Review: “The Darkest Minds,” Alexandra Bracken

Review: “The Darkest Minds,” Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
Written by Alexandra Bracken
Published December, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
488 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Psychics, Survival
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When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The Darkest Minds initially looked like a daunting read, but I shouldn’t have been worried. I flew through this book in less than 24 hours, carried along by the fast-paced plot and non-stop action. Alexandra Bracken has mastered a particular art of storytelling – one that combines interesting and emotion-filled characters with an intriguing and intricate world.Read the Full Review

Review: “The Unfailing Light,” Robin Bridges

Review: “The Unfailing Light,” Robin BridgesThe Unfailing Light (The Katerina Trilogy #2)
Written by Robin Bridges
Published October, 2012 by Delacorte
320 pages
Genres: Faeries, Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural, Vampires, Werewolves / Shifters, Witches, Zombies
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Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive.

So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains.

But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.

The Unfailing Light brings readers back into the world of Katerina and her struggles against the Light and Dark Courts of Imperial Russia. A great historical read, I found that Robin Bridges had a better handle on her series and lore this time around. With all the elements you could hope for in a historical supernatural/fantasy read, ‘The Katerina Trilogy’ is one I highly recommend.Read the Full Review

Review: “Pushing the Limits,” Katie McGarry

I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Pushing the Limits,” Katie McGarryPushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Written by Katie McGarry
Published July, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
376 pages
Provided by: Harlequin Teen Australia
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Loss & Grief
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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. 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.

I am completely in the minority on disliking this 2012 debut by Katie McGarry. I realise this and unfortunately I can’t change it, no matter how much I wish I could have fallen in love with this book like so many other readers. I didn’t like the characters or the predictable flow of events – and I couldn’t bring myself to invest in the romance between Echo and Noah.

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Review: “The Fault in our Stars,” John Green

Review: “The Fault in our Stars,” John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars (Standalone)
Written by John Green
Published January, 2012 by Dutton
313 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
Purchase: The Book Depository |Add to Goodreads

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at Cancer Kid Support Group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

The Fault in our Stars was a very compelling and addictive read, one that I enjoyed and was able to devour in practically one sitting. Although this book had hardly any time to settle into the long, bleak waiting room that is my Kobo E-Reader, I still feel that the story itself was just ‘okay’.

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Review: “Time Between Us,” Tamara Ireland Stone

Review: “Time Between Us,” Tamara Ireland StoneTime Between Us (Time Between Us #1)
Written by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published October, 2012 by DoubleDay
362 pages
Provided by: Random House Australia
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Time Travel
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Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

What I found most charming about Time Between Us was the fact that Tamara Ireland Stone managed to make this book feel like a great little contemporary romance novel. While time travel was a huge part of the book, it WAS easy to forget that time travel wasn’t a normal factor in a relationship.

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