Unravel Me

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Metick

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it’s almost time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life. (Goodreads)

Ok, so this review may be slobbery, giddy and completely incoherent because you guys, the main word I have for you is Warner Warner Warner. I mean, I probably shouldn’t want to kiss his face off get too excited because the series isn’t over yet, but I have gone off the deep end as far as this whole love story is concerned. Anyone read this yet? Chapter 62? Hello, I read it about 12 times the day after I finished it. I made my husband read the parts I highlighted (which was most of it). Poor guy, I know.

And for those of you who haven’t read it, those of you expecting a review that totally makes sense, man, I’m sorry. Because HOT DAMN WARNER!!! And yeah, there’s this cool war and there’s the resistance and all and it’s great, but you guys….Warner.

The Story:

This book picks up almost immediately after Shatter Me (it overlaps just a smidge with Destroy Me). Juliette, Adam, and Kenji are safely nestled in the  facility known as Omega Pointe. This place is sort of like Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, only everyone is hiding out in military-style barracks deep underground. Juliette is trying to adjust to her new life there as impending doom looms ahead (they know Warner and his men will stop at nothing to get her back). Castle, who runs the facility, speaks of an all-out war on the horizon and is prepping the people of Omega Pointe to fight. He’s trying to help Juliette harness her insane power, something she struggles to do and he’s working to figure out why Adam can touch her and no one else can (Um, except for WARNER, that is–but no one knows that. They also don’t know he professed his love for her. Or that they kissed).

Juliette is have a difficult time with so many things. She can’t do the things Castle is expecting (she just doesn’t know how to control her power), she feels alienated because it’s obvious that everyone at the facility fears her, and she wants to be with Adam with every fiber of her being. At a turning point she realizes this may not be the best–the safest–option for him and it eats away at the both of them. And a certain someone comes along and makes matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it).

The big idea here is that Juliette begins to figure herself out. Don’t get me wrong, she’s confused as can be on many counts, but in this book she has to learn about her power, about how it works with those around her and about how she fits into the team there. She has to look at where her loyalties lie and wonder if she’s truly seeing the whole picture. She is a character I continue to adore in every decision, every misstep, every moment she loves and hurts.  She is full of honesty and pain, emotion and passion and her relationships with Adam and Warner, while different, show these facets of her personality.  Both are so fantastic in their own way, Adam safe and ever-devoted, Warner dark and extreme in his love for her. I know where my heart lies in this triangle, but I see her conflict. (Juliette, let me make that decision for you, k? Pick Warner).

As with the first book, the steamy kissing is insanely good and in some instances it is off the charts. Shazam.  I’m not joking. I was DYING. I really read and read it over and over again and then I e-mailed by blogging besties because I needed to discuss it. Then I texted my bookish pals (I know, I probably shouldn’t be admitting to all of this). It was that good.

Whatever team you’re on, this is an immensely good sequel. In fact, I think I liked it better than the first book. We get to know everyone a bit better and it’s easier to have empathy for each character. And of course, now I’m dying for the final book. Why do we have to wait so long?

Crush Intensity: 5/5 This will be one of my favorites this year.

Memorable Quotes: Sweet lord, I’m going to have to reel myself in here so that we don’t get too very spoilery. I’m going to be fair to Adam and to Warner and give one of each.

Adam:

His voice is thick when he finally speaks. “I’ve waited so long to be with you, ” he says. “I’ve wanted this–I’ve wanted you for so long and now, after everything—“

“Adam, what are y—“

“I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep and I think about you all–all the time and I can’t–” He stops. Presses the heels of his hands to his forehead. Squeezes his eyes shut. Turns toward the wall so I can’t see his face. “You should know–you have to know,” he says, the words raw, seeming to drain him, “that I have never wanted anything like I’ve wanted you. Nothing. Because this–this–I mean, God, I want you, Juliette, I want–I want–“

Warner iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou

I feel him so much closer, filling the air around me until there’s nothing but him and his body heat, the smell of fresh soap and something unidentifiable, something sweet but not, something real and hot, something that smells like him, like it belongs to him, like he was poured into the bottle I’m drowning in and I don’t even realize I’m leaning into him, inhaling the scent of his neck until I find his fingers are no longer on my lips because his hands are around my waist and he says

“You,” and he whispers it, letter by letter he presses the word into my skin before he hesitates.

Then.

Softer.

His chest, heaving harder this time. His words, almost gasping this time. “You destroy me.”

I know!!!! I’m a puddle on the floor right now, too.

 

Destroy Me

Destroy Me (Shatter Me 1.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Destroy Me

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45. (Goodreads)

This is a mini-review because it’s a  mini book. It’s a novella.  Honestly, I usually skip these little novels but this time I couldn’t resists because it’s written from the perspective of my beautiful Mr. Evilpants himself, Warner.

The Story: (spoiler alert for Shatter Me)

Juliette, that wascally wabbitt, escaped Warner’s clutches thanks to the help of two traitorous soldiers, Adam (her sexy shower makeout partner) and Kenji.  Before her narrow escape, Warner made the near-fatal flaw of exposing himself to Juliette (um, not literally you guys. Geesh) by telling her he was in love with her. This shocked the hell out of Juliette (and me), especially when he hungrily and passionately kissed her in the moments that followed. Juliette used that opportunity to reach inside his jacket, steal his gun and shoot him before jumping out the window. Warner was, to say the least, a tiny bit peeved.

When we pick up, Warner is still healing. He almost died. And his father has come in to run the show since his son is a ginormous disappointment as far as vicious, murderous villains go.  This is where the story gets interesting. There is not a ton of action in this book, but we do get to see how exactly Warner came to be so fascinated with Juliette and what he was trying to do by holding her captive–I mean, if he says he loves her he probably shouldn’t threaten her, right? We also learn more about what Warner has experienced with his father and just how that’s shaped him into the man he is today.

I think if you’re a fan of this series, Destroy Me is a must-read. You can truly read the next book without it but this gives you so much insight, gives you empathy and understanding for the guy we thought was a monster all along (albeit a hot monster).  As novellas go, it’s very short but it’s worth diving into. If you’re not a Warner fan, this will, at the very least, help you to see him a little more clearly. If you are a Warner fan, like me, it’s a building block that takes you from viewing him as a totally intriguing guy you should stay away from to one who might be  worth giving a chance.

Crush Intensity:    4.5  What can I say? I love this series.

The Goddess Inheritance

The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test #3) by Aimee Carter

Goddess InheritanceLove or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her–until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he’ll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity. (Goodreads)

If you have not read the previous two Goddess Test books (reviews can be found here and here) then what are you doing? Get outta here unless you want spoilers, spoilers and more spoilers!

When we last left Kate she was preggers (and oh, the sweet sexytimes that got her there) and being held captive by Cronus and Calliope.  We pick up about nine months later, Henry not realizing that Kate is being held captive (he thinks she’s on her little vacation away from the Underworld) and Kate about to give birth. Cronus is guaranteeing her safety because, hold the phone, he wants Kate to be his woman as he is a creepers to the billionth degree. Calliope, on the other hand, just wants to raise the baby and have Henry by her side. She wants to kill Kate too, but Cronus won’t let her.

So, basically, Kate is living in a house of crazy. And soon her baby will live there too.

There is a ton going on with the Council and Walter and the Gods vs. the Titans. Things seem hopeless many times over again, one of the biggest dilemmas being that it seems there is no way for Kate and Henry and the baby to be together in safety. To divulge more would give away too much of the plot, but suffice it to say, this family is in a major bind. Kate is not a favorite of the Council (and I for one have a hard time keeping straight who is married to whom), but it seems like no one but James, Henry and Kate’s mom are ever really on her side. And then there are traitors like Ava, who tricked Kate into Cronus’s trap in the first place.  She has a reason for doing the things she’s done, but can she really be trusted?

Here’s the thing: I really loved the first two books. I loved how Kate and Henry’s relationship progressed and how he opened up more little by little.  I loved that Kate was a strong character willing to do stupid things for the sake of the ones she loves. In the last book, she came a bit undone and in this one she did even more so. Now, this is partly because they are facing seemingly insurmountable odds, yes, and it’s also because when you have a child it feels like your heart suddenly exists outside your chest which makes you willing to do crazy, insane things for their sake, but still…something in her seemed off to me.  I hate to say it, but I liked Kate less this time around. I didn’t dislike her by any means, but I didn’t love her like I used to.  Her thoughts got old to me, and the story felt like it sagged a bit at times. I still love her relationship with Henry, but this time there was less interaction, certainly less swoon and overall, not enough Henry (in the romantic sense).

