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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

REVIEW: The Hidden Twin, by Adi Rule

For eighteen years a girl with no name, a Redwing, has been hidden away in a small attic room within a city of hissing pipes and curving temples perched on the side of the great volcano, Mol, while her sister, Jey-identical except for her eyes-has lived her life in public as an only child. Their father had hoped the hidden girl would one day grow up to be a normal human girl and not the wicked creature mythology has promised, so he secretly spared her life as an infant.
But when she switches places with her sister, striking up a flirtation with the son of the Empress while working in the royal gardens and gets attacks by two suspicious priests on her journey home, she is forced to call forth fire to protect herself, unleashing her previously dormant powers and letting her secret out. She soon catches the attention of a cult with a thousand year old grudge as well as a group of underground rebels, both seeking her for their own gain. But when her sister goes missing and the Redwing uncovers a great plot to awaken Mol and bring fiery destruction upon them all, she is forced to embrace her powers.

Certainly makes for an interesting story. Different kind of fantasy world, with its own lore and mythology, that apparently has some truth to it. I like the internal struggle the Redwing has going on, "am I good, or am I bad?" I loved that the the "hidden" twin is the one that is real and the sister with the life is so one dimensional (and not just because the story is told by the Redwing). It's rather telling about the society in general.

But, the world. Part of me felt like this was a story that took place in a world I should already be familiar with from a previous novel. Only, from what I can tell, this may be a one and done for this story line/world. It seemed to be taken for granted that the reader knew whys and whats for things that happened and existed in the world. And was this a world-world, or a part of a bigger picture world. I just don't know. Being a reader that is drawn to the world as much as the characters and stories themselves, this one lost me. 

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from St. Martin's Press/St. Martin's Griffin through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, February 19, 2016

REVIEW: Firstlife, by Gena Showalter

Firstlife (An Everlife Novel)

ONE CHOICE.
TWO REALMS. 

NO SECOND CHANCE. 

Tenley "Ten" Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she'll live—after she dies. 

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death. 

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she's drawn to isn't where the boy she's falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

Oh my, what a story of good and evil, love, soul-searching, and coming of age. It's a unique premise, very detailed, very complex. To think that you get another chance at life, but it's based on an eternity changing choice you'll make in the first one. To essentially be free to make that choice, but both sides (and sometimes your parents) are doing everything they can--and then some--to tip the scales. I have to admit, I loved the story.

But.

The entire book (read it on Kindle, but it's like 400+ pages in print) is about Ten not being able to choose a side, or a boy. I sped through some sections because, I get it, she can't choose. Sure the story elements kept me involved, but it just kept circling back to her not being able to choose.

That aside. The action draws you in. The fight scenes are a bit gory, and the love triangle is predictable. But there are some serious twists in the family story that surprise.

I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series. There are some holes to this story, leaving me as a reader wanting some answers and clarification.

**This book will be available for purchase February 23, 2016.


What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Harlequin TEEN through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

REVIEW: The President's Shadow, by Brad Meltzer

Book 3 of The Culper Ring Series


A severed arm, found buried in the White House Rose Garden.

A lethal message with terrible consequences for the Presidency.

And a hidden secret in one family's past that will have repercussions for the entire nation.

I'm not sure I can be objective in this review. You see, I seriously seriously  "heart" Brad Meltzer and everything he writes or does with History Channel.

This book is actually the 3rd in the Culper Ring Series. There's a lot of history (George Washington formed the Culper Ring) mixed in to this modern day mystery. The book stands alone, despite being very tied to the series. You don't "hurt" for not having all the details of the back stories, but you'll likely find yourself hunting down books 1 and 2 to get them. 

Meltzer paints pictures. You can't help but vividly imagine locations and scenes. Character development (which I tend to find tricky for most authors) is really well done. Not only are they described in such a way that you can easily visualize and build in your own mind precisely that person--mannerisms, psychological profiles, even speech patterns. I tend to "hear" voices in my head as I read, and there is a distinct voice for each major player in this story line.

In a YA collection, this book might fill a very specific niche (mystery loving future-archivist/librarian sorts) or it might fit a wide-range (mystery lovers, stories with ties to history, people who just enjoy a good story and get invested in characters). It's worth the read, and so are the first 2 books in the series.

**This title will be available June 16, 2015.





Book 1 of The Culper Ring Series
Book 2 of The Culper Ring Series


What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Grand Central Publishing through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

REVIEW: Another Day, by David Levithan

  

 Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

 

After reading Every Day, I just didn't think there needed to be more to the story. I liked A, I liked his story, I liked that we were left "up in the air," just as A is every day. I don't think we need closure, because in a life like A's, I'm not sure there's any to be had.

That being said, I enjoyed Rhiannon's point of view regarding their "relationship." I liked the juxtaposition of A's life and how it rubbed against and generally caused turmoil in Rhiannon's. When all you knew was A's POV, it wasn't possible to understand, really, how his constant "make overs" affected someone else.

Again, there was some melodramatic stuff (typical of any teenager) and a bit too much waxing philosophic, but the story holds itself together well. It was important in this story to show Rhiannon's life away from A, and the affect his unplanned entrance into it had on her even when he wasn't around.

There are some life lessons in there and some general "human" lessons, but I won't go into those. This book can flesh out the story for those needing that (though not continue it, per say), or introduce a reader to this world (and send them running for a copy of Every Day.)

Another Day is a companion to David Levithan's novel Every Day. It's a companion book, not a sequel. This book isn't continuing the story, it's telling Rhiannon's side of it, and if you'll recall, A met Rhiannon one day and stayed in touch with someone for the very first time.

 

What do you think??


Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book for my own enjoyment. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Hexed, by Michelle Krys

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn't get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that's seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she's a witch too.
Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie's about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Witches. While I'll admit I read a lot of adult books with witches as characters, I've not really read a lot of YA books that have them. Or at least, not a lot of well done YA books.

Hexed is pretty well done, for a first novel. First novels are frequently hit or miss and this one is a hit, in my opinion.

Indigo's story is really good. She's a typical teenager--well, teenage cheerleader dating the captain of the football team. It's all juuuuuuuust right and perfect in her world, until this guy dies in front of her. From that point forward, the world is a bit more complicated than she ever knew.

It's fairly fast-paced, but not too quick to do the plot justice. It's what you expect--Indigo has to "hit the ground running," as it were, when her life is flipped upside down. There's a steep learning curve (she thought witchcraft was just a quirky thing her mom was into...it wasn't real.), but she handles it well, with help. And the magic isn't there for the sake of having magic. Instead, it's a vehicle for the plot, not the plot itself.

Characters...wow...I wanted to smack the annoyance out of Bishop. He's got that typical teenage "I know I'm hot" guy thing. It's a personality that annoys me, not Bishop himself. He's perfectly written. Indie is amazing. Right on the mark with her voice and personality.

I will say that there was a bit more sex in the book than I'd have preferred. Nothing crassly overt, but it's in there. And honestly, after a bit, the drama of it just got to be too much. 

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Delacorte Press (Random House Chidlren's) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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