Saturday, October 31, 2015

October EOM Wrap Up

October 2nd started my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books. With Ever's arrival on October 20th reading and blogging took a back seat this month. Thankfully I had posts scheduled ahead for the entire month, but I'm really behind on responding to comments. I know you guys understand. And before I forget HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I have read 5 books this month. *These qualify for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
*War (True Reign, # 3) by Jennifer Anne Davis
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand
Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets, # 1) by Jennifer Anne Davis
Faking Normal by Courtney C Stevens

I have reviewed 10 books this month. *These qualify for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
Deception (Defiance, # 2) by CJ Redwine
A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston
*Deliverance (Defiance, # 3) by CJ Redwine
The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, # 3) by Julie Kagawa (DNF)
*Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi
The One (The Selection, # 3) by Kiera Cass
Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown
*The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin
Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, # 2) by Pierce Brown
The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, # 1) by Melinda Salisbury

Other Posts:
Sunday Post - 168 & Stacking the Shelves - 122
Sunday Post - 169 & Stacking the Shelves - 123
Sunday Post – 170
Sunday Post - 171
Top Ten Bookish Things I Have Stopped/Want to Stop
Top Ten Author Duos I Want to See
Top Ten Wishes I'd Ask the Book Genie
Top Ten Favorite Things About Halloween
Waiting on Unforgiven (Fallen, # 5) by Lauren Kate
Waiting on Never Never Part 3 (Never Never, # 3) by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Waiting on Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, # 1) by Pintip Dunn
Waiting on Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, # 1) by Cassandra Clare
2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge – October Wrap Up

Goals:
I'm 21 days ahead on my daily Bible reading.
I've read 89 out of 104 books. (4 ahead of schedule)
I've read 13 out of 10-12 series enders.

A Word About November:
I'm trying to settle into motherhood. Knowing that Ever would be arriving in October, I scheduled myself a blogging break for the entire month of November. I do have a few reviews scheduled for the month, but I don't plan to be active with responding to comments or visiting other blogs like I normally do. I hope that this time off will allow me to settle into a routine as a mother, but I also hope to get some mega reading done. So far in the week and a half that she's been here, I've only read one day so that's not the best sign for reading. But obviously, she's my priority now. Don't worry, I have December almost completely scheduled already too so I'll definitely return to posting regularly then. I hope you all have a great November and Happy Thanksgiving (for the US) if I don't see you before then.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - The Sin Eater's Daughter

The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, # 1)

By: Melinda Salisbury

Published: February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( 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--Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

How beautiful is that cover? The cover is what pulled me in. I actually saw this on Edelweiss for review and decided not to request it. But then I started seeing it everywhere, and I started to wonder if I was missing out. So I ended up going and requesting it. About the time I received it, the ratings started coming in. And the ratings were…less than positive. Specifically, I remember Rachel @ Paper Cuts stating that she thought overall it was a slow book. She gave it 2 1/2 stars. And so I put off starting it. This year has been a slower reading year for me and getting bogged down in something that is going to take me too long to read isn’t ideal. But The Sin Eater’s Daughter fit into two categories for me. 1) It’s a review book and I need to read and review it as soon as possible since I’m way past the release date. And 2) it falls into the paranormal, fantasy, magic category needed to qualify for an All Things Halloween book for my October reviews. Turns out, I had one last review needed when I decided to pick up The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

I read the first 50-55% fairly quickly. I can definitely see where the story development was happening rather slowly, but I was interested. And I was even beginning to wonder if this would be one of those books where my expectations had been so low that I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. But….that didn’t happen. At the 55% mark things started getting…um…annoying. That’s the best word I can think of to describe it. There’s a love triangle that felt too obvious. Truthfully, everything that happened from this point on felt either obvious or forced. There were plot points that were supposed to be twists but only served to make me role my eyes. Twylla began to really annoy me. And the conflict just felt too easy.

Melinda Salisbury created a world that was unique and relatable at the same time. Set in the world of kings and queens and castles. Yet she created gods and legends around Lormere and its neighboring nations. Part of that is Twylla’s role. She is believed to be the daughter of a god and goddess embodied. Proof of that is in the fact that she can drink poison and not be harmed. Also, she can kill with the single touch of her hand. And such a nifty talent has her basically serving as the executioner for all who commit treason against Lormere. She hates her duty, but it is what she was called to do. Part of her role is also that she is betrothed to the prince who has been away for the last two years studying and learning about the politics of the surrounding kingdoms. Because he’s not been at the court, Twylla and Merek haven’t had an opportunity to really develop a bond. They know each other, but not really on a personal level.

Killing people with just the touch of your skin kind of puts some distance between yourself and others. Twylla basically has no friends at court. She’s been taken from her family—her mother, the nation’s Sin Eater (which is part of the legend and lore created for this story) and her sister and brothers—to live in the castle where she’s used as a tool. Only the royal family can touch her because they are also blessed by the gods. But the prince has been MIA and the queen resents her. Everyone else steers clear of her. Except her gaurds. When the guard she’s had the longest falls ill, her newest guard begins to dig deeper into who she is. He’s essentially the only person she even has to talk to so it makes sense that feelings begin to develop there. Personally, I’m kind of over the storyline where there’s an arranged marriage that the characters are fighting. I want to read a different spin on an arranged marriage story.

And then there’s the ending. On the one hand, things were way too neat and tidy. On the other hand, there were way too many twists and turns. The epilogue was totally ambiguous and I found that I couldn’t root for any ending because everyone had annoyed me beyond reason by this point.

While I normally don’t get hung up on the title of any one book, having read this book The Sin Eater’s Daughter just did not seem like the appropriate title. Yes Sin Eating was a fairly common topic throughout the book. And yes Twylla was the daughter of the Sin Eater. But this book wasn’t about Twyalla being the Sin Eater’s daughter. She left that life. She was now the embodiment of the daughter of the god and goddess. And Twylla had left the life of Sin Eating as well. She was now the executioner and future queen of the kingdom. The title just didn’t fit the actual story even if it did sound good.

In the end, I found more to complain about than I did to like with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I enjoyed it up until the 55% mark but things went rapidly downhill from there and stayed in the valley for me throughout the remainder of the book. I don’t want to be too harsh, but I can’t say that I liked this book at all. The Sin Eater’s Daughter gets 2 Stars. Have you read The Sin Eater’s Daughter? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Lady Midnight

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

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, # 1)

By: Cassandra Clare

Expected Publication: March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

786 pages

Genre: Young Adult (YA), Fantasy, Paranormal

( 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--Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

Finally a cover release and a release date! YAY! Although, I have to say that the covers for The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices were much better in my opinion. What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Things About Halloween

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Favorite Things About Halloween.

  1. CANDY – Hello candy corn! I have a sweet tooth. I always have. And I absolutely love candy. I love chocolate, especially when paired with peanut butter or caramel (think Reese’s, peanut butter M&Ms, Milky Ways, etc). But I also love Starburst, Skittles, and various fruit flavored candies.
  2. Costumes – I’ve always loved the idea of dressing up as someone you’re not normally. My more memorable costumes as a kid were the typical witch and clown, but I also dressed up as a cheerleader one year (yeah that was a big stretch for me). And probably the last year I trick-or-treated I was about 12 or 13 and went as a “hippy”. As an adult, I still love the idea of dressing up. Face Off is one of my favorite TV shows.
  3. The Weather – Where I live (central Alabama) it’s usually just starting to cool off around the end of October. It’s usually just starting to get on the cold side, but the weather can swing quickly. One thing I’ve noticed repeatedly is the wind. I love a cool (not COLD) windy night. The air just smells like fall.
  4. Scary Stories – Where I’m usually kind of a wuss, I tend to love a good scary (but not too scary) story, book, TV show, movie. All things paranormal, magical, fantasy, mystery/thriller during Halloween.
  5. Parties – I’ve been a co-host of an annual Halloween party for the last three years. And I love it. I love hosting parties, but specifically this Halloween party. It’s usually themed in some way. We have kids and adult so we always try to have games for each. And we take lots of pictures of the memories we’re making. This year we weren’t able to have the party due to Ever’s arrival. And now I’m not sure if we will be able to going forward either as we’ll have to factor in her birthday every year. (We have a lot of October birthdays in our family.)
  6. Decorations – Is there any wonder why Halloween and Christmas are my favorite holidays? Thanksgiving comes in a close third, but these two are the most widely decorated holidays. The colors…black, orange, purple, green. Glitter. I love being able to radically transform the house with seasonal decorations. It makes things special. Our neighborhood is pretty good about participating in Halloween when it comes to decorating and trick-or-treating, and so this is my favorite time of year to take walks around the neighborhood and check out all of the other houses’ decorations also.
  7. Crafts – Hello Pinterest! Feed my addiction! Pinterest Halloween crafts meet my love of holiday decorating. We’ve had a Halloween Pinterest Party in the past, but like I said…lots of family birthdays in October so planning became difficult. Either way, I usually end up doing my own craft project around this time of year.
  8. Trick-or-Treating – I kind of already mentioned this, but our neighborhood has a great turn out for trick-or-treating. I’m always torn because I love walking around the neighborhood and being in the mix of all of the kids running up to houses to get candy, but I also love being there at the house to hand candy out to the kids who come up. We usually try to walk as early as we can so we get home in enough time to do both. Last year one niece and two nephews came to our house to trick-or-treat so we walked around with them for the majority of the time.
  9. Haunted Houses/Corn Mazes/Pumpkin Patches – We don’t do these nearly enough. And truthfully, I usually psych myself out when we do go. But I always have fun. I think more than anything, I’d like to work at a Haunted House/Corn Maze one year. That would be fun.
  10. Local Legends – I’m sure every town has its share of legends and ghost stories. We definitely have our share down there. There’s Lovelady Bridge and Harper Hill where I grew up. There’s White Thang close to where we live now. Thirteen Bridges. And Sloss Furnace isn’t too far away. And various others for sure.

What about you guys? What are your absolutely favorite things about Halloween? Let me know!

Monday, October 26, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - Golden Son

Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, # 2)

By: Pierce Brown

Published: January 6th 2015 by Del Rey

464 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( 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--With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within. A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

Red Rising was such a surprising book for me. It took me a good 30% before I got hooked, but when I did I was hooked. I’ve got to recap where Red Rising left us a little bit before I can really start talking about Golden Son so if you haven’t read Red Rising then skip to the next paragraph. Ok…so Darrow’s wife Eo sacrificed herself in the beginning of Red Rising which really sparked Darrow’s passion for carrying out Eo’s dream—a world where people are not oppressed by their Color (the caste they’re born into…not their race). Darrow undergoes this supernatural surgery sponsored by a group called the Sons of Ares to “carve” him from a Red (the lowest caste) into a Gold (the highest caste). Darrow won the title of Primus at the Institute where Golds send their children to battle it out. The best and strongest survive. Only the very best wins. And Darrow didn’t just win. He beat the proctors also. At the Institute Darrow finds that his heart might just be big enough for Eo and another woman as well. Mustang. But Mustang’s father is the one who called for Eo’s hanging. And he’s at the top of the list for Darrow to bring down with his part in the revolution. Red Rising was a surprisingly emotional read for me. There’s so much sadness and anger in Darrow. And he goes through so much to try to see Eo’s dream into reality.

I actually put off picking up Golden Son for several months because of the heaviness of Red Rising. Even though it was a great book, it left me emotionally drained. So I needed to recover before picking up Golden Son, and I’m glad that I did. Golden Son picks up a couple of years after Red Rising but it really feels like hardly any time has passed. Darrow is at the Academy and I guess he’s really in his last test there when the book first begins. Very few of Darrow’s close friends are close by. Sevro and the Howlers are on Pluto. Mustang’s on Luna. Rogue and Tactus are still with him at the Academy, and they’ve picked up a new friend, Victra. Darrow’s single-minded focus on being the best Gold he can be in order to secure his position and ultimately bring down the Gold’s and Society has somewhat pushed his friends away. But it seems that ArchGovernor Augustus’s favor is tossed about by the wind like the waves of the sea. Even his children can’t secure his approval for long, and the same applies to Darrow.

Throughout Golden Son, Darrow has to again make some impossibly hard decisions. Who does he trust? With how much information? What alliances does he need in order to survive? Which alliances will ultimately cost him everything? How much reformation does he use to accomplish his purposes? And how much reformation is a red flag for those who are watching? And like with Red Rising, Darrow makes a lot of good choices. He’s smart. He can read people. And he thinks ahead. But he ultimately makes some of the wrong decisions too. He doesn’t let in some friends when he should and those relationships once damaged are extremely difficult to heal. There are many twists and turns throughout Golden Son as there were with Red Rising. And not all of the characters survive. It’s a dangerous game—war.

Also very similar to Red Rising, I highlighted up a storm. Pierce Brown has some great one-liners. He shows wisdom and a large understanding of the human condition in his lessons for Darrow and the other characters. His writing style was really good. Flowing and easy to read. Action packed. Twists and turns. Withholding just the right amount of information to keep the reader from getting annoyed with what they don’t know because the reader doesn’t even know that there’s information they don’t know. Very smart. And at one point, Pierce Brown describes what rain is like on a different planet and I thought it was very well thought out. Perhaps some of the best writing I’ve read this year all around.

Favorite quotes:

-“It’s not victory that makes a man. It’s his defeats.”

-I don’t fault her. She chose politics, governance—peace, which is what she thinks her people need. I chose the blade, because it is what my people need.

-There is more than one path to the top.

-All petals wilt.

-“Everyone’s honest till they’re caught in a lie.”

-How cruel a life, that the sight of my dead wife means hope.

-“…’Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.’”

-“In a world of killers, it takes more to be kind than to be wicked.”

-Inside me, Red meets Gold.

-“Do you hate him so much?” “No. But my survival instinct is…enthusiastic.”

-Humans, no matter their Color, are fragile as doves in the meat grinder of war.

-“My heart does not make my brain a fool.”

-This is about freedom. Yet it seems like everyone just wants to follow.

-“Perception, deception, media!”

-“If I can’t trust her, Gold can’t change.”

-“I would know you…anywhere.”

While there is potential and hope of romance, it is not what drives this story. I wish there were a bit more of that if I could change anything. But I still hold out hope that I’ll be satisfied in the end. Speaking of…have you ever been reading a book and about halfway or more through you think “I’m so proud of this character for not…” and then before the book is over they go and do the very thing you were proud of them for not doing (or vice versa)? Well that happened to me. I was really proud of Darrow for one thing in particular and then sure enough before the book was over he went and let me down a little. I hope it won’t count against him too much in the end, but I was a little disappointed.