While I liked certain aspects of this book, it was a slight disappointment to me.  Henry and Kate’s story ended nicely and I felt satisfied with the way Carter tied it all up, it just felt like it took a while to get there. And though it’s the end of the series, there is room to explore other characters, which could be nice.

Crush Intensity: 3/5 There were so many things I enjoyed, but this was definitely my least favorite of the three.

Thank you to Harlequin and Net Galley for allowing me to read an e-galley of The Goddess Inheritance in exchange for an honest review. The book will be in stores February 28th.

Top Ten Tuesday- Books I’d Take to a Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Books You’d Want on a Deserted Island (which is, of course, totally how I think. Books and chocolate and I’d be set).  This is actually a very tough topic because as much as I love to make lists, the idea of whittling down my favorites to only ten is practically impossible. So this list is based mainly on how these books make me feel. There are so many others I’d like to add, but TEN you guys, only ten (OK, I may have cheated a little).

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger– This is my all-time favorite book. No question about it.

Lookit…there’s the swoon.

2. Emma by Jane Austen– I love me some Pride & Prejudice and Darcy, but give me the folks at Hartfield and a good lecture from Mr. Knightly any day.

3. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot– Holy wow, I love this entire series, but since this is the final book and the Michaelness is so particularly lovely and Mia is so adorable and still so grown up, this is the book I’d have to choose as my favorite to read over and over again for all time.

4. Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling– Oh, this one is hard too. I love this whole series, especially The Prisoner of Azkaban and the last two books (and all of them), but the drama in this one killed me.  It was so excellent.

5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– I could probably read this one every day forever and ever and never tire of this gorgeous, funny, incredible book.

6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman– I loved If I Stay as well, but if I had to choose a favorite of the two, it would be Adam’s story in WSW.  This book made my heart sing. It was breathtaking and romantic and sad and uplifting. It’s everything Mia and Adam’s story should be.

7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness- Now, this may not be the happiest of books, but the relationship between Todd and Viola really impacted me.  This book was amazing.

8. Austenland by Shannon Hale– This is one of those books I can read a thousand times and still want to dive back in. It’s Austeny, it’s cute, it’s funny, it’s romantic. And it’s completely original.

9. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen– This is my favorite Dessen book. I could fall in love with these characters over and over again. Also, Wes.

10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- A book with drama (like a soap opera, only not cheesy), with romance and heartbreak and tragedy, and one of the most well-written heroines ever created.

11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It surpasses everything you’ve ever heard and it has the man I think is the best literary character ever written (male or female), Atticus Finch.

12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- Beautiful, just beautiful. And funny and sad and so very romantic.

Have a great Tuesday!

Burn for Burn

Burn for Burn (Book 1) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she’s ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. And she’s ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they each had a taste. (Goodreads)

The Cover:

This cover is to die for gorgeous. Yes, these girls are too incredibly beautiful to all live in one tiny town and be teamed up together (because it just isn’t fair to the rest of us), but I still love it.

The Authors:

I need to get this out of the way immediately. HOLY SHIZZ, IT’S JENNY HAN AND SIOBHAN VIVIAN!  I love them both, especially Jenny’s Summer books, and I’m so jealous that not only are they best friends but now writing partners. This is a fabulous pairing.

OK, so we should talk about the book now.

The Story:

Burn for Burn focuses on three girls—who aren’t friends—living in a tiny place called Jar Island.  In order to truly understand the basic idea of the book, you need to know where each girl is coming from.

Mary is returning to the island after a few years away. She’s a sweet and timid girl who was once the victim of heartless bullying (is there any other kind?), mostly at the hand of one jerkwad extraordinaire, Reeve, the popular junior high boy who grew up to be that popular high school boy with zero depth and mega tool tendencies.

Lillia is that beautiful, popular girl who is just sort of over it.  Her best friend, Rennie is quite the nasty Queen Bee, bent on snagging Reeve (she can have him. For reals), continuing her evil reign as Cheer Captain, and devoting herself to maintaining her status as a pretty, popular, nasty little bish.  Lillia’s never been quite as nasty as Rennie, but in the past she’s been apathetic about it, eating up the attention she receives as one of the in crowd.  But now it’s like a light switch has flipped and part of her wants to fight it.  She’s tired of the popular kids, and angry at Rennie for what transpired one night at a wild college party.  Worse, it led to a possible hook-up between her old buddy Alex (also of the In Crowd) and her sweet little freshman sister. You don’t mess with a girl’s sister.

