Mundie Moms

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda / Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan, Book Review

By: Megan Miranda
Published by: Bloomsbury Teen
Released on: February 5th, 2013
Source: arc from publisher to review
3 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound
Add it to GoodReads

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others. 

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again

I have been looking forward to reading this book. The cover, the synopsis and all the hype I've heard about this book made it sound like a great read. There were a few things that didn't set well with me in the story. One of the things I really liked about this book was the way it totally toyed with my mind. There's a lot of mystery in this story, pertaining to they how and why Mallory killed her boyfriend. While reading the story I spent a lot of time trying to piece together what really happened. There were times I'd think I figured out what happened, and then a new twist would be throw in to the story. At the same time, after awhile all the piecing together did grow a little old.

Character wise, it was interesting to see the bits and pieces of Mallory's relationship with her boyfriend, and the changes that occurred over time in their relationship. Luckily she a relationship with her best friend that helps keep her going. I'll be honest, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. At first I emotionally felt a connection to what was going on, but some where along the way all that changed. Normally that takes me out of the story, and I'd stop reading. There's so much mystery going on in the story that by the time I felt that way I was already too invested in figuring out what was really going on to stop reading. 

It's not that Hysteria is a bad book. It's not. It's not one I enjoyed as much as I thought I would. That's always a downer for me. Over all it was a good read, and it's one I think fans of Megan Miranda will enjoy. It's going to stop me from picking up Megan's next book.

By: Michael Hassan
Published by: Balzer & Bray
To Be Released on: 2/19/13
Source: arc/book from publisher to review
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal

I have been looking forward to reading this book for awhile now. I've been intrigued by Crash, and curious to find out what Michael had in store for me with this story. The more I got into the story, the more I realized this wasn't a story for me, and instead of just walking away from the book like I should have, I kept reading it. I know, weird right? I should have, but part of me was hoping to see if things that I didn't connect with would change. 

Much of this story is of Crash telling his story about what happened that day with Burn, and the aftermath of it all. The story does jump around a lot, as Crash is retelling the reader all that happened. I felt like I kept up with the jumping back and forth just fine, but it got confusing when all the sudden Crash was having a flash back, and there was no key description of him going into the flashback and then back to the present moment. For such a large book it does read quickly, but what I missed for this book's size was more depth from the characters. I wanted them to be built up, and given much more interaction than I personally felt they had. I also had a hard time with the writing. While the writing was to the point, I had hard time keeping up with what was going on.

Okay now I have to put on my critical review pants, because I had a huge issue with this book......  My biggest problem I had with the book was how much of the book is about Crash's raging hormones, how often he gets high, his drinking, and how often he's getting it. By getting it, I mean sex. I felt there was so much more potential with the story then having so much of it be about this. It disconnected me from the story. Sure I spent time reading this, hoping I'd get to know Crash on a different level than just this, but sadly I didn't. I got why some of this was in the story, but it took away a lot of depth to Crash's character for me.  I felt there was so much more to him than just sex, drugs and alcohol. I wanted more of his interactions with this family, friends, and most importantly Burn. I went into this story excepting more of it to be focused on Crash and Burn together, which ended up not being the case at all.

Now, that doesn't mean this story couldn't have mentions of sex, drugs and drinking, but I personally felt it was mentioned way too much. Now that doesn't mean someone else won't enjoy it, but for me personally, I didn't. This wasn't my cup of tea. Before anyone asks, yes I was once a teenager, and I totally know that teens have sex, do drugs, get drunk and do things they aren't suppose to, in high school. Are these things going to be in some YA books? Yes, they are. Do they need to talked about for much of the book? No, they don't. One of the biggest down falls for me in this book was too much time was spent focusing on the sex and boozing Crash does and not on the relationships he had. Had it been the other way around I may have enjoyed this book.

Thoughtful Thursday: Why I Read, My Personal Experience With Reading

I often times get asked "Why do you read so much?" "Why do you read YA?" "Why do you have so many books?" First, there is no such thing as having TOO many books. I would rather surround myself and my kids with books to fuel their imaginations that let them spend hours watching mindless TV. Plus books also make great decorating pieces, but that's for another post. Second, I read YA because I want to. I love it, but I also read more than just YA. Lastly, there is NO such thing as reading too much. (As if) lol. For my real answer on why I read, because of what reading has taught me and done for me. 

I am fascinated at how one book, and even a series, can bring so many readers together through out the world. It's amazing to me, when I sit back and think about it. I've made so many friends world wide all because of a books. I love the power and unimaginable friendships one books can have. It's fascinating to think about the impact a book can have on 1 reader, and the ripple effect it causes. I have made so many life long friends through books. I don't know where I'd be without some of them. 

It's true what they say about books. Books are our friends, our saviors, our hope, the life vest we hold on to when all else around us seems lost. Sometimes books are the only thing we can turn to when no one else is there. I know this from personal experience. I don't often get personal on my blog, a down fall of mine I know. Lately I've reflected a lot about what it is about reading that I've always been passionate about. Sure, through the years that reason changes, but for me reading in my adult years became my saving grace. Long before there was Twilight, and The Mortal Instruments series, there were other YA books that my friend Stephanie introduced me. She doesn't know this, but she got me reading YA at a time I needed it most. Dealing with depression, postpartum depression isn't something  I openly talked about with many people. In fact, no one but my husband and doctor at this time knew I was dealing with it. No one really talked about it and I felt like everyone would shun me and treat me differently. Even to this day, not many people know I dwelt with and still deal with depression. 

So, books became my outlet, and in turn it grew into something much more. When I first started reading it became a place I could go to get away from myself, if that makes sense, and it became a place for me to openly accept what I was dealing with. I did a lot of reading up on and researching on depression, but nothing seemed to help me cope with well, me. Sure reading about what other women and moms were going through helped me a bit, but I needed something more. Something outside of reading about depression. When Stephanie introduced me to Shannon Hale, Melissa Marr and few other authors, I was hooked! This LOVE of reading YA (yes I was someone who until this time would have never touched a YA book, I was one of "those" people) lead to Twilight, which lead to The Mortal Instruments series and then the creation of Mundie Moms. Through love of reading I've gained friendships I wouldn't have other wise made, achieved and done things I never ever thought possible. All because of books! You want to know what else is funny, and totally off topic, when I was in grade school I was in special reading classes because I couldn't read well. True story. I got made fun for it too. Now I look at the books that liter my house and think, "I sure proved them wrong!". 

Stephanie had no idea what she had unleashed within me when she let me borrow a couple of her books to read. Once I started reading I couldn't stop. I renewed my own love of reading. To be honest, I hadn't read much since out of college, but from that moment on through today I've read more books than I could have ever dreamed possible. Each of the these stories have given me something I never thought I could take out of a book. I'm not just talking YA, though that is a lot of what I read. I rediscovered that books can be gateways and doors to other worlds. They can lead us to a reality we want to create for ourselves. Sometimes they are the vacations we never get to take in the real world, but most importantly books educate us. They make us think. They open our minds. They create readers, and dreamers, leaders and followers. They can make us stronger, and break our hearts. They give us characters we want to hang out with, and introduce us to worlds we want to explore. Books can be inspirational, motivational, educational and sometimes simply irresistible. 

There's something about a book that can renew our faith, and give us confidence. Books give us shelter and a place we can call our own. They provide a secret place for us to hide away in. In books we can find support. Gain confidence. Find a new friend. Books can give us comfort. Help us find our voices, and sometimes our ways. They become our dreams, and help us dream. A Book is more than just pages bound together. A book can give us wings to fly with, and pull us back off that cliff we're about to jump from. A book is a lifeline, a friend, and sometimes it's everything in one. Why do I read? Why wouldn't I read?!

Why do you read? What motivates you to read?

* Aside from the pictures used and credited in this post, these words are my own personal thoughts and feelings on reading. Please do not use or quote any part of this of post.

Book Review / Blog Tour: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Welcome to the next stop in the official Pivot Point blog tour for Kasie West's upcoming release! I'm thrilled to have the chance to share my review of Kasie's book with you guys, but first I would like to apologize to those who were excepting my review to be up yesterday as was scheduled. I'm embarrassed to admit that while hosting this blog tour, I completely missed that my review did not get posted like it was suppose to yesterday. Instead of getting it posted late yesterday evening, I waited to post it this morning.

Published by: Harper Teen / EpicReads
To Be Released on: 2/12/13
Series: Pivot Point #1
Source: arc from publisher to review
4 stars: I Enjoyed It!
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without

A unpredictable, cleverly written debut with shocking twists, a touch of the supernatural, and a sweet romance that left me wanting more. PIVOT POINT is an exceptional debut that starts off with just the right speed and ends with a bang. It's one of those books that literally hooked me and had me turning pages faster than I could predict what was going to happen next. Kasie West delivers an incredibly exciting, supernatural read!

I loved the supernatural aspect of this story. I've often wondered what it would be like to see my own future. Especially when I was a teen and in my early twenties. I wonder if that power would have made me choose different choices, and lead me to a different path than I choose. In the same breath, I don't know if I'd want the kind of power/ability Addison does. Then I'd miss out on making choices solely based on my own decisions vs having my decisions based getting a look into the future. I think I'd be too tempted to search my future a little too often. Luckily that's not the case for Addison, our main character. I admire Addison for not using her power to gain insight into a future like she could have, especially when all of her other friends used their powers more often than she did.

What I liked most about this book is the way it was written. The story line is fueled by Addison's Search into a own future when her parent's reveal they're getting a divorce and now Allison must choose who she's going to live with. When Addison breaks down and Searches into her near future, she realizes she has a serious choice to make, and both paths have some unthinkable consequences not just for her, but her best friend and love interest too. From the moment Addison does her Search, every other chapter after that moment plays into the alternative future Addison could choose. Both have their pros and cons, and I quickly found myself rooting for one future I really, really wanted her to take. I loved that the one future held a certain someone who I loved from the moment he was introduced into the storyline. The other, well that's just say that there's characters in both paths that are less than stellar.

Pivot Point has some diverse characters. Addison has her parents, her best friend, the friends at the compound where she's always lived, a few creeps and then with the one path she can choose she some a huge group of new "normal" friends that live in the real world. For those who do have supernatural abilities like Addison, I liked that Kasie allowed those characters to make their own choices in terms of how they used their abilities. For good and bad, as each of their choices lead to consequences that played out in the future Kasie sees. Oh that villain! What an awesome twist to this unpredictable story. I had my assumptions on who was responsible for what was going on, but was totally shocked it was finally revealed.

I love that Kasie was able to pull off the unpredictable ending and throw me for a loop with her twists. It was a fabulous! Lately I feel there are books that start off strong, like this one did, and then somewhere between the middle part of the book and the ending, the execution is completely missed and falls flat. That was far from the case with Pivot Point. Kasie killed that execution! I admire an author who can completely pull that off and completely surprise me with the outcome. This is one heck of an awesome debut! I am really looking forward to reading more of Kasie's books. I need book 2 in this series like now!! If you're looking for an exciting read with a supernatural touch, and plenty of twists, I'd recommend picking PIVOT POINT up when it's out next week!

You can follow the entire PIVOT POINT BLOG TOUR here. Check out more reviews, excerpts, intertviews and don't forget to enter to win 1 of 2 copies of Pivot Point! Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who is Marcus Finch? Clue #13

Welcome to Penguin Teen's Who is Marcus Finch? two week campgain! Over the next two week's myself and a handful of other fabulous blogs will be treating you to a daily quote/teaser, giving you clues into who Marcus is. Today's clue is:

Dying to get your hands on The Indigo Spell? Be sure here to by and read an excerpt from the book before it's out. Enter to win a copy of the book HERE

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood. -quoted from Goodreads

Be sure to check out the Bloodlines Website, and visit the Bloodlines Facebook page.