Re-Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

I’ve been staring at the cover of Unravel Me for about a week now trying to get ready to read it, and realized that i owed it to myself to do a quick re-read of Shatter Me – the first book in the series.  I needed to make sure that i was fully up to speed on what happened, with whom, and it what order and what i needed to remember.

so for those of you that haven’t read it yet, we’re introduced to Juliette who is 17 and has been locked up in an asylum because she’s got some ‘power’ where she can’t touch another living person because she will kill them through some power in her skin.  the reason that she’s been locked up is because she accidentally killed a child that she was trying to help and her parents and society didn’t have any other option for her.

What I need to point out here is that society has gone to shit (at least that’s what people think because of what they’ve been told), and the ‘Re-Establishment’ has taken control of the world in the hopes of overpowering everyone else of influence and creating their own super power.

So while Juliette is locked up, after about a year of solitary isolation, she’s given a cell-mate and a guy at that.  she doesn’t know what to make of it and thinks that they are trying to kill her off or something like that.  Well…after a little bit of time, she begins to get these little flashes of recognition of her cell-mate – his eyes mostly really remind her of something/someone from her past.

After a few weeks of sharing a cell, they are ‘broken out’ by the reestablishment and to Juliette’s dismay, she learns that her cellmate is a soldier, sent in to make sure that she wasn’t truly crazy as many in the asylum are, and to bring her to Warner who is the head of Sector 45.  Warner knows of Juliette’s powers and wants to use her for his own benefit.

so…Juliette has become a pawn, and all the while didn’t know what to expect and who to trust.  Not long after she’s been taken by Warner, she learns that her cellmate Adam really is the kid that she knew from her past, and that they actually shared a mutual opinion of one another.  They weren’t ever able to talk to each other, but they both saw something powerful that drew each one to the other that it grew into someone quite unique.

Now that Juliette is captive, and Adam was used as the means to bring her in, they’ve had the opportunity to talk about their feelings from the past and realize that they actually share the same mutual respect and love for each other.

That’s when things get hairy.  See…Adam knows that it’s not safe for them to be there, and Juliette has no intention of helping Warner do what he wants, meaning that she HAS to get away.  They take an opportunity to escape and run as fast and as far away as they can.

In their travels, they come to a safe haven where they think they can hide for a bit until they are discovered not too long after arriving.  it’s Kenji , Adam’s best friend from the army and there’s confusion as to how he knew where to find them.  Low and behold, Adam and Juliette have to make a decision about whether to trust Kenji or not, and in this story, you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s being made to seem one way or another.

In any event, i’m really excited about Unravel Me since there’s a lot that i want answers to.

1) What makes Juliette the way that she is?

2) what happens with Juliette and Adam

3) what’s the deal with Warner?  what’s in store for him?

4) Omega Point?  What’s that?

Review: Sweet Surrender (Sweet Series #1) by Maya Banks

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Title:  Sweet Surrender
Author:  Maya Banks
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group (USA)  12/31/11
Length:  320 Pages
Series: Sweet #1

 

after reading Rush, the first book that i think i’ve come across by Maya Banks, I decided that she was well worth another read if she continued on the contemporary erotica route that she seemed to do so well, and in Sweet Surrender we’re not only met with quite a bit of erotica, but her entrance into the world of BDSM was right up my alley since Cherise Sinclair’s series still owes me a next installment.

so, in this series, we are introduced to Gray (Grayson) who is a cop in Dallas and he’s dealing with the killing of his partner Alex, the department isn’t hot on the trail of any suspects and even thinks that Alex may have been at fault.  His father Mick has asked Gray to get on the trail of someone that he suspects to have been the killer, and that takes Gray’s journey to Houston and introduces him to Malone and Sons – a security business run by Pop, Conner (his son) and Nathan and Micah – 2 other guys.  His adopted daughter Faith also runs the office and he’s the connection to the thought to be killer

Faith’s connection is that her mother (with whom she’s estranged) is currently with Samuels, the guy that they think killed Alex, and Mick’s theory is that if Gray gets close enough to tap the phones and befriends Faith that they’ll be able to lure him out and nab him.

