Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CBR III Review #124: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

CBR III Review #124: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Thirty-Two reviews to go.  Hopefully I'll get to 156 before the end of the year!

Ludania, a country where the language you speak determines your class is in the middle of a violent class revolution.  The rules in Ludania are so strict that you are not even allowed to look a member of a higher class in the eyes.  Failing to follow the strict class rules can lead to ones immediate execution. Our main protagonist is 17 year-old Charlania (Charlie) she was born with the gift of understanding all languages. but her class prevents for admitting she can understand all the languages.  If anyone in a higher class found out that Charlie could understand what they were saying then Charlie would be considered a risk that needed to be removed.


The Pledge is a weird book because of the premise.  It's a unique one but the logistics of a country with several different languages for each class then one unique language so they all can communicate seemed a little weird, but we come from a country where learning a second language isn't major a priority as it is in other countries.

I really like the majority of the novel, I like the world that Derting was trying to create and I enjoyed the uniqueness of the plot, but the end feel apart for me.  A world that was set up to be fairly fascinating started to throw in a lot of magical mumbo jumbo by the end of the novel.  If I would have enjoyed the ending a bit more I would enthusiastically endorse it, but with the way it stands I can't give it a full endorsement.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CBR III Review #123: Shelter by Harlan Coben

CBR III Review #123: Shelter by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben has started to write young adult novels!  If you hadn't read the latest Myron Bolitar novel then you may want to skip this review there will be a few mild spoilers.

Mikey Bolitar, Myron's nephew is now living with his uncle while his mom goes through rehab.  Mickey only met his uncle for the first time a few week prior to the new living situation so the atmosphere is strained. Mickey starts out at a new high school making enemies as he goes and very few friends.  However, he does meet a sweet funny and attractive girl named Ashley.  They immediately begin dating but a few weeks into the school year she simply vanishes.  Mickey, using the Bolitar trademark charm and wit launches his own investigation to find out what happened to Ashley.  He soon finds out Ashley wasn't the girl she pretended to be.

I'm a sucker for a new Harlan Coben novel so I was excited he was starting a new series, but I didn't enjoy his young adult series as much as I do the Myron Bolitar novels.  Myron is a bit more sarcastic and Mickey a bit more jaded. I think I prefer the adult series a bit more  because I like the secondary characters a  lot more, but this is still a new series so I bet it's just trying to find the right pace and appropriate mysteries for a high school student to become involved in.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399256504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399256509
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 
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Monday, November 28, 2011

CBR III Review #122: Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman

CBR III Review #122: Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman

I'm amazed by how this novel is so different from Between.  It's not a bad thing.  I also really loved this novel, but comparing the two novels it's almost like comparing apples to oranges.  There is a mystery to be solved, but it takes a back seats to the heart ache of first loves, best friends, and growing up too quickly.


Emily Meckler is a happy high school prep student.  She shares a dorm with her three best friends and her father is headmaster, which means unlike the other students her family is only a few yards away.  The only complaint that she has in life is that she often has terrifying nightmares about fire and water.  The nightmares are so debilitating that she finds trouble keeping up with the rigorous study schedule.  As the story progresses she starts to find out small bits to the truth about the origin of her nightmares and her life is turned upside down.  While Emily is investigating her past she starts a hot and heavy romance with new student Del.  A relationship that her father forbids her to continue.

I loved Where the Truth Lies.  It's a great coming of age story that explores first and second love and the complications that arise between best friends (especially females).

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

CBR III Review #121: Between by Jessica Warman

CBR III Review #121: Between by Jessica Warman

Elizabeth is the epitome of a beautiful and popular high school student.  Elizabeth wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday party.  Her and her closest friends celebrated on her families yacht, but a repeated thumping awoke her.  Horrifically, she finds out that the thumping noise is her body wedged between the dock and the yacht.  Elizabeth starts to come to terms with her death after she meets Alex, a teen from her high school that was killed the year previously.  With Alex's help she investigates the night of her birthday and slowly begins to regain several memories that she had lost after her death.  The memories start to point her int he direction of her killer.

