Nastya, a piano prodigy, life was changed the day she was walking to record a piano audition. In broad daylight, she was attacked, brutally so, with hNastya, a piano prodigy, life was changed the day she was walking to record a piano audition. In broad daylight, she was attacked, brutally so, with her attacker crushing her left hand so badly the bones were sticking out. Months after her recovery, she is physically getting stronger but mentally it is another story. Nastya has not spoken in over 400 days. This is a strain on her parents and her brother for obvious reasons. They are well intentioned but unprepared for how to deal with this. Nastya makes the decision to move two hours away with her aunt to complete her senior year of high school. She doesn’t plan on speaking there either, but her wardrobe and makeup choices definitely get tongues wagging.
Josh Bennett has a very different life than most. His mother and sister were killed in a car accident when he was eight. It was just him and his dad for years and the time they spent together in the garage building furniture. Now that Josh’s dad is dead too (from a heart attack), he is left on his own, which he prefers. No one messes with him at school and he likes it that way. He spends his waking hours at night lost in his garage, planning and building.
Yes, the two characters are drawn together. Blah, blah, blah...except that it isn’t blah nor is it traditional in the sense that I am used to reading. Remember, Nastya doesn’t speak. Both characters are struggling with very real situations and have more emotions than they know what to do with. For whatever reason, it works for them both but not without some major problems or revelations. Both characters voices are heard in this novel and neither holds back. Kudos to a unique BFF character, Drew, whose families Sunday night dinners make for memorable scenes....more
Read this book if you enjoy the following: Art While I am not an artist and can barely draw a stick person, I have a deep appreciation for those who canRead this book if you enjoy the following: Art While I am not an artist and can barely draw a stick person, I have a deep appreciation for those who can do beautiful things with their hands. Noah and Jude are both artists, getting it from their mother, with Noah being the more passionate and confident. He is bursting from the pages of his narrative with metaphorical glee. And lots of it. He eats, breaths, and sleeps art. This might be a turn off for some, but I found it to be just amazing writing and true to Noah’s character. I can’t imagine him without it.
Noah describing waking up...“The sky’s gone blue: azure, the ocean bluer: cerulean, the trees are swirls of every hella freaking green on earth and bright thick eggy yellow is spilling over everything.”
Jude is coming into herself and her art in the story. She creates these strange hypnotic sand women that disappear with the tide. Later in the story, she is overcome with the need to use stone as her medium. Again, Nelson uses the art to convey the emotion and it aids in the storyline.
Destiny/Fate I am a total sucker for stories with fate intervening. Some might call it contrived story telling, but I just call it awesome. Jude had a much more destiny filled story than Noah but there were many crossover storylines that made their way into both character’s stories. Some I saw coming and others it took me a minute. Regardless, I loved how they weaved together.
Twins Noah and Jude are twins (duh) and the story is told from both perspectives with a twist. Noah’s story is told when the twins are thirteen and Jude’s story is told from when they are sixteen. I didn’t understand why Nelson made that decision until I started getting more into the story and it totally makes sense and works. The reader gets to be part of three years of the twins lives and both parts are where major life events occur. The twins are very close, can do that twin thing where they each know what the other is thinking, and whenever they play Rochambeau they always show the same thing. Always.
Love story I am absolutely head over heels in love with Noah’s love story. It was wonderful, perfect, sweet, satisfying, realistic, and left me with warm fuzzy feelings well after the story was over. Not to say that Jude’s love story was disappointing, because it wasn’t, it is equally wonderful and has the hands of destiny all over it. Who wouldn’t fall for a hot British guy, complete with motorcycle, who calls you an angel when you meet? Again, Noah’s prose won me over when he talks about his feelings of being in love.
“I don’t worry that when Brian and I are alone in the woods or up on his roof or in his living room watching baseball (whatever), he puts up an electrical fence between us, and never once do I risk death by brushing against it, but when we’re in public, like at The Spot, the fence vanishes, and we become clumsy magnets, bumping and knocking into each other, grazing hands, arms, legs, shoulders, tapping the other on the back, even occasionally the leg, for no good reason except that it’s like swallowing lightning.”
