Monday, September 2, 2013

Revival (The Varient Series #1) by Jena Leigh

Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.

My Review
   I have really been on a paranormal kick lately.  I have been lucky because most of the books that I have been reading have all been good.  This book just happened to be one that ended up being amazing.
   Alex is your typical all-American teen.  Pretty, popular but still grounded and very sweet.  When she was very little she lost her parents in a tragic accident and has been raised by her Aunt Cecilia, who is just like a mother to her.  Life is wonderful until the day of a bizarre accident.  With the way the high school rumor mill runs, she soon is labeled as the crazy girl and finds herself an outcast, with only one friend to her name.  Just when things seem like they can’t get worse a crazy man shows up and tries to kill her with fire that he can shoot out of his hands.  But things like that don’t happen in real life, right?!  Suddenly Alex is thrown in to a world she never dreamed was possible, some people do have strange powers and where her own role is more than she could ever begin to imagine.
   I must say that I completely fell in love with Alex.  She is such an amazingly sweet girl. Even when things her only concern is for those she loves.  She is also very feisty.  This comes in very handy once she meets Declan.  He is the stereo-typical bad boy and uses sarcasm as self-defense.  Alex does not put up with his crap at all and eventually, of course, we get to see that Declan is actually a very amazing guy.
   The plot wasn’t all that unique.  Think X-Men meets teen romance.  That being said, I still really enjoyed this book.  While it did follow a pretty predictable path the story still had enough twists to keep it fresh and interesting.  The only thing that I didn’t like was that it ended.  I now need to read the next book to find out what ends up happening to Alex and her friends.
   One of the best things about this book is that it is a clean read.  I love that there are still authors out there that understand you don’t need foul language, sex, or extreme violence to make a book great.  There was nothing in this book that I found even remotely questionable, which is probably a lot of the reason why I loved it so much.
  I encourage every fan of a good paranormal story to read this book.  With action, romance and kick butt teens with special powers, why wouldn’t you love it?!

Parent's Guide:  There is some mild swearing and it is a love story.  I would give it a rating of PG.

Breathe by Elena Dillon

 Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.

In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.

Picture and description by Goodreads

My Review
      I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   I normally do not like thrillers.  I don’t like reading about murders, people being kidnapped or tortured, etc.  If I ever feel like reading a thriller I tend to stick to YA because it is just intense enough without all the graphic violence of adult books.  Such is the case with this book.  It was intense at times and truly scary but only enough to keep me reading and not enough to make to make me throw the book away.
   Jasmine is a teenage girl trying to put her life back together after a tragedy.  Years earlier her older sister Daisy, whom she absolutely adored, was kidnapped and murdered and the killer was never found.  Now her family has moved across the country in order to have a fresh start.  The problem is that you can’t always run away from your problems and Jasmine has a big one.  After her sister was murdered she developed a horrible habit of passing out when she is stressed or startled.  One of her first nights in her new town she is innocently startled and collapses in to the arms of an amazing guy.  Guess her fainting isn’t always bad.  Then, just when her new life starts to seem like it may be wonderful, she begins to get strange messages about her ending up like her sister.  Either someone is playing a sick joke or the killer has followed them.
   The characters in this book are great.  I did love Jasmine and reading about her story, she is strong and resourceful and will do anything to protect what is left of her family.  No matter how wonderful Jasmine was, for some reason the character I liked the best was her little brother.  Maybe because I have younger brothers, but who knows.  Caedan is everything you think of when you imagine a younger brother.  He can be frustrating and annoying but he is loyal and loves his family fiercely. 
   I loved the plot line in this book.  Maybe because I am a girl or maybe because I have a teenage daughter but the idea of stalking terrifies me.  What could be creepier than some unknown guy creeping around spying on you when you least expect it?  I can guarantee that the idea of this poor girl possibly being stalked by the killer of her sister definitely keeps this book intense. 
With great characters, a great plot and great twists and turns to keep you drawn in this book is a wonderful read.

Parent's Guide: This book deals with the subject of what happens to one family after the death of a teen as well as the subject of a stalker.  It is intense at times and does have mild swearing.  I would not recommend this book for anyone younger than 14.

Forever Me by Thomas Amo

Inspired by True Events

Hannah Richards isn't your typical 16 year-old at Wichita Falls High. Fashions, trends, cosmetics and style are unimportant to her. An avid reader, guitar player, classic movie and television buff, Hannah marches to the beat of her own drum. Visible only to her Father the town Sheriff, and her two best friends. Hannah lives a simple, un-pampered life as an "Eastie."

After coming to the aide of Taylor Monroe, a popular member of the ultra snobby "Stilettos" at school, Hannah's life beings spiraling out of control. As she starts spending more time with Taylor, her best friends abandon her, after a series of misunderstandings, causing Hannah to re-invent herself.

Hannah quickly gets caught up in a life much different than the one she knows, where status, glamour, makeup, appearance and acceptance become her masters. And what of the dark secret that haunts the streets of Wichita Falls?

Can Hannah survive the lies, deceit, jealousy and rage that are now waiting for her behind every corner? Will she succumb to the pressures of popularity? Or will she be crushed under the heels of the "Stilettos"?

~High school is hard enough just being yourself, let alone being someone you're not~

Picture and description provided by Goodreads

My Review
      I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
   I really found this book to be not only wonderful, but it also contains a powerful message for all of us.  The story goes way beyond two kids from opposite sides of town falling in love and creates a great story with twists and turns that made it impossible to put the book down.

   Hannah is the sweet teenage daughter of the town sheriff, whose mom had passed away a few years earlier.  Other than missing her mom, life is pretty good for Hannah.  The only thing marring her life is the presence of the Stilettos, the truly horrible group of popular girls that think they run the high school.  Hannah usually stays out of their way but an incident forces her to stand up to them.  Suddenly Hannah’s life is out of control.  Enemies are friends, friends are enemies, and she is in a relationship with the most popular boy in school.  I don’t want to give any spoilers so let’s just say that things get really crazy.

   The author does such a great job with his character development.  I fell in love with Hannah and was completely drawn in to her life.  From the crazy mean Stilettos, to the drunken past beauty queen, and everyone in between, all of the characters in this book were so realistic and you are able to really feel what the characters are going through.  I must say that the Stilettos are certainly terrifying.

Parent's Guide: There is some swearing in the book, underage drinking and some disturbing violence, like PG-13 type stuff, so I would definitely recommend that parents use discretion before letting your kids read this book.  I do feel like the message is so great that it would be ok to let some of the things slide so that all high school girls could read this book.  Even if the message only reached a few girls this book has done its job.  In a society where media has almost no positive messages I give kudos to this author for putting out something that is both entertaining and positive.