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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
ISBN: 9781611130744
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Released: January 2, 2012
Page #: 7.5 hour audio

Source: Playaway from my library

"Today should be one of the worst days seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it."
First Lines:

"There are so many ways it could have turned out differently. Imagine if she hadn't forgotten the book. She wouldn't have had to run back into the house while Mom waited outside with the car running, the engine setting loose a cloud of exhaust in the late-day heat."
Page 1

To tell the truth, I had this fantasy when I was younger about sitting next to some hot guy on the plane to somewhere... Yeah. And this book totally brought that to life. I may be a little jealous of the characters in this book. No, maybe not. But it definitely made for a good story!

Hadley and Oliver meet in the airport after Hadley missed her first flight. She's a bit skiddish about small spaces, so she's more worried about the impending flight to London than the people around her. But Oliver becomes a focus for her - someone who can help her through the flight... and much more. It's a fast friendship and the two of them don't know if this is a strangers-being-nice thing or more.

This book takes place within the span of 24 hours... and most of it on an airplane. Hadley is heading to her father's wedding to a woman she's never met. There's lots of angst about that, but Oliver proves to be a very good listener. They also find themselves revealing things that they would not have done otherwise. I can sort of imagine the magic of sitting on a dark airplane, spilling your secrets.

I loved both of these characters. They both seemed very grounded and realistic - which I think is what made it such a good story. Or maybe it just made the story more believable... and makes me sort of wish that it had happened for real. But anyway, I thought they were really well done and hope to hear more about these characters in future stories. I'm sure that won't happen though :). It's not a series-type story.

I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves romance. I think it falls in the same vein as Stephanie Perkins books - and I loved those too. So, really, the author is in good company. I did listen to this book and I really thought the audio was well done. The reader did a good job making the British accent of Oliver believable. At least, to my ears :). All in all, it was a well done book and I can't wait to read more from this author!
Other Blog Reviews:

Chicklish Review
Giraffe Days
Books are Dreams
Rhapsody in Books
Becky's Book Reviews
Steph the Bookworm
Zoe's Book Reviews
Between the Pages
Hooked to Books

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Title: The Humming Room
Author: Ellen Potter
ISBN: 9780312644383
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Published: February 28, 2912
Page #: 182
Source: ARC from the publisher

"Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

Roo is consequently taken in by her wealthy, eccentric uncle to live in a house filled with ghosts and secrets on Cough Rock Island. Who is that unusual wild boy floating down the river? Why are the inhabitants of the house lying to her? And what is the tragic secret in the house's secret room? Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale of quirky characters, mysterious secrets, and surprising growth is a story that only Ellen Potter could write."
First Lines:

"There are no road signs to mark the tiny village of Limpette. It lies between two towns that you have never heard of. If you pass Ostrander's goat farm, you've gone too far."
Page 1

I had heard some really awesome things about this book, so I was excited when I got an ARC of it. The cover is so imaginative and made me curious about the story inside. The first chapter will truly grab you - I can pretty much promise that.

Roo Fanshaw is an orphan - she is sent to live with her uncle (previously unknown) on a strange island miles away from things she knows. She is very good at hiding and sets her sights on exploring the island and the house where she is stuck. There are many surprises to be found within the house - one of which is another relative she didn't know about. Together they release some of the magic that has been stored in the house for so long.

The cover mentions that this is a revamp of the story from The Secret Garden. It's been a long time since I've read that book, but I remember loving it. I can definitely see some of the similarities and how the story is formed. But otherwise, I don't really remember enough about it to compare. There is a sense of magic throughout the story that is never really named, but gives the book a mystical and otherwordly feel. Very cool effect.

It's interesting to see the changes in Roo as she explores her uncle's island. It doesn't seem to be very big, and she has a hard time finding proper hiding places. The descriptions of the house itself are very interesting. I had a little difficulty trying to picture it, but it seemed like a very strange place to live anyway. Odd things were blocked off... a whole wing of the house is forbidden... and so on. Though, it occurs to me now that I don't remember an explanation for that bit. Hmm.

All in all, it's a very good story. I thought the whole friendship with Jack was very well done. I loved the various characters that would show up - the post man, the doctor, the tutor, etc. Each one had their own misgivings about the island and its inhabitants. There was always an element of old wives tales throughout the book - which was interesting to me. It's funny how other people's tales can seem so odd when yours are just as strange.

If you're looking for a great middle grade read, I definitely recommend this one. I think middle school students will find the magic of this book to be intriguing. I loved being transported back into a Secret Garden-type world where making things grow is the number one priority. :) It really was a lovely book and I plan on passing it along. Enjoy!
Other Blog Reviews:

Nicole's YA Book Haven
Scattered Pages
Stories and Sweeties
Sweet on Books Blog
The Hollow Cupboards
The Book Rat
Waking Brain Cells
Novel Thoughts

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
ISBN: 9781617070600
Publisher: Penguin

Page #: Audio 9 hour run time

Released: February 07, 2012

Source: Playaway from my library

"Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric.

Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison sheep - or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with th ecompletely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the sisterhood - not even from each other."
First Lines:

"Our mother was a witch, too, but she hid it better. I miss her. Not a single day goes by that I don't wish for her guidance. Especially about my sisters."
Page 1

This is a fantastic book about family, magic, and finding love that transends all things... like accidentally making feathers appear when you kiss and such. :) I'm pissed about the ending, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Cate and her two sisters are witches - but absolutely no one can know. Including their father. Their mother had known... but she was gone now. The Brotherhood (effectively the heavies, the police, the religion, the teachers, the "protectors", etc) watches all young girls to see if they exhibit signs of being a witch. They require all girls to be married or go into the Sisterhood - neither of which Cate is ready for. Cate finds out that there is a prophecy that might be about her and her sisters - much to her dismay.
I loved this book. It was such a rich story and I seriously wish I was living it along with Cate (without all of the women-oppression stuff, of course). She is a strong, independant woman who has taken on raising her sisters. She doesn't want to think about what might happen when she's married to someone or shipped off to the sisterhood. Even through all of the things that are there to keep her down, she still prospers. I really think she's an awesome character.

And her boys... my, oh my. Even though this is mostly historical fiction (to a point), there's still the type of love story that I know girls in this era will swoon over. You've got the hunky next door neighbor, who has known Cate since they were small children. He's been gone a while and has just returned... to take her away with him. And if that's not enough, you've got the son of the book seller - and now their gardener. I love that he's the son of a kick ass woman during this time of meek ladies. Good stuff!

You know, there is a big difference between reading a book about magic and a book about a family who happens to be magic. This isn't a story where you're hit in the face with their differences and how they feel about things. It's more like you're getting to know this awesome family who has this thing they have to deal with. I really appreciated that. I think that is really what took this book from being a cool story to an amazing book!

Okay, so the ending. Of course, I'm never going to tell you what happens... but I will say that I hated it. NOT what was supposed to happen. Not even a little bit. I spent the last chapter or two kind of screaming at the book. Lots of "No. Nononono!" "WAIT! Don't do that!!!" and "That's just not right. Stop that!" Yeah. No good. Now, I'm sure there's a reason... and I'll definitely be getting the next book asap... but it made me bitter. But what about...?!?!?! Sigh. Guess I have to wait.

Even through the ending, I still thought it was wonderful. I will definitely be recommending this book on to many readers. Really, if you love the Libba Bray Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy, I think this will be right up your alley. It's got all of the awesome elements to make a fantastic series. Now all I have to do is forget about the ending until I get the next book in my hands. Enjoy it!
Other Blog Reviews:

Geek Girl's Book Blog
Zoey's Uncreatively Titled Blog
Miss Print
Candace's Book Blog
Sarah's Cucina Bella
The Brain Lair
Katie's Book Blog
The Leaky Sippy

Waiting on Wednesday (98)

Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week...

by Megan McCafferty
To be released: April 24, 2012

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"It's been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. Since then, their story has become irresistible to legions of girls: twins separated at birth and living different lives, each due to deliver sets of twins . . . on the same day! In a future where only teens can "bump," or give birth, babies mean money, status, and freedom.
Married to Ram and living in religious Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once loved and believed in. But she can't seem to forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell in love with under the strangest of circumstances.
To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything she always wanted: a big, fat contract and a coupling with Jondoe, the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.
Cursed by their own popularity, the girls are obsessively tracked by their millions of fans, who have been eagerly counting down the days to their "Double Double Due Date." Without a doubt, they are two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and there's only one thing they could do that would make them more famous than they already are:
Tell the truth."

I loved reading the first novel - it is such a crazy concept and I couldn't wait for more. I'm excited to get my hands on this second book. Definitely counting the days now :).

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Out This Week Mar 25-31

Look at all the awesome things coming out this week...

  • 3.27.12 Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter
  • 3.28.12 The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad

  • 3.27.12 After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
  • 3.27.12 Slide by Jill Hathaway

  • 3.27.12 Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
  • 3.27.12 Life is But a Dream by Brian James

  • 3.27.12 The Stalker Chronicles by Carley Moore
  • 3.27.12 Forgiven (Demon Trapper's #3) by Jana Oliver

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Soul Thief by Jana Oliver

Title: Soul Thief (Demon Trappers #2)
Author: Jana Oliver
ISBN: 9780312614799
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page #: 339
Released: August 30, 2011
Source: My own copy

"Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them...

Riley has had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured - her boyfriend, Simon, gravely so - and now her beloved late father's been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that's not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling-hot freelance demon hunter who's made himself Riley's unofficial bodyguard, and Beck, a super overprotective 'friend' who acts more like a grouchy granddad. With all the hassles, the seventeen-year-old is almost ready to leave Atlanta behind.

But as Atlanta's demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own demon hunters to take care of the city's 'little' problem, and pandemonium breaks out. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell's attention: An extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever...."
First Lines:

"The Grounds Zero Coffee Shop made the most amazing hot chocolate in Atlanta, maybe even the whole world. It appeared Riley Blackthorne would have to wade through Armageddon to get it."
Page 1

I really loved the first book in this series, so I went out and got the second one (and took forever getting to it... like ya do). Another great book by Jana Oliver.

Riley Blackthorne has been through Hell, basically. The trappers have been attacked, her boyfriend pretty much died, there are demons coming after her, her dad's been reanimated, and she's got some sexy dude following her around. All of her relationships seem to blow up at the same time. No one is acting the same after the Tabernacle attack. She has to find someone to turn to, but the easiest people aren't the best for her.

One of the things I loved about this book is that is picked up from the last book with no real time lapse. It really felt like you were just falling back into the story. I had to remind myself of what had just happened, but I thought it was done well. There were a couple of times that I had to remind myself that the time covered in this story was really only like a week or two. There are times that it feels longer, but that's probably because of all the action and crazy stuff going on.

Ah, the action. Oliver does a great job throwing lots of action into this story. There's always demons getting in the way of things - from small little kleptos to huge shape changing or weather demons. I loved getting a look at some of the different kinds in this second book. You also learn a bit more of the history of demon trappers. And the necros. And witches. And demon hunters. There's a lot more to learn in this book. That really helped to put the story into some context.

One thing I remember loving about the first book was that the relationship stuff was there, but it was always there. Sort of an undercurrent throughout the story. The second book pulls it a little further into the light, but I was really happy for that. It is definitely one of my favorite elements to this story. Riley and her men :). And there's a lot that happens in this book to further those relationships. I just can't wait to see what happens next.

Really, when I finished this book, I immediately got on my library's website to see if we had the third one yet. And I realized that it comes out in a few days. Drat. Guess I'll have to wait. But I do think that people will love the first two books. They are written for teens (I think), but I would suggest them for anyone from teen on up. It's a great story and it will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. Now starts the waiting for the third one.... :)
Other Blog Reviews:

A Night's Dream of Books
That Bookish Girl
Geek Girl's Book Blog
Moonlight Book Reviews
Paranormal Indulgence
Coffee Table Reviews
Diary of a Book Addict

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
ISBN: 9780312641894
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Released: January 03, 2012
Page #: 387
Source: ARC from the Publisher

"Even in the future, the story begins with once upon a time....
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl....

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

In this thrilling young adult debut novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer's rebooted fairy tale introduces readers to a heroine and a masterfully crafted world that isn't the Cinderella you remember - but it's the one you won't forget."
First Lines:

"The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she strugled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another."
Page 3

Cinderella is a cyborg?! I love it. I was on board as soon as I heard the premise. How cool could that be? The answer? Very. Very very cool.

Cinder is a mechanic - and a cyborg. Her stepmother and stepsister both hate her and blame her for everything. She is property to them... not a person. But when the prince takes notice of her, her entire life is flipped on its head. Everyone begins to take notice of her - for one reason or another - which is totally unexplored territory for her. As with Cinderella, there is a huge ball that she isn't allowed to go to. Dun Dun Duuuuunnnn.

