Monday, January 31, 2011

Tales of the Guardian: Son of Eden by Brianna J Merrill

Son of Eden: Tales of the Guardian (Volume 1)Imagine a moment of unseen intervention on your behalf. What would you do if you discovered invisible beings surrounding you? What if you were the key to their survival? SON OF EDEN introduces a world where unseen beings really do exist, love has no limits, and the realization of one’s self worth is pivotal. Tormented by sadness over her mother’s death, Emily Wallace wonders if life really has any purpose. Her question is answered when she meets Alexander. After transgressing the laws of his kind, Alexander reveals his true nature to Emily and the two find life without one another is not an option. But, forming such a cosmically unique relationship comes with a price. It becomes apparent that some will stop at nothing to ensure an ancient prophecy surrounding these two is never fulfilled. Is the Opposition motivated by knowledge of Alexander’s true identity? Or, are they more concerned with who Emily is destined to become?

I'm having a hard time writing this review.  I really liked this novel.  It was fresh, something different than anything I'd ever read before.  This wasn't about angels, or demons or vampires or werewolves.  It started out as a story about a girl with a nightmare about an accident she'd had in which she should have died.  Instead, she'd been spared.  This same girl had her mother die two years ago from cancer and she'd sort of lost her purpose for living.  That is until she meets Alexander.  He makes her feel alive and happy.  And here is the problem.  I don't want to tell you anymore of the story because it's so unique.  What Alexander is and why he loves her.  And why she loves him.  It's sort of insta love, but not really.  Not like we see in all the other books.

Alexander is her Guardian and has been for two years.  He saved her when she almost when over the side of a cliff into an icy lake to her death.  The accident she keeps dreaming about.  He is constantly at her side, except in private moments, and invisible, until he finally decides to show himself to her and that is when life for her and Alexander changes.  Because as a Guardian, Alexander isn't supposed to be able to feel love.  And yet, he does.  And Emily realizes she loves him too after having spent a few weeks with him, not knowing who he was. When Alexander visits his realm, The Guardian Realm, which is Eden and described in beautiful detail, by the author, the Governing Five question him about his relationship and his feelings.  Some seem to understand, others are skeptical.  But he's not forbidden from showing himself to her (in human form).  And he describes his feelings. None can deny that it is love he feels, though they don't see how.

That's where I'm going to stop.  There is a lot that goes on for a first novel, yet it isn't confusing at all.  The world building is done nicely, completely understandable and  I feel like I know exactly what Alexander's world is like when  he's away from Emily, which is only when he's summoned.  I understand how the Governing Five work, and I understand the Opposition.  The author did a great job of introducing this new world with small bits of information at a time.  As Alexander explained it to Emily, he was explaining it to us.  And then we saw it for ourselves when he was summoned to his world.

The POV of the story is third person but we are really privy to Emily's thoughts and feelings and sometimes Alexander's.  There is another boy Rob, who could be a problem later in the series as he seems to be possessive of Emily, but she never liked him.  Her father, though loving towards her, isn't too well developed yet.  He worries about his daughter but we only know that because Emily says so.  He is an important part of her life and seems to be a good guy.  We will probably learn more about him later.

My only problem with the novel, and its minor, is that there was some awkward phrasing in some parts.  Now because I can't reveal more about the story, I'll say that Alexander is supposed to be just a little older than Emily who is nineteen.  But Alexander is also immortal and  has been around a long time.  Some of this is him and some the author.  I didn't expect him to say things like "I didn't want to toot my own horn."  It's a good expression and I understand it, I'm just not expecting it from my muscular, make my knees weak, hero.
It's just not a phrase I'd expect from this type of character.  Nor would I expect him to "let out a burst of laughter."  I'd expect him to chuckle, laugh loudly, laugh heartily, but not let out a  burst of laughter.
There were a few other things like that, that while didn't take away from the story, left me wondering.  Was it the writer's intention to show his lack of interaction with people. his playfulness or was she just trying not to sound like everyone else?  He certainly didn't make any social faux pas'.  And he was extremely careful of Emily's feelings.  We should all be so lucky!

This is a truly unique story line.  The characters are interesting and the new world is unlike any I've heard described before.  I haven't read the angel books, but like I said, Alexander isn't an angel.  He's a Guardian and he and Emily have a lot to do in the next two books.  I can't wait for the next two books in the series and this was written by a mother of five.  I'm hoping she'll be able to write them before they're in college!

This book was sent to me by the author's agent and in no way influenced my review of the book.  As always I offer a fair and honest review of the novels I read. Oh, and it's very clean.  I don't remember any bad words, no sex and some violence but not terrible.  I've seen worse on cartoons.

Heather in Sandwich

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Here's Why I Love to Blog

I was contacted by a woman on my email to know if the Wicked series was appropriate for her 12 yr old daughter.  I told her no way!  Not with everything that goes on.  I told her I didn't like the series for one, but that is definitely just my opinion as the Bewitched Bookworms loved them.  But I told her a few of the things that happened and told her no.  Then I started trying to recommend books.  I asked her how she found me.  I have those two Wicked Books on Paperback Swap and wondered if that was how she found me.  Nope she was just looking for recommendations and did a search and found my review of Born at Midnight.

She got me thinking about how I rate my books.  I don't rate it on whether you'll like it or not, that's an opinion, see above paragraph on Wicked.  But as far as age goes.  I usually list what happens in the book so that parents can know what is in there that they might find objectionable.  I'm thinking I might make that a little bit tighter by doing a rating system kind of like the movies.  But my mind was drawing a blank on books and the mother was on her way to the book store with her daughter.  And then it occurred to me Iron Fey and 13 to Life had both been clean and more about story line than the romance.  Her mother had already said she'd let her read the Twilight series minus a few pages (honeymoon maybe).  I told her Hex Hall, too.

She wrote me back today to say they got all the Iron Fey and 13 to Life.  I felt so helpful.  Like I worked in a bookstore!  But I thought, now that's what I write the reviews for.  We all read a lot of the same books.  We know what the big sellers are.  There are some hidden gems that some of us dig up and try to make sure people hear about.  But to be able to recommend a book to a mother looking for something appropriate for her daughter, that felt great!  Somebody else reads my blog besides the very few that I really think do.  And for all the right reasons.  To get a book recommendation.  That makes me feel great!!

