Series Send Off: Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

So I typically just review the individual books in a series and then I’m done but I had a reader email in my inbox this year asking if I did overviews of the series after I finished them. I hadn’t before but I was thinking about how maybe a little “overall thoughts on the series” when it came to the last book in a series might help some people decide to start the series if they had never heard of it before and are just catching my review of the last book. Also, my feelings on an overall series could grow or break down so maybe it’s important to see the whole picture. So let’s see how this goes? Let me know if you find it helpful. PLUS this helps me close the page on a series (which is exciting because I SUCK at finishing series). And thank you to my awesome reader Angie for sparking this!

 

Into The Still BlueInto The Still Blue
(I received this for review but this ABSOLUTELY did not sway my thoughts or feelings. Pinky promise!)

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

READ IT. It’s definitely one of my favorite series. It’s just all around great — the world, the characters, the relationships (friendships AND romance), action and more! Also, very satisfying ending!

 

Thoughts On Into The Still Blue (Skip below if you haven’t read the series yet!)

I was so devastated to say goodbye to this world and these characters. Through The Ever Night was so badass and ended in a way where I was sighing a sigh of relief while chewing my fingernails down to nothing KNOWING that things were going to get CAHRAZY in Into The Still Blue. And they did.

I’ve had some disappointing series finale books recently and I was just crossing my fingers and toes that I would not be disappointed. I’m happy to report it was a satisfying conclusion — it felt true to the story, there were some happily ever afters, some sad things, some crazy action and somehow even more dimensions to my favorite characters to make me love them even more. I felt fine with where it ended and I could picture life for them after — lots left to the imagination but ultimately very wrapped up!

I really, really loved watching some of these relationships and how they strengthened. Obvious Perry and Aria and it’s great because they actually get to spend more time together this time around and it’s so sweet. I LOVED Perry and Roar throughout the series (best bromance ever) and it was so hard to watch them have some tension but I felt like it just made that friendship have even more depth. And Aria and Roar. Yay platonic friendships! I love those two. There were so many swoonworthy moments. Some very tender and vulnerable moments in some combination between Aria/Perry/Roar and others. It was just really nice that these beloved characters were given even more life and didn’t fall flat in favor of action and twisty things…which there was plenty of THAT to keep your fingers in shape.

I also really loved watching the Dwellers and the Outsiders have to work together and get to know each other as they were now officially all roomies in the cave. The tension between the two sides was well written and I could feel their distrust for one another and their adversity to change but I so badly wanted them to just STOP BICKERING AND GET TO SOME SERIOUS ASS WHIPPING OF SOME MAJOR BAD GUYS. It was just really nice to see how realistically they worked together and got along.

I’m really sad it’s over but I’m so happy Veronica Rossi delivered — it wasn’t all sunshine and fa la la everyone lives happily ever after but every action and decision made sense for the story while also giving the characters what they deserve in the end. I never knew what was going to happen or what to expect and I was constantly on the edge of my seat for many reasons. I cried when I finished because I was just so damn happy and sad and feeling too many emotions.

What The Series Is About:

Okay so basically in this futuristic world things happened in the past that caused some craziness with the climate and such and these things called aether storms were becoming more and more frequent. They were obvious threats to the Outsiders but not so known to the average Dweller. The Dwellers lived in an enclosed city and they have some pretty awesome technologies and they are able to go to different realms (virtual reality). The Outsiders, well they live outside of this compound in the air that the Dwellers don’t breathe, and they rely on survival and don’t have all the luxuries that the Dwellers do in Reverie. Aria (Dweller) and Perry (Outsider) meet when they are both looking for something important to them and they begin to realize that they mutually need each other to survive/get what they want. And then there’s a whole lot of crazy and twisty stuff….but you should just read.

 

Rating Broken Down By Books (Links to individual reviews):

Under The Never Sky: LIKED IT. (3.5 stars)
Through The Ever Night: FREAKING AMAZING. I LOVED. (5 stars)
Into The Still Blue: LOVED! Such a good ending! (4.5 stars)

Recommended For People Who Love:

fantasy, dystopian/futuristic stories, awesome romance that doesn’t detract from plot, books with great friendships, survival-y stories, fantastic world building world building (I mean, she creates TWO kinds of worlds really that both were so vivid), just a damn well rounded story honestly…it’s got it all.

 

Farewell Under The Never Sky! I loved you so much and Aria/Perry/Roar will remain in the ranks of favorite characters for a long time (dare I say forever) and I can honestly declare you as one of my all time favorite series!

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it??

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review (NO SPOILERS!!!)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review  (NO SPOILERS!!!)Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperTeen on February 4, 2014
Genres: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction
Also by this author: Shatter Me, Unravel Me
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
four-stars

 

 

book synopsis Ignite Me is the conclusion to the Shatter Me trilogy. I don’t want to give any more info really then what the official synopsis said on Amazon, ” With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.”

good books to readHere’s what I’m not going to tell you in this review:

1. Who she ends up with
2. How it ends.
3. Specific spoilery things

To be clear. I will however have a video with me FEELINGS at the end.

Oh, Tahereh Mafi. You made me cry. You made me laugh. You made me blush severely. You made me nervous. You also did not do what I thought you were going to do. Nope. I definitely went into Ignite Me with some pretty strong predictions for what was going to happen but neither of them happened.

So basically Ignite Me pretty much starts off where Unravel Me leaves off with Juliette getting shot and Omega Point being destroyed. She’s clued in to what has happened and now Juliette becomes even more determined to take down the Reestablishment — at whatever cost — and she needs Warner to do it. In Unravel Me, she largely is learning about her powers and trying to OWN them and is also trying to heal mentally and overcome everything that happened in Shatter Me. In Ignite Me, Juliette stops feeling sorry for herself and goes balls to the walls with wanting to really 100% understand and control her powers for the good of the people.

I loved watching Juliette start to feel this confidence and finally become her own person. I felt the fire lit under her and I was ready for her to start making things happen and stop being so passive about everything. I loved watching her become more badass by the turn of each page and mentally stronger too. Learning the extent and the ins and the outs of her powers was interesting to me. I also loved watching her really decide what SHE wanted — for so long everything had been decided for her and she pretty much was resigned to it — so it was nice to watch her continue to grow.

Obviously the other huge thing in all this is Juliette’s struggle to figure out things with Adam and confront the feeeeelings from Unravel Me’s chapter 62 with Warner. I am not going to spoil you here but I felt this struggle HARD. I was team nobody coming out of Unravel Me as a reference. And I’m just going to tell you that, this shocked the hell out of me, but early on in Ignite Me I KNEW what I wanted and I didn’t waver. I’m not going to tell you if it was the right move or not in relation to what happens in the book but my heart wanted what my heart wanted but I felt the conflict within Juliette SO INTENSELY. The more information I gathered of both Adam and Warner, as well as some important interactions with both of them mixed with past interactions, and I just knew my feelings on who Juliette should end up would never change no matter what. I’d go down with that ship if that’s what it took. I was committed!

Let’s also talk about how Tahereh Mafi made me blush harder than I ever have reading a book –especially YA. STEAMY MCSTEAMY. Holy crap. If Tahereh Mafi wrote an adult romance novel, YEP I’d be reading it.

OH ALSO. Kenji continues to be my favorite EVER.

Now, if I’m being honest, there were a few things (mostly small-ish things besides the one I’m going to talk about) that weren’t perfect for me but it was one of those reading situations where it didn’t really matter for me. The heart of the story, my feelings, and just my love for the series/characters made my brain gloss over them. I have no regrets.

But I will just tell you the one thing I feel I have to note:

I felt like the ending was pretty rushed. I never felt like Shatter Me/Unravel Me were action type novels. They had their bits of WHOA ACTION moments but a lot of what was happening was Juliette really becoming a PERSON again and finding her strength after being in her situation and then learning about her superpower and seeing it in a different way than she had. Lots of pages were in Juliette’s head. The Reestablishment and all the crazy stuff happened in Unravel Me was pretty action-y but I was waiting for the ultimate OH SHIT, explosive type action in Ignite Me since it’s the end. Much of the book was the characters putting their plan into action and also Juliette working things out with herself and with the guys but then I could feel the pages REALLY thinning and I’m like WAIT the plan still needs to happen! So I felt like the ending and a BIG scene were rather rushed for my liking. This is PURELY PURELY speculation (or just me never wanting this series to end) but the ending left me feeling like there could be another book maybe some day in the future? I know that’s probably an irrational and stupid thought but I just…I don’t know. Most things felt resolved and I was satisfied in most ways but there were ways there could be MORE.

Spoilery video: Not FULL spoilers bc it’s the end of a series and it JUST came out so I don’t want anything leaked while people are just getting their books! From my phone before bed because I AM LAAAZY so sorry for the bad quality.

 

book reviewsI’m so, so sad to let this series go. I’m in denial. I loved Juliette’s story throughout and I was pleased with Ignite Me overall. I was happy with the resolution to some of the bigger plot lines (namely the romance because I just FELT it in my hearts of hearts and made the most sense to me despite me being Team NOBODY coming out of Unravel Me). There were a few things I didn’t find to be “perfect” but I was so immersed in the story/the writing that I didn’t care. The only exception to that is my feelings on the ending being pretty rushed. It was resolved but rushed and I can’t explain it without spoilers so I’m going to just stop now.

short book review

Ignite Me Tahereh Mafi

 

Let’s Talk: PLEASE warn readers of spoilers in the comments should you talk about any! (THANKS!). What did you think of this one?? Were you pleased with the outcome? With the resolution to the love triangle? Are you sad for the series to come to an end??

 

DD_BloggerGraphic_IgniteMe_02[1] 

Come back on Thursday when Tahereh Mafi invades this blog!! I may have even asked her what the most annoying thing about Ransom is 😛

The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-stars

Pawn by Aimee Carter | Book Review

Pawn by Aimee Carter | Book ReviewPawn by Aimee Carter
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 26, 2013
Genres: YA Dystopian
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-half-stars

 

 

 

Kitty Doe lives in a world where a single test determines your rank in life. The lower the rank, the worse the job and life. Kitty receives a III which is not the worst but definitely not a good life and it will send her away from her boyfriend, family and friends. She’s planning on taking matters into her own hands until she’s given an offer — remain a III or take a deal with the most powerful political family and become a VII. The catch? She’ll have to have a surgical procedure, called Masking, that will completely alter her face and she will become Lila Hart — the prime minister’s niece who died, under rather fishy circumstances, and they don’t want the public to know. Kitty will have to become Lila perfectly and learn everything about her to keep up the charade so nobody will suspect that she’s not really Lila. As she learns more about Lila she learns that she wasn’t completely in line with her families political stance and was secretly part of a revolution. Kitty has to figure out whether or not she will go along with the plan she’s been given, and keep her loved ones safe, or go along with the rebellion she really believes in.

I haven’t been reading a ton of dystopian type books recently but I decided I was ready to again so I picked up Pawn by Aimee Carter. I’m happy to report back that it was a pretty strong start to a series — not a favorite by any means but there was definitely something there that absolutely required all my attention and felt like it stood out despite the fact the actual premise didn’t really stand out that much to me and the beginning made me feel like I was right about that. But then surely it developed into one of those twisty, make-your-pulse-race kind of reads with a few shocks along the way.

I thought the world was interesting. You take a test and that determines your class basically and what job you will be given. Unless you are royalty and then you are automatically a VII. Families are only allowed to have a certain amount of children and all the rest go into group homes. People who are born into better situations get better education and in most cases it impacts how you’ll do on the test. You felt that feeling of being STUCK in your situation really easily. I don’t think I was ever super clear on WHY the government was the way it was but I really thought Aimee Carter did a great job creating the political side of things. There was so much corruption and craziness in the political family which made it such a page-turner. Very intense! Seriously, there were crazy things happening — so many attempts on people’s lives, secrets, lies, etc. Definitely the type of read that is the essence of a fast paced read and I felt like I couldn’t figure out who to trust AT ALL.

There was a romance in it and I actually really liked it — they were an established couple so there wasn’t really any sort of drama other than what was happening with Kitty’s test and then the predicament she found herself in. The romance wasn’t the main focus by any means and it just felt natural so I really liked that.

Pawn by Aimee Carter was definitely an exhilarating, twisty read — lots of political craziness, secrets, lies and pulse-pounding action. I liked it, was entertained by it and read it VERY quickly. I can’t explain why I’m not head over heels IN LOVE despite all that but it was a good read and I can’t wait to read book 2 to see where the craziness goes. It stood out enough for me in the genre but I think I needed a little something more for me to be obsessed.

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Let’s Talk: Have you read Pawn? Heard of it/planning to read it? Did you LOVE it? Not like it? Or were you just at a “like” status with it? Did you see ANY of the things coming? Because oh man… me = blindsided most of the time.

three-half-stars

Prodigy by Marie Lu | Book Review

Prodigy by Marie Lu | Book ReviewProdigy by Marie Lu
Published by Putnam Juvenile on January 2013
Genres: YA Dystopian
Also by this author: Legend, The Young Elites, The Rose Society
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

 

 

 

June and Day have just fled Los Angeles and are still injured and on the run with no plan except finding the Patriots to see if they will help them. Their escape has made June a HUGE traitor and she’s now wanted all over the Republic and the people believe Day is dead. They make it to the Patriots camp and find themselves involved in a HUGE plot to overthrow the Republic.

We decided to read Prodigy by Marie Lu for book club since we all had read Legend and enjoyed it and NONE of us had gotten to Prodigy. Overall, as a second book in the series, this one was really great! It was the same action-packed, cinematic story that made me fall in love with Legend but with even more world-building and some great twists. This time around though I wasn’t as in love with the characters but we’ll get to that in a bit. Overall it was one of those reads that I couldn’t read fast enough and then I got to the end and feel like I got punched in the face. MAJOR CRAZY DEVELOPMENT AT THE END.

As fun as the cat and mouse plot was with Legend, I really actually think I enjoyed the plot of this novel even MORE. It was intense, not just with action that makes your heart race, but the world became more complete. We get to see more of what is going on in other parts of the former US including the Colonies which really was fascinating and crazy (and I hope we see much more with in Champion). The way the plot became more about the political side of things made it extremely interesting as we learn further information about the people in power and what is going on. June and Day are being used to pull off some big moves with the Patriots and it begins to be hard to know who to trust — for June and Day but also for us as a reader. We see both sides, as June and Day become separated for a little bit as part of the plan, and as the reader we know things the other character doesn’t and you sit there biting your nails as the stakes become higher and higher and you don’t know whose judgment is right — June or Day’s!

One of the huge threads obviously is the relationship between June and Day. I like that there is actual THOUGHT about how plausible their relationship could be considering June was partly to blame for what Day has lost and then the obvious very different upbringing. The tension between them was so palpable and I loved that Marie Lu made it feel real and their concerns were not at all silly. HOWEVER, I did not enjoy this love triangle-ish thing. It felt too over the top for me with both of them having confusing feelings for someone else. I get that both people were a contrast of what they’d have with each other but it was a bit too melodramatic for my taste considering all the crazy things that were going on in the story. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO THINK ABOUT MORE THAN ONE ROMANCE WHEN YOU COULD DIE. I had a few eyeroll moments.

Overall, Prodigy by Marie Lu was a darn good sequel that just added more to this world and understanding of ALL the forces at work here in these shambles of the US. I loved where it went plot-wise — it was incredibly exciting, brought some interesting new characters and gave us some HUGE revelations to really propel the story forward and give us a clearer picture than we had in Legend of the inner workings of the government/state of life outside of the Republic. The ending is BRUTAL and completely sucker punched me and I’m DYING to get my hands on Champion.

Prodigy by Marie Lu book review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this series? Heard of it? How did you think Prodigy stacked up to Legend if you’ve read it? What did you think about the love triangle (square? Rectangle?)? DID YOU DIE FROM THE ENDING?

three-half-stars

The Ward by Jordana Frankel| Book Review

The Ward by Jordana FrankelBook Title/Author: The Ward by Jordana Frankel
Publisher/Year
: Katherine Tegen Books – April 30th 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian — I don’t know quite how to categorize it.
Series: Yes — it’s the first book in a series.
Other Books From Author: None.

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

 

Manhattan has been washed out and street racer Ren lives in the Ward, the part that still remains of the underwater city, and risks her life racing to make money to take care of her sister Aven who suffers from the Blight — a horrible disease that came about because of pollution for which there is no cure. When the government asks Ren to go on a mission to find freshwater she puts herself in danger at the prospect of having more money to take care of Aven but what she finds is beyond what she could have ever imagined initially and pulls her into a mystery that could have a significant impact but deadly consequences for her.

This was one of my most anticipated books for the season because of the interesting premise, but I have to be honest, I was overall very disappointed and frustrated with this book. It had SO MUCH POTENTIAL but I spent the majority of the time either confused or frustrated or skimming over parts due to the world building and  the way some things were written — which was really sad because I was so excited and some good friends LOVED it. Within the first 100 pages I was ready to put it down because it wasn’t doing anything for me but I kept going and eventually I was hooked on the storyline and wanting to find out what the heck was going on but I was still weighed down with the same problems the whole way through.

One of the biggest problems for me was that I just couldn’t picture the world at all which is pretty rare for me. I go to NYC frequently so in my head I constructed what I thought an underwater city would look like but there were paragraphs of descriptions and I just really had a hard time SEEING it. There were also times that I just could not envision a specific scene, like a racing scene or an action scene, and it just completely drew me out of the action a lot of times because I felt frustrated that I couldn’t follow along with what was going on. I would read over paragraphs and literally have no clue what happened or feel like I missed something and then I’d read over it again but still felt lost. This is not a problem I typically have — the writing just felt kind of shaky and scenes felt kind of jumbly to me.

The other issue I had was that I didn’t understand the world. I’m a patient reader so I know I’m not going to GET a world right away and I’m good at suspending disbelief but the world building just lacked for me. We got once sentence of WHAT happened that made NYC under water and a little bit of explanation for what the Blight was but that was about it. I couldn’t understand WHY people were still living there if the city flooded? I kept thinking that people wouldn’t be inhabiting this place if something like this really happened so I couldn’t understand the circumstances in which people were living here still and I didn’t see any explanation in the text. I felt frustrated with a lot of questions that didn’t get answered. Part of that could be because maybe they became irrelevant to the plot? I think I expected more of a post apocalyptic sort of novel where we’d get a good sense the world but instead we were plunked into the story in a world with little explanation. I think we aren’t super far into the future but then I see a reference to 2054 and then I see references to boundaries and things that are supposed to be States and they aren’t like our world but we aren’t given any insight to why things were different now. What happened? I could buy it if I understood any of it. There was just A LOT there and little foundation.

Obviously I kept reading  because the plot did really start to get good and I just wanted to know ALL OF THE THINGS. There were some great twists  and a total magical sort of element that I didn’t see coming at all. There were betrayals and secrets and I was genuinely interested because it all became very entertaining. I loved that Ren was badass and a fearless racer with all the guys. I liked her enough and rooted for her and sometimes she made me laugh.  Other times she really bothered me but overall she was a good character. I loved how she cared so much for her “sister.”

 

While action-packed and thrilling with a really fresh and unique world, The Ward by Jordana Frankel unfortunately ended up just not doing it for me. It had a lot of potential but the world-building didn’t live up to what I imagined and the writing seemed kind of shaky and jumbled making A LOT of scenes hard to visualize and made the setting not quite as interesting as it could have been. I’m really sad about this because I was SO looking forward to it and many friends really enjoyed it but, unfortunately for me, the problems I had with it pulled me out of the story A LOT and I often felt frustrated or confused which severely put a damper on my enjoyment of the plot which really went in some interesting directions and kept me furiously turning the pages at points.  I probably will not be reading the sequel unless I hear that the things that bothered me got better because, like I said, the story DID interest me enough.

 

The Ward by Jordana Frankel review

 

Don’t just listen to my opinion! My friend Alexa said The Ward by Jordanna Frankel was “a pretty fantastic debut novel” and Rachel recommends it as well!

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Was I just the only one who could not visualize a lot of scenes that happened or the setting in general? I mean, I honestly would read paragraphs 2 or 3 times and still not feel totally clear and that is NOT USUAL for me. What did you think of the more magical twist that came up in the novel? I initially was not down with it but then it became interesting.

two-stars

The Program by Suzanne Young | Review

The Program Suzanne Young Book ReviewBook Title/Author: The Program by Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year
: Simon Pulse – April 2013
Genre: Dystopian I guess? It has a very contemporary feel minus that suicide is an epidemic and the way that society deals with it.
Series: YES! This is the first book!
Other Books From Author: A Need So Beautiful series, The Naughty List series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

In The Program by Suzanne Young the world is experiencing an epidemic — teen suicide. To combat this epidemic a program (called “The Program”) was created to help anybody who failed at committing suicide or anyone who is flagged as being depressed or suicidal. The Program basically erases all memories that they deem to be associated with what is making you sad or depressed. Then you leave The Program and are integrated back into society without those memories and start anew. Sloane and her friends who haven’t yet entered the program have tried to stay under the radar and keep their emotions in check so as not get flagged and taken to the program. Despite the fact they have watched so many friends and family commit suicide or come out of The Program like zombies, they know they can’t let those emotions or feelings surface.  As Sloane and her friends are slowly starting to succumb to those feelings they’ve ignored and the pressure to keep it together they know The Program will be their next stop if they can’t keep it together.

Oh my goodness — this is a series I am so excited about after finishing The Program. I know it sounds trite because we say it a lot but I SERIOUSLY could not put this book down. One of those “OMG IT’S SO LATE AND I’M NEVER GOING TO WAKE UP TOMORROW BUT I MUST READ” books. The Program was the ultimate kind of page turner for me because it had suspense, tension, an emotional investment and I was never sure what was going to happen despite picking up vibes about certain things. I appreciated its uniqueness and how Suzanne Young took a subject that really IS an epidemic in our society and amplified it — it felt unsettling and frighteningly REAL to me.

The Program is broken up in three parts — I don’t want to tell you what those three parts consist of even though you could maybe guess from the summary — but each part made me more and more invested in the story and layered that suspense even more. Each part opened me up to more emotions and explored a lot of things about this society and I became more and more invested in this story. I cried, I smiled, I felt like somebody took a cleaver to my heart and I felt extreme ANGER sometimes.  There is just SO much to this story and, aside from being wholly invested in it, it made me think a lot, too!

It was seriously scary to be thrown into this world. I immediately felt unsettled — teen suicide is like your every day thing here and, while they’ve grown numb to it in a way, you can feel the profound pain and agony of those left behind. I was emotional just thinking about my friend who committed suicide and then thinking about how in this society it is perfectly NORMAL to have lost lots of friends and family to suicide & it just made my heart hurt and gave me that “this is going to be an intense book” feeling. It broke my heart at how they had to keep a lid on their emotions because ANY sort of sign of sadness or anger or anything, even if it was healthy, was enough to get you flagged. To watch them slowly start to succumb to the FEELINGS they’ve been holding in towards those who have died and those who have come back not themselves is so painful. You just feel the weight on their shoulders. My heart was in an absolute frenzy.

And if that wasn’t hard enough, Part 2 and 3 really were equally as compelling and painful in their own right. There were absolutely agonizing moments where we got to learn how The Program operates and what goes on inside and how they “fix” you. It was anger-inducing and scary and heartbreaking. And then Part 3 is where it got bittersweet but also hopeful and intense in more of an action-packed way towards the end. It got me excited for book 2 until I remembered WAH I DO NOT HAVE IT.

Book 2, I MUST HAVE YOU because there is still so much to learn — like HOW society got to the point where suicide was this bad? Or why people were okay with this solution? Can you fully get your memories back? And, book 2, I need you most because I haven’t felt so INVOLVED and intrigued by a series in a while.

The Program by Suzanne Young was such an interesting, frightening and suspenseful story with the power to poke and prod at my emotions in the intensest of ways. Each of the three parts of this novel heightened the suspense and really added layers to my emotional connection. One of the most exciting and page-turning books I’ve read this year and I cannot even contain myself for book 2. Very unique and unsettling and I highly recommend it for fans of all types of genres as it is set in a world very much like our own but with the fact that suicide is an actual epidemic and society has allowed something like The Program to exist to “contain” it.

 

 

The Program Suzanne Young Book review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, what did you think? Did you enjoy it as I did or did you feel differently? Let me know what you thought!

four-half-stars

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (No Spoilers!)

13104080Book Title/Author: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Yes, read my review of  Shatter Me — book 1 in the series!
Other Books From Author: Shatter Me (book #1 in series)

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

** Some spoilers for Shatter Me (book 1) may be lurking around here **

We pick up where Shatter Me leaves off and Juliette, Adam and Kenji have escaped the Reestablishment and are underground at Omega Point. Juliette is trying to learn the strength of her abilities and power and learns more about the gifts of all the other people who are at Omega Point. She realizes that the freedom isn’t all that she thought it would be and that simply loving Adam isn’t as easy as it sounds with the power that brews inside her. The Reestablishment is still reeling from Juliette’s escape and will stop at nothing to find her and silence the spirit of a resistance they’ve only heard about.

“There was too much kissing in this book.” — SAID NO ONE EVER. Seriously, Tahereh Mafi. You upped the sexy in this book. I had to fan myself quite a few times even if I didn’t always LOVE what was going on. I wish there was an award for good kissing scenes because Tahereh has a whole arsenal of them in Unravel Me that proves why she would win this award. As much as I enjoy swoon and kissing and romance, I don’t know that I’ve ever started a review out talking about the kissing nor have I devoted an entire paragraph in a review to it. But, here we are. You need to know it.

So Unravel Me. WOW. What an incredible follow-up to Shatter Me — it was sexy, daring, gripping and certainly didn’t lack in excitement.  I really enjoyed learning more about this underground resistance and watching Juliette trying to learn how to fit IN with other people and come to terms with her abilities. There are some explosive moments in this book and I was constant state of being riveted and then completely blindsided by THINGS — aka a huge twist that is a BIG deal and a certain chapter that definitely changes the course of this series.

I love the way all of these characters are written. Tahereh isn’t afraid to lift the curtain and make us see characters in a different way — even if it makes us have conflicting feelings. Juliette becomes my least favorite character in this series — she is whiny and acts stupidly sometimes and just has way too much self loathing going on…but at the end of the day I’m still rooting for her to realize her own strength and feel comfortable in her skin. I love Adam but he becomes stale for me this time around and I’m left wondering what is so special about him but I STILL LOVE HIM SO MUCH and want Juliette to be with him when she can sort her damn feelings and emotions. Kenji doesn’t really change but just becomes my ALL TIME FAVE and so incredibly awesome! And Warner…oh Warner. He is so complex. I got that feeling from Shatter Me and most of my suspicions were true in terms of there is something else within him and that he probably had a hard childhood that hardened him. I’ve never had such polarizing feelings towards a character. I will say, I am NOT a person who switched to Team Warner but I do understand him more and believe he can be redeemed but not quite on board with a romance (because ew he was her captor and he has done some beyond horrible things and is manipulative). I believe there is more to him but could not even entertain anything romantical. But HOLY EFF, Tahereh. I have never ever before seen such a passionate switch of teams by readers and an even more passionate resounding HELL NO by others.

The emotions she brings to Unravel Me just astound me — I seriously felt a myriad of things. Things I never knew I felt. It was kind of like how after you work out or do a new workout and the next day your muscles are so sore because you are using muscles you’ve neglected or barely worked out but never realized. That’s how my heart felt — these deep aches and soreness from places in my heart that have rarely seen the light of day. It’s amazing the kind of emotions I felt reading this book — sadness and aching and anger and longing and ALL THE FEELS. My heart was a volatile organ while reading this and I just always felt I was on the brink of uncertainty.

An amazing sequel to a book that captivated me from the start.  Suffice it to say — my mind is reeling and in complete and utter awe of Tahereh Mafi and everything about this series — the realness of the characters, her exquisitly unique writing style that just captivates you, the KISSING, the depth of emotions she unearths and the risks she is just willing to take. If you haven’t read Shatter Me, get on it so you can experience things that your heart might not experience every day — including being smashed to pieces, writhing in agony and possibly this polarizing feeling when it comes to the boys in this series.  I love that I could hate characters or be frustrated by them and even be opposed to the direction that the story was going but I still undoubtedly loved this book and BELIEVED it wholly.

 

 

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of the series?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it?? Are you Team Adam or Team Warner? EXPLAIN YOURSELF IF YOU ARE TEAM WARNER!! Did anyone else just fall in love with Kenji?? I OH SNAPPED when he told Juliette off basically. ALSO, did you see the REALLY BIG SHOCKING TWIST COMING?? I did not. At all.

five-stars

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver (NO SPOILERS)

Requiem by Lauren Oliver Book Title/Author: Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen March 2013
Genre: Dystopian YA
Series: Yes. It is the last book in the series — Delirium is book 1 and Pandemonium is book 2.
Other Books From Author: Before I Fall, Liesel & Po, The Spindlers

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

Requiem picks up a few days after Pandemonium ends. Alex has joined Lena’s group and things are tense between them and with Julian and Lena struggles with her feelings and the coldness of Alex towards her. The group is in the wilds and trying to figure out where the best place for them to go next as the Wilds become more dangerous. Things are also tense between the resistance and the government and the regulators are stepping up their attempts to silence the Invalids and a fight is brewing. Requiem alternates between Lena and the dangerous Wilds and Hana who is cured, matched up and getting ready for her wedding — to the powerful mayor of Portland.

I’m almost ready to sob as I write this. This is not at all what I wanted for the ending of a beloved series that I’ve raved about. I did not want to write anything less than a glowing review. But alas, Requiem just completely was a let down for me personally. I feel like you are going to either LOVE this one or HATE it. So…let’s get into it.

There were some great things about Requiem. I loved the alternating chapters between Lena and Hana — this contrast between cured and uncured and the life within the walls and the life outside the walls in the Wilds was intriguing and just perfect. It was such a great contrast and I honestly really enjoyed Hana and her perspective and she became my favorite  to follow. The other thing? I was not sold on Julian in Pandemonium but in Requiem I just completely fell in love with him. I did. He grew and adapted to the Wilds and he was just a sweetheart. I loved getting to know him more. And as always, Lauren’s writing is exquisite. She knows how to write it all — tension (Alex and Lena..AHH. That tension was thick), tender moments and HUGE scenes where you can’t turn the page fast enough. I was happy to be back in this fascinating world that Lauren Oliver has created and snuggled in with her beautiful writing.

Let’s talk about the two things that let me down. The second one being the biggest factor.

1) The storyline of Requiem itself: I have to be honest…it took me quite a bit to get into this one. I was bored and almost put it down which was strange because I couldn’t read the first two fast enough. I guess I just expected a bit more action as we are left finishing Pandemonium feeling breathless from the events happening between the resistance and DFA. We could tell it was getting more and more tense and the air was charged with danger. You could tell something big was going to down. For the first half of this book, that feeling was lost on me. Lena and her crew are just moving around trying to find a place to go and, yes, there are THINGS that happen but I never felt that sense of OH MAN SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN until halfway through or so. The suspense and that constricting feeling in my chest because I know something big was going to happen…just NOT THERE. And Lena. I really loved her through the series but really just was bothered by her in this one. I know LOVE is a crazy thing and it doesn’t always make sense but I just don’t love how she treated Julian. That’s all I’m going to say. And truly, Hana’s chapters were way more interesting to me than what was going on with Lena and company.

