Category Archives: Young Adult Books

My Sister’s Books Review #37

Summer of My German Soldier

By: Bette Greene

Patty Bergen craves a more caring relationship with her mother and father, but she has a pseudo-Christian mom, Ruth, who is the housekeeper. Her town has recently been designated to hold captured German prisoners, but during her summer break she comes across an escapee. Anton is not like the German prisoners, she has heard about through the town’s gossip. He is nice and caring. Patty has to choose between betraying her family and helping Anton remain safe.

By keeping the dialect true to both the setting and the characters, Bette Greene takes readers on a journey back in time, to the heart of a small community in the South. Though this can be difficult for some readers, it helps keep the story genuine. Told through the eyes of a twelve year old girl, young readers can relate to the main character’s emotions and struggles. Packed full of moral dilemmas, this book demonstrates the importance of acceptance and being nonjudgmental.   Despite the fact that most readers had to read this in school, this is a wonderful book to go back and re-read, several times over.

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My Sister’s Books Review #36

The Book Thief

By: Markus Zusak

Liesel Meminger and her brother are on their way to Munich to begin their lives with their new foster family. When her brother dies, Liesel discovers a book and on a whim, she takes it. As she learns to adjust to life with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, she befriends her next door neighbor, Rudy Steiner. Hans teaches Liesel the power of words, by teaching her to read and write, which causes her thieving career to thrive. Words combined with a fulfilled promise, changes Liesel’s world forever. Growing up in Nazi Germany is difficult, especially for families who hid Jewish people.

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak tells a softer side of German families during WWII. The main characters are poor and disagree with Hitler ways of life, which causes a few severe punishments to be doled out, too. The writing style feels more like poetry than literature, due to the abundant details, foreshadowing and Death’s direct dialogue with readers. The book starts out slow and can be quite grim for some readers, but before long the book takes on a life of its own. Readers will feel connected to Liesel, as though they share the same beating heart and they will wish for a few more details at the end. For fans of Young Adult books with deep subject matter, or fans of books set in WWII, this story is a must read, especially for reading groups.



This review was written for My Sister’s Books. To learn more about this bookstore, please visit their website.

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Girl Meets Underworld

By: Jess Watkins. Format: eBook. Read: November 2013.

Stella is severely depressed and alone, after losing both her mother and brother to an animal attack. Faced with no other choice, she decides to end her pain and reunite with her family, by jumping off the roof of a building. That is until a guy appears next to her, then jumps and survives! Turns out this guy, Conner is a vampire and even though he seems very friendly, Stella is afraid that a vampire is the one who killed her family. Still, there is something about Conner and she knows she can trust him. But things get a little crazy when her friends introduce her to a new guy named Will, who seems to be very inconsiderate and hot-tempered. Conner warns her that Will is dangerous, but he is just a human… Isn’t he?

This book is a very, fast and fun read. The pace of the book is very quick, especially in the beginning. Both the plot and the characters could have used more time to be developed thoroughly. However, the ending will leave readers shocked and gasping out loud. The plot also seems a bit too familiar at times, and it will have readers comparing it to other popular vampire novels. The setting is never clearly identified, but it seems to take place in Europe. Although the author’s writing style is very fluid and easy to follow. Overall, fans of the infamous Vampire-Werewolf love triangle, will enjoy this book.

Are you a fan of YA Vampire novels? If so, what’s your favorite series?

The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. To learn more about this author and her work, please visit her website.

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Dark Before Dawn

By: Stacy Juba. Format: ebook. Read: September 2013.

Dawn Christian has moved to a new town, now that her mother has gotten married. Dawn has never felt normal, but it is the first day of school and she has a very, bad feeling; the type of feeling that her mother never wants to discuss. Knowing that she never stands a chance of fitting in, she is shocked when she makes friends with a girl who claims to understand all about those psychic feelings. One trip to the town’s fortuneteller turns into daily after school lessons, with her new friend and another girl who hopes to connect with her sixth sense. Dawn continues her lessons, despite her inner voice warning her of evil, but when people start turning up dead, Dawn can no longer ignore the voice. Will she listen or will she stand by her new friends?

Stacy Juba takes on the world of teenage girls and the paranormal in this book. Readers will easily gobble up this book in one sitting. Readers will be able to relate to not only Dawn in her new setting, just trying to fit in, but to also some of the minor characters as well as they play their roles in her new high school/home. This book does have paranormal aspects, but it is the emotional journey that Dawn is on, is what will compel readers to keep reading until the very end. Dark Before Dawn covers many genres marvelously.
Out of the three mystery books that I have read by Stacy Juba, this is the only one where I was right about the ending. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still jumped and I was still excited to read right up to the very last word. I even turned the page, just to make sure that this book was really ending that way. Paranormal fans/Mystery fans/Young Adult fans will all be united on this excellent teenage witchy tale.


The author provided a copy for me to review. To learn more about this author and her works, please visit her website.


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By: Stacy Juba. Format: eBook. Read: September 2013.

T.J. McKendrick can’t do anything right to please his father, despite the fact that he attends a prep school and is top of his class and on several sports teams. His twin brother, Brad, feels that T.J. is the apple of their father’s eyes and despite all of his hard work, he can barely maintain a C average in his public school. Brad hates school, but is looking forward to the start of hockey season. That is until their parents inform them that they can no longer afford T.J.’s school and they will both be forced to attend the same high school. Now Brad fears loosing his friends and the all important Captain spot at the start of hockey season. Not to mention, their younger brother Chris seems to keep getting in trouble and their parents are always arguing which upsets their youngest brother Jory. Will the twins come together to help there younger brothers or will the competition for attention and acceptance destroy their relationship for good?

Stacy Juba originally wrote this book when she was a young teenager, yet readers will not believe that while reading this book. Fans of hockey will love every single detail that takes place on the ice and about the ice. Non-hockey loving fans will not have to worry about being confused by statistics or technical jargon, since it is quite clear that Juba wrote this for every reader to enjoy. Readers will be chuckling at the antics of the youngest brother Jory, while readers’ heartstrings will be caught up effects of the tumultuous relationship of the parents. Readers will be able to relate to Brad, T.J. and their younger brothers. The sudden ending will leave readers needing more, but there is a small excerpt from the book’s sequel. Juba’s excellent talent for balancing human emotion, hockey and high school will create instant fans in the readers.

I loved this book! First off, I am a huge hockey fan. (Born and raised cheering on the Washington Capitals.) Second, this book perfectly demonstrates the inner turmoil inside families, whether it is the side effects of parents fighting or sibling rivalries. Even with the abrupt ending, I would highly recommend this book to middle school children or adult fans of hockey/YA books.


A copy of this book was provided for me to review. To learn more about this author and her work, please visit her website.


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eMag Review #4

Wings of Arian (Solus Trilogy #1)
By: Devri Walls
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Heat Rating: 1 Flame
Final Review:
Wings of Arian is a superb young adult/fantasy novel. In a town where magic has been hidden from the people, young Kiora discovers she is a Solus and she is destined to save the entire town from evil, but first she needs a Protector. Unfortunately for Kiora, her Protector is none other than Prince Emane. These two characters provided several moments for humor and laughter, while readers are taken through a whirlwind of emotions as the battles between good and evil begin.
Filled to the brim with non-stop action and light-hearted personal moments between characters, this book will surely have readers entranced and smiling. The satisfying conclusion of this story sets-up the intrigue of what could occur in the next book. Wings of Arian will be a must-read for any fan of young adult/fantasy books.
Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

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The Beast of Macon Hollow

By: T. C. Harrelson Format: eBook. Read: February 2013.

Will Shepard is a fifteen year old boy who has just lost his mother to gang violence. His father has decided to move Will and his sister, Liz, to Macon Hollow and into their ancestral home that was left to them by Will’s great-aunt Eleanor. Strange things begin to happen as rumors start spreading about strangers in town and that the Beast has risen again. The Beast seems to be linked to the history of the town, but very few can explain exactly what it is. The Beast strikes terror and fear in nearly every town member, but the leader of the town, Mr. Howard Macon is insistent that the Beast is not real. As people begin to disappear, Will begins to have nightmares that show those people being killed. Through the help of his sister and his neighbors, Cate, Marty and Annie, Will realizes his destiny brought him here to Macon Hollow to destroy the Beast and save the town’s residents. But will it be too late?

Good and love battle evil and hate in a typical teenage world filled with bullies and school. T. C. Harrelson has done a superb job with this young adult paranormal thriller book. The intrigue and suspense builds as the readers’ eyes try to keep up the action. Harrelson creates a good representation of his readers in his cast of characters. Readers will feel like they are friends with Will, Cate, Marty, Liz, Annie and Possum. The ending sets up the possibility for several more books, which readers will be desperate to read.   Excellent writing and story-telling make this a must-read for fans of young adult science fiction novels.

I loved this book! My heart was racing wildly as I neared the end and even though I could guess a few events, most of what happened still surprised me. I enjoyed the suspense and the action. The story was amazing and the writing was excellent. I hope that Will Shepard’s next adventure will be released soon. I highly recommend this story. Are you a fan of young adult science fiction books? What is your favorite book from this genre?




Note: A copy of this book was provided for me to review. To learn more about this author and his work, please visit his website.

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The Eye-Dancers

By: Michael S. Fedison Format: eBook. Read: February 2013.


Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma and Ryan Swinton are three very different boys who just finished sixth grade and are ready to start their summer vacation. Unfortunately for them, they each have been having a terrifying nightmare about a young ghost-like girl. After the third nightmare in a row, they meet up and learn that they have been having the same nightmare! With the help of the class genius, Marc Kuslanski, they hold a sleepover to find a way to solve their dreams. While they are sleeping, Marc watches over them and slowly the four boys begin to disappear, only to land in a strange new world. The cars and technology seem ancient, the town seems familiar, but the posters around town are real and frightening. A young girl has been kidnapped and is missing, except she is the same girl from Mitchell’s, Joe’s and Ryan’s dreams. Will the four boys be able to set aside their differences and rescue this young girl, while figuring out a way to get back to their reality?


Fedison has created a world filled with relatable characters that are transported into a fascinating world filled with new possibilities. Each of these boys demonstrates a strength and weakness, while each crave something that is missing from their home life. Once they are transported into this new world, they are filled with the dilemmas that face every child as they begin to mature. Learning how to accept themselves and others while learning how to do the right thing, makes this book an intriguing coming of age story. Young adults, especially boys, will enjoy this action packed adventure story filled with comic book references.


I enjoyed this young adult sci-fi book. Any book that can mix quantum mechanics and comic books in a spooky adventure setting is quite a treat. The fact that each boy faces troubles whether it is being an only child, or being too short or having his parents fight all the time, will give readers something to relate too. This was a fascinating story and I look forward to reading more from Michael S. Fedison in the future.





Note: The author provided a copy of this book for me to review. To learn more about him and this book, please visit his website.

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The Third Dragon

The Dukarian Legacy #1. By: D. R. Ross. Format: eBook. Read: October 2012.

An ancient prophecy sets in stone that the descendents of the Dragon family and the Lion family must unite and combine blood lines. It is this unification that will save the Duridians. This prophecy is known by few, and the greediness of some will cause murder and kidnappings. As time passes, Haban becomes King and has three sons. The youngest, Tomis is his last hope at a magical son that would allow him the ability to rule the entire nation. When it is proven that Tomis is not magical, King Haban becomes intolerable and treats him and his mother horribly. Tomis knows he has magic powers like his Mother, but is terrified by what his father will do. Are all royals as evil as Tomis’s father? Or will Tomis be able to escape and help save his nation?

In this first book of the series written by Ross, a world has been divided by the actions of one merciless King. The people fear for their lives and a young girl is missing. It is up to young Tomis and few friends to help right the wrongful past and save the future for all of Ungal. Ross writes a wonderful, action-packed adventure. Readers will be caught up in the twists and turns and they will immediately be ordering book two in the series. Excellent storytelling and an intriguing plot will capture the attention of readers everywhere.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what happens next. This book had an adventurous story that reminded me of the writings of Rick Riordan. Completely different plot lines, yet a similar feeling of Oh my, what will happen next. If you enjoy young-adult, fantasy-fiction books, then you will want to mark this book as a must-read. So tell me, what do you prefer in a fantasy book? Do like a good struggle between morality with a hint of magic? Or do you prefer a good struggle between good beings and evil creatures with a hint of humanity? Either way, you will want to check out this book.


Note: D. R. Ross provided a copy of this book for me to review. To learn more about this book and the author, please visit her website.


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“The Command Performance”

A Grey Magic Story. By Erin Elizabeth Long. Format: eBook. Read: August 2012.

     This is a short story that accompanies the first book in the Isenland Trilogy. It takes place during Grimoire’s stay with the traveling actors. This is a cute story that gives readers a deeper insight into the personalities of the group of actors. It foreshadows a few events that occur later in the main novel. “The Command Performance” is a nice bonus material for fans that have read Grey Magic.

     As an avid reader, I love when authors write short stories to accompany their novels. Short stories allow the readers to gain more insight into scenes or characters, that would have slowed down the main story. Do you have a favorite author that writes short stories that compliment his/her novels?

     As always…

Note: To learn more about this story and the author visit her website.

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Filed under Fiction Books, Young Adult Books