Saturday, June 30, 2012

Devine Intervention: Thou Shalt Not Wear Spandex in Front of Hundreds of People...unless you happen to be performing at the US Olympic Gymnastic Trials.

Devine Intervention
By Martha Brockenbrough
Hardcover, 304 pages
Arthur A. Levine Books, June 2012

There is a great legend of the guardian angel who traveled across time and space for the human girl he loved, slaying those who would threaten her with a gleaming sword made of heavenly light.

This is not that story.

Jerome Hancock is Heidi Devine's guardian angel. Sort of. He's more of an angel trainee, in heaven's soul-rehabilitation program for wayward teens. And he's just about to get kicked out for having too many absences and for violating too many of the Ten Commandments for the Dead.

Heidi, meanwhile, is a high school junior who dreams of being an artist, but has been drafted onto her basketball team because she's taller than many a grown man. For as long as she can remember, she's heard a voice in her head - one that sings Lynyrd Skynyrd, offers up bad advice, and yet is company during those hours she feels most alone.

When the unthinkable happens, these two lost souls must figure out where they went wrong and whether they can make things right before Heidi's time is up and her soul is lost forever.

Martha Brockenbrough's debut novel is hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful, with a sense of humor that's wicked as hell, and writing that's just heavenly.

Devine Intervention makes No. 9 in the 2012 Debut Author Challengehosted by the Story Siren.

Pricky's Review: Some Spoilers Included.
Rated 2.5 Stars on Goodreads.

Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, stereotypical: lives on the wrong side of the tracks with his drunk dad, has no future, can't stop thinking about "milk cartons" or short skirts, and acts without consequences--like letting his cousin shoot an apple off his head. Which is how he found himself in Heaven's rehabilitation program in the first place. His last saving grace is to be Heidi's guardian angel. So since her birth, he's pretty much made her believe she hears voices in her head, singing FreeBird.

When Jerome finds himself in the Rehabilitation Program, he learns about the "Guardian Angel's Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition" (which he promptly loses), the 9 levels of Hell (Level I: Everlasting Standardized Testing, Level II: Ballroom Dancing with the Elderly, etc...), Morning Therapy Group Sessions, and of course, swearing sensors. 

While I admire the creative parody behind the story, I found it tiring after awhile. And even with the "swearing sensors" in place, Jerome has a pretty active mouth. The barrage of slang (chevy, motherflasker, apple hole, get the point) was distracting and overwhelming...after reading it for the HUNDREDTH TIME.

The plot was also a bit unbelievable: Heidi wears a black-and-white spandex outfit and dances with her best friend, Megan, in front of the entire school in the Talentpalooza. According to BFF Megan, "We have to do this, Heidi, if only to take high school back from the people who rule it....We must defeat them." Now either I'm missing something or Megan's lost a few screws because when was dancing with another girl in front of the entire school EVER going to be a winner? I just can't believe that a teenager would ever think so. So of course, Heidi's upset and ends up taking a walk near a frozen pond.

You can imagine what happens. She falls through the ice, and Jerome inadvertently saves detaching her soul from her body, and they now have 48 hours to make things right. I have to say, this is where the story went south for me. With so much emphasis on the comedic aspect of heaven, it became too much.

I was surprised by Heidi's lack of despair or panic when she finds herself "dead." I also thought the entire side plot for saving her dog Jiminy was a bit ridiculous. She pretty much occupied his body in order to save it while Jiminy's spirit went off to chase squirrels. But then again, I've never had a dog...

A Pricky Post.
In the end, I did like how Jerome changed and became more confident and responsible. The story is a bit predictable and somewhat confusing towards the end (what was the celestial squirrel nut for?) and I thought the reincarnation was a bit out of left field. And being a romantic, I don't always like stories where the spoiler (boy and girl don't end up together). I admire the creativity behind DI but after that, it didn't really do much for me.

So should you read it? Maybe...if you've got a lazy afternoon with nothing to do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spoilers for the Maze Runner

Dear Robot,

Let me just add my review. It may shed some light on the matter. Or not.


First 100 pages: I have no idea what is going on. Apparently, neither does the main character Tom. And apparently, neither the author or the other characters in the story want to tell us what's happening or where Tom has found himself. (I get the whole 'let's leave the reader in suspense' bit but really, the whole book?)

Also, the made-up slang/swear words are just distracting and basically annoying and really don't add much to the dialogue.

Next 200 pages: Okay, some interesting stuff starts to happen: Tom gets locked out in the maze, a mysterious girls shows up, Tom accesses his old memories to solve the riddle of the maze. Issues I have: Why add a girl to the plot when she doesn't really have a strong purpose to the story except the fact that Tom really likes her? Also, telling me that all these guys are really smart is not convincing unless you show me that they are really smart.

Last 100 and so pages: When will it ever end? Let's finish this already. Not a surprise, we find that Tom and company have been put into an experiment chamber in order for the creators to discover which factors/people will help them solve the destruction of the earth. Now, here's the biggest problem that I have with this plot: The boys are supposedly really smart; well, if they were so smart then why couldn't they have solved the maze themselves; why did Tom have to access his 'old memories' in order to solve the riddle. Not very convincing of their intelligence. Also, why did they have to have their memories wiped? What purpose did that have to the story other than mystery?

Basically, I'm just glad it's over. And I can think of plenty of other similar scenarios/books that deliver a much more convincing "POW!" at the end; I'm thinking Hunger Games, Incarceron, Ender's Game...Try those instead.

Hope that helps.

Love, Pricky

The Maze Runner: the slang stopped me

The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
Hardcover, 400 pages
Delacorte Press for Young Readers, August 2010
Rated: Unfinished, but please tell me what happens!

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

I'm upset with this book. My aunt had read it and said it was alright. But I still wanted to read it. Oh it was kind of painful. There's so much slang. They use other words instead of filthy language. It feels like it's pretty much the same thing. And (at least in the beginning of the book) it's used SO OFTEN that it's SO ANNOYING. SO I didn't finish it. BUT I want to know what happens. And what the whole maze thing

Anyone care to let me in on the secrets of the maze runner. Spoilers welcome! What is this book really about. Who is Thomas? Who is the girl? Why the maze? Anyone????


Free Audiobooks This Summer!

I'm not super big on audiobooks-it's difficult for me to concentrate sometimes. But I have listened to a few-such as Eoin Colfer's Airman and Half-moon Investigations. (Both great!)

Anyway, SYNC is offering two free audiobooks each week this summer. The week starts on a Thursday and you can download the file until the following Wednesday. Today is Wednesday so go quick and download your books! One book is a YA read and the second book is a classic.

Here's the lineup:
June 14-20: The Eleventh Plague and The Grapes of Wrath
June 21-27: Irises and Sense and Sensibility
June 28- July 4: The Amulet of Samarkand and Tales from the Arabian Nights
July 5-11: Anna Dressed in Blood and The Woman in White
July 12-18: Guys Read: Funny Business and The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras Couty and Other Stories
July 19-25: Cleopatra's Moon and Anthony and Cleopatra
July 26-Aug 1: Pinned and TBA
Aug 2-8:  Daughter of Smoke and Bone and A Tale of Two Cities
Aug 9-15: Skulduggery Pleasant and Dead Men Kill
Aug 16-22: The Whale Rider and The Call of the Wild

Click here to go to their schedule page where you can click on the links to get to their download page.

Or Click here to go straight to The Eleventh Plague download page.

So today's the last day for The Eleventh Plague and The Grapes of Wrath. But you can download it NOW and listen to it today or a year or 5 years from now! It's all good! Enjoy some summer listening!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Last Echo: I'm just a tiny bit embarrassed...

The Last Echo (The Body Finder #3)
By Kimberly Derting
Hardcover, 360 pages
Harper Collins, April 2012
Rated: 2.5 out of 5

In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye....

Pricky's Review:
So...I'm just a teeny tiny bit embarrassed. A couple weeks ago I raved about The Body Finder Series in "My Favorite Reads" Giveaway. And don't get me wrong...I still love love love The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead (#2). But somehow this one took a turn around the wrong bend...

The Love Triangle:
The thing I had loved about the first two books was the complete absence of ANY love triangle. It was a nice change to all the love-triangle frenzy. I loved watching Jay and Violet's relationship unfold. So you can imagine my disappointment when the only scenes in The Last Echo of Jay and Violet were short, simple dialogues and lots of kisses...(not that I mind the kisses but after awhile you forget what made them special). The entire book is focused on RAFE. RAFE. RAFE. Rafe, who reminds me so much of "Edward": dark, moody, mysterious. And surprise, surprise. He seems to only have a connection with Violet. Even down to the "electric sparks" between them...

Finally, a slow grin spread over his face. "Well, that was awkward." Violet flexed her fingers, still awed by the strange sensation rippling through her. "Do you mind explaining what the hell that is?" she asked. "You feel it too...don't you?"

Oh, please. And what is it about girls who can't just ADMIT or SEE that the boy likes her?

"They were just friends, she and Rafe, and she was worried for him. Friends could touch each other. Friends could hold hands."

Whatever you say Violet...But then she'll see Jay and it's all about "I need you Jay. You complete me..." I think I'm going to gag.

Which brings me to point #2-Violet:
I missed the old Violet. Even though she had a few insecurities in #1 and #2, it really became full blown in this one. She's constantly worried about her relationship with the rest of the TEAM. And she can't seem to make up her mind about Jay or Rafe. Even in the end, she's still torn between the two! She doesn't seem to  connect with her friends as much as she did in the first two...but then again, she's NEVER around them in this one. And I miss all of Chelsea's funny dialogue.

So what about the plot?
Every few chapters, we read about the murderer and his thoughts. Derting really made him creepy and disturbing. While it was creative, I felt like he was a bit too sicko for me.   spoiler (He wants a girlfriend/wife to love him so he kidnaps them and dresses them up...) And I'm not quite sure if I buy into the psychology of it...but then again, people do the weirdest things for the weirdest reasons.

Also the side plot of James Nua seemed out of place and unnecessary. James Nua is a killer who Violet happens to see in the police station and he's out to get her because he thinks she knows something...

Should you read it? Maybe...
I'm not sure I like the direction of where this series is going. I had LIKED the simple small town life scenarios of the first two...but now is the introduction of a whole slew of new characters and new assignments. It's like Veronica Mars evolving into CSI. And something's gone missing. Other reviewers really enjoyed this one, so I'm sure I'm in the minority but I think this is the end of the line for me. :(

PS. The title is confusing and Derting even says that herself. So there will be #4: Dead Silence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Future of Us: A story for all Facebook Fans...

The Future of Us
By Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Hardcover, 356 pages
Razorbill, November 2011
Pricky says "4 Bites and Read it!"

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Pricky's Review
It's fast-paced. Entertaining. Short and simple. 

Josh and Emma are 2 neighborhood friends in 1996 who discover their future life on Facebook.

For anyone having lived in the 90s, this story is a bit nostalgic: lyrics to popular songs, references to AOL, and the fact that people had to "look up" stuff at the library. Asher and Mackler do a pretty good job...but I do wish they could have made some clothing or movie references (plaid shirts, birkenstocks, what else am I missing?) Also, one of the wealthy characters has a cell phone which (even though she was filthy rich), I still found to be a bit unbelievable; for me personally, I don't think I even knew anyone with a cell phone until almost the turn of the century...but then again, I wasn't really in the same circle as the more "privileged" kids.

The chapters switch between Josh and Emma's point of view and the chapters are short and concise, making me move quickly through each chapter. It was a definite page turner.

I thought some of the jabs at FB posts were pretty funny: the things we post to the "world" and our constant obsession with social networking. I'm guilty to both. ;) But it wasn't just a story about Facebook, there were a lot of subtle underlying themes of fear and love and the awkwardness of youth that were woven very nicely into the story.

The Future of Us was sweet and such a fun fast read. I think this would make such a cute movie starring Kristen Bell. She would be perfect!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Angelfall: Don't even think about falling asleep...

By Susan Ee
Digital Publication
Feral Dream, May 2011
Rated: a "Definite Read"

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Pricky's Review:
With Angels being the next big thing following the vampire/werewolf craze, it's been hard to find one that works. Most of the angel lore I've read are so convoluted that my head is often spinning right after and some, are just plain ridiculous...

So I took a chance and Angelfall falls right into my Kindle. Amazing little device by the way. And I'm a bit hesitant because all my GR friends have raved about it and what if I don't like it?

Angelfall starts out so different from all the other Angel books-with the aftermath of earth destroyed by otherworldly beings. The Bay Area is torn apart by Angels. Civilians are left to their own devices for survival. In the middle is just another teen and her family trying to live long enough to get to another meal...until they happen upon an angel's brawl.

What makes Angelfall unique:

Indie Author:
I admit; I was a bit (okay, really) skeptical about reading a self-published book. I don't have a lot any experience reading them (except for that time, a little boy tried to sell me his self-published picture book at a Book Festival); and I truly expected poor writing. But Ee delivered high quality material. And her reasons for becoming an indie author really clarified things for me and can be explained here: The Background of Angelfall.

The Angel Apocalypse:
Angelfall makes you wonder what would really happen if the word was destroyed tomorrow. What causes humanity to change? What would you do to survive? While I loved that Angelfall started out this way, I did want to know more background to the destruction. There are a few clues here and there, and maybe Penryn doesn't really understand it all, but it would have been nice to know a little more. I still don't understand much about the Angel lore either; there's a scattering of information about them, but i don't feel like I have a clear construct of who they are, who Raffe is to them, and other definitions of nephilim, archangel, etc...

But at least there was NO insta-love:
With fantasy-land being inundated with insta-love romance, Angelfall is an outlier. Penryn despises Angels but must save one in order to save her sister. I love the idea of two characters brought together under less than ideal circumstances who must determine how they feel about the other person. I did hope that there would be more hatred and anger from Penryn towards the Angel in the beginning. While there were several scenes that conveyed her disdain for him, I felt like it could have been more. And it's quite clear that Penryn is "attracted' to him even though she hates him. I think I would have liked it more if she didn't find him as attractive: would it have changed the story? Would she have eventually liked him? And the part where she decides to spoiler (kiss him) still confuses me.

Plenty of witty dialogue:
I love love a book with witty dialogue! Dialogue can either make or break a story and Angelfall definitely makes it. One of my personal favorites:

"My friends call me Wrath," Says Raffe. "My enemies call me Please Have Mercy.
What's your name, soldier boy?

A host of interesting characters:
Outwardly, the angel Raffe has the cockiness of a warrior but inside is a mixture of hidden emotions. I loved his character the most. Penryn is determined and loyal but whose fears are always just at the surface. I loved that she was strong and knew how to throw a punch! I loved that she cared about her family albeit her creepy mother. She makes you wonder how much is reality and how much is mental illness.

If it means anything, I survived 3 days on 5 hours of sleep just to read the next chapter and the next. It's a definite page turner, but I do have to say that the first 3/4 of the story didn't pull at my heartstrings as much as the last 1/4. However, Ee must have been doing something right during the build up because I cried. CRIED! And my heart broke at that one part. And then everything about Raffe seemed to make sense. I really really liked this story, and I can't wait to read Ee's subsequent books! it's a definite read!

And for only $2.99 on Amazon, it's more than worth it! Unless you value your sleep, of course....

Click here to purchase Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1) on Amazon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"My Favorite Reads" Giveaway: And the winner is...

...Carrie A.!!

Congratulations! You've just won a copy of the fabulous BODY FINDER!
Please check your email to claim your prize! (or you can email us)
If we do not hear from you, we will pick the next winner. Thank you!

And a Great Big THANK YOU to everyone for visiting the Zombie Mommies
and entering our giveaway!!!
We hope you visit us again soon! In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Legend: I know I didn't finish it but...

By Marie Lu
Hardcover, 305 pages
Putnam Juvenile, November 2011
Rated: 4 Bites

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

(Robot's Review: To check out Pricky's review click here.)
I have this problem. It's called reading part of a book then not finishing. I've been guilty of that enough. And it's not to say that the book isn't good or capturing. It's just that I don't have enough time. And then I don't finish the book and so I don't blog about it. Well, I'm blogging about it anyway!

This book was great from what I read. A little bit of violence though. I kind of stopped at the spoiler kissing) part. 

But I enjoyed the switching of the points of view. So that was helpful in getting to know each of the main characters-one being a girl (June) and one a boy (Day).

It was a good paced book as well. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Giveaway hosted by The Midnight Garden!

If you love pararnormal or dystopian fiction as much as I do, then hop on over to the midnight garden for a chance to win:
Revived By Cat Patrick
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life. 

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.
The Last Princess By Galaxy Craze
Happily ever after is a thing of the past.

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless.

When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year-old Princess Eliza manages to escape.

Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope—and to love—once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she not become... The Last Princess.

I haven't read either book but they both look pretty good to me!

Friday, June 1, 2012

"My Favorite Reads" Giveaway

Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder (Hardcover, 327 pages/Harper Teen 2010) is icing on the cake. I loved loved this book. While it's a bit paranormal (only in the sense that Violet can sense murdered beings) and also a bit of a mystery, it's really about the romance between Violet and Jay. By the way, I'm in love with Jay. And the way Derting writes, she knows just how to describe what they are feeling for each other. I couldn't stop reading and I couldn't stop being drawn into their relationship. And oh, those kissing scenes...(Also, the chapters about the murderer's POV were creepy but thankfully, nothing over the top scary...and none of the murders are no need for night lights!)

This is the first of the series and one of my all time favorites so I wanted to share the love with a giveaway of a paperback copy. I hope you like it too!