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The Rich and the Dead: Liv Spector

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The Rich and the Dead; Liv Spector. 310 pages.

FROM THE BOOK JACKET:

On New Year’s Day 2015, twelve powerful, wealthy people were found dead—shot in a lavish Star Island estate. In 2018, the murderer remains at large. As a detective and lead investigator on the case of the century, Lila Day was consumed by her hunt for the Star Island Killer. But that was before she was pushed out from the force, and her life unraveled.

Years later, down on her luck and no longer a police officer, Lila is approached by mysterious billionaire Teddy Hawkins. He has a job for her, he says—solving the Star Island murders. Lila laughs. After all, how do you solve a crime when all the leads have long grown cold? The answer, Teddy tells her, is to be there before it happened. He is going to send her back in time.

With nothing left to lose, Lila travels back to 2014, determined to stop the Star Island killer once and for all. There’s one catch: she must gather the evidence to bring the murderer to justice in her own time, without trying to save anyone. Easy enough, until she starts to care for the people who are destined to die. Now Lila must be willing to say good-bye—or risk setting into motion events that could change the future forever.

I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Time travel is always intriguing, but throw in a murder mystery and it becomes even more interesting. This book doesn’t necessarily live up to its exciting premise, but it’s still an ok read.

Lila’s actions throughout her time in 2014 don’t exactly live up to her earlier character description. She’s supposed to have a keen sense and knack for investigating, but she doesn’t show it. I understand some of it being for the sake of the reader not figuring things out too quickly, but for ninety percent of the book she is way off the mark. Also, I guessed who the killer is upon the first mention of them. That made reading about Lila’s other suspects kind of tedious, yet I was still kind of in suspense because I wanted to see if I was right.

While the story left me semi-interested yet still a little bored (probably because of my correct suspicions - if I was as confused as Lila, I’m sure it would have been a lot more captivating), the characters left me feeling…well, the same. Some of them are really overdone, especially when it comes to common tropes. There are a few that are ok, mostly the ones that have genuine acts, which kind of balances things out. The book really seems like a typical mystery, though, so maybe I’m just not used to how stories in this genre are told.

Zac and Mia: A.J. Betts

Zac and Mia; A.J. Betts. 307 pages.

FROM THE BOOK JACKET:

Zac is a soccer-playing farm boy. Mia is a gorgeous girl with an entourage of perfect friends. In the real world, these two seventeen-year-olds would have little to say to each other. But in the hospital, where they are undergoing treatment for cancer, the usual rules no longer apply. Before long, the messages Zac and Mia trade through a shared wall evolve into a bond that neither sees coming, a bond that endures after they are released from the hospital to return to their normal lives. But cancer has changed everything - there is no “normal” anymore - and the only constant is their ever-deepening need for each another.

Told from alternating perspectives, Zac and Mia is a funny and tender novel about two ordinary teenagers who find hope, love and courage in exceptional circumstances.

I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is a fantastic book that explores two opposing personalities and how the people around you can be just what you need, even if all you want is isolation. Zac and Mia are extremely different people, which is seen in their thoughts and the way they react to similar situations. That’s why I like that readers get a glimpse into each of their first person narratives. The narratives are strong and distinct, which is great. I also love how the book is set up in its different parts, it really lends to the story and makes sense. Though both characters seem kind of uncharacteristic in the last part, I can see why it’s done. It brings everything full circle, which I really like. It’s satisfying and adds a lot of depth and meaning to the novel.

What I really like about this book is how it tackles Zac and Mia’s bond. They are perfect supports for each other and they need each other, but not in a romantic way (mostly). Their personalities complement one another, and each knows what the other needs, even if it involves conflict. It’s so refreshing to read about.

I really like this book. It tackles relationships and support, and is told with engaging, relatable, and poignant narrative. The characters and writing are vibrant, which makes for a great read. This book brings two completely different people into the same realm to teach each other the value of perseverance and the people around them.

Tumblr won’t let me upload pictures, so reviews shall be image-less for now. When the problem is fixed I’ll add the pictures.

I hope it’s fixed before May, I was really looking forward to participating in books-cupcakes’ photo challenges again.

Le ugh.

UPDATE: For any one else having this problem - 

I contacted Tumblr support. Turns out my browser is just really old (I’m using Safari 5.1.10). In order to to get the newest version I would have to install Maverick, a new operating system (I have Snow Leopard), which I do not want to do. 

The quick fix is installing the newest version of Google Chrome. Using this browser, I can now see all of the updates of the websites I visit that have happened (reblog/new post pop up on Tumblr - whoa). Also, I no longer have to make all of my posts in HTML (another glitch I was having: rich text editor was not working, so I had to use HTML. I learned a lot though I guess?). YES!

I’m kind of a traditionalist/old lady, so I’ll continue to use my old version of Safari for most things. But at least now I have the option of seeing the internet all new as it updates. Huzzah!

Don’t Even Think About It: Sarah Mlynowski

Don’t Even Think About It; Sarah Mlynowski. 317 pages. First in series.

FROM THE BOOK JACKET:

We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming.

Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

I wasn’t completely sold on the premise of this book when I first heard about it, but I really like Mlynowski as a writer so I decided to read it anyway. While it isn’t her strongest book, I am still glad I picked it up. The “we” narrative made me super hesitant in the first few chapters, but it ends up working out quite well. For the most part it feels like third person narration, switching perspective between a few different characters. Twenty-two people in homeroom 10B experience telepathic powers after receiving flu shots, but thankfully only a handful are focused on. I didn’t really connect with any of them and really only liked reading about a few of them (Tess and Cooper), but surprisingly that didn’t get in the way of me enjoying the book. Even though I didn’t connect, I was still interested in what happens to the characters. The story moves along well enough that it stays a focus as well.

This book explores friendship, lies, varying personalities in the face of truth and power. Each character responds differently to the situation they are put in, which makes the story interesting and more realistic. The ESP is really as far as the fantastical element goes though - the rest of the book is about real experiences and life encounters, which I appreciate. While some elements of the story and the characters fall a little flat, I still like the realistic approach taken and the points brought up. The story could have been wrapped up and the messages and things learned would still hold as strong as they do, but I’m also kind of looking forward to the sequel. I’m glad it skips ahead in time, it should make things interesting.

Tumblr won’t let me upload pictures, so reviews shall be image-less for now. When the problem is fixed I’ll add the pictures.

I hope it’s fixed before May, I was really looking forward to participating in books-cupcakes’ photo challenges again.

Le ugh.

Panic: Lauren Oliver

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FROM THE BOOK JACKET:

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

With an interesting premise, this book drew notions of an intense, adventurous series of tasks that make up the game of Panic. Instead the story focuses less on the game and more on morals, the perils of danger, and trust. This could have still worked, but I found the book falls flat on many levels. I didn’t mind reading it, but when I finished the story it felt purpose-less and forgettable.

Heather and Dodge’s chapters alternate in third person, which may explain some of the disconnected-ness I felt from the characters. I never really connected with any of the characters, though. They are all a little flat. There is not a real difference between the narration of both characters, which is problematic. They have many personal differences, which helps to distinguish them. For most of the book Heather doesn’t seem to have any purpose (or viable purpose) for participating in Panic, but Dodge’s purpose is stronger. I don’t understand a lot of the choices characters made either, they seemed contradictory. Bishop is probably the most well-developed character, and yet I don’t understand some of Heather’s choices towards him because they go against what she previously believes. These and other inconsistencies left me feeling further detached.

A thrilling, action-packed plot could have possibly saved the book from being completely flat, but alas. There is more non-action and waiting than action. The reasons for non-action don’t make particular sense either. Worse things have happened in the past with Panic, so I don’t know why the things that happen this time are such a huge deal. I found myself waiting for things to happen, but everything continued to stay at a standstill. There are some moments of spark and high stakes, but for most of the book I wasn’t filled with suspense or a sense of caring. Also, actions never match with consequences. It’s unrealistic and makes things feel too easy, and like the stakes are never that high. Nothing gets too intense, which doesn’t make for a very suspenseful or compelling read.

I only developed the idea that the story has no purpose after reading the ending. It feels like no one learned anything, or that what happens earlier in the story doesn’t matter. It’s too easy of an ending and I almost feel as if I’ve been cheated. It’s confusing, especially when compared to the rest of the book.

I don’t hate this book, but I am indifferent. With a title and premise of panic, it should have had a story and a punch just as intense as that feeling.

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Summer is coming, summer is coming
Chant of student bibliophiles  (via heyteenbookshey)
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