Monthly Archives: September 2013

Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)
Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Rating: 3.7/5 Stars
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
Any book that arrives heavily hyped usually has a ton of marketing power behind it. Sure, there are critical reviews to consider, but these days consumers are more aware than ever of the dollars at stake behind book and film negotiations. Which means that there’s a lot of pressure riding on any book to live up to its promise, particularly one that comes from a 23-year-old author who has already landed a 3-book deal and signed away the movie rights. After so many big dollar and wearisome projects such as Halo or Matched, it’s a pleasure to find that every once in awhile, there’s a good reason behind the fanfare. Divergent is the fast-paced, action-packed story of 16-year-old Tris, who comes from one of the five factions in a dystopian Chicago. She must choose one of the factions–Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness), or Erudite (intelligence)–to live in and serve for the remainder of her life. Tris makes the decision to leave her old faction, Abenegation, in favor of Dauntless, and the majority of the book focuses on the dangerous trials that the new initiates must endure in order to find out whether they qualify to stay. Failure means living a factionless life–or death. The very concept of the novel, however, asks that readers accept a fairly rigid framework for the story. This idea that human beings would sublimate their natural instincts to live in a society where a single virtue is promoted is pretty farfetched; it reminds me of various Star Trek alien races known for a single prevailing characteristic, but at least they are also usually presented along with certain instincts and behaviors that made sense. The division between the factions here doesn’t really serve much of a purpose, and is simply explained away as people who chose a lifestyle based on differences in philosophy. Even within the factions, the doctrines don’t really hold up under scrutiny–members of Dauntless, for example, are forever indulging in reckless, pointless exercises that are more about posturing than about testing their mettle. But the thing is, the book is really fun to read. Most of the trials are pretty well thought-out, with scene after scene of nerve-wracking physical and mental tests. I liked the interplay between Tris’ fellow initiates, who cautiously bond with each other but also have to look on each other as rivals, and I liked the mysterious and attractive Four, as well as the way her family members’ characters eventually revealed themselves. Tris herself I had a harder time connecting to, as she’s physically very capable but mentally and emotionally it’s more difficult to say whether she belongs on my “butt-kicking heroines” shelf. Some of her actions also ended up being more self-centered than I expected, mostly because I think the author was trying to show the change in Tris’ morphing from Abegnation to Dauntless. But she and Four also make a huge tactical error at a crucial scene late in the book, which negates both Dauntless’ philosophy and their training. I’m also not sure that several of the deaths later in the book had the appropriate emotional impact, though there were several other scenes that made me yelp. Let’s just say that I gave my knife some pretty fishy looks at the dinner table last night. Still, I had a really good time reading this book, and there’s a lot to be said for books that are just plain entertaining. Many of my fellow readers have major issues with the world-building and the plot holes, and I can’t say that I disagree with most of the criticisms I’ve seen. It’s certainly not in the same category as The Hunger Games; it’s closer to light entertainers such as Blood Red Road or Legend, but I think we often do ourselves a disservice when we endlessly make those kinds of comparisons. It’s always important to read with a critical eye–and it’s true that with more attention to detail, this book might have been even better–but I don’t feel that getting hung up on criticism or comparisons should get in the way of enjoying a book when so many of the other elements do work well. For me, the positives of this adventure outweigh the negatives and in the end, Divergent is still loads of fun to read. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes next!
-Kathy @SMBSLT
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Friend Reviews


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Warrior Rising (Goddess Summoning #6) by P.C. Cast

Warrior Rising (Goddess Summoning, #6)

Warrior Rising (Goddess Summoning #6)

Rating: 5/5

The Goddesses have had it with the Trojan War. So much devastation—all because of some silly male egos. The worst of the bunch is that cocky, handsome brute Achilles. But the only way to stop a man like Achilles is to distract him with something far more pleasurable than combat…Enter Kat, a modern girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Goddesses transform her into a Trojan princess, having no doubt that she’ll capture Achilles’s attention. But can her independent spirit match the unquenchable fire of his epic rage? Goddess only knows.
My thoughts:
First Line: “Thetis of the Silver Feet rose from the depths of the hidden cove.”This was a solid read – very much in line with the other books in Cast’s Goddess series. There is, of course, a modern mortal and her bestest friend who die in a tragic car accident. But, thanks to the interference of the ancient goddesses, their souls are rescued from eternity and dragged back to the Trojan war. The goddesses are sick of the rumors connecting them to the never-ending conflict and Hera is especially ticked when her sacred chambers are sacked and her priestesses murdered by warriors. Their goal is to take Achilles out of the game so that the war will end. They believe that the spunk of a modern woman is just the thing to break past the icy exterior that Achilles presents to the world – and of course they are right. Achilles was in the model of most of Cast’s heroes – deeply wounded, lonely, and desperate for love. He was a descent hero, although not one who will stay with me for long. My favorite aspect of the story was actually the friendship between the two women dragged out of their own world and into a war – Kat (the heroine) and Jacky her best-friend-turned-handmaiden. Their reactions throughout the story were hilarious, and despite their new hard reality, they continued to bicker, and laugh, and generally support each other as friends should. I very much enjoyed the way that Cast twisted the history and myth together to form something completely new. She also offered an interesting interpretation of the whole Trojan Horse thing – one that actually makes a bit of sense if you take the magic out of it. Overall, it was an interesting, entertaining, and unique read and I have been pleasantly surprised with this new brand of romance. -Cassie @SoManyBooksSoLittleTime

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Friend Reviews


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Quote Of The Week!! :)

Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.
Alfred A. Montapert

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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Quotes


Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Paperback, Australian, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Harlequin Teen Australia
‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’
Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.
When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.
Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.
Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again
We all know the feelings that accompany losing a loved one, but when the loved one has taken her own life those feelings I hope not everyone has had to feel. Guilt, anger, pain, grief and not truly knowing why or if you could of stopped it somehow, all those unanswered question are left for you to somehow deal and resolve. 
This novel is about a young woman named Harper, who is a strong, confident, and says what she thinks, you feel for her so fast while you’re reading this book. Harper grew up in the shadow of her sister June, June was smart, pretty, organized, kind, seemed to have it all. Harper knew her parents wished she was more like June. Harper’s parents now divorced, her dads with a younger woman so many conflicting emotions going on inside her. Now Harper has to live her life not understanding why her sister committed suicide, no note left behind Harper starts to look around to find any clue possible. 
This is where the journey begins, Harper steals June ashes and takes off for California to spread June’s ashes in the ocean, and this is where June always wanted to be this was June dream. Harper, Laney her best friend and Jake a young man somehow connected to June offers his help plus he is their ride.
Laney is the type of best friend you hope you had growing up or have, she is supportive and always there for Harper no matter what. Jake appears to be the bad boy type, obsessed with classic rock music, he believes music can solve everything. Harper knows Jake has a secret he isn’t telling anyone.
Put these three together on a road trip and what you get is a great story, it is funny and real and full of emotions. When Jake and Harper argue you can feel the attraction between them happening. The romance is yummy and you can’t stop reading.
The music is the other part of this novel that was great I found I wanted to go find the songs and download them, and the best part is the author added the playlist at the end of the book.
Overall this book was a great debut novel for Hannah Harrington; I would recommend this to anyone who loves YA romance. I will definitely read anything Hannah writes in the future.
-Kathy @SMBSLT
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Friend Reviews


Goddess of Love (Goddess Summoning #5) by P.C. Cast

Goddess of Love (Goddess Summoning, #5)

Goddess of Love (Goddess Summoning #5)

Rating: 4/5

With “humor and verve,” (Publishers Weekly) Cast tells the story of the mythical Venus who comes to life to help a nerdy woman find her inner goddess. Pea Chamberlain needs a makeover-shoes, hair, clothes, make-up-if she wants to attract an Ÿbersexy fireman. And who could better coax Pea out of her pod than the Goddess of Love, whom she invokes in a moment of desperation? Venus works her magic on Pea, but who will help her when she falls for that same sexy fireman? Could Venus need a love makeover for herself? Check out the five-alarm heat when the Goddess of Love unexpectedly loses her heart.

My thoughts:
“Venus was restless.” This was another great novel in Cast’s Goddess Summoning series. I don’t usually enjoy romance novels that combine two or more love stories. However, the two stories in Goddess of Love compliment each other well. It was also nice to see a goddess getting some love. In the previous books, the story revolves around a mortal woman who summons a goddess to help her in some way and ends up entangled and falling in love with a god or other mythical creature. In this book, something similar happens when Pea, a socially awkward but kind woman, summons the goddess of love for help attracting men. The twist is, though, that when Venus comes to her aide, the goddess find herself falling in love with the guy Pea is crushing on. Don’t worry though, the extremely sexy God of Fire will track down Pea and catch her eye. Both of the romantic relationships worked well and were nice and steamy. However, I also loved the friendship that developed between Pea and Venus. The best part, though, was that when Venus goes online to research modern behavior, she learns quite a bit from my favorite blog – Smart B*tches, Trashy Books. I loved that these awesome reviewers of romance got a cameo and in an awesome book. I can’t wait to get the next in this series. Tone: Feminine, Spunky, Hot 
Setting: Oklahoma, Tulsa, Mount Olympus 
Characters: Gods, Goddesses, College Department Director, Strong Women 
Language: Witty, Upbeat, Inspirational 
Pace: Steady-Cassie @SoManyBooksSoLittleTime


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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Friend Reviews


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Dark Flame (The Immortals #4) by Alyson Noël

Dark Flame (The Immortals, #4)
Dark Flame (The Immortals #4)
by Alyson Noël
Rating: 4/5
In Alyson Noel’s most darkly seductive Immortals novel yet, Ever fights for control of her body, her soul—and the timeless true love she’s been chasing for centuries.
Ever is trying to help Haven transition into life as an immortal.  But with Haven drunk on her new powers and acting recklessly, she poses the ultimate threat—exposing their secret world to the outside.  As Ever struggles to keep the Immortals hidden, it only propels Haven closer to the enemy—Roman and his evil companions
At the same time, Ever delves deeper into dark magick to free Damen from Roman’s power. But when her spell backfires, it binds her to the one guy who’s hell-bent on her destruction. Now there’s a strange, foreign pulse coursing through her, and no matter what she does, she can’t stop thinking about Roman—and longing for his touch.  As she struggles to resist the fiery attraction threatening to consume her, Roman is more than willing to take advantage of her weakened state…and Ever edges closer and closer to surrender.
Frantic to break the spell before its too late, Ever turns to Jude for help, risking everything she knows and loves to save herself—and her future with Damen …
Who knew recycled lives and undying love could be so fascinating?! Still in search of a cure to allow Damen and Ever to touch again Ever now also has to find a job or be forced into an internship at her guardian’s (and aunt) firm. Desperatly seeking not to spend her summer with lawyers and instead romancing with her boyfriend Ever turns to a local mysticism store and gets hired by the incredibly relaxed yet deeply passionate Jude. Down the street the insanely evil/sexy as all get out Roman has set up shop and Evers determination to get to the bottom of the antidote has gotten severly out of whack. She’s turned to witchcraft, using an ancient tome she found in one of Judes personal drawers, and has attempted a binding spell to Roman that will make him to do her bidding. All she wants is the antidote but the magicks gone wrong. She finds a darkness inside of her that is calling out to Roman, he’s all she can think about all she wants with every inch of her. Damen can’t even hold a candle to the lust rush she feels for Roman and strangely Jude is able to keep her mind somewhat off of this, not enough to stop her from losing her mind, but a comforting presence to say the least. But why? And why does he make her stomach flip and her heart race? Damen’s her true love…right? **Please note that there is SOOOOOOOO much more than these little, poorly written reviews I provide. These books are PACKED with characters, heartache, love and lust as well as self conflict. I haven’t been taken by such storm by a book in years so please, don’t just take my word for it, GO BUY IT! 🙂


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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Friend Reviews


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Quote Of The Week!! :)

Always desire to learn something useful.


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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Quotes

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