blo Teens Read and Write: February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: THE WATER WARS by Cameron Stracher

by Cameron Stracher
release: Jan 2011
genre: Teen Fiction/Dystopian
Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for.

Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations.
I'm always worried about 'message' books having more preach than plot but while THE WATER WARS is a cautionary tale about the perils of wasting precious resources, it’s above all an adventure - an exciting swashbuckler, but without the water. 

Stracher builds a vivid dystopian landscape - stark, bleak, and run by unscrupulous interests. Vera and Will are normal kids scraping by in this desperate water-deprived world. Hardly the type to battle government corruption and corporate greed, but they rise to the occasion and turn into a gutsy duo fighting for friends and family - saving their world just happens to be a happy coincidence. But they can’t do it alone.

And, cue pirates.
Two of my favorites!
I love pirates. Although here they're more on land than sea. Ulysses is my favorite character. The tough wizened bad guy who’s really an action hero with a heart of gold. Just when you think you’ve figured him out, he surprises you.

Once Vera and Will are on the trail of the kidnapped Kai (Vera’s blossoming love interest), the flurry of adventure never dies. The plot tears along. Chaos ensues. Bullets fly, things crash, blow-up. There’s constant jeopardy. The characters get caught in one impossible situation after another. You think they’re doomed, then something crazy happens, and they survive.

Several poignant moments and gritty sequences portray the violent consequences of war and waste. While some may find the intense plot can sometimes overtake the character development, fast-paced action junkies like me will love it. For a spirited action-packed adventure jammed with pirates, terrorists, political intrigue, corporate gluttony, drama, and high-stakes danger, THE WATER WARS is a terrific pick!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

BLACK SWAN and KINGS SPEECH Reviewed Plus Academy Award Picks!

Right after getting home from a double feature of BLACK SWAN and THE KING'S SPEECH, Alyssa and I sat and spilled our thoughts in this video. Camera Man Gregory was making faces and dancing which is why you'll see Alyssa do some weird head/body thing -not that she needs an excuse to be weird. 

We're having our annual Academy Awards Party Sunday - we print up ballots and everyone has to vote with the winner getting a prize - and thought we'd share come of our picks. As noted, we've seen everything but THE FIGHTER, but we're picking some of the actors for awards. Here goes:

Best Actor - Colin Firth: THE KING'S SPEECH
Best Actress - Natalie Portman: BLACK SWAN
Best Supporting Actor - Christian Bale: THE FIGHTER
Best Supporting Actress - Melissa Leo: THE FIGHTER
Best Director - Darren Aronofsky: BLACK SWAN
Best Picture - THE SOCIAL NETWORK - although we think BLACK SWAN should win.


So what are your picks for the Academy Awards?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: CHOKER by Elizabeth Woods

by Elizabeth Woods
pub: Jan 2011
genre: Teen Fiction/Thriller
Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria. Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.
But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?
This is one of those gems I almost missed. The cover seems light and sweet. The summary gives a hint that there's some murder mystery going on but nothing too bizarre. And then I started reading. Okay, so the beginning doesn't even prepare you for what's to come. But then BFF Zoe shows up and the world becomes a dark place. 

Dark and creepy whispers into CHOKER, scratches at the back of your neck so the hairs start rising. This isn't a paranormal, which makes it even worse. The deviant stuff going on is real. I wasn't expecting a psychological thriller but that's what you get.

Suspenseful, but I wouldn't say it jumps over the line to horror because the gruesome details are kept to minimum overall. Twisted and disturbing the plot keeps you hanging on for answers. And just when you think you've got it all figured out, you get a wham-bam of an ending. I was shocked and creeped out all at once!  

The truth is I can't say too much without giving the good stuff away. So here it is. CHOKER surprised me. I haven't seen or read a lot of straight psychological thrillers in YA so if you're looking for something fresh, and like dark and twisted tales about crazy mind-warped killers, you should pick it up. I found it a refreshing treat. Okay, that makes it sound all light and cute. It isn't. But a great creepy thriller? Absolutely!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 2/23/11 ONCE EVER NEVER by Lesley Livingston

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker… but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.

Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time—literally—maybe even get a date.

This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every… never.
For all those sad that the WONDROUS STRANGE series came to an end, ONCE EVERY NEVER releases in July! Great cover too!

What are you waiting for? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 2/22/11: SLICE OF CHERRY

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  
Here's what you do...
-Grab your current read
-Select 2 or more sentences from a random page (no spoilers)
-Do include the title and author so we can add it to our TBR pile

by Dia Reeves
"Maybe we can study up on how to cut out the part of Franken's brain that remembers stuff. He won't remember he was here. And we won't go to jail."

"A lobotomy?" Kit gave Fancy a surprised and admiring look. "Why can't you think of awesome stuff like that all the time?"

It's well written, creepy and totally bizarre. 

Avatar Jake DresdenGregory Soccer AvatarAK Avatar crop

Monday, February 21, 2011

Guest Post: DETOUR TO DEATH Author JR Turner

 There are worse things than death, but not at Marsden Memorial hospital.
Kaylee Hensler knows her best friend Davey is on the brink of death. She knows this because she’s a psychic. When she flees the girl’s reformatory her parents sent her to to get to him, she has no idea the special sort of hell waiting for her.
Reapers are collectors and they come in many forms. In Feverland, the world created by Davey’s sickness, the red reaper goes by the name of Molok, an ancient evil with deep roots. In Shadowland, the dark side of the hospital, a black reaper promises torture and torment to lost souls. The white reaper is the most fearsome, giving Kaylee three days before he collects both her and Davey’s soul.
Kaylee has one secret weapon, one she doesn’t fully understand. Her abilities will be tested, her loyalty betrayed, and her love misplaced. No one escapes Death
We're happy to have JR Turner guest posting today. She's the author of DETOUR 2 DEATH, second in  her paranormal Extreme Haunting series and just released 2/15. 

I didn’t expect DETOUR 2 DEATH to take some of the twists and turns that it did. What surprised me most was an unexpected love interest with the archangel Raphael. He became swoon-worthy, even for me, his creator. Gosh that sounds weird, but I’m betting my archangel Raphael doesn’t have much in common with God’s archangel by the same name.

When I first introduced Raphael in DFF: DEAD FRIENDS FOREVER, Kaylee was just fourteen, had grown up in a small town, and was just beginning to find her way as a dating teen—though that didn’t turn out so well. Getting arrested for grave robbing and arson has a negative effect on her love life.

In School’s Out 4-Ever, Kaylee is a bit more grown up, wiser for sure, and definitely open to a more serious relationship. Of course, in a boarding school for wayward girls, there isn’t much of a selection. When Raphael appears in this book, he’s beginning to exhibit some of the qualities that had my daughter and editor joining Team Raphael.

By the time DETOUR 2 DEATH takes place, Raphael is a full-fledged hottie. (Oh man, I’m really going to burn for this!) But as much as I may worry about the consequences of having such a religious icon as a love interest, I have to go where the heart takes me and Kaylee’s heart went there.

I hope you’ll find DETOUR 2 DEATH to be as exciting as I have. Leave a comment and I’ll enter your name into a drawing for a free ebook copy of DFF: Dead Friends Forever. Second place will win a free book thong in the color of his or her choice. I’ve so very much enjoyed visiting here today. Thanks tons, Alyssa, Jake and Gregory, for hosting me!




Jenny, thanks so much for stopping by. And if you'd like a chance to win a free ebook of the first in the  Extreme Haunting series, DEAD FRIENDS FOREVER, be sure to leave a comment. Even second place gets a book thong! Contest ends March 6th.


Award-winning author J.R. Turner lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She began writing in high school, and after a decade working as a commercial artist, started her first novel in 1999. Aside from crafts, camping and cooking, she loves holidays. A favorite is Halloween, a combination of spooky supernatural fun and chocolate. Visit her at her website to learn more!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cover Reveal: SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White

Amazing, right?!
Here it is -  the fantabulous cover for Kiersten White's, SUPERNATURALLY! I think I love it even more than the first in the series, PARANORMALCY. It's the red. Such a rich color. Also, her eyes have that silvery, supernatural, glow.  And it's one of those wonderful wrap-arounds. Love those.

The only blurb/synopsis I could find was:
Life's never fair when faeries are involved. 
Yeah, not much. You get more on the back cover. But come on, we know PARANORMALCY lovers are not going to be disappointed! Also Kiersten is having a contest - You come up with your own original cover blurb. To enter go to her blog before Monday 2/21. 

Enjoy the Cover Love and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday & Cover Reveal: THE FAERIE RING by Kiki Hamilton

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

by Kiki Hamilton (Website)
release: Oct 11

London, December 1871
Orphaned and picking pockets in London’s Charing Cross station to support not only herself, but her ‘family’ of orphans, sixteen year-old Tiki steals the Queen’s ring and thinks she’s solved their problems. That is, until Rieker, a pickpocket from the North End, suspects her in the theft and tells her that the ring is really a reservoir that holds a truce between the British and Faerie courts.

When he warns her that the fey will do anything, including murder, to recover the ring, Tiki is unsure whether to believe him or not. To complicate matters, Rieker seems to know something about the unusual birthmark on Tiki’s wrist. But when Tiki and her family are threatened the game changes.

In a dazzling debut that takes you from the gritty slums of Victorian London to the glittering ballrooms of the Royal Palace to the menacing Otherworld, you won’t want to miss this thrilling tale of mystery, adventure and romance.

Unfortunately this one doesn't come out for a while but you should put this on your Wish List. We were lucky enough to already read Kiki Hamilton's THE FAERIE RING and while the review will have to wait, we can tell you this one is fantabulous! 

We wanted to spotlight it because (it's a great read, of course) but also Kiki has just revealed the awesome cover! Gorgeous, dreamy, mysterious, and magical! Who could ask for more?!

What are you waiting for? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS Valentine's Day Giveaway!

It's the day to celebrate LOVE! To do our part we're having a Follower Love Giveaway for one of the hottest 2011 releases, Cassandra Clare's CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS! It's not out until *sigh* April 5 but we'll pre-order you a copy!

“City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.”
Can't wait! And we've read some steamy, romantic excerpts!

Who's your Literary Crush?
For an extra point you can comment with his or her name.

Here's Ours: 
Alyssa - Jace from The Mortal Instruments Series
Jake - Vienne from BLACK HOLE SUN
Gregory - Sarah from I AM NUMBER FOUR

Have an Awesomely Happy Valentines Day!

Contest Details:

  • Fill out the form below
  • Must be a follower AND 13 years or older
  • For an extra entry you can comment with the name of your literary crush!
  • Open to anywhere Book Depository Ships
  • Deadline 2/28
  • See our Contest/Privacy Policies

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