weisman_rainRain of the Ghosts is the first in Greg Weisman’s series about an adventurous young girl, Rain Cacique, who discovers she has a mystery to solve, a mission to complete and, oh, yes, the ability to see ghosts.

Welcome to the Prospero Keys (or as the locals call them: the Ghost Keys), a beautiful chain of tropical islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. Rain Cacique is water-skiing with her two best friends Charlie and Miranda when Rain sees her father waiting for her at the dock. Sebastian Bohique, her maternal grandfather, has passed away. He was the only person who ever made Rain feel special. The only one who believed she could do something important with her life. The only thing she has left to remember him by is the armband he used to wear: two gold snakes intertwined, clasping each other’s tails in their mouths. Only the armband . . . and the gift it brings: Rain can see dead people. Starting with the Dark Man: a ghost determined to reveal the Ghost Keys’ hidden world of mystery and mysticism, intrigue and adventure.

Paperback, 240 pages

Published December 3rd 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN

1250029791 (ISBN13: 9781250029799)

 

Written for younger readers, Rain of Ghosts tells a story of family, friends, and history. Rain and her family live on a tropical island in the Prospero Keys where her family runs a lodge for vacationers. The community of actual island residents is small, and they all know each other and have jobs catering to the vacationers. Rain has always had dreams to leave the island and explore the world.

Sebastian Bohique, Rain’s grandfather and best friend, passes away early on in the story. This leaves Rain devastated and coincides with her new ability to see ghosts. A man renting a room at her house shows interest in an heirloom she has just inherited from her grandfather and it soon goes missing. Together with her best friends Charlie and Miranda, Rain must find the heirloom and find out why she can now see ghosts.

The ghosts all seem to be tied together somehow and they keep trying to tell her something that she cannot understand. With her friends, she does everything in her power to help, travelling all around and even off the island; it’s a dangerous and wild adventure.

Rain learns a lot about herself and her grandfather in her search for answers. The writing is gripping and really makes you feel like part of the story. What I enjoyed most about this story is what Rain finds at the end of the story: a hidden secret treasure (of sorts) and I can’t wait to read the next book to see where she’ll go next.

I recommend this story. I enjoyed it and it was like having an adventurous vacation. This book had great characters and setting. I admired Rain and I think you will too.

 



weatherly_angelburnAngels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible. Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.

But what if their potent magnetism isn’t what it seems?
Willow knows she’s different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people’s futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow’s secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

Willow uses her powers to read people’s futures and earn a little money. She is doing a reading on a classmate when she sees the image of an angel feeding. It’s not long before the angel himself is knocking on Willow’s door to see what she is all about. When Alex also shows up in her life, things begin to change fast. She is stuck between two sides, and it’s only thanks to Alex that she lives long enough to find out about herself.

Willow is a strong, independent character. She is intelligent and has a ‘do what needs to be done’ persona, rather than the typical damsel in distress. This mostly comes from having to take care of herself and learning to do things on her own from a young age. The writing keeps a constant pace as Alex and Willow do a lot of travelling and road trips to hide and find answers. They are always cautious of each other as well; Alex was hired to kill Willow but he can sense there is something different about her.

What I loved about this story is the fact that the angels are the villains. They come to Earth to feed on the energy and life force of people; this is something that can be done all at once, or a little at a time, causing different side effects. When they feed off a human, that human believes they have seen an angel and that the church is the true church because they have seen it with their own eyes. So the church grows extremely fast and gains followers with every sighting (or feeding).

The strong lead character of Willow is admirable, and I loved her. The complete blind willingness of people who follow these angels, who are literally feeding off of them, is an intriguing storyline that kept me turning the pages. I really recommend this book. I still find myself thinking about it and I look forward to the rest of the series.



plum_after the endBelinda_kisses_tnBel:

Cover

This looks for all with world like a post apocalyptic novel with a desolate desert scene, a cityscape in the distance and beside the sky in shades of sunset; there is only a lone figure in a red hoodie with two dogs. Quite dramatic and fits the story really well.

Characters

Almost everyone in this story is morally corrupt. Makes it easy to pick who I would want at my back.

Favourite

No brainer this one. Juneau, she’s discovering the world for the first time, literally, and making the best of the situation. She has to be one of the best heroines this year.

Least Favourite

Hmmm, this one is more difficult. Mr. Blackwell just makes my hackles rise.

Beginning

Juneau is going about the business of getting her clan fed. Then the helicopters came and took all but her and one other away to a far off place. It’s up to Juneau to find them and free them.