Oh my goodness...I can only hope someone had those feelings about me at some point in my life!
And finally, Heartbreak Some heartbreak couldn’t have been helped as it was totally out of their control. The other parts were misunderstandings, jealousy and the keeping of secrets. At some point in the twins lives, their closeness faded (more apt, it was severed) by circumstance and until they overcome it, the heartbreak continues.
Obviously, I enjoyed this book. A lot. I didn’t have that expectation going into the story, it just kind of happened. I started listening to this story and while the narrators did an excellent job, I stopped and picked up the print book. Mostly because I wanted to see the words and how they bounce off the paper. I wanted to re-read passages and moments and just couldn’t do that with the audio. ...more
Want to get punched in the gut but not have any visible scars? Then pick up this book! You will have some emotional scars but nothing on the outsid4.5
Want to get punched in the gut but not have any visible scars? Then pick up this book! You will have some emotional scars but nothing on the outside. Well, maybe some mascara smudges from your tears of sadness, anger, and happiness. Enough about that, let us talk about Theo Finch and Violet Markey.
Theo is bursting from the pages of this book. He talks a mile a minute, cannot keep up with his thoughts and has the most wonderful things to say. He puts this into practice when he meets Violet. He knows her, but since he is Theo “The Freak” Finch, he has never uttered two words to her. That changes when he is standing atop a ledge, contemplating the pros and cons of jumping when he notices Violet standing there too. Finch talks Violet down and the two become connected. When it gets all over school that Violet helped talk the Freak down from jumping, she becomes a hero amongst the school. Wanting to know more about Violet and to make sure she is okay, Finch flings himself into her life. He finds out that Violet’s older sister died four months ago in a car accident and Violet hasn't quite coped yet.
Thrown together yet again when a year long project in Geography comes their way, Finch and Violet set out to see the beauty in Indiana. They travel to obscure places, boring places, hills and lakes, always leaving something behind to mark their place. Throughout their travels, both open up to the other in ways they haven’t done with other people. It is clear that Violet, who has amazing parents, is starting to become her old self again thanks to Finch. Finch, on the other hand, is spiraling into more depression but hides it. Sort of. It is clear to the reader that he has some major problems, most likely he is bi-polar, but has no support at home from either dysfunctional parent. This was the most frustrating part of the story- dealing with his parents.
As Finch worsens, Violet becomes more worried because she and his family haven’t heard from Finch in over a week. When she receives an ominous email from him, she is panicked. Told from both Violet and Finch’s point of view, this is a heart breaking story of young love and the pain of well, everything. Many points of happiness are weaved into the story, leaving the reader with pangs of hope for the future....more
Maggie Stiefvater, if you are reading this, I am going to need more of the following in the next installment:
Ronan + Adam Blue + Gansey Greenmantle + PiMaggie Stiefvater, if you are reading this, I am going to need more of the following in the next installment:
Ronan + Adam Blue + Gansey Greenmantle + Piper
In addition, I would love to read a precursor type of novel with Piper and Greenmantle as the main characters. They are the most fantastic set of “villains” I have read in a long while. Their dialogue was superb as was the role they play in this book.
As for the other “couples” mentioned above, I have no idea what is really going to happen to them in the final book but based on the foreboding sense of dread I picked up on from this one, I am bracing myself for something I am not going to like. I will be drooling in anticipation for the fourth book, just as I was this one. As with the previous books, I listened to the audio. You just cannot go wrong will Will Patton narrating your book. He is simply amazing. ...more
Oh, Mr. Yancey. I do so enjoy your hidden meanings, chess matches (both literal and figurative), and oh, so clever way you view humanity. Especiall4.5
Oh, Mr. Yancey. I do so enjoy your hidden meanings, chess matches (both literal and figurative), and oh, so clever way you view humanity. Especially when it is threatened, questioned, or just plain existing. You did this in the Monstrumologist Series and you continue to do so in this one. What I wonder though, is your YA audience going to see your underlying message as much as they should? Will they enjoy this book as much as the first? There is going to be a lot of head scratching.
The bulk of the story is told from a character we barely got a chance to know in the first book, Ringer. She is the hard ass, chess playing, beautifully coiffed (as Cassie angrily points out) soldier in Zombie’s squad. After Wonderland Camp is blown up, the group is together for the moment. The biggest piece missing is Evan Walker. Ringer and Cassie most definitely do not share the same strategy, especially when it comes to half human/half alien, Evan.
Early in the story, Ringer is separated from the rest of the group. Yancey allows this time in the story in order to get a glimpse into Evan’s past, reconcile with Cassie (disastrously so) and show the weakness of Ben as he continues to barely hang on from his previous injuries and some new ones. The rest of the story is all Ringer and deservedly so. I don’t remember how I felt about her from the last book, but she has skyrocketed to major player in the second installment. So many more questions arise from the series of events in this story that it will leave some people pulling their hair out, especially those who have to wait the longest to read the next one...ahem, like myself. That is what I get for being impatient.
I listened to both books in the series and continue to maintain that the narrators do an unbelievable job of building suspense and with the action sequences in the story. This audio flew by, so quickly in fact, that I thought my app on my phone was messing up when I heard the ending credits. Surely it couldn’t be over yet? I double checked and sure enough, the story was over. My biggest complaint is that...it was too short. I cannot believe I just said that!...more
Blythe McGuire is drunk. Again. But that is okay- see, she can’t feel anything when she is drunk. Can’t feel sad, depressed, lonely, or guilty. Those Blythe McGuire is drunk. Again. But that is okay- see, she can’t feel anything when she is drunk. Can’t feel sad, depressed, lonely, or guilty. Those are the feelings that plague her the other part of the day when she is sober, barely getting by her senior year of college. Her memories of her losing her parents in a fire and ruining her brother’s chances of professional soccer career are constant thoughts during the day. This all changes one morning while getting coffee and completely hungover and she meets a member of the Shepard family. Loud, chatty and sort of lovable, Sabin Shepard is quickly growing on her. Motivated that she actually talked to another human being, she makes her way down to the lake on campus and spies a boy skipping rocks. He is methodical and constant. Unbeknownst to her, she meets a second member of the Shepard family, Christopher, when she surprises herself and actually talks to him. Turns out, there are two more Shepards to meet and her life isn’t quite the same after meeting them.
Things start to change for Blythe and for the better. This family is what she has missed her four years at school and she immediately takes in their energy and love. It helps that she has an intense attraction to Christopher that seems to go nowhere. She isn’t upset though, she is not ready for any sort of emotional relationship. As the story progresses it is easy to see all the changes in Blythe but equally easy to see that the Shepard family isn’t as perfect as they seem.
This story will question those who don’t believe in fate or destiny. It is should also be said that this is much more risque than Park’s Flat Out series, specifically language and sexual content. The audio for this novel is excellent. ...more
As I was reading this book I desperately wished that no one would ask me what I was reading. It wasn’t that I was embarrassed by the book or what it’sAs I was reading this book I desperately wished that no one would ask me what I was reading. It wasn’t that I was embarrassed by the book or what it’s about, it was more of a “How in the hell do I explain this book?” type of thing. Instead of summarizing, I will just say I thoroughly enjoyed this twisted tale of love, deranged scientists, Iowa and its people’s names, history (mostly Polish), testicles, being a confused teenager, and giant praying mantis types of bugs who only like to do two things. This is not a book for a casual reader, but one who will appreciate the writing, the characters and the extremely unique plot that was a real dynamo to read. ...more
Tana awakes from a Sundown party- one where everyone is locked inside after sundown or chance being bit by a vampire. She’s been to lots of them but kTana awakes from a Sundown party- one where everyone is locked inside after sundown or chance being bit by a vampire. She’s been to lots of them but knows something is different when she awakes in a bathtub the next morning. Not remembering the events of the night before, she leaves the bathroom in search of her friends only to find that everyone at the party has been savagely killed by vampires. Tana finds a lone survivor who happens to be her ex-boyfriend and a mysterious vampire that has been chained. Knowing that there are many consequences to come, she chooses to help Aiden who has been bitten and do the unthinkable and help the chained vampire.
