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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen

The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewer: Dandelion

For five bucks, the Oracle of Dating will tell you:

* How to flirt

* If that cute guy you're crushing on likes you, too

* Whether your new romance will last through lunch period

* And much more

What she won't tell you? Who she is.

No one at Kayla's school knows she's the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice. She doesn't even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make Kayla focus on everyone else's love life.

But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating—and she knows just where to find one…

There’s much to like about this book: Kayla, the narrator, is smart, strong, savvy, and has a terrific, authentic teenage voice. The main characters and secondary characters alike are well developed, and broody, artistic Jared makes the perfect love interest for Kayla. I enjoyed the overall tone and pace of this book, too. It’s fast, fun, and an easy read. Kayla gets caught up in her double life as an online dating guru until she realizes that her love-life advice might be hurting her friends, who don’t know about her secret identity. Then she’s forced to go it alone, facing her own dating troubles when Jared – who seems to like her but ends up dating shallow “It” girl Brooke – becomes a major crush in Kayla’s life. Taking her own advice but also learning to risk her emotions makes for a satisfying happy ending.

The story does suffer from a couple of glitches, though. Kayla gives relationship advice to anyone and everyone who finds her online, though she’s a sixteen year old who’s had just two minor relationships in her past. Yes, she does research and is pretty intuitive, but the sixteen year olds I know aren’t mature enough to understand all the nuances of dating the way Kayla seems to. She also gives advice to Tracey, her older sister, who lives and works in Manhattan. Again, the role reversal of a teenager telling her twenty-something sister who to date and why didn’t always ring true – and there were a lot of scenes with Tracey which sometimes took away from the main story action. Finally, though I absolutely love Jared’s character, he’s quite well-adjusted, eloquent and self-aware for a guy who’s bounced around foster homes and spent time in juvenile detention. This contrast in characterization fell a little short for my taste.

Overall, however, I really enjoyed The Oracle of Dating. I would definitely read another book by Allison van Diepen!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Wolf by Linda Palmer

My Wolf by Linda Palmer
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (233 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe

Andee Rivera has no idea what she's getting into when she saves Jonah Killebrew from drowning in a chilly mountain lake. He's badly injured--wild animal bites from the look of his wounds--and as a fledgling healer, she wants to help. But his bites are more than they seem, and all the potions and salves in the world may not be enough to save him.

Poor Andee. Can you imagine anything worse than helping a young man in trouble, finding out you’d love to have him for a boyfriend, and then discovering he’s a werewolf???

It’s hard to find stories written in the first person that read well, give you enough information and keep you from getting bored. Ms. Palmer does that very successfully in this book. Her characters evolve through the pages and the storyline has a couple of twists to it that will keep your attention and make you wonder just where she’s going with this tale. The characters are strong, have powers, use them for both good and evil, and everyone is after Andee’s boyfriend.

This story reminded me a bit of the Twilight series, however this book was better. Werewolves and witches and sorcerers may be a bit of stretch, but the characters' personalities shine and you can stretch your imagination to believe such things might happen. Things might have been a lot different in the tale if they didn’t have a “white” witch to help them along.

This would be an excellent book for a reluctant reader. I started reading it and read it straight through to the finish. Even a hesitant reader would keep returning to see what’s going to happen in the next chapter.

If your child is one who might be frightened by the “magical” concepts in the book, it’s a book you most likely would enjoy reading also and you could then discuss any concerns the child might have. I imagine most would simply read the book and accept the oddities as the norm for fantasy fiction nowadays.

I really enjoyed this read, and believe (and hope!) there will be another book in the series. After all, the ending just make you want to pick up another chapter and keep going. I bet the author gives us that satisfaction soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (432 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Dandelion

"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

Read this book with patience, and you will be rewarded. Jellicoe Road begins its story in the middle of Taylor Markham’s rocky adolescence. She’s 17 and angry at the world - and with good reason, since her mother abandoned her when she was 11; she doesn’t know her father; Hannah, the only adult she trusts, has vanished without explanation; and Taylor has been named a House leader at the boarding school she attends. Being a leader means, among other things, she has to negotiate the school’s role in the “territory wars” with the Townies and the Cadets.

Sound confusing? It is. And that’s only one plot. The book actually begins with a car accident that devastates two families and brings together 5 young children - who have a connection to Taylor decades later. Jellicoe Road follows these two plotlines until they interweave about halfway through the book. Even after the initial relationships are revealed, though, readers will be surprised by how the rest of the puzzle pieces fit together: how Taylor learns about her parents, why Hannah has disappeared, and why the territory wars are so important.

The character development in this book is its strength. Though Taylor is at times whiny and self-absorbed, she has reason to be. When she finally starts trusting people around her, especially the other girls in her House and Jonah Griggs, the leader of the Cadets and her sometimes-boyfriend, she becomes sympathetic and compelling. I was cheering for her by the end. Jonah is equally well-developed, and in fact the friendship-turned-romance between the two main characters is one of the best I’ve read in YA. Both are terribly flawed and angry, yet they find solace, comfort, and strength in each other in a really beautiful, believable way.

Though at times the jumping back and forth between plotlines is jarring and hard to follow, the early story beginning with the car accident really adds mystery to the novel and keeps the pages turning. At times I did think the first half of the novel was slow, because the author is trying to introduce a lot of key information without giving anything away. Characters are mentioned but not named, which can be confusing. Still, if you stick with it, eventually things make sense, and the story moves a lot faster once you pass the halfway point. I may have wished that this book was about 100 pages shorter, but despite its slow start, Jellicoe Road is an interesting, original book about love, friendship, and family ties that deserves a spot on young readers’ shelves.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Distant Shore by Deborah M. Coty

The Distant Shore by Debora M. Coty
Publisher: Vintage Reflections Publishing
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery, Inspirational
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (268 pgs)
Rating: 5 suns
Reviewed by Dogwood

Mysteriously banished to live with demanding Aunt Augusta on Florida's remote, untamed Merritt island of 1904, young Emma-Lee Palmer discovers a dark family secret. Befriended by a kindly sea captain, Emma-Lee and Aunt Augusta discover courage, renewed hope, and the importance of family in this transcendent story of healing and redemption through God's unconditional love.

Inspired by a true story, The Distant Shore is a powerful blend of action, adventure, romance, and the quest within each of us to find our heart's home. Love, after all, is never too lost or too late.

Sweet, charming, exciting, and tearful. This book has it all. This was a fantastic read that any member of the family would enjoy. My favorite part about this book was the fact that it was able to ignite every emotion and still be good, clean reading. Emma-Lee Palmer will have you melting in her hand. Right from the beginning your heart it breaking for her. Emma-Lee is being sent away to live with her Aunt Augusta on Merritt Island. The island is very isolated and you can only reach it by boat.

Emma-Lee has two brothers and two sisters, yet she is the only one who is being sent away. She is terribly saddened by this fact, and can't help but wonder what she could have possibly done wrong. Her father and mother gave her no explanations for why she is going. Her few memories of her aunt are not fond; Aunt Augusta is not one for showing much emotion. I found myself becoming so angry for Emma-Lee, swearing to never speak to her parents again for doing such a thing. It's amazing how the author can send you all the way back with a nine-year-old's mindset. It wasn't until well within the book that I started to wonder if she was sent for good reason.

Eventually, right along with Emma-Lee, you get over the hurt and start to settle in with her life at Merritt Island. Aunt Augusta is the school teacher on the island. Throughout the book you start to see different sides to Aunt Augusta and begin to understand her a little bit more. Much like Emma-Lee you fall right in love with her. Emma-Lee was so excited to make friends, and was a little caught off guard by how difficult that turned out to be. However, she did becomes friends with quite a few people. Her first day off the train she met a gentleman by the name of Captain Stone, who treated her like his very own daughter. She also became quite close with his parents, who introduced her to Christ.

Pa and Ma Stone were wonderful people, the type everyone wants as grandparents. Pa Stone used to be a pirate, until he met Christ and changed his ways. But he still had many stories that Emma-Lee just loved listening to. I found myself becoming quite fascinated with his different tales. She started spending so much time with Captain Stone, that even he and her aunt became rather close. Emma-Lee enjoyed seeing the love develop between them, and it was a wonderful way to draw her mind away from missing her family.

Emma-Lee became great friends with a girl everyone called Punkin. Punkin had a bit more sass in her than Emma-Lee, and took this opportunity to show her all the adventures and mischief one could get into on the small island. There was one particular adventure that will have you biting your nails, hoping everything will turn out right. Punkin is the kind of girl, everyone needs as a friend. She is quick to defend anyone she loves. Emma-Lee wished many times she had as much courage as Punkin, but she never realized until the end, just how courageous she actually was. For a nine year old this girl was braver than most men I know. She is one amazing character to overcome so many trials and tribulations at such a young age. As you will soon learn, there is not much this girl can't handle.

There were so many moments in this book that I was laughing out loud, and crying my eyes out. You will honestly experience, every emotion there is. Which all the more makes this author a fantastic writer. You will completely forget about everything going on in your life, because you will be so involved in Emma-Lee's. It seems like there is one tragedy after another happening to Emma-Lee, yet many wonderful things happen to her as well. You wouldn't be able to put this book down for a second even if you wanted too. There are too many exciting moments that you have to keep reading till it's over.

If you are looking for an entertaining and wholesome book this is the one. It is sure to keep your interest, never wanting it to end. This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. I insist you go out and buy this book this very second, because I can guarantee you will feel exactly as I do.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flight by Janet Lane Walters

Flight by Janet Lane Walters
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (233 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe

"We’ve been betrayed." Those words spoken by the Dom and Doma of the Wesren henge awaken their four children—two sets of male-female twins.

Each child has an affinity for one of the four elements—earth, air, fire and earth. In secret, the young teens flee their home to seek a place of safety and teachers to hone their control. They use their emerging talents in ways they never imagined.

Will their quest succeed or will they become pawns of He Who Walks In Darkness?

Would you like to have an affinity that is magical and gives you powers? What if you aren’t sure how to use or what to do with it?

This is the story of two sets of twins that have such a talent. The oldest twins are just celebrating their 14th name day when disaster hits. Soldiers are at the gate and a rival Dom is ready to take over their henge (a castle-like structure).

Ash is the oldest and is given responsibility for her twin and two younger siblings. They are guided into a secret tunnel and sent out into the woods and on to a neighboring community named Cedris. Their parents remain behind.

What intrigued me about this story was that it included two sets of twins and magic. They are young and just beginning to understand what their abilities are, but they don’t have full control of their magic yet. And then the world they know falls apart…

The author does a good job of expressing their loneliness, fear and insecurities in the traveling they have to do and the new life they must begin. The siblings all have their strengths and weaknesses. The youngest girl is very impetuous and impulsive. There is squabbling between the siblings as well as very nasty dangers facing the group. There is good and evil in the world they live in, and they are caught in the middle with no guidance on how to proceed. The characters are resourceful, full of spirit and resilient. They also make a few mistakes along the way, which makes them seem more human.

This is a fast-paced, well-written story that grips you and carries you along, wanting to see what is going to happen next. The world this author created has richness and poverty, enslaves and tortures children and adults, and rival groups seeking power. You can feel the children’s terror, admire their ability to find food and survive, and you know they can’t trust anyone they meet.

The book indicates this is the first novel in a series, and two more are planned. I’m glad. This was an entertaining read and has just enough danger and imagination to keep your attention. I’m looking forward to seeing how the twins conquer their problems.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Confessions of a Teenage Psychic by Pamela Woods-Jackson

Confessions of a Teenage Psychic by Pamela Woods-Jackson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Dogwood

Caryn Alderson just wants to be a normal teenager. Moving from Houston to Indianapolis and trying to make new friends is hard enough, but when she meets Quince Adams, Rosslyn High School’s star athlete, she wants more than friendship. Unfortunately, two obstacles stand in her way: Quince's girlfriend, cheerleader Kensington Marlow, and Caryn's Uncle Omar. So what’s the problem? Kensington’s cheating on Quince, and Uncle Omar died in Vietnam at age 20!

Imagine hearing voices, seeing spirits no one else can see, and knowing things about people they never told you. No wonder Quince and all her new friends think she’s weird! Then just when Caryn thinks her psychic abilities are under wraps, her friend Megan blurts out the truth on television. Can Caryn finally admit her secret and just be herself? Does she really have a choice?

Endearing to the core! Confessions of a Teenage Psychic is a great read for anyone looking to reminisce with the days of high school or anyone still in high school, looking for someone to relate too. Caryn Alderson is just your typical teenager... or wait, is she?

Well, just like any teenager, she crushes hard, embarrasses easily, and wants to make friends. However, unlike the rest of the kids in her school, she is psychic. She also likes to let everything she knows come spilling out of her mouth before she even realizes what's going on. At her last school this was a problem, so she is more than afraid it will be a problem again. Caryn's originally from Texas, but she and her mother just moved to Indianapolis. It's hard enough adjusting to a new life in a new school, but to add being psychic to it -- that's a challenge for anyone. You find yourself struggling right along with her and sharing in all her same joys. Caryn doesn't come from your typical background, which makes this book all the more interesting.

She made friends pretty easy, but she was very cautious how sincere these friendships were. Caryn was constantly on guard, trying to keep her secret a secret. Caryn met Emma Cartwright in art class, and their friendship blossomed rather quickly. Thanks to Emma, Caryn was able to meet some other friends, including Quince Adams. Her relationship was pretty much love at first sight for Caryn, of course Quince felt otherwise. It didn't help much that he was dating one of the most popular girls in school, Kensington Marlow. Caryn had the hardest time hiding her secret from Quince, because for some reason, her special talent always seemed to involve him. This only succeeded in pushing Quince further away from her, and making her feel even more like a freak.

Despite what Caryn feels at times, she is surrounded by lots of family and friends who love and support her. It's a long journey for her to realize and accept her gift. The book helps to remind you that even if you are different, a true friend will accept you no matter what. I know firsthand this is something every person struggles with through high school. There is always something that makes a person feel awkward, strange, and out of the group. This book is a great tool in helping someone cope through the difficult events in high school.

There are many times you will get so invested in the book, you feel as though it's yourself going through the very hardships Caryn experiences. Not to mention the sigh of relief each time another friend accepts her for who she is. An old family member Caryn has never even met before, even comes to help her along the way. What would be a terrifying experience for most, Caryn bravely makes it through it.

The story is wonderfully written. It's almost like watching a movie, the descriptions are so vivid. The story flows very smoothly, you will find yourself finished before you know it. You can tell the author is very familiar with high school environments, because she was able to describe it so perfectly. It was like a blast from the past, and I was right back in school. Dreading getting up early, but looking forward to hanging out with everyone at Peterson's Coffee Emporium. If you are looking for an easy, entertaining read, then this book is just right for you. Perfect for a lazy day in a hammock, or even better, while you are laying out at the beach!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Under My Skin by Judith Graves

Under My Skin by Judith Graves
Publisher: Leap Books
Genre: Action/Adventure Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (325 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Snowdrop

All her parents wanted was for Eryn to live a normal life...

The town of Redgrave had had its share of monsters before Eryn moved to town. Mauled pets and missing children. The Delacroix family is taking the blame, but Eryn knows the truth. Something stalks the night. Wade, the police chief's son and Regrave High's resident hottie, warns her the Delacroix are dangerous. But then so is Eryn--in fact, she's lethal.

But Eryn can't help falling for one of the Delacroix boys, dark, brooding, human Alec. And then it all goes bad.

A normal life? That's the real fairytale.

Have you ever had a secret that you couldn't share? Eryn has a few secrets that she is trying to keep from her new friends. Worried about how they would take the news that she is much different from them, she tries her best to keep the secrets deep inside. Little does she know the town she now calls home has many of it's own deep, dark issues too.

Eryn is a tough cookie, always showing off that she doesn't need anyone's help, but deep down she's like every other girl – needing to fit in and feel loved. She accidentally stumbles across the secret that her friends have been keeping from her and joins forces with the misfits, Brit, Matt and the ever drool-worthy Alec. While her friendship with the misfits is growing, Wade the coolest kid in school, starts sniffing around and making her friends second guess their importance in Eryn's life.

Once you turn the first page, you won't want to stop, as you are drawn into the happenings in Redgrave. This is such a well written novel, with characters you can relate to and teenage issues you can remember dealing with yourself, except Eryn and the gang have the added touch of paranormal to the mix. A few characters (I can't say who without sharing spoilers) seemed a little ho-hum at the beginning, but I know you will change your mind about them by the end of the book, as you see their secrets revealed.

I cannot wait to read the next book in the series! Will everyone's secrets survive the chaos in Redgrave?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Zerah’s Chosen by Isabelle Santiago

Zerah’s Chosen by Isabelle Santiago
Publisher: Drollerie Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (200 pgs)
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Aloe

In Zerah, Guardians of Water, Air, Fire, Earth, and Death are chosen by The Beings to serve their people. Able to feel the emotions the Beings cannot, they help their world stay in balance.

Guardians live and die together, but when Kieran is born with the marks that prove he's the Guardian of Death, his mother hides him instead of giving him up to the temple. She loves him too much to lose him. But then he starts seeing people die, and they're begging him for help. Trying to remove the "curse", he inadvertently kills a seer and is brought to the attention of the temple.

His mother is imprisoned and he's turned over to the temple. The rest of his life, he's expected to live there, study with the other Guardians, learn the right ways to use his power.

Amaya, the embodiment of Water, breaks through his brittle shell, helps him to see that all of life isn't bleak, but they've sworn a vow and love for one another isn't part of it. He'll never know the people he must eventually lead into the next life, never know love, never be free.

If he stays...

If you are born with certain markings on your body and a magic power, then you are one of Zerah’s chosen. You have no choice…

I found this book fascinating because it was about an old world that had a lot of history. The books were stored in the temple and only a select few were able to have access to them. Many of the books were written in languages from the past, and had to be painstakingly translated by the priests. The high priest found some of the text was hard to understand, but he thought he was interpreting it correctly. The words foretold a coming disaster, and he was determined to avoid it.

