Category Archives: Dystopia challenge

REVIEW: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for my ARC.  

Release Date: June 19, 2012

Book Description

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually wantto live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sloane was planning on doing something drastic…until some even more drastic happened. Not only to her, but to the entire world. Her town of Cortege has been overrun by infected dead, and Sloane and 5 of her schoolmates are barricaded inside the high school with little hope of survival.

For those of you looking for a zombie-killing, brain splattering blood and gore fest, this is not your book. This book is more of a study in personality conflict and psychological changes to individuals in traumatic, unimaginable situations. So, just a fair warning.

Did I like the main character? No, I can’t necessarily say that I did. I think most of what I felt for Sloane was pity. At times I found her very weak, but I’m not sure I can fault her for that after all the horrible things she had gone through in her life. She was definitely a change from the kick-ass, fiercely independent heroines that seem to be so popular in books these days.

This book has a taut line of tension that stretches throughout the entire story until the characters finally snap. The characters were archetypes: the leader, the hothead, the good girl, the rebel, etc. This was one aspect of the story I didn’t care for–I was hoping for more originality in that aspect.

In the end, Sloane finally understands why she has made it so far and is lucky to be still alive. Especially since there were so many close to her, who did not.

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the not so distant future, most of humankind has been wiped out by the Red Lung virus. The world is now made up of far apart cities run by powerful vampire overlords. Outside the walls of the cities, another kind of undead creature reign: zombies. Alison Sekemoto (Allie) barely scrapes by as an unregistered human on the outer limits of a vampire city. She hates the vampires so much, that she refuses to be monitored by them and have her blood taken in exchange for food.

Until one night, Allie is attacked and on the brink of death. She is saved by a mysterious vampires, who gives her the choice of becoming like him. She chooses to become a vampire, and a new chapter of her life begins.

Though Allie swears she will never become like the vicious bloodsuckers in the city she left behind, she cannot keep away the Hunger for blood. This becomes even more difficult when she meets up with a group of humans who desperately need saving. Allie must fight to retain what little humanity she has left.

I’m writing this review on a crappy hotel internet connection, so I’m gonna try my best not to make it too long.

First thoughts–this book was way too long. I am not sure what it is with authors and 500 page books lately, but I think it’s unnecessary. Parts of this story definitely dragged for me, and I think the book could have been cut by dozens of pages.

I like Allie. I liked her when she was human, and I don’t really think she changed that much when she became vampire. Either way, she puts in a tough front and tries to tell herself that she is the only person she cares about, but she lets people in whether she wants to or not. First with Stick, then with Zeke.

I really liked that the hints of romance in the story were not overdone. Allie is an undead creature, and before that she was an untrusting human. So to see her fall for someone was interesting to see play out. I sincerely hope Allie and Zeke can meet again in the future…but I’m not sure in what direction that can go as long as Zeke stays human.

My favorite parts of this story were the action scenes…I loved the idea of a badass lady vamp hacking up zombies with a katana. (But then I always have been a big Blade fan :P) Maybe the fight scenes were gory, but hey, that’s dystopian zombie lit for you.

I am definitely looking forward to going forward with Allie’s story. I would love more background on both Kanin and Jackal. I also hope to learn more about the vampire race itself. While I wouldn’t describe this book as an unputdownable read, I enjoyed it and loved the combination of supernatural elements.

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Thank you to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.

REVIEW: Starters (Starters, Book 1) by Lissa Price

Starters (Starters, #1)Starters by Lissa Price

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the Spore Wars, the only people left living in America are those under the age of 20, and over the age of 60. Sixteen year old Callie is barely scraping by, living in abandoned buildings and taking care of her sickly younger brother, Tyler.

Until she hears about an opportunity to make a lot of sorely needed money. Callie goes to a place called Prime Destinations, and finds out she can be handsomely rewarded for the task of “renting” her body out to senior citizens (called Enders–young people are called Starters) who relish the chance to get back a taste of their youth.

With the hope of securing a better future for her little brother, Callie becomes a donor. But then during one session, something goes wrong. Callie wakes up in her own body but can communicate with her renter. And what the old woman wants her to do is unspeakable. Will Callie go through with it once she knows the truth about the body-renting operation?

I really enjoyed this book. Lissa Price has brought a great new heroine to literature in the form of Callie. She is tough and street-smart, and does what she has to in order to provide for her brother. I really appreciated the fact that even when she met a guy, she didn’t weaken and turn to mush.  I thought Callie was a fantastic and likable main character.

This being a dystopian novel, the plot may be a little out there as far as the body renting, but I could see it happening. In a society where people are living well past 100 or even 150 years old, it would be all to easy to forget what being young was like…and those who have the money would probably want to experience it again.

There were only a couple of issues I had with this book that made me give it 4 (well, let’s say 4.5) stars instead of 5. First of all, the villain, “Old Man.” I felt like the story was trying a little too hard with him–his name, and the way you never saw his real face, but he had an ever-changing arsenal of digital faces. I don’t know. It irritated me for a reason I can’t really explain…maybe it felt a little too Bond-villain-y? Second, the way things fell together at the end with Blake. Without trying to give anything away, I’m just gonna say I felt like that was a little bit of a reach.

All in all, I really loved the action and mystery this book provided. I tore through it rather quickly, and I will definitely be reading the next in the series. Although I’m not entirely sure what direction it could go in–up until the book was approaching its’ last pages I thought the author had wrapped up everything nicely. We’ll just have to see what happens next!

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2012 Reading Challenges: February Progress Report

Here’s a little update on how I did in February for my reading challenges.  This also includes books I’ve not yet reviewed on my blog.

1.  Flatscreen, by Adam Wilson

2.  Stained, by Ella James

3.  Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz (Spellbound Series, Book 1)

4.  Emerald City, by Alicia K. Leppert

5.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews

6.  Where We Have to Go, by Lauren Kirshner

7.  Pieces of Us, by Margie Gelbwasser

8.  Embrace, by Jessica Shirvington (The Violet Eden Chapters, Book 1)

9.  Wonder, by RJ Palacio

10. Lightning Tree, by Sarah Dunster

11.  Starters, by Lissa Price (Starters Series, Book 1)

12.  Caught in Crystal, by Patricia C. Wrede (Lyra Series, Book 4)

I’ve already surpassed my goal of 15 books for this challenge 😀

1.  Starters, by Lissa Price

I have read 3 books of my goal of 11.

1.  Stained, by Ella James

2.  Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz (Spellbound Series, Book 1)

3.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews

4.  Pieces of Us, by Margie Gelbwasser

5.  Embrace, by Jessica Shirvington (The Violet Eden Chapters, Book 1)

6.  Wonder, by RJ Palacio

7. Lightning Tree, by Sarah Dunster

8.  Starters, by Lissa Price (Starters Series, Book 1)

9.  Caught in Crystal, by Patricia C. Wrede (Lyra Series, Book 4)

10.  Belles, by Jen Calonita

I have surpassed my original goal of 10 books!

This is a new challenge I joined this month!  For this challenge, I must read second books in a series, of which the first book in the series came out last year. I haven’t read any books towards this challenge yet, and my goal is only 2-3 books.

This challenge contains all the books I read this month as listed above!  I had to up my goal to 75, because I have already read 26 books and it’s only the end of February. 🙂

Books read this month: 13

Pages read: 4216

Remember, you can keep up with what I’m reading and my reviews for book on my Challenge Tracker Page.

REVIEW: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Title: Pure
Author: Julianna Baggott
Release date: February 8, 2012
Series or stand-alone book: Pure Series, Book 1
Format/Source: Ebook from NetGalley
Genre(s): YA, Dystopian



Pure (Pure, #1)

Pure by Julianna Baggott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Earth has been laid to waste by a nuclear event. The only place that remains whole and pristine is the Dome, a controlled environment where the lucky got to stay.

Nine years after the Detonations, Pressia Belze lives out in the ruined land, where survivors of the Detonations are forever fused to whatever they happened to be near at the time of the explosions–glass, metal, even other people. Pressia has one hand fused with a doll’s head. She lives with her grandfather, who is getting sicker by the day. The worst thing of all is that Pressia knows it’s only a matter of time before she has to leave him all alone. It’s two weeks before her sixteenth birthday–at which time she will be forced to join the OSR, a sort of guerilla regime intent on taking down the Dome.

In a completely opposite world, Partridge Willux lives inside the Dome, and feels like a constant disappointment to his father–the man who designed the Dome. Those who live inside the dome are called Pures. Partridge is a student at the Academy, when one day he takes a field trip and finds out that the mother he believed died in the Detonations may be alive on the outside. So he decides he must escape. When Pressia and Partridge’s worlds collide, they bond together and come to discover truths that will turn both of their worlds upside down.

I really liked this book a lot. The world the author created is so despondent, you can feel it coming through the pages of the book. The characters are likable and you can identify with their struggles. I especially liked Partridge, because even though he had no idea what he was looking for or even where to begin his search, he never faltered in the fact that he needed to go out there and find it. Any other Pure who had been in the safety of the Dome for the past nine years would have been terrified to leave it, but not Partridge.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a couple of problems with this book. First of all, the author is asking you to suspend your disbelief by quite a bit. It’s hard to believe that people could be fused with other people. or even animals, and both being would still be able to live. This takes a bit of imagination, but the rest of the book was so good that I got used to the idea after a bit. Secondly, the author writes in the present tense, which was not quite noticeable at first. I could tell as I was reading that something was different, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. One I saw what it was though, it didn’t bother me too much–it was just a different style than what I am used to.

Julianna Baggott has a graceful, descriptive writing style, and really knows how to give a good sense of urgency and danger. The first bit of the book was a bit slow, but once it picked up, it never let me go.

Pure is a great addition to the dystopian genre, and I cannot wait to see what happens to Pressia and Partridge in the next book.

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2012 Reading Challenges: January Progress Report

Here’s a little update on everything I’ve read so far towards my 4 reading challenges.  This also includes books I’ve not yet reviewed on my blog.

1. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia (Caster Chronicles, Book 2)

2. Wings by Aprilynne Pike (Laurel Series, Book 1)

3. Darke by Angie Sage (Septimus Heap, Book 6)

4. Spells by Aprilynne Pike (Laurel Series, Book 2)

5. Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

6. Illusions by Aprilynne Pike (Laurel Series, Book 3)

7. Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

8. The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

9.  New Girl by Paige Harbison

10.  Pure by Julianna Baggott (Pure Series, Book 1)

11.  Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia (Caster Chronicles, Book 3)

12.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Mara Dyer, Book 1)

13.  Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

My original goal for this challenge was 25 books, but I’m already more than halfway there so I’m pretty sure I’m gonna have to up it 🙂

1.  Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

2.  Pure by Julianna Baggott

The goal here is 11 books, and if I read at least 1 dystopia a month it will be easy peasy.

1. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia

2. Wings by Aprilynne Pike

3. Darke by Angie Sage

4. Spells by Aprilynne Pike

5. Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

6. Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

7. Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

8. New Girl by Paige Harbison

9.  Pure by Julianna Baggott

10.  Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia

11.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

12.  Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

The goal for this challenge was 20 books, I’m definitely going to surpass that!

This challenge contains all 13 books I read this month!  My goal for the year is 50, but if I continue at this pace I will do at least twice that.  The year is still young!

Books Read: 13

Pages Read: 5216

You can follow along with my progress in between monthly progress reports, using the 2012 Reading Challenges Tracker!

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt (Save the Pearls Series, Book 1): Goodreads Review

This book was the first I read for NetGalley Month. It’s also my first dystopian book of the year…so this book fits into all four of my reading challenges .  😉



Revealing Eden

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There has been a catastrophic event that caused the Earth to get too hot for humans to live on, so mankind is now forced to live underground. As a result of this, dark skinned people (called the Coals) have come to be the ruling class because of the very color of their skin–they are more able to tolerate the sun’s heat because of the amount of melanin in their skin. White people (Pearls) are now the minority and find it very difficult to survive.

Eden Newman, a Pearl, works in a scientific lab where her brilliant scientist father has been working on an experiment that could save mankind…by completely changing it.

Eden is distressed because she is six months away from her 18th birthday, by which time she must have a mate or be cast out from society. She has a Coal lover, Jamal, who she hopes will want to be her mate. But Jamal ends up betraying her and she must run for her life with the man she hates most, Ronson Bramford–her boss.

Bramford becomes a test subject for her father, but something goes terribly wrong. He is transformed into a half-jaguar, half-man hybrid. Together Eden, her father, and Bramford flee to a South American jungle to try to further the experiment, and secrets are uncovered that may lead to the demise of them all.

I don’t even know where to begin with my thoughts on this book. Let me start with the positives. It was nice to see a new idea in the post-apocalyptic genre. It is certainly an original premise for a book. The environments that were described in the book were very lush and richly described. Lastly, Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet.

Now, the things I didn’t like. I HATED Eden. She was so whiny and wishy washy. One day she’s dreaming about escaping her boring, monotonous life…but when she finally gets her wish she cannot wait to go back to what she was soooo bored with before. I also don’t understand why she got all of a sudden so HOT for Bramford as soon as he became the Jaguar Man. She had nothing but hate for him when he was her boss…and then he KIDNAPPED her, for goodness sake. His becoming a feline hybrid changes all this, why?

As I mentioned before, I do love Dickinson, but the inclusion of poetry in the story was very clumsy and barely related to the plot. The book would have worked better without it. Lastly, the book was just weird. Some of it was hard to read because of lack of sentence flow.

This book left me with a whole lot of questions that I have no answer to. Where is Rebecca? How come Eden is able to live safely in South America but not wherever she was before–did the event not affect the whole planet? What was the FFP even trying to accomplish? Why are they so determined to destroy Bramford, even to the point of constructing an elaborate plan where he would be seduced by a Pearl and then have an Albino child? There are so many more questions, but my head hurts now.

I finished this book only because I started it. I’m pretty sure I won’t be interested in what happens to these characters from here on out.

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My 2012 Reading Challenges

Since this is the start of my first entire year of being a blogger, I decided to take advantage of it and participate in four reading challenges for 2012.  A reading challenge is usually hosted by a book blog.  How it works is, you set reading goals for yourself, and as you make progress towards those goals, you blog about the books you are reading.  At the end of the year, if you complete your goal, you are eligible to win a big prize!

Here are the challenges I’m taking on this year.

In this challenge, I have to read a certain number of e-books this year.  For this one, I’m shooting for level 3–the DVD level, which is a goal of reading 25 ebooks.  I’m pretty sure I’ll surpass that, but I went with this number just to be safe.

This challenge requires me to read books from the dystopian genre.  These are books that take place in some not-so-distant future, usually where society has crumbled and citizens live under an oppressive government.  The Hunger Games series is an example of dystopian fiction.  I’m gonna go for the big goal and try to read more than 11 books, which would put me at Survivor level.

For this challenge, I just have to read young adult books, which I’d be doing anyway 🙂  It’s my favorite genre.  I’m going to try for level 2, The “Fun Size” level, which requires 20 YA novels.  I’ll probably pass that number.

The final challenge is one I set for myself, through Goodreads.  I’m challenging myself to read 50 books this year, from any genre.  This is about one book per week, so I’m gonna get back to reading now!