Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring on 2013!

I am going to try and keep non book review posts low, but I wanted to write out my list of 2013 goals for this blog!

Blog Goals:
1) Read 100 books by May 1st, 2013. (Not all will be reviewed, unfortunately I don't have enough time for this.)
2) Read 365 books by December 31st, 2013.
3) Post at least 2-3 reviews per week.
4) Work on finding more, better recommendations, at least two per reviewed book.
5) Write back up reviews to use when school gets busy.

Non Blog Goals:
1) Successfully complete the spring semester with an A/B average.
2) Graduate with my associates of general science.
3) Get accepted in to an accredited Dietetics program.
4) Don't go crazy!

What are your goals for 2013?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I have a logo now!

Or at least a way of advertising. 
I am pinning it to Pinterest so I can shamelessly promote myself!

Model Spy by Shannon Greenland

I have finally started going through my to-read list and finding books to read for this blog. This lead me to Model Spy by Shannon Greenland.
It is a short book at only 140 pages in its ebook format, but it packs a good story in to those pages.
Kelly James is a 16 year old genius with a 191 IQ (as the book frequently reminds us) who is a senior in college. And she is 5'10", blonde, and gorgeous. And a computer hacker. So a wee bit of a Mary Sue character. But she is likable, the author balances out the awesome traits of Kelly by making her an orphan in the foster care system. socially awkward, and a klutz.

At the start of the book Kelly is being arrested for hacking in to a government system. She is doing it to try and help the cute dorm RA David find out who his real parents are. As you would expect, its not her best idea ever. As she sits in the interrogation room she is given two options, join an elite government spy group for young adults or go to juvie. Not too hard of a decision. Five days later Kelly finds herself at the San Belden Ranch for Boys and Girls. To the outside world its a sort of foster home, but for those in the know, its a secret base for the Specialists. The Specialists are teams of teens and young adults who all have some sort of special skill set. Their code names match their skill set, Bruiser is a petite teen girl who is a master at martial arts and Beaker is a goth girl who got in trouble for playing with chemicals. Rounding out the team is Wirenut, an electrical master, Parrot, a master of languages, and Mystic the clairvoyant. All are foster children with a troubled past.

Its an adjustment for them all, but it is their first chance at having a real family.

It doesn't take Kelly, now nicknamed Gigi (short for genius girl), to learn to fit in. In fact, she adjusts quickly enough that she is ready to go on her first mission!
Her mission is to pretend to be a model going to an Eastern European modeling school to track down the bad guy. All of this is an attempt to find David's real father who was kidnapped ten years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, short as it was. I plan on reading the other books in the series if I can find them. I rate it a 3 1/2 out of 5

Recommended books:
Perfect Cover (The Squad #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: When I first read the blurb for Model Spy it reminded me of Perfect Cover. Perfect Cover is basically a cheer leading squad that only uses cheer leading as a cover for being spies. And it's a good book too.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter: Another spy book, this time set at an all girls school specifically training girls to be spies. A very good series.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

First, I absolutely loved this book.
I first heard about it in mid-November when The King's English bookstore had Kevin Emerson there for a book signing. Unfortunately, I didn't go and now I very much regret this. I had been contemplating getting a copy of the book ever since and finally bought it. I am so glad I did.

Books like The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson are the reason I am not allowed to start new books after 8pm. I started at 930 and the next time I looked at the clock it was midnight. I loved this book from start to finish, it drew me in with the post apocalyptic beginning and held my attention to the genetic memory and crystal skull end.

The Lost Code is set in 2086 in the EdenWest Biodome. Global warming has had an extreme effect on the world and there are very few safe places left to live. With a small strip of habitable land in the far north everywhere else that hasn't been reclaimed by the ocean is now a desert wasteland. The world population has dropped by six billion and much of those left now live underground or in one of six Biodomes. Life inside the biodome isn't particularly safe either, citizens must use noRad, a very, very strong lotion blocking UV rays.

But that is the background of EdenWest, where this book really is set is at Camp Eden, a summer camp located inside EdenWest.

Main character Owen Parker is a new arrival at Camp Eden, a summer camp that reminds the campers of what it was like before global warming and humans made the majority of the planet uninhabitable. He is from the Yellowstone Habitat, a system of caves and caverns located in, you guessed it, the former Yellowstone National Park. From the start Owen is given the nickname Turtle and picked on by the leader of the cabin, Leech. Leech is considered a hotshot simply because he is a repeat camper at Camp Eden.

"The morning after I arrived at Camp Eden, I drowned for the first time."
-Page 1, The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

During the cabin swim test Owen gets a cramp in his side and drowns. When he is pulled up the councilor in training Lilly tells him that he was underwater for over ten minutes but not to tell any of the staff. Miraculously, Owen is fine with the exception of weird gashes on both sides of his neck. Much of what happens after this in the book is all a result of his near drowning.

Owen gain a bit of popularity at the camp for his accident, especially with Lilly the CIT. She tells him to join her and the other CITs at lake for a night swim which Owen is more than eager to do. That night when he joins them for the first time he gets the surprise of a life time - the wounds on his neck aren't wounds at all, they are gills! Owen is shocked to find out that he can now breathe under water, a trait that the CITs also share.

The rest of the book is his attempt to hide this new ability from the camp director while searching to find out why exactly this has happened to him.

I seriously loved this book, I was very surprised with how good it was. I couldn't put it down once I had started, even if it did make me stay up past my bedtime.  I would rate it a 4 1/2 out of 5!

