Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium
Rating: ★★★

So for months, I had been hearing about the lackluster ending Requiem had. I prepared myself for disappointment and was ready to face this questionable ending. I kept reading, waiting for that moment to hit me, where everything I had heard and read came true. And it never came. Requiem is not my favorite series ending book, but it definitely wasn’t what I had been expecting.

Lena has made it through so much to be free. She wants the freedom to choose who she loves. Even though she knows that it’s wrong to take people’s ability to love away, there are moments in Requiem where she questions her life choices. She feels what love is doing to her and even though she welcomes it, there are times she thinks about what it would have been like to never worry about love. I’m glad Oliver made Lena question herself. Even though Lena knows what she’s fighting for is right, those moments when she looks at the other side make her more human. Those moments make her strength and resolve stronger.

Lena has Alex and Julian with her as she travels with her group of rebels. Lena feels something for both of them, but it doesn’t feel like a love triangle. It’s not overdone or drawn out. Alex has his merits, as does Julian. They each have their moments of strength, when I was rooting for each of them to get the girl. They each had their moments of weakness as well, when I just wanted to shake some sense into them.

As for the ending, I’ve already said I don’t mind if there are loose ends left over, as long as everything major has been handled. As long as I feel that sense of closure, I can find peace with an ending. I had been expecting a much more abrupt, out of the blue, full of loose ends ending. Yes, things are left up in the air, but I don’t think it was nearly as bad as I had been led to believe. There are still questions and everything isn’t tied up in a pretty little bow, but it was easy to see where things were headed. I don’t need to see everything else that happened. Oliver wrote enough of the ending to have it feel like closure while still leaving it a little bit open. My mind can wander and fill in the gaps without stepping on any other parts of the story.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who won’t be satisfied with how Requiem ends and I can understand that. But for me, enough was tied up that I can feel piece with the ending. I’m not going to say it was my favorite series, or my favorite ending, but it was good enough. I feel content without knowing the rest of their story. It’s a testament to Oliver’s writing that even though she has left the ending open, I don’t need more. The entire Delirium series was a fascinating look into the future where love is a disease and those who are lucky enough to find love have something to fight for.

If Requiem sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Title: Live Through This
Author: Mindi Scott
Rating: ★★★

I don’t mind when all the loose ties aren’t wrapped up at the end of a novel. Not everything can be explained or taken care of. I do need the big loose ends to have some sort of conclusion though. I was enjoying Live Through This right up until the very end.

Coley has what looks to be the perfect life. Her family is a bit loud, and they get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but they look happy. She’s on the dance team and is great at it. She’s got the perfect friends-to-more relationship that people envy.

What people don’t see is how messed up her home life is, how her best friend no longer speaks to her, her dance team is filled with tension, and she has no idea how to try and take control as her life spins out from under her.

Coley and Reece started as friends, and as they start a more romantic relationship, the other strings of her life start to unwind. She doesn’t know how to keep Reece and deal with what’s wrong in her life.

The pace of the novel is quite fast, but it works. Scott starts the novel right away and doesn’t make you guess what’s going to happen. She dealt with an extremely tough subject delicately, but she didn’t gloss over things. She laid it all out there and that’s why the ending felt off to me.

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the ending felt too abrupt and left a few too many things in the air for my taste. I don’t mind using my own imagination to come up with how the story continues, but there was too much left unanswered for me with this ending. Just a little bit more, covering the conversation she was about to have, would have felt like a better fitting ending.

Live Through This is a mature novel that handles the topic of sexual abuse as best as a book can. I didn’t feel as connected with the characters as I would have liked, and the ending didn’t feel like quite enough, but it is still a good book.

If Live Through This sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Can’t Wait For Monday – The Bitter Kingdom

Ask anyone and they will tell you I am not a patient person. During the Olympics, I look up the results as soon as I can so I know how events will end. Before I got a Kindle, I’d read the last few pages of a book so I could see how it ended. I just hate waiting.

I’ve been waiting for Rae Carson’s The Bitter Kingdom for what seems like forever. I know that it’s been less than a year, but the book devouring part of my brain doesn’t believe it. It feels that anything longer than a day is eternity. Logic doesn’t work well with my book loving side.

From the Back Cover:

The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa née Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy’s kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.

But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.

Even of those who hate her most.

I mean, really, how am I supposed to wait patiently for a book like that? Elisa is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read, taking charge of her role in the world and making her own destiny. As if that wasn’t enough, Carson has written one of the most amazing love stories as well.

Ever since I read the last lines of The Crown of Embers, I have been counting down. And now the release date is getting closer. In fact, it’s less than two months away. 50 days.

I’ve got this book pre-ordered already. I know I won’t be getting much sleep the night of August 27th, because who needs sleep when you have a book to read? There’s always coffee.

Review: One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker

Title: One Tiny Lie
Author: K.A. Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths series
Rating: ★★★★★

I read One Tiny Lie while in the hospital and hooked up to a heart monitor. Normally, reading in the hospital is one of the most peaceful, uninterrupted times I get to read. However, when the five electrodes monitoring my heart’s activity send constant updates to my nurse as I read (making her come check on me frequently), my time is not so uninterrupted. Each time my nurse stuck her head in the room and asked for the reason my heart was racing, I shyly held up my book and just said “good part.”

One Tiny Lie is not an extremely long book. So it says something that my nurse was making near constant stops by. The entirety of this book was so good, it literally had my heart acting up.

Livie is the normal one of the two Cleary sisters. She hasn’t had a mental breakdown, she’s done well in school, and she’s stayed focused on her dreams and ambitions. She’s starting at Princeton, looking ahead to being pre-med and saving children. Everything she does is to live up to the promise she made to her father. “Make me proud.” She’s never deviated from the path she knows he’d be proud of.

Once she’s in college, though, she starts actually living life. She has fun with her roommate, goes to parties, and starts getting interested in boys. There’s Conner, the guy she know her dad would be proud of. And then there’s Ashton, they guy who frustrates her and pushes her buttons a little too much.

Not only are their guy troubles, but college isn’t what she expected. She’s not acing every test. Volunteering at the children’s hospital has her unsure if she could really be a pediatric oncologist. And she’s no longer sure if she’s still keeping her promise to her father.

Something that I really connected with was Livie struggling with college. The first time I tried college, I fell apart. Not for the same reasons as Livie, but I started questioning myself and my life path. I had been so sure for years of what I wanted to do, but circumstances had me questioning that. In my desire to not let my parents down, I tried as hard as I could to make it work. I understood Livie as her future started to fall apart in front of her. I know the feelings she was having. I know how much it hurts to feel as though you are failing to live up to the promises you make your parents.

Ten Tiny Breaths moved me because of how much Kacey had to go through in order to find herself. She didn’t have a starting point and had to build herself up. One Tiny Lie had an even bigger impact on me because it wasn’t only about finding who you are. It’s about coming to realize that what you think you are doesn’t have to be the truth, but not knowing where to go. That confusion in losing yourself after years of thinking you know what you’re doing is such an important thing to talk about. Just because you don’t live up to the original idea doesn’t mean you aren’t living up to yourself.

One Tiny Lie is a fantastic book that is a definite must read.

If One Tiny Lie sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Dance of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death
Rating: ★★★★

I’ve been waiting a while for Dance of the Red Death, so when I was given an early copy, I was ecstatic to start reading. The dark tones of Masque of the Red Death were different that the other books I had read before and I found I really enjoyed it. Dance of the Red Death has those same dark tones, but sprinkled in with a little bit of hope.

Dance of the Red Death picks up right at the end of Masque of the Red Death. They are on the airship, trying to escape the city as it falls into chaos. April has been infected with the contagion, Araby’s got a horrible shoulder wound, and the tension between the conflicting parties is thick enough to feel choking. Araby has agreed to be with Elliot in order to give him a better appearance, but things are getting confusing between them. On top of that, Araby isn’t sure what her feelings toward Will are and she doesn’t know what to do about their relationship.

Araby is a strong character. She doesn’t let things stand in her way and finds creative ways to get around obstacles. She’s not self-sacrificing in the superficial way a lot of heroines in today’s Young Adult books are. She thinks her choices through and figures out which option is best for her and everyone involved. She knows how to be a part of a team and that sometimes strength is in numbers.

Elliot and Will are two very differing boys. Will takes a bit of a quiet, more backseat role for part of this book, and I think that works well for his and Araby’s relationship. He knows and understands that Araby doesn’t quite trust him anymore after what he did, and he knows that beyond apologizing, the only thing the can do is prove to her through actions that he is there for her. Elliot is the leader, he wants to take control of the city and fix it. At times, it was hard to know if he really cared for Araby or if he only liked the contentedness she brought with her. I enjoyed how this love triangle played out. This is how they should be done; each boy with his own merits, but not openly competing like children.

The actual story was fantastic as well. The contagion is spreading, but so is the new disease called the Red Death. Araby and company know they must do something to try and heal the city, and they know that means getting rid of Prince Prospero and cleaning the city’s water. Prospero won’t go down without a fight, and without any idea of if the water filtration system is even real, Araby and company are fighting against the odds.

Dance of the Red Death is a stunning conclusion to Griffin’s reworking of Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death that left me feeling happy and hopeful. It is a bit of a darker toned book, but don’t let that stop you from reading the series. It’s imaginative and fantastic and well worth a read.

If you think Dance of the Red Death is your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Can’t Wait For Monday – The White Princess

I’ve got a to read list a mile long, but I’m constantly adding to it. Every time I come across an amazing series, I’m left waiting for the next book to be released. This Monday, I’m going to talk about the upcoming book in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousin’s War series, The White Princess.

I’ve always been a fan of history and when I stumbled across Gregory’s novel The Queen’s Fool, I knew I had found an author I’d always read. I went through the entire Tudor Court series and was elated when I heard about her Cousin’s War series. I started reading The Lady of the Rivers first, then went back and read The White Queen and The Red Queen as quickly as I could. When The Kingmaker’s Daughter was released last year, I bought it immediately and devoured it. Next up is The White Princess, the story of Princess Elizabeth of York.

From Amazon:

When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.

Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.

I really can’t say how excited I am for this book. Elizabeth and Henry’s marriage is what brought about the end of the Cousin’s War by bringing the York and Lancaster sides together again. After years and years of battles and turmoil, there might finally be peace. Of course, that peace will be disrupted by the missing York prince, Elizabeth’s brother, and the best claimant to the throne. When I try to imagine Elizabeth’s struggle between staying true to the side she was raised to believe was right and the husband she is starting to love, I don’t know what I would do. Obviously we know how things went down in history, but reading Gregory’s interpretation of it will give me even more to think about.

Gregory never disappoints me when it comes to building the fantastic world of the English royals and I have no doubts about The White Princess. It comes out July 23rd and you can bet I’ll be downloading it to my kindle as soon as it becomes available at midnight.