Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mechanical by Pauline C. Harris

Title: Mechanical
Author: Pauline C. Harris
Pages: unknown
Published: April 28th 2013 by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books

Notes: This was given to me through Author Alliance for an honest review. Thank you!

Summary: Drew is an android. From the very beginning of her existence, she has been programmed by her creators to understand her superiority and overwhelming responsibilities. She was created for a mission, a mission more important than anything she could ever have imagined.

Drew is sent to a high school to observe the humans and report back to her creators. But when she begins to form friendships with these humans and starts feeling strange human emotions, she doubts the creators’ ways of dealing with her and wonders whether her mission is as wonderful as it once seemed.

As Drew falls deeper and deeper into the mystery surrounding her mission and her creation, she’s suddenly left with a choice. Does she follow through with what she’s known all her life or does she act on what she now knows is right?


Mechanical is a story about a high school student named Drew. Drew is much different from the typical student. She is an android, and she is perfect. She has been asleep for many years until the creators turned her on again. Drew is given a mission and she must follow through with it. She is sent to a local high school, and observes the humans. Things start to change for Drew. She starts to make friends with the humans, and starts to fall in love with one. This is where things start to get difficult. Drew’s mission changes and Drew starts to question her creators and why exactly she had been turned back on from years of being shut off. 

Mechanical is your classic droid vs maker and good vs. evil. I really enjoyed this book. It isn’t the typical YA book that I read, and it was the first sci-fi one that I’ve read. I loved Drew. It was interesting to watch her go through the process of what she was used to doing to what she thought was right; being with the humans changed her ways of thinking on the creators. It was a struggle for her, and that struggle made her more human. She also has to work at blending in with the humans. Picking up on how they laugh, talk, and behave around each other so she fits in. 

It wasn’t until half way through the book that Drew started to see the real picture. She hears that her roommate Yvonne’s mission changed, and she wants to empress the creators so bad. However, when she starts to realize what she’s doing she again fights her inner morals. She begins to rebel. 

Overall this book was a fast and enjoyable read. At the end, I literally said ‘Oh man!’ out loud because I wanted more, and it does leave you hanging. It’s a perfect set up for a trilogy. I can’t wait to read the next ones! 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Ripped: A Jack the Ripper Time-Travel Thriller by Shelly Dickson Carr

Title: Ripped: A Jack the Ripper Time Travel Thriller
Author: Shelly Dickson Carr
Pages: 520 pages
Published: December 1st 2012 by New Book Partners 

Notes: This book was given to me courtesy of Netgalley and New Book Partners for an honest review. Thank you. 

Summary: Katie Lennox wishes her parents were still alive. Having to leave Boston to live with Grandma Cleaves in London was hard, but she's making new friends, working on her British accent and even learning some Cockney rhyming slang. London's cool and actually feels like home in some ways, like she's been here before, belongs here. When a museum visit with her cousin and his cute friend turns funky, Katie finds herself in a long, uncomfortable dress, wearing a ridiculous hat, wondering what happened to her jeans and high-top sneakers? And where's her iPhone?... It's London, 1888. Smart and gutsy, Katie knows she's here to stop Jack the Ripper. The serial killer didn't just slash his victims' throats; he butchered the women. Katie has read about the Ripper, knows the names of his victims and where and when they were killed. She's watched her fair share of CSI. Can Katie save their lives?

I tried reading this twice, and was unable to get into it. While the writing was great, I just couldn't get past the characters and over usage of a Cockney accent. It was repeated over and over that one of the characters had that kind of accent, but it only really needed to be said once or twice. 

However, I do have to say I loved the idea of the Ripper museum.  It was described almost as if you were there, and would be interesting to see such an exhibit in real life. Using holograms and wax figures to account for the tales of the famous murder. 

Maybe at another point in time I will try this book again, but right now it's in my did not finish pile.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Haul #1

Picture Perfect by Elaine Marie Alphin
Wish you Were here by Catherine Clark

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Five Summers by Una LaMarche
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
SYLO by D.J. MacHale
These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen
Rules of Summer by Anna Philbin

Walking Away by Adriane Boyd
Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green
The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene
In Too Deep by Amanda Grace
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Time Riders by Alex Scarrow
Mangled Hearts by Felicia Tatum 

Buan: The Perfect Mortals 
Mechanical by Pauline C. Harris
Ride for Rights by Tara Chevrestt

Forgive Me by Leonard Peacock
How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler 

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland

Title: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way To Success
Author: K.M. Weiland 
Pages: 191
Published: 2011 by PenForASword Publishing

Summary: Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:

Help you choose the right type of outline for you
Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
Aid you in discovering your characters
Show you how to structure your scenes
Explain how to format your finished outline
Instruct you in how to use your outline
Reveal the benefits:
Ensures cohesion and balance
Prevents dead-end ideas
Provides foreshadowing
Offers assurance and motivation
Dispel misconceptions:
Requires formal formatting
Limits creativity
Robs the joy of discovery
Takes too much time
Even if you're certain outlining isn't for you, the book offers all kinds of important tips on plot, structure, and character. Includes exclusive interviews with Larry Brooks, Elizabeth Spann Craig, Lisa Grace, Dan L. Hays, Jody Hedlund, Carolyn Kaufman, Becky Levine, Roz Morris, John Robinson, and Aggie Villanueva, answering important questions:

Can you describe your outlining process?
What is the greatest benefit of outlining?
What is the biggest potential pitfall of outlining?
Do you recommend "pantsing" for certain situations and outlining for others?
What's the most important contributing factor to a successful outline?

As a writer the only outlining I do is on my character's back history. I like knowing every little detail about them. What makes them tick, what kind of music they like to listen to, what is their flaw. However, I never did care much for outlining my own projects. That might be one reason they never get finished. With Weiland's book you are taught the best way to outline a novel. 

I found this book very useful. I like to just write. I have no outline and just see where the story takes me. Often with this method, I find myself in a writers block. I've been in a block for a few months now, and it's driving me crazy. This book was a great tool as how to still be able to use that 'just writing' method, but also do some intense outlining. 

In the next coming days I hope to use some of the advice for my own project and hope that it takes me out of this writers block that I've been in, and help me get back to the project at hand. This book is highly recommend to writers.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

{Arc Review} The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

Title: The Boy on the Bridge {Arc}
Author: Natalie Standiford
Pages: 256
Published: July 30th 2013 by Scholastic Press

Notes: This book was given to me by Scholastic Press for a review courteously of NetGalley. Thank you.

Summary: A new breathtaking novel from Natalie Standiford about love and trust during the Cold War.

Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia--a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she's been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right?

As June approaches--when Laura must return to the United States--Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She's only nineteen and doesn't think she's ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn't she take it?

Laura Reid is a college freshman who takes a semester abroad to Russia because Russia is one of her favorite countries.  It is in Russia that she meets Aloyisha. He shows her the streets of Russia and the two start to fall in love. However, Laura finds out quickly that Russian's tend to want only one thing. A ticket out. Does Aloyisha really love Laura or is he us using her as his ticket? 

I felt this novel fell flat. It was hard for me to enjoy any of the characters. I expected more. In the description it stated parties and under ground. However, this wasn't the case. It was just house parties with Aloyisha's friends. It wasn't a secret romance as well. All her friends knew of it and so did his. 

Even though the story fell flat for me, I can see it being a hit for those who enjoy romance in foreign countries. The author did do a great job describing different parts of Russia to the reader, and I did get a visual of where they were at all times. That is a good thing for someone who has never been. 

Read the novel at your own discretion. The plus side is I may pick up another Standiford novel in the future.