ARC Review: Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

16140841Release Date: January 15th 2015

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Series: Superlatives #2

Review In Series: Biggest Flirts

Genre: YA Contemporary

Format: eARC

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Rating: 4 Stars

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Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they’ve found themselves drawn together–first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they’re very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

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If you love “realistic” high school stories, than I’m sure you’d love this book. Though, it’s a part of a series, it definitely could be read alone; even with characters from the first book making an appearance. As they have no important role in the story, I think that there’s not really much to know about them; aside from the unlikable Tia from the first book.

This book is about Harper and Brody, voted the “Perfect Couple…..” Well aside from them both being in relationships with different people, they were voted by their peers for this title, which includes “That Never Was”. As with many teens of the opposite sex being categorized together, things start to get a little difficult. There’s obviously attraction there, and with them being with other people, it kind of slows it down. Or not. Brody is the star quarterback and Harper is somewhat of a geeky/nerdy photographer.

I really liked Harper and Brody as a couple. He’s the high school QB and totally wasn’t all cocky, like most of them are. He actually surprised me with his intelligence and wit. Harper is such a vast contrast to Tia, from the first book. I really needed this book to portray a teen female that wasn’t so out there, and Harper was that for me. And while there are some girls in high school that are popular and promiscuous, there are those that are popular and quiet at the same time. It goes to show that not all teen girls think with other parts of their bodies. I love the fact that Will is still keeping Tia on the right track and that she actually seems like a better person now. I totally didn’t like her at the beginning of Biggest Flirts, but she grew on me some by the time the book ended. And as with most high school football stars, Brody has pretty much had his share of female company. I think a part of that was so that he could be this image to his fellow players, but deep down he didn’t really like it. I don’t know. He just seems so unlike that after reading about him throughout. Overall, I really liked this story better, but Will is still my favorite character of this series. The guy is a hottie! I actually can’t wait to read the next book. I highly recommend for readers of YA Contemporary, and if you just love good high school romance.

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Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

Release Date: July 29th 2014 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Series: The Young World Trilogy #1 Genre: YA Dystopia Format: Paperback Source: YA Book Exchange (Trade) Rating: 3 Stars After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the […]

ARC Review: Contact by Laurisa White Reyes

 

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Release Date: June 23, 2014

Publisher: Hallowed Ink Press

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Format: eARC

Source: NetGalley

Rating: 3 Stars

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From Goodreads: Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already, and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira, it’s a curse from which she cannot escape.

To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated in the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of a miracle drug. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth…but proving it just might get her killed!

Review: Mira Ortiz is in the hospital, yet again, for another suicide attempt. She just wants it all to go away– the memories, feelings, emotions, etc… from touching other people. She realizes that she has always had that feeling of reading ones emotions, but since she recently was immunized with the drug, Gaudium, it has become more enhanced. As she’s leaving her therapist’s office, she trips and falls over David (She literally falls in love with him). Days later she bumps into him again at one of her father’s functions. He’s vying for Governor, and is also under investigation for things that happened over 16 years ago with his pharmaceutical company (It’s a long story). The next morning she finds her mother unresponsive in her bed, and Mira’s life becomes chaos afterwards. She figures out things about her father and soon begins to put more pieces together, but she really has no idea who is behind the madness that is her life.

I really wanted to love this, I really did. Mira was so naive and gullible, it made me sick. One minute she was getting to the truth (sort of), and then she was berating herself for thinking the things she was thinking. In the end, it mattered, but not while trying to put the pieces together concerning her life and the mysterious gift she has. I can say that, if you read this book, don’t trust any revelations because in the end, you will be surprised. I was like, seriously? David is a great guy, with his own secrets. I actually liked his character more than Mira. For the most part, the premise is great. I liked the actual science of how Mira got her gift of reading people through touch. Some of the phrases at the end with her and Jordan, her father’s bodyguard? minion?, was a bit juvenile. Yes this is a YA book, but it was so not cool. Overall, it was okay. I can say that if there shall be a book 2, which the ending hinted at, I want to read it to see where it goes. Just okay, okay.

3 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58

Review: Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton

 

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Title: Cinderella’s Dress

Author: Shonna Slayton

Release Date: June 3, 2014

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

Format: ebook (340 pages)

Source: Publisher (for review)

Rating: 2 Stars

Goodreads


Synopsis: Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she’s working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

Review: I really wanted to love this book! Look at that cover. How can you not want to read it after looking at said cover and reading the synopsis? Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I always dive at the opportunity to read as many HF books as possible. This one did not leave me wanting more. Which is sad, because it has the potential to be great. The MC steered me in the other direction on this one.

Kate Kate Kate! She really got on my nerves. While trying to make it big, she really did stupid things. Another thing, there are several things that did not connect with me. What is the history behind Kate’s family and the dresses. This felt like a prequel, simply because you really don’t get any major details about the dresses or Kate’s necklace. Why tell us about these things, but not give any reasons why? There has to be explanations behind this, because I was left with questions. So many questions!! 

I could have loved this book, if it were better detailed. Will there be another one to fill in the gaps? I’m not sure, but the ending makes me think that maybe there will be answers to the questions I seek. Sadly, I will not be reading it to find out. This is another book with a gorgeous cover and synopsis, but left me with nothing. I really hate this feeling. I don’t know if I’d recommend this book to anyone. Maybe it’s just me and others will like it.

2 Stars misc_58misc_58

Review: After The Parch by Sheldon Greene

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Title: After The Parch

Author: Sheldon Greene

Release Date: March 21, 2014

Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing

Genre: YA Dystopia

Format: Paperback (220 pages)

Source: Bostick Communications

Rating: 3 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


 

From Goodreads: It’s 2075. California is nothing like we know it. The USA has broken up and California has become an independent refuge dominated by a single omnipotent corporation. Eighteen-year-old Bran, a shepherd, is given a mission to traverse the California republic in ten days, in order to save his rural community from forfeiting its land. On the way, he teams up with a seventeen-year-old girl who has the skills and prowess of a warrior, an eleven-year-old wild boy with uncanny survival skills, and a wandering musician with a secret revolutionary agenda.

Review: I don’t like to dish out half ratings, so I just round it off to the nearest whole number. This is definitely a 2.5 read. That being said, I had to give it a 3 for this review. This book could have been so much more, but I felt like I was reading a whole lot of other dystopian books that I’ve already had the pleasure of reading. Not the story itself, just words that made me think of those other books. Glades, Districts, ….. need I go on?

I couldn’t, for the life of me, connect with the MC Bran. His mission seemed so far fetched that I could not cheer him on as a character. He soon finds himself with a slue of other characters; one in particular, June, I just did not like. From her tough-like exterior and Bran’s immediate attraction to her, I was just not sold. Hello? Mavis? He totally forgot about her back home. There was like maybe a few sentences with Mavis’ character, and then she was no more. 

So why the 2.5-3 stars? This has the potential to be great. The story itself is something original, but certain terms were like the author just plucked them from other published books. I love when an author is original, and uses terms that are unique to the world that they’ve created. This book did not do that, and sadly It was not what I thought it would be. But, don’t let my thoughts on this book deter you from reading it, it was just not for me.

*I received this book from the author via Bostick Communications, in exchange for an honest review*

3 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58

Review: Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

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Title: Gathering Shadows (Finding Sanctuary #1)

Author: Nancy Mehl

Release Date: April 29, 2014

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Format: Paperback (320 pages)

Source: Review copy from publisher

Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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From Goodreads: Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn’t take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can’t pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station’s photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary. 
Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town’s handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family’s past hides in the shadows, it’s clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she’s searching for hidden forever–even if the cost is Wynter’s very life.

Review: A great mystery romance. I’ve come to enjoy reading Christian Fiction, as of late. There’s just this need for simplicity in romance books, without all the added sex and what not. Don’t get me wrong, I read quite a few erotic romance novels. It’s just nice to read a story with more to tell. This is my first Nancy Mehl book, so I didn’t know what to expect when I got it in the mail.

Wynter sets out to find the boy in a picture she comes across that looks like her brother who disappeared 9 years ago. She is determined and soon arrives in the town of Sanctuary. She then meets Mayor Rueben King, and they come together to find answers. Uncovering secrets can be deadly, especially if they are meant to remain hidden. 

I read this book over the course of two days. I was so caught up in they mystery of it all. Wynter is a strong-willed character. As she struggled to come to terms with the secrets she uncovers, she also finds love. The mystery and romance tied together nicely in this book. I really enjoyed reading it and I can’t wait for the next installment. It was like watching a Lifetime movie! Great read, definitely recommend! 

4 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58misc_58

ARC Review: Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

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Title: Land of Shadows

Author: Rachel Howzell Hall

Release Date: June 10, 2014

Publisher: Forge Books

Source: eARC via Net Galley (320 pages)

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 3 Stars

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From Goodreads

Along the ever changing border of gentrifying Los Angeles, seventeen year old Monique Darson is found dead at a condominium construction site, hanging in the closet of an unfinished unit. Homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton’s new partner, Colin Taggert, fresh from comparatively bucolic Colorado Springs police department, assumes it’s a teenage suicide. Lou isn’t buying the easy explanation. 

For one thing, the condo site is owned by Napoleon Crase, a self
made millionaire. . .and the man who may have murdered Lou’s missing sister, Tori, thirty years ago. As Lou investigates the death of Monique Darson, she uncovers undeniable links between the two cases. But her department is skeptical. 

Lou is convinced that when she solves Monique’s case she will finally bring her lost sister home. But as she gets closer to the truth, she also gets closer to a violent killer. After all this time, can he be brought to justice. . .before Lou becomes his next victim?

Review

This is a good Crime/Mystery read. One that will keep you up reading all through the night. Not so good in my case, because it had me asking my fiance’ to walk me out to my car in the mornings on my way to work. I was kind of shook up after reading it, but I like reading about decades old cases coming to light, whether it be fiction or real life.

Detective Lou Norton gets assigned a case of a possible suicide. As she and her new partner, Colin Taggert, investigate the case, she is positive that it is no suicide. As they delve deeper into the mystery, she sees links that goes back to the disappearance/possible murder of her sister 30 years prior.

Detective Lou is one tough lady. I really liked her character. She has this no-nonsense air about her, and that’s a great thing to have if you are in law enforcement. Trying to solve the case, and also teach her new partner the ins and outs of the streets in LA, is what she is about. As she gets closer to the mystery behind her sister’s disappearance, she also becomes a target herself.

It really picks up pace after about a quarter into the book. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more about Detective Norton. If you love Crime Fiction, this is a good book to add to your shelf.

3 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58

Review: Spirit Bridge by James L. Rubart

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Title: Spirit Bridge (A Spring Well Novel #3)

Author: James L. Rubart

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Format: Paperback (384 pages)

Source: Copy from publisher via Booklook Bloggers

Genre: Christian Fiction/Fantasy

Rating: 4 Stars

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Brief Synopsis: The Warriors Riding have battled in astounding supernatural realms, set captives free, and awakened thousands of hearts. But now their only chance of survival depends on calling for “The Spirit Bridge”.

 Reece, Dana, Brandon and Marcus have achieved staggering success in the spiritual realm…. but each is reeling from vicious attacks. They need rest. A break from the war. But the warlord Zennon is raging and will give them no quarter. The demon holds what he believes to be the trump card– a hidden strategy set in motion before Warriors Riding even began– that will detonate the team from the inside out. And he’s just set it loose.

The street magician Simon– finally free of Zennon’s alternate reality prison– is racing to remember his past before his ignorance obliterates his destiny. Then there’s Miyo– a brash young warrior with an advanced knowledge of spiritual realities and supernatural armor even Reece doesn’t know about. These two will be pivotal in the final war. Who to trust?


