Publisher: Tor Teen

Book Review – Revelations (The Elysium Chronicles #2) by J.A. Souders

January 24, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 8 Comments

Book Review – Revelations (The Elysium Chronicles #2) by J.A. SoudersRevelations by J.A. Souders
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #2
Published by Tor Teen on November 5, 2013
Pages: 352
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Renegade

three-stars

Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was.

But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home.

But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past.

But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous.

Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…

The Elysium Chronicles

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) {My Review}

Six weeks have passed since Evelyn has left Elysium yet she remembers nothing of her previous life. Gavin is the only one that knew her but she can barely remember him. When she begins having nightmarish flashbacks that seem to be continuously triggered by something she can’t understand, the village doctor fears she needs to get more help than he’ll be able to give her. With the assistance of an old friend of Gavins, Asher, the three travel through the Outlands to the City in hopes that Evelyn can find the answers she’s searching for.

The truth is I never intended on reading this. I finished Renegade and enjoyed it but was expecting so much more and was left mildly disappointed. But I recently recommended this book to my ‘I have better things to do than read’ 13-year-old step-daughter and holy crap she loved it and immediately wanted me to pick up Revelations. And then she demanded I read it with her so she could talk to me about it. So, I succumbed to the pressure. 🙂

Revelations suffered from middle-book-syndrome and possessed a lot of filler. For almost the entire first half of the book was spent detailing Evelyn’s flashbacks and the expedition to the City. There were some moments of intrigue but for the most part it was incredibly uneventful in comparison to the thrilling nature of Renegade. When I think back on the book as a whole there was a lot that could have been condensed or eliminated (such as the romance drama) and a lot that could have been expanded on in more detail (like the science and origination of Elysium).

The romance was a huge issue for me in Renegade and continued to be an issue in this book. There are even hints of a love triangle but I’m pleased to announce it fizzles out by the end for hilarious reasons. The romance between Gavin and Evelyn grows quickly and I love you’s are being dished out. Gavin becomes excessively possessive in regards to Evelyn’s safety and it’s understandable to an extent. When Gavin decides to not inform her of issues regarding her own personal health and other issues that she should be deciding for herself is when I developed an issue with him. His treatment towards her felt extremely condescending and I realize Evelyn didn’t have any memories so he thought he was only helping but that doesn’t mean she lost her common sense as well.

After the unfortunate cliffhanger ending there’s no doubt I’ll be reading the final installment even without my kid bullying me into it. I can only hope that the drama is all out of the way, that Gavin can allow Evelyn to make her own decisions and that we can get more concrete details on the interesting world of Elysium.

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Early Review – The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1) by Mindee Arnett

February 26, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1) by Mindee ArnettThe Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy #1
Published by Tor Teen on March 5th 2013
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Nightmare Affair

three-half-stars

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Mare or Nightmare
noun
1. an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or “nightmares”).

Dusty is a relatively normal 16 year-old girl, except for that whole “my mother is a Nightmare”. In the most literal sense. Literal meaning she’s a mythical creature that feeds on what dreams are made of. One night while Dusty is doing just that, she finds herself in a dream depicting a murder of one of her classmates that is vivid enough to leave her shaken. She returns to her school that night only to find out that that was no ordinary dream, she had just witnessed a real murder.

Nightmares aren’t the only mythical creature in this vibrant and imaginative world Mindee has created. Dusty attends Arkwell Academy along with other magical beings such as warlocks, witches, vampires, sirens, mermaids, demons, and of course, nightmares. The purpose of the Academy is to teach all magical creatures how to function and live in this world undetected. Considering there was so much to this world, there was a lot of information to be explained in detail for the reader and it was a bit of an information overload in the beginning. There was one particular aspect of this world regarding what was called ‘The Will’ which was a powerful magic that essentially acted as a ‘Big Brother’ and kept individuals from using their magic to harm. It played a huge part of the story as a whole but wasn’t explained as easily as it could have been and I was left with unanswered questions regarding its functionality.

I dislike comparing books with out another because there is so little these days that is truly original. Some facet of every story has more than likely already been done time and time again, the part that becomes most important is how that author takes that used idea and molds and transforms it into something uniquely theirs. I could go on and on about how much the setting reminded me of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins with its supernatural school with various different magical beings. How the main character who is quirky and funny yet ultimately an outcast. How her enemies are the beautiful popular girls and even the parental setup is similar with her mother being estranged and her father being non-magical (just the other way around in HH). I could even go so far as to compare the seriousness and intensity of the mystery to a Dan Brown novel and the magical battles and ending worthy of a Harry Potter book. I could likely do this form of comparison with all my book reviews.

The point in all this, despite these comparisons that danced through my head while reading, is I loved those bits that were truly unique and given the authors special touch. Using a ‘Nightmare’ as a supernatural being was genius and I loved it. I also loved how she took a supernatural story and added a medieval twist (two things that I would normally never put together in my head) and really made it work for me. I’d like to see some stronger character development in future installments and please, please, make that completely unnecessary love triangle go away. This book is one Nightmare you mind experiencing. Recommended for supernatural mystery fans looking for a bit of a twist.

