Catalyst by S.J. Kincaid Catalyst by S.J. Kincaid
Release Date: October 8th, 2014
Katherine Tegen Books, 432 Pages
Sub-genre: Science Fiction
Source: eARC from Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!)
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Insignia #3
Follow up to: Vortex

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.

It’s a rare thing to have a series of books that are not only 5 stars individually, but build on each other and get better and better as they go – the Insignia series has accomplished that feat.

I can’t even express how much I enjoyed this final book (and the series as a whole). And while it is definitely a Science Fiction book, the characters are really what made me love it. Tom has come such a long way since Insignia and Vortex, and so have the friendships that he has made at the Pentagonal Spire.

Catalyst gave more insight in the mind workings of Vengerov and Blackburn, and felt less plot driven than the other books, but it was still a wild ride that matched the thrill of the previous 2 books. There are many loose ends tied up and secondary characters who really get their moments to shine. Overall, a fantastic way to end the series and I just wish there were more adventures for Tom & Company!

  • January 18, 2015 - 11:20 am

    Audrey - YAY!! So glad you liked this one, I wish this series got more attention :)ReplyCancel

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Balzer + Bray, 480 Pages
Sub-genre: Paranormal
Source: eARC from Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!)
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #1

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

I thoroughly enjoyed Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios. The beautiful writing, imagery, storyline, and premise are a few of the aspects with which I was really impressed.

Our main character Nalia was a wonderful female protagonist with conviction and honor that surpasses many I’ve read about recently. A jinn imprisoned by a cruel master is not the type of supernatural being you want to cross…that’s for sure.

The story follows Nalia as she deals with the atrocities committed in her homeland, Arjinna, in the past and the present day nightmare of being trapped by her current master, while trying to protect her race from being sold in a blackmarket slave trade on earth.

I loved the action and storyline from beginning to end. The book seemed really long, but not in a way that I dreaded picking it up…more of a way that I was enjoying savoring everything about it. I really looked forward to picking this book up day after day, and I was so sad when it was over. The next book in this series cannot come out fast enough! I can’t wait to see where the author takes us next with Nalia’s (and her new allies’) story!

  • December 15, 2014 - 12:03 am

    Alexa S. - Yay! I’m honestly real curious to see where Heather will take it in the next one, particularly with how things ended in this one. But Exquisite Captive was really an intriguing start to the series, and I’m definitely looking forward to more.ReplyCancel

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Release Date: November 20th, 2013
Disney-Hyperion, 374 Pages
Sub-genre: Science Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher via BEA 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Starbound #1

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner was such a wild ride. The authors painted an incredible scene on board the Icarus (aptly named) and a vivid, terrifying new planet that seems uninhabited. The level of description the authors used to convey emotions, scenery, action [chaos], and terror was astounding. I was hooked by the first chapter, absorbed by the second, and enraptured throughout the rest of the book.

The main characters could not be more different in their background, upbringing, social class, and personalities. I loved getting to know Lilac and Tarver. The way their relationship develops is tumultuous and wonderful to watch.

The suspense and roller-coaster moments in this story was almost non-stop. Many times throughout the story, I had to remind myself that I was reading sci-fi and not a ghost story! The storyline is haunting and wonderfully creepy…and the ending is totally worth the wild ride! Who is the “bad guy” here? Do Tarver and Lilac end up being able to get along and survive? Do they ever get home? Why was this planet created, but never colonized? So many questions were running through my head while I was reading.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who loved Beth Revis’s Across the Universe. (Not to mention it made me want to go watch Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century…Don’t judge!)

  • December 15, 2014 - 12:03 am

    Alexa S. - These Broken Stars was so good! I especially loved Tarver <3 And you must read This Shattered World, the second novel, because it's pretty damn awesome too!ReplyCancel

  • January 1, 2016 - 7:52 am

    Hanna Bella - wonderfully creppy is right. But it’s also a beautiful bookReplyCancel

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 356 Pages
Sub-genre: Science Fiction
Source: Bought the Audiobook
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Other Lauren DeStefano Books: Fever

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

Perfect Ruin wasn’t what I was expecting and I definitely wasn’t sure about starting a new utopian/dystopian on audiobook. Sometimes I have a problem with staying tuned-in to an audiobook, especially when it is a new series in a new world. Details get missed, world-building gets lost in trying to focus on the characters and storyline.

