Category Archives: mystery

When by Victoria Laurie

whenAs far back as she can remember, Maddie Fynn has always seen the numbers.  When she was really little, she didn’t even realize that other people couldn’t see them.  Then, one day, she drew an eerie picture of her family.  While it was fairly similar to most kids’ pictures of their families — with Maddie and her parents scrawled in little kid style — it also included numbers above their heads.  No one knew what those numbers meant, since even Maddie couldn’t explain what she was seeing, so they chalked it up to a quirky thing where she randomly assigned numbers to people around her… Until the day her father died.  Only then did Maddie’s mom realize that the numbers above her husband’s head [in the drawing] were actually the numbers that corresponded to his death date.

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Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

AfterworldsSo, I know I just posted a review of another book last night, but this book was so AH-MAZING that I just couldn’t stand to think of waiting to review it.  Let’s just look at this as preparation for Thanksgiving, since you’re getting an “extra helping” of YA awesomeness this morning.  I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge how insane I was for waiting so long to read this book.  I was among the first people on the request list, but I ended up sending it back and re-adding my name to the list because it showed up when I was in the middle of another book and didn’t think I would have time to read it then.  Well…  Even though this book was rather large (599 pages), I ended up reading it in ONE WEEK!  Considering the fact that I didn’t have any days off from work and/or caring for my kids, that’s crazy!  But, this book is crazy good, so I went to extremes to stay up late reading.  I’m talking, get up and walk around when I feel my eyelids start to droop or purposely playing Candy Crush before sitting down to read because I know the glow from electronics makes it harder for me to fall asleep.  Yeah.  I’m dedicated like that!  ;-) Continue reading

Elemental by Antony John

ElementalIf you’re a sucker for dystopias, like I am, you’re definitely going to want to check out this trilogy — especially since the third book just came out and you won’t get stuck waiting for more books to be published!  In this world, most people are born with the power of an Element — earth, water, wind, or fire.  They can both sense and control their Element.  Someone who was a wind elemental, for example, could sense exactly how quickly a storm was blowing in and/or use the wind to fight off an enemy.  This book reminded me of Avatar the Last Airbender, which means I’ll need to pass it along to my son when he gets just a little bit older!

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Panic by Lauren Oliver

PanicYALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten list was announced, and I CANNOT believe Panic wasn’t on it!  I mean, I had a heck of a time even getting my hands on this one because it seems like everyone else who loved Delirium and Before I Fall managed to get on the list before me.  I sometimes take the full four weeks to read my library books because I have so much else going on — like reading to my kids at night.  I mean, I know it’s important.  But that’s time I could totally use to read my *own* books!  ;-)  At the end of the day, I often only read to myself for about 15 minutes before I pass out.  It’s so common for me to fall asleep reading, in fact, that my husband has learned to check his side of the bed for my book or Kindle before simply laying down.  (He clunked his head quite a few times before he learned that lesson!)  This book, though, was so intense that it had me reading long past my standard bedtime.  So long, in fact, that my husband found me still awake and reading when he came to bed for something like four nights in a row! Continue reading

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

strings-attachedAfter listening to What I Saw and How I Lied, I was excited to check out Blundell’s second book.  So many books were piled up on my “to be read” list, though, that this book got bumped… and then I forgot about it.  (Ack!)  Sometimes, thankfully, fate will intervene and remind me about a book I’d forgotten to read.  In this case, my audiobook ended while I was out and about.  Since I didn’t have another CD audiobook on standby, I browsed the OverDrive app on my phone to see if any of my “wish list” downloadable audiobooks were checked in.  Boy, am I glad this one showed up! Continue reading

The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. Bick

sin eaters confessionAfter Del died in a car accident, Ben started helping out on Del’s family’s farm.  While working on the farm, Ben started to look out for and became friends with Del’s younger brother, Jimmy, in a capacity much like an older brother.  After Jimmy was murdered, Ben felt guilty and escaped his home town by enlisting in the armed forces and heading to Afghanistan.  This story is told from Ben’s perspective, in a diary-style letter to someone back home, as he reflects back over the series of events that lead to Jimmy’s death and explains why he feels responsible.  The graphic description of Jimmy’s violent death definitely makes this a book for more mature readers, and I am sure some people would ultimately like to see this book banned.  I think, nevertheless, that this suspense-filled story is a great way to draw in readers who might not otherwise think they’d enjoy a story that explores such heavy themes as homophobia and hate crimes.  A definite departure from the apocalyptic world of Ashes, but equally well written.

Happy Banned Books Week!

The Iron Trial: Book One of The Magisterium by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Iron TrialMy son and I both love fantasy fiction, and we’re both suckers for ARCs from beloved authors…  So, when I heard that Holly Black and Cassandra Clare were writing a middle-grade fantasy series together, I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy of this ARC.  (The good news for anyone reading this review is that the book came out September 9th and you can read it without scheming to find an ARC!)

And do you know what was even better than opening a random, unexpected package to find a copy of this ARC?  When it arrived in the mail on the very day that we were ready to start a new book.  Awesomesauce!  I knew these authors were awesome and that a collaboration between them was likely to be epic, but I also kinda expected that this book would be somewhat formulaic and predictable, like many of the other middle-grade fantasies I’ve read.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  Although there were some parallels to other books we’ve read, the story was fresh and there were a couple of plot twists that blew our minds!

Callum’s father has always taught him that magic is bad and that the Magisterium, a school that teaches adolescents how to hone their magical abilities, is evil.  So, when Callum had to go in to test his magical acuity at the Magisterium, he did his best to fail.  For some reason, nevertheless, Master Rufus chose Callum to be one of his apprentices.  Even though neither he nor his father wanted him to attend, being selected meant that Callum had to go to the Magisterium…  As soon as he started to learn how to use his magic and began to make friends, though, Callum started to wonder if maybe his dad was wrong after all…

Happy Reading!