Review: The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young

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Title:  The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Simon Pulse 4/30/13
Length:  416 pages
Series: The Program #1

Overview

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Thoughts

I have seen this book around for a while and always knew that i wanted to read it but not quite sure why i didn’t.  quite possibly it was because i had so many others on the list already waiting to be read.  In any event, i’m really happy that i finally got the chance to sit down for 2 days to read it since it’s a nice take on how society is evolving in the hopes of fixing what it thinks is an infection.

In this story, we are brought up to speed in a time where teen suicide and depression is at an all time high.  we don’t know what the reason for it is, we just know that it’s happening more and more.  Towns are trying to find ways to combat this and this has spurned the development of The Program which is a ‘rehabilitation’ of sorts that will wipe out the parts of your mind that cause you to be depressed and the memories associated in the hopes that it will cure you.

At the onset of the story, we meet Sloane, James and Miller – a trio of best friends who are doing what they can to hold and and stay ‘happy’.  See, Sloane’s brother (and James’ best friend) brady had committed suicide and they were clinging to each other in a sense to stay alive.  Miller is their best friend who was also part of a couple with Lacey, however lacey was ‘infected’ and tried to kill herself as well, and was sent to the Program.  This is what starts the story down the rockier path – they have seen that Lacey’s returned, yet she’s not the same lacey at all.  See, ‘returners’ aren’t the same as when they go into the program -t hey are tame versions of their former selves, and they don’t have any memories of those around them (aside from what the program wants them to remember) so all efforts to see if she remembers them are left with stress and anxiety.

This tips Miller over the edge and he takes ‘quickdeath’ and kills himself.  James and Sloane are left to pick up those pieces.  See, the challenge there too is that they are madly in love with each other and therefore will do what ever they need to in order to keep each other safe.  the problem is that James is about to crack – sending him to the Program and this leads Sloane down that path as well.

What we get throughout this story is we learn how strong Sloane is and how she fights to hold onto those happier thoughts of how much she loves James.  She doesn’t go down without a fight in the Program, and while she’s there, she meets Realm who won’t let her go down without a fight.

Once they have all left the program and ‘returned’ – things don’g quite go as everyone planned.  We see that people latch onto those that were in their previous lives, before the cure – and it’s surprising a lot of people.  It’s also interesting to see who connects again and who avoids one another.

What i really liked about this first book in the series is that there’s a lot to question but nothing is overtly answered.  that’s always one of my pet peeves – we don’t know what’s really going on and what the extent of things are, and this book doesn’t answer all those questions – meaning that you really want to read the next installment.

I also loved the epilogue because i like where it’s going and where we’re being taken with it There’s the perpetual question of who’s on which side, what side is that really – and who’s going to survive.  What is the cure really – is it good – is it doing what it’s supposed to and who’s against it (aside from all the teenagers).

I can’t wait for book 2 – i hope you guys enjoy it too!

 

Review: Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy #3) by Veronica Roth

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Title:  Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  10/22/12
Length:  544 pages
Series: Divergent #3

Overview

hat if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergentand Insurgent.

My Thoughts

Long awaited and quite the great read.  I actually saw Veronica Roth on the Today show when I was about 1/3 of the way through and what she said during the interview threw me.  She was asked about the response to the ending and how she got there and she said that she felt that it ended stories for characters as they should have been.  I DISAGREE!!!  i won’t provide spoilers, but i felt like i was back in the Requiem world where the ending didn’t quite do it for me.

anyway, this third installment opens when we are in the midst of the factionaless overthrow and the factions all in chaos.  We don’t know if it’s safe to believe Evelyn and what Marcus is up to.  What we remember from the ending of Insurgent though is the video reveal by ‘Edith Prior’ and what that did to everyone.  It meant that EVERYONE quickly realized that what they had been taught all their lives wasn’t true at all and they had to decide what to do next…and where to do it.

So, we quickly learn that the factions (not the factionless under Evelyn) start to create the Allegiant – their own group of rebels with a cause of their own.  to restore order and make things less chaotic.  Among those Allegiant are some folks that we’re constantly reminded of – Joanna Reyes, Cara among others.

They devise a plot for a group of Dauntless to get out of the fence, and see what’s on the outside – with folks that they have allegiances with out there.  So Tobias, Tris, Tori, Cara, Caleb, Christina, Uriah and Peter plot to escape and do that.  well, not all of them make it.

Once they are outside, they reach contacts who turn out to be past dauntless that were presumed killed for being Divergent who take them to the Bureau of Genetic Welfar where the group learns a lot more than they ever expected.

I’m going to tread lightly here because i don’t want to reveal anything too drastic, but here are the basics

1) What Tris knew about her family – completely different than reality

2) Jeannine Matthews couldn’t have been working on her own, she was provided with serums and what not for her uses (guided by what the Bureau wanted her to do)

3) Relationships that were sacred aren’t anymore and there are lots of changes among friendships and loves

4) No one knows who or what to believe – people spin stories in ways that make what they believe to be true true and what others are doing wrong

along this journey we meet David who is the leader of the Bureau and knows Tris’s mom.  We also meet Nita who’s in with the Rebels.  we meet Matthew who we’re not sure is a good guy or not, yet he leans towards good

What i can’t get past though is the way that this story went and where it’s going.  We learn about the purpose of Chicago becoming a faction system and being what it is, yet we don’t see into other cities that were created like it.  We hear about what goes on out side of the fence and in the fringe, but we also don’t get to see what’s really going on there either.

I’m let down by the ending for sure.  i like how some of the story was resolved, but quite saddened by others.  i’m sure you’ll know what i mean when you read it.  LOTS of surprises and LOTS of anxiety.  enjoy!

 

ARC Review: A Million Guilty Pleasures (Million Dollar Duet #2) by C.L. Parker

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Title:  A Million Guilty Pleasures
Author: C.L. Parker
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing, 2/11/14
Length:  272 pages
Series: Million Dollar Duet #2

Overview

Two million dollars secured Noah Crawford the most enticing woman he has ever known. Initiating Delaine Talbot into a sensuous world of pleasure took them both to the brink—again and again. But when Noah discovers why the beautiful innocent sold her body to the highest bidder, he’s faced with the hardest thing he ever had to do: Set her free.

Lanie can’t believe Noah would let her go. Doesn’t he know they share a bond deeper than sex—a connection too powerful to sever? Not even a treacherous enemy out to destroy Noah or the dark secret haunting the multimillionaire can keep them apart. But first Lanie has to show him that he belongs to her, even if it means risking everything for a love that can never be bought or sold.

My Thoughts

This final installment in the series took us on quite the interesting journey.  We see that the bond between Lanie and Noah is getting stronger, but nothing is ever that easy right?  This book opens up a midst the fear and worry around Faye – Lanie’s mom – since her health is getting worse and she needs to go to be at her mom’s side.  The good thing that happens though is that Polly is there to hear where Lanie is going, tells Noah, and Noah does what he does – makes some calls etc. and comes to her side to help.

of course though this means that her secret bubble is burst since there’s no way to hide the fact that she’s not in NY at school and her parents aren’t as naive as she thinks.  This bit of the story takes an interesting path and it’s nice to see the different reactions.

What we also get in this book is more of David.  We know that he’s up to something and it’s not until this story that we get a few chapters from his POV and get to see what’s really going on.  This bit takes us on an anxiety ridden roller coaster.

So, to the Erotica part of this book.  If you read my review on the first installment, you know that i had issue with the references that Lanie was making in her mind – i thought that it was a bit immature and trying to hard to be like 50 Shades.  Thankfully, the use of those same pet names was toned down a bit, so i could take the scening more realistically.  We got to see Noah teach Lanie about her passions and how the transfer of power works for them in the bedroom.  It’s hot of course, but quite educational all at the same time, tied up in a nice romantic bow.

so…for those of you who have to wait until February to read it, i’m sorry – but at least you know that the story goes on a great journey, and we get to see how things play out in what’s typical and roller-coast’y…..

Review: A Million Dirty Secrets (Million Dollar Duet #1) by C. L. Parker

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Title:  A Million Dirty Secrets
Author: C.L. Parker
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing, 8/27/13
Length:  368 pages
Series: Million Dollar Duet #1

Overview

Delaine Talbot has a secret. When a matter of life and death threatens to tear apart her family, Delaine makes the ultimate sacrifice. She auctions herself off at Chicago’s most exclusive erotic club. Now she belongs to Noah Crawford, a wealthy mogul who introduces her to a seductive feast of the senses, awakening desires she only dreamed about.

Noah doesn’t know why Delaine sold her body for a cool two mil. But it’s the perfect business arrangement. The inexperienced beauty will learn to satisfy his every sensual need, yet never touch his heart. Almost immediately their relationship generates heat—in more ways than one. When they fight, they take no prisoners. When they love, they show no mercy. When they’re together, they never want to leave each other’s arms. But soon, their intense, physical bond will take an unexpected turn—evolving into something neither has bargained for: the promise of a lasting love.

My Thoughts

There was so much right about this book, yet so much wrong.  #sigh

I had gotten the ARC for book 2 in this series so i figured that i should probably read #1 first to get up to speed right?  so that’s what i did.  The cover art was great, the summary of it was great, so i was really excited to see where this story would take us.

We first meed Delaine (Lanie) when she’s had to make a really hard choice of ‘selling herself’ because her mother has a terminal illness, they have no money left for her medical care, and Lanie has taken it upon herself to find a solution.  It’s impressive that she’s done it, yet i don’t know if it’s realistic.  oh well…all a book so that’s not what actually bothered me …yet

We then meet her mysterious buyer at this auction – a man who was sitting in the dark so that Lanie couldn’t even see what he looked like, and he then pays $2MM for her.  WOW right?  when she finally meets him, she finds that she’s quite lucky – he’s gorgeous.  This is how we met Noah.  The very succession part owner of his parent’s multi-billion dollar company.  True to the genre, his parents died tragically leaving their fortune to him, and well…we know that it of course means that he’s domineering, controlling and exudes power at every step.

As the dynamic between these 2 begin, it’s based on very uneven ground.  While Lanie chose to do what she did, she still ‘hates’ Noah for buying her, and Noah kind of loves the idea that Lanie is a virgin (yup – forgot to mention that).  This story takes us on the journey with them as Lanie learns about her own sexuality and Noah lets her in even with the ghosts that haunt him from the past.

Where this story went so wrong for me though is the way that it was written.  See, i get why there was a need for some of it, maybe a bit of playing off of the ‘inner goddess’ from 50 shades, but this story just kept allowing Lanie to refer to herself and her ‘girlie bits’ in a lude way that was really off putting.  i get it was supposed to be humorous, but the way that she kind of talked ‘to herself’ throughout made me really want to either skim past scenes or put the book down all together.  I felt like it was a young person writing it, and maybe an editor who didn’t know when to say ‘stop’.

The story itself is really interesting, since it’s based on quite a bit of mystery and unknown, and we get a dynamic and relationship that’s really volatile and passionate, so i think that i’ll work to pass over that discomfort in the writing style to get to the next installment.  Noah clearly knows his way around a woman and knows how to be in control so you know that you’re going to get a lot of heat and steam and it’s going to make for a really hot read.  I think that aside from some of the inner commentary, the writing of those scenes was pretty decent.

where book 1 leaves us off was very expected, yet a really good cliffhanger none-the-less.

enjoy – i hope!  and i’m sure i’ll have thoughts on book 2 in the next day or so.

Re-Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

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Title:  Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  5/1/12
Length:  544 pages
Series: Divergent #2

Overview

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

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

My Thoughts

Just a few more days until Allegiant comes out and i felt that it was time for me to finish #2 in the series to get fully up to speed.  I think that it’s key to re-read stories like this so i’m not wondering why certain people are alive and others not, and why some are on one side vs. the other.

This 2nd installment takes us past the chaos of the ending in Divergent into a completely different set of obstacles.  The questions that remain to be answered are vase and wide spread and that makes for a really exciting bridge book.  Tris and Tobias are in an endless battle to survive and fight for what’s right, all the same while trying to get to Jeanine and figure out what’s going on.  Marcus continues to play a strong role in this book, yet i don’t think that we ever really find out what his deal is…well not until the end.

The action continues to be packed into every scene, you never know who will be next to be injured, or which faction will be the one to help out the Dauntless (not the Dauntless Traitors).  We continue to see that Euridite has their own motivations for just about everything that they do – and while the underlying need to seek information and learn is the core of the faction, we find that it’s more of an evil motivation based on their leader’s choices.

All hope isn’t lost for them since we do find that there are some that are willing to help and they do at that.  Among the Dauntless though, there’s a lot of flip flopping.  We never really know who is on Tris/Tobias’ side, even when they prove it one way or another.  Peter for example, he’s an enigma.  Working with them in one scene and against them in another.  The same with Tori.

And what makes me really angry the 2nd time that i read this was Caleb.  I remember his actions the first time around, but i guess i blocked them from my mind because when i read this installment again, i realized that he really has his own personal motivation.

What i loved…the ending.  I mean really – it’s not that i didn’t see it coming, but i really like where it’s going.  I think that throughout the first 2 books, you get this idea in your head of what the factions are and what ‘chicago’ is all about but i like that there were hints throughout of Amity being the only faction ‘outside the fence’ and then to see where things go in the last few pages of the book.

So, next week is D Day – meaning that the book will be out and i’ll finally get to see what it all means for both the story, society and Tris and Tobias.  I can’t wait!

Review: All He Wants (All or Nothing #1) by C.C. Gibbs

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Title:  All He Wants
Author:  C.C. Gibbs
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing. 7/9/13
Length:  374 Pages
Series: All or Nothing #1

Overview

Dominic Knight is a man who is always in control. A self-made billionaire by the age of twenty-three, a genius of innovation, and CEO of a global tech empire, Knight always gets what he wants. And he wants Kate Hart. . .

A rising star of cyber forensics, Kate is well aware of Knight’s reputation as a master manipulator, uncompromising leader, and demanding lover. But she’s determined to stay cool and professional-no matter how hot and bothered her new boss makes her feel.

First he appears in her dreams. Then he comes to her in the night. And so begins a journey of erotic awakening and discovery as rich and powerful as Knight himself. In locales from the sultry red-light district of Amsterdam to the private sexual playgrounds of Hong Kong, Kate will shed every inhibition and surrender every part of herself-body, mind, and soul-to give her lover all he craves, all he needs, and all he demands . . .

My Thoughts

This is a slightly new spin on the usual, but it was quite enjoyable to read nonetheless.  What we got was a dynamic between the to mains, Dominic and Kate that was hot and steamy, and only slightly tainted by the past damages of death.  Dominic is still haunted by the death of his wife, and as a result, he’s not only over-protective and commanding, he’s also a ‘playboy’ for lack of a better word.  he doesn’t do anything more permanent than ‘friends with benefits’ and escapades that involve various stages of BDSM.  Kate on the other hand has the loss of her parents at a young age as her past, however it’s not really harmed her based on what we know, it’s only made her stronger.  she’s incredibly brilliant as a forensic accountant (i.e. legal hacker) and knows her worth.

This story opens when Kate is going in for an interview at Knight Enterprises, expecting to meet with Max, Dominic’s right hand man, yet to find herself in an awkward encounter with Dominic himself, and that first meeting turns her off from him because of his temper.  I hope that we get into this a bit more in the next installment, but we know that she HATES him off the bat because of his anger and Kate alludes to the fact that it’s her past trend to associate with men like that.

Somehow Dominic manages to convince Kate to work 1 project for him that requires her immediate departure on the private jet to Europe and she finds herself in a world that’s so far from her norm.  What we know will happen of course is that ‘Nick’ will use his money and power to try to control Kate, and woo her with all the wealth that he can just throw around.  He does this by installing a new wardrobe in her room, offering her more money than she could ever need, offering her to ‘write her own ticket’ for her fee among other things.  The nice thing though is that Kate isn’t after his money (like every other woman in the world) and that’s an interesting concept for Dominic to deal with.

Where the story goes from there is an overt wooing trip from Amsterdam to Singapore to Hong Kong, where Kate is trying to fight her attraction to him and Dominic tries to ‘behave’.  As expected, they can’t keep their hands off each other but it’s not without rules and boundaries.  The question that really comes up is that while Dominic keeps telling her that she has to ‘obey’ for the length of her contract (i.e. 6 more days), they both wonder what will happen after those 6 days.

The writing here is great as well trying to find the balance of Kate’s vanilla sex life and her fear of anything ‘kinky’ and how it plays with Dominic’s clearly kinky and erotic style.  They are insatiable which means that the chemistry and heat has to maintain in order for each scene to seem new and exciting. (which it does)

The great cliffhanger of this fist installment of course was expected but quite nice.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out so that we can see what happens next between these 2.  We see that Kate’s taking a hold of Dominic’s heart in ways that he’s not used to, and Kate’s walls are coming down too.  but they both have this innate fear of what will come next.  The good thing is that with all the heat and passion that they share, you know that you’ll get something great.

Review: Surrender (The Dining Club #8) by Marina Anderson

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Title:  Surrender
Author:  Marina Anderson
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing. 10/8/13
Length:  35 Pages
Series: The Dining Club #8

Overview

If you pass the challenges we set, a world of pleasure awaits you.

He is everything she never wanted: brooding, secretive, rich – and far-removed from her care-free artistic lifestyle. Yet David has a power over Grace that she cannot resist, a power that comes from his darker, passionate side.

And now he is ready to truly reveal himself. Inviting Grace to a weekend at the Dining Club, David offers her the opportunity to discover his deepest desires and to find pleasures far beyond her wildest imagination – but only if she if willing to play a series of sensual games.

Grace faces a choice: give in to her doubts and retreat to her quiet life, or truly embrace happiness with David and win over her mesmerising lover forever.

My Thoughts

I think that i knew the path that this installment was going to take, and i wasn’t at all surprised.  Although the one loop hole there is that i didn’t have any expectation on what the final challenge would be for the 5th table, so that was interesting.  What we get in this final installment (or is it) is Grace being forced to make the decision if she wants to take on Table 5, Amber’s Table which would ultimately mean taking Amber’s role in the club.  David finally opens up a bit more to Grace about his feelings, and what his role in all this has been (not shocking to readers i’m sure), and then we are on Grace’s journey.

What i liked about this story more so than others was 2 things.

1) we see that Grace isn’t perfect – especially in her friendships.  Because she’s choosing to go on the journey with David, it means that her own professional life is hitting a snag, and her friendship with Fran isn’t on the up and up

2) I also really enjoyed where the story seems to be going, with the bit of a tease at the end.  Between you and me, i have a feeling what the ‘smirk’ and final conversation was about and what’s going to happen, but i guess we’ll have to wait and see if there will be more to come.

This 8th story didn’t let us down in the sense of erotic sceneing and passion, although it was a bit awkward at time.  too much of a competition and less heat and romance.  but….we are seeing everyone grow a bit and that’s what you expect at the closure of a series.

Review: Submit (The Dining Club #7) by Marina Anderson

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Title:  Submit
Author:  Marina Anderson
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing. 10/1/13
Length:  35 Pages
Series: The Dining Club #7

Overview

Grace has one more erotic challenge to complete. Once she proves to the Club, and to herself, that she’s truly embraced her new sensuous desires, Grace will ensure her place in the Dining Club-and in David’s heart. But after learning David’s deepest secret, Grace isn’t sure what to believe about their relationship anymore. Does he even want her to succeed? She knows this final challenge won’t be easy, especially with Club members Amber and Andrew still as determined as ever to see her fail.

Now with this final trial, David will push her stamina to its limits-and Grace must submit her body and soul to his every demand. If Grace doesn’t complete the challenge, the Club-and David-will be off-limits to her forever.

My Thoughts

Grace is nearing the end of her challenges and while each week gets harder for her since it’s so far out of her comfort zone, she slowly begins to see that David’s love is growing to a point where he might actually say it.  The question that lies ahead is whether Grace can be what David needs, if that’s what she wants to do, and what will happen.

The obstacle though that still lies in the Dining club too is Amber (and Andrew i suppose).  Amber is afraid of losing David because she’s probably in love with him even though he’s probably not with her.  Andrew also has these growing feelings towards Grace that means that he’s going to try to make her fail so that David will walk away and he can be with her.

The challenge for Table 4 leaves us in a place that’s just as curious as the prior tables.  we see that Grace has to do things that she never thought she’d do, and all the same time, David brings her to the brink of her own passion.

I’m looking forward to the conclusion in the next book.

Review: Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

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Title:  Escaping Reality
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Lisa R Jones 7/12/13
Length:  214 Pages
Series: The Secret Life of Amy Benson #1

Overview

Book 1 of THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN Series
ESCAPING REALITY
***Infinite possibilities….
Infinite passion…..
Infinite danger….

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn’t trust him. I shouldn’t tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loved to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten-even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets her guard down, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?

My Thoughts

Interestingly enough, i didn’t put 2 and 2 together when i started reading this book that the author was the same as one of my favs lately, the author of the Inside Out Trilogy.  In any event, i quickly picked up on that fault because of the writing style and the way that the story unfolded for us.   What i really like about Ms. Jones’ style is that we are quickly brought into a story that’s full of anxiety and fear and it’s woven throughout the entire story so that you’re not left feeling a bit short changed.  This story is no exception because the opening chapter has our leading lading running for her life from something that keeps coming up in her past.

We first meet ‘Amy’ when she’s working an event at the museum, a job that we soon learn she feels she shouldn’t have taken because it’s too public in nature for what she’s supposed to be doing with herself.  She goes to the restroom and finds an envelope taped to the mirror telling her that she’s not safe and has to run.  so that’s what she does…apparently for the 2nd or 3rd time in her life.

This is where the story of Amy and Liam takes shape since she sees him from across the way in the airport as she’s trying to run…catching a flight that her ‘handler’ has told her that she needs to be on.  Of course nothing is ever smooth – she’s trapped in Liam’s gaze, finds out that her flight is overbooked and that she might not make it on it, he boards the plane, and then some how a first class seat is found for her, right next to him.

Where they go from here – well we of course assumed that he was quite successful and dominating since that’s what Ms. Jones does best, and of course we weren’t disappointed.  He’s a billionaire, recluse (haha) and a very successful prodigy architect.  He can ‘sense’ that Amy is running from something and makes it his goal to protect her and make her feel safe, all at the same time fulfilling both of their chemical needs.  They are of course wildly attracted to one another.

What i love about this story as well is that it’s categorized as erotica, which it certainly is, since there’s quite a bit of steamy passion shared between these 2.  And there’s a 3rd person thrown into the mix in the form of Jared, her next door neighbor.

The question that continuously comes up here in the first installment which we know will pull us through the rest is who can she trust, what’s real and what’s just not safe.  Since the death of her family in a fire (which is just about all we know), Amy was saved by someone that she calls her ‘handler’ who has this unique tattoo on the inside of her wrist, and who continues to protect her.  he seems to know when she’s no longer safe and moves her to another city to keep her out of harms way.  What Amy begins to question though is how he knows where she is, how he gets messages to her and really who is he?  For a moment, she thinks that Liam is her handler because of references that he makes, but then he says things to put her off that train of thought.  She also feels like Jared is ‘familiar’ somehow but doesn’t know how.

Through the length of this story, Amy begins to question things more and more.  The notes that she’s received since she arrived in Denver are not signed with the symbol that she’s been told to trust.  The money that she was promised to be deposited into her account until she’s settled doesn’t come.  Her job is more curious than real, and too many things there don’t match up.  She can’t get in touch with her boss or the person who is supposed to know her boss.

so….this leads us down a very curious path, and that’s what makes this an amazing book.  I really can’t wait until the next installment comes out, and what’s painful to me is that i can’t seem to find the release date anywhere!

At least i have the great underlying story here that’s topped off with the right amount of heat and then the right level of complexity.  All making for the next great series.  Enjoy!

Re-Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

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Title:  Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  2/28/12
Length:  576 pages
Series: Divergent #1

Overview

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts

in this 2nd (or maybe 3rd pass at this point, i have one thing to say and don’t hate me for my social speak #LOVEIT!.  i’ve decided that since Allegiant is due out in 1 week’s time, i owed it to myself to re-read the first books so that i’m fully up to speed on who’s alive, who we like, who we hate etc.  Well, whatever i thought of Divergent before, i love it more now.

We are taken on a ‘soul finding’ journey in a sense where Tris, our leading female is 16 – coming of age and has to make the decision of whether she’s going to take the safe path as stay in her family’s faction – Abegnation and live a boring yet safe life, or if she’s going to take a risk, and change EVERYTHING that she knows and transfer.  It’s not surprising the Tris has decided to transfer to Dauntless no less, and well, we see that she hits her stride during initiation.

she finds that she’s much stronger than she thought, and she breaks out of her shell quickly.  Along her journey, she makes actual friends in her fellow initiates, Christina, Uriah, and a few others.  She also begins to feel an attraction to someone else, when she gets a sense from Four (Tobias) that there’s maybe more to the trainer / trainee relationship.

What i love here is that not only do we get the complex story of a teen having to choose her life’s path, but we get to see that evolve, and then we get to see the greater picture of what’s happening in society and who’s pulling the strings.

Where this first installment leaves us off is a GREAT bit of a cliffhanger.  We see that there are evil intentions all around, and that Dauntless is a pawn in this.  We see that folks that are supposed to be the good guys really are the puppeteers, and that’s going to play out nicely i’m guessing in the final installments.

Good news is that i have Insurgent already so i can dive into it tonight, bad news is that i’m sure i’ll finish it before Monday night so that will leave me feeling a bit empty until 10/22/13 comes around.