5 Stars! Sometimes when I receive a book recommendation with such high praise, I am a little wary. Not that I don't trust the person recommending the...more5 Stars! Sometimes when I receive a book recommendation with such high praise, I am a little wary. Not that I don't trust the person recommending the book, but because the hype often sets me up for disappointment. Nothing could be farther from the truth with this book. It is a breath of fresh air in the stagnant world of redundant book themes and overdone characters. March McCarron creates a mystical world ripe with loads of Asian flavor and characters that transform into spiritual, scholarly warriors with superhuman gifts that allow them the power to do unworldly things. (Note: I did receive this book from the author in exchange for a honest review).
It all begins on the day of Da Un Marcu or Day of the Marked when once a year 50 boys and girls, all aged fourteen years, wake up with a mark on their neck denoting them as Chisanta, which is a honored society of scholars and martial artists. As they join the Chisanta, they endure a fighting test which divides them into one of two sects, Cosanta and Chiona.
The story follows the journey of Yarrow and his companions as they are initiated into the Chisanta. Yarrow finds himself Cosanta while his love interest Bray is Chiona. They are trained and live their lives separately, never forgetting their affection for one another. They are reunited 10 years later as they team up to investigate the disappearances of marked children that started 10 years before and is rapidly growing, thus depleting the power and numbers of the Chisanta. Their reunion is filled with suspicion of one another as the prejudice between the Cosanta and Chiona is great.
This story is ripe with intrigue and all the angst that YA readers are looking for. If that isn't enough to stir the reader's appetite, the martial arts and transforming superpowers add plenty of drama...the fight scenes are spectacular. I appreciate the fact that this story is not just a warrior's tale, but it delves into the spiritual aspect of martial arts and that makes the story richer and on a higher level than most YA books. Of course I can't forget the suspense...the mystery of the missing marked children is cleverly woven through out the story and is perfectly played. This book is intelligently written, but highly entertaining at the same time. The ending is not the end...big sigh, I must wait for the next book. (less)
The Earth Dwellers is the grand finale of The Dweller and The Country Series, where the world above meets the world below. Once again we are reintrodu...moreThe Earth Dwellers is the grand finale of The Dweller and The Country Series, where the world above meets the world below. Once again we are reintroduced to all of our favorite characters as they join forces against the glassies or Earth dwellers who seek to destroy the tribes from Ice, Fire, Water and Storm Country while keeping the dwellers under the evil thumb of Borg Lector. Despite their differences, the tribes and the dwellers find commonality and a united desire to take down Lector and bestow equality for all citizens. Equality comes at a steep price, but it is a price they are willing to pay.
David Estes did not disappoint readers one bit with The Earth Dwellers. How in the world he managed to bring back the characters from all six books and infuse their personalities and orchestrate so many story lines is beyond me...it's genius really! With so many feisty, brave warriors battling the evil and technology of the glassies, it was pure mayhem and carnage. I was a little sad to lose so many beloved characters, but freedom from tyranny comes at a cost. I thought it very clever and so poignant that we are introduced to another world, a heavenly one, and the reunion there made me a little teary eyed. Throughout these books, Ive felt like a privileged guest feasting at a scrumptious book banquet and The Earth Dwellers was the perfect dessert to conclude with.
FIVE STARS!!! Lauren Nicolle Taylor deserves every single star and probably more for her sequel to The Woodlands, The Wall. The Wall picks up where Th...moreFIVE STARS!!! Lauren Nicolle Taylor deserves every single star and probably more for her sequel to The Woodlands, The Wall. The Wall picks up where The Woodlands left readers and takes you through Rosa's harrowing physical and even more powerful emotional journey. Rosa is a complex, puzzling protagonist whose internal dialogue takes the reader through every emotional up and down....I whole heartedly felt and experienced the story through Rosa's mysterious eyes. As she discovers the depth of her maternal instincts, when she deals with the obsessed perpetrator who severely abused her, as she wrestles with the need to return to rescue her mother...the tangled nest of emotions is wonderful to watch Rosa unravel. If you can love a fictional character then I love Rosa and I wish she were real...much like Katniss Everdeen or Sienna from Fire Country. Every reader of YA books needs to be introduced to this amazing unforgettable character.
Now don't think this book is some tormented emotional roller coaster, it's not an Oprah book club book, it definitely offers so much more. The plot is full of action, so much so that when you get to the end of the book and look back, you'll be amazed at truly how much has happened to Rosa and her "family." It's sort of a mini odyssey set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world that is devastated resource wise and yet incredibly advanced scientifically...makes for an interesting dichotomy. I love the fact that the ancient Wall continues to stand among the ruins of the world...I think the book is appropriately named and it came as a sweet surprise.
Above all else, this book is chalked full of unique supporting characters that enrich and often complicate Rosa's life. Rosa really discovers so much about herself as she deepens her feelings for Joseph and Orry. Most poignant was the development of Rosa and Apella's relationship which is mighty special...that's all I'm saying. I so appreciated the wisdom and bond between Rosa and Addy, dang I love that old lady and of course who wouldn't love Deshi? So many questions I had about the characters after reading The Woodlands were answered (see my review of The Woodlands), yet now I'm left with many more that will leave me impatiently waiting for the next book. In the meantime, I'm going to bask in the afterglow of reading an exceptional book since a book this good only comes along every so often, but I will miss Lauren's beautiful, poetic writing until that time. (less)
4.5 Stars! In Red River (Tent City #2), Dani is dealing with the aftermath of a world turned upside down by the never ending plaques and the devastati...more4.5 Stars! In Red River (Tent City #2), Dani is dealing with the aftermath of a world turned upside down by the never ending plaques and the devastating loss of Tent City and all it represented. Dani tries to navigate through the physicality of survival, while dealing with the emotional strife of teenage angst, as well as deep seated anger and the need for revenge. If that isn't enough, Dani feels the strain and burden of Brody's safety, not to mention she is torn between two lovers who are brothers! Phew! That would be enough to make anyone crazy and Dani is no exception. She is confused, tired and needs an escape from the pain, but escape costs Dani dearly as she delves into addiction, thus complicating her life even further. Although Dani has some major slip ups, she manages to learn from her mistakes and her trials make her stronger...a heroine's journey if ever there was one!
Before you think that Red River is an emotional downer and way too heavy, let me assure you there is plenty of exciting elements, including these amazing enhancements or superpowers that continue to develop. Also, two complex and endearing new characters are introduced and play a critical role in Red River: the self-sacrificing Hannah and the smooth musician Milo. I love both of them and I'm intensely convinced that Kelly has a whole other story or two to be told from their POV. I also love the role that Dani's father plays, but I'm not giving anything away. Finally, big kudos for a plot with many twists and turns and a finale that is hot...I'm just saying! I highly recommend this series and I'm already dreaming about the next book...please tell me there's more!? (less)
**spoiler alert** 4 1/2 STARS! Rosa Bianca is a sixteen year old girl living in Pau Brazil, a settlement that is part of The Woodlands. The Woodlands...more**spoiler alert** 4 1/2 STARS! Rosa Bianca is a sixteen year old girl living in Pau Brazil, a settlement that is part of The Woodlands. The Woodlands is a dystopian society that rose from the dust after The Race Wars and subsequent apocalypse. It is controlled by Superiors who have ruled through intimidation and violence for hundreds of years. Rosa doesn't accept the rule of the Superiors or that of her evil stepfather and rebels at every turn. When she discovers that her mother is pregnant, Rosa chooses to advance to The Classes two years early due to the one child rule. Part of Rosa's motivation to advance to The Classes is due to her newfound friendship with eighteen year old Joseph who is also advancing.
After a series of tests, Rosa finds she is assigned to Construction classes in which she exceeds, but just as she is about to accept recognition for her woodworking skills, her fierce, rebellious soul rears up and disrupts everything. Instead, Rosa finds herself pregnant and under mind-controlling drugs that make her blissfully unaware of her condition, at least until she finds a way around the situation. Rosa eventually gets a roommate, Clara, who is also pregnant and also free from the controlling drugs.
