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Re-read: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

Re-read: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: January 8, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 2, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life. A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know. The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

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Pretty much ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY, I had been dying for a re-read. Between this book and IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT, it was really the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along — I needed a good, solid reason to re-read when I was drowning in books I still haven’t read. Ever since I first finished JUST ONE DAY back in December of last year, I felt like I NEEDED to read it again. I had connected with it so much the first time around but I needed to reach out and make that connection again. I needed to fall in love and get heartbroken all over again. I needed to remember what was so special about this book for me.

I think one of the most interesting things about re-reading this book was that it was RIGHT after I had met Gayle Forman. (I died. I was SO nervous.) I was actually a bit thrown off by her speech at the Anderson’s YA Lit conference because she talked about JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR more as Allyson and Willem’s journeys of finding and discovering themselves more than any part of this romance and I was like, “WHAT!? Gayle, you’re crazy! These are hands down love stories.” (Okay, I didn’t actually say that.) Obviously they’re still love stories and hi, I swoon. I melt. But hearing that from Gayle and then re-reading JUST ONE DAY (which I had actually just started before that conference) had totally changed how I viewed this book — in a good way.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m a review buffer. I knew I loved Gayle Forman and I knew I did love reading JUST ONE DAY… But… I don’t think I knew exactly WHY I was giving it five stars my first read around except for the fact that I wanted to. I knew I felt a connection, but I didn’t exactly know specifically why other than the fact that I knew I was going to love it. The magic of re-reading JUST ONE DAY opened my eyes to everything that I wasn’t sure of the first time around. I knew that JOD was not only about Allyson & Willem but also about Allyson’s self-discovery and that was just SO much more apparent to me this time around. Allyson didn’t just fall into a depression after her Europe trip because of Willem — she missed that part of herself that was free and independent and fulfilling. I think I passed up a lot of those moments when I first read this book because I was looking for a heart-breaking romance and I missed one of the main points of the book.

I also really got to appreciate all of the Shakespeare references and allusions so much more. Not like I’ve brushed up on my Shakespeare since my last read, but I think that re-reading, I was less anxious to get to the end and see what happens (since I already knew), so I got to really take my time and drink up every single word on the page. I read into the Shakespeare ties and saw exactly how much these plays paralleled what was going on in Allyson’s life as well. There were so many underlying themes that I appreciated so much more the second time around and I was kind of fascinated how closely the book followed these themes in the selected Shakespeare plays!

JUST ONE DAY was exactly what I needed before I started the much-anticipated JUST ONE YEAR. It also rekindled my thirst to write for which I cannot thank Gayle enough. Her writing is truly an inspiration to me and on a personal note, it’s made my WIP feel like a real book for the first time when before it was just random paragraphs that had little cohesiveness. It was such a pleasure to read this book again and create an even deeper connection than I had before!

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Allyson/”Lulu” // Character Obsessions: Time, responsibility… Paris, Lulu.
I absolutely connected with Allyson during my first read but I made such a deeper connection with her this time around. I had totally identified with her in regards to meeting, falling in love with, and then losing Willem, but I got to experience her personal journey of self-transformation so much more in my re-read. I ended up feeling so proud of the changes she made to her own life to finally make herself happy instead of trying to be the “good girl” and please everyone else. It’s something I STILL struggle with in my own life so it was really great to see her character make this sort of full transformation.
Willem De Ruiter // Character Obsessions: Lulu, ladies, traveling, being a free spirit.  
I probably shouldn’t have liked Willem as much as I did the first time around because even though Allyson may have been the tiniest bit paranoid, she really wasn’t that far off. Willem has a lot of ladies. Of course, none of them were the connection he had with Allyson, but even still, he was kind of a ladies’ man and/or player soooo. There’s that. But I think I always knew that Allyson was the catalyst that started his change as well, even though we didn’t really know Willem in JUST ONE DAY since we only had Allyson’s side of the story. I think I just had a lot of hope for him and I could feel that he was changing with her just as she was changing with him.
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Kept Me Hooked On: Shakespeare. I still haven’t read much Shakespeare (okay, I haven’t read ANY since high school), but I loved the way it blended into this book. Allyson’s life sort of parallels those themes from As You Like It and select other plays and it really make Shakespeare more accessible to me. It made me WANT to read these plays. There was a statement somewhere in the book about transcending from the words to the feelings in the plays and when you make that emotional connection, you sort of gloss over the language and it all becomes accessible and I’ve always been so held up by the language and technicality of it that I was afraid to go back and try again. I think I’d really like to try to read As You Like It now that I know more about it from JUST ONE DAY and see if I can make that connection as well.
Left Me Wanting More: Of Willem’s story, obviously. I quickly resolved that by reading JUST ONE YEAR, of course, but honestly, when I first read JUST ONE DAY, I did rate it five stars but still felt the tiniest bit of SOMETHING missing. Re-reading it, I felt like I really connected on all levels and it just made me fall in love with it in so many more ways than I already had.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

If you’re already read JUST ONE DAY, I highly suggest re-reading this one. I think going back through it helped me pick up so much more of those underlying themes and “missed connections”, if you will. If you haven’t read it yet, I really suggest it! (Clearly!)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JUST ONE DAY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Beginning of Everything            Anna and the French Kiss

False Memory (False Memory #1) – Dan Krokos

False Memory (False Memory #1) – Dan KrokosTitle: False Memory (False Memory #1) by Dan Krokos
Publishing Info: August 14, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 26, 2013

    Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability.
    Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn’t easy—especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can’t remember loving.
    Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn’t seem to matter... when there may not be a future.
    Dan Krokos’ debut is a tour-de-force of non-stop action that will leave readers begging for the next book in this bold and powerful new series.
  

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I’ve had FALSE MEMORY sitting on my shelf for quite some time so when I got FALSE SIGHT, the second book in the series, at BEA, I decided it was about time I read it!

The first thing that stuck out to me was that FALSE MEMORY is being directly narrated by our MC Miranda and everything that she remembers (or tries to) after she wakes up abandoned in a strange place. Why is that something that would stick out to me? I was actually kind of a surprised to see a male author using a female voice to narrate the story. Well, I actually did know that before I started the book, but as I was reading it, I had a tendency to every once in a while slip back into the notion that it was a male author but I was reading a female voice and I just stepped outside the book and stepped back in. That being said, I never felt like Miranda’s voice wasn’t genuine. She was a very real character with a lot of complicated feelings and thoughts. (This also may have to be a discussion post later because somehow I haven’t felt the same way when it’s a female author with a male MC narrating in first person… Not sure what the deal is there.)

As far as the story goes? It was interesting! There were definitely some great twists to the plot, some of which I was slightly able to see coming and others where I said, “Wait! What just happened!?!” I really liked that the twists and the plot were slowly revealed to the reader. I think it was perfect to be in the mind of Miranda because as I was reading the book, I only found out things when she did. I shared her shock, her confusion, her triumphs, and her regrets. It’s always interesting to follow a main character who is so in the dark because the opportunity for surprises is endless!

The romance in FALSE MEMORY is complicated. Miranda has lost her memory, but her fellow comrades still have theirs so although she can’t quite remember, she does know she was dating Noah. Things get complicated when she really starts to form a bond with Peter. The question then becomes, if she can’t remember her relationship with Noah, should she still try to make it work? Does she stay with what she’s told she had or what she feels now? It’s actually a really tricky question and I was right there with Miranda, sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what she would choose and how hurt the other person might be. Love triangles can be tricky, but this was SO different that I almost didn’t even see it as a love triangle. It was simply a complicated mess that Miranda really just had to figure out on her own.

The science in the book was incredibly interesting. The reader doesn’t know much going into the book (just the way I like it!) and without revealing TOO much, there’s a LOT to think about regarding DNA, nature versus nurture, independence, and brain activity. The thought and also understanding behind these concepts was fascinating and Dan Krokos did a fantastic job integrating the science technically and molding that to the plot.

At times… It was a little “too sci-fi” for my tastes. I don’t really want to say how because they’re mostly spoilers and have to deal with those twists that I mentioned. I still loved those reveal moments because it was totally wild, but also kind of not where I wanted the story to go. To be perfectly fair, I fully know that getting deeper into sci-fi is not always my bag of chips. The overall book and plot were pretty great, complex, and kind of mind-blowing at times, but this may not be the sci-fi world I belong in. I still really enjoyed the book, but because of its sci-fi roots, it wasn’t a “knock out” book for me; however, I’m definitely still interested in reading FALSE SIGHT to see how things progress from here!

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Miranda North // Character Obsessions: Her memories, Noah versus Peter.
Miranda was a great MC for me read! Things could have easily gotten confusing and chaotic reading a perspective from a main character who can’t really recall any memories, but Dan Krokos did a great job of having Miranda be a strong and focused character.
Peter // Character Obsessions: Miranda, leading the group, protecting his team.
Peter wasn’t a swoony romance for me, but I totally had a soft spot for him. It was one of those stories that just tugs at your heart strings — the guy who likes someone else’s girl (and I liked this guy better).
Noah // Character Obsessions: Miranda, digging deeper, following clues.
Noah is more of risk-taker than Peter, and I think that’s why I didn’t like him as much. He seemed more impulsive and that impulsivity didn’t always lead to good decisions. There’s also the fact that Miranda has such a disconnect to him that right off the bat, I was rooting for the other guy.

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Kept Me Hooked On: More sci-fi. Sometimes science fiction is hit or miss for me. There were SO many interesting concepts in FALSE MEMORY that I was totally hooked in to what exactly was going on and the twists involved the sci-fi concepts was fantastic. At times, it was a bit much for my personal tastes (honestly nothing against the book — sometimes my brain just has a hard time wrapping itself around sci-fi), but I loved the ideas and they truly were fascinating.
Left Me Wanting More: Hmmm… Emotion. I think Miranda has to be sort of detached and logical about everything that’s happening to her because she can’t really afford to be emotional. She needs to figure out facts, weigh pros and cons, and figure out if it’s even possible to get her memories back. I guess when you have no memories, it’s also hard to be emotional because you don’t really know exactly what it is you’re missing. I’m just an emotional person and I love getting deep into the character’s feelings so I just wanted a touch more!

Addiction Rating
BORROW FROM A FRIEND

Got a friend who owns this one? This is a good one to borrow and treat well! If mine wasn’t signed, it may not be one I keep for my personal collection of favorites but it was definitely still enjoyable and really fun to read! Let a friend loan you their copy so they can be happy you read it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE FALSE MEMORY

     The Adoration of Jenna Fox      Origin

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 // GoodreadsDate 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! 

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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

Let the Sky Fall (Sky Fall #1) – Shannon Messenger

Let the Sky Fall (Sky Fall #1) – Shannon MessengerTitle: Let the Sky Fall (Sky Fall #1) by Shannon Messenger
Publishing Info: March 5, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 27, 2013

    Vane Weston should have died in the category-five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past - except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she's real.
    Audra is real, but she isn't human. She's a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She's also a guardian - Vane's guardian - and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.
    When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, Audra and Vane start to realize that the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

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I bought LET THE SKY FALL because I had heard some really good things about it and honestly, I loved the idea of air elementals (sylphs) and a whole book about a different kind of supernatural ability. I had really high hopes for this book and I really wanted to fall in love with it! I picked it up recently because I was really, really in the mood for a good paranormal romance and I was hoping this would be the best place to go! LET THE SKY FALL was a good read, but it just didn’t knock it out the park like I hoped it would.

Vane Weston (LOLing by the way… LOVE how the name ties back into the winds — that was pretty genius on Shannon Messenger’s part!) has dreamed of a mystery girl for years so our story begins when he finally meets that mystery girl… Who turns out to be a real person: Audra. There’s a reason as to why he’s been dreaming about her, but you know I’m not one to spoil so I’ll skip that part for now! Audra is a sylph — an air elemental — and she needs to teach Vane the language of the winds in order to protect not only himself but basically the entire race of air elementals. Heavy stuff! One thing I loved about this book was that it was the female who was the one with the existing knowledge and had to teach the male how to come into this new power and how to wield it. I loved that role reversal because I feel like it’s almost ALWAYS the other way around with the guy teaching the girl. It was really interesting, BUT that also led to a few issues for me while reading…

