Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Someone Else's Life
Good Reads Summary
 
When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all..

My Thoughts


One not so little secret leads to another then another then another. So where do I start? There was a lot of drama in this one and things did get a bit much.  Both girls found themselves in situations not quite desirable. I do understand why they felt the way they did, and I do understand the jealousies and insecurities that crept up. Still that one sad situation was permission enough for one or both to act the way they did had me frustrated. They could be so selfish; they could zero in on their woes so easily paying little heed to what their actions cost others.

The characters could frustrating as said, but there is no denying that their history is filled with heartbreak: first a debilitating disease, then discoveries of real mothers and real fathers and later still bigger secrets. It’s no surprise that they felt the way they did, but it was an effort to go through each reaction they had. Other than the two though, there’s Andy. This boy could frustrate me too. Because he’s always left behind, he was prone to doing the same. Goodness! I wanted him to pick a path and stick to it. And there were all other people too, other people whose own histories allowed for more drama. ‘Twas a bit much, honestly.

Thanks NETGALLEY!
2.5/5


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Double Clutch (Brenna Blixen#1) by Liz Reinhardt

Double Clutch (A Brenna Blixen Novel)

Good Reads Summary


What happens when you fall for the perfect guy...twice...in one day?

Brenna Blixen spent her freshman year homeschooling in Denmark; now that she's back in the States, she's determined to make her sophomore year unforgettable. And by unforgettable, she imagined awesome classes, fun friendships, and maybe a little romance.

What she got was a whole lot of romance, and all at once.

The same day that dark, brooding Saxon Maclean charmed her with his killer good looks and whip-smart wit, Jake Kelly stole her breath away with his heart-wrenching smile and intelligent, thoughtful focus.

But Saxon is a proud player who makes it clear that he doesn't know why he can't get Brenna off of his mind and out of his system, and Jake's sweet and humble attitude hides a secret past life that might be darker and more complex than Brenna is willing to deal with.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Saxon and Jake were once best friends and are now arch-enemies...and the more Brenna finds out about their connection to each other, the more intrigued and worried she becomes.

Between keeping the peace with her lovingly over-protective parents, designing t-shirts for her high school's rising punk band, keeping up her grades in classes split between academic and technical high school, and running the track like a maniac, Brenna has enough to worry about with out juggling two guys who make her heart thud and drive her crazy all at once.

She has to make a choice, but how is she supposed to do that when giving her heart to one of them might mean breaking the other's?

Recommended Age Group: Older YA.

 
My Thoughts

I see drama in Brenna Blixen’s future, and strangely, me wants it. A good deal of Double Clutch alternates between cute and hot, so I enjoyed this story despite it being yet another one of a girl torn between two boys, each appealing in their own right.

Despite depictions of skanky girls throwing themselves at hot boys, and bad boys with deep dark secrets that they’re reluctant to share, or even a girl with the tendency of wanting to see the good is so obviously flawed boys, the story is good, surprisingly so.

What’s to like? Brenna is direct and frank and just a little bit innocent. At first glance I took her to be another new girl unaware of her charms. She’s not. As she’s actually more aware of who she is what she wants than is common. Being certain about what she wants and how to go about it, she splits time between regular school and tech. It’s this decision that gets her into “trouble.”

I would shelve this with DUFF and Shut Out because all three touch on matters of sex and exploring the same in an upfront manner; there’s no shying away from it. Rather than virginal girls afraid of sex or boys pushing for it, there’s a girl who’s curious, who asks about then acts. While they do touch on a similar topic, I would say that Double Clutch was better with its delivery being less obvious, flowing more naturally from the story, rather than being part of a message. Basically, it’s better being less obvious in away.

But it’s not perfect either. The story was cut right before something big was going to happen. Events near the end had me holding my breath thinking a couple more chapters were to follow. To leave things as they were with that big reveal…left me hanging. It’s good thing the second book is out.

3/5

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light
Good Reads Summary

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against a backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this astonishing novel weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and wholly original.

 
My Thoughts

Mattie talks of stories that leave one hopeful and dreamy with their happily ever after’s as opposed to those that leave you shaken. Her’s is a little bit of both. There’s a dash of mystery then some romance and this YA historical leaves me surprised because It’s not something I’d normally read, yet I have to say it had me engrossed. The mystery is just a bonus as it’s a clever tool to introduce Mattie. Northern Light is her story. At first I was likening her to a mix of the March sisters with some of Meg’s mother hen tendencies, Amy’s romantic notions and Joe’s ambition… but she’s not just a mix of those as she’s a woman in the making all her own:

The role of mother had been placed on her. But I enjoyed her more for how ill suited she seemed to it. Her aspirations had me imagining more for her and at first she was imagining more for herself as well. That she felt burdened by her family and held back by her father in particular was of no moment to me. In fact she read a just like Joe in that respect… driven. Until that one thing had her contemplating other possibilities. This one thing? A romantic development that while sweet still had me hoping she’d stick her original plan.