Recommended books:
The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)  by Rick Riodan - While The Lightening Thief isn't post apocalyptic like The Lost Code it is very similar in my mind and just as good. It also deals with a teen boy finding out about new mysterious powers and even going to summer camp. However, The Lightening Thief uses ancient Greek while The Lost Code is Atlantean.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

I found this little gem through They were offering a sale on certain ebooks and Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagon caught my attention. And it didn't hurt that it was listed at a very good price!
I was getting ready to travel from Salt Lake City to Chicago and unfortunately the book I had bought I had already read. Which I didn't figure out until two chapter in of course.
So I decided to try Don't Turn Around and boy am I glad I did. This book held my attention from beginning to end.

The cover could be interpreted as a bit creepy, it is a hand looking to push through some type of plastic or screen, like someone reaching to break free. The tagline is just keep running.

The blurb is fairly interesting sounding, it is the story of Noa and Peter. Noa is a former foster child using her computer hacking skills to escape the system and live on her own. Peter is the child of Boston high rollers, using his hacking skills as a way to be an activist. One evening Noa wakes up on an operating table with an IV in her arm and no memory of the past three weeks. The same night Peter is attacked and his computer stolen after hacking in to a large company called AMRF, a company doing medical research.

This is their story of trying to find out what exactly was done to Noa, why AMRF is so set on finding and shutting up Peter. Through out the story they were on the run with lots of exciting events along the way.

I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit, I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely recommend it if you like the intrigue meets hacking type book.

Recommended books:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner - while this is quite a different setting, it does involve teens left with amnesia after medical testing...

Ok, so my recommendations aren't that great so far, I am working on this and as I go along I will be updating old entries with new recommendations.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

London Eye by Tim Lebbon

I saw London Eye by Tim Lebbon while at the book store looking for book for my trip and thought, hmmm, that looks good. But, I am not a big fan of reading hardbacks while traveling. Hardbacks should be prized and kept on shelves where they can look pretty, not shoved in my back pack getting pushed all around. So I decided I would buy it as an ebook and give it a shot.
I was sold on the book when I saw a short ebook review saying London Eye is X-men meets Hunger Games. As I am a big fan of both of those, I just had to get it.

The cover looks like a standard dystopian/apocalypse cover. It uses a dark/dreary color scheme with two teens in the foreground and showing London in shambles in the background.

Now on to the review:
London Eye is a relatively short book, clocking in at 176 pages.
It starts out well, the main characters are Jack, a 17 year old boy, his girlfriend Lucy-Anne, and their two friends Sparky and Jenna. Jack, who was orphaned in a supposed terrorist attack two year before the start of the book is responsible for his younger sister Emily. At the beginning of each chapter there is a short news report from the attack from all the different news stations, BBC, CNN and a few others, showing the evolution of what was believed to have happened.
The premise of the plot is that the 'terrorist' attack is a cover up for something more sinister and these four teens are doing all they can to expose the truth, even if it means they have to enter the ruins of London by themselves. London is strictly quarantined, something that is enforced by the Capitol Keepers, soldiers who aren't afraid to use force.
We find out later in the book that it was a scientist releasing a biological agent as an experiment, but unfortunately it killed the majority of people in London that day. Those who were left were divided in to two groups, the Irregulars and the Superiors. The virus altered something in their brains but I can't say much more than that without ruining a big part of the plot. But rest assured, no zombies.

While London Eye is a pretty good book, it is rather anti climatic, there is no definite climax to the plot. I was left somewhat unsatisfied with the ending, it felt more like it could be the middle of a larger book rather than the end of this shorter book.

I would rate it a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, it is a quick read and I will probably read the sequel, at least to see how it ends.

Similar recommendations:
The Society by Lilith Saintcrow: An adult novel, not dystopian but in The Society people do have powers. Its a bit of a stretch, but if you like reading about people with different abilities, it pretty good.

For the record, I had the perfect recommendation to go with this, I read it earlier this year, but now I can't find it on my goodreads. I will keep hunting for it and update this later!

The Farm by Emily McKay

Yay, my first book review!  The Farm by Emily McKay (link lead to I had a hard time deciding on a book to review but this one sounded the most interesting.

The cover for The Farm is relatively sedate, it features a girl in a red hood standing next to a barbed wire fence. The tagline is Escape is only the beginning.

And with that, on to the review:

The Farm by Emily McKay:
I started this book with high expectations, the blurb sounded amazing and the premise is interesting.
The Premise: The Southwest has been decimated by genetically mutated vampires called Ticks and all the teenagers have been rounded up and put in Farms, supposedly for their protection. This story centers around Lily and her autistic sister Mel and their attempt to escape the Farm.

It starts out well, Lily is doing what she can to protect her sister and get the supplies they need to break out of the Farm. It is soon to be their 18th birthday and no one knows what happens when you turn 18, other than its not good. As she is getting supplies she runs in to the new kid on the Farm who turns out to be someone she knew in the Before. Carter is the boy Lily had a crush on in 9th grade, the resident bad boy. The premise says that Carter has a mysterious secret that could change everything for Lily and Mel, unfortunately, we find out the secret too early in the book and the book somewhat drags on from there.

It is a good book, however it didn't meet my expectations. It could have been a very excellent book but after the first few chapters it kind of fell flat. It is a decent quick read, but I don't know that I will be reading the sequel. I would rate it around 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Sadly, I can't think of any books off the top of my head to recommend that are similar, eventually I will find something.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Here's to a new blog!

Why, hello there.
My name is Stacy, as suggested by the name of the blog, and well, this is my blog about books.
It was recently suggested I start a book blog reading, reviewing and recommending books. My friend's often come to me for book recommendations so I thought I would give it a try.

So it pretty much comes down to this. I will review books and recommend similar books in case you are interested in them. Feel free to recommend books, the hardest part of this will be deciding what book to review next.