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Book Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Hooked by Liz Fichera ISBN: 9780373210725

Seth leaned closer when I didn’t answer him. He lowered his voice. “Then let me say something.” He jabbed his forefinger at me, “First, don’t lie. I am not a tool. I know why you flaked out Saturday night. I saw you.” It was as if he’d prepared for this. “I saw what you did.”

I glared at him.
A glint of satisfaction settled on his face. “We both did.”
“Who?” I blurted. But then I remembered the truck, the one that had peeled away in the dark.
“Gwyneth. We followed your ass to Pecos.”
“You followed me?” My voice rose is disbelief.

Seth began to stutter. I hadn’t heard him do that in years either. It only happened when he got really pissed. “And, s-s-s-second…” He stopped and drew in a breath to steady his speech. “Do you realize that you’re screwing your life by hanging out with that Indian?”

My body froze. “Shut. Up. Seth,” I said through clenched teeth. “Just shut up.” By now, half of Homeroom was listening, or trying to. Fortunately, the overhead speakers were turned up pretty loud.
“What do you have in common with her, anyway? Have you thought about that? And have you forgotten that she’s the reason I’m off the g-g-golf team?” Seth began to stutter again. I knew that he also was itching to remind me how his dad had been killed, but thankfully, he left that unspoken.
“You know the only reason you’re interested in her is because it’ll piss off your dad. Admit it.” Seth’s eyes grew dangerously dark, daring a contradiction.

My breathing got louder as I drew it between my teeth, glaring back at Seth.
Seth lowered his voice. “Are you going to start hanging out on the reservation now, going to powwows and shit? Have you gone totally lame?”

The Review:

When Fred Oday gets the chance to start on the boys’ varsity golf team, she knows that it won’t be easy. She’s a girl, she lives on the Reservation, and she can barely afford the clothes, let alone the fancy clubs the other guys have. The chance on the team could lead to a scholarship to college, however, which is the only way out of her otherwise dead-end future. 

Ryan Berenger cannot understand how the coach has lost his mind- letting a girl take a spot on the varsity team, without a try-out? And now Coach expects him to be her partner?  Never mind that she has a good (well, awesome) game, it’s going to be impossible, not only on the green but also in school as well.
Liz Fichera’s Hooked is much deeper than a star-crossed love story.  High-schoolers Fred and Ryan go to the same school, and are in same classes, but are never in the same circles until the golf coach discovers Fred’s natural talent at golf, and convinces her that scholarships and college await if she joins the varsity team.  However, Fred knows going in that it will be a challenge:  taking someone’s spot, being female, and being from the Gila River Indian Reservation are all strikes against her. It’s the themes of bigotry and racism that make Hooked stand out from others.  From the start, Fred is called all sorts of racist names, and the economic differences between Fred and Ryan stand out starkly.  Unlike a lot of recent female characters, though, Fred never strikes back at her tormentors, which could possibly be a result of her abusive home life.  This is also a very realistic portrait of a shy sixteen year old girl.  Readers will get engaged in Fred and Ryan’s stories, realize that not everything is perfect in either world, and wish that they will find happiness with each other.  This definitely could be paired with books like Dairy Queen or Shut Out for the sports aspects, or Perfect Chemistry or Boy Meets Boy for romance. 3 out of 5 stars.  (Rated 3.67 out of 5 stars on Goodreads as of February 10, 2013- please be aware Christie is a hard grader.)
I really liked Hooked, and enjoyed the look at golf as a high school sport.  I liked the fact that Fichera took the time to show that no one’s families were perfect- while we knew from the start that Fred’s was a little screwed up, as readers we learned pretty quickly that Ryan’s picture perfect family was as fractured as a dropped water glass.  I also enjoyed the accurate depiction Fichera painted of the Gila River Indian Reservation- we’re always lacking POC in teen fiction, and to have it brought to the forefront is refreshing.  
I thought that Fred’s reactions to the racism and bullying that she received throughout school and the team to be quite on point for a contemporary teen.  I know that we, as teen services librarians, and me personally, always want to see strong female role models, but Fred reacted exactly how a teen would react- she wouldn’t bring it up to anyone because to bring it up would make it worse, especially to a coach who lectured for a good portion the first day on how they were lucky to have a girl on the team.  There were no adults that could make her situation better, and by standing up in her own way (not quitting the team, not giving in) she was making her stand against the bullies.  And she was being a role model for those to follow after.
Ryan I had less sympathies for, and was glad that he finally got his act together near the end of the book- I could wish that he would have stood up to his friends sooner, but again, this is completely normal for a high school boy trying to figure out where he stands. 

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Take 10: Myths Made Real, when the world of myth invades the real world

“If I wasn’t careful, I had no doubt this monstrous wonderland would swallow Alice whole . . .” – My Soul to Save, Rachel Vincent

With All My Soul, book 7 in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, is scheduled for publication on April 1, 2013.  Soul Screamers is an urban fantasy about bean sidhe (banshee) Kaylee Cavanaugh.  Kaylee must balance her life as a high school student while trying to prevent the Netherworld from bleeding over into it.  There are hellions, reapers and more out to steal her soul.  Oh yeah, and we people are about to die, she starts screaming.

A Banshee is a woman from Irish mythology who begins to wail when someone is about to die.  A banshee is considered by some to be a type of fairy or a representative of the Underworld. You can find out more about the Soul Screamers series at http://rachelvincent.com/soulscreamers.htm.  Also, The Soul Screamers series has a huge following on Tumblr so check it out.  If you are not reading the Soul Screamers series, you are missing a great paranormal series that has developed a complex mythology based on characters not typically seen in today’s paranormal romance; there are plenty of vampires, werewolves and angels, so I recommend that you try Soul Screamers for something new and very interesting.

Want to dip your toe into more of the underworld? Check out these books.

The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Megan Chase finally learns the reason she has never felt like she truly fit into this world, she is the daughter of the mythical faerie king.
“I licked my lips and whispered, “Is this where you say you’ll kill me?”
One corner of his lips curled. “If you like,” he murmured, a flicker of amusement finally crossing his face. “Though it’s gotten far too interesting for that.”  – The Iron King, The Iron Fey book 1
Misfit by Jon Skovron
Jael discovers that she is part-demon the same time that she discovers that there are those among the demon world that want her dead.
“The stuff you do is way more important than the stuff you believe.”
The Fury Trilogy by Elizabeth Miles
Three strange girls visit the town of Ascension, Maine during a snowy winter and life is never the same as a deadly plan for revenge is put into place.
“Sometimes sorry isn’t enough . . .”
Croak by Gina Damico
Lex gets shipped off to live with her uncle who decides he is going to teach her the family business: reaping.
“Life isn’t fair. Why should death be any different?”
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Kate must pass a series of seven tests in order to make a deal with Hades and keep her dying mother alive.
“Me?” The corner of his mouth twitched. “I rule the dead. I am not one of them” 
The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
Aeslyn has always seen the faeiries, but they suddenly seem to be taking an interest in her.
“And he smiled at her, truly smiled- wicked and lovely…” 
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
A family curse, a haunting mystery, and the tragic love between a mermaid and a mortal weave their way into this haunting tale of love and death over the years.
“The more she loved, the more she ached.” 
The Reaper Diaries by Michelle Vail
At the age of 16, Molly is sent to an elite boarding school where she is trained to be a necromancer.
“The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird . . .”
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue is drawn to the Raven Boys, who are on a quest of their own to wake a sleeping spirit.
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, Neeve said. ‘Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

YA Greek Mythology on Goodreads
YA Mermaids on Goodreads

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The Power of Music, a guest post by author Melissa Darnell

Crave, book 1 in The Clann Series

Thank you for having me here today!

The recent movie premier of “Les Miserables” has made me really think about the power of music lately. I realize that for some, having music in their lives every day isn’t that big a deal. But for me, I have always been extremely drawn to music and have to listen to at least an hour or two of it every day or I just don’t “feel right”. Strangely though, if I were a superhero, music would be both my kryptonite AND my power enhancer. Different songs have the ability to instantly make me feel hopeful for the future (like “30 Seconds to Mars’” music video for Closer to the Edge) or make me sob like a baby (Katy Perry’s music video for “The One That Got Away” does it to me every time!). And while I still can’t manage to recall the entire basic multiplication table, I can somehow remember all the words to the classic old school rock n’ roll songs my dad used to play in his automotive repair shop when I was a kid! Maybe that stubborn, gaping disparity in the way my subconscious works explains why I always preferred dancing to trigonometry?
Although my competitive dancing days are long past, music still plays a huge role in my daily life, and this is never truer than when I write.  I’m one of those writers who needs specific music to listen to for every book I write so I can stay in the right mood for each scene…a challenge made even tougher when the hubby and kids do their best to crack me up (which usually happens right when I’m in the middle of writing extra tense conflict!)  So once I’ve plotted out a new novel’s outline, I always sit down and spend a day or two creating a unique playlist for it before I get going on the rough draft.
Consume by Melissa Darnell, book 3 in The Clann Series
Published by Harlequin Teen, 2013
In the case of Consume, book three in my Clann series, I included a few songs from the previous two Clann Series books’ playlists along with new songs. This helped me remember that this story is both a continuation of their romantic saga as well as its conclusion and helped emotionally bring it all around full circle, so to speak.
While the full length, official playlist for Consume won’t be revealed until the novel’s release in September 2013, I can give you a sneak peek at a few of the fairly eclectic mix of songs that will be included, which also hint at some of the major moments to come for Tristan, Savannah, Emily, and the entire Clann Series cast of characters. If you’re a movie soundtrack lover like me, you might also recognize the movies several of these songs were featured in!
“You Must Love Me” by Madonna
“Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars
“Disenchanted” by My Chemical Romance
“I Don’t Care” by Apocalyptica featuring Adam Gontier
“No One Moves, No One Gets Hurt” by Bedouin Soundclash
“The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors)” by Flogging Molly
“Ungodly Hour” by The Fray
“Falling” by The Civil Wars
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Emily Browning
“Heaven” by O.A.R.
“Stand” by Rascal Flatts
“Vox Populi” by 30 Seconds to Mars
“Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey
“Without You” (piano/cello cover version) by The Piano Guys
Of course, the official playlist for Consume is much longer because I usually have one song for every scene and even two or three for the major ones.  But this sneak peek will give you an idea of what’s coming for Tristan and Savannah later this year. 😉
Want to suggest a song of your own for Consume’s playlist? Sometimes I discover the best new-to-me songs for my next book’s playlist because of readers. (For instance, “Bloodstream” by Stateless, the first song listed in Covet’s playlist, was recommended to me by a fan on Facebook.) If you’ve got a favorite song you think is the perfect fit for Tristan and Savannah, I would love to hear from you at www.MelissaDarnell.com, or on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheClannSeries) or Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/theclannseries).
Once Consume goes on sale in September 2013, its full length playlist, excerpts, and links to its print and ebook versions in the US and abroad will be posted at www.TheClannSeries.com, where you can already find excerpts, playlists, and sales info for the U.S. and international versions of Crave (Clann Series book #1) and Covet (Clann Series book #2), the histories of the Clann and vamp factions, and a whole lot more. Be sure to also follow me at Twitter or Facebook for updates on Consume’s release and full length playlist, which could include YOUR suggested songs too!
For more on book playlists, read this post on The Soundtrack of Your Books

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Book Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

“Who are you trying to fool? People are food . . . You’re not any less of a monster then I am.”
The Eternity Cure, July Kagawa

In The Immortal Rules, book 1 in the Blood of Eden series, Allison Sekemoto made a life changing decision, technically both a life saving and a life ending choice: she choose to become a vampire rather than die.  She traveled with a group of humans, fought an evil vampire prince, and learned more about the vampire world she was living in – and about herself.  In The Eternity Cure, Allison joins forces with the one vampire she hates most, Jackal, to try and find a cure for the rabids and to save her sire, Kanin.  In this new world, the lines between human and monster continue to blur and the stakes become higher than anyone could ever have imagined.

“I hope I’m not disturbing you.”
“Not at all. At this point, I’m so disturbed that anything else will seem tame compared to the week I’ve had.”
The Eternity Cure, Julie Kagawa

The Blood of Eden series has the perfect mix of science gone bad, the world gone crazy, true love, and epic battles.  The Eternity Cure has betrayal, intrigue, and all that you can ask from a series about a dystopian world ruled by vampires who declare themselves Princes and keep humans as pets.  And Ezekiel, the potential human love interest, is a shining example of why the human race is worth saving and the perfect antidote to all those surly, questionable love interests out there in YA today.  Even in the face of gruesome deaths, plagues and the struggle for power among men disguised as monsters, The Blood of Eden series is full of stand up characters who remind us all that the choices that we make define who are. 
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is a previous TLT Rec of the Week

” . . . a demon barely restrained.”

– The Eternity Cure, Julie Kagawa

This is hands down one of my favorite vampire series out there.  As a Buffy fan, I see this as a twist on the Buffy lore: What would Buffy do if she were turned into a vampire?  To be clear, Allison is not Buffy, she does not begin as a vampire slayer but as a regular, every day human.  But she is a strong, confident young lady living in a broken world.  And when she becomes a vampire she struggles hard to maintain some resemblance of her humanity while being forced to feed on people to stay alive.  Allison forces us to think about what it means to be a monster and what it means to choose love, even if it comes as such a high price.  There is a stunning conclusion that sets us up for quite an emotional thrill ride in the next installment.  The potential romance between Allison and Zeke sizzles.  Highly recommended.  This sequel does not disappoint.

The Blood of Eden series is on my Great Reads for Buffy fans list and is a great addition to those who like to read about plagues and epidemicsThe Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa will be released in May of 2013 by Harlequin Teen.  ISBN: 978-0-373-21069-5.

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