by Hilary Duff

If you pry open this book thinking it will be a mushy come-together-break-apart-and-come-together-again love story with clichéd twists and turns long used up by the imagination-exhausted film industry, think again. Sure, there’s some romance, smooching, and passenger-seat action, but that is far from the main story. Surprisingly, former Lizzie McGuire actress Hilary Duff delivers an interesting, though borderline cheesy story based around a young girl in the spotlight (hmm…) named Clea whose photos since birth contain a handsome, seemingly ageless man who has begun to haunt - or rather enhance - her dreams. Chasing this ghost, who may possibly be linked to her assumed-dead father, Clea and her best friend/potential love interest Ben venture down to Rio, where she comes face to face with the man of her dreams. At this point, this could’ve turned into a very interesting ghost-beyond-the-grave time-shifting sort of tale that would’ve kept the reader breathless and guessing until the very end. However, Duff decided on giving it a turn with fables, immortality and a centuries-old dust magnet hanging out in a mall. If the story stuck with history-based haunts and paranormal-tinged mystery, it would’ve been all-out riveting; however, it’s still a pretty good afternoon beach read.

Review Posted: PaperBackSwap
Author Website: Hilary Duff: Simon & Schuster


by Veronica Roth

Upon turning 16, her decision to switch virtuous factions throws Beatrice Prior into a world far separated from the one she's known, without her family or any indication of what's to come. Little does she know that her powerful ability to control her fears could become the key element that could rip the government's five factions apart. Though reminiscent of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, with a strong-willed female lead, Divergent is a story all its own, with unexpected twists and a lightning-fast speed that makes you crave more. The characters are deep, emotionally complex beings with untold back stories just itching to be revealed, and Beatrice's romantic relationship with one of them is sensual and sexy, but still appropriate for its intended audience. An addictive read with hopefully many sequels to come.

Review Posted: PaperBackSwap
Author Website: Veronica Roth


Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery
by Spencer Quinn

A private detective is presented a case of what appears to be a simple teenage runaway and a panicked parent, but as the desert-based P.I. suspects something more sinister is at play, he becomes involved enough to put himself in the crosshairs of the perpetrators. Oh, and did I mention the story is told by his just-a-cat-shy-of-graduated police dog Chet? It would be a simple detective mystery with no outstanding qualities if it wasn’t for the perspective of Bernie’s highly-intelligent and –loyal, but easily distracted, pooch, who brings all kinds of hilarity and hi-jinks to the mix. It’s hard not to roar in laughter at Chet’s accurate retelling of human conversation, but way-off interpretations, along with the minor distractions that leap into his narration, like the errant tree that needs marking or dog treat that needs gobbling. Chet’s loyalty is inspiring, though, as he, through all means at his disposal (including hitching a ride with burly bikers), never fails in making his way to Bernie’s side to come to his aid. The first in, if this book is any indication, a wonderful, delightfully hilarious series with suspense, warmth, and dog biscuits.

Review Posted: PaperBackSwap
Author Website: Chet the Dog

Inner Heart
by Yuu Watase
Series: Alice 19th
Book: 2

Can’t say I’ve had any cute guys come up to me and claim me as their fiancée, but I would probably be a bit wary too. Such happens to Alice right in the hallways of her school…and right in front of her secret love, Kyo. But Frey, the strange marrying guy, has a much deeper purpose and joins Kyo and Alice in their mission to save Alice’s sister from a strong darkness, bringing to the table a more expanded knowledge about the Lotis Words and the group’s destinies as Lotis Masters. The main foe the teens face in Inner Heart isn’t very scary (she comes in the form of Oishi, a prissy, stick-up clique chick with a bit of scary on the side), but it does help the group gain a better understanding of how the whole otherworld, darkness-of-heart, kidnapping spirits thing works. Sure, Frey’s protective presence makes things a bit confusing, but Alice’s unintended love triangle is an adorable one with, considering they’re illustrated manga characters, two quite hot guys.

Review Posted: PaperBackSwap