Friday, May 31, 2013

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

A Wounded Name
Good Reads Summary
A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

There's a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.

Now, in the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster's ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.

At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster's grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.
Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison's dark and sensuous debut novel, the name "Ophelia" is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as "Hamlet".

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

you know how this story ends… except where the first focused on his (in)sanity, his grief, and the lot of them getting caught up in one plot then another, this focuses on her. how maybe (just maybe) she’s more than daughter, sister, lover… or while she was those things, she’s not passive in the same, no mere object of another’s judgment/perception, rather an active player, making decisions that made no sense to me... but decisions all the same that drew me closer.

i tried to make sense out of him, he, and them; out of their grief and their schemes… and as said, we all know how the story ends,  but it’s the contrast in so many things here that had me paying attention, (and there were lots of those here): obedience/responsibility. place/expectation. virtue/judgment. his goals/her in the way.  so, was this new twist/old story?

not completely. because she felt more than ophelia, passive and following along, whose (in)sanity and virtue the subject when brought up. a lot of what happens felt like a matter of choice… her choice. she’s not a passive little player in this but an active one, deciding (sometimes foolishly, heedlessly) to do what did based on she wanted.

truly, a lot of what she’s subjected to (subjects herself to?) had me angry… because they’re all still assholes in this version. so, yes and no… to the new twist/old story for ophelia as good daughter/ sister, swayed by what’s expected, molded by what others need, cracking under pressure and yada yada yada. Because the ending is the same, but we see so much more of her…it’s not just assholes and their issues especially as one considers how she’s not just told what to do, there’s choice here. she chooses to love. she chooses to be the good daughter. she chooses to keep her promise. even when a lot of those decisions made no sense. also… the way this is written?! twas’ all so very, very good.

thank you, net galley!

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Panopticon: A Novel by Jenni Fagan

The Panopticon: A Novel
Good Reads Summary
The Panopticon: A Novel by Jenni Fagan

Pa`nop´ti`con ( noun). A circular prison with cells so constructed that the prisoners can be observed at all times. [Greek panoptos 'seen by all'] Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car, headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember the events that led her here, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and there is blood on Anais's school uniform. Smart, funny and fierce, Anais is a counter-culture outlaw, a bohemian philosopher in sailor shorts and a pillbox hat. She is also a child who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met. The residents of the Panopticon form intense bonds, heightened by their place on the periphery, and Anais finds herself part of an ad hoc family there. Much more suspicious are the social workers, especially Helen, who is about to leave her job for an elephant sanctuary in India but is determined to force Anais to confront the circumstances of her birth before she goes. Looking up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais knows her fate: she is part of an experiment, she always was, it's a given, a liberty - a fact. And the experiment is closing in. In language dazzling, energetic and pure, The Panopticon introduces us to a heartbreaking young heroine and an incredibly assured and outstanding new voice in fiction.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5-4 of 5 stars

What the hell was that? It went from furious to terrifying then dark then darker. Sometimes, it was all those things all at once.
(I think I liked it)

Except how I liked this one at all is a wonder considering the lead was doing one terrifying thing to others or worse, to herself, from one moment to the next.
The only time you do get a hint of hope is the very last moment, but before that this was either about a girl or about some other kid and what they’ve done to be where they are.
(Clearly, they had problems)

She doesn’t pull punches, doesn’t go fade to black when things get ugly... because every single ugly thing here is laid bare. It shocked me but it gripped me all the same. Perhaps the language was part of it…all  the nae’s and umnae’s were a bitch to get through, but then things started going smoothly. Now, once that happened, Anais wouldn’t let me go. I saw it to the end… and yikes is all.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Eat, Brains, Love
Good Reads Summary
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Two teenage zombies search for brains, love, and answers in this surprisingly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel with guts.

Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass. But one day during lunch, Jake's whole life changed. He and Amanda suddenly locked eyes across the cafeteria, and at the exact same instant, they turned into zombies and devoured half their senior class.

Now Jake definitely has Amanda's attention-as well as Cass's, since she's been sent on a top-secret mission to hunt them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own-one that will lead the three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.

Eat, Brains, Love is a heartwarming and bloody blend of romance, deadpan humor, and suspense that fans of Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies will devour. With its irresistibly dry and authentic teen voice, as well as a zombie apocalypse worthy of AMC's The Walking Dead, this irreverent paperback original will leave readers dying for the sequel that's coming in Summer 2014.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I got a kick out of what kind of boy Jake is in this one. He read like a dog… and I don’t mean the douche baggy type either, but more like the easily distracted dog-mind as in is that a bouncy bunny that I see? I also got a kick out of how inappropriate he could be and how honestly lazy he was. He took nothing seriously! And it was funny; he was funny (most of the time) when it/he wasn’t too annoying. Then there’s the girl who while lacking in the personality that Jake possessed was a little interesting given what she could do and what she was doing with the same. So there he was eating brains… and there she is keeping tabs on his. (She’s psychic, you see.)

So we’re switching FROM the funny moments of Jake with the hot girl and them getting used to their new reality TO Cass and her secret world that’s very Men in Black in feel except with scarier men with bow ties and father figure types as well as former beauty queens and muscle men. That Cass is different is an understatement, understanding how she was where she was, was fun then funnier especially as we consider the Family thing they had going for them.

But I feel we’ve barely scratched the surface as to what she’s got to offer because where Jake’s go with the flow kind of guy… all funny when he shouldn’t be, drooling over (a) the hot girl or (b) someone’s brains, well… she? She’s a bleeding heart I suppose, feeling sorry for this and that even when she doesn’t mean to, and then forming attachments to this and that especially when she shouldn’t. It’s an aspect of her that had me split because when we first meet her, she’s very matter of fact over the blood and gore she’d deal with day in day out….only to have her change her tune upon “meeting” Jake. (I didn’t quite get that.)

