Review: The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

Book Title: The Treatment (The Program #2)
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Series: Book 2 in The Program duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”


How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?


Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
How often is it that less than a week after you feature something in a WOW post, that you get access to an e-ARC of it? Well it happened to me. You may recall that I made The Treatment by Suzanne Young the featured book on my first WOW post. Imagine my joy and elation when I got the email from Edelweiss that my request was accepted.

You may remember that I loved the first book in this duology. My review of The Program is here. All I knew at the end of that book was that I needed more Sloane, James and yes, even Realm.

Well I got more of these three. I also got to meet some new characters. Dallas was a badass and I adored her to pieces.Cassanova “Cas” was a bit of a mystery throughout a lot of it. Then there was Kellan, Asa & Arthur and of course Evelyn. All of them played a part in how the book turned out.Even some returning characters such as Lacey, Kevin and Roger played a part in this sequel. 

I’m going to do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of this review but oh my goodness, I loved this book. It was emotionally taxing, but not quite as much as the first book had been. I ugly cried quite a bit while reading this one. There were connections that no one saw coming. There was one connection that I totally called, but for the most part, the bombshells came without a single hint as to what was going to happen.

I still adored James and Sloane’s relationship. At times Sloane was a bit co-dependent on James but those brief moments were just that, brief.They were stronger together than apart and I rooted for them all the way through. I cannot always say that with couples in YA books so James and Sloane were a welcome exception.
Sloane was an awesome character. She was stubborn, she was compassionate and she was loyal. I absolutely adored her. Probably even more than I adored her in the first book. James was awesome too. He seemed different somehow and I couldn’t quite put my finger on how. He seemed more hopeful (the Program creators probably thought it was because of them) He was totally loyal to Sloane, despite a girl making the moves on him.
Realm turned out to have a lot more secrets than anyone could have dreamed! The vast chunk of the bombshells connected to him in some way.By the end, I was no longer sure if he was trustworthy.
I am going to give this book five stars.The editing was great, the feels were back in full force and the characters were awesome and multi-dimensional, which always makes me really happy. It was absolutely perfect and I loved it completely. I definitely plan on pre-ordering a copy of this book.

Stacking the Shelves #36

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This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

So I am about finished with this week. It has been a very long and stressful week. On Monday my mom & 13 year old brother were in a car accident that totaled my mom’s car. So we’ve been frantically searching for a new car. It’s stressful because we don’t want to have to keep our rental car for too long but we also don’t want to settle on a car.

I have still managed to keep the blog current which is great considering all the stress that’s been happening this past week. I also got some good books. HarperTeen uploaded a lot of new books onto Edelweiss. I was good and only downloaded 1 of them. I’m only going to allow myself one book a week. I am finally starting to get a toehold on my TBR list and I really do not want to lose control again. I got approved for another book from Edelweiss as well as a book from NetGalley. I also got an e-ARC sent to me early Saturday morning.

Bought
Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeliene Kuederick

-NetGalley-
Oblivion by Sasha Dawn

-From the author-

After The Storm (Angel Island #2) by Marie Landry

Gifted
Swag from author Marie Landry as a thank you for being on her Street Team. Sorry there are no pictures, I accidentally deleted the pics I took of the swag and didn’t feel like taking the pictures again.

Won


So don’t forget to link me to your Stacking the Shelves posts & vlogs. I’ll try to drop by as soon as I can.

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Review of Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Tuesday- Review of Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West
Wednesday- Waiting on Wednesday pick Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell
Thursday- No Post
Friday- Discussion Post Mood Reading
Saturday- Review of Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell (Spoilers)

Book Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA/Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from Katherine Tegen books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Disclaimer 2: This review contains spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

Review:
Okay there are a few things I need to say before I really get into the review for this book. One, this book is not for everyone. Some people will enjoy it and some people won’t. Secondly, you really need to suspend reality to enjoy this book. To most people, murder is not okay, but in this book, in this world, it’s all Kit knows.

As a child, Kit’s mother raised her to be a ruthless killer and to take over her mom’s reign as Dear Killer when she is ready. Kit has managed to keep the terror of Dear Killer alive. Her destiny has been settled since she was a small child. Her mom believes that the only way to deal with the crappy things that happen in the world is by asserting justice on their own.

She doesn’t kill everyone who sends her letters, she chooses her victims carefully from the letters that she receives. Yet things start to change when she receives a letter demanding that she kill a fellow high school student. Against her better judgement, Kit develops a friendship with Maggie even though that violates an unspoken rule to not get close to the victims.

Kit mostly sticks to herself so she won’t violate the unspoken rule. Yet Maggie sneaks into her seemingly cold heart and that makes it difficult for Kit to imagine actually killing her. Yet the idea of going against everything her mom has taught her, is difficult. So now Kit has to decide what is more important, her long held beliefs, drilled into her by her mother or her growing realization that she wants more for herself. She wants to be held accountable for her actions.

Kit’s home life is pretty crappy. Her mom deliberately married a man who is very emotionally and physically distant with her and Kit. He is very into his work and not really concerned about his wife and kids. One could call that convenient which of course is not a good thing, but then again I had to suspend reality for this book. Her mom didn’t want anyone in the family to question what she was doing. Yet she and her mom are very close. They talk about everything which is really nice to see as that kind of relationship is underrepresented in YA.

There were some lulls at about 70% into the book and the character development wasn’t as strong as I was hoping that it would be. It was an interesting concept that overall I enjoyed. I am going to give it 4 stars because I did enjoy the book overall.I can definitely understand why some people had problems with it, but I really enjoyed it and was glad to read something completely different than anything I had ever read before. I would recommend it mostly because it was such a unique read that I am really glad I took a chance on.

Mood Reading

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This post was inspired by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner. She recently wrote a post on mood reading. This got me thinking as I am also a mood reader. I am also big on schedules so it’s difficult to figure out which one will win out and it’s always a different mindset that wins out every week. I love schedules and when it comes to book reviews I try to follow them but I refuse to force myself to read a book that I am not in the mood for.

I recently finished Dear Killer which is a YA Mystery and while I did enjoy it, I had to be in the right mood for it. If I had read it a month ago, it wouldn’t have worked because I was in a YA Contemporary phase and reading Dear Killer at that time would have ruined the book for me because I was not in the mood for a YA Mystery.

The idea of throwing out my color-coded review schedule makes me super panicky and scares the crap outta me. I thrive on schedules and if I were to just throw out the schedules and just listen to my mood completely, I think my compulsive need to meet deadlines would screw with my head completely and possibly ruin my love for reading at least temporarily. However, I know myself well enough to know that if I read a book that I am just not in the mood for, my review & the attached rating will suffer.

So I am just going to embrace my mood reading and be okay with the idea that I might not meet every single deadline that publishers want me to make and that’s okay. I would rather write a fair review and rate it correctly and have the review come in a little after the release date than write an unfair review with an incorrect rating and have it posted prior to the release date.

So are you a mood reader or are you more of a schedule reader?

Waiting on Wednesday #4 Summer On The Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming books that we are excited about.

Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell. 

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there’s life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she’s ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

Book Information
Book Title: Summer on the Short Bus
Author: Bethany Crandell
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBook Depository

My Reaction
How am I just now hearing about this book? It looks amazing and totally up my alley. In an upcoming review for Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern, I make a point to mention how underrepresented the teens with disabilities are in YA books.  In Summer on the Short Bus, we take a spoiled teenager and send her off to work at a camp for disabled teens. So YAY, more teenagers with disabilities are coming up in YA. That makes me super happy. I am so excited to read this book and I really wish it was out already.
So what upcoming book are you waiting for?

Review: Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West

Book Title: Split Second (Pivot Point #2)
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Series: Book 2 in Pivot Point duology (My review of Pivot Point is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Oh Split Second, how I loved you. Let me count the ways…

Just kidding, I am absolutely not that poetic, but holy crap this was an awesome book, from beginning to end. There were twists and turns frequently which I loved. Addie and Laila are still one of my all time favorite friendships. The friendship is beautiful, reciprocated and well balanced which I love. 

Unlike in Pivot Point, I loved Trevor. He was sweet and kind and so supportive of Addie. This time around, I bought their relationship and not only that, I rooted for them as a couple. Generally a Norm and someone with abilities do not mix well together, but with Trevor and Addie it just works and it works really well.

Connor and Laila were my favorite relationship in this book. Connor was the quintessential bad boy and Laila was the only girl to be seemingly immune to his charms. Yet, again, they work somehow. Maybe it’s the opposites attract thing, I don’t know. Laila needs Connor’s help though and it’s at that point, that you realize that Connor’s bad boy image is just a facade.

My favorite subplot was Laila’s brother Elliot. He hasn’t Presented yet and he’s scared that he won’t Present. I was scared that he wouldn’t Present and that he would be kicked out and made to live in the Norm world. Watching Laila try to help him was beautiful and at times, heartbreaking. I can never say enough about how much I love brother-sister dynamics in books.

I’m obsessed with the ending. It was quick paced and action filled to the point where I didn’t want to put it down for anything, nope not even a bathroom break. Even the ending kept me guessing, which I absolutely loved. I am so sad that my journey into this world is now over and that I will never see these characters again. 5 stars to this book. I think everyone should read this duology.

Review: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Book Title: Don’t Call Me Baby
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Release Date: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

Imogene’s mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene’s crush saw her “before and after” orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online…until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

Don’t Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:

I knew this one had potential to be really great or really terrible but I decided to read this one now because I really needed a light and fluffy read. Thankfully, I did get that but unfortunately this book leaned on the terrible side. Normally, I don’t make lists in my reviews but I will this time because I think it’s going to be the only way that I am going to be able to sort out my feelings about this book.

Disliked
  • Immogene- She lacked any sort of backbone. She was very passive about her mom’s blogging all about her. She lacked the anger that she swore she felt.
  • “Mommylicious” Meg- She was an absolute whackjob and she seemed to be more interested in her blogging life than in the real world- you know the place with sunshine and beaches and family time.
  • Meg’s husband-Yup, yet someone else who was a doormat. I mean hello, it seemed as though Meg and her readers made all the decisions about what to do if/when Immogene acted up.
  • Sage- She really didn’t understand where her mom’s concern for eating right came from. To be fair, neither did I until the book was nearly over. However, if she had just TALKED to her mother, I think things could have improved a lot quicker.
  • Writing- It seemed very juvenile. It seemed to straddle the edge between Middle Grade books and Young Adult books despite Immogene being 15 years old.The dialogue seemed overly simplistic 90% of the time. 
Liked

  • Grandma Hope- She basically saved the book for me.
  • Immogene’s longtime crush- He was all kinds of adorable. He clearly had a drastically different home life than Immogene had. I think that helped Immogene realize that her mom blogged about her because she loved her and was proud of her. 
  • The setting- I mean Florida, beaches? Great setting for this book.
  • The cover- It looked so serene and calm.
  • The ending- It was full of brutual honesty which I am all for.
So all in all, I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I didn’t particularly like most of the characters, but Immogene’s crush and Grandma Hope totally made up for the other characters. I could probably get away with giving it 2.5 stars but the ending helped a lot. So I’ll give it a firm 3 stars. Maybe others will enjoy it more than I did.

Stacking the Shelves #35

This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

I’m back, everyone! You may have noticed that there was no Stacking the Shelves last Sunday. That was due to only having one book and I really didn’t think it was necessary to have a post for only one book.
Thankfully, this week brought more books. I got a freebie off of Amazon (I probably should not have bought another book but oh well) A blogger friend by the name of Andi sent me two books. Thank you Andi. I also “won” a book from ARCycling, but it’s not really winning in the typical sense, either way, I got it. Funny thing was, it was donated by my friend Stormy. I got a book from Edelweiss as well. Excited about this one, hoping it’s as good as the cover makes it look. I also got a book from NetGalley this week.


Bought

Counting to D by Kate Scott


Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
Sublime by Christina Lauren

-NetGalley-

The Kiss of Deception (The Remmant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson


Gifted

Once (Eve #2) by Anna Carey
Rise (Eve #3) by Anna Carey


Won

Independent Study (The Testing #2) by Joelle Charbonneau

As always, leave me links to your Stacking the Shelves posts and vlogs.

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Book Blitz for The Right Moves (The Game #4) by Emma Hart
Wednesday- Review of Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman
Thursday- Review of She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Friday- Did Not Finish (DNF)
Saturday- No Post
Bloggers Mentioned
Stormy of Book.Blog.Bake
The ladies of ARCycling

Did Not Finish (DNF)

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I really do not like not finishing a book. It makes me feel like crap despite knowing that I don’t want to waste my time on a bad book. I question myself about why I didn’t finish the book. I wonder if I just didn’t understand the book. It gets even worse when I appear to be the only one in the blogosphere that didn’t enjoy a book. It feels like “Okay, what am I missing?” “What’s wrong with me?” but in actuality, it’s okay to not like a book. Not everyone is going to absolutely adore every single book.

There are many reasons that I choose to DNF a book but they basically come down to character development (no I don’t have to love the character but I have to see some sort of effort in developing them) and writing style. There have been several books in which I hated the writing style but the characters were intriguing enough for me to keep going. There have been other books were the writing was beautiful and despite having flat characters, I finished the book.

Pacing is another big one. It’s not a huge deal for me, but it’s definitely a factor and if I am having a hard time trying to decide if I want to finish the book, pacing will come into play. Is it fast paced and trying to lure me in or is it slow paced and not really caring if I get drawn in?

Recently, I’ve DNF’ed 2 books. Both hyped (possibly overhyped) and at least one of them, I was the true black sheep for. It’s disappointing but I definitely don’t want to waste my time reading books that are just not working for me for whatever reason. I’d rather focus on books that I loved. I find that it is a much better use of my time.

So have you DNF’ed a book yet in 2014?

Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

Book Title: She Is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgewick
Release Date: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

Disclaimer:I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Review:
I was very excited about this book and jumped into it as soon as I could. I loved the idea of a blind protagonist as that is something that is not seen in many, if any, literature. So I was curious to see how it would be written. I was not expecting it to be written in the way that it was written. It pretty much ruined the book for me. I read for pleasure and the last thing I want to feel while I’m reading is that I am in a philosophy lecture. Unfortunately that’s exactly the way I felt while reading this.

Not only that, but you really have to suspend reality for a little while. Now I don’t have any problems with Laureth being blind and traveling. I know lots of blind people who travel. But having it be so easy for Laureth and Ben to travel from London to New York without having hardly any issues at all? Um, no. So not possible. Especially when they have never traveled on their own before.

Ben and Laureth I really enjoyed.There aren’t enough books that have a sister and brother that really enjoy being around each other. They were my favorite part of the book but even they weren’t enough to make me enjoy the book. The writing style was really weird and I think that if there wasn’t a philosophy lecture at every chapter, I could have overlooked the strange writing.

The ending was really anticlimactic. I was expecting something quite different from what I got and I was left feeling very disappointed. This book was just not one that I enjoyed. Hopefully others will find it enjoyable but I did not. I’ll be giving it 2 stars. The overabundance of philosophy just really ruined the book for me.