Read But Not Reviewed: Summer 2014

I have a bunch of half-written reviews piling up on the blog. Every now and then, I revisit these sad, unfinished post and try to add more to them. But it’s gotten to the point that it’s been just too long. Here’s a list of books that I tried and failed to write longer posts for…

Read But Not Reviewed

With or Without You by Brian FarreyWith or Without You by Brian Farrey

Summary: Eighteen year-old Evan and his best friend, Davis, get beaten up for being loners. For being gay. For just being themselves. But as rough as things often seem, at least Evan can take comfort in his sweet, sexy boyfriend Erik–whom he’s kept secret from everyone for almost a year.

Then Evan and Davis are recruited to join the Chasers, a fringe crowd that promises them protection and status. Davis is swept up in the excitement, but Evan is caught between his loyalty to Davis and his love for Erik. Evan’s lied to keep his two worlds separate. Now his lies are about to implode…and destroy the very relationships he’s been trying to protect.

I ended up enjoying With or Without You by Brian Farrey, even if I couldn’t get into it at first. I remember that the whole time I was reading, I was getting really impatient with Evan. I knew that he was going to get found out eventually, and I had to rein in my urge to yell and the main character to just own up to his secrets already.

The Power of Six by PIttacus Lore


The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Summary: I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I’m ready to fight.

I read I Am Number Four quite a long time ago, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back into the series. But I had nothing to worry about. I decided to pick up the sequel on audiobook. Despite just a little confusion at the start of the book, I found myself really engrossed in the action-packed storyline. The audiobook is fast-paced and will leave you at the edge of your seat. There were times that I didn’t even want to stop working just so I can continue listening to the audiobook.

I loved this audiobook so much that I’m determined to finish the rest of the series by listening to it.

The Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Overall, I was really disappointed with The Madman’s Daughter. Juliet is a forgettable main character. She doesn’t really go through tremendous growth in the novel. I also had trouble with Dr. Moreau, the antagonist and Juliet’s father. He seemed like such a flat character and I wish that the conflict was not so black and white. I wanted to believe that he wasn’t ALL evil, but he really was. There wasn’t another side of him that made me want to sympathize with his character. Additionally, the love triangle seems really forced. From very early on into the book, I knew that there was going to be a love triangle. The only thing I quite enjoyed was the story’s pacing. Megan Shepherd keeps you on your toes. I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormickNever Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Summary: This National Book Award nominee from two-time finalist Patricia McCormick is the unforgettable story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.

Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, and authentically told from his point of view as a young boy, this is an achingly raw and powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace. It includes an author’s note and acknowledgments from Arn Chorn-Pond himself.

When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.

Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn’s never played a note in his life, but he volunteers.

This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.

I never expected to enjoy Never Fall Down as much as I did. Before listening to the audiobook, I had no idea that the novel is based on a true story of Arn Chorn-Pond. Additionally, the story is told through broken English. Usually I would get extremely offended by this – especially for an audiobook narrator to speak in broken English with an accent! But after doing a bit of research, I learned that the writing is authentic to Arn Chorn-Pond’s voice. Never Fall Down was inspiring, and I learned a bit of history!

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