Monday, November 24, 2014

Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Melt
Melt by Selene Castrovilla
Pub: 11/6/2014
Pgs: 280
ARC provided by NetGalley


This was good.  I have to admit it, this story got to me; however, based on my 3 stars it could have been better.  Dorothy and Joey are about to experience the phenomenon labeled: INSTALOVE.  Neither one will no what hit them, but they will fall hard.  Dorothy is the new girl from NYC, she lives in a huge home, and has pretty decent parents.  Joey is the bad boy punk at school, who gets into too many fights, lives in a modest home, and his father, the police officer, routinely beats Joey's mother.  Dorothy, or Doll as Joey likes to call her, and Joey could not be any more different, but in each other they find understanding, purity, rebellion, and love. 

There was a lot going on in this novel.  Given two perspectives, that of Joey and Dorothy, each perspective is delivered differently.  Dorothy is in verse, while Joey is in prose.  I kind of liked that distinction because it seemed like Joey would have never been able to coherently finish a thought based on his up bringing.  I don't mean that beating your children will make you stupid, I mean sometimes being in an abusive home you tend to be antsy, nervous, and perhaps fickle in thought.  Dorothy was the voice of reason for much of the novel and she was able to show that in the complete thoughts she laid out to the readers.

What didn't work for me, but wasn't a huge issue, was the tie in to The Wizard of Oz.  This is not a remake, and the only other connection is that her name is Dorothy.  I guess you could really over analyze this book and come up with how Joey is the embodiment of someone without a heart, brain, or courage until Dorothy shows him that he has plenty of love, smarts, and courage to stand up to his father.  Overall I liked this extremely quick read, with just enough substance to make you go, "hmm" at the end.

3.5 stars out of 5.  Thanks NetGalley

Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Creed
Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
Pub: 11/8/2014
Pgs: 264
ARC received by NetGalley


What. Did. I. Just. Read.


That was my initial reaction to this book.  Mike, Luke, and Dee are on a road trip to the night of their life; however, because they are teenagers someone forgets the gas.  Now stuck in upstate NY in a snow storm, with no cell phone reception, the three need to figure out survival... until, they stumble on what seems like an abandoned town.  Instead of gas, a warm place to stay, or anything to help with their survival, they got a backwards town, secluded from society with their own rules, laws, and leader.  Sometimes the pasture isn't greener, it's on fire.


Holy Moley literally.  Leaver and Currie took a bad case scenario and made it so much worse, and injected some cult realities into the mix, for s*&^ and giggles.  A suspenseful read with an even more suspenseful ending, that made me just like the author a little more.  I personally could not stand Dee and so I gave the book a 3.5 out of 5.
Thanks NetGalley. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander


Love and Other Unknown Variables
Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander
Pub:10/7/2014
Pg: 350
ARC received by NetGalley




"To Other Charlie, who may need reminding he's the reason the mockingbird sings."

How in the world are people supposed to get over a book, when it is written to pierce you at your core.  I feel like I have been opened at the seams and love, chaos, hurt, death, fun, and life have been poured into me.  These were similar feelings to the ones after I read TFiOS. 

Charlie has always been a smart kid.  He goes to a prestigious and rigorous school, he plans on going to MIT, and he has no luck with the ladies. So he concentrates on math and science, until one day he encounters a beautiful girl in a coffee shop with a perplexing infinity tattoo. Charlotte Finch is the girl in question.  She's new and goes to school with Charlie's sister, Becca (who might have some problems, which make it difficult to be friends with people.)  Becca is Charlie's little sister, someone who has a hard time with the real world but can get lost in books all day.  Charlotte end up becoming friends with Becca.  Ms. Josephine Finch is Charlotte's older sister, who is taking care of her and also is the new teacher at the prestigious school Charlie goes to, the school that is famous for keeping their English teachers as long as Hogwarts kept Defense against the Dark Arts teachers (loved that analogy).  Charlotte ends up asking Charlie to distract her sister and come up with great pranks; however, Charlie doesn't realize that she is deflecting from something bigger, something he wouldn't have been able to guess.. even if he's a genius.

This is a story about a girl and boy and cancer.  That it.. I said the magic word.. cancer.  You know it's not going to end well, but every time it does.  Yes, death is a possibility but I never feel like it was wrongly done, instead I look at the "living" these characters did in the story.  The "living" alone is enough to get people to read this. Charlie learns valuable lessons through literature (I know math and science nerds, who knew, right?), jumps out of his comfort zones, and learns to live a little.  I was so emotional reading this story because you just know something bad is going to happen and then all the good stuff happens and your just waiting for the knife to cut you down.  Wonderfully executed; Charlie and Charlotte's story will stay with me for awhile.  
4.5 stars out of 5.  Thanks NetGalley

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jackaby by William Ritter

JackabyJackaby by William Ritter
Pub: 9/16/2014
Pg. 299
ARC Received by Edelweiss


"Ignorance is bliss, is that it?"

"That's insipid.  Happiness is bliss-but ignorance is anesthetic, and in the face of what's to come, that may be the best we can hope for our ill-fated acquaintances."


Described as "Doctor Who meets Sherlock"  I would have to say that was the sole reason why I picked up this book, and it was the sole reason that made this book better than most of its contemporaries.  R.F. Jackaby is a private investigator, who focuses on the unexplained, and has a knack of getting on people's wrong side.  Abigail Rook, has jumped to America after leaving school to go dinosaur digging and find adventure, where it is lacking for girls in 1892.  In need of a job Abigail answers his advertisement for an assistant, and instead of a job Abigail falls into the world of the unexplained, the world of a mad man genius (without a box), and figures out her true talents. 

Just as Abigail becomes the new assistant (or companion) a new case is brewing for the investigator of the unexplained, a serial killer is on the loose.  While the police investigate it like a regular homicide, Jackaby is convinced it's supernatural and begins his own investigation.  With the help of Abigail, who has a knack for noticing the ordinary things, and Charlie, the only one in a police's uniform that doesn't treat Jackaby like a quack, Jackaby delves into this new mystery.  Unexplained deaths that are not as bloody as it should be, an ancient being, and an unforeseen foe are the results of this first installment in the Jackaby series.  Did I mention it was going to be a series, because it is and I am over the moon about it!!!  I love, love, love Dr. Who and Abigail reminded me of some of the best companions: Donna, Amy, and Clara.  Jackaby tends to push Abigail's buttons because he is more concerned about solving the riddle, than effect others; Abigail also tends to push back on Jackaby and make him reflect on his next couple of moves.  They are sweet together, and I love the platonic aspect of their relationship, since it doesn't complicate the actual story at hand.

4 out of 5 stars, thanks Edelweiss!

September 9th 2014 YA Publications

Unmarked (The Legion, #2)

Unmarked by Kami Garcia
Pub: 9/9/2014
Pg. 400
ARC Received by Edelweiss


"Laughter echoed off the walls chills rippled through me.  I realized what everyone else had known all along.  The boy I knew was gone.  The one caged before me was a monster.  And I was the one who had to kill him."

Kennedy is trying to deal with the fall out from the end of the first novel.  She isn't one of the Marked, she might have orchestrated the release of a deadly demon, and now she is stuck living with her only living relative, who has sent her to boarding school.  She also has to deal with leaving Jared behind.  But what Kennedy doesn't know is that the Marked group needs her help, and Kennedy is going to have to deal with past demons to find the help they need.  Filled with family secrets, questions, and a demon who is out to get them, Kennedy needs to figure out her role in the Marked's quest, and why the demon wants her.

Such an exciting novel/fantasy world.  Garcia gives readers what they want with sassy characters, good friendships, amazing guys, and complicated rituals.  This reader will be greatly anticipating the next "Mark".


4.5 stars, thanks Edelweiss!







Blood Of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)
Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
Pub: 9/9/2014
Pg. 464
ARC Received by NetGalley

"Yes.  It was time for Jasper to put away childish things.  Jasper would take the next step toward becoming a Crow.  Or suffer the consequences."

Jasper is the son of known serial killer Billy Dent.  In the first two books readers get to see Jasper's desperation of figuring out what is real and what is not based on his reoccurring memories.  You see Billy Dent was the kind of dad that always brought his child to work, and his work was in killing. 

Jasper has been kidnapped by his father, Connie (Jazz's girlfriend) is also being held by his father in a different location, and Howie is in the hospital.  Jazz needs to figure out how to get away from his father, save Connie, and prove his innocence in the involvement of the murder strings conducted by the "Crows."  On top of all that Jasper will have to deal with the truth about his family, and ultimately the truth about himself. 

I really liked this series.  Serial killers is a fascinating subject, but sometimes when it is placed in YA a lot of the interesting things are watered down to give way for more conventional YA themes (love, friendship, coming of age); however, Lyga does it masterfully enough that he never shied away from the physical, mental, and emotional gore that comes from serial killing.  Nice ending to a very troubling story.

4 out of 5 stars, thanks NetGalley!






The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Pub: 9/9/2014
Pg. 295
ARC Received by NetGalley


"KILL THE CHILD"

Callum Hunt has always been a bit of nuisance in his hometown, especially since no one could find comebacks for his witty remarks, and of course he hasn't always been that popular seeing as his leg (it is damaged) tends to bring the worse out of others. He also has an eccentric father, who doesn't condone magic.  In fact he is so disapproving of magic, that he teaches Call how to fail the test that will win him a spot in the most prestigious magical training school, The Magisterium.  You see Call's mother died because of magic and war, and his father will do anything to protect Call.  The problem turn out to be that, even though Call did his best to fail, another Mage thought better of leaving an untrained mage out in the world.  To Call's surprise and his father's outraged disappointment, Call gets into The Magisterium.  Now he has to be surrounded by the very people his father made him leery of, learn magic, and figure out the past along with a few new friends. 

I really liked this collaboration between Black and Clare.  Both authors have a certain flare when it comes to magic, and even though I have given Clare more 5 star ratings then anyone else, Black just does magic so interestingly.  Clare does a wonderful job of world building, and in this book it is clear to see how both authors' passions and capabilities compliment each other.  I cannot wait to see where Call and his friends end up in the next installment. 

 4 out of 5 stars, thanks NetGalley!







Kiss of Broken Glass
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
Pub: 9/9/2014
Pg. 224
ARC Received by Edelweiss


"And we share our best lies,
the ones that will fool any mother-
cat scratches,
bike wipeouts,
shaving nicks.

It's kind of like a club, I say.
Sisters of the Broken Glass."



This is the story of a serious condition that has become a known epidemic amongst teenagers, cutting.  Kenna has been placed on a 72 hour psych hold after cutting herself in the girls bathroom.  The next few days are about her journey into cutting, the cutting cult at school, and why she's even there to begin with.  Filled with eye opening scenarios of young girls who cut to impress a queen bee, and Kenna is among those who were just cutting to impress, but Kenna doesn't really understand if she cuts for herself too.

I thought this was a quick and short way of opening readers up to the problem, demonstrating the reasons behind one particular cutter, and delving into a culture of pain.  It was interesting to her Kenna, and how she bullied and was bullied (but in a not so huge and clearly defined scale), and also it was interesting that the author chose to do a 72 hour snap shot of Kenna's situation.  The author also lets readers know that this is from her daughter's personal experience, but also from the countless Tumblr pages she looked into and other blogs, where teens honestly depicted their stories with pictures and agonizing stories.  The ending is left open, Kenna knows she has choices and that's her problem, she just hopes that the choices that keep her from cutting are enough, but really she "could go either way."

3.5 stars out of 5, thanks Edelweiss!




Illusions of Fate
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Pub: 9/9/2014
Pg. 288
ARC Received by Edelweiss


Jassamin comes from the island of Melei, but  finds her self in Albion for schooling.  On a fateful day she meets Finn, a young and charismatic lord who comes from wealth, privilege, power, and magic!  But along with all that Finn has a secret, and Lord Downpike will do everything in his power bring Finn down... even if that's through Jassamin.  Jassamin becomes the pawn in a game she's never known existed, and her fate is irrevocably intertwined with Finn's.  Will she be in over head, or will she be exactly what Finn needs to destroy Lord Downpike, or will she be the undoing of Finn?

I really liked the tie in of magic in this story.  It's not very obvious and also not really terrible.  The shadow was a great little addition to the whole claiming bit that seems prevalent with magical myths.  Finn is such a funny character, and even though at times Jassamin can be a little too annoying she wasn't a terrible character.  It was also nice to read a stand alone; sometimes you only want to be in a world for 1 book, not 6.

4 out 5 stars, thanks Edelweiss!





Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Pub: 9/9/2014
Pg. 416
ARC Received by Edelweiss


"After all, when you're a girl and your Dad's pretty much the most badass lieutenant colonel there ever was, there's no way you're ever going to be able to make him proud.
Unless you do something stupid.
Like agree to be one of the first girls to enroll at a previously all-boys military academy."


Sam McKenna comes from a family of military skills.  So it's no surprise that she too would like to show her skills, and after her brother's suicide she has one final dare to complete from him: join the all-boys military academy, Denmark Military Academy that is. Her second oldest brother goes there, her father went there, and her grandfather went there, no pressure for one of the first female recruits.  Of course being a girl and infiltrating (because that is how the men are looking at it) an all male school can be hard.  There is the sexual factor, the physical factor, and the emotional/mental factor.  But Sam soon realizes that there is also a secret society, and they are hell bent on getting rid of the female recruits, especially Sam.   A world full of secrets, tradition, and strict rules Sam must dig deep if she plans on making it out of her first year alive.

I liked that hazing was acknowledged and not slightly brushed upon.  The cruelty of children is not necessarily the most comfortable topic, but it's a real topic and children can be the cruelest, especially when they are being led by an adult.  My problem was, and usually is in YA novels, WTF parents!  You seriously don't care that your child is doing something good, like dealing with equality, you know for a fact how the military academy mentality is and you still don't check up on her?  And her brother (not the dead one, I love Amos he sounded like a sweetheart), screw that guy.  I don't even care about the end... he let it get to that point without letting his father know.  And the father... you had to have what happened from the moment your son killed himself to the moment that you came back to realize your family is important? W. T. F. --That is all.

4 out of 5 stars, thank you Edelweiss!















Monday, September 15, 2014

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear, #1)


“This,” he said without the least drama or emphasis, “is about true and false.  Right and wrong.  Good and evil.  And justice, Mara.  This is about justice.  And balance.  And…”  He nodded as if to himself rather than to me.  “… and redemption.”

 

Mara has awoken and all she knows is her name.  She doesn’t remember what happened, where she is, where she’s supposed to be, or even if she’s just dreaming.  All she knows is her name, Mara and she clings to it.  Another thing she knows is that this ethereally beautiful and menacing boy/guy in all black is someone you don’t mess with, and for a while she calls him the Messenger of Fear.  Slowly he shows her a young girl who is dead, and they figure out it was a suicide; but why did she kill herself?  Mara needs to know, she needs to who is responsible and when she finds out she has no mercy.  You see the Messenger of Fear comes to people during a time in their life that they did something really really bad, and knew it was bad before they did it.  I am not talk about petty things either.  The Messenger gives them two choices, play a game of chance or accept your punishment (of course if you lose the game of chance you still receive your punishment).  The game is also extremely intense and tends to be gruesome.  The point of the matter is that all of us do something that we know will have dire consequences, and what separates us is how we react to those situations.  Some of us will do the right thing, and others will pretend like they didn’t know.  A good example is for instance if you ran over a dog.  Most people would stop and call the police and report it (because, it’s a crime to drive away from the scene of an accident), but there might be a few who think that no one some them and they drive away.  The second group of people is the one the Messenger of Fear visits. 

 

This was a such a creepy story, and it had everything I liked.  It had a pale good looking guy, who wears all black, and exudes predator.  Nightmares are a real thing in this book, and overall the theme/message of being a good person, of right and wrong.  I really hope to follow more of Mara’s story, find out more about the Messenger of Fear, and watch them find redemption.  A great beginning of a series.

 

Thank You Edelweiss.

4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, September 7, 2014

YA Summer Enders

Rumble

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
Pub: 8/26/2014
Pg. 560
ARC Received by Edelweiss


"Some say death is a doorway, belief the key.  Others claim you only have to stumble across the threshold to glimpse a hundred billion universes in the blink of single silver shard." 


I really enjoyed Hopkins' Rumble, purely because of the nature of her writing.  I found myself not able to put the book down, but also found myself questioning my beliefs, morals, and opinions.  Matt is going through some serious soul searching.  His family is messed up, his brother committed suicide a few months back, and frankly Matt has given up on faith.  Instead he is determined to "go big, or go home."  Even his highly devote and highly good looking Christian girlfriend, Hayden, couldn't sway him.  Matt was a likeable character with a bit of narcissism, self deprecation, and reflection he made it easy to relate. 

4 out of 5 stars.


Feral
Feral by Holly Schindler
Pub: 8/26/2014
Pg. 432
ARC received by Edelweiss

"It made it seem like Claire's entire life had been tainted by violence, right from the start.  she wondered if violence didn't follow some people, the same way bad luck trailed after others."

Claire Cain is a survivor.  She survived being beaten brutally out in an alley a few months back, and everyday she survives another day of PTSD.  With a chance move, Claire thinks she will be able to heal better some where else; however, the town of Peculiar, Missouri isn't as quiet as she might have hoped.  Within her first couple of weeks in Peculiar a student from Claire's new high school is found murdered, beaten to death/perhaps strangled.  All Claire can focus on are the similarities between herself and Serena.  There is also the sinister way feral cats have been appearing: first at the murder scene, then following Claire around.  Claire must figure out what's going on soon, or else she will lose everything she's been holding on to.  This was an intriguing psychological thriller.  It had me think that it was a supernatural/paranormal book and all of a sudden it became very real.

3 out of 5 stars.



Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Pub: 9/2/2014
Pg: 565
ARC received by NetGalley


In Maas' third installment in her Throne of Glass series, we find Celaena traveling back to her birth place, both under orders of the King she hates and also under the advisement of the one who truly loves her, Chaol, for her safety.  There she finds her aunt Maeve, the Queen, and Rowan, a Prince in Maeve's court.  Celaena must go back, to before she was Celaena, and remember who she was, who she was meant to be, and who is suppose to lead the people of her land.  She's not the only one that needs to make these discoveries, back in Adarlan both Prince Dorian and Choal must decide where their loyalties lie, and fully accept themselves and each other for who and what they are.  The action is just as enticing as the past two books; the book continues to demonstrate the dark of the story, as other characters and monsters are introduced to the story line. The romance kills me, because Choal's regret but acceptance is palpable and Celaena's heart break is as well.  Will she be able to forgive him?  Will she find her self mated to Rowan, as the Fae do for eternity?  And will Celaena, Choal, and Dorian be able to bring down the tyranny and restore hope to all?  Loved, loved, loved this book and I love this series even more.  Please don't let there be a love triangle... please!

5 stars.


Don't Touch
Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Pub: 9/2/2014
Pg: 432
ARC Received by Edelweiss

"Touch another person's skin and Dad will never come home.  The danger feels even bigger than that.  Touch another person's skin and Dad will evaporate." 

Caddie has rules.  She never touches anyone's skin, for fear that her father will not come back home.  This isn't the first time she's made rules for herself, since she was little Caddie has lived by rules to ensure her safety, the world's safety, and ultimately keep her from shattering.  But what if the one thing you can't do, that you're afraid to do, is the one thing you need?  After Caddie transfers to an Art high school, where she reconnects with old friends, she begins to want things.  She most definitely wants to be Ophelia in the upcoming school production of Hamlet, and she wants to go unnoticed (especially her strangeness).  Enter Peter, he is everything Caddie isn't.  He's impulsive, in your face, and there's this life in his eyes that makes Caddie's heart race.  The problem is that she still cannot touch anyone. How is Caddie suppose to be in a play, friends with people, and foster a crush on Peter when the thought of touching anyone sends her into a panic attack?  A very true issue that isn't spoken about enough is given voice in Rachel M. Wilson's novel Don't Touch

4 out of 5 stars.

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Pub: 9/2/2014
Pg: 358
ARC received by Edelweiss

"These are perks to being a surrogate.  We get to dress how we want, eat what we want, sleep late on the weekends.  We get an education.  A good education.  We get fresh food and water, we always have electricity, and we never have to work.  We never have to know poverty--and the caretakers tell us we'll have more once we start living in the Jewel.  Except freedom.  They never seem to mention that."

Violet is a surrogate, one of many that are auctioned off into servitude for the aristocratic women.  She lives in an era where women cannot have children, and so surrogates, who come from a more diluted background, are used to carry the royal children.  At the auction Violet will lose her identity, become lot 197, and become the property of a well to-do lady.  But soon she realizes that within the city limits of The Jewel lies betrayal, heartbreak, games, and death, and the surrogates are usually the victims.  The head of the houses are cruel with each other, some are sinister, and others use their property like play things parading them along the town square on leashes.  Violet must get out, but soon she falls in love with a companion, another group that is placed in servitude in a sexual manner within The Jewel.   All this can lead to is death, no matter how much a surrogate is valued, they are still property.  Will she be able to escape with the help of a "lady-in-waiting" Lucien?  How can she keep her love for Ash a secret after he confirms his feelings for her?  And is there a rebellion slowly growing within The Jewel?  A YA Handmaid's Tale, with lushes scenery and caustic revelry. 

3 out of 5 stars. 





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Amity by Micol Ostow


Amity

I wanted to love Amity by Micol Ostow so much, that I will actually give a proper review (well, proper in my view).  I like Amity, the urban legend and the history behind it; it was a story that captured and captivated many audiences and especially those that live in New England towns like that in Concord.  Ostow’s take on Amity was a bit the same and a bit different.  Like other stories based on this house, he focused on a past event but juxtaposed it to a present tense story.  You have Connor and his family, that moved into Amity 10 years before Gwen and her family moved in.  Connor is the past and Gwen is the present. 

What Worked:

Obviously I like the blending of the past and present story.  Are they only connected because they lived there, or because there was something innately wrong with them? 

It’s pretty gruesome.  You can’t have an Amity horror without some bloodshed, witch craft, Native American folklore, or demon eyes.  All of the above was present.

Connor’s crazy versus Gwen’s crazy.  They are both a little different than your average person; however, Connor made me feel as if snakes slithered under my skin, while Gwen just drove me nuts with compassion.

Annie.  Annie really worked. 

The house was an entity all on itself.  Yes the back stories were there, but it all came down to the stones, the foundation.  Amity was the villain in the story, not just an object that evil was projected onto. 

What Didn’t Work:

The connection between Connor and Gwen were not very solid.  Besides living in the same house and dealing with psychological issues respectively, they were not the same person or even remotely alike in personality.  While Gwen felt hunted, Connor felt comforted by Amity.

Um… really Connor?  I did not like his story, but then again do we really like Ronald DeFeo Jr., the original murderer in the Amityville horror story? 

Why do people insist on staying in places as creepy as this one?  Gwen was afflicted with hysteria, and you are going to take her out into the middle of Nowhere, USA and not expect some crazy things to go down?  Why are the adults always so… dumb?

WHY would you end it that way?  I had so much more of Gwen to experience, I had so many more questions, and I sure as heck don’t want to go through that house again just to find out how Gwen’s doing.

 

This was definitely worth the read.  I know this is a mixed review, but I found it scary and I found it interesting.  I don’t regret the couple of hours it took from me because in the end it accomplished what a horror movie tries to accomplish.  It gets you thinking, involved the action, and ultimately fighting along with the main character until the bitter end.

 

Thank You Edelweiss.  3 stars out of 5.

 

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Spark and the Burn (Between, #2)
 
“Your life is not your own, Vi,” she said.  “Don’t you know that? It belongs to the people who love you.  So you need to take better care of it.”

Between the Spark and the Burn

 

Between the Spark and the Burn picks up where we left Violet.  River is gone, her parents are back, and things seem to be gathering dust again.  Violet is in an obvious funk since River left with Brodie, and Neely is trying to find his brother while keeping secrets of his own.  Violet, Neely, and some of the old gang get together at first to find River; however, Violet and Neely are separated from Luke and Sunshine early on and will go together from town to town looking for River.  Following odd tales, tabloids, and the radio Violet and Neely eventually find River’s location, but what they don’t expect to find is a Sea God, a boy with burning hair and a sweet disposition, twists and turns that lead to Brodie, and love.  I know it’s not cool to have a love triangle (I hate them myself), but in this book it worked.  Violet doesn’t seem to be comparing the two and she’s not using the two, if anything they are all using each other for the sake of River.  I am really curious to find out what happens in the next book, because frankly s*&^ just got real.  The end left me hopeful and hopeless.   I love this series and this author because she keeps an air of cool interest, splashed around in beautiful prose.  It is hard to have a writer both embody the sublime in their descriptions and in their diction.  Another rare gem to add to the YA collection, with a crazy cast of characters, even crazier shenanigans, and all set in eerily beautiful rare towns. 

4 out 5 stars.  Thank You Edelweiss!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Random by Tom Leveen

Random

Random by Tom Leveen is a strangely compelling idea, with not such a great execution.  Set in the span of a night, Tori receives a random phone call.  She doesn’t know the caller, it was all by chance, but the caller is desperate and he connected with Tori.   Tori doesn’t have time for this, she needs to clear her head and get ready to go on trial for murder, and her Facebook page is beyond incriminating.  The problem is, the first person who reached out to her killed himself (why she’s on trial), and the second person to reach out to her needs to be talked off the cliff before he jumps.  Dealing with the death that she might have caused, and dealing with a stranger who needs help are more than what Tori can handle, but does she want another death on her conscious? 

This was a terribly good idea.  I like when writers look at an event through different eyes.  Most of the time bullying stories are told from the victim’s perspective or close relation of the victim; however, this story is told in through the bully’s perspective.  A huge challenge for most people to understand is that adolescents are the most dangerous people, due to the fact that they do not know right from wrong all day.  I don’t want to say that parents or others do not teach them, but most if not all adolescents learn through doing and seeing.  Coupled with the fact that they are trying to fit in, this can be dangerous as illustrated by Tori’s story.  I appreciated the angle and also the truth behind “sometimes people don’t understand their actions affect others.”  This can be psychologically explained, since teens are thinking about themselves and trying to figure out their role in the world.  What I didn’t appreciate was the execution.  The story was too short; there is no way of really knowing if Tori changes, or if anyone really learns a lesson.  I also did not like the fact that people felt the need to bully a bully.  I get tough love, I get teaching a lesson, I don’t get why people can feel superior enough to bring someone else down just based on that person’s actions, especially when those teaching the lesson are morally right and also teenagers.  Where were the parents?  Why didn’t those that wanted to teach Tori a lesson team up with the parents or adults to show that this was a lesson learned, instead I felt it was for self-serving reasons.  Not a terrible story, just very superficial and at times frustrating. 

3 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well

“We are the fates that people fear to become.  We are what happens to good persons and bad persons and to everyone in between.  Murdereddeads live in storms without seasons, in time without flux.  We do not go because people do not let us go.”


The Girl in the Well by Rin Chupeco is the story of two ghosts, a boy with tattoos, and a Japanese folk tale of horror.  The girl in the well is said to have lived a long time ago, in the days of the samurai.  She was a dutiful servant but was in love with another/She was in love with her master, and depending on what version you read her master took one of the ten tablets in her care in order to make her surrender to him/she pretended to lose one in order to test his love for her, he then beat her until she agreed to sleep with him/ as punishment for her lie, and then unsatisfied the master throws her down the well and she breaks her neck: forever gazing at the world upside down and with a twisted neck.  She is the ghost that rises from the well, she is the ghost that screams bloody murder, and she is the ghost that kills those who do wrong.  The reader is introduced to the ghost at first and we learn that she know finds retribution for children who have been murdered, by murdering the culprits and in turn releasing the spirits of innocent children attached to their murderers; we follow her through the story until she meets the tattooed boy, also known as Tarquin, who appears to have a malignant spirit that follows him around.  Soon Tark begins to notice her, his cousin begins to notice her, and she is no longer a vengeful ghost, she becomes the woman in white, while the entity that is poisoning Tark is known as the woman in black. 

This was such a creepy, horrific story.  If you have seen Ringu, or The Ring, then you are familiar with the girl in the well.  Using Japanese folklore really amps up the horror in this story, since to me, Japan happens to do a wonderful job freaking the daylights out of people.  The woman in white is not a bad spirit to innocent people, but she is scary in her own right, and the woman in black is just awful.  There are gruesome scenes, gruesome crimes committed, and ancient rituals to explore in this fast paced novel about tragedy, malice, and redemption.  If you like horror, but not supernatural whimsy (which I thought was the “horror” description for this book), and you wouldn’t mind some culture in your life I suggest picking up this book.

4 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan


The Islands at the End of the World


“The president’s voice is strong.  ‘My fellow Americans, and my fellow citizens around the globe: I apologize for the deceptions of the past twenty-four hours.  Well-intentioned advisors have counseled me to keep secret what we’ve recently learned.  My conscience and my heart will not allow that.  I have made the determination that you have a right to know about the extraordinary—”

The flat screen turns blue.  A small text box bounces about the monitor: Weak or no signal.”

Leilani is your typical teenage girl living in Hawaii with her parents and brother.  The only thing not typical about Leilani is that she is epileptic.  This has caused her to be an outsider in social groups (along with being raised on the mainland and being half Hawaiian) and also to feel bad about certain things she cannot do, like driving.  Other than that, she lives a pretty normal life.  Her father and she are leaving their island to go to another in order to get into an epileptic drug study.  Once they leave her mother, brother and grandfather at home strange things begin to happen.  First it was a meteor that struck down and created a minor tsunami, secondly Leilani has been having odd dreams of times past before humans, and finally all satellites and communication devices are down, even microwaves stop working.  Stuck on the wrong island, Leilani and her father fight their way through hysteria, internment camps, and really, really bad people.  What happens when the apocalypse begins, but you are cut off from a main land or continent?  What will Leilani do when her medicine runs out?  Why does she keep dreaming during her fits?  Are her mom, brother, and grandfather okay?

The Islands at the End of the World is a fascinating look at one of the most popular themes in YA right now.  Almost every other book (hyperbole, people, hyperbole) in YA is a dystopian/apocalypse story that questions how we will cope if things go bad.  What can we do when all the technology that we rely on is wiped away, when life as we know it is changed completely?  All these novels take place on American main land ground, characters end up traveling crazy distances to reach resolutions to their stories; however, Leilani must travel from island to island to reach her home, and furthermore she and everyone else are cut off from the rest of the world.  They do not know how everyone else is fairing.  On top of this theme there is also the element of Hawaiian folklore/culture and aliens… that’s right I said aliens or some extra-terrestrial beings.  I just found the story intriguing and also a breath of fresh air to be introduced to Hawaiian folklore, and also the perspective of islanders about the end of the world.  This book also does not lack in humor: “I thought you didn’t believe in violence.”  “I never believed in Armageddon, either, but guess what?”  “It believed in you?”  Cannot wait to read the next book, pick this book up ASAP!

4.5 stars out of 5.  Thanks Edelweiss.
 

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)
 
Edith has always been “the dog” at school.  The butt of all the popular crowd’s jokes and after one really humiliating incident she has no reason to keep living.  She wants to end her life, and in turn end her misery.  At the moment of her suicide, a beautiful guy shows up and tells her that she has another option.  He can give her 3 favors, in return for 3 favors she will owe his benefactors.  You see, this isn’t a regular devil’s wager, this is a game that immortals are playing, and the stakes are high.  Edith decides to take him up on his offer, and becomes a stunning beauty, who then plans to take revenge on the in-crowd for their past sins against her.  But soon, Edith will learn that when you make a devil’s wager, you are no longer in control.  The in-crowd begins to drop like flies, and Edith doesn’t know if it is her that is doing it or if it is the mysterious Kian, who she is falling for but cannot fully trust.

This was a very confusing first book for a series; however, it wasn’t that difficult to follow the whole idea of a game being played by immortals, using mortals.  I don’t like Edith, whatsoever because she embodies the selfishness and self-centeredness that she hated about her abusers.  All her anxieties melt and all of a sudden she’s a certified mean girl… I mean, really? ANNNNNNNNNDDDD we have a stalker-Cullen like in Kian.  He has been following Edith for god only knows how long, he was there during the “incident” and all this girl can do is spiral down the love hole.  I don’t hate this book, I don’t even dislike it, but it was not my favorite.  I want to know what happens next, but at the same time it ended with a baby cliffy, not a whopping one that will keep me on my toes until the next.  I say try it, there is some funny banter occasionally and it’s not terrible.

 

3 out of 5 stars.  Thanks NetGalley.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Fiendish



“Every little stitch and seam told me I was changing, leaving behind my old, baby self… then the voice would rise up in my ear, getting louder, echoing around me.  Hold still and sleep.  It was easier to turn toward it, to follow it down into a jumble of dreams—hills and creeks and hollows.  Trees to climb, fields going on forever.  I fell headfirst into a sinkhole of pretty things, and the world inside your eyelids is just as big as the one outside.” 


Brenna Yovanoff creates another fascinating YA gothic paranormal story with Fiendish.  Clementine remembers going into the garden to fetch a tomato for her mother.  She remembers that there was something off about the tomato, it was a stone.  She remembers closing her eyes, and following the instructions to hold still and sleep, but always conscious, always thinking.   Always alone, waiting, until one day she hears voices and is rescued from her cellar with her eyes sewn shut, still wearing her childhood frock.  Clementine is saved by Eric Fisher, but was she saved or did he unleash a threat on to the town that had been locked up?  Soon questions like that one begin to pile up, because whatever happened years ago, the night Clementine was hidden away, is happening again. Delving deeper in order to understand what happened those years ago will only stir the pot more, and soon Clementine and her rag tag group of friends and Fisher will be called to pay the price for what they are.  It’s not always easy being an outsider, especially when there are mysteries and unexplainable things arising.  With swamp people known as Fiends, magical powers, and obvious hate crimes this is another stunning story of the outcasts in society from the author of The Replacement, The Space Between, and Paper Valentine. 

 

4 out of 5 stars.  Thank you Edelweiss!

The Wonder: Queen of Hearts Saga Book #2 by Colleen Oakes


The Wonder (Queen of Hearts, #2)


"If she could not quench the fire burning within her, she would set Wonderland ablaze."

Ahhh!  Yes, this was such an awesome 2nd book!  Dinah has escaped her father's clutches, leaving Wardley behind.  Lost in the Twisted Woods with Morte, Dinah is barely surviving, and her father is searching for her with his best trackers.  Soon betrayal is met with allegiance, when one of the best trackers, a spade named Sir Gorrann, captures Dinah and proposes taking down the King.  With a new goal in mind, a protector she is not sure she trusts, and thoughts of Wardley to keep her warm Dinah sets out to rescue Wonderland, rescue herself, and destroy the tyrant she has called father.  Secrets, hidden agendas, the caterpillar, and serious disappointments are in store for the storybook's favorite Red Queen.  Sometimes people are born bad, and other times it is the people around them that make them bad.

Cannot wait until the next book, it will definitely be bloodier and angrier.

4 out 5 stars.  Thanks Netgalley!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Some Boys by Patty Blount

Some Boys
 
“Some girls say no.  Some boys don’t’ listen…

…I can’t help thinking of a stupid riddle—if a girl’s attacked in the forest and no one’s around to see it or hear it, did it really happen?”

 

Some Boys by Patty Blount is another golden cautionary tale for the new YA culture.  Growing up we all went to parties where perhaps we did things that our parents would ground us for life, but lately people have been commenting on how teenagers these days have more freedom and are exposed to serious issues much earlier than teenagers from a decade ago ( I was a teenager a decade ago).  The first book I read of hers was Send, where she explored technology and the misuse of it, and how teens are not aware of the implications of their actions via texts, emails, or social media.  While I think people should read for enjoyment, there should always be cautionary tales mixed in, especially in YA.  Some Boys is the cautionary tale of dating in high school, girl code, and underage drinking. 

