Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi“Ignite, my love. Ignite.”

WARNING: Spoilers for previous books in the Shatter Me series ahead.

Juliette has decided to take down the Reestablishment. In order to do this, she needs help from Warner, someone she never thought she would trust. As she works with him and gets to know him better, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about him was wrong. She has to figure out her feelings for Warner and Adam, and at the same time learn all she can about how to fight because she realizes the only way to win this rebellion is to lead it herself.

This was hands down the best book in the series. So good that I stayed up until all hours of the night reading it. Juliette finally turns into the girl we all knew she could be and decides that she is going on the offensive. After Warner saved her life, she starts to see him in a new light and decides to work with him to bring down his father. Warner begins to let down some of his defenses around Juliette, and she finds that he is much different than she had originally thought.

Warner definitely showed the most growth of anyone in this book. We finally get to see who he really is under that tough exterior, and he begins to show his true self to more than just Juliette. The more he helps her friends and the more he reveals about himself, the more Juliette finds herself drawn to him and the more confused she becomes about her feelings. I loved the moments between the two of them–they were beautifully written and so full of emotion.

But oh man, Adam? After Unravel Me, I was ready to just be done with him. But in this book? He turned into such a jealous, whiny little brat that I had a hard time figuring out why I even liked him back in Shatter Me. Like Warner, in this book Adam’s true colors began to show, but unlike Warner, it put him in a much more negative light. What was great about Juliette though is that she realizes that there is so much going on that is more important than her love life, and she is able to overcome the difficulties she faces emotionally and become a strong leader.

Juliette finally learns to control her ability and she learns the many different dimensions of it. Basically, in this book she becomes a super hero. She has grown so much from the first book and she has definitely become one of my favorite female characters ever. She is able to come up with a plan to not only get rid of Warner’s father for good, but to also take over the Reestablishment and change the world.

Overall, Ignite Me was one of the best final books in a series ever. I could not have imagined a better ending, and I absolutely loved every minute of this book!!

Ignite Me was released on February 4, 2014 and is the final book in the Shatter Me series.

Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Me Since You by Laura WiessRowan Areno never realized how one event could change the lives of so many people. Rowan is a normal sixteen year old girl who tries to cut school one day. Her police officer father finds her and brings her home, and because of this he is in the area when a call comes through about a man about to commit suicide on the overpass across from their house. Rowan and her mother watch through the window as Rowan’s father and an innocent boy walking his dog on the overpass try to convince the man not to kill himself and his three month old son. The results of this tragic event change the lives of all involved, and Rowan has to try to figure out how to move on with her life and deal with grief and loss.

This book was so sad, but so good. Rowan’s parents are very overprotective of her, mainly because her father is a police officer and knows the kinds of things that can happen to teenage girls. Rowan is in that stage where her parents are annoying to her and she can’t understand why they are constantly trying to protect her. She wants to go out with her friend Nadia, who is a terrible influence and an even worse friend, and party with boys. But when the event on the overpass happens, Rowan begins to see life differently.

Rowan’s father has a very hard time dealing with what happened on the overpass, especially once the police video of the event gets leaked to the press. The entire town has to give their opinion on how the event should have been handled, and many people don’t think Rowan’s father did his job properly. He sinks into a deep depression, and Rowan and her mother have to try their best to help him while they both deal with the entire town talking about them.

Rowan finds comfort in a boy, Eli, who was walking his dog on the overpass the day of the event. He is also having trouble dealing with the fallout, and has experienced a recent loss in his life. Through Eli, Rowan is once again able to find happiness in life and is able to begin to move on and stop defining her life in terms of Before and After. Eli is a really great character, forced to grow up fast because of his loss, and he is extremely loving to his dog, Daisy. He and Rowan are able to help each other through the tough moments of their lives and they are both able to recover together.

Overall, Me Since You was a really beautiful story about coping with loss. It was a really well written and powerful story that will definitely stay with you.

Me Since You will be released on February 18, 2014.

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Tin Star by Cecil CastellucciTula Bane and her family are on a colony ship headed to begin life on a new planet. When they stop at a space station, the leader of the colony ship beats Tula to within an inch of her life and leaves her for dead. Her family doesn’t realize and they leave on the colony ship, abandoning Tula on the remote space station. She is saved by an alien named Heckleck, who teaches her the way of things on the space station and helps her to survive.

When three humans get stranded on the space station, Tula finds herself torn between her mistrust of humans and her desire for companionship. She sees the humans as her way off the space station, and perhaps a way to exact her revenge on Brother Blue.

This book had such an original story. There were so many different types of aliens on the space station and we get to learn about a lot of their different customs. Tula is the only human on the station so she must learn the way of these aliens in order to survive. I really admired Tula’s will to survive–even though she is all alone, separate even from her own species, she never gives up and finds a way to make money and create a life for herself.

Tula lives on the station for years and years without seeing another human, so when the three humans crash onto the station, she doesn’t even know how to act towards them. The relationships she developed with the humans were very strange, and the one quality I didn’t like about Tula is that she is extremely manipulative and uses people to get what she wants. She does this with the other humans, telling them what they need to hear in order to get from them what she wants. I understood that she needed to do this to survive, but it also made her slightly unlikable.

Overall, Tin Star was a very original story about a girl who has to grow up fast and learn to survive. I’m interested to see how Tula’s story will continue.

Tin Star will be released on February 25, 2014.

The Queen’s Choice by Cayla Kluver

The Queen's Choice by Cayla KluverAnya, a Faerie of Chrior, is the niece of the Queen of the Faerie Kingdom. When the Queen tells her that she is dying and that Anya must take her place as Queen, Anya is overwhelmed to say the least. She has no desire to rule, but instead likes to spend her time traveling to and from the human world. However, if Anya doesn’t rule, then the crown will fall to her cousin Illumina, a Faerie who is extremely prejudiced against humans and who will ruin the relationship the Faeries have with the humans. The only option Anya has is to go out into the human world in search of the Queen’s son Zabriel, who ran away two years ago. Anya believes that if she can convince him to come home then the pressure to rule Chrior will be off of her.

I was really excited to read this book. It has a gorgeous cover and the story just sounded so different and interesting. And while I did like the story, I found it hard to get through. This book was over 500 pages. While I’ve read many books longer than that, this was a LONG 500 pages. There were many times throughout the book where I felt the story dragging, and I think probably 100-150 pages could’ve been cut from this book and it would’ve made the pacing better. I really had to push myself to get through this once I hit the halfway mark, and while I will say it did pick up a lot towards the end, it took awhile to get there.

I oscillated between liking and disliking Anya. At first she seems pretty selfish–she wants to go off and find her cousin so that he can rule instead of her. First of all, her aunt obviously though she was the best for the job so maybe she could have at least given it a chance instead of running off. Second, her cousin obviously ran away for a reason, and does she even stop to realize that maybe bringing him back will just make him miserable all over again? No, she is only thinking about her needs and how she has to give up her freedom when she becomes Queen. Also, she has this boyfriend Daric in the Faerie realm who is just supposed to sit around and wait for her to have her fun out in the human world? That’s kind of unfair. But aside from all of this, I will definitely say that she grew a lot throughout the book and became more selfless and understanding of other people.

I really liked the world building in this book and I think that was the only good thing about the length–it allowed Kluver to really show us a lot of the human world. I still would have liked to see more of Chrior though; the book starts off there but Anya quickly leaves and I would say about 90% of the book is spent in the human world after that. The Faerie world seemed really interesting and I’m hoping in future books we get to see more of it.

This book definitely had a great adventure and wasn’t just a fantasy book. There was a lot about political unrest both in the Faerie and human world, and the book had a lot of twists and turns. The ending was not something I expected at all and definitely left a big cliffhanger.

Overall, The Queen’s Choice was an exciting story that dragged slightly because of the length. However, the ending was a big twist and will definitely leave you excited for the next book.