Because Audra is a guardian — Vane’s guardian to be precise — she’s always restricted, and well… no pun intended but she’s guarded. It was really hard for me to connect with her character because she (God, I really can’t help but do this — I swear, I’m not trying to) never let her guard down and I never really got to see many of her emotions until the very end of the book. It was really hard for me to like her as a character when she had SUCH a big wall up, even when we get to the chapters from her own POV. She didn’t allow herself to feel all the feelings and that restraint really prevented me from feeling for her.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed Vane’s chapters and his voice in this book. His chapters were all boy, frequently obsessing with how hot Audra is, but where that might bother some people, it really didn’t bother me at all. It wasn’t like he was ogling her or that it was creepy — He already has this tie to her, some sort of spark, so you know there are already feelings attached and his physical attraction just intensifies those feelings. I think Shannon Messenger did a great job of making his male voice sincere, fun, and interesting all at the same time.

Because I felt so closed off to Audra, I really didn’t get that romantic connection between the two characters like I wanted to. She was very closed off to the romance throughout the story as well so I just didn’t get that really good paranormal romance that I was looking for when reading this book. I had hoped the two characters would be a bit closer to getting their feelings out there in the beginning/middle of the book, but for me, the romance didn’t really happen until closer to the end.

I really loved how Shannon Messenger put together this whole story of air elementals which are also called Windwalkers in the book. There’s quite a backstory, social statuses, villains, rules, and everything is really well explained throughout LET THE SKY FALL. There are a lot of clues about Vane’s past — and Audra’s as well — that we only get to find out bit by bit as the characters do. I really liked that there were a few more things hidden beneath the surface that anyone knew and I found a couple really good surprises!
I think the explanation of the powers of Windwalkers and the training sequences that Vane went through were really interesting. I loved seeing the details of how the Windwalkers control and work with the wind and how the wind is almost a being in itself, assisting the Windwalkers and not simply being a “thing” that is controlled by them. It’s like a partnership and the wind at times can have a mind of its own so the air elemental that’s working with it really has to know what they’re doing. I was really fascinated by the whole concept and really liked how that was done!

Overall, LET THE SKY FALL kind of fell in the middle for me. Only connecting with one of two of the main characters really held me back from falling in love with the romance and the story overall. I may have set my hopes a little too high so I sort of set myself up for a little bit of disappointment on this one, but there were also lots of things that I did enjoy as well. I think there were elements of the story that could have flowed better… Maybe even losing Audra’s POV entirely would have been better for me personally. I really enjoyed Vane’s POV and sometimes alternating back and forth each chapter between characters sort of chops up that emotional tie that’s carrying me through a novel. I can definitely see where a lot of people really enjoyed this book but I was hoping for just a TINY bit more.

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Vane Weston //Character Obsessions: Basically… Audra.
I actually really loved Vane’s POV. I felt like his voice was very authentic, funny, and truly sincere. He didn’t really hold back his feelings and his chapters were more of a stream of consciousness so I felt like I really got to know him as a character. I admired his bravery and his determination to learn all the ways of the Windwalkers.
Audra // Character Obsessions: Her duty to protect Vane. Breakthroughs.
Audra was a tough shell to crack. Her chapters were true to how she’s been keeping herself for many, many years: Guarded. Wary. Serious. She barely ever let her emotions come through and she didn’t start to let that happen until almost the end of the book. I just found it very hard to connect with her character and so it just took away quite a bit for me. Her voice IS half the book, so I felt like I was missing that connection half the time.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Elemental magic. I’m digging books that feature powers involving or derived from the elements. I love the specificity of it and I think it’s a neat way to sort of explain the powers instead of just “magic”. *jazz hands*
Left Me Wanting More: Character development. I didn’t get a lot from Audra until the very end of the book and while I enjoyed Vane’s character, I think I wanted just a bit more depth from him as well.

Addiction Rating
BORROW IT.

I know a lot of people really loved this book, but I felt like there was so much more that I wanted from it. It was still an enjoyable read, but not one I would need to keep on my shelves for all time.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE LET THE SKY FALL

     The Elementals      something Strange and Deadly

The Body Finder (Body Finder #1) – Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder (Body Finder #1) – Kimberly DertingTitle: The Body Finder (The Body Finder #1) by Kimberly Derting
Publishing Info: March 16, 2010 by HarperCollins
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 21, 2012
Related Posts: The Pledge (The Pledge #1)

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
    Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
    Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

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I really enjoyed THE BODY FINDER — but the one thing that really sticks out in my head is I noticed that it wasn’t un-put-down-able (that is so not a word, but just work with me here). I know that as much as we love blogging and reading, we all have other things going on in our lives and for some reason, my other things tended to take presidence while I was reading this. That being said, I still really enjoyed it! I just didn’t find that I was racing to finish it or I couldn’t stop reading it.

Firstly, I love the concept of this book/series! A girl who picks up echoes of the murdered was so utterly fascinating to me. It made for some super creepy story lines when we start tracking a serial killer too. Another thing is that I really enjoy books where we see inside the killer’s head or get to read their POV. I think it makes it that much creepier to hear these thoughts first hand, and I think it takes a lot of talent to be able to write from that perspective and also keep the identity of the killer from the reader until the big reveal.

I’d have to say my favorite thing (as I’m sure it is for MANY others) is the blossoming romance between Violet and Jay. Guys, one of my favorite things EVER in a book is that best-friend-turned-romance thing and Kimberly Derting knocked this one out of the part. There’s tension, there’s fighting, there’s kissing – That relationship is so well done!

I really did enjoy THE BODY FINDER! I think I might have just been in a bit of a reading slump when I picked it up because I’m definitely quite interested to continue the rest of the series!

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Violet: Violet is definitely a BFF kind of girl! I absolutely loved her as a character and I felt like we kind of had similar personalities. Although I do have to say, I’m with Jay on this one – She gets herself into way too many dangerous situations! I understand that it’s for good purposes, but still – I would never have the guts to hunt down a serial killer on my own!
Jay: Oh, Jay. I love you! As I mentioned before, I love best-friend-turned-boyfriend romances. It just gives me such butterflies! I loved the tension between Jay and Violet and it really was written so perfectly.

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Buy it!

I really, really enjoyed this one. I can’t wait to start the rest of the series! I absolutely loved the ending!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE BODY FINDER

Insurgent (Divergent #2) – Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent #2) – Veronica RothTitle: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
Publishing Info: May 1st, 2012 by HarperCollins
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 31, 2012
Related Posts: Divergent (Divergent #1)

    One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
    Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

bookreview1INSURGENT sort of followed the same pattern that DIVERGENT did for me — I was like “Wow what an ending!” but I was still kind of confused on how I felt about the rest of the story. Once I was done, I spent hours thinking about it afterwards, but I was still confused on whether or not I was really enjoying it while I was reading. Okay — I didn’t mean that. I did enjoy it. Quite a bit, actually. But I still found myself hoping for more. I could never quite place myself in the story though I really, really wanted to.

Somehow I finish over 500 pages and I can’t quite come up with what to say about it. It felt very reminiscent of DIVERGENT to me and not quite like a separate story, although we do find out more secrets here and there and more about the other people who are Divergent like Tris which play into the major conflicts.

Overall, I just felt like I was missing something, that I just needed a little something more and I could never quite figure out what I was missing! It was still very enjoyable though with a nice surprise ending and actually lended a lot of ideas to me for my current NaNoWriMo project (and believe me, for how confused I am about INSURGENT right now, I find myself struggling to make this novel NOT sound like the DIVERGENT series! It really had an impact on me)!

