Friday, September 30, 2016

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

I have a lot of thoughts about this book.  Some of those thoughts are slightly spoiler-y, but it's very mild and general.  Still, if it matters to you, you've been warned.

Beyond the Red is a YA SciFi told from two points of view.  One is Eros who is a half blood human/Sehparon.  Eros has been raised by an adoptive human family in a desert tribe that barely tolerates him.  For reasons of purity, half bloods usually killed at birth.  We find out, though, that Sepharon men can control if they impregnate the woman they have sex with, so why there would be any half bloods is a bit of a mystery.  Humans are a reviled species by the Sepharons and the Sepharons are bigger and stronger.  Thus, it makes sense that mostly if there were any relations they'd be of the male Sepharon and female human variety not the other way around.  Anyway.  Eros' tribe is attacked and many die but some escape and some are taken prisoner to serve as slaves in the nearby Sepharon city which is ruled by Kora.  Kora is our other point of view character.  She's the ruler in Elja by dint of being born before her twin brother (which, by the way, if Sepharon males choose about impregnation, she shouldn't have been conceived in the first place because her dad wanted a male heir).  Kora's brother wants her throne, as, seemingly, do the people.  She ordered the attack on the humans because they attacked her first.  Or did they?  Eros becomes her personal body guard.  And things develop.

Okay, so I read the whole book, which means it wasn't horrible.  However, I saw a lot of plot holes.  I also stumbled on some of the language adaptations.  I get the whole idea of language evolving - "sort of" becoming "sortuv" is used here - but I felt like they few adaptations were...a bit silly.  It seems to me that either more would have changed or it should just be English with the understanding that English would have possibly evolved, but this is the language we'd be reading the book in, if that makes sense.  There are some losses of life, I won't go into specifics, and I know we were supposed to feel sad, but I never felt like we knew the ones who were lost enough to be sad.  Which brings me to characterization in general.

I liked Eros okay.  He seemed to accept his lot almost too easily, but I appreciated his resilience.  I felt more mixed about Kora.  She was sometimes okay, but she made a bad ruler.  On the first afternoon Eros is in her service, she spends the whole afternoon reading after a morning workout.  Her territory is in trouble, but she doesn't have anything to do?  She doesn't see the threats even when it seemed sort of obvious.  She trusts Eros amazingly quickly and also accedes to his demands in trade for him swearing himself to her but her reasons for doing so aren't super strong if she actually trusts her brother, which she seems to because she doesn't see any threats. 

Overall, what I liked was Eros, the world (but I'd have liked to see world building done a bit better), the writing style (the first chapter had me hooked) and the general idea of the plot.

By the end, I was loosing interest, but I did finish it out.  I don't know for sure if I'll read the next one.  What I feel like is that Ava Jae has a lot of potential as a writer (as did Beyond the Red as a book in the beginning) and I'm interested in seeing what she does down the line, but I might wait for a little sophistication as a writer to build.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Even though Lola and the Boy Next Door is the second book in Stephanie Perkins' trilogy, I read it third.  It doesn't really matter as each book rather stands alone, but the characters we've met before do show up in subsequent books.  And, I think it's wise to have read Anna and the French Kiss prior to Lola and the Boy Next Door because Anna and St. Clair do have rolls here, but they are all so minor in Isla and the Happily Ever After that it doesn't really mess anything up to have read that one out of order.  And, in fact, it was reading Isla and the Happily Ever After that made me hesitant to pick up Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Lola and Cricket make a brief appearance in Isla's book and I didn't like them.  So, I wasn't sure I wanted to read their story.  But, I finally overcame my reluctance and read it.  Or, rather, listened to the audio book.

Lola is 17, is dating a 22 year old member of a rock band, is being raised by two dads in San Francisco and has a highly unique fashion style.  Enter Cricket, the boy next door who moved away, but is now back.  They have history.  I think it's not a spoiler to say that this is their story.  Sure, Max is in the picture to start, but let's be serious.  This is a romance and it's fairly clear that Max isn't Lola's soul mate from the start.

I have a bit of mixed feelings about this book.  I think Stephanie Perkins is a good author.  I love her writing style.  Because of that, this book flowed just fine for me and I did want to listen.  However, I still didn't so much like Lola.  I liked her better in her own book than in the glimpse of her we say in Isla's book, but not as much as I've liked Stephanie's other protagonists.  I found her to be really juvenile in a way the others weren't.  I never fully understood Cricket's sister, Calliope, and didn't get the sort of push pull Lola has toward friendship or not with her.  Also, I kept expecting to learn that Cricket was a nickname for something else, but that never did happen.  The fact that Cricket was this guy's name was a bit of a strange thing.  Lola lies to her boyfriend as well as to her parents, which I didn't like.  I felt like Lola was overly dramatic about several things ranging from her reaction to the neighbors moving back to her birth mom. On occasion, I thought Lola took her unique fashion sense a little too far, but mostly I ended up thinking it was an interesting aspect of her personality.

Even with all those complaints, I actually liked the book okay.  I attribute it to Stephanie's writing style, which goes a long way with me.  At the same time, Lola and the Boy Next Door is my least favorite of Stephanie's books thus far.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (DNF)

The Heart of Betrayal is a sequel to The Kiss of Deception, which I liked fine.  Or, at least, I liked most of the book.  Setting and tone changed toward the end and I liked it less well.  Still, I'd liked the first enough to give the second one a go, I thought.  But, right away from the beginning of this second book, I couldn't get into it.  Considering it picked up right where the second left off and I didn't like the last of the first, that sort of makes sense.  I could maybe push through, but there are a lot of books on my self and I don't want to.  So, I'm moving on.

Dramarama by E. Lockhart

I was not totally sure if I'd like Dramarama.  I've liked a lot of E. Lockhart's books, but I also ended feeling like the Ruby books got to be a little too much for me and gave up midway through the third one.  So, it was with a mix of expectations that I picked up Dramarama.

Sadye (previously known as Sarah, but that is just too plain for musical theater) is heading off to drama camp for the summer prior to senior year with her best (and only) friend, Demi, a fabulous black boy who keeps all that hidden at school, but not with Sadye.  It's a summer of friendship, roommates, auditions (flubbed and not), singing, acting, dancing, snark and romance (at least for some). 

I liked it a lot.  I felt for Sadye and identified with her need to question everything.  I had flashbacks to Davan's audition and theater days (in a different way - dance and aerial theater for her).  I occasionally chuckled out loud.

Dramarama is a thin little novel, making for a quick and easy read.  It's also fun while sometimes making you wince.  You go with your fabulous selves, drama kids.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

I picked up Dreamer's Pool after having seen it referred to by a book vlogger.  I no longer remember which one, unfortunately, as this is one of the books that's been sitting on my self for months.  I wish I remembered which book vlogger it was because I'd like to see if that vlogger and I have other books we like in common.

Dreamer's Pool is a fantasy novel told from three points of view.  The first is Blackthorn, whose been in a horrible jail for a year and, on the eve of her hearing first has her life threatened and then is offered a deal by one of the fey.  He'll see to her release if she'll agree to travel to a new kingdom and stay for 7 years, abandoning her hopes for vengeance.  She'll also have to help anyone who asks and use her powers for good.  Grim, a fellow prisoner, escapes and follows her, becoming the first to ask for help, although he doesn't realize it himself.  They travel together to Dalriada where the crown prince, Oran (our third point of viewer), is about to meet his fiance with whom he has been writing letters and falling in love in spite of it being a politically advantageous marriage.  When Oran's fiance arrives, there seems to be something very wrong and no one believes Oran.  Meanwhile, Blackthorn and Grim have been settling into local life and Blackthorn has been giving good advice. 

Although sometimes the plot devices seemed maybe a wee bit thin, I liked this book.  While Oran is besotted, romance isn't the key thing moving the book along.  Blackthorn is as prickly as her name and yet I liked her.  The friendship between her and Grim is sweet to see.  I did want to keep reading to see what would happen next.  I got rather ticked at how Blackthorn reacts to something toward the end that I won't say so as not to spoil things, but I can also see how she'd have reacted the way she did.

Overall, Dreamer's Pool was an enjoyable read and I've already put a hold on the next in the Blackthorn and Grim series.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (DNF)

After reading This Savage Song, I'd pretty much decided not to read more V.E. Schwab.  However, I still had A Darker Shade of Magic sitting on my self and I see so much Schwab in the book world, so I picked it up.  I made it through 85 pages before opting to set it aside.  I just found it boring.  There wasn't anything really wrong, I guess, but Schwab's writing just doesn't draw me in.  When I find myself reluctant to pick up a book and read, I know it's time to move on. With A Darker Shade of Magic, I pushed through a few attempts to sit down and read before deciding I was done.  No more Schwab for me.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Having tried Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley and not finishing it, I'd also sent Highly Illogical Behavior back to the library.  Recently, though, I'd seen a review of it and forgetting all about it having been written by the same author as Where Things Come Back, I got it from the library again.  I'm glad I did.  It was a good read.

Solomon Reed has been a shut in for three years following a breakdown in middle school.  He's currently 16, has great parents as well as a great grandmother, does school on line, reads a lot, watches a lot of movies and is generally fine.  He just doesn't ever leave the house.  Lisa Praytor is 17 and a highly ambitious high school junior.  She knows what she wants and it is to get into and earn a highly coveted scholarship to the second best psychology program in the U.S.  For this essay, she has to write about a personal experience with mental illness.  She decides to fix Solomon.  Along the way, her boyfriend, Clark becomes involved.

I really liked Solomon and his parents.  I really liked Clark.  I didn't so much like Lisa, but she did make the plot go.  The dialog was fun with plenty of witty banter that was to my liking.  The story line was somewhat predictable, but the specifics weren't so much. 

Solomon was such a likable character that one of my reactions to this book was to think, "Hmm, this whole staying home all the time thing could be okay," which I don't think is how I was supposed to react and, quite likely, says quite a bit about my own mental health.  I do think I'd eventually have cabin fever and maybe even want to see someone outside my own family...probably.

At any rate, I liked Highly Illogical Behavior.  It was a fast, enjoyable read while also not really making light of dealing with severe anxiety.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

I was listening to the audio book version of The Beginning of Everything at the same time I was reading Pink and, I have to say, that I'd sometimes get them a little mixed up.  I think, at heart, they are trying to be the same book.  Find your place and be true to yourself.  I didn't absolutely love The Beginning of Everything, but I enjoyed it a lot more than Pink.

Ezra is a senior in high school and his life was changed when he was the victim in a hit and run car accident.  Prior to that, he'd been the golden boy.  He was talented at tennis, had the looks, had the girlfriend and was popular.  After, thanks to a shattered knee, he would never play sports in any serious way again.  While his friends didn't cut him out, they also didn't go out of their way to be supportive, making him feel adrift on the first day of senior year.  He's rescued by the best friend he left behind in middle school.  He ends up on the debate team where he is able to show his nerdy side and not be embarrassed by those AP classes.  He also meets new to the school Cassidy, with whom he is quickly infatuated.  Things go from there.

Overall, I enjoyed The Beginning of Everything.  I liked the writing style and looked forward to listening to it.  The messages were there without me feeling like I was being hit over the head with them.  I liked the wit of the new friends.  I even liked Ezra, which is sometimes not the case with straight boy leads, even though he was clearly boy.  I was glad he found his footing, so to speak.  I liked that there weren't series of misunderstandings festering.  There were some, but an acceptable amount to make the plot happen.  Usually, though, people just cleared things up as they came up like normal people.

There were things I didn't like, though.  I thought Cassidy's secret was quite transparent and it didn't make sense to me that Ezra didn't figure out what it was.  I thought a lot of the supporting characters were not very substantial.  I found the coyote thing kind of ridiculous.  People are not, generally, in danger from coyotes.  I'd also like it if YA authors would move away from having their characters fill out paper applications for college.  That's just not how it's done these days, people.  I understand doing it that way for those moments where other characters can see what's happening, but it's so not how it's done that it makes me roll my eyes.

