31 October 2014

Top 10 Books for Halloween

Top 10 List: 
Scary Halloween Reads

Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss. . . .When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, little do they know that their arrival will reawaken an evil-a horrifying truth that devastated Auntie Ida's life the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall and has held the village in its dark grip for centuries.

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?

Will Henry is an orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

In Mary's world there are simple truths: The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Jasper Dent is the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view. And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod. In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows? 

Bridget Liu can hear demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king. 

There's a serial killer on the loose killing girls . With the entire city in a panic, Hannah Wagnor soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again. 

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything. 

They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself.

This book follows seven teenagers, all with one thing in common: the love of Justin Blake's horror movies. All except for Ivy Jensen that is, still struggling with her past and numerous phobias, Ivy is certainly out of place in this haven for horror fanatics. As the seven teenagers arrive at the Dark House, the setting for some of the most horrific of Blake's movies, the teens are lead farther and farther from the safety of their own homes, and closer and closer into the the grips of the Nightmare Elf. By the time Ivy and the rest of the teens realize what exactly they have gotten themselves into, it is too late to escape the Dark House, all they can do is run and hope they can escape before it is too late.

Review: Legend

Legend by Marie Lu
Publication date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

The book LEGEND by Marie Lu was a great, action-packed book. It had a great storyline and was very suspenseful. I would recommend this book to any reader who likes action or fantasy books. In the book, the main characters Day and June are from nearly opposite worlds, June grew up in a wealthy military family, while Day grew up in the slums and is the countries most wanted criminal. When June's brother is murdered, Day is the prime suspect, and she decides to chase him down. Did Day do it? Read the book to find out. You will enjoy it!

29 October 2014

Review: Full Ride

Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publication date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

I would give this book 4.5 stars out of five because it had a wonderful plot throughout and a great beginning, middle, and end. Margaret Peterson Haddix spins an entrancing tale about a girl whose high school years are stripped away due to her father’s life of crime. As the story develops and we learn more and more about the protagonist, Becca Jones, we empathize with her plight and become even more drawn in to the story. By the end of this novel, you have a personal stake in the outcome of Becca, because she is so like everyday kids. Also, I would say that the perfect age to read this book would be anywhere from 12-16. This age group will be kept interested for hours by the fascinating story Haddix tells.

27 October 2014

Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Publication date: May 7, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

A thrilling sci-fi novel, THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey, consists of aliens attacking the world in five different waves or sequences. It follows the personal stories of several different characters, but mainly stars Cassie, a sixteen-year-old girl. Cassie's parents died in a previous wave, however she is unclear about the fate of her five-year-old brother Sammy who was "saved" by the government. Cassie believes that she is the last human on earth. Then Cassie meets Evan, a mysterious boy who nurses her back to health. However, Cassie soon discovers that all is not what it seems.

This book was so exciting that I couldn't put it down! There are so many zombie apocalypse novels, but I had never read about an alien apocalypse. Throughout the story, there are many flashbacks and view point changes that were timed so well and made the story thrilling. I think the author executed his ideas quite well. Because of the subject, language, and violence, this novel would be most suited for 14 and up.

24 October 2014

Review: The Kiss of Deception

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt

Mary E. Pearson's THE KISS OF DECEPTION is a story about a runaway princess who has to find her way in an unforgiving world without the advantages, or shields, that come with her upbringing in royalty. She finds herself at odds with the danger and uncertainty of her surroundings. As the novel progresses, Princess Lia grows from a dependent princess, to an independent young woman capable of making decisions for the better, not only for herself, but those around her as well. She learns about sacrifice, loyalty, and deception as she struggles with pursuit from killers, and hunters, and everlasting secrets. I loved the characters in this book and the complex relationships described. I felt like I struggled through my love and dislike of all of them along with Lia. I also really liked the details and imagery of the story making me feel like I was in the adventure, in a whole different society than our own.