Then there’s Kat. God, I love her.  Kat was once best friends withe Lillia and Rennie.  Now she’s the resident bad girl from the wrong side of town.  Ousted from the inner circle of Rennie and the gang at the beginning of high school and instantly marked as trash, Kat has no problem being a bitch.  She had this secretive summer friendship with Alex that turned into a little bit of a fling until it seemed that Lillia’s little sister, Nadia stepped in, apparently primed to follow in her sister’s perfectly popular footsteps.  And since Rennie continues to make Kat’s school life miserable, Kat decides to finally get back at her and Alex and the whole crew for the years they’ve spent tormenting her.

Burn for Burn is a book about revenge. Mary, Lillia and Kat come together after a chance encounter in the ladies room (cuz it’s where we hang) and craft a meticulously laid out plan to basically destroy Reeve, Rennie and Alex.  No one can know they’re friends or they might suspect.  This is most important for Lillia who’s in the lion’s den every day and has to spend time actually pretending to like these people.  She definitely has the hardest job being that Rennie is constantly in her face being an idiot, Reeve continues his reign as Super Douche and Alex continues trying to hide this one-night stand he apparently had with Lillia’s baby sis. And oh, the evil plans come together beautifully. I mean, I cringed, but I also laughed. In fact, I almost felt bad for the first victim. Almost.  And since it goes without a hitch, this only emboldens the girls.

Throughout the book we get glimpses into the past of each girl; we find out what is truly driving them and how they came to be exactly where they are. There are details about Kat’s early friendship with Lillia and Rennie, Mary’s “friendship” with Reeve, and what ultimately drove her to the breaking point, and also the sad truth about what happened to Lillia the night she left her sister at Alex’s house to go to a party with Rennie. It’s all there in painfully vivid detail.

Fair warning, though there are some funny moments in this book, there is darkness.  Issues like bullying, date rape, suicide are all there. While they aren’t in any way glorified, they are certainly not tame subjects.  I think the authors handled these issues with honesty, but they may not be for the faint of heart or those looking for a cute, girly read.  And being the first in a series, this book takes an awfully strange twist at the end–one I didn’t see coming, even though it was hinted at ever so delicately early on.  You will not see a final resolution to the story, but you’ll meet some very interesting characters along the way.

The writing here is, of course, absolutely flawless. The dialogue is spot on as in all of Han’s and Vivian’s novels, but this is a departure for both of them.  Think of it as being similar to their other writings (a little edgier like Vivian) but with a bit of supernatural thrown in. I’m not talking wolves or vampires or anything, but there is something that isn’t completely normal going on. It’s like a weird combo of Heathers and Mean Girls  with some magic. Sort of.  And not the cute kind of magic. The Stephen King’s Carrie kind.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 This book may not be for everyone, but I think if you like either of these authors (and how could you not, hello) or if you’re willing to try something a little different, this is a good option.  I completely enjoyed it and I’m very interested in the rest of the series.  It was really good. I read it in a day.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s for sending me a copy of Burn for Burn.

Top Ten Tuesday- Halloween Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the gals over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week we are discussing creepy, spooky stuff to get you into the Halloween Spirit. I love scary stuff! I mean, except for The Exorcist and blood and guts stuff and The Amityville Horror and those creepy twins in The Shining.  Otherwise, scary stuff is totally my thing (as long as covering your eyes is OK because that’s totally how I watch American Horror Story).  Books are entirely different because they can be so much scarier–it all depends on your imagination.

Here’s what I’ve got (and fair warning, they aren’t all scary, but they are very Halloweenish).

1. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs– Creepy children are, well, creepy. And take a gander at the weird pics in this book.  Crazy!  In all honesty, the children in the book aren’t at all scary, in fact, their wonderfully quirky. But the monsters chasing them? Well, that’s a different story.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling– Wizards and spells and very, very VERY bad guys who want to kill The Boy Who Lived?  I love this series.  Everything about it screams Halloween.

3. The Enemy by Charles Higson– I’ve mentioned this book so many times before because it is a fantastic zombie book.  And then there’s this whole power struggle between the surviving kids, all of them trying to decide where to go, what to do, etc before their next-door neighbor/gym teacher/uncle tries to eat their brains.  Good stuff. Very suspenseful.

4. Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman– There are some serious bad guys in this book, and because it’s so realistically done (meaning it’s not set it some mythical world but in a believably modern-day setting) it seems less far-fetched and more plausible, making it that much creepier.

5. This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers– Another zombie book. This one had me with its quiet descriptions of life for the kids boarded up inside a school trying to survive the raging Zombiepocalypse going on around them.  It’s so, so very quiet. The only thing you can hear, other than the discussions and arguments of the group inside, is the constant scratching a clawing at the doors by the zombie who are outside, chomping at the bit to get in and devour the school’s new residents.

6. Insatiable by Meg Cabot– This is not a scary book, but it is a fun, vampire book about a girl who falls for the wrong guy. He’s like the King of the Vampires, or the Dark Lord or something vampy–but he’s way sexy. I mean, like super-crazy hot.  In real life this is not a good reason to date the wrong guy, but in books it’s quite advisable to date them or at least have a serious make out session with them. You know, just ’cause you can.  And the MC, Meena, isn’t your typical Bella-type. She fights her desire, along with her mega-hotty sidekick (seriously, the girl is surrounded by attractive men), and decides she may not necessarily be the girl who’ll forsake everything to become a vampire for the undead guy she loves.  It’s a really cute book.

7. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting– My friends over at Gone Pecan encouraged me to read this series a while back, citing that they were awfully creepy books and whoa mama, they weren’t lying.  The main character can hear “echoes” from dead people, leading her to their killer.  The author always lets you into the mind of the serial killers as well. It’s been my experience that serial killers are always, always creepy and the ones in this series are not an exception.  Sometimes, the images from the book, flash in my mind when I’m talking my dog for a walk after dark.  You wouldn’t believe how fast I run home when that happens.

8. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson– Ghosts and Jack the Ripper. Is there anything scarier?  I think not.

9. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready– These aren’t your typical ghost books, because they aren’t really scary. That being said, in this series, anyone under a certain age can see dead people.  There is no way that is normal and can be anything but totally creepy, yet somehow, because the main theme is a love story (the MC’s boyfriend dies and now his ghost follows her around and it’s so, so good and not in any way cheesy), it’s less scary and more swoony. And that is coming from someone who is NOT a huge fan of paranormal garbage.

10. Abandon by Meg Cabot- This was a real departure for Cabot. The series revolves around Pierce, a girl who has had a near-death experience. She actually died briefly and in that time, she traveled to the Underworld where she was held captive by John, also known as Hades. He continues to follow her around as she tries to piece together what has happened and decide whether she is drawn to him or wants to escape him. I really love these books because I love Cabot’s writing and because John is way hot.  I can’t lie.

Top Ten Tuesday- Don’t You Forget About Me

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we’re listing some of our favorite older books–the ones that may not be at the forefront on most blogs right now because they’re a bit overshadowed by newer releases, but are always books not to be forgotten.  I tend to read a ton of “older” books, mostly because I never got to them the first time they came around.  I tried to keep my list to ten, but man it was hard!

1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman– Even I forget how much I loved this book. It’s a fairy tale classic for grown ups. And have you seen the film? Priceless.

2. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot– These are just plain fun, full of ghosts and kissing and that sweet awesomeness that can only come from Meg Cabot. And Jesse?  Muy Calinete!
3. Sea Change by Aimee Friedman– A book about mermaids before everyone wanted to write books about mermaids–only this one is different ( I think, because honestly it’s the only book about mermaids that I’ve ever read). The author builds a story around an island with a rich history and really leaves the mermaid stuff to your imagination.  At the time, the story was completely different.

4. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr-In my eyes, Sara Zarr can do no wrong and this book is no exception. It’s full of angst and sadness and a main character who managed to escape her childhood pain by becoming a different girl. She deals with  issues that may make us cringe, but that on some level we can relate to. And when Cameron Quick–all grown up and über mysterious, that long-lost best friend who just up and disappeared–returns, it’s lovely and mystifying all at once.

5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore– I’m not sure that anyone can ever forget this book, and yet I know so many people who have never read it. Katsa is one of the most insanely fierce heroines around and the steam between her and Po could literally melt your eyeballs.

