Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin Book Review

Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin
(Little Brown, Hardcover, 2009)


Sophie Blue is a sarcastic goth girl and Kenny Fade is a popular basketball player. The two have nothing in common, except that they both have needle marks on their arms and they are pretty sure they're losing their minds. Sophie is convinced that her condition is tied to her dad's disappearance a year ago. Will the unlikely duo be able to solve the mystery before they disappear, too?

Fade to Blue is a dark, twisty book that is part comic book and part science fiction thriller. A little too twisty for my tastes as I found it to be very confusing at times. I did enjoy the suspense aspect though. It reminded me a lot of the Cathy's Book series in that there is a mystery involving a lab and the main character is an artist. However, Cathy's Book incorporates drawings throughout the book, whereas Fade to Blue only has one small section of comics and a page of drawings at the end, almost as if they were added as an afterthought. While Cathy's Book seems stronger to me, I can see the merits in this book. It will appeal to teens that are interested in comics and computer programming as both of those things feature prominently in this book.

Evermore by Alyson Noel Book Review

Evermore by Alyson Noel
(Paperback, St. Martin's Griffin, 2009)


Ever used to be a normal teenager - cheerleader, one of the most popular girls in school, always showing off her long blonde hair. When an accident killed her parents and almost killed her, Ever started to see people's auras and now she goes out of her way to avoid contact with anyone. High school, for Ever, is just a loud mesh of voices and feelings and it's too much for her to bear. Then she meets Damen, a mysterious, rich boy who makes the world go quiet when he touches her. But who is Damen and he is really good for Ever?

I've been on a supernatural kick this summer and Evermore kept jumping out at me from the bookshelves. The cover is so beautiful that I just couldn't resist. Written in present tense, this novel has a feeling of immediacy that made it hard to put down. Not only is Ever confronted with this new ability to see auras, but she is also surrounded by people with secrets and it's hard for her to know who to trust. Damen seems wonderful. He is the only one who can shut out the sounds around Ever, but he disappears for long periods of time and Ever knows that he's not telling her everything. My favorite character, though, is Riley, Ever's sister who is now a ghost. Riley is spooky and unnerving, yet compelling in an annoying younger sister sort of way. All in all, this was an exciting book and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Blue Moon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coffehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors Book Review

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
(Walker Books, Hardcover, 2009)

Katrina is working hard to save her family's coffee shop, getting up early every morning and working every afternoon and weekend. One morning she spots a homeless guy outside the coffee shop and she leaves some coffee and a pastry for him. Little does she know that her act of kindness was directed at an angel—and that he now must grant her whatever she desires. After a couple of botched wishes, Katrina realizes that all she wants is a certain irresitible angel.

I picked up this book, excited for the unique premise. In the plethora of fairy-tale retellings, I haven't yet come across a book where a girl is granted wishes from an angel. Katrina is a compelling heroine and her battle to save her family's coffee shop was the real strength of this book. Her entrepreneurial flair drove the plot of the book and I turned the pages, waiting to see what her next big idea would be. The romance aspect of the novel, which is billed as the main plot line on the back of the book, fell far short of Katrina's quest to save the business. Malcom, the angel, came across as provincial and two-dimensional. He only had a couple of scenes with Katrina and it wasn't at all apparent that he was attracted to her until the last couple of scenes. I love coffee, teen entreprenuers, and the idea of a wish-granting angel but, in the end, I wasn't really all that infatuated with Coffeehouse Angel.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor Book Review

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
(Hardcover, Scholastic, October 2009)

"Kissing can ruin lives. Lips touch, sometimes teeth clash. New hunger is born with a throb and caution falls away."

Lips Touch offers a trio of fairy-tale-esque stories, centered around the power of a kiss. In "Goblin Fruit," beautifully different Kizzy is tempted by a boy who is not all he seems and whose kiss could mean her ruin. Anamique's voice can kill humans or sway devils in "Spicy Little Curses Such as These." In "Hatchling," Esme's eyes change colors and, all of sudden, she has memories of kissing a fanged hunter.

Reading Lips Touch is like slipping into a dark fantasy, one where the lines between truth and fiction blur and magic taints every breath. Whereas Laini's first novel Blackbringer was for a middle grade audience, this collection is geared towards a teen audience. Temptation, lust, and love seep into each story, and it's easy to imagine yourself as one of the main characters...ordinary girls who are faced with extraordinary circumstances. Each of the three stories are short enough to read in one sitting; although, I would recommend rereading each one because of all the rich details. It's very hard to pick a favorite story of the three. Currently, I'm leaning towards "Spicy Little Curses Such As These" because the mythology of India fascinates me. All three stories could easily be spun into their own novels but I enjoyed the short story form used. It leaves the endings (and even some beginnings) open to the imagination which makes the stories all the more interesting.

p.s. The book that I read is an ARC and doesn't have the final artwork on the inside pages. However, Jim Di Bartolo's sketch art looks amazing and I can't wait to see it in its final color form!

p.s.s. Laini is expecting a baby girl any day now! Go visit her blog to see all her cute baby clothes and toys, and make sure to say hi while you're there!