Thursday, March 13, 2014

Binge Reading Phoebe Rivers!

Well. We are having quite the love affair with Saranormal in my library. I have a group of about ten girls who  are all working their way through the first books in the series. I've stopped reshelving the books because they are always on reserve for someone, and it's absolutely crucial I take the book to the next person in line immediately! These weigh in at about 150 pages each, need to be read in order, and take the girls about one day to read.

We had a snow day on 5 February, and we had just gotten most of the rest of the series in (still missing book 10! Wah!). I had bought book 6 with an Amazon gift credit because it was twice backordered by Baker and Taylor. I spent the morning reading the rest of these, which took me about 20-30 minutes each. So! Whew! Here's my brief description of each.

Read the review of Ghost Town (#1) HERE.
Read reviews of #2 and #3 HERE

13547394Rivers, Phoebe. Spirits of the Season (Saranormal #4)
October 2nd 2012 by Simon Spotlight 

For twelve days around Christmas, the spirits can get closer to Sara than is comfortable. She does meet the ghost of Franklin, Lady Azura's first love, and has to help solve his problem. Sara's dad is dating Janelle, but her daughters Chloe and Dina want Sara to help break the two up. Sara is concerned about what to buy for Jayden's Christmas present, and finds out the really big family secret that I already knew, having read book #5 already. This is why the books kind of need to be read in order. Nice holiday feel to this one.

15801378Rivers, Phoebe. Giving Up the Ghost (Saranormal #5)
October 2nd 2012 by Simon Spotlight

There's a lot of negative energy surrounding Sara and Azura, and accidents keep happening around the house. Sara begins to realize that she can hear people's thoughts! This is a problem, especially since her birthday is coming up and she can't have a party because one is being held for Jayden's going away. Sara keeps having bad dreams, and a former client of Lady Azura's keeps showing up-- Nina Oliver, who was a lawyer who could hear people's thoughts. She won lots of cases, but alienated all her friends and family. She's given the power to Sara, who must get rid of it. (Even though the power is not strong enough to hear what people are really thinking about Jayden's party. Hmmm.)

Read reviews of  #5 and #8 HERE.

15801391Rivers, Phoebe. The Secrets Within (Saranormal #7)
Published April 16th 2013 by Simon Spotlight

Lily's mom is doing a fund raiser for the school-- a huge flea market along the boardwalk-- but Lady Azura refuses to donate any of her possessions, although she's willing to write a check. Lily soon finds out why: she can get vibes from things she touches, and they give her visions of the person who had them before. This makes wearing vintage jewelry impossible. (This would make my thrift store wardrobe VERY complicated!) A lost dog shows up at Lily's, and Lily really wants to keep him, but Sara knows she could find the owners, one of whom may be a super cute boy! One of Lady Azura's former clients comes back to haunt Lily and wants her to help find out who stole her jewelry, using her new found power of psychometry. Due to a convoluted series of events, Sara manages to find the pearls and the owners of the dog AND meet the cute boy, so everything works out perfectly.

16074945Rivers, Phoebe. Playing With Fire (Saranormal #9)
Published August 6th 2013 by Simon Spotlight 

Mason and Sara have been texting, but she hasn't told Lily about this, even though they are mainly just friends. When Lily's family invites Sara to spend time at the Helliman House hotel, the girls set off to have a good time, meeting cute boys Owen and Wyatt, along with their friend Kayla. Things are bad at Helliman House, so the owner has brought in Laura, who can't see ghosts but does a decent job at dispatching them. Sara can tell that Laura is effective, but she can also tell that one of the ghosts is targeting Lily and wants to harm her. There was a fire in the 1920s that killed the family, and the daughter, Belinda, has her mind set on Lily. Sara is able to stop anything bad from happening, but Lily is slightly peeved that Sara has been keeping secrets from her. At least now Lily knows that Sara can see ghosts!

19470681Rivers, Phoebe. A Perfect Storm (Saranormal #10)
October 15th 2013 by Simon Spotlight 

Even if I wanted to walk through eight inches of snow to get to the library, they are closed until noon AND they don't have this series. RATS!!! Must obtain.

From Goodreads: A hurricane hits the New Jersey shore, and while Sara’s hometown of Stellamar is spared from any major damage, things will still never be the same. At home, a spirit reveals to Sara that he has a secret about her mother...but then the spirit is spooked by the storm and leaves before Sara can find out more. Sara enlists the help of her best friend, Lily, and together they try to find out what other secrets might be hidden away in the old house.

At school, there are some new faces as kids from a neighboring town start attending Stellamar Middle School since their own school was damaged in the storm. One of the new kids is Mason, Sara’s summer crush. Will sparks continue to fly between Sara and Mason?

19300704Rivers, Phoebe. Yesterday and Today (Saranormal #11) 
December 3rd 2013 by Simon Spotlight  

Lily and Sara have found a diary that Sara's mom Natalie wrote, and Sara starts to read it. Of course, her psychometry means that she sees scenes of her mother as she is reading, so she has a very vivid feel for what things were like for her mother in 1984, complete with flashdance outfits (But no mall hair? Come on!) Sara also starts seeing young men on the boardwalk who warn her that she has to prevent a tragedy, which turns out to be involved with the shady business deal Lily's dad is getting involved in. Luckily, the girls are able to employ research skills and present copies of old newspaper articles in order to avoid a costly tragedy, and they don't have to tell that they got the information from ghosts. On the Mason front, he is trying to ignore his own powers, so things don't work out with him and Sara. Sara also finds out a lot about her mother, who at one point had powers but wished them away. A convergence of events leads Sara to believe that she, too, can have a wish, but her wish is to meet her mother. 

And then it all ENDS!!! All of the other books have included a preview chapter, but there's NOTHING. NOTHING!!! Not that I'm ridiculously addicted or anything. I think it may be the END. (**Sobbing quietly into afghan.**) Okay. Here's the scoop.

Strengths: I like how the series builds on itself and does offer explanations for why Sara keeps getting new powers. Lady Azura is very helpful, although Sara's father is rather clueless. I like that Sara doesn't stay with Jayden, but moves around to other boys; that seems realistic, as does her friendship with Lily. Nice sense of place, and good mysteries. I can see why my readers are so fond of these. .
Weaknesses: Obviously, a lot of preoccupation with death in these. I do feel that there's too much palpable longing for Natalie. The father can't seem to move on, and Sara is just obsessed even though her mother died giving birth to her. I'm not sure this is healthy.

Also, in the flashbacks to 1984, Natalie talks about going to the mall with a friend, but in Spirits of the Season, Franklin can't find Lady Azura because of a mall built nearby in about 2003. Are there two malls this close together? Hmmm.

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