Normally, the guardians were gathered at a very young age and brought to the temple to be trained for their new roles in life. The four presently in the temple were self-assured, strong, and each has his or her own unique outlook on life depending partially on their power as well as their personalities. They need to learn to control their powers, use their skills and work together to be the guardians of their world. You can feel the responsibility they have been saddled with.

However, they get thrown a curve when a “new” guardian is added to the mix. Kiernan had been hidden by his mother and not turned over to the temple so he had received no training. I can sympathize with Kiernan. He was raised with love and his power is death. He’s confused, grieves for the loss of his mother, feels guilty, and does not know how to bond with the other chosen ones. Nor is he sure he even wants to.

Ms Santiago’s characters are strong, well-defined and determined to do the right thing. They have conflicts, there is jealousy, there is hate, and there is love. And that causes another conflict because the chosen must be celibate…

This is Book I of the Guardian Circle, so there will be more in this series. The ending in this one will leave you yearning for the next book – how could that happen and where they will go from here? This novel is an exciting read with just enough magic to make intriguing and enough challenges for the chosen to make you want to follow along through the next life changing event with them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Odin Cats by Sandra Cox

Odin Cats by Sandra Cox
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Rating: 3 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe

Man with his constant desire to enslave and assert his will has destroyed the earth. From this destruction the earth has been rebuilt similar yet different. Guns in a primitive form exist but no cars or planes. There are no resources to fuel them.

Now two factions vie for power. Man who did not learn from his mistakes and Odin Cats.

There is a legend among the Odin Cats. An Odin will come with the pure blood of royalty flowing through his veins. This cat will lift the ferals out of their oppression and unite the kingdoms of Odin and man.

Imagine a cat that weighs a hundred pounds and has trained like a warrior and can speak English. Now imagine humans in a war with them…

This is a world of Odin cats, humans, and feral cats. The Odin cats have a king and kingdom, as do the humans. The feral cats are caught between the two factions and try to stay alive by stealing and begging what food can be found. None of the cats wants to be a human’s slave.

This well-paced fantasy novel is filled with cat lore, and that really drew me in. These cats act as cats do, but have extraordinary intelligence. The humans act as humans do and sometimes make you wonder just how much they think about their actions.

There are two warring kingdoms, two kings who hate the enemy, and a prince in each kingdom who has taken an oath of fealty and is sworn to protect the kingdom and fight the enemy as necessary. There’s hate, bitterness and regret, along with love, fierce loyalty, and a determination not to quit.

An underlying theme in this book is that war is not good and that differences can be overcome if one tries hard enough. The characters are strong, the action moves along quickly and surely, and danger lurks at every corner.

When the two princes meet accidently during their wartime adventures, both hiding in the same cave, the give and take between the two enemies forges the beginnings of a friendship. You see the tension, the fear, the uncertainty between the two sworn enemies. And you see them begin to realize that working together will be better than trying to succeed on their own.

This action-packed adventure is a good read. You aren’t really sure how it’s all going to turn out with so much mutual hate and mistrust. There may be a sequel – there’s more that could be explored in this world of cats and men.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (361 pgs)
Rating: 5 Suns
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

There is just something remarkable about reading books involving the faery realm that share a new perspective and twist on the same old, same old. The Iron Daughter brings an exciting and refreshing storyline to life with brilliant characters, gorgeous settings and the return of the Iron Fey.

Meghan, the half-faery princess, and her gang of misfits are yet again trying to fight the Iron Fey in their latest adventure in the Nevernever. Meghan teams up with Ash, Puck, Grim and a slew of new and exciting characters. The princess needs to figure out who she can trust, who her real friends are and exactly what she is fighting for.

To be honest most of the time when I read sequels I am leery, because I feel as though the first book is usually the best in a series. I was completely wrong with this author. Julie Kagawa surpassed my expectations for a sequel; with regards to her writing style, the imagination needed to create such endearing characters, and the passion that must have gone into getting the storyline just right. Throughout the book I caught myself actually going back to reread passages, because the wording was just so beautiful that I could clearly see the scene as if I were actually a part of the faery realm.

One of the things that made this a page turner for me was the love triangle that Meghan is involved in. She has incredible feelings for two amazing men in her life, but fears losing either of them. It is actually quite hard to ignore the emotions that pour through you during this novel. There is such passion and longing involved throughout the entire story.

As an avid faery world and romance novel reader, I would have to suggest this series to any who have just recently started reading fantasy and also to longtime readers of the genre. I will definitely be adding this series to my fantasy collection. Can't wait to see what Meghan's next mission will be!