Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blue Bloods Series

You might be tired of the whole vampire saga, but I just can't seem to get over it.  I've been reading Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series since the beginning.  I was actually lucky enough to score an ARC of Masquerade, so you see I am quite loyal to these tales.  The posh setting these young vampires operate within is so opulent that I really enjoy picturing their wardrobes and parties.

In my opinion, what sets Blue Bloods (click there to watch a trailer) apart from other series is that de la Cruz tackles the question why vampires exist.  This premise becomes important in understanding  how all the characters are connected.  I also like the historical tie in that many of America's original settlers back in 1620 were actually vampires.  You see, the passengers on the Mayflower not only wanted to escape religious persecution, but also sought to establish a vampire colony.  Hello, Lost Colony of Roanoke explained.

Despite its historical roots, Blue Bloods follows the modern day set of vampires.  These glamorous families include many teens who attend the exclusive Duchesne in New York City.  Of these, Mimi and Jack Force are the elite of the elite.  Then there is Schulyer Van Allen, who doesn't seem to fit in at all, except with her best friend Oliver.  As Blue Bloods opens, Schulyer is beginning to discover her lineage and how she fits in to the vampire world.  But, she's not like the rest, which presents a problem.

The series continues with Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Allen Legacy, Misguided Angel, and Lost in TimeEach of these extends the story a bit more, and we learn how each of the characters and their families fit together in this life but throughout history as well.  They face dangers from not only within their group, but from the dangerous Silver Backs and the evil Countess.  Another highlight of the series is that de la Cruz included Bloody Valentine (considered 5.5 in the series order), which is a series of short stories about some of the characters.  In this way, Cruz was able to go back in time and explain events that happened before the series began, like the mystery of Schulyer's parents.  I loved it!  Also, there is Keys to the RepositoryThis a companion book to the series and is written in short stories, letters, and journal entries that give readers a look into the Repository, the secretive vampire historical records.

These books are a lovely guilty pleasure.  For me, they provide the feeling of a mysterious, paranormal story with a side of celebrity gossip.  You can't get much more fun than that.  The last book in the series is will be available in October 2012.  So, you've got plenty of time to catch up if you haven't fallen in love with Jack Force, oh oops, I mean the Blue Bloods yet. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


All of us have had those times when we thought, "Who am I, really?"  But for most of us, we were having a philosophical moment.  We weren't questioning our humanity.  However, that's exactly what Evie from Kiersten White's Paranormalcy (watch the trailer here) finds herself trying to decide.  Could you imagine living until your teens thinking you were a human, but then one day you find information that implies otherwise?  Well, I don't know about you, but I for one would be a little freaked out by that.  Who's with me?

Evie has been living a very "normal" life at the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) headquarters since she was eight years old.  Normal for Evie is using faeries to travel to the far reaches of the globe to use her pink taser,Tasey, to stun paranormal beings, put containment bracelets on them, and advise them to turn themselves into the IPCA.  I mean, that sounds about normal to me.  Spending time slinking around wearing neck revealing blouses to lure in vampires so they can be "tagged and bagged" is the way all my friends spend their free time. 

Despite how out of this world Evie's life sounds, its the only one she knows.  She has been told she was abandoned as a child and after her gift was identified, the IPCA recognized she could be their secret weapon and answer to all their problems.  You see, Evie has the gift of being able to see through the glamours of paranormals.  This means she sees a vampire for what he truly is, a corpse instead of the Emmett Cullen hottie facade most people see.  This makes her quite useful to the agency.

Life goes on for Evie, being best friends with a mermaid, hating a faerie ex-boyfriend named Reth, being tutored by a know, average stuff.  Until one day, the alarms at IPCA blare a panicked alert.  Attempting to help, Evie runs to find Raquel (her sort of mother figure).  But when she enters Raquel's office she finds someone who seems to be "wearing" Raquel's appearance instead of the real lady.  (So crazy!)  Evie is able to tase this thing in order to take him into custody.

No one seems to know where he came from, what he is, or what he can do (except morph his appearance into anything he wants).  This sends all the fine folks at IPCA into a tailspin.  As if this weren't enough, someone begins to kill paranormals, which is strictly against IPCA's policy.  As these bizarre happenings continue and eventually connect, Evie begins to doubt who she is and what she has always believed.  But, along the way she is able to fill in some of the gaps in her life by experiencing life as a somewhat normal teen for a while.

         Paranormalcy is a fun read.  I love when Evie wants to use curse words but says BLEEP instead; that cracks me up.  There are two more books in the series Supernaturally (watch the trailer here), available now, and Endlessly, available July 24, 2012.  And, obviously now, I am excited to read them.  So, if you haven't read Paranormalcy, why the BLEEP not?  (tee hee)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

When You Reach Me

I have one word for Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me.  UNEXPECTED.  I suppose in looking back all the clues were in place, but I became too interested in the story to really focus on the clues.  You see, the story is so sweet and interesting, I got distracted.  This is not saying much for my detective skills, but it was certainly a fun read.

