Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pint-Size Reivew: Dark Star by Bethany Frenette (#1)

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette (#1)
Pages:  368
Release Date:  October 23rd, 2012
Date Read:  2012, August 29th-31st
Received:  ARC (borrowed)
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  13+

Audrey lives a life that many dream they could have.  here mom's the superhero Morning Star, and Audrey has a few tricks up her sleeve herself.  She has the Knowing gift, a psychic-like sense that comes in handy very often.  When danger falls, and Harrowers escape from the Beneath, Audrey discovers that she and her mom - and her mom's trusty sidekick Leon - are not what she's always believed.  She is one of the Kin, and she may be more capable than she ever dreamed.  Now, with Harrowers lurking on ever dark corner, killing left and right to find something powerful, Audrey must gather all her courage to become who she was meant to be.

What a totally fun, engrossing, novel this was!  I had a blast reading it - I mean, superheroes and sidekicks and bad guys from Beneath, and an adorable best friend PLUS a radical love interest?  ALL these things are right down my alley.  (And the best friend and love interest?  Two totally different guys, thank you very much!)

Now, I think this book...lacks in some areas.  The characters are good but a bit underdeveloped or cliched. The story line was good but felt a bit rushed.  I liked the writing but it wasn't my favorite.  All those reasons make me think, I should have rated it 3 stars.  But NO!  It was too much fun to ignore, and for that it gets extra points!!

One of my biggest things...I wanted more Leon.  Things between Audrey and Leon were progressing at a good pace, but it felt like it was a bit rushed at the end.  Still...two superheroes who are attracted to each other, having cake batter fights in the kitchen while mom's gone?  Totally romantic!  Leon was SUCH a great character!!

Audrey herself was good but a bit too unrelatable for me.  Her mom, Lucy, was a really neat lady who I enjoyed reading about - and I loved Lucy and Audrey's relationship!  The cousins, the grandmother...all good characters, but not striking in any way.

So, pretty much - Leon wins best character!! :D  I adored him!  Second in line is Gideon, the best friend, who made me smile often.  He was wonderful!

So, overall good, totally fantabulously fun, and I think you should give it a go - I hope you enjoy it like I did!

This book reminds me of...
Watching a Marvel movie (not quite as brilliant, though...)
Romantic food fights (really, that was my favorite scene!!)
Awkward and hilarious and swoony first kisses
Red John - look it up
Sneaky hidden identities
Superfun :)

For the Parents -
A kiss; some brief language.  Some HS kids go to a club on Friday nights, where they serve non-alcoholic beverages and things stay under control/appropriate.  Recommended 14+

Monday, October 29, 2012

An Interview With Bethany Frenette

You can find Bethany at the following places:

Why she's here:

Hey Bethany, thanks for joining us today at Yearning to Read!  To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
1) I celebrated the sale of my first book by going skydiving with my friend Dave.  It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  I have no problem with heights, but I’m not a fan of airplanes, and the idea of falling out of one caused me no end of worry—but I told myself that now that I’d achieved my childhood dream, I could do anything, so I should just go ahead and be brave.  So I did it!
2) My best friend and I met in kindergarten.  We both wore the same Land Before Time dress to school one day, which was a clear indication that we were meant to be friends for life.  She doesn’t remember the dress thing, but trust me, it happened.  (Full disclosure:  I moved after third grade, and we lost touch until high school, when I switched schools again.  But we still met in kindergarten!)
3)  When I was fourteen, I made up a country that existed in a five-foot radius around me.  I charged taxes.  (Not that anyone ever paid me, sadly.)
4)  I sing constantly.  I’m not even aware I’m doing it most of the time.  Usually it’s just nonsense songs to my cats, but it occasionally happens in public, horrifyingly enough.  Once, my sister and I were out shopping, and I didn’t realize I was singing until a woman in the aisle with us sang back to me.  (For the curious, our impromptu duet went like this:  “My feet hurt, my feet hurt.”  “Mine do too, mine do too!”)
5) This one isn’t really about me, but it’s about my family, and I like to tell it.  My grandfather proposed to my grandmother on the day they met.  She was engaged to someone else at the time, but she ran off with Grandpa anyway.  They were married ten days later, and stayed together until she died.   So if anyone asks whether or not I believe in love at first sight, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be around without it!

Oh my goodness - The Land Before Time!  Favorite EVER! :D  So cute :)
What are five books you think everyone should read?
I’m not sure about them being for everyone, but these books are some of my favorites, and they all had a pretty big impact on me—and on my writing.

1) Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
2) A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
3) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
4) Wicked by Gregory Maguire
5) Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting was so amazing - and I'm so looking forward to Howl's Moving Castle! :)
How has writing and being published affected your life?
I’ve been writing most of my life, and can’t really imagine ever not writing.  Even when I’m not actively working on a book, I’m usually making up stories in my head.  So being published is pretty much living the dream.  But it’s also been an adjustment—a good one!—and not just to my daily routine.  It was very surreal at first, hearing other people discuss my book and characters, instead of just my poor friends having to deal with my nonstop babble.  But the best part is probably that I’m able to spend more time actually writing now.

I agree!  What is life without writing? ;)
Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
I’m not actually sure I have a favorite.  I tend to go in phases with characters—which one I love most can differ from week to week, depending on how I’m feeling or what I’m writing.  That said, there are definitely characters I have an easier time writing than others.  Audrey’s voice is very easy for me, so I’m particularly fond of her for that reason!

Audrey does have a very "easy" voice to read, so I think I know what you mean!
Who is your favorite superhero?  Who do you think has the best alter-ego?  (These don't have to be the same hero!)
I’d like to pretend my favorite is one of the more obscure superheroes, but I have to be typical and go with Batman.  How can you not love Batman?  When I was at Dragon*con this year, some guy in a Batman costume gave me a hug, and while I would normally find being hugged by a total stranger a bit unsettling, I didn’t even care.  I was just like, “Batman hugged me!”  Haha. 
I’m not sure about alter-ego.  I do love Clark Kent, in spite of the fact that his “disguise” is nothing approaching believable.

OMG WE'RE TWINS!!  Batman is my favorite - and so is Clark Kent! :)  Love this!!
If you could have one of the powers described or mentioned in Dark Star, which would it be?
Teleportation.  And I wouldn’t be responsible with it, the way Leon is.  I’m incredibly lazy, so I’d be teleporting my way to the grocery store, or even just across the room.  It would also make it much easier for me to visit my family—which is the real reason I’d choose it.

I definitely think teleportation would be so wonderful - practically and superheroically!
If you could wear a mask, cape, and/or suit, what would it/they look like?  (Color, style, etc.)
There is no way I could pull off a cape—or, really, any superhero outfit, for that matter!—but I’d probably go with a cat motif of some sort.  When I was a teenager, I was writing a different superhero story (more traditional, less urban fantasy), and the sidekick character in it was a girl who went by Cheshire (I had an Alice in Wonderland superhero theme going on—don’t ask).  So I think I’d probably copy that!

I want to see this costume produced and sold in Target! ;)
What's one thing about Audrey that you most strive to embody?
I don’t exactly strive for this, but I purposely made Audrey a lot more outgoing and assertive than I am.  She isn’t shy, and she doesn’t embarrass easily—two things I would very much like to have, myself! Otherwise, I’d say her desire to help the people she cares about; I value loyalty and family a great deal, and I hope that I’d be brave enough to step up if someone really needed me.

Loyalty always helps the reader respect the MC more - that's definitely one thing that stood out to me about Audrey!
Any hints about a sequel?? :))  (More specifically:  will we be seeing more adorable, swoon-worthy kisses??)
There is definitely more kissing!  The relationship between Audrey and Leon plays a larger role in the next book than it did in Dark Star—I had a lot of fun with them, so hopefully you will too!

Oh how exciting!! :D  I look forward to those kisses!!


Wasn't that awesome, guys?  Read on tomorrow - I'll be back with my 4-star review of Dark Star by this lovely lady, Ms. Frenette! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Giveaway! "The Assassin's Curse" by Cassandra Rose Clarke (US ONLY!)

I love when I open my email and read the words "The Pirate's Wish cover reveal!"

And then see this:

Goodness me.  I knew it was going to be beautiful...but DANG.  Well done, Strange Chemistry!!  You guys rocked the sequel!!

So.  Giveaway.

In honor of this GORGEOUS cover reveal, I have a copy of the fantabulous The Assassin's Curse to mail out to one very insanely blessed reader.  My new yummy copy that I love has arrived in the mail and I adore it so I will pass on my ARC to the winner!!

You must live in the US.

You must be older than 15.

You must follow Yearning to Read through GFC or Feedburner.

You must answer this question in the comments (and if you do not your entry will be deleted!):
Which cover do you like best?  Why?  (And it needs to be a thoughtful answer!  Quickie answers will be deleted!)

