Monday, September 23, 2013

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry

book cover of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry

Title: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
Author: April Henry
Release date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Reading level: YA
Challenge(s): YA Contemporary

“Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is only the second April Henry book that I’ve read but it will not be my last.  She is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors for young adult suspense!  

I don’t want to give anything away about the story so I’m going to attempt to keep this review short and sweet.  The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die grips readers from the very first page.  Readers are introduced to a girl who knows nothing about herself other than the fact that someone wants her dead.  Readers learn about her past as she does and it’s a really interesting way to find out about a character.  
It’s hard to like most of the characters in The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.  The problem is that readers can’t know who to trust.  The MC has no memory of anyone so someone who says they are her friend could actually just be pretending and really want to kill her.  It definitely makes getting to know people a little difficult but it definitely works for the story.  The only two characters you really need to know or care about are the MC and Ty, her sort-of savior.  While the book is short (coming in at only 224 pages) you learn enough about the characters in that time period to like them and want to see them have a happy ending.
There’s one other thing about The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die that made it really interesting for me and that was all the information about biochemicals.  I don’t want to go into much detail about this but I’ll just say that it’s interesting stuff that hasn’t really been done before in YA.  Also, while it is very informative, the story is never made boring by the information.
Overall, The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is a fabulous addition to the young adult suspense genre.  Definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of that type of story.  It’s perfect for a quick rainy day read!
What others are saying about The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die:
Maji Bookshelf’s review: April Henry was able to capture me from the first page and only released me on the last page.”

The Page Turner’s review: The Girl Who was Supposed to Die has a cinematic feel to it, the plot is full of twists and turns and there is non-stop action.” 

Carina’s Books’ review: I’m glad I read the book, even though it wasn’t that perfect for me, but it is a three star book, and I did enjoy reading it all.” 

Other reviews for this author: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Release date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Reading level: YA
Challenges: Debut Author, YA Contemporary

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

If You Find Me was not at all what I expected and I mean that in the best way.  I admit, after reading all the raving reviews, I was a little skeptical.  I wasn’t sure what could be so special about this book but after reading it, I can’t help but agree with all the positive reviews out there.
Now, if my review starts off that great, you might be wondering why I only gave this book 4 shoes and not 5.  It’s a small reason but it did keep me from getting into the book right from the start; the dialect.  Carey’s a smart girl but she speaks like she’s stupid.  She’s grown up out in the country with no one to learn from other than drug addicted mother.  It’s clear that she’s never had formal education just from the way she speaks.  It bothered me and I couldn’t get into the story for a little while because of that.  It’s a small thing though.
I’ll just go ahead and say that everything else about If You Find Me was fabulous.  The writing, the story, the characters, every last detail.  While it took me a little while to get into the story, once I was invested in Carey and Jenessa’s outcome, I couldn’t put it down.  There was enough mystery and enough romance that I just couldn’t stop turning the pages until the very end.
First off, the characters are what make this book so fabulous.  Carey, Jenessa, Melissa, Delaney, their dad, Ryan, they all had qualities that made them fabulous, even if I didn’t like them at the start.  Carey is so fierce and protective of Jenessa.  She’s also super smart, kind, caring, and polite.  Jenessa is the cutest little thing ever.  She may not talk but that doesn’t take away from her character.  Carey’s dad and Melissa were fabulous parents, even with two kids they barely know,  one of them not even biologically related to them.  Delaney had some issues but she seemed to be a good person.  And as for Ryan, he’s the perfect love interest for Carey.  While it may seem like this isn’t a book with romance potential, it worked.  It wasn’t instalove and it didn’t take away from the rest of the story.
I won’t give anything away about the story but I will say this; it’s a lot darker than I expected.  Carey and Jenessa had a hard life growing up and while things are looking up for them, they can’t just forget the past.  Things happened to both of them that should never have happened to anyone, especially children, and they have to figure out how to move on.  There is quite a bit of mystery surrounding what exactly happened in the woods that made Jenessa stop talking and that was one of the big things that kept me on the edge of my seat.  I had my guesses but I wasn’t quite right.  Sure, you can probably predict part of the mystery but I think a lot of it will leave you guessing.
Overall, If You Find Me deserves every bit of praise it’s been given.  Emily Murdoch’s debut novel left me satisfied but eager for her next book.

