Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Myra McEntire

I felt great.  The sass was back.  Its' amazing what flipping a grown man over her shoulder does for a girl.

That's Emerson.  She's a wonderful teenage girl.  Like all girls, she's back and forth.  Broken and strong within minutes.  But my favorite thing about Em is her sass.  I love a girl with well placed sass.

Emerson has been through a lot in her life.  She's lost her parents.  She's been to boarding school and back.  She lives with her brother and sister in law.  They are wonderful to her but she still doesn't feel that she belongs.

All that changes when she meets Michael.  Michael has been hired by Em's brother to help her with her problem (no, I'm not going to tell you what that is ;).  Michael and Emerson connect immediately.  He needs her as much as she needs him.  I love that!  I like balance in a relationship.  Super-needy people can be so annoying.

Adventure ensues.  Again, I'm not going to tell you exactly what happens.  I will say that HOURGLASS wraps you in that adventure and doesn't let go.  It makes you think. And think. And think.  I finished this book 3 weeks ago but it took me that long to speak coherently about it. And I LOVE THAT!!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there are two hot boys in this book.  Kaleb is a wild card.  He also needs Emerson.  He and Em are similar in many ways.  But, I'm a straight arrow.  I'm on Team Michael.

Recommendation: 8th grade and up
Rating: ALL TIME!!

For more sass, you can follow Myra on Twitter or at her blog
There is also a fabulous fan website for HOURGLASS called Murphy's Law Coffee
And if you live in the South (not Texas South but THE South) check out Myra's tour with 2 other awesome YA authors.  Ash to Nash Tour

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beautiful Darkness

Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Two months later, and I still couldn't look at a bird without hearing the sound of the sky ripping open.

It's been two months since Lena Duchannes' 16th birthday, her sixteenth moon.  No one has been the same since that night.  Not Ethan, not Lena, not Ethan's dad, and certainly not Lena's beloved Uncle Macon.  Uncle Macon is dead and Lena is grieving deeply.  That Ethan can relate to, he lost his mother just over a year ago.

In a time when Ethan and Lena should be coming together, Lena is pulling away.  Ethan is determined to find out why.  He's aided by his best friend Link, the new young librarian in town Liv, his cook/caretaker/buttkicker Amma, his aunt Marian and his mother.  In the end, he discovers more about himself and the Order of Things, saves Lena and returns something very special to her.

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS is the second in the Caster Chronicles.  And it is every bit as good at BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.  I will say that it took me a little longer to get pulled into BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS but once I was in, there was no getting out.  Garcia and Stohl are masterful story tellers.  There are dips and turns and twists you never see coming.  I can't wait for BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, to be released October 18, 2011.

Recommendation: 7th grade and up
Rating: All Time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Mockingbirds

Daisy Whitney

'"It's up to me to piece this together and I know nothing."

Alex Patrick is a brilliant pianist who attends the prestigious Themis Academy.  She had dreams of going to Julliard.   Then everything changes on THAT NIGHT. 

Alex doesn't remember a lot about that night at first.  She knows she drank too much.  She knows where she woke up.  It's the in between that's a problem.  When Alex realizes she was date raped, she has no where to go, no one to turn to.  Themis Academy's faculty has an idealized view of their student body.  They would never do anything wrong, so there's no need for disciplinary action.

As Alex begins to work through the aftermath of her date rape, an underground society emerges.  The Mockingbirds are Themis' brand of student justice.  The Mockingbirds take on Alex's case and things seem to come together.  Alex finally remembers the entire night and he world is rocked again. 

THE MOCKINGBIRDS is griping from beginning to end.  Whitney's portrayal of a date rape victim is pitch perfect.  The reader is along for Alex's ups and downs from the first page. 

Recommendation: 8th grade and up
Rating: Loved it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable

Dan Gutman

"Do stupid stuff, and even stupider stuff will happen to you." - Nobody said this. But somebody should.

This quote is on the dedication page on TGF. I knew right away I would love this book!

 Coke and Pepsi McDonald are boy and girl twins.  Their parents, Dr. Benjamin and Bridget McDonald, are what you'd call eccentric. Or maybe just plain weird.  I guess it depends on your point of view.  The McDonald's have a cross country trip to their aunt's wedding in DC planned this summer.  Mrs. McDonald runs a website called Amazing But True and plans to use the trip to see amazing but true sites all over the country.

Coke and Pepsi have planned to be miserable on this trip.  What they didn't plan on was their attempted murder by the art teacher on the last day of school. Or the adventure that follows.  Coke and Pepsi also find out they are a part of The Genius Files, a covert group of exception children.  And they have a mission - to save The Genius Files.

Their adventure weaves them across the United States solving codes to get their next clue before time runs out.

