Sunday, July 30, 2017

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. 

This book was filled with loss, grief, anger, and perseverance. I'm actually at a loss for words. I'm not sure I can adequately express how fantastic this book is. First of all, what a beautiful cover!!! I don't care what people say about not judging a book by its cover because let's me honest...we all do it.

I loved the main characters. Their pain leapt off the pages of this book. It was so raw and real. They were each individuals but were also able to show compassion and understanding for each other. They had different circumstances impacting them but were each angry and finding it hard to convey their feelings about it to those around them. Through their anonymity in letters they are able to help each other work through their emotions and issues.

I appreciated that the author didn't dumb things down and make the subject matter have less depth. Nothing was sugarcoated. I also love that the author broke away from the typical story lines in this type of book. There were a few times in the book where I thought I might see something that usually happens like a mistaken identity type thing due to the letters but was pleasantly surprised it was not the case.

The Wicked Within by Kelly Keaton

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Ancient lore leads to present danger in the final book of this dark and sexy paranormal romance trilogy about a descendent of Medusa, set in a richly reimagined New Orleans.

Her fate is not set in stone.

Having temporarily defeated Athena, Ari races to break the gorgon curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries. Her one lead sends her on a quest for the Hands of Zeus, an ancient relic last seen in the charge of New 2’s ruling elite, the Novem. But if there is one thing that Athena desires as much as revenge, it’s the Hands of Zeus—and Athena always gets what she wants.

Before either can locate the Hands, the statue goes missing, and a trail of blood follows those who once protected the relic’s secrets. Ari knows that her city, her friends, Sebastian—her life—depend upon her finding the statue before Athena. And with rumors that an ancient power is on the rise, the statue may not be her only concern…

Wow! What a great addition to the series!

I had still had an issue with the author repeating things that had happened in the first two books but the rest of the book was much better. I feel like the author improved and amped up the action in this book. The relationship between Ari and Sebastian was better in my opinion. Things were not as awkward and the progression of the relationship made more sense.

That battle was amazing! I loved every second of the action between Athena's forces and the people that stood with Ari. There were some twists that I didn't expect which made for a more satisfying and surprising ending. The majority of the questions that I found myself asking throughout the books were answered. The author explains what Violet is and Athena's motives as well as that of others were explained and made sense. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

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When Ari first arrived in the dilapidated city of New 2, all she wanted was to figure out who she was. But what she discovered was beyond her worst nightmare. Ari is a descendant of Medusa and can already sense the evil growing inside her—a power the goddess Athena will stop at nothing to possess.

Desperate to hold on to her humanity and protect her loved ones, Ari must fight back. But Athena’s playing mind games, not just with Ari, but with those she cares about most. And Athena has a very special plan for the brooding and sexy Sebastian.

Ari is determined to defeat Athena, but time is running out. With no other options, Ari must unleash the very thing she’s afraid of: herself.

I wish that the author wouldn't have treated readers as if they couldn't remember anything from the first book. For the first 50 pages or so I felt like I was being reminded about something that was learned in the first book.

The action picks up in this one as Ari's discovers more about her abilities and how to use them. She is a beast! We learn more about some the characters that were in the first book like some of the heads of the nine families and are also introduced to more characters. I particularly liked Henri and Ari's dad.

It seemed like the author fixed the awkwardness of the relationship between Ari and Sebastian in this book but reading further into the book I realized how wrong I was. I don't understand this relationship! There is a period where their relationship changes and the author never even explains it! It just goes back to the way that it was.

I wanted to rate this book higher but I just couldn't. I love the action scenes but the rest of the book tends to suffer. I don't really understand what Athena's end game is. I thought I had her plan nailed down but after this book I have no idea. I know that she enjoys using psychological torture on Ari and that is majorly ratcheted up in this book.

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

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Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers a message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed. 

I wasn't sure about how Kelly Keaton combined paranormal and mythological elements in this book. It seemed a bit odd to me. I think I need to read the next book to have more time to process it. I did love how different the idea was from other books within the paranormal genre. 

I enjoyed learning about Ari's backstory. It made the pieces of the story fit together well.I think that Ari is a great character and I hope to see her grow and develop even more as the books progress. I loved how she had a hard time believing that certain creatures existed even though she realized that she was different from everyone else while she was growing up. It made her seem more human to be so skeptical and it helped the story to progress more naturally. As a reader, I was able to learn about the world through her eyes in a believable way without the flow suffering.

The quick attraction and make out session was odd between Ari and a certain someone. I could understand feeling a connection with what they have in common but it seemed awkward to me. Hopefully, this will be explained or fixed in the sequel. I am excited to see and learn more about a few of characters that seem to have a stake in Ari's future and the progression of her power. There are few characters that definitely so not trust and I want to find out if I am right about them.

