Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Whose bed is it Anyway?

Title: Whose Bed is it Anyway?
Author: Natalie Anderson
ISBN: 0373207336
Release Date: 17th September 2013
Publisher: Harlequin KISS
Book Source: NetGalley

Pre-Order Now: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:


"You're wearing my T-shirt." Returning home after a daring rescue mission, all James Wolfe can think of is sleep. So he's furious to find a beautiful stranger curled up in his king-size bed! Normally no woman ever gets between his sheets without prior invitation—who does she think she is? 

Disgraced celebrity Caitlin Moore has been offered a place to stay and she won't give it up—not with the paparazzi outside, baying for her blood! Reluctantly she agrees to share the apartment with James—but, with enough electricity to short-circuit the whole of Manhattan, keeping to their own sides of the bed might prove impossible.

Review:


Lately, whenever I feel like I need a fluffy light read I head off to Harlequin KISS and request a book from there. So last night, having finished a high fantasy novel and needing something light to read, I realized I had a Harlequin KISS book I haven't read yet, so I straight away started on that. The synopsis made it sounds like the perfect thing I was in the mood for, and I really loved the cover, which made it all the more nice to read.

I'm going to start with what annoyed me about the book first because it was a minor issue at the beginning. Even though at the time, they had made me lose interest in the story, it soon picked up and turned into a great read.

Start of Rant.

So first thing, Caitlin is meant to be from England and yet, surprisingly James never commented on her accent. I get that maybe she perfected her American accent before arriving? Yet when James finally knew where she was from, again, no comment on the accent, which should be something very noticeable and comment-worthy. I personally hate reading books based in a particular country with only minor references to said country, or minor things that distinguish it. The same with when you write about a person coming from a particular country but only choose to add a few words to imply that. I mean come on, using 'tart' as an insult as well as 'miffed' instead of annoyed or upset does not an English woman make. Not to mention she kept going back and forth between 'undies' and 'knickers'. And the last I heard English people called the bathroom 'loo'. I just... I wasn't convinced of her as an English former actress.

The second thing that annoyed me was: CAITLIN. At least in the first couple of chapters.
She was in his apartment, in his bed, wearing his clothes, and she had the gall to treat him like crap, as if he was the one who didn't belong in the place. Granted, she was told he was going to be out of the country for months, but still, once you figure out who he is and what he's doing here, you start explaining what's going on to the poor lad. Obviously Caitlin wouldn't do that.

Her automatic thought is:

'Possession was nine tenths of the law and this was her sleep space tonight.'
Erm, not cool Caitlin, not cool at all. And obviously, she had to give him a hard time for... well I haven't figured out the reason yet, even before she realized he assumed she was a hooker, she was being a brat.

When he said 'You're wearing my T-Shirt' I honestly thought he was making an observation, after all he was tired, he just got back home, and things were not as he expected them. Excuse me, but he is permitted to some confusion not for her to automatically get to her ridiculous retorts. 
That in turn led her to think:
'What, and that then made her his property?'

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the poor guy did not mean that by his observation.

So, her indignation is on the rise because:
What kind of man automatically assumed a woman sleeping in his bed was there waiting only for his pleasure? An arrogant one who'd had way too many women, way too easily.

Therefore she came to the conclusion that, he didn't deserve any answers or to be treated properly because: Not when he'd made such an out-of-line assumption.
I just don't get the out of line assumption much okay? She's dressed in nothing but his shirt, sleeping in his bed, and trying to get a rise out of him by not telling him what's going on. I get that it was rude of him at first, but from the looks of it, it's pretty obvious from the fact that the poor guy just collapsed on the bed that he was super tired, and barely keeping his eyelids open, let alone concentrating on what's going on. And come on, even if it was a bad thing and he did assume she was a hooker, he wasn't going to act on it, in fact he was telling her to get out of the bed. He wasn't being a bad guy, his brain was frazzled, and yet he just wanted his bed, to freaking sleep. What's wrong with that girl?
Even when he wanted to let her know about how tired he was she was being a jerk
'I'm-"
'Sorry," she snapped. "The word you're looking for is sorry."

I seriously wanted to punch her there. Seriously.
So the next day, James is all about apologizing and making it up to her. Obviously she by no means will let it pass, oh no siree, the poor lad has to grovel for it obviously.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"You weren't interested in listening."
"You were too busy talking."
"You were to busy assuming."

No he wasn't, he clearly asked you who you were and what you were doing there but you didn't want to tell him and decided to be an indignant self-righteous bitch instead.


Rant officially over.

Once she finally came around to letting him make it up to her, the story seriously looked up. I swear, it was like magically the book got better and I could finally stand to read it. Although I still hated her, but oh well, what can one do?

I hated how we didn't get to see how she overcome her past problems, only how James learned to deal with this. I swear, I kept waiting for her to face them but she didn't. But James was actually a very well developed character. I absolutely loved his depth, his interests, him as a being and him with Caitlin. You got to see many sides to him and I loved that. Then there was him with other people and him with his family, all these different contrasts. I seriously fell in love with James. 

The story was more focused on the two of them in the span of probably a week if not more, which was good and bad. The good thing is, you got to learn more about James and his growing relationship with Caitlin. The bad, it was only them two you got to know, there wasn't much on his twin or other brother. Or even on Caitlin's sister and father. I would have loved to dive into those characters as well, and seen more in their relationships and interactions with one another.

Now, I really loved the writing. It was most definitely the highlight of it all. You got to get closer to each protagonist's thoughts, not exactly inside their heads, but near enough to settle. It was a very simple fast-paced read. I think I was done with it in a matter of 2 hours. Although, I would have loved for it to be much longer than that.

Rating: 3/5.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book tour: Excerpt of Welcome to the Darkness





Author: L.M Justus
ISBN13:  9780991936809 
Release Date:  August 5th 2013 
Publisher:   Taurpio publishing
Book Source:  Xpresso Book Tours


Goodreads Synopsis:

A typical teenager, seventeen-year-old Reed Hennessy doesn’t realize how lucky he is to lead a normal life until he loses everything, including his humanity. The attacker who slaughters his family and destroys their home turns out to be a vampire, a creature Reed had considered a myth.

Now a vampire himself, but with the unique ability to walk in sunlight, Reed struggles in the dark underworld he didn’t even know existed. His only two allies in his fight to stay alive are his reluctant mentor, Nathaniel, a vampire with over two hundred years’ worth of emotional baggage, and Sarah, a rookie cop with a secret ability of her own. 

Together, Reed and his companions face a harrowing, cross-country journey before stumbling into a plot which could mean the end of everything for humans and vampires alike.


Excerpt: 


He opened the last door at the end of the hallway, and my breath caught in my throat as we walked into a shockingly large space. The room was half the size of my school gymnasium, and the walls were a mix of brick and stone. The entire floor was laid with an intricate design of mosaic tiles, and a dim, flickering light came from what seemed like hundreds of candlelit wall sconces. The room was deserted except for a middle-aged woman standing on a raised platform at the end of the room, and the large throne in the center of the platform, occupied by someone I assumed was the Queen. If this was the Queen, she was definitely not what I was expecting. She didn’t appear to be a day older than twelve or thirteen.
“Your Majesty,” Nathaniel said with a respectful bow.
The Queen’s gaze rested on Nathaniel, and then swept over to me to size me up from head to toe.  Her skin was deathly pale, her eyes a cold crystal blue and she sat eerily still. Her long, blond hair fell in a thick curtain of ringlets over her shoulders. She looked like a zombie child, and if I’d had to use just one word to describe her, it would have been ‘creepy.’
“So this is the newling of whom you spoke,” the Queen said in her young, yet commanding voice. She shifted her icy gaze back at me and said, “Come forward.”
I took a reluctant step closer to the throne and stopped.
“Closer,” she snapped. Her gaze darkened and she pointed to indicate a spot on the floor right in front of her. 
I stole a quick, questioning glance at Nathaniel, and he nodded urgently for me to obey. I stepped forward until I was only a few inches from the Queen. The tips of my shoes nearly touched her own.
“Kneel before me,” the Queen commanded. She was clearly used to being obeyed despite looking so young and tiny.
I did as I was told and knelt before her. She tilted her head to the side while she inspected me, like she was a predator considering how she might attack her prey. I had the scary thought maybe that was exactly what she was doing. 


Author's Bio:


Lisa Justus' path to becoming an author took a circuitous route through the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, followed by jobs in quality assurance and technical writing at a high-tech company. With a keen interest in creative fiction, she wrote her first fantasy novel as part of NaNoWriMo as well as an early chapter book for her kids when they were younger.  Her YA paranormal fantasy novel Welcome to the Darkness is the first book in the Darkness Trilogy.

These days Lisa is busy writing her fourth novel, reading, finishing her basement, doing volunteer work, and trying to stay in shape by running somewhat regularly. She, her husband, and their three children live in Ottawa, Ontario.

Author Links:




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Fangirl


Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
ISBN:  1250030951
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Book Source: NetGalley

Buy From: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review:

I've heard of Rainbow Rowell from way before Fangirl came in the picture, but never got an opportunity to actually read any of her books. So reading Fangirl sounded like the perfect thing to do. Not to mention the adorable cover and title of this book. I enjoy fangirling and have many fandoms at the moment myself, so this definitely called out to me.

Cather's mother was too lazy to come up with two names when she found out she was having twins instead of just one daughter, so one was called Cather and her sister was named Wren (Catherine.) Cather's a huge Simon Snow fan. Not only does she own a lot of Simon Snow merchandise, but she's all over the forums for anything related to the book and even writes her own fan fiction in relation to the book. Her twin sister Wren being a Simon Snow fan as well helped their fangirling and that in itself helped Cather get over her mother's leaving them when they were children. Now that she's finally going to college with her sister she thinks everything will stay the same until she realizes Wren wants to be roommates with someone else and break free from the somewhat codependent relationship. Cather's stuck with a roommate she's convinced hates her, one that has her strangely friendly boyfriend around all the time. If that wasn't enough, her creative writing professor is adamantly against fan fiction. Oh and her social anxiety is at its peak.

To be honest, at first I could relate to Cather. When I started university I was so glad I had my sister in the same one. She was two years ahead and I remember not making many friends of my own at first, the prospect of starting anew is a bit overwhelming and for someone like Cather, I could just imagine how hard it must have been.

But I have to take her professor's side when it comes to fan fiction. Personally I hate it as well. A book should be the way the author intended it to be. It was their world, their characters, their magic. It feels weird taking them and messing around in that world to what you think could have been better. A better ending, better matchmaking, better story lines, whatever it is, I dislike it. If you want magic of your own, create your own world. I hated many fan fictions I'd stumbled upon with Draco ending up with Hermione or even Harry. Twisting them around to what makes them completely different from what they originally should have been is distorted.

Cather was a well developed character, assuming everything is fine because it's what makes her comfortable, just not getting how everything from Wren's point of you is like, how she's practically begging for individuality and not just being a part of a twin set. I do sympathize with the sudden way Wren dropped it all on Cather, but otherwise I can understand Wren's point of view. The way Cather dealt with it all was great. Surprisingly, with all that's gone on I think Wren was more conflicted as a character than her sister. But we don't get to dive into her character much to understand in depth what's making her act out. Raegan's character was very refreshing, she wasn't the typical bad girl nor was she the perfect best friend figure. She was an interesting blend, especially with her relationship with Levi and how different they both are in nature, yet still they were very close. I enjoyed their dynamics.

Rainbow's writing was wonderful, she has a very special way with words and making the characters come to life, even the more fictional ones within the actual book. Fangirl was a perfect summer read. Many college freshmen would relate to it.

I'm definitely working on getting my hands on Eleanor & Park by Rowell and hopefully a copy of this one as well when it comes out.

Rating: 4/5!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Antithesis Guest Post

Fiction Addiction Book Tours



Title: Antithesis
Author: Kacey Vanderkarr
ISBN: 978-1-939590-16-9  
Release Date: July 21st, 2013
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Book Source:   Inskspell Publishing


Goodreads Synopsis:

My name is Gavyn.
Liam doesn’t care that I only have one arm. He actually likes my red hair and freckles. I might forgive him for kidnapping me.
My name is Gavyn.
I lost my Liam. I’ve lost them all. And now it’s my job to make sure they don’t show up again.
My name is Gavyn.
I had a life with Liam, but he couldn’t give me what I need. Then I killed his father. I don’t expect he’ll forgive me for that.
My name is Gavyn.

Guest Post: 

Editing is sort of like withdrawal from a really addictive drug. Here you have your manuscript, something you've spent hours, days, weeks, months (and maybe even years) methodically tapping out on your computer. You've missed sleep, you've skipped family gatherings, you've called in sick to work. Your characters have consumed your free time, your friends all know them by name and consider them real people, you dream about them. 

You eat, sleep, breathe your story.

Finally, the day you've been waiting for arrives! Sighing to yourself at your accomplishment, you type those final words onto the screen. Grinning, you watch the cursor blink on and off. You imagine it's clapping for you. You blink yourself back to reality and look around your house, realizing that you've neglected a few things. Your husband no longer wears underwear, the lawn is a jungle and your child is eating out of the cat dish. 

Still grinning, you turn back to the manuscript. The cursor is still clapping for you.

You open a new tab. You go to Google.

You type: Publish my manuscript.

You peruse the results and manage to stumble across a website designed for idiots who think they know about getting published. You stalk the forums, you post what you think a query is. You get your words shredded and handed back to you in a doggie bag. You realize 125,000 words doesn't fit into your genre.

You cry.

You open your manuscript again. Now the cursor isn't clapping! It's mocking you!! "Ha! Hahaha..." it says.

You curse and scream. You beg and plead for exceptions. You go back to the forums and search for them.

You find none.

Sighing to yourself, you address your manuscript. It's a twelve-step process, this editing thing. There are few exceptions, you realize, and luck isn't on your side.

Step 1: Elation

Congratulations, if you've went through the above story, you've already been here! You wrote a story-book-novel-manuscript-thingie. Woohoo!! I'm SO happy for you. 

Step 2: The Search for Knowledge

Chances are, you've been here too. Good ol' Google. It'll tell you anything you want to know.

Step 3: Fear

I have to do what?!?! I have to cut how much? What do you mean agents don't like dreams? What?? But I like first person!

Step 4: Denial

This is where the frantic search begins. But Stephenie Meyer's novel was longer than 100,000 words. I can be the next Stephenie Meyer!!! 

Step 5: Passion

You get down to work. You reread your manuscript. You fall in love with your characters all over again. You determine that you MUST sell their story to the world. Yes!! Yes! Yes! It will happen.

Step 6: Unceremonious Hacking

Back story? Gone. Extra character? Cut. Chapter 14? Nixed. You hack entire sections at a time. You cut out parts you used to love. You cry every time you hit the delete key. You go through seventy two boxes of Kleenex. 

Step 7: Cautious Cutting

You've already completed Step 6, Unceremonious Hacking. Finally, you think, I've cut my story down to bare bones. I've sliced and diced it to within an inch of its life. You open the tools, you click 'Word Count.' You squeeze your eyes shut, afraid of the number. Despite yourself, you finally open one eye and peek. Startled, the other one flies open. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I'VE ONLY CUT 10,000 WORDS!!! 

Once again, you stare at the damn cursor. It blinks, mocking your very existence. 

You go back through your manuscript. You combine words into contractions. You debate removing every "the." You buy stock in Kleenex. 

Slowly, the word count diminishes. You breathe a sigh of relief when it reaches the 100,000 word mark. Ah, finally. 

Step 8: More Research

By now, your manuscript has reached your genre's word limit. You feel pretty good about yourself. You do a little more research about editing. You find tips and techniques (wish you would've known about those before, huh?) Once again the manuscript opens.

Step 9: Agonizing Alterations

The cursor blinks at you. You debate throwing your computer out the car window going 105mph. You curse the cursor, and its mother, and its illegitimate brother Bob. 

You take up biking to get out your anger. You lose ten pounds.

You go over your manuscript with a fine tooth comb. You do a line-by-line edit. You read every word and wonder if it could be better. You wear through the pages of a Thesaurus. You debate deleting the entire thing and starting over. You wonder why the hell you ever thought it was a good idea to write a book in the first place. 

You get through it. 

Step 10: The Beta

Finally, with your manuscript sparkling like a new penny, you find a critique partner. With fluttering heart and sweaty palms, you hit 'send' on the email, rushing your manuscript straight to them. You wait three days for them to respond. The email starts with You have no plot.

Step 11: Binge Drinking

You drown yourself in alcohol and swear if you ever, ever see your manuscript again, you will kill something. You swear off electronics. You stop shaving. You reach the lowest low of your life. You debate a career in rocket science. Anything but writing. 

For two weeks, you ignore your manuscript. You try to forget that horrid little mocking line, you banish all thoughts that relate to writing, publishing, agents, books, and words. You banish words. You refuse to speak.

Step 12: The Revival

Someone, probably your mother (because she loves you), breaks you out of your funk by telling you that you stink. You shower. While lathering, a really awesome plot idea works its way into your brain. You try to force it out, but it's insistent. It wiggles and squirms and dances. It pounds against your skull. It prods you with a rusty poker. 

You open your computer.

You open a blank page.

You start to type.

You begin a CIP: Cheating in Progress. You write to your hearts content. These characters are so much better! They'll never let me down! You write for twenty days straight before you accidentally open your 'old' manuscript. You read a scene, and then two. 

Before you know it, you've devoured a hundred pages and wasted an hour. The cursor waves. Hello my friend! Grinning, you start over at Step 1.


Giveaway: 




Author's Bio:

821749
Kacey Vanderkarr is a young adult author. She dabbles in fantasy, romance, and sci-fi, complete with faeries, alternate realities, and the occasional plasma gun. She’s known to be annoyingly optimistic and listen to music at the highest decibel. When she’s not writing, she coaches winterguard and works as a sonographer. Kacey lives in Michigan, with her husband, son, crazy cats, and two bearded dragons. Visit http://www.kaceyvanderkarr.com for more information.

Twitter - Blog - Facebook 




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Tour, Review: The Guys Are Props





Author: Ingrid Seymour
ISBN:  0615820999
Release Date: May 13th 2013  
Publisher: PenDreams

Buy Now: Amazon - CreateSpace

Goodreads Synopsis:

During her senior year in high school, Maddie Burch promised herself not to ever fall for a cute guy – or any guy – again. Cute guys are players and not to be trusted, a fact she learned the hard way when her first boyfriend ran her heart through a paper shredder. Two years later, her promise is still intact, and she’s determined to make it through college without falling victim to another creep. She has her job, school and The Guys Are Props Club to keep her mind and hormones in check.

The club was founded by Jessica, Maddie’s best friend. It is a sisterhood of girls who have fallen prey to heartless jerks and who have vowed to turn the tables. Once a semester, Jessica requires members to “do onto others as they’ve done unto you.” Setting the example, Jessica’s next play is Sebastian Capello, a theater major with heartthrob looks and a flair for Latin dance, whose heart she plans to break the way hers was once broken.

What the friends don’t know is that Sebastian is different. Despite his perfect looks and popularity, he’s not a jerk. He doesn’t play games to get his way. Instead, he keeps it real and goes after what he wants with honest intentions. And what he wants is not a bombshell like Jessica, but a down-to-earth girl like Maddie – even if it causes a riff in the girl’s friendship. Even if it means getting Maddie to break her personal vow.


Review: 

I personally agreed to join this tour because let's face it, the synopsis makes is sound like the perfect summer read. With revenge, girls uniting together, and steamy latin guys, what more could one want? It personally had me hooked and I found myself more than interesting into reading more of this story.

When Maddie had started college, she was hurting over her boyfriend's betrayal. So when her roommate - now best friend - suggests they start a club that will help her get over her ex as well as some  revenge on the typical kind of guys that broke their hearts, she says yes. A year later, Maddie's regretting her decision and the play she's done on this one guy. She's sick of Guys Are Props but can't find the right way to tell Jessica she thinks it's too mean. Enter Jessica's new play victim, Sebastien. Upon seeing him she decides she's going to play the gorgeous latin dancer and Maddie just wants to be left alone. But when Sebastien starts being interested in her instead of Jessica, her vow not to date until she's done with college is a bit more difficult than she first expected it to be.

I was honestly hooked from the start with the book. I know it was very predictable and you could almost see everything coming, but I enjoyed reading things from Maddie's point of view, and frankly Ingrid's writing was very hooking. I didn't choose this book for something new, just a cute simple contemporary read for when I don't feel like getting into a dystopian novel or a high fantasy one. I just wanted to sit down and relax as I got through it. This book fit perfectly.

I adored Sebastien as a character, I could just tell how irresistible he was. He was all but perfect and I just loved the scenes with him and Hunter - a cancer kid from the hospital Maddie works at. Maddie herself was a good character, well developed, but the predictable parts of the story annoyed me in both her and Sebastien's characters. It was like they were following a script you could see coming. But I didn't stop reading, it was good enough to ignore those parts.

I definitely enjoyed this book, it was well written and I enjoyed diving into Maddie's life, and struggling with her. I haven't gotten a chance to read many New Adult books lately, so this one was a nice choice.

Rating: 3/5



Author's Bio:


Ingrid Seymour loves, loves, loves to write. Her favorite genres are Young Adult and New Adult fiction.  Her debut novel “The Guys Are Props Club” is an NA contemporary romance which she immensely enjoyed writing.  Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She’s sure that one day she’ll see one of her books made into a movie. She likes to dream big ;)

Website -  Facebook -  Twitter -  Pinterest - Goodreads


Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Never Fade


Title: Never Fade
Author: Alexandra Bracken
ISBN: 1423157516
Release Date: October 15th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Book Source: NetGalley


Goodreads Synopsis:

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster. 

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her. 

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?


Review:

This will probably be the longest review I wrote so far due to the fact that I just finished reading the book and am currently overwhelmed by so many feelings toward it.

I ordered a copy of "The Darkest Minds"  a few months back. But for some reason I never got around to reading it. It had been on my wishlist for so long, and all the written and video reviews of the book were exceptionally amazing, but I kept feeling it wasn't the right time for the book, I wasn't well prepared - because books that are said to be this good usually require a perfect timing. Eventually I got around to reading it, and the problem was getting over it. That book was so overwhelmingly brilliant it was hard to recover from, I needed to get back into that world. The next best thing was to read 'In Time' the novella that just came out a couple of months ago, and that only made things worse. I had to wait until October to read the second book in the trilogy and I wasn't sure how I'd manage that - at least not with my sanity perfectly intact, after all I'm not a very patient person by nature. I decided to request the book on NetGalley and see how it goes, since I wasn't expecting to be approved. But I was.

So I just finished reading Never Fade, and I can't possibly explain to you guys exactly how I feel. I don't think I can find the words, I really can't. I never expected the sequel to be just as good as book one because book one was as I mentioned brilliant. There was so much going on in it, unlike many trilogies out there where there are huge lulls and long periods of nothing happening at all. I frankly expected the same from Never Fade, I mean, what else could happen? Aside from what already happened in book one you know? I was bracing myself for a few lulls but a still acceptable read. You guys, there were no lulls. It was not an acceptable read. It was spectacular.

I'll start off with what I didn't like about the book, because it's a minor point: there was no Zu. I get that the novella that just came out 'In Time' was meant to compensate for the lack of Zu-ness in this book, but still, the novella only kindled my curiosity to what happened after that and in Never Fade there was no mention of it. Zu was a great character in book one and I had come to completely love her. I hope she at least comes back in book three, because there are so many unanswered questions around her, and I just love her.

As to what I loved about this book: Everything. Seriously, I'm not kidding here or exaggerating, it was a very impressive read. It was action-packed, a lot going on at the same time. Many surprises pop up to keep you alert and on edge - I love the surprises and the many unexpected occurrences. I loved the development of the characters, their growth, how different and yet just the same they are. I loved the new additions, and the new enemies and bad guys. It was all phenomenal.

There are two characters in The Darkest Minds that are mentioned or do happen to appear, but you don't exactly know much about them, and they happen to intrigue you. Okay, maybe it was just me, and those two characters would be both Cole - Liam's brother - and Cate. Cole was mentioned in passing in book one when Liam talks about his old life in the league, but you never get around to understanding much about him. The only picture you develop of him is a bloodthirsty kid that was older than Liam and enjoyed killing so much he even kept count. That's not really all there is to know about Cole, no siree. He plays a more active role in this book. There's so much about him that would come to surprise you. As for Cate? Ruby wondered at the start of book one why Cate would choose to stay with Rob when he was that cruel and malicious. Ruby assumed she knew and just stayed with him anyway. But personally I thought she was on the same league as him, that she was just as cruel and malicious. The thing is, neither of us is exactly right when it comes to Cate. There is so much more to her than meets the eyes.

Another thing I had wondered about was Liam. If you recall how things ended in book one, Ruby had fully expected to stay away from him in order to save his life. But let's face it, none of us bought into that. We knew she'd see him again at some point, sooner rather than later. The question was, what on earth would happen then? Would he treat her as a stranger? Would he remember her? Would he hate her? Would he forgive her? Admit it, you're wondering about that too. I wondered about his reaction to seeing Chubs and Zu again after what Ruby had done to him, and I wasn't sure how Chubs and Zu would react to what she did to him. I mean of all of them, she was the outsider, and she was the one who messed with his head. Would they take sides? Would they hate her? Understand where she was coming from? I swear I had so many scenarios running in my head.

Enter the new characters: Vida, Jude and Nico. They happen to be members of the group Ruby is unwillingly the leader of. Nico doesn't play as active a role as the rest, but I absolutely loved Jude. Honestly, he was the only consolation to the lack of Zu in this book. He was hearbreakingly sweet, you just want to hug him and hand him a hot cup of cocoa as he chatted his life away. Vida was completely different. The one you don't know if you can trust, the one who expresses her fear or stress by picking up fights and beating something or someone up. She was completely different to Jude in character, but I found her dynamics with both Ruby and Chubs absolutely hilarious. There's definitely more to her than meets the eye.

Enter characters I wish would just drop dead already: Rob and Clancy. I don't need to tell you guys why right? But boy do I hate them more now. Especially with Clancy's very unexpected appearance.

From book one I was lured in by Alexandra's amazing writing, her way with words, and the absolutely vivid and colourful descriptions. The world she created is nothing like anything I've read before. There's so much bleakness and destruction out there that you can't possibly think there's anything worth living for. There's so much damage, and yet life is still going on, it's so fascinating. It makes you wonder about the possibility of something like that actually happening. Yet, some of it did happen somehow, I mean, the Concentration Camps? Hitler? It was like me going back in time to reading Survival in Auschwitz. All these sides in an ongoing war that's destroying a country in the aftermaths of something that people neglect to think of. What if you lose an entire generation of children to disease or the terror of what those children might be capable of doing? What if everyone's terrified of having kids and suspicious of anyone harboring a child under the age of twenty? What if the entire country goes bankrupt and the people in power refuse to let go and focus on the big issue? It's so interesting.

This book had me in so much of an emotional upheaval. I was so emotionally invested in the characters, I got worried with them, scared with them, annoyed with them. I caught myself crying and emotional at times - like that part at the end that was kind of heartbreaking - yet laughing at times, because this book held so much more humor than book one and I loved it!

The best thing about these books is the fact that they don't end with killer cliffhangers. They give you a tiny bit of closure at the end. Even though it isn't enough, it still quenches a bit of your curiosity, but at the same time you will still definitely come back for more. It should make you a little more restful, and less likely to tear your hair out waiting for the next book in the series. The problem is, it didn't. I'm very restless at the moment, and very worried about my sanity. To anyone who read The Darkest Minds when it was first released and has to still wait until October 2013, I salute you. I don't know how I would have managed myself, and I had a mere few days between both books. I'll probably understand how you guys feel though now that I read Never Fade before its release and have to wait until book three is out. See? You have to wait two months less than I do, so you're honestly the lucky ones. I'll most definitely be ordering the hardback in October too, and maybe read both books again just to torture myself some more. Yeah, I'm a masochist.

I have to admit something. I'm not exactly sure if this book in itself is a quick read, or that I just devoured it because I couldn't stop reading and wanting to know what happens next. There's still so much I am waiting to find out in book three. Like what happened to Ruby's parents? Her grandmother? Sam? The camps? What's going to happen with The League? Clancy? The president? What happened with Gary and Zu? Liam's parents? What is going on you guys? I need more of this world, more from these books!

There are a lot of books I have been reading lately that were great. Great is good of course, but I find myself constantly looking for something different, looking for: Mind-Blowing. I enjoy reading good books sure, but I love books that stay with me days after I'm done reading them, haunting me with their magnificence. So this book, this incredible sequel, you can just imagine how I was feeling whilst reading it - and now that I'm done with it - because it most certainly wasn't great, it was mind blowing.

Rating: 5/5!*