Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston


Quick and Dirty review:

  • Was annoyed when I went to get the cover picture ahead of finishing my review, to discover that there is a sequel
  • Not a cliffhanger ending; more like a bad horror movie, in that the bad guy isn't really gone
  • Moved quickly
  • My teens will like it better than I did
  • Some loose ends are not tied up, which sets up the sequel
  • I thought it was fairly easy to figure out who the " bad guy" was, but I don't understand how he was able to track things, perhaps that will be answered in the next book  
  • Not sure if the bad guy is really bad, or just creepy.
  • Definitely on my to buy list for the HS

Goodreads summary:
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

What would happen if all the bees died? Bethany Wiggins has built such a world in Stung and it’s scary.  No bees, very little green life, more men than women, and “beasts,” people whose goal is to kill.  Fo has woken up in this world with little memory beyond her name, age, (which isn’t accurate according to her body) and fear.  I was quickly sucked into this story.  I’ve had both boys and girls reading this book at the library.  There is plenty of action and danger to help a boy overcome any squeamishness at the thought of a girl protagonist.  Between dealing with the militias, rogue gangs, beasts/hives, and sewer dwelling “Fecs,” Fo regains enough memory to help fill in the background of the world, and have a too quick start of a romance with Bowen, a boy from her old neighborhood.  Readers will certainly need Cured, because the epilogue sets up the next book in this duology.  

I’ve watched two of my students re-engage with books after reading this series, recommending Stung to their friends, and coming in for more to read. That’s winning in my world.  

Goodreads summary

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Labeling this a compelling read. I read the first 115 pages in an hour, so it wasn’t a slow start for me, like it was for my daughter.  She read it first; her comment was, “Watch out for monkey wrenches in the plot!”  It’s set in puritanical times, but the first person format means it’s not really necessary to have a lot of background knowledge.  With the abundance of dystopian novels right now, I think the historical aspect could almost slide by unnoticed.  I wasn’t sure if it was set in America or Australia, myself.  The cover is deceiving, one of my co-workers thought it was about a serial killer.

Judith’s narration allowed me to empathize rather than pity her. But I worried for her, none the less, people make assumptions based on their own inclinations, and that has a habit of turning out bad. Lucas, I could understand very well.  He says on page 201, “It’s a cruel world…. Why did it have to happen?  and to you?.... I let it get in the way.”

Goodreads summary

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Golden Day by Ursula Dubonarsky

This short book unsettled me.  Even after waiting a couple of days to write my review, I'm still not sure how I feel, or if I understood it.

This book is based on the facts that children will keep adult secrets, even when they shouldn't; a group of children who experience the same tragic event, bond in a way that changes them, permanently.  After their teacher, Miss Renshaw, disappears, Cubby, one of the students, sees so many things for which she has no background knowledge.  Her innocence makes her an unreliable narrator. I'm still wondering if I should view the story through her eyes, or my own jaded ones. Icara, another more realistic student, due to her own circumstances, sees things in a totally different way, but we aren't in her head. Miss Renshaw quotes follow.

P. 15 "Far flung."
P. 19 "We won't mention Morgan.  Will we?"
P. 21 "Save your tears for greater sorrows, girls."
P. 24 "the world needs dreamers, not realists."

P. 68 "Not now. Not ever."

Goodreads summary

The Vietnam War rages overseas, but back at home, in a year that begins with the hanging of one man and ends with the drowning of another, eleven schoolgirls embrace their own chilling history when their teacher abruptly goes missing on a field trip. Who was the mysterious poet they had met in the Garden? What actually happened in the seaside cave that day? And most important — who can they tell about it? In beautifully shimmering prose, Ursula Dubosarsky reveals how a single shared experience can alter the course of young lives forever. Part gripping thriller, part ethereal tale of innocence lost, The Golden Day is a poignant study of fear and friendship, and of what it takes to come of age with courage.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cruel Beauty and Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodges


Nyx has spent her life in preparation to kill her betrothed, the Gentle Lord.  Why?  Because he’s a demon, he's’ the reason her mother is dead.  At least, that’s what she’s been taught.  Her duty is to hate, and to sacrifice herself for her people, for their freedom.  

Here’s a link to a bit from the author and a book trailer.  

Cruel Beauty is a mashup of Beauty and the Beast, Greek mythology, and with some heavy philosophy tossed in for good measure.  I love fairy tales in all their variations and retellings, so I kept reading this one even though I figured out the secret early.  I wanted to see how Nyx, who is not an easy person to like, but probably more real than most “princesses” in some other retellings, handled the reveal.  She’s quite aware of her personality flaws, and revels in them just a bit.  The reveal was somewhat confusing.  Suddenly everything is the same but different.  I reread to wrap my mind around it. (Nice one, Ms. Hodges--I don’t have to reread often.)  Readers looking for an HEA will find it, but it’s muted and not shiny, happy,
Disneyfied.  YEA!  

There is a novella set in this same world called Gilded Ashes and in it I learned that almost everyone in Arcadia is miserable, selfish, and unwilling to deal with life’s downers.  To only have the “ups” they are willing to bargain with the Gentle Lord, but end up no happier, and perhaps worse off than they were before the bargain.  There is hope, though.  I believe Maria is very wise when she says, “There are a lot of things I want. . . but I think I will keep what I have.”  (loc 1134)  Too bad more people in our own world don’t think that way.  On a side note, the novella I downloaded has an excerpt of Cruel Beauty that literally takes up one third of the data. But I do think this variation of Cinderella was worth my $2.00.