Melissa Marr is an author that I have admired for a very long time. Although I have only read her short stories and the first book to the Wicked Lovel...moreMelissa Marr is an author that I have admired for a very long time. Although I have only read her short stories and the first book to the Wicked Lovely series, she is an author that I have been intimidated to read in fear that I would not like one of her books and then feel guilty for doing so. I always tread carefully around my favorite authors and am so thrilled that she has written a contemporary thriller for me to finally get over my procrastinations and dive into it. Saying that her writing is exquisite is an understatement. Her characters are so driven and realistic - they will find a way to crawl into your head and stay awhile...
MADE FOR YOU is told through three point-of-views - primarily from Eva, the victim, and Judge the stalker/murderer; and then a few chapters from Eva's best friend, Grace. Going into any book, I always assume that we are going to primarily see perspectives from the victim's side of the story. I was prepared to find myself immersed into the mind of the perpetrator too. I have to admit, from the start, Judge is very creepy and twisted. Hearing his thoughts and how he justified what he was doing was... there are no words to describe how deranged he was, and how sick I felt. After reading a few chapters from Judge, I did not know if I was going to be able to continue with the book, and decided to put the book aside for a few days to make sure that this was a story that I was going to be able to get into. As eerie as it was to be in his mind and see why he did the things that he did, I am glad I was able to continue on with the story and finish the book.
Eva is the most popular and most sought-after girl in school who comes from a well-known and wealthy family in a small southern town where everyone knows everyone, and their business, since the beginning of time. There is a certain image to uphold, a certain way of southern living to do and Eva knows how to play along and do the right things. Her boyfriend, who comes from the same background as Eva, is more than willing to uphold his popularity, not only in school, but within his own family too. Things seem perky and perfect... until Eva is in a hit-and-run accident and is left to die on the side of the road. The moment that Eva opens her eyes she knows that her life will never be the same again. Her estranged young parents become permanent fixtures right by her side now. Her long lost best friend is supporting her and doing his best to believe in her too. Especially when she thinks that she's losing her mind... because she's seeing peoples deaths. And she thinks that she'll be able to stop the murderer from doing any more harm. And even with Eva's family and friends support her - there is no stopping the truths and lies that start to unfold at a rapid rate. There is no holding back now when there is a killer on the loose.
I insist that you take your time reading this book! It can be a quick page-turner. But, you will miss a lot of details if you don't slow down. I found myself going back a few pages a few times and forced myself to slow down so I wouldn't miss anything. The intensity of every situation was a force to be reckoned with too. The 'sacrifices' that Judge does to teach Eva lessons are cruel and mind blowing things taken right out of newspaper headlines. He truly believes that God is sending him signs to help him teach Eva how to be pure in order for her to become his partner, his wife. There is no way to describe the inhumane things that he does to his victims. Ms. Marr briefly gives us glimpses to Judge's family life and past. And even with that, I could not find an ounce of empathy for him.
One more thing - I absolutely love when a bookcover displays a prominent part in the books story. I had mentioned on twitter on how much I loved the cover because the insect on the cover looked like a bee. I was wrong! Ms. Marr corrected me and told me that it is a cicada, and the entire picture does play a role in Eva's story.
This is not for the weak hearted. Those who love crime tv shows will enjoy MADE FOR YOU and will find it really interesting to see how Judge thinks and how he reveals himself. And of course, this book was definitely made for all you creepy-thriller types. How do you all sleep at night?
*An ARC was acquired from the publisher during BEA2014 for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.(less)
A delightful and magnificently illustrated children's book about a little elephant who finds encouragement from an unexpected new friend.
Little Ellio...moreA delightful and magnificently illustrated children's book about a little elephant who finds encouragement from an unexpected new friend.
