Friday, February 20, 2015

Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger

Crazy Love YouCrazy Love You by Lisa Unger
Pub: 2/10/2015
Pgs: 352
ARC Received by Edelweiss                         

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

Ian has been brought up in darkness.  He has always been an outsider.  When he was young his mother killed his baby sister and almost killed him, leaving her a ward in a psychiatric hospital.  What saved Ian that day was stumbling across a young waif of a girl named Priss.  After that day Ian is followed by mysterious situations that are dark and ominous.  If someone picks on him, and he tells Priss, that bully's house might burn down.  And the problem is that when ever these bad things happen Ian tries to tell people about Priss, but no one believes him.  In a small town where people know each other, no one knows who this mysterious girl is. 

Now grown up, Ian decides he needs to leave his home behind, where he was so unhappy.  He moves to NYC and begins a successful career as a graphic novelist, and even meets a wonderfully beautiful and sweet girl that he wants to eventually marry.  It almost seems as if his life has been turned around, but one thing he has never been able shake off is Priss.  Now that he has found happiness, Priss can't let him go and soon things turn murderous and a bit haunting. 

I did not expect this to become a ghost story, but I found it intriguing.  Yes at first it took some time to into the story, but once I realized that Ian was pretty much crazy and no one else seemed to know about Priss I was in.  The Ian began to investigate who Priss really was and his connection to her, and it got more interesting.  Finally the end was a bit mind blowing for me; honestly I cannot see how Ian and his wife could live happily ever after what happened and had been revealed in the end.

4 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand 
Pub: 2/10/2015
Pgs: 400
ARC received by Edelweiss

The Last Time We Say GoodbyeLex was your average girl.  She had a mother, a father, and a pretty awesome little brother.  She's crazy smart, has great band of friends, and is confident she will make something big of herself.  All these things began warping the minute her father walked out on her family, after an affair.  Things weren't looking that terrible, there just happened to be a lot of animosity but overall Lex felt like things were going well.  She was on her way to apply to MIT and continue to be brilliant.  On the other hand Tyler had taken the divorce very badly, he was a 12 and needed his father, but he also really was upset with his father's choices and lack of empathy when it came to breaking up the home.  It had gotten so bad that Tyler tried to commit suicide at 12 right after the divorce.  Thankfully he only swallowed Advil, and his liver was able to process them without killing him.

Unfortunately this isn't the story of how Lex, Tyler and their family were able to overcome this issue.  Instead this is the story of how Lex's life completely falls apart the day her brother kills himself.  At 16 he finally couldn't take the black hole living inside of him anymore, and Lex feels guilty because she received a text message from him the day of his death.  He didn't leave a note either... well he left a post-it note for his mother, but other than that he never provided closure for Lex or her family.  With a few ghostly apparitions Lex stumbles upon a letter Tyler wrote to his ex-girlfriend.  Could this possibly explain why he did it?  Lex will do what she can to piece together what happened that last day, and in turn she has written everything down in a journal as an alternative to anti-depressants provided by her therapists.

This was such a heart wrenching story, because suicide can be one of the most hurtful topics out there.  Whether you are suicidal or someone you love is, both roles have difficulties to deal with emotionally and mentally.  This book shows the different facets of pain that suicide leaves on the living.  Lex's mom goes off on the deep end, her father becomes a robot, Lex can barely deal with life, and everyone immediately wants to distance themselves from the family of the dearly departed.  The pain is so raw, but it's real and as complicated as this topic can be in the end it is very simple: losing a loved one too soon is a hard thing to process and move on from, but in the end we are not alone and we are not to blame and our loved ones who committed suicide are not the bad guys either.  Understanding is completely in order from friends, family, and ourselves.

4.5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss, and thank you Cynthia Hand.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Pub: 2/10/2015
Pgs: 320
ARC Received by Edelweiss

Here's the crux about this book: it isn't new or fresh because it literally weaves multiple YA novels into one, but that's kind of why I liked it.  Mare is your average girl living as a Red below the Silver class.  What separates the two is that the Silvers have powers... funny story so does Mare, but she is a Red through and through. (Reds bleed red, Silvers bleed silver).  This becomes an issue for the all powerful Silvers.  If the Reds figured out that they might have powers, or that even just one of them has the power to defeat Silvers, there could be a rebellion on the lose.  In order to hide this fact, the Silvers adopt Mare, change her name to Maven, and tell everyone she is a lost Silver princess. 

