add a comment
(**I received this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.)
Harley Ray Rider is a fifteen year old girl living in San Francisco, California. For the most part her life’s been pretty ordinary; expect for the numerous near encounters she’s had with death. After a third incident lands her once more in the “In-between” she once again sees her (deceased) best friend and learns surprising news. She’ll get the choice to return, but with that also comes the price of a duty only she’ll be able to do with new found “gifts.” Harley jumps at the chance to come back. Quickly however, she discovers how highly unprepared she is for the task that is up to her. Running away from home and hitting the streets of Los Angeles she’ll go all the way to catch the bad guy. But what happens when the bad guy catches her?
Now, you all know I’m a fan of YA books. I’m an even bigger fan of YA books when they’re written by young adults. When the author is actually younger than I am, I definitely want to become a fan. After reading The Hidden Messages, I am a fan of Madeline Hibbert.
Honestly, I’m not really a murder mystery kind of girl, and The Hidden Messages is exactly that; don’t let the beginning of this book, with its near-death experiences and sixth senses fool you. The beginning may not even connect at first (because it didn’t for me), but I promise that it all makes sense for the overall story of Harley’s life.
Harley herself is a pretty cool protagonist. She’s confident, sassy and does not let anything or anyone defer her from her goals. Told in first person, I found the writing voice to sound younger – which fit Harley, because she is a young teen. Harley has a very strong voice and although I found her immature at times I understood and related with her.
Unfortunately, the writing is also the biggest downside to this novel. Don’t get me wrong; Hibbert is a good writer, but I think there is too much extraneous detail in the story. There are many passages about random things in Harley’s life that do not actually contribute anything to the novel. There is also some awkward sentence structure, which disrupts the flow of the novel, typos, and misuse of grammar. Yes, all of that sucks, but it is also not the worst kind of flaw to have, as these are easy fixes.
What really kept my attention is the story line of this novel. Harley is on her own in an unknown city, using her ‘power’ to hunt down a serial killer. Very scary. Not only that, but she also proves to be a truly and intelligent protagonist, even outsmarting the FBI. Those two parts put together make an intriguing chase. I found myself getting caught up in Harley’s life, so much so that I would lose track of real-world time.
Overall, I enjoyed The Hidden Messages. Although the writing mistakes are distracting, there were some parts that gripped me enough that I was able to ignore them. I suggest you give the young author a chance and download her e-book.
Random Quotes That I Enjoy May 2, 2013Posted by lostinbelieving in Favorites, Just to Blog, My Life, Quotes.
add a comment
“You know how one day you think someone is so hot, then the next day you look at him and go, what did I ever see in you?”
-It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters
“Everything has changed and everything is the same.”
-Saving June by Hannah Harrington
“I’ve lost track of where friendship ends and falling begins.”
-The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
“I think there is no way to write about being alone. To write is to tell something to somebody, to communicate to others.”
-”Solitude” by Ursula K. LeGuin
“Poor Linden. He has had, at once, four wives, whom he adored and maybe even loved. But we frightened him, us girls, with our intensity, the weight of our sadness and the sharpness of our hearts.”
-Sever by Lauren DeStefano
“What a fine persecution – to be kept intrigued without ever quite being enlightened…”
-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
“Experience makes liars of us all.”
-Doctor Who, “The Witch of the Well”
1 comment so far
On a world where high school test scores determine your future career, six students rebel.
A pair of star-crossed lovers plot to stay together, rather than be separated by the system’s college plans. A former off-worlder instigates: there’s a ship in orbit, he says. We could take it and run away.
But to take the ship, the three conspirators need more friends. Enter Rhiannon, the girl who set herself up for the ultimate success on this planet. She made sure her test would give the desired result: Queen. But her best friend begs her to take control of this plan to run away. So she drafts a would-be doctor who believes in following his Queen with all his heart. She finds a genius who can’t seem to make the system work for him.
And then she gets them qualified for the ship in orbit. The ship to freedom. Now what will they do with it? And was freedom what they really wanted?
All my life, I have been a die-hard sci-fi fan. It started with Star Wars and continues with Doctor Who. Funny enough though, I haven’t read that many YA books that fit under the sci-fi category. When I came across Queen & Commander, I had to try it – and I think you should too.
Like almost all of the books I read, I’m not 100% sure what I’m getting myself into when I start a new story. The summary of Queen & Commander fills you in a little bit, but I really had no idea where it was gonna go. I’m glad to say that it starts off strong. A little cliché with Rhiannon freaking out about going into the Test, but the triteness was forgiven when I was introduced to her result of Queen. A Hive Queen is an intelligent, enigmatic female that compiles together a group of males to work with her. Now that, that is very intriguing. At first I thought it was something like bigamy, but it’s not. A Queen and her Hive work as a family and depend on each other. Although I wasn’t really sure how that would work out with one female and how-many-males, it was cool to see Rhiannon’s Hive come together as the story progressed.
This might sound weird, but I’m glad to say that I didn’t like all of the characters in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to tolerate and enjoy the characters, but not liking a few of them makes it more realistic because I don’t like everyone in real life. Rhiannon is pretty awesome: she’s confident and outgoing and I think I would really enjoy her if she was a real person. I really, really disliked Victor in the beginning; yes, he is a sweet boyfriend, but he only pays attention to his girlfriend. He jumps into the idea of an empty ship without thinking anything through, just to be with his girlfriend…
As the story progresses, I found myself appreciating each teen, no matter how each of them acted. They mature, putting aside their differences and disputes to help each other out and become acquaintances/friends. In each of their own ways, they grow out of the I-have-no-idea-what-we’re-doing-let’s-wing-it attitude and come together. Gwyn and Victor also grow out of their little bubble of romance and are able to look at their lives from a different angle. This couple goes against the grain of most YA books by doing so, and it’s nice to see that not all characters fall into the idea of perfect romance.
On the other hand, I found this book to be confusing at parts. This story is told through third person omniscient, but switches point of views around throughout each chapter. At times it flowed smoothly, and other times it did not. There were also a few descriptions that confused me, such as the time the crew departs from the planet of Dyfed. Luciano is the one in charge of flying the plane, and yet at times he wasn’t in the pilot’s seat…Were they flying? Not flying? I honestly could not tell you.
Another thing that I’m not sure how I feel about is the length of the novel. Queen & Commander is the first in a series, and that is very obvious when you finish this book. It stops at a point where you have to read the next book if you want to know how things are going to end. This is good because it keeps a reader’s interest, but bad because this book itself could not stand on its own if someone just wanted to read the first one…
In the end though, I think Queen & Commander is a solid read. It fits the sci-fi category perfectly with its own world and sense of adventure. The characters are fun and the plot is interesting. Personally, I think you should go for it if this summary caught your eye at all.
About the Author
Janine A. Southard writes speculative fiction and videogame dialogue from her home in Seattle, WA. She sings with a Celtic band and is working on the next book in the Hive Queen universe. She’s also been known to read aloud to her cat.
The cat appreciates all of these things. Maybe.
Tags: books, reading, review, young adult
add a comment
(**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?
I knew that This is What Happy Looks Like would be a hit from the start. Not only am I fan of Jennifer E. Smith’s other novel, The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight, This is What Happy Looks Like has a plot that I would fan girl over. And guess what? I did.
This story starts off like any other cliché idea: small town girl meets hot-shot celeb and they hit it off. But then the paparazzi make it complicated and it’s only a summer fling, blah, blah, blah. But there’s a plot twist; the girl has a secret too. Now reading that, you might roll your eyes, but I promise that it is better than it sounds.
Now Ellie and Graham, they’re pretty relatable people. Ellie is self-conscious and witty and Graham is a total sweetheart. I empathized with Ellie and her reason to work hard and save money for her passion of writing and her future. I understood why Graham acts the way he does toward the paparazzi when he tries to keep Ellie out of the spotlight. I’m glad to say that all of the characters have flaws. They mess up, hold grudges, and explode milkshakes like the rest of us. Because of this, I felt like I was standing on the beach in Maine with them, instead of watching the story from the outside.
For me, the major highlight of this novel is the plot. A celebrity accidently e-mails a girl and things ignite, even though it was just an accident. As a teenager today, I’ve been that girl wishing to have just one chance with so-and-so from insertfamousbandhere. I know what it feels like to day dream about a relationship like Ellie’s and Graham’s. Reading about a story like that – even though it is fictional – made me smile. A lot.
The one thing I didn’t really like, though, was how the characters really only seemed to communicate through e-mail. Yes, they talked in person and used a phone, but it seemed that e-mail was the number one choice. Let’s be realistic here. E-mail is not the number one choice for teens; its texting or Facebook and even Twitter. When Ellie tries to apologize to her best friend for something, she uses e-mail. I mean really? You don’t go and try and personally talk to your best friend? On the other hand, I did enjoy reading the e-mails between Ellie and Graham. Although those pages softened my feelings about the e-mail thing, I still think that e-mail was a poor choice.
