Saturday, May 30, 2009


Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town working at the library and lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.
Beth says 3.5 Stars...
This book came to me highly recommended, so I decided to give it a try despite the fact that it didn't appear to be quite my cup of tea. Well, it really wasn't my cup of tea, or perhaps glass of sweet tea would be a bit better. One thing that I felt was very well done was capturing North Carolina. A someone who has spent most of her life in NC, I was really able to feel the authenticity in both the dialogue and the setting. The snapshots of life in rural North Carolina were spot on. Where I had my main issue was with Savannah's character. At times I found her desire to better herself inspiring, but a majority of the time I just wanted to shake her. I couldn't stand the fact that she based her entire being around Jackson. She couldn't do anything without him, and constanly put her need to have him physically there with her over everything else. Being with him defined who she was. As a card carrying feminist, that REALLY bothered me. Jackson was much more interesting because he was not defined entirely by the relationship. I felt like some of the other characters helped to make up for Savannah, but in my mind the book couldn't recover. I think that this is a good summer read for those who like love stories, but it really wasn't my taste at all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Acclaimed authors Holly Black (
Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley,
Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!

Do we even have to say anything about this one? Just look at the people involved. There are so many of our favorite authors. Just the thought of this book makes us feel all warm and fuzzy (and geeky!) inside. Additionally, we happen to love all things geeky, and what's not to love about a book titled
Geektastic? We can't wait for this one because of the combination of fantastic authors and geeky subjects.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. When a mysterious boy enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of nowhere, Deirdre finds herself infatuated. Trouble is, the enigmatic and conflicted Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin—and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark. Deirdre has to decide if Luke's feelings towards her are real, or only a way to lure her deeper into the world of Faerie.

Beth says 4 Stars...
This book was really interesting. I think that my favorite part was the writing. It was so lyrical and beautiful; at times it felt more like poetry than prose. It was mysterious and enthralling. That was what pulled me into and kept me reading the book. I also loved how the music became a major player in the story. It breathed even more life into the pages, and made the book more unique because of the type of music. The music was nothing common, no rock bands or pop princesses here. This novel dealt with the flute, harp, and the bagpipes. That's right - bagpipes. Nothing in the story was forced, but the plot tended to drag. At times I just wanted it to get a move on; the air of mystery became a little overblown and obscured an interesting plot. If a few secrets would have been revealed a little earlier the book would have been so much better. The characters were interesting, but I felt that they could have had more depth. However, I heard that a sequel is coming out, so that will offer the opportunity for the characters to develop. Overall, I enjoyed the book and am excited about the sequel!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Lion Among Men

Abandoned as a cub, Brrr's earliest memories are only gluey hazes. But his path from infancy in the Great Gillikin Forest is no Yellow Brick Road. Seeking to redress an early mistake, he tumbles though a swamp of ghosts, becomes implicated in a massacre of trolls, and falls in love with a Cat princess. Sidestepping the laws that oppress talking Animals, Brrr cannily avoids a jail sentence by agreeing to serve as a lackey to the warmongering Emperor of Oz.A Lion Among Men traces a battle of wits between adversaries distracted by the armies approaching on either side of them. What does the Lion know of the whereabouts of the Witch's boy, Liir? What can Yackle reveal about the auguries of the Clock of the Time Dragon? Is destiny ever arbitrary? Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets-cowardly, wicked, brainless, criminally earnest-to claim their own histories, to live honorably within their own skins before they're skinned alive?


Beth says 4.5 Stars..
*A note - this book is for mature readers only*
Forget everything you think you know about Oz. Gregory Maguire continues to turn fairy tales on their heads with the third installment in his Ozian saga. This book is the untold story of the Cowardly Lion, who's more interesting than you'd think. I believe that reading the first two books is helpful because this book mentions a lot of things that happened in them, but it could be read as a stand alone. The Lion's story is complex and laced with the moral ambiguity that Maguire has perfected. The characters are all complex with realistic personalities, despite the fact that some of them are talking animals. The plot was moved gracefully forward by flashbacks, with current events interjecting occasionally. Despite the fact that this book was an amazing journey back to Oz, it fell short of the brilliance of Wicked. It was still fantastic, but it just didn't quite have the same spark of magic. However, this book is perfect for any fans of Maguire and Oz.

Nathan says 4.2 stars...
If you haven't read Gregory Maguire, you really pick up one of his books (I recommend Wicked). He is so gifted at taking a story almost universally known and transforming it into an original masterpiece. A Lion Among Men is the third book in the Wicked Years series, and it focuses on our friend the Cowardly Lion, or Sir Brr. Maguire follows Brr and another Wicked character, Yackle, through their respective lives and continues much of the story of the after-Witch Oz. What I love about Maguire's books is his writing, particularly his vocabulary. He uses words that are mind-blowingly amazing. However, some of his sentence structures can be bizarre and slightly confusing. He is also often totally inappropriate, which makes me incredibly happy. While I do love his style and wit, the story does tend to drag a little. I read about six books between the time I started and finished A Lion Among Men. This may just be me, but I could only take this book in short doses. None of his other books have been like that for me, but I suppose even the best writers must occasionally trip. The characters are all extraordinarily round. One of my favorite thing about his post-modern approach is that he removes labels like "good" or "bad." Every character simply is. Their motivations are thought out and human; the moral black and white of fairy tales removed. Maguire is a master of ambiguity, and I definitely recommend it for those with a taste for tall-tales post-modern style.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Princess Ben

“My gown suited me as well as I could ever hope, though I could not but envy the young ladies who would attract the honest compliments of the night. My bodice did not plunge as dramatically as some, and no man — no man I would ever want to meet, surely — could fit his hands round my waist. What I lacked in beauty I would simply have to earn with charm...”

With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire...
But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom.
Can Ben save the country and herself from foul tyranny?

Beth says 4 Stars...
I really had a good time while reading this book. It was fun, despite its seriousness at times. The basic plot wasn't that original, but there were moments of true uniqueness in the minor plot points. What made this book good was the writing. It was funny and felt realistic. Nothing felt contrived, even when witchcraft started to pop up. The book was infused with humor, and this really allowed me to stay engaged for the entire time. Ben was an interesting character. At times I was ready to reach through the pages and strangle her, but that's a good thing in a way. She appeared to be a real person, but at the beginning is so immature. Despite my thoughts of killing a fictional character, Ben definitely grew up over the course of the book. That was really interesting to see, because her character development was very subtle. You didn't really realize that she was changing until it was as obvious as a club over the head. This was really Ben's book, and so the supporting characters were just that, supporting. They added to the story, but never upstaged Ben. I thought that this was an enjoyable read perfect for lovers of light fantasy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

When Bee woke up, there was a girl standing in her room. "You are me," the girl said. Then she was gone. I am a thirteen-year-old double Gemini. I get bad grades, write poetry with my left hand, dance in my room, surf the net. I Google images of the tattoos my mom won't let me get. . . But my world belongs to someone else. Someone who lives below the concrete of Los Angeles, someone with wild eyes and twigs in her hair.And I think she wants her life back.


I'm going to be perfectly honest-I started looking at this book because of the cover. I love this cover. It's so graphically cool. Then, I read the description, and I got really excited. It sounds really crazy, a little Vonnegut influenced, and totally enthralling. I'm going to cross my fingers that the content lives up to the cover.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death.
Nathan says 5 stars...
This was the first dark faerie book I ever read. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn't the hardcore, fast-paced, edgy, and eerie world that Tithe opened me to. However unexpected it was, I loved it. Kaye is independent and fierce, and honestly, I didn't think I could relate to her at first, but as the tough act peeled away, I found a deep connection with the character. The world Black paints is bleak and sometimes even disturbing, so be warned that this isn't for the younger crowd. The writing is wrought with beautiful and elegant description. The story is magnetic and dramatic. All of the characters are fantastic, and many are morally ambiguous, which only adds to the intrigue. I flew through this book and wanted more once it was done. I can't say much more except that Tithe is dark, sensual, and enthralling. It was a pleasure to read, and it made me a lifelong reader of all things Holly Black.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life's been pretty rough so far. With suspense, romance, and paranormal themes, this exciting breakout novel has all the elements to keep teens rapidly turning the pages.

