Review: Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons

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Title: Breaking Point
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year: Tom Doherty Associates, 2/12/2013
Length: 400 pages
Series: Article 5 book #2

Overview: 

After faking their deaths to escape from prison in Article 5, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?

Where do we begin

I’m glad that i re-read Article 5 since there was so much that i had forgotten.  We pick up in  this 2nd installment of the series with Ember and Chase trying as best as they can to stay alive with the help of Sean (the guard from the rehabilitation center that she escaped from).  They’ve decided that it’s safer and the best choice for now to join up with the resistance since Sean is set on finding Rebecca and Ember feels like he owes it to her to do that.  So this story really takes us down both of those paths.  Trying to stay alive and trying to find Becca.

Ember is the #5 most wanted person in the country because she’s thought to be the infamous sniper, which makes things even harder for her.  She and Chase are dealing with the stress of the ‘war’ as well as trying to figure out what they have with each other and if it’s enough to fight for.

One familiar face from Book 1 shows up in an unexpected place and we’re not quite sure if we can trust him.  Tucker.  From what we know of him from Article 5, we assume that he’s on the bad side but is he?  he continues to do things to make us believe that he’s not to be trusted but then at times he does things to flip the switch.

Through this story, we’re taking through Wayland Inn, to another town, crossing paths with others, hearing tales of the famous Three – and trying all at the same time to stay alive and find becca while maintaining what they all have together.  (All being Sean, Chase and Ember).

The ending of this story was somewhat expected based on the path that we keep going down, yet i’m not quite sure what to make of it.  we are left off at a great ‘breaking point’ so to speak where the final book of the trilogy (i think it’s a trilogy) will really wrap things up and reveal quite a bit.  i can’t wait to read more – i wish that the next installment came out sooner.

Review: Article 5 (Article 5 book 1) by Kristen Simmons

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Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year: Tom Doherty Associates, 2012
Length: 384 pages
Series: Article 5 book #1

Overview

Most of the major cities in the US have been abandoned (New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.) The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Where this story takes us 

At the very beginning we meet Ember at a time when her life is completely turned upside down by the MM (Moral Militia).  There had been rumors of other kids from school being picked up for non-compliance of the statutes (some for religion and some for reasons unknown).  Ember had thought they were safe since they had passed inspection a month earlier and hadn’t overtly done anything, but unfortunately, rules had changed just a few days prior and the soldiers were doing a sweep of the city to get rid of anyone that may have a mark against them.  Ember’s mother, being single and not married broke a rule and as a result, she’s taken away, Embers carted off to a ‘rehabilitation center’ and life will never be the same.

While they are being picked up by the soldiers, Chase, Ember’s ‘love’ who had been drafted into the militia appears, because he’s part of the unit that’s taking them away and has no way of helping.  This is where Ember realizes that life sucks and she’s forced to grow up.

At the rehabilitation center, Ember finds herself with a roommate named Rebecca who’s been there for 3 years already partly due to not having anywhere to go (her parents dropped her off there) and partly because she’s in love with one of the guards there.  Through conversations and an awkward beginning to a friendship, Ember learns that she can try to escape however it will most likely be unsuccessful.  (no one’s done it before and lived to tell about it).

The night that Ember tries to escape, she’s caught, and Chase some how comes to her rescue as he’s there to take her to trial.  (which is interesting since the common assumption is that trials had been all but done away with).  This is where the true story begins.  Chase and Ember running from the militia since they are both known to be escapees or AWOL, and all for the goal of finding their way to a safe house that Ember’s mother is supposed to be waiting at.

Relationships get complicated, the past is rehashed a bit, and the future is uncertain.  i’m looking forward to reading Breaking Point tonight to see what’s next for these 2.

Review: When We are One (When I’m With You #8) by Beth Kerry

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Title: When We are One  
Author: Beth Kerry
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group 4/23/13
Length: 56 pages
Series: When I’m With You series #8

In this 8th installment (chapters 15 and 16) we find ourselves finally in a place that’s not solely about their sexual exploration.  These 2 chapters take us through a struggle in Elise and Lucien’s relationship as well as taking Lucien down quite a dark path himself.  As we’ve been  building up throughout the series an ulterior motive for Lucien moving to Chicago and getting close to Ian, we find in this installment that it all comes to a head.  what we’ve been waiting to learn, we finally uncover and it sets up # 9 (which i believe is the end) really well.

Short and sweet…..

 

Review: Claim Me (The Stark Trilogy book 2) by J. Kenner

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Title: Claim Me  
Author: J. Kenner
Publisher/Year: Random House Publishing Group 4/23/13
Length: 384 pages
Series: The Start Trilogy #2

The Plot: 

We’ve found ourselves once again in the middle of the torrent love affair between billionaire  Damian Stark and Texas pageant transplant Nikki Fairchild.  When these 2 re-met each other in the first installment of the series, we learned that they had this chemistry even from day 1 (which was 6 years prior at a pageant that Nikki was competing in and Damian was judging).  Fast forward, she’s found herself in his circle by a number of circumstances.  The first being that she received a scholarship funded by him, and 2nd she’s a software developer that found employment at a company that was hoping Stark would fund it.

She is obsessed with him, he is obsessed with her, but the question that lies here is whether it’s the same obsession, for the same/right reason, and is it equal?

but a bunch of horrible circumstances, all things crumble, however Nikki found that Damian wanted to pick her up and claim her which is exactly what he continues to do in this 2nd book.

Where we pick up: 

The opening is a reminder of how the relationship grew – Nikki is still posing for the nude portrait that Damian has commissioned and paid her $1MM for, and Blaine – the artist is putting the finishing touches on it.  This means that the deal that they struck was about to come to an end.  Nikki had agreed to be Damian’s ‘sexual slave’  for the length of time that it took to complete the portrait.  Now that the time has ended, the dynamic of their relationship was going to take a turn…or so we assumed.

while this is going on, there’s the darkness that lies under the surface with Damian that we tried to hone in on during book 1 and are still trying to decipher in book 2.  We don’t truly get to the bottom things because Damian is so closed off, yet we find that there are a bit more answers that we get this time around.

If that weren’t enough, the paparazzi are hounding them – following the pair EVERYWHERE they go, trying to throw in whatever lies and untruths that they can for a comment or reaction.  It starts to grate on Nikki and her own demons come to haunt her, in the form of cutting.  we know that she likes the pain to ground her and she continues to fight that throughout this story in the hopes that it will make Damian stay with her.

So, the story lets off with a catastrophic turn of evens for the couple and for Damian specifically.  Their troubles cross the pond to London and Germany, and there are no certainties or promises that can be made to carry us through without holding our breath until book 3 comes out.

so, in my usual fashion – a few questions:

What’s Next: 

1) what’s going to happen with Nikki and Damian?

2) Are they going to find out who the leak is for all the papps and everything else that’s gone awry?

3) who is Lisa really, and what role will she play in book 3.  (for some reason she just rubs me the wrong way….)

well, enjoy and we’ll pick up the finale of this story in the summer!

Review: The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

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Title: The Elite 
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 4/23/13
Length: 323 pages
Series: The Selection #2

I had been waiting far too long for this 2nd installment to come out and finally – yesterday came and i was a happy camper.  I really wanted to take time away from work to read but of course that never happens.  So, finally when i got home around 8p i was able to pick up the book, and read it straight through to the end.

The Plot:  We pick up the story coming out of the ending of The Selection where Prince Maxon has decided that because of the rebel attacks, he was going to skip some of the individual eliminations and go straight to narrowing down the group to The Elite 6.  Because America wasn’t fully sure where she stood with Maxon and her feelings towards Aspen, she didn’t know if she was for certain staying, however we all know that Maxon has significant feelings for her and she was the final girl chosen to remain.  So this is where the story starts off.

