Friday, September 28, 2012

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't Say

This was such a great story! Keary Taylor did a great job writing about consequences, risks and love. We meet Jake Hayes, one of 7 children in the Hayes family. During his freshmen year of HS he meets Samantha Shay and falls completely in love with her. For the next 3 years he only has eyes for Samantha, but no nerve to reach out to her.

Unfortunately, in their senior year of high school, after a victorious Homecoming Game Jake and his teammates gather for a party full of drinks and drugs. During the night, after being ripped by his two main BFs on how he doesn't have enough courage to tell Samantha, they decide to drive to her house. Of course being drunk and high they think this is the perfect thing to do, so they pile into a car and head to her home, on their way they are involved in a car accident. Both of his friends Carter and Rain are fine, but Jake takes the worst of it, he loses his vocal cords. Now facing the fact that he will never be able to speak, Jake realizes that he will never be able to tell Samantha what he wanted to say to her that night (Hence title: What I Didn’t Say).

The story then unfolds to how Jake’s dreams have to be changed and also how Samantha now spends more time with him, teaching him ASL (American Sign Language) during his period 3 class. Samantha has been keeping a secret since August, and when I realized there was something she was hiding, I almost did a face palm, thinking this was going to be overkill for bad luck; however, I will say that her situation is different and helps Jake learn to cope with his negative feelings after the accident. Samantha and Jake’s story is one to remember especially since there are so many lessons involved (consequences of drinking and driving; consequences of keeping silent; risking to open up to someone; risking to be different and to love that difference; risking your heart; learning to love and trust; accepting that someone or your community loves you.)

Definitely 4 stars!

***NOTE: Copy of this book is provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thank you.
I'm not paid for writing reviews.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

"No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again."

Pushing the Limits was… okay.  I don’t mean it in a condescending manner, if I was 14-18 years old I would love the story of Echo and Noah, but as a 24 year old, who has had a mature relationship and has not had to deal with the craziness these two characters had to deal with personally, I feel like this book tried to much and wasn’t enough.  Both characters have a tough go at life and have not personally dealt with anything emotionally or mentally, this book did not completely give way to their journey; however, they are 17 years old and the adults in their life kind of suck… until the last 80 pages or so.  It was a good effort and there were a lot of things I liked.  I did not fall in love with Noah and I didn’t think Echo was particularly a strong character but I love them both and understand the choices they have made… they are also 17-18 so I’m sure they have time to grow up… in make believe world of course.  There were moments when I thought their individual stories would tear me up, but I think the author superficially covered Bi-polar and accidental arson.  It’s okay though, because the writing wasn’t terrible and the characters were snarky… and I like snarky!
***NOTE: Copy of this book is provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thank you.
I'm not paid for writing reviews.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tiger's Destiny (Tiger Saga #4) by Colleen Houck

Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga, #4)

I don't think this is a review, more of a rant... so be forewarned.


YA and love triangles are like the straw that breaks the camel's back for me in many different books that I have read. Sometimes I can really love the concept of the book and the characters and then Goddamnit a trifecta of stupid love choices is created. WHY?!?!? That's not love. IF you love Boy A completely and only really love some qualities of Boy B, what the F*&^ are you doing thinking there is a choice?!

Do have to say that sometimes love triangles work. For instance, in Carrie Jones Need series I completely admired the way the love triangle worked. I really fell for Nick and Astley for Zara. I understood that she loved Nick, unfortunately Nick made the choice to complete push Zara away when she needed him the most, because he disliked her "Pixiness." Who was there during her time of need was Astley, and even though she had some unresovled feelings for Nick she realized that Astley deserved her love as much she deserved the acceptance of her human and pixie nature from him. THAT'S HOW YOU DO A LOVE TRIANGLE. Not how it was in this book. "I can't live without brother A so I will marry brother B...." ummm what?!?!?! One of the worst female characters yet, no character development at all for Kelsey.