6. The Ruby Oliver series by E.Lockhart– So often I sing the praises of Frankie Landau Banks, only to forget the wonderful funny found in the Ruby books.  This girl is self-deprecating and sarcastic, hopelessly teenaged in all ways of thinking. I sometimes like to think of her as Jessica Darling light (only, in my opinion, she’s funnier because I relate to her more).

7. The Enemy by Charles Higson– This is the ultimate in YA zombie books. End of story.

8. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta– This is a book I speak of constantly and again, I know so many people who haven’t read it. While the beginning is tough because of the number of characters and dual storylines, it all comes together beautifully and those who stick with it, I believe, will be richly rewarded in the end.

9. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith– It’s a classic, sweet and funny and romantic. If you’ve not read it, do yourself a favor and give it a whirl.

10. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales– I will always love Leila Sales because her books make me laugh so hard I snort.

Kevin’s Point of View

Kevin’s Point of View by Del Shannon

Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary 12-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his father’s death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday morning, his ability to escape inside a character’s head become critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father’s death. A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination, and after enlisting Kevin’s teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin’s whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected. Del Shannon’s imaginative story, appreciation for the powers of family and the desire of young boys to both escape reality and prove themselves within it, and fast-paced, adventure-filled storytelling style make this a book with wide appeal for readers of all ages. (Goodreads)

When the opportunity to read this book was presented, I jumped at the chance because it sounded like something my daughter, Chloe (a past reviewer on this blog) would enjoy.  

Here’s  it is in her words:

Kevin Tobin has had a vivid imagination ever since his father’s death. In his world he can be anyone from a famous hockey player with a Russian rival to a superhero accepting an award. And that comes in handy when a crazy man begins trying kill to him to reclaim the time machine mistakenly sent to Kevin.

A year after his father’s death, “Lieutenant Tobin” (that’s Kevin) is delivered a mysterious package containing a time traveling device called the Influxitron. Kevin keeps it with him, though he has no idea what it is or what it can do.  But the machine’s villainous owner, Devin Talon, comes after Kevin and his friend as he seeks to get the Influxitron back. After running from the man for days, the boys are forced to ask Kevin’s sister and her boyfriend for help and they make a decision that will change Kevin’s life forever.

Kevin’s Point of View is a funny, quick-moving, adventurous read that will be loved by both children and adults. Del Shannon has written a wonderful book.

Crush Intensity: 4/5  Chloe loved this book.  She wants to share it with her friends.  Although she didn’t include it in her review, while she was reading she kept telling me how funny it was. I’ve started Kevin’s Point of View as well, and I think it’s really cute if you are a fan of middle school books (I am).  Chloe has actually told me the entire story (I know!) and it’s very creative and has a pretty great twist.  I’m still looking forward to watching it unfold.

Thank you to Del Shannon for sending me a copy of this book!

This Is Not A Test

 

 

This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

 

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

 

 

 

 

What can I say about this book that would do it justice?

 

 

1. It’s a zombie book.

Not this.

More like this.

2. One Seriously Effed Up Main Character -Sloane is a deeply depressed, pained heroine. Even before the zombie eruption (which happens about 2.5 seconds into the book), I ached for her.  Sloane’s life is hell. I wanted to see her…what? Dead? Safe? Happy?  I just wanted to see her in a place where she was no longer in pain and that was certainly hard to envision in the zombie-filled mess she was surrounded by.  Sloane is the person who kept me turning the pages though, because I cared what happened to her.

3. Characters Who Aren’t Automatically The Bestest of Friends- What can I say? Some I liked, some I hated.  Some creeped me out.

4. Good, Clean Writing- I like flowery books, I really do, but a story like this needs to be raw and stripped down to the essentials.  With this style of writing Summers made such an impact. There are numerous flashbacks supported by the meandering thoughts of a girl who desperately wants her tortured life to end.

5. Tension-There are many parts where not a lot is happening, but the characters are “safely” situated in a room quietly trying to sleep or eat and they can hear scraping on the doors, a constant reminder of what awaits them outside. And what longs to be inside.

6. The Past- For Sloane, in many ways her past—life with a violent, physically abusive father—was worse than her present.  She longs to be with the older sister who long abandoned her when the beatings got to be too much, and she remembers the monster that lurked beside her before zombies were ever a possibility.

