Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rebellion by J. A. Souders

Series: The Elysium Chronicles (bk. 3)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: underwater colonies, Florida, love, memory, brain-washing, psychological, nanotechnology

Setting: Florida and a sea colony called Elysium

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense, rotating between Evie and Gavin

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 333 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: MacMillan: TorTeen

Summary/ product description: “The thrilling conclusion to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller series for teens

In this conclusion to J. A. Souders’s thrilling, twist-filled Elysium Chronicles series, Evie Winters and Gavin Hunter return to the isolated, dangerous underwater city that they fought so hard to escape.

Back in Elysium at last, Evie has finally found her true-self hidden under layers and layers of false memories implanted by the woman she knew as Mother. Thanks to the intervention of her father, she knows the horrible truth about Mother and her insidious plans for her city. With the help of the love of her life, Gavin, and her best friend, Asher St. James, she’s determined to free her people from the cruel dictatorship of Mother’s laws. But how do you free people who don’t know they need rescuing?

Working with the growing Underground rebellion, Evie tries to remove Mother from her position by force—with disastrous results. As the body count rises, Evie must find a way to save Elysium before Mother destroys them all.”

My Review: Rebellion is the finale to the Elysium trilogy. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it’s set in an under water sea colony that used to be a resort, but then a woman who calls herself mother killed her father, the owner and took over. Evie is her daughter, but not by birth. Evie keeps getting her memories erased. There’s a boy named Gavin who comes from the surface and romance happens. I recommend it if you like dystopians or the idea of sea colonies. If you have not read the series, then spoilers ahead because this is a review of the final book.

This book, like the previous book, is told from 2 point-of views: Evie and Gavin. I don’t recall the first book having Gavin’s POV. Evie knows that she used to be an Enforcer and she met her birthmother. She meets a woman named Nadia and discovers the Underground, the people living in a place called the Caverns in an underdeveloped hidden section of Elysium. They are planning a rebellion against mother. Also Gavin has to go to the surface because the other have nanites in them that could wipe their memories it the leave.

Gavin goes to his mother, who thought he was dead. Apparently his little brother angered the mayor of their village and now they’re not allowed to trade or be full citizens. Gavin gets pissed about this and the mayor tries to bribe Gavin for information on his son Asher and Evie’s whereabouts. Meanwhile Evie and the Underground come up with a plan that involves wearing mask with her face on them and gaining the trust of the citizens and help to take down mother.

I was a bit disappointed with this finale. I loved the first two books, but this one felt lacking and also the ending left a lot of questions, as crazy as it was. There was not as much romance or action or adventure. Having to wait and extra year to read this book that was not worth the wait. I still like the character and love the setting, but this felt like it was trying to imitate other dystopian finales at least until the very end. I just wish things went differently.

Cover Art Review: I like the cover. Evie is wearing an Enforcer cloak here. I’m not sure if the dress is what they wear too.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nothing Bad is Going to Happen by Kathleen Hale

Series: No One Else Can Have You (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Realistic Fiction/Mystery

Subjects: humor, comedy, murder, mystery, small towns, winter

Setting: Friendship, Wisconsin (which is north of the Wisconsin Dells) before Halloween

POV/Tense: 1st person present tense. Kippy’s POV.

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 260 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Geeze Louise, for such a small town, there sure are a lot of murders in Friendship, Wisconsin.

After helping to catch the man who murdered her best friend, Kippy Bushman was looking forward to life returning to normal. Well, at least as normal as it could get in a town like hers. But then the unthinkable happens: Kippy finds her boyfriend, Davey, in his house, barely breathing and surrounded by pills and empty beer bottles.

The sheriff is quick to rule the incident an attempted suicide, but Kippy refuses to believe it. She and Davey are completely in love; there’s no way he’d ever hurt himself. Right?

Kippy swears she saw someone else at Davey’s house that night and is convinced that person tried to murder him. Without any real evidence, though, no one—not even Kippy’s own father—believes her. So she has no choice but to team up with her former nemesis, Bible-thumping Libby, to try to catch this new killer. But in a town where everyone has their own secrets and a next-door neighbor could be a serial killer, who’s left to trust?”

My Review: Nothing Bad is Going to Happen is the hilarious sequel to No One Else Can Have You. I don’t think there will be a 3rd book, but ya never know. Anyways, despite what other reviewers think, this book was pretty awesome. Maybe they were just being jerks, don’tcha know?

Kippy Bushman was almost murdered and has a leg cast to prove it. She caught her best friend’s killer, but the Sheriff took the credit for it, and made her look like a crazy person. The killer was a friend named Ralph who’s totally a sociopath and now locked up in Green Bay Correctional Facility. He keeps sending her creepy letters and calling her.

When Kippy find her boyfriend passed out on the night they planned to have sex, she calls 911. She think she saw a shadow figure and that no way could Davey commit suicide, but they rule it as attempted suicide because the bottles of alcohol and empty pill bottle. Kippy enlists Libby, a girl who used to be mean to her, but who’s now her only ally, to help her find evidence of Davey’s attempted murder. Filled with mystery, crazy twists and hilarious laughs, it’s the perfect sequel.

This book series is set in (Wisconsin) the hat of the state I live in (Illinois), I place I love dearly and the state that I visited the most. I’ve seen more of Wisconsin than Illinois. And I’m familiar with Wisconsinisms and their love of the Packers and cheese and all that. Friendship, Wisconsin is a real town near Baraboo, which I camped at Devil’s Lake State Park last year. The real Friendship, of course, is nothing like the one in the books.

The humor in this book is my favorite part. Sometimes it’s very dirty and full of swearing and things that make me cringe just thinking of because it sound erotic, but I cracked up reading this so many times that I sure that if I had read this in public, people would be staring at me. I think the characters came along better in this sequel. Kippy seems less strange and more smart than she did in the first book. Libby’s nice to her now and really helpful. Rose, the anger management counselor, is now dating Kippy’s dad Dom. Rosa is so hilarious. She’s Polish and speaks in broken English and calls Kippy by the most hilarious pet names, like Mud Dumpling, and says things like “Soup is on.” I’m like 20% Polish myself and I find her hilarious.

I recommend this series to people who love watching comedies, or reading books by Heather Keeble or Gretchen McNeil.

Cover Art Review: I love the donuts! They’re so cute….until you read the book and realize why they’re on the cover.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis


Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Mystery

Subjects: supernatural, ghosts, small towns, memory loss, magic

Setting: Summer Falls, Colorado

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense, rotating between Elyse and Marshall

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 347 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperCollins: Balzer and Bray

Summary/ product description: “When Marshall King and Elyse Alton suddenly wake up tangled in each other's arms with zero memory of how they got there or even who they are, it's the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, Marshall and Elyse make a pact to work together to find the answers that could restore their missing memories. As they piece together clues about their lives, they discover that they're in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls. Everyone seems happy there, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town's perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall's mom, not the hidden violence in Elyse's family, not even the day-to-day anguish of being a high schooler.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marshall and Elyse fall into an intense relationship founded on their mutual quest for truth. But the secrets they're trying to uncover could be the death of this budding love affair—and of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.”

My Review:  I’ve had Glimmer sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for year. It came out in 2013. I bought it because I liked the cover and I love a good mystery with paranormal elements. And nothing says paranormal mystery like amnesia, a strange small town and ghosts.

Glimmer was different from how I expected it. It wasn’t scary or dystopian or full of odd twists. It kept me guessing, and sometimes I was able to predict things correctly, but I liked it when I was surprised. I also really enjoyed the setting. I visited Colorado in 2003 on a family vacation and it was beautiful.

Summer falls is this magical made-up Colorado town in which it’s always balmy summer weather and tourist feel like they’re on a drug when they are there. It sounds great, except anyone who experiences anything negative, like a fight or sadness, suddenly passes out in a “heat nap” caused by ghosts. Only Elyse can see the ghosts are causing it.

I also enjoy stories about memory loss. It’s always interesting to see character deal with the present without knowing their pasts. Elyse and Marshall don’t even know their names when the wake up, but since their names are already in the book’s description, it’s not read a spoiler. They wake up in bed with each other, naked. They don’t know how they got there. Elyse think’s she was kidnapped, that Marshall drugged her. It’s a real mess and they find clothes and leave out the window. And soon after Elyse sees a ghost.

I really did enjoy the characters. They didn’t like it when they found out about their pasts. Things didn’t fit to them. But their personalities were pretty interesting. Elyse was stubborn and strong willed, but also honest. She didn’t like how everyone noticed her. She used to be popular apparently. Marshall had a strong ego, but everyone seemed to treat him like he was invisible. Everyone else in Summer Falls suffered from selective memory loss, and acted like happy zombies or pod people.

I recommend this book to those who enjoyed the Shadowlands series by Kate Brian, Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, or books with ghosts or people with memory loss.

Cover Art Review: Pretty colors and I like the effect on the type, but I realize now that this it generic and kind of boring for a cover actually.