Friday, December 2, 2016

Hide and Seek by Jane Casey

Hide and Seek (Jess Tennant #3)

Jess Tennant's classmate is kidnapped right before the Christmas holiday in this third novel in Jane Casey's brilliant young adult mystery series.

It's Christmas in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. She wasn't sure how she felt about moving away from London when her mom dragged her to Port Sentinel right before 

Hardcover, 288 pages

Published August 25th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published July 30th 2015)   Review copy received from readingteen.net
It's the Christmas season and Jess is trying to find out what happened to Gilly, right when family and boyfriend problems also occur. Jess Tennant is one of those unforgettable characters, and very consistent. You never doubt that when she is "advised" to not do something, she is the first one in line. When her project partner goes missing on the night they are scheduled to meet. Jess goes to her home to see if everything is ok. Turns out that Gilly is gone. Jess begins to investigate if Gilly could be a runaway or worse, dead. Giving the reader several different directions the story can go, Jess then begins to break down all the clues and questioning those in Gilly's life.
As the series has progressed Jess is opening up to working directly with the police. And by that I mean give them the information she feels in necessary to act on things she can't. Gilly has lived with her abusive mother for years and is dying for some attention and affection in her life. Jess finds her journal early on in the story but it's cryptic.
She spends the rest of the novel trying to decipher what the diary entries mean. By pinpointing who she was with on certain days and what her relationship was with them.
Jess tends to fixate on things that tend to bother her. She doesn't give up and even puts her own life in danger to help others and find answers.

Monday, November 28, 2016

What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

What We Knew

When a local myth starts to seem like a dangerous reality, two girls are set on a path that could change their lives forever

"When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Pits for eyes..."

When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about a man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—kept them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy and Lisa aren't so little anymore, and the man in the woods is nothing but a stupid legend. Right?

But someone is in the woods. Someone is watching. And he knows all their secrets, secrets they can't tell anyone—not even each other.

"Monsters don't exist."

Lisa's just being paranoid. At least that’s what Tracy thinks. But when a disturbing "gift" confirms her worst fears, it sets the girls on a dangerous journey that takes them beyond the edge of the woods. But reality is more terrifying than the most chilling myth, and what they find will test the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and love.

"Once upon a time, two girls were lost in the woods."

In Barbara's Stewart's What We Knew, Tracy and Lisa can't destroy the evil they'll face, but can they stop it from destroying each other?
 
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin     I received a copy from readingteen.net for review
Lisa and Tracy have been friends for years. They fight, they play and are always there for each other. One day their friends decide it would be entertaining to go into the woods to see if the "banana man" really exists. Some say he's a dangerous criminal, others say he's just a pervert. Upon finding that there is a man who lives in the woods the girls begin to focus more on this idea that there is always someone watching. Paranoia can lead to a lot of things

Lisa has always been a protective person but when she begins to find objects from the "banana man's" house in her room she decides it's time to take control of her life. Tracy betrays somebody she loves and finds it hard to communicate with her mother. She turns inwards looking for what makes her happy and avoid serious issues in her life. A lot of bad decisions are made and their futures decided through the actions they take this summer.
The book is a contemporary, somewhat coming of age story that packs a lot of suspense. The voices of Lisa and Tracy is very well done in this story, so much raw truth in life that it was almost painful to read at times. I really enjoyed the fact that the author added in this mysterious atmosphere to the story throughout because it made for the ending to pack a bigger punch. How well do you really know your best friend?
This story is very raw, real and deals with serious issues. Growing up is hard to do! I recommend this one, it was interesting and thought provoking. I rated it 3 stars.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mindwalker by A.J. Steiger

Mindwalker (Mindwalker #1)

At seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute's elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient's traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain's superiors warn her to stay away. Steven's scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven's memories, it becomes clear that he's connected to something much bigger…something the Institute doesn't want the world to discover.

Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn't plan on falling in love with a boy she's been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.
 