Only one entry per person!  Leave your answer in the comments and leave your name, how you follow, and a way to contact you, whether through email, twitter, etc.

You have until my birthday, November 1st, to enter.  That weekend, the 3rd or 4th, I will choose the winner using random.org and contact him/her asap! :)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Bookshelf Dilemma: Episode 4

Oh my goodness I have so much to update you all on!!

I'm currently in the process of renovating my room, so I'll just share some pictures of what the inside of my dresser USED to look like.  (Many much more books have been added since these were taken. :O)  Every shelf has a different kind of theme...I'll kind of walk you through that.

SO.  This shelf is kind of strange.  It consists of my Jane Austens and my war novels.  I know, I know, ridiculous, right?  Well, they didn't have a place with their respective genres or could take up a whole shelf so they got stuck together.  Whoops. ;)

The next two shelves are my Biblical historical fiction-ish books (The Robe, The Pillar of Fire, etc) and my fantasy books (The Hobbit, Dracula, etc).   Again, how did those two end up together??  So strange.
And above those are my Dickens...  (That copy of Dracula got torn up to make wrapping paper, so it's not there anymore.)  Dickens is one of my all-time favorites, so of course he gets his own shelf.  But I don't think he has his own anymore, because I bought more books, and more books means less space and favorite authors must share with favorite authors... Oh well.

Then we have my favorites - my Russian novels and my French novels! :DDD  I'd choose these books above most any day.  Dostoevsky, Sabatini, Dumas, Dickens...the list is amazing.  I also own a copy of Anna Karenina but at the time this photo was taken I was currently reading it, so it's not there.

On the other side, we have my girly classics.  Yah, that's what I call them.  I haven't read all of them, so after I do I might have to put them in a different section.  BUT.  I've always associated these with each other.

Below those two shelves are my "American" classics and also some C. S. Lewis.  These are some pretty darn good books, if I may say so myself, even though they're not my favorites and I haven't read all of them.

Below that, at the very bottom right, is the beautiful place where I keep my journals, short stories, poetry, plays, and Greek mythology.  There's a lot stuffed behind the white box.  Like, a looootttt.  But it's all there and easily accessible if I just move the box.

Annnnd VIOLA!  Here it is!  I think it looks a bit different now, but it's still just as pretty (and as obsessively organized - ha!).

Anyone else have a bookshelf dilemma?  Where are your classics stashed?  Let me know in the comments!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (#1)

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (#1)
Pages: 320
Release Date:  October 2nd, 2012
Date Read:  2012, September 17th-18th
Received:  ARC from Publisher; OWN
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  15+

Ananna of the Tanarau, daughter of a pirate, fierce young woman raised on he sea, is given no choice: she must marry Tarrin of the Hariri, or else, he threatens, his famiy will send a highly trained and deadly assassin to kill Ananna.  Instead of agreeing, however, Ananna makes her escape - and is soon attacked by the assassin, Naji.  With the help of some magic she is told will send the Assassin into the Miss, she instead binds herself to him!  The two set out on the adventure of a lifetime to break the curse, but as the time goes on, Ananna is amazed to discover another bond growing between them: one of friendship and - could it be love?

Those books that sneak up behind you, blindfold you, and then lead you into a wonderland full of endless beauty and magic?  Those are the best books.  EVER.  I always have this burning passion for them for years after I read them.

This is one such book.

Despite the amaaaaazing things I'd heard about it, I was still skeptical of The Assassin's Curse in the first two chapters. Slang language in the first person POV? Random F bomb?  Unusual lady in the store passing out magical vials?  Ooook.  But, holy crud you guys.  The third chapter said, loudly in my face, "Lo and behold!  Be skeptical no longer!"  And so it came to pass that every page brought me one step closer to heaven.  Cassandra Rose Clarke, can I just hug you???

Ananna is one of my favorite heroines.  She's got spunk and a lot of worldly knowledge, but there's something about her that's innocent.  I love every single thing about her: her love for the seas, her loyalty and her fearlessness.  She kicks butt and is sensitive and is capable of loving greatly.

But seriously, who couldn't love greatly when referring to Naji??  Ummm hello!  I adore this guy...like, Okay, by "adore" I actually mean I'm madly in love with him.  (See!?!?!)  He's so...unusual.  He's different from most heroes I've ever read about.  He's beautiful, yes, but his face is marred with scars that mask that beauty to some.  He has a history and is a very skilled assassin, but he hsa some of his own ideas about his job.  And *sigh* I have this feeling he's going to be a wonderful kisser.... :D  In any case, I just loved the dynamics Naji brought to The Assassin's Curse - I need more of both Naji and Ananna!

