Friday, August 7, 2015

Review: Awake by Natasha Preston

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22881022-awake?ac=1
Awake by Natasha Preston
ARC Paperback
Published August 4th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: 3 stars

Summary (Goodreads): Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it...because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.

And they want her back.

My Thoughts: 

I received Awake through a goodreads first reads giveaway. This does not affect my rating or review, it is still an honest one.

Scarlett is a teenage girl in high school, just like every other girl her age - except for one thing. She can't remember anything before the fire that happened when she was little. She's happy enough to forget about it after the constant headaches from trying so hard to remember when she was younger. This all changes when she and her family find themselves in a car crash, and Scarlett's dreams take her into her memories. This leads her to having more questions on her past though than answers, and unfortunately, those answers are less than ideal. Scarlett finds this out the hard way.

Awake by Natasha Preston was definitely a unique book for me to read. I've never read a book that had a cult in it. The idea of it sparked my interest over the concept and dragged me into the story.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of the story, I was left unimpressed. The first few lines involve the new student arriving and forming an instant bond with Scarlett, and when I say instant, I mean instant. While it made this part of the story quicker so the more important things could start happening, the insta-love was awful. I mean I understand instant attraction, but they were basically in love with one another after day one. Not to mention the way it was portrayed made the characters seem very flat. I personally didn't like any of the characters for a long time.

Thankfully this book was to have more than just the insta-love romance. The twist is what kept me reading on. Once the memories began coming back I started to gain some interest in Scarlett's story. I was still annoyed by the romance, but while it was still a big focus, it wasn't the only focus. The mystery around her past drew me in though, and as big things began happening, I didn't mind the romance as much. By the end of the story I could even say I liked the couple together, I just didn't like a good chunk of them together in the story itself.

I feel like the writing of this book is a little hit or miss. Though I felt like the parts drug in the beginning to plot the story points for the reader, I felt like the author didn't put much effort into it. Later on in the book I feel like her writing was much better as it was the big thing she had been building up to (that or by that time I was just used to it?). It did make it very hard in the beginning to keep reading on because the writing fell flat, just like the characters. I am glad I kept reading though as I began to enjoy the story more and actually like some of the characters. It was definitely unique for me to read about the crazy cult in the story. I liked seeing the characters' mental struggles when facing the seven rituals and how they fought to overcome what felt like the inevitable. 

If you like reading about cults, killers, and the like - and you don't mind reading a decent amount of insta-love romance to get to the interesting parts,then I would give it a try. If you absolutely hate insta-love turn away now. You'll have trouble making it past little more than the first page.

 ★★★

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Review: Counteract (The Resistance Series #1) by Tracy Lawson

Counteract (The Resistance Series #1) by Tracy Lawson
ebook
Published by Buddhapuss Ink, LLC. on August 6, 2014
Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): Two strangers-their destinies entwined-must work together to thwart a terrorist the country never suspected.

The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense has guarded the public against the rampant threat of terrorism for the last fifteen years with the full backing of the US government. Their carefully crafted list of Civilian Restrictions means no concerts or sporting events, no travel, no social media, no cash transactions, and no driver's licenses for eighteen-year-olds Tommy and Careen. The OCSD has even outlawed grocery stores, all in the name of safety.
Now, there's a new threat-airborne chemical weapons that could be activated at any time. But the OCSD has an antidote: Just three drops a day is all it takes to stay safe. It's a small price to pay for safety.
Or is it...

My Thoughts: 
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this book. The novel is based in the United States in the not so distant future. There's a new thing in the government, the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD), which was created to help fight against terrorists and keep the people of the US safe from them.

The story seems to jump right into something from the first page. There's an alert, and people find out that there are toxic poisons in the air released from terrorists and they needed to get the antidote, CSD, and take it daily or they would risk death. They talk about it being a "small price to pay for your safety." This is when I knew something wouldn't be right about this, and it drew me into the story even more.

This novel is very intricate with a variety of characters. The perspective changes throughout the novel between several of them This gives the reader a full view of all that is going on. As a reader, I learned so much about the OCSD from both the inside and out, and I got to see the way each of the characters' thoughts changed throughout the novel which helped me understand all of their actions, regardless of my thoughts about them. 

The two main characters were interesting to get to learn about. I enjoyed seeing their changes throughout the novel. Careen is a feisty girl, but when she does what she is told, take her CSD, there's a complete change in who she is. It's honestly crazy that the OCSD has enough power in the novel to incorporate something like this into the daily lives of the entire population, and it's scary to think of it happening to our country.

Tommy on the other hand is pretty down in the beginning of the novel, having lost his parents and injuring his leg, but he seems to get a grasp on himself as the novel progresses. Seeing both Careen and him on CSD made me angry at their government, and I was ecstatic when things went awry and they couldn't take any for a few days. They were able to clear their heads, and they realized what was going on. This is when I feel the story really picked up because they sprang into action.

The other perspectives I found really intriguing were Kevin and Trina. I loved getting to see the inner workings of the OCSD and the corruption throughout it. They learn about the awful things their director is planning on doing, and they begin discretely working toward eradicating this issue before it's too late. 

It was really interesting getting to see all the changes that Lawson made to the US throughout her novel. It takes place much sooner than most novels, only about 20 years, and because of that, all that was happening in her world resonated with me on a different level than most dystopian novels located in the US. Some things are definitely the same, kids go to college, they have cell phones to communicate, etc, but there were also drastic changes that shocked me. People stopped shopping outside of the home entirely, and air travel became restricted. It's a little difficult for me to picture this happening now, since in the novel it happens in 4 years. Then again, I can also understand it in this circumstance to a level because the nation does crazy things when threatened by terrorists. 