Montana Summer by Jeanette Miller

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Life has never looked so promising for Shelby Hamlin. After weathering a lonely childhood, her father’s death, and her mother’s rejection for joining the Church, she is now engaged to someone who appears to be the ideal man: Brad Thompson, an ambitious BYU student who’s stalwart in the gospel. And when Shelby travels alone to Brad’s hometown in Montana while he’s in California, she’s warmly embraced by her future in-laws—with the exception of Cameron, Brad’s resentful brother whose own engagement recently ended in bitter scandal. But as Cameron becomes Shelby’s increasingly frequent companion in Brad’s absence, their initial sparks of irritation become the glowing beginnings of a complicated romance. And as the two explore the breathtaking scenery of Big Sky country, Shelby’s heart pulls her away from her carefully laid plans. Can she have the love she’s always wanted without destroying the family of her dreams? 

This book was okay. It was a cute romance with a bit of angst...well as angsty as a religious romance can have anyway. I would have liked it to have a bit more angst because the characters don't seem to get upset with each other at all. The only time that characters even get upset happens between the two brothers and it is resolved fairly quickly. It didn't seem very realistic in that respect. I would think that someone would be upset with Shelby at some point during the story. I also didn't understand how Cameron could go from thinking women are awful creatures to be okay being around his brother's fiance after a day or two. The bottom line is that if you want to read a cute, clean romance that is a short read than this is for you.

Friday, July 28, 2017

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.

This book was unlike any of the books that I have read before in this genre. I was impressed with the author's ability to combine a science fiction element with a realistic story line of a boy who is grieving the loss of his boyfriend as well as having to deal with a myriad of other issues in his life. The author managed to do this without having the story suffer and made it all seem realistic. I don't think anyone has ever been abducted in real life but I believed that Henry had been. I believe that it was the realism that truly made me enjoy this story along with the depth of character and the thought provoking plot.

I thought that the questions that this book presented were interesting. Is the Earth and the people that reside on it worth saving? What value do you place on your life? I also thought that the ideas that Henry had for how the world would end if he didn't push the button were intriguing. They helped to cut through the angst that the book presented. It was difficult at times to read what Henry was faced with because the author of the book seemed to throw everything at him. I'm not sure if Shaun David Hutchinson likes to torture his characters but he tortured Henry. I have to say that every trial that Henry went through made sense and wasn't just thrown in so that the author could move the story along.

The only aspect of the book that I found issue with was the length of the book. It seemed like it was a bit drawn out and I couldn't help thinking of the Japanese cartoons wherein it takes five or six episodes for five seconds to go by. I'm not sure if I would have shortened the book though. I wouldn't want to take away from the depth that the author was able to achieve over the course of the book.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

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Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.
Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.
But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

I've been wanting to read this book for a while but I wanted to work up my courage first. I knew that this book was going to be difficult for me considering people I've been close to that have passed away due to cancer. 

I have to say that I was really disappointed. I wanted more from this book. The author wrote it in such a way that it felt like paint by numbers or like she was attempting to hit certain bullet points. Where was the emotion? The heartache? I wanted to connect to the story and feel something but I didn't. I did up crying when I finished because I'm not a robot. When something sad happens, I get upset like anyone else. 

I didn't connect emotionally with any if the characters...not even Austin. I don't feel like I knew enough about any of them to care because what the author did share about the characters was shallow facts. There were some difficult topics that were brought up in the book but it felt like they were just glossed over rather than delving more deeply. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi—pure-bloods—have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals—well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem—staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

I love it when books involving the Gods and their progeny are done well! This book was well done but could have been improved. I feel like the author did an okay job of setting up the world but I would have liked more information. I'm still not sure what purpose some of the council members serve or how the Covenants came to be.
I would have liked to have seen more action in this book than what was shown. I mean these kids are being taught how to slay daimons so there should be more fights, right?! I understand that the author is trying to establish and build the world since this is the first book but I can only read so much about Alex getting trained. This book is pretty predictable with the exception of what happens at the end. I didn't mind that hardly anything surprised me though.
I enjoyed the romance aspect of the book but I wanted the author to focus more on the main story about the daimons and less on the romance.
I wanted more from Alex. I'm not saying that her personality was lacking but I wanted her to be able to hold her own in a fight. I understand that the author explains why she is not at her best but I still found her lacking. I think that was my biggest problem with this book which is my own issue. It doesn't mean that the book isn't worth reading. I'm guessing Alex will be stronger and more battle ready in the next book.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stranded by Melinda Braun

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It’s human instinct to survive…but Mother Nature has other plans.

Plagued with guilt after surviving the car accident that took her sister’s life, Emma ventures into the rugged and mysterious wilderness of the Boundary Waters in search of some much needed peace. But when a freak windstorm kills her guide, Emma and a handful of other campers are forced to fend for themselves. Lost, hungry, and exhausted, the small group must rely on their survival instincts as they travel through the forest towards Lake Superior.

But the Boundary Waters is vast and unpredictable, and as the days drag on, it becomes clear that the group is no match for what Mother Nature has in store—and time is running out.

As they continue to battle the elements, Emma realizes that nature isn’t her only threat: there’s one camper who will do whatever it takes to make it out of the Boundary Waters alive. Even if he’s the only one…

I was so disappointed by this book! I was hesitant to read it in the first place because I don't love survival stories but I've been on a thriller kick lately. This book appeared to fit that genre at a glance. Boy was I wrong! The synopsis mentioned that this book was a psychological thriller and hinted that one of the members of the group had sinister motives. I don't understand why those two things were even mentioned in the first place. This book was not a psychological thriller at all. When people are trying to survive in the wild without the basic necessities it will cause emotional issues but none of these characters was dealing with a distortion of reality.
I'm about to spoil something by saying this next part. The synopsis hints at one of the characters being a killer but he isn't. The character is selfish and even creepy but not murdery. This book is a survival story and nothing more. Once I realized that this book was not what I thought it was, I tried to enjoy it for what it was. I found a lot of difficulty in that task. 
The characters were one dimensional. I wanted to see more depth in all of them but was disappointed over and over again. It felt like I was dealing with different stereotypes: tough black girl who doesn't take any crap, white trash, nerd, and white girl with issues. They always acted the same way regardless of what they were facing in the book and did not change at all over the course of the book. I also found it odd that Emma had never been camping before but suddenly knew survival skills once their guide dies and they are essentially on their own. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

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Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

I'm still mulling this one over. I loved the Razorland trilogy and I feel like that is influencing how I feel about this book. I liked it but I'm conflicted on how to rate it.

This book still has the tense, creepy edge that the Razorland trilogy had but it is very different from it as well. Mortal Danger reminds readers to be careful what you wish for, that a life always has worth even if you don't realize in the moment, and how far you would go for revenge. Ann Aguirre manages to put a lot of things in perspective. I began this book thinking that I would want to make my high school tormentors have to go through what I went through if I were in Edie's place. I could completely understand where she was coming from and wanted her to have closure. As the book progressed, my views changed. The author helps the reader to understand where each of the bullies are coming from. This in turn helps the reader to realize their motivations behind their actions. I'm not saying that it makes what they did to Edie okay. I'm simply saying that their punishments may not deserve to be as deadly as they turn out to be.

The author tells the reader some information about what the deal that Edie makes means but I still feel as if I have no idea whatsoever what is going on. I don't understand the game portion of the deal and the observers are all about. I want to understand the motivations of all of the players in this wicked game. I feel like I should read the next book just to understand what the game is all about and what is going to happen to Edie.

Find Me by Romily Bernard

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When teen hacker and foster child Wick Tate finds a dead classmate's diary on her front step, with a note reading "Find me," she sets off on a perverse game of hide-and-seek to catch the killer. But things get even more personal as Wick's deadbeat dad returns and the killer points to Wick's sister Lily as the next target.
With the help of oh-so-cute hacker-boy-next-door Griff, can Wick find her tormentor and save her sister?

This book reminded me of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher mixed with When by Victoria Laurie. The diary didn't have instructions in it but it made it feel like the diary was a character all on its own. It made for an interesting addition to the story that didn't disrupt the flow. The quotes from the diary were at the beginning of each chapter.

I guessed who the "killer" was within the first 80 pages and my first thought was it can't be that easy. It turns out that it was that easy. The villain was interesting and it made sense but I would have liked to have had to try harder to figure it out.

I know that other readers hated Wicket but I loved her. Everyone that was supposed to support and love her let her down. She coped in the the best way she could by pushing people away, having trust issues, and becoming cynical. I don't blame her for that. Yes, she was hardened but not incapable of change.

I hated the Carsen! Why would you call a teenager trash in place of a first name. I don't care if you think she committed a crime like hacking. That is uncalled for. I think the author did it in order to put him in the suspect pool.


Reboot by Amy Tintera

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Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

I enjoyed the natural intensity of the book. The fight/chase scenes were well written and moved the book along smoothly. There were times when I wanted more from them. There were a few that were anticlimactic. I would have liked to have had more dialogue or even more depth in the conversations between certain characters in the book. We get to have a glance at some characters and then nothing. I'm hoping that the author will give more information for some of the characters in the next book.

