Friday, January 31, 2014

Title: Into the Still Blue
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky, book #3
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source:  ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece" Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Hmmm...what to say about this finale that hasn't already been said?  Well, how about the fact that I didn't seem to enjoy it nearly as much as everyone else?  Oh, it was a solid finish, don't get me wrong.  But I found my mind wandering a lot. I cared what happened to Aria and Perry and Roar -- obviously, or I wouldn't have bothered picking this book up -- but it wasn't with any sense of urgency.

I don't know whether this is related to my recent apathy towards finales in general, or if it had more to do with all the great reviews I'd seen circulating prior to my reading of the title and the expectations that arose in me because of them.  But I am seriously feeling some series finale burnout right now.  And maybe just series burnout in general.  I'm really trying to limit the number of series I start this year because of it.  But I digress.  I saw great reviews, I knew I'd love this one, and then...I didn't.

I didn't hate it.  There was plenty of action and suspense.  Plenty of Aria and Perry and plenty of sweet moments between them.  I could have used more Roar, though.  I could always use more Roar.  It wasn't until the last quarter or so of the book that I found myself engaged by the story again.  Maybe it was the fact that I found it rather easy to predict the twists, the betrayals, the way in which plans would go awry.  I don't know. I wish I could explain why this book hit me differently than the previous two, which I loved.  I wish someone else could explain it to me.

Into the Still Blue didn't feel any different than Under the Never Sky or Through the Ever Night.  The characters were still great, having already been fleshed out in the previous books.  The setting was just as awe-inspiring, with the aether swirling in the sky and the Still Blue calling to anyone who dared to survive.  The villains were just as villainous as I remembered, too.  But something was missing.  Or, maybe I was just anticipating missing this series and the wonderful characters Rossi has created, and so I hardened my heart against this book before I even got to feel anything.

I'm going to go with that last one because so many of my friends thought this was one of the best finales they've read, and that sounds about right, considering my love for the rest of the series.  So, take this review with a grain of salt.  I feel like I'm not in my right mind, which is part of the reason I waited so long to post this review.

GIF it to me straight:
It's cliché, I know...

Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky, #0.5)Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)Brooke (Under the Never Sky #2.5)Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)

About the author:

Veronica Rossi is the author of post-apocalyptic fiction for young adults. Her debut novel, UNDER THE NEVER SKY, is the first in a trilogy. Released in January 2012, it was deemed one of the Best Books of Year by School Library Journal. The second book in the trilogy, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, debuted in January on the NY Times and USA Today Best Seller Lists. The final book in the series, INTO THE STILL BLUE, is expected to release January 2014.

Foreign rights to the UNDER THE NEVER SKY trilogy have sold in over twenty-five territories to date and film rights have been optioned by Warner Bros.

She completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. When not writing, she enjoys reading, painting, and counting down the minutes until she can get back to making up stories about imaginary people.

Her work is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Find Veronica:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

Title: The Shadow Society
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Source: won a signed copy from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .

In this smart, compulsively readable novel, master storyteller Marie Rutkoski has crafted an utterly original world, characters you won’t soon forget, and a tale full of intrigue and suspense.

After reading The Winner's Curse at the first of the year and falling head-over-heels for Marie Rutkoski's beautiful writing style and the beginning of what is sure to be a truly stunning trilogy, I knew I had to make time in my reading schedule for The Shadow Society.  I have a signed copy after all.  And then I saw that Kristen from My Friends Are Fiction was just starting it, and we decided to do a buddy read.  (You can check out her review here.)  This turned out to be a great decision because there was soooo much I wanted to discuss while reading, and Kristen was a fantastic buddy-reader. Probably doesn't hurt that we hardcore bonded over our love of this author's writing style, either.

