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Review: Once

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ONCE by Anna Carey was released in the U.S. on July 3, 2012. It is currently available to order online in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats at AMAZON and in print and eBook formats at BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by HarperCollins, the print edition is 384 pages.

ONCE is the second book in author Anna Carey’s Eve trilogy. The third and final book in the series, RISE, was released on April 5, 2013.

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Description…

*** Super spoiler-y for not only EVE but ONCE ***

When you’re being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She’s living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past–and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together–but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

In this breathless sequel to “Eve,” Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar.

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ONCE is the absolutely thrilling, edge-of-your-seat exciting and utterly heartbreaking second book in author Anna Carey’s Eve trilogy. Picking up a few months after EVE left off, this story transports readers once again to a world that is still recovering from the plague that ravaged it, to a country whose leader is a cruel dictator, and to a safe haven that is starting not to feel so safe.

Filled with even more surprises, betrayals and heartbreak, a new setting to explore and new characters to meet, ONCE will keep readers hanging on to every word as they follow Eve to the City of Sand, discover what life is really like for its citizens and learn whether the King is someone who can be trusted or should be feared.

Califia was not everything Eve had hoped it would be. Unable to forget all that she had lost, when given the chance to flee, she took it. But life outside of Califia was just as dangerous as ever and ending up in the City of Sand was an outcome that proved to be inevitable.

However, life inside the City was not at all what Eve expected it would be. Especially when discoveries were made that threatened to turn her entire world upside down. Discoveries that will force her to choose whether to fight her fate and risk her safety or accept it and risk her only chance at happiness.

Fast-paced and suspenseful, ONCE will keep readers engaged as they take this next step in Eve’s journey. With characters old and new to connect with, to be betrayed by, to be heartbroken over, to love and to distrust, this story brings nerve-wracking tension to the page. It gives readers a heroine they can root for. And it leaves them hanging off the edge of a pretty big cliff with a number of questions still to be answered.

Anna Carey has dived a little deeper into the world she created and showed readers its heart – the City of Sand. The author allowed her heroine to grow, even with every obstacle she put in Eve’s way, or perhaps because of them. And she challenged readers  to uncover the secrets, the lies, the deception and the characters behind them all.

With shocking twists and turns that will keep readers guessing, a world that will give them the chills, a love story that will leave them heartbroken and an ending that will make them desperate to find out just what comes next, ONCE is an absolute must read second book in this electrifying and immensely entertaining series.

Reviewer gives this book…

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On a personal note…

Oh my gosh this sequel was amazing. I loved the first book in this series, but ONCE just hit all the right notes for me. I was shocked – the jaw-dropping variety. I was heartbroken – yes the tears did come… more than once. I was anxious and nervous and a little bit breathless even – I’m talking nail-biting suspense here.

I was on the uphill climb of a roller coaster with my emotions for the last quarter of the book and then they went on a steep downward plummet right there at the end.

This book had it all. And I mean all. Deception, lies, betrayal, heartbreak, romance. There were moments that were so sweet. There were moments that were just so sad. And there were moments that I could literally feel my heart stop beating and sink into the pit of my stomach.

I can’t go into too much detail about what happened because it seems like everything in this book is incredibly spoiler-y. But I was completely and totally shocked by this one big reveal. Something I didn’t see coming. At all.

And it made Eve’s story incredibly complicated – in the very best ways – because of it. While I would love to talk about which two characters this complication involved, I think even just mentioning who they are would ruin the surprise.

Then there was the surprise I did expect. And when that happened I found myself grinning down at the book in the way that I only do with stories I am invested in.

And while I can’t even begin to talk about the plotting and scheming, or the deception and, at the very end, the betrayal, I can talk about Eve. A character who I found myself on the fence about in the first book, but who I absolutely adored in this sequel.

She became a much stronger character, one with a firm resolve and a determination that sometimes bordered on reckless. But she fought for what she wanted in this book, which is why I love her. And she actually knew what she wanted, which wasn’t always the case for her in EVE.

I found myself racing through the final chapters in this story, practically skipping words so I could find out how it would all end. I was hopeful and nervous and fearful and so very anxious about whether things would end happily or end tragically.

And while I won’t say how they ended, I will just say that I’m so very glad I didn’t read this on release date. Because I know for a fact that I couldn’t have survived the nine month wait until RISE’s release.

There wasn’t the same epic journey in this sequel, but I’m glad of that. I liked the transition. I loved getting to see another piece of Eve’s world. And I loved getting to meet new characters. Especially since none of the major players from the first book were completely forgotten in ONCE.

I so want to talk about the King – yes we finally get to meet him – but I can’t do that without revealing just how I do feel about him and why. And if I do that, I’ll likely destroy the read for anyone who hasn’t yet read this book. So I’ll keep my lips sealed.

ONCE ratcheted up the tension, the heartbreak, the drama and the suspense. It left off on a cliff so steep I don’t know how anyone managed to hang on for RISE’s release. There were so many surprises in this book, so many betrayals. And with yet another note from Eve’s mother, I couldn’t help but be reduced to tears – not for the first time in this book.

Where EVE was a book I loved getting to know, ONCE made this series an absolute must.

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Favorite passage…

I didn’t realize I had so many favorites until I looked at all the pages I flagged. Wow. So of course it was tough to choose a favorite. Then once I did, the favorite was actually super spoiler-y. So I tried to choose one that was just a little bit less so. I’m not entirely sure I achieved that, but I didn’t mention names, so….

We stayed like that for just a moment. I wanted to thread my fingers through his, to pull him close to me, so close that his chin was on my shoulder, his face nestled into my neck. I wanted his arms around me, pressing our bodies together so we were one again.

This review is based on a print copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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