Wednesday, November 30, 2011

E-readers: Before You Buy Buying Tips

I can't believe that December is almost here!  This year is flying by.  Once again at our library's reference desk we are having concerned family members seeking our advice about which e-reader they should buy their loved ones for Christmas this year.  Being a librarian, I really have no vested interest in what readers you buy, but I do know what works with the library's Overdrive program, and the readers that are the easiest to use with Overdrive.  I am not trying to sell anyone anything. I have a nook and I love my nook, but I am also extremely impressed with the Kindle.  While I will focus on Kindle and Nook in this post, many of these questions will be relevant to any e-reader you are looking at.

Even if you are buying for yourself or someone else, these questions and tips will hopefully help you select which device will suit you or the person receiving the gift best.

E-reader Buying Tips and Questions to Ask Yourself:
  • Cheaper isn't always better.  There are a lot of cheap readers on the market, some of them are exceptional, while others are not.  Make sure you know you like the device you are buying because if you don't it wasn't really a bargain.
  • Where do you like to buy books?  Do you like buying books better from Amazon (Kindle) or from Barnes and Noble (Nook).  Whichever device you buy, you will be required to register your device with their website before you can buy books.  This means giving your credit card number to that company.  Your buying preferences figure heavily here keep this in mind when you choose your device--make sure you are comfortable buying from that company.
  • Go somewhere that has the device out where you can touch  it and play with it.  I can't emphasize this enough.  Even though there is no Barnes and Noble where I live, I can go to Books a Million and hold a Nook if I want to see how the device looks, feels, and works in person.  The same is true for Kindle.  Find local retailers that have the devices out where  you can touch them, read on them, and try to navigate on them.  Look for these things as you handle the device:
    • Weight and size.  Although most ereaders are around the same size and weight, there are subtle differences that can influence your decision.  Hold the device in your hand, does it feel comfortable to hold, or is it too bulky (my reader an original nook is kind of heavy, and sometimes makes me wish I had purchased a newer lighter one), do you like the size and and shape of the reader?
    • Read on it!  This is probably the most important tip I can give you.  Whatever one you choose you need to actually read on the device.  Read at least three pages on the device.  
      • Can you read it easily? 
      • Does the glare bother you? 
      • Do you prefer your screens to be backlit? 
      • Adjust the font type--does that make it easier to read?
      • Adjust the size?  Do you like how the font changes with size? 
    • Turn the pages.  This is another important one.  Some e-readers have a really slow page turn.  While some of you may think that is no big deal, let me tell you a slow page turn can be extremely frustrating when you are reading.  Think about it...you finish a page and can't wait to see what happens next, but for some reason your e-reader is taking its own sweet time turning the page.  You are so excited you hit the button again and suddenly your e-reader flips ahead two pages.  Now you have to hit the back button and wait for it to flip back.  I am really not exaggerating here--I have seen this happen and have seen some very upset people trying to navigate on their readers.  Make sure the reader you choose is responsive.  By this I mean the e-reader turns your pages smoothly and quickly--you should not have to wait.  
  • Look for e-reader reviews! Not sure what you are looking for when you handle an e-reader?  If you do a google search, you can come up with a multitude of reviews from various sources.  If you are more traditional and prefer paper publications, you can find reviews from Consumer Reports and various electronics and computer magazines and journals.  You can also ask your friends if they have one what they like or dislike about their reader.  Make sure you are asking someone who actually uses the reader though!

The next part is some things you should consider if your library has Overdrive and you want to get free e-books from the library.

Getting Books From Your Library Through Overdrive:
Overdrive is a wonderful service, and I love getting free ebooks from my library.  Check with your library to see if they subscribe.  Each library has different lending rules--for ours we get the books for two weeks and then they stop working and we delete them off of our devices.  The one thing first time users, or anyone buying an e-reader, should know  is that how you download books from your library will vary from device to device.  If you are considering buying an e-reader, you should make sure that you are comfortable with how this will work for your device.  Most of this information will probably be available on Overdrive's website, or your library's, and if you have a Kindle you can find the information for you on Amazon.com.  Here are some things you should know about how Nook and Kindle downloads differ (keep in mind I am not covering specifics here--for details ask your library):
  • Nook
    • You currently need a computer to do the download.
    • You need to have Adobe Digital Editions downloaded to your computer.  Don't worry, Adobe is free, but you will have to register the software with Adobe and Authorize both your computer and your nook.  You only have to do this once, but set up can sometimes be daunting for people who aren't comfortable around computers.  Here is the link to Adobe Digital Editions for more info about the software.
    • You will search for books, check out books, and download the books to a computer before you will even touch your nook.
    • Once you download the book to your computer it should download it directly to Adobe Digital Editions.  Then you plug in your Nook.  Once your Nook appears on the Digital Editions page you click and drag the book to your Nook.  It really is as simple as clicking and dragging.  
    • You can delete the books (both library and purchased books--so be careful) off your device using Adobe Digital Editions, and you even have an option to return a book early using Adobe Digital Editions.  
    • When the book is on your Nook you will probably find it under My Files, or My Documents--my one wish is that Barnes and Noble would use consistent terminology, but alas no luck there.  Once you find it though you are ready to read.
  • Kindle
    • You need a computer to access Overdrive (we aren't sure if this is necessary for the Kindle Fire, but it is for the other Kindles).
    • You will search for and check out books from a regular computer before you will do anything with a device.
    • Once you have found a book and checked it out, you will click on a button in your Overdrive account that says "Get for Kindle."  
    • At this point you will be redirected to the Amazon page where you will log in with your Amazon account.  
    • Follow the instructions, select the device you want the book delivered to, and then sync your Kindle.  
    • If you have 3G you will need to download the book using your USB cord.  There are instructions for this on Amazon's website including a video, but here is the gist: Save the book to the external drive that your Kindle is on (:E or :F)  Once you save it, you will have to copy the title and paste it into the Kindle’s “documents” folder.  After you eject the Kindle from the external drive, the book should be on your Kindle.
    • For more details visit your library's website.
On the surface both sound complicated, but they really aren't that bad once you get used to it. I hope I am not scaring anyone away from library books from Overdrive. Just remember, talk to you librarians--they can help you with this. At my library we even have one on one trainings that you can schedule to learn how to get e-books from the library--ask your library if they do this.

The #1 thing to remember before you purchase an e-reader--test it out!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Kiss of Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: November 29, 2011  (TODAY!!!!)
Publisher: Kensington
ISBN-13 Book: 9780758266941
Source: I received a copy for review from the publisher.  This is my honest review.


Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy, #2)Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Gwen and friends are back in this second installment of the Mythos Academy series.  As the students of Mythos head off to Powder, a winter ski resort, for the Winter Carnival, Gwen is afraid another Reaper may be on her trail .  After several attempts on her life, Gwen is more concerned with staying alive than hitting the slopes, and Vic--he just wants blood.  Can Gwen find out who may be trying to kill her before they succeed?

I love how fast paced these novels are.  This is the second installment in the Mythos Academy series, and it starts out with plenty of action, and doesn’t let up until you turn the last page.  In many ways this book is better than the first because the author could step right into the story, without a lot of world building. 

I really enjoyed the setting for this novel.  Taking us off campus to a winter ski resort was a fantastic twist.  We got to see the Mythos students having fun, kicking back, and partying.  This novel also had some very nice meat to it that progressed Gwen’s story well.   

I love the action, I love the characters, and I love the mythology.  This novel leads to some important revelations, and Gwen developing new abilities.  Gwen’s character progressed and developed through this story, and it is nice to see those changes.  After turning the last page there was only one thing I could regret--that I have to wait until May for the next installment Dark Frost.  That is going to be one very long wait.  I can’t wait to see what happens to Gwen and friends next!

Overall, this is a fun series that I will continue to read and recommend to teens looking for more action packed paranormal mysteries.  I can’t wait for the next installment. 

View all my reviews

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giveaway and This or That with In the Forests of the Night Author Kersten Hamilton



Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kersten Hamilton to my blog! I loved her first book Tyger Tyger and have been eagerly anticipating the sequel, In the Forests of the Night.  She is here today to tell us a bit about herself and her preferences!  Welcome Kersten!

This or That with Kersten Hamilton

1.  Chocolate or candy?

Chocolate. Dark and bitter. Yum!

2.  Surprises or something more predictable?

Surprises. I have very little patience for predictable, in plots…or in life!

3.  Books or movies?

Books, most of the time.

4.  Horror or Comedy?
Comedy with a dash of daring, a kiss of class, and a better than average adventure. I love the movie Much Ado About Nothing with Emma Thompson, the Amelia Peabody novels by Elizabeth Peters, and The Ananasi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

5.  Cats or Dogs?
When I was young, cats and dogs were my only friends. I met a mangy, one-eyed alley cat named Terrible Tom walking down a fence, and we loved each other at first sight. He didn’t like water; if he could get into the bathroom while I was taking a bath he’d jump in and bite me until I got out of the nasty wet stuff. He’d follow me to school and yowl outside the classroom door until the teacher sent me home. When I was thirteen, I saved a puppy and named him Shadrach. He grew up to be my best friend. How could I ever choose between them?

6.  Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?
Fall. I love chrysanthemums that face the frost with a blaze of courage.

7.  Traveling or Staying Home with Family?
Traveling…with family.


8.  Cooking at Home or Eating Out?
Do you mean ME cooking or someone else cooking? Because…I don’t cook. Nope. Just write. I do love it when people cook for me, though.


9.  Shopping or Hiking?
Hiking—and looking for dinosaur bones.

10.  Board Games or Video Games?
Board Games if I must. But I’d really rather read a book.

11.  Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
Yes, please! I love them all. Coffee to wake up, tea with good friends and hot chocolate for cold, rainy days.

12.  Ebooks or Paper Books?
Any old kind of book will do. It’s the story I crave, not the body it is wrapped in.


13.  Sweet or Salty?
Salty.

14.  Vampires, Werewolves, Dystopias,  or Goblins?
Goblins, of course.

15.  Morning Person or Night Owl?
I’m a Zone person. When I’m writing, I fall into the Zone, and time collapses. I don’t know if it is day or night, early or late. I just…write. Until I have to come back to reality for food or more coffee, tea or hot chocolate!

Thank you for having me on your blog, Melissa!



Thank you so much for joining me today!

In the Forests of the Night came out on November 22nd and is now available in stores.  I just started reading it this past weekend, and let me tell you, she has me hooked!  If you haven't read Tyger Tyger yet, go out and get it--it is now available in paperback and is definitely a fantastic fantasy!

Giveaway!!!
Click Read More for more details and to sign up!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adult Book Review: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Title: Julie and Julia
Author: Julie Powell
Genre: Adult Nonfiction, Memoir
Publication Date: September 7, 2006
Publisher: Back Bay Books
ISBN-13 Book: 0316013269
Source: I purchased a copy from Barnes and Noble for my personal collection. This is my honest review.


Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking DangerouslyJulie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, you may not know this about me, but I am a wanna-be foodie.  I watch tremendous amounts of Food TV, and just about any other cooking show on TV.  Sometimes, when I am really desperate, I will watch them sell cooking utensils and pots and pans on QVC or the Home Shopping Channel.  The only magazine subscriptions I have are to food magazines, and although the titles will vary from time to time, I always seem to have at least two active subscriptions. Yeah, it is an addiction, but of all the addictions I could have, I guess it is a relatively harmless one.  But note I said wanna-be—in essence this means that while I would love to cook like they do, my talent for cooking seems to be limited to pasta and cheese.  Okay, I am a very picky, not very creative, wannabe foodie.

When two things I love come together like reading and cooking, I just couldn’t help myself—I had to see what all the hype was about.  Julia and Julia is a memoir of Julie Powell’s time attempting to cook all 524 recipe’s in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  It is more than about just the cooking though.  She spends a lot of time thinking about her upcoming 30th birthday, her dreary secretarial job, her tiny apartment, and her failure to become an author—guess that is one she can strike off the list.

You know, I am not the biggest reader of realistic fiction, and that I have to be really interested to even give it a shot.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a food book and for the most part I was right.

I love the bits and pieces that flashback to Julia Child—I learned so much about her life that I never knew, and I thought that it was interesting how Julie put Julia on such a pedestal and tried to be like her.  I discovered that I really wanted to know more about Julia Child, so much so that as we speak I have Julia Child’s book, My Life in France sitting on the desk next to me.

This was a surprisingly fast read for me.  Again because it was non-fiction I figured it would be hard for me to get through, but surprisingly it was a fun book to read.  There were laugh out loud moments, and moments where you were frustrated by Julie’s reactions to things.  She had a lot of negativity towards her work, and as someone who has done the secretarial job I can understand where that comes from—it reminds me a lot of the time I spent working for a call center that shall remain nameless.  I was surprised by how well I connected to Julie’s narrative voice.  I could see where she was coming from even when I didn’t necessarily agree.  Not that I could ever be as vocal as she is.

Overall, this book is about many things, not just about food and cooking—actually I kind of wish there had been more about the food.  It is about the changes we go through when we reach the age of 30, the frustration of being in a job where your opinions aren’t heard and aren’t wanted when you are heard.  Yes, there was a lot of frustration in the novel.  Not just with the cooking, but with life.  All I have to say is that Eric must be the most patient man in the world.  The “Project” as Julie calls it is amazing, I can honestly say it is something I will never attempt, but I might pick up Julia’s cookbook and give a recipe a shot.

Overall, this was an interesting read, and I loved the talk about food, cooking, and the things I learned about Julia Child.  If anything, I think it might have encouraged me to find out more about her.  We’ll see how far I get into My Life in France.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Hop



Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and by All-Consuming Books!  Be sure to stop by as many blogs as possible for your chance to win some great books or book related items!

For my giveaway you have the chance to win a SIGNED copy of Ashfall by Mike Mullin!

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)
Here are the rules:

* Contest will run from 12:01 am November 17th through 12:01 am November 28th.
* US entries only (sorry I don't have a lot of money to pay for postage)
* Must be 13 years of age or older.
* Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
* Not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail. I will pay for delivery confirmation.

Sign up for the giveaway using Rafflecopter below!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title: Prized
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
ISBN-13 Book: 9781596435704
Source: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.  This is my honest review!

Prized (Birthmarked, #2)Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prized takes place shortly after the events of Birthmarked. We join Gaia who has run away from the Enclave with her newborn sister, who is barely surviving the wasteland. When she is found and taken to a nearby settlement, Sylum, Gaia hopes that she can nurse her sister back to health and find the grandmother who left the Enclave years ago, but when her sister is taken from her and she finds that her grandmother has been dead for years, Gaia must decide to leave Sylum without her sister, or stay in this rather unusual matriarical society. When she disobeys the Matrarc, she finds herself under house arrest, unable to help either her sister or Leon who has followed her to Sylum.


I enjoyed Birthmarked when I read it last year, and was eager to know what would happen to Gaia in her quest to leave the Enclave and find her grandmother. Gaia is a strongwilled character, and that was one of the things I liked about her. In this novel, the Matrarc seems determined to break Gaia, and make her into one of her proper Mlasses. I didn’t like some of the turns the story took, but O’Brien’s writing kept me interested enough that I definitely wanted to know what was going to happen.

This novel is a good sequel to the first, and it definitely keeps you interested, but I found myself wishing Gaia could have found her safety in a place that didn’t have controversies as bad if not worse than the Enclave. Aren’t there any normal societies left in Gaia’s world? I guess her finding a new home and living happily ever after wouldn’t have made nearly as interesting a story.

Characterizations are well done, and O’Brien is still finding time to drop those SAT vocab words—I loved finding those in the text, they were like little gems! While I knew what they meant, I know some of my teens will definitely be reaching for the dictionary. It’s nice when YA lit proves that it can be smart as well as entertaining.

Overall, this is a good sequel to Birthmarked. It is not a novel you will really want to tackle unless you have read the first, because you will need to know much of the characters’ histories in order to understand much of the emotional impact of the novel. If you like dystopian and you enjoyed Birthmarked you might want to see what comes next.




View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adult Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN-13 Book: 9780385534635
Publisher Audio CD: Random House Audio
ISBN CD: 9780307938909
Source: I checked out the audio from my local library. I purchased a copy of the book for my personal collection. This is my honest review!

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The circus arrives without warning.” So begins a novel like no other.  Two young illusionists are pitted against each other in a battle of skill that has far reaching consequences.  Both a love story and a tale of magic, this book will leave you wanting more.


Let me start by saying that there is no way this review will do the book justice.  I have fallen in love with this novel, and can’t seem to find adequate words to describe it.  I want to applaud the author for her originality.  This novel is unique and intriguing.  It was like nothing I had ever read before, and when I turned that last page I wanted more.  Given the originality of the novel, I think I must learn to live with disappointment and the fact that The Night Circus has ruined me for other novels.  

It is the mysterious challenge that propels the action of the novel, but the circus itself that keeps you turning the pages.  I found myself wanting to believe in that magical circus and find myself in that place of imagination.  I just wanted to go there and stay in that magic forever. 

The audio version of The Night Circus is produced by Random House Audio and read by Jim Dale who is probably best known for his narration of the Harry Potter audiobooks.  Dale is a superb narrator and probably one of the bests in the industry.  I think I could listen to him narrate the phone book, he is so good.  It comes as no surprise then that the audio version of The Night Circus would be so remarkable.  It is a great way to read this wonderful novel.   

Overall, The Night Circus is a story of imagination, love, and determination.  The Night Circus will take you places you have never been before and to places you will never want to leave.




View all my reviews

Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge






We all do it, purchase a book, win one for a prize, etc... and then take it home to sit on the shelf and remain unread, because we are too busy reading other things, newer books, etc...  When I came across this challenge hosted by Evie at Bookish, I knew I needed to sign up.  So this coming year in 2012 I am going to attempt to read down my reading pile.

There are several levels for this challenge and a whole group of hosts:

Levels:

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children


Thank you to all the wonderful blogs hosting this challenge--I hope I can do well and at least get through my ten!

Hosts:
Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions


For my challenge, I plan on starting small.  I am going to try to complete 10 books--the Firm Handshake level.  I am not sure I will accomplish it, but I am certainly going to try.  Here are a few of the books I hope to tackle:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Torn by Erica O'Rourke
Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (if I don't get to it this year)


and many more...
 

I'm Back! Reviews to Follow

Well, I am back and slowly recovering from our Battle of the Books competition.  After it was over on Saturday, I was ready to collapse!

It took place Saturday November 12th, and we had a total of 144 people there for the competition!  Thirteen Middle School teams competed to take home the Battle trophy and let me tell you those kids were prepared.  I couldn't have done it without help from my wonderful coworkers!

I spend all year working on Battle of the Books, and although it is a lot of fun, it is a lot of work.  Today, I start the preparations for next year's competition; choosing the books, reviewing what we can do better, and getting the awards out to the schools.

I have finished a couple books during my time away so expect reviews soon!  Thank you for your patience, and keep your eyes open for a giveaway later this week for the Gratitude Hop!  (Hint, hint...it is SIGNED!!!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why So Silent?

You have probably noticed by now that my reviews have slowed down a bit in the last couple of weeks.  To be honest, my reading has too.  I still have books I am working on:

The Night Circus

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)

Prized (Birthmarked, #2)

The problem is I have been taking work home with me lately.  November 12th is our library's 26th annual Battle of the Books competition.  Each year I select 10 books for the competition and write 100 questions per book (usually 5 of the books are ones I have used in the past so I can reuse the questions).  This means I will write 500 questions for books this year.  Battle of the Books is a lot of work and now it is crunch time.  I need to finish writing questions for Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Julie Kagawa's Iron King.  Writing 100 questions per book is no easy task, and I do have help to get me through this.  But since our deadline is quickly approaching I have put off all my reading and started taking these books home to write battle questions.  After November 12th, I am hopeful that everything will go back to normal.  In case you are curious, here are our ten titles for this year:


Title / Author                                                   

5 new:
Iron King / Julie Kagawa                              
Dark Life / Kat Falls                                        
Leviathan / Scott Westerfeld                    
Demon King / Cinda Williams Chima     
Incarceron / Catherine Fisher       

5 reused:      
Hatchet / Paulsen                                           
Witch of Blackbird Pond / Speare            
Maniac Magee / Spinelli                              
Left for Dead / Nelson                                  
Down the Rabbit Hole / Abrahams         

Thank you for your patience!  I can't wait to get back to some real reading!   

Book Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Summoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061450549
Publisher Audio CD: Recorded Books
ISBN CD:: 9781436197205
Source: I checked out the audio from my local library. I purchased a copy of the book for my personal collection. This is my honest review!


The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1)The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Fifteen year old Chloe Saunders sees dead people. As a result of this startling discovery and being chased by a dead custodian, she is sent to Lyle House Group Home where she is diagnosed as having schizophrenia. But what Chloe can do is real, and as she soon learns, she isn’t the only one with special abilities at Lyle House. Something strange is going on, and if the dead can’t convince her, then she and her friends may be joining them sooner than they think.

This was an interesting novel, but you definitely get the impression this is a first novel in a series. There are a lot of questions left unanswered at the end of the book, plus a pretty big cliffhanger. The thing that bothers me about novels like these, is that they really have difficulty standing on their own. It is like I have only read part of a book, rather than a whole novel. I just wish I had more explanations and more of a solid novel that could stand alone.

Armstrong does incredibly well with the creep factor. The first scene in the novel sends chills down your spine, and I really wish I had gotten more of that. I loved the creepy parts, and want to know more about Chloe’s abilities.

Chloe and the other characters in the book can be more than a little bit unpredictable at times, but in a novel of suspense this is a good thing. The characters don’t always do what you predict they will do. Chloe is perhaps the most fully drawn character, and she is likable enough. You definitely want to know what is going on with the other kids at Lyle house, but a lot of that is left unexplained—for future books no doubt.

The audio version of the book is produced by Recorded Books and read by Cassandra Morris. When I first started listening to this novel, I had trouble with the audio version. The narrator sounded too young to be a fifteen year-old girl. As you progress through the story you discover that Chloe is a little underdeveloped for her age, and can excuse the too youthful narration. This is a good production, you just have to get used to it.

Overall this was an interesting series opener, that didn’t quite meet my expectations. I may go on in the series just simply because I want some explanations—I guess in that sense it did its job!


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