The Whimsical Mama

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Bout of Books 13 Wrap-Up May 18, 2015

affiliate links used below

I intended to participate in the last Bout of Books, but didn’t. I can’t remember what came up, but life happened. So I wrote the next date down in my planner. I had a blast this week with Bout of Books! I missed both chats, thanks to the kiddos, but it is what it is. I picked three books for my official TBR:The Fault in Our Stars,An Ember in the Ashes, and The Wrath and the Dawn. I only finished The Fault in Our Stars and The Wrath and the Dawn of these three. I did get a lot of reading done though. I read a total of 2,101 pages! True enough, 6 of the 7 books were audiobooks, but I still read! My favourite is a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn and The Fault in Our Stars. I faced a big fear when I read The Fault in Our Stars. My Gran was diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago, and I just haven’t been ready for any cancer books. Especially when I had had the ending spoiled for me. Cancer & death. I just wasn’t ready. Then talking with Lauren on the drive to see Sarah J Maas in Nashville on the 8th, we talked about a lot of things. She convinced me to go ahead and read it. I did and I’m so glad I did. Now to write ALL the reviews haha. Gotta get caught up!

Books completed:

The Fault in Our Stars

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)

The Goddess Test

The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test)

Goddess Interrupted

The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel)

The Wrath and the Dawn

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Top Ten Tuesday #67: Spring 2015 TBR March 17, 2015

b301e-toptentuesday

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books on My 2015 Spring TBR

 Previous TBR posts (Winter 2013 6/10 Fall2013 3/10 Spring TBR 2014 6/11 Summer 2014 3/10  Fall 2014 2/10) After not doing well at all with my Fall 2014 TBR, I did much better with my Winter 2014. I read 6/10. True enough, I did have an extra month! Now for the books I plan to read this spring!

affiliate links used

1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

3. Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

4. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

6. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

7. Forged by Erin Bowman

8. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

9. The Body Electric by Beth Revis

10. Chronicles of Faerie: The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling

What are you planning to read this Spring? Anything I should take note of for this summer?

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!! (:

 

Flashback Friday #4: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare August 29, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 5 April 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book four of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The first book of the second trilogy of The Mortal Instruments series feels a bit off par to the first three books. It picks up shortly after the events of City of Glass. Jace and Clary are happily together though Jace is having some issues. Simon is struggling dating Isabelle and Maia and fails to see how that’s a bad idea.

The plot is exciting and the twist at the end is mind blowing. I honestly don’t know why this feels lacking compared to the others. Maybe because things felt like they were pretty neatly tied up and now a new series of events are stirring up. I also like Valentine as a villain much better than Sebastian – or Lilith.

I did like that we have a bit of perspective toss up. It’s a progressive adjustment from the beginning of the series and I think it works nicely. I especially love the Malec scenes. They’re my favourite couple.

My favourite non couple pairing for scenes was Simon and Jace. I love the bickering. It’s the best. It’s even better when Kyle is thrown in.

I liked getting to see the background between Jordan Kyle and Maia. It’s a very tragic story but great that they’re going to have a chance to work through things.

My first read of The Mortal Instruments after reading The Infernal Devices, I was super excited to see Brother Zachariah. I wish there’d been more of him in it.

I still recommend this series, I just recommend the first trilogy half more strongly than I recommend the second set. This could change once I read City of Heavenly Fire. I do love City of Lost Souls as well. I’m just less than thrilled with City of Fallen Angels. As great as the first three are, I feel all this one does is set up the next trilogy.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

*Review* Love Story by Jennifer Echols June 1, 2014

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 19 July 2011
Publisher: MTV Books
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, contemporary
Format: ebook, via library
Status: Standalone

Summary:

She’s writing about him. He’s writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions–it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter. . . . except this story could come true.

 

My thoughts:

I am on a roll with reading all the Jennifer Echols books ASAP. I loved Dirty Little Secret and Biggest Flirts and wanted to read more. I think Mary is determined to turn me into a contemporary fan. As long as I can read Jennifer Echols, I’m okay with this. 

I really liked that Love Story took place in college. I love YA, but the reason I mainly avoid YA contemporary is cause I don’t want to read about high school. I did my time. I don’t want to relive it. College? I am completely okay with college. I miss college. I want to finish my degree. I need to figure out my degree…

I loved getting to see Erin and Hunter take smacks at each other in class. In my group of friends, I’ve generally always been the writer and the only one obsessed with it or reading. The exception to this was one of my best friends. Much like Erin and Hunter, we competed in writing, trying to one up each other.

I enjoyed the story, but I couldn’t always connect with Erin. There was a huge poor little rich girl vibe going on. Other than those times, I enjoyed reading from Erin’s perspective. Freshman year is full of adjustments for everyone no matter your background.

Hunter frustrated me. But that mainly may be because he’s a guy! Haha I did enjoy the romance that developed between them.

I absolutely loved the horse farm setting for part of the book. I’ve adored the Kentucky Derby and horses longer than I can remember. So incredible. I also loved the New York scenes. New York is one of those cities I love to live in only in print. Much too chaotic for me in real life. Visit? Yes. Live? No, thanks.

Of the three Jennifer Echols books I’ve read, this comes in third. I really enjoyed it, but I didn’t connect with the characters like I did in the other two Echols books I’ve read.

About the author:

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

 

Armchair BEA: Day 1 Introductions May 26, 2014

Today marks the start of Armchair BEA week which runs along side BEA in New York City. Last year, I hadn’t started blogging yet so I had no idea what BEA was until the end of the year. Then the excitement started building as authors started announcing they were coming. There was just no way for me to be able to attend this year, and I was so happy when I stumbled across Armchair BEA on Twitter. A way to connect with other bloggers and still get a small amount of the BEA experience?! Count me in!

 

Introductions

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

I am Maura. I’m blogging from Northeast TN. I’m a stay at home mama to my two kiddos: Punk (3 years old) and Ladybug (1 year old). I’ve been blogging since 2010 off and on, but the book oriented side of The Whimsical Mama launched officially in July 2013. I originally wanted to do a cooking blog like Julie/Julia, but that didn’t stick. Newborn baby and not cooking new things consistently killed that one! After helping Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) get her blog some recognition, I decided I ought to give blogging a try again. Books and writing have always been my favourite outlets!

 

2. What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ . 

I generally read fantasy the most. Harry Potter got me addicted to reading and I’ve never turned my back on my fantasy beginnings. I love to read because I love to escape daily life. I always have. Growing up in a small town in the foothills of the Appalachians, I loved to go anywhere but home. I’ve always loved to travel and reading helped those adventures and were much cheaper than actual trips!  Because I love to escape in books, I tend not to turn to contemporaries because they are too close to real life for me. I am learning to appreciate them though!

 

3. Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online. 

The Whimsical Mama is just that – whimsical – I mainly read young adult, but read a lot of children’s books and life is pretty whimsical with two toddlers running around! The Whimsical Mama, I hope, reflects a lot of my daily life. You can find me as @armywife2310 on Twitter. Maura T on Goodreads, armywife2310 on Pinterest. Yes, as you can see, I’m very proud of being an Army wife! (:

 

4. What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

Hmmm this is a hard one that’s required a good bit of thought. Since I started blogging in the latter half of 2013, I don’t have reviews for all the great things I read. Pre-blogging, my favourite 2013 read would probably be Clockwork Princess or Legend or Die for Me. I really can’t pick! Once I started blogging, my favourite 2013 read was Infinite by the oh so incredibly wonderfully talented Jodi Meadows. Yup. Yup. Yup. Now, let’s see. My favourite read so far of 2014. By far it has been The Impossible Knife of Memory. Again, Army pride is showing through with that pick! (:

 

5. What book would you love to see as a movie? 

I have three off the top of my head that as long as they were done correctly, I would love to see on the big screen. If they’re going to be mangled, I can live without them being turned to movies. The Legend trilogy, the Incarnate/Newsoul trilogy, and the Revenants trilogy. Those were three incredible trilogies that, I feel, would be great on screen.

 

*Review* Divergent by Veronica Roth April 7, 2014

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:25 April 2011
Publisher:HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Format:paperback, movie-tie in edition, borrowed via library
Status:Book one of the Divergent trilogy

Summary:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My thoughts:

Why did I not listen to Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) and read Divergent sooner?! Why did I wait until it was next to impossible to avoid previews and potential spoilers?! Miraculously, I have avoided Allegiant spoilers of any kind. I also have avoided all Divergent talk of any kind. I’m very happy it lived up to the hype that’s been buzzing like crazy. Maybe that’s why I’ve been putting it off in case I was one of *those* people who didn’t like it. Whatever the reason, I’ve finally read it.

 

From theget go of Veronica’s debut I’ve been intrigued by the world our leading lady, Beatrice lives in. It’s obviously vastly different from ours. Her world is divided into five factions: Dauntless (brave), Erudite (intellectual), Amity (kind), Candor (honest), and Abnegation (selfless service). Beatrice was born and raised in Abnegation but doesn’t feel like she fits in. At the age of 16, everyone goes through an aptitude test. Something happens with Beatrice’s results and it leaves her with a lot to contemplate. Choosing Day arrives and she decides to leave Abnegation for Dauntless. Her brother Caleb also chooses to leave Abnegation. He chooses Erudite. This one choice will now make or break Beatrice.

Divergent could have gone in so many directions. Veronica did a great job of leaving you thinking what if? while blowing your mind with Beatrice’s (Tris) path of choice.

 

I definitely don’t think I could make it through the Dauntless initiation. Tris definitely has me there. The Dauntless are not to be taken lightly. I think they’re all slightly crazy. I would like to explore their compound though! I’m very glad I didn’t have to choose the single path that would define the rest of my life at 16. I’ve learned so much since then. If I had to stick to what I wanted at 16, I would be in law school right now. I also would most definitely not be living where I am now. I would be in Europe for sure. I wouldn’t be married and I certainly wouldn’t have kids. Everything I wanted changed so much my first year and a half in college!

 

Veronica does a great job with character development. In first person, we get to see inside of Tris’s head as she grows. She’s a person you can easily relate to, though I don’t envy her life. We also meet Four who is an interesting character. I’m very happy there is chemistry rather quickly between them, but not of the insta-love variety.

 

Veronica also created strong secondary characters. Tris mostly interacts with the other transfer initiates to Dauntless, but we do get to see her interact with a wide variety of people from various backgrounds. I’m excited to see their roles grow in the series.

 

Veronica’s world building was great too. I’ve only seen Chicago from the air, so I can’t do a genuine comparison, but she creates a fantastic dystopian, run down Chicago. She gives incredibly detailed descriptions of the areas of Chicago Tris explores.

 

The length may seem daunting (haha, see what I did there?) for those who aren’t used to longer reads, but this doesn’t read like it’s as long as it is. It pulls you in and propels you all the way through. It covers all the emotional bases and covers them well. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to yell. I wanted to throttle a few necks. This was a fantastic read that leaves you wanting more, so it might be a smart move to have Insurgent on hand. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, give Divergent a try! I’m not big on the if you liked X, try X deal, but I do think this will pull in The Hunger Games fans!

 

 

About the author

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

 

*Review* Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi February 3, 2014

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 1 December 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: hardcover, signed, won in a contest
Status:Book one of Under the Never Sky trilogy

Summary:

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered.

This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland–known as The Death Shop–are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild–a savage–and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile–everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

My thoughts:

I won a copy of this in a giveaway hosted by Mary. It sat on my TBR shelf for longer than it should have. Since it was surrounded by hype, I was kind of reluctant to read it. One good thing about waiting to read it is when I did, I got to binge read the series.

This world was incredible. It’s one that sucked me in immediately, but it is definitely a world that I would not want to live in. There are dangers that are everywhere you turn.

In a world where racism is still prevalent (if you disagree with that, we can debate at a different time), this was a book that focused on racism and stereotypes. You may disagree with me on it, but to me it felt that way. There are deeply ingrained beliefs on both sides. The Dwellers live in a fantastical world and are raised to believe those who live on the outside are dangerous savages (very colonial power vs native right?) The Outsiders hold a deep and bitter resentment towards the Dwellers for some long ago transgression which is later revealed.

I will admit that I read Roar & Liv before Under the Never Sky (Mary gave me massive grief) so I was waiting impatiently for the wonderful Roar to show up. I absolutely adore Roar. He’s my favourite by far! I wasn’t that big of a fan of Perry in the beginning. I’m not into the broody type. I did grow to care for him and I really like the pairing between Perry and Aria. I believe they work well together to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Aria was very naïve when she was dropped on the outside, but it givers her tremendous room for growth and she spends the whole book blossoming. Through her perspective we see just how vast the technology gap is between Dweller and Outsider. Civilisation has progressed in the Pods to eradicate illnesses, has the capabilities to stop menstrual cycles, and create realms of unimaginable levels.

We see everything from Middle Ages-esque villages and technological levels where the Tides live to a more modern feeling city to the very futuristic Pods. Veronica does an amazing job of creating a vast technological arc in this sci-fi future. It feels to me that it is more post-apocalyptic than dystopian.

Having a boy and girl from vastly different backgrounds can be terribly cliché, but Veronica makes it work very well in this world. What I really loved about the Aria and Perry pairing was that it was not an insta-love situation. It was quite the opposite in the beginning which was very refreshing. It was nice to see a relationship truly built from the ground up and not starting with “love.” The complications of their genetic abilities adds a nice spice to their situation when breeding can be considered a key part of life.

I’ve never been a fan of perspective changes, but I’ve read several recently and they are starting to change my mind. Veronica did a great job with the easy glow back and forth between Aria and Perry. One thing I didn’t enjoy in UTNS was the futuristic jargon from the two societies. Obviously language changes every day, but without context (which some of these are through the book) it was very difficult to pick them up. Once I picked up on their meaning, the bafflement quickly faded.

While I didn’t feel that UTNS completely lived up to the hype, I did enjoy it enough to continue on with the series. I think maybe after time away from it and the hype dies down from Into the Still Blue, I may come back to it and read it again. I do plan on rereading the series eventually, just not sure on how soon. I would and do recommend UTNS to post-apocalyptic and sci-fi enthusiasts.

 

*Review* Wither by Lauren DeStefano November 10, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 22 March 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: hardcover via library
Status: Book one of The Chemical Garden series

Summary:

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

My thoughts:

Wither was recommended to me by the lovely Mary, Mary Had a Little Book Blog. While waiting for Perfect Ruin to come in at the library, I decided to read Wither. I started it on audiotape while I ran errands. I was also mulling over which book I was going to read next. I just finished Waterfell and was suffering from a bit of a book hangover.

The tone of Wither just gripped me. It was fantastic. Lauren did an incredible job. It’s hard to fathom a world where the people die so young. Females die at the age of 20 and males die at the age of 25. I would be dead already on that time line. My husband too. It’s something that humbles you in a way. Especially as I’m writing this. (originally written in my journal On our way to my hubby’s cousin’s funeral. Just 26 years old. In today’s world, someone that age shouldn’t die. It’s tragic when it happens. Not expected and unavoidable like in Rhine’s world.

There is a glimmer of hope in Rhine’s world, though. There’s the rumour of an antidote being researched all through the country. Some are optimistic, others try to stop it. They believe the human race is doomed and should just die out the way it’s going.

Our narrator, Rhine, is 16 years old. Four short years away from certain death. She’s just been taken away from home. She’s with a group of girls being inspected by a wealthy man. She suspects they are being inspected to be selected to become brides. Three of the girls are selected. Those not selected —-

Rhine is escorted into the back of a car with the other three girls. She wakes up in the lap of luxury, but is dismayed that she is nowhere near her childhood home of Manhattan. She’s in Florida. She’s immediately consumed with the desire to plot an escape. She makes friends with an attendant, Gabriel. After he tends to her, she decides to see if the door to her room is locked. She’s surprised to see that it is not. Rhine decides to explore to see if she can find a way to escape. She comes across Rose’s room. Later she’s asked to come back. She knows Rose is dying and assumes she is the House Governor’s wife. Despite knowing Rose is facing a quickly approaching death, they become friends.

Rhine meets the other two girls she was take with on their wedding day. They are married by age. Jenna is the last bride at 18 and Cecily is the first bride at 13. They are married to House Governor Linden Ashby.

Jenna is withdrawn. She’s resigned herself to her fate and would rather die in luxury than in squalor. She’s beautiful, but is destroyed over the deaths of her sisters. She and Rhine eventually become friends.

Cecily is completely ecstatic about her new life. She grew up in an orphanage. She proves to be a very ignorant child. She believes that this is the best thing that could ever have happened to her.

Rose eventually succumbs to the virus and it impacts Rhine more than she thought it would. It absolutely crushes the girls’ husband, Linden. Once Rose is gone, he begins to dote on his new wives. Cecily is soon pregnant.

The longer Rhine is trapped in the mansion, the stronger her desire is to escape. She tries to escape during a hurricane and is nearly killed. Gabriel is reassigned to a different part of the mansion and she fears he is dead. With Jenna’s help, she and Gabriel make a plan to escape.

Jenna suddenly falls ill before her 20th birthday and dies from the virus. Rhine is more determined than ever to escape. She and Gabriel finally manage to make their escape.

I really loved Wither. The narrator on the audiotape did a fantastic job. Lauren hit a homerun with her debut book! Even though it was fascinating to visit Rhine’s world, it definitely is not a world I would choose to live in!

 

*Review* Across the Universe Series by Beth Revis August 16, 2013

Rating: 4.3 for the series
Pub date: 2011, 2012, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA, Futuristic, Sci-Fi
Format: paperbacks, obtained from the Public Library

Summary:
Across the Universe: A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

A Million Suns: Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision—no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success—or failure—will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.
Beth Revis catapulted readers into the far reaches of space with her New York Times bestselling debut, Across the Universe. In A Million Suns, Beth deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Shades of Earth: Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight. Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing. FUELED BY LIES. RULED BY CHAOS. ALMOST HOME.

This series was suggested to me, and I decided that it sounded great. I took Across the Universe with me on vacation and devoured it. It was nice and refreshing. I’m not usually big into the space scene (unless it’s Star Wars), but this was definitely nice for something different. Sometimes as a stay at home mom, I feel like Amy felt on Godspeed. There are times that I feel trapped and isolated behind walls. It really felt that way this past week after a straight week of rain with a whiny toddler who is missing his daddy. I can’t imagine being stuck in space. At least when I feel trapped here, I can step out in the rain for a few seconds just to catch a breath of fresh air.

As a parent, I can’t imagine having to face the choice Amy’s parents did. They were so ready to go to the new planet, but didn’t fully realise (at least it felt that way to me) what they were asking teenage Amy to give up. She’s a high schooler, she doesn’t know what’s out there for her. I know I wouldn’t want to be separated from my children, but I would want to help decide what is best for them. Even though the prospect seems horrible, I believe I wouldn’t put my children in a situation to have to choose between me and the world they’d be leaving behind. Hopefully, I will never be in that situation.

It seemed so strange in reading that the people of Godspeed didn’t seem to be that advanced. You would think three hundred years in the future, the intelligence level would be higher, not lower. Yes, the technology has advanced, but the people are no where remotely more advanced. the discovery of why they behave the way they do is incredible. A drug that keeps them docile and submissive. It also intrigued me how they were all monoethnic and zero diversity. I was excited to read through the series to see if the reason behind this would be explained.

When I started A Million Suns, I got distracted with the Matched series and ended up not reading for a while. I reread the part I had read and it quickly went by to the end. I was advised to have Shades of Earth on hand for when I finished. I’m very glad I heeded this advice.

The discovery that they were already at their destination was a HUGE surprise. I had an inkling that was where things were going, but I wasn’t expecting it. I was very excited to see how Revis would display this new world. I was pleased and displeased with it. I was hoping for something vastly different from Earth. Pink grass or something like that would’ve been a nice throw in.

It was great getting to meet the “Frozens,” but I was a bit disappointed with the portrayal of Amy’s father. He was the stereotypical soldier. As a military wife, I know that not all military personnel are like this. I feel if he’d been a bit more personable, his actions would’ve made more sense. But that’s just me as a military wife. Amy’s mother seemed a bit blase too. Just their personalities made them seem like an odd fit and strange that they had a child. They both appeared much too attached to their professions to have wanted a family. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be the type that was career hell or high water before a family. My priorities changed. I just seems to me that people with this personality set usually don’t have kids. They do appear like a close family in a way. I dunno. the family dynamic just felt off to me a bit.

Not wanting to spoil the ending (I want you to read it for yourself!), that plot twist was HUGE. It blew my mind and was fantastically done. I was hoping things would be explained and it was laid out just like I was hoping. I’m sad I came into the series after it was finished, but the cliffhanger between two and three, I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle a year wait! I will definitely read this again!

 

 
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