Thursday, October 23, 2014

Don't Even Think About It ~ Sarah Mlynowski (earc) review

Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It #1)
Delacorte Press
March 11, 2014
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have).

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening. 

Sarah Mlynowski's Don't Even Think About It is a fun, quick read. When one sophomore homeroom develops an interesting reaction to the flu shot, they wonder if their lives will ever be the same again. And whether or not they want them to be.

At first, they think they're going crazy. After all, who hears what other people are thinking? Soon enough, it becomes clear that it isn't something they are imagining: they can hear other people's thoughts - and those in their homeroom can hear theirs. The time of being able to keep secrets has passed.

Whether it's the summertime affair one of them had, what their parents are really thinking about during dinner, who their crush is or anything they think about at all, homeroom 10B now knows it all.

I liked that, although the cover is only girls, it was  a co-ed homeroom class affected. Meaning an interesting, discovery filled start to the day for the teens, it takes the story in an a fun direction. We hear both the girls' and the boys' thoughts, how they deal with being able to hear each other. This diversity in the characters pulls both the characters and readers into the drama of relationships, friendships, social hierarchy . . . and involves hearing some things they might not want to, whether it's painful or just not something they want to know.

There are a lot of characters in Don't Even Think About It but they each have their own story, their own secrets they don't want discovered and their own things currently happening. It is easy to keep everyone's story straight and this is an example of numerous characters really helping the story. Everyone gets involved in each other's business in a way they wouldn't have before, with good and bad outcomes.

Don't Even Think About It was a fun read, but did sometimes feel more like it was trying to be cute than that it actually was cute. Still, I liked that it was a humorous story that still dealt with some deeper issues. When you're hearing everyone's thoughts, it's not only going to be what you want to hear.  The novel did a really nice job handling the tougher, more painful side of the telepathy without losing the lightness.

I didn't enjoy this as much as Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) but it was a cute, well executed concept and I 'm curious to see what happens in the sequel.

received for review from publisher through NetGalley

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday [@EmmyLaybourne @MacKidsBooks]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.

Sweet will be published June 2, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends.
Add it to your Goodreads shelves

I really love the Monument 14 trilogy so I am super excited to read something new from Emmy Laybourne. Add in that great cover and this is making its way up my TBR list already!

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Link me to your own Waiting post or tell me in the comments.

-- don't forget to enter the giveaway of The Bodies We Wear posted yesterday --

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Bodies We Wear ~ Jeyn Roberts (earc) Review + Giveaway [@jeynroberts @randomhousekids

The Bodies We Wear
Knopf Books for Young Readers
September 23, 2014
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

A streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman.

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye's plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she's become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?
It is supposed to give users a glimpse of Heaven, but it is still a deadly drug. Haem kills all of its users, some just never come back. Many that do wish they hadn't.

Forcibly given the drug at eleven, Faye has spent the past six years wishing for revenge for that night. Still craving the drug that left her scarred and a social outcast, she's been plotting her revenge against the men that forever changed her life and killed her best friend.

Forced every day to keep her past a secret from her fellow students, Faye's one goal is her revenge. It is what keeps her going and what she looks forward to.

Until Chael appears. He seems to know everything about Faye - the things she keeps hidden, her past and who she is - but refuses to tell her how he knows so much. Then Faye's carefully managed school life begins to fall apart. She has managed to remain unnoticed for years and now, just months away from graduation, she's drawn attention to herself. In trouble with the police and fearing the school's actions, Faye tries to hold it all together. And figure Chael out.

The Bodies We Wear is a good paranormal read. Haem is a drug, recently invented, that claims to give users a glimpse of the afterlife. Of Heaven . . . or, in Faye's case, Hell. There is great debate, of course, over whether it really is a look at life after death or simply the brain's reaction to the drug, to momentary death.

Faye believes what she saw was much more than chemistry and neurons, though. It was her destiny.

And if you're already destined for Hell, what point is there in trying for more?

Which is where The Bodies We Wear really worked for me. Roberts takes the intriguing idea of Haem and not only shows us how it affects society, but how it has affected Faye and how that society has also impacted her. She is a girl hell-bent on vengeance, on payback. In a world where a choice that was forced on her seems to provide a setback at every turn, she sees no point in trying to achieve anything else.

It doesn't matter to her whether anyone else agrees with her goal or not. She knows it's right.

Until she isn't so certain, anymore.

The more Faye refuses to question her decision, the more those questions refuse to go away, the more connection readers will feel with Faye. She knew what her life was, where it was going and what to expect. Now, things are not quite the same. As much as she does not want to give in to hope, reader can't help but feel it for her.

As we see more and more of Faye's past and get a fuller picture of how Haem has affected society and its citizens, The Bodies We Wear becomes more and more thought-provoking. Is Faye right and it doesn't matter what she does, she's going to Hell? Or do our choices truly matter?

The relationships in The Bodies We Wear may be unique due to circumstance, but they have a familiarity to them, too. Gazer and Faye's life is far from traditional but the bond they share feels real and their relationship makes sense. Each has a past and it was what brought them together, but something more keeps them together.

I quite liked Chael. It is clearer to readers how Chael may know her so well, but the explanation also isn't obvious. When things really do come together, for Faye, little things that might have passed unnoticed in the beginning, make the explanation, the character, more whole.

A fun paranormal read, but also a character driven novel that will provide some questions to really think about, The Bodies We Wear has something for most readers.

digital review copy provided, via NetGalley, by publisher for tour participation & review - thank you

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Cure for Dreaming ~ Cat Winters (earc) review [@abramskids @catwinters]

The Cure for Dreaming
Amulet Books
October 14, 2014
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

The Cure for Dreaming is an incredibly unique and enjoyable tale. Blending the coming-of-age tale of seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead, historical fiction set in 1900 and a bit of fantasy could not have worked better than it does here.

Olivia is a teenager living in Portland, Oregon with her overbearing father. The push for women's suffrage is really gaiing momentum and Olivia finds the idea appealing. Her father does not, to say the least.

Young Henri Reverie, a hypnotist, is in town for a run of shows, one attended by Olivia, with friends, on her Halloween birthday. What should have been a one time encounter becomes something more when Olivia's father employs Henri to hypnotize the 'rebellion' out of Olivia.

Instead, Olivia is left seeing the people and the world as they really are - haunting and confusing visions - and unable to put her outrage into words.

What was supposed to be the end of Olivia's defiance proves to only be the beginning when she becomes even more determined, despite the added difficulties, to speak her mind.

With the cries both for and against a woman's right to vote as the backdrop, Olivia tries to be herself. Not the submissive, quiet future housewife her father hopes her to be, but the educated, independent young woman she wishes to be. Reverie, the hypnotist, plays an increasingly interesting role in the story and in Olivia's life.

For what her father has hired him to do, Olivia knows she should despise the young mesmerist, but the more she encounters him and the more she learns of his life,t he harder that is to do.  Olivia's conflicted feelings about Mr Reverie not only make sense they add quite a bit to the story. I really liked that while she does know that she doesn't want to be what most of the time think she should be, she also is not already completely opposed to it all, either. She does not have it all figured out. She has to find where she fits and what it is she really wants for her life.

Olivia's discoveries - about her self and life for women, in general - are propelled wonderfully by both her new acquaintances and the effects of her hypnotism.

While The Cure for Dreaming does not delve as heavily into life for most women in 1900, how the suffragists (and their opposition) are part of Olivia's story and how she is a part of theirs, tells a very well imagined and well constructed story. All of the different elements come together so well and make for a great novel.

The quotes from literature or persons of the period along with photographs from the time add a little bit extra to the story and pull readers more fully into the time.

(After Kate Chopin's The Awakening was quoted and mentioned in The Cure for Dreaming and in Figment's email about underrated books, I really hope more people will read it. It is one of my favorites.)

Other books you may also enjoy: Silent Echoes by Carla Jablonski and The Awakening by Kate Chopin

received for review thanks to publisher, through NetGalley

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