Tuesday, December 16, 2014

(70) The Murder of Adam & Eve

Title: The Murder of Adam and Eve by William Dietrich
Publisher: Burrows Publishing
Pages: 306
Format: E-Galley
Genre: YA

I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for a fair review.

Synopsis: Two teens time-travel to prehistoric Africa to judge whether to save our ancestors: the genetic "Adam" and "Eve" whose descendants will go on to populate the world. When 16-year-old Nick Brynner explores an old fort on a forbidden island for a school history project, he stumbles onto a time wormhole. What follows is a mysteriously deserted village with a prowling sentry that looks like a gargoyle, and narrow escape with the help of fellow teen Eleanor Terrell. The two are hurtled into a grim series of challenges by an alien race called the Xu, which are considering a Reset of human history because of our poor planetary stewardship. If Adam and Eve are murdered, will another couple, or another species, do better? Nick and Ellie are ruthlessly deposited onto the African savanna of fifty thousand years ago, and the hunt is on.

Review: I was iffy about this one when I started it but then I got caught up in the story.  How would two teens survive in ancient Africa? They have to find food, water and stay alive, all while trying to track down Adam and Eve before the Xu do.

I found this book a bit blaze when it came to the teens having to trap and kill animals.  I know they are hungry but I still think modern teens who aren't into hunting would have a hard time skinning a rabbit.  But if you overlook some of these little things the story is interesting.  What if you had the ability to change time? What if you could become the next Adam & Eve? Would helping to save the current Adam and Eve by any means effect their development.  These are two modern teens with modern thinking can their ideas influence the future? The book doesn't really answer all of these questions but it poses them which makes you wonder can one person change the course that humanity has set? Makes you wonder.

I liked this book.  Its simple but gives you things to ponder long after you close the cover.

Monday, December 15, 2014

(69) The Day the Storm Came

Title: The Day The Storm Came: A Therapeutic Story for children who have experienced loss by Helen Lees
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 17 pages
Format: e-book
Genre: Children, Trauma

Synopsis: Shuffelump's world feels safe, happy and predictable until The Day The Storm Came and his world changed forever. He experiences pain and loneliness and longs for the return of his safe world. Shuffelump has the courage to allow his feelings to surface and then through showing kindness, Shuffelump feels love within himself again.

Review: This book is great for children who have experienced any type of loss or even a change in circumstance. Through a simple story and cute photos it helps kids realize that despite changes that may have happened in their lives and any sadness they are feeling at the moment the sun will come out again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

(68) When

Title: When by Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 336
Format: E-galley
Genre: YA

I received this as an advance e-galley from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for a fair review. This book is set to be released January 13, 2015

Synopsis: Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters.

Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father's premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she's unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?

Review: I wasn't sure about this book at first but it sucked me in and took off running.  Maddie can see death dates but she can't see the why or how a person is going to die, which makes her gift useless and irritating.  She wishes that she could use it to help people but so far every time she has tried she has wound up attracting more unwanted attention to herself and not helping.

When a boy whose date she read goes missing she finds herself as a prime suspect.  When a second kid goes missing her best friend becomes the target of the investigation.  The legal hoops in this story ring very true.  Despite what you want to happen despite lack of evidence people can and are help over for trial.  People who are accused become public targets despite not having been convicted.

This book gets high marks for keeping me guessing and its got a highly rated creep factor.  The home drama gets high marks too because it is something, unfortunately, a lot of kids deal with.  I really enjoyed this book and would pick up another by this author in the future.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

(67) Orphan Train

Title: Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 528
Format: Paperback
Genre: Mystery/thriller/suspense

Synopsis: Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances. Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

 As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. 

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Review: Flipping back and forth between the past and the present, Orphan Train tells the story of two women who have very similar stories to tell.  Vivian lost her family when she was nine and wound up on an "orphan train" to the midwest from New York, where she was given to one family or another in the hope of someone adopting her.  Molly's father was killed and her mother, hooked on drugs, couldn't care for her so she moved from foster home to foster home.

While both Vivian and Molly have a difficult story their is a feeling of hope and closure. It portrays family not only as the people you are related to but the ones that you are drawn to by similar experiences or caring. Family doesn't need to be related.

Its also a story of the child welfare system, how children were often traded for service and room and board, names changed to suit their new wards, babies were adopted first and older children were left unwanted, now isn't all that different. While there are more checks and balances children are sometimes taken in by foster families, "for the money" received to care for them, and treated as little more than servants, shuffled around from place to place. While the foster care system doesn't fail every child it still needs a lot of work. Stories like Molly's are unfortunately too common.

This was a gripping book that shows that you can't judge a person on looks, that there is always a story to be learned from people and that the young can really benefit from working with and learning from older people. The relationship between Vivian and Molly is so beautiful and the loneliness they felt before they met oozed off the page, the discovery of their shared experiences forms a bond that helps to heal both of them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

(66) The Great Trials of Clarence Darrow

Title: The Great Trials of Clarence Darrow: The Landmark Cases of Leopold and Loeb, John T. Scopes, and Ossian Sweet by Donald McRae
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 448
Format: paperback
Genre: Non-fiction / law

Synopsis: One of the most famous, if controversial, lawyers in America, defense attorney Clarence Darrow was sixty-seven years old in 1924. His reputation was in tatters after a scandalous trial in Los Angeles and his life and career appeared almost over. Then, in rapid succession, he found himself at the forefront of three remarkable courtroom dramas. Each was dubbed "the Trial of the Century" by the press: the trial of teenage Chicago "thrill killers" Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb; Tennessee's infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, later immortalized in the play Inherit the Wind; and the incendiary case of Ossian Sweet, an African American man accused of murder while defending his Detroit home against a white mob.

