November 2008





Welcome back to a world where some teenagers rise up from the dead and walk among us.  A world were science still hasn’t figured out why some teens come back and some remain dead. Not everyone is happy these “zombies” are walking around.  That these differently biotic teens are going to school and mixing with the living.  It is a dangerous world for the living impaired.

At the end of the first novel in this series, GENERATION DEAD, Adam took a bullet for Phoebe.  Adam loved Phoebe from afar, but stepped aside when she showed an interest in Tommy, a differently biotic boy.  Adam didn’t give a second thought to giving his life to protect Phoebe and he didn’t think about coming back from the dead.

Since Adam has been back, Phoebe spends all the time she can with him. She knows he wouldn’t be in the situation he is in if it weren’t for her.  She feels confused though.  She can’t decide if she loves Tommy or Adam.  She doesn’t know if Tommy’s feelings for her are genuine or if he just wants to be with her because she is living and he wants to make a statement.

There isn’t time for her to focus on her own problems though.  Trouble is brewing with Pete all over again, Reverend Nathan Mather is continuing to gather followers and making life difficult for all the differently biotic, and politicians are considering laws to take away what little freedom they have.  Times are changing and it isn’t for the better.

KISS OF LIFE is a great follow up to GENERATION DEAD.  Daniel Waters does a great job of showing us a differently biotic’s thought process through Adam’s character. We get to witness Adam’s improvement through chapters from his point of view. Readers will sympathize with Adam and come to love him even if they didn’t before. A few new characters are introduced – some of them will pull at your heart strings while the others will make your skin crawl. The way this book ends, readers will be clamoring for the third in this series.

People that can’t get enough of Tommy and the other differently biotics can visit Tommy’s blog at:






Thank you Richelle Mead!  You have given fans of the Vampire Academy series a wonderful third novel.  SHADOW KISS is probably the best out of the three.  Reading VAMPIRE ACADEMY and FROSTBITE first is a must in order to really understand what is going on in the series.

Rose Hathaway is training to be a Guardian.  Once she graduates from St. Vladimir’s Academy she will be assigned to guard her best friend Lissa for the rest of her life.  Even though everything is going along as planned, she is feels waves of jealously and anger.  A lot of these feelings come from the fact that she can never have what she truly wants – love.  

Dimitri, her mentor and teacher, is set to be her partner after graduation. He and Rose will be the team that guards Lissa on a daily basis.  The problem is, Rose and Dimitri are in love.  Knowing their love isn’t allowed, they make sure to keep their relationship professional – when they can.

Rose has started seeing ghosts and she feels sure they are trying to tell her something.  Soon she begins to understand they are telling her that danger is on the way.  Danger that will involve everyone at St. Vladimir’s.  Rose is no stranger to fighting, but this time it is going to be war.  Not everyone survives and Rose ends up having to make the hardest decision of her life – one that will effect both her and Lissa.

SHADOW KISS left me breathless and in tears.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out.  The way SHADOW KISS ends leads me to believe that the next one will be even better.  There are so many possibilities that it makes my head spin.





Vlad is about to start his first year of high school.  Things are pretty much the same as they’ve always been though.  He still has to keep the fact that he is a vampire a secret, he is still too afraid to talk to the girl he likes, and the same bullies that have been bothering him since junior high are picking up right where they left off.

Starting high school is stressful enough, but more troubles are on the way. Someone from the school newspaper is following him around trying to get a story and, word has it, there is a vampire slayer in town looking for him.   

Vlad struggles with some of his vampire abilities.  He has to learn how to use his mind reading skills, which requires a trip to Siberia and the chance to meet others from the vampire community.  Getting to know the people who were friends with his father is a wonderful experience.  He enjoys his time in Siberia and hates it when it is time to go home.

Once back, Vlad must face the vampire slayer and another old enemy in order to make sure his loved ones are safe.  At the rate things are going, Vlad doesn’t know if he’s going to make it to tenth grade.

Heather Brewer has written a wonderful sequel to EIGHTH GRADE BITES.  You’ll want to be sure to check out TENTH GRADE BLEEDS as soon as it comes out.





Vlad just wants to live a normal life, but it is pretty hard when you are half vampire and have to include blood in your daily diet.  Thankfully, Vlad has two caring people in his life that know about his special circumstance.  Aunt Nelly, his guardian since his parents were killed in a fire, and his best friend, Henry, who he accidently bit when they were eight-years-old are the only two people that know his secret – and Vlad wants to keep it that way.

With the disappearance of one of his favorite teachers, Vlad’s secret gets a little harder to keep.   A strange substitute starts paying a little too much attention to Vlad and asking strange questions.  To top things off, his English assignment is to write a report about vampires.  How is he going to keep his secret when he has to give a speech in front of his class about his abilities.

When Vlad finds out that a hunter is out to kill him for being half human he feels more alone than ever.  He doesn’t want to put the lives of Aunt Nelly or Henry in danger so he decides to confront hunter and either kill or be killed.

EIGHTH GRADE BITES is a wonderful beginning to a series.  Heather Brewer has added some humor to the vampire genre.  Vlad is a lovable character.  His relationship with his Aunt Nelly is heartwarming.  The way she takes such good care of him is so sweet.  She makes sure he has plenty of blood in the house and makes him snack packs (partly frozen blood in small plastic containers). She also injects blood into his snack cakes for dessert.  He just has to make sure no one takes his lunch at school.  

If you enjoy EIGHTH GRADE BITES, be sure to pick up the sequel, NINTH GRADE SLAYS.  This promises to be an exciting series.





Janie is at Golden Slopes psychiatric hospital in the eating disorder ward where it is the Barfers against the Starvers.  Janie fits into the Barfer category.  She started bingeing and purging once a day, but it wasn’t long until she was running to the bathroom to throw up after every meal.

PURGE is told through Janie’s journal entries.  The journal was given to her to use as part of her therapy.  It is a private place for her to put her most secret thoughts.  While others in the therapy group don’t think this is a particularly valuable thing to do, Janie finds great comfort in her journal and writes in it almost everyday.  It is here that we follow Janie through her recovery.

Something I didn’t expect in a serious book about a girl with an eating disorder was the amount of humor that filled the pages.  Janie has a dry and witty personality that just leaps off the page.  Her descriptions of the tensions between the Barfers and the Starvers is great.  Here is one of my favorite excerpts from the beginning of the book:

“We Bulimia Babes are always the first to the table, because we have this strange relationship with food.  We want to eat it badly, but afterward we want to puke it up equally as badly.

The anorexics are another story.  They’ll do anything to avoid eating, including hiding out at mealtimes, because they have a hate-hate relationship with food.  It ends up causing plenty of friction between the bulimics and the anorexics, because we’ll be sitting at the table ravenous, even for the gross Golden Slopes food, but we’re not allowed to start until every one of the eating disorder patients is present and whichever nurse is head of the Eating Police for that meal tells us we can begin.  It ends up being like a gang war, except instead of the Sharks and the Jets or the Bloods and the Crips, it’s the Barfers and the Starvers.” p.6

The passage goes on for a couple more pages describing the scene including dialogue from the other patients.  Don’t get me wrong though.  This is a serious look at dangerous topic.  The reader gets to see what it is like for a bulimic by reading Janie’s intimate thoughts.  Following Janie’s progress and witnessing when she comes to an understanding about her issues with food is a relief and leaves the reader with a feeling of hope for others suffering from a similar problem.

PURGE by Sarah Darer Littman comes out April 2009.





Daniel X is an alien hunter from another planet.  He has powers that most people would consider pretty cool.  Daniel can create anything using his mind.  The most impressive thing he creates are his best friends.  During times when he is the most lonely, he has his best friends appear and join him for talks, meals, and games.  

Daniel is on a mission.  He is after Number 7 on the list of the worst aliens on Earth.  Daniel found the list after his parents were killed by the most dangerous alien on earth and took over their alien hunting duties. 

Number 7 is the Chairman of a corporation called the Game Consortium.  The Game Consortium makes its money by organizing brutal urban safaris.  It breeds and releases creatures into cities and some of the worst scum in the galaxy pay for the opportunity to hunt and kill the target.  Daniel gets more than he bargains for when he takes on the Chairman.  He’ll have to rely on wisdom his father passes down, his friends, and a new and unlikely ally in order to survive.

Daniel learns a lot about himself and friendship during his adventure to put a stop to Number 7.  James Patterson does a good job of giving a short recap of Daniel’s background without making it redundant.  The illustrations are great and the full-color panels really make the scenes come alive.  Reading the first book in the series, THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X, might be helpful to understand the entire background of the Daniel’s world, but it isn’t necessary in order to enjoy this graphic novel.

Well, it has been a long, but rewarding trip.  On one hand, I’m sad that the author events are over, but on the other hand I’m glad to be going home.  My own bed and shower are definitely sounding good to me.  Although, I do love how in a hotel, your bathroom is magically cleaned and the bed is totally made while out of the room.  Here’s to all the wonderful hotel staff at the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX.  The service there was wonderful!  I was impressed.

Here are my pictures from ALAN Day 2.  I was able to stay long enough to hear Laurie Halse Anderson speak. 


Laurie Halse Anderson speaking at ALAN 2008

Laurie Halse Anderson speaking at ALAN 2008












After her wonderful speech my roommate and I went back to the hotel to check out and pack the truck for the 7 hour drive home.


My backseat packed with all our free books from NCTE and ALAN 2008

My backseat packed with all our free books from NCTE and ALAN 2008















Now that I’m home I am vowing to get caught up on my reviews.  Here is what I have in the To-Review pile:

LAMENT by Maggie Stiefvater
EIGHTH GRADE BITES by Heather Brewer
NINTH GRADE SLAYS by Heather Brewer
KISS OF LIFE by Daniel Waters
SHADOW KISS by Richelle Mead
DANIEL X: ALIEN HUNTER (Graphic Novel) by James Patterson
PURGE by Sarah Littman

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