Across The Universe by Beth Revis >> Readdicted Review

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Across The Universe Book Review

Title:  Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1)

Author: Beth Revis

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Space/Adventure

Goodreads Book Summary: 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

REVIEW

I thought this book was intriguing.  The complex world Beth Revis creates is so futuristic, and yet it contrasts with the agrarian lifestyle the people have to have to keep their culture as well as survive on their mammoth ship floating in space.  Amy’s story is unique.  She’s a great female character, possibly a bit mainstream and not really unique in many ways, but that’s not a bad thing.  Most people are mostly normal.  Ya know?  Ender’s character goes through a great amount of transformation as he learns more and more truth.  This book, as with the whole trilogy, is centered around lies and the problems keeping deep secrets can create.  While at first I thought I wasn’t completely thrilled with this book, I couldn’t put it down.  I don’t think I loved Amy as much as some other characters in other books I have read, but she is a strong female lead, and she thinks for herself and has a strong desire to survive and uncover the truth.  I love the development of the relationship between Amy and Elder, and how they aren’t always with each other.  The other characters in the book were very eccentric and gave the story great depth.

My biggest issue is the POV.  The author writes in first person, and each chapter is either Amy or Elder.  It switches like clockwork, Amy, Elder, Amy, Elder…..but sometimes I found myself wondering which head I was in, and I would have to check or look for clues.  Overall, it wasn’t a big problem, just an annoyance.  There are some parts that are stark, raw, and a little shocking.  Things I wasn’t expecting and made me react.  Things like that may not be enjoyable, but getting a reaction like that (and not just for fun, but for a reason) is a sign that the author isn’t afraid of censoring herself, but sees the world she has created as though it is real, and she is telling it like it is.  Probably not appropriate for under 13, at least.  But it’s not too bad…don’t let that be the only thing that stops you from reading it.  If you are wondering about this series for your teens, just read it first.  Across the Universe is a great read and I definitely want this beautiful hardcover on my shelf!

COVER

I love love love this cover.  This might be one of my top 5 favorite covers of all time.  Simply gorgeous.  Stars, colors, profiles, the haunting words that leave you wondering what it could mean…so so good.  I would rate this cover an elusive 6 on our 5 star scale….yeah, I love it that much!

THE FUN STUFF

Here’s a link to the book trailer by PenguinBooks.  It’s nothing too exciting, but the excerpt from the book they chose as the narration is haunting.  One of the first reasons I couldn’t put this book down was this part.  Well-written, raw, and emotional, and interesting…raised questions that no one had answers too.  Anyway, check it out if you’d like, there are no spoilers and it well-made and visually very nice.

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Book Haul >> Katie’s January Reads

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I read nothing.  Literally nothing.

There is nothing in my January book haul.  For someone who reads an average of, oh about 9 or 10 books a month, while writing her own YA books AND being a full-time mom, well…this is a shocking thing folks!

I had no inspiration.  I struggled all of December to finish Beautiful Chaos and The Scorpio Races, which I know are definitely NOT horrible books.  But I just couldn’t!  I felt like I didn’t enjoy reading anymore.  And that there was something wrong within my brain.  So when things change and feel differently like that, when a part of you changes, it feels like it will always be that way.  A new way of life, where all of the things have changed, and nothing will change back again.

Okay…I may have been a little melodramatic, but I really couldn’t finish anything I started.  I couldn’t force myself to do it.  And I had other books lined up after, but my OCD would not let me move on without finishing.  Finally, in order to save my sanity and my literary loving soul, I took a break.

And I read nothing.

For the entire month of January.

I got caught up on HIMYM and discovered Dr. Who……but read nothing.

Turns out, that was just what I needed.  Because now, I’m reading up a storm and will have a plethora of reviews to post very soon.  A plethora, people!

Hooray!  I have it back!

So here’s to a new season of Readdicted Reviewers.  The time between my mental constipation and Connie’s graduation (when she can finally be free to read and write to her heart’s content)…so here’s to a fun and crazy time!  Until then, I raise my ereader, and say huzzah!

 

And, of course, Allons-y!

Readdicted Review: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

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Title: Article 5

Author: Kristen Simmons

Genre: YA Dystopian Fiction

Goodreads Book Summary:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Rating:  4 Stars

REVIEW

This is yet another dystopian fiction young adult book, destined to be a series.  Probably a trilogy.  But you know what?  I am TOTALLY okay with that.  The world the author creates is not the same, despite definitely following the rules for a dystopian society.  Ember and Chase are the two main characters.  The story is told from Ember’s point of view.  The story gets going right away, without giving the reader a chance to get to know the characters.  Because of this, I didn’t feel like I understood what was going on with Chase in this opening scene, and why it was important.  There were other characters that seemed like they might come up again, but too many to keep track of because I still didn’t know my main characters yet.  However, I loved how the author unfolded the love story between the two, going between their past and the present.  She started the series right in the middle of their story.

The layout of the book is different, both in how and when action occurs, and how often.  What happens is a surprise and you end up having no idea what will happen next because of this.  Also, the author jumps right in to the story, as though she is skipping a lot of boring stuff that she can detail later throughout the book.  I liked that a lot.  It takes place all over the eastern part of a future U.S. right after a World War III.

Mostly I really liked this book.  But I never became emotionally connected with it, unlike Connie (read her review here), and so for me the book was just okay.  I’m not sure how much I love the characters or what happens.  It all just seemed to go by in a blur.  It is a quick paced book, which is really good.  The setting changed so much that the reader doesn’t really get that stability.  Which is ok, because they characters are traveling.  While the backstory is wonderful and the characters did seem real to me, I still felt like they could have used more work and that the dialogue could have drawn me in better.  All in all, this is a great read and I definitely recommend it.  Especially for lovers of: The Matched Trilogy; The Hunger Games Trilogy; and Delirium and Pandemonium.

COVER

I really like this cover.  Totally head over heals in like with it.  It’s not pretty, but it’s not supposed to be.  So it works.  And HELLO FLANNEL!  I love flannel.  That’s seriously the first thing that drew me to this book.  And at least 72% of why I read it.  The other 28% was Connie not leaving me alone until I read it because she loved it oh so much.

FUN STUFF

Book #2, Breaking Point, will be released on Feb. 2, 2013.  Check out the synopsis on Goodreads here, and make sure you check out Connie’s review which links to the Moral Statutes from the book.  And of course, here’s a link to a book trailer.  Gotta love those!

Readdicted Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

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Title: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Genre: YA Mystery Thriller

Goodreads Summary:

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place—possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire”—a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can’t get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues,” with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined—a world, she’ll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death.

Rating: 3 Stars

This mystery who-done-it story was the first novel written by author Kate Ellison. Before my review, I must say that Kate’s writing is unique, beautiful, and perfectly descriptive.  Each setting within each scene came alive without her overdoing it.  Many authors go on and on for paragraphs about what things look like and so on, and tend to lose me.  I love being absorbed into the settings of the books I read, but it is a very hard balance to achieve.  Too much and it seems like the author is droning on and on and seems fake.  Too little and the reader can’t feel like they are living within the story.  Kate, to me, has mastered the act of saying just enough.  In just a few sentences I feel as if I am there myself.  She also knows how to show and not tell!  Another problem I have with authors is when they are always saying: “She felt sad”   “I am so angry”  “She had never been so happy”.  I mean, yeah that’s great, but it is so much better to show that feeling.  Kate has seemed to be able to use your first person POV of the main character “Lo” along with the setting surrounding her to show what she is feeling.  Kate’s great writing starts at the very beginning of the book, and is honestly the main reason why I picked it up at the library.  Even though I didn’t love-love this story, I will probably always pick up anything written by this author.  Now, on to the review!

Who were the Characters? 

I must say that I have NEVER read characters like these.  It is SO refreshing to read a YA female protagonist that isn’t all dramatic and weepy.  The main character you follow is a girl named Penelope or “Lo”.  What made this character so different was that Lo had OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  When I started reading I thought that her OCD would be what the story would be about.  But to my surprise, although her problem is a constant throughout and interwoven in the story, the plot didn’t surround her Disorder.  It was written artistically as a character trait that influenced many aspects of the main characters life.  The murder mystery and other events that occurred during the story illustrated the disorder well without this seeming like a self-help book.  Even though it was Lo’s OCD that influenced her pursuit of the murder mystery, this book was written not as a book about OCD, but as a murder mystery that sheds some light on living with OCD.  The first would be easy to write, strictly upfront with dramatic and emotional scenes.  The second, involving OCD within a bigger story takes much more ability of showing and not telling, as discussed before.  The author wrote Lo’s compulsions perfectly so each time Lo had to perform one of these it felt real and honest.  You could feel the main characters need beyond all else to perform these compulsions.  I can see how exhausting and frustrating it must be to have to live with this disorder.