I love the codes. I love that the twins are so smart and don't even realize it. I love their teamwork while still acting like soon to be 13 year old siblings.  I really love Gutman's light conversational tone that really draws in the reader.  But, what I REALLY, REALLY love is that Gutman has included Google map information and directions so readers can follow the twins cross country.

I'm looking forward to more TGF adventures!

Recommendation: 4th grade and up
Rating: All time!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Lying Game

Sara Shepard
Suddenly, the image from the video flutter through her mind once more.  A long lost sister.  Her heart lifted.  She had to find her.  
If only I could have told her it was too late.

Emma is a young lady in foster care.  She's been a foster kid since her mom left her at a friend's house for a sleep over and never came back.  Emma has always dreamed of having a family.

Emma discovers a video on the internet 'starring' a girl who looks just like her.  She does a little investigation and finds a girl named Sutton who looks just like her and shares her same birthday.  Could Sutton be her long lost twin sister?  Then, Sutton invites Emma to meet.  Or does she?  Emma goes to meet Sutton and ends up stepping into her life.  Emma's life is in danger from the start.  What has happened to Sutton?  Who's to blame? What's The Lying Game?

This is the first book in a new series by Sara Shepard.  It is wonderfully written with Sutton as the narrator.  I don't want to give too much away about the plot.  It will keep you guessing.  It is suspenseful and Shepard includes many pop culture references girls will love. Many questions are left unanswered.  I can't wait for the next installment!

Recommendation: 8th grade and up
Rating: Loved it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Kiersten White

"I sighed. I hate the vamp jobs.  They think they're so suave. It's not enough for them to slatugher and eat you like a zombie would.  Now, they want to be all sexy, too.  And, trust me: vampires? Not. Sexy."

Evie is 16 years old and she has an interesting job with the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency).  She bags and tags errant paranormals so they can be returned to IPCA for processing.  Evie has a unique gift that makes her tops at her job.  It also makes her incredibly lonely.  She has no family and lives at IPCA.  Her best friend is a mermaid.  On the upside, Evie has a kickin' pink taser - Tasey.  Things change for Evie when Lend breaks into the IPCA.  Lend a shape shifter who immediately connects with Evie.

Paranormals are turning up dead all over the globe.  Evie doesn't think this has anything to do with her.  She's wrong.  As her relationship with Lend deepens, she'll discover the deaths have everything to do with her.  In the end, Evie realizes who she really is and that's she's not alone.  Plus, she gets to go to the prom.

PARANORMALCY is funny and light. Evie really comes to life.  The roller coaster of emotions is spot on.  PARANORMALCY is the first in a Evie trilogy.  You can check out Kiersten White's awesome blog by clicking here.  She's also funny and very real.  Wait, of course she's real.  She lives, she breaths.  That's not what I'm talking about.  Maybe I should say she seems very genuine. And don't miss the acknowldgements at the end of PARANORMACLY. They also cracked me up!

Recommendation: 6th grade and up
Rating: Loved it!

note: not all posts will have a page numbers listing. I'm reading more and more books electronically so I don't always know how many pages it has. ;)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Suzanne Collins

If I'm going to cry, now is the time to do it.  By morning, I'll be able to wash the damage done by the tears from my face.  But no tears come.  I'm too tired or too numb to cry.  The only thing I feel is a desire to be somewhere else.

This summer Twitter was, well...uhm, all a-twitter about the release of Mockingjay. Mockingjay is the third and final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy. I hadn't read any of the books. One of my students had recommended them to me last year but I just hadn't gotten around to them. I posed that I needed to get with the program. My awesome and very wise twitter friend Laura suggested I get all three at one time so I wouldn't have to wait to read the next one.

That was, perhaps, the best advice I've received in some time. My momma gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card (that she got with her AMEX points, she is the queen of this - believe it) and I downloaded them on the Nook at once.

All three books are woven through and through with AWESOME. I don't even know which book is my favorite of the three since I read them back to back. I kind of think of them as one large book.

The books follow Katniss, a citizen of Panem. Panem is a controlled environment, to say the least. It is made of up of 12 districts and The Capital. Each year, two children in each district must compete in the Hunger Games. I wouldn't spoil it but it's reality television to the extreme.  And it's all for the Capital's entertainment. Over the course of the books Katniss moves from simply a competitor to warrior to a rebel to a leader.

The thing that made me love The Hunger Game books is Suzanne Collins' world building.  Every time I opened the books, I was transported to Katniss' world.  I was there with her.  I felt her emotions.  Oh, and the twists.  Collins is master of the plot twist.  You never see them coming but they always fit. 

Recommendation: 7th grade and up
Rating: Loved It! (Loved Them!)