Panic by Lauren Oliver

bookcover_home_panic

In the small town of Carp, a town of only 12,000 people, a game was born out of boredom. A dangerous game with a huge payoff if you make it to the end.

Only seniors can play and it’s kept top secret though everyone knows about it. Those who participate do so for their own reasons but mostly these reasons seem to be to get the prize money and get out of town.

Heather had no plans to enter the race and play the game but the night it begins circumstances propel her to join in and different circumstances compel her to make it to the end.

Throughout the game new friendships are made, old ones are betrayed, love is lost and found while our players are facing numerous and varied fears, not just within the game but also within their individual lives.

This is one of those stories you read late into the night, savouring each morsel, wanting to know how it ends while not actually wanting it to end.

Lauren Oliver has several titles to her name and her delirium Trilogy is a favourite of mine though Panic would now be my second favourite. If you ever have the chance to visit with Lauren at a signing I would suggest you go as she is a dynamic and vivacious story teller in person as well as on the page. Listen as she reads the first chapter of Panic and tell me you disagree,

Give Panic a try, if you dare.

I give Panic 4 and a 1/2 Reads out of 5.

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Love Unscripted = Much Confusion

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber is the story of Taryn Mitchell living the life that a lot of young girls (and some women) dream off. Meeting and falling in love with a celebrity who is filming in her town.

Taryn is a savvy business woman running her own pub and frustrated by the constant talk of her friends and female clients about the movie filming in their small Rhode Island town. When Ryan Christensen, the films hot male lead comes into her pub one day in an attempt to flee some fans, they hit it off.
Despite her feelings for Ryan, Taryn is determined to keep him at the friends level. She has been hurt too many times to fall for a celebrity who will be leaving town in a couple of months.
I had hopes for this story. Being a fan of movies I completely understand the appeal of falling for celebrity. I enjoyed many of the characters including the leads…….for about a moment. This book is one of the most difficult reads I’ve read through. It took me almost two months of forcing myself to read this.
I liked the characters then I didn’t. Taryn started off as a strong minded, wise-cracking business woman full of compassion and a good heart. Ryan is a movie star but still humble, gracious, and enjoys the simple life. But I have to say that at times reading some of the scenes when they are arguing and he is yelling and gripping her arms and do on, well they come off as almost abusive. Especially when Taryn apologizes, backs down or keeps her opinion to herself. It doesn’t make me want to root for them.
 There are too many story-lines. What’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. I feel like they both didn’t need to have psychotic fans. Yes there are a lot of problems in life and every good romance novel has it’s fair share of angst and busybodies but THIS many just wasn’t necessary. Yes celebrities have to deal with persistent and even crazy fans, gossip, co-stars even family trouble. But do we have to hear about it over and over and over again? They argue about stories, they argue about guys coming onto her, they argue about money, he often just ignores her concerns and does what he wants to, like the kitchen reno, which really amounted to nothing. It could have amounted to her making the alluded to business arrangement with Tammy and managing her pub while on the road with him. Thereby combining their lives in a complimentary manner.
Less fighting during the meat of the story and an epilogue about the wedding and their life compromises would have made a better story.
Along with the too many story-lines and too many characters there was an inconsistency in language and character. At times Taryn and Ryan come across as almost innocent (which neither of them are) and teenager like, Nudging each other under the table and so on which is sweet and not a bad thing but then at other times they are using more vulgar language and time is spent describing sexy outfits or what they will do to each other but the sex scenes are more glossed over, innocent and brief. For instance at Christmas she gives him a gift which is meant for her to wear but Mr. big time money throwing movie star is only wearing boxer briefs. He could at least have satin or silk or sexy underwear on for her viewing pleasure.  They make love under the tree and in the next paragraph she’s waking up, is it the next morning? Are they in bed? How did that happen? It’s all very abrupt.
I wanted so much to really get behind this story. I liked the story-line and most of the (many) characters. I even disliked the ones we’re supposed to.I liked that the heroine is a strong woman (for the most part) but there was just too much going on. I also didn’t enjoy the first person narrative. I usually dislike First person but this was really bad.
I read this as an EARC through NetGalley and can only hope that before it went to print many of these issues were addressed. Which I am guessing didn’t happen as apparently this book is at least two years old an a sequel was released.
I wonder if I will ever be curious enough to read the second but I’m doubting I will.
I can only give this 2 out of 5 reads

Unspoken Book One of The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

 

In the little town of Sorry-in -the-Vale Kami Glass is a bit of an outsider. Everyone knows that Kami talks to an imaginary friend and always has. The problem is that at 17 she still talks to that voice in her head. No one knows her, understands her like Jared does. Not even her best friend Angela, one of the most beautiful (and tired) girls in the whole school.

Despite living in Sorry-in-the-Vale her whole life there are things about the town and the people who live there that Kami never knew. The return of the Lynburn’s is about to change all that!

The Lynburn’s have always been both revered and feared for the power they wield and Kami is determined to find out all she can about the family for an issue of the school paper. With some sleuthing and the help of her friends she is sure she can find out who is responsible for terrifying the town. What her mother is hiding. And how she feels about Jared now that she knows he is real and not a figment of her imagination.

Sarah Rees Brennan has written a spectacular modern day Gothic novel full of romance, intrigue and magic. The story flows smoothly from one thrilling event after another. The language and descriptive phrasing is beautifully eloquent. Unspoken is a full course meal that feeds the appetite and staves off the hunger we often feel when we need a great new book to sink our teeth into.

Kami is a determined young lady with a wonderful fashion sense and a great sense of humour. She is the kind of character you can imagine yourself being friends with.

Jared is the boy everyone thinks of as the bad boy. But is he? Is it Kami’s faith in him that will save him or does he need to believe in himself before he can live up to his full potential. And boy does Jared have plenty of potential!

Unspoken is filled with a cast of characters guaranteed to find a place on your favourites list. Kami, Jared, their friends, their families, the townsfolk, even the woods and town themselves, you’ll find yourself  revisiting  this unforgettably magical world often.

http://sarahreesbrennan.com/

 

 

Speed of Light by Amber Kizer

 

Speed of Light is the third book in the Meridian series by Amber Kizer,  a personal favourite of mine. I am always afraid that when I really connect with, really love a book that the follow up will disappoint in some way. Amber Kizer is one of those rare authors who never does.

Speed of Light continues where Wildcat Fireflies left off and delves deeper into both Meridian and Juliet’s family history and what it means for them to be Fenestra. We meet new characters and lose some old ones. I wish I had been taking notes as I read because there were so many lines that I wanted to quote and I’ve forgotten them all.

Ms. Kizer writes as each Fenestra personality dictates so that Meridian’s experiences are all about words and storytelling whereas Juliet’s are focused on food and recipes.  The descriptive phrasing is so vivid you can feel, hear, touch and taste the moments as they happen.

In this story the Fenestra and their friends are battling the Nocti at the Indy 500. Feeling alone and overwhelmed they come to realize that knowledge is power and at Rumi and Tony’s insistence  start “schooling” themselves in the history, mythology and everything else they can find out about themselves and others like them. They discover who has been changing the gravestones and how it is connected to what they do. They learn more about Protector’s and what they can mean to a Fenestra. They learn to trust in themselves and each other more. And they do all this while fighting the dark, continuing  the age old fight of dark against light, good against evil.

At times heart wrenching and distressing it is also filled with beauty and laughter a story brimming with family, friends, and acceptance of each other no matter their differences.

Be warned if you are going to read this book that you set ample amount of time aside and make yourself comfortable as it is incredibly difficult to put down.

5 out of 5 reads.

http://www.amberkizer.com

If you like the Fenestra series try the Gert Garibaldi series. Just like every 13 year old girl I knew had read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret every 15 or 16 year old young lady you know should read One Butt Cheek at a Time.

The White Oak by Kim White

 

Cora and Lucas are twins living with their abusive Father and Grandfather. Cora has a knack for gardening while Lucas is a computer whiz. The title of the book comes from the giant white oak on their land which most people think is dead but Cora can feel that deep down it is indeed alive.

When Cora and Lucas were young they discovered that many caves and tunnels run under their land as well. To escape they would spend hours each day exploring and carving new routes. Whenever they would seemingly come to a dead end Cora would hear a voice telling imploring her to find him and leading her in the direction she needed to go to do so.

The White Oak is a fantasy adventure story that reminded me of that old tv show called The Odyssey. It was about a kid in a coma but in his coma he was on a quest to find something.

Something happens at the funeral of Cora and Lucas’ father that leads Cora on her own quest. First to find her brother then to get them out of the strange land they’ve found themselves in and also to discover if their really is anyone behind the voice she’s heard all these years.

Kim White has generated a technologically magical world which begs to be explored. As a reader the scene where Cora discovers how everyone’s life stories are written left me breathless and a little overwhelmed. Kim’s imagery and word play are fantastic.

The characters you meet via Cora are so interesting and the world they inhabit is so varied that I can not wait to see where the story takes me in the next two books.

If you get the opportunity I highly recommend giving The White Oak by Kim White a read.

5 out of 5 reads for originality and the fact that I can’t wait to read book 2.

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks is a YA novel about 18 year old Emma ( ahuman girl)  and Galen the prince of the Syrena.

Galen has come to Florida on the advice of  his friend Dr. Milligan to check out what seem to be unusual Syrena gifts in a human girl.  He is a Prince of Syrena and his job is to study humans.

Emma has come to Florida with her best friend Chloe and her parents for a vacation. When she trips and falls into Galen she doesn’t realize just how drastically her life will change.

The Syrena world and it’s legends fit in with the water legends of old, both Triton and Poseidon are represented. It is a story filled with intrigue, romance and a lot of humour.  It is a fun easy read that, if you’ll pardon the phrase,   flows well.  This would make a good book club  choice.

If you have any difficulty with the character Edward from the Twilight series as in you consider him to dominating then you may have some issues with Galen.

Having read many YA books of this genre I can’t say I was surprised by much that happened. Except at the very beginning, I can’t say I expected such a big loss right from the onset. But the rest I saw coming, even those tidbits meant to be a surprise. That however does not mean this story was disappointing.

I really liked or disliked the characters and I kept turning pages because even though I knew where the story was headed, the writing was interesting and I wanted to find out more about the characters.

The book  ends in cliff hanger much like Kelley Armstrong’s The Summoning  which is meant to entice the reader into wanting the second book.   Did it work on me? Hard to say. As I said I wasn’t surprised by the big reveal but by the time it came around I was already invested and wanted to see how it played out. I will definitely read the second book, will I rush out to get it on it’s first day out, probably not, but I will read it.

I would give this 4 out of 5

Chaos Walking Trilogy – Better Than Hunger Games

When they first came out I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I did (and d0 LOVE the first book), thought the second was okay and was very disappointed and let down by the third one. I didn’t (and don’t) absolutely hate it but it wasn’t great.

I had seen The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Book 1) in the store many times. Had even picked it up a couple of times and read the first page or two but never tried to seriously read it. It intriqued me but there was so much more to read.

Last fall at the Random House Roadshow one of the Rep’s asked if I had read it and when I said no asked me why not? My reply- You didn’t give me one. We all laughed and she went on with the presentation. Then Christmas in retail hit and I didn’t think much of it.

In March I got to thinking about it and knew that because H.G. was going to be huge again due to the movie I would need other books to recommend to customers. I emailed my Random House Rep, reminded her of the conversation and she sent all three books.

About a week after receiving the package I started to read The Knife of Never Letting Go. Thank goodness it was a Friday night because I didn’t stop. I read all three books by Tuesday. I went in to the store on Monday and decided to make it a staff pick, started raving about it to everyone, customers and staff alike and since  March 12th, 2012 we have sold 30 copies.

I hadn’t read the back of the book so I didn’t really know what to expect and I will say that at first I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. The main character, Todd, speaks in an old broken English that can be very distracting but by the third chapter I was HOOKED!  Yes, caps all the way HOOKED. I never truly got used to the broken English, even during the third book I had to pause a couple of times to figure out what he was saying but it didn’t deter my love of these books at all. This trilogoy is to me what Twilight and Hunger Games are to a lot of others but better.  From book 1 to book 3 the characters are consistent in who they are and the story is gripping from beginning to end. To this day the characters and events linger with me.

Patrick Ness has a beautiful flowing writing style. Written in such away as to make you turn each page with excitement and trepidation.  I was so anxious to find out what would become of Todd and his Viola that I had to force myself to slow down and savour the story.

The description of the characters and the strange new world they live in are vibrant and fascinating. The story is about what one person can do, how we all get by with a little help from our friends and standing up for what you believe is right. It is a love story like no other I have read in this teen dystopian fiction but it is also a story about discovering new worlds, racism and war. This is a story that both sexes will enjoy.

I am hoping that the  just announced movie they are making will do the books justice but I am mostly excited that it will bring new readers to these incredible books.

If you are looking for something to fill the void  left by Hunger Games I highly suggest the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. Who knows, you too may find you have a new favourite.

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