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Chasing Power – Sarah Beth Durst

Chasing Power cover Chasing Power
By: Sarah Beth Durst
Available Oct 2014

Description:
Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

This Blonde’s Review:
Kayla isn’t your typical teenager. She’s a thief, she lies to her mother, and she can move things with her mind. Her mother knows about the last part, but she doesn’t know about the first. Kayla needs to have an escape plan at all times, and that escape plan includes having some cash put to the side in case of emergency.

When a guy named Daniel shows up that she doesn’t know but claims to know her name and what she can do. Rather than asking for help Daniel jumps straight to blackmail, trying to force her to do what he wants. Kayla isn’t interested in that and doesn’t trust him. But when he teleports her from one place to another she knows that he doesn’t have the same power she does but Daniel isn’t exactly your normal teenage kid either.

Tere was quite a bit left unanswered for me that I would have wanted to know more about. I didn’t get to see what happens when people come back over here to Canada. There was no real explanation for why Kayla was told what she was for most of her life (GAH spoilers means I can’t tell you!!) if it isn’t true. But there as people who do that to each other all the kind. it is ridiculous.

Overall I did enjoy the book. If you like the idea of a girl who can move things with her mind and a guy who can teleport teaming up then you’ll want to read this one.

 
 

Not in the Script – Amy Finnegan

Not in the Script cover Not in the Script
By: Amy Finnegan
If Only… – Book 3
Available Oct 2014

Description:
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

This Blonde’s Review:
Emma is the kind of famous person we want to believe in. She’s famous but still manages to be down to earth. She isn’t really interested in all of the crazy fame and gossip side of things. She just wants to act because she loves it. Her best friend still seems to get caught up in people’s images and Emma does her best to steer her away from the impossible dreams

When Emma gets a role on a new show playing a part that is unlike her real personality she knows that it could be difficult and fun. What she doesn’t expect is the complications that can happen when her costars are the hot guy she had a crush on for years before she became a star and the hot guy from magazines that her best friend drools over and tapes to her wall.

Emma tries so hard to navigate what is right for her without upsetting the people who matter to her, like her best friend and her mother. Obviously you can’t make everyone happy at the same time, especially when those people are more interested in leading your life for you than letting you figure out what works for you.

Jake’s character was fantastic. He was a good guy who wanted to take care of his family, who wanted more for his life and was interseted in sales more than acting or modeling. He wants his brain to count for something.

Of course it wouldn’t be worth writing about if it all didn’t almost fall apart on Emma. Baggage from a past relationship, the old crush somehow becoming public knowledge despite being over it, her costars’ bickering, and knowing that her best friend wants Jake for his looks are all enough to make Emma think that the best thing would be to stay single nad not get involved. Of course that is easier said than done.

I really enjoyed this. If you like books about girls who fall for the nice guy even when they do their best not to, then screw it all up, then you’ll enjoy this one. Because Emma does so much to keep this romance from happening, both on purpose and through no fault of her own, that you know it’ll take a strong and awesome guy to stick around through all of that.

 
 

Kiss Kill Vanish – Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish cover Kiss Kill Vanish
By: Jessica Martinez
Available October 2014

Description:
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

This Blonde’s Review:
Valentina’s life was not what she thought. She always believed that her father was a kind and loved man, someone who was interested in art and worked in business. Emilio was her boyfriend who works for her father, doing whatever needed done. Her life was wonderful even if they were hiding their relationship from her father. Until the night that her father shows up at Emilio’s while Valentina is there. While Valentina hides in the closet her father orders Emilio to kill a man, and he does. Destroyed and unable to accept the truth of who her father and Emilio really are she runs. She gives up her rich and spoiled life and tries to disappear.

We meet her when she’s struggling to survive in Montreal and going by another name. Even though she knows she could go back to her father she can’t let herself now that she knows what he does. She’d rather let someone talk down to her as though she doesn’t know art and treat her like nothing than go back to her life of privilege provided the way her father did it.