Wren made for an interesting character. She didn't show much emotion and accepted her place as a reboot easily. She even took pleasure in it. I believe that she is the reason that Callum didn't end up being an annoying character. He balanced the book out by showing the differences between the reboots and by questioning their way of life. He was a bit of an odd duck among the reboots because he was still very human in his mannerisms and ability to wear his heart on his sleeve.

I thought that the relationship between Callum and Wren was odd. It wasn't insta-love but they gravitated toward each other quickly. I'm still not sure what to make of it to be honest. I'm not sure why it bothered me. It could be because she didn't decide to question her way of life and the things that she was forced to do until Callum came along. There was a certain awkwardness to it that made me uncomfortable reading it.

I thought that the book was solid and I am looking forward to reading the next one. The author hinted at a few things at the end the book and I want answers.

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

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Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.

I was afraid to read this book for so long. If I'm being honest, Blue intimidated me after I read a few pages of this book on amazon a while back. I also think that I knew on some level that this particular book would hit me harder or at least differently than other Amy Harmon books. I'm glad that I finally took the plunge and read this book. It was amazing! I honestly believe that she is incapable of writing a bad book! I could see elements from her other books in this one even though A Different Blue was one of the first books that she wrote. 
Blue reminded me of Moses(The Law of Moses) as well as Samuel (Running Barefoot) many times throughout the story. She desperately wanted attention and acceptance but found herself looking in the wrong places for it. I have to admit that I misjudged her just like Darcy did in the beginning of the book. I found her to be hard, overly sexual, and rude. I wanted her to change so that it would be easier to be around her. I think that was the point. I think that Amy wanted to put readers in Darcy's position, in a way, in order to understand how she was seen and labeled by others. I think that this was also because Blue didn't even really know who she was and Amy wanted to take readers on Blue's journey of self discovery with her. Once I was able to see past that exterior that she showed to everyone by reading more, I came to love her. I saw myself in her at times which helped me to empathize with her but also made the story difficult to get through at times. I wanted nothing more than for her to be able to heal and find herself. 
I can't move on with this review without mentioning Darcy. Who doesn't love a man that quotes poetry and has the ability to make history a fascinating set of stories?!? He was kind, gentle, and had an amazing amount of love for not only his teaching but his family as well. Darcy was patient and determined even when Blue tested him at every turn. He truly lived up to his namesake! 
I feel that I should mention that although this is a romance it is not the typical teacher student romance. I know that people that have read other Amy Harmon book will understand this but I feel it is important to mention for those who haven't. It is not a sordid tale of a much older teacher doing inappropriate things with a student and trying to cover it up. Darcy and Blue have a deep and meaningful friendship that allows both of them to heal from old and new wounds. Darcy gives Blue the support that she needs in her life and she in turn shines light on a different perspective on things that had happened to him in his past.
A Different Blue combined so many things that I loved about different books from Amy which made for one amazing book! There were Native American stories scattered throughout the book that I found fascinating, characters with beautiful souls, and topics that make a reader question the world around them. Questions like: Who am I? Where am I going in life? Where have I been? I think that one of the most important lessons to take away from this book is not to judge people or label them because you don't know where they came from or what they have been through. I think that it is also important to acknowledge that we all write our own story just as Darcy mentions in the book. We, like Blue and Darcy, decide what paths to take when there is a fork in the road.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Take Me With You by Nine G. Jones

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I watch.
I study.
I prowl.
I hunt.

I always go in with a plan. A set of rules for myself. I don’t take unnecessary risks. That’s how I’ve been able to evade capture all these years.

But there’s something about this girl that is different than the others. When I finally meet her, the rules become a blur. And I break the most important one of all—I take her with me.


It’s just my imagination—that feeling of being watched. That those icy eyes— a vivid turquoise with a distinct golden fleck—aren’t watching me.

It’s just stress. I am the person everyone relies on. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been feeling so content with my life lately. Why I dream those eyes belong to someone who can tear me away from all of my responsibilities.

But these are just shameful fantasies, never meant to breach reality.

Then one night, the dream comes true, only it’s a horrific nightmare.

Now, I only have one task: survival.

This book was amazing! It was incredibly dark in the best way! I liked each of the main characters in different ways. Vesper was a strong, self sufficient woman who did her best to be a good person to everyone in her life. I thought that the author did a good job of showing the changes that she went through due to the hand that she was dealt. She was conflicted at every turn and her mind fractured because of it. I feel the need to explain why I liked Sam as a character. The author did such a good job of building his backstory and writing his point of view that I was able to sympathize with him. He did not have an easy life and coped with it in a destructive way that was not what I would call healthy. I liked getting to peer into his mind in order to understand his way of thinking and what made him the way that he was.

