Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: (Don't You) Forget About Me

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we highlight a book we're impatiently anticipating.

This week's "can't-wait-to-read" pick is:

(Don't You) Forget About Me
By Kate Karyus Quinn
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected Publication: June 10, 2014

From Goodreads:

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

This book sounds awesome. I don't know what to except, but it sounds like it will be dark, twisted, and a new take on a dystopian society. I'm excited to see how this will turn out.

What's your WoW?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: August 24, 2010
Hardcover, 390 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

I'll be perfectly honest that the first time I read this book, over two years ago, I wasn't that impressed with it. I felt it lacked what the other books so strongly provided and to me, it wasn't the perfect ending to a fantastic series. Now, after reading the series over again, I can honestly say my opinion of this book has changed greatly. While my opinion on the other two remained relatively the same, everything about Mockingjay felt fresh and amazing. I don't know why I didn't enjoy it that much the first time, but this time I couldn't get enough of it.

Katniss is in District 13 now, a place she only learned existed at the end of her second stint in The Hunger Games. She discovered that the Capitol bombed District 12 and the only hope for the citizens to be free is to take over all the districts and kill President Snow. Katniss has been voted in as the Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion, and the one that will help the rebels win. Reluctant, Katniss finally agrees to doing this as long as her friends are kept safe and she is the one who kills Snow. Life is very different from Katniss in 13, She is still recovering from the Quarter Quell and Peeta has been taken hostage by the Capitol. She spends her free time hiding from everyone or hunting with Gale. Nothing is the same between them either and as much as she thinks she'd like to fix that, her only worry is Peeta. Seeing him on TV, disintegrating in front of her eyes, kills her and she is determined to go to the Capitol and save him. When that proves impossible, she does the next best thing. She goes to any district they will allow her in and gets herself on TV as much as possible to prove to everyone that she is alive and well and willing to do whatever it takes. When a rescue mission for Peeta takes an awful turn, they set out for the Captiol. What is originally just a glorified mission turns into a real hunt for Snow and Katniss finds herself in another version of the Hunger Games, where Capitol pods explode everywhere and mutts find their way to her. 

When I read this the first time, one of my complaints was that there were no Games, but in reading it again, I see that the Games were all around them as they tried to get to Snow. Real life games that the Capitol began using against its own. Pods that hold a number of dangerous things like poison, tracker jackers or traps. Mutts that can track down Katniss by name. Bombs and explosions erupting the streets of the Capitol.  This is scarier than the Games because it isn't a fight for a Victor, it is a fight to get rid of everyone who has ever gone against the Capitol, and even those who haven't. The rebels will do whatever it takes to take over the Capitol and show Snow who's boss. Surrounded by those she trusts, Katniss dives head first into the Games, determined to be the one to take down Snow. The new characters are clever and strong in different ways. some are from the Capitol, Cressida and her cameramen, who prove their worthiness in front of the camera. Coin, the President of District 13, is cold and ruthless and will do anything to take back what she thinks is hers. And Boggs, Katniss's commander, who believes that Katniss can take their mission to the end and do what needs to be done. Old friends join them, Gale, Finnick, and Peeta. We see a lot if development in each of these characters and see how Katniss's opinions of them change throughout the book. 

It is nonstop action in this conclusion to a fantastic series. Katniss has never followed the rules and she doesn't plan to ever. For once though, she does not think of herself and she tries her hardest to lead her team to Snow's mansion in one piece. Fighting her mixed up feelings for Peeta and Gale while trying to be the leader she doesn't feel she ever will be. She is not at her strongest for most of the book, but she finds a way through it, pushes to the other side and comes out stronger in the end. The ending is heartbreaking in a way that perfectly sums up the series. I wish I could read about these characters forever, but at least I can watch them on the big screen and keep them in my heart. To me, this series will forever stay with me. The horror, the power and the love that I've read throughout the books captured every feeling i've ever felt. I related to most of them in one way or another and I love how everything played out in the end. Collins was not afraid to do what she had to do to conclude the story and I love her for that. To me, this ending is perfect and Katniss will live on forever within me. 

“You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real," he whispers.
"Real," I answer. "Because that's what you and I do, protect each other.” 

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Top Ten Catching Fire Moments

This week is Hunger Games week on my blog! With Catching Fire hitting theatres this Friday, I'm devoting every post to my favourite series. 

Top Ten Catching Fire Moments

1. Katniss and Peeta sleeping together while on the Victory Tour: After everything they've been through - surviving the games together, then not speaking when returning to District 12 - but on the train, none of that matters and those moments they spend alone together are heartbreaking and beautiful. "You should wake me." "It's not necessary. My nightmares are usually about losing you. I'm okay once I realize you're here."

2. The 75th Quarter Quell announcement: This scene is short, dramatic, and heart wrenching. There's no way to tell if President Snow changed what the original envelope held, but wither way Katniss must go back in the games because she is the only female victor from District 12. This was a game changer in the book and it immediately drew me further in. 

3. Katniss and Finnick's first meeting: Who wouldn't love Finnick after meeting him. He's half naked and offering Katniss a sugar cube. He quickly became one of my favourite characters.

4. Katniss's mockingjay dress/ victors holding hands: This whole scene was fantastic. Every victor had something sly to say about the Captiol and by the time Katniss got on stage, there was already a heat
in the air. When her wedding dress turns to ashes and below it a black, feathered number, displays her as the Mockingjay. Then all the victors hold hands and it just takes everything to a whole other level. No one is happy that the victors need to return to the arena. 

5. Finnick as their ally in the games: Without knowing that Haymitch has given Katniss and Peeta allies. Finnick quickly includes himself with that and ends up protecting them a lot. He saves Peeta's life, fishes for food, and is willing to sacrifice everything to protect them. Katniss has mixes feelings about this because she knows eventually she'll have to kill him. But in this, we find out a lot about his character, how he's in love with a mad girl back home, and that he is just as haunted as Katniss is.

6. Tick tock, this is a clock: Wiress is smarter than most the other tributes and she is the first to realize that the arena is designed as a clock. It's a great addition to the games and I love it much more than the first arena. There are killer monkeys, blood rain, lighting trees, and jabberjays who threaten you into madness by mocking your family members. The games were much shorter in this book than the first, but they were more intense, scarier and all too real. 

7. The beach scene: A scene that equally rivals the cave scene. It's a short, tender moment where nothing else exists but Katniss and Peeta and she kisses him not as a part of the games, but because she wants to. It's beautiful and perfect and gives us Peeta lovers more hope.

8. Katniss desperately trying to save Peeta after she's been attacked: Katniss is attacked and the first thing she worries about is that she left Peeta alone with Finnick and there's no telling if he's still alive. Not caring if anyone hears her, she runs to where she last saw him, willing to do anything it takes to save him. The pain she feels when he's not there is gut wrenching and she calls out to him in hopes of finding him. The saddest part is that she will not see him again for a very long time.

9. Katniss destroying the arena: In her final act of rebellion, thinking she will not survive to see the consequences, Katniss shoots an arrow into the chink in the force field. It destroys the arena and she is quickly retrieved before she can die. Everything is a blur after that, but she did what we all knew she would and it was spectacular. 

10. Finding out that the other tributes were all trying to keep Peeta and Katniss alive: After being rescued, Katniss finds out that the other tributes were helping her survive, all part of large plan to overthrow the Captiol. She's upset that she wasn't let in on the plan, but she's even more upset that Peeta is nowhere to be seen. The Captiol has him and she knows the last thing she'll do before she dies is make sure he is safe. The fact that she now lives for Peeta is the best thing that could happen. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Catching Fire

This week is Hunger Games week on my blog! With Catching Fire hitting theatres this Friday, I'm devoting every post to my favourite series. 

Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: September 1, 2009
Hardcover, 391 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

If The Hunger Games didn't make you cringe with despair, the sequel certainly will. I don't mean this in a bad way at all, in fact this series quickly became my favourite and still holds that title, but it's brutal, let's be honest, and unlike anything you'll read in the YA genre. Katniss has won the Hunger Games against all odds and she got to save Peeta while she was at it. Her actions did not go unnoticed though and now the Captiol is out for her blood. Her victory tour proves to her that everything they feared is happening. There are uprising in the Districts and President Snow wants her dead. He is sure that everything she did in the game was just a ploy and now it's up to her to prove that everything she did was out of love for Peeta. But nothing is good enough for Snow and when the Quarter Quell is announced, he uses this against her and announces that the Quell tributes will be drawn from only Victors. Without a shadow of a doubt, Katniss knows she is returning to the arena and her mission is to keep Peeta alive no matter what.

Katniss never fails to surprise me. She is at a crossroads at the beginning of the book. Her love for her family makes her want to run away, taking Peeta and Gale with her. Gale refuses to go, knowing that whether Katniss admits it or not, she has feelings for Peeta. When new Peacekeepers arrive and turn everything about District 12 into something unfathomable, Katniss realizes too late that she should have run. When she's shipped back to the Captiol, Peeta in hand, not ready for the next games to come, she does whatever she can to fight the Captiol. What I love is that as Katniss is coming up with her own ways of rebelling, everyone else on her team, as well as the other Victors, are also trying their hardest to let the Captiol know that what they're doing is wrong. There are so many small moments that took my breath away and I was eager to see how the Games would play out. Katniss never stops being strong, never stops worrying about Peeta, and is able to go into the Games ready for him to make it out alive. The way that she propels herself by thinking of Peeta is the most selfless thing she's ever done and it just prove how deep her love for him really is, even if she doesn't know it yet.

The Games in this book blew me away. They were sneaky and strategic and not at all like the previous. Katniss immediately became allies with Finnick, the pretty boy from District 4. Unsure if she can trust him, she goes through a lot of emotions throughout the game, continuously trying to keep Peeta alive. More allies soon arrive, putting Katniss in a very difficult situation. She knows she can only save one person and she wishes she weren't becoming close to more. This has always been Katniss's mindset. She is the kind of girl who does not get close to anyone because she knows in the world they live in, getting close surely means a harder goodbye. But the more time she spends with Peeta, the more she longs to stay with him. She still does not want to lose the boy with the bread. There were spins and surprises every chapter ad even though I'd read the book before, I was still eager to see how it all played out again. Collins is brilliant in her writing and plotting, keeping us guessing until the very last page. The new characters are memorable and unique, their stories all so different even though they have all been through the same thing. The acts of rebellion, the hints of trust, and the subtle nods to how well they all know each other, offered a completely different games with a much harder result to render. 

The cliffhanger ending killed me the first time I read it. Luckily, I have Mockingjay beside me so I can quickly dive back into the conclusion of this fantastic series. Katniss, the face of the rebellion, the Mockinjay, still has so much to go through before she can finally be out of the Hunger Games.

“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now and live in it forever.”

“My nightmares are usually about losing you. I'm okay once I realize you're here.” 

“I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.” 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Hunger Games Moments

This week is Hunger Games week on my blog! With Catching Fire hitting theatres this Friday, I'm devoting every post to my favourite series. 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we list off our top ten bookish loves. This week, since it's all Hunger Games, I've decided to do something a little different. Here are my top ten Hunger Games moments:

1. Madge giving Katniss the Mockingjay pin: It's unfortunate that they had to cut out Madge from the movie. She's a small character, but she's important to the story. She gives Katniss this pin that her aunt had before she went into the games herself and never returned. This pin obviously becomes a sign of the rebellion none of that would have happened without Madge.

2. The tribute interviews: This is a huge turning point in the book. There's been an unspoken agreement that Peeta and Katniss are going to be portrayed as a couple, but it's not until Peeta tells the audience that he's loved her all his life that it feels real to her. She suddenly knows exactly what she has to do to stay alive.

3. Peeta and Katniss on the rooftop of the training centre: A small scene, right before they go into the games, where Peeta tells her what's on his mind before entering. He doesn't want the games to change him. Katniss doesn't really know what he means until she's in there, has seen too many brutal things, and decides she doesn't want to be changed either.

4. Katniss stuck in the tree with the Careers below her: A heart wrenching scene where we have no idea how it will play out. Katniss gets her first sponsor gift, medicine for her burns, and Rue shows her the tracker jacker nest that she uses to outsmart the Careers. This ends up turning into Katniss's first kills and the beginning of her alliance with Rue. It also changes her mind about Peeta, who has been with the Careers but saves her life.

5. Rue's death: The most heart breaking moment in the book, Katniss is too late to save little Rue from Marvel. Katniss kills Marvel with her own hands, her first real kill, and stays with Rue until she dies. She sings her a song she used to sing to Prim, and covers her body in flowers before the hovercraft takes her away. What she's done for Rue gains her the trust of District 11 and she is rewarded with a loaf of bread.

6. The rule change: When the Gamemakers announce that there can be two Victors as long as they are from the same District, Katniss immediately screams out Peeta's name without thinking of the consequences. We know that most of what Katniss has been doing around Peeta has just been for the cameras, but at that moment we know that she cares about him in a way that the cameras will never capture. He is the boy who saved her life many years ago and she does not want to lose him.

7. The cave scene: This scene became infamous among the fandom. It was the moment the Katniss/Peeta ship became a real contender. They share their first kiss and are both very vulnerable with the other. Katniss finds out just how much Peeta loves her and tells him he saved her life. There are a lot of kisses, cuddling, and the flame between grew larger and larger. There was no going back after this scene.

8. The sleep syrup: I was disappointed that this was omitted from the movie as well, as I love how Haymitch and the sponsors are all helping her get rid of Peeta for a day so that she can go against his will and get him medicine. He realizes it too late and Katniss leave the cave to save him. 

9. The berries: Katniss and Peeta are the last standing and believe they have won. The Gamemakers announce that there can be only one, and suddenly they have to kill each other. Knowing the Captiol would rather have two Victors instead of none, Katniss takes out the Nightlock berries and threatens to kill them both. They pop the berries in their mouths just as the Gamemakers announce they have both won. The whole scene is nerve-wrecking and changes everything. 

10. The last scene: Here we see that Katniss was not completely acting for the cameras. She may be unsure of her feelings for Peeta, but she knows she doesn't want to lose him. She has started a ruckus in the Captiol because of her little stunt and now knows how in danger she is. But all she can think of is when Peeta will let go of her hand. She doesn't want it to happen. She doesn't want to lose the boy with the bread. 

This whole book blew me away and they did a great job with the movie. Can't wait to see what they'll do with Catching Fire!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: The Hunger Games

This week is Hunger Game week on my blog! With Catching Fire hitting theatres this Friday, I'm devoting every post to my favourite series. 

I've started a re-read of the series in anticipation of the new movie. I've been waiting a year and a half for my favourite book in the series to hit the big screen, and now that it's so close, I knew it was time to finally do the re-read I've been wanting to do since the first movie came out. So I watched The Hunger Games, then started to devour the series. And since I haven't had a chance to review these books yet, what better time than now!

The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: September 14, 2008
Hardcover, 374 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Imagine a world where the government forced 24 children to fight to the death. That's the world Katniss Everdeen lives in. Panem - a futuristic United States where the Captiol has the only say. Divided into twelve districts, Panem has more rules than ever since an uprising 74 years ago threatened to destroy everything the Captiol had put in place. The Captiol has reminded citizens they're in charge by holding The Hunger Games, a game where two tributes, a boy and a girl, are chosen from each of the twelve districts to compete in a horrible televised fighting match where only one will come out alive. In one swift sacrifice, Katniss finds herself separated from her family, her best friend, Gale, and in an arena unprepared for what she must do to survive.

Collins creates an entire new world, describing it in great detail with little resemblance to our Earth now. Each district is in charge of a different aspect of living, District 12, Katniss's district, is in charge of mining. They are the outer most district and therefore the poorest and it's unlikely one of them could win the games. Although the world is different, the way its run is unsettlingly similar to ours. We are ruled by the government and the power of money and greed. Some people will do whatever needs to be done to achieve fame and fortune. The Hunger Games takes this further by involving the nation's children while the rest of the world allows this to happen. The scariest part is that it seems like something that could actually happen in the future. By putting children in this arena and turning it into something that everyone needs to participate in, and those who are poor need to put their names in more in order to survive the year, citizens will obey as much as possible in fear of worse things happening. Katniss does not go into the games set on rebelling, but she does it naturally, hating the Captiol and what it does to the world just like most everyone else. She does not want to kill, she simply wants to survive. The way humanity works for some people os amazing. Even though Katniss is in this arena where she knows she won't survive unless everyone else dies, she still does not go around killing people. Instead, she does what she has to do to survive, she becomes allies with a young girl, and she finds Peeta, the boy from her district that saved her when she was a little girl and may be in love with her, when she knows there's a chance she can save him. 

Katniss is the perfect female heroine. She is brave and strong but at the same time she is still a teenager and therefore makes mistakes like the rest of us. She has betrayed yet loved, fought and killed yet saved and enlightened. She has always only known one life, a life of survival and fear of what will come next. In the arena, she learns what she's made of. She escapes her shell and does what she has to do to survive. She doesn't see how other people see her, but throughout the book she learns more about those around her and those she left behind. She is told to play up her relationship with Peeta, something that was sprung up on her right before she had to enter the arena. She makes the effort, knowing it will save her, if not both of them, from the death around the corner. The romance between them is swoon worthy. Peeta is desperately in love with her, but Katniss doesn't know how she feels. At first, it's all for the cameras, but we all know throughout the game, she falls more and more for him. It's heartbreaking and endearing and I knew the minute they kissed the first time, that it would not end up just for the cameras. Some people are convinces she belongs with Gale, but there was never a doubt in my mind that she was meant for Peeta. 

The Hunger Games is beautiful in its brutality. War and death linger around every corner and the words and events will shock and destroy you. But there is always hope, love, and family to make the world seem like a better place. This series started the dystopian craze. Many have tried to recreate the feeling of living in Panem, but not many have succeeded. The writing is wonderful, the plot is terrifying, and the characters are memorable. This book will go down in history for a good reason and it's certainly one to be added to everyone's to-read list. 

“And while I was talking, the idea of actually losing Peeta hit me again and I realized how much I don't want him to die. And it's not about the sponsors. And it's not about what will happen when we get home. And it's not just that I don't want to be alone. It's him. I do not want to lose the boy with the bread.” 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Shadow Kiss

Shadow Kiss
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: November 13, 2008
Paperback, 443 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most.

I was super excited going into this book. Frostbite was so good and I couldn't wait for more Rose. It started with a bang with Rose having dark thoughts since killing her first Strigoi. Things aren't feeling quite right and she's pretty sure she's seeing Mason, her could be boyfriend who got killed during the attacks in the last book. Not only that but Lissa is experimenting with her magic with Adrian, causing friction between Lissa and Christian, and Victor Dashkov may be released from jail soon. Shit just keeps hitting the fan in Rose's life but she doesn't  have time to deal with any of it as she is now in her field practice for becoming a guardian, protecting someone she didn't think she'd be paired with. 

There was so much going on in this book, it was hard to put it down. I loved the field practice, where the dhampirs have the chance to put everything they've learned to practice and fight off the Guardians as though they are real Strigoi. Rose's practice starts off rough, but we all know how strong she is and she eventually proves it again to everyone around her. This book is a game changer. Everything that happens in it is sure to make an impact on the rest of the series. Lissa's powers are getting stronger everyday, but this is bad news for Rose since she is sucking up all the madness coming off of Lissa. Victor is still alive, though locked up for good, but I have a feeling he'll be back. Rose has finally discovered what being Shadow Kissed really means and it may not be a good thing at all. The ending is flawless and unexpected. Everything was written well and sucked me in and there was no way I was letting go. 

Rose and Dimitri's relationship also changes drastically in this book. I got chills every time they spoke, hoping for another kiss to add to the two they've shared so far. Dimitri is a good match for Rose. He knows how to calm her down but also understands that if she wants to do something, she'll do it. The age difference barely registers with me when they are together and the moments they spend together in the cabin were swoon worthy. I'm not sure what I'll think of the next book, Blood Promise, since the ending to this one may have scarred me for life, but I'm eager to find out what happens between Rose and Dimitri now that everything has happened. Rose is such a refreshing heroine, and I can't wait to see what other trouble she gets into. 

“Even I make mistakes." I put on my brash, overconfident face. "I know it's hard to believe—kind of surprises me myself—but I guess it has to happen. It's probably some kind of karmic way to balance out the universe. Otherwise, it wouldn't be fair to have one person so full of awesomeness.” 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Murder Complex

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that showcases what books we're not so patiently waiting for.

This week's pre-publication pick is:

The Murder Complex

By Lindsay Cummings
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected Publication: June 10, 2014

From Goodreads:

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is-although he doesn't know it-one of the MC's programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family? Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

The description for this book is vague, but certain parts about it appeal to me. Assassins in a futuristic world who control the population at their will sounds like a great concept for a book. Certainly can't wait to get my hands on this one!

What's your WoW pick?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Covers We Wish We Could Redesign

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by The Broke & the Bookish, where we talk about our top ten book related topics.

This week's topic is top ten book covers we wish we could redesign

1. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder: This cover just isn't as strong as her other covers, covers that made me want to read the books right away.
2. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: This book sounds amazing, but the cover lacks a lot. It's such a harsh title, I expected seeing a harsher cover.
3. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano: This book was incredible, and although I do love the stars and trees on this cover, the model looks like a little girl and doesn't capture Morgan as much as I'd like.

4. The Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready: Another great series, though the covers don't tell you anything about what you'll find in the books. There is no hint at ghosts or the paranormal world Aura lives in.

5. The redesigned Delirium covers: The first cover of Delirium was one of the reasons I picked this series up. It was shiny and this gorgeous blue and just tantalizing enough to make me curious about what was inside. These ones have just become another series with a pretty girl on the cover.

6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: This cover almost stopped me from reading this book, though I'm glad it didn't. The other two covers so far are fabulous, and even though this makes a lot of sense to the story, I just don't like it that much.
7. Sever by Lauren DeStefano: Wither's cover was amazing! Fever's was less than perfect, but this one just lacks everything the other covers had. There were hidden treats in the other two, but this one just looks like the model is sitting in front of a green screen.
8. Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood: The original cover of Born Wicked was gorgeous, the redesigned one was pretty, but there's something about this one that I don't like. It doesn't seem magical enough.

9. The new Starters/Enders covers by Lissa Price: The last image is the original cover. So creepy right? This cover helped the story so much and the new ones just look blah.

10. The Paranormalcy series covers: Evie is an hilarious heroine. She loves pink, takes her TASER everywhere and doesn't take crap from vampires. I don't see any of Evie on these covers even though she graces all three of them. They're pretty yes, but just not right for this series.

Anyone agree? Disagree? I'd love to see your picks!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Allegiant

Author: Veronica Roth
Published: October 22, 2013
Hardcover, 526 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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. 

Veronica Roth is a brilliant storyteller. She knows just which words to use to lure you in and just what plot points to keep you there. Divergent blew me away. It took me into a world that seemed so plausible yet scary as hell. A world divided and ready to fight. Tris made the hard decision to leave her family for the faction she belonged in and soon found herself a Divergent, hunted and dangerous. The second novel, Insurgent, explored the world around her, helped her fall in love with Four, and revealed secrets we never saw coming. Together in the final book, Tris and Four step out beyond the fence in hopes of getting answers, but only find more secrets, more rebellion and answers they may never be ready for. 

I anticipated this book since I finished Insurgent. Talk of the world beyond the faction made my mind go wild with possiblities. When they finally left the city, I had no idea what they would find, and I wish I could say I was just as excited when I found out what they did. Unfortunately, none of what played out was what I thought it would be, but that doesn't mean I wasn't drawn into the story just as well. Final books are hard to live up to the first ones. We expect a lot, we expect resolution, lots of fights and lots of love (at least I do). This novel opened up a whole new world of possibilities that I found  weren't explored. We stayed in the new compound, we barely got to know about the fringes and everyone ended up back in the city in the end. Nonetheless, Roth took some brave moves and took the story in a direction that we would not soon forget.

Told through the alternate views of Tris and Four, we finally have a real chance at getting into Four's head. At first, the chapters were confusing as I couldn't remember who was talking because I was so used to only hearing from Tris's head, but eventually I got the hang out it. Four wasn't as unique as I thought his voice would be, nor did he feel as strong as he did in the earlier books. It seemed like he almost lost himself while Tris was becoming everything she knew she could be. Their relationship had a few bumps, jealously rearing its ugly head, but there was no denying their love for the other. They are the type that would do anything for the other and that backfired a few times. Tris is still the bravest girl out there, willing to do whatever it takes to save those she loves, even if they've betrayed her in the past. She is strong enough to forgive her brother, Caleb, as well as earning the forgiveness from those she's betrayed in the past. Her story arc has been heartbreaking. She's had to do a lot to survive and endure death after death. Somehow though, even i the end, she never falters, especially since she knows what she has to lose. Four may only have four fears, but I think Tris is the one who has overcome her fears and continued being brave. Tris and Four were separated for most of the book, which made the two points of view nice so we could follow them both. A lot happened to them outside that fence as they tried to turn their city back into what they thought worked before. Enemies sprang up from everywhere and unlikely heroes fought against them. 

This book was nothing short of epic, though there were some scenes that could have been deleted or sped up, and Roth went out with a bang. Bravery and sacrifice have been following Tris since the beginning and if anything, her character had the hardest decisions to make. The other characters I loved made sure they had their say in this book and helped every way they could to get through the final task. Tris and Four's relationship took some hits, but their love kept them strong. Even when they were apart, the other was always on their mind. This series could have finished stronger, but I'm still impressed with everything Roth has done. This will easily become a hit with a lot of fans, even more so after the movie comes out. I can't wait to see what else Roth has in store for us.

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.” 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Feral Fridays: Short Stories & Novellas

I haven't participated in Feral Fridays before, but I love reading what the girls over at Book Nerd Reviews have to say on Fridays, so I thought I'd put in my own opinion. This is a fun meme where we discuss different topics and get the chance to rant away.

This week we're talking about what we think of short stories, novellas, and novel extras.

Novellas have easily become one of my favourite part of new series. A lot of authors have been joining in on this trend. It's the perfect opportunity for them to explore their characters and settings with more depth than the novels allow. Usually these novellas are told through the perspective of a secondary character, or act as deleted scenes from the novels. It gives the readers a chance to see some behind the scenes action, learn more about their favourite characters, and get even more excited for the next book in the series. They are a nice little tidbit that doesn't cost much, or is sometimes free, that make the wait for the next novel a little more bearable.

My first experience with novellas was the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent. In between the last three books, Vincent took the opportunity to get us pumped by releasing short stories, without any spoilers, written from the point of view of characters we hadn't had a chance to hear much from. Some of these were characters I loved, like Tod (Reaper), and others were less likeable characters, like Sophie (Never to Sleep), who became more likeable after experiencing the story through their eyes. Many more authors followed this trend. Julie Kagawa released a couple of stories from The Iron Fey world, allowing us readers into the minds of both Puck and Ash (before Ash got his own novel). Sophie Jordan gave us a look at Az's life in Breathless, set in the world, and Veronica Rossi made me fall in love with Roar and Liv even more in the Under the Never Sky novella, Roar and Liv. Lauren Oliver gave her supporting characters the spotlight in her Delirium Stories, giving Annabel, Hana, and Raven their chance to add to the story. Tahereh Mafi showed us that Warner wasn't as bad as we all thought he was in Destroy Me. Then of course there is Veronica Roth, who is coming out with a collection of short stories told by Four, giving us a first hand look at his history and life.

The great part about these novellas is that they tend to add something to the overall story. You don't miss anything by not reading them, but when the author references them subtly in the novel, you pick up on it. It's a fun little extra that gives you a chance to learn more about characters that don't control the story. When you are used to seeing everything from one character's perspective, it's nice to get to know those who are helping that character get to their goal, and find out what their own end goals are.

I love forward to novellas almost as much as I look forward to the next novel in the series. They can make you care about someone you thought you disliked, or just let you swoon over a nice little romance scene that didn't make it into the novels. Either way, I think they are a great extra to series and I'd love to see more of them.

Are you a fan of novellas? Do you read them? Let me know!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Perfect Ruin

Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: October 1, 2013
Hardcover, 356 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

There are stories that you read where the setting is a character all on its own. Stories that whisk you off to a faraway land. Some of these lands are wonderful places where dreams come true, but others may look beautiful and magical from the outside, but inside they are no different than ours. Internment, a city in the sky, is a perfectly run community. A train keeps everyone inside and people know not to go to the edge. Those who go to the edge never come back the same, if they come back at all. Morgan is content not knowing about what's over the edge. She is excited to start her adult life with her betrothed, Basil, But when a girl ends up murdered, suddenly life on Internment is not as magical as it once was. There are lockdowns, rumours, and more murders. Suddenly the edge doesn't seem so bad after all.

DeStefano has proven her ability to create dystopian societies. Her Chemical Garden trilogy drew a picture of a world where everyone dies young and a girl fighting to change that. Her characters are strong and curious, eager to know why things are the way they are. Morgan is no different. She is a dreamer fighting the urge to do what her older brother did, find the edge and try to leave Internment. Through her eyes, we see how she first feels about Internment: safe, happy, free. After the murders and attempts on her family's lives, the only thing she wants to do is leave. The character development is solid. The first half of the book reads like a life, day to day activities that seem mundane but all have hidden meanings. Internments is magical, a city in the sky claimed by the Gods to create a new, better society. When people start to doubt the Gods, the city turns to shambles and the only way Morgan can be save is to leave the island. 

The wonderful thing about this book is the way the words flow through the pages. Morgan's voice is almost old fashioned and the subtle look of things on Internment creates a picture so clear in my mind. Simple hints of steampunk turns what could be an ordinary city into an illusion of greatness. Each year, Internment has a Festival of Stars, where each resident puts a wish on a wishing tree as a prayer to the Gods. This simple tradition makes Internment what it is and reminds us that they are on a floating city high above the clouds, far from anything else. I was drawn to Internment, wishing I too could live up in the stars, but as the story went on and Morgan discovered more about the place she was living, I understood why she would want to leave. When there is that hope of something more, something different, we as humans have an instinct to explore it. When the ground suddenly seems like the only choice, it's no wonder Morgan takes the opportunity to find it.

This book was the perfect beginning to a new series. I know the next book will be completely different, but I'm excited to see where DeStefano takes these characters and how they survive after what they've already been through. She has a fantastic ability to take readers into a magical world, make us fall in love with it, and that turn it into something we dread. Either way, I'll still look up into the sky and dream of a city high above the clouds where you can see the stars up close. 

“We accept gods that don't speak to us. We accept gods that would place us in a world filled with injustices and do nothing as we struggle. It's easier than accepting that there's nothing out there at all, and that, in our darkest moments, we are truly alone.” 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected Publication Date: April 15, 2014

(summary from Goodreads)

Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them--all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved--five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Han impressed me so much with the Summer series. I fell in love with her characters and her writing. Fire with Fire also blew me away, so I'm very excited to see what else she has in store. The description of this book looks like it will be an emotional roller coaster, not unlike the Summer series. It sounds like there will be some laughter, tears, and hopefully a happy ending. 

What book are you impatiently waiting for?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I'm Dying For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week is about sequels we can't wait to get our hands on, and if there's something I love best, it's sequels. 
1. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer #3): The final book in the Mara Dyer trilogy is for sure going to be just as mind blowing as the first two. There's no telling how this story will end.

2. Cress by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3): The Lunar Chronicles have impressed me so much thus far, and this one (which is about Rapunzel!) looks like it will be a nice addition to the tales.

3. Split Second by Kasie West (Pivot Point #2): Pivot Point was so much fun to read. I loved the thought about being able to choose your own path in life.

4. Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (Mind Games #2): Mind Games was as confusing as it was fantastic. There were times where I wasn't sure what was happening, but I loved it too much to stop. I'm sure this one will be equally as crazy. 

5. Ignite Me by Taherah Mafi (Shatter Me #3): Juliette's journey thus far has taken her far from where we first found her, alone in a room. Now we'll find out what the world has planned for her. 

6. The Worlds We Make by Megan Crewe (The Way We Fall #3): A great Canadian series about a virus spreading throughout Canada and killing those it infects. The conclusion is bound to take it all to a new level.
7. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss #3): Each book in this series is wonderful on its own and even better since they all connect together. The prefect contemporary romance, I can't wait for the final, sweet love connection.

8. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #3): One of the best dystopian series I've read, I can't wait to see how Rossi ends this perfect series and wonderful characters. 

And a few that are out but I haven't had a chance to pick up yet:
9. Champion by Marie Lu (Legend #3): Ok, so this just came out today but I may not be able to get my hands on it for awhile. I've been waiting for the conclusion of this series since I finished Prodigy, with it's heartbreaking cliffhanger. 

10. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #5): Another book I just haven't picked up yet, I can't wait to revisit Percy and his friends and find out if or how they escape 
from the doom they've landed in. 

Anyone else excited for these books? What are some sequels you're waiting for?

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