Review: Going Underground by Susan Vaught

August 15, 2011 Review 0

Release Date: September 13, 2011

From the Publisher: When does falling in love become a crime?

Del is a good kid who’s been caught in horrible circumstances. At seventeen, he’s trying to put his life together after an incident in his past that made him a social outcast-and a felon. As a result, he can’t get into college; the only job he can find is digging graves; and when he finally meets a girl he might fall in love with, there’s a sea of complications that threatens to bring the world crashing down around him again. But what has Del done? In flashbacks to Del’s fourteenth year, we slowly learn the truth: his girlfriend texted him a revealing photo of herself, a teacher confiscated his phone, and soon the police were involved.

Basing her story on real-life cases of teens in trouble with the law for texting explicit photos, Susan Vaught has created a moving portrait of an immensely likable character caught in a highly controversial legal scenario.

336 Pages, Bloomsbury

Del’s story was not the usual sort of story that I read, but I’m very glad I did. It took me a little longer to get into the main character’s head than normal, but I think that’s because I don’t often read books with a male main character.

The story is so very relevant to today’s society. Though the story doesn’t fully reveal what Del’s crime was until nearly two thirds of the way in, it’s not surprising when you finally get the whole picture. The way Vaught led up to the final reveal left me feeling exactly the way she wanted me to feel: sympathetic, outraged at the system, and silently cheering for Del to succeed in life. The reader is not meant to judge Del for his “crimes” but to see past them into the person that he is, the person that cannot be seen underneath his convictions.

This is not an easy subject to read about, and I’m certain it was not easy for Vaught to write. She did it beautifully and nearly flawlessly. I found myself with tears in my eyes on more than one occasion.

I give Going Underground four out of five stars, and I recommend it for both boys and girls.  It should be mandatory reading for all junior high kids who don’t understand that seemingly innocent actions can have very serious consequences.

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Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey #4)

August 8, 2011 Review 0

Release Date: October 25, 2011

From the Publisher: Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

386 Pages, Harlequin Teen

This is going to be a tough review to write without spoilers!

I listened to the first three installments of the Iron Fey series driving to and from work, so it was a little different actually reading about Ash, Puck, Grimalkin, and Meghan Chase. Especially since the fourth, and final, installment was told from Ash’s point of view (the other’s were all from Meghan’s).

This truly was Ash’s story. In the previous books, we saw love slowly turn Ash from the harsh Unseelie prince into the man who earned Meghan’s heart. In this book, we see more of who he used to be. We see events from his past that shaped who he became. And we learn that, perhaps, Ash always had a bit of love inside of him.

The Iron Knight is less action driven and more emotions driven, but it works. This story needed to be told in order for the Iron Fey series to end. It is the story of a quest, not a war. There is pain, there is strength, there is sacrifice, and there is love. Above all, there is love.

I give it 5/5 stars because it made me laugh and it made me cry and now, I miss all of my friends from the Nevernever.

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ARC Available – Blood on the Moon – CLOSED

August 8, 2011 ARC 5

Leave a comment below if you want a chance to read and review Blood on the Moon by Jennifer Knight. I will email you for your mailing address, so that I can send you the ARC.

The only catch is that you have to promise to pass it on after you’re finished with it.


Review: Blood on the Moon by Jennifer Knight

August 2, 2011 Review 0

Release Date: August 30, 2011
From the Publisher: As Faith Reynolds enters her freshman year of college, she is a complete and utter nervous wreck.  With her best friend Derek suddenly pulling out the romance card and her dark, mysterious classmate staring her down at every turn, Faith somehow feels stuck in the middle without dating either one.  And fortune may or may not be with her when a devilshly sexy stranger offers her a welcome escape.

Boys, romance, classes, and annoying roommates are all within the realm of the expected for a college frosh.  Trying to solve the mysterious murders of young college coeds near campus is not.  Darkness seems to be creeping into every corner of Faith’s life, no matter the hour.  And when she seeks the truth, danger seems to be the only thing that finds her.

Faith is well aware of the strange currents in the air, particularly when she sets off static sparks with everything she touches.  Before long, she finds herself entrenched in the deep-seeded battle between werewolves and vampires.  The war has reached the tipping point, and Faith has the power to determine where the scales fall.  But the most important question may be with whom does her loyalty lie?

Deliciously suspenseful and immediately addictive, Blood on the Moon features a headstrong heroine and all of the thrills, chills, and otherworldly boys with deadly charm that a human could ask for.

400 Pages, Running Press Kids

Once again, I find the publisher’s summary to be woefully inadequate. This time, however, I truly enjoyed the book.

While Blood on the Moon is very Twilight-esque (several scenes were ripped straight from Stephenie Meyers’ debut novel), Faith is no Bella. Faith is the heroine we all wished Bella Swan would have been.

The world created by Knight is similar to many others that we’ve seen: vampires and werewolves both exist. Vampires kill and werewolves are meant to protect humanity. Without realizing any of this, Faith manages to meet one of each and gets thrown into the middle of a centuries old feud between Lucas and Vincent.

The unexpected twist comes in the final pages of this novel – a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting the next installment right now to find out what happened after Derek opened his eyes.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars, and I am looking forward to the next installment. The only real negative thing I have to say about the novel is that the back story of Lucas and Vincent should have been developed more. It was an integral part of the story – it explained what fueled the feud and why it had lasted so long. It also explains why it mattered so much that this time was different.

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Review: Deviant by Adrian McKinty

July 28, 2011 Review 0

Release Date: October 1, 2011

From the Publisher: Danny Lopez is new in town. He made a mistake back home in Las Vegas, and now he has landed at an experimental school in Colorado for “tough cases.” At the Cobalt Charter School, everything is scripted-what the teachers say, what the students reply-and no other speaking is allowed. This supercontrolled environment gives kids a second chance to make something of themselves. But with few freedoms, the students become sitting ducks for a killer determined to “clean up” Colorado Springs.

368 Pages, Amulet Books

This was neither the best nor the worst book I’ve ever read. I found parts of it very disturbing to read, particularly at the beginning. However, McKinty does an excellent job putting the reader inside the villain’s head. I was reminded of Ted Dekker several times throughout.

Overall, the book doesn’t flow very well. The point of view switches characters often, sometimes in mid-paragraph, making it somewhat difficult to keep up with. That being said, the story was an interesting read. While it does involve a killer and a school with a “supercontrolled environment,” the publisher’s summary really has nothing to do with the plot of the book. There was an anti-religion undertone to the novel that also had nothing to do with the story line itself, and I often found my questioning why it was there.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars, and believe teenage boys would probably enjoy it more than I did – as well as horror/suspense/mystery aficionados.

Other reviews of Deviant: