Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

Unbreak My Heart
Good Reads Summary
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.


My Thoughts My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I wish I saw myself the way you see me.”
“It’s not the way I see you,” he says. “It’s the way you are.”


It’s moments like that is sticking to me right now. As you can probably already tell, UNBREAK MY HEART is mostly a sweet read… again mostly. A throwback to Sarah Dessen, if you will, with her young female leads in emotional upheaval plus  the boy who inevitably does some saving. I’m not knocking that formula either because it worked in this one.

Clementine is completely aware of when and why and how things have changed and she blames herself for it… not wrongly too, so a lot of what happens is her rehashing things and a little of it is her dreading what’s next, then a little more of it is her thinking of all that whilst spending summer on a boat with her family. Unsurprising is the fact that she’s heartbroken; more surprising is the cause of that.  So summer in exile and beating herself over things she can’t undo, it’s mostly sad, but at times could breach that limit and become over indulgent in the moping, and yet still everything made sense.

My favorite part of this all is the girl owning up to things, knowing precisely where things went wrong, and knowing her part in it. I also appreciate the added truth of her being angry, that she feels herself not just the wrong doer but sees herself a little on the wronged side as well. Because these are both are truths. Eventually add in that perpetually upbeat James  and you might agree with a Dessen parallel. He’s too good to be true, happy and artistic and goofy, and there when least expected; he doesn’t necessarily do the fixing, but may be you could say he starts it.

It’s an OK read… sweet and sad with a girl absolutely heartbroken over what she feels she’s lost.

2.5/5





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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters

Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Good Reads Summary
Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters

 Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren't disappearing--they're gaining power.
 

When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica's high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he's haunted by the possibility that she's waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he's wrong, what's the harm in creating one more ghost?
 

From critically acclaimed Generation Dead author Daniel Waters, comes a delectably creepy and suspenseful thriller. Break My Heart 1,000 Times will leave readers with the chills. Or is that a ghost reading over the page?

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

It's the creepy and atmospheric thing of the first half that was the strongest part in all this. Then of course, there’s how it’s different in how ghosts are the norm and somehow the byproduct of an (largely unexplained) Event years passed. Later on, it turns into this 'catch me if you can' but more like 'catch me in the act' because absolutely everyone knows who is up to no good! But a little odd was how things felt paused as if a majority of those in the know were waiting for something to happen, and someone else to act. In the meantime, each of them is specifically drawn, so that we know each player quite well: there's Ronnie, and Kirk, and their teachers and then there's Brian:

There’s Ronnie who’s remarkable in her confidence and easy acceptance of things. She is what draws everyone else in: from the boys, to the odd ball best friend, to the grieving mother… and yes even  to a ghost or two  as well as to some other crazies. It’s the last two that livens things up a bit (or should I say darkens it a shade more?) because while figuring out who plays what role is revealed early on, then things become just a matter of waiting things out, waiting them out as to what they’ve got planned.

There’s Kirk, the guy is remarkable in how not an asshole he could get. Get this, it’s not how he looks, though that’s briefly mentioned, rather it’s more because he’s cynical and on her level that there’s a connection made at all. They both possess a realistic perspective, him to the point of being cynical and her not almost but not quite on that level…yet. Anyway, Kirk is basically average boy who likes the girl and wants to catch her attention.

Then there’s Brian, the ghost (one of plenty in fact) who has a past of his own. Seeing developments on this end of the story, particularly as to feelings of certain characters directed at him was odd. Imagine falling for a picture of a guy: odd and sad because obviously you wonder if it really is going the direction it seemed to be headed, when there’s this other part of me wholly expectant of nothing ever going past a certain determined point, a little like…no, a lot like that love connection between Cas and Anna. And if that comparison makes no sense to you, with him being dead and her being not so, I ask, how pray tell are things to pan out? Of course, at this point, I realized I was reading too much into things and should just let whatever was coming come.)

So, it would be easy to say that every single person here is to be drawn to Ronnie, but that may not be the most accurate thing to say. All of them are so cleverly and individually drawn that even if things do start with her, it doesn’t stay just with her. Sure, she's girl confident, and Kirk is in love then Brian is Brian, but it’s the baddy in this one and us knowing who he is and why he’s doing certain things that made things more interesting. Yet even when you couple all that with the oddness of everyone else having an inkling as to what he's capable of whilst nothing's done, I still enjoyed this.





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Monday, October 29, 2012

Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Live Through This
Good Reads Summary
Live Through This by Mindi Scott

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

In this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel, Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Should I say that she's faking her way through high school? Consider that she's in the running for captain, with a couple of really good girl friends as well as that budding romance with one you’d not expect~ all the makings of a sweet YA contemp. This isn’t. A sweet YA contemporary, I mean. From page one, it’s obvious she’s living with this dark thing in her life, it’s the same thing that has her emotions all mixed up… on one hand feeling thing then on the other feeling something else.

Interesting moments are the fact that it’s not the only thing going on with her: a busted friendship over some thoughtless words; a guy best friend, who reads too good to be true (and he proves it too, by having secrets of his own he’s not ready to face) and a budding romance with one so unlikely. Unlikely given who they are: she’s on the dance squad, he’s got his sax. And then the thing that pull them together? Too much knowledge of song lyrics and artists who sang them: adorable additions I thought, but not enough to disguise the fact that there’s a darker thing under it.

Also, there are those lovely moment when I realize that some characters can still surprise me. They’re not who I pegged them at first. Alejandra’s a big case in point here. She’s not just the other popular girl with a problem with Coley. Their issues boil down to their former too close relationship that’s laced with a not surprising competitive side. Even Noah’s a little different because just because he’s a good guy most of the time doesn’t stop him from being an asshole sometimes. (Good guys aren’t good all the time.) Reece as already mentioned is cute, pure cotton candy on his part… sweet addition, I mean. 

But it’s everyone else that’s left me wondering. How oblivious everyone else is to what’s going on. She puts on an act, and acts so well that nobody knows what’s really going on, ‘til possibilities previously not considered arise then she finds harder and harder to deal. So we witness her go from girl popular to someone else.

So, here we see a girl face up to what’s happening, face up to what a messed up and sad life she's living, (uncomfortable is the least of it.) That though you may not know the WHO early on, you do know the WHAT; that whilst all other "normal" things are happening, you wonder how she’s managing it at all. I don’t know what to say except this was a more difficult read than I was expecting. She is girl-perfect on the surface, but that's so far from her reality.




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Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

In Too Deep
Good Reads Summary
In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

Carter didn't rape me. People at school think he did. Suddenly, new friends are rushing to my side, telling me that Carter hurt them, too. They say he's getting what he deserves.

Maybe I don't want to fix this.

Sam is in love with her best friend Nick, but she can't seem to tell him. So she decides to flirt with golden-boy Carter Wellesley, hoping Nick will see it and finally realize his true feelings for her.

On Monday, everyone at school is saying that Carter raped Sam. He didn't, but Sam can't find the words to tell the truth. Worst of all, she's afraid she'll lose Nick if he finds out what really happened.

As graduation approaches, Sam discovers that living the lie isn't as easy as her new friends make it sound--and telling the truth might be even worse.

A Junior Library Guild Selection


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

"Some things can't be undone..."

It took me two hours to read this and I loved every second of it... not because it's a quick read or because the topic is different, though it is both those, but because the way things have been going lately, me knowing that I don't have to get up at butt o'clock the next morning is a positively wonderful thing.

Now, the book itself?

It was interesting (and quick) and surprising too given me thinking it would be all serious and sad. Surprising especially with moments of it with me putting it down because of some cringe-worthy events. I truly didn't expect any high school humiliation in this one~ the funny kind and not the mean ones like in Carie (even if both types are present here.)

The people are actually pretty straightforward. There's Sam, then there's Nick and Carter as well. You'd think the two boys would play big part in this, but it's all really about Sam and stuff she realizes! Sam feels herself unremarkable. She's not as smart as her best friend, considers herself cute at best, and has aspirations toward writing. She's hatched a plan to get a guy and when things don't go as expected gets smashed; hours later and people think something bad's been done. From there we see her be happy with what’s come out of it all then be all torn up about what should be done except that everybody else makes doing so such a hard thing. To this end, it's his having been an ass that seemed to justify what's done... and it's not right especially the level things reach, to but if we were gauging things on how effective the teen revenge thing was going that bit was pretty effective. And I've said this before, but it bears repeating: girls can be scary, too (as both Dare Meand Burn for Burn have established.)

It's an interesting story too because obviously what's going on is not right, but all these other factors come into play like how her boyfriend's all protective and the other guy is not a completely stand up guy to begin with. And how half of everyone believes one thing because they've experienced first hand what the guy can be like, others believe otherwise... because how could they not? Interesting how things like loyalty and reputation play a part in all this. Plus, it could have been more than a little disappointing: how she’s painted, taking path of least resistance has never felt so negative to me than it does after Sam, but she’s real...

-in feeling stifled,
-in wanting more and
-even in her inability to face up to things ‘til almost too late.

3.5/5



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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Naturally, Charlie by S.L. Scott

Naturally, Charlie
Good Reads Summary
Naturally, Charlie by S.L. Scott

Twenty-five year old Charlotte “Charlie” Barrow is caught between her old life and the one she is beginning to build when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger on the subway. Not looking for romance, she closes her heart off to the possibilities of love. With a knack for mishaps, Charlie maintains her sense of humor while befriending the kind stranger who seems to be there at all the right times.

New York freelance writer, Charlie Adams, is forging his own path beyond the expectations of the society circles of his childhood. Rejecting family money, and fast-lane friends, he is snubbed by his family as he follows his own compass to a life more extraordinary.

Through a coincidence of events, they come to rely on each other for comfort. This is the tale of two Charlies learning to trust again while fighting their fates to create their own destiny.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Someone’s comment on their names and them being together as upping narcissism up whole level was, me being frank here, true because I reacted the very same way. I mean there’s cute like couple T’s and there’s self loving. Except it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. He’s not a narcissist at all, well… at least not mostly. He’s just a confident man who knows where he stands and likes where his life is, former rich boy who’d cut links to his former rich boy life, making his way through publishing in New York and not doing too badly at it to boot. She’s not having the same type of luck, love life a disaster and still unable to move on.

That very first subway moment had the makings of an epic cute meet, in fact there were a couple of possibilities in this one that could have started this off with a bang … instead were introduced to this by her dropping her brush down the toilet and things getting worse from there. Different, yes? I enjoyed the two of them too, yes I even eventually got a kick out of the same name thing.

But here we see them go for one thing then settle for another thing completely because she’s just so messed up that she doesn’t see what’s going on and then there’s the guy: he knows that she is messed up and gives her the space to work it through. And it’s that space that allows for that link between them to form. It’s a lovely connection too… a genuine affection and true feeling of belonging, except of course there’s that bit where both want more. The ‘more’ part is what get’s them all twisted. It’s obvious they both want more, but it’s also obvious one of them is not quite ready for it. Cute story, with a female lead who’s head and heart aren’t in the right place, and a guy who seems to have got it all figured out (even if samplings of his writing were too lovey dovey sappy for my liking.)

Thank you Net galley





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Friday, October 26, 2012

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park

Good Rreads Summary
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused," then dead.
"I love you, Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."


Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars

A Sweet story.
Of Sad kids, (one sadder than the other.)
They Grow on each other.
And they know what they lack.
Except it’s what the other lacks that the other one loves..
But I’m torn over them seeing the same things in a different way…
Because they see themselves and each other slightly differently too.

While it took me forever to get through P and E, said fact is not because of the book. If anything the bits I managed to sneak over the course of three days have kept my head from exploding simply because it is a sweet story; true, even if moments got sad then sadder still.

So, this is a sweet sad story of a girl who doesn’t have enough and a boy gliding just under the radar. At first glance they’ve so little in common, but then you see that thread that links them is of both not seeing things for what they’ really are. Now, consider that it's set in '86. This is basically immaterial, save those moments of bonding over music and superheroes, their story could have been set in any other time with its focus on two kids who grow on each other then become so much more for each other. So, I enjoyed:

Her sarcasm and over all meanness because it’s so obviously a defense
Even his being clueless because sometimes there are things that just go unsaid. But most of all that slow development between the two:

How there’s initial judgment coupled with an inexplicable fascination on both their parts. Then stilted conversation that grows more natural over time. And then the first time they hold hands how they’re both giddy/terrified. Like doing that one thing has opened so many other possibilities. Then progression from that because nothing’s over in a blink and they’re always asking OK? because they’re not sure about where things stand but are getting there.

