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Closure and Onions: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Hello! Okay, so Winter Break has been over for about a week now and I’ve been back at work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I do miss those days of lounging on the couch reading, blogging or just seeing my friends in the middle of the day! But, I guess if…
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Something Familiar: Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Hola!

As you may know my husband and I moved from Florida to Columbia, South Carolina this past July. We’re loving the fact that we get to experience the change in seasons and that we’re really close to the mountains. It is just a great area to live in. It’s not that we didn’t like Florida, it’s just that it wasn’t the place we wanted to be forever.

Pretty shortly after we moved however, I realized that Chomp by Carl Hiaasen was on the South Carolina Junior Book Award list for the 2013-2014 school year. I was pretty excited to read Chomp because it, like all of Hiaasen’s books, takes place in southern Florida and in the midst of our move I needed to read something familiar.

Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his bChomp by Carl Hiaasenackyard. The critters he can handle.  His father is the unpredictable one.

When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.

They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun.

Although I’ve always enjoyed the Hiaasen books that I have read, his books are not always my favorite. However, I think out of all of them Chomp might have been the one I liked the most. There was just so much more humor in this story and I stopped my husband to tell him about the story more than I usually do when reading. I especially loved the reality show idea and my husband and I are big fans of Bear Grylls and his survival shows, so I got a kick out of the Derek Badger character, who is obviously a mocking portrayal of Grylls and survival show hosts like him.

In Hiaasen’s books the setting is always a character in its own right. And although I’ve never been to the Everglades (even after living in Florida for around 15 years) I know enough about Florida wildlife and geography to completely understand and appreciate this setting. Hiaasen throws in so many Florida “inside jokes” or references that I absolutely felt like I was back in the Florida sunshine.

The main character, Wahoo and his friend (something more?!), Tuna, are really fun and lovable characters. These two are one of the main reasons why I enjoyed Chomp more than Hiaasen’s other books. Wahoo and Tuna were both so realistic and tender in their new-found friendship that you can’t help but fall for them both.

OMG! I almost forgot! Do you even know who narrates this audiobook!?  I freaked out when I pressed play for the first time and heard the voice I hadn’t heard in like 10 years…DAWSON LEERY! Yes. You read correctly. Chomp is narrated by James Van Der Beek! High School Tina swooned a little. For real.

Chomp, definitely comes recommended for middle grade readers considering jumping into Hiaasen’s books who enjoy survivalist stories with some humor thrown in. Although, I do enjoy Hiaasen’s books they are definitely written mostly for their middle grade audience and I think it would be a stretch for older readers (especially adults) to really get into.

Author: Carl Hiaasen

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 27, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 6 hours and 13 minutes

Narrator(s): James Van Der Beek

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: Chomp

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Awesome Points: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Well hello again!

When I first saw this book I was a goner. If you’ve known me for any amount of time you probably know that I really, really am a total sucker for covers with girls in beautiful gowns, mostly because I just want to wear them. Well, Grave Mercy has an awesome gown on the cover and an awesome fantasy inside!

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversWhy be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I knew this book was going to be fabulous just from looking at the co ver andGrave Mercy didn’t let me down. Grave Mercy has a hardcore heroin, smouldering romance (yes, smouldering), and an absorbing fantasy storyline.

Ismae is seriously bad@$$. She transformed from a vulnerable victim to someone with the power to choose her own future. Also, she trained at a convent for assassin nuns. ASSASSIN NUNS. For real. Doesn’t it make you think of that Doctor Who episode, Tooth & Claw with the werewolves and assassin monks?!

The whole fantasy mixed with adventure and alternate history is right up my alley. I love how the setting is a mix of medieval Europe and a completely created world where supernatural things can happen. The idea that the god of death leaves a kill mark for his minions to find is so creepy-cool.

As usual, I like a good romance. Now, I do need to say that the love story is so incredibly expected. I mean, you know from the start who the love interest is, but that doesn’t matter! This romance is just so sexy that it wraps its tentacles around you and completely sucks you in. Awesome points for Robin LaFevers!

So, Grave Mercy definitely has the BookTasty stamp of approval! If you’re high school aged, a fan of fantasy and you’re looking for a new series to get lost in, the you need to read this one. I’m hooked in this series for sure!

Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 3, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 14 hours and 14 minutes

Narrator(s): Erin Moon

Series: His Fair Assassin #1

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

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I Can’t Help It: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hi guys!

I’ve been doing a TON of reading recently which, in my opinion,  is completely lovely! But that also means that I’m falling behind in reviews. I finished Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick back in July.  Things just got so busy with school starting that I never wrote a review for it until now.

Nora Grey can’t remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told Silence by Becca Fitzpatrickthat she has been missing for weeks – with no one knowing where she was or who she was with – she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom’s creepy new boyfriend.

But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows. And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing.

Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers…and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again

I’ve confessed this before but this series is seriously a major guilty pleasure for me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed that others will know I read this series. If that was the case I wouldn’t be sharing it online. Personally, it’s just not the most well written series ever.  These books are simply fun reads that allow me an escape.

Silence was my least favorite book in the series. The first book Hush, Hush was interesting and I liked the banter between Nora and Vee.  In the second book, Crescendo, my favorite thing was the tension between Nora and Marcie, plus the introduction of new characters. Silence had none of these things. I think that was one of the problems I had with it. The whole time, Vee, who is supposed to be Nora’s best friend just isn’t helping her out at all. And there was only one measly little scene with the awesome Marcie and I just wanted more of her.

Oh and let’s talk about Nora. Nora is normally kind of cool, in her own way, but her memory loss was pretty annoying. I was frustrated because Nora spend a good chunk of the book trying to remember things that the reader already knows. There was no interest in it for me because the suspense was taken away. This, by far, was my biggest complaint about Silence. I just felt like nothing really happened until the VERY end.

I can’t help it. I just need to go ahead and read the whole thing because there is only one book left. I really do want to read Finale, but I’m serious, it had better have more Marcie and a lot less memory loss!

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (Oct. 4, 2011)

Format: audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes

Narrator(s): Caitlin Greer

Series: Book three in the Hush, Hush series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:  Silence (Hush Hush)

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TraumaBonds and The Kill Order by James Dashner

Hi there BookTasty friends!

I’m  glad that it’s Friday and I get to bring you another book review…although today is my official last Friday of freedom before the school year starts as next week is all preplanning. I do love my job (so much!) but I also love my summer vacations so it’s definitely a mix of excitement and lament!

Well, let’s talk books! Today’s review is for James Dashner’s The Kill Order.

The Kill Order by James DashnerBefore WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

The Kill Order is Dashner’s prequel to the amazing Maze Runner trilogy, which my husband and I read together and loved. Because we loved the original Maze Runner books we were both excited to read this prequel…although I was also a little hesitant as well.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it…especially when I realized none of the previous Maze Runner characters I loved were in it (which makes sense since it’s a prequel duh!). It quickly became clear that although this book had no Thomas, Newt, Minho, or Brenda in it, that didn’t even matter. The new characters, Mark, Trina and Alec were just as interesting and the story was action packed with intensity the whole way through!

One thing you need to know about James Dashner’s books is that whenever the characters start to feel even the smallest ounce of security and safety it is violently ripped from them! Seriously, he’s done this from book one and it’s only magnified in The Kill Order; the craziness just doesn’t let up. The events of Mark and Trina’s story go from bad to worse quickly and just keep getting worse. It is relentless…but in a thrilling page-turner way. Even the ending (which I’m not spoiling) isn’t necessarily a victory because we already know what happens in the rest of the Maze Runner series.
So, Mark and Trina. How did they stack up to my beloved Gladers? They were just as likable and interesting. Mark and Trina have this relationship that feels like the only fresh and positive thing that either one of them has. Their friendship is long-standing, starting even before the sun-flares, and now it is blossoming into something deeper and more romantic than either of them is sure of. Similarly is the relationship between Mark and the gruff Alec. They have this whole father/son thing going on, but there is also a certain level of respect and equality between them, especially as the story progresses. Dashner’s characters form these strong bonds fast. It’s kind of like relationships formed at summer camp…only with demented “people” hunting you….(gosh I hope that makes sense). My husband calls them “TraumaBonds”.

If you haven’t read any of The Maze Runner books they are absolutely fantastic reads.  Once you’ve read all three of the original books, go and read The Kill Order. They’re all fast-paced dystopian, creepy thrillers that are great for both guy and girl readers. I also highly recommend the audiobooks of all the titles in this series; the narrator is talented and does a great job with all the voices. If you needed anymore motivation to read them just know that they’re currently filming The Maze Runner movie and it’s scheduled to release in February 2014!

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Listening Library (August 14, 2012)

Format: audiobook

Length: 10 hours and 2 mins

Narrator(s): Mark Deakins

Series: Prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (Maze Runner Trilogy)

 

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Fantasy, Don’t Fail Me Now: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Well hi there!

Guys! Fantasy is just so darn good!

Seriously. I recently finished Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock and when I finally put the book down I said “I LOVE fantasy” out loud, to no one because I was alone.

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchettayears. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father. But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

I’m very guilty of passing over this one at my public library multiple times. Probably because of the fact that it has a male main character…which you know I have issues with. So, I had been intimated by this one but I knew how much other bloggers loved it so I finally decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did!

I was hooked right away. Marchetta’s writing style is riveting. Finnikin of the Rock had some of the most amazing world building I’ve ever experienced. I was so eager to learn more about Lumatere’s strange and dangerous history and culture. The people of Finnikin’s nation are so bound by their history that as the reader you’re right alongside Finnikin and Evanjalin as they feel both frustration and compassion for the people of Lumatere.

Marchetta’s characters are so beautifully sketched. Each person in Finnikin’s circle is full of courage, faith and perseverance that I couldn’t help but admire them. They’re not all perfect, by any means, but they are loyal to their nation which allows them to spur others on at difficult times throughout the story. And Evanjalin?! She’s a badass. Sorry, that is the only word I can think of!  Also, the enemy, the Imposter King, is so terrifying a character…he really is the stuff of nightmares, even though we actually never really meet him. Which proves Marhetta’s skill – to be so frightened by a character that we never see?!?! Awesome!

I had my suspicions but the plot twist was sooo well done that it totally took me by surprise and  made total sense at the same time.  I actually think my reaction was the same as some of the characters upon realizing the truth!

After listening to many audiobooks, I’ve come to realize that audiobook narrators can really make or break a story. This narrator  was incredibly talented and really added so much to the story, although there were a few points where some of his accents faltered.

Is Finnikin of the Rock a great fantasy read? YES! So, if you’re into fantasy you should totally read it. As far as age recommendations, I wouldn’t suggest a middle schooler read this one as I’m pretty confident it has some material that might be too disturbing for those younger than high school (think terrifying king), although a mature eighth grader may be able to handle it.

So…YAY for fantasy! This genre rarely fails me! It definitely didn’t fail with Finnikin of the Rock.

Author: Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (September 29th 2008)

Format: audiobook

Length: 12 hours and 25 minutes

Narrator(s): Jeffrey Cummings

Series: First in the Lumatere Chronicles

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles)

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The Troll Toll: The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking

Well hello there BookTasty Fans!

*props to whoever gets the tv show reference in the title…*

I’m back! I know I haven’t posted a review in a little while (because the end of the school year is always jam-packed with events that take up my time) but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I promise!

Recently I read (listened to) the entire Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking….see I was reading!

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers heSwitched by Amanda Hockingr mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become. (summary from book one, Switched)

I was at my public library searching for an audiobook to listen to. It seems that they can’t keep up with my listening habits because there wasn’t anything that a. I hadn’t already read or b. was actually interested in. So there I was scouring the small audiobook section, when I came across Switched, Torn, and Ascend all sitting there like they were waiting for me to choose them. So I did.

I’m kind of lazy, so this post will be about the whole series, rather than reviewing each book independently.

When I started Switched, I was surprised by how much I was actually enjoying it! From the start I saw Wendy as an interesting character. She is flawed, hurt and knew that she never quite seemed to fit in. I love the whole idea of WTorn by Amanda Hockingendy’s mother trying to kill her because she believed her to be evil…I mean that whole scene described was pretty intense! No wonder Wendy is so messed up! I even liked the potential romance that was heating up between Wendy and Finn. The whole premise behind Wendy’s feelings of not fitting in is pretty cool and makes a lot of sense once you’ve realized what actually happened when Wendy was born. And she really does mature in some ways by the end of book three.  So, book one…I’m cool with you!

