Venom by Fiona Paul

 

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I found “Venom” in a little bookstore on Topsail Island in North Carolina. Half moon (the name of the bookstore) is an eclectic little shop, complete with a coffee shop and a cranky tabby cat, albeit a bit moody but who loves tummy rubs. I found myself in Topsail for one of my last beach trips of the year and was in the wa ves surfing for most of the time (a hobby I have recently picked up). When I wasn’t surfing or listenening to Arctic Monkeys (one of my favorite bands) I was reading “Venom”, and was quite delighted by what I found.Arctic monkeys album cover10624435_324235011078662_1412839262_n

Cass is your typical Elite from 1800 era, Venice, except, sort of,  the complete opposite. While her friends enjoy sewing and other ladylike tasks, Cass enjoys writing and has a streak of curiosity that tends to get her in trouble.

One of Cass’s best friends, Liviana, has died. Liviana, you see, was sick for quite some time before her passing.
The night after Liviana’s funeral Cass is awakened by the sound of a crypt door being opened (it sounds a lot like something heavy being dragged across rock.)

Cass, always the adventurer, puts on her big girl cloak and musters up her courage, then heads outside to investigate the noise.

As she is walking out toward where she heard the sounds, she sees a cloaked figure running out of the graveyard.  She dismisses it as a figment of her very vivid imagination, however when she gets to Liviana’s family tomb…

the door…

is open!

And STRANGER STIL…

it is definitely not Liviana in the coffin!

As Cass is running out of the crypt, she bumps into a HOODED FIGURE OUTSIDE THE GRAVEYARD!! The hood falls back and she sees a handsome man, with dark hair and eyes as blue as the Adrianic sea.

Who is this mystery man? Where is Liviana’s body? Who is in Liviana’s coffin?

And the answers to all of these questions is…

I’m not going to tell you… 🙂 (I’m just THAT MEAN).

You’ll have to read “Venom, the first book in the Eternal Rose series, by Fiona Paul to find out.

Izzy

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say..

Because they said so (what your parents would say:) Definitely not for the weak of heart.  If Stephen King and Meg Cabot books had a love child it would definitely be this AMAZING BOOK! Still though, due to graphic nature and advanced vocabulary, I would say for ages 13 and above.

 

 

 

The Game by Terry Schott

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Well hello there faithful followers! Long time no see!! Sorry about my disappearing act and man is there news!

Book Expo America is in 44 days!! (SQUEEE!)

AND… Kiera Kass’s third novel, The One, is coming out in 22 DAYS!!! (IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!! OMG!!! I CAN’T EVEN HOLD MYSELF STILL!!!!!)

And now, on to the review!!

During the first pages of The Game, by terry Schott, Zach, the hero of the story, is dying. He describes dying and then suddenly wakes up, and is in the body of a 17 year old.  The explanation, Zach lives in a world called Tygon, where at a young age children are put into  “the Game”.  The Game is a real life simulation that takes place on the actual Earth.  Whenever you go into the Game as you live your life you acquire credits, which once you turn 18 can be turned into cash.  The only thing you can buy with credits until you are 18 are more plays in the Game, power-ups, and other such things in which to help you in life.

Zach is one of the lucky players, he started as an orphan, a nobody, when all of the sudden he rockets to the fast track on a Game play that puts him in one of the top positions.  Due to this he is picked up by a patron, and not just any patron, he is picked up by Brandon Strayne, the maker of the Game.

Zach, however, is 17 and is turning 18 in a few weeks, and he has two choices, he could play it safe and retire in a really good position, or he could risk it all and retire in the number one spot, a feat that has only happened 11 other times in the 30 years of the Game.  Will Zach make the cut, what will the 30th anniversary of the game hold, and is it possible that the mainframe, the computer that controls it all, is becoming self aware?  You’ll have to read The Game by Terry Schott to find out!

I really LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! It’s like the movie Inception coupled with the Hunger Games series, add to that a sweet romance ala the Notebook… It’s like a SMORE!!! with all that warm marshmallow chocolate gooeyness surrounded by a crunchy graham cracker crust.  Can you tell I’m hungry…

SNACK TIME!

Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

 

Because they said so (what your parents might say): Nothing much, just a little bit of blood, some not too graphic deaths, and a light and innocent romantic lean… an exciting adventure of a book overall.

The Fallen

You may have noticed I was missing for a little bit, and boy was I busy.  I went to a third world country (Haiti) and on the way, somehow managed to con my dad into getting the first book in The Fallen Series for me at a little book café during our layover in Miami international airport.  I quickly finished it off, 1/4 during the layover, 1/4 during the flight, and the rest during my free time in Haiti.

Aaron is a foster child.  He has been shuffled from foster home to foster home, growing more and more bitter all the time when he is finally put in Lori’s house.  Lori is the mother of an severely autistic child named Stevie and has a husband named Tom and the trio quickly burrows into Aaron’s heart as he finally knocks down all the walls and has a normal life.  Aaron, soon there after rescues Gabriel, a golden lab puppy and adopts him as his own.

On Aaron’s 18th birthday he begins to hear noises and voices coming from strange places.  He is able to speak any and all languages.  He starts having horrible nightmares about evil angels killing people, and to top it all off he has a killer headache from dusk to dawn.  After visiting his friend and therapist he is convinced that he is going CRAZY.  His therapist, however, thinks otherwise.

One day as he is walking in the park, a homeless man comes up to Aaron’s truck, sniffs him then whispers “Nephlium, you are Nephlium,” in a strange ancient dialect that he then calls the “tongue of the messengers”.

Upon research, Aaron finds out that Nephlium are the spawn of Angels and human women, however the women never survive birthing the Angel’s child.

Aaron, now severely weirded out, goes back to the park’s common area and sees the sniffing man again and quickly approaches him to ask him why he called him Nephlium, and to see if maybe the guy knows more about his headaches.

The man quickly befriends Gabriel, Aarons golden lab, and begins throwing Gabriel’s ball.  Soon the man and Aaron sit down on a park bench and begin talking.  The homeless man, named Zeke, quickly explains that he is a fallen angel, an angel that disobeyed God and gave too much information to humans.  He and the other fallen taught human kind everything they know now and the fallen began to live among humans.  When God found out about this he was very angry and caused all of these angels to fall from his grace and cut off their wings, dooming them to be human for the rest of their immortal lives.  Zeke explains that there are two groups of fallen angels.  The Powers, who do everything in their power to eradicate all Nephlium and fallen angels who help them, and the angels who decide to help the Nephlium, to warn them and to teach them of their full potential.  He speaks of a great prophecy that says that one day a very powerful Nephlium will come to his or her powers and will have the power to redeem the fallen angels in God’s eyes, restoring them to Heaven.

Aaron, however, does not believe him and so Zeke throws Gabriel’s ball into the middle of a crowded street and watches as Gabriel is hit by an oncoming car.

Aaron rushes over to his dog and cradles him in his arms, unsure of what to do next.  Zeke says that Aaron has the power to heal Gabriel.  Aaron, very upset, begins to fight with Zeke and Zeke pushes Aaron down and says that Aaron has to CLOSE HIS EYES!  Aaron has to feel the power inside of himself and he has to let if flow down his finger tips and into Gabriel.  After a few tries Aaron successfully revives Gabriel, then rushes for his truck and drives home, not speaking to Zeke again.

When he gets home his mom, Lori is very worried and sad and breaks the news that his therapist and friend died in a fire that came out of nowhere.  Aaron comes to the conclusion, the Powers are here for him.

This book was a work of art.  It isa suspenseful thriller that keeps you on your toes.  I wouldn’t call this a favorite for the sole reason that some main characters are killed off and the gory details were a little much for me at times, definitely worth a read though.

eyes-and-book-icon-resizeIzzy :z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

Because they said so (what your parents would say:) Probably not for children; definitely PG 13 maybe older.  Also there is a lot of debate of spiritual matters, so if that is something that doesn’t flat your boat; this may not be the book for you.

The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I got The City of Bones as a gift from my mom for Christmas.  It is a very rare thing for me to get a book for Christmas due to the vast number of books I have already read it is difficult to find one I haven’t already hoarded so usually, I just get Borders gift cards.

Actually, I had been waiting to read this book for some time.  I put a hold on it at my school library, and had been on hold for nearly 2-3 truly unbearable weeks when Christmas vacation came around .  The quick and dirty verdict?   This book was SO worth the wait.

Clary Fray is your normal sixteen year old, fatherless girl.  She and her mother live in an apartment in New York, not far from Clary’s best friend Simon.  Clary, without her mother’s consent, goes to an all ages club called Pandemonium.  Simon, being a good friend, follows along to keep her out of trouble. While in line to get into Pandemonium, Clary sees a very handsome boy being shook down by one of the bouncers due to a “fake” knife that he has.  After proving that the knife is really truly “FAKE” he is let in the club.

