Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Revived, by Cat Patrick @seecatwrite

Revived is a science fiction drama, with a captivating romance that makes it easy to keep turning the pages.

Daisy is part of a secret government study. When she was very young, she was in school bus accident where everyone was killed. But 21 children were brought back to life using an experimental drug called Revive.

What's more interesting about Daisy, is that she's died several times since, and been "Revived." Every time she is revived, they must relocate to a new place, and a take on new identity. Daisy is also unique because she is an orphan. So, after the bus accident, she was taken in by one of the Revive scientists, Mason. Her "mother," Cassie, is another member of the team who is a computer wizard.

Their new location is Omaha. Daisy has never been very interested in making friends, but Audrey latches on to her the first day, and Daisy makes her first real friend. And when Daisy discovers that the hottest boy in her class, Matt, is Audrey's brother, things get even better.

Revived started out a bit slow for me. I thought it was just going to be a formulaic science fiction, where the public discovers the big secret, or they find out the drug has horrible side effects, or something like that. But that's not what it is. I was pleasantly surprised by several unexpected plot developments. Revived becomes dramatic and heartfelt. There's a touching romance. I ended up caring about Daisy, as well as Audrey and Matt. Even Mason tugged a little at my heart.

And, there's a science fiction aspect that also adds to the intrigue. I didn't think the "sinister plot" alluded to in the blurb was really unique or even all that sinister. However, the ending did get my heart pounding a bit. Most of my problems with Revived are pretty nit-picky things about the whole scientific plot. Why would they be testing a drug for over ten years, and still not have it available to more people? Why did Daisy die so many times (how unlucky!) A possible explanation was given at the end, but still, kind of unlikely. Why would she open up to Matt so soon. I know she liked the guy, but she had kept this secret for so long, why make such a quick decision?

After about the first 100 pages I really forgot about all those qualms and Revived became an enjoyable read. I started to feel that I knew the characters, and I got caught up in their struggles. Revived is great balance of friendship, drama, romance, and tension. Very seldom does the same book make me choke up with tears, and then later get my heart pounding. I think teens will love Revived -- I'm not sure who will love  it more, the science fiction fans, or the romance/drama fans. I'll be happy to suggest it to both types of readers.

Published by Little, Brown, May 1, 2012
ARC obtained from the publisher for review
336 pages

Rating: 4/5




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Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Week in Review: New Books

I got some great books this week and I thought I'd share them with you.

For Review:
Miracle, by Elizabeth Scott, from Around the World Tours


Skylark, by Meagan Spooner, from NetGalley

Revived, by Cat Patrick, from the publisher (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

From the Library:
I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga

That's if for me. What do you think? Have you read any of these? How about you? What books have you received recently? Leave me a comment, so I can check them out. Thanks for visiting and Happy Reading!





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Friday, April 27, 2012

Follow Friday -- Characters We Love and Then Hate




Q: Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then "broke up" with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.



I'm having such a difficult time with this question. I'm thinking about Partridge in Pure. I really didn't EVER like him very much. I guess I tried to like him, and at times maybe I did. But he didn't do much for me.

Another one is Bria in Wanderlove. I really admired her courage at the beginning -- to make the trip on her own...then I thought she just got kind of stupid. Even if it made for a good story, I didn't like her decision-making. I didn't think she acted very mature.

This one was a hard one for me! Usually I like characters, or I don't. I can't remember changing my mind mid-book very often. I'm interested to read other responses to this one. Thanks to Parajunkee and Alison for hosting! Have a great weekend everyone!

My GIVEAWAY of The Immortal Rules ends TOMORROW! Don't be left out of a chance to win this awesome book!





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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: Such a Rush, by Jennifer Echols

Such a Rush was a disappointment with its partly unbelievable plot, and an ending that was fairly predictable.

Leah has moved around a lot, following her mother (who follows various boyfriends.) But one thing is consistent in her life -- their trailer parks are always next to an airport, and Leah has a dream of someday learning to fly. Her mother is rarely around, and Leah manages to get a job running a small local airport on the beach in South Carolina.

One of the businesses flying out of the airport is Hall Aviation. They fly advertisement banners along the beach. Leah saves her money, forges her mother's signature, and manages to get Mr. Hall to give her flying lessons. When Mr. Hall dies suddenly, Leah thinks her flying days are over, but his sons, Grayson and Alec, plan to continue with the business, and Leah, after being blackmailed by Grayson, ends up flying for them. Leah has always had a crush on Grayson, but she's now involved in a scheme that threatens to tear the brothers apart.

Problem: I had trouble getting enmeshed in some of the story. I decided it was because, in some cases, I was "told" things that I should have been "shown." Rather important scenes, such as Leah's mother inviting Mark to live with them, was just glossed over like it was no big deal. And then, we are "told" that he and Leah have not had sex. I would like to be "shown" one of those bedroom scenes. The scene where she threw him out was great -- I just wanted more of that for that whole story line. There were other parts of Such a Rush that gave me the same feeling -- sort of jumping over more important emotional parts so that I couldn't feel what the characters were feeling.

I didn't get why Leah didn't WANT to fly for Hall Aviation. That should have been her dream job -- with a guy she has a crush on, and flying on the beach in the plane she is familiar with. Why was it necessary for Grayson to blackmail her to get her to do it? (But, if there's no blackmail, there's no story.)

I just had a problem with the whole Mark thing. Leah is supposedly crushing on Grayson, but when she gets confronted by Mark, she considers starting a relationship with him....really?

The ending of Such a Rush was easy to determine from the outset. The climactic moments played out pretty much just as I expected. And I thought what Leah did at the end to cause the drama was totally out of character. She was always level-headed when it came to flying, and then she lets her emotions get the better of her? I didn't believe it.

Things just went on too long. I read 196 pages, and really had had enough. So, I skimmed about the next 80 pages, and read the last 50. I'm serious, I don't' think I missed anything in the plot by just reading a few sentences on every third page.

I loved the flying part of the book. I loved the descriptions of flying and the scenery below.  The setting was well described. I liked that things turned out well for Leah in the end. I know that Jennifer Echols is very popular, and Such a Rush is the first of hers that I've read. I'm not opposed to trying another of her books, but this one just didn't do it for me.

I will still recommend Such a Rush to teens who are contemporary fans, especially those who are fans of Echols.

Published by MTV Books, July 10, 2012
ARC obtained from Around the World ARC Tours
325 pages

Rating: 2/5




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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: Vixen, by Jillian Larkin

Vixen is a very entertaining historical fiction about society life in the 1920s.

Gloria is a rich, society girl engaged to be married to a proper, rich gentleman.

Clara is Gloria's cousin, who arrives from Pennsylvania to help plan the wedding.

Lorraine is Gloria's best friend.

These teens have big secrets they are keeping from each other. There's deception after deception, backstabbing, jealousy, and devious plots ending up in what can only be described as a hot mess for all of them.

The males in the story also add much color. Marcus is probably in love with Gloria, although they are more like brother and sister, and Lorraine is secretly head over heals for him. Sebastian is the fiancĂ©e, and he's a cad. Jerome is the forbidden love...especially since he's black.

The depiction of the 1920s was very interesting. Each of these girls are pushing the limits -- wanting more freedom to enjoy the flapper life with all the alcohol and gangsters that come along with it. It's prohibition, and proper girls don't cut their hair, drink alcohol, wear tight dresses with lots of make up, or visit speak-easies. Or do they?

Can you blame them? They are seventeen years old (sometimes I forgot they were that young) and they are being forced into engagements and boring, quiet lives where women are to be seen and not heard. It's not hard to imagine their wanting more from life.Oh, what a tangled and dangerous path they end up taking to get a taste of this unattainable life.

Larkin's pacing in Vixen is excellent. There is always something happening to one of these girls that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The multiple narrators work very well. I felt I got to know each of the girls very well via this technique. I learned some things about the roaring 20s, and really enjoyed being immersed in that time period. I had no idea that flappers wrapped their breasts to make them flat. I just thought it was the cut of the dresses that made them look that way -- but they worked for that flat-chested look!

Vixen ramped up the tension until the very end, where there was some resolution, but we're still left desperately wanting more. And thank goodness, I already have Ingenue, the next book. I also have an ARC of Diva, the third book in The Flappers series, so I'm hoping to read both of those soon.

Teen girls who love romantic adventure, even if they aren't into historical fiction, will love Vixen. This is a rollicking romp through a unique period in history as well. I thoroughly enjoyed Vixen, and will recommend it widely.

Published by Delacorte, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
421  pages

Rating: 4/5




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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: The Selection, by Kiera Cass @kieracass

The Selection is a very entertaining Cinderella story that begins what I hope will be an exciting trilogy.

America is a Five. People who are in the social caste "Five" are artists, and America is an excellent musician. She's been sneaking around with a Six -- Aspen -- and they have fallen in love. America knows this will cause all kinds of problems, since in order to marry him America will have to become a Six.

America's family usually has enough to eat, but they are in no way rich. Those who are Threes, Twos, or Ones are the upper class.

It's time for Prince Maxon to find a wife. The country does this by having a "Selection." Girls between the ages of 16 and 20 can apply and 35 of them are selected to live in the palace with the royal family and associate with the prince, until he chooses one of them to become his wife. Yes, it's like The Bachelor. So, America is encouraged by her family and Aspen to apply. It would be very lucrative for her family if she is selected. And, she is selected. She's one of very few Fives who are, and she expects to be sent home very soon. But, she isn't.

That's as far as I'll go with the plot. I've read a lot of people who compare this to The Hunger Games. I didn't get that at all. There's much more build up in The Hunger Games. The actual games are violent, and at the end of the book. The Selection takes place throughout most of the book. This is Cinderella. Yes, there is a messed up society, but The Selection didn't go very much into those details. Just like Cinderella's family was poor, and she was mistreated. But dystopian? I don't agree. I feel the next installments of this trilogy will perhaps focus much more on the dystopian nature of this world. There's rebellion in The Selection, and the naive prince, thanks to America, begins to understand the realities of life for many of the lower class. But, for the most part, I thought this book was charming and magical like a fairy tale.

America has a bit of a split personality. As soon as she meets the prince, it's like her "snark" comes out. Their banter was very entertaining. I just didn't see that in America's interactions with anyone else -- the other contestants, her family, or with Aspen. I thought Cass did a great job making the contestants have all different types of personalities and cliques, but I really didn't care about any of them. I looked forward to America's scenes with Prince Maxon. I really didn't care for Aspen either, and would have trouble rooting for him to win America's heart.

I found the pace of The Selection compelling; there was always something to keep my interest and the pages flew by. I'm looking forward to recommending The Selection to a lot of teen girls, and can't wait for the second book.

Published by HarperTeen, April 24, 2012
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
336 pages

Rating: 4/5




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Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Barefoot Season, by Susan Mallery

I chose Barefoot Season because I was in the mood for a feel-good, romantic beach read. (Even though I'm far from a beach.) Barefoot Season did deliver the feel-good ending I craved, but I found myself a little annoyed with the characters at some points along the way.

I loved the setting - Blueberry Island - a quaint little touristy town with a quaint little inn. I wanted to eat at the restaurant -- and was happy they provided some recipes at the end of the book!

The main characters were complex and very different. Michelle owns the inn, but hasn't been to the island for ten years. She left the island suddenly after a traumatic event involving her best friend Carly and joined the army. After spending time in Afghanistan and Iraq, and suffering an injury to her hip, she decides to return to run the inn. Her mother had been in charge until three months before, when she succumbed to cancer.

Michelle is in pain, she's skinny, and she has nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD. She's often unpleasant, and drinks too much. She hates Carly (and the reason is slowly revealed throughout The Barefoot Season.)

Carly has worked for Michelle's mom, and helps run the inn. It hasn't always been pleasant, and since Michelle's mother's death, Carly has been running the inn herself. She has a young daughter, Gabby, and her husband left her when Gabby was a baby and took all the money from the sale of her father's house. She's been underpaid and in financial trouble, but lives in the owner's suite at the inn.

I didn't really like either of these characters. They both had many faults, were unpleasant to each other, and held grudges big time. Like from high school. I got tired of hearing how much Michelle's hip hurt, and how poor Carly was because of her ill-conceived marriage. I got tired of hearing how the inn was about to be repossessed, and whose fault all the mismanagement was. One of the side characters was torturing Carly because of a high school incident. I didn't need to have that explained every time. Several themes just seemed very repetitive.

I did enjoy the romances. I like the male characters, and thought the development of these relationships was cute. I loved the dog. I enjoyed the actual descriptions of the decisions and every-day management involving the inn and restaurant. I'm glad that Carly and Michelle both grew and became better people along the way. And, I got my feel-good ending, just the way it should be.

Barefoot Season is an ideal summer read. It  put me in the mood to travel and visit some quaint places with that personal touch. I got a little frustrated, but I appreciated that these characters weren't "cookie cutters," even if I didn't like them that much. Barefoot Season is appropriate for teens as well as adults, and is most assuredly a "girl book."

Published by Mira, March 27, 2012
eBook obtained from NetGalley
368 pages

Rating: 3/5




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Sunday, April 22, 2012

IMM - The Glut of Books Continues

Once again, I'm very excited about all the great books I've received this week. Here they are:

For Review:


Henry Franks, by Peter Adam Salomon from NetGalley

Skylark, by Meagan Spooner, from NetGalley

Hemlock, by Kathleen Peacock, from Around the World ARC Tours

From the Library:

Ingenue, by Jillian Larkin

Not a lot, but good stuff I think. How about you? Thanks for visiting. Leave me a link so I can drool over your books!

Also, check out my Giveaway of The Immortal Rules!

Thanks to Kristi, The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox!




Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2012 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review & Giveaway: The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa

Oh my, oh my, The Immortal Rules is my kind of vampire book. Barely any romance, kick ass heroine, the need for human blood (animals just won't do), life-threatening danger. No sparkles.

The Immortal Rules is different, because it's really an apocalyptic book. It reminded me more of zombie books, like Rot & Ruin or The Passage. Allie is just trying to survive as an "unregistered" in a city controlled by vampires. Unregistereds live on their own; they don't have to donate blood twice a month to the vampires. But, they get no assistance. They must fend for themselves scrounging for food in a devastated area outside the city. Allie and her group are always hungry. They eat bugs and anything they can get their hands on, but there is never enough. Plus, they must keep away from the vampire patrols who are trying to catch them.

The city is surrounded by a wall to keep out the rabids. These are zombie-like creatures who are super strong, very aggressive, and can appear out of the ground instantly. But...there's a better chance of finding food outside the walls of the city. So, as Allie is taking chances outside the wall, she is attacked by rabids. She is going to die, except a vampire gives her a choice. He will turn her if she wants. She takes the deal. So, now Allie must learn how to be a vampire, but she refuses to give up all of her human nature.

Without giving too much away, Allie ends up leaving the city to fend for herself, but hooks up with a group of humans trying to find "Eden," supposedly a safe place with no vampires or rabids. She must pretend she is a human.

That's enough of the plot. Let's move on. The writing is superb. I'm not a fan of The Iron Fey series -- just because most of the time I don't care for high fantasy/fae stories. So, I'm so excited to tell you that Kagawa can tell a story. She gets the dialog perfect, she makes your heart pound. The descriptions of the setting are vivid. I found myself wanting to cough along with the characters at times when she describes pollution or smoke in the air, and shivered when they were cold.

I love Allie. She's suffered so much. She's so confused, but determined. She's strong and turns into quite the warrior. I enjoyed her relationship with the "love interest." It moves VERY slowly, and realistically. The bad guys are terrifying -- all of them -- rabids, vampires, humans. The Immortal Rules is almost 500 pages long, but there's always something happening -- so much so, that it' hard to find a place that you are able to put the book down. There may have been some light-headedness from holding my breath too.

I think you get the picture. The Immortal Rules will be recommended to every one of my "paranormal" teens. (You know what I mean, right?)

Published by Harlequin Teen, April 24, 2012
ARC obtained from Media Masters Publicity
485 pages

Rating: 5/5

GIVEAWAY TIME!

One hardback copy of The Immortal Rules, shipped from the publisher AFTER the publication date (April 24, 2012) Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only.

Please fill out the form to enter. Sign ups end April 28. Nothing else is required!


I'm not providing extra entries, but here's some great places to keep up with Julie Kagawa and Harlequin Teen!

* Following Julie on Twitter: @Jkagawa http://twitter.com/Jkagawa  
Follow Julie on her blog: http://juliekagawa.blogspot.com/
* Follow Harlequin Teen on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HarlequinTEEN
* Follow Harlequin on Twitter: @HARLEQUINTEEN http://twitter.com/harlequinteen

And, if you are interested in PURCHASING The Immortal Rules (you really should) here's some helpful links:






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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review: Perception, by Kim Harrington

Perception brings back the characters from Clarity that I loved, and a mystery that I found even more interesting than the one in Clarity.


Clare is no longer a misfit at school. After her assistance catching a killer, she is somewhat of a celebrity, and the popular girls are being friendly for a change...well, at least most of them are.

Sierra Waldman, a senior, is missing. She had always been home schooled, so even though she attended the same high school, Clare really didn't know Sierra. However, Clare has a desire to help the police find Sierra, even though they assume she's a voluntary run away, and since she's 18 years old, there's nothing they can do. However, Sierra's mother does come to Clare, her mother, and Perry for their assistance.

To refresh, or in case you haven't read Clarity, Clare can sometimes hold an item and tell who has held it before, Perry can sometimes communicate with dead people, and their mother can read minds. These skills are, once again, not the emphasis in Perception. They plays a small part in the mystery and resolution of the plot, but these are still normal teens living their lives and dealing with normal teen problems. That is the strength of this series, in my opinion.

Yes, the love triangle is a pretty big aspect of Perception. I really didn't understand why Clare was so torn; to me it seemed obvious who she was really supposed to be with. The romance isn't the reason I read this series, but it may be a big draw for teen girls. I enjoyed the addition of a new major character in Mallory, and hope we get to see the continuation of her and Clare's friendship in future installments.

The actual murder mystery was interesting, and I was surprised at the culprit. I think maybe I shouldn't have been, and some will suspect this person, but Harrington managed to get me. The plot moves very quickly, but was still detailed enough, especially at the end, to get my heart pounding a bit.

Perception is a quick read, and fans of mysteries with a bit of the paranormal and some romance will enjoy this. If you've read Clarity, there is absolutely no reason not to pick this one up. I hope there's another book, because I'm interested in reading more about Clare's sleuthing.

Published by Point, March 1, 2012
ARC obtained from Around the World ARC Tours
275 pages (Qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 3.5/5




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