Archive | June 2014

Book Review: The Body in the Woods by April Henry

The Body in the Woods
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(Please note this book was given in exchange for an honest review)

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.”

I struggled. I wanted to like this book, but what it comes down to is the writing style. The subject matter, the tone, the mystery, the thrill, it all had potential. It gets lost with the fact that the writing is for middle grade readers. As the story deals with murder, and explains a lot about a dead body and has a killer snatching another girl, I feel the writing doesn’t fit the subject?  With some work, I feel the writing can get there. 

Good things: I loved Alexis. Her profile, her strength and her determination is fantastic. Out of all the characters, Alexis was the only one that I felt nearly reached passed the middle school reading age writing. Her story arc is troubling, but she tries to push forward no matter what happens. She’s admirable and she gives a lot to the story. All of her chapters were my favorite. 

I loved the mystery aspect. The who-dunnit that kept you guessing until the end. Although the reader finds out before the characters, I didn’t see the killer coming (I guess I need to read more mysteries) and I loved how the author used the reveal of the killer to add more thrill with her main characters.

Also a fan of the premise – Search and Rescue in Oregon. Awesome idea. It’s new and interesting. The series has the ability to go places. 

In the end I wish there had been a better pairing. The writing is great for eight-year olds (think Goosebumps), but I wouldn’t want eight-year-olds reading about people killing teenage homeless girls. A bit much. I give much praise for Alexis, and I hope the author can improve Ruby and Nick up to her level. All three teens had excellent backgrounds, it’s just that for their ages Ruby and Nick need to be more mature, they act and sound like they’re ten. 

Don’t agree with me? Want to decide about this book for yourself? The Body in the Woods is out on Tuesday! June 17th! Pre-order now and tell me how you found it! I love a good book discussion. Even better – April Henry is running a special promotion with the amazing Powell’s bookstore in Portland, OR next week:

During the first week The Body in the Woods is on sale, for every copy purchased in person at Powells or online at Powells.com, I will donate $1.69  to MSCO SAR”

Many thanks to NetGalley and Henry’s publisher, Henry Holt and Co for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

May Book Haul Part II

Alas! I didn’t stop buying books in May! Things got a bit out of control….

Book Haul

What I also bought in May:

Ruby by V. C. Andrews – Read/Not Signed

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys – Not Read/Not Signed

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz -Read/Not Signed

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Not Read/Not Signed

The Selection by Kiera Cass – Read/Signed

The Elite by Kiera Cass – Read/Signed

The One by Kiera Cass – Not Read/Signed TWICE!

Tease by Amanda Maciel – Not Read/Signed

Exile by Kevin Emerson – Not Read/Signed

The story with The One being signed twice is because Barnes and Noble had pre-orders available for signed first editions. At the time I made sure to check Cass’s schedule to see if she was coming to Seattle. No such luck, and I HAD to have to this book – and have to signed? Yes please! A few weeks later I noticed updates on Cass’s events page via Tumblr and lo and behold! She WAS coming to Seattle! I had other books ordered with my copy of The One, so I didn’t want to cancel my order. I figured it would be great to have her sign my name at least and now I had the best opportunity to own the entire series (minus the side stories). ALL HARDCOVER, ALL FIRST EDITIONS and now they’re ALL SIGNED WITH MY NAME! 

Fangirling all over the place here – stay tuned next week for my writeup of the signing event! 

Book Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking Normal Cover

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Steven’s contemporary and captivating story of Alexi Littrell and Bodee Lennox is a cross between a who-dunnit mystery and coming of age story.

Something terrible has happened to Alexi over the summer. She is unable to even say the word that haunts her dreams and causes her to scratch the back of neck into a bloody mess. I adore that Alexi isn’t seen as the ‘leader’ of her group of friends, she is in fact the opposite; a third to a pair that have been best friends for ages. I feel this is a more realistic side of teenage friendships. Teenage girls aren’t always worried about their boyfriends; their girlfriends matter just as much and can be lost just as easily. The story becomes more genuine and relatable. 

Bodee comes with his own heartbreaking story. The wallflower, brought into Alexi’ home because his father murdered his mother. What little he can express is his hair color choice through the use of Kool-Aid. He leans on Alexi for support in ignoring the next step in his future. Together they engage on a routine of comfort and safety, but also of ignoring the resolution for their conflicts. 

Alexi and Bodee need to each other to faking being normal. Their relationship is crafted in a subtle yet truthful way of how teens can become close and yet then change their minds about how they feel about someone.

Stevens weaves a web for Alexi and Bodee as the year carries on, each with a deadline, romance and conflict in order to see the light to stop hiding from their secrets. The final chapters will have you on edge, staying up late into the evening wondering who has hurt Alexi. Faking Normal is executed with a spot on message and with grace for her characters. This stand-alone is not to be missed.

Freshly Published: June

Here we go! These titles have certainly caught my eye for this month! Pre-order now for exciting new titles this month!

Stand Alone

(Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Forget Cover

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan art cover

When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

Series Debut’s

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

Dark cover

Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.

Continued Series

Rain by Amanda Sun

Paper Gods #2

Rain cover

I love how different this series is! Plus the little drawings inside are a nice touch, I’m looking forward to getting back to Sun’s world. 

Paranoia by J. R.n Johansson

The Night Walkers #2

Paranoia cover

I was able to get an ARC for this series, so I’m happy to see the next instalment pop up! I want to see how the main character has faired. There are a lot of questions I need answers for!

That’s it for now! xx