Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Top Ten CluesTop Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments. (Goodreads)

 

 

The Story:

Chloe works at GoodFoods Market. She has a crush on her co-worker, Tyson, who is seriously nicer than nice (everyone should have a crush on Tyson). It’s Christmastime and someone has stolen a megaton of money from the donation bin. Like, somewhere in the range of ten thousand buckaroos. Chloe cannot wait to get out of the hellhole known as work, but all of the teenaged employees are on lockdown until Management gets some answers on whose got the sticky fingers.

 

My Thoughts:

For some reason, I struggled with this book. I liked Chloe. She was funny. I loved that Czukas gave her an insulin pump, as she’s a diabetic, not because diabetes is in any way funny, of course, but because I think it’s wonderful to have a heroine who struggles with the issues that real girls have. I also loved the fact that Chloe obsessively makes lists because this shows that she’s clearly my people. The co-workers are all funny and the dynamic between them all was enticing…for a while. At a certain point, though, the story ran out of steam. There wasn’t a whole lot going on, and thus, as much as I liked certain characters, they weren’t interesting after a while.

I’ve read many reviews online, and most people seem to really like this book. I’m not sure why I didn’t. In some ways, it reminded me a bit of Love and Other Perishable Items (though more lighthearted).

 

Crush Intensity: 2.5/5

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Teen for providing me with an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Selective Collective: Secret Santa Gift Exchange 2014

SCnewbanner

It’s no secret that I ADORE my blogging besties from The Selective Collective, And while we’ve taken a mini-break from reviewing books together (because everyone is swamped with life and, you know, reading), we still chatter pretty much endlessly and we have these majorly epic e-mail chains (where we actually talk about things other than books. What?). I’ve still never met one of these girls in person–yet–but they are a big part of my day. So it makes sense that we’d continue our Secret Santa Gift Exchange.

As in years past, I was supremely spoiled by my Secret Santa this year.

Now, please excuse the quality of the pics. It was evening, we’d just gotten home from Disneyland, and it was a little dim in my dining room where I opened my gifts. But it’s not like I could wait for better lighting, hello. There were presents waiting.

Look at this gorgeous stack of presents I probably don't deserve but am so excited to receive anyway.

Look at this gorgeous stack of presents I probably don’t deserve but am so excited to receive anyway.

unwrapping

Unwrapping. Oh, the anticipation!

My hands aren’t actually that cute and tiny. There was a nine year-old elf who was anxious to help. Ever notice that? How kids want to unwrap all presents, even if they aren’t for them.

Charm bracelet

Charm bracelet

Behold. We stood in awe of the amazing Harry Potter charm bracelet before us. It is so cute! With a Hogwarts acceptance letter charm, a Hedwig, a castle, a several more. I have worn it almost every day since opening this package.

Book pages with an R for my last name, Sigh.

Book pages with an R for my last name. Insta-love.

Look at this ornament! I’ve already texted pictures of my home to show my Secret Santa how perfectly this matches with our decor. In fact, this is on my tree now, but after all of the other ornaments are put away this will get a place of honor in a shadow box on the wall. Because I am in love.

Lavedar polish with a bluish tint

Lavendar polish with a bluish tint

A deeper, more cobalt blue polish

A deeper, more cobalt blue polish

 

The pictures do not do these colors justice. I love both of them. They are something I’d choose for myself in a heartbeat (and I love nail polish!). The one on the left is on my fingers as I type.

Someday My Prince Will Come

Someday My Prince Will Come

A book! And this one sounds so cute. It’s all about a girl who is obsessed with marrying a prince (she’s also in love with all things related to England, so she is my people). I’ve already started it and it’s adorable.

Sighs. Swoons. And more sighs.

Sighs. Swoons. And more sighs.

You guys, I love this book. I can’t wait to read it again (I’ve been saying I need a hard copy because I originally borrowed it from the library).

My favorite gift of all

My favorite gift of all

I love all of my gifts, but this was my favorite. I had an absolute freakout meltdown when I saw these cute Princess Diaries quote coasters that were hand-decorated with me (and my fake boyfriend, Michael Moscovitz) in mind. I’m not joking when I say I CRIED.

Yup.

Real tears as my family looked on in an odd display of amusement and confusion.

