Review for Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2) by Aimee Carter

Captive by Aimee Carter

TITLE: Captive
SERIES: The Blackcoat Rebellion #2
AUTHOR: Aimee Carter
PUBLICATION DATE: November 25, 2014
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 4 bows

Kitty Doe has agreed to help the rebellion. She trusts Knox enough to let him lead her through what needs to be done for the rebellion to succeed. Above everything else, she knows that the government needs to change. But the longer she pretends to be Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, the more she wonders what side Knox is playing for. Then everything shifts and suddenly she is in Elsewhere, the land where criminals are sent after they are caught, a horrible place to be. From there, revelations occur and things with the rebellion escalate pretty quickly. The question is, how much is Kitty willing to sacrifice to make sure they succeed?

Kitty is the same character I enjoyed in Pawn. I like the element that she isn’t the special little snowflake who must step forward. She has that Katniss attitude of “I really don’t want to fucking do this, but you’re not giving me a choice.” She steps up a bit more here because she actually agreed to stay and help, despite the fact that Knox keeps refusing to tell her what’s going on. It’s funny because he expects her to act like an adult while treating her like a child. He recruited her to help, but he doesn’t really want her help. He just wants a figurehead, a pretty face people will follow. Which shows he doesn’t know her well at all because she’s all in now and will do whatever she can to make this thing succeed, even if her ideas are stupid and childish.

Then we have Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend. This guy wins my heart over and over. He’s smart and sweet and incredibly loyal. He’s dedication to Kitty is commendable. His willingness to standby her even as she pretends to be Knox’s fiance in public just made me love him more. He’s the best friend that almost never actually wins the girl in the end. No, the girls always go for the cocky bad-ass (AKA Knox). Even though I’m usually all for the cocky bad-ass (Hello Daemon Black!), but I love it when the sweet guy wins because in real life, that’s who I prefer. In real life, the cocky bad-ass is usually an asshole without a hidden gooey center who never changes to anything beyond a grade A douchebag.

Speaking of douchebags, there is still Knox. I don’t understand the people out there who ship Kitty and Knox. The guy is a borderline jackass who constantly refuses to really trust Kitty or allow her any decision making. He’s constantly bosses her around and forbidding her to do things, which is the wrong approach with Kitty. The minute you tell her explicitly not to do something is the minute she seriously considers doing it. In the end, I think he’s a decent enough guy who truly just wants to do what’s right by the people, but he could go about it a different way.

The beginning of this novel is a bit slow and hard to get into. You are thrown back into Kitty’s world with little to no background. I read the first one last year before it was released, so it’s been a good year since I’ve been in her head and a little catch-up would have been appreciated. The slow start (and the cliffhanger) are the reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5. Once you get to Elsewhere, things pickup quickly. You learn so many new and interesting things. You learn about Kitty’s family, which shouldn’t come as a complete shock. I knew pretty early on who one of her parents was. I love the new relationships that develop. I will also say that there is a moment when I almost rage-quit this book. Those of you who know my big pet peeves (::cough cough:: character death ::cough::) will know this scene as soon as you arrive at it. For those who worry like me, have no fear, it isn’t what it seems! That’s all I can say without spoilers on that subject.

I find myself a little tired of dystopians lately. They are being mass-produced and not all of them are tolerable. Plus, they all have that special-little-snowflake thing going on and I’m bloody tired of that as well. But I really enjoyed Pawn last year and I couldn’t resist trying to get this when I saw it on NetGalley. Even though I’m stuck in contemporary mood, I knew this would be well worth the effort and I wasn’t wrong. Carter manages to deliver an original feeling dystopian in a time when they are as common as Divergent fangirls. Carter gives us a compelling story with fascinating characters and a plot that has the right balance of surprise and predictability. If you like dystopians even a little, this is the series for you! Make sure to read the first one though, otherwise this won’t make much sense!

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for Drowned (Drowned #1) by Nichola Reilly

Drowned by Nichola Reilly

TITLE: Drowned
SERIES: Drowned #1
AUTHOR: Nichola Reilly (AKA Cyn Balog)
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Via author
RATING: 4.5 bows

Coe has been shunned her entire life. She lives on a small island, probably the last bit of humanity left, where the ocean’s tides threaten to wash them away. Every day they have to climb up onto a platform until the tides go out with the 400 or so other members of her clan. She is shunned because she is weak and deformed. Missing one arm means she’ll never be very useful. She can’t fish or fight or scavenge in her condition. All she is good for is cleaning the craphouse. Joy! She has accepted her lot in life until the king falls ill and she is taken on as the princess’s new lady-in-waiting. From there on, she learns that life on the island is not all it seems and maybe the truth will set them all free. Or maybe it will lead to their inevitable doom…all one way to find out!