But her story progressed if a little slowly, to reveal to her more of who her father and others really were: That the seemingly emotionally distant father was distant for a reason. That Emmie could be so much more than the impoverished neighbor with a lot of mouths to feed. That Royal is not the romantic hero but rather a man with aspirations and goals of his own. Even Aunt Josie the busy body well-to-do relative was more; it was care of her that there’s even a bit of humor in this one.

Even the absent characters had me thinking. Her mother is most definitely a force in all their lives. She’s what drives the father to behave the way he did. And it’s the change in him that shapes the way the girls carried on. And then there’s Lawton whose absence is most felt and even envied.

Romantic developments aside, the story is more about family than anything else. I love that she’s not the self-sacrificing martyr at first. She takes the role of caretaker reluctantly. I love that she had goals of her own, and at how up front she is in how she feels: feeling held back, burdened. But what I love even more is that she still took the role on. And by doing so, realized that thing she thought true at first might not have been the case after all.

4/5

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)

Good Reads Summary

Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.


Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, from the internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road and The Piper's Son.

 
My Thoughts

I had re-read Finnikin of the Rock right before jumping into this one and everything that I loved about that one was present in Froi. Both tales involve people, families and how those stories mesh. Each person had a tale his own, but all those intertwined producing a story that’s quite complex and complicated. I loved it.

Froi’s story starts where Finnikin’s ends. Three years after events in Lumatere, Froi finds himself part of it; he is desperate to prove where his loyalties lay. It is this same fact that leads him to Charyn, where learns more of his past. Froi’s mirrors Finnikin’s story with both of them trying to prove themselves. Only Froi’s seemed more painful (what is it with these broken men with dark pasts that fan my desire to give them a hug?) because his history is a chain of heartbreaking things done to one then to another ending with him not knowing precisely who he was and where he came from.

It’s complicated and intriguing but not just those things because there were light hearted moments that eased things a bit. The people in this one were strong and passionate. And they felt deeply, so I in turn felt deeply too- one moment had me laughing even after something else had me tearing only later to have my heart racing.

But what I loved more was how connected and individual the stories were. Each person had a story to tell. Lady Beatriss and Trevanion’s is one of the more affecting ones, second only to Quintana’s. And Lucian’s was probably the one that had me the most frustrated. But again it’s Froi’s that had me feeling so many things.

4.5/5
THANK YOU NETGALLEY!
------
I love this cover:
 

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Reckoning (Strange Angels #5) by Lili St. Crow

Reckoning (Strange Angels, #5)

Good Reads Summary

The electric finale in New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels series!

Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a fullfledged svetocha—rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires—the worst is yet to come. Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?

Dru Anderson’s not afraid of the dark.
But she should be.


My Thoughts


When I started this series, Dru stood out. She was tough and ballsy. But book after book later what I liked in her was overshadowed by a lot of moping over being misunderstood. Once in a while though her old self would shove past all her mopey depressed ‘no one get’s me’ bit as well as past her being torn between good ole Graves and confident Christophe. And this fact is what kept me reading on. That and Graves. Yes, Graves girl, right here!

This last installment has me equal parts satisfied and disappointed.

 On Dru. Yes, as she pointed out herself, she had a tendency to weep. A LOT.  The good thing is when she wasn’t leaking; she was acting. Fighting back and being tough, just like the Dru in Strange Angels. Those moments of her in combat as well as moments of her thinking ahead both proved that she wasn’t the Mopey One in Books two through three. My biggest problem with her was how too focused she was on the physical changes brought forth by her blooming. (I was totally caught by surprise by her pouting over Grave’s failure to comment on the same. What a ridiculously useless thing to focus on! This was not the Dru I liked. That that moment had me shaking my head is. No joke. They’re being hunted by killer vampires and she’s worried about looking hot! That was not the time for such a concern.)

On Graves then Christophe. I get where she’s coming from. When someone blows hot then cold, you kind of want to push them off the edge of a cliff. I get it. It’s just… I love Graves. Considering everything he’d gone through. I love, just love, everything about him. Everything she’d said about him was true. He was her rock. But Christophe was that too. He was there when it counted. Now this fact (that he’d rescue her time and again) is both a good thing and a bad thing for me. Him saving her is good; I just didn’t think she needed all the rescuing. I wanted her to rescue herself more often. And boy, did I get my wish in Reckoning.

I think the best thing about this series is how both the loves have something to offer and both of them are good. Both have histories that suck but when she’s with either what’s good in them surfaces. Am I saying that she made them better? I might be saying that. But they made her a little better too.

Then there’s Chapter 29. It had me weepy. I read this for the kick ass heroine and there I was getting weepy!

But damn it…WHY END IT THAT WAY?
3/5

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to Kill A Rock Star by Tiffanie De Bartolo

How to Kill a Rock Star

Good Reads

Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza's reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul's, and the two fall wildly in love.

When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul's sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.



My Thoughts

i've change my rating from five to one to two and settled on three (though i still feel like i am doing the story an injustice in so doing.) and why? that damned ending is why!

I CAN'T. STOP. CRYING... that damned twist had me sobbing like a baby. only later still, this damned book had me gaping like an idiot. one thing after another had me wondering if was i reading it right or had i just gone too long without sleep, was i supplanting what my imagination wanted to have happened? the five stars up there… are due mostly to the first 86%, but the 'thereafter' is something i choose to set aside as some sort of strange made for hollywood alternate ending.

the first 86% percent or so would have been perfect. given the drama that had taken place as well as the romantic connections made as well as how the latter blew up in their faces: all these things left me ache-y and angry and hoping a little more for her. only, i wish i hadn’t asked for more, because soon thereafter i was lost.

even with the way things turning out as unbelievably sweet and romantic... i could not grasp how i could go from bawling like an idiot… to sitting up and scratching my head. so, this is me having made the conscious choice of erasing that last part from my memory. because really, if i even dare consider it, the five star i am contemplating would do a drastic nose dive toward 2! so no, that ending did not just happen.

a couple of things are certain: there’s a lot to take in. it was the music that first hooked me. give me a story of a boy and his passion for music and i’m there. if nothing else, paul is passionate about his music. and yes, i loved that about him. that he was deathly afraid of selling out had me nodding along too, but his choices still baffled me. and then there's eliza with a passion of her own which led to the dumbest of decisions. gods! their choices were ridiculously over the top… and sometimes plain old ridiculous. yet, here i am still thinking about them (or more accurately them in the first 80 plus percent.)

this is chock full of drama and angst and anger and music. as well as passionate people with idiosyncrasies that endeared them to me. and along the way there's romance and connections that went deep too. there's a lot of introspection too but the same fact did not stop their propensity toward stupid decisions. oi! yes, there's a lot of stupidity too. so take those choices and those feelings and this is me churned up and a little confused about how i feel with how things turned out.

2? 3? 5? Aaagh!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Good Reads Summary

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts

This is one of the more entertaining re-imaginations I’ve read of late. As is obvious from the title, Cinder is poor girl-sad girl complete with evil step mother. Only Cinder is a cyborg; Only they live in New Beijing that’s battling deadly plague of mysterious origin.

I thought the concept interesting. In fact, the story had my attention from go, yet I wasn’t as impressed with the characters. Simply, everything everyone in it had a role to fulfill and they did the same with not much more. Cinder, for instance, is pitiful. My heart went out to her, but just once I’d have loved for her to go all Terminator on her guardian’s ass. When she finally decides to go after what she wants, one thing after another proved just how much a victim of circumstance she was. It’s never her fault though. Things just were; things just happened (normally to her). And there’s the step mum, who’s almost laughably evil. Thanks to years of Disney, I imagine her thus:

Photobucket


But not even the moments of her secretly crying or moments of her raging against Cinder could convince that there was anything beyond her being cruel (no hidden pain to make me understand what she was thinking). Even her step sisters turned out as expected with one bad, and the other good. I got little beyond the same.

Of course, our Cinderella has a prince. I liked Kai. I enjoyed him despite seeming rather un-Princely in how seemingly woefully under prepared for he was for what was to happen. (Don’t they groom this people for their responsibilities? Why all the deferring to the adviser?) Despite all that, he is a likeable sort and could be charming (being a prince and all). Still, the jump from like to love was rather jarring.

**there be spoilers ahead**
There were two things I LOVED in this one. (a) The baddies and (b) the rather obvious lost princess twist. As to the first, there’s a whole race planet of mind controlling, moon dwelling Lunars to worry about. I loved the concept. And I loved how fear inducing their Queen was. False beauty or not she was ruthless. As to the second? ‘Twas obvious where the story was headed early on, yet I have always had a fascination for stories of that sort.

I’m ready for book two.

THANK YOU NETGALLEY

3.5/5

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

Good Reads Summary

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.


My Thoughts

By my count there are three stories in this one. Scratch that, there are three stories in Scorpio Races that matter: that of Sean and his love of the sea, sand, water and Corr, that of Puck and her bothers, and then that of the race.

I’d be lying if I said I read this quickly, that I’d sped through each of those stories(as I normally would have) because doing so just wasn’t possible here. In fact, I had to stop then start this a couple of times before any of the characters let me connect to them. There is not one simple character in this one. I had to mull things over before they let me get to know them. It’s in the way it’s written I suppose. There’s a lot of description and thoughtful words thrown about… and getting used to those things took a while for me. Past this, I found myself feeling a lot of opposing things. I enjoyed them, even admired them but they could frustrate me too.

Not simple. Not one of the characters is simple. With both Kate and Sean being each too young and too old, I loved how she recognized the same fact as well as how unaffected he was by the same fact. He just was. She on the other hand, I found, always was doing things the hard way. Yet, as he pointed out, they could be mirrors of each other… both doing what they were doing because they were driven.

But what drove them? Her reasons are totally distinct from his: it’s her family. And this was but another aspect I was drawn to. Her relationship with her brothers was not the simple (there’s that word again!) Instead there’s conflict, hurt feelings and everything in between. That she knew them or thought she knew them only to find that they were so much more was a sweet addition. Because doing so, Finn and Gabe were not limited to being just her brothers; rather they had their own feelings, their own quirks, and their own reasons. Simply? They added (a lot) to the story

As for Sean, it’s all Corr. That was just another relationship that’s difficult to describe: on one hand, the horse is a monster, and on another, he is all Sean had. There was a bond there that I felt authentic.

Development. Then there’s how the both of them come together, (Minds out of the gutter, please). This coming together happens ever so slowly. The romantic sap in me was waiting. And waiting. And waiting. But things just went by because as said these two lived separate lives, that crossed more often than not. YET I loved how they weren’t wrapped up in each other. That only close to the end did they recognize what they had in common. It’s a slow build up… but so worth it. It’s not a big fiery passionate romance. At first, there is none to speak of. But their relationship, built up slowly, from having no trust to having unsure tentative one and then something more. There be development, I say!

And that last ten percent was me with my Heart. In. My. Throat!

4/5

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me
Good Reads Summary

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.


My Thoughts

Shatter Me is another case of me liking a book instead of loving it. In it is a boy with an aversion to wearing shirts. In it too is a girl whose touch could kill. I was shaking my head at how very much like Rogue (X-Men) she was. I was also taken surprise that by the end of it, how oddly similarly dressed they were~ serves me right for skipping the synopsis which does proclaim the story as “a riveting dystopian world, a thrilling superhero story and an unforgettable heroine.”

It’s not all it’s been hyped up to be. I see it as a part of another trend, of superheroes and secret societies instead of vamps and weres (Tempest and Hunting Lila being two of the more recent similarly themed books I’ve read.) This story just takes it up a notch a by mixing in some dystopian. And this is where my problems begin, the world has problems I know, but her recollections of what had come to pass came across as not as smooth as I would have liked it (I was reminded of what I felt when reading Water Wars. That there’s a message about being good to the earth etc.) I have no problem with the message; I just don’t need it shoved down my throat.

Thankfully, it was a feeling that feeling did not last that long. Because there were other concerns that crept up along the way (like roaches). The baddy in this one just another one of them: Oh, Warner! Is he misunderstood? Is he only after someone who could understand him? Or is he plainly psychotic? The token bad guy in this one is bat shit crazy. But I did find myself reading on hoping to see something more in him.

So, what’s there to like apart from aforesaid boy with the aversion to shirts? Wait, let me focus on him. He is good. I’d already guessed who he was the moment he stepped into the story. Should I be satisfied with this book because the love interest is good and brave and hot? Well, he didn’t take anything away from the story. Only, if I were completely honest… he didn’t add anything new either, save the sweet big brother aspect.

Then there’s also the heroine, *big exhale* I’ve nothing too bad or good to say about her. She’s interesting. She was a sad lonely girl at first, but quickly became too attached to Adam. *shakes head* Where had all her mistrust gone, I wondered? The biggest thing that sticks out about her for me is how much she lived in her head. Her thoughts could go to either extreme of profound or overly indulgent and purple. For instance, take  

“The world is flat… I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for 17 years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for 17 years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. When no one wants to risk touching you.” 

You be the judge.

3/5

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fury by Shirley Marr


Good Reads Summary

Let me tell you my story.
Not just the facts I know you want to hear.
If I’m going to tell you my story,
I’m telling it my way.

Strap yourself in...

Eliza Boans has everything.
A big house.
A great education.
A bright future.

So why is she sitting in a police station confessing to murder?



My Thoughts

“When I think hard about it, I find that I… actually don’t like many people. I must be such an angry person.” - Page 178

Eliza is modern Furious girl.

Color me green. I’d never aspired to being a writer (writing this is hard enough) but Fury has me wishing I had written it! Because, among other things, Eliza Boan’s story is compelling, dark, at the oddest of moments funny, but very upsetting. (And her name be awesome too.)

Eliza is privileged; they all are and it’s because of this fact that I held her (them) at a distance. At first. And why, you may ask. She’s uppity and spoiled rotten and unapologetic about what had come to pass. Yet needing to know the why of it, leads up to a slow (at times confusing) reveal. It’s upsetting, as said. I’d already had an inkling of what might have been, but the lead up to the same had me holding my breath just the same.

How good a bad girl is Eliza, exactly? Well... She drew me in despite her numerous flaws. It’s those same flaws that had me wondering why she was the way she was. Again, in those first chapters, I simply did not like the girl... but one page after another I felt something close to sorrow for her. Yes, she’d mocked herself early on as ‘that poor little rich girl,’ but she was precisely that.

It’s disturbing to read how they interacted. There was a senseless cruelty when they were together on a page. And I’m talking about the friends here! The dynamics between Eliza and Marianne and Lexi, is exactly the one in Lohan’s  Mean Girls. It’s this that accounts for some of the surprisingly cruel moments. They’re together, the closest to each other, yet they compete all the time. It was interesting confusing how closely bonded they were yet on guard they were against each other especially given their respective insecurities and jealousies. Marcie in particular confused me. From what I gathered, she’s perfect. Her constant play for position of top dog had me feeling threatened for Eliza! But it’s Lexi’s role in it, that had me shocked and and wanting blood.

The allusion to Girl Interrupted hit dead on what I was feeling. Because while this girl is messed up but she could be sweet and smart too. It’s just that she’s so wrapped up in her world , in being what she was (part of a trio of beautiful rich girls) that couldn’t see anything beyond it until something terrible happened to shake her out of her little cocoon of being above it all. And together with her story is the are several histories the most interesting of which is that share with Neil. Oh how I’d love to read more of that aspect!

“You infuriate me, Elle,” replied Neil. “But you wouldn’t be so special if you weren’t so awkward to deal with, huh?” - Page 222

4/5
-----------
Guess who’s placed an order for FURY at Fishpondworld.com! *excited*
Thank you, Wendy F!
Roshini,  you’re next!




View all my reviews

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where You Are (Between the Lines #2) by Tammara Webber

Where You Are (Between the Lines, #2)

Good Reads Summary

Graham Douglas doesn’t do romantic relationships, but he was knocked for a loop when he met Emma Pierce on the set of his last film. As they grew closer, he did everything in his power to keep from falling for a girl being pursued by superstar Reid Alexander. Now home in New York, his life is once again under control, until Emma appears and shows him how not over her he is.

Emma Pierce is forsaking an up-and-coming Hollywood career to embark on a life she’s only dreamed of—the life of a regular girl. After spending months burying her feelings for the two night-and-day guys who vied for her heart while filming her last movie, a twist of fate puts her in a coffee shop in the middle of Manhattan with the one she still misses.

Brooke Cameron was a fresh-faced Texas girl when she arrived in LA. Now she’s a beach sitcom star turned conceited heiress on the big screen. Having just survived three months on location with her ex—Hollywood’s reigning golden boy—she’s older and wiser and has set her sights on her close friend Graham. The only thing standing in her way is the girl he can’t forget.

Reid Alexander can sum up his life in one word: boring. Between film projects, there’s little going on outside of interviews, photo shoots, and the premiere of the film he finished last fall. The next-to-last thing he expects is to get a second chance with Emma, the girl who rejected him. The last thing he expects is for his still-bitter-ex to be the one to offer it to him on a platter.


My Thoughts

Where You Are has me contemplating the truth behind the words ‘there can be too much of a good thing.’

Oh Graham! In BTL, I found myself agreeing with the Matty of FOL comparisons. Anyone bearing coffee for someone hung over is a god… there’s no two ways about it. But let’s admit things shall we? You aren’t much of a beta are you? Your good intentions of wanting her to be her, to be free and unimpeded were canceled out once competition became obvious to you (sort of). And I know. I know that this is a romance novel, for Pete’s Sake… But still! I’d have rather read the Graham in BTL. I wish you’d kept to your beta ways of being present and supportive. Instead here what I got was a jarring mix of (a) love-sick boy who could wax poetic about ‘the rightness of her weight in my arms,’ with (b) love sick-boy who’d veer off in his head at the potential of letting his inner Cave Man out. Don’t get me wrong, I got why he was that way. I just missed what I caught a glimpse of in BTL.

Then there’s the competition. Yup, you guessed it: I still loathe Reid. But at least in this one, my loathing was split between him and Brooke. These two were made for each other. Graham’s half baked analysis of them could not have been any more accurate. Both were self-involved, pleasure-now go-getters. While I see nothing wrong in going after what you want, what had me seething was the needless hurt they caused along the way. Effective baddies these ones be. Because, even with the good that he was in the end, I still cannot get myself to get on his side and cheer him on. I should feel sorry for how broken and maladjusted they are. I just don’t.

The biggest surprise here is EMMA. Like her, hate her… I wasn’t sure in BTL. Here though she makes some pretty smart observations. I especially like what she had to say on decisions being hers alone. She’d grown up (a little.)

I much prefer Graham in BTL, but if you really cannot get enough of him you can give this one a go.

2.5/5

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Between The Lines by Tamarra Webber

Between the Lines (Between the Lines, #1)
Good Reads Summary
 
When Hollywood It Boy, Reid Alexander, arrives on location to shoot his next movie, his goals are the same as always—film another blockbuster hit and enjoy his celebrity status to the fullest while doing so. His costar is a virtual unknown with whom he had blazing hot chemistry during her auditions. The universe is lining up nicely to grant whatever he wants, as usual, until he’s confronted with unexpected obstacles on location like a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for the first girl to spark his genuine interest in years.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after more than a decade of filming commercials for grape juice, department stores and tampons, and more recently, bit parts in made-for-TV movies. Nailing the lead role in a wide-release film sent her agent, father and stepmother into raptures, and should have done the same for her. The Problem? Emma is experiencing a building desire to be normal, and starring in a silly, modernized adaptation of one of her favorite novels—opposite the very hot Reid Alexander—isn’t going to advance that aspiration.

Graham Douglas doesn’t fear playing the part of a nerdy dimwit; when it comes to choosing film roles, if it pays, he’ll do it. Besides, his friend Brooke Cameron snatched up the role of the bitchy hot girl and could use his help as a buffer, because her ex is the star. Graham has no problem keeping a handle on the situation, until he finds himself attracted to Reid’s costar, Emma, the girl Reid is pursuing full-throttle with his standard arsenal of charm, good looks and arrogance.

Author recommendation: Mature teens+ (language/drinking/sexual situations)


My Thoughts

Let’s get down to it, shall we?

The Negatives

It’s mostly Reid. The need to drop kick someone has never been so great as with this boy pig. Seriously?! What was there to like? Sure, he is a highly sought after actor given a face/body to die for, as well as his seemingly bottomless pocket…Oh … OK. But still! His personality desperately needed some attention. The way he went through one girl after another~ unapologetic, had me wanting to punch him. HARD. Did the delusionalromantic in me want him to be better? Did I envision a love so great as to move him to better himself? Sure, I did. AT FIRST. But one humiliation heaped on another and one self-involved internal monologue after another of (a) how hot this or that girl was or (b) what a douche his daddy was, just proved that there was just nothing there! Daddy Issues?! Seriously, daddy issues, that’s all you’ve got, Reid? I He had me seeing red. This feeling was present fro say 90% of the book. He needed to grow up, I thought at first. But grow up into what? A bigger douche? Nope. He needed to grow another personality; grow out of what he was.

But there was Emma too. She’d raised herself, was very inexperienced so I could not completely count her out. But her vacillating from Guy A to Guy B (no matter how hot one was and how good the other was) had me clenching my teeth. That blow up with Emily made perfect sense to me. And yet, I do not dislike her as much as I do Reid. Because it ,is her story and unlike the former… she does grow up and she does prove that she’s got a spine, that she thinks and that she could change. That daddy issues or no, she’s shaped by her choices. And that she acted. Good on her.

The Positives.

It’s all Graham. He is Matt from FOL. He’s there, he’s present and like Matt, not as uncomplicated as he initially thought to be. But what’s there to love? Everything I mentioned AND the last ten percent to the book. I didn’t see that coming… and Oh. My. Gosh… Drama is OK, I’m a take it or leave it kind of girl when it comes to drama, but that final reveal has me needing the next one.

And since I cannot stop myself I am reading the next one… right now…

This is a very high 3.5/5

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina

Good Reads Summary

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

 
My Thoughts


There have been few epic fantasies stories like this one that’s pulled me to a complete halt with the need to see the finish. There’s Belgariad, then Eon and then there’s Finnikin on my list. Now, I add Seraphina. One thing, there’s a lot in it. With dragons and people divided, and her being smack in the middle was errg... fascinating. And the better part of it is how it wasn’t just her story.

How she interacted with them. Not once did she come across as self involved. Always, I was aware that she aware of where she stood in relation to others. Her connection to Orma was the best part of this, I think. Who he was to her and who she was to him was a story I could not get enough of. If you consider what Orma was, and where he stood in his world, I found that his and her connection was complicated, sweet and sad all at once. My feeling for him (them) was amped up because of the kind of dragons present in this one. They’re thinking rather than feeling; rational but a bit disdainful.

And the humans? Oh my! Where some were insecure, fearful and paranoid, others showed a capacity for kindness that explained a lot of her conflict. Take Prince Lucian/Kiggs… who’s of the latter type but could be heartless at times. I take it back: the best thing about this is how NONE of the characters were simple ones. Where some did react as you think they would, others (most of them) didn’t. Take her friendship with the Princess and her being drawn to the Prince.

I would have loved to see more of those like her… particularly Lars and Abdo. But what I did catch glimpses of are enough to have me wanting the next one now (I do hope there’s a next one.)

4/5

THANK YOU NETGALLEY!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the future of us by jay asher and carolyn mackler

The Future of Us

Good Reads Summary

It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on--and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.


My Thoughts




I’m recalling some pretty interesting funny things care of my family. The nineties as history?! There was my brother and his love for Wayne’s World, and low slung jeans plus puffy sweaters. My sister and her love of the group soul ballad. Boyz 2 Men, it mentions, but my sister was all about All Saints. And later still there was her fondness for the Backstreet Boys and their Quit Playing with-what’s it. I, on the other hand, had Captain Planet and Gem to focus on (wait, it will come back to you.) So in 1996 all I’m remembering is Saturday morning cartoons. And that Cricket doll (with a creepy resemblance to Chucky, the doll possessed by that psycho soul.) Why do I find it funny that it’s a time is marked by what people found popular? I feel a little like the nineties is too recent a past to be looked upon like it is the Past with a capital P, as in capable of being the subject of something so vague as in time travel, but hey.. .why not?

So to the book, I thought the concept quirky if not as well executed as the one in READY PLAYER ONE (Read that one now).  Common element? Warm and fuzzy moments of 'remember when?' Emma gets a PC and logs on to the facebook... fifteen years in the future! My First thought: isn't there a danger of it becoming dated? Right now, it’s quirky reading how someone in the past reads something so commonly occurring. But give it a few years, and THE FUTURE OF US will likely read odd. But that’s the point, right?

That aside, the people in the story are nothing new. I enjoyed Josh more than I did Emma. For one, she could be so insensitive and self involved. Josh on the other hand is pretty ordinary. Their reactions to the same thing emphasized these aspects of them. I’d have loved to see more of Tyson, especially how easy and jokey he could be.

So, they have a history and when one screwed up and so did the other; there’s really not that much to it. 1996 as history and facebook as the future are about all that’s different here.
So moving on.

2.5/5
PBT #3

Monday, November 14, 2011

Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton

Everneath (Everneath, #1)

Good Reads Summary

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


My Thoughts

Everneath is a clever play on mythology, in broad terms Everneath is the Underworld only not for the damned or for those in limbo but those for the Everliving. More specifically, it takes Orpheus’s tale and builds on it then build on it a little more. While I am by no means a myth buff, I was intrigued by how the author took some of things that were familiar to me to come up with this one. But I ask myself why did this one work for me but not the Goddess Test? Perhaps it’s how not confusing things turned out to be in the latter, or that there simply was too much. What could have been interesting in that one went overboard. I was going to say that the underlying story is kept to… only to be honest things also did get confusing in Everneath toward the end with both Egyptian hieroglyphs and Daughters of Persephone thrown in. I enjoyed it but liked the first two quarters more than the last. Yes, that’s even with mention of a unique Stop N’ Go.

At the center is Nikki a girl, still caught in facing the consequences of her choice. Me thought it clever and new how her story was tackled because hers in one divided in two pivotal points: the first was her before and after prior to being with Cole, the next is an outcome of the same:
At first, here is a girl who is so utterly surprised to be with the most popular boy. This would normally be the part that I’d be rolling my eyes at; instead, she came across as genuinely surprised and obviously insecure in finding herself with him. But there was happiness too. Again, in this parts of the story she’s another just another character with a deep pain sad traumatic history. But Everneath DOESN’T dwell on that part of her, but zeroes in on how she dealt with it. Here in enters, and shines Jack. I’d feared another of those douches in the Unbecoming of Mara which was so not the case here because Jack is a solid guy.

Later, here’s the same girl but different. I use the word different and not better because she is so far from being ‘better.’ In this later part, she’s sorry about what’s come to pass but resigned about what’s to happen. The bit stuck out for me was need to see do things better. She knew what she’d done and had but didn’t not have a clue about what to do about it…very fish out of water of her.

