Friday, February 12, 2016

Lifeboat Clique--Kathy Parks

Title: Lifeboat Clique
Author: Kathy Parks
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2016
Pages: 336 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: December 2015

Kathy Parks's Lifeboat Clique

Denver has been ostracized at school for years thanks to her ex-BFF Abigail, but things are finally looking up when a good-looking nice boy asks her to go to a party with him. Despite her reservations about going to one of Abigail's parties (and lack of parental approval), Denver decides to take the risk and accept Croix's invitation. Not even Abigail and her ditzy flunkies Sienna and Hayley can ruin her good night with Croix but just as their lips are about to touch, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the coast of California. Croix and Denver manage to crawl to a rooftop but Croix is knocked off by a palm tree. Denver, the outcast, is left alone on the now floating rooftop with Abigail, Sienna, Hayley and Trevor, the popular kids. Luckily for them Denver has watched a lot of Discovery Channel while they were all having fun without her, but even she cannot save them all.

Although the plot is pretty grim--Denver and her companions battle dehydration, hunger, hallucinations, and death--Kathy Parks has created such a witty, sardonic main character that the book itself is not grim. It is easy and fun to read. Readers get the backstory of why Abigail and Denver are ex-BFFs as Parks deftly weaves it through the main plot. Readers looking for a bit of humor and a side of sarcasm with their tragedy will gravitate towards Lifeboat Clique.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Peas & Carrots--Tanita S. Davis

Title: Peas & Carrots
Author: Tanita S. Davis
Publisher: Knopf, 2016
Pages: 288 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: November 2015
Tanita S. Davis's Peas & Carrots
Dess has never had a normal family life. She’s moved from place to place with her drug addict mother, living in fear of her criminal drug dealing father. When her mother has a child with another man, Dess knows she needs to intervene or her dangerous father will hurt them all. Four years later, Dess has settled into a predictable life in a group home while she waits for her mother to get out of prison and testify against her father, but then the unpredictable happens and Dess is placed in a foster home—the same one her little brother has grown up in. Dess is completely out of her element and immediately clashes with her brother’s loving African American family, especially his fifteen year old foster sister, Hope. When Dess’s life is thrown another curve ball, she realizes what family really means.


Written in chapters alternating Dess’s and Hope’s views, Davis manages to address racial stereotypes without being heavy-handed. Although Dess and Hope are very different on the outside, they both face the same insecurities. Peas and Carrots is a quick interesting read. There are some unanswered questions about Dess’s parents--will her mother actually testify against her father and will Dess ever be safe from him again--but ultimately this story is about Dess’s new family and new beginnings.

******
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Monday, February 08, 2016

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy--Cassandra Clare

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015
Pages:
Source: Library e-book
Compensation: None
Read: January 2016

Cassandra Clare's Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy
The Lost Herondale
The Whitechapel Fiend
Nothing But Shadows
The Evil We Love
Pale Kings and Princes
Bitter of Tongue
The Fiery Trial
Born to Endless Night
Angels Twice Descending

There are many people that think Cassandra Clare has gone too far with the Shadowhunter series...and there are many people who will read anything that has to do with the Shadowhunters. I guess I fall into the latter category. This is a series of stories or novellas that chronicle Simon Lewis's time at the Shadowhunter Academy. The regulars from both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices make appearances throughout the different stories to help support Simon on his quest to graduate the Academy and be a real Shadowhunter (and get his full memories back).

I read each of the novellas as separate books because that's how my library had them as e-books. I think they will be bound together at some point under the title Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy. I finished many of them (sometimes more than one) in a single day. They were quick to read and I enjoyed them all. Some were better than others. Like the Bane Chronicles, they were co-authored by different people. Many of them gave some background info to the characters we already know from the other series and some set up the next series. If you're a Shadowhunter fan, you'll enjoy revisiting the world.

******
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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Lady Renegades--Rachel Hawkins

Title: Lady Renegades
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's, 2016
Pages: 272 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: December 2015

Rachel Hawkins's Lady Renegades
Normal school girl Harper Price has accepted her new life as a warrior Paladin--a mystical bodyguard for the future-predicting Oracle. She has accepted her new role as the Oracle's girlfriend. She has accepted her ex-boyfriend's new position as the Oracle's Mage. After finally doing all this accepting, Harper's life drastically changes once again when Oracle David cannot control his powers and escapes the safety of Pine Grove. As David loses more of his humanity, he unwittingly turns teenage girls into more Paladins who believe his number one threat is Harper. As if battling her sadness over David's departure wasn't enough, now Harper has to protect herself from his new Paladins, all while her powers grow weaker in David's absence. Determined to save him from himself, Harper embarks on the ultimate summer road trip to find David and make things right.

Reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv show, Rachel Hawkins does not disappoint in this final book of the Rebel Belle trilogy. Funny and sassy, Harper is the perfect combination of strong heroine and Southern lady. Although Hawkins gives enough information for new readers to pick up the story, reading the first two books greatly enhances enjoyment of the third. Lady Renegades is a must read for fans of books with the "chosen one" storyline, as well as strong female lead characters.
****

This is obviously my VOYA review since it's well-written but I feel compelled to add: I really really loved this series. 

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