Tag Archives: Teen Fantasy

Delcroix Academy: The Candidates – Inara Scott
Book Reviews
September 4, 2010 posted by Nikki

Delcroix Academy: The Candidates – Inara Scott

Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that’s not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia’s mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just…happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt.  So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.

But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia’s days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats’ kids and child geniuses–not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies.  So why are they treating Dancia like she’s special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.

And then there’s her mysterious new friend Jack, who can’t stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what.  But Dancia isn’t convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her “gift” than they’re letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it…But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.

From the onset, it’s pretty clear that Dancia is supposed to be an average, run of the mill character that teenage girls everywhere should be able to relate to. With her average, grades, average appearance, less than impressive wardrobe, and no money or classy possessions to show off, Dancia has pretty much resigned herself to a life less lived. Except, although she seems unwilling to admit it, there is something exceptional about her. She has an odd kind of power and can make things happen with her mind. She doesn’t understand it, she can’t really control it, but whenever she ends up using it, bad things happen. Dancia chooses to ignore her power and enters the big fat land of denial.

The Delcroix Academy recruits her. She doesn’t understand why – Delcroix is supposed to be for talented people, and talent is something she’s seriously lacking. Still, there is no possible way they could know about her abilities, right? That couldn’t really be why they want her, could it?

Jack seems to think so. He’s another recruit, just like Dancia. No special, obvious talents (unless you count a juvie record and a bunch of failed efforts under his belt). But Dancia senses something special about Jack immediately. Something special, in her kind of way. Just when Dancia starts getting close to Jack, Cam puts himself in her line of vision. Dancia doesn’t understand his newfound interest in her – he is the most attractive guy in school after all – but when his attention seems unrelenting, Dancia allows herself to roll with it.  Suddenly, she finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle. Has the world gone completely mad?

Except, she doesn’t like Jack. Honest. She likes Cam. Smart, funny, handsome. Jack is nothing but a troublemaker. So why, if she feels nothing for Jack, does the world stop spinning when he kisses her?

Then the truth comes out about why she was really recruited to Declroix, and all hell breaks loose.

I found Dancia’s naivety completely and utterly frustrating, but if I’m honest with myself, the way she behaved is completely and utterly believable. It’s every girl’s dream come true to have the school hearth throb chasing after you. Unfortunately, I don’t buy it. Even though Cam does seem genuinely interested in Dancia, I refused to let myself believe its true. I can’t pin point it exactly, but there’s just something about it that makes my stomach turn – and not in a good way.

Jack, on the other hand, is totally nuts about Dancia, but I’m not entirely sure it’s for the right reasons. Is he interested in her because of her power, or does he really like her for who she is? I can’t tell yet, but I’m really hoping it’s the latter. In case you didn’t already figure it out, I’m Team Jack.

Delcroix Academy: The Candidates starts off a little slowly, but once the action gets going, it becomes one of those novels that you just can’t put down. It’s Inara Scott’s first novel, and I’m definitely going to be watching to see how this story pans out.

Pages: 293

Publication Date: August 28, 2010

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: Jack leaned against the porch rail, his body once again a relaxed slouch. his voice was soft, coaxing. “How can you say that? I’m no bully.”

Coffeehouse Angel – Suzanne Selfors
Book Reviews
July 31, 2010 posted by Nikki

Coffeehouse Angel – Suzanne Selfors

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down.  Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .

Currently, life sucks for Katrina. Since Java Heaven opened up shop next to her Grandmother’s Scandinavian coffeehouse, business has pretty much come to a screeching halt. The bills are piling up, no customers are walking through the door, and yet Katrina and her grandmother must find a way to make ends meat. Katrina is sixteen years old. She should be worrying about boys, her homework, and what she’s going to do on the weekend. Instead, she gets up before school every morning to work in the coffeehouse, and promptly returns after classes have finished to do much of the same.

To make matters worse, her best male friend, Vincent, starts hanging around with Heidi Darling. Katrina thinks this is bad for many, many reasons, but mainly she’s ticked off because Heidi is Mr Darling’s daughter, and Mr Darling owns Java Heaven – the very reason Katrina and her Gran are struggling so much. Where is Vincent’s loyalty? How could he do that to Katrina?

