Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1) by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And thank you, Edelweis!!

I really, really, really enjoyed THE BURNING SKY from actual moments of consideration on whether knowing a guy for a split is worth setting aside self preservation to authentically funny moments on wands, wand sizes and what one did with the same? It's a fun read made even better by a couple of things like the 'new' feeling world of both their magic: hers the elemental and his the subtle; all the while the both hidden in the midst of the ordinary. Two things are hidden here actually: her from whomever, then their magical world from the non magical one. How it's all bridged is what I loved...because all those details to consider? Absolutely delightful!

As an introduction, I'd say this works pretty well. As we've got the lay of the land on who's on one side and who's on the other. And sure we do see a lot of things being done to mold her, and to have him fulfill certain destinies, but we've also less on actual confrontations... which surprisingly wasn't such a bad thing. Why? As mentioned it's allowed so many details of the magical sort to seep through, making each moment with the pair of them even more interesting.

The magical aside, the two of them are darling characters! Him with his I don't want this but I must heaviness... and her with I want this but don't know how. Then mix those with other moments of honesty about dishonesty! Confused? Never you mind, as this is what allows for friction between them... and so, this is me, entertained. The love bit was not wholly unexpected, but for what it's worth, them together was entertaining. They're a throw back to all those Japanese romantic comedies I used to watch with girls hiding in plain sight and what not.

It was funny, they were fun and the magic world/ system in this one new, different especially when considering the crucible and what it could do.

3.5/5



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Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

How to Lead a Life of Crime
Good Reads Summary
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The lead in this one is pretty awesome in a cocky and bad ass and wise to the ways of the world kind of way. And his world? It's a violent one. I feel that that's the most remarkable thing about HTLaLoC how there's always something worse that could happen, and then how it all feels like it's happened to Flick or happened because of him. How so?

In the first half we have a Eugenedis feeling lead in Flick. He's no apologies about how he's living and there's almost has a cocky thing going for him in the level of skill he's attained. You know, expert thief and all? Is that where my Gen comparison ends? Not quite because this one like Thief got darker then darker then darker still. Because the whole learning to be worse for him while she's carving out a place for kids like them? The contrast between them was.. interesting, I suppose. Because with him, things got really gritty and while she's not exactly living a charmed life, with him she felt almost too good.

But then there's the second half that' got complicated/ convoluted in how one thing linked to another aspect of the story and how insanely insane the in's and out's of the place could get. Think mutant academy less the mutants but more the psychopaths, sociopaths and a mad so and so thrown into the mix. It's not just the politics insides though, as the academy apparently had a reach that's so far and wide that it got a bit difficult to swallow, ala secret societies in elite schools only here the school is the secret society from whence an overly complicated web originates.

It's different, it's violent.. heck, he's a violent lead, but big shocker here: that's what I liked about it. It's only in pitting him against so and so that things got a bit too unreal for me... oh wait! not exacty as it's actually all the mad scientists and their mad claims that did. Everything prior? Interesting, in a crazy violent kind of way.     



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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Whiskey Beach
Good Reads Summary
Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore—and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it’s home…

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of—but never arrested for—the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife.

He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall. Abra Walsh is always there, though. Whiskey Beach’s resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents—including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name. But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries—one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all…


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


There’s always that one thing, isn’t there? That one thing that sticks out and that I just don’t buy. In one of her books, it was the pigs mysteriously dying in the midst of a family wealth being settled, in this one it’s pirate booty and a family legacy that somehow is the answer to everything. It’s a good thing this wasn’t just that rather we have a man and a woman both moving one, her doing more successfully than he is. How he’s putting behind him a years worth of crap and she’s building her life despite some horrific thing.

I like that it’s reversed… their positions, I mean. How she’s more together than he is, and how she seemed to be doing the saving this time around. I like how there’s family in this yet again, and home base for him to get better in. I love how there’s a history there even if the way said history ties into the story’s a bit out there. But mostly,  I love love love how things are one step then the next for the two of them, instead of flashes of heat then boom (though there’s that too)

It’s an easy read. The mystery of how his past connects farther back than you’d think and how she’s there past her own doing what needs doing. Bottom line, it’s a lovely story.




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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Game (Jasper Dent, #2) by Barry Lyga

Game (Jasper Dent, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Game by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jasper (Jazz) Dent, the son of the world's most infamous serial killer.

When a desperate New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz's door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can't say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple--and its police force running scared with no leads. So Jazz and his girlfriend Connie hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer's murderous game.

Meanwhile, Jazz's dad Billy is watching...and waiting.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3.5/5

That ending… that ending… that ending has me screech- asking ‘WHAT’ all prolonged, the middle vowel raised louder than the rest; this sequel has  cliffy that will kill you. He’d better come up with a follow up sooner than he did with this one.  And that’s quite a leap for one who’s always been about ‘Martin not being my bitch.’ I mean there’s waiting then there’s waiting after this. What am I supposed to do now?

So am I a fan? No doubt. I’m loving this recent trend of crazy people figuring out crazier people (Hannibal.) I love how Game’s got a similar vibe to it. Namely the gory, the scary, the a bit out there  with the macabre even the gross out way things are laid out for us. Then there’s the little details of how things are different for Jazz, how the utterly insane connect for them and then him given how Jazz is able to tap into that and see what they see and then understand.

It’s the understanding a bit weightier here. Much the same issue is weighing in on him in this was one as in the first book: questions on him being his father’s son. Issue of triggers and what’s within and what he knows but not completely. Plus, the secrets unearthed and people around him trying to convince him that there’s more to him than just serial killer's kid.

