Top Ten Highly Anticipated Books of 2014

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And by highly anticipated, we mean the biting our nails, unable to sit still kind..  So any ARCs you want to swing our way will be immediately devoured and reviewed honestly and fairly and quite happily.  MMMk?

10.

jodi meadowsInfinite (Newsoul #3) by Jodi Meadows

9.

amy plum

After The End (After The End #1) by Amy Plum

8.

everneath ya fiction series

Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton

7.

anna and the french kiss stephanie perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna And The French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins

6.

leigh bardugo the grisha seriesRuin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

5.

lauren oliver ya author

Panic by Lauren Oliver

4.

shatter me ya series

3.

NO COVER YET!

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

2.

under the never sky

Into The Still Blue (Under The Never Sky #3) Veronica Rossi

1.

marissa meyer young adult fiction

Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

Apparently 2014 is the year of the threes….so many exciting books coming out.  Also some really great starts, we’re hoping we are swept away by another great year of excellent writing and stories that take us to new worlds, into memories, and outside of ourselves.

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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.

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!

Book Hauls >> Katie’s August Reads

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For August, I want a little of everything.  I’ve thrown in some dystopian, apocalyptic, contemporary, mythology, etc. etc.  Maybe that’s what I always do.  I tend to be scatterbrained.  I also like having a different type of book to read when I finish whatever I was just reading…for two reasons.  One to give my massive brain a break, and two, so I don’t compare too critically with what I just read.  If I read Article 5 right after I read Delirium, right after I read Matched, right after I read The Hunger Games…well it would all just blend together, and I wouldn’t see the uniqueness each book brings.  Instead I would get all hissy, pissy, and I would nitpick.  You don’t want that.  So here are my August reads.  Let me know what you think!

readdicted reviewers book reviews

Pure by Julianna Baggott

readdicted reviewers book reviews

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

readdicted reviewers book review

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

readdicted reviewers

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

readdicted reviewers

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter

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Fever by Lauren DeStefano

readdicted reviewers

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

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Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

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Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Both Starcrossed and Article 5 have been reviewed by Connie here on the Readdicted Reviewers blog already, and as I have already finished one of these, I can tell you right now our tastes are definitely different.  So don’t worry, they won’t be the same.  I know you were worried there for a minute.

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: If I Stay, by Gayle Foreman

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Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)

Author: Gayle Forman

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Goodreads Book Summary:

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Who were the Characters?

Mia is the main character. She is a musician, probably headed toward Julliard. She is a mostly normal teenager, almost done with high school, and thrust into a horrifying and delayed moment of decision where she must choose whether to stay for her friends and family, or go and rest. She has reasons for both.

Mia’s family: each distinct, and a big part of Mia’s life
Mia’s boyfriend: a well-defined character, and a hot musician (always nice!)

I felt such a connection with her family, but I couldn’t get connected to her. Probably a personal thing. I liked everyone else, and it didn’t stop the reading process. I realize that not every character is going to be like me, and that not every character is supposed to be relatable and likeable. I loved all the sarcasm, the attitude, and the music. Her love story is beautiful, and I really liked Adam. All of the love and connectiveness that surrounds her story of growing up with her parents, their friends, and her little brother fills in the little cracks in your heart and then bursts it into little pieces over and over. But in a good way.

What’s different?

A story about death, dying, and the life of our main character. She is in the moment of decision, whether to stay or go. She is hanging in the balance, as it were. The book is outstanding, stunning, heartbreaking, poignant. It is different in its characters, its plot, its writing, and it is a great book so read it already.

What’s similar?

I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, especially lately, so I don’t have much to compare it to. Perhaps there are a lot of things going on in Oregon lately. But it seems to me that other than being something that takes place or could take place now, it is unique because of the storyline and the writing.

Where is the setting?

This book makes me want to move to Oregon. Which I kind of already do, but I was just in love with the setting. I was like, why do you want to go to New York? It is awesome here! Of course, that question kind of becomes moot pretty quickly. Most of the book actually takes place in a hospital in Portland, although there are a lot of flashbacks into the main character’s life as she was growing up and falling in love.

When does this story take place?

This is a contemporary piece of fiction. So now-ish.

Why do I like/dislike it?

I loved this book and I highly recommend. I don’t know if I would buy it or not, it depends on the next book in the series, which I am very excited to read. My biggest problem with this book was the layout. Besides the big horror that happens pretty quickly, it was just back and forth, present and a memory or two, then back to the present, then back in the past. It started to bore me a little, even though I was so into the story and what was going on. I began to feel like I was a record, catching and stuck, and not able to move onward.

The thing I liked the most was that the author got the horrible thing that you know is coming out of the way quickly. Then after you know what happens, you get to know the characters. Doing it this way made me cry pretty much through the entire book. It was so good though. The writing was great: the descriptions unique and well thought out, the characters were developed and real, and the past scenes were so vivid and strong.

{katie}

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