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Tempest: A Novel (The Tempest Trilogy)
Tempest: A Novel (The Tempest Trilogy)
by Julie Cross
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.05
154 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tempest was a novel that has me locked in for the rest of the series!, January 23, 2012
Jackson is a regular nineteen year old freshman college student with a girlfriend...except Jackson is a Time Traveler but the not in the way you think. His best friend, Adam is dedicated to helping him figure out the full expanse of his seemingly unique talent. Jackson soon learns that his dad can't be fully trusted and he also has to deal with the issue of his dead twin sister popping up every...when.. And then there is the fact that in Jackson's true present something disastrous occurs and Jackson can't quiet seem to right that wrong.

Time travel is a refreshing subject in the young adult genre. Julie Cross presented a very thorough and unique view of time travel in "Tempest"I found myself absorbed in the "theories" presented instead of thinking how full of holes the ideas are. The time travel aspect of this book was definitely well laid out. I found the blurb on the back of the book a bit misleading as this book is more focused on time travel than romance. While the romance does serve and purpose its not the primary focus of the story.

The novel was slow to start and I found the "voice" to be a but awkward at first. When I first started I didn't think I was going to like this book because Jackson was such an annoying typical guy, which is what really works in the end. It took me a solid quarter of this book to really get into it, but after that I could not put it down! It was a page turner and I was totally absorbed in the world of "Tempest".

The character development was great. It was easy to understand Jackson's relationship to everyone surrounding him. Jackson changed through the novel as he learns more about his past, present, and future and comes to understand his power more fully. His mind is perfectly nineteen years old and its easy to understand why he makes the decisions he does. I have the feeling we have more great things to come from him in the series. My biggest struggle was Adam, Jackson's best friend who is a typical over cliche'd geek who fully understands time traveling and physics and can break into any CIA confidential computer. A bit of a stretch there but he was such a believable friend to Jackson that it was easy enough to overlook Adam's over intelligence.

A few things for parents to be wary about: sex, drinking, and language. Things that most teenagers are involved with but the way they are addressed is a bit casual and flippant. The language seemed strong and unnecessary. There is sex that was a bit uncomfortable for me as it was from a nineteen year old boys perspective and things got a bit sticky (as things do in time travel) as nineteen year old Jackson meets a younger Holly that he also hooks up with. There was quite a bit of underage drinking that was mentioned casually and seemed to only be encouraged by the adults, which also bothered me a little. I understand that swearing, sex, and drinking all served a purpose though, and that was to help the reader really "get" Jackson.

I was shocked that I began this book so skeptically but soon couldn't put it down at all and by the last few pages tears were streaming down my face. Despite the corny cover of this book it is totally worth reading! I was absolutely amazed at Julie Cross' genius creativity! Wow! I can't wait for the next book in this series!

by Ally Condie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.59
238 used & new from $0.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Crossed Matched all my Expectations, November 29, 2011
This review is from: Crossed (Hardcover)
Ally Condie has done it again! " Crossed " did not disappoint at all! "Crossed " was not simply that middle novel that pushes the story farther but falls flat in the end. I felt that in "Matched " I got to know all the characters but in " Crossed " I got to love them all.

Cassia has been sent to a work camp, her family relocated, Xander remains in Oria, and Ky has been sent to the Outer Provinces. With Indie, a girl also assigned to the work camp, Cassia sets out determined to find Ky and join the Rebellion. Meanwhile, Ky is stuck in the Outer Provinces where the Society is sending Aberrations to act as decoys to distract the Enemy. For Ky, every day in the Outer Province is a struggle to stay alive but his love for Cassia drives him forward, focused on just seeing her again.

In this novel we not only get Cassia's narrative but also Ky's, and its so beautiful and wonderful because Ky is this intangible thing that we haven't really gotten to know yet. He holds so much inside and becomes so concrete in this novel, as Condie pulls back the curtain and lets us see behind his stage. Ky's story is such a great addition to Cassia's and I'm so glad that we were allowed to see inside his head and heart.

In addition to Cassia and Ky, Condie also introduces a few new characters, Indie, Vick, Eli, and Hunter. Some of the characters eluded me a bit but others drew me in and even brought tears to my eyes through their stories. Its obvious that Condie had clear and concise reasons for every additional character.

In " Crossed" I feel that Condie really went further then simply another young adult book in the dystopian genre. She really pushed the theological envelope as her characters are challenged with the idea of "God," some for the first times in their lives. Through the idea of " The Pilot " we see the characters challenged with the idea of believing in something larger than themselves, something they can't see and may never see.

I can't wait for the final book in the series, which Condie hans't set a title for yet but has promised will have a red cover. I am only sad that I have to wait another entire year for the finale of this amazing story!

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book 3)
The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book 3)
by James Dashner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.65
113 used & new from $5.68

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Ending but still left with A LOT of questions., October 12, 2011
The Maze has ended, the Scorch Trials are over, but the search for the Cure still continues. The world is worse shape then ever, Cranks have taken over in most cities just waiting till they are fully past the Gone. Its up to Thomas and his friends to fight against W.I.C.K.E.D. , a government agency devoted to finding a cure for the flare at any and all costs and avoid the Cranks at the same time.

The Maze Runner series in phenomenal and I absolutely could not put this book down. Even though I was slightly frustrated because I thought surely answers would come in book three, and they did but much later then I expected them. Also, I'm still struggling with the believability behind W.I.C.K.E.D. studying the subjects brain patterns for a Flare cure, couldn't they use DNA testing or some more biologically based testing rather than psychological? I really struggled with that aspect of the novel, but putting that aside, the novel was not at all difficult to get into and stay involved with.

There really wasn't a whole lot of character development in this novel, they had all been pretty well established in the first two novels and pretty much follow the same blueprint. There were only a few characters that stood out to me as being exceptionally complex, Newt and Gally. My only complaint was that I feel more time could have been devoted to character development and relationships as opposed to the pages and pages of fight scenes that often disengaged me.

Too many questions went unanswered to me, and while I agree that some mystery is good, when this much tension has been building for two books there needs to be some reveal to that the reader can relinquish all their questioning. I also didn't like how major charters just stepped out of our view, Teresa for instance, she's pretty essential to Thomas's plot and Frypan too. There were some goodbyes and deaths that I felt were rushed and not explored enough especially considering the close relationships these characters had with Thomas.

Of course the novel left us with a little mystery behind what REALLY happens in the end, but that was one of my favorite parts. Dasher refused to wrap everything up and tie and pretty red bow on top. I like elusive open ended stories, it leaves the story to me to finish!

I really am being Nit Picky, the story itself is adventurous, exciting, and at times outright creepy. The reason I couldn't bring myself to award this novel five stars is mostly my questioning about the "tests" and "variables" and the "final candidate". I thought the ending was nice and believable and regardless of any flaws Dasher has truly written an amazing series!

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2)
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.59
1659 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Must, Must, MUST read!, October 10, 2011
This was my second time through "Catching Fire" and it was equally as enthralling as it was the first time I devoured it. I don't know how I didn't drive myself crazy with a cliffhanger like Suzanne Collins wrote and the last book wasn't due out for a full year? I don't know if I've ever read a book through twice and been equally as impressed.

The Hunger Games have ended and Katniss and Peeta are safely back in District Twelve, living the hight life with their new houses, money, and endless food. But Katniss is shocked to learn that President Snow is watching her every move, convinced she is aimed to start an uprising. Her actions in the Games are enough to bring Snow's fist down hard and he makes her life a living hell.

This dystopian tale shows the dangers of a totalitarian government and submissive citizens. The government has found a way to suppress the people by keeping them longing for simple needs like food and shelter. Then, just to remind the people of their powerlessness every year they reap their most innocent citizens, children.

If you read "The Hunger Games" and didn't know where Suzanne Collins was left to go after the first book, much like myself, you will be both surprised and delighted. I almost think I like the second book more than the first. This book is an absolute must read for teens and adults alike.

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.21
2335 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, Adventurous, Dystopian Tale, October 6, 2011
"The Hunger Games" is by far one of the best novels in the young adult genre ever written. Suzanne Collins wrote an intense dystopian book that is impossible to put down, even the second time through.

The country is Panem, separated into twelve districts and the capital. Every year to remind the citizens of the district of the power the capital holds, there are the Hunger Games. Each district must supply two tributes, one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen to go to the arena, where the tributes must fight each other to the death because there can only be one victor.

Katniss Everdeen is just sixteen years old when her twelve year old sister's name is called during the Reaping Ceremony and Katniss steps up to take her sister's place in the Hunger Games. Alongside Katniss, is another familiar boy, a classmate, Peeta. But only one of them will come home alive.

Collins is simply an amazing author. The story takes off right from the beginning and trust me, it's a constant page turner and every chapter ends with a cliff hanger forcing you into the next. The novel is so short that it is almost unbelievable because there is so much action and adventure packed in and absolutely nothing is rushed.

Katniss takes an amazing emotional journey. She goes from Katniss Everdeen to The Girl on Fire and it's hard for her to even know the difference. She even seems to have opposing ideas on boys. The first time I read this novel I didn't get into the romance at all, but upon reading it a second time I very much enjoyed the romance.

This book is a must, must, must read! Collin's took the cautionary tale that dystopian has to offer and made it accessible to teens. There is so much emotion in this book and it is absolutely brilliant.

by Kristin Cashore
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.94
265 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Classical Fantasy Novel, October 3, 2011
This review is from: Graceling (Paperback)
"Graceling" is a wonderful fantasy novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Kristin Chashore created a novel with a strong classical story woven beautifully with a twist. Not only did Cashore have this amazingly clear idea for a novel but it was excellently executed.

The Graceling story begins with Katsa already deep inside a rescue mission. As the story reveals itself we learn that Katsa is one of the Graced, those born with supernatural powers. The Graced are recognized by the distinctly different colors of their two eyes. Though, the setting is never precisely clear, its safe to assume that the time is far, far in the past. I imagine a late Medieval or perhaps even an early Renaissance period.

The land is broken into seven kingdoms and Katsa is at the disposal of her King. Katsa is graced with killing and she is sent by the King to travel his kingdom and act as an enforcer to those brave enough to think they can defy him. But on one particular mission, Katsa begins to question the motives behind her Kings missions.

Slowly, we see Katsa break away from the hold her King has over her as she meets Po, a prince from another Kingdom who reacts differently to her than most. It is as she gets caught up with Po that her life begins to change and new adventures begin as she and Po set out to fight a corrupt king.

There is just a hint of risque romance, but Cashore handled it with upmost integrity. What bits she did revealed were classy and beautiful and I absolutely love it. I almost hope that Cashore would write an adult novel with more of these breathtaking love scenes in it. I'm not sure that I have ever read a love scene done as well as what Cashore did in "Graceling."

My only complaint about this novel is that it took me a bit longer to get into it than most young adult novels. I had been warned about this by a friend, since I downloaded and read a sample first and determined the book wasn't for me. I was advised to push past chapter 3 and everything would move faster. Unfortunately, for me it was more like chapter eight. I kept picking up and putting this book down. But after that the book became to good to even put down.

I hope that "Graceling" will become one of those classic tales that we all come to know and love like the tales of King Arthur. Cashore writes in this poetic voice that is as beautiful to read as the story she has written. Nothing in this novel was rushed and everything developed and unfolded.

Before I Fall
Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.66
168 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must, Must, Must read., September 13, 2011
This review is from: Before I Fall (Hardcover)
What if you knew you died? Dead, cold as stone, not a beat left to your heart but you were still living? Still living that same day, your last day, over and over and over just hoping to finally get it right? That is life for Samantha Kingston, well that is non-life for Samantha Kingston.

Sam doesn't go to heaven, or hell, or purgatory, or reincarnated, or even just cease to exist. She's not haunting people, living life as a ghost. No, she is stuck in the last day of her life forever. Sam thought she had the perfect life but maybe what she thought of as perfect wasn't quite true. Now, she is on a quest to find a way out.

"Before I fall" is a beautiful poignant read... a must read novel. It's strange because this novel about dying really isn't about death at all. It's about living, and not living in the sense that you have to check everything off of your bucket list but trying to be the best part of you that there is. Sam's struggle isn't to be better than she is, it's simply to allow the best of her to come through, something she hans't done in a long time.

This book deals with so many teen issues and I definitely think if you have a teenager in your life that you should pick this book up for them because they need to be reading it. Sex, alcohol, drinking, dating, friendship, bullying, family, love, jealousy, death...LIFE. I really don't know how Lauren Oliver packed all this into a book so seamlessly but she did. She truly did capture the essence of teenage life in such a well illustrated way.

Surprisingly, I found nothing inappropriate for the age group. Sometimes, reading Young Adult genre I feel a little inappropriateness in the content. But not in this book, Oliver did a wonderful job of responsibly and realistically depicting Sam's life. Death. Dying. Life. Death is a difficult subject and this book drew me into contemplating the value of my own life.

I could not put this book down. I seriously wanted to hunt Lauren Oliver down at 3 a.m. so I could slap her because I could not tear myself away from these pages (don't worry that's the good kind of slapping, haha) I am just so mesmerized and blown away by this novel it's hard to find words that do it justice.

Not only is the content amazing, the characters are just blow-your mind great from Sam to all of her friends. And that is sort of a shocking thing because it must have been really difficult to Oliver to have such believable character development when the people are only existing in the same day repeatedly. Oh, the writing style! Wow, the voice in this novel was insane I loved it so much.

Everything, was written with such eloquence and the voice was so believable. Not once was I drawn out of the world Oliver created to think, "well now I didn't like that." or "hmmm, that's awkward." Surprising too, because Sam is talking directly to the reader the whole time and I think that is a difficult narration to accomplish well. But Bravo Lauren Oliver, because she did it.

The writing was just too crazy delicious to put this book down. There were definitely some notable quotes in this book. And there was FUNNY parts too, genuinely funny, laugh-out-loud moments. I laughed and I cried and I read until I was exhausted and my eyes were red and glossy because this book was one to be devoured.

If you liked Delirium, if you like the Young Adult genre then you have to pick this book up today because you won't like it'll LOVE it. It's that simple, because it will blow your mind in comparison to some of the other books that are out there. I think this book is PERFECT for teenagers, something that they must read.

Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2
Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $6.76

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maddening, September 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Prepared to love and devour, "Solitary: Escape from Furnace" as I did "Lockdown" I was just the slightest bit disappointed. Smith begins the story immediately where the first novel left off indulging the reader in adventure and raging rapids right off the bat. But, as you may expect, no big spoiler here, Alex and company do not escape.

Instead, Alex caught by the Warden (shocker) and thrown into Solitary where a good three-quarters of the book is set. It is the thing that I praise most about this book that I also loathed, and that is Solitary. I felt utterly maddened by Alex's solitary confinement, which was a genius tool used by Smith to really get the reader into Alex's frame of mind but also really irritating. I found myself banging my head against my cement cell walls which was this book.

I guess I should have taken a hint from the title. While it was driving me crazy I still recognize the genius idea behind driving your reader insane along with the main character and it worked for me in that respect. Brilliant.

Since Alex is in Solitary his interactions mostly consist of himself, with a touch of human experiences thrown in just to keep the madness at bay. I didn't just SEE Alex's decent into crazy-land... I felt it. While this was brilliant, it was also a little safe. Nothing much happens in the entire book and it's frustrating to finally see something happening only to realizer I was at the end. I couldn't believe that just as this book was intriguing me it ended!

While Alex's mind is explored to the point of exhaustion, there isn't much character development when it comes to secondary characters. I thought there were wonderful characters in the first novel with great character development and that was completely lacking for me in this book. There is only the addition of a few new boys that I really never got to know at all and that was very disappointing. Everything that didn't have to do with Alex just felt flat, lifeless, and disappointing.

I was also a little confused by some of the imagery. It was difficult for me to see the word portrait in front of me, which is so important in a book such as this, where descriptions of things we've never seen are needed. Sometimes, I would get visually lost in a scuffle scene or a a running scene where I didn't quite understand what I was supposed to be visualizing.

"Solitary" was well written with some wonderful, beautiful lines and undoubtably I will pick up the next book in this series. I was just so frustrated with the lack of, well...anything in this novel. Nothing happens! I didn't get to know anyone and I'm still not any close to finding out any of the answers I so desperately crave. Who is the Warden? What are the purpose of the Blacksuits, Dogs, Wheezers, and now even Rats? What is the purpose behind all these "experiments" being conducted in Furnace?

Thankfully, it was a fast read and a vessel to carry me to the next book in the series, which I'm hoping has much more to offer me.

The Help
The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.39
987 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed, I cried, and I was shocked., September 9, 2011
This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
"The Help" is a harsh and wonderful portrait of southern living in the 1960's. This book was a engrossing from beginning to end and I laughed, cried, and reflected. Packed with an array of interesting characters, some I grew to love and some I hated intensely. This is a hard and honest look at the women who employed help in Mississippi and the helping women themselves.

Kathryn Stockett created these wonderful character that practically jump off the page. They are so real it is almost as if they were right beside me. "The Help" follows Aibileen, Minny, and Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan beginning in 1962 in Jackson Mississippi. Aibileen has worked as a maid, housekeeper, "help", to white families in Jackson since she was old enough to work. Her best friend, Minny, is forced to leave her own children at home so she can raise other peoples.

Miss Skeeter Phelan is a fresh white college graduate who seeks out and even friends these overworked, underpaid, poorly treated maids. It's a dangerous time to fraternize interracially in Jackson, but Skeeter is determined to meet with these ladies and pen their story despite the risks involved.

The characters are amazing. Minny was my absolute favorite, I really related to Minny's hard shell and smart mouth, and she was by far the most amusing person in the novel. Hilly was my favorite love-to-hate character. What a great job Kathryn Stockett did with Hilly because I found myself burning with hatred for this all to familiar woman. There are three different perspectives in the novel and three very distinct voices. I loved the tone, it was if I could hear Aibileen speaking right to me.

My family, being from the New England area, did not have stories like this to tell me, but my boyfriends mother told me about growing up with "Help". She said, "It was just the way it was, everybody had help." It was an unfamiliar and eerie setting to me and slightly uncomfortable because I was disappointed in myself for not being aware that things like this were happening in America as late as the 1960's. This novel was an eye opener for sure.

Everyone should read "The Help" Absolutely amazing! This delightful story is topped with interesting characters, humor, and a touch of tragedy that takes it from good to great.

Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $7.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Short Novel, September 5, 2011
This review is from: Firelight (Kindle Edition)
Jacinda isn't a normal sixteen year old girl. She is Draki, a dragon girl, the first one of her kind in hundreds of years to manifest with such incredible powers. Since the beginning of time the Draki have lived in secret Prides. Only the Pride wants Jacinda for her unusual gifts. Fearing for Jacinda's safety and freedom, her mother takes her and her twin sister, Tamara, on the run.

Settling into a "normal" human life means new experiences for Jacinda and that is how she meets Will. Will is the most dangerous thing Jacinda could want and yet she does, she can't stay away from him despite the risks of exposing her true nature to him.

I was super excited to see something new in the paranormal-teen genre but I was a bit disappointed with how much detail I was given. Sometimes, I feel like I was being given way too much detail and other moments I felt lacking because of the absence of detail. The storyline was decent, what you would totally expect and predict, no twists, turns, or shockers in this book. I would have hoped that Sophie Jordan would have really taken the time to develop this world where dragons exists extensively. She could have been the one to mold and shape this universe into a wonderful and exciting new setting.

It was fairly short, so I made it through fairly fast, otherwise the story may not have held my interest very long. I found Jacinda and Will's relationship lacking. I hardly felt any emotion about their relationship at all and actually think I prefer the presumed bad guy, Cassian. Really, it was difficult to feel an emotional attachment to any character at all, Jacinda's mother, twin sister Tamara, even the next door old-lady neighbor, who may perhaps be the most perplexing and unimportant character in the entire novel.

Definitely would recommend this book for just the genre Young Adults looking for paranormal romance. I think this novel would sit well with most teenage girls. I'm not even sure if "Firelight" captured my interest enough for me to read the second book in the series.

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