Monday, February 29, 2016

Never Always Sometimes--Adi Alsaid

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 2015
Pages: 320 p.
Source: Library e-book (I think)
Compensation: None
Read: November 2015 (I think)

Adi Alsaid's Never Always Sometimes

I almost forgot to review this book. Not because it wasn't good. Not because I didn't like it. I just simply forgot to put it on my Goodreads... And when you go months with just reading and not reviewing, well, you need to rely on your Goodreads to help you remember what you've read! From the gap in my log I am guessing that I read this in November. I am also guessing that it was an e-book since I seem to be reading a lot of e-books lately. I'm pretty sure I forgot to list it because I read it so quickly.

Anyway, I enjoyed Adi Alsaid's first book, Let's Get Lost, when I reviewed it for VOYA. I enjoyed this one too. Told in alternating chapters, Never Sometimes Always tells the story of best friends Dave and Julia who have decided in their senior year to do all the cliche things they promised they wouldn't. The only problem is that Dave is already doing one of the biggest things--falling in secret love with his best friend. He's pined for her since he met her but was always safely in the friend zone. Crossing things off the cliche list is presenting him with new opportunities--but sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for.

This was a really quick read for me. I liked Dave and I liked Julia (as oblivious as she was) and even though I have no official record of reading this, it has stayed with me. I remember staying up late into the night to finish. I'd recommend it to older YA readers (this is not a tween book) and look forward to Alsaid's future stories.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links and buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Remedy (The)--Suzanne Young

Title: The Remedy
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2015
Pages: 401 p
Source: Library
Compensation: None
Read: February 2016

Suzanne Young's The Remedy

Quinlan McKee can be anyone. Just by changing her hair and eye color and studying the mannerisms of a particular person, she can reasonably pass for any white teenage girl. It's a good trait to have when you are a closer--someone hired by a grieving family to act as the deceased and give the family a chance to say goodbye. It's the ultimate therapy and can be very beneficial but it's not always understood or appreciated by everyone in the deceased's life. Quin must immerse herself in somebody else's life while remaining detached enough to remember who she is. When she is sent on a job immediately after returning from one and it turns out to be the longest one yet, she's at risk of completely losing herself.

The Remedy is a prequel to Suzanne Young's popular duology The Program and The Treatment. I have not read those books but I just got the sequel to The Remedy to review for VOYA so I figured I'd better at least read this one. Despite my lack of familiarity with this dystopian world, I enjoyed this novel. It is an interesting premise--how often have we wanted the chance to say goodbye to a loved one? You can see the appeal to therapy like this and also the horrible risks to everyone involved. The very end of the book is a bit mind blowing. Although I had no trouble reading this and it definitely has its own story, I'm sure that if I had been able to read the other books I would have gotten even more satisfaction out of it. An "a-ha, so that's how it all started" moment. I am looking forward to reading the next one and seeing how it all plays out.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Rogue--Mark Frost

Title: Rogue
Author: Mark Frost
Publisher: Random House, 2015
Pages: 368 p.
Source: Library e-book
Compensation: None
Read: January 2016

Mark Frost's Rogue
At the end of the last novel, Will West discovers that the old man he has been interning with is actually his grandfather and his grandfather is not only in league with the bad guys--he's in charge. Forced to make a tough decision to save the people he loves, Will pretends to go along with his grandfather. He works "undercover" as a dutiful grandson learning about his family legacy, all while building a plan to end the Other Team's nefarious plot to take over our world. Will is not alone in his work. Trusted friends Ajay, Nick, Elise and Shaman/cross country coach Jericho all assist him in his most daring plan ever--to break into the Never-Was, rescue good guy Dave, and save the world from the bad guys (humans and demons).

This final novel is a non-stop action ride. While a lot of the second book was surveillance and information-gathering, this one is one battle after the next. The majority of the story takes place in the demonic realm, the Never-Was, and is appropriately full of monsters and supernatural events. Will and his friends are able to use more of their new-found powers. The Paladin Prophecy dipped its toes in the supernatural, but Rogue is fully immersed in it. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy. I would have liked just a bit more with Dave and the Hierarchy, but I was satisfied with the ending of this series. (Although a short story featuring Dave would be pretty awesome. And if there is ever a movie made he should be played by Jason Statham). Fans of action packed adventure stories will not be disappointed.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lifeboat Clique--Kathy Parks

Title: Lifeboat Clique
Author: Kathy Parks
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2016
Pages: 336 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: December 2015

Kathy Parks's Lifeboat Clique

Denver has been ostracized at school for years thanks to her ex-BFF Abigail, but things are finally looking up when a good-looking nice boy asks her to go to a party with him. Despite her reservations about going to one of Abigail's parties (and lack of parental approval), Denver decides to take the risk and accept Croix's invitation. Not even Abigail and her ditzy flunkies Sienna and Hayley can ruin her good night with Croix but just as their lips are about to touch, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the coast of California. Croix and Denver manage to crawl to a rooftop but Croix is knocked off by a palm tree. Denver, the outcast, is left alone on the now floating rooftop with Abigail, Sienna, Hayley and Trevor, the popular kids. Luckily for them Denver has watched a lot of Discovery Channel while they were all having fun without her, but even she cannot save them all.

Although the plot is pretty grim--Denver and her companions battle dehydration, hunger, hallucinations, and death--Kathy Parks has created such a witty, sardonic main character that the book itself is not grim. It is easy and fun to read. Readers get the backstory of why Abigail and Denver are ex-BFFs as Parks deftly weaves it through the main plot. Readers looking for a bit of humor and a side of sarcasm with their tragedy will gravitate towards Lifeboat Clique.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Peas & Carrots--Tanita S. Davis

Title: Peas & Carrots
Author: Tanita S. Davis
Publisher: Knopf, 2016
Pages: 288 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: November 2015
Tanita S. Davis's Peas & Carrots
Dess has never had a normal family life. She’s moved from place to place with her drug addict mother, living in fear of her criminal drug dealing father. When her mother has a child with another man, Dess knows she needs to intervene or her dangerous father will hurt them all. Four years later, Dess has settled into a predictable life in a group home while she waits for her mother to get out of prison and testify against her father, but then the unpredictable happens and Dess is placed in a foster home—the same one her little brother has grown up in. Dess is completely out of her element and immediately clashes with her brother’s loving African American family, especially his fifteen year old foster sister, Hope. When Dess’s life is thrown another curve ball, she realizes what family really means.

Written in chapters alternating Dess’s and Hope’s views, Davis manages to address racial stereotypes without being heavy-handed. Although Dess and Hope are very different on the outside, they both face the same insecurities. Peas and Carrots is a quick interesting read. There are some unanswered questions about Dess’s parents--will her mother actually testify against her father and will Dess ever be safe from him again--but ultimately this story is about Dess’s new family and new beginnings.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links and buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy--Cassandra Clare

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015
Source: Library e-book
Compensation: None
Read: January 2016

Cassandra Clare's Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy
The Lost Herondale
The Whitechapel Fiend
Nothing But Shadows
The Evil We Love
Pale Kings and Princes
Bitter of Tongue
The Fiery Trial
Born to Endless Night
Angels Twice Descending

There are many people that think Cassandra Clare has gone too far with the Shadowhunter series...and there are many people who will read anything that has to do with the Shadowhunters. I guess I fall into the latter category. This is a series of stories or novellas that chronicle Simon Lewis's time at the Shadowhunter Academy. The regulars from both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices make appearances throughout the different stories to help support Simon on his quest to graduate the Academy and be a real Shadowhunter (and get his full memories back).

I read each of the novellas as separate books because that's how my library had them as e-books. I think they will be bound together at some point under the title Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy. I finished many of them (sometimes more than one) in a single day. They were quick to read and I enjoyed them all. Some were better than others. Like the Bane Chronicles, they were co-authored by different people. Many of them gave some background info to the characters we already know from the other series and some set up the next series. If you're a Shadowhunter fan, you'll enjoy revisiting the world.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links and buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Lady Renegades--Rachel Hawkins

Title: Lady Renegades
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's, 2016
Pages: 272 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: December 2015

Rachel Hawkins's Lady Renegades
Normal school girl Harper Price has accepted her new life as a warrior Paladin--a mystical bodyguard for the future-predicting Oracle. She has accepted her new role as the Oracle's girlfriend. She has accepted her ex-boyfriend's new position as the Oracle's Mage. After finally doing all this accepting, Harper's life drastically changes once again when Oracle David cannot control his powers and escapes the safety of Pine Grove. As David loses more of his humanity, he unwittingly turns teenage girls into more Paladins who believe his number one threat is Harper. As if battling her sadness over David's departure wasn't enough, now Harper has to protect herself from his new Paladins, all while her powers grow weaker in David's absence. Determined to save him from himself, Harper embarks on the ultimate summer road trip to find David and make things right.

Reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv show, Rachel Hawkins does not disappoint in this final book of the Rebel Belle trilogy. Funny and sassy, Harper is the perfect combination of strong heroine and Southern lady. Although Hawkins gives enough information for new readers to pick up the story, reading the first two books greatly enhances enjoyment of the third. Lady Renegades is a must read for fans of books with the "chosen one" storyline, as well as strong female lead characters.

This is obviously my VOYA review since it's well-written but I feel compelled to add: I really really loved this series. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Miss Mayhem--Rachel Hawkins

Title: Miss Mayhem
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 2015
Pages: 273 p.
Source: Library e-book
Compensation: None
Read: December 2015

If you haven't read Rebel Belle yet, you may want to do that before you read this review.

Rachel Hawkin's Miss Mayhem

Harper Price's life has been turned completely upside down but she's finally got a handle on it. She and ex-boyfriend new-Mage Ryan have teamed up to protect new-boyfriend Oracle David and keep his powers in check. There don't seem to be any threats on his life anymore and Harper can breathe a little easier. Until, of course, things change. The Ephors (or Powers-That-Be) have decided that instead of try to kill David, they should train him instead. But before they can train him, Harper has to go through a final test to be a true Paladin. A test that will either make her stronger than ever or kill her. On top of it all she's decided to be in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

I loved this so much. Fun and quick to read. It was just as good as the first one. I truly don't know how I missed this series when it first came out, but I will blame the children. The end is a bit of a cliffhanger which is unfortunate for people who didn't get the ARC mailed to them to review.  Luckily, I did.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links and buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Rebel Belle--Rachel Hawkins

Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 2014
Pages: 345 p.
Source: Library e-book
Compensation: None
Read: Dec 2015

Rachel Hawkin's Rebel Belle
Harper Price is the perfect student, the perfect daughter, the perfect girlfriend. She has everything planned out and is in complete control. Until a regular trip to the bathroom turns fatal--her school janitor has been stabbed and before he bleeds to death on her he manages to strangely kiss her and the teacher who stabbed the janitor goes after Harper but she manages to defend herself with inhuman strength she didn't have before. Harper has no idea what is going on and when she discovers she's been given super powers to protect her one "enemy" in the whole school, she officially loses control of her life. Harper is a Paladin now and sworn to protect the Oracle, even if he's been annoying her since kindergarten.

Rebel Belle reminded me so much of Buffy--the reluctant chosen one who is just as concerned about what to wear to prom as much as getting out of it alive. Harper is funny and interesting and Rebel Belle is great for readers who want an apocalypse story without a big apocalypse. Just like Buffy saved the world a lot without most people ever knowing, Harper has to do the same all while perfecting her walk for the Cotillion.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links and buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Carry On--Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's, 2015
Pages: 522 p.
Source: Library e-book
Compensation: None
Read: Dec 2015

Rainbow Rowell's Carry On

Simon Snow made his first appearance in Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl as the subject of Cath's fan fiction. Very reminiscent of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts magical universe, this book tells Snow's story as the chosen one destined to defeat the evil Humdrum. Unfortunately Snow is not a very good chosen one. His spells don't work right, he often doesn't know what to do, and he's more focused on his nemesis Baz than the actual Humdrum. He should be having a great final year at his wizard school--Watford School of Magics--but instead he's having problems with his perfect girlfriend, feeling distant from his father-figure school head, and he can't stop thinking about Baz.

Carry On has plenty of magic and monsters and supernatural things, but at it's heart it's a love story between two very unlikely people. Anyone who ever read Harry Potter fanfic (particularly the Harry/Draco plots) will love this book. Carry On was the name of Cath's story in Fangirl, but this book is not written by her (or by the author of the Simon Snow series in that world). This is Rowell's story inspired by her own work. It's not necessary to have read Fangirl to appreciate Carry On. The story itself is entertaining, especially to fantasy fans, but as usual it's Rowell's characters who make us come back for more. Simon is the main character, but Baz is the most complex and interesting and proof that everyone is not always show they seem to be.

I'm an Amazon Associate now. If you click on the Amazon links and buy anything I might make a tiny bit of money.

Blog Archive