The covers link to The Tattered Cover's (our local indie) pages.
If you'd like to see all my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
These are all five-star reads:
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Brain Jack, by Brian Falkner - Here's what I said at the time:
I really liked this one! I liked the thriller feel to it; I loved the computer jargon. I liked Sam and Dodge too. Interesting concept, definitely. The story: Sam hacks into a huge telecommunications company to order the latest rage in computers -- the neuro-headsets, which allows people to be the computer themselves. When he's caught, days later, he's taken to 'prison' -- which he learns is the just the first step in working for the 'good' guys and taking his hacking to a new level...hopefully in time to save the world from a dangerous computer threat. (YA spy/dystopic, released 9/10, publisher: Random House)
Why it's stayed with me - I like this type of quick pacing. It reminds me of Michael Crichton, and having that style in a teen book is right up my alley! My favorite parts were Sam's innate ability to work with computers, along with his instincts for danger. I'd recommend it to any teen boy (and even tweens or a little younger) -- it's a good introduction to the adult thriller world, imo.
Ashes, Ashes, by Jo Treggiari - Here's what I said when I first read it:
I actually started this in the bookstore, and as I didn't have any book-buying funds at the moment, I went ahead and asked the library to purchase it -- which they did! I definitely enjoyed this. It has many elements that I love -- the 'natural' disaster(s), the plague-type illness, the strong girl who's vulnerable underneath, the sexy guy, a good mystery, etc. Although I suspected what was going on (as far as the plague went) early on, I still enjoyed reading more about it. Not all the mysteries were solved (as far as I could see), but I felt there was a solid ending. I liked Lucy and Aiden, and I really liked the tension and pacing throughout. The story: Lucy is surviving on her own after the plague and then a series of natural disasters have destroyed her world and killed her family. She's heard of others living in groups, but she's never managed to leave the little camp she's made for herself -- until the dogs come after her, and a boy (Aiden) saves her. He tells her about the place where he lives with some others, and when the rains lead to another tsunami, Lucy makes the choice and runs for the supposed safety of their group. However, she isn't there long before the Sweepers come and take some of the members, and when two of the stolen return, something isn't quite right. Lucy doesn't want to return to living on her own, but she's suddenly not sure who she can trust, and as more lies are revealed, she and Aiden decide they have to find the kidnapped, come what may. (YA dystopic, released 6/11, publisher: Scholastic)
Why has it stayed with me? I loved the overall plot -- and of course, the sweet romance. Lucy's strengths kept me rooting for her, and I'm still firmly on her side. I'd recommend this for anyone who likes both dystopia and romance.