Thursday, October 31, 2013


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Hardcover, 181 pages

Published June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books 
Neil Gaiman's stories always surprise me. I have no idea where they are taking me and by the end I'm breathless with wonder. His writing and storytelling are amazing. But the stories are, well, weird. Unusual. Different. Strange. Unrelatable.
That's the word. Unrelatable. I don't relate to the characters in his books. That's not a bad thing. Storytelling doesn't necessarily mean we have to understand the main people in the story. I do not relate to a princess who talks to animals but I still like the romance. I totally don't understand being raised in a cemetery by ghosts, who are my family and friends, but the idea is intriguing. 
I wasn't expecting certain aspects of this story and they didn't really appeal to me. But it was interesting. I listened to the whole book, wanting to know how this mystery would end. 
There really wasn't much I remember about the book though. If you asked me what it was about, I would say, "a couple of witches fighting something evil while a young boy watched." Seriously. I don't remember the name of the evil or the witches or the boy.

Rating: PG 13
V: Fighting
L: Not that I remember
S: No

The storytelling
The writing

thanks, Audbile!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

INEVITABLE by Tamara Heiner

Visions of death plague Jayne, who thinks watching her boyfriend and sister die is the worst that could happen to her. But when she witnesses a murder, Jayne finds herself caught up in a dangerous world of intrigue and suspense.

As it turns out, she is not the only one doing the stalking. The killer is on to her, and all of her visions of the dying don't reveal how her life will end. Somehow, she must stop the murderer before he arranges Jayne's own inevitable death.

Paperback, 245 pages
Published March 8th 2013 by Tamark Books  
 (first published January 30th 2013) 
First line:
"The smell always hit me first."

I loved the idea of smelling death as lemony in this book. Jayne has the gift, or curse, of 'smelling' death on someone and if she looks into their eyes, she will have a vision of their death. With this gift/curse, one would think they could stop the death but Jayne doesn't have that power, so really, she's powerless.
She hasn't been able to look her sister in the eye since a lemony smell showed up on her not too long ago. How can Jayne know her sisters death when she can't stop it?
Then a cute boy with an accent shows up smelling like lemons. And he's attracted to her. But once she sees his death she doesn't know if she should pursue him or leave him alone because he will die tragically.
And on top of all this angst, Jayne 'sees' a young woman die, who is the victim of a serial killer. When Jayne helps the police sketch a profile of the killer, the killer starts stalking Jayne.
Jayne's relationship with her sister drove me crazy for more than half the book as she chose to avoid and actually snub her. I understood she didn't want to see how her sister died because she couldn't stop the future, but still! Maybe Jayne could lessen any pain? Fear?
And I couldn't figure out why the cute boy kept trying to be friends with Jayne when she kept avoiding his eyes and blowing him off. I think after a couple of times a normal boy would have said forget it.
I had a hard time putting down this book! The story and flow and tension kept me reading, wanting to know if Jayne would be able to save the boy or her sister.  Overall, I'd say this is a book worth reading.

Rating: PG 15
V: Fighting, death
L: No
S: Kissing

The smell of death

The cover

3 1/2 STARS

Friday, October 25, 2013

CURSE OF THE BROOMSTAFF (Janitors #3) by Tyler Whitesides

A secret society of Janitors with wizard-like powers continue their battle, and now, the stakes are even higher. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance is after Alan Zumbro and this time they mean business - deadly business. Spencer, Daisy, and their little team of rebels must find the source of all magical Glop and destroy it before it can destroy the world as we know it. No small task with the BEM and their monster toxites at their heels. It's a wild and dangerous ride as they follow the trail of clues all the way to the hiding place of the mysterious aurans: guardians of a secret landfill. What they discover there will change the way

Spencer sees himself, not to mention the fate of the rebels.

First line:
"Mrs. Natcher's chalk squeaked against the board, and Spencer shuddered at the sound." 

Tyler's writing and books keep getting better and better. Poor Spencer. He's a germaphobe and yet his special abilities take him through garbage and filth and dirt. The characters grow and stretch in this book as they meet more bad guys and few more good ones.

 I loved the beginning:

"Dear Readers,
Here it is: the third installment in the JANITORS series. And I must admit, this is definitely the trashiest book I've ever written. No, literally. This book is full of garbage."

This is a good, clean, fun read. Teachers, librarians? Need a MG book for boys? Janitors! Need a MG book for girls? Janitors!

Rating: PG
V: Fighting 
L: No
S: No

The story
The cover, again!

Am I hearing rumors that there are two more books?? Not that I won't read them...



Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

Paperback, 198 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by SmartPop 
First line:
"There's a question that every writer both is intimately familiar with and dreads having to answer."
I am one who has really enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series. Therefore, I enjoyed this book with insights and creativity all centered around this book. There were many clever short stories.

Thanks, netgalley

THE LOST PRINCE by Julie Kagawa

  Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

The last line:

"And for the first time, I wasn't afraid."

