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    RYAR Review: THE VAULT OF DREAMERS by Caragh M. O’Brien

    Previously published on ReadingYA.rocks


    ABOUT THE BOOK


    THE VAULT OF DREAMERS by Caragh M. O’Brien
    Published by Roaring Brook Press on September 16, 2014
    Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
    Provided by: Publisher
    Rating: 5 stars

    AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS

    This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

    DESCRIPTION

    From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

    The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.


    REVIEW


    Caragh M. O’Brien’s THE VAULT OF DREAMERS is an exciting and refreshingly different story that combines some of the very best elements of dystopia and science fiction. It has a futuristic setting that takes place within the confines of an arts school in which its students’ lives are broadcast on a TV program known as the Forge Show. It provides a backdrop in the form of a contest that pits students against one another for the chance to remain at the school. It introduces “leaders” whose actions are at best suspect and at worst sinister. It explores scientific concepts such as inducing sleep to promote creativity and mining for and harvesting dreams.

    This story was such an unexpected and incredibly awesome surprise and was not at all what I expected when I first heard about it, or even after I started reading it. What on first glance appeared to be a typical dystopian, with a smart, inquisitive main character who was sure to beat the odds, clash with the higher ups and fall for one of the two potential love interests, turned out to be something quite different.

    It was gripping, suspenseful and most of all chilling. The “Big Brother” element added tension throughout. It had mystery, conflict and romance. The secrets were darker than I had imagined they would be. The goings-on were more disturbing. And the ending was so shocking it completely blew my mind.

    I had not realized this was the first in a series until after I’d read this book. The promise of something more potentially makes the ending slightly less of a shocker, but after having re-read it knowing there was more to come, it was still jaw-dropping.

    Had I kept certain things in mind – like the book’s title and its description – throughout the read, I might have put a few pieces of the puzzle together and not been completely blindsided by that ending. But I got so caught up in what was going on with Rosie Sinclair, that I didn’t even think to look ahead.

    THE VAULT OF DREAMERS is full of twists and turns, shocks and surprises. It’s peppered with moments that will stun. The tension and suspense make for an enthralling and nerve-racking read. And its strong and likable main character will have readers rooting for her until the very end. While it doesn’t dive too deeply into the science and technology behind what is happening, it gives readers a lot to think about, to imagine, to be horrified by. It is a fascinating story and total mind-bender.

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    Review: Uninvited

    Uninvited

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    UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan was released in the U.S. on January 28, 2014, in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 384 pages.

    UNINVITED is the first book in a new series by Author Sophie Jordan.

    Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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    Description…

    The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

    When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

    Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

    The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

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    Sophie Jordan’s UNINVITED is an incredibly exciting, chilling, thought-provoking and immensely entertaining read that takes readers to a future where someone’s propensity to kill can be predicted by genetic testing. It is a dark, suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat story that is at times shocking, at others heartbreaking, but at all times utterly captivating.

    Davy Hamilton wasn’t a killer. Just because a test told her she was, that one day she would kill someone, didn’t mean she was ready to accept that fact. She was a musician. She was headed to Juilliard. She was popular. She was in love. There was just no way she could be this person the test for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome said she was.

    But just because she couldn’t believe it, didn’t mean others couldn’t. Her friends, her boyfriend, even her family were so ready to believe. So willing to turn their back on her when she needed them the most.

    If everyone was so certain, then maybe it was true. Maybe being branded a killer and thrown into a new life she was completely unprepared for would make it true.

    Maybe having nothing left to lose would turn her into the killer she was meant to be.

    Davy is an incredibly sympathetic, relatable and likable character. The absolutely heartbreaking situation she is forced to face will have readers rooting for her from the moment she is given her life-changing news, hoping that she meets someone to help her find a way to exist in her new reality, and wishing that someone will be Sean O’Rourke.

    Sophie Jordan has imagined a bleak, disturbing and frighteningly realistic future in UNINVITED. She presents an interesting ethical and moral dilemma with her HTS test. By giving readers a main character whose violent tendencies aren’t readily apparent, whose behavior and life seem as if they’d never head in that direction, she takes on the question of causation. By beginning each chapter with a peek at just what else is going on in her world, she invites more questions, offers more food for thought.

    And she does all this in a way that is gripping, fascinating and completely engrossing.

