Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Why We Took The Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Why We Took The Car

Wolfgang Herrndorf

256 Pages

Published January 7tth, 2014

A beautifully written, darkly funny coming-of-age story from an award-winning, bestselling German author making his American debut.
Mike Klingenberg doesn't get why people think he's boring. Sure, he doesn't have many friends. (Okay, zero friends.) And everyone laughs at him when he reads his essays out loud in class. And he's never invited to parties - including the gorgeous Tatiana's party of the year.
Andre Tschichatschow, aka Tschick (not even the teachers can pronounce his name), is new in school, and a whole different kind of unpopular. He always looks like he's just been in a fight, his clothes are tragic, and he never talks to anyone.
But one day Tschick shows up at Mike's house out of the blue. Turns out he wasn't invited to Tatiana's party either, and he's ready to do something about it. Forget the popular kids: Together, Mike and Tschick are heading out on a road trip. No parents, no map, no destination. Will they get hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere? Probably. Will they meet crazy people and get into serious trouble? Definitely. But will they ever be called boring again?
Not a chance.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from Why We Took The Car, but it sure was a surprising read. The story starts off hard and fast, with our main character, 14 year old Mike, being interrogated by the police. He's clearly badly injured and immediately tons of questions popped into my mind. Why is he hurt? How badly? What is such a young kid doing at the police station? What the heck did he do to land himself in such a serious situation?!

Sadly, my questions weren't answered for quite some time.. and I think that was the big beef I had with this book. I don't tend to be the most patient person, and I was a little ticked off and quite confused when the story shifted to a completely different area of this kids life. We're lead on to see how his life was before, for much of his childhood. We get probably over a third through the story before we even get a hint of what started this journey, why he and Tshick stole a car and how they wound up at the police station and eventually the hospital.

Once we finally get the ball moving, Why We Took The Car was a fairly decent coming of age story. The writing style was simple and pleasant, and you could really tell that it was told from the point of view of a young teenage boy. Many of the things.. ok.. pretty much everything, Mike did was pretty stupid, but hey, that's how a lot of youngsters are, eh? It was a bit weird that he just went along with what Tshick said without much questioning, but I decided not to be bothered by that. Instead, I let myself be swept along with them on their road trip across Germany.

Things moved pretty fast in the second half of the book, the two boys always on the run from any cops they caught a glimpse of. Some pretty strange stuff ended up going down, some of which wasn't all that believable, but still.. awesomely strange things always happen in road trip stories. Though lots of self reflection happened on the part of Mike, I didn't witness too much character growth, which disappointed me a bit. After all the reflecting her had done, I was hoping for him to think more highly of himself. Even at the end of the book he was hung up on how "boring" he was. Judging by his recent trip, I'd say he was anything but boring.

Though not a favorite of mine, Why We Took the Car was still an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. If you're looking for a crazy story full of thrills and silliness, sit down with this one and be prepared for something truly unique.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday


Michelle Krys

Expected Publication: June 10th, 2014

384 Pages

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?
Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.
Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
I haven't read many books about witches, though I do love a fair bit of magic and fantasy in my reading routine. Add the fate of imminent death and an awesome cover and I'm in.

Book Review: Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Rebel Spring

Morgan Rhodes

416 Pages

Published December 3rd, 2013

Love, power, and magic collide with war in the second book of the Falling Kingdoms series
Auranos has fallen and the three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now united as one country called Mytica. But still, magic beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world...
When the evil King Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of events that will forever change the face of this land, forcing Cleo the dethroned princess, Magnus the reluctant heir, Lucia the haunted sorceress, and Jonas the desperate rebel to take steps they never could have imagined.
Rhodes proves herself yet again by delving deeper into her wonderful crafted world, the area of Mytica. War between the kingdoms continues to rage on, with the evil and conceited King Gaius reigning over all and spilling blood throughout the land. Boundaries are pushed and relationships are tested as battle rages around every corner. Rebel forces continue to gain strength, dreaming of annihilating the king and restoring peace to the kingdoms. Rebel Spring was a wild ride that I dug into as soon as I finished Falling Kingdoms, and now I find myself feeling empty inside without the next installment in my hands.

Before my glowing review truly begins, I'd like to get the one thing that bugged me about this book off my chest and out in the open: the amount of romance swirling around in the forefront of the story. Now, I'm one that likes a good deal of romance in my stories, as long as it doesn't take over and push the other elements into the background. It wasn't that this happens in Rebel Spring, it's that there are wayyy to many couples. Everyone seems to be falling for each other, no one can just be alone. About a billion people had a thing for Cleo, for unknown reasons. I felt like there was a love triangle starting with her, Magnus and Jonas. Personally I'm team Jonas all the way!

