August 25th, 2013


Book Reports (72-74)...

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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Sapphire Blue, by Kerstin Gier, transl. by Anthea Bell ***** Yes, the second in this trilogy is just as good as the first, imo. The tension has increased, the mystery has increased, and Gwen is just as spunky and enjoyable as in the first book. Also, she finally tells people about her gifts, so that's one mystery somewhat solved. The ending is kind of cliff-hangery, though, so if you can wait until October before reading this, you'll have number three (Emerald Green) to read right away (I couldn't wait, clearly, and now I'm chomping at the bit -- however, I actually ordered Emerald Green for myself, an indication of how much I love this trilogy). I'm definitely not happy with Gideon, but I've been informed that Gier does redeem him (by someone who can read German, *cough*olmue*cough*). And who knew that a favorite character could be the ghost (demon) of a gargoyle?? But yes, Xemerius is wonderfully unique and charming, and Lesley is still amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing how Charlotte handles the resolution of things, as well -- all in all, just a well-rounded and exciting trilogy. The story: Gwen now has to prepare for a ball with the Count, and after their first (and only) meeting, when he tried to choke her with his mind, she's not exactly looking forward to it. Her mom, who had insisted that Gwen stay out of the dangerous stuff, is also not happy. Gwen is sure Gideon thinks she can't pull it off, and it doesn't help that most of the secret society thinks she's a traitor...and she wonders herself what's going on when she breaks rules to meet with her grandfather (who is currently dead) -- and his support of Paul and Lucy is unwavering. And to add insult to misery, Gwen finds herself falling for Gideon, even though she still doesn't completely trust him.... (YA time-travel/adventure, released 6/12, publisher: Henry Holt)

Blackout, by Deena Lipomi deenaml **** I enjoyed this. I especially liked the dual-POV, and I think Deena did a good job distinguishing between the siblings' voices (though I didn't realize at first that Leo was a boy -- my bad, as the chapters clearly show who is telling that part of the story). I thought Jenny was nicely nerdy (and still likable), and Leo, although grouchy, was also sympathetic. I liked Jenny's supportive friends (and the hints of romance with Zach). I thought Leo was a typical teenage boy by falling so quickly for a pretty girl (though her mysterious demeanor might have helped pull him in). Leo was my favorite character, and because of that, I kind of wished there was more from him -- more insight into his thoughts and feelings, I mean. I really liked the blend of science fiction and mystery, and I thought the resolution to the puzzles were nicely done. I'll definitely look for the next book in this series (especially because it looks to be more about Leo -- yay). The story: Jenny and Leo are on their way home from their dad's house when bright lights startle them. The two wake up the next morning with their car in a ditch, burning hands, and no memory of what happened in the interim. At first, Leo simply wants to put it aside and move on, focusing on his music. However, when Jenny continues to question, and when Leo's burning hands start interfering with his guitar playing (and a mysterious girl prods him to dig deeper), both find themselves back at the scene of the mysterious incident...though neither is quite prepared for what they discover, not only about their personal experience but also about their family. (YA suspense, released 7/13, publisher: Deena Lipomi)

Linked, by Imogen Howson ***** This was really intriguing! It reminded me of both Louise Lawrence (B is for Butterfly) and H.M. Hoover (Children of the Darkness) -- and since I loved both those books as a teen, I really took to this one too. Elissa is a good person, and that's definitely part of what drew me in. Her life is challenging, but she quickly realizes that as hard as she thought it was, it was nothing compared to what her twin, Lin, has experienced. Cadan is a wonderful character, and although I could tell from the get-go that he was more than Elissa realized, it was fun getting to know him through her eyes. I also liked how Lin grew throughout, and although the author led us a bit more than necessary (ie, she explained too much about the character changes in everyone), I still enjoyed it. The story: Elissa and her parents have finally found a doctor who can cure her strange dreams and weird bruises (her body seems to manifest the pain from the dreams). However, the day before the surgery, Elissa discovers that her dreams are actually someone else's life -- she's been experiencing someone else's pain. Elissa seeks out this other girl, and when she finds her, she's astonished to see her own face looking back at her. The other girl claims she's not human, that she was 'discarded' and taken into science because Elissa was the human twin. Elissa can't believe this, however, and she begins fighting for this girl...a fight that takes her away from her parents and into a planet-wide struggle. Elissa quickly realizes that she must get 'Lin' (Lissa's twin) away from the people who want to continue hurting her, and she runs to her brother. When her brother's unavailable, she settles for his best friend, a boy named Cadan, who's long been Elissa's unrequited crush. But as they escape Sekoia (their planet), more mysteries come to light...and the Sekoian government shows that they're not ready to let go of their darkest secret. (YA science fiction, released 6/13, publisher: Simon & Schuster)

Currently Reading: well, nothing, since I just finished the above ;)

On Deck: a nice pile still...and in about a month, I have two coming my way (Bitter Kingdom and the final Gallagher Girls' book -- I can't wait for either!)