Review: Rebel – Amy Tintera

Review: Rebel – Amy TinteraRebel by Amy Tintera
Series: Reboot #2
Published by HarperTeen
Published: May 13, 2014
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four-stars

Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything.

Now that they've both escaped, they're ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.

With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there's only one option left...

It's time for Reboots to become rebels.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

For the longest time, the trend in YA seemed to be the trilogy. Every single series seemed to be composed of three separate books to tell the story. But lately, there seems to be a new trend, the duology. The trilogy exists still, obviously, but it seems more and more authors are leaning towards this format of two books and I can’t say I mind it. Why am I starting this review with this tidbit? Well because Rebel is the conclusion of a duology and I think Tintera nailed it by going this route.

Rebel picks up right where Reboot left off. Callum and Wren have escaped HARC and are now at the Reboot reservation they were told about with the other escaped Reboots. When they get to the reservation everything seems to be run by a tight ship with Micah, their leader, calling the shots. But as Callum and Wren get more immersed with Micah and the others they start to see everything isn’t as it seems. Micah has a plan and it isn’t one that either of these two can get behind. As their living situation grows tense Micah does something that forces Wren and Callum’s hands into action. When all is said and done not everyone is going to make it out alive maybe not even Callum or Wren.

What I loved the most about Rebel is that it is told from both Wren and Callum’s voices. I really enjoyed their dynamic in the first book as they were the perfect counterpart to each other, Wren being hard with Callum being more emotional. It worked in Reboot, and it worked even more in Rebel because the reader got to see what they were both thinking and really what they saw in each other and how they worked as a couple/team. Hearing Callum’s voice this time around truly showed how much he had grown as a character and grown thanks to Wren, and vice versa.

I also really found myself enthralled by the plot of Rebel. I mean the title and the synopsis can give you a basic idea about what is going to happen, but I really liked the way Tintera had it all unfold. Everything happened in due time and wasn’t rushed nor dragged out. The action sequences were tense and fast-paced and the small quiet moments were just that, quiet. It all flowed really well and came to a pretty great head at the end.

Rebel was a really great conclusion and the second part of a duology. The author really hit everything right. It filled me with anxiety, made me smile and had me at the end of my seat. It was a fantastic wrap up that I highly recommend. If you’ve read Reboot don’t want to read Rebel. If not, get in that immediately!

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Review: Don’t Call Me Baby – Gwendolyn Heasley

Review: Don’t Call Me Baby – Gwendolyn HeasleyDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 22nd 2014
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three-stars

All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

thoughts1 This book pretty much frustrated me. I’m giving it bonus points because the two main girls were young and I can’t forget their ages when I think if their behavior. But I think what bugged me the most was how bloggers seemed to be portrayed. That really rubbed me the wrong way and brought this book down for me.

Don’t Call Me Baby is a story about how connected to the internet people really are. Imogene is a 15 year old girl starting 9th grade and everyone knows everything about her. She has been the subject of her mother’s blog Mommylicious since she was in utero with every detail of her life being shared with her mother’s readers. When Imogene is given a class project to create her own blog, she and her best friend, Sage, another daughter of a blogger, set out to prove a point to their moms that they don’t want to be plastered over the internet. As time passes the girls realize that a blog isn’t going to change things, they have to, and each goes their own way to do it.

I really thought based on the concept that this would be a fun book with a great story about how connected we all are to the internet whether it is social media, blogs or email. But that isn’t what this ended up being for me and that was because of one thing. I felt like bloggers were being made fun of with the use of Imogene’s over the top mother. Now I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, but I couldn’t shake the feeling as I read that that was what was happening and therefore I had a bad taste in my mouth for the whole book. I just think the whole thing was mishandled in terms of blogging and I couldn’t get past it.

What I did like though was the growth of Imogene. Like I said in the beginning, she was young, really young, and came across as whiny and immature. But I could see her point. I understood where she and Sage were both coming from so I ignored the immaturity. Which was good because as the book progressed both girls changed and matured and I didn’t find them so intolerable.

