Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser this week is from a book I got from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. Choker by Elizabeth Woods is a thriller by a debut author. The book will be published on January 4, 2011. The book description is very brief. "What if the only friend you could trust turned out to be dangerous?"


Here is my teaser:
Cara saw the flash of movement again during Mr. Crawford's English class. All day, she'd been seeing it -- a faint impression of something just inside her peripheral vision.
I enjoyed this book very much. The author had me fooled for most of the story. You should add it to your wishlist if you like taut, psychological thrillers. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My YA Mailbox (Nov. 28, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.


I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the cool books everyone gets. You will discover lots of wonderful blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

This week my mailbox received only one lonely print book and two eARCs from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. 


I got Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John this week. I had read so many great reviews and it seemed so different than the books I usually read that I had to have it.

This product description (and the title) really intrigued me.
The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.


The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.


The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?


Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.
These are the ones I got from Galley Grab (Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for asking me to be part of this program.):
Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann is the first book that I will have read by her. This book will be published on Feb. 8. 2011 and is being described as creepy, mysterious and completely absorbing.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano is a debut novel that will be published on March 22, 2011. Lisa McMann has blurbed this and says "Creepy and elegant, shocking and romantic, dreadful and rewarding, and delivers unexpected twists."


It looks like I have some daytime reading in my future. "Creepy" doesn't sound like bedtime reading to me. 


It's nice to have a quiet week once in a while to catch up on some of the books that have been stacking up on my YA TBR pile. What ended up in your mailbox this week? 


Friday, November 26, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge: Starting Line

This will be the second year that I have participated in this challenge hosted by Kristi who may be better known as The Story Siren. The goal is to read twelve books by 2011 YA Debut Authors. Kristi has made quite a list and lots of them are books that I really want to read. You can check out her spreadsheets here.

Because I am a member of NetGalley, I will get a chance to read some of these books before January 1. I can only count the ones I read after January 1 in the challenge. I have eARCs for


I have already pre-ordered a couple of the January books:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
XVI by Julia Karr

These are most likely from the February list:
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

This is a sure thing for March: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

I'll be making my other choices as the year progresses.

If this challenge sounds like fun to you, you can sign up here.

Book Beginning: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.


Here is the beginning of Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the book a while ago but I am using it as an example for my sixth graders as we prepare Wordle book ads.
He didn't know how long he had been clinging there. Long enough for the bone-cold water to drive the feeling from his legs. Long enough for his fingers to tire of holding his head above water. 
Talk about dropping the reader right in the middle of the action. Who can read that and not continue to read to find out who he is and why he is in such a dangerous predicament. 



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Crave
Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Publication: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; Original edition (September 21, 2010)


Description: Shay could never do the things her friends could--never try out for sports, never go to parties, never fall in love. Because of the mysterious and incurable blood disorder she was born with, she can barely make it through three days of school a week. 


But now, her doctor-turned-stepfather has a brand-new treatment that he thinks will change everything. And it does. As soon as the new blood starts pumping into Shay's veins, she has visions of a different life...Gabriel's life. She sees an orphanage, loss, fangs, blood, and lust that she can't explain.


Is Gabriel real? And if he is, could he really be what she thinks he is?


My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. Shay was a fascinating character. She has lived all her seventeen years as "the sick girl." She has an incurable blood disorder that requires frequent transfusions. But her doctor-stepfather has found something new and the blood that Shay has been getting lately is causing some interesting effects. She feels much stronger than she ever did before and, when she has her transfusions, she is seeing visions of another life. She is seeing snippets of the life of a boy named Gabriel. But she wonders if the visions are true or just a by-product of the blood transfusions.


Things really take off when she sees a vision and knows that she is seeing her stepfather Martin's clinic. When she explores, she finds that Gabriel is real and being held prisoner to supply her with blood. She frees him and they both flee from the evil stepfather and Shay's loving mother. The two learn quite a bit about each other as they are on the run.


I liked Shay and thought her portrayal was very realistic. She is tired of being on the outside of everyday activities. She wants to live every day to the fullest and try out all sorts of new things. She knows she is dying but doesn't want to die before she has really lived.


