Origin – Jennifer L. Armentrout

13644052Title: Origin
Series:
(
Lux, #4)
Author:
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Category: Young Adult
Rating: 5

Goodreads

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

MY REVIEW

After Opal’s devastating cliffhanger, I was itching to get my hands on this and devour it. And it didn’t disappoint. The feels were so intense, I even had to take breaks to swoon and re-read some of Daemon’s dialogue. Origin presents us with Daemon’s point of view, and the book paralleled in the fact that we got both sides of the story: Katy, trapped with Daedalus, and Daemon going out of his mind trying to save her from becoming like empty eyed and tortured Bethany.

With some couples progressions throughout a series, the female protagonist usually loses her personality (if she ever had one) and instead of being utterly consumed with Daemon, Katy actually took time to miss her mom, blogging and reading. She suffers through horrible experiences yet her spirit didn’t break and she didn’t need to be coddled or saved like some damsel in distress. Yes, Daemon came for her. But the two of them worked together instead of what you see on those old raunchy novels the elderly lady at the drugstore swoons about, with the half dressed damsel hanging off the arm of some muscled viking.

The plot had some nice twists and whatnot, and there was betrayal from characters you actually liked and death of those you wished you didn’t like, and about fifty, “WHAT THE HECK?” moments. Not as bad as it’s predecessor, but I can’t wait for the next one.

If you haven’t already, read the Lux series! Especially if you swooned over Max and Michael from Roswell and itching to get a hot-alien fix.

Half Blood – Jennifer L Armentrout

9680718Title: Half-Blood
Series:
(
Covenant, #1)
Author:
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Category: Young Adult
Rating: 3

Goodreads

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.

MY REVIEW

“Two people see each other across a room or their skin brushes. Their souls recognize the person as their own. It doesn’t need time to figure it. The soul always knows… whether it’s right or wrong.”

If you’ve heard of the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, then you’ve probably heard that a lot of it resembled Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead a little too closely. I remained skeptical, not wanting to read this series for a long time because of my devotion to Mead’s series, but alas, I caved. There were a lot of similarities, but honestly, to me it wasn’t half as good as the Vampire Academy series.

Half-Blood begins with seventeen year old Alexandria-but-call-me-Alex, a half blood, or a child that is born from a pure and someone of lesser blood. In this world, Alex, alike the rest of her half-blooded brethren, has two choices: hunt and kill daimons or become a slave to a pure. After her mother is taken by daimons and presumed dead, Alex returns to the covenant to continue her education, or risk a life of servitude.

Despite the many similarities to the VA series, it was not that that kept me disinterested enough to give it a three-star “it’s okay…” rating. The characters are just.. flat. The romance is flat. Everything is as flat as a girl before puberty hits. There were times Alex annoyed the hell out of me. Hunt daimons or basically become a slave. Given Alex’s choices, I was surprised that she kept getting out of line so often and didn’t seem to care that if she didn’t keep in line, she could potentially become a pure’s plaything and have no willpower to do anything ever again. I honestly couldn’t relate to her one bit, or any of the characters actually. The love interest Dimitri Aiden was dry and completely boring, and Seth goes from being disinterested to acting like he’s so in love with her by the end of the book. Give me a break.

I really wanted to like this book. I’m a huge fan of Armentrout’s Lux series, but this seems like something she wrote in her teens years before she started to write the Lux.

While I give this a nice three-stars, I will not be rushing to get the next books in the series anytime soon.

The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

15745753Title: The 5th Wave
Series:
(The 5th Wave, #1)
Author:
Rick Yancey
Category:
Young Adult
Rating: 5

Goodreads

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

MY REVIEW

“But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.”

Do you like alien invasions? What about intense action and mild romance? Or maybe you like apocalyptic novels? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions (or all of them), then this is the book for you! Told in multiple pov’s ranging from protagonist Cassie to a broken soldier nicknamed Zombie, this story is compelling from each.

1st wave: Goodbye cell phones, cars, planes, television and electricit.
2nd wave: Adios coastal cities that are now underwater.
3rd wave: Sayonara to a hefty percent of whats left of the world’s population. Birds are spreading a horrific, epidemic disease.
4th wave: Trust no one. How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
5th wave: Well… Read to find out?

Cassie Sullivan believes she very well may be the last person on Earth. She hasn’t seen another human being since her first kill of a gutted, dying soldier in a corner store outside of what was once civilization.

Unbeknownst to Cassie, she’s being hunted, stalked, by someone she called a Silencer. Silencer’s are those that were once as human as you or, well, you, (don’t stare at my third eye and tentacles, please), who were invaded by a silent intruder in the womb. A Trojan Horse, if you will. This Silencer has been waiting to pick off Cassie for a long time, hoping that her human survival instincts compel her to seek out other survivors.

Elsewhere, we have Zombie, whom once was just a teenage boy that harbored guilt that he left his baby sister to die. Now, he’s a soldier, training to eradicate the infected on the eve of the 5th Wave.

Other mentionables are Sammy, Cassie’s younger brother, who was taken, and sweet farmboy, Evan Walker, who nurses Cassie back to health and may be hiding a deadly secret.

The characters are so real and flawed, trying to survive and willing themselves to find something to live for, and none of them are willing to lay down and let the aliens win. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy or check this out at the local library! It’s even being optioned for a movie!

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

15745753Title: Eleanor & Park
Series:
Standalone
Author:
Rainbow Rowell
Category:
Young Adult
Rating: 5

Goodreads

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

MY REVIEW

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

1986. The Space Shuttle Columbia is launched. Voyager 2 makes its first encounter with Uranus. Eleanor, an overweight redhead steps onto a school bus and sits next to Park Sheridan.

Park is a half Korean boy who lives a fairly nice life, with two loving parents and doesn’t know what its like to go to bed hungry or share his bedroom. Eleanor Douglas shares her room with her three brothers and younger sister, living in a highly dysfunctional family in a small, run down home with no bathroom door.

While these two may live within walking distance of another, they come from different words. From the moment Eleanor stepped on the school bus for the first time, she was already an outsider, with her flaming red hair and odd thrift store clothes. When no one offers her a seat, Park angrily tells her to sit down next to him, and proceeds to ignore her for the duration of the trip. For days and weeks, the two ignores each’s existence despite sitting six inches from one another to and fro. One day, Park catches her reading his comics over his shoulder, and begins to lend her his comics. They bond over music, with Park making mixtapes for Eleanor to listen to. Eventually, they even begin holding hands on the bus.

That’s whats so great about this novel – there isn’t some insta-love between the characters that you find in your typical high school romance novels. These flawed characters are very much opposites and over time, develop an reluctant friendship that eventually leads to love. And even then, everything is not all lovey-dovey and cutesy, and the two fight and argue a lot and kiss and makeup, just like almost any other teenage couple.

Overall, I liked this, even if it didn’t have more plot than two teenagers falling in love despite all their differences and the world trying to keep them apart. If you’re looking for a realistic romance of high school and first love, look no further.

The Lost Girl – Sangu Mandanna

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Author: Sangu Mandanna

Rating: 5/5

Purchase from

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination – an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her ‘other’, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known – the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love – to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

Honestly, I have never heard of this book before I saw it in an Amazon recommendations and wanted it on a whim. I’m not even sure what I was expecting from this, but it ended up being more than I could’ve hoped. It is hard to believe that not many have read this, for it is amazing, especially for fans of Frankenstein. Even if there is little to no horror within these pages, it is a wonderful tale that makes you think.

The story revolves around an echo, a clone of you will, of a girl named Amarra. If anything were to ever happen to Amarra, the echo will be ready to take her place. Sure, Eva may look like Amarra, knows everything about her and is created of Amarra, but she is not Amarra.
She is herself. She is Eva. And she is real.

But Eva’s life isn’t her own. She can’t do anything her other doesn’t do and she has to do everything that her other wants to.

Echoes are illegial, especially in India where Amarra lives. People called hunters take it upon themselves to capture and kill echos, for most of the world believes these are abominations made by their creators, the Weavers, who play God and give life to bone and dust.

When Amarra dies in a car crash, Eva must take her place. She must fight to do what she wants to retain the life that is hers while doing her duty and giving hope to Amarra’s family that she is Amarra. A chain of events occurs when Amarra’s boyfriend figures out that Amarra died in that wreck, and it is Eva who takes her place. Eva is assaulted and beaten up, nearly murdered, and so on.

There’s many parallels to Frankenstein. The Weavers are the unloving creators, trying to play God by creating living beings from death. The echoes are stitched up and given life, like Frankenstein. But these echoes, especially Eva, are human. They live, they breathe, they have their own thoughts. They are real, despite made to be someones copy.

I loved that we see a rare side of fiction. It’s hard to imagine that the monster isn’t always some supernatural hell-bent creature or obvious evil villain. Sometimes, we are the monsters.

We stop looking for monsters under the bed when we realize they’re inside of us.- -Jordyn Berner

Once Eva is outed as an echo, even sweet Ray and Amarra’s friends turn against her and try to have her hurt, and even killed. It’s different to imagine good people doing evil, hateful things. I felt that Eva was more human than most of them.

Overall, I give this book five stars. I stayed up nearly all night reading and found it hard to put down until I finished it. Definitely a must-read for fans of light romance, Sci-Fi, and dystopian.

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

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Author: Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 4/5

Purchase from

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

Stephanie Perkins made a fan out of me with her debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, which was amazing and one of my top reads for this year. However, Lola and the Boy Next Door falls short.

I liked Lola in the beginning, all colorful and quirky with her costumes and wigs and her love for organic food. However, she soon became whiny and moaned and groaned about Cricket, and I expected a big falling out between them, but she carried these hurt feelings and resentment for like two years because a boy rejected her. Not to mention, she had all these feelings when she already had a boyfriend. She led Cricket around, knowing how he felt about her now, for a majority of the book because she didn’t want to break up with her jerk boyfriend.