When Emilio shows up and then she makes an unlikely ally, she doesn’t know what to think. All she knows is that somehow she has to get home and find out what is going on before something happens to her family. No matter what her father has done her sisters are the important thing.

This book was not what I expected it to be. Valentina’s strength was so great. I loved that even though she needed to run and hide she did find something there. She found people who were willing to be there for her and help her. A girl who loaned her things, someone who gave her chocolate just to be kind, and the lesson Valentina learned in receiving the smallest of gifts. I loved that she made friends with someone that she thought she couldn’t stand and that he ended up being the best friend that she could have.

You can’t run from your problems forever though. Valentina had to face hers and see the men she loved for who they really were and confront them for that. She also had to make a decision on the way to follow her heart and do the right thing. Could she betray her father? Could she let him get away with what he did? And Emilio? How was she supposed to deal with everything he did? The way everything worked out for her proved that she was the strongest one in the family even if they didn’t see it. Her moral sense of right and willingness to follow it gave her the steel backbone she needed that would get her through anything and I loved that about her.

 
 

Vivian Apple At The End Of The World – Katie Coyle

Vivian Apple At The End of the Wold cover Vivian Apple At The End Of The World
By: Katie Coyle
Vivian Apple – Book 1
Available January 2015

Description:
Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth.

This Blonde’s Review:
Vivian wants to understand what happened. One day her family is normal, and the next her parents tell her that they’ve suddenly become members of the Church of America and want her to believe what they do. Despite her seemingly easygoing nature I really loved her when she didn’t go along with what they wanted for her. She was willing to stand up and tell them no, she couldn’t believe what they wanted her to.

When her parents disappear leaving only two holes in the roof of their home on the night of the rapture she isn’t sure what to think. She still can’t believe that it could be true but she has doubts. Luckily she isn’t alone, she has her friends. Their race across the country reveals so many things about each of them and what really matters to them.

I really enjoyed this book. Standing for your beliefs when the people you care about want you to believe a certain thing can be difficult. When you face a country full of fear and people who want to use violence against nonbelievers, it was easy for many people to cave. Vivian and her friends did not. They stood strong in their desire to know the truth rather than following the crowd. I had so much respect for that.

The more they did and found out the more I loved Vivian, Harp, and Peter. They were flawed and imperfect but they were supportive. They were a family for each other when their own family was unable to be what they needed for them.

If you think you’d enjoy a book about a country that is falling apart under the strain of being left behind during the Rapture and teenagers who are searching for the truth, then you’ll enjoy this book. I did and can’t wait to find out what happened in the next book. I hope that in the next one we also get to hear more about what the rest of the world thinks of what was happening. The things we find out were surprising yet also not, so I can’t wait to see what happens with Vivian and her people in book two.

 
 

Dissonance – Erica O’Rourke

Dissonance 
By: Erica O’Rourke
Dissonance – Book 1
Available Now

Description:
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse. 

This Blonde’s Review: 
Del is part of a small group of people who are able to walk through the different branches of reality that are created each time a choice is made. She is still in school and learning about the ins and outs of keeping the universes in harmony. During an assignment she goes to a dimension that is suddenly in worse shape than it was projected to be and soon there is trouble that leaves Del and her sister in a very dangerous situation. Despite Del’s quick thinking managing to save their lives she still finds herself in trouble. She is suspended from school with only her sister to train her for her exams.

I really liked Del, she had a very out of the box way of thinking that appealed to me. She doesn’t live her life by the book, so despite being told she can’t Walk without supervision she still goes out exploring to find out what is going on. And she still meets a echos of the same guy all over the place. Simon Lane is a guy she normally wouldn’t think twice about in the key world, but after their connection in a parallel world it’s like they can’t seem to escape each other and suddenly key world Simon is interested in her too.

Of course Del’s family plays a big part in everything. She has her parents who are knee deep in some mysterious issue that the Council is keeping secret. Her sister acts like she’s perfect and plays everything by the book. Her grandfather is the one who taught her all of her tricks as they walked, the only one who seemed to have time for her while her parents were off on missions and her sister was learning to be perfect. Her grandmother disappeared on a walk many years ago and her grandfather has been obsessed with finding her ever since.

 
 

Magnolia – Kristi Cook

Magnolia
By: Kristi Cook
Available August 2014

Description:
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

This Blonde’s Review:
Jemma and Ryder’s mothers are best friends. Their idea of the perfect life for their children would be a life where they end up together so they do everything they can to maneuver them to make it happen. They are not having anything to do with it though. They put up with each other because they have to but that’s all. Until they find themselves caught in a hurricane together alone and other feelings start to come out.

Watching Jemma and Ryder try to figure out what they feel for each other without letting their parents find out was amusing. Most kids have to sneak around since their parents wouldn’t approve. Jemma and Ryder have the opposite problem. If anything happens between them it would make their parents’ dreams come true and they would never hear the end of it.

Jemma and Ryder have their friends that overlap and their families, so there is no way to stay away from each other. But when they get caught in the hurricane together when both sets of parents are out of town they find themselves seeking comfort in each other. That comfort opens the door for other things they wouldn’t have allowed themselves to feel otherwise.

I liked the way they were able to encourage each other to do what mattered to them, that those things were able to bring them closer together instead of further apart. It was a cute book and one that I breezed through pretty quickly and happily.

If you enjoy reading about a couple whose only thing keeping them apart are the things they think they know about each other then you’ll enjoy reading this one to watch them learn they don’t know each other as well as they think.

 

Talon – Julie Kagawa

Talon
By: Julie Kagawa
Talon – Book 1
Available October 2014

Description:
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

This Blonde’s Review:
Ember and Dante may look like normal teenagers but they’re actually dragons in hiding. They’ve spent their whole life in training in a compound and are finally being given a summer to try to blend in. Dante is the one who is good and always does the right thing. Ember is the one who finds the idea of freedom exhilarating and can’t wait to see what life is like outside of the compound they grew up in. She has a hard time not turning or flying, but at least she can surf and get something close to it.

Ember and Dante have always been close, but when they are separated for training they find themselves drifting apart. They learn different things at different times as their instructors believe they need to know it. Ember’s trainer puts her through hell, forcing her to fight and trying to make her lose touch with her humanity. Her trainer wants Ember to attack humans without pause. When she finds out what job she’s been assigned to she doesn’t know if she can handle it.

During everything she has met two guys. One, a rogue dragon, who appeals to her dragon side and encourages her to fly and break rules. Another is a human guy who appeals to her human side, who is secretly a member of St George, the group that tracks and kills dragons. She never though a dragon would be attracted to a human but somehow she is attracted to Garret. We also see the guys’ points of view, the way they see Ember and what they want from her. But throughout it all, Ember is primary and her viewpoint is the important one. These guys are going to lead Ember to some important decisions and realizations about herself and the world around her. And at the same time, she’ll help them see the things around them in a different way too.

When I started this one I wasn’t sure that I’d like it. We were supposed to hear the way that Ember thought about dragons and it almost seemed like she thought of herself as part of a larger unit rather than as herself. And it would have been irritating to hear her describe herself in terms of dragons as a group throughout the whole book. But as the book went on that got to be less of an issue. While I was reading it I took it as the author describing things and irritating me with the way she was doing it. But as the book went on and more of Ember’s human side came out less of that descriptive side was present. So it may have also been something to do with the way she thought about herself, in the beginning she was part of this larger unit while later she was simply Ember, dragon and human at once.

The relationships were complicated the way they always are. We don’t want to give up on the people that everyone else can see aren’t capable of being there for us the way we want them to be. At the same time, in some ways they weren’t as bad as it could have been. There was of course attraction and a bit of a love triangle, but nothing so overwhelming that they didn’t come together when needed to fight together on more than one occasion, before and after they knew each other’s true identities.

At first I wasn’t sure I’d care for the writing style, but by the end of the book I was really enjoying Ember’s story. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.

 
 
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