The girls, Celeste, Elise, Natalie, Marlee, Kriss and America are the remaining girls.  Instead of such casual activities, the girls are asked to take on more and more in preparation for one to be the princess.  They are given ‘projects’ to show if they are able to handle and understand the responsibilities that they will undertake as well as allow the royals to see which girl the country feels best about.  (since we know it’s not all about how maxon feels, it’s really about the puppet-master his father).

As the story progresses, we see that Maxon continues to be completely ‘in love’ with America and gives her far more attention than he does anyone else.  America is completely confused about what she wants since she’s decided that she’s going to see where her relationship with Maxon goes, but she’s still connected to Aspen since he’s not willing to give up.  It’s really hard and we see some of the 17 yr old angst come out with America.  In this story much more than in The Selection, she tends to be a bit wishy washy and i actually wanted to smack her a bit.

Going back to the girls for a second, we know that Celeste is vying for the crown more than Maxon which is fine, Elise realizes (some what) that she’s there for her ties to New Asia, Natalie and Kriss are there because they are ‘nice’ and America is there for ‘passion’   If you remember back to the Selection, Marlee and America had some tension and the reason behind it comes out more in The Elite.  you get real clarity on what’s going on there and it makes for a great story and tense scene.

So as this story progresses, we see relationships really changing.  We see that Maxon really wants things to work with America but she keeps going back and forth, because she’s jealous, because Aspen is in her head about things (good and bad) and she’s really uncertain of herself (which is totally fair).

Where this story leaves us off is a cliff hanger of sorts.  personally, i’m rooting for The One (book 3) to go a certain way however i’m not sure what’s going to happen. i kind of hope that it’s a REALLY LONG final book of the trilogy since there’s a lot that needs to be resolved.

So back to the format that i had in some earlier reviews, here are my questions:

1) Who does maxon choose?  America, Celeste and Kriss seem to be front runners

2) Who does America choose?  Maxon or Aspen

3) Do we think that Maxon is playing games with everyone? or is he true to what we see?

4) is Maxon’s father the king like Gergory Illea?  Is that somethign to worry about?

5) what are the rebels searching for?  why do they keep attacking and will everyone be safe?

6) Will America use the phone number that she got from the Italians for anything and how will that help since Italy isn’t quite an ally yet?

so many questions  – and we have to wait until 2014 i think for answers.  happy reading!

Review; The Prince (A selection Novella #1.5) by Kiera Cass

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Title: The Prince (a Selection Novella)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 2013
Length: 64 pages
Series: The Selection #1.5

True to the very helpful form of YA books lately, we’re given a glimpse (albeit a brief one) into The Selection via Maxon’s POV.  It’s nice to see it for a change, and it gives you a better sense of who he is.

Since you’re all probably pretty familiar with Maxon, America and the other girls in the group, what we get here that’s not so familiar is a little bit of the back story on Maxon and where his apprehensions come from.

The story opens up on Maxon’s 19th birthday, when he’s deemed old enough to select a wife, and there’s a party being thrown in his honor.  If that wasn’t pressure enough, he has to engage in a bit of small talk with his father who truly believes that Maxon is incapable of doing anything that’s worthy of recognition and takes every opportunity that he can to belittle him.  Through this conversation, Maxon actually learns that the lottery that the Selection is based off of isn’t that at all, and to his dismay, the girls are all selected by his father for what the women can do for Illea.  (all except 3 girls who are 5s because their provinces didn’t have anyone of higher caste worth including, and this adds to the diversity of the competition – or so his father the king says).  This is an interesting fact because where we were under the impression in The Selection that it wasn’t 100% a fair lottery (given that there were photos included and all that) but there was no chance of randomness at all.  America’s inclusion was partly intentional, yet not as fully intended as the other girls.

So, this story takes us through the days leading up to the arrival of the girls and then through that first day when Maxon meets all 35 and learns of the trade that America is willing to make.

I can’t wait for a few more days to see whether he continues his plight with America or if we see what he felt with Celeste grow, especially since we know that he was so willing to stick up for her against America’s argument in The Selection.

On to Tuesday – we’ll know more then!

