21 May 2013
by Natalie Whipple
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publication date: May 21st 2013
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Source: ARC from publisher
Author's website | GoodReads
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn't even know what colour her own hair is.
Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world's most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at 'normal life' with a mother on the edge, a brother she can't trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.
I entered Fiona McClean's world the way I would enter a classroom on the first day of school, expectant but slightly hesitant. I really wasn't sure how to react to the blurb because it had so much going on. Family problems? Mutants? Mafia? Heck, it was even advertised as The Godfather meets X-Men. It already packed a heavy punch, and if you roll it all up with the fact that this is a young adult book with high school and boys, you really just don't know what to expect.
Transparent started out slow, introducing us to the mafia syndicate world that Fiona was born into. The author writes in a precise way that slowly made me felt at ease about all the information about syndicates and pills that strengthen mutation that bombarded me at every flip of the page. It was all so easy to read and I soon found myself settling into the plot and the world that Fiona lived in.
Fiona wasn't an easy protagonist to like because she had all these faults about her. I mean, you can't expect her to be a sweet little Mary Sue considering the way that her father brought her up. She spent most of her life performing missions and stealing for a mafia syndicate, so she had all these walls and reservations, always feeling unease whenever someone shows the slightest kindness towards her. Her older brother Graham often abused her by flying her way up into the sky and dropping her to the ground, so the only person she truly trusted was her other brother Miles who had a useless mutation and was considered nothing in the eyes of their father.
When her mother took her to a small town in Arizona and enrolled her in high school, it was like her whole world and everything she was taught changed. Everyone stared at her and poised her as a threat to their peaceful town, but Brady and Bea, mutants like herself, came to her aide and became the first two real friends she ever had. Her world slowly opened up to kindness in the form of a family of mutants, the Navarro family, and Brady's brother Seth. I slowly learned to love Fiona as she went through all these changes and became so much stronger because of the people that she let into her life.
Seth. Can someone please find a pen and add him to my list of book boyfriends? Pretty please? This boy right here is the guy for me. I love Natalie Whipple for creating a character like Seth; someone who everyone relies on to fix things, but is so dreadfully broken himself. Seth and Brody have a really complicated family, and Seth took the reins by becoming the man of the house early on and grew up fast so that Brody didn't have to. Seth tutors math for the extra cash and lives for the subject because as long as you know the process, you'll always have a solution to the problem.
He's really rude to Fiona and is pretty blunt about things, but he has his reasons. Seth is broody, awkward, shy, blunt, geeky, courageous, hesitant, and a complete whirlwind of emotions. I'm guessing that some people will vote for Brody, but I'm Team Seth all the way. He's probably the best thing to happen to Fiona, and her to him. I'm going at a length here by saying that Fiona is basically Scott Summers and Seth is Jean Grey. Yep. Go away, Wolverine! (Yes, I know what happens to Jean and Scott's relationship. Yes, I still stand by my point.)
The plot seemed like a mess to be honest, but it started to clear out along the way and everything fell into it's perfect place. Natalie's writing was so easy to understand and flowed so perfectly, I didn't have to retrace my steps. Her skill for writing characters so incredibly real astounds me to the core and for that reason, I will continue to look forward to her future work. I loved every character in this book, major or not. Transparent in set in a world much like the X-Men universe, where mutants were common but feared upon for no reason. The difference being that Natalie Whipple took all of that and added just the right amount of reality and humanity into it. Each and every one of her characters had a story to them, and these stories are our stories.
And how do you wrap off a story like this, you ask? I'm not giving anything away. Let's just say that it tugged on the seams of my heart and warmed my soul. By the time I read the last sentence, I was smiling from ear to ear.
THE NUB AND GIST: 4.5 STARS
20 May 2013
Welcome to my stop in the Ashley Elston blog tour hosted by Shane of Itching For Books! Read on for my review of The Rules for Disappearing and a shimmery shiny giveaway.
The Rules for Disappearing
by Ashley Elston
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: May 14th 2013
Source: e-galley for tour
Author's website | GoodRead
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.I think that most of us have heard about the Witness Protection program. If you're an avid viewer of cop shows and mystery/thrillers, then it must have crossed your ears at some point. The usual scenario is that someone witnesses some kind of crime and murder, so the US Marshalls enlists the person in the Witness Protection program to keep them safe before they have to testify in court. The Rules for Disappearing tackles with what happens when you're in the Witness Protection program. Not before or after, but during the whole gruesome process. I haven't read any other young adult book with the same subject matter and I dived right in.
One of the things that The Rules for Disappearing did well was the depiction of the changes in Meg's family. They used to be really well-off and were depicted as happy go-lucky in all of Meg's flashbacks, but everything suddenly fell apart when they entered Witness Protection, and it was all pretty apparent. Meg's dad, who used to be a successful accountant but now works rough jobs, is really stressed out and unattached, her mother falls into the habit of drinking and passing out at any hour of the day, and her little sister Teeny just gave up in general and freaks out whenever she's left alone or whenever she sees a man wearing a suit. Meg is also sick of all the moving and pretending and won't allow herself to get attached to anything anymore, in turn creating a set of rules for herself. They were the perfect family before the whole mess and the program really took a toll them.
Meg was a really hard character to get used to. Meg was the only one who tried to pull things together when everyone else just refused to function. She isn't an ignorant girl, she knows when there are problems and she doesn't deny not figuring out that Ethan planned on asking her out. She was really observant and I admire her love for her sister. I liked her and her headstrong determination at times, but I got really confused whenever her resolution wavered. Ethan was a really cute supporting character, although sometimes a bit too cute for my liking. I really appreciated his lightheartedness whenever it balanced out Meg's defiance but there were times when (although appreciated) he was a bit too good to be true.
The thing that irked me in this mystery read was the lack of mystery and thrill. The scenes that were supposed to thrill me were being told rather than being shown, and that's not good for a mystery book. Some things in the story were also unjustified, like the reason behind the whole Ethan-Meg attraction among other more important things. Everything conveniently falls into place. Some instances and situations were too unbelievably unrealistic, especially the reactions of those who eventually got involved. I was waiting for that exciting climax but it came and went without me even realizing it and I had to backtrack. I have to admit that the ending disappointed me a bit- everything was rushed and stuffed to fit into the last handful of pages.
The Rules for Disappearing works amazingly well as a young adult contemporary read, but I wasn't feeling the mystery aspect of it. The book wasn't as dynamic and adrenaline-filled as I expected but I would still recommend it to someone looking for an light action movie-type read with great character building. The Rules for Disappearing is a really cute and light quick read that chronicles a girl's journey through Witness Protection, and I really enjoyed all the relationships she formed and all the roadblocks she went through along the way.
THE NUB AND GITS: 3 STARS
Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a licensed Landscape Horticulturist and helps her husband run a commercial lawn and landscaping business. They also custom harvest pecans and have cows. Yes, cows.
19 May 2013
by Sarah M. Ross
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Published: May 4th 2013
Source: copy from publicist
GoodReads / Author's website
Jillian had a plan: celebrate the end of her first year of college with an amazing summer full of beaches, barbecues and bonfires. When her mom insists she needs a summer job, and her boyfriend spends more time with his band than with her, Jillian’s plans go down the drain.Jillian and Grant were two people who were perfectly happy with being inside their comfort zone. Loving her high school boyfriend through good and bad times was everything Jillian has ever known, even if things have been mostly bad as of late. Grant, on the other hand, has witnessed his father's downfall after his mother's death and decided that he would turn out better. Grant promised himself to focus solely on his career and to say no to any kind of romance until he finds a stable and financially fulfilling job at Google. Their safety bubbles begin to crack when the two meet at work. Linguistics major Jillian starts to teach Grant a language other than binary code and html, making him wonder if he finally found the one thing his father told him about- the one thing worth fighting for.
The summary and plot for Inhale, Exhale sounds like your average new adult contemporary, and it kind of is. It has everything you've come to expect from the genre: instant attraction, undeniable chemistry, tragic events that keep the two protagonists from giving in to each other, and steamy scenes. There's really nothing new here, but I have to say that some of the darker tones of the succeeding events surprised me and temporarily edged Inhale, Exhale away from the 'been there, done that' book that I pegged it as.
