Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Fixer ~ Jennifer Lynn Barnes (earc) review [@jenlynnbarnes @bloomsburykids]

The Fixer (The Fixer #1)
Bloomsbury Children's
July 7, 2015
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

The Scandal meets Veronica Mars description of The Fixer is incredibly apt.

I have loved the other titles I have read by this author, with Taken by Storm (Raised by Wolves #3) probably my favorite - until now, maybe. I love her characters, their wit and intelligence and their loyalty to each other. I adore The Fixer's characters. Tess is strong, smart, doesn't abide by bullies, loves her grandfather, has a complicated relationship with Ivy and refuses to give up. The characters taht become part of her life at Hardiwcke - and outside of it, as well - have intriguing lives and personalities, aspects of both which may cuase Tess trouble.

In some ways the boys she befriends reminded me of Devon from the Raised by Wolves series and his and Bryn's friendship. Less because they have the same personalities (though that humor is definitely present) but because of their interactions .(Particularly, perhaps, when a the headmaster's office and mentions of sexism were involved.) I loved it.

There are some truly great relationships and dynamics at play in The Fixer. There are the different family relationships (siblings, parent/child) that we see (more than one example of each), some more balanced and healthy than others but all very real, complex and complicated. Mixed in with those are the power struggles and the political and power hierarchies.

When the really well done characters, their relationships with each other and others and the political and power dynamics are all mixed together, you get one fantastic story.

I certainly don't want to be in the kind of trouble or danger Tess finds herself in and some of her decisions (while perfectly befitting the story) made me anxious, I really cannot wait to read more about her. I am all but counting the days until I can next join Tess, Ivy, Bodie, Vivvie and the others in the world of The Fixer.










digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday: Hyped Books I Haven't Read


This week's Ten:
Top Ten Hyped Books I've Never Read
(some that I plan to and others that I don't!)





City of Bones by Cassandra Clare


Gone by Michael Grant


Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 


Looking for Alaska by John Green


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken 



Please leave a comment and let me know what hyped books you have yet to read - and if you did your own post, link me to it!

If there's one of these books in particular you think I do need to read, tell me!

Book Blitz: Naked ~ Stacey Trombley [@trombolii @@EntangledTeen @NereydaG1003]


Naked 
Stacey Trombley
Entangled Teen
July 7, 2015
304 pages
buy from Amazon/ / Barnes & Noble// Kobo 

The best place to hide is in a lie…

I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.

Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.

The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.

Someone knows who I really am.

And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…
About the Author:



Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough.

Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015

Author Links:

website




Excerpt:




It hasn’t really hit me what’s happening until the van pulls up to my old house.  


It’s big, white, with a full, manicured garden. The Japanese maple tree sitting there, right beside the stone steps that lead up to the wraparound porch, staring at me.  
Everything is the same. Except me. 

I stand there, looking at the house I fled three years ago. I can’t move. I can’t make myself go in that house. 

Sarah comes around the truck and stands beside me. “Ready?” she asks. 

I shake my head. I will never be ready for this. Never. 

She doesn’t say anything, and she doesn’t move. We stand there for at least five minutes. Five really, really, really long minutes. I’m still not ready to move, no matter how long those minutes seem. I’ll stand here for eternity if I have to, if it can keep me from facing those memories. From facing my father. My mother. 

But Sarah seems ready, so she begins to walk across the massive yard—through the grass. My mother won’t like it—she hates anyone touching her perfectly sculpted lawn—but I suppose that’s okay with me. 

Sarah doesn’t ask me to join her, doesn’t plead with me to go inside. She leaves me behind, and that’s what makes me go. Did she know that even the smallest of nudges would have kept me rooted even deeper in my spot? 

I walk very, very slowly toward the house. I feel defiant for walking through the grass. One small thing at a time. My mother doesn’t own me anymore. 

Sarah reaches the top of the steps as I cross the garden. She knocks on the heavy door. I stop at the bottom of the steps, unwilling to go any farther. 

Slowly, the door opens. I close my eyes and wait, but I hear nothing.  

After a moment of silence, I can’t take it. I open my eyes to see Sarah and the face I’ve been dreading—and hoping for. My mother’s. Apparently she’s gathered enough courage to see me face-to-face. 

Her hair is done in a tight bun, and her makeup successfully covers whatever flaws she has developed over the last three years. It’s obvious she spent a long time preparing herself to see her long-lost daughter up close, without a police station hallway between us. Because clearly looking put-together will make this easier. 

I want to roll my eyes, shake my head, but in truth, I’m kind of glad to know she hasn’t changed that much. I didn’t ruin everything about her. Even if the thing that didn’t change was something I never liked. 

She doesn’t move, just looks at me. But I cast my eyes to the ground, and she clears her throat. 

“Why don’t you both come in?” I look to Sarah, who nods and walks through the open door first. We walk down a very familiar hallway and into our huge, bright white kitchen. I’m a stranger in this house. 

 I’m not the little girl who used to see how far she could slide on the hardwood dining room floor and hid in the linen closet when she was in trouble. I’m definitely not the little girl who sang Christmas songs with her mother while doing the dishes, even in the summer. That girl is gone. 

I left her in Grand Central Terminal three years ago.  

My father is waiting in the kitchen, sitting at the table. I take in a deep breath, sit across from him, and run my hands through my hair. After a pause, Sarah takes a seat beside me. She gives me a reassuring smile that I don’t return.  

My mother jumps right into the role of perfect host, walking straight to the refrigerator. Her greatest skill was always ignoring the truth, pretending nothing bothered her, that everything was perfect. I don’t know if she agreed with how my father disciplined me, how harsh he was with even the smallest of transgressions. I think sometimes I blamed her more than I did him. But she was too good at ignoring the truth. I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s doing the same thing now.  

“Would you like some tea?” she asks Sarah without a single glance at me. I want her to look at me. I don’t even know why. I should want to run and hide. I should want to hate her, want her to hate me. But somehow, I don’t. I want her to care. 

Less than five minutes in this house and I already feel like a lost thirteen-year-old again. Maybe I’m not as different as I thought I was. I’m still a stranger in this house, but that’s not such a strange concept to Anna Rodriguez. I never belonged here.






 


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Monday, July 6, 2015

The Escape ~ Hannah Jayne (earc) review [@Hannah_Jayne1 @SourcebooksFire]

The Escape
Sourebooks Fire
July 7, 2015
256 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

When two boys walk into the woods, and one comes out covered in blood, what would you believe?

Fletcher and Adam venture into the woods for an afternoon hike, but when day turns into night and neither boy returns, their town is thrown into turmoil. Avery, the detective's daughter, is the one to find Fletcher—disheveled, disoriented, and covered in blood. He has no memory of what happened, but Avery can't shake the feeling that something's off. When Adam's body is finally found, Avery is determined to uncover the truth. But if she stands by her gut, and Fletcher, is she standing by a friend, or a murderer? The answer might cost her her life.


The beginning of Hannah Jayne's The Escape is fantastic. We get to meet Fletcher, Adam and Avery. Though they're not together, based on what's happening, where they are and who they're with, we know their stories will be intersecting soon. Just how that will happen and how big of a role they each will play is to be discovered.

I loved that, even with 'the escape' being such the focus - of characters and the story, Avery is really the main character. I found her interesting from the very start. As the police chief's daughter, she is more apprised of the PD's goings on than most anyone else, though not always as much as she'd like to be.

After she's the one to find the boy n the woods, Avery feels more drawn to him, his tale and finding the culprit.

It's when there start to be more questions about what really happened in the woods that day, who was present, who was responsible and what the escaped teen may - or may not - have done, that Avery becomes truly invested.

The mystery of The Escape (and the escape) is very nicely done. There's some ambiguity nearly right away, leaving readers to question what has happened - and what follows. There are some nicely dropped hints and also a few statements and events that seem to cast suspicion in another direction.

Avery's involvement with the character and the investigation as well as her belief in in him is made even more believable and understandable with her backstory. The more we learn about her own past and family, the more her decisions, her risks and her choices make sense. It also makes you wish, even more, for her to be right. You don't want her to experience any more pain.

The town's reaction to what has happened - and the ongoing investigation - was great. It seemed incredibly realistic while also being the basis for the characters' actions and reactions. It all worked together very, very nicely.

How it all comes together is both a surprise and not at all a surprise. The smaller pieces of the puzzle are startling and even unexpected, but the big picture makes so much sense it can't really be called surprising. That's not to say it's not an adrenaline filled ending, though, because it certainly is. The Escape is a thrilling read with captivating characters, an intriguing mystery and well done family dynamics.






digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley
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