    UNINVITED blends together science fiction, action and romance, places it in a dystopian setting, adds in tension, thrills, chills, heartache and drama, challenges readers to think, and delivers it via an engaging main character in an exceptionally written and unputdownable story.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    6

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note…

    When I read the description for UNINVITED I knew it was going to be a story I liked. It sounded a bit different. It sounded a bit dark. And it was written by an incredibly talented author. But what I didn’t expect was for it to be as amazing as it was. I didn’t expect to be given so much to think about. I didn’t expect to fall as in love with it as I did.

    I didn’t expect for it to be my favorite read this year.

    UNINVITED is not just an exciting read with a likable main character, a swoon-worthy boy, an interesting, action-filled plot. It has all that in spades. But it offers so much more. The ideas, the realities are depressing, chilling, terrifying.

    The concept of an identifiable “kill gene” invites so many questions. Questions that the author not only handles brilliantly in her book but invites you to think about during and after the read.

    I can’t tell you how many times I put the book down and pondered, “But, what if…” or “Would this have happened if not for….”

    I did not expect to be as engaged with the story as I was. It was such an incredible surprise.

    But UNINVITED is not just about the stuff to think about. There are some awesome – and not so awesome *cough* Zac *cough* – characters. I absolutely loved getting to know Davy. My heart went out to her from the very start. Everything she went through from the moment she was labeled to the moment where… well, it’s a spoiler-y moment, so I’ll leave it at that. And Sean. He was an insta-love character for me. Mysterious. Dangerous. Perfect.

    This story gave me the chills. I’m talking heebie jeebies. It took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. And it wasn’t just Davy who caused my heart to plummet, but her brother, others in her situation… the maybe/possibly innocent ones. It was enthralling and disturbing and I was totally consumed by each and every word, every moment.

    Davy’s life was completely derailed. She was forced into a situation that no one should be in. She was made to endure things she never should have had to. It was horrifying. It was heartbreaking. It made for an absolutely amazing story.

    If was allowed to only recommend one book this year – I hope that reality, much like Davy’s reality, never comes to be – it would definitely be UNINVITED.

    Favorite passage…

    This entire book is amazing. But I do have a favorite scene which contains a few of my favorite passages. Here are just a few lines which I think say it all.

    His mouth flattens into a grim line. “I was used to being nothing.”

    nothing who showed up here today when I needed someone most.

    nothing who marched into the bathroom when Brockman cornered me.

    nothing who picked me up when I was stranded and out past curfew.

    A myriad of responses rush to my lips. “You’re not nothing.” You’re here.

    Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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    Book Watch: Allegiant

    Allegiant

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    ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth will be released in the U.S. on October 22, 2013 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, the print edition is 544 pages.

    ALLEGIANT is the third and final full-length book in Author Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy.

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    There aren’t very many YA books releasing the week of October 22nd, but even if there were I would still have chosen ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth as the book to watch this week. And even though there’s a ton of hype surrounding this series, especially with the upcoming film release, I am still dying to find out how this series ends.

    I had no clue ALLEGIANT‘s release date was just around the corner. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to see what happens in this last installment in the series. So I’m more excited than ever that in just a couple weeks and a little bit of change I’ll be able to find out.

    I’d been holding off reading the book’s description until now, so the wait wouldn’t be too torturous. But now that I have… Oh. My. Gosh! I am dying, just dying, to experience this story from the dual perspectives of Tris and… Tobias? I’m dying to know whose heart has changed. I’m dying to find out what secrets will be revealed. And I’m anxious to see if the ending will be happy, bittersweet or tragic.

    I was not the biggest fan of dystopia when I started reading this series. But everyone told me that DIVERGENT was a definite must read. I’d never enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale so the similarities initially put me off. However all of that wariness I felt quickly disappeared once I got further and further into this story, became more connected with the characters and got to experience the expansiveness of the author’s world.

    I made a connection with the writing and was intrigued by the story, but it wasn’t until I read INSURGENT that I fell madly in love with this series, its characters, its world. It was so completely epic. And the moment I finished I was desperate to get my hands on the next installment. To find out how the author would wrap up this series. To find out whether all the characters I’d grown to love would make it to the end. To find out whether I’d be left a complete and total wreck.

    I can’t wait for ALLEGIANT‘s release so that I can get answers to those three questions in the description. I can’t wait to find out what “impossible choices” Tris will have to make. And I am anxious to find out just how different Tris’ new reality is from the one she left behind.

    The description mentions this book is over five hundred pages, but if it’s anything like the previous books in the series it will be a super fast read. So I’m glad it is as long as it is so that this story won’t feel rushed and saying goodbye won’t come quite so quickly.

    So while I am excited to read the first book in Lauren Kate’s new series and I’m totally intrigued by Mary Gray’s THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, there was no other option for me but ALLEGIANT as the book to spotlight for the week of October 22nd. It’s the book I’ve been anxiously awaiting since the moment I finished INSURGENT, it’s the very first YA dystopian series I fell in love with, and with two characters whose outcomes I’m very much invested in, ALLEGIANT is the book to watch this week.

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    Places to Watch

    The author on TWITTER

    The author on FACEBOOK

    The Divergent Series on FACEBOOK

    The author’s WEBSITE

    The author on TUMBLR

    The author on GOODREADS

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    About the Book

    Goodreads description:

    One choice will define you.

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

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

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

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

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    Other Amazing Books to Watch

    Here are a few of the other awesome books releasing the week of October 22nd:

    TEARDROP (Teardrop #1) by Lauren Kate

    THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM by Mary Gray

    RAGS & BONES: New Twists on Timeless Tales by Melissa Marr, et al

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    Review: The Eternity Cure

    The Eternity Cure

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    THE ETERNITY CURE by Julie Kagawa will be released in the U.S. on April 30, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 448 pages.

    THE ETERNITY CURE is the second book in author Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series. No information is yet available about the third book in the series.

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    Goodreads description…

    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.

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    THE ETERNITY CURE is the electrifying and wildly entertaining second book in author Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series. Darker, grittier and even more suspenseful than the first, this sequel amps up the action, danger and tension levels, making this an intense, edge-of-your-seat read.

    When Allison Sekemoto set off in search of Kanin, his rescue was her only goal. Still struggling with her humanity in this violent and ruthless world where lawlessness abounds, Allie fights to hang on to who she was before she became a predator. But when survival is dependent upon the need to feed, killing is sometimes her only option.

    And as her journey leads her farther and farther away from the one thing that keeps her human, the price for Kanin’s safety may be steeper than she ever imagined.

    Julie Kagawa has delivered yet another gripping and highly addictive installment in this series. She puts her heroine, Allie, in even greater danger as she attempts to save Kanin from his vicious and bloodthirsty captor, Sarren. She adds a new threat to this already perilous world that is struggling to survive. And she sets it all against a ticking clock, making this read a nail-biter.

    The author does a brilliant job of mixing the elements of an epic saga, gritty dystopian and dark paranormal/urban fantasy with a touch of horror in THE ETERNITY CURE. Her characters are interesting and engaging, whether likable or unlikable, and her story captivating from beginning to end.

    This second book in the series doesn’t suffer from sophomore slump – it is even more thrilling and action-packed than the first. It doesn’t serve as a bridge – the story could stand on its own. The author didn’t let the world-building suffer – if anything, she expanded upon it.

    And while the young adult genre may be flooded with stories of vampires and zombie-like creatures set in a post-plague world, Julie Kagawa’s story and series sets itself apart with its diverse and appealing characters, its exhilarating adventure and the imaginative spin this author brings to each of her stories.

    With surprising twists and an even more surprising ally, dangerous new enemies and even deadlier threats, and a betrayal that could cost her everything, Allie’s quest to save her creator in THE ETERNITY CURE is an incredibly exciting adventure with a shocking cliffhanger ending that will keep readers riveted.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    06menu

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note…

    Oh my gosh this book was so wicked awesome. I LOVED every second of it. It was that good. Scratch that. Great. Scratch that. Amazing.

    I did not think Julie Kagawa could top what she wrote in THE IMMORTAL RULES. I loved that book and I was so sure that the follow-up couldn’t get any better. But oh my gosh it did. By a lot.

    THE ETERNITY CURE was so off-the-charts good that there are no words to adequately describe just how exciting it was to read. How riveted I was to the page as Allison set off on a quest to find Kanin. How unputdownable it was as the story unfolded. And how absolutely torturous that killer cliffhanger ending was.

    Nope. No words…. Exciting. Riveting. Unputdownable. Torturous. I’m not counting those as words. Because they don’t even begin to paint a picture of just how awesome this sequel was. Or how desperate I am to get my hands on the next book in this series.

