Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Brooklyn, Burning
Good Reads Summary

When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you'll find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you're really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. But as summer draws to a close, Kid finally finds someone who can last beyond the sunset.

My Thoughts

On the Surface: it's about kids who are unsatisfied and (feel) unaccepted; they're lost and maybe confused about who they are and what they want.

Just a smidge Closer: (and you don't really have to look that close with Kid telling the story,) you get one that's just of People; of being found, then lost, then found again.
There's plenty appealing in this:

It's real. With a narrator like Kid, I could feel his anger, sadness... I could feel as he did. He doesn't sugar coat. What he did, where he lived and those he knew all lived not so perfect lives. But at least there were others. What's so great about this was the space for hope, that despite the situation he/they found himself in, there were people willing to helpthere were those who knew him better than those who should have, people like Fish, Konny, Felix, Jonny and Scout.

And his is a lovestory that read real, authentic: unsure at first, developing slowly, with him finally feeling a bit comfortable yet insecure in what they were. This book would have been perfect if not for the hokey badguy. Still...

It's WONDERFUL! It’s rough, it’s sad, but there's hope, there's affection, love and a surprising happy ending too.

4.5/5

*Much thanks, NetGalley!

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Forgotten

Good Reads Summary

I remember forwards. I remember forwards, and forget backwards. My memories, bad, boring, or good, haven't happened yet. So I will remember standing in the fresh-cut grass with the black-clad figures surrounded by stone until I do it for real. I will remember the funeral until it happens - until someone dies. And after that, it will be forgotten. Here's the thing about me: I can see my future, but my past is blank. I see the future in flashes, like memories. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and a car crash that won't happen till this afternoon. But yesterday has evaporated from my mind - just like the boy I love. I can't see him in my future. I can't remember him from my past. But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much.

My Thoughts

Forgotten...

Wherein London Lanes forgets the past. One would think forgetting a day's events would be a good thing, right? Especially for a highschool student who's awkward, not so popular, and whose best friend is "that" girl. Dodge ball mishaps, wardrobe malfunctions become nothing - literally- for someone like London, whose memory of the same is wiped everyday at 4:33 AM.

Wherein London Lane remembers forward. And what pray tell does that mean? Believe you me, I found myself paging back just to see if I missed something, on multiple occasions at that. It did not help that some of the chapters ended in ominous tones. I found myself pondering the consequences of the same. like, was she a straight A student? Or, could she change what she "remembers"? And blablabla. Suffice to say, there were some answers just not enough of them.

Wherein mystery and teenage love do a number on the powers of my comprehension and patience. It was confusing; it was frustrating, so, of course... I had to read on to piece things together, right? The love story aspect would have been typical, but ~and this is big~ that their instant love connection happened over and over and over again made it a teensy bit different. So, yeah, even if time literally stopped for her when she found his eyes on her, their "initial" meeting must have been refreshing for him. What a boost to one's ego, to have a girl who's pretty and just a little out there, blushing and tongue tied over you. The point? You've got to get a kick out of a London, a girl who feels like she's meeting a guy for the first time all the time, right? It's was all just so very 5O First Dates, only loaded with teenage angst and hormones. Now, the mystery aspect of the whole thing was what had me reading on. It had me theorizing every which way. It's her father. It's her grandmother. It's somebody. But the big reveal was just that~ big.

Wherein I am confounded by how pot-kettle the scenarios were. One of the many issues she had to deal with was a lying boyfriend. Except if you think about, she did too. But it's her story so all righty, he's the bad guy in that scenario. Another of her issues is a mother with secrets. Wait! Is this really supposed to be an issue? Aren't people entitled to secrets? But wait it's her story, so let's go with it. But the bit that had me gnashing my mollars was how she self absorbed she found Jaimie! So was she! I found myself in the new position of agreeing with one described as self-absorbed, that there is a kind of peace of mind in forgetting.

Wherein I am impressed by the people in London's life, specifically Jaime. London's best friend is mouthy, confident, out there, sadly misguided.... and in the end surprisingly forgiving. Do pairings like theirs really exist? I've come across friendships like theirs time again and always wondered, what do these polar opposites of confident and awkward see in each other? And while Jaime while a tad disappointing, her sticking to her principles (such as they were) was quite noteworthy. Now Luke isquite unremarkable. He's hot, a bit strange in his own right and with "secrets" of his own. He's the requisite love, and it is his "secret" that causes all their troubles. Their first meeting is predictable - time stopped, and it was just the two of them *gag* But my biggest issue with him/them as a couple is that their problems were, honestly, unnecessary.

Over all.. not a bad read.

3.5/5

PS...
Talk about cover love... isn't the cover gorgeous?!

The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay by Rebecca Sparrow

The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay
 Good Reads Summary

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Hill is the girl most likely to succeed. And the girl most likely to have everything under control . . . that is, until her dad invites Nick McGowan, the cutest boy at school, to live with them. Rachel worries that this could only be a recipe for disaster, but her best friend Zoe thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for lurve. Sparks start to fly for all the wrong reasons. Nick finds Rachel spoiled and uptight and Rachel dismisses Nick as lazy and directionless. But a secret from Nick’s past draws them together and makes the year Nick McGowan came to stay one that Rachel will never forget.

My Thoughts

Sweet!

I love how almost all the Aussie YA's I've read have open endings~ I love the possibility those endings present. The year Nick McGowan Came to Stay is funny, with bits that were positively of embarrasing (particularly for her,) but most of all, it's sweet. Moments were absolutely side splitting; I'd laugh at how out of proportion things looked from her perspective. For one whom I thought to be level headed, she sure came across as a drama queen!

