The Rise of Nine

Title: The Rise of Nine (Book 3 in Lorien Legacies)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 21, 2012

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I’d been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.
Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .
I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we’re looking for the others—including John.
But so are they.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They caught me in New York—but I escaped. I am Number Six.
They want to finish what they started.
But they’ll have to fight us first.

Compared to the second book, this was SOOO much better! I figured it would be – since the second was more of a filler book – but still I’m so happy (and sad) to have read this book! There was definitely a lot more going on, and getting to know a lot of the characters, especially Four’s new companion. It doesn’t give complete backstories – for that I’m going to read I Am Number Four: The Lost Files – but it definitely helps in both understanding and liking the characters a lot more.

The way the characters grow together is really great to see. The Garde have been separate for almost their entire lives, but just being Garde has united them just as strongly as if they grew up together, maybe even more so in some ways. The tattoos on their ankles from the first three murders of their brethren are reminders of their purpose, and as is the loss of their Cepans, which is possibly the saddest part of the entire series so far. The most amazing part of their relationship, though, is that even being separated by miles and oceans, they still feel connected, at least after John and Six split up. Knowing that others are out there helped them, and that realization, though never actually written in the book, was so clear from every point of view – Four’s, Six’s, and Seven’s.

I think my favorite part of this book was the end. So many secrets are revealed – and I totally thought that this was the last book in the series, other than The Lost Files, so I was a little disappointed, a lot excited, and definitely strung out over the fact that I have to wait for the fourth book! The ending was action-packed and inspiring, but ended so abruptly that when I flipped the page to read the next chapter, I kind of freaked out a little.

The new developments in the story, though, were really well incorporated into the plot. Being so detailed with seven different people’s lives, not to mention the human friends and other aliens, is a lot of hard work, and I really respect the author for acheiving it in his books. Legacies, the reincarnation of Pittacus, and the relationship between each Garde, along with the alien-human relationships when it comes to Sam and Sarah, create a melee of things to keep track of, evolve, and entertain the reader with, and Pittacus does this really well.

My only real grievance with this book is that Sam is still out there somewhere, and I DON’T KNOW WHERE! He is mentioned a few times by Four, and Sarah (who I’m glad to see alive, at least) has seen him, but we don’t know anything of what’s happening with him now, and I have a small problem with that. I told you in my review of The Power of Six, I LOVE Sam Goode. I mean, there is nothing wrong with him. Try to think of one thing. I can’t! Sam Goode = Perfect.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend getting through The Power of Six as quick as inhumanly possible and jumping nose first into the pages of The Rise of Nine. I can’t wait to hear something on the fourth book, SOON, I hope, and to read The Lost Files!

~Yours Truly

**Note: This book is recommended to ages 13 & up due to some profane language.

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Easy

Title: Easy
Author: Tammara Webber
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: November 6, 2012

Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…
The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.
Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of  love.

This is an amazing book. Despite the sexuality, it deals with real issues – rape, violence, and the inner feelings that can destroy a person, mentally and physically, if they don’t seek help. The book was very frank. It held details, and every word was branded into my mind. The mental pictures were horrible, and had even more of an impact on me since this has been the subject material in my health class this semester. So even though the plot may seem like it’s riddled with too much romance, and not enough focus on the actual plot, to me, there was always the underlying sense of danger, that Jacqueline was still trying to cope with that night. Even her connection to Lucas was a constant reminder to the reader of what had almost happened to her.

Another thing that gave this book so much depth and multiple aspects was Lucas’s backstory. I put together his identity long before Jacqueline did, but still, I never guessed what was lying behind his smooth facade or the tattoos on his body. Not only was the book telling a story of violence, it also sent a message that you never know what happened in a person’s past, or what will happen to them in the future, what secrets they are hiding, or which ones they want to share but can’t bear to give voice to. And, worst of all, the emotional turmoil that a person can be in while on the outside they seem perfectly calm, cool, and collected. That maybe there’s a reason for the perfect put-together image, and that inside, the person may be breaking or broken.

Webber wrote this book extremely well. It was effective, and I couldn’t help but be drawn into the story. I also believe that her characters were realistic, and that without even the minor characters, the story would not have been complete. Erin was amazing; I can only hope that my friends would be as supportive as she. She sacrificed so much for friend and never once alienated her, even with Jacqueline’s mistrust after her ordeal. I also think that Katie was a major character, despite the fact I only remember one scene with her having any important role whatsoever. It was her story, short but packing a punch, that really drove home that one event could change your life, your attitude, forever, and that you can’t tell a person’s past from just looking at them, or even being friends with them. Everything in this book held some sort of significance, and I am so glad that I have read it. In my opinion, this a book that everyone should read at some point in their lives. Who knows? Maybe it will change yours.

~Yours Truly

**Note: I highly recommend this book, but only to readers ages 17 & up due to explicit sexual content, sexual violence/rape, graphically described violence, and profanity.

