Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review: Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer


{Title} Eleventh Grade Burns (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book Four)

{By} Heather Brewer

{Publisher} Dutton Juvenile

{Release Date} February 9th, 2010

{Pages} 208


The penultimate chapter in the thrilling vampire series!

Things have taken a darker turn for the half-human teenager with an appetite for blood. Joss, a vampire slayer and Vlad’s former friend, has moved back to Bathory. A mysterious and powerful new vampire, Dorian, appears with a shocking secret and an overwhelming desire to drink Vlad’s blood. And Vlad’s arch enemy, D’Ablo, has a sinister plan to eliminate Vlad once and for all. With death threatening from every angle, Vlad will have to use every ounce of his skill and training to survive, but nothing can prepare him for what awaits him in the end.

[Angel's Thoughts:]

I've been a hardcore Minion (fan of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod) from the get go. I loved the unique premise of a young outcast male vampire and his struggles through the normal rights of passage in high school -- like bullies, the girl of his dreams, and worrying about the distance that seems to be growing between himself and his ultra-popular best friend, Henry.

And then, there are the not-so-normal things, like the other vampires, the prophecy of the Pravus, and the vampire slayers.

One of my favorite things about this series is that with every book, they just keep getting better. Granted, this trend died a little bit for me, considering Tenth Grade Bleeds is still my favorite at the moment. But Eleventh Grade Burns still has an excellent story that I really enjoyed.
However, and this is more of a personal thing for me that I don't see most of the readers really being bothered by, I think one thing that drew me away a bit were some of the actions of the characters, like Vlad seeming so hopeless at times, so ready to just quit. It's probably just a minor peeve of mine, because I love strong characters that just keep pressing forward. It's logical, and actually more realistic, to see an 11th grade boy react in this way, so it didn't really get to me too much if I reminded myself of that. So long as Vlad doesn't get complete Bella-Swan-Syndrome, I'm still pleased.
Though I love seeing the characters I adore, such as Vlad, of course, or Otis Otis (my faaaaavorite), and seeing the quirks and humor that makes them who they are, I sorta feel like some aren't growing much outside of the main story plot. It might be because I just graduated, and I have a lot of friends still in high school, but some of the kids seem a little... middle school still. There are times I completely disagree with myself, but sometimes I really wonder about whether or not I can focus with that in my mind. Then again, the things most high school kids have on their minds are a tad different considering their lack of fangs, and the books are geared a little more for younger readers as well. So, there are some issues that really wouldn't be appropriate to upgrade Vlad to. So, that's something else that just bugs me, and isn't actually a real issue.
Now, the positives -- not that the other things were more than my personal peeves:
The little things that bothered me, only did so at the beginning, and probably because I had just finished a book in which sex, drugs, cursing, etc all ruled the characters. After I got back into the right setting, I really loved it. I was rather fond the new character, Dorian, as well as the trials and danger Vlad was put through and his developing relationships with the other characters. Not to mention, the plot twisted and turned and left you with an ending that will make every Minion scream in desperate need for Twelfth Grade Kills.
So, really, Eleventh Grade Burns will be a hit with all Minions, and leave them craving more. I know that I certainly can't wait to sink my teeth into the final installment, Twelfth Grade Kills.
If you're a fan of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, then this book will be a hit for you. Be sure to check it out this February when it hits shelves!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Review: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert


{Title} Ballads of Suburbia
{By} Stephanie Kuehnert
{Publisher} MTV Books
{Release Date} July 21st, 2009
{Pages} 368


Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....
Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own

[Angel's Thoughts:]

I fell in love with I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone the first time I read it, placing Stephanie Kuehnert on my life of favorite writers ever. Her right to remain on this list was confirmed with her second novel, Ballads of Suburbia.

I've gotta say, I really think I might love Ballads of Suburbia a little more than I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, mainly because I could really closely relate to Kara, the main character, probably more than any character I've ever read before. She feels real, and that's something I adore about Kuehnert's writing. Both of her books feel like they could be real, either like you're reading a memoir, or you're remembering your past or listening to a friend's story. There were definitely several parts that felt like pieces of my past. I had a few dreams that I was Kara while I was reading it. This book is that powerful. Not to mention, you laugh, cry, and actually get a little depressed once you finish reading it, because you really don't want it to end. Ballads is one of the few books to actually make me cry, and I think it's because of how similar I felt to the main character.

Ballads is right up there with my top favorite books of all time. I've said it a few times, and I'm more than willing to say it again -- Stephanie Kuehnert deserves to be a New York Times Bestseller. She's a talented writer with amazing books, and one of the authors I'll be pushing in a little upcoming project I'm going to be working on. =]

So, head out to your local bookstore or get on Amazon RIGHT NOW and purchase this book. I promise -- you will NOT regret it.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wanting on Wednesday: Gone by Lisa McMann



Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her.
She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves--she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both.Then a stranger enters her life--and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

He reaches toward her, his fingers black and bloody, his eyes deranged, unblinking. Janie is paralyzed. His cold hands reach around her neck, squeezing tight, tighter, until Janie has no breath left. She's unable to move, unable to think. As his grasp tightens further around Janie's neck, his face turns sickly alabaster. He strains harder and begins to shake.

Janie is dying.

She has no fight left in her.

It's over.

{Angel's Thoughts:}

I love Lisa McMann's unique writing style, and I love the Wake series thus far. I read my ARC of Wake in one sitting, and read Fade before bed. I simply cannot put these books down until they're done. So, I'm very excited to read third and final installment.

GONE releases February 9, 2010.