Gabriel is an ancient vampire. He has sort of lost the joy of living because of a number of things that have happened to him. I liked the portrayal of vampires as people who have families and emotions and loves. 


The only thing that I didn't like about this quick-reading novel was the cliffhanging ending. I can't wait until the next book - Arise - is published in September of 2011. I think this book will satisfy those readers who like some romance in their paranormals.


Favorite Quote:
"Don't you miss it? Don't you want it back?" Shay asked. "Now that I've had a chance to be out in the world and try to suck the marrow out of life--I can't remember who said that--"


"Thoreau," Gabriel said softly.


"Right. Now that I've had that, I don't want to give it up. Even if I lived a thousand years, I wouldn't. That's what I've realized. Before I was just surviving, being careful so my body would keep going for one more day. But being truly alive...that's different. It's the whole point of everything. Without that feeling, why even bother living?"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser is from a book that will be published on Dec. 28, 2010 (or maybe Jan. 1, 2011 depending on which listing you believe). It is the fourth in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent - My Soul to Steal. This teaser comes from the eARC that I got from NetGalley and Harlequin Teen.

Teaser:
Whoever said it was better to have love and lost than never to have loved was full of crap. 
 There isn't much more I can say without major spoilers. The second sentence is a spoiler if you are not up-to-date in the series. If you haven't read this series I recommend them highly. 


They are great young adult paranormal fiction with adventure and romance. They also feature unusual paranormals - bean sidhe - or banshees to the uninitiated and lots of teen angst. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My YA Mailbox (Nov. 21, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
 
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the cool books everyone gets. You will discover lots of wonderful blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

This was an extremely unusual week for me. I didn't buy a book. However, that does not mean that my mailbox was empty. I got a huge number of ebooks for review.

From NetGalley, I received these and had them sent to my Kindle.
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky -- This one comes out May 23, 2011.
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent -- This one comes out Dec. 28, 2010.
Pack of Lies by Laura Anne Gilman -- This one comes out Jan. 11, 2011.
The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman -- This one comes out Jan. 25, 2011.
Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell -- This ones comes out Jan. 3, 2011.
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell -- This one comes out March 7, 2011.

And, as if this wasn't enough, I got an email from Simon and Schuster asking if I would like to be part of their Galley Grab program. I said "yes" and then found out that the books would be Adobe Digital Editions. This is less desirable than Kindle books because I don't really like to read novels on my computer. But the books sounded really good.
Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell -- This one comes out March 22, 2011.
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton -- This one comes out Feb. 22, 2011.
Choker by Elizabeth Woods -- This one comes out Jan. 4, 2011.

And, wait, there are still more. 
I received another email today from Simon & Schuster listing more eARCs. I have been hearing good things about A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull and decided to add that one to my review schedule too. It comes out March 15, 2011. (There were lots more books listed but I managed to restrain myself. ;-))

I also chose Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish from NetGalley. I was disappointed to see that I couldn't get it for my Kindle but did add it to my Adobe Digital Editions. This one was published on Feb. 4, 2010 and somehow I missed it. Because it has already been published I must push it to the bottom of the TBR stack until I catch up on titles that are coming out in the near future. But I like a good ghost story and can't wait to read it.

My calendar is currently full of dates when I want to have reviews posted. My plan is to try to post my review about one week before the book is published. Let's see if I can keep to the plan.

That is my overfull mailbox. What did you get this week?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 12, 2010)


Description: Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.



My Thoughts: This was a lush, compelling read. The prose was dense and rich. It was a book that needed to be savored and not gulped. And at over 500 pages, it filled almost a week of my reading time. Also rather unusual for the genre, the viewpoint character is Ethan Wate the male main character. We see the town and the story through his eyes. The events in this book begin very soon after the conclusion of Beautiful Creatures. This review does contain some spoilers if you haven't read the first book.


The story begins with Lena pulling away from Ethan. Ethan thinks that she is pulling away because of depression after the death of her beloved uncle. But nothing he can say or do is helping her. It doesn't help that he is being plagued with disturbing visions of both Macon and Abraham. When Lena gets involved again with her cousin Ridley and John Breed - the newcomer to town who is part incubus and part something else, Ethan doesn't know what to do. He turns to the new girl in town - Liv - who is a keeper-in-training to help him find some answers. 


Many adventures happen as Ethan, Liv and Ethan's best friend Link explore the many hidden tunnels under the Southeastern United States as they try to find Lena and save her from committing herself to the Dark. Everyone learns more about themselves in this one. Life-altering and world-altering decisions are made. I recommend this book to older YAs and others who enjoyed the first volume of this series. I thought it was an extremely entertaining and well-written book. 


Favorite Quote:
There's something about sitting alone in the dark that reminds you how big the world really is, and how far apart we all are. The stars look like they're so close, you could reach out and touch them. But you can't. Sometimes things look a lot closer than they are.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Beautiful Darkness by Garcia and Stohl

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser is from the same book that I found a teaser from last week. I got sidetracked and didn't get a chance to begin Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl until Sunday night. Now I am well into the book and really enjoying it. 


My teaser is from page 240 and it made me smile:
Forget the fact that All Souls Day was actually a Catholic holiday that took place in November. In Gatlin, we had our own way of doing things. So we turned it into our own day of remembrance, guilt, and general competition over who could pile the most plastic flowers and angels on our ancestors' graves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith

Wren Journeymage
Author: Sherwood Smith
Publication: Book View Cafe; first edition (October 15, 2010); ebook for my Kindle


Description: The first summer of peace brings Wren on her weekly visit to the young Queen Teressa, where she encounters the derisive, upsetting Hawk Rhiscarlan riding in! Wren races to warn Teressa, to discover he's expected, which causes the girls' first argument. Tyron gives Wren a chance to leave Meldreth by sending her on a new journeymage project--to find Connor, who had wandered off to the Summer Isles. When Wren vanishes, her scry stone abandoned, Teressa veers between regret over the argument, worry about Wren, and the beguilement of attraction as Hawk skillfully upsets her court. Wren has just made friends with some young sailors when they are captured and forced on board a shady smuggler, where Wren learns all about the sea. When pirates attack, Wren does magic, which leads her straight to another confrontation with the villain she hates most, aided by the boy she . . . what do you call these feelings? Once again the four--Wren, Teressa, Connor, and Tyron--find themselves deep in adventure, as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of growing up.


My Thoughts: This story takes place shortly after the conclusion of Wren's War (1995). But I was quickly caught up again in Wren's world. Wren and her friends have survived a war but now they have to adjust to peace and to growing up. Wren and Tessa begin the book with an argument about Hawk, who has come to court Tessa. Tessa is just getting used to being queen and is feeling her way into her role. The argument leads Wren to begin her journeymage project since it will take her away from court. Also, she is eager to track down her friend Connor. She is uncertain about what she feels for him but she knows she wants to see him.


Almost immediately Wren is "boomed" (shanghaied) along with five other young people and finds herself on an almost-pirate ship. She has lost her money, her scrying stone, and believes that someone is hunting for her. Her companions express the common attitude of the day and dislike magic and mages. Wren's magic is tested when the ship is attacked by pirates. She doesn't feel very confident of her magical gifts even though they work to defeat the attackers. 


Wren and her companions escape from the pirates in a small gig but the pirates pursue them in force. They are almost caught when Connor and the people he has been working for come to her rescue. Connor has caught a glimpse of the evil mage who is controlling the pirates and is dismayed that it is their old enemy Andreus.


It is a measure of Wren's sense of responsibility that she determines to go after Andreus and find a way to scuttle his pirate fleet before he can conquer three countries. She knows she is alone but her attitude is that, since she is on the spot, she has to do something. Connor and his friends, along with Wren's companions, do take the attack to Andreus and use clever tactics to defeat him.


Meanwhile, at home, Tessa is getting to know Hawk. She is dazzled by his looks and his focus on her. However, none of her friends or advisors like him or trust him. There are a lot of scenes showing the way Hawk interacts with the court. Tessa has to learn to see him as he really is. She loves him but he isn't good for her or for her kingdom. 