Now there’s just the matter of getting over this being another kid doing a grown up’s job. Another one? A kid smarter than the rest. Yes, this one has it except given who he is, what he is, and how he’s been raised: it all sort of makes sense (or maybe not) but if you can get passed that, this get’s pretty awesome in the a whodunit kind of way. Oh wait! there’s also the little issue of smart characters doing dumb then dumber things. How it’s not just Jazz doing the connecting. Don’t get me wrong I adore every single one of them from the hemophiliac bestfriend with a gift for the double entendre to the girl friend who sees most everything the guy’s got to offer whether it be the good  or just this side of scary… but lawdy! Some dumb things were happening on their end of the story... till not anymore because when the bigger picture started getting clearer then clearer some more, things got equal parts exciting and terrifying… but still that ending!

So, I love how Jasper is able to get into their heads… and never you mind the implausibility of a kid being tapped to do an adults job because I was buying this particular convoluted linking up of one thing to another. Then there’s the rest of them doing more than you think they ought to with some of them doing stupid things, then others doing stupider thing s(if there’s such a thing).




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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski

The Paradox of Vertical Flight
Good Reads Summary
The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski

What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his kidnapped newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? Read to find out! This debut teen novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Andrew Smith.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars




My saying anything about this feels almost useless because I am not even sure about where to begin or how to. It’s the blurb that got me: suicidal kid, best friend, ex-girl friend and a baby... the makings of a joke? Not quite as it’s surprisingly deep, with the lead asking these questions, considering certain possibilities, and some other impossibilities. Yet, it’s in listening to him ask questions then struggle to lay out the answer for his kid that I was frustrated and fascinated… as I certainly wasn’t like him as a kid. My world at his age was smaller… the next A, the next dead line and avoiding any danger of looking like an idiot in school. His is so much bigger with his infinities, some smaller ones, and others bigger ones.

I was expecting something funny and road trip-light…. and while we do get a lot of that, you’d be surprised at how contemplative the mood got. How he’s always thinking and trying to fit the pieces together for himself and for the kid. All the while, there’s me, my mind about to explode grasping but not really grasping what he was saying. It’s brilliant the things he was putting out there (sometimes brilliantly stupid even) so I enjoyed it particularly as it’s clear he wasn’t the only one that way. He had people like him, see him, and know him… and ‘get’ him despite knowing how convoluted/ confusing one matter related to another matter in his head.

Yet for all his deep thoughts, all those eventually felt somehow inconsequential. As there is a Bigger Question wanting to be asked and answered: as in the so what now? It’s at this point you see Jack’s just like anybody else, coming to terms with the need to let go, grow up, and see that growing up and people going their own way aren’t necessarily a parting of ways, but oddly but holding on too.

But… geez! To get to that point? There were so many other things (seemingly mind blowing but in reality quite inconsequential matters pointed out like how we’re each one part of it all or those matters of choice versus matters beyond one’s control – all big things but immaterial to what Jack’s not dealing with).  So things got mind blowing, but at the same time frustrating too because why was he thinking about all these things anyway? It all felt so useless some of these thought (even with them being brilliant in being asked at all.)

As to the people in it, I know loved this story a smidge more because of them. How there’s this  authentic connection between him and Tommy, then him and Jess. How both of them saw something in him and he and them, and there’s this banter that’s almost always sarcastic. Sarcasm is the body’s natural self defenses against stupid, right? Well, these two had the remedy for his stupid time and time again, but there wasn’t anything mean to it, just an understanding that since this guy thought differently then he too needed to be told off in a different way. It’s that knowing among them that I loved.

Which leads me to Jess and her fire breathing vagina and how he finally realizes what a jackass he’d been… it’s moments like  those when I felt he was getting his head out of his ass and not just thinking of things of no consequence. I mean sure, a lot of the things he thought/said are brilliant (brilliantly stupid or just plain brilliant) but it’s him seeing things for what they are beyond him contemplating these ‘big things’ that I liked the guy more. So throw in details being bridged toward bigger truths with moments of Friendship as well as question of loving and being loved, and this was equal parts fascinating, frustrating, then hilarious.

MUCH THANKS, EDELWEISS!






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Monday, April 22, 2013

Thin Space by Jody Casella

Thin Space
Good reads Summary
Thin Space by Jody Casella

Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5of 5 stars

Unreliable narrators… I wasn’t quite sure where things were going but it’s that aspect of THIN SPACE that kept me reading. This boy who’s lost his half but keeping a bigger secret with regard to it? This boy who’s searching for the impossible and seeming crazier with each moment that passed. This boy who seems to have given up but in fact has not… there’s a desperation to him that had me needing to find out: had he lost it or was there truth to his search?

The odd thing is how he’s allowed to do what he’s doing. Let slide… that’s what was happening, and only upon entry of new people did things shake up, did people do more than make a side  comment/ raise a brow.  It’s with new girt that things pick up, and you wonder… what’s in it for her? The oddness in their pairing had them sticking out to others, but the oddness in what was going on had me seeing them in a sadder light: they’re both so desperate for something but not actually saying what (when it’s obvious that there is a bigger ‘what’ for the both of them).

I could have gone on reading THIN SPACE for that alone: two sad people, not quite fitting in. him because he can’t (grieving, lost and angry all that) then her because she’s (a) new and (b) has an equally sad history that’s not quite clear… but then things of the ‘different sort’ factor in, and there I was wondering was that necessary at all? The possibility of the supernatural is what brings them together, but it’s their sadness  and the consequence of that which kept me interested.

Because when bigger the biggest reveal of incomprehensible sort was made, of twins being twins and their proper places, I was a bit let down. Truth be told because: Really? Nobody caught on? Nobody? I’m having hard time swallowing that… except if I’m being perfectly honest again: you kind of can predict that it’s going to go down that way early on. The problem with me is how I was waiting for and hoping for something ‘deeper’ than (view spoiler)[a twisted version of Parent Trap  (hide spoiler)] that ends very tragically.

THANK YOU,NETGALLEY!

*2.5/5



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Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars
Good Reads Summary
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I liked the bouncy fun feel you get care of the protagonist that's like White's other leads. Those leads are capable of (sometimes) smart observations framed in way that had me laughing despite the drama of the moment.

