Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gutless by Carl Deuker

Gutless is a YA inspirational book that challenges one's character and morality. Brock Ripley is a football player who is afraid under pressure, and is very reluctant to tackle someone in the game. Off the field, he has the same dilemma. His new friend, Richie Fang, is being bullied by Brock's teammates, and he needs to find the strength and bravery to stick up for his friend before it's too late.

I greatly enjoyed this book! Gutless replays a scenario that we know all too well these days, and shows teens what can happen when you pretend that everything is okay. No matter how much Richie hid behind humor and jokes, it was obvious that he was in really deep pain, and it really angers me that these people never get what they deserve.

Brock struggled a lot being the bystander. On one hand, he can stand up for Richie and do the right thing, but betray his team and put himself in the line of fire, as well. On the other hand, he can just give Richie moral support, which was what he ended up doing most of the time until it was too late and he missed the warning signs.

All sports fans will understand the emotion of victory and painful loss. Teens struggling with fear and pressure to succeed will also relate to Brock. It's a story of triumph over fear and learning how to do the right thing even when it doesn't seem to be the right thing at all. This book teaches people to always speak out if someone is in danger, regardless of the social consequences with their peers. I liked how he made mistakes and was not always a great friend because that teaches the readers what to do differently, how to support and stand up for someone before things get taken too far.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Gutless
Author: Carl Deuker
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Gold Shadow (Bronze Rebellion #1) by L.C. Perry

Gold Shadow is the first book in the YA dystopian series, Bronze Rebellion. This book was sent to me by the author. Ebony was born a slave in the underground cities. For the past 18 years of her life, Ebony has learned to become a fierce statue, showing no pain and doing as told, trying to avoid the attention of her master. All seems hopeless until a pair of rebels venture underground, and allow Ebony and some of her fellow slaves a chance to escape. With her newfound freedom, Ebony decides to join the rebellion against the monarchy. Meanwhile, their Princess, Irene, is naive to the horrors her parents cause, and Ebony has a plan to show her the truth and change the world.

While I loved Ebony more than I liked Irene, I appreciated their clear contrast. I relished witnessing both sides of the story, and how clearly they juxtaposed each other. I was fascinated at how impregnable Ebony is. The horrific savagery and abuse she endured only made her stronger.

I love how the author took a historical issue like slavery and made it futuristic and so relatable. The intensity is raw and pure, and better than any textbook. I love the added element of the underground cities, and the plotline of being clueless to what food is, or automatic doors, or the sun. Just the slavery itself is awful enough, but these kids not knowing what the sky looks like makes me feel anger and even more sympathy for the characters.

According to the About the Author page in the back of the book, L.C. Perry is a college student, only a few years older than me. The fact that, at her age, she has written such an amazing book, blows me away. The level of skill she has is beyond her years, and I really, really enjoyed Gold Shadow.

I highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to read the next book, Emerald Dream! The series is planned to have a total of four books.

Title: Gold Shadow
Author: L.C. Perry
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 343
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, August 24, 2018

Secrets of PEACE by T.A. Hernandez

Secrets of PEACE is the first YA dystopian book in a trilogy that was sent to me by the author. After another nuclear war, the PEACE Project rose to power as the new government, controlling the population by any means necessary to prevent conflict. Zira has been raised in their compound, and trained as an assassin to eliminate threats to national security. But the further she ventures from the walls, the more she starts to realize that PEACE is lying and having her hurt innocent people. Her revelations land her in grave danger, and before she can save the world, she must escape it.

Zira is far beyond her years, but sweetly innocent at the same time about the ways of her world. Her internal conflict was amazing, having to choose between morality and loyalty. I loved watching her rebel and struggle to survive. I am impressed at how realistic Zira was, and I am proud of her for following her heart and sticking with human values.

Secrets of PEACE is an excellent thrill and page-turner, and I loved all the action. I also love the irony of PEACE not being peaceful. The writing style was superior, especially for a third-person narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the futuristic setting and uncovering the secrets of their world, and I was fixated on every detail!

I recommend this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, Renegades of PEACE! The author has told me that the third book, Survivors of PEACE, will be released sometime in the fall.

Title: Secrets of PEACE
Author: T.A. Hernandez
Publisher: Sanita Street Publishing
Pages: 293 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, August 20, 2018

Nice Try, Jane Sinner By Lianne Oelke

Nice Try, Jane Sinner is a YA realistic fiction book about a girl competing in a college reality show. After Jane attempts to take her own life and fails out of school, her parents make her finish her high school diploma at the nearby college. She agrees, on the condition that she can move out, and joins the college's reality TV show as a way to start over.

The characters are annoying and unrealistic. Jane disguises her depressive feelings and pain by pretending not to care and being numb. She built this wall in front of herself, preventing her from expanding out and preventing others from coming in. She is never serious with herself or anyone else, and makes a joke out of everything with no loyalty. She was portrayed as obnoxious and conceited. I would not want her as a friend.

Many of the characters were made up in her head, and it felt really unpleasant and further supported the fact that she was psychotic and really needed help. I hated how her mental health issues were portrayed, and it felt like that was just thrown in there to make people feel pity for her.

The reality show plotline was really unoriginal, as it is modeled off of Big Brother. Most of the activity in the book was idiotic, such as the McNugz club, where a teacher encourages kids to eat chicken nuggets until they are sick. It took way too long to get to the main point- and I'm not even sure what the point is. Nice Try, Jane Sinner dragged on forever and could have been good at half the length.

