I Am Still Loving The House of Night Series, even if I am alone in this thought!

chosenI read some scathing reviews of this one, but I have to say I still liked it.  It is not the best written book in the world and it is predictable, but I’m strangely ok with that.  This series has become such a guilty pleasure for me and I couldn’t put this one down.

Zoey is still juggling three boyfriends in a very slutty and naughty fashion.  Her best friend is a bad smelling, blood sucking undead, stereotypical vampire.  Plus, she’s on the bad side of the powerful high priestess, Neferet.  Zoey must choose between the three hot smoking men in her life and she must try and heal the undead friend.  She does all this while keeping her secrets from her best friends.  We all know best friends do not like it when this happens.  So, predictably her friends turn their backs on her.  It is all part of Neferet’s evil plan.  Mwahaahaaa!  I am assuming Neferet is doing something to create some kind of gross undead vampyre army so she can go to war against the humans.

I think I like it because I’m drawn to the different take on vampire lore.  They are almost like witches with their worship of the goddess, Nyx and the ability to do magic by casting circles.  The vampires are marked instead of made.  They go to a boarding school to make the mysterious change from fledgling to full vampyre.  I like the spelling too.

Some ideas for discussing this with teens:

1. Ask them where they think this story is going?  What do they think of Neferet’s evil plan. 

2.  Why do they think Aphrodite became unmarked?  Do they agree that you have to give up something to make a change for the better?

3.  Which of the boyfriends would they have chosen?

4.  Each of the vampyre fledglings can change their name if they choose.  What name would they pick?  Would they change their name at all?

5.  Stevie Ray becomes something gross, but Zoey refuses to turn her back on her.  Discuss friendship, especially what happens if a friend changes.

6.  Why do you think Zoey kept all her secrets from her friends?  How could she have handled this differently?  Or did she handle it just right?

The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

jellicoe-roadAward Winner – Jellicoe Road  by Melina Marchetta




Printz Honor Books

octavian The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II, The Kingdom on the Waves, by M.T. Anderson





frankie     The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart





nation-1Nation, by Terry Pratchett





tenderTender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan

Graceling Is A Fantasy Read With A Strong Female Character! Loved it!


Katsa lives in a world with seven kingdoms.  She is a graceling, a person who is extremely gifted at a rare talent.  You can tell who they are because their eyes are two different colors.  Some people are graced in cooking, like King Randa’s chef, others can swim like fish.  Katsa’s grace is killing!  (Or so she thinks.)  Her uncle, King Randa discovers this grace when she is just a small child.  He raises her to become one of his thugs, causing pain and death to those who displease him.  She fights back in her own way, creating a group that secretly helps people instead of hurts them.

During one of their missions she meets Prince Po, whose grace is not what everyone thinks.  Together they discover one of the most beloved of the seven kings is more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.

Katsa is a brilliant and strong character.  Finally, a strong female character teenage girls will like.  Katsa is the anti-Bella.  I just love her!  (Ok, I liked Bella too, but for different reasons.)  When Katsa learns the truth about her grace, her own self worth becomes transformed.  It is great to watch her evolve. 

I can’t wait to read the other two books Cashore is working on now.  According to her blog, she is working on two books.  Book 2 is called Fire, which is a prequel to Graceling. Book 3 is Bitterblue, which takes place in the  future a number of years after Graceling.  Bitterblue is such a cool name for a princess!

Ideas for discussing with teens:

1.  Should the people who are graced be treated differently?

2.  How does Katsa change when she discovers the truth about her grace?

3.  If you could be graced, what talent would you choose and why?

4.  Should Katsa marry Prince Po, based on the changes in her life?  What do you think of their relationship?

5.  Talk about the different traditions in Po’s culture.  What do his rings and tatoos represent?

6.  What do you think Katsa’s life would have been like if she were not graced in killing?

King of Thorn Rocks (Just a little Madusa humor!)

king-of-thorn-5king-of-thorn-4king-of-thorn-3king-of-thorn-2king-of-thorn-1King of Thorn is my favorite manga series.  Ok, it is one of the few I’ve actually read, but this has a great storyline that pulled me in right away.  Twin sisters, Kasumi and Shizuku are infected with the Medusa virus.  This virus slowly turns its victims to stone.  But there is hope!  Scientists are putting victims in cold storage until a cure can be found.  There is only room for one more,  Kasumi will be saved because her symptoms are not as bad. 

Kasumi wakes after what seems like minutes into a world she cannot recognize.  Terrifying monsters and thorny vines cover the lab.  Kasumi and a small group of survivers (who aren’t eaten by the monsters) try to find help and what the heck is going on. 

Yuji Iwahara created King of Thorn is in six volumns.  It is full of action and mystery.  The virus may not be a just a virus after all.  And has Kasumi’s twin sister been following her around all this time?  And are the people who die really dead?

I used this for a teen science fiction book discussion and the boys loved it!