Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: May 1, 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Divergent #2
Source: Library
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
 Insurgent picks up right where Divergent leaves off, in the aftermath of the carnage caused by Erudite's scheme. At first, the characters are all trying to recover form the crazy ordeal, but soon they start strategizing as to how they can stop the Erudites and Dauntless traitors.

From then on, it's non-stop action! Running around the entire city, from Abnegation headquarters to Amity's farms, Tris and her friends and allies go step by step to figure out what happened and why, and how they could stop it. The action is all brilliantly described, so that I felt like I was watching it unfold before my eyes. And the balance of introspection and calmer planning times is great also - especially when those quiet moments are burst into with a new surprising twist.

The surprises keep coming thick and fast throughout the whole book. Just when you think you've figured it out, just when Tris thinks she knows whom she can trust, everything is turned on its head in ways you'd never have imagined.

And just wait for the end for those surprises...

Monday, February 18, 2013

In My Mailbox 41

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi of The Story Siren, where bloggers share the contents of their mailbox that week - books bought, borrowed, received... It's a great way to see lots of new books all at once, and leads to great coveting and more buying!

Here's my haul this week:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Perfect Hope

Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Romance
Series: Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #3
Source: Library
Hope's two best friends in her new hometown of Boonsboro are married or engaged to two of the three Montgomery brothers. In her opinion, the last one, Ryder, is the hardest brother to figure out - with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. As the former manager of a DC hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn't mean she can't appreciate the joys of small-town living. She's where she wants to be - except in her love life. While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope's experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome - and embarrassing - appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder's emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him...
I love the feel and atmosphere of this trilogy. The small-town environment, the easy camaraderie between the three friends and the affectionate ribbing between the brothers - this all makes the trilogy a smooth, easy read. And I like that in this book, there's not that much danger and the focus is instead almost entirely on Ryder and Hope.

The mystery of the ghost is beautifully solved in this book. I love how she ends up intertwined with the modern-day characters, the way she has a hand in their love lives. She also proves to have a sense of humor.... And then of course there's her own resolution, her own love returned to her.

The pairing of Hope and Ryder is really interesting. They're completely different, and they baffle each other. When they decide to act on their desires with no strings attached, Hope schedules a good time for her and pencils it in on her calendar - which amuses Ryder, who is nothing like that and is all about spontaneity. They end up balancing each other out, which is of course the perfect relationship.

In My Mailbox 40

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi of The Story Siren, where bloggers share the contents of their mailbox that week - books bought, borrowed, received... It's a great way to see lots of new books all at once, and leads to great coveting and more buying!

Here's my haul this week:

The Perfect Hope, Nora Roberts (Inn BoonsBoro #3)
Through the Ever Night, Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #2)
Insurgent, Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)
Boundless, Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #3)
Shades of Earth, Beth Revis (Across the Universe #3)

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Author: Kaitlin Bevis
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal

Released: July 5, 2012
Series: Daughters of Zeus #1
Source: ebook for review

There are worse things than death, worse people too. The "talk" was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they're a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn't until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.
Without exaggeration, this book had me hooked from the first page and didn't let go until I'd turned the last page! The writing style, the voice, of the whole book is so compelling, so engaging! The tone is witty and funny, as it takes an ancient myth and modernizes it. Having these ancient gods living and dealing with modern times is definitely interesting. The way Kaitlin has the personalities of the gods being "normalized" and correlating to real human personalities makes for interesting situations where, for example, Hades is dealing with shepherding the afterlives and souls but is also dealing with his relationship with Persephone and so reacts with very real annoyance, bickering, and ego. The grandiosity of the gods, though definitely still retained, becomes integrated into amusing and emotional situations. I love how Persephone's awkward attempt at a welcoming speech to the souls gets appropriated by Hades for his own speeches!

Besides for the personalities, the whole book is peppered with laugh-out-loud lines and twists. An example:
"Every god is blessed with better reflexes, and a touch more strength than the average human." He frowned. "It was a much more noticeable difference before humanity discovered vitamins."
In part, the tone of the book is tied to Persephone's unique voice and personality, as the story is told in her voice. She's witty, snarky, full of verve, and a little self-deprecating. She's also a normal teenager who hates the position she's been forced into, doesn't trust adults, and is trying to figure out who she actually is. But she's smart and loyal, brave, courageous and daring. She's not afraid of what's happening to her so much as she's angry at the bad guys and frustrated with her imprisonment. Aside from the obvious good qualities when she acts against her orders and puts herself in extremely dangerous situations, the little things endeared me to her also - the way she interacts with the souls in the Underworld on a daily basis.

And then there's Hades. Oh, sigh, Hades. He's obviously gorgeous, in a dark and dangerous kind of way. And he is dark and dangerous, as Persephone had expected him to be when she pictured him during Latin class. But as she learns, he's so much more. He's sometimes more of an angsty teenager than Persephone is, and he's thousands of years old! But he's compassionate and kind, sweet and protective. As he struggles with his emotions for Persephone, it affects her own growth as she begins to understand his motives. In general, even without the romantic aspect, the relationship between Persephone and Hades is great to witness, as two strong, stubborn characters come together and alternate between going head-to-head and having deep conversations in comfortable companionship.

