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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Parallel – Lauren Miller

Parallel coverParallel
By Lauren Miller
Available 14 May 2013

Description:
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She’d go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it’s as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby’s life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby’s senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby’s never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn’t choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally within reach.

This Blonde’s Review:
This was a really interesting book and I really enjoyed the way the author wove everything together.

What would happen if Abby didn’t get into the drama class, instead she finds herself in an astronomy class. You might not think so but that can change your life. When Abby’s life crosses with that of what her life would be in an alternate reality she doesn’t know what to think. One minute she’s on a Hollywood movie set after doing fantastically in her high school play. The next morning she wakes up in a dorm room. She has no idea how she got there and there is evidence around her that shows she’s supposedly been there for some time. She wasn’t happy with the way things were going on that Hollywood set, including a delay in going to college, but at least it was her life and they were her choices. Finding herself at Yale instead of Northwestern is like finding herself in someone else’s life. Abby’s alternate life is 1 year and 1 day behind her, so her life can change from day to day.

And obviously both lives have a guy she starts to care for. She can’t have them both and has no idea what happened with the first guy, nor how it will affect what happens to her current guy. Luckily through all of this she still has her best friend Caitlin. Caitlin believes her and will clear up her confusion as things change and Abby finds herself in uncertain situations. They also have a great scientist in both realities who asks the right questions to make Abby think about the big questions of destiny and soul mates. He also helps bring some science to the book to give the reader some idea of what could be going on and make us think a little too.

Watching this one go back and forth was great. The author didn’t make every day different, which was perfect in my opinion. Not every decision you make is a life changing one. But each life changing decision could have big or small changes to her life. Both guys in her life are great, but based on her reactions to them I know who I wanted her to end up with. And the ah-ha moment towards the end when she finally recognizes what is right for her was so great. I loved it. This is one that I’m sure I’d love to read again and this author is one that I will be reading more of.

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The Boyfriend App – Katie Sise

The Boyfriend App
By: Katie Sise
Available Now

Description:
In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

This Blonde’s Review:
In a world filled with smart phones and must have apps, the best app competition is right up Audrey’s alley. She used to work on computers with her dad and is a talented hacker, the things he taught her and his rules about hacking are what she has left of him. An app is easy, as long as she can find the right one. It she wins the app competition she could afford to go to college and get away from the memories and problems being in her hometown causes.

Audrey creates an app to help you find your match, a boyfriend (or girlfriend) app. All you had to do was answer some questions and the app would match you with the best match that has also taken the compatibility quiz. At first it seems to work out greatly, especially when her popular cousin and geeky friend find out that they really do hit it off. When it takes off she hopes it’ll keep building to let her win. Until people start to get matched with the wrong people. As Audrey’s app starts to fall from the rankings she sees her chance to go to college and make something of her life pass her by. Until she discovers the secret to the phones everyone has to have. Then she uses it to make her app really stand out.

The Boyfriend App was an easy read even if some things weren’t quite so realistic. There’s the guy she wants but won’t admit she wants, the guy she thinks she wants, and the ex-friend who tortures her. And then there is this app that can make crazy things happen. And with it she might be able to take down the people responsible for her dad’s death and the way people remember her as less than what he really was. How can you take down a company and win money from their contest at the same time? You really can’t, so it’s interesting to see how they make this one work.

This is an easy read about a girl who has the power to do great things but continues to live in a shadow, until one day she steps out of it and blows everyone away with her talents. If that sounds good to you then you’ll enjoy this one. Reading this book was a nice way to pass some free time.

 
 

Rush – Eve Silver

Rush coverRush
By: Eve Silver
The Game – Book 1
Available 11 June 2013

Description:
So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?

When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

This Blonde’s Review:
Miki risks her life for someone and may have just lost hers. Except the people where she lands say she isn’t dead. They say she’s in some kind of game that isn’t a game and that she’ll respawn back where she was without injury. It makes no sense but luckily there is someone there she knows and the others there seem like good people. She goes along with what they’re saying since she has no other real choice. When Miki meets the Drau she doesn’t know what to think but she knows she has to fight and that if not for Jackson she’d be in deep trouble. When something happens that makes it clear to Miki that this game really could mean death she doesn’t know how to deal with it. She demands answers. For Miki the answers are harder than she could have imagined.

I really enjoyed this book even though it left me with so many more questions than answers. I’m really eager to read the next book in this series because I hope to find out more about Jackson, the committee who seems to make the decisions, and what makes Miki so different. I also want to learn more about the Drau and if there is ever a way to defeat them, especially since everything in the first book makes it seem impossible. Will Miki, Jackson, and the others defeat them? Or will they be able to drive them off the planet somehow? Or will this be an unending battle for them?

If you enjoy the idea of teenagers who fight aliens to save the planet, and yes they do give a reason why it’s teenagers, then you’ll want to read this one. It was interesting and had me eager to get my hands on the next book in this series.

 
 

Of Triton – Anna Banks

Of Triton coverOf Triton
By: Anna Banks
Of Poseidon – Book 2
Available 28 May 2013

There are spoilers in the description and review! If you have not read the first book in the series be sure to go check that (or my review) out first!

Description:
In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?

This Blonde’s Review:
I really enjoyed Of Poseidon and was really looking forward to finding out what was going to happen. Emma’s life was turned upside down when her best friend died, she discovered she could talk to marine life, and met a guy. Galen wasn’t exactly human but neither was she. It was a lot for her to take in. With the discovery at the end of the first book I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen in the second.

Of Triton picks up shortly after the first book left off. As we could expect Emma’s mother didn’t take hearing what Galen knew very well. Before Emma fully understands what is happening her mother is on the run and Emma has been taken along against her will. All she could do is try not to betray her mother or betray Galen and hope that somehow it all works out. Maybe the whole misunderstanding could be explained away.

This book picked up speed and just rolled right to an inevitable conclusion. I really couldn’t have seen it ending any other way. Emma had to make herself known to the Syrena, Galen would have to choose between his history and a life with Emma. We learn quite a bit about how things were and find out that there have been changes going on while Galen has been away. We can only watch and wonder what will happen to Emma and the ones who matter to her.

If you enjoyed the first book in this series you won’t be disappointed by this one. I know I loved finding out what was going to happen with Emma, Galen, and all the rest. It wasn’t an entirely happy ending since there were some loses, but in many ways this worked out the best way possible which we can’t help but be happy about.

 
 

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True – Sarah Strohmeyer

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True coverHow Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
By Sarah Strohmeyer
Available April 2013

Description:
From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl’s summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they’ve hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she’s assigned to serve “The Queen”-Fairyland’s boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe’s job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

This Blonde’s Review:
This is not my first Sarah Strohmeyer book and I am happy to say she did not disappoint with this one either. Zoe and her cousin couldn’t be less alike, but they’re best friends anyway. When they both intern with at Fairyland they both have reasons to want to win the Dream and Do grant, but they also want the other to win. That’s what happens when you want something but also want the person you love to win. Zoe figures she never had a shot since she isn’t exactly graceful or a great actor. She really has no idea how she managed to get an internship to begin with. Instead she is given the role of lady in waiting for the Queen of Fairyland. This involved taking care of any and every little thing that the Queen feels she needs.

Being the second hand to a hated Queen, even if you’re treated like dirt, doesn’t make you many friends. Zoe finds herself set apart from the others and soon even has people who hate her and blame her for their misfortune. No matter what she does to help she learns that she can’t help everyone. Her goal is to do what she can to help her cousin. She also finds herself attempting to help a mystery prince and not quite knowing why. Of course there is also an attractive Puss in Boots that seems to pop up when she least expects him. The boys are one of the perks of interning at Fairyland, but as we all know it can get complicated when there are multiple attractive boys around.

I really enjoyed Zoe. She wants to do the right thing but she has to do what she feels is right. When she catches someone breaking the rules she should be turning him in instead making sure he knows about the trap that has been set for him. As things get more complicated for her she uses every trick at her disposal to help the others, even when they don’t know or appreciate it. Her devotion to her cousin is admirable, especially since she does have good reason to want to win the money for herself. Zoe is definitely the kind of person I’d want to call friend. Though even girls who would make good friends can make bad judgements about guys. Luckily for Zoe she has plenty of chances to find her way to the right choices.

And the ending to this one was perfect. The author did have me believing something about another character for a bit there at the end. When she pulled out the twist I couldn’t help but love it. It worked out so perfectly. I couldn’t have been happier with the way this one ended.

If you enjoy seeing what could happen behind the scenes at a fairy tale dream park then you’ll love getting to know Zoe. You’ll especially love watching how she makes her dreams come true and works to make the dreams of those around her come true as well. I know I enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to find out what Sarah Strohmeyer is going to come up with next.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Book Review

 

Pretty Girl-13 – Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13 coverPretty Girl-13
By: Liz Coley
Available 19 March 2013

Description:
Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she’s returned home…only to find that it’s three years later and she’s sixteen-or at least that’s what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn’t know.

But there are people who do—people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her “alters.” As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing-and ultimately empowering-page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

This Blonde’s Review:
Can you imagine how it would feel to lose three years of your life? And what if you found out that for those three years no one knew where you were or what had happened to you? The last thing Angie remembers is camping with her girl scout troop. Next thing she knows she is walking home wearing clothes she doesn’t recognize. Her parents’ reaction seems a bit over the top for her and she can’t believe what they’re telling her. But the face in the mirror isn’t her own and her body seems foreign to her as well.

While getting used to being home Angie finds herself losing time and doing things she doesn’t remember doing. She doesn’t understand it or think anything of it until she loses time during a counseling session and finds out that someone else spent that time talking to the counselor.

As we get to know Angie we hope she’ll learn what happened to her, but we’re also afraid of what will come out. I didn’t want to put this book down once I started reading it because I needed to know what would happen. We couldn’t help but love and hate some of the different sides of Angie, since each of them had a name they went by, the distinguish one side from another. I couldn’t help but love each of them, because they protected who Angie really was from the terrible things that happened to her. I also wanted to cry for the things that they went through and the way they were isolated from each other.

As Angie learns the truth of what happened to her during those three years she also comes to discover that there was a splintering even before then. That this survival technique was learned from a trauma that happened much earlier in her life. Learning that on top of everything else makes it much clearer how she was able to protect herself but it was also the saddest thing. Angie’s life hasn’t been easy and we can only hope that she’ll manage to put it all back together and to learn to live with everything that has happened without ripping herself apart in the meantime.

Yes, there were quite a few things that were predictable. You don’t go into this book expecting that Surprise! everything was actually okay so all those things you think could happen Didn’t. Being surprised by what happens to her isn’t the point of this story. What happened isn’t the most important part of the story. The important part is where Angie learns to accept what happened and to watch as she tries to put her life back together.

If you would like to read a book about a girl who has lost herself and is trying to put it all back together then you’ll want to read Angie’s story. It is not necessarily easy to read or enjoyable in the usual sense of the word, but I liked it and I’m sure you will too.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Book Review

 

The Rising – Kelly Armstrong

Darkness Rising coverThe Rising
By Kelly Armstrong
Darkness Rising – Book 3
Available April 2013

Description:
Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she’ll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever.

Old secrets are revealed and unexpected characters make a surprising return in this stunning conclusion to Kelley Armstrong’s New York Times bestselling Darkness Rising trilogy.

This Blonde’s review:
I really enjoyed this series and was looking forward to seeing what was going to happen next. And I have to say that this book didn’t really explode. It kind of fizzled. That’s not to say that it didn’t have some great parts to it, or that I was unhappy with the ending. But something about it just felt flat to me.

There is the love triangle, the long lost family members, the misunderstood family members, the friends who do whatever it takes, and new friends. This book really does have a lot of everything. And while Maya thinks she can’t have her happy ending, she really can. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Everything went down so easily once they really got down to it. No one really fought Maya on anything, even the ones who were supposed to disagree with her the most.

I don’t really know what else to say about this one without giving everything away. If you’ve already been caught up in Maya’s story then you’ll want to read this book to find out what happens. But don’t expect anything like a crashing helicopter or anything. This really does feel more like it is just wrapping up what happened in the other two into the neatest bow.

I enjoyed this one, but it really left me wanting more. Even with that, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it to those who enjoy the idea of teenagers discovering they have abilities they never knew existed.