Friday, August 31, 2012

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

With the idea that 'this fixed Twilight' around, well I hadto see what I'd been missing. Now, having just finished this I do agree with all those Twilight comparisons.

Yet... I sped through this! Despite Daemon being a douche which nobody can deny.

Again, I sped through this! Despite the fact that after the umpteenth Sparkly poke that was cute at first... the very same thing started rubbing me the wrong way because while the mocking was initially cute.. I got to asking, 'wasn't Obsidian essentially mocking itself?' Given that things in it are essentially a copy of that which it poked fun of? I won't bother going over the similarities because I suppose it's been done somewhere some when by someone more clearly, but basically if you've read the other, you've essentially been handed a a blueprint of the goings on here.

And yet again, for this must needs repeating, I sped through this! It's compulsively readable, it's fun even with a male lead that so.. something else in his treatment of her.

And yet.. I sped through this!
Fun read, this (just don't ask me why, though)




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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Chime
Good Reads Summary
Chime by Franny Billingsley

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

My brain’s fried, so I’m keeping this short.

I feel like I deserve an award. I finally finished CHIME and since it took forever, I don’t know if I love this because it challenged me or that I love it because it’s so different.  To start, the world is so different and the writing a clever mix of lush and creative and oddly enough bits of a contemporary feel here and there.

It’s the setting and what peoples the place that added to the magical but quirky feel of it: a magical place and the people aware of the same. Boggy Mun, Dead Hand and Dark Muse, the Chime Child, brownies and the Old Ones? Let’s just say that I enjoyed it all. A lot. Yet, the magical aside, the feel of Swampsea, this little village that’s both old but not old, with people who know each other but not really and then their talk of Old Ones and what not all merged together so that I was never quite sure about what kind of story I’d found in my hands.

Now, it truly did take forever before it made more than a little sense but there was Briony to push me forward. She, who’s everything form sad, to guilt ridden then sharp but most definitely not afraid to wade in things, was different. Far from being likeable… she’s one who tried to do what’s right for those closest to her, but doesn’t see herself for who she is. And it’s seeing herself for who she is what Chime’s about.

Also there’s a lovely connection made. First, that they don’t fall at each other’s feet upon first meeting?  That, I loved. (truly I did.) She’s so critical of things and he more easy. So, where he is playful, she was not quite. And where she viewed things a certain way, well he certainly didn’t always agree… and eventually where he sought honesty, well, she fulfilled this… eventually. Mainly it’s the fact that there’s a connection between two who actually match up and still challenge the other that I enjoyed.

This was a lovely story (even if took forever to get going…)






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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Smashed by Lisa Luedeke

Smashed
Good Reads Summary
Smashed by Lisa Luedeke

A field hockey star grapples with addiction in this riveting debut that will appeal to fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak.

Stay out of trouble for one more year, and Katie Martin can leave her small town loneliness behind forever. She is a field hockey star on the fast track to a college scholarship, but her relationship with alcohol has always been a little questionable. Then trouble finds her. Alec is the most popular guy in school, and also the biggest bully—with his sights set firmly on Katie. When Alec turns on the charm, Katie thinks she must have been wrong about him.

Except that she wasn’t. On a rain-soaked, alcohol-drenched night, one impulsive decision leaves Katie indebted to Alec in the worst possible way. This debut novel is a fast-paced and compelling story of addiction, heartbreak, and redemption.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


With Katie doing what she was doing: the lying and the drinking and the lying, I was hard pressed to like her. Truly, I was trying not to judge, but couldn’t help it… but this was all before what’s done to her happened! Prior to that, I felt sorry for the girl but nothing more than that. After, if I set every other thing aside, like she’s too down on herself or like he is in a class of his own in being a douche almost to the point of being criminal, my main issue is that i felt it a load of crock how things eventually went down:

Would it happen in real life? That her reputation be taken a strike against the gravity of what she was saying, so much so that virtually nothing is done about it? Really?! I don’t know what my point is, but something about how things unfolded on that end still bothers me.  There’s basically no consequence for the guy… and if possible things get worse for her! She’s isolates herself, drowns herself in the thing that got her in the mess to begin with, and then loses what mattered most to her.

Now before that the girl’s life read almost too sad. Father gone, mother absent, and the girl free to do as she pleased, then throw in a handsome boy that prompted her to question ‘what does he see in me?’ Actually, she asked that a lot of the time. She’s doubtful/curious/wary/surprised that people take an interest in her. It’s a sad but frustrating too. Except all that was depressing seemed to be the reason she was doing what she was doing...so that it felt almost cut and dried.

But nothing in this is really all that simple especially if you factor in the sides of her that were better as with her feeling like she’s all her little brother had, her setting her mind on a goal and going at it. But then, time and time again… she’d get sucked in, and I’d wonder… what the hell are you thinking, girl?! It was frustrating how she went into something knowing something was not quite right… and then him proving just how low he could stoop.





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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon

A Straight Line To My Heart
Good Reads Summary
A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon

A funny, poignant, realistic story of Tiffany's first love and first job, and the inevitability of change in the first summer out of school School is over, not just for the year, but forever. Tiff and Kayla are free, which is what they've always wanted, but now summer is nearly at an end and that means life decisions. Tiff is hoping her job at the local paper will lead to something more, but "The Shark" soon puts her straight on what it takes to become a hard-nosed reporter like him. At home, Reggie—the only grandad she's ever known—has quit smoking and diagnosed himself as a cactus, and then Kayla hits her with some big news. And into all this stumbles Davey, who plays rugby but quotes Truman Capote, and is the first boy who has ever really wanted to know her. Tiff is smart with words and rarely does tears, but in one short week she discovers that words don't always get you there; they don't let you say all the stuff from deep in your heart.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s another story of family and friends that simple but ends on a note that leaves me hopeful. 

With an opening line that goes, “There’s nothing quite as good as a folding up into a book and shutting the world outside. If I pick the right one I can be beautiful, or fall in love, or live happily ever after. Maybe even all three... If you can’t get a boy, get a book, that’s my motto,” I knew I had something. And I did because with each page, there was always something to grin about.

