11.03.2015

TRAFFICK by Ellen Hopkins


TRAFFICK

by Ellen Hopkins

released November 3, 2015 by Simon & Schuster

_____


Five teens victimized by sex trafficking try to find their way to a new life in this riveting companion to the New York Times bestselling Tricks from Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank.

In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.

And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heartwrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home.

_____

7.28.2015

THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD by Karen Katchur


THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD

by Karen Katchur

published August 4, 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press)

_____

A haunting story about the destructive power of secrets, this accomplished and gripping suspenseful women's fiction debut is perfect for fans of Lisa Scottoline and Heather Gudenkauf

Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.
_____

7.23.2015

LOVE LIES BENEATH by Ellen Hopkins


LOVE LIES BENEATH

by Ellen Hopkins

published July 21, 2015 by Atria (Simon & Schuster)

_____


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Collateral comes a gripping novel about a woman caught in a love affair that could be her salvation...or her undoing.

Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.

Writing in beautiful prose, Ellen Hopkins unveils a new style while evoking her signature poetic form that readers fell in love with in Collateral and Triangles.


_____

7.08.2015

THE 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey


THE 5th WAVE
(THE 5th WAVE, #1)

by Rick Yancey

published by Putnam


_____

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
_____

7.07.2015

ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers


ALL THE RAGE

by Courtney Summers

published in April 2014 by St. Martin's Press

_____

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out,All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

_____

7.06.2015

THE DEATH CURE by James Dashner

THE DEATH CURE
(THE MAZE RUNNER, #3)

by James Dashner

published by Ember


THE SCORCH TRIALS by James Dashner


THE SCORCH TRIALS
(THE MAZE RUNNER, #2)

by James Dashner

published by Ember

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner


THE MAZE RUNNER
(THE MAZE RUNNER, #1)

by James Dashner

published by Ember


hey!

hey, all!

I'm going to start incorporating some changes to the blog.

1) first of all, if you've noticed, I've changed the header and the background! I really like the new images--I feel like they're more sophisticated, which my blog will become with the integration of more adult fiction reviews, in addition to YA.

2) I'm incorporating a new rating system! I've grown tired of the standard 5-star (or, in my case, owl) system, so I'm switching to a 10-point scale, with images like this:





I made these images myself out of a colored circle by adding the text. I'm looking forward to integrating these changes and revamping the blog!

leave a comment if you feel like it and let me know what you think about it!


-hayden

THOSE GIRLS by Chevy Stevens


THOSE GIRLS

by Chevy Stevens

to be released July 7, 2015 from St. Martin's Press

_____

Chevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge. 
Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. 
Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past. 
This time there’s nowhere left to run. 
As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

_____

4.28.2015

OBLIVION by Kelly Creagh



OBLIVION (NEVERMORE, #3)

by Kelly Creagh

to be published July 28, 2015 by Simon & Schuster / Atheneum



Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy!

"But . . . ," Isobel murmured, her voice quavering, suddenly weak, "you wouldn't. I know you wouldn't. I know you."

"For your sake, my dear Isobel, I very much hope you do. Because we certainly no longer recognize ourselves."*

Kelly Creagh's Nevermore is one of my favorite books of all time, and with Oblivion, the finale of the beloved trilogy, I am reminded why. Filled to the brim with constant pulse-pounding action, there is not a dull moment as we race to Isobel's and Varen's conclusion. 

As always, Creagh's writing is absolutely mesmerizing--I found myself occasionally forgetting to pay attention to what was being said because of how beautifully it was being said.

I am sad to see Isobel's and Varen's beautiful story end, but I know it's for the best. I will be reading the amazing Nevermore trilogy many times over in the future.

"This place, wherever it was - whatever it was - equated to insanity."*


*These quotes are taken from the advance copy of Oblivion and may change before print.

3.17.2015

THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma


THE WALLS AROUND US

by Nova Ren Suma

to be published March 24, 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers


                        

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

                        






Some things in life just aren't fair. A prime example is the amount of talent Nova Ren Suma has in her fingertips.
"We went wild that hot night. We howled; we raged; we screamed. We were girls--some of us fourteen and fifteen; some sixteen, seventeen--but when the locks came undone, the doors of our cells gaping open and no one to shove us back in, we made the noise of savage animals, of men."
In The Walls Around Us, Suma introduces us to two characters who each spin their own narrative. There is Violet, a prima ballerina with some skeletons in her closet, and Amber, a prison-trapped girl with a bucketload of secrets. Both have moments of likability and unlikability, but ultimately, I fell hard for these characters. Their unraveling story drew me in from the start and kept me hooked until the beautiful, lingering ending.

The Walls Around Us is Suma's best offering to date. Every single word is deliberate, every sentence immaculate. I cried, I laughed, I raged while reading this book, and I cannot cannot cannot wait for more.

2.11.2015

THE RUBY CIRCLE (Bloodlines, #6) by Richelle Mead




THE RUBY CIRCLE

by Richelle Mead

published February 10, 2015 by Razorbill

_____________

The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.
_____________

2.02.2015

ALWAYS WATCHING by Chevy Stevens

ALWAYS WATCHING
by Chevy Stevens

published by St. Martin's Griffin

________________________


She helps people put their demons to rest.But she has a few of her own…In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today? And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back. Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape.Told with the trademark powerful storytelling that has had critics praising her work as “Gripping” (Kirkus), “Jaw-dropping” (Publishers Weekly) and “Crackling with suspense” (People magazine), ALWAYS WATCHING shows why Chevy Stevens is one of the most mesmerizing new talents of our day.

________________________


2.01.2015

NEVER KNOWING by Chevy Stevens

NEVER KNOWING
by Chevy Stevens

published by St. Martin's Griffin

* * * * *

The second novel by Chevy Stevens, author of bestseller Still Missing.

At thirty-three Sara Gallagher is finally happy. Her antique furniture restoration business is taking off and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. But there’s one big question that still haunts her — who are her birth parents? Sara is finally ready to find out. 

Sara’s birth mother rejects her—again. Then she discovers her biological father is an infamous killer who’s been hunting women every summer for almost forty years. Sara tries to come to terms with her horrifying parentage — and her fears that she’s inherited more than his looks — with her therapist, Nadine, who we first met in "Still Missing." But soon Sara realizes the only thing worse than finding out your father is a killer is him finding out about you. 
Some questions are better left unanswered. 
Never Knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand where she comes from. That is, if she can survive…

* * * * *

1.31.2015

TUNNEL VISION by Susan Adrian

TUNNEL VISION
by Susan Adrian

published in 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin

* * * * *

Jake Lukin just turned 18. He's decent at tennis and Halo, and waiting to hear on his app to Stanford. But he's also being followed by a creep with a gun, and there's a DARPA agent waiting in his bedroom. His secret is blown.

When Jake holds a personal object, like a pet rock or a ring, he has the ability to "tunnel" into the owner. He can sense where they are, like a human GPS, and can see, hear, and feel what they do. It's an ability the government would do anything to possess: a perfect surveillance unit who could locate fugitives, spies, or terrorists with a single touch.

Jake promised his dad he’d never tell anyone about his ability. But his dad died two years ago, and Jake slipped. If he doesn't agree to help the government, his mother and sister may be in danger. Suddenly he's juggling high school, tennis tryouts, flirting with Rachel Watkins, and work as a government asset, complete with 24-hour bodyguards.

Forced to lie to his friends and family, and then to choose whether to give up everything for their safety, Jake hopes the good he's doing—finding kidnap victims and hostages, and tracking down terrorists—is worth it. But he starts to suspect the good guys may not be so good after all. With Rachel's help, Jake has to try to escape both good guys and bad guys and find a way to live his own life instead of tunneling through others.


* * * * *

1.10.2015

INVINCIBLE by Amy Reed

INVINCIBLE (INVINCIBLE, #1)

by Amy Reed

to be published by HarperTeen / Katherine Tegen Books

5 owls


***

Invincible tells the story of Evie, a girl who is trapped in her own mind and struggling to find her identity after a miraculous recovery. She is stuck in a place between what others think of her and what she wants to be. With her miracle came a destructive tragedy, which only adds to her sense of emotional burden.

As a character, Evie is rarely likable, but she is real. Reed does not sacrifice truth to create likability, which I respect and admire. Evie has suffered, almost losing her life to cancer, and it shows. She has lost her sense of identity, and it shows. She makes bad decisions; she says mean things to people she loves; she is indecisive. These things forge Evie as a tangibly real person. She has leapt off the page and burrowed into my brain. She resonates. Reed gets adolescence more than most other YA writers.

Invincible is Reed's best book yet, and the first of a planned duology. I'm not going to say it's the next The Fault in Our Stars, because it's not; it's so much more than that. Reed touches on love, identity loss, hope, friendship, expectations, reality, depression, addiction, family, losing yourself, finding yourself choice, and recovery in one brisk novel. I may never read another book, if only because I'll be rereading Invincible over and over again.


1.09.2015

ELEGY by Amanda Hocking

ELEGY (WATERSONG, #4)

by Amanda Hocking

published by St. Martin's Griffin


4 owls

***


This review contains spoilers for the first three novels in the Watersong series! Read with caution!

You know, the length of this book kind of took me by surprise.

542 pages. For Hocking, this is abnormal; her Switched books were all short, clocking in at around 300 pages apiece, and the other Watersong books were each around that length, too. In a 542-page tome, I was worried Hocking would stray from the main mission and divulge too much side information. I was worried the series she has spent three books crafting would crash and burn with an overbearing fourth installment.

Those worries were definitely unnecessary.

In Elegy, Gemma is closer than ever to breaking the siren curse. With the scroll in her possession, she is almost there. With Penn's impending threats and a ticking clock, she needs to crack the case. The Watersong series ends with the best book, in my opinion. Family drama, sizzling romance, and a touch of the paranormal combine to make Elegy a spellbinding finale to the series. The characters read like your favorite TV family. The strongest offering of Hocking's and my favorite underwater series I've read yet!

1.08.2015

STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens

STILL MISSING

by Chevy Stevens

published by St. Martin's Griffin

read via Kindle store



***


3.5 owls

First off, let's get this out of the way: my Kindle ruined, or at least severely tampered with, my reading experience with Still Missing. (Yet another reason why these blasted things should be read on paper. But, hey, I did read it on a Kindle; I'm the one at fault here.) 

One of the most crucial design flaws of the Kindle is the way the extra crap hastily included at the end of books (reader discussions, interviews, and But Wait . . . There's More! teasers of the authors' next books) count toward the overall percent-read figures of the book. I expect to reach the 100% mark when I finish the last chapter and hit the acknowledgments, but because of all the extras at the end of the Kindle editions, the actual end of the book hit me at 85%. That means that a whole fifteen percent of this book was dedicated to excerpts from Stevens's other books and reading group discussion questions, which was severely disappointing when I expected that 15% to include more plot points. That's what screwed things up for me: my belief that something big was coming, that more things were happening, maybe a jaw-dropping twist at the very end to leave us guessing, something infuriating and rewarding. Because I had fifteen percent left, I expected more. What I got as a conclusion wasn't more: it was sadly less than what I hoped for.

I enjoyed the way Still Missing unfolded. I enjoyed how the story was told from the perspective of a bitter, traumatized woman looking back on her traumas. I enjoyed the blossoms of Stockholm syndrome strewn throughout -- the book was, for the most part, psychologically accurate. (Somebody did her research!) The plot kept me turning pages; even though none of it particularly surprised me, it still led to feverish, nail-biting reading. What I don't think was the smartest choice, however, was the storytelling method Stevens employed, wherein Annie conversationally accounted her tragedy to her "shrink." It gave Stevens an excuse to write lazily (so many clich├ęs!) and didn't trust readers very much to pick things up on their own (for example, the way she explicitly spelled out the irony -- I think we got it).

Some of Annie's traumatic experiences really resonated, eliciting lots of emotion from me as I read. It got a bit graphic, but was all necessary to develop Annie's character. Overall, Still Missing functioned very well as a psychological thriller, delivered with a plot that engrossed (but ended, in my opinion, a little too bow-tied and perfect), and captured the facets of trauma very well from a psychological standpoint. People aren't the same after they experience traumas, and it can take years for them to return to how they were before, if they ever do. Stevens captured this beautifully.





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