So, I'm going to log off before someone can burst my bubble!  Good night and goodbye January.  I'm so glad you're almost gone!

Heather in Sandwich

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Library Thursday Blog Hop

This is a newish meme hosted by Lazy Girl Reads where you share what you checked out of the library instead of bought or swapped.
I missed last week.  My mind was on Bloggiesta and, I didn't go to the library.
This past week though as I was cruising the aisles, I picked up this:

It's by Nancy Werlin of Extaordinary fame and looks fantastic but then, with a guilty conscience I put it back because I have forty seven books in my TBR pile and more coming every day.  But I will read it because it just sounds too good to not read it.  I do however have this waiting for me to pick up.Juliet  They had to get it from another Library.  And then I requested two audiobooks one of which I've listened to that was fantastic and I've already reviewed a few spots down called Love You, Miss You, Hate You by Elizabeth Scott. 
Love You Hate You Miss You                              I also picked out another audio book for my audio book challenge calledSplit
                                 by Swati Avasthi.  I haven't listened to this one yet.
                      I also have Before I Fall on hold when it comes in.

So, that's it for me.  I won't be getting out any time soon because of the weather so it's audio books for me.  Unfortunately, it's slim pickens in the audio department.  I was glad to see the Elizabeth Scott book.  They have a great L.J. Smith series but they have books 2 and 3.  Not book 1.  It's not the Vampire Diaries.  Something about four friends with psychic abilities.  I'm hoping they'll get the first one this week.

So, what did you get from the library this week???

Heather in Sandwich

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott Audiobook Narrated by Tracy Pfau

Love You Hate You Miss YouIt's been 75 days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her. And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone now, and she doesn't want to talk about it. They wouldn't get it, anyway. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to know it's your fault.

Amy's shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was - and the present deserves a chance too.

This was an Audio book I checked out of my library.  It was narrated by Tracy Pfau.  She had a great voice for the voice of Amy who tells the story.  She changes her voice some to delineate the other characters and does a fine job with that.  This is probably the best narrator I've listened to yet.  She actually sounded like she was the right age to be telling this story.  I could picture her in the story.  And not one word was mispronounced.  The audio version of this book was 5:08:57 so I'm rounding up to 5:09.

The story itself is told in letters to Amy's dead friend Julia.  As always when people die, all the bad stuff is forgotten and only the good is remembered.  Julia is risen to sainthood status in Amy's eyes.  Laura her therapist has a very tough job on her hands trying to find a chink in the wall Amy has built around her very perfect friend Julia.  Amy hates Laura her therapist for trying to make her see Amy as anything different than perfect and she hates it when Laura clicks her pen.  It's almost comical the way she talks about it, if the subject matter weren't so serious.

Amy's parents have always been oblivious to her.  They hadn't meant to have children so they let her do whatever she wants.  They aren't aware that she drinks until the night of the accident.  Oh sure there was that time before when she had to go to the hospital because she couldn't stop throwing up from the alcohol, but Julia made up a lie and they believed it.  No, they were so wrapped up in each other, they seemed to have forgotten they had a daughter.  Julia's mother, on the other hand, was always careful, where are you going, who will you be with, you better not be drinking, and of course, Julia was wild.

But everything leads back to that night, that night that Julia died and Amy lived and her life changed forever.  She had to attend rehab camp for the summer.  She had to go to group therapy and individual counseling.  She had to go back to school and face all the people that knew what had happened.  She had to live with what she had done.  And she had to realize what she had done.

This book had some twists and turns to it that I did not expect.  I was so surprised by some of the things revealed that the ending was just kind of a soft slow ride down hill.  The climax, it was a shocker to me.  I was not expecting it at all.  I hadn't heard or read anything about this novel so I was really surprised at how much I liked it.  There was some romance, but not really happy romance.  Don't read this if you're depressed because while there is some hope, it's not a light subject and as I've said before, I think because I'm not reading it, I'm listening to it, I can keep myself removed from it enough that I don't feel it as intensely as I would otherwise.  This is why I have Before I Fall on hold to listen to and not read.  Though I may read it for comparison's sake. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I feel kind of stupid saying that considering the subject matter, but Amy grows by leaps and bounds in this book as do her parents.  It was incredibly strong on character growth and story line.
Definitely it contained adult or older YA themes in it.  Sex, drugs, alcohol, death, a little swearing and some acting out.

Heather in Sandwich

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Going Too FarAll Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

Meg has blue hair wears shirts that show her clevage and say "Peer Pressure" and hangs out with the college drop out who sells pot and drinks as an underage teen.  She's also engaging in teenage sex, but she's not in love. 

Officer After arrests her and her friends one night as they trespass on a railroad bridge despite the warnings that they are trespassing and the story that they don't know if it's true or not, of two kids being killed on the bridge when the girl's shoe got caught in the bridge tie and the boy stayed with her rather than leave her.  They'd joked about it, but while they are sitting in the police cars, the train rumbles by and they sober up thinking about it.  The other couple with Meg and her partner in crime, Eric, are the valedictorian and salutitorian of their high school.  The valedictorian has never had a drink in her life and doesn't take being arrested very well.

Meg ends up being paired up with Officer After for five days during her Spring Break as punishment for her little stunt.  Her friends have to pull similar duties with the firemen and ambulance.  The only one that gets off is Eric, the college dropout with a powerful lawyer father.  In those five days, Meg and Officer After, and John After, the man behind the uniform get to know each other and learn things about themselves and each other that truly surprise each other and themselves. 

I know it's only five days, but both characters show enormous character growth especially emotionally.  They needed to, believe me.  They were both stuck in the past.  Meg lived life dangerously because of something that had happended in her past and After lived life cautiously because of something in his past.  It takes the help of the other to recognize this.  Whether they move on or not, well you need to read it.

This was a fast simple read and very enjoyable.  I was tired and needed something to put me  to sleep.  It didn't.  I hadn't slept in 36 hours but finished all but the last 30 pages before my meds kicked in and though I wanted to, I couldn't keep my eyes open to finish.  It was the first thing I did after I took the kids to school.

I recommend this to anyone that enjoys coming of age stories.  Echols creates believable characters and dialogue.  We got to see into Meg's mind and heart, but she kept her biggest secret hidden until she revealed it to Officer After.  The story was told from her POV.  There is teenage drinking, sex and talking about sex.  And drug use, pot.  So keep it in mind when your teen reads it.  There isn't a lot of any of it except the suggestive talking and references to sex.

Heather in Sandwich

Talk to Me Tuesday Meme

Is a new meme from Melissa at I Swim For Oceans
Talk to Me Tuesday is a brand new weekly meme where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty. Questions for the next week will be posted one week prior to the post on the Features page. If you'd like to participate in this weekly feature, simply create your post, link back to me, and add your post to the wonderful Mr. Linky below. Have fun, and have at it!

This week's question: Do you have any specific literary pet-peeves in the genres you read and why?

Yes.  I too dislike the love triangle.  But I also hate the high school books where there is always one girl who rules the school.  I went to high school.  I was a floater and was in many different social circles.  There wasn't one girl that ruled my school.  I graduated  in a class of 520.  No one.  Not one girl was the Queen Bee.  No one could make or break you.  I have read countless novels that happen in high school and there is always one clique that has a Queen Bee and she can make or break your social standing.  I just got through listening to one.  "Love You, Hate You, Miss You," by Elizabeth Scott.  I'm tired of that formula.  Does that really happen?  Did it happen in your high school.  I mean sure there were popular girls, but the prettiest girl in my school, happened to be the nicest girl, too.  The cheerleaders stuck to themselves but they didn't make or break your social status.  Even the girls that got pregnant didn't lose their social status.  So what gives with having to claw your way to the top in all these books.  Was my school an anomaly?

Heather in Sandwich

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bloggiesta Wrap Up

Well, I had a huge list of things that I wanted to do and I did pretty well with it.
  • I got my tabs for my pages to the top instead of on my sidebar
  • I put labels on my posts and created a cloud with all the tabs there
  • I figured out that no one can see the tool marks on my page
  • I made a blog list of the blogs I follow instead of worrying about the buttons
  • I fixed the space that was empty underneath that was empty.  I just put more blogs on it.
  • I made a slide show of my TBR list so I can keep account of what I have
  • I figured out why my preset posts haven't been posting-my times wasn't correct on my blog.
  • I got the subscribe button on my sidebar.  I even fiddled with the html and got the outline to disappear
  • I read a book and reviewed it and put the review on Goodreads
Here are the things I did not finish-
  • I did not get a button made
  • I didn't get all my books on my challenges on the other pages but they are on my pages
  • I got most of my reviews transferred to Goodreads but nowhere else 
  • I didn't put a copyright notice on my page
But, for the most part, I think I did a really good job.  It was really a great time and productive.  And I will definitely do it again next year.  It is such a great time to get advice from others and share with others while working hard on your blog.

Heather in Sandwich (Goodbye Pedro)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bloggiesta Update Day Three

Pedro was hungover and I had to wake him up.  I on the other hand have been transferring reviews to Goodreads.  I forgot that was also a goal of mine.  But that stupid Gnome movie ad keeps coming up.
Anyone else having trouble with that?  It's making me want to crack open the bottle of rum someone gave my husband for a Christmas present.  I've never heard of the brand and it's guaranteed not to mix well with tequila, but Pedro's saying something about the hair of the dog.  I don't want the dog to have any.  I already had to clean up dog puke today.  And posted a review.  I even had to finish the other half of the book.  It was so great.  Don't look at the labels on it or it might take away from the second half, but not really too much.  The button is going to wait!  I'm just so proud that my tabs are at the top and my labels got done.  I don't think I'll be able to finish transferring all my reviews over everywhere, but I'll finish Good Reads and Library Things if Pedro doesn't make Pomegranate Mojitos.  My downfall.  What's that?  He thinks I deserve one.  It's tempting, but I really want to check things off my list so now, Pedro is no long motivating, he's a hindrance.  Someone will have to keep him in line.  He gets to clean up the next pile of doggy throw up!
Yes you do it's only fair, you slept through the last one.  I gotta go, things to do, and Pedro is fighting with the queen of arguing.  Checking back in a little while.  By the way Beth Fish (know that's not really you)  YOU ROCK!!!

Heather and a naughty Pedro in Sandwich

Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

CraveShay has had a rare blood disorder since she was born. In fact, her mother married one of Shay’s doctors, Martin, who left his world-renowned leukemia research to try and figure out exactly what the disorder is and how to cure it. When she turns seventeen, Martin begins to give her new blood transfusions that make her feel the strongest she has ever felt. But she also has odd visions where she sees through the eyes of a vampire.(Synopsis from Goodreads)

Shay has always been known as "The Sick Girl".  She doesn't attend school on a regular basis and her best friend Olivia is like her mother at school, constantly hovering and checking on her to see if she's okay.  But when Shay starts these new treatments, she starts to get short lived bursts of strength and she tests them to the limits.  Much to Olivia's disapproval.  She also has visions of someone else's life and lives through him feeling his emotions and even moving with his body movements while she gets the transfusions.  Her stepfather monitors her progress, with a reserved excitement about  it.  She only journals her dreams, she just thinks they are a weird side effect of the transfusion.  She tells no one.

Shay is a little nonchalant about dying, but after seventeen years of knowing she's going to die, I guess she has a right to be. She takes a lot of risks when she's got the chance to, but again she's got the right to do that. Her mother is nothing more than a hovering worrier, though she does put her foot down about another transfusion that sets Shay off. Shay knows nothing about her father except he deserted them and her mother hates him. The only thing she has of him is a locket and possibly this blood disorder she's dying with.

Martin, her stepfather is nothing more really than a doctor, with slightly more concern. He doesn't seem loving at all. Olivia, frankly, seems like a pain in the ass, and a duplicate mother. I'd probably ditch her if she were my friend.

But one night, Shay gets in a fight with her mother over getting another transfusion (Shay wants it) and then her stepfather and her mother fight over it and Shay, in a fit of rebellion, sneaks out of the house and her life changes forever.  She discovers things that horrify her and make her deliriously happy.  After all, without her transfusions, she figures she'll die in less than a week and so she wants to live.  And that she does.  I can't say anymore without spoiling it for you, but I'll say the book is divided into two parts, Dreams and Reality.  And, there is a huge cliffhanger.  I can't wait for the next book to come out in early September.  I hope the date gets moved up.  I would stand in line for this one, it's that good.  I got tired of this type of story for a while, but I'm back baby!  I totally recommend this one.  It was slow to start with, but towards the end of Dreams it picks up the pace and I could hardly believe it was over.