    The description is pretty vague about Allison’s journey to find Kanin. It doesn’t reveal whether or not she makes the journey alone or whether she has a traveling companion or two. So I’m going to try to be just as vague when talking about this book so as not to reveal spoilers.

    But what I can talk about – one of the elements in this story that I love, love, loved – is that this already dark world got even darker. A world of humans and vampires that was barely hanging on is now potentially on the verge of extinction due to a new outbreak and contagion.

    I’d called the world in THE IMMORTAL RULES grisly, but the grisly in that book doesn’t hold a candle to just how grisly things got in this one. Dark. Grisly. Chilling. Violent. Heartbreaking.

    Yes, somewhere amidst the chaos, between the action-packed battles and chases, the race against the clock to find Kanin, the encounters with the Bleeders and Molemen, there were moments that were so unbelievably heartbreaking.

    Of course I won’t reveal whether it was just my heart that was broken or whether it was one or more of the author’s characters who suffered a broken heart, too. That little tidbit of information shall be my secret for now.

    But there’s so much more to this novel than just darkness and bloodshed. There is plenty of that, but that’s not all that THE ETERNITY CURE delivers. There’s suspense. Tension of the nail-biting variety. A journey that is once again epic. Characters that are interesting and challenging and likable and detestable.

    And if I’ve somehow given you the impression that this book is all doom and gloom, let me just add that there are also moments that are incredibly sweet and tender. Moments that will make your heart skip a beat or two.

    So, yeah, this book has a little bit of everything and a whole lot of the stuff of awesome. Though that ending did kill me. Not only because of what happened but because it made me so desperate to find out just what comes next and gave me no way to do so.

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    Favorite passage…

    There are three amazing passages I want to include here. And much to my surprise, they’re all Allie and Zeke passages. Given just how much I adore both Kanin and Jackal, it was a complete and total surprise when I narrowed down my very most favorite passages to those three.

    Of course choosing one is nearly impossible. Though I suppose I should choose the shortest one as opposed to those longish ones that reveal perhaps a bit too much.

    I felt him shift in my arms, holding me tighter, tucking my head under his chin. “Only death will take me away from you, vampire girl,” he whispered. “And even then, I’ll watch over you from wherever I end up.”

    The Trailer…

    This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

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    Review: Eve

    Eve

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    EVE by Anna Carey was released in the U.S. on October 4, 2011. It is currently available to order online in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HarperCollins, the print edition is 336 pages.

    EVE is the first book in author Anna Carey’s trilogy of the same name. The second book in the series, ONCE, was released on July 3, 2012 and the third and final book in the series, RISE, was released on April 2, 2013.

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    Description…

    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.

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    Set in a harsh future that’s been decimated by plague, in a world rebuilt upon lies and ruled over by a tyrant, Anna Carey’s EVE is a fast-paced and gripping story filled with shocking surprises, heartbreak, betrayal and nail-biting suspense.

    When Eve discovers that everything she once knew is a lie and that the future she had envisioned is one that is nothing more than a dream, she is forced to flee and search for the one place in The New America where she will be safe – Califia.

    With nothing more than a few meager supplies and no idea how to survive in the savage world outside of School, Eve’s journey is anything but easy and her chance at reaching safety is slim. But with her only other option being one that is far worse than death, there is no turning back.

    Hunted and alone, Eve will have to rely upon Arden, someone she’d always believed was her enemy, and put her trust in Caleb, someone she’d been warned should never be trusted, to have any hope of survival.

    But when she’s betrayed, by someone she never would have suspected was capable of deceit, she finds herself in even greater danger than she might have faced on her own. And she must decide just how far she’s willing to go and how much she’s willing to risk losing in order to stay alive.

    In this first book in the trilogy, readers will be introduced to the disturbing world of The New America, where its youth are kept in the dark about what the future holds for them, and to its unlikely heroine, Eve.

    Eve may not be the most heroic of heroines or one who makes the most intelligent of decisions, but given her cloistered existence, her actions feel real to her character’s development.

    And while much of the horrifying yet fascinating world the author created is not touched upon in EVE, as it is only the first installment in this series, readers will likely get to explore more of the world when Eve’s journey continues in the sequel.

    Anna Carey has written an incredibly exciting story, set in a chilling future, with a variety of characters, both good and evil, that add to this story’s appeal. The author has created a landscape that is heartless, a leader who is barbaric and a society whose rules only appear to benefit those at the top.