Cricket… I didn’t much care for him at first, but he grows on you. Of course, not in the same way Etienne grows on you. Plus, who names their kid after a bug? I live in the South where you’d imagine stuff like that happens, but I’ve never heard of such a weird name. Cricket, however, turned out exactly like you’d expect him… the boy next door.

The story itself, for me anyway, was just too drawn out in many places and could have been shorter in places. I found myself getting bored and scanning the page, which becomes a nasty habit when I’m bored.

I’m glad I powered to the ending, even though this is basically the same plot as Anna, this time being Lola has a significant other. Like most YA girls in romance novels, Lola realizes what a dunce she was being and unlike YA novels, instead of crying and whatnot, she tries to earn Cricket. I like that instead of the perfect male specimen and the average girl that most YA features, both of the characters are oddballs – Lola with her costumes, Cricket with his cogs and gadgets.

All in all, it was a decent read, and makes me want to read the third in the series.

The Madness Underneath – Maureen Johnson

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Author: Maureen Johnson

Rating: 4/5

Purchase from

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

This story immediately follows the hangeron’s from book one, where Rory’s encounter with the `Jack the Ripper’ copycat in book 1 sent her back to Bristol with her parents, recovering. She’s seeing a therapist multiple times a week, even though she can’t really tell Julia anything about what happened without being tossed into a white padded room.

Rory’s discovery that she seems to now be a human Terminus means that she knows she has to go back to London and get on with her life, all while harboring her secret. Rory finds herself concentrating less on her studies, and more on finding out about these mysterious cracks about London that appeared the night that she nearly died in a bathroom at Wexford, courtesy of the Ripper.

I LOVED The Name of the Star. The Ripper stuff just excites me. However, the reason I give this book 4 stars rather than 5, as opposed to the first, is because there really wasn’t much going on. This book acts almost like a filler or a set-up, rather than a full, complete, novel. The prologue, which usually demonstrates a killer ghost that sets up the entire book, is solved before half of the book is even over, in the span of two pages. There were many unresolved answers and even more questions, and the end, oh the end – felt like it was slapped there as a means of a cliffhanger to get us to read whatever comes next and to incite a reaction.

I, for one, love secondary characters. Jazza, Boo, Callum, Stephen, where were those guys? You get mentions but there aren’t there a significant portion of the time, just background noise this time. Rather than focusing on murders plaguing London, we are left to our own devices reading about Rory’s adjustment back at school after the horrific event of what happened in book one. How she is very behind in her schoolwork but does nothing about it is a focus of the story- and how she is dealing with the idea of being a terminus. Really, with all the worrying about school and doing nothing about it, this book could be called “What Happens When You Stop Doing Course Work”

Overall, The Madness Underneath was good. It just wasn’t as good as it’s predecessor. Maureen has a great way of describing her locations in a way that make the reader feel like they are living the scenes and Rory telling wacky stories of her family back home. I’m looking forward to the next book, and I have high hopes for it.

Allegiant Cover Reveal

tumblr_mmjd4jibBs1rqj38xo1_500If your a fan of the spectacular Divergent series (which will be a movie coming out early next year), today is the cover reveal via The Today Show! Isn’t it pretty!? The tagline for the novel has been previously released, and it focuses on choices – or one choice.  Allegiant – “One Choice Will Define You.”

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The Divergent series is set in the future in the city of Chicago where society is broken up into factions – Dauntless, Erudite, Abnegation, Amity, and Candor. The story follows sixteen year old Tris Prior, a girl who must choose to either stay in her parents’ faction (Abnegation, the selfless faction) or choose another. The book focuses mainly on her training in her new faction, but soon leads to the start of a revolution as one faction manipulates another in an effort to annihilate another faction. Divergent’s sequel, Insurgent, picks up right where the first book left off, and follows Tris and her friends as they attempt to form allies and figure out why this revolution has started and how they can keep the city from falling under the complete control of another. The story leaves off with an interesting revelation involving the very nature of the city’s society and what might be going on on the other side of the walls.

For those who are fans of the Divergent series, what do you think? It has no faction symbol! The cover and tagline seem to suggest to me suggest that loyalty and one’s choices will play a big role in the final story.

Divergent is definitely one of my favorite series, full of action and great characterization and world building. If you haven’t read it, go pick up the first two books today, or check them out from your local library.

Allegiant will be available on October 22nd, 2013. You can pre-order it through Amazon and Barnes and Nobles now!

Teaser Tuesday #1 – Velveteen

 

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers for today are from a book I have yet to start, but probably will this week. Velveteen, by Daniel Marks.

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Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem. The problem is she landed in purgatory. Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

And with that, quote time!

While Nick had been undergoing his assessment, hundreds of people had added to the logjam, cramming together so tightly that child souls were being hoisted onto adult shoulders so that their memories wouldn’t be crushed out of them like toothpaste from a tube.

And quote two:

She was certain she could find a two-by-four piece of old pipe to break his kneecap or something… or maybe, if she could conjure the courage, she’d possess the freak and drive the stupid minivan off a cliff.

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