Ruination - Amanda Thome Ruination is a YA Dystopian book about a girl against the system. If she wants to secure her future she must train and become the best. Nessa is a relate-able girl who comes from nothing, and in a moment of weakness chooses the wrong path. Is it really wrong, or actually her destiny? Ruination’s is a thrilling story about a girl against the odds.

So right away, this book felt familiar. Some of the aspects of the story parallel Hunger Games, Paradigm, and Divergent. The worlds are similar in some ways and very different in others. The challenge for a youth at a pivotal age to be separated from family is not a new concept. The separation of classes is also very much like other books. The revelation of what lies beyond those walls is also something I have seen before. Ruination has some of the same conflicts and seems like a combination of those tales with a few twists that keep it fresh. Despite that, I enjoyed this book and devoured it in two days.

Nessa’s life is hard as she lost her mother at the age of six and cares for her younger sister. Nessa is a girl preparing for the test of her life. She lives in the inner portion of her world, in the hopes of making the leap to “central” which is the goal of every citizen. Central is the capital and where the rich live. The inner portion is where Nessa lives and it is middle class. The outer portion is for the poor. There are walls separating the classes. Children start at age six and train for ten years for a chance to become citizens of the next class. Garrett and Nessa train their days away and begin to fall in love. Only one boy and one girl get to make the leap to central. Garrett and Nessa have a good chance of being chosen to make the leap. Nessa is just beginning to wonder why everyone wants to go to central so badly and be separated from everyone and everything they have ever known. Maybe she and Garrett can have a good life here with their families. Ty comes out of nowhere and is also competing for the leap. Where did he come from and why is he here? Will she be good enough to be chosen to go? Will she even want to go if she is chosen?

I enjoyed this read. I just hope the follow-up shows more originalality. With the way this book twists, I am sure the author has a few surprises for us in the series. Although I hate love triangles, this one plays out really well. There really isn’t a clear choice for the reader. I was so torn on Garrett or Ty, I am still not sure who Nessa should want more. I liked the action in this book. There were a few nail biting scenes. I am looking forward to seeing how this series plays out.

Dead Girl Walking

Dead Girl Walking - Ruth  Silver I could not get into this book at all. I didn’t like the characters. I didn’t enjoy the story, like at all. It just didn’t grab my attention and I couldn’t get myself to care about the characters. This book had a great premise and plenty of potential, but fell way flat for me.

I wanted to love this book and get lost in the story. It just didn’t happen. Princess Ophelia sneaks out to meet her lover, who is a commoner. She is attacked and dies. Her soul is “reaped” and she is given a choice, become a reaper and live, or cross over right now. She feels she has so much more to do, so she chooses to become a reaper. She takes on a completely different look as a reaper and is warned by other reapers not to seek out her old life, or people she used to know. She is also warned not to miss a reap. Every soul has it’s own date and time, and must be reaped or the soul won’t pass on. She ignores both warnings and gets into trouble. We never get the details about why she was killed. Her death ultimately gets her commoner boyfriend into trouble and she goes back and tries to fix things.

The other characters in this book lack the sort of details that get my attention. We get their names and how they are meant to help Ophelia, but not their past or ages. I felt very unattached to this story, even 60% in. There was all this over explaining from the characters, like they were each telling this story. All the characters sounded the same to me. I couldn’t see why Ophelia made the choice to become a reaper and not just cross over. Why would anyone want to reap? There wasn’t good pace to this story either. It jumped right in at her death. There was about about her little sister, but not quite enough of the sister in the bit for me to care. There really wasn’t much about Ophelia either. I might have been more inclined to care if I knew anything about Ophelia, but right from the start she was just a girl who died.

I stopped there and didn’t continue. I know what kind of stories I like and this is not even close. I know that sounds terrible but I wasn’t going to get all attached to this story, all of a sudden, in the last 30%. This book has a ton of 5 star reviews, so I know I am in the minority. This just felt like bad fiction. Maybe too juvenile for me to appreciate.

Chandrea - The Return of the Avatar Queen (Volume 1)

Chandrea - The Return of the Avatar Queen (Volume 1) - Marlene Wynn Get ready readers! This book is phenomenal and this series holds promise for fans of fantasy. Chandrea is everything I hoped it would be and more. It had magic, fairies, dragons, romance, scandal, action, adventure, royalty, mystery, and more. This is an epic fantasy of the highest order!

