Wow! Veronica Roth takes us on an incredible roller coaster of ride in Insurgent, book two in the Divergent series. Tris should be celebrating with her faction after making it through the initiations, but instead she is trying to overcome the tremendous amount of grief and guilt she has after the terrible Abnegation genocide. A war has been building and Erudite has forced everyone’s hand to decide which side they are fighting for and frankly Tris isn’t sure if either side is right. All that she knows is that she must uncover what her parents were desperately trying to hide, so much so that they gave their lives to protect the secret.
This book was non-stop action and so hard to put down. Divergent did a great job of introducing the characters and how their world is, but Insurgenttakes you so much further into the politics and different factions. Roth did an amazing job of drawing you right in to this dystopian world from the very first sentence, and yes, you will be running out to get book three, Allegiant. Roth makes complex characters that are so engaging and they leave you wanting to know more. Tris is very much a reluctant hero who genuinely wants to do what is best for everyone; how can you not cheer that on? I really liked that she makes hard decisions not because it will win her popularity but because it is the right thing to do. In fact, often her decisions make her friends very upset. It was refreshing to see her and Four struggle to keep their relationship together. It felt very realistic in that their opinions often differed, especially in a world that is slowly crumbling in on itself. I really liked Divergent, but I loved Insurgent. It was unique, well written, and suspenseful.
To All the Boys I’ve LovedBeforeby Jenny Han is an excellent read for any contemporary YA (young adult) reader. Lara Jean has found a great therapeutic exercise for getting over her crushes. She simply writes them a letter telling them exactly how she feels and once she is finished writing she moves on. Of course she never mails the letters to the boys until one day all of her letters are mailed out. Now all of her secret crushes are reading her letters. To make things even harder, her feelings for her sister’s ex-boyfriend are resurfacing. HE received a letter making it even worse now that he knows she has/had feelings for him. So in order to save some dignity, she decides to have a fake relationship with one her former crushes who has now received an old love letter. Should be easy, right?
This was fantastic and a sweet love story. You really want everything to work out for Laura Jean. She is such likable character. Her relationship with Peter is entertaining and endearing. You want them to end up together, but at the same time you’re not sure if it is meant to be. Han did a great job showing sisters, with all the ups and downs that go along with family. Han showed how close the girls were after dealing with a traumatic death. She also made the relationship realistic by showing how easy it is to hurt the ones you love and then finding forgiveness. If you are searching for a new vacation read or just something to get lost in, this would be a great choice.
I am so excited for Kelley Armstrong’s new Cainsville series. It is filled with supernatural elements and mysteries. The first book is entitled Omens. Olivia has grown up in a wealthy family where life has been pretty easy. She has a great boyfriend, her charity work is going well and life seems great; until everything falls apart and she discovers that she is the daughter of the infamous Larsen serial killers. Now everything is a mess and all of the people who are supposed to support her are falling by the wayside. In an effort to find peace, Olivia escapes to the small town of Cainsville and begins to investigate the murders that her birth parent’s allegedly committed. Although things seem slightly “different” in Cainsville and not just the hidden gargoyles. To makes things even more interesting, Olivia’s uncontrollable urge to point out omens is escalating and often competently accurate.
I really like the characters and small town atmosphere of this book. You can feel that there is more to this quaint town then what is being said and I am excited to find out about the supernatural history of Cainsville. I also love book series that travel around a town letting you get to know everyone, and that is exactly what Armstrong does. She even includes a chapter here and there from a different character’s perspective so that you see more than just Olivia’s point of view. It was easy to get swept up in the investigation with Olivia and Gabriel and their peppery relationship. As much as they hate to admit it, they are becoming friends and work surprisingly well together. It should be interesting to see how their relationship develops over the series – love interest, maybe. Book two, Visions, comes out on August 19th and I am already counting down the hours.
I have loved the Maisie Dobb’s series since book one and I think each book just gets better. I love that we really get know to Maisie and all of her brilliance. Pardonable Lies is book three in the series. Maisie is asked to help determine if Ralph Lawton is still alive. His mother is convinced that he did not perish in the Great War but has found no proof. Now Maisie must find the strength to uncover the truth.
Winspear has created an amazing detective with Maisie. Not only does she use deduction to solve her cases she also used psychology. I am continually impress with how she looks at her cases in such a non-traditional way . Not only is this a good mystery series, but it has incredible atmosphere. You really feel like you are in the early 20th century England. From the women’s clothes to the cars, you can really sense the changing of times and how modern Maisie truly is. If you like Louise Penny or more psychological mysteries, try a Jacqueline Winspear.
Remains of Innocence is J. A. Jance’s latest novel featuring sheriff Joanna Brady. Liza’s mother has always been a hoarder and now that she has been hospitalized Liza is trying to empty out the house. While she is cleaning she comes across lots of money tucked away in books and begins to thinks her luck is about to change, until an elderly gentleman warns her that she is in danger. Before long Liza finds herself running for her life to Cochise County. Joanna is already busy investigating the death of Junior who was found in a cave and now her department is investigating another murder case that involves Liza.
Jance does an amazing job of juggling several complex characters and Joanna continues to get better and better. Jance never let’s her characters become stagnant but continues to allow them to develop and grow. It has also been fun to read about Joanna’s kids growing up and all of the family dynamics between the characters. I also love the ride she takes us on to uncover the bad guys. From the the police procedures to the forensics, I am continually impressed with how many twists and turns are involved. This was a great addition to the Brady series and I am excited for the next one.
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