The Iron Queen's brother, Ethan, has the Sight and can see the fey. But he knows if they know he can see them they will bother him and his family, even hurt them. But when a friend goes missing, thanks to a ghostly fey, he knows he has to enter their world. And see his sister again even though he's mad at her for leaving his family. But when he has to take someone else with him, the plot thickens. Mackenzie is a friend from school who was being threatened by the ghostly fey so Ethan had no choice but to bring her with him.

But Kenize wasn't friends with him at first. She tried to be but Ethan kept shutting her. He was mean! I'm not sure why she kept coming back to him to talk.

New fairies in this book. New characters and a few old but loved ones too. Ash and Puck have a cameo in this book!

There is one swear word that the main character uses a ton in the beginning then hardly any at all until the end.

And Kenzie uses "tough guy" too much! It was starting to annoy me. It got old.

While I enjoyed this book, this isn't a favorite in the series for me.

Rating: PG13

V: Fighting

L: Swearing

S: Kissing


Another book in one of my favorite series



Poor me! (from Ethan)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Publisher’s Weekly says Steve Westover’s “A Nothing Named Silas” falls “somewhere between ‘The Hunger Games’ and Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem,’” which means it is sure to appeal to Young Adult readers.

The book is Westover’s fifth novel.
Silas doesn’t exist…not really. But neither does anyone else he knows. Bred for a life of Command, Silas’ life is thrown into crisis when he’s drafted into a menial life of Labor instead. Everything he knows about himself is about to be challenged.

When he steps through the entrance of the domed Labor shield and see’s prisoners hanging in cages overhead, Silas’ worst fears are confirmed. What he can’t see is that insurrection is brewing under the shield and the insurgents have devised a role for him to play. Silas must determine which side he will fight for as he learns the truth about who he is and why he was drafted into a life of Labor.

“I think at some point every teenager questions his or her value and wonders about who they really are,” said Westover. “In Silas’ case, the answers are both enlightening and disturbing. I wanted to write an exciting adventure full of political intrigue and self-discovery to show everyone that there is something special in them.”

Readers of all ages are sure to enjoy this dystopian adventure.

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published September 10th 2013 by Sweetwater Books

First line:
"Silas, you know what you've got to do."

This book is like DIVERGENT meets PARTIALS meets POSSESSION.
What a ride.
Sixteen year old Silas has been trained to be strong and win at any cost. In the most important race of his life, the one that will place him in the best 'dome', he loses. Now, instead of living his life in commander, he starts out his life as an abused slave.
Leaders, government, even Silas are not what they appear to be. There are some great twists in this book, twists I did not see coming.
Mr. Westover did a great job with his world building. I liked how Silas was so enthralled with trees and birds because he'd never seen anything outside the dome where he was raised.
This is a dark dystopian read.  I'm actually surprised Cedar Fort published it. This book would fit in nationally.

Rating: PG 16
V: Yes, + one graphic murder scene
L: No
S: Kissing



3 1/2 STARS
Thanks, Netgalley!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

DODGER by Terry Pratchett

A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he's...Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London's sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He's not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl--not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy's rise in a complex and fascinating world.

Hardcover, First Edition, 360 pages

Published September 13th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers 
First line:
"The rain poured down on London so hard that it seemed that it was dancing spray, every raindrop contending with its fellows for supremacy in the air and waiting to splash down."

Three things I loved about DODGER:
1. Dodger
2. Literary characters
3. Words, words, words

We all know the Artful Dodger, friend of Oliver Twist. That sly, cunning boy who can steal anything and can slip through any hole or fingers. In this book we get to read about his life, history and reasoning. Plus, Dodger is a hero! Well, mostly by accident but still.
On a cold and rainy night, a young woman gets pushed into the gutter, where Dodger rescues her. Throughout the book, he tries to solve the mystery of why anyone would kill her. And he gets help from the likes of Charles (of Charlie) Dickens.

Dodger knows many individuals who run the gutter side of London, like toshers (those who scavenge in the sewers). As the story progresses, we meet them too and how this underworld links together. One such being is old Soft Mary who goes to the cemetries at night, collect floral wreaths and carefully unravel them to make nosegays to sell the next day. Dodger thinks it's not very nice of her but this way of life is keeping Soft Mary alive and the dead won't get to smell those flowers anyway.
Dodger also meets Sweeny Todd, the Barber of Seville, who sees the ghosts of soldiers. Dodger actually feels bad for the barber:
"He wasn't a demon, mister, although I reckon he may have seen Hell, and I ain't a hero, sir, I really ain't. He wasn't bad, he was mad, and sad, and lost in his 'ead. That's all of it sir, the up and the down of it, sir."

And the chapter headings were great. Here is Chapter One:
"In which we meet our hero and the hero meets an orphan of the storm and comes face to face with Mister Charlie, a gentleman known as a bit of a scribbler."
Clever, right?

BEFORE you start this book, you need to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the literary ride.
That being said, I recommend this book but be warned! Be careful if you listen to this book because you might have random outbursts of laughter while say, on a treadmill or stationary bike. Not that I would know...

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

Chapter headings



Monday, October 14, 2013

FRIENDS AND TRAITORS (Slayers #2) by C.J. Hill

The Slayers – teens who have powers to fight dragons—are back by popular demand in this high-octane sequel, now with a new cover package!

Tori is at a White House dinner party when she hears a horrifying sound: dragon eggs hatching. It means in less than a year, the dragons will be mature and dangerous. The Slayers are well-trained, but their group is not yet complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker Davis, the mysterious Slayer who has yet to surface.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers: she isn’t a Slayer after all, but a Dragon Lord, with a built-in predisposition to protect dragons, not kill them.
How will she overcome this to save the lives of her friends?

Hardcover, 400 pages

Expected publication: October 15th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends 

First line:
"It would be ironic, Brant Overdrake thought as he paced around the cabin of his jet, for a man who could fly to be killed in a plane crash."

I think I enjoyed this book more than the first, if it's possible to enjoy a second book in a series.
Tori learns she is a dragon slayer and spends the summer training to be one. She falls for Jesse and they seem to hit it off but by the end of the summer, he wants to end it so he doesn't get distracted. So, Tori turns to her counterpart, Dirk, for comfort.
 BUT a crisis interrupts the love triangle in the shape of baby dragons, who will be fully grown in about two years. The Slayers have to learn to work together for the good of the team and America. Unfortunately, there is Dragon Lord and his off spring involved who are determined to kill all the Slayers so the Dragon Lord can take over the world. Who will win? Who will die? And who will Tori end up with??
Hopefully, all questions that will be answered in the next book.

Rating: PG 13
F: Fighting with bad guys and dragons
L: No
S: No


Have to wait for the next book


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

COUNTDOWN by Michelle Rowen

3 seconds left to live.

Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family's murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira's psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan's secrets prove ever more deadly, Kira's only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can't escape.


First line:
"The lights began to flash and an alarm sounded, so loud that I instinctively clamped my hands over my ears."

Maze Runner meet Hunger Games meet Running Man.
Wow. This book gets going and doesn't stop until the end. There are a few spots where the action slows down but you just know it won't stay down.
Kira and Rogan are the newest contestants on a horrible show called Countdown. There are six levels to get through before dying. Along the way, they get help from unlikely objects and people, some put in their path on purpose, others not so much.
Who is the mastermind behind Countdown? What will it take for him to stop killing people on the show? And why did Kira fall for accused murder Rogan? Those questions will all be answered in the book, so go read it!

Rating: PG 15
V: fighting, deaths, fight-to-the-death game
L: Yes, sprinkled throughout
S: Almost, kissing,


The game
reality TV

Thanks, netgalley!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Hardcover, First Edition, 570 pages

Published March 19th 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published 2013)

First line:
"York, 1847
"I'm afraid," said the little girl sitting on the bed."

Three things I liked about this book:
1. Twists
2. Will
3. Surprises

Where does Ms. Clare get all her stories and words? How can she write sooo much and still keep us readers hooked?
My daughter and I read this series rather quickly. I had to wait for her to read this book first! I liked this book the second best with the first one being my favorite.

Why does Mortmain need Tessa? Why diabolical scheme will he use her in? oh. Interesting. ok.
What will happen to Jem? He is dying. Who or what will save him? OH. Really? Hm. Didn't see that one coming. Kinda makes me want to reread Mortal Instruments again.
How will Herondale live without his one true love? Sweet.
Who will save the day? Wow. Cool. Happened quicker than I thought but cool.
Will Cecily get her own story some day?

My daughter loved the series and loved the ending.

Rating: PG 16
L: No
S: Kissing, lusting,

Trying to figure out the different twists

Um, don't hate me, the ending ending


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare

In magical Victorian London, orphan Tessa found safety with the Shadowhunters, until traitors betray her to the Magister. He wants to marry her, but so do self-destructive Will and fiercely devoted Jem. Mage Magnus Bane returns to help them. Secrets to her parentage lie with the mist-shrouded Yorkshire Institute's aged manager Alyosius Starkweather.

Hardcover, Collector's First Edition, 502 pages

Published 2011 by Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry

Ms. Clare has quite a way with writing. Scenes, characters, plots, etc. It's hard to put her books down. Even though sometimes I don't enjoy some of the sappy stuff and I tend to skim it. 
About 3/4 of the way into the book I wondered if I would ever read about Mortmain, the bad guy. Where is he? And when oh when will we finally find out what Tessa really is??
Poor Will finally free to tell Tessa he loves her and... then he can't because. 
Jem. Sweet, silver-haired, drug addict Jem. How will Ms. Clare keep him alive? 
And Tessa. Choose.
This book felt more like a bridge book. I have to admit I was disappointed in the way the love triangle played out. We will see what happens in the next book because, yes, I have to finish this series.

Rating: PG 16
V: Fighting, demons
L: Not much
S: Kissing, making out

Love triangle
Not a lot of plot that moves the story along

Listened to this book on audible

3 1/2 STARS