Thank you Net Galley!



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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

The Disenchantments
Good Reads Summary
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

i found myself doing something i’d not done in the longest time while reading a book. i normally just zip through these then throw out the points that’s left an impact on me. usually, i come away with what i liked and didn’t like (an isa meets so and so plus highlights, if you will.) but this one? this one had me reaching for my pen to jot down thoughts i didn’t want let by. and while i’ve ended up with another one of my meet the characters (here: colby and bev) thing, i’m not complaining because i loved them… true, despite us having started out on shaky ground.

i’d been in a pisser of a mood of late, finding little funny in what should have been and nitpicking over the littlest details. run ragged irl, the last couple of books hadn’t allow me the fun i was wanting . in that mood, i was sorely tempted to chuck this, so i put it on hold… smart decision on my part because had i not, all the ‘we’re arty students and not the typical teenage set’ would have annoyed me no end: colby, painting a very clear picture of how they were each dressed and how they each had their own thing, had me thinking, ‘you guys think too much’ (presently of course i think i’m no better than an idiot for complaining over that; better to think too much than not at all, yes?) but really, I was calling them poseurs in my head, but can you blame me with one girl running around channeling her inner flower child and the rest of them voicing their inner grrls.

worse yet, me tossing this was becoming more and more likely with him proving that there's a direct relationship between how deep his musings could get to how slowly the meanings of what bev was (or more apt: wasn't) doing would sink in! so that in the moment that he finally grasped it: the poor guy was floored! by that point, annoyed me got swept off to the side by the pity I felt for him. (really, though: the poor guy!) so there i was: hooked despite a story line already done to death of boy in love with his bff, thinking (wanting) the other clueless on the matter. but with the truth coming out, one moody page and one moody character at a time, i was going to see it through.

a lot of what happens is because he lives with his head in the clouds so that each time he’d comes down from it, he’d get smacked by the truth. either this boy needed some hugs or maybe some time to really look around him because their shared history was not similarly experienced by the two of them. and it could have been so easy just to pity him and despise her for him because of that, but it's not!

yes, they’re both moody; their ups and downs had me wondering how they’d survive being in a car together, but they’re also more than that. moments revealed the positives, the funny and the real, like the fact that they’re all just stretching out those last moments of being together. and that was just bitter sweet because they’re all finally stepping out on their own, and they want to do so but also don’t want to. the exciting is all mixed with the terrifying, i suppose

so, i loved this (craptastic start, notwithstanding.)  there’s that neat connection to their respective pasts. And how they each want what they do and act the way they do because some person did something or some other person said that something else. i love that idea: that consequences ripple on. it’s not just their story, but other people’s too. and it’s not even the music and the road trip that has me feeling good right now (those were tiny bonuses.)

mostly, i loved the musings; boys and girl and let downs; finding someone out (several someone’s in fact) and then the lot of them getting their shit together and growing up, being all hopeful about it at first, then owning up to how scary the same was.  but my favorite bit is him figuring out the hard way that who you think a person is is sometimes miles and miles away from who they really are. and that what one wants doesn’t always jive and doesn’t’ always have to go with what someone else does.

this was a lovely read.



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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Valkyrie Rising
Good Reads Summary
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid  Paulson

Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Meh.. it was OK at first. Truthfully though all the side drama lost me, so much that I started skimming somewhere around 75%. Long before that though I already wasn't feeling it. Elsa seems like she's different. (KEY WORD: seems) There's that close relationship with her brother makes her stand out. BUT not really, she turns around and becomes one of those who wants to get out from so and so's shadow. It's her being stifled by the closeness, and doing some pretty ~oh, how do I put this politely? Wait, I can't...~ dumb things.

Then we work up to that point when it's all about that obvious connection between her brother's best best friend and her. The same is so obvious in fact that it might explain why I was so little impressed by the two of them. Simply because they say the right thing all the time and act just as you'd expect them to: where he pushes her buttons, she'd always respond. At first, I was feeling the Valkyrie addition; it could have worked for me except all that big brother's an ass and big brother's best friend, a bigger ass kept getting in my way.

That bit of her being special and her discovering exactly what that meant was what I wanted. And I got that to an extent because we learn of a family secret.. and it is a big secret. The funny thing is practically everyone is aware of what it is with the lead the only one clueless. From page one, she's treated differently and you wonder why that's the case alongside her. Anyway, living her life is already not easy but then there's the added drama of her dealing with being younger sister and wanting to get out from under her brother's protective shadow... but I wasn't really interested. Where the first half had me curious, the other half had me frustrated.

Issue:

On Tuck:
(view spoiler)[(Was I the only one wondering why Tuck was doing the training? Prior thereto, I thought him the funny screw up fun guy, side kick to her brother, life of the party, and obviously carrying a torch for the girl... but not a fighter (was so sudden is all). (hide spoiler)]



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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein

Cold Fury
Good Reads Summary
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein

Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cold Fury had Sara Jane swing from wise guy remarks complete with a briefcase, a gun, thousands of dollars and a mysterious notebook to being, if not quite swoony over a boy (the words I think I might love so and so were used) then at least sounding younger much than the sixteen years old she was .

Things I liked: that you’re not quite sure what make her special and that once things are made clearer, you see all these unlikely connections. I even enjoyed how different The Family was. I enjoyed how she knows she not like the rest of them just not the extent of that difference~ because the girl is unique. Theirs is thankfully a little bit of the normal in a best friend that’s on the fringe and a maybe boyfriend who brought in some more of the sweet..

The first part actually had me curious, all that laying down of who she is and what they are and who she hates in that funny  and sarcastic voice of her had me nodding, grinning then laughing just at the right moments along… but later on you see that it’s just more of the same it left me feeling thus:

Photobucket
... because funny girl plotting revenge was laying down the why-for for what felt like forever!
I was all, please, let's get things going, shall we? That said there were some remarkable moments here with those twists on twists on twists; reading this was not a total waste: take the boxing matches, unexplained disappearances, people after her, an unknown scary guy in ski mask, random high pitched girl screams, plus rats that came out of nowhere... then there’s Al Capone (and how fits into all this, you may or may not get a kick out of.) Then there’s the more usual fare of YA: girl at odds with who she is, girl and best friend completely unlike both their peers, then a little later girl crushing on sorta/kinda new guy. 


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Monday, October 22, 2012

34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

34 Pieces of You
Good Reads Summary
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.

There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Technically it took me but three hours to finish this one (does that entice you at all?) This is despite the initially confusing jump between the pasts and presents of those three voices. Perhaps it’s because of the speed at which I got through this that I felt little invested in most of them (or maybe not.) All those 13 Reasons Why comparisons pushed me to read this except beyond the tragic deaths in both, I didn’t feel for this quite as much. In 13, Hannah recounts in specific and sometimes painful detail how a body played a role in her life; this one focuses on how those left behind are affected: Steamrolled seems apt.

So there were three. Ellie has left behind a world of hurt and the question of did she or didn’t she. Mostly this was about how she factored into their lives and how her being gone has left them feeling. We have her older brother, her best friend, as well as her best friend’s sister to contend with. There’s a lot of history to mine through as well as a complicated set of connections on how this one loves that person and how that one doesn’t want that one. The one that’s easiest to comprehend is that between Ellie and Jake.

Two sides to her brother, one side tugging at my heart a little stronger than the other. Ellie hasn’t had it easy, and him as big brother is compelled to make things right and be there for her. It’s this (making things right or making things better) that was sad and real at once. But that eventual wanting of more was what rang most honest to me. The need to be his own man, not just her older brother and not just their mother’s son was the most honest thing about him. It would seem that her brother has the most straightforward heartbreak… that’s not how it plays out though because other aspects become clear, that while Ellie is the life of the group, other things were happening as well:

Sarah and Jake’s own history is complicated to say the least; there’s obviously something more between the two… and it takes ages to understand why’s and who’s and what now’s because though they may have (had) a connection, neither of them were angels. And still Jake and Sarah (alone or together) left me feeling little. In fact it was Jessie who inspired more than interest in me, the pain she takes away from this was a different sort… and unexpected. That despite being younger than them all, she’s the one who sees another side to Ellie. To most Ellie is the center of it, the charismatic one who pulls others to her, this may be true… but Jessi sees more, and as we learn, knows more as well. 

3/5




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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso

Ferocity Summer
Good Reads Summary
Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso

"An engaging, realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making. Grosso's Ferocity Summer is a riveting read."--A.S. King, author of the Printz honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz Would you rather be dead and know it, or alive and not know it?

Scilla Davis is haunted by a horrible accident that she was involved in last summer--a drunken, reckless joyride that ended in tragedy. With a big trial looming, life seems empty, unreal, and utterly hopeless. It's especially painful watching her best friend, Willow, slowly destroy herself with pills and booze. Yet Scilla can't seem to wrest Willow--or herself--from a path of self-destruction.

But there might be a possible escape from this nightmare. As a dangerous new drug called Ferocity sweeps the nation, an FBI agent asks Scilla to turn narc and help locate the Ferocity kingpin. In exchange, she could avoid conviction for her role in the accident. All she has to do is deceive and betray people she's known all her life .
.
 
My Thoughts
My rating: 2.75 of 5 stars

A young man with death on his trail;
Another who makes no sense at first anarchistic then later a tendency to be angel on her shoulder;
The odd addition of knight in shining armor (only not quite because dig deeper and you see hero-complex coupled with lust and later confusion;)
And finally a best friend on self-destruct.

Ferocity Summer is shades darker than what I’ve been reading of late. In full honesty, it’s not a story I can say I enjoyed; what it is was gripping. In the midst of those moments of odd/funny with the bomb making and palm reading, is girl-obsessed Scilla. A host of adjectives spring to mind:

She’s self-involved and directionless;
She’s real and too honest when it counts;
She’s trusting, loyal, and yes, often the moron;
BUT with all those flaws (and obviously there are many) she fascinated me still especially with that misplaced sense of loyalty of hers that time and again halted her sense of self preservation.

My point?  It’s not easy being Scilla. She and Willow are running away from something and in the process get themselves mixed up in the big and the bad. This then drags in more players. It’s this that stirs up a non-romance that later on has her alluding to semi incestuous fantasies of brothers and sisters… (at this point I need not point out that Scilla is indeed her own person.)  But while all this is happening two aspects to her Scilla become emphasized: first she’s angry teen and hopeless pessimist, then moments later there’s that side of her that clings to what used to be: her and Willow all shiny and bright~ which is sadly so far from what really is.

It’s not even her pessimistic bent that got me in her corner. It’s on account of her acknowledging things being the way they were because of their choices. The deeper asides care of her mother on fault needing to be laid, had me even more interested.

My point, again? Both mother and daughter had a way of saying things to make things clear but make you flinch, too. You cannot fault them their honesty. For despite all Scilla’s messing about and her running away from reality, she doesn’t step back from calling things as they are when they matter. I’m not saying that she’s girl-misunderstood, or that underneath it all she’s a saint, (she’s so far from those) but that she acknowledges that she isn’t either is what I liked:

"When the chips are down, 
maybe you might be the source 
of every crappy thing 
that’s ever happened to you… "
...
"All people make their own decisions 
and their own mistakes in life. 
I’m all too aware of this."
  





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Friday, October 19, 2012

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han

BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY...
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.

 
My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A tale of three girls wronged, now looking to get back some of their own. As with other stories of this type there are those blind spots and little (then not so little) matters they fail to foresee so that you just know that something big was coming at them… and when those things finally do become clear, they’re all little prepared to deal.

Of the three, I enjoyed Lillia’s the most. Popular girl but doesn’t lord it over everyone else, she seemed most stable of them except perhaps not so stable after all because she’s angry girl, too: over what could have been done and angry over what wasn’t. Then couple that with mama bear tendencies as well as friends who don’t act like friends and I was on the edge of my seat seeing things unfold. Then there’s Kat who reads much angrier than Lillia. She’s outside looking in, but tougher for it. And finally Mary, who reads sadder and definitely more damaged than the two. It’s her history that solidifies their intent because if at first about getting back some of their own, after there’s a whole layer other protective feeling created over her. It was more than interesting to see their plans go from one mildly funny prank to the next then progress toward to something else altogether.

Told by each, it’s their memories that lay down each their need to get even. So we see their why’s (with one story after another proving that revenge is indeed a personal matter.) But more than that it’s also their memories that provide for a sharp contrast between what was and where they each are now. Clearly, Lilia has had it good; clearly, Kat used to as well; and clearly, Mary has had it the roughest… so that they don’t make it easy on a body to like or dislike them completely. In fact the very same thing could be said for the people in their crosshairs, especially with each (not so) little discovery made along the way.

Except coming totally out of left field was a certain paranormal element. A game changer if ever there was one, it switches the story from what’s already fascinating (if getting even is your thing) to something else entirely. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it: on one had, I’m dying to see where the authors take it; on the other, I wish they’d have stuck to it. Keep it simple with mind games, property damage and taking people down a peg or two (or a whole lot more) and setting them in their place seems far more plausible therefore far more terrifying than any paranormal what’s-it being introduced.

Good start… I am definitely picking up the next one.






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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Stealing Parker
Good Reads Summary
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

that ending had me thinking "..and they might, well, will at least most likely live a happily ever after.... " 'til i paused, and:



because the more i think on it, the more i recall feeling kinda sorta meh over it all. sure, entertaining: her turning over a new leaf; and yes, the whole teacher-student connection more than a little uncomfortable. but what i wasn't expecting were all those are you there god-ish moments she’d say things like ‘this girl doesn’t go to parties--- being christian and all. and i’d wonder what that had to do with anything anyway. it’s this side of things that surprised me, her whole does god hate me now self doubting moments simply because it felt so distant from the 'i’m a different girl now and trying not to giving a rat’s ass about what others had to say thing that was happening.

those things aside, so many things other things were going on as well: there’s her family falling apart, the people in it acting out of character. a father swayed by what others think of them and a brother dissatisfied with what is. and there's the girl who is just like father, and it's that that as her going from one extreme to another. from her recollections, it’s clear what she was: mommy’s little girl, good grades, perfect athlete and now someone else entirely. she’s gone from christian do gooder to girl who does not give two shits about what people think. and yet, it's that last bit that was so easy for me to accept... because why give two shits at all when the people around her were hypocrites? all that's not a bad place to start a story… if only it had kept at it. because this plods along then takes a turn toward the mostly romantic: as in will she/won’t she/she must/she mustn’t!

**another warning**

**

**for it must, needs repeating**

**
**

**major spoiler up ahead**

of course, all that might not have been too bad either. because let me be frank… corndog, you almost had me! except like all the rest, you (and drew too) turned all judgy mcjudgerson! his case is not at all helped by him spouting off with things like “i thought i judged you to be blablabla and i thought i could see you and me going somewhere and yadayada” because while that’s happening, i'm wanting to let her get a word in edgewise!.[judgy mcjudgerson! his case is not at all helped by him spouting off with things like “i thought i judged you to be blablabla and i thought i could see you and me going somewhere and yadayada” because while that’s happening, i'm wanting to let her get a word in edgewise! (hide spoiler)]

what i did liked: those few pages right before the end; i was cheering for her then. finally, no longer hanging on what everyone else had to say; no more ‘but she’s my friend and so is he’. and no more, i like my hair tangly because boys like it all tangly. in that moment, she’d grown comfortable in her own skin and was doing what she wanted. even better, it had her stepping up and calling people out. all those things on the heels of her realizing that friendships change, people do.



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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

Send Me a Sign
Good Reads Summary
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know… I just don’t know. The very thing that troubled me also fascinated me. It’s a sad touchy topic that had them all reacting in ways unexpected. Simply, they confused me. I went in to this thinking a good cry was just around the corner… except my emotions never quite made it that far because of them not wanting to focus on the sad. Their “what now” was infuriating. In wanting things to be OK, things are taken the way of if you don’t speak it, then maybe/probably/ possibly it’s not so bad. They confused me.

And my confusion was only made worse by the me myself and I drama going on from a totally the most disconcerting of sources. They all react differently: where one gathers data, the other pretties things up up, and of course the keeping of secrets. It’s all those choices added up that affect so many other aspects of her life:  that growing closeness to the boy not as popular as she; that widening gap between her and her friends; as well as the presence of that boy who could be/maybe something more than what she thought him to be. I liked reading all those things, except that each of them frustrated me at one point or another, too and that’s not excluding the Mia herself. Just when I thought I had them pegged: music boy, bitchy queen bee and her entourage plus soccer jock and drama queen mother, they do an about face with something even more unexpected. She’s the common thread though and she does her share of that.

Her superstitious side wasn’t what made her stand out for me, if anything it’s another thing about her I wasn’t buying, instead more remarkable is thinking her strong in not wanting anybody’s pity, but that’s not quite the case either because denial should be her middle name, and perhaps it was, with a mother whose got the art down pat. Throw in passive aggressive thing going on between them, and here I sat brow a-furrow and squinty eyed, wondering why they were both being the way they were. But then again, they’d been steamrolled by what they found and their reactions revealed how little prepared they were.

A little more refreshing is how given the topic, things aren’t taken toward what’s typical: not a bucket list in sight! And yet again I’m back to being torn over their reactions! It’s a lot like If I Lie where things get drawn out for a little too long. It is in fact what allows people to do the oddest of things, but it’s also heart wrenching: watching them do whatever it was they were doing. Now, one would think that girl getting sick would amount to her being cut some slack, but again nope. I had a hard time wrapping my head around it all, but that’s was the point. That people react differently, and not always in ways I’d like.

***

There happens to be a guy named after McGyver... and I think that fact, not the guy in question, is one of my favorite things in this book. Though come to think of it, the guy wasn't a bad addition either



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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Love-shy by Lili Wilkinson

Love-shy
Good Reads Summary
Love-shy by Lili Wilkinson

Penny is a schoolgirl investigative journalist in search of a story. And she finds one: a boy at her school who is painfully love-shy. Surely he's the perfect subject for a feature article. What could possibly go wrong?

Penny Drummond aspires to be a journalist. A good one. A Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. In the meantime, she's honing her journalistic skills on the East Glendale Secondary College Gazette. When she discovers a boy at her school is posting anonymous messages on loveshy.com, Penny believes she has found just the story that will help make her name. Her mission: find him, fix him, feature-article him. Next stop: Pulitzer Prize.

But what will become of her 'journey of the soul' article if the love-shy boy is not who she expects? And what happens when Penny finds that her soul might be in need of a little attention as well?

Love-Shy is a lively, entertaining and warm-hearted romantic comedy filled with serious secrets, ambitious plans, awkward moments and unexpected friendships - funny and engaging to the very last page.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Fully realized characters whose stories go in a totally unexpected direction; it’s not the eighty movies odd one out meets girl/boy of his/her dreams, subjected to make over, then tada: love thing I thought it was going to be about (though it could have been.) And because of that, I enjoyed this all the more mainly. That as well as of my predisposition to liking a girl who knows her mind and stands apart from the rest...except my liking Penny was sorely tested by certain quirks.

And so, the highlights: Over achieving more than slightly neurotic girl, stalkily stalking another highly neurotic subject. You’d think it’d be a while before unveiling the who and the how come, but it wasn’t so that instead we get to see this odd building up of something between the two.

I love that she’s so sure of herself and out there; I also loved that he’s not. I love that for such a smart girl she could do so many dumb things. And for despite being so clueless, the guy could see so much as well. I enjoyed the two, that after awhile something true started surfacing. She’s not just the over achiever I initially pegged her as; he’s not the completely loveable shy type either. They’re both blind to their faults but it's both that let the other see more.

And where she'd say things that are true sounding and right like, “Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus, when you get down to it, there are some people who are nice, some people who aren’t, and a whole lot of fuzzy grey in between.” He'd say things that are not quite that, “I am the very model of a majorly mental–case.” Either of which leaving me feeling, "You're both right!"

This was fun!




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Monday, October 15, 2012

God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

God Shaped Hole
Good Reads Summary
God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

When I was twelve, a fortune teller told me that my one true love would die young and leave me all alone.  
Everyone said she was a fraud, that she was just making it up.
 

I'd really like to know why the hell a person would make up a thing like that.
Written with the snap, glitter and wit of The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, God-Shaped Hole is a memorable, poignant love story that will leave you weeping with laughter. It is told in the wry, vulnerable voice of Beatrice "Trixie" Jordan who replies to a personal ad, "If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world." 

 
In doing so, she meets Jacob Grace, a charming, effervescent thirty-something writer, a free spirit who is a passionate seeker of life. He possesses his own turn of phrase and ways of thinking and feeling that dissonantly harmonize with Trixie's off-center vision as they roller coaster through the joys and furies of their wrenching romance. Along the way they try to come to terms with the hurt brought about by their distant fathers who, in different ways, forsook them. 


This story will prove so touching you will rush to share it with a friend or loved one or even a stranger. 


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

God Shaped Hole gives me what I wanted out of HTKRS. Recall, that that one had me wishing it ended at a certain point, going on as it did took away from the depth of what I was feeling, the ending felt contrived and much too Hollywood. I still hold that the forced happily ever after in no way compares to the open ending that could have been. This does not suffer that.

Bottom line, it’s a love story, with a fortuitous meeting of like souled people (both so well matched in fact that one of them makes a hokey comparison to Siamese twin souls. Ha! I laughed and cringed at how corny it sounded (still sounds) even if they are precisely that, except I wish they could have described it more smoothly.) I’m rambling, but my point is the two are both prone to over stating their feelings and going off on too deep looks into each others eyes/ bodies/souls. It’s something I would have had an easy time poking fun at, save the fact that one of them reminded me a little too much of how I was, could be, and can still be:

Trixie. Well on her way to becoming bitter disillusioned twenty something trapped in her version of hell (LA.) She is distant from her family add that the one person close to her is just as maladapted as she is. And that’s me. She’s self described as godless, faithless and expectant of the disappointment that people are bound to bring with them. It’s the last that allows her to be all ‘Do as you please and I’ll do the same’. And you see, that made sense to me if a bit depressed.

Then there’s Jacob, who’s so impossibly good. He says these words and thus adds a lightness to things. Though that’s not apt either, because perfectly matched as they are he too is burdened and prone to feeling deeply, too deeply. Here I’m half tempted to make a Paul comparison but not really, because where Paul is all deep and sad, sad soul, Jacob is something else; it's what allows him to open Trixie to other possibilities.

The most honest thing here is how they put people in categories so that when one or two or all of those people pegged one way act contrary to what’s expected, they’re so unsure about what to now. But My point? (And I swear I have one): 

They’re not perfect, no one around them is perfect,
But the two of them? They’re perfect for each other.

To be honest, I enjoyed this more than How To Kill a Rock Star. Where that one dragged my emotions every which way, this one didn't. It's more quiet some how, the hurdles put before them them not loud in that over the top too dramatic way, (something I have come to loathe); more quiet, thus more real. I am sure we all love a good cute meet, but this one deals with the after that. And your soul mate, though soul mate he may be.. can still act like an a**hole sometimes.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2)

Good Reads Summary
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier

Beautiful Sorcha is the courageous young woman who risked all to save her family from a wicked curse and whose love shattered generations of hate and bridged two cultures.

It is from her sacrifice that Sorcha's brothers were brought home to their ancestral fortress Sevenwaters, and her life has known much joy.

But not all the brothers were able to fully escape the spell that transformed them into swans, and it is left to Sorcha's daughter Liadan to help fulfill the destiny of the Sevenwaters clan. Beloved child and dutiful daughter, Liadan embarks on a journey that shows her just how hard-won was the peace that she has known all her life.

Liadan will need all of her courage to help save her family, for there are dark forces and ancient powers conspiring to destroy this family's peace--and their world. And she will need all of her strength to stand up to those she loves best, for in the finding of her own true love, Liadan's course may doom them all . . . or be their salvation.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So impressed was I with Sorcha in Daughter of the Forest that I jumped into the sequel with not a glance at the summary. Granted it’s taken me took 2 months before doing so. So, Why the gap if it indeed was that awesome? Simply, it was so intricately plotted my brain reeled; the people in it so real, my heart broke for each thing that happened. By its end, I was exhausted: happy and giddy with the outcome, happy to have met them but also exhausted. This one has left me feeling much the same.

Both books don’t limit themselves to magic and fey because things could get and did get ugly, and brutal… so I was gob smacked after each big thing. Still, moving forward is made easy because of the link they had to each other. It’s just one of the things I loved along with some of the magical, some of the political and complicated, and as said, a lot of those connections: romantic or otherwise.

Now, if there’s anything to complain about, it’s that that closeness between brother and sister in book 1 isn’t as deeply felt in this one. Like Sorcha, Liadan is the center of the family, but unlike the first, where the brothers are as specifically drawn and thus made individual, Liadan’s brother and sister weren’t. I knew Sorcha’s brothers; I watched them suffer with her. Sean and Niamh were merely extras here pushing Liadan forward. In fact, this is all about Liadan and how she’s her father and mother’s miniature. She is the good daughter, the (too) understanding sister, and then eventually the woman in love.

And then came the Painted Man. Plus his Merry Band of what’s it. It’s obvious where things were headed once he’s introduced, but I read on despite the predictability because like her he too is special. They’re perfectly matched: skilled at what they both do, independent and inspiring of loyalty, but unlike her, not untouched by what’s dark. The last is what draws the two closer.

Then there are those eventual discoveries on how they’re connected beyond the present romantic; how all of them are in fact linked somehow. I love that. That neat bridging of one thing to another thing is what I enjoy. That truly one person briefly encountered at some point is not just a character but vital the things that follow.



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Friday, October 12, 2012

Endlessly by Kiersten White

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)
Good Reads Summary
Endlessly by Kiersten White

Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.

So much for normal.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This read exactly like the first and the second book in the series. Not that I’m complaining that loudly, I did after all love those two books. 

Evie is still irreverent saying the first thing that pops into her head without thinking it through. She’s a bit stubborn too, except here more often than not is selfish. Yes, I say selfish but with good reason. She refuses to be told what to do and is constantly manipulated into doing things for others. It’s this infuriating set up that had her saying some of the funniest stuff.

Truth be told though a lot of the more exciting things here happen around her, to her but aren’t done by her. Most of what happens isn’t her choosing, but what’s great is she makes do and makes me laugh while doing so.

I enjoyed that it’s this book is like the come back of so and so. Basically, because we don’t have to wonder about what ever happened to this person or that person? Now, we have her boyfriend, her ex boyfriend then her friend turned enemy and now friend again in one complicates story where they’re all trying to save the world and some of them are trying to make it up to others. Not that they’d all become < i>good good guys, they are who they are and it’s that which allowed for some of the more entertaining banter to take place. Reth and Jack especially, show more of what they’re capable.

A slow start but good finish to an entertaining trilogy.






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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Bayou Moon is yet another book that has me wondering why I’d put it off for so long. Less the drama more the blood shed and sword wielding, plus some sizzling back and forth. And, just when I thought all was well, something bigger crops up to be dealt with.

In Edge#1, we caught a glimpse of William, how he’s different from Declan with all background and particular baggage. I enjoyed the guy though, mainly because like Declan, he’s a throw back to those hot romances with a cop/FBI agent/ SEAL for a lead~ the haunted but strong type if you catch my drift. Because after that brief glimpse of him all haunted and broken (thus hot), he was all brutal and fierce and perfectly aware about where best to strike. This Changeling’s got skills. He meets his match in Cerisse, very much like Rose because she too has responsibilities heaped on her, except Cerisse read more in your face and if possible just as bad ass as William.

To his Lord Bill, she’s Queen Hobo, and I loved the banter because the will he/will she moments almost fried my brain. It starts with both not knowing who’s who and with both keeping secrets, but with one then another thing throwing them together, I was surprised it to took as long as it did for “something” to happen. It’s expected but waiting for it to finally happen was almost too much. In the meantime, her family is embroiled in a feud and he gets pulled in, all while being on the trail of this madman psychopathic uber rational monster. See? So many things going on!  

Her family is a hilarious addition too. Just as deadly as she is, they aren’t just that. Protective is what springs to mind… but more to Kalder, Richard, Gaston and the rest of them added an extra thing that I liked. I loved that they’re each so different but pulled together nonetheless simply because they’re kin. The inner working of the Mar clan: her proving herself time and again, owning her position not daring to show even a hint of weakness even to them. Different.

An entertaining mix of fantasy and adventure and a sizzling attraction, it’s like they wrote this with me in mind because I enjoyed it, Dora the Explorer allusions and all! Fun book, this!




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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Vessel
Good Reads Summary
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.
 

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Interesting mix of duty and faith and a hint of romance in a landscape not often tackled, I enjoyed this. The desert clans have their gods and goddesses and they each offer vessels to them. The vessels are chosen, special and trained early on about what they’re to do. Liyana is one such girl except when her time comes things don’t go as expected. Abandoned by her clan, struggling to makes reconcile what is and what should be, she encounters Korbyn, trickster god. Nefarious goings on and missing gods later, they go from clan to clan to collecting each vessels like herself, hoping to stop whatever it is that’s kept her from fulfilling her destiny.

Odd, the practicality they all showed, Liyana especially. They all know their fate yet they go head on to meet it anyway. Perhaps not so odd since it isn’t about dying she says, but allowing others to live. An interesting thing, and I wished for more of it, but it’s set aside with them facing one clan after another, with the next always so different from the first: horse clan, Silk clan, Scorpion clan… doing the same thing, living in the same place but reacting so differently. The majority of the vessels had a similar practicality to hers. It’s something I found it odd and had me wondering what would become of them eventually, simply because they weren’t (wondering , I mean). Save Raan, everyone’s so ready to fulfill what needs fulfilling, no questions asked. Sure there are some moments of regret, of being scared early on, but get past that then it’s all about one of vessels or their respective clans.

Straightforward. You could say the fantasy element is straightforward: take your gods and your goddesses toss in some clans then add some vessels for sacrificing. But make things a little more interesting with a young charismatic leader, doing what he thinks is right… and maybe even a reluctant hero (or two). That’s Vessels in a nutshell, except it’s so much more. Those reluctant heroes that I point to? Well, imagine if one of them isn’t so reluctant after all, rather simply unsure about where to start? And the other “reluctant” hero is so because he’s normally the cause of folly. Just think the boy who cried wolf, only more dire. They’re different I will give them that. Or that young charismatic to which I refer? Well, he isn’t all completely evil all the time. He just thinks his way is right. The one thing they all have in common is that they think what they’re doing is the right thing for all of them, so in that inevitable collision was exciting to say the least.

The Lurv.Then the romantic developments. There’s a closeness between the two main characters that left little doubt about where things were headed, but things got complicated eventually. Things were bound to, yes with gods involved?  Know this, the love story is a teensy part to this fantasy adventure, but it’s also the most confusing part, given everyone involved.




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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Derailed
Good Reads Summary
Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy

When you're lost, sometimes the only place you can go is home.

Broken over the death of her fiancé, Molly leaves law school to return to her childhood home in North Carolina. Expecting to lay low until she can figure out what else to do with her life, she finds herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, the boy who represents everything from the past she tried to leave behind.

Looking for an escape, she instead finds a way back to the girl she almost forgot existed and a future she never dreamed possible.
 
My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Huh, that was quick… I didn’t think this would be a straightforward romance but it is with a lead who’s suffered the same thing twice already. the thing is I can’t say I loved this one simply because the love interest is a pansy ass, pining boy. This despite memories of him making him out to be more (or less depending on your view of things.) More if you’re into the bad boy in a band tough guy, less if you factor in his having been high all the time. Perhaps pansy ass is too strong a descriptive? But my point is if a girl pining for a boy is annoying, what’s to stop it from being such with the boy doing it?

Now, the lead is not in a good place when we meet her, but other than being sad. sad. sad all the time she didn’t do that many things that wanted me to smack myself for reading it. Save sad, she’s lost too… she’s figuring out where to next, and this is what leads her home. Her being in her hometown brings up all these memories and it was sweet but annoying too. Sweet, because obviously little had changed but annoying too… because little had changed! Five years in all's the same!

It’s a sweet story and that’s about it.

2/5




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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility
Good Reads Summary
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    We're like mysteries to one another. Maybe if I can solve him and he can solve me, we can explain each other. Maybe that's what I need. Someone to explain me. 
Yes, I do believe I've found it! Sea of Tranquility is not over the top, too much, or too fast. The drama, the romance, the story (even when it got painful and emotional) worked for me. Some might say it does get overly dramatic given everything that’s thrown at them… but it didn’t feel that way to me. Because there’s a build up toward the drama, instead of one issue heaped on another; here there’s this getting to know the other. There’s a moving forward from point one to two to three, instead of zipping from one to ten in a blink. 

Take in all the things they’re facing and I could make a snide comparison to watching General Hospital, but not now. Because this worked for me: pieced apart, things might have gone to the side of melodramatic and I might have thought that never have the lives of the high school set sounded so hard, but this isn’t about their age. It’s simply two people who’ve got baggage galore, who happen to meet each other then click… but don’t want to. Not one moment in this easy, but there were moves to it.

So what worked?

That both of characters are damaged, both are shadowed by some personal hell. I know I’m sounding melodramatic, except that is exactly what we’ve got here. What makes it work is they’re more than that too, there are moments of mundane of a best friend who’s a douche though not really, of the makings of nemesis for God knows what reason, and of a romance which I still hesitate to call such; it seems wrong somehow to call what they had got going “romantic” because it’s all thorns and being unsure; they know nothing about each other… and as I witnessed them learn more of the other, the more they made sense together.

It’s more than the two of them. There are all these people against whom they stand out. It’s made clear that they don’t lead happy or easy lives and they don’t fake it except they don’t wallow in their respective dramas either, most obvious with them having something that eased things at least temporarily.

Drew is the most remarkable mainly because you think he is one thing and proves himself so much more. In fact, they all prove themselves to be so much more. Initially, I found both Josh and Nastya standard characters. Josh with his force field damaged boy loner thing going on. Nastya’s with her touch girl schtick. Except it’s all put on, literally for one of them and unintentionally for the other  but patience on my part pays off because eventually we get a boy whose sad and a girl whose scarred, though both words seem so weak when used to describe the two.




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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1) by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s a fun book though where “Alice in Wonderland” came in I am still wondering. All there was were similarities in names and very little of the oddness that Alice Alice had gone through instead here we’ve got Ali and a friend named Kat plus a couple of boys into her.

My favorites have to be her grandparents. I enjoyed how they tried to understand then connect with her (biznez, they said?!) Beyond that extra funny bit, we’ve got the zombies that took me by surprise. They’re a lot like in Amy Plum’s book on her revenants called zombies because as in that book the zombies here weren’t what I’m accustomed to either. Simply, they’re all evil and nothing much else. I was hoping pre-apoc set up plus something gone horribly wrong, (like rabid monkeys in science labs?) but no. I still don’t know what makes them them and boy I’d liked to have known because it’s what leads us to discover these two factions that handily exist. They’ve each with their own method in dealing with these zombies.

I say ‘handily’ because with these two factions also happen to have the two hot boys who’ve only more reason to fight over her. Suffice to say, this is the part that’s left me little impressed. Any who, what this book lacks in detail it makes up for in snark and chemistry. Oh, the snark! Oh, the chemistry! Cole is an ass, very bossy and typical alpha; Ali doesn’t kowtow but asks asks asks, I liked the former more than the latter for obvious reasons. But we’re eventually led down that path of girl, boy and push then pull then boy doing some awesomely asshole like things, but all through out she did say some pretty funny stuff.

It was good at first, then started settling on the usual… but it was fun (more often than not).



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