# of Pages: 540
Jamie Carpenter witnessed his father’s murder a few years before the story begins and ever since he and his mother have believed that his father had been a traitor to the country. On the night his father died, he witnessed some strange phenomena outside his house, but had since convinced himself he was hallucinating. That changes when he is attacked by a vampire and barely escapes only to find his mother has been taken by one of the most powerful vampires in the world. Then, he learns of a secret organization called Department Nineteen that takes care of creatures most people do not believe exist. Despite the fact that many people believe his father is a traitor, he is welcomed in and allowed to train briefly in order to go after his mother. Does he have what it takes to fight vampires for his government?
This book has been named an Iowa Award Winner for 2013-2014 and it is easy to see why. Fans of fantasy enjoy the back story of this book as well as the truly colorful characters (Frankenstein is an actual employee at Department 19). There are many twists and turns in the story and the action is almost continual. This book sets up the possibility for many more to come. Recommended.
# of Pages: 322
RAC Book: Yes
Gwyneth lives in a large house with her extended family who are anxiously awaiting the first time travel episode by her cousin, Charlotte. Their family has a long history of time traveling and it was predicted that Charlotte would be the next in the line so she has spent much of her childhood getting prepared. Gwyneth is therefore very surprised when she is transported into an unknown time period instead. This causes quite a bit of turmoil in the household as they scramble to help Gwyneth in her new mission and understand how the mistake came to be. With each time travel, Gwyneth comes to find more questions than answers about the true mission of her and her cousin, Gideon, who is also a time traveler. Whom should they trust? Who wants to help them and who is merely selfishly using them for their own personal gain?
This book has been on my “to read” list for awhile and I wish I would have read it sooner. It was exciting, charming, mysterious, and entertaining. Despite having quite a few characters they are all easily identified due to their detailed characterization. The mystery behind the mission is somewhat discussed, but it’s obvious there is much more for Gwyneth to learn. Fans of romantic fantasy will absolutely love this and move on to the sequel quickly.
# of Pages: 292
Miranda and her brother, Rob, are in a terrible car accident that kills Miranda’s best friend. After the fact, Rob has some serious fears about riding in cars and claustrophobia, while Miranda is mourning her friend. Her parents have professional reasons for visiting York, England and decide it is a perfect time for the family to get away. Upon arrival, Miranda realizes she can now see ghosts, but is most intrigued by the one across the street that she can see in the attic of a boarded up house. She meets a troubled young man, Nick, who can also see ghosts and invites her to some mysterious places in order to interact with them. The more time she spends with Nick the more she suspects he is planning something big and mysterious. Can she save him from making a terrible mistake that will change his entire future?
This story includes a lot of folklore about York which ties into the story well. The characters are well developed, especially Miranda’s family, despite being in the story rather infrequently. The mystery moves a tad slow at the beginning, but eventually takes off and it’s obvious that the groundwork for solving it has been laid from the beginning. Fans of ghost and/or mystery stories will enjoy this title.
Published October 24, 2012
Adventure , Fantasy , RAC , Romance , Science Fiction
Tags: cryogenically frozen, family, leadership, lies, politics, Romance, truth
Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages 398
RAC Book: Yes
Amy must make the very difficult decision of whether or not to cryogenically freeze herself with her parents. They have been chosen for their elite skills to lead a new planet in 300 years. Amy can choose to wait 300 years to continue her life on a new planet with her parents or she can stay and live the rest of her life without them. She chooses to get frozen, but is unexpectedly awoken 50 years early by someone wishing to cause harm to frozen people. Amy feels it is her responsibility to protect her parents from the person trying to hurt the frozen people, but how? Meanwhile, Elder, the future leader of the ship, is trying to learn what it will take to lead one day from Eldest, the current leader of the ship. Eldest is tyrannical, oppressive, and difficult to work with. Worst of all, as Elder soon learns, he has no problem with lying to the passengers of the ship. Can Elder become the kind of leader the ship needs? Will he go along with the lies they currently believe just to make Eldest’s life easier?