Little Elliot is a tiny elephant trying to get by in the Big City. But because of his small size, he is easily lost in the crowd and ignored. It is difficult for him to accomplish daily chores and errands. And most importantly, he can never get the attention nor help he needs to buy a much wanted cupcake. Until one day, he meets someone who is even smaller than he is - a little white mouse - who seems to be struggling with the same things that Little Elliot is. Together they become friends, a team, and they help each other accomplish the things that they have always wanted to do. And in the end, they are finally rewarded with a cupcake.
When it comes to picture books, the actual illustrations have to tell me the story - but they not only need to tell me the story, they also need to make me feel what the characters are feeling and thinking before I read the words that are accompanying that page's storytelling. Mike Curato not only gives us the sweetest little elephant and mouse I have ever seen, but also delivers exactly how a little person would portray and feel being in a large city - making us feel even smaller, lonely and sad. But also, through Little Elliot and his mouse friend, gives us encouragement and hope that one day we can accomplish the big things that we want to do.
Little Elliot may be a tiny elephant, but he has the biggest heart I have ever seen, and felt. I highly recommend adding this to your child's shelf and reading it over and over again... one to be handed down to generations to come!
*I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.(less)
Another sweet picture book to add to our favorite shelf! Sweet and captivating, IF YOU WERE A DOG easily captivates its young audience with an engagin...more Another sweet picture book to add to our favorite shelf! Sweet and captivating, IF YOU WERE A DOG easily captivates its young audience with an engaging repetitive storyline and recognizable pictures.
Numerous animals are introduced asking the child what they would do if they were this animal, and then proceeds to give them examples of what they might do. For each animal, the same questions are asked and the answers are enjoyably interactive. For my boys and me, the funniest part of the book is when they ask us: If you were a dinosaur...? How silly, since dinosaurs are extinct! And then the book concludes with how we are not any of these animals, but we can still do similar things as they do. And most importantly, we are who we are, and that is the best that we can be.
The illustrations are adorable, imaginative and nostalgic - they have a watercolor-feel to them. Simple, yet engaging and sweet. Children will definitely be drawn in and will relate to since the pictures embody the way a child would draw animals and their surroundings.
Super cute and fun! Definitely a playtime sort of read for everyone to enjoy together!
*An ARC was sent to me from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.(less)
A dystopian like no other! HUNGRY is fast-paced, original and mind-blowing! The writing is smooth, unpredictable and surprising... thought provoking at...moreA dystopian like no other! HUNGRY is fast-paced, original and mind-blowing! The writing is smooth, unpredictable and surprising... thought provoking at its best!
First, I'd like to point out that you should definitely not judge a book by its cover, blurb or summary. Everything about this story has a deeper meaning. The author touches upon topics that have been discussed in the news but are taboo to discuss at the dinner table - controlling governments, corporate greed, and hidden poverty. I applaud her efforts for combining these topics into a young adult novel.
Thalia Apple lives in a futuristic world where everything is completely computerized and food doesn't exist. Everyone drinks a 'formula' that fits their own needs, some water and every 6 months gets their shots to suppresses any hunger pains and physical emotions. Physical contact of any sort is almost unheard of, and speaking of things about the past, especially food, is against the law. Why reminisce about the past, a past that cannot be changed or revisited, it's too depressing to even think of pre-war days especially when "One World" has progressed so much and haves everything that you can ever want and more for your future needs. That is until Thalia starts to hear this growling noise coming from her midsection, and starts to feel this pressure in her abdomen. Could she possibly be hungry? Let's backtrack a bit... Thalia is a teen surrounded by amazing technology that most tech-geeks dream about inventing. And yet, she is completely unamused and rather go sit with her grandmother, learn how to knit by hand and talk about how her grandparents where apple farmers prior to the war. It was a bit hard to believe how a teen was not interested in such a prominent technology filled world - she prefers actual fabrics and books than synthetic fibers and tablets. But later on we learn that she's a computer whiz, a hacker and that the technology seems boring to her. She's curious about how things were, how humans survived without such technological advances... how humans did things by hand, and even used the bathroom. And when she realizes that what she's feeling is legitimately what humans are suppose to feel - it's human nature to want to eat, be with other peers, share feelings, experience emotions, etc. She is convinced that something isn't right with the world and is determined to figure out a way out of the system, the truth that is being hidden and live a normal pre-war life.
