Evermore by Alyson Noel

After a horrible accident that kills her parents and her little sister, Ever Bloom is left alive and able to see people’s auras, hear their thoughts and know someone’s entire life story simply by touching them. Needless to say, she’s altered.  She’s learnt to deal with it by using music to drown out the voices and avoiding touching people at all cost; that is until she meets Damen and everything changes. He is gorgeous and mysterious, but he doesn’t have an aura and he can shut out all the voices simply by touching Ever. She’s drawn to him, even though she feels she might be in danger. As everything around her starts to fall apart Ever will have to decide whether or not she wants to be different and how important Damen is in her life.

Evermore fits very well into the genre of paranormal romance. I really enjoyed the novelty of some of Ever’s power, especially her ability to see auras and speak to her dead sister. So much of this genre is similar, so I was thankful that Noel had this unique aspect. The story is fast-paced and there is a lot of action and suspense that kept me very engaged. However, there were a few problems that left me slightly disappointed. I felt at times there was too much going on, Ever’s powers and the Immortals storyline compete for space. I almost wish it had of been one or the other. I also stumbled over the relationship between Damen and Ever, feeling that it was a tad too much Edward/Bella for my liking. I can definitely see the appeal that this book would have to readers and I would still recommend it to a specific audience. However, I don’t think I will be finishing the series.

You might enjoy Evermore if you like books with: romance, otherworldly men, main characters with their own powers, suspense

Also by Alyson Noel: Cruel Summer

Evermore is part of the Immortal Series, also in the series are: Blue Moon, Shadowland and Dark Flame.

Alyson Noel also has a book called Radiance coming out in August 2010 about Ever’s sister Riley after she leaves Ever.

If you liked Evermore, you might also enjoy: Fallen by Lauren Kate, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Evernight series by Claudia Gray and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Additional Info: dramatic rights have been sold, so something similar might appear as a TV show in the future

Rating: W2.5/4   C2.5/4   P2.5/4   O1.5/4 PP3/4   CR3/4

Grade Level: JS


Fallen by Lauren Kate

After an unexplainable accident with a boy, Luce finds herself enrolled in a strange reform school called Sword & Cross. Everything about it is a little odd, especially the other students.  This doesn’t bug Luce too much because she feels a little odd herself; she sees strange black shadows and she can’t seem to remember what happened to the boy who died. Except the shadows seem to be acting up and there is this strange guy named Daniel that is inexcusably rude to her that she swears she knows from somewhere. The more she tries to piece together about Daniel and the school the more things spin out of control and without trying Luce finds herself at the centre of something very dark and dangerous.

This summary makes the book sound like the Awakening series by Kelley Armstrong, but it’s really not.

Fallen is a compelling blockbuster paranormal romance about a regular girl in love with a fallen angel.  Sound familiar?  It might contain many of the more predictable elements of this genre, but I must confess it was the best one I’ve read…possibly ever.  It’s long, which might seem daunting, but it’s actually very well paced. Kate takes the time to lay the ground work of the story, building up the characters and setting the stage for the rest of the series. The relationship between Daniel and Luce was fascinating and their story was made more compelling by the interesting and vibrant supporting characters. I also thought that Kate did a beautiful job of giving the reader an incredible climax, while leaving much of the story unanswered. I’ve read a lot of negative reviews, and I’m not sure why. Luce was a lovable character – witty and fun to read, there was enough mystery to keep me captivated, the story was rich and avoided the over cheesiness that is often plagued by this genre and the ending left me hooked. I can’t wait for the sequel, definitely the better of the two fallen angel books released last fall.

You might enjoy Fallen if you like books with: a paranormal romance where the average girl falls for the otherworldly boy, mystery and unanswered questions, battles between good and evil, seemingly impossible romance/love, a full cast of characters instead of just one or two, fast paced action.

Also by Lauren Kate: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove

If you liked Fallen you might also enjoy: Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Additional Info:  I think I read somewhere that this is going to be a 4 part series, but regardless the sequel Torment is set to be released September 28th 2010.

Author website found here.

Rating: W3.5/4   C4/4   P4/4   O2.5/4   PP4/4   CR4/4 (Amazing cover!!!)

