Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cinema Saturday [Mirror Mirror]



Mirror Mirror
Relativity Media
June 26, 2012
106 minutes; PG - for some fantasy & mild rude humor
(starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins & Arnie Hammer)
info on IMDb/buy on Amazon

I've loved fairy tale movies just about forever. I used to watch ancient videodisc copies we had (at first it was because I found the player/concept entertaining - no idea why exactly we had it) of Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre [Absurdly priced on Amazon and on HuluPlus]. (I watched the Rapunzel one so much that it's still all I think about when anyone mentions radishes.)

Point is, I love - well done - fairy tale movies/tellings. And now I have Mirror Mirror to add to my list.

Starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Nathan Lane Mirror Mirror was released on DVD and BluRay just this past Tuesday.

In the film, the evil queen (Roberts) has seized control of the kingdom - through magic and taxes - and kept the princess (Collins) holed up in the castle. It will take the (possibly reluctant) help of seven thieves if the princess plans to save not only herself from the queen, but the rest of the kingdom as well.


Mirror Mirror is kind of fantastic. Rated PG, it keeps itself appropriate for younger viewers but has more than enough to please an older, adult audience, as well. It's cute and silly for sure - but not corny or cheesy. The humor works and the movie is sweet.

The fairy tale has a definite update - but one that is absolutely to its benefit (and to the benefit of its viewers). Snow White isn't a helpless girl in this tale, no damsel in distress waiting for her prince here. She's a girl with some fight in her.

Yet, even with the changes to Snow White (whom Lily Collins plays well), Mirror Mirror still plays out like a true fairy tale. One that can get watched over and over again.

With Julia Roberts and a rather perfect evil queen - she truly seems to have mastered just to smile and say the worst thing at the same time. To be a gorgeous queen, but hideous, too.

The costumes and production/set design - the interior, the outside/forest and the shots of the palace, computer/otherwise generated things - are brilliant. The effects in this movie are what make this, a live action Snow White, a live action fairy tale at all, really, work. There's so much in fairy tales that could fair when taken out of animation but they translate it brilliantly - through CGI and Green Screen, sure but it looks amazing.

Then the costumes. Honestly, the costumes . . . they're just...love them. The palace keeps that exaggerated bigger than life feel that fits with not only the queen, but most fairy tales. (Some of them had the bright, exaggerated, craziness of an almost Effie Trinket meets something brighter . . .)



As to the DVD/BluRay: The menu is easy to access - 'Menu' Brings up Play, Setup, Scenes, & Extras in a bar at the bottom of the screen while keeping whatever scene you're watching on screen.

The extra scenes and other bonus features are enjoyable and give you a bit of a look behind the film! But don't watch until after you watch the movie unless you love spoilers.


If you've even thought about it, absolutely see Mirror Mirror - probably if you haven't even thought about it but like any fairy tales.



giant thank you to Fox and ThinkJam

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Rewind (new meme)

I've decided to do a weekly recap post every Thursday. Sometimes post get put up later in the morning or are posts that I think people might not have seen, but I want to bring extra attention to . . .

So, I bring you Thursday Rewind my new meme for Book Sp(l)ot Reviews:


Reviews:
Code Name Verity ~ Elizabeth Wein (eARC)
Taken by Storm ~ Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves #3)
Size 14 is Not Fat Either ~ Meg Cabot (Heather Wells #2)
This is Not a Test ~ Courtney Summers (ARC)
Burn Mark ~ Lisa Powell (eARC)

Memes:
Teaser Tuesdays (Thumped)
Waiting On Wednesday (The Program)


If there are any posts from your blog you'd like me - or anyone else - to check out, link them in the comments



Burn Mark ~ Laura Powell (eARC) review

Burn Mark
BloomsburyUSA
June 19, 2012
419 pages
add to Goodreads/add to Book Depository/or Amazon

In a world where witches face harsher punishment for the same crimes as their non-witch counterparts and must report to the government for a type of binding, two teens whose lives have been couldn't more different will find themselves linked together. Whether they want to be or not.

Glory is from a family of witches. Witches that live outside the law and practice their magic freely - and she cannot wait for the day she comes into her powers.

Lucas, the son of the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition, has no witches in his family. Dating back generations and generations on both his mother's and his father's side - it's a source of pride in their family.

Then, they both become witches on the same day.


As with all books that just did not work for me, I need to start this review by saying that, to give you fair warning in case you wish to go no further. I was terribly interested in Burn Mark because I really do love books about witches and this one added in the element of a governing body seemingly regulating and punishing the witches.

It just couldn't keep my interest, however. Something about it didn't click with me. I had a horrible time keeping my mind from wandering when I was reading it.

It may have been the pacing that was at issue: At the beginning we're given a whole lot of information about the world Lucas, specifically, and Glory live in. While incredibly interesting it all came so quickly that it was hard to retain all of it - and put it all together into a proper idea of what their world was like.

Maybe I need to do what Georgina Kincaid (of Richelle Mead's Succubus Blues) does with her favorite novel - albeit for different reasons - and read only five pages a night. Where in her case it was because she wanted to delay the inevitable finishing, I wonder if a real, true slow reading of this novel would allow me to focus. on. each. word. and. get. all. of. the. information. given.

Maybe. Maybe not.

I do wish that Lucas and Glory had met sooner into the book. The parts of the story that I found strongest - and that worked for me - were the scenes of them together. Yet, they don't meet until about halfway through the novel. If I hadn't been reading this for review, I'm not sure I would have stuck with it for the 200 pages it took to get to that point.

Overall, this book just was not for me, but the idea of the plot really does show promise (it's a bit like Harry Potter in slight way), and the two characters' interactions with each other was good . . . it was just too hard to focus on or get into, though.