In Tana’s world, vampires and humans exist together. Not necessarily co-existing with the exception of Coldtowns. These Coldtowns are isolated ghettos that contain both humans and vampires, and once you go in you don’t come out. Tana is now headed there in order to possibly save Aiden. The mysterious vampire goes along. What happens there is nothing like Tara could have imagined.
I loved this book and its wholly unique vampire story. What kept it interesting was a parallel storyline between the old vampires and what is now happening to Tana. The book had a very satisfying ending, but I would be very open to more. Mysterious, dark, creepy, and a tad depressing, Coldest Girl in Coldtown was well worth the read (actually the listen; the audio was fantastic. It even had music to go with the end of each chapter). I know this is either a love it or hate it type of book for many and I am glad I didn’t let the readers who didn’t enjoy this book deter me from trying it. ...more
With the ultimate cliff hanger in the previous book, Blood of my Blood wastes zero time or text getting right back into things. Lyga doesn’t take u4.5
With the ultimate cliff hanger in the previous book, Blood of my Blood wastes zero time or text getting right back into things. Lyga doesn’t take up chapters rehashing old news either, so if it has been a while, you might want to re-read a summary or two before you start the third book.
Jasper, Connie, and Howie are all caught up in the Billy Dent’s sick and twisted game. Jasper is left for dead in a storage unit, Connie is caught by the madman himself, and Howie’s best intentions are thwarted by a violent Aunt Samantha. Soon all three are in the hospital, Jasper and Connie in New York and Howie back in Lobo’s Nod. Not one to keep a bullet wound from stopping him, Jasper escapes in dramatic fashion and begins his chase to find his dad and save his mother.
Kudos to Barry Lyga for not shying away from some seriously disturbing family secrets. He isn’t treating the intended YA audience with kid gloves and takes his “my dad is a serial killer” plot to places that haven’t been seen in YA books. With that said, it definitely won’t be for the squeamish or for those readers who are uncomfortable with realistic violence. Jasper goes through the gamut of emotions and struggles on his quest, his destiny, to kill his father. Just as he struggled in the previous books, reminding himself that “people matter”, he battles his inner demons as they become a stronger presence in his sleep deprived and deteriorating mental state. Connie and Howie continue to be present in order to keep him sane but they see him struggle and know that they can’t do anything to stop it. There is a wonderfully written best friend scene written between Howie and Jasper that I absolutely loved. It showed a maturity between both boys that matched the seriousness of the possible outcomes for Jasper. This had a very satisfying and conclusive ending and I will miss these characters and Lobo’s Nod. I listened to the entire series and will never forget Billy Dent’s haunting and fantastically creepy voice....more
I was very happy to read about what happened to Danny Torrance after that fateful winter at the Overlook Hotel. As you can imagine, Danny didn’t exactI was very happy to read about what happened to Danny Torrance after that fateful winter at the Overlook Hotel. As you can imagine, Danny didn’t exactly have a perfect childhood, but not because his father tried to kill him and his mom, but because of those pesky voices in his head and the ghostly people he sees. He finds success as a full blown alcoholic, complete with no money, no car or license, and a low sense of morality. After one fateful night of drinking, Danny embarks on a vagabond existence finally landing in the small New Hampshire town. There Danny finally finds redemption in the way of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is through his shining ability that he meets another. Although he doesn’t know her name or who she is, she has been leaving little messages on his chalkboard ever since she was little. Horrible circumstances bring them together and he meets Abra Stone; she is 13 and has the most powerful shine Danny has ever seen. Together, Abra and Danny, have to face a true evil that preys on those with the shine and they are coming for Abra. This full circle event leads Danny and Abra back to the Colorado land where the Overlook once stood.
While this story was not as bone chilling scary (for me anyway) as The Shining, I loved it. Cannot recommend the audio enough as it is Audible’s book of the year. ...more