This book is about a girl named Chandrea who just graduated college. She is preparing herself for job interviews and finally becoming an adult in the world. She walks into her bathroom one morning and finds herself in another place. Chandrea finds herself in a cave with a woman named Adelaide. Adelaide explains that she sent Chandrea to another world when her mother and father were killed and her kingdom was taken over by an evil sorceress on the day of her birth. Not only is Chandrea the rightful queen, she is probably the most powerful sorceress this world has ever seen. Her powers were kept at bay while she was in our world. She now has to learn how to wield her powers while keeping her true identity a secret so they can figure out how to make things right in the world of Lyrunia.

Somehow the author makes it so believable. I was so enchanted by this story and the world of Lyrunia. Chandrea is such a great character. We get to follow Chandrea as she encounters many strange beings. She learns all about her birth world, and the plants and animals it is home to. Chandrea is believably sad about leaving the only home she has ever known. Her musings about her friends and losing the only parents she has even known was heartbreaking. As enchanting as her birth world is, she still struggles with her new reality.

It was really fun discovering things along with Chandrea. In this book Chandrea encounters so many strange beings, from dragons to fairies to trolls and mohr cats. I really liked the people Chandrea encountered in this story, too. She meets a warrior right away who introduces her to all kinds of people. There are shape-shifters, sorceresses, fairies, and svarens. Chandrea is lost in this world and the author does a great job of introducing us to everything and making us feel at home.

With all of this going on, there were somethings about this book that I spotted immediately as things that might turn readers off. Readers like me, who just made a list of all the things they think they hate in a story. Chandrea just happens to be well versed at martial arts. Like, taekwondo 3rd degree black belt. Also, we don’t get to know Chandrea’s friends on earth well enough to miss them as much as she does. I just wanted her to love Lyrunia as much as I did. Even with that, I still have to give this 5/5 stars. It managed to be a grand adventure, and the story is just magical enough to have cast a spell on me.

Both of Me

Both of Me - Jonathan Friesen I just finished this book and all I can think is, “What just happened?” I started reading this book, I liked it. I got lost in it’s world. I got confused and lost track. Things got cleared up and then I needed a good cry. There is a lot of imagining in this book. Is it real? No, it is imaginary. Both of Me is about a girl named Clara, and a boy who is split in two. It is an adventure and a journey of imagination and healing.

At first, I thought this was a YA fantasy book. It isn’t. Clara looses her bag on the plane to her neighbor who just happened to have the same exact bag. She follows the tag on her mistaken bag to Elias Phinn, who has a dissociative personality disorder. She can get her bag back, after staying one night so he can switch personalities. One knows about the bag, the other is just along for the ride. One Elias asks her to be a guide on the journey, the other just wants his body back. Clara and Elias (both of them) set out on a quest to find the truth, or to solve the mystery of why Elias is not whole, one.

I was a bit lost in parts of this book. I was frustrated at the lack of answers to questions. I felt I was trudging through this book at some points. It has many places where I was sure we were far off track. The characters don’t have depth to carry this though. Until the last three chapters. The last three chapters answered questions and gave me enough closure to say I liked this book. I wish the journey had more clear directions, but this book took me the long way to an almost sad conclusion.

I am not sure who this book will appeal to. Maybe people like me who believe that everything happens for a reason. Some journeys have forks in the road with players who don’t know how important they are to the direction. If this were an adult fiction, as opposed to a YA book it may have more believability. Because an adult fiction requires more to carry it through. Maybe it is because a teen on a journey can just accept things as they seem to be. As it stands, I can’t give this a wholehearted recommendation without saying that this book touches on the fragility of our minds when faced with tragedy. I liked this story, but I doubt all readers will make it past the fantasy aspects of the characters.

The Body Tourist: a Memoir

The Body Tourist: a Memoir - Dana Lise Shavin One of the most engrossing memoirs I have ever had the privilege to read. The Body Tourist is a diamond in the rough. Like the anorexic self depreciating narrator tells us, in a round about way, we are all a work in progress. I really enjoyed this tale, the flip flops through time, the honesty and raw truth, looking back everything is so clear and yet necessary.

I found myself completely absorbed in this book. Dana tells about her journey out of the anorexia with humor and truth. She is counting calories and storing them for later. The book, like the title and cover, is very witty and facinating. Her writing is really engrossing and filled with insights into purpose and reason. In the mind of someone who makes a living counseling, she is honest with herself in the retelling enough to make this believable. Dana’s actions of omission in her employment, housing, and affairs of the heart are almost like a car crash. I can’t look away. I can’t stop thinking about her.