Rating: 5/10



Here are some other reviews: Debra's Book Cafe, BookHoundsYA, & Paper Cuts YA




Thank you to Bloomsbury & NetGalley for my e-galley of this title; part of Bloomsbury blog tours

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This is Not a Test ~ Courtney Summers (arc) review

This is Not a Test
St Martin's Griffin
June 19, 2012
322 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

It's a zombie apocalypse and six students are taking shelter in Cortege High. They've barricaded the doors, but the dead who are swarming outside won't stop their pounding

Just one bit from someone who's turned is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a mindless, murdering monster . . .  And there's no signs of any help or other survivors.

But for Sloane Price, it doesn't seem that bad. Her life before the world seemingly feel apart was far from picturesque. Now, a girl stuck with five people doing anything they can to survive is just waiting for it all to end. For those things to bring her the end she's waiting for.

As the days drag on, they each find a different reason to carry on . . . but as the tensions rise, with six students alone twenty-four-seven and life or death decisions weighing on them, the violence threatens to make its way inside.


It would be easy to see that Courtney Summers, a writer of contemporary, realistic YA fiction up to this point, had written a novel with a zombie apocalypse and just say that she was jumping on some sort of bandwagon. Oh, how wrong you would be, though.

This is Not a Test while definitely a zombie novel, is the most contemporary, realistic fiction zombie-having novel I've ever read. There are times in the novel when I got so involved in the story and the characters, what was going on inside the school that I forgot the dead were just outside those barricades, outside the doors. Almost.  I say almost because it's always in the back of your mind that the reason Sloane and the others are in the school is because of what's going on outside.

Sometimes, it's just in the way back of your mind.

Sloane has some mystery going on with her - as to just what all is going on with her - and the other characters have things they're not quite being upfront about, either. It adds some tension to the situation (on top of the obvious tension) and allows things to stay interesting as we learn about them while they're trapped in a high school for days on end. It's a less gruesome 'The Walking Dead' meets 'The Breakfast Club.' Pretty awesome, really.

If you love contemporaries but don't usually (or ever) read anything supenatural/paranormal/other, please, please, please don't let the 'zombie apocalypse' put you off of reading hit - you'll miss out on a great contemporary!

And if you only ever read books with zombies or werewolves or vampires or some sort of creature, please do read this! It's fantastic.


Rating: 9/10


Other books you might like: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield and Trapped by Michael Northrop


thank you to LT's Early Reviewers for my advance copy

Waiting On Wednesday


Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week is The Program by Suzanne Young - it's not out for like almost ten months and, based on this synopsis, those are going to be long months . . .

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone.

With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in.

And The Program is coming for them.
Does that not sound like something you'd love to read? I know I would . . . see, YA lit alone is building up reasons the Mayans have to be wrong ;-) I'm very eager to read this one!


The Program is out April 30, 2013 and released by Simon Pulse

a Goodreads link would be helpful, huh? That's what I get for being fuzzy this morning - sorry!


** On a blog note, my review of This is Not a Test is coming up - it'll be a bit late, though

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Size 14 is Not Fat Either ~ Meg Cabot review

Size 14 is Not Fat Either (Heather Wells #2)
Avon Books
November 28, 2005
344 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

*Review of Size 12 is Not Fat (Heather Wells #1)*

Assistant dorm - er, resident hall, sorry - director Heather Wells has the usual roommate reassignments to make on the first day of winter semester at New York College, but those are really the least of her worries.

A cheerleaders head has been found . . . without the rest of her.


The Heather Wells books are such fun because they're a great blend of some celebrity fun (Heather being a former pop star), some light mystery, and humor. Reading Size 12 is Not Fat the first Heather Wells book will give you more of the background on Heather, the different men in (or not in) her life currently, her parents and how she came to be working as an assistant dorm director after being a famous popstar.

It's not, however, all that necessary, that you read Size 12 to read - and enjoy (and follow) - Size 14. Enough recapping is done as to who different characters are, why they're in Heather's life and basic info, that you get the basic info.

Sure, you'll probably enjoy the series more if you read it all together, but it seems to be written so that each can be read individually.

The main - and not so main - characters from the first book are back again. Some of them you'll be thrilled to see again (or even see a little more of) and some, you might, at first, wonder why they are back. It all works out, though.

While the mystery aspect was not as strong in Size 14 as it was in Size 12, it's still there and still a great part of the story. It didn't keep me guessing - less because I had it figured out and more because it wasn't a think-you've-figured-it-out-but-ha-red-herring type mystery and more of one that just unfolded more and more.

There were little parts of the novel that did surprise me - that I think were more part of a mystery and I loved their inclusion.

The characters and their interactions were the stronger part of Size 14. Smaller things introduced in the first book were expanded on - not just the relationship between Cooper and Heather but other relationships Heather has or had. It was great that the relationships in this series aren't stagnant while whatever mystery is going on and that, in fact relationships that seem to be sort of a throwaway mention weren't so throwaway after all.

!The conversations we hear about Pete's five kids makes me wish we'd hear just the tiniest bit more about them, but I don't know where they'd ever fit in!)

The ending holds some promise for where Book 3, Big Boned will go - and you know someone(s) else is going to die . . . it just seems to happen around Heather.

A great, funny, goofy - and light - mystery series from Meg Cabot.

Rating: 8/10



(I have reviews of Big Boned (#3) and Size 12 and Ready to Rock (#4) arc coming up super soon!)




**This is one of Meg Cabot's 'adult' series so it may have slightly more adult content than her YA series . . . I don't see it being inappropriate, at all though - if I missed something, let me know**


Teaser Tuesdays





Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:


"I...What?"

