Review: Uglies (Uglies Series Book 1) by Scott Westerfeld

We all clearly know by now that i’m a HUGE fan of all things dystopian and while i’m waiting for January 22nd to roll around so i can read the follow up to Legend by Marie Lu (book 2 being Prodigy), i stumbled across Uglies which is in fact quite a good book 1 of the series.

Tally Youngblood is our lead female and we meet her when she’s on the cusp of her 16th birthday – the turning point for EVERYONE in civilization because that’s the birthday when you are turned from being an ‘ugly’ to being a ‘pretty’.  The mindset here is that one of the key drivers to the downfall of past civilization (namely ours at present) is that people didn’t look the same and therefore there was a lot of jealousy and things weren’t fair.  see….we know this to an extent, yet in Uglies – they actually take a step towards making everyone the same.

So…Tally is one of the last in her class to turn 16 so she’s quite lonely in ‘Uglytown’.  Her best friend Peris (a guy actually) has already turned and she’s constantly wondering if he’s going to care about her, if e misses her and if there’s a future for them…as friends or whatever.  So as she used to do quite often and as she does a bit now still, she sneaks across the river to ‘New Pretty town” – the part of the city that they have set aside for folks that have JUST been turned pretty – aka.  ‘new pretties’ and tries to see if she can find him.  What she finds is that yes, Peris does recognize her, and she him, and he ‘says’ that he can’t wait for her to turn, but that he doesn’t want her coming back to the city until she’s pretty.  This leaves Tally feeling even more rejected.  So – to make her escape back to Ugly town (because it’s a HUGE CRIME to be in Pretty Town when you’re an ugly) she has to pull a trick, causes alarms to sound, and rushes back to her home.  On her trip, she encounters Shay, another girl who’s the exact same age as her, and is in the same habit of sneaking across the river to see how things are.

Shay is our next main character.  Shay has this idea in her head from many of her friends that there’s an alternative to turning pretty and that in fact it’s a really bad thing to become pretty.  She’s heard from friends and seen for herself that there’s a group of people who’ve runaway and gone to live in the Smoke.  she herself hasn’t actually been to the Smoke ,but she’s met people who are from there and even knows their ‘leader’ David.  She tries to convince Tally that it’s much better to go to the Smoke and teaches Tally all she can so that Tally will come with her.

Alas, this is all for naught since Tally actually WANTS to be pretty and wants to join her friends in New Pretty Town.  Shay decides to runaway any way and from that point on, no one’s life is the same.  Shay leaves directions for Tally in case she has a change of heart and kind of prays that it’s the case since they’ve grown close in such a short time.

See….Special Circumstances has been watching the situation with Shay and her friends – noticing that there were bunches of runaways and hearing about The Smoke.  They in a sense FORCE Tally to work with them to find the Smoke and tell her that they won’t turn her pretty unless she helps them find the Smoke.  So…she agrees….and that’s when things get exciting for Tally.

So here are the questions on where the story goes:

1) What happens for Tally?  Does she make it to the smoke?  Does she help out Special Circumstances? Does she turn Pretty?

2) Now that we’ve met Shay, David and Peris, what is their story and how does it unfold?

3) What’s the deal with the Pretties?  Are they all Happy all the time?

so…now my only sadness is that Pretties (book 2) and Specials (book 3) aren’t available in Nook book ebook from Barnes and Nobles so i have to figure out a way to get my hands on the next installments cause i REALLY want to know how things unfold.  It’s definitely going to be interesting based on how the last few chapters of Uglies unfurled.  There were many twists and turns that i was expecting, yet that didn’t take away from the anxiety.

Re-Review: Legend by Marie Lu

With the sequel coming out really soon, i decided that i needed a refresher and reminder of what happened in the first installment of the Legend series.  Boy was i glad that i took another read because i thought i really enjoyed the book before and now i love it.  i think that it was one of the first dystopian genre types that i read, and it was a good lead into one of my favorite types of books.

