Review- Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

dont look back

Title: Don’t Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 384
Reviewer: Kelly

BLURB:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

OPINION:

The moment I opened the first page of this book, and read the opening lines I was hooked- line and sinker! I didn’t know where this story would take me. Having read a lot of Armentrout’s previous novels I knew she could have taken me to a universe full of mythical creatures, or included an alien invasion, instead she kept it really simple and let this story play out in the ‘real world’. It was relatable as the situation that Samantha found herself in could happen to anyone, anywhere or at anytime.

The story was written in the first person point of view, through the eyes of Samantha, the main protagonist. She begins the story with her memories and her best friend missing. As a reader we are learning all about her life at the same time that she is! Then as her memories begin to come back in dreamlike, flashbacks and visions you start to wonder, just like Samantha, where is Cassie? The plot thickens when mysterious hand written notes begin to appear, sending very cryptic messages, turning this novel into a real “who done it?”

The foreshadowing techniques used throughout the story really kept you guessing until the very last page. Armentrout was very clever to give out little hints and clues throughout the book, but never enough to give the ending away. This created a gripping and enthralling read that was refreshing and different to any other novel I have ever read!

SUMMARY:
Wow! Armentrout can do no wrong! This book was an intriguing, heart-stopping, page turner. I finished it in a day. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

lips grey 5

New to Book Gossips! From The TBR Pile!

Help us with our To Be Read Pile!

Please!!

TBR

We have been eyeing our always growing pile of TBR books and thought we would ask for help from our blog readers.  Maybe one of the book we post will be one you have already read and have an opinion or maybe you’ve already written a review on it – you could post a link to your review in the comments!  We invite you to share your opinions with us!

Keep an eye out for posts from our TBR pile!!

We look forward to hearing your opinions!

Happy reading!  From the Book Gossips!!

Review: S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

S.

Title: S.
Author: J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 456
Reviewer: Debby

A literary adventure!!!

Blurb:

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace and desire
A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched on a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts and fears.

S., conceived by filmmaker J.J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand. It is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.

Review:

I am a huge fan of Abrams so I am not at all surprised at how impressed I am at this exhilarating, innovative and all around impressive contribution to the literary landscape.  How incredible to get absorbed in two stories simultaneously!  Leave it to Abrams to find a way to introduce something so unique and captivating to the world of fiction.

While I think writing a review after reading S. only once may be a little premature, perhaps my remarks on first impression will be easier for me to express as I have a sense that the more times this book is absorbed, the more levels of it’s mystery stand to be uncovered.  So it goes without saying, this is a heavy read.  My technique for reading the book was a concurrent one.  I read each page, first “Ship of Theseus” and then the margin notes by Jen and Eric.  I did find my first read to take quite some time as that reading technique did feel quite disjointed and unfamiliar.  While that comment seems like a negative one, I did actually appreciate the monkey wrench it threw into my usual reading habits.  This book certainly forces you to be more present in the state of reading.  S. is a book you read without other disruptions and only with a clear mind!

I will not pretend to have cracked the codes inside the book, nor will I pretend to understand the complexity of the story occurring in the margin notes after the first read.  I think I may aim to read through the entire “Ship of Theseus” to fully grasp that story, and then go through the book again reading only the margin notes so as to fully understand all the characters that were somehow jammed into the space on the outside of the central story.  Brilliant work by Doug Dorst!  I am hugely impressed at the level of character development he was able to give to characters who only express themselves through short margin notes, with the occasional letter thrown into the mix!

While I would normally comment on the plot, whether or not I like the characters, or the end, or the beginning; I feel that I would rather give readers of this post the ability to form their own opinions.  I, hypocritically enough, did not read any reviews prior to my read of the book for that very reason!  All I will say is that if you truly love to read, you must experience this book!  It is full of so many surprises!!

lips grey 5

Review – Brand Like a Rock Star by Steve Jones

brand like a rock star

Learn to tap your Rock Star potential!

Title: Brand Like a Rock Star
Author: Steve Jones
Genre: Marketing
Pages: 242
Reviewer: Debby

Blurb:
Brand Like a Rock Star takes you beyond the hype to reveal the core marketing strategies behind the success of the world’s greatest bands.

Author Steve Jones has earned his street cred as a savvy marketer in an outrageous business. He combines insider stories from AC/DC, The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, KISS, and many other legendary bands with sound business advice, to deliver a rockin’ guide to building a breakthrough brand. Brand Like a Rock Star puts a new spin on the branding process.

From merchandising, to establishing a resonant core message, to developing an iconic logo, Steve Jones illustrates abstract concepts with actionable practices. How is Led Zeppelin like Nintendo’s Wii? How does U2 resemble Proctor & Gamble? What do Johnny Cash and Old Spice have in common? The answers may have a profound impact on your business.

Marketers in any business will pump their fists and boost their bottom line with Brand Like a Rock Star.

Review:
I admire nothing more than a book that makes you think without noticing and this is exactly what author Steve Jones has accomplished with Brand Like a Rock Star. Not only is this a fun and informative read, I think it is also transformational. Over and over again, Jones highlights bands, brands, groups and individuals who have discovered that some of the greatest successes come not only to those who work hard, but to those who work different. All it may take is that one switch in your mindset or one nudge to your perception and you can discover, uncover and smash through any obstacle in the way of your Rock Star path.

Brand Like a Rock Star is a perfect read for anyone in the Marketing field, as Jones reveals simple, yet crucial, ways your brand may be missing out on big opportunities. All the while entertaining his readers by demonstrating how incredibly successful bands and brands have illustrated the merit of his techniques. I also think this is a must read for anyone who admires the perseverance and thoughtfulness that goes into to promoting a product, a brand or even yourself. Furthermore, Brand Like a Rock Star is perfect for the music buff who is curious about their favourite band’s rise to fame.

Jones makes thought provoking connections between rock star bands and key marketing principles which grant the reader back stage access to pivotal moments in music history as well as instances of practical application for the practices he outlines. Any employee of any business can benefit from reading this book.

Really, though, this book is for everyone. In today’s society we are all consumers and as such what better way to get inside our own psychology to understand why we love, and hate, the brands we do, and what those brands have done to earn their valuable place in our overcrowded mental market place. No point is more spot on for me than Jones’ explanation of one of the most “vital” aspects of any brand, “No matter what you sell, it is all about the experience: the emotional reaction that your customers have when they use your brand. Rock star brands realize they don’t sell products or services, they sell experiences.” (pg. 69) I suggest you experience the rest of Jones’ Brand Like a Rock Star to further understand our growingly complicated consumer environment.

I give this book a crying and screaming groupie level of recommendation and if you enjoy reading Brand Like a Rock Star, you will be pleased to know a new release by Steve Jones, Start You Up, can be expected in May 2014 so watch this space!

lips grey 5

COVER REVEAL – Ringer (Book #3.5 from The ‘Summer Series’) by C.J Duggan

RINGER-1

Book Title: Ringer
Author: C.J Duggan
Publisher: Independent
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Cover Designer: Keary Taylor http://www.indiecoverdesigns.com/
C.J Website: http://www.cjdugganbooks.com/

SYNOPSIS:

They say it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about, and she was quiet, very quiet—when she wasn’t busy despising me with a burning passion.

Ringo ‘Ringer’ James has a no-strings-attached policy.

Love them, leave them, and remain the eternal bachelor.

After a summer in which every one of his mates has succumbed to settling down, or so it seemed, Ringer is on the lookout for a quick exit. Having had enough of the stomach-turning love fest witnessed over the past three months, Ringer jumps at the opportunity to help out his mate, Max, by heading to Max’s dad’s property for a working holiday.

It’s just what he’s looking for. A remote, dusty homestead in Ballan, with only hard work, a cold beer and a comfy bed to worry about – no women.

Until Miranda Henry.

The privately educated daughter of his boss has returned home from overseas and things are about to get very complicated, very fast. As summer draws to its end, Ringer is about to learn that sometimes attraction defies all logic, and that there really is such a thing as ‘enemies with benefits.’

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

C.J Duggan is a Number One Best Selling Australian Author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn’t writing books about swoony boys and 90’s pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

The Boys of Summer is Book One in her highly successful Mature Young Adult Romance Series.

The ‘Summer Series’
The Boys of Summer (December 2012)
An Endless Summer (July 2013)
That One Summer (December 2013)

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Summer Series purchase links: http://www.cjdugganbooks.com/books.html

Ringer: Pre Order https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/x/id797741096
(this link will be LIVE on January 20th)

Forever Summer: Pre Order https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/x/id797802550

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Summer Series Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTMF8Pprxew

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20437487-ringer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cj-Duggan-Author/207724915934429

Twitter: @CJ_Duggan

C.J’s Street Team: http://www.cjdugganbooks.com/street-team.html

BOOK GOSSIPS BEST REVIEWS FOR 2013!

Happy New Year everyone!!!! 

All of us here at Book Gossips hope you have had an amazing start to 2014!

2013 was an amazing year for us and we thought for our first post back for 2014 we will review our most popular book reviews from last year.

 

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1: TOP POST FOR 2013 WITH OVER 4,500 VIEWS TO DATE

Book: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult  – Contempoaray Romance
Review: Hopless by Colleen Hoover

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2: SECOND PLACE WITH OVER 2,500 VIEWS TO DATE

Book: Walking Disasater
Author: Jamie McGuire
Genre: New Adult  – Contempoaray Romance
Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire 

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3: BEST  “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: Fallen Too Far
Author: Abbi Glines
Genre: New Adult – Contempoaray Romance
Review: Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

fault in our stars

4: SECOND MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult – Contempoaray Romance
Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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5:  EQUAL FOURTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW (AFTER HOPLESS) TO DATE

Book: The Sea Of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Genre: Young Adult – Contempoaray Romance
Review: The Sea Of Tranquility BY Katja Millay

imagesCA2M2MV56: EQUAL FOURTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW (AFTER HOPLESS) TO DATE

Book: Angelfall
Author: Susan Ee
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy / Dystopian
Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

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7: EQUAL FIFTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW (WITH WALKING DISASTER) TO DATE

Book: Wide Awake
Author: Shelly Crane
Genre: Young Adult – Contempoaray Romance
Review: Wide Awake by Shelly Crane

under the dome

8: EQUAL SIXTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: Under The Dome
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Supernatural Horror / Suspense
Review: Under The Dome by Stephen King

origin

9: EQUAL SIXTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: Origin
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal Romance
Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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10: EQUAL SIXTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian
Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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11: EQUAL SIXTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: Hunger Games – Mocking Jay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Review: Hunger Games Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins

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12: EQUAL SIXTHTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: If I Should Die
Author: Amy Plum
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal Romance
Review: If I Should Die by Amy Plum

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13: EQUAL SIXTH MOST “LIKED” REVIEW TO DATE

Book: Fire Country
Author: David Estes
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian
Review: Fire Country by David Estes

SEASON GREETINGS FROM BOOK GOSSIPS

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Book Gossips would like to wish all our fellow Book Gossipers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year!

One of the real joys of holiday season is the opportunity to say “Thank you” for all your support this year, we have had an amazing year and that wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for you all – So “Thank you” again!

Lastly, this will be our last post for 2013 but will be back in the New Year with more Book Gossip worthy reviews!!

Until then….. “Happy Reading!!”

Love,
Nicole, Debby, Kelly and Laura xxxx

Review – An Endless Summer (Book #2 Summer Series) by C.J. Duggan

endless summer

A SUMMER YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO END!!

