White Cat (Curse Workers, #1) by Holly Black

Hardcover, 310 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories. – Goodreads
My Opinion:  I did not think that a book could be this interesting. What has been stopping me from picking this up before and reading it? (Well time really, but WOW.) The book was great.

Cassel was an interesting character especially since everything that had happened to him and who was that cause of it. It can really mess up a person and it even messed him up but he got over it which is empowering.

The plot was also very interesting. There was suspense and action and mystery. There were many times where I was just like Cassel waiting to see what happened and trying to solve it with him. That is something the Holly Black did very well. She made it so easy for the reader to fall into Cassel’s way of thinking and to think of the story as though it was happening right in front of. There aren’t that many book that actually make me read the book as though it’s a movie, at least not lately. I love it when that happens, it makes the reading go faster and easier and FUNNER.

Overall: 5+ out of 5


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Sanctuary (Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales #1) by Melissa Marr

Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by The Bowen Press
Discover Melissa Marr’s mesmerizing world of Faerie . . .
The desert is far away from the schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that’s how Rika likes it. Once a mortal and now a faery, Rika seeks isolation and revels in her ability to appear invisible to humans. Then, she meets him. Artistic and kind, Jayce is the last person Rika wants to hide from.
But change is coming, challenging Rika’s freedom and her new romance, as her past pursues her, even into the heart of the desert. . . . – Goodreads
My Opinion: This is a manga of the series and the art is well done in my opinion. It starts off with the main character, Rika, and she is a solitary fae that Keenan wants in his court. However, she doens’t want that because she used to be a Ice Princess, one of the girls that had the winter’s chill in her thanks to picking up the staff. The story is set in the desert.

Rika falls in love with a human and she tries to protect him. Its a short story that has two more volumes in the series, Challenge and Resolve.  This is what the story is basically.

Overall: 3 out of 5


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River Marked (Mercedes Thompson, #6) by Patricia Briggs

Hardcover, 326 pages

Published March 1st 2011 by Ace Hardcover

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help… – Goodreads

My Opinion: I have to say that this wasn’t as interesting as the other books in the series. There were moments that were action packed and crazy with suspense but it was mostly based on Mercy finding out more about herself and who/what she is. The plot moved quickly which is a plus because you don’t get stuck with one point where you are actually bored and just waiting for something to happen.

Adam didn’t have as big of a role as in the other books I feel like. He was just there in the background wanting to protect her all the time. And then he was just wolf thanks to Wolf. There were some characters that weren’t in the story at all such as Sam. He was mentioned maybe twice the whole book but that was it. Something else that sort of bothered me was that we never actually find out what river marked means. It’s open to interpretation from the reader, I guess. Some of you might like that.

The crazy monster this time was actually interesting. And all the background of the myths and legends of the Native Americans actually inspired me to go look up some legends that they have and I will be doing that. It was interesting overall and I think this is the best cover so far in the series. Can’t wait for the next one to come out!

Overall: 4 out of 5


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Falling Under (Falling Under, #1) by Gwen Hayes
Paperback, 324 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by New American Library
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she’s seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams. As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.
And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia’s not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul. – Goodreads
My opinion: This was definitely interesting. It was different from what I have read before. I loved the background story and that Ms. Hayes used sleep paralysis and the story behind it as the background. I loved the love story between Hayden and Theia. I loved it.
I also loved the supporting characters, Donny and Ame. Even Madame Varnie was interesting. I feel as though the author thought out everything and made a lot of effort into it and made it flow. It just kept me wanting to read it and not stop. I will admit though that the beginning was very interesting and the ending was interesting however there were parts in the book the were a little slow moving. However most of the book was VERY enjoyable.
Overall: 4 out of 5

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“An entertaining thriller and a thoughtful polemic on Internet-era civil rights, “Little Brother” is also a practical handbook of digital self-defense. Marcus’s guided tour through RFID cloners, cryptography and Bayesian math is one of the book’s principal delights. He spreads his message through a secure network engineered out of Xbox gaming consoles, to a tech-savvy youth underground.”

