Review: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

20757528Whatever Life Throws at You
By: Julie Cross
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: Oct. 7, 2014
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:
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Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

 

1thoughtsAnnie’s father has just been hired to be an extra pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals (major league baseball). She’s excited to start a new life in KC… that is, until she realizes how flippin’ cold it gets. However, she makes the best of it and joins the track team at her all girls catholic school (she’s not even religious), and becomes friends with the first baseman’s daughter, Lenny (who also attends her school). What she isn’t expecting is to fall in love with the rookie pitcher, whom her father’s career is hanging on. You see, both men are on a trial run right now with the team, if the 19 year old rookie pitcher does bad, then her father does bad, and if the rookie doesn’t make the cut, Annie’s father gets the boot as well.

Julie Cross wrote an amazing story about young love that will give you butterflies. I thought this would be another cute young adult romance but I LOVED this. These characters don’t start off with the insta-love, or even the insta-lust. Nope, Julie did this romance the right way. You have a lot of awkward interactions between the two. Brody treats her like a little sister that he has to keep his eye on and Annie treats him like an obnoxious guy who she’s forced to deal with. They just sort of co-exist around each other for a while. Then slowly Annie develops feelings for Brody and finds herself battling the feelings because he has never once shown signs in viewing her as anything other than his coach’s daughter.

Not only was the romance perfect but the dialog was spot on. I was laughing out loud just about every other chapter. Annie is one witty chick and not an obnoxious witty like some characters. Nope, Annie was genuinely think-on-your-feet funny. She’s a chick that I’d love to be friends with. For instance in the beginning of the story when Annie gets to KC and checks out the stadium where he dad will be working, she walks in on Brody in the locker room wearing a towel. She plays it off as if she’s an intern reporter from Sports Illustrated there to do an interview with him and starts asking questions. Questions about his favorite color, if he adjusts how he throws his pitch when it’s windy, and if he could be any magical creature from Harry Potter, what would he be (at first he chooses a house elf and then changes it to an owl). Ha! That’s when he questions her about working for Sports Illustrated and she plays it cool and says that it’s for the KIDS EDITION! AND HE BELIEVES HER and continues answering. I laughed so hard at that. I must have read it 4 times. Then when I finished the book, I went back and read that part again. And that right there sets the stage for the rest of the book.

“Owls in real life are actually pretty stupid. But no big deal, I’ll just relay that message on to the children of America. Jason Brody, temporary Royals pitcher, wants to be an owl when he grows up because they know geography and shit like that.”

Julie Cross could not have written a more perfect love story for these two characters. She didn’t try to tie everything up giving it a feel good happily ever after. There are some things that never get resolved and are a little sad to think about but that’s life. At no point in this story did I think that the story was melodramatic. I loved every second of Whatever Life Throws at You.

 

1favequoteI figured it was only fitting to have this part be highlighted since Derek Jeter is retiring this year.

“I bet even Derek Jeter had some friendly comradery with a batboy or something his rookie year. Someone who is far gone from his life now. That’s what I’ll be to Brody in twenty years – the forgotten batboy.”

kRISTIN

Review: Chained By Night by Larissa Ione

15803815Chained by Night
(Moonbound Clan Vampire, #2)
By: Larissa Ione
Published: Pocket Books
Published: Sept. 30, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Raiting:
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THE FUTURE OF HIS TRIBE
Leader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction—or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation.To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader’s daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans.

THE LOVER OF HIS SOUL
But survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress’s identical twin sister?

 

1thoughtsIn order to save a couple of his clan members who were being held and tortured by another clan, Hunter made a deal. Let his members go and in exchange he’d marry the clan chief’s daughter thus uniting the two clans. He’s not thrilled with the arrangement but he knows that being clan chief, he has to do things that he may not like in order to protect his people. Like marrying a rude and vicious vampire names Rasha. However, when Rasha’s bridal party gets ambushed by vampire hunters, Hunter goes off to rescue his soon-to-be bride and her party. He finds out that she’s not as vile as he originally thought. The only problem is, he has the wrong twin, and soon he finds himself in an interesting predicament.

This was a great story. With Hunter being the chief, there is a lot that rests on his shoulders. Non of his clan members are happy about the upcoming mating but they all know that if he doesn’t do it there will be war with the other clan. It doesn’t help that Rasha’s clan are some barbaric people, Rasha included. However, whereas Rasha is vicious and tough, Aylin, her twin sister, is gentle and caring. The birth defect that left her with a twisted leg bone has caused her much pain not only physically but mentally as well. She was brought up as the lowest member of the clan because of it and was cruelly mistreated. Hunter see’s this and immediately has some compassion for her. Which is how they find themselves falling in love.

Not only is this story about Hunter and his upcoming mating but there’s also a little history on how vampires came to be and it all has to do with a demon. This demon makes Hunter go on a quest in hopes of saving his future firstborn child and the quest was definitely an adventure for both the characters and the reader. I liked that the author didn’t just keep the characters in their present time but added an extra element that I wasn’t expecting. The quest that Hunter goes on definitely adds a lot of suspense and depth to the story itself.

This is a great series. I highly enjoyed the first book and this one was no different. Larissa has a great way of making a paranormal romance her own. There was so much going on, so many things that I hadn’t read before that I was glued to my seat all day reading. I literally finished this baby in one day. I can’t wait to see who’s story is next.

 

1favequote“If  Hunter had been at all unsure that he wouldn’t like his soon-to-be mate, he was now completely, 100 percent certain that he’d kill her within a year. Except that, with his luck,m he’d probably imprint on her and be unable to strangle her the way he wanted to do right now.”
 
 

Previous reviews from Moonbound Clan
Bound by Night

kRISTIN

Guest Post: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Aimee L Salter

Aimee L. Salter lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and son. She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you’re really thinking. And she’ll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn’t.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

guest post
Do Authors Write Real People into their Books?

It’s a question I get asked a lot. After all, I wrote a book about a redhead (like me), who got bullied (like I did), in a high school that looks similar to my old school on the page.

It would be easy to think that I’d just taken my life and turned it into a story (except, maybe, the part about the main character being able to talk to her future self through the mirror). But the reality is, more often than not real life doesn’t actually translate well to fiction. Not to mention that if you’re trying to turn your real life or people you know into a book, there’s limited material available.

Instead what tends to happen is that authors become collectors and observers, constantly gathering emotions, events, and interactions from their real lives, and twisting them into something that serves a fictional story.

For example, in my book the main character, Ashley, is severely bullied at school. While none of the scenes in the book which show Ashley being bullied are reconstructions of moments like that in my life,

I did draw on my experiences – the emotions I felt; the expressions, body language, and motivations I gathered from those who’d targeted me. The type of responses from people who saw it happen.

Rather than taking my experiences and turning them into a story, I took the tones of people’s voices, the feelings I had when walking down the hall, the reasoning offered during arguments I had with teachers or coaches about the issue, and so much more.

My real life experiences inspired and fuelled my story. But in the end, the story had to be told in a way that would make it most satisfying for readers. That wasn’t a re-telling of my story. That is in using real life emotions to drive fictional characters.

There’s a famous quote from the Irish writer, John Connelly: “Writers are magpies by nature, always collecting shiny things, storing them away and looking for connections of things.”

I think he says it well. So, if you know an author of fiction, don’t worry. Chances are, if anything you’ve said or done is being magpied into a story, it won’t be recognizable to anyone else . . . except maybe the author!

 
 
 
about the book
22818100

Every Ugly Word
By: Aimee Salter
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Published: July 29, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary

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When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Fierce by LG Kelso

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author

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L.G. Kelso is a fantasy and contemporary novelist. Having grown up watching Xena and Hercules with her grandmother, she inherited her passion for all things magic, paranormal and mythological. She also has a probably unhealthy obsession with martial arts, and as a boxer she strives to give readers an authentic view of MMA in her contemporary sports novel.
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Top5

Top Five Heroine’s

Fierce is all about empowerment and finding strength. With a martial arts setting, gender plays a large role and being a female in the gym significantly impacted Tori (the main character) as she grew up, and has helped create her persona. I love tough heroines, so I thought I would share my top 5 favorite tough ladies from fiction.

-Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo byStieg Larson. Lisbeth is also a boxer, but I swear, she isn’t on this list just because of any bias. Lisbeth is the perfect example of a tough girl who breaks so many of our molds and gender expectations in fiction. Not only that, but she breaks the mold for characters overall–regardless of gender. She’s “strange” (I’m using words I’ve heard others describe her as), she can be ruthless, she’s got major hacking skills, and she is self-reliant like no other.

-Sydney Sage from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. Sydney has some major intellectual strength, and I love smart characters.

-Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Rose is a badass. No explanation needed.

-Jill Kismet from Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow. Physically strong, and mentally tough.

-Daenerys Targaryen from The Game of Thrones by G.R. Martin. Dragons, yo! But seriously, she’s a major buttkicker.

-Claire Fraiser from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Claire isn’t an in-your-face heroine (and she doesn’t need to be/doesn’t have reason to have that be a part of her persona), but she’s mentally strong, holds her own, doesn’t take any BS, and isn’t afraid to run the show…no matter where she is.

Who are your favorite heroines and tough girls?
 
 
 
about the book
22360301

Fierce
By: LG Kelso
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: Aug. 11, 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance

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Tori’s MMA career was taking off, until she beat the wrong man. Her training partner, nursing a bruised ego, snapped—shattering her trust and confidence.

Three years later, Tori’s keeping her fists to herself as she struggles to put herself through college. But when a group of gangbangers hassle her at work, old habits kick in and her fists fly. Max Estrada, a frequent diner customer, steps in and gets them out of hot water, but Tori is still fired… days before tuition is due.

With no other option, she’s forced to take a desk job at her old pounding grounds, where her demons still haunt the cage and the temptation to go glove-to-glove with familiar pro-fighter, Max Estrada, is too much. The sexy Colombian draws her back into the world of MMA and revives her dreams of becoming a professional face-puncher—until Will, her old partner and current Middleweight Champion, struts back into the gym. The secret they share is an unexpected liability to his career, and he’s determined to keep her silent.

With her life on the ropes, Tori will have to face the past for a shot at winning back her future, or carry the weight of a loss even greater than before.

 
 
 
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Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

66559Sharp Object
By: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Broadway Book
Published: Jan 1, 20016
Genre: Mystery
Rating:
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Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

1thoughtsCamille grew up in a very unhealthy home. Her sister was always sick and eventually passed away. Camille’s mother never cared for her and was very open in her dislike in Camille. So Camille acted out and would do a lot of things a young teenager shouldn’t do, let alone know about. So when she’s sent back to her hometown to cover a murder case, her past comes rushing up to meet her.

I don’t generally read these types of books. I am usually a romance reader. However, my book club chose this book for the month, so I grabbed a copy and sat down to read. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Gillian definitely knows how to tell one screwed up story. I didn’t know who to feel bad for, who to suspect for the murders or what was going to happen in the end. All I knew was that I was in for one heck of a ride.

Camille was an interesting character. She definitely has some mental issues from her childhood. She drinks non-stop, always thinks about cutting herself, and feels no shame or even acknowledges the questionable things she does or did when she was younger. However, she’s so screwed up that you can’t fault her for taking ecstasy with her 13 year old sister or sleeping with one guy and then jumping in bed with someone else who is like a year or two older than her sister. I mean, this woman has issues.

Her half sister who is half her age is a mystery. She’s either a sick hopeless child who gets doted on by her mother, the meanest provocative little 13 year old you’ll ever know, or an actual decent human being. However, she’s always in the picture somehow. Whether it’s at a party, out and about, or at someones house, her sister is always there with her gang of nasty little minions.

When you get to the end of the story everything falls into place. I mean, I’m not saying that I understand and that it was acceptable for that person to kill two little girls but I understand the why behind it. Hell, if you don’t understand why they did it, then you weren’t reading the book at all. I tell you, this book was a mind game. It was like playing the game Clue. This was a highly enjoyable read. I only wish I had picked up her other books when I was purchasing this one.

1favequote“I don’t mind the idea of spilling Wind Gap’s stories to Richard. I felt no particular allegiance to the town. This was the place my sister died, the place I started cutting myself. A town so suffocating and small, you tripped over people you hated every day. People who knew things about you. It’s the kind of place that leaves a mark.”
kRISTIN

Review: Before You Break by Christina Lee

18327082Before You Break
(Between Breaths, #2)
By: Christina Lee
Publisher: Intermix
Published: Feb 18, 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemp Romance
Rating:
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The star catcher of the college baseball team isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.

1thoughtsElla lost her brother to suicide. Because of that she wants to be a psychologist and works at a suicide hotline. One night she gets a call from a guy who clearly needs someone to talk to. After a few phone calls of talking to each other on the hotline she soon finds herself thinking about him and his situation. Wondering if there is anyway she can get through to him and save his life. She has no idea that the Daniel that is calling the hotline is in fact Quinn and Quinn has no idea that the girl who’s voice allows him to open up about the darkness inside of him is the girl he’s currently pursuing.

This is a great story. I haven’t read the first book in the series but that’s okay. I didn’t feel left out of anything. The story revolves around Quinn and Ella. These two don’t really know each other at first other than the fact that Quinn is Ella’s boyfriend’s frat brother. He’s very quiet and keeps to himself the majority of the time. However, one night after heavily drinking because of her uncaring boyfriend, Ella finds herself face first in the toilet with Quinn holding her hair back. Her boyfriend couldn’t careless about here, and here was someone who didn’t know her at all who was taking care of her. That’s when Quinn and Ella start to form a bond.

There is no insta-love in this story. Sure they are attracted to each other but at first Ella is dating Quinn’s frat brother. So they start out as friends, then later move on to that in between stage after she breaks up with her boyfriend. I liked that there was no drama or crazy love story. Plus, I liked that the author didn’t just write about her characters having guilt over the death of a loved one but she made it so much deeper with adding the suicide hotline. She shined light on something that affects a lot of people.

I may be new to the author’s work but I will definitely be reading more of her novels. I will have to go back and read the first book in the series. I feel like Ella may have been a secondary character in it.

1favequote“I’m not going to kiss you, Ella. Not tonight. And you’re not a girl I want to be easy with.”
kRISTIN

Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

20518838The Vault of Dreamers
By: Caragh M. O’Brien
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Published: Sept. 16, 2014
Genre: Sci-Fi YA
Rating:
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The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

 
 
1thoughtsRosie was selected to take part in the Forge Show in order to get a good education. Something she wouldn’t have received had she stayed home. However, one night she decides to not take the mandatory sleeping pills and witnesses people coming in to take one of the other girls away in her sleep. The next morning the girl acts as if nothing happens. However, the next night, Rosie finds herself next on the list. The dean is up to something and Rosie has decided to figure out what that is.

Rosie was an interesting character. She was sort of all over the place to be honest. One minute she’s being careless and the next she’s totally in recon mode. I suppose it would be exactly what any 15 year old would do in her situation.

The fact that a good chunk of the scholars from Forge end up dying young or committing suicide was an interesting twist. Especially considering that Rosie starts having mental issues while at Forge. It makes you wonder what they do to them while they are under the sleeping pills power. When you do find out what’s going on, it’s a bit creepy. Not to mention, the sleeping pills that the attendees are required to take so that they get enough sleep to help their artistic minds added a whole new level to the story. It made you wonder, was Rosie really awake and witnessing this? Or was it all just a dream?