This was a good coming of age story. All of the characters grow and change. It is also a good conclusion to the series. I strongly recommend this book to fans of the first three books in the series -- Wren to the Rescue, Wren's Quest, and Wren's War.


Favorite Quote:
Wren fumbled her way forward, barking her shins, sides, and forearms against more corners then it seemed possible the entire world could contain, much less one small cargo area.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In My YA Mailbox (Nov. 14, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
 
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the cool books everyone gets. You will discover lots of wonderful blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.
I got my copy of Plain Kate by Erin Bow. I read this book before and donated it to my HS Media Center. But I loved it so much that I had to have my own copy.

I also got Sweep Volume 2 which contains Dark Magick, Awakening and Spellbound by Cate Tiernan. I have heard that these books are good and this is a very economical way to get the series. You are getting three books for the price of one. 

And my final print book this week was Pegasus by Robin McKinley. I have read many mixed reviews of this book but Robin McKinley has written some of my favorite books. This one will probably remain in my personal collection. If I really enjoy it, I'll add a copy to my next HS book order.
I added a couple of books to my Kindle too. 

Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith is a new, fourth book about Wren. This book follows Wren to the Rescue (1990), Wren's Quest (1991), and Wren's War (1995). "Once again the four--Wren, Teressa, Connor, and Tyron--find themselves deep in adventure, as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of growing up." The Wren books are a very good middle grade fantasy series with an intrepid female heroine.

I also got a new copy of Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. I have the book but wanted to have it for my Kindle too for ease of reading. Also this edition has been edited and some scenes have been added. "Crown Duel, once published as Crown Duel and Court Duel, was put together with an added story by Firebird in 2003, and has remained in print ever since. This new edition has been edited, with the addition of several scenes from the hero’s point of view."

These are the books I added to my TBR stack this week. What did you get?


Kindle Review: Scourge by David H. Burton

Scourge (A Grim Doyle Adventure)
Author: David H. Burton
Publication: David H. Burton (November 2, 2010)


Description: Two dads, five siblings, and goggles! Grim Doyle has always known his life was not exactly "normal", and things get even more curious when he discovers a set of stones that sweep him and his family to the fantasy, steampunk world of Verne - a place they had escaped from years ago. Now that they've returned, Grim and his siblings hide from the evil Lord Victor and his minions. And while learning about Jinns, Mystics, and the power of absinth they try to discover who is trying to kill them with the deadly Scourge.


My Thoughts: This was an exciting, middle grade, steampunk adventure. Grim, along with his siblings, dads, and Aunt Patrice return to another world from Earth. The dads and Aunt Patrice had fled the world because they were under attack. The attackers have traced them to Earth now. The children were left in an orphanage to protect them while the fathers continued with the Resistance.


The kids learn about all sorts of different sorts of beings including changelings, gargoyles and sylphs. Many people also have a lot of metal parts. In the orphanage, the children are treated as servants and forced to do many unpleasant chores and are given awful food to eat. They are picked on by the regular students. But, even so, Grim is pleased to learn about many of the gadgets that are in this world. He even uses spare parts to make himself a mechanical spider that is his pet.


There are numerous dangers the kids have to face. The worst of the dangers is a disease that is sweeping through the school and that seems to be caused by a potion. Grim and a companion have to search for a jinn to get some of his blood to use for the cure but jinns are very rare and not easily summoned.


This was an interesting story. It was exciting and well written. My one problem with it is that it seems to only be available as an ebook. I don't know any middle schoolers who have ereaders.


Favorite Quote:
Ellen smiled a toothy grin. At the age of six, she still had all her baby teeth. She held up the doll. Its head had been ripped off; and not cleanly at that.


Grim rolled his eyes. Ellen was the other female sibling in the house, and the closest thing to a serial killer among the lot.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Beginning: Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

I was recently reading Sherwood Smith's blog and discovered that she had written another book about Wren -- Wren Journeymage. I am a big fan of that middle grade fantasy series and had to get the new story. I downloaded it to my Kindle.

