Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn | Book Review

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn | Book ReviewAnother Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- June 11, 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, YA Horror
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Don't You Forget About Me (upcoming -- 2014)
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Annaliese wakes up and finds herself covered in blood with no idea where she is or even WHO she is. As she finds help, she comes to find out who she is and is reunited with her parents. She finds out that the last time she was seen was in the woods at a party and she came screaming and soaked with blood and then was never seen again. While her memory still evades her, she has the sense that she is not the real Annaliese and she’s having strange dreams and visions that support her theory. These dreams show her other girls and some grisly things and slowly she starts to put together the pieces as these memories come more frequently. What she finds out is more frightening than she could have ever imagined.

 

My brain is one big pile of mush after this book and I’m really so confused about my thoughts. Is it possible to not know what I thought about this book? Because that’s what my brain is telling me. It’s all, “Jamie. Just give up. I can’t give you definite thoughts about this matter and it hurts to try” Seriously, a whole lot of mind WTFery going on here with this book. I can’t tell if I loved it intensely or if I was just confused in a bad way so I’ll just share my reading experience instead.

So basically, if you’ve read the synopsis, you know that the main character has no idea who she is. She’s been missing and then suddenly is found wandering in a town far away from her own with blood on her. They tell her who she is and she just suspects that she’s not that person. She can’t remember anything but something tells her she’s not. So immediately I’m like is this a Pretty Girl-13 situation? WHAT IS HAPPENING? What did she block out because it was so terrible? Is this in her head?  Is there something dark and paranormal going on? And then, as these dreams/memories start happening while she’s trying to settle into this weird life that seems to not be hers, it gets creepy and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough because it was so fascinating. I was just clamoring for some clarity as to what was going on!

I’ll be honest — you need to be a very patient kind of reader for this one because it is more madness and confusion for most of the book and it takes a while for things to come together and form a semi-clear picture as to what is happening and even then I spent a lot of time being confused and throwing out “WTF’s” like it was my job. If you like books that mess with your mind a bit and can be patient, this might be your thing. I know a LOT of people who had to put it down because the confusion wasn’t worth it which was the opposite for me. I personally was more intrigued than anything and the strangeness of it kept me reading — it wasn’t like anything I had ever read before — very macabre, disturbing and dark and not altogether what I expected. There are a lot of flashback sort of things interspersed with the present story and those flashbacks jump around a bit so that adds to the confusion in ways. It’s one of those really disjointed styles that just leaves you unsettled, disoriented and not quite with a grasp on what is happening — you feel like you are losing your mind a bit.

I don’t want to say a lot to give anything away plot-wise or to make it easier for you to guess what is going on. I’ll say the one area of certain disappointment came for me more towards the end. I had been wided eyed, furiously turning the pages and feeling upside down and inside out while reading and then when things came together more it wasn’t AS compelling (still compelling though). BUT I was still curious to know the origins of what was happening and I felt like at the end I still didn’t understand what fully happened (physician, brujas). I think if I wouldn’t have felt that way at the very end this book would have been a damn near perfect book for me.

Undoubtedly one of the strangest books I’ve ever read in my entire life. I don’t know what way is up or down with this book. Written in this terrifyingly beautiful and haunting way, it completely sucked me into Annaliese’s story of not knowing who she is and then slowly putting the pieces together to learn who she is. I spent most of the time confused — a good confused for the most part — and it was very motivating for me as a reader because I was dying to know what happened and my brain couldn’t even comprehend what was going on in this very macabre and creepy story. I’m a patient reader and I think you need to be one, as well as love wildly strange things, to enjoy this book. I can’t make a sweeping recommending for it for that reason. The only thing I’m certain that made this perfect NOT a perfect book for me was that I just still wasn’t sure at the end if I really GOT what happened. I think I did but I don’t know.

another-little-piece-review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard about it? If you’ve read this one, what did you think? I know some people either HATED it or couldn’t even finish it but then there was those that LOVED it. It was definitely daring and different. PLEASE TALK TO ME ABOUT IT! Mark your comments as spoilers please if discussing with me :)

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

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Book Title/Author: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen January 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Nope!
Other Books From Author: None — debut!

Amazon| Goodreads | @kristinhalbrook |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 Zoe and Will have seen their fair share of hard knocks — more than the average teenager. Zoe’s mom passed away and she lives with her alcoholic father who  hits her. Will has been bounced around  from foster home to foster home and is constantly in trouble. Will convinces Zoe to run off with them  so they can get away from their lives and start a new future together. The two head out of town, high on their love for one  another, and find themselves not prepared for what lies ahead when they are on the run from the police & their past. 

UGH I am sad times infinity that I have to write this review. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2013 (a Bonnie & Clyde story — heck yes!) and I was so happy when it showed up in my mailbox but, unfortunately, this book just didn’t do much for me personally.

The good?  I welcomed a book about different characters — no girl next doors, popular cheerleaders, shy and gorgeous girls who don’t know  how amazing they are or bad boys who really aren’t that bad, the popular stud,  etc. etc.  The characters of Nobody But Us are two teens who have seen their share of hard times and their relationship seems to be, to them, that one bright spot at the moment. Zoe lived with her alcoholic father who has abused her and Will has jumped around in foster care — they are both genuinely broken, a bit damaged and so very vulnerable. Will wants to save Zoe and take her out of this situation but his tendency to explode and use violence against others in the story makes Zoe a little bit fearful of him sometimes.  These weren’t cookie cutter characters by any means. I really rather liked Zoe — her POV was my favorite because some of the things she thought were really so wise & beautiful but I struggled with why she made such dumb decisions when it came to Will. I wanted for her to speak up more and to see how unhealthy their relationship was.

I was also kind of skeptical of the whole “Bonnie  & Clyde” reference because I thought maybe the storyline would wimp out a little bit but OH NO they become outlaws very literally. They get into some crazy situations complete with high speed chases & stolen money. There was a lot of action for sure in this book that made it pretty quickly to read. So I was at least happy that it wasn’t watered down on the “on the run” storyline. It was drama central in this book — bad decision after bad decision tumbling into one another until the very dramatic conclusion that I didn’t expect at all but I think  I was ok with.

However, I expected something incredibly heartwrenching & would require a bucket for my tears (I mean, they compared it to If I Stay and, well, Kleenex stayed in business because I read and loved that book) but I just cared too little and when I did start to care a little bit about them as individuals it was too late — and for the romance — never hit a point where I cared.  I felt like the whole time I KNEW the reaction I was supposed to be having to this “tragic romance” and story but I never really found myself feeling it in a REAL, in-the-depths-of -my-soul kind of way. It was like the time I dated this boy I should have been excited about dating because I crushed on him forever but when I dated him I just felt like I was going through the motions and pretending I felt things that I knew I should have felt; that I knew he felt. That’s how I felt about this book. I KNEW the characters and their story should have pulled at my heart and I should have felt indescribable pain to my heart during parts of this story but I only felt little pricks of sadness and tragedy — mostly at the ending. Also, like my issues with Pushing The Limits, I found their love very eyerolly to me and, in this case, very unhealthy.

I think I was supposed to be rooting for the romance? (I wasn’t)  I don’t know? As the reader, we see this is a really dumb series of bad decisions that they are making. WE know that. We know that this is all very risky and that their relationship is unhealthy and that it’s not going to end well. I even felt like Zoe did know what they were doing was dumb, because she really was so smart, but I don’t know why she just went along with it — I guess because she loved him that much?. A lot of what they did was irrational and stupid but was I supposed to be gentle with my judgement in that because we all know that as teenagers we make crazy, rash decisions that are very emotional based? I mean,  I think a lot of their actions and their crazy, exacerbated feelings for one another were part of being so young and in love but I just felt so confused if I was supposed to identify with it or feel sad because of how tragic it all was, etc. I just think my heart was supposed to be somewhere it wasn’t in this novel.

I think a lot of people will enjoy this novel, I do, but I just wasn’t one of them. I welcomed different characters who truly had seen the  hard knocks in life, I enjoyed the dramatic, wild ride that we were taken on but, in a novel where it seemed so integral to connect with the characters and FEEL something about their tragic love, I just wasn’t there. I mean, I had high expectations considering it was compared to If I Stay by Gayle Forman but I just never found my heart in this novel — just little pricks of sadness and tragedy; mostly at the end. I didn’t ever feel anything for the romance  nor root for them (though I’m still unsure if we were meant to or if we were just supposed to feel a sense of tragic  love destined to fail but still root for a happy outcome anyways).

For Fans Of: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry (which I loved the story for WAY more despite not LOVING this book like others did), Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, books with bad boys, complicated romances, books with troubled  characters

 

nobody-but-us-kirstin-halbrook

Book Review: So Close To You by Rachel Carter

So Close To You by Rachel CarterBook Title/Author: So Close to You by Rachel Carter
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen – July 10, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Series: Yes, part of a series.
Other Books From Author: None as of now. It’s her debut novel!

Amazon| Goodreads | Rachel Carter’s website

 

Wow! I can honestly say this is one of the most unique books I’ve read in a while. I don’t read much science fiction but this one sounded SO intriguing that I had to give it a chance.  This book had it all — conspiracy theories, time travel, romance, history, great secondary characters! I wouldn’t say it was super fast paced at all but it kept me reading furiously. I read it in a day and just absolutely gasped at the ending because it satisfied me but also dropped me off a 10,000 foot cliff where I’ll be anxiously awaiting book 2. There was a lot of things that made it a page turner — the intrigue of the time travel, the mystery of what happened to Dean, the suspense of if/how/when she is going to get back t0 2012 — but there were things that made it slow down — exposition of some of the historical background of the Montauk Project, the time travel theories, setting up the time period of the 1944′s.  It personally didn’t bother me but for those looking for a high caliber, continuous fast paced read you might find those elements problematic.

I was so intrigued by the fact that this whole Montauk Project conspiracy actually exists. I started researching the crap out of it when I was reading this book to find out more about it. Rachel Carter sure did her research. It was interesting searching Camp Hero and seeing pictures of scenes I read about. I found it all just SO interesting and such a unique premise for a book! I enjoyed Lydia’s time in the 1944′s but that’s also probably because I love historical fiction!

As far as characters went — Lydia was just so-so to me.  I liked her I  guess but sometimes I just didn’t  understand how she  was so easily adaptable to the fact that she time traveled. If that were me, I’d have gone so nuts I would have probably been committed. She was all, “Oh hey. 1944? Ok,  I’ll roll  with this.” But I did enjoy that she was determined, albeit a little stubborn, to figure out this mystery for her grandfather. I LOVED Mary! Loved. She just was a great character and really came  alive!

In terms of romance-y things, because obviously I have to dish on those…Wes and Lydia, I did  NOT understand at all this instantaneous smitten-with-Wes thing she had going on…especially since, um, you just time traveled, you are trying to figure out a mystery and you aren’t planning on staying forever. The romance  was my least favorite  part at first but once I got about midway through and things started to be revealed..I sort of got it and decided I’d roll with it and see how it plays out later in book 2. I think that romantical storyline will be better in the second book for me personally.

  It was a perfect blend of suspense, time travel, romance and history for me! It wasn’t too science fiction-y which would be good for those who are unsure about the genre but readers of really heavy science fiction might find it to be lacking. I didn’t feel like I was getting too weighted down by scientific explanations but there was enough! The ending was satisfying enough to the storyline but leaves you DYING for the second book.  DYING. I cannot even tell you. While I thought the romance angle  left a bit to  be  desired, I found myself quite  enthralled with this book overall.