When the story starts, Coe is far from that brave badass YA heroine we’ve been seeing a plethora of. She’s smart, but weak and scared and….whatever the opposite of badass is. I don’t want to say pathetic, because she definitely wasn’t, but maybe a little defeated? She had this sad attitude because she knew once her sixteenth hard season (comparable to 16th birthday) was upon her, her rank would go from the safest part of the platform, the the outer edges where she’d surely meet her death quickly. And it was completely refreshing to read from such a perspective. Right now, I’ve read a ton of novels about the brave and special girl who knows how to sword-fight or use a bow or is just a special little snow-flake who manages to save the world. While Coe does have a tinsy bit of the snowflake syndrome, she isn’t like any other YA heroine I’ve read. She isn’t utterly unique, she just believes in love which is an antiquated thing to these people and her love for others is what sets her apart, even if it isn’t immediately apparent. And her confidence builds throughout the novel when she gets more sure of herself.

Then we have sweet, brave, amazing Tiam.
Glee swoons gif
He’s kind and caring and tries to help everyone and a totally annoying good guy and somehow I fell for him anyway. He’s that “I’m good at everything, but I’m not rubbing it in your face” type. You know, that one who you love, but secretly you want to punch in the face because he’s so damned skilled at everything? That’s him. At first, I didn’t love him, but the further into the story I got, the more I wanted to see…which brings me to my next point…

This book has a cliffhanger…involving my sweet Tiam. For all of you who don’t know (and weren’t clued in by the author bit of this review), Nichola Reilly is a pseudonym for Cyn Balog. I have been incredibly spoiled in the past because all the novels I’ve read by her were standalones, meaning no cliffhangers. I went into this with expectation that that standard would be upheld, but no such luck. If you haven’t already read my spiel, I hate cliffhangers…a lot. I have kinda let it go a bit
Frozen let it go gif
because everyone is doing it (which isn’t the best excuse) and if I hated anything that ended ambiguously, I wouldn’t be able to read any YA series at all until all the books were out. Sorry Cyn, I still love you! And I love this book! I just wasn’t a fan of the particular moment you chose to end on. On one hand, it was hopeful, but Tiam…..I can’t say more without spoilers. ::sobs:: Also, love triangle alert. It’s not one of those Bella Swan, I love both of you so desperately how could I ever chose?!?! ones, but it is there. One hot guy, two very different girls, may the odds be ever in your favor.

The rest of the cast was diverse. You have Fern who I absolutely adore. She so young and resilient and happy. Even when bad things happen, she bounces back to that smile pretty quickly, definitely quicker than I’d be able to. Then there is Star, the princess, who I liked? Hated? I’m not sure? This character’s personality jumps around so much, I wasn’t sure what to make of her and our leading lady feels about the same way. Everyone else is pretty much as asshat. Finn and the rest of the crazy villagers are just that, crazy. After the king dies, they seriously lose their shit and I wanted to smack all of them. How can you do this? What the hell is wrong with you? How is this going to solve anything?

One thing I was really blown away by here was the world. This is an incredibly unique world unlike anything I’ve ever read about before. These people have lost the ability to love or even care about their fellow man. They seem to be an entirely selfish group and they don’t care how others perceive them…not that there are others. They have lost the ability to read. Let me say that again, these people can’t read. Coe is the only person on the island who knows how, a secret she guards closely. I can’t imagine not being able to read. I get that in the scheme of things and in their life style it was a superfluous skill, especially when their books would all float away, but I’m just floored by that. I don’t think I could tolerate this world without the option to escape into fiction constantly!

This novel is near perfect, only failing short at the end with that cliffhanger (I know, I’m beating that point to death). The only thing that could have made it better is a bit more from the journal. Coe has a journal that several of her ancestors wrote in and I was very interested in learning more about them. I would love an epilogue or a novella or something along those lines that is just a story (or several stories) from that journal. It has everything I have come to expect from Cyn, regardless of the name she writes under, with great characters and a wholly enrapturing story. All I can really say is this: Can I have the next one? Please?

