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HarperCollins – April 28, 2009

Reading book 1 in this trilogy, THE SUMMONING, is recommended before reading THE AWAKENING.

Chloe Saunders can see ghosts.  She can also raise the dead – mostly without meaning to.  After being sent to Lyle House because her dad thought she was unstable (see THE SUMMONING), she found out that it was just a front for the Edison Group – a corporation that studies paranormal activity.  Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Rae escape in hopes of finding Derek and Simon’s dad and putting a stop to the Edison Group’s evil plans.  Freedom doesn’t last long though.  Chloe is captured and forced to reveal the location of Simon and Derek when THE AWAKENING begins.

After regaining her freedom and being reunited with her friends, Chloe begins to learn more about her powers while staying one step ahead of the Edison Group.  Simon, Derek, and Chloe learn some very disturbing information about their genetic makeup and struggle to come up with a plan to bring down the people responsible.  In addition to the struggles she is already dealing with, Chloe is faced with a massive betrayal. 

With the help of an unexpected ally, Chloe and her friends move one step closer to taking down the Edison group.  She realizes there is no way she will ever be able to return to her old life and that she is going to have to find a way to make this new one work.  Chloe’s relationship with Derek becomes stronger, but it is still unclear what is going on with her and Simon.  It will be interesting to see if there is a romantic element in the future and how the brothers will handle it if there is.

THE RECKONING is the third and final book in the Darkest Powers  Trilogy.  Readers will be clamoring for it to find out how everything turns out for Chloe and her friends.

Visit “Chloe’s” blog for a free novella about Simon and Derek and events leading up to their arrival at Lyle House.  It is being written in serial form.  Kelley Armstrong is posting a section on the 1st and 15th of every month.  When it is complete it will be transferred to the locker section of “Chloe’s” website


The Summoning
(Darkest Powers, Book 1)


The Awakening
(Darkest Powers, Book 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week a friend of mine loaned me the Maggie Quinn: Girl v. Evil series.  Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.  They are funny and interesting.

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Delacorte Books for Young Readers – March 13, 2007

Maggie Quinn is a high school senior who spends her time taking photos for the yearbook and writing stories for the school’s newspaper.  She is completely content with staying under the radar in order to avoid coming into contact with the Jocks and the Jessicas (the girls that seem to run the school).  Everything is working out just fine until she snaps some incriminating pictures of the Jocks bullying one of the bigger geeks of the school. 

Soon, after her creative photo rescue, Maggie starts having disturbing dreams.  She has ignored her dreams for a long time and has tried to forget the fact that she has psychic abilities.  But with someone or something picking off the Jocks and the Jessicas one-by-one, she is going to have to start tapping into her mojo.  With the help of her Grandmother and a new friend named Justin, Maggie starts to put her powers to work to solve the mystery.

Maggie Quinn is a delightful main character.  She is quick witted, sarcastic, and cynical and her one-liners will have you rolling.  Check out a couple of entries back for my “Say It Again” Saturday post where I listed a few of my favorite lines from PROM DATES FROM HELL.  You’ll want to pick up the sequel as soon as you finish.  Also, there is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer connection –  The Prom where Buffy saves the prom from the devil dogs has a similar feel.

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Delacorte Books for Young People – August 26, 2008

Maggie made it out of high school alive so what does she decide to take on next?  Sororities!  Maggie decides to go through Rush, undercover, in order to get her foot in the door at the college newspaper.

With the hectic schedule of a new college freshman, participating in Rush, and trying to figure out what is going on with her sort-of boyfriend Justin, Maggie is burning the candle at both ends.  But it isn’t until she realizes that she is losing time that she starts to worry that something of an evil nature is at work. 

Maggie was lucky enough to survive high school and the prom, but can she survive a sorority? 

HELL WEEK is an interesting story, but it lacks some of the humor that was so enjoyable in PROM DATES FROM HELL.  If you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and liked the episode, Reptile Boy, where Buffy goes to a frat party with Cordelia and gets chained in the basement to be sacraficed to the lizard demon, then you’ll like HELL WEEK.

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Delacorte Press – March 10, 2009

Maggie and her best friend, Lisa, decide to head to South Padre Island for a normal Spring Break.  Just because they battle demons and save the world on a regular basis doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to have some normal teenager time, right?  Wrong!

On the way, on a dark and lonely highway, they run over a dead cow that is laying in the middle of the road.  The fuel tank on Maggie’s Jeep is ripped open which leaves her and Lisa stranded in the middle of nowhere.  Luckily, a nice cowboy drives by and gives them a lift to the nearest town to get some sleep and find a mechanic to tow her Jeep in the next day.

Once settled in Dulcina, TX, Maggie realizes that the cow she ran over isn’t the only animal that has been killed lately.  Dogs, goats, calves, and now cows are being torn apart by unknown predators.  Some people say its because of the drought and the coyotes getting more bold, but others say it is the el chupacabra – a creature with blood red eyes, scales on its back, and razor-sharp teeth.

As long as they are stuck there anyway, Maggie and Lisa decide they may as well see if they can figure out what is going on in the sleepy town.  As they research the history of the town and meet some of its founding members, it becomes clear that the big “E” is at work again and this time Maggie needs the help of the “big gun” if they are going to make it out alive. 

HIGHWAY TO HELL is just as good as the others in the series, but like HELL WEEK, it doesn’t have the same amount of humor as PROM DATES FROM HELL.  Rosemary Clement-Moore did a great job of creating the side characters in Dulcina.  She makes it so easy to picture the locals in your mind. 

For up-to-date information, visit Rosemary’s website.


Prom Dates from Hell
(Maggie Quinn:
Girl vs Evil, Book 1)


Hell Week
(Maggie Quinn:
Girl vs Evil, Book 2)


Highway to Hell
(Maggie Quinn:
Girl Vs Evil)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HarperTeen – May 5, 2009

Laurel is starting school for the first time and in high school no less.  Everything about it seems wrong.  Her years of homeschooling fit so well with her lifestyle.  Being able to go outside to complete her studies and having meaningful conversations with her mother were perfect.  Now, being cooped up in a building without windows and natural light just feels wrong.  But, no matter how much begging she does, her mother says it’s time. 

Starting a new school would be bad enough, but she is also having to learn a new town.  The family moved in order for her father to live his dream of owning a book shop which means gone are the days when she can go out back and wander the woods behind their home.

Laurel meets David and they become fast friends.  He is extremely helpful when Laurel is faced with a frightening change to her body.  A bump begins to grow on her back.  At first, she tries to ignore it, but it becomes so large that eventually she knows she has to tell someone.

What they discover changes both their lives forever. 

WINGS is such a great story.  It is unique, touching, and funny.  It will definitely become one of your favorites.  The characters are so well developed that you’ll feel like you know them personally.  The way WINGS ends, it seems possible that there could be a sequel, but if there isn’t, it will be okay too.  There is a sense of closure and satisfaction when you get to the last page.


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Walker Books – August 2009

Katrina lives with her grandmother above their coffee shop in the sleepy town of Nordby.  Anna’s Old World Scandinavian Coffeehouse has been a standby in Nordby for years, but when sleak and shiny new Java Heaven moves in right next door, business starts to suffer.

Katrina enjoys her morning routine of getting the coffee brewing for her grandma before she heads to school.  One morning on her way to throw out some trash, Katrina sees a young man sleeping in the alley.  Startled at first, Katrina hurrys back inside.  It is only when she is gathering the day-old pastries that she thinks this “homeless” man could maybe use something to eat and puts them out on the back step along with a hot cup of coffee.

Little does she know that she has performed a selfless act of kindness for an angel.  Malcolm is in Nordby delivering a message and just needed to take a break, but because of Katrina’s good deed, he now has the added pressure of granting her deepest desire before he can move on.  The problem is, Katrina doesn’t have any idea what her deepest desire is. 

COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL is a light-hearted tale of love and friendship.  Suzanne Selfors uses wonderful language to describe the small town and its quirky inhabitants.  The reader easily feels like one of the family and will want to organize a campaign to close the evil Java Heaven.


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Dutton Children’s Books – June 25, 2009

Vladimir Tod has been learning a lot about his vampire abilities.  Otis has spent the summer training him on extending his telepathic communication.  He is also getting better at sensing when other vampires are near.  Both Vlad and his Aunt Nelly have gotten used to Otis being around and hate to see him go, but since Otis is still a fugitive in the vampire community, he knows in order to keep them safe, he must leave.

