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My Husband Likes YA: Legend and Prodigy by Marie Lu

Hi!

Every once in a while I suggest that my husband and I listen to a YA audiobook together. We’ve done the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games trilogy and The Maze Runner series before and we both had fun listening to them together. He usually enjoys the titles I’ve picked, but I do have to choose the right book to get him interested, which is why I was excited when I read the summary for Legend by Marie Lu.

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with iLegend by Marie Luts neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

In October, the Husband and I were driving back to Florida for my brother’s wedding.  It was a six hour drive so we knew we needed an audiobook. We chose Legend and loved it! When we got back to South Carolina we snagged the second book, Prodigy from the library too.

One thing that was special about this audiobook is that there are two narrators; one for Day and one for June.  It makes sense because the chapters alternate between Day and June’s point of view. I think I Prodigy by Marie Luprefer listening to books with multiple points of view on audio rather than reading them because the voices help me remember who is speaking. Even when the two characters’ voices are very different from each other, I still end up getting a bit confused so it helps having literally two different voices!

Speaking of June and Day I liked the combination of the two personalities and backgrounds coming together to help each other. June is very much a tom-boy, incredibly analytical, and often doesn’t realize how much her sheltered and privileged background shapes her world view.  This, mixed with the chip Day has on his shoulder from having been born to a life that is the complete and total opposite of June’s. The two don’t trust one another at first and it’s interesting to see just how they learn to do so.

The dystopian world Day and June live in is hinted at in Legend and the reader (or in our case, listeners) get even more of it in book two, Prodigy. We learn more and more about this futuristic version of the United States as June does. There are characteristics about this dystopian US that are believable (natural disasters taking a toll), but other aspects that seem a fall a little short (where is the rest of the world while the US is dealing with this stuff?!).  I was incredibly intrigued by the whole skills testing teens undergo to get placed (or tracked) into specific careers or…other things. As an educator I see creepy similarities to our focus on testing.

Although both books are incredibly fast paced with pretty much non stop action the entire time, I preferred Prodigy to Legend. It’s not uncommon for me to prefer the second book in a series to the first though, because I tend to get really excited when the characters’ world opens up and we learn about deeper layers of the story and new characters are introduced.

This series is pretty fun and totally accessible to middle grade readers, older young adult readers and up and the audiobooks are highly recommend by me and the Husband (we’re currently trying to get our hands on book three, Champion!) So, if you’re a fan of dystopian YA, or are simply trying to lure your significant other in the world of YA,  Legend and Prodigy are good additions to your TBR stack!

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: Penguin Audio (Nov. 29, 2011) & (Jan. 29, 2013)

Format: Audiobooks

Length: Legend (7 hours and 48 minutes), Prodigy (10 hours and 10 minutes)

Narrator(s): Steven Kaplan, Mariel Stern

Series: Books 1 & 2 in the Legend series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Legend    Prodigy: A Legend Novel

 

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Hands Down! Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Hi!

I’m pretty sure that Gail Carriger is in on a conspiracy to make me want all of her books. My favorite new series of 2013 was her Finishing School series, hands down! You can read my review of book one, Etiquette & Espionage here. I may have done more gushing that I should have but if you’ve read it then you’ll understand!

Because of this love for the first book, I was incredibly excited when the awesome people at Hachette Audio offered Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carrigerthe audiobook of Carriger’s second book, Curtsies & Conspiracies for review I had to take them up on their offer! (Thank you!)

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

Guys. Seriously. THAT COVER!

I’ve said it before. It’s like Carriger has a secret window into my little book lovers’ heart and knows exactly what I want to read about. Her opulent steampunk world is exactly where I want to spend my afternoons and evenings. This setting is just so well-imagined and there is so much depth yet to be explored that it reminds me a lot of the wizarding world that J.K. Rowling creates in the Harry Potter series. It’s richness promises more books, which makes me incredibly giddy just thinking about it!

Curtsies and Conspiracies picks up at the start of Sophronia’s second semester at Madame Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality with the girls’ sixth month review underway. While the first book is full of nothing but fun, this second book starts to bring a little more seriousness with it. For example, Sophronia’s group of friends are all fighting and a spectacular weekend in London is dulled by threat of a dangerous evil plot. Even the lessons the lessons the students’ are learning begin to take a turn for the dark. This step towards the serious actually reminds me a lot of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series (which I ALSO LOVE!) because Sophronia’s world is beginning to open up and the stakes are getting higher. Don’t think that Carriger’s signature wit and humor are missing in all this newly found seriousness, however, because they are still there!

