Indigo Awakening (The Hunted, #1) by Jordan Dane

Title: Indigo Awakening (The Hunted, #1)
Author: Jordan Dane
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: December, 18, 2012
Pages: 304, Paperback
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.

A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.

Although I am a little surprised that this book was a DNF for some, I am not surprised at the mixed ratings. This book is not without flaws and I think how you take to this book really depends on what bothers you and what you can tolerate.

Background
Evolution has led to a new race of human beings called Indigos that have certain psychic abilities – they can control what others see and feel, communicate telepathically, see the dead, etc. At this point, all of the Indigos are kids and the strongest Indigos are called Crystal Children. A powerful organization known as the Church of Spiritual Freedom thinks these kids are abominations and are hunting them one by one, focusing their greatest efforts on the Crystal Children since they are the greatest threat and mystery. These people are ruthless and merciless and have no qualms about hunting down and killing these children. The set their sights on Lucas Darby and will stop at nothing to see that he is taken.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The plot was predominately a game of cat and mouse. Both the church and Rayne, Lucas ‘sister, want to find Lucas, but for obviously different reasons. The church uses its influence and force to narrow down his location, while, Rayne finds an unlikely ally in another Indigo child Gabe, who has visions of her brother and other Indigos. The book started a little slowly but quickly picked up the pace and was a steady stream of action and adventure until the end.

This story is told from multiple points of view, which I usually enjoy. In the case of Indigo Awakening we get to be the hunters and the hunted. I think this helped add an extra level of suspense to the story, knowing the bad guys’ plan ahead of time. I know this disturbed some readers though, seeing such evil and ignorance aimed at kids. Nevertheless, it kept me on the edge of my seat.

However, Jordan Dane could have done a better job of explaining the extent and limitations of the Indigo abilities, which I still don’t fully understand. Not enough attention was paid to the background story but I imagine some of it was intentional since it seems both the Indigos and the Church aren’t aware of their potential. I also think the description of the Crystal Children, or at least Gabe, was a bit cheesy. Gabe and his dead dog emmitted a blue glow, when using their power, which I  imagine looked something like this:

Also, I know some people struggled with the dialogue; the classic example being when Rayne said “LMAO” and other instances when wording and descriptions were awkward. It felt like Jordan Dane was trying to appeal to a young generation but sadly misjudged how we actually speak and what is “cool”. But I think this was most prominent at the beginning of the novel and lessens as the story progresses so try not to get discouraged too quickly.

And lastly, we do have instances of insta-love, angst, and jealousy among the kids which does tend to dominate the internal dialogue when in one of their POVs but considering the big picture and overall development, I found it tolerable. We also get a play of other emotions – dependency, protectiveness, loneliness, etc. that keep the characters from seeming too shallow or single-minded.

Wrap Up
I enjoyed the overall adventure of Indigo Awakening and that is why I ended up giving it 3 stars. The things I found annoying or that I could do without didn't overwhlem me while I was reading, or distract too much from my overall interest in the story, espcially once you get past the first 100 or so pages. I am always interested in kids with powers (probably due to envy) and the chase and multi POVs reminded me of the James Rollins or Clive Cusssler novels I grew up reading (not that I am comparing the writing).
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I'm Waiting On Premeditated by Josin L. McQuien

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

This week I chose...

Title: Premeditated
Author: Josin L. McQuien
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Pages: 336, Hardcover

Summary from Goodreads: 
A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

LIKE HOLY CRAP GUYS HOW AWESOME DOES THAT BLURB SOUND?!? It reminds me of the TV show Revenge WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVE.

HONESTLY I AM JUST SO EXCITED!!!!!

But unfortunately I have to wait until October...


:D

Tell us what are you waiting for! Leave a link! 
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Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi

Title: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 352 pages, Hardcover
Rating:  4.5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

**This review will have some spoilers, so if you haven’t read Under the Never Sky be weary continuing! My review for Under the Never Sky**

Through the Ever Night starts off right where Under the Never Sky ended, Aria and Perry are reunited again! Aria has made a deal with Hess; in exchange for Talon she must find the Still Blue. The Reverie is getting worse every day, with more people getting ‘sick’ and the Aether storms destroying their energy sources and shelter; Hess knows that he must have an escape plan. Now that Perry is Blood Lord of the Tides, Aria does not think it’s a good idea to inform the tribe that he is dating a ‘Dweller’ or even a half-Dweller. The two must keep their relationship a secret.

The tension and unrest in the tribe force Aria to leave to find the Still Blue earlier than expected and without Perry. Roar and Aria leave to find Sable, another Blood Lord, for it is rumored that he knows where the Still Blue is. When they arrived at Sable’s, Roar was surprised to find Liv, Perry’s sister and his lost love, ready to marry Sable. Meanwhile, Perry is trying to do what’s best for the Tribe which includes: protecting them through the Aether storms, dealing with Cinder, moving them to the cave, and accepting the help from Sable’s men (as part of the Liv’s dowry). Unlikely partnerships form, some disastrously evil and others beneficial.

OH MY, Veronica Rossi continues to build an unstable world, where the need to survive is paramount. As the story continues, this dystopian world becomes more vivid and dangerous.  Rossi continues to do an amazing job with her characters. Aria has become such a kick a** character, she was great in the first book but continues to be a fighting, tough girl in the second book. She really earns the respect of the people in The Tides even though she had a rough start. Rossi also throws in a couple more “bad guys.” Hess and Sable are awful, vicious people but even though I hate them, they are incredibly well written characters. We are also introduced to Kirra…every time she spoke I just wanted to say
UGHH, she is just one of those characters you hate and get see their true motives. Cinder is evolving into a crucial character and his relationship with Perry is growing. I look forward to see his powerful role in the third book.

The plot is a bit slower than the first book, still full of action but a bit slower in the progression. I wish there was a little more suspense, it felt as though some of the storyline was predictable. That doesn't mean I didn't absolutely love every bit of it though.  Soren's new role was a nice twist, especially at the end of the book, it was quite a pleasant surprise that left me smiling.  I applaud Rossi for the ending, yet again; it is the perfect mix of intrigue and resolve. I want to keep reading but am not totally left hanging.

Through the Ever Night was a solid 4.5 stars, it paints a beautifully dangerous dystopian world with love, unlikely friendships, destruction, and the need for survival. I look forward to the third and final book!! GO READ IT :)


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Teaser Tuesday (1)




Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To participate, simply open to a random page in a book you are currently reading and share two teaser sentences! But no spoilers please!





Nicole's Teaser

"'I was brainwashed by my family to actually want to be unwound - and not just by my family, but by my friends, my church, everyone I looked up to. The only voice who spoke sense was my brother Marcus, but I was too blind to hear him until the day I got kidnapped.'"

~ pg. 208 "UnWholly (UnWind, #2)" by Neal Shusterman


UnWholly (Unwind, #2)








Ashley's Teaser

"'Perry it'll be easier if we can find a way to get along.' 'We are getting along,' he said, and walked away."

~pg. 238 "Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)" by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)


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The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Title: The Dead and Buried
Author: Kim Harrington
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Pages: 304, Hardcover
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

I thought this book was fun. Jade’s new home is being haunted by the ghost of Kayla Sloane, the old Queen B of her high school. If Kayla was ruthless when she was alive, it’s nothing compared to what she’s willing to do now to get the truth. Kayla wants answers and she’s using Jade to get them. But Jade soon discovers that a lot of people had cause to want Kayla Sloane dead.

Did Kayla’s best guy friend finally get tired of being in the friend-zone after pining for her always? Did the loner smart girl take out her only competition for valedictorian because Kayla didn't deserve it? Did one of Kayla's closes minions want the spotlight? Or what about the countless others that Kalya bullied, manipulated, took advantage of, overshadowed, etc? Even though I had a feeling about the killer early on, I didn’t understand the motive and that kept me interested in the story. I kept second guessing myself because so many people fit the bill. I enjoyed trying to puzzle out the mystery.

