Tag Archives: YA novels

Review: Virals, by Kathy Reichs


Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot–if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends–they’re a pack. They are Virals.

I have a confession to make: while I’ve read several of the Temperance Brennan novels by Kathy Reichs, it’s the TV show Bones I really like. There’s something about the camaraderie of the characters on the show that’s really appealing to me.

And, as I’ve mentioned before (in one of my first reviews on this blog, actually!), I’m not particularly fond of the gothic damsel-in-distress style that Reichs sometimes uses in the Brennan series. Personally, I think even one “had I but known …” is one too many, and the Brennan books tend to have more than just one.

But I couldn’t resist the premise behind Virals. A group of teenagers who catch a virus that turns them into wolves? Beautiful!

I’m happy to say, Reichs writes with a very authentic YA voice in Virals – and there’s not a single “had I but known” in sight, thank goodness. The novel gripped me from the start – I read it in ebook format, first on my iPhone, and then the concluding chapters on my iPad (with too long a stretch in between due to work deadlines).

Tory is a great character. She’s sure of herself, but not sure of herself, in that lovable way that’s true of many of the teenagers I know. She’s smart and quick-thinking. And funny.

The team she forms with her three friends is a true team. I found myself rooting for them from the very beginning. And there’s a lot of smart-ass, make-you-smile dialogue, the kind of conversations that, if you live with teenagers, make you nod your head and say to yourself, “Now, didn’t I hear that just the other day?”

My only problem with Virals came at the end. I would have preferred a different ending, with the “villain” of the place acting in a smarter, more credible way. Still, it was a galloping good read, the kind of novel that’s really difficult to put down.

And yes, I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Review: Airhead, by Meg Cabot

AirheadThe Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Em Watts is just wonderful, the dialogue is very realistic (says this mother of a 15-year-old girl) and the story is pure fun.

BUT: it’s more of a prequel, and at the end, I felt like it wasn’t really a complete story on its own.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: A great read for Meg Cabot fans; just be warned, you’ll be really wanting to get your hands on the sequel as soon as it comes out, because Airhead doesn’t really feel like it has a proper ending.

Read the Full Review of Airhead

Mailbox Monday: Another Eclectic Mix

It’s Mailbox Monday again, and here’s what arrived in Ms. Bookish’s household this past week:

Mystery/Thriller: The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer.

Chick Lit/Mystery: Big Boned, by Meg Cabot

General fiction/Holidays: The Christmas Train, by David Baldacci

Young adult/Fantasy: The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson

Thriller/Suspense: The Fire, by Katherine Neville

Romance: Sundays at Tiffany’s, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Graphic novel/Children’s book/Mystery: Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook Volume 2, by Liam O’Donnell and Michael Cho

Paranormal/Urban fantasy: Personal Demon, by Kelley ArmstrongYoung adult: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Children’s book: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look

Mystery: Santa Clawed, by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Chick lit/Romance: Daring Chloe, by Laura Jensen Walker

Mystery: Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell

Children’s book/Fantasy: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

I suspect I’m going to have to start reading just a little bit faster to get through my TBR pile. Reviews on each of these will be upcoming as I get through them.

Young Adult Book Challenge 2009

Another fun reading challenge! I’ve joined the Young Adult Book Challenge 2009 over at J. Kaye’s Book Blog. The goal is to read 12 YA books between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.

Below is the list of books I will be reading for the challenge. I will update with new additions as I find them, and will link to the review once I’ve read and reviewed the book. I’ve decided to list books here only after I’ve read them (and I’ll provide a link when I have reviewed the book).

1. Airhead, by Meg Cabot (My review of Airhead.)
2. The Squad: Perfect Cover, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (My review of The Squad: Perfect Cover.)
3. The Squad: Killer Spirit, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (My review of The Squad: Killer Spirit.)

From the Stacks Reading Challenge

It’s time for some fun! I just discovered the From the Stacks Reading Challenge. The rules are pretty simple: pick five books from your to-be-read pile – meaning, books you already have – and read them all between November 1 and January 30.

I have a massive TBR pile, and this morning I had a ton of fun going through some of the books, seeing what called to me. So I’m officially joining the challenge with the following books, which have jumped to the top of my to-read list (yes, there is a difference between my “to-read” list and my TBR pile!). It’s an eclectic mix, with a little bit of something for (nearly) everyone:

  1. The Risk of Darkness, by Susan Hill. I have been meaning to read this book for quite a while now. I like Susan Hill’s writing style very much, and plan to go through all of her Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler books. (Oddly enough, Amazon lists the hardcover version of this book as being available for pre-order, coming March 2009, while the mass market paperback version is no longer available.)
  2. Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle, by Beverly Bartlett. I bought this one in the sale racks; just couldn’t resist the premise: “It all began the day the prince announced his engagement to free-spirited, smart-mouthed, and occasionally klutzy “Dizzy Izzy” (as the papers called her). … With The Boss’ lyrics and her heart guiding her, Izzy did what she had to do: Show the world how a woman can both rock and rule …”
  3. What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Love, by Carole Radziwill. I haven’t read a memoir for a while, and this one sounds like it will be good: “… a vivid and haunting memoir about a girl from a working-class town who becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill.”
  4. Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233, by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. This YA book looks like pure fun. The pages are filled with different fonts and illustrations, and the hardcover version comes with a bag full of interactive goodies. My copy, unfortunately, is the paperback version; the goodies are printed on the front jacket flap, which opens out, and as a series of glossy color pages tucked into the middle of the book.
  5. Trollbridge, by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. This is a modern-day retelling of the fairy tale about the Three Billy Goats Gruff who must cross the bridge manned by a mean old troll (did I get that right?). It’s an older book, and was the winner of the Locus Award for Best YA Novel. It looks very good indeed.
  6. If you’ve got a TBR stack that you’re planning on getting through anyway, you might want to join the challenge, too.