When You Reach Me was the Newbery Award Winner (list of winners) in 2010 (watch Rebecca discuss the book and the award here), which  obviously makes it a quality read.  The book tells the story of Miranda, a sixth grader whose life takes an interesting turn after receiving a series of mysterious notes.  Miranda lives in New York with her mother, who is training for her appearance on the game show The $20,000 Pyramid.  Miranda's relationship with her mother is really more like equals instead of parent-child.  Sometimes Miranda likes this, and sometimes she just wants to be coddled. Who wouldn't?

Miranda's long-time best friend Sal is her mother's best friend's son.  They've always been together.  It's always been just the two of them.  Until one day, Sal is attacked on their way home from school.  After Sal is punched by Marcus, another student at their school, he turns away from Miranda.  When this happens, Miranda is forced to make other friends.

Luckily for Miranda, Annmarie is on the outs with her long-time best friend as well.  As a result of this perfect timing, Miranda is able to forge a new friendship with Annmarie and another classmate, Colin.  They begin having fun together after Colin gets them jobs at the local sandwich shop during their lunch time.

As if the friendship drama were not enough, Miranda has also been receiving strange messages.  These notes are directed to her, but are so weird she doesn't really know what they mean.  They say things like: "I am coming to save your friend's life. The journey is long.  You won't recognize me when I reach you." Strange.

Miranda's favorite book and a clue!
And, there's the laughing man.  Yep, the laughing man.  He hangs out under the mailbox just outside Miranda's apartment building.  He says asks strange questions, lies under the mailbox, and you guessed it, laughs.  He presents an interesting challenge when coming and going from the apartment.

This book has a bit of everything.  There's the usual middle school drama, the coming of age theme, the friendship struggles, mystery, and dare I say it, a touch of time travel.  Unexpected, right?  This was a great one.  So, don't wait until it's too late, and you need to figure out how to travel back in time to read this one as your current self.  Just read it now!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Seth Grahame (visit his website) is a genius.  Yes, I am convinced of it.  You know of my penchant for all things Jane Austen, and dear Seth breathed a different life into the classics by bringing in zombies and sea monsters.  But, in my humble opinion, these pale in comparison to what Grahame did for Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (watch the trailer) .  He took the lanky, semi-goofy (yet highly respectable and heroic) president and make him a stone-cold, slightly hot vampire hunter.  Who would have thought?
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Film
The premise of this book is that our beloved president's secret diary has been found by the writer, and he has unearthed his past as a vampire hunter.  His hatred for the undead began during Lincoln's boyhood when his mother fell prey to a ruthless vampire.  At this point, her young son swore he would get revenge upon these bloodsuckers.

As his horrible luck would have it, every person close to Abraham would fall prey to a vampire.  This only fed his need to triumph over these creatures.  Throughout his fight, Lincoln finds himself in elite political circles and finds that even the Civil War is but a vampire charade.  He meets many historical figures including Edgar Allan Poe, who is so obviously a vampire (even if you didn't read it here, surely you expected it, right?).  And, many true life events are woven throughout the vampire context.  Genius!

Although I read this book a while ago, I recently learned it will become a movie in June of 2012 (movie info here).  I am beyond thrilled by this.  I think the historical context accompanied by the vampire twist will be just as amazing to watch as it was to read.  So, you've got time.  Throw yourself into the questionable history of Abraham Lincoln.  If you are like me, you'll find yourself thinking, "Well, maybe....maybe that's how it should be."  And then you'll be embarrassed!

*This book is probably best suited for older teens.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Happy New Year!  I'd like to start the new year in the blogosphere off by sharing a book entitled Enthusiasm.  A great friend encouraged me to pick up this book.  And, I am so glad she did.

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman was such an obvious choice for me because one of the main characters, Ashleigh, has a Jane Austen obsession.  I can totally identify!  But, unlike Ashleigh, I have not begun to speak, dress, and pattern my life after Austen's great characters.  You see, Ashleigh, she loves a phase.  She loves to throw her whole being into her current phase.  This week it might be King Arthur; next week it might be ballet, but whatever it is will capture her whole soul.  That's what makes her both amazing and difficult to befriend.  But, Julie, the narrator, stands dutifully by her best friend, the "Enthusiast."

I love to think of Jane Austen like this!
Ashleigh's current Jane Austen phase was a bit unexpected.  Ashleigh is convinced that she and Julie will meet their own Mr. Darcy if only they could attend the annual cotillion at the all boys private school.  Without invitations, though, this will be tough.  Ashleigh does manage to gain them entrance into the dance beginning a whirlwind of adventures with their new found potential Darcys. 

I love this book.  The Pride and Prejudice tie in was awesome.  I've got to tell you, I've read several Pride and Prejudice spin-offs, and for me, it never gets old.  If you too love Austen any way it might come, give this one a try.  Plus, the world needs more Enthusiasts.  Maybe that could be a goal in the new year.  Whatever you do, do it to the fullest.