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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review : Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Title : Girl, Stolen : A Novel
Author : April Henry
Publisher : Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Genre : Young Adult, Suspense
ISBN : 978-0805090055
Series or Stand Alone : Stand Alone
Release Date : September 28, 2010
Rating : 4.5/5 Stars - Very Good

Description from Amazon :

Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?


Cheyenne Wilder is lying in the back of her step-mother's SUV, awaiting her return from the inside of their local pharmacy.  Her step-mother, Danielle, didn't want to leave Cheyenne alone in the car, but she insisted, as long as she leave the keys just in case she needed to turn on the heat.  It's not long before the door of the SUV is opened, and quickly slammed shut.  This is the first thing that alerts Cheyenne to the odd behavior, as her step-mother has only just left to fill her prescription.  The next, is the smell, that is quite obviously not her step-mother's perfume.  While her ears and nose have done the job of telling her something is seriously wrong, her eyes have no way of confirming it, because she is blind.

Griffin hadn't meant to kidnap Cheyenne.  He just seen a really nice Escalade parked, with the keys in the ignition.  Who could be so dumb as to leave such an expensive car unattended?  He doesn't think about the consequences of stealing such a prized possession, he just hops in the drivers seat and peels out of the parking lot.  It's not long before he discovers he has made a huge mistake.  Cheyenne has revealed herself, and now he has no idea what to do.  He can't just let her go, because she'd just get him caught for stealing.  The only logical thing he can think to do, is take both the new ride, and the girl, back to his father for further instruction.

Upon meeting Cheyenne in this novel, I felt complete sympathy.  I had no idea how a blind girl would survive being kidnapped and held for ransom.  How would she defend herself if they felt the need to hurt her if she couldn't see them coming?  I was scared for her, and just wanted to pull her from such a horrible situation.  Despite Cheyenne's handicap, she clearly is a brave character.  She doesn't let her blindness interfere with her life, although it does make it more difficult.  Now she depends on her other senses in order to help her.

Griffin's character wasn't what I was expecting, at all.  The only obvious thing I could figure out was that he was from a troubled home, and I soon learned why.  His father wasn't the most legit person to associate yourself with.  He'd do pretty much anything to make a buck, including introducing a life of crime to his son.  It's no surprise that when Griffin is given an opportunity to impress his father, he takes it.  His mother is gone, and now his father is all he has, so why not make him proud?  I couldn't blame him for following through with the things his father expected of him, because it was all he knew.  I liked learning the history of Griffin's life, and hoped for a chance for him to come out clean in the end.

Each chapter in this book was narrated in turn by Cheyenne and Griffin.  They revealed their feelings, as well as their secrets.  I liked that it was narrated by both the victim and the kidnapper, because it gave you a better feel of the novel.  Despite it's change in narration, it never gave away what would happen at the end.  I was surprised by the quick turn of events toward the end of the book, and caught myself before I shouted.  It did however leave me a little stumped on the very last page, because it leaves one question unanswered, but I think you should read it to find out what.

In a novel where the main character is blind, April Henry will help you see.  It's new, original, and completely fresh.  It was nothing like I've ever read before, and I'm not sure if anything can compare.  It was different to see through the eyes of someone who was blind, while still seeing everything so vividly.  Cheyenne goes through life using her nose, ears, and hands to guide her, and Henry was able to give great descriptions of each of her experiences.

Read the first chapter.

Where did I get this book?

I received this ARC in order to participate in a traveling tour with Around the World Tours, hosted by Cindy @ Princess Bookie. (I am no longer participating in ATWT at this time.)

Amazon Affiliates

Clicking on title links in this post will redirect you to  If you happen to make a purchase after clicking these links I will receive a small percentage of the profits.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review : The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

Title : The Summer of Skinny Dipping
Author : Amanda Howells
Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire
Genre : Young Adult
ISBN : 978-1402238628
Series or Stand Alone : Stand Alone
Release Date : June 1, 2010
Rating : 5/5 Stars - Loved It

Synopsis from Amazon

Sometimes I still wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I'm jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the very beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.

My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything.


Mia Gordon is on her way to spending a fun, sun filled summer on Long Island.  It's the kind of vacation she deserves for feeling the heartache of being dumped by her first boyfriend.  The last thing she wants to do is think about him, and the ocean is the perfect remedy.

Mia has always spent her summers on the beaches of the Hamptons in New York.  It's only been for the past couple of years that her parents have decided they wouldn't bother spending their summers there, but now Mia has a chance to return to the one place that has always made her happiest.  All she can think about is the sand, the sun, and the warmth of the water on her skin.  Even the thought of it can clear your head and make you forget your worries.  It's also high time she meet up with her favorite cousin, so they can catch up and have the summer of their lives.

When Mia arrives at her aunt and uncle's summer house, she realizes this may not be the summer of all summers.  Her cousin is clearly not the person she remembers, and now they no longer have anything in common.  She thought she would have someone to talk to her about her heartbreak, someone who would understand her.  It's clear that her cousin no longer has the same feelings, since now she seems to look down on the world like it is nothing but a soiled napkin, and Mia is nothing more than an offensive speck.

Mia spends a great deal of her time just trying to fit in with her spoiled cousins, and their snob of a friend.  When things seem to be going horribly wrong, she meets Simon at a party.  He's funny, and most definitely has a way with words.  Mia can't decide whether he can be trusted or not, but she soon finds herself meeting him in the middle of the night to go night swimming.  The two learn a great deal about one another, and soon he's trying to coax her into skinny dipping.

I'll have to say I enjoyed this book from the very first page.  While I could have chosen the synopsis from Goodreads, which gave you more insight on what the book was truly about, I chose the one from Amazon because it's what really caught my eye.  I knew I was in store for something far different than what the title alone revealed.

I enjoyed Mia's character a lot, and felt bad for her when she realized her own cousins didn't really want anything to do with her.  She was sweet and cared about even the smallest of things, while her cousins only cared about who and what was in fashion at the time.  While I hated her cousins, and their mean friend, they were a huge part of the book.  Without them, I think this book would have been rather lacking in story.  They helped Mia to figure out her true self, and become something better.

As for Simon, I didn't really know what to think of him at first.  I guess I felt the same way about him as Mia did, and fell for him with each passing page.  He was a little on the strange side, but I think that's what made him unique, and more alluring.  Despite Mia's ode to ban boys for the summer, she found herself drawn to him.  He understood her, and was content to just sit and listen to her pour her heart out.

Amanda Howells was excellent at describing Mia's vacation spot.  I found myself reminiscing my own summers on Long Island, although far removed from the beaches of the Hamptons.  I became home-sick for the ocean, and can understand how Mia was so attached to it.

The most memorable part of this book was the ending, which I found was a huge surprise.  I only started to feel like something big was going to happen a few paragraphs before it occurred.  I was in shock, but found myself devouring each page looking for the same thing Mia was looking for.  As much as I would like to tell you, I can't, because it would ruin the story for you.  I highly recommend giving this title a try, as it's not only a romantic tale, but a coming of age novel as well.  I'll most definitely be picking up more titles by Howells in the future.

Where did I get this book?

I received my ARC in order to participate in a traveling tour with Around the World Tours. ( I no longer participate with ATWT).

Amazon Affiliates :

Clicking on title links in this post will redirect you to If you happen to make a purchase after clicking these links I will receive a small percentage of the profits. 

Life has been overhauled!

Well folks, remember that post I posted a few months ago?  The one saying that I would be back ASAP to start reviewing again?  Well...let me tell you what's been keeping me..

So, I had my gall bladder removed, YAY!  Only to realize that I was experiencing really bad nausea everyday, and couldn't keep anything down.  It turns out that I was pregnant!!  I know right?!  The most exciting thing that has ever happened to me, no lie.  Technically now I am 5 months along, and I *hopefully* find out tomorrow if it's a boy or a girl!
We're going to name the baby Connor William if it's a boy, and Ashlyn Faith if it's a girl :)

Shortly after finding out that I was going to be bringing an adorable bundle of joy into the world, we found our own house!  We're only renting, but it's something we can call our own for a while.
Then I quit that horrible job, Walmart!, they wouldn't allow me to work because I'm pregnant.  Bull right?

I'm currently working at KFC/Taco Bell, and they treat me great, and don't make me do anything that will stress the baby, so life is doing pretty good now!  I've actually been able to pick up some books to read in my spare time now, that the nausea has subsided.  Sometimes I get sidetracked though, because the baby likes to kick non-stop while I'm reading, and I tend to just stop reading and concentrate on all the feelings, lol.
Oh, and I got myself a Kindle!!!  Awesome!!!  I'm loving it SO much, and actually just finished my first book on it.  So now I'll be reviewing e-copies as well!

So enough about me, and more onto the books.  I'm going to post a review that has been sitting here waiting to be posted for some time.  Look forward to more from me from now on, because now that I don't work 40 hours a week I have plenty of reading and reviewing time!