June 19th, 2013


Book Reports (55-58)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Brackets mean it's an ARC (linked to Tattered Cover's book page) or e-galley.

If you'd like to see my recent four-plus- and five-star YA 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.

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40 Souls to Keep, by Libby Drew libby_drew ****+ I enjoyed this. Both mysteries were intriguing (Jase's personal mystery and the mystery behind Macy's parents' murder), and I liked both Jase and Lucas. I especially enjoyed Jase's personal mystery, and that's what kept me reading feverishly until the end -- which was slightly disappointing (anti-climatic, maybe?) because of spoilers I won't mention here. :) Still, it was a good book, and the likability of both Jase and Lucas made it a nice place to be. Also, the romance, although surface-y for some of the story, gave a satisfying feel to their relationship and made me smile. The story: Jase wakes up on a park bench with no memories of his previous life (or even his name). On his arm, he spies a tatoo -- the number 40. As time goes on, he discovers that he has some unusual abilities, and he uses those abilities to 'save' people. Eventually, he realizes that he has to save 40 people, and then he'll be freed from this mission -- and be able to return to his previous life, whatever that was. When Jase finally reaches his 40th case, seven years have passed...and this time, the person is a young girl whose parents were murdered. Jase travels across the country to find the girl, his connection with her strong enough to guide him. When he does find her, he also finds her self-appointed protector, a man named Lucas. Once Jase proves his good intentions to Lucas -- an unusually challenging task, as his powers of persuasion don't appear to work on Lucas -- the two begin struggling together to keep Macy safe and find the answer to her problems. But in the end, Jase has to choose between doing what he's been called to do and doing what his heart tells him to do -- and where will that leave him? (Adult paranormal romantic suspense e-book, GLTB-M/M, released 9/12, publisher: Carina Press)

Shadow Woman, by Linda Howard ****+ This was another enjoyable romantic thriller by Howard. I don't know if I'll reread if often, but I liked the overall story. I especially liked the main character (Lizzie) and how she spent the book struggling between instinct and intellect. As far as the overall mystery went, I feel like some details were left out which could have made the story a little more cohesive -- but despite that, the pacing is pretty good. The story: Lizzie wakes up one morning and realizes that the face in the mirror doesn't match the face in her memory. Just that awareness makes her dreadfully ill, and when she calls into work to explain her absence -- the first in five years -- her boss mentions that 'in three years' she was allowed to have at least one sick day. The discrepancy in number of years causes another round of violent sickness...and soon Lizzie is questioning everything in her life. As she does so, she discovers that she's missing two years worth of memories, she's had some kind of plastic surgery to change her appearance, and she has all kinds of fighting abilities that she doesn't know how she got. Then she realizes that someone is after her...how can she stay one step ahead when she can't remember her own life, her own reason for running, and who is after her? (Adult romantic suspense/thriller, released 12/12, publisher: Ballantine Books)

Who I Kissed, by Janet Gurtler jgurtler ****+ This, like all Janet's books, is very good. Janet knows how to tap into that teen angst, and I spent the entire book aching for Sam and wishing I could talk to her about her guilt and her struggles. It was very hard (incredibly hard) to watch as Sam made some pretty big mistakes as she tried to work through things -- and although I got frustrated, that's also an area that I admire in Janet's writing: she can let her characters be completely foolish, just as many teens truly are. I also wanted to shake Zee and tell him to pull his head out (ha). All in all, this is an emotional, painful story, but the resolution is sweet and satisfying and (imo) very realistic. The story: Sam is the new girl in school, but she's made some friends over the summer through the swim team. However, when she attends a party early in the school year, she kisses one boy (Alex) to make another boy (Zee) jealous -- and then Alex dies from an allergic reaction. Sam is quickly ostracized as the girl who killed Alex with a kiss, but even worse are her own feelings of guilt and culpability. She can't forgive herself for being so careless as to eat a peanut butter sandwich before attending the party...and those feelings quickly overwhelm her. She quits the swim team to punish herself, and she starts dating a boy she doesn't even like that much to hide from her pain. Sam knows she needs to face this -- and needs to face Zee (Alex's best friend) and Alex's family, but she can't even face herself in the mirror...how will she get past this tragedy? (YA contemporary, released 10/12, publisher: Sourcebooks)

Now You See Her, by Linda Howard (R) My yearly (or more often?) reread...I loved it, just like I always do. :)

Currently Reading: an e-ARC (a sequel) that I think I'll really like

On Deck: the usual suspects...