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Early Review – Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. Souders

November 8, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, YA 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles #1) by J.A. SoudersRenegade by J.A. Souders
Series: The Elysium Chronicles #1
Published by Tor Teen on November 13th 2012
Pages: 352
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Revelations

three-stars

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

‘We are all Mother’s children. It is a privilege to show her our ultimate obedience to her laws.’

Evelyn Winters is the Daughter of the People in the underwater world of Elysium. She is a flawless specimen with ideal genes perfectly suited to create flawless children. Mother has worked hard to solidify Evelyn’s perfection and the perfection of all citizens in Elysium. Mother will do anything and everything to make sure this remains so. All is not as it appears in Elysium. Look carefully, beyond the perfection…. and you’ll see the malevolence hidden closely beneath the surface.

‘Greed has poisoned men’s souls. Surface Dwellers have destroyed what was once beautiful and turned it into a ghostly illusion of what they call peace. But down here, we have real peace. There will be no fear, or sickness, hunger, hate, or greed. We have created our Utopia. And it is magnificent.’

Evelyn is told from an early age that her people escaped to Elysium to hide from the evil Surface Dwellers that war with one another but when a Surface Dweller manages to breach Elysium Evelyn can’t help but be intrigued by him. His name is Gavin and with his help Evelyn realizes that the very world she lives in is a complete lie.

An underwater utopia? How. Awesome. I loved the descriptions and details of how everything worked and how people managed to not only survive but to truly thrive and be completely self-sufficient under the sea. I would have loved for it to be explained more in detail in the beginning rather than a conversation between Evelyn and Gavin when he’d ask a question here and there. I believe an introduction in the beginning on the underwater society would have been better.

Very intriguing from the very first page, it’s quite obvious that something is wrong with Evie and it all has to do with Mother. The introduction of Gavin had to be done in order to set in motion the entire story, but I didn’t buy how incredibly easy it was for her to understand and accept that she was being brainwashed. You’d think that for someone that was brainwashed for over almost her entire life wouldn’t just begin having doubts just because someone (that she doesn’t even know) randomly suggests it once. I think if there was more time spent on the overall character building that I wouldn’t have a problem with Evie trusting Gavin immediately or their instant bond which while it wasn’t quite insta-love veered a bit too close for my liking.

‘…I shiver at the sounds surrounding me: Gavin’s gasping breaths. The thunder of my heartbeat. The ripping of flesh. And, making it all worse, the man’s rasping voice as he sings.’

The action is intense and ongoing and it never seems to let up throughout the extent of the book. Towards the end though, the story takes an extremely gruesome turn. Mother was a truly evil villain and one that conducted some particularly shocking experiments in order to secure her perfect society. A textbook villain is one that is willing to do whatever is required to get what she wants, and Mother was definitely prepared to do that. You don’t realize till then end bits just how far she had gone with her experiments and what the end result was.

When I began this story I was under the impression that it was a standalone novel but there were far too many questions that were left unanswered for there not to be a follow-up. I will definitely be reading the follow-up, I’m quite excited to find out how everything is explained and to see where the author takes the story. Despite the few issues I had and the lower rating this was still a highly enjoyable, edge-of-your-seat kind of read that fans of dystopian and sci-fi genres will enjoy.

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Book Review – Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

October 24, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 2 Comments

Book Review – Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on August 30, 2011
Pages: 320
Genres: Ghosties, Horror
Format: Hardcover
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

‘Anna is a murderer. Yet Anna is not evil. Anna kills, but Anna doesn’t want to kill.’

Anna was murdered and a curse was placed upon her that kept her forever locked inside the house where she died and she can’t stop herself from attacking and killing anyone who enters.

Cas is a ghost killer. He travels the country based on news and tips received about ghosts who are doing harm to humans… he only goes after the most dangerous ones. The second he hears about Anna he knows he’ll be going after her next.

‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ quickly became initiated into my Favorites shelf. This was one fabulously exciting novel that turned me into a wild page turning crazy person. I was initially intrigued by the cover but had thoughts that it would turn out to be cheesy and not worth my time… boy was I wrong. This was one extremely well written book. The storyline was original and I loved it. I’m a total sucker for ghostie books or anything undead in general so I knew I had to give this a shot either way.

CREEPY. Man! I would not have expected this, I suppose because it’s a YA book but wowsa… there were a few times I thought my eyeballs were gonna fall out of my head my eyes were open so far. Creepy, gruesome, but I LOVED IT. No fluffy bunny stuff here, beware.

There have been a lot of comparisons between ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ and ‘Necromancer’ and while I’m in complete agreement because of the sense of humor, but there is a subtle difference between the main characters. In ‘Anna’ Cas is fully aware of his powers at the start of the novel and what he is able to do and he has a confidence that is admirable and quite lacking in ‘Necromancer’. Overall, all of the characters were well written and extremely likeable and I enjoyed every minute of this.

Holy crap. That? Was some awesome shit.

I’m so excited for the next installment Girl of Nightmares… I’ll be getting my hands on this ASAP. I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

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