The book was pretty graphic but I didn't mind because it needed to be that way in order for the book to work. Sam is who he is and he doesn't apologize for that. He doesn't necessarily change and graphic nature of his actions make that clear. I'm not sure how I felt about the ending considering I felt guilty for being happy about how things turned out. I'm not sure that another ending would have made sense. It is clear where both characters end up mentally at the end and who is the victor after the epic struggle. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

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He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

I enjoyed the story-line in the beginning. The idea that someone was murdering Min every two years on her birthday fascinated me. I wanted to know why, how, and if she ever tried to defend herself from her attacker. The book focuses on this along with the background on Noah's story for about half of the book. I enjoyed that portion of the book but I wanted to know more than what happened on each birthday. As I continued on in the book, the author did explain things through breadcrumbs left in each chapter. This is where the book started to get a bit odd for me.

I agree with the other reviewers that the reveals from the halfway point through to the end of the book were weird. I'm not sure that I understand what the author was getting at. It didn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm not sure that I liked that all that lead up in the book led to that climax. I didn't hate it and I think that I may read the sequel in order to get more information that the author will hopefully reveal. I think what bothered me the most about it was it felt like the author switched genres. For a portion of the book, it feels like a thriller and then it switches to something else that just doesn't fit (I would say what genre but I don't want to spoil anything).

I hated what happened with one of the characters. The author did a complete turn around with them as far as behavior and personality and I didn't like it at all. It didn't make any sense to me. Luckily, the book had redeeming qualities one of which being two of the other characters. I loved Min and Tack! Min had the will of the warrior! She reminded me of all the strong female characters from books that I love!!! She was intelligent and fierce!  Tack was hilarious, strong-willed, and gifted with words. He never backed down when he knew he stood for what was right.

When by Victoria Laurie

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Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?

I thought that the idea of seeing death dates for people was a clever idea. It was unique and interesting. It was one aspect of the book that made it worth reading. I wanted to know more about it and if there were any limits to her gift or curse depending on how you look at it. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the killer and the amount of tension that the author was able to make me feel when Maddie is trying to clear her name. 

The only issue I had with the book was who the killer turned out to be. This can make or break a book like this for me. There has to be a good explanation as to why the killer is doing what he/she is doing. I also appreciate it when an author can trip me up and surprise me and not manage to give the identify away too easily. Everything should make sense and manage to maintain my interest. Unfortunately, this book failed in what I am looking for.  I don't feel like enough hints were dropped as to who the killer was. I was surprised and not in a good way. The explanation was fine for why it was who it was but it felt a bit contrived. I feel like there could have been better options for who the killer could have been rather than who the author chose. It just didn't feel right to  me.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

                                              🌟🌟🌟1/2 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books--but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.

There were two things that really bothered me about this book. I HATED the romance aspect of this story! It was unnecessary and I wanted the book to focus fully on Four, his past, and the changes/ battles he was going to face. I am so sick of reading books where one character is "different" and they fall in love with a human. It's been done. It's in the past. If you are going to put that in a book at least make it good. I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters and it was too soon for them to feel so strongly for each other. Why did the author have to put this relationship in the book. This book would have been so much better if it had been taken out. It made Four a lovesick, annoying character! He stopped thinking rationally about his decisions he had to make because of that stupid girl! That leads me to my next point. I know that he was a teenager but come on! He knows what he is and why he has to keep running for his life! Why is he trying to get himself and everybody else killed by making immature decisions?!?

This book would have been amazing I'd those things could gave been cut out.
I lived the action sequences! They were amazing! I enjoyed learning about Four's past and more about his home planet. The book was incredibly good but got bogged down by the puppy love nonsense and teenage rebellion!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brody Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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This comical, fantastical, romantical, New York Times bestselling, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey is “an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind YA fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.
Like that could go wrong.

This book completely lived up to my expectations! When I read the synopsis, my immediate thoughts were that it sounded unique and funny. I also love Brodi Ashton's work so I knew I had to read this book that she helped to write.
There were many things that made this story different from others that are out there. For one, the authors actually speak to the reader periodically throughout the book. I thought it was a bit bothersome. I felt like it kept me from being fully involved in the book as a reader because their thoughts and historical facts kept me from fully delving in. There were also times throughout the book where the authors quoted movies and poems that they clearly didn't come up with which bothered me as well.
It was interesting how certain characters were able to transform into animals and the troubles that accompanied them regarding that. It was intriguing to see that in play regarding a time period that seemed so far beyond that sort of thing. It reminded me of Amy Harmon's book The Bird and the Sword. Overall, the book was good. It kept my attention regardless of it being set in a time period that usually wouldn't interest me. As I have said in other reviews, I don't love historical fiction. This book was so fantastical that it didn't feel like historical fiction.

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

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Since the beginning of mankind, civilizations have fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…and now us. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening: An ancient evil has been unleashed, and it’s turning everyday people into hunters, killers, and crazies.
This is the world Aries, Clementine, Michael, and Mason are living in—or rather, trying to survive. Each is fleeing unspeakable horror, from murderous chaos to brutal natural disasters, and each is traveling the same road in a world gone mad. Amid the throes of the apocalypse and clinging to love and meaning wherever it can be found, these four teens are on a journey into the heart of darkness—and to find each other and a place of safety.

I thought the story was good but I'm still not sure why certain people went psycho killer in the book. It wasn't necessarily explained very well.I also didn't like how many points of view there were. Why did the author have to put five of them in there. It was unnecessary and confusing.
I enjoyed how action packed the book was along with the fact that the characters weren't written as bring invulnerable. 
This is going to sound weird but I liked how graphic the book was when it came to descriptions of how the baggers killed people and what they did with the bodies. I appreciated the fact that the author made it seem so raw and terrifying. She didn't sugar coat those aspects of the story. It made the story seem more realistic.

Slated by Teri Terry

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Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She’s been slated. The government claims that she was a terrorist and they are giving her a second chance—if she plays by their rules. But scenes from the past haunt her as she tries to adjust to a new life, family, and school, leaving her unsettled. Who is she really? And if only criminals are meant to be slated, why are so many other teens disappearing? As she and her friend Ben seek answers, Kyla is torn between the need to know more and her instinct for self-preservation.

This book was very good because it was filled to the brim with tense moments. It reminded me of a thriller in that way. However, I wanted more from it than a ton of tense moments. I wish that more things would have happened besides Kyla being upset about her levo buzzing with a lowered emotion score. That got old very fast! I wanted more action or something different to take place rather than the same things that are dealt with over and over throughout the book. For instance, I cannot count how times veiled, creepy threats are spoken to the main character or how many times she is basically told to shut up, mind her business, and be a idiotic smiling robot. 
This book was nothing but breadcrumbs until the author finally revealed what was happening on the last page. I wish that the author would have been more forthcoming about things. Please don't misunderstand me. I thought that this book was good enough but I thought that it could have been more. I realize that there is a sequel and it could have far more action in it than this one. I just don't know if I want to read it given how this one dragged on a bit.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

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The Archive, an otherworldly library, contains the bodies of everyone who has ever died. But when the Archive is compromised from within, sixteen-year-old Mackenzie Bishop must use her skills as a Keeper to identify the traitor and prevent violent Histories from escaping into our world. The first in a dark, dazzlingly inventive YA fantasy series from the author of The Near Witch.

I wasn't sure what to think of this book when I first started reading it. People are essentially shelved histories? This book began pretty slowly as well but the premise intrigued me and I wanted to know how the story would progress. The book did manage to pick up quite a bit as the book went on which I appreciated. I loved that Mackenzie's job as a keeper entailed a fair amount of intellectual ability as well as physical ability. She was an interesting character, deeply scarred by the loss of loved ones and attempting to solider on by being a workaholic.  
I enjoyed Wesley just as much but I have to agree with other reviewers. He did not get enough time in this book. I wanted to know more about him. What is his home life really like? What was it like for him to transition into the role that he took on in his Aunt's stead.
This book is very unique and I can see why Victoria Schwab is getting so much praise for her books. What an interesting take on death and a secret society of sorts that make sure that they have a peaceful afterlife.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bad Blood (The Naturals #4) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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When Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI's Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother's murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful—and dangerous—than anything the Naturals have faced so far. As Cassie and the team work to uncover the secrets of a group that has been killing in secret for generations, they find themselves racing a ticking clock. New victims. New betrayals. New secrets. When the bodies begin piling up, it soon becomes apparent that this time, the Naturals aren't just hunting serial killers. They're being hunted. 

I'm not sure that I loved the addition of new characters in this book but it was as amazing as number three in the series regardless. It started off a bit strangely in order to introduce new characters but quickly picked up speed afterward. This book above all the others before it racketed up the tension tenfold. I felt like I was on a roller coaster while I was reading this because there was so much tension and excitement.

The "you" perspective in this book is particularly fantastic. It was broken, haunting, and cruel all in one. At times, throughout the book there would only be a sentence but it carried a lot of weight to the point where it didn't matter that the perspective was so short. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen in this book while I was reading it but was excited to be along for the ride. The mystery behind Cassie's mother is finally solved and I felt that it was expertly done. It might upset some people reading this but I thought that it ended perfectly.