Plus the surprising adorbs moments between her as new girl in new world with guy who's to hot to be real. But really I liked them and how he's over confident even without meaning to and how she's mean in the intentional way, knocking him down a peg or two (or ten.)

Oh and... awesome covers are awesome, yes?

But there's the whole Egyptian gods thing... I've no big issue on this end as I started this knowing absolutely nothing about that aspect of the story... (unless Brendan Fraser movies count?) But were we to take the whole god thing away from this, there's actually not that much that's new in this. Instead, we have (a.) new girl thing and (b.) the feeling unloved thing.

Sure, I liked Isadora, even more I enjoyed what she had to say and how she had to say it. But I do think the darker aspects could have been darker. Perhaps more of the mythology could have been worked into everything, instead of feeling like a backdrop to what was going on but... but yes, I had fun... precisely what I was looking for when I picked this up.

Conceptually, it's pretty original. What with gods and their children and the outcome of that all thrown in, right? Except you don't get as much as you think you're going to... but at least it was fun/funny when it counted.

Much thanks, Edelweiss!
3.5/5




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Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3) by Rae Carson

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)
Good Reads Summary
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The epic and deeply satisfying conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

"Carson joins the ranks of writers like Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, and Tamora Pierce as one of YA's best writers of high fantasy."-Locus magazine

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So many things to love.. First: HECTOR!! The last time I’d read a surprise POV from a favorite character was in MERCY’S newest book except Adam left me slightly uninspired a bit desperate for more of him. HECTOR in this one, though? I am tempted to go all fangirl on all you guys. 

But the best thing in this though is how it’s not just about Elisa… but her and everyone else, how they all step up and prove just how important they are. All they did for her and she for them? It revealed loyalty… and the obvious conclusion that she is not the only hero in this one.  There’s a camaraderie here that I enjoyed… I liked her bowing down to this person’s expertise and relying on that persons know how then taking the lead and forging on because that what she could contribute.

There’s the first half of the book that I loved too especially as the rescuing going on was done not by the one you’d think.  With one twists after another, the lot of them were proving to be so much more than a royal entourage. Her in particular showing how she’s grown so much from the sort of lazy pampered princess (though she never was quite that) to the desert warrior and now this queen who knew what she wanted and went after it. It’s on this last leg that the consequences of  everything that’s happened and everyone she’s met come out revealing that she’s so much stronger than you’d think… than she thinks. That she isn’t the living bearer of the godstone… she’s more than that.

This was a good ending… I almost felt a little like I was reading something with Gen (of Thief fame). How there’s this sudden toughness that’s bound to impress you at the same time confuse because… yes, who knew she could be like that? No, who knew they could all be like that? Lovely reveals of strength in character even with it being heavier on the romance than others YA epic fantasies.

Thank you, E!
4/5





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Friday, April 19, 2013

Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan

Crash and Burn
Good reads Summary
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan


On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.(l

 
My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s day three post Crash and Burn and the words still elude me. What aspect of this held me? It certainly wasn’t any of the characters as they were all worlds away from perfect. Crash particular was a douche.. no doubt about it. Hero status notwithstanding,  all the cruising and the boozing, the cussing and name dropping with his boys and the girls, the hooking up and the what not… made this almost too dark but with a a lack of depth. There seemed no reason for all of it, save to shock. Oh, look at that, young kids all doped up. Oh, look at that heedless treatment of another! There’s a lack of reason for the way they all behaved save the young being reckless. And reckless they indeed all were. But the worst thing - and most accurate thing - here lay in how Roxanne summed him up: his mediocrity and failing to be more is related to his fall back position. He feels himself go nowhere, lead nowhere because he isn’t as smart as others and couldn’t possibly be as ‘good’ as others… so why bother? It irked me… this thinking, because a lot of it led to detailed description of reckless behavior.

He’s not alone as the lot surrounding him was terrible (some more than others…) from his father, to Burn, to Roxanne… disappointment and heartbreak followed.  It’s to his father that I thought reason might follow. That his being a douche was some sick twisted version of tough love; that in fact, there was love somewhere buried deep, deeeepppp down. I was wrong. While Crash himself could act atrociously time and again, in acting thus, I at least knew more of him. I confess to not liking him but at least I knew him and his reasons (no matter how self serving/ a bit lazy feeling I felt they were.) His father though? Why such douche behavior, douche? The man’s actions and words made zero sense to me. Perhaps he’s one of those characters? You know, the one written simply to be hated? If so, it worked. I loathed the ass.

Another thing that had me going was the switch back and forth FROM CRASH’s past of not quite popular boy (but getting there) TO his present version floating on his hero status (aka the douchey dude I wanted to punch). The past reveals him to be less the douche experiencing first loves and one disappointment after another while it’s the present that reveals him to be  more often than not as self-serving, this despite heroic acts. In fact it’s the aftermath of the heroic act in question that propels him further into douchedom. But if anything it’s this aspect that allows for some of their reasons to seep through. Reasons for someone’s seemingly selfish act or for another’s self-destructive behavior… it doesn’t all make complete sense… except maybe they do kind of make sense a little. It’s difficult but we see the connections they make with another and how one may be deeply affected the same thing barely touches another. These connections they made to each other AND THEN the things that these connections had them doing, the consequences ranged from heartbreaking, frustrating, disappointing, to terrifying

But it’s BURN’S part in this that has me split. At first, I was feeling things a tad simplistic; that tragedy begetting tragedy became his theme, but the longer things are considered, the clearer it is that there’s truth in it, no? That one sad thing then another sad thing, then  another… then what follows at his hand makes sense, in a tragic sort of way. Maybe it’s a bit simple to say that one sad thing (more than one sad things) leads to the same… but maybe that just isn’t the case. The point I’m trying to get at is... he isn’t just the broken guy doing this terrible thing, but he is just as much a victim as the rest.

