The Shadowlands Series by Kate Brian

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I never think that a series is completely bad. Sure, you don’t agree with authors, but you normally don’t think that the series is the worst thing ever written. The Shadowlands series by Kate Brian wasn’t horrible, but was badly written.

The  series is about high schooler Rory Miller. She and her family must run from a serial killer and hide in a safe house on a vacation island. There, Rory uncovers secrets that she shouldn’t know about, and the locals don’t seem like ordinary people. People start disappearing, and the vacationers, including Rory’s sister Darcy, aren’t remembering them. The locals seem to know where they went. Will Rory be able to protect herself and her family before it’s too late?

Kate Brian, also known as Kieran Scott, should have made the books longer instead of stretching out the plot. Sometimes the plot would drone on and on, while other times Brian would introduce ten characters and half explain them.

Image result for Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan BoysImage result for private and privilege seriesHowever, I don’t view Kate Brian as a bad author. Her book, Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys is okay. I have never read her Private and Privilege series, but with 11 books, I’m guessing people enjoyed it. I think that Brian was aiming to have a hit paranormal romance series, but kept reverting back to a realistic theme.

Even though I don’t think that The Shadowlands series was the best, I would say to read it if you just want a relaxing story.

-Rebecca V.

Kate Brian’s novels are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Book Review: Ink, by Amanda Sun

inkI know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I couldn’t help it when I saw Ink. The cover was gorgeous as well as the story within about an American girl in Japan who sees a mysterious boy’s sketches move and discovers that she too is connected to the ink.

Meet Katie Greene: your average American teenager. Except she’s living in Japan with her aunt after her mother’s death. Struggling to learn the language and customs, Katie forgets to change out of her school sandals. When retrieving the correct shoes, she overhears a breakup where a boy is accused of cheating with another girl, a sketch of her as proof. It isn’t merely his deep eyes or that he lied when her told his soon-to-be ex that she meant nothing to him that has Katie fascinated. It’s the part where she saw his sketch move and look straight at her.

Katie learns more about the boy, Tomohiro (through various means of stalking), but the more she knows, the more secrets he seems to be hiding. Why did he quit Calligraphy if he is so talented? Why does he pretend to be cold and continually warn her away from him? Why does it look like his sketches are moving? And why, despite all this, is she (possibly) falling for him?

I loved the little sketches within the book. Some were little animations in the corner from turning the pages, while others were full page masterpieces that all tied into the plot. Just look at this.

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Another part I enjoyed was the overwhelming amount of Japanese culture. From the integrated language to just their way of life is so different from my own. The romance part is nice, but is seen too often with the “dark mysterious stranger who believes no one will ever love him because he is a monster but then the main character is the only one to get through because she is special” cliche. Even so, the twist at the end more than makes up for it. Overall, it is a great book that will leave you waiting for the sequel, Rain, that comes out on June 24th. Hope you enjoy.

– Nicole G., 10th grade

Series Review: The Immortals, by Alyson Noel

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If you are bored at home or just looking for a good book to read, I would got to your nearest bookstore or library and check out these books. When I started reading this series, I literally couldn’t put the book down. It’s sooooooo good. (Although I recommend it more for teenagers. Sorry to those of you who are tweens, one more year till you are an official teenager.)

This is one of those series where you can’t tell what the next book is about or else it totally ruins the book before, so I will try my best not to ruin it for anyone.

Sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom is not exactly what you find as your average teenager. Oh sure, she looks like everyone,  talks like everyone- that is, if she talks at all. Eliminating her drab wardrobe, hood over her head, and earbuds stuffed in her ears all the time, she is as normal as normal can be, except for the fact that she is a psychic. She can hear people’s thoughts and see their auras. Ever since Ever’s family died in a car accident a year ago, her life has been quite different. Ever has experienced nothing but emptiness and pain. With her only friends Haven, a goth girl, and Miles, a gay boy, Ever has been able to mange at her new school. When Damen August, a drop dead gorgeous seventeen-year-old, enrolls at her school, Ever’s world is turned around.

The only thing strange about this super hot new student is that Ever can’t seem to hear his thoughts and he doesn’t seem to have an aura. In the first book, Evermore, Ever tries to figure out Damen’s feelings for her. She discovers his unconditional love for as well as another secret. Damen may be the reason why she is a psychic. Unfortunately, there always has to be a bad guy in the book and that bad guy is Drina. With her gorgeous, fiery red hair and striking green eyes, she poses a threat to Damen and Ever’s love. Ever sees Drina as competition for Damen’s love. To find out more you are just going to have to read the first book, Evermore.

