My First ‘Thon!

Two posts in one day! *screams as the world comes to an end* Agh, I know, I never do this (until now) but I have a book review scheduled for Friday and I want it to be the sole focus for the day.

Anyway.

I am going to participate in the Make Me Read It Readathon hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea Titles!

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It’s a Readathon that runs from July 9th to July 16th where you as my audience choose the books I read and in what order I read them! If you’d like to learn more and/or join in, head over to here.

Alright, I won’t lie. My TBR (To Be Read) list is ridiculous. I have books listed in my shopping cart and Wish List on Amazon that I want to buy, I have twenty-five books in the “Want To Read” collection on my Amazon Kindle App (which doesn’t include the 31 non-YA books I want to try out), I literally just added another book to my Want to Read list on Goodreads while I was writing this post, and I’ll let you in on my dirty little secret: My book addiction is so bad that I currently have 908 books downloaded on my Amazon Kindle App.

I know. Almost 1,000 books that at some point I wanted to read enough that I clicked “One-Click Purchase,” or downloaded them from InstantFreebie, or downloaded them from NetGalley, or…or…or….so many or’s. I’m getting help for my addiction, don’t worry. (Okay, that is a lie.)

So, below is the poll for the books you can vote make me read. You don’t have to be following my blog to vote, but it would be nice. 😉

I know, I know. Ten choices? Isn’t that overkill? It might be, but in case something happens where I can’t continue a book (or I finish more than I thought I would) I don’t want to be stuck. Besides, what’s 10 books out of 908? Vote vote vote! I’m so excited.

Here’s a link to each book in the same order listed on the poll so that you don’t have to search each one for the synopsis:

Into the Dark by Brian Spangler

Kingdom from Ashes by Megan Linski

Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick

The Roadrunner Cafe by Jamie Zerndt (Formerly known as Brailling for Wile)

The Way by Mary E. Twomey

First Kiss by Ann Marie Frohoff

Dissever by Tracey Ward

The Deepest Red by Miriam Bell

The Viking by Marti Talbott

Hollo: The Gatecaster’s Apprentice by Devon Michael

If you’re participating in this readathon too, post your link in the comments and I’ll vote for you!

The Problem with Crazy by Lauren K. McKellar

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis:

The problem with crazy is that crazy, by itself, has no context. It can be good crazy, bad crazy … or “crazy” crazy–like it was when my ex-boyfriend sung about me on the radio.” Eighteen-year-old Kate couldn’t be more excited about finishing high school and spending the summer on tour with her boyfriend’s band. Her dad showing up drunk at graduation, however, is not exactly kicking things off on the right foot–and that’s before she finds out about his mystery illness, certain to end in death. A mystery illness that she could inherit. Kate has to convince everyone around her that her father is sick, not crazy. But who will be harder to convince? Her friends? Or herself? The Problem With Crazy “is a story about love and life; about overcoming obstacles, choosing to trust, and learning how to make the choices that will change your life forever.

My Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect with The Problem with Crazy. Would it be cliche? Would I hate it? Would it turn out to be just a regular romance story where the main female character has a mere sprinkle of issues? All of these questions were fortunately answered it with a “No.”

Since life has been busy, I’ve been reading books on my iPod’s Kindle, jotting down notes for myself later, and then going back to the book when I get a chance. This keeps me from forgetting how I felt about the book and I can remember what the book was about. When I returned to this book, I still remembered it and so I gave it a 3/5 stars before reading my notes. Upon accessing my notes, I read “…I was near tears…I’m in awe…I give it a full five stars.”

The main character, Kate Tomlinson, has her life figured out. She is graduating high-school and immediately going to travel the world with her boyfriend and his band as she organizes their tour. Then, her plans fall through like an unexpected sinkhole.

There’s is many things and very few things to say about Kate. There’s no doubt that she is a strong main character. She lacked cliches and had honest character development. She responded to the sudden change of events with fear, anger, irritation, like anyone would and I respected that. But she didn’t leave it there, rather than dwelling on the situation indefinitely, she confronted the insecurities that were drawn to the surface with the help of old and new friends. The main issue I had with her was her response to an offer from someone after the final twist at the end. It was, in my opinion, a shallow response and honestly shocking after all that she had been through.

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Frey (The Frey Saga) by Melissa Wright

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

“Unaware she’s been bound from using magic, Frey leads a small, miserable life in the village where she’s sent after the death of her mother. But a tiny spark starts a fury of changes and she finds herself running from everything she’s ever known.
Hunted by council for practicing dark magic, she is certain she’s been wrongfully accused. She flees, and is forced to rely on strangers for protection. But the farther she strays from home, the more her magic and forgotten memories return and she begins to suspect all is not as it seems.”