Grade Level: MJS

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

“ I will tell you how we unlocked the Pandora’s box ourselves, tasted freedom, strained our souls with blood and choice…”

After her mother is murdered, Gemma Doyle finds herself at a typical Victorian prep school for young ladies. What aren’t typical are the visions that she’s been having since her mother’s passing – glimpses of the future and other realms. Encouraged by her fiends and with the guide of a mysterious diary of a young girl who also experienced visions, Gemma dives deeper into her powers, bringing her friends and herself experiences she never could imagine. Drunk on magical power and fearful of life beyond the school, Gemma and her friends are unable to see the danger that is hunting them, wanting to destroy and conquer.

A Great and Terrible Beauty is a fantastic example of genre-blending where the Victorian Age is the stage for the paranormal. I thought the story was very creative and I liked the combination of both the historical fiction and the paranormal/fantasy. There were some gaps in the story, and things that I was a little confused about, but I think this was in large part due to the fact that it is the first book in a series. I think the real value of this book is the characters. The readers will greatly enjoy Gemma as she is quite funny and a little rebellious. Bray also does an amazing job of creating supporting characters that were dynamic in their own right and yet completely added to Gemma’s story. I thought her expressions of these girls’ fears and desires were beautifully articulate and something that transcends the time period in which it was set. Overall, I think this book has a little something for everyone and would therefore appeal to a wide audience.

You might enjoy A Great and Terrible Beauty if you like books with: a historical setting but has a main character that is easy to identify with, forbidden romance, magical elements that are more scary than whimsical, fast paced plot

Other books by Libba Bray: Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing, Going Bovine

If you liked A Great and Terrible Beauty you might also enjoy:  Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle, Bewitching Season by Marrisa Doyle, Blue Blood Series by Melissa De La Cruz, Angel by Cliff McNish

Additional Info:  The two other books in the series are available and are called Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. A Great and Terrible Beauty is also a winner of the 2004 ALA Best Books for Young Adults Award

Non-Fiction:  Want to know more about the lives of Women in Victorian England, try Women of Victorian England by Clarice Swisher

Author’s website found here.

Official Gemma Doyle Trilogy website found here.

Rating:W3/4   C4/4   P2.5/4   O4/4   PP4/4   CR3.5/4

Grade:  JS

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

“His smile wasn’t friendly. It was a smile that spelled trouble. With a promise.”

Nora has never really been interested in the guys at her school; that is until she gets partnered with the new dark and mysterious student, Patch. But things aren’t what they seem with Patch and strange things start happening to Nora she can’t explain.  She gets in a car accident but there is no damage, she falls off a rollercoaster but the next minute she’s sitting in the cart like nothing happened. She also feels like someone is following her. Even though it appears that Patch is somehow connected, Nora can’t keep away and trusting him might become a matter of life and death.

Hush, Hush was an intriguing read. It was my first fallen angel novel and I thought the concept was amazing. Being familiar with the book of Enoch and Nephilims, I was glad that Fitzpatrick thought to include these bits of history/myth. The story is very fast paced and the plot took off right from the beginning. And while I think this was at the cost of much needed character development, one can’t argue that it’s an exciting read. I thought Nora was an interesting main character, but I had a really hard time connecting to her. There were other elements that were problematic for me, but overall I really enjoyed the reading experience. The author does a great job at harnessing some of the themes and plot lines that are popular these days and put in her own twist. As a side note, I also appreciated Fitzpatrick including a best friend character that was relevant to the storyline. So often these characters disappear when the love interest shows up.  

You might like Hush, Hush if you enjoy books with: a strong focus on plot with fast pacing, suspense, not too much romance, fantasy elements mixed with every day life.

This is Becca Fitzpatrick’s debut novel

If you enjoyed Hush, Hush, you might also like:  Fallen by Lauren Kate, Shadowland : The Immortals by Alyson Noel,  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Meridian by Amber Kizer

Additional Info:  The sequel to Hush, Hush called Crescendo, is set to be released fall 2010.

Author website found here.

 Becca Fitzpatrick will be at Indigo  in Toronto March 3rd at 7pm (see her website for more detail)

Rating: W 2/4   C2/4   P2/4   O4/4   PP4/4   CR4/4

Grade: JS

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Ever since she was attacked as a child, Grace has had a strange fascination with the wolves in the forest by her house. There is one wolf in particular that she feels drawn to, there is just something about his eyes that seem so familiar. Sam lives two lives, one as a wolf in the winter, one as a boy in the summer.  During both seasons there is just one thing on his mind, Grace. When Sam turns human one last time he and Grace finally come to realize the strange connection between the two of them. However, things might not work out happily ever after. If their love is to survive they will both have to fight demons from the past and the ever increasing cold that threatens to take Sam forever.

Shiver was a confusing read for me, as I’m really torn about whether I like it or not. It has an incredibly slow beginning, and the pacing really goes up and down throughout the entire book. I thought that the dialogue was a little shallow and the characters undeveloped. At times it seemed like Stiefvater played too much into the stereotypical teen idea of romance and it seemed over the top and cheesy. However, that’s not to say that there weren’t really great aspects. I liked that the narrative was split and I really enjoyed the concept behind the book and the werewolf storyline was very engaging.  There are tons of people who love this book, and I do recognize many of the appeals. I also admit that despite my perhaps negative review I can’t wait to read the second book.

You might enjoy Shiver if you like books with: a supernatural feel, a romance that is constantly threatened, split narratives, lyrical-esq storytelling.

Other books by Maggie Stiefvater: Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception, Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, Linger

If you liked Shiver you might also enjoy:  Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Graceling by Kristen Cashore, Immortal by Gillian Shields and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Additional Info:  fans will be exited to know that there is a Shiver movie in the works and the second book in the series of three, Linger, is set to be released July 20th 2010

Rating: W 3/4   C 1.5/4   P3/4   O3/4   PP 4/4   CR3/4

Grade: JS


Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

“But she knew what she was doing, deep down. Tommy Williams was in her head, his white, angular face, the ghost of a smile on his lips, and a pale light in his slate blue eyes.”

Zombies! All over the United States teenagers are coming back to life, many of them even continue to attend high school. Phoebe Kendall is her high school’s resident Goth, which is sort of ironic considering her school has a surprising number of dead heads, aka Zombie students. When Phoebe falls for Zombie leader and football player wannabe Tommy Williams things start to change. Her best friends don’t understand and students with a hate on for Zombies begin to find excuses to eliminate them and their human friends. It isn’t long before Phoebe, her best friends Adam and Margie and even Tommy find themselves on a hit list.

Side note before I review: last semester my teacher suggested that we examine the role of Zombies in teen literature and discuss them in the same way we talk about Vampires. I already posted how I thought the idea of Zombies as romantic partners was really strange, so reading this book was my attempt to understand this new genre…

Having said that, I’m very much converted to the zombies as boyfriends movement. Daniel Waters writes a surprisingly enjoyable book on what it would be like if zombie’s were an every day part of your life. I enjoyed the lightness and humor of the book, and the fact that Waters didn’t spend too much time world building. The way it is, he just asks the readers to go with the idea. If he had tried to prove and justify his zombie world I think it would have lost significant credibility. However, I think Generation Dead is a complete success; the characters are fun and the plot addicting. Some of the writing and plot elements were pretty cheesy, but for me that was part of the enjoyment. I also especially liked how the narration was shared between a bunch of characters, again making the book feel light and easy. Read this book, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

You might enjoy Generation Dead if you like books with: more of a focus on plot than character development, fantasy/paranormal love stories, fun and light writing, humour

Other books by Daniel Waters: Generation Dead: Kiss of Life

If you liked Generation Dead you might also enjoy: Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore, Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley, The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, Zombie Blondes by Brian James and Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by Enrich Van Lowe

Author Website found here.

Tommy Williams blog found here.

Additional Info: the third book in the series, Passing Strange, is set to be released June 1st 2010

 Rating: W3/4   C3/4   P3/4   O4/4   PP3/4   CR4/4

 Grade: JS

Coming Soon to a Library Near You (4)

Coming Soon to a Library Near You is a weekly feature inspired by Jill at Breaking the Spine that looks at upcoming books.

This week’s book: Bleeding Violet

Author: Dia Reeves 

Release Date: January 5, 2010

From Barnes and Noble:

Love can be a dangerous thing….

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna is tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna – she is far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town only two things are certain: anything can happen and no one is safe.