The cast of side characters is just as brilliant.  They all become well-developed in a matter of pages.  Clarke is very skilled in the art of saying a lot with only a few words.  (This is a huge compliment: I've only ever said that about Suzanne Collins before!)

In particular, I thought Leila was amazing, in an I-hate-her-guts kind of a way.  Sheesh!  She added all the tension in the world to the story.

Gosh...  What can I say?  It was so utterly wonderful I think I've lost my words.  (As I now proceed to write a million words...)

I loved the traveling.  Naji and Ananna are alllll over the map, and it's brilliant. I felt like every place was perfectly described and developed, even if we only got to see it for a short time.  I can't even pick a favorite location - they were all sooo great!

The pacing was easy and fast, but not too fast so that it felt rushed.  Everything was smooth and a balance between being character and plot-driven.  The writing was superb and the dialogue made me feel like I was the one speaking and hearing.

But the best part about this story, by far, is the romantic tension.


There is magic in every single moment Ananna and Naji spend together.  The tension built slowly and surely - no insta-love here!  It's believable, and thought they don't exactly like each other at the beginning, it's not hate-turned-love, which I greatly appreciate.  The whole entire book I gripped the pages so hard and wanted to yell, "Oh hurry up and realize the obvious!  You're madly in love!!"

Now, here I am going on about love and romantic tension and kissing and all that stuff - but I seriously want to point out that...BOYS!  Boys need to read this book!  I'm serious.  There is an appeal for both genders.  Ananna is a very relatable character and can read boys and girls.  And of course, Naji and the crew of the ships, and Tarrin, and many others, will totally be good for male readers.

So, boys, why don't you go ahead and take my advice:  Read this book!!

Annnnnnnnddd..... THE END.  The end, in all its cliffhanger glory, had me dying to read more!

So romantic.  And intense.  So gorgeous in every way.  Do I need to say more?  Or will you take me at my many words and rush out to buy this book this verrrry moment??

For the Parents -
Some brief strong language (a few F's in tense situations, a few minor cuss words).  Reference to Naji being Leila's former lover.  Leila is very seductive.  Some violence, not gory.  Recommended 15+

Monday, October 8, 2012

An Interview With Cassandra Rose Clarke

I have the most awesome interview for you all this fine morning - Cassandra Rose Clarke, the unbelievably amazing author of The Assassin's Curse!!

You can find Cassandra at the following places:

Why she's here:

To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
1. I love to draw and paint.
2. I also love to cook. I actually taught myself to cook when I started high school. By the time I was a senior, I was cooking meals for my family every night.
3. I collect action figures. Mostly Star Trek ones, but sometimes I branch out.
4. I did a study abroad in Taiwan when I was in college. A big part of the program involved meeting several important Taiwan political figures, which was awesome.
5. I spent a year teaching high school English in a small central Texas football town. It was a lot like Friday Night Lights, actually.

That sounds amazing - to be so motivated to cook that you cook every night!  I wish I did that more!
What are five books you think everyone should read?
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: This is one of my favorite books of all time. When I read it the first time (for a college class, of all things!) it was unlike anything I’d ever read before, and I fell in love with it immediately.
2. Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones: I’ve mentioned this before, but this book has one of the greatest falling-in-love narratives I’ve ever read. There’s a lot more to love about it than just that, of course, but the love story’s the reason why I think everyone should read it.
3. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzgerald: Love this book! Harriet is an awesome character, plus the story’s ultimately a great, non-cliche exploration of the nature of friendship.
4. The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood: This is hands-down my favorite Margaret Atwood book of all time. I love the complex structure (it makes use of nested stories, like the ones in 1001 Arabian Nights), the relationships between the characters, and the use of pulp science fiction novels.
5. How To Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman: Okay, you probably don’t want to read this cover to cover, but if you do want to learn how to cook, it’s definitely the most useful. It really does tell you how to cook everything.

Ohhh The Blind Assassin sounds amazing!  (They all do!)  I have yet to read Howl's Moving Castle (Super depressing, I know) but my sister's begging me to read it, so soon!
How has writing and being published affected your life?
Well, it’s made me a lot busier, for starters. I essentially have three jobs now — writing, teaching, and tutoring. I have to find ways to balance my work so that everything gets done and I don’t let something slip away. Of course, I’ve been making time for writing long before I got published, but pre-book deal I had a lot less pressure in terms of what I wrote and how fast I wrote it. One of my worst habits was taking breaks from projects, starting new ones, and just generally not finishing things. Now I have an obligation to finish stuff! This is a good thing, really.
One interesting side effect of being published is that being online starts to feel like work sometimes. Not because it’s unpleasant, but because posting to Twitter and Facebook and the like is actually part of my job now! And that’s taken a little getting used to.

Oh man, now I really need to get published - to think of all the stories I'd actually finish!  Haha!
Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
Out of everything I’ve written? Probably Cat, who is the main character of the adult book I have coming out next year, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. She’s a pretty flawed person, which made her tricky to write — but it was such a deeply rewarding experience once I got her right. Second place goes to a character you’ll meet in The Pirate’s Wish, but I don’t want to say too much about her, since I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Ohhh I can't wait to meet Cat and this unnamed character!!
What would YOU prefer to be: Ninja or Pirate? What would your name be?
I think I’d rather be a pirate. I love both traveling and the ocean, and as a pirate you get to do both. I imagine I could hold on to my real name. “The Dread Pirate Cassandra” has a nice ring to it. 

You would be a pirate queen to be feared! ARGH! ;)
Which would you prefer to experience first hand: Riding on a camel over sand dunes, sailing the high seas with pirates, or disguising yourself in the marketplace?
My initial response was to sail the high seas with pirates, but when I thought about it a minute I realized I’d probably really prefer to disguise myself in the marketplace. Not so much because of the disguise, but because I’d love a chance to explore the markets in the story. Especially the night markets.

That sounds like so much fun!  Those were some of my favorite chapters in The Assassin's Curse - the market place scenes!
If you were in Ananna's shoes, who would be your greatest threat: Leila, Naji's former lover, or Echo, the lady of the Mists?
Oh, definitely Echo. She could kill me! The worse Leila’s going to do is be mean.

Ahhh that makes perfect sense!  The drama queen in me would have answered Leila (if I were you), but like I just said: Drama queen!! ;)
When the idea of The Assassin's Curse came to you, did it originally have a sequel attached to it or was it a standalone? How many books are planned for the series?
I originally wrote The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish as one long book. Too long, as it turned out, which is why we decided to split it in half. It helped that there was a natural split halfway through the story, too. I always intended that original super-long novel to be a stand-alone, and so for that reason the duology does wrap up Ananna and Naji’s story. However, I would love to write new stories set in the same world! Nothing’s planned yet, but that can always change in the future.

Oh my goodness I will totally read whatever you write about this fantastical world! :)
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for having me on your blog, and I hope your readers enjoy The Assassin’s Curse!


Now how about it, guys??  Wanna read The Assassin's Curse?  Well it's out, so you should all run to the 
store immediately and BUY IT! :D  Support this awesome lady and her awesome stories - you won't be sorry!

Come back for a review of The Assassin's Curse tomorrow!!  FIVE STARS!! :D

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Assassin's Curse (Quotes)

And then I heard this low creaking groan, and I knew they were shifting the boat so we could run with the wind to safety.  Under normal circumstances, it ain't nothing I can't handle.  But with the wind and the hurt in my body it was too much.  The movement knocked me loose.  I managed to hang on with one hand, swinging out over the deck.  What with the seawater and the sunlight, everything down there was covered in rainbows. 
Then I lost my grip, and I fell. 
- 190 of ARC (final text is subject to change!) 

Isn't that just magnificent, everyone??  I just love it to pieces...that and every other thing about this book.

Review and interview coming on Monday/Tuesday!!  Definitely come back - you won't want to miss it! :D

Friday Buys 9/28 - 10/5/12

This week I got some surprises!!  I thought a few of these books were coming in on Thursday or next week, but they came in on Wednesday!  So lo and behold, I come home to find two lovely books sitting in my room!!  The rest are really good finds that I'm super excited to share with you!

Poison by Sara Poole - $2
I almost bought this brand new for like $14 the other day, and I was like, nahhh not ready to read it yet.  BUT THIS!  I can't ever ever ever pass up a deal like this!  It's a bit stamped up on the sides of the pages but whatever, it's still beautiful and I can't wait to read it!

Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs - won!
I won this giveaway and thought it was coming in next week...but voila!  It is here! :D
Won from Reading Lark!

Deeper by Gordon & Williams - $2
Again, no way I'm passing this up!  And besides, I'm going to need to read it once I finish Tunnels!

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling - bought
So...I know...I haven't heard many good things.  But I preordered it and I'm still dying to read it, no matter the cost in the end.  I just hope I don't hate it. :/

Crewel by Gennifer Ablin - borrowed from Ashley Loves Books

Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill - borrowed from Ashley Loves Books
OMG I love Barnhill...I can't wait to dive into this one!

Ten by Gretchen McNeil - borrowed from Ashley Loves Books
GUYS.  This book was flipping insane!!  I devoured it in like, 3 hours!  Read it!!!

It's super pretty, right?? :D

What have YOU bought these last few weeks?  Link me up! :D

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (#2)

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (#2)
Pages: 525
Release Date:  May 1st, 2012
Date Read:  2012, June 18th-21st
Received:  OWN
Rating:  5/5 stars, Forever Favorite
Recommended to:  14+

Some spoilers for Divergent!  Read my review HERE.

Tris has lost everything - everything except for her brother, Caleb, and her boyfriend, Four.  They are on the run, running from something they don't yet understand, hiding the heartache inside as they fight for survival.  There is a war, building inside the factions, threatening to burst.  Tris and her friends must choose sides and create balance in their lives, before their world tips over.

As stunning as Divergent was, I had NO FLIPPING IDEA that Veronica would do it again.  I had hope for the best, but expected the worst, because who knows?  These days, I find I can never get my hopes up.  But what was I even thinking?  Insurgent blew Divergent out of the water.  I thought, no!  It can't be!  But it was.  Insurgent rocked my world.

Tris is radical.  I sometimes get infuriated with other readers for hating on her change in Insurgent.  What she does and how she acts is only rational!  She lost family members, killed a dear friend out of self-defense, and has lost a home she loved very much.  She's struggling.  And if our heroes aren't even allowed to struggle, to war within themselves, then what's the point?  How can we relate to them?  I found I related to Tris more in Insurgent than in Divergent.

So, yeah, I love her to pieces.  I kind of want to be like her.  She kicks butt and is smart and, on a more shallow note, she has the world's best boyfriend.  I mean, come on!

And while Tris was amazing, I have to say, the world's best boyfriend is still my favorite.  Ever.  In the entire world.  He's so beyond epic, it hurts my face.  How can he be so superhuman and yet so imperfect and still stay so lovable???  I just don't know.  But he's just delicious.

I could go on and on about these two, and the side cast, but I have to NOT overwhelm the review.  So, basically, everyone had a SUPER neat role to paly.  No one fell by the wayside.  All the family dynamics and friendship strengths/issues added about 50 dimensions to the story.  It was so real, so smooth and life-like and raw, it was like I was living it.

I could say the same about the story.
Packed full to the freaking brim with action, passion, discovery, mystery, and SO MUCH HEARTACHE it was impossible (no exaggeration!) to set this book down.  I read nearly 200 pages a day, more than my usual amount!  The length of this book, 525 pages, is totally easy to get through because you never once notice it.  And you'll want it to keep going on because of that DARN END!

Stupid cliffhangers that are a mind-explosion.  SO. NOT. FAIR.

Another thing that a lot of people didn't like was the direction Tris and Four's relationship went.  HOW?!  How can you not like that??  It was perfect in the story.  Once Tris and Four got to settle down for a bit, relax, be regular teens for once, just be together, there were other issues than just not being able to be together.  That's life, hate to break it to ya.  They didn't always agree, they fought, they kept secrets, did dumb things - everyone does.  But what matters most is that even when they disagreed, they always loved selflessly.  They put the other's life before their own and that was the most beautiful thing I've seen in YA since the end of Delirium back in 2-11.  In any case, the relationship dynamics were perfect.  Totally real and what many teens and even adults can relate to.  And - hint, hint! - it doesn't end badly.  Guaranteed!

A journey for everyone -and one of my Forever Favorite books.  It was an excellence beyond excellent.  It's in its own class.  You'll be doing yourself a favor by reading these books. :)

For the Parents -
Violence, but not gory, throughout.  Maybe a cuss word?  The romance is passionate and deep and the characters often kiss passionately, with some detail.  These scenes are intense, I'm not going to lie.  They never have sex but once they kiss in bed they're tempted to when they get lost in each other, but they stop and just share a hug.  Recommended 14+