Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Belles (Belles#1) by Jen Calonita

Belles (Belles, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Belles by Jen Calonita

Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever.

My Thoughts
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Red. I see red.

That the Belles are both fifteen is made clear from the word go. Yet, their behavior in this was far from that. About the only thing I actually liked about this was the cover. Oh, beautiful cover, how you have mislead me again! Well, that AND page 270, (and I actually do mean it when I say just that page.) Frankly, just about any negative you could think of might just apply to this one.

Characters. What characters? Card board cut outs, more likely. I felt them ALL one dimensional, never stepping out of the role that had been carved out for them:  Izzie is the good one. She’s got the rags to riches story. So unsurprisingly, she’s the tough one with mantras like “not guts, no glory.” Despite such good things, I still found myself feeling distanced from her, asking if the girl was for real. Because despite her being the sad and poor one and even if she was all tough (in the face of absolute bitchiness,) there really was nothing else that was stood out for her. Would I be making make sense in saying she was too good at being the good one? Just picture it: girl with grandmother who’s sick gets plucked out of what’s familiar then inserted into a life so foreign from her own. All very fish out of water, but not as well executed as I was hoping. Time and again there were allusions made to her princess makeover, but what’s disappointing is she just played that part to the hilt.

But wait! She was not alone in that respect. See, there’s Mira too, doing precisely that as the less likable one. I could almost feel sorry for the girl given how foolishly she behaved. Almost. The thoughts going through this girl’s head! Her thoughts! Being fifteen doesn’t equal stupid! But the saints preserve me from the way she connected the dots where she without fail found herself to be ‘poor old pitiful me.’ She had me wondering if she indeed was the exception to aforesaid rule. (Was that too harsh?)

So let’s see: we have the poor one, the misguided one… why don’t we move on to the mean one? Savannah was written to be detested. And boy did she fulfill her part quite effectively! I simply wish there was something more from her. Were she a machine there would be three modes to her: mean, vindictive and bitchy. Why did this girl even have friends?

The Love crap. I’d go into detail over the love interests but I can’t even muster up enough enthusiasm for any of them. There’s Brayden, poor little rich boy, who frankly was no prize. Still there was Kellen to consider. He might very well be one of three characters who were decent. Sadly, he had little to zero face time in this one. Suffice to say I liked him and wish there was more of him in this. He’s not the perfect character, and frankly he still was one note in presence but at least he a “decent” character.

The Secrets lives of the rich and the painfully shallow? For starters, the secret is not that hard to figure out. No, really! Unless you’re blind and manage to miss all those early hints of sudden change in topic and “…’s” in the dialogue well, you can pretty much tell what the “big” secret is. And while it’s not actually the focus of the book, I felt kind of shortchanged. By the time anything about it is said, I went,
  “That’s it?! I’d put that together ages ago!”
Actually, it’s not even that secret that’s the focus, BELLES is more about mean girls and figuring out which side they stood. Did they dish it out? Or did they stand at the receiving end? And what if they were neither? That’s it really. I really do wish that there was more depth in this one though. (I seriously do.)

Perhaps I was expecting too much out of this? Were this MG, maybe just, maybe everything would have been just so-so. But I dare you not to roll your eyes at a couple of moments in this one. Dear me, it is only now that I understand why people finish books they hate. I just had to see if there was something more to this than it’s pretty cover. I must hate myself. But you know what, book-with-intriguing-three-quarter-dust jacket-letting-pretty-girl-peek-through? I think… yes, I think that I just might hate you more.

1/5




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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

Solace of the Road
Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

Holly’s story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her.
Memories of mum are the only thing that make Holly Hogan happy. She hates her foster family with their too-nice ways and their false sympathy. And she hates her life, her stupid school, and the way everyone is always on at her. Then she finds the wig, and everything changes. Wearing the long, flowing blond locks she feels transformed. She’s not Holly anymore, she’s Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the supersharp talk. She’s older, more confident—the kind of girl who can walk right out of her humdrum life, hitch to Ireland, and find her mum. The kind of girl who can face the world head-on.

So begins a bittersweet and sometimes hilarious journey as Solace swaggers and Holly tiptoes across England and through memory, discovering her true self and unlocking the secrets of her past.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

And I was Solace. Solace of the road, walking into a night sky, thumb out and fag in hand…

There’s both a literal and figurative journey in this one for a girl who takes on a personality so different from her own. Holly, her story is sad but not completely tragic. Sad because she’s in foster care and does all these stupid things, but not completely tragic because not once does she get bogged down by what she doesn’t have. She’s always looking forward and thinking about how to get where she needs to go. Because even with most details of her past murky… there’s this one thing that’s made clear: she’s clung to the idea that somewhere in Ireland is her mother, and that everything will right itself once they’re together.

In fact most everything she thinks and does: the nice, the sweet, and even the mean goes back to her mother or more accurately her mother not being there. It’s different this. That even with all that in mind things never went over the top dramatic. It’s all soft, sometimes sad, definitely out there... and brave. Not once did it have drama for drama’s sake.

That’s even with Solace who’s out there and brave and ready for anything. And that’s despite Holly who’s under that blonde wig. It’s Holly/Solace’s story that I’ve been looking for of late. Not really over the top in drama just a girl who thinks she’s got things figured out and doing something about it. Sure, sometimes liking either was next to impossible, but thank gosh that I picked this up.




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Monday, May 28, 2012

Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy
Good Reads Summary
Easy by Tammara Webber

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.

Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.

Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Author Recommendation: Mature Young Adults (language, drinking, sexual situations)



My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My goodness! This is the second man with troubling past that I’ve read in a row. I liked it but I didn’t get some of it. Yet, dear me, things could get hot hot hot in this one! *wipes brow* Did I enjoy this one (aside from the hot stuff, that is?) Maybe. I’m just not that sure that this kind of book is my thing right now. What kind of thing precisely? A hot romance that’s coupled with healing for something dark secret past thing that's kept hidden… to think that it’s starts on account of a very dumb decision. And it’s that last bit that I liked most about this/her:

That she called it like it was… that she admits to being very aware of how misguided her decision was. Of course, me liking this is tempered by it being an admission after the fact… but you can’t have it all, can you? I also liked how different she and her roommate were, because despite that same thing, there truly seemed an authentic connection there. Plus all the ‘NUTSACKS!!’ from the other had me chuckling. These aspects aside, there’s the major drama that I didn’t quite get. Her knowing something that a significant someone else didn’t want her to know. Think Mattie in FOL. In that one,  you could tell what’s what and who’s who miles away. Here, you could sorta/kinda do that too, except never with a hundred percent certainty… which is why I kept on reading (well, of course, there’s the hot stuff to consider too.)

I still don’t get it, but maybe I did enjoy bits of it. Who wouldn’t with some “Can I draw you?” cheesiness on one side and then flirty tones to email correspondence on another? So, yeah maybe I did enjoy it and maybe I would have continued enjoying it. But then, there she was discovering all those things and then feeling guilty about doing so and then that confrontation! So there I was thinking, wondering, “Where’d all this drama was coming from?!” Simply, I thought it was overdone. Look it, I appreciate drama in small doses> It’s  just that one thing then another then another thing felt too much for me.

But that’s me nitpicking. There’s plenty a positive in this one. Foremost is what went down in that sorority. Lovely surprise, this banding together despite a couple of dumb remarks thrown here and there. A pleasant thing to have that particular turn of events. No, wait… foremost would be friends who don’t ditch you. Yes, I liked her BFF the most in this one. Oh, and like I said, there’s the hot stuff too.




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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

Point of Retreat
Good Reads Summary
Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After the drama that Slammed offered, I thought that something nice and easy was what would be in store for the two of them. But if anything things just got a tad bit more complicated. And though there were a couple of epically romantic moments in this on, I wasn’t moved by the same as I’d usually be.  Why, though?

Sure, the poem reading and the suck and sweet moments elicited from me a couple of ‘Aaws,’ but nothing more really. Have all those dark moody reads rendered me jaded? I don’t think so. Heck, I’ll even admit to liking him as the narrator because it gave their story a whole new different feel. If the first one had me squirmy and slightly uncomfortable with their positions, I didn’t feel the same way here. At all.  There’s no line between the two anymore. Instead, it’s just them getting used to each other or more accurately them being used to each other already. So of course, there’s drama that came out of nowhere to shake up their little bubble of non-traditional familial bliss.

So, I dug the non-traditional thing that’s offered here. I might have raised a brow at how perfectly matchy- matchy their situations were on the outside (and honestly, I did a couple of times…) but they’re not perfect all the time. She’s so young… and so is he. I think it’s their age and the insecurity that amped up the drama… just because they had grown up roles didn’t make them grown ups. I think. He did pull some douche-y moves in this one, and she reacted predictably too. But back to the non-traditional thing, them alluding to what they’d do once Kel or Caulder would reach some age had me wondering how they’d do it. It was these moments that were funny, them thinking about what they should do but going the big brother/older sister route instead. I actually liked this aspect of them figuring out what was right for them.

Then them figuring out what’s right for them as a couple... that was interesting. The doubts she expressed were my own, so I was quite glad to see it addressed here. But it’s him dealing with her doubts that allowed for more of my otherwise comatose romantic self’s heart to go pitter-patter (sometimes.) But why not all the time? Sometimes things just dragged on. In fact, I felt like a some of it (maybe the last 1/8 near the end) was tacked on when it need not have been.


3/5



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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

The Unquiet
Good Reads Summary
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee




Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?


My Thoughts 
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Sure, she’s new girl who inexplicably fits in with the popular crowd. Inexplicably, because she’s admittedly rude, short tempered and distant. Sure, Mr. Popularity (and a couple of others) have the hots for her. Yet, how much did enjoy this one? Maybe a Three point five? A four?

I like that she had no filter. I was fascinated but a bit iffy on her descriptions of her highs and lows. Her recollection of what she was and what she could do in an episode piqued my curiosity. I’m not a hundred percent on the rightness of what she was describing, but it was all intriguing. Too bad, that that’s eclipsed by maybe hauntings because she’s just not sure… and therefore so was I! I also enjoyed the boy who’s just there. Because with him there’s this the sweet snarky thing that went one and on and had me liking them a little more. I even enjoyed the haunting moments which mostly worked for me. Still, me enjoying the lead up to the ending and the actual ending itself? Two wholly different things.

Manic then not. With the way Rinn: excited, scared, paranoid had me feeling much the same. Most of it was tense and creepy and scary, but with her describing her day to day things were also confusing and troubling. I enjoyed maybe 80% of this until the ending,(view spoiler)[ that flashback thing close to the end where she things fall in to place and she gets why things were happening, (hide spoiler)] that felt too over the top in an already loaded story. How much do you want to add when the protag is self confessed crazy, in a setting that involves a haunted high school?

Her friends. They actually made for a more interesting read if you set aside that she’d become part of the It crown so suddenly. I liked them, the cattiness, the bitchiness. I liked how each of them brought something to the story. Meg and her cheer obsession. Tasha and her odd swimming obsessed mother. Then the completely unlikeable but likeable for that same reason: Lacy, I think her name was? She may play a small part in this but I think she was the most interesting out of all of the. If only because she’s so unapologetically bitchy.

The boyfriend. Perhaps one of the more interesting pairings I’ve come across in a long time. Is he typical YA popular boy? Yes and no. He’s popular, good looking. And he likes her but there’s really no reason for him to do so… and yet, I just liked the easy snarky way they bantered. He’s a little like Tuck (Unearthly,) and not just the country boy thing that she’s jokehim a bout. There’s an easy way to him. Accepting and there but only to an extent.

Haunting... or maybe not? The lead up to the confrontation was so effectively creepy having me just as paranoid as Rinn. Every explanation she came up with had her seeming more off hinge and paranoid. So figuring out if she was thinking straight and if something else really was going on was the most interesting part of this.

I personally don’t like how things came to light, how she connected things in the end. There could have been other ways, I think. The scrap books for instance... and going the way that it did felt unnecessarily erg gimmicky. But that’s my problem. Over all, The Unquiet was effectively creepy, more so with a narrator that to be reliable but just aren’t one hundred percent about.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty

Good Reads Summary

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

My Thoughts


My Rating:
 
Read the blurb before even attempting at this. It took me two tries to get a sense of things before folding on my personal commitment not to go into a book with its synopsis in mind (because let’s face it, sometimes there are inaccurate summaries out there.) Why my need for some background? The shifts from one point to another point were abrupt; there was no sense of continuity so that with each shift, I scrambled to remember to which a particular thing something else was connected.

And shifts between whom exactly? Hester was one and Syrenka was the other. Hester is everyday girl, directed, smart, and independent. Her story starts typically enough too: being sort of secretly in love with her BFF. Except that she’d got into her head that she shouldn’t feel that way; and not just about Peter but about anyone because there's this curse.

It’s that aspect that’s tackled later in the book that made this story more part mystery, part ghost story instead of just another scary mermaid tale. There’s a lot to take in, but it was Syrenka’s part of the story that touched on everything scary mermaids are said to be: beautiful, seductive…deadly. I still do wish we had more to go on. But it’s her part of the story that made the story a little scarier~ not because of what she was, (well, a little because of that,) but because of what happens to her, more specifically, what's done to her. Scary mermaid though they claim her to be, it’s not really she who acts monstrously (at least not all the time.)

I have a couple of issues with this book. As previously pointed out, there are the  abrupt shifts that had me confused. The second of course is how certain characters played up at first disappear along the way (I hate pointless characters.) Third would be how different Hester came to be because of him. If at first she’s independent and goes her own way, she’s not so much that person anymore where he is concerned. I sometimes even took issue with the odd flow of language from a couple of them. But in the end I did enjoy this mash up ghost story, mermaid tale and mystery: it’s got good parts- scary mermaids and scarier people. It’s got OK parts: a heroine that’s strong with a mind of her own, but it’s also got some not so stellar moments (see above.)

3.5/5

Thanks Netgalley!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Slammed
Good Reads Summary
Slammed by Colleen Hoover

'Slammed' is the first of a two book series.

After the unexpected death of her father forces eighteen year old Layken and her family to move across the country, away from everyone and everything she knows, her outlook on life is anything but hopeful.

Enter Will Cooper: the attractive twenty-one year old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry. After a night together that turns out to be everything but the expected, both Layken and Will are left with feelings they never knew they could have. Unfortunately in Layken's life, things are never what they seem. Just as quickly as it develops, their relationship is derailed by a shocking revelation, sparking a tumultuous battle between their hearts and their ethics.

As if the dramatic turn of events in her life isn't enough, Layken is slammed again when her mother reveals a secret of her own. A secret so intense, all of Layken's current problems pale in comparison to her seemingly insurmountable future. Unable to confront the changes that lie ahead of her, Layken ignores her conscience as she turns to Will for solace. Struggles ensue as both Layken and Will search for a balance between that which keeps them apart and the feelings that pull them together.
 

Slammed is the first installment of a two-part series. The second installment, Point of Retreat, will be available on Amazon beginning March 2nd, 2012.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Rocky start, I kid you not. But there were a couple of genuine moments in this one that have me considering it even after I’d pit it down. This is so even with the hokey poetry here and there, but as quotes, poetry is the point. So, I let that part of it slide. And I’m not ashamed to have skimmed through some of the more meh- ones, but there’s one or two on in this one that I actually bought into (the last especially.)

Slammed began with tragedy and rarely got easier. About the only points where I was not pulled down by the predicament(s) she found herself in, were those sweet funny moments brought on by her precocious little brother and his best friend. Their talking backwards and cancer lungs costumes added a lot to my liking them as a unit. But that kid aside, there actually were genuine moments in this one. And I was surprised that I did given the way things started. With him seeing her and her seeing him, and them finding something inexplicably special in the other. I rolled my eyes, I did. But I went with it, waiting to see just where the drama would pop up. Once it became evident what the source of conflict would be… I felt myself distancing from the story and reading just for the sake of... I have no idea.

Lukewarm. Yes, that’s how I felt for their drama. I just couldn’t muster up enough enthusiasm it. All those it’s just not possible tortured goings on bored me a little. The initial reactions on what to do and how to do something had me thinking something more was coming, when all the while all I getting were a series of the same tortured moments on both their ends, well… things got old. Until, something unexpected came hitting her out of nowhere.

After that, the melodrama stepped up a couple of notches, but it’s her eventual realizations that actually made me like her and the story more.  And while I do confess to skimming a couple of poems in this one, I have to say, I like the neat way she wrapped up everything/everyone. Her take on Eddie, on her mother, on her litter brother … and even on the source of most her heartache, all felt right on the nail. But mostly it was her take on their dilemma of putting somebody first, second or third; on a weighing of what’s important… that felt the most sad but also factual. And I enjoyed some of it, not all of it. It was those points that veered toward the melodrama of teacher/student that had me squirmy and uncomfortable, yet outside that part of it, especially as I consider her as daughter, sister and friend…dare I repeat myself? Those bits were sad, factual… genuine.