Fans of Glow and Divergent will enjoy this title. The plot is interesting, even for those who have read similar titles. Although the plot can be predictable it is also clearly thought out and multi-layered. Some difficult issues are discussed or displayed such as suicide and sexual assault, so beware of younger readers. All in all, it was an interesting, enjoyable read.
# of Pages: 266
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to the Ghost and the Goth, Alona is still a ghost trying to find out why she was sent back from the light. Meanwhile, Will is approached by a strange organization that claims to free the world of spirits or ghosts. While Will is thrilled that he is not the only one with the gift of seeing ghosts, he is not sure he completely trusts the motivations of the organization. A girl named Mina has been trying to become a member of the group with little success and it is clear she is annoyed by how much they want Will to join. Alona does not trust Mina and is irritated that Will wants to learn more about her and this organization that she thinks works against ghosts instead of with them. In order to get Will’s attention Alona attempts a risky and dramatic plan that could land both of them in serious trouble. Can these two find out the truth behind the organization? Can they save themselves from the unexpected forces that want to tear them apart?
This sequel was very well done. For a book with a light, funny premise it was unclear if there would be adequate plot developments for a sequel, but the story kept me interested throughout. Alona and Will’s characters and relationship have deepened and developed over the course of the story and teenagers will respond to them. While some of the plot points seemed a bit predictable it was not boring or repetitive in any way. Readers who follow the series will be curious to see what happens to these characters next.
# of Pages: 391
Nora is paired with Patch in science class and always feels a bit uncomfortable around him, especially since he seems to turn up wherever she is. The more time she spends with him, however, the more drawn she feels to him. Her best friend and the school counselor warn her he is dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted, but she cannot help but feel like she is in fact safe with him. Meanwhile, another new boy has come to her school, Elliot, and he is determined to befriend her. While Nora’s best friend thinks Elliot is wonderful Nora cannot help feel like something is a bit sinister with him. After a series of bizarre events in which Nora either hallucinated or someone is purposefully messing with her, she must decide which boy would be taunting her with dangerous situations. Is her life actually in danger and why?
This story is yet another fallen angel romance, but somehow still finds a way to be unique and interesting. Patch and Elliot both have reasons to hurt Nora, yet they both seem genuine at times when they want to befriend her. While Nora’s mother is absent for an enormous part of the book and her best friend seems to make the worst choices ever, Nora seems to take things in stride despite the fact that she finds herself in severe danger over and over. The ending provides some answers, but there is still a lot readers will want to know as this fantasy romance unfolds. Fans of Unearthly, Fallen, and Halo will enjoy this title as well.
# of Pages: 261
RAC Book: Yes
Creed Griffon goes to a private school where students occasionally go missing. After a girl who tends to bully Creed she goes missing, he is immediately a suspect due to the altercation they were overheard having prior to her disappearance. Meanwhile, Creed keeps having disturbing dreams that slowly start bleeding into his real life. He comes to find out he is much more involved with the paranormal activities at his school than he could have ever realized and it might be up to him to save the missing students. The more he learns, however, the more danger he finds himself in. Can he find out what he needs to in order to survive? Can he clear his name even as evidence mounts against him in the disappearance of the girl at school?
Fantasy fans will love this book, especially ones who like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. The story moves quickly and engages young readers from the beginning. A few of the plot details seem a bit murky at first, but clarify as Creed begins to learn more about his school and his personal situation. The characterizations develop as the story goes on and readers begin to care what happens to them. All in all, a nice fantasy read that should have no problem finding an audience.
# of Pages: 306
Alison wakes up in a psychiatric facility with no memory of how she got there. She has always had the special ability to see colors and taste words, but her mother always told her to hide this for fear of mental illness. A new doctor tells Alison he believes she has synesthesia, which means she has a heightened sense of all five senses and is considered a real medical condition. She learns she confessed to killing a friend, but the body has not been recovered and she has no recollection of actually killing her. As her new doctor tries to help her, Alison comes to find out there is a lot she does not know about him. Can she ever find out what happened to her friend? Can she ever prove she is not a danger to society so that she can be free again?
