Scythe by Neal Shusterman

imageIn a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

 

There are no more countries, wars, politics, disease, hunger, poverty, everything that humans could learn has been learned.and everyone is immortal.  People have the ability to heal and to ‘turn the corner’ and to revert genetically to a younger age.  because of this people are still having babies and the only way to die is to be gleaned by a scythe.

Citra and Rowan are taken as apprentices by Scythe Faraday. It’s the first time that a scythe has chosen two apprentices and it doesn’t sit well with the conclave.  He chose them for their unwillingness to become scythes, and teaches them the art of gleaning but done with sympathy and humanity  as a first priority.  Scythes are above the law, well there is no real law anymore and they are the only part of society with a governing body with rules and regulations, 10 to be precise. Because they are above the law they must do things the way it is set out in their laws and that means to not kill indiscriminately.  There  is a quota system set up so that a balance is maintained.  But as Citra and Rowan attend their first conclave they start to see that all isn’t straight forward in the society and that, like in any other governing body, there are things behind the scenes  that don’t bode well for not only them for for the world as well.

This deals heavily with morality, how not to become the monster when you are in the middle of them.  It’s a great theme to have with the things going on in society as it is today and I thing that Mr. Shusterman did it in a wonderful way of the topic of the book. there is plenty of brutality in the story, just as there is in real life and it makes you question just how you feel about what is happening around you and what you will do to try and end it.  It’s a different take on your average YA Dystopian book in which youngsters are given the powers over life and death, mercy or pure evil in how they accomplish their duties.  It’s part of a series but it’s doesn’t  leave you on a cliff edge like some other series do but leaves you on a gentle slope. An incredible beginning to what will be a thrilling series.  If you loved his Unwind series you will love this one.

 

4/5 stars

Crash

 

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Kit Rocha’s Beyond Innocence Release Day plus Giveaway!

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Kit Rocha’s Beyond series is a hot dystopian female empowerment series I love. This is the latest one and it was definitely up there with the rest of the books for me. The romance is hot, the overall story arc of the series was continued and my favorite part – the women embracing their sexuality and taking control of their lives – was at the forefront of this one.

Blurb:
For years, Jared has existed on the fringes of both Eden society and Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang. He travels between these worlds, protected by his money and power–money he earned selling his body, and power that comes from knowing secrets. He’s untouchable—until he starts a new life gathering intelligence for the O’Kanes.

Lili Fleming walked out of Sector Five with a gun, the bloodstained clothes on her back, and an icy determination to survive. She finds herself in a world where people live hard and love harder, and nothing’s more terrifying than how much the O’Kanes wake her up, make her feel—especially Jared.

Emotion is a risk he can’t afford, and a complication she doesn’t need. But neither can resist the lust simmering between them, and the sparks that could either melt the ice around both their hearts…or get them killed. Because the only thing more dangerous than loving an O’Kane is loving a spy.

 

Excerpt

He didn’t say anything, just watched her for so long that the intensity would have terrified her if being the focus of his attention wasn’t thrilling in a different way. Finally, he sighed. “I don’t know what to do with you, Lili Fleming.”

Her heart lurched, and the words that spilled out were reckless—the most unguarded of her life. “What do you want to do with me?”

Again, the hesitation. “There are ways I could help you,” he admitted, rubbing his thumb over the bowl of his glass. “Ordinarily, I would have already offered. But somehow it seems complicated now.”

She watched his thumb make another slow sweep and couldn’t not imagine it smoothing over her skin. That was what he was talking about—he had to be. Touching her. Showing her the things her body wanted, even as her mind shrank away.

“That’s not why—” Her voice cracked, and she took a long sip of wine and wished it was whiskey. “I’m not asking you for that. I don’t know if I—if I could…” God, she couldn’t even say it, her tongue tangling around the mildest of euphemisms.

“I know you’re not asking.” He shrugged. “I guess that’s what makes it complicated.”

Because trades were simple. They never left you vulnerable. And he hadn’t really answered her question—he was so deft that she hadn’t noticed. “What do you want to do?” she repeated softly.

Jared held her riveted, so completely that she barely noticed when he moved. She couldn’t look away, even when he took the glass from her hand. Even when he laid his hands on her face, his fingers curled around her neck to hold her, and lowered his mouth to hers.

She’d imagined kissing. Mouths touching, lips brushing.

She’d imagined wrong, because Jared’s tongue was the first thing she felt, hot and shocking, as if he knew it would make her gasp. Because when she did, he went deeper, his tongue finding hers.

It was too much. Too fast, too intoxicating. Her entire body throbbed along with her racing pulse, and her knees felt unsteady. She clutched for the only steady thing she could find, grasping his upper arms to keep from melting through the floor.

Then his hands tightened, tilting her head back, urging her mouth open. His tongue swept over hers again, rough and rasping, and every tiny shiver of sensation built into an ache that settled between her legs. Not just an ache, a need, and she whimpered into his mouth.

Jared broke the kiss with a shudder and smoothed his thumb over her tingling lower lip. “See?” he whispered. “Complicated.”

She closed her eyes and tried to catch her breath. “Not sure that helped,” she said, an attempt to turn it into a joke. It had to be, or fear and longing would crash together and vaporize her. “I’m feeling all sorts of things now.”

“It doesn’t have to stop.” His hands trembled on her face. “But that’s your choice to make.”

An impossible choice—need or fear, pleasure or peace. And all of it shrouded in mystery, because she couldn’t reconcile the O’Kanes’ wild glee with her mother’s whispered warnings to lie still so it would be over faster.

“I don’t know.” She forced herself to look at him, to meet his patient, waiting eyes. “I don’t know anything. How can I make a choice when I don’t understand what you’re offering?”

“You’re right.” He smiled again and brushed her hair back from her forehead with a careful, gentle touch. “It’s not exactly fair, is it?”

She was still clinging to him. Slowly, shyly, she eased her grip until she was touching, instead. His arms were solid, muscle flexing as she rubbed her thumb against his sleeve and wondered if he felt the same spark of sensation. “When I was on the drugs, everything seemed so clear. I thought they were all pretending. I didn’t believe in pleasure.”

“And now?”

Now it would be like not believing in water while she was standing outside in the rain. This wasn’t some gentle mist, either. She was caught up in a storm, and she’d seen what heavy rain could do to the desert. The clay couldn’t absorb the water, and the riverbeds couldn’t contain it.

She wasn’t made for pleasure. Too much would sweep her away. “Now I’m scared.”

 

 

 

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To enter a giveaway for the Beyond Volume One bundle (the first 3 Beyond books) in ebook format comment on this post! US only.

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Book Review: Beyond Possession by Kit Rocha

22910314 This is book 5.5 in the O’Kane world and I’ve been reading them since the beginning. You can read this one without reading the rest and be fine with the story but you would lose SO MUCH backstory and color in this world that I wouldn’t recommend it. This is a gritty dystopian world unlike most others that I read and the O’Kane world has a darkly erotic edge to it.

Beyond Possession takes place not much time after the previous book and it’s a relief to see that Zan is doing well since he was shot in that one. Zan’s the hero and one of the main focuses along with Tatiana, who is not a name we’ve seen much previously. Tatiana is the daughter of the previous ruler of Sector 4 who was majorly corrupt, which puts her on edge with the others who live in the sector. She worries others will only see her as the daughter of the corrupt leader and not the business owner and skilled craftperson that she is.

Zan has had feelings for Tatiana for a while now so when Dallas – the current leader of Sector 4 – asks him to get closer to her for political reasons he has no issues with this. She is extremely hesitant and doesn’t know what to do with him or his interest in her.

“What do you need?”
A thousand things, but nothing as much or as hard as this. “Someone who gets me. Who doesn’t want me to be anything or anyone else. What do I want?” He drew her closer. “I want it to be you.”
“I want it to be me, too.”

I’m a big fan on this series because it’s so different from pretty much every other series I read. The world is very gritty and dark and I find their different sectors fascinating. The novellas are a favorite of mine because they fill in the small details in between the big, important details. The back story of the individual people in the sector in the smaller novellas is a nice way to showcase couples. Zan and Tatiana were sweet in the typical O’Kane fashion – with a sharp edge.

3.5 stars

~Melinda

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Book Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

13645645 Sophie Jordan did an excellent job of world building in this suspenseful YA novel. This book can pretty much be divided into two halves – the build up of hysteria and a terrified society and then the outcome for the wronged individuals. I’ve read numerous YA dystopian type novels and this one had me catching my breath occasionally as I could see a world in which this could actually happen.

In this society the government has identified HTS or Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, the gene that leads people to kill. They pass laws to identify these people and then mark them permanently for all of society to see. They are implementing more and more laws to test for this gene in the workplace, in colleges and in schools. When Davy Hamilton is tested is school she doesn’t think twice about it. However, when her results come back positive her life pretty much halts in its’ place. She is kicked out of school, Julliard rescinds her acceptance, her boyfriend dumps her and nothing seems to matter.

Davy is forced to attend a public school where she and the other HTS identified teens are taught, pretty much in a cage. She meets Sean while there, definitely the strong and silent type, and she’s surprised to find herself having anything in common with someone so completely different than her.

From there Davy has to figure out how to maneuver this new world of hers. She is used to being unusual because of her musical abilities but having to figure out this is proving too hard for her. They’re sent to Mount Haven, a government facility, in the second half of the book and that’s where the book really picks up.

This seemed to be a realistic take to me. The author explored the ways that the government could both discover this kind of gene and then identify those with it and deal with that group of people. I found it terrifying to think about but also the way the author portrayed it as plausible enough. This was a complicated book, with fast pacing. My interest definitely didn’t wane at all throughout the book. If anything when it hit the second half it was piqued even more. There was an open ending to the book but definitely no major cliffhanger because I cannot handle pretty much any book with those these days. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next one!

4/5 stars

ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

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Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

14288998 This is a kind of sleeper trilogy in that I haven’t heard as many people talk about but is one that I have really enjoyed from the beginning. And YAY a final book that was not only NOT a disappointment but, at least to me, was pretty freaking awesome! I was kind of ecstatic when I got approved for this ARC because I’ve been really wanting to know what the hell happened with Perry, Aria and Roar after Through the Ever Night ended.

There is so much I like about this trilogy I don’t even know if I’ll remember to list them all. First and foremost is the lack of a love triangle. While there are 3 main characters and yes one is female and 2 are male there is never a moment that I get a romantic feeling between Roar and Aria which just makes me happy. Which brings me to the second thing I like about this trilogy so much – the friendships. The friendship between Roar and Perry is so great, just a real and honest friendship between two guys that is not ruined by jealousy over a woman. The friendship between Roar and Aria is even better in my eyes because it’s so rare to see in a YA book that a male and female can manage to be friends without feelings getting in the way. I love the friendships in these books. There are many, many more, even other important ones that matter, all why I love these books.

So as for this actual book – I didn’t love the beginning. I was a little annoyed with the way Roar and Perry were acting. I wanted to smack them both. I understood their pain after the ending of the last book but Roar in particular was acting like an ass and it was irritating me. But after we moved past that part I easily loved the rest of this book even more than the others. The action moved very quickly and was pretty much nonstop. The journey, both literally and figuratively, in this book is important and really moving to see. There are a lot of challenges to face and sacrifices Perry in particular has to make to get to the end. The anticipation of all of this has built throughout the series and this last book does a great job of capturing all of this effortlessly.

I was impressed with the end of the book – the last 20% or so in particular. I wasn’t expecting to get any of this in the book at all because this part felt almost like an epilogue. I appreciated the ending and while there were definitely sad parts – to the point where I was a little choked up – there were also the happy and triumphant moments as well. I was extremely satisfied with this conclusion to the series and feel that Rossi did what is almost impossible – took extreme care with the pacing of the relationships and the action, leaving me even more of a fan at the end of book 3 than I was at the end of book 1.

This book in particular is pretty difficult to review without giving away major spoilers so basically I loved the and felt it was a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy.

5/5 Stars

ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss.

~Melinda

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