Review: Clarence Darrow was a fabulous orator and could hold a courtroom captive with his speeches.  He had just come off a scandalous time in California where he was charged with jury tampering. He now found himself practicing in NY and defending some of the most unsympathetic clients Leopold and Loeb on a charge of murder.  His clients were so unsympathetic and so odd that there was no chance of not having them convicted but he was able to escape the death penalty. After that trial Darrow who thought his career was over after California, found himself front and center in some of the most talked about and important trials ever.

If you have any interest in the law and history this is a fascinating account of one of the best lawyer in America. His home life may have been a mess but no one could ever doubt his prowess in a courtroom. Fascinating read.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday Nov. 25

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is from Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline

"They call this an orphan train, children, and you are lucky to be on it. You are leaving behind a place full of ignorance, poverty, and vice for the nobility of country life."

Monday, November 24, 2014

(65) The Wrath of Angels: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Title: The Wrath of Angels: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 528
Format: Paperback
Genre: Mystery/thriller/suspense

Synopsis: Nature has to be held back, and the trees kept to their domain. The trees . . . and what dwells among them. 

Deep in the Maine woods, a wrecked plane is discovered. It was never reported missing, and there are no bodies, but what it conceals is powerful beyond comprehension: a record of those who have struck a deal with the devil.

A new battle is about to commence in the war between light and darkness, and the list proves to be a deadly weapon. While private detective Charlie Parker fears his own name is there, he is certain that it must be secured from evil. For others, too, have joined the search: a beautiful, scarred woman with a taste for killing; a silent child who remembers his own death; and a serial killer known as the Collector. But the woods, too, are preparing, for other secrets lurk within their depths. . . .

Someone survived the crash. Something survived. And now it waits.

Review: I love this series.  It is violent, twisted, scary and dark but for some reason it has sucked me in. This book really delves into the supernatural aspects of this series.  The struggle between light and dark, the fight with fallen angels who are not friends of humans.  You also learn the origins of one of the most terrifying serial killers and where Charlie may fit into the whole strange series of events that started in the first book and has continued through it all.

If you haven't read any of the other Charlie Parker books this one may leave you scratching your head.  It really relies heavily on characters and events that happened in other books.  I think this one was one of the darkest so far but I loved it. A plane crash, a satchel full of money, a mysterious list and a bunch of creepy characters hunting for the downed plane all lead you on a violent crazy race to be the first to find the plane and discover its secrets.  Its a wild ride from page 1.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday Nov. 11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser comes from The Wrath of Angels: A Charlie Parker Thriller (Charlie Parker Mysteries) by John Connolly

"Because the last word that my mother whispered to my father after the man fled was your name - 'when the time comes, tell the detective. Tell Charlie Parker."- and that in turn was the last thing he whispered to me after he told us the story of the plane in the woods."

Monday, November 10, 2014

(64) And the Mountains Echoed

Title: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Format: Audio Book
Hours: 14 hours 1 minute
Narrator: Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

A novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

Review: So many reviews of this Audio book commented on how difficult it was to understand the narrators which I didn't find to be the case at all.  I feel like the accent of the narrators added to the story and gave it a richness that may have been missing if it was read by someone with an American accent.  The narrators are from the region that this book is set so it works well.

The story itself twists and turns and if you stop listening for too long you may find yourself a bit lost in the story.  There are many characters and many different time frames to sift through so keeping a consistent listen keeps the continuity.

Sad and haunting Hosseini brings to life the richness and excellent story telling of this region. Choices in life have complex consequences on everyone who comes into contact with the participants.  It shows how we are all connected by our experiences. Beautifully written and woven together, haunting and poetic.  While I didn't enjoy this as much as the Kite Runner its still a well written story.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

(63) The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies)

Title: The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies) by Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audio Book
Narrator: Neil Kaplan, Devon Sorvari, Marisol Ramirez
Time: 10 hours 8 minutes
Genre: YA / Fantasy

Synopsis: The Mogadorians who destroyed the planet Lorien continue to hunt down the Garde, the small group of Loric survivors who have taken refuge on Earth. The Garde must come together. They are Lorien and Earth’s only hope.

During the dangerous mission at the Mogadorian base in West Virginia, John found and rescued Nine. But even with their combined powers, special abilities known as Legacies, the pair barely escaped with their lives—and they lost Sam in the process.

In order to save our world and their own, John and Nine must join forces with Six, and Seven who have been battling the Mogadorians in Spain, and who are now trying to locate Number Eight in India.

Power in numbers will save us all.

Review: This book didn't hold my attention as much as The Power of Six but it does seem to be tying things together. With Four and Nine separated from Eight, Six, Seven and Ten, the story flips back and forth between the two locations and the two story lines. The end of the book is much better than the beginning but it just doesn't hold the same appeal.  It seems to be held together with pointless action and a weak plot although by the end it seems the writer remembered what he was trying to do not only did it pick up but it kept me wanting to know more.

The book seems to just end which is a little strange.  Then there is a strange addition to the ending where we are apparently learning more about the Lorien children on earth directly from Pittacus Lore and recordings that were apparently "just found". It gives a little background on several of the guard.

I'm hoping that the next book will be a bit better but it seems that each one loses something instead of gaining it.

(62) Boyfriends with Girlfriends

Title: Boyfriends with Girlfriends By Alex Sanchez
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA, LGBT

Synopsis: Sergio is bisexual, but his only real relationship was with a girl. Lance has always known he was gay, but he’s never had a real boyfriend. When the two of them meet, they have an instant connection—but will it be enough to overcome their differences?

Allie’s been in a relationship with a guy for the last two years—but when she meets Kimiko, she can’t get her out of her mind. Does this mean she’s gay? Or bi? Kimiko, falling hard for Allie, is willing to stick around and help Allie figure it out.

Review: First let me say I love Alex Sanchez.  I haven't read of book of his that I didn't like and this was no exception.  I breezed through this in a few hours.  I loved it based on its story, not the writing.  He has written better books but this is a topic that really isn't discussed.

Sanchez really seems to grasp the angsty teenage craziness as well as the confusion that sometimes comes while trying to define sexuality.  He does this in a way that is respectful to whatever label you choose to identify with and opens up a whole world of discussion and thoughtfulness on the topic. There aren't a lot of books out there about bisexuality so I was glad to see that this seemed to be the main topic of this book.

Bisexuality is so often misunderstood by both the heterosexual community and the homosexual community. This book really brought the discussion of bisexuality out into the open. Being bi is often labeled as fence sitting and I am so happy that there are books like this out there for youth who are questioning whether they are gay, straight or bi.

Another big plus to Sanchez's books is that the characters aren't always white.  Gotta love diversity in YA books.  While the writing didn't seem up to par with Sanchez's other books I loved it anyway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

After the Ending Giveaway & Author interview

The Authors of The Ending Series have been gearing up to start book four, Before The Dawn, which they will begin writing in January. In the meantime, Team Lindsey is  gearing up for the holiday season, and they have some awesome Ending Series giveaways.

The Prizes:
  • (20) After The Ending (book one) ebooks
  • Grand prize--series ebook collection and audiobooks, including:
  1. After The Ending, book one
  2. Into The Fire, book two
  3. Out Of The Ashes, book three
  4. The Ending Beginnings prequel novellas--the six short-story compilation
  5. After The Ending and Into The Fire Audiobooks
  • Second place prize--the Ending Series audiobooks (After The Ending and Into The Fire)

Author Interview with Lindsey Fairleigh (LF) & Lindsey Pogue (LP)

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

LF: No. When I was younger, and during some of college, I wanted to be an Egyptologist.
I’m still not quite sure why, but I decided to apply to teaching Masters programs rather than
archaeology or Egyptology PhD programs and ended up teaching middle school for a few years.
I don’t regret any of the career choices I’ve made because they’ve led me to discover that writing
is exactly what I should be doing. Sometime down the road I may fit in that Egyptology PhD as

LP: I always loved writing and dreamed of the day I could live the life of an author. However,
I’ve always been a realistic person, perhaps to a fault. I went to school for degrees that were
practical and had jobs that were functional, but I never really found my niche; radio, journalism,
event management, fund raising, personal assistant...all jobs left me wanting. After the death
of someone close to me, I started to ask myself what my regrets would be if I died tomorrow.
Knowing I would regret compromising my dream to be a writer, I decided to do something about it.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?

LF: For me, writing the second books in both our Ending Series and in my solo Echo Trilogy has
been a lot easier than writing the first books because I already knew the characters so well. That
being said, I made the silly decision to work on two completely different series at the same time,
which sometimes leads to some character and setting confusion in the ol’ noggin.

LP: Although we've researched viruses and some of our settings in order to make The Ending
series more “realistic” and somewhat plausible, we’ve been able to take a lot of liberties in our
storytelling. While I can definitely use creative license in my new project, Wrecked, it’s proving
to be much more of a process since I’m researching regency lifestyle, how to survive on a
deserted island, the clothes aristocrats wear and how they talk, healing properties in plants...the
list goes on. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m loving the journey!

What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

LF: I can’t imagine ever writing anything that doesn’t include an element of the fantastical. I find
that I quite enjoy exploring the boundaries of real and unreal. I also can’t imagine ever writing
anything completely devoid of a romance storyline, though I would bet that it will usually take
a backseat to whatever the main storyline is (as in After The Ending, Into the Fire, and Echo Prophecy)

LP: Oh boy. I have so many notebooks filled with story ideas that I’d love to pursue, I hope
that one day I can actually get them all down on paper from start to finish. Like LF, all of
them will have a romantic element to them, but I see myself exploring a variety of genres like
contemporary romance, maybe more science fiction, new adult, and historical fiction.

What genre would you place your books into?

LF: Science Fiction Romance. Specifically, Post-apocalyptic Romance for The Ending Series
and Time Travel Romance for the Echo Trilogy. Though the latter also fits quite well in
Paranormal Romance despite its lack of vampires, witches, fae, angels, or shapeshifters.

LP: I think The Ending series could also be considered New Adult, which is a genre I plan on writing more books in.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?

LF: My crazy brain and the characters who live inside my head. I honestly don’t know where
they come from—possibly from my crazy vivid dreams, I suppose. Team plotting is one of the
best parts of co-writing. LP and I usually spend several evenings brainstorming (with wine, of
course!) before we start writing the next book in The Ending Series.

LP: I actually get my ideas from observing the world around me or “staring” as my fiancé
calls it. Whether it’s television, books, the news, the couple sitting beside me in a restaurant
having dinner, I’m always noting interesting story ideas and plot twists to use in the projects I’m working on.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

LF: It depends. I read all of the reviews on a new release to gauge reader reaction. When I’m
working on the next book in a series, I don’t read any negative reviews of the earlier books
because I don’t want any knee-jerk reaction I might have to influence the direction of the book
I’m working on. After all, authors write for the readers who love their books, not for those
who don’t. Haha...I think the funniest (to us) negative review After The Ending received went
something along the lines of: this book would be good if it didn’t have the emotional drama,
superhuman abilities, or romance. Which pretty much is everything that makes The Ending
Series unique. It’s definitely not a tough-guy hardcore guns-a-blazin’ post-apocalyptic tale,
and I think that catches some people off-guard because there aren’t many books in the Post-
apocalyptic genre that aren’t like that.

LP: Agreed 100%. Was for negative reviews, some criticisms can be helpful, others are can be
cruel. It’s one thing to read them initially and get a feel for the overall success of your book, but
it stops there. However, the good reviews are always worth reading

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?

LF: Absolutely not.

LP: Ditto

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like
Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")

LF: It’s not really hidden, but we started off writing After The Ending wanting to convey the
idea that things like friendship, love, and hope are what make surviving in post-apocalyptia
worth all of the effort.

LP: We definitely wanted to write science fiction that had emotion in it, that was more realistic
to the human condition. People get scared, they fall down, they question who they are and what
they can handle before they get up and deal with life. We wanted Zoe and Dani to be “real”.

How does the writing process work with two authors?

LF: It’s pretty straight forward the way we do it. I write Dani’s and Mase’s perspectives while
LP write’s Zoe’s perspective. I think the biggest complication is having to mesh timelines,
especially when the perspectives are in the same location.

LP: I have a feeling that Before The Dawn (book four) will be a bit more complicated. Not only
is The Ending Series coming to an end (no pun intended), but like Dani and Zoe first started out,
LF and I live in different states. So, that means that working so closely together, while being so
far away will prove a new obstacle. But I know all will work itself out when we start writing in

Do you ever disagree on the direction of a character or the plot?

LF: Not that I can think of. Usually if one of us has an idea that is different from what we’d been
intending, we discuss it, where it could take the character/story, and how it would change events
in the fictional world down the road. It usually starts with a “Wait...what if...” and then ends
with the story being that much better.

LP: Plus, we’ve gotten really good at taking a step back from the story and our execution to
listen to our intuition. We seem to agree on each other’s input naturally, and I think that stems
from being equally invested in the world we’ve created together...and the fact that we’re such
good friends and generally operating on the same wave length.

Do you write alone as a sole author of a book too? If so which do you enjoy most?

LF: I do—I write Echo Trilogy on my own. I don’t really think I enjoy one more than the other.
They’re just different.

LP: In the near future, I’ll be finishing up my first solo novel, Wrecked, which is a scandalous
Jane Austen story meets Swiss Family Robinson—historical romance with adventure and
survival. It’s so much fun to write, but it’s also a lot of work getting to know new characters
and creating a new, lavish, and colorful world. But at the same time, Zoe and Jake are knocking
around in my brain, wanting to get down on paper, so their equally exciting for me as well.

Do you enjoy writing with another author more than writing alone?

LF: In some ways, very much so, yes. Writing with LP is sort of like having a security blanket
or knowing there’s one of those giant air pillows at the bottom of a long drop (like they use for
movie stunt people). Just knowing she’s by my side makes me braver and my skin thicker. It’s
entirely possible that I’m slightly co-dependent.

LP: There’s definitely something to be said for having a partner in crime. It’s a really great
feeling knowing that there’s someone there who is equally invested and therefore brutally honest
when it comes to decision making. More importantly, there’s someone to celebrate and giggle
with, which are both very important.

Where can readers follow you?

The Ending Series website: http://www.theendingseries.com/

Lindsey Fairleigh’s website: http://www.lindseyfairleigh.com/

Lindsey Pogue’s website: http://www.lindseypogue.com/

Teaser Tuesday 11/4/14

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
(make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser is from Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman's Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption By Brandi Rarus:

"Everyone seemed angry and upset, and their hands were flailing a mile a minute. It was quiet pandemonium"

Monday, November 3, 2014

(61) Finding Zoe: A deaf woman's story of identity, love and adoption

Title: Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman's Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption by Brandi Rarus & Gail Harris
Publisher: BenBella Books
Pages: 254 pages
Format: ebook
Genre: Adoption / Deaf Culture

Synopsis: Brandi Rarus was just 6 when spinal meningitis took away her hearing. Because she spoke well and easily adjusted to lip reading, she was mainstreamed in school and socialized primarily in the hearing community. Brandi was a popular, happy teen, but being fully part of every conversation was an ongoing struggle. She felt caught between two worlds—the Deaf and the hearing.

In college, Brandi embraced Deaf Culture along with the joys of complete and effortless communication with her peers. Brandi went on to become Miss Deaf America in 1988 and served as a spokesperson for her community. It was during her tenure as Miss Deaf America that Brandi met Tim, a leader of the Gallaudet Uprising in support of selecting the university’s first Deaf president. The two went on to marry and had three hearing boys—the first non-deaf children born in Tim’s family in 125 years.

Brandi was incredibly grateful to have her three wonderful sons, but couldn't shake the feeling something was missing. She didn’t know that Zoe, a six-month-old Deaf baby girl caught in the foster care system, was desperately in need of a family unafraid of her different needs. Brandi found the answer to her prayers when fate brought her new adopted daughter into her life.

Review:This was not only a book about adoption but also one of self acceptance. Brandi struggled with her deafness, ultimately coming to terms with it and embracing deaf culture. After giving birth to 3 boys Brandi still yearned for a girl and had applied to adopt from China when they were called about a baby in foster care with severe hearing loss.

This book is broken into 3 different parts.  The first is the story of Brandi, becoming deaf at age 6, struggling with her identity and then acceptance, marriage and children. The second part of the book focuses on Jess, Zoe's birth mother and her story of finding out she was pregnant, deciding what to do and embracing adoption. Finding a family only to have the birth father fight for custody and the adoptive parents decide that they couldn't parent a child with hearing loss, leading her to again make a choice to parent or find a new family.  It is also the story of the birth father, whose stories often go untold.  You learn about his emotions and the reasons behind his choices.  The final part revolved around after Brandi and her family adopt Zoe and their relationship with her birth families.

I really enjoyed this book.  It had me hooked from the very beginning.  Learning about Brandi's struggles, reading about the Birth parents and finally learning how it all came together in the end.  I loved that everything came full circle and it was great having all the different perspectives.  I wasn't too psyched about some of the adoption agency's practices but I'm glad things worked out in the end. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

(60) The Martian

Title: The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 385
Format: ebook
Genre: Sci fi / Fantasy/ high tech

I received this an e-copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair review

Synopsis: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Review: This was a tech heavy book.  I almost stopped reading it was so technical but I thought there may be hope if there was more to the story.  If you are into technical details of surviving on Mars, creating water from gas, and atmospheric pressures you will love how richly detailed this book is for those of us not so interested be prepared to skim or skip the book altogether because there is quit a bit of skimming to do.

Between the technicalities of surviving on Mars with not a lot of food and only 70's TV shows, Disco music and some English mysteries, there is the story of how the people on Earth try to figure out how to save Mark.  Of course the media turns Mark into a star, too bad he isn't there to witness it.  Meanwhile between just trying to survive, Mark plans for if he doesn't make it, writing letters to his parents, and his friends.

While interesting, I wouldn't call this a riveting read, unless you are a tech head and love all things space, for me the saving grace was Witney's sense of sarcastic humor which brought a nice distraction to the story.  It did get better the more I read which is the only reason I kept reading, plus I wanted to know if he got off Mars! (no I'm not saying) So if you are looking for something new or like space travel or enjoy technical stuff this book is for you, if not you may want to take a pass.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

(59) Beneath the Secrets (Tall Dark & Deadly Volume 3)

Title: Beneath The Secrets (Tall, Dark, and Deadly) (Volume 3) by Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher: Lisa R Jones
Format: ebook (kindle)
Pages: 224 pages
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:Two will paths collide. Two people who will do anything, including sleeping with the enemy, to avenge or save someone they love. But what if everything isn't as it seems and the enemy isn't the enemy at all? Can these two broken people drawn together by their sizzling hot attraction see beyond their pain and their need for vengeance Undoubtedly, they will face the ghosts of their pasts, but will those ghost destroy them or forever bind them?

Review: Blake is the broken brother. Shattered by the death of his finance by the cartel that he blames himself for. He has sworn that he will bring this cartel down and doesn't care if it brings him down too. With nothing to lose he hides his investigation from his brothers who he knows would stop him.  When trying to get in deeper with the cartel he winds up naked, drugged with his merchandise stolen by the woman who was supposed to be his contact. He finds himself facing her again only a few days after their last encounter, she is definitely more than she seems.

Another of the hot Walker men finds a woman who can crack the hard outer shell that they seem to have build up around themselves.  After breaking through this shell Blake finds himself facing not only his own insecurities and emotions but also the strong determined woman who won't allow him to sacrifice himself.

Another good edition to the Tall Dark & Deadly series. I like that the women are strong, determined and smart, not in any way weak or terrified shrinking violets. A fun quick, mind candy story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teaser Tuesday October 14

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
(make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

“She'd confessed her heartache to him, and he'd confessed absolutely nothing. He'd promised nothing, not even a desire to stay alive.”  -Beneath the Secrets (Tall, Dark & Deadly Vol 3 by Lisa Renee Jones 

Monday, October 13, 2014

(58) Dangerous Secrets (Tall, Dark & Deadly Series book 2)

Title: Dangerous Secrets (Tall, Dark, and Deadly) (Volume 2) by Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher: Lisa R. Jones
Format: e-book
Pages: 228
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: Being a divorce attorney for the rich and famous isn't all it's cracked up to be. Julie Harrison has learned that love doesn't last, and she's sworn never to make the same mistakes as her mother, or her clients. She uses the games men play to keep them at a distance. The only man who managed to break down her walls was Luke Walker, a Navy SEAL who loved her and left her, and changed her forever

Review: The Walker brothers are sexy, gorgeous and deadly.  Julie is on her way to her best friends wedding to one of these sexy men when she runs into the brother who broke her heart.  What she doesn't realize is that she touch his too but he had no choice when he left the first time and he doesn't intend on letting her go this time around.

