Thursday, July 31, 2014

Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan
2014, St. Martin's Griffin
Series: Book 3 of Sky Chasers

Synopsis: In the thrilling conclusion to the Sky Chasers series Waverly, Kieran, and Seth struggle to survive on-board the New Horizon—and take down their enemies before it's too late.

Waverly and the other members of the Empyrean have scattered, and their home ship has been destroyed. Their mission to rescue their parents didn't go as planned, and now they're at an even greater disadvantage: trapped with their enemies on the New Horizon, trying to find a way to survive. Kieran has been pulled under Anne Mather’s wing, but is she really trying to make peace, or just using Kieran to build her own power? Meanwhile, Waverly is taken in by a mysterious old man who wants to help her bring Anne Mather down—but the more Waverly cooperates with him, the more dangerous her position is, and the more at odds with Kieran she becomes.

Seth's situation is even worse. After setting out from the Empyrean on his own, with only a vague strategy to guide him, he is a fugitive aboard the New Horizon. He's doing what he can to challenge the power of Anne Mather, but he's badly hurt, and getting sicker.

Will Seth ever see Waverly again? Will his health hold out long enough to help her topple their enemies? And will Waverly find a way to unite with her friends before they all fall? Nothing is sure and every moment is a risk in this explosive finale of the Sky Chasers series.

The Good: This is how you end a trilogy. Exciting and action packed scenes, one right after the other. Always on the the edge of your seat. A completely wrapped up storyline, with an unexpected conclusion. Complete closer with the characters we've come to know and love and/or hate. I absolutely loved every single thing about this book. It absolutely made the series.

The Bad: Not a thing. It was perfect.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver
2014, HarperCollins

Synopsis: Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

The Good: Panic was an exciting read. It made sense in a way that I think will connect with a lot of people. Kids living in a small, go-nowhere town pool money and compete in a dangerous contest for a chance to get out and have a different life. The characters were really interesting and I had a hard time putting the book down. I just had to know what was coming next and how everything was going to work out.

The Bad: I love a good epilogue and the last chapter is pretty much that. Two months or so in the future, we see how the characters are doing. What lost me was the extremely heavy-handed moral of the story blatantly written out in the last few paragraphs. If the book had ended two pages sooner, it would have been perfect. That last bit completely rubbed me the wrong way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

California Dreaming by Zoey Dean

California Dreaming by Zoey Dean
2008, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Book 10 of A-List


Synopsis: College is just a week away: the private jets are booked, the Gucci suitcases are packed, and the A-List crew is ready to say goodbye. Or are they? Sam’s headed to USC film school, but when Eduardo offers her a different ending – moving to Paris as newlyweds – will she go completely off-script? Cammie’s living her own California dream as the owner of Hollywood’s hottest new nightclub, and dating Ben, the only boy who ever really broke her heart. But can she mix love and money, or will she have to pick one? As for Anna, Yale is starting to feel more like a nightmare than her lifelong dream. And with a one-way ticket to Bali burning a hole in her pocket, the future suddenly feels wide open. The clock is counting down for the A-Listers.

The Good: This was a fun, fluffy series to read and I was pretty pleased with the where the characters ended up. Not everyone grew or changed, but that's what makes the entire situation realistic. Some people are going to end up on the same path they started on. I loved that we get pretty definite answers to the few remaining questions lingering from the earlier books and that we knew where everyone is off to, for the most part, now that high school is over.

The Bad: This book didn't flow nearly as well as the earlier novels in the series. It seemed as though the author got sidetracked cramming in everything readers wanted to know that the book ended up weirdly fast paced.