It was interesting to see the changes in all the characters particularly Cassie considering she was the one most affected throughout the book. Her emotions were so intense that I had to take breaks while I was reading the book in order to get my emotions under control. I'm not sure if there is going to be another book after this one but I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone that likes thrillers, mysteries, and/or books filled with tense scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat!!!

All In (The Naturals #3) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

                                            🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days. After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team's unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes. Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there's been a break in her mother's case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

Wow! This is the best book in the series so far. Now I understand why the events in the first two books took place. I loved everything about thus book. I can't say enough positive things about this book!

It gave the reader an opportunity to learn more about Sloan and her past as well as some hints about the other naturals' pasts as well. The serial killer in this book is by far the most interesting and complex of all the books. I'm not someone who enjoys or is good at math but the mathematical elements in this book made it more intriguing. It felt like a mysterious mathematical puzzle that I had to solve! There's also a bit of a conspiracy element to this that I absolutely loved. It was like a complicated spider web. When I untangled one part of the web there would be a few other pieces to the mystery that would pop up.

The author fooled me! I did not figure out who had committed the murders until the naturals figured it out in the book. It was frustrating but made me appreciate the level of care that was taken in dropping hints about the killer but not making the perpetrator obvious. There is not as much relationship drama between the naturals in this book so it makes it easier to focus on said mystery.

We are told more about Cassie's mother's murder which of course leads to more questions about what really happened that day. This combined with the unique serial killer in this book made it extremely good. This book proved to me that I was right about my initial theory that there would be an overarching story line to the books in the series. Important details about Cassie's mother are finally uncovered which makes for some interesting interactions between the naturals team members.

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

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When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn't on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can't be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn't know, plagued by abilities she doesn't understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can't remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she's running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

The book was pretty predictable but interesting. I thought that the mystery behind the main character's back story was intriguing enough that I had to read the entire story to find out more about her. 

It seemed like the majority of the book was spent on a time before Sera figured anything out which was frustrating.  I wanted to know more than the author was giving  me and I didn't get any of that till about 70'80% of the way through.

It felt like a fragmented story because it seemed like pieces were missing even at the end of the book. I attribute this to not knowing anything about Sera until much later in the book and that the information that the author gives us at that point still doesn't tell us much. I did find out after reading this book that there is a sequel to it wherein more information and answers may be given. I don't believe that I will be reading it because I didn't like this one enough to warrant reading it.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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 Signed, sealed, delivered...

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...

Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

I loved the interactions between the two main characters in their letters. They spoke about deep topics rather than just spouting off about clothing, teachers, or boy bands. I also loved the dialogue between the other characters in this book. The conversations were witty and refreshing. They made me want to be friends with Lily because although she had her flaws she was so real. While the dialogue was refreshing, the story line was not. I feel like I have watched or read this story line so many times. It was easy to predict what would happen throughout this story.

I enjoyed the fact that the two main characters were not exactly alike but were similar in the areas that counted. They had certain interests in common combined with the things that were important to them in their daily lives. I think that on some things it helps to be similar but what is at the heart of the relationship in this book is that the characters help each other to deal with their issues. They are able to hear from someone that has different life experiences that provides them with a different perspectives.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if it is any indication of the author I will look forward to reading more from her. While she didn't break any new ground with this book, I thought it was a heart felt, cute love story.

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

I thought that the first couple of pages of this book were good because the author shows exactly how much Sasha has changed as person due to what had happened to her ten years earlier.  It is clear that she is still affected by what happened because she is afraid of what could be lurking behind bushes or in shadowed areas around her family's inn. 

As I read further into the story, my appreciation of it went downhill. I didn't need to hear about old flames or friends that she left behind because of her run in with a serial killer. That was already established in the beginning of the book. I began to get frustrated fairly quickly but I thought that maybe I was being too picky and read more.

The book wasn't terrible but I had hopes that weren't met. I thought that the identity of the serial killer was obvious which made the story less tense. This book focused too much on the romance and not enough on what the book was supposed to be about....the serial killer coming for Sasha! I wanted to read a thriller but instead I got to read a romance that was suspenseful with a serial killer on the side. Not to mention the main character being in some weird for of denial which made her seem dense. I mean who doesn't put 2 and 2 together and think there is a serial killer that might be hinting that he wants to kill me! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kirsten White

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This explosive sequel to Mind Games, which New York Times bestselling author Holly Black called "a brutal, exciting gem of a book," is a lightning-fast, wickedly smart tale of two sisters trapped in a web of deceit—perfect for fans of Sara Shepard's Lying Game series.
For years, Annie and Fia have been in an endless battle for survival against the Keane Foundation. Now the sisters have found allies who can help them escape. But Annie's visions of the future and Fia's flawless instincts can't always tell them who to trust. The sisters can only rely on each other—and even their extraordinary gifts may not be enough to save them.

