robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

Book Reports (95-100)...

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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Don't Look Now, by Michelle Gagnon **+ I feel kind of guilty for not being able to get into this one. I really loved the first book, and I'll definitely pick up the third. But although this doesn't fall into the typical middle slump (ie, it was still exciting and had good pacing), I simply wasn't in the right place to sink back into this world right now. *sigh* After the third comes out, I'll most likely come back and read this one more thoroughly. The story: Noa, Zeke, and Peter continue to fight against Persephone, which has targeted certain kids (like Noa). But they're outnumbered, and as Persephone grows stronger and seems to anticipate their every move, they soon feel defeated. However, Noa can't give up, and she seeks out Peter again to see if he'll help her continue the fight.... (YA thriller, released 8/13, publisher: Harper Collins)

Scorched,by Mari Mancusi ***+ I enjoyed this, although some of the nitty-gritty in the middle slowed a bit. However, the tension between Trinity and the twins was good, and I liked how she built unique relationships with both boys. The dragon aspects were very interesting, and the compassion for all creatures which comes through is my kind of thing. :) The story: Trinity's grandfather brings home a dragon egg, though Trinity can't believe he hasn't been swindled somehow. But when a boy appears and claims to be from the future -- and then FBI agents start seeking Trinity and the egg -- Trinity begins to think it could be true. And then the dragon in the egg begins speaking to her, and Trinity's world is turned upside down. Soon Trinity finds herself at a secret facility with other teens who have the ability to 'bond' with dragons. Connor's twin, Caleb, steals Trinity away by pretending to be Connor; Trinity has to learn whom she can trust -- and she must decide how she feels about the future Connor and Caleb agree the dragons will bring. Will Trinity find a way to keep the dragons from destroying the world, or will she place her sympathies with these creatures who are so much more than most realize? (YA fantasy/dystopic, released 9/13, publisher: Sourcebooks)

Endless Knight, by Kresley Cole **+ I really enjoyed the first one of these, but this one started to fall into the old love triangle trope...and I'm just not a huge fan. This is more New Adult than YA, also, so there was more sex than love involved, as well. It's definitely an interesting and unusual setting, however, and I will definitely pick up the third book, just to see how all this is resolved. The story: Jack and Evie have mostly mended their fences and admitted their feelings for one another, but the rest of the Arcana isn't done with either of them. As new enemies surface, and as they and their group continue to struggle for survival, Evie is taken by Death...who shares with her a startling history together. Evie slowly learns that she and Death have met many times in her past (lives she doesn't remember), and Evie discovers that her dealings with Death haven't always been just (on her end). But she loves Jack, so how can she be what Death hopes her to be? And how will she save all of them with Death so determined to win? (NA paranormal romance/suspense, released 10/13, publisher: Simon & Schuster)

Untold, by Sarah Rees Brennan **+ Yeah, it was clearly a week where I struggled to get into any of the books I was reading. Again, this is one I loved (the first book), and I still really like Kami and the other characters. I liked the humor and the story...but I just wasn't in the right place to truly let it grab me right now. I will definitely come back (I know that Brennan's books are amazing -- I *loved* her Demon trilogy, and I know this one is just as good). The story: Kami misses Jared, her secret friend turned real person -- but he insists their bond was forced by others and didn't mean anything. Plus, Jared's cousin Ash makes his interest in Kami quite apparent. While Kami deals with her confused emotions, the sorcerers haven't stopped targeting Sorry-in-the-Vale, and Kami works with her friends -- and both Jared and Ash -- to stop the evil Rob Lynburn from taking over. In the end, though, will Kami have to make another sacrifice to ensure that those she loves are safe? What will that mean for her and Jared? (YA paranormal suspense, released 9/13, publisher: Random House)

Blackout, by Robison Wells ***** This book totally grabbed my attention. I read it in one day (yesterday), and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Of course, it's the first in a trilogy. I liked the multi-POV, and I like the building mystery. I liked both Jack and Aubrey, and I found the rest of the characters easy to follow. The set-up was intriguing, and I think Wells nailed it in terms of where he started the story (in some ways, we come in midway through the action, but it works) -- I knew just enough to not be confused but not so much that I was already bored. The story: Terrorists have attacked the U.S., but they're working in ways the government and military don't quite understand. Targeting landmarks rather than specific people or groups, the terrorists have created havoc in a number of cities. Meanwhile, Aubrey is just a teen girl, trying to stay afloat in her high school. But six months ago, a strange and frightening phenomenon hit her -- she can disappear. And when the military comes for all the teens from her town (during a high school dance), Aubrey is terrified it's because of her. When they're all taken to a 'testing' facility, the military informs the kids that they've been infected with a virus -- and this virus is behind the terrorist attacks around the country. Aubrey manages to fake her test results, but her old friend Jack is quarantined as a 'positive.' Aubrey risks everything to go and save him, but she gets caught...and soon she and Jack discover that the military wants to use them to fight the terrorists -- as they all have similarly strange abilities. Aubrey's ability works well with Jack's (which was dormant until now)...but whom can they trust? What if the terrorists, who are also other teens, have infiltrated the military's effort? Aubrey and Jack struggle to keep their heads above water as the country sinks further into chaos, knowing that they can't trust anyone, but they have to find a safe haven if they want to survive. (YA science fiction thriller, released 10/13, publisher: Harper Teen)

[Anyone But You, by Amy Helmes and Kim Askew ***+ This was certainly intriguing. I liked the jumping back and forth between past and present (and the diagonal POV of Nick Monte and Gigi Caputo), and I think the intense emotions were shown nicely. I thought the premise was especially interesting, and although it was hard to see Nick become so embittered, it was also good to see that he found a happy life anyway. And Gigi is certainly spunky and determined, and that made the book easy to follow throughout. The story: Gigi spends her life working at the family restaurant, but they all know it's a failing endeavor. After two generations of struggle, their restaurant won't make it much longer. Even harder is the realization that their arch-rivals' restaurant is thriving. But when Gigi meets Roman, the son of the rivals, everything changes. She and Roman fall for one another, and when they begin to look into their families' enmity, they discover some amazing things. Benny, Gigi's (long-dead) grandfather, was actually best friends with Nick Monte, Roman's grandfather. Benny and Nick fell for the same girl, and through twists and turns in circumstances and Benny's betrayal, Nick cut himself off from the Caputos. Gigi and Roman are determined to see this ridiculous feud end, and through their machinations, they force the families to meet -- including Nick, now old and close to death himself. Will Gigi be able to heal this rift, or will she have to turn her back on her family in order to be with the boy she loves? (YA contemporary/historical, releases 1/14, publisher: Merit Press)]

Currently Reading: The Naturals e-galley (I like it!)

On Deck: A huge pile, including Allegiant and Emerald Green. As often goes, since I got those two (for my birthday), they've been shoved to the bottom so I can finish the enormous stack of library books before they're due...
Tags: book reports

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