Dangerous by Shannon Hale

1369939042_6499_CR6 Dangerous

One of the best science fiction novels for teens since Ender’s Game. Maisie Danger could almost rival the superheroes of Marvel and DC. Shannon Hale’s new book is addictively epic and altogether a wonderful story about a smart girl who happened to be born with only one hand and, through a space program, gains otherworldly powers to save the world from alien annihilation.

When Maisie Danger fills out a sweepstakes application for a special astronaut camp, she doesn’t think she’s going to win, but reality sets in when a ton of blue cereal boxes show up at her door. Maisie leaves behind her best friend, Luther, and her parents to go to the astronaut camp. There, the winners are divided into “fireteams” and compete for the privilege of taking a trip to a meteor. There, Maisie, who scares most of the other kids because of her arm, meets Jonathan Ingalls Wilder, the son of a rich and powerful businessman who happens to be very shady. Maisie and Wilder begin to form a relationship, but when Maisie’s fireteam wins and Jonathan is selected for having the best individual score, things begin to fall apart. Life’s already confusing when Maisie and the rest travel into space, but things escalate when the fireteam handles these mysterious tokens. They embed themselves into them and suddenly Maisie, Wilder, Ruth, Mi-Sun, and Jacques become superhuman. Maisie has technological gifts, Ruth is strong as an ox, Mi-Sun can shoot blue pellets of metal, Jacques can create metal to form a human shield, and Wilder is the thinker and connects them all together for a purpose. However, having the tokens means new stresses on all of them, and Ruth is the first to break down. Though they all feel called for a purpose, to save the Earth from… something, Ruth’s deterioration causes a chain reaction that changes the fireteam and Maisie, forever.

From the first chapter, I knew I was going to LOVE this book, and it did not disappoint. Maisie is an excellent heroine as she is both strong, smart, and did not become a stereotyped version of herself just for romance. Young teens, older teens, and even adults will like this book!

YA Clean Read as this has no language, sexual situations, but does have a bit of mostly non-graphic violence.



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Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick


Historical fiction with a fantastical twist.

Natalya Kutepova is bespoken to and very much in love with Alexei Romanov, the infamous boy with hemophilia protected by the mystic Rasputin. Despite the uprisings of the Reds, the disgruntled working class, Alexei shows Natalya the secret to his family’s power and his own miraculous health, for even if you cut him he does not bleed. The secret is a Faberge egg called the Constellation Egg that is filled with Rasputin’s mystic power, given in love for the current tsarina. However, a mystic finds out about it accidentally through Natalya, and the Reds storm the Winter Palace where it is kept, leaving the egg to be stolen. As Saint Petersburg is divided in civil war between the Reds and the Whites, Natalya and her friend Emilie must brave capture by the Reds to search for and steal back the Constellation Egg, all for the sake of saving Alexei’s beloved Russia.

A fascinating glimpse into what is a tumultuous time in Russia as the last of the tsar’s reign comes to a close and thus enters the dawn of the United Soviet States of Russia. Though you might be tricked into thinking Alexei Romanov and his family will live, just accept that this is not the case and continue reading.

Clean read, but there are glimpses into the harsh reality of life in Russia.



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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Historical fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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New Contemporary Fiction – The Promise of Amazing, Something Real, We Were Liars, Faking Normal

9780805097948Something Real by Heather Demetrios

A glimpse into what life would be like as a reality show star.