When Clary is in the club dancing with her friend Simon she sees this mystery boy again.  He’s hard not to notice with his shock of electric blue hair.  He is being led into a closet by a beautiful girl in a glamorous old fashioned white dress.   After they disappear into the closet, 2 people disappear into the closet after them.  Sensing that something is wrong, Clary goes over to investigate.  When she opens the closet door she witnesses the 2 boys and one girl fighting to restrain this boy with blue hair.  They threaten to kill him if he doesn’t tell them why he was in the club. The boy only says one sentence.  He says, “Valentine is back”.

Clary, trying to stop the murder, yells out to distract the 2 boys.  While they are distracted the mystery blue haired boy slips loose and tries to attack the girl in the gown.  One of the attacking boys yells out and throws a knife at the boy with blue hair.  The boy with the blue hair bleeds black before disappearing into ash.  (TELL me that doesn’t intrigue you?  If only because of the FIVE person closet and the Crayola colors!?!)

I thought that this book, and now, as I am HOOKED with a CAPITAL H, indeed, this whole entire series is MARVELOUS.  Definitely a keeper shelf.  I really loved how much action and suspense all of the books held and how I never guessed at the plot turns and knots.  Warning, if you do get into the series, the second book has a plot twist I wasn’t too fond of.  This first book, however, holds… PURE GENIUS and totally worth the hype.

Izzy :z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

Because they said so (what your parents would say): They folks could find this one disturbing… but we are made of stronger stuff, I think.  Blood, guts, kissing, and violent graphic bloody scenes.  I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to the young or weak hearted.  It didn’t give me nightmares, unless you count a vampire nightmare that, okay, COULD be related, but it only kept me from sleeping for a FEW days, and okay, I might have hidden under the couch at one point too…  A small price to pay for book brilliance.

Three Willows

The way we come about my newest review, “Three Willows”, by Ann Brashars, the author of The Sisterhood of the Ttraveling Pants fame, is an interesting story.  I found “Willows”, staring at me from atop a high shelf in my school library.  I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that a whole TON of  interesting books can be found in the most unattainable places, such as the highest level of a shelf, miserably out of my reach.

You might be asking how I got it down.  To that, I would say, understanding, of course, that this little tidbit will stay between you and me, that I climbed up the “staff only” ladder that I saw nearby… Shhhhhh.   And for my “against-school-policy” efforts, we have another marvelous find to go on the keeper shelf.

Ama, Polly and Jo, the three main characters of Three Willows, coincidentally, also have an interesting story.  On the first day of third grade all three of their parents were very late.  Jo, being the adventurous gal of the three, proposes that they fly the coop (or the math tutor room) to walk home themselves.  All agree and are walking home when just as they are nearing the 7 Eleven, it starts to rain.  Being third graders, they decide to stop in for blue slushies and Butterfingers candy bars, using money that Jo finds in her back pack.  After they are done eating they finish the walk to their houses never realizing that they have just begun the best of friendships.

Their friendship goes on unperturbed until the summer before high school, where we meet up with the friends again.  Jo suddenly becomes a popular girl, and Ama becomes a know it all with no time for anything but learning and Polly seems to be the same artsy, fun, cutoff-Gap-jean-wearing whimsical girl that she has always been.

Ama’s family is originally from Ghana but moved to America to improve Ama’s older sister Esi’s chance of going to a good college.  Esi immediately thrived and skipped two grade levels.   Ama relentlessly studies to prove that she too is smart and as a result, gets accepted to an elite summer camp, Andover, the same place that one of her other friends applied to.

When Ama gets her letter of acceptance however, instead of saying Andover, it says Wild Adventures, a hiking and outdoors camp.  Ama is afraid of bugs, hates heights, and has hair that does NOT respond well to humid air.  Ama is so grade obsessed though that she is prepared to rough it out.

Jo and her mother’s summer is supposed to be nothing but relaxing as they stay at their beach house for the vacation , but her parent’s separation, a mean girl at work, a treacherous friend that only survives on horrible gossip about Jo, creates an entirely different mood.  It is turning into a summer that is anything but relaxing.  When Jo meets Zach, a very handsome boy, on a bus back to her beach house, things crash down very quickly.

