Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enchanting Review: Kisses And Lies

Contemporary YA
Delacorte Press
ISBN# 9780-385-73489-9
320 Pages
Hardcover--Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

KISSES AND LIES is the sequel to the highly entertaining KISS ME, KILL ME. In this second novel, Scarlett Wakefield returns and is determined to find the real murderer of Dan McAndrew. But things get complicated quickly when she realizes she might have the wrong person in mind as the killer. Just who had the epi pen in their limited edition designer purse? And what could make someone kill a teenage boy? The last one is what Scarlet can't understand.

KISSES AND LIES was a very enjoyable and entertaining mystery read. I really liked Scarlett, she was an interesting character, not your typical teenage girl. Struggling to clear her name after the death of Dan, Scarlett finds herself in situations she never thought she'd be in. I also really liked the other characters as well, especially her best friend Taylor and Lizzie, the poor girl who they kind of use to get what they need to solve the mystery of who really killed Dan. The story unfolded at a fairly quick pace, with most of the action taking place outside of Wakefield, in Scotland at Dan's parents castle. While there were a few improbable turns to the story, such as the letter she sent to his parents, which I thought the version shown in the book if sent might not have gotten such a favorable response. However, I found the book entertaining enough to get past that little point. With a heart pounding climax that puts Scarlett's life in danger, I thought KISSES AND LIES was not only a great mystery read, but a nice follow up to the first book, 'Kiss Me, Kill Me'.

Ms. Henderson is the author of several acclaimed "tart noir" mystery novels for adults, as well as the witty romance handbook Jane Austen's Guide to Dating, which has been optioned for film development by producer Kiwi Smith. She was born and raised in London, where she lives with her husband. Her myspace address is

Enchanting Reviews
April 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Enchanting Review: Melonhead

Illustrated by Gillian Johnson
Contemporary Middle Grade
Delacorte Books
ISBN# 978-0385734097
224 Pages
Hardcover—Available March 10, 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

What can I say about MELONHEAD? It’s an entertaining, at times truly hilarious read. Adam Melon aka Melonhead isn’t exactly your typical ten year old boy. Not only is he a budding inventor, but it seems he’s a magnet for trouble. Within moments of the reader first meeting him, he finds himself stuck up a tree with his foot lodged in a hole, and nothing seems to be able to free him—until the jaws of life get involved. But that’s nothing for Melonhead, as he’s used to this type of thing, including the press coverage an event like this causes.

When the science teacher at school comes in to speak to his class about the school-wide reinvention challenge of taking two old inventions and blending them together to make something brand new, Melonhead and his best friend Sam quickly partner up to come up with the best reinvention ever. Only along the way they find themselves adjusting their planned project when they discover the reflection pool isn’t as deep as they thought, hence no need for the submarine they were thinking of making.

Written in an easy to read style, MELONHEAD is a book that’ll keep your attention the whole way through. Ms. Kelly creates a fun world, filled with interesting characters. I especially enjoyed the way she describes the characters, from the way Melonhead talks about his mom’s breathing in the first chapter when she comes racing up to the tree he’s stuck in to the introduction of how he met his good friends Madam and Pop. MELONHEAD is a good kick-off to what should no doubt be a humorous, fun filled series.

Katy Kelly lives and writes full-time in Washington, D.C. with her artist husband and their two daughters. MELONHEAD is her fifth book for young readers.

Gillian Johnson is a UK-based author/illustrator who lives in Oxford with her husband and two sons.

Enchanting Reviews
March 2009

Enchanting Review: Damosel

Fantasy YA
ISBN# 978-0-375-83634-3
208 pages
Hardcover—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

DAMOSEL, is the Lady of the Lake and is approached by Merlin to make a beautiful sword for the future King Arthur, a task that will take years. But she makes the wonderful Excalibur and presents it to the young King almost nine years later, setting off a chain of events that will change things forever.

DAMOSEL wasn’t quite what I pictured when I read the jacket blurb. I expected more interaction between Damosel herself and Arthur and the rest of the characters anyone familiar with Arthurian legend would expect, but that wasn’t quite the way things were. However, DAMOSEL was a very well written, easily engaging story with a novel twist on things. Most of the story is told through stories told to Damosel or things that happen to Twixt. I have to say I really enjoyed the character of Twixt, the dwarf who Sir Tor rescues from his two evil masters most out of all the characters. Damosel herself was also enjoyable, especially in the early part of the book as she bartered to get the gemstones to make Excalibur and as she shared the Rules that the Lady of the Lake must live by and which Damosel strictly adheres to, which added a nice bit of humor to the story as well.

