Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

Body & Soul is the third and final book in the Ghost and the Goth series.  I was not aware of this series until I went to the 2012 RT Convention and Stacey read a portion of Body & Soul at one of the author speed reading sessions.  I absolutely LOVED her spirit and energy during the reading, even though she was obviously sick at the time.  Over the past couple of years I read The Ghost and the Goth and Queen of the Dead.  You can click on the links for my reviews.

Body and Soul picks up where Queen of the Dead left off.  Alona is stuck in Lily Turner's body and she has no idea how to get out.  She convinces Lily's family to call her Ally because she can't pull off being the real Lily.  She doesn't have any of Lily's memories and she needs to establish herself as her own person while she and Will try to resolve this situation.

As part of their investigation, they seek the help of a psychic named Edmond.  It doesn't take Will and Ally long to realize their isn't anything "magnificent" about Edmond, but for some reason he is able to communicate with one ghost.  His twin sister Erin is haunting him and has her eyes set on becoming Will's spirit guide now that Alona has moved into the light....or so she thinks.

This was an adorable series that I hate to see come to a close.  I am definitely happy with how it ended, but I think there was potential for another book...or at least a short story.  Both Will and Alona have come a LONG way since the beginning of this series.  He is far more confident and assertive and she is now acting like a "real" person.  She no longer has to pretend to be someone she isn't.  She has a family who loves her and Will is the true friend and boyfriend she never had when she was Alona.

I would love to know more about Ally and Will's activities after she graduates from high school. Stacey did give us a teaser at the very end of the book that I wish she would have expanded upon.  It actually sounded like a brilliant idea for a final book in this series.   Unfortunately, that will not be the case.  

Stacey does, however, have another book being released April 22nd. The Hunt is the second book in her Project Paper Doll series. I loved the first book, The Rules, and will be anxiously counting down the days until I can add The Hunt to my collection.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ARC Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

I would like to thank HarperCollins and Edelweiss for the ARC of Panic.

Panic is a contemporary stand-alone novel.  The main characters are all recent high school graduates preparing to compete in a series of dangerous challenges.  It is a tradition in their small town for the students to contribute to a pot throughout the school year.  The day after their graduation, they have the opportunity to enter a competition referred to as Panic for the chance to win over $60,000.  While each participant has their own reason for competing, they all consider it their one shot at a better life.  Participants are eliminated throughout the competition and the winner takes all.  There have been serious injuries and even deaths in the past, so joining Panic is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

I have read a number of comments made by readers who assumed Panic was going to be another Hunger Games based upon the synopsis.  Panic is NOTHING like the Hunger Games.  This is not about a futuristic society subjecting unwilling participants to a death match.  This is something that I could honestly see happening.  Eighteen-year-old kids smoking, drinking, partying, and participating in ridiculous challenges for a chance at winning a large sum of money.  With Panic, nobody has to get hurt.  Participants can drop out if they decide the stakes are getting too high.

The story is told from both Heather and Dodge's POV.  They are both participants in Panic, but they were not friends prior to graduation.  They start working together during one of the challenges after Heather's friend, Nat, injures her ankle and needs assistance.  We learn a great deal about all three characters and why they decided to enter the challenge.  There is a lot of danger and even some developing romance.  Each character has a secret, but by working together they all hope to come out on top.

This was an exceptional story that grabbed and held my attention from the very beginning.  I gave it 5 stars  and would definitely recommend it to any YA fan.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Music Monday: Toad The Wet Sprocket & Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Toad's new album, New Constellation, was released around the same time I finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

The following is a conversation between Levi and Cath and is a direct quote from Fangirl:

I don’t think I’m any good at this. Boy—girl. Person—person. I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off."

Levi’s face clouded over. Not grimly, she thought—thoughtfully. In thoughtful clouds. “That’s crazy,” he said.

“I know,” Cath agreed, feeling almost relieved. “Exactly. I’m crazy.”

He reached his fingers back and hooked them inside the cuff of her sweater. “But you still want to give me a chance, right? Not just me, this? Us?”
“Yeah,” Cath said, like she was giving in.
“Good.” He tugged on her sleeve and smiled down at their not-quite-touching hands. “It’s okay if you’re crazy,” he said softly.
“You don’t even know—”
“I don’t have to know,” he said. “I’m rooting for you.

While the line in the book states that he is rooting for her... Toad's I'll Bet On You is the PERFECT song to accompany this scene.  Every time I listen to it, I immediately think of Levi and Cath. 

 I'm not usually someone who tries to link music to books.  I know a lot of authors who create soundtracks for their books, which I think is cool, but I'm not usually that creative.  There are the few times when I hear a song and it immediately reminds me of something...which is what happened in this case.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter

This is the third book in the Gallagher Girls series.  Macey's father is running for Vice President and he wants to use his beautiful daughter as a campaign tool.  This can be a very risky decision when your daughter is a Gallagher Girl.

There is an attempted kidnapping at one of the campaign stops.  Fortunately, Cammie and Macey were able to fend off the attack and walked away with minor injuries.  Now they need to figure out who wants to kidnap Macey and why.  The attackers weren't the least bit interested in the presidential candidate's son, Preston Winters, so there has to be something more than politics involved.

Zach, one of the boys from the Blackthorne Institute ( the spy school for boys) that we were introduced to previously, makes several appearances throughout this book.  I really like his character and wish he had a larger presence.  Hopefully we will see A LOT more of him in the remaining three books.

Overall, this series has only gotten better with each additional installment.  I find the operative reports, pros and cons, and other spy related references to be a very original and humorous way of telling the story.  All of the main characters are very different and play off of each other's strengths and weaknesses beautifully.  The girls are becoming more independent and have come a VERY long way since their first CoveOps (covert operations) exercise.  They are beginning to take the initiative in potentially risky real life situations and continue to grow as individuals.

My son's name is Preston, so I immediately tweeted Ally to find out why she chose that name.  She said she called him "Prezson", as in the President's son, for the first three drafts.  Another YA author, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, finally suggested the name Preston...which I thought was a brilliant choice after hearing this story.

I have already purchased the last three books in this series and look forward to reading Only The Good Spy Young in the very near future.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Meeting (Vampire Academy 1.1) by Richelle Mead

I finished reading the first book in the Vampire Academy series a week ago.  I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next book in the series from the library, when I noticed Flo marked The Meeting novella as "Read" on Goodreads.  I wasn't aware of this novella, so I thought I would share it just in case others missed it as well.  It is 1.1 in the series and is available for free on Richelle Mead's website.

It retells the first meeting between Dimitri, Rose, and Lissa from Dimitri's POV.  It is a very short story, but it is definitely worth reading.  

There are a couple of other scenes I wouldn't mind hearing from Dimitri or Christian's POV, but it doesn't look like there is another novella until 6.5.