Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Belzhar YA

Just imagine you have suffered a  huge trauma in your life and no one understands or can help you through it.  Finally they just send you away to a school that will either help you or keep you hidden so your loved ones won't have to look at you anymore.  When you get there you find out you have been placed in a special "coveted" English class that everyone wants to be in, and so elite only 6 kids get in, and all you have to do all year is read one book, talk about it in class and write in a journal twice a week, how hard it that?  Until you find that the journal is special and lets you go to a special place where you can be with that person you miss so desperately.  But what happens when you run out of pages in the journal?Belzhar is a wonderful book of friendship and bonding even if it is slow and cautious to come.  The story of Jam's is interesting and not as she puts it ordinary.  But all of the teens journeys are long ones of healing, but they help each other as much as their journals do, even if they don't see it until the end.  This was a very good book that will easily keep you turning the pages until the end.  Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tides of War #1: Blood in the Water MG

After dropping out of the SEAL program Cory and his brother Aaron were saved from a shark attack by a pod of wild dolphins while out surfing one morning.  Cory than asked the Navy for reassignment to the Marine Mammal Program, to work with dolphins.  That is where Cory was partnered up with Kaj a pacific bottlenose dolphin trained for search and intercept.  But when Cory and Kaj are sent to North Korean waters for a top secret mission with the infamous SEAL Team Six Squad things get tense all around.
This was a great middle grade book not only for those interested in the military aspect but the dolphin training part is huge as well, and the author went to great lengths to keep everything true to life.  From the Marine Mammal Program to SEAL life to the dolphins themselves.  Because of all of this , this book is a great middle grade military book that still teaches that there is still a technical side to our military, and a very real human side as well.


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Vault of Dreamers YA

A poor girl from a poor town, Rosie Sinclair, gets accepted to the Forge School of the Arts to help her dream of filmmaking grow.  But the school works as a reality show where it is your blip rank that matters, and the students lives are televised every waking moment, for 12 hours, the other 12 hours it is on repeat and the students are supposed to be in a drug induced sleep used to increase creativity.  But Rosie like her nights to much, but will they be her downfall when she sees things she shouldn't see, a whole world hidden from the real world, a dream world.
This was a awesome book, so full of action, a little romance, and a whole lot of hold your breath suspense.  The characters are likable, believable, and interact with each other well.  But the best is Rosie, Linus, and Burnham, and how they all work toward the truth of the Forge School if there is actually anything to find.  I suppose the one question is will we see Rosie and her friends again in more books?  I think this book puts Caragh O'Brien's blip rank at a 1.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters YA/NA/Adult

This was a funny survival manual on how to survive a sharknado, among other things.  I am not entirely sure how to review this, but it was really cute and funny.  I have been through tornados, earthquakes, and hurricanes, but now I feel totally prepared to survive a sharknado, and a redneck gator attack, with recipes on what to do with the leftovers.  Even though I now live no where near a ocean I am ready, but I am not to sure I really want to be.  This book was very informative and may be our government should take over the printing and distribute it to every household in the United States, after all shouldn't we all be prepared.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Contaminated 2: Mercy Mode YA

 A sickness spreads across the country from a contaminated diet drink.  Now the government is at a loss as to how to cure the sick, so their answer is to quarantine them until the worst of their symptoms has past, then fit them with a collar that sends electric shocks to the person whenever they get angry or overly agitated, symptoms left behind by the sickness, along with abnormal strength which can pose a threat to others.  However, if the anger or aggression gets to bad the collar goes into mercy mode, the consequence, death.  But there is one family that breaks all the rules when it comes to the contamination sickness and how it is supposed to work, and of course the government wants them for guinea pigs, once Velvet get a taste of this she escapes and takes her family and runs.

This was a different kind of dystopian book as we get a look into the government and what they would do as far as testing and how far they would go to get what they want.  It isn't just the normal hide and seek type book.

I felt a bit behind at the beginning having not read the first book, but quickly caught up and then was swept away in the action.  This book was full of action and it kept you page turning just to find out how everybody faired into the next chapter.  Definitely a stay up past your bedtime book.  I liked that there was not a ton of characters to learn and keep track of so I could just jump right in, it was a fun, quick book that was just a easy read, full of action, good relationships, and family values.  I can't wait to read book one.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf YA

About the Book:
Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M.
Genre: Young Adult fiction, Contemporary RomanceAmazonhttp://amzn.to/1q2UsEN“Her heart wept when she realized that the hardest part about loving him was the idea that his love was never meant for her.”Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns.When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, an unlikely friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art.
After a tragic accident leaves Kiva severely disfigured, she struggles to see the beauty she has been brought up to believe. Just when she thinks she’s found her place, Ryler begins to pull away, leaving her heartbroken and confused. The patriarch of the family then takes a turn for the worse and Kiva is forced to give up her dreams to help with familial obligations, until an old family secret surfaces that makes her question everything.
Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.
About the Author:
Sieni A.M. is a coffee addict, Instagram enthusiast, world traveler, and avid reader turned writer. She graduated as an English and History high school teacher from the University of Canterbury and is currently living in Israel with her husband and two daughters. “Scar of the Bamboo Leaf” is her second novel.

This is a very deep and serious book about a girl, Kiva, who could have very well lost herself in the black of the world, the anger, the storm, the despair, the everything dark, as she was dealt a pretty lousy hand as a baby and a child growing up.  But her birth mother did one thing right, she gave Kiva to her sister, Naomi, as a baby to raise as her own and to care for and nurture, to love.  Naomi and her husband loved Kiva and helped her to grow and see past her disabilities to her abilities as a awesome artists, and Kiva grew up a very happy child, despite everything life threw at her along the way into adulthood, as you will read, Kiva always worked  through the hard times and never forgot her dreams.  This is such a inspirational book on so many levels that it should be on everyone's to read list!  This was a wonderful read even with all the books complexities, it worked to tie it all together and it shows how real life works not a fairytale life like in most romance novels.


5 ecopies of Scar of the Bamboo Leaf via Amazon
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The Excerpt:
The white van’s presence in the driveway made Kiva’s heart thud against her ribs, and a mysterious anticipation settled over her. Hobbling into the house, she carried out her chores with efficiency, hanging the laundry on the line and checking on Masi’s bowl while stealing curious glances at the art center.
After a long pause, she decided to enter it.
Poised along the far wall to avoid distraction, Kiva perused the students scattered around the room, heads and shoulders bent over their wood carvings, the clink and thud of the chisel and mallet competing over each other. Mau paced his time with each student evenly, making his way around, offering guidance when needed. Kiva couldn’t make out his words from where she sat, only a few low mutterings accompanied by the shake or nod of his head.
Her eyes strayed until they settled on the boy with the mysterious tattoo. Ryler. Her suspicions were correct about his work when she noticed the slab of wood with the sliced words in front of him. He hadn’t spoken a word to any of the other boys, didn’t acknowledge them, and they avoided him too, as if he’d erected an invisible wall and they were aware of it.
Her uncle had no problem stepping through it though. He was with him now, speaking in low tones and gesturing to his work. What was he saying? Kiva strained to hear, but nothing came to her over the cacophony of sounds in the room. A muscle in Ryler’s jaw ticked as he sat, head bent, listening to him. Mau remained with him for some time, talking and listening, acknowledging the need to spend more time. Finally, he gave him a tap on the shoulder and a satisfied nod before moving away.

Kiva noticed when Ryler picked up a carving knife, pausing in concentration, his face tentative and contemplative, before he met it with wood, the muscles in his broad back contorting and flexing from the grip and release of the tool. What had he decided to carve? Kiva wanted to inch her way forward to find out but kept herself firmly planted. An hour passed and still she sat riveted to her spot.
A couple sharp drops on the roof were the only warning to the torrential downpour that followed.
“Makiva!” Hana’s voice shouted from across the yard and made her jump. “It’s raining! Get the laundry!”
Kiva scrambled off the floor, the noise drawing attention, and limped as quickly as she could to the line. The knifelike raindrops hit her on the back, stinging, and soaked through her shirt. Ignoring the pricks, she rushed to unpeg each piece of clothing, throwing it in the bucket and returning for more. The rain came down harder and faster, blurring her eyesight, the sound of a thunderclap roaring in her ears. Tea towels, Mau’s shirt, Hana’s school skirt. Breathless, her quick movements had long ago uncoiled her hair, wild and swirling in the wind; the pencil slipped out, lost somewhere. She was nearing the end of the line, grappling with a sheet, when she glanced up and noticed the boys running from the center to the van, their lesson over.
Ryler appeared last through the door, his brown eyes trained on her, and descended the stairs with heavy, deliberate steps. Kiva stared wide eyed as he stepped into the rain and came toward her with unhurried, even strides. She watched as raindrops pelted his gray shirt, soaking through to his shoulders until the wet dots spread and connected.
When he was a foot away, he lifted his hand.
“You dropped this,” he said, his voice low and hoarse, as if he was just getting over a cold. He smelled of wood dust and sweat.

She glanced down at his hand and saw the pencil she used to pin up her hair. It must have fallen in the art center in her haste to get to the laundry. Reaching for it, she noticed the deep scars on his left wrist and paused. From this close they looked even worse.
“It’s not what you think,” he answered, interpreting her thoughts.
Kiva snapped her eyes to his face. His brown eyes penetrated hers, thick lashes dripping from the rain, a line formed between his eyebrows. She tried not to fidget under his gaze and glanced to the right of his face. She saw a scar near his eye, something she hadn’t noticed before.
She calmly returned her gaze to him. “And what do I think?”
Ryler took a step closer. “You think that I did this to myself on purpose.”
“Did you?” She breathed.
He shook his head. “It was from a fight. The other guy had a broken bottle and I tried to block him.”

Kiva hissed as if she had been the one cut open and bleeding. Her eyes found the scar again and her stomach plummeted at the thought of the pain it must have caused. She felt suddenly light-headed and blinked to clear the blur clouding her mind.
“Are you alright?” he asked, concern laced in his voice.
She took slow, even breaths and nodded her head.
The sound of the van’s horn blared from the drive way.
“Ryler! Hurry up, we’re going!” A superior impatiently gestured for him in the rain.
“You better go,” Kiva said hastily. “Thanks for returning this.” She took the pencil from his hand and curled her fingers around it.

Ryler remained unmoving. Why wasn’t he going? Did he want to get into trouble? He finally stepped away and turned, jogging over to the waiting van, his shirt now drenched through and stuck to his retreating back.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blood of My Blood YA

Barry Lyga has hit a homerun with this his third and final installment of the I Hunt Killers trilogy.  It is totally captivating from cover to cover, it will keep you up way past your bedtime (and not because you are to afraid to go to sleep) just to finish one more chapter, than another, and another, etc...
Jasper (Jazz) Dent is still in New York, this book picks up where the last one left off with the Hat-Dog killer cliffhanger (I won't spoil it for you if you are new to the series).  But Jazz knows it will be him or his serial killer dad Billy Dent, who Jazz thinks is holding his mother hostage, left alive at the end.  Jazz wants this to end and end now, especially after he hears the Crow King has Connie, Jazz's girlfriend, and Howie, his best friend, and Jazz's Grandmother are in the hospital. 
This is a fast paced, well rounded, don't read by yourself in the house on a stormy night kind of book.  It was well worth the wait to Lyga fans, so run and get yours and settle in because you are going to be reading for quite a while.  Oh and don't let the Crow King get you.  :)