I guess there was just something off for me with this book that just didn’t sit right so therefore I couldn’t really find much to gush about. It did have a great idea behind it and characters that did grow up, but the blogging thing brought it down. It was a fast read, read it in one day, that moved quickly. Definitely not my favorite of the author, but not the last thing I’ll read from her either.

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Review: The Taking – Kimberly Derting

 

Review: The Taking – Kimberly DertingThe Taking by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Taking #1
Published by HarperTeen
Published: April 29, 2014
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five-stars

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

This book was just greatness. So great in fact I’m not sure where to start. I guess I should start by saying that at first when I read the description, I didn’t think this book was for me. I’m not one to read and love books about aliens and alien abduction. But a fellow reading junkie was reading it and talking it up. Since I had a copy I decided to go for it. And in a word, fan-freaking-tastic! I loved loved loved this book and it has become my first 5-star read of 2014(I’ve had many since. HEHE). Because even with the alien plot story, this book was more than a sci-fi book that doesn’t seem possible. It was also a love story and a hint of dystopian all in one.

The Taking is the story of Kyra, a normal teenage girl living a normal life. She’s the star of her high school softball team, has a boyfriend, Austin, who she thinks is amazing and has known her whole life and has loving parents. After a softball game and a fight with her dad over college and Austin, Kyra gets out of the car intending to walk off her anger. But before she can do anything there is a blinding flash and she’s gone. And as quickly as she disappeared she returns. However, it isn’t as quick as she thinks. What seems to be overnight to her has actually been 5 long years. The life she once knew is gone. Austin is off in college now dating her best friend, her parents have their own problems and everyone has seemed to age unlike her. This includes Austin’s brother Tyler who is now a 17-year-old hottie that Kyra can’t seem to stop thinking about. As Tyler and Kyra get closer, questions about her disappearance become harder and harder to ignore. And as the truth starts to show, Kyra is in for the biggest fight of her life just to keep the ones she loves safe.

Did I mention how amazing this book was? I’m not sure if I have clearly stated it so just in case, it’s so flipping good! The story, the characters, the pacing. It was all pretty awesome. I think what made me like this book despite the skeptical feelings I have on aliens, was the way that Kimberly Derting didn’t shove the alien stuff in your face from the start. It was there lingering in the background with mentions popping up, but what sucked me in was the human aspect of it first with the heart-pounding sci-fi part after. Derting let me, as a reader, get to know and love the characters of Kyra and Tyler. I got to root for them and want to hear their story before everything went haywire and the truth about Kyra’s missing time came to fruition. For a book like this, I think that course of action was perfect because I fell in love with the characters and therefore was invested in what happened to them regardless of the underlining circumstances.

And man did I love Kyra and Tyler. Tyler might just be one of the top 10 book boyfriends around. He made me swoon almost immediately. So much in fact that I wasn’t the least bit bothered by the somewhat instalove that happened. Instead, I was happy it happened because there was something there between him and Kyra from the first time they ‘met’. The two of them were the perfect counterparts and I was invested. And even when all the alien chatter really hit its stride, it didn’t really seem to matter. I just wanted to know what would happen to these characters I had fallen in love with.

Without giving anything away just know the story is filled with a lot of twists and interesting revelations that I didn’t see coming and an end that will knock your socks off leaving you pining for more. The book is a totally fast-paced read that will have you at the end of your seat and swooning at the same time. I don’t know what Ms. Derting has in store for us next in this series, but I’m officially in for the ride!

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Review: The Treatment – Suzanne Young

Review: The Treatment – Suzanne YoungThe Treatment by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #2
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: April 29th 2014
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five-stars

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First let me start by saying that The Program(review) was one of my favorite reads of 2013. And I know, this isn’t a huge deal since I had a bunch of books that I call my favorites. But it is a big deal. Because you know what? I almost never read The Program which would have been a travesty because then I never would have read The Treatment and I would never have gotten to know these amazing characters and the amazing story that Suzanne Young imagined for us. I would have missed out on a fabulous duology and that would have been a shame.

The Treatment picks up like immediately after The Program ends. Sloane and James are on the run know that they know The Program is after them. They did something that few others have done and maintained their connection to one another even after being “cured”. With the help of Sloane’s “friend” from inside The Program, Michael Realm, the two runaways meet up with other rebels on the run and in hiding. But even with allies Sloane and James don’t know who to trust. And if the truth got out that the have The Treatment, more could be at stake than just their memories. Navigating a world and people they aren’t familiar with James and Sloane have to figure out who to trust, what to do and the most important thing of all, are the risks of taking The Treatment worth it in the end.

Seriously, I don’t think I can accurately put into words how much I enjoyed the ending of this series. A lot happened in The Treatment, but it was all stuff that needed to happen. I fell in love with Sloane and James even more than I already was. Did I like the addition of Dallas(I really wanted to toss her over a bridge a couple of times) and the use of Realm(he seriously ruined everything) and the long absence of James(he was missing for so so long that I actually know what Sloane was feeling!)? No. But I loved the story that all of those parts told. Without all of that stuff the pieces wouldn’t have connected and the story would have been boring. Because really, if it gets me that worked up, it is doing its job. I loved how fast paced it was and the back story to beginning of The Program. And I liked the unexpected help that Sloane and James got when they least expected it and when they needed it most.

But what I really loved was the concept. It was amazing in The Program and even more so in The Treatment. You see, I’m not convinced that the suicide epidemic was actually an epidemic. I mentioned in my review of The Program that to me the story was more “what came first the chicken or the egg” and I still got that feeling from The Treatment, maybe more even. The fact that some scientist made a pill that would cure what The Program cured also made me question if the epidemic was man made by creating panic with teens. It’s a thought I can’t really shake when I think or talk about this series.

Basically, The Treatment lived up to my expectations. It wasn’t easy based alone on my feelings for The Program but it succeeded. Young wrote a book that tied all the ends up in a way that made sense and that worked. It even left me wanting a 3rd book, but that’s a story for another day. The Treatment was thought provoking and a great character story. It made you wonder what you would do if you had the opportunity to get your memories back after they were taken from you and how you would feel if you were the only one that could remember. I truly loved it and I thank you Ms. Young for writing an extraordinary tale that was like nothing I’ve read before. I look forward to reading more from you.

My review of The Program is HERE

 

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Review: The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer Smith

Review: The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer SmithThe Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: April 15th 2014
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three-half-stars

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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This book was cute. It wasn’t on the level of Smith’s other book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but it was better than This Is What Happy Looks Like. But although I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t say I was over the moon about it. I liked Owen and Lucy a lot. They had a great vibe when they were together, but the problem was, they weren’t together all that much which made reading this loose some of the good feels.

The Geography of You and Me is the story of Lucy and Owen. Lucy is a New York native. She lives in Manhattan, goes to a private school, has parents that travel the world leaving her home alone. Then there is Owen. He is new to the city and to Lucy’s building. His mother passed away and his dad got a job as the super in the building. One night the lights go out up the eastern seaboard and Lucy and Owen get trapped in an elevator. They spend one night together in NYC and are then thrust apart by the constant motion of life. They keep in touch, but something seems to always be unsettled. But when they both end up in the same place at the same time, they have the chance to get it right. The only question that remains is how.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this story, but I think I could have potentially loved it if there was more interaction between Lucy and Owen. Without that connection it seemed like this book was just two stories of self-discovery, of growing up. I never felt the investment in the relationship or even in the friendship. When I read the description I just expected there to be more correspondence between the two of them as they went in two different directions and sadly there wasn’t. I did enjoy seeing Lucy get closer with her mother, as I thought her parents were horrible at points. And I liked seeing how Owen and his dad grieved in their own way over the terrible loss they suffered. Both of those side stories were great. But the lack of Lucy and Owen as a ‘couple’ just took away from the whole thing for me.

Basically The Geography of You and Me was a quick read that kept me interested and I liked, but didn’t end up loving like I expected. It made up for my feelings on Smith’s last book, but never reached the greatness of Statistical. Lucy and Owen were great characters that were a joy to see grown and change. I would recommend this book if you are a Smith fan for sure.

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