To kick things off, I think I'd have to say that this novel has one of the best, most enticing prologues I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  I couldn't not read the book after that!  It packs a real punch, but it's the rest of the book that delivers.  The Shadow Society is this really awesome alternate history/multiverse story, but that's not even the half of it. That aspect comes in to play over the course of the novel, but I wouldn't say it's the focal point of the story.  No, that would probably be the war brewing between the Shades and humans in an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened.  But I'll get to that.
     "You stole it," I finally choked out. I felt as if Conn had seen me in nothing but my oldest, ugliest underwear.
I was a little worried about the amnesia plot in this story because those are always so hit or miss.  But Darcy's memory loss is due to some traumatic event in her childhood, and I can get on board with PTSD-related amnesia. Especially when the memories return in the fashion that they do for Darcy:  little by little, triggered by familiar faces and familiar places.  And then those pieces start to add up, and everything falls into place for the reader at the same time it does for Darcy.  I had my theories, of course, but considering the Shades are a completely new brand of paranormal creature, I was just as shocked as Darcy to learn the truth.

Darcy was a bit of an enigma at first.  She doesn't fit in anywhere, but she has this really tight-knit group of friends. She's been passed from foster home to foster home since she was first found outside a fire station at the tender age of five, but now she's got a loving foster mother by way of Marsha.  It seems that Darcy has finally found her place in this world...just in time to have it all taken away from her by a past -- another world -- she can't remember.  All things considered, I think she handles the fall-out rather admirably.

The Shades are, essentially, children of the shadows.  In their corporeal form, they look human, but they have the ability to make themselves invisible.  And they use this ability to hide among the humans in their world, following them around like shadows and spying on them.  For this reason, Darcy is valuable to both the Shades and the humans of that world. But she's especially important to Conn.

I don't know if you can call it a pattern when it only exists in two instances, but at the very least, the theme of betrayal is a commonality between both of the books I've read by Rutkoski.  I'm equally drawn to storylines involving betrayal, so I get it.  And I don't mind...I just think it's interesting how two stories can have the same basic premise but still be completely different and also captivating in their own rights.  And as Kristen stated in our discussion over this book during our buddy read, I'd much rather the tension in the story come from some type of betrayal, as opposed to a misbegotten love triangle.
     He grinned the first time I said it.  "Pleasure later, then," he replied. But later was always later than that for me, and he grew sullen. I knew that I could change that, could heal the insecurity that shape-shifted Orion from a sly jester into someone who pouted. He pouted sexily and looked very kissable. Really, he was very everything. But he wasn't for me. In the midst of the lies I had to tell and secrets I had to keep and secrets I had to unearth, it felt important to be true to myself.
I guess I should mention that there are two interested parties, but this is clearly an instance of the love T, which I don't mind.  Conn, despite his betrayal, is where Darcy's heart lies.  Orion was simply a friend who tried to force more from the relationship than Darcy was prepared to give.  Conn uses Darcy, but in the process -- and over weeks, while spending time together working on a school project in the Alter (their name for our world) -- they become something more to each other.  Neither is really sure what to make of the other, but it's clear (at least to the reader) that Darcy's feelings are reciprocated by Conn, before and after the betrayal.
     He slouched at his desk, but there was something a little calculated in his slumped shoulders and stretched out legs. I got the impression that he had riffled through his closet, found his Typical Teenager costume, and was trying it on.
     And now we come down to it. My suspicion: Conn McCrea wasn't exactly normal.
     My reasons? Let's just say it takes one to know one.
Conn was intriguing and confusing for a majority of the story, but he wasn't the only stand-out character aside from Darcy.  There were members of The Shadow Society that seemed to share Darcy's concerns for the welfare of humans, especially Savannah and Zephyr, but hardly any of the Shades could really be deemed trustworthy. But after reading Jacks and Queens at the Green Mill, I feel like I understand Zephyr a little better, anyway.  Then there were Darcy's friends from the Alter.  They were true friends, caring and funny and loyal to the end.  And they really shocked me at times, which endeared them to me further.

I think I should just go ahead and admit that I'm kind of in love with Rutkoski's gorgeous prose.  It was an entirely different experience reading this novel as compared to The Winner's Curse, especially knowing that The Shadow Society is a stand-alone, but I enjoyed this story immensely.  I cannot fathom that I have to wait over a year to get my hands on another Marie Rutkoski novel.  If you've already read and enjoyed The Winner's Curse, or if you fancy stories featuring themes of rebellion, love across dividing lines, or characters discovering that much of what they know is a lie, then I think you'll find something to appreciate in this novel.

GIF it to me straight:
This woman can write!

About the author:

Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She usually lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, but she and her family are living in Paris for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Find Marie:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Thursday, January 30, 2014 with 16 comments

Title: Heart Beat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Series: n/a
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source: received from publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Life. Death. And...Love? Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with. But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her. Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?
 A couple years ago I read Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott and I really liked it. So when I saw Heart Beat on NetGalley I couldn't resist.

I would honestly give it about a 3 ½ stars. I did really enjoy it but Emma got on my nerves a lot. You see the problem with reading young adult sometimes, is the mature side of you wants to slap these teens silly. I think I liked Between Here and Forever a little better, but once again Scott didn't disappoint. I could not put this one down, even though Emma drove me nuts.

To an extent I could see where she was coming from. This is an interesting situation. Her mother dies while pregnant. Her body is being kept alive to sustain the fetus until it is old enough to survive outside the womb. Emma does not believe her mother would have wanted this and she harbors a whole lot of hate towards her step father for making that decision without her. Well, obviously her mother would want that. Maybe it's obvious to me because I'm a mother? Not only does she have this unhealthy anger towards her step dad, she refuses to acknowledge that the baby is her future sibling.

Pretty much the whole story is her working out her feelings over her moms passing. Which is very hard to do when she's still visiting her moms body. How do you find closure doing that? It's not very easy I'm sure, so that was her only saving grace in my eyes.

Heart Beat isn't all doom and gloom though, along the way Emma builds a relationship with a boy she probably never would have talked to had all of this not gone down. They understand each other and the love that blooms between them is sweet.

I did really like Heart Beat. Reading this reminded me I have a few more of Scott's books on my shelf that I should really get to sooner than later.

Elizabeth Scott
About the author:

Hey there, I'm Elizabeth. I write young adult novels. I live just outside Washington DC with my
husband and dog, and am unable to pass a bookstore without stopping and going inside. All right, and I can't leave without buying at least one book. Usually two. (Or more!)

Find Elizabeth:

Website | Twitter |Goodreads

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Adult: Let's Talk About Sex, Baby!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 with 39 comments
 photo 3ded878b-5bd3-4bad-91cb-8d062d91ab1d_zpsc4b7116e.jpgSo, now that April's joined the blog, we can have candid discussions about all things book-related and then post the results here for you guys to comment on.  This week, it seems that April has a special dislike for New Adult novels, so that's what we're going to kick things off with.

*Disclaimer:  This topic is not suitable for some of our younger audience.  While we try to remain family-friendly, there are times when we may need to be graphic to get the point across. We don't mean to offend anyone, but we really wanted to have an honest conversation about New Adult.

April:  I haven't read all the new adult books out there, but I've read quite a few and the things we discuss below I've noticed in a lot of them.

Jen:  I honestly haven't read all that many new adult novels because I'm so wary of them and these tropes...

A:  #1 - The guy is often a musician/rock star or just a bad boy with tattoos.

J:  This. One notable exception is the Losing It series by Cora Carmack. In the second book, the roles are reversed and it's actually the female love interest that's a musician and covered in tattoos.

A:  #2 - The love interest is almost always a jerk.

J:  Yes, why are women drawn to men who treat them badly? I mean, I know plenty of women who are this way, so it's a legitimate issue, but maybe if we didn't portray it in fiction as if it were alright, women would feel they deserve the love of someone better than that.

A:  #3 - They both have emotional baggage. A lot of it!

J:  I don't think anyone's without some amount of baggage, but you're right. The protagonists in these new adult stories have more than their fair share. And it always seems like it's being used as a plot device to keep them from the love interest.

A:  #4 - The female is often weak and needs protection from the guy. Even if she's a cheating scum ball. (Example:  Torn by K.A. Robinson)

J:  Apparently, all men love a damsel in distress. I prefer female leads to have a sense of independence and the ability --or at the very least, the desire -- to take care of herself.

A:  #5 - Sex is the main focus of the relationship. Which I kinda get because I was a little promiscuous back
in the early days, but even in my prime, I did not have sex THAT MUCH.

J:  I think you may have just hit upon the thing that bothers me most about new adult novels. I am not a prude. I do not mind reading a sex scene or two in the middle of a good book. But I hate when sex scenes are just thrown in gratuitously. They need to belong at that point in the book, and they need to be realistic. I found this post on what not to write in a sex scene from Smart Bitches Trashy Books to be highly entertaining.

A:  #6 - Love confused with lust. This happens in adult and I suppose some young adult novels, too, but it's over abundant in new adult. When all they are doing is having sex, it's hard to believe they have any kind of true emotional connection.

J:  Like I said, I haven't read nearly as many new adult novels as April, so I can't comment on this one, except to say that I think that most love starts out with at least a tiny bit of lust. I think that it's when the lust doesn't grow into love that it becomes an issue.

A:  #7 - College students, but there's no talk of college. I read a few that took place at the college, while the student was going to college, but there was barely any talk of college itself. How can you have a character going to school for a whole year and have no idea what they are even there for? Like they went to class. But what class? Doesn't matter, there was a hottie a few rows back.

J:  This is another pet peeve of mine, but I don't think it's strictly limited to new adult. It's a problem in young adult, too. And I get why there's not a lot of talk about class because it's pretty boring, unless something actually happens besides the learning. But I don't think it's asking too much for characters to interact within the classroom setting.

A:  #8 - The females are virgins! Not always, but a majority of the ones I've read are, for example:  Like Falling by Jaden Wilkes and True by Erin McCarthy. And the first time is always mind blowing O's! Get real!

J:  Haha...that virginity thing is just ridiculous. How many college-aged women do you know or have you known that were still virgins when they got to campus? I'm sure there are some -- and I'm sure that my parents would prefer to think that I was still a virgin when I moved out of the house, or even better, that I was still a virgin until the day I married my husband, ha! But that's not the way of the world. I think it's terribly unrealistic to portray probably 90% of new adult protagonists as virgins when so many young adults are using those formative teen years for practice. Because, yeah, that first time is not going to be so great, at least not for her.

A:  #9 - Going back to the obnoxious amount of sex being had, it's also pretty raunchy in these new adult books! Particularly the Abbi Gline ones. And you know, I'm not afraid of a little raunchiness. I'm completely okay with joking around about it, but when it comes to sex scenes in books, I prefer it to be meaningful and a little less dirty.

J:  I wholeheartedly I said before, no gratuitous sex scenes. Make 'em few and make 'em count. If I wanted raunchy, I'd pick up one of my mom's old Harlequin romance novels. And before you ask, yes, that is how I learned about sex. My mom sure as hell wasn't sitting me down to discuss it. I am so glad I had an older sister who could impart some of her wisdom on me in times like these.

A:  #10 - Miscommunication is usually the big conflict in the story. This one thinks this, that one thinks that, they don't talk, they fight, and then they make up and have sex. Because SEX FIXES EVERYTHING!

J:  *sigh* This is true of A LOT of stories. Granted, miscommunication happens...a lot. But in these books, it's as if the characters are KEPT from discussing anything that might put them on even ground. And I dislike that when a couple does fight in one of these stories, it's never about the thing that needs to be discussed. They walk on eggshells around each other, fight about things that don't matter. I haven't really seen all that much of the make-up sex in my limited experience with new adult, so I'll take your word for it.

A:  So there you have it, some of the many reasons I have it out for new adult novels.  In Torn, the girl goes to college with two of her best friends. Her best guy friend is in love with her. She meets a wanna be rock star. They boink, he cuts her off...treats her like total crap. So she dates her best guy friend, boinks him. Then cheats on him with Rocker again. When shit hits the fan, they still both love her and want to protect her from her crazy mom...because she needs protection. GAG

J:  Well, first, I don't like books about cheaters, so already I'm not impressed, but just based on your observations, I don't think that's a new adult I'd ever pick up.

17333880A:  Oh, I've got another little mini-rant:  Those Abbi Glines books have become ridiculous. They are all sex. And to me, it's not sexy sex. In Twisted Perfection, the girl starts gagging on his dick. And he's all loving it.. and she's thinking how she loves to gag on it. That is not sexy. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm gagging, there may be puke following. Lol. It's a shame though because they started out great.. her Sea Breeze books were good, and then While It Lasts came out, and they all started going down hill from there.

What I don't understand is, what is the appeal? These unhealthy relationships based off of mostly sex...why are they so popular? Isn't this what the Erotica genre is for? The Glines books were originally self pubbed, but then Atria bought them. I thought to myself, did these people read them first? I guess that doesn't really matter since they already had a huge fan base.

J:  I was just thinking this...that most new adult novels were self-published first. There's got to be some correlation between the fan-base and the material presented, but I think that if I wanted to read sex, I would have opted for an adult novel rather than a new adult. Unless it's primarily that age group that's reading these and they don't want to read about old people getting it on. And I mean "old" relatively...I'm sure we're ancient to a college freshman and that they think they'll never be in our shoes. Pfft. It happens to everyone. :P

A:  I actually read a book that was originally an erotica but was then branded as new adult. Now that thing made Abbi's books look like the bible.  The title on Amazon says New Adult May December Romance. Not so much. This girl does her best friend's dad. Then the best friend asks how it was while masturbating with the friend. The friend even does it with the dad while the daughter is asleep in the bed next to them. It's clearly Erotica but the New Adult genre has become so widespread that books are being put out there with that label just to get attention.

They aren't all bad though. Colleen Hoover's stuff is great. I even enjoyed Nyrae Dawn's new adult series, Games. They have the characters with baggage but they are genuine and there is sexy times, but it doesn't over-pollute the plot. Oh, and the K.A. Tucker books. I like those. Ten Tiny Breaths wasn't my favorite, but I loved One Tiny Lie. Also, Easy by Tammara Webber was good.  I'm on a quest to find more decent New Adult. I know there are some out there. I bought Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster because it's raved about. We shall see though.

J:  I haven't read many, but I've had pretty good luck with the ones I have picked up, like those from Colleen Hoover, Cora Carmack, and K.A. Tucker. Two of my favorites, though, are Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and One & Only by Viv Daniels.  I'm not even sure that Fangirl is technically supposed to be new adult, but it fits the bill...except for all of the gratuitous sex.  There isn't any of that, and I think the book is better because of it.  I think new adult novels are supposed to focus on that transitional time in a young adult's life, not just the sex, and Fangirl succeeds in that aspect where many others have failed.  In One & Only, there's a bit of sex, but there's also a focus on the protagonist's schoolwork and future career.  It's also written by Diana Peterfreund under a pseudonym.  :)

A:  So that's all I really all I can think of to say about New Adult. It blows. Literally. Like in just about every chapter. Lol.

J:  Bahaha...well, that's one way to put it.  =)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 with 5 comments
Title: Evertrue
Author: Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath, book #3
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Source:  borrowed from Sara
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.

Oh, my heart!  This series finale, while no more brutal than other recent series endings, left me desolate.  I devoured this book, but over the course of the novel, I think I distanced myself from the characters and the story.  I actually think I've been doing that with a lot of finales lately, to save myself from the pain, I suppose. But with Evertrue, I couldn't help how my heart was dashed to pieces.

I was numb for most of the book.  Cole was not Cole.  Jack was a bit over-bearing, and Nikki was just...well, her usual over-thinking self.  I loved Everbound, loved it sooo hard.  And even though we do return to the Everneath in this book, it just didn't have the same draw.  Nothing about this final book had the same impact, emotional or otherwise, as the previous two books.  Until that ending.

The amnesia plot in this book kind of drove me nuts.  As did Jack's caveman attitude.  I felt like I no longer knew these two boys, and honestly, I couldn't have cared less who Nikki ended up with.  I am all for the redeemable bad boy, and so I previously sided with Cole, despite his various misdeeds.  But I knew that ultimately that could never be.  I'd made my peace with that.  And with this final installment, I didn't really find him appealing anymore, as different as he was. Until that ending.

But this wasn't ever really a love triangle to begin with, so I don't want to focus on that aspect.  I think it was the overall plot that bothered me most.  I just didn't feel invested in where the story was headed, and the characters didn't help with that.  I read it quickly, but that was because I was trying to get to the end, to where I know Ashton's strengths really lie. The woman can write an ending, if the previous two books are to be believed.  And here again, she delivers.  I can't say I particularly love the turn it took, but it was fitting, if nothing else.  And Cole got some pretty good lines in there at the end.

Evertrue was not my favorite ending to a series, but when you never want your favorite series to end in the first place, that is a tall feat to accomplish anyway.  It hit me in the feels.  It made me want to bang my head against the wall.  It made my heart hurt.  And that's pretty much all I can ask from a finale:  that it makes me feel something...that it makes me reminisce over the entire series and want to read it again in one go.

GIF it to me straight:

Everneath (Everneath, #1)Neverfall (Everneath, #1.5)Everbound (Everneath, #2)Evertrue (Everneath, #3)

About the author:

Because of two parents who were Greek myth geeks, I grew up thinking the latest fashion trends were inspired by Aphrodite, and a good conversational opener was, “So, which mythological character do you most resemble?” Despite these social shortcomings, I found a great husband who’s always my first reader. We live in Utah with our two young boys, who still have no idea why I'm at the computer all the time.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

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Title: Roomies
Author: Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

Roomies Excerpt
Everyone remembers their first roommate.  I even shared my first roommate horror story here as part of the Roomies promotional tour earlier this month. When I picked up Roomies, I was expecting something more along the lines of an epistolary novel, a collection of email exchanges between the new roommates.  And while there are many emails included in this novel, there is also a separate and distinctive narrative for each girl.

On the whole, I think I connected more with Lauren's character, but I loved what each girl brought to the novel.  Lauren is a quiet, shy girl who's finally getting the chance to live away from her large family. And now that the time is approaching, she's having a harder time leaving them behind than she expected. Elizabeth, who goes by EB, is the opposite of Lauren in nearly every way. She's outgoing and popular and she has no qualms about leaving behind her over-bearing mother.  These girls couldn't be more different on the outside.

But the summer before college is a tumultuous one, and these girls find that they have one thing in common above all else:  they've each embarked upon summer relationships that may or may not have a future.  Though they use their email exchanges to discuss everything under the sun, they also help each other out with their romantic entanglements, which helps build the bond they'll need as roommates.

I was worried about the romances in this book, particularly because it is the summer before college and that seems like a time more for ending things than beginning them.  But freshman year of college is a time of new beginnings, so despite how difficult these relationships might have been to maintain, I liked that they didn't turn into summer flings, that they were realistic and that all parties involved seemed optimistic about the future and what it held for them.  But I also liked that each girl's respective romance didn't take center stage.

That summer before college is full of possibility, full of options.  These girls spend the summer figuring out what they want and who they want in their lives, and on their way to figuring that out, they find that they want to be a part of each other's lives.  Things may not have started off great between them, and there were definitely snafus when it came to interpreting emails and moods, but ultimately, I would have loved to have either of these girls as my roommate.  I think the authors each did a great job of portraying such a transitional time period in a young person's life.

GIF it to me straight:

About the authors:

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of four novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts(Cybil Award Finalist), Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009) and How to Save a Life. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband.

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Tara Altebrando is the author of The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, Dreamland Social Club (Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens of 2011), The Pursuit of Happiness, and What Happens Here. She also has a middle-grade debut, The Battle of Darcy Lane (Running Press Kids, May 2014), releasing soon. She lives in Queens, New York, with her husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Violet.

Find Tara:

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