Running Barefoot - Amy Harmon ★★★★★

At age nine, Josie has no other choice but to become an adult and takes care of her family. Her mother just died and she has to help her dad and brothers by doing housework, cooking, and balancing the checkboo...all still while going to school and learning to play the piano like the great pianists of all time. By age 13, she thought of herself as a loner and didn't really mesh well with others her age. After the bus driver creates a seating chart, she gets paired up with 18 year Samuel who is part Native American and very disgruntled. After riding the bus 40 minutes every day to and from school they discuss everything and anything like Beethoven and Navajos, Wuthering Heights and the Marines. Jose and Samuel became friends and it’s not till later that they realized how much their friendship means to one another. By the end of the school year, Samuel goes off to join the Marines and it leaves Josie heartbroken. She eventually moves on and no longer dwells on losing her once best friend. A few unfortunate events take place and Josie is again left heartbroken and alone. It’s not until a decade later; Samuel comes back into Josie’s world and repays the favor of showing her what it is like to feel again.

Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon was surprisingly a good book. As I read the first few pages I wasn't entirely sure I would like it. Once I finished the first chapter, I became hooked. I stayed up till 1 am one night and read 70% of the book. Once I finished it that next morning I was sad it was over.  I can’t' really explain why I was interested in this book so much. Maybe it was because it reminded me of something that would be on the Lifetime Movie network (Come on! We all LOVE the movies on lifetime!! Admit it!). It was compelling and at each chapter end, you wanted to find out how the next chapter started. Running Barefoot is a wonderfully written coming of age story, not for just one person of the story but for two, very similar but all very unique in their own way, charactors. Five stars to Amy Harmon on a job well done.


Wrecked by Elle Casey ★★★★★

Sarah and Kevin Petersons are the popular ones in school, The beauty and the jock. Jonathan and Candi Buckley are the complete opposite, the nerdy know it all and the quiet shy never noticed girl. They do not socialize with each other and they cannot stand each other. They have no choice in the matter and are forced to be in the same room with each other when their parents take them on a cruise together. After a vicious storm hits the Buckley and Peterson kids aboard their designated lifeboat. Once dropped in water they face rogue waves that take them farther out into sea and eventually on a peanut shaped island in the middle of nowhere. The Buckleys and the Petersons have to put all their differences aside and help each other survive. There are dangers around each corner and as each day goes by the four teenagers realize that they are their own hope. They must rely on each other.....the family they have left.

This is this second book I have read by Elle Casey and I highly enjoyed this book too. I must admit, although this is considered a "young adult" book, I am 28 years old and I still enjoyed it. Its the newest version of Swiss Family Robinson. Wrecked illustrates that despite social statuses, relationships form when you least except it. It was kind of obviously that certain relationships were going to build, but I enjoyed how each one discovered who they really are and not who their friends or family want them to be. I also know, that if i ever get stuck on an island, I'll at least know some of the basics. Wrecked isn't just entertaining, it was a learning lesson as well!
I do hope that there will be a sequel to Wrecked, because I'd really like to see what happens to group in following months.


Bullied: The Complete Series by Christopher Smith ★ ★ ★

Seth has been bullied far to long and they all deserve what they get. Seth Moore is an 18 year old who got bullied by his classmates since as far back as he can remember. Until one day changes everything. His dads friend, Creepy Jim, gives Seth an amulet that will do anything Seth wants it to do...Get rid of his pimpled face? Done. Give him a car? Done. Destroy the Bullies? Done. After a tragic event, Seth takes revenge on the bullies but not in the typical way that one would think......Now, gaining the confidence to fight back, does he have what it takes to fight against other forces, who will stop at nothing to get this amulet?
I gave rated this book ★ ★ ★, because although it was good and at points very detailed, for you to picture exactly what is being done to people, I thought it was a little cheesey. Don't get me wrong, bullying is a horrible and unforgiving act, but the way Seth would "preach" about it...to me just seemed a little corny. Specially when talking to certain teachers and at the very end of the last book. But still - big props to Seth for fighting back and taking action.


The Changelings: War of the Fae Book one - Elle Casey ★★★★

Hunger Games for the Fae was my first impression. Jayne and Tony have a uncommon friendship; Jayne swears like a trucker and Tony just wanted Jayne to leave him alone (at first). One day after school something happens which causes Tony to pull a gun on a classmate and rather than dealing with the aftermath, both Jayne and Tony take off to Miami.  With no money and no clue on what to do next, they run into Jared who offers them a place to stay (a warehouse with the rest of his crew - the runaways). With no other option, Jayne and Tony go with Jared but still have their doubts and are unsure if they can trust the group or if they should just continue on their way.
After finding a flier for "Up to $500 for test subjects," Jayne, Tony and the other Runaways volunteer to be part of a special experiment. Unbeknownst to the group, the special experiment consists of taking the group to a secret wooded location to perform a training exercise, where each kid gets only one weapon and must reach all 4 checkpoints. The only rule is - there are no rules. They are no longer in the scope of the real world and any way to survive must be taken. Jayne and Tony soon discover that they not the average teenager.  Vampires, Gnomes, Lady of the lakes, are all determined to stop the group from reaching each check point.

Jayne is the new Katniss. She has some good one liners and even in deadly situations - she had wit(peeing on wolves?) I found that I was more interested in this book, than I was in the Hunger Games - took me til the 11th Chapter to finally get into the Hunger Games. I think it was at the very first chapter that I was hooked. Book two is definitely on my list.

Tained Morals - Janene Hudson ★★★★★

You cannot run and hide from your problems forever. The only thing that the small town of New Jackson knows about the quiet, antisocial woman that lives on the outskirts of town is that her name is Laura Broderick. She doesn't really have any friends except for a man who she has been seen having lunch with at least once a month. There is also a young girl who lives in a foster home, that comes to visit with Laura but no one knows of that relationship (Laura just doesn't talk to anyone, and Reagan doesn't want her Foster parents to know). Soon, the town will have a lot more to deal with then just an outcast. One night a man from Laura's past, comes to her house and tells her that he is there for some unfinished business. Laura knows all to well that her past has come back to haunt her - She escaped him once, can she do it again? Little does Laura know that the longer she hides this time around, more innocent people will die. Once and for all, in order live a normal life and no longer wanting to run, Laura decides to take a stand and fight back.
I give this book ★★★★★ because it was exciting only because I couldn't be positive on who the man from her past was....it wasn't as predictable as other stories have been.