The beginning of this story grabs the reader right from page one. The story takes many unexpected twists and turns and the eventual explanation of what happened to Alison’s friend will take many readers by surprise. The synesthesia is an unusual condition that will intrigue readers since it is a real condition that does not signify mental illness. Fans of mystery, fantasy, and realistic fiction will all find themselves engrossed in this captivating story.
Published January 4, 2012
Fantasy , RAC , Romance
Tags: angel, dating, evil, Romance
# of Pages: 484
RAC Book: Yes
Bethany, Gabriel, and Ivy are all angels who have been sent on a mission to watch over a small town. Gabriel and Ivy have participated in several missions on earth, but this is Bethany’s first one. As such, Gabriel is very concerned that she is not ready to live among the humans. Bethany does have some trouble adjusting to simple human tasks such as eating and grooming because these tasks do not exist in heaven. When she meets a boy at school she instantly feels an attraction. While she tries to hide from her feelings, Bethany cannot stay away from Xavier and he begins to fall for her as well. She has been warned repeatedly that an angel and a human dating can lead to disastrous results, but she cannot help herself. The only problem is that she does not want to mislead him. Can she tell Xavier who she really is? Will he accept her? Can she stay focused on the evil forces around her that are her mission to stop?
This angel romance story has become extremely popular among high school girls who enjoyed Twilight, Fallen, and Shiver. The threat towards the couple seems a bit predictable at times, but will entice young readers nonetheless. The story is definitely unique compared to other similar stories on the market right now. Bethany’s sweet demeanor and strength to go after a love she knows is special will keep readers begging to know more about what happens to Bethany and Xavier.
Genre: Science Fiction
RAC Book: Yes
Thomas is back in the third and final installment of The Maze Runner series. Thomas begins in solitary confinement where he is tortured for several weeks before he is told what the final plan for WICKED will be. He is reunited with the friends that are still alive, but the organization wants to give them their memories back and he believes this is somehow a trap. He refuses and must escape with Minho and Newt. Once they escape to the real world they find that the Flare is much more advanced than they realized and worry that it will be impossible to find a cure in time to save mankind. When WICKED informs Thomas he must turn himself in for one final test in order to save the human race he reluctantly agrees, but what is he agreeing to?
Much like the rest of this series, there are many twists and turns and no easy answers. The characters act with bravery and fear to help them navigate these difficult situations. Readers will learn more about the truth behind WICKED’s evil plans, but not everything is revealed and that is okay because readers know enough to piece together what happened before the series began. The ending is believable, acceptable, and satisfying without going over the top. The finale of this trilogy is so strong is makes the first two novels even stronger, which is a feat in itself.
# of Pages: 310
Cassel lives in a world where magic is possible, but illegal and not everyone is capable of doing it. He is the only member of his family who cannot perform some type of magic. He currently goes to a private boarding school to try and get away from his crazy family, but that is all jeopardized when he mysteriously sleepwalks onto the roof of the dorm and is mistakenly believed to be a suicide risk. Years prior to this incident Cassel believes he killed his best friend although the memory is a bit hazy. Now, he is having weird visions about a white cat and sleepwalking and he starts to wonder if his family is telling him the truth about what happened that fateful night years before. Would his family use their powers on him? Can he find out the truth before it is too late?
Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book partly because it is so unique. It is not the same book we’ve all read a thousand times, but instead brings a new and modern twist to the magic and fantasy genre. Cassel’s family all have real and understandable motivations, but that does not mean they all make the correct choices all the time. Cassel is faced with some hard truths as he learns the facts and must decide how he will proceed. The book is entertaining and engaging and will keep readers asking for more.
# of Pages: 326
Michael Vey has known his entire life that he’s special. He can somehow conduct electricity through his body and it sometimes shocks people that he touches. Due to this abnormality, his mother has done many things to protect him including moving to another state and working a dead end job. She pleads with him to never reveal this strange power for fear of persecution, even though he is constantly bullied at school. One day as he is getting bullied his emotions take over and he zaps the bullies. His actions are witnessed by a cheerleader and he is shocked by her reaction. He is even more shocked when he finds out that there are others like him and there is a menacing force trying to gather them all together. Can he keep himself and his mother safe? Can he protect himself against the forces that want to find him and use him for their own gains?
This story was interesting and reminded me of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Witch and Wizard series based on content and writing style. Michael has tried to hide his gift his entire life, even as his life continues to get worse. When he finally embraces his power he finally realizes that he does not need to be the victim anymore. Michael’s friend, Ostin, is an important member of the story as he helps Michael realize his true gifts. The story is exciting, dramatic, and menacing. Fans of fantasy or science fiction will not be able to wait for the next installment.
# of Pages: 229
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to The Mark, Cassie is now living in a new place with a roommate and trying to make it on her own. She has the ability to see marks that mean a person is going to die soon. She has found that if she intervenes it can save a person’s life, but she does not know if it has any negative affects and decides to find out more about her gift. One way she studies death is by working at a funeral home and studying the different ways people handle death. When her roommate informs her of a girl at a nearby mental ward, Cassie begins to wonder if they in fact share the same gift. When she goes to meet with the girl she sees a mysterious boy from her class and begins to wonder about his intentions and motivations. As the two get closer she learns that he may have more to teach her than she thought. Can she trust this mysterious boy, Zander? Are there others out there like her?
Cassie’s gift creates an interesting premise for a book and there are many worthwhile situations that help her better understand how her gift can affect people. One great example is when the father of a classmate dies. There are a few mentions of her past from the first book that may confuse some readers if they have not read it, but the new characters in this book prove to be engaging. The relationship dynamic between Cassie and Zander changes with every revelation they learn about each other, but it is still unclear what their ultimate relationship will be like. Fans of supernatural and fantasy will enjoy the story, but will probably want to start with the first in the series.
Published September 26, 2011
Fantasy , RAC , Romance
Tags: angel, premonition
# of Pages: 435
RAC Book: Yes
Clara knows she is part angel, but she is still startled when she begins getting visions for her calling or mission. The mission requires her family to move from California to a remote town in the mountains. She believes her purpose is to save a teenage boy from a forest fire, but she has a lot of training to do in order to succeed with her mission. She also finds herself growing closer to someone who does not have anything to do with her purpose and her mother hints that she could be in a lot of trouble if she loses focus and fails to prepare for her calling. What will happen if she cannot find her inner strength to complete the duties she must as a quarter angel?
This story has caught a lot of attention in my media center and high school girls are loving it. The story does grab the reader’s attention at the beginning and the buildup to Clara’s calling is appropriate and well paced. The ending leaves a lot of questions and in some ways does not measure up to the buildup, but readers will want the next one that much more. Recommended for fans of The Fallen.
Published September 12, 2011
Adventure , Fantasy , RAC
Tags: brothers, zombie
# of Pages: 458
Benny has grown up in a world where there is a constant threat of zombies. When he was very small his mother and father were killed by zombies and in his eyes his older brother, Tom, did nothing to save them. Tom has now become a famous zombie hunter, but Benny thinks he is a coward who ran away from danger when he should have stepped up. Benny is of age to find a job and cannot seem to find his niche. He is forced to work with Tom in order to earn his food rations and what he sees on Tom’s hunts surprise and horrify him. The world of zombies is not as simple as he once believed. Can Benny make peace with his brother and find his own way in this world of fear and survival?
Fans of zombie books will devour this story. It has the thrill and excitement of the zombie attacks, but also the heart and truth of life under these conditions. The characters are multi-dimensional and easy to identify with while this difficult society batters them in more ways than one. The relationship of Tom and Benny is especially special as the two of them begin to move forward while also facing the past that initially tore them apart. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers.