Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Numbers 2 : The Chaos

Numbers 2 : The Chaos
by Rachel Ward

Fifteen years after his mother made news when it was discovered she could see the dates of people's deaths, Adam is now fighting the same curse, but it's worse for him.  Adam doesn't just see the dates; he sees part of the deaths themselves.  He feels the pain and can usually sense the cause.  After his mother dies of cancer, on a date she knew because Adam told her before he understood what the numbers meant, Adam is alone with his grandmother and the burden of knowing when everyone around him will die.
.
When 01012027 starts appearing in the eyes of almost everyone around him, Adam knows he needs to get them out of London fast.  But things are never simple.

Sarah has come into his life.  She has her own visions of fire, death, and her own daughter.  She also sees Adam taking her child through the flames.  She doesn't see him come out.  But even though she fears what he will do with her daughter once he has her, she's inexplicably drawn to him.

Now they must find a way to survive their visions while the rest of the world fights to destroy them and their futures.

Final thoughts:  Just not as good as the first one.  Numbers had the advantage of creating a whole new future and "gift" that I'd never seen before.  While Adam's is slightly different, it's not different enough. It's not really a rehash of the first book, but it's not a solid continuation.  I was often frustrated by the choices made by the characters and just couldn't see where things were going.  The final scenes were unclear and discovering that this is yet another trilogy with an "exciting conclusion" coming, was annoying.  This one could have ended at the first book and I would have felt completely satisfied.  Now the future of the series hangs over me and I've lost the magic I felt about the first one.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Soul to Steal

My Soul to Steal
by Rachel Vincent

Recovering from her boyfriend's betrayal of her body and soul, Kaylee is trying to cope with all of the changes in her life that she's had happen to her over the past year.  She has discovered that she's a bean sidhe (banshee), she sings souls away when they die, her boyfriend is her kind and understands her the way no one else has, and that same boyfriend is recovering from a strong addiction that led him to completely destroy Kay's trust in him.

She could really use a break from all the drama.

Like that's going to happen.

Especially not when her boyfriend's ex comes to town and makes no secret that she's there for Nash.  She wants him back and will do anything to get him.  She's also a mara, a living nightmare.  She can read a person's deepest fears and twist them into nightmares that can haunt souls.

When teachers start dropping dead and the student body turns against each other, Kay thinks she knows who to blame, even when no one else sees it.

Can Kaylee stop the death and destruction before it comes after her?

Final thoughts:  This is a like a supernatural soap opera; it keeps going and going and yet I don't want it to end.  It's feeling a little drawn out, though.  I hope that Vincent isn't one of those authors who just keeps stringing her readers along.  I also hope that Kay opens her eyes and sees Tod in a different light.  Between the books from Kay's side and the one from Tod's, they totally belong together (even if he is undead).  I'm looking forward to the next one coming out this year.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go
by Heather Davis

It's been months since the car accident that killed Rob and nearly killed his girlfriend, Holly.  Now Holly has to live with the guilt and the dirty looks from her classmates who blame her.  She also has the added burden of taking care of her grandfather with Alzheimer's when he moves in.  Her mother works two jobs to support the family, while Holly has to do all the work at home to get her sister to school, her grandfather to his day center and doctors' appointments, and she still has to get good grades in school.

Jason, Rob's best friend, sees Holly struggle and begins to realize that she's in pain.  He knows that the other students are wrong about Holly and he starts to feel like maybe Rob didn't deserve her.  Now he must find a way to convince Holly, and his own friends, that it's OK for the best friend and girlfriend of the dead guy to get together.  It may even be fate.

And then there's Rob.  He's floating around, watching his family and friends struggle with his death, even while he himself must come to terms with what happened.  Luckily, the Alzheimer's that plaguing Holly's grandfather also allows that grandfather to see Rob.  Maybe Rob has a chance to help his friends before he sees "the light".

Or maybe he'll be trapped, helplessly watching, forever... 