The second book of this series is Bluemoon. When a new student named Roman comes to Ever’s school, things seem to get a little out of hand. People who were thought to be worst enemies are now best of friends and everyone seems act differently, even Damen. Ever must figure out what Roman has done to her group of friends of whom she is worried will never be the same. With Damen growing weaker every day and Roman’s power increasing, Ever is presented with a choice one to reverse time and get her family back while losing Damen in the process or the other to stay with Damen and to try to nurse him back to health. Though, in the end, her choice puts Damen’s life on the line, keeping her and Damen apart.

In the third book, Shadowland, Ever’s choice has brought a curse upon Damen and her that gives them a deadly touch to each other. One single touch could mean the end of Damen’s life. Ever treks into the dark world of magick where she finds an unexpected friend, Jude Knight. Jude works at a psychic shop though he’s not one himself. Ever knows that her love for Damen is eternal and strong, but the tension between her and Jude makes her question herself. Is Jude really the one? Or is Damen her one and only soulmate? Got to read the books to find out. I can’t say anything about the other three books or else that would be spoiling the surprise. Its a good series,  I hope you enjoy it!

-Christina B., 7th grade

Genre Introduction: Paranormal Romance

Paranormal romance novels seem to be all the rage in the teenage reading world right now and, in this case, I am no exception to the norm.  I mean, seriously, what isn’t awesome about paranormal romance?  You get adventure, action, romance, fantasy, mystery, mythology, realistic fiction; pretty much all of the genres rolled into one!  Some series of this genre that have joined my ever-growing bookshelf are Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls series) by C.C. Hunter, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and City of Bones (Mortal Instruments series) by Cassandra Clare.  All of these series are, as I like to refer to it, realistic fantasy.

born_at_midnightBorn at Midnight is the first novel in the Shadow Falls series.  If you can look past all of the grammatical and spelling errors, (and there are A LOT – she should seriously fire her editor) this series is a gem.  You’ll love the characters from the start and there definitely is a Team Edward, Team Jacob situation going on.  In this case, Team Lucas, Team Derek is the ongoing debate.  I consider these books to be a mix between The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan due to the supernatural camp setting and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer because of the romance triangle and similar paranormal creatures.  If you enjoyed either of these books or any of the books listed above, I am betting you will appreciate this series.

vampire_academyVampires.  These supernatural beasts seem to be filling the shelves and theaters everywhere.  From Twilight to Marked to Vampire Academy, vampires are everywhere.  Vampire Academy is the first in a series of six novels, all centering around Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir who is training to be her Moroi best friend’s bodyguard.  Dhampirs are half-vampire, half-human and walk the earth for one purpose; to protect the Moroi royalty from Strigoi and other evils.  Moroi are full vampires who are living.  Each Moroi develops their own form of an elemental magic while in their teens, with a few exceptions.  Strigoi are the evil form of vampires.  Dead, inhuman, impossible to kill, and willing to kill to survive, these vamps are made when a Strigoi drinks blood from a human, Dhampir, or Moroi and the human, Dhampir, or Moroi, in turn, drinks Strigoi blood.  A Moroi can also turn by choice if he or she kills a victim while drinking their blood.  These books take place at St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for training young Moroi and their Dhampir counterparts.

city_of_bonesThe Mortal Instruments series is one of my absolute favorites.  I have read all of the books four times and am psyched that they are making a movie out of it (though I’m not so sure about Lily Collins as Clary.  I mean, COME ON, she is supposed to have flaming read hair! Not black).  The first book takes place in New York and at the Institute, an old, dilapidated church that was converted, to the oblivion of the mundanes (humans), to a Shadowhunter stomping ground.  Shadowhunters, also called Nephilim, are half-human, half-angel and are, like their name hints at, demon hunters.  They still bleed and die like humans, so they use a stele to draw runes on their bodies.  Runes are markings, some temporary, some permanent, that are somewhat similar to tattoos and give powers based off of the rune that was drawn.  This series centers around Clary Fray who was hidden from the Shadowhunter world by her mother and, until she has to get her mother back, knows nothing about supernatural creatures or demons.  When her mother disappears and she is attacked by a Ravener demon, Clary is thrust into the world of the Nephilium where she finds she should have been all along.  With the help of Jace Wayland, Isabella and Alec Lightwood, and Simon Lewis, she begins to study the Shadowhunter ways and searches for her mother, all while encountering what her life could have been like, as well as some romance along the way.

-Kaelyn L., 10th grade