Thursday, March 29, 2012
Author: Kim Harrington
Rating: 3 stars
Summary: When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?
Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.
Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.
But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?
One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared
Review: Now that 2012 is officially in full swing, all the sequels to the awesome books I discovered last year are finally coming out. I liked the first book in this series, Clarity, so much that I actually gave it four stars. I was really looking forward to the second book, but it wasn't as good as the first. Actually, it was. It was exactly like the first book. The only difference between the two books is that Clare now has to decide between Justin and Gabriel. Also, when we finally discovered who the secret admirer is, Clare is in danger for about two pages before she is rescued. I gave this book three stars instead of something lower because despite the fact that it was the same as the first, I really liked the first book.
Author: Robin Mellom
Rating: 2 stars
Summary: High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together -- stain by stain on her thrift-store dress -- exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...
But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.
Review: This was a cute book. I was intrigued by the amnesia factor, but it turns out Justina didn't really forget prom night. The summary made it seem like she had, though. What actually happens is that she has to repeat the story to these random ladies with their judgmental interjections. Not horrible, but not my kind of book.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Author: Ally Carter
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family from the Circle of Cavan--an ancient terrorist organization that has been hunting her for over a year. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed, she must face the fact that her memory is now a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie’s summer vacation are the bruises on her body and the dirt under her nails, and all she wants is to go home.
Once she returns to school, however, Cammie realizes that even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers. Cammie, her friends, and mysterious spy-guy Zach must face their most difficult challenge yet as they travel to the other side of the world, hoping to piece together the clues that Cammie left behind. It’s a race against time. The Circle is hot on their trail and willing stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer.
Review: I haven't picked up a Gallagher Girl book in two years, back when the fourth book came out. I've forgotten how much I love this series. Usually after such a big gap between books, I'll forget what happened in the first books and have to piece it together as I go along. But who can forget a book series like the Gallagher Girls series? Cammie's back with for spying, more mystery, more evil undercover agents, and more Zach! This book had a more serious tone than the others, but that just made me like it more. I didn't like when there was the every. Word. Becomes. A. Separate. Sentence. But that's just a little thing of mine. I hope the next book comes out soon. There is going to be a sixth book, right? And a seventh, an eighth, and a ninth? Please?
Author: Alison Croggon
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn’t yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now, she and her mysterious teacher must embark on a treacherous, uncertain journey through a time and place where the forces of darkness wield an otherworldly terror.
Review: Ah. A good old magic in a medivel setting. I haven't read a book like this in forever; dystopian and steam punk has taken over. Maerad has lived almost all of her life as a slave in Gilman's Cot until she is rescued by Cadvan, a great Bard. While they do address it at one point, I felt that Maerad adjusted far too quickly to Annar for someone who has lived cut of from the world for so long. Also, they talk about Maerad getting her first period and Silvia gives her some special potion for cramps. It would make sense to include that if the potion was used for something important to the book like the defeating an evil guy or saving someone, but it wasn't. But those are the only bad things I can think of, and the good parts far outweigh them. The best part is that there are four books, all of which have aready come out!
Monday, March 26, 2012
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Rating: 2 stars
Summary: After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal.
Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.
Review: There were three main things I hated about this book.
1) Nothing happened until the last hundred pages
2) During the last few chapters, every other sentence was Bridger telling Maggie that he loved her
3) I liked the idea, but the excecution was terrible.
I'm also wondering why the braid on the cover is turning into a snake when one of the things Maggie can't turn into is a snake.
Author: Jennifer Brown
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
Review: What shocked me was how much everyone hated Valerie after the shooting, from her own family to the people she tried to help. Valerie is blamed for the shooting, even though she didn't actually kill anyone. Maybe she made a bad decision in making the list, but in trying to stop Nick from shooting, she saved another student's life and got shot in the leg. The book start off with switching between the present and the morning of May second, the day of the shooting, and is interspersed with newspaper articles about the victims.Unlike characters in other books, Valerie actually talks about the bullying and her problems, and tries to work them out. A wonderful story of forgiveness for everyone.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Author: Kate Ellison
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place—possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.
But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"—a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.
As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined—a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.
Review: Penelope has lost her brother, her mother is an empty shell, her father works all the time, and people at school thinks she's weird because of all her tics. She feels the urge to steal things to add to her collection, and her parents just don't understand. I loved this book. I'm usually a fantasy-fiction kind of girl, but there's been a recent influx of really good realistic fiction books. This one had mystery, romance, family problems, and an awesome yet troubled main character. Yes, I included romance on that list, and yes, I have said before that I can't stand romance. But there are some books where it can be okay, good even. Prepare for more realistic fiction books in the future.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Author: Nikki Loftin
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: When Lorelei's old school mysteriously burns down, a new one appears practically overnight: Splendid Academy. Rock-climbing walls on the playground and golden bowls of candy on every desk? Gourmet meals in the cafeteria, served by waiters? Optional homework and two recess periods a day? It's ever kid's dream.
But Lorelei and her new friend Andrew are pretty sure it's too good to be true. Together they uncover the sinister mystery, one with their teacher, the beautiful Ms. Morrigan, at the very center. Then Andrew disappears. Lorelei has to save him, even if that means facing a past she'd like to forget – and taking on a teacher who's a real witch.
What Lorelei and Andrew discover chills their bones – and might even pick them clean!
Review: When I first read the summary, I thought it would be a little too young for me, but I ended up liking it. The main character is a sixth grader, which is a vast jump from the books I usually read where the main character is in the middle of high school. By the first paragraph, I was hooked. This is the first book I have ever read where when a kid is being bullied, another kid does the smart thing and goes to tell an adult. It was a refreshing change. And while in that scene it seems possible that kids could be that mean, but there were one or two others where I thought, "No person could be that cruel." I especially thought this of Molly, Lorelei's stepmother, but as I've grown up surrounded by mostly nice people, I think that a lot. Kids of all ages will enjoy this quick, fun read!
ARC was provided by the author.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Author: Lesley Hauge
Rating: 2 stars
Review: I thought that Keller (the main character) was going to be a courageous warrior who fights for what is right. Instead, she is a fearful young girl who is trying to find her way as everything she's ever believed about her world comes tumbling down. She makes bad, impulsive decisions and gets caught up with the rule-breakers. The story takes place in the future after some disaster killed off the "Old People," but it doesn't seem like the future. They don't even have the technology we have now, and even if most people died in the disaster, some would have survived to pass their knowledge on to their kids. Despite this, the women have no clue as to anything from the "Time Before." Everything is a mystery to them. Also, I found it hard to believe the society. It didn't seem like it could ever exist, even if it did have a drugged-up psycho for a leader. I considered dropping this book about halfway through, but I persevered and finished it. I probably would have been better off having left it half-read.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Author: Ari Marmell
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Summary: Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city ’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.
Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.
But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.
Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No romance!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, on with the review.
I loved the premise of this book. A society of thieves; a strong, witty, intelligent heroine; a god who communicates with emotions and has only one follower; all amazing. The actual story was good, but not as good as it maybe could have been. Widdershins is this super skilled ninja who takes many stupid risks and has a god living in her head, which I thought was pretty cool. Having a deity to watch your back is very useful for a thief. Some of the humor was very good, some was not, and some could have been good but seemed better suited for a children's book. Also, the defeat of the demon-monster was over too quickly, though I must admit the way it died was commendable.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Rating: 3 3/4 stars
Summary: Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
Review: I love the Hex Hall series. I was so excited to read the third (and final) book that I actually pre-ordered it and got it the day it came out. When it arrived, I did my little happy dance and immediately started reading. I might have given this book three stars, but my mind was clouded with oh-my-god-it's-finally-here! euphoria. Here's the thing: the story felt rushed. It seemed as if Hawkins has this whole thing planned out, then had to squish it into a one book. She can write a fourth; I certaintly wouldn't mind. :) At the end I was just "That's it?????" I loved the humor, the characters, and the originality of the whole series. Also, I can't stand love triangles. I was okay with the Sophie/Archer/Cal thing because I assumed Hawkins would deal with the while Archer the boyfriend and Cal the fiance mess later. And I guess she kind of did, but I didn't like the way she did it. I didn't like the characters' reactions, either: So.... That happened. Oh well! *Insert funny joke here*. I can't tell you what happened becuase it's something that you really need to read the book to learn. While the this particular book wasn't super amazing, the series over all was and now it's over so I'm just going to wallow in my Hex Hall-less misery. :(
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Author: John Green
Rating: 3 stars
Summary: In this new novel from the acclaimed author of "Looking for Alaska," Colin Singleton always falls for girls named Katherine--and he's been dumped 19 times, to be exact. Letting expectations go and allowing love are in the heart of his hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.
Review: Things I don't like: roadtrips that only happen because the guy is/was in love with this girl. That's how the whole book started, with Colin's best friend, Hassan, convincing him to go on some random roadtrip with no particular destination. Hassa was pretty cool, but Colin was just... no. First of all, Colin Singleton? Are you serious? Second of all, Colin was this whining, clingy guy with a fetish for getting dumped by girls named Katherine. Not a very good main character. Third, the book was basically Colin getting over Katherine XIX, who was also Katherine I.
And look! Here's a graph!
I now refuse to read any more John Green books for fear of them continuing to downward slope.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Author: John Green
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night - dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows her. Margo's always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she's always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they're for Q.
Review: At first, I thought Margo was awesome because anyone who dresses up as a ninja and breaks into Sea World is. As the book went on I became annoyed with her, almost to the point of strong dislike. Margo was so self-centered; having everyone worry about as she ran away time after time, leading Q on what she thought was a wild goose chase to find her while he thought she was dead. She had sunk her hooks so deep into Q that he was willing to miss his graduation to go on a 20-hour road trip to try to bring her back to Orlando. Q turned out to be the awesome one by doing whatever it took to search out the girl he loved. Also, Ben and Radar were awesome because they were willing to go with Q on the road trip. There was one part where I actually laughed out loud, but that was it for emotions. Despite Margo's short-comings, John Green is still an amazing author.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Rating: 2 stars
Summary: Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.
Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.
The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.
Review: DeStefano has created a disturbing future where everyone dies by the age of 20 or 25. Also, there was lots of needles and cutting and blood. I'm going to have nightmares for weeks now. I wasn't keen on reading this book because I hadn't really liked Wither, but it was on the shelf so I was like "Why not?" I have discovered several reasons. Here is a condensed synopsis of the book: Rhine and Gabriel escape, they get stuck in an even scarier place than the mansion, they take turns being deathly sick, they escape, and then the last hundred pages or so is a detailed account of Rhine's mysterious illness. DeStefano tries to keep us guessing: Will Rhine die? Or will she survive? Fever is the second book in a trilogy; you can't kill off the main character in the middle of the series. So... Suspense Fail! There's a cliff-hanger ending (Rhine's brother Rowan had left their house and Rhine recognizes him on TV at the very end) but I really don't care to read the third book.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Author: Jodi Meadows
Rating: 4 stars
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Review: I wouldn't be able to stand living in a place like Heart. The same people over and over again, forever? No, thanks. That said, I still think the concept is pretty cool: You never have to die. Of course, it would be awkward coming back as a guy when you were originally a girl, and vice versa. There was also that weird scene where Ana wakes up right after Sam rescues her and he's holding her, then when she kind of freaks out, he goes "I thought we knew each other." What?!? Just because you know someone doesn't mean it won't be uncomfortable and awkward for them to wake up to find your arms around them. At this point, I would have given this book three stars, but it had several redeeming factors: Ana is on a quest for knowledge and is at one point willing to kill for it; there were centaurs, sylphs, and dragons; and they fought the dragons with laser guns. Laser guns. Best. Thing. Ever!
Friday, March 2, 2012
Author: Eileen Cook
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
Review: Ah. A good ol' ghost/murder mystery. Many people have died at the Morrigan estate, including Isobel's new stepfather's late wife and daughter. When Isobel starts seeing ghosts, she takes matters into her own hands by searching out clues to solve the deaths. I really liked how there was a chance that Isobel was schizophrenic, and the ghosts were just hallucinations. Also, that part were there is a big reveal about one of the characters? I totally called it. The fact that I figured it out about three or four pages before the author actually confirmed it is irrelevant.