Dana starts this story right after getting her BA. She takes employment counseling others out of drugs and alcoholism, and she is not out of the woods herself. Fresh out of rehab she is still unable to even eat in front of other much less give advice about how someone should proceed on their recovery. Her journey is littered with obstacles and she really rises to the challenge. Slowly and surely like any real person coming into their own. Her taste in men, or lack of sex, is jolting. Her struggle for “normal” while ignoring her own needs was heartbreaking. I laughed out loud and wept while reading this book. It is so brutally honest.

This book is so authentic. I don’t struggle with anorexia, but I can relate to the plight of an addiction, to something other than reality. To wanting things that are no good for you, to settling for less than is required for survival. I read this whole book in two days, between hanging Christmas lights, parenting four children, and dealing with sister’s issues. To say I loved this read is a gross understatement. It was so fascinating, I could not put it down. I grateful for the glimpse into Dana’s life. I highly recommend this read.

The Paris Winter: A Novel

The Paris Winter: A Novel - Imogen Robertson I don’t usually read historical fiction. The Paris Winter was something I wanted to read because it came across as a mystery set in Paris, also it features some historical facts. The Paris flood is about to happen and change lives forever. I just loved this read about a destitute girl in the city of love. Maud is a painter and art is scattered throughout this read reminding the reader of the artists influence or inspiration.

Maud is a starving artist in Paris. She left her home in England to pursue her art, against her brother’s wishes. She has just enough of an inheritance to get a good start and enroll in a good school, Lafond’s famous Academie, to paint. The beginning of this book finds Maud living on practically nothing in the year 1909. She is starving, and facing the long winter with little means to survive. Just when things seem desperate another student, (Tanya), makes Maud her pet and works to find her a proper job so she can get through the winter and still paint in school. Maud thinks she is the luckiest woman alive working as a companion to a girl named Sylvia, at the request of her brother Christian. Things unravel quite quickly when Maud is framed for something she didn’t do. True friends show their worth when Maud is accused of stealing a diamond tiara. This book takes us into the seedy underground of Paris showing us the lives of jewel thieves, starving artists, and opium addicts.

The ugliness of some of these characters was a bit shocking. This is Paris, society is such a thing. Acting out of fashion can get you cast out, and women still have very few trades they can pursue. Opium is a real problem in Paris and it rears its ugly head in this story. The betrayal in this story is believable. So sad, but true. Although Maud is a fictional character, I hope women like her were not make believe. Her tale of being disposed of for greed is heartbreaking. Maud finds some really true friends in this story and her revenge could not have taken place without them. Maud is so bold seeking justice when the evidence is so obvious against her. She is a virtuous woman and her actions are those of a very strong woman with something to prove.

The dress, scenery, and language in this book reflect the times. I admit I found myself a bit lost in the characters, as they are sometimes playing both sides. I didn’t know what to expect from them since their conversations were so light and obtuse. Knowing the period norms might have helped me understand that things are not always what they seem on the surface. I found that even friends seem a bit offensive in their interactions, or maybe that was just my impression. The art aspects were light enough for me to follow along, even though I know very little of art. There were famous paintings scattered throughout this book. It is my understanding that certain aspects of this story were taken right from historical facts. The Paris flood is described in reeling detail at the climax of this tale.

My problems with this story were in in its accurate betrayal of the period. I could not really relate to Maud. She was almost a ghost throughout this tale. I struggled with the first chapter and almost couldn’t complete it. I assumed we would get to really know Maud at some point, so I pressed on reading, but I feel we only barely learn about what makes Maud the way she is. I needed more of her upbringing to love her. I rooted for her to win back her honor but I was really unattached to her as a main heroine. I think I grew to love her spoiled Russian friend, Tanya, and the poor model, Yvette, more in this story, since we had more understanding of their daily lives. The book did have some unforgettable redeeming qualities. For these three women the start of life is much different, but together they accomplish great things and they each change their own destiny. It was an interesting historical tale of betrayal and friendship in Paris. I am sure this book will probably appeal to those who enjoy historical and/or women’s fiction.

Waking Up Joy

Waking Up Joy - Tina Ann Forkner Waking Up Joy was not an everyday read for me. It was a breath of fresh air. This book had me overjoyed and crying, it made me forget the world if only for a short while. Accompanying Joy on her journey was such fun and full of endearing surprises.

This book follows a woman named Joy Talley as she slips off her roof and ends up in a coma. He whole family thinks she tried to kill herself. They don’t realize she can hear and will remember everything going on around her while in her coma. If that set up isn’t enough we learn that Joy is a forty-something spinster, she has been pining away for a now windowed man for almost thirty years. She awakens, at her mother’s funeral, of all places, after being stolen from the hospital by her mostly “crazy” family. Joy is accompanied by her niece’s diary and her honest telling of Joy’s story. Upon awakening and through the reading of the diary, Joy decides to set things right and make some real changes.

I so enjoyed this read. It was a great escape for me. Getting to know Joy and her crazy family was a whole lot of fun. Joy’s adventure is not unbelievable or far-fetched. If not for the coma, she might have existed and died never really living, which is so sad. I loved the small town and everyone knowing everyone. The Talley house is so full of life and filled my heart with longing for my own crazy kin. Joy is the one left at home, she is lonely although she might not have admitted that. Her siblings have all gone on to pursue their lives and she is the one left behind. Although things are not perfect for them, they have no trouble telling Joy what she need to do. Is she a bit like her Momma, and casting spells and charms on those around her? Does she need professional care? The Talley house is full of trinkets of spells and the memories of teas for everything that ails you. Joy breaks out of her shell and shows her family that she is not crazy, she is just a Talley.

I felt completely at home reading Joy’s tale. I found myself missing her mother, and wanting Jimmy right along side of her. I cried my way through the last chapter. I am not sure if it was the years lost, or the angst of missed opportunity, or maybe it was just a spoke in my menstrual cycle. It doesn’t matter because a book that can bring me to tears becomes a part of me. The characters in this book will remain with me.

The Book of Ivy

The Book of Ivy - Amy Engel This book is worth all the fuss that I made over it. It is as good as I imagined and better in a few ways. The Book of Ivy is YA dystopia, with a heroine that I think a lot of girls would relate to. Ivy is no superhero with secret powers. She is just a regular girl in a situation where she has to be the hero in order to save a life.

Ivy is a in a bad place. A product of her environment and a victim all the same. A nuclear war has left the survivors to fight for control. The Westfalls founded the city but then lost control to the Lattimers. Ivy Westfall is forced into an arranged marriage at 16. Born of the founding father’s family, she is to marry the president’s son. All the girls from the Westfall side (the losing side) marry the boys on the Lattimer side (the winning side). This and other policies have upset enough people that the founders decide to try to get the power back. They are willing to make Ivy their puppet to get the ball rolling for a revolution. Her family is scheming for control. Just kill Bishop, her new husband, and then they can start the takeover. But, what if the president is right and the founders are on the wrong side of the fence?

My mission is not to make him happy and bear his children and be his wife. My mission is to kill him.

This book had some themes I recognize and a few I didn’t expect. The things I recognize; the dystopian society where rules are passed down that don’t make much sense anymore, the fence around the society keeping bad people out and protecting the citizens inside, the mature issues the youths are made to face, the harsh punishments that society accepts as normal, the female heroine meant to save them all. The surprises in this book; the heroine being on the wrong side of right, the leaders being fairly decent and not monsters as in other tales, the male lead being so “good”, the sacrifice the heroine makes without the aide of those around her.

This book may sound like something familiar, but the delivery sets it apart. I didn’t even think about the similarities in this book to other YA dystopian books until after I had read it. From the first page, I was hooked into the story. I literally cannot wait to get the next book. Ivy made a choice in this book and she did it by herself. She sets herself apart from her family and her husband in a way that there is no going back. I just wanted to see Ivy and her husband end up together, but Amy had other ideas for these two.

If I had to get married, I wanted to marry someone who I was interested in knowing. You’re easy to read, Ivy, but the whole book of you is complicated. That’s why I wanted you instead of your sister.

The prelude to the first kiss was really sweet. Then just when they are starting to really open up to each other, Ivy just goes and… I don’t see how Ivy and Bishop are going to even see each other again since the author left Ivy… Ugh! I do not want to spoil this book for you.

Just know that this is a well written book. Ivy and Bishop are well written, honorable characters that are surrounded by bad circumstances. I enjoyed reading this book and I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.


Rampant - Gemma James After reading the first book in this series, Torrent, I knew I had to get my hands on Rampant. This is the continuation of Alex’s story. Her twisted love for Rafe, and her desperation to get away from her brother-in-law, Zach. I chewed all my nails off reading this story. The Condemned Series is the most addictive reading I have done this year so far…

This story picks right up at the ending of Torrent. Alex is being taken away by her brother Zach. She thinks Rafe is dead. He isn’t dead, he has amnesia from the fight with Zach. The fall made him forget the last eight years of his life. He now has to rely on those people around him to figure out how he got to this point. While he is busy trying to put the pieces back together, Zach has claimed absolute control over Alex. She is trapped in a cabin with her sick brother. The things he does to her made my stomach turn. I want him dead, not just gone. He has their father in his pocket and the law. There seems to be no escape for Alex and then she does the unthinkable. At least, Zach never saw it coming. Rafe finally connects the dots enough to seek Alex out, but it might be too late to undo what has been done.

I have to say that Gemma has created some really fucked up characters that break taboos. Her heroine, Alex, is kidnapped, raped, tortured, drugged all in the name of love. This poor girl is in the wrong family, the wrong town, the wrong time. I feel so bad for her. She didn’t have a choice. Just like I now have not choice but to wait, with baited breath, for the next book in this series. I can see that Gemma covers all the angles of escape for Alex. This story was well thought out. I am addicted to these characters.

There is so much angst in this book. I am not even going to talk about the sex scenes in this book because some of them were not consensual. When it comes to the scenes where both parties are down, the words almost melt off the page. Rafe and Alex are so hot together. I want them to have a happy ending. This book ending on a cliff and so I dangle waiting for the next installment. It doesn’t seem likely that these two can be together with everything that stands in their way. I know this story can find a way. I am anxiously waiting to see what happens in the next book. Bring it, Gemma!

Cover Him With Darkness: A Romance

Cover Him With Darkness: A Romance - Janine  Ashbless Milja is trying to forget what her father is charged to keep secret, but she knows and the secret won’t let her go. Her father, a priest, is guarding over a fallen angel in the bowels of his church in Montenegro Italy. His name is Azazel and Milja is haunted by his punishment. The beginning of the story finds Milja in Boston, trying to be a normal young adult. She tries at love and higher education. She is called home when her father becomes ill. Upon seeing Azazel again, she gives in to her empathy and passion, and makes a choice that changes her whole life forever.

That is about all the synopsis I can write. Anything more and I will spoil the whole story. I honestly started off reading this book and then thought, I have read this before. I was angry thinking this was a stolen story until I realized a short version of this tale was in a book I have read and was penned by [a:Janine Ashbless|108584|Janine Ashbless|]. Cover Him With Darkness was the second story in the anthology [b:Red Velvet and Absinthe|10810955|Red Velvet and Absinthe|Mitzi Szereto||15724525] which I read back in 2011. That story was much less detailed and only outlined the foundation for this story.

Cover Him with Darkness is a great erotic story with religious undertones. It may offend those who hold strong christian (or catholic) religious beliefs. I don’t. I found this story of a fallen angel really enticing. The characters are very well written. The scene is described with enough detail to envision easily. I really enjoyed the spooky elements of this. An angel that haunts dreams with erotic delights, what is not to like about that? Milja is a believable character. I found her home town strange, but then again, so did she after living in America. The prejudices she encounters are so stereotypical of old Europeans. I bought her relatives completely.

This book had the right amount of action, romance, erotica, mythology, and religion. It kept me reading deep into the night. Totally worth lost sleep. This story ended with the notion that more was coming. Yes! I am thrilled that this is part of a series. Bring it Janine! I can hardly wait to see what happens next.


Rush - Eve Silver Rush is a book like nothing else I have read. At first, I was like no way! The premise isn’t anything I would believe. It is a fantasy, like any other fiction. This book just takes this idea and runs off with it. Once I bought into it, I couldn’t shake it. I am caught in the web that is this story. I am consumed.

I really had a hard time with the fist 25% or so of this book. The premise is so crazy. A girl named Miki leads us into her almost death. She finds herself pulled into a place where she must fight or die her death. If she fights well, she gets to go back. She will only be pulled to fight occasionally. Fight or die. She is fighting aliens, her score determins weather she lives or dies through each round. She needs a thousand points to exit forever. Her curiosity lends questions to why, who, and what for. Once she learns the truth she is compelled to fight. Not just for herself, but for those who are also pulled into the fight. The last 25% I read deep into the night, way past my bedtime. I had to get to the end. This book ends on a cliff. Gah!

Things I love about this story:

*Miki- she is just a great girl lead (tough, independent, pretty, strong)
*Jackson- leader, asshole, mysterious love interest, swoon worthy
*Cassidy- best friend, full of girly drama (a fight between her and Miki makes this character so honest. That is how girls are)
*Miki’s dad- awkward, like he has no idea how to deal with a teenage girl (totally believable)
Drau- evil, mysterious, scary, villains extraordinaire

What I disliked about this story:

*The pull seemed completely ludicrous. WTH? This is so crazy. It took me a bit to get used to and accept the concept.
*People die before we get to know them. Do I miss Rochelle? No, because I didn’t know her. The story places emphasis on her death, but I have a hard time caring.