She's ready to take on the world, Tiff and her little comebacks. She’s funny, not-so sweet, and has got a smart mouth. It's all these little notions that she had that made me laugh; it's her running commentary over things that she’d encounter that had me me grinning more. Her initial run in with Big Foot only made her more interesting simply because she could be so awkward! (In a sweet way, for sure). Come to think of it, Big Foot, that is Davey, could get pretty awkward too. But their part of all this is but a minor thing in a story that’s mostly about a girl figuring out her place with her family or her place in bigger things. 

Still it’s the way she was with her family that worked best for me. Her men, Reggie and Bull, read so different from what I'm used to. Maybe they're just a little bit out there because there's this genuine connection from them to her. I especially liked them ribbing each other, because with each thing they’d say it came clear across that what they had was a unit, just not the most typical one.

The other part of her and learning the ropes... not knowing what to do, being bored out of her mind, and doing things that were new and unexpected only showed what kind of girl she was some more - a girl who's all heart.

A lot of the sweet and some of the sad…
I enjoyed this.



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Monday, August 27, 2012

Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard

Katya's World
Good Reads Summmary
Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard

The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.

Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career.

There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's all action and then more action. The absence of a romantic plot is one that I commend because this one relies on its characters and what they had to do given it being set in a place that’s quite unique. The planet colony Russalka is just getting over its violent past. It’s a place that allowed for some interesting messes for them to get out of. I mean how exactly does one escape when they were where they were?

The place has allowed the Russalkin to adapt. They’re sturdy people, gung ho about having a role and taking on responsibility. All of which describe Katya to T: she’s young and headstrong, but brave and with direction too. Some people weren’t who they said they were: the sniveling newbie was not just that, and neither was the brave pirate. Of course, others were precisely who we think they are, the good uncle is good, and again, the girl, she’s smarter, braver and more reliable than most, too.

Save a world that’s so richly described, we’ve the necessary double crosses and half truths that kept things confusing/exciting. I liked this. The way things are set up, there were some interesting messes to get out of… so many interesting parts in fact that I wish more was done to flesh each of those things out. The creature that features greatly here, could have been more; the danger above could have been more! The ending too was too quite for me except that it’s also an ending I didn’t foresee. 

Goodness! Rating this is difficult. For what is present~ all that was different and new , I’d have said a 4 of 5, but with me wanting details on each new and different bit introduced, well I've to settle for a 3 of 5.

Thank you Net Galley!







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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel (Crewel World, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Different. Crewel is yet another book that I started not knowing what the heck was going to happen. It's a fact for which I am extremely grateful because it was one helluva ride with each thing revealed, and with each thing laid out, well, the lower my jaw dropped.

It’s incredibly creative in how things are put together with a little bit of the fantastical/magical feel that I like, (one had to pay attention for fear of missing some vital piece) in the little more scary dystopian world. Get this: it’s actually scary. Thank the gods that it’s not set up just like all those that have come before it. This one is not ravaged by a killer virus or plague that affects certain sectors only, thank you very much. But this one does have people in charge. Except they didn’t sound all that crazy all the time given that they’ve each a trait that made them different from the other, some are better than others, with one skeevy, another incredibly ambitious but both passionate about how things ought to be.

Beyond them, a world that’s controlled except it’s the how of it all that had Crewel standing out even more. In a word? Original. World weaving and reality making in a place where women are segregated and then dominated. Perhaps it could have been confusing, but the story simply gripped so that as Adelice was learning all these things so was I.

Better yet the characters aren’t just good or just bad, and kept her guessing.  Adelice is the likeable sort. How she’s brought up explains a lot of what she doesn’t know and even more of how she feels (doesn’t feel.) Her reactions felt plausible, and I was rooting for her especially when I set aside how anything bad that was happening boiled down to being her fault, at least in her head. As said, we learn thing at the same time that she does, so her learning about the girl-boy side of things was interesting too; this is so even with the makings of a triangle present. Though she was naïve at times, she is easy to like and easy to root for.

This was very, very good
Thank you Net Galley





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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spark (Elemental #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spark (Elemental, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
  
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…


My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This was really good. I mean it, this was really, really good. In fact  STORM (Elemental #1,) a book that took me totally by surprise in its awesomeness might even pale in comparison to this one. Who would have thought that stories of four hot brothers with super powers word turn out so good? So, if that first one was good, this one was so much better… perhaps because past the introductions, we get to have a closer look into what made one of them tick. Book One allowed us those introductions to the one who dealt in fire, in earth, in water and in air, but here it’s all Gabriel and his pain. I honestly thought there wouldn’t be much to him. In my mind it was as simple as this: secret pain = hot head. Except, his secret pain? It could get pretty angst-y painful indeed (and I’m not even being a smart ass about it right now.) The combination of him feeling the way he was then inconveniently overhearing something from someone else had my throat closing up for him. 

Bad ass…or perhaps the not so bad ass after all. Yes, this is just still action-filled as the first one. Yes, there’s more than one heart stopping sequence to do with fire here. And yes, we finally do witness Gabriel in action, but big shocker here: it’s his drama that sucked me in. When we first meet, it’s obvious he’s unhappy. And though normally the ‘everyone doesn’t get me; everyone is against me’ schitck would not be my thing, Gabriel’s moments had me lump-in-throat. He’s this reputation of being a screw up hot head… and apparently the boy bought into it as well. Here, it’s only made clear why. Factor in a growing gap between him and the one who has always been there with him beating himself up over things he couldn’t change. And I did hurt for him, save the fact that things could get frustrating in how typically boy his reactions were: close up and push out. 

When I wasn’t feeling sorry for the guy, I was laughing… because this book is mostly fun (though you probably couldn’t tell from how gushy I am over Gabriel’s drama.) It is fun! Take him and Layne, a pairing that’s initially an obvious one:  straight A girl + hothead = LURVE. And maybe it was obvious, but there is the fact that she’s her own baggage; that there are things she’s dealing with too. So them together was funny… with all that running away from then closing off; with all those thoughts of “does he/does she?..” Simply, they had me wondering (and laughing a little), why were they making it so hard?

A bit more interesting is how the rest of them reveal more of themselves. Take Michael, when first introduced, he was all overbearing and controlling. He remains true to those, but all for good reason. Or Nick who’s always been good, well, not so stellar here. While the same brings him down, it made him more real too. Basically, he’s not prefect. Funny thing though: since Chris has had his book day in STORM, he’s barely here… and that’s fine too given it’s Hunter, boy with white streak in hair, who shines again. Hunter behaving the way did he proved that he was as good a catch as (if not better than ) Chris was… until he wasn’t anymore. Why? (view spoiler)[He pulls the same stunt he did in book one, people! (hide spoiler)] A fact that disappointed me greatly; still, I’m holding out because the teaser for BOOK THREE has me stoked. 

