Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Forbidden Mind by Kimberly Kinrade

Forbidden Mind (Forbidden #1) by Kimberly Kinrade

YA Paranormal

Rating: 4 Stars

She reads minds.
He controls minds.
Together, they might get out alive.

Sam thinks she's months away from freedom. After spending her life in a secret school, rented out to the rich and powerful as a paranormal spy, she is ready to head to college like any normal eighteen-year-old.

Only Sam isn't normal. She reads minds. And just before her big going-away party, she links to the mind of a young man who changes everything.

Drake wasn't raised as a 'Rent-A-Kid.' He was kidnapped and taken there by force. But his exceptional physical strength and powers of mind control make him very dangerous, especially to Sam.

When they meet, Sam is forced to face the truth of her situation, and to acknowledge that not all is as it seems in her picture-perfect world. For what awaits her on her eighteenth birthday isn't a trip to college, but an unexpected nightmare from which she may not be able to escape.

To survive, they must work together.

But will their powers be enough to save them before it's too late?
First Thoughts: I have read Kimberly's work before so I have been watching her (not in a stalker way lol) work and waiting to hear what's next. When Kimberly offered the ebook for Forbidden Mind to reviewers, I had to do it. The cover is simple but in a very good way. It fits well with the story, it even fits with the title. When you think of 'forbidden' you think of someone keeping you out and a fence does that job pretty well.

Writing Style: This would be the section that made the difference of the four stars to five stars. Kimberly is a fantastic writer and it was very easy to fall into her story. I got to disappear from my busy life and escape into the life of the paranormal. The only thing that bothered me a bit was once in awhile I felt like it got choppy. It didn't happen very often but it was enough to bug me and for me to remember it.

Characters: Continuing off the last section, I felt like some of the characters could have been explored more but wasn't. Drake for one. His story was short and sweet and when he finally made his appearance it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. I guess they were in a hurry to get out but the time after that could have made up for it. Sam was easy to sympathize with since we are in her head. She was betrayed by the people she trusted and violated in the worst way possible.

Final Thoughts: I wasn't disappointed with this book. I wish it was longer though. I can just imagine the possibilities of more action and twists. But I can't complain much about it because this isn't the end of the story. This is a great story that has a lot of potential and I can't wait to find out how things work out for Sam and Drake.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumiere

The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumiere

Adult Fantasy (and I stress the adult part)

Rating: 2 Stars

Step through the door to Lost Pages and escape a life you never wanted... On her tenth birthday, Aydee runs away from home and from her neglectful parents. At first, surviving alone on the streets is harsh, but a series of frightening, bewildering encounters with strange primordial creatures leads her to a bookshop called Lost Pages, where she steps into a fantastic, sometimes dangerous, but exciting life. Aydee grows up at the reality-hopping Lost Pages, which seems to attract a clientele that is either eccentric or desperate. She is repeatedly drawn into an eternal war between enigmatic gods and monsters, until the day she is confronted by her worst nightmare: herself.

First Thoughts: I loved the synopsis. As I was scrolling NetGalley I saw this cover and just had to read it. When I read the synopsis it really got me. It's very interesting.

Writing Style: I didn't care much for it. Especially the last chapter. The story grabbed me in the beginning but then it became restless. I didn't expect to only 95 pages on my e-reader too. I don't even know if that is the whole book or not but I felt like whatever they author was trying to get at never got there.

Characters: Each chapter was it's own story so really there are a ton of characters but they all revolved around the same point in the book. The thing is, is that there was no time to even understand the characters. The book was impersonal and each character felt like they weren't developed enough. It was rushed and there wasn't enough time for anyone to sympathize or even connect to them.

Final Thoughts: The thing that annoys me the most is I was expecting more. On NetGalley it says that the paperback has 200 pages but on my e-reader there were only 95. Did I get the whole story? Is that the reason I feel frustrated with this book is because I haven't really finished it? I don't know if I will ever find out. Another thing is the synopsis is deceiving. Yes, they start out with the young girl but then they go to adults and becomes an extremely adult book. Like sex and sex everywhere. I don't like it when I get deceived by book. There is a difference between judging a book by it's cover and having the synopsis only tell you part of the story. That synopsis was only a quarter of what the story was about and what I thought was a story about a girl ended up being about a girl, a boy, and then a whole bunch of people and their sex lives.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's been so long!

I feel like I slacked a bit on my blog lately. I have good reasons but it did bug me a bit.

I have been working really hard for my Coaching job and we have been having a ton of performances and practices lately. It's about to calm down though. So that is good but also sad because I enjoy it.

Another reason is I got a new job. Coaching is an awesome job but it doesn't pay the bills until the end of the season and it's only for one season. There was no way I could live of that one. So I finally got another job and I have been working there for about a week or two so I'm starting to adjust to my new schedule.

It will all work out in the end though. I will be having a contest soon! I'm going to start drawing up the plans and then beginning that one pretty soon.

Hope you are all having a great October! My birthday is coming up quick and I always enjoy those. Oooo and Halloween of course!

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The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radleys by Matt Haig


Rating: 4 Stars
Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love.
First Thoughts: I got this book as a First Reads off of Goodreads. The cover showed on Goodreads is what made me enter but the book I received had a different cover. The one I received had the white fence that has blood running down it. It's a neat cover, simple in a very good way. The newer cover is obviously aiming towards the YA crowd.

Writing Style: This is an example of a third person book that I don't fit well with. It kept jumping back and forth between characters and at times I kept getting confused. I found myself having to reread what I just read because I found out I was in someone else's point of view. Everything else seemed to go great though. I like hearing how each person dealt with what they were going through and Matt is really good at getting you to sympathize with the characters, even if they are monsters.

Characters: I didn't really connect with any of these characters. Clara is fine in the beginning but after the crime she committed she became a whole new person, to me it just didn't fit. When Rowan followed her footsteps he was mad at first but he stayed pretty much the same but had more courage. He started to stand up for himself and eventually ask his crush out. Helen is a lying wife who is in complete denial, I felt like I was watching a soap opera. Peter is too worried about himself he doesn't realize his wife is having "issues" and he gets pretty darn close to ruining the entire relationship. Will is just a bad person. Even though I didn't connect with any of them, each of them gave a lot to the story.

Final Thoughts: I just realized how long it took me to read this. It wasn't that it was a horrible story or anything, it was that each chapter was maybe one to three pages long. It bugged me a bit but I guess it worked out. You got to see the story unfold from everyone included in the book and got to see things that would have been shown if they were just following one character. Overall the book is awesome. What you think is a normal neighbor isn't really and weird things are always happening. I'm giving it a four because I did have some things that didn't fit well with me but I really did enjoy reading the story.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

YA Mystery

Rating: 3 Stars

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.

First Thoughts: I couldn't decide if I wanted to read this one or not at first. I thought about it and ultimately what made me choose to just do it was the cover. White with blood red on it makes a pretty intriguing cover. The synopsis is what made me have to think. I love mysteries but lately I am big in the paranormal and this clearly wasn't fitting that category. But I decided to take a chance and did.

Writing Style: I am sorry to say that I did not cope will with this writing. I understand Penelope has OCD and I don't. So I don't know how OCD people really are but I just could not stand the constant repeat of things. The entire novel consists of the repeat of "Sapphire is dead," "I feel connected to her," "I can't stop thinking about her murder." I just could not stand the repetition so much. Repetition has been bugging me a lot lately. Her other repetition like the tapping and counting is understandable because she does have OCD but with the others it just became too hard to read.

Characters: Penelope clearly has OCD. I got that immediately into reading the book. How could no one else notice? Her parents, the students, and the teachers. They all know something is wrong with her but no one steps up to help. That just doesn't seem real to me. I sympathize for Penelope and her family, they have been through rough times. But to ignore this condition that is ruining her life and putting her life at risk is kind of ridiculous. I just couldn't stand any of the characters. Penelope needed to see a shrink. Flynt was a liar and time and time again the proof was right there. Her mother needed to be in a hospital. Her father is too aggressive with Lo and her condition and is in denial. I just couldn't connect with any of the characters.

Final Thoughts: I liked the book. It wasn't fantastic but overall it's a pretty good mystery. The action was nice and there were a lot of twists even though some were probably a little boring and expected. I had a feeling who the bad guy was but with all the twists it threw me off so I guess that's good. Overall, there were parts of the book that I could enjoy but near the end of the book I basically just had to force myself to finish. It's a nice book but could be better.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Switched by Amanda Hocking

Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1) by Amanda Hocking

YA Fantasy

Rating: 5 Stars
Switched - the first book in the Trylle Trilogy...

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.
First Thoughts: I got this ARC by St. Martin's for reasons I'm not going to go into right now, so I don't have insights on how I picked the book because I didn't necessarily. So, I am just going to go into it what I like about the cover and synopsis. I think this is now my favorite cover of all time. It's so beautiful and I am a huge fan of swirls. They didn't over do it at all. All the covers for the next books in this series follow that same pattern. By the synopsis I can see why this became such a hit. You can't help but be interested and wonder what exactly happened and what will happen. This book is dead on with getting people's attentions.

Writing Style: I saw reviews for Switched and most were fantastic but a lot of others picked at the writing. Saying she copied other stories and some of her sentences didn't make sense. Maybe Amanda didn't have an editor before St. Martin's or a good one with her self-published books. I don't know but the ARC I got does not fit in those reviews. I enjoyed the writing. I loved it. I fell into the story and it was difficult to put down.

Characters: Personally, I loved Wendy. She has issues but she learned how to fix her problems throughout the novel. She realized her mistakes. Yes, Wendy isn't the greatest character in the world. She seemed bratty when she was a child and got expelled but as far as I can tell, for good reason. She grew up with no love from the person she believed to be her mother who actually tried to kill her, no affection since the moment she was born. If that doesn't scar someone for the rest of their life then I don't know what will. She has her faults but her past is what made her the way she is and in reality she's not that bad of a person. For a fictional character, Wendy is real.

Final Thoughts: I guess I ended up defending the book more than I thought I would. The only reason I did that is because the book is just that good. I found a new favorite! The bad reviews were all from the first self-published (someone was mad because she actually became a success and got a contract and a movie deal. It's like, are you serious? You are supposed to be celebrating the success of the author, not upset because she isn't a self-published author anymore) so maybe it was the way they said it was but I don't think the self-published book reviews should effect the newly published book by St. Martin's. I know that sometimes the stories change through the editing process (like Carrier of the Mark changed from inkpop.com when it was picked up to be published) so it could be possible. This book is amazing though. I love to get away from the vampires every once in awhile and go into the lives of other magical creatures. Having a new twist on trolls is a great start at that.

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