I was a bit torn on this book. The beginning was good, the middle was a bit better and laid a great foundation for the last 25%, which really go me hooked to the series. The characters are easy to like and root for. There were so many stretches to believe and no forthcoming answers at first. We have to wait along with Miki for answers. Some of which come in the last 25% of the story. I just put the book down and honestly, I am glad I stuck with the story. There is all this teenage crush angst. It is a love triangle-ish type of romance. Drama. There is a bit of more drama as Jackson (the crush) isn’t quite what he seems. Then there is action and fighting. There are some physiological twists and Miki is made to face some tough issues. I wanted Miki to come through this unscathed. No chance of that.

I have to read the next book in this series.

Fissure (Chronicles of the Interred, #2)

Fissure (Chronicles of the Interred, #2) - Marilyn Almodóvar Fissure is the second book of The Chronicles of the Interred. As far as second books go, I have to give Marilyn major props for making this book even better than the first. This book is such a rush. I could not stop reading this book once I started it. This book is action packed. Baxter leads us right in to a journey of self discovery into the past and the present.

This is not a standalone, It would be much too confusing for someone to pick up the series with this book. You should read the first book, Interred. Once again this cover is perfect for the book. It shows her running out of a fissure, or something. There is so much jumping around in this book; 2013, 1976, 2001, alternate realities galore. Baxter starts off in this story feeling bad. She doesn’t remember what happened before there is just a blank spot and then she wakes up in the hospital. She may be the cause of all the chaos which makes her want to leave. Instead of keeping her head down, she freezes her healer. This further separates her from the group. They are trying to protect her, but the group is infiltrated by people with malicious intentions for her powers anyways. Baxter finds herself face to face with a fissure and gets pulled in…

Now that we know the characters this book just flows. Baxter is still discovering things about her past, things about her power, and things about the people in her world. Baxter is much different from the first book though. She is all magic, the normal in her life is gone. I loved that everyone is not just good and evil. We find that some characters are marred by shades of grey and that makes Baxter question everything. I liked that flaws are revealed. This keeps the characters honest and likeable. There is so much more in this book then in the first. The main players are time bender, absorbers, warriors and transporters. These abilities are flipped and exposed for good and evil.

There are a lot of players in this book. That aspect was a bit confusing. I know why the story needed so many characters. The story could have been so much longer. I don’t wish for less. I wanted more. The author wrote all the characters very well. It was just when something happens that we only get to see how a few characters are dealing. We only get snippets of conversation. I wanted more. I am giving this book 4/5 stars; because it is not a standalone and because there could be more to it. It is still a recommended read for any YA fan of fantasy.

Alternate is the conclusion to this series and it is due out in 2015. To be honest, I can hardly wait to read it. I need more of this world. I want to know how(in which timeline) Baxter ended up. I just hated that it ended on cliffhanger, but it makes me more eager to look for the next book. I need closure to this series.

Interred (Chronicles of the Interred, Book One)

Interred (Chronicles of the Interred, Book One) - Marilyn Almodóvar This book was so fun to read and imagine. Interred was a great escape from reality with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. This book is very intriguing and comes complete with a heirloom ghost. This book is great combination of fantasy, time bending, magic, and romance in a nice YA package.

Meet Baxter, a soon to be 16 year old girl whose life is about to take a dramatic turn for the weird. Her pregnant mother is approached by a cousin who announces that a distant relative has died. She inherits a house in England, and her daughter inherits the magical gifts of the family. Baxter’s new gifts include Time Bending and a spirit named Declan that is bound to her. Oh and she gets a healer named Jack as a partner. Baxter just has to go to this “ball”, get interred, and then live through the tests. No big deal, right? Buckle up readers, this is a bumpy ride!

The cover for this book tells so much of the story. I fell right into this story. Once I pick a book for review, I don’t refer back to the synopsis to remind myself what it is about. I prefer to trust my prior judgement and be surprised. I picked a winner in this series. Interred is the first book in The Chronicles of the Interred, Fissure is next book and that review is coming on Tuesday. I loved the action. I loved the shifting from time line to time line. I loved that she gets a healer to escort her. He is bound to her as much as she is to him. Baxter is an outsider at the ball. Everyone wants to get to know her or kill her for the powers she possesses. She has a lot of catching up to do, so she spends a lot of time reading about the family histories and getting info from Declan. Declan is this ghost spirit that was trapped by her ancestor for protection. His job is to guide Baxter to a place where she is able to release him. His motive is clear throughout the story. Jack’s job is to heal her after they travel through time. This book takes us back in time giving us clues into family motivation. Then it plunges back into the time of the interment.