The New York Times
My opinion:
I have to say it. Take a deep breath, Bobby. Little Brother is an immensely weird book. There! I said it! Any young adult novel that’s a techno thriller and a coming of age story at the same time is probably a pretty odd book, right? Well, imagine this: take that YA tech thriller and throw in a couple of highly intelligent discourses on complicated scientific, philosophical, and historical concepts, and you’ll have Little Brother: an entertaining, action packed novel of ideas. Three terms that don’t seem to have ever successfully coexisted. Then again, this is by the writer that also made a novel about a labor union of online gamers. It tells the story of a kid named Marcus, an erstwhile hacker, and follows his attempts to overthrow a dystopian regime placed on San Fransisco by the U.S. government. Along the way, he gets a girlfriend, is kidnapped, and probably clocks in more hours on his Xbox than is necessary. This book was a rare glimpse into the life of that fabled character archetype the “California Hacker”, and was also a sort of “Snow Crash” for the smartphone generation, which made it equal parts entertaining and informative. A very entertaining book.

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“High school is the great, universal American experience, and even decades later there are few subjects I warm to more quickly than a juicy account of that traumatic rite of passage. None has made me laugh more than King Dork, the brainy, multilayered, outrageous, and compassionate first novel by Frank Portman.”
Entertainment Weekly

My opinion:

I agree. I recently read King Dork, by Frank Portman, and I had a great time doing so. Imagine if you took the quasi-mystery plot line of John Green’s Paper Towns and the archetypal YA novel first person interior monologue, and mixed it with an enigmatic, elliptical plotline, and a heavy dose of absurdism, and you’d have this book. It’s about a jaded high school sophomore named Tom Henderson who goes to terrible school. He has to deal with the trials and tribulations of being a creative soul in school full of dunces, his new step father, an elusive woman named Fiona and his teachers’ obsessions with The Catcher in the Rye.
Oh, yeah, and on top of that, there’s a murder mystery involving his late father going on as well. This book has the culturally literate first person discourse/narration that we’ve come to expect from a genre (disaffected young adult realistic fiction) that arguably originated in The Catcher in the Rye, but is more serenely jaded and bemused, and less pugnaciously neurotic than some of Holden Caulfield’s other spiritual descendants (*cough cough* every single stinkin’ book by Meg Cabot, John Green, and a host of others *cough cough*). Those other books may capture the teen psychosis better than King Dork, but I still find King Dork to be a better book. The writing is hilarious, the characters (the heroes, at least) are likable, and the plot is intricate, yet easy to follow. Over all, a great read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Betrayal (Haunting Emma, #2) by Lee Nichols

Paperback, 304 pages

Published March 1st 2011

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she’s battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she’s flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that’s not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper, Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive—one a snarky teen
boy, the other a British scholar—Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.
As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor. – Goodreads

My Opinion: This wasn’t as good as the first in the series. However, there was a little more looking into things and we find some more background into how unique Emma is and not just Emma but her family as well. Betrayal had me going there. There was a line in the novel that said something similar to, Betrayal is a hard thing to bear, and who the person was talking about I was thought no way but then, when I started thinking about it, it was plausible.
We are also introduced to the Knell, let me just say… wow, take off the dragon’s head and it all comes crashing down.
The plot was different because now that Bennet and Emma are together, they can’t be together.
I have to also add that the idea of the ghostkeepers is really cool. I almost wish I was one. Almost, but ya the story was interesting and kept me reading it.
Overall: 4 out of 5


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Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published March 15th 2011 by HarperTeen

It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.
This was the tip of a rapier.

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.
Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn. – Goodreads

My Opinion: What is up with all the good books coming out? I knew that this was going to be good because Voices of Dragons was amazing but this was great! You can really learn a lot of great things about this. You can learn about pirate life, boating/sailing in the 18th century, and FENCING. Each chapter is named after a fencing move. How cool is that. There is a glossary at the end of the book that says what each chapter heading/fencing move means. And don’t let me get started on the COVER… again just like with Clarity, this cover really draws you in. Okay now to the book.

Jill was an interesting character. The book starts off adrenaline pumping and you feel her energy because she is fencing or dueling I should say for the third spot in a national competition. My favorite character had  to be Captain Cooper though. She was interesting and the whole mystery of her past was intriguing.

The plot was okay. It sort of reminded of the series Vampirates by Justin Somper, because its similar. Two children fall into water and they are transported back in time to a pirate ship and one falls in love, but that’s about where it ends. What made the book interesting were the characters and the reader thinking about what pirates would have gone through at that time. It was just interesting.

Overall: 4 out of 5


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