Book Review: Hushed

He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her.

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.

Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.-Goodreads summary

Publication Date: December 6, 2011.

Favorite Quote from the Book:

“Karma is a cruel mistress.”

My Thoughts:

Hushed is provided to me via Netgalley from the publishers in exchange for an honest and respectful review.

Upon reading about this book on Netgalley, I knew I needed to read this book.  A book about serial killers is right down my dark alley-horrible pun intended.  And, the book starts with a murder; like the victim, I found myself gasping for air as I quickly turned the pages throughout the book.

Unfortunately, this heart rate inducing writing sort of stopped as the main character, Archer meets his love interest, Evan, which is within the first 15 pages.  I am not one of those people who hate romance in a novel; in fact, I quite enjoy the books that give me the warm and fuzzy feelings amidst some drama as long as it appropriately fits in the plot line.  In this book, the romance did not overly enthuse me.  Mostly, I find it to be not explained.  Prior to Archer falling for Evan, he is madly in love-you could probably classify it as an unhealthy obsession-with Vivian.  Suddenly, Archer is attracted to Evan which is fine, but I find myself wondering when is Archer going to “come out” to the readers.  Simply, his romantic feelings are kind of random and not thoroughly explained.

This lack of explanation is certainly something that carries throughout the novel.  Besides the romance, I had many questions regarding the plot that I never feel like are fully answered.  Many of my questions pertain to the latter half of the book, especially the ending, and to those of you who wish to read the book, I will not disclose them.  Just be forewarned, the latter half of this book is full of holes that the author never really fills.

Regardless of my disappointments, this book has its good qualities.  The author does write some pretty great action-packed scenes, and she certainly knows how to capture her audience.  Despite the ending having its loopholes, it does contain some heart-gripping, rapid page turning moments which leave you breathless and desiring more.

Overall, it is a decent read; it is not my favorite, but it is good.   

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I’d recommend this to those who enjoy mystery and thriller books!

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Book Review: Projection

It’s time for a book review!  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris’s mother is murdered at Gretchen’s 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, California, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi’s version of the Junior League.  Gretchen’s best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit with The Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society’s jealously guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss. Gretchen’s hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller—the class outcast—stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YouTube video (“Popular Girls = Secret Lovers”) goes viral, Gretchen’s and Jessica’s lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.

Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica.  When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice.-Goodreads summary

Expected Publication Date: September 3, 2013.

Preorder your copy here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository

Favorite Quote from the Book:

‘Our trust and our faith shall bring justice…This is the promise we solemnly keep.’

MY THOUGHTS:

Judge the Book by its Cover:

While I think the girl and overall design is beautiful, the book’s cover holds no relevance to the story.  In fact I believe that it is just a typical pretty YA cover designed with the intention to sell more books when it’s published.  It’s okay but not one of the best.

Things that Made Me Happy:

I absolutely loved how this book was told through dual plots: the ancient Romans’ invention and use of projection and the modern society’s continuation of projection.  Creatively, Green conceived this magical act of projection, the power to trade souls with another person, in the early Roman Empire.  While women were suppressed in this society, this power gave them a sense of sovereignty against the men’s oppressive authority.  Since then, women had secretly passed this power among generations, where it was found in the modern times of this book.  Still, women honored this power and found it was fundamental to their lives.  Both the ancient women and current women created a strong sense of female empowerment that made for a great read.

This book was full of many plot twists, which were unexpected by readers.  Combined with the tense mystery element, the plot’s zigzagged development constantly kept the audience on their toes in anticipation for what was to come. Nothing was predictable, which made for an overall entertaining read.

Wow, what a gripping ending.  Initially I was concerned within the last 50 pages because I felt that the novel would end unresolved; however, the novel quickly pieced together that created an intricate sub-plot story, which was entertaining and riveting. 

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

At times I felt that there were inconsistencies to the personalities of the characters, as if they were not fully developed.  While their development was not terrible, I believed that Green had the potential to create more three dimensional characters.  Considering this book was a mystery novel, implementing deeper well-developed characters would have further enhanced the mystery element and generated more suspicions.  Overall, their actions and mannerisms never fully created genuine characters, which was frustrating.

