Wed, January 14, 2015

When by Victoria Laurie Review

When book cover

When book cover

By Victoria Laurie
Publication date: Jan. 13, 2015
Disney-Hyperion, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

— description

I like not knowing where a plot is going…but it felt like there were almost too many false leads and mysterious clues in When. A bit too all over the place for me, plus a little too “show, not tell.”

Aaaand you know how I feel when there isn’t as much romance as I’d like.

But still, this paranormal/mystery/suspense had me just enough intrigued to keep me reading. I really appreciated how FREAKED OUT it made me about how easily someone could frame you for murder. OMG HUGE FEAR OF MINE AHHH.

A mixed bag! Totally not mad I read it, but not a total fan.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: mystery, paranormal, suspense, victoria laurie

Sun, January 11, 2015

Split Second by Kasie West Review

Split Second book cover

Split Second book cover

Split Second
By Kasie West
Publication date: Feb. 11, 2014
HarperTeen, 368 pages
Source: Library

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

— description

Oooh, I love Kasie West. Have you read my reviews of On the Fence and The Distance Between Us? So. Good.

And I loved Pivot Point (my review is here)…so I’m not sure why it took me almost a year to read the sequel, Split Second.

Again: So. Good.

Okay, at first I had trouble remembering what happened in the first book. But as soon as I got caught back up, I loved it.

Oooh, two good romances! Bad guys! An awesome friendship between two girls! Fun paranormal times!

Loved it. Totally worth getting this series from your library/bookstore — just don’t wait as long as I did between reading them. Okay? Okay. Trust me.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, kasie west, paranormal, romance

Thu, July 24, 2014

Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke Review

Dissonance book cover

Dissonance book cover

By Erica O’Rourke
Publication date: July 22, 2014
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 496 pages
Source: Publisher

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

— description

Dissonance is set in Chicago, which I loved (in one scene, the characters even walk by my office). And the concept is great — it sort of reminded me of Pivot Point by Kasie West. Del’s part of a special group of people who can walk through the multiverse, follow alternative realities that pop up based on the decisions people make.

It was a long book (nearly 500 pages!), but I made it through with no problems and will absolutely read more of the series.

But, and this is a big “but” for me, I think I was a little too slow on the pickup of certain plot points. The science behind the multiverse concept was tricky, and I never quite followed along. Honestly, it made me feel a little stupid as I struggled to keep up.

So, not a total win and “OMG WOW” reading experience, but like I said: It piqued my interest enough that I’d absolutely try the second book.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: For those who read it…my notes say “Addie & Monty intrigued, gay thing?” What the heck was I talking about?!?! Must’ve been a typo?

Posted by: Anna   •   In: erica o'rourke, family, paranormal

Mon, June 30, 2014

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Sinner book cover

Sinner book cover

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5)
By Maggie Stiefvater
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Scholastic Press, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

— description

Okay, let’s be honest: The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is one of my favorites of all time, but I wasn’t that excited about this book when it was first announced.

Why? Well, Cole and Isabel were so abrasive in the Shiver trilogy that they never really endeared themselves to me. They were the complete opposites of Sam and Grace in many ways, and Sam and Grace are what I loved most about that trilogy. So I never gave them much thought.

But, I am happy to report: This book is AMAZING and I totally underestimated these characters.

I love Cole and Isabel now for the very same reason I didn’t like them before: They are jagged and stubborn and bitter, through and through. Their personalities shine through in every scene and their voices are strong and consistent, even as they change and grow as characters. Was I as moved or satisfied by their story as I was Sam and Grace’s? Nope, but these aren’t lovey-dovey romantic characters, so that’s okay.

The vibe is completely different from the Shiver books, though the writing remains beautiful and full of heart. It’s definitely a great addition and true companion to this series.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: maggie stiefvater, paranormal, romance, werewolves

Wed, May 28, 2014

Sekret by Lindsay Smith Review

Sekret book cover

Sekret book cover

By Lindsay Smith
Publication date: April 1, 2014
Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children’s, 337 pages
Source: Publisher

An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia’s father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she’s captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she’s thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one–not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention–and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.

— description

I’ll admit it: I know very little about Russia and the Cold War.

On the one hand, that made Sekret by Lindsay Smith a cool reading experience. I was introduced to a new culture and a beautifully depicted new setting.

On the other hand, I got so lost in the Russian names and historical plot points that I had a hard time following quite a few parts of the book.

But, if you’re into (a) Russia or (b) historical fiction or (c) paranormal spins on actual events, I think you’ll have a better go at this one than me. Historical fiction fans, do note point (c) there, though: They are mind readers. So, you know, not 100% historical. At least I hope not!!!

Also worth noting: Some of the characters were a bit stereotypical to me: mean girl, shy boy, jock boy, etc. Would have liked to see that mixed up a bit more.

So maybe it wasn’t a favorite and didn’t totally win me over, but I’m still glad I tried Sekret. I loved the amount of research Lindsay Smith clearly put into this book, and her writing was great. And, hey, it’s always good to try new types of books and challenge ourselves as readers, right?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: historical, lindsay smith, paranormal