"Melody: The Fragrance. It smells good."

from pg 27 of Thumped by Megan McCafferty (Bumped, Book 2)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taken by Storm ~ Jennifer Lynn Barnes review

Taken by Storm
EgmontUSA
May 22, 2012
314 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

** Contains Spoilers for Raised by Wolves and Trial by Fire -- even if they weren't amazing reads (they are), this book alone would dictate reading them just so you could read it; it's that good **

Bryn has more to deal with than most teenage girls. There are the parental problems, boy issues and having to protect her friends that most girls would deal with. Only in Bryn's life those usually translate to Ali disagree with some crazy plan Bryn has, the boy is Chase a werewolf and protecting her friends is something Bryn has to do literally as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack.

As the only human alpha, Bryn knows she's vulnerable - and that makes her pack vulnerable. Willing to do anything to protect them, she's willing even to give up her humanity.

While she waits for the wolf who promised to make that change possible for her, a Senate meeting is called. This meeting, however, is not in the (relatively) friendly territory of Bryn's former pack, Stone River. It's been called by Shay.

Human bodies are turning up again. And again the Senate believes it to be the work of a Rabid.

A Rabid, Something Bryn and those in her pack never wanted - or expected - to have to face again. Even worse, this time they feel they may already know who they're facing. One of their own.


This has to be one of the best werewolf series. Period. It's also one of the best series. Period.

I loved the first two books but this book - and Jennifer Lynn Barnes - broke me. I don't even know what to do with the . . . everything in my head that needs to come out as words for a review. But I will try.

While I feel this way about all books, it's especially true about Taken by Storm: Please don't read the ending first!


Plot:


Trial by Fire seemed like it made it obvious where Taken by Storm would go. Bryn wanted to be strong enough to protect her pack, even if that meant not being human . . . and it seemed like that change would happen right away for Taken by Storm - and be the basis for this third novel. It's not, however.

This third (and I please don't let it be final or I will break even more) book is about a Rabid but in such a different way than the second book was.

A lot of things that weren't brought up, discussed, mentioned, or explained in the previous two books about werewolf lore in the Raised by Wolves universe are in this book. We learn more about how things operate and what it means.

Without revealing too much - or much of anything at all, really (*mwah ha ha*  - really, though, spoilers = bad) I love the twists Barnes can put on things. I'll think I have things figured out. That things can only go one way or that it's obvious X or Y has to happen . . . and then 34 will. She deserves a whole other PhD for writing craftiness.


Characters:


So I'm madly in love with most of these characters. This series is my favorite kind of paranormal/supernatural read: The paranormal aspects are incredibly strong (the werewolf world is incredibly well built/established) and the relationships between the characters are just as strong - if not stronger. In fact, they add to the paranormal side of the story.


The tension between Shay and Devon and Devon and his mother, between Bryn and Sora is so pitch perfect because there is that familial (or almost familial) bond there but then also that real, deep cutting pain that wouldn't be possible if this weren't a werewolf tale. If Sora had just beaten Bryn, after the relationship they'd had, and they'd both been human, she'd be a completely callous, forever irredeemable character--and even including her in the story would seem pointless.


Barnes uses both her characters 'other' and their humanity to perfection. Nowhere more so than in Taken by Storm.

Then she balances that with Devon's freaking adorable love of showtunes. (Do you see why I heart her?) The friendship between Devon and Bryn (and Lake but mostly Devon and Bryn) is one of my absolute favorites EVER. I love them. Love them.


Overall:


The intricacies that Jennifer Lynn Barnes is able to work into her novels - and not only not lose anything, but seemingly gain things sometimes - with remembering tiny things and bringing them back into play, makes the novels such a joy to read. 

That the characters relationships have grown so much since Raised by Wolves and we've seen new characters introduced, literally to the pack, who have only added to the awesomeness, is just brilliant.

While this book did break me, it made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry and then it left me speechless (at least as to how to convey how amazing I found it), so I'm hoping this review I finally managed to write made some sense. This book reminded me what a 10+ stars book really is.

Please go read it (but read Raised by Wolves and Taken by Storm first!!)

Rating: 10+/10

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Code Name Verity ~ Elizabeth Wein (eARC) review

Code Name Verity
Hyperion Books for Children
May 15, 2012
343 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon


She's been captured in Nazi-occupied France and knows the outcome will be the same no matter what she does: in just a matter of weeks they will shoot her. It's what they do to enemy agents and she's a member of the British military.

If she cooperates, though, gives them all she can remember about the British War Effort, they'll continue to give her all the paper she wants or needs to write her story down on. The story that led to her plane, the one flown by Maddie, crashing, her being captured, Maddie somewhere and now this story being told . . . She may be a traitor but she's going to stay alive and finish writing her story - the one that starts wit Maddie, her friend and a brilliant pilot.


I hate when books that everyone else (or it seems like everyone else) loves, just don't work for me. Code Name Verity was getting such fantastic reviews - from publications as well as bloggers and authors - that I was thrilled when it was offered on NetGalley.*

I tend to really enjoy historical fiction including YA and MG historical fiction. That it was set during World War II and about the role girls - and women - had in the war effort aside from being nurses (the way everyone already knows they were involved).

Part One of Verity is told through the story the main character, the one captured and held prisoner by the Nazis, is writing for her captors. She does not have a name for a large portion of that telling so she won't here, either. She tells of Maddie, how she got into flying and how they met.

Her tale is told through little glimpses or anecdotes that give us the basic ideas of how a got to b to c but not a lot of interaction between different characters and not a lot of action. The way the story was told made it hard for me to get into Verity or connect with the characters. It was a very slow read for me.

