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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Allegiant by Veronica Roth >> Readdicted Review

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young adult book review

Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)

Author: Veronica Roth

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Goodreads Book Summary:  

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW:

Oh my lands ho this book took me on a roller coaster ride.  Even though I wasn’t entirely pleased with Insurgent, I couldn’t help but dive right into Allegiant.  I wanted to know what was going to happen, and how on earth the whole series could end with one book.

I was sorely disappointed.

It seems my biggest problem with Insurgent (spoiler-ish: a disproportional number of Tris’s friends and acquaintances die horrible deaths) continues throughout Allegiant, even though there aren’t many people left.  Okay, definitely not as many people die, but if you talk percentages…it all seems quite pointless.  Maybe that’s the point.  But it’s just not that kind of book.

I felt a little like Ms. Roth wanted to one-up the ending of Mockingjay by Ms. Collins.  Well, if that’s her goal, then success.  She definitely took it a step farther.  Except…

Except no feelings were invoked.  Instead of being full of wrath or sadness or even joy, I had already become numb to the book.  I was reading quickly because I wanted to know how it would end, but I was already left disconnected by the setting changes and the point-of-view switching.

Speaking of…

The first two books are from Tris’s point of view, first person.  So when Four is suddenly thrown into the mix, but they are still interacting, I found myself confused often when reading from Four’s perspective.  I’d be halfway through a chapter of his before realizing it had switched.  It disrupted my reading experience, it did not enhance it.  But it is imperative that she does this in order to end the book in the way that she chose….and I will say no more.

So.  While the writing is engaging and well-done and the characters are interesting, I found myself very disappointed that the series went in this direction.  If you have read the first two, of course you will want to read this book to finish the series.  It’s not that bad.  But.

I would not recommend this series to a friend.  I’d tell them to pass it by.  There are enough interesting YA books out there to pass this one up.  And the movie will just be a movie to them.  They won’t have to get mad at the details left out.  Instead they can just enjoy it for what it is, and leave it at that.  Invest your time and love elsewhere.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore >> Readdicted Review by Katie

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Graceling young adult fantasy book

Title: Graceling

(Graceling Realm #1)

Author: Kristin Cashore

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Goodreads Book Summary:  In the Seven Kingdoms, people born with an extreme skill, “Grace”, are feared and exploited. Katsa herself despises hers, killing. Her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, commands her to punish and torture his enemies. Prince Po, with combat skills, becomes her friend, and she learns terrible truths about her Grace and a secret hidden far away that could destroy the realm.

Rating: 4 Stars

MY REVIEW:

This book was quite the switch-up from the Under the Never Sky series. I have to say that Kristin Cashore is an incredibly talented writer. I was pulled into this story, despite it’s zoomed out point of view, and couldn’t put it down. The plot-line is intriguing and complex. I loved not knowing exactly what would happen. The characters are rich and well-thought out and they stay true to themselves, even in their growth.

I would recommend this book to readers ages 15+. There are a few things, violent and sexual, that is inappropriate for younger readers, and it surprises me how much this book is marketed as a children’s book because of that. Well, that and I don’t really see children enjoying it much.

Also, there’s a map, and I love maps in books! LOVE them!

Our main character is quite different from most, she isn’t relatable.  She’s hard on herself, but not emotional.  She is highly skilled, and it takes a long time for us to see her true character.  I like that she changed as the book went along, she grew and matured, but at the same time, she never broke character.  She never acted outside herself.  She was Katsa, through and through.  The adventures she goes through keep you reading from page one through the end.

Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love Po.  He’s the kind of male character I find myself drooling over, and then wiping the book clean.  Oops.

This book is the first in a trilogy of sorts.  It’s thrilling and the world Kristin Cashore creates is believable and real.  It kind of reminds me of a middle-earth type world, like something that could possibly be very far in our past, if you let yourself pretend.

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: 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)

Book Haul >> Katie’s December Reads

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Wow.  I’m not going to apologize straight up for deserting the blog for a few months.  Life happens.  Connie was pretty clear that her accelerated nursing school program is so intense that she wouldn’t be around until her next break.  She has no time to read.  I, on the other hand, do have time to read.  So what on earth have I been doing?

Let me tell you a little about myself.  I tend to pour myself into things.  I spend hours on one thing a time.  What this means is when I have photography sessions, I ignore everything else until that session is done.  Except my kids.  Probably.  Sometimes.  This month I have been participating in NaNoWriMo.  Not only did I write a novel (while I’m still working on the last few thousand words to hit 50,000…..I had to start on the next in the series because I finished the first draft of book one), I wrote another half of a novel at the same time, and mapped out another series.  When my brain turns on, it can’t be stopped.  I have to wring out all the creative juices possible to get everything I can because I know that after an insane amount of awesome pouring out, I always have a dry spell.  My dry spell actually started last week, right around Thanksgiving, and coincided with a lot of sickness and my little brother getting hospitalized after Thanksgiving dinner when his bowels shut down.  No lie.  Can’t make this stuff up.

In October, I was in the ultimate dry spell.  Nothing happened for me.  I couldn’t bring myself to get on here and write crappy reviews for all of the great books I’ve been reading.  I can’t stand to do half of anything.  But now I feel like I owe it to our followers to put stuff out there.  So I am committing myself to doing that.  For you guys.  Aw.

 

Here’s what I’m planning on reading in December:

 

YA Fiction Reviewers

Reached by Ally Condie

Readdicted Reviewers

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Readdicted Reviewers

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Readdicted Reviewers YA Book Reviews

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Readdicted Reviewers

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Readdicted Reviewers YA Book Reviews

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak