Monday, November 25, 2013

Just Like Fate ~ Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young review

Just Like Fate
Simon Pulse
August 27, 2013
304 pages
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Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay there will be double
So you gotta let me know
Should I stay or should I go
-"Should I Stay or Should I Go" from The Clash's Combat Rock

Stay or go? That's the question Caroline's facing. Along with her family, Caroline's been at her grandmother's side since the older woman suffered a stroke days earlier. Now, though, with Gram maybe dying and the tension between Caroline and her estranged family growing, all she wants to do is get away. From them and from the possibility of Gram's death.

When Simone, her best friend, invites Caroline out to a Friday night college party it poses the perfect dilemma: Stay or Go.

The one decision sends Caroline's life onto two very distinct paths, two different lives; each of which she'll live in Just Like Fate.
Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones.

All of the reasons I wanted to read Kasie West's Pivot Point applied to Just Like Fate, as well. The alternate choice slash alternate reality novel is something I tend to find really appealing. I love to find where, if anywhere, the tales overlap; to see what's present, for the characters, in both realities. It's also really interesting to see what's completely, completely different for them between the two paths. It gives something to thing about not only with the characters' lives, but with reality and your own life.

Pairing the parallel realities with the authors of this novel and this was one I really had to read. I love Cat Patrick's three solo novels (Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals) and I'm in love with The Program by Suzanne Young and eagerly awaiting its follow-up The Treatment. 

The story mostly alternated chapters between what would have happened if Caroline had stayed with her family and Gram versus if she had gone to the party. The two paths were different enough, especially in the beginning, that it was easy to distinguish between which choice's tale/consequences you were following.

I didn't love the realtionship(s) in this novel quite as much as I've loved those in the authors solo works. It makes sense, though, with each version of Caroline only having half of the novel, there was only, really, part of half of a book for each couple. I still liked those in a lot of books.

The male, possible, romantic leads in Just Like Fate had great backgrounds and weren't that 'typical' character. Even the one who seemed more typical, was less typical beneath the surface. Both Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young can create characters who are really intriguing, have a compelling history and enhance the story.

Just Like Fate seemed to be the perfect 'What if?' book. Maybe Caroline wondered, in either of the paths that could have been chosen where the other would have lead - but as readers we saw. Even better than being able to see where X lead while also knowing where Y took her, was seeing the things that would happen with either choice.

Seeing the possibilities - of another choice, another 'life' - for the main character, also seem to create a deeper connection with Caroline. As she's experiencing some sort of hardship as the result of one choice, it's hard not to wish for something that's going easier for the 'other' Caroline.

As the synopsis says, though:
Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...
it's just a matter of getting there . . .

Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Bride Wore Size 12 ~ Meg Cabot review

Meg Cabot will be at Miami Book Fair International this weekend - will you be there? 

** Synopsis/review contain spoilers for the first three books, should be spoiler free for Book 4. My reviews of those books:
Series' Reviews/Order:
#1 Size 12 is Not Fat
#2 Size 14 is Not Fat Either
#3 Big Boned
#4 Size 12 and Ready to Rock

The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5)
William Morrow Paperbacks
September 24, 2013
392 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

This was a great possible conclusion to the Heather Wells Mystery series.  Personally and romantically, Heather is now in a different place, in the final days before her wedding to Cooper Cartwright but she's still assistant director at Fischer Hall. Or Death Dorm as it's become to be known.

Determined that this year is going to be different - that none of her students are going to die; only it doesn't seem to matter what Heather's decided.

A dead girl, Heather and Cooper's impending wedding and Fischer Hall's VIR (Very Important Resident) and it seems that Heather has more than enough to deal with.

She certain doesn't need her estranged, long-gone mother to reappear as well. So, of course, that's just what happens.

In this fifth book in the series (possibly? not?) the last in the series, Meg Cabot did a fantastic job of moving Heather to a new place in her life. It brings a bit of a change to the feeling of the book - as compared to the four previous books. Yet, the mystery that is present in the student's death (with 'Death Dorm'), in Heather going above and beyond in trying to solve the mystery brings a continuity to The Bride Wore Size 12 that keeps what makes the series great.

We get fantastic character (and relationship) growth and development while the humor and mystery that have made the series great haven't gone anywhere. If anything, Cooper being a definite, defined part of Heather's life now brings out more of Heather's daring and adds humor to the story.

