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ARC Review: The Fixer

6.29.2015
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Expected Publication: July 7th, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: NetGalley
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinions stated

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.


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An endless amount of thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for this one. I always struggle to find good contemporary - fantasy seems to be all I read and love these days, but The Fixer really broke me out of that genre for a little while, and it was SO refreshing.

The Fixer is definitely a political thriller full of tense emotions and PLOT TWISTS GALORE. Barnes surprised me at EVERY turn, and it was the most incredible thing. The last fourth or so of the book is full of reveal after reveal, each even more shocking than the last. I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes, but this is easily her best book yet.

"My sister was a mover, a shaker, a problem solver - and right now, the problem she'd set her sights on solving was me."

While I think the strongest point in this book is, obviously, the incredible shocks, our main character, Tess, is a close second. I spent the entire time wanting to give her a huge hug. I felt what she felt. Her frustration with her sister, Ivy, is a very deep-rooted emotion, and I found myself holding a grudge along with Tess. The last 25% of the book is full of SO many emotions, and I felt every single one of them along with Tess. It kind of broke my heart. (Read: It REALLY broke my heart.) Tess, who just wants to take care of her grandfather. Tess, who's ripped away from him and her life by a sister who left her all those years ago. Determined and stubborn and witty and clever Tess. If I could wrap her in a blanket and give her some hot chocolate, I would. There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about her.

A really cool thing about The Fixer is that it doesn't have any romance, really. I think there's definitely some potential for it in the next book (I hope with Asher, but probably not), but this one is solely focused on these fantastic characters and murders and politics. You guys are going to love it.

"Some memories were like scars. This one had never healed right."

Tess manages to find a few friends, and it never felt like they were being pushed aside for bigger plots or more important things. They were part of the plot, intricately woven in in their own ways. Vivvie becomes her first friend - another character I just want to hug forever. Asher is fun - and sometimes a little annoying for Tess - and I can't wait to learn more about him. Tess is quite reluctant to be friends with him at first, but he worms his way in. Then, of course, there's the prim and proper Henry, who we may or may not be able to call a friend of Tess at this stage. He's a very stiff person, a child always immersed in politics, dealing with things no teenager should have to deal with. I'm excited to see more of him, too. (Basically, JUST GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK NOW.)

I also really loved Adam, a friend of Ivy's. He's an ex-military man with daddy issues just trying to take care of Ivy and Tess when they need it. Once again, next book please?

"He would bury this, push it into the recesses of his mind where he kept the secrets that hurt him most."

There were so many details and different places the plot of The Fixer went, and it all felt very authentic to me. We get glimpses of the president, members of the Supreme Court, all the people behind the scenes who really pull the strings.

And, you know, murder.

In addition, I just really love the concept of Ivy being D.C.'s own Fixer, making problems disappear at every turn. And the way Tess accidentally and unwillingly follows in Ivy's footsteps at school.

Overall: It's hard for me to talk about why I love The Fixer without giving away basically the entire book, but in short: The Fixer tugged on all my heartstrings. It's got an incredible main character, a great supporting cast, but what really stands out is how truly shocking The Fixer is. I didn't predict any of it coming, and the plot twists are INSANE. If you love Jennifer Lynn Barnes, this book is for you. If you don't, this book is still for you. It lives up to the term "political thriller" in all the right ways. 4.5 stars.

*Quotes subject to change


The Sunday Post/Stacking the Shelves {12}: The One With SURPRISES!

6.28.2015
The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news! Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!
Hiiiiiii I still need coffee. As this is being posted at 6am, I AM ALREADY AT WORK.
For review: 
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
HUGE thanks to HMH for this one! Surprise bookmail is the absolute best. I'd pretty much given up hope on this from the ARC form and actually ended up requesting it on NetGalley. Still haven't heard back about that, but LOOK AT IT. IT'S SOOOO PRETTY.




For review:
Velvel Undercover by Teri Brown
Map to the Stars by Jen Malone
Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss! I already finished Map to the Stars and it was super fun.

First & Then by Emma Mills
Dreamstrider by Linsay Smith
THANK YOU TO MACMILLAN AND NETGALLEY! AW YEAH!

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I will confess that I have not read Huntley Fitzpatrick's other books. BUT! I bought them a few weeks ago and fully intend to start this week. I actually won this through First Reads, which I NEVER expected to happen. I have to read it on my computer though so I'm probably going to die, haha.
 In other news:
  • I NEED GLASSES. SO BADLY. But I am a poor college child with no insurance. I read a LOT last week, and I honestly don't think I can do much more at all this week. SO MUCH PAIN.
  • I like cats. A lot.
  • My review of the fantastic upcoming novel, The Fixer!
  • A little talk about my conflicting feelings on Cress.
  • Waiting on Wednesday: July!
  • A review of The Girl at Midnight.

I'm soooo happy with my haul. What did you all get this week?

It's Time For a Break Up: PART I

6.26.2015

Sometimes, you hold on so hard because you expect something to change, or because other people tell you to, or because you just don't think you can let go. But there comes a point where you just HAVE TO BREAK IT OFF. So I'm starting a small series of bookish things I just need to make a clean break with.

