Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: The Leaving by Tara Alterbrando

The Leaving
Title: The Leaving
Author:  Tara Alterbrando
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's 
Publishing Date: June 7th 2014
Pages: 432
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: ARC 
 

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.



Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story. 

This book didn't really catch my eye first thing. I wasn't sure what it was about and the title and cover didn't grab me. I decided to give it a go after I read the summary and remembered that I probably put it on my TBR for a reason. So  I read it. Well devoured it. One of my favorite reads this year. Mystery, thrills, mass confusion. I so liked it, well loved it. 
Six kids disappeared when they were 5 years old. It is  now 11 years later and 5 of the six show up on a playground, clueless to why the are there or what happened. The have bits and pieces of who they are and such but not really. They have not clue what has happened to them for the last 11 years. This book is about the 5 that came back, the missing 6th. This is the story of what happened to them, how are they supposed to remember and who are they supposed to be if they don't remember any of the last 11 years. 

This book really wowed me. It sounded good but I didn't really know what to expect. I thought okay mystery, realistic fiction, maybe a bit of suspense or conspiracy theory. It was all the above. It filled so many of my soul pockets. I really love a great mystery and this was most of the book. It was also very unreliable narratorish. The kids do not remember anything so how do we trust them. Are their memories real, planted, lies... the reader just has no clue. I love books like this.

The story and the mystery were the best part. The characters were okay. But I felt it really wasn't a story about the characters on who they were or are... but rather them letting go. So did I connect to the characters. Not not really. Most of the time this bothers me but really in this book it didn't. I did connect enough to feel for them and understand them.... it was just hard to really know them. They didn't really know themselves. This was okay for me. It made sense to me and really put me more into the story. 

The story was told from 3 multiple POV's, 2 of the returned missing and a sibling from the missing that had not returned. I actually liked her POV the most. Avery. the sister, remembered everything and she felt it all. She had the 11 years of torture not knowing where her brother was. She also had to deal with her brother being the one that didn't come back. Out of all the characters... I liked her point of view the best and probably connected with her the most.

The ending was not so closes ended as one would like. The mystery was solved but not completely. Enough to get the gist of it and to let the kids let go... but there is more to the story. I would like to know more and really there could be another book if one wanted there to be. I am not sure that will ever happen but I think there is a lot more to the story. 

This book was amazing to me. Despite there being a non-concrete ending and hard to connect characters I loved every word I read. There was something about the mystery that just kept me going. The lost and the grief and the healing of each of the returned kept me reading. It was mind boggling and I just love these type of reads. 


I loved it... really I just loved it.




TaraAltebrando
Tara Altebrando is the author of numerous books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Her upcoming book, THE LEAVING (Bloomsbury), is a YA thriller that received a starred PW review and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her other YA novels include ROOMIES, coauthored with Sara Zarr; Dreamland Social Club (A Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens), The Best Night of (Your) Pathetic Life, What Happens Here, and The Pursuit of Happiness.

Tara is a Harvard graduate who lives in Queens, NY, with her husband and children.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


I Can't wait for:



The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies 
September 20th 2016
  


A bolt of lightning inspires an incredible journey in this charming, magical realism adventure that takes four teens on an all-night journey through the streets of New York City.

Extraordinary things happen when we least expect them.

Tiny, Lu, Will and Nathaniel used to be best friends. Then life-defining events the summer before high school tore them apart. Now, three years later, they hardly talk anymore. Nathaniel has become obsessed with winning the prestigious science scholarship that his genius older brother once won. Will has risen from anonymity to popular soccer star. Lu grew into a brash, impetuous actress. And shy, poetic Tiny has slowly been fading away.
But fate weaves their lives together again the night before the SATs, during a wild thunderstorm that threatens to shut down New York City. And lightning strikes.
Before they know what's hit them, the four teens embark on an epic all-night adventure to follow their dreams, fall in and out of love, reconcile the past, and overcome the fears that have been driving them since that one lost summer. And by the time the sun rises, odds are they’ll discover that there’s a fine line between science and magic, and that the mysteries of love and friendship can’t be explained.

I love the sound of this book. Its sounds so amazing and like it will be a beautiful adventurous ride. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar


Rocks Fall, Everyone DiesTitle: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publishing Date: June 7th 2016
Pages: 336
Genre:  YA Magical Realism
Series:  Stand Alone 
Source: Audiobook
 

Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.
This is one of those books that just grabbed me because of the title. It is such an awesome  title and I am happy to say the title is very fitting for this book. This was a very wonderful read. I loved everything about. The complexity of the characters, the blurry moral lines, the magical aspect, the story itself, and the uniqueness of the story. It was a great refreshing read. 
Aspen comes from a family with a unique ability, they can steal from other people... Not things but parts of them. Personality, memories, thoughts, fears, it can all be taken away from them. Like a thread that needs to be snipped. Aspen's family does this so that the cliff does not collapse. They believe the rocks will fall and everyone will die. So Aspen goes along with the plan. He doesn't stop there, though. He also uses his gift on his friends and people he knows to benefit himself. He never really thought much about it until the day his world comes crashing down. There are secrets and betrayals, There are consequences. There is a cause and effect to everything he has stolen. He learns the hard way that those blurry moral lines.. just may have been crossed and there is no going back.

Where to start with my thoughts. They are all over the place. I loved loved loved this story. It was so unique. so twisted, and so thought provoking. I  just ate it up and was filled with all kinds of mumble jumble in my head. It really had me going all over the place. So please be patient... my review may be the same way. 

I love the idea of stealing pieces of people. Not that I would love to do it or think it's a great thing to do.... but the idea that this could exist and what it would mean. I mean how many times has one thought about taking away a fear or a memory...how would that effect us. Would it change us in a big way or a small way/ What if it could be done to us and we had no clue? So many questions are created around this subject. It really did some mind tricks on me. It was such a new concept... or at least one I have not read or heard of and I found myself immersed into this world. 

I love magical realism aspect...... I have a hard time finding magical realism in ya books. I just think its such a treasure to find. For the longest time I had no idea what this genre really was. When I figured it out I fell in love with it. Some magical realism books are  a bit over my head and I find myself lost without true explanation. This book.. well it didn't have the explanation that really hit the issue of why this family has the magic... but since that is what magical realism is all about I didn't mind. So much more was explained and I was never lost or bored or wondering what the heck is going on. It was a real good story a real good read. 

The characters were so complex. There wasn't good or bad or right or wrong. There were so many elements to each character and their story and how being in the same world as Aspen and his family has affected them. There were innocent and there were not so innocent but that is about the only real line I found. There were so many pieces and so many layers. There was so much growth for Aspen when he discovered things he either didn't think about or never knew about. The revelations just peeled the layers off and really allowed him to get to his core. I can't say I loved his character or hated his character. I just loved the journey his character was on. 

There was a bit of mystery and a bit of dark in this story. A bit of suspense a bit of thrill. There was romance and there were friendship and family aspects too. It had a bit of everything. The entire story centered around a coming of age story for aspen but I do believe there is something for everyone in this book. 

The book was a page-turner... or minute racer. I never wanted to put it down and I just needed more. It was fast paced and it was slow burning. It was just right. There were moments that needed to speed by and it did... then there were the moments where I needed to revel in the thoughts or scene. To really feel what was going on. I was able to do that. I really got the gist of it all and then I just studied it.


I think I will recommend this book to everyone I know or meet. Just everyone. I loved it. 



Lindsay Ribar


Lindsay Ribar lives in New York City, where she works in book publishing by day and writes YA novels by night. She attends far too many concerts, watches far too much nerdy TV, and consumes fanfiction like it's made out of chocolate. She is fond of wine, cheese, and countries where they speak English but with really cool accents. Oh, and she has a Harry Potter tattoo.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Delightful Discoveries




Delightful Discoveries are books that I have discovered recently... old, new, just released... from blogs, Goodreads, libraries, friends, or bookstores. 







Hatred Day (Hatred Day, #1)
Hatred Day by T.S. Pettibone


In the year 2052, it's not love but hate that unites the world.

Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis.

Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid Yagami reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.




Palindrome
Palindrome by E.Z. Rinsky  


Private Eye Frank Lamb's business is simple: He finds things. Be it the world’s hottest pepper seed in a South American dictator's safe or a pair of Italian art forgers sipping Prosecco in a Miami hotel room, he delivers the goods and collects his check, never with a smile. Work is work, and he doesn’t let it get in the way of the life he’s made for himself and his ten-year-old daughter, Sadie.

