Being Henry David By Cal Armistead A Review

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

Title: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

Publication Date: March 1, 2013

Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen

Source: ARC from 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

Challenge: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthor

Summary

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything –who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or “Hank” and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of–Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

 

Review

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead starts off when Hank wakes up in Penn Station in New York City. He cannot remember how he got there or who he is. The only clue he has to hold on to is a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. With Walden being Hank’s only clue, he sets off on an adventure to find out who he is.

At its heart, Being Henry David is a coming-of-age story where the main character literally does not know who he is. Cal Armistead uses Henry David Thoreau and the town of Concord to help Hank explore what it means to be him. How he fits into his world and to bring him to a place where he uncovers the mystery of who he is and where he comes from. The people Hank meets in Concord help him a great deal to explore the simplicity and truth of Walden and how it relates to why Hank is unable to remember.

The story begins to unfold as Hank starts to remember bits and pieces and he is forced to confront his problems. He learns that you cannot run away or disappear but have to face issues head on. Ultimately, there is redemption and forgiveness but there first has to be truth.

I really enjoyed Being Henry David and found it to be a unique story with lots of depth. It is truly a strong debut and I have high hopes for any future works by Cal Armistead.

What You Will Find

  • Finding Yourself
  • Redemption
  • Mystery
  • Friendship

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

 

Poison By Bridget Zinn A Review

Poison by Bridget Zinn

 

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Title: Poison

Author: Bridget Zinn

Publication Date: March 12, 2013

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Source: Netgalley

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthor

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Poison by Bridget Zinn is a quirky, light story that follows Kyra, who is a Master Potioner, as she attempts to murder the Princess. The Princess turns out to be Kyra’s best friend but we learn that she needs to kill her to save the kingdom. So what is a girl to do? Get a tracking pig named Rosie to find the missing Princess.

Poison by Bridget Zinn is full of likeable characters (such as a very un-Princely Prince) and an ex-boyfriend who is very handsome. An adventure ensues while Kyra searches for the Princess. This adventure includes a handsome stranger, a hermit, and a witch that wants to eat her. There are quite a few twists and turns to the story and a little dab of romance. One thing I really enjoyed about Poison, is that all of the female characters are strong, smart, and willing to stand up for what they believe in. Plus, there is a super cute tracking pig. (If the pig could also hunt for truffles, she would find a place in my house.)

Poison by Bridget Zinn is a light and fun read. It takes place in an imaginative, fairytale-like world where there are witches, potions, and Princes. I enjoyed Poison by Bridget Zinn and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a fresh fairytale about a strong girl who saves the day.

What You Will Find

  • Strong female leads
  • Friendship
  • Light romance
  • Fairytale world
  • Cute animals

While I was writing this review, I looked at Bridget Zinn’s page on goodreads. I wanted to quote this section because I found it really moving.

Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.

Bridget Zinn died in May of 2011.

 

Cover image and summary taken from goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

The Darkest Minds By Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

 

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publication Date: December 18, 2012

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Series: The Darkest Minds

Source: Library

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

Summary

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

I loved everything about The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and found the book impossible to put down. It starts off on Ruby’s tenth birthday. Her parents decide a party would be in poor taste because of the few children who remain. A terrible accident occurs and Ruby finds herself being taken away from the life she knew and placed in a rehabilitation camp with other children like her.

At sixteen, Ruby is able to escape and learns about the outside world. A world where adults are frightened of children and the US society is on the brink. Ruby eventually finds a group of kids who also escaped and joins in their search for a safe place.

So many amazing things about The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. The world building is very strong, it is easy to imagine this version of the US where poverty is rampant and the government is lying to the people. The group that Ruby travels with for most of the book is full of fully fleshed out characters who are all damaged in some way but learning to function in this insane world. The love story is quite swoon-worthy. I do not want to give anything away, but the ending will make you want to read book two right now.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a standout dystopian in a sea of mediocre books. Her take is unique and it is a strong start to what I can only hope will be an excellent series (trilogy?). I highly recommend The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and think you should move it to the very top of your to-be-read pile.