****Thank you to Nichola Reill for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

4 bowshalf bow
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Review for Torn True Love by K D Ferguson

Torn True Love by K D Ferguson

TITLE: Torn True Love
SERIES: Don’t know the title, but a sequel will be released in June 2014
AUTHOR: K D Ferguson
PUBLISHER: Rebel Ink Press
PAGES: 172 pages
SOURCE: From Author
RATING: 2 bows

Krissa Channing’s never had any problems abiding by the governments rules. Then she meets Braiden and things change some. He rebels against their governments pairing rules and the need to allow them to govern their positions in life. Suddenly she is pushed down a path she never thought she’d have to travel and her once bright future is looking dimmer by the minute.

I’ve kinda been avoiding reviewing this. I hate writing negative reviews for books that I got from the author. I know logically (and statistically) that I’m not going to love every book that I’m given the opportunity to read, but that doesn’t make writing the negative ones easier. I hate taking something I know the author worked hard on and writing less than positive things, even if the negative criticism helps them improve the novel. Who am I to say what is really bad? Who appointed me the knower of all great things literary? I guess I did since I’m the one who started reviewing books in my spare time, but I digress.

I had many issues with this short novel, this biggest one being it’s length. It’s very short, 150 pages, and it felt very rushed. Every interaction between the characters is quick and to the point, with very little dialogue or interaction. They meet for dinner, eat, say a handful of words to each other, and then leave. Bam, scene over. It’s really that way with everything. All of the scenes or situations we see Krissa in, she dwells on the problem for a minute or two and then pushes it to the back of her mind to focus on whatever is directly in front of her, but then we don’t really see that either. That’s my number one comment is that we need more. More interactions and more emotions, maybe smoothing things out that were a bit too choppy.

My other big issue is that I didn’t care for any of the characters. As much as Krissa is put into a situation I should be able to sympathize with, I just can’t. Braiden is an asshole, with a capital A, and all of her problems stem from that relationship. If she’d stop being an idiot and get away from him, her life would improve, but she doesn’t. She keeps trekking through, hoping he’ll get better. I hate (hate hate hate) relationships like that. Maybe it hits too close to home because my best friend is in the exact same position (well, add in a few years and a few kids) and it drives me fucking nuts. Why do you stay with this jackass? Why do you love him when he’s borderline abusive towards you? And the way he treats the unexpected surprise had me immediately wishing Krissa would come to her senses. She never does.

Another problem is the lack of world-building. This is presented as a dystopian, but really it’s contemporary. This is much more about Krissa’s relationship struggles than it is about the world it takes place in. And only a few minor things have really changed, with the government being involved in pairing (aka marriage) and where you live. I think it’s trying to straddle the line between the two and it doesn’t work well.

I hate that I didn’t love this, but it just didn’t work for me. Characters I couldn’t stand that don’t really grow or evolve, just dither about trying to make the same bad situation work even though it’s obvious it never will. It’s ending leaves something to be desired, simply leaving us with “To be continued” but none of the outlets show a sequel. If you are gonna leave us hanging, at least give us an idea of when we’ll get the sequel. (EDIT: Per the author the sequel will be released in June of this year, so we do know now when we can get the next installment, should we be so inclined.) Sadly, I don’t have the slightest desire to read any more of this series because it just didn’t work for me. I’m all about the characters and since I couldn’t stand either of the main two here, I just can’t recommend it.

****Thank you to K D Ferguson for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

TITLE: Uninvited
SERIES: Uninvited #1
AUTHOR: Sophie Jordan
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Davy Hamilton is a musical prodigy. At the age of three she sat down at a piano and started playing perfectly, with no prior practice or training. Her life has always been set, she’ll graduate from high school and attend Julliard, where she has already been accepted and do something musical with her life. Or so she thought. When her test results comeback saying she is a carrier for the HTS gene (the one that causes homicidal tendencies), everything changes. Suddenly everyone in her life is shunning her and she is forced to change schools and be around other maniacs with the kill gene. There had to be so kind of error, but she knows that that can never be fixed now and she must try to make the best out of this terrible situation.

Davy is that perfect girl with all the right friends and the hot popular boyfriend that most people fantasized about in high school. It was more than a little fun to watch the rich popular girl get knocked off her pedestal, though the more you come to care about her, the less fun it becomes. She’s such a strong character, but she losses all her confidence when the gets labeled a carrier and she almost losses herself in the struggle to keep her shit together. I imagine everyone would go through a similar transformation if life as they knew it was ripped from their grasp.