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Beatrice/Tris: Sadly, I think I was more annoyed by Tris in this book. I wanted her to get even stronger and instead, her little lover’s spats with Four started to get on my nerves. I mean, I guess they ARE teenagers, but still. Tris is a strong character and I wanted every aspect about her to grow even stronger.
Four: Same with Four. Enough about the fights with Tris. Be strong and save everyone from the Erudite!
Marcus: Is it bad that I kind of like Marcus in this book? I liked that we got to know him more outside of Four’s nightmares and I thought he became a really interesting character.

addiction_factor1 Read it

INSURGENT was enjoyable but I still find myself so torn. I can’t stop thinking about the book and yet I can’t think of what I really LOVED.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE INSURGENT

     

Divergent (Divergent #1) – Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent #1) – Veronica RothTitle: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Publishing Info: April 25, 2011 by HarperCollins
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 28, 2012
Related Posts: Insurgent (Divergent #2)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
    During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

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So before I started DIVERGENT, I knew three things: 1) It’s a dystopian. 2) Everyone loves it. 3) I wanted to read it.
I really didn’t know much about the plot as I like to keep myself in the dark and figure it out as we go along, so I was actually quite surprised at how the story unfolded. I think I expected a lot more action and a lot more direct conflict with the authority of society, but instead I found myself learning more and more about Beatrice and seeing her grow as a person. I actually quite liked it, but it threw me off a little bit.

I always enjoy true dystopian societies where we see the landscape in shambles as the citizens rise up and try to reconfigure their world and “do it better” than the generations who left this crumbling world for them. Divergent is definitely a true dystopian, and I really enjoyed learning about all of the factions and their different characteristics. Of course, I don’t ever think this would actually work in the real world, but it was interesting nonetheless!

I think I was hoping to learn more about being Divergent and what it really means closer to the beginning/middle of the story. We get little sneak peeks at how it makes Beatrice different from her peers, but I feel like I was left waiting too long to figure out what made a person Divergent and if there was anyone else out there who was like her that was forced into hiding as well.

As far as the ending goes, it’s not quite cliffhanger, but definitely left me on the edge of my seat waiting to pick up INSURGENT! Lucky me, I just bought it!

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Beatrice/Tris: Geez, how do I feel about Beatrice? I don’t even know. I relate a little to her Abengation side seeing as how that’s the selfless side of her and the one who puts everyone else first. Well, I guess I’m not really like that, but I’m a people-pleaser so I have to make sure others are happy with my decision and it’s not all about me! As for the Dauntless side… Yikes. I don’t think I can handle Tris! Even not being one of the most hard-core kids their, her bravery and determination scares me!! I really enjoyed how much we got to see her change throughout the book though and pick up pieces of each faction here and there. She really turned into a stonger person by taking all of those aspects and combining them into an awesome Divergent.
Four: Hmm, Four. Why did I keep picturing him as Kupono from SYTYCD? I really have no idea how his physical description led me there, but there you have it. I always like the roles of these main male characters who are teachers as well as protectors and then they have to throw a little romance in there. Ugh, that combination just kills me! Books like VAMPIRE ACADEMY, RIFT, SWEET EVIL — I think that combination is turning out to be my favorite kind of romance. As much as I liked him, I felt like he fell a little flat, but then again, he was keeping his distance from Tris and he had secrets of his own that weren’t revealed until much later in the book.
Christina: I think Christina was definitely my favorite secondary character! Each had its own part, but I love the best friend that Roth created for Tris as she figures out how to be Dauntless. She seems like someone I’d like to be friends with and a fierce ally who would always have your back! Christina definitely brought a lot of color into the book and really helped Tris develop her character even further.

QUOTES

P97: “Four leaving makes me nervous. Leaving us with Eric is like hiring a babysitter who spends his time sharpening knives.”

P250: “Peace is restrainted; this is free.”

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4.5/5 STARS

I think the only thing really holding me back from giving it 5 stars is that I just wanted a bit more action from it. We get a lot of action scenes in the Dauntless compound, but I was hoping for more conflict with society earlier in the book to add for a little bit more suspense. I’m hoping INSURGENT picks up right where we left off and it hits the ground running!

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I actually made a post with DIVERGENT recommendations! If you’re a big DIVERGENT fan, check out “8 Books to Read If You Liked Divergent” and hopefully your next great read is tucked in there!

if you liked divergent

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 5, 2012 by Macmillan
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 26, 2012
Related Posts: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

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Once again I find myself singing the praises of high fantasy! I’d seen tons of praise for this book pretty much everywhere and after seeing Leigh Bardugo at Anderson’s Bookshop first on the Fierce Reads tour in June and again at Anderson’s on August 30th (although I actually finished the book before then!), just seeing her personality and hearing her talk about the book and how she came up with it really drove me to get into the story.

I absolutely loved the development of the Grisha and the story behind their history and abilities. It seemed utterly magical but as we learn more about the talents, there’s a little bit of practicality mixed in as well. It was really interesting to learn about and I found it quite unique.

Another thing I really enjoyed is that the romance aspect isn’t overdone. We first learn that Alina has developed a crush on Mal in the very beginning of the book, so that’s something we already know, but since Mal is also her best friend and pretty much only friend, that also makes him so much more to Alina. He’s incredibly important to her and it’s not just a lust factor. As for The Darkling….. well that’s just a pure lust situation!

So yes, I really loved where the story went and I loved how it all came together in the end! Leigh Bardugo’s writing was also extremely enjoyable and I loved the new elements that she brought to the story.

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Alina: I didn’t find myself like Alina so much as I could understand her. As an orphan, Alina grew up alone. She’s stubborn, she’s protective, she’s independent; it’s not like I’d want her for my friend but I admire her courage and determination to make the best of herself and the situation she came from. It did get a bit tiresome at first once Alina was figuring out her abilities and once she became part of the Grisha society that she spent most of her time trying not to be noticed and pining for Mal. But then the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense. If you’re a person who’s not used to attention, it’s overwhelming when people are constantly praising you, following you around, and giving you special treatment. As a poor orphan, Alina never experienced anything like that before. Even though her ability is extraordinary, it’s now something that has put her in an uncomfortable spotlight and ripped her away from her only family – Mal.
The Darkling: **Mild spoiler alert in The Darkling section (it’s not really a spoiler, but if you want to be kept totally in the dark, skip this part!)** He’s mysterious, he’s sexy, he’s…. old? We find out that due to the nature of The Darkling’s power, it severely enlongates his life. He reveals to Alina that he’s well over 100 years old so um, thanks but no thanks? It’s kind of a TWILIGHT situation here (which somehow I was totally okay with in TWILIGHT but not okay with in SHADOW AND BONE — I don’t know — don’t ask me why). I can understand he looks sexy and he acts sexy, but.. but.. he’s an old man? So yeah, he totally just didn’t appeal to me after I heard that! Had the age not been a factor, we’d have a little bit of a swoon situation going on. After knowing that? Yipes.

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 Buy it!

This book was sooooo good. I’m SO glad I picked it up and really glad that the Anderson’s even introduced me to it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SHADOW AND BONE

          

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) – Anna Banks

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) – Anna BanksTitle: Of Poseidon (Syrena Trilogy #1) by Anna Banks
Publishing Info: May 22, 2012 by Macmillan
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 5, 2012
Related Posts: Degrees of Wrong, Of Triton (Syrena Trilogy #2)

    Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom...
Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.
  

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OF POSEIDON was so much more than I expected. Of course I’d heard great reviews and I’ve had the chance to meet Anna Banks and see her humor in person, so I was pretty confident I’d enjoy the book! Definitely has that Anna Banks humor, wit, and snarkiness all throughout the book. The only thing I wasn’t sure about what the whole “mermaid” plot since I haven’t read any mermaid books before, but you know what? Totally doesn’t matter, because the story is really great. I think Anna Banks does a fantastic job building the Syrena world, along with the laws and gifts of the Syrena. A lot of times when different worlds are introduced, I feel like we see some really gaping holes, but everything is greatly covered in OF POSEIDON.

At first I was a little confused with the story being told from both Emma and Galen’s perspectives simply because Emma is telling it in the first person, and Galen’s side is being told in third person. I’m not really sure why Anna Banks chose to write it this way, but in the end, I think it really works. I’m not sure about the whole first vs third person thing, but I’m really glad that it was told from both their perspectives because without either side, we’d really be missing a lot of information or so many things would have to get told back to the audience instead of us experiencing it with the characters first hand.

I loved the romance aspect of the book! Emma and Galen actually spend a lot of time hating each other at first. No, hating is wrong — Galen likes to tease Emma, and Emma loooves to give Galen a hard time. I love all of the sarcasm, teasing, even the fighting because it was made to be fun. And how adorable was it hearing Galen talking about all the “land terms” and “human dialect”? So funny! It’s like he’s a foreigner getting to know brand new customers in a different country, which I guess technically in a way, he really was.

Holy cow, talk about a surprise ending! I won’t give you the smallest hint if you haven’t read it (and if you have, let’s discuss!), but I was really knocked off my feet with that. And also a little surprised as to how I didn’t see this coming… But really great way to end the book!

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Read it!

This book was a ton of fun. It was the first book I’ve ever really read about mermaids and I really liked the way it was handled!

book_recommendations1

         

The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1) – Lisa M Stasse

The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1) – Lisa M StasseTitle: The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1) by Lisa M. Stasse
Publishing Info: July 10, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 27, 2012

    As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.
    The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.
  

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I really enjoyed this one. It actually seemed like a pretty quick read even though it was well over 300 pages. To me, it almost played out more like a TV show/movie than reading as a book. For one, I couldn’t get the TV show Lost out of my head. They were dropped off on an island with the sole intention of getting off, they have to fight off another group of people (the Others/the drones), someone else used to live there and the remnants of civilization are crumbling, and there was even a hatch! At least with THE FORSAKEN, we actually get answers to all of our questions whereas with Lost, I’m still a little upset about all the things that never got answered!

Alenna was likeable enough but I felt like she was still very much a teenager and I didn’t see a ton of growth from her in the book to mature on. I wasn’t totally into her relationship with Liam – I was rooting for them overall, but I wasn’t really sold on it as a whole. We DO get the explanation as to why she feels so connected to him in the end, which really helps tie everything together. I think I was just hoping it would come sooner and a slower trickle of answers than just all lumped together in the end.
I think my favorite character was actually Gadya. I found her to be a much stonger (not just physically, but a stronger presense in the book) than Alenna even though Alenna is our narrator. I made more of a connection with her in her strength and we also see some of her softer side.
I also really liked the way David was woven into the story. He’s dropped off on the Wheel the same time as Alenna so she believes him an ally, but when he gets mixed up with the drones, none of Alenna’s group trusts him and fear him to be a spy. I liked how we were never really sure whether to trust him or not. I always wanted to, but I didn’t know if we were going to be given another twist that might reveal his true nature!

I really liked the development of the Wheel! It was a really interesting place with tons of twists and turns. We weren’t sure who to trust, who was on the wrong side, and who might turn against Alenna. The different sectors were also really interesting and I loved what the gray sector turned out to be (no spoilers here)! Whenever we get into a mega-developed society, I’m always a little hesitant to believe in these kinds of advancements (I think the year was 2039? So that’s not really that far off), but none of it was too far out of the realm of possibilities.

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4/5 stars
Overall, I enjoyed it, but found it a bit predictable – A lot of just kind of “fitting the mold” of a dystopian. Still really fun to read and glad I picked up a copy!

QUOTES

  • p 56: “‘Those two don’t like anyone except each other. Canadians are weird.'”
  • p 114: “His teeth are very white. I wonder what people use for toothpaste on the Wheel because my teeth feel furry.” – I just thought this one was funny!
  • p 149: “The bow reminds me of my guitar – Except the notes its string plays are violent and deadly.”

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If You Liked This, You Might Like…
The Maze Runner by James Dashner – I really saw a lot of similarities between TMR and The Forsaken as I was reading. Mostly the feel of the book and the way the events were laid out. It was non-specific to any characters, but it was an overall feel and maybe a bit of setting that reminded me a lot of The Maze Runner!
…OR…
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins — Of course The Hunger Games too. Kids in different colonies/zones all pitted together in a tight spot, violence, survival, a strong heroine, a bit of a love story – It’s all there! I think this is easily a good comparison and I think fans of THG would really liked The Forsaken as well!

Want more about The Forsaken? Check out my interview with Lisa M Stasse from July 23rd for a little more inside information behind the book!