Friday, April 19, 2013

A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand

A Bad Day For VoodooThis book was recommended by a student, and I gave it a rating of three out of five. Tyler's problems begin when his teacher, Mr. Click, gives him a zero for cheating on a test. Tyler gets angry because he had studied hard, and his best friend, Adam, had copied off of his test. Adam tries to make up for it by buying Tyler a voodoo doll of the teacher. However, Tyler sticks it with a pin, the teacher's leg flies off, and he later dies in the hospital of a broken neck. Adam then gets a voodoo doll of Tyler, and it creates new problems. The boys tried to return the doll, but the car, with the voodoo doll in the trunk, was carjacked. Tyler loses a couple of toes, and the boys, and Tyler's girlfriend, end up wandering through the bad part of town. They need to get the doll back and figure out some way to stop the spell.

I usually have an open mind with books, but this one tested my limits. I'm sure there's an audience for this book, but I didn't need to read about body parts flying off and blood constantly dripping from Tyler's feet. The plot had some funny moments, but I can't say I highly recommend the book.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Morpheus Road #1: The Light by D.J. MacHale

The Light (Morpheus Road, #1)This book is the first in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Marsh's summer is ruined when his best friend, Cooper, is taken away to a remote lake with his parents. Marsh gets upset one day and breaks a glass ball that was given to him by his deceased mother. The broken ball drips blood down the wall, but all evidence of it later disappears. After that, Marsh begins to experience strange hauntings, and his drawing of the Gravedigger seems to come to life. Marsh gets word that Cooper is missing, so he gets Cooper's sister, Sydney, to drive him to the lake to help in the search. The Gravedigger starts to become more threatening, and he even causes the death of several people. Marsh starts to learn the truth about Cooper's disappearance, but Gravedigger may kill him before he has a chance to do anything about it.

The exposition and rising action started drag on bit for me, but the plot became much better after about page 100. The rest of the book was eventful, and it almost became a page-turned as I neared the climax. I liked the suspense, but I also liked the interactions between Marsh and Sydney. She was a beautiful, intelligent girl who thought Marsh was weird and a little annoying. It was fun to see Marsh try to convince that she needed to help him.

Morpheus Road #2: The Black by D.J. MacHale

The Black (Morpheus Road, #2)This book is the second in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. The plot follows similar events to the first book, but it's told from Cooper's point of view. However, as you know from book one, Cooper is dead and has gone to the Black. The Black is where spirits go until they complete unfinished business from their time in the Light. Cooper finds out that a spirit named Damon caused his death, and now Damon is threatening Cooper's best friend's life unless Cooper helps him destroy a crucible. Damon was a savage war leader when he was alive a couple thousand years ago, and now he hopes to bridge the gap between the spirit world and the living. He will then return to the Light and seek his revenge against all humankind. Cooper must learn the rules of the Black, and maybe even break them, in order to save his friend and the Light. He also enlists the help of a girl named Maggie; she is an outcast who supposedly murdered her parents in a barn fire.

The plot had many twists and turns, and I was never quite sure about Cooper's motivations. I don't think he was sure either. The are a few surprising characters who make appearances and become major players in the conflict. It was interesting to recall events from the first book through Cooper's eyes and to see how he was able to influence events in the Light. Damon seemed to be unbeatable, so his conflict with Cooper was even more suspenseful.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #1: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #1)I reread this book and now give it a rating of five out of five. Vlad is a normal eighth grade boy except for the fact that he's a vampire. He's being raised by his "aunt" after his human mother and vampire father were killed in a house fire. His English teacher is now missing, and a strange substitute has taken his place. Vlad finds some books and a journal from his father, and he believes that the substitute is the murderer of his parents. Now, the members of a vampire council may want Vlad dead too. Vlad doesn't understand any of this, and he has no one to turn to for help.

Vlad behaves like a normal teenage boy, unsure about himself with a secret crush on pretty classmate. I enjoyed his interactions with his best friend, Henry, a human who is aware of Vlad's secret. His Aunt Nelly, a close, human friend of his mom, also knows Vlad is a vampire, and she fixes his meals with heavy doses of blood. The suspense builds up to an exciting climax in front of the vampire council.

The Chronilcs of Vladimir Tod #3: Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer

Tenth Grade Bleeds (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #3)This book is the third in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Vlad's teenage years are becoming even more challenging. Eddie Pope is still trying to expose his secret, Vlad's best friend won't talk to him, and Vlad's thirst for blood is growing each day. He has a real fear that he might hurt his girlfriend, Meredith, and he might actually kill her. To top things off, another vampire has come to town to torture and kill him. Vlad is feeling all alone and doesn't have anyone to turn to. Many vampires believe he is the Pravus, and it may be the death of him.

Much of this plot deals with Vlad's teenage/vampire conflicts, so there's not as much action. The author still made it interesting, but don't expect this book to have as much fighting as the last one. I can sense the conflict in the series growing, so I recommend that you read the whole series.


The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #5: Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer

Twelfth Grade Kills (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #5)This book is the final chapter in the series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. The exposition reveals a HUGE surprise, and it will be an important part of this book's plot. Vlad's uncle once told him, "Don't trust anyone," and those words are key to Vlad's survival. Old enemies and new enemies come to town, and a war seems to be looming. Vlad's role as the Pravus has given him unknown powers, and he is the only one who controls his own destiny. Vlad teams up with strange partners, but betrayal is in his future.

This plot kept me wondering the entire way. Just like Vlad, I didn't know which characters to believe. Depending on who Vlad trusted, the results would be totally different. I had suspicions about some of the characters a couple of books back, but I couldn't have imagined the twists to this plot. The conclusion brought a lot of sadness but some unexpected happiness at the very end.

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #4: Elventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer

Eleventh Grade Burns (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #4)This book is the fourth in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Joss is back in town, and he's determined to kill Vlad this time. Also, a powerful vampire named Dorian has a thirst for Vlad's blood, and there doesn't seem to be any way to stop him. And to top it off, his uncle Otis is on trial and will most likely be put to death. Vlad's feelings are further confused when his former girlfriend, Meredith, starts dating Joss the vampire slayer, and Vlad isn't sure what to do about his new drudge, Snow. In the end, Joss or Vlad will need to die.

Bottom line, Vlad is confused. He starts getting conflicting information from different sources, and several vampires want his Pravus blood. It creates nice suspense and will keep readers guessing. There are hidden secrets being revealed, and the fifth book will need to bring it all together.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #2: Ninth Grade Slays by Heaher Brewer

Ninth Grade Slays (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #2)This book is the second in the series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Vlad enters high school, and he still has a crush on Meredth and is still getting bullied. However, he gets word that a vampire slayer is in town, and Vlad is the target. In addition, an outcast at the high school sees Vlad floating down from the top of the school, and he's determined to expose Vlad's secret in the school newspaper. Vlad's uncle returns and takes him to Siberia for some vampire training. He also learns a great deal about his dead father, and a powerful secret is revealed to him. Vlad may be fulfilling a vampire prophecy about a vampire born to lead all vampirekind against the humans. It's a lot of heavy stuff for a high school freshman to deal with.

If you enjoyed Eighth Grade Bites then you'll love this book. It contains the fun character interactions from the first book, but the suspense is amped up a bit. Henry's cousin joins the cast and becomes one of Vlad's best friends. Vlad's thirst for blood is increasing, a slayer is hunting him down, and he is learning new vampire powers. Good times for Vlad!