Tell The Wind and Fire

Maybe that is the only thing I have ever learned about love: love is when you save someone no matter what the cost.”

Title: Tell The Wind and Fire

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Series: Standalone?

Publication: April 5th 2016 by Clarion Books

Pages: 368

Source: Publisher in exchange for honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

My Thoughts:

Well, right out of the bat I had no idea this was a retelling of A Tale Of Two Cities when I jumped into this book. Zip. Zilch. Nada. So, I found myself pleasantly surprised at recognizing little details here and there throughout Tell The Wind and Fire. I cried, I laughed, and I did everything that this book wanted me to. I felt just as broken as when I read the original – and that’s saying something.

Tell The Wind and Fire was, for lack of a better description, pretty awesome. I mean, there was enough of the old to bring back that hint of nostalgia – but there was also a fresh twist, a sense of vibrancy that breathed new air into an old classic.

I think, despite the obviously amazing scope of pretty much everything, that one of the best parts of this book is the complexity of the character development. Each character has a specific line they follow. A carefully hand-crafted and intricate thread that winds through each and every element of the story. There is not one thing that is not important – and it makes this book all the more wonderful. Everyone has a secret and everyone’s secret is either their downfall or their salvation. Each piece is an unstoppable force – each character is an irreplaceable role in the story. Lucie, Ethan, Carwyn… they’re all pieces of a larger puzzle.

Overall, Tell The Wind and Fire was a surprise in more ways than one. The writing was astounding, the character development was, and the plot was both wholly original all while paying homage to its predecessor.  This is a story of the battle between good and evil, between light and dark. It is a story that will strike you with its subtle power and even more subtle message. Balance is the most important concept of all, what are you willing to do to achieve it?

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Glass Sword

“No one is born evil, just like no one is born alone. They become that way, through choice and circumstance.”

Title: Glass Sword

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Series: Red Queen # 2

Publication: February 9th 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 444

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

My Thoughts:

Glass Sword is an action packed sequel to a book that I loved and that blew my mind to smithereens last year. Much like Red Queen, Glass Sword has surpassed all of my expectations, ripped my heart out and stomped all over the little pieces – all while making me feel things that I cannot even begin to fathom or describe for you. Terror, disgust, pain, sorrow, longing, happiness, joy… none of it comes close because this book is all of those things combined and also so much more.

Because I cannot bring myself to explain things without spoiling them, giving away spoilers for the first book, or reducing myself to a pile of quivering snot and tears – this review shall consist mostly of reaction gifs.

My opinion on Shade:

Anybody can betray anybody:

Everything else:

 

Me at the end:

So yea, that just about sums it up. READ IT!

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Raging Sea

“Your city has been demolished. Your friends are dead and gone. Enemies roam your lands. Soldiers have taken your people. Torn them from the arms of their mothers, all to cut them open and see how they work! Does none of this burn your passions? Where is your fury?”

Title: Raging Sea

Author: Michael Buckley

Series: Undertow # 2

Publication: February 2nd 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

In the first book of Michael Buckley’s Undertow trilogy, the Alpha arrived and the world was never the same. At the start of the second book, most of south Brooklyn is in ruins and the nation is terrified. Nearly everyone that Lyric Walker loves is either missing or presumed dead, including the mesmerizing prince Fathom. It’s up to Lyric to unite the Alpha before the second wave of a cataclysmic invasion wipes out mankind for good.

My Thoughts:

Much like my feelings after reading the first book in the Undertow trilogy: wow. Once again, Michael Buckley has blown me straight out of the water – pun intended. This book was exactly what I need right now. It pulled me in, it made me forget everything besides what was going on right on the page and therefore in my head. It makes you feel such a broad spectrum of emotions – it will make you laugh (one of my favorite parts was Lyric’s four steps of shoplifting, it was hilarious), it will make you ugly cry until you resemble an over-boiled blow fish, and it will make your heart both sing the praises of love and want to beat it to death with some sort of blunt weapon – a sledge hammer is preferable. Raging Sea is exactly what the title promises – a raging sea of emotions, action, and an overwhelming spectacle I will never forget. 

This book picks up a little after Undertow ends, a few weeks I think – to be exact. Lyric is on the run with Bex and Arcade, and none of them know if their loved ones are alive or dead – all they know is that somewhere, the organization Tempest is holding Alpha hybrid children, their parents, and a bunch of other Alphas prisoner. So, who you gonna call? LYRIC WALKER! Goodness, I love that girl. She might be stubborn, slightly pushover-y, but she is an overall badass who understands just what is at stake throughout the entire book. She, Bex, and Arcade are planning to storm Tempest when they find it and free their people, while simultaneously being on the run because Lyric has been wrongfully labeled a terrorist after the events on Cony Island. Needless to say, hilarity, chaos, and all manner of shenanigans ensue.

Raging Sea delivered on all fronts. We have some serious character development both in Lyric and almost all of the side characters (that moment at the end with Arcade, Lyric, and Bex hit me right in the feels) We’ve got a plot racing at the speed of light – but perfectly so. It’s not too slow, not too fast. A perfect balance between having time to take in certain details all while being caught up in the chaos of a war you know you are loosing.

Additionally, and I repeat myself here: LYRIC WALKER. That girl is a godsend to YA literature (especially the dystopian/apocalypse kind). She is witty, steadfast, and hell bent on saving her parents as well as every other person trapped in Tempest. She does not break, but she is willing to bend – and that is what makes her so remarkable. She can pick her battles, she knows when to act like she’s playing along and when to unleash hell. She is powerful – she abuses her power and feels like shit afterwards. She might be part Alpha, but she is human at the core – where it counts. She is real, she is a hero. Lyric is someone I would be willing to follow into battle and a prime example of why is at the end of the book. She is willing to do what needs to be done and yet she refuses to let harm come to anyone when she knows that she alone can end it.

Now, one order of business I have to mention. Fathom. Fathom, Fathom, Fathom – my precious, prickly cinnamon roll from book one was the only issue I had with this book. Though, issue is too strong of a word. I love Fathom, I love him with Lyric and I love his character and how he thinks. What I had a “problem” with, was the stupid ass fight Lyric had with him, herself, and Arcade. It was unnecessary, things were resolved earlier and then they were ripped apart for no good reason other than what seems to be to create drama. While I still loved it, and I would never let something that petty bother me usually, I just expected a bit more out of them after reading Undertow. The two of them, in Lyric’s words, burn and are dangerous like gasoline and fire – and boy is it true. I will go down with this ship, Lord help me.

Overall, Raging Sea has infinitely deepened my love for this series. I am head over heels and ready to dive head first into the chaos these books bring. After that cliffhanger at the end (curse you, Buckley), I find myself anxiously awaiting yet another masterpiece to hit the shelves. Raging Sea is a phenomenal continuation of an amazing series and I cannot fathom (see what I did there?) how I am going to get myself through another year of waiting. Michael Buckley, you have done it once again. You ripped out my heart, fed it to a giant octopus, and laughed maniacally while doing so. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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This Is Not A Test

“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”

Title: This Is Not A Test

Author: Courtney Summers

Series: This Is Not a Test # 1

Publication: June 19th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 326

Source: My bookshelf

 

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Courtney Summers is an absolute goddess and the complete queen of my bookshelf. I fell in love with her work last year when I read All The Rage, a book that tore my heart and soul to shreds. Her writing never ceases to amaze me in the powerful message that it carries – and This Is Not A Test is no exception. While reading the synopsis might make you uneasy and question how a book about zombies can be as hard hitting as I claim it to be, trust me when I say this – This Is Not a Test is so much more than just another book hightailing it through the zombie craze. It is raw, unflinching, and it will make you question everything about what makes us human. 

Summers has this amazing ability to basically destroy every single plan you’ve made for a day as soon as you read the first page of her books. This Is Not A Test completely grabbed me by the throat and dragged me around kicking and screaming right form the first page – I was hooked before I’d even reached chapter one. The opening sequence of this book was intense – there is no other word for it. It doesn’t get any better from there to tell you the truth. We’re thrown straight into this complete chaotic mess of the world, starting with a regular morning in Sloane – our protagonist’s life – and then we’re off to the races as it were. There is no break, no time to catch your breath. While certain scenes might not be physically brutal or taxing, those in between the fights for survival are filled with emotional battles that are almost more intense than the ones against the zombies or even each other. This book… just wow.

Sloane. I don’t even know what to say about Sloane. When we first meet her, she has no intention of wanting to live. Her sister abandoned her to an abusive father. The world is ending. She is alone. She wants to die – but she holds on. She holds on despite her best efforts to have it end any other way than with her own survival. It was a very strange, eye opening experience – reading a book from the point of view from someone that doesn’t even want to be there. I am so used to a strong, badass heroine doing everything in their power to keep on kicking – and Sloane was the complete opposite. She is still badass, ruthless, and utterly compelling – but for entirely different reasons. She will make you think. She will make you question everything you’ve ever thought about what it means to survive.

Then there are the other students: Cary, Rhys, Trace, Grace, and Harrison. All of them end up trapped together in the high school. They are together, struggling to survive… and boy, do they add to the story. I think this is part of Summers’ mastery – she has this ability to make supporting characters who are so raw and undeniably essential. We get to know them all. We see them cry, we learn their weakness and their vulnerabilities. They are all simply exposed in this new version of hell. It was heartbreaking. I’m still trying to figure out just how I feel about all of them because they just add so much. They turn an already harrowing scenario into a full throttle mental mine field just waiting to blow up at the slightest provocation. The addition of the supporting characters, and the role each individual plays, really nails down the main question of this book. Who is the real enemy? What if the real enemy is you?

Courtney Summers has once again created something worthy of every possible award known to man. This Is Not A Test will make you question everything you think you know about yourself and what you think you are willing to do to survive. This book will rip your chest open and never let the wound close. What are you willing to do to survive and can you live with the answer?

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Teaser Tuesday # 17

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

This weeks Teaser Tuesday is for This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers!

“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”

“This is not a test. Listen closely. This is not a test.”
But I think she’s wrong. I think this is a test.
It has to be.”

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The 5th Wave

“I don’t care what the stars say about how small we are. One, even the smallest, weakest, most insignificant one, matters.”

Title: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave # 1

Publication: May 7th 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 457

Source: Christmas bookhaul

 

Summary from Goodreads:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Thoughts:

Well, that just happened and I really don’t know how I feel about it. I loved it, I really really loved it. But… the ending has left so many questions in my head that I honestly can’t think straight. The 5th Wave hits theaters in the US this Friday, so, I had to make sure I read the book before I went in to see it this weekend (shhh… don’t judge).  I have to say, The 5th Wave surprised me for a variety of reasons. One: how much I loved Cassie as a narrator. Two: The depth of Cassie’s devotion to Sam. Three: How much I really didn’t care about anything other than Cassie and Sam’s story. and Four: The complete and utter absurdity that was the entire book. But, like I said, I still loved it.

“Cruelty isn’t a personality trait. Cruelty is a habit.”

Cassie is a special sort of narrator. I honestly think she is unreliable, especially in the middle of the book when she is seemingly delirious. When reading, I had no idea what was actually happening versus what were simply the thoughts in her head. I have no idea if it was the writing style or what, but it was interesting and unique – so ten points to Gryffindor. I think my favorite part about her, though, was the fact that she has a clear purpose and she sticks to it – even if that purpose is only to get through the day or simply to cross over the next street. She attacks her objectives with an admirable ferocity, and I loved that. The other characters weren’t as striking as her – not in the least. I really didn’t care for any of the other point of views or story lines – except for maybe Sam in the beginning. The instant we get a Birdseye view of Camp Haven it sort of went down hill from there. I started off with Cassie in the lead, and I really wanted it to stay that way.

“How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.”

One of the hardest parts to get through in this book was reading Cassie’s retelling of the waves. Well, that and the fact that I figured out what was going on before any of the characters did and the entire time I was internally screaming for them to all tuck tail and run. The aliens, The Others, whatever they are called, are cruel and sadistic bastards that I hate immensely and I literally want to see them wiped off the face of the earth. Who does that sort of crap! Ugh, brutally smart they are – and it sucks. The humans are losing so badly it makes the college football games from the other week look like all star football. The humans don’t know who is who or what is what. Everything is an enemy and nothing is an enemy all at the same time. It’s a total clusterfuck and it was actually painful to read because it seemed so real.

“That’s what you do when the curtain is falling–you give the line that the audience wants to hear.”

I do have to give props where props are do. Some things about this book might not have sat well with me, but the world building was undeniably fantastic. I actually believed what I was reading, no matter how bizarre it started to get. This dystopia was so set in our world, I mean it was solid, that you can’t not believe it could actually happen. It’s not far fetched, it isn’t crazy… it just is, and that’s terrifying.

“God doesn’t call the equipped, son. God equips the called. And you have been called.”