Polly’s Grandmother was a model.  Polly suddenly has a major idea! Maybe she could be a model to!  She immediately signs herself up for a modeling camp.  She goes on a model diet, which is a synonym for being an anorexic.  About halfway through the summer Polly goes to visit Jo at her beach house to tell her the news.  Jo’s friends are horrified by Polly’s little girl whimsicality.  One day, early in the morning, one of Jo’s friends asks Jo why Polly is even at the beach house as she clearly doesn’t fit in.  Jo says that she wishes that Polly would leave.  Polly overhears everything and dashes out of beach house and catches the next bus home.  Polly then applies for a major modeling showcase.

Will Polly get into the showcase?   Will Ama survive the summer at outdoor adventure camp? Will Jo maintain her popular mean girl façade?  To find out I guess you’ll just have to read Three Willows, by Ann Brashares.

Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

Because they said so (what your parents would say):  Nothing horrible really, but some realistic addressing of issues… kissing, mentions of some stronger stuff, alcoholism, and eating disorders, but nothing your average 12-13 year old hasn’t heard of and would be unable to handle.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

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Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone, is particularly marvelous to read because MY SCHOOL’S copy was wearing the “donated by becauseireadso” tag.  (I would like to tell you that when I found it in the school library I was cucumber cool, but me being me, I started jumping up and down in hysterics and checked it out immediatly!!)

I had been meaning to read Time Between Us for some time, ever since the fabulous narrator, Amy Rubinate, mentioned it during our interview, and it is so very long past time that I DID.  Fabulous-fabulous!

Anna lives in 1995 Chicago, is a dedicated track and field/cross country runner and is considered the good girl of the school.

One day as Anna is running she spots a fellow who she thinks is a college student, he’s looking at her in a slightly stalkerish way, and when she goes over to investigate he vanishes… leaving no trace in the snow.  The next day at school, Anna sees him again in her spanish class but he shows no sign of ever having seen her.

Bennett lives in 2012 and has the peculiar power of being able to travel in space and time to any place as long as it is within his lifetime.  One day his older sister wants to go see a concert that happened about a year before Bennett was born.  When they arrive, Bennett is only able to stay for a few minutes before he vanishes, leaving his sister in 1994!

When Bennett returns to 2012, his parents order him to go into 1995 and wait there at his grandmother’s house until his sister shows up.  While Bennett is there he enrolls in the same high school that Anna is going to.

And THAT is the mysterious boy Anna sees as she is running!  He sparks Anna’s interest and she begins on the path to befriending Bennet…. only maybe she wants a little more than to be “just friends”….

But how long can Bennett stay in Anna’s time before the winds of time return him to 2012?  And what about his lost sister?

I REALLY loved this book.  Its romantic and mysterious plot sparks interest from the start and I just loved how both characters face both an internal emotional struggle and the external fight against time.  A keeper shelf for sure.   The second book, Time After Time was just recently released, and once I get my hot little paws on a copy, I MAY, happy readers, I MAY just try to reach out to that most amazing Tamara Ireland Stone and see if she might allow an interview!

Stay tuned!

Regardless, Can. Not. Wait. to see what happens for our couple…

Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

Because they said so (what your parents would say)  Some smooching and minorly sexy scenes… no ACTUAL sex at all, but a few mentions.  Some great history about events that happened as well as cultural references and music.

Furry Paw, Middle Claw by Barry Jackson

love the cover of this book!!!

love the cover of this book!!!

Book Expo America (BEA) is held every year in the massive glass roofed Javits Center in New York City.  Within its walls, publishers, authors, illustrators, librarians, bloggers, teachers, narrators and all forms of book loving folk gather in small and large booths that span numerous floors (I don’t even think I saw them all, and I was there for the whole day!).  Crowds are everywhere and lines the likes of those you would only find at an amusement park form too get advanced readers copies (ARCs) of books.  There are well known publishers and authors and then there are hidden gems…. (shiny jewels scattered about like treasures just waiting to be discovered).

One such treasure is new author, Barry Jackson and Turn The Page Publishing.

Barry Jackson is a wonderful person to meet anywhere, but at BEA, when I met him, he happened to be giving out ARCs of his semi-autobiographical novel, Furry Paw, Middle Claw, which just sweetened the deal that is Mr. Jackson.

In the beginning of Furry Paw, Middle Claw, you are placed right in the middle of Dean Parker’s dysfunctional childhood.  His dad didn’t really like him and instead of teaching him how to trust he taught him how not to trust by having him jump 10 feet down from a barn loft, promising that he would catch him, only to let him (purposefully) fall and explained that THIS was why you don’t trust.

