Split Second [Pivot Point, #2] by Kasie West

Split Second [Pivot Point, #2] by Kasie West
Harper Teen | Hardcover, 368 pages
February 11th, 2014
Young Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Life can change in a split second.
Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.
When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.
Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

Kasie West is a phenomenal author. Prior to reading this book, she’s 2 for 2, and while I can admit that this book is a strong follow up to Pivot Point, I, however, did not  fare very well with Split Second.

Quick Story:

Addie’s eventual choice from the first book brought on some dire consequences that she wishes she could unmake, but with the other path equally damning, she had no choice but to live out the path she chose. She, not only could Search the future; she is also now saddled gifted cursed with the ability to manipulate time. In the meantime, living with her father for six weeks will bring out some family secrets  that will expose the real truth about the Compound, and an elaborate plan to test her loyalty.

Laila’s guilt over her betrayal fills her with an overwhelming determination to enhance her ability. With the knowledge that she can restore memories, she will do everything in her power – including befriending the Compound’s “dealer” – to enhance that ability, and all for the sake of absolving some of the guilt.

My Thoughts:

I’d like to reiterate that this book is a fantastic follow up to Pivot Point. The 3-star rating is more reflective of this reader’s experience and the book’s failure to meet my expectation. And we all know how inadvisable it is to set such a high expectation. Regardless of how wonderful it is, Split Second comes with its brand of flaws. It would be far more beneficial if I’d re-read Pivot Point before jumping head first to Split Second. This is one of those instances when I couldn’t follow along with the story, and considering it wasn’t too long ago since I read Pivot Point, I thought for sure reading it would be a breeze.      The author  jumps right into the story without preamble. There’s a lot to be said for laying out a sturdy plot foundation so your readers will not feel like they missed the boat entirely. This is how I felt while reading the story. I was lost.

The Goodreads ratings and reviews will contradict this, to be sure. This book is highly rated and well reviewed. But to be honest, I don’t get it. I have multiple problems with it that consequently earned it a middle grade rating. I felt like there really wasn’t any developments with the characters. It was like meeting them for the first time again. It wasn’t so much as a deja vu as it was repetitive. However, just because Trevor and Addie’s relationship was sort of a dud here for me, fans of this pairing will be thrilled as Stephanie’s role is wholly revamped. Gone is the innate hostility she felt towards Addie, replaced by a startling friendliness.

This book also features a Laila perspective, which in my opinion, didn’t really help the book’s cause. I understand why there needed to be a Laila POV though. Look forward to an explosive Connor/Laila pairing! Seeing them butt heads, and Connor not give in to Laila’s feminine wiles was a lot of fun to watch.

What was surprising, however, was how easily Addie and Laila forged on a stronger relationship despite the latter’s betrayal in the first book. Granted, Laila has done her best to earn Addie’s trust again, I was still surprised by how seemingly apathetic Addie had been.

Moreover, I didn’t find any relevance to her newfound ability. There was some drivel about Addie absorbing Bobby’s powers (guy from book 1), but to be perfectly honest, it held very little consequence to plot.  Though it was the reason why she’s being monitored, that story arch was simply not explored enough.

In the end, die hard fans of Kasie West will find very little faults in this book. I was just a little disconnected with this story and therefore able to look outside of the hype. Ultimately, a disorganized plot and a story that lack substantial heft made for a disappointing read.

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Ignite Me [Shatter Me, #3] by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me [Shatter Me, #3] by Tahereh Mafi
Harper Collins | Hardcover, 416 pages
February 4th, 2014
Young Adult
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Last weekend, I’ve decided to finish off a popular series that I’m sure the majority of us, YA loving community have anticipated, read, and hated loved during the course of its life.  When I first read Shatter Me, there was never a question in my mind of how talented Ms. Mafi is. I’d even go as far as to say that she’d set the precedence for stories of the same trope: the teenager who’d been cursed with the ability to kill with a touch. But what sets her off is the beautiful writing that I’ve come to envy since then.
 
Despite of that, I chose to postpone reading Unravel Me until the last book of the trilogy came out. I can’t be bothered to waste my emotions longing for a book that was an entire year in the making.  Though there are some books that I feel is worth the wait and the pain (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward). Besides, there was another reason why I held off reading this: the murmurings of a painful love triangle and the direction on which the author was going to take it. 

So here I am, completely drained from gorging myself with Mafi’s books.
 

That was not a good idea.

It took me a couple of chapters to realize how suicide-inducing being in Juliette’s head was. What I initially thought was beautiful prose then, was actually torturous reading this time around. It got so bad that I started skipping some of her inner monologues and lamentations. Herein lies the core of why I ended up disliking this series. I’d developed an annoyance with Juliette. She was the most depressing character I’ve ever read. I’d hoped that reading snippets of her diary would appeal to my empathic side. Sadly, that was not the case.  

When Shatter Me ended, she was so full of spunk and determination that she was going to go out hands a-blazing with a kick ass costume to boot.  To my bitter disappointment, however, Unravel Me began with her usual soliloquys of abandonment, unworthiness, monstrosity…blah blah fucking blah.  Perhaps I have a black heart, but after a while, Juliette’s endless woe-is-me dirges became too much for me to bear.
 
Ignite Me and the preceding novellas (tried to) debunked everything I’ve come to loathe about Warner. This is where the author gave Adam a personality facelift. It was heartbreaking to see him so angry. This is  also where the author conveniently ingrained the idea that she would be breaking the hearts of those on the “other” team. 
 
Much of the reviews have given Juliette a pat on the back for “growing up”, for believing in herself and for obtaining girl power. Well, yeah. I get that. But you know what would’ve been a better way to celebrate her coming to terms with how strong she came to be? If she ended up with neither boys.
 
Juliette, here’s what I said to Taylor Swift: It’s okay to be alone. You are your own person. You are strong. You don’t need anyone to validate the person that you’ve become. Those two boys have hurt you in their own ways. But you know what I disliked the most about your own transformation and ultimately the reason why I hate love triangles? You waffled. You waffled, waffled and waffled.  The love you declared in the first book? A sham. A fucking lie. You don’t know what the word means. Stop throwing that word around, authors. You’re giving me complex. You are making me doubt my very definition of it! Actually, that’s a lie. You’re educating me. Love is apparently, a fickle thing by your definition. The next time someone declares that in a book, I’m going to stand here in all my cynical glory.

I should’ve quit at Shatter Me. I’m so sick of disappointments. I need to stop investing portions of my heart on authorscharacters that only fail me in the end. I can’t do it anymore.  I used to think that books are like my friends; that no matter how bad a day I had, I will go home and they’ll be there to comfort me.  However, just like in life, there are books that are temporary allies; false friends that we’re better off living without.

 

John Green said something about it’s not the author’s job to give us happy endings or hold our hands or some shit. And to some degree, I understand what he’s talking about. The thing is, we can’t turn off our emotions like a spigot, ya know? It’s our fault as readers for investing too much of ourselves in books. I guess it’s also our fault for falling in love with fictional characters. But when we fall out of love, the betrayal cuts deep. So, Shatter Me, I wish I could say, it’s not you, it’s me. This time, it’s really you.

 

Spoiler Alert:

Reading the novellas will pretty much tell you how this fucking ridiculous love triangle ends.

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Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Spencer Hill Press | Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Young Adult
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

This book was a bore.

I’ve strategized exactly how I’m going to put my review in a way that it wouldn’t sound harsh, but there’s just no way around it. It was not a bad book. However, it was not a good one either.  JLA has minions of fans who adore her stories so much. Unfortunately for me, I’ve only ever read the first books of her series. I end up having a reading remorse after reading them. Like eating the most decadent pasta dish at the Cheesecake Factory, and then hating myself for its fat and caloric content, I just consumed. The difference with this book is that I never liked it from the get-go. Whereas, I rated those two books 5 stars. I think at this point, I will not be so quick to buy her books next time. Also, that I should quit buying the series when I know it’s going to sit in my shelves, forever unread.

Quick story:

Ember and Olivia has powers. Olivia can revive the dead while Ember can do the opposite. She can kill with a touch. However, while Olivia was born with her power, Ember’s was a result of Olivia’s interference with nature. When Ember accidentally kills the school bully, they were taken by a group of people who claim that they can help. Ember is not so quick to trust, however. There she finds companionship in Hayden, the mirage of a boy she once saw at school, but just like her former life, Ember is treated as if she has the Black Plague.

Hayden teaches her to control her powers, but she also learns the truth about what happened the night of the accident that took her father’s life. Secrets abound, and trust will be even harder to dole out.

My Thoughts:

Like I said at the beginning of this review, this book did nothing to inspire interest or incite curiosity. The characters are a lackluster bunch, and the romance was a cold one – not your typical JLA romance where your hero melts the pages with a look. Though she tried hard to make Hayden a heartthrob, the boy simply lacked intensity. Everything he did was too careful, too cautious. Perhaps it had to do with his power to drain energy, but if a couple of people has the ability to destroy one another with the touch of their hands, then the sexual tension should’ve been palpable. On the contrary, there simply is nothing between these two – no inherent spark.

There is no sense of mystery at all; predictable and more often transparent. Frankly, I didn’t think the plot was developed well.  It was what-you-see-is-what-you-get. And while I’m not counting on a book worthy of a Pulitzer, I’ve just had it with books that feel like I’m just going through the motions.
Simply put, this book left a lot to be desired. At the end of it all, I was just relieved to have finished the entire thing. Even if this book becomes a series, I think I will be giving it a pass.

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Pivot Point by Kassie West

Pivot Point by Kassie West
Harper Teen | Hardcover, 343 pages
Publication Date: February 12th, 2013
Young Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Kassie West’s Pivot Point is a different take on parallel worlds. While the ones I’ve read previously would need some sort of a wormhole or a rift in time-space continuum to make universe-jumping possible, this one is based on a girl’s ability to see and live two lives at the same time.

Let me begin by saying that I did enjoy this book. I was honestly surprised how good it was, better, at least than some of the books with the same theme. But the stumbling block for me – and this consistently becomes a problem with books like this – was my inability to like both versions of one character.  The Addison that I didn’t like seem to create a much bigger impact than the Addison that I did like.

Addison lives in a community that’s virtually invincible to the real world. They are in hiding; isolated from the “normal” people without abilities. The people in her community possess powers: telekineses, powers of coercion or persuasion, ability to seek out the future and the ability to detect a lie. Addison’s ability enables her to see a future but only if she’s given a choice. When her parents decide to divorce, she was presented with her fork in the road: to stay and live with her mother inside her paranormal world or to leave with her dad to live on the outside with the normal people.

Two scenarios. Two futures. For lack of a better word, let’s just pretend she lived in both “virtually”. In both lives she becomes entangled with a criminal activity that endangers kids outside their community. She must learn to choose her battles and eventually pick which future would cost her the least. But in the end, she’ll re-live the whole thing again because no matter what, it always begins with a choice.

So back to Addison’s personality, I guess my main problem and I don’t know if the author could’ve done it any better is that she wasn’t herself in one of the scenarios. It’s hard to explain it any further without spoiling an important arch of the book. I was easily annoyed with her because she can’t find the will to umm…be herself. Sorry for the ambiguity but it really is hard to say more than that. Because of that, I’d become apathetic to her cause.

I like the entire structure of the plot and the way it was executed. It all just boils down to other factors that prohibited my enjoyment of the  reading experience. I commend the author for coyly writing in a love triangle without it being your textbook love triangle. It’s technically not a love triangle because that would require knowledge of existence from everyone involved. And since one scenario was just a simulation of sort, one side of a triangle really does not exist. Confused yet? Yeah. Me too.

I am looking forward to reading the next book simply because I want to read about Addi’s and this other person’s meet-cute. Heh. Though I don’t really know where else this story could go. Other than the world discovering their existence, I have a feeling anything else would be an attempt to prolong what should’ve been an already concluded stand-alone.

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Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney
Bloomsbury USA | Hardcover, 280 pages
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2013
YA Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.
The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can’t help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world’s greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they’ve ever known.
Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

“If I were seeing genies riding on magic carpets while huffing hookahs, I’d be less shocked. Instead, all my senses are ignited and my brain is buzzing, and it feels like I’m dreaming, but I know I’m wide awake and seeing art come alive. This girl has danced her way right out of a Degas.”
Julien is one extra-ordinary teenager. For one, he’s well-versed in Art History as opposed to video games. He sees art in its purest forms; he lives and breathes in the culture unlike any boys his age or adults for that matter. He’s ensconced in it so much that he can easily see when a masterpiece starts to show signs of fading. He is one of those sweet and sensitive boys minus the angst. On the heels of a break-up from an American girl who only saw him as a mediocre artist, he came back to a museum come alive – quite literally. Ballerinas off of Degas,  3-D Monet landscapes and fruits falling out of a Cèzanne.

As much as he’s one of those boys that has the potential to become a heartthrob, Julien seemed a little too perfect for my taste. He’s just way too cultured and way too nice. The boy also barely blinked when he witnessed all the bizarre happenings that were happening to the art. I mean, if an 18th century figure leapt off the canvas they were in, any normal boy would shit my pants and go running the opposite direction.  It was just hard to explain how laid-back he was about it.

I do love how the author effortlessly describe each art pieces without sounding pretentious. The Art History is fascinating as well. I found myself going on the internet and searching for pictures of the art she’s mentioned. I love books that lead me to read up on an entirely different subject altogether. I’ve never wanted to go visit a museum as I have while I was reading this book.

The arches of this novel are kind of ridiculous: muses that lives in a basement, a human muse, the ghost of Rembrandt possessing other people in the hopes of forging himself, a powder of some sort that inspires people and truthfully, it’s the whole Night of the Museum inspired story that did me in. It was pretty funny in a are-you-kidding-me? kind of way. There was also a part of the story where all I could see in my head while reading was that video, Take on Me by A-ha. Basically, Julien can draw whatever it is he wants, sprinkle some fairy “muse” dust and voila! Yeah.

Sorry for yet another passive-aggressive review but it’s really hard to put the reading experience into words, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong; I did enjoy reading this. It was a fast read and like I said, you’ll learn a thing or two about art. It’s just so out there, that’s all. It has some pretty quirky secondary characters with personalities bigger than the major characters. Which is too bad because I thought Julien and Clio were great. Just…don’t ask about the romance between them. It’s just. Have I mentioned the word, ridiculous yet? Yeah.

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Bang [Visions, #2] by Lisa McMann

Bang [Visions, #2] by Lisa McMann
Goodreads Summary
Simon Pulse | Hardcover, 256 pages
Young Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Lisa McMann’s follow up to her Visions series didn’t lack for suspense. Aided by the mysterious curse that seemed to have been passed down from Jules, Sawyer is gifted with the same frightening visions. His, however, is infinitely worse due to the inherent violence of a direct-from-the-news school shooting.

Sawyer’s frustration leaps off the pages as he tries to grasp what it was he was supposed to do with the recurring nightmares that he keeps seeing. While Jules have fought tooth and nail to save the boy she loves in the first book, Sawyer flounders to figure things out. Jules shared his frustration as well and at times it had put a strain in their burgeoning relationship. But the process in which they try to piece together the clues is only half the fun in this book.

There’s no new developments or resolution in terms of the family feud – which is probably the only thing that concerned me with this series. I was also hoping to have Jules finally clear the air with her parents but to no avail. She did finally tell her dad that she knew about the affair. Sawyer also finally gets himself out of the toxic environment that was his home – which is a relief because his situation was heartbreaking. The feud is pretty preposterous, but so did the Montague-Capulet’s. I’m hoping things will finally be better in the next book.

As usual, the Demarco siblings’ dynamics is one of the best things about this book. Their support system is quite a novelty, actually. You can sense the loyalty and the love in everything that they do. Slowly but surely, Trey and Rowan are finally getting a piece of the pie and I love, love, love these two. If there’s something that I can sort of complain about (in a backhanded kind of way) is the sometimes misplaced humour when things get a bit serious. The balls jokes, especially, gets me snickering at the most inconvenient of times. I wouldn’t say it’s a complaint but it feels silly just the same.

Lisa McMann keeps delivering with whatever book she writes. I have a feeling that I will not be able to resist her MG series, even though it’s not really my cup of tea. Over all, Visions have readily become one of those series that I’ve eagerly anticipated. Short as they are, these books are easily digestible and potently addictive.

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Crash [Visions, #1] by Lisa McMann

Crash [Visions, #1] by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse | Hardcover, 233 pages
YA Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Lisa McMann’s latest dive into the paranormal geared towards the young adult combines her penchant for mysticism and perception beyond ordinary.

Visions series follows the same formula as her Dream Catcher series – which I absolutely loved. Her characters has some kind of psychic ability that they’re able to use for the common good. In here, Jules gets visions of bad things that will happen in the future and it’s up to her to try and stop it or warn whoever’s directly impacted by the occurrence. In this case, son of rival family, Sawyer.

The family rivalry rivals that of the Capulet and Montagues. And wouldn’t you know it? Julia and Sawyer are of Italian descent. There’s something infinitely passionate about the Italians – especially when it comes to food and love. You never, ever covet their recipes the way you covet their spouses.

Jules and Sawyer used to be best friends until their respective families battles against the other made virtual strangers out of them. But even though they’ve grown apart, they have never stopped being aware of each other’s existence. When Jules started having visions of Sawyer dying in a horrific accident involving a crash and explosion, she ignores all her resentment and abandonment issues toward the boy that she’s loved forever. It’s too bad that all her warnings make her sound like a nut job. Disregarding the ridicule she’s bound to get, she sets out to save him even if it meant lying to her parents and risking the possibility of lifetime grounding.

Reading Crash is like talking to one of those Gilmore Girls. You need to get your brain up to speed with the conversation or you’ll fall behind. It doesn’t mean, however, that the plot moved at a break-neck speed. It’s timed right, though fast-paced and ripe with suspense. The romance has the forbidden factor that most romance readers would enjoy. It’s the thrilling possibility that they could get caught and the sweet moments when they realize how much they’ve missed.

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A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

A Romance that features two body snatching ghosts told in all its simplistic glory.
_____________________________________

A Certain Slant of Light
by Laura Whitcomb
Graphia | Library Binding, 279 pages
This copy was a little hard to find. I had to order and then wait at least three weeks for Amazon to ship my copy. I’ve never read a book in this format before. The font used was a little old-fashioned and the paper – a little on the thin side. It almost felt like a Bible (bear with me, there is a point to this rambling). This format was a good complement to Laura Whitcomb’s writing. 
Her prose was classical that suited well with the ages of our ghosts. Helen had been around for more than a hundred years to James’ half. It was beautifully written, expressive and yet very simple. It was in the clean writing that readers would be able to appreciate the book’s atmosphere and the characters’ emotional state. It was a haunting of a different kind; not the scary, hair-raising kind of way but a feeling of emptiness you feel right along with Helen when she thinks about all the things she misses when she was alive. It’s missing the smell, taste, and feel of being substantially alive. 
The story opens with Helen flitting from one host to another and the struggles she goes through with each transition. Whitcomb descriptively relays the feeling of helplessness and doom of her drowning in freezing water, heavy with mud. Helen finds solace and comfort with each hosts; and even inspire a writer like a muse. And with each passing of her hosts, she loses a friend, a companion, and love in differing degrees. 
When she’s cleaved on to Mr. Brown, she’s become his muse. Carefully whispering words of encouragement and inspiration as she follows him around like a shadow. In his English class, she meets a living boy who seem to be able to see her. Thus begin an improbable romance between a ghost and the living. In James (Billy), she learned that a Light like her has the ability to occupy a body so long as the soul has vacated the vessel. This is where readers might find this novel whimsical, may be even a bit thin on the details. But I enjoyed this take on the usual ghost story. It featured characters who’d resented their lives – broken and empty in their paltry existence. Billy was a troubled teen junkie, while Jenny had long checked out of the asphyxiating life with her religious parents. 
Some may find Whitcomb’s writing a bit formal but it was oddly fitting for this novel. I’m also a bit surprised that it’s being marketed as YA when both James and Helen are on the adult side. Even their relationship took off faster than the norm in this genre. I think the instalment might be more age-appropriate since it would be the story of how Billy and Jenny would cope with the knowledge that someone had lived their lives in their absences. 
My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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Shadow Bound [Wraith, #2] by Angel Lawson

Creepy follow up to a spine tingling series. 
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Shadow Bound [Wraith, #2] by Angel Lawson
Self-published, Kindle copy
Jane and Connor are back with a brand new set of problems: a psychotic, disturbed ghost bent on playing the tormentor, the pressures of having a not-so normal relationship, and secrets secrets secrets abound. Oy. That’s a relationship killer, isn’t it? Trust is the name of the game and someone forgot to tell these two what the rules are. A literal ghost from the past will haunt them and their already fragile relationship will be tested. 
Jane also finds out what she truly is and what her abilities entail. I don’t purposely go out of my way to find ghost stories because lately, it hasn’t been my thing. But man, Angel sure run a tight ship. She won’t have you questioning the whys and the hows nor would she have you bored. I also love the unpredictability of this book. There wasn’t a hint as to how a couple of characters were tied to each other. And this why I’m a fan of Angel’s writing. She’s random but not erratic. More so malleable than anything else. This book for example, is far from the norm. It didn’t really conform to all the other ghost stories out there but she did her best to offer her readers something new. 
(Cheesy line in 3…2..)I miss Evan with an ache that I cannot even explain. I didn’t like Connor and Jane’s relationship in this book. It was frustrating and it made me realize how good Evan was with Jane. I am a little nervous that the introduction of a new character will pave the way for another round of frustration based on how things ended.

And speaking of endings, it was cruel; plain and simple. That’s all I can say about that. Rest assured that I will be annoying the author with a never-ending, are you done yet? until the third book gets done. (Update: she claims she will torture us even more in the third book but she’s all about HEA.  I guess that’s a good thing, yeah?)
Lost ghost
angry ghost
looking to find a way.
Lost ghost
angry ghost
revenge, come what may.
They speak to those
who can see,
and show to those
who can hear.
But lost ghost, angry ghost
forever lost and astray.
A girl with a third sight
a boy who seeks the light.
Out of his stupor –
toward something called,
normal life.
All is not meant to be,
pushed by force that can’t be seen.
To do things against his will
forsaking all abilities.
They can’t save the other –
together
but they can fight their
demons – apart.
And when the dusts finally settle
(I hope)
they’d be together come morning light.

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles #2
Publication Date: February 5th, 2013
Feiwel & Friends
Format: ARC, 464 pages
Source: Publisher via Raincoast Books
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
 
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

 
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Big bad wolf.
Fiery hair
Lost grand-mere
And a war –
Brewing on the horizon.

Cinder’s still missing a limb
Levana’s still losing her sh*t
Over the rightful queen
Whom she hates quite a bit

Kai’s missing his father
In an empire full of plotters
Stuck between two boulders
And refusing to be a push-over.

A fugitive on the loose
A pretend queen after her with a noose
Deaths, blood shed, and chaos – 
Regardless of whom he’d choose.

More than anything it’s the story
Of a girl with a dwindling family
Who can help solve the mystery
And start an infamy
Against a dreadful ruler
infamous mind controller
Start a revolution
And stop the mind pollution!

I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical about how I would buy into a cyborg version of Cinderella; and after reading the synopsis of this installment, I also doubted how Scarlet’s story was going to meld with Cinder’s. It certainly took forever for their stories to intersect (approximately, halfway to the book). Ah…but I never counted on Ms. Meyer’s ability to spin and weave her tales. After a few pages, I was completely enraptured. This book is no light weight – so you know it’s detailed. You would never fall into an unsuspecting plot hole. More than anything, you will even more appreciate the kind of futuristic world the author created. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll never notice the time passing by.

We get to find out exactly how the Lunar princess escaped death and how she managed to prosper regardless of the injuries she sustained in the fire. The people who helped her were actually the link to Scarlet’s and Cinder’s story. That alone will keep you reading well into the night.

The subtle but sublime romance between Scarlet and Wolf is another reason. There’s something about a part-animal, part-man that I find so charming. It’s the battle inside of him that makes his character even more so. Scarlet is a formidable heroine – probably just as much as Cinder is. Her determination to find grand mere rivals her drive to save Wolf against himself.

Unfortunately, there’s no interaction whatsoever between Cinder and Kai. But I’m looking forward to the upcoming books to this series. One character to watch out for is Captain Thorne – the fugitive that Cinder was in cohorts with in this book. He’s funny and flirtatious, slightly in love with himself but not a love interest – thank God!

Suspense, non-stop action, with a side order of romance; Ms. Meyer’s follow up to her fairy tale remix is the stuff you can’t read to your kids about as you lay them down to sleep…unless you want them waking up screaming the house down, that is. 

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