The only other real character in the story is Flynt, the homeless artist love interest.  As a reader, I want to not only see the main character fall for the boy, but I want to fall for him also!  And I just didn’t like Flynt that much.  Yeah, he was kind and sweet, but he was also guarded and had too many mood swings.  You do learn a little about how and why he became homeless, but I still feel lost as to who he was.  He never felt like more than a caring stranger to me.  It always felt a little odd that Lo spent so much time with him.  He is not the most honest and to me just feels sort of spotty.  Honestly, if it were me I wouldn’t trust him.  Not because he is homeless, but because I just thought he was a little creepy acting.  Yes, he was drastically different from any other male love interest in YA, but he just wasn’t my thing.  I can’t really say more without revealing some of the plot, so that’s all I will say.

The third, sort of character is Sapphire, the murdered stripper.  The murder mystery surrounding her just wasn’t enough.  I saw everything coming, which was why the story got only three stars.  I also feel as if the author could have led us to get to know Sapphire and who she was much more.  It was almost there, but just not quite.  I feel the parallel between the main character and Sapphire could have been used so much more.  I would have loved to feel like I not only know Lo by the end, but also Sapphire.

What was similar?

The murder mystery plot was quite similar to other stories of this type.  I hate to say it, but I saw every turn coming even from the beginning of the story.  The limited number of characters left really no options as to who could have done it.  It was quite obvious to me throughout the book.  For me, the similarity and predictability of the plot is where this book was lacking.  Which is so frustrating to me, because the author could write so beautifully!  I tried so hard to not predict what was going to happen, but I found myself getting so bored and sleepy because of it!

What was different?

The characters and the writing discussed above were the main differences in the story.  Both were so refreshing and creative.

Where was the setting?

The story takes place in Cleveland.  The author shows the realistic differences between the good parts of Cleveland, where the main character lives, to the bad parts of Cleveland, where the main character visits.

When did this story take place?

Contemporary.  The whole plot seems to happen very fast and in not along period of time.

Why did I like/dislike it?

Obviously, I loved the artistic writing of the author, but was very bored with the plot.  I wanted to like this story more so badly, but just couldn’t give it more than three stars.  The author’s  beautiful writing was the redeeming quality, but I just wanted more.  To me, this book is definitely one that I am glad I didn’t buy and just got from the library.  The cover is awesome, but I would probably never reread this.  Although I didn’t love this book, I can’t wait to read something else by Kate Ellison.

Review by Connie

Readdicted Review: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

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Title: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Summary:

Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger’s most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

Rating: 3 Stars

I went into this read thinking I was going to love it, as I have read The DUFF (review to come), and absolutely loved it.  The writing was not beautiful and well-expressed like other novels such as, Wither, but instead was cute, bubbly, and refreshing.  I usually read a contemp book every couple reads, just to get my mind back on track from reading the more serious, complex dystopian and paranormal.  There isn’t much that could make me not love a contemporary romance such as this, but Keplinger seemed to manage it this time.  My problem?  I did not fall in love with the characters.  I felt no real connection even when the deeper scenes happened.  It wasn’t horrible to read, just isn’t a book I will reread or buy.

Who were the Characters? 

The main character was a cynical, rude, sharp-witted girl named Whitley.  My issue with this character is that there really wasn’t any redeeming qualities about her.  She was slutty, always angry, and snotty.  She did become friends with the other main characters in the story:  her goody-goody (with a history) future step brother, and tag-a-long future step sister Bailey, as well as the gay best friend Harrison.  Whitley is a character I would probably never be friends with or approach in real life, as she was UNAPPROACHABLE.  I don’t see why I would want to read a character like this.  The typical “there’s a reason she’s the way she is” happened in this story, and although her situation did suck, I couldn’t help but think “Oh, boo hoo” and not care that much. 

Another issue I had was that the other characters who I actually liked and wanted to know more about – Nathan and Harrison – the readers don’t get to know much about.  The author  just skimmed the surface of these characters.  Everything in this book just seemed superficial.

What was different?

Honestly, not much.  It was the typical YA “I’m a bad girl with an issue” contemporary.  It was basic and plain, with no extra frills.  I don’t necessarily hate the idea of an author writing a basic story, but if it is done I need to love something else about the story – the characters, the setting, the relationships.  But none of these were significant enough to make me more than just shrug when someone asks if I liked this book.

The only difference from other stories was the fact that the love interest was the step-brother.  This could have been heavily played upon to create a more “forbidden love” aspect to the story, but yet again it was not used to the author’s advantage.

What was similar?

Everything. The setting, the characters, the plot.  Although unoriginal and uneventful, I still didn’t absolutely hate the read though. 

Where was the setting?

Same place as the DUFF I believe, wherever that is.  I can’t remember.

When did this story take place?

