Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (27)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that allows to showcase the books that we have received/purchased over the past week.
 
Review - 
  The Zombie Driven Life by David Wood 

(Thanks David!)

Gifted -
 The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch (signed!)

(Thanks to Cari's Book Blog!)

Gift Card -
 Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Take Me There by Susane Colsanti
The Chose One by Carol Lynch Williams 
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson 
Flirting With Boys by Hailey Abbott
Moby Clique by Cara Lockwood

I was so excited to receive an Amazon gift card this week so that I was able to get some new books without spending any money. YAY! 

What was in your mailbox???

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review - Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Title: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Amazon)
Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: Regan Books
Release Date: 2000
Pages: 372
Genre: YA, Adult Fiction
Source: Own

We have all heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty ... and what curses accompanied Cinderella's looks?

Set against the backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland,
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris's path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister. While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household -- and the treacherous truth of her former life. (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This was such an interesting take on the Cinderella tale. Maguire can twist a fairytale around like nobody’s business and make you rethink the whole story. It’s almost like an insiders look into the story showing how things are not always as they seem from the outside. It also highlights some of the superstitions from historic times. Not quite as good as his other novel, Wicked which I absolutely loved, it was a great story and I’m glad I read it.

The story is told through the eyes of Iris, one of the ugly stepsisters. Iris, plain and homely, her sister Ruth, a slow witted ox of a child, and their mother, Margarethe, who seems to be brash and bossy, come to Holland when her father is killed. When their anticipated living arrangements are thwarted by the death of an uncle, they are homeless and penniless in an unfamiliar place. Margarethe begs her way into becoming the housekeeper in the home of an eccentric painter in return for food and shelter. Eventually, the girls and Margarethe end up in the wealthy home of a reclusive, unusually beautiful girl named Clara, whom Iris is meant to be a companion for.

After tragedy takes Clara’s mother, Margarethe marries Clara’s father and the children become stepsisters. Regardless of how hard Iris tries, she can not get Clara to change her reclusive ways. Soon, Clara becomes even more reclusive and confines her self to the kitchen, taking over Margarethe’s duties. Margarethe is too busy spending money and worrying about her appearance to others. She is not above offering up her beautiful stepdaughter to get what she wants.

When an opportunity arises where a Prince will be attending a ball in search of a bride, Margarethe becomes determined that Iris will be that bride, and Clara is forbidden to attend. Margarethe wants to ensure what she feels is her place in society. Even though Clara has no wishes to attend, Iris is determined that Clara will attend, and does everything in her power to make it happen.

The evening of the ball is not what Magarethe has planned at all. It ends in a rather spectacular fashion, dashing her hopes of Iris’ future as a part of the royal family. Secrets are revealed that evening, with answers to some of the questions Iris has had regarding her past and her father’s murder.

Maguire’s retelling of Cinderella changes the idea that she has evil stepsisters and highlights how evil her stepmother truly is. Maguire weaves an interesting take on a well-loved fairytale!

Kim’s Rating: 4/5

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review - The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) (Amazon)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Harper (HarperCollins)
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 359
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . .
different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.(Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: Wow. This is the first Kelley Armstrong book I have ever read and now I am a huge fan! She has a few other series out and I will be picking those up to try to make it until April 2012 when the second book in this series is expected to come out. That’s too long!

Maya has always been a smart, funny, strong, and popular girl. She was adopted after being left at a hospital in Oregon. She has a wonderful relationship with her parents. For her 16th birthday, her parents have agreed to let her get a tattoo over the light paw-print birthmark on her hip. She knows nothing of her past other than believing she is native based on her looks. Unfortunately, while they are in the city for the tattoo, a woman who spent time with natives declares that Maya is a witch.

Maya lives in a very small medical research town on Vancouver Island. When new kid, bad boy acting, player, Rafe, takes an interest in her, she finds herself surprised that she feels an attraction to him. As Rafe and Maya grow closer, Rafe will give Maya information that will completely change her life and view of who she is. It will help her to understand several things, including her rapport with wild animals and her ability to heal them rapidly.

At the end of this book, their island is being evacuated due to raging forest fires. Rafe is unconscious from smoke inhalation after searching for his lost sister. He never finds her. When Rafe, Maya, and Daniel are trying to escape the fire, they come across men posing as firefighters but it was easy to see this wasn’t the case since they were carrying automatic weapons. What is really happening on their little island and were the fires intentionally set by these men? I have to say that the end was a complete cliffhanger if there ever was one! I can’t even imagine what is going to happen next with Maya, Rafe, or her best friend Daniel. What will happen with Rafe when he wakes and discovers he was evacuated, leaving his lost sister behind? I only know I can’t WAIT to find out!

Kim’s Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review - Ninth Key (The Mediator #2) by Meg Cabot

Title: Ninth Key (The Mediator, #2) (Amazon)
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: 2001
Pages: 287
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she's willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad... particularly the fact that he's not Jesse, whose ghostly status--not to mention apparent disinterest in her--make him unattainable. What Suze can't ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont's past. (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: I have to say that I liked this second book in The Mediator series even more than the first. As good as the first one was, this one had an even better story line. It was more of a mystery with lots of twists and turns which gave it a better plot.

Suze is awakened by a screaming ghost of a woman one night, who gives her a message to give to someone named Red. She has no idea who Red is and is given no clues. So her investigation into finding out who this Red actually is begins. She soon discovers that a boy she danced with at a pool party is the son of who she suspects is the Red this message is to go to. As usual, things go hysterically wrong when Suze pretends she is writing an article for the school paper in order to get a meeting with the man she has determined is Red.

The Beaumont family turns out to be a little more mental and dangerous than she ever could have imagined and soon finds herself a target. Someone has secrets to keep and will do anything to keep them that way.

In the end, all it takes is a photograph for Suze to realize exactly what she has needs to do all along.

And, of course, Jesse is still around and living in her bedroom. Suze finds herself not wanting him to leave. And I can’t say I blame her. A little more Jesse would be good thing!
This is such a good series and I will be getting the 3rd book as soon as I can!

Kim’s Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tune In Tuesday (22)



This meme is hosted by Ginger at GReads & showcases music. Each week you can post an old or new song so that it gains more interest! So head on over and link up.




I have been a fan of Puddle of Mudd for a while. They haven't come out with any new stuff lately, but then I heard this song on the radio the other day. I have been a fan of The Rolling Stones for a very long time so I was really happy that one of the newer bands that I like is covering the song of an older band I love. I generally don't like covers, but I think they did this one justice! Apparently Puddle of Mudd is doing an album of covers so I am excited to see what else they have in store! Let me know what you think!

Gimme Shelter - Puddle of Mudd


Monday, July 25, 2011

Review - The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: The Weight of Silence (Amazon)
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira         
Release Date: 2009
Pages: 373
Genre: YA, Adult
Source: Library

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.
Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.
Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice.
Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.
Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets. (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This book was one of those kinds of mysteries that you just can’t really figure out until the end. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat and has you constantly wondering.

At the age of 4, Callie becomes a selective mute after witnessing a terrifying tragedy. No one really knows exactly happened that day other than Callie, her father, Griff, and her mother. Griff is an unhappy, abusive alcoholic who is gone from home often working on a pipeline. It becomes obvious right away that Callie is terrified of him. Callie has become best friends with Petra, who is so close to Callie that she understands her without words and often speaks for her.

The story details a twenty four hour period in which Callie and Petra, both seven years old, mysteriously disappear from their beds in the middle of the night. But the book will go back to years earlier to give you history of each of the narrators. The story is alternately narrated by Callie, her mother Antonia, Petra’s father Marti, Callie’s older brother Ben, and Deputy Sheriff Louis, who has a long history with Antonia. The search is focused on the forest behind Callie’s home where she has grown up and knows like the back of her hand.

Griff was to have gone on a fishing trip with a friend early on the morning of the disappearance but is unable to be found or contacted. He becomes only one of several characters that come under suspicion. This book really gets your imagination going while trying to figure out what could be happening and who may be involved. And characters will discover, and be surprised by, the strengths and actions beyond what they imagined they were capable of.

This is such an excellent mystery from Heather Gudenkauf. I picked it up after reading her book What lies Beneath, which also turned out the be a great mystery with a very surprising ending. I like books that have such intricate plot lines that you can never really figure everything out until the end. I recommend this book very highly if you happen to be a mystery lover. You won’t be let down!

Kim’s Rating: 5/5

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (26)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that allows to showcase the books that we have received/purchased over the past week.

Review - 
 
  The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen 
(Thanks to I Read Banned Book Tours!)

Other bloggers -
 
Ten Things We Did and Probably Shouldn't Have by Sarah Mlynowski 
Relic Master The Dark City by Catherine Fisher 
Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler 
Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz 

(Thanks to Lena @ Addicted to Novels and Nicole @ Word For Teens)

I am SO happy with the books that I got this week. I did buy any, but I did have to pay for shipping on the books that I got from other bloggers. I don't think that counts though! :)

What did you get this week???

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review - How It Ends by Laura Wiess

Title: How It Ends (Amazon)
Author: Laura Wiess
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Release Date: 2009
Pages: 368
Genre: YA, Adult Fiction
Source: Library

Laura Wiess, the acclaimed author who once brought us "a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J. D. Salinger's Phoebe" (Luanne Rice), brings us another memorable young woman, this one at the center of an extraordinary novel of how love ends, how it begins, and what it's worth to protect it...

All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.

Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.
(Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: Wow! This book was so amazingly addicting! It was such a powerful book and nothing like I expected. It’s a story that will stick with me for quite a while. It takes you through so many emotions and the unbelievable ending had me crying.

The book starts with Hanna as a fifteen year old girl obsessed with Seth, a hot classmate with a reputation. When she finally becomes his girlfriend, the relationship with Seth is a roller-coaster ride. Seth seems to be emotionally abusive and critical and Hanna begins taking the brunt of his hurtfulness and going back for more.

Hanna also has an odd relationship with Jesse, an older guy she met at a friends keg party. Jesse has made it clear that she is too young for him, though they get a little hot and heavy at a party. Jesse turns up at various points throughout the story and you could feel the underlying desire between them. He was such a nice guy and the type of person Hanna should have been with.

Hanna has had a close relationship with her elderly neighbor, Helen, who has acted as her “grandmother” since she was a child. Helen has always been someone Hanna could count on and talk to. Helen has an extreme fondness for animals and insists on feeding and caring for any stray cats that show up and providing a safe place for deer to eat without the worry of hunters. This has rubbed off on Hanna and she becomes distressed every year at the start of the hunting season.

Over the years, Hanna has spent less and less time with Helen as she became a teenager and immersed in typical teenage activities and thinking. And Helen misses their time together terribly since she and her husband never had any children of their own.

As Helen’s health declines, Hanna determines she can help care for Helen as part of her volunteering requirements for school. By the time this happens, Helen, who has Parkinson’s Disease, is confined to a wheelchair and can no longer talk. Hanna plays audio books for Helen while caring for her and one of the stories, How It Ends, pulls Hanna in and gets her emotions flaring.

Unbeknownst to Hanna, it is the love story and unknown history of Helen and her husband. Helen began writing the story for Hanna when she discovered she had Parkinson’s and needed to dispel the lies she had told Hanna over the years. When Hanna asked questions as a child, Helen felt she could not tell her the painful truth and therefore painted a rosy picture of her life. Helen now realizes that if Hanna continues to believe the stories she has been told it will hurt her in the long run and could impede her happiness. Helen loves her too much to let that happen regardless of how Hanna may feel about her when she learns the truth

Though she and her husband had lived through unspeakable things, their love for each other was always strong and undying and saved them from a life of unhappiness, danger, and possible death. Neither could live without the other.  

I was pretty horrified at the ending and not prepared for it at ALL!

There is no one word that would describe this book. It was happy, sad, horrifying, anger inducing, and inspiring. This has become one of my favorite books and one that I could read again and again. I have loved all of Laura Wiess’ books but this one blew me away and is now my favorite from this amazing author. It deserves a rating much higher than a 5!

 Kim’s Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review - The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Title: The Devil All the Time (Amazon)
Author: Donald Ray Pollock
Publisher: Doubleday
Date Released: July 2011
Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
Source: Publisher for review

In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic over­tones of Flannery O’Connor at her most haunting.
Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.
Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain. (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This story of the darker side of humanity was excellent! I actually felt sort of bad for liking it so much and have a hard time explaining what I liked so much about it. With a compelling cast of characters including murderers, religious zealots, and psychopaths, Pollock paints the world as an ugly place.

Beginning at the end of WWII, the story starts with a character named Willard Russell, who moves from his hillbilly mountain home to Ohio to marry a woman he met on his way home from the war. When Willard’s wife is dying of cancer, he forces his son, Arvin, to pray at a horrifying prayer log he has set up in the woods which is surrounded by dead, sacrificial animals. Pollock is so good at description that I felt I could smell how putrid the area was with dead animal carcasses and animal blood. When Willard’s wife dies, other deranged characters are brought to life.

There is a psychopathic married couple, a religious freak with a handicapped, pedophile cousin, a backwards, murdering sheriff, and a few other demented characters. It is a story full of violence, pain, and betrayal, packed with some very chilling characters. There were a few parts that were a little hard to read due to the violence, but I have read worse. The ways in which these characters are intertwined are sometimes shocking.

There is no one character focused on more than any other, but the sense is there that the story would ultimately come down to Arvin.

Pollock’s style of writing is amazing as he paints a world of hopelessness for these evil minded characters. There were no boring parts in this book at all and I was so mesmerized by the story, I was addicted to this book right up until the end. I have to say I was rather hesitant when I first received this book because even the cover is disturbing. I am so glad I did not let that sway my decision to read it.

If you can handle some violence and depravity, I couldn’t recommend this book any more highly. Pollock also has a book of short stories that I have already ordered because I think he has an excellent writing style and can sure spin a tale. I can’t imagine anything he writes could ever be boring!

Kim’s Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (24)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It lets us spotlight what upcoming books we can't wait for!
 
This week I am waiting on -

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release date: September 2012
 
Summary:
Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.
 
