King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

Book Description:

Published: February 7, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Review –

It’s been almost a year since I read the second book in the Red Queen series so I was afraid I’d have trouble getting back into the story, but it was amazingly simple to pick up the storyline.

The story starts with Mare as Maven’s prisoner, but gets wonderfully complicated as it delves into their twisted relationship. It’s all just SO WELL DONE. Maven’s mother literally molded his mind throughout his life to the point where he’s no longer sure which parts are his own. She even turned his love for Mare into an obsession and erased the love he had for his brother, Cal. And there’s still a small part of Mare that cares about Maven (or is at least empathetic) even though she wants to kill him.

The story never excuses Maven’s actions, by the way.The author is very clear that this is not a relationship that will ever be good (or happen), but  I still LOVE how complicated everything is between them. Stories with black & white characters or shallow villains get old for me really fast because it’s unbelievable. Maven’s character totally worked.

Mare is  totally broken and starts to feel gratitude to Maven for the most basic acts of humanity. Watching her grapple with everything was actually one of my favorite parts. She somehow finds the strength to fight again and is a totally relatable character you WANT to support. All of her thoughts and actions make sense and she has so much growth over the course of the story.

To make a long story short, Mare is finally able to be rescued and a huge battle ensues between the Reds and the Silvers, with both sides having many casualties. “The Lightening Girl” is able to harness her gift and she a Cal, together work for the good. BUT, when push comes to shove and a kingship is offered to Cal, he takes it, knowing it goes against everything Mare believes in. So after barely getting back together, they break up. A bit after that, the book ends, and I CANNOT wait until next year for the fourth book in the series.  Write faster, Victoria Aveyard!!!!!

 

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Book Description:

Published: July 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

Review –

At first I didn’t know if I could into this book because it was about gymnasts , but it was sooo much more than that!

Megan Abbott’s novel You Will Know Me takes readers deep into the obsessive, highly structured world of young female gymnasts and the families who help push these athletes to victory. It’s a masterful tale that’s both suspenseful and an eerily accurate portrait of the way teenage and parental cliques operate.

The book’s central characters, Katie and Eric Knox, have overextended themselves emotionally and financially to support their fifteen-year-old daughter, Devon. Ever since Devon was three and began excelling at Tiny Tumblerz, gymnastics has been “the mighty spine of everything for them.” Even the arrival of Drew, Devon’s younger brother, didn’t displace her from the spotlight. Now, Devon is on the brink of possible Olympic greatness, under the expert tutelage of Coach Teddy, “the gymnast whisperer,” who presides over BelStars gym, which has become the Knoxes’ little corner of the universe. The gym’s “booster parties” constitute the extent of their social life; the other girls’ parents are their only friends. Or, “sort of” friends. Because Devon, after all, is the sun and the other girls merely her satellites.

One fateful night, however, that solar system threatens to collapse when a handsome young man named Ryan who works at BelStars is found dead, a victim of an apparent hit-and-run. Perhaps, some suggest, Ryan should have known better. It wasn’t smart to walk alone on a dark country road; it also wasn’t smart to be the lone young man amid a crowd of adolescent female gymnasts, whose natural sexual desires could be sublimated for only so long into soaring vaults and sweaty floor exercises.

This is where the book turns into a “who-dun-it” because the author leads you to believe that several people could have killed Ryan. But why? Each person has their reasons and although I went back and forth on who the killer was, I was pleasantly surprised and ending OMG!!!!!!

To find out who killer Ryan and why you’ll have to read or listen to the book. I highly recommend it.

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Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Book Description:

Published: March 22, 2011

Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.

When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.

Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

Review –

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This is a fantastic read/listen ( I had the audio version ) and although it is slow and repetitive in places it grabs your heart-strings and doesn’t let go.

It’s a book to be equally enjoyed by young adults as well as their parents because the issues are presented from both perspectives. The main characters are twins, Mia and Zack  and Jude, their adept but hovering mother and Lexi, a lonely teen living with her aunt.

Mothers will  relate to her parenting skills and worrying. Young adults and teens will relate to the push and pull of finding independence from one’s parents and the necessity of being accepted by peers. It’s layered with issues on family dynamics, teenage angst and romance, first loves, sibling rivalry, friendship, forgiveness, grief and motherhood making it an excellent read.

I felt so sorry for Lexi who just can’t catch a break and so angry at Zack for putting Lexi in a position that  endangered all three of them and ended Mia’s life.

The ending is a bit too much HALLMARK, but I’m glad everything worked out for everyone.

All in all a great book.

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We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Book Description:

Published: March 24, 2015

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

Review –

In the simplest terms ,We All Looked Up is a story about Andy (a stoner punk who’s in the charmingly named band Perineum), Eliza (the artist with a reputation for being sexually  easy), Anita (the perfect good girl with straight A’s headed to Princeton), and Peter (an athlete having an existential crisis), who are brought together by an asteroid, named Ardor.  The world is thrown into chaos when scientists decide that the asteroid is 66.6% likely to collide with Earth. Everyone has 7 or 8 weeks to just wait for this to (potentially) happen.

I found the majority of the book bland and slow and the chemistry between the main characters was lack-luster. What saved the book for me was the last few chapters when things really ramped up.

You can imagine how  society would break down and violence would become a normal occurence if the end of the word is supposedly a few weeks away. Along with this you have drug dealers and “crazy people” losing it and that doesn’t bode well for one of the four teenagers. To find out with one, you’ll have to read the book.

I was VERY disappointed with the ending-and I won’t say what happened but suffice it to say that I like things spelled out for me.

Good book that makes you think.  What would you do if you had 6-7 weeks left to live?

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I love this cover!

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry

Book Description:

Published: July 31, 2012

So wrong for each other …and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Review –

I rated this book 5 stars *****

I love the description of “bad boy” Noah Hutchins  – “pot smoking,girl-using loner in a black leather jacket”.  Is it just me or or does that just melt your insides?

Noah has lost his parents in a horrible house fire over two years ago and he and his two brothers were put into foster care but not together. Ever since punching out his  first foster-father(no matter how justified) he’s been labeled as a threat  and a hot head and hasn’t had much visitation with his younger brothers. They are in a good home, go to good schools and have everything they could want or need plus the foster parents want to adopt them. Noah wants to apply for custody after graduating from high school but realizes it will ne an up hill battle  because he can’t care for them like the foster parents can.

Echo doesn’t remember what happened two years ago but she woke up in the hospital almost dead and covered in deep red bloody cuts. These cuts left horrible scars, which she covers with long sleeves and gloves at all times. She is seeing the school clinical psychologist to try to remember and cope with the memories of that night. She needs a job to fix up her dead brothers car so Mrs. Collins suggested tutoring a fellow student.  Little did she know that it would be Noah, usually made fun of her like everyone else in school.

It takes time but Noah and Echo develop a friendship and much later a relationship and the road to either is not smooth.

The last fourth of the book was very emotional  and I cried like a baby and had to put down the book and go get some Kleenex. (I really love books that make me cry) I won’t say how it ends but I was hoping for a better outcome but I had to remember they were just 18 and out of high school.

There is a book that follows their journey and I plan to find it, hopefully for free, as soon as I can.

I’ve added Noah Hutchins to My Fictional Boyfriend List.

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Feed by M.T. Anderson

Book Description:

Published: February 23, 2004

Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon – a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

Review –

This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people’s brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment–even on trips to Mars and the moon–and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy. From Amazon Reviews

I liked this book very much and would have liked it more if Titus and his friends(especially the boys) didn’t  talk like Valley Girls and act like jerks. It’s scary to think that our minds are controlled by something we can’t even see but it’s happening now on all social media sites when we log in or browse and we are bombarded by ads showing us images of all the irresistible things we can’t live without.  I think we should all be a bit more like Violet.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin

Book Description

September 27, 2011
Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.
Review –
I absolutely loved this book and gave it 4 1/2 stars. It was offered by PULSE -IT free to read for 24 hours so I read and read until it was finished and then I was ready for the next book.
It has it all suspense, young love,romance, a bit of humor and mystery.
Noah stole my heart right away.  He’s a “bad boy” and he falls for Mara, who is a good girl and he didn’t intend for it to happen, but he falls in love with her. She’s been through a horrible trauma and is trying to rebuild her life, but will she be able to?
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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Book Description:

Published: May 13, 2014

 

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

Review –

I really didn’t know how to feel about this book when I first started listening to it, but it was only five discs long so what did I have to lose?

It involves a private island, three sisters of a demanding, dominating father and three cousins, all rich and one boy who is not but is allowed to come to the island also during the summer months. They have good time and bad times and times that Cadence, the protagonist,  can’t remember because of the severe migraine headaches she suffers as the result of an accident the summer of her 15th year. After the accident she isn’t allowed to go back to the island because of her fragile condition and headaches. She sends emails to her two cousins which are never answered and wonders why Gat, the boy she loves from New York hasn’t been to see her.  Finally she is there on the island  again at the age of seventeen enjoying  their company and having her aunts, Grandfather and other cousins tip toeing around her. Why, she wonders?

The story deals with teen angst, issues of class and race and mostly on the dysfunctional family that she is a part of and has such a profound effect on her and her missing memories.

The ending was one that I did not see coming and made me cry. I had to pull over (I was listening to this in my car while running errands) until I could get a grip. This is another book that will haunt me for a very long time.

I rated this book 5 stars *****

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Fledgling (The Shapeshifter Chronicles) by Natasha Brown

Book Description

Published: January 15, 2012

Set apart from other eighteen year olds, Ana Hughes knows she is different. A life threatening heart condition smothers her future and she yearns to feel normal. Her hopes are pinned on a fresh start in a remote town far from her native Colorado. Among the locker filled hallways in Clark Bend High, Ana keeps to the shadows, not wanting to draw attention to her violet tinged lips and wilted silhouette. And she almost succeeds, until she meets Chance Morgan.

Struggling to keep up appearances, she soon suspects Chance is hiding something as well. His animal-like senses, miraculous healing ability and peculiar reaction to her Thunderbird necklace compels Ana to question if there’s more to the stories about his Navajo ancestry. Without any other explanation, she fears he is playing tricks on her. But the truth may prove too much for Ana’s delicate heart…

Review –

We find out in this book that Chance is a shapeshifter and his grandfather is trying to help him develop his talents but when Ana’s  heart gives out Chance performs a healing move that heals her but kills him(he really didn’t know that much about the healing process) and so his grandfather brings Chance back and thus kills himself. His grandfather was a shapeshifter too and when one dies his power goes into the other so Chance now has his grandfather’s powers and memories, good and bad.  Chance and Ana have to go to Mexico to find a man to mentor him and thus ends books one.

I think I have found a new series. If you like YA literature put this one on your “to be read” list.

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The List by

Product Description:

Published: April 1, 2012

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction — and the price that’s paid for them.


It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

With THE LIST, Siobhan Vivian deftly takes you into the lives of eight very different girls struggling with issues of identity, self-esteem, and the judgments of their peers. Prettiest or ugliest, once you’re on the list, you’ll never be the same.

Review –

This really wasn’t my type of young adult book but it was on my “to be read” list and my library had it available so I checked it out and finished it in an evening. A lot of teen-angst and drama and a lot of truth so all in all it was okay.  Anyone that prefers books of this nature would find it more appealing that I did but that’s why there are different genres for different people.

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