Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open
Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christy Snow is stuck in a hole under a room full of coffins and believes she is about to die. She was using her phone as a flashlight and now only has enough juice to make a short call and is not able to leave enough information. In an unexpected turn of events, she is able to get out and stumbles into the psychiatric ward of the hospital. The staff believes she is delusional and will not let her leave. To make matters worse, the boy she calls for help arrives to give assistance and becomes confined also. What is the truth? Before she fell in the hole or now? The memories seem real, but she can’t remember her early childhood either. Can they both be having a shared delusion?

Eyes Wide Open is a compilation of four short novellas released earlier in 2013. The high intensity story line and heart palpating events will cause the reader to devour each novella in one sitting, or if the reader can’t control himself, they may find an afternoon wiled away with this great book. This is a Christian thriller that leaves no guesswork at the end. The reader will understand what Dekker was pushing toward and hopefully will think long a hard about how we and the world see us. As a reader I feel there will be a connection between this book and others to come. ** Sits with fingers crossed **

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today is the first day of school for Anne Merchant. She can’t believe that she has been accepted to this private school, but is also astonished that her uniforms are so small. It is as if she grew overnight. At orientation she discovers that she has been assigned a staff member who will watch and grade her on her one special skill, and when she accepts this expectation she must sign it with her blood. She continues to unearth more and more questions such as: Why is there a red line across the island? Why is she forbidden to cross it? Why is Anne not allowed to live in the dorms with the other students? The ultimate challenge that all of her fellow students are faced with is becoming valedictorian.

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is the first book in the V Trilogy. Readers quickly learn what the V stands for and will think they know where the book is going. I will assure readers that their guesses during the first half of the book will be thrown out eventually. As a first novel, Wiebe creates characters that readers will love to hate as well as a protagonist to root for. The story moves quickly without cutting short the intrigue and plot twists that readers of adventure mysteries expect. If this is a first novel, I can’t wait to see what else Wiebe has in store for us.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: The Troop

The Troop
The Troop by Nick Cutter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a group of Boy Scouts venture to a small island for their survival lessons, the lessons becomes all too real after a stranger arrives and then quickly becomes ill. Their scoutmaster, the local doctor, attempts to investigate the disease, but ends up becoming the next victim. The troop has no choice but to wait for the boat that is scheduled to pick them up, but it becomes evident that they are not going to be rescued and in order to survive they must fight against this unknown disease and eventually each other. Do they have the skills needed to survive? What is this disease and can they keep from catching it?

The Troop is not for the faint of heart. Cutter uses graphic descriptions of diseases and destruction as he leads the reader through the story. This book takes the reader on a wild ride inside the minds of victims and non-victims alike. One downside of the story is the intermittent notices giving insight into actions off the island. Due to this information, the reader discovers the outcome of the island before actually experiencing it with the boys. It is not enough to take away stars and it does lead to reader anticipation while waiting to discover the “how.” Whether the reader is looking for a medical mystery or an adventure story, they will not be disappointed in this read.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Defy

Defy by Sara B. Larson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alexa Hollen is faced with a choice. She can cut off her hair and pretend she is a boy to serve in the king’s army, or she can enter the breeding house and be raped until she is pregnant. Obviously, the choice is easy, especially since she is an extremely good fighter who has been training with her father and twin brother. She quickly earns a place as one of the prince’s guards, but must keep her gender secret. When a sorcerer comes into the castle and kidnaps her, a fellow guard and Prince Damian, they are taken to an enemy country where sorcery is not looked down upon. During her time in captivity, Alex quickly learns that she is not the only one who has been keeping secrets. She finds that two men want to lay claim to her heart, but after years of hiding her feminine side, she is unsure about her own feelings and what actions she should take.

Defy is a fantasy novel that includes many redeeming attributes, but these same characteristics make the story slightly formulistic. As Larson’s debut novel I believe it will be well received by readers of fantasy books, and I look forward to the developing series. As all of the twists and turns were revealed, I felt like screaming “another one!” Many of these twists did not need to be included and added to the formulistic feel. Now that Larson is a published writer, I hope she explores the characteristics that are vital for the story and doesn’t feel the need to include so much variety. I do not hold this against the series and look forward to the second book projected to be released in 2015.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday and she is given ten year old Hetty “Handful” to be her handmaid. That night she tries to write a legal document setting her slave free, but in this early nineteenth century Charleston, it was not to come to pass. Sarah and Handful reluctantly accept their positions in life, but both are harboring secret dreams that they sometimes don’t even admit to themselves. The Invention of Wings takes these two stories and tells a tale interwoven with history. Kidd was inspired by the true story of Sarah Grimke and she is able to add depth and emotion to this tumultuous time period.

The Invention of Wings causes the reader to reflect on the early American abolition movement as well as the limits on women at that time. Although we don’t want to downplay the role of those who secretly assisted in the abolition of slavery and inner workings of the Underground Railroad, we should continue to be awed and inspired by those who were vocal in a public setting to the realities of slavery. Many readers will pick up this book because the author also penned The Secret Life of Bees, but I recommend this book to all readers on its own merit and see it being recommended to teens and adults alike.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: A Breath of Frost

A Breath of Frost
A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gretchen, Emma and Penelope have grown up privileged. They discover during their debutante year that they are descended from a long line of witches and as they begin to come into their powers a dangerous conspiracy comes to life and they are stuck trying to decide who to trust. To make matters worse, debutante witches are being killed for their powers and somehow Emma is connected to the murders. Why does she keep finding the bodies? Can the girls discover why their gifts were hidden from them for so long? Will they be able to find the killer before one of them is attacked?

