ARC Review – Hereafter by Kate Brian

Hereafter (Shadowlands, #2)

Title:  Hereafter

Pages:  320

Author:  Kate Brian

Series:   Shadowlands #2

Type/Genre:  Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Paranormal

Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion

Date Published:  October 1, 2013

Source:  from publisher

My Rating:  *****

Goodreads Summary:

Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She’s also made friends with a local clique–including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.
But Rory’s world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn’t what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory’s every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again. From the best-selling author of the Private and Privilege series comes the second novel in a heart-stopping trilogy about a girl who must pick up the pieces after the only life she’s ever known ends.

My Thoughts:  After reading Shadowlands and how it ended in a cliffhanger, I was really looking forward to reading Hereafter.  I was not disappointed.  Brian has written another fast-paced book full of suspense and action.  As far as sequels go, it was well written.

Likes:

  • I like the fact that it is told in two POV’s – Rory’s and the creepers, even if the creeper’s is a little weird.
  • Rory’s relationships with her family and the other Lifers, like Joaquin and Krista, evolve more in this book for the better.  In Shadowlands I didn’t like Joaquin very much.  I thought he was too cocky, but I saw a different side of him in this story.
  • Hereafter leaves you wondering if they will be able to fix the issues with the Shadowlands.  I can’t wait until the next book.  I’ve got questions that need answered.  🙂
  • I love the cover.  It looks very mysterious with the fog rolling in and the girls looking back over their shoulders.
  • It was interesting to see certain roles in the book reverse from what they were in Shadowlands.  A few of the people Rory thought she could trust became someone she couldn’t and she ended up relying on other ones that you would not expect.

Dislikes:

  • I thought the “who” of the story was predictable since I figured it out early on, but there was a lot of mystery surrounding the details which made not too bad.
  • That I have to wait on the third book in the series.

About the Author:

Kate Brian is the prolific author of many books for teens including the Private series, the new Privilege series, and Sweet 16. She lives with her husband in New Jersey. She writes under the pseudonym Kate Brian, instead of using her real name: Kieran Scott.

A Few of the Author’s Other Books:

  • The Private Series
  • The Privilege Series
  • Shadowlands #1

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Read for this challenge:

Review – Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Shadowlands (Shadowlands, #1)

Title:  Shadowlands #1

Pages:  328

Author:  Kate Brian

Series:  Shadowlands #1

Type/Genre:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Contemporary

Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion

Date Published:  January 8, 2013

Source:  library

My Rating:  *****

Goodreads Summary:

Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection program. Entering the program alongside her, is her father and sister Darcy. The trio starts a new life and a new beginning leaving their friends and family behind without a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. Just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

My Thoughts:

I flew through this book in two days.  I have read a lot of Brian’s books this year and enjoyed almost all of them.  This was definitely what I can tell is Kate Brian’s knack for the right amount of suspense with twists and turns, and then she leaves you with a cliffhanger at the end.  Of course I wanted to go straight to reading Hereafter but I already had other books that needed read first.

Likes:

  • From the first page Brian builds up the suspense with Rory’s teacher chasing after her until she just stops the story with a cliffhanger.  I had to keep reading to see what would happen next.
  • I didn’t expect several things that happened during the book like with Mr. Nell and I definitely didn’t expect the ending, but I can’t say too much more without revealing spoilers.  Definitely creepy though.
  • The fast pace and action of the story.
  • Krista was one of my favorite characters.

Dislikes:

  • I disliked the fact that Rory is supposed to be in hiding and although she doesn’t disclose the details of her past, she is still very quick to trust everyone.  I thought she would have been more cautious.  I know that she knew who was after her, but she didn’t know any of them and was somewhat naive.
  • Her sister, Darcy, got on my nerves.  I understand she was a teenage girl.  She wanted to go to her senior party and have a normal life, but she was just so selfish.  Hello!  After her mother died and then her sister is almost killed you would think she would care just a bit more, wouldn’t you?

About the Author:

Kate Brian is the prolific author of many books for teens including the Private series, the new Privilege series, and Sweet 16. She lives with her husband in New Jersey. She writes under the pseudonym Kate Brian, instead of using her real name: Kieran Scott.

A Few of the Author’s Other Books:

  • The Private Series
  • The Privilege Series

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes

ARC Review – Until It Hurts To Stop by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Until It Hurts to Stop

Title:  Until It Hurts To Stop

Pages:  256

Author:  Jennifer R. Hubbard

Series:   no, standalone

Type/Genre:  Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher:  Viking Juvenile

Date Published:  September 12, 2013

Source:  from publisher

My Rating:  ***

Goodreads Summary:

In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?

My Thoughts:  This was the first time I have read anything by Jennifer R. Hubbard and I liked it.  This book took a realistic take on the issue of bullying and the lasting effects it has.  I liked the message that it sends about standing up to your bully without violence or stooping to their level.

Likes:

  • It was sad that Maggie spent so much time waiting and worrying when the next attack from Raleigh, who wasn’t even thinking about her, instead of concentrating on her own life.  She lost focus of her relationships because of it.  It was such a real portrayal of what someone goes through when being bullied that it was heartbreaking.
  • I admired Maggie’s strength of character that kept her going back to school, even when she expected an attack, and kept pushing her to climb that mountain, even when she was scared.

Dislikes:

  • I liked Nick’s character mostly, but I could not stand how passive he was.  I guess that comes from his issues with his father, but he should have stood up to him also.  I have to remember that these kids are in high school but it drove me crazy that he liked one person but couldn’t talk to her about it so he got involved with a different girl instead.
  • The pace of the story was a little slow.  I guess I have been reading a lot of fast-paced, action-packed stories lately, but that is not what this story was supposed to be about.

About the Author:

Thanks for visiting my page. A few words of explanation about how I use Goodreads:

I find it difficult to rate books with stars, or to review friends’ books. Therefore, I don’t list reviews or ratings here. Rather, if I like an author’s work, I will become a Goodreads fan and list him/her as a “favorite author” here. I also have one shelf listing some contemporary, realistic YA books that you might enjoy. On my blog, http://writerjenn.livejournal.com/, I do sometimes recommend books using the “recommended read” tag.

I accept fans and friends here, and browse the bookshelves.

A Few of the Author’s Other Books:

  • The Secret Year
  • Try Not To Breathe

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Read for this challenge:

Review – The Book Of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken HeartsTitle:  The Book of Broken Hearts

Pages:  368

Author:  Sarah Ockler

Series:   no, standalone

Type/Genre:  Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher:  Simon Pulse

Date Published:  May 21, 2013

Source:  library

My Rating:  ****

Goodreads Summary:  Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

My Thoughts:  I really wanted to read this book especially after seeing it so much on other blogs, but I had a hard time getting into this story.  I think because of the title and cover I expected more romance and that’s what I was in the mood to read but this was more about family.   It was a good book though.

Likes:

  • Jude’s relationship with her father was very sweet.  She took her last summer before going to college to spend it with him and take care of him when she could have been out with her friends.  It was heartbreaking that his Alzheimer’s progressed so fast.  At first I didn’t know if I would like Jude’s character but as hard as she tried to get her dad’s bike working won me over.
  • I loved Mari, the overprotective, bossy sister.  She was a bit overwhelming, but her character was well written for the part of Jude’s sister.
  • The best part of this book was Jude’s family and Emilio’s family relationships.
  • The cover was my biggest reason for picking this book.

Dislikes:

  • The “romance” between Emilio and Jude.  I felt like the only reason Jude liked Emilio was because she knew they weren’t supposed to be together.  I just didn’t connect to that part of the story.
  • Jude’s “best friends” were a complete joke.  Jude and her family were going through a lot of issues and all they cared about was themselves and not being embarrassed.  I felt that Jude could have tried harder to spend her rare free time with them, but that they should have been more mature to handle what was going on with her father.  They were getting ready to go to college but acted a lot younger.

About the Author:

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of novels for teens, including Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, The Book of Broken Hearts, hits the shelves in May 2013.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Colorado, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Visit her website at sarahockler.com or find her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.

A Few of the Author’s Other Books:

  • Bittersweet
  • Fixing Delilah
  • Twenty Boy Summer

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes

Review – Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Forget YouTitle:  Forget You

Pages:  292

Author:  Jennifer Echols

Series:   no, standalone

Type/Genre:  Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher:  MTV Books

Date Published:  July 20, 2010

Source:  library

My Rating:  *****

Goodreads Summary:  WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . .  AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.  But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all–the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug–of all people– suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life–a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

My Thoughts: After I read Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, I had to check out her other books.  I loved Forget You.  I think this is one of my favorite books for 2013.

  •  I like the type of story where two people feel attracted to each other, but for some missed opportunity, it doesn’t happen.  They don’t stop thinking about the other person though.  Then, on down the road, they meet again and get a second chance.  This type of story always draws me in.
  • I like Echols’ writing style also.  It just flows and before you know it you’re already through the book, which can be a bummer.
  • I can relate to Zoey’s need to hold everything together and keeping everything that is going wrong to yourself.  Sometimes I worry what other people think too much and it’s a struggle trying to overcome that.
  • Doug was my favorite character.  He was so sweet and protective of Zoey.  No matter how she treated him he was always there for her.

About the Author:

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

A Few of the Author’s Other Books:

  • Going Too Far
  • Playing Dirty (on my Kindle waiting to be read)
  • Love Story
  • The Boys Next Door series (already checked out from the library, just need to get time to read them)

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes

Review – Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under FireTitle:  Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2)

Pages:  368

Author:  Elizabeth Wein

Series:   Code Name Verity #2

Type/Genre:  Young Adult, historical fiction, war

Publisher:  Disney Book Group

Date Published:  September 10, 2013

Source:  from publisher

My Rating:  ****

Goodreads Summary:  While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

My Thoughts:

This is my first time reading this author and usually I do not read books like this.  I enjoy reading historical fiction but tend to avoid war stories.  Ever since my younger brother served in Iraq (thankfully he is home safe now & out of the Army) I just don’t want to read or even watch movies about wars.  I will say that I’m glad I gave this book a chance.  The story was well written and if you didn’t know differently you would think it was a true story.  I did not read Code Name Verity before I read Rose Under Fire, but I will have to add it to my ever-growing TBR list.

  • I love the cover.  I think it’s perfectly fitting for the story.
  • Parts of this story just made me cringe – the conditions these people had to survive and the torture they had to go through.   The author has a note at the end of the book that this story is only a small part of WWII.  I mean obviously, but it’s just heart-breaking that there is more.
  • The friendships forged over Roses’ six month span in the camps were very touching.  I think my favorite characters were Rose and Irina.  I really liked Roz a also.  The small rebellions they staged and the way they looked out for & protected each other showed their courage and gave the reader hope they would survive.  My least favorite character would be Nick, but I don’t want to give away too much there.
  • I don’t know if or how it detracted from the story but I could not read the letters or handwriting samples on my Kindle.  The print was very faint.

About the Author:

Check out her website http://www.elizabethwein.com.

Author’s Other Books:

  • Code Name Verity #1
  • The Lion Hunter Series

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes

Review – The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived (The Archived, #1)

Title:  The Archived

Author:  Victoria Schwab

Pages:  328

Series:  No, standalone

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Publisher:  Hyperion

Date Published:  January 22, 2013

My Rating:   ****

Goodreads Summary:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Thoughts:  I was really interested in this book when I first heard about it.  When you read a LOT of books like I do, sometimes the plots seem to follow along the same lines.  The Archived is completely different from anything I have read before.   The concept of the story is very creative.  It started off kind of slow at first, but I kept going and I’m glad I did.  I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading the second half of the book in one night.

Likes:

  • Dead people stored like library books on shelves.
  • The hotel and it’s past was intriguing.
  • My favorite character was Roland.  He was a mentor and friend to Mackenzie.

Dislikes:

  • Slow start.
  • Confusing at the beginning.  Keeps talking about Da, but never explains his relationship to Mackenzie until about the middle of the book.

Would I Recommend This Book?  Yes.  It’s the first book I have read by this author but if you can get past the slow start, I think the rest of the book will draw the reader in, with it’s intriguing plot and uniqueness.

About this Author:

Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

Other Books by This Author:

  • The Near Witch Series
  • Vicious
  • Warm Up
  • The Unbound (The Archived #2)