Then I got to book two, Torn. And this is where I realized that I wasn’t loving the series as much as I had while reading Switched. Don’t get me wrong, so much more happens in book two, and so much more is explained, but it’s also where the love triangle is introduced….DUN DUN DUUUUN!! I don’t normally have major issues with love triangles, but this one was super frustrating to me. Wendy pretty much gets tossed back and forth between Finn and Loki and can’t seem to get her own emotions straight.

And then we get to Ascend where the love triangle becomes…WAIT FOR IT…a love QUADrangle! That’s right…three guys and one Wendy! What’s a girl to do?! Kiss them all and marry one (whom she doesn’t love) so she can pretend she doesn’t need the others.  Oh Wendy…I can see right through you! Stop it! Be a strong young woman and just pick one of these guys instead of running into their arms one after the other. uurrrggghhh

Ascend by Amanda HockingOkay, so what was pretty frustrating for me while reading the Trylle trilogy is the way in which the love tri…quadrangle overshadows the rest of the plot. There was some really potentially cool stuff happening between the Trylle and Vittra tribes involving war, secret powers and birthrights, but all that is treated like small potatoes compared to the romance, which is such a shame.

So, all this aside. Was the Trylle Trilogy entertaining? Yes.

Did I enjoy these book? Sure.

Did I love them? No.

Did they have major flaws? Heck yes!

I have students who completely love and highly recommend The Trylle Trilogybooks, but in my mind these books are categorized as superficial fun romances with a little supernatural/fantasy thrown in. Not the first books I’d recommend to readers, but if this is what you’re in the mood for, like I was, then go for it.

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (Switched 2010, Torn 2010, Ascend 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: Switched (8 hrs, 48 mins), Torn (9 hrs, 2 mins), Ascend (7 hrs, 59 mins)

Series: The Trylle Trilogy

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Switched (Trylle)
Torn (Trylle Trilogy Book 2)
Ascend: A Trylle Novel

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A Unique Take: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Hi there!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was a book I’d heard everyone online gushing about for months before I got the chance to read it.

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvatermother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I enjoyed Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and completely fell for The Scorpio Races, but wasn’t super excited about the summary for The Raven Boys. But I randomly came across the audiobook at my local public library and decided it was meant to be.

I wasn’t so sure about the narrator at first. I tend to like female narrators for female characters…call me crazy! I have no idea why they didn’t use two narrators (one male and one female) for the Blue and the boys (probably because it’s more expensive…). Anyway, the narrator totally threw me for a loop at first. Not just because he’s male speaking for a girl, but because his accent was so annoying! He had this whistle to his ‘S’s and it drove me craaaaazy! But eventually I got so into the story, that I started to get used to his voice.  I wouldn’t say I liked his narration, but I got used to it.

Stiefvater is such a unique author. No one is as creative as she is. She takes the supernatural genre and twists it around into something all her own. Supernatural doesn’t just mean vampires, ghosts or fallen angels guys! It can also mean psychic powers and ancient energies! I was like “Woah! this is interesting!” Actually psychic stuff freaks me out WAY more than vampires ever could so I really, really liked this take on things.

I will say that I feel like Stiefvater put more energy into building the actual characters of The Raven Boys themselves, over Blue’s character. Blue, who could have been much more interesting, fell a little flat at times. I just feel like we didn’t get into her head as much as we did with the boys. I felt like I really saw a multifaceted Adam, Gansey and even Ronan, but didn’t get the same depth from Blue. With this said, I would still love to hear more about their adventures!

Stiefvater’s strong point (in all of her books) is her poetic descriptions of nature. This author doesn’t simply tell you the woods are dark and foreboding yet beautiful, she draws you into these woods so you can imagine yourself smack dab in the middle of them with the characters. Seriously. This ability puts Stiefvater in a league of her own.

I don’t think I enjoyed The Raven Boys as much as I did The Scorpio Races (see my review), but it was still an incredibly intriguing story! I really do look forward to the second book, which is scheduled to release sometime in 2013 (closer to 2014 I imagine). All in all, if you’re searching for a new take on the supernatural YA genre, I’d definitely give The Raven Boys a try!

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (Sept. 18, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 8 mins

Narrator(s): Will Patton

Series: First in The Raven Cycle series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle)

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Distrubing & Creepy, Yet Fun: Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Hi there and welcome back!

I recently listened to the audiobook of Everlost by Neal Shusterman.

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in aEverlost by Neal Shusterman sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he’s found a home, but Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

I was so excited to hear that Neal Shusterman was going to be holding a reading and signing in Orlando earlier this fall! Young adult authors rarely visit Orlando so I went even though I’d never read any of his books. I left the event super excited to read his books!  My media center’s copy of Unwind was checked out (actually it still hasn’t been returned, but that’s a whole other story…) so I couldn’t read that one.  Some of my students recommended I picked up Everlost.

The premise of Everlost is incredibly intriguing. Two teens die in a car crash and end up in this purgatory-like world where they have to fend for themselves and solve the mysteries of Everlost. Shusterman is obviously a very creative storyteller and the world he has surrounded Nick and Allie in is disturbing and creepy, yet also fun which makes me think of Everlost is like a more sinister version of Peter Pan’s Neverland.

I did feel a little bored at times,  as there wasn’t much character development until pretty much the very end of the novel. In fact, I was pretty set on not reading the rest of the trilogy, until the ending. Now, I feel like I might possibly continue the books. Not necessarily because I wasn’t super connected to any characters, although  I like both Nick and Ally and was glad to see some change in them. I even liked the McGill, but what made me want to find out what happens in the end is Mary. I’m not a fan of Mary at all, which is actually how I think I was supposed to feel, but I do want to know if and or how she is defeated!

This was an interesting read, and my students (especially my boys) really like it a lot. The audiobook narrator was pretty good, but I wasn’t a fan of all of his voices all the time. I admit that I didn’t LOVE this book, but it was entertaining and I think that middle school readers who are looking for a different sort of story that’s kind of a mix between fantasy, sci-fi, and supernatural fiction will enjoy Everlost!

Author: Neal Shusterman

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (January 20, 2009)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hours and 1 minute

Narrator(s): Nick Podehl

Series: First in the Skinjacker series

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: Everlost (The Skinjacker Trilogy)

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Too Many Chances: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Hi!

I try to give every book I read a fair chance even if it’s just not doing it for me. Sometimes, you give a book so many chances that you end up reading the whole Fallen by Lauren Katething even though every minute is painful. Unfortunately that’s what happened with Fallen by Lauren Kate. So, this review will be short because I just don’t have much to say.

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.

Fallen has been out for a while, and I kept hearing incredibly mixed reviews on it. After passing it up a few times at my library, I finally decided it was time to give it a try for myself. I usually like to read the book myself and decide if I liked it or not.

I really wanted to like this one, but throughout the whole book I kept telling myself things like “Maybe it gets better” and “It must get better” “Surely it’ll get better!”.

Nope.  It didn’t.
The story itself had potential to be interesting. It really did…if only the poor writing wasn’t so distracting! Seriously, there were times were I found myself laughing out loud at some of the clichés!  I wish I had written some of them down… but that’s really besides the point.

My main complaint deals with how things are done.  When I read a book I want to be shown how the characters are feeling, not told how they feel.  There is a difference and it’s hard to explain but I know it when I read it. Throughout Fallen I kept being told that Luce feels a specific way, but her actions and words illustrated something completely different.

The audiobook narrator wasn’t horrible.  She did a decent job for what she was given.  Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Just because I didn’t like this book doesn’t mean others wont enjoy it. I have a group of 8th grade girls at school who are love this series and are made that I actually only have one copy of each book in my media center! So, the moral of the story is don’t take someone’s word for it. It is okay to try it for yourself.  The problem comes when you know it’s just not for you but you’re so afraid to DNF that you end up reading the whole thing hating it as you do.

Author: Lauren Kate

Publisher: Delacorte Press (Dec. 8, 2009)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins

Narrator(s): Justine Eyre

Series: First in the Fallen series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Fallen