My Review:

Firstly, I was drawn to this book by the cover. Frey, who I assumed was the girl behind the flames, looked powerful, mysterious, and emotionally strong. The hawk that lurked behind the smoke only seemed to heighten my expectations. The hawk seemed to be a hint, meant to lead me to believe that Frey’s powers reached beyond expectations. Dare I say it, that her powers soared. The hawk didn’t mislead me either.

Frey was powerful. She had yet to reach her full potential, which I understand, Frey is just the first book. Frey is learning herself and the ways of magic and I, as the reader learned alongside her. I assumed that Frey is around sixteen or seventeen, but I don’t recall it ever being mentioned inside the actual book or synopsis. Granted, the book does fall under the Young Adult category, so I believe that her being around the young adult age group is a safe assumption. As I said, Frey was powerful. I loved reading about her small adventures while she tested out her magic. They were interesting and I wish she had fully embraced the magical elf in her much more quickly than she did. Sadly, Frey had no emotional strength.

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From the Ashes (Legend of the Liberator series) by Shelby K. Morrison

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

“For eighteen years Aia Wynnald has lived a lie. Raised as a highborn in the Kingdom of Tharien, she’s filled her days with tutors and archery lessons. But simmering beneath her polite surface is a dangerous gift, one which she must keep a secret. Aia is a Bender. And in Tharien, Benders are feared and hunted.
When her unruly power breaks free with dire repercussions, Aia’s lifelong goal of independence shatters. As she scrambles to piece her life back together while evading capture, she disturbs a vengeful force intent on destroying the kingdom.
Now, with the help of an unlikely ally, Aia will decide the fate of Tharien. To rescue those she cares about will require accepting what she is. But can she risk becoming the monster she’s dreaded to save the very citizens baying for her blood?

My Review:

This book wasn’t bad. There were some undertones that I felt were put in subtly and not-so-subtly, but it was good overall.

The heroine is Maia Wynnald and she’s a Bender. A Bender is someone with paranormal powers that runs through their veins and gives them the ability to Bend. Bending is a bit like telepath but a lot less predictable and a lot harder to control; especially when you spent the first eighteen years of your life suppressing it.

I liked Maia, who prefers to be called Aia and will be from this moment forth. She was rather calm in some situation and had amazing compassion for people who hated her. Though I think the compassion was half foolish and half brave, but not to the point that it was the definition of courage. Would I have done the same thing? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. At times I wasn’t sure what Aia stood for. I know that she never received the full truth from both parties, but she just seemed very undecided. One moment she would be totally ready to fight for Side A and then she would feel something or see something and suddenly she’s completely Team B. I feel that Aia should have understood that you can’t always bake your cake and eat it, considering she’s eighteen. Yet, I don’t think she ever did. I didn’t see much character development and I had really wanted her to embrace who she was a lot more than she did by the end of the book. Such a long time of suppression would no doubt make it hard for her to accept herself and I’m not saying that “it took her too long,” just that I wish she had experienced more acceptance. I don’t see her as much of a leader, but that’s definitely something that could change in the later books. There was obvious room for improvement in Aia, but I think that that may have been done on purpose so that there was a gradual and realistic change in her. Aia wasn’t a terrible character, she wasn’t even bad. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t dislike her. I would’ve liked to have seen a more fiery side of her, but she’s learning more about herself so I’ll let it slide.

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Awakening (Absence of Song series) by C.B. Stone

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Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1.5/5

Synopsis:

Though music is forbidden and could get me in big trouble with the Ministry, I nevertheless often find myself singing softly in spite of the danger. Little do I know just how much hot water my strange compulsion to sing will actually land me in.
What is happening in the world around me? How is it happening? How does the stranger Noah fit into things? And most importantly… why me? I’m no more special than the next person.
So many questions and so many dangers. All I can do is trust that whatever is happening, it is good. I can see that it’s good, and I refuse to let anyone convince me otherwise.

My Review:

This was a weird experience and not in a good way I’m afraid. A world where singing, humming, and music in general is banned is difficult to imagine. It is undoubtedly a horrifying thought. Yet, this is the world that Jaelynn lives in.
I think that maybe Awakening was some sort of a “pre-book,” but there is no excuse for the rather poor quality. It was not engaging, it was not descriptive, it was emotionless, severely under-developed, and drab. Now here’s why.

Jaelynn Rose is the heroine. Why? I have a strong guess, but for now, I don’t know and neither do you. Since neither you nor I know why she’s the heroine, I would assume that Stone would give hints. Maybe try to make it less obscure as to why she decided Jaelynn is the heroine I want to spend some of my limited time on earth reading about. Instead, all I am given is that when she sleeps, she hears songs. Phenomenal. Not to mention, at one point, Jaelynn isn’t sure what her own name is. She introduces herself as Jaelynn and her parents call her Jaelynn, but then she called herself Jaclyn when she was thinking. It happened once, but it was there. I for one would be terrified if I relied on a heroine who forgot what her name was.

I felt that Jaelynn was pretty naive. A few sentences here and there did their best to make her seem intuitive and always questioning things, but it didn’t happen. If anyone’s ever experienced a really long winter with a ton of snow, they know that there are huge potholes in the road and they easily fill up with water. Now, anyone with common sense wouldn’t look at a pothole filled with water and think “Haha! I’m going to jump in, it can’t be that deep.” because that’s just not a good idea. Sadly, that was mostly what Jaelynn did. She had no self-control whatsoever for example: “Whoa! A strange man is approaching? I’m totally safe if this fence is between us. Let’s exchange names! I want to tell you my secret that could get me and my family killed.” or even “I barely know you, but let’s cramp ourselves in this very small room all alone and hope nothing bad happens.” Really? Are you kidding? That is very dangerous, please don’t do that. Her inability to lie to her parents was eye-roll worthy. Of course she can’t lie to her parents, what does she have to lie about? She doesn’t do anything at all, besides a mundane routine and then hears some songs in her dreams. I’m sure this is just a tool to make sure in later books it seems like her “innocence” is being taken away because of the government. I didn’t see a leader in Jaelynn and while it could be a way to show character development throughout the later books, this wasn’t the way to do it. Instead of making me interested in seeing Jaelynn develop, it made me write her off the “Could Be a Heroine” list.

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The Cure by Stephanie Erickson

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Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“One life will make the difference.” Macey Holsinger has been hearing that promise her whole life. But it hasn’t saved anyone yet, not even her little brother.
The disease has claimed countless lives in the last hundred years, and the government is working hard to find a cure through human testing. Testing that has killed nearly as many people as the disease.
At sixteen, Macey has better things to think about than saving lives and submitting to any rule other than her parents’. As a budding artist, she has her whole life ahead of her, at least until she faces her own testing.
Questions plague Macey. Questions that make everyone else nervous. How can death be justified with more death? What’s the point of all this?
Answers evade her until she’s left with only one question: How much will she sacrifice in the name of the cure?
If you liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, you’ll love The Cure!

My Review:

I’m always very skeptical about books in the free section and in the dystopian, Young Adult genre. The abundance of the less-than-riveting choices is astounding and not in a good way. But, The Cure shocked me and I loved it.

The first thing that I noticed was that this is under the dystopian genre, but if you look at the title of this review, this isn’t a series. Yes, this is a young adult dystopian book that is not a series. Everything is tied up in just one book and that is amazing.

Macey Holsinger is the heroine, and she honestly is. Macey is in tenth grade, loves art, misses her little brother, has two parents and a best friend who’s like a brother, and a whole lot of questions. Her questions and natural instinct to defy what everyone just accepts gets her in trouble in school, but lands her an opportunity she would’ve given almost anything to participate in. Macey had a well-developed personality. She went through a range of emotions: anger, sadness, fear, depression, determination, and so on. Her main objective wasn’t to take down the government nor was it to just let the government do whatever it wanted and I respect Erickson for pulling that off. Macy was real, a person who just happened to live inside of a book. She loved, cried, screamed, defied, glared, stayed in a vegetable state for a week, stood up for herself, questioned everything including herself, thought outside the box, cared, and never stopped being human.

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The Trouble with Flying (Trouble series) by Rachel Morgan

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Official Review: 3/5

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old introvert Sarah boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, the last thing she expects is Aiden, the guy sitting next to her who’s never flown anywhere before and refuses to shut up. Hours of random conversation later, they part ways. Sarah can’t stop thinking about Aiden, though, and wondering if she made a terrible mistake letting him go.
Should she abandon her safe, predictable life and go in search of him, or would she be chasing a happily ever after that could never exist in real life?

My Review:

This was a cheesy romance book with a bit of religion slipped in, but it was cute. The synopsis, in my opinion, makes the book seem bland, but it wasn’t. There aren’t any hair-raising incidents or edge-of-your-seat issues, but it isn’t boring.

Sarah Henley is a shy push-over that isn’t aware of how easily controllable she is. She was an unique and interesting character and her point-of-view was refreshing. She enjoys writing, but she’s allowed herself to try to get her Bachelor of Science instead of pursuing her dream, despite the fact that she’s miserable. Her character development was done tastefully. Aiden pushed her out of her comfort zone because he was out of his comfort zone and she benefited from it. I liked watching her slowly step outside of her protective bubble more frequently as the book continued on, even though it obviously made her uncomfortable at the start. She’s a talented writer from the responses the other characters have made towards the things she’s wrote, but she doesn’t believe it due to a verbally abusive and manipulative boyfriend. I was really rooting for her by the time the book ended.

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The Legacy of the Key (Ancient Guardians series) by S.L. Morgan

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Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

“Discover today a new dimension that will remove you from reality as you know it. Welcome to the new book series: Ancient Guardians. Book One, The Legacy of the Key, promises to give you a fun, new, and thrilling reading experience!
No matter where you are, facing your reality with passion and purpose will always lead down the path you were intended to go.
Reece Bryant was able to pick up the pieces of her broken life after the sudden death of her father. Though emotionally draining, she found the courage to move on, which would have made her father proud.
After finalizing the last of his estate, and returning to pursue her degree in medical school, she has never felt so confident. While making her way through this world on her own, she is
suddenly confronted with the truth of her existence, and the reality of her future.
It is when she encounters two alluring and mysterious men, that a series of extraordinary events takes place, putting Reece’s life in grave danger. With her life in the balance, Reece must blindly trust the two mysterious strangers; and when she does, she is brought into an enchanting world that is beyond her logical comprehension. This captivating land reveals new worlds and new dimensions to which her existence is paramount.
But it is once she falls in love with the stunning Levi Oxley that everything will change, and Reece’s life will be in more danger than ever before. Forced to return to Earth and face a Council of Worlds, Reece discovers there is more to this enchanting dimension than she could
have ever imagined.
At a moment’s notice, even thru the fog of our denial, our journey can become
crystal clear. And within the revelation, once our fear subsides, we can find contentment and purpose if we focus on the things that matter most.
Trust—Courage—Love.”

My Review:

If I have to read the words “grin” (in all tenses) or “my love”, which appeared throughout the book sixty-nine and twenty-three times respectively, I will scream. Just because you’re in love with a woman, doesn’t mean you have to forget her name and call her “my love” constantly and, Morgan, there are other words for “grin.”

The synopsis makes Reece seem like someone who knows how to handle abrupt situations and pull through: “Reece Bryant was able to pick up the pieces of her broken life after the sudden death of her father. Though emotionally draining, she found the courage to move on, which would have made her father proud.” Yet, when you read the book, you get none of this. Reece doesn’t seem distraught and when she goes back to visit her hometown to finish up some paperwork about her father’s death she has a “let’s get this over with” attitude. We’re told that she misses her Dad, but I didn’t see any evidence that make me believe she was (spoiler) except when her “Dad” visited and she started crying for a bit. Even that wasn’t much evidence. Reece isn’t a terrible character, she’s not interesting but I didn’t dislike her. The two main issues I had with her was that she shrugged her shoulders and accepted whatever two men she’s never met and doesn’t know tell her. If two men insisted I get into the car with them and that “all will be explained later,” I would be very uncooperative and the alarm bells would be ringing loudly. I also didn’t appreciate how she went from a seemingly independent woman to “I love you so much that it’s rendering me helpless!!” A Saint Bernard would be in awe of the amount of drool that came out of her mouth.

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Land (Stranded series) by Theresa Shaver

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Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

Five go by Land – Five go by Sea

A group of teens on a class trip to Disneyland are left stranded. An EMP over North America has destroyed everything electronic. No cars, no planes, no phones, no electricity. Refusing to wait for someone else to help them, ten courageous young people take charge of their future and choose to begin the long journey home. 1500 miles of adventure and lawless country await. Will their determination be enough?
Alex, Quinn, Josh, Cooper and Dara – setting out on foot with nothing more than some soon to be worthless cash and a little advice from a trusted teacher, they walk through a burning city that has come to a halt. The devastation they see as they make their way out of the city is a small part of the horror that the nation will become. As the days go by with no food deliveries and no water flowing from taps, civilization will start to crumble and it will be survival of the fittest. With five States and half a Province to cross they will need to plan well, count on each other and pray for a little luck. Even with that, chances are slim of getting home when you are Stranded.”

