Review: Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: Dividing Eden
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 6/7/17
Length:   284 Pages
Series:  Dividing Eden #1

Overview

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Testing so i was excited to see that there was a new series – and what we get here is that it’s nothing at all like the prior series and that is interesting to me.  The only similarity is that there’s a trial to name one of the twins ruler, but that’s about it.

So the story takes us on a path of a set of twins, who are best friends at the beginning, always looking out for one another especially since Dreus has a health situation that if found out, would be a problem, so Carys has spent her entire life protecting him.

When the time comes to pit them against one another, they take it in stride, knowing that they want the same outcome, yet when other people get in their ear, we see that it’s going to all go pear shaped.

There are a few nice twists in the story that keep us really engaged.  When they are born, the Seer sees that one of the twins has a ‘curse’ and that’s something that’s going to bring down the palace.  It’s noted that Dreus is really sick, and that identifies him as the one with the curse – or does it.  Then there’s the mystery of a new seer who comes to Eden, with a background unknown, and who’s engaged to the crown prince but who really has a tie elsewhere.

Add to that a Lord Garret who has family who wants him in power and a Trade Master named Errick who shows up- and we don’t now who’s the enemy or the ally and what’s going to happen.

We see the twins go through trials, trying to survive but Dreus gets his opinion clouded by so many others that ultimately he turns on Carys.  It’s what we see her come to do throughout the story that makes you wonder what’s really going on and what the end result will be.

We’re left at a point in the story when there’s one who’s crowned and one who’s died and there are still so many people out there who have their own motives that we’re still left with too much uncertainty.  I can’t wait to see what happens since i think that things are just starting to get interesting.

Review: Kings Cage (The Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

no-brainer

Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishing 2/7/17
Length:   430 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #3

Overview
In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the lightning girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continues organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

My Thoughts

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s something so powerful in this book that it is a tough call between Red Rising and this one!  What we have here is the continuation of a story that you really have no idea where it’s going to end.  We’ve been on the journey of Mare having to fake being a silver because of an ability that she just happened to have, and then being the betrothed to Maven, the 2nd son of the king.  Then that all goes to crap when the first son has his mind controlled and he kills the king, and then flees for his safety.  We then saw Mare do the same essentially, with the help of the Scarlet Guard.

Then, the story took us through book 2 where they were discovering the newbloods – essentially what Mare is – one with red blood but stronger powers than silvers.  We learned that Shade (Mare’s brother was alive), we saw Mare sort of fall in love with the first son Cal, and we see that Maven has taken on the role of king and has a bone to pick because he actually has these emotional feelings for Mare.

When Maven gets too close during the 2nd book, and Shade is killed, Mare trades herself for the safety of everyone and that’s where we begin this third installment.  She’s Maven’s captive, and she’s having her powers stripped from her by Arvens, ones who have power to silence other’s powers.  We see that Maven has some strange pull to Mare even though he’s not betrothed to Evangeline (ironically the girl who was linked with Cal before), and we see that it’s because he’s got some tie to her, he can’t kill her.

The gist of this third book is that we see a huge bunch of plot twists.  There are questions on whether Mare will ever get free, and what role Maven will play.  We also see the other side of things with the Scarlet Guard and their hope for more equality and a way to overthrow Maven’s reign.

There’s so much going on here.  We see Farley pregnant, we see Mare make a decision about love (one which i wasn’t necessarily buying earlier in the series) and we see not only a lot of death but a lot of mistrust. A new kingdom is formed with the help of someone totally unexpected, and we see that there’s still so much that’s unsettled that there’s really no way to know if Maven will win.

Maven has been married to the daughter of the kind of the Lakelands in the hopes that he can gain their army and power, while also ending part of what’s caused the war – the division of Reds and Silvers.  He doesn’t know what he’s getting into and that’s to the benefit of everyone else i think.

I thought this was a trilogy so i was expecting resolution but thankfully the story continues since there’s SO much that’s left unsaid.  Where’s Maven, what’s next for Mare, what about Cal?  is Monfort really the holy grail of safety and peace and living together?  What’s Evangeline’s next move and what’s the motive with Anabel.  So you can see why it was so great – Ms Aveyard gave us so much to enjoy reading but so much more to question and wonder about.  I’m bummed i have to wait ages for book 4, but at least the story goes on!!!

