Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Bittersweet


Title: Bittersweet
Author: Sarah Ockler 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: January 03, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Ariadne Meyers

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Awards: YALSA (Best YA Fiction), CBC's Teen Choice Book of the Year Nom.

SUMMARY: Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...

REVIEW:

Bittersweet is the perfect title for this book. With a focus on family,friendships, and first love, it’s bound to be bittersweet--and it is. 

Recommend for fans of Sarah Dessen. However, I don’t recommend reading this while hungry because there are several delicious descriptions of cupcakes throughout!

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild (minimal swearing)
Sexuality: Mild-Moderate (kissing, some sensuality)
Violence: Mild-None


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Arclight


Arclight (Arclight, #1)
Title: Arclight
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Tara Sands

Genre: Young Adult, Action-Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery-Suspense, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi

SUMMARY: No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be. 

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

REVIEW:

With an original conceptmesmerizing world-building, and McQuein's lyrical prose--not to mention a totally awesome cover--
This should be a 5 star book

But there is a lot about Arclight that made me want to rip my hair out. 

The weak character development for the humans is disappointing, and most of the supporting characters are 1-Dimensional and boring. Even Marina, as the protagonist, doesn't leave much of an impression. Don't even get me started on Tobin and the under-developed and unbelievable insta-love between him and Marina. This is one of the worst romantic developments I have ever read.

BUT...

THE FADE. Hands down, the saving grace of this debut. 

The dark and eerie atmosphere of the Arclight world definitely leaves an impression, but what truly stands out in this novel are the ominous and complex creatures known as the Fade. 

WowI mean, WOWSo cool. 

These are some of the most fascinating and fully developed characters I've read lately, which is why it's almost a crime that they're in this book. The Fade operate as a hive community, a concept I find particularly gripping in science fiction, so if you like Dan Well's Partials--and let's be honest, who doesn't?--then here's another chance for you to escape to a similar, yet distinctly compelling way of life.

Juxtaposed to what "develops" between Tobin and Marina, what Capital-D Develops between Rue and Marina is wonderful and sweet and absolutely brilliant. Arclight is worth the read just to meet Rue. 

I really want the sequel because I'm curious to learn more about the Fade, and it's almost impossible not to add in some layers to the bland human characters in a sequel. The potential for the second installment of this series is a thriller of its own kind.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild (minimal swearing)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing)
Violence: Moderate-High (intense, frightening images, fighting)


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: If You Find Me


If You Find Me
Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdock
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Tai Sammons

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

SUMMARY: There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

REVIEW:

Poetic and moving.

If You Find Me gracefully presents issues of abuse, abandonment, and adjustment with an overwhelming message of hope

Carey is an admirably devoted sister, and the innocence and strength she projects throughout the novel are believable—heartbreakingly believable.

Sigh, this book will stay with me for a while.

Recommend the audiobook for full Southern immersion. Tai Sammons' perfomance is memorable and heart-warming.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild (minimal, if any)
Sexuality: Mild-Moderate (kissing, brief sexual content, suggested assault)
Violence: Moderate (intense imagery of assault/defense, guns) 

Drugs/Alcohol: Mild-Moderate (negative reflections on substance abuse)

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Eat and Run


Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
Title: Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
Author: Scott Jurek 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Quincy Dunn-Baker

Genre: Adult, Autobiography-Memoir, Health-Fitness, Non-Fiction

SUMMARY: For nearly two decades, Scott Jurek has been a dominant force—and darling—in the grueling and growing sport of ultrarunning. In 1999, as a complete unknown, he took the lead of the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile traverse over the old Gold Rush trails of the California Sierra Nevada. He won that race seven years in a row, setting a course record along the way. Twice he won the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile “jaunt” through Death Valley. Recently he set an American record of 165.7 miles in 24 hours—6 1/2 marathons in one day. And he was one of the elite runners who traveled to Mexico to run with the Tarahumara Indians, as profiled in the bestseller Born to Run. His accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary, but that he has achieved all of this on a plant-based diet makes his story all the more so.

In Eat and Run, Scott Jurek opens up about his life and career—as an elite athlete and a vegan—and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family, to his early beginnings in running (he hated it), to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, to his world-spanning, record-breaking races, Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart all the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Chock-full of incredible, on-the-brink stories of endurance and competition, fascinating science, and accessible practical advice—including his own favorite plant-based recipes—Eat and Run will motivate everyone to “go the distance,” whether that means getting out for that first run, expanding your food horizons, or simply exploring the limits of your own potential.

