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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews