Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

The Opposite of Hallelujah
Good Reads Summary
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab


Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut her sister so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate Caro’s new boyfriend and put her on the outs with her friends and her parents, she seeks solace from an unexpected source. And when she unearths a clue about Hannah’s past—one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her—Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


What’s interesting is how absolutely unlikeable Caro started out to be, yet I continued hoping that there was something more to the girl.  Seeing herself as an only child is what starts it all: she’s spoiled, whiny and all the flaws pointed out in her were accurate. From lying to being self unwilling to bend, I was seriously hard pressed in finding anything to like in her. Bit by bit though I could see a little into her why’s.

The interaction with her family, her sister and mother especially, had me wondering as she did. Why the different treatment between sisters? And it’s this that amplified the drama even more. It started out normally too. You have a trio of girls each with her own quirks, one in particular dealing with boy troubles. But what would have been the usual drama of girl dealing with ex boyfriends and new boys and best friends and what not, well, we’re dealt with a girl sisters   a family that’s not quite up to the task of dealing with their issues. They all were so unable to deal! Where the parents tiptoe around; Caro wants to go on as she usually did… even though everything had changed, with her not knowing why things had changed.

The reveals though left me feeling like I’d been given the short end of the stick. I simply wanted more. Her sister’s own story is basically the root of what Caro has to deal with. And while the sadness felt right, and while Hanna’s response(s) felt on the spot too. I just couldn’t quite connect to it all. The only time I truly felt more engaged by the story was how Caro chose to respond. It’s not that she “turns to faith” for answers because her position on that was quite clear from the get but that she turns to certain people who’re not quite as one dimensional as she’d pegged them to be.

While I didn’t like her parents methods and I didn’t quite buy into Caro turning to the person that she did, I did like the normal in between's of her dealing with the consequences of her actions. The girl was flawed (and sure, she had her reasons) so there were repercussions (definite plus on that account.) I really do wish I felt more for both Caro and Hannah; still, the Opposite of Hallelujah’s did have some interesting moments.


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Until I Die (Revenants #2) by Amy Plum

Until I Die (Revenants, #2)
Good Reads Summary
 
Until I Die by Amy Plum
Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This didn’t work for me and that’s even with more of the revenant/ numa aspect explained. Too much of it revolved around Kate and Vincent together and them figuring out a way to make their time together longer/easier/more bearable for one or both of them. If the first book had me remarking on how absolutely ordinary she came across, that is sometimes pissed off but normally thinking and wary… here Kate’s less of what she was back then. Here, she’s all 'coquettish' and flirty with Vincent. And I get that they're not out of their “honeymoon period” yet, but it did get a bit much.

So yeah, you could say that the romance had been kicked up a notch (several notches, I suppose). Though I could have lived with it being all about them if there were something more to look forward to. As is though, UNTIL YOU DIE focused on them and rarely went beyond the two. And when it did touch on something not involving the couple (rarely, by the way) things felt short to me.

Anyway beyond the two were a couple of new players who were so obviously not who they said they were, a couple of interesting annoying moments of selfishness by both the main protags... And, I concede, some interesting moments with a couple of the supporting characters. Jules in particular had me wondering about his role in books to come especially with the way things ended in this one.

Speak of the ending: it might well be the only thing in this sequel that could get me to read what happens next. To say that it’s atypical and not the expected HEA is an absolute truth.

THANKS Edelweiss!

2/5






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Monday, March 26, 2012

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly 

Good Reads Summary
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I confess, that bit about it having a girl on the lookout for her big brother in an alternative world (steam punk) was what had me curious. It struck me as too much like CLOCKWORK ANGEL on I just had to see for myself.

Now, to be honest this book and I did not hit it off. All those exclamations points and ominous sounding endings of “The Dead!” or “My brother” or “(insert something scary here)!”had me rolling my eyes. Over-dramatic much?  But somewhere in the midst of all the Dead and the Hungry and her whale bone corsets and amethyst ear rings, well, I got sucked in.

Mainly because Eleanor could be so funny. She didn’t behave as she should all the time. And in those instances she was interesting. She could be too nosey and too rude, but that she had a retort to everything was made her not so ordinary. I could not really grasp the why’s of her connections with the rest of them (Allison, Mercy and Patience) particularly since she seemed to not like them that much anyway. I mean if she felt so darned bad about them, why bother? That aside. I liked how fiery she could be sometimes.

And yeah there’s a young man or two in this one… but they were interesting. Daniel and were a little ordinary in carrying out the poor boy- rich girl dynamic but they made me laugh. Clarence on the other had added more mystery to it. Now, my main problem (with the both of them) was the sudden divulging of information that felt too pat and too convenient.

However, there’s got to be something to be said for an author who’s willing to kill off one or two seemingly pivotal characters. I liked that aspect it. I liked that aspect a lot. There’s also something to be said for people behaving in a way totally unexpected. (Daniel Sheridan, I’m looking at you!)

So while I thought I knew what I was getting into. SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY proved me wrong… at least somewhere close to its end. It’s actually the last chapters that have me excited. The first chapter and all her “Oh, No’s!” almost put me off… but, boy am I glad to have seen this through.

3/5
Thanks Edelweiss!






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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Once (Eve #2) by Anna Carey


Once (Eve, #2)
Good Reads Summary 
Once (Eve #2)by

Sixteen years have passed since a deadly virus wiped out most of the Earth’s population. After learning of the terrifying part she and her classmates were fated to play in the rebuilding of New America, eighteen-year-old Eve fled to the wilds and Califia, a haven for women determined to live outside the oppressive rule of the king of New America. However, her freedom came at a price: she was forced to leave Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. Eve quickly learns that Califia may not be as safe as it seems and soon finds herself in the City of Sand and the palace of the king. There she uncovers the real reason he was so intent on her capture, and the unbelievable role he intends her to fill. When she is finally reunited with Caleb, they will enact a plan as daring as it is dangerous. But will Eve once again risk everything—her freedom, her life—for love?

Brimming with danger and star-crossed romance, and featuring a vivid dystopian landscape, this electrifying follow-up to Eve, which bestselling author Lauren Kate called “a gripping, unforgettable adventure—and a fresh look at what it means to love” is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes adventure of The Hunger Games and the irresistible love story of Romeo and Juliet.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


It’s still a little more of the same of a girl head over heels over a guy she knew next to nothing about, a lot of hiding and seeking then one (or two) improbable moments thrown in. It had had me head desking, face palming and maybe even body flooring. (Yes, I am black and blue now.)

She’s a friggin’--------?! I didn’t see that coming. When I first read Eve, I recall how gullible she could be, how unthinking she could be… and how follow the leader she sometimes was. Yet, I continued with it because there was something I saw potential in. Namely, the scary aspect of a world destroyed trying to rebuild in a way none of them had considered. She and Caleb were in the same boat. They didn’t to be used… and that made sense to me.

Now, ONCE is another thing altogether. Potential unfulfilled is what’s bugging me… because after that reveal that  SHE’s A FRIGGING ------- everything went predictably. And I do mean every single moment that followed was obvious. There’s a jealous someone. A would be suitor. A caring maternal look out type. A deal to break hearts is made too…  and so on and so forth.

Yet still Eve could be so gullible. She believed what she’s told and only recognized the alternative when evidence to the contrary was shoved in her face (literally.) I mean her experience should have proved how unsavory those around her could be.

I read this hoping for a shift in emphasis. Eve had me seeing potential in the story despite being blurbed as a combination of Romeo and Juliet in a dystopian setting. It wasn’t and neither was this.  Too many times do we see a girl fall head over heels for a guy with little basis. Although in her case, the bonding went on while on the run. Still, he was all she thought of. Maybe 80 percent of it was her thinking about him and when they did manage to get together a lot of making out and little else. The portions on rebellion and Strays are mentioned but never gone in into detail… and that was disappointing.

See Clint cringe:

Priceless. 
And Yet surprisingly applicable to my feelings for this one.
2/5


THANK YOU Edelweiss!


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffith

Masque of the Red Death
Good Reads Summary

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Masque of Red Death is a little hard to describe. It’s little bit of steampunk, a little bit of dystopia, and a little bit of romance. Though there’s nothing “little” about the story. And while I’m feeling the comings of a fan girl gush, but I’m controlling myself.

It’s set in some an alternate world, after a disease has killed so many and left more feeling hopeless. Among them, a girl throws her life away. With her, are a couple of boys who had me questioning their integrity. Were they good or where they bad? And it wasn’t once or twice either that I wondered: they consistently kept me guessing.

The steampunk bit is not overwhelming at all. In fact, past the mention of a carriage and what not… it’s so matter of fact in presentation, that it felt very natural and not once shoved in my face (this was much appreciated.) So maybe it’s better qualified as steampunk-lite. It’s the dystopian aspect that’s more obvious with everyone feeling so hopeless and dark. The world described is depressing and bleak so much so that I bought why they were all acting the way they were.

The romantic aspect too was a bit different. I was not at all bothered by the makings of a triangle. The girl’s options were just so different from the standard. Where one was powerful and driven, he could also be manipulative and selfish. The other too seemed kind and stalwart and present, but later things proved otherwise. I was greatly impressed with them, if only because they kept me guessing.

