Monday, June 18, 2012

REVIEW Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

by Elizabeth Norris
Balzer + Bray
April 24, 2012

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she’s opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, Janelle knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her reincarnation, and Ben’s possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI-agent father’s files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what’s right in front of her: Everything that’s happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben’s sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl’s fight to save herself, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

Okay, one of the absolute best parts of this book was that I had no idea what was coming.  I was seriously completely surprised.  And that's what I loved about it so I'm going to try to make this review as spoiler-free as I can make it.

I LOOOOVED this book.  I loved how mysterious it was.  I loved how you only got little bits of the puzzle.  No info-dump here, just learning what was going on as Janelle did.

I loved her.  She was tough but still very much a normal teenage girl.  She stresses out about her family.  She worries about her best friend.  She has issues with her ex-best-friend who did the unforgivable.  She's doing the best she can with very little support system.  She had worries and fears and was not perfect.  Except in Ben's eyes.  All her life she's barely noticed him (he's one of the stoner kids that sit in the back of the class) but after he brings her back to life she's understandably obsessed with figuring out just who he is.

And Ben is awesome.  He is absolutely smitten with Janelle and has been for as long as he's known her.  It's adorable.  And it annoys his friends who are sick of hearing about it (for years), which is at times hilarious.

I got so absorbed in the back and forth between the two of them that I managed to forget a vital piece of information from the back of the book..."to put a stop to the end of the world". Oh yeah.  The world REALLY IS going to end if they can't figure out what's going on and stop it.  And the world-ending thing?  Totally not what I was expecting.


There's a bunch of unexpected sci-fi elements in this book, which was a HUGE plus for me, but if you hate sci-fi, this isn't the book for you.  Just warning you since it really doesn't go into detail on the blurb.

Hope you love it as much as I did!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

REVIEW Revived by Cat Patrick

by Cat Patrick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 8, 2012

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.

This book was WAY more serious than I anticipated it to be, and it was SO GOOD because of that fact.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but Revived went above and beyond my expectations.  I think I was expecting something kind of fluffy, something where Daisy is kind of learning what she can do as she's drawn into a whole Reviving society.  I don't know.

But it wasn't that at all.  IT WAS BETTER.

After dying AGAIN, Daisy and her pseudo-parents have picked up and moved.  She's starting over and for once she's actually trying to be normal.  She's going to make friends.  That's where Audrey and Matt come in.  She bonds with Audrey from the get-go, and it doesn't hurt anything that her brother Matt is super-hot.  But as she gets closer to the siblings, she starts to wonder about the thing she's taken for granted ever since she was a kid--the fact that if she dies, it isn't the end.  She's been brought back again and again, and as she gets close to her new friends (and, in Matt's case, something more) the whole issue of morality and mortality start turning over in her mind.

Why does she get to live?  Why has she been chosen to be brought back to life again and again?  And why are the kids that died in the bus crash with her when she was little the only ones who get to use Revive?

But Daisy starts asking too many questions, and before long, everything starts to crumble down around her.

This book had a fabulously unexpected premise.  The bonds that Daisy made with Matt and Audrey were so wonderful.  They were almost difficult to read as Daisy was going through such a hard time as she made such deep connections with people outside the program for the first time in her life.  The science-fiction element in this story was compelling, and the relationships tugged at my heartstrings.

Great read!


Friday, June 15, 2012

REVIEW Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Dead to You
by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse
February 7, 2012

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

This was another small book with a big impact.  I still don't really know what to say in my review.

It kind of broke me.

Reviewing this without giving anything away is going to be tough, but here goes...

Dead to You picks up right as Ethan is reunited with his family.  He'd always known there was something strange about his broken childhood, so when he saw his picture on a site for missing children he didn't hesitate before contacting them and being reunited with his family.

The problem is, he really isn't sure what to do now that he's with them again.  He doesn't remember anything before his abduction and after years of not being able to trust anyone, he can't quite make himself open up to his parents as to exactly what happened to him in the meantime.  It's hard, but he's trying to remember.  He's trying to be the son and brother they want him to be.

But he's a little bit...different.

The lack of information and backstory really gave me the impression of Ethan as a brand new baby, when in fact he was a teenager.  It was like he was learning things from the first time (if that makes any's hard to put into words) as he tries to fit in to his new hometown.  It was as though he tried to completely blank out his life before he found his family, and he was starting all over again.  It really put me in the moment, in his head, and he was hiding things from even himself.

Wow...this is hard to review.

It was hard to see Ethan find his family, only to have to deal with the fallout from the trauma he'd experienced.  The rage.  The panic attacks.  The attention he didn't want and didn't know how to deal with.  The doubt.

This wasn't an easy read, but it was a good one.  I'm still reeling a little.

I love Lisa McMann.


Weekend Wishlist - The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

I've been on holidays this week and I'm amazed at the fact that it's Friday AGAIN.  How did this happen?  Where did my vacation days go?

I'm kind of bummed.

But this means it's time for another Weekend Wishlist post.  And that's always fun.

For those of you new to the blog (hello!) Weekend Wishlist is a little post I created where I could feature older titles that have caught my attention.

Here's what's caught my eye this week...

The Goddess Test
by Aimee Carter
April 19, 2011



It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.


I can't believe I STILL HAVEN'T READ THIS BOOK.  What's wrong with me, guys?  I feel like such an epic fail.

I was going to pick it up when I was book shopping yesterday, but IT WASN'T THERE.


Not cool, world.  Not cool.

So yeah, that's my pick for this week.  Are there any backlist titles you've got your eye on?  Let me know in the comments!

Love ya!

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

REVIEW Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14
by Emmy Laybourne
Feiwel & Friends
June 5, 2012
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

I wasn't sure about this one at first.  To be honest, it took me a couple of chapters to figure out if the narrator was a guy or a girl (Note: it's a guy. His name is Dean.  There, I just saved you a whole lot of concentration that you should be putting towards other parts of the book) but once I got past that part, Monument 14 was a really exciting read.

The book opens as Dean and his brother are running for their respective school buses.  In that moment, that's all that matters, making it to school on time.  They have no idea that the world around them is about to end, and that their lives are about to be changed forever.

Without warning giant hailstones begin falling from the sky.  Dean's bus is destroyed and most of its passengers are killed in the chaos, and before they know it, a group of survivors including Dean's brother Alex, his little neighbors, a kid that only speaks Spanish, the bully from Dean's school, the popular jock, and the girl Dean has been pining for forever end up taking shelter in the local superstore under the care of the bus-driver.  The bus-driver tells them two things: One, she's going to get help and will be back soon.  Two: the jock is in charge until she gets back.

Only she doesn't come back, and soon the group is locked inside the superstore.

And THEN all hell breaks loose.

This was an exciting, page-turning read.  I couldn't wait to see what happened next and I sped through this book like my life depended on it.

Sometimes I wanted to throttle the characters--because little kids can be ANNOYING and big kids aren't much better--but I loved the way the author has brought about the end of the world.  Choices have to be made.  Life has to be protected, and sometimes you can't even trust yourself.

Great read and a great new voice.  Can't wait for more!


P.S. Feel free to judge me for taking about a million years to figure out exactly why this book is called "Monument 14".  I was in the middle of telling my brother I didn't know why that was the title when I figured it out. If you've read it and haven't figured it out yet...*solidarity fistbump*

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

REVIEW I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
April 3, 2012

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Oh, this one is getting SO MANY STARS.  ALL OF THEM.  You have no idea.

Really, there are no words for how much I loved this book.  The characters, the setting, the mystery...everything was spot-on and I was able to get completely lost in the world and the story that the author had created. 

Jazz is one of the best narrators I've come across in awhile.  He's pretty screwed up, what with being the son on a notorious serial killer and all.  He's been trained all his childhood to follow in his father's footsteps, and now, even years after his father was caught and taken away, it's hard for him to silence the running commentary his father has in his head of just how easy it would be to kill someone.  He constantly has to fight with himself to NOT think about how easy it would be to take down that cop he's watching, how to take his to end his life.

