Review: Extras (Uglies book 4) by Scott Westerfeld

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Title: Extras
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse, 5/3/2011
Length: 416 pages
Series: The Uglies Series book #4

It’s funny about this book – see i don’t know why i thought that it was a novella at first – after i read Uglies, Pretties and Specials, I kind of felt like that was the end of the series since we had some sense of finality from Tally.  Guess i was wrong, and i’m glad that i finally got around to reading extras.  It’s great too that we actually got a different POV on things.

So Extras takes us to Japan where we’re immersed in a ‘Reputation Society’ where your ‘face rank’ is what makes you important and gives you value.  Basically this is such a socially tied society where the more you’re talked about, the higher your rank, and therefore the more you get.  ‘merits’ ,property, invitations places etc.

True to form, we meet our lead when she’s 15, basically the turning point in age across all these stories i think, and our lead is Aya – an ‘extra’ meaning basically no one that’s important and the younger sister of Hiro who is relatively famous.  he’s a tech-head and has managed to break into the elite Top 1000 through his tech ability and being a ‘kicker’ which is someone that broadcasts stories or ‘kicks’ then via a live feed.  All Aya wants in life is to get the recognition that her brother has – to be famous and have a better face rank so that she’s no longer an extra and unknown.

So being a kicker herself, Aya has figured out that there’s one story that she could ‘kick’ that would raise her face rank and make her famous so that’s the path that this story takes us down.  Aya tries to become something that she’s not by ‘truth-slanting’ so that she can get in with an elite crowd and from then on her life changes.

Along the way, Aya manages to break through, and at the same time uncovers something that is life changing for everyone in the world and that’s really what gets her well known.  As a result though, she’s managed to get the world into such a tizzy that Tally is forced to come ‘out of hiding’ and get involved herself.  Honestly, it’s a nice tie in to the sign-off that she gave at the end of Specials and actually fits rather organically into this story.

What i found to be really nice about this story is that we meet a whole cast of new folks while we’re reunited with some that we loved from books past.  The Cutters are back to an extent and so is Andrew Simpson Smith.  We have a great new group of Japanese friends and the story takes interesting twists with them all.  It’s also pretty interesting to see how the social society really relates to our present day 2013 life where hubs like Klout determine who’s more keyed into their social networks etc.  it makes you wonder if that’s where our society is going.

anyway – check it out, it’s a nice continuation on the series and definitely a story that you shouldn’t miss.

Review: When I’m Bad (When I’m With You Part 4) by Beth Kery

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Title:  When I’m Bad
Author: Beth Kerry
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group (USA) 3/26/13
Length: 62 pages
Series: When I’m With You Part 4

Overview: 

Lucien knows there’s no going back now—Elise is not a woman a man takes in half measure. It’s all or nothing. In moving forward to make her his—completely—he promises that if she submits she’ll discover what she craves too. The kind of sharp, imperative edge of pleasure she’s never truly known before.

But Elise proves to be such a wild, fiery, and sexually fearsome woman that Lucien wonders if she can ever really surrender to him. When she does let loose, Lucien fears that he is the one getting closer to being burned. As the two of them get deeper into a dangerous sexual dance, Lucien can’t help but wonder if the exquisite firestorm that Elise has ignited could expose his secrets, draw him dangerously close to the edge, and leave his future in ashes.

My Thoughts

Ahh, finally getting into the heat of the story – there were only 2 chapters a mere 59 pages in this installment, but they packed in the heat for sure!  the question is, how hot and steamy does it get?  We know that Lucien likes to control situations especially when sex and sexual activities are involved but Elise doesn’t seem like the kind of girl to give up power and control.

I’m still trying to figure out when the truth of things will come out and what’s going to happen….will Elise’s inexperience show through?  will we ever find out what’s so mysterious about Ian and Lucien’s relationship and what information Lucien has ?

i guess i’ll have another week to wait to find out if we learn more in part 5

Review: When I’m With You (Part 3) by Beth Kery

As the story continues, we see that the growing attraction has hit a wall, or rather may have broken through that wall.  what we’ve learned is that our favorite couple from the ‘Because You Are Mine” is engaged and they are having a party to celebrate.  Lucien brings Elise with him to the party and she deftly manages to avoid having Lucien see the hole that she lives in so her situation remains concealed.  When things at the party turn in various directions, both between them and for Lucien and Ian (remember that there was a conversation that elise had overheard of Lucien talking to someone about Ian in a way that seems maybe less than on the up and up), well there’s a phone call that Ian receives that Lucien overhears again and again Elise catches him and wants to know what the allure there is.

in any event, several folks leave, secrets are given up, there’s a brawl included somewhere in there, and who knows where all this will lead.

can’t wait until Tuesday when part 4 is out!

