Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fever (Chemical Garden#2) by Lauren deStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nothing was happening. I feel like Fever was an overlong game of hide and seek, and I didn’t even like the players all that much! As usual, the positive lay in how it’s written. And like the first, the negatives lay in the shock value. If the first had me reeling from the child bride aspect. This one had me reeling back from a number of things:




Men turned monsters?


Check, check, and check.

OK.  I liked it and I didn’t like it. The hiding and seeking went on forever… with nothing new happening. Certainly, the new people added something to look forward to. Maddie and Silas in particular had me considering where the story would go with them in it. Maddie especially had me paying closer attention, to who she was and to how different she was from the rest. She might very well be the main thing I liked in this one.

The old characters certainly had little new to add having changed only a little. Gabriel seemed still to be looking to Rhine for guidance. And those rare flashes of fire from him were indeed just that: rare. Rhine too had changed her tune only a little. If in the first she dreamt of the outside world; here some of her thoughts were on life with her sisters and with Linden. I could understand her wanting a little of what she had had. But I tell you it got frustrating reading nothing happen.

This second book read filler to me BUT I am still interested in what Rowan’s got to say for himself. He was the one thing I was looking forward to and like Rhine I wanted to see what had become of him. I guess I have to wait for the next one! Darn it. 


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Other LIfe (The Other LIfe #1) by Susanne Winnacker

The Other Life (The Other Life, #1)
Good Reads Summary

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am starting to get the feeling that if you’ve read one post-apoc YA book then you’ve likely read them all. In this one it’s a couple of years after the world’s been ravaged by a rabies-like virus and we see people holed up in bunkers because of infected zombie/cannibal like monsters. Circumstances lead her and her father out of there safe place into a place that barely resembles the place she used to call home.

I was expecting something more sinister. But things just progressed too conveniently, too much the way one would expect things to progress. Just imagine: what’s likely to happen when one goes out in search of necessities? Or imagine, what’s likely to happen when you know you’re not supposed go out? And then imagine what happens after the worse had come to pass… Why, hello tall, dark and mysterious. Where did you come from?   And you see, even Joshua’s motivations once made clear, read standard (to me at least.) His story was heart ache-y. Yes, it was. But frankly it’s left me feeling a little of seen-it/read-it/heard-it before. So, old hat? Well, I’m sorry, but yes, most definitely. Things are not helped when the one character who showed some promise and mystery (IMO) ends up wiping everything clear in one heartfelt  speech moment. Again, that moment felt: too convenient and too quick. Is the word formulaic too harsh? It is what I feel though.

Perhaps I’m being too picky, but his sudden appearance while much appreciated, seemed too pat. And again, he and his group had me imagining all sorts of sinister scary scenarios. Too bad, what was didn’t live up to what I was thinking. Or perhaps I was being too nitpicky in feeling cheated. They had it easy! Need something? Why don’t worry in safe haven, we have virtually everything you’d need: apple trees, IV’s or what not.

Some positives though. Those glimpses of in her past for instance. Though, I’ll be honest: I’m divided on what I feel. Yes, those bits emphasized just how different things had become. Her ‘Other Life’ read so vastly different from her current one. Strangely, though, instead of me feeling her loss for what was, those glimpses did not really add that much to the story. Some times in fact, I felt them a bit too out of place, almost like interruptions in me getting into the groove of her current life was.

My favorite part would have to be the Weepers. They read terrifying. Those few instances where they’re made to face off? Good golly, those one or two moments are the stuff of nightmares. Beyond the baddies though… this just has me feeling meh.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Getting Over Garrett Delaney
Good Reads Summary
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Can a twelve-step program help Sadie kick her unrequited crush for good? Abby McDonald serves up her trademark wit and wisdom in a hilarious new novel.
Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly onesided. The object of her obsession 

- ahem, affection - is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie's feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett's constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock

- all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder - until he calls to say he's fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she's finally had enough. It's time for total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized self help guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Getting Over Garrett Delaney. It’s quite different seeing a girl try to get out of being in love when the norm is seeing a girl fall head over heels over some boy. This one was slow to start for me. Sadie in particular was not that impressive to begin with. She’s a sad girl really. It’s her as BFF with unrequited love, but the twist was what she did to get out of love instead of stewing in it. I really didn’t like her I mean, I really didn’t like her. Most everything said about her with him was true. That she was too wrapped up in him? that there was no her? Both so true; both so sad.

Her and Garrett. She’s clueless … and her realizations about him, about herself and about them together were slow to come to her. But once made, change was inevitable… so I was rooting for her. But prior, it was so obvious how little she knew outside their friendship. And never was it more obvious than with Josh. God! Those moments were funny and painful. Funny because how could I not laugh at how little she knew. But painful too, mostly for what Josh must have been feeling.

I enjoyed the story mostly because it’s cute and fluffy and funny break. Her twelve step program especially was all those things. Even the supporting characters had me laughing. Sure, there’s not that much too them: I’d even go as far as saying that they felt a bit one dimensional. It was almost as if Sadie had one kind of friend each. One artsy type; one quirky, loud and out there type; one directed and bit too serious in tone; then one who’s popular, pretty and seemingly  having  everything already figured out. Yet her with them, in pairs or as a group? Hilarious.


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

The Storyteller
Good Reads Summary
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

Anna and Abel couldn't be more different. They are both 17 and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prison-like tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s one story in another with one mirroring the other. His story for his sister was magical and lovely. Only up close, it’s really quite a sad one because once you see who was who and what stood for what; then you could see/feel just how far removed his stories were from their reality. And their reality? Stark, depressing, and so far from even the possibility of a happily-ever-after.

If at first, like Anna, I was drawn to him, impressed by him and maybe, just, maybe slightly in love with his possibilities; those sudden turn of events had me not just pausing, but recoiling from him. From totally loving him, rooting for him and damning everyone else that said otherwise… that moment had me stopping in my tracks. It had me so angry at him, but more, it had me heartbroken for her. I confess I put it down with no intention of picking it up back again. But it kept nagging at me: how would the author pick up the pieces; where would the story go?

Setting aside the device of a story in another one, the mystery aspect only took precedence once I was less in love with the idea of them together. They all had me wondering. Was what I was thinking right? Was I wrong in how I’d first pegged them at first? That heartbreaking, devastating twist seemed to be pointing to the affirmative. Here’s the truth: The clues left here and there had me feeling secure in the knowledge that I knew who the baddy was. And here’s another truth: I was wrong to an extent.
With the mystery slow to pick up, I was half tempted to skim over his stories. I knew something similar to what he was saying would be laid out sooner or later in a clearer, more contemporary voice. I’m glad I didn’t because contrasting his fairytale against their reality, things balanced out a little. His stories calmed things down I suppose.

Not since Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden have feelings of such conflict in me been roused.  And as far as story devices go, his fairytale foreshadowing everything else was different… new… special. And it was what had Abel as Storyteller winding around me. Such a good brother, such a good man, he had me feeling all hopeful. Again that one moment put a stop to those feelings. After that all there was pity, anger, disappointment. But wait a couple of beats, and it was her turn to have me more than slightly confused. Her choices, her decisions astonished me. Truly, the one thing I cannot move on from is the absence of a resolution for her. I mean she was all, "Let's not forgive and let's not forgive." But, I was all, "How is that even possible?!"

The Storyteller went from sweet to devastating to totally unexpected then heartbreaking again.


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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan Crewe

The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival.

As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bits had me bored, then moments had me terrified, but really a good deal of it had me mostly befuddled by how easily things devolved. By 'September 23’ something terrible (a couple of terrible something’s) had already taken place, yet there I was contemplating putting it down… because it was all just so slow and matter of fact. But little by little, it’s not the teenaged girl’s life that’s in my head but instead it’s what was going on around her.

Maybe it was just me, but how funny is it that it was people her age who seemed to be doing something more? Tessa and the planting? Or And Gav with what I took to be his hero-complex? It It’s these same facts same fact that had my brow a-furrow. For a couple of young people, they just read so old, and put together!  She too with her father the microbiologist(?) manages to make connections that seem quite unlikely and out of her scope. Color me impressed (or should I really say color me doubtful?) Add the fact that a couple of key players just drop out of the picture never to be heard from again. But what’s on one hand interesting then the other part terrifying is how anything bad that could happen did happen to her small island community: virus, mobs, fires and crazy people.

Now on a less ambivalent note, I am positively in love with the cover. It’s so lovely; I keep running my fingers over the raised letters- smooth outside, rough inside. That little thumbnail image does not do it justice.


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Friday, February 24, 2012

The Returning by Christine Hinwood

The Returning 

Good Reads Summary
The Returning by Christine Hinwood

An intense story of love, loss and turmoil in the aftermath of war. A first novel by a uniquely talented author.

Vivid, compassionate and totally absorbing, Bloodflower follows the fortunes of young Cam Attling and all those whose fates entwine with his.

Cam has a hunger, an always-hunger; it drives him from home, to war, from north to south. When he returns from war alone - all his fellow soldiers slain - suspicion swirls around him. He's damaged in body and soul, yet he rides a fine horse and speaks well of his foes. What has he witnessed? Where does his true allegiance lie? How will life unfold for his little sister, his closest friend, his betrothed, his community, and even the enemy Lord who maimed him?

With extraordinary insight and literary skill, Hinwood weaves their stories to create a tale of romance, adventure and everyday life in croft and manor house and castle. Her style is unique. Her characters will hijack your heart.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are so many characters in this one and all their experience so unfamiliar to me that I wanted to get familiar with every single one of them as well with every aspect of their stories. The story spans a long while, beginning from right after Cam’s return and eventually tackling his younger sister’s own beginning…but the story is so much more than their family, because it touched on everyone around them. It’s quite daunting trying to sum it up, so I won’t even try… but I do see why there’s so much positivity around it.

There’s a sense connection here almost like what I felt in Finnikin, though it’s far from being the  epic fantasy that the latter is.  It does cover a lot of things and as a consequence there’s simply so many people. It’s clear that one character’s story affects another one and the next one after that and so on, but I enjoyed how each of them had something to deal with and their troubles uniquely their own. Take, Cam and his wanderlust; Ban and his feelings, Cam’s koi-boy and her dealing with what she was and what she had to do; Lord Ryuu’s son and his figuring out his place… or Pin and her place for that matter.

Again, there’s a lot of them at time I felt like each of their stories could have been dealt with more specifically, each of them could have been tackled just a smidge more. Because I only barely got a glimpse at what made each of them special, by the end, I felt like I’d only just begun to learn a little of who they were… and I wanted more.

Thanks you NetGalley!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life Is But a Dream by Brian James

Life Is But a Dream
Good Reads Summary 
Life Is But a Dream by Brian James

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced that it's the world that's crazy, not them. But when Alex starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself.
My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know about that ending; It felt too neat and perfect for such a touchy topic. Now, before the book’s end, most everything in it read possible, sad and accurate. But her world, and it most definitely was her world, is so different. It’s certainly unique, both beautiful in imagery… but a little scary too.

The topic is touchy, but I think it was dealt with accurately here. The circumstance of them meeting was both good and bad. For her, he was this one safe place; for him, she’s a kindred spirit. Only, were they really those things for each other?

Couple her mental disease and her way seeing things with his outlook, and we’d come to a negative for that question … yet with them together things felt so much easier for her. And this I admit despite feeling moments of being angry at him and feeling that what he did actually did make things worse for her. Indeed, the how and the where of them meeting was sad, but it’s also their coming together that’s sort of fortunate because they understood each other to a certain degree; but only to a certain degree because her problems really were much different from his… not worse, because he too had problems.

The brief glimpses into who she was before being in the wellness center were all quite heart wrenching to see. And the things is there was no process to her becoming what she was. There was no process, just hints at what she had in her. And the realization to that was a very slow to take place; thus, when what was wrong was apparent, such realization was just a little more painful to witness.) Her memories paint  a picture of a girl growing up and trying to be like everyone else, but feeling at odds with what she was supposed to be. With her friends (friend, really) out pacing her socially, physically and emotionally and with her parents (along with everyone every one else ) who just could not figure her out, it was a sad thing to see just how different/special she was. At the beginning of the story, she talks of labels  and it was this  girl who could call these out that I wanted to know more of. Her story is sad, their meeting the both lovely and sad.

Thank you Netgalley!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

Good Reads Summary
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite. 

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WHAAAAAT. THE .FUDGE! That ending! That ending has me going:


And it’s that awesome ending, cliffy-crappy as it is that accounts for most of what I loved in this book. Because truth be told, I feel like I knew what was going to happen next. every. single. time.

Her getting used to the new place felt quick to me; too quick in fact, because one moment she’s struggling to survive, and the next she’s helping out and making connections with all these new people. New people that I knew little about. And perhaps it’s this unfamiliarity that had me drawing back a little from them. And if that wasn’t all, the story is split between her time new in the Wild and then suddenly with her back where she’d just come from. And these shifts were jarring and sudden and yeah, I repeat: jarring. So much so that I felt like I knew what was coming on, but I just wasn’t completely sure.

So back to all those new people. There’s Raven and Tack whose passion for their cause tipped me off that something was up. It’s just that for most of the book, I had this niggling feeling in the back of my head that someone wasn’t who they said they were or that someone somewhere was keeping something back. And it was said feeling that kept reading even though, every now and then I’d exclaim, “I knew it. I called it!” after something big would happen.

The sad thing is everything felt too rushed for me. Her first waking moments in the wild, then subsequent peeks into her moments back… went by quickly, with very few details. There’s so few details that I wanted more of… but again everything happened quickly, people went in and out of her life quickly. And that’s the impression left to me of this one: it’s a quick book. Heck, even the attachments she made with a couple of them felt too quickly formed. So it's a tad too quick, a tad too brief even though I wanted more, and that damned cliffy only compounds my feeling of want. more. right. now.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Where It Began

Good Reads Summary
Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. but when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.

And Billy's nowhere to be found.

All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.

It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.

Especially if it means everything changes.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It started interestingly enough with a sense of confusion and not knowing that was conveyed quite effectively. Except the trip down memory lane was not a pleasant one because in the end all I felt was sorry for this girl who's a bit too used to describing herself as “sub regular.” And lost memory or not, her story was funny~ just not in a funny ha ha way. Her running commentary on being sub-regular and being the moon to Billy’s earth was in simple terms: off putting and quite disappointing. Yet, I finished this, holding (clinging?) to the hope that she’d realize how off she sounded when she voiced what little she thought of herself.

Point one. Props on being normal girl, non AP/academically inclined girl. Props on being sort-of funny and negative. But, and this important: the problem was how the negativity was always directed at her.  She saw nothing good in herself. And from her POV, it seemed like her family was of no help there either. Because aside from being self-directed, the negativity seemed to come from her parents as well.  And if Gabby’s thoughts were to be believed, I was half a mind to go,   Father, meet daughter, not prized horse to wow others over. Mother, meet daughter; she not Barbie.  Get over yourselves and help her! And by ‘help her,’ I don’t mean those vats of make up!  Now, me trying to be less than negative would concede to the fact that maybe, just maybe, her parents might have been saying that she had to make do with what she had. BUT this reverts back to the problem that she didn’t think she had anything going for her! Anyway, the consequence? A girl who refers to herself as “sub-regular” time and again. And, a consequence of that? Me, coming to loathe said term.

Point one and half. Like I said, the first time she made a funny at her own expense, well, it was (funny.) But the next time and the next time and the next time after that? Not so much! If her observations started out as funny- scathingly so,  the repeated references on how non- smart she thought herself or how unappealing she found her looks all simply succeeded in frustrating me. My ‘ha- ha’s’ devolved in to a ‘Please, stop. It’s sad; you’re sad.’

Point two. Props on being aware how utterly sad you actually are, Gabby.  She was all “Billy this and Billy that.”  Again, it was so sad and so utterly frustrating how a good portion of Where it Began was all about her wanting him… because she saw him as the best thing there was about her. She saw herself as an extension of him (and so it seemed, did everyone else!

Point three. Recall how I praised that sense of confusion and not knowing effectively conveyed at book’s open? Well, come the end, I was almost wishing those feelings back. Then at least, this picture of self deprecating girl would not be in my mind. This girl who thought all she had going for her was a hot boyfriend. She’s sad and frustrating. And it's too bad that the good ended to soon because soon all that was what was revealed was a girl I felt too sorry for to even like. No wonder everyone (and I kid you not, when I say, ‘everyone’ was thinking what they were.)

But wait! There is a reason (or two) for those stars you see up there. Namely... Thank you, God Huey! When everyone all could not, it was the one who stood apart who managed to say what was on everyone's mind... then sort of saves the day. Though, dear me, I do wish she’d saved it herself. So, there’s Huey to consider. Plus that one moment that I was in total agreement somewhere maybe two or three pages to the close, with this accurate exchange of,

Gabby: “I am so lame.”

Lisa: “Totally pathetic.”

And my parting shot is best conveyed in Filipino: Ang tanga naman ng batang ito. Nakakainis.

Thank you S&S Galley Grab.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Good For You (Between the Lines #3) by Tammara Webber

Good For You (Between the Lines, #3)Good For You by Tammara Webber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good for You is study in contrast that takes things one step too far because I just didn’t buy their pairing (at first.) A good portion of it had me wondering what they saw in each other what with Dori being positively positive and Reid being…  not.

What’s surprises me a little though is how much I didn’t hate Reid. My opinion of him in books one and two were far from positive and I could sum him up thus:  a self involved a** who was a bit too-Hollywood for my liking.  Yet here, he is different… so different in fact, that I felt like I was reading a totally different character. So is this a good thing or not? Given my absolute loathing for him in the prior installments was this different side of him a change for the better? I’m not sure how to answer that because any move toward the positive that I was inclined to have for this book (in general) kept being hauled by back by Dori and her wholesomeness.

Dori was just too good at being good. Of course, later portions reveal a reason for the same. Still, too happy/ too good/ too perfect characters are just not my thing because when she was out doing good, made up cusses and all, I simply never found myself engaged in the story. It’s a good thing that she was that way only at first and only it seems to emphasize how different they were. Again later revelations showed that she had her own drama to deal with and it’s when she dealt with her drama head on that a side of her I could root for popped out.

This was an OK end to an OK series.


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

The Survival KitThe Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lot of what I liked in Survival Kit had to do with Rose and Will then only later with Rose with and her family, particularly her with her brother as they dealt with what they had to.  It’s an emotional read, but not as emotional as I was thinking it was going to be. Sure, most of what I felt for them was something quiet and sad, yet there were moments too that felt sweet and lovely and only a couple of bits that had me (or was it Rose?) feeling maybe bitterly disappointed.

Will. I thought I had him pegged. In fact, the moment he was in the picture memories of Sarah Dessen books came flying back. Were they to be another one of those pairs, her - sad and broken, him - there to help her? If I felt that way for some pages, I was soon disabused of such a notion because things between the two?  Were glacial, and I don’t mean “cold” but rather glacial… as in glacially slow in progression which is not necessarily a bad thing, because then we saw, or at least, I saw them go from the barely there idea of a ‘them’ to something more. And what’s more is Will wasn’t, didn’t really prop her up all the time because how could he when he was similarly situated?

Supporting cast. I love that not once were any of them negative. Most of them are considerate, thinking individuals, and never was there a moment of them falling into stereotypes. Take Chris, the ex boyfriend. He's there and could actually be rather thoughtful. Add that fact that he (and yes, even Rose) were not the long-suffering types. They each knew where the other was coming from and acted appropriately… well, him more than her.

What added more to this for me were the moments with her family.  The feelings of ‘being worried about and angry at’ one or some or all? Or even moments of jealousy or being overwhelmed about what needed doing? It all felt accurate. Sure, before the book had started there were hints that maybe Rose was wallowing, running away and not confronting certain things, but it's in  this where she tries to cope;  where they try to cope… sometimes successfully, other times not all. It all felt accurate, the portrayal of grief and moving on. But like I said, for her, it wasn’t the boy, but her own actions, decisions that got the ball rolling… with a little push from the rather meaningful contents of her Kit.


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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feeling Sorry for Celia (Ashbury #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry for Celia (Ashbury/Brookfield, #1)Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where do I start? Not even the quirkiest antics out of Celia could dampen my enthusiasm for the letters between Elizabeth, Christina, her mother and even some of those from the obnoxious (imaginary) associations, of teenagers, best friends and what have you.  But I’ll be frank, for a sixteen year old, Elizabeth sure did sound young, and between her and Christina, I much preferred the latter whose own stories felt more full and more rounded.

I suppose I’d built this up in my head way too much. Yup, it was entertaining, humorous even, but never anything more than that for me. Coupled with the fact that in the back of my mind I was wondering why everyone was so lax with Celia, whom, if the title is to be taken at face value, I was suppose to feel sorry for. But I will give Ashbury #1 this: there are realizations made; there’s some growing up and ‘growing out of’ that take place too. It’s this very last bit that I waited on and was glad to see happen. Well that and there were a couple of sweet romances too.

It’s quirky and different. In fact, I’ve got the rest lined up to be read (soon.)

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz

The Vinyl PrincessThe Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It’s a good thing I don’t judge books by their first lines. Or their second lines for that matter because lines like, “I sensed him in my midst. The air seems to thin when he’s near me.” Does not even scratch the surface of how delightful I found Allie to be. With those two lines, one might imagine girls of the frilly dress and maybe even ghostly would be lovers.  Not the case. Thank god.

Vinyl Princess is a girl with a passion for the little record shop she works in; a passion running a close second for her true passion: LP’s. It’s her passion that shone through. Because it’s a passion I like to think I possess for the second hand book shops (Book Sale) and Fully Booked Shops here at home. But more than her passion, there’s also the fact that she could read wise (with her ‘think it through’ bits of wisdom for Kit,) and then sound so young (with her considering a certain someone’s eye color: ahem, sea glass green;) and then be absolutely hilarious (with her blurting out thoughts on speedos and whether seeing someone in one was next to seeing them in their underwear.)

So old soul, music lover, and part time world changer all in a tidy package that’s self described as boyish, (i.e. flat in the general area between neck and tummy.) The world changer bit is something I laughed at a little. She’s rather ambitious, but honestly, I thought  got a bit self-aggrandizing with the fanzine. But I like her spunk, of how one moment she’s thinking of something; then the next she’s doing something about it. Because throughout the book, she does what she wants. Whether what she wants be to mock her father or her father’s new wife or even herself; or to write up a blog to get people to pay attention to music and yes, maybe even conquer the blogosphere.

Past the first two lines, this book was an absolute blast. When you get to the point where she talks normally of her day to day, you really do get a sense of how normal she is. Her relationship with her mother, for instance, it’s not dysfunctional. They care about what the other says and are present for each other. Sure, she’s unsure about changes happening, both of them are… but the changes don’t cancel out the fact that there’s a real relationship there. Or her with father, that they connect on one level but somehow missed out  on all the others felt sad but real. And then of course the bit that brought out the ridiculously young sounding side of her: Kit. Allie’s smarter with her, but less serious too. I like them together, but there could have been more. I wanted more. And Pierre, the cat. I love, love, love how accurately the cat is painted in this one because ours are just as prissy-royal as Pierre sounds.

Another thing I enjoyed was how unapologetically snobbish she could be. Allie is just of the musical variety ( she listens to Dave Mathew, she sort of sneers.) This should give you a sense of how odd AND normal most everyone is in this book. She seeks to rejuvenate the world with a love for LP’s and seems pumped up enough to blog about it, then write, publish, produce a fanzine for the same. Plus have I mentioned how the girl could poke fun at just about anything: her non existent boobage for one, or her non-loyal feline companion caught cheating on her Japanese would be ghost of a renter? I liked it all, her descriptions, her wordiness, her humor.

And though she may not have been living a difficult life, her story has got me pumped once again over the twinning of music and YA. That something special I was looking for in Amplified is something I have found here. The love angle was in turns interesting then cute then predicable and obvious, but just get a load of what she has to say for the mixes: “The mating call of the romantically challenged.” Damn me, if I don’t love how she put things.


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Anderson

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why is it that every single time I pick up a fantasy my reading schedule gets screwed up? I always have to slow down and take in the detail of which there was many here. Mistborn has everything I like in these books:  a sort of quest to though not of boy but rather of a thieving girl. She’s a Skaa or of the slave race except in this case she’s special. It’s her magic that got me. I know I’ve never read anything quite like them. This pushing and pulling of metals? This burning of metals for strength or for some other power? It was all very new and very different to me. And I loved every moment of it. Sure the beginning was a tad slow, but once I got used to the pace, I loved it.  Though I may want to read more of these fantasies, I never do get to do more than one or two a month, heck two months even.  And it’s because every single one leaves me spent. If the world building is done right, and the characters are done well too, then the detail to take in calls for focus. Plus most these books are monsters in size. Yet, I come back time and again, don’t I?

Mistborn has a lot of the things I’ve come to love in books of the same genre: A different kind of world. A different kind of magic. And characters to cheer for, laugh with then sob over a little in the end.  Here’s what I liked:

The world. Here, it’s details, details, details galore. The pushing and pulling of metals, the burning of the same for one power or another is quite honestly something I have never read before. Or that it’s yet another world divided between the nobility who hold the magic and the slave race, Skaa. Or even the Lord Ruler. Each bit was explained because each bit was vital to the story. 

The people. A good deal of the story does revolve around Vin. She is a special thief with something special to her. And I also liked Kel, with his endless humor (because that was all he had.) Even his “vision” rang honest. It was really entertaining see his crew see him in a different light. Because if at first they had him pegged, one is quick to realize that there is a plot behind plot and a plan beyond another. Kelsier is not simple… but none of them were. 

But rather than the individuals it’s how they link to the others that I enjoyed most:

Take the almost paternal affection Kelsier had for Vin. It simplified everything, didn’t it? How they became connected, how they were basically two of a kind and where one needed to learn from the other, then the other had to train. Both were reluctant in taking on those roles; her with her abandonment/trust issues, then him with his issues in general. Or take Kelsier and his newly reunited crew. There’s past there; there’s a trust there that Vin just could not grasp at first, but slow the exposure she became more than the observer, even becoming more a part of the whole. Then Elend and his Vallette: I did enjoy them together. At first, minor irritants to each other… only something more a bit later. Simply, they were a sweet addition

Beyond the people in it, it’s the world, the magic that marks this as different for me.

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Nine Uses for an Ex Boyfriend by Sarra Manning

Nine Uses for an Ex-BoyfriendNine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Ugh, silly question here, but what nine uses are there anyway? Because I’ve just unclenched my jaws from having had them clenched for a good ninety percent of the book. And couldn't get past how annoying/unlikeable the lot of them were. I mean really, I don’t know when the last time I encountered such silly MC's. Where Hope read weak and too willing to believe that love could conquer all, Jack was positively exasperating. At first, he's the typical commitment-phobe, but from there he went on to show just how terrible he could be. Cheater, liar, coward are just a few things that spring to mind. And you'd think, Hope would shine with him in contrast! She does not.

At first, I was going with flawed. Yes, she’s simply a flawed girl. And yes, I do have a love for flawed characters particularly the kind you root for; the kind you hope gets a dose of reality to become better. And I thought she was just that ten percent in, even fifteen percent, but if somewhere quite late in the book and she’s still doing what she did in the first bit to get her where she was. Well, how's that go again? Yeah, 'More fool you.' 

So she went from being flawed then crossed into the realm of stupid. Why? Her realizations just came a little too late for my liking (as in ninety-plus percent!)

Seriously though, what nine uses are there?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Amplified by Tara Kelly

AmplifiedAmplified by Tara Kelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Normally I’d be all a-gush over this music filled novel, of a girl coming into her own as well as a boy to die for… but something was missing because I’m not (gushing, I mean) . It’s an OK book though with Jasmine Kiss who’s more than a music loving, guitar playing girl. She WAS daddy’s little girl. She TRIED her best in school, but she really loves music and wants more of it. SO she makes time and gets leaves home-  all this in the first couple of chapters.

Here’s what I did like. They all know their music, from Veta, Sean, and Bryn and yes even Jasmine. I say this even if some of their lyrics sounded corny. But what’s better is that some of them were more than the music. Veta in particular, going out of her way to make Jasmine be OK, then showing different sides of her that ranged from bitchy rabid protective to being all psychic and what not. Or Jasmine for that matter; it’s her and her going after what she wanted despite the lack of support, that rang true to me, with her passion that was so obvious, I couldn’t help but be hopeful for her even if I was a bit meh for her in general.

HOWEVER, everyone else could be practically swept aside. Take Sean who’s the sort-of bad boy, the once been burned, love interest. There’s really nothing new to him, though he did make moments with her very interesting. Bryn too could have brought in so much more. There’s mention of him and his past, just not as specific as I’d have wanted (And I wanted.)

Have I mentioned the corny lyrics? Sorry, I simply can’t get over it.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr

My HeartbeatMy Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s both simple and complicated.

SIMPLE: I found myself liking the simplicity that Ellen represented, (but doubting her a little.) I found myself wondering if I’d ever been as innocent as her or as ready and compliant she was because of how she felt for them. With her, everything was simple. There was a surprising lack of drama from this fourteen year old girl (that could have been because she was just fourteen - even if she seemed much younger,- or maybe was because, as James put it, she was cautious, curious, sensitive and intense.) And since each thing he mentioned about her read true to me, each question she put forth (that should would have read ‘put on,’) became honest instead.

COMPLICATED: Yet, their connections (her to James; her to Link; James to Link,) were never simple things. James and his being undecided was a great contrast to Link’s being hell bent on being decided. And it’s this part that confused me because, again, the decision made be anyone of them would affect the other two. And in a situation where two of them were in love with the third, (one reluctantly, even unadmittedly, and the other willingly) well, things did get a tad complicated.

Interesting, quick… and different.


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Monday, February 13, 2012

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon SquadA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Impressive use of slides (Hello, chapter 12!) and impressive bridging of one story to the next… It’s just that I wish that there’d have been more than just one chapter that left me feeling something more.

Certainly, I found myself piecing them together, trying to figure how this character’s or that character’s chapter fit into the arc. And that was my primary mistake: thinking that there was one. Because there was no one arc, instead as I’ve already pointed out, theirs were individual stories. And yes, I liked some, skimmed one, (then went over it, feeling guilty;)I even found myself gaping at some points. But in the end, I find myself parroting someone’s 'subarctic' right now.

Because beyond making one story flow to the next, connecting one person to the next, well, I felt little for them.


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling # 5) by Megan McCafferty

Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling, #5)Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It got a little hokey close to the end there with that Manilow karaoke moment, (even though I’d been dreading/anticipating/expecting such a scene the moment she said he was the “showman of our time.”) That aside, I can honestly say that I liked moments of this, just not for the same reasons I enjoyed Jessica as when she was in high school (Books 1 and 2) or even when she was in Columbia (Book 3).

I liked this.  Even the bits where they’d come across as pretentious and smarmy or “highbrownnose-y” as they’d put it, (OK, maybe not those bits.) But I did like the look back on things past and seeing things through older eyes. But what I love a little more is where their story spans a decade, it’s but five days of mine… because the difference in who they were and where they were past and present came clear across. And I liked the changes I saw. And yeah, I could see how different they’d become but sometimes I caught glimpses of how they were before too.  I can be contrary like that.

I am surprised by what I liked in this given how final the fourth book felt. Except it wasn’t final after all. What does this last one remind me of? Before Sunset, Ethan Hawke movie with a pretty French lady talking about their sweet romance of past to death; both this book and that movie touch on reconnecting and missed chances; true lurve as well as choice. But romantic as the movie was, it did get a little much for me. The movie was romantic for one thing, but also full of deep, deep thoughts. (Although come to think of it, it wasn’t as deep and philosophic-y as its predecessor. I mean, jump back a couple of years prior and you’ll recall how in Sunrise, the romance was just a little sweeter with how new and sudden and fortuitous their meeting was; BUT you’ll also recall also how pretentious they were even when they first met because the same young lovers  with their idealistic hearts brimming with their new young love,  were ever ready to talk things to death. (Eep,) those strolls at night with never a quiet moment (eep again) with them and their deep, deep meaningful discussions on everything.)

But I digress, my point, (and I swear I do have one,) is that PERFECT FIFTHS takes a little bit of what Before Sunset had without them being too pretentious or too affected or too mired in what could have been deep deep exchanges of their own because Jessica Darling if anything can always be counted on for a laugh.

Surprising even more is that it wasn’t really the humor that kept me reading. This was different. There’s reflection by both, and I liked that. There’s contemplation about what went wrong, about what was right at first, about what was good and later about what they wanted.


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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling # 4) by Megan McCafferty

Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling, #4)Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On Jessica:

I like her more in this one that I did in the third… and I might even like her here more than I did in the first and second books. She’s come a long way from the shallow, snarky, funny girl that she was in Pineville. She falls back to what she was… and still made me laugh, but overall, I enjoyed her thought process:

I enjoyed the revelations that shouldn’t have been revelations because a little less of her “me, me, me” thinking would have pointed out how darned obvious some of the things really were.

And I know I am of the minority here, but I like her thinking process: long and specific, and going off in tangents… but I agree with a lot of what she thought/said, especially on what she finally thought and said about Marcus.

On Marcus:

He’s just not that easy to love even when she says say she loved him too easily.


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling #3) by Megan McCafferty

Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling, #3)Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Midway last year I read a series of books with one Ruby Oliver. One book after another, I found that I could not get enough of how quirky, different, damaged she was. Jessica has a little of Ruby in her. Both are funny, snarky, smart. The big difference is how aware Jessica could be over things of little moment. It’s her keen observations and snarky commentary that had me going through Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings in a blink.

In both, she’s inappropriate and sometimes crude; but true and honest as to what she saw/felt. The biggest negative to her is that while she Jessica’s work is truthful and funny, she’s also shallow given her lack of experience. This third installment remedies that last bit (a little.)

And Jessica, do you know what? I got why you did most of the things you did. That move you pulled with the ring? I was with you there. Those months with Kieran?  I was with you there too.  And when you obsessed over the older Spanish grad student? I got that too. I was with you on most every step of the way. And on the rare instance that you weren’t worrying over the state of you finances, I nodded along on things you were spouting.

But come on! That ending?! I still don’t get it. (Ha. I may not be blindly romantic after all.)


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Second Helpings (Jessica Darling # 2) by Megan McCafferty

Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2)Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I’ll be the first to admit that Jessica Darling’s whining was getting to me.

And I’ll also be the first to admit that I didn’t think I was going to like Second Helpings. I mean, really, there’s very little new here. Mostly, she’s still in dire need of perspective and she’s also not the only one to point said fact out. Worse? She’s become even less darling (pun, definitely intended) from how she was in the first! How so? Well, what was with the sudden sex obsession? What happened to all the hyper observation skills that I was so impressed with in Sloppy Firsts?

The upside: she pined less over what she was pining for in the first one…

BUT was pining whining over something I didn’t imagine she would have (at least given how she was in Sloppy Firsts!) So Yeah… Boo! The real upside though was that she kept her humor, which is likely why I am still looking forward to the next one (even though I hear she only get’s less impressive with each book,)

Happy entries in my journal do not exist. Or if they do, they end abruptly with scenes and sentences; left unfinished because they're too gushy in a way that is sick and foreign. Like Fabio.

Rampant paranoia. No one knew what I didn't know yet.

Reread the (last) sentence. This is what senior year is doing to me.

Plus, how about the best line ever in you. YES. YOU. *Swoon* I was completely ready to give up on you, Second Helpings then you hit me with that?! So when I ask, who’s most surprised in admitting that she’s more than a little addicted to a series even despite a protag that isn’t all that likable given all her hang-ups/quirks/faults? Who, well, me. YES. ME.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Notso Darling indeed.

Jessica Darling made me laugh. Her keen observations and way with words had me holding a pillow over my face to keep from laughing too loudly. And while she might have hated the company she kept, I can’t but help feeling that she’d have fitted in with me and mine way back when... Oh, the sarcasm! Everything in this girl’s head (at least the rude/funny bits) passed through ours at one time or another. Take her making up songs or bestowing not so flattering names on other people because they could behave so ridiculously? We did those things (and more) too! Only where she had Hope and her journal, we had the Notebook (and yes, the four notebooks we used were all called ‘the Notebook.’) We’d plop ourselves down in the lobby pass the Notebook from one person to the next elaborating on what one had written/drawn/pasted before. We could go hours on end nitpicking over something or laughing over how funny/strange/rude/inappropriate our creations could be.

Beyond this bit, I swear there were moments when I could have plucked her journal from her and plonked it on her head. I agreed with everyone else whenever they’d point out her whining over Hope was getting old. Actually, her whining in general got old. What’s funny is how she knew she was in need of perspective, going all out to explain that she had some but only later to revert to being whiny and prickly.

Now Marcus… what’s to be said? He’s not a bad addition. He was even more than pretty interesting close to the end. But while not a bad addition, really Sloppy Firsts is all about Jessica. She’s funny, sassy, prickly, rude, and observant. And she’s not completely boxed in (with her combination of Athlete and Brain) but she was so prone to boxing others in with all those labels of Dregs and Ravers and Cheerleaders flying her head. 

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test # 2) by Aimee Carter

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The trapped moments were the most interesting bits. Heck, I'd event take the bloody aftermath of some of the fight scenes to be better than when they were not talking. And it's the last bit that was my biggest problem with this one (and I had  a lot of problems with this.) All of them did not talk! How could they all put off talking to each other? How could they all tip toe around her and think it not their place to explain this or that? Because given even the shortest amount of time, Kate could be such a drama queen… and end up wallowing in self pity.

Which brings me to my next problem. A good deal of Goddess Interrupted is Kate wallowing in self pity. And if she wasn't moping or if she wasn't wondering if Henry did indeed love and if he was still in love with Persephone, this girl almost always acted without thought. So Persephone said it all,
“Kate’s very brave," then adding, “A bit stupid and shortsighted, and completely na├»ve, but brave.”
And to think... all that moping and wallowing done for Henry. Truth: He's no no prize. Dear Lord, man, speak! Act! Do something!

Now that ending though has me going, Oooooh!


Thanks Netgalley


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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow ChildThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved…

…The back story, why they were in Alaska to begin with was heartbreaking. Know that it isn’t a quick story, rather it’s slow and filled with emotions that could be hard and then soft then funny then good. The story stretches over a pretty long period … and in this period, I saw how each of them grew with each other and grew accustomed to things.

…That it really was the fresh start she was looking for. And against this new backdrop, I saw how they got to know each other, the place and then people. Questions of purpose: it’s likely one of the main things I grabbed me about Mabel. She was listless; but that he seemed nailed to what he thought one ought to be responsible for, limited both of them. But with circumstance calling for a change, she seemed “allowed” a bigger purpose. And with that was a change in her outlook and in how she felt. This shift practically jumped at me from the pages.

Prior to that, I was simply plodding along with her, curious to see what others would think of this woman, who I took to be odd at first. But she’s so much more than odd or pensive or thoughtful or whatever. I suppose what I’m trying to say is her mood affected my own. When she was listless, bored, sad… I felt it. The change in goings on, kicked things up a notch. I felt for her; I felt with her.

…What Jack was afraid of. There’s a point in this when he voices what he fears out: that he’d gone mad, that they’d both gone mad. And because of the same, nothing is admitted. It was odd and sad, how happy they could be for a short time then sadder still how their life seemed on pause without the girl in it. On pause. Their life, or at least the highs and lows of their feelings went on pause without her in the picture.

…The people. How they’re each all the other has. Take how Esther would tut-tut over what she saw as Mabel’s sadness. Yet despite the same, Esther was always there. And later, Garrett who starts out as this precocious boy standing apart from the rest knowing who he was, what he liked and what he wanted to be; later growing into this man proud in what he’s done and confident in his abilities.

…That ending, which still has me split. It’s happy and sad, but truthfully…  expected. Ada’s letters of making one’s own endings makes me want to do the same. I’d have loved for all of them to have gotten what they wanted. It broke me hear a little.

It’s a beautifully told story.

Thanks NetGalley!

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells

Partials (Partials, #1)Partials by Dan Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy...Awesome! It’s been a loooong while since I’ve felt this excited about a post apoc/ dystopia YA. I thought I’d burned out on them after reading Starters and Eve and heck even Shatter Me; the lack of detail in the first two and the over indulgent writing in the other simply put me off.  So I really am not kidding when I say it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this excited about a book of this type.

It's a little like Grant’s Feed (or Deadline) because this too does not limit itself to heart pumping chase scenes and big explosions (though there was plenty of the same here.) And if Feed had George and Shaun mixed in a plot of more than just one thing, PARTIALS was a little like that by going into the usual elements but delving deeper into each without sacrificing the pace. Specifically, it tackled the virus bit that most post apocs have beyond the superficial level; there was lot of detail (that likely went over my head); yet I did appreciate the lengths to which most things were explained.

There are sides in this one too. It’s is so much more than a story of the fight/plight of a rebelling faction; or even just that of controlling higher ups. There’s more than two sides here. And I liked how each side made the story more than just a little complicated. One thing is for sure, I was focused on trying to figure what the real deal was and who the real baddie was, or at least who the greater evil was. I mean it’s obvious that the Senate was up to no good, but like I said some of them could be passionate and fiery about their stand and sometimes effectively convincing.  Then with the slow unfolding of one plan then another plan then yet another? OK, just color me impressed.

It’s split in several parts and in each part I found something that I enjoyed. Part one introduces some very passionate people who, I’ll be honest had me raising some questions.  Mainly that they’re all so young and yet they all sounded so old! BUT after considering the context, the when/where /how of they were living in, they actually did make sense. So given that, I was very impressed by the passion they showed… even when they disagreed, no, especially when they disagreed,  I got pulled in then understood where each coming from, then ended up not quite sure about who to side with. My favorite moments though are towards the end. Those twists? I knew they were coming, but still… Awesome, anyone? 

Scary at times. There are more than a couple of things conjured in this one that were scary. Why is it that in books like these, it’s the women who have to bear the brunt? The scary bits aren’t even about the virus or the humanoid soldiers (fascinating though those may be); the terrifying bit was when it touched on weighing a person’s liberties versus the “good” of all. It reminded me a little of Offred.


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Friday, February 3, 2012

New Girl by Paige Harbison

New GirlNew Girl by Paige Harbison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If retellings were written to make one want to read the originals, NEW GIRL has done its job (for me at least). 

I feel for Becca as I did for Bridget (in Here Lies Bridget.) There’s nothing more to them her other than the fact that she’s a horrible person. And it was never more evident that when she was with Max. All her plotting and manipulating, showed just how little she regard she had for others. Add the fact that there was little remorse fro her in what she was doing. And while she showed strength and purpose, her actions simply went beyond the line of what I could stomach. My point? That she’s a bad, bad girl had been hammered into me, so I saw no other thing in her... heck, I couldn’t even feel sorry for her when the situation called for it.

As to the New Girl… it was different that her name was only revealed later; better even was that I only really noticed after her name had been called out. Such a fact simply points to how quickly I became engaged in their stories and how easily their two storylines meshed. Back to New Girl and what if felt for her: in a situation that’s less than ideal, I was surprised to see that she could be strong. Yes, there were drops into self pity (nobody likes me), but overall, she had a spine and used it.

Then there’s Dana who… Holy crap... was simply the most interesting out of all of them. I didn’t know what drove her, I could not put my finger on what made her tick… but that she’d freak out every so often... with no apparent reason, made her stand out. With Becca, it was all about me, myself and I. With New Girl, it was all… I’m new or Nobody likes me or I don’t want to be her... but with Dana, I simply didn’t know what was what (until the very end of course).

Now what’s there to say about the love interests? Both are pivotal in linking Becca to New Girl and vise versa. But what read ‘off ‘to me was how vastly different they came across with Becca then later with the New Girl. And OK where one was suave and cool, the other’s laid back and approachable… but beyond those things? There’s not much to add really.

But like I said, the writing kept me rooted because it flowed. I was never bored. Outraged, yes. Pissed off, certainly. Bored? Never. Because New Girl was intriguing and mysterious and kept me guessing… sure there were some iffy bits (see how the entire story gets started )(and icky bits as well,) but otherwise, I am relieved to have read this especially given the string of really bad books I’ve read of late.



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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Elfland by Freda Warrington

ElflandElfland by Freda Warrington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m split yet again. On one hand, I found myself enthralled. How could I not given the simple way everything was presented (even when talk of the intricacies of their world came in?) On the other, I was utterly appalled at how the lot of them re/acted.

Elfland is a world along side (beneath? parallel to?) our own and it’s filled with rules about what to do and how to do things, with everyone with a place, a role then everyone following the same. There’s a Gatekeeper, a gate kept, and the world on the other side. And all of it was surprisingly easy to imagine despite all the details attached. Now, knowing how incredibly fantastic things could get it, the contrast to their problems was jarring. You see, non-human or not, Rosie and her people had to deal things that went from the mundane (pining for a boy) to the uncomfortable and shocking (as in the icky bits of abuse and incest!)So non-human or not, there was something basic to their story too.

So yes, I’m split. I did enjoy seeing both the young set and the old set work out their issues. And Rosie, Lucas, Mathew, Sam, Lawrence, and heck, even Sapphire all progressed from point A to point B, but the choices made in the meantime had me squinting to see if I’d read things right. Dysfunctional is the most apt thing to name them. And it's this dysfunction that shaped how they all interacted. Rosie for instance went from this rather unsure girl to a more confident woman; seeing her pine, then get her heart broken, then seeing her settle, then get her heart broken again, only later still to have her doing the most foolish (and selfish) of things… well, I’ll be frank, sometimes I wanted to smack some sense into her. Or take Jon… whose carelessness, led to the most screwed up places. Or Sapphire for that matter… Geez!

I’ll  put it this way: none of them were all good or all bad. And if they were leaning heavily toward one of those sides, something always came up a little while later to shed some light on why they were the way they were. And then I’d be stuck neither hating nor liking them that much again.

While I didn’t like a lot of what they were doing, I went along… because as I’d learned, there was always something that followed.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sass and Seredipity by Jennifer Ziegler

Sass & SerendipitySass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh God, my poor brain! I picked this thinking it would be a fun take on S&S. It’s not.

Or worse, poor Elinor and Marriane! Is this how they translate?

Because from what I recall while Marianne could swoony, with heart-on-sleeve and all that, she wasn’t a total brat, all the time! And while Elinor could be uptight, she was never nasty. But bratty and nasty are how the two girls are in Sass and Serendipity (and not a hint of the title in them)

But props on making the two very different from each other… because where one had her feet solidly planted in the ground, the other was prone to the most painfully romantic fancies that had me cringing on her behalf. And this might make me mean, but I’d have laughed my ass off as well when Daphne did what she did. Seriously! While they are miles apart in demeanor, behavior and goals… they both brought their quirks to the limit so that I found nothing redeeming in them. (I even wondered how Mule could stand to be with either.)

It’s a quick and easy read though... just not my favorite.

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