The only thing I can complain about in this story is that when the time travel starts happening, it gets a bit confusing. I listened to part of this book and I needed to go back to figure out when we were at a few times. I think just straight reading it might not have been such a problem for me, but I am a multitasking fool. Also, I didn’t like some of the loss in this book. Like most YA books, we deal with some heavy issues. I just kept thinking poor Baxter, and poor Jack. I felt that these issues weren’t dealt with adequately. I am hoping some of the issues of loss are resolved in the next book. (she is a time bender, after all) I guess we’ll see.

Baxter is a really resilient girl. It was cool learning all about her abilities right along with her. This world doesn’t follow all the typical time bending rules. Baxter meets up with key players in the distant past and alters things in her world. I am so excited about this story and eager to get to the next in this series. This book ends on a twist. I have so many unanswered questions and this book ends on a cliff. I am hanging on tight.

Summer House with Swimming Pool

Summer House with Swimming Pool - Herman Koch This is a book with much ado about nothing. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration. It just felt like that. Fifty two chapters, and it took thirty chapters for anything interesting to happen. I had to force myself to read this book. I am happy to report the last twenty chapters were pretty good. It just took too long for my taste.

Some people appreciate a ton a back-story and leading up to a good story. I would rather have a bit of action and discover the characters as we go. I really disliked the lead characters in this book. Marc is a doctor and he has a bad attitude about his job. Doctor to patient takes such trust. You literally put your life in the doctor's hands. What if the doctor was a cynical ass who down played everything in his head? Marc made me feel sad about the whole profession. This story is about a summer vacation Marc takes with his family. Marc has a wife and 2 teenage girls. Marc's real objective for this vacation is to get close to Ralph's wife. Ralph is his friend and the whole situation was really sad. The good news is that this is not another love story. Marc and Ralph's wife Cynthia end up hating each other.

Marc picks a location close to where his buddy and his family are vacationing. Despite the fact that Marc's own wife, Judith, thinks Ralph is a creeper, he drags his family into a situation where they will run into each other. It is so hard to get into a story when you dislike the lead character. I forced myself to finish this story because something about the synopsis told me to keep going. This story was set in the Netherlands, which means it might not have even been in english in it's first printing. That would explain a lot since it felt like something was lost in translation.

You get a stain on your pants. Your favorite pair of pants. You wash them ten times in a row at 160 degrees. You scrub and scour and rub. You bring in the heavy artillary. Bleaches. Abrasive cleaners. But the spot doesn't go away. If you scrub and scour too long, it will only be replaced by something else. By a stretch of fabric that is thinner and paler. the paler cloth is the memory. The memory of the spot. Now there are two things you can do. You can throw the pants away, or you can walk around for the rest of your life with the memory of the stain. It also reminds you of when the pants were still clean.

If you run things back far enough, the clean pants finally show up. y then, you know that they're not going to stay clean. I know that I will keep running things back for the rest of my life. Was this where it was? I'll ask myself again and again. Or was it further back?. . . There? I hit pause.

Here it is clean.

And here, not anymore.

That little gem happened around chapter twenty five. Things were just starting to get interesting. I was convinced by this time that we were leading up to something. I didn't like how Marc kept retreating back into his thoughts. Honestly some scenes didn't get finished due to a flashback. There were quite a few flashbacks that didn't need to happen. This story didn't need all of that. Something happens to Marc's daughter and his reaction is so crazy. I know there is a huge disconnect between me and these people. It could be cultural, professional, financial, or just a matter of gender. I found these people and their reactions to what happened completely off. Not normal. Maybe everyone reacts in their own way when something this big occurs, but I kind of think there is a standard reaction. This book didn't cover it. Maybe it was because it was written by a man and had a male lead that I had a hard time getting into this book? I had such a hard time even liking the characters enough to care what kind of drama the got into. When the things finally did happen, it was treated so oddly. I just didn't really enjoy this story.

J: A Novel

J: A Novel - Howard Jacobson J was a story about a man and an occurrence. WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED is something mentioned throughout the story and it affects everything. This story involves a civilization without memory, without much hope for happiness and without much excitement. I wanted to love this tale. I enjoy most dystopian tales, but this story did not excite me. In making the characters the author created people that were devoid of passion for anything but mere survival.

