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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Undone by Cat Clarke

4.5 stars
UndoneIf you want a book that truly messes with your head.... If you want a book that has great characters who are gritty and real.... If you want a book that compels you to read it in one sitting... then this book is for you. I must in good conscience say that the book is full of foul language and sex. And typically I don't read books like that or even like them, but this book pulled me in and wouldn't let go. Cat Clarke clearly has a lot of talent, and I really enjoyed reading a book that delves so deeply in the psychological realm with her characters. There aren't any flat people in this book. They are all well-fleshed out characters, and I guarantee that you won't know which one to side with. Even the main character at times is questionable in her likeability. This is a study in the psychology of revenge as well. It shows the dark side of getting even. Clarke writes with a near clairvoyant sense into the inner workings of people's thoughts and actions. I will be seeking out other books by her. I am happy this is a stand alone novel, and it truly ended the only way it could have ended. Not saying I liked the ending - just saying I understand.

This book releases on May 6th, but I would really only recommend it to mature readers due to the language and sex.

It's a good day for books!

HarperCollins approved me for a bunch of books this morning!  They are listed below.  Which ones are you excited about?

   Also, my awesome local library has decided to purchase two books that I requested so I am doubly happy today!  I will be reading these pretty soon so look for a review in the near future!  How awesome is your library?  Do they have a good selection of YA books?  My library is phenomenal (and not just because they stock books I've requested).  They have a multitude of events, a great selection of books and an knowledgeable, friendly staff.  I guess I should disclose that my husband works there, but I felt that way even before he started working there.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Recently acquired books

Product Details

These are some books that I have either received free from the publisher or got really cheap on Amazon.  They all look fabulous, and I can't wait to dig into them!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Temporarily unavailable

Hello, everyone!  I haven't been posting because of a few things.  One I am currently re-reading the Harry Potter series so I haven't been posting reviews about them.  They are my favorite all-time reads, and I highly recommend them to, well, just about anybody.  Second, I am knee deep in end of the semester projects for my American Sign Language class.  I should be back with more reviews starting next week so keep checking back! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Starglass on sale today!

Starglass by Phoebe North was a phenomenal read!  It is one of the Kindle Daily Deals today and is on sale for $1.99. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Super excited!!!!

The book that I thought was most deserving of best book of the year award by You Are Mine by Janeal Falor.  My review is posted here  I absolutely loved this book and have been feverishly waiting for the next book in the series.  I was just emailed an advanced reader copy of Mine to Spell by Janeal to review.  I am super excited to read it, and you will be able to catch my review of it here at the end of April.  You Are Mine is only 2.99 for a Kindle or Kindle app on Amazon right now, and I definitely think it is worth the price.  Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

3.5 stars
I liked this book and thought the world-building was extremely well done. My one gripe is one that I have about most YA books and that is the main character needs to constantly narrate how hot the love interest is. In the middle of a shoot out? Still being told how beautiful the love interest is.
It was refreshing to read from a male POV. I thought David was an interesting character who has devoted his life to one thing, but finds that there might be more to life than revenge. It reminds me of the end of The Princess Bride. "I have been in the revenge business so long..." David, I am sure, will continue fighting Epics because otherwise there would be no sequels. I thought the reveals at the end were well done. Prof was a great character who was the perfect example of a leader who wanted nothing more than to not be a leader.

I am interested enough to pick up the next book in the series as well as some other fantasies by Sanderson.

There was a lot of violence, but no language and no sex.  David is attracted to Megan, but she doesn't give him the time of day.  There was a version of cursing, but they would use words like Sparks rather than an actual curse word.

Monday, April 7, 2014

YA Mystery/Thriller List

Here are some recent mystery/thriller offerings in the YA market.  The one marked with an asterisk have a review on Goodreads by me (user name Jo Strader).  Leave a comment if you've read some of these and let me know what you think about them!

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher*
Don't Look Now by Jennifer Armentrout*
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano*
Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey*
See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne*
Truly, Madly, Deeply by Hannah Jayne*
Stained by Cheryl Rainfield*
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff*
Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Ask Me by Kimberly Pauly
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Running on Empty by Colette Ballard
Crash by Lisa McMann
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
What I've Done by Jen Naumann
Pandemic by Yvonne Vantresca
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
Feral by Holly Schindler
Forget Me by K.A. Harrington
Conversion by Katherine Howe
Jex Malone by C.L. Gaber
Sketchy by Olivia Samms
Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston*
Killing Ruby Rose by Jessie Humphries

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Books that retell classics are a bit of Kryptonite for me. I love visiting familiar plots in new and different ways. For Darkness Shows the Stars was such a complete win for me that I had high hopes for this one going in. Perhaps it was my mood but this one just didn't quite hit a home run for me. I still think this is a great book. I just didn't fall in love with the characters like I did in the first book. The theme of science being twisted for a political agenda was fabulous and very well thought out. There was a lot of medical speak that I just kinda skimmed over and perhaps that would have made a difference to how I felt about the story. I think the deeper questions this book asked are valuable and insightful. And really the message of being responsible for our own actions in a world gone awry is important. If we don't step up and do something then who will? Persis burned with a desire to change suffering, and I can't think of a better role model for teens (and adults) who might read this story. I very much want to see what the next book will hold. I am hoping for a Bronte sister tale retold.

Friday, April 4, 2014

YA Sci-Fi Books

I have really been seeing a lot of space books flooding the market recently.  I thought I would try and compile some of the ones that I am familiar with.  An asterisk means I have a review of it on Goodreads (username Jo Strader).  If you know of any good sci-fi books, please let me know!  I am always in the market for a good space opera!

 Starglass by Phoebe North*
Across the Universe by Beth Revis*
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan*
Tin Star by Cecil Castelucci*
Lockstep by Karl Schroeder*
These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner*
Red Rising by Pierce Brown*
Alienated by Melissa Landers
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey*
Cinder by Marissa Meyer*
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
The 100 by Kass Morgan*
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan*
Legacy Code by Autumn Kalquist
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card*
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Stray by Andrea Host
The Star Thief by Jamie Grey
Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card*
Avalon by Mindee Arnett*
Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta*
Zenn Scarlet by Christian Schoon*
Linked by Imogene Howson*
Beyond our Stars by Marie Langanger
Scan by Sarah Fine
Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon
Circumstellar by J.W. Lolite

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Annabel Pitcher is clearly a very gifted storyteller. What could have been a disastrous train wreck was actually a page turner. And even though I knew what was going to happen pretty much from the get go, I still wanted to finish the novel. The ending was satisfying although I can see where some people will be disappointed. The entire premise of a British girl writing to an American on death row was brilliant! The epistolary style which I sometimes don't particularly care for was perfect for this story and done so well.

The whole book was weighted with waiting. Waiting for a death sentence, waiting to expose secrets, waiting for Grandpa to get well or die. I felt that Zoe was living her life in a holding pattern. But isn't that really how most people go through life? Simply waiting for what's just around the bend while not realizing how good they have it in the present. Zoe is a prime example of this. The writing was so palpable in its anticipation, I almost felt I could reach out and touch it. This book really drew out the tension making the reader wait for the payoff. It isn't until the very end that the big reveal happens. So while Zoe is waiting, you the reader also experience it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good payoff at the end of their story. It is definitely a character driven novel that explores human relationships. It is deftly woven, and one in which the reader feels compelled to keep turning the pages.