Review: Prophecy (Legacy #2) by Ellery Kane

prophecy

Publication Date: May 29th, 2015
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Synopsis:  Over a year has passed since Lex Knightley journeyed alone into desolate San Francisco. The Guardian Force is disbanded, emotion-altering drugs banned, and citizens allowed to return to the seemingly resurrected city.

For Lex, life is almost normal, but normal is precarious. Normal has a way of falling apart.

One rainy night changes everything. Out on parole, Quin McAllister’s father is arrested for the brutal murder of his new wife. As the Resistance resurges, claiming a conspiracy, Lex doesn’t know what-or who-to believe. When old enemies resurface in new disguises and trusted friends start keeping secrets, normal splits right down the middle, leaving Lex and Quin on opposite sides.

Prophecy-the second novel of Ellery Kane’s Legacy trilogy-continues the story of Lex and Quin, testing the strength of friendship, forgiveness, and love.

My Review:

star2star2star2star2star2

If you haven’t read the first book in the Legacy series, you should go check out the review for it here.  There might be some spoilers here that you might not want to read before reading the first book.

This book was as phenomenal as the first!  in the first book, we are introduced to the emotion altering medications (EAMs), Zenigenic, the Crim-X program, as well as the characters that come into play in this book.

It’s been a year since the ending of Legacy, and the story picks up right where it left off (well, with a year’s difference), and it is so easy to get lost in the story of Lex and Quin all over again.

Lex and Quin start off as the same loving couple we last left them as (seriously, Lex and Quin are definitely one of my favorite book couples.  I love them together), and their relationship seems pretty strong in the beginning of the book.  Lex is in college, and Quin is working with his dad to repair the Golden Gate Bridge.  Since Quin’s dad is out of prison now, and is now happily remarried.  It seems like he is getting his life in order, until Quin comes to see Lex to tell her that his dad has been arrested for the murder of his new wife.  Only…did he really do it?  Or was he framed?

Lex doesn’t seem to know what to believe, and this brings some pretty terrible consequences for Lex and Quin’s relationship (I’ll admit it, I was pretty sad about it).  While they try to figure out whether to repair their relationship (or if they even can), or to walk away, we have a bunch of other important stuff happening, too.

Augustus Porter is back, and he has been appointed the drug czar, and it is his mission to clear the streets of all of the EAMs that people are still using illegally.  But he can’t possibly be up to doing good deeds, can he?  He’s looking for Lex, and he’ll go to some pretty dark means to get to her.

Also, Max makes an appearance in the book as well (as do Edison and Elana, from Legacy).  Max has a new love interest, and it’s a pretty dangerous one.  Not to mention that Max is doing Eupho, an EAM, with his new boyfriend as well.

A lot of incredibly important things happen in this book that are vital to the way that the story is playing out.  Some parts of it made me pretty sad (I won’t say what, specifically), and I’m hoping that the final book in the series wraps everything up nicely.

This book was just as incredible as Legacy, and the story was just as captivating.  I cannot wait for the next book!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Legacy by Ellery Kane + Giveaway!

legacy
Publication Date: September 5th, 2014
Publisher: BalboaPress

Synopsis: How do you want to feel today?

In 2041, the choice is yours.

San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

My Review:

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The first time I read this book, I was completely in awe of how well written and amazing it is.  I just couldn’t put it down.  The setting was amazing, the plot was original, and the characters were so easy to like (or dislike, in some cases).  This is one of those rare books that made me feel like I was actually in the story.  The story itself is full of action – this is definitely not a slow paced book (and it really keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, and then it makes you want more).

The story starts off with Lex, who is going into San Fransisco to deliver a flash drive to the Resistance, in order to help fight the Guardian Force.  Her mother has to send her alone, and while she is frightened, she knows what she has to do, and she goes right for it.  Allow me to say, while some books have female heroines that whiny and somewhat annoying, this isn’t the case with Lex.  She’s strong, she knows what she has to do and she does it, and she doesn’t spend the entire book whining and complaining because she’s in love with multiple guys (this happens way too frequently in books anymore).  While she does develop friendships with a few members of the Resistance (who also had some time serving under the Guardian Force, in some cases), she learns a lot about herself, her new friends, and her mother.

