Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review: Revived

Title: Revived
Author: Cat Patrick
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): It started with a bus crash. Daisy Appleby was a little girl when it happened, and she barely remembers the accident or being brought back to life. At that moment, though, she became one of the first subjects in a covert government program that tests a drug called Revive. Now fifteen, Daisy has died and been Revived five times. Each death means a new name, a new city, a new identity. The only constant in Daisy's life is constant change. Then Daisy meets Matt and Audrey McKean, charismatic siblings who quickly become her first real friends. But if she's ever to have a normal life, Daisy must escape from an experiment that's much larger--and more sinister--than she ever imagined. From its striking first chapter to its emotionally charged ending, Cat Patrick's Revived is a riveting story about what happens when life and death collide.

Review: OHMYGOODNESS. Revived was probably the hardest book to put down that I've read this summer - it's that good! I just, I don't know, I can't. UGH! Can we just all take a minute to applaud Cat Patrick and her beautiful writing?! 

I bought my own copy of Revived at my favorite bookstore simply because the plot sounded so intriguing. What's better than an undercover program that involves a drug that can bring people back to life? Not only that, but the cover is so mysterious. I'll admit - I tend to judge books by their covers. *sigh* Sorry, not sorry. 

Daisy was a perfectly balanced character. During one chapter, she would be strong and outgoing and the next, she would be second guessing herself. She fit the mold of a typical teenage girl. The only difference with Daisy is that she has died five times. Every time she dies in an accident, she is relocated to a different city with a different last name and her life starts over again. The one thing that keeps her alive is a secret government drug called Revive. She, along with 19 of her peers, have been admitted in the top secret program ever since a school bus accident. Daisy follows her guardians' orders (who are also a part of the program) without question, until she moves to Omaha and meets Matt and Audrey McKean. 

I loved the McKean siblings. On the outside, the dynamic duo looked like they had it all. Matt could've easily been the hottest guy in school while Audrey was Miss Popular, but Daisy quickly finds out it's not like that at all. I loved reading the scenes with Audrey and Daisy. They had such a strong friendship from the get-go that Audrey's fate was a punch to the gut (think Augustus Waters). I only wish she was in the book for a longer amount of time. 

The idea of a drug that could bring people back to life was really compelling. Not once did Cat Patrick's writing bore me or annoy me. I feel like a broken record for saying that Daisy's story was unique and kept me on the edge of my seat, but it's the truth. I couldn't get enough of it and can't think of anything else to say how amazing Revived was/is. Because of that, I will leave those of you who've read Revived with one final thought of mine:

Mason = Jensen Ackles 
(Wouldn't you agree?) (=

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review: Deadly Cool

Title: Deadly Cool
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name. But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Review: I guess July of 2014 has been dubbed my 'murder-mystery' month. Wound up reading The Killing Woods first, and now Deadly Cool. (2 for 2!) What next?!

I'm a sucker for unique names and Hartley officially made it on my list. Being her age, I could easily slip into her shoes and launch into the investigation of the murder(s) myself. But let me tell you, she was one stubborn girl. Even when the police tried to convince her that 1) her ex-boyfriend was the killer and 2) let it go, she didn't. She stuck with her gut throughout the book and, by doing so, grew stronger. 

Sam reminded me of my roommate from leadership school (and not because her name was Sam too). Despite how dangerous it was for Hartley to launch her own investigation, Sam stuck by her side and supported her without getting too involved. Sam was the comedic relief. While most of the story was focused on the murder investigation, Sam's typical teenage girl actions made me smile (along with Hartley's thoughts every once in a while). For example, her bird calls to warn Hartley that she was going to get caught were priceless. Hands down, my favorite scene involving the two best friends. (= 

When I'm reading, I picture the characters as certain people, be it actors/actresses or my friends/family. Sometimes, I can never come up with a clear picture. Chase was one of those characters whose face just happened to be a blur. One moment I thought he could be like Ansel Elgort and the other I had no idea. Without having a clear image, I found it hard connecting with Chase. But have no fear! His character was the yin to Hartley's yang - in other words, they were the perfect team. Hartley wanted to prove that her cheating ex-boyfriend was not guilty and he wanted a lavish murder story to print in the school newspaper. It was a win-win situation! Maybe...

At this point, you might be wondering what the 2 for 2 thing was about in the beginning. It's simple really. Deadly Cool hit the mother lode! The feeling of not knowing who exactly the killer was (maybe Josh, maybe Chase, maybe someone else) until the end of the book gave me a rush that wouldn't let me put the book down. Although I think that Hartley's story would be the perfect standalone, I'm very interested in picking up a copy of Social Suicide - an act that other readers who enjoy Deadly Cool will wind up doing as well...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Review: The Killing Woods

Title: The Killing Woods
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark. A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY. 

Review: Is it bad that I love murder mysteries so much? It's hard to find such an intriguing one that leaves me guessing who the killer is with various plot twists, but The Killing Woods didn't disappoint. 

I won The Killing Woods via a Rafflecopter giveaway who knows when - that's how long the book has been on the shelf - and found the concept interesting. A soldier with PTSD accused of murder, a dangerous version of Ghost In the Graveyard played by a group of teenagers, a girl determined to get to the bottom of it - Lucy Christopher hit a home run in the mystery department. Sure, the reader had their own individual list of suspects, (Damon Hillary, Mack, Ed, Charlie, Mr. Shepherd) but they never really were able to figure out who the real killer was until the end of the book.

The Killing Woods was told in two different character's points of view. The first character being Emily Shepherd, the daughter of the soldier with PTSD who finds the body of Ashlee Parker in the woods. Being the one who left the woods with the body in his hands, Mr. Shepherd is accused of the murder, but Emily knows it can't be the case. Just because the war affected him and his memory doesn't mean he would kill somebody. The second character telling his side of the story was Damon Hillary, Ashlee's boyfriend who had been in the woods with her and a group of friends the night she died. Not being able to remember the events of that night scares Damon and while Emily launches her own investigation, Damon attempts to straighten his side of things out. 

With some stories having been told in multiple points of view, it's easy to get confused and mix up the characters and their thoughts, but Lucy wrote Emily's story in one font and Damon's in another. I like this style of writing because then I know whose mindset I'm in and can see the story through their eyes instead of scrambling to get my thoughts together. The Killing Woods encourages me to pick up a copy of Lucy Christopher's other novel, Stolen. Hopefully, I will enjoy that book as much as I did this one. 

If you are looking for a murder mystery to read this summer, I highly encourage you check out The Killing Woods. But be warned: "Fatal attraction and primal fear, at play in the forest." 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book Review: Soul Fire

Title: Soul Fire
Author: Aprille Legacy
Publisher: Createspace
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Rose Evermore has lived in Ar Cena her entire life. Despite this, she still feels like an outsider, like a shoe that doesn’t quite fit. Halfway through her eighteenth year, she begins to notice changes around her, such as the fact that she has a stalker who can hold fire in his bare hands, or the dreams that she can turn into reality. After a series of mishaps, Rose finds herself in an alternate realm, brought there to hone the magical power she was born with. Even here, though, Rose feels set apart. The Academy Masters treat her differently than the others. Her assigned soul mate avoids her when he should be working with her. Despite all this, Rose begins to grow into something no one could’ve seen coming; a hero. With her, nothing is as it should be, and she decides to find out why. Soon she discovers that not everything about this new world is what it seems. Least of all her.

Review: I remember meeting Aprille on Goodreads back when she posted her story on the website. She had been wanting to publish and wishing to have a hard copy of her own book in her hands. After lots of hard-work and determination, her wish was fulfilled and I am so proud of her. She is an inspiration for aspiring authors and her debut novel, Soul Fire, won't disappoint. 

The first thought that came to my mind when I was reading Soul Fire was Harry Potter. I imagined the Academy Rose attended to be similar to Hogwarts (minus the whole Quidditch/broomstick lessons). Fantasy has always been one of my top young adult genres and the magic in Soul Fire was a spark like no other. 

For a while, I seemed to be just as confused as Rose was when the Academy Masters treated her differently. They were more strict with her, had her on a tighter leash than most of the other students, and was more than likely lectured when she thought she did something positive. Aprille's writing style allows readers to feel the same emotions Rose does in particular scenes - something I enjoyed while reading her story. 

Back to the Harry Potter references: I saw Rose as a more rebellious Hermonie. She was intelligent and strong, but not as willing to back down from a fight. Instead of thinking about the potential consequences, Rose stood up for what she thought was right; ready to knock down any obstacle head-on. Her soulmate, Phoenix, was dark and mysterious - intriguing traits that drew in my attention. While reading, I had also been confused about the whole "soulmate" situation. The number one rule is they can't fall in love... what? That almost seems like second nature to fall in love with your soulmate! This unique plot line added more power behind Soul Fire simply because it's something you don't see often. 

Endings of books always kill me. This statement applies to Soul Fire 100%. Thank you very much Aprille. Now I HAVE to read the second installment of the series... But I don't think I'll mind. (=