Chloe Baker likes being normal and attending her regular high school. It’s been four years since Baker’s Dozen went off air, and Chloe still has issues dealing with the publicity and drama of that life, so much that her real name is actually Bonnie. Now, her mother and new stepfather have decided to do the reality show again, and Chloe finds out unexpectedly, reacting with forgivable teenage angst and depression. Though she loves her siblings and can understand that it must be hard to provide for a family of fifteen, she doesn’t want to be involved in the new show and the only one on her side is Benton, her brother. Every time she tries to speak with her mother about her privacy and feelings, Chloe is filmed and edited, type-casted as a typical troubled teen. Her only refuge is school and Benton, but just as Chloe figures out she doesn’t need to put the rest of her life on hold (despite the ever-present danger of MetaReel) and finds love instead, Chloe and Benton are exposed by the media: Chloe’s secret relationship with a (very nice) boy from school and Benton’s homosexuality with his secret boyfriend. As Chloe and Benton learn to navigate the shark-infested waters of their tv show family drama, they also learn to stand up for their independence, their rights as private citizens, and for love. A surprisingly believable novel that will warm your heart and make you wonder just what is real about reality tv and how do you overcome the stigma that follows.

I really loved reading this book! It was fascinating!

Note: Some sexual references, language, and other issues (suicide, drugs, alcohol).



the-promise-of-amazing The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

Two teens’ lives surprisingly intertwine as a boy with a troubled past is reformed by love.

The night of a wedding where Wren Caswell is unfortunate enough to be serving pigs in blankets as cocktail appetizers, she witnesses a boy choking. As she realizes no one is going to help him, she steps in and delivers the Heimlich, forging a quick and strong connection that can only happen in the face of possible death. The boy, Grayson Barrett, finds a new outlook on life and an irresistible desire to find out more about the girl that saved him. He unknowingly falls in love with her and she with him, but Grayson’s former life won’t leave him alone so easily. He becomes embroiled in a plan to get away from his old life by doing one last “favor”, and everything falls apart when Wren finds out.

The stars seem stubbornly crossed for these two teens, but maybe you really can start over in life…

Notes: Some sexual references, language and other issues (drugs, alcohol).



wewereliars250 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Another addictive and intriguing novel by the great E. Lockhart follows the Sinclair family, an island kingdom ruled by the male patriarch, the three adult daughters who fight over everything their parents own and have messed up relationships, and the effect this life has had upon their oldest children: Johnny, Mirren, Gat (sort of adopted), and Cadence (eldest). Cadence, our narrator, weaves a mystery of the Liars and how something very significant happened during summer fifteen, something devastating that left Cadence troubled, depressed, and suffering from awful migraines and amnesia. Though she’s asked a hundred times what happened, nothing seems to stick with her until she can finally return to their island and puzzle it all out together for herself. What she finds out is a twist so surprising that the reader practically doesn’t see it coming.

This book will keep you reading and stay with you long after you read it, though perhaps not as long as The Fault in Our Stars.

Notes: Mental trauma, drugs, alcohol, and other issues.


FakingNormalCover_zps84cd3151 Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Acquaintances form a bond when they both recognize signs of pain and abuse in each other, keeping each other’s secrets and providing security in the midst of trauma.

Alexi Littrell never thought she would be friends with the Kool-Aid Kid, as he’s commonly known around school for his ever changing uncommitted hair color, but she finds herself wanting to just be there for him after he becomes a pariah because his father murdered his mother. Having previously had a traumatic experience over the summer, Alexi hides her pain from everyone, but still cannot stop making the back of her neck bleed as she unconsciously punishes herself. Alexi knows what it is like to be in pain, and this brings her to feel for Bodee Lennox, the Kool-Aid Kid. When Alexi’s parents take him in, Alexi surprisingly finds a real ally, a secure friend, (other than the one she writes lyrics to on her school desk every day and knows as Captain Lyric), and together Bodee and Alexi give each other strength and find courage in the midst of such turmoil.

While this might seem like a real downer of a novel, it was inspiring, uplifting, beautiful and a must read for anyone hurting from abuse or depression. On Goodreads, I gave it 5 stars, even though I thought the novel perhaps wrapped up a little too neatly in one aspect. Truly, truly encouraging, and if you liked The Fault in Our Stars despite the cancer saga, you will like this one even if you’re uncomfortable reading about abuse. I fully expect this will be an award winner of some sort this year.

Note: Sexual, physical, and mental abuse situations as well as alcohol and trust problems.