 

 

Hourglass by Myra McIntire, Tempest by Julie Cross

Check out my fun interview with Rachel Carter where she dishes about the coolest thing she learned about the Montauk Project, the theme song for So Close To You & more!

 

Eve by Anna Carey

Book Title/Author: Eve by Anna Carey
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen 2011
Genre: YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic
Series: Yes. Eve is book #1. The second book Once: An Eve Novel is out July 3rd 2012.
Other Books From Author: Sloane Sisters series

Amazon | Goodreads | Anna Carey’s Website

Disclosure: The publisher sent it to me in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way  swayed or affected my opinions on the book. My honesty & credibility as a reader is more important to me than that.

It’s 2032 and 98% of the population has been wiped out thanks to a deadly virus and complications from the vaccine created to stop it. Eve is one of the survivors living in the New America and lives in a secluded all-female boarding school with other orphans where they are groomed to be teachers and artists and the like. Eve’s all set to graduate and start her training to be an artist until she learns the very shocking reality of what these schools are really about and what happens to graduates when they leave. Armed with this knowledge, she decides to escape – even if that means facing a world of unknown after the aftermath of the virus. A world she’s been taught to fear full of men, rabid dogs & gangs that will bring harm to her. 

I absolutely devoured this book. It was undeniably a white knuckles, bated breath kind of page-turner for me. I was so enraptured into this landscape that Anna Carey paints in Eve. I could see every rusted bridge,  every house that had been overcome with the wild & scenes of every day life that had just been abandoned and left there — just waiting for their owners to come back. It was grim, unsettling & downright chilling. Eve’s escape into this world, contrasted with her memories from her childhood & time at her school, highlights this even more. I read this book so quickly as I wanted to learn more about this world through Eve’s struggle to escape and find safety & answers to what she had learned her real fate was.  Every twist and turn and jolt of action had me reeling until the very end. An ending at which left me screaming, “WAHHHH!” and so very happy I had Eve’s sequel – Once – in my possession.

The romance of this book is one that I loved but I didn’t necessarily believe fully which I’ll explain below. The good part of it, for me, was how pure and innocent it felt. How it can just knock you off your feet and delude your senses. I really loved Caleb and I just got the warm and fuzzies watching her experience these feelings of love/lust for Caleb. I also thought, beyond the Caleb/Eve relationship, that I just adored Eve’s relationship with the young boys. Oh, my heart. Parts of this book, in relation to love, were just SO SO beautiful.

“I had once read, in one of those pre-plague books in the library, that love was bearing witness. That it was the act of watching someone’s life, of simply being there to say: you’re life is worth seeing.”

But, friends, I have to honest with you. I had some issues with aspects of this book despite how quickly I devoured it & how I truly did enjoy it. It’s one of those books that felt like a whirlwind summer fling. It was this passionate, dizzying and thrilling ride but when I sat down to think about it and digest…I realized I saw some major problems that I couldn’t ignore — no matter how much I had been blinded by my thrill ride with the story. It wasn’t as perfect as I initially thought it to be when I was all lovedrunk.

Eve herself confused me. I got the sense, from the short glimpse of her life at school, that she was so naive and brainwashed. So I had my eyebrows raised when she so easily got the cajones (seriously, like 30 pages in) to even get out of bed and snoop around..let alone actually rebel and try to escape. I felt like there was nothing about her that we had learned that made me BELIEVE that she’d do that.  Everything we had been shown about her seemed contrary to her character…but at the same time this big REVEAL was so so soon in the book that she didn’t even feel developed to me yet. We just knew what we were told — top student, naive, idealistic, etc.  Granted, I suppose if I saw what she did and realized my fate, that I’d run like hell too. But I just even thought she was too brainwashed and naive that she’d think there was some explanation for it and not leave like a bat out of hell.

The OTHER part of her that confused me was that, after a lifetime of being indoctrinated with this fear of men, she pretty easily trusted Caleb. I mean, yeah, she was wary but I don’t feel like she was wary enough as someone who was so fearful of men and hadn’t seen a man in so long. At the same time, I thought that maybe her being repressed from the male species for so long made her even MORE susceptible to that curious attraction that just makes you fall head over heels & giddy. I think of those times in my life and so I can KIND of see it. It still made it hard for me to fully believe because I just felt like everything we knew of her just unraveled. I didn’t believe that someone that had been so brainwashed would just get over it that quickly. And also, you are running for your life because of what you’ve found out and you are in danger yet all you can think about is a boy?? More than anything else.

I just feel like, because the revelation happened so soon, I never got to really see WHO Eve was. I just saw a girl who were were told was one way and all we see is something totally different VERY quickly..and I never felt much growth or character development that made up for that.

Also, without getting to spoilery, there were some confusing parts about the setup of this world and why things are the way they are. How did the virus come to be? What did the antidote do? Why do these girls get this intense schooling if their fate is what it is? I have a lot of why’s about the logistics of all of it that I’m hoping will be answered.

My final thought: Eve kept me turning the pages with it’s chilling premise, vivid world building & action-packed journey. I couldn’t put it down and it broke my heart in all the right places. While I really enjoyed my whirlwind inhalation of this book, there are some character development issues with Eve, the main character, that I just couldn’t ignore, and some really hole-y world building in terms of WHY the world is the way it is.  It was a good, enjoyable dystopian read that I think those who are loving  the fast paced, romance inclusive variety of YA dystopian will like — if they can look past some of the development issues.I liked it but I can’t say I thought it to be a 5 star, perfect read as many others did! I’d probably recommend some other dystopian books before this one!

 

Review On A Post-It

 

You May Also Like: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Delirium by Lauren Oliver

What did YOU think about this book?? Let’s talk about it! If you haven’t read it, is it on your TBR?

Songs For A Teenage Nomad

Title/Author: Songs for A Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
How I Got It: Around the World ARC tour
Why I Read It: Sounded interesting. I like books with a music theme.
Rating: Between 3.5 – 4 stars

 After living in twelve places in eight years with her drifting mother, fourteen-year-old Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Fearful of putting down roots anywhere, but armed with her song journal, she moves to her own sound track through a world that bounces her between the school drama crowd, a mysterious loner, and an unlikely boy who will become her first love. But it’s the troubling truth she uncovers about her father that forces Calle to face the toughest choice of her young life.”

I picked this book up on a whim to be honest. I never had heard of it but I like music themed books and I wanted to sign up for an ARC tour to see what they were all about. I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. I really thought it was a well written books for teens (and YA loving adults!) that seemed very real–it didn’t seem like the cliched high school experience that never actually really happens in real life. The romantic relationship wasn’t that crazed, “OMG I saw him and I loved him and three days later we were in love forever” kind of relationship.

I loved Calle. I loved her song journal and I just thought she was refreshingly original. I just felt for her throughout the story–the moving around, the boy troubles, the daddy issues, etc. The girl didn’t have an easy life. I just wanted to see things get better for her and I was so angry with her mom for keeping her into the dark about everything with her dad. Give the girl some credit and tell her the truth! I actually couldn’t stand her mom. I understand she was being protective but lying is never the right way. I couldn’t stand how she kept uprooting her Calle all the time. I was happy Calle started to stand her ground in the end.

I loved the soundtrack that went along with this book! At the beginning of each chapter there was a song accompanied by a memory. I loved this idea! I felt like kindred spirits with Calle because I very much have my own song journal in my head where I associate very vivid memories with songs. 

Let’s just talk about what a BANG of an ending it was. That’s all I’ll say. I still have mixed feelings about it.


My final thought: This is a really good (clean) YA novel with a likable  main character that is a free-spirited, smart girl! The premise isn’t too different and the story, at first glance seems to be nothing special, but while reading it you will find it to be unique and special as it explores some real gritty issues in life–absent fathers, dysfunctional families, depression, etc. If you are into contemporary YA and are a music lover, this might be a good fit for you!

 

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