She's in Year twelve and has to focus. She thinks herself plain especially when next to her striking best friend Zoe. Not that that's a problem, she's perfectly fine with how things are, knows what she wants and how to get them. Things change when Nick McGowan has to stay the year. her self-consciuos self shows itself with a vengeance! She starts changing her musical taste to make herself seem a little bit more cool; then she starts seeing an imaginary boyfriend, aka Paul (Snuffy.) Not only does she become quite self conscious, she also could not fathom the need for him to stay with them in the first place. So while simultaneuosly trying to look cool and figure out why he's in her home, she pieces togther a bunch of theories that have him coming out in her (and in every other girl's) imagination as cute, hunky but troubled and maybe even suicidal. But the best part? It wasn't angsty and that's even after all his issues surfaced! It stayed sweet and fun. Yes, he wasn't perfect, but neither was she (as seen from pages one, onward!)

Another bonus is the setting: It's 1980-something, and I totally got a kick at what she described as popular and cool. Normally I find name dropping annoying, this time around I thought it added something special. I enjoyed her descriptions of their "cool" clothes, ultrabig shoulder pads, stone washed jeans, and puff skirts. Her references to some of what was popular was also cute: Phil Collins, the Eurythmics and even the Bangles, the Ramones too. And the shows she mentioned like Knots Landing and Twenty One Jump Street! While these referencs to these things added just a little extra something , the book really was about Rachel and Nick.

So what's to love?

A set of MC's who aren't too angsty but definitely quirky,
A setting that's different from the norm,
And an ending that leaves much to look forward to.

4/5

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Good Reads Summary


A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.


A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

My Thoughts

The title and the cover decided things for me, and between the two of those, I was half convinced this would read like one of those YA historicals ala-Vixen or Luxe (given the cover) or one of those Series of Unfortunate Tales (given the title.) Wrong on both counts.

The Good:

Pictures. Everything Jacob said when describing those portraits were accurate: creepy, formal and yeah, creepy. They remind me of my grandparent's portraits hung in the house my mother grew up in. Both those portraits are black and white, with them posed all very formal and serious. The peculiar part is how their eyes just seemed to follow everywhere I'd go, comforting and creepy all at once. Nah, just creepy. I still do my best to stay out of the third floor where those are hung. My mom's family has lived here for a little under half a century. My uncles have a number of awesome stories about that place. They'd talk about sliding down the back stairs from one floor to the next til their butts hit the entry way; the wooden stairs were so old and so used by then that they'd turned in to make shift slides, all smooth and slippery. My aunt the tomboy, collecting comic books and insects, would recount throwing fire crackers next door right smack into the bedroom of their neighborhood bully. My mom's family is big, ten siblings in all with her the youngest... so between all of them we could get almost any type of scary, funny, shameful story. My particular favorite is of my eldest brother being trapped in the third floor -with those portraits (my cousins were cruel with their practical jokes.) It is from my brother that I've learned to pay close attention to where the protraits' eyes go (or stay.) To this day, those pictures get my hair standing on end. The very same feeling I got as I looked upon the many varied, creepy pictures in this book.  And to think that most of them are real, not manufactured for the sole purpose of the book! Me thought that was just cool... and creepy.

Time traveling. Now this is time travelling that I can get behind: the last one I read *cough* Hourglass*cough*was too pat, too easy. This one had loops and Ms. Peregrine types, and there were consequences that made sense. To say that its version was different, is quite true.

His devotion. Unlike his father, our MC had really close relationship with his grandfather. Sure, he'd had grown up and consequently doubted his grandfather's stories, but he cared for the old guy. The old guy really was his hero. It was this devotion that eventually got him on his adventure.
The Bad:

See that last sentence there? The one that says eventually? Well, "eventually" was almost half the novel. The first half had a lot of the funny parts, though: a priveleged teenage boy trying to get fired; a priveleged teenage boy who wasn't so popular with but one friend. BUT it got tedious, I tell you. The first half read like a YA contemp with some scary camp story thrown in. To be honest, the first half was so different from the second that I thought there were two novels in there. The first bit was him lost, drugged up just to cope and mourning. The second half was him and the Peculiars; you can guess which half I preferred.

The Ugly,
(well, not ugly per se, but more along the lines of icky...)

As with most YA's, there's a requisite love. In Jacob's case it's Emma. Jacob had voiced my concern early on in their relationship. It's not the instant love connection that I frequently complain of because there was no such thing here; the icky bit (kind of) comes in if you consider Emma and her history... with someone significant!

Given all that ~ the good, the bad and the ugly icky, I'd say give this one a shot. It's got so many things going for it.

3.5

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Graveminder

Good Reads Summary

Melissa Mar is known to young adult readers as the author of the popular faery series Wicked Lovely. Her debut leap into adult fiction lands her in the small community of Claysville, a town where the dead walk free unless there their graves are not properly tended. Into this eerie maelstrom, Rebekkah Barrow descends as she returns to a place that she once believed she knew. Kelley Armstrong justly described Graveminder as "a deliciously creepy tale that is as skillfully wrought as it is spellbindingly imagined." A new genre author to watch.

My Thoughts

Who here reads Nora Roberts? A few years back she was churning one “PNR” after another. I use the term PNR loosely mainly because her novels, trilogies read mostly like romantic contemporaries with a dash of fantasy/magic. Some of my favorites of hers always, well almost always, included a couple with a past, having fallen out, but for one reason or another, needing to come together. Remember Face the Fire, the one with the hot witch who’d fallen out with Sam, the multimillionaire? Or Carolina Moon, the one with the psychic girl whose boyfriend’s little sister was murdered? I’m pretty sure one of the books in her Circle’s Trilogy had one couple with a back story just like that. My point? Aside from the fact that I’m a huge fan of Nora Roberts, well, Grave Minder runs roughly along the same lines… except there are the Hungry Dead to contend with and the very curious concept of birthing queues.


Not bad for my first Marr novel. It’s a three point five even with all the questions I have rolling around in my head right now.

Here’s what I liked:

It's horror-lite. It’s setting in particular creeped me out. Never mind that such a setting has been found in many a horror movie, and a couple of Supernatural episodes. You know, the picturesque, small, cozy town; the one where the people are always happy to help and oh, so polite. The one that’s just too perfect to be true. That’s just the case here. Marr effectively paints a place that’s scary in its perfection. The sad thing is, a lot of questions remain. One particular concept I kept on going back to was the birthing queue… as an answer to one of my questions it had a lot of holes.

And...

**Spoiler**

...There’s a happy ending even with all those zombies a.k.a. the Hungry Dead. Like NR books, there’s always a happy ending. The couple had come together, the enemy been defeated and all was well in their little corner of the world. (This is coming across as sarcastic even as I type it, but I mean it… I really liked the HEA…after all Bec and Byron had been through they deserved one, he deserved one.)

Like I said not bad for my first Marr book.. I wonder, do her other books read like this?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trial By Fire (Raised By Wolves #2) by Tara Lynn Barnes

Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves, #2)
 Good Reads Summary

There can only be one alpha.


Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.

Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves.
 
My Thoughts
 
Trial By Fire... how many months has it been since I read the first one? I kept mixing up the story of Nightshade and Raised by Wolves, expecting Shay instead of Chase and the jock hot head instead of Devon. Then I remembered what it was about Raised by Wolves that I enjoyed more (what made it one of my favorite werewolf YA's, aside from the fact that it was one of the first YA books I read last year.) It was Bryn's resilience, and here she still does remind me of Rose, only this time she allows herself to be just a little vulnerable.

It's not bad for a second book. With a pack all her own, things just got a little more complicated. I tried to recall who everyone was but was really hoping for a little more of Callum. In the first one, he was always there, this time around he was there but he wasn't. He was my favorite character then, all wise and all knowing but still a tough, just a little hard to love given all his decisions. I remember thinking how bad he was not to have just acted. In this one he is there and not there too; this time I appreciated it. She had some learning to do... and he let her.

The best thing is it isn't as focused on romance as Raised By Wolves. That aspect had dealt with in the first installment, so now it's a little of getting to know each other more. Bryn actually raised the fact that she knew next to nothing of Chase's past and would like to know more. What held her back was Alli, another character I loved. Alli too added something different. She's an active presence in the protag's life. Yes, she's a cool mom, but she also played an important role in the story. She wasn't just the mother, but had a history of her own that contributed to Bryn's learning.

Her learning to be an alpha, to be separate from Callum, to be independent but mindful of those under her care; her learning the in's and out's of were politics just added more to Trial By Fire's non-romantic feel. Basically, there's intrigue, twist after twist, and a really big surprise in the end that shouldn't have been one, especially given Callum's little present in the beginning. (I mean it was a horse for gosh sake!)

3

Monday, June 27, 2011

Native Star (Native Star #1) by M.K. Hobson

The Native Star (The Native Star, #1)
 Good Reads Summary

In the tradition of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, this brilliant first novel fuses history, fantasy, and romance. Prepare to be enchanted by M. K. Hobson’s captivating take on the Wild, Wild West.


The year is 1876. In the small Sierra Nevada settlement of Lost Pine, the town witch, Emily Edwards, is being run out of business by an influx of mail-order patent magics. Attempting to solve her problem with a love spell, Emily only makes things worse. But before she can undo the damage, an enchanted artifact falls into her possession—and suddenly Emily must flee for her life, pursued by evil warlocks who want the object for themselves.

Dreadnought Stanton, a warlock from New York City whose personality is as pompous and abrasive as his name, has been exiled to Lost Pine for mysterious reasons. Now he finds himself involuntarily allied with Emily in a race against time—and across the United States by horse, train, and biomechanical flying machine—in quest of the great Professor Mirabilis, who alone can unlock the secret of the coveted artifact. But along the way, Emily and Stanton will be forced to contend with the most powerful and unpredictable magic of all—the magic of the human heart.

My Thoughts

A western witchpunk fantasy.

Curious yet? What a mouthful, right? Immediately after putting it down, I had this big grin on my face. It was fun; it was exciting but what had I just read exactly? "Western witchpunk fantasy" is perfectly apt because there are witches and warlocks. There's blood magic, spirit magic then faith magic. There are doors to other dimensions and zombie miners. What a splendid surprise this was!

This story is just what readers impatient with today's current crop of books that are copies of each other need. It offers a great introduction into witchpunk. Who here has never heard of that? I hadn't. I had no idea how to peg it. At first, it was very horror-gothicky, with ghosts and soldiers and a haunted warehouse, then it felt like a western, especially with a small town girl taking care of her father, then later on it was her weaving spells and making charms. So surprising? Most definitely.

Add the fact that the two leads were practical, impatient, passionate, and opinionated. Emily is twenty-five, but still relatively ignorant of what goes on outside her town. Her wants are simple: take care of her father, practice her craft in peace. In hopes of answering all those wants, she's set her sights on Dag, the town's most affluent bachelor. But there's Dreadnought Stanton to contend with. (awesome name, yes?) He's the credomancer she finds a little too pompous and arrogant. The great thing is they were exctly what they thought each other to be (save Stanton's big secret in the end,) where Emily says Stanton is stuffy, pompous and arrogant, he really is. In the same vein, where Stanton describes her as untutored in modern methods, she really is. But the other great thing is they develop. They don't stay the same. Each thing that happened to them had a hand in them going from merely interesting to good to impressive characters.

Then the romance. Could this book not get any better? It was sweet, it was cute... and I saw it develop! Their connection was not instant; in fact, it was the complete opposite. Brought together by necessity, there was no choice but to get to know each other.

The one thing that had me questioning the five point rating I was leaning toward was the villain. He came across as just your average but necessary crazy evil guy. He was not enough to sway me it seems espcially when I think back to how much I really enjoyed the warlock and the witch with a blue gem in her hand.

UNEXPECTED and DELICIOUS

5/5

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mercy (Mercy #1) by Rebecca Lim

Mercy (Mercy, #1)

Good Reads Summary
An electric combination of angels, mystery and romance, MERCY is the first book in a major new paranormal series.


There's something very wrong with me. I can't remember who I am or how old I am, or even how I got here. All I know is that when I wake up, I could be any one. It is always this way. There's nothing I can keep with me that will stay. It's made me adaptable. I must always re-establish ties. I must tread carefully or give myself away. I must survive.

Mercy doesn't realise it yet, but as she journeys into the darkest places of the human soul, she discovers that she is one of the celestial host exiled with fallen angel, Lucifer. Now she must atone for taking his side. To find her own way back to heaven, Mercy must help a series of humans in crisis and keep the unwary from getting caught up in the games that angels play. Ultimately she must choose between her immortal companion, Lucifer, and a human boy who risks everything for her love.

My Thoughts
 
NGL, I really enjoyed Mercy. Truth be told it's one of the better angel books I've come across, but to peg it as such does it a slight disservice. I'd liken Mercy to Neecy only she fixes up the lives of bodies she's hijacked. Ha! The blurb doesn't even hint at that, does it? The words "boy," "love," and "survive" had me wondering if it would be worth it. Would Mercy another Patch/Nora, Luce/Cam/Daniel, bla bla/bla bla?

Not at all.

I've seen plenty of TV that most everyone else wouldn't bother with; people like me probably know who Niecy is (love her!) Mercy's a little bit of that. Only for her it's the lives of those she's body-jacked that she fixes up. Plus, she's just as spunky as Niecy. This time around Mercy's souljacked (her term) Carmen, a soprano with much hidden talent. Carmen just happens to be on exchange and is hosted by a family with a tragic past. Enter Ryan, son of family's host. Do we now have a complete picture of a not-so-confident girl meeting tragic hero?

Not at all. And it get's better.

While all that's happening Mercy, as we learn, is not exactly clear on what or who she is, where she comes from or who the mysterious Luc is.

So, it's a mystery, angel book, that only hints at the love story aspect. The story is actually quite different; the writing quite descriptive, lyrical even. Now, with writing like this, it's hit or miss with me. Do it wrong and I get bored, with characters blending in with the background and their story starting not to matter. But, do it right, and the characters just pop against it. In Mercy's case, descriptive it was, but boring it most was most definitely was not.

Not typical.

Mercy is much better than some of the other YA "angel" books I've read of late.

3.5/5

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dust and Decay (Benny Imura #2) by Jonathan Maberry

Dust & Decay
Good Reads Sumary

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.


Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.

My Thoughts
 
Let me get off my chest first:  

NOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!

*sniff*

OK,

It took me a couple of moments to get over how young Dust and Decay sounded to me. I tried to recall what it was about Rot and Ruin that had me gushing over it the to begin with. And counting back, I realize that book was one of the first zombie books I'd ever read. I was deeply impressed by how none-scary the story was; It's message was actually quite positive and, at the time, new to me (the past "humanity" of zombies and all that,) but as good as I recall my reading experience was. The young tone of this one was a little difficult to get past. And that's with me considering how awesome I found Tom and and how funny I found Ben to be (still do in fact.)

My complaining is now over because even with said youngish tone, I still loved it!

I'd forgotten how funny Benny could be. But what came as a surprise was Tom's humor. They're all funny. The last zombie book for boys that I read was a letdown given it being tad too descriptive with characters not as humorous as I have come to like. Which is why I enjoyed Rot and Ruin and now Dust and Decay all the more; both books are scary and funny in equal measure.

And there are so many surprising twists in this one, both good and bad ones. I'd been looking forward to the sen samurai Tom, but I what I got wasn't that *sad face.* And the kids got old. In the first book Benny's actions were spurred by his need to save Nix. In this one, there's a little more to their relationship. Except now both of them are unsure as to where to start. They're sweet. The romance not ending with them, Chong and later Lilah surprised me. I enjoyed reading how things (did not) develop. But it wasn't the romance that pointed to their getting old; they each had difficult decisions to make.

There be blood, gore, fire but also heartbreak.

4.5/5

*Much thanks to S&S galleygrab

Hourglass (Hourglass#1) by Myra McEntyre

Hourglass

Good Reads Sumary
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

My Thoughts

I caught myself rolling my eyes at how hot she found him. Throughout the book Emerson cannot get over how good Michael looked. She was all, “His classic looks, his lips, his clothes, even his muscles (even saying his muscles have muscles!)” So, yes, there were plenty eye roll, head-meet-table moments. Then I realized I was being too critical and actually expecting it to suck. Once I recognized these things, and let go of some of my expectations, things got a little better. Yes, there’s a lot of the same old same old in it, but two things kept me going: her family… and the hope that it wouldn’t be too YA typical.
The good things first: Her family is present. One normally reads of YA protags who feel left out and misunderstood, alone to deal with their issues (until the requisite love interest shows up to shake things up.) In Hourglass, Emerson has a loving and supportive family. With their parents dead, Thomas and Dru, his wife, are all she has. And that’s a good thing because they are there for her, while still setting down some rules for her.

Another positive was the whole seeing ghosts and time travelling thing. Or at least it could have been a good thing. Because honestly? A lot of the book was Emerson obsessing over Michael’s physical perfection. The time travel aspect just came across as to easy with the serious lack of explanation. Readers are expected to take things at face value: Em can see dead people (sort of.) Em can harness her powers. And Em can do this by following what bleep-bleep says. For a character touted to be independent and not so trusting (and she really was those things at first,) I was very surprised by how easily later on she accepted some of the explanations. Well, maybe because it’s their “electric connection,” that’s time and again, alluded to in the book.

Again, it still is sadly just another YA despite the story being “I see dead people” with the added element of time travel. Hourglass could have been so good. However, the characters weren’t developed: Emerson is not as independent or strong as I would have liked. But maybe that’s a good thing because there can only be so many “strong” characters, right? It’s just that sometimes she came across as jealous and childish. Then Michael. He’s there, he’s hot... and Em likes him (a lot). Why? Whu...? How? Is it because he is hot, has pouty lips and muscles that have muscles that they develop a romance? I mean really?! The other characters too were not as developed; I wish their abilities were explored a little more.

Oh, and there’s also a love triangle.

If you still haven’t gotten enough of inexplicable YA romances, with characters thought to be tough and strong but are really just enamored with the physical attributes of their requisite romantic interest, this might do.

At least the ending was good. It was surprising enough to get me to want to read the next one.

3/5

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lockdown (Escape From Furnace # 1) by Alexander Gordon Smith

Lockdown (Escape From Furnace, #1)

Good Reads Summary

Furnace Penitentiary: An underground hellhole. A place of pure evil with walls soaked in blood. Murderous gangs and vicious guards rule the darkness. Horrific creatures steal people away in the dead of night. And the impossible - escape - is the only hope.

My Thoughts

The writing is very descriptive up to the point of being tedious but that’s fine because the plot’s simple enough to follow: Alex is not a good kid. He is a bully and a thief. His life of petty crime changes once he is sent to the Furnace. Now consider the tag line:

Beneath Heaven is Hell. Beneath Hell is Furnace.

Scary? Yes? No? If this were one’s first foray into the world of YA horror/thriller (or whatever genre Lockdown can be classified under,) I definitely say yes. But is it sad that I didn’t find it as scary as I was hoping? It’s not like Lockdown isn’t bloody, gory or violent ~ it’s all of those things. Are child labor, gang killings, skinless bloodthirsty dogs, men with gas masks permanently sewn onto their faces and a warden that may or may not be the devil himself, not scary enough? Have I been desensitized? Or maybe it’s that the descriptions got in my way.

It isn’t a girly book either with the happy absence of a romance; rather it’s focused on survival, escape... and friendship. Alex, well what can I say? He did/ does some dumb stuff but is relatable nonetheless. Who wouldn’t want to escape from the hell hole he’d found himself in. All the kids wanted out and their reactions were all very real… as in pee your pants, cry in your sleep and scream, kind of real. Surprisingly there were funny moments, especially from Zee. I love that kid!

It’s dark and descriptive(good thing? bad thing? you decide...)

3/5

Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Fall for Anything
Good Reads Summary

From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes a gripping story about one girl’s search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

My Thoughts

It's a sob story. It's got a teeny tiny love story. It's a story of coming to terms with loss... or at least trying to come to terms with loss:

What a sad girl... yet despite that or maybe because of what she was going through, Eddie came across as real, and just the right amount of snarky, sullen teenager. Her comments, her jealousies, her petulant behavior were all honest. She read real to me. I didn't always like her. There were times I wanted to shake her, knock some sense into her. Some of her choices had me shaking my head, had me wanting to pull her to the side, to tell her to THINK, but I could see a little of where her head was.

Milo, is definitely my favorite. Normally, I'd say there's nothing we haven't heard/read/seen before in "a best friend being secretly secretly in love with the bla bla," except that wouldn't be fair, at all. He wasn't just that guy. I liked how important he was to her and vice versa, BUT I loved that he had feelings and issues of his own to work through. He wasn't just an extra.

I wonder if this is how people felt after reading The Sky is Everywhere. Both books are about grief... and (not) dealing with it. Both have people doing unexpected things. It's just that I simply couldn't connect with the MC in the former, while in FFA, Eddie came across as confused and very honest to me. She was still trying to figure out the why behind her father's choice. As a result, it's her (not)coping.

There's some good, complicated, emotional stuff in this one...
3.5/5

Enclave (Razorland#1) by Ann Aguirre

Enclave (Razorland, #1)
Good Reads Summary

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Thoughts

Violent, action-packed and freaks… someone compared this to a trilogy I love. Why not? I can see parallels in both the girl and society. Deuce is used to things being the way they are. She’s happy about her role in it. Well, not happy, but satisfied. Her world is a tough one; one where each has a role: their survival being contingent on each member’s strength and their not deviating from their set course. But when she and Fade do deviate, her world is rocked.

Girl15 has moved on to being Deuce, huntress. She grew up with that one goal in mind, and now she’s what she always wanted to be. Like Katniss and Katsa, she’s tough, strong and made to survive.

She’s paired with the mysterious Fade. Fade not really being an accepted part of the group (given his mysterious/dubious past,) they made for a predictable romance. She made me laugh because she just didn’t know how to react. A typical YA heroine? Not really. I felt her reactions appropriate; she was raised to fight. So it was both her being unaware of herself as a girl AND said consciousness slowly unfurling for her that made me laugh. While the romantic pairing was expected, I’d rather it not have gone that way. But praise be, that relationship was not the focus.

The freaks. I’ve been reading a lot books with zombies in them. And I have loved every one of them. Enclave is no exception. They’re scary and bloodthirsty. Each time she had to face one of them off, she showed just how much of a killing machine she really was. She’s awesome! Deuce’s problems are compounded by freaks that are smart or more specifically those that were becoming smart but isn’t that always the case, anyway?

Still, Enclave is so much more than the zombies in it. Her world was already scary and tough. One where people lived to the ripe old age of… 25! One where, a person was considered an adult at fifteen old enough to undergo a sorting ceremony that involved knives and wounds. Now consider the world outside that one! The differences between what she knew and what she later discovered were quite remarkable, her reactions, again, appropriate.

It’s not all good though: Plenty of people have said that the first part was much better than the second. I agree. The first half had Deuce discovering one thing after another, had her acting/reacting almost none stop. The second half slowed down… and just when I thought the action was about to pick up again it ended... ABRUPTLY. Grrr.

Excellent first half, I can't say the same for the second, though.
September 2012 cannot come any sooner.

4.5/5

Monday, June 13, 2011

Songs for a Teenage Nomadby Kim Culbertson

Songs for a Teenage Nomad

Good Reads Summary

What is the soundtrack of your life?

After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance.

Yet before she knows it, friends creep in-as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place?

My Thoughts


A little angsty, melodramatic, with an ending that was was too neat for my taste... but this was not a dud!
I like a character that knows what he or she wants and goes after it. The main reason I like the teenage nomad herein is that she knew what she was, what she wanted (and didn't want,) as well as what she had to offer, (and even if she veered away from those things. well, at least she got back to them at some point.) I respected her. I'm not so sure I can say the same thing about Sam. Everything her friends said about him rang true for me. HE did not deserve HER. She was much too good for him. So what if his Mr. Popular with his football and cute friends? So what if she's "big boned," in the drama club and a little in her own world most of the time? So what if he had issues? She did too! What's that thing about looking and acting like a duck? Well, he behaved like a coward, and I love that she called him out on it. That he turned a new leaf eventually came too late. My dislike for him had become too ingrained; I'd much rather have seen her with the likes of Eli (her clutzy, funny, drama club buddy!)

Apparently, I like my YA contemporary on the serious side. This comes as a surprise me, lover of Anna & Ettiene, as well as all things funny and snarky. More likely, I like my contemps to pick a slot and not be the watered-down version of what they claim to be (case in point the last two books that I didn't enjoy so much.) I didn't like the book that ended with -upid because it was a pale version of what I found funny in rom coms it poked fun at. I don't have the time (nor the energy) for "problems" that aren't real problems. Now, this book is filled to the brim with people with problems. My main issue with it is while they do have problems, some of those things could have been so easily resolved. Again: a problem where there really shouldn't be one.

An affirmation of what I've already discovered: I like music in books. I enjoy how the music in a book can make me connect just a little more with a character, or put me in more of a mood to read what's going to hapen next (yes, this is despite a really cheesy, ansgty song written by one character to another.)

I liked it. Except that ending, it was too happily-ever-after for me; I imagine lot's of things happening to them other than that ending.

3/5

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rhymes with Cupid y Anne Humphrey

Rhymes with Cupid 

Good Reads Summary

Goodman's Gifts & Stationery Store
February 14
Cashier: Elyse

3 boxes of heart-shaped chocolate . . . $12.00

Chocolate is the only good thing about this nauseating holiday.

4 containers of candy hearts . . . $5.00

Ever since my ex cheated on me, I've sworn off love. Too bad my new neighbor Patrick didn't get the memo.
1 Valentine's Day card . . . $4.50

I'm not interested. Although, he is pretty cute. And sweet. And funny.

1 singing Cupid doll (promotional item) . . . $0.00

Stupid Cupid! Point your arrows at someone else. . . .

Subtotal . . . $21.50

It's going to be a complicated Valentine's Day.

My Thoughts

Rhymes with Cupid indeed. There should be balance, right? YA isn't all dark and twisted; it can be sweet and romantic too. But a certain balance is called for, right? This book tipped that balance toward sweet. It was so sweet, so sappy at times that it is basically one of those rom-coms that the protag made fun of:

"...I hated the whole 'boy meets girl, they fall in love but - oh- they can't possibly be together because of some terrible but really easy-to-resolve misunderstanding' plots that always ended happily ever after with a passionate kis and/or wedding..."

I won't deny that there were moments of me stuffing the pillow over my head to keep from laughing out loud (Recall the raccoon scene?) But the book itself is just cute, funny but moments of it (mostly to do with Elyse's over the top reactions) really did rhyme with Cupid.

2.5 for making me laugh :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Madapple

Good Reads Summary

THE SECRETS OF the past meet the shocks of the present.


Aslaug is an unusual young woman. Her mother has brought her up in near isolation, teaching her about plants and nature and language—but not about life. Especially not how she came to have her own life, and who her father might be.

When Aslaug’s mother dies unexpectedly, everything changes. For Aslaug is a suspect in her mother’s death. And the more her story unravels, the more questions unfold. About the nature of Aslaug’s birth. About what she should do next.

About whether divine miracles have truly happened. And whether, when all other explanations are impossible, they might still happen this very day.

Addictive, thought-provoking, and shocking, Madapple is a page-turning exploration of human nature and divine intervention—and of the darkest corners of the human soul.

My Thoughts

I knew this was going to be dark, but I wasn't expecting this: Aslaugh's story is dark, twisted, confusing, sad and frustrating.. but through all of it I was stuck. I wanted, no needed, to know how it would all turn out.


Is this YA? I think not. She's young but her story takes things to a whole other level. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone anyone expecting a typical YA "dark" romance. Unless they want to think. Unless they want to be confused. Unless they want one hell of a story. It had me sitting up. It had me going, "What the..!" And the thing is, hers isn't an easy one -never an easy one- becasue hers moves her from one unfortunate, confusing, angering situation to another. And there's court room drama.

Aslaugh. her innocence oth fascinated and frustrated me. You know that voice in your head that tells you what's up? I wanted to tell her to listen to it. And yet she went along., or got swept along. So maybe all that hapened wasn't her fault because things were set up the way they were. She grew up isolated with what probably was a crazy (abusive) mother. So she did't know. But she always ended up regretting how things turn out. Her experience with her mother should have prepared her for Sara and Sanne, but no! She stayed... and later regreted. She's left to deal with boat load of crap that wasn't her fault. God, sje frustrated me, she confused me. And I felt sorry for her.

Rune. Was he a victim too? Or was he simply a guy with no impulse control? Or was he the hero she saw in the end.Or perhaps all three. One thing is for sure, he isn't one dimensional, for he too frustrated me, and yes, digusted me a little. But who am I too judge? I am a firm believer that you can feel what you want, want what you do and act accordingly as long as you don't hurt anyone. So the question is did he hurt anyone? Aslaugh? Did she know what she was getting herself into? Keeping in mind how she grew up, what she knew, and the circumstances being what they were? I am firm believer that there is not right or wrong when it comes to feeling? Unless the same is couple with act; that's when right or wrong come in. So victim, wrong-doer or "hero"? Maren, Sara and Sanne and were all damaged. And rebekka was too. Could I blame them for how things progressed, you bet your ass!

Frightening but fascinating...

4/5

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Reapers Are Angels by Alden Bell

The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel
Good Reads Summary

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

My Thoughts

Three words:

  • Gruesome.

  • Bloody.

  • Intense.
...So intense in fact that relief is what I felt with its ending. Well, relief and confusion and anger but yes, most definitely relief.

Temple is fifteen and making her way through a destroyed zombie-filled America. This destruction is tackled in detail. Everything from where they live, how they live, what they had do to survive is described in detail~ wherein the gruesome nature of the book pops up. This is not for the faint of heart, and it probably isn’t for everyone. Alden Bell takes his time in detailing the goings on of Temple’s world. But what fascinated me most was her matter of fact living. See a zombie? Avoid it. But Kill if need be. She’d been born into a world where zombies were fact, so her bits of wisdom made sense to me. Why live in fear when the world was the way it was? But dig a bit deeper and you know she’s running from something, you know she’s damaged. The root of this damage makes her all the more sadder in my eyes, but stronger too. So that ending, while upsetting came as a relief. Moses described her best, when he said she was unafraid of everything but herself. Speaking of Moses, their relationship was confusing, thought provoking. NO, theirs wasn’t a romantic one, (although it could have been.) That would be oversimplifying matters. Theirs was a complex relationship of hunter-hunted, of respect and honor and later we discover, of equals- in the truest sense.

I’m probably going to be thinking of Reapers weeks from now.

4/5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blood Magic (Blood Journals #1) by Tessa Gratton

Blood Magic (Blood Journals, #1)
Good Reads Summary

It starts off simply.

Draw a circle ... place a dead leaf in the center ... sprinkle some salt ... recite a little Latin ... add a drop of blood ...

Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents' horrific deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.

The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life. There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick's first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction. And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.

Tessa Gratton's intoxicating first novel will keep pulses racing, minds reeling, and pages turning right up to the very last drop of blood
.

My Thoughts


It's just a little over four hundred pages and, honestly, there may have been one chapter (or fifteen) too many. From the get, the first thing that came to mind was that I'd read it before: a girl with a tragic past meets hot boy who doesn't get along with his stepmother. Then there's the alternating points of view between Silla and Nick as well as glimpses into someone's past. It was a chore! Normally, switching POVs is something I enjoy... What's not to love when you get the same story told by different people? The problem is, had the story been told by just one of them, it could have been more... tight and I might not have been as bored as I was (maybe.)

And they love each other... desperately, passionately... oh, I don't know, having known each other after, what two seconds? That's not the biggest thing though, what annoyed me the most, what had me cringing was his term of endearment for her. 'Babe' I mean really.. she isn't a pig! And his a jerk!

What makes this different? Blood... and there's lots of it. But beyond that... there really isn't anything new in this one. The first part was boring: they meet, they like, they hook up, but he has a secret that she finds out... they fight. But why the secret to begin with? Eh? The middle was a tad better than the first, my attention was kept (off and on) by them trying to figure out who was who and what said who was up to. The ending abrupt.

It had good parts and boring parts but I seem to be recalling stretches of the latter... *wipes away the tears brought on by incessant yawning*

2/5

Monday, June 6, 2011

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

 
Harmonic Feedback
Good Reads Summary

Sixteen-year-old, music- and sound design-obsessed Drea doesn’t have friends. She has, as she’s often reminded, issues. Drea’s mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on “a touch of Asperger’s.”


Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a band after an impromptu, Portishead-comparison-worthy jam after school. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea’s preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.

It’s obvious that Drea can’t hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she’s found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?

My Thoughts

The acknowledgement starts with a disclaimer that it doesn't offer a definiton of Asperger's syndrome. Rather it's a story of one girl and her experience. OK I'll bite. I just kept wondering what it would be like to see the world as she does. Fascinating would be too strong a word. I'd be confused. Interacting with others and while having a hard time deciphering social cues must have made interacting with her an interesting thing. I did appreciate Drea's stratightforward manner. I found her go to response, of "I don't see the point in~" very close to the robotic one of "It does not compute." I don't think I was meant to be able to relate to her, but I did understand why she acted the way she did.


All that said, there really nothing "new" here and I found myself rolling my eyes once too many: I found her friendship with Naomi very kindergarten-sandboxish: impromptu (?) sudden (?) I don't know. but I liked how they clicked even if such a connection is unlikely to happen outside the pages of this book. Justin's from from bad boy to good boy background made him all the more interesting.

Should I take Harmonic Feedback as a simple story of a girl with her friends, a girl with her mother, and a girl with a boy or should I take it as a story of a girl with Asperger's syndrome and how that girl sees the world? A little bt of both, I suppose, because it is the last that affected the first.

Then add some music, a little (a lot of) after school specials and tada: not a bad read.

3/5

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

A Little Wanting Song
Good Reads Summary

A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . .
CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.

Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive.


My Thoughts

I'll keep this short: at first I thought it would be predictable: two girls who both want. Whether it's where the other was or what the other was like, they both wanted something. And for a little while it was (predictable,) then I got to know them a little more. Rose Butler isn't simply the tough/smart/pissy girl who couldn't wait to leave. Charlie Duskin isn't just the awkward girl who could sing. They were more than those things. I couldn't really relate to either of the girls, Rose was too intense, Charlie a bit too in herself all the time, but they balanced each other out. And the boys were wonderful additions too~ Dave, a good guy and Luke playful idiot. And then there's the music in the chapter: sweet, honest. and a little angsty but not too much (My favorite was her song for Dave. I want to cut, copy, paste that right on here... )


4/5

Deadline (Newsflesh # 2) by Mira Grant

Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy)
Good Reads Summary

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

My Thoughts
Holy S#@!...

I could kiss Ms.Grant. If Feed was a "thinking" book, Deadline is a "feeling" book because i. felt. everything.

I don't really read thrillers; my record clearly shows my love for YA. I have a read a good many young contemps, a whole lot of PNR, and a lot of YA 'dystopian.' But Feed was one of my early favorites this year. It impressed upon me that the value of a story is not the genre it seems to fall under, but in the way the story is told. I picked it up thinking it was just another zombie book, and after The Enemy and Rot and Ruin, I felt it fit would fit in nicely. I was wrong. I've likely said this before: Feed is smart. And more than a zombie book. Knowing that, I was completely caught off guard by Deadline's recent release. I held off, then held off some more, and then caved. I made the embarrasing mistake of starting the book in a coffee shop; a little while later, I rushed home, locked myself in my room, then promptly burst into tears. I wish I cried in a graceful way, you know a dab-dab to the corner of my eyes, but I don't - I'm noisy... thus, the rushing home. And why the crying? Shaun! He may likely be insane; he may very well be a bully... but who could blame him after events in Feed? I couldn't. I admit it, I have a teensy tiny lit crush on him.

Beyond my shallow crushing on the MC, Deadline must be read if only for a really good story, and it being a really great sequel. It's intense and action packed, yet it still had me getting very emotional. The original players (Georgia and Buffy) are still a big part of everything, particularly since Deadline is told by Shaun and that they were a big part of his life. Heck, they were his life. The conspiracy they'd uncovered put more people in danger, and kept me guessing. And that ending was... Well, let me put it this way I want to kick Ms. Grant right now, but mostly, I want to kiss her.

Thrilling ride, engrossing story... Deadline must be read... Oh, and Feed too.

I need the next one yesterday.
 
5/5

Thursday, June 2, 2011

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of Beautiful 
Good Reads Summary

As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?


It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty.

My Thoughts

It took forever to get to part two, then it took a little longer to get to part three. North of Beautiful was not as emotional as I had expected. In fact points were, dare I say, boring. That the characters were not very likeable did not help. Suffice to say, I was expecting more.

The most remarkable thing is how easy it was to dislike the characters, yes, even the protagonist. Her father was written to be hated. I was half hoping for a Meryl Streep like character in The Devil Wears Prada. You know, in the end when the intern was both thankful and sorry to be free from her wretched boss. So sorry, in fact, that the audience could almost like the boss. Such was not the case here. The father was too disagreeable, emotionally abusive even. As to the rest of her family? I kept waiting for them to stand up for themselves. When they finally did, it came a little too late for me. But that they did, explains the 3 instead of 2 stars I was leaning to throughout Parts One and Two... Well, that and Jacob.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Lips Touch: Three Times
Good Reads Summary

A girl who’s always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging — literally belonging — to another world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to childbearing age.


From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.


My Thoughts


***Major Spoiler Ahead***

The last short story compilation I read (and loved) was Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors. I don’t normally read these because I like my stories in one long arc AND because, when they're good, those short stories always leave me wanting more. Back to Gaiman, one story in that book that comes to mind now is his take on Snow White. Lips Touch Three Times reminds me a little of that~ take stories you know, then write it up for anyone (boy and girl alike) to enjoy. Lips Touch aren't just love stories. The stories are decidedly… unique. The MC’s are female but their stories are not very girly/romantic. And yet they are not totally different from typical YA MC’s because all three, Kizzy, Anna and Esme wanted something. Except there was something about them that's special.

If I had to pick my favorite, it would be Kizzy’s story. I could say that it was the absence of a happily ever after that struck me, but maybe there was a happy ending, only a very fleeting one. Esme’s story was a little more what I’ve come to expect from current YA… star crossed love separated by a magical twist of events, one where the boy’s been watching her... only, it wasn't as simple as that...

All three stories had me sneaking a page or two over the last two days (I hate Mondays… I can never just read.)

5/5

You Against Me by Jenny Downham

You Against Me
Good Reads Summary

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

My Thoughts

Two false starts, then some six hours later, I am left feeling angry and curious as to what had me reading on (despite my deep dislike for the characters~ not just Mikey and Ellie.)  They all made me angry.


Let me start with Mikey, who reminds me a lot of Loch for Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden. He feels burdened with getting his family from day to day. With an alcoholic mother, a sister who’d been assaulted and an eight year old sister, all unable to cope, he feels its left to him has to help them get by. Then there’s his finding a way to make things better for his… what he wanted to do was perfectly understandable, thngs just didn’t go as he’d intended. Then there’s Ellie who’s grown up privileged. So, her suspicion of Mikey and before that his sister, while again understandable was still offensive. And their respective families: initially Mikey’s mom, for all intents and purposes is absent (flashback to Forbidden.) Again, this had me angry. Later, her being forthcoming about what she felt for what happened to his sister and wishing they had just let things be, came across as excruciatingly honest. (Emphasis on excruciating.) they all reacted in their own way and coped (or didn’t cope in their own way too.) And his sister, I felt she had the most reasonable, acceptable and understandable reaction. I felt sorry for her, and again angry for her, but I could understand where her mum was coming from. Ellie’s dad and mum were torn between going on as before and holding up Tom, and opening their eyes and seeing him for what he was. And Tom? Well… boo.

They left me angry. While the book starts with a “what would you do if you brother were accused of rape… and what would you do if your sister were raped…” I felt the romance between Ellie and Mikey was just extra. Reading You Against Me reminds me of something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time~ watch this film by Brillante Mendoza called Lola . What’s the connection? Family and how some event is received depending on where/what you’re coming from and whose “team” you’re on.

4/5