Adaptation by Malinda Lo – Review (Adaptation #1)

April 16, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

Adaptation by Malinda Lo – Review (Adaptation #1)Release Date: September 18, 2012
Title: Adaptation
Series: Adaptation #1
Author: Malinda Lo
Pages: 400
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.
4 Stars

This book opened up with birds going crazy and plunging into the ground (to their deaths) or flying en masse into airplanes causing crashes all over the world.

My first thought was what is happening here?

As I continued reading, I grew more and more fascinated – and more and more confused.

Mysteries, secrets, and conspiracies oh my!

This is one book where I couldn’t possibly have predicted what was really going on.

That makes me adore Malinda Lo.

Reese is my favorite kind of main character. As her life is imploding and the world around her seems to be going crazy, she doesn’t keep everything to herself (even though the government required her to sign an NDA after her accident). She finds ways to talk to her mom (yes – her mother). She decides – with David – that it’s okay to bring her best friend Julian into the loop. She doesn’t just suffer in silence and try to fix the world herself. I get so angry with characters who do that!

Her mom is actually involved in her life. That never happens in YA! A large chunk of the book is dedicated to Reese discovering that she likes girls (too). Her mom catches her kissing a girl, and there’s no drama whatsoever surrounding the scene. LOVE.

I do think the ending was wrapped up a little too neatly (in what world would the government release Reese and David simply because of media pressure?) but I’m excited to see what happens next. This story is far from over.

Need More Information?

  • Rather Be ReadingDespite my drawbacks, Lo successfully left me aching to know what happens to her characters. The blending of paranormal elements and conspiracy theories was incredibly intriguing. Pieces of the story felt so real to me that I couldn’t help but be wary of flocks of birds when I saw them. I have no idea what will happen next for Reese, but I am very anxious to see what Lo has in store for us.
  • Assorted InsanityThe plot was crazy. It starts off as birds crashing into random shit like they’re missiles and ends up being some crazy thing that I can’t really explain because of spoilers. It’s so weird and nonsensical. As you can tell, the only words I can use to describe the plot are weird, insane, and crazy. 
  • The Book SmugglersAdaptation is one of those rare, unique birds in YA: a good, cool and geek-friendly sci-fi story featuring an extremely diverse cast of characters and a beautifully portrayed bisexual protagonist.

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Waiting on Wednesday 4.16.14

April 16, 2014 Fun Stuff 0

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

thelongestrideTitle: The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Release Date: May 8, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Summary: In the tradition of his beloved first novel, The Notebook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the remarkable story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways.

Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.

A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.

I’m not always a big fan of Nicholas Sparks books (but the movies are a whole different story). But this one sounds like a book I’d really enjoy.

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The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi – Review

April 14, 2014 Review 0 ★★★

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi – ReviewRelease Date: April 22, 2014
Title: The Chance You Won't Return
Author: Annie Cardi
Pages: 352
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: When your mom thinks she’s Amelia Earhart, navigating high school, first love, and family secrets is like flying solo without a map. 

Driver’s ed and a first crush should be what Alex Winchester is stressed out about in high school — and she is. But what’s really on her mind is her mother. Why is she dressing in Dad’s baggy khaki pants with a silk scarf around her neck? What is she planning when she pores over maps in the middle of the night? When did she stop being Mom and start being Amelia Earhart? Alex tries to keep her budding love life apart from the growing disaster at home as her mother sinks further into her delusions. But there are those nights, when everyone else is asleep, when it’s easier to confide in Amelia than it ever was to Mom. Now, as Amelia’s flight plans become more intense, Alex is increasingly worried that Amelia is planning her final flight — the flight from which she never returns. What could possibly be driving Mom’s delusions, and how far will they take her?
3 Stars

This is one of those books where I liked some parts, and then I didn’t like other parts. That’s kind of standard, right? Unless it’s a book you can’t stop gushing about.

But then I got to the end. THE END. It left me in a murderous rage that nearly made me throw my iPad across the room.

WHAT KIND OF ENDING WAS THAT MS. CARDI?

Let me tell you. That was NO kind of ending at all!

I like happy endings. But I don’t need happy endings (see: Allegiant). What I need is closure. And this book was more open-ended than a 10th grade essay question about Shakespeare.

I CAN’T HANDLE IT.

I don’t even necessarily need everything tied up in neat little bows. But don’t leave me wondering View Spoiler »

Give me closure. Give me something to hold onto as I imagine the lives of these characters beyond the pages of the book!

Otherwise, what’s the fucking point?

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Sweet Southern Betrayal by Robin Covington -Review

April 11, 2014 Review 0 ★★★

Sweet Southern Betrayal by Robin Covington -Review

Sweet Southern Betrayal by Robin Covington -ReviewRelease Date: January 13, 2014
Title: Sweet Southern Betrayal
Series: The Boys Are Back in Town #3
Author: Robin Covington
Pages: 161
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore
From the Publisher: Privileged and ambitious attorney Teague Elliott is on the fast-track to getting everything he wants. All he has to do is stay on the straight and narrow and a high-profile political career is his for the taking. Until he wakes up naked with a Vegas showgirl...