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Alliance (The Paladin Prophecy, book 2) by Mark Frost

AllianceSequel to The Paladin Prophecy


When we left Will West, he had just discovered that the Knights of Charlemagne, a secret underground society at his elite school The Center, were sinister, and oh yeah, he and his roommates had special abilities possibly resulting from genetic testing. Will and his friends learn to use their abilities while also looking for more information on the Knights of Charlemagne and what the horrible Mr. Hobbes and his goons were up to. The five of them, Will, Elise, Ajay, Nick, and Brooke decide to stay over the summer and attempt to find any clues. Will has a dangerous task, and that is to infiltrate the island and discover more of its underground secrets. Really, they’re all in over their heads, and the reader is dragged on a deeply confusing mystery.

What made for an interesting but complicated first book evolved into even more of a mess. It’s extremely hard to say WHAT happened in this book because there are so many unresolved plot points and convoluted descriptions/explanations. While it might eventually have a big following, it certainly is no Harry Potter or The Hunger Games because those actually had fairly easy plot points. It’s hard to see where this series or book is even going. Read at your own risk.

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Science Fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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Scarlet & Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

A new and addicting twist on the beloved tale of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.


Perhaps the most mysterious of Robin’s band is Will Scarlet. Here, Scarlet is a runaway from London whom Rob discovered stealing from him. Thievery, knives, and secrets are what Scarlet deals in, especially as only the band–Rob, Little John, and Much–and very few others know the biggest secret…that Scarlet is a girl. As the Sheriff orders heavier taxes on the people surrounding Nottingham Forest, its up to Rob, Little John, Much, and Scarlet to protect the people from his brutality. Even as they save lives, they garner more dangerous attention risking their necks, and with the Sheriff humiliated by the band’s actions, Prince John sends in Guy of Gisbourne, a known outlaw tracker. He’s Scarlet’s worst nightmare, and she knows if he finds out she’s actually Will Scarlet, it’ll mean the end of her life, and likely the end of Robin’s as well because he’s vowed to keep Scarlet safe. Can Scarlet outsmart Guy and the Sheriff even while her life and love hang in the balance and also hiding her true identity?

39335ee6a814675e423e46614986c5edLady Thief

In this sequel to Scarlet, our heroine has sacrificed herself for Robin’s sake, as he was being tortured and almost killed, and married Gisbourne, yet vowing she will never come to heed him as a wife should. However, Guy has a proposition for Scarlet when he finds that Prince John, Lady Isabel, and the Dowager Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and other nobles are descending upon the area to help name a new sheriff. Guy wants to be sheriff, and he can since he is now titled with Scarlet’s lands, but Robin, as the Earl of Huntingdon, also has right to vie for sheriff. Guy needs Scarlet to act like the lady she is and help him toady to Prince John, and in exchange Guy promises to divorce her so that she can marry Robin. Scarlet has long forgotten how to act like a lady, and most other women and men of the court seem determined to snub her as a stupid heathen, despite her proven (albeit unladylike) talents. No longer surrounded by her defending men of Rob, John, and Much, she must depend on Gisbourne and her own wits for everything. When Scarlet finds out her parents have come to visit, another big secret rears its head to show why even Prince John is out to ruin Scarlet’s life.

Note: Some sexual references, violent situations and language. If given a movie rating, PG.

This was one of the best retellings of Robin Hood that I’ve read. It’s an absolute favorite, and I’m going to buy them as soon as I can! (Perhaps I should mention that Robin Hood is like my favorite Disney movie ever, and so, I get my hands on anything that’s Robin affiliated.) Other YA retellings are Rowan Hood, The Outlaws of Sherwood, Pretty Crooked & Pretty Sly, and Robin: Lady of Legend. Expect to see Pretty Crooked and Pretty Sly up here soon enough! I can’t wait for the third Scarlet book which A.C. Gaughen is currently working on. Meanwhile, follow her on Twitter! She tweets what she’s reading about and updates on Scarlet3 as well as she’s just pretty funny!


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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Historical fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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