Monday, February 25, 2013


By Lissa Price

After reading the synopsis of Starters, I was very intrigued. It has such an original idea that I chose the audiobook version of it. Sometimes audioboks really enhance an author’s work and help to make it more memorable. The Starters narrator, however, definitely hurt Price’s brilliant story. The narrator offered inflection but lacked enthusiasm and it made it difficult to connect with Callie. I was tempted to not finish it, but fortunately I got a copy of the hardback version and thoroughly enjoyed the second half of her book.

In Price’s world, technology has advanced so the rich elderly people, called Enders, can “rent” teenage bodies so that they can enjoy youthful activities. The teens, called “Starters” who elect to rent their bodies have a chip implanted so the Enders can control their bodies while the Starters sleep through it.

After her parents died in the Spore Wars, Callie Woodland is doing everything she can to survive on the streets while taking care of Tyler, her younger sick brother, and avoiding the marshals who want to institutionalize orphaned street kids. The opportunity to “loan” her body to Prime Destinations for Enders’ pleasures comes with the promise of a large payday that Callie can use to take care of Tyler. During her third “rental” something goes wrong with the chip and Callie wakes up in the life of wealth and privilege. She soon learns that her Ender renter has decided to commit murder in Callie’s body. Can Callie stop this plan? And is Prime Destinations all that it appears to be?

Price creates a unique environment where an entire generation has been wiped out by the Spore Wars. I would have liked a little more background information on that war, but the story is still complete without it.

Readers will easily understand the dilemmas Callie is forced into. She’s constantly caught between a rock and a hard place with no clear direction as to what is right and wrong. She wants to stop a murder, but what’s the best way to do that when you don’t have control over your body all the time?

In addition to figuring out what to do, Callie must also decide who to trust. Price does a brilliant job throwing readers off. People who seem to be the bad guys just might be the good guys. And close confidants might not be exactly who they say they are. Readers who are good at guessing plot twists, might have a challenge figuring out all of the surprises Price has in store.

Lissa Price delivers a brilliant story that is filled with mystery, suspense, action and a hint of romance. Teens and adults alike can enjoy this dystopian sci-fi. Readers who liked Skinned by Robin Wasserman will thoroughly enjoy Starters.

I look forward to seeing where Price takes the story in her second book, Enders, which is due to come out in 2013.

Interested in more? Check out the Starters book trailer!

Monday, February 11, 2013


By Veronica Roth

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while. Once I finally got it and cracked open the cover, I absolutely could not put it down. Roth does not lollygag around setting up the storyline, but plunges readers right into it, and once you’re in it, hang on because you are in for a wild ride!

For 16 year old Beatrice “Tris” Prior, selecting a faction will be the most important decision of her life. After her aptitude test comes back inconclusive—thereby secretly labeling her a “divergent”—she now must choose to stay with her family in the Abnegation (the selfless) faction or completely turn her back on them by choosing another faction: Erudite (the intelligent) or Dauntless (the courageous). Her decision pushes her to her physical and mental limits, and will have readers questioning whether she will make it through the faction’s initiation process.

I love that the ending of Divergent was not what I was expecting. I expected it to end right after we see if Tris passes initiation or becomes factionless. Both would position the character to make interesting decisions affecting the leaders of the dystopian society—fight them from the outside or fight them from the inside. Instead, Roth completely threw me off guard by setting up events that will resonate throughout the second and third book in the series. I didn’t see it coming and that was a thrilling surprise.

Because this is Roth’s debut novel, she initially struggles with explaining the setup of her dystopian society and doesn’t provide a detailed history of how we moved from the society we are in present day, to her faction system. I think that information would have really helped to flesh out the beginning of the story. However, Roth soon gets into a writing groove that keeps readers eager to find out what comes next.

Divergent isn’t a rainbows and butterflies type of story, but a raw, smack-you-in-the-face mix of fighting, strategizing, plotting, and backstabbing. Tris gets knocked down and has to get back up again and face her fears in order to try and make it through initiation. This is a combination of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games that meets Ally Condie’s Matched. It is a book where even though I checked it out from the library, I have gone out and bought it and the second book, Insurgent, just so I can pass it to family and friends so they can read. Needless to day, I highly recommend it and am not surprised that Summit Entertainment is in the process of producing the movie!

Want more? Here is the book trailer.

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Grave on the Right

By Darynda Jones

Charlotte “Charley” Davidson is the Grim Reaper. Not a cloaked skeleton with a scythe figure you might be thinking of but more of a portal to help stranded spirits complete their “unfinished business” and cross through her to the other side. Yes, I did say through her. In First Grave on the Right, Darynda Jones takes readers through a week in the life of Charley while she helps catch a murderer (with the help of some spirits), and tries to save the life of her “dream guy.”

This laugh-out-loud story will entertain readers with the crazy scenerios Charley gets herself into. It seems trouble always follows this grim reaper. Good thing Charley has a light-hearted brush-it-off attitude. That might be the only thing that keeps her going–and maybe some coffee.

Jones not only creates a loveable main character, but creates a winning team of supporting characters. From Charley’s funny and understanding best friend/receptionist to her demanding and supportive Uncle/boss, Jones creates entertaining characters that readers will quickly relate to.

Jones’ First Grave on the Right is a mix of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich with some paranormal aspects and a bit of romance. Both are quick and easy reads that have readers eager for the next book in the series.