Sync audio free download week of May 29 - June 4, 2014.
This is a review of the audio book which I received for free from Sync Audio's summer program....moreSync audio free download week of May 29 - June 4, 2014.
This is a review of the audio book which I received for free from Sync Audio's summer program.
The Angel children have always been special. They are brilliant, music prodigies, and even NFL football stars. Their parents own a big pharmaceutical company and they live in the Dakota building in New York City. When their parents are found dead in bed, the children become the murder suspects. There's 16 year old Tandy (short for Tandoori) and her twin brother Harry, little brother Hugo, and big brother Matthew. Tandy sets off to find out who killed her parents and why. As the story unfolds, we learn that this family is a tad quirky and the kids are a little different.
The narration of this book was excellent. The narrator brought Tandy's character to life and she played a convincing 16 year old. The narrator also used different voices for all the characters and it was quite entertaining to listen to her.
This is the first book in the series and I will definitely be reading the next one.
Confessions of a Murder Suspect would be an excellent choice for a family road trip. It is suitable for middle grades and up. (less)
Initial Thoughts: About a 3 - 3.5 star read for me. This really is a weird one for me to review - part of me disliked the book, the other part of me l...moreInitial Thoughts: About a 3 - 3.5 star read for me. This really is a weird one for me to review - part of me disliked the book, the other part of me loved 1 character. Here goes: Monroe's father collects Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia for his restaurant. When Monroe nicks her finger on a bloodstained bullet, something strange happens. She hears Bonnie's voice inside her head and Bonnie wants to stick around. Later that evening Monroe attends a party and he experiences something similar, only this time it's Clyde's spirit. Both spirits want to stick around and live. Monroe must do all she can to get rid of the spirits. The story is told from alternating points of view - that of Monroe and of Clyde. I loved the parts that were in Clyde's voice. His reaction to our technology was quite amusing. The book had a lot of interesting facts about Bonnie and Clyde. Full review to come...
Thank you to Merit Press for a review copy of this book.(less)
The Young World was a slog to read through. In many ways, I've read this book before. Some disease kills off all of the adults (ages 18+) and the youn...moreThe Young World was a slog to read through. In many ways, I've read this book before. Some disease kills off all of the adults (ages 18+) and the young children, leaving teenagers in the throes of puberty in charge. And they are the people with guns and unlimited amounts of ammo.
You really do need to suspend belief to enjoy this book. Think about it, a biological warfare type of disease that kills adults and children. I'm no immunologist but you would think that after a disease ran its course, the survivors would have built some sort of immunity to this disease. Nope. At age 18, they get sick and die. Of course this is explained because the disease attacks when a person reaches physical maturity and their hormones level out. OK. Still not buying it.
Did I mention just how much weaponry is lying around, readily available? Why is it that in every post-apocalyptic book there seems to be an endless supply of guns, swords, knives, and ammo? (I'm not American - I find it hard to believe that so much of that stuff is readily available. But it must be as I've been to a Walmart in the US).
The story is told in alternating first person points of view. You get to be inside of the two main characters' heads. There's Jefferson who is practical and logical and actually an interesting character. Jefferson is a natural leader, though reluctantly so. He just wants to survive. He's also a teenage boy, so he is oblivious to a few things. Then there's Donna, named after Madonna (the singer). Donna has an opinion about everything and her point of view is very busy and whiny and annoying. Now here's the strange part with this book. Each point of view had a different font and a very different writing style. Jefferson's point of view is written like a first hand account. Donna's point of view is written almost in a script-like style. I understand that the author is a director, so perhaps he was taking a shortcut on the book to movie adaption.
The main characters along with their companions travel through Manhattan from their home in Washington Square Park to the New York Public Library, Central Station, The subway tunnels, Central Park, Harlem, and finally to Plum Island. Each stop takes them to a different "tribe" culture, from cannibals, to post-apocalyptic entertainment, to weapons construction. WARNING: Some of this entertainment involves cruelty to animals - dogs. (I know that some of you out there hate that kind of stuff). There's also plenty of cruelty to people as well.
The ending was a little abrupt. It kind of made me go huh? Where did that come from?
In spite of my lower rating, I did enjoy some of the supporting characters. I loved Brainbox, the boy genius who was a MacGyver character with a scientific background. He was a little aloof, but what a brainiac. Peter, the African American gay character was a hoot. I kept hoping that he would meet someone soon. Tiny little SeeThrough was my hero and proved that good things do come in small packages.