Vlad’s life seems to be going great.  He has the girl of his dreams by his side and everything just seems brighter when she is around.  Meredith is head-over-heels for him no matter what her friends say.

A few things are getting in the way of his happy-go-lucky attitude though.  To start with there is the pesky Eddie and his brand spankin’ new camera, the terrible mood causing Henry, his best friend and drudge, to pull away from him, and his growing need for blood.  Also causing him problems are the terrible nightmares that have been interrupting his sleep.  Dreams of viscious attacks filled with blood and pain keep waking him in the middle of the night.  It really worries Vlad when he can’t contact Otis for help and advise.  So, for the most part, Vlad is on his own.

Heather Brewer has written a wonderful addition to The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series.  Vlad becomes more and more likeable as his kindness and soft heart keep showing through.  The thing that sets this book apart from the others in the series is the tone.  TENTH GRADE BLEEDS takes on a more mature tone as Vlad deals with his relationship issues with Meredith and Henry and even more so when adapting to his increased blood lust.

The ending leaves the reader begging for more.  TENTH GRADE BLEEDS is the best book in the series so far.  It is exciting to think about what the future has in store for Vlad.

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Tenth Grade Bleeds
(Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)

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Viking – June 12, 2008

Meghan is obese. She is the largest person at Valley Regional High and her hulking size, oddly enough, allows her to blend into the background. Most people are too uncomfortable to make eye contact and most teachers are content to allow her to remain silent during class discussions. Meghan doesn’t have any friends, but she knows a lot about everyone at school.

Aimee is reed thin. Her list of foods that give her a “bad reaction” grows everyday. About the only things she allows herself to eat are Jell-o and carrot sticks. Her big, floppy hats and black, long skirts make her all but invisible in the school’s halls. Invisible to everyone except Meghan that is…

Meghan feels the need to connect with Aimee. She begins to follow Aimee in order to try and find an excuse to talk to her, but it isn’t until Aimee is betrayed and she and Meghan share a common enemy that they team up for a little payback.

LOOKS deals with many issues – eating disorders, friendship, bullying, and high school dynamics are the most evident. George’s unique writing style in the first and last chapters give the reader a voyeuristic feeling and, at times, the lyrical and figurative language tricks the reader into thinking they are reading and extended poem rather than a work of prose. While the author doesn’t wrap the story up in the traditional way of most young adult novels, it is definitely an accurate picture of the atmosphere in a typical high school.

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Candlewick – September 9, 2008

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.  He is only a month away from becoming a man and he can’t wait.  Being the only boy left in town is lonely.  Most of the time, men don’t have much to say to boys.  The only constant companion he has is his dog, Manchee – a gift that he never wanted in the first place.  He would’ve much preferred to have a hunting knife.

Prentisstown is a settlement in New World.  The people have been there for about twenty years. Upon arriving on New World, the settlers encountered the aliens that lived there – the Spackles. The settlers also started suffering from the Noise.  The Noise allows everyone to hear everyone else’s thoughts all the time.  Even during sleep.  Animals even suffer from the Noise.  

One day when out gathering apples, Todd comes across a great surprise.  He finds a girl in the forest.  Todd has never seen a girl before since all the women in Prentisstown are dead.  He notices that there isn’t Noise coming from the girl – something that both scares him and intrigues him.  After making his way back home, he can’t keep the information about the girl’s silence away from the others.  His Noise gives it away and the people in town are interested.

Soon, Todd and Viola, the girl with the silence, are running for their lives.  Todd learns that nothing is what it seems. Everything he thought was true – isn’t.

Patrick Ness has created a fascinating dystopian world.  His use of unconventional spelling and long, run-on sentences are a little hard to get used to, but after a couple of pages the story starts to flow.  Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop. The story is set at a heart pounding pace and Todd and Viola are great characters to get to know.  A reader’s only complaint will be the cliffhanger ending.  It might literally make you throw the book across the room.

The sequel, THE ASK AND THE ANSWER, will be released in May in the UK, June in Australia, and September in the US.  I, for one, will run out to get it the day it is released.  Be sure to visit the author’s website for new information.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go:
Chaos Walking:
Book One