We have the beginnings of a serious love triangle here, ladies! I don’t mind a bit of a triangle so it makes me happy to see Sophronia struggle with her growing feelings toward two boys; one of which would be socially uplifting and the other which may be frowned upon for numerous reasons. I do think both boys are not exactly as they seem however…there are hints of things to come hidden in their actions and words!

Not only are these potential love interests well written and interesting, but Carriger’s cast of supporting characters are just as captivating as they were in book one. My favorites are Sophronia’s friends, of course.  Dimity, Sidheag and Agatha are so warm, loving, and fun that I want them to be real so I could hang out with them! I love how each one of them brings something different to the table and the way in which they all challenge one another to step out of comfort zones. They’re exactly the type of friends I’d want if I were a boarding student in a flying dirigible spy school for young ladies.

All in all, Curtsies and Conspiracies was on my favorites of 2013 list for a reason. If you haven’t already given the Finishing School series a chance, then make sure you do! You won’t be disappointed I promise! I also highly recommend this series on audio; it is hands down a fabulous listen!

Also…have you seen this book trailer?! I don’t know how I missed it until now, but I think it is absolutely brilliant!

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Hachette Audio (Little, Brown) (November 5, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 30 minutes

Narrator(s): Moira Quirk

Series: Second in the Finishing School series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School)

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Closure and Onions: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Hello! Okay, so Winter Break has been over for about a week now and I’ve been back at work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I do miss those days of lounging on the couch reading, blogging or just seeing my friends in the middle of the day! But, I guess if…
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2013 YA Audiobook Challenge Wrap-Up

Hi again friends!

As it turns out I’m a huge fan of audiobooks! Haha That is the understatement of the year! I LOVE audiobooks and pretty much everyone I know is fully aware of it! I may have mentioned it one or two times.

2013 was my second year of participation in the YA Audiobook Challenge, which is hosted by Jen at Book and a Latte and was, I’m pretty sure, created solely for me alone. For the most part, I listen to audiobooks while I’m running, which I do a lot of. I’ll also have one playing while doing those chores that drive me crazy, like washing dishes and folding laundry. So, over the course of the year I listened to 35 YA audiobooks (1 short of my original goal of 36) which qualified me for the “Rockn’ Out” level of the challenge!

Let’s go ahead and re-cap all the awesome audiobooks I read this past year.

Everlost by Neal Shusterman Entwined by Heather Dixon The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterPaper Towns by John Green

1. Everlost by Neal Shusterman
2. Paper Towns by John Green
3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
4. Entwined by Heather Dixon

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger If I Stay by Gayle Forman A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

5. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
6. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
8. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare Switched by Amanda Hocking Torn by Amanda HockingAscend by Amanda Hocking

9. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
10. Switched by Amanda Hocking
11. Torn by Amanda Hocking
12. Ascend by Amanda Hocking

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysScarlet by Marissa Meyer
13. Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
14. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
15. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
16. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Kill Order by James DashnerEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

17. The Kill Order by James Dashner
18. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
19. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
20. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers Delirium by Lauren Oliver The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen
21. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
22. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
23. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
24. The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Chime by Franny Billingsley Legend by Marie Lu The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
25. Chime by Franny Billingsley
26. Legend by Marie Lu
27. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
28. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Requiem by Lauren Oliver BitterKingdom The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
29. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
30. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
31.The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
32. Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger Days of Blood and Starlight by Lani Turner Prodigy by Marie Lu

33. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
34. Prodigy by Marie Lu
35. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

I know I should have linked to my reviews, but I’m too lazy to do all that…haha

So, there you go! Yay for audiobooks!!

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Love and the Letdown: The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

Howdy!

Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy had been on my TBR list for quite some time, but it wasn’t until I had about fifteen students, all in one week’s time, command that I finally read these books. So, I just do what my students tell me, mostly because these girls were a little rabid and I was honestly a bit scared Delirium by Lauren Oliverof them! haha

So, I finally read Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem by Lauren Oliver in early fall. I was on a bit of a necessarily review writing hiatus (life was crazy yo) so I decided to consider these books as a whole.