This book was dark. It was harsh at times. And yet, I really couldn’t put it down.  There’s no ray of sunshine, no lovely, happy times, no swoony love story, but it’s still very well done.  It ends a bit abruptly, and no, you never find out what causes the Zombiepocalypse, and yet it totally worked for me (this is not the norm. I usually want answers now!). As the MC, Sloane is such a force, so completely terrified to live with her pain, so angry at her father and sister and yet longing for a family. She doesn’t fit any mold and really, I don’t think her story does either.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 This is my first Courtney Summers book and I thought it was fantastic.

Just for Fun: Check out Courtney’s  article about How to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, because hey, you just never know.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a review copy of this book!

Something Like Fate

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Best friends Lani and Erin couldn’t be more different. Lani’s reserved and thoughtful; Erin’s bubbly and outgoing. Lani likes to do her own thing; Erin prefers an entourage. There’s no possible way they could be interested in the same guy.
So when Erin starts dating Jason, Lani can’t believe she feels such a deep connection with him–and it may be mutual. The more Lani fights it, the more certain she feels that it’s her fate to be with Jason. But what do you do when the love of your life is the one person you can’t have? (Goodreads)

The Story:

Lani and Erin have been besties 4 evah, their fates sealed together when Erin saved Lani’s life in a car accident when they were kids. Now, although they are total opposites, they’re sort of a perfect match.  Erin is vibrant and outgoing; Lani is cautious and hopelessly devoted to charting her course through horoscopes, her Magic 8 ball and a whole lotta other crazy business.  She’s the yin to Erin’s yang. Or vice versa.

When Erin sets eyes on Jason, Lani is pretty convinced he’s like every other crush Erin’s ever had—forgettable.  Only he’s not. He’s kind of amazing.  And perfect for Lani.  There’s an undeniable attraction between them except that, hello, you don’t steal your BFFs boyfriend unless you’re a totally terrible person or you’re Kelly from the original 90210 (in which case you’re totally justified because Brenda was a bish).  It’s sort of the law. Really.  And Lani does a decent job of avoiding said boyfriend stealing (OK, she does a terrible job, but she wants to do a good job). Until Erin leaves for summer camp.

I know! It’s like 90210 again!  It’s like she wants them together! I mean, she has to know that they’re going o spend the whole summer making goo goo eyes at each other (exactly like Dylan and Kelly, except Dylan and Kelly did more than that).

Holy crap this brings back memories

But here’s the thing: Erin trusts Lani completely. She doesn’t know about Lani’s feelings.

And here’s the other thing: I hate cheater stories. For reals. And while Lani and Jason aren’t technically cheaters, they may as well be. Even if Jason and Erin broke up, it wouldn’t solve Lani’s problem because while you don’t date your BFFs boyfriend you also don’t ever date your BFF’s ex.  You’re supposed to dump on him and hate him like a good friend. Doesn’t Lani know any of this?

I think she does know, but she literally can’t help herself. Her connection to Jason is that strong.  And I’m tearing Jason up a bit, but in actuality he’s a good guy. He’s sweet. He wants to do the right thing. And he really, really cares for Lani.

So you can see the dilemma, right?

No, me either. You don’t date your bestie’s boyfriend. End. Of. Story.  That’s why I never truly fell for this book.  Oh, there were moments (Lani and Jason write notes in code and it is to die for adorable), but as much as I liked them together, I felt indignant on behalf of Erin. On behalf of all the girls out there who should be able to trust their friends above anyone else.

Crush Intensity: 2.75/5 I really liked Erin and Lani’s relationship (outside of the boyfriend stuff).  There were good moments with Jason as well, but otherwise I just couldn’t get behind this story.

Soundtrack: Wow, so if I haven’t already dated myself enough with the 90210 references, let me dig that hole a little deeper. On that show Brenda was dating Dylan, the thirty year-old high school hottie on a motorcycle. Brenda,  a ginormous beeotch of immense proportions, was off to Paris for the summer with one of her besties, Donna.  And poor little Kelly, Brenda’s other BFF, was home all by her wittle wonesome. Oh, but don’t worry. Dylan was willing to keep her company. He’s a giver, you know. And Kelly obviously had the hots for him, as all breathing females did, although she tried in vain to hide it.

Anyhoo, the TV trailers for that show were KILLER. They had all these teasing images of Kelly and Dylan on the beach talking, looking awfully cozy. And in the background, this song was playing. I felt it was appropriate for this book as well. It’s kinda cheesy, but whenever I hear it I think of cheaters. And that summer with 90210.