The Queen’s Choice will be released on January 28, 2014.

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottEmma’s mother is brain dead and her body is being kept alive by machines because she is pregnant. Emma doesn’t agree with her stepfather’s decision to keep her mother alive so that the doctors can deliver the baby in a few months, and she is unable to move on and accept the fact that her mother is dead when she has to stare at her lying in bed day after day. When she meets Caleb Harrison, a notorious bad boy who is always in and out of trouble, she is surprised that she is able to connect with someone so different from her. What she finds is that Caleb is not just the bad boy he seems to be, and he may be someone that can help her get through her grief.

This book presented such a difficult situation and one that I cannot imagine having to cope with. It’s terrible enough that Emma has to lose her mother at such a young age, but to not even be able to properly deal with her grief is even worse. Part of her still hopes that her mother will wake up even though the doctors say she is brain dead, and it is even harder to accept the fact that she is truly gone when she is still technically alive. Emma even somewhat hates the baby because she blames it for her mother’s death.

I can’t imagine what kind of choice I would make if I were placed in that situation. It is hard to be mad at Emma’s stepfather for wanting to save the baby, but it also is kind of messed up that Emma’s mother is just being kept alive so that the baby can develop. It’s a very tough issue, and I can completely understand why Emma reacted the way she did–hating her stepfather and the unborn baby. When she meets Caleb, who has his own family issues, the two of them are able to help each other through their problems. They are two of the least likely people to ever get together, but their issues help them to connect and understand each other, which leads to a really great relationship.

Overall, Heartbeat was a beautiful novel about a very controversial issue. Scott did a great job of handling this issue and created a really incredible story.

Heartbeat will be released on January 28, 2014.

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy by Sara B. LarsonAlexa Hollen is a girl who is forced to disguise herself as a boy in the king’s army after she and her twin brother are orphaned. In Antion, girls who are orphaned are forced to go to the breeding houses, and to avoid this Alexa must cut off her hair and call herself Alex. She has been trained to fight so she easily passes off as a boy and quickly rises through the ranks to become part of the prince’s personal guard. However, when a sorcerer comes to abduct the prince, Alexa is unable to stop him and she and her fellow guard Rylan get abducted as well. When her secret is revealed, it seems that the prince and Rylan may have secrets of their own, and Alexa has to deal with two men vying for her affections along with trying to protect the kingdom.

This was such a great start to this series! Alexa is my favorite type of heroine–brave, fierce, and able to beat a grown man in sword fighting. She becomes the best fighter in the army even though she has suffered so many hardships, and she proves that just girls can fight just as well as boys can. Alexa poses as a boy in order to avoid the breeding house, which was so horrible to read about. Orphan girls are taken into the breeding house where they are basically raped by men in the army and forced to bear children. Those children are then forced to fight in the army if they are boys, and if they are girls they are forced right back into the breeding house. Alexa was fortunate enough to have her fighting skills and her brother’s quick thinking to cut off her hair, but there are so many poor girls who didn’t have that chance and suffer daily in the breeding house.

I enjoyed the love triangle in this book because it wasn’t the only focus of the story and it was obvious pretty early on who Alexa really loved. Both Prince Damian and Rylan admit to having feelings for her once her cover is blown, and this poor girl who has never been allowed to think like a girl is suddenly thrown into a love triangle. I think Alexa’s reaction was very real, and any girl in that situation would definitely be overwhelmed.

I really admired Alexa because she was so determined to carry on. She is constantly thrown into different situations that take her out of her element, but she quickly adjusts and is able to deal with it. After losing her parents and basically losing her identity, she still pushes on and tries to make the best life possible for herself. She also is fiercely loyal to the prince, even though at first she doesn’t believe he deserves her loyalty, and she is willing to throw her life down for his.

Overall, Defy was a fantastic start to a new series! Alexa was a great heroine and I can’t wait to see where the second book takes her!

Defy will be released on January 7, 2014 and is the first book in a series.