Still, I liked The Beginning of Everything overall and thought it was an enjoyable read.  I'd say if finding yourself YA is your thing, it's a good one.  Of course, other people would say that about Pink, so...

Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

After reviewing Been Here All Along and looking into the whole Swoon Reads thing, I decided to read a book off of the Swoon Reads site.  After looking around a bit, I settled on Let's Talk About Love.  It turns out that it's already been chosen to be published, but is available on the website a bit longer.  It's undergoing editing and will be published soon.  (Not sure when soon means, exactly)  It'll only be available on the Swoon Reads site for a little while longer.

Overall, I liked Let's Talk About Love.  It's the story of asexual but romantic Alice.  Alice is 19 and juggles full time work, full time school and great roommates who are really her chosen family.  She's had bad experiences with coming clean about being asexual, though, before and has pretty much given up on finding love when she meets Takumi. 

What I didn't like:  Alice has a cutie scale that  was pushed so hard that it annoyed me at first.  I found it endearing by the end, but could have used a little more easing into it at the beginning.  Alice is super into pop culture. That's probably a great thing for some, but, as I'm not, many references went way over my head which lessened my enjoyment some.

What I did like:  I mostly liked Alice.  I mostly liked her friends.  I mostly liked Takumi.  By the end, I was definitely rooting for Alice and Takumi.  (Minor spoiler here, skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to be spoiled.)  I worried at first that this was going to be an asexual turned sexual by the right person.  That happens for demisexuals, but I think isn't necessarily a great lesson to have in a book.  That the right person can change an asexual like there is something wrong with being asexual, so I was glad that didn't happen.

I liked this book overall and I'm a fan of the Swoon Reads concept where people can get good books published through finding an appreciative audience.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

I could not get more than 20 pages into The Queen of the Night.  It's written in a style I'd call very literary.  That means (to me) that it's trying too hard to sound sophisticated and, in the process, bores me to tears.  I found the writing to be really disjointed and overly flowery.  I can't stand the fact that Chee doesn't use quotations.  Of course, all opinions are my own and you, perhaps, have a more sophisticated pallet.  In which case, I say go for it.  If you're the sort who loves it when the writing is described as "gorgeous" or "lyrical" then you may well like it.  As for me, I should know to stay far away when I see that.

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

I really wanted to like Pink.  It's, in many ways, right up my alley.  But, alas, I did not. 

Pink is the story of Ava.  Ava is a lesbian (she thinks) with an avant garde girlfriend, was raised by radical parents who convinced her that pink was bad, an idea to which she eventually adopted, at least outwardly.  However, she's decided that is maybe not who she is.  She wants to wear pink.  She wants (maybe?) to have a boyfriend.  She wants to go to a school where it's okay to be smart.  She gets herself into a private school, convinces her parents to let her go, implies to her girlfriend that it was her parents' idea and goes off to school, dressed in pink, to start a voyage of self discovery involving popular kids and outcasts.

I really disliked Ava.  She was an idiot for someone who was supposed to be smart.  She kept making stupid mistakes.  At one point, when one of her new outcast associates is telling her that pink didn't always used to signify girl, she argues and the thought in her head is, "I'm not that stupid."  Well, sorry, honey, but you are.  I found it really unbelievable that her university teaching radical parents who pushed her to wear black over pink wouldn't have brought this point up at some juncture.  This sort of thing is repeated frequently in the book.  She keeps choosing the mean kids in spite of repeated behavior showing her she shouldn't.  And then, in the end?  (Okay, spoiler here, a bit, but not in specifics - skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to be spoiled.)  It turns out she was pretty much right to choose the mean kids (and, okay, the other kids, too).  It was just too neatly cleaned up too fast considering what led up to the end.

As for the story was very lesson heavy.  I don't necessarily dislike books with lessons to teach about things like being true to yourself or finding your place.  I just didn't think Pink did a great job of that.  I felt like I was constantly being hit over the head by these lessons instead of them being an organic part of the story.