That aside, what we do learn of her world and his world were entertaining things if a bit lacking in detail… maybe because the lot of them don’t know all the details themselves. So zombies are real, the more interesting thing: the varying degrees zombiehood and how they’d up a level… All of it’s a different kind of undead. And I liked it.

Funny stuff... (sometimes.)
Thank you, Edelweiss!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

(New Adult Contemporary)
*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ella and Micha… why do I keep reading ‘Mischa’ and why do I keep picturing this big hulking Russian kid? God knows! Now, the story starts differently, I will give it that and half the time I had no idea what was happening, but it kind of fizzled for me close to the end because later it became clear that’s this  was all about a girl owning who she was with the help of the guy who knew her best.

I can’t say that I loved this because a lot of what Micha was saying/ doing actually pissed me off. Tits and ass.. tits and ass was about all he could say when considering the girl. We couldn’t get passed one page without some crudely phrased thing passing his head. Then again, he is a guy… except, do all guys think that way? Although… he does sort of white knight things doesn’t he? Good thing. Bad thing. You decide.

The girl herself… hmm, what to say what to say? Her drama seems way blown out of proportion… though who am I to talk? It is a heavy thing what she’s dealing with 9or more apt, not dealing with) except there’s this lack of detail; it was insufficient to have me “into” anything. It’s all “because my mom was like this then I shall be like this” and it felt incomplete somehow as in that can’t be the only reason! So there’s some heavy stuff in here… I just wasn’t buying it all.

Romance-wise, it’s not as typical as other books of the same type. She tries to do things her way… manages to do so to an extent, then when he comes into the picture it’s all about reviving the past… and her getting in touch with her truth and what not.  So, this is me: not complaining (too loudly.)

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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

The Beautiful and the Cursed
Good Reads Summary
The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The author sums it up best, “It’s about real living gargoyles … in Paris… in the 1890’s. And they, like, protect humans. Or something.” To be perfectly honest, were you to strip all that down, you’d likely say you’d read a version of this somewhere, some when before.

There’s a girl, you see, and she’s been pigeonholed as fragile and weak, only to have each action/ thought by her run contrary to that. And it’s a family affair too, this being more than you think them to be at first. Both her sister and twin brother differ in some way or other. It’s her sister, Gabby who’s the most remarkable, I felt. As the girl was more in your face, more confident and more active in getting things rolling. The brother’s a whole other mystery though, and it’s on his end that things started feeling much too Tessa and brother all over again for my liking. Must it always be the brother getting into trouble with and the devoted younger sister(s) doing the worrying/saving/thinking? Seems like it to me.

Then the love interests, of which there are many in this one, none of them felt “new” to me. There’s perfect sharp looking distant brooding Luc and bookish but in a hot way Vander… (and check out those names! If those aren’t love interest names, I have no idea what is!)  The thing is there’s loads of romance to go around. Gabby too had her own troubles with the obnoxious (but in hot way) Nolan. To be honest I enjoyed the last pair the most, at least they made sense, with Gabby aware as she was of what she had going for her, and Nolan only too aware of the same.

Though this tries to be more than a YA love story, with Luc and his world… it doesn’t quite succeed. A lot of the tension is brought out by Ingrid and Luc and their ‘should we shouldn’t we’ moments. Then later by Ingrid’s other moments of ‘look at the hot boy with the books!’ As well as by Gabby’s own drama of I hate this ass but actually like him! EXCEPT there are other moments too; the moments where we catch a glimpse of the world that Luc, the Dispossessed, the Alliance and whoever else had been keeping secret. It’s those bits I’d have loved of more.

So, we know parts: how they protect the humans in their charge, and how they follow orders and tow the line… and how some of them would rather not. Then we find out who the bosses are and who the bosses of their bosses are… and it all gets a tad complicated, complications I wouldn’t have minded were it a bit more cleanly laid out. Then throw in the a world of baddies versus their world of good guys (who weren’t behaving like typical good guys either). It’s the little bits I liked… the rules that guide them, the responsibilities they put up with that I would have liked more. That aside, this was fun… and yes, different not all the time mind you. Hell, not even most of the time!) But those glimpses into the underworld as well as the demons? there’s an almost nightmarish quality to them. And I liked that aspect the most.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Mimosa Tree by Antonella Preto

The Mimosa Tree
Good Reads Summary
The Mimosa Tree by Antonella Preto

It’s the summer of 1987 and Mira is beginning her first year at uni. She’s got a radical new haircut, and an all-black wardrobe — she should be having the time of her life.

But it’s hard to get excited about anything when you’re being smothered by your crazy Italian family, enrolled in a course you’re not interested in, and expecting nuclear warfare at any moment.

Even a new best friend and the magnetic boy from art class can’t wipe away the image of a looming mushroom cloud. And Mira’s right. Her world is about to explode, but it’s not the skies she should be checking.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mimosa Tree is real. Never mind the beautiful girl who’s got it all going for her; in this a girl who knows who she is and cannot seem to fit in. Never mind the perfect family and easy connections, in this we’ve got people shouting over each other to be heard; it’s shouting that strengthens connections she could deal with out at times. And never mind the perfect boy you may or may not fall for at first glance, because while there is one here, he’s more than that too.

I love how real things got…how Mira felt she didn’t have much to offer all together but thought she had it all figured out. Then how they all knew her and she them, but always only up to a point. There’s always this distance to her, you see. Then there’s how other people in her life all have their own thing because isn’t that the way things really go? How things weren’t (just) about her, even when she felt as if it we were like that.  And there’s that closeness she refuses to see, because she’d much rather be set apart and pick things as she preferred. There’s a bit here about her survival map ~ an obvious play on how she’d rather be that unreachable place, free from fall out… and maybe this is a sad thing, but it’s the main thing that rang true for of her: this need to be her own person and pick and choose whatever that meant.