First I want to mention I love the cover art on this book, it really is amazing.  I really really enjoyed reading Between.  Besides the ghost aspect it's a fairly standard murder mystery and it's fun to watch the pieces slowly fall into place.  You want to hate Elizabeth and her friends because they were that group in high school that you hated, but as you learn more and more about them it's hard to hate them.  By the end you stat feeling a sense of pity for them.  The only thing I hate about novels narrated by ghosts (I can't believe I just typed that sentence) is that they are still dead at the end of the novel and nothing can change that, and if something did change that it would be a huge rip off.

As soon as I finished reading Between I ran out and picked up Jessica Warman's other novels.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

CBR III Review #120: Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

CBR III Review #120: Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

I told you I read the second one. The book series doesn't get much better.  After book two the search for Sutton's and Emma's parents still has not begun and the search for Sutton's killer is pretty much at the same place.  Apparently, Sara Shepard likes to stretch a mystery out for  as long as possible.  If the  Pretty Little Liars book series is any indication we wont know Sutton's killer until book 9 and even then that may not be the real killer ( I read the Wikipedia entries).  I would write more but nothing really happened.  A few pranks and that is about between Sutton/Emma and her friends. She hasn't really ruled anyone out or ruled anyone in for Sutton's killer.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

CBR III Review #119: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

CBR III Review #119: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Why did I try to read this?  I think it was because The Lying Game on ABC family is a secret trashy pleasure of mine.  Honestly this show is what Ringer wished it could be. The story focuses on identical twins who have never met. Emma,  a foster kid that lived on the wrong side of the tracks, and Sutton a spoiled mean rich girl, who is now dead and narrating from beyond the grave.  Sutton was apparently killed in a snuff film (seriously I was stoked to learn that Sutton was dead and by such horrific means).

The novel was all ready way better then the TV series, so I thought.  It all goes down hill from there.  If you like the TV series skip the books. Besides a few names here and there the two formats are incredibly different.  Emma is so intent on finding Sutton's killer that the search for her birth parents hasn't even started yet. To make matters worse I read the second one in the series.  I'm glutton for punishment.

Sorry my reviews are getting shorter but I have about 37 reviews to go for the year and only two weeks to write them.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061869708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061869709
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

CBR III Review #118: Legacy by Molly Cochran

CBR III Review #118: Legacy by Molly Cochran

 
 Katy Jessevar mother died when she was just a baby and it appears her father's new girlfriend has finally gotten Katy out of the way, by shipping the 16-year-old to a boarding school in the middle of no where Massachusetts.  To make matters worse it appears everyone at her new school hates her.  After doing some digging she finds out that most members of Whitfield, MA descended from witches and many years ago Katy's mother tried to kill a small child then committed suicide when she lived in MA.

Legacy is a cute novel with a supernatural background.  There is a satisfying ending and it's a fun quick read with a cute teenage romance in the middle.  I actually liked the family drama a bit more then the supernatural aspects, but that was just my personal preference.

The story becomes more and more outlandish as it goes along and it become a little distracting but I really enjoyed the first 3/4ths  of the novel.

This title will be released on December 20, 2011.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442417390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442417397
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CBR III Review #117: Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

CBR III Review #117: Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Out of the Barclay novels I read this week Fear the Worst was probably my least favorite.  It is still a fun novel with lots of twist and turns and a great mystery, but I enjoyed No Time for Goodbye so much I felt Fear the Worst just didn't hold up as well.

Syndey Blake is a normal teenage girl who is spending the summer living with her dad and working at a hotel to earn some shopping money.  Except one day she doesn't come home and hre father, Tim, is devastated but determined to get to the bottom of what happened to his teenage daughter.  This book reads a lot like the TV Show "Disappeared" on the crime channel.

Barclay's novels are a quick read and almost impossible to put down.  I think the novel does a great job of depicting a parent's worst nightmare.  The ending of the novel becomes a bit absurd, but since it was still a fun read It didn't bother me too much.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CBR III Review #116: No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

CBR III Review #116: No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke up to a empty house.  Her mother, brother, and father were nowhere to be found. There was no note to explain where they had went.  Her family simply disappeared. Twenty Five years later her family still has not been found and Cynthia is still as desperate for answers as she was 25 years previously.

Cythnia, now a wife and mother, has agreed to appear on a TV crime show in hopes that the answers to what happened to her family would finally be discovered.  Cythnia was not prepared, however, for mysterious gifts, hang up calls, and strange cars following her and her family.  Was her family kidnapped?  Murdered?  Did they decide to start a new life without her?

No Time for Goodbye is packed with twist and turns and is a wonderful mystery.  I enjoyed every second of it and this was a story where I didn't see the ending coming and didn't end up feeling like the author just pulled something out of thin air to make the ending unpredictable.   Barclay's novels are as character driven as they are plot driven and have been a lot of fun to read.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055380555X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553805550
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Monday, November 21, 2011

CBR III Review #115: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

 CBR III Review #115: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I read on the I09 that Warm Bodies had been picked up by a movie studio and was slated to be the next "Hunger Games"s so I decided to pick it up and give it a read.

Warm Bodies starts after the zombie apocalypse has all ready destroyed most of the world, and unlike your normal zombie genre this is told from the point of view of a zombie, R. R has started to become more and more self aware and has even began to be able to form words and sentences.  R, while devouring a teenage boys brain, becomes inundated with the teens memories  and begins a weird relationship with the victims girlfriend, Julie. As their relationship progress R starts to feel more and more human, but are they simply residual memories or is he changing?


Warm Bodies is sweet and poignant, however implausible it may be.  Then again we are talking about the believability of a novel that begins many years after a zombie apocalypse.  R and Julie are well written deep characters. I enjoyed reading the novel a lot.  I don't see this novel becoming a huge blockbuster hit but it's a fun story.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439192316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439192313
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

CBR III Review #114: Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

CBR III Review #114: Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

Jonthan Mayberry's Dead of Night is one of the best zombie books I have ever read (World War Z will also be at the top of that list).  Dead of Night was horrifying, tragic, rooted in medical logic and insanely gory.  All things I love.  Any novel where infected people spew infectious parasitic black goo can make its way into my heart.

A man on death room is executed, but not by any normal procedures. A prison doctor decides to test a serum that would keep the inmate rotting in his grave, but conscious of every single minute.  Unfortunately, the drugs have extremely contagious side effects and before anyone can comprehend what is going on a full on outbreak is occurring.

Dead of Night follows rural police officer Desdemona Fox and her partner JT and Dez's on again off again love interest Billy Trout as they track the outbreak, try and figure out how it occurred, and how the hell to stop the outbreak and save the town they so desperately love.

I'm not sure if Dead of Night is slated to have a sequel, but I think it would be a wonderful addition to the literary world if Mayberry decides to write one.  I do know a lot of people out there are sequeled (not a  real word I know)  out so don't worry the book makes a wonderful stand alone novel as well.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031255219X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312552190
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

CBR III Review #113: The Accident by Linwood Barclay

 CBR III Review #113: The Accident by Linwood Barclay

It's a husband's worst nightmare, sitting at home watching the minutes tick by waiting for his wife to come home only to have the worst case scenario come to life.  Glen, a contractor, has had a tough time with the recent economy so his wife has started to take night classes in hopes of landing more work.  But one night Shelia does not come home.  Glen awaits anxiously for Shelia to arrive home, their 8 year old daughter fast asleep.  Unfortunately, Glen soon finds out that Shelia has been in a car accident and she did not survive.  To make matters worse they claim that Shelia had been drinking and driving and caused the death of two other individuals as well.

Glen not believing that Shelia would ever get behind the wheel of the car while so intoxicated launches his own investigation and starts to unravel the neighborhoods deepest darkest secrets.


The Accident is a wonderful tightly paced mystery.  It reminds me a lot of Harlan Coben's novels, just without the almost too witty dialogue (which I love).  The only problem is the final reveal was a little hard to believe.  The whole thing could have easily been avoided if a phone call had been put off a few hours (don't worry this sentence wont make sense until you reach the last few pages).  I did enjoy the novel I just felt the last few chapters kept it from being one of my favorite books of 2012.

The Accident is reminiscent of the news story that occurred a few years back where a woman driving while apparently intoxicated caused an accident that killer her, the other drivers, and her children. I always felt horrible for the husband who claimed his wife was not the type to drink and drive and this story puts you directly in the husband's shoes.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807189
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  
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Friday, November 18, 2011

CBR III Review #112: The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks

CBR III Review #112: The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks

This title will be released on April 24, 2012.

Rain, is the shy girl in her class.  She introspective and has learned the art of being a great friend by simply listening.  Some of this may be due to the lisp she grew up with.  

Rain's ability to listen has put her in a unique situation when one of her friends Wendy Geller is found strangled in Central Park.  Wendy was found int he park one night after a party and the newspapers label her a New York Elite Party Girl, but Rain knows Wendy was more than and was much too smart to be wondering around Central Park at night by herself.


This is a wonderful murder mystery.  The characters come alive and you become entranced with the student body of one New York's elite private schools.  The Girl in the Park is well written and quick read.  Rain becomes convinced she can solve Wendy's murder.  I personally think the killer becomes somewhat obvious about half way through the novel, but I would rather have a mystery that makes sense than one that comes out of left field just to throw readers off the scent.  Rain's ability to listen to those around her and piece together the evidence is a lot of fun to read.  I highly recommend it for a quick read...too bad it wont be published for a few more months.


Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375868437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375868436
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

CBR III Review #111: Z: Zombie Stories by Catherynne M. Valente

CBR III Review #111: Z: Zombie Stories by Catherynne M. Valente

- Family Business by Jonathan Mayberry
- The Wrong Grave by Kelly Link
- The Days of Flaming Motorcycles by Catherynne M. Valente
- The Barrow Maid by Christine Morgan
- You'll Never Walk Alone by Scott Nicholson
- The Dead Kid by Darrell Schweitzer
- Seven Brains, Ten Minutes by Marie Atkins
- The Third Dead Body by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
- The Skull Faced Boy by Daivd Barr Kirtley
- The Human Race by Scott Edelman
- Deep Water Miracle by Thomas S. Roche



I bolded the ones I highly suggest reading.  I skipped a few myself but I have this problem with every short story anthology I ever pick up.  I really enjoyed the ones I suggested, but a really great zombie novel is one about the fall of society or a society trying to rebuild itself and a short story really can not encompass all the things I really enjoy about the genre.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CBR III Review #110: Prized (The Birthmarked Trilogy) by Caragh M. O'Brien

CBR III Review #110: Prized  (The Birthmarked Trilogy) by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked was one of my favorite books I read last year.  I couldn't wait to read the sequel.  It was a book I always remembered to check out on Amazon to see when the release date had been published. With all the trilogies coming out recently this is saying a lot.  I know I lean towards the dystopian genre, but one of the only books I felt that has topped it in recently memory (other than The Hunger Games) was Veronica Roth's Divergent.  In Birthmarked, protagonist Gaia flees the tyrannical Enclave with her baby sister and very few supplies.  Gaia ventures into the Wasteland only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a society that is also severely strict but in this case is ruled by women.  I don't feel like I'm setting up the novel too well but I don't want to give out the ending to the first novel.

I felt Prized was a weird sequel, except for two of the main characters nothing from the stories really overlap.  I feel like it could have been a completely separate novel. It looks like all the resolution that I craved will be solved in the third book of the trilogy when the two societies converge.

Gaia's is a wonderful role model and protagonist.  She is smart, stubborn, and thoughtful and fiercely loyal and even though I wasn't thrilled about the second novel it was still a fun read and I was glad to spend a bit more time with her as a character.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596435704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596435704
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CBR III Review #109: Crave by Melissa Darnell

CBR III Review #109: Crave by Melissa Darnell


Savannah Colbert is normal teenage girl trying to make it through high school in a small town in Texas.  The only problem in her somewhat idyllic life is that a clique nicked named "the clan" decided many years ago to make her their target of torture and ridicule.  To make matters worse Tristan, the guy she has been in love with since grade school, is a member of this clique.

Is this another supernatural teen romance?  You betcha'.   The protagonists Savannah and Tristan are a lot easier to stomach then Bella and Edward but supernatural teen romances are a dime a dozen these days...especially ones that can't seem to be resolved in one book.  I'm starting to think the publishing companies are refusing to read anything unless it comes in trilogy form.  Savannah, despite the supernatural drama, is fairly spunky, level headed, and gasps has many hobbies and friends!

Crave was a fun book to read and if you like the Twilight genre but wish the cast of characters had a bit of personality. But if you are supernaturally teened romanced out you may want to wait to see if this trilogy becomes the next big thing or not.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210350
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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