Re-Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

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Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 2013
Length: 327 pages
Series: The Selection #1

With the release of The Elite Book 2 in the series coming out this Tuesday, i felt that i owed it to myself to reread the first installment into the story so that i’m fully up to speed.  It’s The Bachelor meets all things Dystopia and i think that it’s exactly what i needed.

Who are our Characters

America:  She’s the female lead in this story and we get everything from her POV.  She lives in a province known as the Carolinas in what is now knows as ‘Illea’ which is the result of what the USA has become after 4 world wars and being taken over by a chinese invasion.  As we expect in stories that are of a dystopian nature, there is a class or caste system and in this situation, America’s family is a Five which is on the lower end of the scale.  (ones are royalty, 2 are wealthy, on and on until you get to 8 which are homeless.  5’s barely get by and while they don’t suffer as much as 6s who often don’t have enough to eat, they certainly aren’t comfortable in life).

Aspen:  He is the initial love interest for America in this story.  He’s a little bit older than she is which is great, however his family is in a lower caste – they are 6’s and that means that it would be a bad idea for America and Aspen to be involved.  They have been ‘in love’ though for about 2 years now at the onset of the story and find themselves in a happy yet secret place.

Maxon (Prince Maxon):  he is the focus for all things that change from a few chapters in.  As society is trying to rebuild, it’s determined that if there is a daughter born to royalty, they are married off to another country to forge bonds.  If there is a son however, they go through ‘The Selection’ where 35 women are selected (1 from each province) and it is the Prince’s job to select one to be his wife.  It’s in fact the same way that his father the King found his wife.  (and they are quite happy together).

So….the story opens up basically with notices going out to all homes that have daughters that are deemed ‘of age’ to participate in The Selection, and while America has no intention of participating since she’s in love with Aspen, she’s convinced both by her mother (through a bribe of sorts) and by Aspen (through guilt) to participate.  She puts in her application and low and things go from there.  Just when things couldn’t get any worse, because America figured that she had no chance since she’s just a 5, she’s chosen from her province, Aspen decides that things shouldn’t continue between them (because of his male pride/ego) and off she goes.

We find out quite quickly that America is a fan favorite and is great competition.  while she’s still heart broken over what Aspen has done to her, she’s not ready to jump head first into the chance that she could fall in love with Prince Maxon.  As a result, she’s decided that maybe she could become a friend to Maxon and in turn, stay on through the competition long enough to benefit her family (they get financial support for the length of time that their child is in contention), and Maxon agrees.  Mind you, his motives aren’t so platonic.  From the moment that he meets America, she yells at him, thinks ill of him, yet he’s drawn to her.  He likes that she doesn’t treat him as everyone else does, and there’s a spark that he feels.

So the quest throughout this book is Maxon trying to figure out if there’s anything between him and America, if there’s another girl that ‘does it for him’, and to make people take him seriously as a leader of Illea.

When things seem like they still can’t get worse, there have been multiple rebel attacks on the palace, a new rotation of guards….and Aspen shows up among those guards.  Enter LOVE TRIANGLE.  couldn’t expect anything else from a YA book right?

so, that puts a crimp in things because we just don’t know where America’s head is, if it’s going to make a difference, and what will happen to Maxon since we’re assuming that his decisions will be important for the safety not only of those in the palace but for the country.

So here are my questions for The Elite (book 2)

1) will America make a choice between Maxon and Aspen?  (who will it be and what will the repercussions be)

2) Will Aspen make things uncomfortable for America while she’s deciding what she wants?

3) will the rebels break through and will something horrible happen to the girls, the royals or Maxon/America?

4) who will Maxon choose?

there are so many more questions, so i’ll have to wait until Tuesday to know how things turn out.

 

Review: When I Need You (When I’m With You #7) by Beth Kerry

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Title: When I Need You
Author: Beth Kerry
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group (USA), 4/16/2013
Length: 68 pages
Series: When I’m With You #7

chapters 13-15 i believe are what we got this week, so i’m thinking that we’re getting close to the end, or maybe just the mid way point.  in any event, we pick up during a night of intense passion between Elise and Lucien since Lucien shows us that his kink is of the highest class with his jewelry inspired gear and his touch of romance by putting a bed on the roof for a night of passion under the stars.