This is What Happy Looks Like is a cute novel. It’s one of those exciting-falling-in-love-for-the-first-time stories where you anticipate every moment between those two characters. Ellie and Graham’s story really is what happiness looks like. Check it out!
Tags: books, ebooks, publishing, reading, thoughts
add a comment
I would like to talk about my transition from print books to e-books, and everything in-between. Originally, I had been that person who didn’t want to read anything electronic. I like physical things: the way a book looks, smells, and feels. I’m selfish. If I’m going to get any object, I want it to be tangible. If I’m not able to appreciate the physicality of something, then it’s not worth it.
Yes, e-books were the sensible way to go. Not only did they cost less, you could also carry as many of them as you wanted to at once. They made sense. But at the same time, they didn’t have any of the things that I adored about a book.
A year ago, I read e-books. I only had my little iPod Touch to read on (and that kinda sucked). Why did I do it? Netgalley. Netgalley was the reason I started to branch into the world of e-books. I needed stories to review and Netgalley offered them; except to read them, I had to try something new.
Today, I am all for e-books. In the past few months, I noticed that half of the books I read are electronic. At the same time, that happens to be due to the fact that the publisher that sends me books to review is now only sending titles out electronically. I was devastated when I found out; one, because I didn’t have an e-reader and two, because how could an e-book replace any physical book?! Thankfully, my friend gave me her old Nook.
Let me tell you, the Nook fascinated me. Some of my friends already started to read electronically, but I hadn’t played around with any e-reader until that day. I was afraid that reading on a device would bother my eyes if I stared at it too long; thankfully, that wasn’t the case. The older version of the Nook places the text on a screen that resembles paper – it doesn’t even have a backlight! With my device, I’m not able to read in the dark. Although that should bother me, I find it kinda cool that I’m not able to read in the dark. A physical book doesn’t have a backlight, and the no backlight feature reminds me of a physical book.
Now, if you’re the person that is absolutely against e-books (which I’m thinking a little under half of you are; my poll told me that only 55% of you read e-books), I’m letting you know that I’ve been there. I didn’t want to transition because I wanted all of the physical things a book could give me that an e-book could not. Although I am no longer anti-ebook, I still prefer physical books. I will always prefer an actual book. Still, if you ever get the chance to try out an e-book I suggest that you do so.
Here are the good and bad things of e-books compared to physical books:
- They are significantly cheaper.
- You are able to carry as many books with you that your device will allow.
- There are plenty of free e-books. If you browse websites, there are plenty of free books for you to peruse. If you don’t recognize the author or title, don’t skip it! There are plenty of free e-books out there that are decent reads.
- A lot of popular authors come out with e-books as an addition to one of their other books or series. I’ve noticed a lot of YA authors have little prologues or extra stories that add on to popular characters and plots.
- You are able to get ebooks whenever you want them (as long as you have internet). There is no need to go out to your local bookstore or library.
- You are able to lend e-books to other people.
- Your device allows you to take notes and bookmark pages.
- You can’t physically hold said book in your hand.
- You cannot sniff said book and smell that wonderful ink and paper smell.
- There are no details to be seen on the cover, jacket design, pages or spine.
- An author cannot sign the book. I mean, he/she can, but an electronic signature is definitely not the same as an actual one.
- You are not able to turn to a certain page as quickly as you would be able to in a physical book.
There are a significant amount of positives and negatives, just like anything else. I went to the dark side, and I’m thinking that a lot of other people will end up transitioning too.
I was talking to my dad the other day about my future (since I’m going to college and all). I told him that my current goal is to work in book publishing when I get out of college. Instead of supporting me like a good parent, he stated his thoughts on how he thinks that publishing is dying. His reason for this: everything is going electronic. Of course I argued against him; there will always be people who will want those print books. Print books have been here as long as humans have been. Civilization started with written language, and with written language brings stories, fiction or non-fiction…
I want to hear what you think. Do you read ebooks or are you only print books? What do you think about publishing? Which way do you think society will lean towards? Leave your thoughts below!
Poll: Do you read e-books? March 23, 2013Posted by lostinbelieving in My Thoughts, Reading, Talking about Books & Covers, What's New.
add a comment
I’ve been curious…
Beautiful Blogger Award March 22, 2013Posted by lostinbelieving in Awards / Nominations.
A month ago, I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award by Antonia and Amanda over at ClassyAsFuckBookReviews. I would love to thank them very much! It was a very nice surprise to come home and find out (: They have pretty awesome book reviews, so check them out if you haven’t!
1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.
Alrighty. Well, I guess I’ll give you seven things about me that you guys probably don’t know already:
- In elementary school/beginning of middle school I was obsessed with Star Wars.
- I only recently started wearing makeup within the past few years. When I do, it’s different everyday. I usually go for sparkly eye shadow and liner; I like to be ostentatious.
- It’s absolute need of mine to travel one day, especially to other countries. If I don’t, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life.
- Although I’ve played the flute since 4th grade, I decided to switch to percussion my senior year of high school. Why? Because they needed people (and I’m not too bad).
- I only watch two shows: Doctor Who and The Legend of Korra. Other than that, I don’t watch tv.
- I currently have music in four different languages on my iPod.
- If you asked me to choose between music or books, I honestly would not be able to pick.
Although I couldn’t find a description of this award, I’m pretty sure it describes exactly what it says: beautiful blogger. Thank you again to Antonia and Amanda! The blogs that I am nominating are beautiful. I love the content they hold and the people that run them. (:
- ABC Book Nerd
- The Reading Date
- Reading the Best of the Best
- Vy’s Blog
- The Twins Read
- The Bo0ki3
Seriously, these blogs are awesome. Check them out!
Flawed, we’re truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful.
~ Justina Chen Headley (North Of Beautiful)
Book Thoughts: Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings March 21, 2013Posted by lostinbelieving in Book Reviews/Thoughts.
add a comment
(**I received this book in exchange for an honest review.)
Jason Stevens is growing up in picturesque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains—a winding sixty-five miles away.
Jason dreams of going to art school in the city, but he must first survive his teenage years. He witnesses a street artist from Italy charm his mother from the backseat of the family car. He stands up to an abusive husband—and then feels sorry for the jerk. He puts up with his father’s hard-skulled backwoods ways, his grandfather’s showy younger wife, and the fist-throwing schoolmates and eccentric mountain characters that make up Harpers Ferry—all topped off by a basement art project with a girl from the poor side of town.
Ugly to Start With punctuates the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adolescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways.
Ugly To Start With was definitely a first for me. Although I’ve read YA books that are realistic fiction, I haven’t read one where the main plot wasn’t based off of a romance of some sort. This book is based in 1970s, dealing with issues that are not as prominent today. Right from the beginning I was intrigued.
The protagonist, Jason, has a very realistic perspective. As a young adult, he expresses his anger and desires. He holds the prejudices that are to be realistically found in his setting. Although I didn’t agree with some of his views, I did understand that they were a product of the time and place he was raised, and didn’t let them cloud my judgment of the book, if anything it made it much more realistic and disagreeing with the main character added another level to the relationship I had with him. It felt like I had stepped into the mind of a boy. I also enjoyed that none of Jason’s thoughts were ‘censored’; it allowed me to step out of my bubble and see issues that other people are surrounded with.
While reading this book I kept asking myself what the plot was. To me, it seemed as if each chapter was still building up to the point of the book. I actually found out that Ugly To Start With is a series of short stories. At the time, I didn’t know that and concluded that this is a story about living life as it is. The reader follows Jason’s life, starting with him as a child and continuing into his high school years. Cumming’s writing allows the reader to feel lost, confused, and hopeful as the character does. At one point, I was really uncomfortable with part of the story. I think a good book shows itself by its ability to stir up feelings in the reader, especially unsettling ones. At the same time, I was not expecting a scene like that to show up in this book…
Ugly to Start With does start out a bit slow and builds up to one point. I really, really enjoyed one chapter of the novel – but that is what disappointed me. It felt as the whole book was built up to this one scene, but nothing happened after that one part.
In the end, I did enjoy this novel, but it is not something I would choose to read again. Ugly to Start With is interesting; it also deals with common issues that many are still dealing with today. Check it out!
Book Thoughts: When We Wake by Karen Healey March 13, 2013Posted by lostinbelieving in Book Reviews/Thoughts.
1 comment so far
(**I received this book in exchange for an honest review.)
My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027–she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity–even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future? Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.
Stories dealing with cryogenics interest me. The first time I read about this process was in the Artemis Fowl series, and then again in Across the Universe. I decided I was going to read When We Wake before I even finished the summary. And man, am I happy that I chose to read this book.
Fourteen pages into the book, I decided the plot was very original. I knew that the protagonist was going to die, be cryogenically frozen, and then brought back to life. What I didn’t know was how that was going to actually play out. How is it suddenly decided that a body will be frozen without prior agreement? The author answers my question by introducing the story that way. Before her death, Tegan agrees to donate her body to science, not realize how widespread the word ‘research’ constitutes to. Maybe this idea is obvious to everyone else, but this absolutely blew my mind. Never once did I think that cryogenics was a possible option. Honestly, this book made me re-think the ‘donating my body to science’ deal…
Forty-six pages into the book, I realized that this book was getting major points in my mind due to the diversity of the characters. It’s not just one token character either; multiple characters are of different nationalities. Even when a nationality wasn’t specified, I was able to take a guess because the characters also have names that pertain to certain nationalities. I am happy to say that When We Wake is the first book I have read with characters that are Muslim. Characters plural.
As much as I loved the other characters in the book, I did enjoy Tegan a lot. She breaks the girl-protagonist norms by being confident with herself and her body. Instead of saying that every other girl is much more beautiful than she is, she calls herself attractive and says that she has a good body. She’s also honest; she admits that having guys not notice her assets were kinda weird. Even if she sounded a little conceited, I didn’t notice because I was too busy smiling at the fact that she valued herself. There needs to be more YA girls like her.
Another great aspect of the plot is Tegan and Abdi’s relationship. Yes, there is romance in this novel. But what I liked about their relationship is that it’s approached in a different way than most books. Abdi doesn’t like Tegan at first. Then they manage to become acquaintances, then friends, and so on. They gradually get closer as the novel goes on, their relationship building as the story does.
The issues mentioned/dealt with in this novel are realistic portrayals of our world. The story isn’t a light read by any means, but the topics are written in a way that it’s meaningful and powerful, while the reader is being entertained and getting lost in the plot. Today’s society has come closer to equality and dealing with certain issues, but nothing is perfect. And nothing will ever be, as shown in When We Wake. Even in the future, we’ll be fighting for more equality, or battling for morality and saving our planet. When We Wake is a really great book to divulge on huge topics without certain views being shoved down your throat.
If you didn’t notice already, I really got into When We Wake. I actually didn’t remember who the author was until I realized I tried to read one of her books a few years ago. Even though I didn’t end up finishing her other one, I am glad to say I found When We Wake to be a lot better. If you’re someone who is passionate about the world and issues we deal with, I definitely recommend this novel to you.
Blog Tour: Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddell (Teasers) March 9, 2013Posted by lostinbelieving in Blog Tours, Now Featuring, Talking about Books & Covers, What's New.
Oh hey, welcome to this blog stop of Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddell! If you do not know what Deadly to Love is, you are now going to find out. Deadly to Love is a fabulous YA paranormal-urban fantasy-romance e-book re-releasing this month!
There is a love that is so dangerous, so powerful, so intoxicating that it embraces your heart and smothers your mind until it leaves you defenceless.
Serena knew that but still, it didn’t stop her. His name was Kai. He was the most beautiful, irresistible man she had ever encountered. Their attraction was too compelling to fight and she knew she would go to the end of the world beside him. That is love.
However behind the allure was hidden a deadly secret – a secret that threatened her fragile life… But secrets best left unsaid never remain hidden forever. When Kai reveals his true identity, she is exposed to a frightening world she had no idea existed. Controlled by powerful Elemental forces her life is placed in mortal danger.
Unbeknown to them, their lives have been entwined from the beginning and it leads her to discover an even greater secret about who she really is. As the pieces begin to unravel and death becomes a reality, Serena is forced to decide what is more important…her love or life.
I don’t know about you guys, but this novel sounds pretty cool. Thankfully for us, Mia gave me some little teaser quotes to share with you all…
Kai still kept a tight grip on my hand and as we neared the empty space he pulled us back slightly, deliberately slowing our pace so we were out of sync with the others. (Page 331)
His reply came quickly and my heartbeat increased a little as I read it, wondering what had come over me. (Page 58)
“Well as you can hear, I’m not dead and not planning on being so any time soon. Yeah the weathers weird but it’s not like we can do anything but wait it out I guess,” I lied. (Page 250)
“Water,” was all I managed to say as I tried to come to terms with what had happened. (Page 330)
Everyone stared at him in shock as what was written seemed to be too good to be true. (Page 291)
I seriously love the name Kai. Gahh, *swoons over characters that have amazing names*
About The Author:
Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and her preferred genre is Young Adult, Paranormal Romance. Before 2009, Mia wouldn’t even pick up a book and was more interested in sports. However she finally found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of both reading and writing. Mia began with poems and after getting two published in separate anthologies she moved on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series The Wanderer Trilogy and from there other ideas have emerged which she hopes to turn into novels as well. Elemental Killers is her second series and book two will be out soon.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia-Hoddell-Author/421368247889610?ref=hl