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The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick Yancey

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick YanceyTitle: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 24, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 2, 2017
Related Posts: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1), The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

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** This review will contain spoilers for the book! To view with spoiler tags and avoid any direct plot points, please see my review on Goodreads! **

My initial reaction to this book was… What did I even just read???
So to give this book the benefit, I did not look up what had happened in THE INFINITE SEA before starting it so I know I was missing a few things that had happened in book two, but I was kind of hoping it would all come pouring back once I started. (It did not.) I did finally watch THE 5TH WAVE movie a few months ago so at least I had that refresher of how it all started.

I’ve always had a hard time with Evan because I just like… really didn’t want Cassie to be in love with an alien… But the whole series it’s like, is he? Is he not? What in the world is going on?! That’s part of the appeal of the whole series — we never truly know — but I felt like I was jerked around for so long that I just didn’t believe anything anymore and I ended up feeling more numb towards the big, final answer because I wasn’t going to believe it no matter what happened. I was also Team Ben so as much as I got pushed toward Evan as a love interest the whole series, I wasn’t having it.

The book was slow and didn’t seem to move the plot forward much at all. Most of the true action and plot development happened in the last few chapters of the book, and they were also quite confusing. It felt like so much was jammed into the end of the book that I was trying to sort it all out at once instead of being given little kernels of information that I could apply to the series as it came to a close.

There were a lot of perspectives which didn’t bother me but I also think that things could have been a lot more concise and cohesive and better told through a few less. The addition of Ringer as a main perspective always felt a little off to me and I kiiiiind of wish her character had been rolled up into Cassie and allowed Cassie to stay in the spotlight with the romance and the badassery. I get why it was necessary, as far as the end of the plot went, but meh. Not a fan.

I also hated what was done to Ringer’s character. It seemed messy in so many ways, like there were so many ideas and they couldn’t be done to Cassie so let’s do them ALL to Ringer. There was a pregnancy story like which WHAT? UGH. Why was that even necessary? (It wasn’t.) It just felt so off and it didn’t do anything for the book except make me annoyed. I guess like, let’s preserve humanity and rebuild the world but ugh, that could have been accomplished with Sam and Megan. I also really just hate pregnancy story lines so I’m totally biased but I just didn’t feel like it fit at all. 

The whole book felt sloppy and confusing and like it got way too far from the first book, which I loved so much. The tone, pacing, and direction felt totally different (although I’m sure that was the master plan all along, but it didn’t feel like it) and some of the ending was so cheesy. I hate the “love is the answer” plot because it’s cheesy and overdone. It’s also STUPID in this book because if the aliens had been studying the humans for oh, thousands of years, HOW COULD THEY NOT HAVE TAKEN LOVE INTO ACCOUNT. If they’re that smart to mastermind this whole thing, even if aliens don’t understand a love emotion, it can be observed and people’s actions can be explained by it. Nope. Not buying it. I also know that I was doing other things while listening to this audio but what in the world even happened in the end? So what was the answer!? That’s a tough thing with being intentionally misled and redirected so many times — even the reader starts to wonder what’s real anymore, even if the truth is presented plainly. The characters still had doubts so that made me continue doubting. I don’t even know if I understand what the whole point was…

I’m glad I finished the series because it’s been on my shelf for so long but man, I haven’t been this confused and frustrated by a series finale in a while. I’m not even mad because I was already sort of detached (okay, I’m a little mad) but the biggest disappointment comes from loving the first book in a series and by the end, you feel like you can’t even recommend that series anymore. What a letdown.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Aliens, I guess. I enjoyed that this was an alien series that didn’t really feel so alien and far-fetched. Except for this book, where it felt totally far-fetched.
Left Me Wanting More: Conclusion. I just… I was so disappointed. This wasn’t what I expected at all and this whole series fell apart. I feel sad because I was one of those people who loved the second book where so many others didn’t and it ended up falling apart in the next book anyway.

Addiction Rating
If you’ve made it this far, might as well read it?

This isn’t a long book so if you’ve already read the first two, maybe worth finishing the series… But I’d still have a hard time recommending it and I don’t feel like I can even recommend the series now.

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BOOKS LIKE THE LAST STAR

          

Rule of Three: Fight for Power Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for
FIGHT FOR POWER by Eric Walters!

Firstly, a big thank you to Macmillan for putting this blog tour together! I’m always so excited to be a part of these tours and so grateful I get to participate!

If you’re not familiar with FIGHT FOR POWER, it’s the second book in the RULE OF THREE trilogy by Eric Walters. Here’s a bit more info on the book itself before we head on over to the blog post:

FIGHT FOR POWERPublishing Info: January 20th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult (Apocalyptic)
Find It Online:  Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

   “The world keeps getting darker in this second reality-based survival adventure in the Rule of Three trilogy 
After sixty-six days of a catastrophic global blackout, life in the suburbs is not what it used to be for Adam and his fortified neighborhood of Eden Mills. Although an explosive clash has minimized one threat from outside the walls, Adam’s battle-hardened mentor, Herb, continues to make decisions in the name of security that are increasingly wrenching and questionable. Like his police chief mom and others, Adam will follow Herb’s lead. But when the next threat comes from an unexpected direction, nobody is ready for it. And someone is going to pay the price—because of Adam’s mistakes and mistaken trust.” — From Goodreads

GUEST POST FROM ERIC WALTERS
So who’s your favorite character that you write?

In the Rule of Three trilogy the story is told first person through the eyes of Adam.  I have certainly embedded a great deal of myself into his actions and thoughts.  It’s strange though how my chief protagonist is often not my ‘favorite character’.   Don’t get me wrong, I like Adam, but the character who most fascinated me is Herb.  Herb is Adam’s retired next-door neighbor.  He’s not the sort of guy who yells at you for being on his lawn.  Mostly he’s just a nice, friendly guy, but occasionally there are flashes, something in his eyes that makes you think you really don’t want to ‘mess’ with this guy.  He’s a retired government employee – he says he was ‘just a paper pusher’ who worked at U.S. embassies around the world.  As the crisis develops it seems that Herb is always a step or two ahead of everybody else.  It turns out that Herb was more than just a paper pusher.  He worked for the C.I.A. in Clandestine Ops – sometimes called Black Ops.  He’s been around the world, has seen things happen and knows what to do.  Even more than that, he’s not afraid to do what needs to be done.

Throughout the novels there is a continuous interaction between Adam and Herb.  Adam is changed by the situations confronting him and tutored by Herb in the steps that need to be taken.  At the same time Herb is transformed by the thoughts and actions of Adam.  He learns not only who he is, but what he really believes in.  He is the character who seems to most have the answers to what is going on around them, but still he continues to evolve internally.  It is that internal journey of Herb that truly made him fascinating for me to write and continues to be fascinating to read.


 A big, big thank you to author Eric Walters for taking the time to write up this guest post for me! I really love that your main protagonist doesn’t necessarily equal favorite character!

GIVEAWAY

Want to win a copy of FIGHT FOR POWER? I’m giving a copy away! Just enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win! Sorry, US entries only, please. Book is in ARC format.

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The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) – Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) – Rick YanceyTitle: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: September 16, 2014 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 5, 2014
Related Posts: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1), The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
    Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
    Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

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Last year when THE 5TH WAVE came out, I actually had no interest in an alien story but once I heard the buzz, I ran out to the store, picked up the book, and when I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I finished THE 5TH WAVE in one sitting and absolutely loved the book. I’ve been waiting a while for THE INFINITE SEA to come out and once again, Rick Yancey totally hooked me straight away. If I hadn’t had to stop for food and sleep and work, I could have easily tore through this book cover to cover like its predecessor!

What really hits me the most about these books are the characters and the action. In THE 5TH WAVE, the readers are introduced to the core set of characters and they make a sincere connection, all the while just as unsure as the characters what’s going on with this wave of invaders and how they can possibly survive. THE INFINITE SEA starts off with just a big of a bang and right away I was anxious how the opening scene would no doubt affect the entire rest of the book. The action kicks off in high gear right from the start and I really felt like it carried me through the book. I couldn’t stop turning pages and I was totally riveted.

Whereas we spent a lot of time with Cassie and Zombie in THE 5TH WAVE, THE INFINITE SEA opens up to a larger range of POVs from some of the secondary characters, now in the spotlight. Cassie, Zombie, Evan, and Sam are still very much main characters, but Rick Yancey allows us into the minds of people like Ringer (who is known to be antagonistic — and I always love being able to see inside of the mind of an opposing force) and even characters like Poundcake. I feel like there was a mixed reaction to the slight shift from Cassie and Evan’s perspectives but I really enjoyed how the new perspectives really added another layer to the overall story. The characters who were once secondary step forward and really show how much they have to offer and how much they might change the entire plot of the series so I thought it was really interesting to see how the focus started to spread further than just the initial core main characters. There are still the same POV shifts from section to section which I’ve seen some readers still struggle with a bit, but I didn’t feel like they jumped around too much. Sometimes it does take a few sentences before you’re able to pin down whose POV you’re reading , but that really wasn’t something that bothered me, personally!

Keeping true to book one, THE INFINITE SEA also has no shortages of twists, one particularly shocking one which of course, I will not divulge! I’m always impressed with the way everything sort of loops back around and all comes together. I absolutely love twists so some of the big bombs that were dropped in THE INFINTE SEA totally caught me by surprise! They really made me think and I almost feel like I need to go back to book one to see how these things are even possible! (Are they?) But there’s always book three to figure that out too, right?