Kevern is the hero of this story and his life borders on eccentricity with moments of normal. Ailinn is the heroine, the beauty who caught his eye, but she has her own heartbreaking story or abandonment in childhood. This book had my attention, and then lost it. I really had to force myself to keep reading this book. The thing is that nothing really happens in this book. This book has flat characters doing nothing special. When I say the characters are flat, that is putting it mildly. This book might appeal to scholars who love their fifty cent words in descriptions, but I believe most of the population will not enjoy this book as whole. It is too easy to get lost in the language. It might take a whole chapter for a conversation to occur.

It is a book meant for mature audiences not because of its context, but more due to its adult themes. Only boring/dull adults can understand the acceptance of opportunities missed, roads that must be taken, and settling for “good enough” to get by. Although I didn’t enjoy this book much, I keep reminiscing about the characters, who as a dull adult myself, I can wholly relate to. How unfortunate. Body image, embarrassing family ties, abandoning lovers, suspicion and fretting about nothing much. I hated myself for liking bits of this tale. It just shows how far from excitement my life has wandered, and how much I love words. Language in this book flourishes, unchecked.

I don’t believe for one minute that this many people self-analyze in any civilization, much less a society such as this. Memory is supposed to be forbidden and heirlooms are inventoried. Yet some of the characters collect the past and regurgitate it for money. I never got some of this tale, and I suspect I never will. This book was hard to read. Details were thrown together seemingly for the reader’s enjoyment, but it lost me in its fanciful telling. I know I am in the minority since this book/author has won some awards, but his just isn’t my kind of story.

Last Light

Last Light - M. Pierce This book consumed me for two days. Last Light was all I could think about. I obsessed over it. I felt bad for these characters. The scenes were intense, sexy, raw, and sick. This book left me like…what? Again, I have no idea how to rate this. How to explain what I think about it to you. I am so torn on this story.

This book is something of a head trip. Last Light carries us into Matt’s disappearance. Matt’s utter despair and loneliness. Hannah’s grief and humiliation. Matt fakes his death. The details are a bit vague on how he dies but all the details after are carefuly planned. Only Hannah is in on it. She alone carries the weight of the truth into her life. Then a book shows up on the internet that lays out the intimate details of Hannah and Matt’s world-wind obsession with each other. Hannah is at the funeral, dealing with his grieving family, putting on a face for his devastated publisher, and then dashing off to see Matt as he hides out in a cabin in the woods. Matt is no less crazy than before and Hannah is still completely wrapped up in his game.

I wanted to hate Matt for doing all of it to Hannah. The book when it comes out divulges the steamy sex in great details between Matt and Hannah. What kind of person writes a book like that about someone without getting consent first? He used her real name people! It is one thing to be open about your sex life, it is quite another to tell the world that your girlfriend enjoys being called “my little slut!” The humiliation she must of felt at the funeral. They all knew it was Matt’s book and they all knew it was probably true. How embarrassing?

Matt’s brothers, Nate and Seth, play key roles in this story. Hannah and the brothers have a bit of drama. Matt finds a friend in the girl who agree to make his last book an internet sensation. There is still a lot of lying, and again I felt so bad for Hannah. She hides him, she lies for him. She has it so bad for him. The sex laid out in this book is just as steamy as the first story, Night Owl. Matt’s mouth is just as dirty and they even have some fantasy role play in this book. Just like in the first book, the sex is not the whole story. The obsession with each other is. Hannah and Matt do things to and for each other. They are both a bit mental.

My rating of this story is due to my addiction to their story and its readability. The writing is no less brilliant than the first book. I can’t deny that this book made me feel, and it made me worry. It made me forget about everything else going on in my life. It takes so much guts to write a story with characters like this. Hannah and her stupid girlfriend role. Matt and his crazy narcissism. Do I root for them? Do I just hope they don’t procreate? What the absolute fuck? I admit to being that stupid girl at some point in my life. The one who was so wrapped up, I couldn’t see how bad the guy was for me. I have been with guys like Matt that blow things out of proportion and threaten crazy on me. I don’t know how it could ever be a happily ever after with these two. I can’t see the author making this end that way. How can this series end in the next book without these characters ending up dead in each others arms or running from the law?

I think most readers of this trilogy will find it just as hard to put down. Although, at times for me it felt like watching an accident scene unfold. I just couldn’t look away. I have to find out how this series ends. The final book is available for preorder now, but won’t be out until around March 2015.

Please M., bring us closure with the final book.

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