February 28, 2010

Review of "Dirty Little Secrets" by C.J. Omololu

"Dirty Little Secrets"
by C.J. Omololu


Pub. Date: February 2, 2010
Pages: 224

Synopsis: Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.

With details that are as fascinating as they are disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt at normalcy. Her fear and isolation are palpable as readers are pulled down a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have readers completely hooked.

I found this book to be very original and well written. I liked how Omololu was able to capture how nostalgic it is to go through old belongings and the forgotten memories that resurface. Lucy's relationship with her mother is tragic and difficult to read about. It is hard to imagine a daughter not calling 911 immediately when finding their mother dead, but that just shows how embarrassing and devastating her mother's hoarding was. The detail that Omololu uses to describe the filth in Lucy's house helps the reader to visualize the disgusting living situation that Lucy was able to survive in through adaptation. This story is not just about Lucy trying to hide a painful secret that she thinks will destroy her life, but it is also about the effect that hoarding has on Lucy's entire family.

"Dirty Little Secrets" is a quick read because of it's length, but it is still able to give readers a memorable story. The ending left me a wanting to know what would happen next, but I realize that would be a whole other story. This makes the ending very fitting because there is so much uncertainty about Lucy's life that there really isn't a neat way to wrap up her story without it being too hokey and predictable.

February 25, 2010

Review of "Bloody Kiss" Volumes 1-2

"Bloody Kiss" Volume 1
Kazuko Furumiya


Pub. Date:
August 4, 2009
Pages: 208

Synopsis: When Kiyo inherits her grandmother's house, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. You see, also living in the home are two hot vampires -- Kuroboshi and his servant, Alshu! Then things go from weird to bloody crazy when Kuroboshi decides to make Kiyo his "bride"-- his only source of blood! Kazuko Furumiya's sexy vampire comedy is filled with an adorable cast of characters that you'll love to bits and pieces--and a whopper of an ending in the next volume!

"Bloody Kiss" Volume 2

Kazuko Furumiya


Pub Date:
November 3, 2009

Synopsis: Much to Kiyo's dismay, Kuroboshi and Alshu begin attending her school, and of course, Kuroboshi is a hit with all the young female students. Kiyo's not the only one annoyed with the new arrival, though. Another student, Fujiwara, doesn't like sharing the spotlight and challenges Kiyo to a tennis match. If Kiyo loses...Kuroboshi has to leave! Problem solved, right? But when Kiyo realizes her feelings for Kuroboshi might be stronger than she first thought, she becomes determined to win the match!

"Bloody Kiss" Volumes 1-2 are a great start to a series. I thought it was really neat how Kiyo discovers two vampires hiding out in her grandmother's rundown house. It is kind of cute thinking of vampires who are homeless. Even though Kuroboshi turns Kiyo into his bride without her consent, I couldn't help but adore him anyway. I also found Alshu to be a funny character and a great addition to the book. Even though the book was pretty wacky, I really enjoyed the tug of war relationship between Kiyo and Kuroboshi. I also really enjoyed the guys attempts at blending in at Kiyo's school. Of course it didn't really work too well because they are alluring vampires, but it was a fun idea to see play out. The second book introduces Mizukami, a childhood friend of Kiyo, that does not approve of associations with Kuroboshi and Alshu. I really enjoyed his character and wished that we got to read more about him.

Overall I found this series to be really cute and enjoyable. I read both books in a day and wished there were more. I think this would be a good series to start off reading if you were interested in getting into manga and like paranormal romance. It is also nice because there are only two books in the series, so you don't have worry about investing the time into 20+ volumes. I don't know about other people, but I need to switch around the books I read so I don't get too bored. Check out a preview of "Bloody Kiss" here at Tokyopop.

February 24, 2010

Review: of "The Iron King"

"The Iron King"
by Julie Kagawa


Pub. Date: February 1st, 2010
Pages: 368


Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

"The Iron King" has a very fast paced plot that was able to keep my interest from start to finish. The book starts off like many teen books describing issues the main character has at school, but it quickly switches to a fantasy realm where Meghan is constantly in danger. I loved being able to see what Meghan's life was like before she discovered her identity because it helped me understand her character. The ordinary life Meghan had before she discovers that she is part fey makes the book more believable, even Meghan has issues accepting the truths that are revealed to her. Meghan's search for identity is something that many people can relate to and Kagawa makes this a central theme for the book. The description of the fey world and unique characters bring the book to life. All the elements of the book have made it a wonderful debut novel that leave me wanting more!

I can't wait to see where the series goes from here. Kagawa has started the series off with a bang with plenty of room to grow. I think she did a great job satisfying the main storyline, while leaving some characters in peril and danger lurking nearby. Julie has her own website with some really cool features including a playlist for the book and a book trailer. Check out her website here.

