robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

Book Reports (69-71)...

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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Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier (transl. by Anthea Bell) ***** I loved this! I love the time-travel element, I love Gwenyth (man, she's spunky), I love Lesley, and of course, Gideon is a nice, romantic side-kick. I also love that I can't really tell it's a translation -- that's huge. The last book I read which was translated was very clunky (even though the plot was good), but this one is pretty seamless. The plot is intriguing (though I definitely picked up on the clues dropped throughout -- that's okay, though; I like when clues are dropped, as long as they're brought to fruition, and I'm assuming they will be by the final book), and even though I was a little annoyed with Gwenyth's refusal to tell *anyone* about her ability (with no good reason, imo), enough time is spent on other things that it's okay. And yes, I'm already halfway through Sapphire Blue (and loving it too). :) The story: Gwenyth knows about her family's time-traveling genes, but she thinks (as does everyone else) that it must be her cousin Charlotte who has the gene. In fact, Charlotte has spent her entire life preparing for the work of a time-traveler. Gwenyth, otoh, has spent her life like a normal kid -- well, aside from the fact that she can see and talk to ghosts. However, when Gwenyth suddenly finds herself in the past, she realizes that someone made a mistake...or someone lied. Turns out, it was her mom who lied to everyone about Gwenyth's birthday, and Gwenyth truly is the girl with the gene (and now the huge responsibility). Gwen is taken to the Lodge, where the Guardians try to give her a crash course on time traveling -- and she meets Gideon, her partner in crime (the male time traveler). Gideon is gorgeous, but his arrogance turns Gwen off (mostly). Then, despite the annoyance of having to plan times to travel (or her body will do it anyway), Gwen discovers a mystery: the two previous time travelers stole one of the Chronographs (which help them regulate their travel). Without them, the Circle of Twelve cannot be completed and...well, Gwen's not sure what will happen, but everyone assures her it's serious. Can she do her part, even without knowing all (or any, really) of the details? And what's going on with Gideon and Charlotte, anyway? (YA science fiction/adventure, released 4/11, publisher: Henry Holt)

Shadow of the Mark, by Leigh Fallon *** Hm...I really enjoyed the first book of this trilogy (or series?). And this book was good too, except that I've kind of lost interest in this world and their situation. I've commented on this type of thing before -- I know many editors push writers to produce a series of stories, but it's a risk. The number of trilogies/series which are successful is much smaller than those which are not. Off the top of my head, I can certainly count only a few: HP (of course), Divergent, Hunger Games, Ally Carter's series, Gone (by Michael Grant), and Gone (by Lisa McMann). I suspect The Testing might be one of those (for me, at least), but even Kimberly Derting's series (which I love) aren't that successful in the mainstream (as far as I know -- I could be wrong!). All this to say, this trilogy is one of the many which kind of fizzles a bit. I'll probably pick up the last book, just to see...but then, I might not. There was action and tension (some was a little flat, for me), but because I didn't care as much, I couldn't make myself stick with it. So I skimmed to the ending, and even with some added complexity in their situation, it didn't pull me back in. As always, this is only one reader's opinion -- I suspect there are many others out there who will be delighted to see this book! The story: Megan is trying to learn more about her Mark and her power over the air. She continues to love Adam, but it's challenging when their romance is forbidden -- and it gets worse when Megan's attracted to the fire element (a natural reaction of their gifts) and when her deeper abilities begin to come into play. The mysteries deepen, and Megan has to figure out what she's willing to give -- and to give up -- for her gift. (YA paranormal, released 7/13, publisher: Harper Teen)

Altered, by Jennifer Rush ***** I loved this! :) (Disclaimer: I got to read the first couple of chapters for Jen before she found her agent. I loved it then too.) The boys are all intriguing, and I thought Jen did a great job keeping them unique (as we're meeting all of them together). I loved the underlying feelings of wrongness -- and I loved when those come to light. Anna is a likable character, and her determination to do what's right is admirable -- especially as we learn how much she's been manipulated. I like the relationship between Anna and each of the boys, and although Sam is delicious, I suspect we might see more of Anna and a different boy in the end (just a guess). Either way, I will be looking for Erased next January! The story: Anna and her dad work for the Branch, a secret government lab which uses chemical manipulation to alter humans. Anna's dad is in charge of four boys -- who live in Anna's basement. For the past five years, Anna has been helping her dad, and she's built relationships with each of the boys (although that's frowned upon). One of them, Trev, is her best friend; and another, Sam, is the boy she loves. When the Branch comes to take the boys back for the next step in their training, Anna finds that she can't let them go -- and when Sam instigates a resistance, Anna's dad begs them to take Anna too. Soon Anna finds herself on the run with the boys, confused and terrified...but the mystery has only begun, and when Anna discovers her role in the Branch and each of these boys' lives, how will she find her center then? (YA science fiction suspense, released 1/13, publisher: Little, Brown)

Currently Reading: Sapphire Blue
On Deck: the next book in the Life As We Knew It series -- yay!
Tags: book reports

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