What no one expects is that innocent Faith has these fantasies of the kind of man that she wants, and that Gray is just that kind of man to show her that what she wants is real and can be had.

This story takes us through quite a roller coaster where you know that there’s an underlying ulterior motive, you don’t know where Gray’s mind really lies for most of the book, and Mick is just a loose cannon.  We get to sit by and watch Faith come into her own, realize that she’s able to take control over what she wants, and grows up quite a bit.  a lot of the time i forget that she’s just 23 or so.

compared to other erotica and BDSM type books, what we get here is pretty decent.  While we get a glimpse into the private world of BDSM clubs, we don’t get too deep there – just a glimpse and education of what can be had.  We get to be a part of some raunchy sex though – those scenes were pretty well written although there was the occasional slip into vocabulary that i think dumbed it down a bit.  all in all though it didn’t take away too much.

in any event, in true form of all these types of story, there’s quite a bit of anxiety in the last few chapters, someone dies, someone gets shot, trust is broken, trust is never fully regained among some….and the best past is that I know that there are several more books in this series to keep me going, it’s just a matter of determining who’s story will be next.

1) What’s next for Gray

2) What’s next for Faith

3) I’m in love with Damon – what is his deal? (i know i didn’t mention him at all above, but he’s the owner of The House – the BDSM club that’s in the story)

4) what’s next for Micah because we sure did learn a lot about him

Review: His to Command (6 novella series) by Opal Carew

Oh how i love a good novella series – especially when i’ve found that ALL of the books in the series are out and i don’t have to wait for the next installment to come.  I feel though like a lot of these are the same, yet some how i keep coming back to read more.

so, we meet Kate 2 years after she’s run from her first dom/sub relationship with Matt.  She clearly didn’t know what she was getting into when she got into a relationship with him, and found that she was quite the submissive, loved it but didn’t want to.  Due to a series of bad circumstances at a party, she goes running, thinking 1 thing as a cause, Matt thinks another – gets really hurt and well…we fast forward 2 years into the future.

Kate has re-established her life, career and friendships and is on her weekly shopping trip to the mall when she sees a man that she’s fairly certain in Matt.  this sends her in a tailspin since she doesn’t want to see him, she still has these unresolved feelings for him yet the circumstances that caused her to run are still quite tangible.

Matt of course is our incredibly sexy male lead – who’s the head of a major tech corporation – very successful and the epitome of what a dom should be.

At this point in Kate’s life, things started to settle until her business partner decides to move, causing Kate to find herself in a struggle where she needs to find a new investor in her company or else it goes under.  while she’s dealing with that stress, it turns out that it WAS matt who came across her path, and he’s trying to get a moment of her time to find out what went wrong.

so…fast forward another month, and Kate is dealing with a last ditch effort to get financing and agrees to meet with an unknown investing firm which turns out to be owned by none other than matt.

so..this is where things go from being stressful at a level 6 to being a full on level 20.  They clearly still have chemistry, and sexual desires for each other that are not to be sated.  there’s quite a bit of tension though since Kate is angry for what Matt did to her, and Matt doesn’t quite know what Kate is mad about.  So the next 5 installments take us down a path of trying to figure out who you can trust, which stories that are being told to each are true, if there’s enough sexual chemistry and love in a dom/sub relationship to make things work, and all the while we at least get to enjoy some delicious sex imagery.

Opal does a nice job keeping us centered around these characters while they are in the moment, while at the same time doesn’t do quite enough to really develop the psychological relationship between them.  Ellen (Kate’s neighbor) does a decent job of trying to lay the groundwork for us to understand Kate a bit more, but we never quite get there with Matt since we have ZERO idea what brought him into this lifestyle and what he found to be so alluring about Kate to begin with. (aside from her response about liking powerful men)

in any event, it was a nice way to spent my Monday afternoon – reading these 200 pages or so of novellas.

Review: Rush (Breathless #1) by Maya Banks

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Title:  Rush
Author: Maya Banks
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group  2/5/13
Length:  416 pages
Series: The Breathless Trilogy #1

Overview 

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

My Thoughts

after all the dystopian ‘doom and gloom’ / love triangle YA stuff, i felt like i had to find something a bit racier to entertain me for a Sunday night.  I’m a sucker for good cover art, and well, that’s kind of how i stumbled upon Rush by Maya Banks.  Suffice it to say, i’m a bit beat this AM cause i was up until 330 reading this book – i just couldn’t put it down and that makes for a very happy reader.

So, along the lines of 50 Shades, and Bared to You, we’re introduced to Gabe, who’s a VERY SUCCESSFUL and very sexy billionaire who’s got his issues with women and relationships.  He’s a hotelier and partners with Jace and Ash who are on even playing fields with each other.  all successful, all sexy and all have their fair share of women hanging around.

During the opening we also meet Mia who happens to be Jace’s little sister – yet we don’t meet her in that context.  She’s alone at the opening of one of the guys’ hotels and she’s looking for Jace, but Gabe comes to her rescue.

We learn through their brief glimpses into their minds that they’ve each had a fixation on the other for some time, Mia since she was 16 and met Gabe and Gabe – well it’s been a while now, but he hasn’t be able to take action on that until now – when he’s realized that it’s worth it enough to risk everything.

so…Gabe draws Mia in, and takes her to places that she’s only dreamed about.  Upon their first real discussion, Mia’s presented with a contract laying out the rules and guidelines for their ‘relationship’.  what you have to like here is that she’s a mix of the mains in the books i noted above.  she’s a bit naive like ana from 50 shades, yet she stands her ground on things that are important to her like Eva from Bared to you.

this story takes us on a bit of a roller coaster starting from the point when Gabe ‘hires’ Mia to work for his as his PA – kind of as a cover so that Jace has reason to believe that they all spend so much time together, but partly because of his desire for easy access.

Issues in Gabe’s past come up to haunt him and cause problems – his parents divorce, his ex-wife, and because of his actions on one occasion, a contractor who wants to stir up trouble.

All in all, a GREAT 358 page book that i was able to read through in a matter of hours.  Now i just have to track down Fever (and/or hope that it’s out soon since i think that maybe it’s not out until April).

rush

Review: Specials (Ugglies #3) by Scott Westerfeld

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Title:  Specials
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 5/3/11
Length:  384 pages
Series: Uglies Series #3

Overview 

“Special Circumstances”: The words have sent chills down Tally’s spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor — frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally’s never been ordinary.

And now, in the third book in the series, Tally’s been turned into a Special: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it’s easy to tune that out — until Tally’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.

My Thoughts

Ahh, how i do so love a third installment of a series – especially when my expectations throughout is that it’s the final book just to learn that there’s still more to come.  Scott Westerfeld has managed to really keep us invested in not only Tally Youngblood but the whole concept of all of the procedures that society does in order to keep what they consider to be the peace.

So, this story starts off when Tally awakens to find that Shay has somehow managed to get her to be transformed into a Special.  Not just a special, but a ‘special special’ – a clique made up of the cutters and Dr. Cables pet project.  Tally finds that yet again her decisions have been taken away from her, but what can she do right?

so now in reading this story our new keyword isn’t ‘bubbly’ anymore – it’s ‘icy’ – we hear that a lot to describe the mindset of the Specials.  It’s what they consider to be pure of mind and not foggy at all in what they do.

In any event, in this installment, Tally and the Cutters have set out to discover where the Smokies are and rid them of all their pills that are being distributed among the pretties as a cure to their bubbleheadedness.

This of course doesn’t come without a cost right?  They’ve found that Zane is much worse off than even we thought at the end of Pretties.  the nanos in the pill that he had taken have really damaged his brain, and while he’s back to some extend, he’s still not quite what Tally remembers and since she’s so special now, she’s rather disgusted by him.

Specials takes us on the journey of freeing zane and the other Crims so that they can find the New Smoke, shut down their operation of cure distribution and then some how gain control of what they think they know.

nothing’s ever that easy right?  Tally comes across her friends from the Smoke – David specifically and not on the best of terms.  She also comes across Andrew again, but that’s  not so bad in comparison to everything else.  Dr Cable has her own role in things….

i really don’t want to give away what happens here, but what’s learned is that people do tend to repeat the errs of the past, and cities around the world aren’t quite as different as you’d think yet aren’t quite the same either.

The questions here, ….

1) Shay seems to keep getting angry/jealous of Tally and even says that Tally has a sense that she’s the center of the universe.  how does this play out in the story?  we know that they needed each other in the other stories, so does that affect things in this 3rd book?

2) what happens to the new smoke?  and david to be exact?

3) does zane ever get back to where he was?  does tally come to terms with what he’s like now and determine that it’s ok for her?

4) does Peris resurface?  we know that he chickened out in book 2, does that happen again?

5) what’s the deals with the specials and the special specials?

all in all a GREAT read-  can’t wait to get started on Extras since i’ve just downloaded that one.

Review: Pretties (Uglies Series Book 2) by Scott Westerfeld

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Title:  Pretties
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 5/3/11
Length:  368 pages
Series: Uglies Series #2

Overview 

In Tally’s world, your 16th birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellant Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is having a really good time. Just before her birthday, Tally discovered that turning Pretty comes with a terrible price. She vowed to accept the operation, but with the understanding that her friends on the outside would rescue her, and let her be the guinea pig for the experimental and highly dangerous cure they’re developing.

But in the second book of the Uglies series, Tally’s Pretty. And everything’s changed. The new, Pretty Tally is totally happy right where she is. She doesn’t think she needs any kind of cure at all. When someone from her Ugly life shows up with a message, Tally has a hard time listening. Did she really promise to give all this up? Is she bound by a promise she made when she was a different person? If there is anything left of the old Tally, how will she fight her way out to keep her word and help her friends?

My Thoughts 

After i finally managed to track down the ebook version of this second installment, i have to tell you i was REALLY eager to read it.  I needed to know what was going to happen to Tally and the New Smokies and well, becoming Pretty.  This 2nd book in the series did not disappoint, even if it was some what expected.

What i guess i’ve come to learn and expect from YA books that have a love interest in book 1, there’s ALWAYS going to be a love triangle, and it never ends well for anyone involved.  This series keeps along with this trend, but i guess it adds to things a little bit.

so to back up, we come across Tally after she’s become a New Pretty and is living in New Pretty Town.  She’s reunited with Peris – her guy best friend and with Shay, her friend from Uglytown/The Smoke and well….lots of other trickery.  Anyway, Shay and Peris are part of a clique called the Crims, basically because they are all the pretties that have pulled some pretty amazing tricks in their lives.  So Tally’s trying to get ‘voted in’ although there’s really no reason that she wouldn’t.  She’s the one that managed to get to the Smoke on her own, escape capture of the Specials once they invaded the smoke, pull some tricks to get the smokies out of the Specials lair…and tons else.

so, the night of the party where Tally is supposed to be voted in, all sorts of things start to go awry.  The theme of the party was changed last minute to a costume party.  (why??)  while she’s at the party, Tally keeps thinking that someone’s following her, spying on her and that’s unsettling, and then…well she realizes that she’s right and goes chasing after said person.

turns out to be Croy from the Smoke – come back with a message for Tally – and a way to lead her to finding the cure – since that was the whole point of Tally going back and becoming Pretty.  to see if the cure worked and if it would help everyone get out of their ‘pretty-mindness’ and be ‘bubbly’

this is where Zane, the leader of the Crims really takes a role. He’s taken a liking to Tally and decides to help her in her quest to decipher the message that Croy left, and they manage to find what croy was leading them to – the Cure in pill form.  Alas though, things are NEVER that easy.  while they are pulling an amazing trick to get the pills, the Specials find them and are on the hunt.  Tally starts to get back more memories of her past while on this search, David being one of them, but not full memories, that when she gets the note left by Croy – saying that she wrote it to prove that things aren’t what they seem, she gets even more scared of things.  Zane, well he decides that he’s going to be in this evenly with Tally and they decide to go hand in hand with everything that they do.  they ultimately end up splitting the pills – each taking 1 and then figure out where to go from there.

Good things that happen here, Zane and Tally continue to get close – i didn’t realize it at first that there were SO close – meaning that they were spending EVERY night together, but i finally picked up on that one.  I also wasn’t sure if Zane had true feelings for Tally or was just using her – to be honest, i’m not sure that i trust him fully, and there are lots of hints dropped that kind of build my suspicions.

In Any event, Zane and Tally feel like they are getting cured – although there’s a side effect to Zane – these HORRIBLE headaches that mean that something’s wrong.  They manage however to get the other Crims to try to get bubbly on their own – to get the cure w/o the pills – and things are going along well.  They pull a few impressive tricks – hoping to get the attention of the new smokies since they are plotting their escape.

because we know that this is Tally that we’re talking about, nothing is ever easy.  Does she escape?  as planned?  with whom she planned to leave with? and does everything go as expected?

lots of nos there….but quite a few favs from book 1 show up again, and things get REALLY interesting.  Suffice it to say, very few people are what they seem now or seemed in The Uglies, and i think that it’s a good lead into Specials…since that’s next on my list.

so apologies for all the vagueness here – i’m just really trying not to go into too much detail on any one piece of the story since it all is bound together.  just pick it up – it’s a really great book and you’ll thank me for it.  seems like a good bridge in the series – that’s for sure!

Review: Prodigy (Legends #2) by Marie Lu

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Title:  Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year: Penguin Young Readers Group 1/29/13
Length:  384 pages
Series: Legend Series #2

Overview

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

My Thoughts

At long last, and you all can’t possibly imagine my level of anticipation on this one, the second installment of the Legend series has finally arrived.  What’s even worse is that life got in the way over the past week so it took me several days to read vs. the 1-2 that it would usually take for a book that i’m this excited about.

All that being said, Marie Lu hasn’t disappointed and the story was amazingly well written and really held my interest.

We are brought up to speed while on a train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas where June and Day have stolen on board so they can escape LA where they’ve managed to avoid Day’s execution with the help of June’s brilliance and the Patriots.  The Patriots are based in Vegas and this seems to be the last hope for Day and June if they want to get Eden (Day’s brother) back and some how hide and get to the Colonies

As can be expected – nothing is ever cut and dry.  Upon arrival to Vegas, they find that the Elector Primo has died and his son Anden is taking over.  Day and June manage to cross paths with Kaede who they learned was part of the Patriots in book 1 and she helps them get medical care for Day who was injured in the escape as well as help develop their path and future roles.

Kaede takes them to meet Razor who is the ‘leader’ of the Patriots who has a plan to assassinate the Elector and feels that June is the best person to lure him into position since she has met Anden, is the Prodigy of the Republic and well, Anden has a thing for her.  Day it’s decided will be the one to actually kill the Elector, and June and Day agree to this deal only because they have no other choice in freeing / finding Eden and getting themselves to the Colonies.  So this is where the story goes, twists/turns and develops.

One of the things that i LOVE about the writing is that throughout the story, June’s perspective remains on of extreme awareness – she’s always taking in the details of her surroundings like she’s preparing for Plan B.  she’s always therefore aware of when people are telling her the truth and when something just doesn’t seem right.  This is where she’s really useful since she learns things about the Republic/Anden and The Patriots/Razor that really impact her decisions.

Day on the other hand has his mind set on things, knows what he has to do to get to his brother, but realizes that he has real feelings – feelings of love for June that somewhat complicate things for him.

Tess…not she comes back in a way that i hoped would happen yet i wasn’t sure if would . See, from the weeks that she was separated from Day, she seems to have come into her own, grown up a little, and of course decided that she’s got this crush on Day.  when they reunite, the thing between Day and June complicates things further for her.

so…this story is full of excitement while we’re watching what unfolds for June in her role w/ Anden, Day as we see what he has to do for both his own sake and for Junes….as well as deciding who we should really believe and trust.

What’s killing me right now is that apparently we’ll have to wait until 2014 for Book 3…which is WAY too long to get my questions answered

1) who is to be trusted

2) will Anden survive and what will he do if he does?

3) What is June going to decide- what side is she on?

4) What’s Day’s role in everything and what is he going to do with his personal relationships?

5) what’s the deal with Razor – will he get what’s coming to him?

soo many more questions yet i don’t want to put spoilers here so that’ll be all.  if you haven’t read it yet – PICK IT UP.  i’m usually not a fan of bridge books in a trilogy but this one was AMAZING