PART I: AUTHORS I NEED TO BREAK UP WITH

This is definitely a touchy subject, but there are some authors that you just try and try with and can't seem to make it work. These authors totally work for other people, but I need to stop spending time expecting to suddenly like their work when I've never been able to. I fully acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with these authors or their books, and plenty of people will keep reading them. They're just not for me.

1) Jennifer L. Armentrout
Okay, so there was a point when I was in love with the Lux series. That was YEARS ago, though. I never finished it. And once I started blogging again, I decided it was time to finish it - but I had to reread first. And you know what? I basically HATED it this time around. I don't think I need to talk about why; it seems to be either a series you obsessively love or incredibly loathe. I've also started and never finished the Half-Blood series. Then, I tried to read The Return because Seth was always the one I was really interested in in that series. I also tried Wait For You, and the common theme here? I didn't enjoy any of them. All of her male characters felt the same and had the same attitude. Her writing just did not cut it for me. I admire her ability to churn out book after book, and the huge fanbase she has is great. But I need to give up on reading her books, no matter how much hype they get.


2) Lauren Oliver
Once upon a time, I tried reading Before I Fall and couldn't even finish it because I just wasn't in to the main character. Then? I tried Delirium. It was just okay, nothing special, but I didn't hate it. When reviews started rolling around for the next book and I heard about Julian, I knew exactly what was going to happen with Alex and I was NOT into the love triangle I knew the series was suddenly going to house. So I never finished. And then? I tried Vanishing Girls and couldn't get past 20 pages. And then I went hunting for spoilers and decided I NEVER wanted to read it because of how it turns out. Just not the author for me.

3) Colleen Hoover
Another author with a HUGE following. I, personally, wanted to vomit all over Ugly Love. This is pretty much why. Then, I tried Slammed and couldn't finish because the writing style just wasn't for me. I tried two of her other books and couldn't finish those, either. (Honestly, I can't believe I tried anything after how gross I found Ugly Love, but I felt like I needed to because everyone loves her so much?) Anyway. Not for me.


4) Cassie Clare
There . . . I said it. I've had enough of the shadowhunter world after reading the whole ID series and 2/3 of the TMI series and not enjoying them all that much anymore. I'm surprisingly excited for the TV show, though! I just don't think I can handle any more books. I'm sick of it. (Watch me end up not learning from the past and reading TDA anyways.)

Aaaaannyway. There you have it. Any authors you know you just need to break it off with? (In terms of books. Just books. I still love to follow authors I don't even read on Twitter. But me and some books just weren't meant to be.) 


#ThrowbackThursday: Something Strange and Ever After Tour + Giveaway!

6.25.2015

Greetings, friends! I'm here with my stop for the Strange and Ever After tour, based off the release of the paperback of Strange and Ever After! YOU CAN NOW HAVE THE WHOLE TRILOGY FOR LESS THAN $30. GO FORTH AND BINGE READ. Please.

Today, I'm here to do a little throwback to my review of the first book in the trilogy!

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Published: July 24th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss! (I think. I know it was an eARC.)

There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.

Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper:

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.


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So, here's what I had to say back then . . . With some commentary! Of course.