Review

Again, I read another book without reading it’s predecessors. It was well worth it, I must say. The battle between good and evil has never been better. I found it hard to put down at times, it’s just that good. I have to buy the first two books soon, to read and add to my favorites shelf.

I’m not sure what I thought was going to be in this book, other than alternate realities and demons, etc… There are a multitudes of things going on, but it’s not hard to keep up. Being as the third book, the world building is pretty much set. And the characters are all well developed, so that was a plus for starting out.

I immediately disliked Brandon. He was whiny, and yes sarcasm can be a good characteristic to have, but he had too much. But, as I got deeper into the story, I found myself liking him more than any of the other characters. He had a right to be feeling all those emotions that he carried around, seeing as he lost the one thing that brought out the best in him. Aside from Marcus, he was my favorite. 

The Warriors Riding don’t know if they can trust Simon and Miyo. This is the battle of all battles and they have to be prepared and on the ready. As always, with evil, there will always be someone that wants to be the one doing the bidding. It was no surprise that Zennon and Caustin were at each other’s throats. If it was up to Caustin, Zennon would be dead for failing in ending the Warriors Riding and letting Simon go. Power hungry beings never win.

This is a great book that mixes Christian Fiction and Fantasy together quite well. Definitely recommend for Fantasy/Paranormal lovers alike. 

4 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58misc_58

Series Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

 

I decided to review the series as a whole, instead of one book at a time. I read these over the course of a week and a half, so I finished them rather quickly. It took me a while to get to them, since my obsessiveness with sticking to my TBR schedule won’t let up. I usually don’t buy print books of series until after I’ve read the first book and enjoyed it. But my itchy hands had to click on the boxed set for sale on Amazon earlier this year. Don’t blame me, blame my fingers! I actually had to order the prequel separately, but it was worth it. Okay, lets get to the review. There will be no spoilers (hopefully), just a little rundown of each book.

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Series: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner

Released Between: October 6, 2009 – August 14, 2012

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Source: Bought (boxed set paperbacks)

Genre: YA/Dystopia/Science-Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic 

Series Rating: 4 Stars

Purchase: Amazon


SYNOPSIS: Imagine waking up in total darkness, unsure of where of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You’re in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and everyday some of the kids– the Runners– venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever -changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the new arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he’s unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?


REVIEW

This is a really amazing series. I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire movies (I didn’t read the books), but I read Mockingjay, so when others started comparing the two, I thought i’d give this series a shot. I can’t compare the first two books of THG trilogy with this, but going by the movies i’d hazard to say this series is more dramatic than THG. I read The Kill Order first since it’s the prequel for the trilogy.

Mark, the MC, teams up with Alec and they try to find a cure for the plague that’s killing the survivors of the solar flares that nearly wiped out Earth. He is recalling all that happened the year before, while also living in the present. The details are truly frightening to me. I was so keen on stopping, but it kept getting to the point where I couldn’t. And while I appreciate details, I think that some of the goriness could have been left out. This is supposed to be YA after all. After reading all of the books, I realized that The Kill Order really left me with questions. I assumed that it would be better to read it first, but I was wrong. There were characters that added nothing to the other books, I’m pretty sure that they didn’t need to be mentioned at all. Yes, you get to know what happened before the Glade, but this felt like a different story. Maybe I should have just read the trilogy, then maybe I wouldn’t think it was such a waste of my reading time.

In The Maze Runner, Thomas wakes up in the Glade with memory loss, surrounded by various teenage boys. He’s asking questions but getting no answers. There are multitudes of rules to follow, yet the place doesn’t seem half bad. Soon Thomas finds out what exactly is outside of the walls protecting the Glade. He and the others start to formulate a plan to leave the Glade. Apparently no one is allowed  inside the Maze, except the Runners. Once a girl is brought in, things change exponentially. The fight for survival is all to real for Thomas and the others. The author only gives out certain information in spurts, clearly to keep the reader wanting more. I immediately jumped to the next book.

The Scorch Trials nearly had me pulling out my hair. They are created to test out the survivors of the Glade by WICKED. It is really insane!! I couldn’t, for the life of me, stop reading. By the end, I was questioning my own mind. You never know who to trust, and there are new characters that make you want to hide under a rock. Seriously, it was just that gruesome. And yet, I kept reading like the masochist that I am. There is so much action in this one, much more than The Maze Runner. If WICKED isn’t enough to give you an idea of the dangerous situations, let me tell you what it stands for. World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department, is that enough to make you cringe? This book was the least of my favorite in the trilogy. Again, Dashner gives you just enough to make you keep reading. It was beyond brilliant writing, but I can’t say that I would read it again. I’ll just wait for the movie (if there is a second).

Thomas goes through a lot in The Death Cure. And the character deaths were shocking, to say the least. I thought that a lot more would be revealed about WICKED, but it wasn’t. I’m not sure what to think about this book. The Maze Runner is the only book that I liked from the whole trilogy. James Dashner clearly doesn’t do too much character development here. We learn that the flare was created to control the population. Shocker there! (sarcasm intended)! In all the dystopian books, everything is about control. Yeah, kinda had that figured Mr. Dashner.

I was going to say that it was just okay, but that is an understatement of epic proportions. It is brilliant writing on parts, but others just made me want to throw it out with my garbage. I’m not so sure this should be classified as YA. It involves teens yes, but would I want my teen reading the gruesome details of this book? Not sure. Just like The Hunger Games trilogy, I am hesitant to let my cousins read it, simply because of all the deaths and kids killing kids thing. But, it is a good series to read, so therefore the 4 stars is warranted.

4 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58misc_58

ARC Review: Creators by Tiffany Truitt

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Title: Creators (The Lost Souls #3)

Author: Tiffany Truitt

Release Date: April 28, 2014

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Source: eARC from publisher

Genre: YA/Science-Fiction/Dystopia

Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Amazon


SYNOPSIS: Heartbroken but determined more than ever after a tense showdown in the woods, sixteen-year-old Tess once again returns to the safety of her community of  Isolationists. Bolstered by new alliances and desperate to protect those she loves, this time she knows she can return stronger and more powerful than ever to take back what is hers. As she trains in combat and grows more confident, Tess receives beautiful letters penned by her forbidden love, the chosen one James, from his prison in Templeton. He is now serving as a bodyguard to the creators- the team of scientists who created artificial life in the first place. And what he has discovered about the true origin of the illness that halted natural life could change everything. Enemy will become ally and death will bring new hope in this stunning conclusion to Tiffany Truitt’s epic Lost Souls trilogy.


REVIEW

When I agreed to review this book, I wanted to see if I could understand at least some of it without reading it’s predecessors. I feel that if you can start a book in the middle or end of a series/ trilogy, and it is good, then that is one good book. Creators lived up to that, seeing as I enjoyed reading it.

We start off with Tess who is trying to figure out what happened to her father (I didn’t read the previous book, but this picks up after that). They find refuge at a compound that Tess has been to before with Eric and McNair. Finding out that  her sister, Louisa, is pregnant makes Tess all kinds of freaked out because apparently that is forbidden(?) in their world. Again, I had no idea what to expect regarding these characters and this world they live in. Tess makes for a great heroine to me, simply because she tries to do the right thing by fighting for their freedom.

I didn’t like her father at all. He was too keen on exacting revenge, while Tess wanted to fight for different, honorable reasons. I really can’t say too much about James character. I only got to know him through the letters that he penned to his love, and he seems likable. So to my surprise, I felt kinda bad by the end of this book. I can’t say it was a good or bad ending to this trilogy, because I’m clueless about the series as a whole, as to just this last book.

I now have to go back and read the first two later, so expect an update to this review. It is a good book and I very much enjoyed reading it. It goes to say that if I plan on going back to read previous books in a series, then the author did her job. I’M SOLD!! I would recommend this to readers that love YA/Dystopia. Please read them in order though, that way you can enjoy the series as a whole.

3 STARS misc_58misc_58misc_58

You can find the first book 12792988 here, and the second book 15811135 here.