Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Dead And Buried, by Kim Harrington

Author: Kim Harrington
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 304 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

There's nothing that I love more than a good mystery. Have it in any scenario and I will covet it - I'm just THAT crazy about a mystery. However, a good mystery has to have one quality to make me like it. I'm not picky, but I do ask that the mystery is just that - a mystery. I want to be able to read through the story pulling my hair out because I have no clue how to solve the mystery. I don't think that's too much to ask for. 

Unfortunately, it seemed as though that was too much to ask for with The Dead and Buried. It didn't take me much time at all (less than a third of the way through the book) to figure out what was going on in the story. I was slightly disappointed by how quickly the mystery was unraveled for me and almost wanted to go ahead and put the book down. But I didn't do that. I've read books by Kim Harrington before and I enjoyed them, so I wanted to give this book a chance. I also secretly hoped that if I continued reading, I would find out that I had everything wrong and didn't figure anything out. 

By the end of the story, I knew that I was right all along but I was very glad that I finished the book. Aside from the "mystery" (I use that term loosely), this story had some very redeeming qualities. I liked the cast of characters and didn't mind any mention of social circles. I was surprised to find out that I actually liked Alexa more than Jade, the main character. Alexa's role in the novel was actually small, but her personality really made her stand out in her parts of the story. The romance in this was a little aggravating to me. On one hand, you have the beautifully broken boy that is connected to the murder somehow that Jade feels a real connection to - which was nice. On the other though, you have the other boy that is basically drooling over Jade that she pretty much uses for her own reasons - that was not so sweet, and I honestly could have done without that little part. 

Obviously, a ghost story isn't something very new to Young Adult but the plot of this one was engaging enough to keep me going. I think that, aside from the small detail of the mystery not being so mysterious, this story is a good read. 

Source: Purchase

Kim Harrington is the author of six books for kids and teens. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dark Territory, by J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel

Author: J. Gabriel Gates [W], Charlene Keel [W]
Publisher: HCI Teens [W]
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback; 504 pages
Series: The Tracks (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
Star-Crossed Love, Martial Arts, and Supernatural Evil meet at the Abandoned Tracks in the Deceptively Quaint town of Middleburg...When Ignacio Torrez moved from the rough streets of Los Angeles to a small town dead smack in the middle of nowhere, he never expected to find himself in the midst of a gang war. But, he soon learns, these are no ordinary gangs. The wealthy, preppie Toppers on one side of the tracks and the working-class Flatliners on the other adhere to a strict code of honor and use their deadly martial arts skills, taught to them by the wise Master Chin, to battle one another for pride, territory, and survival. When Raphael, leader of the Flatliners, falls for Aimee, a Topper girl, the rival gangs prepare for a bloody, all-out war. The only hope for peace between them lies within the dark territory of the abandoned train tunnels where the tracks cross. Under the direction of the mysterious and frightening Magician, the awesome power within the crossing sends the rivals on a terrifying mystical quest to fight the malevolent force that threatens the existence of Middleburg.

I've read many, many books. And there have been many plots and elements in each and every one of those books. However, out of the plethora of books that I have read, I can honestly say that I have never in my life read a book involving martial arts. I thought that was something that would have to stay to the television screen or a real life event that I see with my own two eyes in order to really get into it and understand it. Boy, was I wrong! To be quite honest, the one thing that made me hesitate the most about this book was the one thing that hooked me to the book quite easily. 

It's not just the martial arts that made me fall for this book, though. It was every single element and detail in this book, especially the characters. Raphael was an amazing character with so much history and quality to him that he seemed to really jump out of the pages for me. With his back story and how he handles his life, it was easy to feel a connection with him. Aimee was also great and I couldn't help but cheer for her and Raphael to work out together. The chemistry between the two is endearing.

There's also a nice number of characters that I couldn't help but love to hate. I'd assume that comes along with the territory of getting involved with a story that deals with gangs. BUT, I didn't know that I would get so emotionally attached to the story that the "bad guys" would actually make me have a physical reaction on top of the emotion. I would say that type of influence that a book has on you is a pretty big deal - and it shows just how well developed and written this book really is.

If I had to say anything bad about the book, I guess it would be that some of the plot is a little unoriginal with the whole girl on the "right side" falling for the boy on the "wrong side." That didn't deter me from the book one bit though because that very insignificant detail is just that - insignificant. The unique spin that the book takes on that plot, along with all the action, drama and suspense, really puts this story in its very own category. I absolutely loved this book and look forward to catching up with the rest of the books in the series. 

Source: Publisher

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes

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Author: Morgan Rhodes [F] [T] [W]
Publisher: Razorbill [W]
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover; 412 pages
Series: Falling Kingdoms (Book 1)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

War and politics in a book? Fantasy is sometimes very hit or miss for me - especially when these two themes are prevalent. War? Well, I have to admit that I like a good war story every now and then. Politics? Yeah, not so much. Thankfully, this book has both - so any qualms that I may have about politics is somewhat muted out by the war in the book. Add to this a few minor elements that may have rubbed me the wrong way, and I'll admit that I wasn't sure about this novel as I was reading. However, once I was finished, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the ample amounts of intrigue that I had with this book. 

Let's start with the not-so-good. As I said before, I'm not too keen on politics. Even with series that I absolutely adore like The Hunger Games, the politics sometimes makes me roll my eyes and wish for a little more of anything BUT politics. There is also the matter of dialogue. This book is categorized as historical fiction and definitely has the feel of something that happened in a different time. However, the dialogue sometimes contradicted that as it felt a little too.. modern. There was just some use of words and phrases uttered that didn't feel as if they were part of the same time period as the setting of the story. 

Aside from those two things, any issues that I may have had with the story were resolved as I was actually reading. The narrative switching perspectives for several characters was a little confusing but got easier as the story progressed. As a matter of fact, I don't think the story would have been as good without the switch of characters. Speaking of characters, I have to say that the four main characters really grated my best, most patient nerves at the very beginning - especially Cleo. However, like the switching around with the points of view, this annoyance disappeared as I delved deeper into the story. These characters actually grew on me quite a bit - all of them, including Cleo. 

The plot of this story was a little unoriginal as I have seen the premise taken on by other authors. HOWEVER, this story can definitely stand on its own two feet (or ends, as it is) quite well. The ending of this story was a bit of a cliffhanger, but in a very good way that keeps the appeal to find out more at an all-time high for me. Overall, this turned out to be a very interesting start to a series that I plan on staying with until the end. 

Source: Gift

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Giveaway!

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! Since it's about to be a new year and a fresh start for me after a very chaotic two years, I thought I would start the year out right. And how is that? With a giveaway, of course!

I'll be randomly setting up giveaways on Missy's Reads & Reviews every once in a while through 2013, just as a thank you to my wonderful followers/readers/subscribers. And while I normally go through Book Depository for everything, I thought I would switch things up and check out Powells. I've bought a few books through them but not as many as I should. So, let's remedy this now! 

For this giveaway, you can choose any book valued up to $10.00. If you're selected as the winner, I will contact you via e-mail and ask your book selection then - so no pressure to find something right now! 

For this giveaway, it will be US only (sorry!) since that is where Powells ships. However, I promise US only giveaways will be RARE this year!

Giveaway ends THIS coming Saturday, January 5th so ENTER NOW!

Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New This Week!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

These are just some of the books available this week. For more information on each book, please click the image to be redirected to the book's Goodreads page. If you're interested in purchasing the book, click on the title to be taken to the book's purchase page on Book Depository.
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