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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
ISBN: 9780062024060
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: October 22, 2013
Series: Divergent #3
Page #: 544
Source: Own Purchased Copy

"The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love."

First Lines:

"I pace in our cell in Erudite headquarters, her words echoing in my mind: My name will be Edith Prior, and there is much I am happy to forget." 
Page 1

**SPOILER WARNING: Obviously there will be spoilers from Divergent and Insurgent. If you haven't read those books yet, please be aware that there will be spoilers. I apologize!!** 
Man, how in the world can I review this book? I have been waiting like crazy for this one and I devoured it as slowly as I could. Drinking in all of the details and being shocked by many revelations. But it was worth it.

Okay. Third book in the Divergent trilogy... Tris and Four have uncovered the biggest secret about their world - that it isn't real. They realize that the only way to figure things out and have a better life is to escape their society. Once outside, they begin to understand the magnitude of the deception. Lots of secrets are revealed and plans hatched to fix things. The only question now is how they are going to live with all of the things they have learned.

I thought it was really clever the way Roth set up the world outside of the walls. It all makes a lot of sense and truly seems likely - that we would effectively quarantine people and start from scratch when things got so bad. It seems pretty logical, actually. But the people have their memories wiped and new ideas planted. It's a crazy concept, but if the world were bad enough, it might seem pretty tempting.

In the act of wrapping up the Divergent story, there were tons of facts thrown at you during the first half of this book. It was a little more instructional and giving you the basics of how the world works. That sort of world-building typically happens in the first of a series. But once your entire perspective changes during this third book, you need that re-learning about the world. That was interesting, for sure, but it took me a while to really get into it. 

I don't think I can complete this review without discussing the ending. I'm going to color block this section because of serious spoilers... so read at your own discretion:
I know that a lot of people have been really upset about the way the book ended. I'd be lying if I said I was totally cool with it, myself. But I kind of get it. I mean, Roth completely tied up any loose ends and made it where there really cannot be another book. But it seems pretty intense to kill off your main character. And I really wonder how that is going to play in a movie - if they end up making second and third ones. It was shocking, for sure. And I really didn't think it would end up that way. The epilogue was really very sweet, but still left me feeling sad. I was hoping for a more hopeful and happy ending for Tris, but we certainly didn't have that. I'm still a little in shock about the whole thing. Well written, but damn! 

While I know there have been mixed reviews about this final book, I still recommend the series to everyone I know. It's well done and so thought out. I'm looking forward to the movie that comes out in a few months. Fingers crossed that it does the books justice! I'm sort of sad that this series is finally over... but I cannot WAIT to see what Veronica Roth does next. Cause I'll definitely be on board.
Other Blog Reviews:

Helen's Book Blog
Book. Blog. Bake. 
Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
The Book Smugglers
Nerdy Book Club
Alexa Loves Books
Just a Lil' Lost
Book Hooked Blog
Vilma's Book Blog
Planet Print

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Out This Week (Oct 27- Nov 2)

It's another small week in YA publishing, but the things coming out this week look awesome. Here's the line up:
  •  10.29.13 Altered by Gennifer Albin
  • 10.29.13 Horde (Enclave #3) by Ann Aguirre
  •  10.29.13 The Shadowhunters Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
  • 10.29.13 The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa
  • 10.29.13 Jet Black and the Ninja Wind by Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani
  • 10.29.13 In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

Friday, October 25, 2013

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

Title: Confessions of a Murder Suspect
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
ISBN: 9781619695146
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Released: September 25, 2012 
Series: Teen Detective #1
Duration: 6 hours, 4 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"Tandy Angel isn't a normal girl, and she knows it. For one thing, her family is magnificently wealthy and lives in a massive apartment in the famous Dakota building in New York City. Her parents are the head of a prominent hedge fund and the CEO of a large pharmaceutical company. She has been told from a very young age that her detachment from any kind of emotion is a superb trait. In fact, her parents have tried to cultivate a lack of emotion in all four of their children in order to encourage perfection of the highest level. But now the four siblings are tested in a way they never imagined—their parents have been murdered, and the kids are the number one suspect. Tandy decides that she'll have to solve the crime and clear their names, but digging deeper into her parent's affairs is a dangerous—and revealing—game. Spurred by her findings, Tandy begins to remember flashes of past events that were long ago buried in her memory, and she's suddenly unable to trust anyone, not even her siblings to tell her the truth. She might not even be able to trust herself. Who knows what the Angel children are truly capable of?"
First Lines:

"I have some really bad secrets to share with someone, and it might as well be you - a stranger, a reader of books, but most of all, a person who can't hurt me. So here goes nothing, or maybe everything. I'm not sure if I can tell the difference anymore." 
Page 1

This is the story of a crazy family who lives in New York City - their lives aren't normal by far. But when Tandy's parents are discovered dead in their apartment, it is up to her to figure out what happened. She was trained to be emotionless and clinical from a young age, so this is something she should be able to do. Soon, she starts to uncover some secrets that make her rethink everything she knows about her parents. And her family. She just has to solve the mystery and everything can go back to normal.

I've read plenty of other YA books from Patterson (and his team), and they all sort of have the same feel. The main voice in the story is talking directly to the reader, the plot is laid out very cleanly, and things wrap up pretty effectively by the end of the book. I do think it's a pretty good formula, and this book fits in it perfectly. Tandy and her siblings feel a lot like the kids in the Maximum Ride books... in a good way. It's all very formulaic, but it's a recipe that works.

As a mystery, I think they did a really good job. You are truly kept guessing throughout the whole story. I didn't expect the answer that I got, for sure. Tandy goes through the entire family and their staff to attempt to rule them out one by one. It's not a small thing to accuse your brothers of murdering their parents, but this family is anything but normal. They were taught to be cruel and calculating to become the best adults they could be. So it wasn't far-fetched to think they could do something that horrible.

There were some parts of the story that I would have liked to see fleshed out a little bit more. There's a whole saga about her parent's lives and how they have treated their children. I would have loved to find out more about the life before. I'm sure some of that will come in future books. As you can imagine. I'll definitely be looking out for the second one.  

Also: Shout out to the audiobook version - it was really well done. The reader did an awesome job. I'll definitely be listening to #2.

I have thought that true mysteries for teens have been lacking in the past few years, and this book fits perfectly in the genre. It's definitely growing right now and I think this will be a great addition to those collections. Any fans of Patterson's YA stuff will love this book as well. It's an easy read with a satisfying conclusion. I'm also sure this book will be good for middle grade collections as well - which is a plus. Definitely give this one a try if you're looking for an easy mystery.
Other Blog Reviews:

Candace's Book Blog
Kidz World
We're All Mad Here Book Blog
Willa's Ramblings
Xpresso Reads
Effortlessly Reading
FireStar Books
Booklady's Booknotes
Alluring Reads
The Book Babe's Reads

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Out This Week (October 20-26)

Well, there aren't a ton of things coming out this week, but I almost can't see straight because of my excitement over Allegiant. There are definitely some winners here, though... :)
  • 10.22.13 Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
  • 10.22.13 Teardrop by Lauren Kate
  •  10.22.13 Reality Boy by A.S. King
  • 10.22.13 Indigo by Gina Linko
  • 10.22.13 The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
  • 10.22.13 Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Loop by Shandy Lawson

Title: Loop
Author: Shandy Lawson
ISBN: 9781423160892
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Page #: 
Released: April 30, 2013
Source: ARC from the publisher:

"Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal day—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man who is destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate's clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie's only shot at not dying is surviving apart?"
First Lines:

"'This is it, Ben.' Maggie's eyes were wide, pupils big and black like puddles of ink. 'This is when it happens.' Her gaze bores into me. 'We can hide, or we can fight.'"
Page 1

This book was recommended by one of my colleagues. It's about people who get stuck in time loops and can't figure out how to get out - specifically two teens who start to change things each time they live through these couple of days.

Ben and Maggie are stuck in a loop. They have lived the same few days over and over - enough times that they can't even count them. At first it just felt like de ja vu... now they know it's something very different. The kicker is that they get killed at the end of these days each time. Now they have started changing things. Little things to see if they can change the outcome.