Because my friends know me so well. They know that, crazy as it sounds, The Princess Diaries is a huge deal to me. It is my favorite series of all time (with Harry Potter as a close second). I re-read these books endlessly and I love Mia Thermopolis and Michael Moscovitz like they’re real. Um, especially Michael.

Here’s a close-up look at each one:

coaster 4

“Because friends like that are more precious than all the tiaras in the world.”

coaster 2

“I wonder what it’s like to live in Tinaville. I get the feeling it’s very shiny there.”

coaster 3

” The fact is, I love him. He’s the boy I want. And one day he’ll be mine.”

And my favorite Princess Diaries quote of all…

coaster 1

“Mia, I’m not sorry. And I’ll wait. Love, Michael”

SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH!!!

My secret santa was Candice from The Grown Up YA.

Candice, thank you for the time and thought you put into my gifts. You are such a sweet, dear friend and it means so much to me that you did all of this, and that you truly, truly know me.

Now, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to tell whose name I drew this year, but I have to because it’s kind of funny. This year, I pulled the name of Kristina from Gone Pecan. The reason this is funny is because last year Kristina drew my name  (and spoiled me, of course!) and last year I drew Candice’s name.

In any case, I know it sounds corny, but these friends–Candice, Kristina & Daphne, Sandie & Diana, and Brittany— mean so much to me. They have been a lovely reward to being a blogging book-worm. They are the real gift.

Merry Christmas!

 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

I like the whole Tinkerbelle thing going on here. This series has such great cover art.

I like the whole Tinkerbelle thing going on here. This series has such great cover art.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel. (Goodreads)

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

If you have not read The Raven Boys, or The Dream Thieves, first off, I’m sad for you. Second, I cannot be held responsible for any spoilers that might get spoilery and possibly spoil things for you. You have been warned.

Let’s catch up:

Maura is gone. Totally up and left and no one seems to know where to find her. Adam still has this weirder than weird connection with the Cabeswater that I don’t think even he understands. Blue still wants to kiss Gansey’s face off but, you know, based on everything she’s been told, it could kill him soooooo maybe now’s not the time. Gansey, unaware that Blue believes she will one day cause her true love’s death, pines for her too, his loyalty to Adam the only thing keeping him away. All the world is still a little bit in love with Gansey—except Ronan (oh, Ronan), who has it bad for Adam. Blue’s family is still as quirky as all get out, and they, along with Blue and her Raven boys, continue to search for the mysterious Glendower. They enlist outside help in the form of some new, interesting characters, and some new bad guys start sniffing around, making life even more difficult. You following?

That’s the main thing with this series, a series I LOVE. I have a hard time keeping up. The characters are amazing. Each book tells the story, with a slightly heightened focus on another character. And the whole idea, the whole setting—all of it—it’s totally bananaballs, but in, like, the best way possible. However, trying to keep it all straight –BECAUSE SO MUCH HAPPENS and SO MUCH OF IT IS ABSOLUTELY CRAZY–is difficult. The writing is incredibly gorgeous, as the previous two have been, but take my advice and read the first books again. Or at least skim them.

All things considered, this installment was very, very it good. I’d say it was my least favorite of the three so far, but it maintained the spirit of awesome we’ve come to expect from Blue and the boys. Definitely read it, be prepared for a few WHAT THE WHATS, and know that the end will, like its predecessors, leave you hanging on like a yo yo (see how I did that? I made you want to listen to a Wham song).

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 Anxiously awaiting book four. The last one. Sob!

Thank you to Netgalley and Scholastic for giving me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

Princess Diaries Fans of the World, Unite!

As we all know, in June, Meg Cabot is releasing Royal Wedding, the adult sequel to her wildly successful (and awesome) series, The Princess Diaries. Also, as we all know, I’m freaking out about this because:

1. More Michael Moscovitz

2. It’s Adult so there really could be more Michael Moscovitz.I don’t need too many details, but if there’s a tiny bit more steamy kissing than usual, I’m not going to complain.

3. There’s a wedding, hello

4. I’ve missed Mia. I really have (not that I don’t obsessively reread the series over and over again. But still).

Unfortunately, we still have to wait SIX MONTHS for the book, but today we’ve been given a special treat. We get a look at the cover:

Adorable

Adorable

Aaaaaaaand, drumroll, we get a very cute excerpt in which not only is Michael’s sexual prowess discussed (I am not making this up, I swear!), but we get to see our Mia doing one of the things she does best–freaking out.