This book was so good! Seriously. I think I'm going to put it in the hands of everyone I know. It's so well written and I loved how the Cinderella stuff is thrown in there. I honestly forgot that it was a rewritten story until there was some mention of something fairy tale-like. Which I think is really cool. It seems like such an original story - which it is! But the bones are from Cinderella. It was just an interesting concept and done so well. Love. It.

One thing I wasn't expecting was the setting. I mean, it's New Beijing. So, China. Ask me how many times I've read books set in China. The answer isn't many. But that makes the whole story seem even more exotic than it already is (which is a lot). It's also set extremely far into the future - after a couple of world wars. So the world has been rebuilt and things are not at all like we know it now. Even so, there are some things that hint back to Chinese heritage throughout the book. Enough that it keeps my mind set there (which is good because typically I end up mentally American-izing every story). So bravo to the author for that!

There are some things you find out at the end of the story that leave you totally questioning what's going to happen next. I cannot wait to find out what happens to Cinder. I do have to say that the mystery that is revealed is not all that shocking. I mean, I'm glad I guessed correctly, but I wasn't super-surprised. It just made sense! And it gives the story an extra layer of depth (as though it needed it).

The Lunars are an interesting addition to the story. They are a magical people who live on the moon. And they may or may not have carried a deadly plague to earth - for which there is no cure. Yeah, exactly. I love that their magic is sort of explained scientifically. And the idea that there is a whole civilization on the moon is very crazy. Of course, the Earthens hate them - with good reason. And they seem like terrible people. Their queen comes to visit Earth (and the Prince) and I couldn't help but dislike everything that came out of her mouth. Darn Lunars :).

Seriously, you have to read this book. I know that the next one comes out next year sometime - and seems like a companion rather than a continuation. But hopefully we will get the answer to the questions of Cinder's life. Who is she? What will she do? Where will she go? Will she survive?! EEEK! This book was amazing. I have already recommended it around the office and plan on making a few people read it. I'm definitely a Marissa Meyer fan at the moment :).
Other Blog Reviews:

Reading for Sanity
Kiss and Tell
That Blog Belongs to Emily Brown
Write Meg!
Novel Thoughts
Butterfly-o-meter Books
Stories of My Life
Zoe's Book Reviews

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (97)

Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week...

by Veronica Roth
To be released: May 01, 2012

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so."

If you haven't read Divergent yet, I fully recommend you doing so. It was one of my all-time favorites. I even BOUGHT it - which is super rare. And let me tell you, I've already preordered my copy of Insurgent and I cannot wait. I'm so excited, it's a little ridiculous.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Title: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters
Author: Meredith Zeitlin
ISBN: 9780399254239
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Released: March 01, 2012
Page #: 282
Source: Copy from the publisher

"So let's say you're fourteen and live in New York City. (Well, technically you live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which is very close to and almost just like Manhattan... except not.) You'd think your life would be like a glamorous TV show, right? And yet...

You don't have a checking account, much less a personal Black American Express Card. No fake ID, either - not that you'd pass for twenty-one in a million years, even if you did. The only couture in your closet is a Halloween costume your mom made out of an old laundry bag when you were eleven. You've never been to a club or had a drink served in a martini glass or, frankly, done anything really NYC-ish at all.

You definitely don't have any secret powers, or friends who are vampires, or magical weapons stored in your parents' basement. You're about as normal and totally boring as a human being living in the most exciting city on the planet could possibly be. In other words? You're me: Kelsey Finklestein.

But don't despair, people - I'm starting high school in less than a week! This is going to be the year that I live up to all of my untapped potential - finally. I have to say... I'm feeling almost optimistic."
First Lines:

"Here it is, practically mid-September, and it's still too hot to live. I'm in the den trying to find anything worth watching on TV (fat chance on a Sunday night), and I can feel myself melting all over the couch. I love how my parents spend a million dollars putting in central air and then don't want to use it because it's 'technically fall.'"
Page 1

This book is absolutely hi-larious. Seriously, I LOL-ed through the entire thing. And y'all should know by now that I don't take LOL-ing lightly. And I tell you, I laughed enough that my husband thought I was losing it. And then I read parts of the book to him - which I never do - and he agreed that it was mildly humorous (but what does he know).

So, Kelsey... new Freshman. She and her three best friends have planned for this to be the best year ever. They're all gonna get boyfriends, excel in some activity, and totally make their mark on the world. But somehow, things are starting to fall apart. One of the friends has taken herself out of the equation. Kelsey is humiliated at every turn and is pretty sure that she'll never be the awesome person she planned on being.

The true gems of this story for me were all of the situations Kelsey found herself in. Like... wearing a hideous red blazer on the first day of school. Or her picture showing up in the school newspaper more often than it should. Or several intense soccer incidents. Or, you know, other stuff that I'm not going to ruin for you. :) Each one of them has enough hilarity in it to account for an entire story. But not Kelsey - she just continues to be awkward and wonderful.

I loved the dynamic of the four girls' friendship. They're trying desperately to keep their friendship in tact through their freshman year. It's hard and they seem to constantly be butting heads, but their friendship comes first. I think that's sort of an awesome lesson for those going through the same thing. Life changes, but your friends don't have to.

You guys, the ending is hilarious. Or, really, the lead up to the end. Things just get hilarious - and luckily Kelsey can laugh at the situations. I had to put down the book a couple of times to get myself together. :) Just so well done and it feels a little like you're reading someone's journal - not in format or anything... just the types of details and how snarky things get. I know the summary up there seems to be all about NYC, but I honestly forgot most of the time where it was set. This is totally a character driven story and it does that so well.

I will absolutely be recommending this book to many, many readers. I think it would be great for upper middle school and up. There are a few drinking situations and semi-sexual mentions that wouldn't be good for younger kids... but I think they will love it. Of course, it might scare them out of freshman year all together. I really hope this author has plans for more stories about Kelsey - I will totally read them. Though, I'd probably read anything she writes at this point!
Other Blog Reviews:

365 Days of Reading
A Cupcake and a Latte
Literary Exploration
YA Love
In Between
Mother Daughter Book Club
Books With Bite

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Out this Week Mar 18-24

There's only a few things coming out this week! Check them out...

  • 3.20.12 Traitor's Son (The Raven Duet #2) by Hilari Bell
  • 3.20.12 When You Open Your Eyes by Celeste Conway

  • 3.20.12 Croak by Gina Damico
  • 3.20.12 Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse #3) by Jackie Morse Kessler

  • 3.20.12 A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

Friday, March 16, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
ISBN: 9780062071132
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Released: January 24, 2012
Page #: 370
Source: My public library

"Last Spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she's returned - to her old life, her family, her boyfriend - before she's banished back to the underworld... this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack the person most devastated by her disappearance - and the one person she loves more than anything. But there's just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's queen."
First Lines:

"I was picturing his face - a boy with floppy brown hair and brown eyes - when the Feed ended.
At first I didn't know what had happened. I didn't know where I was or why it was so dark. I knew only that the pain inside me - the feeling that I was being drained from the inside out - had subsided, and now everything was numb. Maybe I no longer existed."
Page 5

I'm not gonna lie... I was so very confused for the first, about, half of this book. I think I got everything figured out in the end, but it took me a little while to get there. All the same, I thought it was a really interesting book.

Nikki has spent the last century in Everneath being drained of her energy/life force by Cole. Typically, this causes the person to wither up and die soon after. But Nikki survives and Cole is convinced this means she is the one he's meant to rule the underworld with. But Nikki has another plan - there is one face she pictured through the entire Feed... Jack. Her boyfriend on the Surface. She has to go back to him and her family to explain why she was gone (since it was only 6 months of real time). She soon realizes going back was harder than she imagined. And that she won't be allowed to stay. She has six months to put everything back to normal.

So, this is less of a retold myth - more of a story built on top of a myth. Making it bigger, more interesting, and possibly true. I was expecting a Persephone story - which it sort of is... but really isn't. You have the whole six months up, six months down thing, but it's not a permanent arrangement. The Everlings (like Cole) take different people down each time to get the energy they need to survive. It just so happens that Nikki survived - I do think that the myth-like story will show through in the next book. If things go like I think they might.

Can I just tell you that I hated the ending of this story. No really. It does NOT turn out the way I imagined it would. I do wonder if part of that is the setting up for the next story (I checked the author's blog and it looks like there will be another one). I definitely will have to read the next book because I have to find out if things turn out better. But be aware... you may want to throw this book against a wall when you get to the ending. I sure did.

At the start of this story, I was really worried that Nikki would be a pushover character. She seemed weak and sad and just sort of pathetic. I did realize that was part of the draining that happened occurs before the start of the book... but it's hard to put those pieces together. You do have some flashbacks to her personality and such before, but I wished for more of that. I almost wish the first book had been before the Feed - it would have given me more to work from, I think.

Okay, so I realize that I've wished several parts of this book were totally different... but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. Honestly, I thought it was a really smart and interesting story. It weaves in the mythology with ease and you are left wondering if it all might be possible. I know that many readers of paranormal stories will really get into this one. I'll definitely be recommending it. It's worth your time and I'm absolutely ready for the next book... whenever that might be.
Other Blog Reviews:

YA Books Central
My 5 Monkeys
Simply Stacie
Let Them Read Books
Teens Read and Write
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Novel Novice
Nicole's YA Book Haven

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (96)

Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here's what I'm waiting on this week...

by Kathleen Peacock
To be released: May 08, 2012

Summary from Ingram:
"Mackenzie and Amy were best friends.
Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer:
A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boy-friend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love."

I mostly think this book looks amazing because of the cover. But I can always get into a good werewolf story - so I am looking forward to that. I really hope this one is a winner. It's been a while since I've read something in the wolfy genre. :) Plus, it sounds like there's a good mystery thrown in. Can't wait!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
ISBN: 9781616571337
Publisher: Penguin Audio (Playaway)
Released: November 21, 2011
Page #: Audio book - 7 hours

Source: My public library

"It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh's family gets an America Online CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook... but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at their profiles fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates - it's all there. but it's not what they expected. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present."
First Lines:

"I can't break up with Graham today, even though I told my friends I'd do it the next time I saw him. So instead, I'm hiding in my bedroom, setting up my new computer while he plays Ultimate Frisbee in the park across the street."
Page 2

Once again, I've been reminded about how old I am. Sigh. This book takes place in the mid-ninties.... Yeah, I was in high school then too. In fact, the characters would be about my age now (probably 2-4 years older than me). But still... I'm sooooo old. sigh. I will say, though, we never used AOL service - besides AIM. So there.

Back in the days when AOL was new... and everyone was getting discs in the mail... two teens stumble across something that was truly unknown. Facebook. 15 years in the future. They start out believing it was some elaborate trick on them, but soon realized that they were looking into their futures. Or, at least, their Facebook futures. Then they notice things start to change when they make certain decisions - and this causes them to look at the morality of trying to change your own future.

I loved this story. It was sort of hilarious to see Facebook (something so ingrained now) through the eyes of people who had no idea what they were looking at. There is some fun discovery and intense discussion on what exactly things mean. Emma soon realizes that her future doesn't look that exciting and starts to see how she can change things. Josh is worried that because of Emma's changes, his future might be altered - and his future looks amazing!

The friendship between these two tenuous at best. They had grown up together practically in the same house... but when Josh mis-read some cues a year before, things just hadn't been the same. But they are pulled back together through Facebook and keeping their secret. They start analyzing everyone around them - wondering what they will be like in 15 years - and whether they should look them up. I would have totally looked up everyone, but I am a total Facebook stalker as it is :). (kidding. I'm not a stalker. Don't get all weird on me.)

You know, this book really made me think back to high school and my mindset at that point. I wasn't remotely contemplating 15 years in the future. 5 years, sure... but 15?! That was just so far away that I couldn't even imagine. And to know what would happen... that would be freaky. I also loved the idea that you could change it. Don't like your future husband? Make that not happen. Your future career sounds cruddy? Tell yourself you'll never do that and watch it change. Just a very cool idea. I wonder what I would have changed if I had seen my profile today.

I'm highly recommending this book to just about everyone. Really. I am so glad that I read/listened to it and can pass it along. I'm hoping it translates well to this current generation who has always had Facebook and Internet and all of that... I think it will *fingers crossed*. Definitely give this one a shot! Oh, and if you haven't read Jay Asher's wildly popular other book, I'd suggest you do that as well. You won't regret it!
Other Blog Reviews:

Reading Vacation
Five Alarm Book Reviews

Imaginary Reads
The Tainted Poet
Early Nerd Special
Not Just for Kids - LA Times
Cosy Up Book Reviews

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Title: Want to Go Private?
Author: Sarah Darer Littman
ISBN: 9780545151467
Publisher: Scholastic
Released: August 01, 2011
Page #: 330
Source: My public library

"When Abby meets Luke online, she can't believe her luck. He's nice. He's funny. He listens to her and he thinks she's pretty. He even gets jealous of other guys, which is adorable. Without Luke, Abby's not sure how she'd make it through her first year of high school. Everyone, including her mom and her best friend, Faith, tells Abby that if she just made more of an effort, she'd be having fun instead of dreading each and every day as if it's a prison sentence. But there's nothing fun about being the lowest link in the social food chain.

Abby knows she's not supposed to chat with random guys online. But Luke isn't random, and he isn't a stranger. Best of all, he loves her. So what if she never goes out with her friends anymore and her grades are slipping? All she needs is Luke. Luke is her secret, and she's his - it's perfect that way. So when Luke suggests that they meet each other in person, Abby agrees. And then she's gone. Missing. Without a trace. And everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again."
First Lines:

"'How can you not be excited?'
Faith, my best friend since second grade, is lying on the edge of the swimming pool watching the ripples as she trails her slim fingers through the water."
Page 3

You guys, this book was way more than I was bargaining for. I was not anticipating quite the intense story. Just amazing... and heart-wrenching.

Abby is a typical freshman - nervous about starting high school and wondering if her friendships are going to last. When she starts to chat with this guy online, she gets way more than she bargained for. He became her best friend, confidant and love. He was the only person who really understood her and she pulled away from everyone and everything in real life. Then things started to get more physical. Abby then goes missing and everyone has to follow her online trail to find out what happened.

Okay, so I have done some online chatting in my day. Still do, to a much smaller extent. In fact, chatting is how I met my husband. So, when it's all said and done, chatting isn't always a horrible thing. But when it's a 14 year old girl chatting with a 27 year old man... it's definitely not okay. Really, it's fairly disturbing. That was one thing that ran through my head as I read this story. I kept thinking that some of the chats sounded familiar... but I had to remember that I was 23 or so when I had them. I really had to take myself out of this story to keep my disturbed-factor high (it got easier after a certain point - way beyond what my chatting ever was).

I did enjoy that halfway through the book, the perspective totally changes. For most of it, you get Abby's story. How she meets Luke, her feelings, her worries, her growing love... But then, when she goes missing, you start to get into the heads of the people around her: Her bratty little sister, her almost-ex-best friend, the boy she went on a date with... And it's really interesting to get their take on the things you've just read. I just thought that was really well done.

Y'all... this book is heartwrenching. I mean, there are a few times that I wish I was in the room with Abby as she's chatting to just say "Wait, did you see what he asked there? Doesn't that sound suspicious? Come on, girl!" I got to a spot where I really couldn't put this book down. I just had to find out if she was okay. I also found myself becoming very protective of Abby and her decisions. Especially when she is faced with the people in school every day.

There's a lot of discussion about internet safety courses throughout this book. Abby mentions them when she starts chatting with Luke - about how to spot the bad stuff. And again throughout the story from several different people. I really, really hope these courses exist - and that teens are paying attention to them. It could probably save lives (and not in the hokey way that sounds).

Now to the question... do I recommend this book. Yes - hesitantly. Definitely for high schoolers only. There are some things in this book that really, really shouldn't be read by anyone younger... unless, I guess, it's to teach a lesson. But some of the unfortunate stuff isn't wrapped in a lesson yet... so that makes it really difficult. I think if you're a fan of issue-books, this one is definitely for you. It's well written and I really couldn't put it down (it was a less-than-24-hour book for me). So I recommend it in that way, but be aware of the topic. And be ready for it to rip your heart out. Stomp on it. And gingerly replace it. Leaving you with a story you'll never forget.

UPDATE: I just read a few reviews (some of which are linked below) of some parents who read this book. I absolutely cannot imagine having a child this age and reading this book. It would scare the bejesus out of me. I also agree with many of the reviews that it's hard to get this book out of your head. I wish there were more books that were this honest with real issues. Bravo!
Other Blog Review:

Eve's Fan Garden
Proud Book Nerd
Candace's Book Blog
Dreaming in Books
Cat's Thoughts
Girls in the Stacks
Jenny Likes Books
Chick Loves Lit

Out This Week Mar 11-17

Lots of fun sequels this week... and other interesting newbies. Check it out...

  • 3.13.12 Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk
  • 3.13.12 Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls #5) by Ally Carter

  • 3.13.12 The Savage Grace (Dark Divine #3) by Bree Despain
  • 3.15.12 The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

  • 3.13.12 Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
  • 3.13.12 Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins

  • 3.13.12 Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
  • 3.13.12 Infamous (Chronicles of Nick #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

  • 3.13.12 Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
  • 3.15.12 Dark Eyes by William Richter

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