Sean O’Rourke is that bad guy you momma always warned you about, or is he? He’s the classic bad guy with a heart of gold, who has had the carrier label since a young age. He even has the carrier brand around his neck because society deemed one of his actions so dangerous that the world need to always be aware that he was a carrier. As much as I wanted to be irritated at him for being a bit cliche with the bad boy imagine, he’s ability to always save Davy’s ass melted my heart. Against his better judgement, he always comes to her rescue, while spouting those annoying “it’s better if you stay away” sentiments. He gets over that eventually, but I wanted to punch him every time he even implied it.

This novel has all the things I look for when I’m reading, like good characters, interesting story, great writing, all that jazz, but what really gets me here is the philosophical question it presents about the characters. Are these people really violent deviants who are genetically coded to murder and pillage or do the majority act out based on the fact that society pushes them into that role? Yes, it’s obvious that there are a number of carriers who truly deserve the label and are violent beyond reasonable understanding, but aren’t we more than our genetic code? Don’t we have the choice, in most cases, to act as violently as our hormones command us to or to stop and think about our actions? If society is going to treat us like shit regardless of if we fight our urges or not, why bother? These poor people are shunned and abused by society as a whole and even each other. You’d think they’d band together to create a support group, but there are too many who’d rather just accept the role society has placed them in and act out than fight the injustice. And things that are normally acceptable, like slapping your ex-boyfriend for being a jackass, are now a sign that you really are a carrier for the kill gene.

This is my first Sophie Jordan novel. I know, this chick manages to write books in all three of my favorite genres (young adult, new adult, and historical romance), so I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get around to reading her novels, but if they are all this good, sign me up! This novel had very few issues for me, no love triangle, no instalove, and no cliffhanger. The ending doesn’t wrap everything up in a nice little bow, but things end on a hopeful note which is all I ask for. My only minor issues are the cover and the length. Despite the fact that this is almost 400 pages, it felt short. When I flipped to the last page on Luna, I couldn’t believe it was over. There was still so much more territory that needed to be covered! It’s not that it felt underdeveloped, but I was just craving more. The cover also doesn’t really match the story at all. I don’t see at all how the levitating girl gives any indication of what this story is about. Maybe I’m wrong, but it just doesn’t fit to me.

This is one of the more unique YA novels I’ve read it a while. Jordan manages to wholly captivate her with her story and leave them desperate for me. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next novel in this series, as well as anything else attached to this talented woman’s name. If her new adult novels or her historical romance novels are half as good, I’m in for a real treat!

****Thank you to HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Into The Still Blue (Under The Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Into The Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

TITLE: Into The Still Blue
SERIES: Under The Never Sky #3
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PAGES: 400 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Perry and Aria have moved not only the Tides, Perry’s tribe, but also all the Dweller’s they rescued from the pod, into the caves down by the beach. The aether storms are getting worse and it’s predicted that within a month, they will no longer to be able to set foot outside the cave without death or serious injury from it. The Still Blue must be found because the cave’s supplies are dwindling. Aria & Perry set off to rescue Cinder from Sable & Hess. They believe he is the key to entering this safe space of land, though nothing is certain. On this journey, they find out more than they ever wanted to know, that Cinder really is the key to the Still Blue, but can he survive the crossing? And can Perry live with himself if he doesn’t?

We get one final glimpse at this whole gang and I’m left wanting so much more. Perry & Aria grow closer and stronger, nothing major changes with them here. Roar slowly climbs out of his grief over Liv, though I don’t see how he can manage it. Brooke is less bitch-y and nicer to everyone, even helping the dwellers some. Soren becomes a bigger player, helping the gang get to Sable & Hess’s camp and hacking in. And Cinder, poor Cinder, is strong and brave.

Overall, I believe I enjoyed this, but I didn’t love it and I definitely feel a bit unsatisfied. The story was great and interesting, bringing the characters back to life in this installment, but I hated the way the ending play out and the deaths. I’m pretty vocal on my hatred of character deaths, especially ones that I feel were avoidable. That’s one of the many reasons I will never read the Divergent trilogy because I know that’ll just piss me off to no end. The second half felt overly predictable.****SPOILER****Of course Soren and Brooke are going to develop a thing for each other. Of course Sable is going to betray everyone who dares to partner with him. And of fucking course Cinder has to die. That make me so angry. You just killed a goddamn kid. A KID! Who did nothing wrong. I get the whole sacrifice for the greater good, but just fucking don’t. There had to be another way.****END SPOILER****

Aria finally gets to learn about her father here and that was an interesting twist. I think it was the only one I didn’t see coming immediately. I wanted to hate him, and though he made it easy in the beginning, neither I nor Aria could really hate him. You also get to see even more of “good” Soren, which made me endlessly happy. I loved the turn of events, getting to see hims how the good side and have a legitimate reason for going psycho. I really would like to see more of his side of the story, how things worked inside the pod through the events of Through The Ever Night.