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers   I received a review copy from readingteen.net
Mindwalker was one of the most emotionally engaging books I have read in a long time. One of those stories that completely takes over your thoughts when you have to put it down and then cannot wait to pick up again.
Lain Fisher is a Mindwalker, a seventeen year old psychologist that when hooked up to a machine can go into people's minds. She tracks down the memories that they wish to be forgotten and then re-adjusts them or deletes them. As part of that she also does some counseling with the client for the sessions to work completely. She also attends high school, in a very high tech and controlled world not far into the future. People are labeled with a number given their emotional status and mental stability. Guards constantly running scans to catch those that are declining to pull them in for conditioning before become menaces to society.
When a fellow student, a type four with an identifying color asks Lain to erase his memories she knows everything about it is forbidden. She decides to help him against the wishes of her caretaker and slowly the world they thought they knew crumbles down on both of them.
What I absolutely loved about this story was the writing. There was a constant and perfect timing to the unraveling of the details. Not only do we get a full world building concept, the characters are all well developed. This was a story that had very little down time and a variation of intense emotions, actions and danger. The company of IFEN has taken over the cities and population control. Steven's memories have the clues they need to discover the truth and decide to work with them, or against them.
If you couldn't tell by now I LOVED THIS BOOK! and recommend it. I am highly anticipating the next installment in the series.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Good Sister by Jamie Kain

The Good Sister

The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there.
 
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN
1250047730 (ISBN13: 9781250047731)    I received a review copy from readingteen.net
I am the first to admit that I shy away from contemporary books. Mostly the books I have read do not resonate with me. The Good Sister really had me hooked from the first page. It have heard that fans of The Lovely Bones would enjoy this one. While reading I found that this book had several levels to it. Family, friendship, lust vs love, grief, jealousy, sickness and religion.
After their parents moved them from the commune to the suburbs, the Kinsey family begins a downward spiral. Sickness and divorce cause fractures in the family dynamics and each member deals with them in their own ways. Acting out, depression, anger and looking for acceptance and love outside of the family.
The chapters are separated into each girls perspective. We get to see how each of them are individually handling the problems in their lives. It seems that each member of the family is delving into their own forms of escapism and avoiding all the real issues. My favorite character was the youngest daughter Asha. I could understand her position most and could see where she was coming fro time. Looking back upon the life of her family and trying to make sense of it all.
m. As the middle child Rachel is more physical and seems to be relishing in drama and boys to release her emotions. And the eldest Sarah, the most troubled has nothing but
The beginning of the book grips you with all of the mixed stories. Where the family is today and currently dealing with the pain. Asha takes a main roll perhaps because she is the most distraught. As the stories all develop, the relationships become more and more complicated  and depth. I found myself thinking of this book whenever I had to put it down. I felt it to be very thought provoking and even found a little insight into my own life that I never really thought about before.
It is a book that I definitely recommend, especially those that enjoy contemporary and family relationships. It even had me tear up for a minute, which is pretty hard to do. I've given it 4 stars and think it's one to add to your TBR.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Because You'll Never Meet Me

In a stunning literary debut, two boys on opposite ends of the world begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives forever.

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.
 
Paperback, 344 pages
Expected publication: July 2nd 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's Books   Received review copy from readingteen.net

The whole book is told by letters that are exchanged between Ollie, who lives in the United States and Moritz who resides in Germany. At the beginning of the story neither have anybody close to them to help release their pent up feelings. It is Ollie's Dr who suggests that speaking to another disabled person that is close to his age to find some companionship that is more relate-able to their own situation.

Ollie and Moritz are opposites when it comes to their outlook on life. Ollie having a more glass half full look to Moritz's glass half empty. There is a lot of anger and humor that comes and goes as the story progresses. Moritz has had a lot more negativity in his life but also has lived more of a life than Ollie. Their friendship becomes inspiration for each other to do more things, or different things to make more of what they have.

I had a struggle while reading this book. There were a lot of things I just couldn't agree with, both the actions of the characters and the progress of the storyline/plot. The beginning of the book and building of the relationships was the best part for me. As secrets are revealed and the plot unravels I had a harder time believing (and enjoying) where the story was taking me.

There are some great reviews online that this story has really touched some readers and I do believe it is personal reasons that this particular story did not speak to me in the same way. The story brings in some elements of science fiction that I felt did not mesh well with the contemporary realness we got from the majority of the story.

Ollie and Moritz are connected to each other, a bond of friendship that really strengthens and encourages each other to be stronger people. I felt that there are a lot of things to be gained from this book and I do recommend it to others that are interested in what it contains. As for me I had to do the classic break up line "it's not you, it's me." It was an interesting ride though!

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

The Unquiet


For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill—and replace—a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person.

The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They—and their whole planet—are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life.

An intricate, literary stand-alone from an astonishing new voice, The Unquiet takes us deep inside the psyche of a strong teenage heroine struggling with what she has been raised to be and who she really is. Fans of eerily futuristic and beautifully crafted stories such as Never Let Me Go, Orphan Black, and Fringe will find themselves haunted by this unsettling debut.
 
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Greenwillow Books 
I received a review copy from readingteen.net
If I were to imagine what a prequel to The Fifth Wave would be like, it is this book! The children of Earth 2 are taken while young to what they call The Cottage. Where they train for years to become assassins. Not every child makes it through training. When the time comes the ones that pass the test must kill their duplicate self on the other Earth and take their place.
Although the atmosphere of this story is rather bleak, gloomy and somewhat depressing. I really enjoyed it. The writing is well done and very memorable characters. They really go through a lot and at times its thought provoking. Something I always have in the habit of doing is putting myself mentally in a book and think about what I would do in the same situation. It really helps me understand the characters more. Lirael is a very devoted and critical (of herself) character. She developed a hard shell when young and it really shows in her "new life" on the other Earth. I really enjoyed that I was still surprised by some of her decisions, understanding her reasoning, but knowing I could never do the same.
There is some action throughout the story but I wouldn't call it a fast paced read. I enjoyed reading it slower that usual and really considering Lirael's relationships with the other characters. It is definitely a character driven novel and Lirael's character development is key and perfectly placed throughout the story. It really keeps you reading and engaged in the story.
I was expecting something completely different from what the story became. I was happily surprised and even though I thought there would be more action and horror, it never disappointed. A very subtly deep story that would have several more books in a series if they wanted it to be. For a stand alone it's well rounded and something I recommend you pick up.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Atlantis in Peril by T.A. Barron

Atlantis in Peril (Atlantis Saga #2)

The second in the Atlantis trilogy by New York Times bestselling author T. A. Barron

In Atlantis Rising, Promi and Atlanta saved their homeland by transforming it into the magical island of Atlantis. They had hoped that would keep it out of the clutches of the evil spirit warlord Narkazan. But Narkazan has returned, more determined than ever to conquer the spirit realm and Atlantis as well. Will the destiny of the mystical isle lie in the boat of Greek sailors who wash up on shore? The powers of the ethereal oceanglass? Or will the growing bond between Promi and Atlanta cause the strongest magic?

With his trademark action, adventure and suspense, master of fantasy T.A. Barron explores the magical world of Atlantis and how its inhabitants' actions sow the seeds of its destruction. 
I received a review copy from readingteen.net



Atlantis in Peril is the first book I have read by T.A. Barron. It was a book that caught be by surprise and gave me everything I needed at the time. Even though it is a second book in the series it is written to give you all the information you need from the previous book. I highly enjoyed it and a book I recommend to younger readers.
Promi has been traveling to Atlantis for awhile now from the Spirit World. His parents warn him of the danger this will cause both worlds if he continues to weaken the veil by continuously passing through it. Promi has recently had some truths revealed to him by his family and feels that the most important thing to him right now is freedom. Without the proof of damage, Promi refuses to stop visiting Atlantis. On Atlantis is his other home, his freedom and the beautiful Atlantia. But when Promi's sister is kidnapped and all signs point to Narkazan, Promi finds himself needing to save both worlds before Narkazan can seize them for himself.
The Island of Atlantis is set off the Greece mainland but in no way resembles anything we know if today. It's completely fantastical with fairy's and magic. It's like a secreted wonderland on earth. What drew me to this story the most and why I recommend it was the imagination and writing style of the story. I have not had my mind opened to so many wonderful ideas for years. It was if I was given a key to unlocking my own imagination that I had lost a long time ago. Sometimes you hear people say "I wish I could read it again for the first time." This book gave me feeling of newness and brought back all the magic of long lost stories of first times, like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.
Atlantis in Peril has a variety of characters and magical beings. The women are portrayed as strong, intelligent and determined. Promi, even though he comes off as a little daft and self centered really shows strengths of a true hero when people are in need. I think I experienced every emotion possible while reading this story and found a new series I will follow to the end.