| ||The Princess and the Bear ||Harrison, Mette Ivie|
As I blogged in February, I read The Princess and the Hound on a recommendation from several friends, and loved it. But that love is a pale thing in comparison to how much I enjoyed this companion book about a dog who used to be a princess and a bear who used to be a king. And that was primarily because of the main female character, Chala. She's a hound-turned-human, practical, strong, vibrant and refreshing. As with the first book, the language was beautiful. 5 stars
| ||Life in the Pit ||Landon, Kristen|
Normal cello player Brittney is used to being in the shadow of her pretty, popular friend Amanda. But when the handsome star of the school play starts paying attention to Brittney, and she and Amanda start getting threatening letters, Brittney feels like the world has turned upside-down.
A light, fun mystery. Good for anyone who's musical and maybe a bit shy. :) 3 stars
| ||When Mike Kissed Emma ||Marciniak, Christine|
This book actually reminded me of Happy Endings, a book I reviewed in February. This too was a short, sweet story that I enjoyed a lot, with one exception. Emma's main failing - judging others based on appearance - is one that particularly irks me, and so I spent a great deal of the book wanting to shake her. But that could be because I was more in Mike's shoes in high school, so I took it personally. A good gift for someone who loves theater, the Sound of Music, and happily-ever-after stories. 3 stars
| ||13 Little Blue Envelopes ||Johnson, Maureen|
Okay, this might be blasphemy, but I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as I did Devilish. On the other hand, I'm much more into wisecracking demons than I am into traveling around Europe. Maureen Johnson's style is still as fun as ever, and if you have a teen who dreams of getting away and having adventures on their own, they will probably love this book. 3 stars
| ||Tantalize ||Smith, Cynthia Leitich|
This is one of those books that you start and think: "Okay, this is interesting. Let's see where it goes." But by the time you've finished, all you can say is "Whoa."
See, I thought I could see the danger the main character was in. I thought I knew what was going to happen and it happened. But when it happened, it was so much more than I expected that I found myself thinking something that I rarely, if ever, do about a main character.
I don't know how she could have possibly avoided it. In fact, I probably would have done exactly the same things she did, which made the ending that much more powerful. If you know anyone who likes vampires, Gothic fantasy or plain old suspense, you should get them this book. 5 stars
Anyone else got any good last-minute gift ideas?