Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Enchanting Review: Dizzy In Your Eyes: Poems About Love

YA Poetry
ISBN# 978-0375843754
176 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

DIZZY IN YOUR EYES: POEMS ABOUT LOVE is filled with a collection of fifty poems of different types, from a simple poem, to '3 a.m. Blues' which is the blues to the last in the book 'My Song' which is written as a song.

I have to admit, I'm not usually big on poetry but I really enjoyed DIZZY IN YOUR EYES: POEMS ABOUT LOVE. Every poem is different, told from a different narrator's point of view. The one thing they all have in common though is the theme—love. With some of the poems Ms. Mora provides a description of the type of poem on the opposite page, so those interested can learn more about that particular style. Two of my favorite poems are 3 a.m. Blues because I like the lyrical styling and an earlier one in the book, To-Do List because it's very much true to life.

DIZZY IN YOUR EYES: POEMS ABOUT LOVE is Pat's second collection for young adults. Pat also wrote My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Adults and six poetry collections for adults. To learn more about Pat and her books visit her online at www.patmora.com

Enchanting Reviews
January 2010

Enchanting Review: Dream Life (Dream Girl #2)

DREAM LIFE (Dream Girl #2)
Paranormal YA
Delacorte Books
ISBN# 978-0385735230
336 Pages
Hardcover—Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

When her best friend Becca starts acting funny after returning home from holidays, Claire feels abandoned, until she finds out Becca's been tapped for a secret society, and surprisingly she gets 'invited' to join herself. But if only things were that easy. It seems there's a rival society out to get the Blue Moons and take over New York for themselves. Soon Claire finds herself in the thick of things, trying to solve the mystery before their top secret plans are disclosed and the group is relegated to nothing more than a name forever.

DREAM LIFE is my favorite book in the Dream Girl series so far. The characters seemed much more formed this time and I found myself liking Claire a lot more. DREAM LIFE stands well on its own, so if you haven't read the first novel 'Dream Girl' don't worry about it. The world created is at times a bit eccentric but nonetheless fun to visit.

My favorite scenes happened when Claire was tapped to become a member of the Blue Moons. From the scene where they 'grabbed' her to where the hangout was actually located were really fun. Also, the friendship between Claire and her unusual society grandmother, Kiki, continues, climaxing at her grandmother's birthday party, a scene which turns out to be so horrific for Claire, I could only hope she'd get out of there as fast as she could.

Overall DREAM LIFE is a really fun and unusual read. I can't wait to return to Claire's world and see what happens next.

Lauren Mechling is the coauthor of all three 10th-Grade Social Climber books. She has written for the New York Times, Marie Claire, and Seventeen. She lives and writes in New York City. You can visit her at www.laurenmechling.com.

Enchanting Reviews
February 2010

Enchanting Review: I Kissed A Zombie and I Liked It

Paranormal YA
Delacorte Press
ISBN# 978-0385735032
192 pages
Trade—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

What a fun read! Eighteen year old Algonquin "Alley" Rhodes is determined to get out of small town Cornersville Trace and head to Seattle, where there has be a bigger dating pool. Unlike some of the other girls at school, she isn't aspiring to date an 'undead': a/k/a a vampire, werewolf, or zombie. But one night, covering the local band scene she meets Doug, a guy who sings Cole Porter songs and makes her feel like swooning, something she's never felt before.

Readers looking for a fun, laugh out loud paranormal read should definitely pick up I KISSED A ZOMBIE AND I LIKED IT. This book truly has it all. From plot to interesting characters, including the high school guidance counselor who doesn't believe in mixed relationships between the living and the undead, to amazing wit and a moment the reader can't wait for: Alley to realize the truth about Doug. But along the way Alley realizes the truth about herself, that she doesn't exactly like being the snarky sarcastic 'ice queen' she is at school and prefers who she is when she's with Doug. The humorous moments are plenty, thanks especially to Alley's voice and the situations Mr. Selzer puts the characters in.

One of my favorite scenes is when Alley and Doug go on their first date. There's something a little odd about Doug, but Alley can't quite put her finger on what it is. But if there was a perfect guy in the world for her, Doug could seriously fit his description.

To learn more about Mr. Selzer and his books, visit him online at http://www.adamselzer.com/

Enchanting Reviews
February 2010

Enchanting Review: The Vampire Diaries The Return: Shadow Souls Vol. 2

YA paranormal
Harper Teen
ISBN# 978-0-06-172081-9
599 pages
Hardback-Available now

Rating: 3.5 stars

Vampire Stefan Salvatore is imprisoned in another dimension while demons are causing serious problems in Fell’s Church. Elena and Damon Salvatore set out to find Stefan in the slums of the Dark Dimension where demons and vampires run free and humans are their slaves.

