Romance isn’t necessary sometimes…

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It has been nearly two decades since the breakout of the Third World War, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp ruled by island native Rolladin, who controls the city’s survivors with an iron fist. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the Central Park POW camp is the only home she’d ever want. When strangers arrive in the park, carrying a shocking message, Sky and Phee discover there’s more to Manhattan—and their family—than either of them had imagined. As disturbing secrets about the island begin to surface, Sky and Phee have no choice but to break the rules to uncover the full truth of their long-shrouded history. When their search for answers erupts into violence, the girls must flee into Manhattan’s depths, where their quest for a better future will force them to confront the island’s dark and shocking past. (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***

This book was pretty good for a dystopia. The background story on how it came to be was interesting and set it apart from other stories of this genre where most of the time it’s vague and no one remembers a thing because it was that many years later. So this was nice to read about. The plot alternates between Sky and Phee, but also some parts here and there from present to the past. I prefer reading about Phee because she’s the all around tough girl who can hold her own whereas Sky is more on the romantic idealistic side of things.

The flow of the story is good with stops here and there for character development and plot hooks. It’s engaging and interesting for a good part of the book until you read a little more than half of the novel. This is where the eye rolling instances come on. You knew the love triangle was going to happen. It got pretty nauseating and petty (but then again, Ryder was practically the only guy these two girls have met that they actually liked) and it severely hampered the plot. I didn’t care for this too much as it brought the plot to a complete halt and made reading it not as enjoyable. I begged for something better to come along.

To be fair, it got more interesting towards the final story arc, where you find out more truths about Sky and Phee’s family, and what happened in the past. Everything came to a nice close towards the end. The cheesy romance was still there and induced more eye rolls, but it was toned down for the latter part of the book.

Character wise, Phee would have to be the most interesting as she’s more aggressive of the two sisters and of a more stronger personality. She wasn’t a good match for Ryder anyway as they were just two very different people and completely incompatible but you kinda wish she found someone who’s just as tough as she is.

The romance nearly killed the book for me in this one. I’m glad I went through it as it proved to pick up the pace and went back on track. It’s a hidden gem and if you can get past the obvious, you’ll find a good dystopian story worth reading.

I give it 7 out of 10.

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When Living Doesn’t Become Living No More..

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Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.  But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world. (From Goodreads)

I enjoyed the world building and setting here in this book. It’s set in the future, people now live much longer than normal. They are pumped up with various implants (e.g. Diamondskin) and follow a strict diet and exercise program, and even go as far as to reducing various activities that activate cortisol levels that put them on overdrive. It may seems appealing, because you live longer than the normal life span and you’re looking like a supermodel but at the same time there’s an underlying dictatorial tone where you have to follow the rules or you’ll be seen ‘different’ and won’t be qualified to have these perks anymore. Everything is dictated by the “Ministry” and once you fall off the path you’ll be observed by the men in black which could lead to potentially drastic results.

It’s an interesting world, where suddenly everything that you thought was normal isn’t anymore and is frowned upon. These special perks are not always granted to everyone because it’s also based on your genetics, your job, and your social standing as well. It’s appealing but at the same time it doesn’t sound so fun and it feels like you’re a drone.

The plot itself was interesting and follows two points of view. Lea and Anja. I prefer Anja’s point of view because she’s part of the underground Suicide Club movement for various reasons. She’s a carefree spirit who does what she wants despite society and its’ demands because she’s seen the other side of things and how it’s affected people she cares about (her mom in this instance). The two characters offer two very different perspectives in the novel and it all comes together nicely and seamlessly.

I rather enjoyed the part with Lea and Kaito on the boat. You feel the emotion and the sadness of what’s to come. You feel the regret of moments missed in life and although it can’t be made up in just one sitting, that one moment together still creates a powerful memory that stays with you – which no one can take away. It’s a bittersweet moment and the most memorable in the book.

Although the plot flowed through nicely, I can’t really say I like the writing style. It drags in some parts and it shows an attempt to be lyrical and poetic with way too many descriptions of smells and sights. I understand the point of it being that instead of becoming a drone like everyone else, stop and just live the moment and take in your surroundings. However it bogs down the reading flow and I found myself struggling to keep the pace. Less lyrical prettiness and let’s just get down to the basics shall we? It would have made the reading more enjoyable.