If you are just looking for a novel that wraps up the story and gives you more of Aria & Perry, than this is exactly what you are looking for. The story ties up relatively well, giving the majority of the characters the happily ever after they were seeking. It is a bit too predictable and has a few too many character deaths for me to truly love it, so I’m just a tad disappointed. If character deaths isn’t an issue, than you’ll adore this as much as it’s predecessors, otherwise, have a few tissues at the ready!

****Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Brooke (Under The Never Sky #2.5) by Veronica Rossi

Brooke by Veronica Rossi

TITLE: Brooke
SERIES: Under The Never Sky #2.5
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLICATION DATE: November 26, 2013
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PAGES: 82 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

All Brooke has ever wanted was for Perry to love her the way she loves him and for the people of the Tides to be safe, but neither seems possible. Though Perry was hers for a short while, he is now head over heels for Aria, a useless Dweller. The Aether storms are getting progressively worse and things aren’t looking good for the Tides, but she is determined to keep her spirits up for Clara, the sister who she has finally got back. She is also determined to let Perry go because it’s apparent to anyone with eyes that he is never coming back to her.

Like everyone else, I think, I was a bit disappointed when I learned the new novella from Veronica Rossi would be about Brooke. Really? I don’t care for Brooke at all. Why couldn’t you write it about Cinder? Or maybe from Talon’s perspective? No? Damn. Unlike most people, however, this doesn’t make me fall in love with Brooke’s character. I can tolerate her a tad more now, but I still don’t like her. She annoyed me more in this. I can sympathize with her situation, being in love with someone who she can never have and I completely understand her desire to move on, but I was not a fan of how she handled it.****SPOILER****Within the pages of this minuscule novella, she makes out with two different guys and then kisses a third, and she’s sure she doesn’t want to be with any of them, but she doesn’t make that clear to either guy. I get wanting to distract yourself from the pain of losing Liv and the angst of a Perry-lite lifestyle, but if you are just looking to fool around with no strings attached, at least have the decency to be upfront about it.****END SPOILER****

I was also a bit annoyed by her overconfidence. On one hand, YA needs many more female leads who know they are attractive and project that confidence so more young girls can accept that and try to be that way, but Brooke came off almost cocky and it annoyed the fuck out of me. Every male in the compound looks at you with lust-filled eyes? Awesome, your sexy and you know it. You are the best Seer in the group, as well as a highly talented archer? Even better, keeps you in shape. While I admire her for knowing her assets and being proud of them, I didn’t need to hear about it constantly. Yes, we know you think your awesome, but get on with it already!

While I do want to see Brooke get a happy ending for all the shit she has dealt with, I don’t particularly want to read anymore from her perspective. You can tell by the end that she’ll grow to be more tolerant of Dwellers, and people in general, but she is never going to be a character that I root for. Hopefully you’ll like her more than I did!

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Review for Erasing Time (Erasing Time #1) by C J Hill

Erasing Time by C J Hill

TITLE: Erasing Time
SERIES: Erasing Time #1
PUBLICATION DATE: August 28, 2012
PAGES: 368 pages
RATING: 5 bows

Sheridan & Taylor are far from home with no hope of ever getting back. They were yanked 400 years into the future and now must work together to find a way out of the city before the new controlling government can orders the crystal tracking implants to be surgically implanted or, worse, decide they can’t risk the liability of the girls and order their memory erased. The only way out of the city is to trust Echo, a future boy with more secrets than they can ever hope to uncover. Without him they are lost, but with him, they may end up in worse trouble. Can they trust him?

Though this book has vaguely caught my eye in the past, it wasn’t until I learned that C J Hill is a pseudonym for Janette Rallison that I really grew interested in it. I have only read one of her books, but it was full of sparkling wit that kept me giggling the entire novel, yet somehow still managing to be heartfelt. Once that little tidbit was revealed, I was super-excited to see what she did in this dystopian. Would her humor translate to the new genre? The answer is yes! It really does, so, even though this is a serious dystopian, with all the serious issues that entails, Hill’s/Rallison’s humor still shines through. We get much more than her humor here, with a depth to the story that I wasn’t entirely expecting. I knew the writing would be competent, but I wasn’t quite expecting the world to pull me in the way it did.

Something else I loved was that the main character was the “normal” twin. Sheridan is not stupid by any stretch of the imaginations, but her sister Taylor is overly intelligent, graduating from college before her eighteenth birthday. Sheridan is still in high school with plans to pursue a degree in literature when they are pulled into the future. Feeling even more out of place because she doesn’t have the scientific mind of her sister and she isn’t pestering people with questions, just trying to take it all in. She is the one who comes up with the majority of the ideas and she is the one they end up relying on in the end. Something that should have bothered me but didn’t was how religious Sheridan is. Somehow Hill manages to write a preacher’s kid who is devote in her belief without coming off as pushy. Imagine my surprise, right? From the moment Sheridan mentions her beliefs, I prepared for the inevitable push of religious beliefs onto the audience. It was almost like I could feel it coming, but it never really did. Bravo, to say the least.

Then we had Echo****SPOILER****Or should I say Joseph?****END SPOILER**** He was a bit of a conundrum before we learn his big secret. He claims to not be part of the local gang, but knows all about them, even the deep secret stuff. He swears to protect Sheridan, but doesn’t really back it up in the beginning. He tells them one thing in his translations, but says something completely different when he speaks to everyone else in the new English. He is a big part of the humor element because of his mistake beliefs and ideas of the 21st Century. When he asks about the talking animals, I almost feel in the floor laughing so hard. Once you learn his secret, one that I really didn’t see coming by the way, you can’t help but empathize with the guy. ****SPOILER****All the lies to pretend to be his brother, stepping into the gang role his brother had played out and deceiving his father. Not to mention having to live with the fact that his brother died for him, right in front of him, and he has to live with that.****END SPOILER**** I just wanted to give the poor guy a hug, not to mention hug the author for the ability to keep the charade up until the very end. The light romance between him and Sheridan was so sweet, especially because she is never the twin that gets a date, they always prefer Taylor.

Taylor is a character I both loved and hated. The bond between the twins is obvious, but sometimes I became really irritated at how she reacted to Sheridan. She looks down on her desire to study literature, believing that science degrees are much more important and the way she treats Sheridan’s attraction to Echo ****SPOILER****::coughs:: Joseph****END SPOILER**** was highly irritating. The fact that she is the “smart” one but can’t come up with the answers in the end is what redeems her and her anger at Sheridan for always taking her place in dangerous situations.

There are several side characters that all play a role, but really it’s all about these three. This was gloriously free of a love triangle, no playing the sisters off each other for their affections or an additional male lead. No major cliffhangers, just the knowledge that the fight to save civilization isn’t over, and no insta-love. Sheridan and Echo ****SPOILER****::coughs:: Joseph****END SPOILER****are very attracted to one another, but they don’t go beyond the liking phase. It was amazing and refreshing and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one. I have added all of C J Hill’s/Janette Rallison’s books to my wishlist….well all the ones that weren’t already there and I now truly want to get my hands on Slayers!

That’s a bit off the subject. If you are looking for a dystopian a little off the beaten past, this is for you. You are looking for a story to make you smile, this is it as well. If you are looking for a twist you don’t see coming, well, do I really need to say it again? This has something for everyone and manages to bring in religion without it being overpowering! What more can you ask for?

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Review for Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl

Icons by Margaret Stohl

TITLE: Icons
SERIES: Icons #1
AUTHOR: Margaret Stohl
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 428 pages
FORMAT: Audiobook / Hardback
SOURCE: Borrowed / Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

Always remember The Day: The Day that everything stopped, the millions of people died just so the Lords could prove their power, The Day Dol’s family died, but she miraculously survived. Cut to 10+ years later and teenage Dol is living in the country, far from the Lord’s powerful Icons. But when Dol and Ro, her best friend, are kidnapped and taken to the embassy, then nag change drastically. They meet two more people like them, with weird dot symbols on their wrists. Lucas, the ambassadors son and Tima, a fellow prisoner. The closer the four become, the more they realize that maybe there is more going on than meets the eye. Maybe these four are connected in a way that none of them could have predicted and maybe, just maybe, that are the key to bringing down the Lord’s and their malicious icons.

So, the plan with this was simple. I needed something to listen to on the 3 and a half hour drive to Charleston SC for YA`’ll fest and this was available. The plan, was to listen to it on the way there and then on the way back, then I’d be almost finished and it wouldn’t hinder my reading my massive stack of E-ARCs because I was using time that I wouldn’t have spent reading anyway. Perfect, right? Well, I ended up only listening on the way there and falling asleep on the way back home. So, I’m less than halfway through this thing and I feel guilty every time I pick it up. I have so many books I committed to read and this is not on that list, how can I justified spending time reading it? The other issue was, I met Margaret Stohl at YA`’ll fest and she fucking amazing, so I have to love this, right? But, initially I didn’t. It was good, but not great. Interesting, but not stay up all night addictive. So I deliberately read it slowly because I did NOT want write a negative review for this. I need to love it. And, eventually, I really got into it. Let’s see why.