Storyline

When she travels beyond her clan’s borders, Juneau finds that her upbringing was based on lies. She’s determined to find her clan and free them, but the men who took her clan are now on the hunt for her.

Ending

Like last month’s book this continues on… so technically there was no ending.

Thoughts

I wasn’t holding my breath on liking this one. HOWEVER, I ended up having this book finished in about 12 hours. I loved it. I was glad some of the bad things I was expecting didn’t happen. I like that Juneau is battling on, and her focus is buoyed by the person we least expected. (Whoops, spoiler alert). I will definitely be looking to read on. Amy Plum has made a fan out of me.

Quote

“No, that’s what you do when your baby’s freaking out. So, Poe’s a raven-I inter-species extrapolated. And it worked. What would you have done?” ~Juneau giving Miles a piece of her mind.

plum_Until-the-Beginning-cover-lgKrista McKeeth_2_tnKrista:

Cover

I really love the cover design, the contrast between the deserted land into the city and the clouds is really intriguing. But I don’t think it really fitted the story at all.

Characters

The story is told from rotating chapters between Juneau and Miles. She is on a mission, straight forward, direct and means business. Miles is just wanting to get away from his father who is very upset he just flunked a test and staying on his good side. He’s more laid back and curious.

Favourite

I found Juneau to be completely engrossing. She was in business mode, following the instructions she was given and always keeping her goal in mind. You don’t get that very often in YA books; it caught me off guard and I loved it.

Least Favourite

I would have to say Miles’ dad: completely egotistical and focused on money, no matter what the consequences.

Beginning

After some travelling, Juneau finds herself among a busy city full of people and technology and life. She was raised believing after World War Three in 1984 there was nothing left. Her clan disappeared while she was hunting and she must find them.

Storyline

Travelling from Alaska to Seattle, Juneau finds a world she did not know existed. Following the guidance of her Yara and her instincts, she uses her learned powers to guide her to her missing clan. She must out run the drug company that is after her by travelling through many states, and a member of her own clan who may have deceived them all.

Ending

It ends with a lot of questions and on a cliff hanger. Right when everything is all coming together, we have to wait! There is some romance as Miles and Juneau get close through their travels, but it definitely does not play a huge role in the story. The ending really shows a lot of heart.

Thoughts

With the book cover and the summary of the book, I was hoping for more apocalyptic-dystopian of a story, but was also pleasantly surprised to come by a character like Juneau. Not your usual type for a main character but one of the most admirable girls I have come across yet. She knew what had to be done and did whatever was needed to keep going. She didn’t take any crap and told it like it was: the full truth and nothing but the truth. I also love travelling or “road trip” stories and with this one we get to travel a lot, including to my home town of Salt Lake City!

Quote
“I’m lying here in a tent, pretending to be asleep but actually fearing for my life as I watch a bunny murderer have a conversation with our campfire.”- Miles

 



george_nowhereBel:

Cover

The book I borrowed from the Library is split into three horizontal strips. The middle strip has a partial profile of a girl we imagine would be Becca and the bottom strip is the silhouette of forestry. The title and author’s name are in hues of purple and before you read the book, it really doesn’t seem to refer too much to the story within.

Characters

Elizabeth George is quite skilled at creating characters you can relate to. You can even feel some sympathy for the queen of nastiness.

Favourite

Hayley. Yes I know this one is from left field. She’s dealing with stuff in the best way she knows how, and I love a girls who isn’t all ‘poor me’.

Least Favourite

Jeff Corrie. Scum of the earth is above him.

Beginning

Jeff Corrie is using Hannah for his own devices and his greed comes to a head, which would be fine except Hannah can hear whispers (read minds), and what she reads from Jeff’s mind is enough to have her mother and her on the run lickety-split.

Storyline

Hannah, now known as Becca, is sent to Whidbey Island to wait out her mother finding a safe place to hide. She finds the most popular kid in school close to death at the bottom of an incline in the forest and staying off the radar becomes her number one priority.

Ending

This series continues on, so I guess there technically isn’t one here.

Thoughts

I munched through this book in about 24 hours. Talk about hooked. I felt off kilter almost the whole way through, and it didn’t matter how many guesses I made throughout the book, I didn’t guess the outcome. The characters evolve and their relationships are cemented, which is excellent, because I will certainly be searching for the rest of this series.

Quote

“People usually hate because of a despair they can’t let themselves feel.” ~Dianna, giving words of wisdom to Becca.

 George_nowhere 2Krista:

Cover

My cover was the same as Bel’s The island the book takes place on does have a lot of forest landscape, but the main character Becca is explained to have heavy makeup on. I would have liked to see that on the cover.

