If you'd like to see my recent four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgin, by Richard Paul Evans ****+ I enjoyed this sequel. It was fast-paced, and I liked the whole cast of characters. It's a little blood-thirsty in places, and I feel like the 'bad' guy isn't as three-dimensional as I personally prefer, but there's definitely some nice tension, and I was reading feverishly throughout. Be forewarned -- it's a cliff-hanger! The story: Michael and his team of electrical kids are on the run from the Elgin. To make things worse, they discover the Elgin are going after their families -- and keeping them in South America. Plus, they have some way of tracking the non-electrics who are helping Michael. Will Michael find his mom in time? And how will they deal with the compound and the electrical rats? (YA suspense/thriller, released 8/12, publisher: Simon Pulse)
What Boys Really Want, by Pete Hautman ** I thought this was interesting, but the perspectives between the guy and the girl were pretty disparate (which was the point, I believe) in places...and it got to the point early on where I just lost interest. I think this could be good for anyone who enjoys contemporary and/or realistic fiction, though. Plus, it had some nice humor.
The Raft, by S.A. Bodeen **** This was tough to read, but it was also pretty compelling. I read it in one sitting, and I felt like I was experiencing the emotional struggles (especially) with Robie. She was so alone, and yet she fought so hard -- it was amazing, in many ways. It was also incredibly sad, but the ending was a triumph. I would love to see a sequel someday -- not so much for more adventure, but more as a 'this is how Robie moved on from her experience' type thing. The story: Robie is used to traveling back and forth between Hawaii and Midway Atoll, so she doesn't think much of getting on the cargo plane for a surprise visit home. However, when the plane encounters a rogue storm and crashes, Robie doesn't realize until she's adrift on the sea that the pilot never did take into account her weight -- and no one knew she was on the flight. Now, with only her own determination and a semi-conscious co-pilot to help, she has to find a way to survive on her own, in a small raft, surrounded by ocean and nothing else. (YA survival?, released 8/12, publisher: Fiewel & Friends)
Ten, by Gretchen McNeil ***** I really enjoyed this. I couldn't put it down, and even when I had to take breaks, I still finished it in one day. I think it's loosely based on Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, though I don't recall enjoying that one as much as this one. My only minor complaint involved all the characters -- there were simply too many (and others kept being brought up) to keep track of. Of course, they were all needed by the end, and everything came together and was nicely explained (my favorite kind of mystery). I also didn't guess the killer (I made a guess, but I was wrong), and since that rarely happens, I liked it. :) I did think T.J. was awfully forgiving, and the ending seemed a tad rushed -- still, it was a fun and fast read, and I enjoyed it! The story: Meg agrees to go with Minnie to the party of the year out on an island. Minnie gave up her popularity for Meg, after all, so Meg still feels like she owes her. When they arrive to only eight others, however, Meg starts to wonder if she was foolish to agree -- especially since her parents think she's safe on the mainland. Things get worse when a storm takes out their electricity -- and when one of the girls kills herself during the night. But that's only the beginning, and soon the remaining teens are wondering who will die next -- and who's doing the killing. (YA suspense, released 9/12, publisher: Balzer & Bray)
Dying to Please, by Linda Howard (R) ** I read this years ago and had forgotten much of it. I enjoyed it -- to a point. Then it got creepier than I like (I don't really enjoy stalker-type stories), and I didn't connect with either of the MCs enough to keep going. I skipped to the end to remind myself of how it resolved, but that was the extent of it. The story: Sarah is a butler who also plays the role of bodyguard. But when she draws the attention of an obsessive man, he stops at nothing to get her into his service. (Adult suspense, released 2004, publisher: Ballantine Books)
Overload, by Linda Howard **+ This is more of a novella, and I liked it well enough. It's romance more than suspense, so it didn't hold my attention quite the way romantic suspense will. Still, I liked the secrets the two held, and I found it interesting to see how they interacted. I was surprised that Elizabeth finally gave in, though, seeing as her past relationship had been so tricky (and Tom had some similar attributes). The story: Elizabeth finds herself trapped in her building during a city-wide blackout (all the doors lock automatically) -- with a man she dated for a while before dumping. Now, she must face her past and her fears about relationships, because he's apparently not taking no for an answer this time. (Adult romance, released 1993, publisher: Wheeler Publishing)