I do have to say that I enjoyed the character development of Kishan.. He matured, HOORAY! As for Ren, eh. He's stagnant, much like Kelsey. Does that mean they are meant to be, well just find out by reading or we can all realize there was never a love triangle but mainly a weak woman who couldn't face the choice of loving the one that loves you and you cannot live without. I also loved how heart breaking the last sacrifice was (I just don't like him being used during the whole book by Kelsey). Boy did I cry. I don't want to discourage readers from this book because of the sensless love triangle, but the last sacrifice that is what makes this book a 3 star instead of an aggrevaited 2 star. The aggrevation is worth the last 60 pages or so.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Slammed by Colleen Hoover   Slammed is a unique concept but lacking in some departments that it makes the novel a guilty pleasure.  I think there was not enough depth in some the situations that occurred; however, after reading books that just have broken my heart i.e. The Storyteller (no… I’m not letting it go… I’m still pretty traumatized… le sigh), I needed a story that ended in a perfectly wrapped present.  I also found it intriguing that in most YA novels I fall for the 2nd option because everyone else falls straight for the 1st awesome guy the MC likes, and I will just plainly say they make me too wary to fall for them.  That was not the case for Will, even Layken was trying to find ways to diminish how awesome and loving he really is.  But I have gotten ahead of myself…
Slammed is about a young girl (18) whose father has recently passed.  Layken is no longer a resident of Texas.  After her father’s passing it is up to her mother to pay the bills.  Unfortunately her mother cannot support her 2 children and pay the bills, this leads to the family moving to Michigan.  As soon as they arrive to their new destination Layken meets Will.  And, literally, all of a sudden she’s falling for him!  And, really so did I!  What I love about this insta-love is that you don’t fall in love with Will because he’s a vampire or some other superhuman, but because he is broken and broken similarly like Layken. 
Will introduces Layken to the world of Slam, an emotional soul baring poetry performance at the local club… yes Will is that perfect that not only is he hot, strong, and smart but he writes poetry because why not make every guy the reader will meet 2nd best? ;)  I wish I can divulge some more on this story because everything in it kept me somewhat on my toes; however, I don’t want to ruin it.  All you need to know is that this book is about: life, death, love, trust, obligations, responsibilities, ethics, friendship and family. 
I really loved Layken’s poem “Mean.”  Ladies if the guy you love has ever hurt you or just frustrated you to the point of heartbreak…  “Mean” can be very cathartic! I give this book a 4, not because it’s compatible with the likes of Tolstoy, Faulkner or Hemmingway, but simply because the story was just instant gratification… there’s tears and heartbreak but it’s still wrapped in a pretty bow.  Sometimes we need the pretty bow!

***NOTE: Copy of this book is provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thank you.
I'm not paid for writing reviews.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)

"Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love."  And so begins the tale of the Raven Boys.  Maggie Stiefvater has roped me into her web of stories from Mercy Falls trilogy to Scorpio Race to Books of Faerie trilogy; however, in Raven Boys is completely different and completely Maggie. 

The reader is introduced to Blue Sargent, daughter of the local psychic and completely devoid of any psychic ability, except that she can make others' energy stronger, she's like an antenna.  Thrust into this world of Virgina old money and magic, the reader learns of the Aglionby Prep School for all the old money sons.  Not only do we have the dynamic of the Southern blue blood versus the everyday person, but also MAGIC!!! 

Our main characters are Gansey (old money/leader of group/obsessed with Ley Lines), Adam ("white trash" trying to get a better life), Ronan (old money/shark like), Noah ("smudgy"/never hungry/cold hands/shy) and finally Blue (will kill her true love with a kiss/antenna for psychic energy/the missing link to the group.)  Blue unwittingly meets Gansey in the cemetery during St. Mark's night, where the soon to be deceased march along and Blue's mother or aunt record the names of those that will pass away in the up coming year.  This creates a catalytic journey in figuring out if Blue has something to do with Gansey's death or if there is something bigger going on. 

The book was full of past/future betrayals, mystery of the Ley Lines (magic lines through the earth that have a other worldliness about them.), bonds of friendships, nervousness of true love and hope for absolution.  I don't think there is a person out there that can write a great review of this book without giving something away, because Maggie did a wonderful job of weaving in every character to each other/ to other past actions and finally to the story of Glendower, which is the basis of what is driving Gansey. 

All you need to know is that this is one loopy, bumpy ride of 4 friends looking for the lost King Glendower's body in Virgina.  These four friends become close to Blue and as it turns out not everyone in their town is as innocent as they seem and not all the characters really know each other's darkest secrets (except maybe Gansey and Blue)!

5 stars!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

League of Strays by L.B. Schulman

League of Strays

League of Strays is your modern day psychological thriller for YA readers.  While that seems like a loaded statement, League of Strays also  had some missed opportunities.  

In the beginning the reader is introduced to Charlotte, your average boring good girl senior, who happens to be new in town.  She is on her way to a clandestine meeting in the woods.  Charlotte is not the only one that has received an invite.  Soon she meets up  with the class valedictorian (Nora) and and the resident bad chick with a bad attitude (Zoe).  The person that called to order this first meeting of the League of Strays is mysterious Kade, along with his best-friend Richy.  Kade explains that they are all social misfits.  That they have been preyed and hassled for their whole lives for no reason and frankly it is time to get payback.  

 The minute I started to read this book I decided to look at the cover on  unfortunately I just saw a whole bunch of reviews about how this book deals with the glorification of bullying and also gay bashing; however, that was not my experience at all.  I for one read and watch documentaries about famous killers, cult leaders and also child killers, so Kade immediately started to glow neon colors when I read some of his initial remarks and also Charlotte's perception of him.  The minute he discloses that he has been "profiling" this group I already know he's psychotic.  For those that believe this book to be a glorification of bullying, look at Charles Manson.  He was able to rally young people to do horrible things.  So when that is on the news or someone writes about it, is it glorification?  I do not want to give away the ending but nothing that happens shows that an eye for eye is the best thing to do and that you will be a hero for bullying your tormentors. 

 Actually, I liked this book because it shows how misfits can ban together for the common goal of destroying those that they feel deserve it.  It shows society how this occurs and ultimately members have given an example by going ballistic on the author.  There is also the point that the author did not make this a lesson to be learned book but more of an observation of what would occur if you or any other person made the wrong decision for the wrong reasons, like the characters of this novel.  Honestly the minute they ban together how are you suppose to get to a rainbow at the end?  Just going along with Kade's ideas puts a damper on happy endings.

To comment on the gay bashing scene:  I have seen real gay bashing, I have read and learned about real gay bashing that has occurred since at least 1970s and they are not pretty, never will be; however, it is a common thing that occurs in life, high school or other wise.  Why should the author not write about it, not include it in the many plans in getting back those that bully gays?  I don't think she wrote the scene and was like "Hahaha I hate gays!"  Nope I think her characters took route to things that the norm wouldn't, that maybe she would never think of or others that have been tormented think of doing.  The characters were misguided and ridiculous, which makes me want to point out that not everyone that is bullied kills themselves, sometimes they kill others or torment them.  This book is about the latter.

Comments on Characters:  I am still a supporter of this book just because some people don't know how to read a book and then have a real educated opinion; however, the characters lack... character.  Charlotte doesn't develop a bad bone until the end and no one wants to get Kade mad.  I can understand the psychology that supports this behavior from the other members but Charlotte and Nora lacked conviction.  Kade was well done, he is one scary MOFO and believable as a sociopath.

I would recommend this to people with open minds.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Alchemy by K.J. Wignall

Alchemy (Mercian Trilogy, #2)

By the end of the first book, Blood, we know that Will is not being chased around by just the vampire world, but there is also a sorcerer out there looking for Will, but why?  Alchemy is the story of Wyndham and his connection with Will.  Like the first book there is break in perspectives, but unlike the first book this break is between 3rd person and Wyndham. 

Wyndham is out destroy the true evil that Will represents and for the past 2 or 3 centuries he has been collecting vampires and experimenting on them.  His main goal is to kill Will and stop a powerful prophecy from manifesting.  Alchemy is full of adventure and killing. 

