Friday, June 27, 2014


by Anne Eliot

Three years ago, Jess Jordan was almost raped.

Three years ago, Gray Porter almost testified to jail the senior who almost raped Jess.

Now, Jess is almost normal, at least to the outside world.

Now, Gray is almost ready to tell Jess the truth about what he knows.

But promised must be kept and bargains must be made.  

In order to convince her parents that she's normal, Jess decides to get a "pretend" boyfriend.  

In order to protect her from herself, Gray becomes Jess's "pretend" boyfriend. 

Now they are getting closer, both to each other and to the truth.

Final thoughts:  Very compelling story about the aftereffects of rape, even "almost rape".  While Jess was saved on the night of the party, her sanity wasn't and this book effectively puts the reader into the mind of the victim.  With the large number of rapes in this country, most of which go unreported, girls everywhere need a book like this to help them see that there is hope even if it takes years to get to it.  This is a good companion to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.  The only real problem I had with this was the unwillingness of the characters to prosecute the attacker.  "Protecting the victim" is a fairly lame excuse in this book and the dad's reaction in the hospital after the attack was the wrong one, especially his refusal to get his daughter tested for rufies and other drugs.  It furthers this story, but it's not a decision that should be promoted.

It is also a true shame that the cover looks like it was designed in the 70's by someone on psychedelic drugs.  A new cover could really help get this book into the hands of the people who need it.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 23, 2014


by Dean Murray

Adriana Paige's mother moved them both out to Utah for a fresh start after her father and sister died in a tragic car accident.  She also hoped that getting away from the familiar would help Adriana get past the constant memories that overwhelm her and cause panic attacks that can last for days.

It isn't too long before Adriana realizes that a new place to live doesn't mean a new start on life.  The panic attacks continue and often cause fainting spells.  She also starts having extremely lucid dreams about places that she has never seen.

At school, she meets and catches the eyes of the two boys who lead the two rival factions at the school.  Somehow, she goes from being neutral party to being the person caught in the middle.

Who will Adriana choose and will that side end up being the right one?

Final thoughts:  Show!  Don't tell!!!  Constant telling... again!  There was an extreme amount of laziness here as Murray seems to decide that it's easier to skip the things that might be hard and then just tell us what happened after.  This is especially true with the final conflict.  There is also a character introduced near the end who seems to only exist to help explain something that the reader doesn't even get to see in the climax.  It's frustrating and annoying how little is actually shown throughout the book.  The Twilight element is here, as well (again) with Adriana getting the nickname of Adri, even if she doesn't want it and it makes no sense.  She's got some secret power that no one understands, yet.  She's told it's too dangerous for her to know things and to get close to people.  She could get hurt.  But she pouts a bit and his love for her is so strong that she lets her do what she wants.  His love that is too strong, too dangerous, too inexplicable.  Why they love each other is never explained.  She suddenly loves him only because he saved her mother's job and not because she actually has any real feelings for him.  But they're in love... so that's all ok.  Avoid.

Rating: 1/5

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mine to Spell

Mine to Spell
by Janeal Falor

When Cynthia's oldest sister was freed and her father was defeated and imprisoned, Cynthia and the rest of her sisters thought they would finally be able to control their own destinies.  After a lifetime of being owned by her father and forced to suppress her natural abilities, Cynthia might finally be able to practice magic.

But things are never that easy.

When death threats start appearing during family gatherings, Cynthia realizes that she must sacrifice her own happiness and be sold to a new master in order to keep her family safe.

After the contract is signed, her new master takes her away and tries to steal her magic, so Cynthia fights back.  Suddenly she has made herself a free woman... and a target.

Her sister can't help her now; she must prove her ability on her own, though she does have the help of a very handsome stranger from another land.  

Now Cynthia has one chance to prove that women can be as strong and as powerful as the men of her country, or die trying.

Final thoughts:  This is a sequel and I read the first book awhile ago, so it took some time to get back in the swing.  I didn't love it like I remembered loving the first one.  I missed Serena and the switch to her sister's POV was disconcerting.  Cynthia had some good moments, but she was really all over the place.  I think the author was going for strong and sincere, but worried for her family, and instead Cynthia came off as never able to have a consistent thought or feeling.  She's naive and constantly doubting absolutely every thought, feeling, and decision she has or has made.  The middle of the book was good, but the beginning and end were weak.

Rating: 3/5


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