I didn't think that this book was as good as the first. I felt like the author should have just written one book considering this one was only a little over 200 pages. It felt like the author wanted to torture Fia. I really felt for her in this book. I wanted other characters to pick up the slack so everything didn't fall to her to get done. It was easy to tell she couldn't handle the weight of it all and was beginning to buckle under the pressure.Things were resolved in this book but I'm not sure I cared for how things ended.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

I tend to not like books that have received awards because like with movies that get awards I feel that they are over-hyped and loved for their pretentiousness. I wanted to like this book not only because the plot was so unique but because I've read another book by this author that I really enjoyed. While I wouldn't describe this book as being action packed or a thrill ride I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was different not only from other books in the same genre but it also made me think about important concepts. Concepts that include life, death, pain, and joy. What becomes of people that don't have to age or get sick? Is there less emphasis put of the importance of life and making every moment count? I pondered these and many other questions as I read Scythe and it made me it enjoy it more.

I started off thinking that maybe the main characters would be whiny teenagers like I have read in other books recently but was proved wrong quickly. While the author maintains realistic teenage tendencies, they appear to be very mature for their age and are able to ask the hard questions of their superiors throughout the story. Citra and Rowan don't fully comprehend or appreciate the role of the scythe and are constantly questioning the motives of those that take up the mantle of the role.

I thought that I had the whole story figured out but Neal Shusterman managed to surprise me many times throughout the book. I appreciated the thought that went into this book. It was not trying too hard to be unique and managed to have balance between making the reader think and not be preachy about it.

Acid by Emma Pass

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The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They’ve taken her life, her freedom, and her memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

This book reminded me of Legend...a corrupt government that tortures people and doesn't allow them the freedom of making their own choices.

I enjoyed this book a lot! Jenna was a no nonsense, strong, female character who wasn't perfect but knew who she was and would not compromise that. I loved the tense scenes throughout the book when I wasn't sure what was going to happen to Jenna. Although, I feel like I might have expected a bit too much from this book. I wanted more confrontations between Jenna and Acid agents. It was a bit lackluster for me. 

It was interesting to see her interact with the different groups of people that had their own beliefs about how the government should be run. I found myself understanding all of the groups points of view even though some of their methods were drastic and alarming.

The villain of the story had goals that were a bit too shallow for my taste. I need an antagonist in a book to be motivated by more than just power in order to be interested in him/her.  For example, Valentine (Mortal Instruments Series) wants not only power but for all downworlders to be eliminated because they are tainted by demon blood in one form or another. It makes him and the story more interesting whereas in Acid I was looking for more.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, Twylla isn't exactly a member of the court.

She's the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month, she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla's fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla's been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

After I read the synopsis of this book, I immediately thought of Shatter Me but set in a different place and time. I was nervous about this because I don't like historical fiction at all but after reading the first page I decided to give it a chance.
The first page of the book immediately pulled me in from the first sentence which spoke about hearing the screams of people throughout the castle. This book managed to hold my attention because it was interesting but I didn't like the direction the author took it in. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It reminded me of movies I've seen where I think I know where the director is taking the story and then there is some twist where everything is taken in  a different direction. I will give the author credit for shocking me but it wasn't a good shock. 
I thought that the characters were just ok. There weren't really any standouts in that area. They were all just blah for me. 
I'm not sure if I will read the next book considering I didn't like how this one ended. I may change my mind but I don't think that is likely.

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

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When Gwendolyn Bloom’s father vanishes, she sets off on a journey she never bargained for. Traveling under a new identity in a world of assassins, spies, and criminal masterminds, she uncovers a disturbing truth. To bring her father back alive, she must become every bit as cruel as the men holding him captive.

The main character was naive for someone who had been around violence and seen so much of the world. It annoyed me at times because I felt she should have known better. She kept this naivety throughout the book and did not grow much as a character with the exception of becoming tougher over the course of the book.

I thought that the pacing was well done and there was just enough action and mystery in the story. I thought that it was interesting how the book was divided into sections depending on where the main character found herself at the moment. I believe that this helped with the pacing as well because it wouldn't have been as good if she stayed in the same place the whole book. She encountered different trials in each place and had to adapt to them.

I also loved that the author made Gwendolyn vulnerable even after her training because it wouldn't be realistic if she was suddenly a master in fighting/ going undercover after three weeks. It made it easier to immerse myself in the story. She was a very strong character and I have a weakness for strong, kick-butt heroines!

This book reminds me a lot of the movie Taken 2 with the exception of the daughter going after the father and her not having a background in spy tactics. If you liked Taken 2, you will probably enjoy this book.