7 Scorpions: Rebellion by Mike Saxton

7 Scorpions RebellionThe world was turned upside down by the swift and brutal attack of a dictator known only as Zodiac. Planting flash bombs in every major city across the world, he detonated them simultaneously, sending the survivors into chaos and anarchy. In the wake of the destruction, Zodiac unleashed the dreaded Seekers, a group with the ability to radiate an aura of intense fear, which would complete the enslavement and extermination of humanity. A former vigilante, turned government super soldier experiment, emerges from his self-imposed exile to challenge the new status quo. Can Vincent Black, with his makeshift team of unlikely allies, overcome the demons of his past to help preserve the future of humanity? (From Goodreads)

There was so much action packed into this book, it really did feel as if you were watching a movie instead of reading. It started nearly in the first few pages of the book, and it continued all the way until the end. It was purely awesome to read.

Two characters really stood out for me. Vincent and Lexi. Lexi’s real awesome. She’s not the typical damsel in distress and her present ‘medical condition’ (for lack of a better term) is different, but makes sense in this plot. Oh I liked reading about her. Her lack of fear makes her reckless and straight in your face type of attitude, it’s fun to read and her straight forwardness sometimes shocks other characters (it’s fun when she makes them uncomfortable). Vincent is the complete opposite (somewhat) but he makes a pretty good hero. He’s modest and shies away from leadership (which is somehow dumped on him anyway). However he kicks serious butt. He reminds me a lot of David Valentine from the Vampire Earth series except more enhanced and super powered.

The plot overall was a good read. It was straight forward and carried through pretty quick. There are quite a few characters in the book, but I noticed they were grouped together so it wasn’t too hard to figure out who was who. There was one particular character that did a complete 360 personality change which was completely unexpected to me – although this was good as I enjoy being blindsided by these sorts of things. It keeps me more interested in the plot.

Several things I thought could have improved, there last third of the book sort of slows down – understandably so, because they’re preparing for another battle. Yet I can’t help but think it could have been several chapters shorter, it did drag a little. Another thing, one of the characters just drops out of the book. Entirely. The reader is unaware of what happens to him, as he drops out of it midway in the book. I actually forgot all about him until it dawned on me after finishing it. I’m sure – hopefully this will be explained in the books following although just to drop him entirely midway in the novel was a little odd.

Other than those few things, I greatly enjoyed reading this book. I believe there’s two more after this one, so I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen next. It’s got a great ending, and leaves a lot of room for more to come!

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess TestIt’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess. (From Amazon.ca)

I really liked this novel. I REALLY LIKED IT. I was so into this book, I finished it rather quickly. I don’t know what else to say except I loved everything about it. The plot, the characters, the setting, everything about it was wonderfully done.

The most pleasant surprise, was how the tests were done. It was completely unexpected and I thought it was going to go about a different way. Little did I know it was already happening when I least expected it. I liked Ava’s character. I thought at first she was the biggest baddest rudest jerk on the block, but she was also unexpectedly a very important character in the book.

I really liked Kate too. She was strong willed, and cared for others above herself. The romantic chemistry between herself and Henry/Hades was great! it was slow growing at first – which is to be expected, but once they hit it off they were so compatible that they were a pleasure to read. Not to mention Henry/Hades does sound extremely sexy (a la brooding tortured soul archetype) but it’s all good! it’s not cheesy, it’s not silly, and you can’t help but have a book crush on this guy too.

The plot was very well done. The pace was really good and it was interesting enough to get the reader going (and reading until it’s done!). There’s a good mixture of comedy, drama, and romance, yet also to add into the mix is mystery. The mystery part of the book was good. It did keep me guessing – although the list of suspects wasn’t that big however it was still an interesting read. My favorite parts though (besides Kate’s moments with Henry/Hades) were when she was with her mom in their ‘favorite place’. They were touching moments and you can feel her relationship with her mom was very special.

The ending was great! the test results were not what I expected and it was an emotional roller coaster. Some secrets were revealed (although I’m sure a lot more are going to pop up). I’m most definitely looking forward to what’s coming up next in this series.

I most definitely recommend this book to YA readers. It used the Persephone/Hades myth and didn’t chop it up, didn’t really deviate from it, and although there were one or two little changes, it didn’t drastically change everything. It’s well worth the read and leaves the reader wanting more!

I give it a 10 out of 10.

On a personal note: This novel hit me. It hit me hard. I say this because I most definitely know how Kate feels. I used to take care of my mom when she was sick. I do know how Kate felt through those moments. So I couldn’t help but feel for Kate, and what she went through, it moved me to tears. Never had I felt something like this for a novel. It made me think, this was similar to how I was living during the times when my mom was ill and bedridden. It also made me think, there’s people out there that went through the same thing I did, it was quite reassuring that I wasn’t alone. However, I was lucky enough to be able to say goodbye to my mom, before she died.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

DivergentIn 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. (From Amazon.ca)

Don’t get me wrong here. I loved the plot. It had a lot of potential to be something as interesting and intriguing as The Hunger Games. The five factions was indeed interesting, and I liked how you had to choose which faction to devote to for the rest of your life. So this part was all great and dandy. Then it falls short. So, I ask why is Chicago divided into these factions? what happened? why are these factions divided into these virtues? how did it all start? what about the factionless? how many belong there? why are they outcasted like that? etc etc… the list of questions started to get longer, and longer. Then it hit me, there is NO world building in the book. There is no background information. You’re smack in the middle of a dystopia and you don’t know how the setting got there. This bugged me. Immensely. I like my background information. If it’s going to be where it will all be explained in other future novels, then that’s silly. What’s the point of the first novel then? the first novel in a series is to explain how the setting came to be.

So you’re thrown in with Beatrice, who learns how to survive in the faction she chose. This part of the book wasn’t so bad, I enjoyed learning how they struggled to survive to be part of the faction. She undergoes a complete transformation, which, makes sense. Yet, this cliche where a nice meek girl who’s bored of her faction, joins another one and becomes an ultra bad girl who can fight, talk back, manages to get several tattoos and gets a complete makeover is overdone and cheesy. I tolerated this only because I somewhat liked how she managed to fight back against her bullies – so she does have a spine, and she doesn’t whine about it. Oh and let’s not GO THERE where she becomes a female version of Rambo and suddenly becomes the Girl of Steel. This could become a B movie any time now.

Then Four arrives into the story. By Jeebus what is it with current YA novels where names or nicknames are just utterly ridiculous? I understand, it does make sense once it’s been revealed why he’s called that but what? so the characters just didn’t have enough creativity to make up a better nickname than bloody Four?!.

I’d have to say, the characters in this book aren’t necessarily likable. I tried to like Tris, and I did at some points of the book her moments of revenge were quite satisfying. I couldn’t like Four at all because I felt he was just a cardboard character and a typical “hard but soft in the inside” personality. The romance between the two of them wasn’t working for me. They had no chemistry and it got to the point where it became supremely cheesy and almost nauseating to read both of them get all lovey dovey. It just did not work for me.

I don’t know if I’m going to read further into the series. I really did like the plot. It was a good idea and had lots of potential. Yet it wasn’t executed as well as I thought. The REAL action does not start until much much later in the novel so I wonder was 500 pages really necessary for this book? The ending, was cheesy, so cheesy you could use it to make nachos. The characters weren’t so likable and the romance just did not have the chemistry required. I’d have to say, this hasn’t topped The Hunger Games, and I stress to readers out there to read Hunger Games instead of this one. It’s so much better. I can’t believe the hype over this book, then again, maybe it’s best not to believe in all the hype after all.

I give it a 4 out of 10

Side Note: Albert? wtf man?! why did you do that?

Tris: jeebus woman, what you did at the end towards Magnus? jeebus cripes settle down before you swallow him whole. Did Four suddenly become your property and he can’t suddenly defend himself? what kind of freaking Dauntless is that then? a whimpy one that’s what. However I congratulate you Tris, you officially made Four your bitch.

Four: you suck. Enough said. Patch from the Hush Hush series could eat you whole for breakfast.

Hunger Journeys by Maggie De Vries

Hunger JourneysLena is a naive, awkward teenager struggling to understand the complexities of living in German-occupied Holland. She copes by convincing herself that she doesn’t care, that what happens around her is not her concern (though she does feel some guilt about not helping a Jewish friend who has been taken away). Lena is thrilled when Sofie, a charming, flighty, irresponsible girl, befriends her. Sofie persuades Lena to go on a hunger journey, but things quickly go wrong. The girls have to rely on two young German soldiers, one of whom, Albert, takes a fancy to Lena. (From Amazon.ca)

I really did enjoy reading this book. It shows how war can rear its’ ugly head, and it brings out the worst qualities in average every day people. It shows a different point of view (as Lena is not Jewish). However, like most books which take place during this awful period in history I couldn’t help but feel so much anger towards some of the characters, and because of this I think the book does a great job in bringing out emotions from the reader.

Of all the characters in this book, I hated Lena’s father the most. He was an awful horrible man who treated his family with such disrespect. He was so selfish and horrid. I felt like wringing his neck when he gave himself more helpings of food when his wife needed more, and his children were practically starving. He wasn’t self sacrificing or did things for the sake of his family. He just cared about himself. To make things even worse, he also didn’t like the idea of Lena and Sarah being friends because of his own prejudices. He was just a character I could not stand to read at all. He was just so hateful and selfish. There were other characters that made me see red, but then the review would then be an awful long hate list.

At first, I thought Sofie was really fun to read, she seemed like a such a fun person to be around with. However when things turned around and looked bad, she would chicken out and let Lena do all the hard work. I had to agree with Lena, there were plenty of times where you just wanted to slap Sofie hard for her stupidity! I’d say about the second half of the book I was starting to dislike Sofie.

Plot wise, I thought the book was good. It was a little slow to start out but once the setting and the atmosphere was established the book got interesting. I really did like Lena and Albert together. I understood her reluctance to be with him, and her resistance to reciprocate his feelings, but I thought Albert was really a nice character despite who he’s fighting for. The book does a good job in showing a ‘human’ side to who we would normally consider our enemies, yet on the other hand, showing who we would consider our ‘allies’ as not so friendly at all. Naturally, it only takes about several moments for Sofie to do something ridiculously stupid and puts Lena into a huge bind – again. However I admire Lena for her courage and maturity. She matured ten times faster than Sofie did (Sofie eventually sees a bit of reason, but not until literally the last few pages of the book).

I did enjoy reading the little epilogue, but I feel as if more should have come out of this story. I wanted to know what happened once Sofie and Lena had reached their destinations! I wanted to know if Lena and Albert end up being together! what about Lena’s father? does he get his come uppins? it’s these little things that weren’t revealed, yet I thought if they were, the book would have probably received a perfect 10 from me.

However, don’t let that deter you from reading this book! I thought this was a great novel showing how war can bring out the best and the worst qualities in people. It shows how sometimes the people you expect to act in a certain way could act the exact opposite, and possibly worse. I really do recommend this book to those interested in the Second World War and Resistance activities.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I am Number FourNine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real. Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.
But they know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next.
(From Amazon.ca)

The book really did grab my attention. At first. The idea and concept was interesting yet for some reason I can’t help but think I’m reading about Superman and his teen years in Smallville. That’s not to say the book was bad, it was good, yet there just some parts in it where it made me think why the hype over this book?

The writing was good. I liked how John started developing his powers throughout the book. It was also nice to see that he wasn’t about to be bullied around by Mark (who’s a total twit but he eventually does learn the error of his ways). He does stick up for himself and does fight back so at least he’s got a backbone. He is likable although he’s your average every day kid with superpowers. However I couldn’t really entirely like him as a character, it just seemed as if he was lacking in personality and there wasn’t much to him except that he was not from Earth and has tremendous super powers.

I really did prefer the sidekicks in this novel; Henri, Bernie Kosar, and Sam. All three were my favorites. Both Henri and Bernie deserve a lot of kudos for what they went through for John (and their actions literally drove me to tears). Sam also proved to be a very loyal friend and pull through for John, and their friendship is a good one. It does give John a nice stable element in his life where he’s always had to pick up his bags and go whenever things were to go wrong.

The plot was all right. It was really exciting and fast paced for the first part of the novel and as John learns new skills, and learns about his home world and people, you learn more about his background and why he’s here with Henri. I liked reading this part of the book, and it also gives you information on Henri and what his purpose is. Everything seems to be going well, including a couple of scraps with Mark, and some troubles with hiding his real identity. Then throughout approximately halfway through the pace slows down. John’s fallen in love. For some reason this just slows down everything and it gets annoying and infuriating. John seems to be oblivious to the danger surrounding him, and his romance with Sarah, although sweet, just seems to be more of a page filler than anything else.

At this point of the book, I was starting to get frustrated. I don’t really give a dime about Sarah and John. There’s killers out there out for John’s head and all he’s really caring about is when the next time he gets to see Sarah. Oh for crying out loud. Really? you have to have pages and pages of this? I stuck with it, and tolerated it, in the hopes I’ll get rewarded in the end.

Yes, I was rewarded! the last third of the novel focuses on a lot of action (and I mean A LOT) and when another of John’s kind comes into the picture the action is increased threefold. I loved reading this part. There was so much going on at once but it was such a gripping read you couldn’t tear yourself away. The ending doesn’t really leave the reader in a cliffhanger but it does point the way for the second book.

Even though the pace does slow down midway, sticking through with it does end up being rewarding. It is a good book for young adult readers and I’m wanting to know what’s going to happen next. From what I hear, I’d read the book first then see the movie.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush HushFor Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life. (From Amazon).

I went along with the hype over this book (although a little too late). As usual I’m very skeptical when it comes to the hype because of the books I read with so many gushing reviews, I’ve been disappointed about three (or more) times. Well, the good news is, I have no regrets about Hush Hush. It was absolutely AMAZING and I’m wondering why I waited so long to read this one.

At first I did not like Patch. In fact I was with Nora in this one. He’s horribly arrogant, crude, and so unbelievably annoying. Yet you just can’t help but fall for his irresistible charm as Nora did. I absolutely LOVED the tension between Nora and Patch. It was so well done you could almost feel and see the sparks fly between them. They were so perfect for each other there’s no words to describe them when they’re together.

The plot was excellent! there was so much suspense and thrill I couldn’t put this book down. The pace was even and there was no rut nothing to make this pace stray from the main plot. The terrifying encounters Nora comes up against is well described and it’s scary enough to put the reader on edge. The mystery part of the book was also well done, and I was always second guessing Patch and his motives.

I’d have to say I was surprised at Elliot. I’d have to say I was blindsided by his actual personality and I was not expecting that 360 change! the change isn’t subtle but it’s still creepy to read as Elliot changes. The characters overall were great to read.

The end scene was dramatic and was a great page turner. There was a lot of action and things were discovered and revealed but there’s also a lot of questions too and I’m really looking forward to reading the next one!

This is one book where I am glad I listened to all the hype. I absolutely enjoyed this one. Great storyline, with the two main characters being so irresistible you just can’t stop reading until you’re finished. Strongly recommended for YA readers!

I give it a 10 out of 10.

Side Note: Just finished Crescendo today. AHHHHHH!! I NEED TO READ SILENCE NOW!

Book Blogger Hop 9/2

Book Blogger Hop

Today’s question is: What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season – A particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing color? Cooler temperatures? A vacation?

– Several things:
1. Hockey season (GO CANUCKS)
2. The release of The Night Eternal by Guillermo Del Toro/Chuck Hogan
3. Halloween
4. Cooler temperatures, and rainy days
5. My mini weekend vacation with the hombre and our friends to a cabin
6. Did I mention Hockey season?

What are your answers? thanks for stopping by! enjoy your stay, and have some Dr Pepper (cherry flavored) it’s new apparently. It’s actually quite good.