Family. There are loud women who know what needs doing, and there she is swept along by their whims. There’s a father with baggage, and we see he deal with him as he doesn’t deal with his. There’s honesty in her reactions to all of them: affection for one, hostility for others… and then confusion over why her mother’s reactions to her daughter’s approach toward her father. It’s her father and his ‘you don’t know how good you’ve got it’ that added friction, a bit simple at first but not quite the longer you consider the two of them… the three of them actually. Simple but not quite as we see his baggage and her deal with him as didn’t deal with his own. (I muddled that one up, didn’t I?) My point is… there are real connections in this one… just not easy ones.

And more than those of father, mother and daughter, we’ve got the added layer of her mother and her sisters. The tensions between the sisters, and the parallels between their story and Mira’s own felt more in a way. It’s because of those tensions that the final chapters here broke my heart a little bit.

Friends Insecure is what comes to mind. Surprising since she’s sure of what she doesn’t like and what she does like, but she’s not quite sure about what others see in her. So that when another so different from her takes an interest, she’s one part wary and another surprised. There’s this eventual building up of confidence that was a lovely development… because they’re so oddball in pairing: her, dour mean sad girl and the other girl who’s anything but.

Loves? Throw in someone who’s a bit more like her, and it could have felt a tad too perfect… because see here, there’s a guy who gets me! But it doesn’t happen that way. And the little doubts she had and her going of half cocked all worked with the image I had of her. But then there’s him setting the two of them apart, saying things like nobody gets us but us and I would have rolled my eyes except I didn’t because they areyoung and the inconsequential tend to feel big and dire then. So them  doing hammered home the reality that what they were doing was a young thing to do because, the fact is, they are both young… and that’s not actually a bad thing.

Thank you PBT for touring the book!

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

Tumble & Fall
Good Reads Summary
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings

The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.

Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world. 

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

TUMBLE AND FALL… It’s a very confusing start and with more than one story line to keep track off, it only got more confusing, that is till I settled into it. And perhaps I liked that aspect of it how the end of the world isn’t just about Romeo and Juliet. The end, apparently, does bring out the oddest of happenings, doesn’t it? 

>There’s Caden and his family; Sienna and hers; then my personal favorite, Zan and her Leo.

They’ve all a past… and none of which were happy ones. But their present is dire and they’re all doing things they wouldn’t normally be doing and it’s in this that a thread is found. There’s this sameness among all of them: a need to be with the one you belong with… though none of them knew exactly where that was at first. So surprisingly, their stories become one of finding their place… as well as the people they belong to.

I enjoyed bits of this even when it was a bit difficult to take in, how oddly they were all being. Sienna especially and her need to make things easier for the rest of them… Why bother indeed?  Zan and her need to see Leo as her one big thing. And it’s being that way that’s she’s unable to move on. And it’s odder stil because the world’s ending, but she’s still not moving forward! Caden had me not caring though… because it’s his story that’s most unbelievable of all: absentee father reappearing, prompting all the right questions from the kid; except a bit later all you get is questions and not much else because he realizes… as they all do, in fact… that they’re not where they’re supposed to be… and then the story becomes something else yet again: more personal but a bit hokey (if I’m being honest) of connections being made, or remade as the case maybe.


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

True by Erin McCarthy

Good Reads Summary
True by Erin McCarthy

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've been waffling between a 2.5 and a 3... but it's obvious that I’m still not tired of all the romances I’ve been reading of late. I’ve been enjoying the ease at which I sink into these stories flipping from cover to cover in a blink. And yes, a lot of these stories can painfully obvious, but other times, I catch a glimmer of something more than some guy trying to get into some girl’s pants. That’s the case with TRUE.

The female lead especially offered a tad more than pretty girl/ hot girl/ inexperienced girl. She’s a mix of all those but aware of herself and of others. It’s her awareness of stuff that sets her apart, but it’s the very same thing that had me doubting her sometimes too. I enjoyed her in your face, what the hell is wrong with everyone else around me moments. I also enjoyed her piecing things apart and not being afraid to put herself out there. She was all take me as I am. I like that. But then there’s the whole I lack experience and bla bla bla  thing she had going for her as well that almost had me setting this aside. Would she be another inexperienced too dumb sounding to be real reads? Another girl who gets into it with a guy who knew all the moves? And would they be another pair who couldn’t live with the other… just because? Here’s the thing: she is neither of the first, and they are not that last thing at all.

A lot of these books have so called smart girl leads who lack experience… and a lot of the time, these smart girls aren’t so smart after all, doing the dumb thing going all dependent/ insecure/ crazy in love. Rory doesn’t. She thinks, she acts and doesn’t do the dumb thing, but above all else, she’s not easily swayed by her liking this or disliking that or by her lusting after so and so. I really really liked that aspect this.

Except there’s the way the book began that I disliked. It’s a shocking start (criminal even) but it’s the reactions thereto had me doubting the book a little more. What happens (almost happens) is basically set aside. This scary thing simply becomes a means for the boy and girl to meet. Not good. As there’s no consequence... they’re all like, “Really?!” while I’m waiting for some ass kicking to take place. But nope and then suddenly out of nowhere we have hot boy in her line of vision and hot smart girl in his. Why it had to start the way it did… I have no idea because this serious thing’s made to feel less serious than it really should have been.

There were good things in this one too though. Think PUSHING THE LIMITS. The only thing I actually liked in that one is how the tough guy’s actually a softy with regard to his siblings. But me, liking this for that, is cancelled out though by later developments of someone pushing someone away for their own good. It all felt so romance book to me. Except since this is basically a romance, maybe I shouldn’t be so disappointed? But it is, and I am… because the way the female lead is almost set apart with her asking questions and seeing the truth in the way things were… Well, it could have been more.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Game. Set. Match. (Outer Banks Tennis Academy, #1) by Jennifer Iacopelli

Game. Set. Match. (Outer Banks Tennis Academy, #1)
Good Reads
Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli

Nestled along the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the world's most elite training facility. In this pressure-cooker environment, futures are forged in blood and sweat, and dreams are shattered in an instant.