3/5



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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Skylark (Skylark#1) by Meagan Spooner

Skylark (The Skylark Trilogy #1)
Good reads Summary
Skylark by Meagan Spooner

Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

That thing about patience being a virtue definitely applied to me as I read this. And just when things were falling into place, things went kaput. Still the bits I did like, I loved:

Its three portions are worlds apart, each with something to offer, each one so different from the one before it. Consider Part One with all the clockwork descriptives and vague references to magic and what’s it. I had a hard time understanding what was what. In fact, a couple of moments had me all:


Yet all those references to ‘harvesting,’ and me not knowing what the hell she was referring to, well, all that were enough to have me reading on. That’s when things took a turn for the dark and terrifying and hopeless. I had the twin feelings of horror and fascination in me. What was this I’d walked into? Take her descriptions of a woman not quite human and her references to Renewables. Then take all those too friendly people? It’s what I’d imagine feeling were I Hansel or Gretel.  As in, Why, it’s a cookie covered cottage! I know I shouldn’t get close… but I just couldn’t help it!

Then shift to Part Two with its subtle change in the scary mood, from being all science-lab-basement-creepy things turning into something more kick-ass in a catch me if you can way. Only I definitely didn’t want her to get caught. There be Shadow People, guys! 

Moments still had me feeling like I knew nothing (see image above,) but I kept with it because, you see, here we’re introduced to the new guy. And when asked by the same if she trusted him, her response shone a light on her. Praise be, here was something different! Her reaction to the guy, was not what I was expecting. It was so refreshingly different. In a way that had me exclaiming, “How awesomely, thinking could she get?” Still, there was something to the guy and apparently something to the girl as well that drew them each to each other.

Then thank the gods again, the thinking continued and I found myself in Part Three. It’s here’s where things shifted down, a little more like finding a lost city that’s purposefully been lost. It’s also here that things were starting to click together:

Photobucket
I get it!
Sure, it took a while for me to warm up to it, but now it's got me looking forward to what's to come

3.5/5

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Moment by Kristina McBride

One Moment

Good Reads Summary
One Moment by Kristina McBride
This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


2.5/5

I’m struggling to put into words exactly which parts worked and which ones didn’t. With six people who’ve lived in each others’ pockets it’s not shock how, in essence, they’re a unit. Sure, a couple of them were closer to others but it’s also this fact that made for a more complicated group dynamic. Their core seemed to be Joey though. Wild… crazy…beautiful, they all said, but what else was there to him? That it takes tragedy for them to all open up, open their eyes and to say what was what… made it even more taxing emotionally. The reactions were messy. And I liked it.

Add the complication of her not knowing to slow process of her picking up the clues… then add both those to her inevitably piecing things together. And wanting to have not to. Well, I won’t say I that enjoyed it… but it all had me engrossed. Her knowing one thing then having that same fact at odds with what she knew/felt… it felt right to me. Then compound her feelings on things being disconnected or her feelings that what she knew wasn’t whole to begin with, with her friends reacting in their own way… because like her, they too got left behind.

It’s the aftermath, the reactions of each member of the group that had me glued to ONE MOMENT. That each of them reacted the way they did because there was this big secret, made each of them less “bad,” more real. See, they’re not just caricatures of the cheater or the best friend or he boy who’s always there. Take Shannon. Her role from the get seemed a means to contrast her to Maggie. It became a lot easier to like Maggie, given how up front and “bitchy” the other girl could be. “She’s a bitch, but that’s why we love her, right? They all say it; they all think it… but she’s not that at all. Sure, what’s done is a sad thing, but Shannon’s reactions too made sense.  It’s Adam’s particular drama that I felt unnecessary. Why I wonder the need to insert a romantic element? But him dealing with losing his friend, but seeing that friend for who he was… as well as wanting some things he couldn’t have made him interesting.

2.5/5
Thanks Net Galley!




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Monday, May 21, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
Good Reads Summary
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.  

"An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter,  New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series 

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


2.5/5

Intense
…. but not always in a good way. I felt as if there were three people in this love story. On one hand, there’s Noah, who’s not always the typical bad boy. I found it interesting how he took on so many things. But frankly, there were times I felt it contrived placing so many things on him. It felt too …much I suppose. This misunderstood bad boy type who behind all his snark and crudeness was actually just someone as damaged as the female protagonist. Then Echo, who acted so different at points that she's practically two. There’s that side of her that’s insecure unloved and so dramatic *and sometimes embarrassing) in her confrontations; but there’s also that side to her that’s ready to smile and ready to give a hug. I could not figure her out… but what’s worse, my desire to figure her (and them) out was quickly waning with each reference by him of her as “his siren” or him hinting at making her “his.” He could be so intensely possessive… and it annoyed troubled me a little.

Drama. That romance aside, it’s their individual issues that propelled me further. Can anyone say drama? How about dysfunction? OK, how about denial? It’s all here… and then taken all together could get quite overwhelming. Let’s piece things apart, shall we? Her issue begins with a dead brother who doted on her, a father that’s simultaneously distant then controlling, and a missing memory of something that’s scarred her in all aspects.

More drama. There’s high school drama too! Of her wanting to be normal, and wanting what she was and had had back. Except it’s this aspect that puzzled me even more! I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t see why she’d want them back. Save, Lila, most everyone was no good. Grace in particular, with her putting conditions on friendship. I didn’t really see the need of bothering with someone of that sort.  Or Luke, his actions fell into so many douche bag categories that again I was wondering if there was anything good in him to begin with. Sure later, they shed light on why they all were the way they were; it still didn’t like a good many of them though.

Just a bit more. His drama was more straight forward. But it’s also his issues that had him putting people at a distance, and not thinking straight, and it’s also his issues that had him making declarations that were so over the top that I cringed inside, outside, and all over for him as well as for her once I got a load of what he wanted.

It gets better though... Thankfully, once I hit that last third, things smoothed out for me… and I was buying more of what was taking place. They were starting to think a little more clearly, and weigh more of their actions… so yeah, where one of them said ‘sacrificial;’ I was thinking ‘common sense…’ With both of them acting more for the other rather than for themselves, well I kept at it despite some more troubling/confusing/overthetop moments.

Now, if I were absolutely honest, the best moments are how each their issues were resolved. Neither one gets the HEA I expected, but it’s an HEA nonetheless. See, the way things were going from the start, well… I figured a more over the top love conquers all thing was coming my way. It did and it didn’t. I like that.

