Review: Pivot Point – Kasie West

Review: Pivot Point – Kasie WestPivot Point by Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Published by HarperTeen
Published: February 12th 2013
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Knowing the outcome doesn't always make a choice easier...

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through... and who she can’t live without.

Review

I can’t even put into words my love of this book. I honestly feel like saying it was amazing is doing a disservice to it. Amazing is so over used, for me anyway, when talking about a book. But I can’t think of anything else to really use to describe Pivot Point. To say I fell in love with is it a huge understatement, and reading this book proved to me that I need to read/find more books like it. Like Parallel by Lauren Miller, I am completely enthralled with the concept West used in this creatively told novel about two different life paths.

Pivot Point is Addie’s story. Addie has lived in her paranormal compound her whole life where she has been surrounded by other paranormals like herself. Each person has some sort of power varying from mind erasing(Addie’s BFF) to detecting lies(her dad) to telekinesis(some of the football players, to Addie’s own power as a Divergent, a person that can look into the future when given a choice to decide which path to take. When Addie finds out her parents are splitting she must decide if she wants to live in the compound with her mom or move to the Norm world with her dad. Using her power to search her two futures Addie is faced with deciding between her heart and the lives of the people around her.

First and foremost I must start by saying the characters in this book were pretty amazing. It’s very rare for me to find a book that this is true about, but I really enjoyed each and every single one of them. They all had a purpose and I found that purpose to be understandable without it being dumbed down for the reader. The way they were all written translated seamlessly into both words and that is a kudos to West. You can tell she really thought about the little things that make a book work and character connection is one of those things. What I really loved was the 4 main-ish characters, Addie by far being the lead, with Laila, Trevor and Duke her supporting cast. Laila was the kind of friend that stringent Addie needed. She brought Addie out of her shell but in a natural way. Duke, the school heartthrob that made Addie question some things about herself and the people around her, and Trevor, oh Trevor! He may be one of the cutest cowboys that ever did cowboy! SWOON I tell you. Perfect swoon for Trevor. But really it was all Addie and her interactions with this people that brought the whole thing together. That  and West’s amazing focus on detail.

I can’t say enough how the little things in the book is what brought it all together for me. Never once was I worried that I would be confused about which “reality” I was in before reading it, and West made sure I wouldn’t have to be with the way she wrote it. You don’t think a lot about what it takes to make a great book, unless you are an author I imagine, but the tiniest of details makes all the difference and the difference was made in Pivot Point, right down to the very very end with an ending that blew me away, broke my heart, made me hopeful and set up the series quite nicely.

Straight up, Kasie West is a genius. I mean, hardcore genius. This book was so chockfull of awesome. From the dictionary words at the beginning of each chapter distinguishing the Norm World from the Paranormal World, to the tiniest of details used to connect both worlds in some way, to the amazing characters, West created what I would classify as a masterpiece. It was entertaining and thought provoking and had a great love story that made you want more. To be honest I am usually annoyed when I get sucked into another series, but I just can’t be with this one. Pivot Point was written in such a way that it actually demands a series be made out of it. So bravo to you Ms. West for not only creating this epically awesome book, but for making me excited there will be more. Even if you think paranormal isn’t your thing, trust me on this, Pivot Point will convert you it is that good.

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Review: Parallel – Lauren Miller

Review: Parallel – Lauren MillerParallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
Published: April 8th 2014
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five-stars

A romantic, mind-bending novel about parallel worlds, soul mates, destiny, and the big-time consequences of even our smallest choices, perfect for fans of The Future of Us and Before I Fall.

Abby Barnes had it all planned out—high school, college, career—but one decision made in her senior year of high school changed her carefully mapped-out future.

When Abby wakes up the morning of her eighteenth birthday, it's as though her past has been rewritten. Abby discovers that a cosmic collision of parallel universes has erased her old reality. Now Abby is falling in love with a boy from her Parallel's memories—a boy she's never even met. She's living the life she always wanted, but what if living her Parallel's life means she loses her soul mate?


I kept hearing how amazing this book was so when a friend got an advanced copy and sent it to me I was siked! Jumping in I didn’t really know what to expect. Was it paranormal? Was it a contemporary? Would it be too much science and universe talk? The more I read the more I realized that it didn’t matter what category it fell into. It didn’t matter if there was science talk and if the concept seemed out there on the surface. All that mattered was how fantastic this book was and how it got me thinking. You see I have always been a fan of what I call ‘The Sliding Doors Effect'(after the movie which this book reminded me of) where one small choice/decision/incident can completely alter the life you live. That by taking a taxi two feet instead of walking in the rain can change how things play out. One small thing that you don’t even realize has happened can make a huge effect on everything, and Miller played that effect to perfection, hitting on everything I have ever thought about it. My thoughts are going to be hard to get down on paper as I don’t want to give anything away in regards to the story, but I will try.

Parallel is the story of Abby, a girl with a plan. She has known exactly what she was supposed to do her whole life. She was going to be a journalist after graduating from Northwestern and get a job at a huge newspaper. It was her plan, her calling, her goal. And then drama class happened and suddenly Abby was living in LA filming a movie and missing out on everything she dreamed. Resigned to her new life, but not necessarily happy about it, Abby celebrates the eve of her 18th birthday with her cast mates, but the next morning she wakes up in a Yale dorm with a completely different life like her past had been rewritten and she doesn’t remember anything. Stuck in this new life with memories of her old life, Abby has to navigate the constant changes and surprises and learn that sometimes life gets in the way of plans.

Did I mention that this book was fantastic? I mean really really really fantastic. Miller wrote this book in a pretty genius way that kept the story fresh and interesting. Knowing the background of Abby’s life and seeing the small changes that lead to her parallel life and everything different about it was done amazingly well. As you got further into the book and Abby started to remember more of her “life” it was easier as a reader to see the moment that changed things and created the situations Abby found herself it. With every turn of the page I felt like I was reading a new kind of book and I liked that.

I found Abby to be such a likable character as was her friend Caitlin. Watching them both navigate through the confusion that was Abby’s life was truly a joy given the fact that Abby had no idea what was going to happen to her on any given day.  And watching as Josh, who I totally swooned over, was folded into the story was awesome. For a character that played such a minor role in the book, he was huge to the story, but in a way that you don’t really understand until you are a good chunk into the book. His presence and lack of, is one of the most important parts of the story and I loved how Miller dealt with that. It wasn’t in your face but on the surface and it worked for this story.

Honestly I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this debut novel by Lauren Miller. It touched on everything I love about a good story and kept you thinking the whole time. So much can change the outcome of your life but lead you right where you belong even if it is the last place you expect. Just because that butterfly flaps its wings in New York doesn’t mean the rain will never stop in China. You just might have to take the long way to get there. I can say without a doubt Lauren Miller has just become one of those authors that “if she writes it, I’m buying it”. Thanks Ms. Miller for awesomeness.

Side note:
I’m not a usual book trailer kind of girl. But I watched the official trailer for Parallel and it is awesome! Just thought I would share it with all of you too.

And thanks to all that signed up for the Parallel or The Elite giveaway. The winner has been notified via email.

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Second Chance Sunday – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

With the release date Allegiant, the 3rd and final book in the Divergent series, quickly approaching I thought it would be appropriate to add Insurgent into my weekly Second Chance Sunday posts. This book seriously left me breathless. I read it on the plane coming home from Aruba and I swear I couldn’t breath when all was said and done. If you haven’t read the series, do it now before the ending comes out and wait and panic inducing misery with the rest of us!

Second Chance Sunday – Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Published: January 20th 2015
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One choice can destroy you. Veronica Roth's second #1 New York Times bestseller continues the dystopian thrill ride that began in Divergent. A hit with both teen and adult readers, Insurgent is the action-packed, emotional adventure that inspired the major motion picture starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Octavia Spencer.

The paperback edition includes special bonus content by Veronica Roth.

As war surges in the factions of dystopian Chicago all around her, Tris attempts to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Review

WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! I know, eloquent, right? The sad thing is that is the best I can do because simply put this book was just WOW! I really can’t think of another way to describe the amazingness that was Insurgent. How Roth managed to do what she did in this book is beyond me. It left me breathless and craving more by the time all was said and done.

The book starts right where Divergent left off, but from the very beginning you know this is going to be a completely different kind of journey for Tobias and Tris. You are immediately thrust into this feeling of loss and urgency that you just won’t be able to shake with each and every page you turn. Tris is now broken and she has no idea how to go on. Her parents are dead, both dying in front of her, and she took a friends life in order to save her own. It is quite clear that she is on an emotional roller coaster and when she refuses to talk to Four about it, it sets off a whole other world of issues that Tris never saw coming. As they navigate the change in their world and their relationship Tris and Tobias find out what the true meaning of trust and choice really are.

I honestly can’t gush about this book enough. I want to tell you everything that happened in it but I refuse to spoil one single second of this page turning wonder. The way Roth worked in the emotional aspects with the action aspects with the guilt Tris was feeling was pure perfection. I had loved Tobias and Tris in Divergent and in Insurgent I took on a different love for them that I can’t even describe. They just felt real and it made the story feel real. I loved them even more then I thought I could. I loved this book more then I thought I could. It had everything I hoped it would and more. And the end!!!!! Oh man that end was hardcore fantastic!

There isn’t one part of this book that I just didn’t love! And that is what I will leave you with from this rambling review. 😉

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Book Giveaway{Closed}

I was lucky enough to get to read two great books before they came out, The Elite by Kiera Cass and Parallel by Lauren Miller. The Elite is the second book of the The Selection series and Parallel is a stand alone debut novel. Both were fantastic in my opinion and I’m offering a chance for one lucky ABCer to get their very own copy of either book(their choice). Please fill out the form below and let me know which book you would like if you are lucky enough to win. The contest runs until May 6, 2013 at 11:59pm EST and is only opened to US residents.

Make sure to check back on May 7th to see my review on Parallel. Good luck ABCers!

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Second Chance Sunday – Divergent by Veronica Roth

I could sum up the reason why Divergent is a Second Chance Sunday post in a short sentence of: I ♥ Four!, but then I would look shallow and Divergent would look like nothing more than a book with a painfully adorable boy that is tough and vulnerable all in one. And Divergent is so much more than that. Divergent is an epic story of love, loss and choices. Of finding out who you are and what you can take and what scares you the most. It’s about growing up and living your life for you. It’s about being brave and smart and selfless. Well and I ♥ Four!

Second Chance Sunday – Divergent by Veronica RothDivergent by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Published by HarperCollins
Published: February 28th 2012
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In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Review

I don’t even know where to begin with my love of this book. I first read Divergent on September 3, 2011. Yes, I read it in one day I just couldn’t put it down. And since then I have read twice more, once in April of 2012 and then again in March of 2013. Three reads, one day to read the book each time, it is that good. I don’t even remember to eat when I’m reading it that’s how wrapped up I get even knowing how it will end. Really there is no other word to describe Divergent other than masterful. It’s simple masterful!

Divergent is a story that takes place in dystopian Chicago about 16 year old Beatrice Prior. The world has been divided into five factions and when kids are 16 they must take an aptitude test to determine if they should stay in the faction they were born into or choose a new one. Beatrice struggles with her decision and when she makes a choice she is faced with a highly challenging initiation that she must complete in order to not end up factionless. She changes her name to Tris and embarks on a journey that will not only change her but the world around her and everyone she knows, including her hot trainer Four that she can’t seem to get out of her head. When it comes down to it Tris will have some tough decisions to make and the world’s fate may just rest of her tiny shoulders.

FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!  Roth wrote a genius novel about typical teenage thoughts and emotions and threw them into this amazing dystopian Chicago and made it all believable! Every single page had meaning in it and completely enthralls a reader. Because  when you look at the bare basics of the story, take out the factions, take out “Chicago” take out initiations and all you have is a teenage girl that is growing up. Brave at times, selfish at times, uncertain at times. You have Tris that is skittish around boys and around her feelings and her emotions. You have a girl that grows into her own skin. You have a typical teenager. And really I think that is why I part of me ♥ Tris so much. Sure she is strong but she is vulnerable and is unsure of her place anywhere which is what teens go through on a daily basis. Basically Tris’ experience in the initiation as a hardcore puberty/growing-up and it is pure awesomeness! One of the best female leads in a book by far. Very few compare to her in my eyes and that is a testament to Roth’s talent.

Now in every good book where there is a good female lead you need a good male to counter the female. And let me tell you Divergent isn’t lacking with the perfect counter for Tris. Ah Four…he just makes me want to sigh and smile and be hugged by him. Absolutely perfect male lead for this series. I honestly can’t think of anything better than him for a book of this caliber. He is definitely tough and a hard shell to crack, but when that shell is cracked you can tell he cares with his whole heart because he really is a softy but had to make himself to survive. His interactions with Tris are so fired with energy you kind of need to fan yourself even if nothing is going on. It’s hard to write chemistry and yet that is exactly what Roth has done for these remarkable characters.

And did I mention the story and the action? There is something going on at every corner whether it be the physicality of the initiation, the drama of the initiates, or the navigation of relationships. There is never a dull moment but there also isn’t any clutter either. Sure a lot is happening at once but it is paced in a way that makes sense and lays out the story and series in the best way possible. Even in an end that could have seem abrupt  in some books, appears to be even paced and well thought out.

Basically Divergent is one big gush fest of awesome! Veronica Roth is awesome! Tris is awesome! Four is awesome! The secondary characters that aren’t all secondary are awesome! Divergent is awesome! Like I said, one big love fest of awesome. NOW READ IT IF YOU HAVEN’T!

 

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