With her family's life at stake, a rebellion beginning to rise, two princes that capture her heart, and plenty of backstabbing to go around this read will capture audiences.  Does that mean I loved every minute of it?  Of course not, but it still is entertaining if you like to figure out a puzzle.  I still want to know how Mare can bleed red but have powers, and I want to see how far the rebellion will make it... also there is a prince I would like to see destroyed (bet you really can't tell which one until the end!)
4 stars. Thanks Edelweiss

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Pub: 2/10/2015
Pgs: 320
ARC Provided by Edelweiss

"I spend a lot of time wondering what dying feels like.  What dying sounds like.  If I'll burst like those notes, let out my last cries of pain, and then go silent forever.  Or maybe I'll turn into a shadowy static that's barely there, if you just listen hard enough."

Aysel has led a pretty tragic life.  A few years back people would have mistaken her for your average teenager, now she's a pariah.  Her family barely talks to her, her school mates treat her like the devil, and everyone else is watching her like a time bomb.  You see, Aysel always lived with her father.  He was strange but he was the home she always knew she could count on.  He battled with mood swings that could sometimes leave her suffocated, until one night he took it too far and destroyed more than one life.  Empty, Aysel is trying to find a way out of this torment of everyday existence and if one day she will turn into the monster that claimed her father.  That is when she stumbles across a website that gives advice on how to successfully commit to suicide. 

Enter Roman; he had everything a young guy would want.  He was popular, a skilled athlete, and a great family.  After one stupid night and a tragic accident Roman can't bare to live anymore.  He has also found solace on the suicide website that Aysel is on.  The thing about this website is that people find comfort in committing the act with another person. Aysel and Roman will become partners in this endeavor to end their misery, but while they are constantly doing gut checks with each other to make sure neither one will back out they both seem to want an excuse to stay.

I loved this book because teen suicide is a big thing, more so now than ever before.  A lot of the times these teens grow up but not out of the "phase" of depression and have to struggle with this as well.  Aysel and Roman might have been similar in the case that they wanted to commit suicide but their reasoning was different and their journey, while done together, lead to very different places.  What touched me about this book is the author's note: "Finally, I hope this story has reminded you of the people in your life who matter.  Hold them dear, be kind to them, and remember life is fragile.  I wish you all a very kinetic and beautiful life."  No better advice can be given when dealing with suicide.  Sometimes loved ones don't understand or can't deal with someone they love not wanting to live.  Instead of being an ear or a shoulder to lean on, we can become harsh and throw words like "selfish" and phrases like "you're hurting me when you say this."  Yes, they get it, but throwing those words or phrases at them only adds to their hurt and self loathing.  Very important messages in this book.

4 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Pub: 2/3/2015
Pgs: 400
ARC received by NetGalley

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios isn't your typical love story, it also deals with a topic near and dear to my heart: War Veterans.  Skylar is your typical girl, who lives in a small town and is counting down the days before she leaves for good and for college.  All she has ever thought about is leaving her dead in town, where there is no where to go but down.  Just as she graduates high school, her mother lands in some bad luck and Skylar's dreams seem to be disappearing in a cloud of dust. 

Josh left his small town of Creek View not so long ago.  His ticket out was the Marines, unfortunately it was his one way ticket back as well.  Back from a tour of duty, with a missing limb was not the life Josh thought he would be living.  Adjusting has been rather difficult.  Everyone expects him to be "Josh Mitchell" the old rebel and jock... that is everyone but Skylar.

Skylar and Josh worked together for a short time before he left for the military.  Skylar isn't sure what Josh had, but he definitely made her head spin.  After seeing him back home at a party and clearly seeing his injury, Skylar knows that Josh is different, but she's leaving soon and she doesn't know what is going on between them.  Josh can't seem to accept the deaths, injuries, and life changes that he has had to endure in the past few months but he knows that Skylar makes him feel normal and gives him the motivation to try and live instead of just exist.  The problem is that they both want each other, and they both want different things.  The problem is that PTSD can be a tidal wave that drowns not just the person who has it, but everyone in their wake.  The problem is that sometimes PTSD and loving someone can bee too much, whether you are the affected person or the person who loves and affected person.  The problem is that PTSD isn't something many young adults have experience in, only after the fact.  So the questions are, can Skylar be the person that Josh needs at this moment and can Josh eventually learn to forgive himself and see past the pain?

I really enjoyed this book because I know someone with PTSD and I think it is an important subject matter to address with any age group.  It is a likely event to have someone in their late teens and early twenties experience some form of PTSD, especially military related, and it's just as likely to know someone who is going through it.  It's one of those taboo subjects that society tends to lean away from because it's not awesome and nice and full of rainbows.  This book really demonstrated the nuances of the disorder.

4.5 Stars, Thanks NetGalley.

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

Dearest (Woodcutter Sisters, #3)
Dearest by Alethea Kontis
Pub: 2/3/2015
Pgs: 320
ARC provided by NetGalley

Dearest is the third book in the Woodcutter Sisters series.  It is time to meet Friday, the girl who everyone loves and would do anything for, and it is time to introduce the Wild Swans fairytale.  Friday finds herself living in the palace with her sister Sunday (the Queen) and tending the flock of children left orphaned, including a mute girl that works in the kitchen.  One night Friday walks up to the destroyed tower of the palace and finds 7 naked men sleeping there.  To her astonishment they turn into swans the moment she falls out of the window and catcher her and set her down to a safer height.  More to her astonishment she's not afraid, if anything she feels as if she has found a purpose and a destiny. 

It turns out these 7 men are brothers, and the mute kitchen girl is their sister.  Because of her refusal to marry a wicked man, they must now live under a curse that can only be broken when the sister constructs 7 prickly long sleeve shirts.  They must accomplish this before the ill suitor finds them.  Friday and her sister lend helping hands, because Friday knows Tristan, one of the brothers, is her destiny.  The question remains, will Friday be able to save the brothers and sister, or will she lose her destiny and her one true love?

4 stars. Thanks NetGalley. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Department 19: Zero Hour by Will Hill

Zero Hour (Department 19, #4)Department 19: Zero Hour by Will Hill   
Pub: 1/1/2015
Pgs: 704
ARC Provided by Edelweiss

Will Hill did it again.  Once more we find Department 19 counting down the hours before they take on Dracula.  Jamie and his friends are gearing up for the biggest fight that the Department has seen in years and every passing hour has become crucial.  With the impending battle more secrets begin to surface and past enemies begin to resurface.  Loyalties will be tested and swapped as well.  The biggest secret begin kept from Jaime is also explored further, making readers antsy for the truth to be spilled out.  Alas, Hill has left us on a cliff hanger that will have readers begging for the next book to see what happens next.

I love this series and the constant weaving of espionage/military operations and mythology of some of the worlds most talked about legends.  There is also a surprise in store for both Jaime and readers.  He might have finally received something he was secretly wishing for, but will the end result leave him wanting or fulfilled?  Those questions I hope are explored further in the next book.

Thank You Edelweiss. 4.5 Stars.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the ForestThe Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Pub: 1/13/2015
Pgs: 336
ARC provided by Edelweiss

"Come now, my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest? -Kenneth Patchen

Fairies, tithes, changelings, and more await readers in this recent book by Holly Black.  I loved The Modern Faerie Tales series and The Curse Worker series.  This book didn't fall short.  Hazel Evans and her brother Ben once patrolled their town of Fairfold, hunting down some of the scariest creatures that lurk at night in our dreams, and protecting/loving the boy with horns who slept in the glass coffin in the darkest part of the forest.  Fairfold is a town that had long come to terms with the supernatural presence around, but when it comes to the faerie folk, nothing ever rests peacefully.  One morning the glass coffin is found empty and all hell breaks loose on the town.  Now with their worst nightmare coming true, and a missing recently sleeping legend running around it is time for Hazel, Ben, and their friends to figure out how to save their town, themselves, and the boys they love.

Holly Black always does a great job creating a dark faery story fit for urban fantasy.  Her world's always rich with imagery and tantalizing creatures.  Hazel is a great character and the weaving of each characters' story to the final piece is awesome.  Who knew faeries could be so devious?  Holly  Black, that's who.

Thank You Edelweiss.  4 stars.