Book Review: Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

18126198Genre: 

Young Adult, story  Dystopian

Pages: 

285

Part of a Series?:

This is a companion novel to the Divergent trilogy

Release Date: 

June 8th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling divergent series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy.

My Review:

I’m going to be upfront and honest: I hate novellas. Most of the time I just think they’re a way for publishers to capitalize on a built in book series and they’re usually not worth my time. I usually try to stay away from them.

But this is Veronica Roth. She is one of my favorite authors. Divergent means the world to me. I have a Divergent tattoo because of what it means to me. And Four is easily my favorite character. What he says about fear and being fearless and brave throughout the entire series really gets to me. I have an obsession with fear and the idea of being fearless. So Four is awesome. When I heard there would be these four short stories telling Four’s point of view, I knew I had to read it.

The Transfer, The Initiate and The Son all take place before Divergent, before Tris even comes into Four’s life. I love these so much. Veronica Roth has said that she began writing Divergent in the point of view of Four before changing that to Tris. Because of that, I think these stories have more integrity, more background, more strength than other novellas. Other novellas seem to be written randomly so they aren’t so well thought out or in conjunction with the story. Everything that happens to Four in these three stories works so well with what we know in the Divergent trilogy and that’s what I love about them. They make a really great prequel to the rest of the series. It explains more about Four, and you really get a background of him. You see what he went through in trying to escape his father in Abnegation, what his life was like during Dauntless initiation and why he chose to be an instructor when he ranked the highest. I really enjoyed that.

The last story in the book was The Traitor. This takes places during Divergent. We get parts that we already saw, interactions with Tris from Four’s point of view but we also see new scenes that were going on at the same time. Divergent is easily my favorite of the entire series so I loved this one the best probably. I liked seeing scenes from Four’s point of view and I liked seeing what he was up to when he was “off page”. There was so much to this particular story and I could not get enough of it. What Four was aware of with Jeanine and Erudite and Dauntless and the attack on Abnegation and what he was hoping to do and accomplish. I love it. I love it so much. It was really awesome to see these different stories on the background of my favorite character.

There is also three additional scenes at the back of the book, short scenes from Divergent that tend to be fan favorites, and they are told from Four’s point of view. We get when Tris first jumps (“First Jumper, Tris”), when Four and Tris first eat a meal together (“Be Careful, Tris”) and Four is drunk and talks to Tris (“You Look Good, Tris”). These are all scenes that I love between Tris and Four so of course I got a little fangirl kick out of reading them from Four’s POV.

As a Divergent fan, I would say this book is a must. Its a short read, only 285 pages, and I cleared the entire thing in an hour and a half. We get to see some of our favorite moments from Divergent in the point of view of an integral but very mysterious character and we get to see the background that makes Four such a complex character. It adds new information but keeps to the story that we know and love. I say, a must buy!

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: The Young Elites (ARC) by Marie Lu

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Penguin Teen at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, approved  Fantasy

Pages: 

368

Part of a Series?:

Yes, see the first novel of what I believe is a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

October 7th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is amalfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.


Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
 
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Review:

Honestly, I can’t imagine there is ever going to be a book by Marie Lu that just doesn’t completely floor me and leave me absolutely dying for the next book.

This book is so incredibly different from her Legend trilogy but that is what makes it so good. You still have the great writing and storytelling and the unique “voice” that is Marie Lu, but it in an entirely new story, an entirely new world. I think sometimes its difficult for an author to venture outside the way they’ve written, but Marie Lu proves in The Young Elites that not only can she write fantastic dystopian but she writes dark, rich fantasy as well.

In Legend, there is a constant struggle for truth, who is right, who is wrong, what is the right thing to do, how much of the truth do you tell a person. In The Young Elites, its all about power, and the use and abuse of it. Adelina is a malfetto, an abomination. The malfettos are blamed for everything wrong in the country: poverty, starvation, bad crops, whatever. They have no power as those in power, the Inquisitors, take them out at every possible chance. Even Adelina’s own father shares in the opinion that she is worthless, she will gain no good for him.

Until it is discovered that she has an absolutely incredible, terrible, dark, and out of this world power, and suddenly she’s a hot commodity. She’s hunted down by two different men, one working for the queen and one trying to fight for a rebellion against them. What makes this beautiful is there is no clear right and wrong, no dark and light. Each side is full of darkness. Each side bears so many questions. Its hard to know who to trust. Even those who say they are the right side have their own things to gain, their own reasons for using Adelina. That’s what makes it so good. You are constantly questioning everyone in the book. You never really know who is telling the truth, or what the truth even is. Even the supposed good guys don’t always seem like good guys. You’re even questioning the main character throughout the novel as well.

Its a book full of darkness, and power and its chock full of mystery. That’s what keeps you turning the pages. Its so dark. I feel like…I never know what direction this story is going to take and its frustrating and exhilarating. I honestly have such a hard time figuring out who is going to do what, and what I want people to do. I can’t even figure out what I want for the characters because its so back and forth. As soon as I sort of kind of figure out what I want for them, what I hope happens to them, the direction veers so dramatically in the other direction that I suddenly feel like I was knocked off balance. This book kept me hooked because it kept surprising me. Every time I thought I got a measure of a character or a group of people or anything, something would change and it would make it a whole new story.

I read somewhere, I can’t remember where, that this book was a sort of cross between X-Men and Assassin’s Creed. Now I don’t know much about Assassin’s Creed so I can’t say much about that. From what I understand, the main character goes back in time, with his ancestors, to different parts of history? Something like that. The history, that sort of old time feel is definitely in the book. This is a world that could exist but there’s just a bit more to it than we know. The X-Men thing is easy: some of these malfettos have powers: power over fire, wind, animals, Adelina’s power of illusion. The Young Elites totally feel like medieval version of the X-Men and they too have their prejudices against them, because they are different. They are blamed for things, and they want to fight back. They remind me of both Professor X, who wants to live in peace with them, and Magneto, who is angry at the way they treat them and wants revenge. It had a very X-Men feel about it but in a very whimsical, dark and fantastical way. I loved every bit of it.

I don’t know how much of this book will or could change before its release in October but I hope its very little. This book was absolutely incredible and I am so insanely grateful that I managed to get my hands on a copy this weekend. Marie Lu is such a gifted writer, and tells such a fresh and interesting story every single time. I was intrigued immediately from page one to the last page, unsure of what to expect. In fact, the last few pages left me in wonder, my jaw dropped, in a revelation as I discovered just a bit of something that literally leaves me incredibly impatient for a book two, even though book one hasn’t even released officially yet. Just when you think, the story is wrapped up, but you’re unsure of what direction the characters are going in, a curveball is thrown and you’re left thinking “But wait, what happens next?” I hope to find out very, very soon.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten-My ‘Auto-Buy’ Authors!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Tuesday Top Ten!

I honestly have had a crazy week, view and I’ve been so incredibly busy that I honestly couldn’t even remember if I did a Tuesday Top Ten last week. Turns out I did!

I got the idea for this week’s top ten from my dear friend Kayla’s blog! She did a booktag where she posted what authors she owned the most books of from her auto-buy list. I thought it was kind of fun but…I have over 500 books and I don’t have bookshelves so that’s a lot of work for me. But then I thought, well, I don’t have an idea for this week’s Tuesday Top Ten so voila! Now I have one.

All ten authors are authors that from right this moment (and perhaps before), I will buy everything they release, without even thinking about it. You know what I mean. Those kind of authors that you’ve read enough books to trust them, so that when they release a new book, you immediately want to pick it up and read it. Those ones.

Here are my top ten, erm, eleven:

11. Richelle Mead 

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Its funny that a year ago, I would have scoffed at this, rolled my eyes at the cover of Vampire Academy, and never known how amazing this author is. Luckily, I put aside my vampire prejudices and read this book. Now I’m addicted to VA and Bloodlines, absolutely adore Richelle and I have a VA tattoo now. I will buy anything she writes because she takes something that has been done over and over again, has been beaten to a pulp and makes it fun, fresh, adventurous, sexy and amazing. Richelle Mead is incredible and I will be picking up every single one of her books from now on, easily.

10. Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This is a very…I will buy everything she publishes from here on out. I don’t own everything by her at this point. I have read the entire Lux series (so far) and I don’t own it all. I have read the entire Covenant series and again, don’t own them. But I’ve read so much from her now, and I’ve been so thoroughly impressed by her, again and again, that any time there is a new release for her, I’m determined to head to the bookstore in order to purchase her new book. I trust her to take me on adventure, to make me laugh and to have perfectly steamy scenes that leave me panting for more.

9. Marie Lu

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After reading the entire Legend trilogy, and being completely blown away from beginning to end, I’ve developed not only an addiction to Marie Lu, but a complete trust in her. I was ready to dive happily into her new book, The Young Elites, and worked my ass off to get a copy of it at ALA. I read it just last week and it blew my mind. I already have my ARC of it but I know that when it is released in October, I will totally be picking it up. I trust Marie Lu to write an incredible story every single time, and she will be one that I will be following for quite some time.

8. Veronica Roth

19th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books - Day 2

The Divergent series means so incredibly much to me; I don’t get tattoos of series just because I feel like it. I love Veronica Roth. I love her characters and her stories. I picked up the Four collection and read it in about an hour. I trust her, and I want to read everything that she puts out. She’s the same age as me so I know that she has a great future as a writer in front of her. Right now, I am unsure of what she is working on. Everyone is just talking about the new Four collection and I don’t think there’s anything set in stone planned for the future. Whatever it is though, you can definitely count on me to purchase it on the day it comes out.

7. Tamora Pierce

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There is a stipulation to this, even though she’s totally tied for first in the list of my favorite authors. I buy every single thing Tamora Pierce writes as long as its in the Tortall world. Everything she has written in that world has just blown my mind and I love going back again and again and again. She hasn’t put anything out in that world for awhile, which makes me sad, but I always eagerly await a new one. I need to go back and read her Circle books, in the hope of getting an “auto-buy” feeling for those as well :)

6. Andrew Smith

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Okay, yes, I need to go back and buy all the books he’s already released since I don’t own all of them, but of the ones I’ve read and own, I just can’t imagine him disappointing me. He is an absolutely incredible author and every book I read makes me love him even more. From now on, every time he releases a book, I will be at the  bookstore, grabbing a copy (or two…or three…) and making sure its in my collection. I trust him enough to always make me a happy reader.

5. Jessica Brody

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Did I just use a picture of Jessica Brody from the first time I ever met her, over a year ago at WonderCon 2013? Yes, yes, I did. Apparently when I google “Jessica Brody author”, most of the pictures that pop up are the ones from my blog…which is kind of cool and maybe a bit creepy and stalkerish. But the point is, I’ll buy all Jessica Brody’s books because they’re all so good! I’ve read them all (except the Fidelity Files, which I’m working on), and she makes me laugh and she’s a great writer and I love supporting her. Its easy to imagine going to the bookstore on her release days and picking up her new book!

4. Sarah Dessen

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I’ve literally bought every single Sarah Dessen book, on the day its released, since I was about fourteen years old. I doubt that is going to change any time soon, unless she starts writing truly awful books.Even then though… Sarah is one of those authors that usually makes me happy, and I love reading her books. Her last couple have been a little lacking compared to some of her earlier ones but I still buy each one with much eagerness because I know what a terrific writer she is and I always look forward to the great stories she tells. Plus they’re always the perfect summer books and I just love that.

3. Cassandra Clare

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Whatever you feel about her, that’s your deal. I ran into a lot of people at ALA who don’t like her, and that’s your deal. But she is literally one of my favorite authors ever, I have a tattoo from her series and I will buy each and every one of her books on the day they come out, no matter what. I absolutely hated City of Fallen Angels, and I’m upfront and honest about that. But that didn’t keep me from continuing to buy The Infernal Devices series or from picking up the next TMI book, Lost Souls, the following year. I will pick up a copy of The Iron Trials (her novel with Holly Black) this fall (though I already have an ARC copy of it), and I’ll pick up a copy of The Bane Chronicles and Lady Midnight and so on. This is one author that I’m definitely going to continue to buy, because even though she writes a dud sometimes, she writes a great book that makes me happy too.

2. Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot has been one of my favorite authors since I was 12 years old, when I first picked up a copy of The Princess Diaries. I’ve literally bought every single book of hers, on the release day, since then. That’s 14 years of complete dedication. In fact, a few months ago, I thought “Wait…how is it Meg isn’t releasing anything this year?” Not even a week later, Meg announced two new adult books, based off of two of her very popular YA series. Those will most definitely be auto buys, without even pausing or thinking about it.

1. J.K. Rowling

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She’s my favorite author in the entire world and she’s written a total of 10 books. Which seems like a lot but the first one came out in 1998, and that was nearly 20 years ago. She wrote the Harry Potter series and when that was over, I thought I would never again be able to experience the beautiful and incredible writing and storytelling of her again. Then The Casual Vacancy came out. Not one of my favorites but I did enjoy it and I purchased it immediately. As soon as it was revealed that she was Robert Galbraith, and that The Cuckoo’s Calling was, in fact, her novel, I immediately went on my e-reader and bought it. (I had to; at the time, bookstores didn’t carry enough copies to meet the sudden demand). Just recently I purchased The Silkworm, the sequel. I will continue to buy every single thing she writes, even if its, like, a history of toothpicks or something because I will read anything this queen writes :)

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Who are some of your favorite auto-buy authors? Share in the comments!