The Power of Six

Title: The Power of Six (Book 2 in Lorien Legacies)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 1, 2011

I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us.
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.
I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.
And I’m ready to fight.

There were a lot of the pieces to the puzzle that fell into place in this book. I loved the new Garde members met along the way (though I won’t tell you which ones, other than Seven). I haven’t read I Am Number Four since the movie came out, but reading this book, despite the fact that not too much happened, rekindled my team spirit against the Mogadorians! I especially liked the double narration by Marina and John. There was a little confusion at times when I didn’t realize that the font had changed (and so had the narration), but I always realized within the first paragraph or so of the new chapter.

What was really cool though was the way that the stories meshed. The events that took place, along with the visions of the future, told the story so that the reader understood what was going on in multiple places at the same time, and could only speculate about what would happen next. It heightened the suspense, which helped keep the reader interested throughout the book. Because honestly, my only problem was that other than almost being caught as terrorists a few times, nothing really happened in the book until the end. There was no lack of action, but there was a sort of lack in substance. The only progress that was really made was in Sam’s dad’s hideaway and at the very end. However, the ending was heartbreaking, and I am reading The Rise of Nine very soon – I must know how it ends!

As for the characters, John annoyed me with his love life issues. It was like he knew what he was doing was wrong, and hated himself for it, but he couldn’t stop himself either, which annoyed. He had no self-control and little acknowledgement for Sam in that respect. Plus, Sarah’s actions were the complete opposite of what I expected, especially after the end of the first book. I’m hoping that that issue will be cleared up in the next book. Also, Marina and Ella were amazing. I loved their dynamic, and even though Ella has a few secrets and tricks up her sleeve, they seem like a sister duo, with Marina as the older one, and it was not only fun to read, but exciting and was great addition to the limited plot. But I think that Sam is my favorite character. He’s open, honest, and sweet, not to mention the fact that he’s loyal and completely selfless. I wish John would be more like him, hardworking and an amazing friend. Sam is no doubt my champion – at this point, he’s pretty much the only guy that I will personally chew Mr. Lore out for if he gets killed off in the third book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who read or watched I Am Number Four. There was a lot of action, suspense, and even though most of the time, the characters have no plan, the ending will recapture your attention and have you on tenterhooks for the next installment!

~Yours Truly

Hooked

Title: Hooked
Author: Liz Fichera
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release Date: January 31, 2013
Netgalley E-ARC

When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.
But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.
But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

Despite the nice romance story, this is definitely not my favorite plot-line. It wasn’t exactly light-hearted, so it’s not that it wasn’t an enjoyable read, it just wasn’t really my thing. The literally insane character (I won’t say which one, but it’s pretty obvious within the first tournament) freaked me out, so there was a clear edge to the story. To be honest, I couldn’t believe that Ryan and Fred couldn’t figure it out – they were both pretty naive, in my opinion. I think my favorite characters were Ryan’s sister Riley and Coach Lannon. At least they accepted Fred and judged her for who she was rather than completely shunning her just because she was Indian.

That being said, I liked the Indian traditions. The different culture was interesting to read about, and racist issues were present to make the story twist as well. George Trueblood was a good addition to the book – he’s like the all-wise grandfather that everybody loves. He was quirky and loving, which endeared him to the reader. If I could meet anyone from this book, I would probably choose either him or Fred’s dad because of his similarity to George. Also, Fred’s friends from the Rez were nice. I liked Kelly, though, because of her older-sister attitude towards Fred. She is protective, but let’s Fred be herself, which is admirable. My favorite scene in the whole book is probably when Kelly and Yolanda warn Ryan about hurting Fred, and then his reaction to them. Gotta love a loyal friend!

Another problem I had was that there was not one white boy, other than Ryan, who even tried to accept Fred. Not in school, not on the golf team. And that angered me, not only because it is just wrong, but it struck me as a little unrealistic. Even though the racist issues seem to be hereditary leftovers in some cases (yes, even the adults judge the Indians), I think that especially after Fred increased their winning streak there would have been somebody who would stop making fun of her or calling her Pocahontas, or even start to befriend her. I think that if someone had, then the book might have held a little more interest for me and I would have liked it more in general. But the cover doesn’t help, either. It kind of emphasizes that the focus is more on the relationships rather than the golf, and to me, Fred seems like the person who wouldn’t let a boy get in the way of her dreams. And in the book, she doesn’t. So I think the cover is rather misleading and doesn’t have too much to do with the book itself.

So, if you’re looking for a book with some intensity, and you don’t mind some golf, this is probably a good book for you. Keep in mind that even though I didn’t love this book, I would still read the sequel Played, which continues with Riley and Sam Tracey from the Rez.

~Yours Truly

**Note: Due to some of the edgy material, I would recommend this only to ages 14 & up.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife

Title: The Nazi Officer’s Wife
Author: Edith Hahn Beer with Susan Dworkin
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks – HarperCollins Perennial
Release Date: October 24, 2000
Adult Biography

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a labor camp. When she returned home months later, she went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith’s protests and her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.
In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials causally questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.
Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this voulme, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust – complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.

This is an amazing story. I personally love biographies and autobiographies, but the best are the ones that are told with the help of a researcher, like this one. With the facts, memories, and details all pieced together, it creates the most powerful impact on the audience of readers. World War II and Holocaust memories are some of the most insightful stories that you can possibly hear, because it brought out the best and the worst in people, as my dad likes to say. Watching movies like Schindler’s List and reading about memoirs like this one just enlightens you to the miracles that happen even in the darkest of times. It is not only inspirational, but gives hope and faith to readers. I, for one, am grateful to Ms. Hahn for sharing her story. I have learned so much, both about life and history, from this book.

My favorite part of the book is the style in which it is written. It is in the first person, from Ms. Hahn’s point of view. It is read as though listening to the story. I could imagine that I was hearing this while sitting at her feet, and even though it is by no means a fairy tale, it is almost magical how lifelike the story of her past became. Because of this, I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to speak to her, so badly. I wanted to ask her questions, and even though she anticipated some and answered them, there are so many more. I wanted to wonder aloud how some things could have possibly happened, and why she did some of the things that she did. I wanted to tell her that she is a miracle, and an inspiration, and a symbol of hope. But most of all I wanted to thank her for sharing her life not only with me, but with the world.

I also loved how books like this one include photos and pictures of documents from real life. It is interesting to see some of the things that you wouldn’t think of, like passports or visas or ID cards, and that she could save some of these documents is yet another miracle. So many people lost everything they had, and came out of the Holocaust with their lives and the clothes on their back and were grateful for that much. It’s truly humbling to recognize the risk that they took, and how much it actually paid off in the future, after the war. I think my favorite picture is the one of her and Christl in Israel, because it shows that they lived, that they survived.

I would definitely recommend this book to any adult or older teen interested in the Holocaust or WWII. It is insightful, and a truly touching retelling. There is also a movie (documentary) based on her life that I am very interested in watching, so I will probably review that after I watch it. Anyway, though, Ms. Hahn has been very successful in sharing her life with us, and I hope that she felt that she acheived something worthwhile through the book, not just through her life, because as many lives as she touched while she lived, her words now live on to touch other people who look back on a time of desolation and can see hope and light burning through it.

~Yours Truly

**Note: Due to violence, graphic detail, and the content of this book, (think Schindler’s List events but less graphic), I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 14.

Doomed

Doomed finalTitle: Doomed
Author: Tracy Deebs
Publisher: Walker & Co. – Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: January 2013
Netgalley E-ARC

Pandora’s just your average teen-glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends-until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father-her one key to saving the world as we know it.

For the most part, this books was excellent; definitely exceeding expectations since reading Tempest Unleashed. But, I should have known – the cover was just way too awesome to not be a good book. I really liked Pandora as a character; she had her flaws, some of which annoyed me, but for the most part, she earned my love and respect. My problem with her lies in her love life, and it’s more of a problem with the author than her. For me, the romance in the book was weird, to say the least. I thought that the whole choosing between Theo and Eli was too drawn out and honestly, unrealistic. The “dark” side to both the boys was a bit awkwardly written, starting in the beginning with the strangling bit and then the downright scary mood that Pandora occasionally induces in Eli. But I liked the boy that Pandora ended up with; they made a cute couple. I just wish that they had gone about getting together a little differently.

The concept of the book was definitely creative – the mixing of a Greek legend with modern-day teenagers and technology was genius. I loved how the FBI and other governmental agencies (alphabet soup) got involved, too. The whole book, in fact, reminded me of the TV show Revolution that I watch (yes, I’m a total dork that way) where there is no electric power and a military government had to take over to keep from total anarchy. So in that respect, the book was good. However, it was a little choppy in transitions and sometimes descriptions. I get that it’s not the final copy yet, but there was some smoothing over that needed to be done; it just seemed like there wasn’t a whole lot of down time, at least to me. It was kind of well this happens, and then we drive and run out of gas so we steal a car and drive some more, then we find a clue and run into the government (meanwhile, how did they find us – again?) and then drive hurriedly away some more.

Okay, I know I seem like I’m sort of bashing, and to an extent, there were some things I didn’t like. But on the other hand, I read this book in less than two days. I don’t read long books quickly without a good reason, so the fast-paced action was a positive quality. So were my favorite scenes, like the last time Pandora sees her best friend Emily in this book, or the scene where Theo hacks the game. And honestly, even the bad stuff wasn’t too bad, the ending included. I mean, it kind of just stopped, with no way to tell how their lives would go on, what would happen to the three of them, Emily, their parents, the government, etc. So despite these negative things, if there is going to be a second book, I will be reading it. I will be a bit reserved, but I will definitely want to know what happens to Pandora next. Because if there is one true thing about this book, it is that Pandora definitely experiences some heart-stopping action and adventure.

~Yours Truly

**Note: Due to language and some violence, I recommend this book for ages 13 & up.