Again, contemporary story.  Takes place during the summer before the main characters goes off to college.

Why did I like/dislike it?

Overall, I only gave this story 3 stars as I felt it was unnecessarily over sexed.  Yes, The DUFF also is all about teen sexuality, but it is explained, fits in with the story, and understandable.  The DUFF tackled the difficult subject with humor, character progression, and reason.  This book just seemed forced, as though the author is trying to repeat the success of The DUFF.  To make it more believable, perhaps the author could have added more depth to the character of Whitley.  When the traumatic events occurred in the book, she cared, but not that much.  Her “aha!” moment was underwhelming.  Her reasoning for why she was the way she was just felt sort of blah to me.   The story was not unreadable, but it also was not without its flaws.  It was truly just “okay”.

Review by Connie

 

Long Time No See!

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So, as you all can probably tell I, Connie, have been gone for a few weeks.  I went on vacation to see my boyfriend’s family, but came home with a Fiance!  That’s right folks, he proposed!!!! 

I was totally surprised and caught off guard, as this was the first time that I was meeting his family during our 3 year relationship, due to never being able to afford to jump on the plane to go visit them.  Finally, though we saved up enough money and went to Milwaukee, WI. 

He proposed to me right on the lake front in the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum.  There are huge bay windows in the contemporary building that look out to the lake, with an ornate glass and white marble ceiling above you. 

After a few family pictures, it was our turn to take a picture of us two.  His family took a few shots and then he pulled me back and said he wanted one more picture.  When I turned around, he was on one knee!  He asked me to marry him and I was so surprised I said, “Are you serious?” At least 6 times.  I had been waiting for this for a long time, and couldn’t believe it was finally here.

So, I am back now and will hopefully get a few reviews and stuff up soon.  I’ve been a little behind on my reading due to looking up wedding stuff, but I am trying to get everything back on track so I can do it all.

Here’s a picture of my ring and our hands on the day:

New Cover Release: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

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The release of this cover today was SUCH good timing for me.  I just finished the first book of this series, Under the Never Sky, and absolutely loved it.  I give the book 5 stars, but you will find out more about my review soon when I post it. 

Just to give you a hint, although the book follows somewhat typical YA fashion, I fell in love with the characters.  Having such well-built character development makes anything similar just fall away.  Basically, if you are going to do YA of this genre the only way to make it stand out is for everything in the book – the romance, the world, the dangers – seem real and not forced.  And the first book accomplished that.  I have high hopes for this next installment!

Now to the cover.  I’m not ooh-and-awwing about how beautiful it is, just because it is just as beautiful as the first and nothing really surprised me.  I heard that Perry was going to be on the front, and I’m so thankful he is!  He looks very similar to the guy used in the book trailer for Under the Never Sky which you can see here.

The only reason I’m not freaking out is because this cover is what I expected.  I’m not let down in any way though, because this is exactly what I wanted!  I love it when books in a series have similar covers and cover art, but are different coordinating colors.  This way, they look like they go together on my shelf when I do buy them.  A good illustration of a series who doesn’t do this would be the Wither series:

First book, Gor-ge-ous.

Second cover: What is this?   The girl looks high and the whole picture is just ugly.  The background color somewhat matches and will look okay next to the first book, but the bright green lettering?  Ick.  Also, I get that the book is about a carnival so that’s why the random horse is on the side, but I just think its cheesy.  And ugly.

And the last cover release:  WTF is this.  The BRIGHT GREEN would look horrible against the last two, standing out awkwardly.  The placement of the various objects just doesn’t look beautiful and natural like the first cover.  The girl just looks uncomfortable and doesn’t draw me to the cover.   

Hey, I could be wrong and when you hold these three together it looks great, but from pictures it just doesn’t cut it for me.  If only the covers were as beautiful and unique as Lauren DeStefano’s writing.  In my opinion, the covers just don’t do her justice.

But so far, the Never Sky series looks like a series I will buy not just for the writing, but because it’ll look so pretty on my shelf!

Also, I love what Perry is wearing on the cover.  Maybe it’s just me, but I have a weak spot for guys wearing stuff on their wrists – watches, arm bands, etc.  And lo and behold look what he’s wearing?  May I say Yip, with a side of Ee. 

The tag line is somewhat revealing about the book, but expected.  It makes me even more excited for the next book, but I can’t say why or I may reveal too much for those of you who haven’t read the first book.

If I had to rate this cover based on our rating scale, I would probably give it 4 stars.  Why not 5?  Well, I guess for the sole fact that it just didn’t surprise me at all or leave me in a pleasant shock.  But, I did love it anyway!

By Connie