The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker

Delphi Resistance

Struggling with evolving psychic abilities, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan and her equally exceptional friends are on the run from the ruthless Graham Cregg, leader of a covert operation known as the Delphi Project. Cregg has already killed repeatedly to test Anna’s ability. Now, he and his father, a presidential contender, will stop at nothing to recapture the Delphi adepts, whom they see as weapons to be controlled—or destroyed.

Navigating an increasingly hostile landscape, Anna and her friends form a resistance to rescue those still in the Creggs’ fatal grip. As more gifted kids vanish and public awareness of the Delphi Project grows, so does the opinion that getting rid of the adepts may be a necessary evil.

Yet even as they face off against cold-blooded killers, government operatives, and a public intensely afraid of their psychic powers, the greatest threat to Anna and the resistance may come from within themselves—and their own mysterious abilities could spell their ultimate downfall.

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker
Published October 24, 2017 by Skyscape
Format: Netgalley e-book; 456 pages
Young Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy
Also By This Author: The Delphi EffectTimebound
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

First off, I love this cover. The splotches of blue and purple look so well together (also, they’re my two favorite colors!), and the sphere in the middle reminds me of a black hole, even though this book series has nothing to do with black holes or space travel.

My favorite thing about this series so far has been the characters, especially the ones with special abilities. In The Delphi Effect, we mostly see Anna with one “hitcher”, as she calls them. Towards the end of the book, however, as the plot and conspiracies grow deeper, Anna takes on multiple hitchers and her self-control and focus are pushed to the limit as she tries not to be pushed to the backseat of her consciousness. In The Delphi Resistance, Anna consistently has multiple hitchers, but she has learned how to keep control, even during stressful situation (these hitchers are more friendly than some of the ones we met at the end of Delphi Effect.

Similarly to its prequel, The Delphi Resistance has more exposition scenes and fewer high-intensity action scenes, although there are two really suspenseful ones in this novel. The characters spend weeks researching, investigating, and, in Taylor’s case, tracking down key people in the Delphi Project. I believe this reflects Rysa Walker’s own writing habits, as I know she is a history buff who loves researching real events for her novels. It’s one of the biggest things I admire about her as an author :)

The ending to The Delphi Resistance came suddenly, and I’m anxious to read the final installment of the series next year. I’m really excited to find out what’s going on with some of the “gifted” characters, like Daniel, and the boy Anna first encounters at The Warren.

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The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Delphi Resistance in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own!
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Behind the Song by K.M. Walton

Behind the Song

A song to match everyone’s heartbeat.

A soaring melody, a pulse-pounding beat, a touching lyric: Music takes a moment and makes it a memory. It’s a universal language that can capture love, heartbreak, loss, soul searching, and wing spreading—all in the span of a few notes. In Behind the Song, fourteen acclaimed young adult authors and musicians share short stories and personal essays inspired by the songs, the albums, the musicians who move them.

So cue up the playlist and crank the volume. This is an anthology you’ll want to experience on repeat.

Behind the Song by K.M. Walton
Published September 5, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Netgalley e-book; 400 pages
Anthology/Short Story/Young Adult
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts:

Behind the Song is a Young Adult anthology of short stories inspired by music. There are fourteen stories in all, and while most of them are fictional, there are a couple that are nonfictional. I love creating my own personal soundtracks for favorite books, or even for my own writing playlists, so I was very excited about reading Behind the Song and listening to the different songs that inspire other writers.

For the first twelve stories, I read the story after listening to the song that inspired it. I listened to the last two songs after reading their respective stories, and this may have contributed to a greater feeling of suspense since I couldn’t make guesses about what would happen next based on the song lyrics.

Below are my favorite stories from Behind the Song, and I’ve also linked up to the anthology’s playlist below :)

Miss Atomic Bomb by Anthony Breznican (inspired by The Killer’s “Miss Atomic Bomb”)

If you enjoy dystopian stories, you will love this one. I was a bundle of nerves the entire time I was reading Miss Atomic Bomb, and I had to take a bit of a breather after finishing it because there was so much to unpack and think about. I love short stories for this very reason: every action, every moment of suspense is magnified and condensed into the length of a novel chapter.

‘Cold Beverage’: The Song I Wrote That Changed My Life by G. Love (inspired by his song “Cold Beverage”)

Before reading this story, I had never even heard of the song “Cold Beverage”, but now I listen to it about once a week because it is SO FUN! Check out the video on the playlist below, even that is fun to watch (I watched it twice while typing this blog post). This is a memoir short story (I refrain from using the word “essay” because that makes it seem dull, and it’s anything but), because it’s written by the singer G. Love about how he created his song “Cold Beverage” and why he still loves it nearly two decades later.

Time To Soar by Donn T (inspired by Amy Winehouse’s “October Song”)

This is one of those stories that really needs to be read multiple times. First of all, I’m not too familiar with Amy Winehouse’s music, but after listening to “October Song”, I see why she had such a loyal fan following. Time To Soar reads like a true story, perhaps creative nonfiction, but it isn’t. It’s filled with suspense, heartbreak, and hope, and overall it has an inspirational and optimistic message.

Anyone Other Than Me by Tiffany Schmidt (inspired by Dave Matthews Band’s “Dancing Nancies”)

This short story could have been turned into a full-length novel, and I would have loved it just the same. It’s a coming of age story about turning over a new leaf and finding oneself. There are swoon-worthy moments, and even suspenseful ones, and it all takes place at a summer camp which makes it really fun to read. I had heard of Tiffany Schmidt before, but this is the first time I’ve read anything by her; I will definitely be picking up one of her books sometime because I really enjoyed her tone and writing style.

Doomed? by K.M. Walton (inspired by Marcy Playground’s “All the Lights Went Out”)

I’m glad that Behind the Song ended with a fantastic story like Doomed? It’s one that surprises you with a twist you won’t see coming, one that will keep you thinking about the story long after you’ve finished it. Doomed? is told through two narrators, and it’s easy to follow along, although it’s another story that deserves to be read more than once.

Final Musings:

Here is my YouTube playlist for Behind the Song. Unfortunately, one of the songs (“Planting Trees” by James Howe) is not on YouTube, but you can listen to it here.

Behind the Song Playlist

Disclaimer: I received a free, advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinion of Behind the Song, je promets!

The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker – Audiobook Review

The Delphi Effect

It’s never wise to talk to strangers…and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life.

When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.

The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy #1) by Rysa Walker
Published October 11, 2017 by Skyscape
Format: e-book/e-audiobook; 379 pages/12 hours
Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal
Also By This Author: The CHRONOS Files Series (Timebound, Time’s Edge, Time’s Divide)
Goodreads | Audible | Amazon Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 

Thoughts

Once again, I bought a Rysa Walker book and then didn’t start reading it until MONTHS later. Let’s just say I was waiting until book 2’s release date was close so that I wouldn’t have to wait long in-between (this is true! I just received an advanced copy of The Delphi Resistance, which comes out next month, so I’ll be starting that ASAP!). My husband actually finished this book before me, and I’m so glad that we both enjoy Rysa’s novels because it’s fun to discuss and digest them together.

This series is more fantastical than I had been expecting. Her previous series is a solid sci-fi tale, and while The Delphi Effect can definitely be classified as sci-fi, it was more in the fantasy/paranormal realm. Our protagonist Anna is able to converse with spirits, particularly spirits of deceased persons who are unable to move on. I guess you can say they are stuck in purgatory, and they try to convince Anna to help them with their unfinished business. Sometimes that unfinished business is easy, like finishing a crossword puzzle or making sure someone’s beloved pet was adopted. But other times Anna has difficult, even dangerous hitch hikers. Such is the case with Molly, a murder victim, and who unintentionally catapults Anna into a secretive government conspiracy.

Rysa Walker is very skilled at world building. She is a history buff, and she always weaves her stories into real-life events. I also love how detailed and intricate she makes her characters’ powers. In The CHRONOS Files, the main character has the genetic ability to time travel. In The Delphi Effect, Anna and many of the characters she meets have supernatural abilities: ability to converse with spirits, power of persuasion, visions of the future, etc. I really enjoyed visualizing all of these different abilities, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more of this series. The Delphi Resistance comes out in October, and the final book, The Delphi Revolution, will probably be released next year.

Audiobook Review

If you’ve ever hesitated about buying a Kindle, let me persuade you (with my supernatural powers of persuasion…): Amazon has this feature called Wispersync. When you buy an e-book, you are then able to purchase the audiobook (at a much cheaper price) and switch back and forth between reading and narration within the Kindle app. I had already bought the first two CHRONOS Files novels when my husband wanted to read them as well, and since he prefers audiobooks so he can listen at work (he does drafting so lucky for him he can put in headphones and tune the office out), I went to buy the Audible version and found out about Whispersync. It cost me between $20-$25 to buy three e-books and the corresponding audiobooks! It usually costs that much for ONE audiobook. I don’t know if this feature is available for every e-book, but it’s worth a try. I don’t even think you really need a Kindle; just an Amazon account and the Kindle app.

Now, onto the audiobook review. Kate Rudd narrates this series, and she narrated The CHRONOS Files as well. I love her narration. She does a great job with the characters’ different voices and accents, and I would be highly inclined to listen to any audiobook that she narrates. Even though I only have an advanced e-book version of The Delphi Resistance, I still plan on buying the published e-book/audiobook copies via Whispersync, especially so my husband can continue listening to the series. I will probably be rereading these books sometime. I already want to reread Timebound because Kate Rudd’s voice reminds me (unsurprisingly) of that story and how much I absolutely adore it.