Aside from that one flaw, the story unfolded perfectly, taking place right after the end of the first installment. Lucia sleeps on, not waking from her slumber.. for unexplainable reasons that are later revealed. Once awakened, her personality really begins to transform into something quite ugly. Her lust for power is quite strong and her magic seemed to be controlling her every action. Quick to anger with a thirst for blood, she was quite like her father.. only much more dangerous.

Cleo continued to be a bit reckless and foolish, getting into more dangerous situations. If I were her I would have stayed with the rebels, with the boy I was clearly falling for.. but for some reasons she is drawn to the palace and the people who treat her so cruelly. She seems to have a thing for men who treat her pretty shitty at first... not sure how I feel about that?

Magnus continued to struggle with his feelings, though he tries putting Lucia in the past by avoiding her. He struggles with trying to be like his father, when he really isn't nearly as blood'thirsty and crazy as his elder. Though he wants to be badass and heartless, it just doesn't work for his character.

Throughout the story we get to see a lot more of the watchers, mythical beings trapped in their own world. Alexius and Melenia are two we really get to know, both of which seem quite evil in the beginning. Melenia wants nothing more than to rule over the entire world, going to extreme measure to make sure this will be her eventual fate. She shows no compassion or feelings, and has a coldness that surrounds her like a thick blanket of fog. Alexius on the other hand has good in his heart, even finding himself falling for a mortal girl that he has no business even communicating with.

Rhodes manages to keep tension high, always leaving me antsy and waiting for the next big battle scene. A lot of bled is shed in these books, so be fair-warned before you pick up the series. With the concept of blood magic, powerful elementia that is strength-ed when blood is spilled, it's no wonder so much mass murder happens at the hands of the king. Rebel Spring was a wonderful conclusion with only one minor flaw, and I eagerly await the end of the year so I can greedily gobble up the third book!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms

Morgan Rhodes

412 Pages

Published December 11th, 2012

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
Falling Kingdoms is a truly amazing epic fantasy novel spanning three separate kingdoms that long ago were united as one land known as Mytica. These three kingdoms have existed in harmony for many years now, but slowly the peace has begun to crumble and unease has creeped into the minds of the people. With many interweaving characters and story-lines, this book is a complex web of goodness. Numerous elements and plot points come into play, meshing nicely, like powerful magic, political unrest and a historical vibe that transported me away from the loudness that is our modern world and into an atmosphere that a time long past can present.

The northern most kingdom in this land is called Limeros. Limeros is an ok place to live, as long as you abide by all rules and regulations imposed by the harsh and unforgiving king, who has been given the nickname "king of blood". He is ruthless and extremely power hungry, wanting all the kingdoms to himself. He comes off as charming and trustworthy at first, very good manipulation tools.

Residing in this kingdom are two of our key players, Lucia and Magnus, brother and sister and children of the king. Lucia thinks she is the true princess of Limeros, not aware of the dark secrets of her past. An evil sorceress named Sabina stole her away as a baby, knowing that she was the key to unlocking magic again, or at least according to prophecy. Lucia was shy, but still able to speak up when need be. Throughout the story she struggles with her new-found abilities, not knowing whether she should push them away or embrace them as a new part of herself.

Magnus, her brother, also goes through many internal struggles, though for a completely different reason. For quite some time now he's been trying to push away far too strong feelings for his sister. These feelings confuse and disgust him, after all; he believes they are related by blood. He craves love and acceptance from his overbearing and abusive father, and these cravings lead to some bizarre personality changes. He goes along blindly with many of the kings plans, never questioning why these things needed to happen. Though he was good at heart and still had a conscious, I felt like he had inherited some of the power-hungriness from his father.

The middle kingdom, the one I'd least enjoy living in, was Paelsia, a poor kingdom that has really gotten the short end of the stick. Everyone residing here is extremely poor and deprived, having been tricked into growing only grapes so they could sell cheap wine to the kingdom below them. Tension is high here, as is violence and fear. A key player, Jonas, lives here.

Jonas suffered a lot of grief throughout the story after his brother was brutally murdered by a boy named Aron. He was filled with a molten rage, determined to seek revenge and kill all involved with the death of his brother. At first he was extremely hostile and aggressive, not caring about anything but getting even. Though he was vicious, I couldn't help but become really attached to him and his sarcastic sense of humor. Eventually he softens at the edges, and his entire demure changes. I can't wait to see more of him in Rebel Spring!

The Southern Kingdom was called Auranos, a rich and well-to-do place that is often misunderstood. People here have everything they need to live lavish, comfortable lives, especially those of the royal class. These people can be selfish at times, though that doesn't mean that they aren't kind at heart. Though the other kingdoms truly hated this place, I kind of liked it. Once I got past the selfishness I learned that many of the characters here were naive, not evil or unkind.

Aron was an exception though. He wasn't just naive, he was infuriating and obnoxious. He literally made my blood boil with rage at how selfish and uncaring his demure was. He acted like the world belonged to him and everyone was only there to do his bidding. Things had to go his way or he'd get seriously peeved. Only because of Aron did the first domino tumble, setting off a cascade of events that led to a war between the three kingdoms, all because he needlessly murdered the brother of Jonas.

Cleo was another selfish character, though no where near as bad as Aron. I felt like though she was,quite literally, a spoiled little princess, she actually had feelings and mean to make things better, not worse. She was quite naive at times, running off into dangerous situations without first thinking them through. She lets her heart guide her instead of sensibility, causing lots of problem. However, she shows a ton of character growth by the time the book rolls to a close, learning to think before acting.

This was a story that had me riveted from the very first page. Excellent character craftsmanship combined with superb world-building skills leads me to believe that Rhodes is a master story-crafter. Falling Kingdoms was an epic fantasy that left me lost in a perpetual dream state. I'm off to read Rebel Spring right now!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

What Happens Next

Colleen Clayton

310 Pages

Published October 9th, 2012

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?
Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.
Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.
Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.
A heart breaking, eye opening story about love, loss and growing up, What Happens Next was a book that had me biting my nails with worry and wonder. We have the pleasure of getting to know some great characters, and watching them grow and evolve throughout the course of the story. Everything takes place after one tragic night on a ski trip, on which a teen girl named Sid is drugged and sexually assaulted by a villainous older man who lures her into his cabin. Though she doesn't remember the filmy details of the events that occurred that night, her soul is still crushed with grief. This is the story of after, of everything that Sid must go through.

Sid was your average, overly insecure teenage girl before the ski trip. After, she has been transformed into a depressive girl with many internal struggles. She has issues dealing with what happened to her, choosing not to tell anyone for fear of being a burden and causing difficulties. Before she was annoyed by her large voluptuous curves and her curly red hair, after she desperately tries to change herself. Bulimia ia a new-found coping mechanism for herself, no matter how hard she tries to deny a relationship with this monstrous eating disorder.

Sid had a serious lack of self confidence and awareness, thinking she was useless and good for nothing. At times I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her, yell at her that she was beautiful and wanted and loved by so many people. Her rapid weight loss and the techniques she used to get there worried me, though I understand why she did it. Older men had always eyed her womanly body, and she wanted to lose weight and become invisible to anyone that could hurt her, especially after her rapist had cut off a lock of her red curls as a token of his time with her.

Another character we had the pleasure of getting to know is Corey, a rumored stoner bad boy that Sid ends up sharing a school period with. At first she was very wary of him, as she was of everyone for a good deal of time after the ski trip. However bad his reputation may have been, this boy was a total sweetheart. He worked at a local bakery in secret, not something most teen guys would be willing to do to pull in some extra cash for their family. He had an uncanny ability to sense Sid's emotions, knowing much more about her than he let on. The romance the blossomed between them was slow and natural, and I actually found myself a bit jealous. Sid, give up the man candy, this is my kind of guy!

Watching Sid struggle so much had my heart aching something fierce, so I was so thankful for a sweet, slow-moving romance that was believable to help fill in the cracks. Though I bawled my eyes out, my heart was also warmed by the end of the book. What Happens Next is an intricately weaved story that shook me to my core.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Death Sworn

Leah Cypess

Expected Publication: March 4th, 2014

352 Pages

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Lately I've been loving anything that has to do with assassin's, and this book looks mighty fine to me right about now. Add in magic and secrets and I'm totally hooked!

Book Review: A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Libba Bray

403 Pages

Published December 9th, 2003

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.
Gemma was a young, free-spirited 16 year old girl, being brought up in India but wanting nothing to do with the place. Her heart lies in London, a city she greatly wants to visit and go to school in. Though her mother refuses, Gemma keeps pushing until one day her mother is gone and lost forever, dying right in front of her very eyes. Soon after she is shipped off to Spence, a ladies finishing school in London, the very place she had always desired.

However, Spence isn't what it seems. Secrets are hidden in every corridor and the girls there are the opposite of proper, instead acting truly scandalous. Though she has a bumpy start, becoming a bit of an outcast, she eventually forms and alliance with a group of girls she grew to both love and hate. After discovering an old journal the groups lives change drastically, quickly spiraling out of their control.

Gemma was strong when she needed to be, though there was a large layer of hurt buried underneath her skin. She wanted nothing more than to be reunited with her dear mother, something that comes back to haunt her later on in the story. She is better than most at judging people, but like any normal teen girl, still floats towards the wrong people just to be accepted. Watching her aquire her powers was a fascinating process, one that I hope to learn more of in the rest of the series.

Spence was a school completely surrounding in mysteries, reminding me of a Gothic themed haunted mansion you'd go to visit on a dark Halloween night. A Great and Terrible Beauty was one with excellent world-building and character building skills, one that kept me on my seat with anticipation late into the night. At times I even found myself getting a bit more than a little terrified or antsy, though this goes against my usually reaction to books.

A sure page-turner, this was one fantastic start to what I'm sure is an amazing series. Now.. if I could only get my hands on the last two installments!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review: The Turning by Francine Prose

The Turning

Francine Prose

246 Pages

Published September 25th, 2012

A dark house.
An isolated island.
Strange dreams
and even stranger
visions . . .
Jack is spending the summer on a private island far from modern conveniences. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, no one else on the island but a housekeeper and the two very peculiar children in his care. The first time Jack sees the huge black mansion atop a windswept hill, he senses something cold, something more sinister than even the dark house itself.
Soon, he feels terribly isolated and alone. Yet he is not alone. The house has visitors—peering in the windows, staring from across the shore. But why doesn't anyone else see them . . . and what do they want? As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy. . . . Or is he?
From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes a mind-bending story that will leave you realizing how subtle the lines that separate reality, imagination, and insanity really are.
Have you ever read a book, not quite sure if the main character was crazy or not? I felt like this throughout the entirety of The Turning, a psychological thriller type young adult novel about a boy named Jack, who spends the summer on a pretty creepy little island. A single, very rich family inherits the island, and people around the area who know of the place are very wary of it.

The story starts with Jack boarding a boat to get on this island. Immediately he starts witnessing some pretty disturbing things, and his excitement about his summer away from home quickly turns to a feeling of uneasiness. The story follows his entire summer on the island, keeping watch over two young kids that are far from ordinary. They exchange silent glances, act nothing like regular kids and overall seem.. possessed by some sort of otherworldly spirit.

I felt like the point of this story was to follow along and separate fact from fiction. To see if Jack is crazy, suffering from some mental illness, or if the island really is possessed by two very evil and very real spirits. To be honest the book had be confused at many points, and bored at others. After the ending I still wasn't sure how I felt about it, and I didn't make a solid opinion on how sane our main character was.

Though the story dragged at points, the pacing was fast enough to be pleasurable at others. The creepiness factor is what kept me going, and what ultimately saved the book for me. Though not one of my favorites, The Turning was a good afternoon read.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: Angelbound by Christina Bauer


Christina Bauer

532 Pages

Published December 17th, 2013

Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.
But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.
Myla wasn't your average, everyday character. She was a hybrid of sorts; part demon, part human and part something she isn't yet aware of. She was completely spunky, sarcastic and strong, and I loved her to pieces. Though she isn't aware of her roots when the story begins, going along with her down the path of discovery was a thrilling and ultimately shocking ride.

Myla lives for battle and fighting, often being summoned to a place called the arena, a special are where souls are either banished to hell or released to heaven. It's Myla's job to keep the bad guys being sent to where they belong, though each battle is a matter of life and death. She's ruthless and skilled far beyond her years, having been training for much of her life. Though her mother is overbearing and protective at times, not feeling comfortable with the constant chance of her daughter's death, she was overall a supportive key character.

When everything about the world she knows begins sliding away from her, Myla knows she must dig in deep and throw herself into the action. Along the way she discovers who she really is, learns the dark past that is her family history, kicks plenty of demon ass and even hooks up with a steaming hot Thrax boy named Lincoln, who also happens to be a prince.

Lincoln seemed so so dreamy to me. Though he starts out arrogant and cocky, as many male main characters seemed to, he grows on you so quickly. Deep down he's sweet and had his heart in the right place, putting the greater good of his world high up on his priority list. Though he was only a prince, in my mind he already should have inherited the throne.

