World After (Penryn and the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

Title: World After
Author:
 Susan Ee
Date Published: November 21, 2013
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN: 1444778536
Format: Paperback
Pages
: 438 pages
Status: Read May 23, 2017
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.22
Buy it here: Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

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I can’t really elaborate that much without giving anything away but let me tell you … if the first book is intense this one is m e g a intense! However, it started slow and some parts were a bit draggy. But when the action started … it never stopped. Man, this book is non-stop! 

The characters were still amazing. If anything, they became more developed. They surprised me in many situations (more like every chapter). Penryn became even more badass. I admire her dedication and determination. Mommy Young was still bat-shit crazy but then you’ll end up loving her anyway. I was pissed at her at first but she quickly redeemed herself so we’re okay and I like her even more. Paige, this sweet little human … I can’t even begin how my heart breaks for her. And Raffe … I wish there’s more of him from this book. But then whenever he popped up, he’ll say something and then you’ll fall in love with him again.

“Don’t talk. You’ll just spoil my fantasy of rescuing an innocent damsel in distress as soon as you open your mouth.”

I’m still hoping for more Penryn x Raffe moments that’ll make me feel all mushy gushy inside. Oh and I almost forgot about how much I cheered for a sword! So, you’ll definitely want to read the book to know what I’m talking about.

I have high expectations for this book because I super loved the first one. Let me tell you, that I was not disappointed. If anything, this book is like another level of awesomeness. The scenes were described vividly. I can’t really say that it’s visually pleasing since some of it were a bit bloody and weird. But in the end, I loved it. It made me pause between chapters to catch my breath. Apparently, reading this book was exhausting. It certainly felt like I was Penryn … minus Raffe.

I can’t wait for to read the next book!

Overall reaction:

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Susan eeSusan Ee is a USA Today bestselling author of the Penryn & the End of Days trilogy, ANGELFALL, WORLD AFTER, and END OF DAYS. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages, and her short films have played at major festivals. She used to be a lawyer but loves being a writer because it allows her imagination to bust out and go feral.

Sign up to hear about her next book at www.susanee.com or follow her on Twitter @Susan_Ee.

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall
Author:
 Susan Ee
Date Published: May 23, 2013
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN: 144477851X
Format: Paperback
Pages
: 326 pages
Status: Read from May 19 to 22, 2017
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.19
Buy it here: Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

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My knowledge about books with angels is very limited. I’ve read a few but none of them are like this! Why didn’t I read this sooner? The story and the characters are just … phew. 70

This book is a m a z i n g!!

The story was fast-paced and never I have encountered a dull moment. Each chapter has its own intensity that made me want to read more. True enough since I told myself to read just a few, maybe one or two chapters, then next thing I knew … I ended up reading from Chapter 1 to Chapter 11.

The characters are phenomenal. Penryn is a badass through and through. She’s never whiny and always unpredictable. I actually admired her for being able to focus on the goal and ignoring everything that stands in her way. A type of protagonist that I instantly fell in love with.

And Raffe … my darling Raffe. I was a little unsure about him at first. I didn’t know if he’s going to make it to the list of my book boyfriends. But then he said this:

“Can you keep it down? I’m trying to sleep.”

Believe me … there’s nothing sexy from this line. There’s no wink or smile that’ll make your mouth water, just a hint of irritation. But then he managed to capture my heart in just one line. Oh God, help me.

“My friends call me Wrath,” says Raffe. “My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What’s your name, soldier boy?”

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Oh yes. I am totally fangirling right now. Also, reading about Penryn and Raffe made me look like this:

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COME ON!!!! JUST GO KISS ALREADY AND MAKE THIRTY BABIES OR SOMETHING.

Okay so anyway, I could finish this book in one sitting. I definitely could just go and flip flip flip then done. However, it took me days to finish because I was afraid to read the ending. But I knew that stalling is inevitable … so I read chapter after chapter until I reached the page where it says “acknowledgments”.

The last parts had me in a roller coaster of emotions, one moment I’m so happy then the next was me bawling my eyes out. I still have a lot of questions so I’ll just go and read the next book.

But yeah, you get it. This book hit me with a lot of feels.

Overall reaction:

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Susan eeSusan Ee is a USA Today bestselling author of the Penryn & the End of Days trilogy, ANGELFALL, WORLD AFTER, and END OF DAYS. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages, and her short films have played at major festivals. She used to be a lawyer but loves being a writer because it allows her imagination to bust out and go feral.

Sign up to hear about her next book at www.susanee.com or follow her on Twitter @Susan_Ee.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

 Title: Cinder
Author:
 Marissa Meyer
Date Published: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
ISBN: 0312641893
Format: Hardcover
Pages
: 387 pages
Status: Read from March 18 to 23, 2016
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.15
Buy it here: Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.

But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

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Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella … with a twist! Android, cyborgs, and people who live on the moon! Hot daaaaaaaaang. It’s so cool.

I had high expectations for this book. The review on Goodreads told me it was good! It was! Well … at least on the first few chapters and some parts in the middle. Don’t be mislead, Cinder is a great book. The world building, the characters, and the unexpected plot twist in the end.

Okay, so let me explain about the world building. It was fascinating to have a world wherein there’s a little bit of royalties, plague, and battle for the crown. It was very imaginative and creative. Also, some of the characters were amazing: Iko, Queen, and the Doctor. Iko, the sweetest android who lightens up the mood whenever she’s around. The Queen and her glamorous lies. The Doctor, who’s very much like Dumbledore, who’s nothing but a good man who wants a better future for everyone. Oh, I almost forgot about the heroine … Cinder.

I love Cinder!

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She started as a badass and I wish she continued acting like that … But NO! She became the most annoying heroine ever. -_-” She’s whiney, wimpy, and there are parts where she’s indecisive. Or maybe not? I actually can’t remember since I may have skipped some of her parts because I can’t take it. It’s better than letting this book unread.

The twist was predictable but it somehow shocked me by the way it was introduced. I kind of spoiled myself while reading the book. I already have my guess but it was confirmed when I accidentally clicked Cinder’s profile through Wikia. I was curious on what she looks like and fanarts can help. I didn’t mean to click her profile.

Overall, it was a fun read despite my annoyance with Linh Cinder. I fell in love with the concept of the whole book. But then it was somewhat ruined by Cinder. No worries though, usually with characters like these … they undergo a tremendous character development on the next book. I hope that’s the case with her.

Overall reaction:

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Marissa MeyerI live in Tacoma, Washington, with my fiancé and our two cats. In addition to my slight obsession with books and writing, I’m big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. I’m represented by Jill Grinberg.

CINDER, my debut novel, is a futuristic re-envisioning of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg mechanic.

Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David Hammons

Title: Alice Takes Back Wonderland
Author:
 David Hammons
Date Published: September 28, 2015
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
ISBN: 1620077159
Format: Paperback
Pages
: 283 pages
Status: Read from February 27 to 28, 2016
Goodreads’ Rating: 3.52
Buy it here: Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: This review was originally posted February 28, 2016.
Featured image will be updated soon with the book’s actual cover.

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After ten years of being told she can’t tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she’s going crazy. Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland. The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl? Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace. With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

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I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me the eBook copy and Clare Dugmore of Curiosity Quills for providing me the physical copy of the book. Also, David D. Hammons for writing this amazing book.

Alice Takes Back Wonderland is about Alice who they thought is crazy for not being able to distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy. For ten years, she fought hard about what she believes in until one day she decided to stop. Then one day, White Rabbit decided to pay her a visit.

When she went through the rabbit hole, she found out how devastated Wonderland is and it’s because of the devious and evil Ace of Spades. That’s just … sad. I know guys. As much as I want to kill him too, we can’t. So now our badass protagonist has a mission! Save Wonderland!

“Tomorrow, Alice takes back Wonderland!”

I really liked the idea of one fairy tale character will be part of another fairy tale and all the fairy tale world will meet in one world. It’s just … maddening! And I’m running out of things to say! I haven’t read Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland or Peter Pan or any fairy tales for that matter but I watched those when I was a child, even now, so I know how the story goes and how it will end.

I must say that I did not like the changes because I … freakin’ LOVE it! All the fairy tales that I adore combined into one book. I seriously love everything about this book. I love how I excitingly wait for another fairy tale character to be introduced.

The pace was extraordinary. It’s not slow nor fast. It’s somewhere in between that will make you anticipate what’s going to happen next. David D. Hammons, the amazing author of this book, wrote the scenes in a way I could imagine them perfectly without damaging my brain. The other amazing thing is that I could connect to every one of the characters that were introduced. It felt like I’m a thousand people just by reading this book. It’s just astonishing that someone could write as breathtaking as this book.

It was such a fun read and I hope I’m not getting mad. Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone I see and will encounter. I think I’ll be talking about this book for weeks. And oddly enough, I’ve been reading the whole book with a British accent. How mad can I get?

“But we’re all mad here, Alice, remember?”

Overall reaction:

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While visiting Cambridge during my time studying abroad, I tried to sneak into C. S. Lewis’s old apartment. I wanted to stand where the old master stood. I wanted to glean bits of imagination that no-doubt still clung to those walls. A locked door barred my path, and I fled to the safety of the campus pub.

It has been my goal to live a life that is notable as the life of that master of writing. I’ve climbed the slopes of Machu Picchu, swam in Loch Ness, smuggled ice cream into China, and made moonshine in my hometown. I studied writing and business in school, and gave up a position in my family’s Black Walnut company to chase my dream. Life, if you make it so, can be an adventure.

Despite all my adventures, there is no greater journey than that which can be found in a book. It was cartoons that got me into writing, works meant for children that as an adult fascinated me with their joyful outlook. It was the old masters, Lewis, Tolkien, Hemmingway, Vonnegut, who challenged me to live an adventure of a life, and then write even greater adventures in books. Perhaps one day I’ll make it into that old Cambridge apartment. Perhaps one day I’ll be invited.

Visit him on http://daviddhammons.blogspot.com/

Follow him on: TumblrTwitterFacebook

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Title: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Author:
 Agatha Christie
Date Published: April 02, 2002
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN/13: 0007141343/9780007141340
Format: Paperback
Pages
: 304 pages
Status: Read from April 24 to 25, 2017
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.19
Buy it here: Amazon Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Roger Ackroyd was a man who knew too much.

He knew the woman he loved had poisoned her first husband. He knew someone was blackmailing her ― and now he knew she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.

Soon the evening post would let him know who the mystery blackmailer was. But Ackroyd was dead before he’d finished reading it ― stabbed through the neck where he sat in his study…

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I don’t know how to describe what’s the book all about since it’s pretty much given with the title and the synopsis. One thing for sure, this book is indeed one of the best works of Agatha Christie.

The book was told with Dr. James Sheppard’s point of view rather than Captain Hastings’ who narrated the first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I liked Dr. Sheppard’s way of telling the events. It has a steady pace and I enjoyed every detail he laid out in front of me. But aside from that … let me tell you this, I really love Hercule Poirot. He’s so funny that I just want to squish his cheeks and have tea with him and he’ll tell me all of his detective stories. He makes reading this book more fun (not clearly the right word when someone is murdered) and challenging.

The other thing that amazed me was the gathering of evidence and asking for alibis. I looked for the truth beneath their words and actions. Still, everything is like a spider’s web. I was trapped to one of the red herrings and confident that I have all the facts on the case. Then when I was about to make my own deductions, when I’m 110% sure on who’s really the killer, Agatha Christie slapped me with the truth and that I’ve been following the wrong clues after all. Apparently, I did not use my little grey cells.

I was astounded, dumbfounded, stupefied, and every other synonym of the word. The ending was the true definition of “I did not see that coming” because I really did not see that coming. Mais oui, very clever. Thousand applause for you, Agatha Christie. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with how it ended and with how Hercule Poirot discussed the case.

As you’ve read above, I really did not talk that much about what’s inside the book because I don’t want it to spoil you. I want you to feel and experience Agatha Christie’s writing for yourself. We don’t want to lose the fun, do we?

Also, this is the type of book where you’ll be stunned for a few minutes then reread everything again from the start (because that’s what I did).

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!!!

If you’re just starting to read Agatha Christie’s work, I recommend reading the first book since that is like the official introduction for Hercule Poirot. Or you could just go straight on this one and have your mind blown.

Overall reaction:

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Agatha Christie

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time.

She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world’s longest-running play – The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author:
 Sabaa Tahir
Date Published: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
ISBN: 1595148035
Format: Hardcover
Pages
: 446 pages
Status: Read August 30, 2015
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.32
Buy it here: Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Note: This review was originally posted last August 31, 2015

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Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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Defying Martial Empire means death. Trusting anyone that isn’t supposed to be trusted can also result in death. In their world any wrong move, even if you don’t move at all, will lead to death.

Laia and Elias, two different people who came from two different worlds, wants the same thing. Freedom. But little did they know that every choice they make will not only affect themselves but also the Empire itself. Love, friendship, and loyalty will be tested and they must fight to get what they want.

I have high expectations for this book because it’s somewhat related to military and all of my friends told me it was good. I was actually scared while reading the first chapter. It has an interesting introduction but I don’t like the wimpy female protagonist. That’s what I was scared about. I thought the wimpy-ness will continue all throughout the novel but oh boy oh boy it did not. It has this unique hold on me that keeps me on edge. I’ll tell you guys, I did not stay in one place while reading this. Whenever there’s something happening or whenever I’ve reached the last sentence of every chapter, I need to stand or to jump just to keep my mind sane. This. Book. Is. Intense!

I love how Sabaa Tahir explains things, but keeps the mystery intact. I also love the way she explains the reasons behind every characters’ choices. Villain or not villain, I love them all (even that one woman I want to maim).

“I will tell you the same thing I tell every slave. The resistance has tried to penetrate this school countless times. I have discovered it every time. If you are working with the resistance, if you contact them, if you think of contacting them, I will know and I will destroy you.”

Her writing is easy to get used to and I love how the POV changes every chapter. I just … love this book.

The book deserves more hype!!! It has a great cover, great plot, great world, great characters, great EVERYTHING! Definitely one of my favorite reads this year. I cannot wait for the second book.

Overall reaction:

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Sabaa Tahir

Spent my childhood in the Mojave Desert, where I didn’t have cable and thus chose to entertain myself with books and radio. My parents assured me that I wanted to become a doctor, but a brief stint working in a hospital changed my mind.

I left the desert for university at 17, graduated from UCLA a few years later, and went to work for The Washington Post directly after. Five years later, I left the Post and started working on a book.

If I could be anything, I’d be a space explorer, but a cool one, like Jean-Luc Picard.

I’m represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM.

Those are the basics. If you’re still burning with curiosity, here’s more:    

  • I’ve worked as a: Motel clerk, gas station attendant, office manager, tutor, hand masseuse (don’t ask), editor and writer.
  • If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be: Trent Reznor, obviously.
  • When I was a kid I wanted to be: A pirate or a bear.
  • Favorite music: See my music page. No, really. Go there now.
  • Favorite book: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Favorite movie: Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The Hobbit is crap in comparison. CRAP. Also, The Fifth Element. Cuz Milla.
  • Favorite TV Shows: Well, now, where do I begin. I used to not watch TV, but then got into GoT…and Scandal…and Arrow…and Outlander…and now I don’t ever get any work done.
  • I live: in the SF Bay Area where I am surrounded by awesome tech nerds.
  • Ultimate goal in life: To own a Triumph motorcycle and race around the streets of my neighborhood at midnight while hooting and hollering and terrifying the neighbors.
  • Personal motto: Music is my home. (Ok, it’s not a motto, fine.  Anyway, I stole it from an Alison Croggon book, take it up with her.)
  • Special Skills: Accents originating on the British isles. Persuading telemarketers to hang up by marketing their competitors’ products to them.  Animal sounds.
  • Most people don’t know: I’m in love with all of my characters. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.

New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson

Title: New World: Rising
Author:
 Jennifer Wilson
Date Published: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Oftomes Publishing
ISBN: 1619845458
Format: Paperback
Pages
: 350 pages
Status: Read from May 8 to 9, 2016
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.25
Buy it here: Amazon • Book Depository • Barnes & Nobles

Rating
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Note: This review was originally posted last May 14, 2016

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Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words- to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls- outside of The Sanctuary- is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself.

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Before anything else, thank you so much, Jennifer Wilson, for being such an amazing bookish friend and for giving me a copy of your book. Of course, to Oftomes Publishing for the stunning cover and the weirdly unique size of the book.

New World: Rising is about Phoenix who tried to survived for five or six years after witnessing her parents’ death at the age of eleven. At the age of sixteen, she knows (more than anyone) the secret passages, how to leap from building to building, how to hide even if the enemies are one foot away and how to survive living in Tartarus.

In Phoenix’s world, there are two types of civilizations: The Sanctuary and Tartarus. Tartarus is divided into five tribes, each tribe is more brutal than the last one. Imagine that? The last tribe is already brutal, what more if it’s the first one? There are more mysterious things in The Sanctuary that were not revealed. But one thing for sure, it’s as bad as the Tartarus … or worse.

Phoenix is perfect for the heartless world Jennifer Wilson has created. She’s strong, flexible and clever. She has every quality to continue living and survive. She prefers and functions well when she’s alone. All she cared about is her own safety and how she’ll live for the next day.

But that changed when she met Mouse, the cute little kid she saved. It just shows that no matter how cruel the world asks her to be, there’s still humanity left inside her.

There’s more about the two of them, a portion of their lives that has not yet been told and I’m going to happily wait for the next book.

I finished this book last Monday but I can still feel the adrenaline rush pumping through my veins. It’s as if I am living through Phoenix and seeing through her eyes what’s it’s like to live in Tartarus. I could feel the wind splashing on my face, the stench of something burning and rotting bodies.

I’m a huge fan of Dystopian novels so this book went to number one after I read it. I just loved how fast-paced this book is. It’s also quick and easy read but it never failed, not even once, to make me feel on edge. This book has everything I want to see in a dystopian novel. The gripping action scenes that kept me wanting more, the characters that I loved and adore, and their world … the heartless and ruthless world they’re currently in.

Overall reaction:

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As a child Jennifer loved getting lost in the stories of others, but struggled greatly with reading. A notoriously slow reader who stumbled with words and spelling, Jennifer shied away from books, leaning heavily on musical theater and movies to get her inspirational fix.

It was not until in her mid-teens, when a persistent friend convinced her to read the Harry Potter series, that Jennifer found her love for the written word. J.K. Rowling’s books opened doors not only to the fascinating world of a young wizard, but to a life filled with a multitude of literary friends and fantastical worlds. Once a timid reader, Jennifer now devours books and loves getting lost in a new series.

When Jennifer is not writing, she is enjoying life in Colorado, rock climbing, camping, exploring new foods, playing with her golden retriever, Duke, and sharing her life with her handsome and wonderfully supportive husband.