The writing is simple and flows easily.  No real thought provoking ideas.  Except maybe don't squander the life you have.  Shay skips the drugs her friends do because she's "high on life."  It's not an anti- drug message or anything, just that she's so happy to feel good she doesn't want to cloud her mind with drugs.  There is a lot of emotion and feeling in the second part of the book and maybe some understated messages there.  But it's not hit you over the head kind of stuff.  You can read the book purely for enjoyment as I did and then, when you write a review, as I'm doing, you might think about it.  I just can't say anymore about the second half.  I can't even give it a rating.  Read it for yourself and decide.  I really loved it!

Heather in Sandwich

Bloggiesta Day 3 or still finishing Day 2

Pedro has been a big inspiration to me.  We've worked through the night and completed that labeling thing.  I don't want to talk about it.  Neither does he.  We're both a bit punchy.  The tequila ran out way too early and Layers of Thought never sent any Vanilla Ice Cream.  We did the cloud thing with Blogger.  So now it's copyright for my blogs and the dreaded buttons.  Honestly Pedro said he'd pay me if I didn't do it.  So I think I'll take the money and buy some books.  Plus we only have a few but we can add some books to our challenges.  And we'll be done with everything.  Except the button.  I know.  It keeps coming back to that.  Pedro might be talked into it.  It's sunny here.  We might just take the picture I want  for my button.  But now, it's time for coffee.  And a bagel.  No, no Pedro, no more tequila.  Not if we're gonna finish the list.  At least try.  Plus I have to share the computer with David.  (I told you I was married.  This is strictly a motivational thing, Pedro.).  Ahem, so I have to relinquish the computer for awhile so I might try to compose my picture for my button.

Heather (and Pedro) in Sandwich

Bloggiesta Day two???

Ole!    Me and Pedro have been up all night putting labels on everything.  Everything!  Now we're going to see if we can make a tag cloud instead of trying to organize it.  HA! Pedro, skip the margaritas, lets go straight to the tequila shots! 

Pedro and I will check in with you in the afternoon.  It's 6:30 am and we haven't slept.  I'm thinking the tequila shots and tag clouds might put us to sleep.   And I organized my TBR pile...I put it in a slide show on my blog sidebar.  I am learning so much!!!

But, can someone  show me how to get my pages at the top instead of on my sidebar, because my page doesn't offer me the chance to do that when I make it.  Pedro and I would be ever so happy if someone could help us with that!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Okay end of day one.  Not so great.  I did get the subscribe on my blog and changed the buttons idea to the blog list which is so much better than it used to be.  It actually updates with the recent activity of you favorite blogs.  I still left some buttons up on my sidebar because some contests require the blog button.  I found out that my time was set wrong and that's why my posts don't post when I preset them.  I changed my edit choices to not have quick edits which was supposed to remove the tool marks on my blog.  But they are as plain as day to me.  Doesn't look like they disappeared at all and I can still quick edit.  So a lot of good that little choice does Blogger!

So, I still have to find out how to move my pages to the top, figure out how I want to label, tag and archive my posts.  I read Beth Fish's ideas and started working on one site she had listed for Blogger, but I think my computer was just too damn tired from me searching for all these answers.  So, before it shuts down on me, I'm shutting down for the night.  I didn't get a lot down.  But some.  And I have a gravicon and favicon and I've decided to forgo a button.  One of my favorite bloggers doesn't have one.  I figure if she can get along without one, so can I.  (Until my cousin who is a graphic designer can walk me through the process.  It's just the damn picture.  And I won't settle for less than what I want!)  So I visited some blogs and made comments and now, I'm off to read Crave which I've been dying to read for months!  See you tomorrow!  Notice my label.

Heather in Sandwich

Bloggiesta Time hosted by Maw Books

What you ask is Bloggiesta?  I'm not real sure as this is my first year, but I think it's about making your blog look better, writing up posts for books you've already read that need reviewing an general clean up.

It's hosted by Natasha at Maw Books.  I have a pretty big list.

  • I'd like to get those tool marks off my blog-done
  • I'd like to make a button for my blog
  • I'd like to get my buttons that I've picked up from other blogs in a scrolling bar on my sidebar.-changed to a blog roll which I like better
  • I'd like to fix all that extra space underneath my blogs and fill it up with something- done
  • I'd like to get my extra pages from the sidebar to the top as tabsDONE Me and Pedro finally figured it out and found the right blog post on blogger.  How simple was that dragging it over.  Now making it look nice, took a little while.  Where's that tequila bottle?  Empty?  We Haven't Made our CLOUD!!
  • I'd like to add all my reviews to Good Reads, Library Things, Amazon & B&N
  • I'd like to tag all my posts Done!  Cloud is done.  apparently blogger is trying to make things simple for me and Pedro.  Off to find a good copywrite disclaimer for my blogs.
  • *I'd like to put one of those subscribe by email things to my site-done
  • I'd like to learn how to preset posts to publish because so far, mine have not been publishing when they are supposed to-done
  • I'd like to put a copywrite disclaimer on my blog
  • I need to add books to all my challenges on other blogs and my own lists and link up
That's all I can think of at the moment but I'm sure more will come to me.  Wish me luck.  If you have suggestion, don't be afraid to suggest something I could fix to make my blog look better.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely)The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything. (Synopsis from Amazon)

I have made no secret that the Wicked Lovely Series has been my favorite of all time.  Wicked Lovely is my number one favorite book.  It was the first novel I had ever read where the faeires were dark and mean and twisted and I loved it!  No other book I've read has come close to capturing their world the way she has created it.  That being said, there were some books in the series I liked better than others.

 Wicked Lovely was my favorite, but it might be replaced by Darkest Mercy.  This was a beautiful story that wove all the threads left behind from all the other books and tied the knot.  Old characters came back, some new characters were added and the old battle with War final came to a showdown.  The twists and turns while you saw them coming had twists and turns you could never see coming because you didn't know they could happen.  But this is a faery tale and all things are possible.  Even Keenan returning.  (Grrr)!  But he is a little more likable in this story.  Seth is there in a predicament of his own.  And Aislinn trying to keep things together.

The final showdown is so chaotic that I had to keep rereading to make sure I knew what was going on.  Who was where and what had happened if anything to my beloved characters.  The aftermath is bittersweet and surprising.  This is where the stranger especially comes in to play.  And that's it.  It's all I'm going to say because I'm not going to ruin the story for anyone.  It's amazing and very complete and must have been very difficult for Melissa to write.  But she did such a great job and I am so happy that I didn't have to wait for my preordered copy to come.  I will reread it  because I got it yesterday and read it in one night.  No way was I going to bed without knowing the ending.  And the final pages were a huge surprise and so befitting who they were about I almost laughed except they were done out of love.  I will say there is a lot more romance in this final book, but there would have to be because of the conflicts between Seth, Ash, Keenan and Donia.  But it's not detailed, just very fitting.

I am such a huge fan of Melissa Marr's work.  I know Graveminder comes out in June and I believe she has another trilogy she's writing totally unrelated to this series.  I'd love to have her creativity and imagination.  But, instead, I will settle for reading the worlds and characters she creates and the stories she weaves so magically.  If you like faeries and haven't read this series, what are you waiting for?  I think it sets the standard by which I measure all other stories about faeries.  Oh, and the cover is much better when you see it in person!

Heather in Sandwich

Logic of Demons the Quest for Nadine's Soul by H.A. Goodman

Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine's SoulWhat would you do if the love of your life was murdered by a deranged killer? Would you become a vigilante and seek retribution? And would this revenge affect those you care for in the afterlife? LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul takes you on a journey inside the psyches of men and women forced to deal with the spiritual consequences of their decisions. Through the lives of a demon, two Angels, and a mysterious teenage girl, a plethora of politically and socially relevant issues ranging from the roots of genocide and sex trafficking to child conscription and religious fundamentalism are addressed in this fantasy thriller. Life as well as the afterlife converge in this novel to explain certain peculiarities of the human condition. Whether you are God fearing individual or an atheist, LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul addresses moral and theological issues of interest for people of all backgrounds. (From Amazon)

I received a free copy of this novel from the author but this in no way influenced my review.  As always I will give an honest review of the novel.  I was in no way compensated for the review.  I'm sorry, but reading the synopsis of this book would make me not want to read it.  It makes it sound boring, religious and preachy.  It isn't that way at all!

I really didn't know what to expect when I read the letter that came with the book from the author.  He seemed to be concerned about the graphic things that happened in the novel and the religious overtones.  But to me it was just a story and that's how I read it.  It didn't preach and really the sex trafficking and child conscription were not graphic and essential to the story line.  It wasn't inappropriate in any way.  So, to get to the meat of it.  The main character has been to hell and back in the last few weeks when the story opens up and he is on the edge.  He's considering taking justice into his own hands-vigilante style.  And how many times have we seen something on t.v. where a murderer is let go on a technicality and we've thought how we'd like him to get his on the streets.  But Devin, our main character finds himself in that same position and temptations is just to great.  He then finds himself in various places after he dies working to sell "The Formula" to various individuals without  thinking about it only focused on getting back to his wife Bridget and his unborn son.

Life handed him a hard lesson which he didn't learn and he's not learning it any better in the afterlife.  He's tested again and again.  Until he finally finds something to hang onto.  Everyone in the afterlife is bent on either selling Nadine the Formula or saving her soul, depending on which side of the afterlife you come from and who you work for.  So who is Nadine?  She's a young teenager, who lives with her alcoholic Uncle Gustav who does nothing but resent the fact that he has to take care of her because her father was killed in a drive by in a case of mistaken identity and her mother died in jail, a junkie.  She's very depressed and has a secret.  But she's also a very talented artist, drawing anime throughout most of her classes and lives for her meetings with her anime club on Thursdays during lunch.  It seems to be the only thing that brings her happiness.

Devin is dragged through hell, earth, heaven, hell, and many other places before he's finally put on trial for failing to find his moral compass in time.  Many surprises occur during the trial  and after but the true test comes down to the quest for Nadine's soul.  I had a problem with the ending.  I didn't mind how the characters were concluded, in fact it was very clever and unique. But Nadine was depressed to the point of suicide and it felt like the author resolved those feelings too easily.  Here is one quote, "With the help of her imagination, she had defeated the foundation of her sadness, the rationale of her deepest insecurities and darkest emotions."  It isn't a mind over matter thing.  Depression is a serious illness and suicide is the lowest point of  that depression.  At that point, your imagination doesn't help you out of it.  Intervention, medication therapy, friends, possibly a hospital stay, all of that is needed to bring you back from that threshold.  I know.  I've been there and it  isn't easy to get back from.  It's my only complaint with the novel. 

I thought it was a great story with a real twist at the end.  I never expected it and couldn't figure out how Nadine knew so much.  It was great to see Devin grow from such a selfish desire driven person to a person driven by good and belief in doing the right thing.  The author obviously has a great imagination to create such a twisted and complicated story, yet bring all the story lines to a satisfying end.  I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a great story.  It isn't religious in any way except for locale.  I would say there are some graphic scenes in it, but not sexual, more violent.  And unfortunately, true.

This is definitely an adult book or an older YA reader 17 or older.  There are scenes in it that are inappropriate for younger than that.  But it is definitely worth reading.  I'd read it again in a heartbeat and though it kind of taught a lesson, it didn't beat you over the head with it.  It was a very good story.  Just didn't like the dismissive way depression was treated.  Will I read other books by this author?  You bet!  He knows how to tell a story!

Heather in Sandwich

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Paper Towns By John Green Audiobook Narrated by Dan John Miller

Paper TownsQuentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

This was the audio version of Paper Towns that I borrowed from the library.  It was eight hours and three minutes.  However, borrowing from the library was somewhat difficult for me.  I had to get another program other than Overdrive, which is what the library uses to download their audio books.  Then I had to reset my computer so that audio books downloaded into the Overdrive folder instead of Windows Media Player which cannot read the Overdrive files because of a suffix.  In all, it took several hours of my time to figure out what was wrong and correct the problem.  Thankfully, the library help section had the information I needed.
Also the chapters on the Overdrive book, do not match the chapters the audio book, so I kept getting lost when I had to move to a new part of the book.  Overdrive downloads in parts so there were five or six parts to this novel.  That got very confusing when my iPod had chapter 34 and the audio said chapter 12.  The narrator, Dan Miller, was really good, excellent in fact.  At first I thought he was too old to portray a teenage boy and then I remembered how my son's voice is changing and I thought, no it's probably just right.  And the way he changed his voices for different characters was fantastic, especially the character of Radar.

