Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.  Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week: 
  • My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent
  • Summer by Eden MaGuire
  • 12-21-12 by Killian McRae
  •  Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Currently Reading:

  •  Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler 

Up This Week:
  • The Human Obsession by Heath Sommer
  • My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent
  • Mage in Black by Jaye Wells

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture JunkieI also want to mention that all my cover pictures link to Goodreads!

For Review:

Evercrossed (Kissed by an Angel, #4)My Soul to Steal (Soul Screamers, #4)Falling Under
  • Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler 
  • My Soul To Steal (Netgalley)
  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (Around The World Tours)


Just Take My HeartInside Out (Inside Out, #1)Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2)

  • Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark
  • Inside Out by Maria V Snyder
  • Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

HavenTitle: Haven
Author: Kristi Cook
Series: Could be Series
Pages: 416
Published: Available now from Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442407602
Source: Galley Grab

Description: Violet McKenna isn’t a normal girl with normal teenage issues; she has more to contend with than most people could handle. Violet thought she was just crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad’s murder. Her life started falling apart when her premonition came true. She’s had flashes of other events too. The problem was nobody believed her until she found a new school: Winterhaven. At Winterhaven, Violet finally feels like she belongs. She quickly finds a close group friends and discovers that they too have psychic ‘gifts’—as do all the students at Winterhaven. But as soon as she feels settled she discovers the most intriguing and alluring boy she has ever met, and things quickly go awry. As the attraction between them grows, intense visions of the boy’s death start to haunt her. In her premonitions the secret he is unwilling to share begins to reveal itself. And to Violet's horror, she learns that their destinies are intertwined in a critical—and deadly—way.

I Give This ...

I was pulled into this story quickly.  I liked the set-up and it seemed like it had an interesting story line.  But, it started to slowly sound exactly like a well known book.  Thankfully the story did have elements of is own, even if I was reminded greatly of something else.

I think what kept me invested in the story was Violet.  I really liked her character.  She's had to grow up having visions of the future and everyone else thinking she was crazy for it.  The teen years are hard enough without having that thrown in.  I was happy to see her find a place at Whitehaven and learn that she wasn't different from all the other students.  She could have friends that she could trust.  I liked that her talents were more than what she thought.

I wasn't sure what to think of Aiden at first.  But the more he was drawn to Violet but distant from everyone else, the easier it was for me to beg what was going on.  It bugs me when a character expects someone to tell them all their secrets but refuses to divulge any of their own.  When he does finally open up to Violet, I discovered that I actually liked his history.  It's not a new theory, but from some reason his voice gave it something new.

Overall, I liked the story, but parts of it were way to similar to others.  It was almost hard to look past.  If this becomes a series, I may seek out the next one.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo

IllegalTitle: Illegal
Author: Bettina Restrepo
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 256
Published: Available March 1, 2011 by Tegen Books
ISBN: 9780061953422
Source: Traded for ARC

Description: Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora fights to make sense of her loss while waiting for her father’s return and a better day. When the letters and money from her father stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a harrowing experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place called Houston. Now, Nora figures out how to survive while still aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and a quinceaƱera to mark her fifteenth birthday. 

I Give This ...

First off, I want to applaud the author for writing a book about such a delicate subject in the US right now.  Now matter what your beliefs on the subject, you have to admit it is a hot button topic.  Since I live in an area that has a high amount of immigrants from Mexico (how many are illegal I have no idea), I really wanted to read this book. 

First off it's hard not to root for Nora.  I think it's the natural human instinct kicking in.  It hard to read about another human's suffering.  Nora's life in Mexico was pretty dire by my thoughts.  She doesn't go to school, has clothes that don't fit, and worries about her dad sending enough money to pay the next round of taxes on the farm.  It's a lot for any 14 year old to worry about.

 It's not all picnic's and roses in the US either.  First Nora has to get there.  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the courage to illegally cross the border, but Nora does it with her head held high.  I think it was the desperation in trying to find her father.  I don't think she was expecting to live somewhere that was worse than her home in Mexico, or deal with gangs, all with trying to find out what really happened to her father.    And what really happened to him was just plan awful.  

