Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years' Eve + Reading Challenges

Happy New Year's Eve (and an early - to almost everyone - Happy New Year's!

What was your favorite read of 2014? What 2015 book are you most looking forward to?

I read a lot of great books this year and reviewed most of them but I haven't been able to come up with a favorite. One of the 2015 books I'm currently most looking forward to (there are so many!) is Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest. (Lucky for me it's out soon.)

Did you join any reading challenges for 2015? The ones I'll be trying are all here.

If you're doing any reading challenges, link me to your post, please!

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister

Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder --and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

The Magician's Lie will be published by Sourecebooks Landmark on January 6, 2015.
Add it to your Goodreads shelf / pre-order from Amazon / or from Book Depo

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Let me know in the comments (or link me to your own post)!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Gone Too Far ~ Natalie D Richards (earc) Tour Review + Dream Cast + Giveaway [@The_FFBC @NatDRichards]

Gone Too Far
Sourcebooks Fire
January 6, 2014
304 pages

Keeping secrets ruined her life. But the truth might just kill her.

Piper Woods can't wait for the purgatory of senior year to end. She skirts the fringes of high school like a pro until the morning she finds a notebook with mutilated photographs and a list of student sins. She's sure the book is too gruesome to be true, until pretty, popular Stella dies after a sex-tape goes viral. Everyone's sure it's suicide, but Piper remembers Stella's name from the book and begins to suspect something much worse.

Drowning in secrets she doesn't want to keep, Piper's fears are confirmed when she receives an anonymous text message daring her to make things right. All she needs to do is choose a name, the name of someone who deserves to be punished...


I really enjoyed Natalie D Richards first novel Six Months Later and eagerly anticipated reading her next; Gone Too Far was all that I hoped for.

Piper is a 'normal' high school girl. She isn't popular but she isn't an outcast, either. A devoted (and talented) photographer she always has a camera at the ready, leaving many conscious of how they appear around her.

It's what is beneath how her classmates appear, though, that soon becomes Piper's focus.

What causes Piper to view her friends differently, what diverts her from the path she was on, is one little notebook. Filled with transcriptions of her classmates wrongdoings (with pseudonyms, of course) and mutilated photographs, the notebook is nothing Piper ever expected to encounter. And what she does with it is something far different than even she expected.

I love that the notebook is this unassuming thing that Piper finds in such an unspectacular event that results in something so monumental. It makes the whole series of events, everything that happens to Piper, that she does, that she is a part of, something readers can easily identify with.

It is also great the Piper's feelings about the notebook, about the punishments aren't black and white. Things seem clear cut to her, but the more involved she becomes, the more questions she has and the more we see her internal turmoil. Both good and bad, liking what is happening and being a part of it and doubting it, wanting no more.

Piper is an easily relateable character and her emotions throughout everything that happens in Gone Too Far are realistic and believable. Her relationships, both those already established and those begun during the book are well done. They add to the story - the unfolding of events - and the unraveling of the mystery of who the 'anonymous' messages are from while also giving us insights into the different characters. Not everyone is who we - or Piper - think they are . . . and Piper may not be who she believed herself to be, either.

Gone Too Far managed to say something about human nature, about the choices we make and what they mean about us - or don't - while also having a cute romance and a great central character.

Book DepoB&N / iTunes / Kobo / Amazon


Kaya Scodelario
as Piper
Jeffrey Licon
as Manny
Colton Haynes 
as Nick
Grant Gustin
as Harrison
Allie Grant
as Tacey


At seven, Natalie D. Richards wrote about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) Now she writes about awesome girls, broody boys, and all things dark and creepy. Natalie lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her techno-wiz husband, three amazing kids, and a seventy pound dust-mop who swears he's the family dog. Her psychological thriller, Six Months Later, will be released in October 1, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire. Until then, you'll probably find her writing her next book or trying to wade through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom.

Details: Win (1) finished copy of Gone Too Far, a copy of Six Months Later and some swag (US Only)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gone Too Far received from publisher via NetGalley for this tour & review

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Eve & Review Repost [@Lyla_Payne @BloomsburyKids #BloomsburySpark]

Happy Christmas Eve (and for tomorrow, Merry Christmas, too) everyone! 

If you've realized you still need a gift for someone - whether you forgot, never could decide or your festivities feature an unexpected guest - an ebook is a great idea (and you don't have to worry about delivery)!

Of course, there are a lot of great books to give (and get) but here's one perfect for the season!

Mistletoe and Mr Right: A Christmas Romance
Bloomsbury Spark
November 20, 2014
150 pages
add to Goodreads/buy for Kindle

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…but lust refused to settle in for a long winter's nap.
She might be all nestled, snug in her bed, by why, oh why, do visions of the wrong guy dance in her head?

Jessica, (not Jessie), figures that nothing could be better than a trip to the Emerald Isle for Christmas break. So she takes a flying leap and follows her boyfriend home for the holidays, not only sure that he will finally agree they're destined for each other, but also that Ireland will provide the perfect backdrop to the beginning of their happily-ever-after.

But it turns out his family--and his gorgeous ex-girlfriend--don't feel the same way, and even the family goat seems to be conspiring against her well-laid plans. The only person making the trip worthwhile is the very last one she should be thinking about, but Grady, the local farmhand, has a way of showing up when Jessica needs him most...and least.

USA Today bestselling author Lyla Payne wraps up the perfect holiday novella, ties it with a ribbon of romance, and tops it with a light dusting of snow. Perfect to curl up with under the tree. Just add hot cocoa!
Mistletoe and Mr Right really might be the perfect holiday novella.

In order to keep her ten year plan on track, Jessica is making a (surprise) trip across the ocean to spend Christmas with her boyfriend and his family in Ireland. He will finally see that she's The One and gorgeous Ireland will provide the perfect backdrop.

Only that's not exactly how it goes. Not only is Ireland in winter full of a lot less vivid greens and purples than she expects - and quite a bit more rain - but Brennan's family doesn't seem quite as receptive to Jessica and her planned happily ever after as she had hoped. Then, there's the farmhand who seems to popup every time she's in trouble and Brennan's (previously unknown to Jessica) gorgeous ex-girlfriend.

Things are not going as planned and for Jessica who's life has to follow the plan, it's miserable. Nothing is what she had imagined.

Yet, if she can let go of the plan, she may find that happily ever after.

I really liked that Mistletoe and Mr Right was a New Adult novella, with Jessica worrying about life after college graduation, about marriage and her future, yet without the sexual content present in so many NA tales. It worked really well here, keeping the story sweet and romantic, while still a bit more grown-up than YA. . . .

read the rest of the review

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Repost: My True Love Gave to Me review [@StMartinsPress @naturallysteph]

If you're still wondering what to buy someone for a present, My True Love Gave to Me is likely perfect choice. (Unless, I suppose they're a no-fun middle aged male. [Fun ones will likely be okay with it.])

Edited by Stephanie Perkins (author of Anna & the French KissLola & the Boy Next Door, & Isla & the Happily Ever After) MTLGtM contains stories from some great authors and does't focus solely on Christmas; stories feature other wintery holidays, too.

The review was originally posted in October when the book was released, but I wanted to repost it now to remind everyone how great it is - and that they should go buy it! 

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
St Martins Press
October 14, 2014
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

First, the contents of My True Love Gave to Me:

  • "Midnights" by Rainbow Rowell (starts at 1%*)
  • "The Lady and the Fox" by Kelly Link (at 8%)
  • "Angels in the Snow" by Matt De La Pena (at 16%)
  • "Polaris is Where You'll Find Me" by Jenny Han (at 26%)
  • "It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown" by Stephanie Perkins (at 31%)
  • "Your Temporary Santa" by David Levithan (at 42%)
  • "Krampuslauf" by Holly Black (at 47%)
  • "What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?" by Gayle Forman (at 55%)
  • "Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus" by Myra McEntire (at 63%)
  • "Welcome to Christmas, CA" by Kiersten White (at 71%)
  • "Star of Bethlehem" by Ally Carter (at 82%)
  • "The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer" by Laini Taylor (at 91%)
Even while I'm strongly lamenting the end of summer, My True Love Gave to Me remindefd me how much I love the holidays and got me excited for their approach. It will definitely get you in the holidays spirit. 

My True Love Gave to Me is a great collection of authors who write in an assortment of YA genres. The anthology may be the most diverse I have read. From the characters' religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or gender, to the holidays the stories center on, and whether they were paranormal or contemporary, there is something for seemingly every reader. (Which will make it a great holiday gift.) . . . .

Monday, December 22, 2014

This Shattered World ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (earc) review [@DisneyHyperion @AmieKaufman @MeaganSpooner]

This Shattered World (Starbound #2)
December 23, 2014
390 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The second book in the Starbound trilogy, after last year's These Broken Stars, takes place in the same universe as the first, but does not center on Tarver and Lilac.

Captain Lee Chase is a fierce, tough girl who has found her place in the military. Captain of troops sent to the planet to end the rebellion so the planet's terraforming can progress, Lee knows what is happening on Avon. Or, she thinks she does.

To Flynn the rebellion is something entirely different. The promise of a better life, of a better planet has never come to fruition for Flynn or his people. As the quality of their lives decline, the rebellion gains strength. But it isn't those usual grievances that have Flynn on his current mission . . .

I loved meeting the characters as we did. These two characters that you would not expect to encounter each other are in the same place from the beginning and we're able to see how they view each other, both their misconceptions about the other and things they keep secret.

Even as the we know something more is at play, it seems that Jubilee and Flynn are on such opposing sides, that nothing between them could ever work.  Flynn may not agree with his people - and the plans he knows they have for the captain - but he certainly doesn't see things the way she does, either. Lee knows who the rebels are, what they're doing. And she knows it's up to her to stop them.

The more time we spend with the characters, the more time they spend with each other, the more we see their struggles to incorporate new facts into beliefs they've held for so long.

I love that there is a bit of a reversal in Flynn and Lee's roles from what might be expected and from the first book. Here it is Flynn who's mostly known for being someone's relative and judged on who they are while Lee is the regimented military officer. She is the one more prone to violence while he aims to avoid it. Their roles reminded me a bit of June and Day from the Legend series.

The different ways we learn about both character's history, their story and how it's brought them to where they are, is really well done. It is not some information dump or a narrative by the character, but works really well into the story and builds the larger plot - the planets' histories, etc - as well.

As in These Broken Stars we meet two characters who, seemingly, couldn't be more different, they are placed into a situation that quickly moves beyond what they're familiar with, what they've always known . . .. and it all comes together pretty perfectly.

I am still in love with Tarver and Lilac - and loved what we saw of them here - but now I really cannot wait for even just a bit more of Jubilee and Flynn's tale. I am really excited to meet the new characters in the third book and see how the characters we already know appear.

If you're in need of a last minute holiday gift for someone (or for yourself!), This Shattered World is out tomorrow (and These Broken Stars is in paperback now)!

The Series - in order, including the (free) novella:

received via NetGalley from publisher for this review, thank you!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Giveaway: Angels Sing DVD & When Angels Sing Book [@angelssingmovie @turkpipkin]

When Angels Sing by Turk Pipkin is a sweet, emotional - and short - Christmas read. A tale of family, love, hope, loss, joy and believing, it's perfect for Christmastime. 

Some of the book is predictable, but coming in at only 120 pages, it makes sense there isn't a lot of lead up to things.

The movie Angels Sing, starring Harry Connick, Jr and Connie Britton is a good  adaptation. A lot of small things are changed from the book to the movie - and, at least, one not so small thing - but it keeps the, well, spirit of the story alive.

For a feel good movie about Christmas and finding the joy and an enjoyable book about the season and what it can really mean, enter the giveaway:

  • US only
  • other terms & conditions in widget

movie & book synopses below . . .

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Maze Runner Viewing Party + Giveaway [#MazeRunnerFriday]

Are you ready for THE MAZE RUNNER and #MazeRunnerFriday?

Want to win THE MAZE RUNNER Blu-ray and book? Here's your chance to do both!

Tonight, Friday December 19th at 8:00 PM Eastern is the Twitter Viewing Party for THE MAZE RUNNER!

To help celebrate the release of THE MAZE RUNNER on Blu-ray Fox Home Entertainment is providing me a The Maze Runner prize pack to giveaway. One winner will receive a copy of the film on Blu-ray and of the James Dashner book the movie is based on.

Whether you've already seen the movie, if you've read the book or not join me (@thebookspot) and other bloggers and fans tonight on Twitter and #MazeRunnerFriday for a whole lot of fun. Ask @JamesDashner your questions, see what others think of the movie and more.

Plus, joining #MazeRunnerFriday gets you entries for THE MAZE RUNNER Blu-ray & book giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • US/Can only
  • No P.O. Boxes
  • must be 13+ to enter
  • terms & conditions listed in widget

more about the film (including the Blu-ray Special Features & the book below) . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Winner's Curse ~ Marie Rutkoski audio review

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
Farrar Straus Giroux
March 4, 2014
355 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

The Winner's Curse was one that I wasn't sure I was going to review. After finishing the book, I was not sure enough how I felt about it.

The fantasy world created in The Winner's Curse is very well done. The society, the conquering empire and how the two peoples now exist, worked well. The where was imagined and the when was indeterminable. While it was not modern day, it was difficult (in such a good way), if not impossible to place it into any known time. It really takes readers to a completely new time and place.

The romance was less a part of the story than I had expected based on the book blurb, but I actually liked that. The adversarial relationship Kestrel and Arin have based just on their relationship of slave and slave owner was expected but different than anticipated.

Kestrel would not have been a sympathetic character, nor would the rest of the tale have been possible, if she was unforgiving and cruel towards Arin. Yet, for her to try for BFF's would not have fit, either.

Their relationship, the dynamics presented by their roles did leave me slightly uncomfortable. Neither seems to truly fit into their role - even their playing at it did not always fit with their world.

While the romance did not yet work for me (there are two more books), once more was revealed about the characters, to both the reader and the other character, the story really pulled me in. After things were established, the characters introduced, and their relationship - even with the lies - started, it was a very compelling story.

How the history of the different peoples, the characters' own pasts, and what was currently happening came together was fantastic.

While I was not always sure about The Winner's Curse, where things were going and how the characters were behaving, it is a book I couldn't put down (or, rather, couldn't stop listening to) and one I couldn't stop thinking about after finishing it. I really cannot wait to read Book 2, The Winner's Crime.

I listened to most of The Winner's Curse as an audiobook (I read some of the beginning) and it was one I highly recommend. The  narrator, Justine Eyre, does a great job and hearing the different names (Arin is R-in, for example) pronounced properly really enhances the story. You stay more immersed in the story when you're having it told to you. With tales like The Winner's Curse, especially, you don't have to guess at names or places and instead are taken into Kestrel's world. I recommend the book and suggest listening to it if possible.

an arc was received from the publisher, thank you

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#MazeRunnerFriday - The Maze Runner Viewing Party

Love The Maze Runner and/or The Maze Runner movie? Want to learn some secrets or as the author questions?

Did you take part in #IfIStayIn,the Tweet-Along with Gayle Forman for If I Stay (or check it out after)? Then you know how much fun it is.

If you did miss it, or have been hoping for something similar, this Friday is your day, it's #MazeRunnerFriday!

Join @JamesDashner, @MazeRunnerMovie, @FoxHomeEnt and more as we have a The Maze Runner Viewing Party

Get your questions ready and come join the fun, this Friday!

Waiting On Wednesday [@julia_durango @harperteen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:
The Leveller by Julia Durango
Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

coming June 23, 2014 from HarperCollins - add it to your Goodreads/pre-order on Amazon

There are 'camps' right now for kids that are addicted to video games and Leveller sounds like an exciting update on the idea of teens losing themselves in virtual worlds.

I like the sounds of the action, the virtual reality and the characters, Leveller is one I'm looking forward to reading!

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments or link me to your own post!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Terminals ~ Royce Scott Buckingham review [@MacKidsBooks]

The Terminals
Thomas Dunne Books
October 14, 2014
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The riveting story of a covert team of young, terminally ill teens who spend their last year alive running dangerous missions as super-spies for an organization that may not be all it seems.

When 19 year-old Cam Cody is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he expects to spend the rest of his shortened life in an adjustable bed. Then one night, a mysterious man offers Cam one chance to join a covert unit of young “terminals.” They are like him, only they spend the last year of their lives executing exciting and dangerous missions to make the world a better place.

With nothing to lose, Cam is in.

A helicopter flies Cam to a secret tropical location, where he’s tossed out with a parachute and an instruction manual. After a rough landing, he meets his nine teammates. The other terminals don’t seem sick; Zara is beautiful, Donnie is an amazing athlete, and Calliope sings like a bird. He soon learns that they’re enhanced with an experimental super steroid TS-8, which suppresses their illnesses’ symptoms and heightens their physical and mental abilities. It’s also fatal if taken for more than a year.

Cam joins this extreme spy team, and they begin pulling dangerous operations in multiple countries.[...]

(I left off the very end of the summary because I think it's spoilery, but you can easily find the full one on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.)

When Cam Cody is unexpectedly diagnosed with a terminal illness, he expects that any fun and adventure is over for him. Until a stranger appears in his hospital room offering him the chance for one last year of greatness. Cam will be a member of an elite (but highly secretive) group of teens, also with a bleak prognosis, going on missions, doing good.

Cam cannot pass up the opportunity to spend his last year, not in a hospital bed wasting away, but being something akin to a superhero. Leaving his life and family behind, he's soon on his way ot the group's top secret location.

Despite being told the rest of the group was sick like him, no one - Cam, included - seems ill. In fact, the others have all been enhanced with TS-8, a sort of steroid, 'which suppresses their illnesses’ symptoms and heightens their physical and mental abilities.' And fatal after one year.

The missions are just what Cam hoped they would be. With specialized training, the use of yachts, highly dangerous and done to save the good guys. It's all things Cam never thought he would be doing, things he can't believe he's doing . . . but things he enjoys.

Though the mssions' danger soon leads to members of Cam's team dying.

Soon Cam has more questions than anyone's willing to truly answer. Including about the illness that got him selected to begin with.

While the 'join a clandestine group on other terminally ill teens in saving the world' idea is kind of goofy, the introduction of Cam to the group, of his arrival there, was nicely done. From it's secret location, to how Cam must arrive, even how the other teens welcome him, it sets the groundwork for a thrilling, adrenaline filled tale.

The training and planning put into their missions, makes it seem like they are something a group of teens - on TS-8, at least - could accomplish.

Where The Terminals really hinders itself is with the portrayal and treatment of its female characters. Despite being a part of this 'team' they are looked at in terms of their attractiveness, their sexuality, if the male characters want to hookup with them or not. Whether it's two of the male characters discussing the female characters and deciding one is 'normal,' 'the kind of girl a guy could marry' (she's sweeter, likes to cook - even if Cam wants to point out she's not attractive) while another (who's less inhibited, more attractive) has likely 'already had a roll in the sane with just about every [guy here].' (pg 79)

Besides the, at best, sexist view of the characters, the female characters also seemed to be killed off more quickly and with less impact on the story than the others. In fact, towards the end when a character lists those who've died, one of the female characters is omitted, likely forgotten (by the character if not the author).

I haven't read Buckingham's MG novels so I don't know how he treats the girls there, but in this book, his first YA, it felt almost like the sexuality was stuck in to move it from MG to YA.  (Not that viewing women or girls as this book does fits for any age range.)

While the adventure of The Terminals will appeal to older MG and YA readers, boys and girls, I would have to be sure whomever I was recommending it to would see fault with the gender depictions.

The Terminals has a unique, exciting premise, but it's depiction of the female characters (and how the male characters see them, think of them) keeps it from being a really good read.

thank you to the publisher for my copy of the book to review 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Scarlets ~ Madeline Roux review [@HarperTeen]

The Scarlets (Asylum #1.5)
Harper Teen
August 5, 2014
87 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Amazon

When Dan and his friends meet Cal in Sanctum their impression of the privileged New Hampshire College student is less than stellar. But Cal wasn't always the cold, sarcastic guy he is now. In this digital original story preceding the events of Sanctum, we meet Cal when he is experiencing college like any other kid with a group of close friends and a dad who piles on the pressure. Only, when the pressure starts getting to him and Cal accepts an invitation to meet a selective group of students and alumni known only as the Scarlets, the course of Cal's life changes forever. And the price of joining the Scarlets might be higher than he can pay.

With plenty of twists, turns, and thrills, The Scarlets is an exhilarating installment in the Asylum series that can stand on its own for new readers or provide a missing piece of the puzzle for series fans.

I should preface this review by saying that several Goodreads reviews indicate that reading The Scarlets prior to reading Asylum Book 2, Sanctum will spoil you for Sanctum. I have not read Sanctum so I can't say for sure if that's true but it does seem likely.

Reading The Scarlets I couldn't tell how Cal, his life and the other characters fit in with the world of Asylum. (My Nook was weird and opened The Scarlets - on the epigraph page - when I'd clicked another title, so I hadn't yet read the synopsis.) It was set at the New Hampshire College where Dan and the other characters attended their summer program, but the characters themselves did not overlap with Asylum.

Cal is a character in Sanctum and The Scarlets gives us some of his background, letting us know how he became the way he is in Sanctum.

Ignoring any possible spoilers, The Scarlets is an enjoyable read. Cal is a character who you don't exactly like, yet he is still a sympathetic character. He makes a lot of not so great choices, but we see some of what drives him to those choices. His father's expectations and beliefs are more than Cal needs or wants and we see how Cal reacts.

While I do hate that some of Sanctum might be spoiled for me (I do hate when the series numbering of novellas indicates they're between the first and second books, but really should be read later), what transpired in The Scarlets has me intrigued and anxious to read Sanctum.

If you have read Sanctum, I would recommend The Scarlets, if you have not yet read it, wait to do so - unless you like spoilers!

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