DARK then darker with each page so that it’s the ending that leaves me slightly disappointed. It felt almost to HEA considering everything else in it.

THANK YOU, EDELWEISS!




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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Undercurrent by Paul E. Blackwell

Undercurrent
Good reads Summary
Undercurrent by Paul E. Blackwell

In this suspenseful teen thriller with a touch of the otherworldly, perfect for fans of Neal Shusterman, a boy goes over a waterfall and wakes up to find himself in a twisted version of the life he knew.

A shadowy figure. An intense roar. The sensation of falling—fast.

That’s all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.

Why are his parents acting like he’s some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all...what happened to Callum’s brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn’t the only one who wants to see him dead.

Filled with mind-bending suspense and unsettling thrills, Undercurrent is a grippingly paced teen debut that will pull you under and never let go.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

UNDERCURRENT touches on a number of intriguing concepts alternate realities plus dark sides then getting what you never asked ask for… except only one of them is completely tackled. What aspect? He’s taken a fall, woken up to a town that sees him in a totally different light and treats him thus. My biggest frustration though is how it takes him forever to see things for what they were … instead it’s him constantly not accepting that maybe just there’s something more than just him having fallen and hit his head. FOREVER because even beyond the half way mark, he’d still react as he had been reacting early on SO that  I just wondered were there an award for being purposefully dense, would he take it? Most Def.

So there I was with the feeling that he should have been doing something other than what he was.  (that is, going with the flow, simply exclaiming, “Hey that’s different!” with little else.) I was expecting a bit more action once the facts had been absorbed (because obviously with all signs pointing to it you’d think he’d get recognize the difference as the outcome not just of some head trauma except that last bit… again: forever.) A good bulk of the book passes before things got real for Cal and consequently it took a longer while for things to pick up for me.

But even with his head buried in the sand, the life he was living (yet strangely enough was going along with anyway) was so very far from what his old one was. No longer little brother of scary guy, he was the scary guy; no longer the not quite popular one, but rather the opposite. The differences were striking; making his reaction all the more odd to me: there’s a lack of urgency here when my inner self was screaming at him to do something, (to do anything), actually NOW, kid!

Then there’s the not wholly unexpected dark aspect that came out. Popular kids and dark sides do tend to go matchy-matchy in YA don’t they? So there’s a scary/dark aspect to his new reality that’s more clearly laid out close to the end of the book. It was interesting; it was intriguing and I found myself paying closer attention when previously I’d been skimming. I truly do wish this was the focus rather than tit being a whole lot of Cal being dense… maybe, I would have enjoyed UNDERCURRENT a bit more. To make matters worse, there’s the fact that things end abruptly; consider, it had taken more than three quarters of Cal and I to click, then all of a sudden: ‘The end’? Aw, come on!

Thank you, Edelweiss!




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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Golden by Jessi Kirby

Golden
Good Reads Summary
Golden by Jessi Kirby

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

There’s a growing out of one’s comfort zone, seeing others for what they are, but more importantly, there’s a character seeing herself for what she is and could become, then the possibilities that all those opened up as a consequence. I loved this, how there’s slow moments but all the same packed with emotion and reality

In this are two stories yet again, one of the good girl and another of the golden one. Parker, the good one is perfectly perfect in what she does. She is trying to do what’s expected and as we see she actually does that. Parker’s path crosses that of Julianna’s when she picks up the others journal getting to know who the other is and seeing that the reality is far from perfect with there’s actually being more to consider.

I’d initially picked this up because I personally felt it read lots like AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE.  In the latter is a mystery unfolding at the same time as another girl was trying to figure out her place and her direction. All the while AMELIA ANNE's own direction/place was being laid out. I felt the parallels between those two girls were what was in store for PARKER and JULIANNA. And I suppose, I was right as there an also identity in what Parker and Julinna were going through; that there were choices being made, choices reluctantly faced. And there’s that more real feel, a showing that not all is what you think it to be. Good girls may be good, and golden ones may be just so, but perhaps, no actually, they’re more.

Beyond the mystery of what had gone down, Parker’s story offers a bit more heart particularly with her relationships that read real but not once perfect. That which existed between her and her mother; that which she wishes she had with her father; and that between a friend that so different from her, it’s a wonder at all they’d connected at all. And, yes, even that non relationship with the boy. Bottom line, beyond the mystery, there’s the realities that her mother is not quite perfect, or trying too hard to be so; that her father isn’t the bad guy her mother would want him to be seen; that her best friend (different though she may be) is still a friend and that being outgoing lively and out there doesn’t exclude the reality of her being smart in her own way. … all those links from one to another then another? REAL, FLAWED…  FRUSTRATING. I loved the book all the more for those very reasons. 

Given all that you’d think Julianna’s story shadowed by the first. That’s not the case as she too has a story, with her choices and her realizations and her taking her head out of the sand… ALL LOVELY things taking place allowing possibilities previously unconsidered. Yes, hers is the mystery to unravel, but hers is also one of characters accepting realities and at the same time opening themselves to other possibilities.

THANK YOU, EDELWEISS!



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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ink (Paper Gods, #1) by Amanda Sun

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Ink by Amanda Sun

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

First, major plus points for the brilliantly creative world of Japanese kami, nightmares that haunt and then what could be done with ink on paper... and this is me, properly impressed. Who here has a deep seated fear of claymation? Is anyone else creeped out by those? Anyone… anyone OK, I know can’t be the only one who’s both equally terrified (to the point of nightmares) and then fascinated by what these things. I mean Chicken Run, people! Clay chickens that talk…seriously, those don’t frighten you? Or even Big headed Coraline and the rest of them with their button eyes? Creepy. Except it’s along those lines that I was impressed by the creative parallel world that Tomo and Katie live in. Yes, a bazillion points for drawings that come alive, but better a billion points more for the malevolent feel they had going for them… fascinating yet obviously frightening.

