Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Where There is Smoke - Jodi Picoult

Where There is Smoke - Jodi Picoult
Where There's Smoke
Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts.  Now, decades later, she's an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed.  Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts.  When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring a troubling controversy.  And as she tries to undo the damage-to both her reputation and her show-Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

3/5 stars (liked it)
It is a short story that is introducing the character of Serenity.  I liked her from the beginning when we see her as a child, but felt she needed to be taught a lesson.  She is using her psychic gifts, not to help other people but to help herself.  She has spirit guides who have told her as much and in the end she gets taught a very important lesson.  I feel that I learned some much of the character in a such a short book.

Book Review: After the End - Amy Plum

After the End (After the End #1)
She's searching for answers to her past.  They're hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation.  A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness.  They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being  one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them.  Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war.  Cities were never destroyed.  The world is intact.  Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed.  But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her.  Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

3/5 stars (liked it)
The whole idea of this book intrigued me.  It isn't a dystopian society book but there is a twist.  This book is told from the point of view of Juneau and a boy named Miles.  While Juneau has grown up knowing how to hunt and take care of herself, Miles has always had everything he could ever need.  I loved seeing how Juneau learns how to fit in, in a world she thought did not exist, while also on the run from the people that took her clan and are looking for her.  One of the people looking for her is Miles's dad, and in turn Miles goes looking for her.  But he learns so much from Juneau.  After reading the end, I was glad to see that this was the first book in the series.  Although we are given many answers for things, there are still many answers I would like to find out.  Can't wait to read more.

Book Review: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files - Hidden Enemy - Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Hidden Enemy (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files, #7-9)
Five's Legacy tells the story of Five's early years on Earth when he was just a young teen on the run, discovering his abilities and making the wrong kind of friends.

Return to Paradise picks up in the aftermath of the Mog attack on Ohio and follows Mark James as he struggles between returning to a normal life and helping John Smith and the others.

Five's Betrayal is the exhilarating continuation of Five's story, in which he joins the Mogadorian ranks and must demonstrate his allegiance to them by helping destroy the other Lorien survivors.

You know the truth about the Mogadorians' invasion of Earth and the Garde who will do anything to defeat them--yet there is still so much to learn.  The stories in Hidden Enemy will help you get the answers you seek, but they will not help you stop the coming war.  Only the Garde can save our planet.

3/5 stars (liked it)
It was nice to see why Five betrayed the Lorien.  In the two short stories we see what it was like for him to grow up and what happened to him after his Cepan died.  Also we see how the Mogadorian's got to him and were able to convince him to betray the Lorien.  I also really liked to see what life in Paradise was like after what happened at the school with Four (John) and how the FBI found out that he was back in Paradise.  This is all told from the point of view of Mark James.  It was nice to see a new perspective on things.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Book Review: Silver Shadows - Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows - Richelle Mead
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other.  But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves.  Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him...

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

5/5 stars (loved it)
Wow, where to begin, I absolutely loved this book.  I didn't think I could love a couple as much as I loved Rose and Dmitri but I was so wrong.  Sydney and Adrian are perfect!  I even love their little "child" Hopper.  This book had Sydney at the Alchemist's rehabilitation facility.  It sure made me hate the Alchemists even more.  Also had the void that Sydney's disappearance left in Adrian's life.  His struggle to find out where Sydney was taken to.  I love his determination even when we thought he had given up.  Oh and the end just makes me want to know what is going to happen next.

Book Review: The Forever Contract - Avery Sawyer

 The Forever Contract - Avery Sawyer
The Forever Contract
In the very near future, the country is plunged into drought and unrest.  Scarce resources and constant heat are making life completely miserable.  Casey doesn't think she can stand slugging back another gel pack or working one more shift at the wells.  Fortunately, there's a solution: anyone over the age of seventeen can sign the Forever Contract and enter a utopian paradise.  While people's minds take a permanent vacation, their bodies get warehoused and hooked up to a complex array of sensors and feeding tubes.  As Casey's brother says, "You upload your consciousness to the system and you're free to live as long as you want, however you want.  No more pain, no more heat, no more awful dust, no more work.  Just pure thought.  It's what our species has always been meant for.  Suffering is for philosophers.  Not for me."

Casey's ready to sign--a permanent vacation is just what she needs.  There's only one problem: her boyfriend James doesn't trust it.

Would you sign the contract?

3/5 stars (liked it)
I liked the whole concept of this book and scarily enough I could see something like this really happening.  However, I think it was just too short.  I could see this being a book trilogy rather than a Novella.  It seems like we hardly got to know the characters and everything seemed so rushed.  Overall a good book though.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: The Goddess Hunt - Aimee Carter

The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test, #1.5)
A vacation in Greece sounds like the perfect way for Kate Winters to spend her first sabbatical away from the Underworld...until she gets caught up in an immortal feud going back millennia.  Castor and Pollux have been on the run from Zeus and Hades' wrath for centuries, hiding from the gods who hunt them.  The last person they trust is Kate, the new Queen of the Underworld.  Nevertheless, she is determined to help their cause.  But when it comes to dealing with immortals, Kate still has a lot to learn...

3/5 stars (liked it)
It was a short story about Kate and James during her six months away from Henry.  In that time she meets Castor and Pollux as well as finds out who her husband really is.  I loved seeing the love between Henry and Kate even though they are not physically together in this story.  Also love the different points of view.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Dresses - Erin McKean

The Secret Lives of Dresses
Dora has always taken the path of least resistance.  She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt.  She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke.  Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store.  The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.

While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad.  Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint?  And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop?

When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists.  But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there.  Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?\

3/5 stars (liked it)
I thought it was a cute story about a girl, Dora who has never known what she wants in life or who she really is.    Dora's parents died when she was very young and she was raised by her grandmother Mimi.  Her grandmother has always tried to get her to wear the vintage clothes and even goes as far as making a closet for Dora full of vintage clothes.   When Mimi gets a stroke, Dora decides to go back to Forsyth.  Leaving behind a guy she has had a great crush on, she meets a new man who she could fall for.  All the while running her grandmother's store and dealing with an annoying and pushy aunt who is trying to change Mimi's store.  I like how you saw Dora grow throughout the book and all the lovable characters in the book.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: Four: A Divergent Story Collection - Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)
Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation's faction leader did the same.  Tobias's transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again.  Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him.  Here, he will let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened "Four," he discovers during his initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless.  Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy.  His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future--and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear.  The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that.  With her, the way to righting their world might become clear.  With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I loved seeing what Four (Tobias) was like when he was in Abnegation and when he first got to Dauntless.  Also loved the stories that included Tris and how his feelings for her developed.  I would love to see what life is like for Four after the series ended.