All in all, DAMOSEL is a very unique read, capturing a side of Camelot I hadn’t read before.

Stephanie Spinner is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers. After a distinguished career in children’s book publishing, she is now a full-time writer. She lives in Sherman, Connecticut.

Enchanting Reviews
March 2009

Enchanting Review: Hunted

Paranormal YA
St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN# 978-0312379827
336 Pages
Hardcover—Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Zoey Redbird is being HUNTED. Not only has Kalona been released, he’s partnered up with Neferet and together they are planning something terrible, if Aphrodite’s visions and a newcomer’s poetry is to be believed. But when a horrible accident forces Zoey and company straight back home to the House of Night they realize just how bad things are. The students and teachers have turned into ‘pod people’ and its up to Zoey to do something that seems impossible—send Kalona right back where he came from.

I’m not sure HUNTED was what I expected the fourth book in this great series to be.
Zoey’s powers are continuing to grow, as is the powerful circle she surrounds herself with, but as her powers are growing, so unfortunately are Neferet’s and Kalona’s, who has the ability to appear in Zoey’s dreams. What I really liked about HUNTED was the widening out of Zoey’s circle of friends as well as the return of Heath, one of my favorite characters. Something about Eric though kept me suspicious through most of the book and I still wonder if there isn’t something to come with him in future books. One of my favorite moments is who imprints with Stevie Ray. My only real issue was the ending, which seemed sort of abrupt and almost too easy for Zoey and company, compared to the endings of the others in the series. Still, I can’t wait to see what lays ahead for Zoey and her friends.

Stay up to date with the latest House of Night news at

Enchanting Reviews
April 2009

Enchanting Review: Dramarama

YA Contemporary
ISBN# 978-078983815-8
320 pages
Paperback Available now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Sarah and Demi are the two misfits of high school. They’re lives change when they go to Wildewood, an elite boarding school for the performing arts. While there, Sarah is Sadye and Demi comes out of the closet, comfortable for the first time about his sexuality. But while Demi soars at the school, Sadye finds that maybe she’s not good enough to succeed. All the while her relationship with Demi is tested. Will their friendship withstand one of them making the big time?

I loved this story! Sarah’s conflicts were so real. Her experiences were similar to going to American Idol try outs for the theater. The harshness of that life is very true. Not all will be stars. Sarah’s struggles to be happy for Demi, while he succeeds, rang true. I also liked how Lockhart shows Demi finding his true home, a place where he’s accepted for who he is.

Once again Lockhart delivers a hilarious and totally unforgettable look into the friendship of two who learn to become the best in whatever they do. A must read!

E. Lockhart is the author of The Boyfriend List, Fly on the Wall, The Boy Book, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Check out more on Lockhart at

April 09

Friday, April 17, 2009

Enchanting Review: City of Ashes

YA urban fantasy
McElderry Books
ISBN# 978-1-4169-1429-7
496 pages
Paperback - Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Sixteen-year-old Clary Fray’s world has turned underside down with the knowledge that she’s a demon-slaying Shadowhunter. She can’t make sense of her relationship with her best friend Simon, who seems to want to be more than friends. The handsome Shadowhunter who infuriates her is her long lost brother Jace. And the only way to help her comatose mother is to find Valentine, who is insane and probably her father.

Now someone is killing New York City Downworlder children. The second of the Mortal instruments is stolen. And even worse is the scary Inquisitor zooms in on her brother Jace, thinking he might be hiding something. Clary finds herself more involved in world of the Shadowhunters while even more frightening things appear; revelations about her parents, Jace, and her boyfriend Simon.

I enjoyed this second tale in The Mortal Instruments trilogy. Once again the author takes the reader on one fast-paced action tale where demon-slayers live with us mundanes. The world of the Shadowhunters is filled with vivid creatures right out of a fantasy - faeries, werewolves, and even vampires. The conflict Clary struggled with over her attraction to Jace felt real and I couldn’t help but hope that he wasn’t her long lost brother. Clary is a strong character who just happens to be a demon butt kicking heroine. Don't miss reading this series.

