Forbidden

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Title: Forbidden

Author: Eve Bunting

Series: Standalone

Publication: December 1st 2015 by Clarion Books

Pages: 224

Source: Netgalley

 

Summary from Goodreads:

In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that Eli, the young man she’s attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author’s note gives the historical inspiration for this story.

My Thoughts:

I’m honestly not sure what I want to say about this book… I mean, it wasn’t good nor was it bad. See my problem here? I think it was trying too hard to be the Young Adult Outlander meets Twilight sort of thing. Forbidden had a very interesting premise and an amazing world to work with – but the romance fell short and I could see every twist and turn coming from a mile away.

Josie, a young girl, is on her way to live with her aunt and uncle after losing both of her parents in a wave of Influenza. Her new home and guardians are anything but welcoming, and it takes all of Josie’s self-control to remain the young lady she was raised to be when all she wants to do is lash out. The worst part? Her new family even tell her to her face that the only reason they took her in was for the money. On top of all that, the people of the town are strange in ways that confound both Josie and the reader.

Forbidden is a mystery, but I think it is a mystery that tries too hard and relies on the silly details to get its point across. While the story is focused and quirky, it feels far more centered on certain events rather than emotional responses and character development. It seemed as though there was a lot of telling rather than showing. Then add in the fact that the story was rushed, over hyped, and sort of anticlimactic – and, well, you’re just left feeling like ‘meh’.

In my opinion, the best part of this story is the setting. It was the only thing that actually felt genuine. This was the one place where I could feel as though I was a part of the story, otherwise I just felt detached and like I was watching the whole thing through a television rather than living it like I normally do when reading.

The romance didn’t help either. Forbidden is so short and rushed that I would have been extremely surprised if it felt genuine, which it didn’t. This book is more dedicated to the plot than anything else, like I already said, and it really took away from the emotional journey this book should have been. I wanted to like it, I wanted to love the story as much as I loved the cover – but it fell woefully short.

Overall, Forbidden is a fast, easy read that you shouldn’t go into with any expectations. It is neither deep nor swoon worthy, in fact, it is quite boring if you’re looking for something driven by the needs of the characters. You won’t see me promoting this book any time soon.

 

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The Girl With The Wrong Name

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Title: The Girl With The Wrong Name

Author: Barnabas Miller

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Soho Teen

Pages: 259

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

 

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Theo Lane has been hiding half of her face from the public ever since “The Night In Question,” a night that left her with a long, disfiguring scar, an unquiet mind, and no memory of what happened. An aspiring documentary maker, she uses her camera to keep the world at a safe distance, shooting hours of secret footage with a hidden button cam on her jacket collar. But when Andy Reese, a forlorn and mysterious “Lost Boy,” wanders into her frame, he becomes the unknowing star of her latest project. Her unhealthy obsession with him tears her from that sheltered life behind the camera, pulling her into a perilous, mind-bending journey through Andy’s world. But is it really Andy’s world she’s investigating? Or is it her own?

My Thoughts:

The Girl With The Wrong Name is an intense thriller that will leave you both cowering under your blanket and wanting more because it takes you by such surprise. I underestimated this book and its ability to be creepy and psyche me out – big mistake. The plot of this book is so unpredictable you’ll be holding your breath while waiting on the edge of your seat to see what happens next. Barnabas Miller has created something breathtaking and exhilarating, something that you will never forget.

The Girl With The Wrong Name is about a filmmaker named Theo. She often wanders around the city with a hidden camera, capturing humans in their everyday, mundane lives – until she sees a sad looking boy in a café. She soon becomes fascinated with this boy named Andy. She is obsessed with figuring out why he was in the café, why he was sad, and who he is in general. She hangs around him, watching him, and she eventually figures out he is waiting to see the elusive girl he has fallen in love with. Long story short, Theo decides to help and everything sort of goes to hell from there.

Theo was a very interesting main character. She is snarky, moody, and has very low self-esteem. She hides behind her camera or in her room, which – despite certain aspects of her character – made her quite easy to relate to. I’m sure all of us have had those days where the only reason we can step foot outside is because we have something to hide behind, a book for example. The most interesting part, though, is that she is an unreliable narrator. It takes a little bit to catch on, but Theo doesn’t really sleep – which means some things she sees, hears, etc. aren’t actually happening or are distorted versions of the truth. This book turns into a game of “real or not real” on crack, but it is up to you to decide what to believe – which is what makes it so terrifying.

