Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mini Reviews: 12 - 4 - 12

Sorry I've been MIA! I was doing Nanowrimo in November (Nation Novel Writing Month, for those of you not in the know), which ate up all my blogging time. My life is settling back into normal (not that my normal isn't still pretty crazy) and I can now get caught back up on blogging. I still did a bit of reading in November, I just didn't have any time to blog. Anyway, here's a quick batch of minis. And look forward to more blogging soon! I'm currently devouring Laini Taylor's Days of Blood and Starlight and can't wait to tell you about it.

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

My Rating: ****

I loved Unspoken. So clever and intense and knock your socks off funny. I adored Kami and can't wait for the sequel because her voice is one of the most entertaining I've ever read. I loved the whole speaking-telepathically-to-Jared thing. It was so well done. This isn't insta-love, by the way. This is Kami and Jared, who have been each other's best friends since they were infants. They've been there for each other their entire lives and when they finally meet in person, it completely freaks them out. They are very uncomfortable with the idea of their relationship being romantic. I just thought their entire relationship progressed so naturally; it was perfect.

Two quick negatives. Jared... well Jared is so unlikable. Except when he's talking to Kami in her head. Then he's the sweetest, most trustworthy friend in the world. In person... not so much. AND THE ENDING. I can see why and everything's in character, but it was truly awful.

The other negative is that sometimes the mystery and the magic system and Jared's complicated family (I could never tell his aunt and his mom apart) weren't explained very well. Oh - and one more thing I'd like to mention is that there is a small gay side plot. It seems like every contemporary book has to have the obligatory one these days.

Overall, though, Unspoken is a brilliantly executed piece of magic, mystery, and suspense. It's hilariously entertaining and I enjoyed it.

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.
My Rating: ****
A great sequel, and exactly what I wanted it to be. If you haven't discovered this YA time travel series yet, I highly recommend you add it to your to-read list (Ruby Red is first). Gwen is hilarious and the story is mind-boggling (in the very best way). I love a good time-travel story, where people end up in hilarious situations and do horribly anachronistic things (Gwen excells at this - there's a dinner party scene that is SO funny) and where people see future and past versions of themselves and everything goes wrong and happens in a totally non-linear way. Sapphire Blue has all that (plus kissing!) so you really can't go wrong. The mystery and the danger are revving up here and the final book, Emerald Green, should be spectacular.
I got frustrated with Gideon at times because I didn't know what was going on inside his head and he's very on/off with Gwen. Gwen may be ok with that, but I wasn't. I wanted to smack him upside the head. Several times. :D I have hopes that the final book with smooth out their relationship and explain the secrets Gideon is hiding. Also, I recommend you read the first book right before the second. They go very tightly together and Sapphire Blue doesn't give the reader much of a recap. Maybe just wait another year and read all three back-to-back
A great fun and clean read and HIGHLY recommended.

 Inhale. Exhale.
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

My Rating: ***

As dystopians go, this one is kind of unremarkable. It wasn't bad (thus the three stars), but not much originality. Everything here has been seen before (minus the whole world without oxygen thing). Why is it that it takes these teens so long to realize that their whole world is a lie and everything is a conspiracy? It seemed pretty obvious to me...

And that summary makes it sound like there's a horrible love triangle going on, right? Well it doesn't last long at all, which makes me wonder why it was included in the first place.

Sure, when it all comes down to a fight and it's rebellion vs. the big corporation it was kind of exciting, but I wasn't riveted. The book ends in a nicely settled place, so I don't think I'll be picking up the sequel.

My Rating: ***

I got The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a free ebook, otherwise I don't know that I would have picked it up. It's a depressing book full of issues, sex, drinking, smoking, drugs, and messed-up teens. But despite all that, I think it has some merit. It's hard not to like Charlie. Poor Charlie, with all the trauma he has faced and what read to me like undiagnosed Asperger's has not had it easy. He starts high school in this book (something that's not easy for anyone) and manages to make some friends. What follows is a complicated mess, but Charlie grows up and figures things out. Well, some things at least. It's a story about bullying, about reaching out to people who are different, about mental health and the effects of trauma and abuse. I kind of enjoyed the unreliable narrator thing and trying to figure out what was really going on in the world, despite getting all my information from Charlie's perspective.

I think it was an interesting book, one full of discussion possibilities, but it's definitely an issues book, so consider yourself warned by me that it is heavy and with some objectionable content. And now, I'm trying to decide if want to see the movie. :D Anyone seen it? Thoughts?

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