REVIEW:

"Sometimes, you just do things."


This is more than just a running book or another runner's promotion of the vegan lifestyle. 

It is a story of endurance in all aspects of life. 

This book is one of the reasons I looked into and fell hard for distance running. If you've ever been intrigued by ultra-running at all, then this is a must read. We experience the gritty and dirty details--the blood, sweat, and tears... and blisters--right along with Jurek as his narrative unfolds, and it is quite an experience. 

Jurek is honest and humble, and his passion for life overflows from this book. His training partner, Dusty, though downright hilarious, has quite the foul mouth! I wish more had been resolved about him near the end of the book.

The prose is a bit choppy at times, but the tale itself is too extraordinary for that to matter. 

Fantastic audiobook narration to bring on your runs. It doesn't get more inspiring than that!

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Moderate (one character swears often, but rest of book is clean)
Violence: Mild (some graphic running injuries) 


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Peeps


Peeps (Peeps, #1)
Title: Peeps
Author: Scott Westerfeld 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: January 11, 2005
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Paperback, 288 pages 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Sci-Fi
Awards: ALA Teens' Top Ten, Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award, ALA's Top Ten Best Books for YA, Georgia Peach Honor Book, Abraham Lincoln Award Nom.

SUMMARY: Last year as college freshman, narrator Cal was infected by exotic goth Morgan with a parasite that caused following girlfriends to become vampire-like ghouls he calls parasite-positives "Peeps". A carrier without symptoms, he hunts his progeny for the centuries old bureaucratic Night Watch. But victims are showing more sanity, pretty human Lacey is pushing his buttons, and her apartment building basement houses fierce hordes of ravening rats, red-eyed cats, and monstrous worms that threaten all. Morgan has the secret to a centuries-old conspiracy and upcoming battle to save the human race.

REVIEW:

Vampires and rat hordes and parasites--oh, my!


Hilarious and slyly informative on icky subjects you would never normally want to learn about. I was dying with laughter throughout this book

Our likeable protagonist, Cal, is just your average guy--well, apart from being a carrier for parasitic vampirism and his quest to hunt down his infected ex-girlfriends. Yes, apart from that, he becomes a close friend, albeit a very, verystrange one, throughout this brilliant novel. His witty commentary and bizarre "science lessons" on parasites in-between-chapters set the tone forPeeps--sarcastic, endearing, and creepy.

The science is well-researched and well-presented--even when you don't want it to be! There is certainly no lack of disgustingly fascinating information on parasites, and with Cal's spot-on humor and incomparable metaphorical genius... it's well worth it, trust me.

The imagery in this book will stay with you forever. I will never again see a cat crawling into or out of a sewer in quite the same light.

There is some sexual content and mild profanity in this book. Evolution is rigidly preached, and that's just Westerfeld's style. 

Overall this horribly delightful book is my favorite by  Scott Westerfeld.

Hands down, the best teen vampire book on the market!

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild-Moderate
Violence: Moderate (some disturbing images, fighting, creature violence)
Sexuality: Moderate (kissing, sexual references)


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Entwined


Entwined
Title: Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Mandy Williams

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Magic-Paranormal

SUMMARY: Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

REVIEW:

Enchanting! 


A fairy tale world that is almost frightening toward the end, with a wide cast ofendearing characters. I love the names of the sisters and how they so aptly defined them--otherwise it might have been confusing with so many! The antagonist is mysterious and alluring, and it is difficult to discern the merit of his intentions. 

The prose is absolutely gorgeous, and the lush descriptions of the magical world which so entwines Azalea stole my breath away

This is a clean, light read--would recommend for all ages. There is some violence, and the ending is slightly disturbing, but this book is truly enchanting.

The audiobook version is wonderful, and I recommend it as well.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
None
Violence: Moderate (some disturbing images, fighting/assault)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing)


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)


Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)
Title: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)
Author: Lauren DeStefano 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Hardcover, 341 pages 
Genre: Young Adult, Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

SUMMARY: Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.

REVIEW:

Beautiful, chaotic, devastating.

In this sequel to Wither, Rhine and Gabriel are tugged around by decision and fate. 

The character development in this book is phenomenal. Rhine and Gabriel struggle through several horrific situations, and are forced to make tough decisions and endure emotional turmoil, which stretches and tests their relationship. It is how Rhine faces these dire circumstances which makes her one of my favorite protagonists ever. She's fierce, loyal, and brave, but not hard-heartedMy heart broke for Gabriel and his particular struggles in this book. Poor guy can't get a break.