Book Review: Trial by Fire (ARC) by Josephine Angelini

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Macmillan Publishers at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, generic  Fantasy, this Science Fiction, Romance, Contemporary…this book has it all

Pages: 

384

Part of a Series?:

Yes. This is the first novel in a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

September 2nd, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

My Review:

This is proof, once again, that you never ever give up on an author, even if you’re not 100% satisfied with their previous works.

Let me be clear: I think Josie Angelini is a fantastic writer. Her writing is just beautiful, and she’s SUCH a fun person. Seriously. It blows my mind how fun she is. I would love to hang out with her. She’s about to have a baby and her baby is going to be the coolest kid ever. Okay, I’m getting off topic. I remembered Josie talking a bit about this book when I met her back in October at the LA Teen Book Fest and it sounded fantastic. Hearing her talk about it again at ALA, and the Viva la Fierce Reads event, made me want to read it even more. I had to get my hands on it. Long story short, I got my hands on it and proceeded to speed right through it in my hotel room in Vegas.

Josie Angelini is a beautiful writer. Seriously. Every word on the page feels like its been chosen with care to create such a perfectly woven story. I don’t write like that. I write like I write on this blog: casual, as if talking to a friend. So when I read books that are just written so fluidly and tell a story that you can’t help but turn the pages to find out the end…I am just blown away. She captures everything in the story from beginning to end. She is so able to capture love, and jealousy, power and fear, sickness, battle, whatever, without having to say “she was jealous”. She is just literally so brilliant at weaving her words and I am so incredibly impressed by it.

I think what really gets me about this story that never grabbed me about Starcrossed (even though I adore Greek mythology) was the main character. From the very first page, I knew me and Lily were going to get along just fine. Her allergies, her struggle to fit in, even her struggle to figure out what to do with her best friend turned kind of boyfriend, Tristan, was just so familiar. This is the kind of thing any outsider would have felt in high school and trust me, I was an outsider. Lily immediately jumps into your heart from page one and you follow her easily into this alternate world of Salem.

And this is where things get addicting. This new world seems like something I could be a part of: the Salem witches never burned, instead they took over. Women rule the world. Its everything a girl could want right? Girls, in charge, in power. Except…its not. This world has its own problems as well and Lily is dragged there by her counterpart for a purpose she can’t quite figure out. This alternate Salem is so dark and mysterious and sexy and intriguing. Even though Lily wants to go home, she’s drawn to it, and to the power that she’s capable of, and I don’t blame her. I was drawn to the world as well. Power, in the hands of women, even in this messed up society is just so tempting and I think that’s a huge problem in the book. But watching Lily struggle to find her way home, while also coming to terms with these new powers and get attached to people in this world (read: Rowan).

But I think the thing that Josie really accomplishes in this novel is that she manages to weave so many stories in one. There’s so many themes going on. Power. Family. Love. Politics. There’s science fiction of parallel worlds and the fantasy of magical powers. You have contemporary with the problems of Lily’s original world and you have the romance that builds between her and a character in this different Salem. But it all works. It makes for a completely addicting novel. You have no idea what is going to happen next. There’s just SO much going on. Everyone wants a piece of Lily, and Lily wants to go home, and she wants to learn her powers and she misses the people in her old life but she grows attached to those in this new life and agh. Its confusing and it jumps all over the place but that’s what makes it so good. You honestly have no idea what direction its going in. You start to think, oh, maybe they’re going to…and you’re yanked in a completely different direction. Its a complete thrill ride.

Basically, what I’ve been telling people is…I am so glad that I managed to get my hands on the ARC and I can’t wait until the actual release so I can get my hands on a pretty copy of the book with this beautiful cover. Plus I got some Thai food stains on my ARC, I’m not going to lie. I’m a messy reader. But I loved this book. I loved the romance and the intrigue. I loved the magic and the mystery. I can’t wait to get my actual copy of this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Because, seriously, Josie? That cliffhanger? SO NOT FAIR! ;)

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Vlog: June Book Haul!

I know, here I know! Its July 8th, cialis 40mg and I’m SO behind in posting this, but hey, I have an excuse. I’ve had the craziest past week and I filmed it on 4th of July and then totally forgot to post it…

And well here it is.

After May’s ginormous book haul, I decided to cut back in June, take a break from the incessant book buying.

And while that helped a little bit, I still managed to get a fairly big sized book haul. I actually only ended up showing PART of it haha. Enjoy!

What are some awesome books that you got in the month of June? Share in the comments!

Book Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

13574417Genre: 

Young Adult, physician Science Fiction, recipe Romance

Pages: 

344

Part of a Series?:

Yes. The second book, pills  Invaded, is due to hit bookstores in February 0f 2015

Release Date: 

February 4th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

My Review:

This is pretty much exactly how I felt as soon as I finished this book. And let me say this: I finished the book at 4 am. After starting it about midnight. I FLEW through this book. I had honestly never heard of it, until my friend, Sasha, started recommending it on her instagram and it kept popping up, and I thought, this is something that I have to read in the future. Flashforward to ALA last weekend, and I saw it on a stand and immediately ran to it. I asked the Disney-Hyperion book if they were giving it away and they weren’t BUT Melissa Landers was doing a signing of Invaded, which is the second book. She was SO incredibly sweet and I knew that I was lucky to get my hands on a copy, especially signed. So I went out yesterday and purchased Alienated and proceeded to burst my way through it.

Way to go, Melissa Landers. Seriously. Way to go.

When I first started reading it, it reminded me almost instantaneously of the short-lived CW show, Star-Crossed. Aliens come to earth, peacefully, but humans get a little wigged out, and there’s violent protest groups and a new exchange program is created in order to foster a healthier alliance between the humans and the aliens. Intergalactic relationships ensue. I admit, that threw me off a bit. Not that I thought either had copied each other or anything, just that it seemed similar and I am mourning the loss of StarCrossed and I’m mourning being able to see Matt Lanter with his sexy Atrian tattoos and v-necks shirts that show off his beautiful arms and chest…

I’m getting off topic. The point is, that threw me for a loop when I read the first 50 pages or so, and those 50 pages were the slowest ones that I read. But once I was hooked into the story, that was it. I fell madly in love with the story and the characters.

First off, the characters. I adore Cara. I mean, her name is similar to mine so sometimes when Aelyx was saying “Cah-ra”, I admit I was imagining him saying, “Sah-ra”. Seriously. That was going down. But I adore Cara. I love how she progresses through the novel. She wants nothing to do with the exchange program when she first is recruited for it, not because she dislikes the L’eihr but because she’s so driven and she has other things on her plate. But as the story continues and her friendship and relationship with Aelyx blooms, her motives changes. She gets stronger, more passionate, she really comes into her ideas and opinions and sticks to her guns. Its incredible to watch her go through that. She falls in love and becomes a better person for it, and I love that. I think the same could be said for Aelyx as well. He comes to earth with a less than welcoming plan in his mind, and he has no desire to integrate with the humans. He’s a robot, thinks emotions are overrated, gets disgusted by human affection and thinks pizza and chocolate is gross. But his time on earth, and especially his time with Cara, begins to break that shell, and while Cara falls slowly in love with him, so do you, as the reader.  The changes in Aelyx as the story goes on is incredible, and that’s truly a mark of a good character.

Then you have the story itself, which breathes so easily through the book. It feels so familiar and yet so fantastical at the same time. You have this familiar world of school, cars, ipods, computers, blogs, McDonalds but there’s something different to it: the aliens, the L’eihrs. They are like humans in so many ways, but not at the same time. They all look the same, wear the same uniforms, eat the same foods, and are way more advanced than the people on Earth. They want to make an alliance with Earth, but you can’t quite figure out why, and you can’t quite figure out why Aelyx and his friends want to ruin it. There’s so much mystery to the L’eihrs and you want to know more. The more that Cara discovers about them, the more than you crave for more information. There’s a beautiful romance (which I’ll get to in a second) building but there’s more than that. These two characters come from vastly different worlds that have collided and its a recipe for disaster and you’re just waiting for it to explode.

And lastly, the romance. Its been awhile since I read a book where the romance blew me away like this one did. I had butterflies and my heart beat fast, and I blushed and I fell in love with both of the characters as they fell in love with each other. Melissa Landers writes such a subtle, beautiful romance and that’s what I loved about it. It happens so slowly but then suddenly, its right in front of your face. Like its been there all along but it took them, and you, the entire time to figure it out. Its beautiful and I can’t wait to see more of it in Invaded.

Look, I’ve literally written the longest review ever. Seriously. This review is ridiculously long. I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry. But I truly loved this book and I can’t wait to dive into book two. I am blown away by Melissa’s book and I am now officially a fan. I wish I had spent more time talking to her at ALA but I didn’t know. Now I do, and I’m a fan. This book is a knockout!

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

I don’t give out 5 out of 5s easily, so take my word for it, SERIOUSLY, read this book :)