Tag Archive | 15+

Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie

Screen shot 2014-10-13 at 21.01.13There’s a Carrie White in every high school. A girl born into the wrong class. The butt of everyone’s joke’s. The scapegoat to everyone’s problems. Poor Carrie White. She never had a chance. 

To get your first period at 17, showering after gym, has got to be the worst. Having an overly religious mother who borders on the brink of insanity? Carrie White had the recipe for disaster. 

But Carrie White was special. As she is welcomed into womanhood, so are her truth powers freed. Carrie White just wanted to be left alone, to live her life with her mother. What started as a gesture to counterbalance the guilt from fellow high school student, Sue Snell, turns into a night of terror their little town has never seen. Who is to blame? Carrie White? Or her tormentors? 

A tight engaging tale told from Carrie’s point of view and epistolary format, this is a perfect quick Halloween read. There’s a lot of background to Carrie, and I must say I loved the ending a lot more than the movie version. Yes, it’s a bit dated, but this story is simple and pure at the same time. Even though everyone knows how it ends, you’ll race to see just what kind of destruction Carrie wrecks, and dare I say it? Cheer her on. (Maybe not the whole time, but certainly for two teens that deserved to be reckoned with Carrie.)

I love King’s first published novel. I wish I had read it earlier. He writes women so well, and although it reeks of the 70s, the story is still timeless. Most girls look forward to their senior prom. Pray yours never ends up like Carrie White’s. 

Book Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare cover US

Dare to You

**Although this is a sequel, this second in the Pushing the Limits series doesn’t continue with the same characters, but gives minor characters their own show. Find my review for the first book, Pushing the Limits.

Beth Risk is just as her surname describes. The only one capable of looking after her junkie mother with the abusive boyfriend, Beth risks it all to keep her out of jail. Now she is swept from her home, from Isaiah and Noah to a town filled with Stepford wives. A ward of her uncle, a now famed retired baseball star, Beth is forced to forget herself for her uncle in order to keep her mother’s secrets.

Ryan Stone is the heart throb of the baseball team. A start pitcher, he’s as cocky on the field as he is off, and winning dares is his speciality. Everything is lined up in Ryan’s life – pro ball – a life of athletic fandom, and his parents have worked endlessly to present him with blue collar opportunities. But there’s more to Ryan than just ball. He writes, and writes well, so well that college could be a choice in his future if he dares to take it.

A golden boy and a girl from the wrong side of the street. The two have nothing in common except wanting to be themselves. As they are forced to get to know each other will either dare to deny the chemistry that blooms between them?

I am a huge fan of the first book, and perhaps because I loved the first so much I was left feeling a bit disappointed with the second. Why? Well, in Pushing the Limits I feel that McGarry kind of went and took every extreme for her characters. It’s fantastic but where does that leave this book? Clichéd rich parent expectations and actions.

Beth and Ryan are standout characters. I have no fault with them, McGarry is very talented with writing both male and female teenage voices. My issue is with everyone else around Beth and Ryan that I found lacking.

However, perhaps this needed to be the case to allow for Beth and Ryan to truly shine. Both characters did things I didn’t expect (more or less). I kept reading because Beth has a lot of secrets and I love major jock Ryan being a closeted writing nerd. The chemistry between the two is also really hot, so another major win for this romance publisher. They are talented in finding writers that can tone down adult romance on a teenage level.

I can’t wait to read the third book and Harlequin Teen is proving to me one of the best YA romance publishers out there! 

Book Review: Demonic Dora by Claire Chilton

Demon Dora

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Dora is born to heavily religious parents but is unfortunately stuck with quite the personality. Cursed by her love of black and desire to summon a demon from Hell, Dora’s parents attempt to burn her at the stake outside their house.

For once Dora is saved by a successfully summoned Demon Lord. As he whisks her away from her crazy parents and neighbours, Dora has only one choice to follow the demon back where he came from.

But it can be difficult to survive in a world where a fresh soul like Dora’s is the national currency. There’s treachery afoot. Even her demon lord might not be able to save her. Everything comes down to one final battle in the bowels of Hell between whom else? Dora and her demon lord….

The Good: All the interesting bits were about the citizens and structure of Hell. I really loved how Chilton went for the story and took me as a reader on a hilarious ride. Her writing is funny and it’s refreshing to have a book make me laugh out loud. Pooey is definitely my favorite character and I loved how Dora is a strong willed. And she still loves her parents even they try endlessly to kill her!

The Not So Good: For a story that held a lot of promise I’m a bit disappointed with how…rushed everything was. The characters are fun, the personalities of Hell’s occupants are witty, but everything breezes through where I wished the author had lingered. I also wished that the characteristics of Hell had more differences than the modern world. It’s pretty 50/50, and it bugged me that Hell could be so like current day life. There were plenty of other really creative bits, and using something obvious was a bit of a letdown.

I am curious to see where the series goes. It’s different, short and unusual.

I was provided this book in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher Ragz Books and the author Claire Chilton for allowing me to review the book! Best of luck with the series and I look forward to reading the second book. 

Book Review: Skin by Donna Jo Napoli

Skin cover

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Sep, or rather Guiseppia, but don’t call her that, is having a bit of a problem. One morning she wakes up and gets ready for school. As normal high school girls do, they look in the mirror. What does she see? White. Olive skinned, Italian bred Sep, has pure, white, lips.