Review: Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth

no-brainer

Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 1/17/17
Length:   390 Pages
Series:  Carve the Mark #1

Overview

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

My Thoughts

For those of you who really liked the Divergent series, and more for the writing than the story, than you’ll love this next new series by Ms Roth.  what we have here is another Dystopia, but a story that takes us to another Galaxy to a time when things are completely different than what we’re envisioning.

As the summary tells us, we’re following the story of two main characters, Cyra and Akos who find their lives to be intertwined because of what the current has given them in terms of powers/abilities as well as where their futures seem to lead them.  See they all live in an era where there are oracles who are able to see things of the future and they are able to know who is ‘fated’ meaning who’s got a future being laid out before them.  These are usually kept secret, however when they are revealed, one family has to go into hiding and another is split up.  With those that are split taken into the the Shotet empire because of what their futures hold.

Akos is our leading guy – a boy who has an ability to take away currentgifts, and that’s especially helpful as the sister of the Shotet ruler has this power that causes pain to others however it also causes herself intense amounts of pain.

Cyra has her own issues – knowing that she’s caused the death of her mother and that all she wants is to be something other than what she is and where she is.  Being around Akos gives her the chance to be a bit more normal and of course in a book with teens, you know that it’s going to lead to some level of romance.

The story here is one of a leader trying to get ultimate power because he doesn’t like the fate that he’s been given.  Ryz – Cyra’s brother is trying to be the eternal power, trying to get his nation recognized among the Assembly which is the governing body of all planets in their galaxy however the means that he uses to go about it are quite brutal and not appreciated.

It’s a journey of cyra and Akos trying to do what’s right for them, and trying to find a way to live their lives as they want.  Akos has the motivation of trying to save his brother who was kidnapped by Ryz, however Ryz has used his currentgift to affect his brother’s mind meaning that even if he gets his brother back, who knows what we will have.

Cyra is also just trying to be herself.  She learns more about the renegades and Exiles that are feared and hated by the Shotet and we see that she’s converting what she’s been taught into action for the future.

When it’s discovered that the land that Akos is from has discovered a Chancellor who turns out to be someone that we’ve met before, we know that the story is going to get far more complex.  That same chancellor has their heart broken and destroyed, potentially at the hand of another character that we love, that we see that there’s no option than to feel her wrath as she takes her position as a leader and takes them all to the Assembly.

We’re left wondering what’s going to happen next since Cyra learns of a secret about who she is which is somewhat unexpected, and then there’s the question of who Akos truly is since he’s not what he seems.  There’s also the question about who will live and who will die, and what’s ahead for them once they reach the Assembly.

All in all, a very interesting and quite different story from Ms Roth – not at all what i was expecting from what i’ve read of hers before.  If you’re a fan of Red Rising, i think that you’ll enjoy this one.  On that note – enjoy and have a good night!

Review: Scions of Sacrifice (The Scion Chronicles #4) by Eric Kent Edstrom

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Title: Scions of Sacrifice
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 12/8/16
Length:   366 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #4

Overview

Threats old and new converge upon the Scions as they make their last stand against the forces of evil.

Scions of Sacrifice sprints head-long to an explosive climax guaranteed to leave you breathless. In this jaw-dropping conclusion of The Scion Chronicles series, Jacey races to rescue Livy from Dr. Carlhagen while enemies surround her, determined to kill her.

But when a trusted ally reveals a secret at the heart of who Jacey truly is, she gathers her allies in a desperate final battle for freedom.

My Thoughts

This series really is something else – i’m incredibly happy that i came across it.  What we have here in this final installment to the series is a continuation of the multiple story lines all weaving together and apart, all with the same end goal it seems.

In this fourth book, we have the Dr on his island with the Senator – all trying to further his end game of getting control of Jacey and also managing to get all the power in the world as he tries to put a positive spin on the Scion program and the fact that essentially carbos are illegal.  While at times things seem to be going in his favor, in fact the tides are turning since the senator has come to her sense and the Dr’s AI has gone rogue – taking matters into his own hands.