What others have to say about If You Find Me:

Chapter by Chapter’s review: “This is one story that readers will never forget.”

The Book Stop’s review: “If I were to choose one word to describe If You Find Me, it would be ‘real’.”

Books With Cass’ review: “Emily Murdoch is talented, and definitely going to be on my auto-buy list.” 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

book cover of Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Title: Another Little Piece
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Release date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher
Reading level: YA

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

Kate Karyus Quinn’s debut novel completely threw me for a loop.  I had no idea what to expect from Another Little Piece but I can say that even if I had the highest expectations, it would have exceeded them.  Another Little Piece is completely fascinating, totally creepy, and 100% unputdownable!
The cover of Another Little Piece is kind of misleading, in my opinion.  I saw it and expected something contemporary.  Instead you get horror.  However, while it’s pretty dang creepy, it’s not too much.  I’m a scaredy cat.  I don’t read horror books normally but I couldn’t ignore this one after seeing some fabulous reviews.  While I was definitely creeped out and I don’t recommend reading this one while alone in the house at night, I have to recommend it.  Don’t let the horror aspect keep you from this one because there’s a lot more to it than that.  Just trust me.
Another Little Piece will have you hooked from the very beginning.  Things are a little confusing at first but that’s to be expected with a main character who can’t remember anything.  The suspense of not knowing what really happened to Annaliese is what kept me reading at first. However, that’s not all that kept me reading.  There is a lot going on in Another Little Piece. There’s some romance, lots of secrets, drama, and, you know, horror.  The romance plays a big part but it doesn’t detract from the rest of the story.  It’s slow building and really sweet, which I did not expect.  The secrets kept me guessing until the very end.  There were a few moments when I thought I had things figured out but I was so wrong.  Don’t try to guess with this book.  You won’t figure things out until the end. The drama was a kind of fun add in.  Annaliese has this crazy life but she still has to go to high school and things there are just like in any other.  It was a dash of reality in an otherwise very unrealistic world.  
As for characters, it’s hard to describe how I felt about them.  Annaliese was hard to like.  She was very detached and as you find out more about her past, she’s not really that nice.  However, she did start to grow on me.  She’s not the same Annaliese from her past and  she’s definitely changed for the better although she’s still not really that great a person.  She tries, though!  Her “parents” were pretty great though.  They didn’t really know how to deal after getting their daughter back, especially since they could tell that she wasn’t quite right.  They tried their hardest though and they were really good parents.  Annaliese’s next door neighbor, Dex, was also pretty hard to like.  He came across kind of creepy at first.  He has a lot of secrets and they’re pretty bad secrets.  However, Dex was not a bad guy and by the end of the book, I loved him.  Probably more than I actually liked Annaliese.  He’s awesome.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend Another Little Piece.  Like I said earlier, don’t let the horror part scare you off because it’s so much more than that. 

What others have to say about Another Little Piece:

I Heart Y.A. Fiction’s review: “Another Little Piece was an intriguing read.”

The Book Owl’s review: “Another Little Piece is one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year.”

Sassyreads’ review: “I liked this, confusion and all.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Money Run (Ashley Arthur #1) by Jack Heath

book cover of Money Run by Jack Heath

Title: Money Run (Ashley Arthur #1)
Author: Jack Heath
Release date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 256
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
Reading level: YA
Challenge: YA Contemp Challenge

When a heist goes wrong, teen thief Ash finds herself in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse.

Ashley “Ash” Arthur is a teen thief. Motivated by the thrills as much as the money, she’s pulled off some amazing heists with the help of her childhood friend Benjamin, who acts as tech support. Now she’s got the world’s richest man in her sights, convinced that Hammond Buckland has 2 million dollars hidden away in his corporate HQ.

Ash isn’t the only one with an interest in Buckland. The Australian government gets his fortune if he dies on their soil, so they’ve sent their #2 assassin, Peachey, to kill him. With Ash and Peachey both sneaking around the office building and working at cross purposes, it’s only a matter of time before their paths cross and Peachey decides Ash has seen too much to live.

Once it’s a matter of life and death, can Ash keep her eye on the prize?

Set over the course of a single night within a single building, this is a page-turning thriller with gadgets, guts, and summer-blockbuster action.

I don’t know what I expected from Money Run but what I got was a fun, fast-paced read that reminded me a lot of Ally Carter’s Heist Society series.  Ashley Arthur is a character whose story is far from over and I can’t wait to read more about her.  
Ashley is a cunning, brave, sometimes idiotic thief.  She works with her best friend, Benjamin, who is the brains behind the heists.  He’s funny and smart and works very well with Ashley, even if he is just behind the scenes.  There are also three other people who play a big part in the story.  First is Hammond Buckland, the guy that Ashley and Benjamin are trying to steal 2 million dollars from.  I expected him to be a rich, pompous jerk and I was really surprised when he was actually a down to earth person.  Then there was Peachey, the assassin sent to kill Buckland.  It was really creepy reading from his point-of-view.  Last but not least there was the detective investigating a murder at the Buckland corporation headquarters that ended up right in the middle of everything going down.  I really liked him even though he was working against Ashley.  He was smart and very obviously a good guy.
Money Run is a rather short book and it’s a supremely quick read.  There’s always something going on which makes it almost impossible to put down.  The situations that Ashley gets into and the shenanigans that ensue are crazy and totally hilarious.  There is some more serious stuff going on (I mean, there is an assassin) but it never weighs down the story.  Money Run will leave you with a smile on your face!
Jack Heath’s writing is nothing special but it’s good.  Also, Jack Heath is an Australian author and it’s clear through his style of writing.  Personally I love reading Australian and British writing but I know some people don’t so I just thought I’d put that out there.  It’s nothing that will detract from your enjoyment of the book but it is noticeable.  
Overall, Money Run is the perfect read for a rainy day.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read and I can’t wait to continue the series.
What others have to say about Money Run:
The Book Zone’s review: Money Run has its weaknesses but it is so much fun that it is very easy to ignore these and enjoy the ride, although and you will need to suspend your disbelief at times.”
The Bookworm’s review: Money Run is such a fun read.”
Buried Under Books’ review: This is a perfect book for the “reluctant reader”.”

Money Run (#1)

The Hit List (#2) 
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter

book cover of Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Title: Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3)
Author: Ally Carter
Release date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 336
Source: Bookstore
Reading level: YA

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark.

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the previous two books, don’t read this review!
Perfect Scoundrels, the third book in the Heist Society series, really ups the stakes and is probably the best book of the series so far.  Ally Carter continues to impress me with this series.
So Kat and Hale finally moved from friends to something more and now that brand new relationship is on the line.  Perfect Scoundrels starts off light and fluffy with Kat, Hale, and Gabrielle pulling some crazy con but things quickly take a turn for the worse.  Hale is called home when he finds out that his grandmother has passed away.  Things only get crazier when Hale finds out that his grandmother named him as heir to the company.  It’s not that Kat doesn’t believe that Hale would be left the company, it’s the fact that someone else stands to benefit from this too, Kat’s just not sure how.  When Kat starts digging behind Hale’s back, things don’t exactly go as planned.  Instead of pulling a con, this time Kat and her crew may just have to stop one of their members from being the target of one.
Perfect Scoundrels is really Hale’s story.  Readers finally get to hear the story of how Kat and Hale initially met and how Hale ended up part of the crew.  Not only do we get a lot of Hale’s history though, we also get to see a very different side of him.  He’s not the fun, lovable guy this time around.  He’s going through a lot and he doesn’t exactly know how to handle it.  He comes off as a bit of a jerk at times but he definitely redeems himself by the end of the book.  Then there’s Kat.  She’s so adorably awkward this time around.  Her new boyfriend is acting very weird and she has no clue how to handle it.  She’s not exactly on her A game and she really has to rely on her friends to help get her through this.  And of course those friends are just as awesome as ever.
And once again, the story is fabulous.  Ally Carter’s books are fun, fast-paced stories that are such quick reads.  It probably helps that it’s pretty much impossible to stop reading once you’ve started.  Once you’re into the story you won’t want to stop reading until you find out if everything is going to work out.
Overall, Perfect Scoundrels will not disappoint fans of the Heist Society series.  It’s everything I could have hoped for and more.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Looking for more reviews of Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter?
Perfect Scoundrels (#3)
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter

book cover of Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Title: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)
Author: Ally Carter
Release date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 304
Source: BEA
Reading level: YA

