Category: reading

What I Read in 2017

My goal for 2017 was to read 100 books. I actually read 174 books. Kind of mad I didn’t get to 175…

Here’s my Year in Books on Goodreads, if you want to see what I read.

And here are my monthly recap posts:

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

My goal for 2018 is 150. Let’s see how this year in reading goes.

What did everyone else read in 2017?

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What I Read in December

I read 21 books this month, bringing my total for the year up to 174. Quite a bit past my goal of 100 books for the year…

Sir Percy Leads the Band, by Emmuska Orczy (classic). I found this “sequel” to The Scarlet Pimpernel to be a fun, entertaining read. And Sir Percy is such a fantastic character, able to change his persona so completely.

Life and Other Near Death Experiences, by Camille Pagan (cultural book of the month, except not). I thought this was going to be mainly set in the Caribbean, hence its place as “cultural” book, but it wasn’t. It was a very enjoyable read about a woman who finds out she has cancer, and, on the same day, her husband tells her he’s gay. So she runs away to Caribbean to deal with the idea of her pending death. A funny read, and Libby is such a likeable and relateable character that I finished this quickly.

Once Upon a Time by Debbi Macomber (spiritual book of the month). This author is one of the very few “romance” authors I’ll read, and this book was par for her:  well-written, thoughtful, and it spoke to me.

Empire of Ivory, by Naomi Novak (TBR/just because). Another solid read in this series. I can’t believe I let these sit unread on my shelf for years

as you wish

As You Wish, by Chelsea Sedoti (read to review). A magical realism read about a town where every person is granted one wish on their 18th birthday, and it always comes true.

bad call

Bad Call, by Stephen Wallenfels (read to review). This is a YA suspense about a girl and three guys who go hiking in Yosemite and end up in the midst of a snowstorm, with no food and no shelter. One of them doesn’t come back. A decent level of suspense, but the characters’ motivations had me wondering why so much that I’d rate the book three out of five.

How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather (from my Tulsa book haul). So…I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the book was by one of the Mathers—of Salem Witch Trial notoriety—until I finished the book. The book is about a Mather descendant who moves to Salem and discovers the curse that haunts all of the descendant families—and she tries desperately to uncover the truth and stop the curse before it kills her father. I enjoyed this book, and it had a prominent dose of creepiness.

wolves of winter

The Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Johnson (read to review). I loved this book! Finished it in just a few hours, straight through, because I couldn’t put it down. A dystopian about Lynn, who lives with her family in the Yukon after nuclear war and disease collapsed civilization. Survival is the focus, until Lynn meets Jax, who shows Lynn a destiny she can’t even comprehend. I can’t speak highly enough about this book, and its unique (to me) setting.

Where I End, by Elizabeth Katherine Clark (review forthcoming). The true story of Katherine Clark, who broke her neck when a boy on the playground fell on her. The doctors told her she’d never walk again, but God had other plans. An uplifting, inspiring read.

Believe, edited by Randy Frazee (person/spiritual). I’ve been reading this tome since August. Lots to digest here, but broken down into easy chunks.

Mesmerized_Mock-up dpi 72

Mesmerized, by Candace Camp (read to review). Olivia works to expose mediums and their tricks, but finds herself in the midst of events she can’t explain away, when she starts seeing visions from Blackhope Hall’s past, events that seem to feature the current lord of the manor, Stephen, as well. A solid period romance, with the “mad Morelands” providing even more interest.

Wedding Bells, Magic Spells, by Lisa Shearin (as a treat). I love the Rain Benares books, and this was no exception. Lots of action, smart humor, and, of course, the lovely Mychael.

The Forgotten Book, by Mechthild Glaser (review forthcoming). This is a YA fantasy about Emma, who goes to a prestigious boarding school, and who finds an old book full of scribblings.  But this is not your typical journal:  everything written in the book comes true…in a manner of speaking. I enjoyed this book, and the myths and mystery added depth to it. I thought the school—and its students—were a bit too good to be true—no cliques, no enemies, and a whole lot of freedom, but I enjoyed this very much.

The Black Painting, by Neil Olsen (review forthcoming). This was merely a “meh” read to me. Frankly, the characters were too confusing, and the narrative was too disjointed–which makes sense for a novel about characters who arguably all have a mental illness–for me to really get into. And the painting by Goya is very creepy to me.

Firebrand, by Kristen Britain (as a Christmas weekend treat). I absolutely love this series. SO MUCH. Karigan is such a strong character, yet so flawed, and I can both sympathize with and respect her. The characters in this series are so vibrant I feel like I know them personally, and I am drawn into all their stories. This is probably one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read. Loved it!

Breaking Rules, by S.B. Alexander (to review, but stopped reading). I made it about halfway through this before I stopped reading. There are a ton of good reviews on Goodreads, but the characters are too wishy-washy for me. One second, Train was charming and flirty, the next he was a rude jerk. And sometimes Montana was strong and independent, and sometimes she was also just a jerk.

Menagerie and Spectacle, by Rachel Vincent (Read the first as a treat, because it was already on my Kindle, then had to buy the second one immediately.) I am a huge Rachel Vincent fan, and Menagerie had such a unique concept. Sadly, I could totally see “normal” humans acting this way towards anyone different—because that happens all the time. Looking forward to the enxt one.

The Holy Bible, as an obvious spiritual choice, that I read via a 365-day reading plan.

The Stars Never Rise and The Flame Never Dies, by Rachel Vincent (Read the first as a treat, because it was already on my Kindle, then had to buy the second one immediately.) I finished the first one in about 3 hours, then had to make myself ration the second one…for two days. Fantastic concept. where demons really exist and have consumed all the available souls as they try to take over a world run by the Church, who is desperate to catch natural exorcists. So good!

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.

 

 

What I Read in November

In November, I read 20 books, bringing my total for the year up to 154 books read, out of my original goal of 100. (I’ve had more reading time than I imagined, plus, some of the books were fantastic, so I read them very quickly.) I also started two other books which I did not complete, by choice.

seventhdecimate1

The Seventh Decimate, by Stephen R. Donaldson (read to review). Donaldson seems to thrive on unlikable main characters—or, at least, characters that I find hard to like—and this is no exception. The prince of a nation torn by a years-long war goes in search of a book that might hold the key to his land’s survival. Prince Bifalt is angry at pretty much everything around him, so he’s hateful and does things without thinking. I read this, but I’m not sure I’ll continue on with the trilogy.

TEA

The Austen Escape, by Katherine Reay (read to review). I really enjoyed this book! I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, and being able to go on a trip to stay in an Austen-esque estate and play dress-up and pretend to be one of her characters sounds so fun! I can totally relate to Mary Davies feeling overshadowed by her larger-than-life best friend, and her awkwardness and cluelessness around her crush. Fun, light reading that I definitely recommend.

The Taking, The Replaced, and The Countdown, by Kimberly Derting (just because). So…I bought a used—and signed—copy of The Taking months ago, and it’s been sitting there in the stack since. I picked it up one day and was immediately sucked in. Actually, I read the whole thing that day! Ditto for The Replaced and The Countdown. It’s about Kyra, who wakes up behind a gas station and finds out that five years have passed—five years she doesn’t remember at all—and everything has changed, but she remains the same. Her boyfriend id dating her best friend, and his little brother, Tyler, is all grown up now. Then Kyra realizes she has powers. And that people are following her. Suddenly, all those stories of alien abductions aren’t sounding quite so crazy. I LOVED these books. It probably took me less than 8 hours to read all three, because I could not put them down. I will definitely be reading more of Kimberly Derting’s books. Go. Read. These!

The Zombie Gospel, by Danielle J. Stricklend (spiritual book of the month). I loved the parallels the author made in this book, between The Walking Dead and the Christian life.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell (classic book of the month). I have no idea how I’d never read this before. And now I wish I hadn’t…but I disliked the pigs in this novel so much that bacon is sounding REALLY good right now!

From Sand and Ash, by Amy Harmon (cultural book of the month). Wow. This is set in World War II, in Italy, and tells the story of an Italian Jew, and the man she loves, who is a priest. This was a fantastic read!

Autonomous, by Andy Marino (read to review, but will not be reviewing because I did not care for it). This is basically all about four self-obsessed teenagers  and their secrets. Also, social media and a self-driving car. No, thanks.

LBT

Little Broken Things, by Nicole Baart (read to review). A thriller with a hefty dose of mystery/what is going on here. A mysterious, abandoned child, secrets, and a clever bad guy, set in a small town, amidst memories from high school. Also a look into a broken family’s secrets.