To get answers, Jade inserts herself into the life that Kayla used to lead, but she doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe. She befriended the quirky smart girl and doesn’t think she’s capable of murder but her unusual show of emotion concerns Jade. She also finds herself drawn to Donovan, who, ironically, is the person that the rest of the school thinks killed Kayla. He was the last one to see her alive and a witness saw him leave her house right around the time of the murder. Jade also thinks he might be hiding something from her. But Jade follows her heart and employs the powers of sleuthing to eventaully solve the murder. I thought the clues were well laid out and everything came together nicely at the end. It wasn't the best mystery I ever read but I thought it was pretty decently executed.

Even though this book involved ghosts, it wasn’t that creepy. I was more creeped out by the old neighbor who seems to always be watching than Kayla's ghost. And I thought Kayla was an awesome antagonist. I actually wish we saw more of her as Queen B but we have to settle for pages from her diary to get glimpses of her ruthless, cunning behavior. Something about mean girls I find so entertaining. I also liked Jade as the main character. She was level-headed and smart, and even though she wasn’t as exciting as Kayla, she had enough personality to capture my attention.

Overall, I liked this book; there just wasn’t anything particularly amazing about it to warrant a higher rating. It was a good story with a puzzling mystery, one fantastically bitchy ghost (that we didn't see enough of), a bit of romance, and some good ol' high school drama.
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Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: February 7th, 2012
Pages: 374, Hardcover
Stars: 5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

I had heard great things about this series and lately even more with the second book coming out. I was really hoping it was going to live up to the hype and not disappoint… and OH MY, I LOVED IT. From the first chapter, Rossi immediately pulled me into the story and the characters. There is no slow introduction; I was quickly thrown into both Perry and Aria’s life. Aria is from the Reverie, a protected world, filled with Realms, perfection, and manipulation. Perry lives in the Real, in a world of struggle, dangerous storms, and survival.

After being unjustly exiled for a crime, Aria is left to die in the Real either by the elements or by the ‘Savages.’ Meanwhile, Perry is facing his own problems, he wants to challenge his brother for Blood Lord and to make matters even worse his only nephew gets kidnapped by the ‘Dwellers.’ Perry blames himself and sets of to rescue Talon. Aria and Perry cross paths again and make a pact; he will help her get to her mother and she will help rescue Talon. While facing the dangers of being on the run, pursued by people who want them dead, and the deadly Aether storms, Aria and Perry form a special bond.

"They reached for each other then like some force had pulled their hands together. Ari looked at their fingers as they laced together, bringing her the sensation of his touch....She absorbed the terror and beauty of him and his world. Of every moment over the past days. All of it, filling her up like the first breath she'd ever taken. And never had she loved life more"

That pretty much sums up how I felt reading the second half of the book and seeing their relationship unfold. Aria is able to listen to one last message her mother gave her, learning the secrets of her family and her mother’s job. Perry learns terrible truths about his brother. With this new knowledge, the two know what needs to be done; Aria must go back into the Reverie.

Under the Never Sky was an amazing story, full of adventure, passion, and survival. I don’t even know where to start to explain the greatness of this book. Rossi paints such a vivid world,
“On the third morning, she stepped out of the elevator to a new sky, shot through with swirls or blue light. The eddies ran calm above her, but turned brighter and faster on the horizon. It was Van Gogh's Starry Night, right before her eyes."
You can envision the powerful storms and the never sky so clearly. Not only is the world well described, but the way of life is believable, everything is perfectly thought out.

I loved the alternating POVs between Aria and Perry. Although their relationship grew rather quickly, it was not forced in the least. And a bonus, no love triangle! The development was well paced and story just flew by. Even when parts seem a bit cliché, Rossi throws in humor to offset it. For example, when Aria and Perry have to stay in a cave Aria thinks, "She'd have laughed if she could. Of course it would be a cave."

Under the Never Sky has a well imaged/described world, passion, secrets, surprises, and adventures all rolled up into one great book. This was easily a 5 star read, I already started Through the Ever Night. This is how I felt finishing the book.  Oh, and the ending.. was PERFECT :)



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Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans

Title: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1)
Author: Lenore Appelhans
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Pages: 288, Hardcover
Rating: 2 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).


'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.

'Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.

Warning: I had a lot of problems with this book. My review may be a little harsh because I'm venting my frustration. Other people have enjoyed this book, it just wasn't for me. 

I just didn't get this book so I couldn't enjoy it. I could possibly believe the setting. It was very scientific - there are white podlike chambers where the deceased replay their memories, presumably until they make peace with their life and move on to Level 3 - that was reasonable. What I didn't believe is that the deceased could tag, rate and share their memories over a net with other drones, get credits for number of views and use them to view and rate the memories of others. This just doesn't seem like a ethereal place, even if it is limbo, unless God was born in the 21st century and a teenage girl. 

We do get a (weak) explanation as to why Limbo is like this since in fact this is not how it should be. Something about Angels being smited by God and being vengeful. But I didn't buy that either. It seemed too immature and there wasn't an obvious causal relationship. There were also some elements of Greek Mythology thrown in using the five rivers of Hades and and I though that just came out of left field. The angels and mythology didn't fit with the clinical feel of limbo.

As the story progresses we continually revisit Felicia's memories. Mostly all her memories are centered around her relationships with the two boys: Julian and Neil. Felicia doesn't like to revisit the memories of Julian because they remind her of something bad that occurred. We are led to believe that Felicia did something horrible. She is damaged, she doesn't deserve Neil, she has to atone for her mistakes by caring more for others, etc. I honestly though she killed someone. She stopped eating, sleeping, taking care of herself, paying attention in school - she basically gave up everything and sunk into a state of depression because she kissed Julian knowing her best friend "liked" him. I understand that this was a poor decision, but not unfathomable or hell-worthy for a 16 year old girl. There is an event that follows but I still didn't connect the reaction that Felicia had. I would accept sorrow and unsettlement and maybe a little blame but how Felicia reacted was unhealthy. It was like she died before she actually died.

Also, a lot of the dialogue felt awkward to me. This might not be the best example, but it was one of the first I flagged: 

"He laughs. 'Nicole said you were uptight!' 
'Nicole? Who cares what Nicole thinks?' I sputter. 'I'm not uptight. I'm conscientious. There's a difference.'
Julian pats the sofa next to him. A dare. I sit down, closer to the armrest than him, my posture rigid.
He grins and shakes his head. 'You are uptight! Look at you. Too uptight to play poker, I bet.'
'I've played it. I'm a total card shark. Watch out!' I make claws with my fingers and give him my scariest look."

The conversation continues and it was forced and uncomfortable. We were portrayed a feeling of exasperation and disinterest, not nerves. AND this was right before Julian and Felicia kiss for the first time. It was one of those - I don't like you but my mind just melts into jelly when your near - moments. I found that I was usually thankful when her memories ended and we were back in Limbo. 

There sadly wasn't much action either. There was a distant threat and a skimmed over battle at the end, but not much suspense. The focus is more on the past then the present. 

I'll stop there. I really hate ranting about a book because everyone takes to a book differently. Some triggers for me may not be triggers for you. I'll give credit to Appelhans for trying something different but this won't be a series I'll be continuing with. 
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Stacking the Shelves (4) - Jan 26th



Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews features books you are adding to your shelves be in physical or virtual. This can include 

This is what's on my shelf for upcoming reads:




The library has been very good to me this week :) Happy Reading!