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long—and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend— the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Before reading Uncommon Criminals, I had forgotten how fun Ally Carter’s books really are.  Uncommon Criminals, while not quite as good as Heist Society, had me hooked from beginning to end.
Uncommon Criminals starts up shortly after the ending of Heist Society.  Kat is up to her normal thieving ways but this time it’s for a good cause.  Kat is determined to return pieces of history to their rightful owners and in this case, it’s the Cleopatra Emerald.  To her, it doesn’t matter if the thing is cursed, just that she get it back to the true owners.  Her crew isn’t quite so eager but they’re always there for her.  However, when Kat realizes that they may have been conned it’s up to them to pull of their biggest heists yet.
The whole gang is back and better than ever.  Kat’s been working on her own for a while now but she knows that this is one heist she can’t pull off on her own.  Instead it’s going to take all they’ve got and maybe even some help from unexpected sources.  The cast of characters in Ally Carter’s books are really what keep me coming back for more.  Kat is a very different person now than she was in the first book of the series.  Readers get to see a whole different side to her this time around.  She’s not just a thief now, she has a truly good purpose.  It’s impossible not to love Kat even when she does completely stupid things and is oblivious to the things/people around her.  Speaking of the people around Kat.  Her crew is amazing but especially Hale.  Hale doesn’t exactly fit into the lifestyle but he’s made it work for him.  He’s also probably one of my favorite love interests in a YA book.  He’s not perfect by any means but he’s so sweet and funny and just plain awesome.  The rest of the crew is just as awesome.  They’re like a huge, kind of odd, family.  They all have their role in the crew and while they don’t always do things according to plan, they usually manage to pull it off.
I actually think I liked the plot of Uncommon Criminals even more than Heist Society’s which is saying something.  It’s fun and fast paced and completely unpredictable.  Ally Carter knows how to write a story that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.  Her stories continue to thoroughly entertain me and I’m always left with a smile on my face.
Overall, I couldn’t recommend Uncommon Criminals more.  This series has great potential and Ally Carter has definitely become a favorite author of mine.
Looking for more reviews of Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter?
Uncommon Criminals (#2)
Perfect Scoundrels (#3)
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman

book cover of Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman

Title: Beautiful Lies
Author: Jessica Warman
Release date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Walker
Pages: 422
Source: BEA
Reading level: YA
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Rachel and Alice are an extremely rare kind of identical twins—so identical that even their aunt and uncle, whom they’ve lived with since their parents passed away, can’t tell them apart. But the sisters are connected in a way that goes well beyond their surfaces: when one experiences pain, the other exhibits the exact same signs of distress. So when one twin mysteriously disappears, the other immediately knows something is wrong-especially when she starts experiencing serious physical traumas, despite the fact that nobody has touched her. As the search commences to find her sister, the twin left behind must rely on their intense bond to uncover the truth. But is there anyone around her she can trust, when everyone could be a suspect? And ultimately, can she even trust herself?

Beautiful Lies has been getting some awesome reviews and I was very eager to check it out. I had high hopes for this one since it sounded so unique and interesting. While it was definitely a unique story I did not find myself interested in it at all. Sadly this one did not meet my expectations.
There is something about Jessica Warman’s writing style that I just don’t like and for the life of me, I can’t put my finger on what it is. I have tried reading a handful of her books and no matter how much everyone else loves them I always find myself let down. Beautiful Lies has a very interesting premise and I was positive I would love it. Mystery, suspense, some paranormal elements possibly? What’s not to love? However once I started it I was supremely bored with the story and I just wanted to be done with it. If I was the type of reader who could DNF a book, I definitely would have stopped reading this one. I did stick with it though hoping that there would be something to redeem it and while I didn’t completely hate it, I just didn’t like it.
Alice and Rachel are completely different girls according to family and friends but I had a hard time telling them apart when reading about them. Their personalities were too similar. I had to check to see which one I was actually reading about. And then there was the whole switching places thing. If these two girls were so different from each other, how come their friends and family couldn’t tell when they switched places? There just seemed to be too many holes in the story and I couldn’t help but pick it apart.
One of the biggest problems for me was how long the book was. Beautiful Lies was over 400 pages and I honestly didn’t see the point of so many things that were included in the story. All the flashbacks and stories from the past didn’t seem to add to the current story and I found myself wanting to skim over them to get back to the mystery. As for the mystery I never saw it coming but that’s because it was kind of dumb. The whole kidnapping thing didn’t have anything to do with most of the rest of the story. It came out of nowhere and not in a good way.
Overall, Beautiful Lies really let me down and I think this may have been my last attempt at reading Jessica Warman’s books. This does not seem to be the author for me.
Looking for more reviews of Beautiful Lies?
Other reviews for this author:
Thursday, July 5, 2012

Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram

book cover of Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram

Title: Serial Hottie
Author: Kelly Oram
Release date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Bluefields
Pages: 374
Source: Author

Ellie’s sweet sixteen is a summer of firsts. First car. First kiss. First boyfriend. First serial-killing stalker?

Hockey-obsessed tomboy Eleanor Westley has never been the object of a guy’s affection before. So when the hottest boy she’s ever seen moves in across the street and starts treating her like she’s the center of his universe, naturally she’s going to be a little skeptical. But everything starts to make sense when girls who look just like Ellie start dying all around the city. Obviously the new guy is the killer, and of course he only likes her because he wants to slice her into tiny pieces. Right?

The more Ellie gets to know Seth the more she’s convinced he’s a psychopathic killer. The problem is he’s the sweetest psychopathic killer she’s ever met. Not to mention he’s brutally hot. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t help but fall for him. Will Ellie find true love, or will her summer of firsts turn out to be a summer of lasts?

Kelly Oram’s debut novel, Being Jamie Baker, is one of my favorite books. When she approached me about reviewing her latest book, Serial Hottie, I jumped at the chance. While I did not love it as much as Being Jamie Baker, I was pleasantly surprised by it and greatly enjoyed it. This is one story you will not find in any other YA book out there and I loved that about it!

Ellie is not your typical girl. She loves to play hockey, she hates wearing girlie clothes, and all of her friends are boys (but they are so not boyfriend material in her eyes.) When super cute Seth moves in across the street she doesn’t really know how to handle her attraction to him but she doesn’t think she will have to worry about it. She’s pretty certain he will fall for her gorgeous older sister, Angela, just like every other guy. However, that is so not the case. Seth is just as attracted to Ellie as she is to him. Things would be great if it weren’t for the fact that Ellie is pretty certain Seth is a serial killer and she just might be his next victim.

Ellie was a total tomboy and her sister, Angela, was the complete opposite. However they were both supremely attracted to Seth and they both had similar stalking tendencies when it came to him. It doesn’t seem like it’s something that would bring the girls together but that’s exactly what it does. Ellie and Angela’s mutual stalking tendencies show them that they maybe aren’t so different after all and the relationship between them changes so much throughout the book. Serial Hottie seemed like it would just be a fun, fluffy read about a not so typical romance but it really had so much more to it than that. There was such a great relationship between the Westley family and the development of that relationship really added to the story.

The book wasn’t as light and fluffy as I thought it would be but it was still super hilarious! Ellie doesn’t seem like a girl that is easy to relate to until Seth enters the picture. I’m sure every girl out there knows all about how embarrassing it is to get caught staring at a super cute guy. I’m also sure that every girl out there knows how it feels to always seem to be making a fool of yourself in front of your crush. It’s so not fun! And it seems like every time she turns around this is what Ellie is doing with Seth. Their relationship has tons of ups and downs (I mean she does think he’s a killer. It can’t all be great.) but it’s those ups and downs that make it so funny and so true!

Now Seth really does have some serial killer tendencies. I won’t spoil the ending, don’t worry, but I was definitely left guessing until the very end. Seth managed to be sweet when he needed to be but so not sweet at other times. He has a thing for knives and throwing them, he knows self defense, and he works out so he is in really good shape. He also has a tendency to try and kidnap Ellie when she isn’t cooperating with him. He’s a bit bipolar but I have to admit that I still kind of liked him. He was definitely a very confusing character.

My biggest problem with Serial Hottie is that it was a little slower than I would have liked. Things didn’t really pick up for a while and there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary stuff thrown in to make the book longer when I really would have preferred it to be shorter. It didn’t happen often but there were a few times where I just wanted to skip ahead and get to the good stuff. However, I did make it past those parts eventually and it was an enjoyable read.

Overall, Serial Hottie is a great sophomore novel from Kelly Oram. I’m already very eager to read her next book!

Looking for more reviews of Serial Hottie?
Good Choice Reading’s review

Other books by Kelly Oram:
Being Jamie Baker

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Book Of Blood And Shadow by Robin Wasserman

book cover of The Book Of Blood And Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Title: The Book Of Blood And Shadow
Author: Robin Wasserman
Release date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Pages: 448
Source: Publisher

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

The Book Of Blood And Shadow has been getting a ton of great reviews.  I went into it expecting to add to the list of those reviews.  Sadly I was disappointed with The Book Of Blood And Shadow.
The Book Of Blood And Shadow started off strong.  The first 20 or 30 pages were intriguing and mysterious.  The story seemed like it had a lot of potential and that it would be very gripping. Sadly that was not the case.  The story dragged and there were times when I found myself wanting to skip to the end just to be done with it.
The writing however was my biggest problem.  The Book Of Blood And Shadow is full of run-on sentences.  Some paragraphs ended up being just one super long sentence.  In the beginning it was relatively easy to ignore them and keep reading but as I got farther into the book I couldn’t help but get annoyed by them.  I found myself paying more attention to them than what was going on in the book.
However this book did have some redeeming qualities.  The setting was spectacular.  The book starts off in New England and there isn’t really anything special about it.  Things really take off though in Prague.  The monuments, cemeteries, churches, even the hostels in Prague were fabulous.  The setting was so wonderful that it was almost like being in Prague.
The history was another fabulous aspect.  The letters from Elizabeth Weston, the Voynich manuscript, the Hledaci, everything was so interesting and detailed.  Some might find the history to be a little much and a tad boring at times but I’m not one of them.  The history was my favorite part of the book.
As for the characters I didn’t really like them all that much but I didn’t dislike them all that much either.  My biggest issue was that Nora was so naive.  She was unwilling to see things that were right in front of her face.  There were times I just wanted to slap some sense into her.  However she was very smart and quite easy to like.  Chris, Adriana, Max, and Eli all could have used a bit more development but I didn’t have any complaints about them.  Well no complaints I can voice without spoiling things.
Overall, I’m sure a lot of people will love The Book Of Blood And Shadow, I’m just not one of them.  I would recommend checking this one out from the library if you’re interested.
Looking for more reviews of The Book Of Blood And Shadow?
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

book cover of The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Release date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 240
Source: ALA

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

The Night She Disappeared is a fast-paced mystery that will have readers on the edge of their seats.  April Henry takes readers into the mind of a psychopath and she had me hooked!  This book packs a punch.

Gabie was supposed to be working the night Kayla was kidnapped.  She knows that the guy really wanted her.  Before the kidnapping Gabie was a pretty carefree girl but she quickly changes.  She becomes an easily agitated, always on edge person.  She’s afraid of what might happen to her and she’s even more terrified of what might have happened to Kayla.  She freaks herself out more than anyone else and it can be a little frustrating.  She is kind of closed off and distant so it’s hard to get to know and like her but by the end I at least respected her.  She believed in herself no matter what and she was very brave.

The book also has a few other points-of-view: Drew’s, Kayla’s, and “John Robertson’s.”  Drew is the easiest of the characters to like and relate to.  He is down-to-earth, kind, and just an all around good guy.  Life has dealt him a crap hand but he manages to make the best out of his situation.  It’s very easy to sympathize with him and to want a happy ending for him. Kayla’s point-of-view was quite devastating.  Obviously she was kidnapped and she has no idea what might happen to her.  Through it all though she manages to hold on to her strength and bravery.  And lastly there was “John Robertson.”  His was definitely the most disturbing point-of-view.  April Henry did a fabulous job putting readers into the mind of a psychopath.  His story is 100% believable.

The plot was amazingly fast-paced.  The book is only 200 something pages but it honestly reads like it’s even less.  From the very first page it is non-stop suspense: wondering who took Kayla, if she will get out alive, if the person is going to come back for Gabie, etc.  There is also a pretty sweet romance that adds a touch of light heartedness to the book.  It’s the perfect mix of suspense, romance, and mystery.

Overall, The Night She Disappeared is a great book for mystery fans.  It’s a fast read that you won’t be able to put down.

Looking for more reviews of The Night She Disappeared?
YA Librarian Tales’ review
Red House Books’ review