Ms. Clare is the author of CITY OF BONES, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. She lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and their cats. Find out more at

April 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Enchanting Review: Miss Match

YA Romance
Simon Pulse
ISBN# 978-1-4169-6413-1
275 pages
Paperback—Available February 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Sasha Finnegan is just your ordinary teen girl with a knack for matchmaking. She’s been setting up couples for as long as she can remember because seeing others in love makes her happy. Now sixteen, she’s put her Cupid-like talents to work through an online business where she goes by the pseudonym Miss Match.

Derek Urban is the new guy in school, not to mention a total hottie. With Homecoming approaching, there’s a certain cheerleader who’s caught his eye. But Derek doesn’t know how to get close to her, so he goes to Miss Match for help.

Sasha is more than willing to offer her services, because she’s saving up to buy a car, but it makes her uncomfortable that her work is now so close to home, literally. Derek has his sights set on Sasha’s more beautiful and popular older sister Maddie to be his Homecoming date. This’ll be possibly the hardest match Sasha’s ever made, not because Maddie isn’t interested—but because Sasha might be falling for Derek herself.

Flirty, cute, and fun, MISS MATCH is an enjoyable romantic read. There is definitely a lot of predictability to the plot, but Sasha’s character is unique and refreshing. Her can-do attitude makes her lovable and her insecurities over her physical appearance make her realistic and easy to relate to. It’s sweet how even thought Sasha feels overshadowed in many ways by Maddie and looked over by her father, she still loves her family and will do almost anything to help them. There are a couple of aspects I feel Toliver could’ve expanded on, such as Sasha’s friendship with Yasmin and her parents’ divorce. Nevertheless, MISS MATCH is still a quick and satisfying romantic read with lots of humor that goes to show that love can happen even in the most unexpected circumstances. MISS MATCH will be enjoyed by fans of the other Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies.

Wendy Toliver has written one other fun novel for the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies, THE SECRET LIFE OF A TEENAGE SIREN. She can be visited online at

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
February 2009

Enchanting Review: Daylight Runner

YA Science Fiction
ISBN# 978-0-06-134058-1
341 pages
Hardcover—Available now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Sol Wheat has gotten used to the monotonous life of living in Ash Harbor, one of the last refuges for human existence amidst a severe Ice Age which has rendered the exposed earth uninhabitable. Sol obediently functions as part of the Machine just like the other residents of Ash Harbor, traveling clockwise through the city to help power the Machine and making do with what little meager resources are left.

But Sol’s world irrevocably shifts when his father disappears and is accused of murder. Targeted by a secret supposed policed force called the Clockworkers for asking too many nosy questions, Sol is now on the run, hiding out in Ash Harbor’s underground. Nothing will stop Sol from pursuing the truth, however, and he soon learns that there is so much more at stake than he initially thought; it’s not longer just a personal score to settle but a matter involving the dysfunctional fascist government of Ash Harbor and the very survival of the fragile world he lives in.

Both suspenseful and philosophically stimulating, DAYLIGHT RUNNER is a quite unique take on the future of the world. Drawing from government-business alliances and the global warming phenomenon of today, Ash Harbor offers only physical protection from the harshness of the world; its citizens are left at the mercy of four large business interests who virtually control this small enclave instead of the government supposed to rule it. The world of Ash Harbor is a scary one indeed yet possible in a frightening way: it merely magnifies some of the imperfections and corruptions in today’s world. There is some excitement and promise in the mostly effective relationship between humans and machines, but time eventually causes humanity to progress backward in this futuristic setting. The action in this novel is by no means heart pounding or the story spectacular; in fact, the ending is rather anticlimactic, the weak attempt at romance is a mistake, and the characters are rather boring. However, it isn’t the story itself that makes DAYLIGHT RUNNER such a meaningful read, but the food for thought it provides that will lead readers to question their own worlds.

Oisín McGann has held a variety of jobs, and “author” is obviously one of them. He can be visited online at

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
February 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Enchanting Review: Pure

Contemporary YA
Simon Pulse
ISBN# 978-1-4169-7872-5
338 pages
Hardcover—Available April 2009

Rating: 3 Enchantments

Tabitha McAbe is just your ordinary teen girl juggling overprotective parents, schoolwork, crushes on cute guys, and her faith. As a friend, she’s as loyal as they come. Her bond with her four closest friends, Morgan, Priah, Naeomi, and Cara, seems unbreakable, especially because of the promise they’ve all made, to remain pure until marriage, symbolized by their purity rings. To Tabitha, it seems nothing could go wrong.

Bu things can go wrong, and they do when one of Tabitha’s friends goes back on her promise. She sets off an unpleasant chain of reactions which splinter the used-to-be tight knit group of friends. One betrayal leads to another and another until the event that started this war is blown way out of proportion, transforming a small disagreement to a battle of faith and morals. And no matter how much Tabitha wishes life could just go back to normal, to homework and freaking out about her next date with Jake, she knows she’s part of this quasi-revolution, for better or worse.

PURE is a memorable and meaningful story about friendship, faith, and the bits in between. However, while I enjoyed the story, I did not enjoy McVoy’s writing. Tabitha’s tale gets difficult to follow because of all the little confusing details which make it seem like McVoy already expects the reader to know the background of Tabitha and her friends. There are a bit too many minor characters to keep track of which is frustrating because I don’t know who Tabitha is referring to half the time. Also, the religious fervor in this novel is a bit too much for my taste; I do not oppose Tabitha and her friends’ religious morals but it sometimes feels they are being force-fed to my brain. The plot is messy; there is often too much going on at once. I just found PURE so difficult to get into because I couldn’t relate to any of the friend’s sheltered, conservative lifestyles, so while I understand the point McVoy is trying to make about the simultaneous importance of faith in friendship and friendship in faith, the technically bumpy road to that point significantly dulls its impact.

PURE is Terra Elan McVoy’s debut novel.

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
February 2009

Enchanting Review: Anytime, Anywhere A Little Boy's Prayer

Atheneum Books
32 pages
Print - Available January 6, 2009

Rating: 5 Enchantments

After Isaac's two books at reading time, he sits with his dad for his nightly prayers. He has a lot on his mind and a lot of questions. As with most young boys, he doesn't want to miss out on anything, even if it is at the sacrifice of bedtime.

Isaac wants to make sure his prayer is doesn't leave out anything or anyone. From Grandma Anne who is no longer there to pray with him, to the bugs that crawl on the ground; from the homeless and all those in the hospital and even in jail, Isaac makes sure they make his prayer list. His questions about God caring for those he doesn't even know are heart warming to the innocence of a child.

I believe ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, A LITTLE BOY'S PRAYER is a perfect book for the whole family to read together. It opens our eyes and minds to who else is out there that need prayer, even a prayer as big as world peace to a big God who can handle it all. I believe it will encourage the young to start saying their prayers and to know that God is there for everyone, no matter where and no matter what their condition of living is. I would recommend this to any family starting out their libraries for their children.

Marcus Hummon as a country music songwriter and theatrical composer has really hit the mark with answers to some of the questions children have about prayer.

Barb Soden
April 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Enchanting Review: Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires Book 3)

MIDNIGHT ALLEY (Morganville Vampires Book 3)
Paranormal YA
ISBN# 978-0451222381
256 Pages
Paperback--Available Now

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Claire Danvers has made a deal with Amelie for protection for her and her friends and in exchange, she has to do whatever the powerful female vampire demands. But she’d never imagined it would involve an apprenticeship of sorts, learning from the unusual Myrnin, a scientist vampire whose moods can switch on a whim and put Claire in danger in the blink of an eye. That’s not the only problem for Claire and co. when it seems Shane is being framed for the murders happening around town, the trail leading literally to their back door. Can they find out who the real killer is before things get out of hand?

As the third book in one of my favorite young adult series, I did have high hopes for MIDNIGHT ALLEY, but I honestly found it hard to get through at times, especially during the first half. I’m not sure if it was the action or the pace, but looking back this one felt more like a set up book for the next in the series. There were several enjoyable moments however--the addition of Myrnin, who I really came to like as the story went on--when he was in his good mood--as well as the scenes between Claire and her friends. The relationship between Claire and Shane deepens as well, which was nice to see as I love the way Ms. Caine has created the couples in this series, Claire and Shane, and Eve and Michael, the four of which make some of my favorite YA characters.

Rachel Caine is the author of the popular Weather Warden series, the Morganville Vampires series as well as many other books. You can visit her online at

Enchanting Reviews
March 2009