My Review:

This book was the epitome of ridiculous. A bunch of teens go to Disneyland from Canada and a nuclear bomb is dropped which causes an EMP. That’s not the ridiculous part. The ridiculous part is that in three seconds everyone starts freaking out. One of the teachers DIES, the teachers left start calling students expletives, the teachers are telling each other to shut up, all the adults somehow have thousands of dollars on their person, and the teachers calmly let a bunch of kids go off on their own because they’re “leaders.” Everyone is convinced that a group of sixteen year olds can make it from Disneyland to Canada on their own. What? Why? The whole scenario was absolutely ludicrous and it was painful to read. It takes one day before everyone just starts looting and gangs start to rise and all manner of order is one-hundred percent gone. Also, “five go by land, five go by sea.” If two groups are mentioned, why doesn’t the book ever follow the group that goes by sea? I would have liked to know what happened to them. (Further research shows that we find out in the next book.) (spoiler) At the end, all we are told is that “the other kids are dead” by a “former” bad guy that was friends with Cooper’s dad.

The characters. Each one of the characters were bland and annoying stereotypes. And almost all of them had alcoholic parents. Why? There was the goth girl (Dara), “Mr. Responsibility” (Quinn) (yes, they said that), the bad boy (Cooper), and the class clown/jokester (Josh). They even managed to create a love triangle. You know how in a lot of teenaged movies, adults play the teenagers? That’s what it was like. Only the adults are in clothes that are too small and they have stereotypical voices and sometimes forget that they’re teens and use their natural adult tone.

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Sophie’s Secret (Whisper series) by Tara West

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Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“After shedding 30 pounds of baby fat, Sophie Sinora has grown into a pretty, but insecure, teen in bloom. To make her life more complicated, Sophie can sometimes read minds.
Sophie’s BFFs, AJ and Krysta, are also ‘gifted’ with paranormal abilities. Keeping their gifts secret proves difficult, as their powers are strengthening, making them feel more and more like freaks.
When Sophie falls for Jacob, she hopes he’ll ask her out to the Freshman Formal. But when she’s forced to cheat and lie for him, she wonders how far she’ll have to go to make him like her. Add to her growing list of problems – her teacher’s suicidal thoughts, a locker bully who wants to kick her butt, the hot school flirt who won’t stop teasing her, her pregnant sister who boots Sophie out of her room, and the growing tension between Sophie and her best friends.
Sophie’s got issues. Hopefully, she can fix them in time to save her teacher’s life and her social life.

My Review:

When I opened this book, I didn’t have access to the internet so I couldn’t double check what the synopsis was on goodreads. Everything that was in the synopsis occurred in the book, but it was very watered down. I was expecting the book to be more about the supernatural powers that Sophie, AJ, and Kyrsta have. Instead, I got bits and pieces about their powers and mostly learned more about Sophie’s her pregnant sister, depressed teacher, her rather small issues with her friends, and her romance life.

Sophie is the main character and the whole book is from her perspective. It was interesting to see things through her eyes and read other people’s minds, but she insulted people too much for me to enjoy it. While yes, a teacher that picks his nose is very gross, to call him “Pick-and-Flick” isn’t very kind. Nor is calling Cody Miller “Grody Cody” polite either. Sophie uses her power to try to understand a few people better, but only if it benefits her. For example, Frankie (spoiler) who she uses her telepathic powers to figure out if he likes her or her favorite teacher or her new best friend, Lara. Yet, not with Mr. Dallin or Cody. Why doesn’t she want to know what those two are thinking? Surely they know about what people call them and I’m sure their feelings are probably hurt. Everyone is dealing with something, being ridiculed by the “entire” school can’t help. But Sophie doesn’t care because she has already labeled them and therefore doesn’t want anything else to do with them.

The rest of characters were just as okay. They all felt 2D and I didn’t connect with any of them. Sophie’s best friends, Krysta and AJ, didn’t really do very much, especially Krysta. AJ only served to give the plot a bit more “trouble in paradise” between friends. The only interesting part in the whole book was the issue between Sophie and her sister, Rosa Marie. I would have like to have seen more bonding between them, but it just didn’t happen.

The plot was rather interesting, but it didn’t hold up because of the lack of anything that actually had something to do with the three main characters’ powers. In order for me to have even thought about the sequel, there had to be more than a few obscure hints about the girls having an increase in power. There had to be more to the plot and I was disappointed that there wasn’t.