Yet it is sad I am to say a lot of the good stuff (great even) is merely extra to the meat of the story that I feel I've read before. mean it is set in the Japan, right? Yay! And there are hot Japanese boys, yes? Yay again! But strip all that down, and this could have been set anywhere and cast with anyone!

Both Tomo and Katie lacked something. He’s haunted by what he can do; she’s haunted by what’s she’s lost. She’s the fish out of with her being gaijin; he’s hot bad boy whose misunderstood but with artistic tendencies (wait, that actually really is a positive. Heh.)  Honestly, though  they both could have been so much more… Or perhaps not? Especially as I consider that a lot of INK runs parallel to plenty other YA’s I’ve read before (and not the good YA’s either.)  It’s to this end that I’m struggling not to name reads-like titles here, but when you have all of the following:

(a) Stalky behavior coupled with, (b) Douche bag behavior, (c) Then an odd, inexplicable attraction that evolves into more from afar, (d) The denial of the same by one for the other, (e) An eventual turn around and a declaration of being helplessly drawn and even (f) A link between the two that’s blood deep?

Well, doesn’t it all just sound familiar?  Then why don’t we throw in friends that warn certain key persons others off (or try to at least); then dumber besties of the other, that goad her on?!  Or wait, why not absent parental figures? Or wait, why not the very fact that she is virtually new kid on the block?! My God… I could go on and on and on! I mean sure there is a teeny role reversal on who does the stalking, but come one: does admission of skeevy behavior suffice to let said skeevy behavior pass? Ergh, I think not!

Yet for all those negatives, I kept on mainly because there was a seed of different here particularly in what he could and what she could do. It was interesting, the images Sun’s words conjured, her descriptions of moving ink and pictures that come alive. As said, both fascinating and frightening. If only it had stayed there… much later in the book, we reveals are made and key people outed. Yet, strangely enough, I wasn’t feeling the danger surrounding them perhaps because it felt almost like “token bad guy” .  Then later tack on the reveals of who knew what and why… Well, you could pretty much call who that was early on; this guy’s growing role in things though not unpredictable felt over the top,  going from being barely a blip to crazy dude where you come from/ what you on? Things are not helped by the love triangle in the making feel he had me fearing.

Summing up:  The start was pretty kick ass.  The what he could do and what she could pretty awesome as well. But really, were we take away Japan, and the different paranormal thing going on… Well, I’ve read this before...

Thank you, Netgalley!
2.5/5





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Monday, April 15, 2013

Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. Can you love someone too much?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.


My Thoughts
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Why do I request this stuff?

It was knee jerk, me clicking the request button… and it’s my need to see “Feedback Sent” on my dashboard that’s spurred me to read it at all. I mean I hated the first book, people. What on earth possessed me to continue with this? If I recall the first, I likened reading it to watching a train wreck happen.

Nothing much changes here except that we get heaps more of douche, as the story is retold from Travis’s POV. So now I get that he has never slept with an ugly chick, now I see how he treats women how they want to be treated, and that he doesn’t see himself better than anyone else… and now I want to take a blunt anything and smack him silly!

Then there’s his Pigeon… and holy moly, but Iif it’s at all possible, she’s gotten worse too! She’s hot the cold then running away then taking him back…oh wait, that’s exactly what I hated about the first… That and the fact that they “needed” each other too much!

And Dear book gods… if I could pick three things that made me loathe him more.. it would be for the word 'bagging' I mean really? Who talks like that! Plus that epilogue?! For real… O.O

Erg… thank you, netgalley?



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Sunday, April 14, 2013

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If He Had Been With Me
Good Reads Summary
If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I truly felt I knew this girl except with that positive comes the negative of me not liking her all that much, simply because she made it incredibly hard for me to do so. Perhaps that's OK because does one need to love the protagonist to love her story? And this is one story that I did love... it's her laying out who she is, who Finny is, and who they are/were to each other.  The specifics gone into her story had me knowing her (but not loving everything she had to say/ do,) mainly it's the slow realizations on her part coupled with her not so stellar moments that had her coming alive for me. And then there's Finny... Also, the last three chapters? Broke my heart…

So, we have her present then her past then a prologue that makes it clear what's coming. A lot like with INFINITE SKY, you know it's coming but continuing as I did I think I made a decision anchored on a hope that maybe just maybe something else would carry their story to an alternate end. Anyway, working toward an ending that we are already aware of, we see this girl and this boy and them being together and then them growing apart, for reasons not that clear to the players themselves.

And apart for much of the book, a lot of what she experiences, besides the whole complicated mess of Finny/Autumn, range from the sad to the real to the sweet then the annoying:  first loves, parental blow ups, depression and then the failing to deal; as well as family friends who read more like family than those who actually were family; plus ‘friend’ friends and her finding a place among them; and then losing connection then making them again to herself then to others. They all had me loving them... 'till I wasn't anymore.

Of course, while that present’s rolling on, there are those bits of her past inserted here then there that made it plain just who she was to him and vice versa. Yes, it’s the length of time covered in the book that allows a clear picture of Autumn to surface, but it’s those snippets of a shared past with Finny that had me liking her. A part of me cannot get over her need to be reassured by others over devotion and leaving and loving, but another part of me could grasp why she was the way she was.... Still, it's hard to love her, but right now I feel like I get her.



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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse, #2)
Good reads Summary
The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m keeping this short:  overall this had an easier feel than the first; there was zero struggle on my part to get into it at all. Their world after all is still different with magical creatures and fantastical feats, plus a creature/best friend type that shows up (a manticore!) All that said, perhaps the ease at which I got into it maybe a negative:

>The complexities of who Naji was and what he had to do, then Ananna and who she was for him/ to him: it’s all muted somehow because a lot of what happens in here is Ananna and her feelings that may or may not be reciprocated.

