There’s nothing like a good ol’ mystery to entertain your mind and make you live out a whodunit and that is exactly what Clarity offers. Clarity “Clar...moreThere’s nothing like a good ol’ mystery to entertain your mind and make you live out a whodunit and that is exactly what Clarity offers. Clarity “Clare” Fern is a psychic. She is gifted with retrocognitive psychometry, meaning, she gets visions from objects. She is 33% of her freak family and most of the time, she’d like to be normal. But wanting to be normal and actually being normal are two entirely different things. Clare is used to the name-calling and being a social leper and she fights back with her sarcastic comments and intelligent, yet witty insults.
I love her.
The paranormal aspect in Clarity really isn’t that paranormal at all. Sure, Clare is a psychic, her hippie mom can hear thoughts, and her manwhore brother Perry can speak to the dead, but all in all, this story is more a murder mystery with a tinge of the paranormal. And for all of you who love a good love story, well there’s a bit of that thrown in too. Attractive boys litter the pages. There’s Clare’s older brother Perry, her cheating ex-boyfriend Justin (who I desperately wanted to hate, but I couldn’t), the new detective’s son, Gabriel Toscano (Clare thinks his name is sexy – I agree), and Nate (Perry’s best friend who I want to see more of because of my instant adoration). See? Plenty of yummy boys to go around.
On top of the murder mystery and the boys, there is some seriously awesome writing. Kim Harrington’s writing is funny, honest, and living in Clare’s head is a joy. I connected with her so much because she tells it like it is and she fights for what she believes in. My only complaint – and it's not really a complaint at all – is that Clare jumps to conclusions far too quickly, but we all know it happens. And Clare’s conclusion-jumping kept me guessing who actually did it because she made me think it could be this person or it could be that person.
Clarity is a murder mystery with some serious flare. Kim Harrington not only created a captivating whodunit with a stellar Cape Cod setting, but also more than a few interesting characters. Clare’s story could easily be a closed case with this one book, but I am very happy and eager to read Perception, book #2, next year.
Opening line: “You don’t want to kill me,” I said. ~ pg. 1
Favorite lines: My name is Clarity “Clare” Fern and my brother is Periwinkle “Perry” Fern. What were our parents thinking? Apparently where their next tab of acid was coming from. ~ pg. 4
And this one:
Kissing Gabriel was like an exotic vacation. Kissing Justin was like coming home again. ~ pg. 187(less)
Falling Under is impeccably written, with flowing prose and beautiful language. The characters all have such distinct personalities too. Theia starts...moreFalling Under is impeccably written, with flowing prose and beautiful language. The characters all have such distinct personalities too. Theia starts out as this do-gooder who aims to please her father, but once she meets the enigmatic and seemingly dangerous Haden, she begins to change. Theia’s character progression is far greater than I imagined. She transforms throughout the book and comes out as a much stronger person.
Haden is the dangerous bad boy that Theia can’t seem to stay away from, despite his warnings. His hot and cold nature makes her want him more, but made me less and less interested. For whatever reason, I really could not connect with Theia, or even Haden. Theia’s personality just did not mesh with me, and I know that I’m pretty much alone in that feeling, so I don’t want anyone to not pick up the book because of that.
The secondary characters in Falling Under are absolutely incredible though. Theia’s best friends, Ame and Donny, are fun and full of personality. Donny’s brazen nature makes her stand out and Ame’s sweet demeanor made me love her. On top of the fleshed out characters, the world that Gwen Hayes has created is what nightmares are made of. It’s beyond creepy, but I refuse to give anything else away.
I have to say that I felt like the story was a bit disjointed at times because of Theia’s frequent dreams and the random third person narrative that is thrown in, but once I got to the final 100 pages, all that somehow made sense. I’m still not madly in love with the book, but those final 100 pages turns everything on its head and changed my mind about saying this is a good book to this is a really good book with such a surprising Alice in Wonderland feel.
Falling Under is a delectably creepy romance with some serious sexual tension and a bad boy that many people are going to love. It’s creepy and different and a little trippy, but in a good way. I will definitely be checking out what comes next!(less)
Those That Wake is one of those books that really makes you think. The book is labeled dystopian, but I’d say it’s much more sci-fi. Normally, I’d say...moreThose That Wake is one of those books that really makes you think. The book is labeled dystopian, but I’d say it’s much more sci-fi. Normally, I’d say I don’t do sci-fi, but I really enjoyed how Jesse Karp created this story based on society’s disconnect from human nature and our growing dependency on technology. That, coupled with this crazy, ‘I can’t believe this is actually what this book is about,’ twist, make Those That Wake such a thrilling story.
The post-terrorist attack New York isn’t so different from our actual NYC and that makes it just a little bit scary. People walk around with their hands and eyes glued to their cell phones, trapped in the world of technology and interacting with people less and less. The four main characters of the story, Remak, Mike, Laura, and Mal, see that when no one else does. They’re left in this world where no one knows or remembers them, seemingly hopeless, but still fighting.
At times confusing, always thrilling, and definitely high concept, Those That Wake is a story to ponder. It’s split into four parts and starts off a bit slow, but once part 2 rolls around, the energy picks up. It’s almost necessary to read this one quickly, otherwise the reader will get lost. I found myself re-reading passages just to make sure I was clear about what was going on, but it’s worth it. The ending messes with your mind, switching realities, confusing the reader, but ultimately hopeful. That last word there is important…read the story and find out exactly why.
Those That Wake is a fascinating, fast-paced, mind-blowing take on our collective thoughts and how much life is actually worth. It’s a thought-provoking story with intricate twists and tension-filled scenes. Fans of dystopia, sci-fi, and Inception-style stories should get a kick out of it. Jesse Karp has given the YA community something truly unique that stands out and should be noticed. Not only is it well-written, but very well executed as well. I’ll be on the lookout for his future work.(less)
The Liar Society is one of those books that must be compulsively read. I’m talking up until 2AM, can’t sleep, can’t stop until the last page is turned...moreThe Liar Society is one of those books that must be compulsively read. I’m talking up until 2AM, can’t sleep, can’t stop until the last page is turned, kind of read. The story moves along rapidly, with the undeniably awesome Kate Lowry searching for clues into her best friend Grace’s death. Kate is a spitfire, with a sarcastic nature, hardened shell, and an affinity for sleuthing. But above all that, she is a girl desperate to find out exactly what happened to her best friend. A piece of her was lost with Grace and Kate just wants to know why – the real reason why.
Lies abound in the book and each clue Kate unearths just leads to another mystery. To help her out is Seth, the adorkable ginger next door who is crushing on Kate hard, and Liam, the possible bad boy with a more than charming personality. I was drawn into Kate’s story from the very first page and I was just as desperate as her to find out what really happened to Grace.
Kate’s school, Pemberly Brown, is awash in history and private school lore. There are secret societies and hierarchies, mean girls and rich boys, fires, death, and sword fighting. Then there’s Kate Lowry, a normal girl on a mission. Lisa and Laura (LiLa) Roecker’s writing is quick-witted, sharp and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion, but they never let you forget that Kate lost someone and she is hurting. Kate’s hunt for the truth kept me glued to each and every page, but I was never quite sure what would happen. The mystery of it is perfect and the ending is satisfying, but left me wanting more at the same time.
The Liar Society is a fast-paced, fun read with a strong lead in Kate and a cast of infinitely interesting and complex supporting characters. Not knowing who to trust and what version of the story is the real truth is half the reason the book is so addicting. The other half is a combination of the wonderful characters, the intelligent and oftentimes hilarious writing, and Kate. I’ll read this one over and over while I anxiously anticipate Kate’s next move and LiLa’s next story.(less)
What can I say about Chime, other than it is incredible and amazing and must be read? Because it is all of those things and then some. Franny Billings...moreWhat can I say about Chime, other than it is incredible and amazing and must be read? Because it is all of those things and then some. Franny Billingsley’s story about a girl named Briony and her hatred of her witch-self is fantastical and heartfelt; with dark tones and darker creatures, a lion-like man/boy named Eldric, and a plot that thickens like the swamp Briony lives in. The story has everything to offer and then leaves the reader gasping for more.
Franny Billingsley captivated me from the very first page and never let me go. The novel flows in this beautiful way that keeps the reader hooked, but yearning for more. Each word depicts something new and each chapter creates this infinitely more complicated and stunning tale. The romance is delectable, the characters are engaging, and the setting is brought to life in a way that made me feel like I was trudging through the swamp alongside Briony.
If you’re looking for something different, for something that forces you to turn the pages rapidly, and will leave you awestruck, then Chime is the book for you. Each word is an emotion, a treat, a delight. The story is one to languish over and absorb; impossible to put down, but something you’ll want to savor slowly.
Briony’s world is vivid and life-like. Her self-deprecation and insistence that she’s a horrible witch with no feelings is so different from who she actually is. I loved seeing her fight tooth and nail to be a good person, despite what she knows. The other characters each lend so much to the story as well. The ever-thickening plot is unraveled slowly and with such precision.
Chime is brilliant and beautiful and so incredibly gorgeous that I want to start all over and read it again. And I know I will. Franny Billingsley has stunned me with Chime. She’s left me in awe with her ability to tell such a complicated story with ease and with beauty. I’m determined to pick up anything and everything she writes. (less)
Karma is a story that should be read; Not only for its subject matter – a massacre in India that I never knew happened – but for its beauty. Cathy Ost...moreKarma is a story that should be read; Not only for its subject matter – a massacre in India that I never knew happened – but for its beauty. Cathy Ostlere tells the story through diary entries and imbues her words with more emotion than I could have ever imagined. A mere 10 pages in and I was teary-eyed and connected to 15 year old Maya. I felt the loss of her mother like a weight in the pit of my stomach. Small details, like the way Maya’s father clutches her mother’s urn, speak volumes. Details like that litter the pages of this verse novel.
Maya’s journey to a country she barely knows, let alone understands, is jarring. Each of her emotions jumps off the page in flowing, vivid verse. Historical events are weaved flawlessly into story, making everything even more tense. The half of the book from Sandeep’s POV is just as well-written as Maya’s half. His emotions, though much more sarcastic, are as raw and honest. Each of them has their own story to tell, they just happen to come together.
Ostlere gives the reader a view into the life of a girl torn between two worlds and two religions. Hindu and Sikh people war against one another and Maya feels caught in the middle, part of each, but never really comfortable with either. I was drawn in by the massacre – and it is a massacre, with violence and death – and couldn’t help but continue to turn the pages. Maya and Sandeep still linger in my mind. As does the message the book sends. Despite the difficult subject matter, Karma is an addicting read. A quick one too. The ARC tops out at 521 pages, but I read it in day, unable to put it down.
Karma is part historical fiction, part coming-of-age, but 100% heartfelt. From Maya’s sadness, to her fear; her surrender, to her survival; to Sandeep’s courage, compassion and love; each poem leaves the reader with a message. This is a story about surviving. It’s about living through the hardest of circumstances and suffering the most terrible losses, but seeing the hope that still lingers and the goodness that others can still offer. Ostlere shows the reader a world of hatred and cruelty, but ultimately tells us that all is not lost and even though human kind is capable of a great many terrible things, we are also capable of a love like no other.(less)