Book Tour Review: Shattered Veil

 Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00013] Title: Shattered Veil

  Author: Tracy E. Banghart

  Release Date: February 28, 2014

  Publisher: Tracy E. Banghart

  Description: 377 pages, New Adult Science Fiction

  Purchase Book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

synopsis

For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.

In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit.

As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.

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To be honest, I expected this book to underscore romance and liaison, which would have been unfit, and maladroit to an extent, in light of the dystopian setting. Be that as it may, Shattered Veil was nowhere even remotely proximate to this foresight, as it turned out to be a reckless, yet intrepid account of love and hope amidst the onslaught of war, a thrilling chase across the endless skies, and an exciting tale replete with twists and turns, each one more impulsive than the previous. And quite frankly, if the typical New Adult books were written in this manner, I would have embraced the genre in no time.

The plot itself was unique to a certain degree, vaguely reminiscent of a cross between Shatter Me and Divergent, but nonetheless a cosmos of its own undoing. I delighted at how the author managed to incorporate the beauty of modern technology into the idea of the diatous veil and make it work for her story, and despite the fact that it was hard for me to reconcile female reference with male semblance and countenance alike, the flawless writing was more than recompense, and the characters themselves followed through with incredible development, and remarkable individuality. All in all, I was more than pleased with the book, and suffice it to say that I am willing to get my hands dirty to secure a copy of the sequel (and don’t even get me started on that exquisite cover).

“Why does anyone fight a war? To protect a way of life, to find or support loved ones. To avenge those lost. Or maybe because it’s a calling. Because someone has to. Because there’s a line no enemy should be allowed to cross.” 

The pacing to this book was unparalleled in its seamlessness, and though at first, all of the anomalous terms were thrown at me one after the other, I wasn’t bothered as such, forasmuch as the world building was impressive, and most of my earlier diffidences were elucidated almost in immediate succession. Though the mysteries with regards to the siege and the politics behind it were unfolded rather unceremoniously (and it was honestly a little frustrating to have answered a question one minute and ask another the next), I loved how this made the book suspenseful in it’s entirety, and suffice it to say that the big reveals, so to speak, were nothing short of astonishing. The storytelling was woven through quite masterfully as well, and many of the junctions made between characters did not feel too forced and peremptory, as per usual, but rather, seemed to have made all the sense in the world.

The characters themselves were mediocre at worst and brilliant to a stratospheric degree at best, and I loved how the main character fully acknowledged her imperfections, channeling them to find her strengths and overcome her weaknesses. And though the romance was a little subpar, especially in terms of graduation, I was able to move past that and appreciate how guileless and deep-rooted the relationships between the characters became. And despite how morbid the story itself seemed, the characters were unwavering in their hope for a better future, and the soldiers of war moved not as individuals within a single unit, but as one unit in and of itself. And being a Citizen Army Trainee myself, believe you me this is a mindset as paramount as it can get. Kudos to the author for managing to portray that, although I do give props to her for having used her own experiences to paint such a vivid, and fantastical picture.

Needless to say, the book was, overall, one of the best reads this year thus far, and I am most definitely looking forward to getting to read more about Aris, whoever she may truly be. So if you’re into a novel on the wonders of science, the strength of an unshakable hope, and unrivaled couraged, set against a backdrop of deceit and betrayal, I do recommend you pick up a copy. Copy?

“There’s a war raging, and we both have skills and desire to help. It’s my duty just as much as it is yours. I am sorry I lied to you. But I’m not sorry for what I did. I know you value the rules, but sometimes… –sometimes breaking them is the right thing to do.”

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

 

About The Author

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Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age  of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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If you’re interested, do participate in the TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY, and get a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card (INTL), or one of three swag packs which include a notebook, magnet, button, 2 signed bookmarks, and Shattered Veil- themes temporary tattoos (US/CAN)

Thank you very much to Giselle and Xpresso Book Tours for letting me review this title! 🙂

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(This banner will take you to the tour schedule)

Did you miss me? Till next time!

