Eve by Anna Carey

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve by Anna Carey

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult  
Trade paperback: 318 pages  
Genre: Dystopian  
Publisher: HarperTeen  
Release date: December 1, 2011

Series: Eve, #1

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Helen

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust…and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Eve totally fell flat for me. Although the basic premise actually had the potential to be really interesting: in a future dystopia, girls and boys are isolated and raised separately. The girls are raised in an academy where they are taught that when they reach their 18th birthday, they will move across the river and choose a trade to work in for the rest of their lives. Boys are raised in their own separate work camps. The girls are taught to believe that men are evil and the only man who is honest and trustworthy is their King.
 
But soon, Eve finds out a terrible secret about the world around her. The girls aren’t going where they’ve been told after their 18th birthdays. They are headed for a much darker fate. When Eve discovers the horrible truth, she piggybacks on another girl’s escape plan to get out while she can. The two girls continue on a strangely paced, and much-too-convenient path that leads them to Caleb, the predictable love interest who will show Eve that boys aren’t truly evil. Yawn.
 
Eve’s character was frustrating for me. I didn’t outright dislike her, but I didn’t feel any true sense of connection with her either. She was sort of wishy-washy. Eve suddenly upends her entire world view in about 3 minutes and leaves the school and all she has ever known immediately. And yet, she doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of guilt or inner turmoil about having left behind the rest of the girls she grew up with. She mentions it here and there, but overall, I needed her to be much more interested in rescuing the other girls she left behind in order for me to actually like her and not feel that she was shallow and self-serving.
 
Next comes another so-called plot twist involving Eve and the King of the land – problem is, it is completely under-developed and makes virtually no sense. It was a poor attempt to create drama, and it really just fell off the page as superficial and not at all probable. The ‘why’ and ‘how’ are never explained, and it just reads like a very obvious plot device to move the story towards the end. Unfortunately, this ill-built plot twist becomes the main driving force – it is what is supposed to drive the series and really ramp up the reader’s adrenaline and pique their interest.
 
Here’s the problem – it just didn’t work. It was kinda boring, kinda out of nowhere, didn’t really make all that much sense, and completely lacked any sort of explanation.
 
The entire book read like a first draft – that’s really the best way I can think to describe it. The skeleton of a great story was there, but the execution was way off. This book could have been great with a few more critical eyes on it and maybe a little more back story and explanation as to why the world has gotten to the why it has (and also what the future plan is?).
 
I was expecting to love this series, but unfortunately, I don’t feel very excited about continuing on with it. I will likely read the next book in the series, since I already own it, and hope that the writing and world-building have been better developed in the coming instalments. Fingers crossed!
 
 
 

helen

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The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Book stats:  
Reading level: Young Adult  
Hardback: 323 pages  
Genre: Dystopian  
Publisher: HarperTeen  
Release date: April 23, 2013

Series: The Selection, #2

Source: Won

Reviewed by: Helen

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository  

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

        

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

      

 
Guys, I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved this book. The Elite was so much more than I was expecting. Knowing it is the 2nd book in a trilogy, I admit, I had my doubts. I’ve never been very good friends with all the ‘Book 2’s out there. More than anything, I’ve been let down by them time and time again and left feeling as though they were placeholders for the action I really wanted to get to in Book 3.
 
Thankfully, the same is not so with The Elite! The Elite delivered everything I could have asked for and more. Right where we left her at the end of The Selection, America is still torn between Maxon and Aspen, and doubting her ability to lead the nation that has treated her so poorly. As with the first book, the first two-thirds of the book are mainly dedicated to setting up for the ending. It may seem slowly paced to some, but the characters really shined even more in The Elite, and made the time fly by. We get to see much more of the back-story behind the other girls still remaining in the palace, and learn more about their individual relationships with Maxon as well.
 
If you weren’t a fan of The Selection, I could easily see how this slow and steady type of pacing might ward you off from The Elite. Personally, I love the pacing and the way that the plot seems to unwind around you without you ever really noticing until suddenly your heart is pounding and you can’t bear to put the book down.
 
I also loved getting a bit more history on the country of Illea itself, and the people that built it. I could have done with even more information on this one – but it was enough to keep me invested and feeling like I had a good idea of how things had come about in the country’s early years. We don’t get a whole lot of information about why the country is constantly at war, or how things are developing on the outside, but I have some theories of my own. In the interest of not having spoilers, I’ll keep them to myself for now, but I absolutely cannot wait for The One to come out so I can find out if I’m right!
 
There were times while reading that I was definitely frustrated with America’s conflicting emotions. I kept wanting her to make a choice and be honest with everyone involved. But even still, something about this story and these characters keeps me up at night fan-girling. I completely switched teams about halfway through this book. And then about twenty pages later, I switched back… but then I came down firmly on Team Maxon. Woo! Now, if only the third book, The One could get here quickly!
 
 

Giveaway: The Program by Suzanne Young

To celebrate the recent release of The Program on April 30th, Simon & Schuster is offering 2 copies of the novel to two Team Tynga’s Reviews readers!

More about the book:

The Program (The Program, #1)Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Visit the Official Site of The Program
Visit Suzanne Young’s Official Site
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Two (2) winners will receive A copy of The Program, a graciosity of Simon & Schuster!

Giveaway open to US addresses only

Ends May 23rd, 2013.

To enter, fill the rafflecopter form!

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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Reprint Paperback: 406 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: February 8, 2005

Series: Uglies #1

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The Uglies series has more than 3 million books in print, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and spent more than fifty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Now all four books feature fresh new covers and will reach an even wider audience.

Tally’s adventures begin in Uglies, where she learns the truth about what life as a Pretty really means. She rebels against the surgery that will make her a Pretty, but ultimately succumbs. In Pretties, Tally has forgotten all about her Ugly life, and when she’s reminded, she has a hard time listening. And what little’s left of the old Tally is further compromised in Specials, because Tally has been transformed into a fierce fighting machine. But when she’s offered a chance to forever improve civilization, will she be able to overcome her brainwashing? The answer is evident years later in Extras, after the Pretty regime has ended. Boundless human creativity, new technologies, and old dangers have been unleashed upon the world. But fame and popularity can be just as dangerous as extreme beauty…..

This review is going to be short and sweet for many reasons. The first is that this book is one of the books that got me reading and I decided to re-read it instantly and loved it even more, so I wholeheartedly believe that I’ll be unable to write a truly cohesive review without just gushing about it. Secondly, this book is indescribable. And thirdly, it has so many amazing plot twists that I really want to ruin absolutely nothing for you, as a reader.

The story starts when Tally travels to see her once best friend, Peris. The problem is Peris is a pretty now and Tally still has 3 months before her Pretty transformation that takes place when she is of age. Peris was extremely annoyed with Tally visiting him without waiting three months because as a Pretty, he’s sort of become superficial both inside and out. Their sense of true friendship is gone with the removal of all his imperfections, even the little scar on his hand that marked them as bloodmates. This is the first of many instances in the story where Tally realizes being Pretty isn’t all it cracks up to be. It changes you as a person, not just the physical you. But this is a world where the government believes that making everyone look similar via the Pretty process will get rid of fighting and many other things—so Tally suddenly begins challenging the beliefs that she held so dear for so many years.

When her sixteenth birthday arrives with her transformation day, Tally learns she must spy on a runaway in order to follow through with this operation. Problem? The Special Circumstances Team is creepy and pure evil and Shay was once Tally’s friend who truly does not want to become a Pretty. To put it simply, I love Tally as a character. She struggles emotionally and with discovering what is right and what is wrong. She is swayed by society, than swayed by her own opinions. She’s realistic and that is why she’ll always be among my favorite characters. This series never gets old to me because of her and the many transformations she makes throughout these novels.

I also like how this book thinks. It obviously delivers several messages about society and judgment of others and such messages really make you think. In truth, Tally lives in a world obsessed with good looks and becoming Pretty. Isn’t that somewhat scarily similar to our society today? Hers is just taken to an entirely new extreme. Food for thought.

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The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2) julie Kagawa review

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian/Paranormal
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: April 30, 2013

Series: Blood of Eden #2

Source: NetGalley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

Leaving Eden, a safe haven where humans aren’t ruled by vampires, and Zeke behind, to rescue her Sire wasn’t a difficult decision to make for Allison. It was a painful one though. After everything she went through along side her human friend, Allie has very strong feelings for him but vampires and humans aren’t meant to be together. He is safe now, and Kanin is being tortured by a psychopath. There’s no way she could ignore his call.

Extremely exciting, The Eternity Cure is a sequel that did not disappoint. When I finished the first book, I truly had no idea where Julie Kagawa would take us next, and which characters we’d meet again, and I have to say I am very pleased with her decisions. Allie and Kanin are at the center of the plot line, no surprise there, but *slight spoiler* I did not expect Zeke and Jackal to be present. The latter also held a really big role and he is the biggest surprise of all!

Allie is hanging on to her humanity by the skin of her teeth, fighting her demon every step of her quest, and meeting an old friend along her journey puts her determination to the test. I really loved seeing firsthand how she fights for control and strives to beat the monster down. She almost steps onto the dark side multiple times and I’m seriously wondering how long she’s gonna hold on. Jackal isn’t helping of course, taunting her on every occasion and surprisingly I truly liked him in this book. I hear you all saying ‘say what??’ yes, yes my friends, wait and see for yourself! He embraces his demon side and is proud of it, but his sense of humour and questionable commitment somehow spoke to me. Zeke is sweet as always but acquired a more rugged quality and I loved it. He really broke my heart near the end – twice – and I can’t wait to see the repercussions of his last actions. I was extremely glad we got to know more about Kanin, at last, because he left a strong impression on me in The Immortal Rules and I’m happy to say he lived up to my expectations.

I felt engaged throughout the whole story and the plot line is partly responsible for it. Allie’s journey, to find her sire, save him and then safe the consequences, and Sarren, was very exciting and action-packed. Kagawa threw more than one curved-ball our way, and each one surprised me. You think you know a character and his or her faith, and bam, you’re wrong. I loved that I was kept on the edge of my seat from the first to the very last page. The emotional rollercoaster was sometimes hard to bare and I will blame Julie Kagawa for a new white hair or two.

I thought I would die from suspense after I read the last chapter, obviously I survived, but barely… lol Such cliff-hangers should simply be illegal and I hope I have to chance to get an early copy of Blood of Eden #3 because I don’t know how I will wait this long.

The Blood of Eden series is a very unique one because it blends dystopian and paranormal genre perfectly. Set in a world where humans created zombie-like monstrosity, while trying to find a cure to a virus that almost wiped them off the face of the earth, and Vampires are ruling and treating humans like cattle, the fight for survival is a daily agenda. Julie Kagawa set the bar really high with the first book and the second book was up to par and so i am obligated to insist you give this series a chance!

Read an excerpt

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Naturals blog tour: Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt + giveaway!

Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt

Book stats:
Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 400 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: July 3, 2012

Series: Lost Souls #1

Source: Review copy from Rockstar Book Tours

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Life is bleak but uncomplicated for sixteen-year-old Tess, living in a not-too-distant future where the government, faced with humanity’s extinction, created the Chosen Ones, artificial beings who are extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

When Tess begins work at Templeton, a Chosen Ones training facility, she meets James, and the attraction is immediate in its intensity, overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to Templeton than Tess ever knew. Can she stand against her oppressors, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?

How had I not heard of this author before I saw the Rockstar Book Tours announcement for this review tour? CHOSEN ONES is a wonderful start to Tiffany Truitt’s Lost Souls trilogy, a set of young adult dystopian novels set in a very disturbing North America. It’s one of the gloomiest books I’ve read in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The worldbuilding is probably the most outstanding part of this novel; Truitt has created a dark, undemocratic society that I definitely wouldn’t want to live in. The country has been divided and wage war using chosen ones, male soldiers who are engineered, not born naturally. They have special gifts and fight for the naturals, who serve them and live a stark existence outside of the chosen ones’ compounds. Tessa, the protagonist of this trilogy, is sent to work at Templeton, one such compound, after her sister dies and Tessa is forced to assume her role. There’s no real hiring process; instead, there’s a public branding. That’s right, Templeton girls are marked with a brand on their necks. One brand means they work there, two brands mean they live there, three brands mean…well, no one knows what it means but there’s no one around with three marks so it’s not good.The things that Tessa sees at Templeton are truly horrific and highlight the injustice and oppression of the naturals’ lives. Things are definitely not rosy in the Lost Souls world, and you’ll know it from page one.

Needless to say, Tess’ life isn’t filled with happiness. Her parents are dead, her sister is dead, and her youngest sister and brother-in-law are all she has left. She doesn’t have friends or any other close relations. Everyone thinks she’s unfeeling but she’s actually brimming with emotion, as you’ll see when you read CHOSEN ONES. There are, however, a couple bright spots in Tessa’s existence, the main one being her blossoming relationship with James, one of the chosen ones.

James is a really interesting character. He’s a chosen one but he’s not like the others. Physically, he has a scar on his chin, which is really unusual since chosen ones are usually paragons of physical perfection. As Tessa later discovers, he’s also got some genuine emotions. I liked Tessa but I was really drawn to James because he’s so different from the other male characters in CHOSEN ONES. He could have been just a regular stock character but Truitt gives him a lot of heart and I really liked him.

I was also really intrigued by Tess’ dad. We get to know him gradually over the course of CHOSEN ONES even though he’s dead and getting to know him helps you get to know Tess. They also lead Tess to some moments of self-discovery and this is one of the ways that she grows as a character.

The only negative about CHOSEN ONES is the fact that some of the storylines are predictable. I found myself a little ahead of Tess in terms of understanding what was going on and what was being alluded to, but I still enjoyed the book. Younger readers may not encounter this problem but I found some of the big reveals to be somewhat predictable. There were times, though, when I was surprised and I think those moments were the best ones because they were so unexpected.

CHOSEN ONES is definitely an excellent young adult dystopian novel. It’s dark enough that even fans of heavier plotlines will be satisfied. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it and you can be sure I’m on the way to the bookstore to find a copy of NATURALS, the second book in the series, which is out now!

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

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This review and giveaway are part of a tour organized by the awesome ladies at Rockstar Book Tours. (Thank you, Jaime and Rachel!) To see other stops on this review tour, click on the banner! You’ll find other reviews of CHOSEN ONES and also reviews of Truitt’s latest book, NATURALS!

Rockstar Book Tours - Naturals by Tiffany Truitt

Naturals by Tiffany Truitt (The Lost Souls #2)Ripped away from those she loves most, Tess is heartbroken as her small band of travelers reaches the Isolationist camp in the mysterious and barren Middlelands. Desperate to be reunited with James, the forbidden chosen one who stole her heart, she wants nothing to do with the rough Isolationists, who are without allegiance in the war between the Westerners and Easterners. But having their protection, especially for someone as powerful as Tess, may come at a cost.

When James returns, Tess’s world once again feels complete—until she discovers her sister, Louisa, has taken up her old post at Templeton, the dangerous chosen ones training center and the site of Tess’s loss of innocence. Tess will do anything to protect her loved ones—but will the price be more than she can give?

This second book in Tiffany Truitt’s dystopian series is a thought-provoking, thrilling story that asks who the true enemy really is—the chosen ones who are different, or the naturals…who are just like us.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway of three (3) e-books of NATURALS, the second book in the series!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

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Tiffany TruittTiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of one McDonalds and Banana Rats (don’t ask), she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).

Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman (5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”

Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The Outsiders, Speak, Night, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger Games, The Giver, The Uglies, and Matched.

Tiffany is proud to call herself an educator and Young Adult author. Her first book will be published by Entangled Publishing.

Jenn

Cargon: Duty and Sacrifice by Kimberly Gould

Gould - Cargon Duty and Sacrifice

Cargon: Duty and Sacrifice by Kimberly Gould

Book Stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
eBook: 186 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Martin Sisters Publishing
Release date: January 16, 2013

Series: Cargon #2

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: eBook from the author

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

In a post-apocalyptic world, Eve has discovered power of more than one nature. In Honour and Privilege, Eve became heir to the throne.

In Duty and Sacrifice, she explores and defines the power of the elite. At the same time, electricity is being harnessed for the first time in centuries, providing the first glimpse into the ancient people who left the world as it exists.

The horror of this revelation could shake their society as much or more than a servant becoming monarch.

Even though I didn’t enjoy this second book as much as the first book, I thought it was quite good, coming from a very small publisher. This series is a very unique dystopian and futuristic world where society has reverted back into historical times where nothing electronic works and much of the knowledge of our modern world has been forever lost.

At the beginning, the book lacked a bit in terms of plot, but it got better as the story progressed. In the small sovereign state of Fontive, Cargon is a board game that is used to determine the fitness of the leaders of the state, or the Elite as they are called in this series. Challenges are common among the Elite in order to gain a higher title, or in some cases, in order to gain someone’s hand in marriage. Although the actual game wasn’t played many times in DUTY AND SACRIFICE, it did play a role in comparing Fontive to other sovereign states. For example, one of Fontive’s neighbors, Augustia has a completely different way of determining rulers. Titles are only gained through birth but since birthrate is on the rise in that state, there are too many Elite member and not enough titles. And too many Elite for the amount of commoners, thus creating some tensions between the two groups.

The main character, Eve, is exactly the character that we saw at the end of book one: innocent in so many ways, yet intelligent enough to be a good Second to the High One of Fontive. As an ex-servant, her unique point of view allows her to think outside the box, and she’s the one that first to suggest democracy as a way of resolving the problems in Augustia. However, some Elite of Augustia resist her “new” idea, which inevitably leads to an assassination. I love how the author introduces the idea of democracy as if it’s something that’s unheard of, as if it’s something that’s completely new.

I can’t forget to mention Eve’s two suitors, Adam and Louis. Adam, in my opinion, is the perfect guy for any girl in Eve’s position. I’ve liked him throughout the series and I think he’s the one that’s best suited for Eve. As for Louis, I had him pegged as a condescending and vile boy who would never be good enough for Eve. However, since Louis won Eve’s hand in marriage in a Cargon game against Adam, Eve was more or less forced to marry him in book 1. However, somewhere between book 1 and 2, something extraordinary happened and Louis had a change of personality and became a tolerable match. Despite all the nice things he’s done for Eve, I still don’t trust him. For some reason, the odd love triangle works in this setting and I can’t wait so see the result in the following book.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, and the books in the Cargon series are good examples. Personally, I’m not a fan of the the cover of DUTY AND SACRIFICE because it doesn’t have that attractiveness of current YA bestsellers. When I first saw the cover, I didn’t really understand what the image on the bottom represented. However, as I read the book, I finally realized what it was: it’s a magnetic field and the science nerd in me was then thrilled that I actually made the connection. I’m sure many readers won’t be as thrilled as me about this small fact but that just goes to prove how much of a nerd I am. Scientific discoveries are being made throughout the book, which includes creating electricity with magnets, but as Eve learns more and more about the “past” through the experiments, she becomes more and more reluctant to encourage the discovery of electric power because of it’s dangerous possibilities.

CARGON: DUTY AND SACRIFICE is an intelligent sequel that keeps you interested with political turmoil and scientific revelations. As a science nerd, I have very little interest in politics but we all know how much one is linked to the other. One of the only problems I had with the book was the actual descriptions of the science experiments. It was difficult to follow what the characters were doing, but I more or less got the main idea of the scenes. Those that have read book 1 will be satisfied with CARGON: DUTY AND SACRIFICE but will be left with an unfinished story since things get really interesting at the end of the book.stephsig

Traced by Megan Squires

Traced by Megan Squires Traced by Megan Squires

Book stats:
Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 332 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: September 15, 2012

Series: Outlier Chronicles #1

Source: Review copy from Kismet Book Touring

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Tessa can’t sleep.

But when your parents are dead and the government directs your path in life, sleep shouldn’t come easily. Lately, Tessa’s fitful nights are growing even more predictable, almost like déjà vu. And she’s beginning to think that something greater is at work—something her society has taken drastic measures to keep hidden.

Caught between self-discovery and government conformity, she’ll have to choose either the boy who can help her reveal this new truth or the one that can provide her with the security of familiarity.

Tessa’s faced with a weighty decision. And she’s going to need more than a good night’s sleep to make it.

I hadn’t heard of TRACED before I signed up for the Kismet’s tour. There are so many YA dystopian books out there right now that this one got lost in the crowd for me. I’m pleased to have discovered it, though, because TRACED is the beginning of a promising new series. It’s not a perfect book but Megan Squires has created an interesting world that I’d like to explore more.

Let’s start off with the good stuff. I really dig the setting. It’s a near-future America where democracy has been replaced by the Hub and its Sectors. Children grow up knowing that they’ll be chosen by a Sector when they turn eighteen. They don’t really have aspirations because the Sector that picks them is supposed to be the perfect fit. People also don’t have real choices: those who choose not to accept the Sector that picks them and instead choose their own path are Discarded, socially frowned upon outliers that don’t belong in this highly structured world. TRACED is the first book in a proposed trilogy exploring what it means to be an outlier in this regimented world.

The protagonist of TRACED, Tessa, a high school junior with no major aspirations. She’ll go with whichever Sector she gets placed in. She hasn’t really been engaging with life since her parents died two years ago and she’s fine with continuing to coast through life. She does what she’s supposed to and that’s okay. But things start to change as she learns more about her dad’s past and wanting things for herself. It’s dangerous to speak out against the Hub but Tessa goes from fearing the Hub to embracing herself, which is a neat journey. The title of the novel comes from an ability that Tessa discovers she has: the ability to “trace” events. I won’t talk too much about it so that you can learn what it means along with Tessa but it’s an interesting power with lots of potential ramifications. It made me wonder what other special abilities might be present in the population.

TRACED also contains a love triangle. Tessa is torn between two boys: Joel, her cousin’s best friend and star of their high school, and Liam, the new kid in town whose family just bought Tessa’s family’s ranch. I know there are a lot of folks out there who don’t care for love triangles, and I don’t like them if they’re poorly executed or there needlessly, but the Joel-Tessa-Liam one is really effective and well written. You can see why Tessa is drawn to both of them and why they both like her and I’m honestly not sure who I’d rather see her with. I have a slight preference for Liam but it could change. I was 100% Team Gale when I read THE HUNGER GAMES but I really didn’t like him by the time I was through with MOCKINGJAY, for example. I hope future books will show us more of what these guys are made of, and I’m really looking forward to that.

The negative: TRACED reads very much like Part One and didn’t feel like a complete story to me. There are so many threads left dangling and a pivotal event is introduced in the last few chapters. I really wasn’t thrilled with how things ended. I got to the “About the Author” page and thought, “Seriously? That’s where it’s stopping?” I can only assume it was logical from the author’s point of view but I don’t feel like TRACED offered a complete story arc. We got most of the way through and then we got a little bump towards the next story without giving me the strong final ending I was looking for.

Overall, though, I liked TRACED. It lays a solid foundation for what could be a great near-future YA dystopian series. I look forward to seeing what happens to Tessa next in RECRUITED.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Book Stats:

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopia
eNovella: 103 pages
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: October 2, 2012

Series: Shatter Me #1.5

Source: Personal Shelf

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon

Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

Tahereh Mafi is such an amazing author. That’s the only thought currently running through my mind. In a mere 103 pages, she gave me such a huge glimpse into a crazy psychopath’s mind and somehow found a way to make me love him. She is such a genius.

Now, I made the silly mistake of reading UNRAVEL ME before I read the novella that comes between the first two installments of Mafi’s SHATTER ME series. I’m not much of a novella reader and when my friend offered to let me borrow her ARC of the sequel that she got at New York Comic Con, I could not resist! The feelings that that story awoke in me are impossible to put into words and I highly recommend picking it up next week. No matter how twisted a character seems, they sure as hell can be capable of unimaginable passion. And with that in mind, I decided to backtrack and purchase this novella for $2.99. I’m kicking myself for not reading the books in order because, in all honesty, this explains so much. And to top it all off, it’s the perfect thing to tide you over until the release of book two.

Mafi’s amazing writing style is still evident in this novella, though only slightly. Told from Warner’s perspective, it’s clearly very cold and logical, but it gives us such a huge glimpse into the mind of someone so unique and vile. I can’t help but to say that not only do I feel like I understand Warner, but I feel for him. And by that, I mean I feel everything but disgust for him because disgust was the only thing I felt for him in SHATTER ME. I really got to learn who exactly Warner was. And I even got a few personal glimpses of Juliette through her diary that Warner read. That, my dear friends, is where Mafi’s incredible writing style appears. Though not a huge part of this novella, the little snippets found throughout it were still enough to make my jaw drop at the sheer creativity. Watching his journey through fascination, obsession, and love was captivating.

So, for all of you out there in the blogosphere that are not novella fans like me, I highly encourage you to pick this one up. It gives you a lot of insight about what is awaiting you in UNRAVEL ME and it’ll allow you to understand a few things in book two better. This is one novella worth reading. Mafi never ceases to amaze me.

Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater + Giveaway

frater - fighting to surviveFighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater

Book Stats:

Reading level: Adult  
e-book: 365 pages 
Genre: Dystopian/Zombies  
Publisher: Tor
Release date: November 8, 2011

Series: As The World Dies #2

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Personal e-book shelf

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository 

It’s time to clear the hotel.

The fort has grown crowded as survivors of the zombie apocalypse have found safety between its walls.  Winter is coming; soon it will be too cold to live in tents and other makeshift shelters.  The leaders of the survivors—Katie, Jenni, Juan, Travis, and Nerit—decide it’s time for an assault on the zombie-occupied hotel that looms over the town square.  

A pitched battle in the banquet room is the start of a harrowing, room-by-room struggle from Reception to roof.  As the sun sets, the people of Ashley Oaks gather in the hotel’s rooftop ballroom and gazebo to celebrate their survival.  Gazing out over the beauty of the surrounding Texas countryside, it’s hard to believe that death and danger lurk around every corner. 

The fort’s search and rescue teams have attracted unwanted attention from bandits who see the fort as competition for food . . . and as a ready source of women.  The first attacks are minor, but everyone knows there is worse to come. 

And beyond the fort’s walls, the zombies shamble, moaning, eyes fastened hungrily upon the living.

Rhiannon Frater is the type of writer that never fails to entertain me. From the books I’ve read so far, I would definitively recommend all of them to fans of their genre. With FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, I was expecting a sequel slump, but as I read on, every scene seemed to keep feeding my addiction for the series.

What I enjoy the most about zombie books is not really the zombie killings and zombie attacks. It’s the stories behind each survivor and how, as a whole, they’re able to survive something completely out of the ordinary. This series is definitively more than just stories about zombies. It’s obviously about human survival after a zombie apocalypse, but I think the main attraction is the human relationships that bloom in this tragic world Rhiannon Frater has created. She’s a genius when it comes to creating original characters and it’s obviously her main characters that hold the series together.

The two main female characters, Katie and Jenni kind of remind me of Buffy and Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but instead of fighting vampires, they’re fighting zombies. The actual characters aren’t similar to the televised slayers but they both definitively come with extra large baggage. Katie is fighting the attraction she has for Travis since she feels by loving him she’s betraying her dead wife’s memory. As for Jenni, her coping mechanism for losing her two young sons to zombies is chopping up every zombie that gets in her way. Her dedication to fighting them gives everyone the impressions she’s a bit crazy and she gets called loca multiple times because of her ability to chop away. Her lover Juan is attracted to her loca behavior but I think it also scares him that she might get herself killed for taking too many chances. These four characters are central to the story but so many of the secondary characters are detrimental to the whole of the book. And all of them have been expertly created to fill their role.

Despite the undead dangers that lurk outside the fort the survivors have created in the middle of a little Texan town, it’s the dangers within the walls that are central in FIGHTING TO SURVIVE. A vigilante has taken upon himself to avenge people that have been wronged and to kill anyone who is a threat to everyone’s safety. Conflicts and betrayals within the group of survivors kept me entertained until the very end. While there are many good things that happen in this sequel, like clearing the zombies from a hotel and taking over the building and the relationships that blossom, many people die throughout the book. One thing’s for sure, the author isn’t afraid of killing off her characters so be prepared for some deaths.

It’s not just about surviving the zombies anymore. It’s surviving each other. Because of the turmoil brewing within the group of survivors, I personally enjoyed this sequel a lot more than the first book of the series. And that’s saying something, because I thought THE FIRST DAYS was an exceptional novel. FIGHTING TO SURVIVE will absolutely take you on a ride that you won’t forget and if you haven’t already check out this series, you don’t want to miss this one!

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BlitzFTSBanner

To celebrate the release of the FIGHTING TO SURVIVE paperback (which released January 29th, 2013), Rhiannon Frater is promoting her book with a book blitz blog tour and a tour-wide giveaway.

giveaway

Enter for your chance to win either the mass market paperback copy of book 1 of the series, THE FIRST DAYS, or a mass market paperback copy of book 2 of the series, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE. There will be one (1) winner for each book.

Open to US & Canadian addresses.

Ends February 10th, 2013

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

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