Review: In the End by Demitria Lunetta

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: In the End by Demitria LunettaIn the End by Demitria Lunetta
Series: In the After #2
Published by HarperTeen on June 24, 2014
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures.

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

Considering how much I loved In the After (book #1), I was thoroughly disappointed with In the End. The pacing was slow, most of the book felt like filler and I couldn’t stand most of the new characters we met.

Amy was still a pretty good character, though she spends a good deal of this book getting into trouble, not listening and doing stupid things. When someone told her to stay put, to wait until things were calm or safe, she just didn’t listen. I really wanted to scream at her. If she had stayed put, like she was told to, she would have avoided at least 80% of the trouble she ran in to. And while Amy grew and matured a LOT in In the After, her character development was almost non-existent in In the End. It’s almost like she peaked at the end of In the After.

We meet a lot of new characters in In the End. I only sort of liked two or three of them. But even then, I feel like we didn’t really get to know them, so it was hard to like them. And that’s despite the fact that two of them were major characters for almost all of the book. We just didn’t get to see enough of them or learn enough about their past and who they were. I liked Jacks in the beginning. He was calm and mild-mannered, yet his attitude screamed “cocky leader.” As the story went on, I wasn’t crazy about certain things and it wasn’t until the very end of the book that I realized I liked him a whole lot more than… Well, someone else… But.. Spoilers, so I’m shutting up – read the book! And I liked Brenna immediately but I never trusted her, so that messed with me because I was always waiting for her to turn on Amy.

Baby was one of my favorite characters in In the After for so many reasons. She was a young child, but she was smart, resilient and knew how to survive. She had an intriguing back-story, too. But she was BARELY in In the End. That was really disappointing. And when she WAS in the book… Well… Sigh.

As I mentioned before, most of this book felt like filler. It had Second Book Syndrome, except in this case, the series is a duology and only has two books. So that was a pretty big disappointment. Honestly, most of the book just felt like its only purpose was to get the reader to the last 20 pages. Because, really, that’s when things finally picked up. Until that point, the book was slow, boring filler and completely predictable. Nothing ever took me by surprise.

Another huge complaint I had with this book? Sexism. Lots and lots of sexism and the idea that women belong to men and are nothing more than “property.” These women were branded with tattoos to mark which man they belonged to… UHHHH, NOPE. This knocked it down initially from a 4-star to a 3.5-star rating. And then the slow pacing, predictability and filler-like feeling dropped it to the final 3-star rating. Also, as a minor side-note, sooooo many parts of this book felt like Walking Dead rip-offs.. Just saying.

I wish this book had some more redeeming qualities I could talk about, but it just didn’t. I adored book one but I could rant for hours about this book. I usually avoid spoilers in my reviews. But if this review had spoilers, it would be triple the length that it is now with all the ranting.

So unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book. I feel completely let down by it. Personally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to someone, though others might enjoy it where I didn’t. I still think Demitria Lunetta is a brilliant writer; she crafted a gorgeous, creepy world, described it to us vividly and kept me turning the page, still eager to see how it all ended despited how much I didn’t enjoy it. I’ll definitely still be watching out for future books from this author.


Review: Rebel by Amy Tintera

I received this book for free from a giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Rebel by Amy TinteraRebel by Amy Tintera
Series: Reboot #2
Published by HarperTeen on May 13, 2014
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: a giveaway
Buy on Amazon

The sequel to the action-packed Reboot is a can't-miss thrill ride, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Veronica Roth, and Marie Lu.

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.

Though Rebel fell short of my expectations, it was still better than its predecessor, Reboot. The main characters were slightly better, the secondary characters shined, the plot was a little more intriguing and the pace was a bit faster.

I still wasn’t a huge fan of Wren. I thought she would get better as time went on. She started out very boring and detached in Reboot. She shed some of that icy demeanor as the story went along, so I expected a lot more character growth than we got in Rebel. Don’t get me wrong, she still came a long way from where she started out, but I would have liked to see more from her.

I LOVED Callum. Right away, starting with chapter one, I loved hearing the story from his POV. He has such a distinct voice and, since he’s only a twenty-two, he still has a very human personality and human morales. He grew a lot from the innocent Reboot that he was in the first book. He hardened himself a little bit to some things and I really liked the way he was able to step up and become a leader. Honestly, I kind of wish the whole book had been told in his POV. Like with Reboot, he’s the only reason I didn’t DNF Rebel.

