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Love is Undead

Valentine's Day, 2011


Welcome to Love is Undead, our special little nod to Valentine's Day here at Monster Librarian.  Back-from-the-dead zombies, blood drinking vampires,  werewolves with all fangs and fur have gone from creatures of horror to prime dating material as authors have written warm and fuzzy tales of these creatures of the night and readers have been eating them up.  So this Valentine's Day we are offering up reviews of paranormal romance titles for your reading pleasure. 


Rhonda Wilson interviews Michelle Rowen author of the Immortality Bites series.


Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, October 2009

ISBN: 9781416989417

Available: New and used

Nora's new biology partner, Patch, is not what she would consider ideal. He's rude. He's cocky. And worst of all, he inexplicably knows things about her than no one else in the world knows. But at the same time, she finds herself somehow falling for him. Then strange things begin happening to Nora that make her question her own sanity. A masked man tries to attack her,  and then disappears without a trace. Her room is ransacked, and then put back together in a split second. Slowly, Nora begins to realize that she is being used as a pawn in a war as old as time itself.

`           Hush, Hush is similar to Twilight, both in tone and in plot.  However, I felt that Patch does a better job of playing the “bad boy” than Edward.  The romance sizzles.  Also, I love the insertion of different biblical themes and concepts.  It grows organically from the plot, and feels natural.  While there are some plot holes and inconsistencies, the Twilight crowd will be absolutely thrilled with it. While not phenomenal as a literary work, it will be hard to keep on the shelf. Highly recommended for public library YA collections, ages 14 and up.

Content: Some sensual scenes and some violence.

Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago


Dark Visions: The Strange Power, The Possessed, The Passion by L.J. Smith

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, September 2009

ISBN: 9781416989561

Available: New and used

            Kaitlyn Fairchild and a group of four other teenagers have been recruited so a rich man can study their psychic powers.  If they participate to completion of the study, they’ll have more than enough money to pay for the full four years at any college of their choice. Unfortunately, they soon discover that the old man’s intentions are not as pure as they may seem. 

Maybe it’s not the most original concept to begin with, but I love what she does with the plot. There’s a great love triangle that keeps you switching sides constantly, mostly because L.J. Smith can write bad boys like none other.  The group’s dynamics are really fun, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep even reluctant readers frantically flipping pages.

I recommend this book as great for Twilight fans and also fans of Caroline B. Cooney or Lois Duncan, ages 14 and up.

Content:  Boys and girls sleeping next to one another, some swearing, suggestions of sex.

Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago


The Mediator: Shadowland and Ninth Key by Meg Cabot

HarperCollins Publishers, December 2010

ISBN: 9780062040206

Available: New and used.

            15-year-old Suze is a mediator—which means she’s able to talk to the dead. So she takes it upon herself to help them find their way to the light…even if that sometimes means kicking some ghostly butt.  She’s fashion conscious and witty, the kind of girl that could get away with wearing and saying just about anything. But when she moves from New York to California, she’s met with a whole new set of ghosts, including a gorgeous Spanish ghost haunting her room that she can’t seem to get rid of…and eventually, isn’t sure that she even wants to.   

Everything Meg Cabot writes is full of fun, and this is no exception.  There is fantastic chemistry between all of the characters, and Suze is the kind of character that every teenage girl aspires to be. The plot never lags, and you’re both biting your nails and laughing out loud on every page.  Highly recommended for ages 13 and up.

Content:  Some swearing.

Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago




Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2010

ISBN: 9780547259406

Available: New and used.

            Jessica is a normal teenage girls with normal problems…until Lucius shows up.  He tells her that she is a vampire princess and he is a prince, and they have been betrothed to be married since she was born.  So Jessica does what any sane girl would do:  she jams a pitchfork in his foot and runs. 

Jessica is witty, smart, and fun to listen to.  Through the first half of the book, I loved her voice, her situation, everything about her. But I didn’t love Lucius, because his dialogue was so stilted and dull. He was a boring character.  Happily, that changes- in the second half of the book, I loved Lucius. He honestly becomes a bad boy, and I love bad boys. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is funny, too. Giving your main character a book entitled "Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions"? That's comedic genius right there. It’s a great crossover for Twilight and Meg Cabot fans. Recommended for ages 14 and up. 

Content:  Swearing, allusion to possible oral sex, sensual biting scene.

Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago



Thirst No.1: The Last Vampire/Black Blood/Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, August 2009

ISBN:  9781416983088

Available: New and used

            Alisa Perne knows that she is the last vampire.  All the others were killed off centuries ago.  Beautiful, intelligent, and with superhuman abilities, she lives among humans incognito. When she discovers that someone is following her, and seems to know more than any other person alive should know, she starts to wonder if maybe, just maybe, her past lover survived and has come back—to kill her. 

Alisa is tough, smart, and unafraid of anyone or anything.  But she also has morals, skewed as they may be, and it’s easy to see her motivations.  The world that Pike has set up is brilliant, with enough levels to keep discussions lively for hours on end.  The writing, however, was the biggest failure.  It was originally written in the 90’s, long before present tense was as common as it is now.  Unfortunately, it’s poorly done and rather clunky.  But if the readers don’t care about writing and are just focused on the story, it’s an easy sell.

The series is recommended, but please be aware that the content may be too intense for some readers- this is not a title for the Twilight crowd. Ages 14 and up. 

Content:  explicit foreplay, main characters have sex, intense violence, lack of remorse for killing.

Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago


Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Penguin Group, August 2007

ISBN: 9781595141743

Available: New and used

Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, a half-human half-vampire whose job it is to protect the vampire princess, Lissa. The two of them have been on the run for almost two years when their world finally catches up with them and drags them back to the academy. But the secret that forced them to run away in the first place still exists, and Rose is afraid of what she might have to do to protect Lissa.

The story has a great opening, but there are some pacing issues. It seemed like we were either on the edge of our seats with the intense action, or bored to tears with high school drama. The romance was definitely hot.  The world that was set up is brilliant, the storyline has a lot of fascinating aspects to it, and the main character is smart and determined.

Recommended for public library YA collections, due to its popularity.  Librarians will want to be aware that many parents object to the romance. Ages 14 and up.

Content: Very strong language, sexual content, a relationship between a teenage girl and an adult teacher.

Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago



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