Review: Notes from Ghost Town – by Kate Ellison ~ more than a murder mystery

A murder mystery with a lot of gray areas – like, LITERALLY

Good story – Let’s hack it and make it great

Verdict: An atmospheric YA mystery with ambiguous supernatural elements and a bit of a love triangle (sorta). It was pretty good! I am reviewing an ARC so there are some aspects of the story that may change before the book is published. (the book’s cover is not even official – I had to take a pic with my phone). As far as the story goes,  I have some suggestions! (of course)

Perfect for: Contemporary and mystery YA fans will both find something to like. It’s cool that I can’t think of anything to compare this book to. Read the summary and tell me if you can think of any books with a similar premise. kthx!

Summary: While Liv is away at an out-of-state high school art academy, her best friend and was-almost-boyfriend Stern is murdered, and all evidence points to Liv’s schizophrenic mother. The bulk of the book happens months after the murder, just weeks before Liv’s mother will go on trial. So much has changed in those months: Liv has a new house and a new step-mom and step-sister; she is back at her old public school and all her peers look at her funny; she is forced to go to rich people’s parties and mix with snobby rich teens because her dad is in business with a wealthy real estate developer; she is reckless with drinking and hookups; and, oh yeah, she’s completely lost the ability to see colors other than black, white, or gray. And one more thing…. Continue reading

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Review: First Comes Love – by Katie Kacvinsky ~ A YA love story with depth (that deserves a better book jacket and a better ending)

Don’t Judge This Book By Its Lame Cover

Good story – Let’s hack it and make it great

  Verdict: A touching look at the thrill of first love between two (mostly) non-standard YA characters. While the book treats its characters – and love – seriously, there is plenty of humor and fun here too. Why only three hearts? Well…some little things and some spoilers below in the hacking section…

Perfect for:  Readers who want to read a more mature and less fantastical version of Bridge to Terabithia or Stargirl. People who like romance stories, obvs.

Summary: Gray notices Dylan at his community college campus and wonders why this new girl is always acting so conspicuously weird and different from all the students who try to blend in (like he does). When they finally meet, Gray is both fascinated and repelled by this confident, strange girl, while Dylan feels it is her personal mission to get Gray to lighten up and have some creative fun. Over time they become friends – and more than friends – but can a relationship between such different people last?  The book is told in alternating first person narratives from Gray and Dylan.

 Just When You Thought You Had Another Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Brooding Loner Guy….

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Review: Anna Dressed in Blood – by Kendare Blake ~ creepy funny suspenseful GOOD

No Hacking Needed ❤

Verdict:  Mystery/horror/paranormal romance that breaks all the molds of these popular YA genres. A suspenseful page turner with plenty of humor and wit. I don’t even like horror novels, but I loved this book!

Perfect for: People who love YA fantasy/paranormal but want to read something that feels fresh and new. 

Summary: Cas is a teenager with a secret life: he hunts troubled ghosts who have turned dangerous and kills them (for a final time) with a mystical knife he inherited from his father who died battling the dead. He moves from town to town with his Wiccan mother searching for these troubled dead, playing a normal teen by day as best he can. When he gets a tip about a powerfully troublesome ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas knows in his bones that this will not be just another routine job, but he doesn’t realize just how much the Anna case will change his life. 

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Review: Transcendence – by CJ Omololu ~ Akhet are the new vampires

Akhet are the new vampires

There is a kernel of a good idea here

Verdict: Interesting paranormal concept that played out in a disconnected, melodramatic plot with forgettable characters.

Perfect for: People who still love vampire stories, or are bored of vampire stories but still want that romance-between-beings-with-eternal-life thing. People who are interested in the concept of reincarnation.

Find out about what the heck Akhet are and why the book didn’t make the best use of them

Review: Angelfall – by Susan Ee

Could be a bestseller

Only one element needs hacking

Disclaimer: This is a review of an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book that I obtained from an ALA conference. The final version of the book will be published on August 28, 2012.

Verdict:  Angelfall blends well-worn elements from a slew of recently popular books, such as: a badass teenage girl who becomes a heroine in order to protect her weak younger sister and psychologically damaged mother (Hunger Games); a trek through an apocalyptic urban hellscape (The Road, The Walking Dead series, and The Passage, to name just three); an antagonistic partnership with sexual tension between a human and an angel (Hush, Hush, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Fallen and a bajillion others). The blending is successful, and even if the story is not wholly unique, it is a great read and is the first book in what is sure to be a successful trilogy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie rights get snapped up, either. Bonus points to the author for initially self-publishing with Amazon, gaining a following, and getting picked up by Marshall Cavendish publishers. You go, Susan Ee!

Perfect for: People who like any of the books listed above. You know who you are.

Continue reading to find out why this book worked so well