What’s better is how said romantic aspect(s) DID NOT take over the story. Hers is a dark world with one (or two) megalomaniacs looming in the background. The threat that both posed was interesting…. but the slow reveal to who was who and what one had in mind was mad thrilling. And after all those revelations, well… I'm feeling all:



So while not one of them are perfectly good, they’re all quite different from the norm.
And were this a movie, I'd hit playback over and over and over again.

April 24th needs to get here quickly; I need a hard copy of this right now.

4.5/5

Thanks Edelweiss!



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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Immortal Rules (The Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)
Good Reads Summary

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

IN A FUTURE WORLD, VAMPIRES REIGN. HUMANS ARE BLOOD CATTLE. AND ONE GIRL WILL SEARCH FOR THE KEY TO SAVE HUMANITY.

IMMORTAL RULES book trailer: http://youtu.be/B3mfe5dalx8

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Includes an exclusive excerpt from the next Iron Fey novel, out November 2012.


My Thoughts

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Allison Sekemoto makes for an interesting lead. She’s never quite like others around her both when human then when vamp. As a girl, she ‘s an interesting mix of street wise plus bleeding heart plus the makings of a book lover. Once turned, she’s the would-be predator…struggling with being one.


Everything but the kitchen sink. It’s a 500 plus pages book that’s been split in four parts with each part ramping up the action a little more than the previous one. And if at first I felt like it was too long, (needlessly long, )I got why it was that way eventually... each new twist required development… and development there was because instead of just throwing one thing then another in the mix, each part is actually delved deeper into:

From the first was of a girl surviving and trying look out for those who couldn’t (wouldn’t?) Next was of her coming to grips with how different she’d become. A little later, it's her on her own still unsure about what she could do and what she wanted to do only made more complicated by meeting a bunch of people in search of a certain something. It’s this not-so-merry band of humans with a hard ass leader that complicated matters even further. See, as usual there’s a guy, the second in command who doesn’t see things as black and white. He’s the love interest who is not as simple and good as first assumed. 

That trope of “I need you but I might kill you” is present BUT it wasn’t the only thing in the book, so I enjoyed the story even with that predictable thing in it. Because, again, it wasn’t all about her and him or her not wanting kill him or her not wanting him to know her secrets. There were simply so many more things going on (so much so that 500 pages felt like the right length to tackle it all, for instance, the zombie/vampires.)

As said, one thing then another then another made her life anything but peaceful, she’s always on the run from one source of danger or another. Some might say even say there was a lack of focus in this one… and that’s sort of true, because I felt like those four parts were separate novels, and read together the ride did get a tad long (though definitely not boring.)

But even with me feeling ‘meh’ over the love bit and their whole story together, and even with so many twists and chases going on (too many?) here’s what I did like:

-The kick ass heroine, struggling with what she’s capable of.

-The many, many baddies (evil vampires and their pets, Rabids, and Raiders… then later still a fight to the death arena ala-Blood Red Road.)

-Plus, Kanin. Definitely, Kanin.

3.5/5

THANK YOU NET GALLEY!

Oh, and when she first laid her hands on her Katana, was I the alone remembering/imagining this?






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Thursday, March 22, 2012

THE HUNGER GAMES:MOVIE REVIEW

HAPPINESS!

to break the monotony of this book blog, i'm talking about what's had me stoked since march thirteenth. i've been a bit out of touch with what's current but i'd heard THG was to be released on the 23rd, so when I learned it was out TWO DAYS earlier here, i've been very very happy. even more so when gifted with tickets for opening:

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my 'golden'  ticket

we made sure to get there early (as in three hours in advance) but it seemed we weren't the only ones with that idea. luckily, we came prepared. in my case with a two liter bottle of an apple green tea juice mix and a wrist breaking copy of 1Q84 (the person next to me went with Riordan's Red Pyramid.)

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got a good chunk of it done too!

then it was just a matter of waiting .... and waiting... and waiting...

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my companion said, he never knew that 'doing nothing could be so tiring'

... and being glad that we didn't find ourselves on the end of this line here:

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thank the gods, for bright ideas!

the movie itself? in a word:
 satisfying. 

a smarter person than i expressed what i couldn't: had i bothered to do a re-read, i'd likely have been doing a scene-to-page comparison. so going in with the details blurry was a fine idea. why? the major points were there and they brought back my reactions when reading the book.

never mind what could have been physical dissimilarities, these people delivered, katniss, rue and president snow especially. the main negative i came to was how it was all about KATNISS; the relationships i loved in the books (the ones that had me feeling that she wasn't alone) seemed not to be the focus. i'm ok and not ok with that.

see, in the book, i loved her with gale; then i loved her with peeta. later still i loved her and cinna... the movie just didn't touch that much on them together. it was all about katniss.

the other negative is how short it felt to me. was the movie to short? it seemed a tad shorter than how long i felt the book was when i read it (ages ago.)

nevertheless, with moments of blood-and-gore, and other moments that had my heart a-gallop, then rue's bit having me bawl like a baby (as in tears-streaming-down-my face, folks!) this particular movie experience was one of the more enjoyable i've had in the longest time. both because of the movie itself and what we had to do to get to watch it.





Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Hanging by a Thread
Good Reads Summary

Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


one of my favorite movies is of that teeny tiny boy confessing at just above a whisper of “I see dead people.” the protag in this one goes through something similar. hints are dropped at the beginning, but never really stated outright until after  the yawn inducing laying of groundwork, where she describes in detail where she is, what she does and how she does it.

now, what made clare special anyway? (aside from her re-purposing old clothes, that is) well, her special-ness links to her maybe confessing, “I read old clothing.” (you should have seen how far my eyes rolled back into my head.) and if at first, I simply found it too odd ridiculous, the reader in me who reads of vampires, werewolves and faeries got used to it… and even eventually appreciated how the whole “sliding into someone else” was executed.

but dear god, sometimes all her talk on her trade put me to sleep. there’s a lot of descriptives that could have been done without. i knew she sews, but i didn’t need to know on what. i knew she made clothes, but i didn’t need to know how quirky/cute/funky her creations might have been. sure, it was interesting at first and she even had me curious. but it did get old. mainly, because it got in the way of the story. the meat of which had to do with a would-be serial killer on the prowl and how those around her know more than they’re willing to let on.

as to the requisite love, jack read interesting. yes, there may have been some of the old new girl + bad boy in the works, but at least he made things more interesting by being up front and being all bad-boy charming.

frankly, it read like a movie… just not the most interesting one.

thanks net galley!
2/5





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Monday, March 19, 2012

Before You Go by James Preller

Before You Go
Good Reads Summary
Before You Go by James Preller

The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude’s house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it’s been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.

Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.

Acclaimed author James Preller explores life, death, love, faith, and resilience in his first young adult novel that will grip readers from the book’s dramatic first few pages to its emotional end.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


It’s got a really good intro- very atmospheric, a little like Shatter Me with the visuals without trying too hard; the rest of it though… not so much. 

There’s a little on love a lot on life and death and even some on faith, Jude just didn’t make that much of a compelling narrator. So far, his life’s been sad. Tragedy marks his everyday…and he feels this disconnect. As a consequence, I never felt a connection to him, or that special something that would have me with a lump in my throat for what he was going through.

Sometimes he sounded so old, cynical, a little judgmental. Other times, he’d sound so young. As in, someone who just didn’t know who he was, what he wanted and what he believed in. Lost, I suppose. Me reading had me picturing a guy just cruising along, not making waves, dissatisfied with his current situation but not motivated enough to do anything about it.

The only truly remarkable thing in this one was his relationship with Corey. He is the only one Jude considered worth it, along with Becka of course.  Everyone else around he made sound ridiculously superficial, Lee and Vinnie, especially. I did enjoy the idea of them grouping together for no other reason save not belonging with anyone else. They made an interesting picture: Jude with his cruising along; Lee with the bitching and moaning; Vinnie the sort of ladies man; and again, Corey the in only one who got him. It’s the last who knew him best, knew when to tread light.

THANKS NET GALLEY!
2.5/5



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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)
Good Reads Summary

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

My Thoughts

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


Interesting. Both parties acknowledge how stalk-y his behavior was, but apparently acknowledging the same is all it takes for the girl to smile at him (albeit, reluctantly.) I don’t know about this girl. She’s wary of him but still goes on hikes with him. That voice in her head sending out “warning” should likely be heeded. It’s called self-preservation. Heck, those zaps of electricity were even clearer warnings. Electrocution equals no good. Now as an individual, she did sound interesting. Doing the exact opposite others do. Going all martyr. See? She’s slightly different. 

But even if I do set aside the whole stalker boy thing of her pointing it out and him admitting it was enough to make him behaving like one not a big deal, I still didn’t love this. It’s sadly predictable. The whole vengeful mermaid thing could have been taken up a notch but a good deal of this is him worrying over ‘do I love her… what’s to be done.’ Take away the mermaid bit, and there’s not much new: A boy takes to the new girl, as does another boy. Namely, Jack who was an interesting addition except to say that I would have loved to have seen more of him. He was there one minute stirring things up then gone for a whole stretch then back again. I felt him incomplete. In fact, I felt all of them all incomplete save Mariss who so consistently portrayed the scary vindictive mermaid.

