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Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh MafiDestroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by Harper on October 2nd 2012
Pages: 109
Goodreads
five-stars

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

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

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

When I read Shatter Me I was disgusted by Warner. He was demanding, cruel, and a bit crazy. He seemed to have this sick infatuation with Juliette and I was so happy when Juliette and Adam finally escaped his evil clutches. Warner was the villain in book one.

I actually read this novella, Destroy Me, 5 years ago, but I barely remembered what transpired. I vaguely remembered that at some point I stopped seeing Warner as the villain. I actually started falling in love with him but I couldn’t remember when or why. It was in Destroy Me!

Because of his ruthless and abusive father, the supreme of the Reestablishment, Warner has spent his entire life pretending to be heartless. The supreme saw any act of kindness or hint of vulnerability as a weakness, and quite literally, beat it out of his son. I’m not going to lie, Warner has done some pretty horrible things, but I think you need to go to the core and see why he is the way he is before you judge him. I’m a super fan of redemption, so Destroy Me gave me hope that Warner could change. He can’t erase the evils of his past, but he can try and do good in the future.

Warner spends the majority of Destroy Me reading the journal Juliette accidentally left behind during her escape. Warner’s shocked to find out that they both share a sense of sadness, confusion, fear, and helplessness. Warner’s anguish breaks my heart and I started shipping him and Juliette so hard after I finished Destroy Me.

five-stars
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These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie KaufmanThese Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10th 2013
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Before I started These Broken Stars I was convinced that I was going to love it. Unfortunately this book ended up being just an “okay” read. I liked the characters and the setting in These Broken Stars but not the huge plot twist that occurred 3/4 through. The twist confused me and I didn’t like the direction the story went after it was introduced.

I really liked the dynamic between Lil and Tarver, because they come from completely different worlds, and therefore they often contradicted each other. Tarver is a well-mannered, country boy, with a military background, and Lil is a spoiled, young heiress, who gets everything she wants. At least, that’s what people like Tarver believe. Yes, Lil’s been pampered her whole life and has a taste for upper class life, but she’s not a snob who thinks she’s above everyone else. It was so much fun watching them try to work together to survive when they constantly challenged each other.

I definitely understand why some readers have made the comparison between These Broken Stars and the movie, Titanic. Lil (Rose) and Tarver (Jack) come from completely different classes. They fall in love and then try like heck to survive an impending tragedy. Their story also reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, because their forbidden romance is living on borrowed time.

Things got really weird 3/4 through this book. There was a big plot twist that I didn’t like. I thought the story was just going to focus on Lil and Tarver getting to know each other, falling in love, surviving the planet’s climate and creatures, but then out of nowhere this huge, weird plot twist entered the mix and I didn’t know how to respond to it. The concept was heavy and confusing and I wasn’t happy with how it changed the overall story

In conclusion, I didn’t care much for These Broken Star’s story-line, but I did love Lil and Tarver’s relationship. I’ve skimmed the descriptions of books two and three and see that they follow new characters. I’m hesitant about continuing with the series, because I want more Lil and Tarver, and I’d be super disappointed if the new characters didn’t compel me like they did.

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three-half-stars
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The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 18th 2012
Pages: 488
Goodreads
five-stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

One of the greatest feelings in the world at least the book blogging world, is starting a book with high expectations and then being able to finish said book, with an even greater amount of excitement. I’m not going to beat around the bush. The Darkest Minds rocked! From start to finish my hands were glued to this book and my eyes to the pages. I couldn’t get enough!

The Story: Bracken proves that there’s still plenty of originality left in the dystopian genre having crafted an incredibly original tale of (future) disarray, destruction, subjection and fear. The world in DM is so large and full of possibilities. With so many different organizations/groups at play, you never really know who to trust, or who’s the bad guy. The plot is very twisty at times. Just when you think that you’re safe, you realize you’re not, or vice versa. Bracken throws out a lot of false trails, continually and successfully leading us down wrong paths.

The Main Character: I had quite the love-hate relationship when it came to Ruby. On one hand I found her incredibly naive. Having firsthand witnessed Thurmond’s cruel treatment and quite literally laughable ”rehabilitation” methods, you’d think that Ruby wouldn’t be so quick to trust. Unfortunately that’s not the case due to the fact that she makes a lot of stupid mistakes. These mainly involve trusting anyone who promises to help, save or protect her. Ruby is flawed for sure, but the parts of her that shine the brightest are the good parts, like her huge heart and budding determination. She grows a lot throughout the story. In the beginning you find a girl too scared to stand up for herself, let alone anyone else. By the end, Ruby is ready to strike down whoever tries to comes at her or especially, her friends.

