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Wild (The Ivy Chronicles, #3)Wild by Sophie Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Georgia’s wasn’t living her life; her life was living her. She was the smart one, the reliable one. In reality, she was desperate for more, to find some joy in something, anything. The problem was that she feared no one would like the person she really was. After her boyfriend of four years unceremoniously dumped her, Georgia hadn’t exactly given up on love she just wasn’t looking for it. She definitely wasn’t looking for Logan Mulvaney or the crazy way he made her act and feel. He brought out the person she truly was underneath the person everyone expected her to be. While she wanted to revel in that, fear caused her to stumble and make mistakes at every turn.

“That’s where you’re wrong. You are. You just haven’t figured that out yet.”

Sophie Jordan has outdone herself with this installation of the Ivy Chronicles. Logan and Georgia have the typical young adult baggage but they are so much more. They both seem so real that at times you could forget you’re reading a book and feel more like you are secretly snooping into someone’s life. For a quick read that will pull at your heartstrings, look no further. You also get to catch up with Pepper, Reese, Emerson, and Shaw from the previous series installments.

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Divergent (Divergent #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes this is another dystopian young adult novel. But it is really good, seriously good. It doesn’t contain as much of the angst often associated with this genre while still delivering on intensity. The characters are very mature and able to carry themselves as young adults so well that you forget their ages range from sixteen to twenty.

Society is divided into five factions by the traits they most highly value, Abnegation (selflessness), Erudite (intelligence), Candor (honesty/truthfulness), Amity (friendliness/peace), and Dauntless (bravery). There is also a sixth unofficial faction, the Faction-less. We get a little bit of backstory about how the factions came into existence but not much other than the intent, to create a harmonious, peaceful society where everyone has a place and a purpose. However, there is a plot to manipulate the system to lead a revolution and divergents are a threat to that manipulation.

The story opens with Beatrice (Tris) preparing for the Choosing Ceremony where all of the sixteen year olds are given an aptitude test then later choose a faction to join. The first indication that all is not well is at Beatrice’s aptitude test, the results are not conclusive. This complication, of something so seemingly simple, starts a chain reaction of events and things will never the same for her no matter how hard she tries to fit into her new faction.

Veronica Roth’s story has action and conspiracies and manipulation which was completely unexpected. There are a lot of characters but none of them get lost in the crowd; some you will love, some you will hate. They all play a necessary role in the plot. Simply put, this is a story about a girl finding herself in a time when nothing is as it seems or should be.

While this book isn’t a cliff hanger in the traditional sense, it does make you want to start book two, Insurgent, as soon as possible. I can’t wait to go see the movie. I will post an add-on with a review of the movie and how it stands up to the book once I see it.

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Foreplay: The Ivy Chronicles

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Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1)Foreplay by Sophie Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes the pretense is the only part that’s real…

Pepper would love nothing more than to officially become a member of the Montgomery family and she plans to do it by marrying her best friend’s brother, Hunter. The only problem is that Hunter only sees Pepper as another little sister and she has no idea how to get his attention. Not to worry, Pepper’s roommates decide to hook her up with the local ‘lady’s man’ to help her learn the basics of foreplay and seduction. Reece is intrigued by Pepper’s ‘nice girl allure. After he hears her dilemma, he becomes sympathetic to her plight and decides to help her out of the goodness of his heart. At some point in their ‘tutoring’ sessions, Pepper’s crystal clear picture of her future and the man she will be spending it with gets hazy.

How many kisses would it take for him not to have that effect on me?

Sophie Jordan has created two characters that readers will adore. Reece however has the potential to steal your heart. He is caring, patient, and understanding. While we only get brief glimpses of their pasts, which shapes them into the people they are, it is enough to better understand their personalities. Foreplay is a quick, heart-melting read that focuses on the development and metamorphosis of the main character’s relationship.

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A Little Too Far

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A Little Too Far (A Little Too Far, #1)A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How far is too far?

“All I know is, if there’s one person in this world that I was meant to meet and fall in love with, it’s you. You are my soul mate. You always have been. When we’re apart, it’s like a vital piece of me is missing. I can survive without you, but I can’t live. I can’t be fully alive.”

Lexie and Trent would be perfect for each other if not for the fact that her father and his mother got married five years ago. Their relationship has always remained in the friend/sibling zone until one afternoon after Lexie runs into her ex. Lucky for her, she leaves for a Rome on a study abroad program so she doesn’t have to worry about dealing with her newly discovered feelings for Trent. Lexi more so than Trent is concerned with how their relationship will be received by others, most especially their parents. However, her streak of falling for unavailable men follows her to Italy where she meets Reverend Alessandro Moretti who is eight months away from his ordination as a priest in the Catholic Church. Lexi and Alessandro soon develop feelings for each other but it is yet another relationship that can’t possibly end with a happily ever after.

“It’s easy to be confident when there’s nothing to lose. When the stakes are everything…you…it’s a little harder.”

Lisa Desrochers’s story encompasses two very touchy subjects, a relationship between step-siblings and celibacy and the priesthood within the Catholic Church. She doesn’t delve deeply into the two subjects but merely skims the surface enough to give readers something to contemplate. Can love really conquer all when that love has to overcome social taboos?

“I came here today because when you finally realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

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After Math

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After MathAfter Math by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scarlett Goodwin has two goals in life; first, to not end up destitute and living in a trailer park like her mom and sister and second to be an analyst for the CIA. She is well on her way to both as a math major at Southern University until Tucker Price enters her life. While Scarlett is the picture of the ideal student, Tucker occupies the other end of the spectrum, the life of the party who is just biding his time in college until he can move on to bigger and better. How could these two individuals possibly need from each other?

Tucker is on academic probation for math and behavioral probation for his rambunctious, fool-hardy ways. The Math Department desperately wants a new software program that the university will happily pay for if Scarlett, the premier tutor, will help get Tucker back on track. They didn’t know it but but they had so much more to offer each other.

Denise Grover Swank has written a beautiful story of two very likeable characters who didn’t know they were missing anything until they found it. While it is not a fast-paced romance, it does have a nice flow that takes the readers along for the journey with the characters.

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Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Saying that one moment has the power to forever change someone’s life seems obscenely cliché but that is exactly what happened to Sky Davis one fateful day at the grocery store. The moment she and Dean Holder locked gazes set them on a path that forever changes both of their lives for the better and the worse.

Sky has simply endured every relationship she has had up to the point. She hides within herself during all romantic encounters. Holder will not tolerate Sky’s numbness when she is with him. Having never felt an emotional attachment to any of her other boyfriends, Sky fears the feelings she has with/for Holder. What Sky doesn’t realize is that her inexplicable deep feelings for Dean are easily explainable, she just doesn’t remember why.

Dean does everything in his power to avoid having to shatter Sky’s world. However, neither of them knew of the other demon lurking in the shadows and how many people it would touch before the damage was done. Once all is revealed Dean and Sky will have to figure out how and if they can move forward with a future together.

The pain that each of the main characters endures is very hard to read but the story is incredibly captivating. You can’t help but want to finish the book to see what happens and how it ends. Colleen Hoover has created characters that possess great strength and endurance. While the book doesn’t end with a happily ever after, it does end with the impression that each of the characters are stronger than they were at the beginning and that they will find happiness.

Note: This book could emotionally overwhelm some readers. Having read it, I now fully understand that while the story may be about two young adults, some may not be able to handle the content.

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Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installation of the Lunar Chronicles is a darker, more blood thirsty version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Scarlet Benoit is on a mission to find her missing grandmother. The police have abandoned the search and the other residents of their rural farming French town think she is crazy and just ran off. While making a delivery, Scarlet meets Wolf. He is parading around as a street fighter who showed up in town shortly after her grandmother disappeared. It’s not until later that Scarlet finds out how appropriate his name is and the real reason he showed up in town.

On the other side of the world, Cinder is in the process of escaping from prison. Now that she knows who she really is and even worse, Levana knows, escaping from prison is literally a matter of life and death. Once free, she puts all of her energy into trying to find anyone from her past who can shed some light what happened. The only link she can find is a woman by the name of Michelle Benoit.

Scarlet and Cinder’s search for Michelle causes their paths to cross. At the same time Levana uses Cinder’s escape to use the genetically altered soliders she had planted around the world to openly attack. Cinder must come to a decision, does she finally live her life for her or does she take action to step into the role she was meant to be in?

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