Overall, I thought the whole premise behind these books was really inventive. The idea of love as a disease that future governments would strive to eradicate is pretty interesting. I mean when you think about it, it does makes sense that love would be seen as the root of all the world’s problems. So I was impressed with the first book, Delirium and how Oliver portrayed this dystopian world where love was a thing to be feared. Overall, Oliver’s world building was pretty strong. I loved the excerpts from the Book of Shhh (Lena’s society’s holy book) and the legends and myths that were retold to fit the society’s needs. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

The way society was set-up in Lena’s, the main character, world reminded me a bit of the society in Westerfeld’s Uglies series. When teens turn a specific age they are to undergo massive surgery to “fix” them. In the Uglies books it is to make them “pretty”, whereas in Oliver’s books the surgery is intended to cure one’s brain of the disease of love. When we meet Lena she is prepping for her soon-to-be-scheduled “cure” when someone comes into her life forcing her to rethink everything she has been told.

I really liked the first two books, Delirium and Pandemonium. In these first two books, Lena’s world slowly unfurls until the world she knew becomes a totally different creature altogether. The momentum was building just like the rebellion….and then we got to Requiem. Really, I was enjoying the book, not as much as the first two but enjoying it, and then we got to the ending. I’m not going to give anything away here, but talk about a let down! I felt like Oliver just left us with nothing and I was Requiem by Lauren Oliversuper disappointed.

All in all, this was a fun series. In the end however, I just wanted so much more than what Oliver was willing to give, I guess. I did enjoy the books however as a whole, and would recommend them to 7th grade readers and up who are fans of the dystopian genre.

Author: Lauren Oliver

Publisher: Harper Collins

Format: Audiobook

Length: Delirium (11 hours and 47 minutes), Pandemonium (10 hours and 37 minutes), Requiem (10 hours and 13 minutes)

Narrator(s): Sarah Drew

Series: The Delirium trilogy

YA/MG: MG or YA

Buy the Book: Delirium Pandemonium (Delirium) Requiem (Delirium)

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Something Familiar: Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Hola!

As you may know my husband and I moved from Florida to Columbia, South Carolina this past July. We’re loving the fact that we get to experience the change in seasons and that we’re really close to the mountains. It is just a great area to live in. It’s not that we didn’t like Florida, it’s just that it wasn’t the place we wanted to be forever.

Pretty shortly after we moved however, I realized that Chomp by Carl Hiaasen was on the South Carolina Junior Book Award list for the 2013-2014 school year. I was pretty excited to read Chomp because it, like all of Hiaasen’s books, takes place in southern Florida and in the midst of our move I needed to read something familiar.

Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his bChomp by Carl Hiaasenackyard. The critters he can handle.  His father is the unpredictable one.

When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.

They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun.

Although I’ve always enjoyed the Hiaasen books that I have read, his books are not always my favorite. However, I think out of all of them Chomp might have been the one I liked the most. There was just so much more humor in this story and I stopped my husband to tell him about the story more than I usually do when reading. I especially loved the reality show idea and my husband and I are big fans of Bear Grylls and his survival shows, so I got a kick out of the Derek Badger character, who is obviously a mocking portrayal of Grylls and survival show hosts like him.

In Hiaasen’s books the setting is always a character in its own right. And although I’ve never been to the Everglades (even after living in Florida for around 15 years) I know enough about Florida wildlife and geography to completely understand and appreciate this setting. Hiaasen throws in so many Florida “inside jokes” or references that I absolutely felt like I was back in the Florida sunshine.

The main character, Wahoo and his friend (something more?!), Tuna, are really fun and lovable characters. These two are one of the main reasons why I enjoyed Chomp more than Hiaasen’s other books. Wahoo and Tuna were both so realistic and tender in their new-found friendship that you can’t help but fall for them both.

OMG! I almost forgot! Do you even know who narrates this audiobook!?  I freaked out when I pressed play for the first time and heard the voice I hadn’t heard in like 10 years…DAWSON LEERY! Yes. You read correctly. Chomp is narrated by James Van Der Beek! High School Tina swooned a little. For real.

Chomp, definitely comes recommended for middle grade readers considering jumping into Hiaasen’s books who enjoy survivalist stories with some humor thrown in. Although, I do enjoy Hiaasen’s books they are definitely written mostly for their middle grade audience and I think it would be a stretch for older readers (especially adults) to really get into.