In any event, we are introduced to June in a post revolution society where there’s no such thing as The United States of America – that’s a thing of the past that no one quite believes in but instead a war between the Republic (which June is a part of), and the Colonies.  there’s a 3rd group in the mix as well – the Patriots who are an underground group that kind of works to over throw the republic (most likely the colonies as well)

So….back to June – she’s 15 maybe, and she’s supposedly the only person in the Republic to have ever scored a perfect 1500 on her Trials.  The trials are a series of tests that each 10 yr old has to take that determines their path.  There’s a test, physical evaluation and interview.  June scored perfect and was put on an accelerated path into and out of school and up the ranks.  her brother Matias is also some what of a genius and he’s a captain in the military for the Republic.  He also serves as a guardian and parent to June since their parents ‘died in a car accident’ years earlier.

Then in a parallel story we meet Day who is from one of the poor sectors and who ‘failed’ his trails.  As a result he was sent to the labor camps and escaped his fate there, turning to a life on the streets, and somewhat of a life of ‘crime’.  He’s made a name for himself with his ability to ellude the military and the republic, to commit crimes against the Republic and evade capture and even identification for the last 5 years.  It’s rather impressive if you think about it – for someone that ‘failed their trials’ don’t you think?

June’s and Day’s paths cross when one night while on patrol at the hospital, Matias is killed and it’s thought to be from Day’s doing.  June goes on the hunt for both Matias’ killer and Day who are supposed to be one and the same.  She manages to locate Day, get somewhat close to him, help the military capture him and that’s when things all go pear-shaped.

One of the best things about this story is that even though you really are expecting everything that happens for the first 2/3 of the story – the last few chapters are kind of on a path of their own.  you hope that you’re right about a few things, and know that you are about others yet you don’t quite know where the sequel is going to take you.  this makes me so anxious for Prodigy – book 2 in the series since i want to know what happens to all the key players and what becomes of their stories.

1) What happens with June?

2) what has happened with Day?

3) What’s happening to society and what direction will it take?

4) do you like Thomas? (just one that i’m throwing in there) – i don’t

5) what’s the story behind Chian and Commander Jameson?

6) does Anden play a role in the 2nd book?  i feel like he should but he was only mentioned in like 1-2 pages in Legend

 

Review: Captured by You (One Night in Passion #1.6) by Beth Kerry

if i weren’t quite so bright i’d start to get confused here.  with all the changing pseudonyms being used, i’m never sure which author to look up for which story.  In any event, we’ve been introduced to the lead female of this story in previous books.  Remember back to Rill and Katie’s story in the first installment of the series.  We find ourselves often at Legion’s Diner and the ‘owner’ so to speak – Sherona Legion is a bone of contention for Katie.  Basically, Katie finds herself to be a bit jealous of the interactions that the 2 of them share, Rill and Sherona…but we find that it’s all worry for nothing.

so…now it’s time for Sherona to get something good in her life.  What we know is that Sherona looks after her brother Derek – who’s college age and is actually a good kid.  We met him in a previous story actually as well – when he’s found himself trapped in the diner with a would be ‘killer’ or rather a community member who’s flipped ‘his wig’ a bit.

in any event, when we meet Sherona in her story, it’s in the forest as she’s just finished a swim and is exiting the water sans clothes.  We also at the same time meet chance Hathoway – an Aussie who’s the heir to a HUGE fortune and also a well known nature photographer who is friends with Rill.  (see how everything is tied together?)  Chance is visiting the area to help take photos to promote the coop and the charity that they do to get additional support and distribution etc.

So Chance typically only shoots nature landscapes and the sort, but finds himself completely ensnared by the image of Sherona’s naked body as she comes out of the water.  We get additional insight to how amazing she really is – how truly beautiful since that detail really hasn’t been provided in previous installments.  It’s after a few moments that Sherona realizes that she’s being watched, and in a sense gives a little show – getting physical with herself.

fast forward a little bit and Chance finds himself at the diner – looking for Sherona to talk through taking pictures for the coop and knowing full well at this point that she’s the woman that he saw in the woods.  His body responded to her in such a way that he can’t wait to interact with her more.

Sherona recognizes him as well from that same day and her body responds in a way that she’s not accustomed to.  She realizes that she’s organically responding in ways that are uncharacteristic to her because of the raw sexuality and sensuality that comes from Chance.  While they are talking about the photos for the coop, Chance makes an ‘indecent proposal’ by asking to take additional photos of Sherona – with her approval this time and decides upon a theme of bondage and captivity since it seems to be something that Sherona has naturally responded to.

As a result of this steamy set up and their natural attraction, things lead to other things and we get to see exactly the kind of sexual creature Chance is and what he’s able to draw out of Sherona.  It’s hot, it’s steamy and it kind of makes me want to go camping in the hopes that i could find my own hot photog that’s quite so natural.

The issues here with their relationship though is that chance is only visiting and not only is he not planning to be in the area permanently, he’s from an entirely different world.  he’s wealthy, he’s international and he travels a lot.  Sherona is a home town girl who’s never had the opportunity to live past her means.  She’s been forced to be a mother to Derek and take on the responsibility of the diner without the option to really say no.

so…1) what happens from here with the 2 of them? 2) what has Sherona learned of herself and how will that change her outlook on things?

it’s all stuff that gets uncovered in the story and a great little novella read to get through in a handful of hours.

Review: Bound To You (One Night of Passion #1.5) by Bethany Kane

Oh how i love to get sucked into a little series of characters that continue to have great stories to tell.  Bound To You reintroduces us to Jennifer Turner who we know from previous stories used to date Everett, and was one of his potential great loves.  there was a bit of worry and jealous on the part of Joy since she wasn’t sure if she compared to Jennifer and if there was still a spark, but towards the end of their little story, we’re introduced to Jennifer AND John – the man that she’s found for herself.

So…what we already know of John is that he’s blind – and that’s really about it.  In Bound To You, we learn that he’s from a ‘broken home’, he lived with his father in Vuture’s Canyon during the summers, is well respected and enjoyed by the community and is quite smart and capable even without his vision.  He’s got a trusted dog Enzo who’s a seeing eye dog to an extent, yet really not trained to be one.  The day that we meet him, he’s out in the nature preserve and he’s drawn to the sound of a voice that he recognizes, yet is not one that should be there.

This is when we come across Jennifer – she’s in the area visiting Rill and Katie
Pierce about a movie role and she’s decided to go for a walk.  She’s singing to herself as she’s hiking, and her path somehow crosses Johns.  While that’s happening, she also crosses paths with a ‘sink hole’ for lack of a better word – the result of abandoned mining shafts that have begun to cave in.  In John’s effort to warn her, they both find themselves stuck in this hole – this cave and they are in for a long wait because they are in the middle of the woods and no one would really know where to start looking for them because they don’t have cell signals and the sort.  OF COURSE

so what does one do when one’s trapped in a cave with someone of the opposite sex?  see if there’s a spark.  alas, that’s not exactly how things start out – we learn that Jennifer is TERRIFIED of the dark and why – which isn’t the nicest story afterall.  John figures a way to help her through that fear – which allows them to both capitalize on their attraction to one another.

What i love about this story is that there are AMAZING descriptions of what’s going on and their interaction.  part of it is just due to good writing ability of Bethany Kane and the other is due to the fact that we’re substituting a bit because John can’t exactly see so a lot is described for mutual benefit.  It’s incredibly well written and quite steamy.

so, the curve ball here, 1) how long will it take to get rescued and will they be ‘ok’ when they are rescued?  2) is the attraction only due to the fact that they are stuck in a cave together and John finds a way to take Jennifer’s mind off the dark?  3) what’s the real life and world going to hold for them

all of course things that you will uncover as the story progresses.  a great little novella – it’s really nice to have these shorter 100 page stories to read.  gets me through a day 🙂 (or a few hours)

Review: Addicted to You (One Night in Passion #1) by Bethany Kane

well – i made the error of reading things slightly out of order – accidentally reading book 2 first, however i don’t think that it really took away from the experience of reading Addicted to You.

