Book Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

From the first chapter I was hooked on this story. The mystery of the town, the intriguing sister Piper, and Skylar’s journey to discovering the secrets hidden in her memories are calculated to excite the reader’s imagination. Sorry for gushing, but I really can’t help it.

The narration is told in the first-person from Skylar’s point of view as she navigates both her memories and her beautiful and dangerous hometown in pursuit of the truth about Piper’s disappearance. Skylar is a young woman with special abilities that help her solve the mysteries of her sister’s past, as well as the secrets of Gardnerville.  Her bittersweet nostalgia brings up more questions than answers, but every glimpse into the past just makes you beg for more. She also has a serious drug dependency that causes memory loss, as well as trust issues that make it hard for her to find allies. In the end, the truly shocking truth is revealed and she is finally able to come to terms with her past so she can move forward with her future.

The build-up in this novel is definitely worth the finale. I was so gripped by the narrative I was afraid the ending might be a let-down, but Quinn ties it up with the only ending possible, at once perfect and painful. I deeply enjoyed the suspense, heightened by Skylar’s inability to remember vital details from the past and dependency on distrusted others for information. The only thing I found a little incredible was Piper. The way Skylar remembers her is as the most perfect human being ever, at once enchanting and mischievous. She is always the leader, always the funnier, prettier, better-loved sister. Although I wasn’t particularly a fan of Piper, or at least Skylar’s memories of her, that narrative does give a deeper look into Skylar’s view of herself. Definitely an awesome read and I’m excited to read her other novel Another Little Piece!

5 Bards!

fivebards

Book Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

This book was an unexpected pick up at Book Expo America this year, and I did major fangirl flailing when I got my hands on a copy of it, because The Naturals was one of my favorite reads from early 2014 (click on the title to see my review!).

It was absolutely wonderful to get back into the lives of the kids in the special FBI program, and it was a little bit harrowing as well (I wouldn’t have it any other way).  Cassie is still reeling from the betrayal of their previous FBI handler, when a new character is introduced and is going to be taking over the training and responsibility of these talented teens.  Now, when this happens, it irritated not only the characters, but also me as a reader.  Why? Well, she basically limits any of the cool story aspects for the characters to do in the first few chapters before the narrative really picks up.  While I do appreciate that she is determined that the kids need to finish high school, is there really any way that these characters WOULDN’T immediately get a job at the FBI once they are 18?  I mean they already have clearance, work experience, natural talent…. but anyway.

Once the story really gets going the novel is hard to put down.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it was better than the first installment, but it is definitely close.  There is a large amount of suspense and misdirection that happens when the teens get too caught up in the case, and there is definitely some scary moments where some lives are held in the balance. I can’t imagine how painful this novel would have been had the narrator been Dean instead of Cassie, but again, he isn’t a character who would really provide a lot of clarity in narration, as he tends to be a little hard to crack.

The love triangle, of course, makes an appearance–but I honestly don’t know who I would want Cassie to choose between Dean and Mike.  They both have a lot of flaws and emotional baggage, not to mention Cassie’s own issues with what happened to her in the first novel and how she was raised.  I think this is one of the reasons I love these characters and their story so much, because they are flawed and realistic.  Also: that twist! (I can’t say anymore!)

4 Bards!

fourbards

Top 14 of 2014: Day 2

top14of14

 

Instead of taking a week off after the Christmas holiday like I have every year since A Midsummer Night’s Read opened, I am joining forces with Krista from Krista’s Dust Jacket and Kim from Kimberly Faye Reads to host a Top 14 of 2014 meme!

 Not only are you able to participate in this meme, but we will each be hosting giveaways on our blogs including extra entries if you participate and add to our links! Feel free to use the graphic above in your posts.

Today’s topic is:

Top 14 Moments or Quotes from Books

(I’m choosing to do quotes!)

1. “We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.” – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

2. “And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to be just a character, going whichever way the story says. It’s knowing you could be the author instead.” – Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

3. “We’re talking about the novel, right? But maybe we’re not. We’re talking about ourselves. And I guess that’s what can start to happen when you talk about a book.” – Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

4. “I somehow knew that the particulars didn’t matter. She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing, certainly not a few measly hundred miles, was ever going to change that.” – Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

5. “There’s a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a jeep doesn’t mean you’re not classy, it just means you’re a free spirit with a small bladder.” – Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

6. “A strange thing, words. Once they’re said, it’s hard to imagine they’re untrue.” – A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

7. “A childish story take, and with a gentle hand, lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined in Memory’s mystic band…thus grew the world of Wonderland.” – Unhinged by A.G. Howard

8. “The great thing about best friends is that they know you really well. And the terrible thing about best friends is that they know YOU really well.” – Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

9. “You have this weird fear of squirrels that defies all reason.”
“They have creepy eyes.” – Loop by Karen Akins

10. “We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. they tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken.” – Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

memelistWhat were some of your favorite moments from books in 2014? Or your favorite quotes? I had to throw in a few comedic ones! Join our Meme!

Tomorrow’s topic is: Top 14 Favorite Covers!

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books on my Spring 2014 TBR List

Click on the titles to read the synopsis, and then add them to your TBR!

1. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

2. On the Fence by Kasie West

3. The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

4. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

5. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

6. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

7. Nil by Lynne Matson

8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

9. Tease by Amanda Maciel

10. End Times by Anna Schumacher

 

What are some of your books on your TBR list?  I’d love to have more to add to mine!

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Bookish Goals/Resolutions for 2014

1. Finish the Harry Potter series.
I know, I know.  It has taken me forever!  I had a good run this past summer reading the first 5 books in one fell swoop, then somehow I was distracted by tons of otherbooks. So I solumnly swear to finish this if only to finally get everyone off my back!

2. Read at least an hour everyday.
In a world where I end up staring at a computer screen all day, going to the gym, then trying not to go to sleep too early or too late, sometimes reading (my true love) can get put on the back burner.  But, I know that I’m always in a better place when I get a chance to read.

3. Finish reading all BEA 2013 books before BEA 2014
This one will be tough, because of the haul I ended up getting at BEA this past May. I’m going to try! Maybe the reading an hour a day resolution will help with this one.

4. Write at least 3 to 4 hours a week.
You know that novel that I’ve tried to sit down and write for like a year? Well, maybe this resolution will help me put a dent in the manuscript.

5. Interact with fellow bloggers more
Comments, Comments, Comments!

6. Host at least 1 Giveaway a Month
For the readers, yo! And it will hopefully help attract new readers

7. Try to find a regular feature for Fridays
Fangirl Fridays, Non-Fiction Fridays, Short Story Fridays, something has got to stick!

8. Find another (regular) review contributor
Missy and I work our hardest, but a third entity would really help us put A Midsummer Night’s Read at the top.  (If you are interested, email us at midsummerreads@gmail.com)

9. Try to find new authors to read
I was organizing my bookshelf and realized that this year I didn’t have too many new authors to me in my collection.  I’m fiercely loyal to those whose books I’ve enjoyed for a long time, but I need to branch out!

10. Celebrate Book Releases
I’d really like to help some authors launch their books via blog tours and even just as random posts.  Will be working on this concept…

What are some of your resolutions?  Bookish or not?

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