What books are stacking your shelves??
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Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1) by Ellen Oh

Title: Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1)
Author: Ellen Oh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Pages: 320, Hardcover
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

With that tagline and summary, I thought Prophecy was going to be awesome and I couldn't wait to read it. Kira reminded me of Katsa in Graceling, which is one of my favorite books. I was also intrigued by the use of Asian folklore and culture, which I thought provided an untapped setting in the YA genre. I had high hopes for Prophecy but sadly, this book let me down.
The problem - this book was an abridged version of what it should have been. Imagine a book that should be upwards of 600 pages but was limited to 300. The entire time I spent reading this I felt like I was on fast-forward. Before I could process one event, the book had already moved on to another.
The action and adventure dominated the writing. In fact, I think Prophecy should win some kind of award for how much activity occured in this book. But it seems Ellen Oh sacrificed understanding for action. There wasn't enough emphasis on the progression of the story, the plot just leap frogged from one event to the next. It wasn't always logical or clear what was happening and why because Ellen Oh didn't write in that explanation. The information that should have given the reader a sense of the world, and characters and tradition was, for all intents and purposes, missing. Since I don't have much familiarity with Asian folklore, I had nothing to rely on to help me understand the beliefs this book built its story upon and I needed that detail to make sense of things and really enjoy the story. Naturally the character development suffered as well. Kira had so much potential! She is a demon-slayer with yellow eyes and the personal gaurd to the prince! She's badass and everyone is afraid of her. She could have been the next Katsa but Ellen Oh didn't give her a fighting chance. The other characters also showed some promise at times but there just wasn't enough focus on their stories to make you fall in love with them.
But gaping holes in information and detail aside, the series has potential if the subsequent books don't fall victim to the same problems. Prophecy had a lot of cool elements of Asian influence that made for an interesting read. Demons hide within the skin of humans and only Kira can sense them. They answer to no one, and as they get stronger and more numerous, they threaten to overtake the world. Kira - in the company of monks, the young boy prince, and a mysterious but handsome young man - must follow the Dragon King prophecy in search of treasures that the Dragon Musado will use to save the world. The odds are against them - the seven kingdoms are in chaos and their enemies are hunting them. This idea is definitely interesting but I needed more of the "other stuff" to love this book. It fell short.
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Feature & Follow Friday (3)


                                                   

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read to showcase blogs, meet new blogger friends and gain new followers. 

This week's question is:

Q: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?

Well, I just read The Archived in a day because I couldn't put it down. But to go back a little further, the last book that kept me up late at night was My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I was just memorized by this book and was surprised to find how fast I read it. I didn't realize how much time had passed until I finished the last page and came back to reality. Fortunately, it was a Friday night and I could sleep in the next morning :D. My Life Next Door was so much more than a book about first love. Amidst the romance, Huntley Fitzpatrick beautifully portrays the trials of family and friendship, and navigating the ups and downs of life. I highly recommend if you read contemporary. My review is here. 

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 6/14/12
Pages: 396, Hardcover

Summary from Goodreads:
A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another
“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Comment and tell us what book last kept you at night! If you follow us, let us know how you follow and we will be sure to follow back!

Also, be sure to check out our current giveaway here.

TGIF :)
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Altered (Altered, #1) by Jennifer Rush

Title: Altered, (Altered, #1)
Author: Jennifer Rush
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January, 1, 2013
Pages: 336, Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

To me, Altered was Jason Bourne meets Captain America times four. Sam, Nick, Trev and Cas have been genetically altered by a government funded organization called The Branch to enhance various traits – speed, strength, intellect, etc. – in an attempt to create perfect soldiers. Their memories have been wiped so they cannot recall their lives before the lab and they are tested daily in preparation for some vague future purpose. But early into the book they escape the lab and go on the run, following clues that Sam’s pre-memory-swipe self left behind, which they hope will uncover some truth.
Altered follows the POV of Anna who is the daughter of Arthur, the man in charge of overseeing the boy’s testing and progress. Anna has been home-schooled and knows nothing other than the farm she lives on and the lab imprisoning four boys in her basement (which apparently she just accepts). As her only real companions, she grows close to them. Trev is good-natured, protective, and open. He is the closest thing to a best friend that Anna has. Cas is good-humored, playful and laid-back. He’s usually the one to lighten the mood when things get tense. And Sam is the one that captured Anna’s heart. He’s reserved, calculating and mysterious but Anna is drawn to him by some force beyond her control. Nick and Anna don't get along. When the boys escape with the aid of Anna’s father, his only request is that they take her and protect her. They oblige and Anna ends up on the run with them, but soon discovers that she’s just as mixed up in the Branch as the boys are, and she’s forced to question everything she thought she knew.