So, to back up, in the 2nd book, we meet Rill and Katie…a pair that had been a part of a tight knit group of friends all through college and then some.  Rill is an accomplished Hollywood director, Katie is the sister of A list celeb Everett….and that’s part of the glue that keeps everyone together.

We meet Rill in this story when he’s at what’s probably the lowest point in his existence.  He’s been in this deep depression since the death of his wife…and he’s secluded himself into Vulture’s Canyon – a community in the middle of Shawnee National Forest.  He’s managed to drink himself into a perpetual stupor – no one wants to be around him, no one can pull him out of his funk…and therein lies the problem.

The night that we’re introduced to katie, Rill is in rare form – soo drunk that he’s not even sure what he’s seeing…who he’s seeing and decides to think of it as just part of a drunken imagination / dream scape.

In fact, it’s Katie, who’s come all the way from LA to see if she can smack some sense into him.  Everyone’s been worried about Rill, Everett didn’t have success so now she’s trying her hand at it.  Mind you, she kind of has ulterior motives because she’s always had a little crush on Rill and well…she’s quite dissatisfied with her life in LA. So on the night that they both are in the same space at the same time….their interaction is charged, electric and HOT HOT HOT.  Katie lets Rill do what he wants, and knows that there’s a large chance that Rill won’t even remember any of it.

Circumstances happen of course, and nope – Rill doesn’t remember that it was Katie, Katie finds herself temporarily if not permanently tied to Vultures Canyon for reasons other than Rill, and Rill is less than thrilled with this.  Katie then takes it upon herself to sober Rill up, get him healthy and figure out what the heck is going on with him.  She also finds that there’s clearly unrest between her brother and his best friend…and has to get to the bottom of that one.

So, in clear Bethany Kane/ Beth Kerry style, we’re drawn fast and hard into a sexually charged, hot and steamy interaction between people that doubt they are good for one another, yet can’t keep their hands off each other.

The sex is hot, the dynamic between the duo is hotter and we can only sit back and hope that they don’t combust from all that steam and fire.

Review: Annabel (Delirium Series Book .5) by Lauren Oliver

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Title:  Annabel
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins Publishers 12/26/12
Length: 50 pages
Series: Delirium #.5

Overview

Lena’s mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena’s past. Until now.

Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver’s brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellersDelirium and Pandemonium.

Lena Halloway’s mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That’s the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.

But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

My Thoughts

I had forgotten that this was going to be one of the smaller novellas off the series while we’re waiting for Requiem to come out, so it was a nice miss on my part.  mind you i had pre-ordered it, so it wasn’t a complete miss.

Something that i’ve come to really enjoy about Lauren Oliver’s writing style is that she gives us both the past perspective and back story on things as well as the current day POV.  It makes sure that we know why things happened as they did and maybe get a better sense of who these characters are.

So …Annabel – she’s Len’s mother if you don’t remember.  What we learned in the previous books was that we thought she had committed suicide.  That wasn’t the case – instead she was imprisoned because her ties to the part of society that wasn’t in agreement of ‘the cure’ and what was going on.  So…we find that Len’s rebelliosness comes from her mom – Annabel had in fact run away from home to escape what was going to be her fate…and this gave her a real taste of what life was before everything changed and of what it could be.

When we’re told in previous books that she had committed suicide…we’re led to believe that maybe she didn’t have the strength to care for her kids – and that she didn’t see things in them that a mother would.  As we read this novella though, we learn that it’s FAR FAR from the case.  I actually like annabel a lot more and it makes me happy that we’ve found that there’s a reconnection going on that will hopefully be continued in Requiem.

The nice surprises here are that we learn of the interesting pairing with her husband (Lena’s dad), and we learn that what society thinks happens once the cure is administered isn’t always the case.

The even better piece of this story is that there was an extended ‘trailer’ to Requiem at the end, so it was a tease for sure but now i really can’t wait to see what this next installment brings.

click covers and go to BN.com to buy!

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Review: Opal (Lux #3) by Jenniver L Armentrout

It’s funny sometimes how book releases just creep up on you.  I don’t know why, but i had it in my head that i’d have to wait a heck of a lot longer for the follow up to Onyx to come out….and yet i didn’t.  NICE SURPRISE.

So, in Book 3 Opal, we are at a time in the story when Daemon and Katy’s relationship is going strong even though it’s a really hard time for every one of the Luxen because of Adam’s death, and the discovery that so many people weren’t who they seemed.  all that being said, katy continues to try her hardest to get back in the good graces (or at least not on the receiving end of a shit show) from everyone….while enjoying the heck out of the new found romance that she has with Daemon and is able to share.

So…this book takes us down that road, where Katy’s trying to be strong with everyone, Dawson is back, and he’s trying to both adjust to life out of being captured while trying to get Bethany freed as well.  that’s a tough one.  Blake returns, UN-surprising….cause everyone knew that he couldn’t just disappear after the rumble and ensuing death.  So Blake comes back, and everyone has to rely on his ability to get them into the secured home base to get Bethany (and Blake’s pair Chris) out ….in the hopes that good will happen and that Blake can prove to be trustworthy.  can he?  we don’t really know.

There’s also the ongoing stress and anxiety around whether or not Will is going to make his move.  We are lead to believe that he’s still in contact with Katy’s mom and that he says that hes going to come back but we don’t know if that means that the ‘healing’ that Daemon was forced into worked or didn’t.  That leaves everyone on edge, but it’s not the biggest issue for the crew so it’s on the back-burner.  for now….

What i liked in this story is a bit of what we got from Twilight.  (apologies if you’re not a fan).  In Twilight, Edward is really adamant about making sure that Bella gets all of the human experiences and rites of passage that she should have as a human.  the same goes here for Katy.  Daemon makes sure that she’s going through the motions as well….college applications/or thoughts about college, prom and all that other stuff.

So…this book takes us on a definite roller coaster.  We are dealing with pain and hurt that’s due to a death in the family, the building of a strong relationship and romance, the relief that a family member is found even if he’s not 100% back to his old self…yet there’s all those same issues with struggling on if someone can be trusted, not knowing what you’re getting yourself into….and where it will all end.

This story ends on a high note – one that i kind of saw coming, but didn’t really think was going to happen in the way that it happened.  I can’t wait to read book 4…..it’s a shame that we have to wait for Origin for so long….

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Review: Elixir (Covenant #3.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout

Gotta love those novellas – they give you just enough to curb the hunger, but definitely not enough to sustain you until the next full length story is out.

Elixir picks up at the point in time where we know that Alex has awakened, and that she’s joined with Seth – by her actions/words and mostly by the color of her eyes.  Aiden and everyone else have the hard task of both keeping her safe/sedated, themselves safe, and keeping her location hidden so that they can figure out a way to break the bond between her and Seth.  Yup – that means that we are 100% clear on the fact that seth is a bad apple and only wants to take his power in evil and bad directions.

The hardest part of this story is that in book 3, we finally got to the point where Aiden and Alex were able to come to terms with their love for one another, and they actually shared some much needed and awaited intimacy.  That’s all gone to pot though since the Alex that they all have with them isn’t the same one.

Aiden is forced to take drastic measures, at the urging of the Gods and give Alex the ‘Elixir’.  If you remember, this is the same potion in theory that is given to half-bloods that are put into a life of servitude.  It basically makes you unable to do much of anything of your own will….and Aiden is very fearful of this.  The issue being that this is the only way that they can all buy time to figure out a lasting way to break the bond between the Apollyons.

the question now is – does it work?  is Alex really able to keep Seth away, what’s the motive behind Seth’s evil ambition and what’s going to come of it?  We know that there are plots to take over the various Covenants ….and will that happen?  Who’s on what side and which side will win?

Now i just can’t wait until Apollyon – the next book in the series to come out.  I need to know if Aiden’s love for Alex is enough to stand by her, and help her through this.  I need to know if Seth will find a way to control Alex and bring her down….and i need to know what is going to become of the Pures, the Half Bloods and the Humans……

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