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Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson’s cherished, unforgettable adventure magically captures the thrill of a sea voyage and a treasure hunt through the eyes of its teenage protagonist, Jim Hawkins. Crossing the Atlantic in search of the buried cache, Jim and the ship’s crew must brave the elements and a mutinous charge led by the quintessentially ruthless pirate Long John Silver. Brilliantly conceived and splendidly executed, it is a novel that has seized the imagination of generations of adults and children alike

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Published November 14, 1883 by Cassell and Company
Format: Hardcover; 240 pages
Classics / Adventure / Young Adult
Also By This Author: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

It probably takes a good blend of ignorance and luck to avoid finding out spoilers for a 134 year old book, but I made it 27 years without knowing anything about Treasure Island, except for the fact that it involved treasure, an island, and it featured pirates. I had never read this book or its synopsis before, nor had I seen any movie adaptations (no, not even the Muppets version). Of course, I had heard of Long John Silver, but I didn’t even know he was a prominent character in this book until he was introduced several chapters in.

Disclaimer: if you are a rarity like me who doesn’t know anything about Treasure Island and would like to keep it that way, you may want to skip down to the “Read this Book if” section, to continue avoiding spoilers :)

I liked not knowing anything about this novel beforehand because that really raised the suspense level for me. I never knew who to trust and I was constantly worried about characters dying. I applaud Robert Lewis Stevenson for romanticizing pirate stories, and I wonder if even he anticipated or expected the influence his novel would continue to have long after his death.

As intrigued as I was by this story for the first four parts, once they arrive on the island and conflicts begin escalating, I started detaching from the story. I think I was put off by Long John Silver’s character. From the very first encounter with him, I didn’t trust him, but there were several times when I wanted to. I remember gasping in shock when the mutiny is uncovered by our narrator halfway through the story, but I always expected Silver to be the villain in disguise. What really confused me was how he could kill several crew members and threaten the lives of the captain and the doctor and still get away scot-free at the end of the book, while the men he persuaded into mutiny were either killed or marooned on Treasure Island.

Maybe I wasn’t reading closely enough? Am I alone in feeling conflicted over the conclusion of Treasure Island? It ruined the ending for me quite a bit, which is why I only gave the book a 3-star rating.

Read This Book If…

…you wish you were a pirate! Or you at least enjoy pirate and/or adventure stories.
…you are fascinated by the way humans (and fictional characters) react when placed in stressful life-and-death situations, especially when profit is involved (if you like Lord of the Flies and similar novels, you will probably appreciate Treasure Island as well).
…you like reading pioneering novels that have birthed entirely new genres.
…you enjoy reading books with reliable narrators, even if the other characters are not as trustworthy.

Final Musings

Since I’ve never seen a single film adaptation of Treasure Island, I have no idea which one is the best. Any recommendations? If you’re reading this, you should know that I am not the biggest Muppets fan, but if that one is generally considered one of the best versions, I will consider watching it :)

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

the fill-in boyfriend

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published May 5, 2015 by HarperTeen
Format: library e-book; 344 pages
Young Adult/Contemporary Romance
Also By This Author: The Distance Between UsOn the FencePivot Point
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

This book is about so much more than I originally expected. Yes, the majority of the plot revolves around the idea of a fill-in boyfriend, but it’s also about losing friends and making new ones, being vulnerable, and ultimately finding yourself. I connected easily with Gia as she tries to become a better person during her senior year of high school. Like so many of us, she feels like an absolute failure before she notices any improvement.

A lot of Gia’s life is centered on her group of best friends: Claire, Laney, and “frenemy” Jules. Seeing how these girls interacted with each other and with their other classmates reminded me of some of the best and worst parts of high school. I really enjoyed the misfit characters that interrupted Gia’s perfectly planned life and changed her perspective on everything.

I enjoyed the ending of The Fill-In Boyfriend because not everything is completely resolved. Some relationships were still messy and there were some unanswered questions, which made the ending more realistic, in my opinion. Sometimes I prefer a clean, “happily ever after” ending, but honestly, those books are usually more forgettable. When novels wrap up and leave a few minor ends unresolved, I tend to hold on to the story for a while after I’ve finished it, mulling it over and analyzing how it connects to my own reality. The Fill-In Boyfriend has had me reflecting on high school and the friendships that have dissolved or endured over the years.

Read This Book If…

…you like seeing characters get caught in their mistakes (and lies) and having to make amends.
…you’ve ever been a misfit.
…you enjoy venting your feelings through fictional characters (there are a few scenes involving angry screaming and throwing rocks).
…you’re looking to read a contemporary YA romance that is surprisingly more than surface-deep.

