Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

GENRE: Young Adult - Fantasy/Romance/Dystopian
FORM: AudioBook
SERIES: Shatter Me

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): 
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
REVIEW:  I found Shatter Me one day just looking for something to put on my iPhone to listen to while I worked. I had never really heard much about it and really didn’t even know what it was about. When you start off at an insane asylum, and the main character is teetering on the edge of sanity, even though she was placed in there because of a disease rather than actual insanity, you are left wondering what is going to happen.

Juliette has a problem. She cannot touch anyone without sucking their life from them. It’s a disease, it’s an ability, it’s a curse, it’s a gift. The entire book is written from Juliette’s perspective. I listened via audio, but I think that it was actually suppose to be a journal of her experience. The audio had a lot of slashing sounds that I am assuming was suppose to be her marking what her thought was out and replacing it. Anyhow, it’s obvious from the moment that she gets a cellmate, a male cellmate where the direction of the romance portion of this story is moving. It only later becomes clear that the two had known each other previously. Juliet had gone to school with Adam, from 2nd grade all the way up until Jr High, and she remembered him to be the only person who didn’t look at her like she was a monster, who actually stuck up for her even though they had never spoken. But something has brought him to this place with her…

Shatter Me
is a very dramatic book. From the beginning, when it’s a little hard to follow Juliette’s thoughts and actions until the very end when she’s much more stable and sure of herself. The romance between her and Adam is obvious, frequent, passionate and…frequent. I actually enjoyed the journaled-like writing, although via audio sometimes I had a hard time distinguishing between something Juliette said and something she just thought. The book is dystopian, collapse of the world due to global warming and many other world-malfunctions. There is a strong armed leader – an extremely stereotypical villain – Warner. He was so much the power hungry, masochist. He was written almost sexy in a way that was kind of disgusting, and I’m really, really hoping that it doesn’t go a whole lot further in that direction between he and Juliette .

From beginning to end – and I have read this in several reviews since I listened to the book – Juliette is a constant reminder of X-Men’s Rogue…this is fine, since she was always my favorite character. The story is basic, and fun and really just entertaining. If you like lots of kissing, then you’re in for a bonus as well!


Superman's Cape - Brian Spangler

GENRE:  Adult Fiction
FORM: eBook

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):
When Sara Connely is asked what life is like today, she answers with the simple words, ‘life goes on.’ The life she and her boys enjoyed the last dozen years is gone. Sara struggles to cope with the death of her husband and doing so with two young boys, and no money, is almost too much to ask.

Life does go on, but when Sara’s oldest boy becomes lost in Croatan National Forest, life comes to a stop.

Twelve-year-old Kyle Connely doesn’t know the woods. He doesn’t know the wildlife. He doesn’t know how to get home. Lost in the wilderness, he faces dangers the likes of which he has never seen. Kyle’s time is running out. A hurricane is looming, and in its path is the coastal forest he is trying to survive.

Jacob Hanson has a gift. An intuition. An insightfulness. And it has helped him find success. But his gift turns into a curse as he becomes an unwilling participant in Kyle's plight.

What Jacob Hanson doesn't know is he also holds the key to Sara’s past and the lifetime she lost with her husband.

REVIEW:  Superman’s Cape draws you in straight from the beginning with the sad tale of how a mother (Sara) and her two boys lost their father. Immediately, especially as a mother, I was sympathetic and attached to this story. Once hooked, it took no effort to rope me into this book – a family going through tragedy, finding more along the way, a man with a special gift; how their lives are colliding.

Since the book was told from a variety of perspectives, you were able to see the story from multiple points of view, which was very effective in this case. I found it especially interesting in the case of Jacobs half of the book, seeing him from different angles as his gift took form and interrupted his life, it painted a picture that was a bit painful yet at the same time interesting to watch. Jacob is a mystery bigger than Kyle being lost in the woods. What is going on seems to shift and take different forms until you find the unexpected answer at the end.

For Sara and Kyle’s half of the book, I was filled with so much compassion and hurt for that family. I cannot imagine cooping with such tragic loss only to be thrown into the mix of another devastating event. Their story was so nicely told all the way up until the end, where things started to wrap up a little too quickly for me. Being so intimate with Kyle in the woods, I would have liked to have known the point of being carried out of the woods to his recovery. Not in so much detail mind you, but there seems to be a gap; seeing as how everyone was trapped in the trailer, huge storm coming, and Kyle being so close to death…. (I apologize if that seemed spoiler-y in anyway, but I’m thinking most of the information given here was in the synopsis as well..)

