Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hedgie's Must Reads: June 2015


June was a pretty slow reading month for me because I was so busy with other things. And I also got into a bit of a reading funk.


Monday, June 29, 2015

June 2015 Book Haul


Busy month! The majority of these books are from BookCon and New York. Once I got home, I really didn't buy that many books at all, and now I'm on a ban because I simply cannot afford any more books - both monetarily and space wise.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hedgehog Life: 6/22/15 - 6/28/15



Last week I said that this week wasn't going to be very busy. Well, that's not exactly true. Apparently I had a lot going after all! Especially on the reading front.

This Week I Read
- River Quest by John Vornholt (3/5 strawberries)
Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (3/5 strawberries)
- Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz (5/5 strawberries)

This Week I Reviewed
- Undertow by Michael Buckley
- Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
- Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

What's In Store for Next Week
Monday: June Book Haul
Tuesday: Hedgie's Must Reads: June 2015
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday with Jubilee Manor
Thursday: Review of A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Friday: TBA

First up, I ordered a pair of new dancing shoes! (Picture coming soon because I am a terrible photographer!) Ever since I first read Hans Christian Anderson's The Red Shoes - I think when I was about six - I badly wanted a pair of red dance shoes. Try convincing your parents that you need a pair when you don't do any dancing; it isn't easy. In fact, it never happened. So now that I am back into dancing and can buy my own shoes, I decided to fulfill one of my lifelong childhood dreams: I got my red dance shoes. These are 1930s reproductions of suede Oxfords. And they are positively gorgeous. I tested them out Tuesday night and am in love. :-) Of course, I lost a layer of skin on my heel because they aren't broken in yet, but I always say a pair of shoes isn't your pair until they've made you bleed. ;-)

Also Tuesday, my sister and I went and saw Jurassic World. We didn't expect it to be as good as the first one, but it's a Jurassic movie; it would be like not going to any new Indiana Jones movies, no matter how bad they are (*cough* Kingdom of the Crystal Skull *cough*). It was what I expected it to be: lots of cool dinosaurs, not a very strong story line. I still find Chris Pratt puncheable, but he might actually be a good "new" Indiana Jones - if they ever decided to do that. I did always find Indiana puncheable anyway; why stop with the tradition?

The weekend was spent exploring local cemeteries and 10 o'clock "midnight" walks. The weather has been hot and gorgeous lately, and the stars have been out, so I've been reawakening my love for nightly walks and staring at the stars.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Prisoner B-3087 - Alan Gratz

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on March 1, 2013
Published by Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 272
Read From: 6.20.15 - 6.21.15













SYNOPSIS
Survive. At any cost. 
10 concentration camps. 10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. It's something no one could imagine surviving. But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face. 
As a Jewish boy in 1930's Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner - his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. 
He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. 
Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will - and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside? 
Based on an astonishing true story.

Review

Dear Prisoner B-3087,
There was no question in my mind that you were going to be an incredible book. The Holocaust is a fascinating subject for me; I think it's something we should never ever forget - not only because we should honor the memories of those who died and survived, but also so it doesn't happen again. Given your rather simplistic narration style, I was at first confused because you were marketed as a YA novel. But you were one of the most brutal Holocaust books I've ever read.

You quite simply tell the true story of Yanek [?], a Jewish Pole growing up during the Nazi occupation. We follow Yanek as his family is taken away, and then finally he's taken away, too, and goes from one concentration camp to another, facing horror after horror and loss after loss. Your first-person narration is simplistic in style, but it is the simplicity of it that makes it so poignantly stark and gut-wrenching. Your narration doesn't even try to soften the brutality, and really that is the only way to tell a Holocaust story. There's no softening what happened.

Because you are based very heavily on a true story, you read very straight forward. However, emotion and personality are not sacrificed. I felt for the characters in this as much as I do for characters in longer, more in-depth novels. But that is partially because I knew they were based off of real people.

Like any good Holocaust story, you ripped my heart out. You were equal parts horrifying and equal parts inspiring. To think that someone could survive such an experience and still live afterward is incredible. You were a very quick read, Prisoner B-3087, but a very, very hard one, too.

Feeling emotional,
~ Mara A. ~

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Slaves of Socorro - John Flanagan

Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
Series: Brotherband Chronicles #4
Genre: YA, adventure
Published on July 15, 2014
Published by Philomel
Pages: 462
Read From: 6.15.15. - 6.20.15












SYNOPSIS
Hal and his fellow Herons have returned home to Skandia after defeating the pirate captain Zavac and reclaiming Skandia's most prized artifact, the Andomal. With their honor restored, the Herons turn to a new mission: tracking down an old rival turned bitter enemy. Tursgud - leader of the Shark Brotherband and Hal's constant opponent - has turned from a bullying youth into a pirate and slave trader. After Tursgud captures twelve Araluen villagers to sell as slaves, the Heron crew sails into action. . . .with the help of one of Araluen's finest Rangers.

Review
Dear Slaves of Socorro,
I really like your series, The Brotherband Chronicles. It's fun and has lots of good characters. But I've had my issues with your books: they are too slow, too much exposition, no major characters ever die - or even get mortally wounded - and there's so much unnecessary detail. That being said, I still love your world and the overall idea of the books. So I can't dislike them. Going into you, I didn't expect anything much different, but I did hope that maybe the slogging pattern would have been broken. Sadly, you didn't exactly break anything.

You take place a few months - or years? - after The Hunters. The Heron Brotherband has successfully defeated the pirate lord Zavac and returned the Andomal to Skandia. Once the most disgraced brotherband in all the realm, they've all risen to prestige and honor. Wolf ship captains are turning to Hal for ideas to improve their ships and they are regularly chosen to help escort trading vessels. But all of the Herons miss the adventure of long voyages and exploration. So when they're assigned a year-long mission as the liaison vessel in Araluen, they readily agree. And of course, it isn't smooth sailing. Tursgud, leader of the Shark Brotherband and Hal's old nemesis, has turned to piracy and slaving, and he's sacking the coast of Araluen. With the help of one of the king's Ranger's, Gilan, the Herons set off to rescue the Araluen captives before they're sold into slavery at the famous slaving market in Socorro.

I liked all of your characters just as much as I did in the previous novels. Hal and Stig's close brotherly friendship is one of my favorites, Ulf and Wulf add a nice flair of comedy with their constant bickering, I want to give Ingvar ice cream, clever-fingered Jesper doesn't get nearly enough page time, Thorn is an adequate "Halt replacement" without feeling too much like a replacement, and Lydia. . . .Lydia I still wish was a twelve-year-old boy instead of a teen girl. I still have such mixed feelings about her. If there's going to be romance between her and Hal at any point, it hasn't surfaced yet, and for that I'm glad because I'm still worried it will drive a wedge between him and Stig - a fact that I am not happy about. I hate it when brothers - through blood or bond - fight over a girl. Lydia is useful and doesn't have that much of an attitude, but she does have a temper that flairs up at the stupidest times, and she also takes things too seriously. I can understand her being protective of Ingvar, but really, Lydia - they're boys and brothers. This is how they tease. If she doesn't like an aspect of Hal's plan, she snaps and blames him rather than thinking about their limited options and how unfortunately risk is something they can't avoid. Lydia just plain needed to be a twelve-year-old orphan boy. We don't need a "main" female character in this series. We're okay with just boys. :)

As a villain, Tursgud definitely didn't live up to Zavac, but I also don't think he was supposed to. And it was, admittedly, nice to see how his story ended; how he turned out after the brotherband competitions. Best of all, though: Gilan was back!! I don't think I've ever disliked any of the Rangers, but Gilan might honestly be my favorite. He's the laid back Ranger, but still so very, very good at his job. Lydia's interactions with him kind of annoyed me because - hey, you don't take an attitude with my favorite Ranger characters, girl! But I liked how Gilan dealt with her, and for the most part, Lydia wasn't that bad.

As always, the world building is really fun. I enjoy reading about a world that is a lot like ours, but different in small, interesting ways. I enjoy trying to guess what countries and cultures are based off of which real ones. But your plot, Slaves of Socorro. When we were in the midst of action sequences, you were good. But the majority of your bulk was made up of yet more Brotherband training and skill honing and impossible, clever plans that would only work for the Herons. I love impossible, clever plans, but for once I have to admit that it'd be a little awesome if one of their impossible, clever plans failed. As for the training - just no. I'm tired of it. I know how the Mangler works; I know how their ship works; I know how deadly Lydia's atlatl is; I know it all! I'll confess that I'll never get tired of reading about the Rangers' archery prowess because I'm an archer myself, but. . . . ;) There needs to be a lot less training and preparation and a lot more. . . . .something. Action. Adventure. Peril.

And for once, you let me down when it came to believability. This is me being nit-picky, Slaves of Socorro, but I have always loved John Flanagan's books because I can always rely on them to be realistic when it comes to weapons and battles. But horror of horrors, Gilan used his sword as a throwing knife! And it worked!! I was devastated! I never thought I'd see an error like that in the Ranger world. It smote me.

Slaves of Socorro, you were good and you've set the fifth book up nicely. I liked your premise and your ending. But I wasn't wowed and was actually ready to be done with you 300 pages in.

Feeling a little sad,
~ Mara A. ~

Others in the Brotherband Chronicles:
1)The Outcasts
2)The Invaders
3)The Hunters
4)Slaves of Socorro
5)Scorpion Mountain

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Daughter of Dusk

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Daughter of Dusk
by Livia Blackburne
(Midnight Thief #2)
Publication Date: August 4, 2015

From Goodreads:

After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can't help but feel like a monster.

Though she's formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra's not sure she can trust him. And with James's fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge's Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

Why I'm Excited
- I loved Midnight Thief so flipping much. I want to know what happens next.
- And that cover! So simple, yet so gorgeous!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Undertow - Michael Buckley

Undertow by Michael Buckley
Series: Undertow #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, contemporary
Published on May 5, 2015
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 384
Read From: 6.10.15 - 6.15.15












SYNOPSIS
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker's life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world's initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric's small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not naturally the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity's only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it's more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Review


Dear Undertow,

As a fan of Michael Buckley, I was pretty certain that I would like you - despite the fact that your alluded romance had me a little doubtful, and I was also worried that you would boil down to an overly preachy message about equality. I was eager to delve in, but also slightly nervous. Undertow, you were like nothing I have ever read before.

In one pivotal night, the world completely changes. A race of sea people called the Alpha rise up from off the coast of Coney Island and make contact with humanity for the first time. People are at first awed and curious about this alien, warlike race. But it doesn't take long for curiosity to turn into hostility. The Alpha are confined to a tent city on the Coney Island beach, a thug group called the Niners rises up to harass and murder the Alpha, and suddenly neighbor turns against neighbor. When the government decides to integrate Alpha teenagers into the local high school, Lyric Walker is tapped on the shoulder to act as teacher to the Alpha prince, Fathom. She's to have all her classes with him, help him with homework, teach him about her world. But the Niners don't look too favorably on people who friend "fish heads." Lyric has no choice, though; she guards a deadly secret about her family that, were it found out, would lead to their arrest and transportation to a secret government facility. To make matters worse, as Lyric gets to know Fathom, she finds herself feeling something for him. And then all hell breaks loose when it's revealed that the Alpha are the least of humanity's worries.

Lyric has every right to be upset with her circumstances. She's been blackmailed into befriending someone who is just as reluctant to call her friend - and in fact despises and looks down on her whole race. If she helps Fathom, she's put a huge target on herself and her family for the Niners. If she doesn't, worse might happen. She makes the best of the situation and does genuinely try to be at least cordial to Fathom. But Fathom is so disdainful of humans that he would frustrate anyone with even a boatload of patience. I totally, completely sympathized with Lyric's predicament.

What surprised me was that I also liked and sympathized with Fathom. He's grumpy and conceited, but he's not moody; happy one moment, raging the next. He's been raised a certain way and the humans he's interacted with have hardly left a favorable impression. As the prince of the Alpha, he has a lot of responsibility and expectation resting on his shoulders. But as Lyric teaches him about her world - and she learns about his - Fathom changes. For once, frustration and disdain on both sides was understandable - and also equally annoying from time to time.

The side characters were awesome. I loved Bex, Lyric's outgoing, flamboyant best friend who hid her troubles and hurt behind her bubbly exterior. She was the strong one, the one making plans and having fun and being daring. But it hid an obvious fragility. I wanted to give her a big hug. And then there was Shadow, the aspiring journalist/media socialite who also has a big crush on Bex. Oh, I loved him so much! And he and Bex together - made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

For the most part, you didn't focus on the romance between Lyric and Fathom all that much, Undertow. It helped that I liked both Lyric and Fathom, so I was okay with the pairing, and the romance really felt like it was just at the beginnings of something deeper - as it should be. You have a lot of different things going on; a lot of themes you explore. There's integrating the Alpha into the schools, Bex's family problems, Lyric's secret, the building hatred and anger and fear, the Alpha's true intentions for coming to Coney Island, and so much more. It's a lot for one book to juggle, but it's done masterfully. None of the themes are skimped or focused on too much. It enriches the world and the characters and gets you thinking about a lot of things. I'm always wary of books that are marketed as being "relevant to the current times" because that is, more often than not, code for "we're cramming a bunch of personal opinions down your throat." You, Undertow, didn't do that. And because you addressed so many different themes and issues from multiple sides, it in fact made you much more relevant to the "current times" than preachy books. And it was still a brilliant work of fiction, for those who just want to look at the surface.

I have always enjoyed Michael Buckley's writing style, but I don't think the potential - the brilliance - of his style truly showed through until you, Undertow. While still movie-ish, it was a movie-ish that was also lyrical, brilliant, poignant, and evocative. I was swept away by the words, both by the imagery and the emotion in it. I found myself crying more than once, and gasping out loud, and exclaiming in anger. Books grip me, but I'm not generally a vocal reader.

Undertow, you were brilliant. I anticipated enjoying you because you are a Michael Buckley masterpiece, but I didn't quite expect you to sweep me away like you did. I cannot wait for your sequel.

Feeling amazed,
~ Mara A. ~

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hedgehog Life: 6/15/15 - 6/21/15



I think I've finally gotten back into the swing of things! Some of you are probably wondering: "Where's that BookCon post you promised?!" Well, don't worry - you are going to get it. It is actually going to take the form of my June Book Haul, because I discovered that after getting back from BookCon, I didn't have money to buy any more books. So I can actually fit it all into one video rather than having to do two separate ones! Yay!

This Week I Read
- Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (1/5 strawberries)
- Undertow by Michael Buckley (4/5 strawberries)

This Week I Reviewed
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
- Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

What's In Store for Next Week
Monday: Review of Undertow by Michael Buckley
Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Top Ten Tuesday Topics
Wednesday: Waiting on Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
Thursday: Review of Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
Friday: To Be Announced

Now that I'm back in the swing of things, I've been pretty busy. Summer is officially here and with it, summer plans! My extra dance classes have been going awesome. I really feel like I'm actually getting good and my dancing muscles are getting honed. Let me tell you, though: Lindy Hop is probably the best dance workout ever. And it is so much flipping fun!! I am nowhere good at it; mediocre, but not good. Nevertheless, I love it and have every intention of keeping it up!

I recently reorganized my library, and while a full-blown bookshelf tour is still far in the future, I do plan on doing a semi-short "overview" video for you guys sometime soon. I have 1,000 books and I would love to show you what it all looks like! Maybe you'll even get to see the Reading Hedgehog himself!

Earlier last week, I helped a friend get her pool all cleaned out for the summer. Sometime soon(ish), we're going to have a "grand opening" party! Maybe complete with BBQ? At least some munchies and yummy beverages.

The rest of my free time has just been spent trying to get back into the mood of life. Dancing, rock climbing, reading, blogging (I know I've been neglectful in that are), catching up on television shows. I've also gotten back into walking on a regular basis - at least, I'm trying to. There's an old historic cemetery not too far from my place of residence that I like to walk through after a long stressful day. I don't go there as often as I like, but I'm trying to change that. I really do find something extremely peaceful about cemeteries. They're so pretty and interesting.

There aren't too many grand plans for the upcoming week. Book Club, movie, more dancing, reading, and maybe I'll get some more writing done. July heralds some beach trips and August brings about the Renaissance Faire, the County Fair, and maybe some day hikes! I might even get some buddies together to go spelunking.

Keep reading, my friends!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Immortal Beloved - Cate Tiernan

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortals Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, paranormal, romance
Published by Little, Brown & Co.
Published on September 1, 2010
Pages: 407
Read From: 6.3.15 - 6.10.15












SYNOPSIS
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl.  She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past. 

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe - until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Review

Dear Immortal Beloved,
I had my doubts from the very beginning. You are not the sort of book I usually grab. Party girl immortal, rehab center, undeniably sexy dude - these are all warning signs for me. But I had to read you for several reasons. So I set aside my doubts and went into you with an open mind. I bet you fifty bucks to guess what my response was.


Nastasya is a 600+ years old immortal. She's experienced every horror life has to offer. Her family was murdered in front of her very eyes, she's been forced into marriages, watched her children die, suffered through famines and plague and wars. Somehow, though, instead of turning her into a callous, tortured soul who has seen humanity's cruelty, Nastasya has stayed a spoiled, angsty, self-absorbed teen. Who is also inexplicably, but conveniently, independently wealthy. She's buried her pain in drugs, bad fashion choices, drinking, snogging, and hanging out with a bunch of equally-immature, eons-old immortal teens. But then, everything changes, when her buddy Innocencio (don't laugh; that's actually his name) decides to take things a little too far and uses "dark magic" to snap a poor mortal's spine just for fun. Nasty (yes, that's what people call her for short) finds this disturbing behavior so out of character with creepy Innocencio that she packs her bags and heads to a rehab for immortals in the middle of nowhere. Once there, she spends the rest of the 300+ pages. . . .doing household chores. And throwing tantrums and crying because she doesn't fit in with the good, natural path immortals at this crazy ranch. And oggling super duper sexy Reyn. Oh, and there's a "weird scar" on her neck she doesn't want anyone to see. But that would be too interesting to explore. Nah, let's talk about floor scrubbing techniques. That's much more interesting.

You suffer from three major crimes: being boring, a punchable protagonist, and too many shirtless men - including men who are not actually shirtless, but somehow still manage to be. I can appreciate a sarcastic protagonist, but there's a fine line between a sarcastic female and a complaining bitch. Nasty landed in the latter category. I wanted to sympathize with her - I really did; it would suck to live for so long and suffer so much. But she was so teen and had so many freaking meltdowns that I finally just wanted someone to ram her head into a door. Just put her out of her misery, please. It will do the entire world a great service. I can't even really tell you what I thought of the other characters, except Reyn. Ohhhhh, broody, godlike, sexy Reyn. The world's most shirtless man, right next to Matthew McConaughey.

Mathew

Reyn is a very typical "hot hunk." Temperamental, moody, broody, violent, and too hot for his own trousers. And in case there's any doubt in the Reader's mind, Nasty makes it clear every time he steps into a room just how handsome a hunk of man flesh Reyn is. Yes, their romance is totally and completely carnal. Nasty even fantasizes about what it'd be like if he slammed her against a wall and kissed her until she was bruised. Mmmm, sounds just sooooooo romantic, now doesn't it? Who wants a gentle, good man? Give me a woman beater any day! Reyn's personality follows his shirt: it isn't there.

Your plot, Immortal Beloved, literally consists of Nasty's tantrums, lusting after Reyn, and household chores. Occasionally the monotony is broken up with flashbacks to Nasty's past, but these flashbacks do nothing more than make the Reader weep when we are forced to return to the present narration - and also break up the natural flow of writing. There's some hinting at Nasty's scar; what it means, how she acquired it, why Innocencio maybe liked having her around so much. But mostly? We get to read about Nasty complaining about scrubbing floors, doing laundry, baking bread, currying horses, planting kale, suffering from dizzy spells after a bit of magic practice, and oggling Reyn some more. If I want to read a book about chores, I will pick up Little House on the Prairie - a much, much, much more fascinating read.

Right when the plot starts to show a tiny bit of promise, in the form of an assassination attempt on Nasty's life, it boils back down into a bitch fight. See, Nasty isn't the only one who notices Reyn's blinding hotness. There's another immortal: Nell. Nell has a thing for Reyn and she sure as hell isn't going to let little petite Nasty encroach on her man flesh. 

I'm an emotionally compromised teenage girl

Suddenly Nasty is facing down little jealous rages, snide remarks, and little annoying things that make her chores just a bit more difficult. And no one suspects Nell might be behind the ill magic directed at Nasty. No, not at all, because no one else would want to harm charming Nasty, would they?

Oh, sorry; was that a spoiler?? NO! Because it was so flipping obvious!!!! Let me be perfectly clear about my feelings towards you, Immortal Beloved: I wanted to claw my eyes out by page 8. You begin so abruptly that the Reader has no time to appreciate the "sudden" change in Innocencio's behavior. Suddenly we're whisked off to the rehab center, where you boil down to 300+ pages of chores, self discovery, tantrums, and one of the world's shallowest romantic interests - complete with a jealous bitch. There's some hinting at magic and mysterious destinies and ancient houses and all that jazz - but it's hardly explored. When there seems to be promise of a villain, it becomes painfully obvious that no, it's just more bitch fighting, and your climax seriously boils down to a jealous rage over man flesh taken way too far. Your characters were either aggravating or flat at best. It was like pushing through a sandbox while wearing lead shoes, finishing your final 100 pages. I couldn't throw you across the room fast enough when I finally got to the end.

And that is how I felt about you.

Feeling BORED,
~ Mara A. ~

Others in This Trilogy:
1)Immortal Beloved
2)Darkness Falls
3)Eternally Yours

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review: Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on February 28, 2012
Published by HarperTeen
Pages: 329
Read From: 5.21.15 - 6.3.15












SYNOPSIS
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven taught me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame. 

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Review

Dear Pandemonium,
When it comes to the second book in a trilogy, I am always wary. Second books are notoriously the slowest, most disappointing. And when a romance actually works in the first book, I am terrified that a stupid love triangle will ruin it in the sequel. Pandemonium, I wish I could say that you belied my fears.

You are told through duel timelines: then and now. Then picks up where Delirium left off: Lena has escaped into the Wilds, she and Alex are separated - in fact, as far as Lena knows, Alex is dead. Lena has been taken in by some Invalids and it’s a brutal, bitter life Lena has entered into. But it’s what she needs to deal with the pain of losing her love. Now picks up several months after Lena has been in the Wilds. She is in New York, in one of the cured zones, undercover and with orders to spy on a young man named Julian. She’s supposed to get close to her target, but when an outside attack forces them to rely and trust one another, Lena gets closer than she should.

I do really like Lena and her ability to use her hurt as fuel for her strength and courage. I love her need to be useful, even though for a time she just wants to curl up and die. I liked Julian; he’s been brainwashed into believing everything he’s been told about the Invalids and deliria. And I loved how Lena finds herself in the position of educating Julian, just like Alex did for her. I loved the variety of side characters in the Wilds and Raven’s firm, unbending strength to lead her people. I love the lyrical, emotional, heart wrenching writing style.

What I didn’t like was the romance. Unsurprisingly, Lena falls for Julian - and Julian falls for Lena. I really didn’t like your romance, Pandemonium. Lena struggles with her affection for Julian - one, because they are on opposite sides and Julian could betray her at any second. And two, she still thinks of Alex. But her guilt doesn’t seem to hold her back when she gets the serious need to touch and be touched by Julian. It feels so good to be kissed and caressed again; never mind the gnawing guilt she has for Alex’s memory. She needs to be touched again! She needs it so badly! I felt sorry for Julian, too, because he was kind of being used by her and he has no idea about Alex.

Lena’s attachment to Julian felt completely shallow and self-serving and nothing beyond satisfying Lena’s carnal desire. I felt like she was betraying her memory for Alex - not because she was moving on and finding love with someone else, but because it didn’t once come across as heartfelt. I didn’t like it at all. It made me think less of Lena.

And then that ending. The one thing I was afraid would happen with this trilogy, Pandemonium, was a love triangle that would turn a couple I loved together against each other. I am fearful to read Requiem now. You started out as such a good trilogy; I loved Delirium. I loved most of you. But the romance is annoying me.

Feeling anxious,

~ Mara A. ~

Others in This Trilogy:
1)Delirium
2)Pandemonium
3)Requiem

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Deceptive

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Deceptive
by Emily Lloyd-Jones
(Illusive #2)
Publication Date: July 14, 2015

Goodreads:

You don't belong with us. These are the words that echo through the minds of all immune Americans - those suffering the so-called adverse effects of an experimental vaccine, including perfect recall, body manipulation, telepathy, precognition, levitation, mind-control, and the ability to change one's appearance at will.

When immune individuals begin to disappear - in great numbers, but seemingly at random - fear and tension mount, and unrest begins to brew across the country. Through separate channels, super-powered teenagers Ciere, Daniel, and Devon find themselves on the case; super criminals and government agents working side-by-side. It's an effort that will ultimately define them all - for better or for worse.

Why I'm Excited
- True, I haven't read the first book in this series yet, but I will by the time this comes out, and it just sounds so cool!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #84 + Teaser Tuesday #45

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR. Goodness, I haven't thought that far!!



Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

They trooped down the stairs and took another right-angle turn to the left. A wooden door, set in an arched opening and reinforced with brass strips, faced them. The area was dimly lit by two lanterns high in the wall beside them. The guard now produced the second key, a smaller one this time. He pounded on the timber door twice in quick succession, then once more after a pause. Then he inserted the key and unlocked the door. Again, the luck turned smoothly and they heard a slight click as it opened. Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (pg. 315)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Golden Specific

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



The Golden Specific
by S. E. Grove
(The Mapmakers Trilogy #2)
Publication Date: July 14, 2015

From Goodreads:

It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents' disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country - but one after another proves to be a dead end.

Then Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. At the same time, Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built with Sophia and her uncle Shadrack. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined, and that one remarkable person is part of both.

There is a city that holds all of the answers - but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague's cure: The Golden Specific.

Why I'm Excited
- This is such a bizarre trilogy, and I am dying to know what happens next. What will be explained next? What will not be explained?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hedgehog Life: 5/25/15 - 6/7/15



I am still so out of it that I don't really know where to begin. So bear with me, please.

This Week I Read
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (3/5 strawberries)

This Week I Reviewed
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

What's In Store for Next Week
It's a surprise!!

So pretty much all that happened last week was New York City and BookCon. I really, truly am going to do a video about it all, and it will include my BookCon book haul. I will also include some photos. I promise I will do this post; I just need time to rest up and organize myself and my schedule.

Other than the craziness of NYC and BookCon (which was amazing), I've been busy with normal, yet exciting, things. I signed up for extra dance classes as soon as I got back - one to polish my basic swing moves and another to learn Lindy Hop. Youtube it if you don't know what it is; you'll be amazed. And now I'm heading into summer, which consists of beach excursions, day hikes, fairs, movie nights, building my kayak, and prepping my herb/flower window box. I'm also hard at work on my 5th draft for my story.

Crazy stuff! Hopefully this time next week I'll be back in the groove of things.

Keep reading, my friends!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Silver in the Blood

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Silver in the Blood
by Jessica Day George
Publication Date: July 7, 2015

From Goodreads:

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely know. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and - most terrifyingly - learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate. . . .or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

Why I'm Excited
- As some of you probably already know, I will always read anything written by Jessica Day George. She is an amazing writer and creates truly strong female protagonists.
- Shape-shifters!
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