I started reading Fix Me by Lisa M. Cronkite, but stopped at about 30%. The main character has a drug problem—a made-up drug, not something that actually exists—and the narrative was too distant/disjointed for me to connect with.

Hardcore Twenty-Four, by Janet Evanovich (just because). I’ve been disappointed with the last few Stephanie Plum books. The whole Ranger and Joe (simultaneously but also with feelings of guilt) thing is a bit annoying Make up your mind already! (and please pick Ranger). Most of the humor was also missing from this one, despite the zombies.

rules of rain

Rules of Rain, by Leah Scheier (read to review). I really enjoyed this book about a girl with an autistic twin brother. Rain tries to get her brother to stand on his own two feet, but it’s hard for her to adjust to not being needed.

Spelled, by Betsy Schow (just because). This was a fun, light-humored book about a spoiled princess whose wish turns the fairy tale world upside down. The puns in this book made it well-worth reading. It reminded me of Piers Anthony’s Xanth books.

The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando (just because). One of my Tulsa book haul picks, this is about six children who disappeared 11 years ago, and five of them suddenly show back up at home, with no memories of what happened. A bit twisted, but intriguing.

Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay (just because). I discovered Katherine Reay earlier this month, and loved The Austen Escape, so I picked this one up for fun…and emerged on the other side a few hours later. Another fantastic, Austen-related tale, with a MC who absorbs herself in books, which I can relate to.

Anatomy of a Scandal, by Sarah Vaughan (read to review). This is about a woman, married for years, whose husband is accused of rape. There’s several timelines in this book, the present-day/rape trial, and the college-days tales of several characters. This one was merely “eh” for me, but it wasn’t a bad read. Just not what I needed at the time, so I chose not to review it.

the girl in the tower

The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden (read to review). Have you ever read a book that you related to a character so much that it kind of blew your mind? That was this book, for me! I thought the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, was fantastic, and the second book is phenomenal. I loved this book, which takes Vasya from her village home to the streets of Moscow, as she searches for a life that will make her happy—not the life everyone expects her to lead. There is magic in the pages of this book, and it saturates every word. I cannot recommend this enough. (And the cover is gorgeous!)

the girl in the tower2

The Ninth Grave, by Stefan Ahnhem (stopped reading). I don’t normally start reading a series in the middle, but in this case, I took a chance. It didn’t work out for me. The opening was fantastically intriguing, but after that, the 15% I read jumped around a lot, and I couldn’t keep everyone straight, so I stopped reading. Perhaps I need to try again, from the beginning of the series.

Dead Man’s Chest, by Kerry Greenwood (review forthcoming). Ironically, this is also the first book in the series I’ve read. Book 18, to be exact. And I enjoyed it a lot! Phryne is a fascinating character—private detective/investigator—set in Australia, in one of my favorite eras to read about. She’s spunky and so observant I was completely engaged. A fun, light read.

All the Wrong Chords, by Christine Hurley Deriso (review forthcoming). I really enjoyed this YA book about Scarlett (obviously, I love her name, since Gone with the Wind is my favorite book ever), trying to recover from her brother’s death, who lives with her grandfather for the summer, and joins a local band with a hot lead singer. Scarlett’s struggle with the past, the truth, and her choices to ignore that little voice in her head is all of us.

A Murder for the Books, by Victoria Gilbert (review forthcoming). Amy is still reeling from the disastrous end of her last relationship, so she moves in with her aunt in a small Virginia town. She wasn’t ready for a mystery from the past that relates to two murders in the present, nor is she ready for her new neighbor, dancer-turned-teacher Richard. This was a fun read, and I completely related to Amy and her issues. Go read this!

Linking up with Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.)

“Rules of Rain” Spotlight Tour!

rules of rain

How far would you go to protect the ones you love?

Rain has taken care of Ethan all of their lives. Before she even knew what autism meant, she was her twin brother’s connection to the world around him. Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, and Rain takes comfort in being the one who holds their family together. It’s nice to be needed—to be the center of someone’s world. If only her longtime crush, Liam, would notice her too…

Then one night, her life is upended by a mistake she can’t undo. Suddenly Rain’s new romance begins to unravel along with her carefully constructed rules. Rain isn’t used to asking for help—and certainly not from Ethan. But the brother she’s always protected is the only one who can help her. And letting go of the past may be the only way for Rain to hold onto her relationships that matter most.

Leah Scheier works as a pediatrician and pens stories of romance and adventure. Her latest novel, Your Voice Is All I Hear, received a Starred Review from Booklist. She lives in Maryland. Learn more at leahscheier.com.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound

Rules of Rain was a fantastic read! The relationship between Rain and Ethan was so believable—I have two brothers, and while we’ve always loved each other, sometimes we really fought, especially during those growing-up-and-apart years. The book truly captures the ups-and-downs of siblings, and portrays the added nuances of autism with compassion.

Rules of Rain also deals with first loves, and the mistakes that are sometimes made by people who are trying to figure out who they are. This is a great book, and well-worth picking up.

The publisher is holding a contest for a giveaway for two copies of Rules of Rain!
Check it out here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

beasts of extraordinary circumstance
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Weylyn Grey was orphaned and raised by wolves. He met Mary when she was 11 years old, when he saved her from an angry wolf. Weylyn knows strange things happen around him—like stopping that tornado on Christmas Day—but he prefers to give the credit to his horned pig, Merlin.

Freak storms, trees that grow overnight, hurricanes that mysteriously dissipate; Weylyn has been around them all. Though it all, his love for Mary stays strong, until he realizes that she might come to harm. Then he knows he must move on. Instead of stopping hurricanes, the magic in his life now consists of fireflies who make phosphorescent honey. But, through it all, his love for Mary remains strong. All he needs is the courage to knock on her door.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is classified as fantasy/sci-fi, but to me, it’s more magical realism. It’s different from anything else I’ve ever read, and different is a very good thing. This is told not only from Weylyn’s point-of-view, but from that of those who know him. There is magic on every page, and wonder hides here as well.

Ruth Emmie Lang was born in Scotland, but moved to Ohio when she was four. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is her first novel.

(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

 

 

Book Review: Firebrand, by Sarah MacTavish

firebrand

Way back in…March, I think…I went to a local author event, mainly because Rachel Caine was going to be there, and I love her writing. I’d heard her speak before, and was pleased to have another opportunity. There was another author there, Sarah MacTavish, and I really enjoyed her talk as well. So, I ended up buying her debut novel, Firebrand. And it’s been sitting in that particular TBR pile until last week. Yes, I stockpile books…and then don’t have a chance to read them for months. I have a problem, okay?

When I did pick it up, I finished reading it in less than 24 hours. It was that good. It’s set right before the Civil War, and its about two young abolitionists and the struggles they face. I like historical fiction, but I thought this YA historical was extremely well-written, and I found myself rooting for the characters. (Also, I’m from Texas, not too far from where part of the book is set, and I had no idea about some of the things in the novel.) This book deals with difficult events and topics, but it’s history:  if we don’t learn from it, we’re doomed to repeat it.

Saoirse Callahan and her family are struggling to survive on their small Texas farm that’s a far cry from their home in Ireland. Tempers are short, and after the death of one of her brothers, the whole family seems on the verge of collapsing. Then a series of fires sweep the region, and rumors of a slave uprising spread, leaving vigilante justice in their wake. Saoirse is desperate to find out what really happened, but her questions land her family in even deeper trouble.

Westleigh Kavanagh is safely an abolitionist in Pennsylvania, until he realizes his father’s new boarder is a runaway slave. Westleigh is determined to keep the man’s secret, even from his father, who, as sheriff, is bound to uphold the law, no matter what his personal beliefs are. Then Westleigh finds an old journal, and uncovers secrets his father has long kept hidden from him, secrets that lead him to the Callahans in  Texas.

What I Read in October

I read 19 books in October. I know, right? Not sure where I found the time. But…some of these were REALLY good, and I finished them in less than 24 hours. Especially the last two…and the first one I read in November. 🙂

the indigo girl

The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd (read to review). Fascinating historical fiction about the early efforts to produce indigo in colonial America. Eliza Lucas is a sixteen-year-old left in charge of the family’s estates while her father chases his military dreams. This novel also talks about the early slave uprisings and Eliza’s efforts to teach slaves to read. A very engrossing read, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

merry and bright

Merry and Bright, by Debbie Macomber (read to review). Debbie Macomber is always a good author to turn to for feel-good, uplifting stories, and this one is no exception—even for someone disgusted with the commercialization of Christmas. Merry is so busy she has no time for herself, until her mother and brother set up an online dating profile for her, which leads her to someone she never expected.

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Select, by Marit Weisenberg (read to review). I’m not sure what to say about this novel. The cover is beautiful, and the premise sounds intriguing, but the execution didn’t live up to the promise. A reclusive group of beautiful people with special traits prepares to separate themselves from the rest of the world, while the leader’s daughter learns there’s a lot more going on than she’s ever been told.

the house at 758

The House at 758, by Kathryn Berla (read to review). Loved this! YA fiction about Krista, still grieving the death of her mother, while her father wants to move on and Krista is obsessed with the mysterious house at 758.

Midnight-Dance

The Midnight Dance, by Nikki Katz (read to review). Penny and eleven other girls are students at an elite ballet school, hidden away from the world by the Master, a reclusive wealthy man who only wants the best for them. Until Penny’s memories no longer add up, leaving her to wonder if what she remembers is the truth or not. Beautiful cover!

His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novik (from the TBR pile). This has been on my shelf for years. I’m not sure why I waited to read this, but I loved it! Dragons as military fighters in the war with Napoleon.

Throne of Jade, by Naomi Novik (from the TBR pile). Still loving this series.

the breathless

The Breathless, by Tara Goedjen (read to review). A creepy gothic read about a family with dark secrets struggling to deal with the loss of their oldest daughter–and the secrets she was keeping. I enjoyed this read a lot. Very creepy, but I did not want it to end like it did (yet the ending was very appropriate).

Black Powder War, by Naomi Novak. (Just because.)

the beautiful ones

The Beautiful Ones, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (read to review). This was a Regency-ish read with hints of steampunk…maybe magical realism set in a Regency-type society? Nina is used to country living, but she comes to town for the Grand Season and her ice-cold aunt tries to mold her into a society girl. Except Nina keeps forgetting the rules and speaking her mind. Then there’s the telekinetic performer she meets and falls in love with, Hector, who’s hiding dark secrets.

Stay with Me, by Ayobami Adebayo (cultural book of the month.) Okay, I love reading books set in Africa. I’ve felt drawn to it as long as I can remember, and ironically, my boyfriend is from Cameroon. Go figure. This book, set in Nigeria, is about a wife struggling to get pregnant and keep her children alive, and the secrets she and her husband have hidden from each other. It was an emotional read, and I’m still not sure what I think of it.

Lilac Lane, by Sherryl Woods (review forthcoming). A romance about an Irish woman who falls in love with the pub chef, but the problems from their past are great enough to shadow everything around them. I may have to read the rest of this series.

Murder over Mochas

Murder over Mochas, by Caroline Fardig (read to review.) I’m sad that this is the last of the Java Jive series. Funny, light mystery that reminds me quite a bit of the Stephanie Plum books.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, by Emmie Ruth Lang (review forthcoming.) I’m still digesting this read about a boy who was raised by wolves, and the man he grows up to be…with powers. A bit of an X-men feel to this one.

The Reason for my Hope, by Billy Graham (spiritual book of the month.) Great read.

Passing, by Nella Larsen (classic book of the month.) I’d never actually heard of or seen this book on any list of classics, but it showed up on a Goodreads search, and I thought it would be an interesting choice, considering the conversations about racism going on. I’m not quite sure what I think about this. I found one of the characters almost unlikable, and the other so conflicted I never got a true sense of her.

Firebrand, by Sarah MacTavish (Just because.) This has been sitting on my TBR pile for WAY too long. About abolitionists just before the Civil War. There was a lot here that I didn’t know about, which is sad, since half the book is set not too far from where I live/grew up. I cannot imagine having lived in such dark times. Wonderful characters, and I’m looking forward to more from this author.

The Dark Intercept, by Julia Keller (Review forthcoming.) I found this version of the future disturbing (but not completely farfetched), and I loved the characters and their conflicts. I enjoyed this immensely and recommend it! Read it in one day.

Rosemarked, by Livia Blackburne (Review forthcoming.) Hands down the best book I read all month! About a healer who catches the illness she’s fighting, and is given an opportunity to help others who suffer from it, while secretly trying to learn more about the enemy that conquered her people, before they can be destroyed by war. Fantastic read! Even better, it’s the first of a series! I blew through this in less than a day.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Book Review: The Breathless, by Tara Goedjen

the breathless
Image belongs to Delacorte Press.

Roxanne Cole died a year ago, and her family still hasn’t come to terms with her death. Ro was the light of the Cole family, and everything has been dark since her death. Her boyfriend, Cole, vanished the night she died, and no one has seen him since, but when he shows up at the door to Blue Gate Manor asking where Ro is, Mae doesn’t know what to think.

Her sister’s death hit her hard, and Mae is still struggling, but to Cole, Ro was just alive yesterday. When Mae finds the little green book that was never far from Ro’s hands, she also finds dark secrets about her family’s past, and realizes that Ro might be gone now, but that doesn’t mean she has to stay gone.

The Breathless is a creepy Southern gothic mystery that tells three stories:  the present-day tale of Cole and Mae struggling to deal with Ro’s loss, Cole’s memories of his relationship with Ro, and a dark time in the family’s past. The setting adds an eerie layer to an unsettling story, as Mae finds out just what was in that little green book. The storyline about the family’s past does deal with a history of racism that was common in that era, but does not glorify it, instead it reveals the results of such violence and hate.

Tara Goedjen was raised in Alabama and now lives in California. The Breathless is her debut novel.

(Galley provided by Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The House at 758, by Kathryn Berla

 

the house at 758
Image belongs to Amberjack Publishing.

As if being 16 weren’t bad enough, Krista is still dealing with the death of her mother. Her father has moved his new girlfriend in and wants Krista to start acting normal again and find something to do. Her best friend is going to Maine for the summer. And Krista feels like she has no one to talk to about her pain.

So, she spends her time in a tent on top of the house, shoplifting, and watching a mysterious house. She’s not ready to act normal again. Then she meets Jake, who works at the store she shoplifts, and her dad tells her that her grandfather, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, is coming to visit. Krista starts to feel better, but if she never deals with the past, will she ever feel normal again?

The House at 758 took me by surprise. First, I feel like Krista is my spirit animal. Living in a tent on top of the house because you don’t want to be around people? Sign me up for that! Krista is hurting desperately, but she doesn’t want to ask for help. She’d rather brood and act like everything is okay, because shouldn’t people know what she’s going through? Dealing with dark emotions like grief, anger, and guilt isn’t easy, and Krista fights against it for a long time, until she starts to realize that there is more than one side to every story. This was an engrossing read that drew me into Krista’s head and kept me rooting for her to make a breakthrough and start to see light again.

Kathryn Berla is the author of Dream Me, Twelves Hours in Paradise, Going Places, and The Kitty Committee. The House at 758 is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Amberjack Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Select, by Marit Weisenberg

select-cvr_large
Image belongs to Charlesbridge Teen.

Julia Jaynes is part of a group of highly-evolved humans living in Austin, Texas. Rich, beautiful, and powerful, they keep to themselves and try not to draw more attention to their media-popular circle. Then Julia saves her sister from drowning, and the media attention she causes makes her powerful father punish her by sending her to public high school.

There Julia meets John, a tennis prodigy and a nice, regular guy. When Julie discovers she can read his mind—sometimes—she uses the power to encourage John, and her feelings start to grow. Living with the regular humans isn’t as bad as she thought, but Julie is desperate to get back in her controlling father’s good graces, before their circle disappears from society for good.

So…the cover of this book is what caught my eye first, and the premise is fantastic. I read all of it, but Julia was a bit too erratic for me. Does she hate her father? Does she love him? Does she want to stay with the super humans? Does a life of freedom with the regular humans sound more appealing?  What is really going on with the evolved humans and Julia’s powerful father? And why did he separate the younger members and try to destroy the more powerful ones’ talents?

I don’t actually know the answers to any of these questions, and that bothers me. Julia can’t make up her mind, and a first-person narrative should have some insight into the character, but it doesn’t. (I saw several comparisons to Twilight in other reviews, and that is sadly accurate.) I loved the premise of this book, but the execution and character development was lacking.

Despite her name, Marit Weisenberg is only a quarter Norwegian. She lives in Austin, Texas. Select is the first book in the Select series.

(Galley provided by Charlesbridge Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)