Title: An Endless Summer
Author: C.J. Duggan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewer: Debby

*** Thank you to The Three Bookateers and C.J Duggan for the opportunity to be involved in That One Summer Blog Tour ***

BLURB:

Sean looked out over the lake, squinting against the sunlight. He turned to me, his expression sobering as his eyes flicked over my face in silent study.
“Come on, Amy, I saved you once, I’ll save you again.”
I met his stare unflinchingly. “I don’t need saving.”
A wicked grin formed slowly on his face. “Don’t you?”
After a rebellious summer night that almost claimed her life, Amy Henderson – the Onslow publican’s only daughter – is sent away to suffer a fate far worse than any other punishment:
Boarding School.
Three years on, a now nineteen-year-old Amy returns to Onslow for the summer. What once was a cauldron of activity with live bands, hot meals and cold beers, the Onslow Hotel now lies dark, deserted and depressing. All fond childhood memories of loitering on the hotel stairs and eavesdropping on customers’ colourful conversations are in the distant past.
How had her dad let it come to this?
With the new threat of putting the Onslow up for sale, Amy reluctantly turns to a local tradesman for help: Sean Murphy, the very same Onslow boy who saved her life all those years ago. With his help and that of some old friends, the task is clear: spend the summer building the hotel back up to its former glory or lose it for good.
In an endless summer, Amy soon realises that sometimes in order to save your future, you have to face your past, even if it’s in the
form of a smug, gorgeous Onslow boy.

REVIEW:

To start off, it is worth noting that the moment I finished Boys of Summer I immediately started reading Endless Summer. I was so captivated by “The Onslow Boys” I simply could not wait to get my hands on more! Don’t I wish I could really get my hands on them! Seriously where do I find a whole group of gorgeous, muscled, down to earth, funny, sensitive and passionate guys like these? The men that J.C. Duggan has created in these stories are literally to die for and as the reader you get to experience what it would be like to fall in love with them! Paired with strong willed female characters who help us understand, explore or relive that awkward transition from being a girl to becoming a young woman, this series is chock full of varying emotions. The descriptiveness with which Duggan writes totally transported me, a born and bred Canadian, straight into the enviable summer of an Aussie teen.

In Endless Summer we arrive in Onslow three years after we left off from the summer of Toby and Tess in Boys of Summer. As I was still reveling in the excitement of that tumultuous plot line it took me a little while to ease into the story of Amy Henderson, who we remember as the reluctant dishwasher from Boys of Summer. Only this time she is no longer the little sidekick helper, Amy has grown up a lot since then and even in such a short time she has endured some experiences that have definitely impacted her emotionally. So when she decides to spend the summer of her gap year down by the lake she thinks it will be a great place to regroup, unwind and get some much needed space from her parents who have been acting so weird. We remember grumbly, smoking Uncle Eric from the first installment, well he has done an about face. He spends his time in the city with his wife, has kicked the cigarettes and is working on getting healthy. This is all well for the two of them, but as Amy is to discover upon return to the place of her youth, it has done nothing at all for the Onslow.

As soon as Amy sets her eyes on the Onslow she sees the imaginings of her relaxing summer go up in smoke. The place is a disaster! It is literally falling apart. Amy is only saved from falling through a rotting balcony by the impeccable timing of the Onslow Boys, Sean in particular. Her plunge from the balcony into his arms is a fantastic metaphor for the story that is about to unfold from the moment he catches her in the safety of his strong, well defined arms. From that point on it is all about walking that fine line between smart ass quips and comebacks and falling completely and utterly in love with someone.
The thing that I admire most about C.J. Duggan’s Summer series is how she has written in that additional character, that of “The Onslow Boys”. While each member of the group stands on his own merit it is very crafty of her to create the character of the group. I think anyone who has had the experience of that tight group of friends understands this creation. The group is a thing of itself separate from its individual members. It is the ‘we’ of the group that makes for memorable moments. It is the exclusivity of where the boys go and what they do that casts this aura of mystery around them while tantalizing everyone around with the desire to be one of them, to be a part of the group. When Tess and Ellie, as well as Amy, are struggling to find their place in the group, I could feel their desire to fit in and I could relate to that struggle of appearing ‘cool’ and not letting on how desperately they all wanted to be part of “The Onslow Boys”. That character is part of what makes this series so alluring. That and the fact that we then have access into the boys individually, we get to see what makes them tick, what turns them on and what sends them running for the hills.