This was a good sci-fi thriller for young adults. However, it felt like it was missing something. I just wasn’t blown away by it like I thought I’d be. Rosie and other characters made some bad decisions that just seemed odd, the villain didn’t seem villainy enough, and I wasn’t that freaked out by the events that take place. Again, I’m not a 13 year old, so maybe if I were I’d have a totally different reaction to this one but it just needed a little more oomph to it. It was like it was on the edge of being a thriller but wasn’t quite there yet.
 
 
1favequote“I don’t believe in worry. It doesn’t change the outcome, but it make the now miserable, so I don’t do it.”
kRISTIN

Review: Manga Classics: Les Miserables by Stacy King

21433251Manga Classics: Les Miserables
By: Stacy King, Tszmei Lee (Illustrator), Victor Hugo (Original author)
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Published: Aug 19, 2014
Genre: Manga
Rating:
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Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope—an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart.

 
 

1thoughts This is a great manga. I will admit that I’ve never read the story by Victor Hugo but I like Stacy King’s adaptation. For those of you who are like me and have never read the story, it’s not just about the French Revolution. Sure there is part of that in here but a lot of the story revolves around Cosette and Jean Valjean. You see, Jean is a convict. A man who is shunned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s family. So he’s constantly on the run but manages to make a life for himself as a town mayor under an alias. Meanwhile, Cosette’s mother is in the same predicament. Because she had Cosette out of wedlock, she is turned away at every turn. Soon she finds herself giving her daughter to some innkeepers so that she can be raised appropriately while her mother does what she needs to for money (which are some pretty horrific things). But when she falls ill, she asks the Mayor to bring her daughter to her. Which is where Cosette and Jean’s paths cross.

I may not have read the novel but I think the author did a great job adapting this into a manga. Sometimes with mangas you feel left out or the story feels rushed, and I didn’t get that with this story. I felt like I had just watched a movie after finishing it. There were moments where I held my breath while the story unfolded. Stacy King did a great job with this, and so did Tszmei Lee.

Whether you are a fan of the classic or not, this is a great manga. I never had any intention of reading the classic or watching the movie but I may have to rent it now.
 
 
1favepart
LMCosette was treated as a slave while being “cared for” by the inn keepers. When Jean Valjean shows up, he sees how mistreated she is and how crappy of a life she’s had with these people and makes sure that she’s happy. First, starting with what appears to be her first gift while living there.
kRISTIN

Review: Bound to Danger by Katie Reus

20579047Bound to Danger
(Deadly Ops, #2)
By: Katie Reus
Publisher: Signet
Published: Aug. 5, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating:
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At a benefit dinner, community activist Maria Cervantes overhears two men plotting a terrorist attack that could rock Miami to its core. But before she can alert authorities, she’s almost killed in a massive explosion—and wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what happened. As the sole survivor of the attack, she is now a person of interest to the NSA—and especially to Agent Cade O’Reilly. Because Maria is the one woman Cade has never been able to forget.

Years ago, they were closer than either was willing to admit—until Cade disappeared when Maria needed him most. Now he’s sticking by her, whether she likes it or not. Because the memories locked inside her mind could hold vital clues to the next attack. Because terrorists want her dead—and because he never wants to let her go again.

 
 
1thoughts Maria finds her world torn apart when a charity event her and her mother are attending is blown to smithereens. Maria is the only survivor from the blast and now the terrorists that are involved are hot on her heels. Lucky for her, her brother’s best friend, and Maria’s crush from 8 years ago is a black ops agent who is hell bent on keeping her alive while finding out who’s behind the attacks and why. The only problem is, she can’t remember anything from the day of the attack.

This is a highly suspenseful novel. There isn’t a lot of gore but you do go into the minds of the killers. You see the way they think and why they are doing what they are. Now, I’m not saying I agree with their ways but you definitely sympathize for them.

Even though I am a huge Katie Reus fan, this one just didn’t fully connect with me for some reason. I usually gobble her books up in one sitting but this one left me feeling a little blah. There’s nothing wrong with the story. Katie had a great way of bringing her characters and their world to life. I just don’t know what kept me from fully engaging on this one.
 
 
1favequote“All those wealthy people didn’t know shit about true pain. The rick kept getting richer and people like him had to struggle to get to where they were. Even Marina, she might try to make herself feel better by giving back to the poor in her community, but she always had her parents’ money to fall back on. Money she hadn’t earned.”
kRISTIN

Review: A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian

18579501A Vault of Sins
(Chaos Theory, #2)
By: Sarah Harian
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: Sept. 16, 2014
Genre: Dystopian New Adult
Rating:
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Even though she’s escaped, twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra is anything but free. She’s desperate to return to a life that no longer exists, but prying reporters continually draw her back into nightmarish memories, using the tabloids to vilify her. Bad press is the last thing she needs during the trial of the year: the case that she and her fellow survivors staked against the Compass Room engineers. A case that could terminate the use of the inhumane system forever…

But in her dreams, she is still locked in that terrifying jail.

When she wakes, someone is trying to communicate with her in secret, through strange and intricate clues. As Evalyn follows their signs, she uncovers a conspiracy that goes so much deeper than her own ordeal. A dangerous intrigue that only she can bring to light. One that will force her to work with the one person she doesn’t want to see.

The person who owns her heart…

 
 
1thoughtsIn the last book we watched Evalyn be sentenced to the Compass Room. A simulated location to test the morality of the convicts placed inside. It is supposed to help them determine whether a convict is rotten to the core or if they are actually good. She and a couple of other convicts were able to trip up the system and get out alive. This book starts a month later. We watch as Evalyn tries to go on with her life knowing that any day now, she will be called back in to be judged for her actions that put her in the Compass Room to begin with.

I was a little weary going into this one because as far as I was concerned I was okay with the story ending at book one. Sorta like the Hunger Games, I was totally fine with the first one being it. And just like the Hunger Games, I still really enjoyed the sequel.

Evalyn is damaged from her time in CR. She has nightmares about all the death she saw. She’s been told to keep out of the public eye and to shut off all contact with the two surviving convicts that she befriended while in the CR. Evalyn’s way of coping with is all is to remain sedated under copious amounts of liquor and to paint those who didn’t make it out of CR. She’s not going to forget about what happened in the room and how good people were murdered by this so-called justice system. She knows her days are numbered until she’s called back but she has no idea how soon that time will come.

There was always something happening in this story. Even though it’s about how broken Evalyn is after CR, there is still some fight left in her. You see her start to pull herself together and reform herself into a fighter, a survivor. The author introduces new characters to help support Evalyn and her mission to reveal the CR for what it really is. I was engrossed in the story from the moment I started to read it. My only issue was that there were a couple of parts where the story sort of jumps forward in time abruptly. One case is a vision that Evalyn see’s and it isn’t revealed until later that it was such but there was no indication that this was anything other than another lapse in time. I found myself rereading certain parts of the book trying to figure out what just happened and that sort of pulled me out of the story some. Granted, I did read an ARC and things could change before it goes to print.

This is a great story. The characters are not innocent. There are times where you are going to dislike them for their actions or their past. After all, each of them has killed someone. So it goes without saying that these are not your typical heroes and heroines. However, that distinction is what makes this story so great. You know these are people that have committed murder. That they have taken a life or even lives in some cases. However, you still find yourself rooting for them because you see them show remorse for their actions and yet, if asked if they’d do it again, they would. But… you still root for them. It’s amazing how the author can make you root for such people.
 
 
1favequote“I can’t be a hero. I can’t paint a letter on my chest like a super-hero and fight for justice, because I don’t even know what justice means. I’ve killed people, I’ve hurt people, I love people who’ve done horrible things. I can’t be an advocate. I can’t be an icon.”

Previous reviews from Chaos Theory
The Wicked We Have Done

kRISTIN