What a creepy idea that you might get stuck in a time loop! And to not realize it for a long time... and to realize that you can't get out! There is something so horrific about that, it gives me chills. And hopeless! Who are we to think we can change fate?! That whole idea is what made this book really hit me. There were things that felt off to me, but in all... it's a gripping story.

One of the things that I found interesting was the perspective switch over halfway through the book. I sort of understand why, but I had to reread through that chapter a couple of times before I realized what had happened. You're now looking through Maggie's eyes... and you're reliving the loop the next time. Which I am glad we didn't rehash every tiny detail. The other issue I had was the ending. So, without spoiling it... there was just something very anticlimactic about it. There is a little burst of excitement and drama, but then nothing. I guess I just wanted more out of it.

There is a chance that I was just analyzing things too carefully. I knew the gist of the story from my colleague, so I was probably analyzing each thing the characters did so carefully - in case I missed something important. But I think this book is written in a way that will have readers really question reality and time. There's something to be said for that. And I think many teens will find this whole concept mind blowing. 

While this book doesn't go in the favorite pile for me, it definitely stands up. It's a short book, so I do feel like some things could have been fleshed out even more. But I think the story packs a punch and will leave you feeling breathless.
Other Blog Reviews:

Candace's Book Blog
Confessions of a Readaholic
Ruby's Reads
Badass Book Reviews
Girls on YA Books
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Blook Girl
Book. Blog. Bake.
The Windy Pages

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rush by Eve Silver

Title: Rush
Author: Eve Silver
ISBN: 9780062272805
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Series: The Game #1
Released: June 11, 2013
Duration: 9 hours, 31 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"So what's the game now?
This, or the life I used to know?

Miki Jones's carefully controlled life spirals into chaos after she's run down in the street, left broken and bloody. She wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby—pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures.

There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Every moment of the game is kill or be killed, and Miki has only the questionable guidance of Jackson Tate, the team's alluring and secretive leader. He evades her questions, holds himself aloof from the others, and claims it's every player for himself. But when he puts himself at risk to watch Miki's back, he leaves her both frustrated and fascinated. Jackson says the game isn't really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival. And the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn't. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn."
First Lines:

My head jerks up. My attention narrows. I push off the chain-link fence that marks the limit of school property. 
Page 1

The whole concept of this story was super intriguing to me - that someone would die and be thrown into a game instead of an afterlife. Then once the game is done for the moment, they are put back into their old lives. a very interesting idea.

Miki was just trying to save a little girl from being hit by a truck. She found herself in unknown territory... a game where the ultimate price is your life. She has to learn quickly about games and rules and how to stay alive. But there is so much more at stake than what is presented on the surface. She has to battle aliens to complete each challenge, but the biggest challenge is yet to come.

I opted to listen to this book purely because it was available from my library's collection. I have a hard copy around here somewhere, but there's something more thrilling about listening to an action and adventure story. And I think this book was served well because of that.

So, this world that the group of teens is thrown into is much like any video game. There are health bars, you spend points on extra weapons, you have to kill every enemy before the quest is complete, etc. The one kicker is that if you die in the game, you die for real. I sort of enjoy the journey of figuring out all of these things with Miki. There is a discovery element throughout the story that really carries things along.

I was very surprised at how things sort of turned out in the end - that people weren't exactly who they said they were. And that Miki was someone special. That whole part made this book feel much more sci-fi than I was expecting. But it's interesting and I am left wondering how things will turn out in the next book.

I will say that there was one serious drawback about listening to this book. There was something weird about the way the reader finished sentences... or said some of the phrases. It's hard to describe. But it's almost like she was trying to hard to make things sound more teen. I had to convince myself to continue listening just because I wanted to find out what was going to happen. Otherwise I would have probably let it go. If I decide to read the next story, I will probably opt for a physical copy if it's the same reader for the audio.

