Fever By Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #2)

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Harper Voyager

First Published: 2012

Blurb:

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary. (From Goodreads, 29th May 2013)

Review:

I was so happy when I saw Fever in my local library, as I really enjoyed Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) – my review is here.

So when I started Fever my expectations were high, and I feel that Fever is not a patch on Wither. It is the usual second in a series problem. But that said, the last half of the book was very exciting and I am looking forward to getting my hands on Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #3).

In Fever we are following Rhine and Gabriel after their escape from the mansion, but soon they stumble upon more trouble and are trapped yet again. Trapped in a carnival that is more of a brothel have they escaped just to end up somewhere worse? Is it worse?

I did not like this part of the novel, it just felt like it rushed to have something exciting happening right after they escaped the mansion. I was bored with it to be honest. But I kept going and I am glad I did. So my advice to anyone else who feels the same – just keep going. We soon begin to love the characters we loved in the first book and want to know what will happen to them. Will they live past 20 (Rhine) or 25 (Gabriel)? Will an antidote become available? Will Rhine’s father-in-law find them? Will Rhine find her brother?

When  the novel begins to refocus on these questions it becomes much more interesting and, as I have said, has made me hungry for the third and final book in this trilogy.

This is a Dystopian series that I enjoy but feel this book had a lot of unneeded plots. However, maybe reading the third book will give reasoning behind these plots…I will just have to wait and see!

3 out of 5

Last Chance for Justice By Kathi Macias

Title: Last Chance for Justice

Author: Kathi Macias

Publisher: B & H Books

First Published: 1st May 2013

Blurb:

Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

It isn’t long before Rachel has two men — a handsome CPA and the youth pastor — seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn’s attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.

As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past. (From Goodreads, 24th May 2013)

Review:

I was so glad I picked this book up after reading quite a few young adult books. This could be classed as young adult, but I view it more as adult light romance and mystery. It is a nice paced novel, with a sweet story, and just nice to relax with.

So Lynn is still struggling after the loss of her husband when she receives notice that her brother has passed, and that she will have to go back to the close knit, small town she grew up in. Luckily her only child, Rachel, is available to take this trip with her, and they both go on a journey that turns out a lot differently to how either women thought it would.

Lynn’s brother left a mystery that he wished to solve, and now Lynn and Rachel find themselves attempting to honer Lynns brothers last dying wish – to clear Last Chance Justice’s name.

This is a cute novel, perfect when you want a relaxing book to keep you company on a summers day. If you want a fast paced, racy romance, or a complicated mystery, this book is not for you. But if you want a nice summer read, this is perfect.

However, I do have a few negatives and that was the amount of repetition within the book – a lot of eating is one example. Also this book had a heavily religious side, but that is not a negative, just something I am not used to, but made the story slightly further away from my understanding of life. But that is just who the characters are.

An enjoyable light read. And a breath of fresh air after reading quite a few ‘heavy’ young adult books.

4 out of 5

The Program By Suzanne Young

Title: The Program

Author: Suzanne Young

Publisher: Simon Pulse

First Published: 30th April 2013

Blurb:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them. (From Goodreads, 23rd May 2013)

Review:

For some reason I am struggling to write a review for this book. I really don’t know why. I loved the premise, I want to read the next book when it comes out, and I was very excited for this novel coming out.

So many good things about this but I disliked the amount of dialogue in the book. It really has reduced my enjoyment of the book. I wanted  love this book. But something is holding me back. I don’t know what, I really can’t work it out!

This is a book set in the future where suicide among teens is an epidemic. But the ‘cure’ (the program) can be feared by teens. Would you rather die with your memories? Or be happy without them? Do your memories make you who you are? Does love go past just memories?

There is a lot in this novel that I wanted to be explored further, but may this will happen in the second book in the series. I didn’t realise it was going to be a series.

Something about this book frustrated me, I can’t say I don’t like it, but can’t stay I love it! I don’t know how to review this.

I felt there was so many good ideas but nothing tackled in depth enough for me. It is a daring subject and one I am highly interested in. It is one I wish was seen more in the public eye. I am hoping so much that this series as a whole beings to settle my confusion.

The plot is good and exciting keeping you flicking through the pages, wanting to know what happens. If you want a story with a gritty side and a focus on love this is a book for you.

I can only give a 3 out of 5 because I really don’t know how I feel about this.

The Glimpse By Claire Merle

Title: The Glimpse

Author: Claire Merle

Publisher: Faber and Faber

First Published: 71st June 2012

Blurb:

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe. (From Goodreads, 21st May 2013)

Review:

I loved the premise of this novel. It is something that really interests me. What if there was a test for mental illness? What if you were classed as impure because of what was found on a test? Eugenics back in fashion, in which pure’s breed with pure’s and those that are ‘impure’ live their life in fear.

Mental illness has become an epidemic. But has it? Or is it the governments way of controlling people?

I love this idea, because if you know anything about mental health you will know the precarious nature detaining someone and the anguish this can cause for a patient.

This novel focuses on Ana. Ana is the daughter of the scientist in which ‘invented’ the pure test. But Ana’s pure test was not correct. She is a carrier. An agreement was made that if Ana ‘joins’ (marries) a pure then she could stay in the Community until her illness manifest – which it will (apparently!). But when the boy she plans to ‘join’ with is taken away Ana goes on a search for him, outside of the security of the ‘Community’ Ana is thrust into a world she does not know, and begins to see the darker side of life and the government.

This is a book that could be excellent to spark discussions, especially for young people who do not know about the mental health system or the government. It would be excellent to view the parallels and possibilities that we may head in such a direction. Is our focus on genetics and science too much? Are we being manipulated. I love the amount that you could talk about and debate from this book. But included in all this, there is an coming of age story with drama and twists and turns making you feel like Ana and not knowing who to trust.

It is exciting. Fast. Scary.

But I felt slightly disappointed. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe once I have read the squeal, The Fall which is out on the 6th June, this disappointment will lift.It may be the writing style, I am unsure.

But read this book if you want a thought provoking read about mental illness and control.

3.5 out of 5.

Breath By Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse #4)

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Graphia

First Publication Date: April 16th 2013

Blurb:

Contrary to popular belief, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren’t just harbingers of doom—they actually keep life in balance. But what happens when their leader and creator, Death, becomes suicidal?

Before the first living thing drew its first gasping breath, he was there. He has watched humanity for millennia. And he has finally decided that humanity is not worth the price he has paid time and again. When Death himself gives up on life, a teenager named Xander Atwood is the world’s only hope. But Xander bears a secret, one that may bring about the end of everything.

This heart-pounding final installment of the Riders of the Apocalypse series looks at the value of life, the strength of love, and how a small voice can change everything . . . forever. (From Goodreads, 21st May 2013)

Review:

This is the the fourth and last book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series by Jackie Morse Kessler. I have reviewed the first three books (Hunger, Rage, and Loss – links will take you to my reviews).

I love this series. I find it such and inventive and unique way of discussing mental health issues for a young adult audience. A series which everyone with an interest in mental health or ‘issues’ novels must read!

In this novel we deal with the topic of suicide. But to make it more ironic Death is the one whom is suicidal. We meet Xander, who is having blackouts, but also may be going ‘crazy’ because Death is sitting on his balcony. So Xander begins to speak to Death, finding out why he is suicidal, whilst Death questions Xander. Why is Death suicidal? And what is Xanders secret?

I can’t really say much more because I may give things away. But I love this series, and this book is amazing! An amazing conclusion that keeps you thinking right up to the end!

5 out of 5!

In My Mailbox 011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme which is currently being hosted by The Mod Podge Bookshelf in which book bloggers share the books they have received, bought, borrowed etc.

The Fault in Our Stars By John Green

Breath (The Riders of the Apocalypse #4) By Jackie Morse Kessler

The Glimpse By Claire Merle

Stop Dead By Leigh Russell

Wonder By R.J. Palacio’

Under the Never Sky By Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night By Veronica Rossi

Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) By Cassandra Clare

The Silver Linings Playbook By Mathew Quick

The Darling Girls By Emma Burstall

The Roommate By T. Scott McLeod

There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes By Robert Jacoby

Thin Space By Jody Casella

The Fault in Our Stars By John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Publisher: Penguin

First Published: 2012

Blurb:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. (From Goodreads.com, 20th May 2013)

Review:

This is a book that I have heard so many good things about and eventually bought it and read it as soon as my exams were over. This was also my first John Green book to read and wanted to know what the fuss was about. I was scared that the hype, the numerous awards and all the gushing over his books would put my expectations up too high. Luckily I was not disappointed. In fact I was very impressed!

John Green has taken the topic of childhood/teenage cancer and made it a book that is witty, surprising, funny and heart-wrenching.

Hazel is a intelligent young adult with wisdom far beyond her years, partially because she is terminally ill, partially because she is a young collage student. She still shows her immaturity throughout this book which makes this more real, makes the character more true.

Coerced into attending a support group by her mother Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a cheeky guy whom takes life as it comes. Soon the two enter an adventure of life, an adventure of death, an adventure to understanding endings.

There is not much I can say about this novel without giving anything away. But of any fictional books I have read about cancer, this is the best. This takes an issues and brings the real problem of the wanting of ‘normalcy’ to the forefront. When you meet someone who helps you get that, who sees you and not your illness you are yourself again. This is expressed wonderfully through the ‘witty banter’ of Augustus and Hazel.

A book you must add to your collection if you have not done so already. Listen to the masses of positive reviews. Take the time to read about Hazel and Augustus and join them on their journey.

5 out of 5!