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Monday, July 8, 2013

REVIEW: Shallow Pond, by Alissa Grosso

Shallow Pond

Barbara “Babie” Bunting is constantly mistaken for her sisters, but she’s determined not to end up like her family. She doesn’t plan to stick around Shallow Pond after graduation, and she certainly won’t be ruined by a broken heart. That is, until fellow orphan Zach Faraday walks into the picture, and Babie can’t deny their chemistry.

When her oldest sister, Annie, comes down with a mysterious illness—initially dismissed as “love sickness”—Babie and Zach start investigating what exactly killed the girls’ mother and why their late father became so consumed by grief. What they find changes everything.

Really neat premise. I really wasn't expecting the family secret that was delivered. The story line is unique, and really not like anything I've read in the YA realm before. It should attract readers of multiple genres.
The characters, especially the sisters, are so well-defined. A reader can, easily and without much effort, identify emotions and visualize how  a character would appear in different situations (Annie is particularly good for this.).
Relationships are well-defined and have just enough of both the angst of the teenage years, and the more adult connections. The only thing I really felt was improbable was how Babie's interaction with the man she assumed was her father. It was ultimately too neatly wrapped up and put away.
It's really a good story, and left a bit of cliffhanger, making me suspect there's a sequel to come. The writing is approachable, but not too simple or over the average reader's head.

What do you think??

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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

REVIEW: The Bane, by Keary Taylor (The Eden Trilogy #1)

Before the Evolution there was TorBane: technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter.  It had the ability to grow new organs and limbs, to heal the world.  Until it
evolved out of control and spread like the common cold.  The machine took over, the soul vanished, and the Bane were born.  The Bane won't stop until every last person
has been infected. With less than two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction.
Eve knows the stories 
of the Evolution, the time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable 
to recall anything but her name.  But she doesn't need memories 
to know this world is her reality.  This is a world that is quickly losing 
its humanity, one Bane at a time.
Fighting to keep one 
of the last remaining human colonies alive, Eve finds herself torn between her 
dedication to the colony, and the discovery of love.  There is Avian and 
West – one a soldier, one a keeper of secrets.  And in the end, Eve will make
a choice that will change the future of mankind.

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic world that feels a bit like the world in Terminator Salvation? With a strong female main character? Okay...sign me up! The Bane started in an intense moment, and stayed in that feeling through-out. The reasons and situations change, but the intensity held through out.

Eve is amazing. Strong, hard-headed, driven, and despite all she's ever thought before, human (ok, and part robot). Incredibly unique character. Very blunt and emotionless, which can rub a person wrong, but it works so well within the story.

I really enjoyed Taylor's descriptions of the scenes and specific settings. Not over the top, but the very clear details and images depicted put you into the story, rather than sitting outside looking in. I can imagine quite a lot of thought went into how each scene not only played into the bigger story, but into each character's story as well. 

There is, of course, a love triangle, but it resolves itself neatly, though literally, in the end. Rather than distract from this story or even Eve, it helped me to identify with her. After all, she is a teenager. 

Dialogue now and again seemed a bit stiff. Unfortunately, so much of the dialogue is more natural that the stiff bits were obvious. But once you get past them, you get your rhythm back and keep going.

The second book in the trilogy, The Human, was published in early June this year.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Keary Taylor Books 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, July 2, 2013

REVIEW: Gorgeous, by Paul Rudnick

Inner beauty wants out.   When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.   

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.   

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world. 

Who wouldn't want to live a fairy tale? Especially after living in a run-down trailer and with the mother who is, unfortunately, the object of the town's pity? Becky's life doesn't appear to be changing for the better (or the worse, thankfully) when her mother dies. She's still functioning paycheck to paycheck, though that might be changing.

Enter Tom Kelly....the world's most famous famous person, who has been in seclusion for 20 years while his name as THE foremost designer lives on. Tom can change Becky's life, if she'll let him and agrees to do whatever he says. So....why not? From here, she's on the fast track to fame and a dream life. But is it what she wants? 

Becky's a wonderful character--mature, but still uncertain. Shy, but learning (as Rebecca) to be confident and take hold of what she wants. Most importantly, she learns that being "the most beautiful girl in the world" isn't enough, and Becky is MORE than enough and much better.

Rudnick tells a modern-day fairy tale with skill, combining the "magic" with just a touch of the unbelievable perfectly. His characters are so well-crafted I walked way feeling as though I "knew" them personally. The Prince is the down-to-earth guy who happens to be Royal that you want him to be. Rocher (Becky's best friend) is what you expect of the small country town bumpkin, with the heart of gold, and a fierce loyalty to her friend--and sass like you wouldn't believe.

All in all, it's a modern-day, yet timeless, fairy tale that many will love.

**Note, there is some rather heavy language--4, 5, and even 12 letter words (largley from Rocher)--and some rather pointed sexual language (that's being polite--it's quite clear what's being said). I wouldn't pair this up with junior high or even my 9th or 10th graders. Older teens, would be the better bet.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Scholastic Inc. 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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