Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Broken by A.E. Rought

BrokenA string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his specter in the moonlight and the fog.

Broken by A.E. Rought is a twist on the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  First, Frankenstein is the classic story of the hubris shown by the main character in acting as God.  There was mob mentality linked to criticism of this novel and also connections to sexuality (the monster has no gender) and also connections to the author’s life (Shelley miscarriage so there are some critiques that compares that ordeal to the novel.)  Frankenstein is a masterpiece; Broken is well a ride of intrigue, dash of hubris, dash of zombies, mixed with star-crossed lovers and a big helping of “wait… that just happened?”  Broken is a standalone book with borrowed aspects of another story. 

Emma Gentry is the MC; she has just lost her boyfriend in a tragic accident.  Trying to cope with the loss of one of the most important people in her life, Emma is just resurfacing from what seems like a slumber away from others.  She is an empty shell of her former self, an enigma to those around her because everyone expects her to be herself again.  As she is trying to navigate through her life Alex Franks crashes in and stops all progress.

There is something frighteningly familiar about Alex, his eyes have the same signature Daniel look to them and there is something about Alex that makes Emma feel again.  Emma doesn’t necessarily feel safe around Alex at all times because there are things that no one can or will explain to her.  How did Alex’s father save is life?  Why was there a string of disappearances around the time of Daniel’s death?  Why does Dr. Franks hate Emma? And how is Daniel’s best friend connected? 

The book takes a little while to get to the actual meat and potatoes of this story; however, it remains intriguing enough to reach the climactic ending.  A tale of love lost, mad science experiments, separation of soul and body and ultimately of betrayal.   Broken keeps readers engaged and thinking about the ethics behind Dr. Franks and Alex Franks.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan was both wonderful and flat.  The premise behind the book is that Lily has left a red notebook hidden in a secondhand book store.  She is doing this because her brother believes she needs romance in her life, and this is the way to do it.  At this particular book store, a boy named Dash likes to rack the shelves and fill his literary curiosity.  On this one particular day Dash notices a curious looking book, well notebook, on the shelf.  He opens this said notebook and in it he finds an invitation to play along in her book of dares, ending with “I’ve left some clues for you.  If you want them, turn the page.  If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”  Dash of course will be spending Christmas alone, like any regular fun loving young adult so he decides this will be a great adventure for him. 

Many of the dares aren’t as ridiculous or funny as you might think.  There are some thought provoking moments in the novel, where dares are not the only option but so are truths.  Lily and Dash become obsessed with, well each other, and what the other means to them.  Without knowing each other both Lily and Dash have put each other on this pedestal as the person that will save or smooth their life.  They give too much importance and bias to each other, which only leads to the point that they might disappoint each other in the long run when they meet.

That was the wonderful part, besides the awesomely hilarious adventures these two have, I really did not see the romance between them.  I don’t want to ruin anything but it almost seemed force, as if that is how it should be and that is why it is.  Some book romances make me roll my eyes but rarely do I find some that just don’t jive with what the author has created.  Perhaps this is an individual’s bias or perception but still I must pray tell.  Other than that, it is a fun book that should be read in December with hot chocolate and a playful disposition. 

Undeadly by Michele Vail

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)
“The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...”

Undeadly by Michele Vail isn’t perfect but boy do I love reaper stories and necromancers.  I think YA paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi is a great genre; however, sometimes the stories are too repetitive or are trying too much to be like the previous hit.  Reapers are awesome though, because death is real.  Does not matter that reapers might not be real, but death is and so I like the spin of reaper stories.  I believe that those are the stories that make you think about life and death on not just a superficial note but also can sometimes help readers think on a subconsciously real note. 

Undeadly is the story of Molly Bartolucci, our average MC who wishes to be kissed by the most popular boy Rick at her birthday party… why is that so hard to accomplish.  Sorry Molls, but you have been selected to be a zombie-raising reaper, chosen by the god Anubis.  Of course this could have all been avoided if she had not unintentionally stopped Rick from dying and undoing Rath’s work.  Rath is reaper, I do not know how I feel about the name Rath… well I like it but, anyway Rath shows up at her party to claim Rick’s soul, Molly undoes it and is told that she comes from a line of reapers. 

Nekyia Academy, academy to reapers, is where Molly finds herself after the eventful night of Rick’s “death.”  Here are some cool moments like Molly comes from an old family of reapers so she has a ghoul that waits on her hand in foot—he can be fun at times.  Molly also meets some friends that are not too stuck up and help her adjust to life at the academy and also with some strange going-ons. 

Of course it is not enough to have to deal with learning your true identity and everything that comes with that, no.  There is also something happening on campus.  Students are dying and Molly might be at the center of the reasoning behind the killing spree.  What will Molly do about the dying students, her weird alive again boyfriend Rick, Rath’s aloof gorgeousness and training to be a reaper?

Molly was a fun character and I didn’t highly dislike any of the characters.  This was an enjoyable first book the Reaper Diaries Series.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters

Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Break My Heart 1,000 Times is a creepy tale of ghosts and the difficult process of grieving.  Unlike other books, this novel is neither a ghost story nor is it just a story of loss.  Let’s look at what this book is centered on.  Apparently there was an “Event” that occurred on Earth.  After said “Event” many died tragically; however, those people would never be forgotten.  Images of those that were killed during the “Event” are now stuck on replay.  Here is an example, MC Veronica sees her father every day at the breakfast table.  Every day he flips through the same newspaper, drinks the same coffee from the same mug, and give the same look to her mother and leaves.

There are some unique takes as to why the images remain.  Of course these are not interactive ghosts; however, that changes a bit.  SO not only is this story about the after effects of the “Event” but there is also a ghost in Veronica’s home, who she is not aware of, yet.  This ghost has intent; this ghost is not an image.  Veronica is intrigued by this fact but also to who the ghost is. 

To add to that side story, Veronica has a creepy teacher that has been rumored to have killed a young girl a couple of decades ago.  Unfortunately for him, this dead girl is an image at his door every morning, fortunately for him there is no proof he killed her (remember there is no intent with the images, it’s not like she can have a full blown convo with the police). 

Better yet, there is another teacher in Veronica’s high school that is writing about the difference of the images and why they came into existence.  Kirk, a classmate of Veronica’s, investigates the images for this teacher… and somehow it’s all connected to the side story above.  This isn’t just a mystery book; it is also a book about loss and grieving.  Veronica’s mother captures this, by stating that every time she sees her husband and has to see him leave without interacting with him it’s like her heart is breaking 1,000 times.  How could we live with the images of our loved ones popping up every day like clockwork?  Would it hurt more when they stop appearing?

Very interesting ghostly read.  Thanks NetGalley!  3/5 stars.