Monday, July 29, 2013

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Gabe may have been born a girl, but he's always been a boy at heart.

A lover of music spanning the decades and inspired by a DJ neighbor with a collection to rival that of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gabe is on a quest to finish high school and finally be able to be the boy he feels he was always meant to be.

He starts his journey with a midnight radio show on a local station called "Beautiful Music for Ugly Children".

On his quest, he inspires people, gives them hope, leads them to crazy acts of bravery around the town, and he finally finds people who may actually accept him for who, and what, he is.

But no journey in life is without its potholes, and Gabe has a rough rode ahead.

Final thoughts: Immediately upon starting this book, I thought of a few students I've met over the years who could use a book like this.  It's realistic and gritty with moments of intense hate and real love.  Gabe's life changes aren't easy for everyone around him to accept, and even he struggles with the practical side of things, though he never even once thinks he might be wrong.  He's always known that though he was born with female parts, he's a male through and through.  His struggles are the struggles of many in the LGBTQ community, not just the transgenders, but it's good that trans teens finally have something to which they can read and relate.  It's not perfect, but it's a good start.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Taking Back Forever

Taking Back Forever
by Karen Amanda Hooper

(Book #2 of the Kindrily series starts immediately after Grasping at Eternity with NO review of previous plot points, so if you haven't read the first one, you'll be really confused with this one.)

Maryah finally believes what the people around her have been telling her; she's the reincarnation of Mary, the leader of the family who "erased" her memory after her last life.

However, she's still unable to control her abilities and help her family as much as she wishes.  She's especially frustrated that she can't help her friend, Harmony, find her soulmate.

When it comes to light that Harmony's soulmate is not only alive, but the murderer of Maryah's family, the need to find him and find out what happened becomes even more important.

Now Maryah must fight to find her memories and regain control of her abilities, while Harmony must find her soulmate, but neither realize how much danger they have put their family in yet.

Final thoughts: It was interesting to finally read the second book of a trilogy that didn't spend the first few chapters in review of the previous book.  The relationships are becoming stronger, though the magic sometimes seems out of place.  Maryah's new knowledge of her past is fascinating and I love learning about her lives with her.  Harmony's voice is interesting, but I missed Nate's side of things.  The book ends fairly calmly unless you read past Hooper's warning and read the first section of the third book.  GOOD story coming there.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fifth Grave Past the Light

Fifth Grave Past the Light
by Darynda Jones

Reyes Farrow, Son of Satan, is now Charley's new neighbor and Charley doesn't really mind at all.

In fact, it's kind of handy since her own apartment has been overrun by dead blondes, none of whom will talk to her to explain what's going on.

As the one and only Grim Reaper walking the planet right now, it makes sense that they've come to her, but they're not really helping her help them find peace.

Between the dead blondes, an arsonist burning down old buildings, a cheating husband, a woman who appeared dead and then wasn't, and a prediction of a few deaths of people she loves, Charley's got a LOT on her plate.

Final thoughts: I LOVE Charley!!!  She and Reyes are awesome and this book had more of them together, yet still not enough.  If I had any issue with this book, it was in the setting up of the end of the series (which, let's face it, could still be a dozen books away as long as Charley and Reyes get more time together).  There was time spent bringing in and/or mentioning characters from previous books for just a few moments and then forgetting them again.  It felt like Jones was just trying to make sure we remembered everyone as she gets ready to bring them all together.  However, it's still Charley and it's still quirky fun.

Rating: 4/5

Grasping at Eternity

Grasping at Eternity
by Karen Amanda Hooper

Maryah Woodsen is a fairly typical teen.  She's got parents who often say the wrong thing and a twin brother who tries to keep the peace, but teases his sister relentlessly.

Her life is pretty good.

Until the screaming starts.

After weeks recovering in the hospital, Maryah is moved across the country to her godmother's home.

There, she meets a family who take her in immediately and seem to love her with almost no hesitation.  The only person who seems to actively avoid her is Nathan, her godmother's son.

But Nathan is avoiding her for a reason.

It turns out that the entire family are kindrily, a kind of family that reincarnates and finds each other over and over again.  The only condition to them being together is that they keep their memories from one life to the next and never "erase" between lives.

And Maryah did just that.  She erased after her last life and no one understands why, least of all her soulmate for the last five centuries, Nathan.

Now Maryah and her new family have to find a way to work together because something is coming, and it's possible that Maryah's the key to it all.

Final thoughts: This is a nice, new, original story that I really liked.  The whole idea of the reincarnation of soulmates and keeping or erasing memories is fascinating.  My only real issue was with Hooper trying to explain the Elements and how those Elements gave supernatural powers to each of the members of the kindrily.  It felt a little forced.  However, that doesn't stop the coolness factor of the story itself.  I'm looking forward to the second book.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, July 5, 2013

Click to Subscribe

Click to Subscribe
by L.M. Augustine

Sam Green (a.k.a. West Ryder) has a thriving and popular vlog and on online romance with one of his subscribers (Harper) who posts comments at 2:02 p.m. every day on the dot.

West Ryder (a.k.a. Sam Green) has a crappy home life, especially after his mother died in car accident caused by his alcoholic father.  His only two joys are his alternate identity's vlog and his best friend, Cat.

When Sam and Harper agree to finally meet up in person, it's a Catfish moment as West realizes that Harper is really his best friend, Cat, who fell in love with him years before and has only now been able to confess it.

Now West and Cat must navigate this new layer of their relationship, while West must also deal with his father's alcoholism and the constant reminders of the loss of his mother.

Final thoughts: Meh. West and Cat have a cool friendship, but the "witty repartee" gets really annoying really quickly.  There are also a number of consistency errors with things like West mentioning that he works at Starbucks to help pay the bills, but then he's NEVER there and even meets his Catfish at an unremarkable coffee house somewhere else.  All he does is go to school, go home, vlog, do homework, rinse, repeat, so when does he go to this nightly job that he mentions ONCE?  The lack of closure at the end regarding his relationship with his father is frustrating, too.  However, the relationship between West and Cat feels as real and as chaotic as any typical high school budding romance.

Rating: 3/5


Related Posts with Thumbnails