In short - I love love love this series!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Embers and Echoes

Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: YA Paranormal
Released: August 28, 2012
Series: Wildefire #2
Source: Bought
Ashline Wilde is about to discover that when you're the reincarnation of a Polynesian volcano goddess, "new beginnings" are just a myth. Leaving the fiery ruins of her sophomore year behind her, Ash travels to the sizzling beaches of Miami, hot on the trail of the little sister she's only seen in visions. But her happy family reunion isn't all palm trees and paradise. A cult of evil gods-on-earth, known as the Four Seasons, has kidnapped her sister to use in its terrifying new religion. Soon, the streets of Miami erupt in chaos and violence...and Ash gets caught right in the tropical crossfire. Ash isn't without help, however. Unexpected romance arrives in the form of Wes, an Aztec god of night with his own vendetta against the Four Seasons. As memories of Ash's previous life begin to flicker into her dreams, the boundaries between ally and enemy, life and death, and love and hate all bleed together. And when a mysterious trickster from her past reappears to derail her new quest, Ash must choose between the echoes of a once-forgotten yesterday and the embers of an uncertain future. Because when old flames return from the dead, even a volcano goddess can get burned.
Definitely fiery! With the amount of times Miami is burnt, frozen, overgrown, electrocuted, or blown up, it's amazing it still exists! 

Ash's search for her little sister leads her to more of what she experienced in the first book in regard to her trust of others, her quest to live a normal life, and her desire to patch things up with her sisters. As her visions show her more and more of her past lives, she doesn't know whom to trust - and who should trust her. The more she finds out, the more complicated things get. And when she learns exactly what the Cloak is doing, and what Colt is doing, the stakes are raised tremendously, both for her personally and for the world at large.

I love Ash's relationship with Wes. It's so sweet to watch, and amid the crazy crazy going on all around them, it's nice to see this. It's like their lifeline for a while. Until, of course, Ash finds out why they're being together is probably not such a good idea - and then in typical Ash fashion, fights for their relationship to survive despite the clear warning signs. Colt comes back and messes things up, but not for too long, thankfully - I really hate that guy by now.

I was totally invested in the characters throughout the book, and when some of the good ones died, it hit me strongly. It heightened the feeling of being completely alone that Ash has to deal with most of the time.

And the last couple of pages are really really great! Setting things up for book 3, but nail-bitingly tense all on its own. I'm really looking forward to the final book!

The Lonely Hearts Club

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance
Released: December 29, 2009
Series: No
Source: Library
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like...
This is a really sweet, smart book. Penny makes her decision to swear off boys based on her past experiences, especially being betrayed so horrifically by a boy she trusted all her life. At first it's a club of one, but when her friends one by one get hurt by the boys in their lives, they join, and it soon becomes a school phenomenon. Penny deals with her newfound star status really well. I love how she keeps her wits about her and makes each decision based on what is happening at the time - yes, based on how she feels, but when it comes to her friends versus keeping her absolute popularity, she knows how to navigate things, and she knows what's best for her friends. She is able to sacrifice her views and opinions when her friends have a chance at happiness - and ultimately that's what allows her to have her own chance at happiness.

Though due to a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, her chance at happiness seems far away throughout most of the book. The whole book is a comment on the interactions between boys and girls, and this element captures things perfectly, the way adolescents dance around each other when they like each other and are not sure they're liked back. But in the end, it all works out, so Penny is lonely no more!

Shades of Earth

Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Released: January 15, 2013
Genre: YA Science Fiction Thriller
Series: Across the Universe #3
Source: Bought

Once some of the people aboard the Godspeed hovering above Centauri-Earth decide to land against the decisions of previous generations and Orion's dire warnings, they feel infused with courage and anticipation. But nothing goes as planned. When the frozens wake up, they want to take control and relieve Elder of his duties - which he isn't standing for, and which creates tension between the shipborns and Earthborns in addition to their differences and distrust of each other. But the planet itself doesn't seem to want them there either. Vicious creatures are killing off the colonists one by one, and there's another life form that manages to stay hidden but is apparently even more deadly than the vicious flying creatures. The planet hides many secrets - will Elder and Amy and their people be able to uncover them in time to save even some of the colonists?

What an end to the series! Shades of Earth is amazing amazing amazing! It's a real up-and-down ride, taking you from utter fear to relieved complacency, right back to horrified terror and back again. The surprises keep coming, and the way the shipborns and Earthborns distrust each other means that they're all keeping secrets from each other even though they're all trying to find out the planet's secrets. It makes the whole story even more suspenseful. And waiting to see who will die next adds even more breath-holding to reading it. Just when you're starting to like someone, he or she is killed by the flying carnivores. And just when one of the scientists finds something illuminating, another twist happens so that all their theories are overturned.

The surprises started in the first two books, but they're intensified and magnified in this book. And as the book draws to a close, those surprises come thicker and faster. By the last fifty or so pages of the book, I was alternating between gasping in shock and slapping a hand over my mouth in grief, and cheering and shaking the book in the air in excitement. I literally went through that cycle at least five times, as every few pages the status kept changing. I love how the book ends. Believe me, you're in for a real shock there! Aside from figuring out what exactly has been going on on this planet and making huge decisions about how to deal with these revelations, Amy and Elder's relationship is tested and shaken. It's not a happyhappy last ten pages, but there's a satisfaction in having ultimately done the right thing, hard as it was, amid the grief over all those who have died.

Defintely read this book. It's a great end to the series, making this trilogy one I'm likely to reread often.