Monday, February 25, 2013

Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson

When the food supply of Mars’ human settlement is decimated, seventeen-year-old Jessamyn Jaarda, the best pilot Mars Colonial has ever seen, flies to Earth to raid for food. Earth-Mars relations couldn’t be worse, and her brother is captured during the raid. Breaking rules of secrecy and no contact, Jess finds an ally in Pavel, nephew to a government official, but their friendship only makes more agonizing the choice before her: Save her brother or save her planet?

My Review:
I totally fell in love with this book. It was delightful. The first half was a little slow maybe, setting up the story, but I don't see how it could have been different. Once Jessamyn got to Earth, I couldn't put the book down. And then I went on the prowl for the rest of Swanson's books. Here's the blurb for the sequel, which I'm dying to read.

Jessamyn has escaped Earth with food for her starving world, but her troubles are just beginning. She must rebuild her life without Pavel, the Terran boy whose kiss haunts her. Her success is further tainted by the loss of her beloved brother. Ethan disabled the deadly lasers orbiting Mars, but this has created a fervor to re-open trade with Earth which Jess knows would be disastrous. Add into the mix a secret which could launch an interplanetary war, and Jess finds herself at the center of an intrigue where, in order to save the world she loves, she must defy it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Secret Sister's Club

By Monique Bucheger

Mandi's Review: The Secret Sister's Club is part of Monique Bucheger's Middle Grade Ginnie West Adventure's series. Ginnie, a spunky 12-year old, finds herself in an unexpected situation. Her dad develops a relationship with her best friend's mother. Suddenly feeling confused and wondering where these changes will lead, she stumbles upon a journal kept by her deceased mother. Through these journals, she gets to know the mother she lost years before. I have to admit, I don't read a lot in this genre, and at first I wasn't certain what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the character of Ginnie. She's a spunky 12-year old who has a lot on her plate. As a tomboy myself, I could really connect with her. Tillie was the perfect best friend, and the conflict between the two added a lot to the story. I would definitely recommend this book to any middle grade girl. It was clean and well-written, and overall, a fun story.

To get to know Monique Bucheger visit her blog, Monique's Musings
To purchase this book or others in the series, visit Amazon

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

My review:

Alright. I was just going to review The Kill Order, which I did not like. But in the end, I decided to give the rest of the series a chance. I think I would have liked, or at least understood, The Kill Order better if I had read it last or even second. But I didn't. I read The Kill Order first, then The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure all right in order. Well, to be precise, I listened to them, and I think the narrator influenced my opinions of them, as is true for so many audiobooks when compared to reading a hard (or digital) copy: same story, completely different experiences.

I liked all three of the books more than the prequel (The Kill Order), though it was somewhat difficult to like them as I had an inexplicable dislike for the main character, Thomas, that never warmed to more than apathy toward him. If you've read my other reviews, you know that most of my enjoyment from a book comes from how well I like the characters, but that doesn't always mean the characters have to be bright and shiny and relatable. Something about Thomas just rubbed me the wrong way. But that aside, I really liked Minho and some of the others, and when I read through quotes from the book on Goodreads (yeah, I'm weird like that), I found myself really enjoying them and kind of missing being in Thomas's world with him.

So Thomas and his friends are immune to this terrible disease that is ravaging the world. They are taken and raised by scientists and basically brainwashed into believing they are the only people who can find a cure for the disease. Which might be true, but finding a cure is not the only option, and after their memories are taken from, their brainwashing with it, Thomas and the others start to see things differently and resent being used like lab-rats.

There were many parts of the story that I thought were not necessary to the main plot, and a lot of what I thought were holes in the plot, things that did not make sense to me (but I always feel that way with fantasy, dystopian, and sci-fi). And the series definitely could have been heavier on the romance, lighter on the action, and much lighter on the violence--but that's mainly personal preference.

All in all, I liked the series, and I thought about it for a long time afterward. It's always the books that give me mixed feelings and make me think that are the hardest to write reviews for, especially reviews that sound positive--even if I liked the book. I think this is one of those reviews. There were so many things I didn't like mixed in with so many things I really loved, that it's hard to just give it a thumbs down or thumbs up or something. I never give stars here because I think they are so arbitrary. So I think the only thing I can really say is experience The Maze Runner series for yourself and make up your own mind.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tide Ever Rising by Mandi Slack

Kadence Reynold’s favorite pastime is exploring old ghost towns, but when she and her sister, Maysha, stumble across an old journal and cheap pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling foundation near Eureka, Utah, their world is suddenly turned upside down. Immediately, strange dreams and premonitions begin to haunt “Kadie” as she learns more about the author of the journal, Charlotte Clark. Kadie sets out on a journey to learn more about Charlotte and her family, and she and Maysha travel to Bremerton, Washington, where they discover Charlotte's still living twin sister, Adelaide and her family.

Kadie and Maysha, upon arriving in Washington, are immediately immersed in Adelaide and Charlotte’s story. Kadie soon learns that Charlotte disappeared the night of a tragic fire that took the lives of Adelaide’s entire family. With the help of Logan Mathews, Adelaide’s handsome grandson, and Charlotte’s ever disconcerting presence, Kadie delves into the past. Hoping to solve the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance, Kadie immediately discovers the secrets contained in the journal will toss her and Adelaide’s family into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns.
Misty's Review:
 If you can love a book based on it's cover, then that is what happened to me. Is it not gorgeous? But seriously, loved, loved, loved this book (based on its content). I wanted it to be a little longer, and I wanted the plot to be more complex, specifically I wished there was more than one option for the bad guy. But to be fair, it's not a mystery, and it's completely good the way it is.
One thing I particularly liked about this book was Logan's little daughter. So often when I read books that feature a child like this, the child either detracts from the action or is so unrealistically written (saying and doing things that don't intellectually correspond to the child's age) that it is a distraction. But ZaZa was so well done, she was a delight to read about.
Suspense novels are not exactly my thing (I sometimes stop reading a book if it's too suspenseful), but I totally love the perfect amount of suspense in Slack's books. And I love that I can expect them to be clean and even uplifting in a way.
Anyway, check out Mandi's books if you've got some time today.