Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks

*photo courtesy of Goodreads*

Title:  The Girl in the Park  
Author:  Mariah Fredericks
Genre:  Young Adult Mystery/Social Issues
Publisher:  Random House Children’s Books
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  April 24, 2012

When Wendy Geller’s body is found in Central Park the night after a rager, newspaper headlines scream, “Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled.” But shy Rain, once Wendy’s best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just “party girl.” As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder (Summary courtesy NetGalley).

The Girl in the Park is a quick, interesting read, pulled directly from today’s headlines. This could be the story of any girl, anywhere. It is also a story that shows how gossip, innuendo and assumptions can affect everyone.

Wendy Geller has a reputation as a party girl. She isn’t well liked at her elite private school, Alcott Academy. And it’s no wonder; she is demanding, bratty and she has a tendency to go after the things, and the people, she can’t have. After Wendy is found dead in the park, the rumors just get worse, often times fueled by the media. The only person who seems to be a voice for Wendy is her former friend, Rain, who is determined to find out who really killed her friend.

Mariah Fredericks manages to write a taut mystery, while also telling the story of girl that no one seemed to understand. She weaves all this together with a lesson in how gossip, and everything that goes along with it, can destroy a life. Fredericks definitely knows how to tell a story and keep it interesting. I was constantly trying to guess who the real murderer was. Every time Rain moved on to a new suspect, I was right there with her, agreeing with every assessment she made and convincing myself that this time she had to be right. Fredericks is a clever enough writer that you can’t help but agree with Rain’s thought process.  She is also quite effective at keeping the story moving, rather than going off on unnecessary tangents, which would have been very easy to do with this story.

I did find there to be a lack of characterization in the story. Even the main character, Rain, and the dead girl, Wendy, were not fleshed out well. It was difficult to understand Rain’s motivation in discovering Wendy’s killer when she had not been friends with Wendy for quite some time. I really felt that if Fredericks had spent some additional time allowing the reader to get to know her characters, those character’s motivations would have been a bit clearer. That’s not to say that the lack of characterization takes away from the story, I just like to really get to know the characters in the books I am reading.

Overall, The Girl in the Park is a good read. It is definitely worth a look, especially if you are a fan of a good mystery.

My grade for The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

*photo courtesy of Goodreads*

Title:  The Immortal Rules
Subtitle:  Blood of Eden Book 1  
Author:  Julie Kagawa 
Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian/Paranormal
Publisher:  Harlequin
Imprint:  Harlequin Teen
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  April 24, 2012


“Sometime in your life Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?”

I didn’t then, not really.


Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allison is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important:  go long enough without human blood and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie must soon decide what—and who—is worth dying for. (Summary courtesy of NetGalley and publisher)

I may possibly be one of only a few people in the world who has not read the Iron Fey series, so this gave me the unique perspective of reading Julie Kagawa’s new series without any expectations. You know what I mean; when an author you love comes out with a new book or series, you read it expecting it to be just as good, if not better, than their previous work. It has a lot to live up to. Well, I have to say, if Kagawa’s Iron Fey series is even half as good as The Immortal Rules, I must read it!

Kagawa weaves an amazing story of vampires set in a dystopian future, a world where many humans have died from a horrifying disease and vampires now rule. Humans are seen as cattle to be used and, well, eaten. The only way to not become a vampire’s dinner is to remain unregistered—a human without the mark of a vampire master. But these humans live in horrifying, depraved conditions—little to no shelter, starving and fighting amongst themselves. This is how Allie lives everyday. She refuses to become a “pet” serving the vampires. There is nothing she hates more than the vampires that have destroyed everything she has ever had or loved. When Allie is forced to choose between death or becoming a vampire after nearly dying in a rabid attack, she begins to question everything she ever believed about herself.

The world Kagawa has created is very complicated and detailed. There is a vampire hierarchy, beginning with the master vampire and progressing down from there. There are humans of various sorts—pets, registered humans, unregistered humans and those who don’t fit anywhere. A disease has killed off most of the human population. But somehow, Kagawa manages to write so flawlessly that following the intricacies of the story is not a problem. She is a master storyteller; you don’t feel like you are reading a story so much as you are living it. 

Kagawa’s vampires are more the traditional type—they must sleep during the day, drink human blood or face madness and they are able to create other vampires. I loved that Kagawa kept her vampires as the traditional type and went so far as to explain certain things about them to better help the reader understand how they live.

