For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact the I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Different colored font means it's an ARC for 2010 (and I'll try to remember to put the month it's released, as well). I'm linking to the Powell's pages for the ARCs.
* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- definitely will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite.
Lips Touch Three Times, by Laini Taylor ***+ I'd heard a lot about this book, and it was definitely intriguing. To me, it read as three separate stories about the power of a kiss -- and I liked the various mythologies woven into them, but I couldn't tell if the final story was supposed to link the others somehow (as if those personas were previous 'incarnations', perhaps)? Anyway, an interesting look at love. (YA...paranormal?)
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer **** This is an interesting vampire story, as Vlad believes he's the only vampire around -- only to discover differently when he discovers he's being sought out because of his father's (also a vampire) death. It had some definitely humorous moments, and the story moved at a nice pace. (tween urban fantasy)
Spellbinder, by Helen Stringer ***+ This is a nice upper middle grade/tween paranormal about a girl (Belladonna) who can see ghosts, including her parents who died about a year before. But when all the ghosts suddenly disappear, Belladonna must figure out how to bring them back. It got a little complicated in spots, and when Belladonna suddenly knew what to do at the end, I wasn't sure how she figured it all out, but overall, it's an interesting story with likable characters. (MG/tween paranormal)
Betrayals, by Lili St. Crow ****+ I really enjoyed this. It's the second book in the series (Strange Angels is the first), and I thought the intrigue and development of this world deepened nicely in this one. Dru, as one of the only female-half-vampires around, is sought by many different parties because of her mystical abilities (which she doesn't quite have yet) -- and I also enjoy Graves and their developing friendship. My only complaint (though a fairly minor one) is that Dru seems ridiculously naive in many places. She's sixteen, but sometimes she comes across as tween-ish in her responses to others (especially male others). Still, I can't wait for the next one! (YA urban fantasy)
Once Was Lost, by Sara Zarr *** For me, this was a stronger book than Story of a Girl, and as someone who knew many PKs (pastor's kids), I found Sam's character pretty believable. I also found her father to be a realistic portrayal...I liked it, though I doubt I'll reread it. As with many books based on religious struggles (Christian), I guess it feels too much like my own experiences for me to want to relive it. (YA contemporary)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman ***** Okay, this is one of those books...for me, it had the same flavor as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe or Steel Magnolias -- the rich, Southern, strong-woman feel. CeeCee immediately captured my heart, and I laughed (there are some hysterical moments and lines) and cried as she learned how to deal with her insane mother's death and the repercussions on CeeCee's life. The setting is late '60s, so there's some interesting racial aspects, as well. My only very minor complaint is that all the male characters were pretty weak -- I hope CeeCee can find boys/men in her life who are decent, strong, and good people, as well. But yeah, this is a fantastic book! (upper MG/tween, January, 2010)
The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain ***** I loved this one too! I read it right after CeeCee, and it was a nice balance. I thought the mystery was intriguing, and certainly Grace's life and family seemed believable to me. Grace finds herself torn between loyalty to her beloved older brother Jude and the boy next door (literally), who used to be Jude's best friend until something horrible happened a few years ago and Daniel disappeared. Now he's back, and Grace must figure out what really happened back then, and what that means for today. My only minor complaint is that a few of the details about Jude's life seem to be fuzzy...I'd have liked a little more connecting of the dots (but you know how much I like that, hehe). Overall, though, I really enjoyed it. (YA urban fantasy, just released, 12/09)