Something about the way this story was told was just not for me. The premise was interesting - I loved the idea of the girl's friendship, seeing what they would be allowed to do given the time period and what would actually happened to the captured character - but it just didn't align for me.

Whatever was keeping me a bit disconnected from the story, kept me also from really seeing their great friendship. It was an interesting story to me but that was about it.

I did like Part II more, but I think that was because it was more continuous storyline as well as the fact that a lot had already been established in Part I.

Check Goodreads for reviews from lots of people who did connect with the book and loved it!


Rating: 6/10


Other book(s) you might also enjoy: Parallel Journeys by Eleanor Ayer with Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck



Thank you to NetGalley and Hyperion for letting me read this book.


*Disney/Hyperion hasn't been offering e-galleys to bloggers as of late, this was a 'Read Now' title and available to all NG members

What Day Is It? - Teaser Tues & Waiting On Wed

This week I seem incapable of keeping up with what day of the week it is. (Tuesday morning I was sure it was Friday morning!) I blame it on it being summer.

Since I've missed my meme posts this week - for Teaser Tuesdays and Waiting On Wednesdays but still would like to share them with you, I'm posting both of them, together, today . . . even with it being Thursday.

Next week I promise to be (or try much hard to be) more up on what day it is!




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:

Could he possibly know about the . . . thing I could do? Would he report it?

-pg 39 of Glitch (arc) by Heather Anastasiu





Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine



My Waiting On Wednesday book is a YA that caught my attention even before I read and reviewed Between Me and You but got bumped much further up my list after BMaY, it's:

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

 Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even
I loved their adult read Between Me and You and now it looks like I'll soon have a new YA read from them . . .

The synopsis was making me think of Lauren Barnholdt and Sarah Mlynowski even before they were mentioned - and I LOVE them - so I really don't see any negatives there. I really do love contemporary YA romance that's humorous as well.

As yesterday's review made pretty clear, I greatly enjoy McLaughlin and Kraus' writing - they write together incredibly well and you really can't tell one's writing from the other (at least in the one example I, so far, have). Now, with another book of theirs, also with such an appealing synopsis coming out (and so soon!) . . . well, I can't wait!

Over You will be out August 21st from HarperTeen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Between You and Me ~ Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus (eARC) review

Between You and Me
Atria Books
June 12, 2012
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon


She may have an apartment she doesn't like, a-maybe-kind-of-sort-of boyfriend she's not sure about and a roommate she ended up with through a chain of events, but twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade has made her own life in New York City. Away from her parents in Oklahoma and away separate from her world famous pop star cousin Kelsey Wade.

Logan and Kelsey were best friends when they were younger, cousins just two years apart in age who wished they were sisters. Then something happened and Kelsey left Oklahoma to become famous and she and Logan haven't seen each other in more than a decade and a half.

When Logan gets a call saying that Kelsey wants to see her, though, she's on the next plane to Los Angeles . . . and about to discover more about Kelsey Wade's world than she anticipated. And that less has changed from their troubled childhood than anyone would think. Especially when an offer comes to be Kelsey's assistant.



The co-authors of The Nanny Diaries and the YA novel The Real Real have penned a book that looks inside the life of a troubled pop starlet. While Kelsey is a fictitious character and all references to real people - Hollywood actors, singers, etc - are fictitious as well it rings true. It also seems to mirror, in the biggest points, at least, Britney Spears' life circa 2004 on.

Kelsey is not Britney Spears' though (she looks different, physically, for one), her life - family life and past - seems much darker. Her parents are both ever-present and very controlling. They have final say on things in both their daughter's personal and professional life.
Even picturing a different looking person, I kept
thinking of Britney Spears' Everytime video 

When Logan comes to Los Angeles to visit Kelsey, she can tell that something isn't quite right with Kelsey. She's also still not comfortable around her uncle after the way her was during their childhood but everyone promises her he's different now.

Readers are kept out of the loops as to just what the 'accident' was that injured Logan, drove Kelsey and her mother out of town and left Kelsey and Logan's father's - and families not speaking. Logan has mini-flashbacks and things are slowly revealed but without too many hints beforehand.

We do see that Logan cares a great deal for Kelsey so it makes sense that she's willing to leave everything behind - and even anger her parents - to be Kelsey's assistant.

It's also clear to see that Kelsey's damaged.

Even when everyone around her is covering for her or pushing her on, as the outsider, the reader, you can't help but feel for her - and for Logan who's put into almost impossible situations and starts almost to see things as her norm.

If Between You and Me had any faults, really, it was that it left me thinking about it after it was over. While it is a great summer beach-y read -- the celebrity aspect is terribly fun. the music business and tour ins and outs seem to be handled very well -- it isn't frothy and pointless. After I finished it, I was left wondering about why some of the characters did some of what they did, whether it made sense for them, if there should have been more follow-through on some things, if a thing or two wasn't just done to advance the plot . . .

But when I was reading it, I didn't wonder any of those things because I was too wrapped up in the story. Between Me and You really draws you in. (You also cannot tell any difference in McLaughlin and Kraus' writing, it flows seamlessly.)

Looking forward to checking out their YA novels and also The Nanny Diaries, too.

(Note regarding YA appropriateness: This is an adult book but would be find for most older YA readers. There's a good bit of casual/early sex which I don't really like in YA or adult books but it's not explicit. There's also some language/drug mention. Overall, not much more than most YA books.)

Rating: 8/10

Thank you Simon & Schuster/Atria Books and NetGalley for my e-galley








Soundtrack:

Everytime ~ Britney Spears
Wonderwall ~ Ryan Adams
I Look Up to You ~ Jamie Lynn Spears

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Something Like Normal ~ Trish Doller (eARC) review

Something Like Normal
Bloomsbury USA Children's
June 19, 2012
224 pages
add to Goodreads/Buy from TBD/or Amazon


When nineteen-year-old Travis Stephenson returns home on leave from Afghanistan, it's not all a balloons and music - if even that is what his mom had to welcome him home with. After the happy welcome, Travis faces a much different reality: his parents' marriage is falling apart, his brother has pilfered his girlfriend and taken over his car and Travis keeps seeing his best friend everywhere. Only problem is Charlie died in Afghanistan.

It isn't until Travis meets - re-meets, really - Harper Grey in a bar, a girl that he has a sorted past with that things begin to look like they might be able to turn around for him. As he and Harper spend more time together, Travis seems able to deal with both his family problems and his own - and not just wait it out until he's back at base or in Afghanistan where he, oddly enough, seemed to feel more at home.

Maybe with Harper he won't be able get back to normal, but something like it just might do.


Something Like Normal is a brilliant, fantastic debut with a lead character like one I doubt you've ever read before and like one I doubt you'll ever read again.

I spent the beginning of the book trying to figure out who it was Travis reminded me of - which character. I went through every remotely military character from books, TV, movies and came up with nothing. I thought about male main characters or narrators and still came up with nothing. Know why? He doesn't remind me of anyone.

I thought he did because Trish Doller has drawn him so well, flesh her character out so full that even after just a little bit of the story, I felt like I knew Travis. (Which, in turn, led me to thinking he reminded me of someone else.) He is a character that feels so real, so quickly that it's hard to believe you just 'met' him a few pages or chapters ago.

The relationship between Harper and Travis is fantastic. It's pretty much perfect in that it's not perfect. They have their flaws and Travis does not become healed and whole just because of Harper's existence and she (I love her for this) is also pretty tough herself and doesn't forget their past just because. Right from the beginning they're pretty adorable.

The military aspects of Something Like Normal all seem to be on point (and based on the acknowledgments I'd say they are) and add greatly to the story. Not only are they part of what makes - and keeps - Travis seeming so real, it's something that makes this novel both incredibly relevant and important. Aside from being just an immensely enjoyable book, I applaud Trish Doller for the subject matter as well.

Please do go read this book, it's fantabulous (see, I held out on that word until now because it doesn't quite fit with the book, per se, but does fit with my opinion of it). It is a 9 and not a 10 only because I might have liked to see a little bit more on some of the secondary characters or towards the end.


Rating: 9/10*








Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for my e-galley of this title 


*bonus points were only given in my head for mentioning the place I live . . . I'm weird like that

Monday, June 18, 2012

One Breath Away ~ Heather Gudenkauf (eARC) review

One Breath Away
Harlequin MIRA
June 26, 2012
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

It's a startlingly, suddenly cold spring day, the last day before Spring Break in Broke Branch, Iowa when the gunman walks into the school. The ancient, housing grades K through 12 is where nearly all of the two spent their school years but now it's facing an unknown threat.

In all but the one classroom - taken hostage, students just know that they're under a lockdown - and that it doesn't seem to be  a drill, that something actually seems to be happening. Outside, the police have received a call from an unknown man who claims to be in the school. Tens, if not hundreds, of students' 911 calls seem to only be jumbling the message of what's happening (and jamming the phone lines).

With a freak snowstorm slowing down the arrival of outside help, it's u to the tiny town's police department to decide how to handle the situation.

And get everyone out safely.


Much like Heather Gudenkauf's first two novels, One Breath Away uses several narrators - in this case five - to tell the story: Augie, a thirteen-year-old girl new to the town; Meg Barrett, one of the town's police officers whose daughter would ordinarily be in the school; Will Thwaite, farmer and Augie's grandfather; Holly, Will's daughter and Augie's mother who left Broken Branch after high school and promised never to be back; and Mrs. Oliver, the school's third grade teacher.

Augie, Holly and Meg's narrations are told in the first person while Will and Mrs Oliver's are in the third person. As with The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden the narration by the different characters allows us to learn a great deal about each of them and their back story as we progress through the current goings on and readers are able to progressively care more about each of the characters and get invested in the plot at the same time.

About the narrators/characters:
While Holly's sections seemed shorter - and that made sense given her location and condition - I was very glad that she was a part of the story. Her relationship with both Will, her father and Augie, her daughter, (and, through their telling, her song P.J. and her mother) really rounded things out and made that family relationship seem whole and was the strongest 'unit' in the book.

Augie and P.J. have had to leave their life (and mother) behind in Arizona after an accident left her badly burned and still in the hospital. They've only been in Broken Branch a few months on the day the gunman comes in. Knowing their past, though, gives you more of a connection with Augie and makes her much more relatable as she worries so desperately about her brother.

Knowing the past also makes it easier to understand some of Will's desperation to see them safe, to have his chance.

Seeing Mrs Oliver as more than a teacher was fantastic. I loved her story. not only did it make her into a great character, it made her not 'just another character' that you kind of worried about.

Meg, a police officer who moved to Broken Branch with her young daughter following her divorce, was a good character and I appreciated her story, but I found her to be the weakest of all of the narrators. Possibly because she had the least interaction outside the here and now - or possibly I just didn't connect with her. She was by no means a bad character, I just liked the others much more.

The plot:
In One Breath Away there's not violence and terror every page, despite there being a gunman in a school, but there is tension and fear. Gudenkauf knows how to use the switching perspectives to her advantage, changing from one character to another just as something is revealed (or about to be). It's not a book to be afraid to read - it's a book to be afraid to put down. This book keeps the tension high, the present story is broken up with past recollections that, instead of breaking the tension, actually raise it by stealing you away from it and leaving you wondering what's happening.

While set in a small, small town One Breath Away doesn't have characters' relationships that are as interwoven as her previous novels (at least based on my memory), but that's not a fault here. She's quickly becoming a writer I know will have a great plot - this time with incredible tension - but also fill the story with fantastic character relationships so that you also care about the characters.

Rating: 8/10

Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for my egalley of this title

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (a bit late)

Yesterday got weird and my WOW post didn't get posted . . . it's a book I very much want/am waiting on, though, so I'm putting it up today despite it being Thursday ;-)



Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week is Sweet Shadows (Medusa Girls #2) by Tera Lynn Childs


Three teenage descendants of Medusa, now united, must claim their heritage to fight the monsters escaped from the abyss.

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters--after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss--but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes.

Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home--like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?


I really loved the first book, Sweet Venom - it reminded me of a Buffy season ("With kickbutt girls, boys I can see become crush-worthy, and monsters galore - it's like a Buffy fix in book form. I LOVE it!"), I loved that the sisters were unique, individual characters - and the first book left me eager to read the second.


Sweet ShadowsSeptember 4th from Katherine Tegen Books - a Harper imprint // Goodreads/Book Depository/Amazon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar ~ Kady Cross (eARC) review

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (The Steampunk Chronicles #2)
HarlequinTEEN
May 22, 2012
416 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

*Contains spoilers for The Girl in the Steel Corset my review*

When their friend Jasper is hauled off to America, accused of murder, Griffin, Finley, Emily and Sam know they can't just stay in London and let whatever happens to him, happen. Following in Griffin's private airship they plan to prove to the New York lawmen what they know to be true: Jasper's no murderer.

But Jasper and his friends soon, separately, realize it wasn't the police that took him into custody. A lawless former acquaintance, maybe even friend of Jasper's is requesting his help. Extorting it, more like. Jasper can return the device he stole and the girl he loves will stay safe. If he doesn't, well . . .

The clockwork collar around her neck can tighten seemingly on his whim.


The Girl in the Clockwork Collar brings Finley Jayne and the other characters from The Girl in the Steel Corset to New York City, in 1897. It's a great time full of high society, new things, but also some crime (that allows the plot to take place brilliantly) as well.

While Clockwork Collar is the second in this series and readers will definitely get more enjoyment out of it if they've already read TGitSC, it might not be necessary to understand things. Author Kady Cross does a great job reminding returning readers slash informing new readers in the beginning what different things like the Organites are, what's unique about the different characters. It's a great refresher if you've read the first book and also keeps readers who've just picked this book up from being lost.

The set-up of Clockwork Collar is a bit different from Steel Corset, focusing more on Jasper and on Finley than it did on the group as a whole last time around. We still see the group, but the action is centered differently. It's also set more around Jasper's old friend who's into crime and that life whereas last time The Machinist and Finley's self-discovery lent the book more of a steampunk air.

This is still a steampunk book  . . . just with less steam? There are less machines, less contraptions in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (or seem to be). It's still obvious that it's not a straight, how we remember it version of 1897 but it's not full of as many extra things as The Girl in the Steel Corset was.

The developments the characters received - especially with the slightly different was the novel was focused - was very enjoyable. I liked the introduction of the new characters and the way they played a role in the interaction of the relationship of the four main characters of the series.

I missed the machine and extra steampunk invention bits from the first book and it wasn't quite as exciting but enjoyed seeing the characters back for another round. It was also great to see more of Jasper.

Rating: 8/10


Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for my e-galley of this title

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Hey, it's Tuesday, isn't it?  Time for Teaser Tuesdays then. . .



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 • Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:

That was my first mistake. Hell turned out to be in front of me, over a block away from the New Street fire.

-pg 23 The Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye

I haven't quite gotten into this one yet but it's interesting so far. It's the one I wanted to read after seeing the trailer (you can see it in my post here)


"1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever." You can read more about the book, etc on Goodreads

Timepiece ~ Myra McEntire (eARC) review

Timepiece (Hourglass #2)
EgmontUSA
June 12, 2012
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

You should absolutely read Hourglass first - not just because the plot's important, also because of how stupendous a book it is! - my review (with Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depo links)

Sometimes it can be hard to contain just how much I love a book - and wait until the pre-determined review post date/my review goes live, such is the case with Timepiece by Myra McEntire.

This sequel to 2011's Hourglass has Kaleb, Emerson, Michael and the others from both the Hourglass and Ivy Springs in even more danger. Jack Landers, the man who tried to killed Kaleb's father appears, attacks, and then timeslips back away just as quickly.

Forced to find him - or face results they'd rather not even think of, results that will mess wit the very fabric of time - they'll have to use their powers, those they already know of and those they're just discovering. But where do they even start looking for the man - and his research on the time gene?

And why is it that Kaleb can now see time travellers? He never could before. Is he gaining a new ability or are things - for the better or the worse - changing more than they ever could have though as time, the past, present and maybe even future seem to come together around them.

Can they find Jack, keep themselves safe and find out what's really happening with all the different players- both good and bad (and who's which)?


Hourglass was pretty much amazeballs. You should probably go into my review of Timepiece knowing I thought that. The only thing that really could have made it better was more Kaleb. (And if you disagree, how have you and I coexisted on the same planet for so long?)

Timepiece delivers more Kaleb in spades. Told from Kaleb's point-of-view, this follow-up gives us more sexy Kaleb but we also get to see the empathetic, caring, sweet Kaleb we caught a glimpse of in Hourglass caring about Em. (Plus, he starts the book dressed up as a pirate . . . a drunk one. I really do love him. And Myra McEntire.) I pretty much dare you (here I go again with the daring, I know), to read the first chapter. If you don't love the book - and the characters after that, I might think you're crazy but . . . yeah I might think you're crazy.

