Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade (Shade, #1) Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone born after the Shift can see ghosts. Aura is no exception. She has used her ability to help them move on by working in her Aunt Gina’s lawfirm. Everything changes, when the love of her life dies and becomes a ghost. She loves Logan and doesn’t want him to move on, but keeping him here may be far more dangerous. It could make him turn Shade.

This book really surprised me. I was expecting another paranormal romance, and while that is what I got, I can honestly say I got so much more that I didn’t expect. In fact this book kind of left me with the feeling I had just finished a dystopian novel, even though isn’t exactly the right description for what this book is.

Shade was a fun book from the get go. Aura loves Logan and his death hits her hard. Her grief is believable, and the struggle for her to leave him behind and rejoin the living was fantastic. Jeri Smith-Ready does an admirable job of character development. We like Logan, we like Zachary, and we hate the thought that Aura must choose between the two.

I can’t explain exactly why I liked this book. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it surprised me. I really wasn’t expecting the whole government involvement in the story and that took me off guard. As I said, I was expecting another paranormal romance, but it gave me so much more. For a girl who likes dystopias and conspiracies, this book had it all with the romance thrown in. My single complaint for this book is that it left too many strings dangling. I felt that too many of my questions were left unanswered and that make it difficult for this book to stand alone.

Those many unanswered questions however, will pave the way for its sequel, Shift in May of 2011. I will definitely be picking up the sequel, because I really want to know what is going to happen next.

Cautions for sensitive readers:  Some violence, drinking, and drug use.  Mentions of sex and mild language.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Trailer: White Cat by Holly Black

Do you like books by Holly Black? Check out the trailer for her newest title White Cat! Now available at KHCPL.

Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse NovellaThe Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bree lives in a home with several other newborn vampires. To call them a coven would be incorrect, since a coven would work together, and it seems like all the newborns do is work against each other. If it weren’t for her hiding place behind Fred, a newborn with unusual powers, she might not have survived so long, but self preservation is a strong instinct. Then one night hunting, she gets to know Diego, another new born who has begun to question things like she has, and she begins to think she might have finally found a friend. Just when she begins to puzzle out her new life, she is told that she has a terrible enemy who is coming for her.

In many ways, this novella had more appeal to me than any of the other Twilight saga novels. Bree was a tough character to like, but once you did, she is a hard character to forget. She is strong, smart, and desperate to survive. In many ways, she is also a better drawn character than you find in the original novels. You see her motivations, her desires, and her pain. Bree is a brilliantly developed character.

The other characters in this novella are not nearly as fully formed as Bree. Riley is a shadowy character at best, who speaks for the creator who Bree doesn’t remember. The other newborns are stereotypically savage and in turns stupid. Diego, is a little better developed, but we don’t spend enough time with him to fully flesh out his character. The one character I found myself wishing I could know more about was Fred.

Anyone who has read Eclipse knows where this novel will take us, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. I really found myself wanting to read more of Bree and enjoying her story. I found this story to be better developed and thankfully missing much of the melodrama that was present in the other Twilight novels.

The audio version of this book was read by Emma Galvin, who does a superb job of narrating Bree’s story. She was clear, and believable as she voiced the newborn vampire Bree. I could easily imagine it was Bree telling her own story, and that is a mark of a good narrator.

Overall this was a fantastic addition to the Twilight saga and a must read for fans of the series. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, I am afraid this isn’t the place to start as some parts of the story will only make sense if you have read the other books.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Violence is present. No sex.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

New Week, New Teen SRC Giveaway!

Enter to Win an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of The Clearing by Heather Davis.

The Clearing

Amy, a sixteen-year-old recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to start a new life with her aunt–all she wants is for everything to be different. In the clearing at the back of Aunt Mae’s property, she makes an amazing discovery—Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry and his world become Amy’s refuge and she begins to learn that some moments are worth savoring. But when the past and present come crashing together, both of them must find the courage to face what is meant to be, even if it means losing each other forever. 
Giveaway rules:

  • You must be a KHCPL Library Patron.   
  • You must fill out the following form:  Enter Contest FORM
  • (If the form does not work for you, you are welcome to email me at and I will make certain you are entered in the contest.)
  • Four winners will be chosen randomly by
  • Make sure you have your parent's permission before entering this contest.
  • Contest ends on Sunday July 11, 2010 at midnight.  
  • Winners will be contacted on Monday July 12, 2010.
  • Questions or comments contact Melissa Wheelock (Teen Librarian) at

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gaia’s mother served the Enclave as a midwife, advancing three babies per month into the Enclave, forever separating them from their biological parents. Until one evening when she and Gaia’s father were arrested by guards of the Enclave. Gaia comes home that night after serving as a midwife and delivering her first baby to the Enclave, to discover her parents gone and an Enclave soldier waiting in her house. After questioning her about her mother and records her mother supposedly kept, he leaves, but her parents don’t return. Gaia has always served the Enclave well, but now she must risk everything to set her parents free. Little does she know...the Enclave is waiting.

I will admit to some difficulty writing about this book because my feelings are mixed. On a quality level this book is exceptional, but on a personal level I found this book a bit hard for me to get into. For some reason, it just wasn’t holding my interest in the beginning. After I got past the beginning and began to progress through the book, my interest grew and as I approached the end I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

I am glad that I endured, and finally finished Birthmarked because it is worth every effort. This book is dystopian fiction at its best. Gaia lives in a world where the poor live outside the wall and are subject to the laws and governance of the rich inside. Outside there a people who struggle to survive, and parents who must give up their newborns. Inside there are wealthy who want for nothing and raise children not their own. The poor don’t rebel because their own children live inside the Enclave, and some of their children serve in the Enclave guard.

O’Brien’s characterizations were excellent. Gaia is a well developed and likable character and you want to cry with her, when things go wrong. Gaia, who is scarred, is considered a “freak” both inside and outside the walls of the Enclave. According to them she is a girl who should be pitied because she is not perfect, but Gaia’s strength is that she is determined not to let her deformity hinder her. The other character who features heavily in this novel is Leon, who you don’t know quite as well and have doubt as to whether you can trust him. He too is an intriguing character. In Gaia’s world people aren’t always what they appear to be, and you don’t know who you can really trust.

In the end I would have to say that I liked this book. It was unpredictable both in vocabulary and in plotting events. You never knew where it was going to take you. Even at the end when I thought I knew the characters and could predict what they would do next, it never failed to take me by surprise.

Overall I would recommend this book to those who like dystopian fiction as a possible must read.

Cautions for sensitive readers: There is some violence in this book, but no language or sex. There are a couple of mildly bloody scenes when Gaia delivers babies.

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