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Ringer // Character Obsessions: Loyalty, independence, determination. I barely even remembered Ringer from the previous book. I’m not sure why since it seemed so many people were up in arms about her being such an antagonistic character to start focusing on… Maybe I was just too focused on Cassie/Evan/Zombie. Anyway! I actually really enjoyed her POV. She’s one tough cookie but also in a different way than Cassie. So much of Cassie’s fight to survive is also for her brother and Ringer has her people she fights for but she is also very much self-reliant. Cassie’s protection feels more caring and Ringer’s protection seems a lot more straight-forward and intense. I just really liked the new mix of POVs and really ended up enjoying hers!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Science-Fiction. I am very choosy about my science fiction and never would have picked up a series based on aliens without the glowing reviews from others but I still have tons of praise for this series from Rick Yancey! It makes me want to branch out and try some more straight-up sci-fi!
Left Me Wanting More: Memory of the first book? I read the Recaptains review before I started but even still, I feel like I wasn’t remembering a whole lot. I think maybe reading in one day sort of muddled my memory because the whole book melted together. The only thing I felt a little in the dark about was the secondary characters but they characters did their job of quickly catching me up anyway!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I’m still really enjoying this series and I also definitely want to take a look at Rick Yancey’s other books. There’s just something about his writing that TOTALLY hooks me.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE INFINITE SEA

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        unremembered           the adoration of jenna fox

Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) – Emmy Laybourne

Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3) by Emmy Laybourne
Publishing Info: May 6, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 12, 2014
Related Posts: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1), Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2), Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5), Sweet

    It's over. Dean, Alex, and the other survivors of the Monument 14 have escaped the disaster zone and made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Some of the kids have been reunited with their families, and everyone is making tentative plans for the future. And then, Niko learns that his lost love, Josie, has survived!Or is it? For Josie, separated from the group and presumed dead, life has gone from bad to worse. Trapped in a terrible prison camp with other exposed O’s and traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue. Meanwhile, scared by the government’s unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid—along with her two protectors, Dean and Jake—joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with Josie. In Monument 14: Savage Drift, the stunningly fierce conclusion to the Monument 14 trilogy, author Emmy Laybourne ups the stakes even higher for a group of kids who have continually survived the unthinkable. Can they do so one last time?

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I’m so excited to finish the MONUMENT 14 trilogy! The Fierce Reads event where Emmy Laybourne was promoting the very first book was my first book event/author appearance ever and MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE was my book of choice on my way back from BEA last year, so the trilogy holds a bit of a special place in my heart!

One thing I’ve always loved in the series was how Emmy doesn’t shy away from writing the really action-packed, in-your-face scenes. She does tone down on the swearing (hey, we have to keep it PG-13 somehow, right?) but the action, the gore, the reality of what is happening in the book is never really glossed over. Things don’t get TOO violent, but the reader really gets to experiences things as the characters are – right there in the thick of it.

I really appreciated the dual POVs! We saw dual POVs between Dean and Alex in SKY ON FIRE but MONUMENT 14: SAVAGE DRIFT features Dean as the male lead still and Josie as the other view point. The last we knew of her, she had sacrificed herself to protect the lives of the other kids and presumed dead so it was really interesting to not only get a female POV but also one that’s taking place on the complete opposite side of the country and so distant from the main group of kids.

The one thing I think I was missing throughout the trilogy was maybe a bit more character development and relationship development. I really enjoyed reading about each of the characters but there were so many and there was so much going on that I really would have liked to see them interact a bit more so I could get to know a bit more about them. I was just lacking a little bit of connection to each one and I actually ended up connecting to Josie the most in this book, I think because her character was so far removed from everyone else that we knew that I really got to see how she handled herself on her own.

The ending was just what I always wanted it to be. Everything wrapped up so nicely and there were even little bonuses I didn’t see coming. It was a great apocalyptic and action-packed trilogy that I think many different ages could enjoy, male or female. I’m so glad I invested my time in this series and I feel a little twinge of satisfaction having finished it! I really enjoyed Emmy’s books and plan on picking up more of her works in the future!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne

HOW INTERESTING. Haha, sorry guys! Read it pretty much from cover to cover on a plane so I didn’t get to update this one!

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Dean // Character Obsessions: Survival, Astrid, reuniting the group, the farm. 
I liked Dean but I still don’t feel like I KNOW him. He was still fairly quiet in the final book although he really starts coming into his own and making his voice heard. I think he was just kind of a middle person for me… Not really a leader but not really a follower. He sort of blended in. By the end of the trilogy, I just really wanted him to stand out more to me.
Josie // Character Obsessions: Control, survival, Niko, trust.
I loved her POV in this book! She actually did stand out to me which was great. She is one tough cookie! I can’t imagine ever being in that situation and she really held her own, even fighting many times for what she wanted and what she needed. I also loved that she had a great mix of strong and then more tender moments. Definitely a nice, well-rounded character in this book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Disaster scenarios. I’m not always into the disaster situation scene but I really loved how this one wasn’t a natural disaster! I caused some, sure, but this was something that went way deeper than that. The greed of man.
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. They were some really great characters but I was juuust missing that personal connection to them and really getting to know their histories.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I think this trilogy is a bit underrated. Although I wish I had gotten to know the characters a bit more, I really enjoyed it overall and I think it was solid as far as momentum, plot, and action go!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SAVAGE DRIFT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Rule of Three   Unremembered

The Rule of Three – Eric Walters

The Rule of Three – Eric WaltersTitle: The Rule of Three (The Rule of Three #1) by Eric Walters
Publishing Info: January 21, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 2, 2014

One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival, in The Rule of Three by Eric Walters.

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THE RULE OF THREE was an interesting read for me! It has a lot of elements that I’ve really been enjoying lately: male POV, a pre-apocalyptic atmosphere (things just starting to unravel), some action, and a little bit of mystery. I was hoping it would be comparable to MONUMENT 14 which is a similar set of books that I really enjoyed, and in some ways it did, but in others, the story fell short for me.

THE RULE OF THREE starts off with sixteen-year-old Adam at school when all of a sudden the electricity shuts off. And not just the electricity — laptop batteries, cars, basically anything that functions on electricity or is operated a computer no longer works at all. It was actually really eye-opening to see exactly how many things we use day-to-day that work using computer technology and all of the technology we wouldn’t be able to use if this situation ever really occurred. I was kind of fascinated by the fact and how many things you wouldn’t even consider would be affected and how crippling something like that would be! It was really quite jarring.

I really appreciated the characters of this book. I loved the male voice of Adam and really these days, I’m just finding male POVs so refreshing in YA since the age group seems to be heavily saturated by female writers and protagonists. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I like to switch it up so I was happy to see another YA book with a male main character! I really liked how Adam interacted with his family, his friends, and of course, he’s got a crush! The most interesting relationship of the book though was Adam’s interactions with his elderly neighbor Herb. Herb knows a thing or two. The neighborhood doesn’t seem to know much about his past but when the electro-bomb hits, Herb easily steps into a leadership role and helps the neighborhood prepare for survival.
I really liked Herb a lot at first and was incredibly intrigued by his past but admittedly… He wore on me after a while. Herb was the guy who knew it all and with that kind of knowledge, everyone relied on him. My issue was that he had ALL the answers. It seemed like there was never a situation where he was initially unsure. I guess in a survival situation like that, there’s not really room to be insecure, but it was hard to see someone who had all the answers, all the time, and it was so easy to convince people to follow what he said. Also since he had all of the answers, he inserted himself into every situation and I felt he became a bit overbearing and hard to deal with. Also, with all of his secrecy, I almost expected him to turn on the community at some point in time. I think I felt like he was maybe too militant and not as emotional as I had hoped to form that emotional connection. Then again, that was also something he relied on Adam for.

The action in this book was always moving. Adam and his community are constantly up against one thing or another that causes them to take both offensive and defensive action and with no power, there’s always a task to be done. Some of it was more exciting than others but in that kind of a situation, there’s a lot you need to do to prepare. My personal issue was that at about a third of the way through the book, I wasn’t quite sure where to go anymore. I felt like the action got a bit repetitive sometimes — not all the time, because new situations always arise — but really in that kind of survival situation, the same types of attacks and uprisings are bound to happen. I felt like it was hard to evolve the story line sometimes and still keep it realistic which ended up causing the book to slow a little bit.

My disappointment was with the ending. There were too many things left open, too many loose ends, and very important questions that I had since page five that never got answered. I wanted  so much more resolution and it didn’t even feel like a cliffhanger so much as the book just ENDED. I felt like it wrapped up with “this is how their lives will be so just assume this is how they’ll keep going”.

In full disclosure, I actually JUST found out while writing my review (from someone else’s review on Goodreads) that this book is actually the first of a series. It’s not listed as so on Goodreads and as a reader and reviewer, I heavily rely on that information (although in this case, Goodreads may not always be accurate) but I also feel like I haven’t even seen it advertised as a series anywhere, not even on my ARC copy (unless I clearly missed it). I finished the book thinking it was going to be a stand alone and ended up mildly disappointed in the conclusion which I suppose may not even be a conclusion after all. Even still, the book didn’t quite wrap up as well as I would like, even if there are future books, because it really just felt kind of abrupt. I can see future books for this series, but even still, I’m not sure if I’ll pick them up. I liked Adam enough and felt like he was a really good protagonist but Herb just wore on me a lot towards the end of the book and I’m not motivated it pick up another book if he’ll be heavily featured in it. I’d really like to find out a few more answers but I’m not sure I’d go through another book or two to get them.

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Adam // Character Obsessions: Surviving, taking care of his family, flying the Ultralight.
I really liked Adam as our main character! He was likable, charismatic, a bit naive but ultimately enjoyable. He was portrayed as the ray of hope for the community and the driving force for people to get behind and I really stood behind him too.
Herb // Character Obsessions: Organizing, leading, defense.
I liked Herb a lot at first but he really started to wear on me throughout the book. He seemed too convenient or too knowledgable or too assertive.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Pre-apocalyptic. So many books featuring disasters are dystopian or post-apocalyptic. I’m really enjoying those books that show what happens before the world turns or as it’s turning.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. This book was a lot of action and a lot of character interaction. While I liked both, I think I needed more of a plot reveal. There were some interesting mysteries and questions proposed, but they didn’t get resolved in this book and I think some of them should have. Even if the book is a series, I was hoping for a few more loose ends to be wrapped up at the end of book one, and book two could have continued on in a different or similar path instead of an incredibly long story arc for which we don’t get a lot of answers in the first book. Maybe that’s my own impatience talking, but I like for things to be a little bit wrapped up at the end of a book, even if it is a series!

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion.

I did like a lot of things about this book but at the same time a lot of them weren’t for me. Some people fell in love with it and others seemed to have the same issues I did. I’d say consult Goodreads or trusted reviewers for a second opinion and make your decision from there! Maybe also find out if it’s actually supposed to be a series! 🙂

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE RULE OF THREE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Monument 14   Tomorrow, When the War Began

Enclave (Razorland #1) – Ann Aguirre

Enclave (Razorland #1) – Ann AguirreTitle: Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre
Publishing Info: April 12, 2011 by Macmillan
Source: Won
Genres: Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 20, 2013
Related Posts: Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1)

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
  As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
  Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
  As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known

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I had been meaning to read ENCLAVE for a loooong time. I won the ebook a while back but I am TERRIBLE at staying on top of my ebooks because I don’t see them sitting on my shelf everyday (shame, shame. I know) but I wanted to read it before I met Ann Aguirre at the Fierce Reads Tour on November 4th. Perfect timing!

We first meet Deuce as Girl15, ready to receive her name at her naming ceremony and become an official part of the Hunters and Huntresses who provide food for the enclave and also protect it. While I must admit that Deuce is my least favorite character name of all time, I really did like her character! She was ready to take on the world, learn new skills, and protect her friends and the people who had become like her family. Another awesome kickass female protagonist done well!

I don’t know why, but one of my favorite parts about any dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel is learning how the world and/or government collapsed and what grew up in its absence. What was difficult for me in ENCLAVE was that we didn’t get to see “Topside” until halfway through the book so it was just a little bit slow for me in the first half. I really got into the book once we got to see the world that once was: figuring out how it collapsed, trying to survive the elements as well as the Freaks and the gangs, and also trying to find a safe place in a world that was totally foreign. I love re-discovering the world that we know now from the characters’ perspective!

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Deuce and Fade and how their characters ended up not only growing closer, but really depending on each other to survive. I really liked Fade a lot (he sort of reminded me of Four from the Divergent series at times!) and his secret past absolutely intrigued me! We got a little taste of what his life was like growing up and how that knowledge would be valuable to Deuce as well. As far as the romance goes… I liked it at first, but I felt like it escalated a little quickly considering the main focus of the Hunters is, well, hunting and they grew up mostly not touching others affectionately, even just as a sign of friendship. That sort of thing was left to the Breeders. I didn’t feel like it was insta-love or anything, but I felt like it happened quickly considering their history.

I actually really liked the supporting characters, especially the ones that Deuce and Fade encounter later in the story. Stalker was actually probably one of my favorite in the sense that he felt really dynamic and I liked what Ann Aguirre did with his character! I think all of the characters really brought the story to life and it was interesting to see them thrown into such a hostile environment and how they handled it.

The ending was really exciting and although ENCLAVE started a bit slow for me, it finished strong and it got me excited for the next book in the series! I’m definitely interested to see where the story goes from here.

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Deuce // Character Obsessions: Being a Huntress, surviving, battling Freaks.
I liked Deuce! Did not like her name, but hey. It wasn’t her choice either, right? I think at times she was a bit too stubborn but I think she just had a real need to prove herself which she actually did many, many times over. I liked her determination and she really kept the story moving. I also really appreciated that she was badass tough chick and then we got to see a much softer side of her as the story went on. Very nicely done!
Fade // Character Obsessions: Being a Hunter, surviving, battling Freaks, holding his tongue.
Fade is definitely a complex fellow. He was found and brought to the Enclave so he has a whole childhood that his community doesn’t even know about. I was definitely drawn to him because of the mystery and his strength!

 addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Post-Apocalyptic novels. I love destroying the world. I love reading about how authors crumble our modern world and create a new one in its place! Fascinating!!
Left Me Wanting More: Topside in the beginning. I’m obsessed with finding out how the world ended and what it’s like now (well, “now” in the book) so I felt like it took just a little too long for that to happen in ENCLAVE, for my personal tastes.

Addiction Rating
Borrow it!

Borrow it from a friend who’s loved it and wants to share it with you! It’s a good read but not one of my all-time favorites. The series looks like it has some really good potential so start with book one and hopefully things will get even better as we go!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE ENCLAVE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Divergent     Monument 14

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

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) – Rick YanceyTitle: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 7, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 14, 2013
Related Posts: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2), The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)

    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.

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I was terrified to start THE 5TH WAVE. I do not like alien stories — basically ever — but after so many rave reviews and friends telling me it’s a totally different kind of alien story, I decided to trust them! The aliens in this book — usually referred to as “the Others” (because they’re something other than human) — are not little green men with big eyes come to Earth in corporeal form. They co-inhabit human bodies and have been “awakened” at the right moment, basically after all the growing up and puberty and whatnot, so they really are ONE with the human — body and soul. They look like humans, talk like humans, act like humans… Until they turn around and shoot you.

I think one of the things that also helped with the alien topic was that they were believable. We don’t know what aliens would look like if they did exist and I think this is a great way of NOT putting a body that we couldn’t possibly imagine to that idea of life outside of our planet. Also, the Others are essentially destroying the humans in waves (hence, THE 5TH WAVE) so there’s a sense of post-apocalyptic Earth that was a big part of the book as well. I usually enjoy those kinds of books. (I do love my post-apocalyptic & dystopian books!)

THE 5TH WAVE focuses mainly on Cassie who is essentially telling us her story as it happens to her with a few flashbacks here and there. I gotta say… I loved Cassie! She used to be the nice girl, and once the 1st wave hit, she really instantly toughened up. I loved her sarcasm and biting humor and she actually reminded me of one of my friends so it was almost like reading about someone I knew! I loved that we get to see how tough and brave Cassie is, but she’s still totally scared out of her mind at the same time. She has a lot of tough decisions to make to stay alive and I really felt that sense of nervousness and constant fear from her.

I know a few reviewers had said that the change of narrators was a bit confusing, but it didn’t really bother me. I was expecting each chapter to alternate or jump around, but there are specific sections and each section — not chapter — is narrated by one specific character. Sometimes it changes from first to third person and sometimes the voice is not always immediately clear, but I really wasn’t bothered by it too much. I think it was more of the fact that regardless of POV or narrator, I needed to focus just a bit more. Some parts were alternating between present time and flashbacks, some parts were jumpy because of action, some because of a stream of consciousness-style flow, but I didn’t find it confusing. It just required a bit more focus than reading a “fluffier” type novel.

The thing I loved the most was how all of the loose ends tie up in the end. Stories come together, mysteries solved, and we FINALLY find out who is good and who is bad. The whole point of the book is that Cassie can never trust anyone because the Others look just like any other human and there’s nothing to give them away as untrustworthy. I kept suspecting people left and right, switching my opinions of good and bad in my head, and when everything finally came together, I felt much better! I think because the book received so much hype, I wasn’t let down per se, but I wasn’t TOTALLY amazed and shocked. I loved the suspense, action, characters, and plot, but it wasn’t quite a five-star read for me.

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Cassie // Character Obsessions: Staying alive, not trusting anyone, her Luger and M15, her brother Sammy.
Cassie was totally awesome. I loved her as our main character. She was loyal, brave, and determined despite the fact that she was completely alone and totally scared beyond belief. I loved that she sort of turned tough (although that’s the side that we as the readers always see) and her sarcasm totally cracked me up. I feel like I could be her sidekick… Although I totally wouldn’t want to be involved in the alien apocalypse, but yeah. I think we could get along!
Evan Walker // Character Obsessions: The Others, keeping Cassie safe.
Evan Walker was mysterious. I wanted to love him — okay, I totally did — but I also couldn’t trust him. Cassie had that tiniest bit of doubt despite all that he did for her so how could I not? I loved his role in this story from start to finish.
Zombie // Character Obsessions: Training, Nugget, Ringer.
Oh hey, Zombie. Didn’t expect you to be such a big part of the story and you totally made it twice as awesome. The whole entire way Zombie’s character is brought into this story… I don’t want to go into detail at the risk of spoiling, but it’s awesome. Just you wait and see! 

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Science fiction. Most of my sci-fi reads are more paranormal… dystopian… even a hint of fantasy. Aliens? That’s sci-fi for sure. True, the aliens did make it more of a post-apocalyptic world, but this was more sci-fi than I usually read and I really enjoyed it! Looking forward to more.
Left Me Wanting More: You know what… I can’t think of anything. Although it wasn’t a FULL five stars for me, I can’t think of anything it was missing!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

THE 5TH WAVE lived up to the hype. PHEW. I devoured it in one day (seriously). It kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense and action and even had some nice romance in there!

book_recommendations1

         Cinder         Reboot

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) – Emmy Laybourne

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne
Publishing Info: May 28, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 2, 2014
Related Posts: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1), Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5), Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3), Sweet

    Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope. Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once... Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected... Monument 14: Sky on Fire is the second installment Emmy Laybourne's thrilling series.

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I’ve been anxious to read SKY ON FIRE pretty much since I finished MONUMENT 14. I enjoyed MONUMENT 14 so much, but I won’t hesitate to say that I wasn’t 100% happy with the way it had ended. At first, I actually thought M14 was a stand alone so I was surprised to find out it was a series and the ending was not resolved BUT I was happy that when I started SKY ON FIRE, it totally kicked off in the right direction.

Firstly, we get two different point of views: One from our original main character Dean, who is still back at the store and then we get a second POV from his brother Alex who is out in world which is currently in chaos around him. Thinking on it, I don’t know who the second POV would be BUT Alex, but I’m glad both narrators were kept as male voices instead of alternating between male and female. I’m honestly starting to believe that switching back and forth between male & female voices within the same book is not one of my favorite things, but this was the first time I’d really seen two male voices in YA since I don’t read as many… “boy” books or even YA books with any male as the protagonist. It’s just so often female that the whole MONUMENT 14 series is kind of refreshing in that way. This may be me putting this stereotypically, but I liked that it was sort of a step back from the extreme emotional side of what I usually pick up on with female narrators and instead was more action-based and to-the-point versus lyrical or beautiful prose. These guys are not trying to impress anyone, but their point is made all the same!

So SKY ON FIRE is only 212 pages. It’s a quick read, but it’s jam-packed with action so I was constantly engrossed in one occurrence or another. That’s not to say that there are zero emotional moments. We see kids trying to get back to their families, touching moments when they help out one another, and of course the fear and sadness that goes along with the disasters and consequently panicking of others around them. Things get intense many, many times over. I actually really liked that the book was short and to the point, just like these two brothers are. I think the action was well done in just over 200 pages and things weren’t drawn out just to get a higher word count. It’s refreshing to read a shorter book every once in a while and SKY ON FIRE fits perfectly just the way it is.

** This is where the spoilers come in if you haven’t read book one yet! If you want to avoid spoilers for book one, skip on down to the Character section! **

So let’s talk about plot. This is where I dock some points. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not docking any major points here, but I’ve never really been a fan of the way the Dean/Astrid romance develops. I just think the fact that Astrid is pregnant is just kind of unnecessary considering everyone may die from toxins or people who have turned psycho from toxins. I also wasn’t a fan of it because I feel like these books can easily extend down to a lower age to include some middle grade readers, but the relationship and occasional sexual content (although mostly mild) in the books just doesn’t seem to fit. To me, it chops the story up into a totally different frame of mind and it just doesn’t seem to go with the overall plot and feel of the story. I would have MUCH preferred if it was Dean just getting to know the “girl of his dreams” a little better because of the disaster and then they end up together. The development of their “relationship” in the first two books just seemed like it happened really quickly for them as a couple and it just never felt on pace with the rest of the book. Maybe it’s because this series includes a number of younger kids as well? I think those “little kids” are bringing the age feel down for me so that content in the book just didn’t seem like it belonged.
On the flip side, I think Alex’s story was totally the way to go. Okay, so Alex is only thirteen whereas Dean is… I want to say seventeen? So Alex having a major romance in the books doesn’t quite fit. That’s why I liked that his scenes with girls in the story is just a hint of flirting here, a kind gesture there, and nothing diving into kissing and sex and love when there is just SO many other things going on in their lives right now. Meh. Just my opinion!
I DO like all of the action as far as survival scenes, fight scenes, and general destruction of Colorado. (Sorry, CO. I actually really do like you as a state!) It’s more of just the romantic aspect that kind of bothered me…

I really enjoyed SKY ON FIRE and was actually happy that this was a short book — Not because I wasn’t enjoying it (I totally did) but because everything was nice and concise. I still had a few hang ups, but nothing that took away from the book overall TOO majorly. I did feel like SKY ON FIRE was just a bit more intense with both the romance and the violence. It’s definitely turned up a notch! Another good book in the series and I’m anxious to see where we go from here!

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Dean: Hmmmm. What do I feel about Dean. I actually didn’t feel like he had a ton of depth. Whether that was a male character thing or just a character development thing, I’m not sure. He’s not supposed to be some deep, emotional guy but at the same time, I wanted to connect with him just a bit more. Despite the fact that half of this book is directly happening to him, I still felt like he was a bit removed from the story somehow.
Alex: I feel like Alex actually comes off as a lot more sensitive. Is the the age? Is is because he is more sensitive? Is it because his chapters are in the form of letters back to Dean? I’m really not sure. I just felt a distinct difference between the two brothers, but I’m not sure if that came off how it was intended.
Sahalia: Confession. I almost entirely forgot everything about Sahalia’s character after the first book and then struggled for just a little bit to remember who she was in SKY ON FIRE. That memory came back pretty quickly, but that also made me think… She was actually one of the characters who really stood out for me in this book. I feel like she went through a lot (obviously), did a lot of growing up, and was one character who really started to make some changes and grow up. She kind of became one of my favorites!

addiction_factor1

Read it!

I think I liked book one more, but I really enjoyed that SKY ON FIRE was actually short and to the point. I zipped through and also really enjoyed the split POVs!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SKY ON FIRE

     The Scorch Trials      Struck

The Other Life (or The Weepers) – Susanne Winnacker

The Other Life (or The Weepers) – Susanne WinnackerTitle: The Other Life (The Other Life #1) by Susanne Winnacker
Publishing Info: February 1, 2012 by Skyscape
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 4, 2012

    Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.
    When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.
    But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

Breaking It Down Further: After a vicious virus spreads throughout California, Sherry and her family have spent the last few years in a bunker, tucked safely away. When Sherry’s family runs out of food, she and her father venture out into the danger zone, where the Weepers roam. Weepers, the creatures that have become of the virus – former humans turned animalistic and vicious killers. Now out of the bunker, Sherry feels responsible for the safety of her family.

bookreview1

Well, I actually felt like I’ve read this story before… in the sense that  it felt like several other zombie/post-apocalyptic stories. I felt like the plot wasn’t that original, but even still I enjoyed reading it.

I really liked the relationship between Sherry and her younger siblings. I liked her younger brother Bobby who seemed to look up to Sherry even though he likes acting tough. I adored little Mia, Sherry’s youngest sister, and how protective Sherry was of her.

Unfortunately I think too much of the things I didn’t like stand out more than the ones I did. The whole counting the days thing really bothered me. Sherry kept counting, “It’s been this many days since…” (I had chicken, I ate chocolate, I felt rain) — But really? Does she really know the exact last day she had chocolate? Did she really start keeping track of the last time she laughed without feeling guilt? That’s way too many things to keep track of.

I also didn’t really like the concept of the Weepers. I understand some regular zombie plots, but for a virus to change a person’s physically appearance so drastically? I’m not sure I bought it.

I didn’t really feel the romantic connection between Sherry and Joshua either. It felt a bit like the typical bad-boy plot, and just a little bit of insta-love. I can see how you might connect with someone so quickly when there are so few people left, but still.

addiction_factor1

Skip it

Just okay. It was worth finishing the book but it’s not my favorite!

book_recommendations1Tomorrow, When the War Began       Monument 14

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) – Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) – Emmy LaybourneTitle: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne
Publishing Info: June 5, 2012 by Macmillan
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 23, 2014
Related Posts: Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2), Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5), Savage Drift (Monument 14 #3), Sweet

     Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner. Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

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What an exciting book! MONUMENT 14 was jam packed full of adventure as these 14 brave kids battle one obstacle right after the other. I thought I was going to be overwhelmed with the fact that there were fourteen main characters, but I think I sorted them out pretty well. Once you really go to know the characters and their individual personalities, it was pretty easy to keep them all straight. I think the only problem I had was with the little kids every once in a while, but in way,  I kind of feel like that’s how the older kids would see them. I know personally when I’m thrown together with a lot of people anywhere (in the real world as well as a book), it takes me some time to sort people out until I really get to know them, so I actually feel like that was right on par. As the book progresses, you really start to see each personality shine and even through flaws and annoying habits, I really started to like each character individually.

Despite the fact that most YA novels that are increasingly popular are from the girl’s perspective, I thought it was really well written by Emmy Laybourne to tell his from Dean’s point of view. I know she mentioned on the Fierce Reads tour in our Q&A session that she really wanted the social status and pecking order in the boys’ group to really be a prominent part of the book, and I definitely saw that. I really does play a big part as to how the guys interact with each other and you can really see who the noble ones are and even though they seem to be getting pegged lower, how much more mature they are than the “popular” boys.

I actually think my favorite character was Niko (he’s the natural leader and Boy Scout). Even though Dean’s the narrator and we really get to delve into his personality and inner monologue, I liked Niko’s quiet side and how little by little we get to know more about him. Finally the popular kids come around from making fun of him for being a Boy Scout (and hey, I’ve know some Eagle Scouts and they are not dorky at all!), but then turns out his skills and knowledge are way more useful than anybody really anticipated.

I don’t think I was really too into the romance of Dean and Astrid, but in all fairness, they really were kept apart most of the story. Even when they were together, there were still other popular guys that Dean had to sort of fight off (or avoid conflict from) before he’d even be able to talk to Astrid (who is also a year his senior, so double intimidating). I do like how it developed though and it looks like we’ll get to know more about them in future books!

There was one thing that kind of threw me off the whole book which I know is a sensitive subject in the YA world: swearing. Since these books are for young adults, where do you draw the line at swearing? Many of the swears were shortened or self-sensored, which as an adult reading it, I would have preferred they just been used. Even teens swear (I actually swore a lot in high school… Oops) so I guess it’s a finding a good balance of how much to really put in there since all ages of young adults will be reading the book. For some reason it was a bit distracting for me because even at that age, talking to another teen, I’d definitely just come out and swear. Also, there were a few sexual references/sexual activity as well as drug use and drinking which hey, that happens too, but I figured if you could refer to that, why hold back on curse words? Just my opinion, and like I said, always a sensitive topic, so it really is up to the author and how they feel about the subjects and who they want to gear the book to.

It was really fun to see Emmy on the Fierce Reads tour and hear more about the book straight from her as well! I liked the idea of how she came up with the concept and she was really fun to listen to. Definitely glad I picked up her book! It was a thrill to read and I can’t wait to read more.

addiction_factor1READ IT!

I had so much fun reading this! I really enjoyed the character development and we all know I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MONUMENT 14

Tomorrow, When the War Began    Tomorrow, When the War Began