22 October 2014

Review: Skink-No Surrender

Skink-No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
Publication date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Richard and his cousin Malley have always been close, so when he learns she has run off with a guy she met in an Internet chat room, he is baffled that she left without letting him know. When Malley contacts him, however, he senses that her little trip may have skidded off track. Disappointed that the law seemed to have hit a wall in locating her and the guy, Richard teams up with an unlikely partner, a seventy-two-year-old eccentric called Skink who is really the former governor of Florida, declared dead after disappearing into the Florida swamp a few years back.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, because I am a very big fan of Hiaasen and some of his other books I read a while ago, such as Flush and Hoot. In SKINK NO SURRENDER, my absolute favorite parts were whenever Skink was involved. He provided the humor and most of the action in the novel. He is also such a bizarre character that reading about him doing even the most mundane things were all so interesting. Hiaasen’s novels always feature criminals who commit a series of crimes against the environment, and this novel is no exception. These parts are really interesting and quite different from most YA novels I've read outside of Hiaasen’s books.

20 October 2014

Review: The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Publication date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion

This is the story of Ruby, a sixteen-year-old girl with special abilities living in a futuristic, dysfunctional America. After escaping Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp” for kids like her, she joins a group of kids who escaped from their own camp. Together they try to find East River, a safe haven for kids like them, but East River just might not be what it seems.

THE DARKEST MINDS is not your typical dystopian. Alexandra Bracken reels us in by starting the book off with a young, naive Ruby who grows and matures quickly throughout the first three chapters. She captures us within her story using her detailed writing style that makes us feel as if we are really there. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good dystopian series, great for all fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

17 October 2014

Review: The Accidental Highwayman

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp
Publication date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen

Kit Bristol, the main character in Ben Tripp's THE ACCIDENTAL HIGHWAYMAN, was your average servant; he did the housework, the shopping, and pretty much ran the life of his master, until one day his beloved mentor and savior, returns home wearing the all-black clothing and signature mask of infamous highwayman Whistling Jack. This incident, combined with the fatal gunshot wound that kills his master, forces Kit on an adventure that will change his destiny forever. Having donned the clothing of Whistling Jack, Kit is sent on a quest to save Morgana, the Princess of the Fey and the betrothed to the King of England himself! Accompanied by the princess, the fastest horse in all of England, a circus acrobat, a senile old man, a chimpanzee, fairies, and many other impossible companions, Kit races against the clock to reach safe ground, before the King of Fey, the One-Eyed Duchess, or all the King's Army and all the King's Men can catch them.

THE ACCIDENTAL HIGHWAYMAN, is a fast-paced adventure about finding oneself in unpredictable and dangerous situations. Although the language can sometimes be a little medieval, it is well worth breaking out the dictionary. The characters in the story are all well-developed and totally relatable, even though the book's readers aren't fairy princesses and wanted criminals (hopefully).

15 October 2014

Review: Even in Paradise

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
Publication date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins

EVEN IN PARADISE by Chelsey Philpot is a sweet, realistic fiction novel. It is centered around Charlotte Ryder, a junior at St. Anne's boarding school who gets caught up in the glamour of classmate Julia Buchanan's glitzy world, never suspecting that everything may not be as perfect as it seems. I really enjoyed this book. The writing is fluid and easy to follow. The dialogue is believable, as are the emotions. It is a fairly quick read, but quite sweet. I feel that the use of the last name Buchanan made the reference to The Great Gatsby a bit obvious, but that didn't detract from the book as a whole. I would recommend this book for teenagers thirteen and up, which is the same as the book's recommendation.

13 October 2014

Review: Stitching Snow

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Publication date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Hyperion

Stitching Snow tells the story of Essie, a girl living on the freezing cold planet of Thanda. Her days are filled with coding and repairing her seven pet drones who run the local mines. One day, a young man named Dane crashes near Essie's home, and she agrees to help repair his ship. Essie soon learns that Dane is on a very specific mission, and soon she is pulled into a war she has worked her whole life to avoid.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the plot line was very interesting, and that the many connections to Snow White were fun to try and figure out. I also loved how all of the robots had different personalities that impacted the story in some way. Additionally, I thought that the characters were well developed and that they each had a specific identity, and that the futuristic society that the author created was very complex and fascinating. Although this book was amazing, there is one thing that I believe can be improved upon. I thought that the beginning and the introduction were confusing and left me with quite a few questions; all of which were answered in the middle of the book of course, but I feel that the introduction could have been a bit more clear. I thought that the author did an amazing job captivating me with this book, and the writing had me not wanting to stop reading. I recommend this book for ages 13 and up, and if you remember the story of Snow White, you will have a great time discovering the futuristic twists that R.C. Lewis has incorporated.

