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Book Review: Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

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Please note this is the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series and may contain spoilers.

For my review on the first book Hunger.

For my review on the second book Rage.

Billy Ballard is the one kid at school that everyone either picks on or ignores. You know the kind. He can’t stick up for himself and doesn’t stand out in a good way. Poor Billy. Even the teachers and adults prefer to turn a blind eye. With a mother trying to support him and a grandfather with Alzheimer’s, well, home is no better place than school.

My heart went out to Billy. It seems that everyone nowadays is wrapped up with his or her own troubles and people choose to look the other way than to offer help or assistance. Then the white rider appears and Billy is giving his chance to fight for a life he doesn’t want to continue on with. Pestilence has gone insane and Billy is quested with finding him or taking his place.

This beautiful blend of Billy’s adventure as Pestilence to find the real white rider is a grieving, frightening and heart-beating ride. You feel the anguish; you feel Billy’s despair.

Yet, you want Billy to succeed. For once in his life you want this character to stop hiding against the wall and stand his ground! The character’s evolution will bring you to tears.

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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‘”If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.’

I. Loved. This. BOOK. 

The language – fantastic. 

The setting – aMAZing (haha)

The characters – brilliant

The creatures – I seriously need a visual, but the sounds – oh how the described sounds makes me want to hide!

The fact that you never really understand what’s going on – GIVE ME MORE NOW. 

Written with a tone that shoves the reader head first into something I can’t really describe, this is YA writing at the best! The mystery that hangs in the air is intoxicating and the harsh realities of the characters and their fates is heartbreaking. How I haven’t read this sooner? Biggest mistake of my reading life. 

My only hope is that the rest of the books in this series hold up the same. I am very excited to keep reading Dashner! 

Book Review: Split Second by Kasie West

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*Note – This is the second book in the Pivot Point Series – may contain spoilers
For my review on Pivot Point

“Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.”

I loved Pivot Point, adored it! I was bummed when I learned that another book was being added to make it a two book series – I thought it ended in a excellent way. 

I wish I could say I was wrong. The style of Addie’s two different points of view was unique and exciting. I feel slightly let down by having it go to a two different characters point of view. The pace is slow going too. It picks up, but I wasn’t as enchanted as before. 

Still, I’m glad there’s only two books in this series. Addie and us the readers, get the closure we need. It is interesting to see how Addie goes about living her life outside of the compound, again, and getting more information about the inside government of it was clever. The direction this book went was probably the best it could go. I don’t know if it’s silly, but I just wish there was more to the book? 

West’s writing is nevertheless engaging and her characters are still full of secrets even when us readers are being taken again on a second ride with Addie. I highly recommend reading West’s work, and I look forward to branching out to her other books, but I have to end by saying Pivot Point was better, but Split Second is ok too. 

Book Review: Rage by Jackie Kessler

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*Note -This is the second book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series and may contain spoilers
For my review for Book 1: Hunger

“Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.”

This follow up to the first, is very different but just as interesting and intense. Since I felt a personal connection to Hunger, I was interested to see how different the next book would be. I don’t have first hand experience in self harm. However I did know people in my life that did, and perhaps it’s because of that that I still felt a powerful connection to the story. 

Actually, it’s probably because of the sister’s bit. That hits close to home. 

Moving on. Missy is a perfect War, so much better than the first one we met. I enjoyed that Missy had a personality, no matter how conflicted it is. It makes her human, and that’s what makes this series a standout. Her characters are human (until their not), and they’re teenagers. They are going through that transition in life that no one has a guide book for. 

Missy takes to War much easier than Famine, and as a reader you are right along with her. Yet there still beats a human heart and as Missy begins to learn to control her new power, she can see she has the power to control her self harm. A fantastic message. 

Plus the romance bit with death is weird, interesting and odd. It’s like the chance to date Kurt Cobain. Even if it isn’t him, who wouldn’t want that opportunity? 

The ending to Rage is more of my taste as well. The connection between the horseman within the books is subtle -making me crave more, but nevertheless this second book doesn’t disappoint. 

Book Review: Hunger by Jackie Kessler

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“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?”

What I see:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. I have such a personal connection with the subject matter and was so pleased with how the author spun this first in the series. I love the character of death, his personality, his aura. The horse is also fantastic, they have just as much feeling as the humans. 

There is a lot of depth within this personal struggle of Lisbeth. She’s still a teenage girl trying to discover and most importantly, accept herself for who she is. As a reader we travel on this adventure that is at times hurtful and scary, and we don’t know if Lisabeth will come out right in the end. She has to create death as she slowly kills herself. She grows weaker, yet the fire of saving those starving, when she refuses to feed herself shows that her story isn’t quite over. I kept turning the pages hoping that this strong, caring, teenage girl would wake up and understand, that she is just the same as those around the globe dying because of lack of food. For those of us that have known the hunger and ignored it because we don’t look the way we want, Lisabeth will serve as a tale to comfort us around the familiar curtain of caution. 

Book Review: World After by Susan EE

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*Please note, my reviews may contain spoilers as this is the second in a series. Check out my review of the first book Angelfall here. 

Penryn has returned. Paige has been found. Both of them are not as they were before.

Paige is now a monster, a former shadow of the frail younger sister she used to be. Her skin has been restitched all over her face and her teeth are filed points of danger. She won’t eat, can barley speak and still remains somehow frail despite her transformation. Just as Penryn makes a bit of progress, Paige is gone yet again.

The angels are getting stronger. As Penryn hunts for Paige she tries to push all thoughts of Raffe away. She carries his sword and his enemies lurk nearby, making her attempt impossible. As she tries to help a group of struggling people the angels swoop in on their trap.

Now they are en route to Alcatraz, where the horrors of the past are mere children’s stories compared to what has been awakened on the island. As the days get darker and the world seems at its end, it’s up to Penryn to continue to fight for her family and the lucky humans that get caught in her path.

I do have to admit that there is a bit more romance in this second book than in the debut. I love the idea of angels being horrible, these saviours turned assassins. The romance bit is the only thing that rubs me the wrong way. I feel it cheats a bit of Penryn’s character. The star crossed lovers – it’s all a bit cliched for my taste.

However, the romance isn’t a dominating bit. What I loved about this continuation to the series is how gross it got. I mean, I was a bit ill reading some of the chapters! The truth of the angels intentions were so nightmarish. The imagery kept me up at night. This is dystopian behind the curtain. One’s imagination couldn’t get any worse and Ee stays true to her vision of this new world. It’s amazing. Horrify, but you can’t stop reading because you want to know just how bad it’s going to get.

There’s still one more book on the way. I have a feeling it’s going to get a whole worse. I can’t wait.

Book Review: Rogue by Gina Damico

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Please note this is the third and final book in the Croak series. My review does not contain any spoilers but this does follow the series. 

Read my review of Croak (Book 1)

Read my review of Scorch (Book 2)

In reality, there is so much to this series. I don’t want to give away any crucial information.  This jaw dropping finale made me feel things I never expected, nor saw coming. I feel it’s best to also show how I felt about this book:

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Pretty much sums up everything. I mourn the end of this series. It came during a period of my life when death was ever prevalent and somehow, this series helped with the tragic transition. 

There aren’t enough YA books out there that help push the envelope on how teens can think and feel. I hope to read a lot more from Dimaco in the future.