As I have said, the plot is entirely unpredictable – mostly due to the information mentioned above. The truth, or whatever seems to be the truth, is your own interpretation. What you think is happening could either be completely wrong or something else entirely. This is the kind of book with an ending that leaves you gasping for air. This is the kind of book that punches you in the gut and laughs at your pain. It’s creepy, suspenseful, and an all-around thrill ride.

Overall, The Girl With the Wrong Name is a book capable of changing the face of Young Adult Thrillers. Miller is a modern day Poe meets Stephen King. In the spirit of We Were Liars, Gone Girl, and Damage Done, The Girl With The Wrong name will lead you down a million little paths just to distract you from what is really going on. This book will leave you guessing and pondering about what the real meaning of truth is. It was spectacular.

 

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Dangerous Lies

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“We spend our whole lives running from our past, never realizing it’s hitched to us – we can’t ever outrun it.”

Title: Dangerous Lies

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 10th 2015 by Simon & Schuster

Pages: 400

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

 

Summary from Goodreads:

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…

My Thoughts:

Estella Goodwin, now renamed Stella, witnessed something horrible. She came home to a murder scene, and her entire life is overturned because of it. Placed in the witness protection program, she gets carted off to Thunder Basin, Nebraska – and she hates it. That is, until she meets the boy/man who mows her new “foster mom’s” lawn: Chet Falconer. I have to say, Dangerous Lies has launched Becca Fitzpatrick up into the league of my favorite authors. I’ve read her other work, The Hush Hush Saga and Black Ice – but those don’t compare to Dangerous Lies. This new book, this wonderful thriller of a book, blew my expectations out of the water and up into thin air. I hadn’t doubted Fitzpatrick’s skill, but this book has proven her to be an amazing writer and brilliant in the art of crafting stories.

 

One of the most powerful aspects of this book is the change that Stella goes through as a character. At the beginning, I hated her. Hell, I still partially hate her for personal reasons – but she does move past and develop beyond my pet peeves. Fitzpatrick has crafted the epitome of what you want to see from a character. Stella’s character arc is inspiring. She goes from being a total brat that I wanted to bitch slap with a metal chair to becoming someone I was rooting for. In the beginning of the book, she is ungrateful, rude, and a downright unrepentant bitch to everyone trying to help her. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me in a character – but Stella crossed the fine line from fiery heroine to standoffish twit in about two pages. But, here is the illustration of Fitzpatrick’s skill – by the end of the novel, I freaken loved Stella and I wanted her to kick ass. She was amazing. She started to deeply care about the people around her, she realized her mistakes and took responsibility to fix them, and she finally came to understand what it means to truly love someone – not just talking about hot, hunky Chet here.

 
Honestly, every single character in Dangerous Lies is spectacular. Carmina is amazing, just downright amazing. My second favorite part of this book was watching the relationship between Stella and Carmina blossom from hatred into a real family bond. Carmina is the woman who takes Stella in as part of her WITSEC cover story for no reason at all other than she was asked to. Carmina doesn’t put up with Stella’s shit – that woman was a badass, trust me.

 
Then we have Chet… goodness gracious Chet. I love that boy. Love, love, love him. I know I say that a lot about the love interest in books – but this was a different sort of love. Not only do I admire him and what he stands for, but I also found myself feeling his pain and his longing for something more. Chet was a special sort of character. He is completely real. He is not perfect, not in the slightest, but it only made me love him more. Plus, he’s a complete cowboy. Like, boots, hat, works on a ranch, accent, good mannered cowboy – swoon worthy. He is a total sweet heart, but he also has a bad side that we do get to see come out – he was perfection and the best match for Stella.
I can’t pick a favorite character – Chet and Carmina are both way too high up on my list to be able to choose. It would end up going something like this:

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I was a little disappointed with the ending, no matter how intense and awesome it was. There were a lot of questions left unanswered – I prefer my standalones to be tied up with a pretty little bow at the end. Well, for the most part anyway – I don’t mind endings when I can infer the rest, but this was a little iffy. The entire book seemed to come to the end in the span of twenty or so pages – it just wasn’t enough for me. A little too abrupt, seemingly unplanned, and far too out there. I would like to understand just why some things happened, despite how much it made my heart pound. Don’t get me wrong, like I said – it was still wonderful, I just wanted more out of it, you know what I mean?

 
Anyways, overall Dangerous Lies is a breathtaking and wonderful Young Adult thriller that effortlessly blends themes of facing the truth and the deep bonds of family. Becca Fitzpatrick has done it once again and created one more book to take up space upon my favorites shelf. Filled with lies, steamy kisses, hilarious banter, and heartfelt bonding – Dangerous Lies is one book well worth the expenditure of funds/time/effort to get it into your possession. It will leave you satisfied all the while craving even
more.

Let’s just say Dangerous Lies is like this video. You’re like “Oh no! Bad guys”… and then WHAM! and you’re in love.

 

 

Waiting On Wednesday # 11

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This weeks Waiting On Wednesday is Nexis by A.L Davroe!

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Publication: December 1st 2015 by Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:

In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.

Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.

But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.

And it’s been waiting for Ella.

That moment when a book synopsis features the names of two of your favorite bands. Cue Evanescence and Guster montages… if you don’t know who they are, shame on you – look them up. I’m a huge fan of dystopian novels if you haven’t picked up on that already. I love everything about them, and even though most of them are the same in some way, shape or form, I keep coming back for more. Nexis is no exception, this book sounds amazing! I mean, unbiased music obsession aside, I think the whole concept of a virtual reality game sounds pretty damn sweet.

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Teaser Tuesday # 11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

This weeks Teaser Tuesday is for Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick!

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A glimpse of blue sky, a singing bird on the windowsill. Or, in my case, not having the weight of caring for my mom dragging me under. What if Thunder Basin was my chance to come up for air?

Danny Balando wouldn’t stop searching for me. He was in jail, but the rest of his drug cartel was roaming free. Any one of them could be paid to do his bidding. His only hope was to hunt me down and kill me before I could testify.

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Soundless

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“Our village came to terms with silence when our ancestors lost their hearing generations ago for unknown reasons, but being plunged into darkness? That’s a fate that scares us all.”

Title: Soundless

Author: Richelle Mead

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 10th 2015 by Razorbill

Pages: 272

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

My Thoughts:

Richelle Mead is queen. I’ve said it before and I will say it over and over again. Vampire Academy, Bloodlines, Succubus Blues, Dark Swan, Gameboard of the Gods… each and every story she has created is full of life, laughter, and heartbreak. Soundless was no exception. Sure there were things that could have been better and things that I did not like, but the overall power of Mead’s writing was still there – and it was breathtaking.

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Soundless is about a village that rests up on top of a mountain. Fei, and all the other villagers, know only what the people before them knew. They are at the mercy of the line keeper, the man who sends them rations of food in exchange for precious metals. People in the village are beginning to lose their sight, even Fei’s sister, and with each passing day more and more people are falling ill. Their output to the line keeper slowly dwindles, and he responds in kind. One day, the line keeper withholds the supply as punishment – and soon cuts them off all together. Fei, a miraculous girl who regains her hearing, must work together with her childhood friend Lei Wei to save their village before they plunge into darkness and starvation.
Richelle Mead has this amazing power over me. I don’t know what it is – but each and every book strikes me to the core. Ever since Shadow Kiss, the third Vampire Academy novel, I’ve been obsessed with her style. Her characters are always so original and multidimensional – they are never the same. Rose Hathaway, Sydney Sage, Mae Koskinen, and now Fei. All of them have their own quirks, ticks, and overall demeanor. Fei is calm, levelheaded, and an artist. But, she also isn’t afraid to be adventurous – say, like scaling down the mountain to bring food back to her family. Fei is tough and willing to stand up for what she believes in, but she is also vulnerable, terrified, and unsure of how her actions will affect the village as a whole. She had a compelling voice, especially when she begins to regain her hearing.
Describing sound when a character has no idea what sound is, is no easy task. Mead handles it with grace and poise, as she does with everything else she tackles. The realization of sound, the process of trying to name the different noises – it was both intriguing and mind blowing. I’d never read a book like that before, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
The story itself, once again as it is with all of Mead’s novels, was fantastic. The narrative mode was captivating, the mythology was fresh and innovative, the relationships between the characters was believable, and most of all – the romance was swoon worthy. I have to admit, the fact that the romantic interest was already introduced and they already had a past was very well done. I haven’t read many Young Adult books that go about the romance that way – but it was very well done. Lei Wei… I love him, yup, I said it. He was amazing, kind, gentle, and he wasn’t afraid to fight in order to get what needed to be done, done. He was tender with Fei, but he also pushed her to be and do better.
There were some minor issues, but it mostly has to do with the ending. It felt too perfect and too rushed. I’m so used to these long, drawn out and complicated webs of plot that Mead crafts over the course of a series – so the resolution in this standalone was a little too polished for my liking. Like, no one died guys. What sorcery is this? But, anyway, I don’t think my issues would have been issues if the book was just a little longer. I think the ending needed some more space to sort itself out.
Overall, Soundless was the wild ride I was expecting and so much more. The story is beautiful, the setting is exquisite, and the characters will tug at all of your little heartstrings while they fight for what is best for their entire village. This was unlike anything else I’ve read by Mead, though at the same time, it still carried all of the little touches I have come to expect from her. Soundless did not disappoint. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a little bit of fun and new mythology in your life.

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Forget Tomorrow

“In Eden City, your future memory is your biggest recommendation. More than your grades, more than your credit history. Because your memory is more than a predictor. It’s a guarantee. “

Title: Forget Tomorrow

Author: Pintip Dunn

Series: Forget Tomorrow # 1

Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Entangled Teen

Pages: 400

Source: Publisher

Summary from Goodreads:

Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

My Thoughts:

Thank the lord! I have finally broken free of my bad book streak when I cracked this gem open. Forget Tomorrow, while being exactly like every other dystopian young adult book ever, was a thrilling ride about the meaning of fate.
Pintip Dunn has created a world we have seen many times before, I mean – these people even have to sit in a shiny chair to receive their “future memory” in order to know where they belong in society. *cough* Divergent *cough* I mean, seriously. This one girl is basically the chosen one because of her strange mental powers and, because of them, she is the key to unlocking this top secret government thingy. DIVERGENT!
Ignoring that little tidbit above, Forget Tomorrow truly was entertaining. It had an interesting, though overused, premise. The characters were interesting and mostly well developed. But, most of all, the book was about Callie’s relationship with her little sister. Sure there is romance and what not, but this book operates almost solely on the fact that Callie wants to protect Jessa – and it was beautiful. That’s not to say that there isn’t swoon worthy romance, because there is – it wouldn’t be Entangled Teen without it, but it doesn’t play a main part in the book – at least not to the same scale.
So, we open up right before Callie’s birthday – the day she will receive her future memory. These memories basically rule the entire society. You could want to be the greatest author there ever was and you could be an amazing writer, but if your memory shows you doing anything but that – that is where you are forced to go. Callie wants to be a chef, a manual chef to be exact (everything is made in this high tech future machine thingy that I can’t remember the name of). But, when Callie receives her memory – she sees herself murder her sister. Yupp, that’s right. Sweet little Callie who only wants to protect and love on Jessa, kills her – at least according to her future memory. You see where this is going, right? Basically, she turns herself in (shocking) and spends a few weeks in prison listening to and seeing horrible things. But then, one day Logan breaks her out. Logan is both her childhood somewhat friend and the local hunk of this book. So, Logan and Callie escape the facility and then make a run for this so called safe haven out in the woods… a lot of other shit goes down, more Divergentness ensues. The ending! Oh my god the ending of this book is a total rip off, grrr. But, I still liked it – it still tore my heart into a million little pieces because I completely understand why she did what she did and I know that I would do the exact same thing. If you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about and exactly why it is identical to Allegiant.
Callie was a good main character, I’ll give Dunn that. She was kind and gentle, but she also wasn’t afraid to throw down to get stuff done. She is literally driven by her need to protect Jessa, which is something I really identified with. She was somewhat aloof, though. Like, she would suddenly make a huge, life changing decision out of nowhere with no build up to it – or she would completely contradict herself. This was mostly true when it came to Logan, there was a lot of stuff going on with Logan – not all of it good. They had their swoony moments, but mostly, it was her trying to avoid him for the greater good and it just pissed me off. Like, if I were him, I wouldn’t put up with all of her crap.
Also, the romance. I couldn’t get into it. There were moments, like I said, where I really felt connected to Callie and Logan’s relationship. But, the pacing was way off. Things happen way too fast throughout the majority of this book. It was one of my biggest issues really, besides the fact that this is a rewritten version of Divergent. There was a lot of stuff going on and not enough space to cram it all into; in the end it just felt rushed which really took away from the overall experience. I wanted to see Callie emotionally wrestle with herself more, I wanted to see more description of what was going on. I don’t mind solid action, but when trying to send a message with that action a little more explanation is needed. It wasn’t strong enough on its own.
Overall, despite my issues, Forget Tomorrow was an entertaining escape from reality. Honestly, I really did enjoy it. I loved the family aspect, I loved how willing Callie was to do what was necessary, and I love the whole idea of fate against free will. This book explored it in a new way, I’ll give it that. If you’re looking for an exciting read, or if you just love Dystopian books as much as I do, I do highly recommend you read this. Dig a little deeper and go past the surface layers, you’ll find this book is saying much more than you originally thought.

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