2.5/5
Thank you Net Galley!




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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Social Suicide (Deadly Cool #2) by Gemma Halliday

Social Suicide (Deadly Cool, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday

Twittercide [twit-er-sahyd]: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of tweeting.

Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the Herbert Hoover High Homepage would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper’s brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story, things went... a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the Homecoming Queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH’s resident body finder, I’m stuck trying to prove that Sydney’s death wasn’t suicide.

I’m starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos...


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

So here’s to sophomore installments that to meet the the standard the first one’s set. Social Suicide is just as funny as the first. It’s a very good mix of high school high jinks, crossed signals, as well as… murder and mayhem? One need not be surprised by how funny things could get with Hart on the case. Minus the distraction that Josh offered, Hart still made some funny calls, normally with BFF Sam at her side. But I still enjoyed the fluff this one offered. It was her over the top reactions, her funny way with words as well as her gung ho manner in taking to a task that had me laughing, cringing and reacting every which way. This girl just couldn’t let go, could she? It’s this last fact that had her winding up in so many an awkward situation.

Social Suicide actually manages to avoid that dreaded sophomore slump by keeping to a lot of what made the first one work, yet still working things so that Hart and the rest of the gang proved more than what I’d first pegged them to be. All of them revealed more to themselves. Focus on Chase for instance, if in book one we know that there’s a might be/could be/should be between them, here things just got tons more complicated. So much so that I didn’t know whether to laugh at each move one of them pulled or just to cringe on her behalf (then plonk him on the head for her.) He was funny with her. She was funny with him… sometimes in that intentional way; other times sometimes in that “I think I know what comes next” manner. Did I laugh? You, betcha. 

Then the added bonus of the SMother moments, Hart and her mother just killed me! Hart especially with her not wanting to know. I could just picture Hart plugging her ears going la la la la… just to avoid seeing what actually was. She could be frustrating… but at least she was funny while at it.

Definitely looking forward to the next one.

3.5/5



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Saturday, May 19, 2012

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This Is Not a Test
Good Reads Summary 
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

My Thoughts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This must be what Dorothy felt like, I think.
Maybe. If Dorothy was six scared teenagers and Oz was hell.
 

Dark. From the word go, it’s dark and harrowing and heavy… even without the zombies in the picture. It’s her memories as well as everything else she didn’t/wouldn’t say out loud but went running through her head nonetheless; it was those things left unsaid that had my hair on end at first. And to think, all that in the first couple of passages without the zombies in the picture.

My constant Poor Sloane-ing should clue you in that This Is Not a Test is not the typical zombie book. It’s much closer to Pieces of Us than it is to whatever you think is a good dark moody zombie book. Because it could go from being dark, harrowing then bittersweet, then hopeful then not all in a blink for so many reasons that you’d not expect.

Then Darker Still.Even without the zombies, Sloane had so much on her plate. Lily’s there but not there, her absence is such a big part of things that it was almost a force all on its own, playing a big role in what Sloane does/did/didn’t do/wanted to do.

Urgent. Switching from one moment to the next. Because Sloane and her history aside, there’s still so much more things, bigger things to remember. Who to trust? What to do? What’s to come? There were so many aspects of this going on that each time I thought I’d just about wrapped my head where things were going on, well, I found I never actually did. It’s all six of them together that offered an even bigger puzzle. As much as the idea of six kids holed up in a high school made me think of Breakfast Club, well… these kids, bosom buddies they definitely were not.

It’s all in their heads (or maybe not.) The thinking about what another would do, the imagining of what would (not) happen or what could happen... that made everything seem then become bigger, worse. What’s equal parts fascinating and terrifying is the fact that at one point or another each of them made sense because each of them had his or her own concerns. So that it’s perfectly crystal that their coming together, their little alliance was a tenuous one.  Knowing this last thing, I was waiting.waiting.waiting for someone to break. It felt inevitable, this thing. It’s that waiting that drove me batty but still spurred me on.

Bittersweet… and sometimes ugly. Oh, the things people do to each other. The things people do for each other. The thing people do because of another! Though it pains me to say it, I think I’d be a Harrison. In their place, I’d have loved to be a Grace, with her being open eyed a, being calm and collected. And though I’d have loved to be either Rhys or Cary with their thinking things through or making hard decisions; but I doubt if I could keep up with the likes of them. Even Sloane’, calm acceptance of things made her shine at times. But frankly, I’d most likely be a Harrison.  Just thinking of them together and the many, many plot twists that popped up still has me mouth ajar:

Some things just came out of the blue. What they could do for  and to each other then do because of another had me considering psychological experiment gone bad instead of a zombie post-apoc-survival book. Could it have been both? Because I loved every moment of it. A lot of it scared me. A lot of it had me asking things like ‘How could they do that?’ or ‘ Were they doing what I think they were doing?' Yet while there were moments that disturbed me; there were other moments still that broke my heart.

Basically, that this book has me feeling so many different things all at once makes me love it all the more. This is so much more than a zombie book. Plus that ending? That ending has me both hopeful for them but also held back in considering what’s more likely to have happened.

five out of five



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Friday, May 18, 2012

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name.

But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

How awesomely funny was this?
 

If at first she read sometimes shallow and with not that much to her, well... I was wrong. After a couple things happen to her, around her, her reactions were enough to get me to consider her more, and in the end, I say, I actually I do like this particular girl detective. Because this girl detective would likely give Sophie of Hex Hall fame a run for her money in snark. Well, that and the fact that her story is very straightforward in the telling and never dry (I don’t think it would have been possible given the kind of girl she is.)

Even the little moments of playing at current didn’t hamper my liking this one. The girl is smart, funny and sassy…a t times a bit clueless but determined. And, still I liked it. I liked her as well as most people in it. Her BFF is precisely that: a BFF that’s there.  Sam also added an different sort of funny, minus the snark, she could give as good as the other. Together though, well, let’s just say that I enjoyed the dynamic they had going for them. The back and forth of one staying listening, then the other piping up, then maybe another siding with the other her, or perhaps disagreeing in an honest but always funny way. My point? I enjoyed these best friends.