Elena will stop at nothing to free Stefan, even if that means battling emotions she has been fighting for his brother Damon. At times she finds herself forgetting who she really loves. Is it Stefan? Or really Damon?

I’m a huge fan of the CW series VAMPIRE DIARIES. The show is based loosely on the books by L.J. Smith. This book continues with what happens after Stefan is captured and imprisoned by the kitsune, an evil fox spirit from Japan. What works for this book is the description of the Dark Dimension. Smith paints a world that is creepy, intense, and dangerous. Elena struggles most with her growing attraction to Damon even though she knows she needs him in order to find Stefan. The sexual tension between her and Damon is heated. Also I liked how multilayered Damon is as a character. Smith gives him vulnerabilities that make it hard for the reader to hate him. If anything I like their relationship more. Plus, the ending is a huge surprise!

I did have problems with the dialog between Stefan and Elena which felt forced and to me wasn’t very believable. Also Stefan was missing a lot in this book. I think this was done to show the growing attraction of Elena to Damon. Still, it would have been nice to see more of him.

I’d recommend reading the first two books in this series. Especially to those who want to get into the books.

L. J. Smith has written more than two dozen books. She lives in the Bay Area of California. To find out more about her books visit www.ljanesmith.net To find out more about The Vampire Diaries insider info, new reads, and videos visit www.harperteen.com

Kim Baccellia
MARCH 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Enchanting Review: Voices of Dragons

YA Fantasy
ISBN# 9780061798948
309 pages
Hardcover – Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Wow. Following in the footsteps of the great dragon writer, Anne McCaffrey, Carrie Vaughn created a fantastic new world and beautiful young adult story in VOICES OF DRAGONS. Combining a modern world with creatures we normally reserve for mythological places, Ms. Vaughn gave us what many readers search high and low for: real life with a touch of fantasy.

Kay Wyatt is our heroine of the story and probably one of the best aspects of the book. She is a well rounded character and very relatable. Not overly gorgeous or full of angst, Kay allows us to delve into the story with her and join in her adventures. Seventeen and feeling the pressures of teenaged life, Kay escapes to nature when she needs to clear her head. Hiking and rock climbing are her passions, the exhilaration of feeling free enough to calm any frazzled nerves. More than that, her outdoors activities end up serving another purpose. Coupled with fate, they lead her over the border to Dragon and to Artegal, with whom communication is strictly forbidden.

While Kay discovers that dragons may not be as evil as humans think, the rest of her normal life still has to go on. Her best friend, Tam, goes out of her way to encourage the budding romance between Kay and Jon. Caught in the middle of the peer pressure to take their relationship farther than either are really prepared for, the two navigate confusing and rocky waters while still managing to find comfort in the presence of one another. Unlike many new young adult stories hitting the market, Ms. Vaughn allows Kay and Jon to have a simple and fairly innocent romance. It was refreshing in a way because it kept the story light and sweet in terms of that aspect of the book.

As Kay learns more and more about the dragon, Artegal, she soon learns that there is no reason why humans and dragons cannot once again be friends and allies. As fate would have it, however, right around the time she comes to this conclusion, the military decides to start testing its borders with Dragon. As Kay struggles to keep both sides at bay and encourage talk between the two nations, she must learn how far she is willing to go and how much of herself she is really willing to sacrifice.

VOICES OF DRAGONS was a fantastic story. As mentioned previously, Ms. Vaughn’s work easily stands proudly next to some of the best dragon stories out there. With clear writing and beautiful imagery, the author manages to really pull the reader into the story and allow us to take part in the adventure. Although one would expect the main dragon in the story to be brilliantly hued and perfect in every way, Vaughn gives him more of a grey appearance and allows him to have his own quirks. She allows us to use our imaginations while still giving large depth and robustness to something as simple as the color grey.

There are a number of traits that make VOICES OF DRAGONS a winner, but the two that had the most impact in my opinion were really the development of her characters and her writing style. Full, detailed characters gave us something to hold on to and follow throughout the story. Each had their own personality and shared uniqueness in that they weren’t your typical young adult novel characters. There wasn’t a lot of angst, although there was quite a bit of emotion. Jon didn’t act like the typically hormone driven teenage boy we usually see and Tam, although she definitely could get prissy, didn’t end up being the bratty friend that would eventually turn snobby toward our main character. Pairing these well-rounded characters with a very fluid and clear writing style made for a book that was not only a pleasure to read, but one that was easy to read as well.

I would highly recommend VOICES OF DRAGONS to readers of any age but especially those looking for a little bit of magic in their lives. This was a fabulous book and one that will surely grab the hearts of those who read it.

Carrie Vaughn is also the author of the Kitty Norville series, an adult series about a werewolf who hosts a radio advice talk show. VOICES OF DRAGONS is her first young adult novel and she is very excited about it. She can be found online at http://www.carrievaughn.com/.