I admire DeStefano's uncanny ability to create unforgettable characters. Everyone we meet has an original backstory and help shape Rhine and Gabriel through their interaction. NO ONE mentioned is 2-dimensionalEven the villains are utterly human. Both Vaughn and the ringmistress are downright creepy and disturbing on SOOO many levels, yet neither are purely evil. We learn more about the justification for their twisted actions--whether or not this earns them sympathy is up to you. 

The setting, as Rhine and Gabriel travel from place to place, the whole tragic beauty of the devastation is ominous and poignant. I could never tell whether something good or bad would happen next, though good and bad are hopelessly relative in their world. Carnivals and abandoned circuses have creeped me out before, but this one will truly haunt me.

DeStefano's prose is gorgeous and eloquent. The lyrical style alone keeps this series in my top favorite books. Rhine is just an interesting person all-around, and her voice throughout the book is truly endearing.

The book cover is as lovely as the words beneath it. PLEASE JUDGE THIS BOOK BY ITS COVER! I found myself looking back at the cover as the plot progressed to find meaning to various objects scattered about the picture. It's accurate right down to Rhine's drugged and weary expression--this photographer deserves a bonus, forreal.

The ending--oh, what an ending. It left me gasping for Sever like oxygen.

If you loved WitherREAD THISIf you hated WitherREAD THIS because it might change your opinion.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
None
Violence: Moderate (some disturbing images)
Sexuality: Moderate (kissing, sensuality, suggested images of prositution)
 
Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate (depicted effects of substance addiction/abuse)

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Across the Universe


Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)
Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis 
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Audiobook
Narrators: Lauren Ambrose, Carlos Santos

Genre: Young Adult, Action-Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi 

SUMMARY: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

REVIEW:

A good story for readers hesitant to branch into science fiction. 


The plot is somewhat predictable, but well-paced. It is definitely an interesting read.

What really impressed me is that this book undoubtedly has some of the coolest technology I've read in sci-fi lately, at least in presentation. The first scene with the cryo-tube is unforgettable. I actually find myself mentally comparing this to the "accuracy" of cryogenic references in other books because it is so well-done and visual in Across the Universe

The audiobook is engaging, with suitable voices for the alternating male and female perspectives. I'm interested in reading the sequel, but I'll wait for the audiobook to come to my library.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild (futuristic slang)
Violence: Mild-Moderate (some disturbing images, suggested suicide)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing)
 

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Crewel (Crewel World #1)


Crewel (Crewel World, #1)
Title: Crewel (Crewel World #1)
Author: Gennifer Albin 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR)
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Amanda Dolan

Genre: Young Adult, Action-Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy, Magic-Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi 

SUMMARY: Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.

Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls.  Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power.  Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.

REVIEW:

Refreshing and original.

The world building is so creative, and I kept thinking as I read, 
“This would look awesome on film.”

It’s a clean read, and the only nag I have is the love triangle. Sigh. I still want the sequel!

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
None
Violence: Mild-Moderate (suggested violent images/deaths, fighting)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing)
 

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Tiger Lily


Tiger Lily
Title: Tiger Lily 
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Cassandra Morris

Genre: Young Adult, Action-Adventure, Fantasy, Magic-Paranormal
Awards: YALSA (Best Fiction Nom. for Young Adults
)

SUMMARY: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

REVIEW:

This clever twist on the classic tale focuses on Tiger Lily, Peter Pan’s first love. 


The story is told from Tinkerbell’s perspective, and her snarky commentary ischarming and hilariousAnd I somehow ended up hating Wendy by the end. 

Adding this to my "I-Love-Everything-Peter-Pan" list.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
None
Violence: Mild-Moderate (brief suggested images, fighting)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing, brief sensuality)
 

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Shadow and Bone


Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)
Source: Hardcover, 356 pages 
Genre: Young Adult, Action-Adventure, Fantasy, Magic-Paranormal

SUMMARY: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

REVIEW:

Reading this book is a magical experience


Bardugo’s Russian-influenced fantasy world of Ravka comes alive throughcaptivating imagery and strong characters who will charm you to the bone. 

Being a more simplistic “Light vs. Dark” fantasy, it’s not particularlycompelling, but it certainly delivers for entertainment. I found the Grisha lorefascinating and hope to discover more in the next book.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild-None
Violence: Moderate-High (disturbing images, violent creatures, weapons)
Sexuality: Mild-Moderate (kissing, brief sensuality)

Drugs/Alcohol: Mild (drinking at tavern) 

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Impossible


Impossible (Impossible, #1)
Title: Impossible
Author: Nancy Werlin 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: September 18, 2008
Publisher: Dial
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Emily Durante

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic-Paranormal-Supernatural, Sci-Fi
Awards: Booklist Editor's Choice, Massachusetts Book Award Nom. (Best Children's/YA Literature), Kirkus Reviews Best Books List for YA, Cuffie Nom. (Favorite Novel of the Year), Abraham Lincoln Award Nom.

SUMMARY: Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? 

REVIEW:

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Nancy Werlin delivers once again in this charming retelling of British folklore

Though very different from the other books I’ve read—and adored--by Werlin, the usual authenticity in her characters and the issues presented shines with satisfying intensity. 

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild (minimal swearing)
Sexuality: Moderate (kissing, some sensuality, sexual assault)
Violence: Moderate-High (intense, frightening images, fighting)


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Ultramarathon Man


Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
Title: Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner 
Author: Dean Karnazes 
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: March 2, 2006
Publisher: Tarcher
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: James Yaegashi

Genre: Adult, Autobiography-Memoir, Health-Fitness, Non-Fiction

SUMMARY: Ultrarunning legend Dean Karnazes has run 262 miles-the equivalent of ten marathons-without rest. He has run over mountains, across Death Valley, and to the South Pole-and is probably the first person to eat an entire pizza while running. With an insight, candor, and humor rarely seen in sports memoirs (and written without the aid of a ghostwriter or cowriter), Ultramarathon Man has inspired tens of thousands of people-nonrunners and runners alike-to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and be reminded of "what it feels like to be truly alive," says Sam Fussell, author of Muscle.

Ultramarathon Man answers the questions Karnazes is continually asked:

- Why do you do it?
- How do you do it?
- Are you insane?

REVIEW:

Loved it! 


Karnazes flip-flops from being totally humble to a bit self-glorifying at times, but I would be too if I could do the things he does. What an interesting person.

If you love running or tales of super-human feats, then I recommend this book.

The audiobook narrator is fantastic!

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Mild-None


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: In Honor


In Honor
Title: In Honor 
Author: Jessi Kirby 
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Release Date: May 08, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Hardcover, 235 pages 
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

SUMMARY: Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her. 

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

REVIEW:

Nothing beats a good metaphorical road-trip. 


adored the first 3/4 of In Honor, but by the end I just didn’t feel like the characters developed in the right way. Being a road trip novel, I kept waiting for some change, some healthy growth—-particularly for Rusty—-but our main characters are fairly static. 

An enjoyable read, nonetheless.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Moderate-High (occasional swearing, F-word, S-word used)
Violence: Mild (brief suggested images)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing)

Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate (one character abuses drugs and alcohol to cope, regarded negatively) 

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: My Life Next Door


My Life Next Door
Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: Audiobook
Narrator: Amy Rubinate 

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

SUMMARY: The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

REVIEW:

Wow, I was expecting a light read, but this is actually a fairly deep novel. One particularly refreshing aspect of this book is the lack of unnecessary teenage melodrama. The relationships and situations developed are all very realistic and honest

Overall, My Life Next Door a sweet and--at the right times--hilarious coming-of-age story, though there is some intense language and sexual content (goes with the territory, of course).

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
Moderate-High (one character swears often, F-word, S-word used)
Violence: Mild-Moderate (disturbing images)
Sexuality: Moderate (kissing, sexual content/references)

Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate (one character abuses drugs and alcohol to cope, regarded negatively) 

This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.

Review: Sever (The Chemical Garden #3)


Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)
Title: Sever (The Chemical Garden#3)
Author: Lauren DeStefano 
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Hardcover, 371 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

SUMMARY: With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

REVIEW:

Beautifully crafted ending to -- possibly? -- my favorite dystopian trilogy yet. 


Rhine feels like a sister to me, and every character in the book leaves an impression. They are so well developed I feel like I’ve known them forever. 

DeStefano's prose is lyrical and absolutely gorgeous. It reads like a decadent dessert, and I just want to devour every sweet word.

And talk about cover-lust. These are some of my favorite book covers ever -- intriguing, true-to-the-story, beautiful.

I'm a little disappointed, not with what happens to Linden, but the way it does. But I love this book and this world and the legacy of his character far too much to knock down the rating.

I cannot wait for The Internment Chronicles. I need more of DeStefano's magic in my life.

CONTENT:

Profanity: 
None
Violence: Moderate (disturbing images)
Sexuality: Mild (kissing)


This review also appears on Goodreads and brailynnecorr.com.
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