The Young World was an OK read for me. I'm not sure that I'd recommend it, especially if you've already read this year's crop of post-apocalyptic young adult novels.
Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for a review copy of this book.(less)
This was an OK read for me but I can see the appeal for young adult readers who may want to read something other than R.L. Stine. Welcome to the Dark...moreThis was an OK read for me but I can see the appeal for young adult readers who may want to read something other than R.L. Stine. Welcome to the Dark House reminded me a little of those Scream or Freddie Kruger movies with the bulk of the book taking place in an old abandoned amusement park - creepy!
Seven teens have won a contest where they get to meet their favorite horror movie producer of the Nightmare Elf series. They've each submitted their scariest nightmare and - you guessed it - the only way out of the amusement park is to face that nightmare.
The book was amusing, however it suffered from some really horrible ebook formatting which caused me to get frustrated with the text at times. (Publishers - some ereaders hate graphics and special fonts and they just show a lot of blank space).
I also found that there were too many points of view in the book (6?) and since my ebook formatting was off, it was really difficult to tell which character was talking. Actually, it seemed to me that the bulk of the character development was given to Ivy and the other characters were a little flat.
Welcome to the Dark House was an amusing little foray into the horror genre.
Thankyou to NetGalley and Hyperion Books for a review copy of this book.(less)
Initial Thoughts: While the premise of this book is intriguing - an all girls punk band in the 1980's - I had a lot of difficulty keeping focused whil...moreInitial Thoughts: While the premise of this book is intriguing - an all girls punk band in the 1980's - I had a lot of difficulty keeping focused while reading this book. I liked the girls, with the exception of Trudy who was somewhat of a loose cannon. I also liked that each character suffered from some sort of issue: parental abandonment, disfigurement, sexual identity, and unreasonable parental expectations. I was rooting for Harumi throughout the book because she had the most potential of all the characters. Full review to come.(less)
Initial Thoughts: A bit of a slow start to this amusing story about a young boy who plays with magic and finds out that he got more than he bargained...moreInitial Thoughts: A bit of a slow start to this amusing story about a young boy who plays with magic and finds out that he got more than he bargained for. Sean Wyndham finds an old book and inside the book an old newspaper clipping advertising for a magician's apprentice - only the ad has an email address. Curiosity gets the better of Sean and he applies for the position. This is a fun story and the magic is quite intriguing. I especially liked Geldman's pharmacy - so cool. This is a perfect story for kids in middle school and up, though younger readers may find parts a little scary.
The Review: Summoned by Anne M. Pillsworth is the first book in her new series Redemption's Heir. In Summoned, Sean Wyndham answers an ad to become an apprentice in magic. He's given a fairly easy task - he is to summon an Aether Newt as a familiar. Sean loves the idea and decides to do the summoning as his summer project for school. Only - you guessed it - things don't go according to plan.
Summoned was an enjoyable read for me. The magic was interesting, especially Geldman's pharmacy which was a pharmacy like no other, and so unique that only Sean could see it. There were some amazing dream sequences as well.
Summoned should appeal to young adult readers looking for books about magic and witchcraft. I'm very excited to hear that there are other books planned for this series.
Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Tor/Forge for a review copy of this book. (less)
Initial Thoughts: I am a mess. I am teary-eyed. What a completely unexpected twist. Do yourself a favor and don't read any reviews or spoilers about t...moreInitial Thoughts: I am a mess. I am teary-eyed. What a completely unexpected twist. Do yourself a favor and don't read any reviews or spoilers about this book. Pass the tissue, please.
The Review: Wow. This was one powerful book. It made me crumple into a teary-eyed mess. And the thing is, up to a certain point in the novel(and you'll know it when you get to it), I was kind of ambivalent to the book.
We Were Liars is narrated by Cadence Sinclair Eastman who is almost 18 years old. Cadence is from a very wealthy, very perfect Sinclair family who summer on the privately owned Beechwood Island near Martha's Vineyard. Right away, I loved the setting. I haven't been to Martha's Vineyard, but from Cape Cod we saw some very beautiful homes on the islands just outside Hyannis. Absolutely stunning. Anyhow, back to the book...
Cadence recalls happy summers spent on the island with her cousins Johnny, Merrin, and family friend Gat. The four call themselves The Liars. Of course, not everyone on the island is happy. There's a lot of family bickering over money. Their mothers are constantly arguing about their inheritance and about possessions.
During her 15th summer on the island, Cadence is found on the beach, barely conscious and suffering from hypothermia. She has no memories of "the accident" and she suffers from debilitating migraines.
I think that what I enjoyed most about this story was Cady's use of fairy tale imagery to move the story along. I also loved the camaraderie between the cousins as well.
Do yourself a favor. Do not click on any spoiler tags. Go into this book with a clear mind if you are interested in reading this book.
This is the first book I've read by this author. I'll be looking for more books by E. Lockhart in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for a review copy of this book.(less)
Initial Thoughts: This was a quick read for me. The story revolves around three teenage volunteers in Portland's Search and Rescue. On a routine searc...moreInitial Thoughts: This was a quick read for me. The story revolves around three teenage volunteers in Portland's Search and Rescue. On a routine search for a missing man, the teens come across a body in the woods. The chapters about the murderer were very creepy - he was one disturbed individual. I was able to guess who the killer was about halfway through the book which was a little disappointing for me. I like when authors keep me guessing. I enjoyed the story, although my review copy contained many spelling and grammatical errors which I hope will be corrected before the book is released. Full review to come closer to release date.
The Review: The Body in the Woods had a promising premise. Three teens on a search and rescue mission discover a body. Now that should be interesting, right? First things first - I really liked the idea that teens could train for search and rescue. That is so cool. What a fantastic learning experience. But - these kids were left alone, without supervision. Huh? That would never happen in real life.
Anyhow, the story begins as the rescue team is dispatched to search for a missing autistic man. The teens - Ruby, Alexis, and Bran are sent to search far away from the main team, presumably to keep them out of the way. They come across a body of a recently murdered girl. The teens then realize that they may have walked right past the murderer. Was he the dog walker? The birder? The homeless man? The man carrying the duffle bag?
Personally, the best part of this book was being inside the killer's mind. His chapters were creepy and he made me want to squirm. The teenage characters were not that memorable. I recall one with an excellent recall for details and the other had ADHD and the third one had a bipolar mother. Aside from that, they needed a little more development.
The Body in the Woods was an OK read for me. I would have liked more mystery. I'm usually horrible at guessing whodunit mysteries, but I was able to guess this one halfway through. I was hoping for a twist to throw me off, but it didn't happen. I understand that this is to be a series. I am planning on reading the next book, just to see what happens and how the characters develop further.
Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan Children's Publishing Group for a review copy of this book.(less)
Sad news from Strange ChemistryI was planning to read this closer to the release date which was supposed to be August 5, 2014. In the meantime, the p...moreSad news from Strange ChemistryI was planning to read this closer to the release date which was supposed to be August 5, 2014. In the meantime, the publisher has closed down Strange Chemistry books so the release time is now unknown. If any of you have read Cracked, you know how wonderful this series is. I know a lot of readers have been anxiously waiting for this book so I'll post my review as soon as I finish reading the book. If I hear of any publishing info, I'll post it here as well.
Update 7/20/21 This was such a fun book to read. Meda is my hero! I love her badassery - in fact she is the Queen of Badass. Let me think about what I want to say other than Meda is the best! Full review to come... (less)
So I am wavering between 4 and 5 stars for this excellent debut novel by author Bethany Neal. This is a cross between a ghost story and a murder myste...moreSo I am wavering between 4 and 5 stars for this excellent debut novel by author Bethany Neal. This is a cross between a ghost story and a murder mystery with a young adult slant. It is a powerful story told from the point of view of the main character Cassidy who at 17 died. The circumstances around her death are iffy: the police think it was a suicide. Cassidy comes back as a ghost and follows her circle of friends to try to remember what happened the night she died. Poor Cassidy can't remember how she ended up dead and who was around her. The only person able to see Cassidy's ghost was her boyfriend Ethan.
"This being-a-ghost thing sucks. If I don't figure out things soon, I'm converting to poltergeist."
The cast of characters (and suspects) is large and it was kind of fun trying to piece together the clues as to who killed Cassidy. I was joking with another reviewer that we needed a large whiteboard complete with photos of each character and a timeline in order to keep all the information straight. Keep in mind, the story is told from Cassidy's point of view and her friends seem to be hiding things.
"It seems everyone I know holds captive some piece of my past. I want them, no matter how much they'll hurt. They're mine and I deserve to hold them."
My Last Kiss was an intriguing book full of neat twists and turns. It was a lot of fun to read and I'd recommend it to people looking for a young adult mystery.
I won this book in a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. (less)