So I don't know about you, but this sounds AMAZING to me! Besides, after reading Half-Blood, I will read absolutely anything she comes out with! She is a fantastic author.
 
What are you waiting on???

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review - Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Title: Miles from Ordinary (Amazon)
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 197
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....
“No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one," said James S. Jacobs, Professor of Children's Literature at Brigham Young University, of her breakout novel, The Chosen One. Now this award-winning YA author brings us an equally gripping story of a girl who loves her mother, but must face the truth of what life with that mother means for both of them.  (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This was such an unusual and heartbreaking story. Being a book with only 197 pages, it was easy to read in one sitting. Because it was so strange and I felt so bad for the main character, Lacey, I kept reading to find out what was going to happen in the one day that the book covers.

The day the book is based on is the first day of Lacey’s volunteering job at the library her aunt used to work at. It is also her mother’s first day as a cashier at a grocery store. It becomes obvious within the first few pages that Lacey’s mother is suffering some sort of paranoid schizophrenic illness. Lacey has been taking sole care of her mother since her aunt was forced to move away by Lacey’s mother. With her mother’s mental illness, Lacey has not had anything remotely resembling a normal life. She has no friends and is an outcast at school.

On the bus taking Lacey and her mother to their first day at their new jobs, a fellow classmate, Aaron, takes an interest in Lacey and seems to honestly want to become her friend. Lacey is hoping this day will be the start of better things to come for her and her mother.

The story is interspersed with flashbacks by Lacey to events in her history that help explain the depth of her mother’s illness and her relationship with her aunt. When the work day ends and Aaron shows up to ride the bus home with Lacey, I felt hopeful that she would begin to have something resembling a childhood. But that all changed when her mother is not waiting at the bus stop where she should be. She is missing and Lacey is in a race to find her, scared of what will happen if she doesn’t.

With the help of Aaron, Lacey’s comes across very disturbing things her mother has been doing that she was unaware of. This scares her even more and makes her realize that her mother has not become “better” after all. She is forced to call her aunt for help though she has bitter feeling towards her, feeling abandoned by her aunt when she left.

It didn’t end the way I thought it would but still made me hopeful for Lacey and her opportunity for a better life.

The only thing I had a hard time dealing with was the absolute certainty by Lacey that her mother was her responsibility and would do anything to appease her. Realistically, there had to have been others who knew what was going on and would have done something. Her mother had several public displays of paranoid schizophrenic behavior but nothing was ever done. And I was irritated by Lacey's non-stop attempts to protect her mother, though I could understand it. I’m sure some readers will feel differently. And her mother only becomes more unstable as the story progresses.

I thought it was a really good book and highlights some of the tendencies of a paranoid schizophrenic and their delusional ways of thinking. It makes you realize how hard it must be for caretakers and family members of people suffering from this illness. And how it would make it that much harder for a thirteen year old girl to take complete responsibility and be all alone with a mother who was so mentally ill and standing on the edge of no return. My hope was that she didn’t take Lacey with her.

A great, quick, recommended read!

Kim’s Rating: 4/5

Monday, July 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that allows to showcase the books that we have received/purchased over the past week.
 
This week I got - 
 
 The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (2nd copy so I will be doing a giveaway soon!)
Savor the Danger (RAK!)

A Need So Beautiful bookmark & stickers from Suzanne Young!
Descended by Blood bookmarks from Angeline Kace!
 
Sorry this post is going up late! I have had so much going on lately and I hate feeling like the blog is getting neglected! :( I am going to start doing more scheduled posts. Anyway that's what I got this week!
 
What was in your mailbox???

Review - Shadowland (The Mediator, #1) by Meg Cabot

Title: Shadowland (The Mediator, #1) (Amazon)
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Harper Teen          
Release Date: 2004
Pages: 287
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Suze is a mediator -- a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.
But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind ... and Suze happens to be in the way. (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This was a very cute and funny book. It is a story of Susannah (Suze) Simon who is a mediator and her job is to get lost souls to the other side where they belong. She has had this power since the age of two when she realized she could see people that others could not. Suze keeps this ability from others.

When her mother remarries, Suze moves to California. She sees her first unfortunate soul living in her bedroom in a very old refurbished home. His name is Jesse, he was a nineteenth century cowboy and he is hot! And he refuses to leave.

She runs across her second problem on the first day at her new school when she meets Heather, who committed suicide when her boyfriend, Bryce, broke up with her. And she is determined to kill him so no one else can have him. When Suze saves his life after one of Heather’s attempts to kill him, Suze suddenly becomes very popular, which she had never been in the past, and Heather adds Suze to her hit list. Heather believes that Suze is trying take over her life.

Surprisingly, one of the heads of her new school, Father Dominic, is a mediator also and aware of Heather hanging around the school. But Heather presents more of a challenge than Suze has ever faced and the situation becomes dangerous quickly.

