Review: Altered By Jennifer Rush

Review of Altered by Jennifer Rush

 

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Title: Altered (Altered #1)

Author: Jennifer Rush

Publication Date: January 2, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

GoodreadsAuthor BlogTwitter 

Summary

 

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Review

Altered starts off with Anna helping her father study the four boys who are in cages in their basement lab. (Insert many Fifty Shades jokes about hot boys and cages.) Anna is home-schooled and lives a pretty solitary life. She has built relationships with each of the boys and interacts with each in different ways. I enjoyed how different each was, it made it easier to relate to boys who spent five years in a basement lab. Her mother died when she was very young and Anna stays connected to her through an old journal.

Suddenly The Branch, her father’s employer who is in charge of the experiment, decides to take the boys. Sam, the love interest, figures out a way to escape and Anna gets swept up in it. She hits the road with the boys who are bent on figuring out who they were and what The Branch wants with them 

I really loved Altered. It is action packed, with lots of fight and escape scenes. No one is who they seem and you will not know who you can trust. There is a love story between Sam and Anna that proves to be complicated but very sweet. Anna demonstrates that she is no slouch in the self-defense department and holds her own on the run with her super-sexy boys. I love a female protagonist that is strong and smart. Anna is both of these in spades.

The ending is solid. It gives the reader closure while still leaving enough mystery for further installments in the series. There is so much to unpack when you have medical experiments and a top secret company that has every reason to hide what they are doing.

I highly recommend Altered by Jennifer Rush and plan on picking up the future installments in this series.

 

What You Will Find

  • Hot Guys
  • Kick-Ass Heroine
  • Twists and Turns
  • Mystery
  • Sweet Love Story
  • Running from the Man

 

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Publisher: Razorbill

Publishing Date: October 18, 2007

Source: Library

Goodreads

Summary

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a powerful book that deals with teen suicide. We begin the journey with Clay, who listens to the tapes Hannah made. From the beginning, we know that Hannah is dead which is such an interesting device because there will be no saving her. With each tape, you feel that you are with Clay,waiting to find out what he did to help propel Hannah to kill herself. Clay seems like a nice guy and talks about how much he cared for Hannah. He has regret because if he had only known how serious it was, he may have done everything differently.

The book is inventive in having a character who has died as a narrator. The writing style of switching back and forth between Hannah on the tapes and Clay in the present, helps propel the story forward. Hannah is with Clay as he gets through all of the tapes. Clay’s heart breaks as he learns about the betrayal and horrific situations Hannah faced. Hannah shows us how each choice we make can influence those around us.

Thirteen Reasons Why deserves all of the praise it receives. It is a beautiful book that can broach the difficult subject of teen suicide while being entertaining and in the end, hopeful.

If you are the parent of or are a teen, has a book ever helped you discuss a difficult topic?

Summary and cover image taken from goodreads.

 

 

Waiting On Wednesday (7)

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi.

 

Throught The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Title: Through The Ever Night (Under The Never Sky #2)

Author: Veronica Rossi

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publishing Date: January 8th, 2013

Goodreads

 

Summary 

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

I just finished Under The Never Sky (like today) and it may be one of my favorite books of the year. That being said, I need book two like I need oxygen. The cover of Through The Ever Night does not disappoint. It will look awesome on my shelf and I will probably need to preorder it to read on the day it comes out. 

 

What are you waiting on?

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Pandemonium By Lauren Oliver A Review

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

Author: Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Publishing Date: February 28, 2012

Goodreads

Summary

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,

pushing aside thoughts of Alex,

pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,

push,

push,

push,

like Raven taught me to do.

The old life is dead.

But the old Lena is dead too.

I buried her.

I left her beyond a fence,

behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Review

If I had to pick my favorite new-to-me author of 2012, I would pick Lauren Oliver. I was first introduced to Lauren Oliver through her first book Before I Fall (my review can be found on my other blog here). I loved it so much, I had to pick-up Delirium which is amazing and let me to read book two in the series, Pandemonium.

Lena is now in the Wilds, having made it over the fence alone, at the end of Delirium. The chapters are broken up into Now and Ten which depicts Lena when she is first found in the Wilds and the present, where she is working for the resistance. The concept of dual personas, remains throughout Pandemonium. Lena is a broken shell when she is first found, weak, heartbroken over all that she has lost. She starts to build up walls against feeling the pain and tries to put the past behind her.

On her first mission for the resistance, she is forced to confront the two Lena’s and decide if she wants to continue not to feel. If she wants to let society, either the zombie society of the cured or even that of the resistance, to tell her how she should feel. Through Oliver’s deft writing, the choices Lena makes begin to unfold until she decides to take a stand for what she knows is right.

I really enjoyed the many shades of gray throughout Pandemonium. The lines blur between the good guys and the bad guys. Lena is forced to make her own path, even if she has to do it alone. The passion and feeling of young love is written beautifully. You get just a taste to feel some of what the characters are feeling. That fleeting hint of young love and passion.

Pandemonium is a great follow-up to Delirium. The progress that Lena makes leads us effortlessly into book three without Pandemonium feeling like filler. I am anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this wonderful series.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

 

 

The Princess Bride By William Goldman A Review

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Title: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publishing Date: July 15, 2003

Goodreads

Summary

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams? As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears. Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere. What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex. In short, it’s about everything.

Review

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a story most of us know. I am sure many of you have seen the movie hundreds of times. I never realized there was even a book until I was browsing in the library and spotted it. Being familiar with the story did not prepare me for how much I would enjoy the book.

The edition I picked-up from the library is the 30th Anniversary Edition published in 2003. This edition includes a new introduction plus the introduction for the 25th Anniversary Edition. While I have the best intentions to read introductions, while finding them dull, that is not the case here. Even though both introductions are fairly long, do not skip them. They are full of movie making stories and tidbits about William Goldman’s life. In both cases, they really add to the story.

My favorite device used in The Princess Bride is where William Goldman speaks directly to the reader. The passages are italicized and found in both the beginning and middle of chapters. Goldman may explain a cut made to the original work or how his father skipped over chapters as he read him the story. I love sarcasm above many forms of humor and found these sections charming. It made me feel as if William Goldman was reading along with me.

The story remains fairly close to the movie. There are no major deviations or surprises. There are two areas that are expanded on from the movie, the extent of awfulness that is Prince Humperdinck and the full story of how Inigo’s father is murdered by the six-fingered man. I understand why this was left on the editing room floor for the movie but appreciated the richness it adds to the story.

As S. Morgenstern said about his own book, The Princess Bride is a “classic tale of true love and high adventure.” I completely agree.

 

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

 

Waiting On Wednesday (4)

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

 

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Publisher: Razorbill

Estimated Publishing Date: December 11, 2012

 

Summary

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power–brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined: Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct. Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished–and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past–and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword… The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

 

Book Trailer

 

Falling Kingdoms sounds exciting and action packed. The summary and trailer really give the sense of such a rich world. If you are like me and having a hard time waiting until December to get your hands on a copy, goodreads is doing a giveaway here.

 

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

The Future Of Us A Review

The Future Of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Title: The Future Of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Authors: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Publisher: Razorbill

Publishing Date: November 21st, 2011

Goodreads

Summary

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right – and wrong – in the present.

Review

I may be the perfect age for this book, having been a sophomore in High School in 1996. I remember the newness of the internet as a teenager and all those free AOL CD’s. The other cultural references like Green Day’s Dookie and bootleg albums, really brought me back.

The Future Of Us is written with both Emma and Josh narrating their own chapters. The switching of the narrator from Josh to Emma in each chapter allows the reader to get to know and become emotionally invested in each character. Getting to hear in each characters own words how what they see of the future effects the way they react to the present, is really interesting. It also brings up so many questions, do you play it safe or go for what you really want? Is it ever too late to change? I am not generally a fan of books written by two authors but Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler do an excellent job. Emma and Josh felt very real and I rooted for them throughout the book.

I had a hard time putting this book down and loved every minute of it. If you are looking for a creative story that makes you feel nostalgic for your teenage years, pick-up The Future Of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

 

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

 

Waiting On Wednesday (2)

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Linked by Imogen Howson

Linked by Imogen Howson

Expected Publishing Date: June 11th 2013

Summary

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

Oh how I love the cover of this book. It has so much movement.

I love a good the government is covering up something and we have to get the information out to save the world story line.

 

What books are you waiting on?

All images and summary are from goodreads.

The Last Dragonslayer By Jasper Fforde Review

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Summary 

In the good old days, magic was indispensable – it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians – but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam – and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as…Big Magic.

Review

Dragons, magic, and a strong female protagonist? What’s not to like.

Jennifer Strange is smart as a whip and older than her 15 years let on. She is swept up in the machinations of large corporations and an ancient prophecy while running an employment agency for magicians. 

Jasper Fforde creates a world that melds magic with the mundane. It is fun and light, very similar in tone to the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series. Like Percy Jackson, The Last Dragonslayer is a story that moves quickly while slowly building up the back story. It will keep you wanting to know more about Jennifer and the quirky world built by Fforde.

I enjoyed The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde immensely and am looking forward to reading book two, The Song Of The Quarkbeast.

 

I did win this book through goodreads but all opinions are my own.

All images and the summary are taken from goodreads.

The Age Of Miracles By Karen Thompson Walker A Review

The Age Of Miracles A Novel By Karen Thompson Walker

Title: The Age Of Miracles

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Publisher: Random House

Published Date: June 26th, 2012

 

Summary

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the Earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with normal disasters of everyday life- the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

The Age Of Miracles Review

What would you do if everything was changing and there was nothing you could do to stop it? The Age Of Miracles forces you to wonder just that.  Would you leave town or keep on living as you always did until you are forced to deal with the world around you?

Julia is a great narrator, she is twelve but old beyond her years. As the world around her is literally falling apart she starts to see the cracks in those around her. She catches her father in lies and sees the horrible things that are done to those who are different. She takes stands in ways that someone so young could, but soon realizes there is nothing she can do to stop these injustices.

The issues with Julia’s parents shows how everything in her world is breaking down. Time no longer means anything and there is an inevitable catastrophe coming. How long can society continue to function when days stretch to weeks and nights last months? I do like that nothing major happens here (like the government ceasing to function for example). It makes it much more interesting to read the before. Before we really start to run out of food and fuel. Before the whole world goes to hell.  

The love story is really sweet. It starts out as a crush and starts to blossom as Julia and Seth spend time together. The comparison of such a normal relationship with the fact that gravity is changing, is compelling. They cling to each other when everything else is in a constant state of flux.

The ending is really heartbreaking. I got a little teary but thought it was a solid ending. There is hope and the world still turns. 

Karen Thompson Walker is a talented writer and creates a world that is literally falling apart but still continues on. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely read other books written by Karen Thompson Walker.

 

Summary and image taken from goodreads.