The Resistance fights the Guardian Force, who is still using these emotion altering drugs (such as Emovere) to control others and make them part of this government police force.  The things that these guys do are actually kind of scary, and the fact that they feel absolutely no fear or anxiety (thanks to these various drugs) while doing them, makes it even worse.

When Lex meets Quin (and Quin’s adorable dog, Artos), the two develop a friendship that is tested by Quin’s past and who Lex’s mother is, but at the same time, it’s one of those friendships/more than friendships that kind of makes your heart melt.  In the world of favorite character duos in books, I have to say that Lex and Quin are among my favorites.

This book is absolutely fantastic if you enjoy science fiction and dystopian reads.  Like I said, I couldn’t put it down, and I finished it in less than a day.  This is definitely not one to miss!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author, Ellery Kane, in exchange for an honest review.

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Ellery Kane, the author of the Legacy series, has been extremely generous and agreed to do a giveaway for an Amazon Gift Card, which you can use to get your own copy of Legacy, and the second book in the series, Prophecy!  The gift card will be an e-gift card, and the winner will be notified via e-mail when the giveaway ends.

pink starClick Here To Enter!  pink star

Review: Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca

last year's mistake

Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Synopsis: Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

My Review:
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When it comes to this book, I’m trying my hardest to be fair and give it three stars.  It just wasn’t what I hoped it was going to be.  It’s rare for me to find a book where I didn’t get any sort of attachment to any of the characters, but I just couldn’t connect with any of them in this book.  I found the main character, Kelsey, to be a somewhat whiny brat that I just wanted to slap several times into this book and tell her to stop wasting time and just choose the guy she wants.  And apparently she thought cheating on her current boyfriend, Ryan, was just fine, too.  I mean, she kisses an old flame, and then goes back to her current boyfriend’s house and sleeps in bed with him.  …I don’t even have anything else to add to this, nor do I need to.  She practically admits to her old flame that the reason she didn’t want to try things out with him was because she wasn’t sure if it would work out and she essentially wanted to have a fallback so she didn’t have to be alone.

…How is this okay?

Anyway, the writing wasn’t bad or anything, and the story itself was sort of interesting.  I really enjoyed the alternating before and after chapters, because I felt like I was reading two different stories in a way.  The Kelsey from the before chapters was so different from the Kelsey in the after chapters, but David kind of seemed to stay the same throughout the entire book.  I just felt like there was no character development there with him, and that kind of irritated me, too.

I’m still giving this one three stars because the story itself was pretty good, as was the writing I just wish there was a little more character development (and a little less cheating) in this one.  However, don’t let the problems that I had with this book put you off from picking up a copy and giving it a shot.  It would probably make a really great beach read!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

emmy and oliver

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

My Review:

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I have read a lot of young adult romance-type books that made me roll my eyes and skip over half of the book because it was just so cheesy and terrible that I couldn’t even bear to read it.  I have read a lot of young adult coming-of-age books that had characters that were typical, one dimensional, and/or absolutely annoying, and it made the book a chore to read.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway isn’t either of those things.

Emmy & Oliver is a fantastic book that made me realize why I fell in love with young adult fiction in the first place.

The story is so real and believable.  The characters are likeable, and the writing feels like it’s drawing you into the story and creating a place for you right alongside the rest of them.  I felt like not only was I reading the book, but like I was an actual character in the book, too.  I felt all kinds of emotions…happiness, excitement, sadness, anger, heartbreak…you name it, and I felt it while reading this book.  I can’t remember the last time a book made me feel like this.