Grace is having one hell of a month.  After going to a party and getting trashed, she is raped by the golden boy Zac.  No one believes her, why should they?  Grace dresses provocatively, she’s in your face, and frankly she did date Zac, clearly she feels jilted and is spreading lies to get back at him.  But why would Ian, Zac’s best friend, find Grace in the middle of the woods with her underpants around her ankle, unconscious, and alone?  Why would she insist to go to the hospital, if it wasn’t rape?  And why have her once bright eyes gone dim and frightened?

Ian is Zac’s best friend and teammate.  He knows Zac since he was little, and he knows that Zac will always have his back.  Zac’s a ladies man and sometimes girls don’t realize it’s all about casualness with Zac.  But why did Zac have to ask Grace out first?  Why did she date Zac?  And why is she lying about what happened that night?  After spending a week of forced labor together, aka detention, Ian starts questioning that night, Zac, Grace, himself, and how people treat each other.  Why would a girl let two guys touch her at once, is it because her best friend needs a wingman?  Why do girls insist on wearing too much make-up? 

Blount explores teenage angst, teenage romance, and how society treats victims like criminals.  It is just one big he said she said, and until solid proof is found most of the time the girl is labeled a slut.  Does a girl deserve to be raped because she wears what she wants, because she drinks too much, because she flirted?  Do adults act/react better than students when faced with a rape crime?  Why do we all feel the need to bash people until it’s too late, and once the truth is out there is no taking back the words, the gestures, and the crime?   I would say I really liked this book, but at times I found myself so angry at the adults in the novel.  I am still a “new adult/young adult” and I work with young adults (high school students), I cannot believe the way the adults reacted to Grace’s situation and the constant flow of insults.  Even if they had to remain un-bias since no evidence was given, they are the one group of people that must make children feel safe not ignored and defeated.  I liked the message and how it was presented to the YA world, and frankly more books need to keep questioning the WHY people act the way they do to a crisis like this.  I think that is what Ian represented.  He wasn’t perfect, but boy did he learn a lot from this experience.

 

4 out of 5 stars, than you NetGalley!

Fire Wish by Amber Lough



The Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars, #1)

Fire Wish by Amber Lough brings the story of a jinni, a prince, and soon to be princess in Baghdad to life.  In a world where humans and jinni have fought to the death in a bloody world, there are two girls who can change everything.  More than a decade ago there was a war between the jinni and the human race, triumphantly the humans won against the devils; however, the threat never was erased from their minds.  More than a decade ago jinni were enslaved to do the bidding of humans without being able to escape, their people were killed, and they ultimately created an uprising; however, they need to finish what they started and get the lamp, which was used to communicate between the worlds.  One lamp is housed in the palace of Baghdad; the other in the caves of the jinni community, neither one has been lit since that terrible night. 

Zayele loves to climb, run around, and be there for her brother, who lost his sights.  Her life changes the night the vizier enters her town.  He is her cousin, but also the savior of the war against the jinni.  Everyone owes their life to him, and he works for the King.  He has come in search of a bride for the prince, and she has been selected.

Najwa is a jinni training to be a spy for the war.  Her training advances due to her being able to enter the palace, a place no other jinni can enter.  This will mean more assignments and a rush order on her graduating to the spy unit, and secretly more time to see the prince she cannot seem to forget.  When she crosses paths with Zayele, she is forced to grant Zayele a wish that will put both of them in danger.  Now Zayele and Najwa have switched place, and on top of trading lives both must walk a careful line less they be killed by their enemy.  Secrets, wishes, and some pretty nice kisses have been all wrapped into this nice neat package.  Buy, borrow, read and enjoy!

 

Thank You Edelweiss.  3 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly, #3)

Since Eleanor Fitt was introduced in the first book, Something Strange and Deadly, I have been madly in love with the covers, story, characters, and who doesn’t like an unhealthy dose of necromancy during the Victorian age?  Gail Carriger introduced me to the world of Steam Punk and I fell in love with heroines who were thrust into supernatural Victorian adventures with nothing more than a parasol for protection.  For the conclusion of this lovely and strange series adventure, mystery, and complications were not hard to find and the ending leaves readers thinking about the book even after they put it down.  As an avid fan of the series I did not appreciate how self-centered Eleanor had become by the third book, although I do understand it showed readers how power can change a person.  The setting was amazing.  Through this series readers have enjoyed Philadelphia, London, Paris and now Egypt being overrun with the dead, and the last setting really shined.  The spirit hunters are on the run in search of Jie, after she was kidnapped by Marcus, and Eleanor is keeping her secrets and her demon close.  Oliver is changing subtly, and it might not be the change he wants.  Allison steals away with Eleanor, Oliver, and the spirit hunters in search of Marcus and Jie.  As a fan I am happy with the way things ended, but I will have to say one or two things about the ending.  Dennard pulled a Roth.  From now on when an author kills a major character I will call it a Roth; however, Dennard is not guilty of a pointless death.  I understand why it happened and it’s not like the character took it upon them to change the whole plan and kill themselves.  It was sad beyond repair, and I will leave it at that.  Follow our wonderful Misfit in her last adventure with the spirit hunters!

4 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss, and thank you Dennard for your lovely story!
 
 
If you are interested here are books 1 and 2, respectively:
1. Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)                                    2. A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)
 
 
 

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)

“Two days ago, a man had come to the Drunken Dog, introducing himself as James and asking for Kyra by name.  He’d moved with a deliberate confidence, and his gaze had swept over the room, evaluating and dismissing each of its occupants.  When Kyra had finally approached him, James laid out an unusual offer.  There was a ruby in the Palace compound.  He wanted her to fetch it for him, and he was willing to pay.”

Kyra is known for her stealthy ways, which have come in handy for her and her customers.  Almost like a Robin Hood, Kyra steals from the rich and gives to the poor.  Being an orphan, with the help of Flick and Bella, Kyra has dug out a place of her own, where she is needed.  With the request of a new client, all these good things she has found to make her life a bit brighter might disappear forever.  Tasked with finding a sizable ruby in the Palace compound, Kyra sets out to accomplish this new feat; however, things don’t go as planned and pretty soon she finds herself a member of the Assassin’s Guild.  Not completely sure she made the decisions Kyra starts noticing what the Guild is stealing, and also how their raids may be in connection to the Demon Cat Riders (yes, demon cat riders, they are demon-cats who apparently ride?).  Soon Kyra makes a wrong move, and finds herself at the clutches of Tristam, a royal knight.  Tristam lost his friend and comrade to the Demon Cats, and has promised to avenge his death, but first he must figure out who is stealing into the night to rob from the magistrates and the compound.  With Kyra in his custody, Tristam soon realizes that this will be difficult, and that not all criminals choose to be criminals.  Once the enemy becomes the ally, the truth behind Kyra’s past begins to leak out.  Will Kyra be able to accept her choices, who she is, and what she needs to still do?  Will Tristam find his revenge, figure out how to defeat the Assassin’s Guild, and follow the just path?  Is James really that bad… yes, I can already answer that one for the readers.  A great new supernatural YA novel with espionage, intrigue, and mayhap a kiss or two.  Can’t wait to see where Kyra, Tristam, and that devil of James end up in the next installation. 

3.5 stars out of 5.  Thanks Net Galley.   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton

Where Silence Gathers (Some Quiet Place, #2)

“Revenge finds me just as I finish my uncle’s bottle of rum.  He settles down beside me and dangles his legs off the edge of the bridge.  I don’t look at him, and for a few minutes neither of us says a word.  Plumes of air leave my mouth with every breath.  It’s still too cold for crickets, so the night is utterly silent.  If I listen hard enough, I can almost hear the stars whispering to each other.  Cruel, biting whispers.” 

Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton is the second book in her series Some Quiet Place.  Alex Tate watched her family die, as the lone survivor anger seethes and unravels under skin.  On the day her parents died, she met the emotion Revenge and from that moment on they have been the best of friends.  Now at 17, Alex must face the fact that the man who took her family away is getting out of jail, and she can face it as long as Revenge is beside her.  Knowing that Revenge is an emotion and not human doesn’t make things any less complicated for Alex.  Dealing with her past and her present dilemmas are not the only things catapulting her to an end, but also Forgiveness makes an appearance.  Now she has a choice, must make a choice, and must figure out the secrets of her parents past.  A great addition to Sutton’s series about those who can see the emotions that fuel human choices and the choices we make.

4 out of 5 stars.  Thank You NetGalley.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

The Half Life of Molly Pierce

Molly Pierce has just walked into her own nightmare, she is now aware of what is going on in her life.  Sometimes Molly wakes up and she’s driving down a road with no clue as to where she  is going and why she is going that way, or she wakes up in 3 minutes has passed by, never really understanding what happened and where she went when she zoned out.  One morning she wakes up from a zone out and realizes someone is chasing her on their motorcycle.  Feeling like she has to flee Molly tries to drive faster, the end result is that the motorcyclist gets hit by a car and eventually ends up with severe mortal wounds.  The real problem is that the victim, Lyle Avery, knows her but she doesn’t know him.  He’s too familiar with him and too intimate in those last moments of his life, and the one thing she cannot get out of her head is that he called her Mabel.  Now with Lyle dead, Molly wants to figure out whom he was, who his brother, Sayer, is, and why it feels like she should know who both are.  Not realizing that half her life has been kept from her, Molly is determined to figure out what makes her black out as well.  The only person with the key to her past and secrets is her, and she will have to work hard to finally realize the connection between her, the two brothers, her therapist, and her family.  At some point, all things must be uncovered.

Such a creepy story about mental health.  This is not a supernatural book or even a paranormal book; it deals with a mental health issue that can be relatable to readers who find themselves in Molly’s shoes or even know someone who works like Molly (hopefully with less drama and casualties). 

3.5 Stars out of 5.  Thank You Edelweiss.

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson


The Vanishing Season
 

“It seems that this town has an appetite for the young; it swallows them whole, right into its very dirt.  A key is buried under the front stairs on Water Street.  This is my work.  This is the one thing I have to do.  I am looking for the things that are buried.”

This is the story of two girls, a boy, and a ghost.  When girls start disappearing in Door County in the fall, Maggie and her parents are alarmed, as the new residents of the town.  Even with the threat looming over the town, Maggie still finds herself befriending the beautiful Pauline and her odd best friend Liam.  In the span of time it takes fall to turn to winter Maggie loses a friend and gains a love, but not everything can stay golden.  This is not a ghost story, but the entity that occasionally makes itself present in the story is very tied to Maggie, Pauline, and Liam.  It feels a strong connection and has a need to protect them.  As the past and present collide Maggie’s true story unfolds and the season of the vanishing girls eventually ends.  A different read in 2014 if you need to take a break from completing ending series, dystopian novels, and paranormal/sci-fi novels.

3 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3.5)



This was such a fun read, which brought back great memories of Mercy Falls.  Cole is the character that you find yourself loving even with all his antics, but Isabel was not a character I want to have lunch with, let alone root for in the book.  If anything I wish poor Cole would find someone new, and less childishness-wrapped-in-maturity.  For fans of the Mercy Falls trilogy this will be a great continuation in this world of wolves and the people that love them.  New characters, fresh venue, and a bad-boy-rock star- wolf on the prowl for his beta.

3.5 stars out of 5.  Thank You NetGalley

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Broken Heart Diet by Tom Formaro

The Broken Heart Diet
The Broken Heart Diet by Tom Formaro is a delectable romance full of good food, great friends, and broken hearts.  Dante Palermo is on top of the world; he will soon open is first restaurant and he is about to ask the woman of his dreams to marry him.  All is as he has planned, that is until Abby crushes his heart and declines his marriage proposal.  Devastated, Dante returns to San Francisco, where he finds himself in a funk.  Not only is he depressed and losing weight, he just learned that his backing partner is on the run for fraud.  Once Dante finds a way to fix his restaurant issue, he still finds himself broken hearted, discontent, and pining for the one that got away.  Visited by the ghost of his Nona, Dante is given the gift to cure broken hearts with his food; however, he will not be able to cure his own heart by cooking food, he must learn to rise above his pain and funk.  With great friends at his side, Dante begins to have good fortune with the restaurant and life seems to be picking up—but can he ever recover from his broken heart, and is all that he needs and wants already in his possession?  A great light read, with some great food involved. 

4 out of 5 stars.  Thanks NetGalley.