February 12, 2010

"Mockingjay" is the Final "Hunger Games" Book

The cover and title of the final "Hunger Games" book has just been released, "Mockingjay" will be coming out August 24th! I am SOOO excited about the release of the final book. A lot of you probably heard about this already, but I just needed to share my excitement!

February 4, 2010

Review of "A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" by Brenda Woods

A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Brenda Woods


Published Date: February 4 2010
Pages: 176
ARC received at the ALA Midwinter Conference

Synopsis: If you could get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for anything at all, what would it be? This writing assignment, given out in Ms. Hart's tenth-grade creative writing class, sparks a group of nine students each to tell his/her own story. Readers are introduced to Jake and Shante's interracial romance, Carlos' fear of deportation, and Sunday's determination after being sexually assaulted. These teens persevere through hardship and heartache, laughter and love, and in the end, their voices shine through inspiring journal entries that answer the question in unusual and unexpected ways. Once again, Brenda Woods shows a keen understanding of the teenage psyche, as she did in Emako Blue, winner of the 2005 IRA Children's Choice Young Adult Fiction Award.

This book was short and sweet, but still managed to talk about some pretty sensitive issues. Even though I found the book to be predictable, I still really enjoyed it. This is the type of book that you can read in a few hours and feel completely satisfied. Woods characters are very different, but all have struggles that teens shouldn't have to face. My favorite part of the book was the end when Ms. Hart reads all of the completed final assignments. Even though you follow the stories of the characters, some of them still managed to surprise me. My only criticism of the book is that I'm not sure how honest teens would be with their teacher regarding their personal lives, but then again I may be wrong. I have experienced a lot of adults willing to tell people they don't know well their life stories, so maybe in some instances younger people do it as well. The ending was very cheerful considering some of the events that happened towards the end of the book, but I didn't consider it to be unrealistic. It is just an ending that is supposed to leave you uplifted.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, especially those that deal with urban environments and current social issues. I plan to read more of Woods's work because I did enjoy this book so much. It is a true success when a quick read can leave an impact and Woods was able to do that in "A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame".

February 3, 2010

Review of "Incarceron" by Catherine Fisher

by Catherine Fisher


Pub. Date: January 26th 2010

Synopsis: Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seems impossible.

And then Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia. She claims to live Outside- she is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, and doomed to an arranged marriage. Finn is determined to escape the prison, and Claudia believes she can help him. But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

I absolutely LOVED this book. I stayed up way too late last night reading it because I just couldn't put it down. I just had to know what would happen to Finn and Claudia. I need to create a special rating for books that go beyond a 5, but I haven't done it because it hasn't happened too often. I haven't read too much steampunk, but I think it is something I'll have to investigate more when looking to read a fantasy book. Catherine Fisher grabbed me right off the bat by jumping right into the story. It was one of those experiences where you are a bit confused, but just go along with it to see where the story takes you. This worked really well with the rest of the book, especially when I think back to Finn's character. Finn pretty much went through his life in Incarceron just going along with whatever came at him, until he finds a key and decides it is time to break free from the prison. Of course how can he be sure there is even an outside? While Finn and his companions are trying to find a way through the maze of Incarceron, Claudia is trying to learn about Incarceron's secrets. Fisher is able to weave the characters' quests together in a way that is not jarring, but adds to the pace of the book. This narrating technique was really interesting because the characters fates are intertwined just like their stories in the book.

If you haven't noticed, this book really has everything. It has a fantastic plot, memorable characters, twists that will make your jaw drop, and good writing. The post-apocalyptical society was really interesting to me, especially with the creation of a jail that can think and act on it's own. I really wish I could get hold of the second book, because I can't wait to see what is in store for the characters. Not all the characters were likable, but they all were interesting and unique. I think that Keiro and the Warden my have been my favorite characters while I am reflecting on the book; they were just constantly surprising me.

I honestly could talk about this book forever, which makes me think it would be a great bookclub book for teens, tweens, or even adults. Here is the first chapter of the book from Catherine Fisher's website. She does have a list of other books, but not all of them are printed in the US as far as I can tell. I did get this book free from the publisher because it got sent to the store I work at. The best part of that story is that I had actually borrowed the book, but my manager saw how excited I was and gave me the copy the publisher sent. I came soo close to buying the book that day too lol. Definitely glad I waited on that.

February 1, 2010

New Job!

I am really excited to announce that today I am starting my job as a Library Assistant/ Young Adult with the Dover Town Library. I will be leaving in less than an hour and I can't wait! This is my first library job and it is pretty much my dream job. I am a bit nervous, but I know it will be a blast. I can't wait to see what books the library has and what holes I can fill. :)

Contest Winner of "The Secret Year"

Congrats to Lindsay for winning the ARC of "The Secret Year"! I will be sending the e-mail out as soon as this post is finished. Thanks for all of you for entering the contest.