Review: When I’m With You (Part 2) by Beth Kery

The story continues on with Lucien and Elise treading on uncertain territory.  They’ve agreed that there’s a strong attraction there and that it’s something that they are choosing to take action on.

Lucien finds himself w/o a head chef after firing Mario and thinks that he’s hired someone else to fill in when surprise surprise Elise is the one that’s taking lead of the kitchen.  that’s where things really continue since he’s found that he’s become more responsible for her and really feels like he owes it to himself and to her to be protective.

The steamy relationship continues to build and we can only imagine what’s going to come next….

Will they give into their relationship and will that cloud a working relationship?  will she continue to work for Lucien since we know that he doesn’t like that idea?  Will the secret of Elise’s ‘poverty’ come out?

Review: When I’m With You (Part 1) by Beth Kerry

Beth Kerry really has cornered the market on novellas i think, both she and Sara Fawkes have mastered the idea of the short tease leading into the next part that will carry you on the edge of your seat to the next book.

So in When I’m With You, we find ourselves in the tale of Lucien who we met back in ‘Because you’re Mine’ when we learned that he was the owner/manager of Fusion a restaurant housed in Noble Towers, owned by sexy and mysterious Ian Noble.  Ian had fallen for Francesca who was painting a picture for the foyer of his tower and the relationship bloomed from there.

The great thing with that story is that we saw a bit of Lucien to know that he was mysterious as well, very sexy and had a past that kept women on edge.  Francesca even had a moment or two around him that made you wonder what really made Lucien Tick.

So in this first story, we find ourselves in Fusion where Lucien thinks that someone has broken into his restaurant only to find his head chef there with a female who didn’t seem to really care much for the advances of the chef.  low and behold, Lucien soon realizes that he knows this woman from his past and that she brings along her own kind of trouble.  (both the bad and the very very good kind).

We’re then quickly taken on an introduction ride with them as they find themselves in very new territory from their last encounter and it’s interested to see the push and pull since both seem to be the control types.  Lucien quickly establishes himself as the dominant here and orders Elise to be his submissive and this story goes on from there.

What i find interesting is that Lucien, as aware as he is, doesn’t realize that all may not be what it seems with Elise, and Elise herself knows that she was privvy to information years ago that she shouldn’t know but she doesn’t quite know what she heard from Lucien and therefore doesn’t know the implication.  I can only imagine all these juicy details will unfurl themselves over the course of this ‘series’.

 

Review: Anything He Wants (book 6): Castaway #1 by Sara Fawkes

Sometimes i really hate it when i read so fast, especially when it’s in the form of these little novellas.  i’ve found that when the story is good, 100 pages or so goes by like it’s 10.

In any event, if you remember where the first 5 installments (combined into the nice long installment of the series), Lucy had told Jeremiah that she loved him (in the heat of the moment), Jeremiah freaked out and told her that she should ‘keep platitudes like that to herself’….Loki (or Lucas), Jeremiah’s brother had stirred up quite a bit of trouble, and as a result, Lucy finds herself in trouble yet again, being kidnapped by Lucas….and with no idea what’s going on her life.

She’s miserable because she allowed herself to fall for Jeremiah and he apparently didn’t feel the same way, because she’s now been captured by Lucas who strongly resembles his younger brother, and she’s scared for her life and for her emotions.

So ‘Castaway’ takes us now to the point where Lucy has to rely on Lucas to keep her safe from the same men that he does business with…..the same folks that live off of doing illegal things.  like being gunrunners, smuggling all sorts of contraband etc.  Lucas had thought that once she was forced to help translate for them that she could be free but the men that were working on this deal had other ideas and as a result, Lucas had to bring Lucy on board a ship that was transporting the goods and try to keep her safe.  The best way that he could do that was to keep her in his room and we of course know what happens when you’re in close quarters with an attractive man, you’re on the rebound and you’re scared out of your mind.

Throughout this installment, we all wonder what’s going to happen with Lucy and Jeremiah, if they are done and she’s going to move on with Lucas or if he’s going to some how come back around.  We also are left to wonder if there’s going to be something with Lucas and Lucy in the future….all great questions…

what this means though is that i have to wait another month for book 7 to come out but i guess i can manage….

happy reading!

Review: Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1) By J. Kenner

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Title: Release Me 
Author: J. Kenner
Publisher/Year: Random House Publishing Group, 1/1/13
Length: 352 pages
Series: The Stark Trilogy Book 1

For all you fans of 50 Shades or Bared to You or Gabriel’s Inferno, here’s another series that’s definitely going to be right up your alley.

This story is centered in LA where we are introduced to Nichole (Nikki) who has just moved to LA from Dallas in the hopes of reinventing herself.  She’s trying to get away from a past that haunts her – a mother that’s over bearing and controlling, the suicide of her sister which then turned into self mutilation (cutting) and led to a boyfriend who drunkenly said that because of her scars she was disgusting.

So we meet Nikki at a gallery party honoring an artist, attended by A-listers.   At this party, Nikki is there in a professional capacity, she works for a tech developer who’s looking for investors for his next new ideas.  One investor in particular is on the list – Damian Stark – a young 30 yr old billionaire who is known from being a tennis pro, turned businessman with an eye for the science and tech industry.

At first sight (at least for the night), Nikki and Damian’s eyes lock and there’s is such heat that it’s palpable.  J. Kenner likes to remind us that the air moves and sizzles around them so that they always know when one another is in the room.

From that night on, Nikki’s life will change completely.  She is swept up in the heat and control that is Mr Stark and the demons and secrets that lie beneath.  She learns to trust him with her secrets but finds that there are more secrets that Damian has that maybe she shouldn’t know about and should therefore run.

the heat and passion in this story are obvious and quite enticing without being to graphic.  We get into the basics of bondage but i feel like there’s so much more that could be done given that Damian has his own gear.  we don’t see that come out much yet, but maybe in book 2.  Nikki is growing and coming into her own and it’ll be great to see where this all goes.

so for my questions:

1) what is damian hiding really?

2) what is carl up to?

3) what’s the next move for Nikki’s career?

4) will evelyn play a role in their future?

5) ollie and Jamie ….what’s next for them?

6) what crazy twists and turns will Stark and Nikki take as their relationship develops?

Review: Reckless (Thoughtless #3) by S.C. Stephens

 

Title: Reckless 
Author: S. C. Stephens
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books, 3/5/13
Length: 534 pages
Series: The Thoughtless Series #3

ahhh, at long last we get book 3 in the Thoughtless series which takes us to the more mature stage of the relationship between Rock Star Kellan and Writer Kiera.

So if you remember, in Thoughtless (book 1) we were introduced to Kiera right when she had made the decision to move from Ohio to Seattle with her boyfriend Denny who had graduated and found a great job.  He had lived in Seattle during high school when he was an exchange student (from Australia) and lived with Kellan’s family, so Kellan was putting them up when they came out west.  Of course, you can’t help yourself being a female living with a rock god and one thing led to another, and a sordid affair began, putting a wedge between Denny and Kiera, and some how bringing K&K closer together

Then, in Effortless, (book 2), Kellan’s band the D-bags was starting to make it big and they went on tour, with Kiera having to stay behind to finish school and all that.  Of course when you’re in a pseudo relationship with a rock god, who has a bit of a history of being a man whore, you never know what to believe and you get jealous at every turn.  that’s basically what Kiera’s life was like, not knowing what was real, what was real for her, and what was going to make her happy.  Denny pops up at those key moments when Kiera really needs a friend, causing even more friction.  alas, they do get a happier ending leading us into the 3rd installment.

oh yea, Anna (Kiera’s sister) and Griffen (another man whore bandmate) somehow manage to get together to an extent and procreate

so that takes us to book 3 Reckless where Kellan and Kiera are now Married.  well sorta – they ‘got married’ in a bar basically meaning that they got engaged but to them it’ married.  The D-Bags are going on tour and finishing up their album and making it big.  Kiera joins Kellan in LA pre-tour as she’s now finished with school and is able to write her book on the road.  While in LA, Kellan (and his band) are propositioned (or ordered) by their label to join forces with Sierra Sexton who is like the raunchy Britney Spears of the story to do a steamy collaboration in the hopes of boosting sales for the guys band and to help put Sierra back on top.  Of course you can’t have 2 hot stars doing a steamy collaboration and not have gossip and rumors come of it, so that’s basically what we’re dealing with throughout the story.  Watching Kellan and Kiera’s love manage to deal with everything that it can, but does it get to be too much?  Sierra is used to getting her way and there seems to be heat between her and Kellan, so you spend a lot of time trying to figure out if gossip is real or just gossip.  There’s a bit of anxiety, babies born at inopportune times, relationships that may not be strong enough to hold on but you hope they do, and then of course some of the happiest romantic moments of all.

so….i enjoyed it for sure, but i feel like it didn’t have the same level of nail biting scenes that the other books did.  not to say that it was bad though cause it wasn’t – it was just maybe slightly above average.

Review: Requiem (Delirium book 3) by Lauren Oliver

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Title:  Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishers 3/5/13
Length:  267 pages
Series: Delirium #3

Overview

This exciting finale to Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestselling Delirium trilogy is a riveting blend of nonstop action and forbidden romance in a dystopian United States.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway inPandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

With lyrical writing, Lauren Oliver seamlessly interweaves the peril that Lena faces with the inner tumult she experiences after the reappearance of her first love, Alex, the boy she thought was dead. Sophisticated and wide-ranging, Requiem brings the Delirium trilogy to a thrilling conclusion.

My Thoughts

You guys can only imagine how long i was waiting for this book to come out – i was sitting on the edge of my seat to get it and trying to get through my re-reads of books 1 and 2 so that i was fully up to speed with what was going on.  finally – 2 days ago i started reading Requiem and i’m not quite sure what i think about it.

So at the end of Pandemonium (book 2), Lena and Julian find out that they were pawns for Raven/Tack and the resistance.  it was known that they would be captured by the Scavengers who were working for the DFA (how backwards). ….so lena wasn’t very happy with the situation all around.  Amidst all this though, she found that she had growing feelings for Julian and started to develop their relationship a bit.  The challenge being that Alex still holds her heart and Julian was basically giving his to her.  Teenage Angst right?

So, at the beginning of Requiem, we’re at the camp where Alex is now part of the group, and there’s all sorts of uncomfortable ness going on.  Alex is hurt that he held on to the thought that Lena was waiting for him and when he walks in and sees that it’s not the case, he’s bitter.  Mind you Lena WAS holding on to the hope that Alex was some how ok yet she assumed he was dead since she saw him get shot and captured at the end of Delirium.  All that being said, lots of confusion and no one is happy.

So, throughout Requiem, we have the cooling off of the Lena/Julian relationship, the avoidance of Alex/Lena, and then a new girl comes along that steals Alex’s attention which pisses Lena off so then we have Alex/Coral.  Lena is quite jealous and that’s something that manifests itself throughout the story as well.

What i liked about this story though is that we go back and forth not between ‘now and then’ like we did in book 2 but between Lena and Hana since their stories are going on at the same time.  Hana’s been ‘cured’ and she’s slated to marry Fred Hargrove who is the new mayor of the town (his father was the old mayor but was killed in the Incidents).  In any event, Hana’s life isn’t as glorious as it once was…yes compared to material things it’s just as grand, but the cure didn’t work as it should and she’s not happy in her situation.  she’s also finding out things about her life and her match that are unsettling and cause her to re-evaluate just about everything.

As we go back and forth between the stories, i keep wondering if they will intercept.  i assume they will but the stories go on completely different journeys.  you learn things about each person that you didn;t expect and you get to see a bit more background of other characters which is nice.

While we’re watching things unfold in both worlds, we see that Portland is the meeting point.  The Resistance are planning an attack to breach the city that Lena grew up in and met Alex in, and Hana is still living there and is planning her wedding.  Things go down in Portland – that’s for sure.

To sum it up though, i’m a bit upset about how the ending netted out, and i’m wondering if there will be a book 4 since i think that the ending fell quite a bit short.

BEWARE OF POTENTIAL SPOILERS IN MY QUESTIONS BELOW 

1) What happens with Lena/Alex?

2) What happens with Julian?

3) What’s next for Hana?

4) What about Grace/Bee?

5) what happens to Fred?  did he stay home like Hana asked?

6) really – what happens with Portland and the cities?  and what role will the resistance play in the future