Doomed by Tracy Deeds

Book Cover of Doomed by Tracy DeebsTitle: Doomed
Author: Tracy Deeds
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: January 08, 2013
Hardcover: 480 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora’s an average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring photos of her as a child. Curious, Pandora enters the site, unwittingly unleashing a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there’s no Internet. No cell phones. No traffic lights, hospitals or law enforcement. Only Pandora’s Box, a virtual-reality game created by Pandora’s father, remains up and running. Together with her neighbors, gorgeous stepbrothers Eli and Theo, Pandora must follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father—and rescue the world. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

My ThoughtsWell, then. I’m struggling to find something cheery and positive to say about this one, but honestly… I just didn’t like it.  I did finish it, which is saying something, but I don’t feel very excited about that fact.  While the protagonist wasn’t a simpering wallflower good-for-nothing, she did as per usual have a heavy reliance on two uber-smart, uber-strong, awesomely adorable teen boys who just happened to be perfectly placed as her neighbors and brilliantly able to help her out through the trials and tribulations that were thrown in her face.  The sad part is, the plot could have been awesome… the basic idea of it is really interesting, but the execution felt hurried and far, far too focused on the big burly boys who were there to save our pitiful (yet not quite as pitiful as Twilight’s Bella!) damsel in distress. There’s a few video game fight scenes that fell so flat I wanted to bonk my forehead against the table, and the repetitive nature of each “boss” fight was agonizing.  Go ahead and pick it up from the library. It won’t hurt you to read it, but I doubt you’ll be enthralled enough to hope for a sequel.

Rating: 2 of 5

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Book Cover of Watermelon by Marian KeyesTitle: Watermelon
Author: Marian Keyes
Genre: Chick Lit/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 23, 2007 (Originally published 1998)
Paperback: 432 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

My ThoughtsWe all know I mostly read YA, so I’m not exactly sure why I even bought this book. It was probably the pregnant lady on the front, and/or the really pretty green lawn. I love both of those things. Babies and lawns are awesome. Anyway!

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and definitely laughed through some parts and absolutely felt connected with our protagonist, it left me feeling like most Chick Lit does – like I haven’t really read anything substantial or that stimulated my imagination. You have a woman who has man trouble. Without giving away the entire plot of the book, if you’ve ever read a romance novel involving one woman and two love interests, you’ve probably read most of this. That said… the writing style was awesome. There’s witty bantering conversation and there’s grammatical awesomeness with very few stilted sentences that make you want to claw your eyes out.  Or at least, none that I noticed. So, while the plot left me a bit “meh”, the author managed to keep me interested to the end, anyway.  If you want a light, slightly funny, moderately uplifting (in parts!) beach read, this is a good one to add to your tote.

Rating: 3 of 5

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinTitle: The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Hardcover: 544 pages

Where’d I Get It: For review from the publisher.

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The truth about Mara Dyer’s dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in this gripping sequel to the thrilling “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.” One week after Mara walked into a police station in Miami at the close of “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,” she has been committed to psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe was a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, deeply disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But when no one believes the truth, Mara is totally helpless. The only person on her side is Noah Shaw, as sexy and handsome as he is loyal and cunning. Noah is the only person who can help Mara–as long as he doesn’t get himself killed in the process.

My Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the first book in this series. I just as thoroughly enjoyed The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Now, I have to admit, I read this book back in 2012… and forgot to post the review because life got super craaaaazy super fast for a while there. So, I reread the book, and I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did the first time.

Seriously, you need to read this series. The third (and final?) book comes out in November and I cannot wait to get my greedy little hands on it. The same things apply to Evolution as I said about Unbecoming… the story is fresh, the characters are easy to empathize with, and it’s just well written. Go buy it. I’m sure enough that you’ll like it that you can just skip the library and grab a copy of your own – you’ll be wanting to reread it anyway!

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Series: Mara Dyer, Book 2 | First: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer | Third: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (To Be Released: November 4, 2014)

A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo

A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo from Blank Slate PressTitleA Matter of Mercy
Author: Lynne Hugo
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Blank Slate Press
Publication Date: August 1, 2014
Paper Cover: 278 pages
Series: None

Where’d I Get It: ARC from NetGalley

Synopsis (From Goodreads):

Caroline Marcum thought she’d escaped the great mistake of her life by leaving Wellfleet harbor, but is forced to face it when she returns, reluctantly, to care for her dying mother. Ridley Neal put his past–and his prison term–behind him to return home to take over his father’s oyster and clam beds. Casual acquaintances long ago, when a nor’easter hits the coast, Rid and Caroline’s lives intersect again. When Rid and two other sea farmers are sued by the wealthy owners of vacation homes who want to shut them down, and Caroline accidentally meets the person she most wronged, they each must learn to trust–and love.

Inspired by an actual 1996 lawsuit, A Matter of Mercy is a riveting novel about treasuring the traditional way of life in the shallows of beautiful Cape Cod bay by discovering where forgiveness ends. And where it begins.

My ThoughtsBeing that I’m a legal assistant/paralegal full-time, the lawsuit is what drug me into this book.  Read what you know right?  Ok, so I don’t work in a legal field that anywhere near resembles real estate law, but oh well.

I have to say that although Rid and Caroline knew each other in the past, I loved that it wasn’t like an old flame rekindling kind of thing.  Hugo used a fresher storyline by avoiding rekindling old love and I thought it served her purpose well.  The characters seem a little beat up, rough around the edges, at first.  I didn’t know if I should like them or get a restraining order against them, but as the book continues they started to grow on me until I ended up loving them at the end.  I didn’t find it to be a book filled with a bunch of legal jargon that leaves you breathless and confused trying to figure out what in the world the author is talking about.  It was simple and to the point, and I like that.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the book and would recommend it for a good summer read.

Rating3 of 5

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We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt by Random House Children'sTitleWe Are the Goldens
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Hardcover: 208 pages
Series: None

Where’d I Get It: ARC from NetGalley

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

My Thoughts: Wow, what a quick little book that packs a punch!  If you have a sister you can totally relate to just about everything in this book.  There are always secrets among sisters, don’t ask me what mine are with my sister, I won’t tell ya. ;)

I loved the characters in this book, except Sam, he was just UGH, but I guess we all had to learn it the hard way.  He is the type of character that you just want to run up to and slap on the face, you could just tell from the beginning he was no good.  Felix was definitely my favorite, maybe because I usually had guy friends more so than girl friends so I could relate to his relationship with Nell.

The story is short but the struggle between the love of a sister and wanting to do what’s right by her is a good one and this was a fresh perspective on it.  Take an afternoon and read it!

Rating4 of 5

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Top Ten Tuesday #3

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s topic is:

Top Ten… Characters Who Stole My Heart

Annnnnd…here we go!

  1. Charlie from Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Seriously…I love him.
  2. Tris from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. She was annoying, and then she wasn’t.
  3. Francesca from Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.
  4. Jack from Room by Emma Donoghue.
  5. Taylor from On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.
  6. Moon from Alabama Moon by Watt Key.
  7. Jane from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Annd…that’s all I’ve got right now. I’m still recovering from emergency gallbladder removal surgery and sitting upright to type a post is So. Much. Harder. when you’re actually in pain. Yikes. At any rate, these characters are from some of my favorite books…you should read them!

Lovelove,
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Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

Book Cover of Summerland by Elin HilderbrandTitleSummerland
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Drama, Fiction
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Kindle Edition: 400 pages
Series: None

Where’d I Get It: Barnes and Noble

Synopsis (From Goodreads): It’s June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny’s boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny’s friend Demeter Castle are unhurt–but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe–to the west coast of Australia–in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to her destroying her own life.

SUMMERLAND delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It’s a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.

My Thoughts: Hmmm…..well for starters I love Elin Hilderbrand books.  They are enjoyable summer reads, which is my favorite kind of book and this book definitely fell into that category.  I will admit that it was not one of my favorites of Ms. Hilderbrand’s books though, it had a very sluggish beginning.  A lot of banter back and forth, which I guess sets up the story, but quite honestly the synopsis sets up the story so I didn’t see the need for 100-150 pages of more of it. Roughly half way through the book things start to pick up, great things like (spoiler alert) Hobby wakes up from the coma!  Hurray!  Basically the book picks up where the synopsis left off. Then it got interesting and I sailed through the second half of the book.  And rather enjoyed it! I enjoyed how Ms. Hilderbrand tied in previous book characters, making it feel like I have lived on Nantucket my whole life, although you certainly don’t need to read any of her previous books to keep up in this book.  The dialogues of the various people involved in the story was a nice twist, and she kept the story in order with it, which is very important to me.  It’s a decent summer read, but don’t run out and buy the most expensive copy you can find!

Rating3 of 5

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Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Book Cover of Tandem by Anna JarzabTitle: Tandem
Author: Anna Jarzab
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Sci Fi
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 08, 2013
Hardcover: 448 pages
Series: Many Worlds Trilogy #1

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives–infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real–until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love–one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she’s someone she’s not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing–and no one–is what it seems.

My Thoughts: Yes, no, yes, no… I just could not decide if I wanted to read this book. The first chapter/introduction was a little stilted and it caused me to start and stop reading a total of three times before I decided that it was just time to suck it up and see how things progressed. In the end…I’m glad I did. While the prose isn’t overly flowery, it also isn’t over-simplified. The plot was engaging enough that once I got past what I thought was a lackluster beginning, I was really drawn into story. The protagonist, Sasha, is a believable character who is also actually likable. No Bella syndrome here, though there are a -few- points where you think, for a moment, that she’s going to be absolutely stupid. Thankfully, she does prove she has a brain. Also, wow, what a cliffhanger. You -could- be satisfied (for some definitions of the word satisfied) with the ending that Jarzab gave, but I was definitely left going, “Nooo, no! There must be more!” Thankfully, there’s a neat little insert in the book that says the second book of three is coming. Yay!

While this isn’t my favorite read of 2014, it’s definitely one of the ones I’ve most enjoyed, and I will be stalking Barnes and Noble to pick up the second book, Tether, as soon as it’s released (supposedly Fall, 2014).

Rating: 4 of 5

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