Sunday, November 29, 2009


If you take your traditional Cinderella tale and you add superb writing ability and a handful of faeries, you have the recipe for a fabulous book. That is exactly what Malinda Lo has done.

Ash's mother passed away, and the young girl often found herself at her mother's graveside. In the twilight hours and sometime at night, she would experience weird events that she chalked up to dreams. These experiences play a part in the later story.

Her dad remarries and brings home a stepmother and two stepsisters for Ash. The story follows a traditional route from here. After her father dies, Ash is "employed" in the stepmother's home and she longs to she does, into the nearby woods.

Ash finds herself involved in the faerie world, something she doesn't at all mind. An escape from her dreary and frustrating existence is more than okay with this poor, sad girl. Until she meets the Prince's Huntress. The traditional thread of Cinderella showing up at the ball and wowing the Prince exists, but her heart isn't in it. Instead, she longs to be with the huntress. And when the faerie world and the real world collide, Ash must struggle to make the right choice.

This story is so beautiful and so well done. It is enthralling, even though you know the traditional tale. Lo's writing is amazing. This is one that I will purchase for my home collection - it is that good!

Click here to watch the Ash video, sponsored by the author.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Last Night I Sang to the Monster

I finished Last Night I Sang to the Monster this afternoon and it was a fantastic work.
I will put this disclaimer on it: it is a time consuming, all involving read. It's not like you can read it and do something else at the same time (like watch college football, for example). You have to dedicate. But it is worth it. It is amazing.

Zach is our main character. He is in a rehab facility of some kind when the novel begins. We know that he has had some past relationship with bourbon, but as to what else is going on with this kid...we are left in the dark. Zach himself is in the dark, or is choosing to "not remember" his past.

As Saenz unveils his plot, we are left with an absolutely stunning vision of forgiveness, finding family, and learning to understand that where we came from can contribute to where we are going.

It is gut wrenching and unflinching. Zach's journey is a long time coming and is a painful revelation...but well worth seeing through to the end.

I highly recommend this title.
Obviously, not everyone will have the same life experiences as Zach, but I think that all readers will be able to take something away from Saenz's poetic writing.
Job well done!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Meridian has always wondered why small animals seek her out right before they die. It is something her parents have certainly never explained to her, something that doesn't happen to her brother, something that has given her a "freak" status at school.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Meridian notices that things start getting stranger and stranger. When she comes home from school that day, she witnesses a horrific accident. Worst of all, the accident was supposed to involve Meridian herself...only she survived.

Her parents pack her up and send her to live with Auntie. They leave her with only cryptic messages about her destiny and they tell her that they hope to see her again someday, but not to come back to the house - they won't be there.

Hurt and confused, Meridian finds herself on a bus headed to her Aunt's house...not at all what she pictured for her 16th b-day.

Auntie has a few things to tell Meridian, however.
She isn't just a sixteen year old girl.
She is a Fenestra.
She has a job to do.


Shiver was recommended by my fancy friend from NYC. I hadn't heard of it, so I paid a quick trip to Amazon and the little gem arrived at my doorstep within a week. I started it immediately. My first thought: Twilight. Forks has been replaced by Mercy Falls.
The story begins with Grace as a child. In a violent attack, she is ripped from the tire swing in her backyard, dragged into the woods, and attacked by wolves. By all rites, she should be dead. She has a vague memory, however, of a yellow eyed wolf saving her. Oh, the intrigue.
Flash forward to Grace in high school. She loves the wolves. Every year she waits for the wolves to signify the coming of the winter months. Their calls from the woods and their presence in the forest near her house makes her happy.

This year, though, the town is in upheaval. The wolves have dragged off a high school senior, attacked him, and killed him. He's missing from the morgue, but everyone was positive that he is dead. In an effort to end the wolf attacks, the town mounts up a posse and charges into the forest, killing everything that moves.

This will forever change the path of Grace's life.

Want to know more?
Read Maggie Stiefvater's new novel, Shiver.


Devon Sky Davenport is a soccer star. She plays on her own, she plays in soccer clubs, she is an A+ student, she is amazing. She is sixteen.

She also just gave birth to a baby that she put in a trash bag and placed in a dumpster.

This story tells itself. From Devon's jail cell, we unravel the truth behind what happened. Did she know she was pregnant? Was it a surprise? What happened to this honor's student? What drove her to commit this crime?

Read AFTER to find out...

The Girl in the Green Sweater

Krystyna is seven. She is a Jew living in Poland. She has always been a princess from a family that does reasonably well for itself. She lives in an apartment with her younger brother and her parents. She is happy.

But the year is 1943.
First the Russians come. Things fall apart for the Chiger family. They are forced to divide their apartment, then their worldly goods, then they find themselves out of jobs, forced into impoverished situations.
And then the Germans come...and you know where that part of the story is headed.

In order to survive, Chiger and her family are forced down below the city of Lvov to live in the sewer system. And though that is an extremely awful and trying experience for the Chiger's, Krystyna describes it as something that had to be done so that they could live. As negative as she could be, Chiger finds positive in a lot of the things that went on, giving this book an overall good feeling. Don't get me wrong, you are sick to your stomach and upset about what is going on; her childlike perspective helps you through the worst parts.

Interestingly enough, the green sweater for which the book is named, is part of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Chiger's story is one definitely worth reading.

Reality Check

Everything in Cody's world is going well. He is the QB for his high school team - scouts are interested in recruiting him for college!
His girlfriend, Clea, is amazing.
He has even learned how to handle situations that come up with his father,
who is fond of beer and punching.

But things come to a grinding halt for Cody when Clea is sent to boarding school in another state. Before she leaves, Cody does what he thinks is right and breaks up with her, leaving her free for a full range of boarding school experiences.
To add to the problems, Cody then blows out his ACL, ending his football career.
He can't find anything to motivate him, he drops out of school, quits the team.

And then Clea goes missing.

Will Cody be able to put together the clues and find her before it's too late?
Is it already too late?

Read Reality Check by Peter Abrahams to find out...

Carter Finally Gets It

If you are a boy,
If you know a boy,
If you purchase books that boys will read...
then you HAVE TO GET this novel!

I read this book and couldn't help myself from laughing out loud.
Jason kept asking me what was so funny, but the elaborate set up and the perfect wording that is mastercrafted by Brent Crawford simply cannot be explained. It is something to experience for yourself. When I was done, I passed it over to him, only to hear him laughing out loud while reading.

This book is so funny and so dead-on.
Crawford really wrote a home run about high school boys experiencing life.
It isn't always clean, but it is ALWAYS funny and always truthful.

I'm Down

Aside from Carter Finally Gets It, I have never laughed so hard as when I read Mishna Wolff's book I'm Down.

Mishna is a white girl raised by a white dad...who thinks he is black.
This provides for tons of hilarity, and a little bit of heartbreak as Mishna struggles to figure out just where she belongs.

Plus, with a cover like really can't go wrong.