Penny Harrison, a rising female star, is determined to win the French Open and beat her archrival, Zina Lutrova. But when her coach imports British bad boy Alex Russell as her new training partner, will Penny be able to keep her laser-like focus?

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. The daughter of two Grand Slam champions, she's hell-bent on extending her family’s legacy and writing her own happily-ever-after...until her chosen Prince Charming gives her the just-friends speech right before the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

With a powerful serve and killer forehand, newcomer Indiana Gaffney is turning heads. She’s thrilled by all of the attention, especially from Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and hot older brother, except he keeps backing off every time things start heating up.

With so much at stake, dreams—and hearts—are bound to break. Welcome to OBX: Where LOVE is a four-letter word, on and off the court.(less)

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I don’t see it. Why all the fuss over this one? Is it because we’ve got three couples in one book this time around?  If that’s the case the fact that there are three competing story lines to pay attention had me feeling slightly ‘that’s it?’ for all of them. Is it because of the tennis? Because tennis-speak is so not my thing. Game-speak of any sort for that matter. I confess to skimming each face off, zeroing in on who actually won/ lost. (Lazy, that’s me lately.)

So three girls, three boys men and then tennis, does all this make for a good romance? Mmmaybe? One could get a kick out of the fact things felt very Nora Roberts’ family saga with each couple having party one of the Harrisons. I certainly did. Here it is Penny Harrison that’s in focus, with brief glances into the drama of the other girls of course. Any who, for Penny, we see tennis stars and love matches (see what I did there?) For Jasmine, there’s family drama of expectations and disappointments and an unrequited something that amped things up. For Indy, it’s being new girl, YOUNG new girl specifically that set things up.

What I liked: they’re each their own person, each with their own drama. I also like that it’s not as simply the romantic drama that spurred their stories on (though the same is a big part of everything). When it lost me: this really isn’t that new. Because bottom line? This is a romance and got cute then hot when it was supposed to be.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2) by Samantha Young

Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Down London Road by Samantha Young

Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....

It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets …even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.

My Thoughts 
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So the skinny:

I found the leads in this one just as annoying as the pair in the first book. Except maybe they were more somehow. ODS’s lady lead, was standoffish and get out of my face, lady lead here is insecure but doesn’t show it, doing one thing then another that had others pegging her as so-and-so. The male lead in this one’s no different from the rest, as it’s his initial assessment of her that sets things up. So the sexy times in this was scorching. And mindless fun ensued. Except there’s a bit more drama in this one, drama that’s based on initial impressions, terrible first encounters and then sexy times. Dude, the sexy times!

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Monday, May 20, 2013

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1) by Samantha Young

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1)
Good Reads Summary
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Holy sexy wow.

The one thing I hated was how some characters kept dropping random stuff immaterial to the romance I mean Ph D this and Ph D that blablabla. And while I did enjoy this, didn’t love it mind you. Because while there were one or two WIN moments, over all this is just your typical romance of woman damaged, dead set on not getting hurt again and a guy equally determined to wear her down.

I enjoyed the two of them together especially her and her no nonsense and not too prissy ways and then him and his being…. hot? (heh.) But see, the girl could be too held back sometimes, and the guy could be too alpha as well… then again, I set on this because I needed some fluff. It has fulfilled that and then some because yes, Holy. Sexy. Wow.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

All Our Pretty Songs
Good Reads Summary
All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Confuzzled. On the one hand the gritty feel in this drew me in. How they’ve only got each other (or at least, how she thought they only had each other). Then there’s how oddly lyrical things went… because of said darkness, it’s moody and descriptive, but at times too much. Points of this, had me questioning the images conjured, was it them tripping in a bad way? (Good) Or was this trying too hard to be atmospheric and whimsical/ fantastical? (Not good.)

That split set aside, this was filled with things I love about YA, (the gritty kind): music, first loves, deep connections between leads; connections that at once set them apart from all else, making them strong and weak simultaneously. It’s that last that’s remarkable. Their pairing is not an unexpected one, there’s a history there. And perhaps it is that they’re such opposites that made them make even more sense together. Them, perfectly matched up in how different they were: one, life of the party one, the other all doom and gloom and real thinking; one, easy living and damn tomorrow, the other watching on the side lines. Maybe it’s because of those difference that they made sense.

And then things got darker. Except I was never quite sure if I was reading what I was (even having to refer to the blurb just to make sure it was going where I thought it was). It’s when I wished Pretty Songs had stuck to the path it started on: of sisters and connections that damage those party to it. Maybe it sort of did, Jack’s entry certainly magnified their differences. How easy things fit in Aurora’s world view versus how impossible things looked from the other girl’s so that all sorts of emotions came out: hard ones especially like indifference of one, jealousy of another and even insecurities of both. There’s a neediness between them that had me surprised… both so strong separately, but they’re weakness was each other and all that’s made clear with the boy (OK, not boy) in the picture.

It’s when the mystical magical underworld thing that came out of nowhere for me… and I’m still wishing that it was just somebody somewhere in the book tripping in a bad way, but darn it! I’m still not sure about what I feel for this one. Half of it was good 'till it went elsewhere. And I know! I know the blurb made it plain as day, but with the way things began here, people! What a waste.
(I think.)
(Urgh… I. Am. Undecided.)

2? 3? 3.5?????
Thank you Net Galley!

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in Flames
Good reads Summary
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are so many romantic entanglements in the making in this one, and in the mean time, I wanted to shake some sense into her! But her being on the trip to begin with was that, wasn’t it? It’s her family shaking her up. Distance, they said... but it’s more like them wanting her to open her eyes to what’s what. I liked the possibilities that that opened up.

It’s not the absent father or mother types in this one because they’re a hundred percent involved… and yet still: here we have a girl who acts, or more apt, reacts all the time. Rose is passionate and impulsive; it all these things that made her tense situation a crazier one. Thus, the road trip. And I love road trip books, too. Except I was left wanting a bit more of her learning about herself and less about her learning about these boys she’d found herself on the road with… which is precisely what happens!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed each moment of her ‘my boying’ them all. Because in the process of learning more about them, she saw that there’s more to her world than her ex. And things could get fun and sweet and then frustrating, but gosh! I wish it was less about her and the guy she was with.. (or not with) and more about something bigger. My complaints on romantic possibilities notwithstanding, Matty is a sweety, Spencer more so… but Logan? He’s the tough mysterious type… who’s sort of-kind of mean, but pulled the girl in because of the same.

Over all this was just an OK read. I just wanted some more out of it.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue
Good Reads Summary
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This was sweet, sad then real.

Early parts have her feeling like safe in her little nook. Happy, is what she was. While it’s not necessarily ripped out form under her, it sort of disappears. More importantly she’s at first oblivious then in denial then later clueless as to why. All they while, she’s trying to be understanding over their loss but having the most difficult time at it as she’s unable to separate their  loss from hers… because that’s the way things have always been: no her, no them, but an us.  ‘Till it isn’t anymore.

So, she’s caught adrift, and you’re sad for her, but wanting her to open her eyes because boundaries? This girl saw none.  And it’s in failing to see these that the lead read young for a girl turning eighteen, young, a bit desperate, and unaware of boundaries. And it’s failing to see these walls that much of her heartache springs.

Discoveries of all sorts

Friend gone, mother not there, father not really there either and all the while she’s caught in this in between time of kid but not kid. Feeling disappointment but being old enough to know that time’s up and the boat’s sailed… that it’s not her turn anymore because while she’s not ‘old’ old, then he’s older now. And you kind of hear her heart break, you know?

All made even more complicated with discoveries of a version of a mother so different from the one she’d become familiar with (and even dislike). There’s this disappointment between them, from her for her mother especially. So that her being caught in the middle of kid and not kid anymore? It’s most strongly felt between them because it felt like the kid was doing the mothering and if not, it felt like it was the kid wanting to not get stuck and wanting (needing to) move on, what she thought was the grown up thing to do. It felt simply felt sad, especially when considering the predicament she’d find herself in later.

Then there were other sorts of discoveries of just how strong she could be in finding her own way, seeing things for what they were… finally owning up to wrongs done, but before the last: feeling all these things that others were capable of letting her feel:

A lot of these were sad ones, but some a sweet respite, particularly between her and a certain other. The connection made between them was familiar but not; because it’s builds on. And if at first, there was that odd and doesn’t feel right feeling going on in me, it’s a feeling that didn’t persist. Mainly because I found it truthful her learning more of that side her. There was truthfulness to how young they both read. The reluctant attraction, heart beating then suddenly racing and then throw in just a bit of that conflicted “I can’t/ we can’t” and well, see, I finished this in three hours. If that’s not sign enough of a good read, well, I have no idea what is.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

The Summer I Became a Nerd
Good Reads Summary
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Objectively speaking, this girl is not one to love. She’s selfish, and way too into what others think of her. The double life and what not she’s living had me thinking she didn’t think too much of everyone else around her. I think she thought every one as shallow as she was.

But that aside, The Summer I felt young and fluffy and funny. I enjoyed her eventually, her enthusiasm especially, hidden as it was had me hoping there’s more to the girl than worrying about what so and so had to say. Plus the best friend type, Dan the Man, you are indeed the man! I like how he’s aware and unafraid to get in her face about everything she was doing wrong. I like the friction his presence added because it pushed her and Logan as well to step out a little more. And Logan, cute kid him.

Overall, this was a cute read. And though I still don’t ‘love’ love Maddie, she entertained me. Plus there’s a face off between a magical dark faerie and a princes elf. What’s not to love, eh? This was cute, but better: this was quick, too.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Icons (Icons, #1) by Margaret Stohl

Icons (Icons, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Icons by Margaret Stohl

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.

My thoughts
My rating: 2.5-3 of 5 stars

It’s the last quarter of ICONS that is its saving grace. But dear lord! Getting to that bit was difficult.  Now, let me lay things out as simply as I can: There’s Dol and there’s Ro. We don’t quite know who they are or what they are to each other, but neither is it clear to them (to Dol especially), but it’s implied that somehow, somewhere they’re something different, something special. In between, we’ve got these super secret texts between so-and-so, revealing what kind of world they live in. And it’s not a pretty one. It’s post Day, and they live in a world controlled by the Lords through an Embassy and a people of Sympas. But it all begged the question: who were these kids to them?

We find this out slowly because in the mean time, we slog through passage after passage of her being him and him being her and ‘all of them being so-and-so’… and me slowly but surely losing my mind! My patience?! my interest. But it’s with the sudden entry of a boy who’s different but not really, that things shake up. My main issue there after is difficult it became to buy into anything that was happening, as each character felt so little developed to me. Bad guy was bad guy, mysterious guy was mysterious and scary/crazy girl was scary/crazy. There’s simply this convenience to how everyone kept popping out of nowhere and falling into place. A lot like Scooby Doo and his gang, you know? Scooby and tall hairy dude must solve some mystery? Don’t fret there’s always this other dude who comes out of nowhere to explain how things are and what needs doing!

Yet another inexplicable thing: the ease by which connections were made,( and I’m not just talking instant love here). Convenient. It all felt convenient how he’s there and she could do this, and she just knew, so why the hell not? Then due to some disaster, they’re caught but due to some other convenience there’s another ‘presto’ moment.

In between the I am sorrow and he is rage and I am him and he is me things going on, I will say that Stohl’s built a pretty interesting world of Icon Children and Icons, Sympas and the Grass, Sympas and Remnants, and embassies in Silent Cities… except instead of ICONS feeling like a new different YA with an alien vibe?  All it felt like was same old same old, just another post apoc/ dystopian. I’ve read way  too much of the same of people under control, wanting out from under it, just needing someone to light a fire under them to get things going. And it did get going… eventually, like maybe three quarters in.  But it is because of said quarter that I’m still picking up the next one.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn, #2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Fire with Fire by Jenny Han

When sweet revenge turns sour… Book two of a trilogy from New York Times, bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.

Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...

My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Fire with Fire was… Wow (the last three or so chapters especially). The girls are back, scheming and cunning as always but lacking in something… perhaps not as feisty, maybe? Tough girl isn’t as tough; Ms. Popularity isn’t as desperate to be what she thought she had to be; and Mary well she’s still Mary after all. 

There’s a lot of guilt going around coupled with unsaid feelings. Then there the more tender sort of feelings that crop up out of nowhere. Protective for one, unexpectedly drawn to another.. you know, those sort of stuff. Bonus is that paranormal feel the last book ended with, that ending that had me on the edge? This sequel’s not lost it, but neither is this solely focused on it. Thank God. In this are girls being girls: sometimes scary, sometimes sweet… a lot of the times confusing. And just when I though I had a handle on things and the new dynamics amongst all of them… I’d realized that nothing was actually clear! Plus the last moments in this had me almost dropping my kindle. And I’m still wondering WTF happened.

So, there are mean girl moments and scarier BFF’s but not quite moments, too. I wanted to strangle some of them. Lilia is trying to do the right thing for the three of them. Kat, the Tough girl is tough but proves she’s more than that: there’s heart in her too. We see it with each memory she has of her mother, with each moment she shares with her family as well as with each moment she’s thinking about the two other girls. It’s Mary who had me most frustrated though, swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other of I hate him to I love him. I simply never knew what she as going to say.

Back to Lillia, dear me, but she’s the Island’s little Princess, isn’t she? except she’s incapable of seeing herself that way. Yet, with two boys panting after her because she’s perfect: beautiful, popular rich, yet I still don’t get it. Because I couldn’t stand her. Then again, I am not meant to love any of them am I? They’re all three of them wrapped up in the wrongs they’ve been dealt with. So that maybe I’m to pity one or two or all three of them? Perhaps I’m even to be fearful of what they’ve got planned. And I did feel all of that... but they also frustrated me. There’s no forward moment for any of them, as their all three, stuck in the past. Sure, there’s talk of what we do after this and college and what not but in the mean time… their world was feeling smaller and smaller, Mary’s especially. One would think that the plotting and scheming over with given the out come of the last book, but noooo, not at all. By that point, I wanted to shake some sense into all of them… get over it, get over yourselves and move on already. Needlessly said, that is not what happens.

I’m confused though. Is Mary what I think she is? Then WTH folks! There’s a Reeve and her moment, right? Right? And then there’s that Halloween boy, too. I am so utterly confused. I feel like I should reread this just to get the facts straight, but right now? Right now I’m savoring this ‘What? What? WTH did I just read?’ shocked feeling I’ve got. I do love me some unexpected twists and this sequel has it… in spades.


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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

The Lucy Variations
Good Reads Summary
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.

That was all before she turned fourteen.

Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano -- on her own terms. But when you're used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside the exclusive world of privileged San Francisco families, top junior music competitions, and intense mentorships. The Lucy Variations is a story of one girl's struggle to reclaim her love of music and herself. It's about finding joy again, even when things don't go according to plan. Because life isn't a performance, and everyone deserves the chance to make a few mistakes along the way.(less)

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We don’t see ourselves as others do… it’s certainly true for Lucy and her family. And that’s the point, yes? That perspective is what they all needed some more of. First there’s her not wanting what they want and then there’s them wanting more for her. And then there’s her focusing on what she’d lost out on and them seeing things passing her by. In the mean time, there’s me not loving any of them. At. All. It’s a difficult read at points because they each made valid points:

How she could be spoiled and bratty as well as how they’re overbearing and one track about everything. But here’s the thing: I felt they all could have been more, the father positioned as he was especially: on the inside but not completely, knowing all of them as he did and failing in so many respects to set things right. The mother and the grandfather and how she’d put stock in everything they said, till she didn’t anymore. And the inevitable outcome of that: growing friction, more dissatisfaction. All heavy stuff, I know except for me feeling a lack of something to have me want more for her, for them… whatever.

The only time she’s truly enjoyable to read of is her with her little brother, who’s not as perfect as she made him out to be. Why though? When he’s the good kid towing the line and doing what she used to do? And where she’s trying (struggling) to be her own person? And where her father’s there and knows and understands but falls short? Maybe that’s it... it’s that they all fall short of ‘real’ for me. I mean Gus couldn’t just have been little brother perfect, she couldn’t just be daughter rebelling, and their father couldn’t just have been perfectly clueless, right? They weren’t, we see all that in the end, but for much of the book that’s sure what they seemed like to me. They’re each all aiming for perfect when it’s so obviously impossible. It’s in trying to be that that friction between her and her mother, resentment for her grandfather, then a sadder wanting to get back what she didn’t quite have the first time around that comes out.

Then there’s the added complication of her as Girl and her feelings as such for so and so that had me worried… but also wondering what her damage was. She had me, shouting: NOOOO! Don’t do it! (Side note: it seems to me almost every lead I’ve read of Zarr’s has had me screaming thus at one point or another.) She’s young and figuring things out and while some things are clear to her, it’s clear to me that MOST other things, important things aren’t. What that thing about things being too good to be true?  The very same thing applies here; it’s her learning that truth that had her feeling more than spoiled bratty girl not quite brave enough to go after what she wanted for me.

This had interesting moments this one… but I still love her other books more.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions, #2) by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Rose Zarelli has big plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year, she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses to let Jamie Forta jerk her around...

...but if she’s not careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes unpunished) and possibly worst of all...the almost-girlfriend.

When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to strangle one or two someones in this book, off and on, for varying reasons: sometimes it was Rose and how she could be, more often it was Jamie and his hot cold, now you see then now you don’t. Other times it was her mother and her dealing with things but not really. Then there’ s her brother and her friends.