Final thoughts:  There are some interesting ideas here, but it just doesn't come together well.  Davis has made the choice to change the viewpoint of each character to help delineate between the three, but she's really just made a mess.  Holly is all first person (I, me, etc...).   Rob is the rarely used second person (you, your).  And Jason is in third person (he, his).  It's extremely confusing to start because the writing style keeps switching and you have to re-set your brain over and over again.  Holly's mother just ticks me off.  I understand that she's struggling to keep the bills paid, but she never fully acknowledges what she's doing to Holly or how poorly she's treating her. Often, as I read Holly, I kept feeling like I was reading about a 12-year-old and not a 17-year-old girl.  Her feelings were immature and childish and just didn't sit well with me.  The ending got a little preachy with the whole accepting life/fate/the future, etc... This is a good book to recommend for those dealing with grief, but it's a little heavy for the casual reader.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spellbound

Spellbound
by Cara Lynn Shultz

Emma's brother died when he was 14, followed shortly by her mother.  After her abusive stepfather nearly kills her while driving drunk and getting into a huge accident, Emma finally decides to take up her aunt on her offer to move in with her in New York.

Now she's enrolled in an ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive high school as a junior and she just wants to get through as anonymously as possible.

But being anonymous is difficult for her when she ticks off the most powerful girl in school the first day, seems to blow up all the light bulbs around her, becomes friends with the school's leading witch, and falls completely head over heels for the most gorgeous guy who ever walked the earth (who happens to be in her English class).

All the signs, both in life and in her dreams, are telling her to stay away from Brendan, but how can she when he's suddenly become all she can think about?

Final thoughts:  Turn off your brain for this one.  Just enjoy the ride.  If you stop to think all of the details, you'll miss out on a fun tale.  It's like a great meal, with a slightly weird aftertaste.  There were also some formatting issues on my Kindle for this copy from NetGalley.com, so even though the book was done and there were thank yous from the author, I suddenly found myself in what I believe is the epilogue.  The ending was a little sudden and felt a little forced.  The epilogue leads me to think this is yet another trilogy.  And the Twilight similarities haunt this book as they haunt so many now.  But it's still a fun read and good for any lover of YA teen romances.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hard Bitten

Hard Bitten
by Chloe Neill

Things aren't going well for the vamps.  Humans, who had finally seemed to be accepting them, are now protesting outside the Houses.  The vamps are tense after it was found out that one of their own leaders betrayed them.  And the Cadogan House is recovering from serious damage after a major attack.

Now is not a good time for something else to go wrong.

When the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and her House master, Ethan, in for a meeting, it just can't be good news.

It seems that some vamps have gotten out of control and begun attacking humans.  A new drug has hit the street.  A familiar face has appeared.

Oh!  And the leader of the Greenwich Presidium has come to Chicago to inspect Cadogan House and decide its future.

So, no stress.

Final thoughts:  Mind.  Blown.  Neill has completely outdone herself on this one.  While not the best of the Chicagoland Series, this one has the biggest impact.  If you're planning to read this before you read any of the other three... DON'T.  This one has quite a bit of bang for the buck. There are moments when I wondered why Merit and others weren't putting the puzzle together, but even I didn't see a couple of the twists coming.  With each book, Neill is tightening her writing style, so the action and romance are constantly flowing throughout.  I missed Mallory and Catcher; they just weren't in it enough.  But the story really was the focus and it was good.  I've read some reviews that criticize the ending, and I get it, but I'm going with the flow on this and hoping that Neill gives us a good follow-up.  If nothing else, it definitely has an emotional kick.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cryer's Cross

Cryer's Cross
by Lisa McMann

Kendall's entire life has been as predictable as the numbers she counts to keep calm.  In her small town, with her friend/boyfriend, Nico, and the familiar routine of farm life, school, soccer, and dance, Kendall has everything she needs to keep her OCD fairly under control.

But things change when Tiffany disappears.

One day she's there.  The next day she isn't.

Kendall's daily routines are shot as the town searches frantically for Tiffany.

Over time, the town gives up, and things seem to go back to normal.  But now someone new disappears and it's personal to Kendall.

Suddenly, messages begin to appear on a desk in the classroom.  Messages that could lead to the answers... or the end of everything.

Can she find him before it's too late?  Or will she be the next one to disappear?

Final thoughts:  A light spine-tingling horror/thriller that's more about Kendall than it is about the mystery itself.  I liked Kendall and found her to be extremely relatable, even with the OCD driving so many of her thoughts.  Jaci├ín was interesting to read, as well.  I wish their relationship could have been fleshed out more.  The ending seemed a bit rough, but went well with the overall story.  Definitely a good read for someone wanting a story that might give him/her the creeps, but also wants to sleep at night.

Rating: 4/5

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