The characters in The Immortal Rules are nothing short of amazing. Kagawa brings them to life so flawlessly that I began to feel as if I stepped into the pages of the book and was living side-by-side with Allie. She is the perfect protagonist—she learns and grows as the novel progresses, she has flaws, but they make her a better person and she’s realistic (even after she becomes a vampire). Allie’s struggles to learn to accept what she has become are monumental and watching her overcome them is nearly heart-wrenching. The reader can feel the good seeping out of Allie, touching everyone around her. She is definitely not your normal vampire.  Zeke is also another fascinating character. So much about him is a mystery, and as the layers are peeled back, you grow to love him. The “bad” vampires, Sarren (aka psycho vamp) and Jackal are pure evil, but sympathetic because the reader can almost understand how they got to be the way they are. I for one want to learn more about them. Even minor characters are written so they are interesting enough to help carry the story.

I absolutely loved The Immortal Rules and I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. I want to see where Allie goes and what she does. I want to know what happens with Allie and Zeke. I want to know what happens to Allie’s vampire creator. While the book had a satisfying end, it still left a lot of unanswered questions. It will be nice to get them answered.

This is a definite must read. Kagawa has done a great job combining the paranormal with the dystopian and I look forward to learning more about the world she created and her vampires.

My grade for The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

*book image courtesy of Goodreads*

Title:  The Book of Blood and Shadow  
Author:  Robin Wasserman
Genre:  Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Publisher:  Random House Children’s Books
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  April 10, 2012

One girl is determined to find the truth and avenge the dead.

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

The next morning it was all still true:  Chris was dead, Adriane, his girlfriend and Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming was gone. He was also a murderer—at least according to the police, her parents and everyone.

Desperate to prove Max’s innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist (Summary via NetGalley).

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed it at first, but then I got overwhelmed trying to keep the storylines, the languages and the various characters’ lies straight. It started to seem like work to read this book.

Chris, Max and Nora work as research assistants trying to decipher a 400 year old book, the Voynich manuscript. Nora, who knows Latin, is put to work translating letters from a girl named Elizabeth Weston. At first the three friends don’t take what they are doing very seriously; they take naps instead of working, Chris disappears with his girlfriend Adriane (also Nora’s best friend) for hours and Nora and Max start to explore a new relationship. But all that changes when Nora stumbles upon something she shouldn’t know and suddenly her life is turned upside down. Chris is dead, Adriane seems to have gone crazy and Max is the main suspect in Chris’s murder.

Sounds great, right? It was, until the story moves to Prague. That’s when stuff started to move so fast and to become so convoluted, that I couldn’t keep it straight.

Wasserman uses a variety of languages in The Book of Blood and Shadows. The most prominent is Latin and later, Czechoslovakian.  At first, when the Latin was just used to describe the letters, I was able to keep up with what was happening. But again, after the move to Prague, it became extremely hard to follow. Wasserman chose to write out phrases and the like in either language and then put an English translation. I don’t know about you, but when a foreign language I don’t speak is used in a book, I tend to skim past it, knowing full well I can’t read what it says. Unfortunately, I kept missing the English translations in this book, in part because there is A LOT of Latin and Czech in this book. With so much foreign language being used, Wasserman might have been better served saying it was written in a certain language and then just putting the English translation.

The constant shifting of locations was also difficult to follow. Wasserman seems to be quite familiar with Prague, so much so that I felt like she was taking me on a sightseeing tour of the city.  There were in-depth, historical descriptions of a great many areas of the city. At times this felt like a distraction, and honestly, I don’t think it will hold the attention of your average teenager. And sadly, if a teenager loses interest in a book, it is usually going to be put down and not picked back up. While I admire Wasserman’s attempt to infuse culture into her young adult readers, particularly in regards to a city they know little about, I’m not sure a book meant to be read for enjoyment is the place to do so.

If you dig underneath all the language and all of the tourist information regarding Prague, you will find a book worth reading. Unfortunately, I’m not sure a lot of today’s “instant gratification” teenagers will do that.

My grade for The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman:


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers

photo courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

Title:  Grave Mercy 
Subtitle:  His Fair Assassin, Book 1  
Author:  Robin Lafevers
Genre:  Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Magic
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  April 3, 2012

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart? (Summary via NetGalley)

Historical fiction is probably one of my favorite genres. When it is mixed with romance and a bit of the supernatural, I like it even more. Grave Mercy is a perfect combination of romance, magic and fantasy set hundreds of years in the past.

Grave Mercy includes a very tender and sweet love story that doesn’t overshadow everything in the book. A lot of the time, the romance between two characters is the main focus of a story, so much so that everything else is pushed to the wayside. Lafevers seems to understand that this story is so much more than just its romance, and she writes it so that the reader is satisfied with every aspect of the story. I enjoyed reading a book whose author seemed to realize that while her readers enjoy a good love story, they don’t mind seeing a bit of action and intrigue as well.

The characters in Grave Mercy are very well-written. I cared about what happened to them—the sisters at the convent, the people in the high court of Brittany, even the soldiers working with Duval. I especially liked Anne, the duchess. She had a spunk to her that is not always seen in women in historical fiction, especially one raised to be royalty. Ismae was a complex, charismatic character, flawed and vulnerable, yet strong and feisty at the same time. Of course, there were characters I disliked as well, in particular Madam Dinan, the duchess’ guardian. She is a cold and calculating woman, and written so well that I absolutely hated her. I believe the sign of a good author is their ability to create a hateful character and to get the reader to hate them as well. Lafever did just that with Madam Dinan. I almost enjoyed hating her.

Above all else, Grave Mercy is a story of intrigue, fantasy and magic. All three of these elements are flawlessly woven throughout the book. I was never quite sure who to trust, what was real and what was magic. That made this a great book to read. It keeps you guessing and it keeps you interested enough that the guessing isn’t so bad. Lafever is off to a great start with this series.  

I really liked Grave Mercy. Lafevers writes beautifully and I was quite impressed with her debut novel. I look forward to reading more regarding the Fair Assassins of Mortain’s convent in the future.

My grade for Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: Night Sky by Jolene Perry

I have been given the great pleasure of participating in the Night Sky Blog Tour! I am very excited to be a part of this tour. I was able to read the book and I get to share my review with you!

Title:  Night Sky  
Author:  Jolene B. Perry
Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary, Romance
Publisher:  Tribute Books
Format:  Kindle
Release Date:  March 1, 2012

Girl I’ve loved, girl I’m falling for. Now that they’re both in view, the problem is clear.

After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction—his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her.

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums—she becomes way more than a distraction. Jameson is falling for her fast.

But Sky’s need for honesty somehow doesn’t extend to her life story—and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep distracted from the disaster of his senior year (Summary courtesy of Goodreads).

I love a good love story, but who doesn’t? But it really needs to be a good love story, one I can really believe and get into.  Night Sky is one of those stories. I absolutely loved it!

Night Sky is a wonderful lesson in the benefits of being honest, wrapped in a clever, enticing love story. Without being preachy, Perry lets her readers know that without true honesty in a relationship, it will fail. I really liked how a message seemed to sneak its way into what is also a very good story.

Above all else, Night Sky is a wonderful love story. It is poignantly told from the point of view of Jameson.  It was a refreshing change to have a male point of view. I just fell in love with Jameson; he is vulnerable, tender and sweet. But at the same time, he is a young man who is hurting, and he expresses that hurt and pain in a way boys generally do—getting angry, yelling and even sometimes punching things. Sky is funny, smart and she seems to not take any crap from anybody. Their growing relationship is a delight to read. Their struggle to remain honest with each other is very realistic and thought-provoking. Imagine starting a relationship under no pretenses or with any false ideas about the other person. That is what Jameson and Sky are trying to do. And we as readers get to watch and learn.

I wish that we had been able to learn a little bit more about Sky and her background, particularly because it becomes very important to the story. Also, fleshing out Jameson’s parents would have just added to the story. Their relationship is an integral part of the plot and I would have liked to learn a bit more about them. Other than these couple of things, I didn’t have any complaints about this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed Night Sky. It is well-written, has an excellent plot and wonderful characterization. You feel for these characters, you cry with them and you long to comfort them. I never felt like I was reading a book, I felt like I was experiencing something almost indescribable. I wanted to spend every minute possible with Jameson and Sky and I was terribly sad when my time with them ended. That is what a good book should do—pull you in, hold on and take you along for the ride. Thank you Jolene Perry for giving me that kind of book!

I highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed!