I did miss some of my kick-butt Em in this book but I loved seeing things (and her) through Kaleb's eyes. It brought out the different side of some of the other secondary characters (Kaleb's dad) and their relationships that we really would not have gotten to see if this book had stayed with Emerson as the narrator. So, aside from my massive crush on Kaleb, plot-wise I loved that the book switched narrators - I think readers gain a lot of knowledge and insight into important people and events it would't have made sense for them to see via Em.

It's also absolutely fantastic that Lily is in this novel again. She was one of my favorites in Hourglass and I'm super happy she's back in Timepiece. I love her story - it's one of my favorites for a secondary character that I can think of, period - and I love how she interacts with the different characters (Emerson, Kaleb, etc).

The science fiction, time travel elements of Timepiece are just as strong in Myra McEntire's sophomore novel as they were in her debut (except for maybe missing a Doctor Who reference or two) and I love that it makes sense. Obviously it isn't something I can carry out/physicists might take issue with it but it's not this illogical, plot-wholey thing. This is a timeslip book and the timeslips/travel are a strong part of the story/plot and work incredibly well. They make me wish (almost) that I could (sometimes) seem rips!

In case you couldn't tell, I'm more than a little bit in love with Timepiece, still love Kaleb (more so now), love Em (especially after one scene involving a DVD), love Lily, like Michael more (what? I'm weird), and absolutely, positively canNOT wait for Infinityglass (Hourglass #3).


Rating: 10/10

Largest of large thank yous to EgmontUSA and NetGalley for my e-galley of this title

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dog on It ~ Spencer Quinn review

Dog on It (Chet and Bernie Mystery #1)
Atria
February 10, 2009
305 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon
- Boxset of the first two books (Dog on It & Thereby Hangs a Tail on Kindle and nook)


While it's not one of the new books I need to be finishing (getting there!!), Dog on It was insanely enjoyable and I don't, for a second, regret diverting my attention to it. Told in the first person - er, canine - by Chet, a police K-9 school almost graduate and current partner to Bernie a private investigator, Dog on It is likely unlike anything you've ever read before.

He may be a dog, but he's also, most definitely a detective and as Bernie and Chet investigate the disappearance - and maybe kidnapping - of a teenage girl more and more trouble, and bad characters find them. Chet may not understand everything Bernie worries about (his divorce, custody of his son, money - cash flow specifically) but he certainly proves all the sayings about the loyalty of dogs.

As they investigate we learn more about their personal lives - and Chet's taste in treats - and their past, specifically just what may have caused Chet to become a police school flunk out.


Insanely fun but also so, so good, you'll have trouble putting it down for anything. You'll also be sorry when it's over (despite a fantastic ending), but don't worry because it's just the first in a series with three more already out and the fifth in the series releasing in September.

Telling things from the dog's point-of-view is a great way to do things. It allows author Spencer Quinn to take certain liberties with the story: Chet zones out on parts of conversations that he finds boring, forgets certain parts of past events, tries to remember things but they tend to remind him of a bone he buried somewhere, or he just decides to take a nap. It's a great way to give readers a first person account of the story without giving us the whole story - or it seeming strange that we only get half conversations or stories.

It also allows for some fantastic humor: (After a mom tells her kid how he yawned means Chet's aggressive) "First of all, I wasn't yawning, only stretching my mouth, always nice and relaxing. Second, I wasn't feeling aggressive: She must have been confusing me with hippos, ugly brutes I'd seen on the Discovery Channel and wanted no part of..." (pg 45.)

Not only do I love, love Chet and find little bits of my different dogs in him, I also love that the mystery of Dog on It is strong as well. It doesn't take a backseat to being a cutesy dog book (nor, really, is it a cutesy dog book, I'm pretty sure Chet would find that insulting).

I'm beyond excited to read more in this series and hope we continue to get more about Bernie and see his character develop as well - I love seeing him through Chet's eyes.

If you love mysteries, love dogs at all (or can even put up with them), this is a book for you.

Rating: 9/10

Friday, June 8, 2012

Video Veneris

Today's video, while book related, isn't a book trailer but an author Q&A instead:

Susan Dennard's Something Strange and Deadly, the first in a series, releases on July 24th - and I'm anxious to read it because it sounds awesome.

It's Victorian, there are zombies, a necromancer, kidnapping, and a girl who has to take things into her own hands (all while her mother wants to secure their future by finding the most eligible bachelor to marry her).

Sounds like it could be perfect.

Watch the Q&A to find out more :)


Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard





The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Out July 24 from HarperTeen//Goodreads/Book Depo/Amazon



Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Selection ~ Kiera Cass review(ish)

The Selection (Book One)
HarperTeen
April 24, 2012
324 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

**Fair warning right now, this is a review(ish) or a review-lite because I'm not sure I'm able to get things together enough on this book for what I'd call a review with nothing stuck on the end of the word ;-) **

America Singer lives in a society, in the nation of Illea, that is divided by castes. Years and years ago the castes were decided and that is how you live now - unless you somehow find a way to pay your way up or are rewarded by the monarch or its government. America and her family are Fives (Ones are the highest, Eights are the lowest) so they are artists, their profession decided by their caste.

When the Selection is announced, most girls see it as the escape it seems to promise: a life full of beautiful, sparkling gowns, enough food . . . but most importantly a way out of whatever life they've always seen themselves in. It's also - perhaps most importantly - a chance to marry the Prince. Thirty five girls will be chosen, but only one will be Selected.

America, though, sees it quite differently. The Selection isn't something that promises the possibility of love, it's something that promises to take her away from the love she's already found. Aspen and America have been in love for years but the caste system has forced them to keep their romance a secret.