Then during Dean’s college aged experiences you see this lesson his dad taught him start to take effect…  All of this leads up to him meeting Melissa, (who he has a GIANT crush on) and her nasty ol’ cats.  Dean must then learn to trust, and win over the hearts of her cats (or he can try to creatively dispose of them) in order to gain her undivided attention.

Somewhere along the ridiculously funny way, Dean might find that maybe he and the little furry beasts can reside in the same household, loving the same woman, without giving each other the middle claw at each interaction.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I read it 3 times in about as many days because I loved it so much and didn’t want to miss anything in this detail rich novel.  The first time I read this book, in school, I COULD NOT put it down (I was scolded quite a lot while reading during class).  THHPPPTTT 😛

If there was such a thing as a shelf higher than the keeper shelf this book would go on it!   I really did find myself looking at the world differently for having read it.  I recommend it to anyone over the age of 12… and then only due to some advanced jokes and lessons that some children might not understand.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!

Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

Because they said so (what your parents would say:)  Some cursing a single sexy scene (only one or two paragraphs long), I would suggest maybe reading with a parent for ages under 12 due to some adult humor that requires a specific sense of humor.

BRRRRR: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

rocking awesome graphics for a rocking awesome book!!

rocking awesome graphics for a rocking awesome book!!

WARNING:  This book is bloody, bloody stuff, not for the feint of heart or those folks under the age of 13.

Tana is a normal teenage gal;  she’s got guy problems and some well, family issues…..  However, she also has some stuff going on that, well, maybe isn’t so typical.

Stuff like… oh… supernatural undead folks that were infected by a crazy romantic vampire when Tana was six.   Most of the vampires were contained in Coldtowns, located all over the United States… but not all of them.

In the first pages of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Tana is doing normal teenage stuff (partying and drinking) and we find her in the bathroom passed out (okay, not EVERY teenage girl HAS to get drunk, but, you get the idea).   When she finally comes to, she decides to venture out of the bathroom and into the kitchen to get a drink of water.  She passes through the hall and into the kitchen which adjoins the living room.  Nobody stirs, and she assumes everyone is passed out from too much alcohol.

She gets a glass of water then goes to see who is awake.  That’s when she realizes that the girl she thought was asleep on the chair has her eyes open and ragged puncture wounds on her neck.  She finds the same with the rest of the party.  All of the people her age that she has ever known are dead.

Like most teenagers faced with a crisis she decides to take the high road.  She hustles into the bedroom to retrieve her coat and car keys and to get her tukus out of there before the vampires come back, but when she goes into the bedroom she finds two figures tied up, alive!  The first is her ex-boyfriend Aiden, who when he is released tries to bite Tana due to a Vampire infection, the other being she finds is an already turned vampire named Gavriel.

Tana is then faced with a decision, to kill Gavriel and leave Aiden for the vamps or drive to Coldtown, where all of the Vampires are contained,  to drop off Gavriel and Aiden.  Tana can’t bring herself to kill this vampire (he IS kinda’ cute) and so decides on the latter option.

Tana must then drive across the country to the nearest Coldtown, a very dangerous drive with a bloodthirsty infected teen and a vampire that is addicted to blood.

What’s a girl to do?

WOWWWW!!!!   I loved how Tana changed and developed throughout the story.  The book was  really bloody and I can see it being popular among the Twilight Saga fans.  There are no werewolves in this book, or marriages or baby having (like Twilight) but it has several unexpected turns, and Tana’s snarky sense of humor and her confidence grows as the story progresses.  I don’t generally love bloody books, or books with death and violence, but this one’s plot drew me in and kept me turning the pages.  Definitely not a book for bedtime or dark rooms or those of us frightened by things that go bump in the night, but maybe, a good Halloween read for those of the PG-13 crowd.

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.Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

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Because they said so (what your parents would say:)  Really bloody and violent and with some nightmare inducing stuff.  Some sexy-ish parts and drinking and lots of vampire fights and vampire staking’s.  I wouldn’t recommend this to the weak-hearted or anyone under 13…

Magic Marks the Spot

untitledImagine that you lived in a world in which magical artifacts existed.  Now, imagine that said artifacts suddenly went missing and were being held by nasty folks with bad intentions.  What if you OWNED one of those artifacts and it was stolen right out from under your NOSE!?!  You’d be devastated, right?  To find it gone? I know I would be… I might even do anything to get it back.