In the end, I really enjoyed the story.  Although, I do wonder how accurate a portrayal this might be.  I'm not saying that anything in this book makes my views on illegal immigration any different.   I think it just might be a different scenario than most people would think of.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

The Water WarsTitle: Water Wars
Author: Cameron Stracher
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 240
Published: Available now from Sourcebooks
ISBN: 9781402243691
Source: Sent for review

Description:  Welcome to a future where water is more precious than golf or oil - and worth killing for.  Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. 

I Give This ...
I knew when I accepted this book that it was getting overall mixed reviews.  I wanted to read it any because I was really intrigued by the story line.  I ended up liking it ok, but add my thoughts to the mixed bag.

I really liked the idea of the world running out of water.  The way everything is run seems very believable to me and not a life I would want.  I thought it was interesting how the US has separated and how each area basically takes care of their own.  The way the area that Vera's lives in was described really gave me a new appreciation for my cold glass of water and my hot bath.

But sadly, I really didn't feel anything for the characters.  I didn't dislike Vera at all, but I didn't really get her obsession with finding Kai.  There friendship didn't feel developed enough to warrant that kind of devotion.  Plus, the poor kids never seemed to catch a break.  I felt like the constant danger was driving the story forward when it didn't have to be that way.

In the end, I wasn't surprised that it was one greedy corporation that was causing all the problems and controlling everything.  What I didn't understand was if there really was water hiding someplace or not.  There seemed to be a piece of the story missing.  Also, totally irrelevant to the story, but I found it almost laughable that it was the Canadians that were to blame.  They caused all the environmental problems that caused the ice caps to melt and the water to go bad.  And then they controlled all the precious little good water.  For some reason, I just didn't buy that, so the rest of the story didn't flow right for me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chime by Franny Billingsley

ChimeTitle: Chime
Author: Franny Billingsley
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 320
Published: March 17th, 2010 by Dial
ISBN: 9780803735521
Source: Book It Forward Tours

Description: Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment. Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

I Give This ...

If there's a type a book I would say there isn't a lot of of, I would have to say young adult historical paranormal.   I know that sounds strange, but it's a mix of genre's that I love.  It can be done, there's just not a lot of it.  I think Chime falls into this category nicely.

I'll admit that within the first 100 pages I wasn't hooked.  It's written in that old English style (it reminds me of an old book of English fairy tales that I have) and uses terms like widdershins.    The Old Ones described in the summary are many, and not many clues are given to who/what they are.  It was a little overwhelming.  I also had a hard time with Briony's voice.  Her character was extremely guarded.  She keeps as many secrets from the reader as she does everyone else in the village. 

But, there are two secondary characters that I was really draw too.  They are what kept me reading.  I loved Rose, who is Briony's identical twin sister.  She has these idiosyncrasies that really fascinated me.  She seemed like the type of person who saw way more than people gave her credit for.  Since she was "slow", people tended to disregard her.  Plus, I was really curious as to why Briony felt that Rose was this way because of something she did.

The second character I love was Eldric.  From the moment he steps into the story I was captured by him.  He treats Briony as his equal and goes out of his way to engage her in conversation, etc.  I loved the way he interacted with Rose.  It was like a second nature to him, but didn't feel forced.  He made me a little angry in the middle of the story, but I loved the way his actions were explained.

The mystery surrounding the story was intense.  I never saw it coming.  Although, I long expected that Briony's views on what she was were false, and the truth was much more complex.  I ended up really loving the story.  It was completely new and refreshing.  The relationships were different and added a realness to the story.  I will pick up whatever the author has to offer next!


Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.  Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!

Read Last Week: 
  • Red-headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
  • Chime by Frannie Billingsley
  • The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
  • Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Currently Reading:
  • My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent
Up This Week:
  • Summer by Eden MaGuire
  • 12-21-12 by Killian McRae
  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture JunkieI also want to mention that all my cover pictures link to Goodreads!

For Review:  

Hex, A Witch and Angel TaleHaunted (Dreaming Anastasia, #2)Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2)
  • Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray
  • Haunted by Joy Preble
  • Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (Around The World Tours)


Tracking the Tempest (Jane True, #2)A Matter of Magic (Mairelon the Magician & The Magician's Ward)
  • Tracking the Tempest by Nichole Peeler 
  • A Matter of Magic by Patricia Wrede

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters #1) by Kelly Keaton

Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters, #1)Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
Series: 1st in Gods & Monsters
Pages: 288
Published: February 22, 2011 from Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442409248
Source: E-galley

Description: Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued. Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.  Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed. 

I Give This ...

I'm hoping by the end of my thoughts on this book, I will have a firmer grasp on what to rate it.  And since my biggest problem with it seems to be not as much of an issue in the final copy, I'm really struggling with it.  

I really wasn't sure what to think of Ari from the very start.  She's a much more hardened character than you normally see in young adult.  Her mother handed her over to the state when she was 4, and she's been in and out of various foster homes, etc since then.  She's presently has a pretty good home situation, but I don't think it's helped with her attitude.  Having spent the last of your teenage years with bounty hunters might do that to a person.  Upon learning that her mother committed suicide 6 months after leaving her, she feels the need to go to New 2 to try and piece together her past.  This in spite of the warning in the note her mother left her telling her to run.

I liked the descriptions of New 2, the events that lead it to it's current state, and the people who currently inhabit it.  It just really fit were the story was going.  I liked how the city was ruled by the 9 founding families and how each family had "unique" abilities.  It was really a different take on how the paranormal can become part of the story.  I was just itching to learn who/what Ari really was.  I should have really listened to my thoughts at the beginning of the story.  For some reason I completely dismissed them until the facts were staring me straight in the face.  I really enjoyed that.  I loved the twist on mythology that I was not expecting to be a part of the story.

In fact, I really liked the entire story, so I'm back to giving it a 4 rating after initially giving it a 3.  What caused me to give it that in the first place?  The profanity.  I thought perhaps that the main character dropping the f bomb on the first page was just a fluke and that it wouldn't be scattered throughout the rest of the story.  I was wrong, and it was a real turnoff.  But, I've since learned that a lot of that profanity was removed in the final copy.  It made me feel a lot better about giving it a higher rating!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Haunting VioletTitle: Haunting Violet
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 352
Published: Available June 21, 2011 by Walker Books
ISBN: 9780802798398
Source: Book It Forward Tours

Description: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose. Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

I Give This ...

I was really looking forward to this book.  I love the author's Drake Chronicles series.  Will I was a little disappointed in the end, I think it was something I should have expected.

I honestly thinks it because of medium/spiritualism idea that I didn't like this much as I had hoped.  I've read a couple others that dealt with this and I didn't particularly like them a lot either.  I'm not sure why.  I think I was thinking the ghosts would control more of this story than the seance sittings.  By, the time they become more the focus of the story, it was already more than half way though the book.  And that first half was really slow for me.  The last 100 pages were my favorite, but it was almost too little too late.

I did like Violet.  You can tell she really hates what she does, but feels she has no other choice.  Her mother is constantly making her think she owes her this.  Wow, she was one wicked women.  I also thought the ghosts appearing to her was really well done.  I think the mood was correctly portrayed (who wouldn't be terrified by a dead girl suddenly appearing, dripping water, and covered in bruises).  I was a little curious as to why she could suddenly see them.  I understood that it was latent talent, but what triggered it? I also really like her friends Colin and Elizabeth.  But, the rest of the cast of characters were actually hard to keep up with.  There's a lot of them.

I might have to avoid things that deal with the spiritualism movement in the future.  It's just not something that appeals to me.  I think I would have liked this book more without that.  I do think plenty other will like it though!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton

Angelfire (Angelfire, #1)Title: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Series: 1st in Angelfire
Pages: 464
Published: Available now from Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062002327
Source: Published via Netgalley

Description:  When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul. A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once. While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

I Give This ...
It's so hard to give an impression of book without giving away major spoilers along the way.  Because sometimes those key points are what make or break a story for a person.  

I liked a lot about this book.  I liked Ellie.  She's a kick ass heroine who doesn't take crap from anybody.  I liked her social life.  She's not the popular girl in school, but she's not the misfit either.  She has a close nit circle of friends that she's comfortable with.  Then steps in Will.  He's mysterious and way beyond cutePlus, Ellie feels a deep deep seeded connection to him that she can't explain.  I liked that because it was different than the instant attraction that seems so rampant in ya literature these days.  I liked how they work together.  After 600 years of reincarnations, you can tell they are a team that really would do anything to protect each other.

I also liked the action during this book.  The reapers really wreck havoc in both the real world and their own dimension which leaves Ellie in some sticky situations she has to explain.  I loved her swords and her ability to call on Angelfire.  It really gave them book the punch in the action department.