I had no problem with the triangle! Both Cole and Jack were interesting options. A hundred years of being together without a doubt pulled her to one side, yet she was anchored to the other as well. While Cole’s role is sinister, mysterious, and dark, there is no denying that he too was drawn to her. While the knee jerk reaction would be for me to loathe him, be a little creeped out by his ‘we shall rule the world together’ I cannot shake the thought that what he felt was genuine (even if motivated for self gain initially.) Then Jack, again knee-jerk is to see him as nothing but the good guy, but there's more! (there always is)

And WTF! What an ending! Sure, Everneath is not perfect but it’s entertaining it's starts out different goes over some of the usual stuff, but that ending has me anticipating what’s to follow.

THANK YOU NETGALLEY!
3.5/5

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pure (Pure #1) by Julliana Baggot

Pure (Pure #1)

Good Reads Summary


We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.


My Thoughts


It's dark and compelling and so much more than the last
couple of post apocalyptic reads I'd managed to get my hands on. In
fact, this one has me feeling what I did with Dark Inside and BRR...
only more.

The imagery alone had me at odds with myself because all at once, I
was repulsed then fascinated, reluctantly curious in a 'How's that?'
way. I couldn't get enough of it. I'd pay to see this translated into a
graphic novel. There's an HoN one, right? Pfft. Why bother with that,
when the creatures in this one could feature (and probably will) in a month's worth
of my nightmares? I take one star from Under The Never Sky and another from Dark Inside and then throw the same at the repulsive human wretches in this.

Add the fact that Pressia's and Parridge's voices were distinct... and their experience equally terrifying.  With each side, compelling in its own, and
each, propelling the story forward quite effectively. 

I want this book

THANK YOU NETGALLEY! 


3.5-4/5

Friday, November 11, 2011

Incarnates (New Soul #1) by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate (Incarnate, #1)
 Good Reads Summary

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.


My Thoughts

3.5/5

The idea of a definite set of souls being born over and over again is a novel one that drew me in. And right now it’s quite obvious that I’d not read anything quite like it before. So I enjoyed it, but was confused by some of it.

The different. There be dragons, sylphs and other things, but the most fantastic element was the people themselves. There’s a definite number of souls in their world, and it was them all through out. There was a familiarity among them that I enjoyed with most of the characters talking of others in an almost offhand way; they all knew each other and it showed.

But ANA is different- whether NEW SOUL or NO SOUL, she stuck out for me. Frankly, there was something ‘off ‘about her (and no, I am not referring to the absence of her previous lives,) rather it was how she perceived herself as not real and not entitled to feelings, that had me curious (and just a little upset on her behalf.) A lot of how she behaved made sense given how she was raised, but still I still found her a peculiar mix of a lot of things. For one, she was a sponge that soaked everything up. It’s her curiosity that’s the best thing about her. So on one hand, her mind is open, flexible and accepting, but on the other she could be closed off too; as with her hesitance to acknowledge what she felt, or even to admit that she was capable of such things…and why was that? Because she’d been told she couldn’t! Only in later parts of the book, did I feel a bigger disconnect with her. From her wanting to run away, to her almost easy acquiescence to the hand she’d been dealt, these things showed a girl who neither acted nor reacted, but just was. It’s these parts that I could not quite get over.

The not-so-different . Sam’s sudden appearance in her life had me pursing my lips too, wondering if theirs would be another instant love. Her journey starts with a cruel trick and a little while later of waking in the arms of a stranger was interesting, if not a little creepy. So there I was, crossing my fingers against another one of those fated-to-meet you things, only to get a little more confused by how some things didn’t mesh. Some of her actions did not jive with one who’d grown up with a cruel indifferent “mother.” Her almost easy acceptance of his help canceled out her initial suspicion of him and this just didn’t go with her history… so things did get a bit thin for me. Like how she found herself living where she did and being taught as she was, the reasons for the same were things I found too easily accepted. And I wondered if anyone in the book acted counter to what they were told.

...Still, not new. There be a romance in this one too. (Why do I always zero in on this?) There’s a reluctance of one to be with the other. At first, this same fact read along the lines of ‘been there and done that.’ Only later to be supplanted by an “Oh, that made sense,” only not completely… because I never really bought into the why of it. Nitpicking aside, there was a sweetness to them so much so that I found myself cheering them on.

Just to be clear, I did like INCARNATE. Some things could have been fleshed out a little more, but a world filled with old souls and a new one trying to figure out her place in it, is one I enjoyed.

THANK YOU NETGALLEY!
3.5/5