The main character in Caroline Carlson’s The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot, is Hilary Westfield, a swash buckling, grog swilling, dueling girl pirate who wants nothing more than to enter into the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates (referred to, for the purposes of this review as VNHLP) but finds herself denied because she is a GIRL!!!  Also, I guess it couldn’t have helped that her father is Admiral Westfield, the most anti-pirate admiral around.

Admiral Westfield is very determined to pack his unruly young daughter off to Miss Pimm’s finishing school for delicate ladies, in an attempt to have her be the sort of hoop skirted, gossiping, high society girl that the majority of young misses would delight in becoming.  Hilary, however, will have none of it and repeatedly tries to escape.

One day, when masked robbers levitate a very old treasure map out of Admiral Westfield private study, Hilary sees her chance to get out of Miss Pimm’s and to show the VNHLP that she is perfect pirate material.  It’s possible, however, that on the way she might poke her nose in a few things too big for her to handle alone.  Good thing she has a few trusty sidekicks (doesn’t every girl pirate have trusty sidekicks?).

I really loved this book; its witty dialog and spot on characterization had me cackling in the middle of class (which happened to give away my feeble attempt to conceal my avid book reading during Algebra 1… GAH!!  FOILED!)  This one’s a keeper shelf for sure with a publishing date of 9/13.  A perfect uplifting book full of underdogs and valiant quests.  (Also, it had the added affect of changing my future career choice from President to heroic swashbuckler… ARRRRR…)

Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

.Because they said so (what your parents would say:) nothing, nada, zilch, zip, zero… unless they find your running around the house wearing an eye patch, yelling ARRRRRR and brandishing a pretend cutlass disturbing.

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

Dead Ends

My very first day at the Montessori school where I attended Primary through 4th grade,  as we were lining up to go inside after recess, a girl jumped in front of me in line.  As if that wasn’t insult enough, she brought along her friend, not even saying excuse me!   I, being 5, was QUITE put out, as I am certain you could guess, and I proceeded to shove her, quite forcefully, out of line.

Later that day I was called into the office of the headmaster, Mr. Chami.  After I was seated I was given a talk about school rules and as is usual for our Montessori school, I was asked to explain my motives for pushing this girl, who will remain unnamed to protect the innocent, out of line.

My answer to this question was, “She butted and I didn’t like that so I shoved her out of line.”

He asked me to not do it again, even if she had butted, because we were all going to the same place.

I then replied, “The shoving will continue until the butting stops,” and sat until I was dismissed.

In this way I can sympathize with the main character of Erin Jade Lange’s novel Dead Ends, Dane, for violently solving problems that might otherwise stay unsolved and for seeking justice where it might never be found.

Dane Washington goes to Twain High School, he doesn’t know who his dad is, and usually goes to the principal’s office multiple times a month for detentions.  Also, whenever he is mad he gets an itch in his palms that doesn’t go away until he hits something (Doesn’t that just sound like fun?)

One day, as he is walking to school, he realizes that he has a kid following him.  Dane tries everything to get rid of this kid, jumping flower bushes, going between yards, crossing streets, but the kid just keeps following him.

Once at school Dane confronts the stalker, only to realize that the kid following him as Down’s Syndrome, is named Billy D, is in Dane’s grade, and was following him to get out of getting beat up by other bullies.  When they walk into school together the principal calls them into his office and appoints Dane as the guide of Billy D, because Billy D just moved to Dane’s neighborhood.

This soon turns into an unlikely friendship, where Dane’s secrets are slowly unraveled as he becomes a friend and champion, and the quest to find Billy D’s dad commences.

Erin Jade Lange did an AMAZING job on this book.  I liked the story line, the mystery of the Atlas, and all of the riddles to try and find Billy’s dad. It has funny snark, humor, and action (without being over the top).  It has riddles and mystery and a touching friendship between two unlikely teens.  Written in first person, from Dane’s perspective, there is a toughness to the voice, but also a gentleness and a quest for right and justice.  It’s a keeper.

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Izzy :Z

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Because THEY said so or what your parents might say...

Because THEY said so or what your parents might say…

Because They Said So (what your parents might say):  There are some violent fight scenes but there is no death.  There are some sexy mentions (though not actual HAPPENINGS) and there is quite a bit of bad language but it is written from a teen boy’s point of view, so it isn’t surprising or inappropriate.  Reading humor is of average level and is easily understandable.  I’d say 12 and up are good to go on this.