Altered is an action-driven novel. Make no mistake, there is a romance element with some angst but it shouldn’t deter you. The plot carries the group from one puzzle piece to the next, with Branch agents hot on their trail creating ample opportunity for fight scenes, discovery, world-building, etc. There is a steady flow of information, plot twists, and attention-grabbing moments, to keep you turning the pages wanting to know more.

The ending is also worth mentioning. Although in the slightest sense it felt compacted (glazing over details) I was happy with the dose of information we were ultimately given. In a lot of YA series, the first book is disappointedly void of (what I consider) big discoveries but Altered did not follow that trend. I was very satisfied with what we were given in this novel and what questions were left unanswered for the next.

One more thing – this book follows the trend of strong female characters. Anna is no weak damsel in distress. She may not be on par with the boys but she can carry her own weight and does.

Overall, Altered was a fun, action-packed read that delivers. A definite stand out in this genre and an exciting read.
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The Archived (The Archived, #1) by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Archived (The Archived, #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 336, Hardcover
Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. 

In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

There were so many great things about this book. For starters, the idea was refreshingly original and the setting was everything from eerie, disturbing and dark to magnificent, imaginative, and dreamy. It was spellbinding and worked perfectly together to bring the story to life.  The Archive is a library-esque room that stores the Histories (copies of the deceased). I was picturing something you'd expect to see in a Harry Potter movie. A too-large-to-grasp room, dimly lit, Gothic in style, with volumes and volumes of, in this case, dead bodies stacking the shelves (don't worry they are in drawers). The narrow, winding rows between stacks can only be navigated by the Librarians for it seems that the space is constantly changing. The Narrows is the space in between the Archive and the Outer. The Narrows is like a dark, narrow, stone alleyway, endless in height. The walls are filled with doors, some that lead to the Outer, some that lead to the Archive, some that lead to nowhere. Lastly, the Outer for Mackenzie is the Coronado, an old hotel turned compartment building that her family just moved into. I pictured a once regal space that is now weathered, vacant, and gloomy. The few other tenants we meet are more or less sufficiently creepy fitting my image. This whole setting vaguely reminded me of the Matrix meets the Shining!

Sometimes the Histories wake and wind up in the Narrows, sometimes they escape the Narrows and wind up in the Outer. Confusion and denial causes these Histories to "slip", making their behavior erratic, difficult to manage and even dangerous. It is Mac's job to enter the Narrows and return the Histories that have waken to the Archives. But just as soon as Mac moves into the Coronado, she stumbles across information relating to a murder, and as she digs deeper, all evidence points to someone in the Archives. Suddenly, there are disturbances in the Archives, more and more Histories are escaping into the Narrows, and Mac finds herself fighting for her life. Can she make sense of this mystery, figure out who is responsible and stop them before her entire world comes crumbling down? READ AND FIND OUT :)

I didn't love Mac as a character but I did like her and I felt for her. She was a young girl weighed down by her duty, suffering from the loss of loved ones, and struggling to keep ahead of all the lies she was forced to tell to hide this second life. She was flawed, she made mistakes (some more disturbing than others), but she was real. Her job required that she be strong, competent and not easily shaken. She was all of these things. I did, however, love Wes, aka "Guyliner". He was spunky and fun and his few witty quips made me laugh. He added a bit of flavor and life to this dreary, serious world. I also really liked Rolan, who was sort of a mentor/big brother to Mac. With all Mac had to deal with, she needed someone to lean on, and Rolan gave her that. Their relationship was both comforting and endearing.

I read this book in a day and had no hesitation rating it 5 stars. It is a new favorite of mine and absolutely wonderful. The story is suspenseful and well-paced, never a dull moment. Although I had my suspicions, I was left guessing until the end.

5/5 stars, Highly recommend!!
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I'm Waiting On Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

This week I chose...
Title: Requiem (Delirium #3)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Pages: 400, Hardcover

Summary from Goodreads: Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

I loved Delirium and Pandemonium. Oliver painted such a vivid world, where love is considered disease, I cannot wait to read what is in store next for Lena especially after the ending of Pandemonium!

What are you waiting for? Leave us a comment!

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OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY: The Ruining by Anna Collomore and Rapture by Lauren Kate

Here at The Quiet Concert, we are hosting our first GIVEAWAY!


AND, we are giving away TWO books :) 


Ok, that's enough of that.

We each picked a recent read to share with you.

Nicole chose her ARC of The Ruining by Anna Collomore. To check out her review click here.

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 7, 2013
Pages: 313, Hardcover
Source: ARC
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.

All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?

The Ruining is a complex ride through first love, chilling manipulation, and the terrifying depths of insanity.

Ashley chose her hardcover of Rapture (Fallen, #4) by Lauren Kate.

Title: Rapture (Fallen, #4)
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Pages: 448, Hardcover
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
The sky is dark with wings....

Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.

Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this — live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies...and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.

And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her — and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

Rapture is the astonishing conclusion to the Fallen series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
- US residents only (sorry International friends :()
- Ends February 12, 2013
- Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter
- Winners will have 48 hours to respond before someone else is selected

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

Title: The Golden Lily
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June, 12, 2012
Pages: 418, Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?


When I found out Richelle Mead was writing a spinoff of the Vampire Academy series, I was ecstatic.  I loved the series and was so happy to get another 6 books written in this world. But I didn't fall in love with Bloodlines nearly as much as I had with Vampire Academy. I think a big part of this had to do with the switch from Rose to Sydney as the main character. Rose is rebellious and confident and so full of life, whereas, Sydney is more reserved and refined, and well, a little dull. Even though I still enjoyed Bloodlines (a solid 3 star rating), it just didn't compare to the thrill I got from Rose's story and POV.

The Golden Lily is a step in the right direction. I don't know if I will ever like Sydney as much as Rose (there's not many female leads that I like as much as Rose period) but I found her more endearing in this book. Sydney begins questioning everything she's been taught to believe by the Alchemists as she spends more time with the Moroi and dhampirs. She loosens up a bit and I think this makes her more likable. We also get to enjoy more of her quirks and eccentricities - her intellect, her whit, her complete social/romantic ineptitude - and all around she's a bit more exciting than in the first book. We get to endure her first relationship and she also dabbles more in the magic that her teacher introduced to her. I'm exited to see how the latter will be used in the later books. We also get to see her and Adrian get closer *swoon* and I admire her ability to keep up with him in snarky comments. Definite plus for entertainment value. Did I mention I LOVE ADRIAN? He's still his usual drinking/smoking/sarcastic/i-don't-give-a-damn self but it's not who he is anymore as much as who people expect him to be. We continually get to see the softer/caring/more vulnerable side of him, especially when it comes to Sydney. I'll admit I like bad boy, cocky, and rebellious Adrian better but I believe this side of him works when were dealing with Syndey rather than Rose (and I'll take what I can get).

As usual, Richelle Mead's writing just rocks. I swear she could make the dullest of events sound interesting if she wanted to. Her characters are so distinct and she has them interact so well. None of her books are without some humor and silliness but she still packs all the heavy emotions and themes in there too - love, anger, self-doubt, duty. I liked the mystery/developments in this novel more so than Bloodlines. I mean, were talking VAMPIRE HUNTERS!! Consistent with Richelle Mead's other books, we get good-pacing, a steady unveiling of pieces to the puzzle, a nice set up for the third book, plot twists, and adventure. She never disappoints.

