Sunday, March 30, 2014

Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Thoughts: If you enjoyed the Hunger Games series, you should also enjoy this one. There is still quite a bit of violence,some of it senseless, but for me, at least, it makes more sense than having young people murdering each other for entertainment purposes.  Watching Tris progress from the girl she was before her choosing day, to the person she is by her initiation day, you see her struggle with her choices, worry about her future, try to balance her friendships with her desire to excel in the testing. The last few chapters are very action packed, and the ending left me anxious to read Insurgent as soon as possible.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bloodlines (Bloodlines series, book 1), by Richelle Mead

Synopsis: When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive--this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

Thoughts: This series is a spin off from the Vampire Academy series, and focuses more on the human point of view than the vampires. It's full of surprises and shocks, just like the Vampire Academy books...and that includes unexpected deaths.  There are three other books already out in this series, and the fifth is due out this summer, with the final story due out next year.  Can't wait to see how all this turns out!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Think Of A Number, by John Verdon

Synopsis: An extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.
Arriving in the mail over a period of weeks are taunting letters that end with a simple declaration, “Think of any number…picture it…now see how well I know your secrets.”  Amazingly, those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly.  For Dave Gurney, just retired as the NYPD’s top homicide investigator and forging a new life with his wife, Madeleine, in upstate New York, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but quickly ignite a massive serial murder investigation.
What police are confronted with is a completely baffling killer, one who is fond of rhymes filled with threats and warnings, whose attention to detail is unprecedented, and who has an uncanny knack for disappearing into thin air.  Even more disturbing, the scale of his ambition seems to widen as events unfold.
Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that leave local police in awe.  Yet, even as he matches wits with his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney’s tragedy-marred past rises up to haunt him, his marriage approaches a dangerous precipice, and finally, a dark, cold fear builds that he’s met an adversary who can’t be stopped.
In the end, fighting to keep his bearings amid a whirlwind of menace and destruction, Gurney sees the truth of what he’s become – what we all become when guilty memories fester – and how his wife Madeleine’s clear-eyed advice may be the only answer that makes sense.

Thoughts: Well written first novel, and I enjoyed the characters of Dave and Madeleine.  Hoping that there will be more stories about them in the future. I was totally unprepared for the revelation of the killer, which almost never happens to me in a mystery. That would be yet another reason to look forward to future novels.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6), Richelle Mead

Synopsis: The astonishing conclusion to the #1 international bestselling series...

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.

The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust. . . .

But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all?

Each other.

Thoughts: Great ending for this series....left a few loose ends, which I hope get tied up in her follow up series, Bloodlines.  Already started Book 1, and enjoying it!!!