>Now were we talking YA love story, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but this one picks up from a story of an assassin and a pirate each with particular strengths that had them feeling “new” to me. All her ‘I love’s him but he doesn’t love me’ was not the Ananna that I remember.

The Pirate’s Wish could have been better, but bits of this entertained me, particularly the connections beyond the romantic sort of those between a mythical creature and a girl, those between friends and then issues of loyalty. Then the magical world of the Mists and his desert, then her and the sea… then more unexpected worlds I’d not even considered. Wildly imaginative all of that, but a whole lot of lovey-dovey ordinariness that had me feeling The Pirate’s Wish less and less… ‘til that awesome ending of course.

3/5




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Friday, April 12, 2013

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Life in Outer Space
Good Reads Summary
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies ... but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I can’t stop smiling!

Life in Outer Space is funny and sweet. Best of all it’s about friends. Also, I can’t get over how cute this was simply because the lead in this one is clueless, absolutely clueless about what’s going on and about what’s up with those around him! Then him, figuring it all out… it was not as frustrating as I thought it was going to be. Clueless kid was cute, you see. Even more so with the rest of them in the picture.

Stuff I liked:

...This is random, but it was Say Anything. Recollections of a young of John Cusack and that boom box just have me feeling warm and fuzzy… but really it’s Sam’s movie nerd-ness in general because though he knew what he did, the rest of them prove that  there’s almost always more to see (80’s rom-coms or Japanese horror movies or whatever else.)

… Bonus likes from me for a treasure hunt follow to X moment that proved the girl to be so much more than mystery new girl as well as him to be so much more than movie nerd. My Point: They are all more than the labels they’d given themselves! Yet another plus: movie-themed dances with the funny addition of multiple Marilyn Monroe’s.

Then the things I simply loved:

… Friends… it’s this bit that drew me in some more. I loved all of them together. Sure Sam’s clueless way mixed with his sense of preservation given the high school order he was all too aware of was what had me liking him at first.

… Plus, there’s his wary, keep your head down manner that had him reading true yet funny in a sad sort of way, but them together explains a lot of the way he was. The point is I’m a sucker for groups like his, of people in a solid unit with each of them with their own thing. They’ve a sense of fitting together and having a common place without stifling what made each of them them..

…So, movie nerd who knows what he’s talking about but still unsure about what he’s got to offer with a group of kids who fit together despite them each having their own thing of movie kid, then kid with karate skills, then another (two others?) oblivious and too eager sometime… Well, they already had the makings of a great something, but with entry of new girl things get shaken up. So that the little role they’ve carved for themselves –that their the kids on the fringe- was not necessarily the only thing because a lot of this is about going beyond labels, seeing a bit more in others:

“In math, we learn about outliers - statistical anomalies that lie outside the main data set. The outliers don’t fit the pattern the rest of the figures are trying to make. They tend to throw all other figures of balance.”

 







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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spirit (Elemental, #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spirit (Elemental, #3)
Good Reads Summary
Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer

With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And there’s the Hunter I was waiting for! Though not exactly the Hunter I was imagining back in book one. Why on earth was I imagining clean cut, serious military type boy? About the only detail that matched up to what I Imagined him to be is the white streak in his hair ala Pepe La Pew! Here apparently, his’ tatted up, pierced all over with longish hair. Obviously physical descriptions are things I skim, because who really needs to know how a body suits up in which label or in what manner? I can come up with much better images, thank you very much. Still it’s a disconcerting to realize the Hunter in my head and the Hunter in everyone else’s? Not the same. Me thinks, a reread of Storm is long overdue. But this Hunter, minus the physical, was what I’ve been looking forward to!

Who knew all the pent up issues this guy had? You’d think dead dad and a self issued responsibility of carrying on in the guy’s footsteps would be enough, but no, in this we have connections on the mend, people letting him down, and over the top reactions that had me wishing he had a greater handle on his powers and less one on his temper… because some people? They were just begging for a smack down.

The biggest thing I enjoyed was Hunter’s burned twice drama because that’s the main thing that had his actions making sense and then not sense once new girl popped up. I got a kick out of the newness that she brought in, but more I got a kick out of his wary reaction to her. Because factor in her particular baggage, and you see they’re the same, but not completely. Seeing them figure things out: awesome, then made even better by pretty cute text moments. It was so very authentically now.

Then there’s a little of the expected sads that balance out the high octane action moment s in any Merrick book. The typical variety of them and their family, while there he was with basically nothing/no one to ground him, (it kind of choked me up a little.) But in all that… there’s Michael, who’s made me love him even more in this one!

Thank you, Netgalley!





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Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer

Breathless (Elemental, #2.5)
Good Reads Summary
Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer

Nick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it’s just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that’s a survival tactic.

But now he’s got problems even his brothers can’t help him survive.

His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going quick as mercury from daring to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dancer friend Adam is throwing Nick off balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he’d rather shove back into the dark.

He can feel it—-the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is starting to find out that sometimes nothing you do can keep the peace.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How unexpected! But just like the other Elemental books, it’s fun exciting and fast… but also not the typical Merrick drama I’ve come to expect. I confess:  I’m not up to date on whether Nick gets his own novel, but if like Hunter this novella is but a peek into the trouble he’s going to get into, then that book needs to get here now.

There’s not much to say though, and I always find it difficult to lay down what I liked/disliked, considering this is novella, you know? They’re always almost too short for the effort, but what’s here’s got me excited for the full lengths to follow.  I didn’t think Nick had it in him to be different. Recall that his the good guy in a family of too hot too handle brothers all with a special speshulness that’s not based on them being hotties (OK, not just based on the being hotties).

Nick’s drama veers away from the earlier ‘What would momma say/ poppa do/ I miss them oh so much’ or the headaches of boys getting into it over girls with mysterious circumstance.  And I liked it… even particularly as it’s made clear that the Merrick boys aren’t the only hot heads to contend with because if the Merrick boys already have sucky circumstances to get over, there’s still others worse off… i.e. Quinn, who’s interesting in her own way. Sucky family contest, we have a winner!

Then Adam… hmmm… interesting.

Thank you Netgalley!




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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

17 & Gone
Good Reads Summary
17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

You don’t get what you think you’re going to get, but wait a beat and what you get is… equally as good as how things were laid out. Split it between what’s she’s experiencing, the things she knows AND what’s eventually revealed, and I was impressed. The Paranormal element of missing girls and her knowing things about them because they’ve revealed themselves to her had me thinking that there was some thread linking each girl to the other, half of me was afraid this was some murder-mystery… then there was me realizing that it’s far more complicated than that; seeing this as more sophisticated in how things linked up.

First, though each girl in this has a story, a lot of them are sad ones… some of them strangely not so sad at all given rise only by the teeniest meeting of circumstance; yet in all those stories is a thread of possibility. All of these stories read real for some girl, past present future what have you… but they all read possible… making all of them more haunting than any other paranormal thing.

Then, seeing there’s no external source magical thing linking things up, but just Lauren and how there’s little known about her save the boyfriend who’s into her and a mother who doesn’t ‘mother and scold’ but was just there. I like the realness in all of them… particularly her and how her various relationships were starting to fray, plus there’s her admission on how easy it is to in fact get things going down that road and push people away.

So, there are questions on what’s real, what they want, what she’s to do and what becomes of her…  all piling up on each other, making for a slow buildup. It’s quietly atmospheric so while I was held by the word and her world, I was never quite sure what /who to believe... but these individual girls and their particular stories had them coming alive for me as they were for her. Yet her and them? They had me feeling haunted a little.. all those mentions of missing and forgotten.

Bottom line: This has frighteningly real stories that’s coupled with an unexpected end, one that makes sense the more I think on it. Plus the slow build up and the sophisticated way things finally do connect allows for  a feel that’s not quite real but more real the longer considered.

4.5/5




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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like
Good Reads Summary
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

If this is what happy looks like, give me some more! It does not disappoint, nor does not mislead... and it's an excellent pick for a fluff break between all those emotionally weighed reads i've been reading of late.

Not to say that there wasn't some heft here because there was: her and her secrets, then him in the public eye, but it's the light witty exchanges between them that first reeled me in. So, focus on their internet exchanges and I was tickled pink. And were I to piece this apart and say what worked and what didn't, high on my list would by her as EN and him as GDL... it was the best part of the book is all.

The hefty bits that complicated matters was a surprise too. Mainly because I found myself believing what they were both feeling. Him especially, it's not quite poor little super star but almost. And her with her more complicated life (if that's possible, considering Grahams super teen heart throb and all!)

Maybe I'd have thought the combination of their woes over the top... except I didn't! Why? God knows.. but him and his 'look at where i am now' that was not once came across as gloaty but more bemused even surprised had me liking him. Then her with her needing to do things a certain way and failing to acknowledge certain other things; well, both of them worked for me.

And for clarity: Yes, this does have the same feel as YGM and Sleepless.. and I liked it




blurb saying "in the tradition of you've got mail and sleepless in seattle..."
=
me clicking to-read




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Monday, April 8, 2013

Bruised by Sarah Skilton

Bruised
Good Reads Summary
Bruised by Sarah Skilton

When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else -- more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout. With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world -- full of dark humor and hard truths.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


BRUISED is not exactly a coming of age story; it’s one of knowing what you can and cannot do and then dealing with consequences of things unexpected. In this one it’s Imogen, struggling to get over what she’s witnessed and at the same time having those around her struggle along with to make things right for her. Contrast all the emotional turmoil she’s living with to the uneasy state she’s in with her friends, and family and things went from worse, then worse again before any of the better came out.

A lot of what’s in this is not easy: her losing faith and failing to see purpose in what had previously defined her has  her pushing others away then breaking down (in all aspects) yet still wanting/needing to prove that she could do something … And her break down (because it is that) was raw and clear but obviously hard to get through.

Then add on her family and the things not dealt with there, and things got even more difficult. Though I wanted an easy fix for her, what we got here is better. We see ALL aspects of her life shift toward the negative maybe because of the shooting but maybe also because of other events that had come before it. Then consider her issues with her father and an unsaid anger over how he is, along with brother and her loudly declared resentment over who he is and what he could do, as well as her uneasy almost absent connection with her mother. But what they do because of what she’s gone through is only a small part of everything else… because this family, this girl? ISSUES.

Take all that and we have girl on a self destruct  because she’s unable to cope and lost certainty on who she is what she could do.




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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Steel's Edge (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews

Steel's Edge (The Edge, #4)
Good Reads Summary
Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive...


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love you Ilona Andrews, Kate and Curran will forever be among my favorite one UF couples, but this Edge conclusion leaves a lot desired.

It felt almost too lovey dovey for my liking. I needed more of their two worlds. I needed more of the people with varying magical abilities. I needed some more of the creatively weird, scary even with their grandfather and all his shenanigans. And funnily enough… I wanted more of the kids, I mean a kid who can control the dead and another that turns into a feral cat? Yes, please more. Sophie too and how messed up she’s been left.

The biggest thing though is how big things felt like they were simply tacked on there. The start was slow as usual, but I’ve come to expect that for the build up and the laying out, but the closer we got to end it felt like things had been added then added then added.. This could have done with a few more chapter, is all… or maybe that’s just me not wanting a series to end?



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If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me
Good Reads Summary
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

There are some things you can’t leave behind…
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


IF YOU FIND ME took my breath away; everything in this one did from her reactions to affection to the revelations of things in the woods then to the sweetness between her and her sister, all that is so clearly laid out, and it opens with a girl who feels torn between being glad to be out of where they were but being more than a little doubtful of the good that’s come their way.

And she breaks your heart too, with her matter of fact manner, accepting the hand she’s dealt, and then living with a secret (a secret that shouldn’t have come as such a shock despite it being a devastating one considering everything else that’s been made clear.) And there’s the word: DEVASTATING. Their past, their life, living as they were… it’s all so absolutely sad.

First, it’s the sisters isolated from the world that strengthens the bond between them; a link made even stronger by the shared nightmare of the things they’re put through. In all that, it’s clear that the elder is strong, does what she has to do, and will do anything for the younger one.

There’s that thing about resilience and kids. In this one, it’s an absolute truth; a truth you wish is not illustrated so clearly … because where they have to bounce back from, it’s so much more than distressing. And even with the happy way things seem to unfold, it is understandable why she takes it all in with a bit of doubt, such a reception made sense; I simply wish it didn’t make too much sense.

Then there’s the newness of things; that contrast between their past and their present that was jarring. How she sticks out but not because of the reasons she suspects. And then in all that newness is a surprise connection to a forgotten past that I wish was fleshed out more. From Ryan, to her father, to who Delaney was, and even to Melissa, I know who they all are, but I’m left wishing more of them was laid out.

READ THIS.




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Friday, April 5, 2013

The Vow by Jessica Martinez

The Vow
Good Reads Summary
The Vow by Jessica Martinez

No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?(less)


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In this one we have rash decisions founded on a long time relationship that defies definition. I've got to hand it to Jessica Martinez... neither of her previous books feel as different as this one does. The leads and their connection to each other especially stand out.. then there's what's allowed to happen because of that link.

The two are set apart but for reasons that differ. He's the foreigner come into a small town community where people make it their business to know what others around them are up to. She's tragic girl. So they're not actually set aside, more but set apart. And it's them living a fishbowl life- for so different reasons-  that their connection is made. Anyway, different reasons but the same experiences make for a pair of kids believable both in their individual flaws then them as odd ball couple (but not a 'couple' couple though.)  

Mo. He's sharp and a sarcastic and observant and has ill timing with his humor. It's his humor that had me liking him with each funny he made (tried to make) especially when made at her expense, his own expense, or his/her family's expense... because despite the self-described 'paranoid' feel of his words, there's truth and accuracy to what he was saying (about family, his and hers in particular.. not about society in general, though the things he could say about that...!)

Then there's the less than stellar side of Mo: RASH, I said. And it's true, too. There's a lack of forethought to what takes place so that in much of the book, we have this kid (funny kid) dealing with the what-now's while being so obviously ill equipped to do so. But the best part was him wanting one thing, seeing certain aspects only, zeroing in on what was lost and what was not done... these all felt authentically young to me. It made him a bit more real. There's a selfishness to him that made him more than the funny guy except that's not the only thing about him; he really isn't as bad as all that sounds, especially with his best friend, his sister, and even his sister's evil cat all factored in. 

Annie. She's almost too good to be true for me... except a lot of this is her choosing to do things because of a need to be somebody for someone. Dutiful daughter, afraid to rock thimgs on the homefront, and at the same time being  gung ho (almost desperate) about keeping the only person who gets her close by. So, it's her need to be somebody for someone else (though not obvious at first) that's both so wonderful then terrible about her. Her Tragic past has her walking on egg shells around her parents and nurturing    her and Mo's unexpected connection.

And it's the second that makes the story interesting (such a tame word) more interesting upon the entry of new boy. I'll be frank, I don't think new boy was a necessary addition... because the story with her/his family and Mo and connections of the weak and strong type THEN the necessity of making decisions for herself then for/because of others? Well, while I didn't quite cry, it seemed like I had a  lump the size of golf ball stuck in my throat close to the end there.

3.9999/5

Thank you, Edelweiss




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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts
Good Reads Summary
The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5-4 of 5 stars

Two sides. There are two sides to this girl’s story: one more real in emotion than the other. I will be honest though, one side was more emotionally real than the other, but it's that less real part that had me smiling because the aspect driven by questions of loyalty and what now’s, that sad part? Well, it did what it was supposed to and had me feeling for all the sisters then wanting a bit of what they had for their parents, specifically for their father.

Fathers, daughters then sisters. The heart of this book lies in the family, and how Jude copes with changes her father’s going through, then her setting certain goals because him/ for him. It’s sweet the genuine connection she has for him. There’s a true affection that I felt it. I also felt all those other emotions: scared, sad, lost… and even angry. There’s truth to what she was feeling because all those things were understandable reactions to what they were all going through with him.  Then there’s the glimpses glimpse into sisters and promises, and age gaps or no, there’s also a connection among them, beyond hand me downs and shared journals. The roles Jude sees them have I could picture it all. (The oldest is the wise one, the youngest is the strong one; then there’s the emotional one etcetera.) You’d think it an oversimplification, and maybe it was, because later some of them do prove to be more. But really here there’ are sisters, aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

The girl. In her we've a protagonist so used to following the lead of her sisters that she doesn’t blink at the years-old promise. It’s this bit that has me nitpicking yet again: her even considering the odd oath at all had me feeling her younger than the eighteen that actually she was. It sounded slightly beyond realistic what’s promised by her then more unrealistic what’s expected of her, stretching what’s plausible too almost too much. I really did have a moment wondering over the predicament she found herself in, one where she was weighing falling for cute confident boy versus proper places and loyalty.

The boy, Emilio. I liked him. I mean I really, really liked him (even the too confident aspect of him) because with him that way, there’s unexpected back and forth between them, and that had me wanting more of the two of them together on a page! Because with him she’s   more than what I’d initially pegged as good little sister following along. With him, there’s another of her giving as good as he dished out. She’s equally sure of herself even if sometimes he’d say something that had her tongue tied. The point is: Chemistry. They had it.


Thank you Edelweiss!





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