31 January 2016

Audacity Jones to the Rescue; Kirby Larson

Audacity Jones to the RescueAudacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really not sure what to think here - at times I admired it, but most of the time I was just confused about what the Big Caper was, why Audacity was part of it and how the other Wayward Girls fit in.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Memory of Light; Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of LightThe Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Vicky's voice: her pain and depression were clear to readers. Her father's inability to connect with her and see her for who she is, not who he wants her to be, is also clear and the reasons become painfully clear later. But the time spent in Lakeview just rang so false that it negated much of the book for me. Any doctor that played that fast and loose with my privacy? Or who seems to have disregard for real processes regarding teens in a mental ward? No hospital would allow that because of possible lawsuits, let alone her malpractice insurance rates would be astronomical. The author's note, where he talks about writing this to help teens who may also be considering suicide shows good intentions but the execution really worries me.

ARC provided by publisher.

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye; Tania del Rio

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing EyeWarren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh how I wish there'd been more description of the Warren Hotel! Instead, there's a lot of action, much of it repetitive or reminiscent of other books in the "downtrodden orphan coming out on top" genre. Some of the more interesting bits seem rushed, detracting from the book. Take, for example, Paleface: menacing, speaking only via cards and for some reason ignored for whole sections while other (the rest of the guests) take center stage which mutes the affect Paleface might have had.

ARC provided by publisher.

Little White Lies; Brianna Baker

Little White LiesLittle White Lies by Brianna Baker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm rounding this up because Coretta's voice really does sound like a 17-year-old (at least, it does sound like many of my students). But why the author took this where it ultimately went is beyond me... Karl (the ghostwriter)'s POV swamped Coretta's, and the Skools were just too creepy. Had this stayed with the premise of a black teen's take on sh*t her parents say on a blog that goes viral and requires a ghostwriter, an action that ultimately backfires, it would have been a much stronger book.

ARC provided by publisher.

25 January 2016

The Way I Used to Be; Amber Smith

The Way I Used to BeThe Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sadly, I suspect that there are more girls than we know who have been in a similar position and if this book can help... Having said that, there are some flaws. Flaws like, why doesn't anyone notice and bug Eden about the really obvious changes in her life (yes, there's teen rebellion/change but really? no one says anything?). Flaws like, the happy ending is so short while the down/depressed/destructive parts are 90% of the book. It makes the "things may actually work out" part feel rushed and implausible.

ARC provided by publisher.

22 January 2016

Shallow Graves; Kali Wallace

Shallow GravesShallow Graves by Kali Wallace
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What would you do if you woke up one morning, in a grave, knowing you somehow are dead? And then find out that there are others like you, hunted by a cult? That's what Breezy contends with during this book. Questions of identity, trust and even love are addressed along with the supernatural elements, and done in such a way as to make us feel that this is a "normal" world, one that readers inhabit. There's a potential love triangle, or something close, which lost points, and the ending was a bit of a let down given that this isn't part of series.

ARC provided by publisher.

Don't Get Caught; Kurt Dinan

Don't Get CaughtDon't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has a The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks feel to it, only with a male main voice. The goal is to subvert (or embarrass, or take over) the work of the Chaos Club, mastermind pranksters at school. Why? Because Max, a heist movie fan, was set up by the Chaos Club and they must pay. The question is, of course, did they actually do it? or is there someone else at work here?

My worry is that readers will try to emulate some of these pranks and having worked at a school where there was a prank that went wrong (ok, several pranks went wrong) that just seems irresponsible.

ARC provided by publisher.

My Kind of Crazy; Robin Ruel

My Kind of CrazyMy Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The good was the sense of humor here. Hank has a good sense of self, if a poor sense of how to actually do things (the promposal is a blast, almost literally), and his friendship with Nick seems very real. The "meh" was the background stuff, like Hank's home life. Occasionally the author breaks the fourth wall, which felt a little weird. Either more of that, or not at all. Teen readers will probably love it, as there is a John Greenish feel to the plot.

ARC provided by publisher.

16 January 2016

Kissing in America; Margo Rabb

Kissing in AmericaKissing in America by Margo Rabb
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A lot of promise here that ultimately got wasted. A girl obsessed with romance novels decides to travel across country (as part of a reality tv team) to find The Guy. But somehow the middle part, where Eva and Annie go from NYC to LA, fails. It felt like padding, as though there were supposed to be lessons learned or something that the author had to include and this was the only way to do it. Plus, combining all this with the mystery of what happened to the plan Eva's father was on (mechanical failure? something else?) was just too much. One or the other would have been stronger.

Final Account; Peter Robinson

Final Account (Inspector Banks, #7)Final Account by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some reason, I had only seen this DCI Banks not read it. As always, when you compare the two one is going to fall short (it doesn't help when you have a vision of the lead that doesn't exactly match what's in the book!). Having said that, this is a great series for people who like dark, but not too dark, and who will appreciate the mix of personal (once again, I have to mention the music choices and the implied playlist) and murder. Knowing what happened may be the reason for the loss of a star but, obviously, I can't unknow what the solution was.

Highly Illogical Behavior; John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical BehaviorHighly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once again, we have an unlikable main character, Lisa. Lisa's driven to the point of just being delusional, assuming that whatever she does, whomever she hurts, it's all ok because it serves the greater good (Lisa's success). That Solomon becomes part of her plan is unfortunate, because he seems to be more interesting and could easily have held the book on his own. And Clark feels like a red herring in many ways. That the narration sometimes broke the fourth wall also irritated me - either make it a consistent thing, or drop it entirely.

ARC provided by publisher.