The biggest reason I initially didn’t love this was because I’m not a big fan of Dol. I found her a bit immature and a whole lot annoying. Throughout the novel . People comment on her being clever, but I never saw it. She seemed a bit slow and can’t ever seen to make up her mind. She does that insanely annoying thing where she claims to “love” To, a male character, and its implied that it’s romantic feelings, but then she sees Lucas, and holy shit, she’s in love. Our at least she knows she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Ro. She also came across as gullible, always just believing what she was told without any investigation. Needless to say, I was not a fan.

Then there are the guys: Ro and Lucas. I wasn’t a huge fan of either, but I wanted her to end up with Ro because he is the one who has always been there for her. Also because I didn’t see the appeal of Lucas. He just wasn’t the hero for me. He seemed a little….well “uppity” is the only word that comes to mind. He’s the Ambassador’s son and has lived a privileged life. The whole love triangle thing pissed me off. I hate fucking hate them and I hate them passionately. Obviously I was less than enthused about this one.

I also had a bit of an issue with the amount of confusion. While I applaud Stohl for avoiding the infamous info dump, I felt like I was given too little information at times. Who the hell are the Lords? How do the Icons work? How is the weird government set up? I get that the Lords give the orders somehow and the Ambassadors carry them out, but who appointed the ambassadors? How do the Lords give information? I can even leave Dol’s part out because obvious that is supposed to be a mystery, but a bit more world building wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Where this novel shines, however, is in its side characters. Namely, Fortis and Dr. Orwell Bradbury Huxley-Clark. Now, had the novel been told by Fortis’ perspective, I’d have been in love. Fortis is all rebellion. Hot, sarcastic, british, intelligent…::drools:: From the first moment Dol met him on the train, I was head over heels. Then there is Doc, a fucking COMPUTER PROGRAM. But this computer program has snark and spunk and had me smiling and giggling even when I wanted to scream in frustration from dealing with Dol. The sarcasm and the jokes and the over serious observations made all the bad parts completely worth it.

Really, this is a 3.5, but Goodreads doesn’t allow half-star ratings and I’m too damn tired (read: lazy) to crop one of those crappy bows in half to post. It only ends on a very mild cliffhanger, so at least we don’t have the love triangle/insta-love/cliffhanger trifecta! It’s an interesting mix of dystopian and scifi, with light romance and quirky side characters to keep you smiling. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth the read. And the last 100 pages or so get truly interesting. It’s no coincidence that it’s also when Fortis appears again and we learn a bit more of Doc’s origins. 🙂

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Review for Roar And Liv (Under The Never Sky #0.5) by Veronica Rossi

Roar And Liv by Veronica Rossi

TITLE: Roar And Liv
SERIES: Under The Never Sky #0.5
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PAGES: 68 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 bows

Roar and Liv have always been an item, so deeply in love that no one can see them ever parting ways. No one that is, except for Liz older brother Vale. When the Tides start going hungry more often than not, Vale makes a decision that will change everyone’s life forever.

I should have read this before I read Through The Ever Night. Had I read it first, it might have gotten 5 stars, maybe. But, perspective is everything and knowing what I know makes it impossible for me to love this. Poor Roar and Liv are star-crossed lovers and it isn’t going to end well. I cannot get over how badly it’s going to end. Why, Veronica, did you write this novella just to torture me? Knowing what will happen in TTEN****SPOILER****That Liv is going to fucking die and this pair will never get their happily ever after****END SPOILER*** I just can’t…you…WHY?!?!? Why would you want me to fall more in love with their story only to end it that way?

This short novella, told via Roar’s perspective, tells us about the short journey he makes to deliver Liv to her newly betrothed husband. After Vale makes the decision to trade Liv for food for the Tides, everything is thrown in an uproar for our beloved leading guy and he doesn’t know how to fix it. If they run away, he and Liv will never see their family again and the Tides will surely suffer consequences for not delivering Liv, but if she marries Sable, they can never be together again. How can he live with her? He doesn’t know how because she is so much a part of him.

If you are looking for something to pull on your heartstrings and make you curse fate, this is definite what you need. It’ll make you love Roar even more, if that is possible.

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Review for Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

Pawn by Aimee Carter

SERIES: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
AUTHOR: Aimee Carter
PUBLICATION DATE: November 26, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 346 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Kitty Doe is in a bit of bind; she’s been officially marked as a III. AND she’s been assigned to work in Denver, so far away from DC that she has not chance of ever coming back to visit her boyfriend, Benjy. Her choice is either accept her assignment and live her life compliantly or risk death to defy them and stay in DC. Then a third option presents itself: become a VII. Before she can even get all the details, she has agreed because anything is better than prostitution or life as a III, right? Turns out she has agreed to impersonate Lila, the prime minister’s daughter, and that includes major masking (basically plastic surgery) to make her identical to said daughter. It seems, however, that Lila was on the brink of starting a rebellion and it’s now up to Kitty to continue her work or put an end to it. With every person aware of the situation she gets different instructions, but which set would she choose to follow?

For someone who claims to be tired of dystopian novels, I’m reading bunchies of them lately. This, however, didn’t have that overly predictable edge that seems to cloud over most of the ones I read. Yes, the government has gotten too powerful and need to be taught a lesson, but beyond that basic idea, I didn’t see much of this coming. Aimee Carter really gets high praise from me for being able to keep me guessing through this entire novel. I have already been planning on reading her Goddess Test series for a while now, but I’m definitely more excited after reading this. The levels of this particular brand of dystopian made more sense than others I’ve read. At 17, everyone is given a test and their school determines what level of society they will be part of, the brains getting to be scientists or something equally important as V’s or VI’s and the more intellectually challenged individuals get the lower level jobs like farming and cleaning. If you score a I, then you are deemed too dumb to be part of society and are sent Elsewhere. Theoretically everyone has an equal chance at being a higher-up, but once Kitty gets her VII, she realizes that it might not be as fair as she has been lead to believe.

Speaking of Kitty, let’s get down to the characters, shall we? She was easy to sympathize with in the beginning, being marked with a III and forced to leave her sweet Benjy. As the novel progresses, I was equally in supportive of and irritated with her. It’s a tough choice she’s faced with and I know that Benjy’s life is threatened with every move she makes, but either go and help the rebellion or live under Augusta’s thumb. Most of the time, a character’s inner struggle with doing what’s right versus what’s expected is humanizing and grounding and makes it that much easier to connect, but here it bordered on annoying. By the end, though, she’s made her mind up so hopefully book 2 won’t contain so much inner monologue antagonizing over every decision.

Knox, Lila’s fiance, is a big mystery. I really wanted to like him (and did enjoy his sarcasm and wit), but he was too secretive for me (or Kitty) to ever really trust. He comes off a little too smooth so you know he has to be hiding something. Then there is Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend. He’s so smart that no one has a doubt he’ll score well on his test, and…wait for it…he’s bookish! There are so few bookish males in YA that I can’t help falling for every single one.

Something else that may spark some interest is the lack of a love triangle. Kitty and Benjy are so adorably devoted to one another that no one has any hope of coming between them. I was very apprehensive when Knox entered the picture, but nothing beyond friendship ever develops between the two. Can I say how much I really loved that? How refreshing it was to read a character who doesn’t discover someone new and drop her former “love” like a hot potato?

But my favorite character by far was Greyson. He’s so observant that he catches onto EVERYTHING, especially the things his family tries to hide from him, like the fact that the real Lila is dead and Kitty is her replacement. Somehow in this family of manipulative asshats, he has managed to become a kind and compassionate young man. All he wants is to be able to spend his days tinkering with his inventions, but he’s forced to train for his future role as Prime Minister.

Carter’s biggest success here has to be the villain. Augusta strikes fear in everyone, but wholeheartedly believes in her cause. Despite the fact that I desperately wanted this bitch to die, it was fascinating to listen to her logic and come close to admiring her for doing what she believed was right for her country, regardless of the consequences. It was eerie to read a character so devoted to their cause that they were not only willing to murder for it, but sacrifice their loved ones if that is what it took.

This reminded me a great deal of Sarah Zettel’s Palace Of Spies, with the body doubles impersonating royalty but learning that everyone around is lying or feeding her half truths. It is a fresh twist on a genre that is running a bit ragged. I recommend it for those who love all things dystopian, for those who are tired of the genre, and for those who have never tried it. It has enough intrigue to keep everyone guess and dying to get the next page to find out what happens, a light romance, and witty prose. It has something for everyone and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one!

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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