Risa Clay has worked hard to put her showgirl past behind her and start fresh. But she owes ten grand to the wrong people, and to pay off her debt, she agrees to betray a stranger. . .but she ends up with a husband and guilty conscience.

Savvy and determined, she double-crosses the mob, goes on the run, and turns up on Teague’s doorstep armed with a dangerous secret, a marriage license, and the power to ruin his well-planed future. She thought using Teague again would be easy, but the passion that exploded between them in Vegas didn’t stay in Sin City and betrayal is the last thing on her mind.

Now Teague has to choose between the future he’s planned for all his life, or the one with Risa that he can’t turn away from.
3 Stars

I’m just going to say it.

I don’t like romance novels with a male main character.

Something about them just doesn’t sit right with me. I love a good romance novel. But I want them to feature men who I would dream of being with. And when he is the main character, you end up seeing all of the stuff you never want to see in a fantasy.

Teague is arrogant and selfish. He doesn’t want love, he wants sex.

Of course, this is a romance novel so by the end he turns into the fantasy… but the journey just isn’t as fun when you’ve already seen what’s behind the curtain.

I read for the fantasy. Not for a dose of reality.

Need More Information?

  • Night Owl RomanceTeague and Risa’s story is very enjoyable and lovely. I will recommend it to anyone who loves to read a steamy love story.
  • Harlequin JunkieThe most impressive part of this story was how the author handled the betrayal of the hero. Desperate to save her friend she is blackmailed in exchange for having her debts absolved. Therefore, she is not malicious, just desperate. As a reader, I am more accepting of a character’s redemption if there is a clear motivation for the betrayal.
  • The Book PushersThe sparks were definitely flying with these two, and I loved the fact that throughout most of their relationship, they really were so on the same page about what they both wanted, what the expected, and what they wanted to gain from their relationship. It is always refreshing to read those kinds of romances, and I thought Covington did a wonderful job with it.

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Seriously Series Challenge – First Check-in

April 9, 2014 Challenges 4

Reading the Paranormal - 2014 Seriously Series Reading Challenge

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling with reading and reviewing this year. Thankfully this challenge doesn’t require reviews! I’m still a bit behind though – it turns out that this is the year I decided to start reading stand-alones! Here’s my progress for January – March (you can see all of my goals here).

Series Started Before 2014:

Started Before 2014
2/10 series
  1. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
    • The Fiery Heart (series complete until next book comes out)
  2. House of Night by PC & Kristin Cast
    • Revealed (series complete until next book comes out)

Series Started In 2014 (in Progress):

Started in 2014
0/5 series
  1. The Farm by Emily McKay
    • The Farm

Series Rereads (in Progress):

Rereads
0/3 series
  1. The Hollows by Kim Harrison
    • Dead Witch Walking

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Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg – Review

April 9, 2014 Review 3 ★★★★

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg – ReviewRelease Date: February 25, 2014
Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Pages: 288
Publisher: Point
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg.

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?
4 Stars

*Spoilers Below*

I have to admit, I’m a bit torn about this book.

I enjoyed the story. And the characters. I always do when it’s by Elizabeth Eulberg. She writes Contemporary YA like nobody’s business.

But this book was one of those cases where I went in expecting one thing and ended up getting something completely different.

The book is called Better Off Friends. But the moral of the story is not that Macellan and Levi are better off friends. It’s that all along they were perfect for one another and they just couldn’t see it because of their friendship.

As a romance, it’s a fantastic book. But I was expecting a story about how a guy and girl can be best friends and love each other in a non-romantic way. That’s why it lost a star. We need more books that focus on friendship rather than romantic entanglements.

But I promise you this: you will fall in love with Macellan and Levi. We get to know each of them pretty intimately because the story is told in dual POV. At times I wanted to smack both of them. But in the end, I was feeling so giddy and freaking happy at the turn of events that the rest was simply the story that needed to be told to get to HEA.

Need More Information?

  • Paper RiotI adore everything about this book, especially how close these two characters become. While it does seem a bit far-fetched that two kids in junior high could be as mature as Levi and Macallan are in Better off Friends, Eulberg writes the story and the dialogue in such a way that it doesn’t seem awkward or forced.
  • Readers in WonderlandBETTER OFF FRIENDS was not the novel I was expecting based off the synopsis, but it was still a good book. If you are a fan of contemporary YA, you will find yourself enjoying this one easily.
  • CuddlebuggerySo basically, I don’t know why you’re wasting your time not reading this book. Because I really, really want to discuss it with anyone and everyone right meow.

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Waiting on Wednesday 4.9.14

April 9, 2014 Fun Stuff 14

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

thetreatmentTitle: The Treatment (The Program #2)
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: April 28, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary: 

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

I finally read The Program last week, and I really liked it! I’m dying to find out what happens to Sloane and James, and really hope they end up getting their happily ever after.

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Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #1)

April 7, 2014 Challenges, Fun Stuff 1

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #1)

I recently finished re-reading the first book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. I was struck by how young all of the characters seemed! I had forgotten how Rachel and Ivy struggled with each other in the beginning. I had forgotten that Jenks hadn’t always been a part of Rachel’s team. I had forgotten Rachel met Nick at the rat fights. And most of all, I had forgotten how mean Trent was!

It all felt as if it were a lifetime ago.

Dead Witch Walking sets up the series. We’re introduced to a lot of characters. Rachel and Ivy both leave their jobs at the I.S. and start their own agency. It’s this agency that is the foundation for the whole series. This book also sets up the world that Rachel lives in: 40 years after the angel virus mutated through genetically modified tomatoes and wiped out a third of humanity, supernaturals (Inderlanders) are no longer hiding. The world wouldn’t have been able to function and regrow if they hadn’t stepped forward.

Rachel gets into a lot of trouble, not only because the I.S. has a contract on her head for leaving, but because she’s just… Rachel. Getting into trouble is what she does. And she does it very well.

It felt kind of surreal re-reading this one not long after reading the most recent release The Undead Pool. The characters have grown and developed SO MUCH over the years.

I definitely enjoyed going back to the beginning

_____________________

If you’re participating in The Hollows Reading Challenge, don’t forget to add links to your posts on the Month 1 Linky.

If you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you do! Not only is this series a must-read series for all Urban Fantasy fans, but there are TONS of great prizes!

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Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum – Review

April 7, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum – ReviewRelease Date: April 18, 2014
Title: Big Fat Disaster
Author: Beth Fehlbaum
Pages: 288
Publisher: Merit Press
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It's her life: Dad's a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative's trailer, where her mom's contempt swells right along with Colby's supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby's role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she's only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
4 Stars

I have issues with food. I don’t talk about them often – or ever, really. But they lurk under the surface, and even when I’m working really really hard to overcome them and build healthy habits they can derail me. Today was one of those days. And today was the day I read about Colby.

I didn’t expect her story to end up the way it did, but it didn’t surprise me. I did spend a bit of time thinking that there’s no way anyone’s mom would ever treat their daughter the way Colby’s mom treated her… but yes they do. And even without her mom as a motivating factor, everything else Colby was dealing with would have been enough to trigger the depression and self-loathing.

I have a mom who loves me very much and I still struggle (at 31) with self-loathing. There are times I self-medicate with food. There have been many days where I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore because the pain I felt inside was so bad.

When I read Colby’s story, I felt very connected to her.

At the end, the author reveals that she’s struggled with binge eating and knows exactly what kinds of emotions can come with it.

Big Fat Disaster wasn’t easy to read, but I’m glad I did. It was authentic, painful, yet still uplifting. Though I’ll warn you – most of the characters are unlikable and have zero redeeming qualities.

If you – or someone you know – are having thoughts of self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Need More Information?

  • Chiquita BloggerThis book touched me in so many ways that all I wanted to do was reach through the pages, give Colby a hug, tell her she’s most DEFINITELY not alone…
  • Howdy YALI do not recommend this book to anyone.  Not even my worst enemy.  You’ll feel horrible after reading it.  It makes you hate humanity.
  • Sunk TreasureBig Fat Disaster will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and Maureen Johnson. It would be great as a book club selection; there’s so much in this book to discuss and build on.

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Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers (Burnside Series #2) – Review

March 21, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★★

Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers (Burnside Series #2) – Review

Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers (Burnside Series #2) – ReviewRelease Date: May 6, 2014
Title: Laugh
Series: The Burnside Series #2
Author: Mary Ann Rivers
Pages: 288
Publisher: Loveswept
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | iBookstore
From the Publisher: Mary Ann Rivers continues her Burnside family series—perfect for readers of Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Ruthie Knox—as two people try to share their hearts without losing their cool.

Dr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.
5 Stars

I don’t know how she does it, but Mary Ann Rivers has taken the most unlikable character from Live (the first book in the Burnside Series) and turned him into someone my heart positively aches for.

This book is one of the most shining illustrations of the notion that what you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to fucked up humans.

And it’s amazing.

When I realized this book was about Sam, the eldest of the Burnside clan, I was turned off. I loved Des and Hefin in Live and Sam didn’t understand their love. He basically told Des she was stupid for falling for this man. And then he railed on his other sister Sarah while she was in the hospital.

His purpose in that book was mostly to make me want to punch him.

But now… now I understand who Sam is. Why Sam is the way he is.

Seeing someone from the outside and then spending time in their head can make you see them completely differently.

My journey through this book was, as always when it comes to a Mary Ann Rivers novel, documented through Twitter.

That’s basically it in a nutshell. I was wary. The sex scenes were incredibly steamy. Sam opened up and I saw who he really is. And then I cried tears of joy.

That’s one hell of a journey for a single book.

My advice to you? Read everything Mary Ann Rivers has ever written. You won’t regret it.

 

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