Characters

The story takes place on a somewhat small island, a place where everyone knows each other. So there are a lot of characters that are coming in and out of the story. We get different point of views throughout the story, which I always enjoy. Becca is the main character and she is abandoned, scared, and lonely but seems to make friends easily.

Favourite

Diana: it seemed that everything this woman said was insightful, and she always has this caring air about her that was comforting.

Least Favourite

Jenn. It seemed like she always had to say something negative. She obviously didn’t believe in the saying “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Beginning

Running for their lives, Becca’s mother drops her off at Whidbey Island to be taken care of by a friend (to hide her from her step father). But when Becca gets to the friend’s house, circumstances have changed. Now she is stranded not knowing anybody who can help her and out of contact with her mother.

Storyline

Hiding from her step-father in fear for her life, Hannah is left in the care of her mother’s friend on Whidbey Island. As soon as she arrives everything falls apart, and now she has nowhere to go and doesn’t know anybody to help. After meeting a few people, she finds a place to live and she starts school. When a boy is hurt in the forest, things take a turn for the worse.

Ending

This is another first book in a series, so the ending leaves some unanswered questions and intrigue for the next book.

Thoughts

Even with a mixture of characters, I felt that the author did a great job in having each one rounded and their emotions jumped off the page. Their reactions were very real and raw. This made me really hate and really love different characters as the story progressed. I also loved the scenic mountainous setting of Whidbey Island; very much a place I would love to live in.

Quote

“Sometimes, we can’t see a reason for what happens, so we try to find one because it’s easier to do that than to go through the pain of recovering.” -Diana



masson_scarlet-in-the-snowBel:

Cover

A beautiful young lady in a black & white with a vine accent around the edges. Smack bang in the middle of the cover is an exquisite rose bloom in a wonderfully vivid scarlet. The title is in red, and I quite like the effect.

Characters

Magic practitioners, young women climbing the social ladder, and the stereotypical hero and heroine can be found in this one.

Favourite

Old Bony. She’s a bit of a nasty character, but her heart is in the right place.

Least Favourite

Ivan. I know this is a fairytale retelling, but seriously?

Beginning

A Beauty and the Beast retelling: girl becomes the prisoner of a beast and this is where it all gets a little too convenient.

Storyline

Girl is sent home, but things occur to make her want to go back to the beast.

Ending

Not quite the Disney version of the happy ending, but it’s close enough.

Thoughts

This was a quick read, but some things fell into the way-too-convenient basket for my liking. However, I do appreciate that Natasha is a brilliantly strong female lead character.

This would definitely be a nice entry-point to fairytale re-tellings for the middle grade crowd. But for the older YA audience, it’s just not as strong as other versions.

Quote

“Tonight, you ride in the sleigh with my pretties.” ~ Old Bony making evening plans for Natasha

 

sophie-massonKrista:

Cover

The cover had immediate appeal to me, the red really stands out with the white background and represents the story. 

 Characters

Natasha and Ivan. Beauty and the Beast, Natasha comes from  poor family, Ivan from a rich. They both come under the care of Luel for the beginning of the story and the relationships blossom from there.

Favourite

Luel, the care taker of Ivan, an intelligent and magical woman who brought a wonderful motherly element to the story.

Least Favourite

The villain. Usually, I really enjoy the drama the villain adds to this story, but with this one I just didn’t like him much.

Beginning

Natasha gets caught in a snow storm in the forest; she runs from wolves and finds sanctuary in a mansion. She finds there is nobody around and finds herself drawn to one red rose in the garden. Upon her touch, the rose falls apart and the home-owners demand repayment for their loss.

Storyline

Even though, at first, Natasha is held at the mansion until her debt has been paid, she soon learns of the mystery of the man-beast, Luel and the magic that keeps them in hiding. Natasha soon grows very fond of Ivan and Luel and wants to help him release him from the curse.

Ending

Very powerful, eventful, and big moments that really made this story a beautiful read.

Thoughts

I was a little wary at the beginning but once it really gets going, Natasha begins her travels and meeting the witch it really took off. Set in an alternate Prague, the story recreates the landscape, cultures, and languages. Great world building and characters that you really want to root for. Natasha is a strong and admirable character. I very much enjoyed this fairy tale story and highly recommend it. I love stories that take us on a trip, getting a glimpse at different cultures and social life. Great story telling all around.

Quote

For who as seen Old Bony these days? Not a single soul. Not once in a hundred years has she shown her long thin nose and sharp teeth to people anywhere.  Who knows, maybe her brand of magic, the magic you hear of from the old stories, cannot survive in our modern world of telegraphs and trains and typewriters. 



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