Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Elite: a Selection Novel by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The Elite by Kiera Cass
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Huh. Not sure why I liked the first book in the series so much, other than it's a fluffy YA dystopian version of The Bachelor. In pretty dresses.

Does America really think she's in love with the prince and her old friend from home? Ugh.

Cheesy storyline, but it did keep me reading!

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was all for this book at first--young Prince Jorg is quite the bastard. He's running around the countryside with his band of loser knights and they are killing everything in their way. He's angry with EVERYONE and out for revenge.

But then there are necromancers and magic in places with lots of stairs and my attention began to wander.

Not too thrilled with the women in this one either. I won't be continuing the series.

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Zero Day by David Baldacci. Read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy

Zero Day (John Puller, #1)Zero Day by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now I'm in love with John Puller. He's a badass CID agent, turning down Army promotions after saving the United States from a nuclear attack. Of course, he's kinda like Jack Bauer--if you actually date him, you'll probably end up dead, so I'll stick with him being one of my fictional boyfriends.

Puller ends up in Drake, West Virginia, investigating the death of an Army Colonel. More people end up dead, and, with the help of police Sgt. Sam Cole, he thwarts car bombs, trip wires, and plutonium, to save the world. Fast-paced and the perfect kind of book to listen to in the car. I'm ordering #2 now! :) However, audiobook people, I did NOT like the gunshots and rumbling and sad violins. Evidently I'm not a fan of sound effects--they scared the crap out of me. I shouldn't duck when I hear gunshots while driving!

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Monday, May 18, 2015

The Remaining: Refugees by D.J. Molles

Refugees (The Remaining, #3)Refugees by D.J. Molles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first two books in the series, but the ending made up for it. Whoa, the suspense! Now I have to wait until I get the 4th book via interlibrary loan.

Capt. Harden is doing his best to maintain order after the end of the world. He has a following at Camp Ryder, and some outposts where they have cleared out the infected and can travel to halfway safely. But rumors have started--the infected are traveling down to North Carolina from the populated East coast and things aren't going to be pretty. Some of the people in Lee's camp aren't thrilled with his hard-nosed military approach to things and decide to rebel.

Oh, no, Capt. Harden, watch your back!

Call me a sucker, but I love Capt. Harden's soft moments. Poor little Army guy, being tasked with rebuilding America....

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The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

The Lock ArtistThe Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to most of the audiobook, only to find out that the last disk wouldn't play. Why, oh, why? And so I had to wait a few days to receive the print book via interlibrary loan. It didn't take long to read the last few chapters! And it was worth it!

I totally see why this adult novel was on the Alex Award list, which is given to 10 novels that are good for teens. Fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller and I was constantly wondering. Why doesn't Michael talk? What horrible thing happened to him when he was little? How does he know how to unlock safes? He seems like a good person--what is he doing running around with criminals stealing stuff?

So good!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

ButterButter by Erin Jade Lange
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a struggle to read. It covered a lot of important issues for teens, but things didn't always seem a-okay.

Butter is the fat 400+ kid at school. He parks in the handicapped zone at school, he has special double desks in the back of the classrooms, and he has no friends. But when he starts a website and says that he's going to eat himself to death on New Year's Eve, he's suddenly the cool kid that gets into the popular group. Parts of that didn't work for me--they would tease him, egg him on maybe, but he wouldn't be included so much into their group. But the bullying is spot on and cruel.

Of course, he's in love with a popular, beautiful, emotionally troubled thin girl at school, and she's in love with his online persona. Ugh. Didn't care for that part either.

What I did like is the constant inner brain battle that Butter has with his weight and emotional eating. I've been there. I'm still there. He really is emotionally ill, and it's great that the people around him finally figure that out and decide to help him get healthier.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (Book #1 in the Walt Longmire mystery series)

The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1)The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Evidently I need to travel to Wyoming soon so I can find myself a Walt Longmire. I've watched all the TV shows, but, whoa, the books are even better. Intelligence, ruggedness, sexiness, and the ability to traipse across a mountain while carrying a body? Nice....

Of course, I'll ignore his lack of housekeeping skills and general state of drunkenness because of depression.

Anyway, Walt is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, and a dead body has been found among some sheep. The bodies keep piling up, and no one is too upset--the killed men raped a mentally incapable Cherokee girl a few years ago and the judge barely punished them. But Walt and his crew are on the case. There's lots of violence for no reason, strutting around in cowboy boots, descriptions of good food, and hilarious conversations between characters. Love, love, love this series and I can't wait for the next season to air on Netflix this fall.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor's DaughterThe Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I was younger, I went through a stage of reading tons of Christian historical fiction, mainly because it was easily available at my church library (that my mom ran) and at my small public library. I still read them occasionally, mainly because these authors can churn out decent historical fiction like nobody's business.

Emma goes where her father goes, and in this case it's to an estate in Cornwall so he can serve as a private tutor to two brothers of a family that they know well. The two older brothers attended her father's small academy, and Emma had bad memories of the oldest brother, Henry, who always pranked her, and good memories of Phillip, who was a good friend.

While the step-mother doesn't want any love interest between the tutor's daughter and her sons, something is bound to happen!

And, seriously, how different it was back then when you barely knew anyone your age, so your marriage choices were limited!

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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Roller GirlRoller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Empowering graphic novel about 12-year-old Astrid who discovers roller derby. I know I learned a lot about the sport--I wasn't sure what else those women did besides skate around in circles! I really appreciated the friendships represented in the book--middle school is the place where some grade school friendships go to die, so it was good to see that represented here.

The art reminded me of Drama, although I gotta say I'm not a fan of all capital letters in a graphic novel. I'm sure this book will show up on a lot of lists because it's receiving a lot of librarian and reader love.

My daughter read it, enjoyed it, but she said she didn't LOVE it. She did want to discuss the flowers on the bleacher at the end--she wanted to make sure it meant what she thought it meant.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone GapBone Gap by Laura Ruby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, love.

First of all, I used to drive by Bone Gap, Illinois, all the time when I lived down in Olney, so YAY for a southern Illinois setting in a young adult fiction title! Woot!

We're seeing more and more magical realism in YA lit and I think it's a good, good thing. Finn and Sean O'Sullivan, two brothers in Bone Gap, are left on their own when their mother runs away to marry someone in Oregon. Sean works as an EMT (even though he was all set to go to med school) and Finn is just trying to make it. Both boys are extremely upset because Roza, a Polish girl who showed up in the barn one night, has disappeared. Finn swears that a mysterious man took her, but Sean is convinced that she ran away. Chapters alternate between Finn, Sean, Roza, and Petey, the young beekeeper that Finn has a crush on.

Magical things happen. Horrible things happen. And the reader keeps thinking, "WTF is going on here?" But Ruby's words read like butter in this book. Amazing stuff.

Looking forward to seeing this on the Printz list next January.

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