Shapeshifter By Holly Bennett

March 27, 2011

By author: Holly Bennett
ISBN: 9781554691586
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: April/01/2010
Pages: 256

I’ve always enjoyed the works of author Holly Bennett, and found that this new novel did not disappoint!

Shapeshifter…ummm…the word alone just intrigues the mind….and leads into a world of magic that is reminiscent of Celtic folklore and ancient tales. This is the heartbreaking turbulent story of a girl who  shape shifts into a deer in order to escape the relentless pursuit of a malevolent and yet powerful sorcerer.

Bennett has truly intertwined and captured the lore, mystic and magic of  Ireland and reached far back into the  human psyche where the lines were blurred between mortal and immortality. Sive is one of those ‘immortals’ who not only can ‘shapeshift’ but is gifted with a special unquie talent of ‘Song’.  Her ‘singing’ is not of the ordinary and it  is this gift that brings her to the attention of Far Doirche, a sorcerer who first tries to marry Sive. When this fails he begins an all out attempt to enthrall her to do his bidding. Surrounded by courageous family and friends, Sive manages to escape  for a time by slipping past the boundaries of her world and into the world of mortals. Here she finds temporary refuge by taking a mortal form and living within a protective circle that allows her to even become a mother. Her protective instincts have her sacrificing herself to Far Doirche’s enchantment and thus begins her agonizing psychological torment. Salvation arrives in the quise of her son, but have the anguish and distress of being in the sorcerer’s thrall prove to be to much?

  Bennet’s use of different perspectives in the narration of this well told fantasy tale, makes clever use of Irish lore, culture, geography and language.  What is also useful to readers at the end of the novel ,  is the  pronounciation guide in the names and places used, and another version of the legend of Sive.

Interest Level: strong Junior readers/ Intermediate/ Senior

Genre: Myths and legends; Magic; Fantasy

Who would love this book?  Any reader interested in the folktales, legends  of Ireland. 

Author Weblink:

The Kayak by Debbie Spring

March 27, 2011

The Kayak

by Debbie Spring

Thistledown Press | March 11, 2010 | Trade Paperback; 190 pages; $12.95     ISBN: 978-1897235-71-3

The simplistic realism of this cover … of a young woman paddling a kayak toward the sunset is what first drew my attention to this book! 

 Serenity and peace … an image that also conjurs  a feeling of enjoyment and relaxation.  At the onset, author Spring cleverly has the reader believing  in  this “sense of freedom”  and even  Teresa’s own words while kayaking …. “This is a mystical place. Out here I feel safe and secure.”   is a contradiction of what  this story is really about….. that of a young woman facing  major psychological and physical challenges in order to enjoy the freedoms she once took for granted.

Teresa , once a typical teenager, hanging with friends, and  running track until a tragic accident changes not only her life but that of her family’s.  Entering adolescence is difficult enough for teens, but add insecurities, anger, and doubts and Teresa struggles to push herself  to attempt things that she’s never done before.  As Teresa battles her physical and psychological demons we  also see the impact these adversities have upon her parents and sister.

This is a powerful touching story with a protagonist that displays courage, determination and grit, but also has an inner depth that  truly has the reader cheering for  her!

Highly recommended!!!!

Genre: Realistic Fiction; Romance

Interest Level: Intermediate/ Senior students; interest in the Physically challenged


If I stay by Gayle Foreman

June 10, 2010

This striking cover is what first captured my attention. I must admit that I did have this book sitting on my “to be read’ table for awhile, but when I did crack open the cover,  well everything else fell to the wayside! 

After the opening chapter, the majority of the story takes place over a span of twenty four hours, when the life of Mia, a 17 year old aspiring young cellist is irrevocably changed in a heartbeat when their family vehicle is involved in an accident leaving her the sole survivor. Reviewing her life up until that moment, Mia is faced with making an agonizing and heartbreaking choice!  

 If I stay is the story of poignancy, love tragedy, sadness and hope.  Be prepared to have a tissue or two in hand when reading this brilliant powerful little book! 

 Highly recommended!!!!
Grade Level:  (mature grade 7) ,8 ,9 (Intermediate Fiction)
Genre: Fantasy/ Realistic Fiction
April 9th 2009 by Dutton Juvenile; 199 pages ;                                                     isbn 0525421033    (isbn13: 9780525421030)
Literary awards:

Author/Book Trailer :

hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

February 8, 2010

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—High school sophomore Nora Grey, a dedicated student striving for a college scholarship, lives with her widowed mother in a country farmhouse outside Portland, ME. When Patch, her new biology partner, is suddenly thrust into her life, Nora is both attracted to his charm and put off by his inexplicable awareness of her thoughts. Eventually, she learns that he is a fallen angel who wants to become human. She is susceptible to his control, but other forces are at work as well, and Nora finds herself caught in the middle of dangerous situations and unexplainable events.
I found this book to be a very different read  and would recommend it for those more mature female readers in Grade eight and definately for the  girls going into Highschool. This YA novel is filled with suspense, mystery, romance and the supernatural and definately leaves the door open for another installment between Patch and Nora! 


October 13th 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

literary awards
isbn: 1416989412    (isbn13: 9781416989417)
Reading Ability: Intermediate and Senior (Mature teen read)
Genre: Fantasy; Supernatural; Romance
Theme: Redemption; Romance; Friendship
Who would like this book?   This book would appeal mainly to the mature teen female reader interested in the supernatural that is in the guise of ‘fallen angels’ and romance.
Author link and Book Trailer You tube Link:

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

February 5, 2010

This is the story of Kelley Winslow, a 17-year-old girl who has moved to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Kelley gets an understudy job with a ramshackle repertory company, but in true theatrical-fairy-tale fashion, the lead actress breaks her ankle and Kelley is called upon to play Titania in the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.

Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie’s enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.

This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley’s eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.

Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.

Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

This debut YA novel by Canadian author Lesley Livingston, is a real page turner! 

Reading Ability: Intermediate (mature teen read)

Genre: Fantasy; Science fiction; Magic; Romance

Theme: Friendship; Romance; Good vs Evil; Magic

Who would like this book? Anyone who enjoys a good fantasy mixed with a little romance!

Author Link: