Koalafications

I love reading like a Koala loves eating eucalyptus


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Torment by Lauren Kate

Torment is the second book in the Fallen series which I discovered looking through the book section at Target.  The first book introduces the reader to Daniel and Luce.  They are two reform school students who have an interesting relationship.  He tries to push her away, but she feels an unnatural pull towards him.  It turns out that Daniel is a fallen angel who has been cursed for falling in love with a mortal.  Luce has lived hundreds of lives, but in each one when she meets Daniel and gets close to him, she dies.  However, this life is different, and Luce does not die.

In Torment, it is discovered that Luce seems to be some sort of lynch pin for the balance of good and evil in the world.  Even though he is a fallen angel, Daniel is still mostly loyal to being good.  He has formed an alliance with a more evil (demon) fallen angel named Cam.  They are working together to protect Luce from the Outcasts (fallen angels who didn’t pick a side and are now rejected by both sides) who are trying to kill her.  One means of her protection is transferring to a different school, Shoreline.  This school is made up of half mortal students and half Nephilim.  Nephilim are the students who have some angel blood in them, no matter how watered down it might be.  Luce makes two fairly good friends.  Miles is a Nephilim very far down the line and basically the closest to mortal of these students.  He and Luce bond over this.  They have a very easy friendship that Luce sometimes longs for in her relationship with Daniel.  Luce also ends up getting close with her roommate, Shelby.  Shelby helps Luce in her attempts to glimpse her past lives and learn about her relationship with Daniel.

Daniel and Luce’s relationship gets a little rocky as she struggles to understand it better with him being unwilling to give her the information she wants.  This leads to her kissing Miles and wondering if it would be easier and better to be with him instead.  Ultimately, all of Luce’s friends (Nephilim, angel, and mortal) end up going home with her for Thanksgiving.  While there, a giant battle between the angels and Outcasts breaks out.  Miles saves Luce by projecting a mirror of her that the Outcasts take thinking it is the real thing.  Luce quickly realizes that if she wants to save her friends in this battle that she has to get away and she steps through basically a magical portal to another time and place.

So far this series has been pretty interesting.  I really agree with Luce’s opinions of her relationship with Daniel in this novel especially when she is questioning if it is right for her.  I found myself mostly cheering for her to choose Miles which maybe Lauren Kate will explore a little bit, but I know that in the end she will end up with Daniel barring some type of tragedy.  This series provides an interesting twist on a love story by bringing in all of the supernatural aspects the angels provide.  It allows for some more unexpected avenues to be explored that are not possible in more typical novels about teenage love.

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The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

 

So I have fallen behind a little bit with my posts.  Recently, I ran out of books from the library, so I decided to start rereading the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I also decided to do this so that when I watched the movie again, I would have a better base for comparison having read the books recently.  Anyways, I love The Hunger Games.  It is probably my favorite book currently.  Although I do not really hold the rest of the series in that regard.  I think as a whole series it really is a bit of a let down in the end.  Suzanne Collins sets a really high standard with the first book and the others seem to fall a little flat.

The Hunger Games is set in a dystopia where the people in the Capitol want for nothing while most of the people in the Districts are sick, starving, and struggling to get by.  The Capitol also acts in ways to continue to show their dominance over the Districts and to attempt to stem off rebellion like one that took place around 75 years earlier.  One main tool that they use in this regard is the Hunger Games.  This is an event that happens every year.  Each District is required to send two tributes, one male and one female, to the Capitol in order to battle against the other tributes in hopes of being the last person standing.  This person is then set for life and their District receives gifts until the next victor is crowned.

Obviously Katniss Everdeen ends up going to the Hunger Games after she volunteers in place of her sister.  Being from District 12 she is automatically a huge underdog.  However, her hunting prowess and the charisma of her fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, results in them being the last two tributes standing.  Believing a rule change would save them both, Peeta and Katniss teamed up, but in the end it was two good to be true and the Capitol wants them to battle it out so there is only one victor.  Katniss pulls out poisonous nightlock berries that they intend to eat at the same time resulting in no victor.  Immediately they are stopped and both declared victors.  This is considered a small act of rebellion by some Capitol officials and Katniss needs to watch her step to protect both herself and Peeta from their wrath.

Catching Fire picks up when they are preparing for the victors tour where Katniss and Peeta will travel to each of the Districts for celebrations.  President Snow visits Katniss and informs her that she better convince everyone that she acted out of love with the nightlock berries and stem any uprisings that may be in the works.  He is mostly unsatisfied with her attempts and several uprisings begin in the Districts.

This year of the Hunger Games is the 75th which makes it a Quarter Quell which were determined when the games were established.  Quarter Quells happen every 25 years and have a special twist.  The first twist was that each District had to vote in their tributes rather than the typical reaping.  The second was that twice as many tributes would go.  This was the games that Haymitch Abernathy (Peeta and Katniss’ mentor in the games) competed in and won.  For the third Quarter Quell, the reaping uses only the pool of victors from each District.  This results in Katniss and Peeta going back into the arena.

In the end, there is a plot involving tributes, mentors, and game makers to begin a rebellion.  Ultimately, several of the tributes are able to break out of the arena.  Some are taken to safety by the rebels (Katniss and Finnick Odair) while others (Peeta and Johanna Mason) are captured by the Capitol.  This sets the scene for Mockingjay where the actual war takes place.

 


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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

 

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent series.  I had heard that a lot of people didn’t like it, but I really enjoyed reading it.  I think it is a great follow up to the first book and really sets up a lot of options for the third book.

Once again we are following Tris as she tries to stay alive and help others stay alive.  At the end of Divergent, the Erudite use simulations to control the Dauntless and make them attack the Abnegation.  Tris works to figure out why the attack, that resulted in the death of both her parents, took place.  Tris and Tobias (aka Four) work together and sometimes against each other as they try to mend a world that has been torn apart.  Ultimately it comes down to part of Dauntless and the Erudites vs. the rest of Dauntless and the Factionless in a battle to gain control.

The Erudites are trying to weed out the Divergent because their brains are different from everyone else’s.  Divergent people are able to tell when they are in a simulation and break out of it.  This is a bad thing for the Erudite leaders who want to use simulations to control the population.  Tris is used by the Erudites to study and try to figure out the differences so that they can develop new simulations serums that will work on everyone.

Tris eventually teams up with Tobias’ father Marcus to try to acquire the data being stored by the Erudites.  Marcus knows what the information is and how important it is for the future of their world.  Tris goes with him even though she has to risk losing Tobias’ trust. They run into some troubles along the way and the Erudite leader is killed before they can threaten her into helping them.  Everything seems to being going wrong for Tris, especially when the Factionless acquire all of the weaponry and declare themselves the heads of the new government.  Right at the end though Tobias, Marcus, and Caleb (Tris’ brother) return to everyone else having just started a video clip with all the information the Erudites were trying to hide.  But we have to wait until the next book to know how things go.

Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed this book.  I liked how we got to see a little more depth to Tris with not just her Dauntless instincts, but also more of her Abnegation side plus how she is handling grief.  There is also more development of the Tris and Tobias relationship.  All and all it seems to provide a good bridge between the first book and what will potentially be the conclusion, although there’s really no way to tell until the third book comes out next year.

 


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Wicked Appetite By Janet Evanovich

 

I was finally able to go back and read the first of Janet Evanovich‘s Wicked books.  This is just a fun series.  Lizzy the cupcake baker meets Diesel in this novel.  He informs her that she in an Unmentionable which means she has enhanced abilities.  Lizzy is able to tell when an object has different power levels.  This comes in handy as Diesel needs to find the SALIGIA stones.  These stones represent each of the Seven Deadly Sins (gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, envy, wrath, and pride).

In this book, Diesel and Lizzy are trying to track down the gluttony stone.  This stone has been locked by four keys that need to be gathered before the stone can be retrieved.  The keys have there own enhanced powers and cause the possessor to be gluttonous for something (food, punishment, etc.).  When Lizzy is near these keys, she takes on that trait which results in some hilariousness for her and Diesel.

Lizzy and Diesel are not the only ones looking for the stones.  They are up against Diesel’s cousin Wulf and his minion, Hatchet.  Wulf is basically the evil version of Diesel.  He is able to burn people with just the touch of his hand, he has killed people, plus he is just kind of a creepy dude.  Hatchet, like Lizzy, is able to detect power in objects (something that only the two of them can do).  He also is obsessed with the middle ages and goes around speaking and dressing as if he is in that time period.

So far I am really enjoying this series even though I read the first two books backwards.  It is just really fun and light.  It is an easy read and so it doesn’t take long to read a book.  Diesel and Lizzy are a funny pair and have really cute interactions.  I’m looking forward to the third book, but I haven’t been able to figure out when it will be released.

 

 


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Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The third book in the Beautiful Creatures series is just as secretive and out there as the first two.  In Beautiful Darkness, Lena breaks the order of things which results in mass chaos in both the mortal world and the caster world.  Gatlin, Ethan’s hometown, is being destroyed.  There are bugs covering every plant and surface in town, unbearable heat year round, Vexes (shadowy bad guys from the underworld) destroy main street and Ethan’s aunts’ house, and earthquakes are thrown in to help shake things up.  Basically everything is going wrong.  Link, Ethan’s best friend, is now part Incubus after being bitten by John Breed (a cross between Incubus and caster) at the end of the last book.  Ridley, Lena’s cousin, lost her Dark Caster Siren powers in Beautiful Darkness, but disappears for awhile in this book, ends up begging for forgiveness and gets them back.

Ethan and Lena and all their supernatural friends are trying to figure out a way to restore the order.  Amma makes a deal with a dark voo doo guy for help, which ends up not being helpful.  Macon and Liv do lots of research to learn about the past in hopes of finding a connection.  John Breed seems to be the key but ends up being mostly useless.  Marian is put on trial for treason against the Caster world.  The Demon Queen takes over Ethan’s teacher’s body and provides helpful information but not a lot of answers.

Ultimately, Ethan realizes that he is the key to fixing the order and jumps off a water tower.  I’m guessing he doesn’t die since there is another book (Beautiful Redemption) and he is pretty the main character and all the books are from his perspective.

Basically, Beautiful Chaos followed the same pattern as the others in the series by providing a lot of information but not a lot of answers.  There are also plenty of plot twists and cliff hangers and in general just a lot going on all the time.  I’ve learned it is almost impossible to summarize these books because there is just too much going on.  For the most part I enjoy the series.  I still think that the books could be shorter and still be as effective.  I also think there might be a few too many subplots going on that detract from the main story line and are often underdeveloped creating a lot of questions about why they are there and where they are going.


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Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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I literally just finished reading Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  This is the second book in the series.  I came across this series because of an article in a magazine.  It was discussing what series or book would be the next Hunger Gamesand this was one of the possibilities.  The first book in the series is Beautiful Creatures.  This book introduces the reader to the main characters, Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes.  Ethan is the typical high school student and becomes enamored with new student Lena.  He feels an extremely strong connection to her.  Quickly, it is discovered that Lena is a Caster, a type of witch.  She belongs to a parallel world filled with Light and Dark Casters that are competing with each other to be dominant.  Lena is coming to an age where it will be determined whether she will be Light or Dark.  She ends up not having her fate determined for her like the rest of her family, but she is giving the choice between the two.  However, whichever side she chooses, all of her family members on the other side will die.  Then a bunch of stuff happens, and Lena ends up not having to choose either side until her next birthday.

This gets us into Beautiful Darkness.  This book begins with the funeral for Lena’s Uncle Macon, who died at the end of the first book because of a spell cast by Lena to save Ethan from dying (however, she did not know that Macon would take Ethan’s place).  Macon is the closest thing Lena has had to a father and he has provided tons of guidance during this particular time in her life.  This leads to her being completely devastated by his death.  She blames herself for killing him because of the spell she cast.  Lena begins to pull away from Ethan and starts turning more and more dark.  Ethan continuously tries to connect with Lena, but she always pushes him away.

Lots of other worldly stuff happens that helps Ethan understand what he has to do, but mostly it confuses him until near the very end.  Basically, lots of stuff that probably wasn’t expected early on happens to make it so that Ethan can save Lena from going Dark, but also makes it so Lena really doesn’t have to choose one side or the other (at least for now).  There is also a small skirmish that results in Ethan’s mortal best friend, Link, becoming a weird Incubus/mortal/maybe Caster hybrid.  The story continues with the third book of the series, Beautiful Chaos.

I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of Beautiful Creatures, but I was intrigued enough to continue the series.  The second book did a much better job of keeping my interest with a lot more going on the whole time.  However, both books do seem to drag a bit with details that don’t seem to matter much getting too much attention and just being wordy overall.  Both books are pretty long (I don’t remember the length of the first one, but this one is around 500 pages), and there are points where I just wanted the authors to get on with it rather than describing every little thing.  Overall though, I am enjoying the series and am excited to get the third book from the library in the next couple days.


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Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

I’m not going to lie, I’m a big fan of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  In face, my whole finally likes the series.  My parents read pretty much all of the books she writes which is how I came to read this one.  Dad got it from the library and told me I should check it out.  Now I have read several of the Evanovich books outside of the Plum world and have not always been very impressed with them.  That was not the case this time.  I really enjoyed Wicked Business.  This book is the second in Evanovich’s Wicked series.  I have not read the first book in the series (Wicked Appetite), but it is on hold at the library so hopefully I will have it soon.

The main character in this series is name Lizzy Tucker.  She has pretty much just settled into a comfortable life with a house she inherited from her aunt and a job as a pastry chef at Dazzle Bakery.  Then Diesel comes into her life and she finds out she has some unnatural abilities.  She is able to sense when objects have powers or are enchanted.  Because of this, Diesel needs her help in tracking down stones that represent each of the Seven Deadly Sins before the wind up in evil hands.  Lizzy and only one other person, Hatchet, have this power making her essential to the hunt.

Wicked Business revolves around their search for the Luxuria stone, which represents lust (or possibly true love).  The search turns up many clues that lead to more clues and must be figured out to find the stone.  Along the way Lizzy deals with feelings for Diesel (but he is off limits), death threats from Anarchy another person looking for the stone, and Diesel’s cousin Wulf and his minion Hatchet.  Comedy is added through Diesel’s monkey who seems to have almost too good of a grasp on being human and Lizzy’s coworker Glo who thinks she is a witch.  Glo is even able to cast some spells at points, but none of them seem to go quite as planned.

All in all, this book has a great basis in supernatural but is still able to stay relatively realistic and all the while be funny and captivating.