Angel Burn

Mini-Review
Title: Angel Burn (Book 1 in Angel)
Author: L. A. Weatherly
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: May 24, 2011

Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible.
Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.

But what if their potent magnetism isn’t what it seems?
Willow knows she’s different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people’s futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.
Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow’s secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

Angel Burn is everything you could ever want in a book – great characters, heart-thrilling action, and undeniable romance. I loved everything that made up this book. The plot line was suspenseful, and even though some parts were a bit predictable, everything was unique because of the characters that did the actions. Everything pertained to Willow and Alex’s relationship, feelings, and beliefs. I loved the uniqueness of the characters and that the plot felt different just because of who it revolved around. The premise of the book itself was incredibly creative, and I basically am screaming inside for the sequel – the only reason this review won’t go on forever is because I have three other mini-reviews to write! I highly recommend this book – it’s worth every second spent reading it (which may not me a lot, actually, because I read it in less than a day – yeah, it’s that good) and I’m seriously considering buying it because I’ve read it and loved it that much. Also, the cover art is amazing, the UK cover is too, (just FYI, for some weird reason the U.S. cover isn’t working for the post) and I basically thing I’m in love (with the book, not Alex … although, come to think of it, if he ever, you know, gets sick of Willow, he’s welcome to have a fling with me and then go back to her. Or, ummm, he could just stay).

~Yours Truly

Forgive My Fins

Title: Forgive My Fins (Book 1 of Fins)
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Publisher: Katherine Tegan – HarperCollins
Release Date: May 19, 2010

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.
When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

The mermaid thing has been getting pretty popular lately, and I’m glad that it gives vampire and werewolves a bit of a rest. This debut was really good. I enjoyed the characters, especially Quince, and the different relationships that began, grew, and ended. There was a definite distinction, though, between the merpeople and the terrapeds. It was simply to tell, both from names and the way they speak, who was from land, and who was from the sea. My favorite relationship was probably Peri and Lily’s friendship. It was obvious that they used to be inseparable, the perfect best friends. It was similar to Lily’s friendship with Shannen, probably my favorite character overall, if only because she’s honest and loyal. I also liked the father-daughter relationship Lily had with her dad. It was refreshing from all the stifled princess plotlines that exist in the world. And then of course, there was the romance. Lily’s obsession over Brody, the third wheel when Quince is thrown into the triangle, everything you could imagine, and then throw in undying loyalty and true love. It was pretty perfect – there was the exact mixture of pain and happy endings.

The cover of the book is very intriguing. I love the colors and the makeup on the cover model – she looks like a mysterious mermaid, with the green and blue hair. It makes it look like she’s underwater, and the facial expression is great with her eyes closed and everything. Also, the animated breath with the swirls and wave-like pattern around the title is really cool, as well as the font the title is in. The way the color of the title contrasts with the blue and green in the rest of the cover is really eye-catching. Also, the title itself is really relevant to the story. I love how it all connected.

The stuff that goes on in between the relationships was good, too. I loved the Challenge chapters. It was the most painful part of the book, and the part directly after that was painful as well, but I loved how it was a unique telling of a mermaid’s love story. It was so much more than that, though – a teenager trying to find her place, a guy trying to be open about his feelings, a popular jock bully who can’t stand losing a groupie, a jealous royal cousin, and multiple friendships that all combine into one story. One book can’t contain all that, so I was super happy at the end when a cliff-hanger was introduced! I can’t wait to read the sequel, Fins are Forever. No matter what happens, though, I will always root for Lily, and I’ll be happy as long as she’s happy. She was an amazing protagonist, and balancing an attempt at being a normal human girl with being a supernatural being is not as easy as it may sound, and I loved getting to know this character in Childs’ debut.

I highly recommend this book. I loved everything about it, and even though it wasn’t really high action, it intrigued me and entertained me. I hope you all go out and read it soon – it’s definitely worthwhile!

~Yours Truly

Irises

Title: Irises
Author: Fransisco X. Stork
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine – Scholastic, Inc.
Release Date: January 1, 2012

TWO SISTERS:  Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. — if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.
THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate’s boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.
ONE AGONIZING CHOICE:  Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it’s Mama’s life that might divide them for good — the question of if she lives, and what’s worth living for.

It’s amazing what an author can do with an idea. Somehow, they are able to micromanage every detail of a books’ worth of characters – their personalities, character traits, schedules, and more. In this book especially this hit me. The two sisters are dealing with a parent’s death before either of them have even finished high school, with another parent barely alive. The author creates two completely different yet relatable characters that deal with grief and the entire situation in their own way.

I really like how the cover and title are completely relevant to the story and yet it looks so pretty. Its aesthetics are part of what made me pick it up in the first place. The religious aspect of the book really isn’t very religious – it’s more philosophy: what is love, how does someone morally do something, not just simply how does someone be a good Christian, although that’s in there, too. It was interesting to see how other people think about religion and spiritual matters, and I was surprised when some of my own religious doubts were in the text! The things that confused the characters were things that I was confused about in real life – the contradictions – and the ending of the book, how a lot of stuff was figured out, had a lot to do with real-life situations, not just the plot of the story, and is applicable by any ethical reader, not just a Christian.

I really enjoyed how even though there was romance, the focus was on the growth of the characters. Yes, the boyfriends and physical attractions were present, but it was more in a way that allowed the two sisters to grow mentally and emotionally. Another thing I loved about the book was that it reflected real-life because of the ending. The ending was pretty sure – most of the problems had been solved, and things seemed more stable, and both of the characters changed a lot. But it was realistic in the fact that there were still personal problems and healing processes going on. Not everything was perfect, but it was good.

Stork has created a story of hardship, difficult decisions, and pain, but also a world where everything can be worked through if you give it enough time, and fellowship with friends and family goes a long way to building a strong, worthwhile life. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good, uplifting contemporary.

~Yours Truly

After Obsession

Title: After Obession
Author: Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel
Publisher: Bloomsbury Teens
Release Date: September 13, 2011

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can’t stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They’re wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it’s neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It’s Alan’s cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

Aimee and Alan are great characters. The fact that Jones and Wedel split the characters between them and wrote the book in both points of view was amazing. I loved how their voices were so separate I didn’t have to even think about who was speaking; the values each character had, the importance of their family, and especially the importance of each other, was clear in every thought, action, and word that came through these people, and the authors have every credit in giving these characters those voices. I loved the distinct personalities, the obvious traits – good or flawed – and especially the fact that both characters struggled with accepting their sanity and the way their life was. Each fear, each worry, was personal; the authors most definitely succeeded in creating unique protagonists.

The plot was great, too. The weird fantasy/horror-like part of the book with the River Man and his creepy role in the story was good despite being slightly scary at a few points. The best aspect of the book was the supernatural and healer-qualities that both Aimee and Alan possessed. The twist that it gave the story, and the fact that they both would have died, along with a lot more people in the town, without those powers, gave the plot a lot more suspense and tension, more intrigue and more confusion as to what could possibly happen next.

My favorite thing about the book was that the ending solved everything. There’s no need for a sequel (although it there ever was one, I’d totally read it – Alan and Aimee are a great couple, and I’d definitely read about/from them again!) because of how the book ended, and I was completely satisfied. It would have been nice to have the book end with Alan and Aimee, but the ending with the dad was good too. It was different, more personal, and definitely set this story apart from most other YA books that are published today.

I highly recommend this book to ages 13 and up. There’s a creepy factor to the story with the River Man and the whole possession thing going on, but there’s very little violence, the characters are chaste (although the one scene with the two moms in the hallway cracked me up!), and the descriptions are by no means grotesque. It’s a great book, highly entertaining, and it has an amazing plotline to captivate every reader imaginable. Enjoy!

~Yours Truly

New Blog!

Hey guys!

My friend Meredith has created her own blog! I’m so happy for her – it was a project of her’s for Girl Scouts. Go check it out – I love it! It’s called Chain Reaction Reviews: reviews, news, and especially a place for everyone to have a chance to communicate to the world.

Chain Reaction Reviews is an on-line literary circle that reviews books and reading material relevant to those ages twelve and above.

Here you can interact with one another through the “review process”.  Read my ongoing collection of reviews and discover those written by others. With an account of your own you can write reviews, comment on the ones you like, and have literary discussions on topics interesting to you.

Through reading, we can experience the world!!

It’s a Chain Reaction, and it continues with one strong link…YOU.

Stop by and say hello!

Teaser Tuesday: 12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“His words are more a curse than a prayer. ‘Holy God.’ The knife, the foot-long bread knife, is standing up on its tip, perfectly balanced and slowly spinning around.”

~page 107 of After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel