Blog Tour: Tortured Souls (#1) by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Torturedsoulstourbanner

Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Published on/by:
 June 29th 2014 by Sea Dragon Press (first published June 28th 2014)
Format: eBook
Page Count: 227 pages
Blurb: 

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn’t an option.

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it’s ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie’s longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he’s never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can’t ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

Amazon * Goodreads

NON-SPOILERY MINI REVIEW:

What do you get when you have a sweet, relatable main protagonist with insane spirit powers, a kind and swoon-worthy love interest and a weirdo serial killer? You get oodles of fun, that’s what. This book was extremely enjoyable with comical secondary characters and plenty of spooky spirit encounters to keep you on your toes. I really loved the interactions and the fact that the characters were not perfect and had flaws too. The pacing of this book was great and I found myself speeding through the pages which I feel is essential in a good book. While I enjoyed the banter and the pacing, I do have to say that I wasn’t too keen on the development of the romance, mainly because it was a pre-existing crush and so we didn’t get a lot of build-up and explanation about their attraction with each other in the beginning. Overall, it was really fun and I’ll definitely pick up Book 2 of ‘The Orion Circle’ series!

GET THE TORTURED SOUL EXPERIENCE IN A PLAYLIST!

I’ve been listening to this playlist while reading the book and I can say with certainty that I’m pretty impressed that each of these songs fit SO WELL with the story.

  1. Iridescent by Linkin Park
  2. Without You from Rent
  3. When I See You Smile by Bad English
  4. Whisper by Evanescence
  5. Criticize by Adelita’s Way
  6. Through Glass by Stone Sour
  7. Silent Lucidity by Queensryche
  8. Home by Daughtry
  9. Heaven nor Hell by Volbeat
  10. Die Trying by Art of Dying
  11. I’ll Follow You by Shinedown
  12. Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold
  13. Enter Sandman by Metallica
  14. Hero by Skillet

Check out the playlist on spotify!

GIVEAWAY!
$25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Signed Print Copy – US Only
5 sets of signed bookmarks – US only
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A copy of Tortured Souls was given to me by the author for an honest review!

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: Divergent (#1) by Veronica Roth

Book review image

photo (4)

 

Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Um, WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR??
Published on/by: February 2nd 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published January 1st 2011)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 489 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

STORY TIME ON THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO ME READING THIS:

Yes, why the HECK am I reviewing this book? Everyone and their grandmother have had the pleasure of diving into this roller coaster of a book…so why am I so late to the party?

Yeah, let me explain…

I bought Divergent (the UK cover was only available to South East Asia at the time) in 2012 because even back then, it was all the book blogosphere could talk about. Flash forward to two years later where it still sat on my shelf, bound by its plastic wrapping. Yes. I deserve to go to book prison. There should be a book prison. Heinous crimes like these do not deserve to go unpunished.

Now, what actually pushed me to finally read Divergent? Firstly, it was my best friend. She, like me, had put off this trilogy for as long as she could remember. However, she had a school holiday (we go to different schools) and she decided to finally marathon the series. She slept at 6 am for three nights finishing this series. Secondly, it was the movie. My best friend still had ‘Allegiant’ to go and she was not excited for the movie adaptation at all. Please see why here: Vampire Academy movie. By the end of the movie, I was sold. My BFF, however, was not. (She’s hard to please). Sure, it was a little ‘lol, yeah right’ in soooo many parts, but I found that if you just shut up and nod and take what they give you, you will have no choice but to enjoy the story as it is: a huge roller-coaster (ferris wheel, wink wink) of fun!

Now, let’s ignore the part where I took another four months to pick up ‘Divergent’. I just wasn’t in the mood to commit, okay?!

AND FINALLY, MY NON-SPOILERY BOOK REVIEW:

This book was GREAT. It was just so, so much fun. I loved the world, I loved the characters, but most of all, I loved that I was able (eventually) to separate the actors of the movie with the book. Soon, I was able to form a hotter and younger Four (very important) in my head and also, take things into perspective a little bit. Upon tackling this book (and movie), I had to remind myself of what a fellow reviewer said on Goodreads, which is that the Divergent world is ultimately a game compromising of rules that seemed to be made up by 11 year olds. If you start to question them, things will get loud. But if you just play the game as it is, you will be rewarded. And the reward? Just a plain ol’ fun bucket of fun! Cos that’s what Divergent really is! A huge big sack of action and fun.

I instantly liked Book Tris better than Movie Tris, and well…I also instantly developed the fangirliest crush on Book Four. Granted, I knew the events that would unfold, but the story told in this medium, for me, was ultimately better. I understood interactions clearly this time round (even though I watched the movie twice– the second time put me to sleep, I DON’T KNOW WHY, DON’T ASK ME TO EXPLAIN!) as well as developed a better feel and appreciation for the romance.

Even though the faction system was silly, in my opinion, this whole process of transferring and adapting in new communities and environments was really fascinating to read about. I especially loved Tris’s newfound friends like Christina, Will and Uriah and how different they all were in their mindsets. The initiation process was the best part of the book (apart from Four’s godly presence) as it was incredibly fun to read about. The pacing was on par and the atmosphere created put me on the edge of my seat.

Now, to explain why I did NOT give this a full five stars. You would think it’s because I read this after watching the movie, thus eliminating the factor of surprise, but that is definitely not the case as I was able to read ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett after watching the movie (oh, about 8 times) with fervour, giving it a well-deserved 5 stars. The reason for a 0.5 deduction is because even though I’m trying hard not to make noise over the silliness of the faction world, it’s still a little weak, if I were to nit-pick critically. This whole ‘Divergent’ aspect was interesting, but again, I was super confused (even after watching the movie twice). I had way too many questions when I reached the end of the book that I believe should have been addressed in the first book of a trilogy.

All in all, I have little complaints because this world gave me the beauty that is Four. That is all.

BOOK REVIEW: Hallowed (#2) by Cynthia Hand

Book review image

photo (2)

Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Even better than the first! Team Christian! 
Published on/by: 26th December 2012 by HarperTeen (First published on 17th January 2012)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 403 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW (MINOR SPOILERS FROM BOOK 1):

This book did NOT suffer from second book syndrome, and in fact, it was even BETTER than the first! This book challenged everything I knew and felt about the first. There are plenty of twists and curveballs and the pacing was just so easy and it pained me to put it down to do my Philosophy homework. Snooze.

One of the greatest things about this series (so far) is the mother daughter dynamic and it was such a great thing to see their relationship develop and overcome some pretty shocking and saddening revelations. I also really enjoyed the expansion of this whole Angel ordeal and the introduction of the Congregation as well as new angel-blood characters (a particular newbie character was INCREDIBLY shocking)! I really enjoyed these new developments and the growth of Clara’s character as she learnt more about herself and her abilities.

Sure, there were some pretty frustrating parts, especially scenes with her brother. I thought Jeffrey was incredibly petulant and I just wanted to slap some good sense into him as it was particularly frustrating to be guessing what his deal was. However, when Clara confronted him and everything made sense again, my anger shifted from Jeffrey to Clara. Boy, this was a roller coaster.

As for the romance, I have decided to take the side of Christian Porter. I like Tucker, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about someone who can understand exactly what you are and what you’re going through, right? I feel Clara’s frustration in that she wants to fight the future and she doesn’t want to have to follow what is laid out for her…but I’m just hoping she’ll get over it because, unf, Christian Porter.

Yeah, I just unf-ed.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed this book even more than the first but it’s still not quite a 5 star book for me. I’ve never been one to be particular about my rating but I’m trying to do this thing now where I’ll be awarding 5 stars to books that a) challenged me, b) moved me, c) made me think about it for a long period of time after completion or d) all of the above. It was well-written, yes. It had great angel mythology and a sweet romance, check and check. But I just wasn’t that attached to the entire world and the characters, prompting me to give it less than 5 stars.

I totally recommend this sequel if you have read the first book (which you should totally do!)

BOOK REVIEW: Unearthly (#1) by Cynthia Hand

photo

Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Oh dear, I want the second book ASAP.
Published on/by: November 11th, 2011, HarperCollins Publisher
Page Count: 435 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. . . . When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

 

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

I really, really loved this book. I recently finished ‘The Last Sacrifice’ less than 48 hours ago and was convinced I could never love again, but boy…was I wrong. I was so anxious of falling into a book slump after reading the last instalment of the ‘Vampire Academy’ series, that I immediately grabbed this book off my TBR shelf and started reading. Usually, to prevent/get myself out of a book slump, I would read a contemporary. A quick, slightly fluffy one as a palate cleanser from all the magic and vampire and sigh…Adrian Ivashkov… Instead, I picked up this paranormal romance/urban fantasy and boy, was I hooked. My first thought when I was thumbing page from page was how surprised I was quickly burning through the pages. It saved me from a book slump, with excellent writing and an intriguing blend of angels and humans.

Clara Gardner is a Quartarius– a quarter angel, having a human father and a mother who is Dimidius (half angel). She has special powers in the sense that she can do what everyone can, but even better and with some Godly grace (trying to be punny, but failing!). 😉 She also possesses unique Angel abilities like ‘Glory’ where she connects with her core self and is able to emanate pure blinding light. How freaking cool does that sound? Clara is a main character I adored. She was smart, beautiful, self-assured and she had a sense of humour! All her quips and comebacks were very enjoyable to read which made her a very fun voice to follow. I thought her relationship with her family was especially interesting and as the book progressed I really felt for Clara and her mother both as their relationship took a shift, with new revelations. The entire Angel premise was very interesting to me, especially the norm that Angels within the ages of 13-20 will receive a purpose, one they must fulfil with the help of visions. Honestly, I’m still a little fuzzy on this whole ‘world’ but I really appreciated that there was no info-dump at all. The information came when relevant and I want to give medals to Cynthia Hand for being able to do this because it created just the right amount of suspense.

The romance…oh my gosh, the romance. This series is heavily entwined with a love triangle. If you are allergic to that, I won’t tell you not to read this book but instead to take caution, because despite of what you think about love triangles, I actually really liked this one (although it frustrated me at times). This is largely because I prefer love triangles with a clear winner and this book HAD NONE. I am TORN between Christian Prescott–who was the boy in Clara’s vision and Tucker Avery, the boy who makes her angelic heart go all buttery. I did more flip-flopping than a fish, alright. I seriously couldn’t decide between the two which made me love Clara even more when she actually already made her choice. I know it’s not a definitive choice, as it is only Book 1, but it made me admire Clara even more as she actually knew what she wanted, even though she was confused (and rightfully so, under the circumstances).

Overall, I thought this was a beautiful Angel book and I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on Book 2! I didn’t give this a full 5 stars because I still felt like there were some missing parts that could make this story more rich, and also I felt that there were TOO MANY unanswered questions. I understand the author’s intentions, but questions I had even at the start of the book were not answered which then only accumulated as the plot deepened. Book 2, I’m coming for you.

BOOK REVIEW: Last Sacrifice (#6) by Richelle Mead

photo (1)

Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: My heart is in shambles for my favourite series is over…WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE NOW?
Published on/by: December 7th, 2010, Razorbill
Blurb provided by Goodreads: They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won’t give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri’s face join Lissa’s. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose – for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back…and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

REVIEW:

This is the end…I can’t believe I reached the end of this series. Oh. My. God. I’m not going to lie, I cried. My book is filled with sticky-notes and tears and love and oh god. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that I will no longer be reading from Rose’s point of view. This book was a roller coaster…it was epic/heartbreaking/humorous and ugh, ALL THE ADJECTIVES.

This was not a perfect book. Neither books in the series were, honestly, but they were close to the perfect action/romance induced book out there. I was very wary on starting this book. It was the beginning to the end of my (now) favourite series ever. How can I ever love again???????

I know I’m being dramatic, BUT IT’S THE TRUTH. It’s been 18 hours since I finished the book and I’m just.. I can’t stop thinking about the ending. It was as carefully constructed as could be, with just enough loose ends to make me rip my hair off my head. I know they’ll be addressed in the Bloodlines series, but I’m going to have serious Rose withdrawals. Sigh. The character development as wll as the plot developments were INSANE and FANTASTIC and Richelle Mead…I think I love you.

Before I go all spoilery and even more dramatic (if that is even possible), I beg of you to READ THIS SERIES. You will not regret it.

Confident, kick-ass main character with great humour? CHECK.
Great friendships and relationships? CHECK.
Action sequences galore that won’t put you to sleep? CHECK.
Amazing love interests/a love triangle that won’t annoy you that much? CHECK.
A very intriguing world and vampire system? CHECK.

It won’t disappoint, I promise.

SPOILER DISCUSSION:


Let’s get down to business. 

Adrian and Rose

That ending with Adrian made me so so so sad. Like I said, this book was not perfect. Case in point: the infidelity. I hate cheaters, and when Rose cheated on Adrian, it made me super pissed…but I liked how it was handled honestly. In no way was it condoned, and what Adrian said to her in the end was kind of true. But again, I’m so conflicted because it was super duper clear even from Book 1 that Rose belonged with Dimitri. There is no denying that. I also felt that this decision brought a new layer on Romitri because they now have to confront something that they are supposed to strive for: honour. They did a bad thing, I know…but it was inevitable. For a spirit user, I’d thought Adrian could see that their aura was in sync. Guess he was in denial, the same as I was.

I kinda knew the premise of the Bloodline series before starting this series, so again I was wary on Rodrian, but that doesn’t mean I loved them together! I truly did, and I’m just hoping in an alternate universe they can be together bla bla bla. I really hated how we left off, with Adrian despising Rose…but I guess we’ll get more of this angst in the Bloodline series.

I truly, truly hope that Sydney and him can find that same degree of love. I want him to be happy, but I’m also kinda sad that it won’t be with Rose. LOL.

RIP, Rodrian.

Queen Vasilisa & her new family member

I loved, loved, loved this development. That’s what’s so amazing with this series. The character development is so incredible. In book 1, I would have never thought Lissa would be Queen and such a poised one at that. It was fantastic. While she went through the trials, I was so excited because I could see how much she came from Book 1. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really like Lissa and less so in Shadow Kiss. She was the perfect choice for Queen and she really was the epitome of grace and diplomacy.

Jill as the illegitimate Dragomir? Oh snap. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. The hints were all there in Spirit Bound. Especially when we learnt her mother was a dancer…Eric liked to flirt…Eric liked to go to that Las Vegas club… If you think about it…all this information, especially the introduction of someone like Jill who is so far off their age (why does she keep hanging around them?!)…it was like putting two and two together. She had a larger role coming, and boy did it come. I liked Jill, and I felt for her. It was definitely overwhelming for her and all these expectations and the weight of the family name on her shoulders. I felt so, so bad for her.

Lissa’s and Jill’s relationship is strenuous at best. I felt bad for both of them. Lissa proved to be just as poised by not freaking the hell out. I mean, first she learns that her beloved late brother, Andre, used girls at his disposal and now she learns the father she put on a pedestal cheated on her mother and fathered a secret child? It is totally understandable that she was not entirely warm towards Jill. It’s sad for Jill, who is thrown into this huge political mess…but I kinda understand where Lissa is coming from.

Lissa & Rose’s Bond

Oh my gosh. This was one of the biggest surprises in the book. Amidst all the controversy and the death..this was such a shock to me. I understood what Rose meant when she said she’s finally her own person now bla bla bla, but I can’t help to feel that when she was bonded with Lissa…it was just fantastic to see this unorthodox bond between friends. It somehow made Rose have a super power or something, if you know what I mean. It’s still a little shady and confusing on how their bond was severed, but it was such a huge blow. I guess it’s appropriate this happened at the end of the series, because then the books would be 30% less interesting.

Dimitri and Rose

Hahaha, I guess you can tell which guy I liked better, but it’s not to say that I preferred Rose with Adrian! I loved Dimitri for Rose, but I think I’m more attracted and more interested in the unhinged type. Freaking finally, Dimitri realises that he was still in love with Rose. I don’t have much to say about this because all is well in the Romitri area except can we LOL together over Abe & Janine’s conversation with Dimitri?

ʺAh, Belikov,ʺ said Abe, shaking Dimitriʹs hand. ʺIʹd been hoping weʹd run into each other. Iʹd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. Thatʹs what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. Iʹve certainly got a lot of questions Iʹd like to ask you. A lot of things Iʹd like to tell you too.ʺ 

I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved.

ʺActually,ʺ said my mom casually. ʺIʹd like to come along. I also have a number of questions—especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimirʹs.ʺ

ʺDonʹt you guys have somewhere to be?ʺ I asked hastily. ʺWeʹre about to start.ʺ



All in all, I loved this series, I loved the characters (I am emotionally tied to them, as you can probably tell), I loved the humour, the action and the fantastic plot… and you can bet that I’ll be re-reading all the books as well as starting the Bloodlines series where I can get more Adrian Ivashkov. 😉 This world is fantastic and so unique with the different kinds of vampires lurking at every corner. Richelle Mead did not disappoint with this fast-paced, epic finale.

BOOK REVIEW: Altered by Jennifer Rush

Image

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Short Reaction: The plot twists, AGH, MY BRAIN, MY HEART!
Blurb provided by Goodreads: When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart.

When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to go, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

WARNING: SPOILERS ARE STRIKED OUT.

Review:

Let me begin by saying that I actually enjoyed this story a lot. It’s a solid four stars in my books & sci-fi is not something I normally read. Come to think of it, the last sci-fi book I read was a little more than a year ago, oops. However, I think it’s really important to note that this book reads like a contemporary. There’s a lot of plot, action sequences and a smidge of romance. I must put a disclaimer though, that I do not read a lot of sci-fi so I cannot say if this is a really good sci-fi-ish book, but it is really enjoyable nonetheless.

So why didn’t I give this book 5 stars? For starters, the beginning annoyed me to no end. Anna was annoying, her whole situation living in a home where her dad experiments on 4 males was just so bizarre and it irked me that she didn’t even bat a lash?? I would understand if she didn’t know any different, that she lived in a home where her father experimented on people all her life, but then she tells us they came five years ago? So WHY AREN’T YOU CREEPED OUT? And isn’t it so darn convenient that these four guys just so happened to be hot and insanely ripped? And that they live in her basement? I guess if I were her I wouldn’t be complaining too. I kid, I kid (not really). All my reservations were cleared up, however, in the second half of the book. So if you faced the same problem as me in the beginning, READ ON!

We start the story with a little description on the setting and atmosphere and we learn that she lives with her widow scientist father, and that the four boys in her basement are being experimented on by her father’s employer, an organisation funded by the government. She’s friends with all of them but OOOH shocker, one of them is her love interest! There is no build up whatsoever on this ‘romance’, and in the first few chapters we are thrown into this crush and we just have to accept it. I didn’t get why Anna liked Sam or why Sam liked Anna. As I said, we’re thrown into this. Oh, insta-love. Later in this book, we learn more on the background of their relationship, but it didn’t ease me in anyway. If anything, it made me question to plausibility of their relationship even further. Sam was altered to have a protective nature over Anna. She now knows this but fails to recognise the implications. Does that mean the feelings he has for her were implanted by the Branch? None of these questions were addressed.

Another thing I found very weird in the story was the part they just waltzed into a Branch office. THEY WEREN’T EVEN IN DISGUISE OR WHATEVER. Do you mean to tell me that every Branch agent is looking for these kids, wanting to take them into custody but they don’t do ANYTHING when they just walk in? And only when the reached Connor’s office, deep in the building, were they reprimanded? That was super weird to me. 

I think the best part of this book were the plot twists. Rush does this so effortlessly and it left me wide-eyed. Note to self: don’t read in a crowded Starbucks ever again. Now, because the best parts of the books are oh so very spoilery, I’m just going to discuss it in the spoiler tag. 

Finding out Anna was altered was not shocking in the least. I already knew that she was, 6 chapters in, because no way can she be so blasé about these weird alteration experiments in the basement of her home. But finding out that Anna and Dani were sisters? Holy hell. I did not see that coming…did anyone?! Talk about a really awkward love triangle. And Trev being the mole? Be still, my beating heart. He was my favourite character in the book and that was a low blow, Rush. A LOW BLOW. 


Anna as the main character was meh. I didn’t particularly like her but I did empathise with her on the account of her dead mother. However, I did not buy into her ninja skills. How on earth was she able to beat grown Branch agents to a pulp at the end of the book? We learn that she is slightly stronger than girls her age, but come on. THESE ARE GROWN MEN! If I’m not mistaken, she only took a few combat classes. Not enough to beat men who were hired by this agency TO DEFEND THE AGENCY. Anna as a forlorn child on the run? Believable. Anna beating the shit out of men only at the end of the book? Yeah, right. 

All in all, this was really good. It’s a good book to get you out of your reading slump as the pacing is fantastic and the plot is really intriguing. I don’t know if it’s the best sci-fi book out there but it’s definitely a fun, engaging book to read