A little more fleshing out, a little more of the scary mermaid bit, but a little less on loving the new-girl, and I would have loved this. Not even those twists (one of which had me feeling as Calder did, as in 'Eew;' the other, I kind of felt coming,) can make me feel more enthusiastic for this one.

Thanks Edelweiss!
2.5/5




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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy #1) by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy #1)
Good Reads Summary

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

This new trilogy will capture the hearts of readers who adore Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series. Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she's never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west" (California). Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there's also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I liked how bits of the familiar were taken and used in this one. Fairy lore on not eating and being lured to entertain, the dancing and what not, I’d read of those things all before. What makes this slightly different is how quick to adapt she was. I liked that she had a brain, asked questions and spelled things out. Sure, mistakes were inevitable but that’s what made her adventure more interesting.

It starts with a mother hiding her from the world… for I just didn’t know why… but once I knew what was up, the girl became even more different and I was even more curious. It then progressed to her attempting a rescue, all the while trying to figure who she was. Along the way, there’s her meeting so many people, each special one way or another. For starters, I’d never have expected seeing Coyote in this one.

Then there’s a boy (isn’t there, always?) but he’s not just any boy. Jack Hollander has a story all his own. And it’s what makes him so non-standard YA. He has his own agenda and IS NOT AFRAID to go after it. Moments between the two felt unlikely, particularly the point where he spills the beans about what he knew of fairy lore and what he thought of the whole situation, but I enjoyed them together. Then at least I could see that despite of what little she knew, she showed how smart she could be (at times). 

American fairies, who’d have thunk? The Shining ones and Midnight ones are obvious, but figuring who went on which side, not so. The bigger questions were those on who she was and where she belonged.  Because get this, there’s a prophecy. And if her secret with her mother weren’t enough, later revelations only pointed to more things she was unaware of. 

I liked this one.

Thank you Edelweiss!
3/5



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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity
Good Reads Summary 
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I cried. Not buckets mind you, but I cried. It read and felt like Jellicoe Road sometimes. Tall order, I know. But the comparison feels accurate to me. Both stories start out the same: a bit scattered, definitely confusing. Both stories progress in the same way too: slowly, with details details details to pay attention to. But with people with life to them, with that something different that had me flipping pages (clicking buttons as the case was with me) till early morning. And both tales end similarly too: with me all teary eyed, sniff sniffing every so often.

Without revealing that much, CODE NAME VERITY is a love story. Not a romantic one, but more a love story of friends, sisters in everything but blood. What’s great about them is that they are individual people, each with something special to them. Told through the first narrator’s eyes, the second girl is smart, independent, emotional at times but directed. The second girl, however, sees herself as maybe being in over head but aware of her abilities. That girl admits to being a trifle emotional but one who gets done what needs to be. And from that second girl’s point of view, it’s the first who is lively, beautiful, magnetic and loyal. The first girl doesn’t see herself that way though. Instead she feels body and mind: broken.

But this is more a tale of friendship. Nevermind their condition. Nevermind what may or maynot have happened to the other. These two people knew each other. And both their recollections had me piecing together a story of two people so unlikely to hit it off that there was no outcome but for them to have them hit it off (does that make sense?) That they fit is my point even with how different they were.

Though I did enjoy the whole woman in a man’s world bit of it and how strong and forward both of them were, I love this more because it is a story of friendship. More it’s a look back to the building of their connection, to what they did and what they had common but also a touch on what made them different from each other and what them special to the other.

Read this!

4/5






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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pieces of Us by Maggie Gelbwasser

Pieces of Us
Good Reads Summary
Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

Two families. Four teens.
A summer full of secrets.

Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.

Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.

Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I was holding my breath for something to make me smile. Yet by the time I was done with it, there was this gigantic weight pressing down on me. The blurb hints at it, but this is a bleak, bleak book. Moments of it hinted at happy possibilities but never really went there.

So, if good books are suppose to make you feel, PIECES OF US just might be stellar. I’m feeling hell lot of things right now. Granted, none of the things I’m feeling right now are all that positive. It’s bleak, dark; the situations scary, then appalling; then the people pitiful, angering, then later disappointing. And the only moment when things do get better is in the end. Yet despite all that, I’m slightly impressed. And why? Because these people as disturbingly damaged as they were, they had me hoping.

Damaged people, the lot of them. Some damaged by their own doing; by poisonous thoughts and petty jealousies brought on by miscommunication and piss poor priorities. Yet there were others among them that had damage done to them. Yet, even when I did feel sorry for them… something always came up later to have me seeing them as coming up short. All of them, victim, and wrong doer alike: coming up short.

Kyle and Alex. Clearly, something was not right. Clearly. Still I wondered what kept them together. And even with those moments that weren’t so damned scary/skeevey, I thought there might have been something good there. Yet, one thing after another just proved how much a victim one was and how misguided (though that is definitely too tame a word to apply) the other was.

Kyle and Julie. Clearly, they were something good (at first.) They were the one bright spot in this book for. At least at first. Yet all those thoughts and assumptions simply didn’t do any good for them. The silence on Kyle’s part didn’t help either. I could imagine so much more from him. And could imagine so much more form her! But throughout the book, it was Kyle who I held out for. There’s good in him… yet time and again not enough was done.

Katie and Julie With a mother like theirs, it’s no surprise things went the way they did. Talk about skewed sense of reality and poor priorities! I wanted to knock some sense in to her. Their father too could have done so much more, if not at least lessened their mum’s impact.  Again, his is the case of ‘too little too late.’ Yet if we’re talking damage it starts with a mother living her dreams through her kids, then things getting worse with Katie’s self absorption and Julie’s insecurity. In their scenario, there’s damage done to and by both of them.

Katie and Alex It’s Alex who appalled me. While I did feel sorry for him, his experience and what not. It’s his point of view that distanced him from he. All his whore that, bitch that had me drawing back. Yet in Katie’s eyes (both before and after what happened) he’s all that’s good. And this is what surprised even more about them:

How each of them was hell bent on keeping their view of a certain other intact. Some were hell bent on focusing on the good, blind to any fault of those around them; others still so focused on zeroing in on the bad, never minding what little good there might have been. So damaged. So blind. Where Katie was concerned, Alex was good. Where Alex was concerned, Katie's pure. Where Julie was concerned, Katie was too perfect and had it all...! 

Yet even with these people who are so far from perfect, I kept hoping. That Alex would turn out to be that guy after all. Or that Kyle would step up. Or that Julie would snap out of it. Or that Katie would snap out of it too. Or that maybe someone would step in and step up for any, one or all of them.

4/5





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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
 

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
 

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


This book makes me happy. Again, there’s a girl and a boy. And an unrequited something at the beginning. But those are just extras because the magic and the world in this one are different. Sure, I could have handled a little more detail; heck I’d love to have had more on the where’s and the when’s and how’s of it all, yet what was there had me sprinting through the story in a couple of hours.

There’s just something to them together and as individuals that made them special. And I like that they started out as ordinary then worked their way up. There’s an imbalance between the two that’s evident from the start with him being so perfect and popular and with her not.  Yet, she’s the who gets followed around through the course of the story. She’s the one who people gawk at, build shrines to, talk over, and want to be with.

The best thing here was her growing into her own without him. That when she finally lets go, she blooms. It had me feeling sad (because obviously there was something there); yet, excited to see what she really could do once she set her mind to it.

What had me a feeling slightly iffy about her was her channeling similar feelings to Darkling. And  it’s this bit that got slightly predictable. Look, the progression of the story was obvious. Obviously, she’d fall for someone else. It’s just a handy benefit that that someone else was handsome and powerful (and a hundred and twenty years old.) So yes, from the get, one could guess where the story was headed: betrayal, manipulation, love etcetera, etcetera.. YET I enjoyed it: Alina is just that sympathetic with her starting out as ordinary then being molded into something more all the while missing (but not wanting to miss) a certain part of her past. 

Good story.
Thank you Net galley!
3.5/5





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Monday, March 12, 2012

Forgiven (Demon trappers#3) by Jana Oliver

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)
Good Reads Summary
Forgiven by Jana Oliver


Jana Oliver's third spellbinding Demon Trappers novel - following The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief - brings all new thrills, as Riley Blackthorne takes on demons, love... and the future of the human race.


The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control:  something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


This series just keeps getting better and better.


The first one, I wasn’t so impressed with. From its maybe love triangle to the annoying way they all talked, let me just say that it I wasn’t buying it. Book two was much better with it being less on the Backwoods Boy and the Princess thing and a little more on them as individuals. And separately, what they had going all read just a little more interesting. It became less a teen romance and more an action adventure with the demon trapper girl trying to figure out what her place was and who was “true” around her. But this third one is even better than the last! (Well, at least it was before that ending.) In this one she realizes some things, then he realizes some things as well… but just when I thought all would be well… *blam* there was that ending.


So I’m torn. This was heavy on action what with all the Hunters and Trappers then Demons, Fallen and Summoners as well as her daddy being a zombie having all been thrown in. But it wasn’t all that. In this one, the girl actually sounds like she’s thinking instead of whining about how messed up her life and her relationships had gotten. As said, realizations were made and her behavior, as a consequence, was more measured and less explosively emotional (i.e. less walking out and more consideration.)You could a say that I like her a little more in this one. Just as I feel with Beck, again, at least before that ending.

I look forward to the next one. (There has to be a next one because things can’t be left just as they are  right now!)


3.5/5

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Dying to Know you by Aidan Chambers

Dying to Know You
Good Reads Summary

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

In Dying to Know You, award-winning author Aidan Chambers has created an indelible portrait of a young man discovering his own voice in the world, and has constructed a love story that is as much about the mind as it is the heart. In this contemporary love story, a teenage boy named Karl enlists a famous writer to help him impress his girlfriend, Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a letter in which he reveals his true self. But Karl isns favorite author and begs him to take up the task. The writer reluctantly assents, on the condition that Karl agree to a series of interviews, so that the letter will be based on an authentic portrait of Karl. The letter, though effective, has unexpected consequences for Karl, Fiorella, and the writer.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The story is a simple one. It’s of one asking the help of another. And it’s the other finding inspiration again. But it’s also both of them finding a connection where none was expected.  Yet as simple as those three things sound, things did get more and more dense with progression. The dialogue played a part in that. There’s much too much talking and describing and little happening. But I suspect those four and five star reviews on this one loved that aspect of it, it just wasn’t for me.  A big consequence of that same thing is that I never truly felt invested in any of them.

Sure, the old man showed experience, maturity and a confidence that the other lacked. Sure, Karl showed that tentative trying but unsure thing I enjoy in young MC’s. And yes, a lot of the things tackled are touchy. And yes,  even the tackling of those things was done in a sensitive but accurate manner. Yet in the end I can say it was an enlightening read but a touch too heavy on the internal ruminations that I never went into the mode of ‘what happens next?’

I say it got more dense as things progressed and I didn’t mind at first. Because then I got to see what made both of them tick. But knowing what made them tick and then feeling for them are two wholly separate things. And if you’ve noticed I’m more of a feelings kind of reader.

Perhaps this was just not for me.



Thanks Net galley

2.5/5






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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Grow Up by Ben Brooks

Grow Up. by Ben Brooks
Good Reads Summary 
.
Grow Up. by Ben Brooks by Ben Brooks

Jasper wants to get on in the world, but he's got a lot on his plate: A-levels, his mother pushing him to overachieve, weekly visits to his psychologist, comedowns, YouTube suicides and pregnant one-night-stands. Then there's his stepdad - the murderer.

Hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, Grow Up is the ultimate twenty-first-century coming-of-age novel. It paints a vivid portrait of the pills and thrills and bellyaches of growing up today. Funny, smart and twisted, it is the story of one young man transformed.


My Thought
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


“Grow Up is the ultimate twenty-first-century coming-of-age novel.”

Egh... Not quite.


It did get entertaining at points, even funny and sometimes even inappropriate/ decidedly slightly non-PC. All that, plus the sex and drugs. Loads of sex . Loads of drugs. Then again this is a tale told by one Jasper who likes mucking about. His day is made if his gotten high, had a drink (or two, but better if more) then made head way with one of the opposite sex. Though not necessarily in that order.


I will be honest: his ideas could be so out there. Hell, reading this book, his story is so out there for me. Yet despite his moments of being inappropriate  and despite his moments of being odd, there was a one specific bit that I did like (as in truly like). His connection with Tenaya:


She made him less out there and kinda-sorta anchored. There was something beyond himself that he cared about after all! So, while I’d not have normally read something like this I’m glad it did. At least it’s put something different in what I’ve been reading of late.


Odd book, odd character.


2.5/5

Thank you Netgalley!






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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NIght School by C.J. Daugherty

Night School
Good Reads Summary

Night School by C.J. Daugherty
Sometimes school is murder.

Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers.

But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Its rules are strangely archaic. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch.

When Allie is attacked one night the incident sets off a chain of events leading to the violent death of a girl at the summer ball. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sixty four percent in four days does not a good sign make. I just couldn’t get into it; but, the Lord be thanked, for if not by my powers skimming then I doubt I’d have managed to get through to the end.

Should I say that it’s the same old, same old?
Should I say that the boys are ridiculously controlling in this one?
Should I repeat the fact that, yet gain, there be two boys in this one; both of whom are into the same girl who thinks herself, yet again, as not that much to begin with?
Should I say that it took forever for things to kick into gear? (I mean sixty four percent, people!)

I guess, I sort of just did.

