Monday, June 27, 2011

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Grade: Low A


Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended--and rather eccentric--family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestor's peculiar history, she's had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, watching movies and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcoming surprise then when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She's totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century...


Character Development: 7/10
Originality: 7/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 7/10
Voice: 8/10
Plot: 7/10
Setting: 9/10
Total Score: 53/70

Obtained: Free finished copy provided by publisher (Henry Holt)

Age Appropriate? PG

Cursing: Some, very limited.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: None.
Sexual Content: None.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Some murder and violence.


All things considered, this book was fairly charming. It wasn't nearly as juvenile as the trailer made it seem, but nor was it a masterpiece. Gwen is mildly annoying at times, but has her moments of being quite cool. Gideon is, well...a guy, and there is absolutely nothing disguising the fact that he's "the One". But the concept of the magic is quite interesting, and I am relieved that this book is a trilogy, because there's simply too much intrigue to fit into one book of this length.

Was it worth the read? Definitely. The story is fast-paced but easy to follow, and there are some truly lovable characters you meet along the way. Gier also managed to keep the reader as ignorant as Gwen as far as who to trust, with no dramatically ironic clues whatsoever, a trait of the book that keeps it interesting and unpredictable. I honestly have no idea where the next two books are going, but I will certainly look forward to finding out!


Book Info

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Last night, in possibly the coolest video ever, J.K. Rowling made her eagerly-anticipated announcement:

"Pottermore is a free website that builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books."

As vague as that is, readers still have to wait to find out more--Pottermore isn't open to the general public until October, but a lucky few will be given the chance to enter early on July 31st!

Probably the most exciting part of this ordeal is J. K. Rowling's teasing remark that she will be contributing "information [she has] been hoarding for years about the Harry Potter world"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Possession by Elana Johnson

 Grade: High A


Vi knows the rule" Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.


Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 6/10
Voice: 8/10
Plot: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Total Score: 53/70

Obtained: Purchased from the Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont (an adorable place that you should visit if you're in Vermont)!

Age Appropriate? PG

Cursing: Limited.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc:
Sexual Content: Very mild.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Nothing too bad. Some violence and murder, but it's never uncomfortably graphic.


Possession made me very, very excited. There were a lot of things about it that were perhaps a bit mediocre or sub-par. It isn't the best of it's kind for sure--but where it shined, boy, did it shine! It definitely stood out from the crowd and made me quite happy. An excellent, worthwhile read that was easy to forgive for its shortcomings.

Let me explain. It's biggest shortcoming was lack of clarity/believability/consistency in plot, narrative, and character relationships and development. Sometimes I was confused by what was happening or had just happened (but honestly, maybe that was just me) and the narrative often jumped around oddly. And character relationships... At the start, the romance was progressing at a natural speed, meaning it was going slow. Then, suddenly, they were like an old couple, completely spontaneously smitten and all over each other in love. It was cute and fun, but truly unbelievable. And finally, the "magic" (that really isn't magic at all, but I have nothing better to call it) wasn't ever really explained fully. It just suddenly existed. Poof! and she was a master. It was a bit odd and unsettling.

Now, all of that was minor in comparison to the main excellent thing about this book--the ass-kicking, real-life, strong-as-a-god heroine, Vi. The synopsis kinda makes her sound like a waffling girl-child, but really, she was great. Unlike so many (especially sci-fi) heroines--even ass-kicking ones--she was not overly, annoyingly emotional. I loved how she took everything in stride, didn't spend the entirety of the narration moaning about boys and feelings and instead just survived. And though she had emotions and internal struggles and all that, it wasn't overwhelming, it wasn't angsty the way so many YA girl-narrations are. She was tough the way she seemed. She was awesome. And she made the book very much worth reading (though the boy was certainly kinda fantastic too ;-)).


Elana Johnson
Elana Johnson - Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2011


"Following the completion of the seven Harry Potter books and eight films, J.K. Rowling has something new to announce. Even though this is not a new book, we have been informed it is something equally exciting." -Mugglenet

So what is it? Well... no one really knows. But! We're gonna find out soon!

Do any of you wonderful readers have an inkling to what's happening on the wizarding front? Share your thoughts!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Trailer

From Amazon:
As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg’s first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole. Interspersed with photos throughout, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age.

Find out more!

Also, check out this behind-the-scenes video from the trip the author took to make the above trailer:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


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Monday, June 6, 2011



Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Listen to an excerpt here!


Fill out the form below. Entrants must reside in the US/Canada. CONTEST ENDS JUNE 15th!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Everlasting GIVEAWAY!


The sixth and final installment of the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Now in Everlasting, their destiny is finally within reach.

Visit Alyson Noel's site to learn more!


Fill out the form below. Entrants must reside in the US/Canada.