Beth says 4.5 Stars...
I've seen this book before, but hadn't really thought that much about it until I picked it up to read. What I found was a complex and haunting tale. Zara was a fascinating character. It was interesting to see her move beyond the pain caused by the death of her beloved stepfather. Her evolution throughout the story was engrossing. To her character development a fantastic story was added. The only problem I had was that many of the minor characters felt underused. They were all so interesting that I felt that they could have been a more integral part of the story. The haunting magic that drove the plot forward was unique. I'll go ahead and way that I'm a sucker for dark fantasies. This one had new takes on common ideas and themes. I must say that I'll never be able to look at Tinker Bell in the same way again. My favorite character by far was Zara's grandmother Betty. I found this book to be delightful and thoroughly enjoyed its dark and haunting story.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If I Stay

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make - and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Beth says 5 Stars...
I'm a crier. I always have been. I tend to sob constantly, and as I'm nearing graduation, it seems as though I'm about to burst into tears at any moment. This does have a point, because this book made me cry. A lot. Thankfully, I am of the belief that a good cry is beneficial, and therefore didn't mind the sobs that came with this book. The way the story is told is a bit strange, but works surprisingly well. Events in real time are mixed with flashbacks of Mia's life over the years. The flashbacks skip around her life, from the time of her brother's birth over seven years earlier to only a few months earlier. This makes the book sound as if it's fragmented, but somehow it remains connected. The stories flow into one another with an effortless grace. Mia is so easy to relate to, and so are all of the other characters. Her parents are so interesting and quirky, and Adam adds another dimension of realism to the story. The music also enriched the book and was a device to allow many different things to be revealed about the characters. I'm just attempting to convey how beautiful this book was. It was lovely and
poignant without crossing into the realm of sappy. This is a book that anyone can and should read.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

What do you do if you can deadlift a car, and you spend your nights flying to get away from it all? If you’re fifteen-year-old Avery Pirzwick, you keep that information to yourself. When you’re a former jock turned freak, you can’t afford to let the secret slip. But then Avery makes some friends who are as extraordinary as he is. He realizes they’re more than just freaks—together, maybe they have a chance to be heroes. First, though, they have to decide whether to trust the mysterious Cherchette, a powerful would be mentor whose remarkable generosity may come at a terrible price.

This book just looks funny. Seriously, who doesn't love a super hero, especially one who isn't too thrilled about his powers. It sounds really interesting and fun. It's a bit of a departure from the fairy/faerie books, but we love a change!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter & Our First Author Interview

Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . .
Creatures full of magic and whimsy?
Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore.

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake. Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction? Talented newcomer R. J. Anderson creates an extraordinary new fantasy world and weaves a gripping tale of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel.


Beth says 5 stars...

This book felt like a lovely breath of fresh air. I loved the very unique take on faeries. They weren't helpless creatures despite their small size. The society was highly developed and original. I got sucked into the quirks of the society, but I can't tell my favorite part (besides the library!) without revealing too much! What I can say about the book is that it fused both old and new tales seamlessly into a fantastic whole. This book is an exciting debut from a fantastic new author (check out the interview... she's as cool as her book!). Knife is a feisty heroine whose adventures shed light on the mysteries of her world. She's brave, but scared at the same time. She was well developed and surprisingly easy to relate to despite being a faery. All of the supporting characters were interesting and enhanced the story. I loved this book and absolutely cannot wait for the second one to come out!!

Nathan says 5 stars...

R.J. Anderson has delivered a debut novel that is sure to become an integral part of the new faery/fairy/faerie mythology. Sure, Anderson's faerys are tiny, they live in trees, they are one with nature, but they also can be dangerous, independent, and feisty. The main character, Knife, is a restless spirit who is always exploring and the audience is spellbound as we follow her exploits. The supporting character are interesting, if a little stock, which is appropriate for a Middle Grades novel. The plot works at a nice pace and it offers just the right amount of incentive for the reader to keep going. The narrative is well-crafted and exhibits Anderson's skill as a writer. There isn't much more to say except that this is an absolutely amazing Middle Grades to early YA book, which marks Anderson as one to watch in the upcoming years.

Here is our first ever author interview. A huge thank you to R.J. Anderson for talking with us.

Fun Stuff~

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

What's your most embarrassing moment?

I have plenty, but falling UP the stairs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in front of about fifty people was a pretty good one. It takes special talent to fall upstairs, but rest assured I am just that good.

If you had to use a stereotypical label, who were you in high school?

Arts geek, I guess. I spent most of my spares reading in the library, and was in the drama club and on the quiz team, and at lunchtime I usually got together with a couple of friends to sing traditional Celtic folk songs in three-part harmony, and then I'd go and hang out in the art classroom to work on projects after school.

