TBR >> Katie’s February Reads

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Here is a list of what I’m reading this month.  A bit long, for such a short month, but I’m already flying through them.  Look for reviews soon.  But we’ve been a tad busy lately working on a new look.  You might have noticed the blog change.  We are looking forward to releasing something much bigger soon!  Look for a preview soon!

In the meantime, if you’ve read any of these, leave a comment below!

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles) Book Review

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer YA book review

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Across The Universe Book Review

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) book review

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis

Readdicted Review of Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

Readdicted Reviewers Fuse book review Julianna Baggott

Fuse (Pure #2) by Julianna Baggott

Readdicted book review of Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano

Readdicted book review of Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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: Matched by Ally Condie

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Readdicted Reviewers

Title:  Matched (Matched #1)

Author: Ally Condie

Genre: YA Fiction (Futuristic)

Goodreads Book Summary:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Rating: 4 Stars

REVIEW

So it wasn’t exactly the same as Hunger Games or Delirium…etc. type of books, but there are a lot of similarities.  The world society is utopian, although somehow it reads very similar to dystopian books.  There is a parallel there.  This futuristic utopian society, in which everyone’s basic needs are cared for, is also one in which your basic rights are taken away.  Cassia is a teenage girl at the brink of adulthood and she has to make a choice between doing what is expected and breaking the cycle.  This is the same as a lot of books.  And unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot distinguishing it…not a lot in the book making it super unique.  Therefore, the book doesn’t stand out.

I love Ally Condie’s writing style.  It’s lyrical, evenly paced, and enjoyable.  The book moved at a good pace and I loved watching Ky and Cassia fall for each other in their stolen moments.  Xander was a great constant character for book one.  He was the one Cassia could always fall back on, her childhood friend.  And it seems that he is an open book and not hiding a thing.  His character is easy to understand, and he doesn’t seem to question anything.  On the other hand, Ky was a very interesting character for me, and one of the main reasons I wanted to keep reading the series was to find out more about him.  I enjoyed Cassia’s personality, I never found her annoying.  She goes through the same-old growth from point A to point B that many main characters in YA fiction do, but I liked reading it and watching it unfold.  It’s not like this book is something grand, or something mind bending.  It won’t change society, or solve world peace.  It is meant for entertainment, and I was thoroughly entertained by it.

I definitely recommend this book for people who love the writing style of Maggie Stiefvater.  I read a lot of bad reviews of this book, and I would just tell you that if this book sounds interesting to you, read it.  The pace isn’t furious, but it isn’t slow.  It is well-written, and the world is well-developed.  I gave it 4 stars, but I’m telling you it did not disappoint me at all and I definitely want to own this series.

COVER

I’d be lying if the cover isn’t what made me come back to this book time and time again.  The release of Matched coincided with me purchasing a Nook, and the ebook was a couple bucks more than all the other books on my to-read list, so I kept putting it off.  The ratings were also just a tad lower.  But this cover is pretty, and symbolic, and clean and simple.  Finally, I gave the book a try, and I’m very glad I did.

FOR FUN

Disney won the movie rights for Matched, which could be interesting if it amounts to anything.  Go here to see the official book trailer.  Go here to see an unofficial, fan-made trailer made of a bunch of clips from random movies and shows that actually works out pretty well.  (Just goes to show that music can make anything awesome)

Readdicted Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

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Title: Pure

Author: Julianna Baggott

Genre: Dystopian/Apocalyptic YA Fiction

Goodreads Book Summary: 

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Rating:  5 Stars

REVIEW

There are two main characters who seem to have equal weight of importance in the story.  Pressia…she has a doll head fused to her hand.  Hello awesome!  Such a flawed character!  And Partridge.  He is perfect, but imperfect in his perfection.  There were plenty of peripheral characters, and they all have unique qualities and compliment the story.

This book was a such a great contrast to what I have been reading.  It is set in the future, after major world-wide destruction leaves everyone deformed and fused.  Fused with other people, objects, buildings, even the ground.  The only people that were saved live in a giant dome that was created to protect mankind from the onslaught of the many super viruses.

I loved this book.  It is dark, but not in a dark way.  It is grungy, the setting dusty and you feel like mankind has really gone down the drain.  But of course there is hope.  And hope is an amazing thing to read about, especially when the characters’ lives have become so desolate.  I found this book to be well-written, almost poetic at times.  Like an allegory…it seems almost metaphorical for what life can be like for many people today.  It is completely unreal and yet written in a way that makes you believe in it.  I didn’t get in to the book at first, it took a little work.  But then I just couldn’t stop.  It jarred me, made me cry, gave me hope, and kept me reading constantly until I finished it with a sense of anticipation for the next book in the series.  Pure was so different, and I love it when books are different and good and give me all the things I want.  This book was full of action, had fantastic bad guys, and is definitely worth your time.  It is hopeful, sad, and deep.

COVER

This cover is what drew me to the book, and the description of what the book was actually about made me hesitate for awhile before reading it.  But I kept coming back to the beautiful cover.  It drew me in at the bookstore, at the library, and even online.  If you don’t love this cover you are weird.

I’m probably just joking about that.

AWESOMESAUCE

Fox 2000 acquired rights for the movie…here’s a trailer, although I think this is just a book trailer and not for the actual movie that may or may not be made.

This is the author’s website.  The second book, Fuse, comes out February 2013, and I can’t wait!  The cover is just as beautiful as the cover of Pure.  Go here for news and lots of good stuff the author has put together.  I love it when authors are actually online.

Readdicted Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Readdicted Reviewers

Title: Beautiful Darkness

Authors:  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Genre: YA Supernatural Fiction

Goodreads Book Summary:

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

Sometimes life-ending.

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

Rating: 4 Stars

REVIEW

This book was a great read, a good second book in the series.  It left me wanting to read more, and glad I could dive right into the third.  It was fast paced and there was a lot to keep me interested and I had a hard time putting it down.  But at some points throughout the book, I was disappointed with the writers’ ability to explain.  My biggest complaint is that yet again, as with the first book Beautiful Creatures, I found myself making a lot of assumptions.  I was also realizing that some of the things I thought were described one way in Beautiful Creatures were described differently in Beautiful Darkness.  This may have been my perception, but it is the author’s job to give the reader an experience.  If I have to stop and question anything, I blame the author.  Usually, it’s not my fault this happens.

What is amazing about these books is the amount of detail for each character, and for the setting.  The people come alive, and the town of Gatlin is like another character.  It is clear that the authors have experienced the South and have done their research.  The mix of a little history in with it makes me very happy as well.  I loved the introduction of the new characters and the further development of Amma and Macon and Abraham.  Spending so much time in the Tunnels didn’t take away from the richness of the story.  In fact, I loved the Tunnels in the first book of this series and I really wanted to know more.  Many questions were answered as well, while giving me more information in the story, they also raised more questions.  The story is building, not repeating.  The darkness in this series doesn’t infiltrate Ethan, which is why I love him as the main character.  I found myself so frustrated with Lena, and yet sympathetic at the same time.  And the ending made me salivate for the next book.  Again I loved the casual first-person point of view.  Instead of just hearing Ethan’s thoughts, I felt like we were conversing, and he was telling me this compelling story.

I am still not sure if these are buy-worthy…meaning hard copy purchase.  There’s something wonderful about having your favorite books all sitting together on a bookshelf.  So far, I have the ebooks.  They make it easier for me to read wherever I find myself, but at the same time, I am so ready to read a real book again!

COVER

Again the cover is lame.  I do love the font, and the purpose of the cover is achieved.  Readable author names, the title stands out, and the covers all tie together while still having an individual message.  This one shows stairs surrounded in darkness, and most of the book takes place in the Tunnels.  Still, there’s something so blah about the picture behind the text that makes me want to puke.  I do like the different color choices for the text…although……just wait for my review of Beautiful Chaos…..

AWESOME FUNNESS

Here’s a link to the two trailers out for the movie that comes out early 2013.  When I rewatch them, I get all excited and goosebumpy. Hooray!

Readdicted Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Title: Beautiful Creatures

Authors:  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Genre: YA Supernatural Fiction

Goodreads Book Summary:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Rating: 4 Stars

REVIEW

This book either gets rave reviews, or tanked reviews.  I’m completely convinced it’s because some people don’t have patience.  Because when I started this book, it was hard to get into.  I liked the narration, I liked that it was from a guy’s perspective (even though I usually can’t get into books with guy narrators as well), I loved the language and the setting and how incredibly well written the characters were.  But it took awhile for me to get there.  At first, the characters seemed either cliche or flat.  And the drama just wasn’t enough.  Or too much.  Definitely one or both of those things.  By about the middle of the book, however, I was pretty into it, and I flew through the last bit.  Anyone that says this book is not well-written probably didn’t finish it or something.  It is different, but that is what I love.  I love love love different.  And I think a lot of people like what they like and don’t want to see anything different.

The book’s main character is Ethan Wate.  And then there’s Lena, the caster girl he falls for.  They have an unexplained connection.  Ethan’s best friend, Link, was probably the flattest character for me.  I felt like I couldn’t figure out his motives, or what he wanted, or why he was loyal and if that was really what he was.  At least at first.  There are a ton of supporting characters, and Amma is my favorite.  The character development is one of the best things about this book.

Because this book is written in first-person, and a pretty casual first-person at that, some details feel left out.  If Ethan knows something, it isn’t explained that well.  So some things I was just guessing, and later in the book or in the series, I realized I was all wrong in some of my assumptions.  No reader wants to feel like an idiot, so that’s where the star gets dropped.  There were a lot of questions I had, a lot of things that went unexplained and even unaddressed.  Things that if I was a character in the story, I would have said, “um, duh…what about this?”  But I was also aware that this is a series, so I calmed the heck down and ignored it the best I could.

I am well on my way into book three and so glad the fourth just came out last month.  I meant to read these by October, but the library gave me other books instead, and I ended up just getting the ebooks of them so I could read them now.

COVER

The font is fancy and fun, and yet still readable.  The author names stand out but don’t take away from the cover.  The background is BORING though.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad there isn’t a girl with a flowy dress on the front, but the trees just aren’t creepy enough.  I would’ve enjoyed something more like the trees from the first Fallen book, but without the girl.  These trees just look like a negative image and they bother me.  I do like the purple of the font and how it stands out from the black, and I like how the cover is simple and not overdone.  So mostly good job on it.  It will catch your eye but not annoy you too much.  Can’t ask for too much more than that, but it isn’t art.

AWESOME FUNNESS

Here’s a link to the two trailers out for the movie that comes out early 2013.  Yeah, I’m so going to this movie!  Also, I want to know what that song is in the trailer…cuz holy heckles it gave me goosebumps!

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