Monday, February 29, 2016

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


      Cruel Beauty is based on the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.

     Nyx has been training her whole life to kill the Gentle Lord because her father made a bargain with the Beast for Nyx to become his wife. The Gentle Lord is a demon king, and his minions have been making people go mad for 900 years. The day has finally come when Nyx must wed the Gentle Lord and go to live with him in his castle. Can Nyx use all her training to take down the Gentle Lord or does love get in the way?

     A beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I loved the concept of Nyx being trained to assassinate the Gentle Lord and all of the back story that is exposed through the story. So much inner conflict for all characters made this especially interesting. A love bloomed where there should not have been any love at all--a classic fairy tale.

     I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

     A thrilling dystopian about a young girl whose touch is lethal. With one touch she can kill a person, and the Reestablishment wants to use her for their own plans. Juliette may be able to kill easily but that doesn't mean that she wants to, and she fights back with an escape plan as she joins a young man from her past. A young man that she has never been able to forget about.

     I really enjoyed this book, and since I listened to the audiobook and followed along in my book it was even better than expected. I enjoyed the voice that gave the story when they chose Kate Simses to narrate. Kate's voice fits Juliette so perfectly it made the story come alive for me. I enjoyed listening to Juliette as she shared her personal thoughts with us. Her inner tug of war was fascinating as she allowed her true feelings to seep through but would fight back with the walls that she had constructed from a life alone. We are treated to bursts of action and romance--giving us a good mix to keep our attention. There is a great ending to kindle anticipation of Juliette's next fight.

     I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

     Two teenagers from opposites sides of town in Chicago are stuck being chemistry partners at Fairfield High School. Brittany Ellis is head cheerleader, one half of the school's Golden Couple, and perfection in most people's eyes. Alex Fuentes is a gang member, a Mexican-American, and much smarter than most people know. Does chemistry class spark some reactions that aren't expected?

     I absolutely loved this book! I was drawn in by Brittany's real life, the one that is not so perfect and Alex's life that consists of a battle within himself about what he wants and what he has to do. The way the relationship starts with these two is very realistic, and Simone Elkeles has the reader cheering this couple. I did really enjoy how she pulled the story into a nice, little package at the end.

     I rated this 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani

     Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell is sent away from home to a boarding school after tragedy strikes her family during the Great Depression. As Thea is adjusting to living with many girls she is also learning more about who she is and exactly what she wants.

     This is truly a book of heart-breaking family dysfunction. I am still feeling such a deep mourning for Thea in all that she lost and missed out on. Thea did make mistakes but my heart and mind goes to my own family and how we respond to mistakes and tragedy. We eventually break through the grief to a stronger bond. Thea has to come out on the other side on her own with no true support from her family. Although, she does have to walk a lonely road she matures and develops into exactly who she should be.

    I enjoyed the hopping from past to present as that gave a fuller picture of the story. Anton Disclafani did an excellent job of giving Thea a true to life voice of a child becoming a woman in the face of calamity. I'm so glad that she also kept the ending consistent with the reality of what would happen with such a family as this.

     I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mother of Wolves by J. Aislynn d'Merricksson

     Kalla is a young mage that is sent to find a magister. Once she has found one that she is drawn to, they are attacked by fire-breathing wyvern which sets them on a journey to fight against evil.

     I am not fully familiar with this kind of genre, but I did fully enjoy it. Because I am not used to all the strange names and places it was a little confusing at times but not to the extent that I wanted to give up. I enjoyed reading about the bond between Kalla and Aleister (her magister). Once they set out on their journey across their world to fight evil, the story picks up pace. The reader is able to get a sense of what each place was like, and this was especially true at the end of the book. The very last place they visit drew me in with its voice of mythology. I would definitely like to continue the series as it is released to follow Kalla and Aleister's journeys.

     I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Cure For Madness by Jodi McIsaac

     Clare Campbell is living in Seattle which is on the other side of the country from her family. She has tried to distance herself from the past, but now she has to go back home. Her parents' have been murdered, and she will have to be her mentally ill brother's legal guardian. As she and her uncle are trying to set up funeral arrangements, there is an outbreak of a horrible sickness. The scariest part about this sickness? It reminds her of the schizophrenic behavior of her brother. How can that be? How can a pathogen cause someone to behave that way? Suddenly, it gets more serious and terrifying for Clare and her brother when the government decides that Wes, her brother, is someone they want to study and examine more since this pathogen outbreak. In the end, Clare has to make a huge decision. Is she going to save her brother or the world?

     I really enjoyed this story with its realistic plot and action. I found myself thinking of what would happen if this outbreak would really occur. Jodi McIsaac did a fabulous job of researching and writing this story that pulls the reader in and gets you thinking of real life. There was a fair amount of action that made the book so easy to read. I loved that Jodi McIsaac put me, as the reader, in a place where I felt like I was making life-changing decisions along with Clare. And to end it all, she gave a great, realistic ending.

     I gave this 4/5 stars, and recommend it.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

     Mallory's Pastimes:
         1. Making out with her boyfriend, Jeremy
         2. Making lists
         3. Going vintage

     Mallory is a junior in high school who has been dating her boyfriend, Jeremy, for about a year. When she finds out that he has cheated on her with a girl online she decides to go off the grid. Her inspiration is a list that her grandmother made in 1962. She is going cold turkey---no cellphone, no Internet, and definitely no Jeremy. For two weeks, Mallory tries to live as if she is in 1962, but what she thought would make life simpler makes life slightly more complicated. Being a teenager is what makes being a teenager hard no matter what decade it is. Oh, yeah, add in said ex-boyfriend's hot cousin, that makes it a little harder, too.

    I went into this book expecting a light-hearted read, and that's exactly what I got. It doesn't get into anything too deep and is easy to read. I was a little worried for almost the first 100 pages since there wasn't much happening, and I thought it was going to be a book that I was going to have to force myself to finish. It started to pick up a little when Oliver, the ex-boyfriend's cousin, enters the scene. I felt like he added a little pizazz to the story and actually wish he appeared a little more, but I think this book was more about focusing on finding out what really makes you happy and that you can be OK with just yourself.

     I rated this book a 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

     Camille Preaker is a reporter for Daily Post in Chicago and has just been released from a psych hospital. She has been out for six months when her boss sends her to her hometown to report on a murder of a young girl and another missing young girl. This is not a trip that Camille wants to take. She hasn't really been close to her mother or stepsister, and she has to plan to stay with them for the duration of this investigative report. Camille immediately drowns herself in her reporting all the while learning more about her family than she ever knew. The longer she stays the more she identifies with these two young, tragic girls. Why is that?

    This book is drenched in dark themes. I had this in mind when I started this book so I wasn't really surprised by all the happenings that occurred. We are seeing through Camille's eyes that are tainted with psychological problems herself, and as she learns more of her family we see why she is a troubled young woman. I did have suspicions of what was going on, but I was actually a little deceived which is what I think Gillian Flynn was going for with her writing. All in all, by the end everything that happens isn't too surprising. It was still a really good story, and I look forward to reading more books by Gillian Flynn.

    I rated this 4/5 stars, and I recommend it.


Monday, February 8, 2016

The Last Girl by Joe Hart

     I received this for free thanks to my Prime Amazon account and Kindle First Reads.

     In 2016, female birthrates reduced significantly. In the following years they continue to reduce until only one female is born in 100 million births. What has caused this? No one truly knows why. It is suggested that a virus has caused the reduction in female births.
     The heart of our story starts with Zoey who is about to turn 21. Zoey has lived in a facility that houses females to keep them safe from the unknown virus. These precious females have been taught that they are helping humanity---how much is a life worth? This has been drilled into them from their beginning. Sacrifices must be made for the greater cause.
    Zoey isn't sure that what the facility's director says about where a female goes when they turn 21 is quite true. She questions many things that are the norm for herself and the others. Zoey wants to leave before she turns 21, but how is she going to escape?
    This story intrigued me. How does humanity survive without females? I appreciate the world that Joe Hart created--one that is realistic if this were to happen. I found the book to be full of action once it truly got started. Now after saying that, I found there to be excessive killing that did not have to happen to tell the story. Also, I had to overlook the fact that a young, sheltered girl that could not have been very strong could accomplish some of things that she did. I cannot really elaborate without spoiling the plot.
    The ending was one that allows you to know that there will be a second book which is wonderful as I want to know what happens to the characters.
    I rated this book a 4/5 stars. I had to dock a star due to some of the unbelievable feats of Zoey. I do recommend this book if you can overlook some little details.