Though to be truthful, I actually loved  them (OK, not Jaimie) because the way she was with them and the way they were with her, there’s this true thing with them. And it’s surprising, these true moments because those true moments were few and far between when it came to who she was and what she knew about herself. The great thing: there’s an opening up of possibilities for her, there’s growth with her in stepping out of what she thinks, trying and seeing what works for her.

It’s quick this one but it’s pack full of  emotions that felt authentic, swinging from her being insecure about who she was and what she had to offer, then to the other moments of her not just being Peter’s little sister, or so and so’s daughter or so and so’s best friend. She’s her own person and slowly discovering exactly what that means. I enjoyed this one.

Thank you, Netgalley!

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Twisted Perfection (Perfection, #1) by Abbi Glines

Twisted Perfection (Perfection, #1)
Good reads Summary
Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines

Life outside of her house was a new experience for Della Sloane. The dark secrets of her past weren’t something she ever intended to share with anyone. They would never understand. No one would ever get close enough to find out. There was always a chance she’d go crazy sooner than they expected…

Woods Kerrington had never been one to be attracted to fragile females. They seemed like too much work. He wasn’t in it for the work just the pleasure. A night full of naughty fun had been exactly what was on his mind when he’d laid eyes on the hot little number that didn’t know how to pump gas and needed some help.

What he didn’t know was she was as fragile as they came.
The carefree girl who spoke her mind and didn’t care what the world thought of her was more breakable than he could ever imagine…

My Thoughts
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

  They say a picture is worth a thousand words….
so what’s this .gif worth?

Having read almost all of GLINES’ contemporary stuff, I knew what was in store for in picking this: sad girl, rich boy. No, let’s be specific here: There’s a girl of the sad and scarred variety lacking experience because of said sad/scarred life. There’s also a rich boy /man prone to being the alpha complete with ‘He roared this then he growled that.’ (I’m serious here, folks.) 

There’s also the multiple layers of drama that I just could not buy. For one, she’s running away from her past to “discover” herself (it’s something I could have liked too, but need she have ended up in someone’s bed time and again?) For him, it’s a father who’s overbearing and bent on him following a certain path… I didn’t get this because for such a tough guy you’d think he think he is… well, he just wasn’t. (Tough, I mean… or smart, for that matter.)  Then finally for them, it’s that pull that they can’t help (again)… how she’s made for him and he for her, but there are things in the way and blablabla, like how she’s a past she’s yet to reveal, and how he has a certain future to get to, then how he thinks she’s a certain way and she thinks he’s a certain way…. only for both of them to find that they’re way off base.

Plus there’s the whole thing on a girl with little experience managing to rock his world on every single encounter (and him for her too!) I mean, really now.. . shouldn’t it suffice that’s she’s pretty and he’s hot? Must they be gods and goddesses between the sheets, too? Apparently so… this is about the only aspect I bought. If titillation was the goal, then the same has been met. It’s on this note that Glines has upped the ante... in much more steamy detail. Unfortunately, it was the type of detail that wasn’t working for me. Because without fail, each sad moment here is concluded with them bumping uglies and me hot/bothered (what? I’m being honest here!) but still wondering what the hell they saw in each other to begin with. She’s a mess and he’s a douche; she wants what’s best for him and he wants to fix her... there’s a moment here when he declares with a passion to find a cure for her that had me rolling my eyes and getting a head ache in exchange.

So sad girl, rich boy with the either one or the other saving the other from themselves or each other.. who knows? More on him either growling/declaring/roaring that she’s mine mine mine  and then them managing to get each other off multiple times in a single occasion. So take all that together, well… this wasn’t bad…    Oh! who am I kidding? I hated this.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney

The Brokenhearted
Good Reads Summary
The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney

A teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and must balance her old life with the dark secret of who she has become.

Prima ballerina Anthem Fleet is closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. But when she meets the handsome Gavin at a party on the wrong side of town, she is immediately drawn into his dangerous world. Then, in a tragic accident, Anthem falls to her death. She awakes in an underground lab, with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. As she navigates her new life, she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, and the chilling secret of her family lineage…and her duty to uphold it.

The Dark Knight meets Cinder in this gripping and cinematic story of heartbreak and revenge. From Alloy Entertainment, this inventive new superhero story is sure to captivate any reader.(less)

My Thoughts
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

One would think Batman meets ballet something different. One would be wrong. Try Googling Batman, ballet, dance or any combination thereof; you’d be surprised how not-quite original the concept of this book was. I mean, consider:

  photo 4c479324-d895-4b83-a287-5e7d94ac0a3c_zpsd33e4cb9.jpg   photo 36c07f4f-0275-4674-a7a1-23c753f4db90_zps7b662d80.jpg   photo OKmnYrOn11-4_zps249237aa.png

As is usual for me, I didn’t bother with the blurb and dove straight in, so by the first chapter, it was apparent that someone had been heavily influenced by a very particular thing. I thought it cool at first BROKENHEARTED giving off the same vibes as Gotham City and an MC leading a privileged life but heading toward some darker goings on.

But you see with each page, it became more and more apparent that this book was trying to be something it wasn’t… trying too hard but not pulling it off. There are all these parallels, when in fact something else that’s being developed. Look, I’m mini Bruce, and look I live in a Gotham feeling city with it’s crime a crooked cops and whatever. But wait, I’ve also a beau, a bestie and a mysterious dude fellow I kind sort like. There’s all that effort to make it feel like Dark Knight, but you really have to put aside the (obvious) parallels, because this felt like a poor imitation of that. Here’s what I disliked (in an off the top of my head fashion, random fashion because I’m not quite sure where to begin):

First, is she a hero in the making? Not quite. Her type’s more of the kid falling in love time and time again them doing some pretty dumb stuff because of the same. More like kid in the wrong place/time variety; things happen to her or around her and not necessarily because of her. The introduction had me thinking dark moments of revenge in a not so good place. You know, Gotham City, Bruce Wayne? Only here it’s Bedlam and this is Anthem. So, yeah… you could say bits of those are present, but not mainly those. The lot of this was her being in love, then crying, then by some convenient external source getting information and then there being something that would happen with her around.

Second, there’s a randomness to the goings on that’s not quite pulled together by the end. Nothing gelled is what I mean. A couple of things are introduced but never full explored. A humming bird heart. A mad scientist in hiding. And a fighter (?) turned puppy dog in love (the same fact so obvious to everyone, save the heroine of course.) Then allusions to THE HOPE. A city in tatters. Plus, the MC’s own personal history as replacement kid. Throw in the golden boy and a bestie, both of who are not quite what you think. Put all that together (if you can) and you get this.

Most everything felt random. The main thing made clear is that she’s in love and does everything because of the same. Then everything that happened because of that made it painfully obvious how little thought she gave to whatever she was doing. I just wish the kid could see what was what early on. With the numerous hints dropped about who/what/why, the ending(s) was no big surprise. Now, what was surprising was why the lead was surprised at all.

Thank you, E!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2) by Elizabeth Norris

Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)
Good Reads Summary
Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?(less)

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This read like a summer blockbuster. And I liked it. It’s fast, action filled, with twists you don’t quite expect all made even more enjoyable with a lead that made sense. She’s a softer version of what I recall from book one, though. She’s still thinking and still doing but everything she’s gone through has added a layer of vulnerability to her. Yet there she was leading the way and doing what needed doing, so that while she’s pining for what’s gone and what could have been and what she wants, she’s still present. I love how the necessities aren’t drowned out by maybe love conquering all or even by love lost.

I enjoyed this even more with each reveal into other people’s character: how one maybe not so perfect after all, and another might not be so bad either, yet all the while there’s Janelle being who she was… thinking, being, doing not consumed over what’s not there, or who’s not there.

But it’s certain others proving themselves more, that allowed more of the excitement happen. Her world’s been destroyed and people were going missing, then a blast from the past in the form of Barclay, and you just know that there’s a connection somewhere somehow. Despite the an unlikely pairing here, it’s one that I was glued to because the same made it clear that this girl would do what she had to. So while there are some proving themselves capable of more, there’s some others screwing up in the major sense... A surprise moment of me choked up is what happened after.  I seriously wasn’t expecting moments like this. I mean this has men in black types, and here I was getting misty eyed? You caught me unawares Norris… good on you.

Anyway. Portal jumping. The sci-fi feel of these books just got stronger, with more things happening beyond her world, but it’s not just the portal jumping, multiple universes that made this a different read, there’s that mystery of what’s happening now, and why/how does Ben/ Janelle figure into the scheme of things. And the scheme in this one, ‘twas a grand one indeed, at times a bit  convoluted with not all aspects explained, but darned it, it entertained me!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.(less)

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Run= Die. Stay= Die.

Though the ending left me wanting more, there’s a whole lot of awesome in this one.

> In a girl whose tough she’s amazing that way.  Especially, when you factor in her moments despair over the lack of options, then a little after that the more surprising moments of just picking up and doing what needs doing. Then the darker instances of her questioning.
>In a boy who’s been following orders and taught certain truths, that in the end aren’t quite that either. How he’s not all there and then how he and others follow along and do.
>And in a grand scheme that’s equal parts diabolical and sensible. It’s in the step one, two three.. that you wonder ‘why’… and only beat later, wonder ‘why not?’ It’s a throw back to the Matrix this one with humans as virus to be purged that’s not that new, it’s in the how to that’s shocking.

There are bits in this that were spectacular. No, scratch that there were whole stretches in this that gripped me. I dog-eared a couple of pages because I couldn’t be bothered to get up and fish out a marker … that’s how good things got. Being in their heads to be specific is what did it. Their heads are dark places, and had me feeling a little of THIS IS NOT A TEST all over again. Terrified for them but curious about what they’d do next then curious about what was in store for each of them.

Another aspect is how small their world got and how everything, themselves especially had changed. How one links to another then another and how some in that chain are unaware of said link and what they all do in the meantime.

Then there were other bits I couldn’t grasp. One bit specifically was beyond me despite her simplifying matters in terms of bad guy falling for so and so. I wasn’t buying it and couldn’t see if she was or wasn’t buying it either. It’s a twist that proves they’re all not just what I’d pegged them to be at first. She isn’t older sister desperate to keep a promise, he isn’t just the guy who’s drilled a certain way to see things and do things a certain way either… even Sammy, he isn’t just little Sammy. Then the Others… I could have done with a bit more detail. Because what’s clear is things aren’t simple on their side either; there’s more to them that must needs revealing.

Good stuff!

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Going Vintage
Good reads Summary
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had no idea this writer also wrote SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, which I loved. But thinking back I see what links the two… what had me late up night till god knows what hour to finish them:  funny kid doing funnier things for a reason that didn’t completely make sense. The whole going vintage was OK, but the heart of this is her and her connections to these people. Feeling the pressure of expectation and reputation and feeling the impossibility of other people knowing who she was when she didn’t know that much about herself to begin with.

There’s a lot of her doing odd stuff then funny stuff. There’s boys in this one and sisters and family, so overall it’s good story, a funny one. Sure, it’s not all deep all the time, because the funnies and quirk moments some times became the focus, but when not in focus, there’s some pretty awesome characters and connections here.

The best one is how she and her sister are. They’re not copies of each other, and they’re not a simple sibling set either. Sure there’s Marsha-marsha-marsh moments, but there’s more to them than that: how they know each other, how her sister had it all together and how she’s not that way, but not too bent out of shape about it. There’s a pride for each other that I simply loved.

Then there’s the other connection that we see develop… her and Oliver. Oliver I smile as I type this… was a cute bonus. It’s not an automatic hot buy= in love. No, we see them talk about things, discover things, choose things and be. So that we see precisely that there is something there to consider. More than the boy making a statement, and more than the girl not quite sure about who she is, there’s a getting to know between them and then a realization that there’s a could be between them. That was a lovely addition.

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