Something Strange and Deadly can be a little scary. It can be funny. It can even be sexy.
Okay, I can't even believe that I wrote that. I guess I was actually 16 when I read this (I thought I was so young in 2012, but apparently not THAT young...) but still! I was an innocent child then.
While I was expecting more zombies, Something Strange and Deadly definitely didn't disappoint me. It's a book that you can easily immerse yourself in. I don't usually tend to read books set in the 1800s because they feel too formal and stiff to me. But SS&D isn't. At all. The setting is perfect the way Dennard portrays it. There's gossip, there's handsome men vying for women's hands, but behind it all, someone is raising the dead.
I DIDN'T EVEN MENTION THE STEAMPUNK ASPECT? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Because that part ROCKS. Susan Dennard writes it beautifully and so believably with plenty of details.
Eleanor is one of my favorite female characters. Period. She's just so likable. She's not full of herself, but at the same time she doesn't spend all her time worrying about trivial things like looks. She's not a genius, she's not the strongest girl you'll ever meet, but that's why I love her. And her relationship with Daniel. There's always a little bit of tension between them. (Also no insta!love. And you all know how I feel about that.) The chemistry between the two of them practically leaps off the page.
Okay, so I could have said this much more eloquently, but I still agree with all of it, besides WHY I liked Eleanor. (There's nothing wrong with worrying about looks! I worry about them constantly. And when I said she's not the strongest girl you'll ever meet...I clearly wasn't thinking about the fact that there are SO MANY WAYS a character can be strong besides physical badassery.) Eleanor is so fun, and my love for her only grows throughout the series.
The plot, while slightly predictable, is still enjoyable. This book starts with a bang in the form of a zombie attack, but the zombies kind of fizzle out after that. The story is more centered around Eleanor's experiences with the Spirit-Hunters and her search for her brother. To be honest, I think the best part about the plot is the way Susan Dennard writes it. It's so easy to get caught up in.
I mean, I don't remember it being at all predictable, but then this was also three years ago, soooo . . . Anyway. Yes. SUSAN'S WRITING. I'M OBSESSED. SO OBSESSED. She so easily immerses you in the world! 
My only complaint is that I felt like there were a few scenes that were entirely pointless. They seemed to have no real use in the plot.
Um . . . why did I say this? Who even knows? I think that now that I'm older and wiser (ha. hahahahahaha.) I have a lot of different thoughts about stuff like this. There are probably always scenes in novels that, to me, don't feel like they're moving the plot forward much. That doesn't mean that's true. And these scenes can actually be a really great reprieve from the constant intensity or mystery of the plot
Overall: Something Strange and Deadly is a surprising novel in more ways than one. With characters that are almost impossible to hate, a setting described perfectly, and an author who knows exactly what she's doing, this is a book you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.
I think that these days, SS&D is more of a 4.5 star read for me. It's funny, because this is actually the first time I've really read through one of my old reviews. I think I was a lot more clear on my thoughts and to-the-point, but I didn't go into much detail. A lot of my opinions and thoughts back then have changed A LOT as my mind has opened up to different things and as I've become more educated on certain topics and started learning to disregard those internalized thoughts that have been ingrained in me by the media and the rest of the world, etc. 
And there you have it! Be sure to follow along with the rest of this little tour, and even more importantly. . . ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Courtesy of the incredible Empress Sooz, we have a signed set of the entire SS&D trilogy up for grabs! US only, sorry! The giveaway ends July 10th!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 21st: Ellen @ YA Bookish News - Gushworthy Scenes with Daniel Sheridan & Eleanor Fitt
Blog link: http://yabookishnews.wordpress.com
Monday, June 22nd: CJ @ Sarcasm and Lemons - Fancast/Playlist Blog link: http://www.sarcasmandlemons.com
Tuesday, June 23rd:
Liran @ Hearts and Crowns - Fancast/Playlist Blog link: http://heartscrowns.blogspot.ca/
Wednesday, June 24th:
Samantha @ And Then Celaena Set The World On Fire. - Playlist
Blog Link:
http://aelin-ashryver-queen-of-shadows.tumblr.com
Thursday, June 25th: Zoey @ Uncreatively Zoey - Throwback Thursday Blog link: uncreativelyzoey.blogspot.com
Friday, June 26th: Christina @ Between Bookends - Fancast Blog link: http://betweenyabookends.blogspot.ca
Saturday, June 27th: Kim @ Dreaming in Libraries - TBD Blog link: dreaminginlibraries.blogspot.de/
Sunday, June 28th: Adriyanna @ Adriyanna K. Zimmerman - SS&D review Blog link: www.akzfineart.com
Monday, June 29th: Laura @ Under a Mound of Books - ADS&L review Blog link: underamoundofbooks.blogspot.co.uk/
Tuesday, June 30th: Kelly @ Audeamus. Let us dare. - S&EA review Blog link: seekellytse.tumblr.com/
 

Why I Couldn't Like THAT ONE BOOK.

6.23.2015
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Published: April 28th, 2015 by Razorbill
Source: Library

Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.


Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


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I don't always love hyped books. No one does. But I don't think I have ever disliked one this much that has as much hype as this one. It didn't make me horribly angry in the way that Snow Like Ashes did. I think, for most of An Ember in the Ashes, I was just . . . apathetic. Bored. Didn't cared. Take your pick.

I honestly just didn't see anything unique and exciting here. When Elias was chosen to participate in the trials, I snorted. It was just so typical. And the brutality everyone talked about? I never really felt it. I never really feared for any of the characters. It always seemed to happen to Laia in a blur, and there was so much telling instead of showing concerning this that I hardly realized it was happening at all. The brutality - and the constant mentions and suggestions of rape - never added ANYTHING to the book for me. They just felt like gross plot devices that weren't done well.

And even beyond the trials plot, I was SO BORED. And I have a lot of issues with the Augurs - I just don't like books where everything is based off fate. Where everything is conveniently put in place so that a character doesn't die because it's "not their time," where everything is constructed for Elias to win because ooooh, it's meant to be. Yeah. No thanks. Everything is always too neat and tidy and boring when fate is involved.

So, we have a stagnant plot. Then, we have two separate narrations . . . that sound the same. They both felt like very stilted narrations to me. Many thoughts that Elias had about Helene felt very forced and unnatural to me. And here's the thing. I started skimming his chapters. Then, about 2/3 of the way through, I started basically skipping them altogether. You know how sometimes, in real life, a person you don't even know will just give you a bad vibe? That was Elias for me. I was just uncomfortable reading his chapters, and I can't even say why.

I was much more interested in Laia's chapters, though I wasn't all that interested in Laia herself. I wanted to see what would happen with her brother, especially since it was so obvious that Mazen was totally bullshitting. And I'll be honest, I was interested in seeing where it would go with Keenan. It definitely all moved way too fast, since their interactions all consisted of quick cloak-and-dagger stuff, but if it had been more slow burn, I could have gotten behind it. I think. Maybe.

And okay, I know it's been talked about before, but this whole love square? WHAT EVEN WAS THAT? I never really felt it between Helene and Elias. And Laia and Elias? Are you kidding me? I felt NOTHING between them. Nothing that made any sense, anyway. And I mean, I knew it was going to happen, obviously. But it was not even remotely believable. All the romance in this book felt like such a mess.

As for world-building, I've heard so much raving about it. But I was reading and going "where is this exquisite world-building? WHERE?" Because I didn't see it. Any of it. Which is entirely how I felt about this whole book - I didn't see anything that everyone else must see.

Overall: Listen, I had to skim and skip to actually sort of finish this book. I was bored to tears and honestly can't think of a single thing I liked, besides the possibilities of Keenan and Laia and Laia's parentage. I don't really know why I can't love this one like everyone else. I genuinely feel like I have to crawl under a rock now. 1.5 stars.


The Sunday Post {11}: Still On The Hunt!

6.21.2015
The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news! Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!
For coffee. Always need coffee. Always waking up at 4:30am WHY IS THIS WHAT THE REAL WORLD IS LIKE???




Basically? BOOKS. AND MORE BOOKS. I won all of the below from the #YAParty! Huge HUGE thanks to Liza, Hannah, and Andye!

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Never Never by Brianna Shum
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
Storm Siren by Mary Weber

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Overtaken by Marc H. Kruger
Don't Look Back by JLA
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
End of Days by Susan Ee
Stone Cold Touch by JLA

Can you believe I don't own any of the Raven Cycle books? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? IT'S MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SERIES. So happy to finally own at least one of them! SUPER excited for Never Never and Never Always Sometimes, and I'd never really heard of The One Thing before, but it sounds great! Basically, I LOVED THIS BOX. It also came with a Fierce Reads tote and a TON of swag! And I housed them on my newly built bookshelf! I didn't think I was actually going to be able to build it myself, BUT IT HAPPENED. I'll be posting photos on my Instagram soon!
 In other news:
  • I had my orientation, finally got my schedule, (it's unpleasant) and I signed up for French! I quit in high school and I've been regretting it for a few years so I'm excited to start again.
  • I actually have no idea. You guys, I suck. I suck so hard. Hopefully I can finally get the Find Me tag done!
  • I'll be commenting. A lot. I've got THREE WHOLE DAYS OFF GASP SHOCK CHEER. 
  • Also, I need to sleep. Like a lot. And then work at 6am again.

What did you all get this week?

Mini Reviews: The Darkest Minds and Scarlet

6.18.2015
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Published: February 5th, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Source: Bought

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


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When I reread and reviewed Cinder, everyone talked about how they definitely loved Cinder, but Scarlet was even better - both the book and the character. At the time, I didn't see how. I loved Cinder, and I loved how easily I could connect to her. I didn't think it could get better for me. As it turns out, I was right.

Scarlet was definitely great. I loved that her mission was centered on saving her grandmother, I loved her fierceness and her wit. But I just didn't connect to her the way I did for Cinder. I didn't feel as much and as intensely for her as I did for Cinder. I liked Wolf and Scarlet well enough, just not in the way I did with Kai and Cinder.

It was really cool to see a different part in the world that The Lunar Chronicles are set in. Marissa Meyer definitely knows how to world build. It all felt so very natural, and I mean, it was Paris in Meyer form, so I mean . . . What's not to love? 

I loved the development in the Lunar plotline. It's starting to get a little creepier, which I always love. That stuff with Wolf and the pack? Definitely a plot twist I didn't really see coming. But what I enjoyed most were scenes between Thorne and Cinder. I love Thorne's personality and how different he is from a lot of heroes. Still arrogant and pretty, of course, but different in many other ways. I can't wait to dive into Cress and read more his humor.

Overall: I still really enjoyed Scarlet. The world Marissa Meyer has created is so easy to fall in love with, and the stakes are starting to get even higher. I'm just still very attached to Cinder, and this one didn't make me as emotional. 4 stars.



The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Published: December 18th, 2012 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: Traded

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.


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I've heard from multiple people that TDM is one of their favorite series. And as Alexandra Bracken wrote Passenger, which sounds completely incredible and has received rave reviews so far, I came into this with high expectations. And honestly, I was . . . underwhelmed. I enjoyed it, sure, but I was expecting so much more. Even now that I've finished, I still don't properly understand the powers of every color. The backstory and world-building were pretty weak for me. Why do all the kids have one of like, five abilities? Who even came up with this colors system? HOW ON EARTH DOES THE ENTIRE WORLD JUST THINK THEY'RE IN A REHABILITATION CAMP? Okay, sure, people only see what they want to believe. But you can't tell me that the majority of the US isn't concerned about their kids - who they never get to see or hear from - just because the economy is broken. It just wasn't believable enough for me.

And I never really felt the danger. Never really connected to Ruby. Thought her and Liam were cute, but was never so invested in them that my heart hurt. (Blue and Gansey, anyone?) Knew Clancy was a creep from the start. I guess I just think this all could been a lot more interesting. At times, it felt a bit like a contemporary playing at something more.

I found it really interesting, though, the way that her biggest strength is that she can erase herself from someone's memory. I totally saw that ending with Liam coming, especially after his "I will never forget you. Never, never, never." But that doesn't mean it left me apathetic. I definitely got a little emotional there and had to pause my life for a few minutes and go "DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?"

Overall: I enjoyed the story well enough and wanted to see where it was going. The relationship between Chubs, Liam, and Suzame (and eventually Ruby) was fun. I was just expecting a lot more. 3 stars.


6.29.2015

ARC Review: The Fixer

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Expected Publication: July 7th, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: NetGalley
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinions stated

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.


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An endless amount of thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for this one. I always struggle to find good contemporary - fantasy seems to be all I read and love these days, but The Fixer really broke me out of that genre for a little while, and it was SO refreshing.

The Fixer is definitely a political thriller full of tense emotions and PLOT TWISTS GALORE. Barnes surprised me at EVERY turn, and it was the most incredible thing. The last fourth or so of the book is full of reveal after reveal, each even more shocking than the last. I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes, but this is easily her best book yet.

"My sister was a mover, a shaker, a problem solver - and right now, the problem she'd set her sights on solving was me."

While I think the strongest point in this book is, obviously, the incredible shocks, our main character, Tess, is a close second. I spent the entire time wanting to give her a huge hug. I felt what she felt. Her frustration with her sister, Ivy, is a very deep-rooted emotion, and I found myself holding a grudge along with Tess. The last 25% of the book is full of SO many emotions, and I felt every single one of them along with Tess. It kind of broke my heart. (Read: It REALLY broke my heart.) Tess, who just wants to take care of her grandfather. Tess, who's ripped away from him and her life by a sister who left her all those years ago. Determined and stubborn and witty and clever Tess. If I could wrap her in a blanket and give her some hot chocolate, I would. There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about her.

A really cool thing about The Fixer is that it doesn't have any romance, really. I think there's definitely some potential for it in the next book (I hope with Asher, but probably not), but this one is solely focused on these fantastic characters and murders and politics. You guys are going to love it.

"Some memories were like scars. This one had never healed right."

Tess manages to find a few friends, and it never felt like they were being pushed aside for bigger plots or more important things. They were part of the plot, intricately woven in in their own ways. Vivvie becomes her first friend - another character I just want to hug forever. Asher is fun - and sometimes a little annoying for Tess - and I can't wait to learn more about him. Tess is quite reluctant to be friends with him at first, but he worms his way in. Then, of course, there's the prim and proper Henry, who we may or may not be able to call a friend of Tess at this stage. He's a very stiff person, a child always immersed in politics, dealing with things no teenager should have to deal with. I'm excited to see more of him, too. (Basically, JUST GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK NOW.)

I also really loved Adam, a friend of Ivy's. He's an ex-military man with daddy issues just trying to take care of Ivy and Tess when they need it. Once again, next book please?

"He would bury this, push it into the recesses of his mind where he kept the secrets that hurt him most."

There were so many details and different places the plot of The Fixer went, and it all felt very authentic to me. We get glimpses of the president, members of the Supreme Court, all the people behind the scenes who really pull the strings.

And, you know, murder.

In addition, I just really love the concept of Ivy being D.C.'s own Fixer, making problems disappear at every turn. And the way Tess accidentally and unwillingly follows in Ivy's footsteps at school.

Overall: It's hard for me to talk about why I love The Fixer without giving away basically the entire book, but in short: The Fixer tugged on all my heartstrings. It's got an incredible main character, a great supporting cast, but what really stands out is how truly shocking The Fixer is. I didn't predict any of it coming, and the plot twists are INSANE. If you love Jennifer Lynn Barnes, this book is for you. If you don't, this book is still for you. It lives up to the term "political thriller" in all the right ways. 4.5 stars.

*Quotes subject to change


6.28.2015

The Sunday Post/Stacking the Shelves {12}: The One With SURPRISES!

The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news! Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!
Hiiiiiii I still need coffee. As this is being posted at 6am, I AM ALREADY AT WORK.
For review: 
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
HUGE thanks to HMH for this one! Surprise bookmail is the absolute best. I'd pretty much given up hope on this from the ARC form and actually ended up requesting it on NetGalley. Still haven't heard back about that, but LOOK AT IT. IT'S SOOOO PRETTY.




For review:
Velvel Undercover by Teri Brown
Map to the Stars by Jen Malone
Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss! I already finished Map to the Stars and it was super fun.

First & Then by Emma Mills
Dreamstrider by Linsay Smith
THANK YOU TO MACMILLAN AND NETGALLEY! AW YEAH!

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I will confess that I have not read Huntley Fitzpatrick's other books. BUT! I bought them a few weeks ago and fully intend to start this week. I actually won this through First Reads, which I NEVER expected to happen. I have to read it on my computer though so I'm probably going to die, haha.
 In other news:
  • I NEED GLASSES. SO BADLY. But I am a poor college child with no insurance. I read a LOT last week, and I honestly don't think I can do much more at all this week. SO MUCH PAIN.
  • I like cats. A lot.
  • My review of the fantastic upcoming novel, The Fixer!
  • A little talk about my conflicting feelings on Cress.
  • Waiting on Wednesday: July!
  • A review of The Girl at Midnight.

I'm soooo happy with my haul. What did you all get this week?

6.26.2015

It's Time For a Break Up: PART I


Sometimes, you hold on so hard because you expect something to change, or because other people tell you to, or because you just don't think you can let go. But there comes a point where you just HAVE TO BREAK IT OFF. So I'm starting a small series of bookish things I just need to make a clean break with.

PART I: AUTHORS I NEED TO BREAK UP WITH

This is definitely a touchy subject, but there are some authors that you just try and try with and can't seem to make it work. These authors totally work for other people, but I need to stop spending time expecting to suddenly like their work when I've never been able to. I fully acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with these authors or their books, and plenty of people will keep reading them. They're just not for me.

1) Jennifer L. Armentrout
Okay, so there was a point when I was in love with the Lux series. That was YEARS ago, though. I never finished it. And once I started blogging again, I decided it was time to finish it - but I had to reread first. And you know what? I basically HATED it this time around. I don't think I need to talk about why; it seems to be either a series you obsessively love or incredibly loathe. I've also started and never finished the Half-Blood series. Then, I tried to read The Return because Seth was always the one I was really interested in in that series. I also tried Wait For You, and the common theme here? I didn't enjoy any of them. All of her male characters felt the same and had the same attitude. Her writing just did not cut it for me. I admire her ability to churn out book after book, and the huge fanbase she has is great. But I need to give up on reading her books, no matter how much hype they get.


2) Lauren Oliver
Once upon a time, I tried reading Before I Fall and couldn't even finish it because I just wasn't in to the main character. Then? I tried Delirium. It was just okay, nothing special, but I didn't hate it. When reviews started rolling around for the next book and I heard about Julian, I knew exactly what was going to happen with Alex and I was NOT into the love triangle I knew the series was suddenly going to house. So I never finished. And then? I tried Vanishing Girls and couldn't get past 20 pages. And then I went hunting for spoilers and decided I NEVER wanted to read it because of how it turns out. Just not the author for me.

3) Colleen Hoover
Another author with a HUGE following. I, personally, wanted to vomit all over Ugly Love. This is pretty much why. Then, I tried Slammed and couldn't finish because the writing style just wasn't for me. I tried two of her other books and couldn't finish those, either. (Honestly, I can't believe I tried anything after how gross I found Ugly Love, but I felt like I needed to because everyone loves her so much?) Anyway. Not for me.


4) Cassie Clare
There . . . I said it. I've had enough of the shadowhunter world after reading the whole ID series and 2/3 of the TMI series and not enjoying them all that much anymore. I'm surprisingly excited for the TV show, though! I just don't think I can handle any more books. I'm sick of it. (Watch me end up not learning from the past and reading TDA anyways.)

Aaaaannyway. There you have it. Any authors you know you just need to break it off with? (In terms of books. Just books. I still love to follow authors I don't even read on Twitter. But me and some books just weren't meant to be.) 


6.25.2015

#ThrowbackThursday: Something Strange and Ever After Tour + Giveaway!


Greetings, friends! I'm here with my stop for the Strange and Ever After tour, based off the release of the paperback of Strange and Ever After! YOU CAN NOW HAVE THE WHOLE TRILOGY FOR LESS THAN $30. GO FORTH AND BINGE READ. Please.

Today, I'm here to do a little throwback to my review of the first book in the trilogy!

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Published: July 24th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss! (I think. I know it was an eARC.)

There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.

Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper:

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.


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So, here's what I had to say back then . . . With some commentary! Of course.

Something Strange and Deadly can be a little scary. It can be funny. It can even be sexy.
Okay, I can't even believe that I wrote that. I guess I was actually 16 when I read this (I thought I was so young in 2012, but apparently not THAT young...) but still! I was an innocent child then.
While I was expecting more zombies, Something Strange and Deadly definitely didn't disappoint me. It's a book that you can easily immerse yourself in. I don't usually tend to read books set in the 1800s because they feel too formal and stiff to me. But SS&D isn't. At all. The setting is perfect the way Dennard portrays it. There's gossip, there's handsome men vying for women's hands, but behind it all, someone is raising the dead.
I DIDN'T EVEN MENTION THE STEAMPUNK ASPECT? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Because that part ROCKS. Susan Dennard writes it beautifully and so believably with plenty of details.
Eleanor is one of my favorite female characters. Period. She's just so likable. She's not full of herself, but at the same time she doesn't spend all her time worrying about trivial things like looks. She's not a genius, she's not the strongest girl you'll ever meet, but that's why I love her. And her relationship with Daniel. There's always a little bit of tension between them. (Also no insta!love. And you all know how I feel about that.) The chemistry between the two of them practically leaps off the page.
Okay, so I could have said this much more eloquently, but I still agree with all of it, besides WHY I liked Eleanor. (There's nothing wrong with worrying about looks! I worry about them constantly. And when I said she's not the strongest girl you'll ever meet...I clearly wasn't thinking about the fact that there are SO MANY WAYS a character can be strong besides physical badassery.) Eleanor is so fun, and my love for her only grows throughout the series.
The plot, while slightly predictable, is still enjoyable. This book starts with a bang in the form of a zombie attack, but the zombies kind of fizzle out after that. The story is more centered around Eleanor's experiences with the Spirit-Hunters and her search for her brother. To be honest, I think the best part about the plot is the way Susan Dennard writes it. It's so easy to get caught up in.
I mean, I don't remember it being at all predictable, but then this was also three years ago, soooo . . . Anyway. Yes. SUSAN'S WRITING. I'M OBSESSED. SO OBSESSED. She so easily immerses you in the world! 
My only complaint is that I felt like there were a few scenes that were entirely pointless. They seemed to have no real use in the plot.
Um . . . why did I say this? Who even knows? I think that now that I'm older and wiser (ha. hahahahahaha.) I have a lot of different thoughts about stuff like this. There are probably always scenes in novels that, to me, don't feel like they're moving the plot forward much. That doesn't mean that's true. And these scenes can actually be a really great reprieve from the constant intensity or mystery of the plot
Overall: Something Strange and Deadly is a surprising novel in more ways than one. With characters that are almost impossible to hate, a setting described perfectly, and an author who knows exactly what she's doing, this is a book you don't want to miss out on. 4 stars.
I think that these days, SS&D is more of a 4.5 star read for me. It's funny, because this is actually the first time I've really read through one of my old reviews. I think I was a lot more clear on my thoughts and to-the-point, but I didn't go into much detail. A lot of my opinions and thoughts back then have changed A LOT as my mind has opened up to different things and as I've become more educated on certain topics and started learning to disregard those internalized thoughts that have been ingrained in me by the media and the rest of the world, etc. 
And there you have it! Be sure to follow along with the rest of this little tour, and even more importantly. . . ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Courtesy of the incredible Empress Sooz, we have a signed set of the entire SS&D trilogy up for grabs! US only, sorry! The giveaway ends July 10th!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 21st: Ellen @ YA Bookish News - Gushworthy Scenes with Daniel Sheridan & Eleanor Fitt
Blog link: http://yabookishnews.wordpress.com
Monday, June 22nd: CJ @ Sarcasm and Lemons - Fancast/Playlist Blog link: http://www.sarcasmandlemons.com
Tuesday, June 23rd:
Liran @ Hearts and Crowns - Fancast/Playlist Blog link: http://heartscrowns.blogspot.ca/
Wednesday, June 24th:
Samantha @ And Then Celaena Set The World On Fire. - Playlist
Blog Link:
http://aelin-ashryver-queen-of-shadows.tumblr.com
Thursday, June 25th: Zoey @ Uncreatively Zoey - Throwback Thursday Blog link: uncreativelyzoey.blogspot.com
Friday, June 26th: Christina @ Between Bookends - Fancast Blog link: http://betweenyabookends.blogspot.ca
Saturday, June 27th: Kim @ Dreaming in Libraries - TBD Blog link: dreaminginlibraries.blogspot.de/
Sunday, June 28th: Adriyanna @ Adriyanna K. Zimmerman - SS&D review Blog link: www.akzfineart.com
Monday, June 29th: Laura @ Under a Mound of Books - ADS&L review Blog link: underamoundofbooks.blogspot.co.uk/
Tuesday, June 30th: Kelly @ Audeamus. Let us dare. - S&EA review Blog link: seekellytse.tumblr.com/
 

6.23.2015

Why I Couldn't Like THAT ONE BOOK.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Published: April 28th, 2015 by Razorbill
Source: Library

Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.


Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


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I don't always love hyped books. No one does. But I don't think I have ever disliked one this much that has as much hype as this one. It didn't make me horribly angry in the way that Snow Like Ashes did. I think, for most of An Ember in the Ashes, I was just . . . apathetic. Bored. Didn't cared. Take your pick.

I honestly just didn't see anything unique and exciting here. When Elias was chosen to participate in the trials, I snorted. It was just so typical. And the brutality everyone talked about? I never really felt it. I never really feared for any of the characters. It always seemed to happen to Laia in a blur, and there was so much telling instead of showing concerning this that I hardly realized it was happening at all. The brutality - and the constant mentions and suggestions of rape - never added ANYTHING to the book for me. They just felt like gross plot devices that weren't done well.

And even beyond the trials plot, I was SO BORED. And I have a lot of issues with the Augurs - I just don't like books where everything is based off fate. Where everything is conveniently put in place so that a character doesn't die because it's "not their time," where everything is constructed for Elias to win because ooooh, it's meant to be. Yeah. No thanks. Everything is always too neat and tidy and boring when fate is involved.

So, we have a stagnant plot. Then, we have two separate narrations . . . that sound the same. They both felt like very stilted narrations to me. Many thoughts that Elias had about Helene felt very forced and unnatural to me. And here's the thing. I started skimming his chapters. Then, about 2/3 of the way through, I started basically skipping them altogether. You know how sometimes, in real life, a person you don't even know will just give you a bad vibe? That was Elias for me. I was just uncomfortable reading his chapters, and I can't even say why.

I was much more interested in Laia's chapters, though I wasn't all that interested in Laia herself. I wanted to see what would happen with her brother, especially since it was so obvious that Mazen was totally bullshitting. And I'll be honest, I was interested in seeing where it would go with Keenan. It definitely all moved way too fast, since their interactions all consisted of quick cloak-and-dagger stuff, but if it had been more slow burn, I could have gotten behind it. I think. Maybe.

And okay, I know it's been talked about before, but this whole love square? WHAT EVEN WAS THAT? I never really felt it between Helene and Elias. And Laia and Elias? Are you kidding me? I felt NOTHING between them. Nothing that made any sense, anyway. And I mean, I knew it was going to happen, obviously. But it was not even remotely believable. All the romance in this book felt like such a mess.

As for world-building, I've heard so much raving about it. But I was reading and going "where is this exquisite world-building? WHERE?" Because I didn't see it. Any of it. Which is entirely how I felt about this whole book - I didn't see anything that everyone else must see.

Overall: Listen, I had to skim and skip to actually sort of finish this book. I was bored to tears and honestly can't think of a single thing I liked, besides the possibilities of Keenan and Laia and Laia's parentage. I don't really know why I can't love this one like everyone else. I genuinely feel like I have to crawl under a rock now. 1.5 stars.


6.21.2015

The Sunday Post {11}: Still On The Hunt!

The Sunday Post is hosted at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, intended to recap the past week and share upcoming news! Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!
For coffee. Always need coffee. Always waking up at 4:30am WHY IS THIS WHAT THE REAL WORLD IS LIKE???




Basically? BOOKS. AND MORE BOOKS. I won all of the below from the #YAParty! Huge HUGE thanks to Liza, Hannah, and Andye!

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Never Never by Brianna Shum
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
Storm Siren by Mary Weber

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Overtaken by Marc H. Kruger
Don't Look Back by JLA
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
End of Days by Susan Ee
Stone Cold Touch by JLA

Can you believe I don't own any of the Raven Cycle books? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? IT'S MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SERIES. So happy to finally own at least one of them! SUPER excited for Never Never and Never Always Sometimes, and I'd never really heard of The One Thing before, but it sounds great! Basically, I LOVED THIS BOX. It also came with a Fierce Reads tote and a TON of swag! And I housed them on my newly built bookshelf! I didn't think I was actually going to be able to build it myself, BUT IT HAPPENED. I'll be posting photos on my Instagram soon!
 In other news:
  • I had my orientation, finally got my schedule, (it's unpleasant) and I signed up for French! I quit in high school and I've been regretting it for a few years so I'm excited to start again.
  • I actually have no idea. You guys, I suck. I suck so hard. Hopefully I can finally get the Find Me tag done!
  • I'll be commenting. A lot. I've got THREE WHOLE DAYS OFF GASP SHOCK CHEER. 
  • Also, I need to sleep. Like a lot. And then work at 6am again.

What did you all get this week?

6.18.2015

Mini Reviews: The Darkest Minds and Scarlet

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Published: February 5th, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends
Source: Bought

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


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When I reread and reviewed Cinder, everyone talked about how they definitely loved Cinder, but Scarlet was even better - both the book and the character. At the time, I didn't see how. I loved Cinder, and I loved how easily I could connect to her. I didn't think it could get better for me. As it turns out, I was right.

Scarlet was definitely great. I loved that her mission was centered on saving her grandmother, I loved her fierceness and her wit. But I just didn't connect to her the way I did for Cinder. I didn't feel as much and as intensely for her as I did for Cinder. I liked Wolf and Scarlet well enough, just not in the way I did with Kai and Cinder.

It was really cool to see a different part in the world that The Lunar Chronicles are set in. Marissa Meyer definitely knows how to world build. It all felt so very natural, and I mean, it was Paris in Meyer form, so I mean . . . What's not to love? 

I loved the development in the Lunar plotline. It's starting to get a little creepier, which I always love. That stuff with Wolf and the pack? Definitely a plot twist I didn't really see coming. But what I enjoyed most were scenes between Thorne and Cinder. I love Thorne's personality and how different he is from a lot of heroes. Still arrogant and pretty, of course, but different in many other ways. I can't wait to dive into Cress and read more his humor.

Overall: I still really enjoyed Scarlet. The world Marissa Meyer has created is so easy to fall in love with, and the stakes are starting to get even higher. I'm just still very attached to Cinder, and this one didn't make me as emotional. 4 stars.



The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Published: December 18th, 2012 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: Traded

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.


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I've heard from multiple people that TDM is one of their favorite series. And as Alexandra Bracken wrote Passenger, which sounds completely incredible and has received rave reviews so far, I came into this with high expectations. And honestly, I was . . . underwhelmed. I enjoyed it, sure, but I was expecting so much more. Even now that I've finished, I still don't properly understand the powers of every color. The backstory and world-building were pretty weak for me. Why do all the kids have one of like, five abilities? Who even came up with this colors system? HOW ON EARTH DOES THE ENTIRE WORLD JUST THINK THEY'RE IN A REHABILITATION CAMP? Okay, sure, people only see what they want to believe. But you can't tell me that the majority of the US isn't concerned about their kids - who they never get to see or hear from - just because the economy is broken. It just wasn't believable enough for me.

And I never really felt the danger. Never really connected to Ruby. Thought her and Liam were cute, but was never so invested in them that my heart hurt. (Blue and Gansey, anyone?) Knew Clancy was a creep from the start. I guess I just think this all could been a lot more interesting. At times, it felt a bit like a contemporary playing at something more.

I found it really interesting, though, the way that her biggest strength is that she can erase herself from someone's memory. I totally saw that ending with Liam coming, especially after his "I will never forget you. Never, never, never." But that doesn't mean it left me apathetic. I definitely got a little emotional there and had to pause my life for a few minutes and go "DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?"

Overall: I enjoyed the story well enough and wanted to see where it was going. The relationship between Chubs, Liam, and Suzame (and eventually Ruby) was fun. I was just expecting a lot more. 3 stars.