Overall, Lawson created a terrifying concept that shows the epitome of corruption and the thirst for absolute power over an entire population. I honestly can't wait to get the next book in this series. I hope certain things happen in the next novel that are good for the characters, though I also know there will be plenty more things that don't go the way I want them to for Careen and Tommy. 


★★★★½

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #10

New Books:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
I received this book FREE as an audiobook from Sync. It's available till May 28!
Summary: Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep
Summary: My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died...

The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1) by Ashley Elston
Summary: She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
Summary: A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

Read:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Summary above under new books

Currently Reading:
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected -- and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What -- or who -- will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it's not Lena -- and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself -- forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and he's afraid to ask. 

Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

I wanted to finish this book this week, but I ended up getting really into Cruel Beauty and unintentionally took a break from this book. I'm starting up again where I left off though, and am crossing my fingers I finish this week! I have a busy two weeks ahead of me and then I hope to get to read a lot over the summer!

Most Likely to Read Next:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Though I've already read this book, it's been nearly two years, and with the movie coming out I definitely want to read it again!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
Paperback; 424 pages
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on October 2, 2012 (first published on April 5, 2011)
Rating: 3 stars

Summary (Goodreads): The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My Thoughts: 
I honestly went back and forth with this book. I both enjoyed it and didn't enjoy it. 

In the beginning, the story started out strong and held my interest rather well. As the story progressed however, it slowly started to disappoint me. I just wasn't interested in the direction Clare wanted to bring this story. I believe the decline really started to show around the halfway point of the book.

With the different perspectives of each of the characters, there was able to be several different stories that were all connected but also separate. I enjoyed this, because when I wasn't enjoying a perspective of one of the characters, I knew that soon enough I would be back with another.

When the book starts out, I enjoyed everyone's perspective. I didn't care much for one thing Simon was doing that Clary knew about, but that's not something that would make me dislike the story or anything at all. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about Simon and his life now as a vampire, even though he was trying to be as normal as possible. I also really enjoyed reading from Clary's perspective and seeing her training, as she is now going to be a shadowhunter. Jace's perspective was interesting as well, as he has issues he is personally dealing with that revolve around his family.

Then comes his dreams.

I didn't like this part of the book at all. It made me kind of sad, because I really like reading about Clary and Jace, but in this book I found myself dreading their sections in the book. I just didn't like the plot that Clare was making between them, and I didn't like how Jace didn't want to tell Clary what was wrong. That's literally the worst thing you can do, not tell someone what is wrong when there is something going on, and then start to completely ignore and avoid them. It just really annoyed me.

I will say this though, while it did annoy me when it came to Jace's actions, I did enjoy having him around when I was reading about Simon. When the story wasn't filled with Jace's angsty problems, I found myself liking what I was reading. Even when things like Jace's appearance were brought into play and the issues that came from that, when it wasn't from his perspective I didn't mind it much.

Simon really was the only person that kept me happy with this novel. His storyline was more captivating to me since he was learning more about the consequences of being a vampire, and he also was learning the consequences about the mark of Cain that Clary placed on him. The mark was really interesting to me, and while it was awful how it worked, I also found myself fascinated with it. 

Really I don't know what direction I should take this review in. By the end of the book, I felt like I was going to be happy with the turn of events, as it began to go in a direction I liked, but then, in the final pages, that was squashed. I don't like the way the series seems to be going, but we'll have to see. My close friend told me she loved the fifth book, so I'm hoping I do as well. I also don't want people to think I disliked this book, I did enjoy the read at some points, but I didn't like not being happy with the turn of events the way I was. Either way, Simon was the saving grace of this novel and I hope to see more of him in the next book!


★★★

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #7

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Summary: Î•RCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID. 

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #7

May 20: Ten Books About Friendship

  1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - I love the friendship between Lissa and Rose! It was nice that it was a large focus in the series
  2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Zuzana is definitely one of my favorite characters, and I love how she balances Karou. 
  3. Harry Potter by J K Rowling - Do I really need to say it? Harry, Ron and Hermione have such a lovely friendship, and while they have bumps and rough patches, they are always there to help one another out in the long run
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak- Rudy and Max. I love their friendships with Liesel!
  5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - I love Blue and the Raven Boys! Their friendship is amazing and so well written
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - From what I've read so far in the series, I love the friendship between Ethan and Link! It's nice to see things from the guys perspective in these books
  7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I love how the friendships between Charlie and Patrick and Sam go!
  8. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - I loved the relationship between Clary and Simon!
  9. Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout - Dee and Katy are so cute together. I loved how happy Dee was to be friends with Katy
  10. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - I've only read the first book, but I love the friendship between Will and Jem!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Weekly Update #9

New Books: 
The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Summary: Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out

All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Summary: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown
Summary: The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda...

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins
Summary: Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….

Read:
This week was so busy for me, so I haven't even had a chance to finish Beautiful Chaos yet! Hopefully I'll be able to finish it this week, but who knows, the next few weeks will be packed with schoolwork for me since it's the end of the year and I'm graduating (and I have two less weeks than expected to get everything done and turned in, so I have a lot more to do in a shorter amount of time). I can't wait for June 5 to finally be here and for my summer to start!

Currently Reading: 
Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home from the Great Barrier, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected -- and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What -- or who -- will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it's not Lena -- and the mysterious figure is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself -- forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and he's afraid to ask. 

Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
SPECIAL BONUS: Includes "Dream Dark," a thrilling short story set before Beautiful Chaos. When Link joined his best friend, Ethan Wate, on a quest through a mysterious network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, he knew the journey would be dangerous. But he had no idea it would change his life forever.

Most Likely to Read Next:
All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Summary above under New Books