The Bowen Press – May 1, 2009

It was such a treat to get this graphic novel and realize it was a completely different story within the WICKED LOVELY world.  Keenan makes a brief appearance, but other than that the reader is introduced to totally new characters.

Rika lives in the isolation of the desert.  She maintains invisibility around humans in order to observe them.  She misses her humanity and feels some animosity toward Keenan for turning her into a faery when she attempted to become his Summer Queen.  Rika wasn’t THE ONE and instead had to take on the chill of the Winter Queen until another girl came along and took her place.  Rika didn’t want to be around Keenan after she became a regular faery because of the painful memories attached to him, so she made her home in the desert far away from the Faery Court.

Lately she has been observing Jayce, an artistic and handsome young man.  When some mischievious faeries cause Jayce to fall during rock climbing, Rika must become visible in order to save him.

As Rika and Jayce get to know each other, they are pursued by other faeries and Jayce is put in danger.  It seems that Rika is being manipulated by someone she trusts.

The reader will definitely be anxious to read the next installment in this graphic novel series.  Melissa Marr has given us all new characters to fall in love with.  Thank you Melissa.

Wicked Lovely:
Desert Tales, Volume 1:











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HarperTeen – June 1, 2009

What comes to mind when you think of unicorns? Flowing, curling, pastel manes?  A single, glittery horn?  A kind and magical creature?  Well, you’d be wrong.  Unicorns are vicious, man-eating creatures.  Their teeth are razor sharp, they are faster than a sports car, and their ability to track prey is eerie.  To make matters worse, unicorns can only be killed by female warriors that are direct descendants of Alexander the Great – and oh yeah – the female warriors must be virgins.  

Astrid has grown up with her mother’s stories of evil unicorns and how her ancestors were some of the fiercest unicorn hunters in history.  When Astrid’s friends enjoyed the fairy tale versions of these creatures, she was always a little creeped out by them.  Astrid also had to come to terms with the fact that her mother might be crazy since all she talked about and researched was man-eating unicorns.

Astrid loses control of her life after witnessing a unicorn attack.  It, coupled with reports of  mysterious “wild animal” attacks around the world, leads Astrid’s mother to believe that this is proof of the beginning of a reemergence of the unicorns.  Astrid is immediately shipped off to Rome to begin training to be a warrior – against her will.

Astrid experiences a lot during her time in Rome.  She learns about her family’s history and their role in unicorn hunting.  She experiences some of the local culture and meets a handsome young man.   Most importantly, she comes face-to-face with unicorns and is forced to see if she has what it takes to be a warrior.

RAMPANT is a unique story.  Never before have I read or even heard of killer unicorns.  Astrid is a strong, female character and extremely likable and her strong relationship with her cousin, Phil, adds a lot to the story.  Rome’s romantic atmosphere provides an interesting backdrop for bloody unicorn battles and adds to the mysterious feeling of the book.  Romance is scattered throughout the tale, but it doesn’t dominate or take away from the action.  The way the story ends, it seems possible that Astrid’s story could continue, but the ending is satisfying enough as it is that it definitely works as a stand-alone.






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.












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.

Coffeehouse Angel










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Random House Books for Young Readers – January 27, 2009

Liza didn’t witness the war between the humans and the Faeries, but she lives with the after effects.

In Franklin Falls, a town devastated like all the others during the war, the townspeople are fearful of magic.  Since the war and all the death caused by the Faeries, they fell nothing good can come from it. 

When Liza’s baby sister was born with eyes as silver as moonlight and faerie-pale hair as clear as glass, her father did what was expected.  He took her up on a hillside and abandoned her.  He said, “If the faerie folk want her, let them take her.”  Liza slipped out of the house later that night in an attempt to save her sister, but it was too late – the animals got there first.

Three weeks after losing her sister, Liza’s life changes forever.  Strange visions keep popping into her head.  The visions scare her and lead her to believe she has magic inside of her just like her sister did.  Liza runs from everything she’s known.  She runs away from Franklin Falls and into the woods she’s been warned against all her life.   Her only companions are her cat and a boy named Matthew – who has secrets of his own.

Together they make their way through dangerous terrain hoping to find answers to the many questions they have.  What they find out leaves them questioning everything they’ve been taught.

BONES OF FAERIE is a fast-paced story.  As a reader, it is easy to get attached to the characters.  Liza’s visions are marked by italics for easy identification throughout the story and the language is clean which makes this appropriate for even young fantasy fans. 

Click here to visit the BONES OF FAERIE website.

Be sure to stop by Janni Lee Simner’s page too.

As a bonus, here is a short story set in the same world as BONES OF FAERIE.





Bones of Faerie

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Teen Libris – March 2009
(Borders Exclusive)

Will Hunter is no stranger to moving.  He has been to five schools in three years.  You might think his parents are the ones uprooting him all the time, but you’d be wrong.

Will is a demon hunter like his father and grandfather before him.  He has developed a way of making enough money to support his development of new weapons while at the same time providing a cover for his mother being “transferred” wherever he needs to go next.

Will spends his time monitoring demon activity, constantly looking for the tell-tale signs of evil.  His latest stop is Harrisburg, WA.  This once quiet town has recently suffered from disappearances, instances of severe bullying, and outright deviant behavior.

The only trustworthy person Will meets is Natalie.  Natalie’s sister is one of the teens to recently disappear.  She has always had a feeling something sinister was involved and once she sees the things Will deals with on a daily basis, her suspicions are confirmed.

In spite of his better judgement, Will decides to let Natalie into his world.  Never before has he trusted someone with his secret.  Doing so would put an innocent person in danger and as his feelings for Natalie grow, he realizes just how dangerous it can be.

Will and Natalie face the ultimate evil on their journey to find the people they’ve lost.  Will is confronted with knowledge that threatens his sense of self and is forced to make some big decisions.

Can Will face his demons and rid Harrisburg of its evil?

Personal Note:  I had a hard time debating between a 3 glasses rating and a 4 glasses rating.  On the one hand, I don’t think the writing was spectacular, but on the other hand, I wanted to keep reading.  I really enjoyed the story.  So, I went with the higher rating.


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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.





Tenth Grade Bleeds
(Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)