With that said, Lauren DeStefano did an incredible job with her beautiful writing, dialogue, and lovely characters. The narrator was an added bonus. Having a soft-spoken Morgan and strong, but gentle Basil really made this audiobook a treat for me.

I think my favorite part of this story was how I was constantly trying to guess what would happen next and was surprised in the best ways. I won’t go on and on about this book because I truly think it can speak for itself, but I would say if you’re looking for a new series to get sucked into…one that is fantastical, full of twists, and has truly endearing characters…this is the book to grab next. DeStefano never disappoints with her gorgeous imagery and innovative premises! I can’t wait for Burning Kingdoms!!!

  • November 19, 2014 - 11:05 am

    Estelle - I bought this one for my Nook a few months ago and I really like Lauren on Twitter. I’m so scared though. Very unlike what I read but I am going to take your word for it and make it a priority. Also very impressed by your audiobook reading! I just can’t make it a thing.


    • November 29, 2014 - 5:05 pm

      Sash and Em - Audiobooking is the only way to go, E! -SReplyCancel

We were tagged for this To Be Read Tag Post by our friend Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner! This particular tag post idea was started by Dana Square.

So, let’s do this!

We’ll start by defining TBR – To Be Read. We define that as books that we’ve acquired (from publishers, from friends/family, from each other, and obviously, ones that we’ve bought for ourselves!). And how funny that Jamie should tag us for this tag post when we posted a picture on Instagram today of a 10 book TBR pile asking for suggestions on what to read first! And can we just say that seeing TBR piles on Instagram is one of our favorite things ever? Does that make us book nerds!:)



How do you keep track of your TBR Pile?

Mainly Goodreads (Sash + Em) but we also keep track of priority of our TBR via a Google Sheet shared between the two of us. We can keep track of not only priority, but also outstanding reviews!

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

EBook! We LOVE LOVE LOVE our Kindles.

How do you determine what to read next?

While mood can definitely determine how we feel about books, we do take date of publication into consideration – however we also factor in our excitement about a book. Sash read Cress by Marissa Meyer a full 6 months before it was released because the level of excitement was so high! Em is the same way – she’ll put books that she’s more excited about ahead of ones that may be coming out soon.

A book that has been on your TBR the longest:

We really do keep meaning to get to these books! Both have been on our TBRs for 3.5 years!

Sash: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma – added to the TBR on May 8th, 2011!

Em: Enclave by Ann Aguirre – added to the TBR on May 14th, 2011!

A book recently added to the TBR pile:

Sash: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno. I started Katie’s first book, How to Love, and decided it wasn’t for me but that didn’t stop me from adding her next book to my TBR.

Em: Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano (LOVED Perfect Ruin!)

A book added to the TBR solely for its beautiful cover:

Well, Sash added These Broken Stars for its beautiful cover BUT then Em noticed and wanted to read it – and she did! AND she loved it!

A book on the TBR you never plan on reading:

Probably anything after the third book in the Outlander series. And even the third book is pushing it. Long series just don’t work for us – unless it’s Harry Potter or Sookie Stackhouse (and even for Sookie, stuff gets crazy – in a bad way)

An unpublished book on the TBR we’re most excited about:

Sash: I don’t think I can pick just one. TOO HARD!

Em: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – LOOKS. SO. GOOD.tbr2

A book on the TBR that basically everyone has read but you:

Sash: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Em: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I really feel like EVERYONE has read this but me.

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Sash: 178 – dang, I feel good about that. I’ve been really good about not buying more books until I finish the ones I own.:)

Em: 362!

  • June 27, 2015 - 6:54 pm

    FabiDeSoto - Hello!

    I would like to know the name of the book that’s on top in the second picture (the one with the girl on the cover).

    Please let me know the name!

    Thank youReplyCancel