Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?
Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.
The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.
When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.
Actual rating: 3.5 Stars
In all honesty, I’m not even sure where to begin this review. I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Swipe”. It sounded promising, which is why I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour, but I can’t say that I loved it. I liked it, I did. But I guess I just expected/wanted more? This isn’t to say that “Swipe” isn’t a wonderful middle grade read, because honestly, I do think it’ll be a hit amongst younger readers. I just didn’t fall in love with the story like I hoped.
Dystopia is the “in” thing right now. The YA market is full of dystopians right now, and it is getting incredibly hard to find a unique dystopian. The concept behind “Swipe”, while not entirely original, does manage to stand out. In “Swipe”, once you reach the age of thirteen, you are Marked and considered to be an adult. The Mark is a special tattoo that is used “for everything from employment to transportation to shopping”. But this wouldn’t be a story worth reading if the teenagers accepted their Marks; there are those that are Unmarked, such as the Dust, who add a bit of welcome mystery to the story. Ultimately through, for me, the biggest reason as to why “Swipe” stands out is because one of the main characters is a young boy, Logan.
In the end:
“Swipe” is an exciting middle grade read that will easily appeal to both middle grade boys and girls.
Make sure to follow the blog tour:
Psstt: the * denotes paperback giveaways, so if you’re interested in reading this one, keep your eyes open. 🙂
But now there’s Dez, the girl he can touch, and they’re hunting down Sixes and warning them about Denazen. Kale is learning about the world outside captivity and trying to put his dark past behind him. But they underestimated how badly Denazen wanted him back.
When Dez sacrifices herself to save the new Six they’d rescued from falling into the corp’s hands, Kale is lost. Denazen has brought out its best to get the job done. Samsen, a nightmare from Kale’s past—the only person he’s ever truly feared—has come for them, and it soon becomes obvious he has his own twisted agenda.
Kale will need all his training to get Dez back and ensure they make it out, free—and alive. But will it be enough?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Actual rating: 3.5 Stars
I enjoyed “Untouched”, I did. But I wanted more. I know, I know, this is only a novella to hold the readers over until “Toxic” is released, but I needed more.
Let’s discuss the great things about “Untouched”, shall we?
Kiernan, a character that I hope will play a larger part in “Toxic”, is introduced in “Untouched”. She is a lot like Dez, so she’s easy to like. In fact, I may actually like her better than Dez. She’s witty, her power is awesome, and she’s seriously kick-ass. The scene with the broom? Can I high-five my computer screen, or would that be strange? ‘Cause she is pretty awesome in that scene.
The relationship between Dez and Kale: I loved the development of their relationship throughout “Touch”. What’s even better is that in this novella, you get to see just how much Dez means to Kale, as the story is told through his point of view. He would do anything for her, and he manages to prove that near the end.
What I didn’t like:
Honestly, my only problem with “Untouched” is that I needed more. I would’ve liked to learn a bit more about Kiernan. I would’ve even liked to see the Kale and Samsen battle play out a bit more.
One of my favorite quotes:
“Sometimes I wonder at your complete disregard for safety…” Her lips tilted upward and a grin lit her entire face. Leaning close, warm breath caressed my neck as she whispered, “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
Accardo, Jus (2012-03-27). Untouched (Kindle Locations 782-784). Entangled Publishing. Kindle Edition.
If you haven’t already, may I suggest you pick up a copy of “Touch”? Seriously, if you haven’t checked out this series yet, you’re missing out.
I’m very excited to be a part of the blog tour for Return to Eden (The Soulkeepers #3) by G.P. Ching! At the bottom of the post, you’ll find details about the awesome giveaway G.P. Ching is hosting! Unfortunately, since this blog is a free WordPress blog, I cannot post the Rafflecopter code here – but I have linked you to Ching’s site so that you can enter there!
Return to Eden by G.P. Ching
Published 2012 by Darkside Publishing
Review Copy: Purchased
Description from Goodreads:
Dr. Abigail Silva has waited over 10,000 years for redemption and a chance at a real relationship with the angel she loves. But when you’re made from evil itself, it’s hard to remember if salvation is worth the wait. With Lucifer’s plan coming to fruition, she must decide if God’s offer of humanity is all it’s cracked up to be, or if a deal with the devil is the more promising solution.
“The Soulkeepers” series is about faith, something of which can often be a touchy subject. I usually make it a point to stay away from books that deal with faith, as sometimes it can feel as though the author is trying to shove an opinion down your thought. But G.P. Ching’s “Soulkeepers” series isn’t like that. This is a series about the soldiers of God, yes, but it is also a series that focuses on the choices that we make.
In “Return to Eden”, Dr. Abigail Silva must make an important decision. She can either choose redemption, choosing to follow God, in which she’ll finally be able to have a real relationship with the Angel she’s fallen in love with. Or she can follow the devil, allowing the evil inside of her to overtake her. The choice is one which she must make for herself.
In the end, “Return to Eden” is a moving story of right and wrong.
I’ve really enjoyed “The Soulkeepers” series, and while I’m sad to see it come to an end, I feel as though the series was wrapped up perfectly. I can’t wait to see what G.P. Ching has in store next!
G.P. Ching is holding an awesome giveaway as part of the blog tour. During the tour, G.P. Ching will be giving away a total of ten custom Visa Debit Cards — three of which will be given away this week. She is also offering two winners the choice of eBook from either G.P. Ching or any of the Indelible authors along with some signed Soulkeepers bookmarks. And if you’re a US resident, you’ll receive an entry into the drawing for a personalized, signed set of paperbacks (The Soulkeepers, Weaving Destiny, and Return to Eden)! Awesome, right? Yes!
How do you enter? Well, you’ll need to be thirteen years old or older first and foremost. Then, you’ll need to head over to G.P. Ching’s blog (here).
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens, this debut thriller introduces our next big series heroine!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My actual rating: 4.5 Stars
While reading “Dark Eyes”, which I really enjoyed, I kept thinking back to Criminal Minds. If you watch Criminal Minds, you know about Emily Prentiss and Ian Doyle, and how she does everything she can to remain hidden from him. The way that Wally’s mother takes off to protect her, it reminds me of Prentiss and Doyle; which isn’t a bad thing, as I’m a huge Criminal Minds fan.
The story is about a sixteen year old girl named Wally. She was born in Russia, and adopted by an American couple when she was five years old. She doesn’t remember much from her life in Russia, having forgotten most of it only a few months after moving to the states. But when Wally loses her fake ID and goes to a recommended shop for a replacement, her life completely changes. The man at the shop hands her documents from her mother, causing Wally to take off in search of her. But her journey to find her mother will be dangerous.
There are so many twists in this story. It definitely helped to keep my interest because I didn’t know what would happen next. I like to be left surprised, and well, Richter managed to surprise me quite a bit. And then there is the awesome heroine…I love Wally. She’s tough, and she’s determined, and she doesn’t give up. She’s an incredibly strong, and stubborn, heroine. It’s hard not to like her.
“Dark Eyes” is a fast paced, thrilling novel that I enjoyed immensely. Would I recommend this book to everyone? In all honesty, no. But that is only because this isn’t a book that everyone will enjoy. It is action packed. It is gritty. It’s just an incredibly awesome novel.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“Year of the Beasts” was not what I expected. At all. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Let me start by saying this: Did you happen to catch that little bit in the description that says that this book “will break your heart and crack it wide open at the same time”? ‘Cause it will. It most definitely will.
“Year of the Beasts” is a book that alternates between traditional prose and fantastic illustrations. What I liked most about this novel is that there isn’t a big plot twist near the end. In fact, Castellucci lays out the ending early on in the story. It’s right there, staring you in the face. But even though you know what is coming, it doesn’t lessen the emotional punch of what happens between Lulu and Tessa. Watching their relationship fall apart and then watching as Tessa begins to drown in her sorrow…it’ll definitely break your heart. My only complaint is that I think it could’ve been developed a bit more.
If you’re looking for a quick and truly unique read, then definitely make it a point to check out “Year of the Beasts”.
What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?
Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.
Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger.
But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think the easiest way to describe Tiffany Truitt’s “Chosen Ones” is to simply say that it is fantastic. Seriously, if you haven’t pre-ordered this one yet, you need to do so. Immediately.
The story is about Tessa, a sixteen year old girl, who lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States. Tessa’s world is far from pleasant. In her world, women are considered to be dangerous because they want, because they give into their emotions. With women unable to successfully give birth, due to a genetic mutation, the creators looked to artificial life, creating the chosen ones. The chosen ones (who, of course, are only men), are supposed to fight the war that the naturals lost the will to fight so long ago. But when Tessa is forced to complete her sister Emma’s service at Templeton (after she dies during childbirth), her life will become forever changed.
At first, Tessa comes off as cold and unlikable – which is to be expected when Tessa has been brought up to believe that emotions are a weakness. But as the story moves along and we are able to see Tessa understand herself, as well as the world she lives in, it is nearly impossible to dislike her character. She is tough and she is willing to fight when it seems as though no one else is. Considering all of the loss she has experienced, it would’ve been easy for Tessa to continue to allow herself to shut down. But she doesn’t. She becomes the hope that is needed, and I admire that about her character.
The romance in “Chosen Ones” is so well done. The relationship between Tessa and James is a slow burn. He is a chosen one, and she is a Templeton girl. While Templeton doesn’t care what the chosen ones do to the Templeton girls, actual relationships are unheard of. But Tessa and James are different. He isn’t like the other chosen ones, and Tessa isn’t like the other servant girls. Their relationship isn’t an insta-love situation, something which I am incredibly thankful for. As two outcasts among their own kind, Tessa and James find exactly what they need in one another. It’s an honest relationship that develops between the two characters, and it is wonderful.
But what makes “Chosen Ones” truly amazing isn’t just the strong heroine, or the wonderfully done romance. Its Truitt’s writing. I will gladly read anything that she puts out. With the way that she writes, it is quite easy to lose yourself in her words.
If you’re looking for a new dystopian novel to dive into, look no further than “Chosen Ones”.
This book is absolutely fantastic.
The book trailer:
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Holy. Frak. I think that about sums up my reaction after finishing “Partials”.
I’m going to do this review a bit differently:
What did I like about “Partials”?
- The cover is awesome.
- Kira is a fantastic, strong heroine.
- Amazing world building.
- Intriguing, and original, plot.
What didn’t I like about “Partials”??
- Nothing, because I loved every bit of this novel.
If you are a fan of science fiction, awesome storytelling, and strong female main characters – then you need to check out “Partials”. Immediately. This is one of the best – if not the best – post apocalyptic novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
“Partials” is set in 2076, eleven years after a war with the Partials has nearly wiped out humanity. The youngest person alive is fourteen years old. And although they’ve been trying to rebuild their population, even going as far as to instate the Hope Act, which makes it so that any female over the age of eighteen is required to become pregnant, none of the babies have survived.
Kira, a sixteen year old intern, wants to cure the RM virus responsible for killing the infants. When she learns of her friend Madison’s pregnancy, it drives Kira to search for a cure to the virus on her own. She doesn’t want Madison to experience what the other mothers have; she doesn’t to watch as her friend’s baby is carted off to be buried with the others.
And that is where I stop going into detail, as I don’t want to spoil anything.
Let’s just say that you’ll love Samm.
In all honesty, while it hasn’t topped “Cinder” as my favorite this year, it is definitely one of the best books of 2012. “Partials” has some of the best world building I’ve come across in a novel, something that most other post apocalyptic books seem to lack. And the characters are all very well-developed. I can’t say enough good things about this book, honestly. Just know this: “Partials” will take you on a thrill ride that’ll leave you desperately craving the second book.
Seriously, is it 2013 yet?
Bit of advice: stay away from the audio book. I decided to use my credit at audible for Partials, as I didn’t want to put it down while at work. Big mistake. The audio book nearly put me to sleep – the narrator’s voice managed to turn an awesome story into a snooze fest.
The awesome book trailer:
“No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one,” said James S. Jacobs, Professor of Children’s Literature at Brigham Young University, of her breakout novel, The Chosen One. Now, with Miles from Ordinary, this award-winning YA author brings us an equally gripping story of a girl who loves her mother, but must face the truth of what life with that mother means for both of them.
Miles from Ordinary was recently named to The American Library Associations 2012 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. The Chosen One was named one of 2012’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults by the ALA.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Aaron,” I whispered. Not so sure why. He seemed like the only normal thing I knew. And I wanted something, anything, normal. Anything.
Williams, Carol Lynch (2011-03-15). Miles from Ordinary: A Novel (Kindle Locations 2189-2190). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
To put it simply, “Miles From Ordinary” is a powerful novel.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started “Miles From Ordinary”, mainly because I’d yet to read a novel by Carol Lynch Williams at that point. While it isn’t what I was expecting, I did genuinely enjoy it.
It’s a story about Lacey, a young teenage girl, and the far from ordinary day she experiences when she and her mother begin new jobs. From the get go it is clear that something is wrong with Lacey’s mother, but you’re not sure how bad things are. And as the story moves along, and more information is provided, it becomes clear that Lacey is the adult in this mother-daughter duo. She’s forced to care for her mentally ill mother on her own (after her mother forces Lacey’s aunt out of their home).
Williams does a fantastic job of slowly building up the story, all leading up that haunting and terrifying ending. There were times that I found myself wanting to cry while reading this. And then there were times where I wanted to scream. It isn’t because this is a bad book, but rather because it’s so difficult to read – it’s easy to lose yourself in these characters and Williams’ words.
In all honesty, this is a story that will haunt you long after you finish reading it.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a review copy!
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival.
As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn’t?
Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I actually finished THE WAY WE FALL back in January, but somehow or another I forgot to actually post my review. Complete fail on my behalf.
Onto my actual review:
This is not a book you want to read when you’re sick. Unless, of course, you don’t mind driving yourself crazy with fear. THE WAY WE FALL has a way of getting under your skin. The story itself does start off rather slowly, but once it takes off, and the virus begins wreaking havoc, you won’t be able to put this book down.
The story is told in journal form. Sixteen year old Kaelyn, who hasn’t talked to her best friend Leo in sometime, decides to write to him daily via her journal. She details every moment – before the virus hit, and after. Her father, who happens is a doctor, tries to contain it. But when the virus begins to spread throughout the island, the Government decides that it is best to quarantine the island; forbidding anyone from leaving or entering.
Through Kaelyn’s journal entries to Leo, you can feel the panic and the fear spreading amongst the island. It’s heartbreaking because no matter how hard they try to fight the virus, only a few will manage to survive.
I genuinely enjoyed THE WAY WE FALL. Crewe did a fantastic job of creating characters that readers will care about and a plot that will lure them in until the very end. I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens in the next book.
The awesome book trailer:
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn’t believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.
Despite the best efforts of her uncle’s assistants, Roo discovers the house’s hidden room–a garden with a tragic secret.
Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The story begins with Roo hiding beneath her trailer, after her father and his girlfriend are murdered. Shortly after, Roo is taken to live with her uncle – a man that she’s never met, on Cough Rock. Used to being left on her own, Roo struggles to deal with the watchful eyes of her uncle’s staff. She finds herself wondering off throughout her new home, discovering that there are many secrets hidden on Cough Rock.
I thoroughly enjoyed “The Humming Room”. Roo is a truly fantastic character. I love how adventurous she is. I love how even though she hears the humming and the crying, it doesn’t frighten her like it would most people. In fact, it only makes her more curious, forcing her to keep snooping. Roo is a very take-charge kind of character; she’s smart, she’s curious, and she’s tough.
My only problem with “The Humming Room” would have to be the ending. I just felt like between chapter twenty and twenty-one, things just kind of went full speed ahead. The ending just felt somewhat rushed.
While it’s evident throughout that “The Humming Room” was inspired by “The Secret Garden”, Potter still manages to make the story her own. If you’re looking for a short, exciting read, I’d highly suggest checking out “The Humming Room”. It is a truly fantastic modern re-telling of “The Secret Garden”.
Fun fact: The Kindle version of “The Humming Room” comes with “The Secret Garden” (it’s probably the same for the Nook version as well, but I’m not entirely sure). I thought that was a wonderful idea, to include the book that inspired “The Humming Room”.