Inhale, Exhale is told in Grant's and Jillian's alternating POVs. I struggled a lot with Jillian's voice. There really wasn't that much depth in her character and she relied on others too much. I think that Jillian is used to having a rock, someone to fall back on, and she came alive whenever that 'rock' came full view, but sounded so robotic without one. Sarah M. Ross created a much more realistic character in Grant. He's gorgeous, of course, but not in the 'bad boy' way that I've grown so accustomed to. He's more of your average geeky and focused clean-cut guy, but he still had his charms. Grant was much more believable than Jillian and his chapters were the ones I liked the best because he really came through.
Is Inhale, Exhale one of the best books in it's genre? No, it isn't. But it isn't that bad either. Yeah, i had problems connecting with Jillian and some aspects of the relationships presented in the book were unjustified, but I still kept on turning the pages. The story is sweet, cute, and filled with steamy scenes and tension, but peppered with some darker undertones. Inhale, Exhale is a book is about daring to step out of your comfort zone, but if you're looking for a NA read that has all the common factors, this book is for you.
THE NUB AND GIST: 3 STARS
Buy a copy of the book from: Amazon USA (Kindle)
18 May 2013
Books I Won
I won these books, along with a few others, from the Author Allsorts Giveaway. Thanks guys!
Books for review
Thanks to HotKey Books, HarlequinTeen, Hyperion Books for Children, and Chronicle Books for the review copies!
Swag from authors & publishers
Got tons of awesome swag from authors that I love! Most of them are signed and i'm giving adding some of them to my blogoversary giveaway, along with a few ARCs and finished copies.
Massive thanks to Stephanie Keyes, Dot Hutchison, HarlequinTeen, C.L. Pardington, Kathleen Peacock, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Katie McGarry ♥
So i finally crossed over to the dark side- and I am now the proud owner of a Kobo Glo! I've been thinking about getting an e-reader for months now, and i'm really happy with the Kobo. I can now easily read galleys from Netgalley and Edelweiss without straining my eyes too much. The only downside is that I can't read all the kindle books I got from Amazon.
What did you get this week? Leave a link to your post and i'll stop by!
And since you're here, feel free to stop by my ongoing giveaways:
16 May 2013
by Amy Tintera
Genre: Young Adult dystopian
Publication date: May 7th 2013
Source: finished copy from publisher
Author's website | GoodReads
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).This isn't your ordinary zombie book. Reboot introduces us to a world where some people, people whose bodies can adapt to the mutation given by an epidemic disease, rise from the dead and become stronger, faster, and less prone to human emotion. A government agency called HARC uses these living dead called the reboots to fight as soldiers and perform brutal tasks with no questions asked.
Wren rebooted after 178 minutes, making her the deadliest and most highly feared Reboot. The humans that patrol the HARC base are terrified of her and the lower reboots know to stay away. The only people who treated her like a person were Leb, one of the few humans at HARC who treated reboots with respect, and Ever, her 'under sixty' roommate and the closest Wren had to a friend. Wren was okay with the reputation of being a monster who enjoyed killing and found some truth in it until Callum came along. Callum is a 22 and one of the weakest reboots in the base. Wren usually chooses to train the reboot with the highest number, but something about Callum and his unabashed humane self intrigues her and chooses him to be her trainee, surprising the other reboots, the humans, and Wren herself.
Being Callum's trainer changes Wren and she starts to feel the human emotions she thought she would never feel again. She starts to break the rules she has followed for the past five years, and allows herself to show compassion towards others. These emotions make Wren start to wonder when she gets called to do private missions and Ever and the other under sixties start to act strange and less sane. When Callum refuses to kill a human during one of their field missions, the president of HARC orders her to get rid of him but she silently refuses to kill Callum and enlists Leb to help her and Callum escape to a place where reboots get to live free from HARC's influence.
Amy Tintera's writing as Wren echoed the voice of a true reboot: strong, assured, confident, and calculating. But it also had just the right amount of bits of emotion that sprawled across the pages, showing us the humane side of Wren that was bursting at the seams.Wren was convinced that she was the heartless and bloodthirst creature that everyone thought her to be and it was true during the first parts of the book but as the story gradually progresses, you'll see Wren finally coming into terms with why she enjoyed killing and why she kept her emotions bottled up. Callum was incredibly cute and very very human. It was hard to believe that he was a reboot. With that playful smile of his and that curious glint in his eyes, he was just what Wren needed in her life. Callum was an overactive ball of sunshine; always looking at the bright side of things and never backing down whenever Wren dismissed his playful advances.
Reboot was an incredible fast-paced and adrenaline filled book with kickass and endearing characters and unbelievable twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The action scenes were vividly set out for the reader and the romance was cute and sweet. Reboot lived up to the expectations of it's cleverly unique plot that plays with what being human truly means. It perfectly laid out the framework for a series that i'm sure will be more than amazing, showing us glimpses of Wren's tragic past that i'm sure will slowly be uncovered in the succeeding books, and leaving us with questions that are dying to be answered. My only complaint about the book is that it unnecessarily rushed through some major events during the last part of the book. Filled with just the right amount of humor and innocent romance that balances out the gore and harsh realities, Reboot is one of the best young adult debut novels of the year.
THE NUB AND GIST: 4 STARS
14 May 2013
Of Silver and Beasts (Goddess Wars #1)
by Trisha Wolfe
Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
Published: April 19th 2013
Source: ARC from the author
GoodReads / Author's website
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.
Kaliope has been chosen to become the leader of the Nactue, a group of female soldiers entasked to protect the Empress of the City of Cavan. A neighboring kingdom falls under the force of the Otherworlders and Kaliope becomes the reluctant protector of Caben, a rebellious prince who is heir to the throne and the last of his line. The Otherworlders attacks the City of Cavan and kidnaps Kaliope and Caben, taking them to their underground realm and forcing them to fight other contenders in a battle to the death in hopes of reclaiminng their freedom. There is more to this barbaric game than what the contenders realize and Kaliope's secret is the only thing that can save them all.
Let me just go straight to the point and tell you that Of Silver and Beasts is one of the best books I've read this year. I haven't had much luck with liking the fantasy books I've been reading these days but this book got me out of my slump. The book introduced me to different worlds that had me instantly intrigued and there was enough action, drama, and romance to keep me turning the pages.
Kaliope was an all-around kick-ass heroine. She placed her duty and the safety of the people she loved over her own well being. Kaliope's not one of those stoic and emotionless heroines, no. She defines the true meaning of fearless- to accept that you are afraid, but to have the courage to overcome it. Kaliope's been through a lot- her father stole mercury and injected it into her system to hide it from authorities. Her mother took her to the temple of a healer goddess and had a priestess pray over her while a doctor placed a clamp to stop the mercury from coming into contact with her heart. Her father's wrongdoings has led her to have a slight distrust towards men, but she still respects them to a certain point. Kaliope was a concrete character but Trisha Wolfe makes her transparent to the reader. Kaliope's emotions of compassion, bravery, loyalty, sense of duty, anger, frustration, and desire practically radiated from the pages.
I couldn't stand Caben when he first appeared in the book. He was reckless, stubborn, and placed too much value on his princely pride. I started to like him when I found out his back story and the reasons for his demeanor were explained. Caben and Kaliope are alike in so many ways, but Caben is the more sensible one. He keeps Kaliope in place and stops her when Kaliope acts before thinking about the consequences of her actions. A few days after I finished the book, I still couldn't stop thinking about Caben.
Of Silver and Beasts mainly focuses on the dark fantasy aspect and introduces us to a world of kingdoms and underground communities with their own set of goddesses, both good and bad. The world building was astounding and I understood every bit of the realm that was shown to me. Trisha Wolfe's writing makes it as if the events in the book unfold before your very eyes. It has some similarities to Battle Royale- like a darker and less forgiving Hunger Games. Of Silver and Beasts doesn't sugarcoat the evil and terror in the book. It doesn't mince on the vivid descriptions of the brutally high-adrenaline fight scenes and bloodshed. There is also romance in the book, but it isn't rushed and annoying. The developments and relationships develop in their own pace and aren't overdone.
Trisha Wolfe did not just create a book, she created a whole new world. Of Silver and Beasts finds strength in it's superb world building, comparable to the realm of A Song of Ice and Fire. The book and it's uniquely intriguing plot wouldn't have been the same if it wasn't as highly detailed. The ending completely took me by surprise and I love and hate Trisha Wolfe for it. Kaliope and Caben's story inspires and gives strength, telling us that there is a reason behind every bad experience- sometimes a curse is a blessing in disguise.
THE NUB AND GIST: 5 STARS
Buy the book from: Amazon USA
10 May 2013
Publication date: March 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over.
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