The 5th Wave surprised so much that I, despite the flaws I have found, have fallen utterly in love with the chaos. This book is a roller coaster I will not soon forget and I cannot wait to get back in the saddle with The Infinity Sea when I go home next. The wait is going to kill me.

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Forget Tomorrow

“In Eden City, your future memory is your biggest recommendation. More than your grades, more than your credit history. Because your memory is more than a predictor. It’s a guarantee. “

Title: Forget Tomorrow

Author: Pintip Dunn

Series: Forget Tomorrow # 1

Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Entangled Teen

Pages: 400

Source: Publisher

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts:

Thank the lord! I have finally broken free of my bad book streak when I cracked this gem open. Forget Tomorrow, while being exactly like every other dystopian young adult book ever, was a thrilling ride about the meaning of fate.
Pintip Dunn has created a world we have seen many times before, I mean – these people even have to sit in a shiny chair to receive their “future memory” in order to know where they belong in society. *cough* Divergent *cough* I mean, seriously. This one girl is basically the chosen one because of her strange mental powers and, because of them, she is the key to unlocking this top secret government thingy. DIVERGENT!
Ignoring that little tidbit above, Forget Tomorrow truly was entertaining. It had an interesting, though overused, premise. The characters were interesting and mostly well developed. But, most of all, the book was about Callie’s relationship with her little sister. Sure there is romance and what not, but this book operates almost solely on the fact that Callie wants to protect Jessa – and it was beautiful. That’s not to say that there isn’t swoon worthy romance, because there is – it wouldn’t be Entangled Teen without it, but it doesn’t play a main part in the book – at least not to the same scale.
So, we open up right before Callie’s birthday – the day she will receive her future memory. These memories basically rule the entire society. You could want to be the greatest author there ever was and you could be an amazing writer, but if your memory shows you doing anything but that – that is where you are forced to go. Callie wants to be a chef, a manual chef to be exact (everything is made in this high tech future machine thingy that I can’t remember the name of). But, when Callie receives her memory – she sees herself murder her sister. Yupp, that’s right. Sweet little Callie who only wants to protect and love on Jessa, kills her – at least according to her future memory. You see where this is going, right? Basically, she turns herself in (shocking) and spends a few weeks in prison listening to and seeing horrible things. But then, one day Logan breaks her out. Logan is both her childhood somewhat friend and the local hunk of this book. So, Logan and Callie escape the facility and then make a run for this so called safe haven out in the woods… a lot of other shit goes down, more Divergentness ensues. The ending! Oh my god the ending of this book is a total rip off, grrr. But, I still liked it – it still tore my heart into a million little pieces because I completely understand why she did what she did and I know that I would do the exact same thing. If you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about and exactly why it is identical to Allegiant.
Callie was a good main character, I’ll give Dunn that. She was kind and gentle, but she also wasn’t afraid to throw down to get stuff done. She is literally driven by her need to protect Jessa, which is something I really identified with. She was somewhat aloof, though. Like, she would suddenly make a huge, life changing decision out of nowhere with no build up to it – or she would completely contradict herself. This was mostly true when it came to Logan, there was a lot of stuff going on with Logan – not all of it good. They had their swoony moments, but mostly, it was her trying to avoid him for the greater good and it just pissed me off. Like, if I were him, I wouldn’t put up with all of her crap.
Also, the romance. I couldn’t get into it. There were moments, like I said, where I really felt connected to Callie and Logan’s relationship. But, the pacing was way off. Things happen way too fast throughout the majority of this book. It was one of my biggest issues really, besides the fact that this is a rewritten version of Divergent. There was a lot of stuff going on and not enough space to cram it all into; in the end it just felt rushed which really took away from the overall experience. I wanted to see Callie emotionally wrestle with herself more, I wanted to see more description of what was going on. I don’t mind solid action, but when trying to send a message with that action a little more explanation is needed. It wasn’t strong enough on its own.
Overall, despite my issues, Forget Tomorrow was an entertaining escape from reality. Honestly, I really did enjoy it. I loved the family aspect, I loved how willing Callie was to do what was necessary, and I love the whole idea of fate against free will. This book explored it in a new way, I’ll give it that. If you’re looking for an exciting read, or if you just love Dystopian books as much as I do, I do highly recommend you read this. Dig a little deeper and go past the surface layers, you’ll find this book is saying much more than you originally thought.

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