Sunday, June 15, 2014

Body in the Woods (Review)

4/5 stars

The Body in the Woods (Goodreads  | Amazon) is a nice little suspenseful mystery for the young adult crowd.  For me, this was a quick read.  There's nothing brilliant or mind-blowing, just an interesting story about three teens who find a strangled girl while volunteering with Portland Search and Rescue.  When one of the teens, Ruby, starts doing research she begins to suspect it might not be the isolated incident that the police think it is but might be the work of a serial killer.

The mystery is believably constructed with a valid reason the police don't believe it's a serial killer, which gives the teenagers a good reason to investigate the crime on their own.  What they do isn't unbelievable or unrealistically dangerous but small things that curious teens would likely do.  I think it's important for any YA mystery to use restraint on how much teens put themselves into danger for investigating crimes.  I need to believe it, which is a combination of creating characters that would try to solve a crime and giving them a reason to investigate it themselves.

Speaking of the characters, I can't say that I connected with them on a particularly deep level.  They each had their own backstories and problems which contributed to the book (and the investigation) but they didn't really jump off the page.  I was glad that the book gave the characters backgrounds made them want to investigate the crime and gave clues to the investigation.  At times, there may have been a little bit of melodrama but the book never lost the main plotline even with the switching point of views and teenagers who had a life outside of Portland SAR.

Overall a solid mystery if you're wanting something to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received an advanced reading e-copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Month of Me (Belated post)

Once again for the month of May (my birth month) I decided to take a break from the pressure of galleys and read whatever I wanted to read.  It was nice to make a dent in my to-be-read list (a small minor dent but still it's something) and to read books on my shelves and kindle for a change. In time, I do plan to review these books but for now I'm just going to give you a list of the books I read during May.

  1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart -Yes it was a galley but one by a favorite author that I was dying to read.
  2. The Diviner's by Libba Bray - This has been on my shelf since Christmas.
  3. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (who I think is the biggest sweetheart and who's book I bought but kept not having time to read so I saved it for this month)
  4. Indexing by Seanan McGuire - I started this book a year ago as a Kindle Serial but my Kindle always lost it's place when it updated so I waited until the book was complete to finish the story.
  5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Why did I wait so long to read this geek fantastic book?
  6. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - I seem to like everything he writes. 
  7. More Than This by Patrick Ness - Another favorite author and a book I received at Christmas. 
  8. The Living by Matt de la Pena - I finished this June 2 but I started it in May so it's going on this list. Another favorite author and book I'd been waiting to read. 
So that's my productive to-be-read tackling month of me!  When going through this list I realized I hadn't put half on Goodreads because I'd just been reading for fun, not tracking or writing things down.  It was a great month of books that reminded me why I love to read.  I'll definitely be doing this again next May!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hexed (review)

3/5 stars

Hexed (Goodreads | Amazon) is a fairly cute read.  In the vein of an ABC family drama, it follows a popular cheerleader Indigo who's quirky mother runs an occult shop in Los Angeles.  Indigo tries to be normal, as normal as the teen daughter of a single-mother wannabe-witch can be.  Then one day while driving to her mom's shop she witnesses a man die.  That's when things start getting weird.  Next thing she knows she's gone from cheerleader, to trying to find her mother's stolen witch Bible while running from sorcerers and trying to figure out if she might be a witch herself.

This book, with one HUGE exception, is lighthearted and silly.  That's not a bad thing itself.  I actually like the light tone and fluffy approach to paranormal that this book takes.  What I don't like is the romance, which seems to move at hyper-speed with little development and the back-stabbing catty popular friend's that are just a little too cliche.  Also, I don't like that Indigo walks all over her childhood best friend Paige.  That whole part felt illogical.  Indigo treats Paige like shit, Paige continues to be nice to Indigo and then sticks by her when no one else does.  Let's be honest, there's no way Paige would've stuck around or risked her life for someone who treated her like Indigo did.

But here's the thing, despite the book's flaws I enjoyed myself while reading it, especially the beginning before any of the romance began.  It's a quick read and if you like paranormals and don't mind silly teen romance then you might like this book.

I received an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Second Star (review)

4/5 stars

Second Star (Goodreads | Amazon) is a book I had to read.  Since childhood, I have loved all things Peter Pan. In adulthood that love has only increased.  Maybe it's the idea of not having to face adulthood or maybe it's the misleading innocence of this magical island with no adults.

I'm not sure what I expected from a Peter Pan retelling, maybe more magic, but Second Star is a dreamy sort of contemporary that toes the line with magical realism (or maybe has an unreliable narrator).  It's a book filled with uncertainties, stemming mainly from the main character of Wendy Darling who is struggling the disappearance,and presumed death, of her two brothers.

It's a book about coping and not coping with loss as we follow Wendy on the journey to find Michael and John that leads her to a hidden beach where she meets Peter, Belle and all of the familiar faces from the original Peter Pan. In this novel some of them are more fleshed out, made human for the contemporary setting.  Instead of a lost island, we get a little beach with perfect waves filled with runaway young surfers.

If this story had a weak spot it was the Hook/drug storyline.  I don't want to give too much away but what happens here detracts from a otherwise intriguingly original storyline.  For me, I just can't buy the choices Wendy makes even if I understand the reason she supposedly makes them.

What keeps this novel from falling apart with the dodgy romance and the Hook storyline is the writing and Wendy's grief.  I bought her desperation when I did not buy her actions which pulled me through the weaker sections.  Overall this felt dreamy, moody and was an interesting take on the Peter Pan storyline.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.