A Breath of Frost is the first book in the new Lovegrove Legacy series. The story takes place during a time when girls are quickly married off to the men of their father’s choosing and love either follows or it doesn’t. Harvey pulls the reader into this historical time and creates a world that is believable yet fantastical. As the reader tries to determine who can be trusted and who should be hated, they quickly learn that the lines are blurry and not easily deciphered. There are a couple of story lines that the reader must keep straight, but this does not make the experience confusing in the least. I recommend this book to those who love historical fantasies and I will be adding her other books to my “to read” shelf.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review: In the Blood

In the Blood
In the Blood by Lisa Unger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lana Granger has many secrets. The number of lies she has told over the years has defined who she is in many ways. She is about to finish college and her trust fund is running dry. She is being encouraged to take on a job, and her professor mentor suggests babysitting a troubled boy. Luke has been expelled from schools all across the country and is used to controlling the people around him. Has he met his match? Has Lana? Lana’s best friend, Beck, has disappeared after they had a fight. Unfortunately, this is not the first friend that disappeared and the last one was found dead latter on. Is Lana hiding information about that night? What other secrets will be uncovered?

In the Blood is a book that weaves together several murder mysteries and hereditary psychological disorders. Unger’s tale takes some adjusting to since each chapter is telling a different part of the story from various characters and various time periods, but when the reader unravels the threads and begins to put together the strands to connect them, they will be shocked at the revelations. This was my first book written by Unger and I will be looking for future and past books to devour.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: Alliance

Alliance by Mark Frost

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In The Paladin Prophecy Will West discovered a secret society known as the Knights of Charlemagne. He decides to stay at the Center during the summer break and discover what his new abilities include. His friends are also attempting to learn what they can do, but are realizing there are more secrets in their backgrounds that need to be uncovered. The group quickly discovers that there is a deeper plot that has been set in motion and it is not easy to decide who is really on their side.

Alliance is the second book in the Paladin Prophecy series and it leaves more questions unanswered then it answered. The story is action packed and readers barely have time to take a breath before another twist or turn approaches. Frost was able to deliver a compelling group of characters that have strengths and flaws like all of us. Second books are usually a hit or miss and this book swings both ways. Overall the story moved forward with purpose, but many segments of the story felt completely as if it was setting up for the next story without adding to this one. I loved the Paladin Prophecy and liked Alliance. I look forward to the third book which seems necessary after the unsatisfying ending.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: Unhinged

Unhinged by A.G. Howard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alyssa Gardner has traveled to Wonderland and survived with her head and sanity intact. All she wants now is to finish her senior year, attend prom and move to London so that she can attend art school. Her plans begin to falter when her mother is release from an asylum and decides to be over protective. To make matters worse, Morpheus reappears and wants her help with another quest to save Wonderland. As Wonderland is literally bleeding through her art, Morpheus promises that Queen Red is preparing for another battle. Can Alyssa keep her human part separate from her Wonderland self? Will she be able to protect those she loves?

Unhinged is the second book in the Splintered series and readers of the first book will not be disappointed. Howard’s dark spin of this classic story is tantalizing and spellbinding. Revelations concerning questions left unanswered in the first book gives the reader deeper insight into Wonderland, but since this is not a two book series, readers will be left with new questions. There are many references to the first book throughout this novel, so I do not recommend jumping into this story without reading Splintered. If you have not read the original Lewis Carroll books, you will probably be flocking to your nearest bookstore or library after reading this series. I can’t wait for Ensnared (Splintered #3), but too bad it isn’t coming out until 2015!

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review: Drawn

Drawn by Cecilia Gray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sasha has a secret. She can make you say whatever you are thinking. Whether it is the truth or a lie, it comes out. After being jostled from foster home to foster home, she is finally taken in and used by the United States Government. She eventually begins to form a relationship with her current partner when the CIA asks for her help. They want her to use her human lie detector skills and her drawing skills to infiltrate a group of graffiti terrorists in Belgium. Her biggest obstacle is the fact that she has never learned to make friends.

Drawn is not your traditional novel. Each chapter begins with a comic book flashback into important segments of Sasha’s life. No one understands why she can make people say what they are thinking, but the government has no issue with exploiting it. Can Sasha form the relationships needed to earn this group’s trust? Can she separate her duty from her friendship? Gray outdid herself with the creation of this novel. This does not sit pretty in any one genre. It touches on graphic novels, but only slightly. It includes espionage and teen relationships, but not in a way that any of us will ever experience. I would not place it as fantasy (even though she has this special skill) since you only need to suspend disbelief in that one area. Drawn is an enjoyable realistic fiction book that will give readers of that genre just a hint at what they are missing from the others.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three
The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was just a normal afternoon in the computer lab at school when the power went out. What wasn’t normal was when Adam Daley learned that it wasn’t a typical power outage. Everything that required a computer to run (phones, cars and all other smart devices) were dead in the water. Luckily Adam had an older car without a computer and was able to get his twin siblings and a couple of friends home. No one knows why this happens or when it will be fixed. Adam’s neighborhood gathers together and develops a plan for survival. Will they be able to withstand the vigilante groups forming up in the surrounding area? Do they have what it takes to survive?

The Rule of Three is a fast paced post-apocalyptic tale that will grab readers by their electronic dependent thoughts and hurtle them along a story that will cause them to question their readiness. How long would you survive if ALL infrastructures failed? Walters created a very plausible story that could happen at any time. What I liked the most is the fact that no one really knows why? There was no magic information delivered to the community that explained what happened. They are truly in the dark. Although the likelihood of a neighborhood community including a police captain, police, fire, medical, mechanical, engineers AND an ex-spy is probably infinitesimal, it does make for a fascinating read. The book appears to be a stand-alone novel and the ending is satisfying, but readers will see the openings needed to create more books in this new America.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen had an attraction from the start, but she was an heiress and he was just a major in the military. There was no way to encourage a romance until the unspeakable happens. The luxury spaceliner they are on is pulled out of hyperspace and they end up in the same escape pod. Lilac is the only daughter of the man who owns the spaceliner, and Tarver will do anything it takes to send out a distress call. He believes his life is tied to hers because they must want to come for her. This unexpected team will need to overcome many obstacles in an attempt to survive on this abandoned world.

