Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the arc of All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker! Jenny Kramer attends a high school party where she is raped and left on the grass afterwards. A treatment to erase horrible memories from your mind has been created and is used on Jenny to erase the trauma. The treatment erases the memories from your mind, but they live on in the soul and body. Jenny can’t remember the rape because of the treatment, so she can’t point out the rapist, but she remembers useless information that she can’t place, such as a strong odor, a song, and why she was outside in the first place. I like how the story is told by the psychiatrist and, through his point of view, shows the emotional upheaval of everyone involved and the precarious nature of being a therapist. The whole controversy surrounding the memory treatment brings up a barrage of questions and what-ifs.
Another person, Sean Logan, has been given the memory treatment also, after he lost his SEAL comrades and his right arm while he was activated. The treatment has made healing difficult for Sean also.
The parental advice hits the nail on the head: “We need our parents to love us without condition, without logic, and beyond reason.” This is true for a person to be able to grow up with a strong self-esteem and would be ideal for all of us. The hypocritical statement made by the therapist about his own children soon after telling Jenny’s father to let his anger go, feels very selfish and one-sided. “If we can’t protect our own children, we are wretched.” Sad to say, the world is a big place and we can’t be with our children 24/7 and that is very hard on parents who want to be there for their children.
A lot of food for thought and the tables keep turning in this psychological thriller!
Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the arc of Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter! A short mythology of night is given before the story starts. Vassa lives with her step siblings and has a painted, wooden doll living in her pocket. Erg, the doll Vassa’s mom had made for her, eats human food and tends to steal items from others. The nighttime seems to lengthen a little each night, so time passes slowly. Vassa is determined to figure out the problem with night. A weird story full of creative writing that reminds me of the Studio Ghibli movies, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. This story is like a mixture of the two with its own fairytale added in. Great writing + odd story = 3.5 stars.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the arc of The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts! Viv is beginning her junior year of high school with her best friend Jaz. She lives with her single mom who owns a bookstore and writes mystery novels under an unknown pseudonym. Viv likes Jake and then she discovers that he is a hormonal jerk. This makes her decide to create a replacement crush list filled with guys that she has no romantic interest in. During her replacement crush quest, she meets Dallas, a senior from Wisconsin who just moved to town with his family. Dallas begins working at the bookstore with Viv and he has some secrets of his own. Torturous, emotional and romantic turmoil, cute nicknames, references to readers and bloggers everywhere and even some scary, suspenseful drama make me give The Replacement Crush 5 stars!
I was lucky enough to be a Goodreads give-away winner of The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow! This is a genre bending story about Henry, his family and his best friend, Daisy. Daisy is trying to find Henry. He has been missing and Daisy soon discovers that his family is missing also. Daisy is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. I was relieved when Daisy confided in her brother Peter about her concerns and that she wasn’t looking for him alone anymore. The mystery unfolds for the first third of the book and then the aftermath is dealt with. I enjoyed Daisy’s personality and seeing how her relationships changed and grew as the story was told. The Last Place on Earth is realistic fiction and mystery wrapped up together with a dystopian edge; it’s also a clean read!
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the arc of A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess! I read an excerpt in Buzz Books YA Fall/Winter 2016 and wanted to read the rest of the book, thankfully, it was available on NetGalley. The fantasy story involves witches, magicians and sorcerers, but they are all different in this world from what we are accustomed to . Magicians are untrustworthy scoundrels, witches start fires and sorcerers control fire. Families and Artifacts harm people and go to battle against humans. Henrietta Howel, Nettie, is a young teacher and is taken by a sorcerer to have her own sorcerer skills revealed. Rook has been Nettie’s friend throughout her life and she doesn’t want to leave him behind. Thinking that living in the Sorcerers’ society will be a better life, Nettie takes Rook along. Trials abound for the both of them as secrets reveal themselves, sometimes unwillingly. This is a story worthy of Harry Potter fans and for readers who enjoyed the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I encourage fantasy lovers to read this, you will devour it! I like how Jessica Cluess states in her author’s notes that she is an “unapologetic nerd.”! This shows how down to earth she is; I love it!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the arc of Love Blind by Christa Desir and Jolene Perry! A teenage boy, Kyle, as the main character in chapter one, then Hailey for chapter two. Alternating between Kyle and Hailey each chapter lets the reader live in both of their worlds better than first person point of view would have. Hailey has been diagnosed as legally blind (the ophthalmologist tells her she has “old-people eyes”),lives with her two adoptive moms and she has a list of fears to overcome. Hailey is the singer in the band, Blinders On, with her two friends. Kyle lives with his single mom and he’s dealing with being painfully shy and getting bullied at school. Kyle and Hailey meet and become reluctant friends and begin to work on Hailey’s fear list. In the meantime, Hailey talks Kyle into making his own list. Some use of the “F” word, but it fits in with the situations discussed in the book. Love Blind fits in the young adult genre because of its swearing and sex language. This book deals with some intense, tough issues: extreme bullying, losing virginity, hpv, dysfunctional families, blindness, being adopted, gay parents, sexuality and love with creative writing and care. One of my greatest fears is becoming blind and I admire anyone who has dealt with blindness. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and grew to care about them, with their dynamic personalities, humor and drama. The story is intense and deep with an inconclusive ending that leaves the mind to wonder about the characters’ futures.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the arc of Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee! This book tells the story of a very difficult situation that would be hard to imagine. Hailey and Clara are teenagers and conjoined twins trying to live as normal of a life as possible. Just thinking about all of the problems Hailey and Clara have to overcome daily, overwhelms me. As a parent, I relate to their mother who wants to protect them and help their lives be normal, but only so much can be fixed, taken care of or ignored. The family moved to a small community to protect Hailey and Clara from the press and strangers. It works to a point. The twins are growing up and are contemplating which colleges they wish to attend. They have individual interests and want to do different things in life. Each is interested in a different young man and that is an unimaginable problem too, feeling that the two of you could never be alone (you and your date) to talk, dance or anything. Then the prospect of marriage and children would feel impossible. Written from the girls points of view, Gemini will touch your heart!
Thanks to Resa Nelson for the opportunity to read and review her book, All of Us Were Sophie! The first chapter describes Sophie worrying that someone is trying to kill her and what she is doing about it. Her husband has invented a duplication machine that destroys the original, but will make several copies at once. Sophie duplicates herself in order to discover who is trying to do her in. The mystery of who is trying to do Sophie in just keeps getting deeper. Every time I thought I had the villain pegged, I found out I was mistaken. Alternating points of view build up the mystery and make it very unpredictable. All of Us Were Sophie is for anyone looking for a clean read mystery!
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the arc of The Secret Life of a Dream Girl by Tracy Deebs! First off, it is a must to read the synopsis to understand what’s going on in the book, because I didn’t do that first and was lost. After reading the blurb, the story made perfect sense. Keegan has a crush on Dahlia, but she doesn’t realize it. She thinks his crush is on another girl, who she begins calling “dream girl”, and vows to help Keegan woo and win his dream girl. Keegan and Dahlia help each other through personal and family struggles, growing closer to each other in the meantime. Cute and heartfelt, a nice romantic story.
Thanks to NetGalley and Publishers Lunch for the arc of Buzz Books 2016: Young Adult Fall/Winter. This is my first time reading Buzz Books and I think it is a wonderful way, and helpful as a librarian, to get a taste of what will be published soon. Twenty books are spotlighted in this sampler and my favorites are The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, and Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Can’t wait to read the full versions!