About 2.0 stars to 2.5 stars. Probably a better entertainment value for younger readers, Peter and the...moreSync audio free download week of July 3, 2014.
About 2.0 stars to 2.5 stars. Probably a better entertainment value for younger readers, Peter and the Starcatchers was a bit of a disappointment for me. I don't mind retellings, but this one just annoyed me a tad. It could be the narrator's voice - he was OK for most of the story, however he did do some truly cringe-worthy voices for some of the characters and I guess that put me off.
In any case, this is a retelling of Peter Pan and goes back to the days before Peter became Peter Pan. Captain Hook is Black Stashe, the meanest, ornery-est, most feared pirate of the seas. Smee is there as are some of the other characters, like the lost boys. No Wendy, unless I missed her somewhere.
The giant croc is in this one too.
I don't know, I just expected a little more from Dave Barry. (less)
Initial Thoughts: Wow. You know the TV series Dexter? He had a son in one of the later seasons, right? Jazz could be Dexter's son, but instead he is t...moreInitial Thoughts: Wow. You know the TV series Dexter? He had a son in one of the later seasons, right? Jazz could be Dexter's son, but instead he is the son of Billy Dent, the most prolific serial killer. Jazz continues to struggle to stay real, always fearing that he will fall into the abyss and become like his father. He is lucky to have people around him who believe in him - G. William, Connie, and Howie. In this installment of the series, Jazz helps out the NYPD find a serial killer. This is where we see the pure, demented genius of Billy Dent as he orchestrates a killing spree that follows all the rules of a game. Freaky, scary stuff.
I know that this book is being marketed as a young adult book, however some of the content is dark and disturbing and may not be for all readers. If you can sit through an episode of Dexter or Criminal Minds without becoming squeamish, then this book should not cause you any distress.
Oh, this one ends with a huge cliffhanger. Lucky the next book is due out in September.
Full review to come...
Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for a review copy of this book. (less)
This book kept me reading late into the night, which probably wasn't the best planning because, well, Billy Dent is one freaky scary evil serial kille...moreThis book kept me reading late into the night, which probably wasn't the best planning because, well, Billy Dent is one freaky scary evil serial killer. Every sound and creak in the house made me jumpy, but I just had to finish reading this book. I won't go into all the details, it is really best to read this book with a clear mind. So here's a spoiler free impression of this book:
Jasper (Jazz) Dent is the son of the most prolific serial killer Billy Dent. Jazz has a special understanding of what goes on in the mind of serial killers, after all, he was raised and groomed by Billy to become a killer. But Jazz does not want to become a killer and he struggles with his humanity - trying to keep a handle on the voice in his head. Luckily, Jazz has some great people around him - his girlfriend Connie - who believes in him, no matter what, and his goofy and hemophiliac best bud Howie. Sheriff G. William Tanner has also become a father figure to Jazz. Jazz does have a special talent - he thinks like a serial killer. He understands how they think. And his special talent is needed in New York City where a serial killer has been up to no good.
Think Dexter's son meets Criminal Minds and you have an idea of what to expect in this book. It's not for the squeamish and perhaps younger young adult readers may be disturbed by the content. If you can stand the blood and gore, this is one addictive series.
Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for a review copy of this book. (less)
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.
The Review: I think that there’s always been some sort of morbid fascination for stories about Bonnie and Clyde. Wanted: Dead or in Love is a modern day take on their story.
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I loved the chapters that were told from Clyde’s point of view. Imagine waking up to a world 80 years after your death. Think about all of the technology that Clyde was not aware of. Then, think of his worldview. Clyde was a most entertaining character and perhaps more adaptable to the present than Bonnie. The funny thing was that he was completely ready to continue his crime spree even though with today’s technology he would probably be caught right away. It was kind of creepy how Clyde took a liking to Monroe right away and Bonnie’s ghost sensed it, too.
I also liked the idea of Monroe working at a Roaring Twenties dinner theatre. That was kind of cool as was the Half Dead tour of Chicago. The last third of the book was quite exciting as well.
I did have a few issues about this book. I would have liked to have had more background on Monroe’s situation and why she was in trouble.
Overall, an quick and enjoyable read.
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)
It is not often that I give 1 star to a book. I usually try to find the good in each book that I read. Even books that I have not finished do n...moreARGHH!
It is not often that I give 1 star to a book. I usually try to find the good in each book that I read. Even books that I have not finished do not get a star rating, that's just how I review. But - this book drove me bonkers and I must highlight the things that drove me crazy.
1)This is a dystopian book along the lines of The Selection (which I haven't had the pleasure of reading, but the synopsis sounds right) and The Handmaid's Tale (of which there is absolutely no comparison).
2)Young women are groomed to become auctioned off as surrogates to the wealthy and privileged royalty of this world. They are given a lot number and dressed up in spectacular gowns and costumes and sold to the highest bidder. Sounds like slavery to me. Oh, the girls are never referred to by their names, only lot numbers.
3)The women are treated like pets by their "owners." They are led about on a leash, told what to eat, what to do, and how to behave. Good behavior is rewarded, bad behavior is punished.
4)There's a lot of invasive medical testing with our main character being drugged, poked, and prodded way too many times.
5)Too much emphasis is placed on the beautiful dresses and gowns and balls. The reality is that this is a race to produce a super baby.
6)There is a much more sinister aspect to this whole baby making process. Surrogates are told that once they produce a child, they will go on and retire in another part of this world. Wonder if that's true? Also, there is work to lobotomize the surrogates so they would just have a breeding womb available. Gross!
7)The writing is weak. The story is told in first person POV, so we only know what Violet is doing or thinking. See my status updates for an example.
8)Love triangle - is there or isn't there? Can't tell you for sure. Our heroin falls in love with a character, who is the love interest of another.
9)Cliffhanger - If you hang on until the end, you'll be treated to a surprise cliffhanger.
I'm sure that there will be plenty of people who will enjoy this book. For me, it was not a pleasant read. Read at your own risk.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for a review copy of this book.
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)
I tried. This book just did not hold my interest. First of all, if your character is dead, how can they possibl...moreThis is a DNF (did not finish review).
I tried. This book just did not hold my interest. First of all, if your character is dead, how can they possibly feel pain? Second, what's with all the cats? (Nice tie in to the title....) Third, I don't think I can take a book with high school angst right now.
Some readers may enjoy this book. Sadly, it wasn't for me.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen 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)