Monday, September 30, 2013

All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth That's In Me

There once was a town, where two girls disappeared. One came back in only body, down the river. The other came back alive, missing half her tongue. All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry is a novel full of mysteries and bigger silences. Judith disappeared 4 years ago with half her tongue missing. Treated like a social pariah, she has remained on the outside of her community until the homelanders arrive and threaten the safety of the man she loves.


It is unclear what the setting and time frame is for this novel. I want to say it was dystopian but at the same time could have been set before the 1850s. What should be known is that a women’s maiden hood is still important and that there are many antiquities within the story. Also, the people of Judith’s village must have conquered the homelanders’ land, because at some point the homelanders want to take back what is theirs.

Four years ago Judith was a young lady in her town, best friends with Lottie, and in love with Lucas. Lucas’ mother had left them for another man, driving his father insane. One day there was a huge explosion, and his father, the Colonel died. Just around this time Lottie went missing. Judith knew that Lottie was in love with someone, and hoping to meet up with her Judith snuck out of her house and climbed a tree they both usually met at. What Judith didn’t expect was seeing her best friend die that night, or to be taken captive in the woods… by the Colonel. After two years missing the Colonel cuts out half her tongue (to keep her safe) and sends her back to the village (he was beginning to want to touch her inappropriately and sent her away instead) with her maidenhood intact. Once home Judith was alone, except for the constant stalking of Lucas, and her brother always talked to her.

One day the village announces that the homelanders are coming to attack. At this point Lucas will be involved and might die. Judith cannot stand to think of Lucas getting hurt, so she goes to the one place she hoped never to return, she goes back to the Colonel and begs him save Lucas and to supply the men with his arsenal… that he took from the village, and in return she would marry him. What occurs after is heartwarming, catastrophic, hurtful and healing all at once. New friends are made, hope begins to blossom for Judith, and the complete truth is finally forced out.

This was something different from many of the YA novels coming out this year, but it also resembled YA novels I grew up with 10 years ago. The second person narrative was also different and done pretty well, perhaps because it lacked passive aggressiveness towards the character being spoken to in the novel. Judith and Lucas are pretty solid characters and even the rude town’s people fit well into the story.

4/5 stars. Thanks NetGalley and Edelweiss.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis was such a deep book. It did not focus so much about the external changes one would go through in a world with no water, but focused more on internal battles a person would face. Do I kill everyone who poses a threat to my water supply? Do I care if I kill someone that meant no harm? Should I flee a city where the births are controlled as well as the water? In this book we get to see two sides of the coin, those that live outside of a policy driven city and those that escape the city policies to form their homes and laws. Very rich novel with both positive and negative outcomes for the characters, plus the surprise mystery bad guy was worth the wait at the end. I just have to say one more thing, Lynn is tough as nails and I like it! Yay, strong female character that doesn't make me want to hurl :)!


Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)
Ms. Sarah Rees Brennan has done a wonderful job at keeping us readers chomping at the bit for the next Lynburn Legacy novel. Last year Unspoken, the first book in the series, was released. Imagine having an imaginary friend who lived inside your head. You would never be lonely, but you could never have privacy, doesn't seem too bad. What if this imaginary friend is actually a real person, someone belonging to one of the oldest and weirdest families of sorcery, and that friend just moved into your town? That is the predicament our two main characters find themselves in; Kami Glass and Jared Lynburn have been in each other's head for all of their lives, because of a curse put on Kami while she was still in the womb. Last year that link between the two teens was severed and any romance or friendship between them ended as well.


For those that have read the first book and are dying to get their little paws on the second book, Untold, Brennan has been leaving snippets through the interweb. I know I was dying to see if Jared could ever be nice to Kami again, or if what they had was all in their head (pun intended). Let me just tell you, this one is so heartbreaking!!! Kami has this void that cannot be filled and Jared is off being a butthead... and can we talk about Ash. He is starting to be one of those characters that you need to keep a very close eye on because there is some serious character development; I am just not sure it's completely benign. I will say that fans will not be disappointed by what transpires throughout the novel. Kami is still trying to thwart Rob Lynburn's plans, and save her mother from his circle's clutches. Will Kami and her friends be able to defeat him? Is Jared really done with Kami? Does Kami want to be Ash's source... dun dun dun? Is that really how she ended this one? Really?!?!?! Come on! That ending was spectacular, if you want your readers to go crazy for a year and then trample on others to reach said 3rd book to figure out what will happen to......... and will.......... have enough time to save........? Where exactly is......... being kept? Oh the questions swimming in my head :)



Thank You Edelweiss 4/5 stars

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

In a world where vampires are real and have become open to the public, Coldtowns have been raised.  Here it is meant for containment sake, Coldtowns are destinations where people infected by the vampire-virus or wanting to be infected can go but they can never leave.  These are the gripping treacherous towns of Holly Black's new novel The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The novel jumps immediately to our heroine, who after going to a party and passing out there wakes up to a disturbing scene of the corpses of the previous night's party goers.  Instantly alarmed, Tana looks around the house and finds her ex-boyfriend, in the process of turning vampire, tied to a bed and a vampire chained up in the same room.  Some where in the house there are other vampires, searching for the one chained.  Tana decides that she cannot leave Aidan behind, so she finds a car and parks it as close as possible to them so that Gavriel (the vampire) wouldn't get sun damage... oh right, she saves the vampire as well:

"Maybe it was that nearly everyone else was dead and she felt a little bit dead, too, but she figured that even a vampire deserved to be saved.  maybe she ought to leave him, but she knew she wasn't going to."

Our heroine has had some issues with the whole vampire virus, or going Cold as it is stated in the novel.  Her mother had been turned and was no longer alive, leaving Tana feeling guilty for her death.  Throughout the novel she tries to save Aidan from getting blood in order to stop the process (apparently if you lock yourself up for a certain number of days, there is a chance you might get better), and she will not stop helping or thinking about Gavriel.  They are on their way to Coldtown, but with each passing step the journey becomes more dangerous and equally thrilling.  There are twists that perhaps one can see coming, but towards the end.  I really appreciated some of the humor and mostly the bantering between Aidan and Tana.  Gavriel is the dark, mysterious, gorgeous character that has become synonymous with vampires in YA, but he also had the "I am a monster and that's my nature... I'm a killer and I'm good at it" persona.  He's not an Edward Cullen, not a pretty little threat.

I won't say I love it, but I can't say I don't like it.  I will say that I appreciate some of Holly Black's books and that if you do as well you will appreciate this one.  Thank you Edelweiss.

3 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)

Maggie Stiefvater's second installment of her Raven Cycle series, The Dream Thieves was the answer to all my hopes and dreams this year.  I will try not to be bias, but I love Stiefvater's world in this series.  The characters are rich and well rounded, the drama is crucial to what is happening, and the ever evolving stories of the Raven Boys is some what addictive and exciting.  Why were there not any Raven Boys leaving near me when I was Blue's age?

In the first book, The Raven Boys, 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 second book, The Dream Thieves, delves even further focusing on another one of our Raven Boys, Ronan Lynch. (I just smiled like a shark, or the Grinch just typing his name.)  Ronan is by far the best bad boy character out there.  He boxes, he looks like a shark, and he has a pet crow... named Chainsaw.  Come on, you know you kind of love him too.  Ronan has been hiding something from us, from everyone.  Something that might have killed his father, that could be the reason why Ronan and his brothers are not allowed back home, something that could become very useful to Gansey's quest.

"He shuffled the keys from dream to memory and back again, and then he closed his palm around them.  He felt teh soft leather and the worn edge of the fob; the cold metal of the ring and the trunk key; the thin, sharp promise of the ignition key between his fingers. 
Then he woke up.
When he opened his hand, the keys lay in his palm.  Dream to reality.
This was his thrid secret."

Bam! I just told you the secret... not the whole story, and that secret is delivered very, very early on, so don't fret.  Ronan is an interesting character and the story behind his father and his family is positively awesome.  As amazing as he is and his story, Ronan is not the only one with this capability so watch out for that surprise.  Also, be on the edge of your seats for more Blue/Adam/Gansey drama.  Blue still has the curse, thus far, but things are getting semi-serious with Adam, so why is she noticing Gansey in a new light?  And who gets kissed in this book?... dun dun dun!

To repeat a sentiment from a blogger/reviewer on Goodreads.com,

"There isn't any way for a single review to do justice to this book, but this line from The Dream Thieves sums up its own story rather nicely:




Magic was real, magic was real, magic was real."

