Monday, April 20, 2015

Half Wild by Sally Green


 
Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2)Half Wild by Sally Green
Pub: 3/24/2015
Pgs: 400
ARC received by Edelweiss
 
I almost didn’t like this novel, but then bam Green made me do a double take.  The readers find Nathan out on the lamb, trying to survive being hunted by the Hunters and Black Witches.  His friend Gabrielle has been missing so he is relatively alone, along with adjusting to his 3 gifts he received by the end of the third novel.  One gift that is predominately being shown to him is the ability to change into an animal; much like his father and that is scaring him.  Just when he thinks he only has to worry about Hunters and figure out a way to save Annalise from Mercury without killing his father, someone shows up claiming that he know where Gabrielle is and the Fairborn, and that his boss would like a trade.  Nathan is then whisked to a Black witch, who basically lets him know that there will be a rebellion and he would be the main player in that rebellion to bring down the White Witches and the Hunters, along with Black Witches who do not want to see a change in the crazy discriminatory world Nathan belongs to.

After that things actually got interesting.  It seems like the beginning would be interesting because the first book begged you to pay attention, begged you to love it, and you just did; however, in the second book Half Wild I found myself completely bored until about the time Nathan makes out with Gabrielle—wicked hot—also confusing because during this time they are also trying to rescue Annalise, and Nathan has pretty much bored the audience to death for about 35% just describing how awesome she is and her skin… kind of creepy… Now before I was miffed that the author had spent so much time boring me to death instead of giving me more awesomeness, much like the first book; however, by the end I am glad she made me dislike the mention of Annalise—to quote a fellow Goodreads reader “Eff Annalise.”  Now only does Nathan end up saving the girl but there is some decent time spent with his father and learning about the past.  I do have to say, people in the story HATE Marcus, but I really actually love him.  He is the perfect crazy mixed with logic, and any character that has logic in this story is by far a favorite of mine.  By the end of the book I wanted to actually keep reading, the high I received after reading the incredible first book, Half Bad, was back and I was in love with the series again. 

What works for this novel is that this branches away from regular supernatural stories out there that try to depict hierarchies/caste systems that exist within that world.  This really does delve deeper, it’s grittier, dirtier, and more politics than you can shake a stick at.  If anything this is a good allegory of racial discrimination/discrimination in general, set in a way that wouldn’t necessarily be an attack on anyone political or cultural discrimination.  Now I cannot wait until the next book comes out and Annalise gets to eat crow.

 

4.5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

My Best Everything
My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp
Pub: 3/3/2015
Pgs: 400
ARC Received by Edelweiss
 
My Best Everything is a freaking-adorable-sad-real story of love and acceptance.  Lulu is a small town girl that is working her butt off before the start of her new life, outside of her small town in Virginia.  She is the quintessential small town girl, ready for a new life out in a big city, that will not keep her in a rut such as pregnancy and minimum wage jobs for the rest of her life.  This was not meant to be a love story, because when Mason walks into her life he ultimately picks up the role “means to an end.” With all her plans looking like they are in shambles, Lulu must figure out a way to create a path for herself, and perhaps making Moonshine is illegal, and perhaps Lulu would have cared before she ran out of options, but now Lulu knows that she will do anything for her dreams to come true. 

During the hot summer nights she spends her time with Mason and a couple of friends creating some bootlegging masterpieces and selling them for profit.  In the hot suppressing heat of Virginia Lulu also manages to lose her heart to Mason, someone folks might say is a bad egg.  He’s been to jail, his girlfriend died a few years ago, he’s known to party hard, and he’s intimidating.  Granted Mason is trying.  He’s trying to get out of the family business of bootlegging , he’s trying to stay sober, and he’s trying to learn to accept himself.  Mason and Lulu and going to clash and what results is a summer full of fun, love, confusion, and ultimately criminal repercussion—because when you start selling illegal things you might step on the wrong person’s turf. 