What is some of your favorite music?

I pretty much never left the 80's as far as my favorite musicians are concerned – the bands I discovered in my mid-to-late teens are the ones I'm still listening to today. My favorite band of all time is Talk Talk, followed closely by David Sylvian (ex-lead singer of Japan). As far as more recent stuff goes, though, I'm pretty fond of Keane.

A few false dichotomies ~

Coke or Pepsi?

Definitely Coke.

Paper or plastic?


Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme?

Tim Horton's! (I'm Canadian, eh?)

Hardback or paperback?


Mac or PC?

PC, but only because Macs are expensive.

Now To The Book~

In the spirit of Twitter, describe Spell Hunter in 140 characters(ish).

A fierce young faery hunter must fight to save her dying people, while concealing her forbidden friendship with a human.

What can you tell us about book 2 in the Faery Rebels series?

It takes place some years after the first book, the heroine is a faery called Linden and the hero is a young man named Timothy (but never fear, the characters from the first book have significant parts to play as well), and it opens up the faery world in a big way. There's a lot of action and danger involved, a bunch of new characters, and I hope some exciting surprises for readers as well.

How have your travels affected your work?

Seeing new places has always inspired me, but my trip to the UK last year was definitely one of the most helpful things I've ever done in terms of research. It was very confirming to see how much I'd got right in the first book (and fortunately I still had time to correct a couple of things I'd got wrong!) and also helpful to have first-hand experience of the places Timothy and Linden travel in the second book.

What was your biggest influence in writing Spell Hunter?

That's a hard question for me to answer. The whole thing is made up of so many little bits and pieces, some bigger than others but none big enough to pull out and say, "Aha, THIS is where it started." However, I can tell you that if you took the "Flower Fairy" books and a bunch of superhero comics from the 80's (particularly Frank Miller's Elektra: Assassin) and Watership Down and A Swiftly Tilting Planet and Gormenghast and Hook and Labyrinth and put them all in a blender, you would have a lot of what was in my mind at sixteen when I first came up with the idea. But the story didn't really come together until I was twenty-three, and then it took me nearly fifteen more years to refine it into the form that's just been published, so about a million more influences crept in during that time as well.

Why do you think fairy books are so big right now? Is it a trend, or a long-term development?

Books about fairies have always been around, and probably always will be – but the recent surge of titles from Holly Black and Melissa Marr and so on have definitely brought the older, edgier, more folklore-rooted fairies to the fore. I suspect that the current trend toward dark, dangerous, sexy fairy books for teens will wane with time, but there will always be room for fairy stories of some kind or another in the marketplace.

Have you always thought of fairies as tough, independent creatures, or was this a newer development for you?

I didn't think of fairies as tough to begin with, no, which was why I liked the idea of taking the cliché of the cute, sparkly, wish-granting tiny fairy and putting my own twist on it. There had been all kinds of stories written about small fairies, but they were usually of the "aw, how cute/funny" variety; I didn't know any (at that time) that were about small faeries who were competent and deadly and had to fight for their very survival. So that was what I decided to write.

Random Bonus Round Question~
You're a very devoted Christian, and much like the beloved C.S. Lewis, craft great fantasy. In recent years some churches have prosecuted fantasy such as Harry Potter. Do you think that this is a misunderstanding of content, an outrage, or a justified fight?

I think that in the vast majority of cases, it's a misunderstanding based either on ignorance of the particular books being challenged, or a lack of understanding of the fantasy genre as a whole. Many of the most important early works of fantasy were written by Christians; I don’t think it's going too far to say that Pilgrim's Progress, for instance, is a work of Christian fantasy, and then in the 20th century you have George MacDonald and Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and Madeleine L'Engle, among others. So I don't have much patience with the mindset that condemns all fantasy as evil.

I do understand that some parents worry any reference to "magic" in a story automatically means the kind of magic the Bible condemns (i.e. occult practices such as divination, sacrificing to false gods and demons, and consulting the spirits of the dead). But in my experience that's because those parents have no personal experience with the fantasy genre – it's all foreign to them – and haven't read the books they're condemning. I think if they took the time to read some of these books and see how the magic in them actually works, they'd quickly realize that it's just a fairy-tale, "what if" kind of scenario and not demon worship or any of the things they're afraid of.

Personally, I find that fantasy has special power and resonance for me as a Christian because it so often deals with issues of good and evil, and also because it leaves room for the supernatural and the divine in a way that more "realistic" fiction generally doesn't.

Thanks for the amazing interview R.J. ~ Order Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter now and visit R.J. at her site .

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Borgia Bride

Against the backdrop of 15th-century Italian internecine feuds, debauchery and Vatican corruption, Kalogridis's latest historical novel chronicles with compelling sweep the story of the ravishing and iron-willed Sancha de Aragon, princess of Naples. Illegitimate daughter to the coldhearted duke of Calabria (briefly king of Naples), she is used to establish ties to the feared and influential House of Borgia when her father betroths her to the younger scion, Jofre. Much to the dismay of her beloved younger brother Alfonso, Sancha is sent from Naples to rule with Prince Jofre in remote Squillace. War with the French will later briefly return her to Naples, but rumors of her beauty reach her lecherous father-in-law, Pope Alexander VI, who recalls her and Jofre to opulent Rome. There, she avoids the pope's advances-and her jealous sister-in-law Lucrezia's animosity-but falls into a steamy affair with her brother-in-law, the dashing Cesare, cardinal of Valencia. Cesare becomes furious when she refuses to leave Jofre, and he sets out on a warpath that includes her brother Alfonso, who has also married into the Borgia clan-to Lucrezia. Kalogridis spins a dramatic tale from a heady mix of royal power plays and passion.
Nathan says 4.5 stars...
So this book is entirely different than my usual fare. It's technically adult fiction, there is no inkling of magic involved, and it's vastly historical, but I was surprised to find that I absolutely loved this book. I've long-harbored a fascination with the Borgia family, and this book only fanned the flames higher. The characters are quality, the dialog is expressive and well-written, but Kalogridis really excels at narrative. Each nuance reveals characters and weaves a sumptuous undercurrent throughout the novel. The writing is well and truly beautiful. This book is a peek into a decadently lavish and wholly immoral world. With that, I would not recommend this book to younger readers, but older YA readers should be fine. If you like historical fiction, then this book is a necessary part of your collection.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


"Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls.
"Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.


Beth says 5 Stars...

This novel honestly puts me at a loss for words. It was simply astounding. As soon as I picked it up I was pulled into the world of Lia. This world was created with a brutal honesty that made Lia seem like a real person. She could be anyone; that friend you don't talk to anymore, the girl who sits behind you in class, or someone you see walking down the street. The realism made this book extremely difficult to read because I became emotionally involved in the story. The content of the book makes this for mature readers only, but it isn't just the subject matter. It's that combined with the emotional writing of the book. I really don't know how to describe it. It was amazing, brutal, and heartwrenching. I felt connected to Lia, and couldn't stand it when she continued her destructive behavior. I also felt for all of the other characters as well; they all added powerful elements to the story. The book moved forward with a natural feel; nothing about this novel was forced. All I can say is that this is one of the most powerful books I've read in years, and offers insight into the world of eating disorders. This is an absolute work of genius and a must-read for any readers who can handle it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.
Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.

It's too good to be true. A non-cliché zombie/romance story that manages to be funny and have a message...AND it has a sequel. This utterly shatters everything ever known in the YA genre. Well, Daniel Waters seems to have done this. We're really hoping the Kiss of Life is as good as Generation Dead, but we shall see. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Generation Dead

Phoebe is just your typical goth girl with a crush. He's strong and silent.and dead.

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is happening. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. They are coming back to life, but they are no longer the same-they stutter, and their reactions to everything are slower. Termed "living impaired" or "differently biotic," they are doing their best to fit into a society that doesn't want them.

Fitting in is hard enough when you don't have the look or attitude, but when almost everyone else is alive and you're not, it's close to impossible. The kids at Oakvale High don't want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn't breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the differently biotic from the people who want them to disappear-for good.

With her pale skin and Goth wardrobe, Phoebe has never run with the popular crowd. But no one can believe it when she falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids. Not her best friend, Margi, whose fear of the differently biotic is deeply rooted in guilt over the past. And especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has just realized his feelings for Phoebe run much deeper than just friendship. He would do anything for her, but what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?

Beth says 4.5 Stars...
I love the title of this book, but I'm not the biggest fan of the cover. Thankfully, the book felt more like the title. I was struck by the originality in how Waters handled the very done topic of zombies. There was no apocalypse, and the zombies , or differently biotic, didn't eat brains. There was a much deeper message about how society views others and about the prejudices that still exist in society beneath all of our politically correct terminology. This was helped along by a striking cast of characters, with Phoebe at the helm. She was a good main character, and felt easy to relate to. Somehow, though, I felt myself wanting more from her. All of the DB (short for differently biotic) kids were really interesting, and I can't wait to her more of their stories. Karen in particular was fascinating. I felt like there was a good balance struck with the characters; all of them had a purpose in the story. The plot moved forward well, although sometimes all of the different messages got a bit crossed and slowed everything down. I think that this was an interesting debut, and I look forward to the second novel!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?
Nathan says 5 stars...
I know this is older, but I realized we hadn't even touched on the spectacular Libba Bray on the site. So, now we are. A Great and Terrible Beauty is utterly and totally fantastic. As a guy I was a little hesitant to pick it up, but the title was great as was the synopsis, so I gave in and read it-I am now one of the many Libba Bray acolytes. Let's dive in to what make this book so mind-shatteringly awesome. If you haven't figured it out by now, characters are normally the most important element for me in a novel. Bray's are personal and diverse. They deal with common issues without even bordering on the stereotypical. The main character, Gemma, has to deal with a massive pile of drama. She is dealing with the death of her mother, moving away, fitting in, and, oh yeah, figuring out her magical abilities, AND she does all of this in a corset. Umm, that's pretty bad...well, you get the point. The supporting characters are also great. Felicity is definitely a fave of mine by the end of the series. The plot is fast-paced particuarly for a story set in a boarding school during the Victorian era. The story is unique and touching. The dialogue is witty and fresh. The characters are well-formed and brilliant. Do I have to keep gushing? The point is read it immediately. Once you do, find Libba Bray on twitter and tell her what you think, because she is hilarious. We really, really love her here at in BetweeN the pages, and we're fairly certain you will too.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks

Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy—and authenticity—of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.

Beth says 4 Stars...
I'll go ahead and admit it; this was the first Lauren Myracle book that I'd ever read. I tend to stay away from things that people generally label "chick lit". I'm beginning to think that I've been wrong. I really enjoyed reading this book with Carly, the main character, rebelling against the artificial world she lives in. Ironically the sister she's always been close to, Anna, suddenly fits in a little too perfectly. Cue the entrance for the best guy friend who could be some thing more and the rebellious, guitar-playing hot guy. The characters were all interesting, however, some of the supporting characters, the mother in particular, felt underdeveloped. The book moved forward, but at times it felt like there wasn't much of a plot. Something that surprised me was just how much heart there was in this novel. It wasn't completely shallow, and made many interesting points (I don't want to give anything away!). This book is a perfect, slightly deeper, summer read. it's fun and light at times, but isn't afraid to make a statement.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Taking Care of Business

So, I'm sure you've seen, but today is a fun one in the life of in BetweeN the pages. The fabulous Mrs. Magoo is featuring us on her blog today. If by some miracle you haven't heard of her, head over there now. She is amazing, and you can also enter to win a copy of Lauren Myracle's Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks. Guess what...we got an award. We are excited and want to give a huge thanks to Jen at 50 for Jen. We really appreciate it, friend. "Blogs that received the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers."

We like bloggers and friends. We know they are the first, we now hope these will be the latter:
Sharon @ Sharon Loves Books & Cats
Sophie @ Mrs. Magoo Reads
Compulsive Reader @ The Compulsive Reader
Stephanie @ Juicilicousss Reviews
Kristi @ The Story Siren
Emily Ruth @ Aye Captain Reviews
Kate @ Another Book BlogWhore
Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers
Wait!?! We got another award? We could get used to this, seriously thank you to Liyana at LiyanaLand. We actually couldn't find the exact name of the award on your site, but we shall affectiontately name it the Lemonade Award. Sweet, cool, occasionally tart, but always refreshing book blogging. We thank you for it, whatever its official title actually is. If you recieve it please pass it on to 10 people. Ahh...books. We're passing this delicious treat onto the following: YA Book Realm GreenBeanTeenQueen Katie's Book Blog Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf Steph Su Reads And Another Book Read... Carrie's YA Book Shelf The Not So Closet Geeks The Discovories of A Nerd Simply Books