Angelbound was a unique twist on a number of different plot points. There are angels, demons and so much more that intertwine together to create a fascinating set of characters in a mystical land much like our own, but at the same time so very different. A definite winner in my book, this is one you won't want to put down.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: Secret Lies by Amy Dunne

Secret Lies

Amy Dunne

288 Pages

Published December 16th, 2013

Would you face your biggest fear, to save the one you love?
Nicola Jackson escapes from her abuser, only to realize she has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. In a twist of fate, she accidentally bumps into Jenny O’Connor, the most popular girl at school. They strike up an unlikely friendship. As their trust in each other develops, they share their darkest secrets, and their relationship blossoms into a secret romance.
Jenny loves Nicola, but she is fearful that if their secret relationship is discovered, she might lose her family, friends, and her seemingly perfect life.
Nicola confronts her abuser and blackmails him to leave for good, but things go terrifyingly wrong. Jenny is left with a life-changing dilemma: should she face her fear and accept who she is, or let Nicola take the blame and pretend their relationship never happened?
When Nicola flees from her home, terrified of being murdered at the hand of her cruel abuser, she thinks life is over as she knows it. Understandably she feels lost, confused and depressed. Thinking no one cares for her, she has no plan in mind except to escape. Everything changes when she runs into her fellow classmate, Jenny.

Jenny was a character I slowly learned to enjoy. At first she seemed just like the rest of her friends, stuck up and quick to judge - I personally hate people who act like that! Over time her true colors shine through and we get to see that she's actually kind and caring, though still a bit pushy and aggressive sometimes.

Nicola is a bit more on the timid side, taking her time before really speaking her mind. With the shady past she's had to endure, it's no wonder she can be super shy and awkward at times. I felt for her throughout the whole story, shedding tears on her behalf. Though she made her fair share of irrational decisions, in the end I really could see where she was coming from.

I wasn't expecting this to be a story about a lesbian relationship, but it was a pleasant surprise that I saw coming pretty early on in the book. I don't normally read this kind of thing but I ended up really enjoying seeing all the issues that come with a hidden relationship like this one. Their love for each other was strong, powerful enough for me to feel even though I was millions of miles away.

I was so glad that Jenny helped Nicola conquer her inner demons, and I'm glad that the bastard who hurt her finally got put away. If you're looking for a story that will rip your hear into tiny pieces but leave it patched up in the end, Secret Lies is a great story to settle down with tonight.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

The Well's End

Seth Fishman

Expected Publication: February 25th, 2014

352 Pages

A deadly virus and an impossible discovery unite in one enthralling can’t-miss read...

Sixteen-year-old Mia Kish has always been afraid of the dark. After all, she’s baby Mia, the one who fell down a well. That was years ago, though the darkness still haunts her. But when her classmates and teachers at ritzy Westbrook Academy start dying of old age from a bizarre and frightening virus that ages its victims years in a matter of hours, Mia becomes haunted by a lot more than the dark. Their deaths are gruesome and Mia worries she and her friends may be next. In order to survive, Mia and her small crew must break quarantine and outrun armed soldiers in hazmat suits who shoot first and ask questions later.
And there’s only one place to go—the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia knows it’s somehow connected and hopes her dad, Director of Fenton Electronics, who has always been strangely secretive about his work, has the answers she needs, and more importantly a cure to save everyone before the whole town succumbs to the mysterious virus. Unfortunately, it’s not answers Mia discovers, but something far more treacherous and impossible than even the virus itself.

A high-stakes, fast-paced adventure with imagination and heart.
Alright - this one is a must have! I love books about viruses and plagues, among other disasters. And this one sounds exceptionally scary, one that rapidly ages the body until you suffer a most painful death. Count me in!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: Drawn by Cecilia Gray


Cecilia Gray

Published 'December 15th, 2013

325 Pages

A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl.

Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?
Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.
To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.
Sasha is a girl with a gift, one that she sees as more of a curse. She has the unique ability to make people speak the truth - whether they like it or not. Growing up, this obviously causes some problems. She's seen as a freak, has difficulty connecting with anybody, and isn't the tightest with her foster family. Just as she thinks she's doomed to a life full of misery, Sasha gets a visit from the CIA and her life is changed forever.

In Drawn, Sasha has a new life. She works for the CIA, helping to solve difficult cases. Her specialty is making criminals spill the beans, no matter how terrible a crime they committed. When she is relocated to a new country for her biggest case yet, Sasha is both terrified and excited. She resides with a new temporary family, befriended the daughter who has no idea who she really is.

With a sensitive case that puts her in a number of awkward situations, Sasha finds out more about herself than she ever thought possible. Friendships are forged and boundaries are pushed, and for the first time ever, she finds herself siding with the criminal. Watching and reading about her internal struggles was different than many of the other books I read, but I really did enjoy getting deep into her thoughts.

There were cool comic strips at the beginning of chapters that I feel added a really nice touch. Sasha loved to draw and the story revolved around all things art. Everything was intertwined perfectly, and while I wasn't too keen on the story in the first few pages, things quickly changed for me. Drawn was a unique story that left me thinking about our world and many of the issues surrounding it.