This book (and this series so far) is packed. So much happens within each book. It’s almost hard to absorb it all. Everything that Darrow faces and the decisions he has to make. Lives are at stake either way. Some things happen that I knew were going to have to happen since the beginning. Some things were complete surprises. There are layers within layers within layers of plot. And the emotions behind it all are real and strong and powerful. Red Rising and Golden Son have easily been two of the best books I’ve read so far this year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Morning Star. Golden Son ended in quite a cliffhanger so that makes the wait even more difficult. The description above compares this series to a combination of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, and while I probably never would have thought to put those three together to describe this book, I think that’s an accurate description. Golden Son easily gets 4.5 Stars. I just hope that I’m not completely let down with the end of the series. Have you read Golden Son? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - October Wrap Up

Time for our tenth Monthly Wrap Up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since posting the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - September Wrap Up, I finished one series ender: War (True Reign, # 3) by Jennifer Anne Davis. Holly didn't finish any series enders this month.

Which series enders did you finish? Link the up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the October giveaway runs from October 25th - November 25th. On November 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Sunday Post - 171

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Introducing Ever Lael (lay-El). Her name means "Ever/Always Belonging to God". Born Tuesday, October 20th, 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. As you guys can imagine, I'm trying to adjust to my new normal with this little beauty. I'll catch up with all of my received books at a later date. Also as a reminder, I do plan to take the entire month of November off from blogging. I have a few posts scheduled already so that you guys don't think I've completely disappeared on you, but I don't plan to be active during the month. I'll discuss it more in my October EOM Wrap Up post.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Wishes I'd Ask From the Book Genie
Wednesday: Waiting on Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, # 1) by Pintip Dunn
Thursday: All Things Halloween Review of The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Today: 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - October Wrap Up
Monday: All Things Halloween Review of Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, # 2) by Pierce Brown
Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Things About Halloween
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday: All Things Halloween Review of The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, # 1) by Melinda Salisbury
Saturday: October EOM Wrap Up

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2015 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - The Retribution of Mara Dyer

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3)

By: Michelle Hodkin

Publication: November 4th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

464 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Christmas Present from my sister-in-law

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Booksamillion.com )

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

Goodreads description--Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

I knew I wanted to feature The Retribution of Mara Dyer in my All Things Halloween event. These books just fit Halloween and this time of year so perfectly. But when this book was published I saw mixed responses about it. I never saw anything specific as a like or a dislike and at this point, I can’t even remember who I saw that didn’t enjoy the end of this series. But I’ve had that stuck in the back of my head and it really caused me to put off reading this book for way too long. But I started getting into the Halloween spirit and slots were already filling up for reviews in the month of October, plus this being a series ender, I finally decided to pick it up.

Since it’s been so long since I read The Evolution of Mara Dyer, I felt a little lost upon starting this one. I couldn’t remember most of the minor details, but I did remember the overall gist of the previous book. It just didn’t make for the smoothest transition into starting this one. One thing I do remember commenting on in my review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer is how even now I still can’t decide if Mara is actually sane or if she’s crazy. The opening chapter of The Retribution of Mara Dyer takes me right back to that place. Is Mara possessed? Is that what’s wrong with her? That first chapter truly had some bits that creeped me out—again perfect for a Halloween read. I said it before, but it truly shows the strength of Michelle Hodkins’ writing ability that she can still make me question what’s going on in Mara’s head and body even now. But I think what I said in that review was right on…as long as Mara questions her own sanity, the reader will too.

Through all of the things that have happened to Mara from book 1, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, until now Mara has changed quite a lot. She’s no longer the terrified little girl afraid of her own shadow. She’s learned a lot about who she is and she steps up to protect herself, her friends, and her family using her ability as well as just physically taking control of situations when her ability couldn’t be used. Most of her actions felt justified, but there’s an edge of true insanity and crossing the lines as well. Mara is now the terror not the terrified. It was hard because at times I didn’t even feel like I could root for Mara, but this wasn’t necessarily a story about backing the hero or the villain…it wasn’t always about right and wrong.

Whereas Noah has been such a rock for Mara in the prior books, Mara and Noah are apart for the majority of The Retribution of Mara Dyer. As someone who thrives on romance, this wasn’t my favorite part, but it did drive me to keep reading so that I could get to the point when the two would be reunited. Yet, Michelle Hodkins did me a solid. When these two are together, the emotions run high, passion is at its highest and her writing is as good as ever. All of my favorite moments revolved around Mara and Noah’s interactions with each other. I will say that I actually read the last page of this book before I even started it just hoping to get enough information to know whether I should dread or look forward to the ending. I won’t tell you what I found there.

One of the things I loved about the prior books in this series was the presence of Mara’s family unit. An entire intact family unit. We see Mara’s family for the briefest of scenes—minus Daniel who still has a decent part in this book. But I didn’t feel like the book suffered for them not being present. It’s all in the context I guess. Daniel was just as supportive of Mara as ever and I continue to love him as my favorite sibling book character ever. Just as Mara’s family wasn’t present, her friends Jamie and Stella were. They both added to the story, and I loved how they stuck by Mara—especially Jamie—filling in for Noah’s presence (or lack thereof) as much as they could.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer drops a lot of information on you. Mara and her group of friends do some recon to try to figure out who’s behind them all being captured, trapped, experimented on, and tortured at Horizons. They have to figure out who Kells really is and why she’s so invested in them. They have to figure out the involvement of the Santorini priest Lukumi. And what they all have in common with each other as well as what they don’t. There’s history as well that plays a part. It’s all a really elaborate puzzle, and I really feel like the entire series deserves a re-read in order for me to properly place all the pieces exactly where they go. But if you’re not a fan of this type of story then you might struggle with this book. Even though Michelle Hodkins’ writing during the moments Mara and Noah are together is beautiful and poetic, the majority of the book doesn’t really feel that way. The sentences still flow well enough, but I remember thinking that I wasn’t as impacted with the beauty of any specific passage during this book as I have been in the past. I did love the dropping of a lot of pop culture references without actually name dropping. That’s how pop culture references should be done. If people catch them, great. If not, the book isn’t ruined. And they don’t specifically date the book either like name dropping tends to do.

Favorite quotes:

-“Are you mad at me too?” My voice sounded dead. “Mad at you?” He seemed surprised by the question. “No,” he finally said. “I’m not mad at you.” But he was still standing there, looking at me in a way I couldn’t describe but didn’t like. “Then what?” “I’m scared of you,” he said, and left the room.

-“I would rather die for her than live without her.”

-“The villain is the hero of her own story. No one thinks they’re a bad person. Everyone has reasons for doing what they do.”

-You are like fire; you will burn wherever you go. If contained, channeled, you can bring light, but you will also always cast a shadow.

-Don’t find peace. Find passion. Find something you want to die for more than something you want to live for.

-“It’s like you’re a mirror, and you show me who I want to be, instead of who I am.”

In the end, I still had a few questions. I didn’t end the book jumping up and down or smiling from ear to ear, but I didn’t end it disappointed either. I continue to love the way that Michelle Hodkins continually had me guessing about what’s going on with Mara, who’s behind everything, where Noah was, and how everything fit together. The book does have quite a few f-bombs so be prepared for that if you take issue with that. In the end though, I feel like The Retribution of Mara Dyer deserves a solid 4 Star rating. And I feel like the series will be getting a re-read from me which always indicates good things. Have you read The Retribution of Mara Dyer? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Waiting on Forget Tomorrow

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

Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, # 1)

By: Pintip Dunn

Expected Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Entangled: Teen

400 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

( 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--Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided...by your future self.

It's Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she's eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they're meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie's case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top Ten Wishes I'd Ask From the Book Genie

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Wishes I'd Ask From the Book Genie.

  1. To instantly know whether I’ll love a book or not just by looking at it. This way I can read all of the wonderful books and save myself from reading the crappers that waste my valuable and limited reading time.
  2. For my kindle to have unlimited space. Guys I love the smell of a physical book just as much as the next reader, but I adore the ease of access, the read it anywhere, the ability to sneaky read, the lack of physical space taken up, the have all my books with me all the time, the read on multiple devices, and various other pros of an e-reader.
  3. To instantly download into my kindle any book ever published that I will love.
  4. The actual time to read all of the books I want to read without lacking in other areas of my life.
  5. To truly be able to loan ebooks to my friends and family members the way I would a physical book—as many times as I want, without having to part with my device. And vice versa.
  6. When I buy one version of the book that I could get it available in all versions. I.E. If I buy the book then I have access to the hardcopy, digital copy, and audiobook.
  7. To know without ruining/spoiling the book if there’s anything offensive (to me) within.
  8. Not that all books would be free, because I totally support authors making a living off their hard work, but for me to have an unlimited budget for purchasing the books I want to read—again without sacrificing other aspects of my finances.
  9. To avoid all readers who disagree with me on books. HA! Those readers can exists. But we don’t have to discuss it. I can just ignore the fact that they exists, right?
  10. And for me to have perfect recall of every book/story I’ve ever read. I realize that this would negate the need for me to re-read books, which I enjoy doing now. But it would further open up my reading time to all the new to me books I’m interested in.

What would your top ten wishes be? Let me know!

Monday, October 19, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - Velvet Undercover

Velvet Undercover

By: Teri Brown

Expected Publication: October 20th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Spy, Thriller, Mystery

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( 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--Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?

From author Teri Brown comes the thrilling story of one girl’s journey into a deadly world of spycraft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.

I picked up Velvet Undercover because I loved Code Name Verity so much. Granted these are written by two totally different authors, but they both have similar aspects. We’ve got teenage females playing huge roles in World Wars (Verity in World War 2, and Sam in World War 1). Plus…spies. I mean come on! And the one thing that Code Name Verity didn’t really have…romance (which it didn’t need).

We start out Velvet Undercover with Sam being in a competition as a Guide Girl. They compete in all kinds of areas like the description mentions. Samantha’s performance in the competition as well as her previous work with the Guide Girls has caused her to stand out. Only when she’s offered an opportunity of a lifetime, she’s torn. Her father was abducted in the war and is presumed dead by many. She doesn’t want to leave her mother alone. But when information about her father is dangled in front of her, Samantha can’t turn down the opportunity to trade for answers. She’ll join the LDB in exchange for information on her father.

Samantha is then taken through a brief training period to prepare her for her first undercover spy operation—exposing and recovering another spy, Velvet, lodged deeply undercover in the Kaiser’s household. Personally, I found the amount of training Samantha was given for her mission to be extremely lacking and in no way realistic, but I didn’t dwell on that too much. And so Samantha takes the place of a distant relation to the duchess and will be acting as an assistant governess to the prince’s children. The LDB have narrowed down “Velvet” to two possible people—the governess and a close personal friend of the duchess. The role of assistant governess gets her close to the governess, and the distant relation will get her close to the duchess’s friend. While Sam does have a knack for solving puzzles, I wasn’t all that impressed with her actual spy work. I can’t imagine that you aren’t fearful even if you are a spy, but Sam was often clumsy and let her fear get the better of her.

Early on Sam finds herself feeling trusting and friendly with one of the prince’s personal guards who made her feel calm and welcome. But getting close to Maxwell isn’t the best idea, especially under the circumstances. Maxwell is a loyal guard and Sam isn’t who she pretends to be. Plus she’s on a mission. Yet these two have multiple encounters that spur them along toward one another.

I actually picked out “Velvet” from very early on as well as another twist. Even though these were things I predicted, I didn’t feel like the book was really predictable and I wasn’t 100% certain that I was right. I read Velvet Undercover very quickly. Part of that was because I was really into the story and the other part was because I had opportunity to keep reading and wasn’t forced to put it down. I do see where some might find this one more on the slow side. I won’t say that Velvet Undercover was as good as Code Name Verity, but I think it was a very well done spy book. It had a few flaws, but nothing to hold it back too much. I’m giving Velvet Undercover 4 Stars. Have you read Velvet Undercover? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Post - 170

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

This is it guys! Baby Girl should arrive this week! Friday was my last day at work before maternity leave. I doubt I'll be very present for the rest of the month, but I do have plenty of posts pre-scheduled. No new books this week.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Author Duos I'd Like to See
Wednesday: Waiting on Never Never Part 3 (Never Never, # 3) by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Thursday: All Things Halloween Review of The One (The Selection, # 3) by Kiera Cass (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown
Tuesday: Top Ten Wishes I'd Ask From the Book Genie
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday: All Things Halloween Review of The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2015 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - The One

The One (The Selection, # 3)

By: Kiera Cass

Published: May 6th 2014 by HarperTeen

323 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy

Source: Borrowed from the library

( 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--The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

Ah! America has finally settled in on her guy! SHEESH that took long enough. But it is a relief to have the love triangle over. Of course, there are residual effects from the fact that there was a love triangle to begin with. But I won’t get into that right now.

Understandably, the closer we get to the end of the competition the more pressure each of the girls feel. There are 4 remaining: America, Chris, Celeste, and Elise. America has been Maxon’s favorite from the start, but over time he seems to have developed a special connection to Chris as well. Celeste is already a celebrity in her own right, but she just doesn’t seem to be in the competition for the right reasons. Plus she’s been horrible to the girls in the past. Elise seems more concerned with disappointing her family than anything else. Even though things got tense at times, these girls ended up developing a rather deep bond. And I could appreciate them coming together as friends regardless of the competition at hand. I know, personally, that would be really difficult for me.

Even though America realizes what (and who) she wants, there’s still the factor of what Maxon wants. America is unconsciously scarred by Aspen’s rejection from the past and has difficulty giving herself to Maxon completely without his word that she is the only one he wants. And at the same time, America has hurt Maxon time and time again and so choosing her and eliminating the remaining girls is a safety net that he hasn’t been ready to get rid of yet. What if American again doesn’t choose him? Then there’s no one left for him to fall back on. These two can be pretty dramatic at times. They both seem to overreact to the other which caused a few eye rolls, but overall I wasn’t too annoyed.

As I predicted, the rebels did take on more of a role in this book. The northern rebels in particular. Yet, I can’t really say that the book was completely focused on the political aspects of appeasing the rebels or the country or any of that. Of course, the king makes political move after political move trying to get America to back down from the stubborn positions that she’s taken and back out of the competition. He doesn’t make life in the Selection easy for her at all. But for him, the future of the kingdom he’s been a part of building is at stake. There are political motives in the background and changes that the citizens, rebels, etc want made that play a part in the whole story.

My biggest frustration revolves around the 85% mark. We knew this “conflict” was coming. It had to at some point. But how it was all handled was blown out of proportion in the moment and then too easily patched up considering the magnitude of the overreaction. It was one of those easy misunderstandings that could have been fixed or prevented, but instead the author used it as a plot device to cause tension and conflict necessary for the characters to overcome. I feel like this could have been handled so much better—especially with the quick work it took to fix.

The One wasn’t without its flaws. I did enjoy the entire thought process behind The Selection series. It was an interesting concept. Even though America has a tendency to be dramatic, I still did see her as being the best candidate. Not only because Maxon really picked her out from the beginning as his favorite, but because she had the best qualities needed to become queen. She could empathize with the citizens, elicit change, and keep a calm head during a tragedy (although lose that calm head in an argument). Maxon wasn’t the stuck up prince that America feared he would be. And all of the dynamics worked together to make an interesting story. The One gets 4 Stars. Have you read The One? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books. Even though this specific book does not fit the paranormal/supernatural/mystery/thriller genres of my typical All Things Halloween posts, I could thing of nothing more I would have loved to dress up as for Halloween when I was growing up than a princess. So that's why this book ended up in the mix this month.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Waiting on Never Never Part 3

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

Never Never Part 3 (Never Never, # 3)

By: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Expected Publication: January 26th 2016 by CreateSpace

Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Mystery, Paranormal

So typically I don't feature books in my Waiting on Wednesday posts without a description and some other key information available. However, there was no information released for Part 2 before it published so I have reason to believe Part 3 will be the same. Either way, I'm excited to see how this is going to wrap up. (PLEASE be the last installment!) What about you guys? What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Top Ten Author Duos I Want to See

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Author Duos I Want to See.

To be truthful guys, I’m not sure I’m a big fan of author duos. I can’t quite put my finger on why. I mean on the one hand, I’ve actually read a few duos that I’ve really enjoyed. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher and Starbound by Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner to name a couple off the top of my head. But some that didn’t work so well for me: Wicked by Nancy Holder & Debbie ViguiĆ© and Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. Yet collaboration creates growth I think so I’d POTENTIALLY like to see the following author combos.

  1. Barry Lyga and Rick Yancey – The mystery and brilliant puzzle pieces in Barry Lyga’s Jasper Dent series mixed with the action and twists of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series seems like a match made in heaven.
  2. Colleen Hoover & (KA Tucker, Gayle Forman, Rebecca Donovan, Tammara Webber, or Katie McGarry) – Colleen Hoover and Katie McGarry are two of my absolutely favorite contemporary authors. A mix of those two would likely be epic…or a disaster. But I think all of the authors I mentioned here have some similarities to their books that would make a cohesive and brilliant story. Of course, I love all of these authors as standalones so maybe collabing might not turn out like I imagine.
  3. Claire Wallis & Courtney Summers – Claire Wallis is one of my favorite up and coming authors. She’s published two books so far that impressed me and I think pairing her with a pro like Courtney Summers might be an awesome mashup. They’re both a little dark but write gripping stories and characters.
  4. Rainbow Rowell & Lauren Oliver – So these two are different yet similar. Both have their feet wet in both contemporary and fantasy so I think they could put out a potentially stellar work. I can’t even point them in a specific direction…I just want to see their lovechild of a book.
  5. Pierce Brown & George RR Martin – Haha…what a combo! George RR Martin writes adult and Pierce Brown young adult…maybe they could meet in the middle? And while they’re vastly different, I see them as having similarities that could produce some wickedly twisted worlds and epic adventures.
  6. Tahereh Mafi & Maggie Stiefvater – Maggie Stiefvater & Tahereh Mafi both have poetic writing styles. They both write fantasy. I bet they would create something brilliant.
  7. Carrie Ryan & Michelle Hodkin – Similarly to Mafi/Stiefvater, Carrie Ryan and Michelle Hodkin also have slightly poetic flares to their writing styles, but add to that a bit of horror. We’ve got zombies from Carrie Ryan and while Mara wasn’t possessed exactly, Michelle Hodkin’s kind of proven that she could write a wicked possession story. This combo would be killer. (See what I did there?)
  8. Richelle Mead & JK Rowling – Two of my favorite young adult series because of both the individual book arcs plus the overall series arcs. Great characters that aren’t always all good or all evil. Epic worlds and adventures. And twists. Come on! Tell me this wouldn’t be a delight!
  9. Brent Crawford & Ally Carter – I’ve only read one book by each of these authors, but each made me laugh out loud. Brent Crawford writes a hilariously (what I can only assume) accurate early teenage boy. And the one Ally Carter I read was also fairly early teens. I think the combo here would be a book that has me rolling!
  10. Robin LaFevers & Mary E Pearson – Both have written in historical fiction and both have included assassins. Team them up…let’s see what happens.

So that was actually insanely hard for me. Did anyone else have a difficult time too? Or was it just me? What author combos would you like to see? Let me know!

Monday, October 12, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - Ignite Me

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3)

By: Tahereh Mafi

Published: February 4th 2014 by HarperCollins

421 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library (from my sister-in-law)

( 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--The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

**Spoilers for Unravel Me and prior books**

I was a little wary of starting Ignite Me. Even though Unravel Me was beautifully written, I struggled with it a little bit. I didn’t really like the way that Juliette broke up with Adam because she found out that touching her is actually hurting Adam and he’s having to learn how to control his ability to prevent that. And even though I could see in the interactions with Warner that he truly cares for Juliette, there’s still a lot that she needs to know in order to make any decisions regarding Warner and her physical connection to him. That being said, my friend Paula got around to reading Ignite Me before I could and she said that I would enjoy the ending, so I decided to go ahead and go for it. Besides, I needed to mark a series ender off my list.

Unravel Me ended with Juliette getting shot in the chest by Warner’s father. But Warner does everything he can to save her life. She wakes up in Ignite Me back on base and in Warner’s bed. Warner tells her that all of her friends from Omega Point are dead. But come on. Really? I don’t think anyone reading this book believed that for a minute. Juliette doesn’t believe it either. Slowly Warner begins to open up to Juliette. She asks him some difficult questions concerning their pasts, how he treated her, how he treated others, things that he said, and slowly Warner begins to admit the truth to her—truths that change everything. Her perception of who Warner is is just that…a perception and not the real thing at all. Warner agrees to take her to Omega Point to see the devastation for herself. And of course, Juliette was right. Turns out 9 people survived. It might be a spoiler, but I think anyone could guess that it just so happens that the most important people survived.

Juliette has changed. She’s not the quiet, scared girl that she once was. And I loved how this is the reason why Tahereh Mafi doesn’t use the strike method in Ignite Me. She didn’t come out and say that’s why, but Juliette talks about how she used to be screwed up in the head and didn’t understand herself at all. And now things are clearer. So while I missed the strikes some, I thought this answer was pretty brilliant.

Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but (highlight for spoiler), I love how this played into Juliette’s transitioning away from Adam and towards Warner. Between how much she’s changed herself, how Adam wants her for who she was and Warner wants her for who she can be, how Warner isn’t at all who she thought he was, Adam says he would rather her be dead yet Warner proved that saving her life was of the utmost importance to him, how Juliette subconsciously thought she might have to be with Adam by default since he was the only person who could touch her, until well he wasn’t, and how she learns that she can turn off her ability and thus isn’t forced into being with Warner by default but wants to be regardless…all of these things added up to a lovely transition from Juliette/Adam, to Juliette confused, to Juliette/Warner. And I loved it. One of the best transitions from one guy to another I’ve read.(end spoiler)

I will say that the ending felt rushed to me. Things start happening relationship wise about the 70% mark. But the big battle, the culmination of all the events thus far basically took place from 90% through the end. I don’t know, that just wasn’t a lot of time to experience the events. And truthfully, it all seemed a little too easy. But this didn’t bother me enough to really affect my overall impression of the book.

As always, Tahereh Mafi’s writing was poetic and beautiful. I highlighted so much. And I have to share some of my favorite quotes with you.

-My eyes are filling fast with tears and I blink and blink but the world is a mess and I want to laugh because all I can think is how horrible and beautiful it is, that our eyes blur the truth when we can’t bear to see it.

-For so many years I thought my life was difficult; I thought I understood what it meant to suffer. But this. This is something I can’t even begin to comprehend. I never stopped to consider that someone else might have it worse than I do. It makes me feel ashamed for ever having felt sorry for myself.

-And all I can think is not now. Not here. Not when so much is uncertain. If only my emotions would understand the importance of excellent timing.

-There’s a strange kind of freedom in the dark; a terrifying vulnerability we allow ourselves at exactly the wrong moment, tricked by the darkness into thinking it will keep our secrets. We forget that the blackness is not a blanket; we forget that the sun will soon rise. But in the moment, at least, we feel brave enough to say things we’d never say in the light.

-Because being this close to you is doing things to me. Strange things and irrational things and things that flutter against my chest and braid my bones together.

-“Don’t do that,” he says. “Don’t ask me questions you already know the answers to. Twice I’ve laid myself bare for you and all it’s gotten me was a bullet wound and a broken heart. Don’t torture me,” he says, meeting my eyes again. “It’s a cruel thing to do, even to someone like me.”

-Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures. No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and slay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.

-But I’m still fairly terrified, and I’ve never needed to use the bathroom as much as I do right now.

Ignite Me was better than I was expecting it to be. I was worried about the direction of things at the end of Unravel Me, but despite a hasty ending Ignite Me hit all of the aspects I was hoping for. I hate that I put this one off for so long, but I’m glad that I finally know how it all ends. Now I just need to go back and re-read through the whole series from start to finish. Ignite Me gets 4 Stars. Have you read Ignite Me? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.