He's trying.  But it's hard. 

So he's turned to another method to sort of channel his darker urges.  When a body turns up in a field, Jazz sneaks to the side of the crime scene to investigate exactly who it was that was killed, and how the killer did it.  That's where we meet Jazz, on his belly hidden in the grass at the edge of a field, binoculars in hand (special ones his dad picked out years before he'd been caught, ones that don't reflect the light so that the police that are investigating the scene won't see the little flash of light that would give his position away), spying on the crime scene.  That's where the story begins and that's where Jazz realizes that there's more to this killing than the cops are wiling to accept.  That there's a new serial killer in town.

And it isn't Jazz.

I loved Loved LOVED Jazz's interactions with the other characters.  While Jazz is fighting with himself over whether or not he's actually a good person or if he's a killer that just hasn't killed yet, his friends have taken on a different approach to looking at him.  The sheriff, the man who put Jazz's dad in prison, has a sort of "you're creepy, kid...if I didn't know you DIDN'T kill this woman, I'd totally think you did because you're so weird and also please stop hanging around crime scenes because that is what serial killers do" kind of mentality towards a very affectionate-slash-exasperated way.

I was absolutely ABSORBED in this book.  I loved it so SO much.

I don't want to give anything away, so I'll stop my review here...but in summary OMG LOVE!

I'm really, REALLY hoping there's a sequel in the works for this book.


 p.s.  Jazz's best friend also happens to be a hemophiliac...which creates an interesting dynamic when Jazz drags him along to crime scenes and to break into the morgue and the boy BLEEDS ALL OVER EVERYTHING.  Yeah.  I loved the two of them. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

REVIEW 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon
by Johan Harstad
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
April 17, 2012

It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA's unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space--and change their lives forever.

Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune.

Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan.

Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.

This book is hard for me to review because while all I've been hearing from my fellow bloggers was rave reviews...I didn't love it.

I did LIKE it however.

I think this one sits firmly in the 3.5 star range for me.

Here's why...

I LOVE science fiction.  I really do.  I'm such a huge geek, you have no idea.  But although I'm a firm believer in the fact that you have to suspend disbelief when you read a story, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they were sending teenagers to the moon.  If anyone who has read the book knows why, PLEASE let me know.  I think I missed something.

I liked the characters and the switching points of view.  They really were typical teenagers...the two girls both seemed to pine over Antoine, but really, can you blame them?  He's a cute French guy.  There is no bad there.  And I really liked the dynamic and bonding between the three of them when they finally got to the moon and things started going wrong.  They banded together like a little family.  LOVE.

I LOVED the setting.  The moon-base was brilliantly described.  Totally felt like I was there.

That being said, once they got to the moon and everything started going to hell, the book felt a little rushed.

By the end I was sitting there going "wait...what?  what's going on?" and that was a little disconcerting.

So in summary, I'm a little torn about this one.  I'm not really sure what I think about it.  I did enjoy it though, and if you're a fan of science fiction, I urge you to give this one a shot.

Happy Reading!


Weekend Wishlist - Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

You know what I haven't done in FOREVER?...  A Weekend Wishlist post.

For those of you new to the blog (hello!) Weekend Wishlist is a little post I created where I could feature older titles that have caught my attention.

Here's what's caught my eye this week...

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her.

But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.

Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does.

Doesn't that sound so interesting?  It's like a twist on Beauty and the Beast but all DARK.


I'm going to need to track this one down.

So what about you, dear readers?  Do you have an older title you've got your eye on this weekend?

If so, let me know!  I'm always on the hunt for my next read.

Love ya!


My photo
I'm a 32 year old YA book lover and not that interesting. You know what's interesting? Books! Books are by far my favorite thing to talk about, so leave me a comment, let me know what you think! I love hearing from other booklovers!