Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Book Cover of Tandem by Anna JarzabTitle: Tandem
Author: Anna Jarzab
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Sci Fi
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 08, 2013
Hardcover: 448 pages
Series: Many Worlds Trilogy #1

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives–infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real–until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love–one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she’s someone she’s not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing–and no one–is what it seems.

My Thoughts: Yes, no, yes, no… I just could not decide if I wanted to read this book. The first chapter/introduction was a little stilted and it caused me to start and stop reading a total of three times before I decided that it was just time to suck it up and see how things progressed. In the end…I’m glad I did. While the prose isn’t overly flowery, it also isn’t over-simplified. The plot was engaging enough that once I got past what I thought was a lackluster beginning, I was really drawn into story. The protagonist, Sasha, is a believable character who is also actually likable. No Bella syndrome here, though there are a -few- points where you think, for a moment, that she’s going to be absolutely stupid. Thankfully, she does prove she has a brain. Also, wow, what a cliffhanger. You -could- be satisfied (for some definitions of the word satisfied) with the ending that Jarzab gave, but I was definitely left going, “Nooo, no! There must be more!” Thankfully, there’s a neat little insert in the book that says the second book of three is coming. Yay!

While this isn’t my favorite read of 2014, it’s definitely one of the ones I’ve most enjoyed, and I will be stalking Barnes and Noble to pick up the second book, Tether, as soon as it’s released (supposedly Fall, 2014).

Rating: 4 of 5

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Book Cover of Allegiant by Veronica RothTitle: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Hardcover: 544 pages

Where’d Ree Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (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…

Ree’s Thoughts: So…I didn’t really absolutely love Divergent or Insurgent. I didn’t hate them, but I felt while the premise was fabulous, the execution was somewhat lacking. That, however, changed in Allegiant. I love the story, same as I have for the entire series, and Roth’s writing had smoothed out substantially and the story flowed in a way that made me not want to put the book down til the end. There’s a surprise twist in this novel that makes me, as a reader, respect Roth on so many levels. Kudos for that, ma’am! The bottom line is that you should read this book…which means you need to read Divergent and Insurgent…so just pitter pat over to the library or your friendly local book seller and snatch up these books. It’s totally worth it.

Rating: 4 of 5

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Book Cover of Point of Retreat by Colleen HooverTitle: Point of Retreat (Slammed #2)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Drama
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
EBook:300 pages

Where’d Lindsay Get It: NetGalley

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart. 

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’

Lindsay’s Thoughts: Well I’m still in love with this series. I tried to read this one a little bit slower in anticipation for the third installment, but unfortunately there were not enough pages for the release in 2013. Ha!

I’d have to say that that was my greatest complaint with the book, it was too short, as in I devoured it and I want more, right NOW!, kind of short. Ms. Hoover keeps you gripping the edge of your seat and doesn’t let you release your white knuckled grasp until the very last page!

I’m eager to see what the last book will throw in Lake and Will’s way! Go buy it, buy the first one too, read it, love it, press repeat.

Rating: 5 of 5

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Book Cover of Insurgent by Veronica RothTitleInsurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Hardcover: 525 pages

Where’d I Get It: Barnes & Noble

Synopsis (From Goodreads): One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Thoughts: Well! After feeling pretty meh about Divergent, I was quite impressed with the beginning of Insurgent. Unfortunately, the beginning is just about the most exciting part of the book.  Am I being too harsh? Maybe. Maybe not.  My main complaint with the first book was that the plot wasn’t following logical lines. Now, in books like this, it’s always good to try to suspend disbelief so that you can immerse yourself in the story – however, when there’s too much illogical mess going on, it breaks immersion because the readers is constantly furrowing their brows and wondering, “What the heck just happened and why would she do that when she knows we all know it’s not going to work and why it won’t work…”  Yeah. I’m not a fan of spoilers, so I’m not going to go into each exact moment when someone does something so absolutely stupid and mind boggling that I just wanted to turn a couple pages and get on with the story…but they’re there. Lots of them. So…I’ve given this book a 2. I’ll bump it .5 because I’m feeling generous and I think that the -idea- behind the story was good. Roth just needed a little more editing time, perhaps.

Rating: 2.5 of 5

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Top Ten Tuesday #2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s topic is:

Top Ten… things on my Bookish Bucket List

Oh, dear. Well…let’s see!

  1. First and foremost, I want to be sure to make time to read a little something every single day. -Every Day-. Really. Even if it’s only a couple of pages.
  2. I want to own a house with a library in it. A huuuuuge library!
  3. I want to read 50 books in 2014. I know it’s a rather modest number, but hey – a goal is a goal!
  4. All those leather-bound collector edition Barnes & Noble books? I want them. All of them!
  5. At some point, I’d like a matching set of Harry Potter books. It’s the little things, man.
  6. I want my child to be able to read simple sentences before he turns 3. Let’s see if that happens!
  7. There’s a desire there to order Blog business cards. Yep. So gonna.
  8. I would looooove to go to a bookish conference.
  9. I want to “hire” more reviewers.
  10. I’d absolutely love love love love love to have all my Christoper Pike books signed by him. I’d have a fangirl moment and pass out and die. Did you know that The Last Vampire (re-issued as the Thirst series) is being made into a movie? OH MY GAWSH. *squeal*

There we go. I wonder how many of these I can accomplish in 2014?

Lovelove,
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The Lady’s Maid by Dilly Court

Title: The Lady’s Maid Book Cover of The Lady's Maid by Dilly Court
Author: Dilly Court
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: October 15, 2012
Hardcover: 480 pages

Where’d Lindsay Get It: Netgalley

Synopsis (From Goodreads): In the quiet of a warm summer’s evening, two young mothers are forced to give up their babies. Whilst Kate grows up knowing only poverty and servitude, Josie’s world is one of privilege and luxury.

Despite the differences in their circumstances, Kate and Josie have been friends since childhood. But their past binds them together in ways they must never know.

Until a chance meeting forces Kate and Josie to confront the truth of that night nearly twenty years before – a truth that turns both worlds upside down and threatens to destroy their friendship forever…

Lindsay’s Thoughts: So here’s the deal, Downton Abbey is over for the season and I’m having severe withdrawals. LOVE it! So when I was given the suggestion to check out Dilly Court’s books I jumped on the chance.

First off, Josie is a brat! Like she should have spent half the book at the whipping post, not terrorizing all of those around her. I cannot for the life of me figure out WHY Kate forgave her so many times, I guess that’s life. I just never could like her character throughout the whole book until maybe the last five pages and even then she was still acting sort of bratty. Oh well, she was necessary.

Kate was a lovable character who seemed to really care for people and spew happiness and positivity wherever she went. Even if her heart was in utter turmoil she was always eager to make sure everyone was taken care of and comfortable before herself. I found myself occasionally wanting to take her aside and tell her to forget all these ungrateful people around her.

Overall, the book takes you on a journey looking at both sides of the coin in a world where servants basically did everything for the rich and the rich kept them close to their sides. And what happens when that coin gets flipped. While my Downton Abbey withdrawals did not completely subside, this did help tide me over until next season.

Rating: 4 of 5

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

TitleDivergentBook Cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Hardcover: 487 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from Barnes & Noble

Synopsis (From Goodreads): 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.

My Thoughts: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite – fun words, yeah? They’re the five factions that Beatrice Prior and all the other younglings her age get to choose from – they’re the groups of people who will either remain family, become family, or become, basically, enemies. This book… I just don’t know. First of all, the kid’s name makes it seem like the author is trying ever so terribly hard to make sure she’s not just another Jennifer or Kate. Super duper, whatever, but it’s grating. That, obviously, is personal preference and doesn’t really tell you whether or not the book was good. Was it? Well, sure. It was “good” but it wasn’t “great”. The story was fast paced, perhaps, or at the very least it kept moving smoothly forward, which is always nice.  Aside from that, though, this debut novel really didn’t tick many boxes for me. I feel like the plot was lacking in enough detail that I almost felt insulted by the oversimplification of things. An entire community of selfless people? Meh. An entire community of people focused solely enough on education and brilliance that it’s their ONLY outward personality trait? Hrm. Nothing really fits. Nothing makes sense, and because of that it doesn’t seem all that well thought out.

Aside from that, however, and since I’m writing this review after having read Insurgent and Allegiant, the story DOES get better as it goes along. So, read the book. Definitely check it out from the library first, though, then decide on whether or not it’s a must have in your personal library.

Rating: 3 of 5

Top Ten Tuesday #1

 

Whoooooa! Hey, lovelies! It’s been ages, I know. Ages upon ages and days upon days, months upon months… years upon years. Goodness. Lots of things happened; I’ll do a blog post to update, but for now, to get me started… I’m going to do one of the Memes that I looooved to do “back in the day”. Woot! Look for a review, soon. Maybe tomorrow?

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s topic is:

Top Ten Books on my 2014 Spring TBR list

Well, I’ve been out of the game for a while, and I haven’t been reading a whole lot, so I have some oldies on here, and some new stuff, and just…well, here’s my list.

  1. Tandem by Anna Jarzab
  2. The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi
  3. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  4. Watermelon b yMarian Keyes
  5. The Ward by Jordana Frantel
  6. Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vince
  7. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
  8. Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
  9. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
  10. The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Yep. I know, it’s a weird assortment. There’s SO many more on that list, too, but it’s Top TEN Tuesday, not Top One Hundred Tuesday, so there we go.  Thanks for stopping by, guys, and I promise… reviews are BACK.

Lovelove,
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