“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

Final Musings:

One thing Gia focuses on in The Fill-In Boyfriend is being a better person. She fails, a lot, but it reminded me that self-improvement is a life-long journey and not an over-night process. Although it makes me extremely anxious when fictional characters act like compulsive liars (seriously, I have a major problem with second-hand guilt and embarrassment), seeing how Gia reacted to the consequences of her decisions made up for that.

This book was recommended to me by a couple of friends, and even though I had previously tried reading Kasie West’s The Distance Between Us (and put it down after a quarter of the way through), I’m glad I gave The Fill-In Boyfriend a chance because it’s been one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published January 2, 2012 by Poppy
Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Format: Hardcover; library checkout; 236 pages
Also By This Author: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, This is What Happy Looks Like, The Geography of You and Me
Goodreads Amazon Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

So I’m officially a fan of Jennifer E. Smith now. This is the second book of hers I’ve read in two months that I really, really enjoyed. I guess I should probably give The Geography of You and Me another chance. Maybe I’ll like it better now ;)

About the book…
Yes, it’s a contemporary romance, but surprisingly that wasn’t the deepest part about this novel, and I wouldn’t say it was my favorite part, either. Hadley, our main character is going through a difficult period with her dad after her parents’ divorce. In fact, the only reason Hadley meets Oliver is because she’s flying over to London for her father’s wedding, something she’s dreading.

I totally understand why Hadley’s mad at and hurt by her father, too. He kind of skipped out on Hadley and her mom by moving to England and then having an affair with his now-fiancé. But each chapter Hadley confronts a memory or fear about her father that causes her to reflect on the deterioration of their relationship and what she wishes it would be like, and meeting Oliver at the airport on the way to London is what forces her to do that. Along the way she develops feelings for Oliver, but in my opinion this novel is less about falling in love and more about restoring relationships. There’s one heartwarming chapter in particular that really tugged at my feelings, but I don’t want to say anything more about it to avoid spoilers!

Read This Book If…

…you love stories about reconciliations.
…you enjoy novels that touch on darker emotions, such as grief, hate, heartbreak, and unforgiveness.
…you like characters who make you laugh (Oliver is an adorable dork).
…you like reading books about parent-child relationships.

“In the end, it’s not the changes that will break your heart; it’s that tug of familiarity.”

Final Musings

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is definitely a re-readable book for me! I loved Hadley and Oliver and the journey they take together. They reminded me that being a teenager is tough and that everyone has complicated relationships with their parents, but that’s not a reason to give up on them because of a falling-out. And on a lighter note, Oliver and Hadley were adorable together! There were several moments in this book that gave me “heart eyes” :)

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts #1) by Katie Finn

brokenhearts

Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.

Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don’t hold grudges forever. Do they?

Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she’s someone else. As though the summer wasn’t complicated enough already.

Filled with summer sun, boys, and friendships gone sour, Katie Finn’s first novel in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series sizzles and delights.

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
Published May 13, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Format: Hardcover; 339 pages
Also By This Author: Top 8Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold
Goodreads Amazon Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

If I could summarize this book in one sentence it would say: LYING IS BAD!

Gemma Tucker is a big liar. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into too much detail, but when Gemma was 11 she did some really horrible things to a friend she made while vacationing in the Hamptons for the summer. I say horrible without explaining what she did exactly, but trust me, some of these things she did were cruel and had serious, long-term affects. I remember feeling really sad after we finally find out what happened.

Anyway, this book is actually fun, despite some of the sadder/darker backstory. Fast-forward 7 years and now Gemma, recently dumped and back in the Hamptons for the summer, is presented with a chance to “mend” all the wrongs she did…by lying.

Yeah, because that’s not going to end badly.

This book was well-written and the characters weren’t flat or boring. The only reason I didn’t rate this book a little higher is because of the lying. Lie after lie built up to the point that I was stressing out and feeling like was the one lying. (Side note: I have a problem, when it comes to appropriating fictional characters’ feelings as my own, especially guilt or embarrassment. It’s a big problem of mine) But by the time I reached the end of the novel and things took a huge twist, I was ready to read the sequel (which I just received for Christmas!).

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy books about second chances.
…you’re looking for a light but suspenseful read (that may stress you out like it did me!).
…you need a beach book even if it’s not beach season yet!
…you want to start a new series (the final book will be published in May so you wouldn’t have to wait years to read them all!).

Final Musings

If you didn’t know this, Katie Finn is also Morgan Matson, author of some of my favorite Young Adult books, Since You’ve Been Gone and Second Chance SummerBroken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend is a lot different from Matson’s books, but the writing styles and character developments are similar. I enjoyed this book even if 3-stars doesn’t seem like a great rating (it would have been 4-stars if I hadn’t experienced so much second-hand embarrassment).