It isn't long before chaos ensues and Rosa and Clara are able to escape with the help of Joseph and his gang of misfits. Thus begins a journey into the unknown, abandoned world, on the run from The Superiors and forced to survive. Through these experiences, Rosa goes on an emotional odyssey in which she discovers a lot about herself and overcomes her fear of trusting and loving others.
Without a doubt, Lauren did an exceptional job creating a strong, fierce character in Rosa. Characterisation is where Lauren excels. By putting a rebel with an uncontrollable smart mouth and an inescapable compulsion to be true to herself in a controlling dystopian society, well that is just a recipe for a perfectly, pesky flaw to drive an awesome story. By the time Rosa struggles with her feelings for Joseph, the reader gets it by evaluating her father's "abandonment" and her mother's rejection, not to mention her difficulty making friends because her tenacity scares everyone away. Although Rosa frustrated me at times, I just love her as the protagonist.
Another thing that Lauren did really well, she told a remarkable emotional story that also had a fast, multi faceted plot. I must say that there are all kinds of questions that plaque me: What happened to Lenos ... is there more to that story? What about Rasheed...I miss him? Who are these survivors and what is their deal with The Superiors? Why is reproduction so important to Superior Este? Where did the ideology of All Race come from? Deshi needs a story too, right? Does Joseph recover? What do they name the baby? Please tell me there is a sequel?!
Despite all of these questions, I think the story ended in a poignant and well played place. I really love the fact that Rosa doesn't feel this immediate connection to her baby during pregnancy and even feels a detachment after the baby's birth. After every tragedy and the evil circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, Rosa's baby finds his way into her heart...sweet conclusion. (less)
FIVE STARS!!! David Estes had done it again, writing another brilliant book that stirs up a myriad of emotions (including tears) and makes me blissful...moreFIVE STARS!!! David Estes had done it again, writing another brilliant book that stirs up a myriad of emotions (including tears) and makes me blissfully content at the conclusion. It is truly mind boggling to me that his writing has gotten better, because it is oh so good, but it really has! The vivid imagery of the Soaker's life at sea that David created simply swept me away in the first few chapters. There's a poetic quality to this book and yet it is not just stuffed with monotonous adjectives, but instead it feels real and true. The other thing I noticed that David has perfected is the way the character's subconscious dialogue is woven throughout what they are experiencing. It is perfectly choreographed; including The Evil that is Sadie's inner voice of blind hatred and revenge and Huck's inner voice of self doubt and blame.
The Dweller and Country Sagas have the richest characters that make the reader really feel like you know them; great characterisation continues with Huck and Sadie. I loved Huck's vulnerability as he tries so desperately to meet his father's expectations and become a man. Huck discovers his own independent voice and as he gathers the courage to rebel against his father's evil idealism, he transforms into a man of integrity and valour. It was awesome to witness this change in him and how it affected, not only him, but the very actions of those around him.
I'm not sure how David Estes manages to continue to write with such originality and produce beautiful characters and stories so quickly, but as a fan and reader, I'm happy to indulge in the fruits of his literary labor. I seriously can't wait to read The Earth Dwellers and I will be counting down the days until the release September 5th! (less)
How in the world do you write a poignant, beautiful story about mourning the life and loved ones of our past in a tumultuous, zombie infested world wh...moreHow in the world do you write a poignant, beautiful story about mourning the life and loved ones of our past in a tumultuous, zombie infested world where the rules of humanity come into question in ethical and epic proportions? I propose that R. S. Carter has masterfully accomplished this mind-blowing task in the ever-so-haunting book Days of Love and Blood. Having read many a zombie post-apocalyptic story, I was surprised at the depth and flaws of the main characters and soul evaluating journey they undertake.
This book is not for the faint of heart! It is gruesome, violent and difficult to swallow at times; yet the shocking world these characters find themselves in is cruel and needed to be portrayed as such. Of course, this book draws up some good old controversy regarding the death penalty in a lawless world where justice is served by survivors and where swift, deadly justice may be the key to survival. However, it is one thing to kill an infected homicidal ruled by a virus ridden brain and another to kill just plain sick homicidal humans or is it?
Days of Love and Blood is powerful, thought provoking, gut retching, tear jerking and an artistically written, special story; therefore it has to earn 5 stars(less)
4.5 STARS! First I must admit that this is one of those books I read the "free sample" for and then turned away from purchasing it and going any furth...more4.5 STARS! First I must admit that this is one of those books I read the "free sample" for and then turned away from purchasing it and going any further. It's not that it wasnt intriguing, but I thought, "Here we go again, another catastrophic virus forces teens to be locked inside a high school and all hell breaks loose during the quarantine". In fact, I contemplated naming a book shelf HS Quarantine because this theme has been done again and again, BUT I decided to give this book one more try after reading some trusted reviews. I have to say, I'm so glad I did because this book was an absolute thrill ride! I forced myself to put it down this morning at 2:00 am out of necessity, but devoured it again the minute I could.
For those with weak stomachs and sensitive ears, this book is not for you! There is gritty language, sexual themes and an abundance of graphic violence. This book is a dash of The Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner (without order, total chaos prevails), but with a stiff R rating. With that being said, I loved the colorful narrative, the realistic teen relationships and the high school social hierarchy with stereotypical cliche names and identity branding ie hair color, clothing, residence within the school, etc. All of these elements thrown together in brilliant disarray makes for an exciting, page-turning, totally believable and original story that I didn't want to ever end...I'm so glad Lex Thomas cleverly wove the makings for several sequels. It's going to be hard to wait for the next book coming out this Summer 2013.
The main character in this book is David a typical HS jock that has given up on life since his mother's tragic death a year previous; he has given up on everything except for his younger brother Will, a feisty, rebellious, epileptic who is starting his freshman year of high school. David has alienated his former football team and gets in a fight with the new star football player at a party over his cheating girlfriend. Thus David starts the first day of high school a "dead man walking." However, before the first period bell can even ring on the first day of school an explosion tears away a wing of the school and the teachers suddenly die. The students soon discover the windows are covered and all exits sealed with a quarantine tent canvassing the entire school. Military enters the school to inform the students that they have been infected by a virus that won't leave their body until puberty has runs it's course. The students are deadly to the entire outside world, although a few students did escape. When the virus begins to leave their body, they are eligible for release through a sealed booth and graduate to the outside world. The military drops food and supplies once a week by helicopter, but that creates a dog eat dog environment of gross proportions.
Great unique supporting characters and strong, moral main characters make for a great story. Thomas creates a crazy world that you can envision, hear and even smell and its a world that is full of terror and triumph. This is one of those books that is absolutely unforgettable! (less)
4.5 STARS! Sovereign is set in a time typical Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic books ignore. No, it's not set in the moment right after a huge apocalyptic...more4.5 STARS! Sovereign is set in a time typical Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic books ignore. No, it's not set in the moment right after a huge apocalyptic world catastrophe or hundreds of years after such an event. Instead, Soverign follows a rebellious teenage girl, Cori, who is a citizen of Antius, a bunkered up civilization teeming with devious technological terrors and a brutally sick leader, Nathan. Cori, an orphan of Antius, has immunity to the mind controlling techniques and substances used to create a subservient Dystopian society.
The plot was original, fast-paced and intriguing. There were some amazing supporting characters in this book that I would love to continue to follow (if they are still alive), including Titus, Tyce, and Marsi. Cori, although a worthy heroine of dystopia, could have been a little more developed as a character...yes, I know she is rebellious, has difficulty trusting or understanding her feelings and at times is self-sacrificing, but I also found her to be a little cold and selfish. All of the accolades for Cori at the end of the story fell a little short..."we all believe in you Cori," just seemed a little misplaced when there were so many other heroes. I liked Dylan as Cori's love interest, especially as they have been best friends, but I kind of like the sexy Tyce or even the stalwart Titus.
Here's hoping the next book uncovers some of my burning questions and resurrects some of these characters! (less)
FIVE STARS!!! The best moment in reading is when you find that one special, unforgettable story you've been madly searching for...thank you David Este...moreFIVE STARS!!! The best moment in reading is when you find that one special, unforgettable story you've been madly searching for...thank you David Estes for delivering it in Fire Country!
Although I really enjoyed The Dweller Series, Fire Country stands in a league of its own and here is the reason...the brilliantly flawed heroine Siena. For me Siena is to Fire Country what Saba is to Blood Red Road and what Alex is to Ashes, or dare I say what Katniss is to The Hunger Games. Siena is the kind of character that you cry and cheer for and feel strangely sad when the story ends because Siena is no longer in your literary world. Hats off to David Estes and his talent in writing a character that evokes such deep feeling.
Circ as Siena's soul mate and best friend is the kind of relationship so many YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories get wrong. For once, there is absolutely no love triangle! Siena knows who she loves even after she feels like she lost Circ forever. Such dedication speaks volumes about Siena. I seriously went into the ugly cry when Siena looks up at Circ's star and says "Hi." Another one of my criteria for a favorite book...I actually get moved to tears.
Besides Siena and Circ, Fire Country is full of tribal, unique, troubled, evil, brave, comical supporting characters, all of which make this story a stand out, including the famous Perry the Prickler, a cactus (you have to read the story).
I can't possibly give Fire Country the praise it deserves. My only fear is that everything I read from now on will pale in comparison and I will be back to searching for that perfect story and character once again...sigh. (less)
4.5 stars! And here I thought I was just reading another Zombie book! Stony is an anomalous, post-apocalyptic zombie who "grows up" with a live human...more4.5 stars! And here I thought I was just reading another Zombie book! Stony is an anomalous, post-apocalyptic zombie who "grows up" with a live human family, eventually being thrust into an underground "undead" secret society and labeled as a zombie messiah of sort. This book is not like ANY zombie book I have read so far. If there was ever a strange, dark, deeply thought provoking book, I have yet to find one. Gregory delves into questions such as: What makes you alive? What is a soul? Do we exist after death? What does it mean to be human? He twists the story and zombie condition in such a way that I was left puzzling it out philosophically...in a good way! This is a book I will NEVER forget, thus is deserves 4.5 stars. How ironic that Stony Mayhall, a zombie with no heart, stole mine! (less)
Dang! Why did I wait so long to read this awesome book? I guess it stems from the fact that I really liked The Hunt and found it entirely memorable (w...moreDang! Why did I wait so long to read this awesome book? I guess it stems from the fact that I really liked The Hunt and found it entirely memorable (which says a lot) and original, despite it being about vampires, but I wasn't left craving the sequel. Had I known that The Prey would completely leave me scrambling to find the date of the 3rd book's release, I would have picked it up long ago!
There are so many clues and questions around every corner in this fast-paced plot. Just when I had things figured out, another twist would leave me careening down a different path. Although at times my predictions on the plot were accurate, there was still unanswered questions that kept me swiping through the pages. I personally love a cliffhanger as long something has truly driven the story there all along...Fukada leaves the reader hanging flawlessly! I seriously can't wait for more...why is September so far away? (less)
Definitely a 4.5 star book. Cole is a high caliber word smith weaving a beautifully visual story, one I felt like I could see and feel. I was hesitant...moreDefinitely a 4.5 star book. Cole is a high caliber word smith weaving a beautifully visual story, one I felt like I could see and feel. I was hesitant about the teen scenes during the first 1/4 of the book and yet even that side of the story was truly believable and portrayed teens with dialogue that felt current. I honestly discard a lot of YA books after the first few chapters because they feel too juvenile, but not this one! The best thing about this book is that the characters are well developed, including their back story, and any book that makes me feel like I really know the characters and I want to cheer them on or even cover my eyes when they screw up, well that is just good reading every day of the week for me! Some of the story is just down right creepy, which i loved. At face value the whole tarot card-superhero theme is a little contrived, but place all of that in a zombie infested, militia run, post-apocalyptic world and you got me. I seriously can't wait for the next book.(less)