Publisher: HarperTEEN

The Prince by Kiera Cass | Mini Book Review

Posted February 3, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 2 Comments

The Prince by Kiera Cass | Mini Book ReviewThe Prince by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #.5
Also in this series: The Selection
Published by HarperTEEN on March 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 64
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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2 Stars
Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...

Before Aspen broke America's heart...

There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...

Don't miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection.

I was really excited to read The Prince, because I was intrigued by his life before the Selection. I wanted to get to know Maxon on a more intimate level so that I could better understand his decisions and is desires in a wife. While I did enjoy reading about his life before, I was a bit disappointed in the little information I received.

I would not label this as a prequel to the story, even though it is listed as being .5 in the series. A very small part of this takes place before the Selection, and even then it’s only a few days before the girls are selected. This “other girl” the synopsis mentions was not even worth mentioning, and I felt like I was a bit deceived. I was expecting some sweeping romance that Maxon was forbidden to pursue, or some unrequited love that caused him to choose the Selection over finding love conventionally. That’s not the case at all.

I enjoyed delving into Prince Maxon’s thoughts, but I also felt like I was wasting my time because of the subject matter of the book. I felt like Maxon was an open book in The Selection. I pretty much knew how he was feeling. Most of this book tells the exact same story as The Selection. It’s just from Maxon’s point of view. But like I said before, I was not wondering what he was thinking during The Selection. Instead of getting a new story, I got to read all about which girls were selected again. I got to read his first conversation with America again, just with his inner dialogue. I got tired of reading the same thing. Some of the sentences seemed to be taken straight from The Selection. I started wondering what the point of this novella was.

I’m sure my feelings come from the fact that I read The Prince the day after I read The Selection. Everything was very fresh in my mind, and I did not need to be re-reading things. I feel like this book is not really worth it if you’ve read The Selection, unless it has been a while and you would like a refresher before jumping into The Elite. If you’re wanting an easy way to decide if you DO want to read The Selection, this would be a good way to do that. I’m disappointed that I did not learn any more about Maxon than I knew before, however, I do think it was nice of Kiera to write this in a way that does not make this novella a mandatory read.


Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Posted January 27, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book ReviewUninvited by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by HarperTEEN on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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4 Stars
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

I loved Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy, so I was very excited to learn of her new project! The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report? Count me in! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I found this story to be terrifyingly plausible. Uninvited is set in the not so distant future where people are tested to see if they have a specific gene that, in the government’s eyes, guarantees that that person will someday kill a someone. Once that person has been diagnosed with this gene, their life is essentially over. They are immediately treated as though they have already murdered someone. It’s so scary to think that science could someday overrule a person’s moral framework. Isn’t that so scary? And so real?

2. Another scary aspect of this story is that a lot of the crime happened because these people are marked as killers. If you go around a put a sign on someone that says, “Hey! This person is going to kill someone someday, and it could be you!” don’t you think those people might end up being targets themselves? I mean, there’s a huge possibility that a person who would not have otherwise killed someone, might just kill that “killer” to prevent them from possibly killing. PLUS, these “killers” are going to live up to their label because they are being punished as someone who already has. I mean, why not kill that person you hate if your life is views as being worthless anyway? What more can the government do? What kind of twisted logic is this? In an effort to lower the crime rate, I seriously feel like the government in this book raised it instead.

3. So, we have all of these “killers”. One of them is sweet, innocent Davy who had her entire life ahead of her until that life-changing phone call made her lose her family, her boyfriend, her friends, EVERYTHING in a matter of seconds. And there’s nothing she can do about it. She will never EVER prove anyone wrong. Boy, did I feel for her. I was just like Davy in high school. I was viewed as being the person who had a bright future and was liked by everyone. I just kept thinking about what I would have done if I were in Davy’s shoes. I don’t even have words. Scared, terrified, heartbroken, hopeless, defeated. None of those words equal the pain of what something like this could do to a person. I connected with Davy so much, and felt for her SO much that it hurt me. She handled it so well. I was proud.

4. Because of Davy’s past, she was given the opportunity to be trained instead of sent to a detention camp. The government thought that they could train her to not give in to her killer instincts. She ended up going with two other carriers from school, both of which she liked. There’s Gil, who was very sweet and caring and then there’s Sean, the guy with the bad boy exterior who is so much more than what you see on the surface.

5. Speaking of Sean, I LOVED him. I was having a hard time with this book until I got to know Sean better. I loved how broken and worn down he was when I first met him, and then how Davy gave him a reason to act like a human. He immediately felt very protective of her and shielded her from a pervy teacher and a bully. He always seemed to be there when she needed him. She was his reason to live, and I loved seeing his dormant, feeling side awaken when he had a reason to wake it up.

6. I mentioned before that I had a hard time getting into this book before, and that’s because it is so depressing. I felt awful for the characters and the abuse they went through. Some of them deserved it, but not Davy, Gil, and Sean. They were just confused teenagers trying to figure out how to survive under their knew title of “HTS Carrier”. I swear that none of them would hurt a fly, but that doesn’t matter. AHHH. The feels.

7. There’s still so much we don’t know, and I closed the book feeling hopeful but also a little anxious! I’m just so concerned!

Uninvited is a book that resonates so deeply because of all the feelings is brings out in its readers. This horrific world in which these characters live is even more horrific because it seems so real. I just could not stop thinking about how devastating it would be to find out that people trusted a scientific theory more than they trusted me, their loved one. I love that Sophie Jordan made me think and feel so many things. I can’t wait to see what happens to these characters! PLEASE bring on the second book!

DISCUSS: So, what are your thoughts? I feel like this review was much more philosophical than most of my reviews are. What do you think of the idea presented in this book–that human beings are not able to make moral decisions that go against their DNA? Are you as scared of this idea as I am?


The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book Review

Posted January 24, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 15 Comments

The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book ReviewThe Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Also in this series: The Prince
Published by HarperTEEN on April 24, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 327
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

If you’ve paid attention to reviews of The Selection in the blog world, you know the kind of love hate relationship people have with this book. They love it, or they hate it. I haven’t really seen a middle ground. I’m not sure why, but I’m intrigued. I’m always intrigued by books who get received this way, but I’m also leery of them at the same time. It took me a long time to finally get to this book, but I really enjoyed it! As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m just going to throw it out there and say that I LOVE The Bachelor. It is one of my favorite TV shows, and Mondays are much less dread-worthy when a season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette is running. I was immediately in love with the idea of this book for that reason. The girls apply, they get selected to be a part of this crazy dating game, there’s girl drama, there’s a handsome prince. I mean, come ON.

2. America applies to be selected because she promises her love, Aspen, that she will. She is of higher class than he is, so marrying him means literally marrying down. And Aspen does not have the heart to let America do that when she could easily avoid it. So he makes her apply, because then he knows she did everything she could and he does not have to feel bad for holding her back. And of course, she is selected. She goes into this game for the money, and the money alone. She flat-out TELLS the prince this. They agree to be secret friends. I love that this happens. I have so much respect for America for being upfront and honest with Prince Maxon. I love that he likes her enough to be her friend. In the midst of an out of this world game in a dystopian society, a sense of normalcy rises from these two. It’s realistic. And I love that America chooses to hold on to Aspen. But that prince is cute… and sweet… and oh, crap. Is she falling for him? That is the question. And surprises happen.

3. The relationships tear me in both directions. I like Maxon and I like Aspen. I like who America is with both of them. Maxon is understanding and caring. And he has no clue about girls, which makes him so endearing. I love watching him try. And Aspen is honorable and so concerned and unselfish. I don’t know how to feel! I love it when a book does this to me.

4. This totally read like a first book, which was a bit disappointing. What I mean is that the stage was set, but not a lot happened. It’s like the first episode of The Bachelor when we’re introduced to the girls, we decide who we hate and love, and nothing really happens because there’s so many people involved. Relationships are not really happening yet. I feel like nobody is really attached to anyone, and there’s not much dating or deciding on Maxon’s part. The other girls are just background scenery. Meh. That’s ok, though, because there are more books. I just would have loved a little more meat to this first one.

5. The society of this world is really interesting. I like the caste system and all the political stuff behind the game… and the rules… the attacks against the kingdom… and the culture. I hope to learn more about this world in the next book.

All in all, this was a great read! I’m excited to continue the series, and I am hoping for more drama and confusion from the characters. If you like dystopian novels, definitely give this one a shot!


Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi | Book Review

Posted January 6, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi | Book ReviewInto the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #3
Also in this series: Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night
Published by HarperTEEN on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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5 Stars
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

Into the Sill Blue was a beautiful and exciting ending to one of my very favorite trilogies. I have always complained and ended up really hating the final book in a series or trilogy, because authors usually do everything I wish they wouldn’t. Or they don’t do anything I wish they would. Veronica wrapped this story up so perfectly, and I loved every word. I feel like so much of what I loved is already mentioned in my reviews of Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, so I will keep my review short and sweet so as not to spoil it for anyone. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. In my review of Through the Ever Night, I mention that it is so much better than Under the Never Sky. Into the Sill Blue is even better! I love Veronica Rossi’s creativity and what she does with this world. I love these characters. I love the non-stop action and the heart-pounding sequence of what-ifs and questions.

2. I love the relationships between characters, whether they are romantic, familial, or friendly. These characters truly care about one another.

3. I feel like there was less of an emphasis on romance in this final installment, which was fine. The entire book was all bout making it to the Still Blue. As Perry and Aria tried to bring the Dwellers and the Outsiders together, conflict arose. New relationships were forged. Sacrifices were made. Bonds were broken. These characters have reached desperate times. The Aether is getting more and more volatile. It’s time to do or die, and not everyone makes it through this book alive. Tears were shed, and my heart broke a little.

4. There were a lot of strong emotions, which I felt right along with the characters. At times, it was hard for me to see my beloved characters go through such low lows, but the high highs made up for it.

5. SO MUCH ACTION. Like I said, this book is do or die. These people have to fight to make it, and they have to fight hard. There is danger everywhere, and I was flipping through these pages as fast as I could.

6. I still love Veronica Rossi’s writing. She just knows how to write scenery and emotions and action and feelings. She knows how to develop strong characters.

Really, I’m at a huge loss as to how to review Into the Still Blue. I finished this book over a month ago, and I still just don’t know how to express my love for it without ruining everything for you. It was a stunning conclusion that left me speechless. Literally, I guess. I can’t wait to see what Rossi has in store for us next!


Towering by Alex Flinn (Book Review)

Posted September 4, 2013 by Jana in Book Review / 1 Comment

Towering by Alex Flinn (Book Review)Towering by Alex Flinn
Published by HarperTEEN on May 14, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 293
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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3 Stars
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.


Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

I’ve got a thing for fairytale retellings, and Rapunzel is one of my very favorites! I really love the idea of a prince traversing a high tower to save a girl who has been trapped in there, and has no idea what the world is really like. Towering was a fun, quick retelling with a little mystery and a really pretty setting. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Wyatt is a strong character, and I enjoyed reading about the story from his point of view. He’s been through a very sad thing, and is trying to move on by changing scenery for a little while. He tries to make friends, which is hard since he’s still not quite himself. He keeps hearing a girl singing from far away, and thinks he’s going crazy because nobody else can hear it. He decides to investigate, and finds Rachel. From this point on, he has a mission and a purpose. He wants to save her. He’s no suave Flynn Rider, but I can handle that.

2. Rachel is so naive, it’s annoying. I had to keep reminding myself that her complete isolation has made her this way, and not that she was dreamed up to drive me nuts. What I liked about her is that as you get to know her, you realize she does have a brain. Everything she’s ever known is no so, and she’s not having the hardest time believing it. She will take risks, and she will jump into the unknown if it means she can help people.

3. I also had to keep reminding myself that fairytales usually include instalove. It’s just their nature. And considering the fact that instalove is a requirement of this story, it was handled relatively well. I’m not sure how much of a fan I am of Wyatt and Rachel, but the story stood out more than the romance for me, so I was ok.

4. The story was really interesting. I wondered how Flinn would tackle a modern Rapunzel, but she did it and she did it well. It was modern and believable. And there were twists and turns that I really wasn’t expecting. Flinn didn’t just retell the story, she made it her own. I didn’t particularly care for the drug aspect (yeah, drugs play a huge part in this) of the story, but it was unique.

5. It started off a little slow, but once things got going I was fully invested. I could not wait to learn all the mysteries and see a resolution.

Overall, Towering was a fun little jaunt with some mysteries and hat tips to the original fairytale of Rapunzel. Flinn is a great storyteller, and I always look forward to her fairytales.


Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Book Review)

Posted January 7, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Book Review)Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Also in this series: Under the Never Sky, Into the Still Blue
Published by HarperTEEN on January 8, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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5 Stars
It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

Under the Never Sky was one of my ultimate favorite books of 2012, and when I love a book so much, I’m usually terrified to read the second book. Will it live up to the first one? Will I like the direction the author went in? Will I agree with major plot choices? It’s like I’m scared to trust my characters and their world with the author a second time, for fear that their first time was a fluke and I’ll end up hating everything if it continues. Committing to a trilogy, is a major investment for me. I hoped and hoped that I’d still love Veronica after Through the Ever Night, and I DO! I was right to trust her with Perry, Aria, Roar, and the crazy world they live in. This book was amazing, and I might die waiting for the concluding novel. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The creativity behind this series is out of this world. Literally. I think that The Outside, right under the Aether is my very favorite setting for any dystopian novel I’ve read. Veronica’s descriptions of the swirling sky never cease to captivate me. I still picture van Gogh’s Starry Night when I think of the Aether, and we get to learn so much more about it in this book.

2. The characters were all given the chance to grow into someone new in this book. Perry had to learn how to balance his life as a leader and his love for Aria. Loving her, a Dweller, marked him as a traitor in the eyes of the tribe he was in charge of leading. He was very torn between emotions and decisions in this book, which I liked. Aria had to make sacrifices and put her life in danger for others. Roar had to go through heartbreak and soul searching (OH my. I love Roar so much.), and Cinder finally realized how special he is. This was a very transitional period for all of them, and I really enjoyed watching them figure out what mattered most. Lots of emotion is involved.

3. The author did not spend much time reminding us of what happened in Under the Never Sky. I felt a little lost and fuzzy. In some ways this was good, because I hate wasting valuable pages on reading something I already read. On the other hand, though, a little bit of help would have been nice. I should have re-read Under the Never Sky, I suppose. Not a bad thing!

4. This was a major page-turner! A TON happened in this book, whereas second books are usually kind of empty. I got to learn more about the Aether, the Dwellers, all the characters I fell in love with the first time, and some major curve balls and monkey wrenches ended up in the works as well. I don’t want to give away too many details, so just believe me when I say that this book is full of everything you hoped you’d get when you closed Under the Never Sky.

5. The ending stopped my heart. Those last 2-3 chapters had me going bonkers. I could not rip through this book fast enough.

The bottom line: If you loved Under the Never Sky, it’s likely that you’ll love Through the Ever Night more. Veronica does not disappoint, and we surely don’t fall victim to the second book syndrome. It’s beautiful, romantic, heart wrenching, and SO amazing! I am loving Perry and Aria, and can’t wait for more!


Hidden by Sophie Jordan (Mini Book Review)

Posted September 5, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Hidden by Sophie Jordan (Mini Book Review)Hidden by Sophie Jordan
Series: Firelight #3
Also in this series: Firelight
Published by HarperTEEN on September 11, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 260
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (ALA)
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3.5 Stars
Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

You know… I’m not sure I’ve ever read a concluding book in a trilogy and ended up really loving that book. The first book leaves you in love, because it’s the first book and that one is always the best. The second book is always a bridge to book 3, and I don’t know about you, but I always find myself not really knowing what to think of it. I always close book #2 with hope that book #3 will blow me away. It doesn’t always end up that way, though. Usually, things get wrapped up too easily or people end up with the wrong people, or people die/get hurt/change. Sadly, Hidden did not check off all the boxes on my list of wishes and hopes for the ending of the Firelight series, and I was left with empty feelings. I just felt “meh” about it. Perhaps my hopes were just too high.

Now, I’m not saying the book was bad at all! It was adventurous and suspenseful, and I really enjoyed it. New characters were introduced and old characters were expounded upon. I really enjoyed reading about the time Jacinda spent as a prisoner in the facility where draki are tested and researched. It was exciting and extremely interesting. During her time there, I got to meet draki from other clans and learn more about the species. The love between Jacinda and Will felt forced and unbelievable, and I don’t think I felt that way with the other books. Then again, I’ve always been team Cassian.

The writing was done very well, and I did enjoy the story. It just didn’t end the way I would have hoped, but trilogies/series rarely ever do. I’m definitely SO glad I got the opportunity to read this book early, though, and am definitely glad I read this conclusion to the trilogy.


Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)

Posted June 1, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Published by HarperTEEN on May 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars
Sometimes you have to get lost . . .

The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father's crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.

The Crew: Dad's wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more cryptic than the sea-her own heart.

. . . to find what you're looking for

Like I mentioned a few days ago in my review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I adore themed reads. So… naturally, I read this on a transatlantic cruise that spent half its time in the Mediterranean Sea, which is where this book takes place. I mean, seriously. The reading conditions could not have been more perfect. As Clio lounged around her dad’s luxury yacht, I was sitting on my balcony overlooking the Med, picturing everything and totally knowing what she was seeing as I read. Needless to say, I loved this book. But I just loved it because. You know what I mean? There’s not a lot for me to say specifically. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Maureen Johnson is made of win. She threw in history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. I love all those things!! Honestly, I was not suspecting the adventurous and suspenseful elements in the story. I was pleasantly surprised, and could not tear through the pages fast enough. Oh, and the chapter titles in this book are funny too!

2. I liked Clio a lot, but it took me a while to decide. She spent way too much time complaining about the terrible summer aboard a luxury yacht, with side trips to amazing Italian towns. I mean, come on. Who would NOT want that? She whined too much. But once she decided maybe things weren’t so bad, I got to see more of her. She’s completely relatable on so many levels. She’s an artsy (like me!!) teenager with real concerns about her life, real dreams, and real frustrations. Her parents are divorced, and she hardly sees her dad. So now he’s called her up and taken over her summer. She has to leave her job, her crush, her friends, her life, and go float around with a boat full of strangers and her eccentric dad. Of course she’s annoyed, and that’s part of the fun. Her inner thoughts are so funny, yet so real. I know I’d feel the same way.

3. I also really liked the supporting characters. Clio’s dad is so eccentric, it’s almost unbelievable. I laughed a lot. I liked Elsa more than I expected. She’s this gorgeous, perfect person… haha. I usually dislike characters like that because the focus is on how wonderful they are instead of important things. She was real, and did not act like she knew how pretty she was. Aidan is wonderful. He’s a nerd with a mysterious, attractive side as well. His bickering with Clio was too funny.

4. Yes, this is a cute beach read, but it’s not all fluff. There’s deep issues here, like dealing with a barely-there relationship between a daughter and estranged father and discovering what kind of person you want to be. Clio goes through a lot of self discovery. She has time to think and work things through. I really liked seeing her progress.

5. The book is a little slow in the beginning, but boy does it pick up! Like I said, I was completely thrown off guard with the direction this book went. I loved it, though, and really enjoyed the twists and turns.

6. I found so many quotes I loved! I’m not usually one to write down book quotes, but Maureen’s writing just forced a pen into my hand. I had to leave my quote book inside my cabin, since I was worried it would blow off my balcony. I was having to get up and down so many times to go in and write something in it, that I finally just sat on it. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “You know things are pretty bad when your mind is having crisis talks with your suitcase.”
  • “Clio had the strange flash that this was what the person who invented cheese must have been like–a blond goddess.”
  • “Something about this boat screamed, ‘I am a very popular model in the world’s oil-bearing regions. I cost more than your soul!'”
  • “I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship based on local sandwiches.”

Bottom line, this book made me a Maureen Johnson fan for life. I’ll admit, it’s the only one of hers I’ve read… oops! I discovered her on Twitter, and think she’s hilarious. And now I love her books too! I’d recommend this to lovers of YA contemporary romances, beach reads,  adventurous travels, and treasure hunts.


Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Book Review)

Posted May 30, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 4 Comments

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Book Review)Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Published by HarperTEEN on February 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Won
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Beware: This book did crazy things to me. I went through every single emotion, and as I write this review I know I will probably fan-girl, keyboard smash, get mad, get excited, swoon a little, want to hug someone, sigh, and probably write and re-write it numerous times before pressing the “publish” button. Phew! Here goes! (Remember, my main points are bolded, as always!

1. Ahhhhhhhhh! I KNOW!!!! I FINALLY took the time to read this book. I know, right? Jana, this book came out in FEBRUARY. Jana, Delirium nearly pushed you over the edge. I KNOW! Why did I wait so long!? The torture. This book is amazing. AMAZING. I’m, like, the last person in the world to read this, so I don’t really see a reason to work at summarizing it. Just know: it’s amazing. I usually hate the middle book in a trilogy. Most “trilogies” should not be trilogies, as book number 2 is usually a lackluster bridge to the final book. Not so with Pandemonium! Maybe I waited so long to read this because I was worried we’d have another “New Moon” or “Catching Fire”? I don’t know. READ THIS!!

2. After my first “point”, I’ve come to realize that this review may not be as organized as I had hoped.

3. I think another reason I waited so long to read this is because I just KNEW Lauren Oliver would try to kill me again. I knew she’d mess with my emotions and stir up all these questions inside of me before throwing me off a cliff and making me wait for a YEAR to find out what’s going to happen next!!! And you know what? I was RIGHT. I need to stop reading her books on a cruise ship.

4. I actually closed the book and mumbled “cliffhanger” over and over again, in a sort of glazed over stupor. My sister died of laughter.

5. I realize I’m not telling you much about the book itself, but that’s because 1. You’ve read it, since I’m the last person in the world to have done so. 2. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s because you have not read Delirium yet (because if you’ve read Delirium, why would you wait THIS long like me?) and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. 3. My thoughts are not terribly organized, clearly. Anyway, my next point will get more specific, so quit reading here if reason 2 in this point (you have not read Delirium yet… or Pandemonium, I suppose) applies to you.

6. Leena has transformed from this scared little girl to a confident, rebellious, determined, strong person. Her entire life became almost pointless at the end of Delirium, and she fled to the Wilds to try and start a new life… without Alex. She yearns for him always, just like I do. WHERE IS ALEX!?! I’m loving the new Leena.

7. Leena’s new friends/family in the Wilds are very interesting to read about, especially when we get to learn the reasons they are in the Wilds now. I like all of them.

8. Of course, Lauren Oliver’s writing is as stunningly heartwrenching (and heartwarming at the same time) as always. I love, LOVE her writing style. I particularly enjoyed the layout of this book. The chapters alternate between “then” and “now”, so there are absolutely no gaps between the end of Delirium and the beginning of Pandemonium. This also helped me remember what happened in Delirium, because as we all know by now… I waited way too long (so much longer than necessary) to read this.

9. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I went through every single emotion. This book is a roller coaster that you never want to end. And then when it does, it shoves you back into your chair with a force greater than gravity itself. I was scared, I was thrilled, I was happy, sad, excited, confused, mad, devastated, etc. SO many questions are floating around in my head.

10. I waited over a month to write this review, hoping I’d be able to eloquently explain my thoughts and organize my feelings. Haha. Clearly, that is not going to happen. :P This book gives me high blood pressure.

All in all, AMAZING. I love Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver, and Leena. I can not WAIT for Requiem. I vow to read it the day it comes out, rather than wait 2-3 months like I did this time. You really must jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t. The hype is real.


Partials by Dan Wells (Book Review)

Posted February 17, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 10 Comments

Partials by Dan Wells (Book Review)Partials by Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence #1
Published by HarperTEEN on February 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 468
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

I was pretty excited to read this book! As a result of my massive dystopia overdose recently, my expectations were extremely high for Partials. Unfortunately, it paled in comparison to the other dystopias I’ve read over the last month, like Under the Never Sky and Incarnate. And I would not compare it to The Hunger Games like the book’s summary does. Partials was given some pretty big shoes to fill, and going in with thoughts of The Hunger Games proved to cause a letdown. I’m not saying this book wasn’t good. I’m very intrigued, and plan to read the next book. My advice to you would be to take the book at face value and not expect it to be as good or as great as a book that pretty much knocked the genre out of the ball park. I’m going to break up my review and bold the highlights, just in case you’re a skimmer. :)

1. It took quite a while (like half the book) to build up to something really on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting. There’s some minor action and a lot of science talk in the beginning of the book, and pages and pages of thoughts and explanations with not a lot of character interaction. Like I said, though, about halfway through it things really pick up and I had a hard time putting it down from that point on. I’m not going to say much about the plot because I think the story is more exciting if you discover it on your own. There was a few surprises nestled in there, that were very eye-opening and interesting to learn about.

2. We are kept guessing a lot. Who do I trust? The partials, or the humans? I kept jumping back and forth from one to the other. I felt sorry for the partials. They were engineered for a selfish purpose (to help the humans win a war), and thrown out to pasture when they were no longer needed. They were essentially abandoned with no way to make a life for themselves. I’d hate the humans too, if that happened to me. And then I felt sorry for the humans because their venture backfired, and most of their species died as a result. They both had reasons to hate and deceive each other, but they really needed to get along in order to survive. It was hard to know who was right. And on top of that, there’s a third group of people: The Voice. They are a group of humans who rebelled against the Senate for establishing the Hope Act, which forced all girls 18 and older to be pregnant pretty much all the time and produce as many babies as possible, in the hopes that one of them would be immune to the virus. In 11 years, not one baby had survived. That’s a lot of death. So really, I felt bad for everyone, found myself siding with each group at different times, and was never really convinced who was right! It was pretty entertaining. 

3. My favorite character was Samm (a partial). He actually seemed the most humane and the most realistic. He risked the most in the hope of finding answers. I liked that even though he was engineered to be an emotionless fighting machine, he seemed to have a conscience and a thought process that was extremely human. I found myself rooting for the partials more than the humans, because I felt it was not their fault. The humans made them this way. But again, I was having a hard time sticking to one side. Haha. I liked Kira, but she was a little too self-destructive for me. I liked her boyfriend, Marcus as well. I would have enjoyed getting to know him better. The supporting characters were well done, but forgettable after a while.

4. The end was action-packed. I really, really liked the last 10-or-so chapters. It was definitely my favorite part of the book. Dan has some great suspense scenes, and his writing style was gripping. I went from casually reading when I had time, to staying up until 4:00 AM and reading until I could not keep my eyes open.

5. There were a lot of questions raised throughout the book, but Dan did a great job of wrapping some of the major ones up. There was still a cliff-hanger ending, but it could have been so much worse! Right up to the end, I was biting my nails. New crazy things kept happening, and I kept worrying the book was going to end right then and there. Then I’d click the “next page” button on my Kindle, and I’d see I had at least one more page to lessen the impact of the ending. You will be satisfied with the ending, but curious about where the next book will take you.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. You need to take it for what it is, and not go into it with grand expectations. You also need to be patient and read a ways to get to the good parts. It was very a multidimensional story, and I appreciate that. It gives young adult fiction a good name. The plot was complex even though the original premise of the story is simple: humanity is becoming extinct. The characters were likable, although I never grew close to any of them. Dan Wells’s writing was enjoyable to read. He gave lots of details, and created some exciting, action-packed scenes. Fans of post-apocalyptic dystopians will enjoy this, and crave book #2. I definitely think it’s worth the read, and will appeal to many audiences.

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