Eloise is now back at a school, which happens to be property of the Earl of Mercia.  Will has taken residence there under a closed portion of the property.  Unfortunately they cannot just wander about looking for clues to Will's existence, because Wyndham has taken on a ward and placed him at the elite school to spy on Will.  As the book progresses there are more spies in the lives of Will and Eloise, and they must battle with the thoughts of betrayal in order to remain safe together. 

For  some reason, either the plot or the writing has gotten better, this book was so much better than the first.  When I say it's full of action, I mean it.  There is always an attack on the horizon and plenty of creepy ghosts, but not to mention we, and Will, finally meet other vampires.  Eloise's faith in Will is rocked and tested by the sorcerer, he gave her a glimpse of what would become of Will if the prophecy manifested itself, and for a moment that scares reality back in to the situation for Eloise.  Thankfully Will is convincing of wanting to be of help and protection of her and Eloise's faith in Will's good side returns.  There are also unlikely alliances that make this sequel great and set up the expectations for the next book in this series.  One of the major things that occur, which would not be a spoiler, is that after a reaction from the vampire Queen, Will and Eloise are convinced that there is two parts to the prophecy and that they have only been hearing of the worst case scenario, which doesn't fit in Eloise's part.  What could the other side of the coin look like?

At the end of this book I felt that Wyndham represented all the "good guys" that really just use evil to accomplish the "good" they are doing.  His experiments and lack of understanding leads me to believe him a zealot, but of unfounded reasons... and I think he sees that too, but it is to too late for him to change.  Wyndham also does something incredibly stupid at the end that will shape what comes next in the life of Will and Eloise.

Blood by K.J. Wignall

Blood (Mercian Trilogy #1)

I had put Blood on my TBR shelf but I usually clean through my shelves and dump anything below 3.5 stars... it's not a good system but it's mine.  The reason I end up putting Blood back on my TBR shelf is because I received the sequel as a Galley.  Boy, was that the best change of mind ever!

I love Blood, unlike most YA vampire books this one stays true to darkness, much like Dracula and Interview with a Vampire.  Blood starts off with old bold print, that signifies we are being addressed by William of Mercia, the MC and also vampire in this novel.  What is different than most YA novels is that Will is one of a kind, or at least that is how he lives.  For the past 8 or 9 centuries will has been alone, with no other vampire to share secrets or trade information on how to be a vampire. At this particular point in Will's life it is the 21st century and he has just awoken from a 20 plus year sleep.  (Vampires in this world sleep or hibernate for long periods and then feed off of young blood and will be sustained for months.)  As what he is accustomed to, Will goes out looking for someone to prey on.  What he finds is a world full of missteps.  His victim knows who Will is and even better tells Will the name of the one that asked for him to be sired.  Jazz, the victim also tells Will that he needs this particular girl and that the girl needs him.

After finishing off with his victim Will bumps into Eloise, the girl Jazz spoke about in his brief encounter and in his writings.  Will and Eloise (a runaway) band together to figure out Will's destiny and hers.  This leads them on a trial full of church's, libraries, tombs and estates.  What Will needs to know is why he was made into a vampire, why his right as Earl of Mercia was taken from him and what is Eloise's role?

Eloise, the run away, takes to Will, because frankly she is open minded and Gothic so that makes it okay.  Anyway... Eloise is also used as bait for Will seeing as he has a sweet spot for her, if only he can just kiss her with out wanting to devour her... so they kiss like once, but it's adorable.  Eloise is the rope that tethers Will to this world, because if it weren't for him protecting her he would just go on a suicide mission to find the "Suspended King" and find out what he has to do with the 4 vampire kings. 

The book is written in 3rd person but occasionally it switches to Will's perspective (notice the bold typeface).  It's not a spectacular book but I think it keeps the idea that Will is a monster and that Eloise and anyone that wants to be around him will have to accept that part of him.  Granted it helps that Eloise also encourages him not to give up on the good parts of himself.