But that’s not where the crazy ends. Katrina finds a strange boy passed out in the alley behind the coffeehouse one morning. Although she’s a bit freaked out by him, she mistakes him for a homeless person and in an act of pitying kindness, she leaves a coffee and a stale pastry for when he wakes up. But then he keeps showing up, saying that her act of kindness must not go unrewarded, and promises to fulfill her greatest desire. Katrina thinks he’s a nut job at first, but then things start happening that make her think there’s more to this strange boy than meets the eye.

Coffeehouse Angel is a super easy read and I totally dug being in Katrina’s head. When she ached, I ached. When she hurt, I hurt too. But mostly, I was impressed that I didn’t become irritated by her jealousy – and believe me, she spends a good chunk of this novel impersonating the green-eyed monster. Usually, I have little tolerance for such unrelenting self-pity, but I felt like I could empathize with her situation a little. I think all of us have had to deal with the kind of friendship problems Katrina goes through in this story. I was super happy that, at the end, she seemed to learn her lesson, though, and tucked her green-eyed monster impersonation away. I was exceptionally surprised by the outcome of the conflict that arose with Vincent, though. I thought the whole thing was going to turn out very differently. While I’d love to discuss my reasoning for this in this review, that’d be giving away the ending – and we can’t have that!

I drank way too much coffee while reading this novel. Must have been something about the constant mention of Java goodness.

Coffeehouse Angel is a lovely read. As good as red velvet cupcakes, if you ask me.

Pages: 276

Publication: 2009.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “There’s a handy chart in here. It says the most common thing people ask for is fortune. But Katrina didn’t want that. She gave it to her friend. The second most common thing people ask for is fame.” Lars and Malcolm turned and looked at me. Yep, that’s right, I was still standing there. I don’t know why, I should have left those two idiots in the dust. “Could fame be what you most desire?” Malcolm asked.

The Crescent – Jordan Deen
Book Reviews
April 1, 2010 posted by Katie

The Crescent – Jordan Deen

Becoming a werewolf is not an option for seventeen-year-old Lacey Quinn, but death can be a strong motivator.

Lacey is so focused on her future that everyday life has passed her by. Counting down the days to her eighteenth birthday, Lacey is almost home free. But when she falls for the mysterious Alex Morris, she lands in the middle of an ancient war between two enemy wolf packs. Tempting dreams, tantalizing lies and a dangerous love triangle ensues leaving Lacey heartbroken and confused.

Lacey’s fate rest in the hands of Alex and Brandon, but both are pulling her strings for their own agendas. Even as she slips further into the dark world of werewolves, Lacey struggles to find the truth and save the only family she’s ever known.

Lacey Quinn is your average 17 year old girl. In high school, parents that argue a best friend that will stick by her no matter what odd predicaments she ends up in. Strolling round the streets at night while her parents’ battle out another argument is nothing new for Lacey, although on one night that will change the rest of her life, there is something different. Lacey feels as if she is being watched. A rustle in the bushes and a pair of yellow eyes has Lacey dashing back home only to find that the one watching her was a lost dog. Yet this dog is no ordinary dog. Able to understand exactly what Lacey wants and needs, Lacey doesn’t begin to suspect that he is the one connected to the strange events occurring in the rest of her life.

There’s a new kid a school. A new kid who is intent on having Lacey as his girlfriend. Alex Morris isn’t like other guys. He never even looks at another girl, and seems to be everything Lacey has ever wanted in a guy. Sounds too good to be true? Probably, because it is. For the closer Lacey gets to Alex, and the closer she gets to her eighteenth birthday, the mere smell of Alex makes her sick. Deathly sick. Yet as her mind is screaming at her to get away, Lacey heart is falling more in love with Alex.

Then there is Brandon, the guy who appears only to Lacey, who her best friend doesn’t even know of. He has this physic connection to Lacey, showing her images and memories of their past life together, a life that Lacey has no recollection of. Yet for some reason she can’t explain, Lacey feels as if she knows Brandon, that he is part of her soul.

In a struggle that will only leave one winner, who will Lacey decided to protect when the moment of truth arrives?

The Crescent is debut novel from Jordan Deen, featuring a story that is gripping and compelling, so gripping that I read this completely in one sitting. I completely forgot about time and anything else, so consumed was I in this story. The characters were immediately likeable and easy to relate too. Lacey is a teenager going through all the struggles that one does when she is on the verge of being considered an adult. Her attempt to choose what she wants for her life, even as her life is being manipulated on numerous fronts. I found Alex intriguing and irritating, knowing that there was always something he wasn’t completely telling us. The same thing with Brandon, who I had a hunch would be more important and would have a larger role that it originally seems. Particularly when you work out Brandon’s second identity.

The only issue I had with this book was one plot point that was emphasised a lot in the start of the novel, then forgotten about a third of the way in. Lacey’s arguing parents who used to cause Lacey’s late night strolls seemed to completely overcome their problems with each other to turn into a loving couple that never fought. I personally would have either liked to see their relationship continue in the way it was originally established or to have a spot more character and plot development that allowed this change in character to actually make sense in the story. Along with this is a few spelling mistakes, but I hardly noticed these on my first time round. However, if they are the only flaws I could find, then I recommend this series to anyone who loves fresh and new works in urban fantasy. Get ready to discover a whole new world in the realm of werewolf mythology.

Publication date: 2010

Pages: 187

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: “They’re gone right?” He leaned towards me. I reached out barely catching him before he fell over the threshold into the house…”

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Book Club Read
March 18, 2010 posted by Katie

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god.

I was just a normal guy, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That’s when things really started going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

I first heard mention of the Percy Jackson books since watching the trailer for the recent adaption to screen, and as it is yaReads bookclub choice of the month, I decided to take a look and see what it is all about.

At first glances, Percy is a troubled kid. Constantly getting in trouble as school, unable to pay attention in classes because of his dyslexia, and his only true friend being the class outcast of Grover. With his best subject being Latin, taught by the slightly old Mr Brunner, Percy finds it tough to get a break. And when things start to seem slightly off on a recent school field trip to the museum, Percy starts to think that perhaps something isn’t right. For example, only he seems to remember their old maths teacher, and he seems to be the only one that Mr Brunner is really keen to get the ancient Greek and Roman myths right. Yet the vanishing maths teacher isn’t the only thing that seems to go wrong.

On a family holiday with his mum, things start to turn horrible. Being chased by a creature that shouldn’t exist, Percy must reach the sanctuary of a summer camp that even his mother doesn’t seem to know much about. When Percy arrives, he beings to discover exactly why he seems different.

For Percy is the son of a god. His is a half-blood, but just exactly who his father is, no one seems to know. At a summer camp that involves daily activities of sword fighting and learning Ancient Greek, Percy finally has a place where he belongs, a place with kids just like him. That is, until he attracts the attention of the one person you really shouldn’t disrupt.

Zeus thinks that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt – and demands that it must be returned before the summer solstice in ten days time. Accompanied by two friends, Percy begins the journey of a lifetime. One that could decide if he lives or dies. And with nearly every god and creature in the universe out to get you, locating one bolt of lightning is a lot harder than it looks.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is the first in a series of novels by Rick Riordan. I had high expectations of this novel, hearing a lot about it from friends and seeing great reviews. However, the biggest let of the novel was plot. To me, it didn’t move with any form of flowing pace, and lacked development. It was one action seen after the next. Just as you thought nothing more could happen to them, another obstacle was thrown in their way. I understand that it was a ‘quest’ novel, but I would have liked to see some more non-action development of plot – some working out of clues and a plan to get from A to B instead of running headlong at everything that came.

That being said, I did find the characters extremely enjoyable to read about. Highlights for me were both Annabeth and Grover. Both characters where strong and unique, helping Percy on his quest and helping him to grow as a person. In particular, I hope we see a lot more of Grover in future novels, he was a personal favourite.

If you’re a fan of action and mythology, that I can say that Percy Jackson will be something that you will enjoy.

Published date: 2005

Pages: 374

Rating:: ★★★½☆

Teaser quote: He pulled a pen from his coat pocket and handed it to me. It was an ordinary disposable ballpoint, black ink, removable cap. Probably cost thirty cents.

‘Gee,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’

‘Percy, that’s a gift from your father. I’ve kept it for years not knowing you were who I was waiting for. But the prophecy is clear to me now. You are the one.’

Behind Green Glass – Amanda Von Hoffmann
Book Reviews
February 14, 2010 posted by Katie

Behind Green Glass – Amanda Von Hoffmann

Isolde is a shy and artistic sixteen-year old who moves into a house rumored to be haunted. When she discovers a shard of green glass, a new world opens for her. Through the glass she sees Lyric, who mistakenly believes he is a ghost, and other ethereally beautiful creatures.

As their mystery unfolds, Isolde learns they are not ghosts, but The Forgotten Ones, fairies cast out of their realm, labelled imperfect for their physical and mental differences. Isolde’s friendship with Lyric and The Forgotten Ones teaches her that sometimes our imperfections can also be our greatest strengths.

Isolde Rackham isn’t like other kids her age. For one, she is home schooled, automatically different to anyone in the small town of Thornville. Two, she just moved to Thornville with her slightly reclusive mother who is also her teacher. As if this wasn’t enough the house that Isolde and her mother moved into is supposedly haunted by a girl who committed suicide some 50-years before Isolde got there. So you might be able to understand Isolde hesitation to just walk around town, yet she can’t avoid going into town forever.

On her first trip in she runs into a guy called Matt. Well, not so much run into but Matt’s friends couldn’t leave her alone. So beings the relationship with Matt. At first, it’s a hesitant one, with both of them not really knowing how to act around the other, especially when they are so different to each other. But as time goes by, Isolde finds that she is trusting Matt more and more. Almost enough to tell him her secret – that was if, he wouldn’t think her completely insane for it. After all, how many 16-year-olds do you know that can see fairies?

It started when Isolde found a piece of green glass hidden in the draws of her new home. Then came the fingerprint on the painting – a fingerprint Isolde didn’t put there. And by chance, Isolde glances through the glass and in that moment, Isolde’s life as she knew it was changed forever.

For through the glass she saw a figure, human in shape yet graceful beyond anything a human could achieve. Isolde’s first thought must be that she is seeing ghosts. Yet ghosts aren’t meant to exist. As she gains courage and begins to have conversation with the mysterious figure, Isolde learns that his name is Lyric and that he isn’t the only one out there. Along with Lyric and his family, Isolde embarks on an adventure to discover the true meaning of who they are, why they are out there, seemingly the only ones of their kind. And not everyone is ready for that information to be uncovered…

Behind Green Glass is debut novel from Amanda von Hoffman and is a light and easy read with an engaging and captivating story. I found that reading from Isolde’s point of view to be quite easy and engaging, a skill that not all authors have. The story provided something different in the YA genre – fairies. Apart from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, you don’t often see many fairy tales in the young adult section, and with Behind Green Glass, von Hoffman has made a notable contribution to this category. The characters I found intriguing and would have liked to know more about – especially Isolde and her mother’s friendly neighbor Joe Albright.

A genuinely easy to read and engaging story – I enjoyed!

Pages: 184

Publication Date: May 2010 (pre-order now)

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: Perched in the maple outdoors she saw a figure, human in shape, animal-like in posture. A smooth expanse of bare muscled chest, light tangled hair, glowing irises. The glass slipped from her fingers…

The Crowded Shadows: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan
Book Reviews
February 12, 2010 posted by Katie

The Crowded Shadows: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan

New friends. Old enemies. Who can you trust?

Alone for the first time in her life, Wynter Moorehawke travels unprotected in bandit-infested mountains, searching for missing Prince Alberon.

But every tyrant and bully who has ever threatened the kingdom is gathering to Alberon’s table, and the forest is alive with spies and wolves. Within these crowded shadows, Wynter remains determined to find the Rebel Prince and heal the rift that has come between King and Heir….

Abandoning her father in the time of his greatest need, Wynter is alone. Completely and utterly alone in an unknown forest, with unknown enemies all around her, Wynter is trying to find her way to Alberon, the rebellious son and heir to the throne. Needing to dodge all manner of bandits and rebel enemy groups, Wynter almost doesn’t make it. Threatened with rape by a bandit who has tracked her, Wynter uses all her skill to get away, only to be tracked by a different group of rebel outcasts. That is, until she is saved but the most random of luck.

For who should she run into but Razi and Christopher who are on the same mission she is?

For they have deceived the King into believing that they were on their way to separate parts of the country – Christopher to return home and Razi to study medicine. Yet neither of them are where they are meant to be, and Razi’s decoy was discovered beaten beyond recognition. With the whole kingdom believing that he is dead, Razi is free to move around freely for the first time in years.

Razi and Christopher would both like to see Wynter return to the castle – especially once they learn that her father has finally succumbed to his illness and has passed onto the next life. But Wynter won’t have a bar of it, and since she is the only one with the knowledge of the exact location of Alberon camp, Razi and Christopher have no choice but to let her accompany them.

As they once again begin the perilous trek to find Alberon, the growing attraction between Christopher and Wynter is clear to all that see them, even if they seem hesitant to admit it to themselves. And a trip wouldn’t be a true adventure without a few more complications. Camped in their way, and their best chance to find Alberon is the bear-tribe of the Merron people – Christopher’s adopted culture.

When one of noble lady’s take a fancy to Razi, it seems that everything is going to be easy than they expect. That is…if they survive the visit to the Merron people. When the customs and language of the People are so different to anything Razi and Wynter have experienced before, there is only so much that can happen before tempers start to fray and lives hang in the balance.

For every step that Razi, Christopher and Wynter take could be leading them closer to a path that doesn’t leave them alive…

The Crowded Shadows is the second novel in Irish author Celine Kiernan’s Moorehawke Trilogy, and delivers a continuation of the characters, story and settings that I fell in love with in the first novel. The characters once again develop at a completely believable rate that as a reader I could identify with – the trials that Christopher and Wynter go through together and separately and the reactions and behavior that Razi displays at different points of the novel enriched the story to a point that I couldn’t put it down.

As we discover more history behind Razi, Christopher and Wynter, the complexities that Kiernan wove into the first novel, built upon and I suspect continue to develop in the final novel, play out in the actions and personalities of each character – we find out why Razi has a temper, how Christopher lost his fingers and Wynter’s true name.

However, this novel does have a slight filler feel to it, with a lot of character development but not much plot advancement, at times hardly seeming to move. As the only drawback to this brilliant work, The Crowded Shadows was an enchanting read that has me wanting the final book in the series now.

Pages: 510

Publication date: Ireland 2009, Australia 2010

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: Snatching her to him suddenly, he held her against his chest, his scarred hand covering her eyes as though he wanted to hide her…

Fade: A Wake Trilogy Novel – Lisa McMann
Book Reviews
February 8, 2010 posted by Nikki

Fade: A Wake Trilogy Novel – Lisa McMann

Some nightmares never end.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open – but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability – and its bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared…

Janie has slotted into her new life as an undercover detective well. It seems to give her a sense of purpose, that her gift is being used for the greater good. But it does have its downsides – like not being able to be seen publicly with Cabe. They’ve been an item for a while now and they’ve never even been on a real date. Janie’s friends don’t know that she’s even involved with someone. That part really sucks.

But it’s necessary, and they both know it. That doesn’t make it any easier, though. Especially when Janie gets assigned to a case that entails Janie trying to seduce a teacher. Someone at Fieldridge High is doing the dirty with students, and Captain wants Janie to find out exactly who it is.

And Cabel hates every single second of the assignment. When Janie gets herself into a bit of trouble, Cabel does something that only adds to her already big pit of bad.

As if having to seduce her teacher wasn’t enough, Janie starts noticing that stuff with her body isn’t working quite right either. She does some digging and stumbles across a piece of information that breaks her already busted heart.

Although it’s only 248 pages long, a whole lot happens in this novel. Janie and Cabel take their relationship to several places of unchartered territory. I’m sure girls all over the country will swoon, scream in despair, sigh in relief, and throw their books against bedroom walls as the events unfold before their eyes.

McMann has mastered the art of ‘less is more’ and crafts her tale in surprisingly few words. Her writing style is unique, enjoyable, and more than a little addictive. The narrative moves along at an engaging pace and never once did I find myself wanting to skip over paragraphs, sentences, or even single words.

With just the right amount of romance, heartache and suspense, Fade is a real page-turner. I recommend that you set aside a block of time before beginning this one, though,  because once you start, there will be no stopping till you hit the end.

Janie and Cabel’s world is one that I love to lose myself in. I am one hundred per cent invested in their story and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Publication year: 2009

Pages: 248

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote:

“Are you familiar with these?”

Janie smiles, reaches inside her bag, and pulls out an identical package.

“Excellent.” Captain nods. “Cabel. What’s your job?”

“Watching in agony, sir.”

Captain supresses a smile.