Saturday, April 26, 2014

Allegiant (Divergent Book #3), by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Thoughts: The third and final book in the Divergent series....and what an ending it is. Let's just say that I cried like a baby, and that it was nothing like the semi "happily ever after" ending of the Hunger Games series.  Throughout this book, it was sometimes difficult to tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys." Just when I thought I had it figured out, someone would do/say something that proved me wrong!

It Takes A Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery), by Heather Blake

Synopsis: Darcy Merriweather and her sister, Harper, hail from a long line of witches who have the power to grant wishes using spells. They've come to Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts, to join the family business, but they soon find themselves knee deep in murder.

Thoughts: Another audiobook, which I listened to while feeling sick. I love the entire premise of granting wishes which come from a pure heart. I also enjoyed Darcy and Harper's attempts to learn more about their own craft, and those of others in the village, while also having to keep it a secret from the mortal residents and tourists. The murder mystery kept me guessing almost to the end....and the very last chapter TOTALLY surprised me with its revelation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Insurgent (Divergent Book #2), by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: 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.
Thoughts: This was my first audiobook, and I have to say it will definitely not be my last. Not only does it free me up to do other things while I listen to a book, but having someone else read it provides more emotional overtones to the entire thing.  
As for the story itself, it picks up right where Divergent leaves off, and Tris continues to make stupid choices throughout, nearly getting herself and others killed numerous times. Fortunately, by the end of the book, things are starting to look up for her, and they all receive information which leads to the completion of their story in Allegiant, which I'll be reading next.

Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard

Synopsis: With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry—lonely, friendless, not too good at sports—spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele—a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.
But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others—especially those we love—above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for.
Thoughts:  This was another on my list of "books to read before I see the movie." Now I can hardly wait for the movie! From what I had heard about the book/movie before reading it, I was thinking that I wouldn't be that interested in the story....but i was wrong. I was drawn in from the beginning, and kept hoping for a happy ending, even though there were so many factors that seemed to make it impossible. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Fiery Heart, by Richelle Mead

Synopsis: In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Thoughts: The first great thing about this book is that it is told in alternating points of view--one chapter is told by Sydney, and the next by Adrian. It's fascinating to finally be able to see a bit more of what goes on in Adrian's head.  The only other things I have to say about this book are
  1) Zoe is a horrible, horrible person!!!
 2) I can't wait for July, to read the next installment, Silver Shadows.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), by Richelle Mead

Synopsis: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next. 

Thoughts: Another great read...makes me sad the series is half over, but has me anxious to see how it all turns out. I am amazed how invested I am in the relationship between Sydney and Adrian--I want them to have a happy ending!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), by Richelle Mead

Synopsis: The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series, Bloodlines

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Timesbestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

Thoughts:  All I can say is, I'm glad we already have books 3 and 4, so I don't have to wait to see what happens next.....and I have a feeling I'm going to be VERY antsy waiting for book 5 to come out this summer!!!  Love this author and her characters.

Curties And Conspiracies (Finishing School #2), by Gail Carriger

Synopsis: Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

Thoughts: After reading the first two books of this series, I am terribly disappointed. The Parasol Protectorate series was incredibly fun and always a great read. This prequel series has been boring and slow, almost painful to get through. So now I wait a year till The Custard Protocol series, a sequel to the Parasol Protectorate, comes out.

The Mercedes Coffin, by Faye Kellerman

Synopsis: Billionaire Genoa Greeves believes the L.A.P.D. should finally solve the fifteen-year-old execution-style murder of her favorite teacher, Bennett Little—especially now that Hollywood music producer Primo Ekerling has been slain in an eerily similar manner: shot and stuffed into the trunk of his Mercedes Benz.
Lieutenant Peter Decker resents having to commit valuable manpower to a cold case simply because a rich woman says, "Jump!" But when a primary investigator in the Little case, now retired, suspiciously commits suicide hours after he and Decker talk, the detective realizes something evil's connecting the dots in two murders separated by a decade and a half. Wife Rina Lazarus offers a cool, rational outlook, as always, despite her growing concern for her husband's welfare—as past and present collide with a vengeance, catapulting Decker ever closer to the edge of an infinite dark abyss.

Thoughts: This is an older book in the series than the ones I've been reading....and while it was good, and kept me guessing, there was just a little "something" missing from it for me. I think it has to do with the fact the books I've read prior to this one had more of his family dynamic involved.