Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Incantation by Alice Hoffman

For those readers who are looking for a quick read that is well-written and touches on a serious topic, Incantation is the book for you. Today most people believe that the only time that the Jewish people have been persecuted was during the Holocaust; Hoffman's book sheds light on a different time period of hatred and genocide.

It is the dawn of the 16th century and Estrella is a sixteen-year-old girl living in Spain. Estrella thinks of nothing but getting married and always living next door to her best friend. However, her world is suddenly turned to darkness when the evil monster of hatred shows its face in her small town.

The Jews, who have been either forced to convert to Catholicism or live in a ghetto, are facing more and more persecution. Now, as in Nazi Germany, neighbor has turned against neighbor, turning in Jews who were pretending to be Catholic. The bodies and books are burning as Estrella's life and her family are changed for ever.

This book touches on a serious topic through the eyes of a teenager. A quick read for those who enjoy historical fiction. I recommend it to all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mob Princess: For Money and Love

Mob Princess: For Money and Love by Todd Strasser

I have to start out by saying that it took me less than a day to read this awesome book!! I first heard of the Mob Princess series about a month and half ago when I attended a conference where Todd Strasser was speaking. Strasser is known for his wonderful serious young adult fiction such as, Give a Boy a Gun. However, he has actually written over 120 books including some that might be known as guilty pleasure reads. When speaking about his books, Strasser made the comment that after he writes a serious book he likes to write a fun one, the Mob Princess is considered one of his "fun books."

I must say that I was a little skeptical about reading a book about a teenage girl written by a middle-aged man. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how well Strasser wrote the character of Kate. She seems more than girl; she is a human being.

Kate, is the sixteen-year-old daughter of Sonny Blessing (head of the Blessing Organization), and as the title implies her father's business is a mafia-type organization. On the day that Kate breaks-up with her boyfriend, everything in her world falls apart. A rival organization is trying to take over her dad's territory, her mom is leaving her dad, her dad is cheating yet again on her mom, and her thirteen-year-old brother is as clueless as always.

With Kate's father having to deal with her mother and his girlfriend, Kate is left to help run the family business. This leads to her enlisting the help of her extremely loose best friend, Randi, in an armored car robbery and meeting with the son of the rival family's boss.

Kate is trying to be a normal teenager, but is that even possible in her family, especially when she has gone and complicated things further by falling for Nick Blatteria, her father's enemy's son? This is a trilogy, so Kate has at least three books to fix everything. I recommend this book to lovers of chick mafia books or just chick-lit in general.

Warning: Contains alcohol usage and sexual content.


Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz

This sequel to Blue Bloods picks up a few weeks after the last book ended. Schulyer's grandmother has just completed her cycle, thanks to an attack by a Silver Blood, and Schulyer has traveled to Venice to find the only person who can help her, her grandfather.

Schulyer's grandfather, Lawrence, has been separated from the family for centuries now, but he is the foremost expert on Silver Bloods. While dealing with the past attacks, which have thankfully stopped, Schulyer must deal with her loss of family, her mother's coma, and her feelings about two different boys, not to mention the fact that she is a half-vampire. The book really goes into Schulyer's new relationships both with Jack, the cute vampire who is promised to his twin sister, and Oliver, her Human Conduit.

Schulyer is torn between the two boys, just as she is torn between her two halves. Her blood is literally battling it out for control of her and she is starting to feel the need to feed. Double identities seems to be a theme throughout this book, hence the name Masquerade. No one knows who the Silver Bloods are, people are falling in love with the wrong people, and the true revelations have begun with the 400 ball (where the true name or angel name of each teen is revealed).

For those teens or adults who loved the first book this book is not a disappointment, in fact I found it better than the first reading it in a mere two days. In a world where vampire fiction is ruling the best seller lists, this book only furthers readers love for the blood drinking romancers who walk the night. A must read for those who love elitism fiction or vampire fiction.

Warning: This book contains foul language, alcohol usage, and graphic sexual content.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wicked Lovely

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

This is not your typical fairy story. If you go into this book thinking it will be a happy-go-lucky sweet tale, you might as well put the book down before you even open it. This is a tale of the dark side of the fairy world, a side known to few humans. Only those humans gifted with “the sight” can see the fairies and the dastardly deeds they get up to, only those like Aislinn.

Aislinn has always been able to see the fairies; a fact that she has to keep hidden or they might blind or kill her. It is a gift she inherited from her mother and grandmother. The only way Aislinn can keep herself safe is to follow the rules. Rule #1 Don’t let the fairies know you can see them, Rule #2 Fairies are hurt by holy people and holy symbols, and Rule #3 Fairies cannot go near steel.

Aislinn is lucky enough to have a best friend who happens to live in an old train car, made of steel. His home is one of her few fairy free areas, but not even the train car can protect her from her feelings about the new fairy in town. Torn between her love for her best friend and her loathing/infatuation with the fairies, Aislinn is placed into a world that few authors have explored.

I found the premise of this book extremely interesting. Aislinn is not your typical fantasy hero, her best friend has tattoos and lives life more on the dangerous side, while she frequently thinks about sex and stays out late on school nights. Those older teens who are a little bit of a rebel with feel a connection to Aislinn while traditional fantasy fans will find the world of the fairies darker and more intriguing than most. I look forward to reading the sequel, Ink Exchange.

Warning: This book contains alcohol usage, sexual content, foul language, and general adult situations.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

I found this sequel of I’d Tell You I Love, but Then I’d Have to Kill You actually better than the first book. Readers are brought back to Gallagher Academy, in this book about teenage girl spies, a few weeks after the last book ended. Cammie “the Chameleon” Morgan is dealing with the aftermath of her ill-fated romance with normal townie Josh and the fact that something is going on at Gallagher that she has not been informed about.

This time Cammie is facing not only a broken heart, but a secret that could change Gallagher Academy and its girls forever. Cammie and her friends will have to once again put their spy skills to the test as they figure out what the headmistress, Cammie’s mother, is hiding. I don’t want to give it away, but the secret is sure to thrill loyal female readers and have them begging for yet another book in this series.

On the relationship front, Cammie will have to use all of her girl skills, as lacking as they are, to deal with the fact that she can no longer see Josh (government order). Let’s just say that becomes harder than she thinks it will be. Once again, female readers will enjoy seeing the typical teenage girl side of Cammie, but without the amount of angst that was in the previous book.

I highly recommend this book to girls of all ages, just make sure you read the first book first or you may be completely lost.