It’s small thing that makes a huge difference. In short this aspect of young sixteen-year-old Sep, is a metaphor for growing up. Her story pushes further, as she takes to understanding her condition and living her life in ways that teens do. Sep embarks on a journey about her body, about herself and about those around her. True to herself and harsh to others, she must learn how the color white will change her life forever.

This is new adult fiction. If you haven’t yet learned about phrase, my friend over at Pretty Books leads a great discussion on the new genre.

I did feel this piece was a bit long, but once Sep’s condition was well under way I was hooked from chapter to chapter. Sep’s story is honest. True, scary and brave all at the same time. What is hidden as a NA book is a silent protest to the way modern society treats women in this day and age.

Again I do feel the need to state this is new adult fiction. There are adult situations in this book and there is a passage that is very…romance-y…so be aware. It’s not an issue for me, because let’s be honest, it’s something all teenagers do. It’s just no one wants to talk about it.

With understated beauty this book tells the story of a teenager girl unlike most others and her battle against what society perceives of her. My only critics are to stop using repetitive language and vulgar slang (Because I feel that it hinders the message of the book by trying to belittle a word no girl should be called). Other than that, it’s a job well done and needed in this new genre.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the author Donna Jo Napoli and to the publisher for providing book!

Skin is available for purchase on August 6th! Reserve your copy today!

Book Review: The Breeders by Katie French

The Breeders

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This is a world where girls are used to breed for the greater good of the remaining population. That is, except for sixteen –year-old Riley Meemick. Capable of being disguised as a ‘Bender’, or mutation of neither boy nor girl, she lives in constant fear of being taken by the Breeders.

When her Mama is taken to Breed, it’s up to Riley to hide her identity from the handsome Clay and get her back with her younger brother Ethan.

The trouble is, who can one trust? When supplies run low or someone gets sick, how can help be found?

I don’t want to give too much away for this book; it truly is an interesting read.

Must get the nitty-gritty out of the way, this book would be fabulous except for the overwriting. Less is more love, and the execution of the story needs a bit of tweaking.

However, overall, despite the flaws (there were also a few misspelling and improper uses of grammar), I felt that this was a great dystopian story and a fantastic premise. With some work this story could go places.

You feel the despair of the characters, their hunger, their thirst and fear of the unknown.

Then the information on how the Breeders work – truly terrifying.

One of my main downsides to the story is that even when girls are highly sought after – they’re still not treated equally or with respect. It’s frustrating that as the creators of life, the human race still treats them as a commodity even though survival is based on their welfare.

I’m not a fan of the romance bit as it’s too forced and obvious, but I enjoyed reading about how far gone the world has become, it’s dystopian done well. If you are looking for a story to make you feel better about your life, The Breeders will help put things in perspective. 

Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush cover

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Angels. They’re supposed to be something believed in, heavenly creatures that act as guardians. What about those who fall?

Nora Grey is your average sixteen-year-old. With her best friend Vee, they go through the motions of high school. That is, until chemistry class takes a realistic turn when the handsome but mysterious Patch shows up and is paired as Nora’s partner. He’s smoking hot and irritating in all the wrong ways. As Nora tries to push him away he only succeeds in getting closer to her heart.

Then Nora runs into many just of luck chances. She has feelings of being followed and hears voices in her head. Others begin to warn her of Patch, but yet, she can’t stay away. As the danger lurks closer, Nora is going to have to make a choice to trust the voices of others or go with her heart. In the end it’s not just her life that will be on the line.

I’m such a huge fan of the covers. Terrible I know, but I am quite the sucker for a well-marketed book.

For the romance/series readers, this first book won’t disappoint. There’s thrill, sizzling, romance tension and lots of mystery. Nothing is really answered in this book, and as there are three more I’m happy with that. I was engaged and intrigued through every chapter, which is a rarity for me with romance.

I really liked Nora Grey as a character. I mean she’s got a great name. Due to family reasons’ dating wasn’t on her table until other characters come into play. I feel she’s relatively normal and relatable. She’s not blonde with blue eyes but has unruly curly hair and doesn’t wear makeup. I’m so curious to know more. There are nearly 400 pages and still I can’t wait to learn more in the next book!

Even the romance bit didn’t make me gag, which again is hard to do. I’m pleased with the beginning of the series, not overly sucked in, but pleased and happy to continue. 

Book Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

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*Please note this is only a two book series.

Cas has survived his battle with his father’s killer, but now suffers from taunting dreams of Anna trapped in Hell. As a ghost hunter he’s supposed to forget about the ghosts he encounters, not fall in love with them. Anna is everywhere, in more pain through each encounter. Cas refuses to forget about her and embarks on a journey to bring her back.

Yet there’s more to his father’s knife than Cas is aware of. When a mysterious picture arrives in the post, Cas knows he’s going to do whatever it takes to open the door to hell and rescue Anna from the torture she doesn’t deserve. Even if it means killing himself.

It took some time to process how I felt about this book. I was expecting it to be a part of trilogy and was epically sad that there are only two books in this series.

However, I really liked that there are only two books. It’s so different from everything else currently being published. With characters are so full of personality that it’s impossible not to fall in love with this series.

There is love on a (somewhat) real scale, scary scenes and adventure that waits across the pond. I praise Blake for creating such a fantastic series that can blend both a realistic teenage life along with a paranormal existence that hasn’t been conquered yet. I wish there was more but am glad there isn’t at the same time.

Be warned however, there is a lot of swearing and some scary scenes that are truly terrifying. I loved every single sentence! Give it a go if you dare!