Overall, a great interesting idea and a good deep read. Worth the time to go through.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Thank you Henry Holt and Co for the review copy!

 

The Salt Line Falls Too Short…

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In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line–a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks–and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line. (From Goodreads)

The first third of the book had lots of promise. I was intrigued and thrilled to read it. It had the perfect introduction of the characters you’ll stay with throughout the book and you already had a sense of who your favorite characters are.

The world building was certainly interesting and the explanation of how the ticks took over the country and divided it was well done. The breakdown in stages on what happens when you get a tick bite is done in good detail and the idea of the Stamp (which is a harsh form of an epi pen) is great and also well written. However, when I went halfway to the book it started falling short.

The plot started losing its’ momentum and slows to a crawl. The characters then start losing their personalities and start becoming flat and two dimensional. I’d have to say the only two characters that were the most interesting to read were Marta and Wes. Understandably so, because they were key characters throughout this book. But their chemistry together and personalities just seemed to flow together and I enjoyed reading them the most.

Edie, well it took a trip like this for her to see the light about Jesse. Although I wouldn’t say she’s really likeable. She has her moments where her compassion shines towards the last third of the novel which is admirable. But there’s just nothing to her personality. She just happens to be a page filler.

By the last third of the book, you could already smell that there’s going to be a possible sequel as some aspects of the characters go on unexplained or incomplete. It’s almost eye rolling when this book really should have been completed in just one volume.

If there ever is going to be a sequel, it would have to be ten times much better than this one and a vast improvement on plot and characters. I’d probably pick it up only if it focused a lot more on Marta and Wes.

The book had a lot of promise, but it just fell short which is disappointing. It was such a great idea for a plot and the setting was well done.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

It’s Monday! what are you reading?

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I did massive amounts of reading over the weekend. Sadly, I also ended up with 2 books that ended up in the Did Not Finish pile. So it feels like the time you invested just went down the drain. To look on the bright side however, I did finish one and made some progress on others.

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Biggest disappointment so far. I was about 150 pages in, and it just got too strange for me. It just didn’t make sense anymore and I slapped the book shut and moved onto the other one. It’s too bad because I loved the world building and the setting but other than that just no. Things just didn’t make sense.

 

 

 

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I tried to like this one. I really did. It’s just the writing style that didn’t agree with me and I couldn’t get further. It was too bad because the story had lots of promise.

 

 

 

 

 

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Now for the good news!! I finished this one in nearly one sitting while waiting for my husband to come home. Unfortunately he called me 5 MINUTES before arriving saying he was close by and at that point I was JUST at the page where the main culprit was to be revealed. GAHHHHHH!! WHAT TIMING IS THAT? however I managed to finish it later that day and was pleased. Review on this one is coming shortly.

 

 

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Halfway on this one. Wow. Still filled with action and now he’s on his own journey going back to his past mistakes and perhaps regrets. Loving it so far I’m really hoping there’s more to this series but as far as I know this is the last book as of now.

 

 

 

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Slow progress on this one. Don’t get me wrong I love it. I love the plot and the characters and it’s just so dark and moody. It’s a slow moving story but I’d like to read more on this one this week.

 

 

 

 

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Late Saturday night I also started this one. Love the cover and 20 pages in and it’s doing good. Jackaby is an eccentric one, that’s for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

34020019.jpgLastly, this one. I just got started and I’m pretty much hooked on it. What an interesting world and idea for the plot. I’m about 50 pages in and so far, it’s super good!

Okay what are you guys reading this week! let me know! we can add to each other’s ever growing list 🙂

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Wow it’s the end of July already? Where the heck has the time gone and how come my reading pile is growing instead of shrinking? I had some time to finish up my books from the past week.

So this is what we have (clicking on their photos will take you to their goodreads page)

 

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No. Just no. This one didn’t make even past the 20 page mark. The writing style didn’t hit it off with me and I couldn’t bring myself to be interested. This one ended up in the Did not finish pile.

 

 

 

 

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I finally got to finish this one!!!! Review will be coming shortly!!! I was a bag full of emotions in this one. Gahhhh!

 

 

 

 

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I’m about the first 100 pages into this one. So far it’s not bad. It’s interesting. The world is certainly something I haven’t read before. I just went over a cringing moment with Neverfell but this one has got my attention so far.

 

 

 

 
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I’m a third of the way into this one. Wow. I was pretty much engrossed into it but wanted to finish some other ones first before really diving into this book. I’m really liking it so far.

 

 

 

 

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Just started the first 20 pages on this one. I hope this isn’t the final book in the Eric Carter series (already read the first two) because I don’t want to see this end! I love him! he’s the perfect anti hero! and not very likable but that’s what  makes the read so good! I was already hitting the action bits but put it aside. I need to go further into this one too.

 

 

 

Last but not least:

 

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Will be starting this one this week. I won this one at a contest and can’t wait to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

Those are my reads for the week. Lots have been happening. Lots of books have been started! but I’ll get to them! Thanks for stopping by and let me know what you’re up to on your reading agenda!

This Savage Song is worth the hype

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Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. (From Goodreads)

I didn’t know what the hype was all about until I saw the second book released just recently. Took out this book and in the first day I was half way through. It was addicting and it moved at a fast pace.

It took me a little long to warm up to these characters and the setting. The setting is interesting, with the three different groups of monsters infesting the area. There was some sort of catastrophic event and the area was split into two. I rather like the way the world is being set up in this case. We have monsters. Not vampires, or werewolves, or some other mythical creatures we are familiar with. These are different and nothing that I have come across yet in the novels I have read in the past. I rather wish there was more history in regards to world building. Or at least, a bit more information but it doesn’t deter the reader from enjoying the novel.

Kate and August are both great characters and opposites. Kate, who is a complete bad ass and August who is trying to fit in and be normal. I like them because first of all, they aren’t filled with besotted love like some YA novels have out there or worse yet, they fall in love and the world crashes around them. I’m glad this book doesn’t have any of that nonsense. They both use each other as a means to an end but they end up being unspoken friends despite their differences. What I like the most about these two is, they both exposed themselves to vulnerability to each other and learnt a lot from their respective groups.

The plot itself is very interesting and readable. The action is good and not over the top dramatic. The twist near the end is predictable but what you didn’t see coming is the ending and you’re left with either being blown away or….well there’s no other is there? You’re just straight out blown away.

Definitely recommended for YA readers. I’m off to get the second one. I enjoyed this book immensely.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

American War is one of the must reads in your lifetime. You have to pick this one up.

0316182885.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgSarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be.  Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike. (From Goodreads)

I really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn’t a light read that’s for sure. Yet I liked following Sarat through her life and how she became to be.

Sarat’s childhood is pretty much ripped apart and continues its’ descent as the book goes on. She’s pretty much robbed of it – although she’s not like other children. She’s a tomboy, taller than most kids and sticks out like a sore thumb. She’s also very inquisitive and curious. Now if you sum those characteristics and consider the living conditions she’s in, and the setting, this is ripe for anyone to take advantage of these people and manipulation is key here.

You have to admit, you had to take a liking to Albert Gaines. He was proper, soft spoken, intelligent, was able to spin history as tales and stories for you to imagine. You knew what was underneath that exterior. You knew he had another agenda in his mind (it was evident that Sarat knew about this too, as did other camp inhabitants) but it didn’t matter. Living in squalor and having nowhere to go, someone with that much charisma can certainly be attractive, and Sarat was no exception. She felt special and wanted. She was perfectly manipulated into becoming an instrumental machine to their cause. You can’t blame Sarat for becoming what she ultimately came to be later in the book.

The setting and plot was good. It’s pretty much civil war in the USA and climate change has wrecked havoc in some parts of the East. You also have alternate future elements in the book where you have the Bouazizi empire who have expanded and wield influence in the world, and of course you have the North and the South fighting against each other again.

What really compliments the setting are the characters. There’s not many to choose from, since Sarat is really central to the story. Her family: Martina, Dana, and Simon are secondary characters. (Simon plays a larger part later in the latter half of the book). However, they’re very well rounded and you’re so attached to Sarat because she’s human. I loved Sarat for her strength and resilience. She displayed this even when she was a young child. That carried her throughout the novel and she maintained the strength up until the end. I really felt for her as she suffered immensely and yet you would completely understand her situation if it had happened to you. You would be out for revenge every chance you get. However it also goes to show how far her manipulation went and the consequences.

It’s definitely not a light read but one to read slowly and to be carefully thought through. Definitely recommended.

I give it a 9 out of 10.