Sunday, November 20, 2016

A World Without You by Beth Revis


Genre:  YA Contemporary

Description (taken from Beth Revis' website):
Can Bo live in a world without Sofia?

Bo cannot imagine a world without his girlfriend Sofia. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to. Even though he accidentally got her stuck in the past, he’s attending an elite school for kids with powers that should help him gain better control of his time traveling abilities and save her. Although the appearance of some nosy government officials at the secret school may cause some problems…

Phoebe can all too easily imagine a world without her brother Bo. Without him, her mother wouldn’t retreat into herself with worry. Her father wouldn’t lock himself away and pretend like Bo doesn’t have a problem. And she would have a chance to be a normal girl, not the sister to a boy whose paranoid delusions make him think that he has super powers and can travel through time.

As Phoebe learns to speak her heart in a family that uses silence to ignore its problems, Bo must face the fact that if his super powers aren’t real, neither are his chances to save Sofia.

Bo goes to a school for gifted kids.  They all have super powers, and he's accidentally left Sofia hundreds of years in the past.  But the story starts with her funeral, and Bo can't figure out why everyone's acting as if she's truly gone.  Do they not have enough faith in his powers to go back in time and save her?  Because he's going to save her.

Phoebe is Bo's younger sister who has had to live in his shadow.  Where he gets the attention and the treatment for his needs, she's expected to be the perfect child.  She's getting the grades, setting herself up for college, and living her parents' dreams.  However just once, she wants to be able to let go and live a life of uncertainty like Bo can.  She doesn't want the responsibility of being the perfect child living in silence anymore.

This book was very slow going for me, and I had a very hard time being in Bo's mind.  It was hard and mind-boggling.  I don't know how Beth Revis was able to write his character.  It isn't hard for me to say I related to the sister.  I was one of those 'perfect' kids trying to live the 'perfect' life.  And no matter what kinds of issues you might be dealing with, you're always going to feel overshadowed by your siblings.  I was the same way with my brother and then later on with my much younger siblings.  But this story dealt more with mental issues and how everyone affected tried to deal.  And it does point out things broken.  And your heart slowly begins to melt as Bo tries to piece together what happened to Sofia.  It's just a sad one for me that was hard for me to deal with.

These contemporary books are the reason I dislike contemporary but at the same time have to read one every once in a good while just because they're good.  And they face those unpleasant issues that we have a tendency to bury as fast as possible.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff


Genre:  Adult Fantasy
The Nevernight Chronicles, Book 1

Description (taken from Jay Kristoff's website):
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

I can't do one of my normal reviews for this book.  I've sat on writing this review for a couple of weeks now because I don't know how to start it.  So maybe I start with this book took me quite a while to get into and finish however it was by far, my favorite book I've read this year.

It is set in a fantasy world with its own religion, its own gods, and its own mysticism.  And the narrator will give you fun-filled facts throughout the story whenever he references something in this world.  And Mia?  She's your standard heroine who had a brutal childhood but is seeking revenge.  Everything she does is to better position herself to kill the people who killed her father.  But she has a heart.  And in order to be an assassin, you must deaden the heart.

I loved this fantasy!  And even though the plot was right in front of me, my mind was too busy enjoying the little tidbits and details along the way that I totally missed it.  I need the next book in this series now.  Just now.

Fan of fantasy?  Read this one!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Genre:  YA Dystopian
The Maze Runner Series, Book 1

Description (taken from James Dashner's website):
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

In the world Thomas enters, no one remembers the past and there's walls that protect them from monsters.  But when the walls are open, he finds an endless maze surrounds them.  If only he could remember his life before he entered the Glade because he somehow thinks he knows the answer.  He's going to find his way out of the Maze.

I'm not going to do a typical book review here because I need to be honest.  I saw the movie before reading the book.  And while my husband stated the book was very different from the book, I kind of disagree.  Sure, there's a major plot line that's missing in the movie, but the movie is about visual effects while the book is more about being inside the mind.  It's explainable.  But I don't really feel like I got anything different from the book.  And Thomas' character kind of bothered me.

I'm a little ho-hum about this one.  But I'm planning to pick up the second one soon.  And hopefully I'll read the third before the third movie comes out.  Then it might be an untainted review...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman


Genre:  YA Historical Paranormal
Lady Helen Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Alison Goodman's website):
London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her curtsy to Queen Charlotte and step into polite Regency Society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know, that step will take her from the glittering ballroom of Almacks and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of demonic creatures, missing housemaids and deadly power.

Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of dubious reputation and infuriating manners. He believes Helen is destined to protect humanity from an unearthly truth, but all he can offer is danger, savagery and the possibility of madness. Not the kind of destiny suitable for a young lady in her first London Season.

Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St. James’s Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, The Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self- discovery and the dark choices of new found adulthood.

Lady Helen is barely debuting as a young and proper adult in old London society.  She is going to do her duty of securing a good match in a man and stay away from the gossip of her mother's betrayal.  However when powerful people point to her mother's past and a man takes an interest in her abilities, she finds nothing is as easy as being right and wrong or good and evil.  And life becomes a little more complicated.

When Helen is introduced to the Dark Days Club, she must decide on whether or not she wants to join.  Will she put herself and her potential betrothed in harm's way to keep the world safe from demons?  Or will she turn her back from it all and be the proper young lady that her society demands? And why is Lord Carlston so vexing?  So many choices at the start of her season...

It took a very long time for me to get settled into this story.  And I find I was quite bored with Lady Helen and the strict life she lives.  I will admit that once the paranormal was finally introduced, I became a little intrigued.  But how the demons worked and the Dark Days Club combatted it was just way too confusing for me.  And nothing of importance was explained!  I wasn't happy with the setting, and I wasn't really invested in the paranormal.  I felt like this big book should have given me more.

There are going to be those who enjoy this book.  And then there's me who's onto another book.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison


Genre:  YA Detective

Description (taken from Margot Harrison's website):
Hasn’t he lived long enough? Why not? I could take him like a thief in the night.

This is how the Thief thinks. He serves death, the vacuum, the unknown. He’s always waiting. Always there.

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

Nina has been plagued with the life of someone else in her dreams.  A boy she learned to get used to until he began to do the unthinkable.  He became the Thief and killed people.  All Nina has to do is close her eyes and sleep in order to see the unthinkable happen.  And she's determined to get the victims justice.

Nina travels with her friend, Warren, across the country in search of this killer.  She's going to out him once and for all.  But when she gets to New Mexico and comes face-to-face with him, suddenly she's not so sure anymore.  Could this ordinary family-man really be that vicious killer at night?  Before she outs him, she's determined to test him to figure out if he really is the reason for her night terrors.  But what is finally revealed in this story is so much more than just a serial killer.

Starting out with this story, I was super creeped out.  It didn't help that I read this at night.  However, once the story developed and the paranormal aspects came out (with the serial killer-ness), I was so engrossed.  And the closer I got to the end, the more worried I became.  I mean how do you create a perfect ending for this story?  I'm not sure you can.

Honestly, this one's a thriller.  I think you should give it a try.

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