I must emphasize, the story is fast-paced and with all the sci-fi to it, the story can get a bit confusing at times. I had to concentrate and follow these characters like my life depended on it. Quite thrilling...
A part of the story that I find that may be troubling for some people will be the 'love story' between Thalia and Basil. At first, I couldn't understand the quick ups and downs between the two, the insta-love. One minute that are so in love and then the next, they are angry at each other; so angry, that they walk away from each other a few times, and it seemed, always at the wrong time, to later come back and be madly into each other again. However, after much thought, I remembered that Thalia's emotions and hormones are emerging from the lack of the inoculation shots that she was suppose to receive prior to her running away. A teen goes through so much by just being a teen, and has many feelings and mood swings. A lot of those feeling have been felt since birth, etc. But Thalia's emotions have been suppressed since early childhood. Every little thing is new to her; especially when there's a teen boy involved. I now understand why the insta-love/hate-connection between Thalia and Basil. And why they need each other so much. After finishing the book, and re-reading the epilogue, their relationship completely makes sense. It just take a thoughtful minute or two to comprehend it.
If you're looking for something out of your comfort zone, this is your gem. Dystopian-lovers, you will definitely find this book very interesting. The book ends in a really good place, with a slight cliff-hanger. Enough to leave you wanting more... I hope to see more of Thalia and Basil - in a new world, more mature, and hopefully, not hungry.
And just as a side-note, the thought of having the extra time to not have to worry about eating, cooking meals and using the bathroom sounds amazing! Remember, we spend a 1/4 of our lives in the bathroom! I rather use that time to read more! lol(less)
This is the best page-turner I have read in the last 5 years! It's full of punch-you-in-the-guts moments! I was either laughing, teary-eyed or oh-my-ga...moreThis is the best page-turner I have read in the last 5 years! It's full of punch-you-in-the-guts moments! I was either laughing, teary-eyed or oh-my-gawding on every other page. I cannot believe that this is a debut for Joe Shine!
Ren Sharpe is abducted from her family one night and was told that she was to become something that would have never would have happened if it wasn't for modern technology. The harsh reality of what was to become of her life is tragic and scary and did make me think if there was a possibility of an organization like F. A. T. E. to really exist. Lots of futuristic computers and possibilities where introduced. All very realistic. Too realistic... Ren's friendship with Junie is what keeps her going. They manage to keep their personalities intact and support one another in the only way that they can manage. Training is life or death, there is no middle ground to latch on to and survive. Ren and Junie's relationship is sweet, necessary, real, and I loved how natural they fell in together, regardless of their circumstances. These characters were raw and hid no emotions, they were so realistic, I really felt for them. I couldn't put the book down, my world became their world and I needed to know that they were somehow, someway going to be okay.
Four years later, Ren and Junie have survived training and are ready to finally begin their new lives with their 'assignments' as a Shadow (- a Shadow is someone trained and programmed to protect their assigned person no matter what, even if it means to kill). Little did Ren know how difficult it was going to be to keep an eye on a geeky college freshman. But with all of her training, she manages in more ways than anyone thought was possible. The unexpected plot twist had me spinning! I felt all of Ren's emotions - when she cried or got angry, I felt it all along with her too. There is no denying that the author's writing is incredible and had me so invested in these characters, I couldn't think straight for a while. Their world became mine, and was able to think that everything that had happen could possibly be happening at this very moment.
*Side-note: There are graphic/violent scenes in this book. A few moments really took me by surprise and I did gasp out loud and wondered if it was something that was truly necessary for the story... I don't usually like these type of books; however, there is no way to tell such a story without these details. And truly appreciated the authors talent to write what was necessary to get Ren's voice done, and the story to be told right.
Great action scenes, suspense, amazing writing and strong-witty characters... there is something for everyone in this book! (less)