To the story.  I have not read a John Green story, though I've read great reviews of them.  There were some slow parts to the story to me, but for the most part, I can't believe it was eight hours long.  I had a few family interruptions which ticked me off as I had announced I was listening to a book and I'd appreciate no interruptions.  My husband was the worst.  My iPod seemed to not like to stop quite as quickly as I needed it to.  As I finally settled into the story, I lost all track of time and what was going on around me.  I could easily picture Orlando, and the little suburb where Q and Margo lived.  The story starts with Margo appearing out of nowhere, well her house, but she and Q are not friends, and she asks him to drive her around all night long as they carry out a plan of revenge Margo has created against friends who have wronged her.  Q fully expects to see her the next day and with only half an hour of sleep, he goes to school preserving his perfect attendance record and doesn't think anything of it when Margo doesn't show up.  Of course, she needs her sleep.

Time goes by, Margo is missing and the police are called.  Her parents say she's run away before, four times, and now that she's 18 they are washing their hands of her.  Q is alarmed and sets off on a journey to find her believing that she's left clues to find her.  With him on his journey are his best friend Radar, a computer whiz whose parents own the largest collection of black Santas in all the world, and Ben, who is irritating and obnoxious and is known as Bloody Ben at school.  And an unlikely companion is Lacey, Margo's best friend, that Margo exacted revenge on for not telling her that her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else.  Lacey is  determined to find Margo so she can let her know she had no idea he was sleeping with someone else. 

At times, as Q and friends are figuring out the "clues" Margo left behind, I felt as if I were reading 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.  But there is no evidence of a suicide, though at different points in the story, Q and sometimes all of the friends are afraid that Margo has killed herself, just the same.  I liked the bond between the three boys formed years before.  They were real friends despite each of them having faults and Radar and Ben really stick by Q in his relentless pursuit of finding Margo.  It's not often that you see guys have such a strong bond unless it's through sports and then it's superficial.  These guys were in band together, but they were friends outside of band.  At one point Q leaves a place he's sure Margo will show up at, to be the designated driver after a prom party when an extremely drunk Ben calls him.  There's a very funny "and I said,  and she said, and I said " scene that isn't annoying with the narrator saying that because it's comical when a sober person is talking to an extremely drunk person.

There are some incredible laugh out loud scenes, some funny moments, no crying, at least not for me but then as I'm finding with audio books, I'm able to detach myself from the story easier than if I'm reading it.  The ending is satisfying, and not predictable at all.  I will read more of John Green's books.  I like his story telling and the humor in it.

As far as  age appropriateness goes.  There is some swearing including the biggies, and a lot of reference to male genitalia.  A few references to someone losing their virginity.  So maybe older teens 14 or so on up.  Oh, and there is drinking to the point of being throwing up drunk.

I'd recommend the audio version of this book to anyone that wants to read Paper Towns but doesn't have the time or for an introduction to John Green.  It's a good laugh in some places.  I'm sure if you wanted to get philosophical there are some places that he would make you think.  I chose to gloss over them and just listen rather than think in depth.  I enjoyed the narrator, as I said he did the different voices very well, you could always tell who was talking.  I will probably listen to it again glaring at anyone who dares to interrupt me!

Heather in Sandwich

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Library Thursday Blog Hop

This is a weekly meme hosted by Lazy Girl Reads.

This is a meme dedicated to sharing what you may have borrowed from the library this past week.  Or maybe you didn't go to the library.  I didn't.  But, from my trusty computer and with a lot of hard work, I borrowed two audio books for my audio book challenge.  Paper Towns by John Green which I've been wanting to read for a long time.  I'm saving it for snow shoveling this weekend so I can join the mini challenge at The Bewitched Bookworms one of my favorite Blogs which is hosting the Whisper in my Ear Challenge.
I also checked out Fangland by John Marks, Ellen Archer et all.  This one might not be YA, but it looked funny and my library doesn't have a lot to offer.  Now, I did see another library system that had Perfect Chemistry and the one that comes after that.  And several Sarah Dessen books.  And Before I Fall.  I've been avoiding it, but it's one of my reading resolutions.  I will read it this year!  Or listen to it.

Paper Towns                                                                                         Fangland     
So what did you borrow from the library this week?

Heather in Sandwich

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

The Demon Trapper's DaughterRiley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

I received an ARC of this book from Early Reviewers at Library Things.  There is another cover of this book with a slightly different title but I think this is the version they are going with.

I found the story slow going in the beginning.  I think that happens a lot with series.  The author has to build the world, the characters have to be introduced and there is so much to learn, some of it to be filed away for another book in the series.  I  found myself putting this one down from time to time to read other books and then picking it up again.  My main problem was I didn't like Riley.  She had a crappy life, no doubt.  But she was whiny and she complained a lot.  She was supposed to  be tough, but I just didn't feel it.  She wasn't believable to me.  She was very flat.  It wasn't until the very last pages of the book that I really felt any of her emotions though there were plenty of opportunities for her emotions to be felt.

I didn't feel her connection to Simon either.  I thought he was weird.  He seemed more like a priest than a boyfriend, touching his cross all the time and praying.  They would kiss, I'm not even sure if any tongue was involved (sorry for sounding so juvenile) and then he'd pull back and say she was such a temptation.  Please!  Their relationship was not believable to me either.

The only relationship that seemed real was the one she had with her father.  He was concerned, stood up for her and had the "everything will be okay attitude" when she was facing some real trouble.  He was her trainer and understandably kept her out of harms way.  They seemed to share fond memories of better times and Riley had a good childhood until her mother got sick.  Her father seemed to be an upstanding citizen, a born teacher and when his job teaching history ended he learned how to trap demons and became a teacher at that.  I could feel the father daughter relationship.

Beck, Paul's trapping partner is another character that is just too over the top.  Indiana Jones with a bad attitude and maybe a drinking problem.  He wears leather and drinks whiskey or energy drinks and I can't tell if he has a crush on Riley or a fatherly instinct towards her.  In any case, he does recognize she's in danger and saves her butt a few times.

There are a few more vile characters, all male, no likable females at all.  It's a male dominated world.  And they don't like a female in their world.  Most of them anyway.  Trapping a demon is disgusting, dirty hard and dangerous.  Riley tries to trap a demon she's not trained to trap and gets into trouble on all fronts.  When she isn't whining, Riley is either in high school, training to be a trapper or guarding something. (spoiler if I give it away).  She's smart enough to discover a problem with the holy water the trapper's use to heal their wounds, protect themselves in a circle and stun the demon's and that will probably be part of the next book as it's only addressed at the very end.  The action in the book is fast paced and I'd say from the middle on I was  interested enough that I couldn't put it down.  I had to find out what would happen next and who this guy was and what would she do about this.  And Riley stopped whining as much and started doing.  I guess she grew up some.  I still didn't feel her and Simon together.

Another male character was introduced, Ori, a demon hunter, sanctioned by the Vatican, he kills demons instead of trapping them.  They seem to be one step up on the ladder from trappers.  Ori seems to be watching over Riley as well and she can't help but notice his hottiness.  I know that probably isn't a word, but neither is eye candiness and that's they only other way he's described.  Anyway, I can see a love triangle coming. 

I think the series has promise.  Beck and Riley are at constant odds.  Tragedy has struck the Trappers Guild.  A t.v. show depicting Demon Hunters is supposed to be coming to film the Trappers at work.  And Simon and Riley, according to her are moving fast in their relationship.  So, there is a lot of action, a little romance, and an interesting if sometimes slow story line.  The story is better than the characters.

This book is definitely for an older YA as there is a very explicit scene with talk about pornography and inappropriate words referring to homosexuality and some physical abuse.  I don't know what age that's appropriate for but there is also a potential rape scene. 

Will I read the second book in the series?  Yes.  The author leaves enough questions unanswered that I'll want to see how she works things out.  The ARC by the way, has a huge spoiler on the back which it doesn't seem like the book has so I could have explained a lot more if that piece of information had been revealed.  In any case, I'd recommend it for the story line which is different from anything I've read.

Heather in Sandwich

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie Audio Book Narrated by Kate Simses

MatchedCassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

First, if you didn't read my title, this was an Audio Book purchased from Audible, a division of Amazon.  I'll tell you about the book first and then the narrator and narration of the book.

This was a dystopian novel, not my favorite type, but this book has been so hyped, I decided I needed to read it.  Part of my problem with dystopian novels is that they all seem to be the same.  Everyone is living the same  life, their jobs have been assigned, no creativity is allowed, the number of children is dictated, everything is the same.  It's the Giver, it's City of Ember, in some way, the citizens are being monitored and the powers that be know everything that's going on.  Or maybe it's just that I hate the idea that in some ways, Big Brother is already watching and monitoring us, very much like the novel.  It rings too true.  In any case, it's a contrived love story, and messing with love, not something I ever want to consider. 

In this society, anytime after your seventeenth birthday, you can be called to your matching banquet where you are given a dress to wear, that other girls have worn, and will wear again, and you feast on a delicious banquet of food.  Other days, their food is sent to their house on an aluminum tray, perfectly proportioned and nutrionally balanced.  At the banquet, a young girl's name is called and she goes and stands before a screen and her match is shown to her.  When Cassia stands before the screen, as you already know from the blurb on the book  she is matched with Xander her childhood friend.  But what happens next throws her for a loop and the tight hold the Society has on her, her family and even her neighborhood, begins to unravel.

Cassia's information card on Xander, briefly displays Ky's face as her match, then it goes back to Xander.  She hides her card in her pocket and doesn't tell anyone.  Then the Society sends a woman to take her card and give her a new one and give her information about Ky she shouldn't know.  And things begin to snowball from there.  She and Ky are thrown together by accident or design, we don't know.  He has one of the worst jobs in the Society, but spends his leisure time with Cassia and her friends.  The more I read the more angry I got about the society.  They had a committee that chose the Best 100 Songs, Poems, History Lessons etc, Then they destroyed everything.  Can you imagine them destroying a Van Gogh or a Monet because it wasn't chosen by a random committee of people?  Maybe they preferred Andy Warhol.  What if we had to read the same 100 stories and there were no more writers?  It gets worse, but I won't tell you how, you'll have to read it.  And the way the Society messes in Cassia's life gets worse as it affects everyone who knows her.

This book didn't wow! me like I'm hearing other people say.  I definitely hope that Crossed, the book that is coming out next November is a sequel to this book as it feels unfinished.  I felt like Xander was constantly surprising me with his decisions and his daringness and how kind he was to Cassia.  I thought Cassia was being led to making her decisions and she should have realized it, especially towards the end of the novel.  Every time a certain person showed up, she should have known she should be careful in some way or another.  But she never learned the lesson.  Never learned from her mistake.

As far as listening to it on audio, I think it was a hard book to listen to on audio because there were certain things I didn't understand and I needed to read them I think to understand.  Rewinding it and hearing it again just didn't help.  I didn't understand why Ky's parent's were dead.  I didn't really understand what had happened with Ky's adoptive parent's (his aunt and uncle) birth son.  I needed to read these parts to understand them and I still don't understand them.  Maybe they aren't clearly explained in the book either.  I don't know.  But, I'll have to look at a copy of the book to see if I can understand those parts, which means I'll be checking it out of the library.  The narrator, was fine, her voice was a little immature or innocent sounding, something I can't put my finger on.  Like the world was full of wonder, yet she just accepted the world she lived in without question.  I don't know, the character and the voice were so melded together so alike, I think the voice matched the character very well.

This fulfills part of my Whisper in My Ear audio book challenge.  It also is part of my Bucket list challenge for  the dystopian part.
Heather in Sandwich

Glass House Bk1 Morganville Vampires Audiobook by Rachel Caine Narrated by Cynthia Holloway

Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, Book 1)Claire is a 16-year-old math whiz whose parents decided she should spend two years at a small local college instead of taking her scholarships to an Ivy League school. How were they to know that Morganville, Texas, is a town controlled by vampires and that the leader of the popular girls, Monica, will soon be out to get Claire? Cynthia Holloway makes very real the vengeful dynamics of Monica and her "girls" as they hunt and torment Claire. She shows Claire's vulnerability and demonstrates the comfort Claire finds in making new friends, who eventually help save her life. As Claire s confidence builds, Holloway gives focus to her growing resolve and strength.

