Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 22nd 2013
Purchase: Ebook • Hardcover

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

wow excuse me while I bawl my eyes out for multiple reasons.

CAN WE PLEASE. I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN MY LEVEL OF HEARTBREAK AND LOVE FOR THIS BOOK.

Allegiant, like the other two books in the series, had action from beginning to the end. I was a bit lost on what had happened because it was a while since I had read Insurgent, but once you start reading, you begin to understand a lot more of what’s going one. ToBIAS IS BEAUTIFUL and his and Tris’ relationship was a bit rocky in my opinion, but I’m glad that they worked it out.

OH, LAWD CALEB THOUGH. Ok I’m always really really forgiving towards siblings for some reason, so I just wanted so badly for Caleb and Tris to make up. Although I did understand why Tris was upset, but I just felt so BAD for Caleb. & I DON’T WANT TO SPOIL ANYTHING BUT I really really really want to discuss this ONE particular scene in Allegiant but I feel like if you read it, YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. The incredibly sad part where he volunteers because he says he’s not important. *cue the crying*

This trilogy ended so…unexpectedly? But also expectedly at the same time (if you read this book, you’d understand). The ending was honestly S U C H a surprise. But once I took a step back, it was S-O INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS. 

6 Hearts (because how could this series get anything less?)

6-hearts

shirley

Series Order: Divergent series

Divergent by Veronica Roth Insurgent by Veronica Roth Allegiant by Veronica Roth

#1 ~ Divergent: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Insurgent: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Allegiant: Ebook • Hardcover • Goodreads

Blog Tour + Review & Giveaway: Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

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Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Branded (Sinners #1)
by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: 06/28/13
252 pages
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Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

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review

Branded was quite a thrill to read! It’s got a great, angsty forbidden love and a plot chock-full of intense action. It’s dark and gritty, and the authors hold nothing back. This is a young adult book, but there is death, gore, and murder, so just beware! If you think this is just a simple, clean dystopian, you’re going to be in for a shock. There is an incredible amount of violence in this book, which I really enjoyed, because the authors really make me feel for the main character, and for her pain.

In the world Lexi Hamilton lives in, there exists The Hole, the place where people are sent to when they are accused of displaying one of the seven deadly sins. Lexi is wrongfully accused of Lust, and is forced into The Hole, and is branded with a blue band around her neck. The blue represents lust, and there are different colors for each deadly sin. These brands dehumanize those who are marked, and even worse, The Hole is absolutely filthy. It’s dirty and grimy, and the people live there do anything and everything to survive, including killing others.

It’s so, so painful for Lexi to be taken to The Hole. She has an awful, tragic past, and even though she’s a good person, she’s closed off. Her heart can’t take any more pain in her life, and I felt so much for this girl. She’s been dealt a bad hand in life, but being sent to The Hole might just ironically be the best thing that could have happened to her. Lexi is assigned a guard, a gorgeous man named Cole. He’s tough on Lexi but he still treats her infinitely better than other guards would. Lexi and Cole have to spend time together, especially since they live in rooms right next to each other. Lexi sees him only as an untrustworthy guard working for the evil Commander, but she slowly starts to see the good, kind side of Cole. He has a good heart, he’s loyal, and he’s got a dog named Zeus!

Cole is such a sweetheart! He’s cold in the beginning of the book, and doesn’t see Lexi any differently from the other prisoners in The Hole, but as he gets to know her, he falls for her goodness, for her huge heart, and for her incredible courage. Because no matter how bad her situation is, Lexi always moves forward. Some things might bring her down, but she’ll get back up. I really admired Lexi, and I adored Cole for his sweet actions and words.

“You’re beautiful. That’s the problem.” He shuffles his feet and shifts his weight uncomfortably. “They can’t stop looking at you.” He glances up at me for a brief second before locking his gaze on something behind me. “And I understand why.” The words come out so soft I can barely hear them.

Sadly, the romance sort of tapered off during the second half of the book. I mean, I still really wanted Lexi and Cole to get their happily ever after, but it just wasn’t the main focus of the story anymore. At least for me it wasn’t. In the second half, I didn’t feel the same intensity between Lexi and Cole as I did in the first half. And the book shifted more towards the rebellion against The Commander and his soldiers. There’s some awesome action scenes, but things moved a little too fast for me near the end, so I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I wanted to.

Branded has some twists and turns that kept me reading, and for dystopian fans, or even romance fans, this book is worthy a try. Cole is the sweetest, and Lexi is such a tough heroine. I give a 4 for the first half, and 3 for the second, so 3.5 hearts!

3.5-hearts

lacey

about the authors

Abi Ketner & Missy KalicickiAbi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

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20 ebooks of Branded (mobi) Open Internationally
5 signed print copies and picture of Cole (US only)

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Review: Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi

Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi

Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #2.5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 17th 2013
Purchase: Ebook

In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Timesbestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel MeFracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy. The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi’s epic dystopian series. It’s a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.

Fracture Me was… okay. I mean, I really liked it, but Adam just got really annoying sometimes. The novella takes place at the same time as near the ending of Unravel Me, when Warner has escaped, and everyone at Omega Point is planning an attack on The Reestablishment. Juliette is freaked, which makes Adam freaked, Kenji has just woken up from almost dying supposedly because of Juliette, and Adam has to take care of his little brother.

I was really hoping this novella would make me like Adam more. He started turning really, and I mean really, whiny in Unravel Me. That wasn’t the main reason why I switched to Team Warner

I love warner

because Warner does just fine on his own (SQUEEEEE I love Warner so freaking much). I was just hoping that Fracture Me would change my mind about Adam the same way the previous novella, Destroy Me, changed my mind about Warner. And I guess it kind of did. I like Adam more as a brother to James than as a love interest for Juliette.

In Fracture Me, it’s all about James vs. Juliette, which is not okay. I didn’t like how Adam had to choose between his brother and his love.

But Tahereh Mafi’s writing is flawless as always, and she builds up the tension and intensity of the war so well. And that sneak peek of Ignite Me? Yeah, that was my favorite part of the book. I suppose it’s not absolutely necessary to read Fracture Me, unlike Destroy Me, where we get a lot more info and a different perspective than just the rebels, but for fans of the series, or for those on Team Adam, you should give Fracture Me a go.

4-hearts

lacey

Reading Order: Shatter Me series

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
 Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi Untie Me by Tahereh Mafi

#1 ~ Shatter Me: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Destroy Me: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Unravel Me: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Fracture Me: My Review • Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Ignite Me: My Review • Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
Unite Me (paperback bundle of Destroy Me & Fracture Me): Paperback • Goodreads

Blog Tour + Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

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Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

Title: Under Different Stars (Kricket #1)
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Genre: YA Dystopian
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All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

Purchase:
Barnes And Noble • Apple iBookstore • Kobo • Amazon US • Amazon UK • Smashwords
Amazon Germany • Amazon Italy • Amazon France • Amazon Canada • Amazon Japan • Amazon Spain • Amazon Brazil

review

This is my first time reading a book by Amy A. Bartol, and I’m impressed! I highly enjoyed delving into this fantastic dystopian world filled with intrigue, romance, and action.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything other than contemporary, but Under Different Stars reminded me of just how much I love the dystopian genre. And there’s also some fantasy and sci-fi too, which I love. I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be reading about–the blurb didn’t really tell me much. And while it took a bit to get me hooked onto the story, once I did get hooked, I couldn’t stop reading. There’s never a dull moment in Under Different Stars, and the characters are all well written and very likable.

Kricket is just a girl who doesn’t have any parents and is waiting for the day until she turns 18 so she can finally not have to worry about being placed in a foster home. She’s a fairly normal girl… until the day she gets chased by two different sets of men–Trey and his soldiers, and Kyon and his soldiers. Both of them want to take her away from Earth, because it turns out that they’re not human–and neither is Kricket. Kricket manages to avoid them, but eventually she is taken by Trey, and they, along with Trey’s men Wayra and Jax, have to travel to the world of Ethar to get to the country of Rafe, where Kricket half belongs.

Kricket was originally born in Ethar, and she is half Alameeda and half Rafe. This new world Kricket is thrust into is confusing and overwhelming, with its different lingo and mannerisms, but Kricket never gives up in the face of adversary. She’s tough and smart and witty, and eventually, she wins over her kidnappers. Kricket and Trey become more comfortable with each other, and there is an underlying sense of tension between them.

It was so fascinating to read this book. I never knew what to expect. Kricket’s life is constantly in danger, and Kyon is one of the reasons why. Trey becomes her guardian and protector, and though he’s not allowed to fall in love with her, he can’t help it.

“He was telling us that your voice will give comfort when the night becomes its blackest,” he replies. “And I’ll protect that voice with my body, my mind, and my spirit… because without it, I’m alone in the dark.”

Trey is the sweetest! He’s fiercely protective of Kricket, and he’ll do anything to save her life. And in between people who want to use Kricket as a pawn and a war brewing between Rafe and Alameeda, Kricket needs all the protection she can get.

I had such a great time reading Under Different Stars. It was nothing like anything I’ve ever read, and I loved that. It’s intense and thrilling, and I’m incredibly excited for more of Kricket’s journey.

4-hearts

lacey

excerpt

Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, “She’s waking up.”

Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”

As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.

Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses, but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.

“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.

Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”

“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe. “Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”

“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.

Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”

“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.

Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.

“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.

“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”

Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.

“Yes.”

“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.

“So that means she’s smart?”

Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”

“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.

“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”

“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.

about the author

Amy A. BartolI live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re  real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.

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prizes Under Different Stars

1st place: KINDLE FIRE + ebook of Under Different Stars
2nd place: Kindle Cover + $50 Amazon Gift Card
3rd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card

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  • Before entering this giveaway please check: To ship Kindle Fire outside the U.S. view important information specific to your country.

Review: World After by Susan Ee

World After by Susan Ee

World After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 19th 2013
Purchase: Ebook • Paperback

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

*There will be spoilers for those who haven’t read Angelfall!*

Susan Ee does it again! I fell in love with World After, and with Penryn and Raffe all over again. Oh, how much I love this series. Angelfall was absolutely genius and World After doesn’t disappoint. It’s got everything that I loved in Angelfall–a kickass heroine, a fascinating world, a badass, swoony angel, and an intensity that hooks you in and blows your mind.

After I read Angelfall, I wanted to get my hands on World After so freaking bad, but nope, I had to wait nearly a year for it to release. And Angelfall having a cliffhanger that nearly killed me certainly didn’t help with the wait. But now.. the time has come. I’ve finally read World After, and all I can say is… I WANT MORE. I loved World After, but I couldn’t believe it when I finished. I never wanted it to end. It was gorgeously written, and the characters are so real and relatable (I’m excluding the angels of course). The only bad part about World After was that it didn’t have Raffe in it as much as I’d have liked.

Alright, listen up. If you’re expecting World After to be a romance where Penryn and Raffe end up happily ever after–don’t. Because in the devastating world they live in, you don’t get happily ever afters, especially if you’re an angel and a human. As much as you wish they’d get together…

“Stay with me,” says a familiar masculine whisper from above my head. Even over the yelling of the mob and the roaring of the waves, something unfurls in my chest at the sound of that voice.

Sniffles. Yeah, okay I’m one of those readers who want Raffe and Penryn to have their own HEA, but I’m still perfectly content with the way Susan Ee is taking their story. World After mainly focuses on Penryn and her sister, Paige. Paige is an abomination now and Penryn doesn’t know how to deal with that. She’s terrified that Paige has lost her humanity, but it’s clear that Paige is frightened and terrified of what she’s become. Paige is run off by those who only see her as a monster, and once again, Penryn goes out in search for her.

I love Penryn. She’s awesome and kickass and fiesty and protective of those she loves. And she’s hilarious. I found myself laughing just as much as I did in Angelfall because of her. Penryn’s tough and brave, and she’s not afraid to go after Paige. She has to deal with killer angels and nasty, scorpion-like creatures, one of which had almost killed her at the end of Angelfall, leading Raffe to believe she died, and it’s so gripping and exhilarating to read. I was always at the edge of my seat, worried for Penryn and how she’d get out of situations alive.

As for Raffe, he’s still searching for his wings. His bat wings have caused the other angels to shun him, and he’s out for revenge on Beliel, the angel who stole his wings. We get glimpses of his past through his sword, which Penryn has, but unfortunately, Raffe doesn’t have a big part of the book until later on. And oh. my. goodness. I was squealing so hard when he and Penryn finally see each other again. I mean, come on, Raffe thought she was dead, and he was devastated over it. And it was such a relief to see them together again. They honestly belong with each other. They’re perfect together, they work well together, and their bantering is always so hilarious.

Okay, one more for the Raffe fans:

“Let go,” I say into his ear. Raffe holds me tighter like there’s no room for discussion.

World After is an incredible sequel to Angelfall. The ending isn’t nearly as bad as Angelfall’s, thank god, but I’m still eagerly awaiting the third book. I’m not sure if the series is a trilogy or not, but please Susan Ee, don’t make me wait long! This series is an absolute favorite, and I can’t recommend it enough!

5 hearts!

5-hearts

lacey

Reading Order: Penryn & the End of Days series

Angelfall by Susan Ee World After by Susan Ee End of Days by Susan Ee

#1 ~ Angelfall: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ World After: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ End of Days: EbookPaperback • Goodreads