Overall, The Golden Lily was better than Bloodlines, but still not as good as Vampire Academy. A lot of this resides in Sydney, who I've already noticed big improvements in. I seriously think each book will keep getting better and that this is a series to stick with. Richelle Mead has already set up so much, that I can't wait to see what she has in store. 
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Top Ten Tuesday (3) - Jan 22nd



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is "Top Ten Settings I'd Like To See More Of (Or At All)".

This week, rather than each list our top 5, we decided to collaborate on our list since we had so much in common!


Nicole and Ashley's Top 10



1. Victorian/Historical London
Think of Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices or Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. Both of these stories are set in Victorian London and we just ADORE this setting. The way the "ladies" and "gents" behave, interact, dress, etc - we love every detail and would definitely jump at the opportunity to read more of it. Besides, the audiobook narrator would have a british accent and that's just a win-win.

2. 1920s/1930s New York City
Still on the subject of Libba Bray and her world building, Nicole is currently reading The Diviners which is set in 1930s New York City and she is already obsessed with how this time period enriches the story. This is a distinguishable period in history when women became more empowered and stepped outside of societal norms and expectations. It creates some fun reading and a break from the norm.

3. Fantasy Kingdoms (with or without magic)
For this setting were thinking of Kristin Cashore's Graceling Realm, Melina Marchetta's The Lumatere Chronicles, or maybe even Maria Snyder's Study trilogy. We love the worlds these authors have created and anything is possible when you're building your own. We'll never get tired of it!

4. Anywhere with pirates and assassins
We admit this is  a little vague, but we haven't gotten our fill of neither pirates nor assassin's and you can have a lot of fun with both of these. Our inspiration for this one is Throne of Glass and Assassin's Curse (the latter of which combines both elements). We want more leads that can take someone out with a spoon or ya know, live on the sea, have a pegged leg and parrot, and steal from other people...?

5. The Future
Be it a highly advanced one, a post-apocalyptic one, or some type of dystopian - we'll read it all. We know this is again a little vague, but we always think it is fun when an author creates some type of future setting. Moira Young's Dust Lands, Veronica Roth's Divergent, Lauren DeStefano's My Chemical Garden, Anne Aguirre's Razorland series - any of these are within the realm of possibility and were so entertaining!!

6. Modern day, magic (or the supernatural) exists, and people know it.
Enough about hiding supernaturals and magic from the general public. Let's assume everyone knows it exists - what would the world be like? Nicole really enjoyed Holly Black's Curse Worker series (and highly recommends it!). In this book, certain people had the power to change your emotions or memories, cause pain, bring luck, kill you, all in a single touch. Nicole enjoyed the mafia-esque "worker families" that emerged, how everyone wore gloves to avoid skin contact, and how political figures were petitioning to round up workers and lock them away. It was just interesting and again, a change from the norm.

7. Small towns with a history of magic
In these settings of old and quaint towns, the residents don’t all believe or know about the magic that has been around for years. Think of the Castor series, taking place in the South where magic is still a part of life. The Raven Boys also takes place in an old VA town, which still has psychics and mystery within it yet it’s still unbeknownst to all townspeople.  It’s interesting to read how townspeople are kept hidden from what’s under their nose.

8. Foreign Cities
Foreign cities are always a great setting because it’s like being on a vacation somewhere fun and maybe new. Prague was the perfect city for Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  The gothic architecture in a busy city is the perfect setting for the dark and mysterious. Anna and the French Kiss and The Revenants series were based in Paris, and who doesn’t like a love story in the city of love.

9. Paranormal Schools
For this setting think the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins or Harry Potter.  We love books that take place in school settings; Hex Hall still has basic HS drama with a whole other fun element of witches, and werewolves, vampires and faeries! Besides, these schools are usually old and creepy, adding to the intrigue. More gossip girl meets paranormals wouldn’t be too bad of a setting.

10. Anywhere with Dragons
We really enjoyed the Firelight series, it was a nice break from vampires and werewolves, plus dragons can fly and breathe fire... pretty awesome traits. It would be nice to see some more dragon-human hybrids gracing the pages of our YA fantasy series. Maybe throw them into the paranormal schools ;)
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