These Broken Stars is a science fiction love story that will pull in readers from the start. The alternating point of view enhanced the flow of the story and will cause the reader to push through over and over. I found myself saying that I would take a break soon, but then I just needed to know more. Kaufman’s writing was wonderful and I enjoyed the way she weaved in back story to enrich the main storyline. This book is listed as the first book in The Starbound Trilogy and if the other two worlds and love stories are like this, they will be devoured. The book stands well on its own and will entice readers to pick up other space travel young adult novels.

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: Enduring Chaos

Enduring Chaos
Enduring Chaos by Catherine Fitzsimmons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Damian Sires has hidden her entire life. A veil hides her strange eyes and her special gifts are never to be shown. When she loses control of her power and the ship carrying her father and their cargo goes down, she is left alone with a mercenary, the only other survival of that day. She is in a world that fears magic and she doesn’t understand why she is the way she is. She makes some unexpected allies and they set out to discover the source of Damian’s power.

Enduring Chaos is the first book in a new fantasy series. Sisters of Chaos promises to create a story worth following, but this first book leaves a lot to be desired. Fitzsimmons’ world building is great and the characters create a bond with the reader, but I feel this entire book is only setting up for a long series. Unfortunately, I kept thinking of other fantasy series that this story reminded me of. I look forward to the next book in this series, but wish I had waited until the second book was available.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: Pawn

Pawn by Aimee Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kitty Doe has just turned 17 and taken her placement test. Although she is bright, she never learned to read and wasn’t able to finish her test. Even with the test incomplete, she was able to earn a III, but that means she will be sent to Denver to assume her assigned career. That is not acceptable and she decides to hide temporarily to await her boyfriend’s 17th birthday and while she is in hiding she receives an offer. She can leave the life given to her and become a VII, but if she does she won’t be able to see anyone from her past. Kitty wakes up two weeks later and discovers she has been masked. She has been surgically altered to look like Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece. This new family wants her to stop the rebellion that Lila was secretly working with.

Does Kitty have what it takes to tackle this new identity? Who can she trust? What should she do? Pawn is not just another dystopian novel. Although the science is not presently advanced enough to mask individuals as they are in this book, the societal issues are present and it is easy for the reader to see how a world such as this could come about. Carter creates a world in which a test at the age of 17 determines who will be successful and what they should be doing. I know when I was 17 I wouldn’t have wanted my entire future dictated to me and Kitty is like any other teenager in her feelings. The Blackcoat Rebellion series is destined to be a hit with young adult readers and adults who are still young at heart.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Crash into You

Crash into You
Crash into You by Katie McGarry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rachel appears to have it all. She has wealthy parents, attends a private school and has a cherry red Mustang GT. What she keeps a secret is her love of driving fast and the fact that her panic attacks have never stopped. While out one night with the intent of racing along back roads she stumbles upon an illegal drag race and tries her hand at it. She fails miserably, but has success in a different way. She has caught the eye of Isaiah Walker. He is a foster kid who is covered in tattoos and everyone respects his expertise in all things cars.

Through their shared love of driving fast an unexpected bond forms and both people are catapulted into secrets and trials. Will their different worlds be able to meld into a working relationship? Can Rachel get past her panic attacks to stand up for what she wants? Crash into You is the third book in the Pushing the Limits series. Although many of the characters have appeared in the previous two books, Crash into You has a story of its own and can be read by itself or as teaser for the other stories. McGarry does not disappoint with a story that encourages a fast read and the chemistry between the main and supporting characters will keep the reader wanting to read more. Readers who want a romance novel with a strong supporting story will thoroughly devour this story. I can’t wait for the fourth book, Take Me On, to be published in May 2014!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Venture Untamed

Venture Untamed
Venture Untamed by R.H. Russell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Venture Delving has just lost his mother and since he is already fatherless he feels as if he is alone as a bonded servant. Although there are limits to what he is allowed to do because of his status, his master wants to encourage Venture to pursue plans for after his nineteenth birthday when he will be free. Venture decides he wants to learn to fight and begins training at a center that is known for training boys to become professional fighters.

With all of the limits already given to him, Venture must find his inner strength and determination to pursue his passion. Will his love for his master’s daughter be his downfall? Does he want to be a fighter like his father? Can he do what it takes to be a freeman? Venture Untamed is the first book in The Venture series. This first book is a relatively short book and gives the reader the feel that there is a larger story on the way. When I finished reading this story, I was glad to know that the second and third books are already out since this book does not give a satisfying ending. The second book is Venture Unleased and the third book is Venture Unbroken. Russell’s writing was smooth and the world building and character development were great. Although the reader won’t be satisfied with stopping after the first book, it is not a cliff hanger. It has been a few days since I finished this story and I can’t stop thinking about Venture and the next stage in his journey.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: Tuscan Rose

Tuscan Rose
Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rosa was left with the sisters of Santo Spirito by a stranger described as “The Wolf.” The only clue to who the child may be is hidden within a silver key that was found inside the baby’s wrappings. The book then fast-forwards several times, the first to be when she is escorted out of the convent to become a governess. Her time in this position is short lived when she is charged with a crime without a trial and sent to prison. Later jumps in time give the reader access to her experiences throughout what was to become known as World War II.

Tuscan Rose is more than a love story. Set in the historical time of Mussolini, the reader will experience love, heartbreak, curiosity and patriotism. Although I am an American and was not even born during this time in history, I felt a connection to Rosa and the characters found in the story. Alexandra brings Florence to life and encourages the reader to feel at home in this land. I enjoyed this book and feel enriched because of it, but I feel the length will deter any readers who are not comfortable with historical fiction books that span such a large space of time. For those who are dedicated to their passion of reading, this is a good choice to pursue.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Hostage Three

Hostage Three
Hostage Three by Nick Lake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Amy wanted to do was make a statement on her last day of A exams. She showed up to school with facial piercings and then lit a cigarette in the gym. After being sent home and told she will need to repeat the exams, her father decides what she needs is to spend time boating the world. Aboard the yacht is her father, her step-mother and a small crew and it is all leisure activity time. That is until they are in the Gulf of Aden and they are boarded by pirates who want to ransom them (not the boat). Hostage One is her father, Hostage Two is her step-mother and she is Hostage Three. Working toward the ransom takes time and Amy finds that she isn’t as scared as she should be and she is learning to relate to some of the pirates.

Hostage Three includes everything a reader can look for. It has a teen questioning her future, an unthinkable situation and romance that her father says is doomed to fail. Lake takes a situation that most people only know about due to news stories and movies and brings details to the reader in a truly captivating story. Although the book flashes back to previous times in Amy’s life, this does not make the book confusing in the least. The story captured me at the start and I gladly rode the adventure to its conclusion. This is a great realistic standalone novel.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Reality Boy

Reality Boy
Reality Boy by A.S. King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lot can happen in 12 years. What most people don’t understand is that Gerald is not the 5 year old who threw temper tantrums on a reality TV show. His rage and unimaginable outbursts were recorded and shared for the entire world to watch and for the Internet to repeat constantly. Now he is nearly 17 years old and he continues to try and keep his anger under control, has no friends and has been stuck in the special education room for his entire school career. After he finally decides to reach out to a girl he works with, Gerald begins to come to terms with his dysfunctional life and the triggers inside it.

Reality Boy takes the idea of reality television and makes the reader think about life after the show. Are the people on the show the same off camera? What is not seen and how would that affect your feelings? What happens when the show is over? King does a superb job exploring life after a child star is no longer in the lime light. The scenes dispersed throughout the book pull the reader into the history of Gerald’s issues and brings depth and purpose to his actions. Readers looking for a realistic fiction read that has not been overworked will enjoy this coming of age tale.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: The Rising

The Rising
The Rising by Terra Harmony

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Serena is the last mermaid born in the Kingdom of the Undine. The increased acidity of the ocean is destroying her landscape and the werewolves who used to protect mermaids are now attempting to destroy them. After she is given the position of Werewolf Liaison, Serena decides to try and make things right for all mermaids. As part of her training, she spends time on The Dry and meets Liam, a werewolf who begins to turn what she knows of her world on its ear. During her research into her people’s past, she discovers what really happened on the night of her birth and the troubling history between werewolves and mermaids.

The Rising is the first book in The Painted Maidens Trilogy and with that said the reader needs to be prepared for some world building. The book is not terribly long so it is quickly developed and the story will gently pull the reader along. Harmony takes a character type (werewolves) and puts a different spin on it. What is the relationship between mermaids and werewolves? Why was Serena the last mermaid born? Is there anything that can be done to save her people? I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next book in the series, but The Rising can stand on its own and does not require the reader to long for the next volume in the series.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Six Months Later

Six Months Later
Six Months Later by Natalie Richards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chloe is an average student. She might do better if she applied herself, but why should she? She is thinking about summer as she falls asleep during study hall, but when she wakes up it is night time and there is snow on the ground. She quickly discovers that she can’t remember anything from the previous six months. If that is not shocking enough, her average student status has been thrown out the window with her awesome SAT scores and she is even being recruited by Ivy League schools. Her dream crush is now her boyfriend, but her BFF won’t talk to her. What has happened to her? Why can’t she remember?

Six Months Later grips the reader from the first nap and pulls them along as they try to discover with Chloe what has happened to her. Although she recently hit her head, that shouldn’t cause this selective amnesia or the drastic turnaround of her academic performance. Richards encourages the reader to explore various scenarios and to question the integrity of the teens and adults in Chloe’s life. Were these changes intentional? If they were, was Chloe or her friends aware of the process? Readers looking for a realistic fiction novel that is a strong stand alone story will enjoy this book.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cassandra fears she cannot be herself. Although she no longer believes in her parent’s religion, she is too afraid to say anything to them. When her English teacher assigns a poem that should reveal her true self, she is stuck. She can’t say who her real self is, because she doesn’t really know. In order to begin expressing herself, she anonymously begins to write an advice blog with a tarot card feel. She wants the blog to be uplifting and supportive, but when one of her posts appears to become a case of cyberbullying according to her school and sorcery according to her church Cass doesn’t know what to do. She wants to protect the victims since she has seen what people have said and done to her gay brother. Does this make her a bully? Should she admit that the site is hers?

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always takes teen identity issues and creates a thought provoking read. Cassandra knows she doesn’t agree with what is happening around her, but is unsure if she should express herself. Hoole takes the timely issue of cyberbullying and puts it in a situation that will cause readers to understand how it may get out of hand. Although Cass never intends to hurt those around her, she is unable to control the actions of her fellow students and the adults in her life. Readers will enjoy this standalone novel and will become more enlightened about cyberbullying and the ways it can get out of control.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: The Naturals

The Naturals
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cassie has a knack for reading people. She usually uses this skill while waitressing to determine what a customer really wants, but when the FBI come by and tell her she is a Natural and they would like to train her to assist with cracking cold cases, Cassie is all too willing to join the team. See, her mother disappeared from her dressing room and is presumed dead because of the blood all over the place. The gifted teens that Cassie now shares a house with are unusual in their own right. Michael can read emotions, Dean can profile people, and both boys are attracted to her. Just as Cassie begins to settle into these new situations, a killer strikes close to them and it seems as if it might be related to her mother’s disappearance.

The Naturals takes murder mysteries off on a new angle with gifted teens assisting hard working adults. The story progresses wonderfully as Cassie discovers how to hone her skills and work closely with other teens. Barnes includes enough clues throughout the book to draw the reader into the underlying story, but is still able to pull off a twist or two to jog the reader’s senses. Although it appears to be a standalone book, I definitely would continue to read about Cassie and this team of exceptional teens should a series be created.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Swagger

Swagger by Carl Deuker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jonas Dolan has always planned to work with his father after high school, but then his basketball coach encouraged him to look for a scholarship to play Division II basketball. He is encouraged by a college coach and is told that a scholarship is possible, but he must raise his grades to show determination off the court. After his father loses his job, the family packs up and moves to Seattle. Now Jonas must improve his academic performance AND earn a spot as a starter on the varsity team. Between chemistry and a coach who doesn’t want to play fast ball, Jonas is unsure about his future.

Swagger will be an entertaining read for those who love basketball as well as those who are indifferent to the sport. Deuker includes several play by play descriptions of the game without pulling away from the overall story. Jonas struggles with many issues that student athletes must overcome during their high school sports career, but he also is forced to learn some life lessons that the reader may wish were not required of anyone. Decisions he makes on and off the court not only affect him, but those around him. To make matters worse, he is balanced with two decisions. One may ruin a friend and the other may ruin his chance to go to college. Deuker did a wonderful job writing another sports book with a cutting edge teen issue included.

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: Relic

Relic by Heather Terrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eva has lived a sheltered life with her twin brother, Eamon. After he falls to his death shortly before participating in The Testing, Eva decides to take his place. Those around her don’t want her to join the competition. It isn’t that she can’t, it is the fact that no Maiden has Tested in 150 years. After training for this competition in the Tundra she sets out to make her family proud and hopefully find a Relic. These Relics are from a time before the Healing and each one is to teach the surviving generations a lesson. Eva will need to learn the limits of her own abilities and discover that there are some things she just can’t train for.

Relic will please readers of dystopian fiction. It has been nearly 250 years since the fall of the wicked civilization and those chosen to survive are fearful that they may slip on the same slope that their ancestors fell on. Terrell’s world building is superb and when the reader begins to understand the hidden meaning in many of the phrases and words the connections to our current society become evident. This book is listed as the first book in a series and I look forward to reading about Eva and this world she lives in.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: The Iron Traitor

The Iron Traitor
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ethan Chase has returned from the lands of the fey and is looking forward to things getting back to normal. Of course, normal for him is completely abnormal. Since he was kidnapped by faeries at the age of 4, he has been able to see the faeries in his everyday life. Now he has a girlfriend and his loner bad boy attitude isn’t flying at school. It doesn’t matter that he has been told to stay away from her after whisking her to New York City on a secret faerie adventure. He has barely returned home when he discovers that his nephew, Keirran, is missing and is planning to save the love of his life, no matter the cost. As Ethan helps Keirran try to save his love while trying to keep the dark side from taking over, the prophecy of their fates become clearer.

The Iron Traitor is the sixth book in The Iron Fey series and the second book in the Call of the Forgotten series. Readers who jump into the story as soon as it releases will enjoy the memory jogging clues dispersed to refresh their memory of the previous stories. Ethan and Keirran continue to learn who they are and that impulsive reactions have long lasting consequences. Kagawa’s continuing saga will satisfy the persistent reader, but be advised that the tale is not complete. Of course no grand adventure would be complete without a cliff hanger, and The Iron Traitor includes a doozy. I refuse to give a spoiler, but be advised that the title may be a hint at what is to come.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: The Deepest Blue

The Deepest Blue
The Deepest Blue by Kim Williams Justesen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ten years ago, Mike and his father left his mother and started a new life. He has had little contact with her during this time and he is happily making plans for his future. When his father is killed in a car accident, Mike plans to stay in his hometown and live with his dad’s girlfriend, Maggie. That begins to look like an unlikely option when his mother demands that she have custody and wants Mike to move across the country to live with her new family. The law is on his mother’s side, but Mike is not willing to just roll over. He petitions the courts to give Maggie guardianship which would allow him to stay with the friends he has made.

The Deepest Blue is a heartfelt story about a teen dealing with hard family issues. Boys and girls will both relate to the heartbreak and sorrow that Mike experiences. As a teen, the reader will begin to wonder what would happen to them if their custodial parent was no longer in the picture. As an adult, the reader wonders what they should do to protect the children in their lives. Justesen wonderfully brought these troubling issues of divorce and death into a great read. Whether you are looking for a realistic read or are looking for an emotional read, this is a great book to pursue.

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Review: Hereafter

Hereafter by Kate Brian

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rory Miller has run for her life, literally. Her family is forced into the witness protection program after a serial killer went after her. She is happy on Juniper Landing Island with her father and sister until she learns the terrible truth. They did not get away from the killer before he killed them. The island is really a way station before souls move on to the next realm. Rory is special though. She is a rare individual who assists in moving the souls on, but this also means her father and sister will not be staying with her.

Hereafter is the second book in the Shadowlands trilogy. I will admit that I did not read the first book and jumped right into the middle of the series and didn’t feel like I was missing much. The characters did reference the serial killer from the first book and mentioned how they felt about the ordeal, and this was enough of a review to let this book make sense. With that said, I still didn’t like the book. Middle books are tricky, but it still felt as if the entire book was setting up for the final book. Very little was resolved and without including spoilers Hereafter was an unsatisfactory read. I don’t think I will be looking for the first or next book.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows
Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Corey, Holly and Savitri are a trio who would do anything for each other. Corey and Holly are twins that are closer than friends, Holly and Savitri are friends who are as close as sisters, and Corey and Savitri recently celebrated their one year anniversary. Between freerunning through Chicago and planning to get an apartment together during college, this threesome is inseparable. Then a bullet is discharged and Corey is dead. Holly is half a person with her twin suddenly removed from this world and Savitri must cope with her own grief, help keep Holly from embracing insanity and decide what direction she wants the rest of her life to travel toward.

Chasing Shadows spins a tale outside of normal boundaries. The story is told in alternating chapters with a graphic novel twist. Many portions are presented in comic book format that gives additional detail and insight into the thoughts of Holly. Avasthi catches the reader from the start and drags them through a tragic experience that affects both girls in astonishingly different ways. Whether the reader is experienced with graphic novels or is being newly introduced, Chasing Shadows will give enough vivid information without feeling as if it is all pictures. I found myself hoping for a satisfying resolution and feel Avasthi gave this troubling issue the proper exploration and plausible closure. I can’t wait to recommend this book to students in my library.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: Wild Cards

Wild Cards
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Derek Fitzpatrick has pulled his last prank. At least it is his last prank at his boarding school. Now his stepmother plans to move them to her childhood home while his father is deployed on a submarine. Derek is just waiting to get out of high school so that he can be on his own and away from everyone else’s family drama. Ashtyn Parker has recently been voted team captain for her football team. Her boyfriend is the star quarterback and decides to leave her and the team to join a rival team. She must learn who to trust and who to love while also determining how much football really means to her.

Wild Cards is told in alternating chapters between Derek and Ashtyn. The spark of attraction is felt and denied by both right from the start. Elkeles once again creates high school romance drama that will entice readers. Although not many readers will relate to it exactly with the star football player being a girl, the rest of the issues presented are believable and capture the reader from the beginning. This is definitely more of a relationship book than a sports book, but I can see male and female readers alike flocking to this new series. I can’t wait to see where Elkeles takes these characters.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Colette Iselin wants to go to Paris. She wants it so bad that she switches from Spanish to French as her high school language so that she can go on the Paris field trip. Once she arrives, she plans to enjoy the beauty of the city and possibly discover things about her French roots. But right before her group lands, a series of murders begin. As everyone is worried about who is committing these strange killings, Colette sees a peculiar women in a classical ball gown and powdered wig. What makes the vision even stranger is that the woman looks like Marie Antoinette. With the help a new French friend, Colette discovers secrets about her family and France’s dark history.

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is a modern day story with roots in the past. Who is killing these Parisians? Why does it appear that only the rich and influential are being targeted? Alender weaves a wonderful story of self-exploration as Colette tries to discover who she is instead of hiding within the friendships she has created. The connections between these 21st century individuals and the story of Marie Antoinette are plausible and create a reading experience that is full of suspense and adventure. I at first thought it was a story taking place during the French Revolution, but after I discovered that it was a modern story with historical connections I was even more attracted to the book. The book will entice readers of murder mysteries even if they normally are not interested in historical fiction.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: A Beautiful Truth

A Beautiful Truth
A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Looee is a chimp who was raise by a couple who were not able to have children of their own. They adapted their family and their home to work with his ever changing needs and he appeared to love them in his own animal way. Other chimpanzees are located at the Girdish Institute where scientific experiments and behavioral studies have occurred for decades. They raise some chimps from birth, but many are rescued from private homes and after a tragic accident, Looee finds himself there.

A Beautiful Truth is told in alternating voices and viewpoints. The reader learns what different humans are thinking and doing; emotions and thoughts from the chimpanzees are found throughout. I wanted to love the book. Eventually, I wanted to like the book. In the end, it was just OK. The story bounced from viewpoint to viewpoint so often that I had trouble determining whose mind I was in. Also, although the stories all take place in the United States, many of the vocabulary and word spelling choices were from McAdam’s Canadian background. Unfortunately, I can only recommend this book to the most dedicated reader. Those individuals who are fascinated with the world of higher level primates will be able to pull pleasure from the larger story, but the actual written book was painful to finish.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Inhuman

Inhuman by Kat Falls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The United States has been divided. The eastern portion of the country has been overtaken with genetic mutations. Many people have been infected with different levels of animal traits and all of these inhabitants are separated from the western side by the Mississippi River and a wall. Crossing the wall is forbidden. Only government sanctioned humanitarian visits are permitted. It turns out that Lane’s father goes to the Savage Zone to retrieve artifacts because he is a Fetch. It is dangerous, but the money is worth it, until he gets caught. In order to save her father, Lane agrees to travel to the forbidden area and retrieve an item. She is willing to risk her life and her humanity in order to save her father.

Inhuman is a fast paced post-apocalyptic adventure with a female protagonist with two male “side-kicks.” Even though Lane has been sheltered in the western United States her entire life, her father has been subtly training her for a visit to the east. She must overcome her innermost fears and find the strength within to fight the foes around her. Falls’ world building is amazing and truly plausible. Although the current science may not be near the stage this America had reached, we aren’t very far behind. Readers will not be disappointed in this new series, and yes it is a series. The ending of this book answers many questions, but leaves the reader wanting to know where this world will go next.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nothing is normal while Blue continues to assist Ronan, Gansey and Adam on their search of the ley lines around Cabeswater. Ronan is having bizarre dreams and items from his dreams are coming into his waking life. There are also strange people investigating the same things as Blue’s group and there is no telling what they might do to get what they want.

The Dream Thieves is the second book in The Raven Cycle and it picks up shortly after the ending of the first book. Readers who were tormented with the ending will finally receive some answers but please be warned that there are more books in the series and more questions will go unanswered. Stiefvater weaves a captivating tale that pulls the reader in and keeps them throughout. Blue continues to struggle with the prediction of killing her true love with a kiss, and torn between her feelings and her convictions. This book is worth the read and I look forward to the continuation of the series.

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Unthinkable

Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four hundred years ago, Fenella was to become the first Scarborough girl to be cursed and trapped in Faerie. For generations, her female decedents tried to break the same curse and now that Lucy has done the impossible and broken the curse, Fenella wants to know why she is still stuck in Faerie. She makes a new deal with the faerie queen. If she can complete three acts of destruction, then she will finally be free and be able to die. Unfortunately, after she agrees to the new deal she learns that the acts of destruction must be aimed at her family in order to count. If she fails, it will also affect all of the Scarborough girls.