I do not recommend this book.

Title: Nice Try, Jane Sinner
Author: Lianne Oelke
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 420
Series: No
Rating: 1 Star

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Confessions of a Murder Suspect (Confessions Book 1) by James Patterson

Confessions of a Murder Suspect is the first of four YA mystery books in the Confessions series. Tandy Angel and her three brothers are not normal. They have unnatural abilities that separate them from everybody else. Unlike their last name, life in their billionaire family is not angelic at all. Still, it is quite a shock when her parents are murdered in their own bedroom. The only suspects are Tandy and her siblings, and all of them have a motive. She cannot trust anyone, even her own fuzzy memories. So she decides to solve the case herself, uncovering bizarre and freaky scandals surrounding their sister's death, the family fortune, love affairs, and the origin story of their supernatural gifts.

Considering that James Patterson has written 147 books and holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, this book had a huge reputation to live up to, and it did! I must say, this was the best mystery book that I have ever read! The final end result of how their parents died I was able to guess, but this is not a murder mystery. This is a mystery of her past, and how Tandy and their brothers came to be, and all the lies told to them every day. I can count at least 10 revelations that the characters did not know about, and I was stunned by all of them.

I loved the flashback chapters, of memories that were somehow erased from her mind. I loved discovering who Tandy really is and her story. I also loved how she speaks to the reader directly, like she is actually telling me, personally, a story. I also loved how the story was shocking and unbelievable, but partnered with how alive Tandy was, it actually felt realistic. Their family scandals were stressful, suspenseful, and very unusual to say the least, but extremely fascinating.

I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to read the next book, Private School Murders!

Title: Confessions of a Murders Suspect
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 372
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 4
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

The Masked Truth is a YA realistic fiction book about facing your fears and staying alive. Riley Vasquez is traumatized by the shooting of a couple she was babysitting for, and feels guilty for not doing enough to stop it. She, along with five other teens, are mandated to attend therapy sleep away camp for the weekend, only to become entangled in a twisted, elaborate scheme. That Friday night, three armed, masked men come and take the group hostage. As one thing leads to another, Riley is forced to face her past. With the help of another teen, Max, they try to save everyone and escape.

I absolutely loved this book! The Masked Truth is one of the most intense, thrilling, and suspenseful books I've ever read! Not to mention that the imagery was amazing. I felt inside the book and very scared with the characters. Armstrong is brilliant at making seemingly coincidental events in fact not coincidental at all. The author did an amazing job with writing things that nobody can see coming and shocking me with every plot twist, which never stopped until the very last page, and I was really surprised with how the book turned out.

The romance between Riley and Max was stunning and it soothed some of the horror of their surroundings. They were really sweet and I loved how they supported each other though everything. The book wrapped up beautifully, and although in these tragic circumstances there can be no happily-ever-after, the characters are inspiring in positive attitudes and showing how to deal with tragedy and cope with it. 

I loved how the book showed prejudice and hatred in America. There are so many stereotypes angled towards people with mental illness and this book tackled that heads-on. The characters were so real, and the impersonation of their struggles touched my heart and really can educate others of what can be going on inside someone's head. 

I highly recommend this book!

Title: The Masked Truth
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 340
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds Book 2) by Alexandra Bracken

Never Fade is the second book in the YA dystopian series, The Darkest Minds. Ruby has mind control abilities, and is labeled an Orange, one of the most dangerous children to have survived the disease. Now that she has escaped East River and the horrible rehabilitation camps, she is working for the Children's League. After learning a really big secret, she takes some kids with her and leaves, off to find her once-boyfriend, Liam. In his hands is a special flash drive containing information about the cure. The plan is to find Liam, get the flash drive, and into the hands of the right people who will shut down those torturous rehabilitation camps and expose the government's lies.

Ruby is so much stronger since the first time readers met her, in many ways. Her powers are stronger, her determination is fiercer, and she is more willing to fight. In the first book, readers saw a scared girl with powers that frightened her. Now she is owning up to those powers, and using them to fight for her life, a life she never thought she could have.

I enjoyed the reunion with some older characters, as well as the new ones, such as Vida and Jude. They helped add kerosene to an already blazing fire. Vida's attitude and sarcasm was light hearted at times and helped add variety to the personalities. I loved Jude's emotions, and how human he felt. Sure, Ruby is human, too, but Jude has empathy and concern for others that is rare to find. The conflict between the characters was very strong, and loyalties were always questioned, making them even sweeter when someone saves the day.

This book capitalized on adventure rather than action, but when there was action, it was super violent to make up for it. The book generally has a dark theme, and I felt scared at times. The fear was incredible, amplified especially at night. However, I would say that the plot line was underdeveloped a little, and I, personally, liked the first book better. The plot dragged on in some places where it wasn't really necessary, and lost my interest at times.

I recommend this book and I cannot wait to read the next book, In The Afterlight, as well as a recently announced 4th book, The Darkest Legacy, released on July 31, 2018. I am excited to see the movie based on the first book, The Darkest Minds, in theaters August 3, 2018!

Click here to read my review on the first book, The Darkest Minds.

Title: Never Fade (The Darkest Minds Book 2)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 507
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 4
Rating: 4 Stars
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