Lastly, Green overemphasized the true criminal.  Suddenly, all of his or her actions became suspicious, which aided in my belief that the people in this book sometimes acted out of character.  It was upsetting, as I was hoping for a more unsuspecting mystery.  While placing together the final pieces of the puzzle and capturing the criminal were fantastic, the suspect’s actions became increasingly annoying as they were too obvious and detracted from the mystery elements, which created more of a suspense novel.

My Rating:

★★★★ 4/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy simplistic young adult suspense and mystery novels.

*This book was sent to me via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!* 

Mention Monday: Red Riding Hood

Mention Monday is the day where I give a book recommendation.  Additionally, they are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.

Valerie’s sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister’s violent death, Valerie’s world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them–it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes…or everyone she loves will die.

Based on a screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson.-Goodreads summary

After reading this book I was extremely dumbfounded with how to rate and review it.  One one hand the book frustrated me.  The beginning was a tad slow.  The plot summary ruins a huge plot twist.  The book was a piece of advertisement for the then upcoming movie.  And, yes, it involves a stereotypical love triangle with paranormal elements to complicate matters.  

Beyond this I was hooked.  I adored all of the characters; since there was a huge mystery element in this book, I found myself questioning every character and his or her motive.  Since every character fell under suspicion, their life stories became imperative to solving the mystery.  Not only did this generate interest in the characters, it also gave the characters depth-something I believe is imperative in successful character development.

Additionally, I enjoyed how the overall mystery was completely unpredictable; it left me with my jaw dropped and the inability to read for a few days.

While not many people like the complete novel, I enjoyed these elements of the story.  For some reason these aspects enabled me to look beyond the “typical frustrations” and appreciate its good portions.  No it is not a groundbreaking YA novel, but it is an enjoyable read-one that I read in one sitting, and for these reasons I would recommend this book.

*What is a book that you would recommend?  Comment below!*

Friday Reads (7/26/13)

Happy Friday!  The weekend is finally here!  It’s time for Friday Reads, in which I share with you all what I plan on reading this weekend.  Friday Reads is a query that was started on Twitter and has been carried over to the book blogging/vlogging community.  It is also a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it click here.

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Witnessing a brutal murder at work is only the beginning of Celia’s problems. The fact that the victim is a vampire only proves to complicate her life even more. The vampires of New England have always had an undetected existence among humans but with the unprovoked death of one of their own, the lust for revenge has begun. Celia’s concerns are magnified when a hunter from Dallas arrives in town. With Jay’s sexy smile and rugged ways, Celia finds herself wanting to spend time with him despite being mysteriously linked to the nest that is threatening to become extinct if Jay gets his way. When four bodies are found drained of blood; Jay teams up with a local bunch to take out all the undead which coincidentally, includes her boyfriend Victor. Celia won’t stand seeing anything happen to Victor but refuses to hurt Jay as well. Confusion, lust, rage and violence intertwine as worlds collide. Celia will soon discover that her neat little start to unravel.-Goodreads summary

I received Sweet from the author and publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.  Currently, I am 50% into it and find it to be a fairly easy read.  After completing The Book Thief, Wilkerson’s conversational writing style is easy to comprehend, which makes this book a fairly quick read.  Despite its writing style, I do have some issues with the book, which I’m sure will be detailed in my review.  I hope to be finished with it tonight, as I am trying to complete many of my ARCs and write my reviews!

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When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris’s mother is murdered at Gretchen’s 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, California, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi’s version of the Junior League.  Gretchen’s best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit withThe Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society’s jealously guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss. Gretchen’s hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller—the class outcast—stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YouTube video (“Popular Girls = Secret Lovers”) goes viral, Gretchen’s and Jessica’s lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.

Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica.  When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice.-Goodreads summary

I was provided Projection from the publishing company (Soho Teen) via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  I have approximately three weeks to get this book read and reviewed, so I definitely need to start this one!  I’m looking forward to the mystery elements in this story.  Of course, there will be a review published in the future!  Hopefully, I get this finished this weekend so I can check another ARC off my list!

*What are you reading this weekend?  Comment below!*

Thirsty Thursday: Projection

Happy Thursday!  It is time for be to talk about a book that I cannot wait to read!  Thirsty Thursdays are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris’s mother is murdered at Gretchen’s 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, California, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi’s version of the Junior League.  Gretchen’s best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit withThe Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society’s jealously guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss. Gretchen’s hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller—the class outcast—stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YouTube video (“Popular Girls = Secret Lovers”) goes viral, Gretchen’s and Jessica’s lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.

Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica.  When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice.-Goodreads summary

Earlier this summer, I received Projection from Netgalley in exchange for a review.  After two months of insane hard drive computer issues, I finally have my computer working and was able to download this book to my Nook.

As its publication date is impending (September 3, 2013), I definitely need to shake a leg and read this book!  Quite frankly, I’m in the mood for a creepy mystery that involves some stalker elements, so I think this book will suit my cravings!

I look forward to reading and reviewing this book fairly soon!

*What books can you not wait to read?  Comment below!*

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: Sweet and am 41% into it.

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Friday Reads (7/19/13)

It feels good to be back and Happy Friday!  Friday Reads is a query that started on Twitter and has become increasingly popular in the book blogging/vlogging community, and I have decided to implement it in my Daily Post.  To learn more about it, click here.

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New York Times bestseller for seven years running that’s coming to movie theaters on November 15, 2013, this Printz Honor book by the author of I Am the Messenger is an unforgettable tale about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. 

The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.-Goodreads summary

As someone who is a ravenous fan of historical fiction, especially novels dealing with WWII, I am utterly ashamed that it has taken me so long to read this book.  It has been sitting on my shelf for four years and has been frequently recommended by family and peers.  Finally, I have decided to read it.  Currently, I am 300 pages in the book, which means I’ve finished a little over 50%, and I am truly loving it.  Admittedly, I am not one who wholeheartedly agrees with book hypes, but this book deserves it.  The characters, the plot, and the narration all possess unique attributes and depth, which are incomparable to any historical fiction.  I look forward to finishing this book as I find it to be a fast read, but I will be terribly sad to see the story end.  Of course, that implies that I will be rereading this book countless times in the future!

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She spots the masked man in the dark, lonely parking lot–but too late. Grabbed and drugged, Christina is kidnapped and held for ransom. When her family pays, she thinks her ordeal is over. But then she realizes that her family thinks she planned the kidnapping! How will Christina prove her innocence?-Goodreads summary

Do you ever get in these moods where you need to read a good mystery?  At a young age, I devoured Nancy Drew books and would only read mystery books.  As I have gotten older, my genre preferences have expanded, but mystery novels always hold a soft spot in my heart.  Therefore, I am in need of a mystery.  Browsing my shelf, I found this book and realized it has been sitting on my shelf for many years-probably ten years!  So, it needs to be read!  The premise sounds extremely intriguing, and I definitely like how it was a recipient of the Edgar Award for Best YA Mystery-who doesn’t love Poe?!  This seems like a fairly quick read, and I look forward to satisfying my mystery-craving!

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Witnessing a brutal murder at work is only the beginning of Celia’s problems. The fact that the victim is a vampire only proves to complicate her life even more. The vampires of New England have always had an undetected existence among humans but with the unprovoked death of one of their own, the lust for revenge has begun. Celia’s concerns are magnified when a hunter from Dallas arrives in town. With Jay’s sexy smile and rugged ways, Celia finds herself wanting to spend time with him despite being mysteriously linked to the nest that is threatening to become extinct if Jay gets his way. When four bodies are found drained of blood; Jay teams up with a local bunch to take out all the undead which coincidentally, includes her boyfriend Victor. Celia won’t stand seeing anything happen to Victor but refuses to hurt Jay as well. Confusion, lust, rage and violence intertwine as worlds collide. Celia will soon discover that her neat little existence is not what it seems as her cryptic past and present start to unravel.-Goodreads summary

Recently, I received a digital copy of Sweet for review.  As I need to have it read and reviewed in three weeks, I am hoping to get it started now and be ahead of the game!  I enjoy vampire novels because recently many authors are attempting to branch out of the “vampire stereotype,” so I am looking forward to seeing what kind of vampires Wilkerson creates.

*What books do you plan on reading this weekend?*

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: The Book Thief and am 54% into it.

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Book Review: Passenger

 

Happy Saturday!  It is time for another book review.  Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.

The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began withThe Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • The back of this book has the Marbury Lens from the first book, and the front of the book has the Marbury Lens from the second book.  I like that!  It symbolizes the unification of the two plots!  These images are also nice because they reinforce the way readers picture these mysterious lenses.

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • Smith writes some of the clearest and most vivid descriptions in YA fiction.  Through his writing, every scene was perfectly visible in my head.  At one point in the book, Jack falls in the world of Marbury and gets ash and granulated human bones in his mouth.  Somehow, I got a similar taste in my mouth from Smith’s descriptions.  Nasty, but it reflects his ability to truly convey the story to its audience.
  • His descriptions lead into some pretty wonderful world building, as well.  Smith builds off the old world of Marbury and creates a completely new Marbury in this novel.  Of course, both these worlds are intriguing.  However, the new Marbury was more complex and mysterious than the old world.  Therefore, this helped generate an action-packed plot and led the boys to uncover the mystery of this messed up world.
  • I enjoyed reading about the “Marbury Jack.”  To me he was a fantastic leader who persevered through many struggles.  While many people would have quit, Jack continuously fought for his friends and himself.
  • Lastly, I enjoyed the continuation of Jack’s psychology in this book.  For those of you who recall, in the first book Jack was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man named Freddie Hovarth.  Since that moment, Jack has suffered with anxiety and experienced some PTSD symptoms.  While Jack never talked to adults about his experiences, it was interesting to read how these events affected him, particularly how he viewed Marbury as a sort of “justifiable hell” for him.  Passenger took place six months after his kidnapping, but the event continued to haunt him.  Again, he viewed the new twisted Marbury as his punishment.  To me, this was thought-provoking.  Is this world of Marbury Jack’s escape from reality?  Does he consider it a safe place and provide some sort of comfort the real world can’t offer?  It was very interesting.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • Overall, I found this book to be too long.  Once I got about halfway through it, I was bored.  Events kept recurring, and characters were stuck.  The development was simply too slow.  I would have preferred Smith continued with plot and character developments instead of repeating events to reinforce the “trapped in Marbury” theme.  I got it the first few times!  Additionally, the book could have done without the 100 page ending.  It was unnecessary.  I know this is horrid, but I kind of thought Smith took the length of this book to be a tribute to his masculinity.  Cool, you write big books…
  • Speaking of Smith’s masculinity, this book portrayed girls horribly.  First, this new Marbury has only four known human females.  Since this world is extremely impoverish, these women frequently used their sexuality in this testosterone-filled environment to get what they wanted.  Was it cunning?  No.  It was offensive.  The men in these books would fight over who got to have sex with these girls, and the girls were all la-di-da about it.  Additionally, Smith portrayed Jack’s girlfriend, Nickie, as being a sex-crazed animal.  In the novel Jack stated something about how Nickie had sex with him all night and all day.  Jack always “blamed” these sexual encounters on Nickie’s desires.  He averted all responsibility for these acts and just was like, “Sorry, man.  She’s just a lady in the streets and freak in the sheets.”  No, Smith.  That is not okay.  Do you think Smith is finished with his “I hate women” motto?  Oh, no, my friends.  He’s not.  In the book Jack, Conner, and some of their school friends make jokes about how it is okay to lie to women/their girlfriends because they will never figure out because they’re basically stupid.  Excuse me, what?  I believe the “Women are awful creatures” theme is the most prevalent in this novel.
  • The “new romance” between Jack and Conner was bizarre.  It didn’t make sense to me.  Jack claimed that he loved Nickie, and she was the most beautiful girl in the world, but he had these moments with Conner, which didn’t make any sense.  I think the relationship between Jack and Nickie was more genuine and provided a sort of  “real life” comfort that he desperately needed, but, of course, Smith can’t have respectable happy females in his novels.
  • While I do overall like the character of Jack, I increasingly grew annoyed with him at the end.  He was so indecisive.  Here’s a shorten version of my interpretation of Jack’s persona: I want something; I got it; I’m supposed to be happy, but, naturally, I’m not; I want old thing; I got old thing; I’m supposed to be happy, but, naturally, I’m not; I want the old old thing; I got old old thing; I’m supposed to be happy, but, naturally, I’m not; REPEAT; REPEAT; REPEAT.  GAH!
  • Lastly, why is Smith even considering writing another book in this trilogy/series?  It would not be worth reading.  I feel the book would be just as dragged out like  Passenger’s ending.  No, I will not pursue this series any longer.

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!  While a lot of the latter half annoyed me, I still liked the overall story.  It’s a very unique tale with some epic world building.

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy young adult fiction, action, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy novels.

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: The End Games.

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