The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Adult Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations July 7, 2016

Jamie’s post about beach reads really made me think about some reads I’ve loved while I read at the beach, or during a long car ride. Hubs and I really enjoy listening to audiobooks instead of trying to surf radio channels. I’ve already featured non-contemporary young adult reads, non-fiction adult reads, and contemporary young adult reads. Now for the adult fiction reads we’ve enjoyed!

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  1. World War Z by Max Brooks. Hubs and I listened to the audiobook of this. It was FANTASTIC. Multi-person performance. MUCH better than the movie too.

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2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. I read this while I was traveling in Italy & Greece in 2007. It was so neat to travel almost identically along to places Robert Langdon explored in Italy!

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3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I read this in France in 2006. It was an experience exploring Paris and reading this at the same time!

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4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. Anything by Philippa Gregory is a great read! (excluding The Red Queen, but that’s a different story lol).

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5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. So much better than the movie!

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6. In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener. Technically the third book in the series, Michelle Diener wrote these books to be read as standalones. Minimal advantage comes from reading the previous books. Review here.

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7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I didn’t finish the first time I attempted to read, I read it between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I think I was expecting too much of Twilight influence and it was anything but. My second attempt was actually at the beach and I flew through it. I enjoyed it much better than the Twilight series.

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8. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. I’m not big on Christian lit, but I have loved the Left Behind series for years. I still really need to finish it! haha.

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9. Lamb The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. A hysterical historical fiction. I should actually do a re-read soon.

I don’t really read much adult fiction! Haha. There’s also a whole slew of Star Wars novels that I love too.

 

 

 

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*Review* Allegiant by Veronica Roth April 14, 2014

Rating:3 stars
Pub date:22 October 2013
Publisher:HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Format:e-book, audiobook, borrowed via library
Status:Book three of the Divergent trilogy

Summary:

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.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

My thoughts:

This has been one of the hardest reviews to write and not for a good reason. Allegiant was very disappointing for me. If I hadn’t loved Divergent and Insurgent, I would’ve rated it lower. Not sure if I’ll re-read. I definitely won’t buy the whole series. I really thought about ordering 1&2, but what’s the point of owning them without 3? Ugh. After such great character development in Divergent and Insurgent, it really tanks in Allegiant. It seems like the new secondary characters weren’t developed fully and didn’t do much for me while good and old secondary characters were ignored and dropped. No one is safe either. Terrible things happen to everyone. Just when you think things are starting to look up, it all goes to hell again. That really felt like the main theme of the book. Not sure what the main theme was supposed to be, but to me that’s what it came across as. 

I feel like the genetics was dumbed down. I can’t explain how, exactly, I just was disappointed with it. It felt like she was trying to move Jew vs non-Jew to post-apocalyptic/war torn/futuristic/dystopian time frame. It felt so forced. Everything did, really. 

I like Four, I really do. I cannot stand reading from his POV and suddenly throwing it in felt forced and awkward. I did not like the transitioning between Four and Tris. Speaking of not liking things between Four and Tris; the fighting. Oh, the fighting. It was so freaking annoying. Really, really, REALLY annoying. There were times when I just wanted to stop reading because it was killing me.

It really felt like Allegiant was rushed and it wasn’t as well written or edited as Divergent or Insurgent. It’s like Veronica didn’t really know where she wanted to go with the story other than that killer twist at the ending. Overall it wasn’t what I was expecting. After the action building and building, I was expecting something spectacular to happen in Allegiant, and to me, the action just felt severely lacking. For such a long book, I feel like not much really happened.  I didn’t think Allegiant was great, but it also wasn’t completely terrible.

To be honest, I didn’t cry over the death. I was disappointed with it and thought it was rather useless. Especially after going through such lengths to show the struggle between the two characters and then suddenly sacrificing to save him/her? No. Just. No. From the death to the end I was so bored and wanted to stop reading. What was the point of bailing at that point though? So close to the end I might as well finish. I’m very curious about the fan fiction alternate endings now. I haven’t read fan fiction in years and I really want to just to see other endings. Have I mentioned that everything felt forced? Because it did. The entire story, the “sacrifice” death, the ending, etc. I honestly cannot recommend Allegiant. Not in any way. I would be completely okay with this trilogy being a duology. Yeah, it would’ve been a major cliffhanger full of what ifs, but I would’ve liked that better than how it really ended. Read Divergent and Insurgent, but skip Allegiant. Unless you like writing that tanks in the end. Then totally go for it.

 

Sorry to those who saw the incomplete review of this. I had it all typed up but apparently WordPress decided my full review didn’t need to be saved/posted.

 

 


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* Insurgent by Veronica Roth April 13, 2014

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:1 May 2012
Publisher:HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Format:e-book, audiobook, borrowed via library
Status:Book two of the Divergent trilogy

Summary:

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:

By waiting so long to read Divergent, it meant waiting even longer to read Insurgent and that was a grievous mistake. The action that was building gets ramped up even higher in Insurgent. Terrible things happened at the end of Divergent and sacrifices were made that tore Tris’s world to shreds. In Insurgent, she’s left to deal with the fallout and try to figure out how to move forward.

One of my favourite things about Insurgent is that we get a better look at/interaction with other factions. It helps with the world building and bring further understanding to why things are happening the way they are.

Along with a better look at the factions, there are massive layers of guilt, grief, reflection, and betrayal woven into each intricate part. The betrayals come from all over and you won’t be prepared for them. Due to events, there is a lot of reflection. Tris questions if she’s made the right choices along the way. It helps further her character development because it helps her mature, but it also leaves her rife with guilt. The guilt also tore her apart and I think it made her grieve more than she had to grieve. My heart ached so bad for her grief and the grief of other characters.

There to help hold her together and stand by her is Four. Four is also dealing with a lot of issues after the events of Divergent. We also get to learn more about his seemingly good guy dad who was abusive to Four and Four’s mother. A shocking discovery is that not only is his mother alive, but a leader of the Factionless. It was nice to see the Factionless, but the conditions of their station is appalling. It’s not at all surprising that the Factionless want to better themselves.

The action builds until it explodes at the end with an expected (for me, it was one of two theories I had right off the bat in Divergent) revelation. I was happy to see that I was right about one of two theories I’ve had. We’ll have to wait until Allegiant to see if I’m right about the second. I’m glad I was a bit late to the party on reading, because that cliffhanger was a doozie! I enjoyed Insurgent more than I enjoyed Divergent and I’m looking forward to continuing my binge with Allegiant. Veronica did a great job of continuing the world building she started in Divergent. She also did a great job of continuing character development of the characters we met in Divergent and introducing us to more characters in Insurgent. This is still a world I wouldn’t want to live in, but she makes believable characters that are easy to relate to. I still highly recommend this series and hope that I’m one of the people who actually likes Allegiant and don’t end up disappointed!

 

 

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.)

 

Top Ten Tuesday #34: Most Unique Books I’ve Read April 8, 2014

 

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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 Most Unique Books I’ve Read

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. This is one of the most unique books I’ve read as far as historical fiction goes. It was an alternate reality changing during the 100 Years War between England and France. It also has magic as a common place occurrence. It was really interesting!

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman. I’ve never read a book from someone inside of Hitler’s circle during his rise to power in Germany. It was really interesting to see the beginning of his rise. I enjoyed watching Gretchen (the main character) question everything that Hitler said was true to figure out things herself about what was starting to happen in Germany.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I thought it was extremely interesting to read a book narrated by Death. It’s a perspective I’ve never read before and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t always nice when he spoiled something that was upcoming, but I learned to take it in stride. Plus Roger Allam as Death in the audiobook was SUPERB! It was also the first book (that I recall) reading from the German perspective of World War II.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory. I’ve always been interested in King Richard III, but have never researched him as much as I would like. I was really intrigued by Philippa Gregory focusing on Anne Neville, who became Richard’s queen. I knew virtually nothing about her before I read it and then did a bit of research on her after I finished. I loved Aneurin Barnard and Faye Marsay’s portrayals of Richard and Anne in The White Queen.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. (You should’ve KNOWN Jodi would make the list!) Reincarnation. Wow. As far as immortality goes, I’ve always been drawn to vampire stories. I’ve never really thought about reincarnation as an option for immortality in a story, but Jodi does an incredible job with it! Plus her characters are top notch. *swoons for Cris*

Hourglass by Myra McEntire. Time rips and time travel? Yes, please! Myra also has a killer cast of incredible characters. I absolutely loved what she did with the idea of time bleeding together.

The Shadow Children series by Margaret Petersen Haddox. A dystopian without the post-apocalyptic events. Definitely a Big Brother type of government. Population control. In a world where it’s HIGHLY illegal to have more than two children, there’s a whole underground world of Shadow Children (illegal “extra” children). I never finished the series, but thinking about it for this list makes me want to go back and see what happened!

Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. I love a good vampire book. Darren Shan takes a different approach to vampires and how vampires are turned. (No sparkly vampires here!) Another series I’ve only read part way through. That’s the thing that sucks about “outgrowing” a reading level before a series is finished!

Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown. Oh, conspiracies. Things you thought couldn’t possible exist really do. They are so ridiculous formulaic, but I can’t help but love every story. Angels & Demons is my favourite!

Those are my top unique books! So some of them are series, but it works! (: Tell me, what unique books have you read? Feel free to leave a link to your page and I’ll come visit!

 

*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.)

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 23-29 March 2014 March 29, 2014

Can I just say that I am really not a fan of the new update to the WordPress document formatting? I really liked being able to work in Word, Works, Open Office, etc. and paste straight in the post in the format I want. Not cool. Hubby was away at a military class this week and the kiddos took turns being piddly. Bug got shots and Punk’s allergies waged an open revolution against him. It’s been a rough week. But I still got some blog work and reading done!

Completed:

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein 4 1/2 stars

Frozen (ARC, personal copy, audiobook)by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston 3 3/4 stars.

Currently Reading:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Read to the Kiddos:

Sesame Street: Elmo Look and Find by Publications International

The Story of Thomas Jefferson by Patricia A Pingry

If You Give A Moose A Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Thomas and the Treasure by Wilbert Awdry

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs by Jane Yolen

Digger the Dinosaur by Rebecca Kai Dotlich


New to my shelf:

Asylum by Madeleine Roux (from my sis-in-law)

From the library:

Pete the Cat : Big Easter Adventure by Eric Litwin & James Dean (audiobook)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston (audiobook)

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (audiobook)

Splintered by AG Howard (audiobook)

The Great Discover (Thomas the Train) by Rev W Awdry (audiobook)

 

*Review* Defiance by CJ Redwine March 24, 2014

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date:
28 August 2012
Publisher:
HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian
Format:
paperback, personal copy, signed
Status:
Book one of the Defiance trilogy

 

Summary:

 

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan–the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

 

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

 

My thoughts:

 

I’ve been mulling around how to write this review for a while. Even now as I’m writing, I’m not sure where to go with it. From the cover, it looks like it would be historical fiction/fantasy. You start reading and you would think steampunk learning technology. It’s such a thrilling mix and the mix actually turns out to be dystopian and fantasy. That’s right. You read it correctly. How awesome is that mix?!

 

I was so excited to read Defiance. I’m a bit upset with myself for how I did read it. I charged through it before I met CJ back in January. I think by rushing through it, it lost a bit on me and it reflected in my rating. This is fully capable of five stars and it may change with a future re-read.

 

CJ did a fantastic job in her world building. The danger and intrigue kept me pulled in the whole time. In a futuristic, war destroyed, tyrannical ruled United States, things are not even remotely recognisable. Female freedoms have been stripped. Their situation very much brings to mind the Taliban treatment of women and just like our leading lady, Rachel, it left me bristling at the injustice the entire time. As much as I love history and culture, I would NOT do well in a culture that demands females to essentially be seen and not heard. Nope. Nope. Nope.

 

Again, there has been an exception to my multi point of view hating rule. Meeting Rachel step for step is the incredible Logan. They do so well together and CJ does such a great job with their development. The story flows easily back and forth between them. Their stories are woven together and have their own separate threads. They are very similar but also very distinct in their personalities. Along their journey is a splash of romance. Not enough to make it a complete romance, but enough to make things interesting. It will be nice to see where their relationship goes in Deception and Deliverance.

 

I think with this mix of genres, Defiance is a good pick for fans of fantasy, post-apocalyptic, or dystopian novels. It may even intrigue romance lovers, but since it’s not overwrought with romance, it may not satisfy them. It is not a quick read, but it is a good read. It’s a story that commands to be told, but not a story that demands to be devoured in one setting.

 

I’m looking forward to continuing with this series and I do recommend you check it out. Deception is out now and Deliverance comes out in August and is the conclusion to this trilogy.

 

About the author

 

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at www.cjredwine.com

 

 

 

 

 

*ARC Review* Infinite by Jodi Meadows March 20, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotations may change between ARC and publication. Many thanks to Jodi and HarperCollins!***

Rating:5 stars
Pub date: 28 January 2014
Publisher:Katherine Tegen Books a HarperCollins Imprint
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format:ARC via author & publisher
Status:Book three of the Incarnate/Newsoul series

Summary:

DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

My thoughts:

Honesty moment. I read this ARC in November. I was so overwhelmed by its perfection and beauty that I was incapable of writing my review then. Since I was passing it along to Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) and Alex (Peace, Love, and Fangirl), I just wrote down a synopsis in the format I wanted for my review. I even went ahead and scheduled it for January, closer to the release day. I knew I would have it done by then. Life happened and along comes January and my most embarrassing blogger moment. My notes went up. I’d never completed my review. OOPS! Thankfully, before too many people saw it, Jodi let me know when she checked out my “review” Oh, I was MORTIFIED. Thank you, Jodi, for not going postal on me! (:

I was so surprised when Jodi handed me the coveted Infinite ARC at the end of October when we met up for lunch. I was already losing it that I was getting to have lunch and hang out with one of my favourite authors. I really don’t know how I held myself together! Jodi is a super awesome person and if you ever have the chance to go to an event, DO NOT hesitate!

It’s such a bittersweet moment when you’re faced with reading the conclusion to a beloved series. I left Infinite in my TBR pile for a few weeks because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Then the time came. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I was ready to read. And after reading, I was ready to fangirl EVERYWHERE. Now it’s time to fangirl and give my final review of the Incarnate/New Soul series.

Infinite was hands down my favourite of the trilogy. It was simply superb. Jodi time and again ripped out my heart and stitched it back together. Bringing back Cris? *dies* Sam and Ana drama? *dies* Sam and Ana makeouts? *dies* The feels. Oh, the feels. I can’t even begin to talk about the feels!

Right from the beginning, Ana & Sam are in danger. That’s to be expected with the way things ended in Asunder. Ana’s been exiled and Sam is going with her. An earthquake strikes as soon as the Year of Souls begins. Sam is hurt (of course, he can’t escape chapter one before Jodi starts being mean!) and Ana helps bandage up his hand.

“It’s probably smart to get away from Range. I’m glad you’re coming with me.”

“I’ll always go anywhere with you.”

Ana and Sam, pg 11

Um. OMG. ❤

The danger increases from the beginning. Jodi does such a fantastic job with everything. The thing she does the best, as she has in the previous books, is develop Ana and Sam’s relationship. From their chance encounter in the woods in Incarnate until the epilogue at the end of Infinite, Jodi continues to add layer after layer of depth to their relationship. Not only are they eventually a couple, but they are great friends. A good relationship needs love and friendship and Jodi gets Ana and Sam spot on! Not only are they talented musical duo, they also prove that they can be accomplished burglars in Infinite.

“So I take it you’ve broken into a lot of private archive rooms?”

Snow quieted his reply, keeping it from carrying. “I admit to nothing except that Stef is a bad influence.”

I snorted. “You can’t fool me. I know better than to assume it’s all Stef corrupting you.”

“But you know her well enough to realise that most of the trouble I’ve gotten into is her fault, right?” He flashed me a look of boyish innocence.

– Ana & Sam, pg 62

Oh, Stef. Always a bad influence!

Another relationship Jodi does well is Stef and Sam. They are the best of friends and it’s an easy friendship, but also a friendship that continues to build. I loved getting to see how their friendship began in Phoenix Overture and it adds so much more insight into the relationship in the rest of the trilogy. Stef also is a great friend and ally to Ana and that relationship continues to build too. I love Stef. Jodi also throws in a bit of humour at Stef’s expense by showing that her technology is not infallible.

“Can’t you take back control?” Whit asked.

If I had more time, and a data console. My SED just isn’t powerful enough.”

“Stef’s Everything Device isn’t everything after all?” Whit teased.

Stef glared, and no one laughed.

– Whit and Stef, pg 98

Don’t mess with Stef’s ego!

While the group is searching for a way to destroy Janan, they run into trouble and in the nick of time the sylph come to the rescue led by Cris. YAY CRIS! Oh, I love Cris. I still wish he would ‘fess up his story to Jodi. I need more Cris! I really loved getting to learn the back story of the sylph. My heart really went out to them. I wanted to cuddle with them (but not get burned, thanks) and tell them it would be okay. Fine, you caught me, I really only want to cuddle with Cris, but you catch my drift. Sylph = screwed unless Ana helps to redeem them. (No extra pressure on Ana, right?)

I was really excited to finally discover why the dragons hate Sam and are always bent on killing him in every other life. Jodi did a great job with the dragons. (: It would’ve been nice to see more banter between them and Ana! Oh, Acid Breath! I also really enjoyed the role the dragons played in the great battle.

Speaking of battle… there’s an epic battle at the end. Of course, right? We KNEW this is where we were heading. How could it not? Battle = death. Death = what Jodi does best by torturing her characters and readers. Amirite? Things hit the fan. Big time. Loved characters die (I cried, a lot), options are offered, and choices are made. Jodi is definitely evil and a true artist at her craft. You’ll have to read it to see just how evil she is and how it all comes together in the end. Does everyone get a Happily Ever After? Does Acid Breath eat Sam? Do Ana and Sam finally, you know? (;

For me, Infinite was the perfect ending to this glorious trilogy. I am so sad that it’s over, but I am happy to have been a part of this ride. I highly HIGHLY recommend this incredible series. Jodi is forever and always on my read ANYTHING she writes list. PS Be sure to check out her brand spanking new series Orphan Queen when it comes out in 2015. You better believe I will pimp it out just like I do Incarnate!

 

About the author

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com

*A Kippy is a cat

I said I pimp out Incarnate, right? Well, that’s fortunate for you, dear reader, because I happen to have a SIGNED copy of Incarnate just waiting to be won and devoured. This giveaway is open to US only (Sorry international readers! I promise I will one day have giveaways for you too!) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open March 20th 2014 (12am) through April 10th 2014 (12am). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

GIVEAWAY LINK!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Top Ten Tuesday #31: Spring TBR March 18, 2014

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 Spring TBR

I didn’t do well at all with my Fall TBR. I did MUCH better with my Winter TBR, but still not the best. December was packed with family things. January was infected with sinus ilk for all four of us. February I did better. The beginning of March has been great. I hope my Spring TBR will go well! I’m still a big mood driven reader and right now I want to read all the WWII books. Good thing I have a few! I also need to get back into my ARC reading. Fantastic thing that I have an ARC that fits both of those bills. (;

Code Name Verity/Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (yes, this is STILL on my TBR. I’m DETERMINED this spring it WILL be read!)

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

After the End by Amy Plum (I can’t wait anymore. I have to read it NOW)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz (My trusty fall back if a reading funk happens. I love Melissa!)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May (I can’t wait much longer. I’ve wanted to read this for so long and I’ve waited long enough!)

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (NO SPOILERS! )

What’s on your TBR for this spring? Any good recommendations based on these?

 

*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.

 

 
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