While there are aspects of this story that I truly liked, I'm not sure how interested I am in following the story in a second book. I know there is one, so we'll have to see. But all in all, I think teens who love those adventure stories that mix in sci-fi elements will really get into this story. It's super crazy and will throw you for a loop.
Other Blog Reviews:

Dark Faerie Tales
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The Eater of Books!
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Out This Week (October 13-19)

Just a few awesome YA titles coming out this week. Loving some of these covers! 
  • 10.15.13 The Darkest Minds Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  • 10.15.13 Revealed (House of Night #11) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
  • 10.15.13 Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont
  • 10.15.13 Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
  • 10.15.13 The Vow by Jessica Martinez
  • 10.15.13 Now I'll Tell You Everything by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • 10.15.13 Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
  • 10.15.13 Unsouled (Unwind #3) by Neal Shusterman

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Out This Week (October 6-12)

This week is huge for YA publishing. My list is way too long! So here is just a little taste of all of the books coming out this week...
  •  10.8.13 The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
  • 10.8.13 The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

  •  10.10.13 Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  • 10.8.13 Season of the Witch by Mariah Fredericks
  •  10.8.13 Emerald Green (Ruby Red #3) by Kerstin Gier
  • 10.8.13 Blythewood by Carol Goodman
  •  10.8.13 BZRK Reloaded by Michael Grant
  • 10.8.13 The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney
  •  10.8.13 No Angel by Helen Keeble
  • 10.8.13 Pull Down the Night (Suburban Strange #2) by Nathan Kotecki
  • 10.8.13 The Extra by Kathryn Lasky
  • 10.8.13 Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Novel by Melissa Marr
  •  10.8.13 Bang (Visions #2) by Lisa McMann
  • 10.8.13 Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein
  • 10.7.13 Confessions: The Private School Murders by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  • 10.8.13 Juvie by Steve Watkins

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
ISBN: 9781611137743
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Released: October 12, 2011
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Duration: 12 Hours, 32 Minutes
Source: eAudio from my public library

"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"
First Lines:

"Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness."

There are about three or four people in my life who have been waiting for me to get to this book. They loved it so hardcore that it was mentioned constantly. And now I sort of see what they were talking about. This is quite the epic love story.

Karou doesn't know much about her past - just that it wasn't normal. She was raised in another world, where teeth are currency and people have all manner of animal characteristics. She now lives in the human world and continues to run errands for her adoptive family. Until one day, all of the portals to the other world are destroyed and she is left abandoned. She goes out looking for answers and comes across them in the most unsuspecting places.

This is a pretty intense romance. I mean, it's almost less about the setting, less about the situation... more about the relationship. This isn't something you realize until at least halfway through the book. As I said - epic love story. And it's taken beyond anything you can imagine. It's not a simple demon-meets-angel book. There's a ton of back story that totally changes the course of everything.

I sort of loved the whole concept of a girl being raised by demons and living in the normal world. With her blue hair. And crazy tattoos. It's just a cool idea and I think it reads really well. Uhm, also... Akiva? Hello. I don't even want to tell you which celebrity I was picturing in that roll. Let's just say that if this becomes a movie, he better be hot.

There was a point in the story that I really got worried that I was going to get lost. The whole perspective changes. Things get really backtracked and you are learning about Karou's life before. It's all necessary information, but the setting of the whole thing is different from where you were originally. It's an interesting way to tell a story. And it really makes me curious about where the second book will take place. And how much of that backtracking will be a part of it.

Huge bonus: The audiobook was awesome. The reader did a wonderful job with all of the various accents and crazy creatures. There was a ton going on and it could have totally fallen flat. But it didn't. And I truly recommend that you listen to this one. I don't often get so pulled into the story that I just have to listen to it all in one sitting (which I didn't, but it was close!). It was truly good enough that I am looking up that narrator to listen to other things she has done.

I believe all of those people who told me to read this book were right. It's an awesomely told story that many teens already are in love with. I will definitely be working on getting my hands on the audio of the second book.
Other Blog Reviews:

Whispering Words...
Never Ending Stories
Sparkles and Lightning
Book Hooked Blog
Cece's Steaming Mug of Books
Book. Blog. Bake.
Book Brats
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Confessions of a Bookaholic
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