Unthinkable is not only a great sequel to Impossible, it is also a companion story to Extraordinary. The tie in between the novels is accomplished seamlessly. Readers of Extraordinary will delight in the underlying meaning of certain references, but these references will not deter from the story if the reader has only read Impossible. Werlin shows the reader why the original Scarborough curse occurred and takes the tale to a whole new level. Fenella failed the first time and cursed her family for generations. Will she find the strength within herself to succeed in this second challenge? I highly recommend this novel to readers of faerie fantasies and fairy tale retellings.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rose Justice is an American pilot who loves to fly. While she was delivering a plane from Paris to England for the Allied Forces, she is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück with French prisoners. Although she finds this women’s concentration camp terrible in the extreme, she discovers loyalty and family with her fellow prisoners. Rose Under Fire is another World War II novel covering an all too possible story of women showing strength. This companion story to Code Name Verity occurs several months after the first book’s conclusion. Although these books are connected, the first book is not needed to understand the second.

I really struggled with this book. I enjoyed the format and the story as a whole, but through correspondence early in the book, the reader is told the outcome of Rose so that the only question is how. Rose Under Fire is great in the fact that it is historical fiction with a female main character during war time, but the book as a whole felt too formulistic and I can see young readers not giving it the effort to finish. I will recommend the book to those who enjoy this genre, but will not want this to be an introduction for exploring readers.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy
Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Cold War is still raging as Marina trains to become a ballerina in the Soviet Union. She knows it is possible, because her mother, Sveta, is the Soviet Union’s prima ballerina. Unfortunately, her mother has the gift of sight and when she attempts to expose a terrible state secret she disappears. Marina and her father flee to Brooklyn and she wants to reestablish herself as a ballerina by attending Juilliard. She is assigned a partner named Sergei, and her father believes he will be their contact in regards to the secret his wife shared with him.

But Marina also has the gift of sight and after “seeing” her father’s murder she must come to terms with the fact that leaving the Soviet Union does not make you automatically safe. Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy is full of espionage and intrigue. Marina is thrown into the rolls of traitor and spy due to the actions of her parents, and she must unravel the secrets they have hidden even from her in order to save herself and hopefully her parents. Kiem takes the 1980’s Cold War era with the advancing technology and brings it to readers in the 21st century. Many young readers only know of the USSR from history books and what better way to learn many common actions then through a fictional story of espionage. After reading Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy, I see many people picking up additional spy novels to devoir.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Waking Dark

The Waking Dark
The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It all happened on one day in the small town of Oleander Kansas. Twelve people are dead. Seven were murdered and five of the murderers committed suicide after, but one of the killers did not die. She remembers before and after, but the actual act is a blank segment of her memory. The town does not know what caused the townspeople to become murderous, but they know they must move on. Nearly a year later a storm tears through Oleander and the killing begins again. As the madness overtakes the people, there are five survivors of the first killing day who believe they may be able to stop everyone from destroying themselves.

This group of young people has very little in common, except the wish to live and the hope to save the people of their town. Can they discover the cause of these killing urges? Are they immune to these feelings or must they also fight the killer inside them? The Waking Dark will cause the reader to question what lies buried in their subconscious. Is there a dark side to everyone? Can it be triggered? Wasserman takes the reader on a trip of terror with this group of unlikely heroes. This read make hearts beat faster and eyes fly along the words quickly. Readers will be pulled in from the start and push on to know the secrets of this small town and the fate of its inhabitants.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cath loves everything about Simon Snow. She’s read all the books, seen all the movies, hangs out in Simon Snow forums and writes fan fiction. She started writing fan fiction with her twin sister, Wren, and has 20,000 daily hits on posts. Cath and Wren are leaving for college and Wren doesn’t want to be roommates, she wants to start a life of her own. Now Cath has a stranger for a roommate, a writing partner who is only interested in Cath’s words and a writing professor that does not want Cath to write fan fiction. As her life appears to be falling apart, she begins to wonder if writing is for her. She can’t write her own stories and if that is what it takes to become a writer, she questions whether she has what it takes.

Fangirl is a coming of age story with a magical world inside. Interspersed throughout this book are excerpts from the Simon Snow series and passages from Cath’s fan fiction. Readers will enjoy reading the stories within the story as they travel with Cath on a journey of self-discovery. How with Cath survive without her built in best friend, Wren? Is she ready to write her own stories? Can she move past Simon Snow? Rowell mixes writing styles in such a way to keep the book edgy, but not in a way to make it confusing. Fangirl is a satisfying standalone title that will make readers of multiple genres excited.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: More Than This

More Than This
More Than This by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The sea is cold and rough, but Seth is just a boy and it breaks him. After, he wakes up in his own hell. Somehow he arrives in his English childhood home and is naked, thirsty and tired. Although he is alive, he is alone. Everything appears as if it has been abandoned for years, but Seth does not know how or why. As if this hell is not strange enough, his dreams are haunted by memories of his life and he begins to wonder if they are trying to tell him something. As Seth explores the area round him and continues to blame himself for terrible things that occurred in his life, he hopes to find answers and maybe even people in this isolated world he has found himself in.

More Than This is about more than death and afterlife. It is about friendship, family, accountability and forgiveness. Seth has been blamed for the unexplainable tragedy the family endured 8 years ago. Because he failed his family in such a serious way, he looks for more in the relationships around him. Ness explores the actions of life and pushes them into a parallel life. The philosophical discussions in Seth’s head, his dreams and with those around him cause the reader to question what really happened and what will happen as the story progresses. I had found the story extremely intriguing and consumed the entire book in one day. I alternated between having the Kindle app read it to me while doing house work and taking breaks on the couch to read. If the voiceover option was not available, I probably would have been a couch bum all day. Although I don’t see any information about this being a series, the ending does leave an opening for Ness to continue this story for a few books more.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review: Little Red Lies

Little Red Lies
Little Red Lies by Julie Johnston

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rachel is trying to define herself outside of her family. She joins the drama club to explore her creative side and begins to wear a lipstick called “Little Red Lies” to express herself with her appearance. Her brother has recently returned from war, and his withdrawal from those around him becomes more apparent as he is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Rachel’s life is further stretched when her mother unexpectedly announces that she is pregnant and a teacher offers friendship that hints at becoming more.

Little Red Lies explores the lies that we tell ourselves and others when all we want is to please those around us. Many people have trouble telling others no and they don’t want to disappoint those around them. During a time when secrets were kept at home and even then some things were not talked about, Johnston delves into the thoughts and fears of an impressionable young lady and helps the reader question their own conscious. How would you react to family members suffering from depression? Would you ask questions when you know friends and family are keeping secrets? Little Red Lies is not a page turner and will not be a perfect read for everyone, but for those readers who want a realistic fiction book; this will be a satisfying option.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After many hard trials including a year of slave labor in Endovier and fighting many skilled assassins, Celaena has earned the right to become the king's personal assassin. What the king doesn't know is that Celaena is not loyal to him. She pretends to kill his enemies, but is really assisting them in fleeing for their lives. Her newest task will push her in new frightening directions and force her to question the loyalty and motives of those closest to her.

Crown of Midnight picks up shortly after the conclusion of the previous book and readers are quickly enveloped in Celaena's plight. Will her heart choose which man it prefers? Can she keep her hidden agenda secret? Who can she trust with her secrets? Maas does not disappoint readers who fell in love with the characters in Throne of Glass and this action packed story with new layers of intrigue will delight these returning readers. As I came to the conclusion of this book I was staring at the last page going "OMG, OMG,OMG!"

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: The Infinite Moment of Us

The Infinite Moment of Us
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wren's school career is coming to an end. She is graduating from high school and will be leaving the country to volunteer in Guatemala for a year. Although she is scared about what lays ahead, she is more scared about telling her parents. See ... Wren has always tried to please her parents. Even if it meant she did things she didn't want to do. Then, Charlie and Wren connect on the last day of school and neither one knows what to expect.

The Infinite Moment of Us is about summer romance, going against the grain and learning about oneself through the eyes of others. Myracle takes the time to develop this tender relationship and brings the reader along on this private first love trip. I normally don't have an issue with sex in young adult books, but I feel some of the sexual descriptions were just overly descriptive. I'm sure many readers will not have an issue with this (if not actually enjoy the book more because of it), but it made me cringe whenever Wren and Charlie were having an intimate moment. Although I recommend this book, it should not be moved to the top of readers TBR pile.

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Gated

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lyla Hamilton has experienced a lot. When she was a small child her sister was kidnapped from in front of their home and was never found. A few weeks later, the World Trade Center attacks occurred. Her parents, but especially her mother, were scared and worried. Enter Pioneer … He has been given visions from the Brethren and convinces Lyla’s parents that they are one of the Chosen. The family sells everything they have and move to a rural area with other families to build the Silo, an underground bunker intended to survive the coming apocalypse. Fast forward 10 years. Lyla is struggling with the idea of shooting to kill in case of an attack. Pioneer has always told them that when the end of days occurs many people will realize the Chosen have resources and will try and take them.

Of course a pre-apocalyptic book would be no good without a confused protagonist. Enter a boy from town that causes her to doubt what she has been taught and encourages her to question what Pioneer has told her and the families in the compound. Gated takes an inside look into what and how a cult may begin. Outsiders always say “I would never be taken in by a crackpot like that,” but we can never know until we are put in that situation. Cults begin slowly, and what if scared parents took impressionable children with them and raised the children to know no difference. Parker shows the reader that not everything is black and white. Also, thinking and processing can be different inside the gates. Readers have outside knowledge of what has really occurred during the 10 years the Silo was being prepared, but the characters are in the dark and are fully trusting Pioneer for all of their information. Will Lyla take her questions to the group? How with the group react? What would you do if you found out everything you thought was true was just a warped version of reality? I recommend this book to readers looking for a captivating stand-alone novel.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: How to Lead a Life of Crime

How to Lead a Life of Crime
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flick came from a well to do family, but his family has a secret. His father likes to use his fists on his eldest son. When Flick's younger brother dies he runs away from the military school he has been attending and views his brother body. He believes his father killed Jude. Flick decides to stay on the streets until he is able to get back at his father. As a master thief, he doesn't have too much trouble supplying what he needs. On Christmas Day, he is offered the chance to earn $500 by breaking into an apartment and stealing a lease. This act was just a test. He is now offered the chance to attend Mandel Academy, the prestigious school his father attended. If it attends AND graduates, the headmaster will give him the proof that is needed to show his father killed his brother.

How to Lead a Life of Crime has so much to it, it is hard to sum it up in a review. Readers will need to be willing to put in time at the beginning of the book for all of the character development and story building. Miller takes her time ensuring the reader has the information needed to understand many complicated topics (politics, drug trafficking, corporate corruption and many more). I can see where some readers will be turned off by the amount of information being presented. If you are willing to the wade through the information, the underlying story is worth the time.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Throw Down: Week 4

We have now finished week 4 of the 2013 Summer Throw Down.  Once again it was a busy week, but I feel I was able to give adequate time to my reading and listening.  We only have 3 more days of this month and I have reached my monthly goal, and actually increased it because of my success.

Audio Book Goal: 5 books
Print Book Goal: 3 books

Audio Books Finished: 6 books
Print Books Finished:  4 books

Audio Books
Because It Is My Blood (Birthright, #2)     Dance with a Vampire (Vampire Kisses, #4)     The Coffin Club (Vampire Kisses, #5)

Croak (Croak, #1)     The Ocean at the End of the Lane     The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

Print Books
The Dying Hours     Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales     The Love Dare for Parents

The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2)

It was great to be over my goal for both categories.  Since the last portion isn't a full week, my final update is still up in the air.  Happy summer reading!