The Farm Book Review

13542868The Farm by Emily McKay

Published: December 4, 2012

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Series: The Farm, Book 1

Pages: 432

Synopsis:

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

My Thoughts:

The Farm took me completely by surprise. I had not really heard anything about the book so I honestly didn’t have high hopes for it because of the synopsis. It’s a dystopian thriller with a virus that turns people into vampire type things, I mean to me that sounds like most books that have been released since The Hunger Games and Warm Bodies. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

For starters, the book switches bares rations between three different people. I always love that, but what it even better was that one of those people were autistic. It was really interesting seeing the author’s take on how an autistic person sees and interprets the world around them. I have never read anything like that before, and ended up looking forward to those narrations the most.

Another great thing about the book that I love and don’t see often enough is how much detail the author put into the story. The entire book spanned only a few days, but was still fast paced and exciting enough that it never dragged on. I love when author’s are able to write out whole days of a character’s life and make it interesting instead if just skimming over most of their lives and only showing small moments.

The paranormal aspect of the book was very interesting. I wasn’t expecting it with the science fiction and dystopian themes already so strong in the book, but I really enjoyed it and though the author handled it well. With the way the book ended I am super impatient to get the next book to see what happens since the driving force of the book is shattered in a way. I wonder how the story will continue on, and can not wait to find out.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a very good story with great characters, an amazing plot, and a romance that had me on the edge of my seat. I was very surprised by how much I loved this book, and hope that more people will read it and give the series a chance.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

Another Little Piece Book Review

12665819Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publisher: June 11, 2013

Pages: 432

Synopsis:

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn’s haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

My Thoughts:

Another Little Piece is haunting and lovely in such a way that I couldn’t put it down. The writing is absolutely beautiful, but the story is dark and thrilling.

I was quite surprised at how bloody and disturbing the book was. There was murder, cannibalism, and a strange paranormal aspect to it. I was very connected to the main character and was on the edge if my seat the whole time wondering what she would do or what would happen to her next. I hated what she was, but loved her as a person and character.

The way the author chose to write the story was perfect for it. The whole book had a poetic and dreamy quality to it. Pairing the writing and story together made a unique mix that was just perfect. If it was not written that way it would have been like a thrilling Steven King novel. Instead it was disturbingly beautiful, and I loved it.

Even the love interest was interesting. The pair were both quirky in a very real way, but each had a different paranormal aspect to them that made them work well as a couple in a way that I would never think of being able to. Overall I recommend this book to people who love amazing writing and paranormal stories done really well.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

The Secret Ingredient Book Review

the-secret-ingredient1The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis

Published: June 11, 2013

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Synopsis:

Olivia doesn’t believe in psychics. But the summer before her senior year of high school, she meets one in an elevator.
   

This summer will be pivotal, the psychic warns. Please remember—all your choices are connected.
Olivia loves her life in Silver lake, Los Angeles, but lately, something’s been missing. And after getting this strange advice, her world begins to change. A new job leads Olivia to a gorgeous, mysterious boy named Theo. And as Olivia cooks the recipes from a vintage cookbook she stumbles upon, she begins to wonder if the mother she’s never known might be the secret ingredient she’s been lacking.
But sometimes the things we search for are the things we’ve had all along.

My Thoughts:

The Secret Ingredient is a great contemporary novel in the likes of Sarah Dessen. I loved the lightness, fun, and quickness of the story. My favorite thing about this book is that the author did a great job of combining the more serious aspects of the main characters life with the lighter ones.

The story involves the main character going through hard times, falling in love, getting her first job, and just being a normal teenager. I loved reading the book because I loved how much I connected to the main character. She is funny, witty, and goes through a lot of things that most teenagers go through. But the story is also great because it involves things like having two fathers, being adopted, and dealing with a parent who loses a job.

The book was never too serious or too light. It had a great tone to it and I recommend it to people who love contemporary novels. It was just a really great fun and light read that is perfect for summer.

Rating: 3 Stars / 5 Stars

The Book of Blood and Shadow Book Review

12215851The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Published: July 9, 2013

Publisher: Ember

Pages: 464

Synopsis:

One night. One body, broken in a pool of blood.
One killer, lost in the shadows.
One girl, left behind.
Left alone, to face the consequences.
To find the truth.
To avenge the dead.

One night is all it takes to change Nora Kane’s life forever. Her best friend is dead; her boyfriend has vanished. And the trail of blood leads straight back to her: The person who might be responsible. The person who might be next.

Desperate to save the people she loves and determined to find justice for the ones she’s lost, Nora unearths a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. Something to which Nora herself might hold the key. It turns out her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries—and solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Thoughts:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is dark, thrilling, mysterious, and well written. On the other, though, there are annoying parts to the story that seem to happen in many YA book.

The story itself is amazing. The historical conspiracy mystery aspect of it made it feel like a YA version of an addicting Dan Drown novel. The characters go through a bloody and dark journey of translating hundreds of years old letters, going across the world, and following hidden messages to find an answer to something never solved before. It was a very interesting plot to read, and therefore was so hard to put down.

But then there were those parts of the book that made me roll my eyes. The way everything just happened to fall in place at the right time, the way the main character didn’t really question weird things going on like a guy following her who would have no idea where she even lives, and the nonexistent parents, dumb police, and clueless teachers who barely questioned anything going on. These are all things that are huge pet peeves of mine when it comes to YA literature, and it made me really conflicted since I loved the story but hated that the book had these parts to it.

Overall it was an amazingly afflicting book that had a plot unlike anything I had ever read in YA and that I loved. Even though it had those parts to it that are annoying, it is definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it to readers that love YA and mystery and conspiracy type stories.

Rating: 3 Stars / 5 Stars

Transparent book review

untitledTransparent by Natalie Whipple

Published: May 21, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 368

Synopsis:

Transparent’s Fiona McClean could be a superhero. She has a mutation that allows her to become invisible. But her father, a Las Vegas crime lord, forces her to use her power for evil. Since she was five, she’s been stealing cars, robbing banks, and spying on people.

Fiona’s had enough, so she escapes to a small town far from her father’s reach. Happiness is hard to find surrounded by a mother she hates, a brother she can’t trust, and a guy at school she can’t stand, but Fiona manages to make some friends. And when her father finally tracks her down, Fiona discovers how far she’ll go to protect everyone she’s come to love.

Fans of strong heroines like Daughter of Smoke and Bone’s Karou or Maximum Ride’s Max will fall in love with Transparent by Natalie Whipple.

My thoughts:

Transparent is one of the most unique books that I have read so far this year. It’s a mixture of The Godfather and X-Men with a contemporary romance feel to it.

The powers that people had were really interesting, especially with the main character’s invisibility that she can’t turn on or off. The author did a really great job at showing the main character’s feelings and struggles at not being able to see herself or have other people see her. Although the main tone of the book is lighter, those feelings and other things like her relationship with her huge crime doing father are written much deeper. I loved that the author was able to do that. It was never too light or intense, but had a good mix and flow to it.

The romance was so good. I loved the relationship that Fiona develops, and am most excited to continue that aspect of the story in the next book. It wasn’t instantaneous or even predictable. I had no idea that the story would take that turn and I am so glad that it did.

The best thing that I think this novel does best is blend the light romance and the heavy crime and escape aspects to where it’s a more gender neutral novel. Both guys and girls will really enjoy it.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars