Review: The Duke and I (Bridgerton #1) by Julia Quinn

Title: The Duke and I
Author:  Julia Quinn
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 4/28/15
Length:  464 Pages
Series: Bridgerton #1

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn comes the first novel in the beloved Regency-set world of her charming, powerful Bridgerton family, now a series created by Shonda Rhimes for Netflix.

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable…but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honestfor that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…

My Thoughts

I have to admit that the reason that I dove into this series is because I watched the season on Netflix and the show has me HOOKED. Not only are the characters amazing, the actors beyond attractive, but the hints of what’s happened and what’s to come is intense. We have a cross between Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girls all thrown into England in 1812. It’s a must read!

This first book of the series introduces us to the world of the Bridgertons, a family that’s well to do in society in England, and one that has a lot of children that need to be minded once they come of age. This first book focuses on Daphne, the eldest sister of the brood now that she’s of age to be married and her quest to find a husband. Daphne has been in society now for a year and has not secured a husband, partially because she’s got older brothers who want only the best for her and partially because most men for some reason only see her as a friend and not as a lover. She’s beautiful and she’s quick witted and intelligent – all things a man should want, but that’s not the norm back in those days.

Enter Duke of Hastings – Simon. A close friend of Anthony, Daphne’s oldest brother and a man who’s got a reputation that preceeds him. He’s only returned to London now that his father has passed away and he needs to settle loose ends. The challenge though is that Simon has made a vow to his father that he will never marry, that he will never have kids so that the family line dies with him because his father treated him so horribly when he was young.

Daphne’s quest for the perfect love match and Simon’s quest to stay out of the clutches of all society mammas and their daughters who need to be married off gives us the perfect scheme that has been developed. Simon and Daphne will pretend that they are in love, which in turn will make Daphne seem more attractive now that she’s got the attention of the most eligible man alive, and Simon will be free to live his life how he wants.

We all know that this will explode and not in a good or expected way. The way that this always plays out is that they will develop a great friendship and they will start to care for one another. They will become attracted to each other in a way that’s going to cause problems in their polite society. Someone’s heart will get broken, someone’s reputation will get destroyed and their future will be a roller coaster of misery and despair.

What’s nice about this story is that our author Julia Quinn has managed to lead us down all the right paths to see how this will play out from scene to scene, and at the same time be surprised by the new bit of information that we learn at every turn. There are so many dark secrets from Simon’s past that cloud how he sees every situation today that it’s no surprised that he’s damaged. AT the same time, we have come to know that Daphne is a woman who can handle her own, yet there are soooo sooo many things that are so naive and innocent about her that we also watch how that really hampers any chance of her finding a happiness that’s possible in this day and age.

We get a nice bit of closure to this story – not one that was expected but one that works for this series. There are stories that follow for the other siblings in the Bridgerton family, so it was nice to see how it was set up a bit in this first book although it does spoil things a bit for when the next season comes around on Netlix.

ARC Review: Complex by AD Enderly

Title: Complex
Author:  A.D. Enderly
Publisher/Year:  Luminary Media 12/01/2020
Length:  594 Pages

Overview

The sky rains red, the poor are forgotten, governments have failed, and corporations have grown into mini nation-states called Complexes, where people flock to receive the security, shelter, and purpose the outside world can’t provide. The only payment required, buried somewhere in the twenty-thousand-page Terms of Service, is their freedom.

Now just sign on the dotted line…

Orphaned after her father’s death, 18-year-old Val’s focus is to protect her younger sister Kat and heed her father’s final wishes: Never, ever join a Complex. Stay away from them, at all costs, he demands.

But staying away becomes impossible when Kat is abducted, sparking a hunt through a violent megacity primed for revolution, where Val eventually discovers her sister’s disappearance is just a smokescreen. Beneath it lies a motive darker than death and broader in scope than a few lives.

As Val and her allies uncover the truth, they’re confronted with a terrible choice – save Kat, or save humanity?

My Thoughts

It took me a little while to start reading this one and then it took me even longer to finish it but I think there’s some interesting stuff happening in this story. First off I’d like to thank the folks at NetGalley for getting me a copy early even though I didn’t quite get to read it as early as I’d have liked.

We’re thrown into a world of the future, where the construct of society is that people are living in levels and tiers, based on either a social score, or the decision to sign their lives away in a contract to a Complex or Medical organization called Novagenica. No one really understands what the end result of any decision will be but they know that the struggle of life is real and there’s only a hope of what can make things better.

This story is written in books, although I don’t know that the books really make any sense or difference. Instead though we also get chapters that are each through the eyes of a different character, one who has a unique circumstance or role in society and we watch how it all slowly converges as we get to the end of this one.

We know that there’s a group of people who want complete control.

we know that there’s a virus that’s being developed to limit the population or potentially restructure the population in a way that will create a better more thriving society.

There’s also an aspect of AI that we see come to a head in a way that we all fear, even in current day.

There are groups of people who’s stories are more intertwined throughout this book. We see Val and Kat who are sisters who don’t have the same view on life and that just smells like disaster coming. Kat’s kidnapped and it makes everyone realize what’s important. The quest to find Kat leads Val to Trevor who becomes not only an integral part of the story but a love interest.

Trevor leads them to an organization that has a connection to tech and a desire for more power and that in turns leads them to their doom.

Dramatic yes, but I think that’s what this story is setting us up for. The thought that when you’re power hungry, bad things happen. When you are selfish bad things happen, and when you allow tech to gain too much strength, bad things will happen.

What’s interesting about this story though is the way that it ends. There’s a scene and a conversation that one of the main characters has with a ‘pastor’ of sorts, someone who’s proposition in life is that the idea of tech leads only to bad things, well, in that convo, there’s something interesting that happens. There’s a shift, a change in reality, and then the last note in the story is the notion that there’s more to come – and that someone like this pastor is the one who can help enact the change……driven by AI.

So…I left a lot out because frankly, there’s so much going on in parallel paths in this story that i’m not sure which story line is the most important. I’m also not sure what the real plot or point of this story is either – there’s just a lot of paths that merge and separate, bringing things to a head and then blowing them up. All in all, i’d have to say that this wasn’t My favorite book, but I know that there are folks out there who will love it for the ideas of what the future can look like if we don’t take precautions now. Enjoy!

Review: Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Imagine Me
Author:  Tahareh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 3/31/20
Length:  260 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #6

Overview

Juliette Ferrars. Ella Sommers. Which is the truth and which is the lie?

Now that Ella knows who Juliette is and what she was created for, things have only become more complicated. As she struggles to understand the past that haunts her and looks to a future more uncertain than ever, the lines between right and wrong—between Ella and Juliette—blur. And with old enemies looming, her destiny may not be her own to control.

The day of reckoning for the Reestablishment is coming. But she may not get to choose what side she fights on.

My Thoughts

You know, it’s kind of weird thinking that we’ve come to the end of this series – all signs point to that being the case, although i’m sure there are spin-offs that we could get just like we had so much with Kenji, but that’s to be determined i guess. Anyhow, what i thought was a trilogy all those years ago has extended through so many additional installments and the journey that we’ve gone on with these characters has been so intense and complex that as a reader, i’ve had no choice but to dive in head first and see what happens next.

In this sixth book, we are with all of our loved characters, but in a form that’s not the same as previous books. We know that Anderson has a need for Ella/Juliette as a new host to Emmaline since she’s in a body that’s not strong enough for her and is dying, and the goal was always to put her into Ella’s body. Ella however is stronger than anyone ever expected, so even with the attempts for Emmeline to take over her body as a new host, we see a continued need to fight back. We come into this story with Ella in a destructive outburst all caused by her sister transferring powers to her and warner trying his best to keep her alive. While that’s happening, we see Kenji and Nazeerah explode at each other because of the confusion of their feelings for one another as well as their completely opposite views on everything.

If that’s a foreshadow for what we will see in this story – then it’s spot on. The journey that we go on in this final installment is wrought with fear, death, destruction, a loss of hope and a confusion on who is truly on what side.

We know that some of the Supreme kids have been taken hostage by Anderson and the parents, and the hope is that they can be retrieved safely, assuming that they are on the right side of things. At the same time there’s the need to protect the Sanctuary and all the kids that we know are on the right side of the right. All the while, trying to piece together what the future looks like. Warner and Ella were ina. great place, with an accepted proposal, and yet that’s torn from them quickly.

The way that this story is written, we spend a lot of time back in Oceania where Anderson has Ella and they have managed to begin the transfer, turning her into a devoted super soldier who only listens to what he demands of her. Knowing how strong Ella is though, we know that she’s not likely to go down without a fight and stop questioning things, and that’s exactly what happens. She’s confused to how she feels about Anderson now, she’s hearing voices in her head that she can’t quite put her finger on the origin, and she continues to have her own thoughts about things which contradicts all that she was expected to be able to do and yet completely on par with the Ella that we know.

We find ourselves at a cross road where Castle has to find a purpose in this new world, where Warner has to go find Ella since he’s not complete without her, where Kenji can’t let his best friend wither and die, where James is now without Adam and where Adam betrayed everyone. It’s a mess that’s not uncommon compared to what we’ve seen in prior books but still one that is far more complex than we’ve seen as well.

The questions that we’re forced to ask is whether there’s hope, whether there’s any chance that someone who was on the wrong side could be on the right side and help. Whether there’s any chance that the life and relationships that we’ve been fighting for over all these books can be something left standing at the end. I know that i’m not alone in praying for a happy ending, but i think that the ending that we get is not going to be the one that anyone was expecting. There’s no way for everyone to turn out the right side up and it’ll have to be some semblance of that to get us through this series. I don’t know how our amazing author does it, but she’s managed to give us one of the most dynamic stories of what the world could be all while giving us something to hold onto for the sake of love and friendship. So on that note, i’m sad to potentially be done with this series but i think you guys need to read it all….that is if you haven’t already. Enjoy!

Review: Strange New World (Brave New Girl #2) by Rachel Vincent

Title: Strange New Girl
Author:  Rachel Vincent
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 5/8/18
Length:  272 Pages
Series:  Brave New Girl #2

Overview

Dahlia 16’s life is a lie. The city of Lakeview isn’t a utopia that raises individuals for the greater good; it is a clone farm that mass-produces servants for the elite. And because Dahlia breaks the rules, her sisters–the 4,999 girls who share her face–are destroyed. She and Trigger 17, the soldier who risked his life for hers, go on the run, escaping into the wild outside the city walls. But it turns out Dahlia has one remaining identical, one who shouldn’t even exist.

Waverly Whitmore is teenage royalty, a media sensation with millions of fans who broadcasts her every move–including every detail of her wedding planning, leading up to the day she marries Hennessy Chapman. Waverly lives a perfect life built on the labors of clones like Dahlia. She has no idea that she too is a clone . . . until she comes face to face with Dahlia.

One deadly secret. Two genetic sisters. And a world that isn’t big enough for both of them.

My Thoughts

This story continues as we see what it’s like living outside Lakeview and trying to keep things a secret. Waverly is quite possible the most noticeable face out there and ironically the Administrator doesn’t even know what’s happened – meaning that Waverly has 5000 identicals. This story takes us from seeing Dahlia and Trigger try to escape Lakeview, to getting ‘discovered’ by Waverly’s friends as a means to get out of Lakeview (without even knowing who Waverly is mind you) and then figuring out how everyone can move forward once everything comes to a head.

We left off book 1 seeing the car pull up to the Witmores house and seeing Waverly in shock, her mother Lorna freak out, and Hennesy and the others really confused. From there, we see eyes become open, and we get to see things unravel and yet get pulled together all at the same time.

Lorna is forced to explain what she went through with her husband years ago to have a child, giving Waverly’s father a shock of a lifetime since the decision wasn’t his to go the route they did. We watch Waverly come to terms with the notion that she’s a clone and as a result, she’s not able to have children, and she has an expiration date. We see her also being forced to take a back seat to her wedding etc since there were events that have taken place that force Dahlia into the role of lead.

There’s also the undertone that continues here of young love – Trigger and Dahlia have a story line of their own that we want to root for, that we want to see flourish since they are a couple that’s fighting the odds to be together. They still don’t know what the future holds for them, but what they feel for each other is real. Just what Hennessey and Waverly have.

Then there’s the political bit of the story. Knowing that the Administrator has recalled all of Dahlia’s genome, 4,999 girls to be euthanized, yet we learn that the intention isn’t that at all. It’s for the girls to be sold at a discount price now since killing them would mean a significant loss of revenue. There’s a battle between what Waverly’s mom means to do with them and what Lakeview will do and we have to hope for the best since we know that neither can be trusted.

At the same time, we see Waverly truly come to terms with what she is, and what that means for her once the truth is out. She’s not the original, so she essentially is a clone with no rights, and that means that whatever she wants to do isn’t possible. She also has her eyes opened by the other clones in her family’s employ to the notion that clones are fully capable of free thought, of being unique and of being normal, and it’s a quest that she takes on to help prove her point. When Dahlia inadvertently forces her hand to make a grand statement that they want to make clones people, well the crap hits the fan yet again.

From this point on it’s a rollercoaster. There’s a plan crafted to make everyone in the world know the truth about clones and that they are fully capable of being the same as everyone else. there’s the education to the folks in Lakeview that what they’ve been told their whole life is very far from reality and that they should have a chance at something more.

Trigger, Dahlia, Hennessey and Waverly take it upon themselves to try to change the world, and that’s not an easy pill to swallow. There’s going to be destruction. There’s a high chance at failure, and we know that there’s no way for a complete happy ending. At least we should hope for the best, and if you read this second book of the series, you’ll get to watch how it plays out. Enjoy!

Review: Brave New Girl (Brave New Girl #1) by Rachel Vincent

Title: Brave New Girl
Author:  Rachel Vincent
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 5/9/17
Length:  272 Pages
Series:  Brave New Girl #1

Overview

In a world where everyone is the same, one girl is the unthinkable: unique. A high-stakes fast-paced series launch from New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent.

Dahlia 16 sees her face in every crowd. She’s nothing special—just one of five thousand girls created from a single genome to work for the greater good of the city.

Meeting Trigger 17 changes everything. He thinks she’s interesting. Beautiful. Unique. Which means he must be flawed. When Dahlia can’t stop thinking about him she realizes she’s flawed, too.

But what if Trigger is right? What if Dahlia is different? But if she’s flawed, then so are all her identicals. And any genome found to be flawed will be destroyed, ONE BY ONE BY ONE. . . .

My Thoughts

I was looking for something different to read and I have to say that t here are times w hen good cover are really manage to get me sucked in. This cover though seems to remind me of something else that I’ve read over the years, I’m just not able to put my finger on what exactly yet.

Anyhow, just like the summary tells us, we are in a time when people are manufactured based on genomes, with the intention to make the best of the best for an entire generation of sorts. Essentially 5,000 girls and 5,000 boys in each year, created for a specific purpose. No one knows exactly what, but that’s part of the intrigue.

we follow Dahlia 16 from the time she was Dahlia 6 i think until now, when she’s grown, she’s showing traits of being the best in her age group and she’s got pride for that – she’s competitive and proud. Yet, that’s a problem since the genomes are developed so that there’s no competition, that no one feels better than anyone else. When she’s recognized for her gardening ability, the way that she’s able to grow better fruits and vegetables faster and of better quality than almost anyone else. That’s when things go in a different direction for her. She’s called to the management bureau and there she’s given the proposition of being an instructor, which is an interesting proposition for her. It means that she wont’ go into the work force like her identicals, but it’s a prestige role. On her way out of the office though, if she felt that her life hadn’t changed enough, she gets stuck in an elevator with a cadet. Trigger17 and that is what throws her path completely off.

Trigger17 is the best in his cadet class, and that’s allowed since Defense personnel are supposed to have competition and pride. When there’s an immediate attraction between the two, and we know that Dahlia’s not supposed to talk to anyone, we can only imagine what is going to happen next.

The balance of the story is intense. We watch how these two can’t stay away from one another, but they know that it’s too dangerous to be together. They also find out more about Dahlia’s history and make-up which completely changes everything that we knew. We’re left on such a cliff hanger of sorts seeing how things have evolved and the trouble that’s occurred. There are mass killings, hope is lost, fugitives, an entirely unknown society and town. Everything that people knew from Lakeview their town proves to be something completely different.

I’m excited to see where this story goes since we’re now in a completely different place both physically and mentally than where we started and this means that there’s an opportunity to see these teens grow and learn things for themselves. We don’t know who we can trust and who’s going to go against us. There are so many questions and so few answers to this point, but the notion of the wild, freedom, and teen romance is enough to keep this story going at full speed. Enjoy!

Review: The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2) by Amy Engel

TitleThe Revolution of Ivy
Author:  Amy Engel
Publisher/Year:  Entangled Publishing 11/03/16
Length:  202 Pages
Series:  The Book of Ivy #2

Overview

Beyond the fence. I am still alive. Barely.

My name is Ivy Westfall. I am sixteen years old and a traitor. Three months ago, I was forced to marry the president’s son, Bishop Lattimer—as all daughters of the losing side of the war are sold off in marriage to the sons of the winners. But I was different. I had a mission-to kill Bishop.

Instead, I fell in love with him.

Now I am an outcast, left to survive the brutal savagery of the lands outside of civilization. Yet even out here, there is hope. There is life beyond the fence. But I can’t outrun my past. For my actions have set off a treasonous chain of events in Westfall that will change all of our fates—especially Bishop’s.

And this time, it is not enough to just survive…

My Thoughts

The path that this story has taken is a sad but expected one. If you recall from the first book, we are living at a time where nuclear war has ‘destroyed’ America, likely the planet, and there are only small groups of people assumed to be living in communities spread out all over the place. We are in Westfall, somewhere i’d guess in the middle of the country, a town that was established and founded by the Westfall family but where leadership and governance is by the Lattimers. In the first book, Ivy was forced to marry Bishop, a Westfall marrying a Lattimer, but what no one expected and understood is that Ivy and Bishop are not at all like their families, so what society hoped would happen is the polar opposite.

We saw the relationship develop and solidify between Bishop and Ivy in the first book, however there was the underlying threat that we were aware of, that Ivy’s sister and father had this master plan to kill Bishop, then his father and then to take control of the city. Ivy had always followed what she was told because she didn’t know better, secrets were kept from her that she didn’t even know existed, and when she’s with Bishop and her eyes are opened up, she quickly realizes that life is very different and she’s been given the gift of freedom and ability to see what’s real on her own.

Along with this though comes the issue that she’s been tasked to kill Bishop and she’s some how fallen in love with him. So to save him, at the end of the first book, we see her sacrifice herself which ultimately turned into her being put out of the community, to the other side of the fence, with the intent for her to die. Ivy however will not die.

The journey in this second book is one of self discovery, seeing through Ivy’s eyes what it takes to survive, to become your own person and to live by making your own opinions and thoughts, not living by what others tell you. Trust and Loyalty are the only things that matter outside the fence and that’s something that’s hard for her.

On her quest to freedom, she of course almost dies, injuries from her release, the return of a man who was put out for raping a young girl chooses to attack Ivy as well, and she’s left for dead. When she’s discovered by Caleb and Ash, two people who’ve lived their whole life outside the fence, we see the story start to turn, and we have hope. She’s able to find friends, shelter, food, and family. That’s something that she thought she had with Bishop but that’s a life that’s gone. Or is it?

I really enjoy how our author paces this story – there’s so much growth and turmoil that happens that we get to see how that develops and then when the dust starts to settle, new challenges arise. The biggest of course is the return of Bishop. We know how he felt about Ivy, and we know that he didn’t truly believe that she was going to kill him, so it’s no surprise that he turns up, but the question becomes what will that mean for everyone.

Why is he outside the fence? What did he do and what does that mean? Will he and Ivy be the same since we know that they have both changed, and we know that Ivy has put up walls against him. What does all this mean for Westfall, and of course what’s going on with Ivy’s sister and Father?

All of these are questions that we beg to have answered in this story, and of course they all are. I think that the way this story resolves itself is realistic yet a bit quick. but i think that’s what it calls for. I can tell you that not everyone that we have read and endeared ourselves to survives, and that’s ok since that’s life. But i can tell you that story lines are tied up and we see what the present looks like. I’m sad this is a 2 book series v. a trilogy so now i have to find a new story to dive into. Enjoy!

Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

TitleThe Book of Ivy
Author:  Amy Engel
Publisher/Year:  Entangled Publishing 11/11/14
Length:  227 Pages
Series:  The Book of Ivy #1

Overview

What would you kill for?

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Thoughts

I’m a fan of this genre, looking into the future when we know that man kind will wipe out society as we know it, and when things return back to what it was like before technology, with different rules in place to keep peace, it makes you realize that maybe we’re all going to be lost and up a creek without a paddle if that day ever comes.

So we start this story in a point that’s roughly 10 years into the future from where we are now, which is kind of scary. Nuclear war has wiped out much of America, and there are so few people left that we know of because of what happened, and that means that there are only a few left to live in a town that was itself once divided.

There was war in this town to determine how it would be run, some were for democracy and some were for one ruler who was president and set the laws. That side one, and what it means is that there are families who draw a line in life. As a result of this divide, there’s a tradition that every year olds marry someone from the other side in the hopes that war will be avoided since it means that everyone would be warring with their loved ones, and there’s hope that marrying people off at a young age will allow for a higher chance to have more children who are healthy and can revive the country.

The president’s son has managed to delay his marriage because he’s the President’s son, but as such, he has to marry the daughter of the founder of the losing side. The irony here is that the Westfalls, the losing side, have a daughter that’s the same age as Bishop, but he delays his marriage to wed the younger daughter. As we all know, it’s always the younger daughter that’s been the spare in life, and that means that her value is unexpected, undervalued, and well, everyone thinks she’s less worthy. Everyone except for Bishop. We learn his motivation later in the story and it gives you hope.

Ivy is our leading lady, sixteen and forced to marry a man she doesn’t know, whom she hates because of who he is and what his family has done to hers, and at the same time, there are pieces of this tradition that give her freedom. That get her away from what her father and sister have been forcing her into, and gives her the opportunity to grow her own wings.

Bishop is the son of the President, a boy that everyone looks to as the future of society, and a boy who has different feelings on how things should be than his father, but he’s biding his time so that he’s able to make changes.

The development of their relationship is on par with what we see in other stories in this genre. Bishop isn’t what we expected and as such, he gives Ivy time to adjust, gives her a chance to get comfortable with him, to let some type of relationship grow and develop and hopefully make it into a marriage that’s more than in just name only.

The challenge here though is that Ivy’s family has revenge in their minds. They want to take power back from Bishop’s family and the only way to do that is for Ivy to kill Bishop and then for her father and sister to kill the President and take power over. The journey that we go on here is one where we hope there’s a way to change minds, or to avoid doing things that will go too far, but we also know that will never happen.

There are similarities of this story and several others though where there’s a fence that surrounds their community. The fence is the edge of civilization, and outside of that is deemed unsafe, uninhabitable and that’s where they put people out who break laws. From what we’ve seen in other stories, there’s far more out there than anyone knows, and it’s far more civilized, but that’s not for book 1 i don’t think.

What we worry about here though are the hopes and dreams that both Ivy and Bishop share. They both crave to know what’s out there, to see the ocean and to be free. That means that some how we know that they will go outside the fence but we don’t know the circumstances and if they will succeed, survive etc. What we do know though is that this story lets us off at the fence. One on one side and one on another, with limited hope of resolution or success. Too much is at stake for anyone to go against beliefs, but too much is at stake to sit and do nothing.

So on that note, i can’t wait to get into the second book here since i’m really curious how things will turn out. People are planting ideas, people are planting lies, and those who are in power are abusing it for their own worth. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Enjoy!

Review: Reveal Me (Shatter Me #5.5) by Tahereh Mafi

TitleReveal Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 10/8/19
Length:  68 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #5.5

Overview

This fourth companion novella to Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series is narrated by fan favorite character Kenji Kishimoto!

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Thoughts

The summary here doesn’t do anything for the story – you really have no idea what it is that we’re going to walk into, especially knowing that we were left with some INSANE revelations in the last book. Whatever it was that they thought they knew about each other, about the Resistance, about what it was that Anderson had tried to do, well the story is far more complex. Adam and James are pawns just like Ella and Emmaline are. Warner is caught in the middle again as are everyone else and it’s a mess.

As you’ll remember, they had safely made it across the country to Castle’s daughters complex. A place that no one knew existed because no one knew she existed and it’s a sanctuary to recoup and figure out what the next move will be. Told from Kenji’s point of view, we see how this will play out.

Remember that he was drugged and kidnapped by Nazeera (who could still be playing both sides) and then his plane is shot down by the Resistance to get him to safety. All part of a plan that he wasn’t informed about.

The biggest thing here is that you know that Kenji is driven by emotions and that’s part of his powers. He’s able to put others at ease, but what happens too is that he’s doing that by not letting his emotions take hold of him. We haven’t seen what would happen if he can’t control that and there are moments in this novella that we come close.

Because Kenji is so invested in his friendships, in his relationships, he’s the one that takes the latest rounds of information the hardest. Adam and James didn’t come with them from Omega Point and that can’t bode well for their futures because we learned who their father is and that makes things dicier. Kenji’s emotions bottle up and then explode when he learns of their fate and that takes the story on a fast turn of anger, fear and distrust.

Add to that the feelings that he had for Nazeera at one point, and the fact that he doesn’t know what her motivations are. This turns quickly into a love / hate relationship and while i would love nothing more than to see them together, we don’t yet know what’s possible.

When things seem like they can’t get worse – they’re in hiding from Anderson (shocker – he’s not dead), Adam and James are in limbo. No one knows who to trust, what their futures will hold and who’s going to be able to save them. Juilliete and Warner are finally in a good place but will that last? Will anyone find happiness and what will the world look like when this all comes to a head.

The last scene is an intense one brought to us via screams from the sanctuary, the world changing physical structure and form, the sun becoming something that no one understands, and Julliette on her knees screaming her sisters name. All of this begging for questions to be asked on what’s to come next, and now we have to wait a few months to see how this plays out. I don’t know if i can be patient but i guess i have no choice. Enjoy!

Review: Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

TitleRebel
Author:  Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Roaring Book Press 10/1/19
Length:  332 Pages
Series:  Legend #4

Overview

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe—even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . .

My Thoughts

OH.MY.GOODNESS. Thank goodness we got to re-enter the story here with Day and June because they had major unfinished business in the epilogue of book 3 and there was no way that fans were going to be ok with that ending. Knowing that our amazing author Ms Lu was busy writing another story (which was also amazing), I was patient and that patience paid off.

We enter this story about ten years in the future. Day (Daniel) and his brother Eden are living in Ross City in Antarctica. The most advanced new country in the world – a society based on Virtual Reality, a Level system to keep you in classes, and as a result, a society that’s both thriving and failing at the same time. If we learned anything from the Republic, we know that there will be unrest and that will result in the wrong people coming into power and that will result in a catastrophe.

That wrong person is our main villian here – Dominic Hann – the man who rules the Undercity – the portion of Ross City that’s made up of people who don’t have levels high enough to survive. They can’t get medication, they can’t get food and shelter and they can’t aspire to be anything more.

The story we have here is one told in alternating chapters between Daniel and Eden. They are brothers who at the core love each other, but who have such different views on life because of their experiences in the past. Daniel wants nothing more than to protect Eden, and Eden wants to live his life. It’s that ‘living’ that gets them into trouble. Eden is noticed by Dominic while in the Under City and that means that he’s on a radar for skills. Skills that we were seeing in the previous books – his innate knowledge of tech and computers and his ability to make things that others can’t. That’s something that he thrives in here in Antarctica and he’s actually scored an internship back in the Republic because of what he can do. The challenge though is that his interaction with Dominic means that nothing will come to pass as it should.

Daniel on the other hand is now part of AIS which is a government agency. Like the FBI or CIA. he’s there to keep order, to hunt criminals and to protect the president. That’s one thing that he has in common with June as she’s in the Republic to protect Anden still. He is hunting Hann and when his brother gets mixed up in that gang, things get dicey.

Now back to June. The last we saw of her and Daniel was back in the epilogue of the last story. Daniel’s memory had been wiped because of illness and intervention and he didn’t have any sense of what June was to him anymore. Devastating!!! June knew that was a likely occurrence when she agreed to help him get treated, meaning that sh was going to sacrifice her love and future, which inevitably they both did. The great thing about their love story though is that even without the clear memories, Daniel still knew that June was special and this fourth installment lets us see how that plays out.

So you can imagine the excitement that we have in this story. We have the Utopia society come crumbling down because of interactions with the under city and Dominic Hann. (thank you Eden for being such a genius) and we have the potential to see romance rekindled. Add to that breaking laws, fleeing to the Republic and being back as square one where it all began. Watching governments struggle and society crumble. Far too many people die in this story and far too many truths are found to be lies.

But on the flip side, we see new relationships form, new alliances taking shape, we see the future for what it can be and that’s something that’s amazing. This is the closure and finale that this story truly needed and i’m THRILLED that Ms Lu finally got to finish it. Enjoy!

Review: A Perfect Lie by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleA Perfect Lie
Author:  Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 5/14/19
Length:  250 Pages

Overview

Secrets. Lies. A man. There’s always a man.  And there’s always a truth to be told. 

I’m Hailey Anne Monroe. I’m twenty-eight years old. An artist, who found her muse on the canvas because I wasn’t allowed to have friends or even keep a journal. And yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m that Hailey Anne Monroe, daughter to Thomas Frank Monroe, the man who was a half-percentage point from becoming President of the United States. If you were able to ask him, he’d probably tell you that I was the half point. But you can’t ask him, and he can’t tell you. He’s dead. They’re all dead and now I can speak.

My Thoughts

i’m a huge fan of our author – Ms Lisa Renee Jones, and what we have here is a story unlike all the others that we’ve read. Completely detached from the other series and characters that we’ve spent time with over the years. And a style and plot that’s new and fresh. It’s a murder mystery of sorts – but also a story about relationships and trust.

Our main character Hailey is a girl who’s, shall we say, messed up? She’s been raised in a political family with her father setting his sights on being President. That meant that Hailey always had to be the perfect daughter and that comes at a price. One she learns in High School when she goes to a party she shouldn’t have, with a girl (Danielle) that maybe she shouldn’t be friends with, drank something she shouldn’t have, blacked out and woke up somewhere strange, all resulting in a car accident and her mother’s death.

That set the tone for her relationship with her father from then on, and it was not a good one. She was the one he blamed for the death – had she not gone to the party and been out, her mother never would have gone to pick her up and never would have died. So Hailey is cast aside for the new stepfamily, but paraded out when press needs to see the full family.

That takes us to present day when her father is running for office, and her friend Danielle again tries to remind her that she’s a young woman who’s allowed to let loose. So again, this time with her boyfriend, she goes to an exclusive bar that she shouldn’t have, with people she shouldn’t have, and has a drink she shouldn’t have at the nudge of a new man that gives her sparks (which she shouldn’t feel) and guess what? She blacks out and someone else dies.

No one knows who the killer is (or do they) and no one knows the circumstances (or do they) and there’s a rush to get Hailey out of the line of fire since there’s concern that she’s the direction the finger will be pointed.

The way that this story is written is through Hailey’s eyes. Past, Present and Really Present. It’s interesting because i suppose parts are supposed to make us think more about things. Think more about what happened, who said what, what the motivations were, but at times it’s just distracting.

After this second death, Hailey’s father sends her to Denver to get off grid, and this is where things continue to get interesting. She’s given a new ID so that she can live her life, be the person that she wanted to be, however she quickly acknowledges that her father is watching her via FBI and others. and that everything is a lie or set up.

Colorado is where we meet Logan, an attorney (GASP) that becomes either a friend, foe or love interest. You need to read each chapter to determine what role he fills at what point. We also meet Michelle who’s a business owner and the woman who gives Hailey a job as an art instructor so that she can feed her passion. Michelle seems to be above board, but is anyone really? There’s also Jake, an FBI agent that Hailey met when she went back to the bar where Danielle died and tried to get intel. We can’t get a read on him, and i think that’s deliberate. I can’t wait to see which side he’s on, who’s paying him and what that means for Hailey and the story itself.

There are also several supporting characters that play key roles. Megan and Ashley who work at the coffee house / art / bookstore owned by Michelle where Hailey works. There’s also the FBI agent that Hailey’s father hired to ‘guard’ Hailey and while he’s on payroll, you want to still believe he’s a nice guy.

Suffice it to say, it’s a murder mystery for sure but still a story about trust and love. Many more people will die, and more blackouts will occur and we’re left to wonder who’s behind it all. Who is safe in this story and who will be standing at the end. And will they be standing behind bars. I think the way this story ended was partially how i expected but partially not. That’s a good story then right? Enjoy!