The one odd thing, though? I loved Callum, I didn’t love Wren – but I loved Wren through Callum’s eyes. Does that make sense? Because I’m saying it and I still can’t fully grasp the concept. Wren wasn’t very likable or relatable and she was very – the keyword with her – detached for much of the book. But through Callum’s eyes, she became likable.

One of my biggest issues with Reboot was that I didn’t like the secondary characters – only two of them, but one wasn’t in much of the book and the other met an unfortunate fate. So I was pleasantly surprised when I LOVED not one, not two, but about five of the secondary characters in Rebel. Among my favorites were Addie, Beth, Riley, Gabe and Isaac. Of those, I especially loved Addie and Riley. I can’t say much about them, specifically, because of spoilers. But I will say, I was MOSTLY satisfied with the way each of their stories ended.

Another big issue I had with Reboot was the pacing. The middle of the book completely dragged. The pacing in Rebel was much better and I can’t really think of any spots where Rebel dragged. It moved at a pretty decent pace the entire way through.

Despite the good, I definitely had some big issues with Reboot. One was forced reproduction to rebuild the population. I seriously hope I don’t need to explain why I hate that… The other issue I had was that Rebel was VERY predictable and VERY cliche. I found myself rolling my eyes several times throughout the book. Also, a couple scenes that should have been big and crazy were very anti-climatic, which was a let down.

Overall, Rebel was definitely a more interesting read than Reboot. I loved Callum, Wren got a little better and the secondary characters were great. The pacing was much better and the plot was way more interesting. Though it was a predictable read, it was still fun and I saw several opportunities for spin-offs with some of my favorite secondary characters. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this book, I would still suggest giving it a try. What annoyed me may not annoy others and it still had an great premise.


Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

Review: Reboot by Amy TinteraReboot by Amy Tintera
Series: Reboot #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 7, 2013
Pages: 365
Format: Hardcover
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Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

While the general plot of Reboot intrigued me, overall I felt let down and unsatisfied with this book. The characters were interesting, but not overly so. The pace was slow and, at some points, even came to a screeching halt. The last chapter, though, was enjoyable and left me eager to start book two.

As far as man characters go, Wren wasn’t a stand-out for me. In the beginning, especially, she was so detached from everything. I know she was supposed to be, because of how long she was dead. But it reflected in the tone of the writing. She (and the romance in this book, for that matter) was also very predictable; from early on, I knew that Callum would be the one to melt her icy heart and with that, she would become less detached. This became evident, especially, when she stopped referring to him as “Twenty-Two” and instead started using his real name. As far as character development goes, Wren had some but not enough, in my opinion. I wanted to see more from her by the end of the book. I’m still hoping to see more from her in book two.

I adored Callum. He was adorable, cute, sweet, kind, amazing… I could go on, so I’ll just stop here. But seriously, he was my favorite character in the book. Often, especially in YA, it’s the girl who finds out she’s got powers or a giant destiny or something like that. It’s the girl who is new and helpless to everything, who needs to learn to adapt. I kind of really liked the role-reversal in Reboot; it was Callum who was new and young, who needed to be told the rules and who fought against them. I found that to be unique and intriguing. Honestly, he’s the reason I kept reading and didn’t DNF this book. So I’m really excited that book two, Rebel, has his POV. I’m hoping that makes for a better book, honestly!

Normally when I read a book, there are at least a few secondary characters that stand out for me. Even though they don’t have a big role, there’s something about them that I like and I enjoy reading sections of the book with them. Unfortunately, there were only two stand-out characters in Reboot. One wasn’t in a lot of the book and the other met an… unfortunate fate. So I’m definitely hoping we meet more stand-out secondary characters in Rebel.

There’s a certain section in the book that I can’t discuss in detail, but I thought at that point in the book, things would pick up a lot. But if anything, the pace slowed dramatically at this point. I had so much trouble getting through the last 100 pages, I wanted to cry. I wanted to DNF. But I figured I only had 100 pages left and I loved Callum, so I kept going. The sad part is, the beginning of the book was amazing. The first chapter was dark and gritty and, immediately, I loved the Reboots and wanted to learn more about them and their back-story. I loved that this was a non-zombie back-from-the-dead book and I found myself intrigued by the plot. But, as I said, the second half of the book slowed to a crawl and it wasn’t until the last two chapters that things picked up again.

With that being said, the last two chapters were highly entertaining, especially the very last chapter. There was a lot of action and my heart was in my throat for a good portion of it. It absolutely left me dying for the second book. Overall, while I’m disappointed with book one, I’m eager for book two. I’m hoping Rebel doesn’t let me down the way Reboot did, especially with Callum’s POV to look forward to!


Review: In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Review: In the After by Demitria LunettaIn the After by Demitria Lunetta
Series: In the After #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 25, 2013
Pages: 455
Format: Hardcover
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They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta

In the After was a deliciously creepy, gritty survival story. I loved the plot, the writing, the pacing and the characters. I was intrigued by the world Lunetta created and, when I got to the end of the book, stunned by the revelations.

I loved Amy. She was strong, smart and resilient. The first few chapters SHOULD be classified as an info dump, but the way Lunetta wrote it was fascinating and I couldn’t put the book down. Normally, a character grows from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. But we saw a huge amount of growth in Amy just in the first few chapters alone. She was alone for so long and, yeah, at first she crumbled under the fear and isolation. But eventually she learned how to thrive, how to survive on her own. And a typical girl her age never could have cared for a toddler on top of that.

Baby was a fascinating character. Right from the beginning, she was different. I always knew she was different and I had my theories about her from day one. The bite, the mark… I knew something wasn’t right. She was highly intelligent for a child, though, and a great companion for Amy. Though young, she knew how to be silent, how to hide and how to take care of herself.

The second part of the book held so many answers, yet for every answer we got, three new questions popped up. Also, 98% of the time, when the MC stumbles into a thriving community of survivors and someone starts talking of their desire to ‘isolate the best, weed out the worst’ and bring about a ‘new civilization’ in Dystopians and Post-Apocalyptic stories, it usually means trouble. It never ends well. That wonderful utopia, away from the all the evils of the outside world, is usually hiding some nasty, dark secrets. And, as predicted, this was the case and bad things happened – I won’t spoil it for you, but there were many people that could not be trusted and many people I did not like, such as Dr. Reynolds and Amber and… Well, someone else… I can’t say… MAJOR spoilers. But you’ll see when you read it!

I loved Rice though. He was kind, compassionate, cautious and honest. He was good for Amy. He helped protect her and he kept her and Baby safe. He also kept some things from her.. But I do hope we see more of him in book two. I also loved Kay. She was such a hard-ass on the outside, but deep down, she truly cared for the safety of New Hope and for Amy. Gareth was another one I loved; he was the father figure Amy needed, as well as her protector. Finally, Vivian was the friend Amy deserved and I’m disheartened with how her story ended, though I had a feeling it would happen very early on and it DID lead to a major revelation.

Part three of the book was definitely the most action-packed. It held almost all of the answers and had at least three HUGE, MAJOR revelations. I actually had a ton of theories as early as half-way through the book. Unintentionally, Rice gave away a lot of things in his actions and words. Lunetta really pulls the rug out from under us in this section of the book. Everything you thought was true… Well, you’ll see.

Overall, I completely loved this book. It was creepy, intriguing and page-turning. Lunetta is definitely an author on the rise and I’m incredibly excited for the second and final book in this duology, In the End.


Review: How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: How to Meet Boys by Catherine ClarkHow to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark
Published by HarperTeen on May 6, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Find out what happens when you fall for your best friend's worst enemy in this timeless and hilarious story of a forbidden first love and forever friendship.

Lucy can't wait to spend the summer at the lake with her best friend, Mikayla. But when Jackson, the boy she's been avoiding ever since he rejected her, reappears in her life, Lucy wonders if this summer to remember is one she'd rather forget.

Mikayla's never had much luck talking to boys, but when she (literally) runs into the cutest guy she's ever seen, and sparks fly, she thinks things might be looking up...until she realizes the adorable stranger is the same boy who broke her best friend's heart.

As things begin to heat up between Mikayla and the one guy she should avoid, will Lucy be able to keep her cool or will the girls' perfect summer turn into one hot mess?

Catherine Clark, the author of beach-read favorites Maine Squeeze and Love and Other Things I'm Bad At, has once again crafted a hilarious and spot-on portrayal of what it's really like to be a teenager. Readers will love this irreverent coming-of-age story…and will be breathlessly turning the pages to find out what happens next.

I had some MAJOR ups and downs with this book. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I came VERY close to DNFing. Just 7 pages in, and I was ready to throw in the towel. The writing was choppy and flat, I felt detached from the story and the characters and when it came to “show don’t tell,” Clark did a lot more “tell” and not enough “show.”

This book had a lot of silliness to it. There was SO MUCH miscommunication with the characters, or no communication at all. There was also a lot of over-reacting and drama queen crap, especially from Lucy. I mean.. sweetie, you tried kissing him in 8th grade… You were 13 and even YOU admitted you were a “little kid” in 8th grade. Did you really think he wanted to kiss you back then?? And did you ever get his side of the story? And you really held a grudge for three years? Just… sigh.

There were also a lot of easy, convenient scenarios throughout the book. Like one girl ran into the guy in chapter one, then the other girl ran into him – literally – in chapter two. Uh… Really? And, speaking of the girls – Lucy and Mikayla – I coulnd’t stand either one of them. They both claimed to be shy and terrible when it came to speaking with guys (Mikayla especially). They both claimed they wanted to break out of their shells over the summer. But some of their actions did not scream “shy” or “scared to talk to boys.” Some of what they did was just plain.. Well, bitchy, for lack of a kinder term. One scenario, in particular, that involved Mikayla.. I wanted to slap her, but I can’t explain it because, you know, spoilers.

Lucy was so ridiculous, I can’t even deal with her. Aside from the things I mentioned in the second paragraph of this review (all of which pertained to Lucy), she also decided that getting rejected for that kiss meant she couldn’t trust anyone and she would never again take a risk. Uh…. I don’t even have words to explain what I think about that.

Mikayla was pretty bitchy (again, sorry for the language, but that’s the term that fits her best), but I definitely liked her more than Lucy and I felt bad for her, especially near the middle/end. The way Lucy treats her is unforgivable and the things she almost sacrifices to appease her best friend… It broke my heart a bit.

I actually loved Jackson, despite all the trash talk, and I think he was the best part of this book. I thought he and Mikayla were adorable together, especially. Another character I loved was Ava. She was 100% the voice of reason. She was so reasonable, if she were on The Walking Dead, they’d kill her off for being the reasonable one (Well, they did it to two of the Voice of Reason characters on the show already, so… Apt comparison). I also adored Henry, though we didn’t see enough of him. And I guess I liked Gus, though I didn’t connect with him and Lucy the way I did with Mikayla and Jackson.

The saddest part of all? This book definitely had potential. There was something about it that pulled me in and prevented me from DNFing. But it just fell completely flat. It sucks, too, because I’ve been looking forward to reading it and I feel totally let down.

Overall, I don’t think I have any desire to read any other books by Catherine Clark. I also would not recommend this book, unfortunately. Maybe get it from the library first? Or wait for an eBook sale? It had potential and I’m sad it didn’t live up to my expectations.


Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie WhippleHouse of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Published by HarperTeen on April 15, 2014
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

House of Ivy & Sorrow blew me away! It was fast-paced, dark and intriguing. It was darker than any witch book I’ve ever read, with fascinating takes on witchcraft. I devoured it – literally, every time I sat down to read it, I read huge chunks of it at a time (60-100 pages per hour) – and for me, that’s fast!

Josephine was an amazing character. She was smart, resourceful and always conscious of the consequences of magic. She didn’t stand by, waiting for others to save her; she did what she had to to ensure her survival, as well as to protect her loved ones. Her friends, Kat and Gwen, were amazing, as well. They were more like sisters than friends and that played a significant role in the end of the book. Their sisterhood reminded me so much of the television show Charmed and that made me love it even more!

I loved Winn so, so much. He and Josephine were absolutely adorable. There were so many ups and downs with their storyline, though, I had a few moments where I was ready to sob like a baby. But I’m definitely pleased with how things ended for them. And though I was Team Winn throughout most of the book, I did seriously love Levi. If this was part of a series, I could see him being the second love interest in a love triangle and then I’d root for him all the way until the end!

As I mentioned before, I loved Whipple’s take on magic and witchcraft and the idea of light versus dark and control versus consumption. The idea that all magic is evil, that it all requires a sacrifice and it all has consequences, was completely fascinating. In almost every book about witches and magic that I’ve ever read, there’s always good magic versus evil magic and good magic never seems to have consequences. So I really loved that and this was definitely a darker story because of that.

I loved the “power of the name” concept. I’ve seen this a lot in Faerie books, where knowing a person’s “true name” means you hold power over them. This was briefly touched on in this book and I found it interesting. I wish there had been more follow-through with this, though. We really didn’t find out what the consequence was for the name being revealed to the enemy. Another thing I found fascinating was the fact that Hemlock Witches only have girls and men can’t hold magic. This, like the sisterhood between Josephine, Kat and Gwen, reminded me a lot of Charmed. It’s such a fascinating idea and the way Whipple played off that and twisted it into the plot was amazing.

Overall, House of Ivy & Sorrow exceeded my expectations. I’ve been fascinated with it for months, ever since I first heard about it. I love witch stories and the cover caught my eye. After reading the book, I can safely say it is in my top five for favorite witch books. This was also my first Natalie Whipple book (I have Transparent on my TBR!) and I can say with 100% certainty that I’ll be reading everything she writes from now on. I HIGHLY recommend this book!


Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeDorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #1
Published by HarperTeen on April 1, 2014
Pages: 452
Format: Hardcover
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I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?

Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

While Dorothy Must Die was a fascinating, deliciously dark take on The Wizard of Oz, it fell short of the hype that surrounded it. I had such high hopes for this book and I definitely felt disappointed.

When I read, I’m very character-driven and I didn’t connect with or care about any of the characters. The ones I DID like, we didn’t learn enough about. And the ones I wanted to learn more about? They ended up dead – Well, most of them, anyway.

Of all the characters, the one I wanted to connect the most with was Amy. And I didn’t connect with her at all. I didn’t care what happened to her, I didn’t care how she felt or what she was going through. She just didn’t spark any interest and I was disappointed that I didn’t connect with or care for her. Honestly, I kind of wish the book had been told in at least one other person’s POV, because I got bored seeing things through her eyes only.

Of all things, I would have loved to learn more about Dorothy. She’s the villain of the story. We know she needs to die. But WHY? How did she get to be the way she is? How did she go from sweet farm girl to vindictive princess? They say the best villain is one we can sympathize with and feel bad for. But we didn’t learn enough about Dorothy to feel bad for her. I would have loved more background and, again, some chapters from her POV.

I loved Indigo, Pete, Nox and Jellia. I can’t say much about any of them without spoilers. But needless to say, I’m not happy with so many things that happened..

Nox was the “love interest” and I say it like that because.. Well, I just wasn’t feeling the romance. There was nothing there. At all. And there was “sort of” a love triangle with Pete but… Well… Yeah, that was a big let-down.

There were a LOT of characters. I know some people said that, if you’ve read ALL the Wizard of Oz books, not just the first and original, you’ll meet characters in Dorothy Must Die that you’ll recognize. But for those who haven’t read all of the original classic series? It felt like character overload. The book felt stretched thin with so many characters.

I’ve heard Dorothy Must Die is a part of a trilogy. I spoke with one friend who felt it could have been a stand-alone. I agree, but I also think it could be a duology. To me, this book felt like it had “Second Book Syndrome.” For those who don’t know, “Second Book Syndrome” is the second book in a trilogy and it almost ALWAYS falls short of expectations. It also always just feels like a bridge between the first book and the epic third book. So… What does this mean? Dorothy Must Die felt like filler – like everything we learn is just meant to get us into book two, into the meat of the story. It does nothing but set things up. About 80% of the book just dragged. Yeah, things happened. But… it dragged. It definitely didn’t need to be 400+ pages.

Overall I loved the plot and concept. I loved the dark, twisted version of Oz. It was creepy and wonderfully re-imagined. But I just didn’t connect with any of the characters and it dragged too much. I’m still VERY excited for book two because, like I said in the last paragraph, it felt like Dorothy Must Die was settings things up for book two and I have a feeling the real heart of the story and all the action will occur in book two. So I’m definitely excited to see what happens next – I’m just disappointed that Dorothy Must Die didn’t live up to the hype and my own expectations.


Review: Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Perfect Lies by Kiersten WhitePerfect Lies by Kiersten White
Series: Mind Games #2
Published by HarperTeen on February 18, 2014
Pages: 232
Source: the publisher
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Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them

I have loved every single book that Kiersten White has written and Perfect Lies is no exception! It was an amazing book and an epic conclusion to an epic duology.

Fia is one of my favorite characters in this series – Actually, one of my favorite characters of all time. There’s something cunning about her, yet she’s more disturbed by the things she was forced to do than she lets on. She’s smart and she thinks on her feet. Her mind works in odd ways, which is to be expected after everything she has seen and done. She’s a broken, slightly crazy femme fatale.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Annie in Mind Games. Her sections were a bit slow and a bit boring in comparison to Fia’s sections. But in Perfect Lies, Annie became more decisive and more of a fighter. She didn’t sit around, waiting for things to happen. Ultimately, it was her actions that set up the ending and made it the way it was.

I never trusted Rafael. Never, not for a single second. I didn’t even really like him because there was just always something about him that mad me wary. I wasn’t a fan of Nathan, either, though I could never really pinpoint the reason why. He just.. irked me. Almost creeped me out. Cole was the only one of the guys who I really liked and trusted. And in the end.. Well, I won’t spoil it. But.. Yeah. Go read it and see why.

Pixie was my second favorite character in Perfect Lies, after Fia. She was hysterical and I loved the oddball friendship between her and Fia. I kept hoping that she would end up being trustworthy. I didn’t want anything to happen to her. In the end, the direction her story went.. Well, again, I can’t say without spoiling it. So just go read it! It’s amazing, I promise!

My only real complaint is that, in the beginning, I had trouble keeping up with the timeline. I was fine with it in Mind Games, but it really threw me off at the beginning of Perfect Lies and it took awhile for me to figure out who was where and when, etc.

The ending nearly gave me a heart attack… Several times over. With every vision Annie had, I freaked out more and more. I had such a bad feeling. I mean, it would have been a fitting ending, considering, but it would have had me in hysterics. So let’s just say that the way the book ended…? I was VERY happy with it. I couldn’t picture it ending any other way. I was disappointed with a few characters at the end, though.. But that didn’t ruin the rest of the book for me at all. Considering who the characters were, their actions fit with their personalities and though it made me sad, any other course of action on their part would have felt false and would have gone against who they were.

Overall, Kiersten White did it again! Perfect Lies was fabulous in every way and though I’m sad we won’t have any more books with Fia and Annie, their story ended perfectly.

Favorite Quote (I won’t name drop here, so it doesn’t spoil anything):

“Sometimes you scare me.”
“That’s because you don’t really know me yet. When you really know me, I’ll scare you ALL the time.”


Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica RossiInto the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #3
Published by HarperTeen on January 28, 2014
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
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The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece" Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

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

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

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

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Though I had heard great things about Into the Still Blue – that it was amazing and an epic conclusion to the Under the Never Sky trilogy – I was the black sheep of the group and did not enjoy it. The book was slow and boring, the characters were flat and the ending felt drawn-out.

The plot itself was interesting. I’ve been saying it since book one: I love the science, the technology, the genetics. I love the idea of the Pods and the Dwellers vs. the Outsiders. It’s a great concept! And Veronica Rossi is a beautiful writer. Those things really drove the book and kept me reading, more than anything.

But honestly, I found myself feeling very distanced from the majority of the characters in this book – and this series in general. I didn’t really care about them and I had a hard time worrying about their fates.

Throughout this trilogy, I’ve been on the fence when it comes to Aria. I liked her in the first two books and at the beginning of Into the Still Blue, I even liked her more than ever before. But as the book went on, she began to irritate me. I’m not sure why – just like I wasn’t sure why I liked her. She was just a meh character, in my opinion. She wasn’t a bad character, not at all. But there was nothing spectacular about her, nothing that stood out for me.

I know so many people who absolutely adored Perry. But I just never liked him. I found him annoying and I never swooned over him, like some of my fellow bloggers did. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Perry and Aria as a couple. I think they’re adorable and perfect for each other. I love Aria and Roar as just friends and YA could definitely use more male/female friendships like that. I DEFINITELY loved that there wasn’t a love triangle in this – very refreshing! But I just didn’t like Perry as a person or as a character. There was nothing special about him, nothing that made me root for him.

Cinder was a mild nuisance – his fate was very obvious from early on and I never expected much of his character, even through to the end. I could take or leave Soren – I never trusted him, anyway, so it made it hard to like him. We don’t see a lot of Talon and that felt like a let-down, considering the major role he played in Under the Never Sky. And the characters who met with a less-than-stellar fate.. Well, I didn’t really care. I tried to – I know I was supposed to – but I just didn’t.

The only characters I loved were Roar, Brooke and Liv. And, unfortunately, we don’t get to see much of Brooke or Liv. I wish they had had bigger roles in these books. Roar just needs his own book because I completely adore him.

It saddens me that I didn’t enjoy this series more. I had heard so many amazing things from friends, bloggers and other authors. I WANTED to love it, I really did. But I’m very character-driven when it comes to the books I read and the characters really didn’t stand out or catch my attention. I didn’t care enough about them.

I would still definitely recommend this book and this series. Like I said, I seem to be a black sheep where this series is concerned. Most people loved it and felt Into the Still Blue was the perfect ending.


Review: Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Review: Through The Ever Night by Veronica RossiThrough the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Published by HarperTeen on January 8, 2013
Pages: 341
Format: Hardcover
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It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

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

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

While Through the Ever Night was much more enjoyable than Under the Never Sky, it still fell flat for me. Rossi’s writing is still gorgeous and her plot is still intriguing. I still love the science and genetics, as well as the technology. But the characters – for the most part – were flat and there were huge chunks of the book that were just boring.

I still really liked Aria… But I still don’t know why. She’s definitely not a damsel in distress; she pulls her weight and she even took initiative in Through the Ever Night, which is more than she did in Under the Never Sky. But she also seemed to make some silly decisions and took action without thinking at times.

I tried so hard to like Perry. I know so many people who swoon over him. But it just wasn’t there for me. All he does is complain that he’s a bad leader and and how he wishes he wasn’t. And every decision he made seemed selfish – like he was doing it JUST to gain favor with his tribe… Yet, the tribe hated most of his decisions. So.. shouldn’t a good leader have done what was best for the tribe? If the tribe disagreed, shouldn’t he have done SOMETHING to compromise or.. I don’t know. I feel like I’m going to babble here because I just can’t describe it. I just didn’t like him. And his sections of the book were SO boring, I wanted to cry.

I still think, despite my dislike of him, that Perry and Aria make an adorable couple and I definitely ship them. But they spend most of the book apart! I just can’t… I don’t know how I feel about that. It was kind of disappointing and – maybe – one of the biggest reasons why I found Perry boring. He did nothing! Aria was off chasing leads and trying to solve Perry’s problems. Aria tried to save Talon. Aria tried to find the Still Blue. What did Perry do, besides make mistake after mistake?

We are introduced to a huge slew of characters – so many, my head felt like it was spinning. It was so hard to keep track of everyone. Brooke is a bitch – and I had heard great things about her character from people. Heck, she was given an eNovella! So I was disappointed with her in this book. I wanted more from Liv’s story and we didn’t get it – and it was disappointing! Kirra was awful. I got sick of everyone giving Perry a hard time – although I agreed with some of what they said/did to him.

Roar was still my favorite character. He was amazing and lovable and I felt sooo bad for him at times, I just wanted to cuddle him and make him feel better. I definitely would have liked more Roar in this story – though we did get a decent amount of him, more than we did in the first book.

Despite all that complaining, Through the Ever Night was still way better than Under the Never Sky. It had some really intriguing revelations, some interesting character developments and some shocking twists and turns. My biggest complaint, besides not connecting with the characters, is that there was just so much wandering around. All Aria and Perry do in Under the Never Sky is wander around and walk and try to get places (Like from Reverie to the Tides, with stops in between). Well.. there was a lot of that in Through the Ever Night, too, except it was worse because Aria and Perry were apart so often. So that was frustrating.

Overall, despite the fact that I rated both books 3.5 Stars, I still say I liked Through the Ever Night more than the first book in this trilogy. The first two books just seem like a lot of filler and background, in an attempt to move us into the third book without needing filler and background in the third book. So I still can’t wait to read Into the Still Blue because I have a feeling it’s going to have action – something the first two books lacked. I have a feeling Into the Still Blue will answer MANY questions.

Would I recommend Through the Ever Night? Yeah. I seem to be a black sheep where these books are concerned, because most people LOVE them. So just because I found them to be just okay, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love them.