robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

Book Reports (33-37)...

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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No Safety in Numbers, by Dayna Lorentz **** This was an enjoyable read. I liked the suspense and the overall plot. The only reason I didn't love it was mostly the characters. I liked the multi-POV, but a couple of characters were so annoyingly self-centered (and bully-like) that I had a hard time sympathizing with their sides of the story...still, this was a good read, and I'm hoping that there's another coming. The story: a group of people are quarantined in a mall when a bomb is discovered. The teenagers trapped there spend their time shopping and playing around -- until they discover that they won't be allowed to leave anytime soon. One of them, a senator's daughter, discovers that the bomb is more of a bioterrorist act -- and people are dying. Now, with the fear of sickness added to their quarantine, the teens begin building alliances and working on their own plans...but will they overcome the adults, the politicians, and the illness? (YA suspense, released 12/12, publisher: Dial)

Sever, by Lauren DeStefano **** This was a strong ending to the trilogy. I liked Rhine's strength, her determination to make her own path in this world. It's a tough world they live in, and reading about Cecily was troubling, in all honesty, especially as things play out and you realize that things are NOT what these young girls have been told. They have truly been trapped in a bizarre life, and it's hard to see them struggle. Linden is still a weary character -- he's a weak person, in general, but I like how his strengths (pale though they are) are showcased here and there, and he does change throughout the trilogy. Still, I probably feel sorry for him more than anything else. The twist midway through is nice, and I definitely wasn't expecting it (it was a nice set-up, because although it seemed plausible, I really had no idea this could happen). Gabe doesn't appear until the very end, and I will admit that I found that aspect of the story arc a little disappointing (it seemed a little contrived, in a manner which allowed Rhine to shine, ha, without any interference from him). Still, it was a good end. The story: Rhine has mostly recovered from her trials (in book two), and she's determined to leave Linden and that life. Linden and Cecily don't want her to go, and Cecily is especially clingy (as she's pregnant again). But when Rhine finds her twin brother (after all this time), she won't be turned away. Linden and Cecily go with her, and soon they learn contradictory ideas about Vaughn (Linden's dad) and the state of the world...and Rhine has to make life-altering decisions which will affect more than only her. (YA dystopic, released 2/13, publisher: Simon & Schuster)

Survival, by A.M. Hargroves ** I did make it all the way through this, though I skimmed huge portions of it. It simply wasn't to my taste. The plot was okay; the characters were interesting. However, the writing style annoyed me (personally) from the get-go. There was almost no showing, and being told repeatedly what someone feels or thinks...well, it got old quickly. It was a free download for my Kindle app (I think to promote a later book in the series). I'll admit I'm glad I didn't pay for it (though it got quite a few five-star reviews on Amazon, so clearly this is a personal preference). The story: Maddie's had a rough life, and it only gets worse when she takes a hiking/camping break during Christmas. While hiking alone, she runs into a killer who likes to play with his victims first. Maddie escapes but is seriously injured (including some kind of spinal injury when she tumbles over a cliff) -- and is rescued by non-humans (called Guardians). One of these, Rayn, builds an instant connection with Maddie, and when she's healed, she has to decide whether to remain with Rayn in his world or go back to her own life and lose all contact with Rayn. (Cross-over paranormal romance, released ?, publisher: Amazon)

When We Wake, by Karen Healy ****+ I really enjoyed this. I read it in one day (two sittings?), and the plot and characters were very intriguing. I liked the idea of Tegan's life not being her own -- mostly because she had volunteered for the procedure on a whim and then had to live with it (very teen-like). I liked the friends she makes in her future, and I like the complicated situation (with the religious challenges thrown in too). The story: Tegan meets her best friend and new boyfriend for a protest -- and ends up being killed. Over a hundred years later, she's unfrozen, the first successful revival. Not only has she lost everyone and everything she knew, she now finds herself the property of the military -- and she doesn't like it. Plus, everyone knows about her, and the world has gotten worse since she last lived. Tegan finds herself surrounded by a small group of teens who are willing to rebel with her, and soon they're working to figure out what's truly going on in their world (and the plans for the future). (YA science fiction, released 3/13, publisher: Little, Brown)

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson ***** I really enjoyed this too -- another five-star read! I think what I liked most about this was the combination of genres: it felt like both a historical and a fantasy. I loved Elisa's growth and her complete lack of helplessness (especially when she makes no excuses for her weight and her love of reading and studying). I love her practical approach to just about everything, and I like that she's not your typical heroine (in that, she's not skinny and gorgeous). If I had to list a complaint, it might be the complicated plot point regarding the godstones...but even with that, the story was quite compelling, and I read it in one day, as well. I'm picking up the second one this week! The story: Elisa is being married off to the king of a neighboring nation, even though she's the second princess and has no desire to rule. But things aren't what she's been told, and she quickly learns that something deeper is going on when their traveling group is attacked on route to her new kingdom. Not only that, but her new husband (who was a widower and has a son) is keeping their marriage -- indeed their entire 'relationship' -- a secret. Elisa begins to realize that there are many secrets, not the least of which involves her godstone, the jewel imbedded in her belly button. Before she can learn more, however, she's kidnapped and taken across the desert...and finds herself embroiled in a rebellion which shows her the weaknesses of her new husband. Along the way, she also falls in love with one of the rebels -- and now she needs to figure out how best to help the people and deal with her godstone too -- (this isn't a great summary -- it speaks to the complexity and layers of the story that I can't even begin to do it justice). (YA fantasy, released 8/12, publisher: Greenwillow Books)

Currently Reading: School Spirits

On Deck: four books that I bought and still haven't read...
Tags: book reports

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