Review: Reached by Ally Condie

Lizzie     Jul 8th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525423664
ISBN-13: 978-0525423669

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

I can never say enough about how much I adore Ally’s writing. It’s fluid, gorgeous, and makes me remember why I love words.

That said, this was probably my least favorite book in the Matched Trilogy. It was the longest, topping out at just over 500 pages, but it didn’t quite live up to the other two books. I expected a stronger plot but for various reasons, it fell a bit short.

The idea of the Rising was so awesome to me, and when I picked up Reached, I hoped to learn more about it and its goals and leaders. Instead, there was just a lot of confusion. I felt like Ally didn’t really have answers for the questions she brought to light in the previous books. You only saw things from Cassia, Ky, and Xander’s points of view and they knew almost nothing. It was quite irritating.

You would think this book, as the conclusion, would have been fast-paced and reached a climax for the series. Yet again, but, that did not happen. I felt there was no real conclusion for this series and as a reader, that is more than disappointing. It makes me hesitate to recommend the books when it ends as this did.

As a whole, the Matched Trilogy is fun and exciting. The writing is stunning and I will read any future books Ally puts out. But Reached was a huge disappointment for me. I wanted to love it, and I almost did, but in the end, it fell unfortunately short.


Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Lizzie     Jun 26th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595143998
ISBN-13: 978-1595143990

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing.

FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
ALMOST HOME.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

That bit up there ^ is literally all I had in my first draft of this review. I can’t even…

It’s taken me two months to write this review. How the frick do I even describe how much I love this series? Hands down, Beth is one of my favorite writers; in my opinion, she is perhaps one of the best YA writers out there right now. She is fearless and cool and a Whovian. Stop with the perfection, Beth!

Okay, this is supposed to be a review about Shades of Earth, not its [amazing] author. So here goes…

This series is one of those that just gets better with every book. Upon reading AtU back at the end of 2010, I just knew I was in it for a long haul. I waited on edge for the covers, for news, synopsises, those epic giveaways that Beth always does. And I made 100% sure that my bestest friend Megan read it (and she did! Hoorah!) I have lived and loved it all over the last two and a half years.

I preordered Shades of Earth and the moment it arrived, I just stared at its beauty. Well, sort of. Personally, I’m not a *huge* fan of the redesigned covers and it made me sad to not have a whole matching set of hardcovers on my shelf. Still, I often picked up the book, opened it to the first page, and then put it back down.

I was, in no way, prepared to finish the Across the Universe trilogy. I was not ready to know Shades of Earth’s secrets.

But then, one day, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I ate up this book like there was no tomorrow.

It was such a ride. I was completely enthralled from the second they landed on Centauri Earth. Beth’s writing has always kept me reading and in SoE, that was no different. I couldn’t help but sort of wishing I was on that planet too… just because, I mean, it’s another freaking WORLD! But then came that sickening feeling again. I had it when I read AtU and AMS, and I had it again reading this book. With the first two, it was the claustrophobia of Godspeed; with Shades of Earth, it was exactly that, but in a different way: Elder, Amy, and the other citizens were cut off from contacting Earth on a planet hundreds of light years away from any civilization. It was, in a very different way, claustrophobic.

When an entire book series can make me feel that way, I know it’s damn good.

Overall, I think I did expect a little more from this book in terms of planet exploration but I wasn’t disappointed. I just want MORE! Give me more, ugh! Can I say, please read this series? Read it everyday of your life and you’ll thank me. And if you don’t, you’re just wrong. ;P

And that’s all she wrote.


Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Lizzie     Jan 15th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 367 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525423656
ISBN-13: 978-0525423652

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Haven’t read Crossed? Start here.

Wow. What a book.

I liked Matched a lot but it was never my most favorite book. It wasn’t what I expected or hoped for. It didn’t have action; it focused mainly on the romance. And while I enjoyed that romance, the lack of action disappointed me a bit. And as always happens when I read a book I only liked, I was nervous to read the sequel, pushing it back on my to-read until quite a time after Reached was released.

I don’t know why I did this.

Crossed is the perfect sequel: more action, a perfect balance between romance and action scenes, better than the first in so many ways. The writing also became even better, which, if you have read Matched, didn’t seem possible. The one thing that has always struck me about Ally’s writing was how lovely and pleasant the words are. Personally, I’m obsessed with words and her writing makes me appreciate them that much more.

The setting of Crossed was so gorgeous. I never really thought of myself as lover of canyons and deserts but after reading this, I’m so fascinated by them and I would love to visit the Grand Canyon, like immediately, thank you very much. I absolutely loved the idea behind the Carving and (possible spoiler!) the Society has tried capture it over the years. The village reminded me of my favorite book from my elementary school days, The City of Ember, which I absolutely loved.

There were points where I felt it dragged a bit, though. Especially about 3/4 of the way through, I got a bit bored. I feel like Ally knew where it may have dragged, because I found that when I was getting annoyed with the book, something new or interesting or twisty would happen and move the story along. Which, you know, is very much appreciated.

Crossed is a sequel not to be missed. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for? The first book, duh! Read the first book then! I promise you’ll enjoy it. =)


Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Lizzie     Sep 14th, 2011     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (September 13, 2011)
Source: Won from publisher
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312590563
ISBN-13: 978-0312590567

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you’d been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth’s collapse, the ship’s crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader’s efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don’t know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them…

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren’t all from the outside.

When this little beauty arrived in my mailbox, you should’ve seen me. At first, I wasn’t really sure what it was. I wasn’t expecting anything for review. When I opened it, I was jumping up and down, so excited at what I was holding. From the second I discovered what Glow was, I knew I needed to review it. I entered a giveaway the publisher was holding for ARCs—and low and behold, it arrived several weeks later!

From the first page, I knew this would be a good read. The main characters, Waverly and Kieran, captured me. They seemed like they were really in love. However, I wished there would have been more time to see their apparently very strong relationship. By the end of the second chapter, there was a war going on. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it is fast-paced. But the beginning felt rushed so it could get to the main story.

That aside, Glow kept me on the edge of my seat with every turn of the page. Ever since I saw Zenon on Disney when I was younger, I wanted to live on a space station. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I realised how human nature, no matter big the ship is, will not let that happen without there being more problems than it is worth. And that is the case in this book.

Humans, when desperate, will do anything, including kill.

This book was so thrilling to read and yet, left me with chills more than a few times. It is one of those books that, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up being awake until 4 AM and you’re holding a finished book. It’s just that addicting. And the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Space! And not just space, but as the book begins, we learn the ship has been inside of a nebula for a few years. A nebula!

Can you tell that I have a soft spot for books set in space?

I really do. And I wish there were more of them. Especially if they’re as intriguing as this one. Definitely pick this book up as soon as possible—you won’t regret it.


Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Lizzie     Jun 4th, 2011     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062024027
ISBN-13: 978-0062024022

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I’ve noticed a pattern: I read a lot of dystopian novels.

And it seems like everyone these days is jumping on that bandwagon, following the viral success of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Most of them are the same: government oppression, control, and citizens on the brink of civil war.

Don’t get me wrong; I am a sucker for dystopian. Offer me one and I will kiss you. But after a while, it starts to get boring.

After the numerous reviews and raves I read about Divergent, I knew it was simply a must to pick this one up, which I did within just a few days of it coming out.

Divergent is one fantastic novel. Tris instantly became one of my all-time favorite characters in YA. She is strong but at the same time, you can tell she is vulnerable. She knows her limits but will still push beyond them. She’s brave but her fears still present themselves throughout the book. I adored Tris as the main character. Christina, one of Tris’s friends who is also an initate into her new faction, reminded me of a friend in my own life; she was kind, funny, and caring.

Now, Peter on the other hand… He bothered me immensely. Peter is also one of the initates to her new faction. He is highly competitive and will quite literally do anything to be in the number one spot in the rankings. Literally. You find out quickly how determined he is to get rid of anyone who gets in his way. Over the course of the story, I kept saying things out loud whenever he came onto the page: Physco. Crazy. Something’s wrong with him.

I loved that Veronica made you realize that more was at risk for Tris than just becoming factionless: her life was in danger.

The thing that probably bothered me the most was, once the romance between Four and Tris began, it seemed to move quite fast. Prehaps that’s just me though. It was slow getting to the romance but once it got there… whoosh! It felt ridiculously fast.

There are so many layers to this story, more than I could ever cover in this review. I love all of those layers though. Quite simply, Divergent is my favorite book of 2011, so far. Do I recommend it? Yes! Did I love it? Freaking yes! In fact, I’d say this was a combination of Matched (though not quite as romantic) and The Hunger Games (though with a smidge less action), in perfect harmony. Roth is an amazing writer; I’m dying to know what she’s planning for the next two books of the trilogy, and to see what she will write in the future.


Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lizzie     May 3rd, 2011     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 1, 2011)
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061726826
ISBN-13: 978-0061726828

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love—the deliria—blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Well, before I get to the review, I just wanted to say Happy May! I can’t believe we’re already five months into the year. =O I don’t know about you guys, but I’m dying for the beautiful summer weather. I know I promised this review would be up on April 25th 26th, but school prevented me from otherwise being able to have it up on time. So without further ado, my review of Lauren Oliver’s beautiful novel Delirium.

Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite authors. She has a way with words that sucks you in and keeps you reading. Before I Fall, which I read for the first time shortly before this book, had me crying, laughing, raging, and smiling through the entire story. I love the concept of that novel; it made me appreciate things more, because you never know whether you’ll have a tomorrow.

Delirium revolves around 17-year-old Lena just a few months before she is cured of the delira—of love. She doesn’t want to end up like her mother, who commited suicide because she had fallen in love and was never cured, so she is obediant and excited to finally be able to escape the curse that is love. That is, until she meets Alex. From there, her entire future is at stake as she falls hard for him.

The first half of Delirium, I felt like I trudged through it. It wasn’t particularly interesting to me. Sure, there were enough interesting parts to keep me reading until the story finally, really began. The setting was one of my favorite parts of the book; Lauren’s writing helped create a stunning visual. As the story progresses, you start to see changes in Lena, big changes that go against everything she’s ever been taught, that ultimately lead up the thrilling cliffhanger conclusion that had me shouting, angry that that was where the author decided to end it.

The twisting, stunning love story that is Delirium is an adventure I had fun being a part of. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the next book of the trilogy, Pandemonium, which is expected out in February of next year.


Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Lizzie     Oct 26th, 2010     Fantasy, Paranormal, Reviews, Romance     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
Source: Won from Publisher
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316077054
ISBN-13: 978-0316077057

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

*Note: This review contains no spoilers for Beautiful Darkness but may spoil Beautiful Creatures if you haven’t read it yet.

Kami and Margaret have done it again. By far my most anticipated book of 2010, I was dying to get my hands on this from the second I learned about it. And I’m so excited to say that it more than lived up to my expectations!

Since reading Beautiful Creatures back in May, I’ve found myself thinking back to the story way too often than is healthy. The rich detail, the fantastic writing, the amazing character development, the awesome Southern setting—I loved it all so much! When asked by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of Raised by Wolves, who my favorite character from the book is at Smart Chicks, I answered, “Lena, without a doubt!”

Lena has gone through so much, both in Beautiful Creatures and beforehand, that I think it’s amazing she’s still standing by the beginning of Beautiful Darkness. Macon, the only father she’s ever known, is dead. Everything has changed. She remains Unclaimed, which is unheard of in the Caster world. And because of her grief, it’s clear that she’s slowly turning Dark.

This book had a lot more action and progressed a lot quick than its prequel. Kami and Margie have created an amazing, layered world of mystery, magic, and danger, and I’m completely in love with it. Just when you think everyone’s safe, even if for only a minute, another twist comes into play and you’re sucked right into the next chapter. Seriously, there are so many twists in this story, that I couldn’t put it down for more than a couple hours. Yes, it was THAT amazing.

If you’re a fan of the first book, you will most definitely not be disappointed by Beautiful Darkness. It’s everything a sequel should be, and even more. If you haven’t read these yet, what are you waiting for?! Go grab them right now! If you love Southern gothic or fantasy, this is one not to be missed. If I could give this a thousand stars, I would. ;) Now, it’s only a good long wait for Book #3. I may die before then, though….


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