    And with a perilous journey, a love story that seems destined to be more bitter than sweet and a dramatic ending with an unexpected twist, EVE delivers on its promise to entertain.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Rate04

    On a Personal Note…

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up my copy of EVE. I’d read the description. I knew it had a dystopian setting. I knew there’d be a journey. I knew there would be a love story. But I didn’t know what would set this story apart from others with a similar theme.

    And then I opened the book and read the letter from Eve’s mother and immediately felt those tears form. This story grabbed me from the start and I forgot all about wondering about its differences and just went along for the adventure.

    Eve wasn’t a character I could immediately relate to or connect with, but her situation was a sympathetic one and so I wanted to know more about who she was and what she was going to have to face. Her story interested me.

    But it was the author’s writing that kept me connected at the start. The story unfolded just so easily and took me away to that future and Eve’s world became mine.

    And once the secrets were revealed about what horrors awaited Eve and her classmates, I couldn’t help but be riveted. Talk about chilling. I ached for those poor unsuspecting girls. I was heartbroken that Eve had to head out on her journey alone.

    And I was sad on Eve’s behalf that she had to make such difficult choices throughout her search for Califia. Choices that would have consequences. Choices that did result in loss. Choices that did result in heartbreak. Choices that were going to be difficult to live with.

    While it took me some time to warm up to Eve, the same could not be said for Caleb. I adored him from the moment I met him and I loved every single thing about him. He was absolutely perfect without being too perfect. He was funny and kind and clever and quite the hero.

    And I so wish I could talk more about what he did, why he made me sigh and why he made me grin. But it might just spoil one or two moments that would be best discovered during the read. Especially that one moment which showed just how naive Eve was about boys.

    Arden was another character I loved. While she was a bit abrasive at first and was someone who wouldn’t exactly come across as easy to warm up to, I liked her instantly. Her personality was the perfect counterpoint to Eve’s and she made this story that much more entertaining. And by the story’s end she became someone I was rooting for.

    EVE was a surprisingly quick read and I reached the end so fast that I was so glad I had the sequel, ONCE, to dive into. Especially after that ending, which left me more than a little surprised and incredibly frustrated.

    As I can’t say very much about the ending without spoilers, I will just say that while I anticipated what would happen – my “I’ve got a bad feeling” radar was on high alert – I did not expect it to happen quite so abruptly and in the way that it did.

    Which is why I was so happy to have the next installment to jump into and to be able to continue the story without pause. And which made all the difference in the world for how I experienced this book.

    As shocked as I was by those last couple of pages of EVE, this story was one that I absolutely loved. And as horrific of a world that is The New America, it was just so easy to get caught up in the story, get transported to that world, fall in love with its characters and follow along anxiously as they struggled to survive.

    Favorite Passage…

    I actually had quite a few passages and quotes I loved. A couple were a bit too sarcastic, a couple were a bit too revealing, and my most favorite passage was way too long – yes, it was the letter from Eve’s mother.

    But this short passage is one that just makes me sigh, is all sorts of sticky, and is a passage I absolutely adore.

    No, I thought then, and now, watching as Caleb glanced up at me and smiled that kind, brilliant smile. Happiness is a moment.

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    The Book Trailer…

    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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    My Reading Pile #104

    I expected to have a “no books” image in the post this week, so when three books showed up I was more than surprised by their arrival. As I’m not expecting any books in the near or far future – aside from a few signed books I have on order – since I haven’t put in any requests, for the next few posts the “no books” graphic will be making an appearance.

    But this week…

    My Reading Pile 104

    [Credit for mailbox sharing goes to The Story Siren]

    First I received a signed copy of NAMELESS by Lili St. Crow. I’d bid on the book in a charitable auction and won. Which I was so unbelievably excited about as I love the author’s writing and I heard this book is all sorts of awesome. I also won a three chapter critique. But I’m sure when I get feedback, I’ll likely not feel quite as awesome as I do for having received this gorgeous signed book.

    I also received a surprise package from Putnam Penguin with an ARC of WHITE LINES by Jennifer Banash, which releases in April, and ORLEANS by Sherri L. Smith, which just released this past week. I’d already received a copy of WHITE LINES, which I’ve been looking forward to adding to the pile, but didn’t have a copy of ORLEANS. So I’m super excited to check that book out, too.