Which brings me to what I didn't like.   I really disliked that the reapers stole innocent/good victims for devil's army against God.  It seemed like a glaring contradiction to everything I know and believe in.  I think there was a better way for the reapers to have accomplished their mission and still have Ellie be the Preliator (thanks Ashley!).  I also disliked who Ellie is revealed to really be at the end.  It didn't fit in my head with who and what I thought Ellie was.

I'm sure I will continue this series because I really like the basic idea.  I just happen to disagree with some of the reasoning behind it :)

*Ashley from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing and I discussed this book quite a bit after I finished.  We had the some of the same dislikes, so I'm hoping this review doesn't sound too much like hers.   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Flash of a Firefly (Kindred Blood, #1) by Amber Riley

The Flash of a Firefly (Kindred Blood, #1)Title: The Flash of a Firefly
Author: Amber Riley
Series: 1st in Kindred Bloos
Pages: 160
Published: Available now from iUniverse
ISBN: 9781450232067
Source: author sent for honest review

Description: Trying to put his past behind him, Kaden moves to New York City where he creates a new life for himself. And that isn't easy, considering the fact that he's a six-hundred-year-old vampire who hasn't fed on a human in more than a century. Unfortunately, the past isn't something you can always escape from. When old enemies resurface, they come with a message. His master wants him back and refusing isn't an option. Confronted with losing both his freedom, as well as the human that has captivated him, Kaden struggles to hold onto his humanity while controlling his darker side. He knows the showdown is inevitable. He must find a way to stand his ground. 

I Give This ...
I admit, I wasn't exactly sure of this book from the start.  The market seems to be overcrowded with vampire books that don't really different from one another.  Add that to the fact that my kindle how trouble with the formatting, and I almost gave up on it.  

But, I didn't because I didn't think that would be a fair and honest review.  And, I'm glad I didn't because I got sucked into the story and really enjoyed it.  The vampire lore isn't really that different, except maybe the hierarchy.   There's one ruling vampire (at least how I understood it) and Kaden use to be his right-hand man.  Kaden broke away from Phoenix a century ago and has been living in New York City.  He's built a life for himself there, owns a successful nightclub, and had the loyalty of the local werewolves.  After this long, he thought Phoenix would have let it go.  He's wrong of course.

 He soon realizes that Phoenix has sent enforces to drag him back to Spain and they don't care who they kill to get him there.  And this was the area of the book that drug the story down to a rating of 3 for me.  Kaden has a run in with these 3 vampires way to many times.  I think a couple of these could be cut out of the story because it kind of loses it's momentum.  The final showdown happens so fast, it was a real let down after so many confrontations.  

Despite that, I really enjoyed the characters.  Kaden doesn't every behave like a vampire should.  He seems to have developed a soul, which may be nothing new, it's refreshing in this book.  I especially enjoyed his developing relationship with Lyn, who is human.  I also like the renegade band of vampires that come together to prove the Phoenix has no power over Kaden or the rest of them who broke away.

It's a shorter story that I think could benefit from the editing that comes with a publishing company, but it has real substance.  I think if book 2 has the same sort of thing going for it, they could be combined to make a great book that any fan of vampire would enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tempest Rising (Jane True #1) by Nicole Peeler

Tempest Rising (Jane True, #1)Title: Tempest Rising
Author: Nicole Peeler
Series: 1st in Jane True
Pages: 344
Published: Available now from Orbit
ISBN: 9780316056588
Source: Purchased Copy

Description: Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire. It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever rub the genie's lamp.

I Give This ...
I really struggled with my rating for this one.  It's a promising start to a series, but I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would like.

I think the issue here is that Jane feels very juvenile, and the cover doesn't help.  It's not that I didn't like her character because I did.  I just think that living her life as the social outcast has left her in a little bubble.  So, when the bubble breaks and reveals this whole supernatural world, she sees it through the eyes of a child.  Which is funny at times and annoying at others.  But, by the end of the story, I think she's grow up a little.  

I liked the supernatural world that Peeler has created although it's a tad overwhelming.  Instead of concentrating on a few supernatural beings, we get everything you could think of a few that you wouldn't.  Some of them were really interesting like the genie (he made me laugh).  While others were down right creepy like Jimmu.  It's a large cast of characters, but I never felt bogged down with information like I have been with other first books in paranormal series.

I'm still not sure about Ryu.  I just don't think he's good for Jane.  He's devoted to her for now, but sex seems so casual for him.  I don't think that's how Jane operates.  He sure knows how to wine and dine though, and I get how Jane is attracted to him.  

It was a fun beginning to the series, and I will be continuing it.  I just haven't found that "it" series yet!

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.  Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week: 
  • Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  • Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
  • Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
  • Haven by Kristi Cook
Currently Reading:
  • Red-headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Up This Week:
  • Chime by Frannie Billingsley
  • My Soul To Keep by Rachel Vincent
  • The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My Mailbox!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture JunkieI also want to mention that all my cover pictures link to Goodreads!

For Review:

Haunting VioletChime
  • Haunting Violet by Alyxanrda Harvey (Book It Forward Tours)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (Book It Forward Tours)


  • Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
  • Lady of Light and Shadows by C.L. Wilson
  • King of Sword and Sky by C.L. Wilson

Saturday, February 12, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Author: Julia Karr
Series: I would be willing to bet this will be a series
Pages: 325
Published: Available now from Penguin
ISBN: 9780142417713
Source: ARC from Around The World Tours

Description: Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a ""sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

I Give This ...

I liked and disliked different aspects of this book which is really hard when those things clash throughout the whole entire story.
My main problem was with Nina and the whole aspect of "sex-teens".    I didn't like the idea of teens being branded as ready for sex for the whole world to know at the age of 16.  And to top it off the Media releases how to videos to attract men (or predators).  It just really didn't sit well with me.  I originally liked Nina's attitude about how she didn't want to give into the hype.  But, then she meets Sal.  And since she's never been given a proper idea of sex or love, she doesn't know that there can be a middle.  She constantly battling with herself about becoming a sex-teens or completely cutting herself off from Sal and the emotions he makes her feel.  Since this is really such an intricate part of the story, it was a real turn off for me.

Despite that I liked the characters (when Nina wasn't think about sex-teens).  Nina really shows heart and dedication, plus she seems to have a good head on her shoulders.  I think she could really change whatever is really going on.  I loved Sal, Wei, Mike, and Derek.  They seemed like a well rounded group of friends.  And even her little sister really brought the story to life.  I thought the rest of the futuristic society was interesting.  I liked the mystery of figuring out who really killed Nina's mother (which I had pegged but for different reasons).  Add it the fact that there seems to be something going on with the government (The Media) leading the society that leaves a doom and gloom feel to the entire story.  The only thing was I almost felt like I need a glossary of terms.  I didn't think some of them were really well explained.

There's not a huge cliff hanger at the end, but enough that you get the feeling that there will at least be a sequel.  If the author doesn't place so much emphasis on "sex-teens", I might read the next one.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: Sequel to If I Stay
Pages: 258
Published: Available April 5, 2011 by Dutton
ISBN: 9780525422945
Source: Star Book Tours

Description: Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

I Give This ...


I thought the ending was perfect for If I Stay.  I wasn't itching for a sequel, in fact the thought never crossed my mind.  But, I learned that there would be one shortly after finishing it, and told from Adam's point of view no less!

I was sucked in to the story right from the start.  I really enjoyed Adam's voice and the style of the story is no different from If I Stay.  I love catching up with characters you've come to really enjoy.  But, its not long before we learn that the 3 years since the events in If I Stay have not been kind to Adam.  He's on edge and having a hard time coping with all the events that have left a superstar.  You can really feel his struggle and I completely understood how he ended up at Mia's concert.  I really loved his internal dialogue the entire evening he spends with Mia.  I felt him come to terms with everything that happened since the accident.

I was actually most surprised by Mia herself.  I didn't expect her character to put so much distance between herself and her past.  She hasn't even been back to Oregon once since she left for Julliard.  I was afraid that she had completely cut everyone out of her life, but we learn that's not the case.  It's just Adam that she left.   It turns out that Mia had to come to terms with a lot of things that concerned Adam.  

The heartbreaking part of the story was watching both of the emotions come to head.  They both feel so much.  While Adam wears it on his sleeve (and the music gives it to everyone), you can tell Mia has been bottling it up for 3 years.  I really loved watching them both hash it all and realize that they still really do love each other.  There was a particularly touching moment involving Adam's guitar!  

I ended up loving this book way more than I thought possible.  Almost a 5 butterfly, but there were times that Adam's character was a little too whiny for me.  Not being able to let go and move on is a  trait you tend to see in girls after devastating breakups, and it was a bit much at times to have it be the guy instead.


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