my hand, trying to ignore my pounding heart."

Good, clean read. Any teenager girl would enjoy this story. This is the first book in a possible trilogy.


Ash has magic running through his blood, though he's not sure what kind. Elf? Fairy? One of his parents is human, the other unknown. So Ash goes to a school for magical beings and this is the year he is chosen to apprentice. He really wants to work with Sandman because then he can manipulate dreams and time. But what does he get instead?? Fairy Godmother, er, Boy? Ash is not happy with this but if he can fulfill his assignment, he might still have a shot with Sandman. 
What Ash doesn't count on is Kendall (hello? boys name for a girl?). She intrigues Ash and soon he finds he's falling for her. 
The title is accurate. This is not your average fairytale. It's not a retelling either. It's a different look into a different, magical realm. Ms. Sedgwick did a good job keeping me intrigued and reading. The chapters alternate between Ash and Kendall and are good insights into each character.
Teen girls AND boys will like this book! 

Rated: PG
V: Some fighting
L: No
S: A kiss or two

Liked:
Ash
Kendall
Teen boy Fairygodmother

Disliked:
Ending (Waiting for next book?)

  4 1/2 STARS


 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

THE DARK UNWINDING by Sharon Cameron

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.


Rating: PG 13
V: Some tense scenes
S: No
L: No

 Thrills, chills and suspense all in one story. 
Katharine is raised in an abusive home by her aunt, who sends her away to check on an odd uncle. The aunt claims the uncle is insane and wasting all of her poor, fat boys inheritance. When Katharine arrives, she finds secrets, imagination and possibly love. And a whole village of people who help her uncle with his inventions plus keep him safe.
I like the way Ms. Cameron weaves her story. Her words are eloquent and insightful. I also loved the individual characters. Katharine had a great character arc as did many of the characters. 
This book is in my top ten fav reads of 2012.


Liked:
Katharine
Lane
The cover

Disliked:
The ending

4 1/2 STARS

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

VODNIK by Bryce Moore

Tomas returns to Slovakia where he must first avoid a vodnik, straight out of a fairy tale, who wants to drown him and put his soul in a teacup, and then beat Death to save his cousin's life.

Last line:
"Like I was home."

Fun, educational story full of mythical stories and magic and adventure. Tomas life isn't really normal. He has burn scar that he hates, he almost drown once and now his parents have moved him to Slovakia. But the first day in this new country, Tomas sees creatures he's not suppose to see, like Death. He has no idea the adventure he's come into or the mystery he will have to unravel to save his cousin, Katka.
Katka is sick and Tomas can help her if he can figure out how to work up a potion or spell to help her.
Tomas has a lot of flaws or weaknesses. He's scared of water after he almost drown, he screams any time he's surprised and he's a bit of a wimp. 
But he doesn't quit when he learns he can help his cousin and uncle. He doesn't quit after being beat up by bullies and he doesn't quit when strange creatures scare him, like the Vodnik.
LOVED Vodnik. What a funny, strange little man.
One aspect that confused me was where Tomas lived. Did he live with his parents? Because they weren't around when he got beat up or disappeared or snuck out of the house multiple times. Tomas spent a lot of time with Katka or at her house with her dad.


Rated: PG
V: Some fighting 
L: Some
S: No

Liked:
Slovakia folklore
Beginning of chapters 
Vodnik
Tomas

Disliked:
The beginning 1/3 of the book confused me
 

 4 STARS

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

POISON by Bridget Zinn

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.


Poor Kyra! The kings soldiers are after her, she has to save the kingdom and now she has an enchanted pig to take care of. Not to mention, a traveling companion named Fred.
All Kyra tried to do was kill the princess.
Kyra is a potions master and this talent and her potions come in handy as she disguises herself, fights off goblins and helps Fred sleep so he won't follow her. But Kyra's life does not go according to her plans. I liked Kyra. She's strong and bright and flawed. She has to learn to accept and use certain things in her life to accomplish what she needs to. I just wish we would have seen more of that earlier in the story.
This story is full of interesting and unique characters, like Rosie the enchanted pig and Arlo, the bad guy (who I kept picturing as the goblin king in The Hobbit movie). Also, lots of wit and humor fill the pages.
A lot of humor came out in the end between the characters. I wanted more of that throughout the book.
There was a twist I didn't see coming but some of the others were foreshadowed.
Good, clean teen read.

Last line:
"Then she kissed him back."

Rating: PG
V: Some fighting
L: No
S: kissing

Liked:
Rosie
Kyra
Ari
Fred

Disliked:
Quick ending

4 STARS


Thanks to Netgalley for the preview!



FEEDBACK by Robison Wells

Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs.

Or so he thought.

But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled with hauntingly familiar faces. People from Maxfield he saw die. Friends he was afraid he had killed.

They are all pawns in the school’s twisted experiment, held captive and controlled by an unseen force. As he searches for answers, Benson discovers that Maxfield Academy’s plans are more sinister than anything he imagined—and they may be impossible to stop.

Variant blew readers away with its breakneck pacing, flawless plotting, and impossibly high stakes. It earned starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and VOYA, which described it as “an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read that combines psychological themes from works like Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Ender’s Game in a truly unique way.”

In Feedback, Robison Wells delivers all the answers you’ve been craving—with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very last page.


Last line:
""Just checking.""



Good sequel to VARIANT by Robison Wells. Once I got reading the book, I couldn't put it down, even though there were a few times I got confused. 
Benson feels guilty. In VARIANT, he led a revolt and escape from the awful school. Many students died in the attempt, Becky was hurt and Benson feels guilty. 
But the escape didn't bring freedom. Benson and Becky ended up in another prison. A place the bad students were sent--detention. A fort and barracks. There are secrets at the fort. Like, the same people who own the school, own the fort. 
Now, Benson needs to figure out another escape. But he's crippled by the guilt of the deaths and Becky's injuries. Can he help the others?
There are a lot of twists and turns and surprises in this book. And confusion. I should have read the first book again before reading this one. Though Mr. Wells tries to remind us of what happened before, it doesn't always make sense.
I thought the last few chapters of the book were too short or rushed. And the last few sentences of the book? Weird. 
But overall, it's a good read and YA readers will enjoy it.


Rating: PG 13
V: Boy is murdered, fighting robots
L:  A few words
S: No

Liked:
Short chapters

Disliked:
The ending. It was...weird.

3 1/2 Stars