This was such a light, quick summer read, with no boring sections that drive me crazy. I’m getting ready to read the second in the series now and expect another great read. This series would be perfect for your summer reading list!

Kim’s Rating: 4/5

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review - Trace of Fever by Lori Foster


Title:  Trace of Fever (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor #2)
Author:  Lori Foster
Publisher:  Harlequin Books
Release date: May 31, 2011
Pages: 393
Genre: Adult Romance
Source:  Won from Publisher
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Summary via Goodreads: 
Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he'll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man's dirty smuggling operation. It's a perfect scheme—until Coburn's long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.
With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn't who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn's downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace, will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent….


Missy's take - 

Trace of Fever is the second installment in Lori Foster's Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series.

In this installment we get to follow Trace, who we met for a brief time in When You Dare. He is on a mission to try and rid the world of scummy human traffickers. This is especially important to him since his sister, Alani, was taken by them in When You Dare. He is undercover with one of the leading human traffickers in his area when in pops Priscilla. She claims that she is the daughter of Murray, the guy that Trace works for. He can tell almost instantly that Priscilla is up to something and starts trying to protect her. They both have reasons of their own for going after Murray.

I love the way that Foster writes her female characters. They are so strong and independent. I hate whiny females that depend on a big strong man to help them. Priscilla is the exact opposite and she fights Trace the whole way. He wants to protect her and she feels that she can protect herself. They end up getting in some pretty sticky situations and Trace is always there to have her back.

Speaking of Trace, holy swoon. I loved Dare in the first book and Trace is almost just as amazing. Foster makes you seriously fall in love with guys that she writes. They are all so sweet underneath their rough and mysterious exteriors.It makes the romance in the books that more awesome.

I also love that we got to see more of Dare, Molly and Chris in this one! They have a smaller role, but it was nice to see what they are up to. I have always been a lover of book series that tie characters in with each other. Then, by the time the series ends, you get to know ALL about the characters the story involves.

We also get to meet Jackson, who is the lead in the 3rd installment, Savor the Danger. I can't wait to read this one either. From what I hear this one seems to be everyone's favorite. It also features Alani, Trace's sister, who makes small cameos in each of the first two books.

Overall I really enjoyed this installment of the series. I will admit that I didn't love it as much as the first book, but it was right up there. If you are looking for a fun, adventurous, romantic read I suggest checking this series out!


Missy's rating -

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review - Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall (Amazon)
            Author: Lauren Oliver
            Publisher: HarperCollins
            Release Date: 2010
            Pages: 470
            Genre: YA
            Source: Library

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life? Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. (Goodreads) 

 Kim’s Take:

 I really loved this book! It was such a great story that really makes you think about your own life and how  even the small things you do can greatly affect the lives of others.

Samantha (Sam) Kingston is 16 and seems to have it all. She has her friends, popularity, and a hot boyfriend. From the very beginning of the book I sensed a little underlying dissatisfaction with her life. The first part of the book really reminded me a lot of the movie Mean Girls. She and her friends are quite mean and bullying, believing they are better than everyone else, and seem to feel that popularity is everything and have no remorse in the pain they cause fellow students.

The book begins with a regular school morning and plans to go to a party that evening. That is where a tragic event occurs that will change Sam’s “life” forever. When she wakes in the morning, she finds it is the same day as the previous one all over again. She is very confused and remembers the events of the previous evening when she was in a terrible accident. Was it just a bad dream? It takes her a while to understand what is happening but upon waking the next morning to the same day, once again, she can no longer deny what is happening. The dream is reality and she is dead.

Sam begins to realize how wrong her ideas and behavior had been, and the consequences of both on others. She also discovers secrets regarding her best friend, Lindsey, and Lindsey’s past with Juliet Sykes, a main target of their bullying. Sam begins to do things she never would have done, knowing it will not matter the next day because the day will only start over and others will have no recollection of what had happened. Sam begins to become more aware of the feelings and lives of those they have bullied in the past and attempts to make changes to those relationships.  

She begins to realize her boyfriend is not who she made herself believe he was and slowly over the course of her repeating days begins to realize the real meaning of love and who holds the key to her happiness. She begins to understand she has taken everyday moments for granted.

Sam comes to determine that she must right the wrongs of that tragic evening and finally discovers what she must do save others that night and repair the hateful feelings many of her fellow students have towards her before her time is up and she can move on.

The book really makes you think about what people will remember you for if you were to die tomorrow. It makes you think about the relationships you have with people and what is really important in life.

This was such an amazing novel by Lauren Oliver, and such a thought provoking story. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. A must read!
  
Kim’s Rating: 5/5


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review - Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Title: Hate List (Amazon)
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Release Date: 2009
Pages: 405
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.  (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take – I really, really liked this book. It runs along the lines of the book We Need to Talk About Kevin, which was excellent.

What started out as a joke turns into a tragedy, putting Valerie into a very tough situation. Valerie and her boyfriend, Nick, begin a “Hate List”, writing down everything and everyone they hate. The list is extensive because they tend to be more on the gothic side and are bullied on almost a daily basis. Valerie is stuck with the nickname “Sister Death” by her bullies. Unfortunately, without Valerie even realizing it, Nick has become much more serious about the list. Tragedy erupts when Nick opens fire at the commons of their high school killing several students, including a beloved teacher trying to protect students. Valerie is taken by surprise and is shot in the leg by Nick when she throws herself in front of one of her most hated bullies. Nick then kills himself.

The story becomes more tragic for Valerie when she is accused of helping Nick after police find her hate list and emails sent between Valerie and Nick. Even after being cleared of participation and being hailed as a hero by her high school in an attempt to stop the situation, Valerie is mentally tortured by the thoughts of missing the mounting anger of Nick and her conflicted feelings for Nick who she felt was the only person who understood her.

After spending the summer recuperating, refusing to see or speak with her only friend, and dealing with a father she feels now hates her, September comes and she returns to high school. She is shunned by the few friends she had left and has to deal with continued bullying and the feelings of fear and hurt from traumatized classmates.

I felt that the result of such a terrible tragedy became a second chance at a better life for Valerie. Things begin to happen which she never dreamed of. I really liked Valerie’s character and the author did a great job describing the torment Valerie was going through before, during, and after the tragedy.
I think it’s a great book in helping to understand that just because someone does not dress like you, is unpopular, and not part of your group of friends, they are a person like you and going through the same situations and growing pains as anyone else. Unfortunately for some, these things are made even harder for them to deal with when being constantly bullied and made to feel like less than nothing. They are more like you than you may think.

It is a story of how one teen could not take it any longer and felt this was his only option, leaving his girlfriend behind to deal with the aftermath.

It was an excellent read and I didn’t want to put it down!

Kim’s Rating – 5/5

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review - Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot

Title: Size 14 is Not Fat Either (Amazon)
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperCollins      
Released: 2006
Pages: 344
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Former pop star Heather Wells has settled nicely into her new life as assistant dorm director at New York College—a career that does not require her to drape her size 12 body in embarrassingly skimpy outfits. She can even cope (sort of) with her rocker ex-boyfriend's upcoming nuptials, which the press has dubbed The Celebrity Wedding of the Decade. But she's definitely having a hard time dealing with the situation in the dormitory kitchen—where a cheerleader has lost her head on the first day of the semester. (Actually, her head is accounted for—it's her torso that's AWOL.)
Surrounded by hysterical students—with her ex-con father on her doorstep and her ex-love bombarding her with unwanted phone calls—Heather welcomes the opportunity to play detective . . . again. If it gets her mind off her personal problems—and teams her up again with the gorgeous P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives—it's all good. But the murder trail is leading the average-sized amateur investigator into a shadowy world. And if she doesn't watch her step, Heather will soon be singing her swan song! (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This is the second book in the Heather Wells series. I really liked the first so, of course, I have to read the others! This book was just as good as the first.

The story starts out with a pretty gruesome murder in the kitchen of Fisher Hall where Heather is an assistant dorm director. Despite her promises to friends and Cooper, her hot landlord and brother of her ex Jordan, that she will not get involved, it doesn’t take long for her to get dragged into the investigation. She doesn’t feel the police are asking the right questions or talking to the right people and decides she is the one for the job. She seems to have a knack for putting herself in dangerous, but hilarious, situations.

When Heather set her sights on Doug, a student from a wealthy and influential family, her amateur detective skills kick in. The situation becomes even worse when Manuel, a dorm housekeeper, is stabbed in front of Heather by masked assailants who are trying to keep his mouth shit. It turns out Manuel has a bit of important information that he shares with Heather.

On top of all of the investigative danger Heather brings upon herself, her father turns up in New York after being released from prison where he has been since she was a child. And to add even more stress to her life, her best friend Patty and her husband are pressuring her to perform onstage, which she hasn’t done in years after her singing career tanked.

In the end, Heather gains a bit of a fledgling relationship with her father, an unwanted crush from one of the college students, harassment from her ex, and a near-death experience as the result of sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

I spend a lot of time laughing while reading this series from Meg Cabot. They are quick, easy reads with a lot of humor and mystery. I’ve already ordered the third and final book (as of right now) in the series and can’t wait to see what kind of mess Heather will get herself into next!

 Kim’s Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bad Taste in Boys Release Day!


So today a book that I have been HIGHLY anticipating is releasing today! Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris. 
In honor of this release I have decided to zombify myself as have a bunch of other bloggers. You can check that out below - 


Attractive yes? I thought so too!

If anyone knows me they know I love a good zombie book so I will be headed to the store on the way home from work today to pick it up. Sorry book buying ban! This is going to be an exception.
Check out all the details about the book below!


Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris 
Release date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Summary via Goodreads:
Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay 
hormonally human.

Oh and don't forget to check out the totally awesome book trailer that features some very cool bloggers!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blog Tour/Review/Giveaway - Anathema by K.A. Tucker


Title:  Anathema
Author:  K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Papoti Books
Release date:  July 15, 2011
Pages: 284
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Author for review
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Summary via Goodreads:
Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.

When Evangeline meets Sofie after literally stumbling upon her café, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash.

With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities . . . like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined.

In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed.


Missy's take -

Anathema was a new and unique take on the paranormal genre. It had a wonderful mix of all the things that make a book unputdownable to me. Mystery, drama, romance and some action. I like books that keep me captivated and this one definitely did that through out!

Evangeline is a loner. Not necessarily by choice. She is a sweet, trusting and kind hearted girl that tends to be quite gullible. Her mother died when she was younger and she has never really been close to anyone since. Then she meets Sofie. Sofie gives her more than she could ever dream of, but she soon learns that it doesn't come without a price.

I really got caught up in this story! This review is a hard one to write because there are so many twists and turns a lot can be given away. It was certainly action packed and incredibly addicting. There is so much secrecy and mystery that you really never do know what is going to happen next. This is one of the things that makes it so great in my opinion. I like when the author can keep me guessing about what will happen next.

In the beginning Evangeline did kind of bother me because she seemed so clueless and extremely gullible. As the story went on I did begin to feel for her and was able to connect with her pretty well. I liked the fact that she grew a lot as the story went on. The supporting cast was pretty fantastic as well. I love that almost all the characters were so mysterious and gave away very little!

Overall this was a fun and addicting book. I am very excited to see what happens as the story continues on. If you are looking for a new and unique take on the paranormal genre than this is definitely the one for you! You should also set aside a nice slot of time to read it because it wasn't easy to put down!

Missy's rating -
 

Giveaway -

Kathleen is so awesome that she has offered up a free ebook copy of her book to one lucky reader of our blog! All you have to do is fill out this FORM to enter
Giveaway ends -Wed 7/13 11:59 pm EST

Oh and that's not all! Check out the details for another giveaway below!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Grand Prize Giveaway!

Kathleen is giving away a signed, print copy of Anathema to one lucky winner at the end of the blog tour. Anyone can enter by visiting her site at www.katuckerbooks.com (read giveaway rules posted). Do you want up to 10 extra chances to win? Visit each blog stop for an Anathema Quiz question. Answer it correctly and your name is entered! Simple!

Here's your quiz question for today, Blog Stop #6 : 

Why does Caden leave Evangeline alone in the mountains?


And if you haven't read Anathema yet... what are you waiting for?!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that allows to showcase the books that we have received/purchased over the past week.
 
For Review - 
 
  The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma 
Families and Other Non-Returnable Gifts by Claire LaZebnik

(Thanks to Atria and Claire LaZebnik!)

Library -
Blood Red Road by Moira Young 
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong 
Intertwined by Gena Showalter

Gifted - 
 
 Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione


Another awesome week especially thanks to the library! I can't wait to read Blood Red Road because I have heard great things about it! 

What did you get this week????
 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review - I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder


Title:  I Heart You, You Haunt Me
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: February 8, 2008
Pages: 227
Genre:  YA
Source: Library
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Summary via Goodreads:

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...

...sort of.


Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

 
Missy's take -

This was my very first experience with a novel written in verse. It most certainly will not be my last. I have been quite skeptical to pick one up, but after hearing incredible things about Lisa Schroeder I decided to check it out. I sat down to read this and didn't move until I was finished. When I flipped that last page I couldn't believe that I had finished. It seemed to be over so incredibly quickly.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me is the story of Ava. A 15 year old girl in complete devastation over the death of her boyfriend Jackson. She blames herself as it was a "dare" that caused his untimely death. She is overcome with grief over the loss of him and feels that she will never be able to move on.

I initially didn't think a novel in verse could tell much of a story. Boy was I wrong. I was so engrossed in Ava's story and, with very little words, was able to learn so much about a boy and girl who loved each other so much. This was almost a novel of less is more. So few words could tell such an amazing story. I really enjoyed the fact that we get glimpses of the past. We get to see how they met and little bits of what their relationship was like.

I felt so much for Ava. Once Jackson starts haunting her she thinks that she will be able to hold onto him and their relationship forever. She soon learns that there is so much more. Her friends and family try to pull her out of the depression that she has put herself in.

Overall this was incredibly amazing!!!  I will never shy away from a novel in verse. In fact, I will probably seek them out from here on out. If you are looking for a quick and completely engrossing read then this is the book for you!

Missy's rating -



Friday, July 8, 2011

Review - Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Elsewhere (Amazon)
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Square Fish
Release Date: 2007
Pages: 277
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
(Goodreads)

Kim’s Take – This was a pretty good book. My favorite part of it was the image Zevin gives of where you go when you die. It is described so much like being on Earth but a place with a great climate, the ocean, and where everything seems so peaceful and happy.

Elizabeth (Liz) Hall is fifteen when she is hit by a car and killed while riding her bike. When she awakes, she finds herself on a ship with other recently deceased individuals and heading to a place called Elsewhere. Elsewhere is the place where everyone who dies goes to and where time works the opposite of Earth. Instead of growing older, the residents grow younger until they are babies and sent back to Earth to be reborn into different lives.

Liz has a very hard time acclimating to her new "life" which is understandable for her age. Over the months, she begins to realize there is no choice but to accept her situation, she begins a job that requires her to help recently deceased animals to help them understand what has happened to them and help place them in loving homes. She even meets Owen, who she becomes very good friends with. All the while, she is still missing that she will never get her driver’s license, graduate, or fall in love.

It was a great story but I didn’t really care for the main character Liz. Maybe she just had a spoiled attitude but she gave everyone such a hard time, seemed very selfish, and seemed to act as if rules didn’t apply to her. But I did like the others character’s in the story. And also the feeling the book gives you of being in such a happy carefree place.

Altogether, it was a really good story and gives you a good feeling about the author’s fantasy regarding what may happen when you die and meeting others who have already died. I just would have felt a little better about if I could have maybe given a little face slap to Liz to get her to open her eyes and see how wonderful the place and people were and how she was treating her grandmother who was so happy to finally be with the granddaughter she had never met. I understand she is only fifteen but it was still rather annoying!

It’s great book for someone that is looking for a feel good, quick read.

Kim’s Rating – 4/5

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review - Leftovers by Laura Wiess

Title: Leftovers (Amazon)
Author: Laura Wiess
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Release Date: 2008
Pages: 256
Genre: YA
Source: Library

A devastating novel of desperation and revenge from one of today's most compelling new voices in fiction. In this follow-up to her heartbreaking debut, Such a Pretty Girl, Laura Wiess once again spins a shattering tale of the tragedies that befall young women who are considered society's Leftovers.
Blair and Ardith are best friends who have committed an unforgivable act in the name of love and justice. But in order to understand what could drive two young women to such extreme measures, first you'll have to understand why. You'll have to listen as they describe parents who are alternately absent and smothering, classmates who mock and shun anyone different, and young men who are allowed to hurt and dominate without consequence. You will have to learn what it's like to be a teenage girl who locks her bedroom door at night, who has been written off by the adults around her as damaged goods. A girl who has no one to trust except the one person she's forbidden to see. You'll have to understand what it's really like to be forgotten and abandoned in America today.
Are you ready? (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: I absolutely loved this book! Laura Wiess has become on of my favorite authors. She tends to write dark books and for some reason I seem to be attracted to that sort of genre right now. I think it’s because I like to read about how people tend to handle or get through desperate situations.

This book is based on two young teens, Blair and Ardith, who both have less than desirable family situations. Blair’s parents both have professional careers and her mother has her sights set on becoming a judge which consumes every bit of her attention. She is all about appearances which spurs a tragic event in Blair’s life which she will never forgive her mother for. Her father is just as absent, spending as much time as he can with his mistress. Needless to say, Blair is left alone the majority of the time.

Her best friend, Ardith, lives in a home that is the site of a non-stop party. Everything centers on drinking, groping, and sex. Her brother is bad news and considers women disposable. And her parents are no protection as they are a part of the party and seem to encourage it. Her mother runs a pornography website to give you an even better idea of what her home life is like. Ardith sleeps with her door padlocked and a screwdriver under her pillow.

Over the course of about a year, Blair and Ardith take turns telling the story leading up to an unforgivable act committed by the two of them to right what they feel is a terrible injustice. I swear I read this book in several hours because I couldn’t wait to find out what these two young girls could have done. And it doesn’t really come out until the end of the book and is nothing like I suspected it may be. It just became more surprising the farther I got into. My heart really broke for them in respect to the lives they have had to lead and being made to feel they have no one but each other. My favorite line in the book was "The only thing worse than being invisible is being visible and powerless". And that describes these two girls perfectly.

Another thing I really liked about it was the way it was written. Ardith and Blair take turns telling their story and it is being told to a third party who is unknown until the very end of the book. The book was both heartwarming and tragic at the same time.

For anyone looking for a great, quick read, this is what you’re looking for! I definitely recommend.

Kim’s Rating: