Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

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This dystopian simply blew me away. In the very beginning I thought maybe I wasn't going to care for it too much but that quickly changed and I was simply unable to put the book down. I was so engrossed in it that I managed to read it in a matter of hours (and it is definitely not a tiny book). I think that for anyone who loves dystopian this story is a must-read, and for those who have never read one before this is a great place to start.

In the story the city is fenced in and patrolled. All the residents of the city are divided up into factions based on what characteristic they value most and believe would have prevented war in the past. Here is a breakdown of the factions and their characteristic:

Abegnation: selfless
Candor: honest
Dauntless: brave
Amity: peaceful
Erudite: intelligent

There are also Factionless people who fail to make it into a faction. They are very poor and rely on much of the charity by Abegnation.

These traits are taken to the extreme in the factions. Abegnation always put others before them, Candor are always bluntly honest, etc. Because of this, government and other jobs are doled out to specific factions like the Dauntless are like police/guards, Abegnation head up the government because they are uncorrectable due to their selflessness.

Up to the age of 16 student of all factions attend the same school. In their 16th year they are tested privately to see what faction they have an aptitude for. After that occurs there is a ceremony in which they choose what faction they will belong to the rest of their life. They do not have to choose the faction for which they have the aptitude and also if they switch from the faction they were born into they often become shunned by their family as they often see it as a betrayal. It is almost like a competition between all the factions.

The main character is Beatrice who come from Abegnation. When it is time for her to pick factions she chooses Dauntless. The training begins. If she fails her training she will become Factionless. She has to learn to fight and be fearless despite her small size and upbringing which taught her to put others first. The transformation she goes through is an intense and inspiring thing to read. There is a little romance and a lot of corruption in the story, but I don't want to give anything away. I highly recommend this book and I hope that many of you will pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did.

5/5

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (April 19, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

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Simply put this book is amazing and I was completely blown away by it. I have always enjoyed mythology and I love to read different takes on it so I was excited to read this book. I had pretty high expectations for it and I am so glad that I was not let down. This story is about a girl who has to pass seven tests in order to become a goddess and help Hades run the Underworld. That alone makes this story intriguing but it really goes deeper than that. It is about difficult choices, love, friendship, and understanding. There were quite a few surprises, some of which I had an inkling of suspicion about and others that completely caught me off guard. What I really loved the most about this book though was the slowly built relationship between Kate and Henry. It wasn't some instant love type of thing that makes you want to roll your eyes, but it was something that developed over the time they had together. It also was not easy for them with the possibility of Kate failing the tests or even dying and on top of that, Kate having to deal with the knowledge that Henry still loved Persephone and she could never replace her in his heart. I hope that in the future installments we get to learn more about all the gods and goddesses. I think they are a diverse and interesting bunch.

I am at a loss for words when it comes to The Goddess Test...it is just so phenomenal that nothing I can say about it can really express the awesomeness that is this story. It is one of the best books I have read since I started this blog. It appears this series will be a trilogy so there are two more books to look forward to. The title of the second book in the series will be Goddess Interrupted with a release date in early 2012.

5/5

I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley for review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

CymLowell


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review: Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson

Any Man of Mine (Chinooks Hockey Team, Book 6) by Rachel Gibson
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (April 26, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

What happens in Vegas . . . doesn't always stay there.

Autumn Haven's Las Vegas "to-do" list said to catch a show and play the slots—not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam LeClaire. The first moment she saw him eyeing her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her to run. And she did—right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality, and before she could say "pass the coffee," Sam was gone.

Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn hasn't clapped eyes on the heartbreaking hockey superstar for over two years . . . until she organizes his teammate's "Special Day," where Sam makes a big play to pick up where he left off! But she has vowed any man of hers plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever?

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Rachel Gibson has written about another Chinook hockey player and I just can't get enough! Contemporary romance is not a genre I read much of and I really don't like sports and yet I am in love with Rachel's books about these sexy hockey players. Any Man of Mine is a light, romantic, and enjoyable read. I breezed through it in one evening and was left feeling happy with a smile on my face.

The history between Autumn and Sam is pretty interesting and leaves them at odds with each other for years. The change in Sam seems a little out of nowhere and sudden. There wasn't a real "Aha!" moment that I could pinpoint so the only explanation I can think of is that he matured in the five or six years since they were married. Autumn's heart had been broken and she was angry and bitter for years about it and only recently was able to let go of that...of course, that is when Sam started to become more involved in her life. I suppose that could also be the reason for Sam's change in behavior. He was maybe able to finally see past all that anger to the woman he had fallen in love with.

Autumn has trust issues with Sam for a good reason and I understand that. I do have to respect her ability to forgive though. It is a difficult thing to do, especially with all the hurt he put her through. Both Autumn and Sam became better people over the course of the story and as that unfolded it was heartwarming and gives a sense of hope that even though love is not always easy, it does exist and can overcome hardships and mistakes.

If you have read any of Rachel Gibson's books you will not be disappointed in this one. If you have not read the author's previous books I highly recommend them if you enjoy contemporary romance. I have found that it is not necessary to read the books in any particular order so if you just want to pick up Any Man of Mine you can do that and still enjoy the story.

4/5

I received an e-copy of this book for review from NetGalley. Any opinions expressed are my own.

CymLowell
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9) by J.R. Ward
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Hardcover (March 29, 2011)
Goodreads Description:

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.
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For those of you who haven't read this series let me stop you here and say RUN don't walk to your nearest bookstore and start with book one of this series (if you are 18+). It is amazing and reading out of order would just ruin the story for you.

This has become one of my very favorite series and i eagerly anticipate reading each book when it comes out. That being said after reading Lover Unleashed I can sort of feel the wind down of the series which is sad. Maybe I am wrong and there will be a ton more books but to me it seems like things are starting to wrap up. This is Payne's story but it is just as much Vishous' story as well, which only seems right since they are twins. In the last book Payne became injured, paralyzed from the waist down, and it was also the first time Vishous met his sister or even knew she existed. In Lover Unleashed, Dr. Manello is brought in to treat Payne and sparks fly between the two. Of course it is not easy for them though. Dr. Manello is human and not supposed to know of the Vamps existence and Vishous hates the man with a passion because of his history with Jane. It was an interesting relationship to see develop. I am most surprised by Payne's personality though because although she is strong and can fight she seems very gentle and shy which goes against what I thought I remembered of her in the last book. In my mind I thought in the last book she had a more "warrior" kind of attitude but I most have been getting her mixed up with Xhex somehow.

Things get really dire for Vishous. He always seems to be on the edge of a major break and things really came to a head in Lover Unleashed. Emotions really ran high and I think Vishous sort of eclipsed Payne in this book actually. Other than Butch and Qhuinn, none of the other males are featured. They are barely even mentioned in passing which was just a little disappointing because I always enjoy sort of catching up with what everyone is doing. The most disappointing was the lack Of Blaylock who is a character I really feel for. Although he is in it and is talked about some it is basically a tiny snippet. I am really keeping my fingers crossed that the next book is focused on him. Not a whole lot of action (of the fightin kind) but the parts that are there are good of course. The drive the Brothers have to fight enemies was lacking a bit so everything didn't feel as crucial which in turn had me feeling a little less invested in what was going on. The physical chemistry between the Doctor and Payne was smokin hot and I really love that through it all the Doctor was a gentleman about it which really made me feel the connection he had with her. Ultimately this was an excellent read that I could not put down and has me desperate to read the next in the series.


5/5
CymLowell
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