Allegiant by Veronica Roth [thoughts]

Allegiant cover

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Release Date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Divergent #3

To be honest, I wasn’t as excited about Allegiant as most people due to a lot of mixed feelings about Insurgent. I was hopeful that Veronica Roth could pull it together and wrap it up nicely, but like a lot of people, I was a bit disappointed with the last installment. I haven’t been reading any reviews, so I’m not sure if it’s for the same reasons, but I kind of think it might not be.

I feel like it’s been long enough since the book came out, and most people looking at reviews at this point have probably read it already or want to know what happens. So, I’m going to include spoilers. Reader beware: spoilers ahead!

Continue reading

Pivot Point by Kasie West [book review]

Pivot Point coverPivot Point by Kasie West
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: February 12th 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series:  Pivot Point #1

Goodreads description: Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

I bought Pivot Point when it was on sale for $1.99 on Kindle. I kept hearing so many great things about it that I thought I should check it out!

Addie lives in a compound where everyone has paranormal abilities. Abilities such as Clairvoyance (close to what Addie has), Persuasion (her mom has this ability), and Telekinesis (a guy at school). Addie’s actual ability is a rare one called Divergence (that it was called this made sense but it also annoyed me slightly) where she can see what will happen with every possible future, if she chooses to Search it. If she comes to a choice, she can Search both options for possible outcomes. Addie’s parents are splitting up and her dad is moving off the compound which means she has to decide if she wants to stay with her mom or move with her dad and the only thing to do, instead of just making a decision, is to Search each option for possible outcomes.

I liked Addie, but she also annoyed me and I had to roll my eyes at her a bit. It’s lovely that she would rather read than party and her friend Leila has to try to pull her out of her shell. That’s pretty normal, people like to read. But Addie is also very set in her views about certain things and how people act, and I didn’t always think she was being very fair. She was also really extreme about her parents and she was banking on her reaction as a moody teenager and manipulating them in ways that were unfair. It was even a somewhat believable move for a whiny teenager, but I found it annoying. Her friendship with Leila is nice, but Leila could be extreme and reckless. Leila and Addie did have some funny conversations such as the following:

“So let me get this straight. If I didn’t have an ability, you wouldn’t like me?”
I sigh. “Of course I’d like you. But that’s because you’re outspoken, bossy, and don’t care what anyone else thinks.”
“You just made me sound like a total witch.”
“I know, but let’s not get sidetracked. This is my meltdown.”

The idea for the abilities and Addie’s Searching is really interesting, but the execution was frustrating. In the Searches, there were more decisions that would cause everything to go a different way. I mean, there are so many decisions in every day so why would every decision after one decision be exactly the same and lead to the exact same results? Plus some decisions have more than two choices! Just because she chose one or the other doesn’t mean the exact same things would happen, or it shouldn’t mean that. The book kind of discusses the limitations of her ability but I do feel like it was kind of ignored in general. Am I being too critical and nerdy about this? Maybe I am, but it bugged me!

The story alternates between the Search for Addie that stays and Addie that leaves. Some things are really interesting, what similarities happen and what ends up being really different. There’s a larger threat lurking in the back in both options and watching it play out in both options is interesting, but not perfect. I feel like a lot of the action at the end is contrived to force Addie’s decision and make it more difficult. I know a story needs conflict, but some of it was just weird and didn’t seem to fit the story.

After Searching both options, Addie has to make a decision, and I hated the decision. Maybe I didn’t actually hate the decision itself, but how it was handled. I thought the ending of the book was weak and disappointing. I wanted more. I wanted something proactive. I think the limitations of her ability were just sad and make the story about the ability almost pointless. There are just so many possibilities out there, and I think the science fiction/paranormal aspect of the book just fails to look at the scope of it all. 

2.5 stars

This book wasn’t bad, it was even enjoyable. It had nice romantic scenes and some funny moments that I enjoyed. I was a little letdown by the execution and Addie’s ability and attitude. I’m not sure if I want to read the next book, Split Second, but I’m interested in reading West’s contemporary, The Distance Between Us. It might not have been for me, but I know a lot of people did so if you think it sounds like something you would enjoy, I definitely think you should read it and not let my picky ways sway you! I would recommend Pivot Point if you enjoy mental abilities, indecision, two love interests but not exactly a triangle!

Check out Kasie West‘s website and twitter!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce [Book Review]

Sisters Red coverSisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: June 7th 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Fairytale Retellings #1

Goodreads description: Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

Sisters Red was also on my Summer TBR Top Ten. I’d been interested in it for a while because I love retellings and I liked Pearce’s Purity, which I read before I blogged. My mom picked it up for me at a “store” where teachers get free things ( books and school supplies) and I was excited.

Sisters Red is the story of Scarlett and Rosie March. They live in the country and their family hunts werewolves, also called Fenris. They lived with their grandma until “the big bad werewolf” came when Scarlett was eleven and Rosie was nine. Scarlett saved Rosie’s life while gaining some disfiguring scars and losing an eye in the process. Since that event, Scarlett has been obsessed with killing every possible Fenris. The sisters train to kill and kill werewolves and that is about it.

Scarlett’s woodsman best friend, Silas, helps them hunt but he’s been on a trip across the country for a year. Rosie wants to hunt on her own, but Scarlett is too protective. They dress up in red cloaks and pretend to be helpless to bait werewolves who prey on young girls. They find out that werewolf packs are congregating in nearby Atlanta because there’s a Potential (a potential werewolf, of course) in the area. They pack up and move to a crappy apartment in Atlanta to try to find and save the poor soul while killing as many Fenris as possible.

The sisters have a special bond. They feel like one person and they can share thoughts. Scarlett is older and focused on killing werewolves so they can’t kill or maim more people. She feels it is their responsibility because they know about the Fenris while others do not. Rosie also hates Fenris and wants to kill them, but that isn’t all she wants from life. She wants more normality, but she owes her life to Scarlett so she feels obligated to stick to hunting. Their bond is nice, but it’s also frustrating. They love each other a lot but they don’t talk things out very well.

When Silas returns, he and Rosie start seeing each other differently. The romance is a bit creepy, a little sad, and sickly sweet. She’s sixteen and he’s twenty-one. It doesn’t really go into creepy territory in the story, but Rosie also feels pretty young for sixteen. I think it has to do with how much time she spends with über focused Scarlett instead of other girls her own age. It gets a little too sweet for me, but Silas is always nice to her and encourages her to do what she what she is interested in, regardless of Scarlett’s demands. Rosie has hearts in her eyes like she’s never been around a guy before, but to be fair the only guys she has been around lately are werewolves that she’s aiming to kill. Silas and Rosie hide their romantic feelings from Scarlett because Scarlett is against anything that is Not Hunting. Her reasons are dumb, and if she was more worried about her little sister being with an older guy, it would be more understandable. Romance might distract from hunting, but you can still be a hunter if you’re romantically involved. Obviously, other hunters (her family) have had romances before or else she wouldn’t be alive.

Scarlett is selfish but she’s also caring. She loves her sister and she’s extremely protective. She doesn’t want Rosie to hunt alone, but she doesn’t want Rosie to do anything but hunt. She thinks it is their duty, but she also thrives on the hunt and relishes it. She thinks she needs to protect poor, helpless girls but she also despises them and judges them. She has to help them because she knows about werewolves, but she’s jealous of their freedom and their beauty. She and Silas are disturbing with their attitudes about young girls that end up being victims. Nobody is ever “asking” to be attacked and you’re not better than them because you expect bad things to happen. I think I would have liked Scarlett and Silas so much more and the book better if they weren’t so judgmental. Why even bother saving people you don’t seem to think are worthy of your protection? 

The lore with the Fenris/werewolves is different, interesting, and creepy. Not everyone that’s bitten becomes a werewolf, there is a certain aspect about a male (and only males) that enables them to be turned. Everyone else that gets bitten is injured or dies. The werewolves are vile and prey on young girls like twisted sexual predators and serial killers. I’m not sure the twist is even a twist, because it’s glaringly obvious. Figuring it out doesn’t really ruin anything in the story for you, though. 

There are some intense and exciting hunts and fights with werewolves in this book. Those scenes are also violent and can be gory. The fight scenes were fast-paced. I thought the climax of the story was exciting and thrilling.  There is a little bit of a side-eye at the last-minute, but I was willing to let it slide.

2.5 stars

Sisters Red had a lot of potential, but was a bit disappointing. The characters had likable moments but they were also frustrating and at times disturbing. The werewolf parts were exciting and I liked the writing. As a retelling, it isn’t that close to the Little Red Riding Hood story I’m familiar with, but using red cloaks to lure werewolves in was cool even if cloaks aren’t that modern. I’d recommend this book to someone who can handle some violence, victim-blaming and sisterly angst.

Check out Jackson Pearce‘s website and twitter!

Review: Losing it by Cora Carmack

Losing It coverLosing It by Cora Carmack
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: October 15th 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Losing It #1

Goodreads description: Virginity.

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible– a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

I bought Losing It because the Kindle version was $1.99 and I had seen a lot of good things about it. I read it a while ago and didn’t write my review in a timely fashion (oops). 

As the description states, Bliss is tired of being a virgin. She’s in college and she’s the only one of her friends that isn’t getting it on with hot guys. She seeks someone to lose it to and move on. However, when the time comes she wigs out and leaves. Then she finds out it’s her teacher and she has to deal see him all the time.

There were a lot of awkward moments in this book. For me, there was a lot of cringing. I saw a lot of people describe it as funny, but I didn’t find anything funny. There were a lot of CAPS LOCK thoughts going on, which was weird to me:

I was pretty sure I was having one.”

Bliss and Garrick meet in a bar and find each other attractive. The first time they meet, Garrick uses Shakespeare to accuse Bliss of making him jealous on purpose. “You know, sometimes I wonder if Desdemona was as innocent as she let on. Maybe she knew the effect she had on guys, and enjoyed making them jealous.” Well hello there, asshole. Of course any woman talking to another guy is out to make you jealous. Their relationship builds on attraction and maybe a mutual interest in acting. Maybe the forbidden aspect adds heat, and Garrick’s jealousy. They don’t really seem to get to know much about each other. There wasn’t anything about their relationship that made me feel very invested. 

Bliss doesn’t realize her best friend, Cade, has feelings for her. This is completely ridiculous to me because almost every time he talks to her he calls her “babe” and he touches her a lot. I know, I know, some girls can be oblivious and babe can be used in a friendly way, but it’s so often. This part was just too cliché, too tired for me. I don’t really understand why Cade likes her or what’s so special about her. She isn’t horrible, but I don’t understand why two guys are falling all over her.

I didn’t really love any of the friendships, Kelsey was really demanding and even if Bliss wasn’t trying to be insulting, her opinions on Kelsey’s sexual freedom weren’t nice. Bliss wasn’t honest with Kelsey, Cade, or Garrick, which was really frustrating. Some of her reasons for lying were kind of understandable, and everyone lies sometimes. But her lies are just so stupid. I could give specific examples but I don’t want to spoil things. Although I will say that everything involving the cat was beyond ridiculous. 

Bliss and company are drama majors and Garrick teaches them. There’s auditioning, life-planning, and Shakespeare. Some of it was interesting but most of it wrapped back around to the Garrick situation. I think the romance itself, and their interactions aren’t that bad. I thought some of the scenes were hot and enjoyable. I liked that this was a NA book that wasn’t as dark. It’s light and isn’t filled with depressing angst.  

2.5 stars

I had a few issues with this book. It wasn’t completely awful, but I didn’t love it. The writing wasn’t anything special and I wasn’t a fan of Bliss. In the time between reading and reviewing I actually forgot her name, and it isn’t that common of a name. Losing It is the first book in a series, but the next book (Faking It) is about the spurned Cade. Even though Cade’s lovesick devotion and his constant usage of “babe” annoyed the hell out of me, I’m still interested in reading Faking It. I want to see Cade get on with his life and find something better. I’d recommend Losing It if you want a quick romance with some decent heat but more than a few eye rolls.

Check out Cora Carmack‘s website and twitter!

Review: The Murmurings by Carrie Ann West

The Murmurings coverThe Murmurings by Carly Anne West
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: March 5th 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series:  none

Goodreads description:Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…

Sophie’s sister Nell was in Oakside Behavioral Institute for cutting herself with a broken mirror. She heard and saw things in the mirror. She escaped the hospital and ended up killing herself. Sophie is left questioning everything: why her sister left the hospital, why she killed herself, and why the hospital is being so difficult about it? Sophie knows about the murmurings Nell heard because she can hear them too. It’s something she can’t escape. Nell’s doctor is very interested in Sophie, in a creepy way.

Continue reading