The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge is definitely a gorgeous piece of work that deserves more attention than it is currently getting.

New Reviewer joins The Bucket List

Check her out in the About Me page!

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal started out confusing but quickly became a great retelling of Shakespeare’s famous work.

The Farm by Emily McKay

The Farm was a magnificent take on vampires. As much as the vampire era is leaving for a while and dystopia has taken the world by storm, make sure you read this one.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey wrote a great story that every sci-fi reader should discover. It captures reality and the story keeps readers on the edge of their seats the entire time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
PublisherMargaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Pages: 323
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.
Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.--Goodreads
In a world where each class has its own language, it is a surprise to hear that Charlie has an ability to understand all of them, even languages she has never heard before.  In a club, she meets Max, a boy that instantly attracts her, but his friends speak a language that is not of her class even though she understands every word.  It appears that both Max and Charlie have secrets of their own.  In The Pledge, secrets are not the only things that work to tear them apart.

Oh my, this book!  It is fantastic!

The cover is gorgeous and depicts the novel well.  It’s mysterious, gripping, secretive, and even dark.

This book was recommended to me by my friend and at first, it didn’t sound like something I would normally read.  I don’t think this novel got the buzz it truly deserves.  When it first released, I remember hearing nothing about it except my friend telling me to read it.  I am so grateful, she told me to read The Pledge because it is one of the best dystopians I have read this year.

Kimberly Derting is a fabulous author.  I have had my sights set on The Body Finder for years now but haven’t had time to read it.  The Pledge has only helped intensify my desire to read her other works.  Her style of writing seems really unique to me and I found that as much as she created this whole world, Derting told it in such a way that made it interesting.  There were no history lessons or terribly long descriptions.  Derting showed her readers the world through dialogue which was a fantastic way to keep us interested in the moving plot.

There is something about having the ability to know every language in the world and being able to understand them that made me want to keep reading.  I didn’t know much about the book when I began reading but the entire idea floored me from beginning to end.  It sounds like such a simple concept and Derting created this entire series on something so original; I am hooked.

I fell in love with each and every character.  They all had secrets and I wanted to get into each head to figure them out.  The Pledge is told from Charlie’s perspective but Derting jumps around in third person, during some chapters.  It was very easy to understand and made me love the story even more.

The Pledge is definitely a gorgeous piece of work that deserves more attention than it is currently getting.  


Cover: 4
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
Ending: 4

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 363
Source: purchased
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...


“Hooked” by Liz Fichera is a tale about a Native American girl (Fred) raised on the reservation and currently attending the local public high school and hanging out at the golf course where her father works.  Fred teaches herself the game of golf by watching the various golf course club members and gets noticed by the high school gym teacher/golf team coach.  Coach Lannon is impressed by Fred’s ability and coaxes her into joining the team if only for the opportunity to try and earn a college scholarship (something Fred desperately wants to improve her way of life).  Unbeknownst to her, the coach cuts a current member (Seth) to fit her in and then teams her up with the cut player's best bud (Ryan), both boys being privileged, white rich boys with an upbringing about as total opposite from a Native American girl's upbringing can be. Seth is understandably upset at this turn of events, turns everything into racial contention and sets out to bring Fred down. Ryan gets to know Fred little by little and becomes attracted to her self-discipline, quiet nature and inner and outer beauty. Let the battles begin.
The inside of the back cover on the book jacket states that “Liz (Fichera) likes to write stories about ordinary teens who do extraordinary things.”  Hooked is exactly that.  The novel goes into enough depth that the reader feels the poverty levels that burden the Native American families on the reservation yet without sinking into a morose plaintive tone.  The local reservation doesn’t have enough funding to support more than elementary schooling so the Native teenagers have to attend the local high school where they are often persecuted for their race.  Everyone on the reservation appears to live in trailers and the reservation is fenced in like the Holocaust concentration camps.  Due to local prejudices, the Native American population gets all of the lowest paying jobs in the area so that modern technology is unaffordable for them.
Equally the reader readily recognizes the abundant privileges of the non-Native American persuasion.  It seems rather extreme that the characters were spread so far on either side of the spectrum, either poor Native American or rich and privileged.  The privileges are defined by excessive ownership of all types of electronics, country club status, over the top parties with drugs and alcohol, rich homes and fast cars, not to mention an endless supply of cash to spend.
The characters were overall developed well, but I take exception to Seth’s character (the privileged boy cut from the golf team to make room for Fred) or shall I say Ryan’s acceptance of Seth’s character.  I get that Seth is angry and upset with Fred because she took his spot on the team and it caused problems at home with his step-dad (which I felt was kind of underplayed), but I don’t accept that Ryan’s only retribution (while crushing on Fred) is to run Seth off the road and leave him stranded in a ditch while he is still on the reservation (Fred’s territory) right after witnessing Seth’s attempts to run Fred down for the kill.  A little bit too unbelievable.
But in the end can Fred hold her own on the boys team or excel enough to get a scholarship for her only chance at college? Can Ryan overcome the pressure from his best friend and girlfriend to disrespect and sabotage the newest team member's game and social life? Can Fred and Ryan really believe they have a chance at anything more than a golf team connection? Read "Hooked" by Liz Fichera and find out.
Cover: 3
Writing Style: 4
Characters: 3
Plot: 4
Ending: 4

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: May 7, 2013; originally 1/1985
Pages: 368
Source: library
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Once again, the Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.
Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.
Isn’t it?--Goodreads

 Ender is a young boy, taken from his home and family, to learn how to become a space age soldier because he is one of the few who has shown enough of the promise to fulfill a certain set of criteria exhibited by humankind's last best hope. The threat is not over however, and a new saviour is needed. Ender is put through a rigorous training program that will either break him or make him the best chance to save mankind. His childhood is forfeit. Does he have what it takes or did they mistake his abilities? Read the novel to find out because like all good reads turned onto the big screen, you won't know what really happened unless you read the book.
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card was the third novel by this author that I have read, and it is the best so far. I actually listened to it on an unabridged audio CD, and there was a wonderful postscript written and narrated by Orson Scott Card which really added to the whole experience.  The author explains how Ender’s Game started out as a novella and then was expanded into a full length novel as a precursor to a full length companion novel.  Frankly I don’t understand how there could be any less than the full length novel and still make sense of the whole story.  It all seemed quite necessary to develop the main character so that the reader could understand and sympathize with his choices.  The postscript goes on to explain one of the biggest problems with making a movie deal contract for Ender’s Game is that the contracts all tried to get the author to sign over the right to make Ender an older character in the movie than he was in the book.  I was pleased to hear that Orson Scott Card stayed the course and refused any contract with that clause.  I agree with the author that Ender really does need to start out his whole journey as a young child and remain pre-adolescent long enough not to question his mentors and teachers to the point of rebellion and questioning their authority enough to walk away from the course they had set for him.
The ending of the tale was a bit disappointing because rather than feel the world’s relief at being spared, the reader is so into Ender’s emotions that angst is felt in larger measure.  From there the novel brings the reader down to calmville and a peaceful future.  I would have rather stayed on an emotional high in the end.
Ender’s Game may have been written approximately 30 years ago, but as with most science-fiction stories, it can withstand the test of time.  Overall Ender’s Game is an experience rather than just an enjoyable read because the reader is so bonded to Ender before the end of the novel that you feel the story rather than remain outside of it.
Cover: 3 
Writing Style: 4
Characters: 4
Plot: 4
Ending: 3