Books We DNF...

By Crissa-Jean Chappell
Published on January 8th 2014
Published by Flux
Source: NetGalley
Trent Osceola's life is turned upside down when his mother announces that he will be moving to the Miccosukee reservation to live with his father, who was recently released from prison. Only half Miccosukee, Trent feels alienated from rez society and starts to question who he really is. When he changes schools, he reconnects with Pippa, a childhood friend who moved away, and together they tackle the class assignment to make a film of their lives. When he starts to see himself through Pippa's eyes, Trent’s not sure he likes what he sees. Will he ever be good enough for the rez, for school, and for her?

I wanted to like this one. I don't feel like there are too many books out there about Native American teens, and I thought this could be an interesting look at a kid caught between two worlds. Unfortunately, it didn't keep my attention. After I got about halfway through and realized I didn't really care about what happened and wasn't interested in the characters, I just skimmed through to see how the plots resolve, so I can't give it a fair review if I really only read to see if anything jumped out at me. Maybe if I hadn't just read a bunch of four/five-star books in a row, I would have been more into this one.  The book and its tone are all over the place, and there just wasn't enough going on to keep me hooked.

Amanda's Picks:

By Susan Cokal
Published on October 8th 2013
Published by Candlewick Press
A young seamstress and a royal nursemaid find themselves at the center of an epic power struggle in this stunning young-adult debut.

On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion.

Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.
Yeah.... I am sure this is a fantastic book, but NOT for me.  I have no interest in reading about a grown man deflowering a 12 year old.  The way that the author writes was a huge turn off for me.  It was written in a literary style- but in a way that makes it sound like it should be more important than it is.  And it was vulgar- the way that things were described were incredibly vulgar.  I only made it 40 pages in this one- a complete disappointment for me.

By Robin Constantine
Published on December 31, 2013
Published by Balzer + Bray
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
Sigh.  This title is so ironic for me.  It wasn't amazing.  It wasn't totally boring, but to be really honest.  I disliked Grayson so much that I tuned out- I am sure there is something redemptive in there, but I just wasn't invested enough to stick it out.

By Catherine J. Stewart
Published on September 20, 2013
Published by P & R Publishing
Letters to Pastors' Wives: When Seminary Ends and Ministry Begins
There is so much no in this book.  I am a pastor's wife and I don't have time to read a book that offends me completely one paragraph in.  NEXT.

By Katherine Reay
Published on November 5, 2013
Published by Thomas Nelson
Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.
Sigh, another case where I saw the cover and misjudged it completely.  It makes me sad because although Sam's story is compelling... I couldn't be convinced to care.

By Mindee Arnett
Published on January 21, 2014
Published by Balzer + Bray
A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.
To be fair, my issues with this book have absolutely nothing to do with the actual book.  You see- I downloaded this galley a while ago and apparently was intruiged by the Firefly comparison.  However, sometime in between when I downloaded it and actually started to read it... I forgot it was sci-fi.  I somehow thought it was about Avalon- something like Avalon High by Meg Cabot.  Don't ask me how I got warped like that.  (And don't say, but Amanda- the cover looks sci-fi... my kindle doesn't show covers!)

Anyway.  I am sure this is a great book- and if I hear fantastic reviews, I may be persuaded to give this one a go again.

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