I listened to the audio version of this book purchased from Audible a division of Amazon. Audible gives a good long sample of the book for you to determine if you like the narrator, book, etc.  I'll be honest, I had a hard time finding a voice I liked.  But I like the voice for the Morganville Vampires so I'll probably get all of them, slowly.  Audio books aren't cheap, but it's nice to be able to listen on my iPod and do other things.

First, the story.  Claire is super smart and young at a low quality community college.  Worse than that she's in a crappy dorm ruled by a Queen bee, yes, even in a crappy dorm who really seems to be trying to kill her.  She got on Monica's radar by making her look stupid in front of some frat guys and that's all it took.  She gets pushed down a flight of stairs and left there.  I thought her neck was broken and she'd get turned into a vampire and the story would work out that way.  But no, I was wrong.  Claire is smart and clever so she looks to the roommate wanted ads and finds a funky place that needs a roommate.  Basically she saves herself.

Claire doesn't believe the story about Morganville being filled with vampires until she's chased home by one.  Then their is one of her roommates that sleeps all day and is only awake at night.  Is he a vampire or something else?  And why all the secret rooms in the house and what's the story with her Goth roommate's boss, Oliver?

Then, Claire discovers something that all the vampire's in town want and when they find out she has it, they'll do anything to get it.  Anything, even if it means killing and more.  And it looks like they've got everyone working for them.  It's amazing how the roommates get out of this only to find themselves in a much worse situation.  And the enemy is close to home.  The book leaves you in a definite cliffhanger.

About the narrator.  She changed her voice to denote different characters and it was a decent job.  She had some pronunciation problems I thought.  She said the word "settee" very strangely.  There were a few other words she pronounced "wrong" to me but otherwise she did a great job reading the book.  I liked her voice.  She was young so it fit the book.  I would recommend this audio book to anyone that wanted to listen to an audio book with suspense that moved quickly with a hint of romance and a lot of running from vampires!

Like I stated above I enjoyed this audio book enough that I'll be downloading the whole set, if I have enough room on my iPod!
Heather in Sandwich
This fits my audio book challenge, vampire challenge, start a new series challenge, and several things in my bucket list-audio book, start a new series, start a popular series, read a vampire book, read a book that takes place in college. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused by Kari Lee Townsend

When you make a face or cross your eyes, do your parents tease that if you're not careful, your face might stay that way forever?  Well, my parents said that if I'm not careful, I'll turn into one of my gadgets. I thought they were joking, people!  But-somehow, someway-I have become a living, breathing, walking piece of technology. Apparently my head now has a built-in GPS and my palm is equipped with talking and texting capabilities-just like my cell phone.  Now I'm a techno-superhero with powers that seem to have a mind of their own. And, in my case, keeping a secret identity is harder than it sounds. I short-circuit every time Trevor Hamilton looks my way.  Like being a girl isn't stressful enough. (From the book).

Samantha Granger is having a hard time.  She's been moved from home, her parents are separated, and her favorite person, Gram, her dad's mom is thousands of miles away.  She has made friends at school and has a crush on the cute guy on the football team who just happens to have the locker next to her.  But just as he's starting to show interest, she becomes a "freak."  She was walking home from her friends house and gets lost in the woods.  She sees something fall in the woods.  She discovers a meteorite and touches it while holding her cell phone and voila she's thrown back 20 feet and loses her phone.

She walks home, not lost anymore but able to get straight home without any help.  And other weird things happen to her and suddenly her whole life changes.  She is fused with her cell phone.  And she doesn't realize it until the next morning when her phone, which she'd left on vibrate, begins to vibrate on her hand.  She realizes what happened, and does the only thing she can do, uses her mother's 80's fingerless gloves to cover her hand.

A myriad of things happen to her as she discovers the many things her Electro Craze phone can actually do.  Most phones can't predict exactly where the soccer ball is going to go while Sam plays goalie. And most phones can't tell the major cities of South Africa and their population.  And then the popular girl starts spreading rumors that Sam's father was fired from the company both he and her mother worked for the company that designed the Electro Craze, for doing something illegal.  And because of the meteorite, the town is crawling with scientist and men in dark sunglasses. Something Sam doesn't need.  And all of a sudden, Grams is at the door, come to Sam's rescue, sort of and her father is in town. 

Now, Sam needs to find out how to become unfused, stay away from the scientists, and somehow keep her hormones from overloading every time Trevor tries to kiss her, because her circuits overload and her body is taken over by the Electro Craze.  It marches her away to take over a 911 call.  But that isn't her worst problem.  And things only get worse as the story goes on.

The story is a combination of middle school problems, technological superhero problems, boy problems and all the usual middle school craziness.  There is the typical bitch who rules the school, but Sam has good friends.  The football jock, who isn't dense or wrapped around anyone's finger.  Sam and her best friend Mel play soccer, no shrinking violets.  Samantha doesn't hide her head and say woe is me.  She's a strong girl and goes after solving her problem head long.  I like her character.  The book is told from her POV and she's funny and with the phone capabilities downloaded into her, really smart!  It's a step up as far as age group from Karma Bites, but it's clean and fast and really fun to read.  It's a great debut book. I read it in a few hours and was laughing at several parts.  Especially her superhero costume and her superhero names which she constantly changes because people keep messing it up.

I definitely recommend this for young readers 9 and up.  Reluctant readers will definitely enjoy this.  It's got a hint of romance, totally clean, and suspense and mystery with middle school craziness thrown in.  It's the story of Samantha the Superhero trying to live a normal life as an 8th grader.  We'll be seeing her again in the next installment of The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused.

Heather in Sandwich

Library Thursday Blog Hop

             New Weekly Meme:  Library Thursday Blog Hop

The Library Thursday Blog Hop is a new weekly meme hosted by
Each week, I will list which books I've picked up, put on hold, skimmed through at the library. It's a great way to see what other bloggers are browsing through while we are waiting for new titles to come out. And it's a blog hop! So you can make some more bloggy friends. YAY!
Grab a button and sign up with your post on the linky below so others can check out what you're checkin' out! (see what I did there?)

I don't have any Library Books right now, but I have made use of the library more so here in Sandwich than anywhere else we've ever lived.  I've definitely been a weekly visitor.  The last books I had were Splendor Falls, a Gothic romance/mystery set in modern times by Rosemary Clement Moore.  I had to return it before I finished it.  I also read Vamped by Lucienne Diver.  And I had some of the 39 Clues books for my 10 year old.


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