Friday, September 23, 2016

Wink Poppy Midnight (audiobook) by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.
 

I received a copy for review from readingteen.net


Told from three perspectives, Wink, Poppy, Midnight is a story about stories. Wink is a daydreamer and an avid reader, she narrates the story as a classic romantic fairytale. The Hero and romantic interest, Midnight the Villain and bully Poppy and Wink the protagonist who falls in love and also has to overcome heartbreak.
Midnight has just had his heart broken by the cruel Poppy. He thinks that moving further away will help him get over her. He becomes neighbors with Wink, who he finds an instant comfort in and they become inseparable. The only problem, Poppy still keeps showing up, because her true love and obsession is Wink's brother.
All three characters are so varied and layered, especially the girls'. The storyline brings out several different events that seem completely unrelated and almost questionable, until the end pulls everything together. I admit that I have never read anything as unusual as the story of these three characters lives. There were times that I could not tell which way the story was going to go, becoming very dark at times.
Overall the pacing is a constant stroll, dreamy days of reading in the rain, playing with the kids and falling in love with stories of all kinds. There is this underlying focus on the love of nature and they spend a lot of time outside. I felt the characters very relate-able and those of us who love to read may find an instant liking to Wink and her fantastical way of looking at the ordinary in life.

The narrators did a great job in bringing out the nature of each character. I absolutely despised Poppy and actually hearing the voice given to her made me a much more engaged listener. I feel I would have gotten a different and less potent imagery of this story if I had read a physical copy. I think the audiobook did it a lot of clarity bringing out the voice of the characters.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Glittering Court (audiobook) by Richelle Mead



The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)


by Richelle Mead
Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…
Published April 5th 2016 by Listening Library (Audio)    Received a copy from readingteen.net for review
I suppose that my anticipation for the book did me in this time. I absolutely love Richelle Mead's writing but I felt this book fell flat as far as the plot and storyline. As a lover of history I had a hard time not comparing this story to the colonization of the United States. Sailing across the ocean to a new land full of people from all over the world trying to establish a "new world". Socializing, settling new areas, having to work with the aboriginals and mining for gold. I suppose I was a bit irked by the idea of "selling" the women to the single men, the best trained woman getting the biggest amount of money.
I listened to the audiobook, while I enjoyed the narrator's voice I was impressed with how many different voices were being portrayed to represent all the peoples. But towards the end I felt that some of the characters began to sound similar and at times was confused if it was Adelaide or Cedric that was speaking. As I stated I believe that the high expectations I had going into the novel was my biggest upset, I think I wanted  more from the story, but felt it lacked a feeling of something new and exciting for me, personally.
I would have a hard time saying that this is not something I would recommend, because it didn't mesh with me, because I do recommend any of her books, to everybody. I think she's a really great writer and knows how to tell a imaginative and thrilling story. I believe that everybody will get something different out of this book, it touches on a lot of different subjects and it really helped me form my opinion on some issues.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Burning by Danielle Rollins

Burning

by Danielle RollinsAfter three years in juvie, Angela Davis is just a few months shy of release, and she'll finally be free from the hole that is Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Then Jessica arrives. Only ten years old and under the highest security possible, this girl has to be dangerous, even if no one knows what she did to land in juvie. As strange things begin happening to Angela and her friends that can only be traced to the new girl's arrival, it becomes clear that Brunesfield is no longer safe. They must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves when the world has forgotten them?
 
I received a review copy from readingteen.net
If I were to make a comparison of the book I would state Orange is the New Black with Stephen King's Firestarter. It takes place in a girls detention center, as the story opens they are undergoing some new management and many changes are being made. New programs, new technology, and new girls. One of which holds a special interest to the new director. She is the youngest girl to be in the center, and the youngest to be kept in solitary confinement.
I honestly wasn't sure where this story was going to take me when going into it. I ended up really enjoying the characters and their soon to be plight to survive a horrible situation. Not long after the new girl arrives she is placed as a roommate to Angela. Jessica is shy and tries to keep to herself but everybody can see that she is different, and being watched closer than the others. As the changes take place around the center, Angela is soon faced with having to either relate all the inner details of Jessica to the director or risk getting more time added to her stay. It doesn't take long for all of them to realize they must escape, or die.
The book is not exactly fast paced but a pretty constant pacing that ends with a lot of excitement and revelations. If this ends up being a series it's definitely one that I am going to continue with. Some action, some adventure, a little romance, but mostly a lot of mystery.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Pearl

by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Run fast and run far, unless you’re fearless. Unless you’re courageous. I’m not, but I’d like to be.

Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.

This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me.

When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.

I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.

Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the decision to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl choose?
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Skyscape
I received an ARC from readingteen.net for review
I had one of those interesting moments when reading this book. At first I really had a hard time getting into the story, but it starts off really interesting and I wanted to see where it went. I decided to listen to the audio instead and found it a much more pleasurable experience, for some reason the physical book wasn't working for me (which doesn't happen often)
Pearl's mother was a rock star when she was younger, but somehow has succumbed to drugs and is on the borderline of hitting the bottom. Only two things can happen, recovery or death. She chooses to go to rehab and her brother offers to send Pearl to a boarding school to finish out her education while her mother is recovering. At school Pearl is able to make friends, explore art and try to figure out her future. She is constantly worried about her mother and being around wealthy people causes her to keep her old life a secret.
It's not too long before Pearl ends up making some of the bad decisions that her mother made. Unable to see what she is doing to herself, but thinking she can never end up like her mother, Pearl will have to grow up quick and make better decisions for herself, instead of always blaming her mother. She ends up meeting a boy who wants to keep it as friends, but we all know that rarely happens. Pearl falls in love hard. With so many things happening in her life it's hard to focus on what is important, but she has to or lose everything she's been given.
In most situations I would refer to this book as a coming of age novel, but with Pearl's past, it seems that she's experienced several times in her life she has had to grow up quick. In this particular instance, she is given an opportunity to change everything around, but finds herself not making very wise decisions and finding that she created her own problems that now have to be solved to be the person, and artist she's wanted to be.
This story deals with drugs, different levels of party only drugs to the hard addiction that ruins lives. Peer pressure and making your own decisions. It was at times hard to read, but in the end I think the plot is worthwhile and will give you something to think about.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

The Gilded Cage

After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper-class England in the 1820s, is shattered when her brother mysteriously drowns. Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident.

A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham. Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?
 
Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) 
 
I received an ARC for review by readingteen.net
The Randolph's lost their parents after moving to Virginia from England. Relying on the friendship of their neighbors they are able to maintain the ranch style living, the siblings are best friends. Very early in the story they find that their grandfather died after a sudden accident and had left Walthingham Hall to their father. Seeing this as the opportunity of a lifetime and pack up for the voyage oversees. The drastic change in their lives offer fancy living, parties and romance.
Soon after their arrival Katherine's brother is found dead in the lake, but all of the information does not add up. The extended family that also lives in Walthingham pushes stories of a mysterious man the roams the yards and wild exotic animals on the loose. Being alone and on another continent away from all she has known Katherine does not know what to believe but is certain that the death was not a drowning, or caused by a wild animal.
I enjoyed the atmosphere of this historical mystery, being that the main character has been placed in this somewhat remote place and then immediately stripped of everything she's known.Wanting to trust her extended family and new friends of what could be happening she finds it hard to understand  what could be happening. No matter how much she tries to understand everything, she'll witness weird behavior, whispering and missing items. Every time she feels she can trust somebody, new secrets arise, along with the death toll.
The book was a quick and mysterious read, There are several different ideas of what could be going on put into the readers mind, and it's a puzzle to try to put everything together and the possibilities are endless. I do not think at any time I really knew what was happening, even with my suspicions. I felt that one part of the story's plot was a little weak, but I loved everything else about it, great imagery and a dark, creepy story. It is a story that has stuck with me long after reading it and I am compelled to pick it up again for a second read. I recommend this one.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ruined (Audiobook Review) by Amy Tintera

Ruined (Ruined #1)

by Amy Tintera
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake. 

I received the audiobook from readingteen.net for review

I recommend this series to those who liked the Defy series by Sara B Larson (which I loved). To help protect her people and stop the mass murders, Em murders and then assumes the position of the arranged marriage to Prince Casimir, in hopes of killing him and his family as well to stop the war. The Prince finds Em's behavior and opinions do not match what he has been told his fiance should be. But, he seems to enjoy the spontaneous and unexpected reactions his new wife exhibits.
One thing that Em did not expect was that her opinions might worm their way into the Prince's mind. She unintentionally gets him thinking about how is Kingdom is being ran and how peace can be obtained. It's not too long before one of Em's childhood friends is taken prisoner and being torchered by the King. This leads all of the plans to speed up a lot of action and traveling beings as Em and her companions must make a run for it.
From page one the atmosphere is immersed with this ongoing war. People are fighting, dying and risking everything they have for a chance at a better life. In Em's case it's not only to help her people, but to find her sister who was kidnapped. It is very fast paced and always something new happening to change the plot and put Em in danger of being caught. In the meantime she gets to know the King, Queen and Prince Casimir better all very strong characters and obstacles for Em to overcome.  She and the Prince have to spend a lot of time together and they soften to each other, a spark of real romance, in one of the most difficult of situations.
I really enjoy the stories of the put upon rising up and fighting against their oppressors. It gets even more exciting when both sides feel they are the ones being put upon. There is not a lot of drama that happens in this story, just straight forward people fighting for the ones they love and doing what they have to do to survive. It's very action packed and a lot of great characters. I find stories like this a lot of fun, I had a great time reading it, cannot wait for the sequel!!

I received a copy of the audiobook for review but found early on that I was not liking the voices the narrator chose to use to represent the characters. It was something that just didn't quite mesh with me and I turned to the physical book, which I highly enjoyed.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Fig

Love and sacrifice intertwine in this brilliant and provocative debut of rare beauty about a girl dealing with her mother’s schizophrenia and her own mental illness.

Fig’s world lies somewhere between reality and fantasy.

But as she watches Mama slowly come undone, it becomes hard to tell what is real and what is not, what is fun and what is frightening. To save Mama, Fig begins a fierce battle to bring her back. She knows that her daily sacrifices, like not touching metal one day or avoiding water the next, are the only way to cure Mama.

The problem is that in the process of a daily sacrifice, Fig begins to lose herself as well, increasingly isolating herself from her classmates and engaging in self-destructive behavior that only further sets her apart.

Spanning the course of Fig’s childhood from age six to nineteen, this deeply provocative novel is more than a portrait of a mother, a daughter, and the struggle that comes with all-consuming love. It is an acutely honest and often painful portrayal of life with mental illness and the lengths to which a young woman must go to handle the ordeals—real or imaginary—thrown her way.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books    I received a review copy from readingteen.net
This story took my breath away. I am not the kind of person that cries, especially while reading a book but this one really got me. It was so touching and beautifully written I highly recommend it.
We get a peek into the life of Fig and what she considered normal life. As an only child that lives on a farm she is inseparable from her mother. But when Fig turns six her mother has a psychotic break down and the family has to close ranks to try to make a liveable home.
Fig's grandmother takes on a bigger role in caring for her, but Fig has never been close to her grandmother. Fig's father is struggling to maintain the farm and trying to support Fig and her mother who they put in a hospital for awhile. He finds comfort in the routine and hard work of working on the farm.
Fig tells us her story from six years old to nineteen, an age she is dreading because that was when her mother had her first psychotic episode. There is a very melancholy feel to the story as Fig has a very hard time not only adjusting to the new family structure but also making friends and begins to take her mental frustrations out in different ways into the physical world.
I am ready to vote this as my favorite book of the year. The prose was so beautiful and emotionally on point to bring the reader right into Fig's world. It really touches on some hard situations and insight into families dealing with mental illness and hard relationships.