Here’s the link. Enjoy.

Also, if you aren’t following Meg Cabot on Pinterest, she has a funny board related to the wedding (including Grandmere’s preferences vs. Mia’s). It’s pretty cute.

Hope that brightened your day!

Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

Gorgeous cover. I love it.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love. (Goodreads)

I’m a HUGE sucker for any fairy tale retelling, so I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book. In any case, I started reading it and could not put it down until I was finished (except for sleep. Damn that sleep).

The Story:

Because of a deal struck before her birth, Nyx ( I know. I can’t decide if I loathe or love that name. Still up in the air there) is destined to marry the Gentle Lord. Despite his moniker, he is the evil demon who rules over the land. Everyone there is his captive, held at bay by the constant threat that he’ll unleash his demons–over whom he also rules–to spread terror. While Nyx hates her betrothed, and despises the father whose traded her life away, she wants to fulfill her destiny and kill the Gentle Lord in the name or her people, finally freeing them from his reign.

But, surprise, surprise, the Gentle Lord, otherwise known as Ignifex,  is not quite what she expects. He’s frightening, yes, but charming and funny. And his house, while terrifying, is an enigma, a labyrinth of changing rooms and mysteries. Nyx longs to save her land, especially her dear twin sister, but she also begins to feel something for Ignifex–an odd mix of lust and hate. She wonders if maybe his plight has been misunderstood and if perhaps he isn’t the one pulling the strings.

My Thoughts:

This is not your typical, Disney-fied Beauty and the Beast.

Disney B&B

As much as I love this…nope.

From the moment Ignifex, enters the picture, I was hooked. Pull up a chair and charm my socks off why don’t you, you evil demon?  That may sound shallow, I know, but I really love characters who aren’t what they’re supposed to be (even when you know it’s Beauty and the Beast and the Beast isn’t so ghastly). I mean, yes, he has red, cat-like eyes (creepers!), and he is very naughty what with this Rumplestiltskin-ish way he loves to bargain with desperate people (Nyx’s father among them). But there is something there, something kind. He’s evil, no question, because that’s his job, but he’s more like someone who has merely accepted his fate than someone who overtly does bad things.

Like this, only hot and not super-evil to the core. More like a slave.

Like this, only hot and not super-evil to the core. More like a slave (So, outside of the bargains, not like this at all).

I liked Nyx because she’s sassy and flawed beyond measure. It’s obvious to Ignifex from day one that she, like his eight wives before, will try to kill him (and this amuses him), but she’s not even shy about it. Maybe it’s not the best strategy, but I think that’s what he likes about her. In a way, there are very much alike. Nyx doesn’t want her fate. She hates that her father sentenced her to it, but she accepts it. She accepts that not only must she destroy the Gentle Lord, but she must, more than likely, die in the process. Neither Nyx nor Ignifex is dishonest about the darkness in their hearts, and while it’s what could ultimately pull them apart, I think it brings them together too.

Now, I definitely had some issues. First, can we just stop putting things like “Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast” in book blurbs (it was on this book’s online blurb and I removed it because REALLY?)? This book is nothing like Graceling. Nothing. Second, Nyx lived in an interesting land (one I can’t recall the name of, sorry), but we didn’t learn a ton about it or the people. There was a lot of Greek mythology thrown in, which is always fun, but sometimes it felt confusing as to how it all fit into society and their ways. I would have liked more there. My biggest issue, however,  was with the ending, which felt sort of rushed and jumbled together. It was not at all the way I expected things to happen (and that’s fine) but it felt forced a bit. I wish the pacing had slowed, maybe having less happen, but with more meaning. The love story also came on pretty fast, but I think the author shows us their connection in most of their encounters, so I bought it.

Also, did I mention that I LOVED Ignifex? Not sure if that was clear. Maybe it’s because I pictured him sort of like this:

Yeah. That works.

You are SO welcome.

Despite my few complaints, this was a good book. It was fun. If you are a fantasy or fairy tale fan I think you’ll enjoy it.

Crush Intensity– 4.0/5

Where’d I Get It: Why, the library, of course, just like Belle would.

The One

The One by Kiera Cass (The Selection #3)

The One

 

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants. (Goodreads)

 

 

 

This is the final book in The Selection series. If you have not read The Selection, or The Elite, you should do so immediately. There are spoilers ahead. And you don’t want to do that! You hate spoilers as much as I do, come on.

This book picks up right after The Elite. In that book, America, Maxon, and Aspen all pretty much act like idiots. Aspen keeps professing his love for America despite the fact that that ship has sailed, man. America loves Maxon, but wait, she’s jealous because he’s sort of playing the game and getting a little lovey with some of the other girls. And certain incidents involving certain contestants getting hot and heavy with the help put Maxon in the role of Bad Guy Who Has to Punish Them. So, it makes sense that America, in her horror over the whole drama, starts to secretly make out with Aspen. I know. What the what? Aspen is creepy. I hated him in that book. And the secret makeouts made me hate America (but I loved that book).

Now, in book three, America has realized her wrongs and she wants to get back in the game with Maxon. She really does love him and…shocker, he loves her too. Any idiot can see that. Papa Maxon (otherwise known as The King) causes some problems because he really hates America and her sassy ways, but Maxon seems pretty devoted. Still, the Selection hasn’t actually been made official yet, so America always wonders about her place. To make matters worse, there are more attacks on the palace and in outlying areas. It begins to feel like even if America wins the Selection and the heart of Maxon, she’ll never truly have her happy ending because there is such unrest and unfairness in the way the caste system is set up.

I enjoyed this book mostly because it was so good to finally get closure. We learn Maxon’s true heart, and we see his final choice. We get to see even more depth as to how difficult it is for him to stand up to his father, and we see even more of what a terrible man the king is. We also learn more about the palace attacks and both the groups trying to plan them, and those trying to stop them. This is an interesting part of the story and I wish there had been more to it. I felt it was built up over the course of the series, and while the story was good, I would have been happy with more.

I’m also happy to say that I really, really liked Aspen in the end. He had a good story and ended up being a great guy. There are actually a few people in this series I was prepared to hate who surprised me in the end. That was refreshing. Ultimately though, there were some good, good moments with Maxon.

I enjoyed this book, but I was also happy to see it all come to a close. It felt a tiny bit like these characters, as much as I enjoyed them and their story, were overstaying their welcome just a teensy bit.

Crush Intensity: 4.0/5 Slow start but a nice, happy ending tied up with a bow. For those who want the story to continue, it does. The Heir is coming out in May.

 

Awkward Moments Reading With My 13 Year Old

Even though my daughters, thirteen and nine, are old enough to read themselves to sleep at night, I still try to get in a chapter with each of them at bedtime. Right now the little one and I are reading The Secret Garden (we’ve done the first Harry Potter, the first Allie Finkle, and Ella Enchanted, to name a few). My oldest reads classics, some Middle Grade, and some YA.  I monitor what she reads for appropriateness, but I have to be honest, I’m loving the fact that she’s finally able to enjoy some of my favorite books and authors.

Currently she and I are reading The Fault in Our Stars. Chloe is not a swoony-headed romantic yet (like her mother, cough cough), but she was willing to read this one with me since I’ve loved it for years and all of her friends are bugging her to read it so they can discuss it. It’s fun to see her laugh in all the best parts, and to watch as Augustus charms her.

The Fault in Our Stars

Which brings me to our excerpt last night. It was funny, but, yeah, kind of awkward to read aloud to your sweet, thirteen year old daughter. And since I’ve read this book many times (but always as a fan, not a mom, if that makes even the tiniest bit of sense), I’m sure this will be the first of many an awkward moment.

Chapter 6- Conversation between Hazel and Kaitlyn

“Augustus Waters,” she said.

“Um, maybe?”

“Oh, my God. I’ve seen him at parties. The things I would do to that boy. I mean, not now that I know you’re interested in him. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral.”

Me: (Insert nervous laughter. That moment where inwardly I say, OMG I can’t believe I’m reading this TO MY CHILD).

Chloe: Wait. What?

Me: Um, it’s Kaitlyn. She’s being sort of …crass.

Chloe: (laughing a little but uncertain). Okay

Me: (laughing a lot). Let’s move on.

“Kaitlyn,” I said.

“Sorry. Do you think you’d have to be on top?”

Me: Okay, I’m not even going to read the next part.

Chloe: Wait. Why? Is it that bad?

Me: (occurs to me that she may not actually get it, so I read it).

Chloe: I don’t understand.

Me: She’s referring to.. you know what? Nevermind. Let’s move on. One of my favorite parts is coming.

 

Parenthood. Always an adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OMG It’s Been a Month

Sooooo, it’s been a while. I’m sorry. I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. I’m still reading, still writing, still love blogging, but I’ve definitely fallen behind.  One thing I didn’t spend this past month doing? NaNoWriMo. Nope. Didn’t happen. As I mentioned previously, I did do something kind of funny: I reread Twilight.

Twilight

Yep.

It had been about five years since the last time I’d picked it up. Before that, I’d read it about three times. Back then I was like most people: I was sucked in. I loved Edward, I was engrossed in the whole love triangle, and I hated Bella and Jacob in equal parts (Bella, you can’t be in love with two people. You can’t). So, imagine my surprise when I caught a showing of the film version of my least favorite book in the series, New Moon, over the Halloween season, and I said I’m going to read that series again! It was a strange desire, but hey, I went with it.

Twilight First Kiss

Here’s what I learned: I still hate Bella. Really, she’s so self-deprecating and such an Edward worshipper that I feel she and I could never truly be friends (it’s essential that I at least respect all of the heroines in my books). I don’t hate Jacob yet. In fact, I forgot that I…wait..liked him in the first book. He was sort of endearing and sweet. I still felt super-wrapped up in the whole who is this crazy hot Cullen dude who keeps staring at Bella like he simultaneously wants to kill her and make out with her? That was fun to read again. Not fun? Bella’s snore-inducing descriptions of her nightly dinner-making. Seriously, how did I get past that five years ago? How did no one see fit to cut that out of the books? I still really liked Alice (when she hugs Bella and comments that “she does smell good”, LOVE). But the rest fell short for me. It wasn’t because I knew what was going to happen (hello, I spend half of my time rereading books to the point that I can practically recite them. It’s about the build up sometimes and not solely the outcome), it was more or less because Bella really has no personality. And Edward–it hurts me to say this–he felt a little blah. A completely, stalkery, devoted blah, but blah just the same.

So that’s my reread take.

But then I reread a fabulous book I hadn’t picked up in about two or three years, Jellicoe Road. Now, hold up. I’m not comparing the two books. Even I know it’s unfair to compare a Melina Marchetta book to anything else because she is vastly superior to most writers…but I am comparing experiences. Like I said, I’ve read Jellicoe Road several times, but it had been a couple of years for me since the last time. I am happy to report that this one did not disappoint. In fact, I had the same love–if not a deeper love, a more profound connection–with it this time around. Of course, that is due in part to the ever spectacular

JONAH EFFING GRIGGS

but it’s also because of the magnificent writing, because of the beauty of the story, the angst, the pain, and the humor. Taylor Markham is everything a protagonist should be: flawed and frightened, brave, smart, and equipped with a beautiful heart. She’s a total, crazy enigma at times. She feels so real. She’s broken and yet she embodies such strength and character. I love her connection with Jonah, not just the romantic one (le sigh), but their history, their intensity. And I love the friendships in this story, both the ones in Hannah’s manuscript and the ones Taylor forges. My copy has so many dog-eared pages, and in re-reading it I found that I cried in all the same parts, I swooned in all the same places (maybe more), and I sat on the edge of my seat still waiting and hoping for all to turn out well. I was, once again, truly sad when it was all over again. This is one of those rare books I wanted to climb inside and relive again and again.

Jellicoe Road

Now, I think books like Twilight and Jellicoe Road both need a place on my shelf. And I fully intend to reread the rest of Bella and Edward’s story, as well as all of Marchetta’s work. They’re different stories, different depths for different moods, but I found it interesting to read one after the other. In one case I was wondering why I ever loved it (I still like it, despite how much I make fun of it at times), but in the other, I wondered how I could go even two years without reading it. It left a little hole in my heart, as though that book belongs to me and me alone. It was a reminder of all I loved about it and more…all I love about reading.

 

It’s Almost Time

Happy Monday!

 

You guys, it’s almost NaNoWriMo time. Or, if you’re 17 and under, it’s YWP NaNoWriMo time. Are you ready?

I have to confess, I’m not sure if I’m up to it this year. My daughter’s 9th birthday party is coming up (and this is our theme inspiration, as well as this, and pretty much everything here).

On top of that I’m working on another writing project that isn’t quite right just yet. I’m also re-reading Twilight (which is really interesting because, you know, it’s been YEARS) along with my other two books, Atlantia by Ally Condie (my bathtub book)

Atlantia

 

and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (the book I’m trying to savor slowly).

Blue lily

 

AND I’m becoming obsessed with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (hello, late to the game, I know).  In fact, it’s on as I’m typing. I CAN’T STOP!

So, I think if I join NaNo this year it may be late, definitely after the first week of November.  Really all this means is that I’ll get ticked off and throw in the towel later in the month than usual, right?  That’s what I’m thinking. What about you? Any Nano takers this year?

 

The Taking

The Taking (Book #1) by Kimberly Derting

 

The TakingA flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own? (Goodreads)

 

The Skinny:

After an argument with her father, Kyra sees a blinding light. She wakes up later behind the local Gas N Sip with no memory of where she’s been. After she stumbles home, she finds out that she’s been missing for five years. In that time Kyra hasn’t aged a day. She has the same bruise she got goofing around with her best friend the night before she disappeared. She looks the same–but she feels different. And worse, her whole life is unrecognizable. Her parents have divorced, her mom is remarried and has another child, and her dad has gone over the edge, drinking and rambling conspiracy theories about alien abductions that sound closer to The X Files than reality. Kyra’s boyfriend, Austin, and her best friend are now twenty-two and away at college,  in love with each other, living the life she was always supposed to live, bought together by the mysterious disappearance of Kyra. Now, her only friend is Tyler, Austin’s little brother. The last time Kyra saw him he was thirteen years old, but now he’s grown, he’s mature, and he’s trying to help her ease into her new life.

 

My Thoughts:

I was really excited to read this because I love Derting’s series, The Body Finder. Or, more specifically, I love Jay Heaton (so I had some high swoon hopes here). Unfortch, this book didn’t do it for me.

I was completely enticed by the whole alien abduction angle. I’m not a believer in that sort of thing, but I’m normally mesmerized by shows like Ancient Aliens and the like–mostly because there is a level of crazy there that is so sincere I have to respect it. I also thought the idea of Kyra coming back to her life five years later–physically unchanged, but her life in total dissaray– was very interesting. And yeah, the whole thing with the boyfriend and best friend hooking up? I’m not going to lie, it caught my attention because it’s so plausible that they’d fall in love from clinging to each other when they believed Kyra was gone for good.

The problem for me is that, while this book had great potential, it fell really short of my expectations. Kyra’s dad has spent her five year absence going crazy and delving into the online forums of those who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens. And when he tells Kyra this, she blanches, of course. But other than reiterating the bright light they both saw the night she vanished, Derting doesn’t really go into detail about what exactly convinced him he was on the right path.  I think I would have preferred to be pulled in to that world. Instead, she focused on Kyra and Tyler. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good romance and Tyler is a solid character (I had a tough time with the younger brother thing, mostly because there is no way I would have ever gone out with my boyfriend’s little brother. Gross), and there are some good moments  between these two. But Kyra, WHO HAS NO IDEA WHERE SHE’S BEEN FOR FIVE YEARS, spends an awful lot of time thinking about Tyler, and grinning like a fool, and thinking about how she shouldn’t be thinking about him, and being mad that her boyfriend and best friend are together, and thinking about Tyler more. I don’t know, I just think that realistically, she might have bigger things going on. Things progressed too quickly with Tyler, especially when, early on, we’re asked to believe that Kyra and Austin are hopelessly in love.

There is obviously a big mystery surrounding Kyra’s disappearance, including two people following her. One is just some random, strange dude, and one is an agent from the NSA. While I found this all to be very cool, it went so slowly (wedged in between moments with Tyler and moments where Kyra wandered around her house aimlessly) and then suddenly, it took off and I felt like I got an information overload.

Funny enough, the agent following Kyra around reminded me of the guys from The Matrix.

The MatrixThat is totally how I pictured him.

In short, I was very disappointing in this book. It had potential, and while it wasn’t terrible (there were moments I couldn’t put it down), it wasn’t great.

 

Crush Intensity: 2.5-3.0/5

Where’d I Get It: The library