I will say that while the story wrapped you in from the beginning and kept you reading until you found out what’s going to happen, many, many times I found the writing to be extremely graphic. Reading mostly Young Adult and Drama/Romance novels, this is something I’m not used to. Even some of the crime and mystery books I’ve read, the attention to the gory details was never all that intense. I do think that the details did add to the experience of the book some, but it walked the fine line of overkill in my opinion. Another small annoyance - and I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but to use the word “giggled” for a man seems wrong, it seems teenagy and girly to me. The word was also used semi-frequently. Synonyms go a long way! “Chuckled” seems more adequate for a man.


BOOK REVIEW: Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver

GENRE: Young Adult – Dystopian, Romance
FORM: Audiobook
SERIES: Delirium

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): 

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

REVIEW:  How did I feel about this book..hmmm, how do I feel? Do you want me to be completely and 100% honest? Of course you do, right? Okay, PLEASE stick with me, because it’s not going to be how it sounds….

I am actually angry right now. I had a hard time sleeping last night. I was unsettled, and a bit mad at Lauren Oliver. I’m positive that was expected result though. Why do I feel this way you ask. Well, see, that is what is making this review difficult to write. I can’t say. If I did it would be a rather large spoiler. But let’s me just go on the record as saying….WHY????

Okay, I’m going to attempt something a little more review like, and less rant. Sound good? Pandemonium is a melancholy book. Sadness creeps from the pages and into your system. Lauren Oliver writes with enough emotion and imagery that it’s just poetic enough to give you a good idea of how Lena feels, but not so much that the details begin to bore you. The book is set up so that it flips between “Then” (being the Lena’s time spent in the wild with her new family) and “Now” (being back in society as part of the uprising or rebellion or whatever). Lena is still getting over her loss with Alex, which is where a good portion of her sadness comes from, but she has also had an extremely difficult year. Learning to live in the wild’s is no picnic. Neither is being constantly undercover. On her first true mission, Lena finds herself taken hostage, or kidnapped, along with Julian – the head of Teenagers who are for the cure (I quite honestly cannot remember the name of the organization. I listened to this via audio…I apologize for my lack of detail here!) So basically two teenagers who are on opposite sides of the fence politically are thrown together and are forced to help each other survive.

There were points (mostly in the beginning) where the book was a tiny bit slow in the moving forward progress. I even remarked to a friend, “I’m hoping for a bit of action here soon.” Well, be careful what you wish for, because action does come, in abundance. The book keeps you wrapped in and hanging on in anticipation for what happens next. I love that. There were a few tidbits along the way that I didn’t love so much though. The first being the obvious rant above….what happened was what I was expecting around every corner, and just when I thought we were safe…anyway. Another was some of the a little more than convenient solutions to problems. IE: in one scene there is a lock on a door that requires a punched in password. Julian suggests that at home for their keypad they have hints around that indicate the number. One…this is absurd. Two, it seems a little bit convenient that what works at home also works in the place where they are being held captive. This makes a reappearance later when Lena is actually breaking into Julian’s home – the “clues” were so weird random that it sort of came off as stupid in my opinion. Another annoyance is one of my pet peeves in many books I read. It’s the very obvious foreshadowing that takes place in the shape of the main characters intuition…I get so frustrated because 1. It’s extremely common; (Something in me was saying this wasn’t right …but I did it anyway). Can’t we have a character who listens to his/her instincts for once? Or maybe cut down on some of this blatant foreshadowing a bit? Just a suggestion.

So yes, this book is good. Yes, it drove me nuts. Yes…we have just begun another year of waiting…


BOOK REVIEW: Unbreak My Heart - Melissa Walker

GENRE: Young Adult - Fiction, Romance
FORM: e-Book, Netgalley

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

REVIEW:  Unbreak My Heart is the perfect summer read!  I am a great lover of books that involve "road trips" of sort; trips that help the main character find meaning and purpose.  It also seems that all road trip (in this instance it's a boat trip) books include lots of iPod/playlist references...another favorite topic of mine!  So for the summer days coming ahead, the days of sitting in the sun at the pool, this book is one you want to add to your list!

I enjoyed Clementine, she was a perfect mix of brooding teenager, and genuinely good kid!  I think what I enjoyed most is that I remember having emotions exactly like Clementine.  I never did anything like coming close to "cheating" with my best friend's boyfriend or anything like that, but I do remember actually wanting to be in a bad, lonely mood - simply because I felt like it was what I deserved.  I also loved her little sister, Olive!  She was fun and perfectly persistent.  Between her, and James (the beau of the book) the two of them manage to pull Clementine back into a better frame of mind, and help her to realize that while she made mistakes, she does not deserve to be miserable.


BOOK REVIEW: A Kiss at Midnight - Eloisa James

GENRE: Adult Fiction - Romance - Fairytale
FORM: eBook

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  Miss Kate Daltry doesn't believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides he's anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancée, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn't love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

REVIEW:  I do believe I have found a new “favorite author.” A friend of mine was looking for fairy-tale based stories to read when she came across A Kiss at Midnight, and knowing my tendencies suggested the book to me before she was even half-way through. I do love a good fairytale re-tell! And this one is fabulous!

I will say that one, the cover of this book is NOT how I pictured Kate at all, and two - I'm not sure who wrote this synopsis because it doesn't really do the book justice...so my suggestion is to read and decide for yourself.  The characters are fun, and loveable. While Mariana, the “evil step-mother” is arrogant and snobby and not too bright; she isn’t detestable. Neither is Victoria, the step-sister. I actually kind of like Victoria, even if she got her lip bitten by a dog because she was feeding it meat from her mouth (uh, YUCK!) Kate, our Cinderella, is so brass and funny. She’s clever and quick witted, but she’s also self conscious and unsure of herself.

I love that this is a fairytale retell of Cinderella, but I also love that Eloisa James has slide in references to other books as well. I’ve caught several, and I almost wonder if I’ve missed some. One of the more notable would be Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as Romeo and Juliet (which is mentioned by name more than simply referenced). The storyline doesn’t actually move in that direction at all, it’s just…there. I don’t know if it was purposefully done, but my mind finds similarities between Kate and Gabriel, and Elizabeth and Darcy of the ever famous Pride and Prejudice. The book has also had me laughing out loud at some of the crazy scenes, and funny moments, and witty over-the-top characters.  Henry (aka Henrietta) makes a crazy and atypical fairy godmother.

The chemistry between Kate and Gabriel is notable from the moment they meet, but it is nowhere near the Disney version of love at first sight, however annoyance is very quick to turn into infatuation. The two of them fight it (the attraction) but bringing them together is instant flames, along with sharp tongues. The romance between them is hot and heavy and - a romance lovers dream.

I highly recommend the book! It is very well written, a lovely interpretation, and just plain entertaining!!!


BOOK REVIEW: I Am (Not) the Walrus - Ed Briant

GENRE: Young Adult – Fiction
FORM: eBook – NetGalleys

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):
A quirky story about girls, love, and rock 'n' roll
As the singer and bass player for Lucky Twenty, a Beatles cover band, Toby wants to make it big. But Zach, Toby's best friend and fellow band member, is convinced there's a problem: Toby's utter lack of mojo. How can he croon about love when he's never even kissed a girl?
So begins Toby's quest for cred as a lovestruck singer. But his quest derails when he finds a note inside his old bass guitar. Who is the true owner of the bass? And can a kiss really help Toby figure out who he is?

REVIEW:  I’ve had a hard time getting into the book at the beginning. If you don’t catch my attention within the first few pages, look out because I may pass you by! I have way too much to do than to read a semi-interesting book…and yes, I do tend to assume the first few pages will reflect how I feel through the duration.

So I Am (Not) the Walrus started out at a rugby match, and over-description is the feel. I usually like details, but when the author is using big flowery words that I don’t tend to think of on a regular basis, it almost just feels like…too much..yah know? Anyhow so it opens in on two teenagey boys discussing their band, and it’s a little bit humorous how at times it seems like they are each keeping up two different conversations between the two of them, AND attempt to play rugby too. They aren’t succeeding at the rugby. Anyhow, Zach (the friend) is single minded – it’s all about the band, and there is nothing more he thinks of in the beginning stages of this book – major one track mind. Toby (main character) is a mishmash of thoughts and imaginings. I suspect he might be a tinsy bit ADHD, but who among us isn’t anyhow?

So I’m reading, and what I just described to you, is about it. It’s getting a little boring, and a little old…until Toby runs into the girl he completely embarrassed himself in front of (twice) the day before. He starts talking to her and – walla! PERSONALITY! I actually like this guy. He’s got a little bit of wit, and he’s compassionate and sincere, despite Michelle’s kind of snotty and a bit ugly (at this point) personality. So I’m snagged – if only to see THIS Toby, and what happens to him….

The thing is, the book is pretty much exactly as I described above all the way through, minus the over descriptive narrative – that was only the very beginning. Toby is a boring “bloke” who only seems to have a personality when around Michelle or his mother. Michelle, thankfully, turns into a fairly nice girl who isn’t really a major part of the book. She’s only around for bits and pieces. There is a villain, Rupert – crazy hippy dude who is extremely strange and out to get the bass. Despite his extreme creepiness, Toby has a weird tendency to stand around talking to the guy, and even willingly hands over the bass to him on an occasion…big red flag of “stupidity” flying over his head right there.

Outside of the fact that Zach and Toby are a Beatles cover band, and it is a forever on-going conversation – it doesn’t even seem like it’s a major point in the book. It’s just the background noise. So what is the point of the book? I have not much of a clue. The book, like Toby, seems a little ADHD. The major plot is this bass guitar; it’s value, the fact that Toby’s brother may or may not have stolen it; the fact that a note inside of it indicates it was certainly stolen at some point; getting the guitar back to its owner, and some strange dude who really, really, really wants it (so badly he gets a knife involved!) So yeah.

I’m not a huge fan. It was NOT the worst book ever in the history of books…I’m pretty sure the book that is there in my heart will not be replaced anytime soon. It is not rated very high – but here’s a fact, it must have been okay enough, because I read it all the way through.


BOOK REVIEW: A Million Suns - Beth Revis

GENRE: Young Adult
FORM: eBook
SERIES: Across the Universe

SYNOPSIS: A few months have passed since the people of Godspeed were awakened from their drug-hazed stupor. Some are very happy with the new way of living, others long for the stupor, and others feel that it is time the ship was lead by someone new. Discord begins among the people. Elder has decided it is time to figure out what is wrong with the ship, and get the whole mission back on track for landing on Sol Earth, but what he discovers is that Eldest wasn’t keeping just one secret from the people of Godspeed, but layers upon layers of secrets.

REVIEW: The concept of this book, traveling through space on a ship that supplies all your needs, to a new planet – one that is not destroyed by our constant sucking of its resources. Fun idea. I enjoyed Across the Universe quite a bit. A Million Suns picks up a couple of months after Across the Universe, and things are chaos from the beginning. The book starts out with more secrets revealed, and more and more and more just pile on throughout the entire book.

The story line is the biggest “catch all” about the book. The first few chapters were written rather soap opera like, reveal some huge piece of information and then “commercial break” over to the other narrative – leaving us having to read through to find out what happens next. Very clever! I loved the scavenger hunt, and the discovery of all the…secrets of the ship. I enjoyed the mystery too, trying to figure out who on the ship could be trusted, and who was causing all of the discourse. On that note though, I felt like Luther was a little too conveniently dealt with. He was a lurking danger that never really came to fruition, in my opinion.

My biggest disappointments of the book were in the characters. Both Elder and Amy have not fulfilled any of my expectations. While there should be discourse and chaos, I was expecting a leader. While Elder did have potential, he really just didn’t take the initiative. He let (bad) things get done in his name, with a little bit of protesting, but not near enough. More than anything, it seemed like he complained about all the things he was doing, and sulked about everything that wasn’t being done – hello, it’s called delegation. The only thing he really “let go” of as a leader was the creation of a police force. When he discovered people weren’t working, he didn’t do anything to rally them up – he just let the rebellion build. When he found out the Doc was handing out patches left and right, he just shrugs his shoulders and walks away. He knocks people out of their stupor (which agreeably, they shouldn’t have been in, in the first place) but he does nothing to maintain status quo. Of course they are not going to wake up from being controlled and manipulated and be willing to just keep on doing what they were doing as if they were still under mind control – that is obvious! Amy, on the other hand, was no help at all. I liked her in Across the Universe, but here she has turned into a whiney baby. I think in almost every single scene in which she and Elder were together she got upset and threw a temper tantrum, and quite honestly refused to listen to reason. I was done with her about half way through.

So my hope for the future (book)? That they grow up! Both Amy and Elder need to realize that their decisions effect everybody, not just themselves. It’s not about wants, it’s about what is best.