Author: Carl Hiaasen

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 27, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 6 hours and 13 minutes

Narrator(s): James Van Der Beek

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: Chomp

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Awesome Points: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Well hello again!

When I first saw this book I was a goner. If you’ve known me for any amount of time you probably know that I really, really am a total sucker for covers with girls in beautiful gowns, mostly because I just want to wear them. Well, Grave Mercy has an awesome gown on the cover and an awesome fantasy inside!

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversWhy be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I knew this book was going to be fabulous just from looking at the co ver andGrave Mercy didn’t let me down. Grave Mercy has a hardcore heroin, smouldering romance (yes, smouldering), and an absorbing fantasy storyline.

Ismae is seriously bad@$$. She transformed from a vulnerable victim to someone with the power to choose her own future. Also, she trained at a convent for assassin nuns. ASSASSIN NUNS. For real. Doesn’t it make you think of that Doctor Who episode, Tooth & Claw with the werewolves and assassin monks?!

The whole fantasy mixed with adventure and alternate history is right up my alley. I love how the setting is a mix of medieval Europe and a completely created world where supernatural things can happen. The idea that the god of death leaves a kill mark for his minions to find is so creepy-cool.

As usual, I like a good romance. Now, I do need to say that the love story is so incredibly expected. I mean, you know from the start who the love interest is, but that doesn’t matter! This romance is just so sexy that it wraps its tentacles around you and completely sucks you in. Awesome points for Robin LaFevers!

So, Grave Mercy definitely has the BookTasty stamp of approval! If you’re high school aged, a fan of fantasy and you’re looking for a new series to get lost in, the you need to read this one. I’m hooked in this series for sure!

Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 3, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 14 hours and 14 minutes

Narrator(s): Erin Moon

Series: His Fair Assassin #1

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

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I Can’t Help It: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hi guys!

I’ve been doing a TON of reading recently which, in my opinion,  is completely lovely! But that also means that I’m falling behind in reviews. I finished Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick back in July.  Things just got so busy with school starting that I never wrote a review for it until now.

Nora Grey can’t remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told Silence by Becca Fitzpatrickthat she has been missing for weeks – with no one knowing where she was or who she was with – she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom’s creepy new boyfriend.

But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows. And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing.

Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers…and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again

I’ve confessed this before but this series is seriously a major guilty pleasure for me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed that others will know I read this series. If that was the case I wouldn’t be sharing it online. Personally, it’s just not the most well written series ever.  These books are simply fun reads that allow me an escape.

Silence was my least favorite book in the series. The first book Hush, Hush was interesting and I liked the banter between Nora and Vee.  In the second book, Crescendo, my favorite thing was the tension between Nora and Marcie, plus the introduction of new characters. Silence had none of these things. I think that was one of the problems I had with it. The whole time, Vee, who is supposed to be Nora’s best friend just isn’t helping her out at all. And there was only one measly little scene with the awesome Marcie and I just wanted more of her.

Oh and let’s talk about Nora. Nora is normally kind of cool, in her own way, but her memory loss was pretty annoying. I was frustrated because Nora spend a good chunk of the book trying to remember things that the reader already knows. There was no interest in it for me because the suspense was taken away. This, by far, was my biggest complaint about Silence. I just felt like nothing really happened until the VERY end.

I can’t help it. I just need to go ahead and read the whole thing because there is only one book left. I really do want to read Finale, but I’m serious, it had better have more Marcie and a lot less memory loss!

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (Oct. 4, 2011)

Format: audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes

Narrator(s): Caitlin Greer

Series: Book three in the Hush, Hush series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:  Silence (Hush Hush)

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Pulling Out the Floorboards: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Welcome back to BookTasty!

I’m always on the lookout for audiobooks my husband and I can both listen to together. It has to have the right plot, the right characters and just can’t be too girly in general I think. In the past we’ve listened to Agatha Christie mysteries, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Maze Runner series, and Gregor the Overlander together. Since I’d heard the news that a movie was in the works, we decided it was time to listen to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Cardtrain them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

This was such a great one for us to listen to together. I know this book was published in the 1980s, but I had never read it until now. Honestly, I’d never been interested before but the movie is releasing in November so I knew I had to finally read it! Overall, Ender’s Game is a very cool dystopian sci-fi tale that kept me coming back for more. I think it’s a great story for a family to read together because it will appeal to both adults and (middle school & older) kids.

I liked Ender as a main character and always cheered him on for sure, but I also just felt sorry for him the whole time! Just when things are going okay (not even good) for Ender Wiggins another floorboard is pulled out from under him. ALWAYS!  Ender just keeps getting the crappy end of the stick! CONSTANTLY! Honestly, after a while I couldn’t help but get tired of it, I wanted him to succeed and  you can only take so much hardship with little-to-no relief for so long! But I think that’s what makes Ender’s story so special in some twisted way! haha

Ender’s relationships with his siblings were especially interesting. You have the dangerous relationship between  Ender and Peter contrasted with Ender and Valentine’s close connection.  Then it all gets mixed up when Valentine and Peter become a duo.  You have some really intense relationships on both sides of the spectrum and they both spur Ender on in different ways. In fact, I kept forgetting that the story is about kids/teens because they’re thrown into these very adult roles and relationships. There were some times, however, where things got a little heady for me…specifically when Valentine and Peter are discussing politics/government, but it didn’t ruin it for me or anything.

Regarding the audio, the narrator was fabulous…there was even a cast of narrators for specific voices, which we loved!

All in all, you should definitely check out Ender’s Game (the book!!) if you’re even the smallest bit interested in the movie!

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Fantastic Audio (2002)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 57 mins

Narrator(s): Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison

Series: Book one in Ender’s Saga

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet)

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TraumaBonds and The Kill Order by James Dashner

Hi there BookTasty friends!

I’m  glad that it’s Friday and I get to bring you another book review…although today is my official last Friday of freedom before the school year starts as next week is all preplanning. I do love my job (so much!) but I also love my summer vacations so it’s definitely a mix of excitement and lament!

Well, let’s talk books! Today’s review is for James Dashner’s The Kill Order.

The Kill Order by James DashnerBefore WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

The Kill Order is Dashner’s prequel to the amazing Maze Runner trilogy, which my husband and I read together and loved. Because we loved the original Maze Runner books we were both excited to read this prequel…although I was also a little hesitant as well.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it…especially when I realized none of the previous Maze Runner characters I loved were in it (which makes sense since it’s a prequel duh!). It quickly became clear that although this book had no Thomas, Newt, Minho, or Brenda in it, that didn’t even matter. The new characters, Mark, Trina and Alec were just as interesting and the story was action packed with intensity the whole way through!

One thing you need to know about James Dashner’s books is that whenever the characters start to feel even the smallest ounce of security and safety it is violently ripped from them! Seriously, he’s done this from book one and it’s only magnified in The Kill Order; the craziness just doesn’t let up. The events of Mark and Trina’s story go from bad to worse quickly and just keep getting worse. It is relentless…but in a thrilling page-turner way. Even the ending (which I’m not spoiling) isn’t necessarily a victory because we already know what happens in the rest of the Maze Runner series.
So, Mark and Trina. How did they stack up to my beloved Gladers? They were just as likable and interesting. Mark and Trina have this relationship that feels like the only fresh and positive thing that either one of them has. Their friendship is long-standing, starting even before the sun-flares, and now it is blossoming into something deeper and more romantic than either of them is sure of. Similarly is the relationship between Mark and the gruff Alec. They have this whole father/son thing going on, but there is also a certain level of respect and equality between them, especially as the story progresses. Dashner’s characters form these strong bonds fast. It’s kind of like relationships formed at summer camp…only with demented “people” hunting you….(gosh I hope that makes sense). My husband calls them “TraumaBonds”.

If you haven’t read any of The Maze Runner books they are absolutely fantastic reads.  Once you’ve read all three of the original books, go and read The Kill Order. They’re all fast-paced dystopian, creepy thrillers that are great for both guy and girl readers. I also highly recommend the audiobooks of all the titles in this series; the narrator is talented and does a great job with all the voices. If you needed anymore motivation to read them just know that they’re currently filming The Maze Runner movie and it’s scheduled to release in February 2014!

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Listening Library (August 14, 2012)

Format: audiobook

Length: 10 hours and 2 mins

Narrator(s): Mark Deakins

Series: Prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (Maze Runner Trilogy)