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Book Review: The Testing

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

It’s high time that i actually post a review don’t you think? So to get me back in the groove, here’s my review of a (slightly) older book. The third book in this series, Graduation Day, will be coming out later this month on June 17th, so it’s not the newest YA book out, but it’s one that has been in my ever-growing to read pile for a while. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Testing.

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Book: The Testing

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Genre: YA fiction, dystopia

Series: Yes. This is the first in the Testing series. The second book is already out and titled Independent Study

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

I adore dystopia novels, so I pretty much devour any and all that I hear about. However, this book I was a little iffy about, because I heard it closely resembled The Hunger GamesAnd while that series isn’t my favorite book series, or even favorite dystopia, it’s still one that I’ve read and like, not to mention being very well known. Because of that, I really didn’t want to read a copy cat of it. And The Testing wasn’t (Yay!). Yes, kids fight each other and sometimes kill each other. Yes, the government is messed up, and yes there is a little romance (which isn’t the main focus thank you very much). But, that’s really where the similarities end. It’s not a true copy cat and it has its own original concepts that keep it fresh.

The Testing told from the perspective of Cia Vale, a sixteen year old girl, who is about to enter into adulthood. The world was completely devastated by the Seven Stages War, leaving most of it as nothing but a charred wasteland. Because of that, only a select few high school graduates, the cream of the crop as it is, are chosen to participate in The Testing. The results of this determine each participants merit in regards to becoming a university student as well as future job and leadership eligibility.

Being chosen to participate in The Testing is a huge honor. However, strange circumstances surround it. For instance, not everyone returns from it and no one ever really talks about it or even remembers what occurred during the Testing.  The Testing isn’t everything it’s portrayed to be. This becomes evident when Cia’s father, a past participant, tells her to trust no one.

Cia doesn’t take that advice to heart though. She decides to trust and form an alliance of sort with Tomas, a childhood friend who becomes something of a love interest for her during the book. Together, along with a few other participants, they try to survive The Testing that’s rife with deadly tests, betrayal, and participants willing to do anything to become one of the 20 that will pass it, including poisoning and even killing  the others.

That’s where I’ll leave you in regards to the book description. I don’t want to ruin the story be giving too much away because the book has some “What the f***” moments that are truly great and definitely make the book in my opinion.  So, with that said (or written as it would be in this case), time to move on to my thoughts on the book itself.

The book was an easy read. It’s not as dark as it could be considering what occurs in it (or maybe I’m just jaded to the darkness in it). I’m not quite sure if I like that it’s not as dark as it could have been.

The setting for the book was pretty awesome. You get this awesome mixture of high tech and rural/small town community. This juxtaposition of two widely different aspects of life really helps to hone in on the fact that the world as we know it has ended, and it’s slowly being rebuilt using both the old and  the new.

The characters themselves were okay. I think they fell a little flat, but I think that over the course of the two next books, we’ll really see them develop.

The plot of the book is mainly to survive and to really trust no one in this messed up, every man for himself kind of world. As I mentioned briefly before, their is some romance. But it isn’t the main focus. And it’s not added in as an afterthought or as an easy way to get readers. It’s actually nicely done, if a little unrealistic (but then again when isn’t it in regards to YA?).

Overall, I liked this book. It was an interesting read that kept my attention the whole way through. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the second book, and I would recommend this series to my friends. So with that, what were your thoughts on the book? I’d love to hear some other opinions.


Photo Credit –> Cover Picture

 

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Book Review: The Darkest Minds

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

I am extremely sorry that I haven’t posted anything in what seems like forever. Instead of reading my ever-increasing “To Read” pile (I cannot resist visiting the book section in whatever store I go to – even if it’s just groceries), I have been catching up on much-needed sleep, doing neglected house chores, gaming (a lot), and trying to catch up on all my TV shows (I still have 11 episodes of Supernatural to watch). But that ends now. So without further blathering on about why I haven’t posted, here is my review of The Darkest Minds.

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Book: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA fiction, dystopia, sci-fi

Series: Yes, this is the first book in the series. The second one, titled Never Fade is scheduled to be published on October 15th of this year.

My Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

 

 

So as I’ve told you before, I absolutely adore dystopia novels, and this one did not disappoint. The Darkest Minds is told from the perspective of Ruby, a sixteen year old girl who has been in the concentration camp or, as the US government refers to it, a”rehabilitation” camp, Thurmond, for 6 years now. She was put here because, she, like other children in this camp, survived Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurdegeneration, or IAAN for short. This disease killed almost all of the children within the US once they hit puberty, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. The majority of children who had it died, those that survived though developed certain abilities.

The abilities were classified by color. Greens have increased brain power and are seriously smart (computer smart). Blues are telekinetic (they can move things with their mind). Yellows seem to have some control over electricity or electronics. Oranges can influence others to think or feel however they want. Lastly, Reds have pyro-kinesis (the ability to create and control fire).

Because the government feared the children with these abilities they are put into camps where the are made to work and are punished for talking to others, looking at the guards or each other in the eye, and using their abilities either accidentally or on purpose. Originally the camps also had rehabilitation practices to try to get rid of these abilities (including shock therapy) but this didn’t work so now the camps are just holding cells for the kids.

In the meantime, the US has gone to hell (excuse my language).The president has pretty much made himself a dictator, and the country has no money, so there are empty housing developments, tent cities everywhere, and rampant crime since the government can’t afford to pay the police.

So now that you know the backdrop, let’s move onto the plot. Ruby, classified as a green (but who’s really an orange) escapes Thurmond, and later a radical group, ending up with a group of kids which include Zu, Chubs, and Liam. Each of them also has powers. Together they try to discover East River, a camp that is believed to a safe haven for those like themselves.

Okay, so now that the description is out of the way, onto my thoughts on the book. I really liked this book. It’s a lot darker than the YA dystopia books I read (concentration camps for kids anyone?) and I actually like that. The description of Thurmond and what the kids went through there was really well written and thought out. I also liked the road trip portion of the book. It wasn’t all rush-rush-rush here. Instead, it was as if three teenagers and a younger kid were actually on the road, trying to find their way instead of being omnipotent and knew exactly what to do and how to get there.

The characters were okay, the plot and writing style are more the cause of the high rating though. Chubs (the funny sidekick/best friend), Zu (the cute but spunky younger mute girl), and Ruby seemed to have a lot more depth than Liam, but he’s still okay (and not your typical bad boy main guy which made him more interesting in my opinion). The dialog between the characters was funny as all get out and had me laughing out loud at some points (always I plus in my book). And finally, the romance (you had to know there was one). For most of the book, there actually isn’t much of a romance between Ruby and Liam. The plot focuses more on surviving and getting to East River. Towards the end though, the romance becomes more prominent. I actually like this. I enjoy it when the focus is on the plot, and the characters’ romance comes second (a isn’t love/lust at first sight).

Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and I can’t want until the second one comes out this fall. I definitely recommend you read it, but be warned there is a twist/cliff-hanger at the end!

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Photo Credit –> Cover Picture


Book Review: The Boy Recession

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

Time for another review. Don’t worry though, tomorrow’s post won’t be another review. I’m thinking that it’s time to do another post on up-coming releases, so that’s what’s on the agenda.

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Book: The Boy Recession

Author: Flynn Meaney

Genre: YA fiction

Series: No

My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Boy Recession takes place in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, where the local high school is going through what the girl’s have termed, a “boy recession.” The school, small as it originally was, has lost about 90% of their popular/jock guys. The reason behind this are major budget cuts, that resulted in a pay-cut and a resulting transfer for their football coach as well as cancelling band. The boy, deciding that they would be better off (scholarship-wise) decided to follow the coach or transfer to prep school. This left the high school girls with only the misfit/reject guys that they wouldn’t give the time of day to before.

These remaining guys are now being seriously pursued by the girls. One of these guys is Hunter, Farenbach. He’s a wicked smart, as well as an awesome guitar-player. drummer, singer, and song-writer. Only problem is that he’s a total slacker and seems to have to real passion or desire to do anything with his life. Now, because of the “boy recession” he’s being sought after by girls who are starting to notice his good looks, as well as by the desperate coaches.

The other perspective this book takes the perspective of (other than Hunter) is Kelly Robbins, a junior like Hunter. She’s a really down-to-earth gal, who tends to blend into the background. She’s been friends with Hunter since the third grade (more like acquaintances but whatever). Because she starts teaching third graders how to play instruments with Hunter as volunteer work, she’s spending more and more time with him, and starting to see just how great a guy he is (someone’s got a crush). Only problem is that Hunter is starting to be noticed and pursued by the popular girls and Kelly doesn’t think she stands a chance.

So I’ll leave you there when it comes to the plot line. I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who will read it for yourself. Time to give my honest opinion of the book, and honestly, I really didn’t like it. I so wanted to like it. The premise was interesting, and I thought it would be a light and funny read. Something I desperately needed because of all the stress I’ve been under lately (darn you projects and papers!!!). But no, that most definitely did not happen.

I just couldn’t get past the authors horrible interpretation of high school and the horrible stereotyping that made up this book. The author is young! she should remember what teenagers are like. This took everything to the extreme. Every character was the stereotypical slacker, or slutty popular girl, or pervy guy. It had no originality whatsoever, and was downright insulting at times in regards to how high schoolers think and act. I know there are (maybe) some redeeming qualities to the book, but at the moment, I seriously can’t think of one. So my final thought on the book is ugh, just ugh.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book though. Comment below and tell me what you thought of the book.

 

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Photo Credit –> Boy Recession cover


Review: Dosterra

 

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

 

In Monday’s post, I told you guys that I would be reviewing Dosterra today, so here it is.

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Book: Dosterra (Click the link to read chapter 1)

Author: K. Esta

Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi

Series: Yes, in a manner of speaking. It’s a serial novel on the website JukePop Serials (Chapters 1-7 are up)

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (based on the first 3 chapters)

Alright, well first off, let’s start off with a quick synopsis of the novel:

“Dosterra is a wintry planet, With a monopoly on natural resources and transition technology, it is the undisputed leader of the Earth Origin Colonies. But Lexie has stumbled across something that threatens their dominance. What if their power was built on a lie? On the run, she’s forced to seek the help of Iden, a scientist with the Transition Regulation entre, though his motives for helping her are unclear.”

Now, I’m not new to sci-fi books, but the first chapter was hard going. A lot of technical terms and scientific concepts  were thrown at you, so, in order to understand it, you had to really concentrate. However, that being said, Esta does a wonderful job of explaining them all, and in such a way that you not only understand them, but can picture what is being described fairly well. Aside from the pretty awesome descriptions, I loved the banter between the characters. The sarcastic remarks and ramblings of Tem had me smiling, as well as some of Lexie’s quips.

Now for some criticism. The writing is a little stilted at times. I don’t know if it’s because of all the new concepts being introduced or because of how detailed the descriptions are, but it comes across as a little stiff. I love the flow of the conversations though. They move the story along really well. The flashbacks are also well done, at placed fairly well in my opinion. They add depth to the characters, drawing the readers into the story. There are a few grammar and spelling errors, but, as far as I can tell, there aren’t too many of them so they don’t take away from the overall novel or draw you out of the story.

Overall, I would recommend this series to other readers. The plot is interesting and the characters are well-developed and help to draw you in. My one complaint (if you can call it that), is that I’m not seeing the dystopian factor so much as just sci-fi. Maybe it becomes more prominent in later chapters, or I’m just used to it being a larger focus in dystopia novels (I recently read Pure by Julianna Baggott, so this might be it). However, that doesn’t take away from the story itself.

So, head over to the site using the link provided at the beginning of the review, and check out Dosterra for yourself. If you’d like, you can then comment below and tell me what you think and if your thoughts line up with mine.

Photo Credit — Dosterra


Book Review: Opal

Hey Fellow Book Lovers,

So here’s my review of the newest book in the Lux series. And just a heads up, my next post won’t be a review. Instead, it’ll be some information about books coming out soon, and a few new movies that are based on books. Happy reading!

Book: Opal

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Series: Yes, this is book 3 of the Lux series (book 1 is Obsidian and book 2 is Onyx)

My Rating: 4 stars

Alrighty guys. Just fair warning for you, this review will more than likely contain spoiler alerts for the first two books. It’s kind of impossible for me to discuss the third one without mentioning something that went down in the first two books, so you’ve been warned. Also, if you haven’t read the first two books, Obsidian and Onyx, I highly recommend that you do so. They are great reads.

So, Opal starts off right where Onyx let off. Dawson Black is back, and changed, Daedalus and the Department of Defense are still things to be worried about, Adam is dead,  and Katy has alien powers thanks to Daemon. And last but not least, Katy and Daemon are finally together.

So, Dawson is back (like I mentioned) and a bit intense. We’re talking more intense than Daemon was in the first book. I mean he threw a guy through a freaking window (and also killed him) using his alien light/energy powers just because he (the thrown dude) was casing Katy’s house and possibly the Black’s place! Katy is the only one that seems to get through to him and is slowly bringing him back to who he was before his capture and torture by the DOD and Daedalus.

In this book, we find out exactly what Katy has become (a hybrid) and why the government wants them so much as well as how far they are willing to go to get what they want. Blake returns, and the team works with him to rescue Bethany from the evil clutches of Daedalus. Also, Dee has turned cold and a lil’ witchy with a b; blaming Katy for Adam’s death.

That’s all the info I’m giving you on the plot/happenings of this book. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just know, the end? It’s a major cliff-hanger. And I mean major. I was seriously like, “WTF is this the end? Are you serious right now? You’re gonna leave me right here!?!”

As always, I admire and am in awe of Ms. Armentrout’s writing style. Her characters are flawed, making them that much more real (you know, if aliens made of light/energy lived here on earth). They are also so very witty and sarcastic, that they will have you laughing out loud at their comebacks and smart-ass retorts.  You can’t help but fall in love with the characters and experience all that they do right alongside them. The emotions, not to mention the passion between Daemon and Katy, jumps right off the pages. And finally, the action and adventure that are prominent throughout the book keep you turning pages until the very end.

So go out and buy this series if you haven’t already. You will love it, I know I do.


Review: Last Kiss Tonight

Hey Book-Lovers,

I know I left off last time by reviewing Obsidian, and you are probably expecting me to review the next one, Onyx, now. I did read it, and I will review it, but just not just yet. Right now, I want to talk about Last Kiss Tonight by Gena Showalter, because it’s got me so riled up.

Book: Last Kiss Goodnight

Author: Gena Showalter

Genre: Romance (Paranormal)

Series: Yes. First in s series

My Rating: 2.5

Summary (Taken from Goodreads)

THE SWEETEST TEMPTATION…

Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding.  The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.

THE ULTIMATE PRICE…

Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them.  Only, Solo is different—he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.

Review:

To be perfectly honest, I am seriously in love with Gena Showalter. I usually buy all her books without hesitation because I love the worlds she creates through her writing, the alpha men and the strong-willed leading ladies, and just her overall writing style; it’s open and true to actual human thought patterns and behaviors while also being funny as all get-out. So when I saw she had released a new series that has the same alien races in it as one of her other series, well, let’s just say that I was happy and excited enough to let out a fan girl squeal when I saw the book in the bookstore. That being said, I was seriously disappointed with this book.

Vika was weak and totally dependent on others. She was nothing like the leading lady I had come to expect from Ms. Showalter. Yes, I know she’s abused and deaf, but seriously? She had no personality outside of her whole perfect angel image. The same could be said about her male counterpart, Solo. He didn’t seem to have any real character depth either.  In the beginning of the book, he’s portrayed as this total badass (excuse my language), but that’s all you ever see of that. The rest of the time, he’s this giant teddy bear who acts and thinks like a five-year old, not the alien assassin he’s supposed to be.

And let’s not forget the romance between the two. It’s pretty much a love at first sight thing. I despise love at first sight. When reading a book, I want to see the love develop over time, not just be instantaneous. I want to be able to feel the tension between the two, to feel like it could actually happen. I can deal with lust and first sight. That’s understandable, but love? Come on.

I don’t mean to continually bash the book. There were some good things about it. I liked the setting, and where I believe the series is going to be heading, based off of where this one ended. The dialogue and inner monologues did have me smiling and okay, laughing a few times. So it’s not completely bad. I guess, I’m just disappointed with it.

Comment below and tell me what you thought of it. I’d love to hear some contradicting opinions.


Book Review: Obsidian

Hey Fellow Book Lovers,

Time for another book review. Just so you know, I’m probably going to try out a few different formats for these until I find one I really like.

Book: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Series: Yes, This is book 1 of the Lux Series

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First off, this isn’t my first time reading his book. In fact, it’s my third and this book came out in May of 2012. That just goes to show you how much I love it.

The book starts off with the main protagonist, Katy, moves to “West ‘By God’ Virginia” (as she likes to call it) from Florida, in her senior year of high school. Right next door to her live the Black twins, Dee and Daemon, who just so happen to be out of this world. Literally. They are aliens, called Luxen, who are hiding out here on Earth, with the permission of the US government of course, from their race’s evil counterpart,the Arum.

Katy and Dee quickly become friends, no thanks to Dee’s ridiculously hot, but total jerkwad brother, Daemon, who tries to push Katy away from them every chance he gets. Daemon and Katy seem to rub each other the wrong way almost every time they’re together, but that doesn’t stop the chemistry between the two. And, oh man, what chemistry. Lesa, a classmate of the three mentioned above, described it best by saying “Holy Hawt Chemistry, Batman!” These two seem to practically combust if together too long as seen in the hot as all heck make-out scenes they share.

Along with developing relationships with the Black twins, Katy also helps fight off the Arum that came to town upon noticing the trace she had, no thanks to Daemon and his alien powers. She gets hurt, multiple times, almost killed once, but never gives up or into the bad guys. You just have to admire a girl with fight in her like that. Nore does she ever lose her spunky spirit (Her sarcastic and clever quips throughout the book had me laughing out loud at times).

The end, well, I’m not going to spoil it for those of you who haven’t read it, but man oh man. It’s got a twist that makes you hunger for the second one to find out what’s going to happen and if Katy and Daemon are ever going to get together (For Daemon’s point of view of the last chapter you can visit Jennifer Armentrout’s Scribd account).

So check out this book. It’s amazing! The girls in here are opinionated and smart, not to mention stubborn while the guys are hot, funny, and a little bit bad. The combination of these awesome characters and an amazing plot (these aren’t your usual aliens) that has just the right amount of suspense and action, will make you not want to be the book down until you’ve devoured it whole.

Comment below and tell me what you thought of the book or which review format you like better. Happy reading!