Friday, November 15, 2013

Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


I finished reading Divergent about a week ago, but I have been avoiding writing the review for several reasons. Mainly the fact that I have no idea what I really think about the story or how to talk about it without spoilers. I first encountered this book by audio a couple of years ago. I'm not sure why I picked it up initially other than the fact that I was going through audiobooks faster than I could find ones that I was interested in at the library & I was going through a bit of a YA-Dystopia phase. When I finished it, my initial reaction was that I wasn't sure that I liked it, but that it was going to be big.  Now, on the heels of the release of the final book & the movie just months away, I decided to re-read the first two books before trying to read the third one.

Divergent, like most dystopian novels, takes us a to a world we know that has been altered by time & an effort for a better society. The setting is a future Chicago where everyone has been split into five factions based on one's greatest virtue....honesty, selflessness, intelligence, peacefulness, & bravery. It asks you to imagine a world where you are only your greatest strength...which is determined by placing you into a computer operated simulation that monitors your reactions to several scenarios during that all-important YA Novel year surrounding your 16th birthday. Based on your aptitude test results, you are asked to choose your fate...remain with your family & all you know, or leave everything behind and transfer to a faction that is more fitting for your personality. If you are in the minority of people who might actually not fit into one of the categories of sheeple that the government has created, then you are considered Divergent...and not to be trusted.

My general reaction upon finishing the book was that it was gripping...and disturbing. I still struggle with whether or not I like it...but I definitely enjoyed reading it. Now, as I work my way through Insurgent, I am still caught up in the fate of these characters & the life-altering choices they are continually forced to make. Refreshingly, this is a story about life & survival...and not a story about which boy to choose while the world around you is going to hell. There is a hint of romance, but it's more in the direction of love being a part of life rather than the point of it.

All that said, my recommendation is to not believe the hype. It isn't the best book ever written, but it's a fun ride & and interesting (if disturbing) concept. If you like dystopia, give it a chance. I'm glad I did!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Release Day!! Edge of Always by J. A. Redmerski (Excerpt from Book!)

Camryn Bennett has never been happier. Five months after meeting on a Greyhound bus, she and her soul mate Andrew Parrish are engaged-and a wedding isn't the only special event in their future. Nervous but excited, Camryn can't wait to begin the rest of her life with Andrew, a man she knows in her heart will love her always. They have so much to look forward to-until tragedy blindsides them.

Andrew doesn't understand how this could happen to them. He's trying to move on, and thought Camryn was doing the same. But when Andrew discovers Camryn is secretly harboring a mountain of pain and attempting to numb it in damaging ways, there is nothing he won't do to bring her back to life. Determined to prove that their love can survive anything, Andrew decides to take Camryn on a new journey filled with hope and passion. If only he can convince her to come along for the ride...

Bonus Excerpt:
I turn to Andrew again, waiting for him to spit it out. A cold breeze rushes through my knitted sweater, and I hide my hands inside the sleeves.  

“You have five minutes to throw all of your stuff in your bag,” he says, and my heart is beating erratically before he finishes the sentence. He taps his wrist where there is no watch. “Not a second more.”


“This isn’t up for debate,” he says. “Go get your stuff.”
I just look at him, face blank.  My theory was right, but I didn’t want it to be. I don’t want to go on the road…I mean, I do…but it’s not right. It’s just not right.

“You have four minutes now.”

“But we can’t just leave like this,” I argue. “It would be rude.” I point at Asher. “And
Asher just got here. Don’t you want to visit with—”

“I can visit my big brother anytime,” Asher counters. “Right now, I think you better do
what he says or you might end up on the road wearing the same panties for a week.”

A few more seconds pass and I still haven’t moved. I’m in a state of mild shock, I guess.

“Three minutes, babe,” Andrew says and is looking at me with a serious face. “I’m not
kidding. Get up there, throw our shit in our bags, and get in the damn car.”

Oh hell, he’s back to his old self again…

When I start to argue again, Andrew’s eyes get all feral-looking, and he says, “Hurry up.
Time’s running out!” and he points to the house.

Finally, letting down my guard and going with the moment as much as I can allow myself, I glare at him and say, “Fine.” I’m only agreeing to it because I know he’s trying make things better. But I feel guilty as hell.
Disregarding his playful five-minute demand, I turn on my heels and walk very slowly back toward the house, purposely taking my time, partly my way of silently arguing the situation.  I push open the bedroom door, set my bag on the bed, and start stuffing everything inside of it. Then I go into the bathroom and grab our toothbrushes and various bathroom necessities. I yank our phone chargers from the wall and then my phone from the nightstand and chuck it all into my purse. I make my way around the room, hoping that I’m not missing anything. Looks like Andrew already packed his stuff at some point and I never noticed.  Then I just stand here, scanning every inch of the place around me but not really seeing any of it. I don’t want to do this, but maybe it’s the right thing.  I hear the horn honk three times, and it snaps me out of my thoughts. Grabbing my bag, I swing it over my shoulder and grab my purse from the bed.

Buy links:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Losing It by Cora Carmack



Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible—a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half a brain would ever believe.
And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theater professor.
She'd left him naked in her bed about eight hours earlier. . . .


You can't always judge a book by it's cover.  For me, the cover & blurb kept me from reading this for a long time, but somehow it kept coming back up & I decided to give it a chance when Amazon ran it for $0.99. I'm really glad I did!  I was pleasantly surprised!

Bliss Edwards is awkward...but charmingly so.  She is about to enter her final semester of college & is still a virgin.  With a little prodding from her friend Kelsey, she decides to go to a bar with the goal of finding a guy & taking him home.  To be honest, this is the part of the plot that kept me from reading the book for so long. It felt like a story that has been told time and time again...though usually from a younger male perspective. However, this was such a minor part of the story that I hate that it kept me away for so long.  The guy Bliss finds is Garrick...who is handsome, charismatic & British.  Everything that occurred between the bar & the apartment had me laughing...partially in horror & partially in recognition (sadly...I relate to the embarrassing, awkwardness).  When she decides that she can't go through with it, she thinks that is it...until the first day of school when Garrick introduces himself to her theatre class as their new professor.  This is the beginning of a whole new level of awkwardness.

As a theatre major myself, I related to & enjoyed the setting.  While the story may have been fairly predictable, it was incredibly fun. Don't go into this story expecting Shakespeare (even though their is a character named Hamlet!), but if you are looking for a light, fun escape, then check this one out.