Friday, November 21, 2014

Destroy Me - Review

Destroy Me (Shatter Me, # 1.5)

By: Tahereh Mafi

Published: October 2nd 2012 by Harper (first published October 2nd 2010)

109 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Paranormal, Novella

Source: Borrowed from the library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate link. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

Before I even began Shatter Me the only thing I knew about this series was that there were Team Warner fans, Team Adam fans, and that folks raved about this series. After reading Shatter Me it was hard for me to conceive how there could be Team Warner fans out there. And so I knew I must be missing some critical information. Simply knowing that Team Warner fans existed while reading Shatter Me kept me from fully committing to Team Adam—even when Team Adam felt like the only option. So when I finished Shatter Me I asked if I should bother reading the in-between novellas, Destroy Me and Fracture Me, and I was met with a resounding “yes.” (Well with the exception of one “no”.) And so far, I’m glad that I did.

Destroy Me is from Warner’s point of view. Warner is essentially the main villain from Shatter Me. We know there are other villain’s out there, but Warner is the immediate one that our characters are faced with. But I find that anytime I can get inside a character’s head, I end up relating to them more. Sympathizing with them. Empathizing where I can. And even if I still don’t agree with their actions and behaviors, I find that I understand them. And that’s exactly what’s happened with Destroy Me.

I read it. And I came away feeling like I had more information to this grand puzzle, but all the questions that were answered only led me to more questions. Exposing these puzzle pieces only made me realize that the puzzle is perhaps bigger than I originally thought. Seeing inside Warner’s head did make me want to root for him. Seeing that he feels such a deep connection to Juliette on a level much deeper than I (or she) even imagined gives me hope for him. Yet, I wonder how he can ever make her see what he sees. Is there any hope for him, for them, at all? I just don’t know.

I picked up Destroy Me because it was a novella. Short. I could easily finish it in a day. And I wasn’t in a slump exactly, but I’d tried to start two different books and neither one were getting my attention. So I wanted something I could “accomplish” quickly. Plus it was available immediately from the e-library. So why not?

Once I realized that Destroy Me was from Warner’s perspective, I wondered how Tahereh Mafi would handle writing from a different character. I fell in love with her writing style through Juliette with Shatter Me, but I wanted to make sure the characters felt distinct. And they did. They really did. While I loved the strike method that Tahereh Mafi uses in Shatter Me with writing from Juliette’s POV, I loved even more that she didn’t use it while writing from Warner’s POV. Yet she still found a way to incorporate it in Destroy Me through the means of Juliette’s journal. So smart.

Favorite quotes:

-Torture is not torture when there’s any hope of relief.

-It’s been so long since I’ve felt like a coward.

-I’ve never read anything like this before. I’ve never read anything that could speak directly to my bones.

-Terror, I realize, is one of the easiest feelings to read. Even on a soldier’s stoic face.

-Swallow the tears back often enough and they’ll start feeling like acid dripping down your throat. It’s a terrible moment when you’re sitting still so still so still because you don’t want them to see you cry you don’t want to cry but your lips won’t stop trembling and your eyes are filled to the brim with please and I beg you and please and I’m sorry and please and have mercy and maybe this time it’ll be different but it’s always the same.

I also love the play on perspective. Shatter Me being told from Juliette’s perspective offers you, as the reader, only what she sees of Warner. The opinions she’s formed of him. But she offers them to you as if they are fact. You see Warner as a heartless monster because that’s what Juliette sees. But Destroy Me shows that Juliette doesn’t have all the information. She uses what information is available to her to draw the conclusions that she has. But it isn’t all truth. And this works in our everyday lives. And I love this. Just because I don’t see all of the pieces doesn’t make the pieces that I do see fact or truth. They’re just pieces. They’re perspective. And perspective is colored by past experience as well. So I love seeing that things aren’t always as they appear.

Even though I was only going to read Destroy Me because it was a novella and then move back into some review books that I need to read for deadlines and such, the copy of Destroy Me that I borrowed from the e-library had the first two chapters of Unravel Me included. And so I read them. And in doing so, decided to not only go ahead and purchase Unravel Me but to continue reading it…now. I need to know what’s going to happen and if Juliette is going to ever see the similarities between herself and Warner the way that he sees them.

Destroy Me easily gets 4 Stars. It moved the story along without actually moving it along at the same time. The information given within sparked my curiosity for more information. It sparked my desire to continue reading this series sooner rather than later. And it gave me a great new perspective on the characters involved and the events taking place. Have you read Destroy Me? What did you think? Let me know!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take Me On - Review

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, # 4)

By: Katie McGarry

Expected Publication: May 20th 2014 by Harlequin TEEN

304 pages

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | )

*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

What to say? What to say? I found myself both enjoying and impressed with Take Me On as well as frustrated and annoyed. I’m kind of torn on this one you guys.

West almost runs Hayley over with his car one night, right? And it just so happens that in so doing he interrupts her from being jumped on the street by two guys. Unfortunately, Hayley runs off and ends up getting jumped anyway. West jumps into the fight trying to protect this girl and in hopes of doing something right. He’s been floundering a bit since Rachel, his younger sister, had a car accident that was indirectly his fault—at least he played a part in why she ended up where she was when the accident happened. And so he’s seeking redemption. Little did he know, Hayley can pretty much take care of herself. As the description states, Hayley has been a champion kickboxer, but she doesn’t fight anymore.

West and his father have a very strained relationship. It was almost difficult for me to understand. The gist of it seemed to be that they’re too much alike. But it’s hard for me to understand how his father can know and understand that but continue to treat West the way that he does. West has a knack for getting into fights due to letting his temper get the better of him, and he ends up getting kicked out of his fancy private high school. His father enrolls him into public school, and he is thrown into daily interaction with Hayley.

But Hayley has her own problems. Her father was laidoff and her family had to move in with her uncle who is a class-A, royal jerk. And on top of that one of the guys who jumped her happens to be the little brother of her ex-boyfriend, and trained MMA fighter, Matt. Matt lives by street rules and anyone that messes with his little brother messes with him. Hayley’s brother and cousin feel the same way. And Hayley’s caught in the middle trying to keep the circle from going around and around with who’s getting beat up next. Hayley is doing her best to ensure that whoever it is isn’t Kaden or Jax.

And so West steps in. He and Matt schedule a fight—lucky for West it’s a refereed fight in an actual cage. West has to start training with Hayley so that he doesn’t get his rear handed to him. Through all of this West and Hayley develop feelings for each other. They learn to see each other for who they each are. And they learn that fighting for each other is worth it.

However, I found myself getting frustrated with the predictability. Take Me On hit that 70% mark that I hate so much and the characters started making the stupidest decisions. Other characters offer a deal that they just can’t refuse but that requires forfeiting the relationship for the betterment of the other character. And even though we aren’t forced to remain in that situation for too long, it just annoyed me that it came up at all. I think this conflict is overused and beyond annoying. The only redeeming quality about this particular conflict was that it did seem to fit these characters more than the same conflict applied to a different set of characters that perhaps have different backgrounds—if that makes sense.

I was terrified at one point that my characters, West and Hayley, weren’t going to have their happy ending. And I was struggling with wanting to throw the book across the room. I won’t tell you where or how things end. But you can just know that this wasn’t my favorite in the Pushing the Limits series. I’m still dying for the series to continue. I’m not 100% stoked about returning to Noah and Echo with book 5, Breaking the Rules because returning to them means more hard times and conflict to come that will at least temporarily interrupt their happy ending. But I do look forward to the series continuing. I know Katie McGarry has said that she intends to leave the Pushing the Limits series after book 5 to work on her new series, but that she hopes to return to the Pushing the Limits series in the future. And I really hope she does as with each book that’s released I find a new character or two that I’d love to read more about (Logan, Abby, Jax).

Also before I wrap this up, let me say that I did enjoy the timing of this book. It fits in before the ending of Crash Into You where Rachel walks again for the first time. For a large portion of this book, Rachel is still in the ER. And it just felt right to me for West’s story to pick up before Rachel’s really finishes.

Favorite quotes:

-I’m awesome at lying to everyone else but have yet to perfect lying to myself.
-I’ve also failed to find a way to thank God for the bounty that is squirrel.
-…being hit until you break causes courage to disappear.
-”I don’t lie to Rachel. But yeah, you can assume anything that comes out of my mouth to anyone but her or Isaiah is a different rendition of the truth. Maybe also to Isaiah’s friend Logan. I like Logan. He reminds me of hot queso and I like queso.”
-Hell I can deal with; crying I can’t.
-”We have an agreement.”
West chuckles. “You said something. I disagreed. Later, we’ll come to an agreement.”
-Our worlds didn’t just collide; they merged as paint spilled on a sidewalk and it’s like neither one of us will be the right color again.
-…because when you’re going through something so horrible, it’s too difficult to cry for yourself. Sometimes I wonder if the agony inside would disappear if someone would shed the tears for me. I’m not sure I could survive expressing all the pain.
-I’ve never desired anything more than for my father to tell me I’m worth saving, that I’m worth being stood up for.
-Silence seems longer in darkness. I think it’s because it’s harder to lie when the lights are off. There’s a rawness that only belongs to the night and the truth can’t help but be set free.
-My grip on him loosens and West clings tighter. A constant seesaw between us of holding on and letting go.
-”Who are you? None of this—“ and she motions around the room “—fits what I know.”
“Maybe because what you’ve seen isn’t the real me.”
"I’ve seen you. I know I have…”
-”Falling happens. Jumping you choose.”
-”Is it a medical condition that causes you to talk in riddles?”
-I either tap out or fight.
-”Are you tapping out on me?”
-At this point, it has nothing to do with strength, but everything to do with heart.

In the end Take Me On gets 4 Stars. I enjoyed it. I had a few frustrations, but overall the writing was solid. I was pulled in. And I loved the characters. I can’t wait for more from Katie McGarry whether in the Pushing the Limits series or in her upcoming series. Have you read Take Me On? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting on The Heart of Betrayal

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, # 2)

By: Mary E Pearson

Expected Publication: July 7th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

496 pages

Genre: Young Adult (YA), Fantasy

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.

Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar's interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.

Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia's deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.

What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - Goals

This challenge is for all of you series readers who are scared to death of that last book in the series. You anxiously await it. You stalk it. You get your hands on it as soon as possible. But then…you put off reading it for fear that it might not be everything you thought it would be. Or, maybe you just have a backlog of series started and you need to finish that last book.

Join us in knocking out those pesky last books in a series. This is your chance. Here’s your motivation. Better than that, we have prizes!

Challenge Guidelines:

    1) This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015.
    2) Anyone can enter. You don’t have to have a blog just as long as you review your books somewhere: on your blog if you have one, Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.
    3) Any genre, length, or format is acceptable as long as it is the last book in a series where all books in the series have been published and no more books are currently intended to be published in the series. If an author makes a decision somewhere during the year to add on to the series, we will count both the original last book in the series and the “new last” book in the series assuming the author isn’t going to write more than one additional book. Last book published in a series doesn’t count if more books are expected to be published.
    4) You can list your series enders ahead of time or do a singular wrap up post. If you decide to list them up front, feel free to change them throughout the year as necessary.
    5) When you sign up in the linky, please use the direct link to your post about joining the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge. If you don’t have a blog, please post about it on Facebook or Twitter and include that direct link as your sign up.
    6) You can sign up until December 15, 2015. This allows you to join the challenge at any time during the year.
    7) On the 25th of every month, we will post a wrap up on both Somewhere Only We Know and Words Fueled by Love with a giveaway and a place for you to link up your reviews for the month. The monthly giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up (ex. From January 25th 2015, to February 25th 2015). For each link to a review, you will get an (1) entry into a drawing for that giveaway. This will be open internationally.
    8) Monthly giveaway prizes will be an e-book of your choice up to $10 (USD).
    9) If you miss a wrap-up post and giveaway, you can link your review the next month. Please do not try to link to one review twice. We will be verifying these.
    10) December will be the wrap up for the entire year. All reviews linked from January through December will be entered into a Grand Prize giveaway.
    11) You don’t have to follow Somewhere Only We Know or Words Fueled by Love to participate in the challenge, but you do have to follow both of us in order to be entered in the giveaways.

Levels: (how many series enders you are planning to read)

Level 1: 1 – 5
Level 2: 5 – 10
Level 3: 10 – 15
Level 4: 15+

Check out the the sign up post to join!

This challenge is hosted by Somewhere Only We Know and Words Fueled by Love.

My Goals (assuming I don't read any of these before 2015 begins):

  1. Finale (Hush, Hush, # 4) by Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. Rapture (Fallen, # 4) by Lauren Kate
  3. The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, # 4) by Julie Kagawa
  4. Ruins (Partials, # 3) by Dan Wells
  5. Ruin & Rising (The Grisha, # 3) by Leigh Bardugo
  6. Deliverance (Defiance, # 3) by CJ Redwine
  7. Out of Breath (Breathing, # 3) by Rebecca Donovan
  8. Forever Summer (Summer, # 4) by CJ Duggan
  9. Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi
  10. Until the End (Sea Breeze, # 9) by Abbi Glines
  11. Deep (Stage Dive, # 4) by Kylie Scott
  12. Until We Fly (Beautifully Broken, # 4) by Courtney Cole
  13. Asa (Marked Men, # 6) by Jay Crownover
  14. Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4) by Marissa Meyer
  15. Unleashed (Uninvited, # 2) by Sophie Jordan
  16. Sempre: Redemption (Forever, # 2) by JM Darhower
  17. Split Second (Pivot Point, # 2) by Kasie West
  18. Opposition (Lux, # 5) by Jennifer L Armtentrout
  19. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead

Possible extras:

  • Untitled (Age of X, # 3) by Richelle Mead
  • Untitled (Starbound, # 3) by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  • Untitled (The Raven Cycle, # 4) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Untitled (The 5th Wave, # 3) by Rick Yancey
  • Of course, there's always the possibility that I'll not get to some of these, or I'll come across a new/new-to-me series that I read the entire series during 2015. So we'll see what happens. These are just the enders on my radar right now.

    Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Read

    Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Read.

    1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, # 3) by Maggie Stiefvater - I have this one in my possession, but I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet.
    2. Ruin & Rising (The Grisha, # 3) by Leigh Bardugo - Holly has this one. I'm just waiting on her to get to it first.
    3. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin - I cannot wait to get my hands on this series finale!
    4. Ruins (Partials, # 3) by Dan Wells - Have this one in my possession, but I've not had time to get it started yet either. Ugh!
    5. Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, # 1.5) by Katie McGarry - I'm a little torn because I don't want any conflict for Noah and Echo, but I LOVE Katie McGarry!
    6. Opposition (Lux, # 5) by Jennifer L Armentrout - I want to get this finale read, but it keeps getting pushed down on my priority list. Also in my possession.
    7. Rapture (Fallen, # 4) by Lauren Kate - Another series finale I need to finish.
    8. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead - Cannot wait to get my hands on this series finale, but this is one series I'm going to be sad to see finish because I doubt we'll get another spin-off series. Yet I can't wait to see how it wraps up.
    9. Finale (Hush, Hush, # 4) by Becca Fitzpatrick - Another finale I just need to get around to eventually.
    10. This Shattered World (Starbound, # 2) by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner - I'm a little nervous about this one, but I can't wait to jump in.
    11. Out of Breath (Breathing, # 3) by Rebecca Donovan - I've been putting this one off because I've been told that there's a good bit of frustration in the beginning even though I've heard it ends in a good place.
    12. Unrequited (Woodlands, # 4) by Jen Frederick - No cover yet for this one. Dying to return to the Woodlands series.
    13. P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, # 1) by Jenny Han - Definitely excited about this sequel. Also no cover released yet.
    14. The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, # 2) by Mary E Pearson - The Kiss of Deception was such a pleasant surprise that I can't wait to continue the series.
    15. That One Summer (Summer, # 3) by CJ Duggan - This series has been another pleasant surprise, and a breath of fresh air for me when I've been in a bit of a slump.

    Which sequels are you dying to read? Let me know!