2) The ending: I just can’t even process. Let’s just start out with the fact that this book ends with one of the most beautiful paragraphs I have ever read. It was lovely. I just wish I wasn’t so mad so that I could have enjoyed it more. So I’m reading and I’m noticing the thinning of pages in my right hand and thought about where we were in the story and I honestly thought I MUST be missing pages. There is NO WAY that this could wrap up with this many pages left. The ending was rushed for me. It was like FINALLY things are happening but it all went so fast. And then we get to the ending and I’m like ARE YOU SERIOUS? THIS IS HOW IT ENDS? Really?? I’m not one of those  people who needs a happy ending nor needs the author to do EXACTLY what I want…but I needed something from this. There was little resolution, I had so many questions and it was just rushed. I was not satisfied at all for a series I loved with my whole heart and was so invested in. I knew that Lauren would take risks but this is not what I had in mind when I think of what a brilliant writer she is. I mean, yes, there was truth to the ending and you felt a little bit of hope that they will have the chance to choose love in all of its messy glory and that maybe things will change…but just no…I didn’t FEEL anything. I felt gypped and was not feeling fond of Lena at the end.

All in all, Requiem was pretty much a disappointment for me which is sad because I LOVED this series so hard and recommended it so often. It kind of taints the series for me now between the less than exciting plot, how Lena acts in Requiem and a rushed ending that didn’t seem like much of an ending at all for people who devoted so much time to loving this series. I’m not a person who needs a happy and perfect ending or for the author to do what I want but I just expected something more to be honest. If you had lukewarm feelings for this series as it was, I’d say just ask someone what the ending is. If you have loved the series through and through, I say finish it and I will be crossing my fingers you feel more satisfied than I did with this book. I AM DEVASTATED RIGHT NOW. But that last paragraph was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, and Hana pretty much ROCKS my world.

 

Other Series You May LikeUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Through the Ever Night – book 2- was AMAZING!), Matched by Ally Condie, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Eve by Anna Carey

requiem-lauren-oliver

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? What did you think or am I just the odd man out who was disappointed?? I am just so, so sad because I expected to be blown away. What did you think of the ending? Did it work for you?

two-stars

Review: Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (No Spoilers!)

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Book Title/Author: Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Book #2)
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen January 8th  2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Yes — Under The Never Sky was the first book in the series.
Other Books From Author: Under the Never Sky (book 1)

Amazon| Goodreads | @V_Rossibooks |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

Since Under the Never Sky, Aria & Perry have been apart from each other with much on their minds. When they are finally reunited, these problems certainly don’t fade away but are magnified. Perry’s troubles with gaining the respect as the Tides leader is even more in jeopardy with Aria’s arrival and the ever increasing frequency and strength of the Aether storms threatening their land. Aria, with the weight of Talon’s disappearance on her shoulders, knows she has to find the Still Blue for Hess to even have a shot at reuniting Talon & Perry. Aria faces the hard decision between staying with Perry (even though she knows her presence is causing trouble) or  leaving to find information about the Still Blue.

Upon finishing Through The Ever Night, I can say without a doubt, this is one of my favorite series right now and one that I’ve found myself recommending more than anything else! If you love dystopian novels, and even if you are burnt out on them, this series is where it is at. Under the Never Sky was a great debut (so great that when I got this in the mail back in September I read this IMMEDIATELY) but this book was what sealed the deal for me! I will say that you should do yourself a solid and reread Under the Never Sky because my memory was a bit foggy on how things ended.

Through The Ever Night took the notion of “second in the series syndrome” and squashed it. My heart just longs for a re-read when I think about how wonderful this book was. The action was intense and heart-pounding but this story was also ridden with quiet, sweet moments and just top-notch character development. We get to know our favorites better (Perry, Aria, Roar, Cinder) but we are introduced to new and memorable characters and reunited with some secondary characters — some whom play bigger parts this time around. Every page was filled with heart and emotion it seemed because I would find myself tearing up or gripping the pages out of anger or feeling incredibly panicked for the characters we love.

Veronica Rossi just knows how to tell a story — that’s all I feel like I can say because I don’t want to give away ANYTHING plot-wise. There were twists and turns and important things to be learned in this book. I loved Aria & Roar’s journey and some of my favorite moments were in those chapters– albeit things that made my heart hurt. I also really enjoyed learning more about Perry & the Tides and watching Perry assert himself as worthy of being leader. I felt like I really learned so much about Perry through these chapters. There was also some crazy dramarama in these chapters too and things that made me MAD! A LOT of meaningful things happen in this book but we are still left with some lingering questions by the end that set up for some really incredibly things for Into The Still Blue (2014? Really, V, really?? How about now?). I loved how the ending wrapped up — just perfectly with some things resolved but still so many things to look forward to.

Vagrant little things:
1. ROAR!! If you loved Roar in Under the Never Sky (are there people who didn’t?) you are going to be so excited because it’s like double the Roar here! I really loved getting to know him more and he’s one of my favorite characters of recent. He breaks out of that “sidekick” kind of mold that comes with being friends with the romantical couple and becomes just as important. His friendship with Aria in this novel is one thing I loved the most and I loved watching them struggle and triumph together.

2. In Under the Never Sky my ONE little problem was that I just felt like I was SO lost about the Aether — like I missed something.  Like I KIND of thought I knew what it was but really didn’t understand it and I felt like Rossi did an amazing job explaining the Aether more in a really natural way that made me be able to SEE it and understand the destruction it was capable of — which we DEFINITELY see in this novel!

3. The romance you ask? AHHH. I’m not telling! Nope! I’m not! I’ll say they’ve got their share of struggles in this one but I think this is one of my favorite couples ever.

4. Aria’s growth has been one of my favorite’s to watch in YA series.

I’m going to pretty much officially say I liked Through The Ever Night MORE which I rarely ever say about a book 2. Prepare to get your workout in turning those pages furiously because this was one of those books that are the epitome of words like “exhilarating” or ” riveting” (and ummm HEARTBREAKING at moments). But Veronica Rossi balances all of that action with truly incredibly characters who you just really fall in love with even more, some really tender moments and making your heart pitter patter with Perry & Aria’s romance. It’s just one of those addictive books that make me shut out Real Life in favor for an imaginative, dangerous journey with characters I wish were real. I love the worldbuilding, I love the characters, I love it all. This series is a favorite that I’ll keep on recommending for lovers of dystopian worlds with fantastical elements.

You May Also Like: Legend by Marie Lu, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

 

through-the-ever-nightLet’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Did you like Under the Never Sky better or Through The Ever Night? I have to ask..do you think there is a chance that a certain character is actually not dead??

five-stars

Review Of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

YA dystopian for Hunger Games fanBook Title/Author: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: YES!
Other Books From Author: None!

Amazon| Goodreads | Tahereh Mafi’s Website
I purchased this book with my own money!

Juliette’s been locked up in solitary confinement for 264 days. She’s been locked away for incident which resulted in murder because her very touch is deadly but nobody knows why. While she’s locked away for being a hazard to the general population, the world as she knew it is deteriorating even more than it had been before. Food is rationed, the weather is strange, birds don’t fly anymore and it seems like trouble is brewing between the Reestablishment and the rebel movements. Juliette doesn’t realize just how important she could be on the outside until she finds out that though she’s been in solitary people have taken notice of her and want her use her power for their gain.

Do you ever have a book that you hear everybody talk about it and rave about it and it just somehow turns you off? Is that weird? I don’t know but that’s the case with this book. I heard too much about it and wasn’t intrigued enough by the summary and I thought I’d be let down. Then a few blogger friends told me I HAD to read it so I purchased it this past April when I went to Chicago for RT Convention and a Dark Days tour stop. It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since until Jen from Makeshift Bookmark demanded recently I read it when I asked for a rec!

I was nervous that it wouldn’t blow my mind like it seemed to do to everyone else. BUT FRIENDS, mind = blown. I mean, it kind of looks like a CSI crime scene around here. Shatter Me was pretty unlike things I’ve read recently and I so enjoyed it — the worldbuilding, the characters, the writing, the romance, the fast paced page-turning nature of the story. It was a book I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish. Something I haven’t been doing lately. You would have had to pry this book from my cold dead fingers before I’d have given it up to go to bed. I mean WHAT IF I DIED IN MY SLEEP AND NEVER FINISHED IT??! Morbid, I know, but I just needed to finish it that bad.

Immediately you know this novel is going to be different from the first page by the writing style. Lots of crossed out sentences, tons of stream of consciousness type writing. It takes some time to get used to. I found that I had to reread some parts again but it was so beautiful and it totally hones in on the state of  Juliette’s mind. I felt like I was there imprisoned with her in solitary confinement. The writing just set the mood really well. You felt kind of crazy like I’m sure she did — never speaking but your brain is a lively dialogue and picture show just barreling along. I knew I was going to like this book within the first few pages. I will say that some of those elements do peter out as we get in the story but it makes sense to me as the story progresses. Juliette changes and gets out of her own head.

I found the characters (even the hateable ones — I’m looking at you WARNER) to be so intriguing and I’m excited to learn more about some of them. I’ve heard a lot of Team Warner’s being thrown around and I didn’t understand it though I’m hearing that my mind will change if I read the novella Destroy Me (which you know I have reservations about novellas) and then Unravel Me (book 2). I don’t know.

I also am incredibly drawn into this world that Mafi created — curious about how it got to the point it is, what’s up with Juliette’s special power, what Warner has planned for Juliette, where Juliette’s family is etc. etc. Everything just made me SO CURIOUS. I had a million thoughts running through my mind and I am even more anxious for Unravel Me!!

Moral of the story: When all of your blogging friends tell you to read a book, just do it. Because it might end up being one of your most memorable, favorite reads of the year! I was getting so series weary but this one is invigorating and worth getting sucked into!

 

I see why this book was SO very popular! It’s addicting and the ultimate page-turner filled with intriguing characters, a completely scary and imaginative dystopian society and a love story that didn’t feel out of place and haphazardly thrown in there like “OH HAI ROMANCE SELLS. GOTTA INCLUDE IT.”  It’s breathtakingly different and some of Mafi’s prose is just enchanting. I’ll say it does take a little bit to take to the style of writing at first but I promise you that you’ll get to a point where you just PLOW through it. Lots of feelings happened while reading this book — rage, hope, sadness, etc.

 

You May Also Like: Touch by Jus Accardo, Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Legend by Marie Lu, Eve by Anna Carey

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - teen dystopian

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? And I have to ask, did you read the novella Destroy Me? Is it worth reading?

four-half-stars
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