What You Will Find Here

    • Swoon worthy love story
    • Kick ass female lead
    • Lots of heart
    • Action and violence

 

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

 

 

 

Waiting On Wednesday – Proxy By Alex London

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 Proxy by Alex London.

Proxy by Alex London

Title: Proxy

Author: Alex London

Publisher: Philomel

Expected Publishing Date: June 18, 2013

GoodreadsAuthor Site

Summary

Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

What are you waiting on?

 

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Pantomime By Laura Lam A Review

Pantomime by Laura Lam

 

Pantomime by Laura Lam

Title: Pantomime

Author: Laura Lam

Publication Date: February 5, 2013

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Source: Netgalley

Challenge: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

Summary

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilization long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

Review

Caution, the review below does contain spoilers.

Pantomime by Laura Lam tells the story of Gene, a noble who is born as a hermaphrodite and her life is spent being told how to behave and shuttled to countless doctors and specialists. The chapters alternate between Gene, in the past, and Micah, in the future, and tell the story of how Micah ends up a circus performer in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. The alternating stories gives the reader a feel for the dichotomy that is living without a clear identity. Gene is suffocating living as a girl and when she learns of her parents forced medical intervention, she knows she can no longer live this life.

Pantomime by Laura Lam captures the magic of the circus through Micah as someone who watches and later becomes a performer. There is a magic that starts to shatter the longer Micah stays. The impressive ringmaster is nothing more than a drunk and the magic is old technology that is all an illusion. At times, there are glimpses of real magic, such as a projection seemingly speaking to Micah, that no one else can hear, but we only really scratch the surface here. I wish there was more meat to the what is Micah/Gene and where he came from, than we get in Pantomime.

Pantomime by Laura Lam is very well-written and for anyone who is fan of the circus, they will be charmed by the descriptions here. The feel is fantastical and very light like the aerialist that Micah becomes. For me, it could be a bit slow at times but the ending certainly made up for that. Overall, Pantomime by Laura Lam is a lovely debut that I would recommend reading. It has a very different feel than many Young Adult books and leaves the reader with lots to think about.

 

What You Will Find

  • Magic and Beauty
  • Dealing with difficult issues
  • Strong lead
  • Tragedy
  • Finding yourself
      The cover image and summary are from

goodreads

    .

Everbound by Brodi Ashton A Review

Everbound by Brodi Ashton

 

Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everbound (Everneath #2)

Author: Brodi Ashton

Publication Date: January 22, 2013

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Source: Printed ARC sent by publisher

Previous Reviews: Everneath 

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

 

Summary

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

Review

At the end of Everneath, Jack makes the ultimate sacrifice for Nikki by taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath. He literally gives up everything to save her. Not content to let Jack accept her punishment, Nikki knows she has to save him.

Everbound by Brodi Ashton details the journey Nikki takes to rescue Jack from the Everneath. We get to learn about the make-up of the Everneath and meet a few new Everlings along the way. The adventure is dangerous and full of excitement, as Nikki fights her way through the mystical Everneath to save her true love.

In Everbound by Brodi Ashton, there is an ending that comes out of nowhere. Nothing is ever as it seems when it comes to dealing with the Everneath and the reader is left wanting to dig deeper into the mysteries of this mystical place. The character of Nikki is fleshed out more in Everbound in comparison to Everneath and the strength she shows in the face of frightening situations is admirable. I am glad that Brodi Ashton decided to toughen Nikki up in this installment, she was a lot more likeable in book two.

Everbound by Brodi Ashton is a strong second book in the Everneath Trilogy. The story is exciting and moves forward quickly. It was difficult to put down and answered a lot of questions I had about the Everneath. I highly recommend Everbound by Brodi Ashton.

What You Will Find

  • World Building
  • Great Love Story
  • Mystery
  • Twists and Turns
  • The Need To Get Book Three Right Now

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Everneath by Brodi Ashton by the publisher but was not compensated in anyway for my review. All thoughts are my own.

All images and summary taken from goodreads.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Book Haul (17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where you can share the books you received during the week. Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you added to your shelves.

In My Mailbox

Stacking-the-Shelves

Netgalley

 

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter

Me, Him, Them, And It by Caela CarterWhen Evelyn decided to piss off her parents with a bad reputation, she wasn’t planning to ruin her valedictorian status. She also wasn’t planning to fall for Todd-the guy she was just using for sex. And she definitely wasn’t planning on getting pregnant. When Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn’s not sure where to go. Can a distant mother, a cheating father, an angry best friend, and a (thankfully) loving aunt with adopted daughters of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow? With the popularity of Juno, Teen Mom, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, this novel has a built-in audience. Gripping, heartfelt, and responsible, Me, Him, Them, and It is not to be missed!

Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Don’t mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

 

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.

Kindle

 

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

Jane by April Lindner

Jane by April Lindner

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.


But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers

The Farwalker’s Trilogy (The Farwalker Trilogy #1) by Joni Sensel

The Farwalker's Quest by Joni SenselAriel has always been curious, but when she and her best friend Zeke stumble upon a mysterious old telling dart she feels an unexplained pull toward the dart, and to figuring out what it means. Magically flying great distances and only revealing their messages to the intended recipient, telling darts haven’t been used for years, and no one knows how they work. So when two strangers show up looking for the dart, Ariel and Zeke realize that their discovery is not only interesting, but very dangerous. The telling dart, and the strangers, leads them to a journey more perilous and encompassing than either can imagine, and in the process both Zeke and Ariel find their true calling.

Purchased

 

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine “Perry” Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn’t happening–not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls–rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he’s in for the worst summer of his life.


Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he’s ever met. Perry’s new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well.

What did you add to your shelves this week?

All cover images and summaries are from goodreads

The Cadet Of Tildor By Alex Lidell A Review

The Cadet Of Tildor By Alex Lidell A Review

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Title: The Cadet Of Tildor

Author: Alex Lidell

Publication Date: January 10, 2013

Publisher: Dial

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

Summary

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Trailer

Review

Are you looking for a book that has adventure, political intrigue, and a kick-butt heroine? The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell is it. It begins with Cadet Renee de Winter, who is also a noblewoman, arguing with her father about her attendance at the elite Academy Of Tildor. Renee dreams of being a fighter and serving the Crown but her father has other plans for her. Risking everything, Renee decides to go to school and eschew the safety of her familial home.

At school, Renee proves to be a loyal friend and hard worker. As a woman in the male-dominated fighter track, she has to work twice as hard. Renee spends hours training to compensate for her smaller size and weaker muscles. This extra training catches the eye of Savoy, the commander of an elite force who is called to teach at the academy, to mentor and befriend Renee.

The Cadet Of Tildor is full of political intrigue where a new king is forced to negotiate peace while two competing criminal organizations nip at his heals. This story is not one of good and evil but one that is complex and full of interconnected relationships. Renee is forced to navigate these groups to try and fulfill her mission. Alex Lidell does a great job of writing fully formed characters that are as flawed as real people and operate in a world where our choices can reverberate in the world around us. There are no good and bad guys, but people who do all kinds of things for many different reasons.

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell will be loved by fans of fantasy and those that like their heroine smart and brave. It is a very strong debut that was impossible to put down. I need to know what happens in this world, with these characters,  and will gladly purchase book two when it comes out.

What You Will Find

    • Kick-Butt heroine who you would want to be friends with
    • Action and adventure
    • Complex political situations
    • The perfect amount of magic
    • Excellent world building

 

 

Summary and cover images from goodreads.

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.