There’s no absence of boy drama, but that she’s in it to clear despite what a douche a certain someone could be? Well, that amped things up a bit more. And also, the maybe, might be, could be that was taking place with Chase, it was that aspect of it that had me all a tingle. Absence of teen boy drama, my butt. I liked her trying to get over the other and failing miserably. Then her making mistakes and basically her (sometimes) making a fool of herself, but still pushing forward nonetheless. I even liked her threatening bloody murder... because all of that? Well, all that rang truthful and accurate… and hilarious. Read this. Fluffy, funny… and just the right kind of read for me right now.

3.5/5

And how she describes getting vats of veggy oil from restos for a converted car? Been there, done that… and the girl is right… saving mother earth is dirty (smelly) business.



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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer
Good Reads Summary

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

It’s strange how I’m once again split over this book: On one the one hand, I truly didn’t get why it was such a big deal. Why it took almost half of the book for her to spell out what had happened. The thing revealed was too minor a thing, to juvenile a concern in the face of what was taking place. I couldn’t get why she was still running away from what she was running away from.

And on the other, there were aspects that had me sobbing. Her getting to know her family felt sad and true and struck a chord of desperation. By that last bit, I mean there’s  was this mood of that a certain moment being the last chance they’d get to do a certain thing: last chance and with so little time. Yet, still not completely desperate or urgent as first felt given the normal feel of everything with their ice cream runs, swimming with friends, summer jobs and slumber parties, or the Q & A’s with dad or the sneaking out with someone else. All these things mashed up sol close to each other; everything happening all at once or close on the heels of something else, lent SECOND CHANCE SUMMER a sense of urgency, a need to get things done. And that’s the part that I actually did ‘get’ … because it really was, in fact, the case.

Despite the caricature quirk factor that some of them had (case in point her big brother, Warren,) and despite a lack of something more from some of them (Eliot, the boy forever in love but unable to do anything about it, to illustrate,) there was one stand outs in this one. Taylor to be exact.

Though I most definitely did not like her at first, I have to give props to one who has the unique trait of being honest about what her faults were. She’s a frankness about feelings of fear and stated point blank that she’d a tendency to run away from what scared her. My problem with the girl stem not from admitting these things, but that she never did quite get out of that little comfort zone rut she’d found herself in. As I see it, it’s not enough to know what wrong and or even to say it out loud: the clincher is what you’re going to do about it. And for a good deal of the book, the girl didn’t do anything different from her standard reaction of fleeing. It’s not enough to admit being afraid; you’ve got to do something about it. She did so… but only after doing the same thing that mired her in her initial troubles time and again.

Taylor aside, I didn’t gravitate to anyone else in this one. I mean, I respect the presence of the none talky-talk brother sister thing here. Not all siblings can be best friends after all. Yet, it was the little details that showed how different they were from each other that I enjoyed. It’s the difference that seemed to emphasize her feelings of being ordinary. Yet despite the same, there’s really not that much sibling drama going on with them, which made this feel even more possibly real They’ve their own thing, they’re not joined at the hip, but they’re linked nonetheless. And that’s the bit that I felt most real in this one. There were other moments that had me chuckling too: that talk on first base? Priceless.

As to the side story of Lucy/Henry/Taylor, again even if I felt things were blown out of proportion, I eventually liked where this part of the story went. Lucy is a bit standard as best friend (but not quite BFF) with her being more out there and more social than Taylor; and Henry is a bit of the same, with his being good and present ala- the Sarah Dessen male lead… yet, I liked both off them with her.

Sweet story… the initial drama was one I thought a bit juvenile, but the last bit had me sobbing.

3.5/5



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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't Say
Good Reads Summary
What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars


I wanted to love this. Sadly, WHAT I DIDN’T SAY just falls somewhere in the middle for me. The emotions in it didn’t quite pull me along despite the blurb. Still, it wasn’t a complete loss:

Jake tries his best, and I liked him for it. The change he undergoes is drastic, and there’s that aspect of seeing him go from what he was to what he was becoming. So, I followed along, simply because the guy made me like him (well, most of the time.) And there’s so many aspects to his story. An already good guy, you see him become better; try things out, falter, fall, then pick himself up again. He could have wallowed in it all, and it still would have been fine with me but that a different route is taken was what had me taken by him.

The introduction of Sam though dampened my enthusiasm for this a little. Additional drama, not connected to Jake, split my attention, and I found it unnecessary. His story already had me curious, but her story with him had me wondering if such an addition was at all necessary.

Not to say that the girl’s part in it was not sad. It was. I just felt that it added more emotion to what would have been fine without. Already it was shaping up to be a good sweet story of a good kid dealing with change he’d not seen coming, the love drama and us against the world, I simply didn’t enjoy quite as much.

See,  all those ‘Norah Whora’ snide remarks got on my nerves. And yes, at times him putting on a brave face felt false to me too, SO THAT it was his eventual cracking and letting go that felt more sad and real to me. The love aspect was OK(?) but I just didn’t connect WITH them. While the girl's issues made her less “girl-on-pedestal,” I still wondered if it was needed. (But come to think of it, may be it was her drama that reinforced the idea of her being different from the rest: stronger yet different.) Still, wouldn't it have sufficed to have the drama focus on his one thing then see how things progress from there?

Too much drama on both sides, so that I ended up not buying into either completely.

Thank you Net Galley!

2.5/5




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Monday, May 14, 2012

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

In Honor
Good Reads Summary
In Honor by Jessi Kirby

A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in this novel from the author of Moonglass, whose voice Sarah Dessen says “is fresh and wise, all at once.”

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


I liked the combination of the knowing and the not knowing as well as the sweet and the sad in this one. It’s put me in the right mood enough so that I cannot even find it in myself to roll my eyes when things were highly improbable, slightly too convenient, and sometimes too new agey/hokey. See, if one were to combine a pair of people who truly had a history with each other WITH the fact that these people actually knew little of each other and the truths they carried… Well, color me curious.

It was the road trip plus sibling loyalty and the dealing with a thereafter that had me curious. It struck close to Saving June. Though Saving June, this was not. The pair involved are both sweet and sexy and assume so much of the other. It’s the latter combined with both of them keeping things so many things in that leads to so many encounters that were sometimes tense, sometimes explosive, and sometimes, yes… sexy.

It’s that they assumed to know so much about the other that had them less likely to open up about certain things BUT it’s also that same thing that had them willing to be vulnerable in other areas. I liked the contrary way they were with each other. Familiar then not familiar… comforted with how right some things felt; then surprised by how different the other could be. It was a sweet thing to see, but also sometimes frustrating:

The girl, for you see, she truly is a girl in the young sense could be so set in what she thought the other had done wrong but also blind to what really was. Through out the book, she paints a picture of her brother Finn that’s so good and so solid. At times, I found myself saying he was too good to be true. Yet, it’s her telling stories of him and Rusty that made the guy a little bit more real; a solid guy, a really great brother. So whatever was going through her head when she decided on doing what she did seemed more plausible if not over the top and theatrical. That whole going on a road trip to do that one last thing for her brother, read likely with grief and loss that mixes people up in what’s rational and irrational. Then of course is Rusty. It’s the closed off way that had me wondering and waiting… but his easy confidence and presence already had me aware that there was more to him than what Honor thought, even when the guy could be so purposefully annoying.

Yet, between their starting point to that end, there’s this slow change… in both. She opens her eyes, no, has her eyes opened. And he softens a little. It’s a sweet story… and even with an ending that almost had me changing my mind.

3.5/5



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Sunday, May 13, 2012

City of Lost Souls ( The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)
Good reads Summary
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5-4 of 5 stars

Sure, I’d like to take my foot to Alec’s head, but other than the needless drama he brought, I can happily report that City of Lost Souls is so much better than City of Fallen Angels. The latter really only had one thing going for it: Simon, finally being all awesome. This one had all of them stepping it up. It’s brought back some of my feelings for the first three book.

When I first got into the series, I was a bit surprised (and skeeved out) by the Han Solo/Princess Leah twist to it, the resolution to that relieved me, I tell you. It’s just too bad that Ms. Clare can’t seem to move beyond twists of that nature. Skin crawling moments notwithstanding, I will confess that other elements distracted me enough, entertained me enough. Everyone just brought something more to the table.

So what’s to like?

First. Good bye, mopey angsty Jace, whom I just didn’t not get. Then, hello! Oh, cocky one with always a witty comeback to fling back.  Yes, ladies, all the wit, all the confidence… is back. It’s been a while since he entertained me, but this one has made me a fan of his again.

Second. Simon! I’ve always been a fan of his. Here, he plays an even bigger role and I loved every moment of him in it. I enjoyed him stepping up and doing what he could despite all his personal drama. I just like that he was always there, plus the developments with him and Izzy. 

On that last bit. Well, three cheers for Nerd Love! That’s all. And here’s me patiently waiting for the next one , which I will definitely be reading.

3.5-4/5



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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Never Enough by Denise Jaden

Never Enough
Good Reads Summary 
Never Enough by Denise Jaden

From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like
her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts
flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it
takes to feel special…even if that means
betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers
that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for
perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a
dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws
from friends and family, Loann struggles to
understand her and make amends. Can she heal their
relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Let’s face facts… Loann could twists just about any drama around her and make it about her. ‘Oh, Marcus is stoically being all silent boy independent and closed mouthed about his problems.’ Boohoo. Does this mean he hates me? Or, ‘oh, my sister is laughing about something with her friends.’ Does this mean she’s really laughing at me behind my back..ergh… to my face but from a distance? Then take: ‘oh dear, my mother is worried about what’s become of our family.’Does she really have to ask me about where she’d gone wrong?

I am exaggerating, but sometimes it felt like that to me. All that whiney "me. me. me" focus overshadowed the fact that sometimes she could be a good person, or tried to be a good person despite her doing some things so annoyingly… ergh, shortsighted (as in scene in the beginning with her and her so called friends. As scene with object of her affection who unsurprisingly  (view spoiler)[reveals himself to be douche bag galore actually (hide spoiler)].)

It was interesting though, this story of a girl connected to so many people who themselves weren’t leading not quite ideal lives. I found myself drawn in and curious about things despite not giving two shits about the family (the sisters, their mother and father were all too wrapped up around in perceived shortcomings of others.) So I suppose that it’s no surprise if I say that it was someone outside their little familial unit that kept me glued: Marcus. His secret pain and pushing back but reluctant wanting to stay connected had me perplexed. The eventual moving forward in their department came slowly… then stopped suddenly... then moved on again. All those came as welcomed events in what would have otherwise been Loan’s me, myself and I gripe show.

Because Loann? Really, this girl was not quite perfect… but did try her darnedest to be good, do what was right… to be enough. It’s her relationship with her sister that’s the driving force of most things that take place in the story. Their relationship was in no way easy. Her little flashbacks to what they had had, contrasted to what was current, explained a lot of her current feelings of conflict. Her wanting back what they had had, but not knowing how to go about it (even with knowing in that back of her head that it’s really not quite possible) both made sense to me. But for the life of me, the picture she painted of her older sister just felt too unlikely to be real. And I guess, I was accurate in a way.