Nicely put Wendy Darling!

5 stars all the way!



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz


Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)


Let’s see if I can make this a coherent review. In Melissa De La Cruz’s new novel, Frozen, we are transported into a dystopian world. The world is covered in ice, literacy is at an all time low, everything is regulated (even casual dating—you need a permit), and there are those that carry the Mark.


Side Note: What the hell is the Mark? Good question… (I don’t know for certain but can guess)

There are two main stories that are being merged with the bigger, grand scheme of things story. Nat and Ryan are our main characters and their perspective is flipped flopped throughout the novel.

Nat:

“Unless… Unless she listened to the voice. When it spoke to her, it always said the same thing: I have been searching for you, but now it is you who must find me. The time has come for us to be one. The map has been found. Leave this place. Journey to the Blue. “

Nat works in New Vegas as a black jack dealer. Her secret is the voice inside her and the Mark on her chest. What is the Mark? Again, don’t know for sure but it seems that those that are Marked have special abilities. Very supernatural of them. Not only does Nat hide that secret, but she has also escaped some terrors of her own. She has nightmares of burning fire and a child. Who is Nat really? She doesn’t even know if that is her real name.

One night Ryan Wesson shows up at her table, where he tries to create a diversion to steal a few chips. Unfortunately for Ryan, Nat is quicker and she swipes the 4 chips worth thousands. Nat will use this money to get her a runner to take her into the Blue, to finally fulfill the voice’s wishes.

Ryan:

“Ryan Wesson. It was the one name that had come up again and again when she’d asked if anyone knew a runner. Well, if anyone can get you out of here, it’s Wes. Wes has got the fastest ship in the Pacific. He’ll get you where you need to go.”

Wesson is retired military (yep, he’s 16) and he needs money. After turning down a job and now losing some stolen money to a black jack dealer he is running out of options for steady income. This is where his story and Nat’s collide. Nat hires Ryan, and promises to pay him with the chips she pilfered.

The Blue:

The Blue is thought of as a myth. A place untouched by the Rot that has changed the face of the world. Even though it is considered a non-existing place, Ryan agrees to take Nat along with a crew. What happen out there are high speed chases, pirates, slavers, abandoned ships, attraction, and an explosion of truths.



I was not in love with this book. It had clear potential but lacked the necessary components. World building seems to be my number one issue right now. I still don’t understand this world that was created and the different species/ or people living within this world. Some of it is explained by experimentations with chemical warfare, just not enough meat in this story or backbone. All the juicy secrets are spilt without ceremony, making it very anti-climactic. The ending was also a letdown. The way this book ended it could stand alone, you probably do not have to read the other books to be complete. Since there was no cliffy I might skip the next books in the series… maybe not, I will decide when I see a publication date and synopsis.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White


The Chaos of Stars


I really really wanted to like The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White.  I am a fan of the Mind Games series, but not of the Paranormalcy series... that should have been a small clue.  So here is a quick recap of the story:

Isadora is the 16 yr old daughter of Isis and Osiris.  Unlike her famous brother, Horus, she is mortal much like the rest of her siblings.  Every 21 yrs Isis produces another offspring.  According to Isadora, this is all apart of the plan to create more worshippers.  Unfortunately, not only is Isadora hurt that her parents would just let her die eventually but now her mother is pregnant! 5yrs before it is time!  With this pregnancy, Isis has been having terrible dreams and fears for her daughter's safety.  They both decide that she would be safer with her older brother, Sirus, where no one knows where she is. 

Isadora moves from the only home she has ever known in the Egyptian desert to San Diego, CA.  Her mother has set her up to work at a museum that will be receiving some of her own articles.  There Isadora meets Tyler (a girl) who introduces her to Ry.  Isadora is a broken girl that feels let down by her parents, no one in her family remembers her name (most of her siblings have similar names) or who she is, and she knows that romance leads to heart break and babies.  On top of trying not to fall in love, Isadora is having bad dreams.  Is Anubis up to something?  Is her mother in danger or is she the one in danger?  Does she even care?


Let's start with what worked:

I loved the selection of mythology.  Usually we deal with Greek or Roman mythology, along with some Norse for some added spice; however, rarely do we see the Egyptian mythologies at play... well rarely enough for me to be excited about this aspect of the novel.  So yay! mythology selection. There is also some Greek thrown in there for added gusto.

I really liked Ry, he was a good character.  He didn't make me want to barf or scratch my eyes out.  Actually every character was like this, except the main character..Uh-oh.

I liked what the overall literal chaos of the stars meant.  I will not explain further, because that cuts out a good chunk of the book.  Let us just say that Chaos is an important character, but the chaos I am talking about has to do with Ry and Isadora.

Finally, I liked the mythology snipets that gave you some background information on some of Isadora's family.

What didn't work:

This story was every where.  Is this story about family?  Is it about love?  Is it about mythological beings/gods/goddesses?  Is this story about dreams?  Tell me, please!!!  I never grasped a concrete feeling of this overall story, there was too much going on and not enough of one subject was fleshed out enough.

It fell flat.  If your character hates her parents and can never see two sides of the story, it gets old... even if she eventually gets it.  She's whiny and not at all the tough girl she thinks she is, she's more spoiled than anything else.  The myths and characters were not used to their full potential.

I gave this book 3/5 stars because it is a quick light read, more around the guilty pleasure than the "you have to read this book right now!"  All I can say is just try it, it might be the right fit for you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill




All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles, #1)

“There are risks, but progress is always dangerous, isn't it? Most of the time, walls don't get dismantled brick by brick. Someone has to crash through them.”


Imagine if you could take back or change a really terrible moment in your life.  I am not taking about your boyfriend/girlfriend breaking up with you; I am talking about someone really close to you dying.  If you were a genius, would you try to figure out time travel?  Would you play God and try to change all the "bad" things in this world?  If killing 3 people saved the life of millions, would you pull the trigger?  Can loving someone blind you?  Those are some of the moral questions addressed, and sometimes left unanswered in Cristin Terrill's All Our Yesterdays


The book opens with Em.  She has been locked in a cell, where everyday she stares, out of fear and curiosity, at the drain in her cell.  There is something about it she just can't shake.  Finn, who is her partner in crime (or so we can assume at this point in the novel), is in the cell next to her.  She communicates with him through an air vent.  One night she decides to keep her plastic spoon from her meal (this causes major problems later).  With Finn's singing to disguise her, Em sets to work on the screws of the drain.  Once the grate is off the drain, Em finds a plastic freezer bag with a single sheet of paper in it.  That doesn't seem so remarkable; however, something catches Em's eyes.  She recognizes the writing.  She should, it belongs to her.  What she doesn't recognize is what is written: "You have to kill him."


What occurs after is some major brutallity (they are in prison), an escape and eventually travel through time.  Em and Finn must go back in time to stop the creation of Cassandra, the time machine.  The person who has created this machine has become quite a... monster.  He has changed so much in history, with the help of a uber-bad guy, that the world is unrecognizable and that person does not want Em and Finn to stop him.  Something so innocent as wanting desperately to change the unchangeable (hence the creation of the time machine), has blown up and taken innocent lives with its creation.  Here's the kicker, this isn't the first time that Em and Finn have tried to change the future outcomes (hence the note in Em's handwriting).  This is about the 15th time they have tried, never yeilding different results... perhaps this new target will be the end of all the troubles.  Will Em and Finn be able to save the world?  And Miranda, will she be able to save the boy she loves? Better question, how do Em and Finn's story cross with Miranda and James?  


I really liked this book!  It was such a sh*t storm of confusion, because you start off with 3 sets of characters and then 3 more are added on (along with some supporting cast).  Eventually, the reader is given enough information that they an begin to piece the story together.  The story flips back and forth from present day to 4 years before, along with some flash back memories.  I am not a scientist so I did not see an issues with the time travel aspect of the story (so sue me).  At first I was upset to hear this would not be a stand alone book, but part of the Cassandra Chronicles.  I can agree with many bloggers and reviewers on Goodreads.com about the neat ending.  It seems like all the loose ends had been tied or cut off at the end, really the end is terribly good; however, I almost forgot about an important character as did everyone else in the book.  You might not know who it is, but remember the character that serves as the catalyst to drive the invention of the time machine?  Here is another hint, his name starts with an R... everyone forget him?  I think he is a solid reason why we might see all these characters (minus one... maybe.. idk) again.   


Thank You NetGalley, solid 4/5 stars.