Revived

Title: Revived

Author: Cat Patrick

Release Date: Available

Death is optional for Daisy. Ever since the bus crash when she was five that killed the driver and twenty children, including Daisy, she has been part of the testing of an experimental drug called Revive, that brings the dead back to life. Daisy is very accident-prone and dies multiple times and, as a result, is revived and moved, her name changed. Daisy doesn’t really mind, although dying is a real pain in the rear. And she keeps dying of stupid causes like choking on a grape, or allergies. She lives with two of the scientists on the project. She doesn’t really make friends, as she will probably move again in a few years, anyway. Then, after dying of an allergy attack after a bee sting, Daisy Appleby becomes Daisy West. She goes to a new school, and, hey, actually makes a friend. Yet, the God Project, as it is so fondly dubbed, is even more sinister than Daisy knows. Soon she gets tangled in a web of lies — now her life is at stake, and this time if she dies, she dies for good.

I enjoyed this book. It was not the best book I have ever read, but it was engrossing and, at times, emotional. The writing was well done, but nothing special. Daisy’s view of death is skewered, so when she sees it firsthand, the result is heartbreaking. There are many light moments in the book, but the idea of morality and how fragile we are adds darkness. The relationships between most of the characters were touching and realistic, although the whole romance element in the book didn’t really do it for me. I’m not a huge fan of romance in general, however, so I might be a little biased. Revived is one of those rare Sci-Fi/paranormal stand-alone novels. It didn’t give me all the answers I craved, but the ending was satisfactory and wrapped things up nicely, no jarring, pull your hair out cliffhangers. I recommend this book if you are looking for a quick and interesting read.

Review by Annalise

Order Revived from Book Passage

Tea And Scones With Katherine Longshore

unnamed (3)March 28th, MB14 was thrilled to welcome Katherine Longshore, author of the historical fiction novels GiltTarnish, and most recently, Manor of Secrets. Set in the early 1900s, Manor of Secrets tells the story of Charlotte Edmonds and Janie Seward, two girls who, despite living under the same roof, dwell in entirely different worlds. Charlotte is wealthy but powerless, longing for a life of freedom while Janie is lowborn and practical, dreaming of a better life. The story follows Charlotte and Janie as their two lives are pulled closer together, carrying all complications and rules in tow, threatening an inevitable collision between their upstairs and downstairs lives (for more information, check out MB14’s review of Manor of Secrets). In honor of Manor‘s release we enjoyed an evening of tea and scones, completed by a discussion with Katherine Longshore.

unnamed (4)

First, we asked Katherine to talk a little bit about her experience writing historical fiction. She described writing historical fiction as a combination of unnamed (5)world-building and time traveling — that historical time periods are the ultimate secondary worlds. Manor of Secrets was brought about thanks to a demand for a Downtown Abbey-esque young adult novel, requiring extensive research to build Janie and Charlotte’s intricate world. The inspiration for the manor came from an old house near where Katherine used to live in England. Currently in ruins and completely overgrown, at one point it would have been nothing short of pristine, with perfectly manicured and cultivated grounds and an absolute order and hierarchy that governed every aspect of manor life.

We then asked Katherine to discuss her path to publishing — how she went from writer to publishedunnamed (2) author. Her story began when she was working at a preschool and had an idea for a picture book about Henry VIII. That picture book idea turned into a children’s novel, then middle grade, and eventually became Gilt, a book she was expecting to be a stand-alone but turned into a series of three (don’t miss Brazen, coming soon). She also mentioned that Manor of Secrets, while currently a stand-alone, allows for the possibility of a sequel, and she may later return to Janie and Charlotte’s stories. And here’s a fun fact — if you check out the front and back of Manor of Secrets, you’ll see that it’s the same model for both Charlotte and Janie!

unnamed (1)The evening wound to a close with some casual conversation and signed copies and final bites of scones. All in all, we are so grateful to Katherine Longshore for taking the time to stop by and sit down with us, to answer all of our questions (if she could choose one book to become a movie, it would be Brazen) and sharing her insights and for the wonderful conversation. Hopefully we’ll see Katherine again soon, and in the meantime, don’t miss out on reading Manor of Secrets.

Click here to order Gilt, Tarnish, Manor of Secrets, and Brazen.

The End Games

Title: The End Games

Author: T. Michael Martin

Release Date: Available

There is a world painted by darkness – a world home to the echoing, mindless, shambling cries of the Bellows – a world of shotguns and screams and chain link fences, of destruction and chaos – a world defined by death.

In T. Michael Martin’s upcoming novel The End Games, there are two brothers who call this world home.

In some ways, The End Games bears remarkable similarities to the ever rising numbers of zombie apocalypse novels, movies and television shows – in some ways, it fits the formulaic plot lines and patterns we’ve come to know and love and that define this new culture of gore and violence and the all-consuming desire to feast on human flesh. But The End Games also contains elements and plot lines serving to set it apart from its fellows – one of the most compelling being the relationships between the two brothers, as well as all the characters and their interactions. Martin takes an uncertain 17 year old, driven by his unconditional and fierce love for his fragile, unstable 5 year old brother and throws them into hell, with the result being a series of unpredictable twists and turns and fascinating insights into the depths of human resilience and courage.

However, when every facet of our society is seemingly infected by this new apocalyptic trend – it becomes imperative that anything new – be it a novel, show, or movie – must go above and beyond to distinguish itself from the others, and while Martin does find ways to set The End Games apart, I don’t think he goes quite far enough. Throughout the book, there were more parallels than I would have liked between The End Games and another new cult-like phenomenon, The Walking Dead. The End Games didn’t really start proving itself to be unique until the very end, at which point things seemed to speed up and snowball into what felt like a hasty conclusion.

That being said – The End Games is still a compelling and suspenseful read – and seeing as how I found myself unable to put it down, needing to know what would happen next, then clearly Martin’s The End Games is doing something right.

Review by Kayla

Order The End Games from Book Passage

The Kill Order

killorder

Title: The Kill Order

Author: James Dashner

Release Date: Available

The world was in chaos. Sun flares had ravaged the earth, destroying civilization as it had been known. However, there were a few who had survived the disaster. Mark, Trina, and Alec were among these survivors, and had been living in a settlement in the mountains. Nothing had returned to normal, but they finally felt at peace for the first time in their community.

But who knew that a small dart could change the world they had come to accept? Out of nowhere, an aircraft called a “Berg” arrives, and strange people fire darts randomly at the civilians. To their horror, the darts appear to contain a deadly virus that is wiping out most of the population. To make matters worse, the virus seems to be mutating. Thus, Mark, Trina, Alec, and the rest of their gang are determined to find answers, but only if they can prevent themselves from getting infected.

In this thrilling, action-packed precursor to the Maze Runner series, James Dashner depicts a gruesome world in which survival is a constant struggle. Just as he has done in the Maze Runner series, Dashner fills the novel with heart-pounding action and adventure that render it impossible to put down. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who is a fan of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, or any dystopian thriller.

Review by Danielle

Order The Kill Order from Book Passage

Falling for You

Falling for You

Title: Falling for You

Author: Lisa Schroeder

Release Date: Available

I have a thing for romance novels. They’re my weakness. I know that sometimes they can be sappy, cheesy, and completely unoriginal, but (usually) it doesn’t matter – I’ll read them anyway. However, I’ll keep in mind that the average young adult reader is probably not quite as romance-novel oriented as I am, so I’ll do my best to keep this review objective. Falling for You, by Lisa Schroeder, seemed sort of sappy, a little bit cheesy, and not completely original at the beginning. The first half of the book had me a little worried that it was going to follow exactly the same pattern as every single other romance novel that I’ve read, but I was relieved as the author began to branch out and the unique plot evolved into a wonderful, sweet, and hopeful story.

Falling for You is the story of Rae Lynch, a high school junior who lives with her hardworking but oblivious mom, and mean stepfather Dean. At the beginning of the book, Rae meets Nathan, a boy new to her school. His blunt persistence and quirky charm quickly lead Rae, although not initially a romantic person, to give him a chance. Soon, they become the school’s newest couple. But as their relationship progresses, Nathan becomes more dependent on her. He becomes jealous, clingy, and pushy, and takes out his frustration with his life at home on Rae. However, Rae has her own problems at home. Her stepfather Dean has lost his job and starts demanding that Rae give him her paychecks. Rae loves her job at Full Bloom flower shop though, so she continues working, despite having to give up her money. And as Dean grows more abusive, Rae sees some similarities between him and Nathan, two people she never thought would be comparable. When Rae starts spending more time with her homeschooled friend Leo, who works in his family’s coffee shop next door to Full Bloom, she realizes how much she enjoys her time with him, making Nathan more and more jealous.

The two types of interspersed excerpts inserted between chapters made this book even more enjoyable to read. The first type are passages titled “The Hospital.” Through these stream-of-consciousness-style snippets, we can tell that something has happened to Rae to make her wind up in the hospital. Instead of telling the story in parts, (“Part 1,” “Part 2, etc…) the book counts down how many months before (“Six months earlier,” “five months earlier,” etc…) the event that landed Rae in the hospital, each part prefaced with a short scene from the ICU. This technique makes the book more suspenseful and engaging, and readers are curious what happened to Rae and if she will be okay.

The second excerpt comes in the form of poetry. Rae is a closet poet and she expresses her feelings in her poetry journal. At the ends of certain chapters we get to read poems out of Rae’s poetry journal as she decides which to submit for her school newspaper’s poetry corner, grappling with the choice to submit anonymously or include her name with her poems. Many of her poems are poignant and emotional and it appears that Lisa Schroeder is a talented poet.

Although the beginning of the book was a little dry and unexciting, as it continued, I grew more and more interested until I didn’t want to stop reading. The book is a relatively short and easy read, and can provide a nice break from reading textbooks as school picks up again. Although it is mainly a romance, the multiple facets of Rae’s life make for a more dimensional novel, as opposed to simply a love story. I ended up liking this book much more than I initially thought I would, and I definitely encourage those who enjoy romances (and definitely fans of Sarah Dessen) to read Falling for You.

Review by Katie

Order Falling for You from Book Passage

Hounded

Title: Hounded

Author: Kevin Hearne

Release Date: Available

I did not really realize going into reading Hounded that it wasn’t strictly YA, and while at first I was disappointed, I soon realized that there were quite a few elements to this mythology-based fantasy that I actually quite enjoyed.

The greatest appeal to readers I think will be its gender neutrality. The main character, Atticus, is a smart and smart-ass druid. If anything, his narration will appeal more to guys than to girls, though I liked him a fair amount. Perhaps he was a little too much of a smart-ass sometimes… but I guess living for over 2,000 years could get to anyone’s head, right? Generally though, I thought he displayed a believable amount heroism and smarts, which made him a very real character to me. I also loved his dog, Oberon. He was hilarious and kind of a cutie (but don’t tell him I said so because it might offend his masculinity). For each character I was introduced to over the course of the novel, I had to evaluate who I could trust and who I couldn’t; it kept me on my toes in a more subtle way than if Hearne had thrown in a bunch of twists.

Yet, I’m doubtless that the main drive behind the book was its plot. The novel took place in urban Arizona, but had quite a few high-fantasy aspects thrown in in a way I think will thoroughly satisfy most people’s fantasy appetites. There was stuff that was disturbing like witches possessing pretty girls; stuff that was classic like werewolves; stuff that was new like the Celtic aspects; and stuff that was just plain cool, namely Atticus and his various powers, especially his connection to Oberon.

The most common problems with fantasy are pacing problems. Probably my favorite thing about the novel was that it did not suffer from these problems for the most part. I didn’t always have a strong urge to pick it up, but once I got into it, I never had the urge to put it down either, as I often do when books begin to drag. I do think, however, that because it wasn’t strictly YA I had a harder time personally connecting with Atticus. While fairly entertained throughout the novel, I felt a bit of a disconnect that kept me from being completely immersed. For that reason, I think that this book would appeal to upper YA readers or those who are interested in branching out into adult, especially the guys. I’ve also heard that the sequels are better, so I will be checking them out!

Review by Casey

Order Hounded from Book Passage

This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like pic

Title: This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date: Available

With This Is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith succeeds in creating another cute, fun romance. Seventeen year-old Ellie O’Neill is living with her single mother in “Middle-of-Nowhere, Maine” when she receives a stray email from Graham Larkin in “Middle-of-Everything, California.” The two strike up an ongoing conversation, Ellie not realizing the witty, charming boy with whom she is forming a virtual bond is an actor and teen heart-throb. She remains blissfully ignorant of his identity until Graham decides to step up their relationship by ensuring that his next movie is set in Ellie’s intimate, picturesque town. But Ellie is unsure if she can endure a relationship with a star when the invasive paparazzi might reveal to the world that she is the extramarital daughter of a prominent politician.

This is What Happy Looks Like is in a similar form to Smith’s previous novel, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Both take almost cliché romance ideas and attempt to refresh them into something more. Unfortunately, Smith succeeds less in her newest novel than in Statistical Probability. The latter is pithy and substantial, with as much attention paid to the protagonist’s relationship with her family as to her feelings for the love interest. But while Ellie’s relationship with her mother, best friend, and remote father are significant in Happy, these plot lines are saturated with Ellie’s thoughts and feelings for Graham, giving no reprieve from the love story. The book is almost twice the length of Statistical Probability, but somehow less seems to happen. The affectionate beach scenes and under the fireworks moments are pleasant and adorable, but not particularly moving or fresh. Overall, the story is quite enjoyable, but not much more.

Review by Sami;

Order This Is What Happy Looks Like