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Book Review: She Who Fights Monsters (Book 2 of The Black Parade) by Kyoko M.

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She Who Fights Monsters by Kyoko M.

Source: Kyoko M’s website

Plot Summary (Taken from Amazon): Jordan Amador. 23. New Yorker. Waitress. Investigator for souls with unfinished business, also known as a Seer. Michael O’Brien. 25. New Yorker. Lead guitarist. Commander of Heaven’s Army. The dynamic supernatural duo is in the middle of trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one.

After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost. When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

My Review:  One of the best things about this book is the author’s writing style. The thought-provoking epigraphs, humorous pop culture references,  and detailed action scenes from the first book are still present in the second book. In addition, the author does a good job writing this book from two points-of-view, Jordan’s and Michael’s.

Besides the author’s writing style, the way Jordan and Michael’s relationship was portrayed in the book was very well done. You can see how much Jordan and Michael care for each other when they are together and apart. Things like knowing what makes the other tick and using the same “I just kicked your butt” catchphrase show how close Jordan and Michael have become.

In addition, the character development is good. Although new personal demons confront Jordan, she works through them while kicking demon butt. Michael has some anger issues that he learns to handle as he juggles his multiple roles.

Other characters that play an important role include Jordan’s mother and adoptive father, the archangel Gabriel, and the archdemon Belial. Jordan’s mother and adoptive father do a good job guiding Michael and Jordan from above. Gabriel is a strong fighting partner and a caring friend to Jordan. Belial is a complicated factor, but his involvement with Jordan and Michael makes him a striking character.

Finally, the book’s moral is something anyone can relate to. By the end of the book, the reader is shown that sometimes life and people aren’t always black and white. There is a grey area in almost everyone, whether it be yourself, a parent, or a lover.

Overall, this was a great sequel to The Black Parade. If you enjoyed The Black Parade, then definitely read this book.

Related Link:  Book Review of The Black Parade Book 1




Book Review: Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton

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Plot Summary (Taken from Goodreads): It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.

Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.

None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.

My Review: One of the best things about this book is the characters. Dylanie is a kick-butt and sassy girl with cool powers.  Jake is funny and also has cool powers. Ashley is a diamond in the rough who really comes through during the climax of the book.  Also, the emotional baggage they have made them relatable.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was how the author weaved in difficult issues into the plot, especially in Dylan’s case. There is not a lot of teen fiction with the personal issues Dylan has and the author handled them very realistically.

In addition, the paranormal aspect to the book made it a page-turner. The fact that the author chose different psychic abilities for each character made the book unique. Also, weaving in history to the storyline made it seem almost real.

The only flaw in the book is the character Jackson and his interactions with Dylan.  Given what his character is, his interactions with Dylan didn’t make sense and should have been explained.

Overall, this was a great book. If you want a creative paranormal story with good characters, this is the book for you.

Written by Serena Zola

October 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Book Review: Bloodlines

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The paranormal world of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series is back with a all-new series called Bloodlines. This first book is told from the point of view of a human called Sydney Sage, whose job as an Alchemist involves studying magic to guard vampire secrets and protect human lives. After the incident with the half human-half vampire dhampir called Rose Hathaway, Sage’s loyalty to the Alchemists has been questioned. However, when dhampir Jill Dragomir-sister of Moroi vampire queen Lissa Dragomir- is in danger, she goes into hiding at a human boarding school. Unexpectedly, Sage is chosen to be her guardian and protector.

One of the best things about this first book in the Bloodlines series is the fresh narrator. In the previous series Vampire Academy, its narrator Rose Hathaway is beautiful, witty, and tough-as-nails on the surface. While she wasn’t a bad character, she was a little of something already seen in female-fronted action movies. Sage, on the other hand, is an intelligent girl whose insecurities are shown upfront. This alongside the storyline sets up a more authentic series. Another notable thing about the book is its theme of self-identification that Sage and one other character exhibits.

The only downside to this series is that is doesn’t work well by itself. If you haven’t read the Vampire Academy series first, then you may be confused when you start Bloodlines. While the author does explain the series’ world, she does it in a way that makes the reader want to read more and yet wonder if there is more. All in all, this is a good start to the series.

Written by Serena Zola

December 29, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Real Young Adult Literature

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As an aspiring young adult author and a person who is passionate about teen issues, I voraciously read young adult literature. However, most of today’s young adult literature makes me sick! It seems after the Twilight series came out, everyone wants to jump on the paranormal fantasy bandwagon. All I ever see whenever I go to the library or bookstore are romance books about vampires or some similar thing like angels and fairies.  I’m not saying writing about these things are bad, but what vexes me is that these subjects aren’t written about realistically. I know some people will say, “Well duh, it’s a paranormal fantasy, it’s not supposed to be real.” In my opinion, fantasy is just a more creative version of reality. The Harry Potter series had magic and myth in it, but it also had themes of prejudice, friendship, and identity in it.

After I finished reading the Harry Potter series, I started reading the Twilight series because I kept seeing it everywhere in school. At first,  I loved the series like everyone else. Then, I read another vampire series called Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. As soon as I finished the first book, I no longer liked Twilight. Vampire Academy had stronger characters and themes that Twilight lacked. For example, the main character of Twilight, Bella, only seems to care about having a good relationship with boys. Contrastly, Rose, the main character of the Vampire Academy series, cares about more than just her boyfriend. She also cares for her friend Lissa and the politics she is involved in.

Once I finished reading the Vampire Academy series, I looked for paranormal books with similar themes and found very little that satisfied me. The only other series I found that I liked was the Riders of the Apocalypse series by Jackie Morse Kessler. These books feature supernatural elements, but they also feature teen issues such as eating disorders, self-injury, and bullying. I’ve only read one book in the series, Rage, but it turns out that the books can be read as a stand alone book or as a series of books. Rage is a book that features not only the topics of self-injury and bullying, but also the themes of identity and self acceptance. While the book also features some supernatural romance, it doesn’t overshadow the main themes and topics.

The thing that probably annoys me the most about today’s young adult literature is that most teens don’t realize seem to realize that they are reading books that don’t truly represent who they are. They are too caught up in the romance and gorgeous looks of characters that they don’t care about anything else. Today, I looked up a list of books that were voted Teen’s Top Ten on the Young
Adult Library Service’s Association website. The majority of the books are paranormal.

I understand that finding out who you are as a teen is difficult, but that doesn’t mean that we should sugarcoat adolescence with romance and vainness! There are more important things that teens deal with, things that need to be addressed in books and other forms of entertainment.

According to,  1 million children are bullied every week in and outside of school.  In addition, 20 teens commit suicide every year due to bullying.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 10 million women and 1 million men suffer from an eating disorder.

According to the Cornell Research Program on Self Injury, 12 to 24 percent of young people self injure.

If teens aren’t aware of real issues they may encounter, then they will not be prepared for life as adult. They must be educated about them in order to cope with these issues properly and to help others who deal with these issues.  Therefore, here is my own list of  twenty young adult books that deal with the many themes and issues of teens.

  1. The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth by Alexandra Robbins
  2. The Freedom Writers’ Diary by Erin Grunwell and The Freedom Writers
  3. Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
  4. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
  5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan
  6. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  8. Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler
  9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  10. Staying Fat For Sarah Byrns by Chris Crutcher
  11. Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
  12. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
  13. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
  14. Looking For Alaska by John Green
  15. Paper Towns by John Green
  16. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  17. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  18. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl by Barry Lyga
  19. Fat Kid Rules The World by K.L. Going
  20. The Realm of Possibility by David Leviathan

Written by Serena Zola

October 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM

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