Thursday, November 13, 2008

Enchanting Review: The Dictionary of High School B.S.

YA Non-Fiction
Zest Books
ISBN # 978-0979017391
120 pages
Paperback--Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

High school can be a crazy time with not only the resident Queen Bees but other so-called rules that involve where to sit at lunch without coming across as a total geek. Add to that the irritating people, tough classes, and on-going drama, in short, the whole B.S.

In this uncensored dictionary, you’ll find all the talk that has to do with High School life. From definitions of what a hot or an evil teacher are to where most kids go on-line to hang out( which is not to be confused with the code word meaning making out with either boyfriend or girlfriend in bedroom when no parents are at home.)

Some of these terms will make you laugh—like the illustrations of a nerd. Others will make you cringe—like the slang definition of ‘gay’ which unfortunately is still being used not only in High School but outside. And others, if you’ve been out of High School for awhile, will bring back memories, both good and bad.

I really enjoyed reading this dictionary. Once again another Zest Books hit! I ended up taking it to my son’s school and had some of the parents read it. More than a few broke out in smiles and laughter. The illustrations are classic and hilarious.

I’d recommend this book not only to teens in High School but to parents who sometimes are clueless on what’s cool now.

Lois Beckwith is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Check out more on Zest books at

November ‘08

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Enchanting Review: This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous

Contemporary Young Adult
ISBN# 978-0-545-01703-9
240 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Riley Swain is used to getting what she wants in life, guys, friends, clothes. But suddenly she's on her way to fat camp (argh, the horror). She thinks her size twelve figure is fabulous, but apparently her father and stepmother- to-be have other ideas, which is why instead of going on the class trip to Mexico for spring break, she's headed to upstate New York and New Horizon. But Riley can't have her friends and fellow Manhattanites knowing the truth, so she concocts a cover story that she's actually going on a family bonding trip to an upstate NY spa.

While there were portions of the book I really enjoyed, especially when Riley meets Eric, which might have been my favorite scene of the book, the rest of it seemed to hit a lull. The story moved quite fast from Riley at home in Manhattan to being shipped off to fat camp. I think the story would have benefited from a slower pace and a chance to know the supporting characters. The only characters I felt you really got to know was Riley with a bit of Eric and her almost obsession with her best friend D. I did however enjoy Riley's letter writing campaign to her lawyer and others to keep from having to go to New Horizon.

Ms. Beck likes peppermint tea, movies with lots of synchronized dance sequences, boys with curly hair, and living in Brooklyn, New York. She also likes writing characters that make her laugh and make other people ask, "Um. . . is this autobiographical?" This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous is her first novel. You can learn more about THIS BOOK ISN'T FAT, IT'S FABULOUS here:

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Enchanting Review: Untamed

Paranormal YA
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN# 978-0-312-37983-4
352 Pages
Trade-Available September 23, 2008

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Starting two days after 'Chosen' ended, UNTAMED kicks off with Zoey feeling isolated from her friends. After the 'outing' of her relationship with Loren as well as the realization that Stevie Ray was an 'undead dead' her friends are having issues trusting her. If they could only realize the reason they were left in the dark was for their own safety, but all they want to see right now is that Zoey kept secrets, important secrets from them. But when Aphrodite returns unexpectedly to the House of Night, she isn't alone. She's brought Stevie Ray back with her, along with news of a set of horrifying visions of the future—there's a war coming between the vampyres and the humans and its Zoey's demise that sparks it.

The fourth in the House of Night series, UNTAMED takes Zoey and her circle of friends down an unexpected and surprising path. Knowing that the target on her back is larger than anyone could have imagined, her new unusual alliance with Aphrodite and the growing tensions between her and the high priestess Neferet, Zoey's determined to keep Aphrodite's vision from coming true.
After the surprising deaths of Professor Nolan and Loren Blake, Zoey’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone she cares about safe.

While there were still a few good chunks of back story scattered through the first half of the book, UNTAMED moves forward at a brisk pace. Aphrodite's surprising infiltration into Zoey's circle of friends, or at least her friendship with Zoey, continues which I was so glad to see as she’s become a favorite of mine in the last two books. Actually, at times I thought she stole a few scenes, especially early on when she was helping Zoey and Stevie Ray. But my favorite thing about Aphrodite I think is her continual comebacks to the Twins comments. I loved Zoey’s sheer will to keep Aphrodite’s vision from coming true and the ending, well there really isn’t another way to describe it but heart pounding and jaw dropping.

After an ending that will leave you breathless and wondering what lies ahead for Zoey and her friends, I can't wait to see what happens next! One of the best and possibly my favorite book of the entire HOUSE OF NIGHT series, UNTAMED will keep you riveted till the very last sentence.

Check out the newly redesigned House of Night website at

Enchanting Reviews
September 2008

Enchanting Review: Need

Urban Fantasy YA
ISBN# 9781599903385
320 pages
Available January 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Zara has a little quirk. She likes to repeat phobias. And she knows a lot, including phobophobia-the fear of phobias. After her stepfather dies, she draws into herself. Her mother sends her to live with her grandmother in cold Maine so she can stay ‘safe.’
Zara doesn’t care much for the sleepy Maine town. Then she starts noticing a strange man who watches her and calls out her name. There’s other strange things that include missing boys and some secrets that no one will let her in on.

Zara finds out maybe repeating phobias won’t help, especially when she finds out the stranger is a pixie who leaves gold dust and has an uncontrollable need that might involve her.

NEED is one of those novels that grabs you and won’t let go. This urban fantasy is sure to appeal to fans of Cassandra Clair and Melissa Marr. Jones does a great job showing a spunky heroine who demands to know the truth even when this might reinforce another phobia--pixiophobia--fear of pixies.

I enjoyed this fast-paced tale where pixies live in our world but whose needs are high. Zara’s quirk of repeating phobias gives her an added dimension as a character. I also enjoyed her interaction with Betty, her grandmother. Her romantic interest also has a surprise of his own. It seems nothing in this little Maine town is what it seems to be. But you’ll have to grab a copy of this book to find out what’s hidden behind the glamour. You won’t be disappointed.

Carrie Jones lives with her cute family in Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with cool uber-comedian Sarah Silverman. She graduated from Vermont College’s MFA program for writing. She has edited newspapers and poetry journals and has recently won awards from the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award. Check out more at her website


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Enchanting Review: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

Young Adult
Little, Brown
ISBN# 978-0-316-00293-6
238 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Alien Bounty Hunter Daniel has been living on his own since age three when his parents were killed by The Prayer, an alien looking for ‘The List‘. Now fifteen, Daniel is determined to crack the top ten list and is set on number six Ergent Seth, a top level alien. But cracking the top ten of ‘The List’ is a dangerous proposition, even for a skilled alien hunter like Daniel and he may wind up way over his head before its over.

I absolutely loved THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X! Daniel himself is a great character, an alien who is an alien bounty hunter. His voice, his sarcasm, everything just clicks really well and helps make him one of my favorite characters of the year. I loved how he materialized his friends and parents, even a younger sister when the need arose. When he goes after Ergent Seth, he finds himself leaving Portland and heading to Los Angeles where Ergent Seth is already well aware Daniel is after him. And the lengths Seth will go to in order to scare Daniel away are

Short chapters, a great premise and a great character in Daniel himself keep the story moving at a fast pace. Filled with a lot of great twists and turns, including one very jaw dropping moment involving Seth make this an amazing read. I can’t wait for the next in this entertaining series! THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X is one book you’ll zoom through in one sitting guaranteed.

Learn more about Daniel X books at

James Patterson is the author of the blockbuster series Maximum Ride and has sold more than 140 million books, making him one of the top selling authors of all time. He lives in Florida. For previews of forthcoming James Patterson books and more information about the author go to

Enchanting Reviews
November 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Enchanting Review: Burn

YA Contemporary
Little, Brown
288 pages
Available November 2008

Rating: 4 Enchantments

What causes a person to kill someone? Fourteen-year-old Cameron Grady’s life becomes a nightmare after one remark at school. He’s later known as Cameron Diaz by the local jock bullies, who torment him daily.

Cameron is filled with anger. He escapes by running in the nearby woods and playing with fire. No one will listen. Not his mother. Not his teachers. One day something horrific happens to Cameron that causes him to react in a frightening way against someone else. Nothing will ever be the same.

This is an intense look at how far bullying can go before it can erupt into a terrible act of violence. Cameron’s pain is very realistic and his inability to communicate with his family or others around him is sad but I’m afraid true. This book reminded me how tough high school can be. Add to that a past of being abused by a parent and then by someone else. The cycle can continue on which unfortunately it does in this tale.

Phillips describes a disturbing world where both the abused and abuser are victims. She looks into the mind of one who ends up doing something frightening but does show there can be redemption at the end.

A must-read for anyone who wants to see what can cause an individual to go over the edge. I feel this book would be great to read in a high school class and then have discussions afterwards. What should you do if you know someone is being victimized? Or what should you do if you’re the one on the other end?

Suzanne Phillips is a special education English teacher in San Diego, California, and the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Chloe Doe. She has an MFA in fiction writing and is an active member of her local writers' community in Santee, California, where she lives with her daughter.

September 2008