Emmy is so thankful when she finds out that Oliver has been found and is returning home, but at the same time, she doesn’t really know how to act around him, or how to treat him.  She wants things to back to normal for the two of them (well, for her friends Caro and Drew, too…who used to be good friends with Oliver before the kidnapping as well), but isn’t sure that’s possible.  She has her own life now, and isn’t sure that Oliver will have any interest in fitting in with it.  She surfs.  She hangs out with her friends.  She applies to a college that she doubts her parents will let her go to (because they’re incredibly overprotective since Oliver was kidnapped ten years ago).  But she tries to make Oliver feel at home again, and although he is angry and confused, the two of them try and work through Oliver’s feelings and form a friendship all over again.

I have never wanted a fictional couple to be together like I was hoping for the best for Emmy and Oliver.  I felt attached to them while reading this book.

There are small chapters every here and there that have to do with Emmy and Oliver during their childhood together.  These range from birthday parties, to being at the park together, and they are absolutely adorable.  They really do add something different to the novel that give you an insight into the type of close friendship the two of them had before Oliver’s father kidnapped him.  As Emmy and Oliver work on rekindling their friendship (and becoming something more), looking back on these moments from their childhoods is sweet and meaningful.

The obstacles that Oliver faces after coming back to California and trying to fit back into a normal life in high school are heartbreaking, especially when he feels left out and like he no longer is a part of the group of friends that he used to be close with when he was younger.

I truly can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about this book.  It is young adult fiction at its finest, and definitely deserves a spot on your shelf if you’re into young adult books.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

the leveller

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

My Review:
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This book is fun.

I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, sat down, and said that.  But as soon as I finished it, it’s exactly how I summed this book up.

It felt like a vacation from a lot of other books I’ve been reading lately.

The Leveller didn’t have a deep plot line, complex characters, or ridiculous twists that keep you guessing the entire way through.  It’s not so science fiction-y that you need time to digest what you’re reading before you continue, and it definitely seems somewhat juvenile in some places.  I’ll admit it, I normally hate that kind of thing, and typically lose count of the amount of eye rolls I do before tossing the book aside and starting a new one, but man, this was just…fantastic.

It starts off with Nixy Bauer, who has a job bringing kids back from the virtual reality world, the MEEP, when they have spent more than their allotted time there and don’t come back on their own.  She is paid for her services, and her motto is “Nixy Bauer, home in an hour” (like I said, it’s juvenile in some spots, but bear with it, because the book is amazing).  Her friends, Moose and Chang, spend their time creating hacks that allow kids to do things in this virtual reality world that aren’t authorized – such as staying in the world longer than the four hours they’re permitted.  So she goes into the various worlds, brings the kids out, and gets paid.  It’s a pretty cool job, if you ask me.

Her parents both work for the MEEP creator, and when his son goes missing inside the virtual reality world, and none of the people he has hired to get him back out are able to help, he comes to Nixy.  While Nixy isn’t too keen on the idea at first, she eventually agrees to it, and she goes into the virtual reality world of Wyn to try and bring him back out.

Only after making it past all the rooms that hold terrifying things (think sharks, ghosts, etc.), and the maze that will lead her to Wyn, she finds herself trapped in this world as well, and the two of them have to work together to get out.

Of course you’ll find the typical romance (I mean, it’s expected, and does not disappoint.  At least there’s no love triangle, so there’s that), but it’s actually kind of cute…the kind of cute that makes you go “Aweeee” and keep reading to see what happens between them.

The characters aren’t exactly complex, but they’re pretty well developed in my opinion, and I couldn’t help but smile at some of the things that Nixy says and does.  It’s just cute.  The way she swears in other languages instead of English is kind of amusing.

It seems like this book is going to be the first book in a new series, so I’m really excited to see where the author goes with this.  The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, so I’m wondering if the same characters will be in the next one, and it will continue the story where it left off, or if it will be a completely different story than Nixy and Wyn.  I’m hoping it continues the story.  In either case, I’ll be reading this book at least a few more times!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

alivePublication Date: July 14th, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey

Synopsis: For fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival.

“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

My Review:
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In the back of the book, the author includes a note asking not to give any spoilers away when reviewing this book.  While that might make this a difficult review, I definitely believe that this book needs to be experienced by reading it from start to finish, rather than just reading spoilers.

This actual story in this book was nothing at all what I was expecting this book to be about.  Although I had read the plot multiple times, it still surprised me.  This book was incredibly science fiction-y, deep, and, well, rather stunning at how well the setting was described.

Some of the characters in this book were likeable, yet it is hard to attach or care about others.  Some of the things that the main character talked about and thought about were ridiculous, considering their position and the horrifying things that they were seeing and having to deal with.  I’m not going to list any spoilers, but these kids come across some things that I couldn’t imagine dealing with.

I was really looking forward to reading this, and I’m not going to lie – it was a pretty decent book – just not what I was expecting.  It was a rather fast read for me, but I felt like I was forcing myself to keep going at some points.  It wasn’t that the book was boring – it definitely was full of action and very fast paced, but I kept feeling like it was missing something.

The entire plot in this book unfolds slowly, since these kids wake up with no memory of who they are, where they are, or how they got there.  They have to piece everything together bit by bit.  There are definitely some major plot twists I hadn’t seen coming, and they really make the book worth while.


Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Those Girls by Lauren Saft

those girls
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Book for Young Readers

Synopsis: Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.

Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica arethose girls: They’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them-and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band-without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend and a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved-literally, figuratively, physically…she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever or tears them apart for good?

In a debut novel that is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl and how often even the closest of friends walk the thin line between love and hate.

My Review:
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Part of me is somewhat embarrassed to have given this book three stars.  That means…I kind of liked this.  It took me a few days to even figure out how to review this, it was just so…bad.  But bad in a good way at the same time, if that’s making any sense.

Okay, my favorite book series and guilty pleasure is the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard.  They are terribly engrossing, they have characters you love to hate, and the plots are just so absolutely ridiculous that you can’t help but love them.  And keep loving them, eighteen books (I think there were eighteen total?  I lost count, I just know I have them all and have read them multiple times) later.  I’m really hoping there isn’t a follow up to this thing, because I know I’ll be waiting to pick it up, regardless of the fact that I’m only giving this three stars.

I’d love to go into detail on the plot of this book, but even after reading it, and rereading certain parts, I honestly have no frickin’ clue what the plot was supposed to be.  Seriously…was there a point to this book?

I mean, the book starts off with Alex (the only character I even somewhat liked) picking up her friend Mollie, and taking her to drug store for Plan-B (for what must be a routine trip for her, according to the book), because she had unprotected sex with her boyfriend.  That first chapter alone should have clued me in to what kind of book I was going to be reading.  The entire book was nothing but these three girls (and several guys who were completely annoying and who I honestly couldn’t stand) doing nothing but having sex and drinking.  Constantly.  All the time.  No kidding.  Well, except Alex, who is apparently a virgin through the book, because the one guy she is interested in a dumb toolbag who wants their friend, Veronica, because she puts out and has huge boobs or whatever.

The language in this book was terrible, which may be one of the reasons I liked it so much.  I mean, reading the word “whorebox” in a book is just hilarious.  I don’t know why, I just found the way these girls talked to be absolutely hilarious.  I mean, the characters themselves were whiny, annoying, bitches and I hated them all, except for Alex, who I sort of managed to tolerate and actually looked forward to reading the chapters that had to do with her story.  She joined a band, found out she loved singing, and wasn’t the only one obsessed with the shallow interests that the rest of these girls possessed.  At one point, she plans on turning down a party because she’s sitting at home reading a book.  Yes, I was impressed.

All in all, this book was kind of…amusing.  It didn’t really have a point…it was kind of just mindless reading, and I guess that’s what I needed at the time.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.