Crazy House (Crazy House #1)by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Book Description:

Published: May 22, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her home and thrown without reazon into a hellish prison known as the Crazy House. To avoid execution, she’s told to shut her mouth and keep her head down.

Becca was never really good at either.

Her only hope for survival is for her sister, Cassie, to find her—that the “good twin” will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it’s too late. Because the jailers at Crazy House soon discover they made a mistake that could get both sisters killed…

Review –

In the absence of their parents, Cassie and Becca  are doing their best to tend to the family farm. One morning, Cassie wakes up to discover Becca is missing, having taken her beloved truck and leaving her with a moped that goes a whooping twelve miles an hour.

 Meanwhile, Becca wakens in a horrific children’s prison, in which the detained are forced to fight to the death. As Cassie searches for her sister, Becca does her best to survive the torture her captors put her through. The novel is set in a future in which populations are organized geographically into isolated cells. The government controls all the information going in and out, but more lurks beneath the surface.  

Cassie tries to get the leaders of her cell (a farming community) to help find Becca, but to no avail.  They don’t believe she has been taken, instead has only run away and become a “bad citizen”.

Next Cassie finds herself being expelled from school and her vocation taken away and is totally blindsides because she has been a straight A student and has NEVER missed a day of school.

Then Cassie is taken and her world gets even more bizarre.

When Cassie and Becca are finally reunited, we have little reason to celebrate. They are forced to fight each other and end up bruised and sore. While alone in the “pen” Becca tells Cassie things she needs to know to survive in prison. As time passes and things become more dire they break out with two friends and head home. Once there, they discover that their home is up for sale and after they are unable to convince people of the cell about the prison, they are “taken” again and this time there is a surprise twist. 

The story is very predictable but I loved it any way and look for to reading the sequel when it becomes available on OverDrive.

It’s young adult but if you enjoy dystopian adventures it’s a very good and fast read for adults too.

Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

Book Description:

Published: March 6, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she’s got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

Review –

The book picks off immediately off the last novel, and though the first seventy-five percent of the novel moves at a slow, turtle crawl, I actually understood the importance of the slow pace. Through the first seventy-five percent of the novel, Juliette scrambles around helplessly in confusion, adjusting to her new authority and workload. It would be awfully weird if Juliette seamlessly transitioned to an insane girl from the asylum that somehow managed to destroy the Supreme Commander of North America to a serious, responsible leader. She is so incredibly new to this crazy, tangled world that’s overflowing with treachery, politics, and issues. Being Supreme Commander is more than just fighting against rebellious forces constantly. It involves the intriguing, dark relationships between the most powerful leaders around the world. You can’t just waltz into one of the world’s most powerful positions and expect everything to be blood and glory. Instead, it’s a slow, sweet burn of painful deception and lies—-a wicked game played between the world’s most significant leaders.

Another thing that I particularly enjoyed about this novel was the reality check. In the first three books, Warner and Juliette have undeniable chemistry and quickly become infatuated with each other, but once that infatuation burns out, it’s time for the two sides of the relationship to truly understand each other. Finally, we get to see a more realistic side of Warner and Juliette’s relationship. They realize that besides the events that occurred in the pats month, they really don’t know much about each other. At times, it was indescribably painful to witness their conflicts, but at the same time, I relished them. After all the lustrous flirtations between the two of them in the past few novels, it was nice to see the other side of things. Love isn’t always going to be a smooth ride of infatuation and flirtations; you’re going to have to make an effort to know who this person is and what they stand for.

Finally, I loved the plot twist at the end. Even though I almost guessed it in the first few pages, the anticipation is slowly but steadily built up until the climax where everything comes crashing down. I LOVED it. Honestly, the cliffhanger puts all other cliffhangers to shame. I don’t want to say much, but reading the ending was probably one of those moments where everything that happened in the novel earlier is tied together beautifully into one giant package of astonishment.

Overall, this novel was fantastic, and I’m excited to see what the next two novels have in store for Juliette!

This series has mesmerizing covers and I love them all.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

Book Description:

Published: November 22, 2016

Format: Soft Cover

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Review –

In this five-star read  two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long without fear of disease, aging, or accidents.If for some reason they are killed they can be revived in a few days. There is a  governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), and is independent of the Scythedom so scythes rely on ten commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population.

After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty.

The action, violent at times, unfolds slowly, anchored in complex world building and propelled by political happenings behind the scenes . Scythes’ journal entries, which are mandatory, accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual points of view, revealing both personal struggles and problems within the society.  The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and melancholic, brooding but steeped with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. 

Recommended for young adults 14 and up.

Five stars for story and cover!

 

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Book Description:

Published: February 9, 2016

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Review –

This book takes up exactly where the first book left off (I love it when authors do that) and  even though it has been a year since I read the Red Queen, I had no trouble falling back into the story line.

There is so much action, heartache,heartbreak,angst and death in this installment of the series I don’t know where to start. BUT, I’ll try.

Mare has found her brother, Shade, a new blood, like herself, whom she thought was dead and he joins with her and others to find other new bloods to recruit to fight Maven before Maven can find them and kill them or worse be manipulated by the queen.

Mare spends the majority of the book being suspicious of everyone – she’s been betrayed far too many times already in her 17 years – and her suspicion carries over to the reader as well. I spent most of the book with absolutely no idea of who was trustworthy and to be honest, I still am not 100% sure, especially with the characters I want to trust most.

There was also a slew of new characters come into play in this book and some we get to  know while others  we’re merely told how they came to the group after the simple recruitment of the first Newblood, Nix. Suddenly we have around 10-12 new characters stirred into the mix, with no idea how they got there or why we should care about them. Character development for what could have been interesting side characters was instead merely highlighted 

There is sadness, loss, tragedy, and sacrifice and the ending is a definite cliffhanger, but I loved it and now have to wait until February 2017 for the third book, King’s Cage to be released. Can’t wait!!!

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In A Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink #2) By Mindy McGinnis

Book Description:

Published: September 23, 2014

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything more than life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

 

Review –

I rated this book five stars *****

I loved this book even more than the first, Not a Drop to Drink, and almost read it in one sitting.

It’s a heart wrenching journey from the safety of “the Pond” to places unknown with only a glimmer of hope that what they seek is actually there at the end. 

The main character from the first book is still there but there is a new MC who grows into herself along the forced journey across two-thirds of the United States. Lynn and Lucy are forced to leave because of a Polio outbreak along with Carter, who is thought to be a carrier.  They set out on foot with little food and less water and meet some unsavory characters along the way along with a good man. As luck has it they acquire horses and after crossing the mountains  he goes North looking for a wife he hasn’t seen in fifteen years. but the horses are lost in a flood in a canyon and so they continue on foot, although Lynn is almost dead herself.  They do make it to Sand City and I will not give away the ending but I will say that it left my mouth open.  I don’t know if there is another book in the works but the ending leaves it wide open. I’m hoping there is another one, hint hint, Mindy McGinnis.

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I rated this book five stars ***** .

Undivided (Unwind Series #4) by Neal Shusterman

Book Description

October 14, 2014 
Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

Review –
This book was an incredible finale to the Unwind series.  Shusterman’s dystopian world is so realistic it will send chills through your body. The characters are all sympathetic, fleshed out characters, even the minor ones. Feelings of all kinds came to me near the end. I cried, cheered and was just in awe.  I think this series has been overlooked but it is one of the best out there. Make a New Year’s Resolution to read this series, you won’t be disappointed.
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Not a Drop to Drink(Not a Drop to Drink #1) by Mindy McGinnis

Book Description

September 24, 2013

Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut “not to be missed.” With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a frontierlike world not so different from our own.

Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn’t leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it. . . .

 

Review –

I had been wanting to read this book for a very long time and finally found it for free through Overdrive and the Virtual Library system and loved it.

The characters, story line and actions in the book were all believable and very well written and there was a part that I wasn’t expecting and it broke my heart. (I cry at the drop of a hat) If you are a fan of the dystopian or post-apocalyptic  genre, this is the book for you.

 Can’t wait to read the next installment.

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The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2013

 

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review –

OMG!!

The book was captivating right from the start and held my interest to the end and it only took me a few hours to read. Cassie is a strong female character, which YA literature needs more of, and she is devoted to finding her brother. The story is action packed, fast paced and the characters have great chemistry together(Cassie and Evan). I can’t wait to read the second in the series.  

I rated this book 5 stars *****

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Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Book Description:

Published:February 4, 2014

 

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

 

Review –

This is another 5 star book ***** and I think this could possibly be my favorite series to date since Twilight.

I’m not going to say who Juliette ends up with( you’ll have to read the book for that) but the ending was done well and tears were shed and cheers uttered at the last page.  The author, Tahereh Mafi, should be very proud of her work on this series.

Here are a few of the lines I liked best:

1.My insides are made up of all the tears I’m holding back.

2. Seconds die between us.

3. I feel raw like I’m sanded down to the bone.

4. I will reading into the earth and rip out the injustice and crush it with my bare hands.

5. I am a pile of bones on the floor and no one knows it but me.

6. Warner’s tattoo: “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”

7. The very last words of the book: ” I can’t wait to let them try!”

The love scene in Chapter 55 is one of the best that I have ever read but there is another one in Chapter 58 that is very very good also.

If you want to pick one new series to read, the Shatter Me series is the one to choose. You won’t be sorry.

 

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UnRavel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

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Book Description

February 5, 2013
Juliette is still haunted by her deadly touch.  But now that she has teamed up with other revels with powers of their own, she’ll be able to fight back against The Reestablishment to save her  broken world.  With the help of these new allies, she’ll also finally learn the secret behind Adam’s  – and Warner’s – immunity to her killer skin.
Unravel Me is perfect  for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.  Ransom Riggs, #1  New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, raves: “A thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love, the Shatter Me series is a must read for fans of dystopian young adult literature – or any literature!”
Review –
This is turning into one of my favorite young adult series of all times.  I’m again listening to the audio version and the narrator does such a top-notch job that you can truly picture all of the characters which makes the entire story come to life. In the paper version the author writes with strike outs and so on the audiobook when a strike out occurs it sounds like chalk running across a blackboard.
As in the first there are many passages that stand out because of the language used. In the following it is Juliette says these words.
1. His breath is melting my blood and splashing across my cheeks.
2. My heart is beating so hard I’m surprised it’s not bleeding.
3. I want to trust but it scares the skin off my bones.
4. I can’t see through the curtain of tears.
5.The jaws of life are stretching their joints-grinding their teeth, yawning themselves awake.
6. The ground looks around, its mouth gapping open.
7. I’m checking my pockets for spare words.
Juliette does say the word WHAT many many many times in the course of the book (the first one too)  and it makes her sound stupid, but I overlook that because it’s just a flaw in her character and no character is perfect.
I love that at the end Juliette is ready to take her gloves off, meaning she is seriously ready to fight against The Reestablishement and mend the broken piece by piece.
Can’t wait for Ignite Me.           I rated this book five stars *****
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