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Review - The Summer My Life Began

Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Summer My Life Began
by Shannon Greenland

Publication: May 10th, 2012
Pages: 250
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Speak
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

A great summer beach read filled with sunshine, cooking, and—of course—romance!

Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there's Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can't resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.

The island setting and cute summer romance make this book the perfect beach read. A novel about learning to accept who you are and taking a stand for yourself, The Summer My Life Began tells the story of Elizabeth Margaret, a girl who seems to live the perfect life. She comes from an affluent family, she knows her future, and she is Harvard bound. However, Em feels that something is missing, and it's obvious to the reader. She has the perfect life, but she has no real life. She doesn't enjoy what she does, and she has to hide her cooking hobby from her family.

Em's life begins when she receives an invitation from an aunt she never knew she had to join said aunt at her island resort. There, Em explores summer romance and her innate cooking talent, and she learns the truth behind Aunt Tilly's estrangement from her family. As I mentioned before, this is a cute summer read. Nothing really stood out to me. It's the typical chick flick and seems  targeted towards a younger audience, as the novel is short and the lack of complex plot twists. Note that while a party with alcohol is mentioned, Em and Gwenny's father warns them away from such dangerous behavior, and they listen to him.

Overall, I enjoyed this read, and I was definitely rooting for Cade--my favorite character besides Em's awesome Aunt Tilly. It's the perfect read for a summer getaway when you don't want to work your brain.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Review - Dreamless

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Dreamless (Starcrossed #2)
by Josephine Angelini

Publication: May 29, 2012
Pages: 487
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Harper Teen
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

As the only Scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out—a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies’ cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen’s sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

After Josephine Angelini's epic debut with Starcrossed, I could not (but, alas, had to) wait to receive my copy of Dreamless. You can imagine my excitement when my ARC of Dreamless arrived in the mail. From book one, I knew where the story was going, but I had no idea how Angelini would bring us to its conclusion. This is how she does it: action, reaction, and characters. Dreamless is not one of the transition middle books in the series; no, Angelini delves right into the heart of the plot and kept me glued to the sofa until she brought the novel to its stunning conclusion, leaving me breathless and anticipating book three (Goddess).

While there is a prophecy and destiny driving the characters, the characters themselves, with their complex personalities and relationships, also drive the plot. Book one left my heart tearing up for Helen and Lucas. Book two broke it two pieces, as I watched the two mature and try to forget each other. Another guy is introduced, and he seems to promise a way to move on. While I typically hate love triangles, this one melds beautifully into the plot.. Dare I say that I might have a crush of my own on the new guy? For Helen, however, forgetting is far from easy. Other conflicts arise as Lucas's relatives fall for mortals, Hector comes into contact with family, and Cassandra grows more distant. Every character found its way into my heart, even the nasty villains (I just loved to hate some of them).

Helen's duty as the Descender seems pretty simple. She has to find the Furies and eliminate them. However, as always, that isn't all there is to it, and Helen's journey in the Underworld reveals that there is more to her quest that she initially thought. Helen's inability to dream wears her down gradually, threatening her health and mentality, rendering her unable to make the decisions that she needs to make. The fate of the Scions rests on her actions. Dreamless captivated me from start to finish. I absolutely cannot wait to read book three!



Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Review - Breaking Beautiful

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Breaking Beautiful
by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Publication: April 24, 2012
Pages: 354
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

Jennifer Shaw Wolf has debuted with a heartbreakingly beautiful novel about love, death, and forgiveness. At first, it seems as though Allie just lost the perfect relationship. Allie and Trip were the perfect couple, and she was the golden girl who caught the heart of the local hottie as soon as she moved into town. Allie's despair appears to arise out of her heartache over losing Trip. However, mysteries and questions arise when Allie begins trying to live again and demons from her past come back to haunt her.

Allie is a bit of a weak heroine. Blake and her twin brother Andrew are forever looking after her, and her inability to stand up for herself puts the two boys through a number of difficult decisions. Even Andrew's girlfriend Caitlyn, a girl filled with vitality and a wild sense for fashion, has to step in for Allie at times to give her the push to stand up for herself. Nevertheless, I appreciate Allie as a character because all girls have a little bit of Allie in them--the desire to be loved, yet feeling unworthy of love; the desire to stand up for herself, yet lacking the confidence; and the desire to give back to loved ones, yet worrying that she'll hurt them instead.

There are different kinds of heroines in the world, and Allie expresses the characteristics of a girl who wants to love and be loved. She has made bad decisions in her lives, placing the ones who truly care about her in jeopardy. In the process, she has hurt, she has been hurt, and she has found love in the process: in romance, in family, and in friendship. Allie is surrounded by a cast of wonderful characters and a family that loves her, and she is threatened by some despicable villains. I am confused as to the intentions of the new detective in town, but overall he appears to be the kind of guy who gets his job done. Breaking Beautiful is the kind of book that you want to love, filled as it is with characters you want to cheer for, characters that you want to scold, and, yes, even characters that you want to hate.


Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

I'm back!

Monday, May 28, 2012
Sorry for the delay in posts. I caught a bug last week and couldn't concentrate long enough on my computer to write a decent post. On the bright side, I have done a fair bit of reading in that time and will be posting more often this week!

Guest Review - Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
by Robin LaFevers

5 stars: Recommended
Publication: April 3, 2012
Pages: 549
Robin LaFevers: Website | FacebookTwitter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | KindleB&N | Book Depository

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Escaping from the brutality of an arranged marriage, seventeen- year- old Ismae finds sanctuary at the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts – and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as an handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must be willing to take the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany, where she must pose as mistress to the darkly mysterious Gavriel Duval , who has fallen under a cloud of suspicion. Once there, she finds herself woefully underprepared – not only for the deadly games of love and intrigue, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

When I first picked this book up from the local library, I was a little skeptical about how predictable the plot line would be and if I could really connect with any of the characters. However, I was quite mistaken, I soon fell in love with Ismae and especially the ruggedly handsome Gavriel and his dysfunctional family. Grave Mercy is all told from Ismae’s point of view and is as much about her personal growth as it is about saving the kingdom. Coming from a father and then a husband that beat her because of what she was and escaping to a female order of assassins trained to kill “bad” men, only solidifies Ismae’s hatred of men. Then Ismae and Gavriel are unwillingly thrown together to save Brittany and its Duchess, challenging her misconceptions about her world. Ismae’s narrative has wonderful depth as you see her struggle to find out what truly is right. However this is only one facet of the dark mysterious adventure that is Grave Mercy. I highly enjoyed this book, and it’s fast paced narrative kept me hooked. I would tell you more about the story, but I don’t want to spoil this addictively gripping book for anyone interested.

Guest Review by Christy S.

Review - Keep Holding On

Monday, May 21, 2012
Keep Holding On
by Susane Colasanti

Publication: May 31, 2012 (Paperback)
Pages: 224
Author: Website | Facebook | Fanpage | Twitter  |  Youtube
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

A romantic and empowering book about bullying

Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.

Noelle is a quiet teenager in the process of finding herself. Because of various issues from her home troubles to bullying at school, she feels undeserving of anything good in her life. She's afraid that if she starts wanting more, then it'll all be taken away from her. Noelle is the girl that readers want to support because so many of her fears are ones that we've all gone through and because she's a good girl who has been played with by external factors.

I do feel that the story moves rather quickly. While the story eventually reveals everyone's secrets and inner fears, I never quite felt as though I got to know the characters. Despite Noelle's crush on him, all I know about Julian is that he wants to be an architect and that he's a nice guy who genuinely cares about her. I know about Noelle's life, but I don't know why her secret is so bad and to be ashamed about. I would have liked to see the story fleshed out more, but because it is so short, I can see how this book is geared towards younger readers.

The story wraps up beautifully. It is a bit of a perfect ending, but one that I feel is deserving in this case. This is a story that I can recommend to upper elementary school children just as much as an older teen, and I may recommend it more for the former because of the brevity of this book and definitely because of the themes of friendship, love, self identity, bullying and other teen issues.


Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Thursday, May 17, 2012
Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)
by Anna Banks

Publication: May 22nd, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 324
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

I haven't read many mermaid books in the past, so I was pretty excited to read this one, especially with its gorgeous cover. The mermaid (or Syrena) lore is interesting, and I enjoyed learning more about Galen's beautiful underwater world as the story progressed.

The story is told from Emma and Galen's alternating perspectives. Emma's side is told in first person narrative while Galen's is told in third person, which threw me off at first. While I did adjust to it, it still feels weird, and I never was able to fully relate to either character. This doesn't help in a novel that is pretty character driven, from Galen's motive in approaching Emma to Emma's role as one who has inherited Poseidon's gift.

Emma is easily likable. She's funny, and she has personality. However, what there is of her is unstable at the moment. She's been voted sweetest girl and yet she can't try to get along with Galen. Her personality is constantly at odds with him, defying him, and she even attacks his sister. And when she isn't opposing him, she's wishing that he will kiss her? Then Galen. He's interested in Emma, but he orders her around, expecting her to listen to him. For someone so interested in the human world, he doesn't know much about how to communicate with the one girl who isn't trying to throw herself at him. Emma and Galen's relationship is sweet and has its fun moments, but for the most part their characters seemed juvenile to me although Emma is eighteen and Galen is older.

While there were elements that kept me from fully engaging with the story, there is potential for the plot to expand and mature. Anna Banks leaves us hanging on a cliffhanger answers many questions that have been posed over the course of the novel while opening readers to so many more, and it suggests that there is going to be more action in book two. I'll be picking it up in the hopes that it is the case!
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Review - Revived

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Revived
by Cat Patrick

Publication: May 8th, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 336
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.

A fun contemporary read with sci-fi elements, Revived is about the perspective that humans will take towards death when they no longer need to fear dying and what will happen when a girl who doesn't fear death must finally face the consequences of death and the potential loss of those she cares about.

I was disappointed by the lack of action as compared to what the synopsis suggests. When I heard that Daisy takes extraordinary risks, I thought that she deliberately places her life in danger/ is a daredevil of sorts. Rather, the greatest mortal risk she appears to have taken is leaving her EpiPen at home when she has a deadly allergy to bees. We never learn much about the Revive program, and the "threat" doesn't feel as sinister as the synopsis makes it out to be. It is a threat, but the suspense isn't built throughout the book. Mainly, the story seems to be about Daisy mingling with the real world for the first time.

The characters bring this book to life. Daisy is a sweet girl with a relatable, engaging voice. Being one of fourteen children in a program testing the drug Revive, she has never allowed herself to grow close to her peers for fear that they will find out about the program. Because Daisy has never feared death herself, she doesn't know what to do when faced with true death, one where someone she cares about cannot come back. It is then that she must question the moral rightness of the Revive project for the first time. What good is a world where only certain people can be brought back? Who should Revive be shared with? How will people react when they learn that their loved ones can't be brought back?

Daisy's first friends are the McKean siblings. Both siblings are gorgeous and charismatic. Daisy has conflicts over her yearning for Matt, as he happens to be the older brother of her new best girlfriend Audrey, her only girl friend. Their relationship is very real and sweet. They don't know what to do with each other at first because of Audrey, and when they do grow closer, it is bittersweet--filled with tears, frustration, and mutual empathy. My one problem with their relationship is how quickly Daisy shares her secret with Matt. While she does second-guess sharing with him, it takes one moment with him for her to throw her fears away and tell--all after years of never growing close to anyone for fear they will find out.

Revived is a an entertaining and emotionally charged read that I finished in one sitting. I would recommend this to those who would enjoy a contemporary read with sci-fi elements. This may not be your kind of read if you're looking for heavy action.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Epic Deals

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Check out these Epic Deals that HarperTEEN is offering ebook format at $2.99 for a limited time!






Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)
by Ally Carter

5 Stars: Keeper
Publication: April 25th, 2006
Pages: 284
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Hyperion
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

I can't believe it took me until now to read this book. While I typically don't read lighthearted contemporary books, I really enjoy the ones that I do like, and this book falls in that category. In general, spy books aren't associated with laughs and quirks, but Cammie is a fifteen-year-old spy with a crush on a normal boy. When she begins using her studies to help her pursuit of love and happiness, it's hard for the atmosphere to stay dark and somber.

With Cammie starting her sophomore year, her life undergoes many changes. There is a hot new teacher, a bitchy new girl enters her class, and someone--a hot, sweet normal boy--notices her, breaking her chameleon cover. At times, Cammie acts like the young teenager that she is. She stresses over her appearance, her mind keeps straying to Josh (hot boy), and she doesn't want to like Macey (bitchy new girl). However, she is very real with the way she struggles to deal with normal teenage problems even as she attends a school for genius girls training to be government agents.

Cammie is surrounded by a wonderful group of friends whose personalities compliment one another. Liz is the bookworm genius, who wants to classify everything and has trouble dealing with normal problems, as she wants to break it down until she understands what makes things work the way they do. Bex is a fearsome opponent, strong in combat and always open to the fight. Then there is Macey, who proves that one doesn't need to train from the seventh grade to be a good spy--or a good friend--and that first impressions are just that, not permanent records.

I enjoyed watching Cammie bungle through her first relationship with a guy--a normal guy. She may be a skilled spy-in-training, but she is clueless when it comes to guys. I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for fun, light-hearted read, especially to those looking for a series of fun-lighthearted reads, as this is but the first book in the Gallagher Girls series. I'm looking forward to checking out the rest of the books and continuing to follow Cammie's adventures!




Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Review - The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
by Julie Kagawa

Publication: April 24th, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 480
Author: Website | Book site | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for

Looking back at 2012, I'll probably remember this as the book that surprised me the most. After reading The Iron Knight, I had high expectations for Julie Kagawa's next work, and she surpassed my expectations so much that I immediately wanted to reread the book, and then go around telling everyone to read this amazing book.

As with the fey in the Iron Fey series, Kagawa brings her own twists to vampire mythology in the Blood of Eden series. One of my favorite aspects of the novel--besides everything else from the  awesome characters to setting to plot--was learning about the vampires: their culture, social hierarchy, weaknesses, and other general characteristics. I also enjoyed meeting vampires themselves, especially Kanin. Allie's creator is mysterious and alluring from her first meeting with him. I just may have an unhealthy attraction to him.

Allie is an amazing character with great strength. She could live in relative ease if she registered herself and gave blood, but she chooses to risk starvation, never knowing where she'll find her next meal, rather than take a vampire's mark. She chooses to be a survivor. And she probably would have lived her days as a human had she not chosen to care about anyone else, but she does. That's what makes her so perfectly human even after she rises from death as a vampire, hoping for more time to try and make a change in the world. Despite betrayals, Allie never stops trusting in humans. Because of this humanity, Allie's heart will be broken time after time over the course of this novel, and I can see this happening more often as the series progress.

From start to beginning, Kagawa never ceased to wow me. Just when one matter seems to be resolved, something else comes along. There is always something brewing, and I was never bored. The writing is beautiful and filled with vivid imagery, the various subplots all very interesting in their own ways. The romance doesn't take away from the plot and is realistically portrayed, as the two must face their individual fears and desires while challenging their beliefs. This books is about a girl facing the monster that she has became--was willing to become in order to live--and what she will do with her life now.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Review - Boston Jane Trilogy

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Boston Jane Trilogy
(#1 An Adventure, #2 Wilderness Days, #3 The Claim)
by Jennifer L. Holm

Author: Website
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Buy #1: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository
Buy #2: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository
Buy #3: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Jane Peck has ventured to the unknown wilds of the Northwest to wed her childhood idol, William Baldt. But her impeccable training at Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia is hardly preparation for the colorful characters and crude life that await her in Washington Territory.

Thrown upon her wits in the wild, Jane must determine for herself whether she is truly proper Miss Jane Peck of Philadelphia, faultless young lady and fiancee, or Boston Jane, as the Chinook dub her, fearless and loyal woman of the frontier.

An exciting new novel from Jennifer L. Holm, author of the Newbery Honor Book "Our Only May Amelia."

After recently reading Bright Young Things, I felt a hankering to read more historical fiction, so I went and checked out the Luxe series and Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen in addition to an old favorite trilogy of mine: Boston Jane. Happily, I am as much in love with this series as when I first read it back in the day.

In fact, it was a refreshing break from the darker reads that have been flooding the YA market nowadays. Boston Jane's spunk and attitude lighten the atmosphere, as she attempts to find a balance between her survival instincts and her desire to be a lady. The romance is sweet and far from the focus of the plot despite Jane's engagement being the reason for her arrival in the Washington Territory whereas most YA books nowadays are filled with passionate love scenes.

The trilogy follows Jane as she struggles between her desire to present herself as a lady and the growing desire within herself to be the spunky girl that her father took pride in, the girl that a certain sailor finds attractive. Her misadventures are a delight to follow, first as she grows into life surrounded by Indians and rowdy men, and then as she fights to protect those that she cares about and learns to open her heart to another man.

Boston Jane is about being yourself and opening your heart to those who care about you. It is about taking responsibility and seizing chances, rather than depending on luck or others to help you. It is about the comradery that forms in an environment where man cannot survive alone. I would definitely recommend this book to middle-grade readers and for older historical-fiction readers looking for a light read.

Review - Insurgent

Monday, May 7, 2012
Insurgent (Divergent #2)
by Veronica Roth

Publication: May 1, 2012
Pages: 525
Author: Website | Divergent siteFacebook | Twitter
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

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.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Insurgent lived up to my expectations. In fact, it's my favorite dyostopian read of 2012, and I have a hard time picturing it dethroned. Picking up where Divergent left us, Insurgent takes us into the homes of the various factions, giving us glimpses into their lifestyles, their natures, and how different people react to various threats. Overlooming it all is the secret that Marcus is keeping, the secret that spurs Jeanine into motion, the secret that Tris is determined to uncover.

Tris is haunted by the events that brought Divergent to a close. She has lost close friends and family, and she is burdened with the guilt of killing Will. However, there is little time to mourn, as there is still a battle to fight. Instead of hiding out and waiting for an opening to attack, Tris and her friends make the opportunities for themselves to fight. They are active fugitives, and with each move they make--together and separately--the ante ups and secrets threaten to overturn everything they thought they knew about their society. Such as, what were the Abnegation leaders willing to die for?

Veronica Roth is an amazing plot builder with a writing style that brings the world and characters to life. Insurgent is a complex world in which new characters come, go, stay; and old characters return, change, and go. There is an abundance of subplots and twists. I no longer know how to view certain characters or where the story will take us. I absolutely cannot wait to read book three!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.