Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Last Time we Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Genre:  YA Contemporary
Cynthia Hand's website
Expected publication date:  February 10, 2015

Description (taken from Cynthia Hand's website):
There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

Lex is a senior in high school trying to deal with her brother's death.  With Dave the psychiatrist's attempt to help her, he asks her to write about memories of her brother.  And as the story weaves through Lex: her home-life and her school-life, she travels back to her favorite memories of her brother.  But as she tries to cope with her life moving on, can she accept that her brother's is over?  Can she answer the whys and the what ifs?

With the fallout of her brother's suicide, Lex and her mother have distanced themselves.  Coming from an imperfect family and coping with visions of her brother's ghost, Lex just wants to move on without the hurt.  Then one of her childhood friends shows up and offers a way to help her mourn and move on.  But she's still holding onto a secret.  A secret that could have changed the outcome of her brother's death.

This book is a story you can get into easily and really enjoy.  I loved the story-telling in between what was happening in Lex' world.  It was really easy for me to connect with a smart/nerdy girl (because I definitely am one).  But what I absolutely loved was watching Lex try to reconcile her mistakes with her brother's mistakes.  And the fact that some romance creeps up on you in the story without seeming overwhelming.  This book is a story about a girl dealing with death.  And it's good.

Honestly, I loved this one.  And it's coming from someone who isn't a huge fan of contemporaries.  This book would be the reason why I have to pick up a contemporary every now and then.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Undivided by Neal Shusterman

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Unwind Dystology, Book 4

Note:  If you haven't started the Unwind series, the information below can spoil plots from earlier books.  This series is a definite recommendation for dystopian lovers.

Description (taken from Neal Shusterman's website):
Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

I must admit, I wasn't pleased with the third book ending without completing the series.  I just felt like a fourth book was going to be unnecessary.  But whatevs.  I got the fourth book and had a satisfying conclusion to an epic dystopian world of unwinding.

All of our beloved characters come together to set a spark to the flame.  Everyone should know what unwinding does instead of hiding it in the closet.  And for those who don't know, unwinding is dividing troubled teens into parts that can be used to save lives (allowing for them to live in a divided state).  As Cam goes back to Proactive Citizenry to take them down from the inside, Conner and Risa work to uncover the mythical organ printer.  All while Lev is trying to take a stand for Unwinds.  But in the end, will it be enough to get the world to listen to a few troubled teenagers?

Honestly, Neal Shusterman does an excellent job of weaving fictional characters into a story that flows through current news articles.  It kind of pulls ties from our current world into this unwinding world.  And while the unwinding idea is completely absurd, it still brings the idea full circle.  After finishing it, I have to question what things I'm apathetic to that I shouldn't be.  It's a story that keeps you interested until the end and then leaves you food for thought (without anyone balking at the idea).

I definitely recommend this series to anyone and everyone.  The first book is cringe-worthy and wholesome dystopian goodness.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

I can't believe January is almost over.  This year is beginning to fly by.  And I'm still trying to get back into the groove of reading.  Happy Saturday everyone!

For Review:

manda-rae's Past Week didn't really have anything.  I've been absent...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

My first one of the year!  It's a good thing I haven't gotten a whole lot of books because I'm still slacking in my reading.  Every time I open Goodreads, I find out I'm at least one book behind on my reading goal.  Gah...  I need to shut the world out and read.

For Review:


  • Christmas Card + Bookmark from Ruth
      • I got this card right at the beginning of the new year and was kind of excited to see it!  And it came all the way from Uruguay.  Thanks goes to Ruth from Reading... Dreaming!

manda-rae's Past Four Weeks


Waiting on Wednesdays:


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review and Giveaway: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric by Beth Revis 
Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Description (taken from blog tour):
The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

Ella lives in a world ruled by one government.  An entity that has seen one of the worst wars imaginable and will stop at nothing to prevent another war.  But while Ella spends her intern year working for her mother's company: Reverie, she finds she's not as anonymous as she thinks.  Somehow, she'll be the key to starting a war or keeping the peace.

Reverie is a place where the rich go to relive their best memories.  But ever since Ella started working there, she's been having warped nightmares that seem eerily real.  And while her mother's health continues to fail, Ella works very hard to keep her mother happy and light-hearted.  Even if that means giving her mother a push into a dreamworld of her favorite memories.  But as people find out what she can do, she's suddenly set herself up as the world's best spy.  But which side will she spy for?  And as she meets a boy who knows her intimately, she begins to question everything she's known.  But can she stop everything from escalating?  Or will the bees overwhelm her?

I have to hand it to Beth Revis: she's an excellent story-teller.  I got so wrapped up in this story that I had to know more.  And while I'm still puzzling a few things out in my mind, the rest of me doesn't care (it's in story-bliss).  I loved seeing a story from the same lines of the Across the Universe series and yet completely different.  And while I can say yes, there are things in here that happen in other novels, let's be honest.  Beth Revis makes science fiction cool.

If you loved the Across the Universe series, you'll probably devour this one.  And if you're new to Beth Revis, I'd recommend you read this one if it sounds of interest.  I don't think you'll regret it.

About the Author

Beth Revis is the NY Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series. The complete trilogy is now available in more than 20 languages. A native of North Carolina, Beth’s most recent book is The Body Electric, which tells the story of what was happening on Earth while the characters of Across the Universe were in space.

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