But when a staggeringly beautiful woman offers him a small fortune to find a cassette tape, curiosity gets the better of him. It contains, she explains, a recording her sister’s kidnapper made of her last three minutes on Earth. She conveniently fails to mention the unsettling effects the tape is rumored to have on listeners.

Frank takes the case, and enlists the help of reclusive tracker Courtney Lavagnino to pick up a trail that's been cold for five years. As their search leads them through a horrifying labyrinth of murder and madness, it becomes clear they're chasing much more than a memento.






The GuineveresThe Guineveres by Sarah Domet 



In the vein of The Virgin Suicides, a dazzling debut novel about four girls inexplicably named Guinevere, all left by their parents to be raised by nuns, and the year in which their tightly knit Guinevere family implodes when four comatose soldiers arrive.

Vere, Gwen, Ginny, and Win come to The Sisters of the Supreme Adoration by different paths, delivered into the rigorous and austere care of Sister Fran. Each has their own complicated, heartbreaking story that they safeguard. But together they are the all powerful and confident The Guineveres, bound by the extraordinary coincidence of their names and girded against the indignities of their plain, sequestered lives. Together, they learn about God, history, and, despite the nuns' protestations, sex. They learn about the saints whose revival stories of faith and pain are threaded through their own. But above all, they plot their futures, when they can leave the convent and finally find a true home. But when four comatose soldiers, casualties of the War looming outside, arrive at the convent, The Guineveres’ friendship is tested in ways they never could have foreseen. 

In The Guineveres, Sarah Domet navigates the wonder and tumult of girlhood, the families we yearn for and create. In prose shot through with beauty, Domet intertwines the ordinary and the miraculous, as The Guineveres discover what home really means.









Flower
Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen


These are the things that I've always wanted: 

To get the top grades in my class. 

To make my grandmother proud. 

And most of all, proof that I could succeed where the rest of my family had not: a Stanford acceptance letter, early admission. 

My mother and my sister were obsessed with boys and love and sex. So obsessed that they lost sight of their futures, of whatthey wanted. And in the end, they lost everything. 

I'll never let a boy distract me. I promised my grandmother that. 

But that was before Tate. 

Before the biggest pop star on the planet took an interest in me. 

Before private planes and secret dates and lyrics meant for me alone. 

There's so much I don't know. Like why he left music. Where he goes when we're not together. What dark past he's hiding. But when we kiss, the future feels far away. And now…I'm not sure what I want.








A Taste For Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

The real monsters are men. London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory with nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in London Hospital. Evelyn wanted to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut away from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred, who does not recoil from her, and who understands her pain.
When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper's dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity's worst nightmares.
A terrifying and haunting tale from the Edgar Award-winning author of Icefall, Matthew J. Kirby.
The mesmerizing story of a young woman in Victorian London, who, haunted by the ghosts of Jack the Ripper's victims, is set on a terrifying path to salvation.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wee Reads: Adventures With Barefoot Creatures by Teagan White

Ever since Finn was born, and even before then, we would read to him. We wanted to show him reading from an early age. Now he loves us to read the same books, over, and over, and over. But it is the sweetest thing, when he likes to pick out a book and climb into our laps. 





What Finn Reads....  

Adventures with Barefoot Critters
Adventures With Barefoot Creatures by Teagan White 
  

Join an adorable cast of animal characters as they explore the alphabet through the seasons. From gathering honey in spring to building cozy campfires in fall, the friends make the most of each season, both enjoying the great outdoors and staying snug inside. Learning the alphabet is fun when adventuring with these critters, and children and adults alike will delight in Teagan White's sweet, nostalgic illustrations.








What Finn Thinks...

Finn absolutely adores this book. 
He especially likes the dinosaur and is always pointing him out. He loves the other creatures as well and likes pointing to the different animals and objects on the page and us explaining to him what it is. 
This is one of the books I got in Chicago at BEA, and the first time I read it to him, was on video chat. And he sat completely still the entire time, and even asked me to read it again. 

I also love this book, the colors are beautiful, the animals are drawn so cute and perfect. 
There was a picture that came with the book, of some of the animals and I actually took it to work and have it at my desk, because it's just so perfect and cute. 
The words rhyme and flow perfectly. It not only teaches ABC's, it also teaches the months, and the seasons. 


Other books like this:


     
Counting with Barefoot CrittersBunny Roo, I Love You
 
Imagination Designs