My grade for Night Sky by Jolene Perry:


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #35

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’s View and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is a great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add your link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week’s question:

Summer break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading and relax?

My favorite vacation spot is actually in Montana. My in-laws have a beautiful ranch nestled in the mountains. It's peaceful and absolutely gorgeous. I love to sit on their patio and read. I have managed to read up to 10 books while on my vacation. It's the best!

Tell me your favorite vacation spot! Leave a comment in the comment section and I will stop by your blog and check it out!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Scary School by Derek the Ghost

Title: Scary School 
Author:  Derek the Ghost
Illustrator:  Scott M. Fischer
Genre:  Children’s Humor/Horror 
Publisher:  HarperCollins 
Format:  E-book
Release Date:  June 21, 2011
            *book was provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

You think your school’s scary?

Get a load of these teachers:
  • Ms. Fang—an 850-year-old vampire
  • Dr. Dragonbreath—who just might eat you before recess
  • Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it’s taught by someone who is half zombie
  • Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex
Plus, gargoyles, goblins and Frankenstein’s monster on the loose, the world’s most frighteningly delicious school lunch and the narrator’s an eleven-year-old ghost.

Join Charles “New Kid” Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funn as it is spooky (Summary courtesy of Goodreads).

What an incredibly fun book this was to read! I loved the premise of the story—a school that has not only Scary kids (werewolves, vampires, zombies and the like), but humans as well. And they all have to learn to get along while they try and make it through the day without getting eaten or killed by their teachers. This very tongue-in-cheek book is one of the best children’s books I have read in a long time!

The narrator, Derek the Ghost, a former student who haunts the halls of Scary School, takes the reader on a wild ride through one crazy school year as the students and staff prepare for the annual Ghoul Games. We get to meet a multitude of fascinating characters—Principal Headcrusher, Mr. Spider-Eyes, Frank (pronounced Rachel) and so many more it can be difficult to keep them straight. And not only do we get to meet them, but thanks to Scott M. Fischer’s wonderful illustrations, we get to see them also. Fischer flawlessly brings to life the staff and students of one of the most interesting schools I’ve read about since Harry Potter left Hogwarts.

Scary School is one of those books that should be given to reluctant young readers. It will grab them and keep them interested. It’s not too long, the characters are fun and entertaining, as is the story, and the illustrations are amazing. Nothing makes me happier than to stumble across a book that I think my own reluctant reader will pick up and enjoy. I will pick up a copy for him as soon as possible! I will also be recommending it to the several school librarians I know. It needs to be in the library of every elementary school and even the junior high schools. This is one of those books that could open the door to a life-long love of reading. So if you have a reluctant reader, like I do, I recommend getting them this book.

On a more serious note, I feel like this book should be read by third grade and up. There are monsters in it and they do eat children. The story is very tongue-in-cheek, and I think very young children might have difficulty with some of the subject matter. If you aren’t sure how your child will respond to the book, I suggest reading it yourself first. After all, you know your children best.

For some added fun, after reading the book, check out the companion web site, to learn more about the characters, play some fun interactive games and take a tour of Scary School. Have fun!

My grade for Scary School by Derek the Ghost:


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Title:  Slide  
Author:  Jill Hathaway
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  March 27, 2012

Sylvia “Vee” Bell hates that, like her deceased mother, she has narcolepsy. But this embarrassing condition is nowhere near as bad as what happens during these episodes: when Vee passes out she actually slides into somebody else’s consciousness and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. This is how Vee finds herself in the head of a killer, standing over a classmate’s slashed and murdered body.

When another cheerleader turns up dead, Vee realizes that someone is killing off her sister’s friends. Suddenly everyone is a suspect, and Vee finds herself enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies and danger. She must face up to the fact that she can trust no one—not even the family and friends she thought she knew (summary via NetGalley).

I was really impressed with the beginning of Slide. I couldn’t wait to discover more about Vee and her story. Living life with narcolepsy and having the added burden of “sliding” into another person’s consciousness was an interesting premise and one that I was excited to explore. It had a lot of twists and turns, and a great mystery. But after awhile, it began to have a very familiar ring to it.  If you have ever read Wake by Lisa McCann, then you will know what I mean. Granted, there are differences, some of them minor and some of them major, but the stories are still similar. In both books, the main characters are able to see into other people’s lives, one through their dreams when she sleeps and another “slides” into the consciousness of others when sleeping. Both books involve a mystery to be solved and it can only be solved by the main characters learning to take control of what their minds can do.   

Slide is fast-moving and easy to read. It grabs and keeps your interest throughout the book. Hathaway also throws in a few twist and turns to keep the reader guessing.  But for some reason Slide was just a “blah” book for me. I liked it, it was an easy read and the story was good, so I can’t really explain why the book left me feeling, well, nothing. You know how sometimes you just love a book and you can’t even explain why? And sometimes you just don’t feel anything about a book and you can’t explain why. That is me with Slide. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this book, it is well-written and Hathaway appears to be a great author. I guess it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  

While I didn’t enjoy Slide as much as I had hoped, I am sure others will enjoy it.  What I really recommend is that you pick it up and see if it is a book you will enjoy, because maybe it will be your cup of tea.

My grade for Slide by Jill Hathaway:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #34

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’s View and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is a great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add your link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week’s question:

This Sunday in the U.S. is Mother's Day. In celebration, what are some of your favorite books with strong mother/daughter relationships?

Wow, this one is a tough question. I tend to lean toward books with flawed characters and relationships.  But I just read Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell and I loved the relationship between Chloe and her mom. Despite being a busy surgeon, she was a good mom. And Chloe also had a very strong relationship with her grandmother, a second mother figure in her life. I also think that the relationship in the Mortal Instruments books between Clary and her mother, Jocelyn, is wonderful. While her mother is very protective, she does eventually come around and build a strong, honest relationship with Clary.  Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes someone is a mother without even realizing it, like a grandmother or an aunt or even a friend. There are hundreds of books out there with wonderful mother-figures. 

So, what is your answer? Leave a link to your Feature and Follow Friday in the comment section and I will stop by!  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Title:  Starters  
Author:  Lissa Price
Genre:  Young Adult/Science Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Children’s Books
Imprint:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  March 13, 2012

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty.  She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.  He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again.  Callie, desperate for money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor.  But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson.

It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could have ever imagined…. (Summary courtesy of publisher via NetGalley).

I have to admit, I have had the hardest time writing the review for this book. It’s not because I didn’t like the book or there was anything wrong with it. I just couldn’t get the words to flow the way I wanted them to. I have started and then re-started this review probably ten times. Each time I deleted it and started over. I was having my own version of writer’s block, I guess. It makes me glad that I only read the books, not write them. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to get stuck when writing an actual book. My heart goes out to all of those authors who struggle to make a story flow flawlessly. You guys make it look so easy. Anyway, on to the review.

Starters is a fascinating look at a very scary future. Because everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty has died, teens without family—grandparents or great-grandparents that is—are forced to live in horrifying conditions, fighting for every scrap of food and a place to lay their heads at night.  Desperation forces some of them to become renters—selling the use of their bodies to the Enders for a lot of cash. This is where the reader finds Callie, contemplating renting herself out in order to help her brother and their friend Michael survive. But when Callie wakes up still in the body of the Ender who rented her, everything she thought she believed begins to unravel around her.

I really enjoyed Starters. I am a huge fan of the young adult dystopian genre, so I always enjoy a book that can bring some originality to a part of the genre that is rapidly being overrun with similar story lines. It did remind me a little bit of the Bruce Willis movie Surrogates or the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Total Recall. Not the actual story, but the idea of using someone else’s body or memories as your own. But all in all, it is a well-written story with a lot of twists and turns that keep you guessing.

I really only had two issues with this book. First, there are a lot of characters to keep straight. Perhaps the most difficult part was keeping straight whether the character is an Ender who is renting or a Starter (a real teen). Price definitely knows how to keep the reader on their toes and engaged in the story. You need to pay attention to what is happening in this book, don’t let your mind drift or you might miss something important, especially when it comes to the characters. Second, Starters had one of those “never-ending” endings.  It just seemed to go on and on. I felt like Price was trying to wrap up several loose ends, or set the reader up for the next book, and she just didn’t quite know how to finish it up. I found myself rolling my eyes and saying “Really” when I turned the page and the book was still not done. That is a pet peeve of mine though, the inability to just end a book (or a movie--*cough* third Lord of the Rings *cough*) without adding a bunch of stuff and fluff to the end.

I did like Starters. It is expected to be a two-book project and I am looking forward to the next book. Price is a very imaginative writer with a bright future. I am sure she will continue to bring us great reads. I will be recommending this to my girls, I think they’ll like it.

My grade for Starters by Lissa Price:


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

I am very excited to be a part of the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Eve's Fan Garden.

I am giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Code and a custom made bookmark (made by me).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday May 8

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
·         Grab your current read
·         Open to a random page
·         Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
·         BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
·         Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

My tease this week comes from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell (quote is from a digital ARC therefore may differ from the published version):

"There was something deliciously romantic about slipping into shoes that had walked another time and place, something powerful about bits of leather that had survived more than half a century. What stories these shoes could tell if only they had a different sort of tongue."

Leave a link to your Tuesday Teaser in the comment section and I will stop by and check it out!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

COVER REVEAL! Awry by Chelsea Fine

I am so excited to reveal the cover for this book.  I am extremely anxious to read Awry The Archers of Avalon Book Two by Chelsea Fine! This is the gorgeous cover designed by Ashley Bugg:

I am a huge fan of Ms. Fine's and I cannot wait for this book. The ending of the first book, Anew, was a huge cliffhanger and I am very anxious to find out what happened. You can read my review of Anew right here

Also, check out the Archers of Avalon website to learn more about this awesome series! Also, you can check out Chelsea's blog to learn more about this up and coming author. Not only are her books entertaining, but so is her blog. Laugh out loud funny and smart! 

Awry will be available June 2012! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Title:  The Night She Disappeared  
Author:  April Henry
Genre:  Young Adult Thriller
Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  March 13, 2012

What if you were targeted to be kidnapped but the kidnapper got the wrong girl?

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part-time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Min Cooper was working.

Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her. She becomes obsessed with finding Kayla and teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to hopefully find her before she is (summary courtesy of publisher via NetGalley).

The Night She Disappeared is filled with mystery and intrigue. It chronicles the search for a missing girl utilizing various viewpoints. The two most important viewpoints are that of Gabie—the girl who was the kidnapper’s actual target—and Drew, the co-worker who was with Kayla the night she was taken. Gabie can’t let go of the fact that the kidnapper wanted her and Drew feels immense guilt that he took the order and sent Kayla out on a delivery that turned out to be a nightmare. Now Gabie and Drew are working together to prove that Kayla is not dead like everyone thinks. Hopefully they are right.

This is a great book to pick up if you want a book that is interesting and you need an afternoon to kill. I blew through it in less than 24 hours and enjoyed every minute of it. Is it the next literary giant killer that will stop everyone in their tracks because of its amazing writing and stunning prose? No, but it was fun to read. Does it have the most unbelievable character development since JRR Tolkien penned Lord of the Rings? No, but I enjoyed reading it just the same. Some times a book is just fun to read. The Night She Disappeared is a page turner that keeps you guessing from minute to minute. An enjoyable read for a dull, rainy afternoon.

I think this book is best read by older teens. The story is upsetting—a young girl disappears while working—and there is some disturbing imagery as well. It is definitely a book that will and should evoke a conversation between teens and their parents. I know it got me to talk to my girls about being safe (a repeat conversation for sure, but one worth repeating). All in all, this is a good book, intriguing and to an extent, thought provoking. 

My grade for The Night She Disappeared by April Henry:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #33

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’s View and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is a great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add your link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week's question:

"What is one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?"

I have more than one favorite author, so I have multiple answers.

I would love to tell Stephen King how his books helped me open a dialogue with my husband, who at that time was just "that grouchy guy I worked with" but soon became my best friend, then my boyfriend and has now been my husband for 18 years. Our mutual love of King's books gave us something to talk about, which led to other topics of conversation and eventually love. Corny, I know, but true.

Though I'm sure she has heard it about a million times, I would like to tell Stephenie Meyer how her books helped bring me closer to my daughter, Ariana, and gave us a mutual obsession to enjoy!

And finally, I would love Cassandra Clare to know that her books, both the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices, have given my daughter Tiana and I something to look forward to--a new book in two different series roughly every 6 months. And that we absolutely love her books! We get all "little girl squeaky" just thinking about the next book in either series.

How about you? What would you like to tell your favorite author? Leave a comment and/or a link to your blog in the comment section and I will check it out. If you would like to follow me, I would love to follow you back.

Stop by and check out my Spring Fling Giveaway, part of the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop!