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Pure – Jennifer L Armentrout

By Jennifer L Armentrout
Covenant  Book Two

Available 3 April 2012

Read my review of Half Blood, the first book in this series

There is need. And then there is Fate…

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn’t exactly awesome–especially when Alexandria’s “other half” is everywhere she goes. Seth’s in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom–so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do–and sacrifice–for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies–lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon… and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn’t blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude… or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

This Blonde’s Review:
Despite suffering from nightmares, Alex is training harder than ever. She knows the plans her mother spoke of won’t stop with her mother’s death and she wants to be prepared, even if no one else wants to believe it. When a Pure is attacked on campus for the first time in history a new threat looms over them all.

In addition to the new threat Alex and the other Half Bloods are held to a stricter rules and mandatory examinations in an attempt to discover who among them could be a daimon. Our headstrong Alex refuses to accept an examination and shows us yet another reason we love her character. When the exams don’t succeed as hoped and a friend suffers the consequences the guilt crushes Alex. We see that a prediction from the first book came true in ways Alex never expected.

In the first book we fell in love with Aiden. We loved his strength of character and how much he cared for Alex. In book two we are finally able to get to know Seth better and learn that he’s more than he appears. When Aiden chooses to back away it’s still clear to see he cares for Alex. Jennifer L Armentrout did a fabulous job with this love triangle since it is so easy to see Alex with either boy and she makes it hard to choose who would be best for her. Seth gets his chance with her as they grow closer and he becomes the one person who can calm her nightmares and be there for her.

The biggest problem in Alex’s life isn’t the new rules or the love triangle, it’s the mysterious new threat. We have some very clear suspects on who is after Alex, but with this great author I don’t want to point fingers since she could easily throw a curve ball at us. I expect it’s going to be something fantastic. Whoever is after Alex will do anything to stop Alex from becoming one of the Apollyon. Alex is clearly going to be going up against a very intelligent and devious person or group when the truth comes to light.

As Alex and Seth navigate the unusual situation as two Apollyons all they have to go on are the stories from the last time it occurred. Not to give away anything fantastic, but it is already obvious that Alex and Seth are going to be two different Apollyons and their story is going to play out in a far bigger and better way.

It was so hard to write a review for this story that consisted of more than I WANT BOOK THREE NOW. Many times the second book in a series seems like a filler between a great start and  a potentially fantastic finish. This one is not like that. We see Alex grow and learn more about some of our secondary characters. We’re left with so many questions and suspicions that I know I wanted to jump right to the third book to find out What Happened and if what I think is going on is really what is happening.

I loved this one. When I hear of a series being described as the ‘next (insert big great series)’ I tend to have lower expectations than when I find a book that sounds great. Too often the hype doesn’t live up to the book. The Covenant series is already living up to the hype and is one I know I’ll be recommending, even to a sister who rarely reads for fun.

If you’re interested in this one you should check out the first book in the series, Half Blood. Once you do you’ll be eager for April to get here so you can get your hands on book two of the Covenants series. If you enjoy reading about strong, independent girls who aren’t afraid to throw a punch or attack a daimon, you’ll love reading Alex’s story. If a world with gods, almost gods, and half bloods sounds fascinating to you then the world Jennifer L Armentrout has created here will be one you won’t want to step out of when the story is over.

Get Your Copy:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble


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Fever – Lauren DeStephano

By Lauren DeStephano
Chemical Garden – Book 2
Available 21 February 2012

Have you read Wither, the first book in this series? If not you should check that out first since the description does contain spoilers.

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price – now that she has more to lose than ever.

This Blonde’s Review:
Rhine is determined to get home to her twin brother, Rowan. Gabriel is determined to stay with her, even if it means being in dangerous situations that make him wish he was back at the mansion.  They believe they’re free but are immediately taken into a carnival against their will. The woman who runs the carnival is actually a madam, selling the girls to the men who come seeking their company. With Gabriel kept heavily sedated and Rhine unwilling to leave him, they soon find themselves doing what they’re told. At least until her real plans for Rhine become obvious and the pair know they have to escape. When Vaughn, her father in law, shows up they know their time is up.

Their escape doesn’t go as well as planned and they soon find themselves with an injured young child. They soon make their way to a safe place. Rhine discovers that her brother is no longer at home and she’s determined to find him. While looking for him she finds that he has changed more than she ever expected. She won’t give up on looking for him, but Rhine isn’t well. She isn’t old enough to be affected by the genetic problems that have shortened lifespans but her symptoms are similar. Rhine is in denial that anything is wrong with her, but when Vaughn shows up again she accepts that she can’t escape him. She finds herself back at the Mansion, where life has changed more than she expected.

Rhine and Gabriel’s relationship felt more convenient than real in the first book, and it continues that way in the second. They care about each other, but there are many situations where Rhine seems more concerned for the way they are being perceived instead of the way she really feels. Rhine is an imperfect character, but she is still one we can care about. I still feel a distance from Gabriel like I don’t know much about him, I’m more interested in Rhine and Rowan than Rhine and Gabriel, since it is clear that Rowan will always mean more to her than anyone else.

Rhine keeps some of her belongings from the mansion with her, but neither of them consider this when Vaughn finds them. When he finds her again I expected Rhine to become suspicious of how he finds her rather than blindly accepting that she can’t escape him. This felt very unobservant to me, since someone who wants to escape should be considering the reasons they are found so easily.

I did feel a few things were rushed, but even with all that happens in this book I didn’t feel like it was rushed overall. I really enjoyed seeing Rhine and Gabriel interact in several different situations, since it does give us more insight into their character. In Fever we meet new characters who show us more about the world they’re all living in since lifespans have been shortened.

This story is fascinating to me and I find Rhine fascinating. She has led a different life than many others her age. She had her parents and then her brother with her for longer than some, and she was always protected. She sees the world differently than others do and it makes her an interesting character to get to know. Now we have the idea that there may be more to her than she realizes, something that could change everything. I can’t wait to read the third book in this series to find out what she knows or has that makes her so valuable.

This is a story about a world where women are forced to marry young before they die and a girl who refuses to accept that for herself. If a girl struggling to survive a world where genetics are working against her sounds like someone you’d like to read about then you should pick up the Chemical Garden series and find out.

Wither (Book One) : Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Fever (Book Two) : Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Partials – Dan Wells

By Dan Wells
Partials – Book One
Available 28 February 2012

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

This Blonde’s Review:
The Partials aren’t humans, they were engineered to be like super humans to fight in wars. They were faster, stronger, and better in every way. When the wars people fought were over, soon they found themselves in a war with the Partials. During this war a manufactured virus was released that destroyed the human population, so few people were immune to this virus that they are all able to fit on Long Island. No baby has been born immune to the virus and they all die within days, leading to laws requiring all girls to become pregnant once they hit a certain age. An age that is being lowered as more time passes without living children.

Kira is a medic in training, a girl who is torn apart each time she sees a baby die while only being able to take down the baby’s stats for the researchers to look through. When she discovers someone she loves is pregnant she knows she has to do whatever it takes to keep that baby alive. Kira has ideas that people in leadership positions are quick to dismiss. She believes that researching dying babies won’t help, that they need to do research on a Partial.

Her love for her friends and her hope for the future lead Kira and her friends to plan how to capture a Partial on their own. Luckily her friends are intelligent people and have connections in different areas, including military and political. Things don’t go as smoothly as hoped but they do manage to capture a Partial. Surprisingly Kira is put in charge of the research on the Partial instead of more experienced researchers. As she conducts her research Kira encounters more questions than answers; about RM, about Partials, and about the their leaders.

The relationships in this story weren’t as solid and connected as I would have hoped for but Kira and a few other characters managed to keep me interested in their story. Kira is supposed to have a boyfriend, but the author is quick to show Kira’s uncertainty and just as quick for him to fail her. I had little interest in that romantic relationship and would have been happy to have left it out entirely. This is not a book to be read for romance, instead it is a book to be read for the story.

This story has a lot more science in it than I expected, but Dan Wells has managed to write it in such a way that as Kira figures it out or learns it we are able to learn and understand it. I found it fascinating and was continually hoping for more information about what was happening with the virus.

The relationships may have been too shallow for some readers, but I enjoyed this one and can’t wait for the next book. I loved the way the author built this story up with many things not being what they seemed. I was drawn in by the things I was learning, even if it was all fictional. The way the story ended was less than satisfactory for me in some ways, but it wasn’t bad enough to leave me unhappy with the story. Instead it has me impatient to read the next book in the story to find out what happens next.

Partials is a book about a girl, a virus, engineered beings, and political unrest. It’s the story of how a teenage girl who grew up in a world of orphans sets out to save the future of mankind. If the description sounds interesting to you then this is one you should pick up as soon as it comes out. I know I’m ready to read the rest of Kira’s story, but until then I’ll be looking into other books by Dan Wells.

Get your copy:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Pandemonium – Lauren Oliver

By Lauren Oliver
Delirium – Book 2
Available February 2012

Have you read Delirium, the first book in this series? If not be aware that the description contains spoilers for book one.

The old Lena is dead. The old Lena remains with Alex in Portland, Maine, behind a wall of smoke and flame, but the new Lena was born in the Wilds, transformed by hardship, deprivation, and loss.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena fights for a world in which love will no longer be considered a dangerous disease. Her inner life is as turbulent as the world around her. . . . Although consumed with grief for Alex, might she be falling in love with someone else?

This Blonde’s Review:
Pandemonium is told in the Then and Now. In many ways it’s like being told from two points of view since Lena has gone through so many changes that she’s not the same girl. The things that happened in the first book have changed her. In the Then Lena is hurt and scared and has no faith in the world. All she can think of is Alex and the things that happened. She uses tricks that used to mean nothing to help her build her strength back up. We see her working towards the Now. In the Now Lena is strong and solid and cynical. She will do what needs to be done, she will lie, and she will refuse to feel anything at all if she can help it. She only wants to accomplish her mission and possibly find her mother.

I loved Delirium, I loved the way the author built a new world and managed to keep me surprised and wanting to know what was going to happen next. There were things that I expected and things I didn’t, but even when I expected it the way it would happen was always a mystery. In Pandemonium we had similar attempts, but it wasn’t quite the same. There were many things that I could see happening and I could see how it would happen as well. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the switching timelines, but I did like the way some of the chapters were lined up to almost be flashbacks as Lena remembered. Overall, I am not a fan of Then/Now writing, but I can also see how it worked for this one in many ways. It makes the changes in Lena much more obvious and that was important to recognize.

I loved the romance between Lena and Alex and I was not prepared for her to have any feelings for someone else. Attraction possibly, but actual feelings were something that I was not willing to accept as a reader. Despite the trials Lena and Julian go through together, their romance moves fast enough that their relationship seems more fitting to a lustful unfeeling one than a loving one. Lena went through so much with Alex that a relationship built on lust seems to better fit what she would need than love.

Despite what she saw and what she knew to be true, Lena still had hopes that she could be wrong about Alex. She still wanted more for them all throughout the Then. Seeing her grow stronger in herself and slowly give him up was painful to see. I kept expecting Alex to pop back into her life and throw her Now into a spiral, and then I started to accept that perhaps we wouldn’t get him back. It was possible that Lauren Oliver would do something few authors seem willing to do and Leave such a major character dead and allow his memory to be another major player instead of bringing him back. I hated that thought, but then I started to hope that this book would be so different from the rest that we would have that.

I found myself thinking about this one after I finished it, trying to decide if it was one that I liked or not. I read so many reviews of this book, some readers have loved this book and are eager for the third book in this series. Other readers have been annoyed by the predictability, how easy it was for Lena to fall for another guy, or the way the author switched between Then and Now. While I didn’t love the viewpoints or the love angle, I can’t help but love it.

If you enjoyed the first book I know you’re eager to find out what happens to Lena and you’re looking for a fix until you can get your hands on it. Yes, there are mixed reviews but the majority seem to love it, so be sure to get out there and get your copy.

If this series is new to you and you read my review Anyway… you may have had a few things spoiled for you. If you want to read about a world where Love is considered a disease, where people have to fight for the right to have Feelings for another human being and loving leads to death, then you’ll want to step inside Lauren Oliver’s world and read Delirium and Pandemonium. I hate that I have to wait until 2013 to read the third book in this series!

Get your copy:
Delirium – Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Pandemonium – Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Rock On – Denise Vega

Rock On
By Denise Vega
Available 5 March 2012

Ori Taylor is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Band To Be Named Later, a garage band he started with his friends. After years of being known as the mini version of his sports-star brother, Del, Ori is looking forward to stepping out of his older brother’s shadow, learning to perform in public, and rocking the Battle of the Bands contest. Oh, and maybe finally working up the nerve to talk to a girl in person instead of just over e-mail. But when Del suddenly returns from college, he expects Ori to step back into his role of little brother, just when Ori is starting to come into his own.

With his confidence wavering, will Ori be able to overcome his stage fright and lead the band to rock glory? Will the Band To Be Named Later ever get a real name? Will their best performances remain in the garage?


This Blonde’s Review:
Ori and his friends dream of winning the Battle of the Bands. Ori is working towards getting his dream guitar in time for the battle and getting to know a cute girl. Life should be looking up for him. When his brother, Del, returns from college and expects Ori to step back into his shadow things start to unravel. Del no longer encourages Ori or helps him get the girl. Instead Ori finds himself battling with Del at every turn. There are rival bands being intimidating, strange girls kissing him, and the girl he likes is spending time with his brother. All he has to do is hold it all together until the battle.

I love that the author made this story so real. The sibling tensions when one comes home feeling like a failure while the other is starting to shine are shone wonderfully in this one. Brothers know best how to get to each other, so it doesn’t have to be warfare for it to matter, but it won’t stay passive for long either. Lucky for Ori he has a great group of friends supporting him while he struggles to deal with the changes in his brother.

The sibling aspect is what stuck with me the most about this one, but that isn’t all there is to it. We also have the romance angle with Jane and Rock Star Blindness throwing something new into Ori’s life besides the way his brother is acting. He isn’t used to girls acting that way either and has to figure out how to talk to a girl.

This story is told in so many ways that I expected it to bother me when I started it. Denise Vega managed to pull it off and make me want the different viewpoints so I could get another take on what was going on. We have Ori’s current point of view, but we also have several flashbacks. Through this we’re able to see how much his relationship with Del always meant to him and how their relationship has impacted his life. We are also able to read the things people post on the band’s webpage and read a few reviews of the band’s performances. Rather than becoming annoying or disjointed the author makes it work and the story wouldn’t have been the same without it.

I enjoyed how real the relationships in this story felt. Too often the story is more important than the relationships, but this book was made by the ties the characters had to each other. Those ties made it much easier to feel for the characters and want what was best for them. As we all know, caring about our characters is an important part of how we feel at the end of the story. I loved reading about Ori, his amusing friends, and his frustrating brother.

If you enjoy reading stories that could be about real people with real life problems and how they overcome them you should pick this one up in March.

Get Your Copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Welcome Caller, This is Chloe – Shelley Coriell

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe
By Shelley Coriell
Available 1 May 2012

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

This Blonde’s Review:
Chloe’s life has always been easy or her, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. She has a great family who loves her and that she adores. She has best friends who have always been there for her and accept her outrageous antics.

When she sees her best friends after vacation she is shocked to discover they’re angry with her. She is even more surprised when she finds out that one of her friends started to spread rumors about her. Chloe isn’t sure what’s going on or why she’s being treated that way, but she tries to make the best of it.

When Chloe finds out her junior independent study program (jisp) is not acceptable to her guidance counselor and must find another, she is stumped. One thing leads to another and she finds herself stuck working for the school radio station that she didn’t know existed. She meets several new people who don’t seem impressed with her friendly personality. Including an interesting boy named Duncan.

As Chloe gets to know the other students at the radio station she has her eyes opened to things about herself she had never seen before. She learns why some people would resent her and why others love her. And she learns that sometimes the best thing is to find yourself alone and learn who the best friends you can have are.

I thought this was an adorable story. Chloe and Duncan have family issues that can be heavy but the author manages to keep the story about Chloe and her friends instead of about their family members. I enjoyed Chloe and love the picture on the cover of this one. I can relate to being the kind of girl who thinks the way she’s treated has to do with her instead of it being about someone else. I can’t relate to not seeing her friends’ problems or being willing to dress up in costumes for promotions. Chloe is easily the kind of girl you’ll love or hate because of how she makes it all seem easy.

It’s great that this one is coming out in time for summer, since this would make a great summer read. It’s one that won’t take you too deep into the problems but will still keep you entertained and caring about how it’s all going to work out. If this one sounds good to you and a light read sounds fun then pick this up when it comes out in May!

Get Your Copy:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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