10 October 2014

Review: Chasing Power

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst
Publication date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury

CHASING POWER is an action novel about a very unique family that has been both created and torn apart by powerful and ancient magic, but sixteen-year-old Kayla has no knowledge of her family’s complicated past. She only knows that she and her mother must hide her telekinetic powers or her father will find and destroy Kayla, just as he did to her sister Amanda. All of Kayla’s caution evaporates when a boy seeks Kayla’s help in rescuing a kidnapped woman, and Kayla finds out there is much more to the story of her family.

This book is intriguing, because it examines the effects of power on family relationships and the emotional toll it can take. It also has a fun, detailed plot filled with action, romance, and the supernatural. It is an easy, but enjoyable, read that is descriptive with a great storyline and a twisting plot (which was unfortunately revealed in a little too much detail on the back of the book). The plot did occasionally drag or seem overly long, but overall this was a great read.

09 October 2014

Review: Love and Other Foreign Words

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
Publication date: May 1, 2014
Publisher: Dial

LOVE AND OTHER FOREIGN WORDS by Erin McCahan will, without a doubt, leave you smiling. The story follows sixteen-year-old Josie on a search to determine what love really means in all the different relationships she has. Josie discovers the variations between the "language" she speaks with her sister Kate, (who's about to marry a man Josie can't stand), her best friend Stu, (the neighbor who she's known all her life), and her high school friends (who sometimes don't understand her at all). As Josie begins to recognize the slight changes in the languages between the people who know her well and those who don't, she also realizes that sometimes she alters herself in order to speak these languages fluently. Josie is an easily relatable character whose perspective towards the world is truly original and exciting to read! I loved this book and all the characters in it. I finished this book with a different and more positive understanding about all the mixed-up languages that make up all sorts of relationships between people.

06 October 2014

Review: They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire
Publishing date: October 17, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers

THEY ALL FALL DOWN by Roxanne St. Claire centers around Kenzie Summerall and the other nine girls on this years “hottie list.” Each year at Vienna High, ten girls are voted onto a list of the coolest girls in school. When Kenzie finds out about her placement on the list, she is baffled. The list is only for the most popular of all the girls, not for the average overachievers, like Kenzie. But when strange, life-threatening things start to happen to each girl, they begin to wonder if the list is more than just a list, and if their lives are in the hands of a killer.

As exciting as it is thrilling, THEY ALL FALL DOWN kept my brain spinning and my hands flipping the pages as fast as possible! Kenzie is, overall, very relatable. She is smart, motivated, and determined to figure out the mystery of “The Hottie List.” I especially loved the way the author incorporated Latin throughout the story, weaving everything together. The plot was complex yet easy to follow, and came together very nicely at the end of the novel. From the first to the last page, I was hooked, and would definitely recommend this book to anybody looking for a great read.

03 October 2014

Review: Belzhar

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Publishing date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

BELZHAR by Meg Wolitzer is a staggeringly simple, yet intricate book about Jamaica Gallahue, a teen who has experienced life anything but ordinarily. After a devastating loss of her boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield, Jam is sent to attend school at The Wooden Barn to help deal with her “lingering effects of trauma.” School being the last thing on her mind, Jam is surprised to find that getting put into this life changing class, Special Topics in English, would be one of the greatest things that has ever happened to her. Jam and her four classmates discover a dream-like world called Belzhar, where they can go back in time to a place where things were okay again, where their losses in life did not exist, and all it took was writing in a journal to bring them to this safe heaven. As the year comes to an end, Jam's journal begins to fill up and the truth comes out in unexpected ways the reader will never see coming.

BELZHAR is an outstanding and breathtaking story that will continue to shock the reader from start to finish. Wolitzer did an impressive job dealing with how we as humans cope with loss, and how we come to recognize our pain. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to be entranced and enjoys a little pull on the heart strings. I inhaled Belzhar and am one who can appreciate a good twist at the end of a novel. Told in narrative form, by Jam herself, the reader gets a chance to see into the life of one dealing with an emotional devastation, and how she comes to cope. One does not want to miss out on the chance to engage themselves in such an astonishing book.