Joining the selection - competing for Prince Maxon's heart and a crown she doesn't want, either - will mean not only leaving Aspen behind but living in a palace almost constantly under rebel attacks.

But what will America think once she meets and spends time with Maxon? Will plans change?




The Selection is probably the most talked about YA novel (aside from maybe Cassandra Clare's novels) outside of book sites, lately. In both positive and negative ways. Some of the talk has undoubtedly been started by things other than the content of the novel (some drama by the editor and/or author and the possible TV pilot) . . . but a lot has also been about the book.

I'll admit that seeing a lot of really positive early reviews got me really excited for this one . . . that and the super gorgeous cover (what can I say, I'm a sucker for a pretty cover).

. . . Then some of the 'I-hate-this-book' reviews started to show up (or they were always there and I just don't follow those people on Goodreads or didn't look hard enough).

Any book that can draw such mixed reviews had me intrigued (again, just my Goodreads friends/those I follow - Goodreads as a whole has pretty balanced reviews 5 stars - 37%, 4 stars - 33%, 3 stars - 18%, 2 stars - 6%, 1 star - 4%).

So, I gave it a shot.

Described as The Bachelor or Cinderella meets The Hunger Games by the editor or blogs, I actually didn't see much, if any of The Hunger Games in The Selection. The Bachelor? Sure. With the one guy dating thirty five girls, that's kind of a given. Cinderella? Yeah, with disadvantaged (singing, even) girl becoming like a princess overnight.

Actually, though, the book reminded me a lot more of Wither. The whole set up of Illea in the beginning of the novel reminded me of the world Rhine was living in. It only reminded me more of Wither more once the story got going.


Wither had the different girls all living in a house and married to the same man, The Selection had them dating him, in Wither Rhine promises to despise him, in The Selection America's going to hate Maxon and just play along for a bit, in both the girls wonder if their feelings are changing.

That's not to say The Selection copies Wither, at all, just that it's what it reminded me of . . . and why I can't quite figure out why The Selection didn't work for me. Something about America just rubbed me the wrong way throughout the book.

She didn't seem like a real character, one that you could connect with. In the beginning she seemed obstinate just for the point of being difficult . . . then she'd start to give some and being difficult would kick in again.  She just didn't work for me.


If you want to give The Selection a shot - like I said, a lot of people did love it, I'm just not one of them - do know that this is very much an introduction-y Book I. It doesn't end on a cliffhanger, per se, but it's the most prequel-like first book in a series I've read lately.

(If you read all of that, or even most of it - I love you!)

Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday


Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine



I feel like all of my WOW posts should feature cupcakes now . . . except that might be really bad for my health ;-) So, here's this week's cupcake-less (sorry!) Waiting On Wednesday post:


34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues
There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along..

Thank you to Elizabeth Scott for drawing my attention to this book - I either missed it before or didn't pay close enough attention if I saw it. Cannot wait to read it now!!

Out September 4 from Simon Pulse//Goodreads and Book Depository


What book(s) are you waiting on this week?

Twisted ~ Sara Shepard review

Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9)
HarperTeen
July 20, 2011
307 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

*Will contain spoilers for the previous Pretty Little Liars books*

Stunning the 11th book in the Pretty Little Liars series was released yesterday, June 05 and its arrival at my door (thank you Harper!) alerted me to the fact that I have fallen behind in the PLL series . . . so I'm playing catch-up!

Twisted is the ninth book in the series, the first in the third little quartet and follows Wanted. The world now knows about Alison DiLaurentis. The trial's over, the girls know that the Alison they were friends with was really Courtney, her secret twin and that the real Alison killed her - and was 'A.' But Alison died in the fire she set in the Poconos to kill the girls . . .  even if they never found her body.

The whole A/Alison ordeal is behind them, the notes have stopped. There's even going to be a made-for-TV movie about the situation.

But Emily, Spencer, Aria, and Hanna, now seniors, have definitely not left their trouble behind them: Emily needs a swim scholarship (and might do anything to get it); Hanna's on the verge of ruining her father's campaign . . . and her own relationship; Aria has to deal with her boyfriend's new exchange student and their new cozy relationship; Spencer's mother has a surprise for her and Melissa that will change their family forever.



Twisted has a bit of a different tone from the previous Pretty Little Liars books. It still has the drama at every turn and each girl has something that could possibly go wrong at just about every moment - mixed, of course, with the crazy partying, some label name dropping and over the top experiences. But, there's not quite the feeling that 'A' is gong to ruing everything at any moment.

We learn of something at the start of the novel - that something happened but not what it is - that is the girl's big secret and the threat lorded over all of them. Readers don't know what exactly it is that happened, just that it getting out terrifies them.

Twisted feels a bit more like an introduction. There were four books, then there were eight and each set (sort of) concluded themselves. This one, being the ninth, opens some things back up. While it does have its own story and stands alone very well it doesn't quite make you think person x is 'A' only to disprove you it in the last few pages like most of the previous books did.

It does, however, leave you more than ready to pick up book 10 - especially as you see where the different characters (Emily and Aria, especially) are now. This is a great soapy, summer series. It should be crazy at this point that a girl who, apparently, killed someone when she was 13 is now still after these girls when they're seniors and possibly cannot die . . . but when you read it, you kind of forget logic.

(I may have noted this before in a another PLL review . . . Twisted made me worry about drunk driving. I know it's great to have teenage characters drunk, buzzed, whatever at a party for whatever reasons, but when you have them drive home with no mention of the drunk-ness except for something later ruining their buzz . .. . Yeah, problem.)

Rating: 8/10
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