The Cartwright family is not as present in this installment as they were in Size 12 and Ready to Rock (#4) - where Jordan was a big part of the story, so it made sense - but they're there and it's good to see Heather's 'family' expanding. She's flying as solo as she was when the series started. It adds new elements to how she has to run her life, what she needs to consider and it was enjoyable seeing them become now only part of her thoughts but also part of the story.

I really loved that the mystery in this book worked as well as those in the previous novels. There's the main 'big' mystery of the death, but also the smaller side plots that Heather has to deal with and/or unravel. The addition of some new characters brought some interesting twists.

A few small points did not seem to be resolved or explained at the end, however. They could have simply been character traits, quirks that played into the story, but they did leave questions. I would have liked a few sentences or a paragraph here or there as answers.

With humor, emotion and a fun mystery The Bride Wore Size 12 is a great Heather Wells Mystery.

Tiny note: I listened to some of the audio of this and while it is a good audio listen, it's not one of my favorites. Gavin and Cooper sounded too similar for me to really love it.  It's a great read, though.

Rating: 9/10

received from publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program

Friday, November 15, 2013

Losing It ~ Cora Carmack review

Losing It
William Morrow
February 26, 2013
288 pages
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Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

It may be my fault for reading a book with the synopsis - and title - Losing It has and being me, but I still have a problem with Losing It. I was really torn on whether or not to review this one at all . . .

I'll start with the good: Losing It deals with a student/teacher relationship, one that also crosses that line from what's appropriate given those roles. The ages of the two characters work well here, so that, while it's still inappropriate it doesn't have the icky factor. There also isn't much 'authority' that comes into play, despite Bliss being the student, they stay closer to equals.

It's a short novel and a there isn't a lot that occurs at the college or in the class so there are not many chances for that student/teacher dynamic to really come into play. It allows the characters to stay on equal footing, but it also prevents some character development.

The guy is the perfect, sweet, book reading, sexy, British buy. Except, that's just it.  Pair him with Bliss the college senior who's terribly burdened by her maidenhood and desperate to lose it, going along with her best friend Kelsey, "Sex seemed simpler for Kelsey. She had the body of a Barbie and the sexually-charged brain of a teenage boy." (pg 5) to a bar to find a guy and, well, it's too much.

He needs to have some flaws. Bliss needs to not feel like her life is horrible because she's a virgin, while at the same time freaking out that she's not ready to have sex. If she's not, then fine. If her 'slutty' (as she says) best friend has sex and all her other friends do, then fine. She doesn't need to go out with the plan of having a one night stand.

Things worked for Bliss because Garrick was MrTooPerfect. It was hard not to imagine - when realizing how not ready for things Bliss was - how many ways things could have gone wrong and how much trouble she could have ended up in if Garrick had even been realistically ideal.

Given their student/teacher situation, her friends and the tension that was promised, I kept waiting for something to go wrong . . . but it didn't.

If you're looking for something simple and sweet with a perfect guy, Losing It should work. It think I was just expecting less perfect and more tension.

Rating: 5/10

Gabrielle Carolina of the Mod Podge Bookshelf did a much better job of saying some of the things I was trying to say - her review

You may also enjoy: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hostage Three ~ Nick Lake (earc) review

Hostage Three
Bloomsbury USA Children's
November 12, 2013
384 pages
add to Gooreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

From the author of the Michael L. Printz award–winning novel In Darkness comes a critically-acclaimed, fast-paced thriller that’s as dangerous as the seas on which it’s set.

The last thing Amy planned to do this summer was sail around the world trapped on a yacht with her father and her stepmother. Really, all she wanted was to fast-forward to October when she’ll turn eighteen and take control of her own life.

Aboard the Daisy May, Amy spends time sunbathing, dolphin watching and forgetting the past as everything floats by . . . until one day in the Gulf of Aden another boat appears. A boat with guns and pirates – the kind that kill.

Immediately, the pirates seize the boat and its human cargo. Hostage One is Amy’s father – the most valuable. Hostage Two: her stepmother. And Hostage Three is Amy, who can’t believe what’s happening. As the ransom brokering plays out, Amy finds herself becoming less afraid, and even stranger still, drawn to one of her captors, a teenage boy who wants desperately to be more than who he has become. Suddenly it becomes brutally clear that the price of life and its value are two very different things . .
I remembered that i liked the plot that Nick Lake had chosen for In Darkness and the real event - the 2004 Haitian earthquake - that he had chosen to center his novel around. It wasn't something that a lot of novels had been written around (at least that I've found).

Hostage Three is similar in that it's about a fictional teenage character in a very realistic situation. While in In Darkness Shorty was trapped by the hurricane, in Hostage Three Amy is aboard a yacht when it's taken by pirates.

Again taking on a topic that is seldom addressed not only in fiction - let alone YA fiction - but or in anything, really Lake doesn't allow things to be black and white; there are so many shades of grey. It's the grey, the lack of clearly defined 'good' and 'bad' characters - for the most part, at least - that make much of this story so compelling. It's not the 'good' guys on their trip who are taken over by the 'bad' pirates and that's that. We're given a deeper look at who these characters really are, their motivations. Some of it is to help you understand Amy, her person and her relationships, but some is to paint a fuller picture of Somalia, its history and pirating there.

Hostage Three became a much more complex story than I was expecting. Much deeper and infinitely more thought provoking. It was really very easy to connect with both Amy and this story. The pain it's obvious that she is in from the start of the novel on pulls you to her. The dual unfolding of the stories, both the main narrative of the ship and the pirates, but also Amy's past with her mother, parallel each other very well.

The vulnerability - yet also that hardened exterior - that her past has given her, put Amy in a unique position for what she experiences aboard the Daisy May. She does some things and does not do certain others that a character without that past wouldn't - at least not understandably. Her past pulls you in, but it's the present that really makes you feel for her . . . and hope for the future.

The characters make this a great book but so does the action and suspense. It's not just about the characters' feelings while they're being held hostage by pirates, it's also about what they pirates do, how they're held hostage, etc.

It is a very well done book for all audiences, about human emotion, relationships and the strange things desperation can lead us to do.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my egalley

Waiting On Wednesday: In the End

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
my pick this week:

In the End (In the After (#2) by Demitria Lunetta
Harper Teen
June 24, 2014
400 pages
add to Goodreads/pre-order on Amazon/or from Book Depository

The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures.

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

Fair warning: I may have this as my pick again, I want to read it that much!

Just over 222 days to go . . .

What are you waiting on this week? Link me in the comments!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Curtsies & Conspiracies ~ Gail Carriger (earc) review

Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
November 6, 2013
320 pages
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(Finishing School #1, Etiquette and Espionage review - I don't think synopsis or review below contains spoilers)

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger's YA debut Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

Sophronia has been been at Mademoiselle Geraldine's - her covert finishing school - for several months now and enjoying it as much as ever. With the characters first introduced to us in the first book of the series, Etiquette and Espionage, back for more lessons and more adventures, there's also more fun to be had.

It doesn't seem necessary to read the previous book before you read Curtsies and Conspiracies as the characters' roles, that general 'what' of the school and anything else crucial is recapped well. Reading it will give a better view of their relationships, past interactions - some of which influence the present and events in C&C - and a make for an all-around fuller story. It's also a fantastic book worth reading.

Admittedly, I never quite got the mystery that Sophronia - and her friends - were trying to unravel this time, not like I would have preferred. I kind of didn't care, though. Everything about her investigation, the work she put into uncovering different bits of the plot, the sneaking around, the subterfuge, even, was all so enjoyable. Along with the information that Sophronia - and readers - gather about the Finishing School world along the way, the school, friendship drama and the new (or newly acknowledged) relationship drama, all makes for a incredibly fun to read, really enjoyable story.

I, still, have yet to read the The Parasol Protectorate series for which this is a prequel/spin-off series, but this book helps give a deeper understanding of the world. How the vampires live, operate, the 'politics,' etc. We were introduced to the characters and the steampunk before with the mechanicals and the dirigible school, now we get more of the society. I liked it.

Some of the characters who have been a significant part of the story from the beginning took on some new roles in Curtsies and Conspiracies. Either literally or in Sophonia's eyes. I'm anxious to see where Book 3, Waistcoats & Weaponry take them. I do hope it's good! I also hope some of the new characters make more of an appearance next book . . . and maybe some of them make less of one.

The Finishing School series is proving to be a series that is great fun to read, one where I cannot wait for the release of the next book.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Deadline ~ Mira Grant (audio) review

Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy #2)
Orbit/Hachette Audio
June 1, 2011
561 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

** Contains spoilers for Feed's ending which !!! I recommend you read so, so much both before looking at this review or Deadline (or its synopsis) but also because it's really good **

Read my Feed review and stay away from Deadline if you haven't read Feed yet :-)

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun

I think that, somehow, possibly, I liked Deadline better than Feed. Something I didn't expect - or even know to be possible - especially after the ending of Feed.