Incredibly entertaining!
4.5/5





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Friday, August 24, 2012

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
 Good Reads Summary
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is my kind of book, even if it really isn’t ever fast paced. It’s writing you either get or don’t; I certainly did since atmospheric and moody are but two of the things that come to mind.

Their two narratives were cleverly wove together. At first glance the leads feel different, with one whose a future that follows a certain path, a path she’s become familiar with AND another who leaves her own for something different. Yet, think on it more, and there's a symmetry to what’s going on with both. Plans are what they have in common; plans and intentions and paths that go certain ways. Besides that, theirs an uncertainty that they shared too. So, not worlds apart, after all.

With Rebecca’s life about to begin, it’s questions on Amelia’s that fills the former. Seeing the latter’s moments unfold became even more interesting because the more one read, the more clear it was that they’re similarly placed. Given all that, I’d have loved to learn more about both of them because as is there’s this feeling that one girl’s story almost mirrored the other.

The moody feel of it is only made greater by how Rebecca describes the town. This place that she’s so eager to escape is almost another character here. With the way everyone knows everyone else’s business, it felt stifling and closed off, with her talk on outsiders versus it providing a home to certain individuals. Then there’s the matter of one persons words leading to another and how the same leads the rest to behave. 





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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Eve and Adam
Good Reads Summary
Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate

Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars

Eve and Adam. Take a little of what Adoration of Jenna Fox made thrilling and throw in some the easy off hand humor that has marked some of the recent YA favorites (Elementals to name but one) and you just might get a handle on what reading this was like.

It’s funny.That’s actually the biggest surprise. It doesn’t take itself too seriously at all even with all the biological horrors alluded to. Eve is rich girl and perfectly aware. Solo has a ginormous chip on his shoulders. And they both live in a world that’s ours. I’d assumed something set in the not so distant future, but that it’s not only had it feeling more accessible.

The characters, they’re very easy to like. She’s is pretty and smart and picky. I enjoyed how clearly she describes her flaws. She’s not perfect but knows what she can do. No big surprise is the love interest. But joy of joys! He’s easy to like as well. So, yes, people might find issue with Eve and Adam leaning too heavily on the sudden love between the two… but they’re funny and they entertained me.

There’s a hell ton of unexplainable and unlikely occurrences that were simply too pat like the both of them being whip smart, often in the most convenient of times. I mean, there he was being all Bourne, escaping and evading; then there she was kind of way being a little too girl-genius in what she was doing. But it’s a fun book and they, funny characters, sure some of the twists are obvious; sure, you can tell where things were headed…

...but it was fun, I tell you!

3.25/5
Thank you Netgalley!






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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar

Night Beach
Good Reads Summary
Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar

Imagine there is someone you like so much that just thinking about them leaves you desperate and reckless. You crave them in a way that's not rational, not right, and you're becoming somebody you don't recognise, and certainly don't respect, but you don't even care. And this person you like is unattainable. Except for one thing... He lives downstairs.

Abbie has three obsessions. Art. The ocean. And Kane.

But since Kane's been back, he's changed. There's a darkness shadowing him that only Abbie can see. And it wants her in its world.

A gothic story about the very dark things that feed the creative process.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

As with Raw Blue, Eagar fills Night Beach with all these images and leaves me with all these impressions. But take all those away and what we get is a story that’s actually very simple… and yet every single part of it’s drawn out, sometimes, needlessly so. So much so that things took a turn for the odd, but I suppose it was beautiful too (beautifully odd?)  Just think of someone tripping because if at first it’s all just a girl with ordinary issues, suddenly there’d be all these visions of shadows and that creepy feeling of not-knowing.

At its core and her (non) connection to Kane. The both of them had me questioning things. Abbie could be frustrating, but that she’s self aware is not untrue. She is an artist. She’s a vision of things that’s different from others. And she’s a surfer. Two of these passions have her setting herself apart from other people.

Despite all that she’s not that extraordinary. She has issues with her parents, a desperate want for a place with them; she’s issues with her father, of needing him back but being unable to do anything about it, and a closeness with her sister, that she’s unwilling to let go. Of course, there are petty jealousies with friends then even bigger things that are sidestepped for a good half of the book. And it’s all that that kept me despite the oddness of a lot of the events especially with what she’d do with Kane on her mind. Her actions went from awkward school girl crush acceptable to just me simply doubting if I was reading what I was reading.

So, if you couple her being at odds with what she wants of her family her WITH what she freely admits to be her obsession , well she’s quite the sad odd ball. It’s the obsessive part that had me questioning if there was more her and if there was more to the object of her obsession.

And why? Kane is precisely what Ollie paints him to be. Simply, he’s not really all she thinks of him. Beyond the physical perfection that she paints him, there something missing… or something changed. And revealing what that change was or what was missing is the other half of the story. It’s that half that’s more dark, and odd and out of this world in a sometimes too strange way.   

This was different, I’ll give it that. 




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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shadows (Ashes #2) by Ilsa J. Bick

Shadows (Ashes Trilogy, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.
But she was wrong.

Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.

Welcome to Shadows, the second book in the haunting apocalyptic Ashes Trilogy: where no one is safe and humans may be the worst of the monsters.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

It’s one horror show after another and it was good at first. It would have kept on being good, if only there were fewer people popping up it, adding yet another element to recall. Plus, the shifts from one person to another had my head spinning, except that each of their stories was scary cannot be denied. First, it’s Alex to Chris, then Chris to Lena and Lena to Peter. And eventually, there’s Tom. Then factor in monsters a-plenty of the cannibal zombie things, militia with their own agenda, and Rule, all of which are somehow part of this dark (confusing) conspiracy. That last had me struggling to see the bigger picture, but My God! Things could get interesting and violent and gory.

Plus all the hair on end moments as with one figuring out that the sweet old couple, aren’t so sweet after all. Then little more terrifying is the prospect of Changing… that not of them knew what or how or why. That each of them faded out in then linked back in…then would be so scared about what was happening. Then up one more notch, is the idea that the Changed being in it for more than just the flesh for eating! Now, if only I weren’t so confused half the time with so many people, the too quick shifts, and sometimes identical issues to slog through, things could get a little confusing.

One thing though that sudden divide in Ashes where Alex goes from girl surviving an apocalyptic world to one enmeshed in some other kind of kind of horror story a la Lottery, here things elements were more put together, that clearly one thing linked to another somehow.

Thank you NetGalley!
A 4 for the gore, but this a 3.5 at most for me.








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Monday, August 20, 2012

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Stupid Fast
Good reads Summary
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

I AM NOT STUPID FUNNY.
 

I AM STUPID FAST.
 

My name is Felton Reinstein, which is not a fast name. But last November, my voice finally dropped and I grew all this hair and then I got stupid fast. Fast like a donkey. Zing
 

Now they want me, the guy they used to call Squirrel Nut, to try out for the football team. With the jocks. But will that fix my mom? Make my brother stop dressing like a pirate? Most important, will it get me girls-especially Aleah?
 

So I train. And I run. And I sneak off to Aleah's house in the night. But deep down I know I can't run forever. And I wonder what will happen when I finally have to stop.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

With a tendency to go off in tangents it was at first difficult to get a hold of what Felton was trying to saying.  I was constantly wondering where he was going with what he was saying; it turns out he was figuring things out as well. Still, he could get pretty funny. It’s not even him wanting to be a stand up comic, no… his is a humor that’s not intended because in simply saying what was, in being honest about one absurd situation and then another, his observations felt true, funny and even when they were sad at  the same time.

More remarkable is him being funny with a mother and brother coming unhinged. Little brother goes pyro, but his mother’s all used up. Sad goings on, and in the midst of it, he and his brother butting heads still rang true. It’s one of the main things that kept me interested. Because with his family being the way it was, Felton grows up… albeit slowly, reluctantly, and not at all in sync with him being stupid fast, given his sudden physical change.

Overall though he gave me the impression that he didn’t know much not just about his history, but also about how to be with others. Simple boy, said one. And, indeed he was, but it’s not a bad thing either because in being that way, things felt more honest, too. Like his feelings on being disappointed in his mother and not wanting to deal with his brother, both those felt in the moment. But along with, there’s a reluctant look into why he feels, almost as if he were afraid of the truth. Anyway, a humor that comes out of him calling things as they are.

Then of course, his new found friends, I liked him with them because there’s a little flashback of Perks of a Being Wallflower, where the protagonist  is taken in and is shown the way things are done… only in Stupid Fast, things are less dark and depressing. Here, he’s shown the possibility of so many things. I enjoyed him with them that because he is such a simple boy, his reactions could be cute only to make him come off as younger than his fifteen going on sixteen.

Let’s pare it down, shall we? On the one had there are relationships being formed; then on the other are relationships tearing themselves apart, in people losing it then him not dealing with the same. Theirs is a sad family, with a sadder history so that there’s this lump in my throat for him and his little brother. And the hero?
Felton is awkward, lacks experiences.
But, is honest about what he sees, and is funnier for it.
He grows up… just not as fast as he was physically.

This is so much more than a boy book or a boy book with sports... it’s him reluctantly growing up because what choice does one have when everyone else around him has gone unhinged?

3.75/5




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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Dare Me
Good Reads Summary
Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as "total authority and an almost desperate intensity," provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Girls can be scary. Cheerleaders, even more so?  Dare Me offers a fascinating, confusing, conflict-inducing and sometimes terrifying peek at bonds that are the farthest thing from what’s simple. Think Imaginary Girls. Think Pieces of Us. Then think of those girls perfect from afar, but not quite so, up close. 

The girls. Both Beth and Addy are on top and embody that cliché of other girls wanting to be them and so forth. It’s clear to Addy, that this is what Beth is. A little more twisted is how in Addy’s mind, she’s but second fiddle to the other. So, it got complicated how they rooted for each other, set themselves apart from the rest of the school, ruled it… and then set themselves apart from each other. How one linked to the other: there’s this selfishness that’s coupled with sweetness; a wanting of what the other had, but being proud that the other had it to begin with.

Beth. is a complicated character. She’s ballsy and tough. As queen bee, she’s wanted and despised at once. Like the rest of them, I found her fascinating. Some choices of hers were stupid and sad… but a lot of the time I just wanted to know why she was the way she was. It was also an education seeing her pick her words and manipulate every single one of them. Fascinating to witness, but did my gut clench for her. Did I feel her pain? No, I didn’t… her role in this was one part confusing, two parts me needing to know (I mean, how could one girl do that to another?) then three parts infuriating. How many parts does that add up to now? 

Addy is no less complicated… at times she could even be more infuriating! Do I say she’s gullible? At times she was. She’d get drawn into things, be blinded by certain other things. And it was a sad thing to see. Her picking her position, and trying to make clear what wasn’t, was a slow and slow process. I was confused with her AND by her. Second fiddle in her own mind; she’s comfortable in the role, so that time again she’d be taken by surprise that others didn’t see her that way. How she’s perceived never jived with the view she had of herself.

The Coach. Tension ratchets up further when the one who they want to be enters the picture, Coach French. All perfect, unaffected, cool… and so unimpressed by the lot of them. So, pulls them in, makes them want to impress her. She is what they want to be after all. But her role in this is but another link that goes too far. Perfect on the outside, the woman is just as insecure as the ones she mentors. Because she's looking for a connection, and it’s that which unfortunately drags more of them under. She’s a sad figure in this one. Yet, despite the same, she’s embraced by them. Except that though she is their ideal, she’s also so screwed up. So that boundaries get pushed more and more, and then there’s a familiarity that had me feeling all squirm-y and uncomfortable.

So, the complications of proving oneself other right, then finding things out that you’d rather not; then issues of one wanting what the other has… all that’s  been mixed up here by people not quite happy with who they are now where they  are.

Fascinating stuff.

4/5






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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lengths by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt

Lengths
Good Reads Summary
Lengths by Steph Campbell

Nineteen-year-old Whit Conrad leaves her conservative Pennsylvania home for sunny California, looking for independence, a fresh start, and a place to stash her grief. She promptly finds a job at a tattoo parlor, a craptastic first apartment, and one friend—Ryan—who is a little less friend, a little more benefits.

Deo Beckett is a soulful surfer with a passion for tattoos and beautiful women. On the eve of his twenty-second birthday, he finds himself living with his grandfather, recently unemployed, and seriously adrift. He doesn’t know much about what he wants out of life, but he does know his current situation isn't cutting it.

When Deo meets Whit, she’s all sexy makeup and fierce, smart-ass fun. It doesn’t take him long to see past her tough shell. And when he gets a good look at what's under all the superficial stuff that usually gets his attention, it leaves Deo wondering if there might be more to life than living fast and free.

Too bad Whit has a past she doesn't plan on sharing—no matter how hot Deo is. She might want him, but she knows better than to let her guard down.

Deo falls for Whit, and falls hard. But everything about her, down to that mysterious tattoo and the way she thrashes in her sleep, tells him that the girl he loves is hiding something. And the more he pushes for answers, the more Whit pulls away.

Having your guard up is one thing, but are the lengths Whit goes to to protect her secret worth throwing away the second chance she has at happiness with Deo?

LENGTHS is a Contemporary New Adult Romance to be released August 2012.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The whole reason I picked this up is because Liz Reinhardt collaborates. I’d been looking for something of hers to bring back what I’d loved in Brenna Blixen#1, (that would be a female lead with her head solidly planted on her shoulders; that grounded girl with so many options open to her.) Not to mention the totally surprising moments of those smocking hot sexy times. The two that followed failed to leave up to what the first had set… but lo, LENGTHS has brought back that loving feeling.

Sexy

Sometimes sex is just sex; other times sex is all hot and smoking. The fact is both those statements apply to the book at hand. Nobody goes tippy toe, blush-blush around what happens here, they just dive right in. It is what it is… and I appreciated its factual up front presence from page one. The sex is not there to change her world, it’s not used for a world view epiphany producing moment. It’s fun. It’s hot and it is what it is. I repeat: there’s no tippy toeing around it. This is YA with mature content after all, so mature it did get. And unlike other “YA mature content” that could go overboard with the descriptives, this one didn’t. There’s a series that falls under the same category as this that I read without fail; in those there were times I felt things were going the right direction, except eventually there’d be this key moment pushing the envelope too far…far beyond the sexy to TMI. That doesn’t happen here… but almost.

Anyway, smexy times. Check.

The characters were a kick.

The girl: She’s her reasons for being the way she is and is so fragile as a consequence. But I liked that about her. That she’s her baggage and is dealing with things the way she knows how. I like that the authors go the extra mile of pointing out that it’s how she looks that draws him close, but upon closer inspection she’s shown to be filled to the brim with her issues... and he doesn’t back off! Issues? Yes, she has them… but I love that none of hers have to do with (a) her lack of experience (b) or her wanting/needing a boy. Instead, she has her guilt... and her method of dealing with it (or not dealing with it, as could be validly pointed out).

The boy. Oh, I had fun with him! He’s no boy, but he seemed stuck in that mind set. But, it’s also a big part of his charm: all cocky, self assured… lazy, bumming around, but a good guy nonetheless. He loves his mother, respects his granddad, and is a decent friend. He’s such a good guy, in fact, that he comes up with scenarios that are theoretically sweet and romantic in the grand gesture kind of way. I say 'theoretically' because of the so obvious likelihood of them backfiring... yet, still he keeps to his cool and cocky ways!

So, I enjoyed...
That she doesn’t fall at his feet.
That he really is a good guy, even when he screws up.
That she has her reasons and is sad, sad girl for it.
That they’re fun together!





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Friday, August 17, 2012

Shadows (Rephaim #1) by Paula Weston

Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Shadows by Paula Weston

It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be
found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series, is a standout paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Stephenie Meyer.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Me, keeping this short would go along the lines of ‘Read this, for it be made of awesome.’ But then I start thinking about what had me reading nonstop for a couple of hours so that I find myself grinning over what I loved.

I enjoyed that they’re slightly older but not too old protagonists and with people like them, everything’s well, most everything’s upfront… less the drama, basically. So, New Adult is definitely my new YA.  That it was a PNR had me iffy at first, but the way things were worked out, specifically its version of fallen angels was more not so much lovey-dovey but rather more action movie-like  (as if it had taken its cue from ANGELFALL). Not a bad way to go. Action packed, suspenseful, and simply well done over all.

I kid you not when saying a good portion of the first had people not knowing squat, so along with them I was dying to put things together. SHADOWS’ version of fallen angels is likely something you’ve heard of before, but the way its bits are doled out… little by little instead of one ginormous moment of information sharing, kept me glued. Nothing is easily done here, no easy solutions handed out. The information on who, why and what are spread out so that I had to be patient and wait things out with the rest of them. And the wait? Well, it’s so worth it.

The protags being older than the usual crop were excellent to read about; one of them is youngish but not too young, the majority of them didn’t get bogged down in the drama of what coulda-woulda been. They each face off and say what’s on their mind and all the while they read sexy and hot. Rafa especially, but Gaby too… Seriously, though you guys have to read this. I end where I started, minus the quotation marks: Read this, for it be made of awesome.





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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Have You Seen Ally Queen? by Deb Fitzpatrick

Have You Seen Ally Queen?
Good Reads Summary
Have You Seen Ally Queen? by Deb Fitzpatrick

At 15 years old, Ally Queen is uprooted from her comfortable city existence and dumped in a small town. Her mother, witness to a hit-and-run, is suffering from post-traumatic stress, and the quiet country life is supposed to improve her emotional state. Instead, the move just seems to make things worse—for Mom, for Ally, for everyone. Ally misses the way things used to be; she misses playing with her dad and little brother. But she’s a teenager now, and teenage girls don’t go fishing even if they really like it. When Ally meets Rel, she feels like she’s hit rock bottom, but first impressions can be deceptive. As she starts to relax into herself, Ally finds life doesn’t need to be as hard as she makes it. This is an absorbing and poignant story of first love and self-discovery for readers both young and old.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I may not know what a bogan is nor what Killer Pythons look like (gummy worms, maybe?) plus there must have been a dozen or more expressions that flew over my head, but the story in this one is precisely my cup of tea. Meeting Ally Mc Queen was all yeah, yeah, and yeah for me (and I don't mean the bored/ disinterested kind of yeah.) I like a girl who’s not quite sugar and spice and everything nice. She’s picky and moody and all over the place; she says what’s on her head a lot of the time without thinking things through. But, I liked her working through things and with others, to find that place that’s right for her. What I liked more is that it’s done in the midst of everything being unfamiliar: new place, new school, new people. All made even more complicated by a mother not being what’s she’s used to and a father not quite sure about what to do about it either. Most of them: they’re all just there, except none of it was easy.

Then there’s this lovely development in the form of the boy. Sweet, I suppose… them going from teasing (almost in a boy pulls girl’s pony tail way) to getting to know the other more. A bit more refreshing is the fact they feel, mostly sweet and tentative instead of all heat and flash; they act their age, slow to open up, funny about inconsequential things… then suddenly serious. Good match them, him the jokester… her, the girl who has got everything else up in the air.

Up in the air? She doesn’t want to be where she is. She finds fault in most everything everyone decides, and nitpicks over her reactions. That she has a name for each reaction she had made her even funnier in my book.  I picture her in LAM (Loud-mouth Ally Mode) or in SAM (Smartypants Ally Mode) and I get the sense that this girl lives in her head a lot. In fact there’s one moment when things are falling into place with people in it seeming OK when she goes and tells herself simply to stop thinking that. Why, yes... this is my kind of story.




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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Foretold ( The Demon Trappers #4) by Jana Oliver


Foretold (The Demon Trappers, #4)
Good Reads Summary
Foretold by Jana Oliver

Stand by as Riley prepares to kick some serious demon butt for the last time in this thrilling, dramatic and sexy conclusion to The Demon Trappers series.

Riley’s always known that Beck had a chequered history, but she’s not prepared for what it actually means to be in love with a guy with this many dark secrets. Now that he’s finally admitted to himself that he’s in love with her too, there’s no more hiding the truth about his past. And as it turns out, fending off a demon apocalypse is nothing compared to what’s to come...(

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an awesome ending! Likely my favorite in the whole series and that’s not just because we get to know more about Beck (though admittedly, that does factor in a whole lot). My loving this boils down to all of them having changed from MC’s like Riley and Beck, down to the supporting cast that includes a pair of exes.

Riley has transformed from whiney moany little girl to this young woman who faces stuff head on. Peter showed more to the whole boy best friend angle instead of going down the avenue of being in love with her… he is his own guy. Mainly, the guy is a decent guy especially with his overbearing mother factored in.

Then Ori and Simon. I think these two were the biggest surprises for me. Both not quite ending up where I thought they’d end up especially as I think back to reading of their respective not-so-shining moments in previous installments. That they’re not cut/dry good/bad makes them more interesting. Simon especially with him not knowing what to do with himself… that was an interesting moment. But it’s Ori, who I found myself unexpectedly rooting for. The good guy but not really, they all felt like that too to me which is not the same thing I felt for Beck.

Frankly, I found his “ya” and good old boy country charm inauthentic. I truly felt his part in initial books forced and a source of unnecessary drama… but he’s grown on me and events in this book explain why he is the way he is. So if I’d pegged him as highly unlikely in how he spoke and how he behaved… here his secrets bared, well, and I get him a little. Poor guy!

The people aside… the good versus evil face off moments felt well-put together. Nothing came easy… for anyone involved. I like that they all had to work toward that resolution; that nothing was handed to them. And that they got into one scrape then another, hurt themselves, as well as hurt others because it got messy, it got explosive… but it was also incredibly entertaining to behold.

I wonder if there’s spin-off? *Simon*
4/5



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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown


Bitter End
Good Reads Summary
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.

As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I failed to connect with any of the people involved. The makings of a heart wrenching tale given a touchy topic were there, but sadly there was not emotional connection till the very last bit. There’s the girl with a past hurt unable to get over it. The same girl failing to see what she’s got going. Then there’s a boy who gravitates to her a bit too strongly. A fact her people are all too aware off the girl’s; they are unsure and almost do nothing till too late.

My issue: Things take too long to fall into place for her, for things to be seen for what they truly are. Consequence? I felt little connection to any of them. Worse, I felt frustrated leaving me with with a only less the desire to find that connection given the girl who could be so stubborn about what she felt in the belief that things happening were a one-time-only AND the boy doing a wash rinse repeat of love->obsess->hurt->apologize, then back again. The pair of them felt almost text book in how he filled in the role of douche abuser and she, reacting the way she did. Things seemed oversimplified somehow; that if you’ve read one story on this topic… well, you’ve likely read this one, too. Hmm, I admit that does sound bad though I honestly am not setting aside the gravity of the topic. I’m simply telling it like it is: that there are a ton load of other books that deal with the topic better, with added specifics and nuances that made those stories less cut and dried, less text book in a one two three in progression kind of way.

It took a while before she saw things for what they were, the people around were aware but say nothing until almost too late, and the boy involved is an asshole. All these should have made for a heart wrenching tale of abuse and what not. But it didn’t.

Surprisingly the things that drove me forward were her connections to the rest of the. Outside Cole, she had a lot going for her. Take a family that’s mostly there, like the sister who asks questions and bugs her. Take the friends who share her history, and even better: a male BFF whose story line doesn’t fall along the lines of a BFF secretly pining for her. Or take that job where she has a boss who goes to bat for her. Despite all that we see her get sucked in and lie to herself. Thereafter there’s this devolution from girl positive to otherwise that went progressed just the way you think it will. Oh, that she gets called out on having her head buried in the sand is something that had me nodding along… because her head well and truly was buried, till it wasn’t

This could have been better… I’d suggest SHIFT.
2.5/5


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Monday, August 13, 2012

Losing Lila (Lila #2) by Sarah Alderson

Losing Lila (Lila, #2)
Good Reads Summary
 Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson

Alex and Lila are on the run, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, which is somehow tracking their every move. While Alex is determined to keep Lila safe and her ability secret at any cost, Lila's only thought is of finding a way back to California so she can rescue her brother and mother from the military base where they're being held. Struggling to control both her growing power and her deepening feelings for Alex, Lila decides the time has finally come to stop running and start fighting. Together with Alex, Demos, and the others she's come to think of as family, Lila plans not only to save her brother and mum, but also to completely destroy the Unit and everything it stands for. But the plan requires Lila to return to California alone, and to make friends with the enemy - and in doing so, she risks losing everything: Alex, her family… even her life.

My Thoughts

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sooo.... let's keep this short, why don't we? Because, I fear I might very well be alone in not loving this one. If the first had me on the fence, where on one hand, the action was pretty good; yet on the other all the I love you, love you, love you moments got pretty awkward… then old, well, I had the very same issues in this one:

Sometimes she still read like that girl with school crush unsure about what to do with herself with him around. A lot of the dama in this department is because they fail to talk to each other... I just didn't get it. Plus there were some over the top moments like with her comparisons that felt funny instead of sexy (that instance of her likening his resolve to a nuclear bunker… ayayay! Her youth was showing.) And him! He felt… uhm... does him saying something along the line of ‘since you were five’ give you pause? Well, it did me… even with that teensy tiny age gap. Simply older guy with experience paired with girl who lacks the same fell just this side of meh for me. 

On the bright side, the action hero feel is still present in this one! Except that somehow I felt it lacked a certain something since everything progressed simply too easily. Throwing in some family drama could have amped things up some more, things just didn’t.



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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

Whale Talk
Good Reads Summary
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

There’s bad news and good news about the Cutter High School swim team. The bad news is that they don’t have a pool. The good news is that only one of them can swim anyway. A group of misfits brought together by T. J. Jones (the J is redundant), the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to find their places in a school that has no place for them. T.J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacket–exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T.J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High–will also be an effective tool. He’s right. He’s also wrong. Still, it’s always the quest that counts. And the bus on which the Mermen travel to swim meets soon becomes the space where they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to grow. Together they’ll fight for dignity in a world where tragedy and comedy dance side by side, where a moment’s inattention can bring lifelong heartache, and where true acceptance is the only prescription for what ails us.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book makes my makes my month after a series of bore me brainless I’ve read you before reads, this WHALE TALK is most definitely a favorite. It’s sweet and deep; smart and funny… and then ends on this ache-y note. I love love love so many things in it:

First,that it’s all about the underdog, because those there were many here. Most of them has a sadness to share, but despite that (because of that?) there’s this bond that’s built up slowly… so, I found that a sweet progression.

Second, that the Tao (who else loves his name?) gets called out on being arrogant, because he could get pretty arrogant, is small plus, because this is about him seeing those who get the short end of the stick and not getting why that’s the case.  

Then that he struggles with why little is done about so many things. It’s a struggle that gets harder when dealt with a couple of harsh truths like not being able to help those unwilling to help themselves and there being a reason why people are the way they are.

Mainly though, I love the idea of people finding their place with others,
I believed the Magnificent Seven consisted of one swimmer of color, a representative from each extreme of the educational spectrum, a muscle man, a giant, a chameleon and psychopath; when in fact we have one swimmer of color, a representative from each extreme of the educational spectrum, a muscle man, a giant, a chameleon and a one legged psychopath.

 





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Friday, August 10, 2012

Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts, #5)
Good Reads Summary
Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane
A DEADLY HIGH

Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.

As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Why do I love these people, him, the killer and her, the junkie? It seems so wrong somehow, but Kane makes it work. Nope, makes them work together. They’re perfectly matched in how screwed up they are. But it’s not just about them being screwed up, (even with the bulk of this is about trying to get over that.) She doesn’t rust what they’ve got but she loves him and him her... they really do! They prove this in every single one of those surprising moments of tenderness and sweetness.

But beyond her and him… given their world, they had me appreciative of what ease they could get where they could get it. They offered each other that, even when one (or the both of them) questioned it. It’s also that last that fueled some of the most powerfully and sexy scenes I’ve come across in this series.

Chasing Magic is massively entertaining and that’s even if you discount the zombie-like junkies. I was all about their relationship-in-progress; that what that had me. Where Terrible's already ace in my book, Chessie's still trying to get there. She beat herself up too often, too frequently over what’s been done, over who she is/was. She doubts herself, then doubts them; which he mirrors. And it’s painful, because they do love each other, and their world (already screwed up to begin with) is coming to and end… but they’re so clearly in love but with her not quite sure about what to do with it. Consequence? Me, loving them despite how screwed up they were individually… because they were making a go of it together, weren’t they?

Loved this!
4/5




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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Girl of Nightmares (Anna#2) by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)
Good reads Summary
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.
 

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.
 

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, here goes, * big exhale* this was very, very good. Set six months after and we’ve questioned still begging to be answered. Where was she? What’s become of him? Cas endeared himself to me with all his derisive snarkiness in One. He simply stood out for me given his manner. Here, he is a little bit of that though slightly (a lot) more serious. He is pining for her, after all; feels haunted by her (might actually be haunted by her.) In all that, doubts spring forward~ from him then from others.

What’s great is how the answers to all those are so all cleverly laid out without ever feeling convenient. Everything in this has a place, and everything flows so smoothly together. So, I laughed, then I scared myself and then I laughed some more, as I read. Simply it’s so easy to get lost in all this as everything made sense without being too convenient.

Anna’s absence is a key thing here, but others step up and shine. Thomas and Carmen especially are so out of the box and different, where their end of it takes us an interesting ride all its own. Better yet is how none of them are completely good nor bad; some hold themselves back; others still push things to the limit. And I found myself wondering what all of them were up to. 

Blake’s kept the humor that marked ADiB unique in GoN, though honestly I felt the second had fewer of those funny bits. Still that present had me grinning. A good thing too since I felt that she’d stepped up on the scary end of things. My absolute favorite moments include those descriptions of a Suicide Forrest. Where does the author come up with these things… because the hairs on my neck stand on end whenever I recall them. But, aside from being slightly more scary moments, things also felt more serious. I mean she’s gone and he’s pining, so what else is there to expect? But it wasn’t just that. Him figuring things out about who he is, what he and his father’s history was… and all that stuff about the athame? All that added something different. No longer just about ghost busting, or dead girl haunting or even wise cracking cocky boy; there’s history to dig through and stuff to settle... and it's all done so very very well here.




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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

The Summer Garden: A Love Story
Good Reads Summary
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

From the bestselling author of The Girl in Times Square, comes the magnificent conclusion to the saga that was set in motion when Tatiana fell in love with her Red Army officer, Alexander Belov, in wartime Leningrad in 1941.

Tatiana and Alexander have since suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. After years of separation, they are miraculously reunited in America, the land of their dreams. They have a beautiful son, Anthony. They have proved to each other that their love is greater than the vast evil of the world. But though they are only in their twenties, in their hearts they are old, and they are strangers. In the climate of fear and mistrust of the Cold War, dark forces are at work in the US that threaten their life and their family. Can they be happy? Or will the ghosts of yesterday reach out to blight even the destiny of their firstborn son?

Epic in scope, masterfully told, The Summer Garden is a novel of unique and devastating emotional power that spans two thirds of the twentieth century, and three continents.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The past two books establish that nothing comes easy to either of them~ living and loving, they both do things the hard way. A lot of the time, it’s a love that was almost incomprehensible to me, but it’s also the same that had me engrossed. She’d repeatedly declared she’d take anything and everything he had to give… (which she did). He’d repeatedly said he couldn’t live without he…  (which he nearly fulfilled that too). That protracted sort-of-epilogue has me grinning until right this moment (because it’s lovely where most of them end up), but prior thereto, both of them read larger than life: him action hero-ish in what he’d do for her; her positively saintly in what she’d put up with. Not for long; not forever though. Because later, much later, they change.

It’s the cracks between the two, the tiny doubts, then the bigger mistakes that both make that had me breathing in deep for both of them. But also torn between rooting for them given everything else they’d gone through as well as the effort on both sides to keep things together to find their place AND wanting something different for both given the pain they could both inflict on the other … but again, they never did do things the easy way, did they?

Like the first two, this one spans a whole long while too, but the effort one puts into this is totally worth it. You see each moment clearly and you can’t help but feel something, wonder at how strongly they felt, be confused at the way they’d resolve things, chafe at his quiet broodiness, then strain against her acquiescence… until they weren’t any of those things anymore. Here they went from trying (re)capture what was best in their memories to running away from the worst ones. It’s clear to from the beginning when she’s tiptoeing around him and wondering who they are that their new world wasn’t going to be an easy one for them. It truly wasn’t.

Going from one place to the next, figuring out where they wanted to be, him working out who he was and her too … had me hooked. Because despite both them proving how they could be heroic, they’re also both prone to making faulty decisions. There’s a lot of back and forth here, a lot of lines drawn, and then crossed. There’s a lot of truths that come out as well. So, I felt for them.

It’s only much later when no longer just about the two of them that you see their story being re-lived by someone else. And you see past steps being followed, then similar mistakes and choice made.  And I loved it all. Especially, Anthony: from being absolutely dependent on his mother, then becoming his father’s shadow, then their buffer or in between… then growing into his own. His part of it highlights so many things in Tania and her Shura. And it was absolutely lovely, but more often heart breaking… and addicting, like a mini series. Long, and protracted… but not that long after all that last episode’s been shown.

4/5





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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List
Good Reads Summary
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
 Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Powerful subject, this. Yet, there’s still something lacking.  Most of the people here felt totally black or white to me (save Valerie, though). Take the bullies, they’re beautiful and popular and disgustingly mean spirited. Take their victims, who’re all on the fringe. But more than that, what of her friends who are not there. Who distance themselves her and prove to her just how alone she was. Or that mystery bad person who drags Nick lower, where was he in all of this? It’s like one mention of something and that’s it. We’re told and we must accept. I simply hate mentions of one thing or another with no follow up. 

The same cannot be said for her family though. Her parents are a disaster. This is clear. The almost unbearable caution of one; then indifference and later harshness by the other… well, that she turns up the way she feels rootless is no surprise. So, when she discovers her mother’s changing feelings for her as well as her father’s , I was absolutely crushed for her. I attempt to see where they’re coming from to this moment and I.STILL .DON’T.GET.THEM. Unforgiveable, is all. Her brother was an interesting addition. Good brother, present brother… loyal, but how things eventually turn up, even more crushing.

As to Valerie and Nick, the pair of them~ not that easy to peg. First Nick, more than the perpetrator of the unspeakable, but not just the bullied victim either. In her memories he is romantic and her safe haven. Then Valerie, who is immature and does unwise things, but is so desperate for her place with someone; and she finds that place with him… and doesn’t think things through. So, does she play a part in what had happened? YES. But is she a victim, too? YES, as well. She is especially are so hard to peg… because every negative things she’s called out? Those were true. Her father, brother, Nick’s best friend saying she’s selfish? There was truth to that. But, Bea and her Doctor calling her brave? There’s truth to that too.

My Favorite: Her being told, repeatedly, to simply look… and to see what really was there.

3/5





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Monday, August 6, 2012

The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he's dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myths and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase. And I may not live to see my eighteenth birthday.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, seeing people from IRON FEY popping up and reminding me why they’re among my favorites was wonderful. Ash and Puck, playing of each other: Puck’s zingers and Ash being Ash. Loved it! Then of course there’s Grim. Grim is Grim is Grim. I always get a kick out of him being so prissy and holier than the rest of them.

But this isn’t their story, its Ethan’s, so let's be honest here, a lot of the time, I felt like I’d hit rewind and returned somewhere I’d been before. In fact I ended it with the feeling that LOST PRINCE was just this big prelude to something bigger to come; it’s left me predicting prophecies and pairings unlikely.

I wonder, does the combination of a dark broody character PLUS a care-free/funny(ish) character PLUS stubborn/head strong one that caught them all up in trouble, ring any bells? What of a baddy with troubles of their kingdom surviving? Truth be told this had me experiencing a lot of same character-different name moments. Yet, thank the gods they weren’t complete copies of those in IRON FEY, especially with the dark broody one being dark and broody for reason, the carefree with hints of his own darkness, and most notably with the stubborn one actually having a backbone from the word go.

If you’ve been wondering where Ash and Puck and Meg end up, questions on them while not completely answered are hinted at… and those hints only plucked at my curiosity more. Though, the way the new people are introduced you feel like you know them already because they’re so similar to the first set, they’ve still got stuff going for them: a guy who’s closed off because he doesn’t want to drag anyone else into his mess; a girl who’s gutsy and brave and stubborn as hell; and a guy all heart-on-sleeve. It’s how these parts of their individual histories that distinguish them as their own people from the first set. I’m dying to know where the new people’s story goes because all of Meg’s pursed lips and Puck’s squinty eyes at them leave me, again, thinking prophecies and unlikely pairings.

3/5
Thank you Netgalley!





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