I loved that this was Lulu’s letter to Mason, and I love the message at the end.  I have to say a fell for Mason, and completely understood him and his journey.  Life sometimes keeps you down, and the people around you can help and hinder you, but ultimately it is your decision what path you might take.  I hope there is another book, perhaps Mason’s answer to Lulu’s letter?

 

4 out of 5 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13BThe Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
Pub: 3/10/2015
Pgs: 304
ARC received by Edelweiss


Adam Spencer Ross is an almost 15 year old with some serious baggage.  He suffers from OCD.  As if this wasn't bad enough he also has to attend a group meeting once a week with other OCD sufferers, he has to deal with the issues at home with his mom, and trying to balance his family life with his father, stepmother, and little brother who also has quirks and it sometimes seems as if Adam is the only one that can reach him.  If this wasn't enough to get Adam's head to spin, life has another wrench to throw his way, and she's pretty much a 15 year's kryptonite: Robyn Plummer.  Now all Adam has to do is overcome his OCD, figure out what is going on with his mother, maintain a healthy relationship with his father, and win the heart of the girl with the bright blue eyes, who is also in his support group. 

Much of what is happening internally with Adam can be seen through the group scenes, but this is not a story that clinically and sterilely defines OCD.  Instead it defines what many YA books do, growing up in a messed up world with messed up issues and ultimately defining yourself.  Adam is one of those characters that begs you, with puppy dog eyes, to like him in an understated way.  He is more like "Hi my name is Adam, and this is me, like me for who I am."  And I do, I really do.  What killed me the most, and usually does when you work with youth, is not his issues and what he has to overcome personally, but the issues of the adults around him, and how they tend to bleed into his development and subsequent issues.  Most of the time we are so engaged in looking at the person, that we don't see how those around them can be the most detrimental.  There's love in this story, there is acceptance, growth, lies, truths, and final escape.  I wouldn't trade Adam for all the superheroes in the world, after all Batman doesn't have super powers but he sure can get the villain.  Even Robyn could have been an unsympathetic character, but in the end she's a teenager... they are going to lie.  My life is a bit richer for having had the chance at peaking into the life of these characters, and I am beholden to Toten for having given readers the opportunity to understand Adam's story in a simplistic yet deep and meaningful way.

4 stars, Thanks Edelweiss!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

MonstrousMonstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Pub: 2/10/2015
Pgs: 432
ARC Received by Edelweiss

Monstrous is such a beautifully written book.  If you love Neil Gaiman or Patrick Ness, then I think you will fall in love with this story. 

Kymera has awaken to a new life.  Her father completely pulled a Dr. Frankenstein/Dr. Moreau, using animal parts he saved Kym's life and gave her a second chance, even after failure upon failure.  As she becomes self aware and accustomed to her new life, her father also has let her in on what is going on with the city of Bryre.  They are suffering from the evil influence of a wizard.  His curse has created mayhem in the town, girls are missing, the King is missing, curfews are up, and there doesn't seem to be a hero insight.  That is until Kym.

Keeping herself hidden by the darkness of the night hours, Kym steals away to the town and rescues girls from the evil wizard, bringing them back home where they would be sent back to where they need to be in order to get better from the wizards influence.  Keeping away from the towns folk, afraid that they would not understand her unique features, Kym begins her mission to destroy the wizard.  Until she sees Ren, a boy who also seems to be hiding himself in the night hours, when the rest of the town is under curfew.  Then Ren sees Kym and all the careful planning of her night excursions goes out the window and replaced by stolen glances and hidden roses.  Soon Kym realizes that Ren knows about the missing girls, and that he too wants to defeat the wizard, but what he tells her will have Kym questioning everything she knows, including her existence.

I can't say it wasn't obvious who the baddy was in this book, but seeing Kym work the motions was great and awful all at once.  I completely felt for the girl, and she was a well rounded character that had a great growth within this story.  The next best thing about this book was the world building.  I could see the town, her home, and even the dragon in my mind's eye.  This might not be a helpful review because I just loved the book.  I don't want to rip it apart to demonstrate all the ways I loved it, I just want to love it :-).

4.5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.