Review: Crossroads by Mary Ting

Crossroads
(Crossroads Saga #1)
By: Mary Ting
Publisher: World Castle
Published: April 6, 2011
Genre: YA
Rating:
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Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia.

Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?

 
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Review: Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura

(Vol. #1)
By: Yoshiki Nakamura
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Published: July 5, 2006
Genre: YA
Rating:

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Kyoko always thought that Sho, whose family took her in when she was small, was her prince charming. However, when Sho heads for Tokyo to make it big as a musician, Kyoko goes with him and has to quit high school to support his dream. But soon, being in the big city makes Kyoko realize that she has show business ambitions of her own.

 
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Cover Reveal: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Pretty Amy
By: Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: May 15, 2012
Genre: YA

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Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

 
 
Excerpt

I was just about to put out my cigarette and go back inside when I heard a skateboard coming down the street. It sounded like waves, like a conch shell against your ear. That full, empty sound.

Maybe it was Aaron. I conjured up my stupid daydream, the one I used to fill my head when I couldn’t deal with any of the other stuff in there—that he would find me, that he would apologize, that he would tell me that prom night hadn’t been his fault.

The difference this time was that when I looked toward the sound, he really was there.

It was him.

Aaron.

He was skateboarding down the sidewalk like it was made of water, wearing the same loose, worn jeans from his Facebook picture. He carried a backpack, like he might have been coming from the library, but I doubted he ever went to the library.

I lit another cigarette with the end of my last one; any excuse to stay put. Then I remembered I was wearing a suit.

“You got another one of those?” he asked. His eyes were blue. I hadn’t noticed that in his picture.

My hands shook as I gave him a cigarette. He brought a silver- and-black Zippo to his mouth, flipped it open with one hand, lit his cigarette, and slapped it shut. The whole thing took seconds, but it felt like he was doing it in slow motion. “Thanks,” he said.

Maybe he had just stopped to get a cigarette. Maybe it had nothing to do with me.

It probably had nothing to do with me.

“I know you,” he said. “Where do I know you from?”

I couldn’t tell him. Telling him that he’d stood me up for my own prom would have been way too embarrassing. It would tell him that I still cared enough to remember.

“I’m friends with Lila and Cassie,” I said, wishing that my hair wasn’t pulled back in a headband like I was a nun.

“What are you all dressed up for?” he asked.

Of course he didn’t know me. If he had, he would have known that I’d just come from court and that I was trying to do everything I could to forget it.

“I work here,” I said, thinking fast. “I’m supposed to be a librarian.”

“You don’t have to lie,” he said, laughing. “I’m Aaron.”

“Amy,” I said, waving hello with the cigarette in my hand.

He smiled. “Though you do make a cute librarian.”

I tried to keep myself from coughing. “This suit sucks,” I said. It seemed cooler than saying thank you. It seemed cooler than getting all squishy over what he said, even though that was how I felt.

I looked at his skateboard. “You wanna try it out?” he asked . The deck had a mural of blue sky and white-capped mountains hand-painted on it . The wheels were covered with stop-motion birds, so that when they spun it must have looked like the birds were flying.

There was more to this boy. More that I wanted to know.

“I guess I could,” I said, but then I remembered my mother. She would come looking for me soon.

I shook my head. “I should go.”

“You got a cell phone?” he asked.

“Not that I’m allowed to use anymore.”

“Parents,” he said. He pulled a sketchbook from his backpack. Maybe he had painted that beautiful mural. He ripped out a piece of paper, wrote something down, and handed it to me.

It was his phone number.

I tried not to act surprised, tried to act like boys gave me their numbers all the time, especially when I hadn’t asked for them.

“See you around, Amy,” he said. He dropped the skateboard next to him. It landed perfectly on its wheels like a cat would on its legs.

As he skated away, I looked at his number; the paper was as soft as fabric. I folded it smaller and smaller and hid it in my bra. Maybe he hadn’t said what I wanted him to say, but he had found me.

He had found me.

 
 
author

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.

She was a lot like Amy when she was in high school.

She is still a lot like Amy…

You can find Lisa on her website, Facebook and Twitter

Review: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall
(River of Time #1)
By: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Published: Feb 1, 2011
Genre: YA
Rating:

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What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds…until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

 
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Review: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
By: Kristina McMorris
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Published: Feb. 28, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating:
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Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern’s life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother’s best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Julliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

 
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Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

(Charlie Davidson #1)
By: Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: Feb 1, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating:

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Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

 
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Review: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Dreams of Joy
(Shanghai Girls #2)
By: Lisa See
Publisher: Random House
Published: May 31, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating:

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Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

 
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Review: Beast Master by Kyousuke Motomi

Beast Master
(Beast Master #1)
By: Kyousuke Motomi
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Published: Jan 1, 2007
Genre: Shojo Manga
Rating:
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Taming a Beast was never this dangerous!
Leo Aoi looks like a crazy animal with wild eyes–and no one at his new high school will go near him! He does seem to have a special connection with animals though, which intrigues overzealous animal-lover Yuiko Kubozuka. In reality, Leo isn’t as frightening as he appears, but Yuiko finds out that he goes berserk whenever he sees blood! Will Yuiko be able to get through to Leo during these violent fits? Or will Leo’s ferocious side eventually devour her?

 
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Review: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have)
By: Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: June 7, 2011
Genre: YA
Rating:

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2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn’t have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

 
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Review: Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Fantasy Lover
(Dark Hunter #0.5)
By: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: Jan 31, 2002
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating:
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Dear Reader,

Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn’t. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior’s day.

As a love-slave, I know everything about women. How to touch them, how to savor them, and most of all, how to pleasure them. But when I was summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander’s sexual fantasies, I found the first woman in history who saw me as a man with a tormented past. She alone bothered to take me out of the bedroom and onto the world. She taught me to love again.

But I was not born to love. I was cursed to walk eternity alone. As a general, I had long ago accepted my sentence. Yet now I have found Grace–the one thing my wounded heart cannot survive without. Sure, love can heal all wounds, but can it break a two-thousand-year-old curse?
Julian of Macedon

 
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