Supporting Characters: A lot of DM‘s strength comes from its core group of supporting characters. Unlike many books that feature their S.C. in the background, DM‘s remain constantly upfront, thickening and propelling the story forward. Each one, Suzume, Chubs and especially Liam, burst with strong individuality. Their quirky, irritable yet hilarious and charming personalities (in that order) fill out this book with emotion. No characters fall flat in DM because they are all carefully constructed and considerably utilized.

The Romance: Sigh! Swoon! Drool! You name it!!! Since the description makes mention I don’t feel spoilery for saying that there is a lot of lurve brewing between Ruby and my dear, Liam. Besides the fact that I personally want to transport into DM‘s world and snatch Liam for myself, the chemistry between Ruby and Liam is just so damn powerful. Watching their relationship slowly (sometimes painstakingly) build, kept me hooked the whole way through. What I like is seeing love not being told there’s love. DM excels at this. You won’t see any pre-mature “I love you!” and “I love you tos!” Instead you get the story of two people, having met under incredible and horrific circumstances, learning to trust and lean on one another through dangerous after dangerous situation, and finally realizing that their feelings of friendship branch deeper and stronger.

Because at times the story did slow down and it was a bit of a struggle to get through, I give The Darkest Minds 4.5 stakes. I’m so bummed that it’s going to be a year before book two comes out. After the mind-blowing cliffhanger in DM and Ruby’s new-found realization and determination I CANNOT wait for the book(s) to follow.

five-stars

The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera CassThe Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 278
Goodreads
four-stars

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Let me start by saying that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the whole Selection series. I adored book one, read it in one sitting. But then the three that followed, including The Heir, were major let downs. HOWEVER, The Crown totally redeemed the series for me. I couldn’t put it down! I read it in less than 24 hours. I also teared up at some points because the emotions became too much.

One of the reasons that I didn’t care much for The Heir is because I despised Eadlyn. She was cold-hearted and entitled. She loved her family but made sure her needs were met before theirs. Eadlyn’s character finally began to evolve in The Crown. Not only does she admit that she’s taken advantage of many of the people in her life, but she actively tries to right those wrongs. She makes a lot of personal sacrifices in The Crown.

The Selection series has never been very dark. Yes, there’s a tad of violence and people do get injured and sometimes killed, but the series has never really focused much on those parts. It’s always been about the characters in a sort of soap opera way. This doesn’t mean it isn’t as compelling; it’s just a different type of dystopian than the others out there.

For instance, Eadlyn is a force to be reckoned with, but not in the way that Katniss and Tris are. She doesn’t kick butt with her hands or weapons, she kicks butt with her words and wisdom. It’s refreshing to have a strong female character who doesn’t physically beat up the bad guys to save the day.

Overall I was thoroughly impressed with this last book…? I think it’s the last book/I hope it is because I’m extremely satisfied with how it ended. Sacrifices are made, but in the end Eadlyn makes decisions that end the series on a happy note. There’s some worlds that I want to keep revisiting like Mead’s Vampire Academy series *hint hint*, but The Selection is one that I really hope doesn’t get returned to. I think that it ended with a bang and I’d hate for another spin-off to reverse its progress.

 

four-stars
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Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan EeAngelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) by Susan Ee
Published by Skyscape on August 28th 2012
Pages: 288
Goodreads
five-stars

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Sometimes you just have to be in the right mood to read a certain book. Angelfall for instance, I bought ages ago, and have now just finally read. When it first arrived, I started reading and got about 5 pages before I stuck Angelfall on the shelf to collect dust. Whether it be a writing style or your current mood, it isn’t always easy to jump right into a new book. More than a year later after purchasing it, I find myself so glad that I finally took another chance on Angelfall because I loved every moment of it. Dark and cutthroat, Angelfall is a twisty and nail biting apocalyptic dystopian that leaves an impression – days after you finish it.

From the official book description: “It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.”

Pen is a very strong and smart character. She’s clever and resourceful and independent. With a (legit) crazy mother, father who is MIA, and a sister who is physically disabled, Pen’s got a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. The angels that descended earth have destroyed the majority of cities and have possibly killed “billions” of people. The few survivors, like Pen and her family, have had to scrounge for food, hop from place to place, fend-off other humans who will attack you just to survive, and of course, avoid the malevolent angels. Pen has grown up fast. She’s the strong one in her little broken family.

When Pen’s little sister is taken by an angel Pen makes a hard decision to put her trust in a looks to be dying Angel. She nurses him back to health.

The relationship between Pen and Raffe is slow building. Pen rightfully doesn’t trust him which is smart considering the world is in ruins, millions maybe billions of people dead because the angels descended.

Raffe and Pen trade witty banter a lot. It’s so funny and cute.

We don’t know much about the angels and their plans. And it turns out neither do they. They don’t know why they attacked the earth and there’s huge power plays being made.

I couldn’t put this book down. Pen is an amazing MC. She’s so vibrant and full of life. She could give Katniss a run for her money.

Ee’s use of grotesque imagery also makes this book even more high-stake and chilling.

five-stars