The first couple of sentences are:
Wren peered out the open window of her room at Cantirmoor's Magic School. The sun shone on tree branches sprouting fuzzy green buds. Birdsong carried on the breeze that smelled like new grass and turned soil...so what was wrong?
The sentence jumps right into the action. I am determined not to go back and read the first three books again. I am hoping to catch on to what is going on. The last book in the trilogy was published in 1995. There have been an awful lot of books taking up brain space since I read them. 




Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Beautiful Darkness by Garcia and Stohl

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week my teaser is from the book I am just going to begin -- Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Beautiful Creatures was one of my favorite books of 2009. I am eager to see what comes next in this sequel.

My Teaser:
She looked at the mess on the floor. "You look lower than a catfish at the bottom of the river."




Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My YA Mailbox (Nov. 7, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
 
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the cool books everyone gets. You will discover lots of wonderful blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.
I accepted Scourge by David H. Burton for review after being contacted by the author. This is a new middle grade steampunk story that will be published soon. Mr. Burton send me an eARC for my Kindle.

I also received Grounded by Kate Klise for review. This is another middle grade title.

My long awaited copy of Virals by Kathy Reichs arrived this week too. I am a fan of her adult work. This is her YA Debut novel.

Then, apparently because that wasn't enough for one week, I went browsing at NetGalley and chose the following books for review:
Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis because I have a soft spot for dragons an The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin because I have loved all of her other books.
I also got a copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I was excited about the premise of this book and look forward to reading it.

I also purchased Adversary by Kate Kaynak for my Kindle. I really enjoyed Minder and want to continue the story. 

Those were the additions to my TBR stack and my Kindle this week. What did you get?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Minder by Kate Kaynak

Minder (A Ganzfield Novel)
Author: Kate Kaynak
Publication: Spencer Hill Press (June 18, 2010)



Description: Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

My Thoughts: Minder was an entertaining page-turner of a book. The story begins with a bang. Maddie is snatched off the street by three louts from her high school who intend to rape her. Maddie, somehow, manages to summon some mental ability that she never knew she had and kill them. Naturally, she is in shock. When the police bring her in for questioning, she is removed from the police station by a man named Dr. Williamson who can read her mind and a young woman named Cecelia who uses mental talents to convince the police that Maddie wasn't involved.

Maddie soon finds herself at a school for young people who have a variety of mental talents. The "charms" are able to convince anyone to do things they wouldn't otherwise do. The RVs are remote viewers who can see where people are no matter how far away they are. The Sparks have control of fire. The healers can do just that. And Maddie is a rarer sort of talent. She is a "minder" -- a receptive and projective telepath.

Maddie is coming to grips with her talent and trying to fit in at her new school. The "charms" are abusing their powers. They are abusing the other talents. Maddie is not only immune to the charms powers but she has the ability to stop them. She begins to think of herself as "the new sheriff in town" and Dr. Williamson encourages her in this. The one thing that bothered me about this story was how quickly Maddie adjusted to being a telepath.

Maddie also meets a boy. Trevor is the only telekinetic in the school. The two of them form a mental connection when they discover that they both use the same abandoned church to get away from the other students. Maddie can't block out their mental voices and is sending them nightmares of her assault. Trevor has a tendency to throw things in his sleep and is afraid of hurting others. The two of them fall in love. He isn't freaked out by her mind reading. She can read that he is a wonderful human being. The romance in this story is a typical teenager's wish fulfillment fantasy: The one you love understands you completely and loves you just the way you are. It was very romantic.

But, even more than the abuses of the charms, all is not well at the school or for the talents. There are many exciting adventures in this first book in a new series. I recommend it for lovers of the paranormal and for the lovers of teen age romance.

Immediately after finishing this book (which I borrowed from a friend), I went to Amazon and downloaded Adversary for my Kindle. Luckily, Legacy, the third book in the series, will be published on Jan. 28, 2011 so there isn't a terribly long time to wait. I want the whole story now.

Favorite Quote:


I felt the caffeine take effect and my soul reconnected to my brain. Ah, caffeine--the other drug that enhanced my mental powers.