Puddin’ by Julie Murphy – Dumplin’ #2

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

When I first read Dumplin’, I absolutely adored it. It was by far one of my favourite teen books and its focus on body image and body positivity was absolutely fantastic. I was super excited to hear about this novel, which focuses on another character that was featured in Dumplin’ and I’m so glad I got to read an eARC of it! Here are my thoughts:

28269171.jpgSummary (Goodreads): Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.


My Rating: 4 star

Review: If you liked Dumplin’, then you will certainly love this book! It has all of the charm and cuteness of the first book in the series, and a lot of new characters to fall in love with, too!

Like Dumplin’, this novel has a huge focus on body positivity. I think that books that promote love for our body need to be put out there. With so much social media out there, it is easy to feel shame about one’s body or to compare oneself to extreme beauty standards set out by society. Having a book where characters love themselves as they are and aren’t afraid to feel insecure is important for readers out there; it makes you feel less alone and gives you a safe space to feel more positively about yourself. This is one of the things that drew me to Dumplin’ and I’m so glad that it stayed a primary message in this novel.

This novel is also about friendship and identity. We are introduced to a few different characters, all from different backgrounds that have their unique perspectives on the world. I loved how the author managed to incorporate all of these different viewpoints and broaden the reader’s own perspective through them. It really reinforces the idea that there is always more to a person than what meets the eye! I loved how the different characters got to understand one another and form close bonds with each other. It was just so heartwarming to read about it!

This novel was full of cuteness and positivity as these teens maneuvered high school drama and their own internal struggles to become the best versions of themselves. I don’t read many contemporary novels but this is one that I know I will be promoting to everyone I know! I give this book a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

 

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The English Wife by Lauren Willig

I saw this book and was immediately drawn by its beautiful cover. And after I read the premise of this story, I knew that I had to give it a shot. It has been so long since I’ve read a historical fiction novel, and this was the perfect chance for me to get back into the genre.

34945222Summary (Goodreads): Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?


My Rating:   3 star

Review: This was a really interesting read and I quite enjoyed all that it had to offer!

I love the way the author blended multiple genres into one book. There was a great historical background that served as the perfect platform for this mystery story that explores the depth of love and romance and secrets in a marriage. Everything worked in harmony, and it was unexpected for me so I really enjoyed it!

I also loved that the story was told from 2 different points of view. One story took place in the past and was told from the perspective of Bayard’s wife. The other perspective is Janie’s as she tries to figure out what happened in the end. I loved both of these characters as they each struggled in their own unique ways and had very different personalities. Both the past and present story lines were interesting, but I found that the present was a bit slower in pacing and not as exciting. This was, however, necessary in order to build up the intrigue and the various plot twists, and to give the story depth.

There were quite a few twists and turns and a number of characters that were pretty mean and nasty, which I really liked. I love having characters that are easy to hate sometimes because it makes me want them to be the evil-doers at the end of the book. It certainly added to the intrigue and left me guessing as to who was responsible for the death of Bayard and his wife!

The romance in this novel was done superbly. I loved every single bit of romance in this novel and I wish I could expound on this but it would ruin the story. Suffice to say, this novel deals with some romance elements that are not usually seen in historical fiction books and it is done very well!

I actually loved the ending because it took me by surprise and wrapped things up smoothly while still leaving it slightly open-ended.

There are only a few points of criticism that I have. For one thing, there are too many names that sound similar. Georgie, George, Georgiana … it was easy for me to get very confused. I don’t think all of these names should have been utilized, and I definitely think the author could have simplified it. The other weird part about this book has to do with the ending and the character responsible for everything. The ending seemed at odds with their behaviour at earlier points in the book. While I liked that the author chose to pin it on this person, I wish that the author had made it make sense with the character’s behaviour early on – or at least not make it so at odds with the end!

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book and the various twists and turns it took. It was a great way for me to get that dose of historical fiction while reading about romance and mystery. I’m giving this a solid 3/5 stars and I’m looking forward to what else the author has in store!

Happy reading ~

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I’m going to start with a confession: when I heard about this book I was nervous that it was going to be just hype and not live up to my expectations. NEVER HAVE I BEEN SO HAPPY TO BE WRONG!

35297394Summary (Goodreads): Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


Review: This is hands-down one of my favourite books I’ve read this month.

At first, I was a little confused as to where the story was going to go. The writing style was very elegant but the events seemed a little too teenager-y for my taste. I was worried I wouldn’t like this book….

AND THEN IT ALL CHANGED.

The ghostliness of the story became the forefront and it was just amazing. I loved the atmosphere of this novel, with its haunting imagery and creepy scenes. It delivered on so many fronts. Every chapter began with a small section about the 3 sisters who were responsible for the curse on the island and these excerpts were so intriguing! The entire reading experience was just fantastic.

Even though I had already predicted the biggest twist in the story, I found myself enjoying the story so much that I didn’t care. I didn’t need for there to be that massive surprise when the quality of the storytelling was just so good!

I also quite liked the interactions between the different characters. I didn’t think I would since I’m not a big fan of romance, but it was done very nicely here, and I was able to really connect with the characters. Needless to say, I was pretty emotional when I got to the ending – but that’s when you know you’ve read something amazing!

I honestly cannot say enough about this book because I just loved every minute of it. If you like romance and ghostly encounters and witches and amazing writing, then check out this book! I’m giving it 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I rarely read contemporaries. It’s not that I have anything against them, it’s just that I love reading fantasy, thrillers, and science fiction books so much that I don’t have time for other genres. However, the cover and description for this book intrigued me enough that I wanted to try it. Here is my review:

35297272Summary (Goodreads): For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


Review: I wasn’t expecting to love this novel as much as I did. But yeah, I loved it! I actually could not pull myself away from this book!

I think that the characters in this book were absolutely brilliant. I loved that our protagonists were so different from others, and yet, were easy for the reader to relate to. Their way of thinking isn’t something that is so out of the ordinary, it’s just the way they express themselves that is so unique. I loved how these two got closer to each other and I liked that the author used text messages as the main platform for their communication; any time an author uses a different medium and structures passages from their books in that format, I love it.

This novel didn’t have a super speedy plot. It was definitely a slow burner but that meant there was plenty of time for the relationship to develop between Penny and Sam. I think that in order for the romance, which is the main focus of the story, to develop properly, it needed to take as much time as it did to be successful. So I really didn’t mind the slower plot. And it honestly didn’t feel that slow to me! I chalk it up to the really great writing and the way that the author allows the readers to connect with the different characters; I was too invested to care about how slow the story was moving!

However, there were certain things about this book that weren’t handled as well. The author creates two characters that have a whole bunch of other issues and traumas in their life. Slowly, we find out what these traumatic incidents/issues are … but they don’t get properly addressed or resolved. They are put in there to explain certain aspects of behaviour, but are easily dismissed or “fixed”. This annoyed me a bit because it’s a very unrealistic portrayal of how people cope and change over time. If this had been properly executed, I would probably have given a higher rating. Better yet, why even include those aspects if they don’t play a central role to the story or won’t be addressed properly? The story wouldn’t have suffered without their inclusion, and I really don’t get why so many authors feel the need to introduce traumatic pasts into their characters’ lives.

Despite this last issue, I still really enjoyed this novel. It exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways and it was an engrossing story. I fell for the characters and their romance, so for those reasons, I’m giving this a 4/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Since you all know me and my tendencies to read hyped books, you know why I read this book. No need to give any further commentary than that. So let’s just move on to the review:

19547856Summary (Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


Review: I’m a little scared to write my review. I liked this novel and found it a very fast and good read. But I didn’t love it.

I don’t read many contemporary books, especially not cute ones. This is definitely a cute novel, and it had me smiling quite a lot. Simon is a very sassy character and I love all of the craziness he gets involved in. I absolutely adored the email correspondences because they were so genuine.

But I didn’t like Simon himself. I’m not saying that Simon has to be a perfect character; I love when the authors make their characters flawed. But Simon was a little too obnoxious and mean for me to like at times. I don’t think he was ever a good friend. And that bothered me a lot. The author gives Simon such an amazing support system with his family members and friends. But he is kind of an asshole and he’s also fickle. And every time he did something or said/thought something that wasn’t so nice, it made me distance myself from him. Even once he recognized he was wrong, there wasn’t really any remorse from him, and I think this bothered me more. I mean, if we’re gonna go cutesy, you might as well go all the way and make him a more caring person at the end of it all.

However, I think this novel raises some very important issues regarding sexual orientation. And I think the story handles it very well and presents these ideas to the public in a way that will make everyone understand what it feels like to be something other than heterosexual. Ultimately, this story is upbeat and full of hope and positivity, and I came out of this novel feeling happy. For once, the romance is amazingly realistic and sweet and it made me feel the emotions. To me, these are the things that make this book so great.

I finished this novel with a smile on my face, and with a better understanding about the struggles of the lgbtqia+ community (and everyone can always do with understanding more about this). For those reasons, I’m giving this a 3.5/5 stars, rounded to 4.

Happy reading ~

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

This is a thriller that I’ve been seeing in all the libraries and bookstores. And yes, as per the usual, I decided to try it out and see whether it lives up to the hype.

And this time, it does.

25365530Summary (Goodreads): How far does the apple really fall from the tree?

Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school.

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all.

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.


Review: I’m going to start with a trigger warning – there are instances of abuse, murder, and some horrific bullying in this novel. This novel is really not for the faint of heart because it deals with very sensitive topics.

The story starts off slow, with Milly telling us that she has turned in her mother and is being fostered by a psychologist who will be helping her prep for the trial. Right off the bat, I loved Milly’s voice. It’s choppy sentencing, but done right. The short sentences convey so much emotion and I can feel Milly’s troubling thoughts, her inability to live with her guilt, and her struggle to separate her identity from her mother’s. Even though it was slow-going, I really enjoyed how the author drew out the story and made the readers really understand Milly.

Not only is Milly facing the trial, she is also being severely bullied by her foster sister. This aspect actually made the story more of a teen read rather than an adult read, but the extent and cruelty of the bullying still makes this a hard read. I could never imagine bullying to be this terrible … but that’s wishful thinking. Bullying happens, in schools and in workplaces, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the bullying scenarios in the book are similar to what actually happens in real life. Every time I read what Milly was going through at the school, I felt chills. A part of me knew that Milly wasn’t just a meek girl. She was silent, but she was watching. I loved that the author made me feel sympathy for her but also tempered it by making me fear her a little.

For most of the book, we are shown these bullying aspects. At times, I wished to know more about the trial and the circumstances that led to Milly confessing to the cops about her mother. But the story eventually gets around to that. It was definitely worth the wait, and while it was predictable, it was done very well and I could feel the emotions that Milly was feeling.

I had only one problem with this novel, and this is the reason my rating went down. An incident happens in the story and Milly and the foster family must band together for it. This instance, while something predictable, was put together in a very awkward and abrupt way, and made for a very weird transition in the story. After all the time the author put in to develop the other details of the story, this lack of a proper segue was a bit disappointing. It also made the story lose some of its believability, which is a characteristic I think is very important in a book. The ending was also very abrupt because of this.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It gave me chills and it had me feeling all the feels for Milly. I just wish it had ended in a cleaner way. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

19 Souls by J.D. Allen – Sin City Investigations #1

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I don’t read private investigator thrillers very often, but I really like them. I like seeing how PI’s gather their information, and I like the unusual cases that they take on. It’s a nice break from the usual police procedural thrillers out there. I began this novel eager to see how the story would unfold.

35260163Summary (Goodreads): Private Investigator Jim Bean is a straightforward, to-the-point man. When his latest client, Sophie Evers, asks him to find her brother Daniel, Jim has no idea how complicated his life is about to become.

Daniel is not Sophie’s brother. He is her most coveted prey. Clinging to the belief that they belong together, Sophie kills Daniel’s real sister to manipulate Jim into flushing Daniel out of hiding. She will create the “perfect life” for the only man she’s ever loved, no matter how many people she must kill along the way.

When Jim discovers the truth about Sophie, he’s driven to set things right before her delusional plan claims even more souls


Review: This novel promises to have a manipulative villain – and it does. From the first chapter, the reader is introduced to Sophie, Jim Bean’s newest client. And boy, is she messed up! I loved that the author packed the punches from the start!

I think the author did a really great job with Sophie’s character. She was absolutely crazy and I loved reading chapters that were from Sophie’s perspective. It was the most exciting part of the book for me. I wanted to see how far Sophie would go to get what she wanted, what would be her next move. I wish there had been more of her chapters in the book because it was where the most action happened.

Jim Bean gave me a very classic noir detective vibe. He’s a man of limited words who is bitter about his past but is focused on doing a good job. He’s jaded, he’s unpredictable, and it’s all about solving the mystery. But I didn’t love him as much. I found his character to be a bit too stereotypical; there was nothing very unique about him. He talked in a very cliched manner and I found everything he mused on to be very repetitive. It took away from the action of the story and made everything move at a slower pace.

I feel like the story premise, while interesting, didn’t flow as well as it could have. There were spurts with a good amount of action that moved the story forward, but for the most part, the novel was bogged down with details that were interesting but not really necessary. I kept wanting the novel to keep moving forward, and found myself getting bored with the discoveries of the smaller details.

I also wasn’t too big of a fan of the writing. There were many choppy sentences that could have been removed or adjusted to be a part of a bigger sentence. I feel like the writing style (especially for sections featuring Jim Bean) were supposed to mimic the vibe of a classic noir story, but it was done way too often to maintain the effect. I also found it annoying that the author kept repeating the same things multiple times. Yes, readers can forget details but that doesn’t mean they need to be reminded of them excessively! And these details weren’t even important ones so I really didn’t understand the emphasis.

Overall, I think this novel was quite interesting in that it featured a very unique antagonist. However, the awkward writing style and slow plot didn’t work too well for me. I’m giving this a 2.5/5 stars (rounded to 3) and would recommend this to fans of noir novels.

Happy reading ~

Crimson Ash by Haley Sulich

I recently participated in a blog tour for this book and it was such a great experience! I loved the experience of live-tweeting and hosting a giveaway, and it’s something I want to continue to do!

But now, it is time for my own review of this book!

36572385Synopsis (Goodreads): You may live as a soldier or face death. Choose wisely.

Solanine Lucille wants her little sister back. Eight years ago, the government kidnapped her sister Ember, stole her memories, and transformed her into a soldier. But Solanine refuses to give up. Now that she and her fiancé have located the leader of a rebel group, she believes she can finally bring Ember home. But then the soldiers raid the rebels, killing her fiancé and leaving Solanine alone with her demons and all the weapons needed for revenge.

After raiding a rebel camp, sixteen-year-old Ember doesn’t understand why killing some boy bothers her. She’s a soldier—she has killed hundreds of people without remorse. But after she fails a mission, the rebels hold her hostage and restore her memories. Ember recognizes her sister among the rebels and realizes the boy she killed was Solanine’s fiancé.

Ember knows she can’t hide the truth forever, but Solanine has secrets too.

As their worlds clash, the two sisters must decide if their relationship is worth fighting for. And one wrong move could destroy everything—and everyone—in their path.


Review: I think the premise for this book was great. However, I think it failed in execution.

As soon as I started reading this book, I felt out of sorts. This novel throws you right into the action … but with very little background. It almost felt like I was reading the second book in a series, and not the first. I kept waiting for there to be an explanation or some kind of recounting of events to explain how things got to be to the present time in the book, but it didn’t really happen. The few things that were explained were glossed over, which was disappointing. I love reading about the world authors create, but this novel really didn’t do that. No context = tons of confusion!

The novel looks like it is going to be full of action … and while there is some of that, it is mostly about the bond between Ember and Solanine. I actually liked the way the author told this. As an older sister, I could really connect with the sisters in this story and how they struggled to trust each other. The emotional interactions between the siblings was done quite well. However, apart from their bond, I didn’t really feel like the sisters had any well-developed interactions with any of the other characters in the book. Told in alternating perspectives, we read about how each sister learns to forgive themselves and move on from their guilt through the help of various other characters. But it was all so one-dimensional; I never got a feel for the other characters and the interactions were just too rushed for them to have any significance or value.

One of the characters that completely baffled me was Nightshade, who is part of the resistance (and no, this resistance is also not really explained). For someone who is supposed to be a leader, she didn’t do much of it. Nor did she have any plans. She did nothing and was swayed by her own emotions. I think this issue could have been resolved if the author had built the character better and had a more concrete backstory that was explained.

There are a lot of instances of self-harm and abuse in this novel, which may bother some readers. At first, I appreciated the author mentioning these things in the story, as it highlights how easy it is to get into destructive behaviour patterns. However, it became too frequent of an occurrence, and began to feel like the author was including these instances just for the sake of having something to write about.

Before the halfway point of the book, not much was happening. It was very focused on the sisters trying to communicate. After the halfway point, the plot started to move fairly quickly. But the lack of explanation about the way this dystopian world was set up meant I had a lot of questions and very few answers. There was a lot of redundancy in the action events themselves, with characters getting caught, then escaping, then getting caught again. It just got boring very quickly.

Overall, I think that the concept behind this novel was good but the execution was lacking. There needed to be a lot more world-building and explanations for how things work. Characters also needed to be more developed. There needs to be the right balance between theme/plot and setting/world-building, and this novel did not have that. However, since I liked the sisterly bond aspect, I’m bumping my rating up to a 2/5 stars.

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Happy reading ~

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

If you didn’t already know, I’m obsessed with anything related to Every Heart A Doorway. It was the first book I read by Seanan McGuire, and it blew my mind. Every chance I get to jump back into that whimsical and twisted world, I take it. I’ve been anxiously anticipating this book, and it was such a great read! Here’s my review:

27366528Summary (Goodreads): Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.


Review: I’m aware that this is a very short summary of the book … but really, if any more detail was given, then the story would be ruined. Let me begin by saying that I highly recommend you to read Every Heart A Doorway before reading this one; while it may be marketed as a standalone, there are too many references and details to the original book for that to work. Reading Every Heart A Doorway will really give you a glimpse into the whimsical mayhem that is this world – or rather, worlds.

If you’ve read the other books that are part of this series, then you will most likely enjoy this one. It features a diverse group of characters, all from different worlds that come together to help Rini, a stranger who literally fell into their lives. I love all of the characters in this book; they are vibrant, and unique, and beautifully created. There is nothing I love more than good characters – and these ones are great! I enjoyed reading about the ways they interacted, how they learned to respect the differences that made each person unique, and how much they embraced their own uniqueness. Not only are the characters diverse because of their experiences in their different “worlds”, they have diverse ethnic background, gender identities, and abilities. I love that this book focused on body image and identity, highlighting the difficulties and assumptions that come with these issues as well as ways in which to feel positive about these issues. It’s important for an author to talk about real-life issues and the way that Seanan McGuire does it is phenomenal; underneath all the whimsical magic of the story lies important messages that everyone needs to hear.

I also love the setting. It is gorgeous and magical and open to every possible thing you can imagine. This book series is amazing because of the beautiful way the author describes everything – and I’m not going to say any more on this because I want you to experience it for yourselves!

The great thing about this book is that it is really short, but leaves plenty of avenues to explore and discover. I love the sense of adventure in this book and how things make no sense and yet are still logical. It was perfect and I cannot wait to see what else the author has in store for this series!

I really cannot rave more about this book. I love this series so much because it is so out of the norm. I have no idea how the author comes up with these crazy ideas … but I hope it never stops! I love that these books have deeper meanings and themes underneath the surface and features a diverse host of characters. For all those reasons, I’m giving this 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Ignite by Tracy Lawson – The Resistance #3

I received this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I received no incentives. 

I’ve been continuing this series through audio books and it’s been a really great experience. I love the narrative style and the way all of the voices are changed to suit the different characters. It took me longer to get through this book compared to the other novels in this series, but that in no way means this was less interesting. If anything, I think this is my favourite book in the series. Here’s why:

30356956Summary (Goodreads): Nationwide food shortages have sparked civil unrest, and the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s hold on the people is slipping. The Resistance’s efforts to hasten the OCSD’s demise have resulted in disaster, with Tommy Bailey and Careen Catecher taking the blame for the ill-fated mission in OP-439.

Both teens struggle to survive the circumstances that force them into the national spotlight—and this time, they’re on opposite sides. On the run and exiled from the Resistance members in BG-098, Tommy makes his way to a Resistance safe house in the capital.

The OCSD is preparing to monitor all under-eighteens with the Cerberean Link, a device that protects them against hunger and sickness and can even locate them if they’re lost. Tommy’s now living in close quarters with Atari, an operative who’s been assigned to sabotage the Link. But does Atari plan to use it for his own purposes?

Through it all, Tommy refuses to believe Careen’s loyalties have shifted away from the Resistance, and he’s willing to assume any risk to reconnect with her. Will they be able to trust each other when it matters most?

 Review: Apart from the first book that started me on this journey, this has got to be my next favourite book in this series. I was surprised that this series was not a trilogy, but after reading this book, I have to admit that this was a good decision; there is just too much to this story for it to be condensed into a trilogy.

I loved that the author didn’t shy away from describing brutality and torture, despite this being a YA novel. Many times, authors leave it up to the imagination, but not with this book! It made everything seem so much more real and horrifying, and I felt so much more invested in the story. Again, the author portrays things in such a realistic way that it scares me; the events in this book could easily become reality!

I was also really happy to see that the characters became more developed in this novel. There were still instances of insta-love but there were more struggles. The protagonists really grew up, and the interactions between all of the other characters were also more complex. The story has gotten to a point where the reader now has to question who can be trusted – and I love it!

The plot became more divided in this book as the characters took on different roles and responsibilities within the Resistance. Everything was well-developed and the crossing-over of the different story lines was done really well, keeping things compact.

Overall, this novel was really well done. I loved the depth of the interactions and the complexity of the plot and characters. This was the strongest book so far in the series, and I can’t wait to see how the adventure continues! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~