While Feed set everything up, established the world that Shaun and Georgia lived in, the zombies and how they came to be, Deadline goes deeper. The Kellis-Amberlee virus, two things that together were supposed to - and did - save us from cancer and the common cold, but together led to the living dead is a known fact.

What's not as well known, what Shaun and Georgia were working to uncover is the truth - the truth about just what, Shaun's still finding out and in Deadline it's really something. Something that puts them all in danger: the regular After the End Times crew and a believed-to-be-dead CDC doctor who appears with some startling information. Information it seems someone doesn't want her to share.

I seriously love this book - this series, so far. The world that was already well imagined and built in Feed gets even better, even more firmly established and expanded on here. The characters uncover more and more that while making some things make no sense (on purpose) for a while, makes others make perfect sense.

The action scenes are done very well. I forgot (I think) to mention in the Feed review that the Newsflesh zombies aren't your usual shuffling, moaning zombies; some of them are fast. Their speed leads to great action. The characters don't have the advantage of standing back and, calmly, shooting them all from a distance, sometimes they have zombies, suddenly right on top of them. It adds a lot to the tension and suspense.

Mira Grant came up with, in Deadline, probably one of the best implemented and my favorite ways to keep a not-really-supposed-to-be-around character, around. A character I thought wouldn't be present for this second book and one I was going to miss a lot. It worked better than I first thought it was going to because it was fully, unabashedly part of the story. It was, pretty literally crazy but it worked fantastically.

Now, the ending. Remember how I said that the ending of Feed would make you want to read the next book (i.e. this one) asap? Well, I did. Except, that wanting had nothing on how much this book's ending will leave you wanting to read Book 3 Blackout.

Really. Really. Really. The ending.

Rating: 10/10

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
After the End (After the End #1) by Amy Plum
May 6, 2014
Harper Children's
add to Goodreads

"She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future."

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
I like novels where the characters believe one thing to be true about their world - particularly a dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic one - only to find their whole mindset is wrong . . . After the End sounds appealing.

What are you Waiting On this week? Link me!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ketchup Clouds ~ Annabel Pitcher (earc) review

Ketchup Clouds
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
November 12, 2013
272 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Dear Mr. S. Harris,

Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It's jam, not blood, though I don't think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn't your wife's jam the police found on your shoe. . . . (fm synopsis)
A Texas death row inmate death row inmate may be an unusual pen pal for an English girl sitting in her shed, writing letter in the middle of the night - but the story Zoe has to tell isn't your usual story. It's one she's been keeping mostly secret for months, a truth she's been masking with grief.  The story - the confession - of Zoe and two brothers, of Zoe's love and of the guilt she's carrying for killing someone she loved.

Through her one-way conversation - the letters are never returned, by Zoe's own design - Zoe just may be able to 'confess,' come to terms with what she's done and move forward.

Ketchup Clouds is Annabel Pitcher's second novel, following last year's My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. There is some definite mystery to Ketchup Clouds; we know that Zoe has killed someone - or at least, believes herself to have killed someone we just don't know who. Told through her letters to Stuart Harris, the death row inmate, the story is split into the present and the past within those letters. The past being the story that Zoe needs to tell, to confess.

Even as it becomes clear that the who she murdered is a he and it narrowed down to one of two people, Pitcher does a good job keeping things ambiguous. Just when it seems that a statement, an occurrence or something has clarified who died, something else will make it unclear again. The uncertainty lends a different air to Zoe's relationships with both characters. And to her behavior in the present.

The murder and Zoe's guilt are only part of Ketchup Clouds. Stuart, the almost non-character, as we only know what we know of and about him through what Zoe says, is an interesting addition; a unique outlet for Zoe. Zoe's family, her sisters Soph and Dot, her mother, her father, her grandfather and the dynamic between all of them - in all parts of the novel - is very well done. While to Zoe is may just be background noise, be the everyday goings-on, it's not background noise for the novel. It gives a fuller picture of who Zoe is but also of the personal guilt and growth themes of the novel.

The romance of Ketchup Clouds did seem to be a bit more secondary, a bit less in the forefront than Zoe's family and main 'story' did. What was there was great, though. I almost wished it could have been a larger chunk of the book, but that wasn't what this book was, that wasn't Zoe's tale. Maybe Annabel Pitcher will write something with more of a romance in it someday.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Naturals ~ Jennifer Lynn Barnes (earc) review

The Naturals
Disney Hyperion
November 5, 2013
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.
It's always been easy for Cassie to read people. While her mother used the learned skill to fake being a psychic, Cassie's only using her ability - more natural than she can explain - to read diners at her waitressing job.

Until the business card from the FBI and their proposition.

Helping the FBI solve cold cases seems doable enough - and like a way to get someone working on her mother's case. They never found her body, but she's presumed dead and Cassie wants to know what happened.

Telling her Nonna that she's leaving, moving seems like it will be the hardest part of the whole ordeal until Cassie meets the other 'students.' . . Once they're part of a real, current murder case.

The Naturals has elements of The Mentalist and Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder series and is great for fans of either of those. There's a fantastic mystery/thriller story line that presents the Naturals with something that not only requires they use their abilities to solve things, while staying safe, but they also have to (try to) overcome the friction amongst themselves, to sort out their relationships.

The bits of drams in the interpersonal interactions of the characters only adds to the mystery for readers. It's difficult to know if an action, reaction is because of past prejudices or because of current evidence. It definitely adds to the intrigue without being too much drama.

The Naturals stays in the YA-thriller land, but in the same way that Barry Lyga's Jasper Dent series (I Hunt Killers and Game) does. There's blood, there's some squicky description of murders and there's getting inside a killer's head. It's not adult, but it's not YA-lite, either.

Most of the secondary characters, the Naturals, especially, are strong, well developed characters. While one of them felt weaker than the rest to me, it also, oddly, fit with the character that she was hard to get a feel for and/or connect with. The other characters had interesting backgrounds - even if they were only hinted at. I can only hope we'll get to see more of where these characters came from, who they really are in latter books.

Michael reminds me a bit of Hale from Ally Carter's Heist Society series with his secret past, but also the richness and the flirting and the honesty.

One character did get away with something that I thought was pretty horrible, that no one seemed to mind and I'm secretly (perhaps not secretly now) hoping he's called on it later.

This book is one of the few where a potential love triangle is actually okay with me. Yes, I have a preference in it. No, I don't like both of the character choices equally, but it's written well enough that I can understand the appeal of both of them. At least, sort of.

So, I appear to still heart Jennifer Lynn Barnes muchly. The Naturals is pretty magnificent; original and creative with a main character, Cassie, who helps pull you into the story from the very beginning. I am looking forward to more of these characters and this world.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my egalley for review

Friday, November 1, 2013

Feed ~ MIra Grant (audio) review

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1)
May 1, 2010
571 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.
Feed is one of the books that I've been meaning to read for about forever but only recently actually did. Even with all of that 'meaning to,' I still, somehow, missed a large chunk of what the book - the trilogy - was about: As the author's own website says, "Feed is a distopian political zombie thriller set in against the backdrop of a national political campaign."

If you took a great political book, a great post-apocalyptic, dystopian zombie book and smooshed them together, you'd have Feed. Oh, and in said post-apocalyptic world, bloggers are now kind of everything (news, entertainment, zombie chasers, or chase-ees).

The zombies give Feed its world, its background; the politics, the campaign gives the big, central plot; and Georgia and Shaun are what bring it together. The strength of Feed is how well the world is built, from the larger 'how it got this way,' to the smaller details of how the day to day works, as well as in the characters and their relationships.

The political side of Feed isn't just there for show. They go along on a campaign, are part of it and that is definitely evident in the story. While it's not the kind of detail someone not interested in politics is likely to find tedious or boring, it's enough to feel real and legitimate.

Georgia, "George," and Shaun haven't grown up in a normal, stable family thanks partially to the times and partially to the situation that led their parents to adopt them both. We see how its affected them. The little things that come up throughout the book, how George reacts to people, how they both are with their parents. As well as the closeness the two of them have with each other. (Though there is that incest-y vibe.)

Their friend Georgette "Buffy" (whose name is chosen for the only acceptable reason it could be), is a brilliant addition to their team and the novel.

It's great that while the zombies are the plot, they also are not, at the same time. The campaign and, as the story progresses, their quest to find - and proclaim - the truth is the story. A world filled with zombies is Shaun, George and Buffy's day to day, without a larger, arching plot line, it wouldn't have worked.

What they're working to uncover - all while staying alive - adds tot he danger, the suspense and the mystery and helps the pacing. It never seems entirely clear who's part of what or what the final outcome witll be.

The ending, oh the ending, leaves you needing to read Book 2, Deadline ASAP.

Rate: 9/10

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