What i liked about this installment is that we see that Lucien’s starting to open up a little bit and that he’s also being mindful of Elise’s abilities and ideas for the future.  In a past installment, Elise had mentioned to Lucien that she wanted to open a very specific type of restaurant, one that caters towards people who are recovering from whatever addictions plague them.  Lucien saw the sense in that both common and business and has made an offer to Elise that would be stupid for her to turn down.

Anyhow, what we get in these chapters this week is the sense that Elise is concerned that her feelings for Lucien aren’t paralleled which i guess we’ll see how it plays out.  we also get a bit more information on the search that Lucien’s doing for his biological mother.

so i guess we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see what’s next in their story.  enjoy!

Review: Apollyon (Convenant book #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Title: Apollyon
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher/Year: Spencer Hill Press, 4/09/2013
Length: 360 pages
Series: The Covenant #4

i definitely hate having to wait for a next installment to come out, and especially after reading Elixir which was book #3.5, i felt like the wait was too long.

We left off from Elixir where Alex had ‘Awakened’ and she had the eyes of the apollyon and some of the craziness.  the issue here though as having Seth around as the First, Aiden, Marcus and Apollo among all of the others had to do their best to keep Alex’s location a secret and keep Seth away.  If Seth found Alex and was able to transfer her power to him, then he would become the God Killer and that was BAD NEWS!

The even bigger issue here though was not that Set was entirely power hungry on his own, he was under the influence of Lucien (Alex’s stepfather no less) and some other powerful forces and was trying his best to be the undoing of all things that were ‘normal’ and standard in the word.

So Apollyon opens up with Alex being caged in for both her own good and for the good of everyone else since she was still ‘connected’ to Seth through their Apollyon stuff, and the Elixir had worn off.  Aiden was trying to ‘get through’ to Alex because he loves her so much and knows that she’s strong enough to some how find a better resolution to what’s going on.

Apollo comes in and out of this story as well, being the lineage of Alex and because he’s trying to protect her and figure out what the next steps should be.  Due to any number of circumstances (mainly being trickery), psycho Apollyon Alex escapes her cage and tries to make a run for it.  Aiden of course isn’t having this and some how manages to tackle her and through his love and persistence in the message that Alex is stronger than Seth, she some how manages to break the bond that she has with Seth and is almost the Alex that everyone came to know and love before this all happened.

Now if only that was the end of things right?  Well, it’s determined that Seth, Lucien and whatever God is working with them are up to no good, killing thousands of people both half-bloods and mortals alike.  They need to be stopped and Alex has to go on the quest to figure out how that can be done.

This book takes through the underworld again, through a lot of death and destruction.  it’s expected that some of the characters that we know and love will die, and some will be re-encarnated so to speak as well.

I think the best part of this story is that throughout the series there have been a few less than trust worthy folks and in Apollyon, we start to figure out why.  there’s a great unveiling at the end of this book which really leads into the expectations that we will now have waiting until January 2014 for Sentinel to come out.

enjoy!

 

Review: Radiant (Unearthly #2.5) by Cynthia Hand

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Title: Radiant 
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishers, 12/04/12
Length: 94 pages
Series: Unearthly Series #2.5

It probably would have been smart of me to read this installment before i read boundless to get a bit more of the back story on Phen, but i’m kind of glad that i read it now.  So in Radiant, we are taken through Angela’s summers in Italy where she meets Penamue (Phen), the ‘ambivalent angel’ that she falls in love with.  We get to see how their meeting evolves into a friendship into a relationship that is destined to fail since we know that it’s almost impossible for an angel to have a relationship with anyone, let alone a dimidium/quartarius/human.

There’ s not much more for me to say about this one – it was a nice story to give us an idea about why Angela’s so obsessed with him, and maybe what the beginning of the school year at Stamford came out of.

happy reading!