Julie finds herself tangled within a stolen art ring that is funded by a Canadian cartel.  Luke is not going to let anything happen to her but battling her nerves and battling her growing emotions for Luke may prove too much for Julie.

Well written romance, with a good mystery attached.  I'm liking these Walker boys, can't wait to read the next one.

Friday, October 10, 2014

(57) Cage of Bones

Title: Cage of Bones: A Novel by Tania Carver
Publisher: Pegasus
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery/ Thriller

Synopsis: An abandoned building. A dank cellar. And inside it, a cage of bones—with a shocking surprise lurking within. Carver's new thriller will scare the daylights out of you.

Into the house. Down the stairs. Through the dripping dark of the cellar. Someone is there. Someone that shouldn't be there. As a building awaits demolition, a horrifying discovery is made inside the basement: a cage made of human bones—with a terrified, feral child lurking within.

Unbeknownst to Detective Inspector Phil Brennan and psychologist Marina Esposito, they have disturbed a killer who has been operating undetected for thirty years. A killer who wants that boy back. But the cage of bones is also a box of secrets—secrets linking Brennan to the madman in their midst. With the death toll rising and the city reeling in terror, Brennan and Marina race to expose a predator more soullessly evil than any they've ever faced—and one who is hiding in plain sight.

Review: These books are just downright scary.  They remind me of when I first started reading the author Jeffrey Deaver, and how horrifyingly realistic some of his murder plots were.  The fact that they were so random terrified me, and while these murders were not so random its so crazy and gruesome I could see it actually happening.  I don't know what that says about me and my imagination but these books freak me out but I also can't put them down!

Tania Carver knows how to set the stage and make you squirm.  Some of her descriptions may be a bit graphic for some people but she always manages to surprise me.  Normally I can figure out mystery novels and who did what when but her stories are a bit more complex and while I may have an idea of where her stories are headed there is usually a surprise twist.  If you like scary you will like Tania Carver.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

(56) End of Your Life Book Club

Title: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 354
Genre: Biographies
Format: Audio Book
Narrated by: Jeff Harding
Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins

Synopsis:“What are you reading?”

That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together.

Review: Having a sick and dying parent is difficult for most but Will Schwalbe found a way to take the short time they had left together and made it count. Will and his mom used their love of reading as bridges to conversations that they may not every have had. Throughout the book are synopsis and descriptions of various other books that they read together and now I have books to add to my TBR list.

This book isn't just about reading though, its about relationships, its about whats important in your life, taking stock and ultimately its about dying.  Its about what its like to be the son of woman who is going through stage 4 cancer, its about coming to grips with the thought of losing a parent, and looking at your own life and figuring out if it is what you really want and what changes you can make to make it better. Its about living in the moment and not wasting opportunities. Its also a beautiful account of his mothers life and her passions for helping others and her dedication to refugees.

Will and his mom found a way to share meaningful conversations and learn more about each other through books and the topics those books brought up.  It made me pause and wonder about the conversations I have with my mother which are usually more superficial or have something to do with work.  It made me pause and think if there was anything I would want to talk to her about or learn about before its too late. Maybe it will make you pause and take stock a bit too.

Monday, October 6, 2014

(55) Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles)

Title: Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles) by Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 320
Platform: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

Review: Book 2 in the Iron Druid series.  I love Atticus and his dog Oberan. I particularly love the dog who loves to watch movies and live in character - right now he is all about the 60-70's and "sticking it to the man". All the characters in the book are great.  The whole book just waffles back and forth between serious and outright funny.  Atticus may be centuries old but he has learned how to fit into modern day and tries to fly under the radar but its getting harder after killing a God.  Now it seems everyone is either scared of him or trying to take him out, not to mention he seems to be caught in a fight between two Godesses both who seem to want a piece of him (literally). Since his cover of being a stupid geeky book store owner is slowly being carved away by incidents beyond his control he now finds himself being more himself, which can be dangerous.  He can sometimes be found wandering the streets naked, riding around town with a sword strapped to his back and turning into different animals to help him escape different situations. So far this series hasn't disappointed and it just seems to be getting better. Can't wait to see what is in store for the druid and his friends next time.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Booking Through Thursdays

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading.

What do you read when you’re sick and just want something easy and comforting? Or do you watch TV instead?(Assuming you’re not napping, of course.)
When I'm too sick I find it difficult to focus on a book no matter how much I would like to.  I tend to watch tv or movies or sleep.  I can actually tell that I'm getting better when I am able to pick up a book and focus on it for more than 5 minutes. 
What about you? 

(54) Megan's Birthday Tree

Title: Megan's Birthday Tree: A Story about Open Adoption by Laurie Lears
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Platform: ebook
Pages: 19
Genre: children / adoption / open adoption

Synopsis: Megan is adopted, but she and her parents keep in touch with her birth mother, Kendra. Every year, Kendra decorates the tree she planted when Megan was born and takes a picture of it to send to Megan. Megan cherishes this Birthday Tree, for it ties her and Kendra together. But one day Kendra writes that she is getting married and moving to a different town. Will she forget Megan, without the tree to remind her?

Review: Many adoptee's wonder about their adoption, their past, their birth parents and why they were placed for adoption.  Open adoption helps to answer those questions for families and adopted children by giving them access to their birth parents.  In this story Megan loves looking through the letters she gets from her birth mother and gets excited when she receives a picture every year of her birth mother standing next to a tree she planted when Megan was born.  Megan loves to see the tree grow.  When she learns her birth mother is moving she is scared that her birth mother will forget her.

This story is sweet and honest.  The fears that Megan shares are real and they are handled very well in this story.  In the end Megan's birth mother assures her that she could never forget her that she is very important to her.  Then she shows her that she had dug up the birthday tree to take it to her new home.  This book shows how important open adoption can be to help eliminate children's fears and answer their questions. Nice story that fills the gap in adoption books - this is one of the only ones that really deals with open adoption written for children. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

(53) Family Medical History: Unknown/Adopted

Title: Family Medical History: Unknown/Adopted: How a Routine Inquiry Led to Unexpected Answers for an Adopted Woman by Nancy Kacirek & Rebecca Crofoot
Publisher: Becknan Books
Pages: 182  pages
Genre: Adoption

Synopsis:Knowing where you came from often determines Who you are…
At the age of 45, Nancy Feldman knew how her doctor appointment would go. They would ask her about her family’s health history, and she would hear the doctor’s familiar sigh after she answered, “I don’t know, I’m adopted.” Being perfectly happy with the loving family she had, Feldman never took an interest in finding her biological parents until diagnosed with a disease that she passed on to her son. Suddenly, Nancy’s lack of family history was affecting someone else. Nancy wrote a letter to the Nebraska Children’s Home Society for help, and the adoption agency assigned her case to Rebecca Crofoot. This began a 17-year journey between the two women who were determined to find information about a family that might not know, or want to know, Nancy existed.

Review: Many adult adoptees know the pain of not knowing their family medical history and the awkward conversations that can be had at doctors offices when trying to explain that they were adopted.  In fact medical history is a big reason why many adoptees search for their birth parents.

While this is not a particularly well written book it does describe the process and the roller coaster of emotions that are involved with searching for your roots. Nancy tells most of the story from her perspective through narrative, letters, and emails.  Becky, the social worker for the agency that Nancy was adopted through helps fill in some of the legal gaps and letting readers know what is normal and expected along the way.  I thought this book was very well balanced and honest.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

(52) This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life

Title: This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life by Dannielle Owens-Reid (Author), Kristin Russo
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Pages: 240
Genre: lgbt, parenting

Synopsis: Written in an accessible Q&A format, here, finally, is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. Through their LGBTQ-oriented site, the authors are uniquely experienced to answer parents' many questions and share insight and guidance on both emotional and practical topics. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents, this is the book gay kids want their parents to read.

Review:This is a great book to help parents of lgbt kids and also for lgbt kids or adults to read.  While the questions are directed to parents the answers may help lgbt youth feel better about the reactions they may receive or questions that people ask.  This is all new to many people and while it may have taken a long time to come to the conclusion that you needed to come out as lgbt you need to give others the space to ask questions and come to terms with it as well.  Sometimes what sounds like a negative question is just that a question with no malice attached to it more of a information gathering to help the other person process the information.  Each chapter focuses on different aspect of coming out and at the end of each chapter there is a short summary of what was talked about. There are real life stories and scenarios scattered throughout the book that also help make this book more accessible and not just feel like a textbook.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(51) The Summer of Dead Toys:

Title: The Summer of Dead Toys: A Thriller by Antonio Hill
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 369
Genre: Thriller

I received an e-galley of this book through blogging for books in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis: Argentine native Inspector Héctor Salgado is one of Barcelona's leading criminal detectives. After a stint on probation—he assaulted a suspect from a human-trafficking case—Salgado is back in the office and eager for something major.

To his dismay, he's assigned to a routine accidental death instead: a college student fell from a balcony in one of Barcelona’s ritzier neighborhoods. But as Salgado pieces together details from the victim's the life, he realizes that his death was not all that simple: his teenage friends are clearly hiding something and drugs might be involved.  Salgado follows a trail that will lead him deep into the underbelly of Barcelona’s high society, where he’ll confront dangerous criminals, long-buried secrets, and, strangely, his own past. But Salgado thrives on pressure, and he lives for this kind of casedark, violent, and seemingly unsolvable.

Review: I love love loved this book.  I didn't have high hope after getting two books from Blogging For Books that I wasn't so thrilled with but this one didn't disappoint. From the very first page every motion was well crafted and thought out.  I can usually figure out who ultimately was responsible for things but this book totally kept me guessing, even during the final unraveling and reveal I found that I was off the mark.

Salgado is a broken man, his wife left him for another woman, and he is on probation from work for assaulting a voodoo doctor who was involved in a human trafficking. Upon returning he is given the assignment to unofficially look into what seems to be an accidental death or suicide of a young boy of privilege.  The further they investigate the more they uncover and this death is anything but routine. In the meantime the man who Salgado assaulted has gone missing.

There are many different story lines in this book but they all converge in the end to a mostly satisfying conclusion.  I found the characters to be realistic with all their flaws and insecurities, it left me wanting to know more about each of the main characters.  Even the descriptions of those involved in the cases were sympathetic in their own way.  Even when they were a bit despicable you could feel some type of compassion for them. If you like a well written thrill pick up something by Antonio Hill.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Book Week September 21-27

In 2013, there were 307 reported requests for books to be removed from America’s libraries, potentially putting those volumes out of reach of students, readers, and learners of all types. While every corner of the map faces unique issues related to library censorship, these issues also catalyze passionate freedom-to-read advocates dedicated to getting the books back on library shelves. During Banned Book week challenge yourself to read a banned book and get the word out about the freedom to read whatever we choose.  When books are banned we all lose.

Book Burning in Berlin May 10, 1933

Over this recent past decade, 5,099* challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
  • 1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material;
  • 1,291 challenges due to "offensive language";
  • 989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group";
  • 619 challenged due to "violence"' and
  • 361 challenges due to "homosexuality."
Further, 274 materials were challenged due to "occult" or "Satanic" themes, an additional 291 were challenged due to their "religious viewpoint," and 119 because they were "anti-family." Please note that the number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match, because works are often challenged on more than one ground. 1,639 of these challenges were in school libraries; 1,811 were in classrooms; 1,217 took place in public libraries. There were 114 challenges to materials used in college classes; and 30 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to library materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and students. The vast majority of challenges were initiated by parents (2,535), with patrons and administrators to follow (516 and 489 respectively).

Here is the list from 2013 of the 10 most challenged or banned books:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group>
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Friday, September 19, 2014

(50) The Power of Six

Title:The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies) by Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Harper Collins
421 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Platform: Audio Book
Narrated by: Neil Kaplan, Marisol Ramirez
Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins

Synopsis: I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed. I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. And I'm ready to fight.

Review: Only my second audio book that I've finished, I find that I am often distracted while trying to listen to audio books. I have this and one other book in this series in paperback but I find that I pick them up and then put them back down, not sure why. I think this audio book was great. The narrators change their voices to the different characters that really help move the story along. I really like this series.

This is a great sequel to I am Number Four although I feel like the title is a bit of a misrepresentation. The main stories of this book are about Marina (Number 7) and John Smith, Six, Sam and Johns Beagle, Bernie Kozar. I think I learned more about Seven than Six. John, Sam, and Six travel across America, which leads to more than one obvious and awkward love triangle. We do get to learn more about Six but she doesn't seem to be the main focus, it seems to be more focused on Seven. Marina, who has been hiding out all over Europe, but has been living in Spain in an orphanage with her protector. Unfortunately Marina's protector has slipped into denial, pretending that her past is all fantasy. Marina doesn't know who she can trust now torn between trying to get her protector to wake up and realize the danger, trusting the new girl who seems to be so helpful to her and fending for herself. She knows she has to leave as soon as possible but can she do it alone?

This would be a great book to listen to with kids in the car on a long trip. I think I'm gonna stick to the audio versions of these books.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

(49) Out of the Ashes

Title: Out Of The Ashes (The Ending Series, #3) by Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue
Publisher: L2 Books
423 pages
Genre: Dystopian,

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis: Hope brought them together, but it's now fear that drives them...and threatens to tear them apart.

Zoe and her companions succeeded in rescuing Dani from the Colony. But not without sacrifice. Beaten and broken, they head west, determined to leave behind the torment and horrors they experienced in Colorado.

As Dani and Zoe make the perilous trek home to Bodega Bay, they learn that danger can take many forms--other survivors, their friends, even themselves--and that things are rarely what they seem. Zoe is desperate to become the woman she sees in others' memories, while Dani struggles to conceal damaging secrets, risking losing herself--her humanity--completely. Together, they must rediscover the true meaning of friendship, love, and trust, and learn just how hard they're willing to fight for what remains of their shattered world.

Review:  Free from the Colony, Zoe, Dani and their crew of other lost souls continue to make their way across the country.  They are in search of a place to call home, a safe place where they don't have to sleep with one eye open anymore and be able to try to build a life.  Zoe is still struggling with the effects of whatever happened to her during her escape from Clara the psycho girl who keeps trying to kill her and Dani seems to be losing herself to her animal friends. In addition to the every day struggles to survive Dani struggles with the knowledge of what her mother had done and that she is still alive. This knowledge is dangerous, more dangerous than she can possibly imagine.

This series just keeps getting better as layers start to peel away to reveal what happened to create this world, and how those who survived can continue to live their lives. These characters aren't invincible either, you will see them bend to the breaking point or lose themselves all together, this is a touch and violent new world and they are lucky to have survived as long as they have but their struggles are far from over. Like the other books the action and the character building gets equal play and doesn't disappoint.  My only wish for these books is that I didn't have to wait for the next one but even still I am excited and gripping the edge of my seat to see what new challenge this motley crew will have to face in order to survive.
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