That is exactly the insight we have into Sean as we follow Amy through, what has now become, a pretty painful summer. As she struggles through the labour of pulling the Onslow back into shape, Sean forces her to confront her stubborn side by forcing his help upon her, even though she is too stubborn and proud to accept it freely. She slowly comes to accept and appreciate the helps she receives from the Onslow community and in doing so, even though at the end she feels like it was really all for nothing, she is rewarded with more than she even knew she wanted.

An Endless Summer is a very satisfying read. It was so fulfilling to get an update on “The Onslow Boys” we met in The Boys of Summer, and even more satisfying was exploring the character of Sean, who I am sure you will fall in love with, as I certainly did. There were a couple moments along the way where I actually had tears in my eyes I connected so deeply with Amy’s character and her story. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, whether it is because the character’s emotions relate to something you are going through now, or something you experienced years ago, C.J. Duggan has a masterful technique of sinking her teeth into the grittiness that comes with growing up. I cannot wait to read the next installment, That One Summer, to get my next fix of those beautiful Onslow Boys!!

lips grey 4.5

The Summer Series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/92873-summer

About C.J Duggan

C.J Duggan is the number one bestselling Australian author of the Summer Series! C.J lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn’t writing books about swoony boys and 90’s pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

Novels in the Summer Series includes: The Boys of Summer (2012), An Endless Summer (2013) and the highly anticipated, soon to be released That One Summer (2013).

For more on C.J and ‘The Summer Series’, visit www.cjdugganbooks.com

Check out the Summer Series trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTMF8Pprxew

Review- Allegiant (Divergent Series # 3) by Veronica Roth

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I  SWEAR MY ALLEGIANCE!  

Title: Allegiant (Divergent Series # 3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Dystopian
Publication: HarperCollins
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 526
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:

The faction- based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered- fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature- and of herself- while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Explanation:

Allegiant opens with the discontent people of Chicago hoping to make a stand against the Factionless. The discontent, become the Allegiant, a small group revolting against Evelyn Johnson, the new leader. The Allegiant want to find answers and resolve order to the city of Chicago. Tobias, Tris and their friends are chosen to go where no one else has gone before, outside the city limits into the world beyond. In leaving the city they enter a society they know nothing about.  Here they learn the truth about their home, and must decide what to do with this knowledge. The Allegiant have two choices- to assist the citizens of this strange new world and walk away from the only home they have known or to fight for the people they have left behind.

Opinion:

Every once in a while a book comes along that is so different, exhilarating and refreshing that it takes your breath away- Allegiant is one of those books! Veronica Roth elevated Allegiant from what could have potentially been a mediocre read to an EPIC novel, by creating a diverse and unpredictable plot. How do you make a book truly EPIC? You leave the reader reeling, with the most unsatisfied taste in their mouth after turning the last page! This feeling makes the reader ponder what could have been, long after the book was completed.

When I first began reading this book I did find it a bit ‘ho-hum’. It took me a week to get halfway through and I really wasn’t interested in getting to the end because I thought I knew exactly what was coming- oh how wrong I was! I think my reluctance to read the book too quickly was also because I didn’t like some of the earlier revelations in the book, and I didn’t want to know how anything else could damage these characters.  I preserved though and all I can say is wow, Veronica Roth, WOW!

Roth also did not do the one thing that turned Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series into a mediocre read. She did not close every loose end up by the conclusion of the book. Now I am a fan of stories being completed properly, and I hate movies that leave you guessing. But Roth created her story without its neatly packed endings, which elevates this book to the beyond impressive level.

The dual perspective writing also gave more insight into both Tris and Tobias‘s thoughts and feelings. The previous two books in the Divergent Series are told only from Tris’s point of view. That sufficed for those books, but Allegiant very much needed the two viewpoints in order for the reader to understand the whole story. Tobias’s point of view allowed the reader to see how deeply he cared for Tris and how much his parents have impacted upon his life choices. Tris’s chapters were written in the same strong, determined and selfless voice of the heroine we know and love.

Summary:

Allegiant could have been just another nice, teen book series where the heroine always gets what they want. Instead Roth has turned it into a best seller. Allegiant was fantastic. The Divergent Series was amazing! The movies are going to be phenomenal! Kudos to Veronica Roth!

lips grey 5