    As both NAMELESS and WHITE LINES are releasing in early April I will be reading them very soon. But for now…

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.
    (March 10, 2013 – March 16, 2013)

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    Eve

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    First up on the pile is EVE by Anna Carey. I received a hardcover copy of this first book in the series, and the second, ONCE, in preparation for the Epic Reads The End Is Here event. And it’s been insanely difficult to not read both books already. But I’ve been trying to wait until closer to the release of RISE so I wouldn’t have a ginormous wait between books.

    As it’s now less than a month until RISE’s release, I figure I’ve waited long enough to head to 2032 and meet Eve, to find out more about this society where most everyone has been killed off by a deadly virus, and to see just what awaits her post-graduation.

    The description promises a journey, a love story, and a chase. And I cannot wait to finally take that journey with Eve and to see whether she chooses the love of her life over her own life.

    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.

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    Once

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    Next up on the pile is ONCE by Anna Carey. Which I will also be reading the print version of, versus my Kindle copy, for the Epic Reads event. I should really wait a week, so as to space things out so I don’t have as large a gap between books. But I couldn’t resist doing a back-to-back read of the two books I do have.

    When ONCE came out I did take a peek at the description. I couldn’t help myself. But now that I’ll be starting this series I don’t even want to glance at the description I’ve pasted below. Because I don’t want to spoil my reading experience of EVE and I believe that the description is slightly spoiler-y. Though, as I haven’t read it recently, I can’t be positive.

    I’m just so excited that I’ll be able to read all three books in the series in close proximity to one another. I’m also super glad that I am a newbie to the series so that I don’t have to suffer that year-long gap between books. But if EVE and ONCE are as amazing as I’ve heard they are, I just know that I’m going to be devasted when I’ll have to say goodbye to the series in just a few short weeks when I get a copy of the final book in the series, RISE.

    And as I will be reading these books for The End Is Here event, I am going to try very, very hard to make detailed notes, versus my usual cryptic ones. Which means Post-its. Lots and lots of Post-its.

    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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    Wishful Thinking Reads:

    I really wish I was reading DEAD EVER AFTER by Charlaine Harris. But as it doesn’t come out until May 7th, it will only be just a wish. I’ve had my ups and downs with the series, but it’s a series that I miss reading and characters I miss having occupy my mind. And while I know I will not be happy with the way things end, I am still holding out a sliver of hope that there will be something that makes me smile instead of sob.

    And I may just have to go back and re-read ALL TOGETHER DEAD, my favorite book in the series, to revisit the characters, since I can’t go back and re-read the entire series just now.

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    Those Left Behind:

    I completely and totally went off-pile last week. Which means I have a lot of catching up to do before I dive into EVE and ONCE. Last weekend I started and finished SPELLCASTER by Claudia Gray. I then proceeded to dive into MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza. And then on Tuesday devoured A TOUCH MENACING by Leah Clifford.

    And I haven’t picked up a book since. I just knew that series-ending book was going to kill me. And it did. Which means that I haven’t managed to write any of my reviews. For any of my already read books.

    Though ATM3 is only partly to blame. Because I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sam and Dean and “Supernatural” instead of reading and writing those reviews. Yes, I devour television series in much the same way I devour book series.

    Hopefully I’ll get back into the groove once I catch up with that series. And hopefully I’ll manage to get a few of those reviews posted this week.

    As always, I am ever hopeful.

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    NetGalley Pile Adds & Finds:

    I spent quite a bit of time poking around NetGalley and saw a few books that looked super interesting. But only one of them I couldn’t resist the temptation to request.

    The Girl with the Iron Touch

    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH by Kady Cross (Harlequin Teen, May 28, 2013)

    I absolutely love this series. And while I am just a bit behind, since I am participating in the TBR Pile Reading Challenge I couldn’t help but request THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH. This way I can read book two and this upcoming title back-to-back this May. At least that’s the excuse I’m giving myself for having put in the request.

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    And while I did give in to temptation for just one book, there are a bunch of super interesting looking books that caught my eye this week. And they are…

    BREATHLESS by Brigid Kemmerer (Kensington Books, Mar 6, 2013)

    SHALLOW POND by Alissa Grosso (Flux Books, Jul 8, 2013)

    CHARMED VENGEANCE by Suzanne Lazear (Flux Books, Aug 8, 2013)

    THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Kari Luna (Penguin Young Readers Group, Jul 11, 2013)

    BELONGING by Karen Ann Hopkins (Harlequin Teen, Apr 30, 2013)

    NEPTUNE’S TEARS by Susan Waggoner (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Jun 25, 2013)

    THE GIRL WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO DIE by April Henry (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Jun 11, 2013)

    SECOND IMPACT by David Klass and Perri Klass (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Aug 6, 2013)

    MY TOTALLY AWKWARD SUPERNATURAL CRUSH by Laura Toffler-Corrie (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Aug 20, 2013)

    THE SECRET INGREDIENT by Stewart Lewis  (Random House Children’s Books, Jun 11, 2013)

    THE PLANET THIEVES by Dan Krokos (Macmillan-Tor/Forge, May 21, 2013)

    MAYBE TONIGHT? by Bridie Clark (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Aug 6, 2013)

    I am so very tempted to request BELONGING by Karen Ann Hopkins, CHARMED VENGEANCE by Suzanne Lazear, and April Henry’s THE GIRL WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO DIE. But as I have at least forty books I need to be reading right about now, I’m going to try and remain strong. We shall see how long that lasts.

    04

    While I’m pretty much on track with the number of books I should be reading this year, I am not on track with the actual books I should be reading. Nor am I on schedule with my reviews.

    I am hoping that all changes over the next couple of weeks. But right now I feel like I have either too few words or too many words to put together coherent thoughts about the books I have been reading.

    It also doesn’t help that I’ve been in the oddest reading mood lately. And I’m fighting, desperately, the urge to go off-pile and read Julie Kagawa’s THE IMMORTAL RULES. I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist, as the upcoming release of THE ETERNITY CURE has made me that much more desperate to get caught up on this series.

    I am hopeful of getting caught up on last week’s reads and not getting too absorbed in this week’s books so I’ll be able to write a few reviews. But that is still TBD.

    I hope you’ve received some awesome books this week and have a book or two that you’re just dying to devour.

    Happy reading!

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    Do you create a reading pile?
    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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    Review: Insurgent

    Insurgent by Veronica Roth will be released in the U.S. on May 1, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, the print edition is 544 pages.

    Insurgent is the second book in author Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. The third book, as yet untitled, is slated for release in 2013.

    Goodreads description:

    One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

    Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

    New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

    ***

    Faction before blood. But what if your faction was divided? What if you didn’t know who in your faction to trust? What if you couldn’t be the person your faction needed you to be? What if you chose wrong?

    Everything is falling apart. One faction is divided, one faction nearly destroyed, two factions undecided and one faction seeking control over them all.

    Without an alliance there will be no way to fight back. Without the Divergent there will be no chance to win. Without uniting with someone thought to be your enemy there will be no chance to be Insurgent.

    And without trust everything will be lost.

    But how can you fight an enemy when they can render you powerless in an instant? How can you admit to being Divergent when everything in you screams to keep it secret? How do you fight alongside strangers when you don’t know what they’re fighting for?

    And how do you trust someone else, even someone you care about, when you can’t even trust yourself?

    ***

    A highly anticipated sequel, Insurgent will not disappoint. This electrifying and absolutely riveting second book in author Veronica Roth’s incredibly imaginative dystopian series is suspenseful and action-packed with a lightning fast pace that will make this five hundred plus pages story fly.

    Right from the start, readers will be catapulted back into this world of factions and the factionless. Where the struggle for power pits faction against faction, turning allies into enemies and forcing everyone to choose a side. To a world where the wrong choice could be deadly. Where no one is safe. And where being Divergent may just be the only hope for survival.

    After the attack that left so many dead – many who she knew, several who she cared about – Tris is still in shock and struggling to come to grips with everything that happened and everything she was forced to do to survive. But the war isn’t over. The factions are still in disarray. And the fight for control is still being waged.

    No longer sure who she can trust, not even sure if she can trust herself, Tris is forced into hiding until Four can come up with a plan. But unless they are able to gather enough forces to stand with them against their enemies, any rebellion they may incite will have no chance at victory.

    With one faction in ruins and one faction divided, they will need all the help they can get. Even if it means relying on an unlikely ally whose motives are suspect. And even if it means that Tris will have to take matters into her own hands to find the answers she needs.

    Author Veronica Roth has elevated her story to an entirely new stratosphere with Insurgent. The world is broader, the characters more intriguing, the action more nerve-wracking, the surprises more jaw-dropping and the love story more heartrending.

    Even with as quick a pace as this story had, and with the amount of action jam-packed onto its pages, the writing retained its beauty and flow, inviting readers to connect with the characters, discover the fascinating world and uncover all of its secrets.

    Full of twists and turns, heartbreak and betrayal, Insurgent is an emotional roller coaster of a read that will keep readers ensnared until the very end. And with all it promises and all it delivers, this is a sequel not to be missed.

    Reviewer gives this book….

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note:

    What an unbelievably amazing, out of this world, everything you could have asked for multiplied by a million kind of sequel this was. I did not want the story to end. I wish it hadn’t ended. I could have just kept on reading for days and days.

    And oh how I miss those characters. Already. I haven’t been able to pick up another book since I put Insurgent down because I don’t want to connect with any other characters than Tris and Four. I don’t want to be transported to any other world than the one in Veronica Roth’s series.

    I am going to have to re-read Divergent and then Insurgent again when it releases next week because I won’t be able to get this story out of my head unless I re-read it. And possibly read it once more after that.

    I loved Divergent. And I mean loved, loved it. How could I not? It was awesome. But my love for Insurgent went so far beyond that. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was so wary about Divergent because of the hype when I picked it up or if I just felt pressured because I was rushed to finish it on time, but I didn’t make a connection to that first book in the series anything like the one I made to this second book.

    This sequel had everything. And I mean everything I could want in a book. There was a ton of action. I don’t think the characters had a moment to breathe. I know I didn’t. The pace was insanely fast. The pages were practically turning themselves they were flying by so quickly. The emotional roller coaster I was on nearly killed me. From heartbroken to hopeful, from elated to devastated, from anxious to relieved, I was all over the place. Up. Down. Sideways.

    And then there was the suspense. It kept me on edge for the entire book. I could barely fight off the urge to turn to the last chapter to hopefully find just a tiny bit of relief. Just. Barely. Resisted.

    I had no idea what to expect for most of the read. I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. I didn’t know who would survive and who wouldn’t. I didn’t know if each and every moment Tris spent with another character would be the last moment she spent with them. I didn’t know who to trust. I didn’t know who or what to believe. Practically everything was a surprise. And it was absolutely, deliciously tormenting.

    I was hooked from the moment I picked up this book. Putting it down for even a second was pure agony. Everything that happened made me want to know what would happen next. There was no obvious place to pause. And I didn’t want to.

    I loved everything about this book. I loved what happened in the beginning. Then there was all that stuff that happened in the middle. And I can’t forget about that ending. Oh my gosh that ending. I loved all of it. Of course, I can’t talk about any of it because that would spoil everything. And I wouldn’t want to do that.

    But I can talk about my two favorite characters in this series.

    I didn’t think I could love Four more than I did in Divergent, but I did. Even though he was maddeningly frustrating at times. He was the hero. He was the protector. He was the voice of reason. He was quiet, calm and strong. He was willing to do what needed to be done. For his faction, for the people who relied on him, but mostly for Tris.

    And while I definitely considered him the good guy, when he wanted to be, he could be absolutely lethal. Which made him an unpredictable but incredibly entertaining character and the perfect match for Tris.

    Tris, who is becoming one of my very favorite heroines. I absolutely adored her in Insurgent. Even though she was just as frustrating as Four was. Maybe more so. She was reckless and stubborn and secretive. She could hardly be trusted. But she was also strong and smart and brave and fragile and wounded.

    With everything that happened and continued to happen to her and around her, she was never truly defeated. Because whether she knew it or not, she was a fighter. And because of that I rooted for her every single step of the way.

    Insurgent was so off-the-charts good I don’t even have a rating that will do it justice. As someone who does not always connect to books with a dystopian setting, I fell head-over-heels-and-back-again in love with this book. And I have no clue how I will be able to suffer the year-long wait for the third book in this series.

    ***

    I have so many favorite passages in this book. They number in the double-digits. There are the sexy ones, the heartbreaking ones, the nerve-wracking ones and the shocking ones, most of which I think should be discovered within the story.

    But I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. And so I chose two. This one, which I found to be incredibly meaningful:

    People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.

    And this one, which is absolutely, achingly tormenting:

    “What else do you want me to say?”

    He just shakes his head. “Nothing, Tris. Nothing.”

    I watch him walk away. I feel like a space has opened up within me, expanding so rapidly it will break me apart.

    ***

    Book trailer for Insurgent:

    ***

    This review is based on an ARC I borrowed from another blogger.

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