There’s also the parallel story of Jacey and her quest to save Livy.  We know that she’s on the island with the Dr and Jacey now has to figure out how to get to the island and to get Livy back.  Where we go with her though is an interesting story.  Dante becomes an ally (or does he) as does a pop star names Meow Meow and with this aspect, we learn that things are not always as they seem.  It’s because of Meow Meow’s real past that things are able to take form through this story since she has contacts and experiences and knowledge that manage to keep them on the run and get them to a turning point in the story.

The third parallel story is that of the Scions on the boat.  They are trying to get to the island that Mr Justin had set up while he was going to play the poor Dr and it’s on the boat that we actually see transformation happen with the Scions.  Summer,  a character in the first book that we felt was nothing but a twittering teenage girl with a crush has continued to evolve into a necessary leader – one who has more skill than anyone else.  We also see that the other Scions are maturing into their own people – taking on roles and responsibilities that would make anyone proud. The quick thinking that they have to employ is impressive as they try to figure out next steps for everyone in the game.

The last bit of the story lies with Belle and Vaughn – whom are now both on servers and trying to help the Scions.  Where the relationship started because Belle’s in love with him has become something greater.  She sees her deficiencies because of what he’s able to do that she feels she can’t and that actually turns Belle into a character that you want to like even more – one who has the potential to save Jacey while she’s on the run and then to be selfless enough to give up herself to let Vaughn get the power he needs to save everyone else.

We see this story take us from the Carribbean to Puerto Rico to Chicago to the barren refugee camps and then back to the island of St Lazurus.  We see military come and go, we see politicals trying to exert their power and we see a lot of the parentage of the Scions – even those who didn’t know that they were being used to create Scions.

I think it’s a fair assumption to say that lots of our friends will die in the quest to overpower the Dr and i don’t think that it’s really anyone’s guess as to who will remain.  It’s a roller coaster and there are alliances and bonds that are created amidst all the death and sadness that at least gives this story a good bit of closure.  We’re left with a sense of hope since there’s a plan that’s put into action, but of course there’s always the question of whether there will be success since there’s a lot left unanswered.

All in all, i think that this was a really unique and interesting journey that we went on and i think that it’s a series that you should all try to tack down.  It makes you wonder what the future of our world will be like since it all seems to have stemmed from an asteroid hitting the earth, setting things into motion that caused all sorts of destruction and corruption. Anyhow, enough deep thinking for me – i hope you guys check this series out and have a great day!

Review: Sister of Shadows (The Scion Chronicles #3) by Eric Kent Edstrom

no-brainer

Title: Sister of Shadows
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 12/8/16
Length:   379 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #3

Overview

Evil lurks among the Scions, waiting its moment to strike!

Sister of Shadows is the third book in The Scion Chronicles.

When a daring escape costs a beloved Scion’s life, Jacey races alone into the outside world for help . . . and comes face to face with ghosts from her past. As suspicion casts its shadow, Jacey’s friends become foes and old enemies become her only allies.
My Thoughts

This story really couldn’t get much crazier, yet some how it does.  I have to give great kudos to the author because what we have here in this 3rd installment are three different parts of the story told from different vantage points, as they are running parallel to one another.  I have no idea how he was able to keep track of all of it together, but it was nicely done.

The point that we’re at in the story is that the knowledge of what the Scions are intended for is finally getting through to the Scions, and that means that there’s not only unrest, but a lot of confusion as to who to trust and what that means for their futures.  The three storylines are as follows:

The Scions, Jacey and Dr Carlhagen

Where they split from the main story and then go on their paths is a bit into this third book.  Now that we have started to uncover exactly what the plan was that Dr Carlhagen has for the Scions, the need to take control is what they feel is most urgent.  Jacey and Humphrey some how manage to grow up quite fast and take on the leader roles, where Humphrey tries to convince everyone on the outside world that he’s Dr Carlhagen still and for the most part he’s successful.  It’s when one of the more power Progenitors comes (a Senator) early to transfer because of a terminal illness that gives her bout 4 weeks to live, that their world gets completely flipped upside down.

Not only have we lost Vaughn (Dr Carlhagen took that body), but we now are in the midst of losing Summer who’s the Progenitos Scion.  Summer however is only 14 and too early to transfer, and the Scions aren’t going to let her go without a fight.  The journey here is one where we see her and the others grown up incredibly fast, and we see how far the elder Scions can push the limits to save their friends.

Then there’s the story line with the Dr and the Senator.  They have an interwoven past and that means that they are bound by personal ties as well as their own business needs since we see that they were using each other to gain power and money – and build a second Scion school.  That’s where the Dr’s story takes him – on how he can manage to get off St Vitus, away from the school to get his new school set up and then to get the Scions to that new school.  All while some how using leverage over the Senator and the Scions (Jacey primarily since we know that he holds a torch and a grudge against her still)

Then there’s Jacey – we know that she’s our masterful leading lady, and she’s thrown herself into some interesting situations.  She manages to hide Summer, figure out a plan to get the Scions to safety and then when the tables turn on her again, she manages to somehow get off the island trying to find help from the other Progenitors, hoping that maybe they would be on her side.

So as you can imagine, there are three story strings going on here, where we are wondering how and when they will intercept.  What we know is that Mr Justin the butler truly isn’t what he seems, he’s had this other plot the entire time to get back at the Dr, and he’s given the opportunity of a lifetime.  He transfers into a Scion, and no one knows which one, which adds another layer of complexity to the story.  You don’t know when he’s going to strike and make things that much worse.

There’s a lot of military in this book – they are called in by the Senator, by the Dr, by everyone basically since the scions need to be kept a secret.  Jacey is going rogue in her attempt to figure out a way to keep her friends safe and get back one that was kidnapped.  There’s also a lot of death, losing some of our favorite characters when things go from bad to worse.  The world is an interesting place and we are only starting to understand what the initial motivation was that caused Dr Carlhagen to truly develop his God complex.

There are so many questions that have to be answered in the 4th book.  When and where are they all going to reunite and who’s going to survive?  The romance that we saw budding between Humphrey and Jacey – is that going to be something real? (personally, there was a comment in the story where Humphrey said that he loved her his whole life and that seemed random to me since i thought he hated her), and then there’s the triangle that now includes Wanda and Humphrey.  So all in all, there’s so much at stake here.  Is the world really as bad off as it sounds and will the Scions be able to help make things better or is all doomed anyway?  So on that note, i’m off to read the next book and see how it all ends up.  Have a great day!

Review: Child of Lies (The Scion Chronicles) by Eric Kent Edstrom

no-brainer

Title: Child of Lies
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 12/8/16
Length:   273 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #2

Overview

Sometimes living is the sacrifice one must make for love.

In this breathtaking second book of The Scion Chronicles, 17 year old Jacey vows to protect everyone at the Scion School from being overwritten. But when a VIP Progenitor arrives early to overwrite a 15 year old Scion, Jacey faces an impossible choice–risk everything to save her or to sacrifice her for the good of all.

Author Eric Kent Edstrom returns with his trademark thriller pacing, stunning twists, and surprising characters in this YA dystopian tale about cloning, mind transfer, and the power of loyalty.

My Thoughts

This incredibly dynamic story continues right where we left off, where we know that there was a transfer of minds and a lot of unrest and uncertainty at the school.  Jacey and Belle are still at odds, Dr Carlhagen is still trying to further is fortune and end game, and all of the Scions are at risk.

Throughout this second book in the series, we spend a lot of time wondering who’s who and who can be trusted.  This is where we see Jacey continue to come into her own, not just being a leader as we know she is already, but opening her eyes to what’s real in the world and then trying to figure out how to save those that she cares about and loves.  Humphrey, who we have learned is Dr Carlhagen’s scion proves to be made of stronger stuff, and he’s showing us that he does have a soul and a heart and that while he’s being forced to pretend to be someone he’s not, he is also working to keep his friends and ‘family’ alive.  From this, we also see that what seems like dislike towards Jacey has grown into something that’s much fonder and romantic.  (of course this makes Summer really angry because you’ll remember that she has a crush on him, but that will play out on it’s own).

Belle also plays a huge role in this 2nd installment.  We know that she’s in love with Vaughn and will believe that he’s who he says he is, even when everyone else says that he’s not.  She only wants to believe what she sees since that’s how her brain is wired.  What’s really sweet about how the author develops her though, is that we see that she goes from being incredibly stoic and selfish to being selfless in a way – with her story going in a path that we don’t truly expect.

Then there’s Mr Justin – the dr’s butler.  He’s always been a bit of a mystery – we don’t know what it is that motivates him, and i think that there’s more than just money and greed.  he’s certainly keeping his secrets, and we see bits of that coming through the story.  He’s secretive about information that he shares and people that he talks to, and we learn that he’s got his own plot to kidnap several Scions back to the mainland, but we dont’ know the end goal there.

So it’s a roller coaster of a story.  Jacey and Summer end up on the run out of the campus, and trying to survive while they are being hunted.  As we know, there’s no love between them, and getting Summer to stop being bratty and bullish is part of the challenge, but then Jacey also sees that Summer has a skill set that’s perfect for survival.  It’s impressive to see how quickly Summer’s character grows, since she’s also playing a pivotal role.  Her Proginator has come early to transfer into the new body as she is dying and everyone seems ok with letting that happen – except for Jacey.  So the clock is ticking on how to keep that from happening.

There are deaths, injuries, alliances and people returning from the dead.  All exciting and anxiety ridden.  What gets me the most is that the ending that we get here – the cliffhanger is that someone who’s found to be dead likely isn’t and now it’s trying to figure out where that person is and what’s going to happen now.  So…on that note, i’m going to track down book 3 and see what’s next for all these folks.  Enjoy!

Review: Daughter of Nothing (The Scion Chronicles #1) by Eric Kent Edstrom

no-brainer

Title: Daughter of Nothing
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 9/10/13
Length:   284 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #1

Overview

While the powerful seek immortality, the Scions struggle for survival.

Few people know that the Scion School exists. Tucked away on a private Caribbean island, the school hosts thirty-six exceptionally gifted students. They train every day to prepare themselves for an immense responsibility, to lead humankind back from the brink of extinction.

At least, that’s what they’ve been told.

Only one student—a seventeen year old named Jacey—suspects the truth. Driven by her undying loyalty to her friends, Jacey races to untangle the truth of who the Scions are . . . and what the headmaster truly means when he says they are bound for a great destiny.

My Thoughts

I’m a fan of dystopia and felt that i kind of needed to have something in the YA genre to start off my year.  I came across this series randomly and i think that there’s something interesting here.

Like the summary says, we find ourselves on an island where there’s nothing more than a school – made up of in essence a lower and an upper school – the upper made up of found ‘Nines’ 2 sets of girls and 2 boys.  Really what these are, are sets of 4 per age group where they are called Scions – and are trained in specific skills, be it math, science,  martial arts etc.  Each has been given a specific set of skills to learn and the AI on the campus won’t allow them to deviate.

When ‘Birthday’ comes around, we see that things are about to change.  Jacey our leading lady and her friend Vaughn go off to listen in on what happens to ‘Graduates’ since this class is the first.  Mind you, all 18 years of their lives, they have been taught that the world outside of the island is a wasteland.  There’s nothing left out there, and the Scions are being trained for greatness – to be the next leaders and to bring the world into it’s future.  So when the two of them listen in on a radio and realize that things aren’t what they seem, life as they knew it would never be the same.

From that moment on, we see the true colors of things come out.  Someone reports that Jacey and Vaughn were together, yet Vaughn is the only one who’s punished.  Instead, Jacey finds that Dr Carlhagen, the man behind it all has taken a liking to her and lavishes her with things, and refuses to punish her.  She tests those boundaries all while trying to find out the truth of things, now that Vaughn’s punishment has left him dying and she’s now paired up with Humphrey whom detests her.

The main bit of this story is really the same that we see in a lot of dystopia.  The younger generation has only been taught one POV on the world, and have been forced to believe it.  All it takes is for one person to question what’s real and what’s not for things to Unravel.  While Jacey isn’t everyone’s favorite since she’s blamed for a lot of what’s happening, she’s strong enough (or hopefully she is) to help guide people to see the light.

The light of course is that once you graduate, a transfer is done. See, the Scions are actually Clones, and their ‘proginators’ or ‘sponsors’ are wealthy folks (as it costs over $100MM to participate) who want to stay young forever.  So upon graduation, the elders transfer their minds into the bodies of the Scions and go on living life in a slightly altered way.  Of course though, Dr Carlhagen has his own motives, as he’s selfish and power hungry, and he not only wants to be young again, he wants Jacey – the clone of the love that he lost at the hands of another man, and decides to make that happen.

Where the story goes once bits on information come to light is interesting.  You can’t really figure out who’s to be trusted and who’s against them at moments, and i think that’s part of the charm.  You’re tricked into believing things that may be false, and the question is what will that cost?  who’s life will be lost.

So at the very end, we find ourselves in a place of uncertainty.  Mr Justin (Dr Carlhagen’s butler) sheds light on a few things that makes where Jacey wants to take things completely impossible.  So it’s up to her and everyone who knows to figure out how to change the world or at least the process at the campus on their own.  And for that, we can only wish them the best.  It’s an interesting idea, and i’m going to track down the next in the series since i’m intrigued.  Happy 2017 all!!

Review: Tarnished (Perfected #2) by Kate Jarvik Birch

no-brainer

Title: Tarnished
Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Publisher/Year: Entangled Publishing 12/1/15
Length:   217 Pages
Series:  Perfected #2

Overview

Freedom comes at a cost…

Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet-graceful, demure…and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least of all the other pets. But she’s trapped, unable to get back to Penn-the boy she loves-or help the girls who need her.

Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone she’s tried to save…

My Thoughts

This is an interesting series that we’ve got here – one that really gives you a reason to pause and wonder what else is going to go wrong.  We go on this journey of finding yoruself and your place in life and then trying to find happiness and love all at the same time.  The way that we see our main character Ella grow and change throughout gives you a reason to hope for the best.

Where we left off at the end of the first book is a place where Ella had managed to escape her home and was now in Canada, all alone since Penn was captured.  Lucky for her though, she’s found herself back with Missy – the pet from down the street back home who’s also out there in ‘freedom’ and it’s through this friendship of sorts that we take the rest of our journey in book 2.

The biggest bit to think about in this 2nd book is the fact that Ella wants not only to be free from being a pet – learn how to be her own person and live her life with her own choices, but to also have that life with Penn.  That’s the biggest problem since she knows that she has to go back for him and doesn’t know how to get there.  We go on a rather interesting and colorful journey to get there.

It’s interesting to see the role that Missy plays in this 2nd book  – i feel like there’s definitely much more to her than meets the eye, and we see that she’s far more knowledgeable and selfless than you’d ever imagine.  It’s only through Missy’s street savy and willingness to just do whatever she needs to that they both manage to survive escaping not only from Canada, but to Buffalo and then all the way to CT where they are finally able to meet up with Penn.

That’s where things get interesting of course though.  You see – they realize that there’s something dark and wrong going on with NuPet – the company that creates the pets and it’s their goal to blow the roof off what’s going on.  While they think they’ve succeeded in uncovering the underbelly of things, they realize that there is so much corruption behind it all that there’s no end to what’s being done.  It’s through misfortune, even through the good help of a reporter that we get one step forward and 2 steps back.  Ella’s being hunted, Missy offers herself up instead to give Ella a chance, and again, we find that we’re on the run with loves and friendships torn apart.

It’s sweet really – seeing that the undertone of this story is to prove to yourself that regardless of what people say, human is human and you’re able to make your choices for yourself.  you’re not to be told what to do or kept in a cage.  It’s a coming of age bit honestly, where we see Ella come into her own, and stand up to be a focal point all with the best of intentions.  I can only hope that there’s a book 3 that resolves it all and that we see that there’s a way for things to end up as they should.  I honestly don’t know how it would all play out since there’s corruption and money and government behind things, but i feel like in these types of stories, we see that there’s an emotional tug that some how makes the public take a stand and then everything works out.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Enjoy!

Review: Perfected (Perfected #1) by Kate Jarvik Birch

no-brainer

Title: Perfected
Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Publisher/Year: Entangled Publishing 7/1/14
Length:   197 Pages
Series:  Perfected #1

Overview

Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

My Thoughts

To be honest, I’m not even sure what i’m reading about here – or the point in time that we’re at.  There was a snippet that said ‘if you like Matched or Chemical Garden you’d like this’ and while i get where the similarities are being drawn, they are all quite different from one another and even from this series.

So as the summary here says, we’re living in an era where legislation has been passed to allow people to have pets in the form of girls.  These girls have been genetically engineered and grown and trained to be petite, beautiful and the perfect pet.  We meet Ella at the onset of this story – where she has completed her four years of training and is up for auction to be purchased as a pet.  In her mind, she’s fulfilling her duty and she’s excited to do so, but of course, what she’s been trained to expect is completely different than life itself.

She’s purchased by a congressman, the one in fact who’s passed the law, and living in his home is an interesting experience for her.  She’s rendered a bit uncomfortable by him given that he’s paying her attention in a way that’s not known, and his wife seems to hate her.  The children in the home are a different story and we see how that plays out.  In addition to that adjustment, it seems like the lessons that Ella was taught in terms of how to conduct herself, how to talk to the owners etc, is so far off from what life expects that she’s really out of her element.

Throughout this story what we have here is a tale of a girl learning to be herself, and understand what she is and what makes her happy when all she’s been taught to do is please others.  Ella really just wants to play the piano, and find happiness and love with others, but of course as a pet, one that some love and some abhor,

In learning more and more about Ella, we also get to be a bit closer to Ruby, the congressman’s daughter who really just wants a friend. she’s not the most popular little girl and having Ella is something that means a lot to her.  We also meet Penn, the son, and his relationship with his family is one that’s troublesome since he wants to do what makes him happy yet that’s contradictory to what his father wants.  With the introduction of Ella, things get to be even more complicated since they find that there’s a bond, something really special there that keeps drawing them together even though they both know that it’s a bad idea.

Where this story takes us from there is a quest for freedom, to be allowed to be happy doing whatever it is that you want, and to not have to fear every move that you make.  There’s reason for an escape attempt or two for Ella and others, and where we are left at the end of this first installment is seeing freedom almost granted for one and lost for another.  I think there’s so much more to come out of this series, so perhaps book 2 will give us that depth.  To be honest, i think that’s the biggest thing that i’m missing here – on the surface it’s a sweet book but i don’t know that we get too deep into any fragment of the story and those are often the best pieces.  So on that note – i hope you guys give it a try and enjoy!

Review: Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano

no-brainer

Title: Sever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster 12/31/13
Length:   400 Pages
Series:  The Chemical Garden #3

Overview

Time is running out for Rhine in the conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With time ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed, and she takes refuge in his dilapidated house. However, the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and on the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

My Thoughts

There’s so much going on in this series so far that you really don’t know what to expect.  I feel there are so many questions that it’s likely that we eon’t get a full resolution for all of the characters but i think that at least we know that Rhine is dead set on finding her brother and getting him to stop what he’s doing.  Will she get there in time though?

Throughout this final installment to the series, there are a few plot lines to follow.  First is the one where Rhine knows what Rowan’s doing and needs to get to him to understand why he is doing it, what their parents were trying to accomplish and hopefully have a better last few years since the hope for a cure is lost. Of course though, the fact that she’s under Vaugh’s watch again, likely she’ll never get free of him, we know that it’s going to be a roller coaster.  Add in Linden, Cecily and their baby, and well things are about to get exciting.

Linden surprises us all by becoming more helpful than we ever imagined.  He’s taken on quite a burden in this book since he’s got his family to protect however you can see that there are true emotions still there for Rhine as much as he wishes there weren’t. On top of that, he’s being told all of these things about his father that go against everything that he has been taught to believe, so it’s going to be a tough coming of age bit of him in this finale in the hopes that maybe he will do the right thing .

There are a few interesting things that happen in this book.  we see that a link is now shown between Rose, Madame and Linden/Vaughn.  We discover this while they are trying to escape to Charleston to find Rowan, and instead find themselves back at the carnival where all hell broke loose last book.  Here though, things are different since we learn that Madame and vaughn have a history that goes way way back, and Rose was Madame’s daughter – so it’s all a circle.  Vaughn clearly has been working to make a name for himself for so long that everything is intertwined.  If that weren’t enough, once they get away from the Carnival (they being Rhine and someone from the carnival), they find Rowan only to learn that Vaughn has his claws in him already too.

the turn that the story takes from there is a complete 180 from what we were led to believe.  There’s so much that as a reader i assumed was going to be proven incorrect, but the fact that our author takes us on a journey to dispell all that we were under the impression of with certain characters makes it that much more dynamic.  Where we end is not at all where i thought, we see more death than necessary and lose some of our favorite characters.  I don’t know if we get a happy ending here – we get an ending, but i think that it was not where i saw the story going throughout.  Sometimes that’s a good thing – reminds me of the ending of Divergent’s trilogy actually where it’s not happy – it’s just an end.  On that note, have a great first day of november!