Saturday, December 31, 2011

CBR III Review #156: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

CBR III Review #156: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 

I wish I could simply review this novel with two words: "simply magical".  No two other words I think could better define the story that surrounds The Night Circus.  I'll warn you that once you read it you will be extremely sad that The Night Circus is not real.  Summit Entertainment has bought the rights to the movie and if they can bring this film to life I'll be ecstatic.

Le Cirque des RĂªves arrives without warning and is only open from dawn to twilight.  The whole circus revolves around a black and white theme but the acts, talents, and tents bring all the color that is needed. Imagine a tent filled with what looks like clouds that allows one to bounce to and from them. Or a tent with mirrors upon mirrors but each one shows a different scene. Or a tent with magicians so phenomenal that they make you want to believe in magic.


Unbeknownst to circus goers and to the majority of the circus performers the circus has a more sinister origin.  It was created so that two magicians could compete against one another in a deadly magical battle.  Celia and Marco have entered this deadly battle where neither one of them fully understood the consequences. It is unknown what will happen to the circus and everyone they love that performs within it once one the magicians lose.  Celia and Marco decide to try and find a way to fight for themselves and the circus.

The Night Circus has a structure that takes a bit of getting use to.  The point of view jumps between several characters and between several time periods, but once you become immersed in the story line it no longer matters.  It wouldn't make sense for the book to be laid out on a liner time line, I think it would have detracted from the over all sense of magic that the book alludes.  I highly recommend The Night Circus.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

CBR III Review #155: Catch me by Lisa Gardner

CBR III Review #155: Catch me by Lisa Gardner

This title will be released on February 7, 2012.

I absolutely love it when a book I was going to read anyways shows up in my netgalley. Now I don't have to wait for it to show up on overdrive! 


If you have read Lisa Gardner you know what to expect by now and her formula doesn't change much with her latest addition.  I did however, love all the call backs to her past book characters as D. D. Warren tried to solve the latest and greatest mystery.

Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant is convinced she is going to be murdered in four days.  In the last two years her best friends were murdered on the same day, at the same time, in different locations, and via the same method.  Her first childhood friend was killed two years ago, her second childhood friend last year, and now Charlene is the last person that made up their childhood trio. However, as D.D. starts to investigate Charlie becomes the number one suspect for a vigilante who is shooting pedophiles.  Is Charlene really in danger or is she a much bigger threat? 

I really enjoy the D.D. Warren series and this is no exception.  I do think it may be time for Gardner to retire the series and come up with a batch of new characters. Warren doesn't have much more room to go personally or professionally and even though I'm still enjoying the cases I think I'm ready for a new heroine, but if  you enjoy Lisa Garnder books this novel follows the same formula with all the twist and turns you can learn to expect.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

CBR III Review #154: New Girl by Paige Harbison

CBR III Review #154: New Girl by Paige Harbison

This title will be released on January 31, 2012.

Callie is the new student at Manderley.  Manderley is a boarding school and Becca is entering it during her senior year.  Her parents took her requests about wanting to go to a school like Hogwarts a little too seriously.  They didn't seem to notice that she exited her boarding school phase a few years back. Too make matters worse Callie was only accepted into Manderly because the poplar Becca Normandy disappeared without a trace near the end of the last school year.  Now Callie is living in her room, hanging out with her friends, and involved in the same love triangle that Becca was last year.  Slowly the student body, especially Becca's good friend and old roommate starts to accuse Callie of stealing Becca's life.


After a few Jessica Warman novels I got really into the boarding school setting, but I was hoping that New Girl was more of a murder mystery.  Or at least a search into the whereabouts of Becca Normanday, but that wasn't really the case.  The book felt a little rushed and it never felt it had a true cohesive plot line, with the exception of "I'm Callie, I'm the new girl but everyone only cares about Becca."  I'm sure that is a lot of plot  for some people but it didn't really work for me.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210428
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CBR III Review #153: 13 Days until Midnight by Patrick Carmen

CBR III Review #153: 13 Days until Midnight by Patrick Carmen

Now that was a strange ending.

Jacob Fielding survived a car accident that killed his foster father.  Jacob isn't sure how he survived and how he managed to walk away with no injuries.  Right before the accident Mr. Fielding tells him he is indestructible. Jacob writes the same phrase on one of his friends cast and right after he writes the phrase she gets into a horrible accident, but is able to walk away without a scratch.  Jacob and his friends appeared to have received the gift of immortality. But will they stretch it's limits while they try to test it? And if you repeatedly deify nature what can happen?  Only one of them can possess the power at once so what happens if their is a miscommunication about who currently holds the power.

The novel reminded me a lot of that show that went off the air "No Ordinary Family". What happens when normal people suddenly discover they have a super power?  I wasn't expecting too much out of this novel but I really enjoyed the first half where the kids are testing the limit to being indestructible and their search for the powers origin. Then it went downhill. I didn't really enjoy how it ended and I disliked the "origin story" that they discovered.   I also don't see why YA novels like to have their main characters betray their best friends for their first love.  It just makes the main character come across as a douche.  It was a nice change of pace to have the guy be conflicted, but apparently no one ever taught the poor kid bros before hoes (kidding).

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CBR III Review #152: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

CBR III Review #152: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

This is the YA novel version of David Moody's Haters. Dark Inside follows five different teenagers as they try and survive in a world that has gone crazy.  After a series of earthquakes people have seemingly snapped and have started harming everyone that hasn't gone "dark".  Bombs were detonated, spree shootings took place all over the world, and assault cases skyrocketed.

Dark Inside had everything I enjoy about a good dystopian novel it was just so similar to Haters that it was hard for me to look past that and to compare the two novels.  I did enjoy the historical parallels and the indication that maybe this had occurred before in he past and that is why various civilizations had fallen before ours.  I wish the novel had gotten more into this.

Overall it's a great quick read. I just wish it had gone more in to detail about how the outbreak occurred.  I also wish it had skipped over the chapters where someone who is possessed by "the dark" is narrating. I tended to skip over those chapters.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CBR III Review #151: Hollowmen by Amanda Hocking

CBR III Review #151: Hollowmen by Amanda Hocking

Hollowmen is the sequel to Hollowland and well damn Amanda Hocking you couldn't keep any of the same characters?

Remy King has escaped from her medical torture hell hole when the compound she was being kept in was overrun by zombies.  She starts on a mission to once again find her brother.  All the character you either loved or hated in Hollowland are no longer around.  You find out quickly that they are all pretty much dead.  I'm a fan of books that like to deal a few blows and surprises but the author simply dispatched of the old characters with a few sentences here and there and we are left to wonder how they met their current fate.

The new batch of characters are introduced with very little back story so once the numbers of the group start dwindling you aren't bothered too much by it because you never really got to know them.  The second in the series is very similar to the the first one but with less colorful characters.  Don't get me wrong I'll put up the third one in the series, but mostly just to see what ends up happening to Remey.


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 319 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006520VDS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  
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Monday, December 26, 2011

CBR III Review #151: The Line by Teri Hall

CBR III Review #151: The Line by Teri Hall

Rachael lives with her mother in a future dystopian society.  Her father died many years ago and now her and her mother work on the Property.  The Property is on the border of the Line.  The Line is a protective barrier that runs around the United States of America.  The barrier was put in place after a series of atomic bombs were headed towards the US.  The problem is once the barrier was put in place many people were stuck on the other side of the line and had to survive despite the bombs fallout with no help or supplies from the US.  These people are now referred to as the Others.  Rachael finds a note begging from help from what could only be an Other and she starts to unravel the secret of the Barrier and what actually happened to her father.

The Line suffered from a problem that a lot of young adult novels do.  It treats it's audience like kids.  The best YA books are ones that can be read and enjoyed by adults as well. The Line oversimplifies what is going on and doesn't really get to the heart of the problems and the issues surrounding the US.  We get a glossary overview of what is occurring but that is about it.   I want to read a dystopian novel that has fully created a new world, one that will suck you in and make you want to stay in the world as long as possible.  The Line attempts this but falls short. There is a second novel in the series that is out, but the first novel felt so rushed I'm not sure I would enjoy the second novel.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803734661
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

CBR III Review #150: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

CBR III Review #150: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

There is a volcano that is under Yellowstone National Park.  Alex is home alone, his parents and sister are visiting his aunt and uncle, when the super volcano erupts.  The ash covers everything and the world as Alex knows it comes to a halt.  His house is destroyed and the falling ash makes it nearly impossible to travel.  Armed with only a few cans of a food and some skis Alex starts on the 140 mile journey to find his family.

 Alex quickly realizes that the new environment has brought out the worst in a lot of people and he must fight to survive.  He tries to overcome extreme cold, slow travel, and a dwindling food supply as he makes his way across the state.

Ashfall isn't the most dramatic Dystopian novel I have ever read but it was a decent one.  I wish the characters had a been a bit older so it would have been a bit more realistic but it didn't try to skate away from the grim topic and not everything was easily solved, which I appreciated. The journey that Alex took felt authentic and if you ever read up on the history on Pompeii you would know that the scenario is in fact very possible...which does make it a little bit more scarier then your normal run of the mill dystopian.

I'm not sure if there is going to be a sequel but it left it open for one, but at the same time it was tied up nicely so I'm not too worried if one comes out or not.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933718552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933718552
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

CBR III Review #149: The Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

CBR III Review #149: The Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This is another book that suffers from a poor name and description.  If Even Steven's hadn't recommended it I may never had picked it up.  Karou is a young adult that was raised by "monsters" or chimeras.  Creatures that are half human half beasts.  Karou, however, appears to be mostly human except for tattoos that have always been on her and her blue hair that started to grow that way after she wished it.


Her family wants her to grow up in the human world and Karou only visits her family when they need a task to be done in the human world.  These tasks usually involve collecting human teeth for her family to use for their magical purposes.  As the story of Karou progresses you learn about the war between the chimeras and winged seraphim.  Then one day hand prints show up on the portals that Karou uses to get between her world and her families. What do the hand prints mean and who put them there?

The Daughters of Smoke and Bone is an interesting tale and extremely complex.  I had a hard time with the names and locations at times but Lani Taylor is a talented author who created a complex world.  I almost switched my honeymoon tickets to Prague after reading her description of it.  This is not a book you can sit down and get through quickly but if you can make it through it you will be rewarded.  The ending was heartbreaking but entrancing all the same.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316134023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316134026
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Friday, December 23, 2011

CBR III Review #148: Clarity by Kim Harrington


CBR III Review #148: Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clare is a freak show.  Her mother reads minds, her brother is a medium, and she can receive visions from objects she touches.  Too make matters worse her family makes a living by flaunting their talent and giving readings to tourist in their town.  These things combine make Clare an outsider in her town, and the one person that made her feel normal cheated on her with her worse enemy and she can't forgive him no matter how hard he begs for forgiveness.

However, Clare's personal problems are put on hold when a tourist is murdered and her brother just happened to be the last person to see her.  "See her" in the biblical sense that is. Her ex-boyfriend ask her to use her talents on the case since his father is the Mayor and running for reelection.  She agrees but mostly because they will also be working with the head detective's son.  The super cute mysterious new kid in town...that just happens to hate psychics.

Clarity is a quick murder mystery with a dash of love triangle.  It's a cute book and I enjoyed it.  It felt a little short in character development but with it being so short that is too be expected.  I'm assuming this is going to be a new young adult series with a new "who done it" every book.  I'm interested in reading a bit more on the love triangle, but I can't say the mystery was highly developed.  It almost read like one of the old Fear Street books, in regards to the fact that each chapter ends with a little bit of a cliffhanger that is quickly resolved with the "villain" being the only character it could logically be.


Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Point; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545230500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545230506
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

CBR III Review #147: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

CBR III Review #147: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

 Shatter Me follows Juliette a young women that hasn't touched anyone in almost a year.  The reason is because her touch is deadly.  She accidentally killed a young boy and has been locked up ever since.  The world that Juliette lives in is heavily polluted and resources are extremely limited.  It's a dystopian novel, but honestly I'm not sure why it's a dystopian society.  You are really never given a clear reason why the two sides are fighting and what caused all the pollution and destruction.

I really like the premise but that was about it.  The writing was disjointed and weird.  I felt like the description of the country and who was fighting and for what was never really described.  Tahereh Mafi uses a technique where she keeps writing what the character is thinking about saying, then crossing it out.  Some may really like it, but I found it distracting.  If it had been used sparingly I may have enjoyed it more but after ever few sentences it becomes a little much.  There were a few steamy scenes that I enjoyed, mostly because YA likes to tip toe around those scenes.

Near the ending of the novel it pretty much turns into a X-Men novel complete with costumes. If I wanted to have a X-Men universe I would have just re-watched the movies.

I was so disappointed with the writing and the set up of this series I don't think I'll be picking up the next one in the series.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062085484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062085481
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CBR III Review #146: Legend by Marie Lu

CBR III Review #146: Legend by Marie Lu

This book got a lot of hype before it was even released.  I believe I read the first chapters almost a year ago and I made sure to put it on my calendar for when it was scheduled to come out.

Legend follows the story of Day and June.  June is a prodigy who has skyrocketed in the military.  Day should be dead.  He failed the test that every 10 year old is suppose to take and those that fail it are sent to a work camp, but Day quickly found out that wasn't the case and escaped before he was murdered.  He is now the Nation's most wanted terrorist.  Day and June are both teenagers with two very different places in the world and their worlds intercede and June makes it her mission to find and bring Day to justice.

Obviously this is another foray into the Dystopian Young Adult fiction and I really enjoyed it.  The fact Day and June are only 15 bother me a bit.  I wish she had made them 17 or 18 but you quickly forget about their ages.  The first section of the novel is a fun cat and mouse chase then you get to the meat of the story where Day and June start to truly realize what their government has been up to.  I like the fact that the story starts out with June strongly on the governments side. I like stories that involve characters who go through transition and growth.

I think Legend could have been expanded upon and not been as short.  It's the first in a series and I wish she had added more back story or kept the story going for a little longer then she did.I will pick up the next one next year...too bad it's going to be awhile.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CBR III Review #145: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

CBR III Review #145: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Elisa is overweight, a little mousey and completely unprepared to understand her birth rite.  Elisa was born with the godstone.  A stone bestowed on her, after her birth, from the heavens.  Only one person a century is blessed with such a gift.  Because of the godstone she is married off to the king of a neighboring land and in exchange he will help protect her from the many people out there that would gladly kill Elisa for what adjourns her body.

I'll admit I picked up the book because the title The Girl of Fire and Thorns reminded me of Kantiss.  The same reason I picked up The Girl in the Arena but where that gamble really did not pay off I really think this one did. Elisa is one of the best female protagonist I have ever had the privilege of reading about.  She doesn't start off being confident and take charge but the situation surrounding her gives her no choice.  She changes on the outside as well as the inside and you learn to respect her for being as strong as she can possibly be considering the circumstances.

There is a little romance thrown in but for the most part it takes a back seat to the all the action. Elisa finds herself thrown in the middle of a war that the government refuses to admit is even going on.  Elisa is extremely relatable and even though the novel starts off slow you are soon thrown into an action packed fantasy adventure.  This novel is packed with twist and turns that you weren't expecting and although Elisa is very religious it doesn't feel like it is forced on the reader.  A part of the novel had me in tears and I'll admit I never saw that coming....I highly recommend to readers who love a good fantasy novel.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062026488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062026484
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
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Monday, December 19, 2011

CBR III Review #144: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

 CBR III Review #144: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Rory Deveaux moves to London from Louisiana when her parents are offered a teaching job.  Rory is excited to be seeing more of the world but at the same time appropriately apprehensive. She begins school at a local boarding school a few hours away from where her parents are teaching and immediately feels like a fish out of water.  Just as the school year begins a murderer starts to mimic the crimes of Jack the Ripper and London residents are at the same time hysterical and intrigued by the murders. When Rory accidentally becomes a witness to one of the crimes she finds herself in the middle of the investigation.

After reading Jessica Warman's novels I'm now a sucker for a good board school story and this one had a lot of potential.  First loves, bitter jealous girls, colorful roommates and all set in the wonderful rainy atmosphere of London.  I even loved the murder mystery portion.  It seemed fairly removed from the main story until Rory accidentally sees the killer but it added an interesting back drop to the story....but then ghost get involved and the whole story falls apart in my opinion.  It goes from a story of a girl growing up in a foreign land and eery murder mystery into a ghostbusters plot.   I think I would even had been okay with the ghost development if the way of dispatching the ghosts didn't sound so incredibly ludicrous.  Just trust me on this point.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition edition (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399256601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399256608
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

CBR III Review #143: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

CBR III Review #143: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Dark Parties is another novel that delves into Dystopian Fiction.  Neva has grown up in the Protectosphere.  A sphere put into place to protect it's residents from whats outside.  All the citizens of the Protectosphere look a like and their resources are starting to dwindle.  Health issues are also a concern due to complications from imbredding.  Neva and a few of her friends decide they want to start to protest the Protectosphere and all the very constrictive rules.  The problem is if they are found out they will be "removed" from society.  Neva accepts the consequences and starts a crusade to try and let the people know that maybe the Proteosphere is actually worse for them then whatever could be outside the sphere.

I think that Dark Parties is a little bit more ambitious then most dystopian fiction because I feel like it was trying to make a point.  If the USA keeps trying to protect ourselves from people that come from outside the US we will ultimately be doing ourselves a disservice, but maybe I read more into then the author intended.

The series has a lot of potential I just didn't enjoy the entire novel as much as I had anticipated.  For being such a short novel I think the novel would have benefited from a bit more detail on how the Proteosphere came into place and bit more on all the evils the government participated in.  The love triangle I think hurt the novel in the long run.  If had skipped that part I think I would have enjoyed the novel a bit more, but I  have no patience for female characters that go after their best friend's boyfriend because they couldn't help themselves.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

CBR III Review #142: Breatheless by Jessica Warman

CBR III Review #142: Breatheless by Jessica Warman

Katie has grown up with an older brother that is schizophrenic.  Due to her brothers illness her father is barely around and her mom enjoys a few too many cocktails throughout the day.  After a particularity disturbing incident involving her brother Katie's parents decide to ship her off to boarding school.  Katie's is now surrounded by people that have no idea who she is so she starts to create a fictional life.  While at boarding school Katie makes lots of new friends and quickly becomes the star athletic swimmer for the girls swim team.  The only thing she is worried about is one day her friends may find out the truth about her past or that her past will one day catch up to haunt her.

This was my least favorite Jessica Warman novel, but I still enjoyed it immensely.  She does such a great job of creating a realistic world of a bunch of teenagers growing up away from home. Readers be warned unlike her other two novels there is no mystery to solve or secrets to discover like Jessica's Warman's other two novels.  This is simply a story of a teenage girl growing up while trying to ignore her incredibly complicated home life.  I love the fact the teenagers seem so true to life.  It brought me back to a few moments in my own high school career.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

CBR III Review #141: Forgotten by Cat Patrick

CBR III Review #141: Forgotten by Cat Patrick

London Lane's memory resets itself every morning at 4:33 am while she sleeps.  She manages to get through high school with diaries, lists, and calendar reminders.  There is a another strange problem with her disorder, while she sleeps she dreams of the future.  London starts to wonder if she can change the future especially while her present life is so complicated.

I picked up Forgotten because I thought it would be a lot like Before I go to Sleep but other than the memory loss they don't have much in common.  For one the author uses the fact that London can see the future as a way for her to recognize people and piece together some information.  I would have preferred this novel just being a simple book about London's disorder and how she copes growing up and falling in love for the first time if she can never remember what happened to her the day before.  The supernatural aspect of the novel turned me off to it.  This book had a lot of potential but it just didn't work for me.  Sometimes I wish authors would realize that less is sometimes more.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

CBR III Review #140: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

CBR III Review #140: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

I picked up this book because I loved the movie Memento and this book follows the same type of premise.  Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is or even how old she is.  She is jolted when she looks in the mirror expecting a 20 something young woman looking back at her and encounters a woman well into middle age. Every morning her new life is a mystery to her and her husband Ben explains what happened to her and who she is and who he is.  However, Christine starts to keep a journal of her every day activities and starts to realize that her husband isn't always telling her the truth.

This started off with great promise and having the mystery unravel was lots of fun to read.  I thought it would become repetitive because of Christine's illness, but I didn't find that to be the case.  My only gripe was "the big reveal" and how it came about seemed incredibly impossible...but I read zombie novels.  I would say I really enjoyed the novel up until the last chapter or so, but I don't hold it against the novel too much.



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062060554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062060556
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

CBR III Review #139: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

CBR III Review #139: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

This novel has been re-dubbed the Dustland Series on the title cover so that can only mean one thing...that several more novels are in the works.

Saba has grown up in wasteland known as Silverlake with her father, twin brother, and litter sister.  It's not an easy life but she is content with her family and has as close relationship with her twin, Lugh.  One day during a massive sandstorm four men ride into town and capture Lugh and kill her father.  Saba strikes out on a journey of epic proportions to save her brother. Saba crosses the desert's wasteland with her annoying little sister and learns a great deal about herself in the process.

Blood Red Road is a great epic tail with lots of stops along the way.  I had some trouble following the dialect but I think it's because I plow through books so quickly.  I didn't love it as much as everyone seems to, but I enjoyed it.  Considering the dry spell I have been having with finding a good book I'll take it.



Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2460 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1442429984
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004INH9P4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CBR III Review #138: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

CBR III Review #138: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Amelia knows she is dead.  She has been for many years but she has no memories of her death and she has no idea how long she has been dead.  She has simply been drifting hoping to have contact with something or someone.  Joshua's car goes over the bridge where Amelia has been hanging around and she manages to save him from drowning.  After his near death experience he can see Amelia and no one else saw the girl who helped save him from the river.  He goes back to the river to see if he can find her and Amelia and Joshua start up a strange relationship.

I really liked the premise of this novel.  There was not going to be any happy ending. Unless Joshua died or Amelia was magically brought back to life this was not going to be a novel where everyone "lived" happily ever after.  ***Spoilers**** Apparently I was wrong.  A living teenage boy and dead teenage girl ghost can have a perfectly happy relationship expect the fact no one can really see her.  What a load of crap.

The rest of the novel was actually pretty decent and I like the investigation into Amelia's death, but a ghost and boy making out and planning a future together was simply too much for my suspense of disbelief.  If you want a happy gooey ending don't write a novel where your main character starts of dead.  You don't have much wiggle room.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062026771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062026774
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Monday, December 12, 2011

CBR III Review #137: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

CBR III Review #137: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara wakes up in the hospital.  She is the only survivor of a horrific accident that killed her closet friends. An abandon building collapsed and Mara was the only one rescued.  No one knows why her and her friends were in the building and now neither does Mara.  She also suffers from PSD and her hallucinations are starting to interfere with her life.  She can no longer tell what is real and what is imaginary.

Her parents decide to move Mara out of the state and to whole new school so she can start over but her problems only follow her.  She of course meets a mysterious handsome student who she is immediately enamored with and all the typical supernatural YA romance is set in motion.

I started off really liking this book and where it was heading.  It had a lot of promise for a novel then about 3/4 of the way through the novel the, other shoe drops, and it takes a turn that I wasn't too thrilled with.  Then it ended with a cliffhanger that I'm still not sure how I feel about.  I'm assuming this was done so Michelle Hodkin could write a sequel. I just don't see how this book as the material to warrant more novels.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

CBR III Review #136: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

CBR III Review #136: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Clara Gardner is part angel.  As an angel she has a purpose.  She starts to figure out what her purpose is when she starts to dream of a fire in a forest and stranger who appears to be trapped.   With a little investigation her and her mom figure out what town the stranger lives in and moves the family there so Clara can complete her purpose.  Clara meets the stranger, Christian, and immediately falls for him.  The only problem is he has a bratty girlfriend and there is another person that peaks her interest.

I'm really hoping this series ends up being the series I was hoping Fallen was going to be. With only one book out it makes it hard to grade, but so far it's a fairly fun series to read.  My favorite part of the novel is there is a legitimate love triangle set in motion and I have no idea which one Clara will end up with.  The book takes a few chapters to get going but once it does the rest of the chapters start to fly by.  I'll be honest I was a bit more in love with all the teenage drama then the actual Angel/Supernatural part, but the ending looks like it was leading to a fun sequel.  Every once in awhile I get embarrassed with some of my reading choices and I know this looks like a novel directed at 13 year girls, but heck I've read a lot more embarrassing this year.


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

CBR III Review #135: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

CBR III Review #135: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

This novel really piqued my interest and it kept it for the first few chapters.

Emerson "Em" Cole has been seeing ghosts every since her parents died in a horrible accident a few years back.  To make matters worse she can't always tell if a person is really there or simply a ghost that no one else can see.  When she glimpses an entire jazz trio complete with piano she knows it's time to accept help. Of course the person sent to help her is entirely hunky and mysterious.

The novel started out with lots of promise.  The cover art I think if wonderfully done.  The the story took a turn and ended up feeling more like a bad X-Men comic.  I wish the novel had been more about Emerson learning about why she could see "ghosts" and how she should interact them.  I was expecting a 6th Sense type plot where she is trying to help those who are deceased and can no long help themselves.  It wasn't like that at all.  It wasn't a bad novel just not what I was anticipating so I was ultimately disappointed.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

CBR III Review #134: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

CBR III Review #134: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

All right ignore the back cover of this book.  Ignore the cheesy cover and please ignore the fact that the series is also known as Sky Chasers.  Promise me you will ignore all these things and that you can also ignore the horrible first chapter or so because this book gets awesome.

The Earth's resources have been used up and it's a dire place to live.  Two ships have been sent on a really long mission so that their descendants can live on a new earth-like planet. The Empyrean is one of these ships.  Waverly has only known life on the The Empyrean and living in space is normal for her.  However, due to the hardships living in space has done to their bodies
it is now recommended that all teenagers marry young and start a family as soon as possible. This is so their will be a generation to inhabit the new earth.  Waverly's boyfriend Kieran proposes to her and she is in the middle of weighing her decision when the New Horizon, The Empyrean's sister ship attacks the Empyrean and kidnaps all the girls and female teenagers.  This is where the novel gets seriously awesome.
I want to tell you everything that happens but I don't want to give anything anyways because it's so much fun to read.  I had my reservations but I think it even beats out Across the Universe for best "space opera" of the year.  If you have liked my other suggestions then this one will not disappoint.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

CBR III Review #133: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

CBR III Review #133: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Carmen is violin prodigy and the biggest competition of her life is quickly approaching. The Guarneri competition only comes along every few years and the winner is guaranteed to be a star.  However, her main competition is Jeremy and Carmen finds herself slowly falling for him, but she can't help but question his intentions.  Does he really like her or is he trying to shake her confidence before the competition.   Carmen is also hiding an addiction to anti-anxiety medication.  She did it so she wouldn't be so nervous on stage but she has started to realize that it's becoming harder and harder for her to feel anything at all.

I really enjoyed this one.  It looks into the world of prescription drug addition, stage parents, and all the pressure that is put on prodigies at such an early age.  It had an ending I wasn't expecting but I really enjoyed it even though it's not my normal type of novel.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442420529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442420526
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CBR III Review #132: Red Heart Tattoo by Lurene McDaniel

CBR III Review #132: Red Heart Tattoo by Lurene McDaniel

This title will be released on July 24, 2012.

A bomb explodes at Edison High.  Nine people die instantly and fifteen are injured. Red Heart Tattoo explores the students trying to make sense of the tragedy and regain a sense of normality.

The story follows Morgan and Roth, for the most part.  They are two students on opposite sides of the social spectrum of high school.  Morgan and Roth find themselves thrown together because of the circumstances surrounding the bombing and they lean on each other as they come to terms with the horror.


Considering the topic I thought this would be a huge tearjerker, but I was mostly surprised that it even though it pulled at the heart strings it didn't go for all the gut punches that Lurene McDaniel is known for.  It was a really short read, but for the most part it's not worth picking up unless you are just drawn to McDaniel's tragedies.


Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038573462X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734622
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CBR III Review #131: Fracture by Megan Miranda

CBR III Review #131: Fracture by Megan Miranda

This title will be released on January 17, 2012.

Delaney Maxwell was dead.  She fell into a frozen Maine lake and was underwater for 11 minutes.  No one thought she would survive but after several days in a coma she awoke. According to her MRI she suffered significant brain damage due to the lack of oxygen she received, but Delaney doesn't feel any different.....well there is one exception.  Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying.  Delaney can't tell anyone or they will think she is crazy, except for one strange young man who seems to suffer from the same affliction.


I really enjoyed Fracture.  It doesn't bring anything new and exciting to the table of young adult fiction but it was quick fun read.  I don't really have any complaints about the novel (I know shocking!)  I recommend picking it up for Cannonball 4!


Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens; 1 edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802723098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802723093
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Monday, December 5, 2011

CBR III Review #130: Eve by Anna Carey

CBR III Review #130: Eve by Anna Carey

A deadly virus has ravaged the world.  The majority of the population has died off. Sixteen years later Eve is growing up in a school for orphans, her own parents were taken by the virus.  Eve is first in her class and about to graduate.  The school has promised her a wonderful new life where she can learn a trade and become integrated with what is left of society.  Except that was never the plan for Eve.  All female graduates are forced to bear multiple children while locked away.  The goal is to repopulate the earth.  Eve finds out this horrifying truth and decides to run for it.

Eve sets off on a journey to find a safe place where she can live, but she discovers that the world outside her school is extremely dangerous.  This book has danger and love and a deadly virus that hasn't gone away completly.

I started off really liking Eve but she starts making some of the dumbest decisions, some which end of with unforgivable consequences.  Her love for one guy turns her into a complete and utter moron.  She starts off as not the strongest character, but she learns to fight and survive.  I can respect that.  I can't respect making dumb ass choices because the deep love she feels for a boy that she has only known for a few weeks.

Sorry guys I'm a cynic.  Also I found out this is just the first book in a series, but unless I try to read a million books again next year I don't see myself picking up the sequel.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062048503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062048509
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

CBR III Review #129: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

CBR III Review #129: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

I really really wanted to like this book.  It was in Ireland, it had mystery and romance.  Apparently this book has been getting a lot of buzz in the YA world so I thought I would enjoy it, but honestly it was so damn confusing I'm not sure what the hell happened.  It has all your normal supernatural romance parts.  Withdrawn slightly nerdy but really pretty girl who keeps having weird things happen to her (check). Hot mysterious and somewhat moody love interest (check).  Supernatural powers (check).  A villain that is keeping the love interests apart (check).

Mild Spoilers:

Megan and Adam and his brother and sister are all "Carriers of the Mark" they can all control an element (water, earth, wind, fire) as well as produce awesome but cheesy 70's music (joke).  However, the "scientific" explanations of how they become marked and the biology behind it gets a little murky.  Plus there is a small ick factor when all the other kids that are marked are related.  Makes you think they are going to get into Star Wars territory and Megan is going to end up being a long lost sibling....however incest would make the novel a lot more interesting.


Carrier of the Mark is not a bad book and I applaud the fact that there are no vampires, witches, and werewolves.  There is definitely some originality  in the novel.  I'm just not 100 percent sure what the marked are suppose to do.  Apparently they can snap the earth back into proper balance by doing some ceremony, but the earth has survived millions of years without this ceremony so I don't see how a few more centuries are going to destroy life as we know it.  Ohh and I'm fairly certain this is trilogy because it ends on a cliff hanger.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062027875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062027870
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

CBR III Review #128: Crossed by Allie Condie

CBR III Review #128: Crossed by Allie Condie

My initial review of Matched was a bit mixed.  I liked where parts of the novel went but I was hoping the would develop the world a bit more.  The sequel Crossed was a really long ass camping trip.  Crossed however did set up what I think will be a fantastic conclusion to the series but the majority of the novel felt like filler to me.

Cassia has decided to risk everything to find Ky, including her status as a citizen.  She has been sent to the outer provinces to work as punishment and while there she does her best to search for Ky.  I think one of the major problems with the novel is I really really like Xander.  He is a great guy and they are best friends.  He supports her crazy ass search for Ky and even though he is hurt does everything he can to help Cassia.  Ky on the other hand comes across as pouty...but it may be my personal dislike for his character coloring my opinion.

If you enjoyed Matched then Crossed is another book in the series and you get a chance to spend time with Cassia, Ky, and Xander.  But just be warned that Crossed definitely suffers from second book syndrome so if you didn't love Matched maybe just read a few reviews and wait for the conclusion to come out.


Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525423656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525423652
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  
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Friday, December 2, 2011

CBR III Review #127: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

CBR III Review #127: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

I'm so far behind on my reviews I don't remember reading this book.  The cover looks familiar.  Damn.

Okay I read the description on Amazon and I remember the plot....kinda. A woman gets into an car accident and she flees the scene.  The police find her and take her to the hospital for her injuries but she refuses to tell anyone who she is.  After some prodding she claims she is a kidnap victim from 30 years ago.   The story begins thirty years prior when two sisters disappear from a shopping mall.  They were never seen again and no bodies were ever found...that is until the present day when this woman claims to be one of the missing sisters.

I remember I loved the premise of the novel but the execution fell a bit flat.  There was a lot of shifting between characters point of view and a lot of jumping around on the time line.  At times I had a hard time remember which character I was currently reading and what year it was suppose to be.  I wish I had more to say on the book but it kinda fell flat.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1ST edition (March 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061128856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061128851
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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CBR III Review #126: Torment by Lauren Kate

CBR III Review #126: Torment by Lauren Kate

I have the kind of personality that if I begin something I like to finish it.  This applies to trilogies for some reason.  The upside to the second novel in the Fallen series is the cover art gets even more ridiculous.  The girl on the cover still looks nothing like how the main character is described.  Are those tattoos on her back?


In the second novel Torment not much happens.  Luce goes to a new school that is especially for Angels.  Apparently all the angel juju will hide her while the demon people try and track her down. You don't learn anything new about their story. The only part I really enjoyed about the novel was when Luce would get super pissed at Daniel.  Luce didn't just accept the fact just because she has always loved him meant she still has too. With Cam mostly gone we are treated to a new love interest in Miles, but everyone knows she isn't going to choose the fun loving angel dork not when there is a tormented dark brooding handsome angel to choose from instead.  I mean seriously did anyone think Bella was going to pick Jacob even though he seemed a lot more fun to hang around?  There is only so much brooding a reader can take and I reached my threshold.  I picked up the third novel but I can't get past the first few pages because I keep remembering how boring the second novel was.

Update:  I just realized there was a fourth book in the series that comes out soon.  I don't know if I can keep on going.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 526 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385739141
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F3FJQE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  
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