March 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Enchanting Review: Front Page Face-Off

Contemporary Middle Grade
ISBN# 978-1416991694
240 pages
Paperback—Available March 9, 2010

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Thirteen-year-old Delilah James is one of the top reporters at Brighton Junior Academy. Her goal is to become a Junior Global Journalist. Everything seems to be working in her favor until Ava, a French exchange student and rival, comes and steals not only her spot as top reporter but her crush as well. Delilah finds an ally in the most unlikely place. Paige just happens to be part of the elusive Debutantes, alias “Little Debbies”. Paige promises to give Delilah the inside dirt in exchange for some info on the rival group. Will Delilah be able to do this and still win the boy?

This is a fun, hilarious tale that is sure to keep you laughing. Delilah’s attempts to win back her spot as lead editor are humorous. Delilah is very likable and fun. Her relationship with her stepfather is funny too. I found myself smiling over Delilah’s attics which are downright hilarious. One especially funny scene happens when she’s at the country club trying to get an interview with the Swirlie Bandit. What happens when she tries to get the attention of her crush and still get her interview are downright hilarious.

What I really liked about this story was that the so-called nasty girl really wasn’t that bad after all. Whittemore does a great job multi layering her characters with fun quirks and personalities without them being the usual cardboard stereotypes. Delilah’s friend Jenner is great too as a surfer with a mega sweet tooth. You can’t help but cheer for Delilah and what happens. A great heroine for all!

Jo Whittemore has written THE SILVERSKIN LEGACY, a young-adult fantasy trilogy. This is her first middle-grade novel. She currently lives in Texas. For more on Whittemore’s books check out her website: http://www.jowhittemore.com/

Kim Baccellia
February 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Enchanting Review: Prophecy of the Sisters

YA Fantasy
Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN# 0316027421
343 pages
Hardcover – Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS really has two major players in the story. Alice and Lia are twin sisters living in the times of corset and petticoats. Lia, from whose point-of-view the story is told, is the more awkward of the sisters but has a kind heart and a gentle soul. Her sister, on the other hand, exudes confidence and ambition. If the clash in personalities wasn’t enough to separate these two sisters, the recent death of their father brings to light a truth that could put the girls on opposite sides of an age-old battle.

Since childhood, James has owned Lia's heart. A charming young man who works with his father in the family bookstore, James makes frequent trips to Lia’s home to catalogue her father’s expansive book collection. A happy side effect of these trips is the time that James and Lia get to spend together. Whether it’s secret visits to cuddle under their favorite tree or a stroll along the water, these two lovebirds seem to have a fairly strong bond. When the darkness starts to encroach on the light, however, it will be a challenge to see if the strength of their love can keep the two together.

The Prophecy of the Sisters is an ancient tale, often thought of as myth, of two sisters destined to serve as the line between good and evil. At first Lia doesn’t want to believe to the story; in the prophecy, one sister shall act as the guardian of peace while the other acts as the gateway to the Apocalypse. When Lia discovers a strange mark bloom on her skin shortly after her father’s death, she’ll be led on a journey of discovery. With this prophecy potentially at play, she may not like what she discovers.

I absolutely loved PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS. In my opinion, Ms. Zink did an amazing job taking an old myth and giving it her own special twist to create this compelling story. If it makes any sense, part of what made this book so great was the simplicity of the story while keeping the complexity of the layers at the same time. With the multiple twists and turns throughout the story, I expected to get bogged down at some point, but Ms. Zink’s writing remained very fluid and easy to follow. Even though there was quite a bit of devious scheming and some side story, this maintained a natural progression. Meanwhile, Ms. Zink instilled quite a bit of elaboration within the story. Twists and turns combined with quite a few unexpected events made for a story that was unpredictable yet comfortable.

The other part of this book that made it a winner to me is the romance within the story. As we proceed through the story we learn more about the love between James and Lia. There is definitely a tender feel to the characters; at the same time there is also something you can’t quite put your finger on. There is something different in the relationship that will be exciting to explore in Ms. Zink’s future books.

Admittedly, I am an easily spooked person. When I first started reading PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS I did so in bed, in the middle of the night by myself. I would probably not recommend that. Once I really understood where the story was going, a little of the spook factor went away, but overall there is definitely a creepy aspect to the book. Between the voices whispering in the dark and the midnight rituals, this story really got the hairs on the back of my neck hopping up. The best way to describe this book is dark and deliciously addictive. I read this story in a day and now am excited to see what else Ms. Zink has up her sleeves.

PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS is book one in a trilogy; the second book, Guardian of the Gate is due out August 2010. Ms. Zink can be found online at http://michellezinkbooks.wordpress.com/.

February 2010