All those moments of ‘someone watching me,’ ‘someone knows something I don’t know’ had me coming up with all sorts of scenarios… but the one the book actually had was not too bad, just not as specific as I’d have liked it to be. That was the point though, for the school, the circumstances to be cloaked in mystery. My problem is not that much is resolved in the end. Sure, she knows a little more about how things work. Sure, she knows a little more of who she is. Sure, she’s found out the hard way that some people are to be trusted and others not… it’s just that I felt like the numerous stories going on didn’t quite get tied together in the end:

Consider the separate story of Boy #1, why was he the way he was. Or Consider Jo, BFF/fragile girl... what was her deal? And would it be that easy to resolve what had taken place? Or consider Ruth? Whaaa? Why? Who? And Christopher. I know you’re in this is for some reason; I just can’t quite put you where you belong… because there were missing pieces here.

I like the idea of girl-criminal sent to reformatory. There’s not much of that here though. In this, one gets the usual dose of girl meets boy then meets another boy. Here there be romance. Here there be friendships of the wacky sort, put to test by even wackier scenarios. Here be a mystery of what her school is and what role she’s to play in it. Of course, throw in some murder, some mayhem, and even a couple of stalky moments…

2/5

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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

The Hunt
Good Reads Summary

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?(less)


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


The vampires are very bad in this one. Yes, there could have been more detail about who/what/how, but what was there had me interested, just not necessarily scared. Think armpits. Think elbows. Think drool. Yes, the hanging from the ceiling and being faster/stronger than normal bits were creepy; yes, the blood lust and uncontrollable urge to rip through flesh brought back scary vamps, but... armpits, people!

And the start of the book showed so much promise too. Gene, going in detail as to what he had to do day in day out was especially interesting… until it wasn’t anymore. The details into what had been previously given need not have been gone over time and time again, me thought. Yes, they drool, they drool, they drool. I got it.

But his life is sad. His life is scary. And I wondered, was it really possible? Frankly, the logistics of it all boggled me especially, considering later revelations in the book about certain someone’s. Revelations that I saw coming but had hoped would not come to pass. I had such high hopes for that certain someone too! I don’t know but Ashley June as just another heper, was too darned easy! I mean, seriously, if we’re talking living in a world of people who can sniff out blood and then go mad-crazy? I had me some flashback of Night Huntress and the (none) underwear scene. Eeew, I know.

Now with a beginning that was very good, the same had me thinking it would be slightly more epic than a romance, a la Warm Bodies. Sure, it wasn’t that much of a romance much. I considered it at first… was even hoping that such would be the case. But damn that ending and damn that confusing progression because the HUNT had me; then it lost me somewhere around the third time he describes stuff.


Here’s what I wish:  that more time had been spent on him with them and less time on him with her or of him thinking of her. More on him with them- them, the vampires or them, the hepers. Whenever the vamps showed up, I always thought something more interesting was to follow. There was such tension with them interacting. But it was him and the hepers that pissed me off… arrogant much? I know that that was the point, for him to think himself different and above them, but a little more thought on his part would have done wonders for my opinion of him.


A good start, an interesting ending, but a middle that was , IMO... egh.

Thank you Netgalley!

2.5/5



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Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Good Reads Summary
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It’s not what I was expecting: funny mostly but not all of the time.

The Good

Those nifty chapter titles; I loved those because they touched little on what she loved and she loved a lot. She has had a passion for older music, a skill for diving, and a love for those close to her. And it was that last bit I appreciated the most: she’s close to them. I also liked her having these ideas about the people around her, feeling comforted when they lived up to her notions, then being so confused (shocked) when they didn’t. It’s her boyfriend, best friend and father acting totally out of character that shocked her most. So in way the book isn’t all about her. It’s about them and how they deal, which is where the sad factors in.

The Better

And yes, sure, it wasn’t all about her, but a good deal of the hilarious bits was her coming to grips with where she ended up. Her version of heaven is a pizza parlor,  (a version I would willingly take up as my own.) But it’s the people in it, one person in it, who made it even more interesting: Patrick. The moment he’s in the picture you get the feeling that there’s something more to him than the funny, cocky, brash over-confident boy. You’d be right.  But I stop here because imagining past his whatever jacket, (what was it again?) and getting to know him is when most of the fun took place.


The Iffy


Ok, I have to but the back story of who Patrick was has me feeling iffy. The romantic in me should be swooning over the idea of being someone’s “always and forever.” But, do I really buy that? The title is so appropriate: catastrophic and all. In fact, I’d even go further to throw out an 'unhealthy' in a Romeo-Juliet kind of way!  But hell being slightly less nitpicky and having been swayed by the romance of it all. I say him + her = Aaw.

3.5/5


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