Thank you Simon and Schuster G&G
2.5/5


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Friday, May 11, 2012

Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty

Thumped (Bumped, #2)
Good Reads Summary

Thumped by Megan McCafferty

THE CONCLUSION TO ONE OF THE MOST TALKED-ABOUT NOVELS OF LAST YEAR

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


And I’m a back in the world that had me slightly skeeved out, sometimes laughing then sometimes totally out of the loop. It was the lingo, see? All that techno-babble and reproaesthetic what-not were things my brain just refused to absorb. And even when it got a bit ham fisted in how over the top the presentation was, moments of this worked for me.

I did not reread the first one, so I struggled to recall some of the details. But thanks to the short chapters and characters quite capable of getting their meanings across, I did get back into the flow eventually. I was quite surprised by some of the changes they’d undergone:

John Doe’s change, was not that surprising… all his “I’ll do it if it makes you happy...”  had me feeling like he’d lost his personality, BUT him unintentionally shifting back to his object of adulation persona was darned entertaining.   He was after all more than the sum of his private parts. Oh, lord! This book was funny.

Or Melody and Harmony with their closeness... in the first book, one was reluctant to get to know the other, this one has them already knowing each other AND relying on each other. Melody especially is less me, me, me/my brand, and Harmony less about her being God freaky. I like that they’re extreme positions were toned down… ‘twas less annoying that way.

With all those people espousing one extreme view over another and the addition of teenage love drama, I do confess that I enjoyed this one… at least more readily so than I was with the first book.

2.5.5



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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blackout (Newsflesh# 3) by Mira Grant

Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Good Reads Summary
Blackout by Mira Grant

Rise up while you can. -Georgia Mason

The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn't end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. The uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this:

Things can always get worse.

Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated Feed and the sequel, Deadline.


My Thoughts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book!

No, seriously, this book…! I’d sworn to take it slow and sure I was keeping to said goal, but once I reached the 20% mark, well there was no looking back for me. I didn’t even bother to hide the fact that I was reading this at work.  So picture me thus:  nose buried in kindle, more often than not, with palm over mouth to keep from screaming. It was that good.

Details. I can only imagine the research that must have gone into this one. I am very impressed with how she put in all those details yet still managing to make all of it smooth enough, plausible enough to have the story simply flowing with nary a hitch. Then consider that all that’s been woven into this thrill filled mix of politics, journalism and zombies … and my brain would have/could have said ‘ouch,’ but not once did it do so. Instead, I was all gimme gimme gimme.

Characters. They’re none them the ones I first loved in Feed or Deadline but it’s Shaun in particular who had me teary. All that pain and all that awareness, then all that resignation had me following him alongside his mini family. I like him; I have this massive book crush on him. The first books showed this none serious type with a suicidal tendency, events in those books simply stripped him down leaving him simply suicidal. And he knew it too, as did the team, YET they stuck to it nonetheless…  yes, things got uncomfortable and twisted and sad, but sweet too. So much so that said mini-family thing was just one more thing in it that drew me in a little more.  And let me not fail to add, (view spoiler)[Georgia. There she was. Aware of who she was BUT also aware of who she wasn’t. (hide spoiler)] Mind bending and complicated? Why, yes. Yes, it was.

Each of them saw things as they were; sure some were more suspicious than others but that each of them had their own things to deal with yet they stuck around and that fact positively warmed me.  Don’t get me wrong this is all about the Masons’ but with the likes of Becks, Mahir and Alaric and Maggie, well, I love this book just a smidge more because of them. Add that all of them had done some sort of reevaluating about where they were and where they were headed with each of them coming to their own conclusions… so that you could smell the change coming. It just made things feel even more charged. See? This book…!

Sticky bits. And all those questions and sticky what if’s and what about’s that I’d basically swept past in Feed and Deadline because I just couldn’t deal? Well, they’re dealt with here. And while initially jarring, (all those hints not withstanding,) I did grasp where they were coming from. (view spoiler)[I even appreciate that it’s all eventually laid out for the world to see. Even if a tad unconventional, I might even holler out a ’Y ay!’ for them... because they deserve it, (given all the death and convoluted conspiracies, after all.)  (hide spoiler)]

While my favorite may be Feed that’s mainly because I’d never read anything quite like it before. Deadline and Blackout are tied in second because damn it… they both had me bawling like an idiot. Considering that all three are a bag of zombies, blogging and political what’s-it, well me bawling at all is quite a feat.

Love.love.love
5/5




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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The Forsaken (The Forsaken, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.     The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

The Forsaken. It reads like a mish mash of Lord of the Flies and Maze Runner and some other stuff that I have read and liked more. A good deal of it bored me. Some of it read too convenient and not sinister enough.. or maybe too sinister as if to be trying to hard.

If I were to piece it apart, the individual bits could have been interesting ala Lord of Flies but instead of a plane crash landing and kids attempting to survive this one has a prison with factions whose loyalties and goals were not that clearly defined. Take the blue sector, split them again and you find people all gung ho about fighting and defending , then another half wanting to keep to their current version of freedom, and quite obviously scared of rocking the boat. I didn’t quite gravitate to either of side. I mean, middle ground people! Or take the other other side: Monk? I like his drones that have devolved in this more savage, somehow mindless group. I confess, I did enjoy the descriptions of this bunch. All sharp toothed and cruel… but again, so what? The eventual discoveries tickled my fancy but not enough to get me excited. All that talk of gray zones and barriers and feelers had me imagining scifi something… but it all felt too laid out to me as if they were simply following crumbs thrown down for them to follow.

There’s a needless romance that I just couldn’t follow too. If asked to choose between Liam and David, David was sounding more interesting to me. If were talking history, there was one between David and Alena… Liam just sounded to beef cake-y, hot hunter type. Then of course Gadja with her blind let me at ‘em wildness, she could have been my favorite character except this independent woman was cut down by her tendency to be blinded by a jealousy that was a tad too predictable. Argh! The Forsaken could have been good too… but at least it got better eventually: the last twenty percent to be exact. There things got even more complicated, with people joining up when you wouldn’t think they would, and with people showing who they were and what they could do.

Thank you Simon and Schuster G&G
2.5/5




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