I got past the half way mark hoping for some redemption, but it didn't really get better for me.  I did finish it.  It was a fast read and there were some redeeming qualities.  I do like the overall theme.  I just didn't care for the implementation in Pink.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

I no longer remember how this book came to my attention.  It's been sitting on my shelf for far too long, to be honest.  I've renewed it from the library several times.  I finally picked it up a couple of days ago and I'm so glad I didn't just send it back to the library, as I sometimes do with books that have gotten a little stale sitting on my self.  It was an enjoyable reading experience.

Meg Corbyn, a cassandra sangue (sees visions when her skin is cut), escapes from imprisonment by her Controller and finds sanctuary with the Others where human law does not apply.  Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter, is the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, the center for the Others in the town of Lakeside.  To get much more into the plot would give away the world building that unfolds.  Although, that may not be all that bad because how the world building was handled was probably my one gripe with the book.  So, I'll start by talking about that.

I found the world building to be slow and agonizing.  I don't really mind when things unfold as necessary over having an information dump, but I felt a bit like there was the worst of both worlds in how the world building was handled.  The book starts with A Brief History of the World, which is short and somewhat informative but also sort of purposefully mysterious.  And then the rest of the world building happens in bits and pieces, but I felt at times that we didn't get things at logical times or as much as we should.  That said, I was able to relax into it after a bit and it was fine.

That may make it sound like I didn't like the book.  Not true.  I really enjoyed reading Written in Red.  I was intrigued and found myself staying up late to read a bit more, which is just the sort of reading experience I like.  We heard from several points of view and I appreciated most of them.  There were a few short insights into characters that I thought just broke up the flow, but mostly, I was glad to hear from who we heard from.  I liked or was at least curious about the point of view of most of them. 

One more point of contention:  I felt like it was unlikely that humans and the Others would really have gotten this far into association without some of them having developed some sort of friendship.  I did get that the groups are just so different and that the Others do see humans as meat that provide just enough interesting products to not hunt all the time, but still.  This was a long, long peripheral association without someone breaking the ice like Meg does. 

So, while not a perfect book, Written in Red was a good read and, in fact, I've got my library's web site open in another tab right now to put a hold on the second book, Murder of Crows.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

I picked up this psychological thriller in spite of many people saying that it is, essentially, a Room ripoff.  I'd also heard it was a compelling read.  Both, sort of, were true.

Baby Doll is the story of what happens to Lilly starting with her escape from 8 years of captivity locked in a basement and sexually used.  She also has a 6 year old daughter, Sky.  We hear from Lilly, Rick (her captor), Abby (her twin sister) and Eve (her mother).  In addition to the recovery story, we learn what happened to Lilly and her family during captivity.  From Rick we mostly hear his twisted logic and plans.

I thought Baby Doll was a very compelling read.  I wanted to set aside other activities and finish it off.  I can often get sidetracked with Instagram, but during reading Baby Doll, that happened only rarely.  The only things that kept me from finishing sooner were having two teens for a few days and, well, Once Upon a Time (Anthony and I are working on season 5).  Lilly was super strong.  Sky was interesting. Abby was broken...I had a hard time with Abby's point of view as she was so self sabotaging.  But, at the same time, her point of view was an important part of the story.

Occasionally something about the narration turned me off.  There were some trains of thought that I thought were a little awkwardly expressed, but it was fairly minor.

I did also think that there were lots of similarities to Room.  However, to say that was an issue is kind of silly.  There are lots of books about, say, kids going to boarding school, and, yet, we still read them.  Or, I guess I should say I do.  Also, Room was set in a bit of a different time frame in that it started with imprisonment, moved on to escape and only spent a bit of time on recovery.

Baby Doll isn't an easy light hearted read, but it was a good read that kept me turning the pages.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

I've come quite late to The Demon King party, but I'm glad I did finally get here.  I enjoyed it.

The Demon King is the story of Han Alister, newly 16, reformed leader of a street gang and sometimes foster son on a clan as well as of Raisa ana'Marianna, about to be 16 (of age) when she'll be officially named as heir to the throne.  Raisa has also spent time with the clans, who feature prominently in the story.  Han is struggling to support his mom and sister and has few prospects, having given up on being in a gang to keep his sister away from the life.  When he and his clan friend encounter a wizard teen in clan territory, taking from him a wizard amulet, a chain of events start during which he'll meet Raisa (although he doesn't know it) and learn more about who he is.  (Which, by the way, I was asking myself all along, which I suppose we were supposed to, but I wondered why he'd never asked himself before why he was fostered with the clan.  It's not like everyone is.)  Meanwhile, Raisa is chafing under the increasingly strange dictates of her mother and court life after her relative freedom with the clan. 

I liked the story and found The Demon King very readable.  I did have some issues.  I thought Raisa was surprisingly naive for having spent time with the clan where she wasn't so protected.  I think Cinda was trying to make her seem her age and, perhaps that is the thought process of a 15/16 year old girl, but her lack of ability to figure out some of the things happening around her was a little frustrating to me.  Also, it felt at times that the plot was a little slow.  And there was the whole how could Han not think there was something special about him what with these silver cuffs that won't come off that he's had sense he was a baby and the whole clan fostering thing?  Those things kept me from ranking this higher than I might have given how readable this book was for me.  While I'm not feeling strongly compelled to start the next book, I'm interested enough that I will get it and give it a go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (DNF)

I only read about 70 pages of Julia Vanishes.  While there wasn't anything really wrong with it that I can put my finger on, I just wasn't getting into it and decided not to finish. 

Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

I actually started this book before I left for Colorado but didn't take it with me because I did an entirely electronic reading list for the trip.  So, I came back, finished what I'd started on the trip, then got back to it.  It suffered a little from the week long pause of reading midway through, but I still enjoyed it enough to finish.

Been Here All Along is the story of neighbors Gideon and Kyle.  They've been life long friends.  Kyle is bi and has a girlfriend, Ruby.  Gideon has not wanted to mess with dating in high school.  His focus is on college.  However, he realizes in the beginning of this book that he is, in fact, interested in someone.  We hear from several points of view in this book:  Gideon, Kyle, Ruby and Gideon's older brother, Ezra.

I, as is fairly common for me, felt mixed about this book.  I generally liked the story and generally liked most of the characters.  I felt a little like Ezra's story didn't so much fit in with the rest of the story and was sort of filler.  I kept hoping that one thing I expected to happen was going to defy my expectations and just not going to, but it did.  That disappointed me some.  I don't want to say what that was, as it would be a spoiler.  Overall, Been Here All Along was a fun enough read.

Been Here All Along is a Swoon Reads book.  I hadn't come across one before, to the best of my knowledge.  The concept is that authors upload original YA novels.  Readers read and discuss what they like.  If a book is read and enjoyed enough, it gets published.  It's seems like an interesting path to being published, but also sort of explains how Been Here All Along read to me a bit like really good fanfic.  At any rate, it seems worth checking out.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Secret Language of Sisters by Luanne Rice

So, having finished Rebel last night, I had to start a new book for the plane flight this morning, of course.  And then, being rather wiped out, I've not felt up for much more than reading today.  Thus, I just finished The Secret Language of Sisters.

This book is about two sisters.  One of them crashes while driving and ends up in what appears to be a coma.  The other was the one relentlessly texting her.  Of course, both lives change and the girls, their mom and their friends all have to deal with that. 

I had some really mixed feeling about this book.  I felt truly compelled to read it and find out what was going to happen, particularly at first.  That changed a bit for me toward the middle when it felt like the story went from some talk about whose fault it was to that being the focus of the story, almost more than the sister relationship or the attempts at rebuilding lives.  Also, I only sort of liked Tilly, the sister who wasn't in the accident.  I felt like how long it would take for Roo to express herself with the letter board was seriously glossed over.  And, lastly on the complaints, I felt like all the echos of sisters was a little contrived.  However, I also, as I mention, really wanted to read it.  And I wanted things to work out for people, at least a much as possible given the situation, showing I was invested.

So, take all that as you will.  I think I'll stick with mixed.

Rebel by Amy Tintera

I ended up having a lot of reading time yesterday by not joining in on the scenic drive.  So, I knocked out Rebel.

Rebel is the sequel to Reboot.  Wren and Callum have found the community of reboots, but, of course, it's not paradise.  They have a leader who is...perhaps a little off the rails.  He's been building an army and plans to take out all the humans because, after all, the humans would kill the reboots first if they had a chance, no?  Wren has to decide where her moral compass points and, when she decides, will it be the same as Callum's?  We hear from both Callum and Wren in this book.  And they do have stuff to work out personally in addition to figuring out their places in the whole human/reboot world.

I enjoyed Rebel and found it fairly gripping, particularly at the end.  In fact, I had to get up at 3:45am this morning for my flight home from Colorado and yet I didn't turn the light out until 10:20 last night because I wanted to finish Rebel.  I generally find Amy Tintera to write solid enjoyable books.  I'll read what she's writes, but, at the same time, I don't think any of these books will ever join my favorite book list.  However, solid and enjoyable is nothing to sneeze about and I'd say check out her stuff!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Winning by Lara Deloza

I did also manage to finish one whole book this week.  I picked up Winning because I tend to be a little competitive so I thought I'd give it a go.

Winning takes place in a high school where Alexandra reigns supreme.  She is conniving and unabashed in her using of other people to get her where she wants to go.  The cast of characters include her lesbian best friend whose job it is to keep Alexandra's hands clean, a girl whom she destroyed socially sophomore year, and a girl who had a very public breakdown in the middle of biology freshman year.  We get the story from each of these girls' point of view.  While there are other players, the one other person who I'd say is a main character is transfer student Erin.  We don't really know what Erin's deal is.  She seems nice and likable, but at times, also like she's playing the game.  When Erin shows up, Alexandra decides she needs a plan to insure she'll become homecoming queen.

I think this book had great potential.  I liked the intrigue and how we're kept guessing a bit about who wants what exactly.  However, I also thought there was great potential for cleverness and wit that was largely squandered.  Thus I ended up feeling kind of meh about the book.  It was good enough to finish but not much more.  The ending was left with room for a sequel that I'm not sure I'll pick up.

Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

I've fallen down on the reading and blogging in the last few weeks.  I've actually started and not finished about 4 books.  In my usual fashion, I've picked up books that are due in days intending to finish them, but I've had almost no reading time.  I've had a house full of teens, which has been a blast, and we did some fun stuff.  Then, this week, when things should have gotten more or less back to normal with Davan and Sue off to school on Sunday and Daniel off to Colorado to visit my parents this week, I up and came to Colorado with Daniel.  I only really thought about coming on Sunday.  I booked my ticket Sunday evening and Daniel and I flew out early Monday.  Now, usually, Colorado means a lot of reading time for me.  Not this trip.  We've been doing the tourist thing all week, which has been fun, too, but, again, not a lot of reading time.

During this time, though, I've actually managed to finish two books.  And today, I've got time to write about them, as my parents took Daniel on a scenic drive in the mountains.  Long drives are really not my thing, so I stayed home and am spending the day mostly chillin.

Earlier this week, I finished Pretending to be Erica.  Violet has been raised with the sole purpose of impersonating, when the time is right, Erica.  Erica was the kidnapped and never recovered daughter of a wealthy family.  Violet's "father" is a con man who once shared a jail cell with the man who killed Erica.  With the inside knowledge learned from this man, he shapes Violet to be Erica.  The mission is to steal a painting worth $20 million.  We join the story when Violet is just starting high school as Erica after having been "returned" a month before.

I thought this book was okay.  I liked the premise a lot, but didn't like the implementation of the premise as much.  I had a hard time really getting into Erica/Violet in part because she was so split herself and neither of the two selves were super appealing to me, even though I think I might have liked the in between.  I did like the ending, which I felt was somewhat realistic.  So, all-in-all, okay is the word for Pretending to be Erica.