Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Read March 2011
  Wither grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let you go. It's set in a world where scientists messed around with genetics so much in the hope for the "perfect" humans, they've doomed all humanity. All of their offsprings time is limited... the girls will die by the age of 20 and the boys will die by 25. 

Rhine's parent's are gone, it's just her and her brother. They are extremely close and look out for each other...especially when there are girls being kidnapped by the Gatherer's. Rhine's brother is very cautious. Then the unthinkable happens....Rhine gets kidnapped and thrown into a van full of other girls.

Jenna, Rhine, and Cecily are the "lucky" ones. They were chosen. The other girls weren't so lucky...The next thing they know they wake up in a luxurious bed and room. They also have food...which they haven't had so readily in awhile. They are given beautiful clothes and servants to help them, also they are all on one floor to share with one another. They soon become fast friends. Cecily is most childlike and naive to me. I found Jenna and Rhine the most likable. 

Rhine quickly becomes Linden's, the man of the house, favorite. Although he is still mourning the death of his 1st wife Rose and their child. Rhine is becoming fond of Gabriel, one of the servants, though. 

You quickly find out who is truly in charge of the house, and it's not Linden. There are also many, many dark deadly secrets going on. Even behind Linden's back. I must say I was crushed when Jenna found out too much...and I will leave it at that, for the people who haven't read it yet. 

When Rhine's thoughts turn to escape, and attempt it. I actually became anxious for her! Bravo to Ms. DeStefano for creating not only such an original Dystopian but characters that actually made my heartache at times and race at other. 

This was a brilliant book. I have been wanting to read something that moved a bit away from the mainstream books that have been out there, and this was the perfect book for that. The feel to it was different, the story line was original and well thought out, and the emotions run rampant. I had a tightness in my chest all through certain scenes, and I literally gasped in others. This book made me want to love, and hate the characters. I felt their sorrow, their loss, their love, their envy. 

I can not wait to get my hands on the next book in this series!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 With Shadow and Bone, you get a generous peppering of Russian nuances without being stormed into actual Russia. You get sorcerers and secret societies without lengthy (and generally unnecessary) details on their history, rules, and individual backstories. You get just enough that you fill out the blanks easily if you have any imagination whatsoever. I absolutely loved it.

  The story was great, the main character Alina was charmingly lost and youthful, and the mixture of commoners, courtiers, sorcerers and military figures blended beautifully without being overwhelming. I felt like I was experiencing something completely new! Like watching a unique movie without seeing the trailer first or reading the reviews. I couldn't wait to turn the next page. I honestly didn't know how it would end, where exactly the story was going, and what sort of transformations to expect from the characters. This is storytelling at its best for the YA market (and adults like me who will take a good story wherever we can find it!)

The Candidates by Inara Scott

Read from September 11 to November 06, 2012

The Candidates wasn't at all what I was expecting, it was even better, maybe because the reviews I've read really weren't so great. I really enjoyed the characters, the mystery, the love interests and the story itself.
Danica is a teenager who has cut herself off from friends and everyone basically besides her grandmother. All because of her "powers" and how out of control she is of them when she feels someone is being taken advantage of in one way or another. Then 2 recruits (one being the most gorgeous guy she's ever seen) come to offer her a chance to attend the prestigious Delcroix Academy, which is where Danica's mother (who is deceased) always dreamed of attending when she was a teenager. I liked Danica's character. She comes from a humble back ground and has been raised by her awesome grandmother. I really adore her Grandmother. Danica and her Grandmother do not live a life of privilege, they just barely get by on Grandma's social security.

Danica is a character who grows into her powers as she learns to accept what she is and what she can do. I really enjoyed the tension between the two love interests for Danica. Jack who is the "bad boy" who just may turn out to be the good one and Cam who is the "good boy" who just may turn out to be the bad one and is also the one who recruited her. My heart goes to Jack, as he's the bad boy who comes form a broken home and wants to protect Danica. After all, she does save his life, twice. There's a genuine friendship that forms between the two of them, as they both can relate to one another. Cam seems to have an agenda and to say I'm still leery of him is an understatement. I can't say more about him with out giving away part of the plot. I'm anxious to see what his motives really are.

As the story moves on you find out that some of the students know they have powers but some don't. The Candidates started out slow ... but I couldn't put it down and stayed up LATE to finish it. I am looking forward to reading the sequel!

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Read in October, 2012

WOW...How in the world can I write a review that will give On Jellicoe Road justice?? This is definitely one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading.
Jellicoe Road is certainly a stylistic departure from Melina Marchetta's other books I've read (Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son). But when you get down to it, they are about many of the same things - the family you are born into and the family that you create, a search for identity, breaking down the walls between people. Taylor Markham is feeling lost in her life, as she has since her mother left her alone on the Jellicoe Road when she was eleven years old. But her schoolmates are expecting her to lead their turf war with the Townies and the Cadets, all while she is negotiating a tumultuous relationship with the leader of the Cadets. Taylor's recurring dreams and a confusing story found in her guardian's house provide a key to Taylor's past, as well as to the story of the conflict.I've heard from a lot of people that the first half of this book was a struggle for them, and I didn't have that experience at all. While I absolutely agree that the second half of Marchetta's book is where the novel finds its heart and soul, I really enjoyed trying to decipher the two threads of the narrative and imagining what the connections between the past and present could be. A careful and curious reader will find clues that point to many of the eventual connections, and when the stories finally do come together, it is absolutely revelatory. So much more than I could ever have imagined.....If you haven't read On Jelicoe Road yet, Please GO to your library or buy your own copy (because after you read it, you'll want to own this book!)

Dearly Deported by Lia Habel

Read in October, 2012

A zombie story unlike any other. A dystopian, steampunk world where the walking dead are just as likely to save your life as they are to eat you. I was captivated from page one and found it extremely heard to put this book down for even a minute. The futuristic Victorian setting, the unconventional romance, the secrets and mystery - I loved it all!

Dearly, Departed takes place in the year 2195 in New Victoria, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Society is both high tech and rooted in the past. Young girls like Nora are expected to listen, smile and find a suitable husband that will do her family proud. Nora has other ideas. Especially after she discovers 'The Laz' - a deadly virus that has the nasty habit of bringing people back from the dead.

I really loved the zombies in this story. They are both typical and wholly original. When you die from The Laz you either return as a mindless drone attacking everything living in site, don't. Some zombies are actually (almost) fully functioning people. Their nature and their upkeep was fascinating. So very different from other zombies books I have read.

Nocturne by Syrie James

Read from July 28 to October 08, 2012

  Nocture was a dark but still sweet book. It's plot was unique in that there are only two characters and it spans over four days, after Michael "rescues" Nicole from her car accident during a blizzard. Then they become snowed in. This is a unique challenge and James does it well. I actually cared for the characters, and in fact, was able to learn so much more about them.
 I really enjoyed the little details that made up Michael's character. He is a complex character with a history and hobbies and interests. Nicole is a young accomplished woman and I was able to connect with her character. She had a great voice, and believable reactions. For instance, she starts becoming very suspicious of Michael's behaviors and his medical condition (hemophiliac)and Nicole reacts in fear (although she is enamored by him) which I'd like to think that the majority of the population would also react in such ways if ever stuck in that situation. But in the majority of vampire novels that I have read, there is never that most basic, common reaction.
  Now, as for the ending ... it is bittersweet. I appreciate what James did and why she did it. It is unique and has stayed with me.
  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a paranormal romance with a vampire and a bit of a twist. But if you are looking for the fairy tale ending, this is not the book for you.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Read from October 11 to 14, 2012

“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win.”

To be honest it was a little difficult for me to get into this story, maybe it was because of all the rave reviews I've read about it? Maybe I was expecting more? I'm not sure ... The beginning was a little slow paced for me. Tiger Lily was easy enough for me to put down for the 1st half of the book. BUT then it REALLY picked up and I spent my Sunday ignoring my laundry and a sink full of dishes to devour the rest of it.
Tiger Lily is a beautiful story of heartache, love lost, growing apart and growing up. I definitely recommend this book for EVERYONE. And yes, for the people who like a fast read and action ... I say stick with this book it is worth it!