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Review: Ignite Me

  ignite Title: Ignite Me

  Author: Tahereh Mafi

  Release Date: February 4, 2014

  Publisher: HarperCollins

  Description: 416 pages, Young Adult Dystopian

synopsis

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

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After waiting a full half-year for Ignite Me’s release, it is with elation and the utmost indulgence that I divulge that this book was miles and miles away from a disappointment. Though I was honestly expecting something a little more different and incommensurable, the storytelling itself was exceptional to a scintillating degree, and the character portrayal was profoundly exhilarating. And while I do to admit to having missed Mafi’s bizarre manner of writing, featuring exorbitant strikethroughs, derisive metaphors, and flimsy run-on sentences, I did approve of the relatively austere and pretenseless writing in this one, which was in every way as ardent and sententious as before.

“Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures. No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.”  

First and foremost, Juliette’s character improvement was something of a welcome surprise, as I sure didn’t expect her to gather the grit and tenacity enough to rise above all odds after having the crap beaten out of her barely even a week erstwhile. She went from diffident and averse to headstrong and open-minded, and I loved how she handled her emotions maturely, as opposed to conceding to possible coercion into something she may regret for the rest of her life. Despite the unceremonious change in mindset, however, I never thought it was too hasty to be believable, because even then Juliette struggled and bent over backwards to take full control of her powers, and based on her travails and conviction, she deserved everything good that came her way.

Adam, on the other hand, despite having been bitter and ill-tempered for almost the entire duration of the book  (undoubtedly Mafi’s way of catering to her solid Team Warner readers, myself included), was someone I could not possibly detest or execrate for more than five seconds. The thing was, I completely understood where he came from, and why he chose to act irrationally, because love is a bitch sometimes, even if it isn’t even love in the first place. I couldn’t bring myself to forget everything he did to keep Juliette safe either, and everything he had to go through to keep his brother alive—he deserved reciprocation even just for the happy medium (though I refuse to spoil the outcome of the love triangle any further).

But holy crapola, those sexy times! The scenes between Warner and Juliette were scorching hot, and I shamelessly admit that they were by far my favorite parts of the book. The chemistry between them was just so damn overpowering, such that I found it hard to think straight, and could hardly keep myself from blushing beet red. Just another reminder of why I’m even on Team Warner in the first place. Oh and by the way? 55 is the new 62.

“I promise myself then, in that moment, that I will hold him forever, just like this, until all the pain and torture and suffering is gone, until he’s given a chance to live the kind of life where no one can wound him this deeply ever again.” 

Apart from the obvious gratification derived from Warner pulling those dead sexy moves, I also delighted in the manifold plot twists introduced into the story, undeterred by the partial absence of an actual plot. Many of the qualms and ambiguities I had in mind were given justifiable answers, and I caroused at how the characters fed on a sense of companionship and camaraderie. Needless to say, Kenji did not disappoint, though I hardly expected anything less, and his relationship with Juliette was probably the most refreshing and adorable sort of ardor, a love of the pure, platonic variety. Seriously. He just cannot get any better.

The only thing that made me scratch my head as I read was the fact that the pacing was a little off balance, because the remaining members of Omega Point spent at least seven-eighths of the book training for battle, as opposed to engaging in actual war. I couldn’t complain nevertheless, because I would have been much less satiated without some of the fundamental turn of events that took place as Juliette and her friends (and her ‘best friend’, if you catch my drift heehee) prepared for the onslaught, especially in terms of Warner’s relationship with Adam and Juliette alike. I still do believe, however, that we all could have done with a more climactic and unhurried conclusion.

But overall, I completely approve of the conclusion to this series, and despite not having been nearly as mind-blowing The Infernal Devices’, which closed the doors upon any and all apprehensions regarding the characters’ future, I drew solace from the fact that victory or otherwise, Juliette learned and grew enough to keep any of her efforts from futility.

So if you’re looking for a seductive, gorgeously written, character driven and overall stunning conclusion to a critically acclaimed trilogy, this book is definitely your one way ticket to satisfaction.

“Ignite, my love. Ignite.”  

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

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Review: The Moon And More

  moonandmoreTitle: The Moon and More

  Author: Sarah Dessen

  Release Date: June 4, 2013

  Publisher: Viking Juvenile

  Description: 435 pages, Young Adult Contemporary

synopsis

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough. Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?
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The thing is, I’m a massive Sarah Dessen fan, and by her standards, this book was something of a catastrophe– for the most part, I was crestfallen. For starters, I was royally pissed at the heroine at variegated times, and to say that the whole enchilada was a disappointment is a colossal understatement. I found Emaline too equivocal and non-committal, not spunky and audacious enough, and if there was one thing she altogether lacked, it was heart. I did sympathize with the fact that she juggled a multiplex of problems around, and I knew how hard it must have been for her to adjust to unfamiliar ground because I’ve gone through much the same things. I however, cannot so swimmingly approve of the fact that it was too elementary for her to throw away a lot of the things that once meant something important to her without even fighting back, and she was too quick to change her mind and dismiss someone as ‘not the person I once thought you were’. Whatever happened to reconciliation?

“Life is long. Just because you don’t get your chance right when you want or expect it doesn’t mean it won’t come. Fate doesn’t punch a time clock or consult a schedule.” 

The plot was considerably singular and nonpareil, which made for one happy banana, but despite the fact that everything changed too abruptly, I could not wait to get past many of the scenes because they were that boring. In addition, most of the characters were too fickle and temperamental. Change is a good thing, yes, chiefly for the better, but if you don’t steadily transition from one version of yourself to the next, I’m never going to believe it. No offense to the idealists, but really, the shift in points of view of various characters developed or degenerated too abruptly and forthwith for my tastes—there was just no in between.

And this was a matter of preference, but many of the events I would have liked to happen did not, and many of the characters I would have recompensed with happily ever afters were thrown to the side and dismissed, rendering me devastated in the aftermath. I just… what sort of garbage is that? I resent plot devices, and even more so when the author makes one out of an exceptional character. The romance was bearable at its best, utterly repugnant at its worst, and in much the same way, everything progressed with no middle ground. It was simply make up or break up, and despite the fact that my heart welled with the knowledge that summer romances operates in that manner, I could not for the life of me understand what made Emaline’s anything special. She intrinsically blew off and pinned the blame on the first boy one second, and then shoved her tongue down the other’s throat the next. Who even does that? Why do they even like you? I just. Didn’t. Get it.

On the flip side, I was thoroughly smitten by Luke, despite the fact that he was a quintessential jock with the blonde hair and the beach body without the jerk-off persona, but he possessed a vibrant personality and I appreciated that. Theo on the other hand, was completely out of the ordinary and honestly a little bizarre, and I loved how free-spirited and ambitious he was, though I found him a bit pretentious and disapproved of his pomp– to me, there’s such a thing as excessively dorky, and he categorically crossed the line.

The one other thing that could have made for compromise was Benji, Emaline’s ten-year old half brother. He was fifty shades of adorable for the whole duration of the book, and I loved how his disposition made me appreciate all the little things in life that curl my lips into a genuine smile. Furthermore, he was an astute and innovative thinker for someone at ten, which of course was remarkably impressive. I do have to admit that the scenery sounded breathtaking, and the conclusion, despite not having been a complete picnic, was acceptable and of considerable redeeming value, but most importantly, reminded me of how wondrous I thought it was that Emaline could already manage to defend her beliefs and encourage people to do better. I also marginally approved of how the book wasn’t entirely romance-centric, and the family element to it made me feel relieved to say the least. SO I guess in a way, it wasn’t a total disappointment.

“When you have a kid, you sign on for the whole package: good, bad, everything in between. you can’t just dip in and out, picking and choosing the parts you want and quitting when it’s not perfect.”

But then again we’re talking Dessen here, and unfortunately it just wasn’t the same sort of magic. But if you think you can handle that, do try it out– and if you like it, tell me why and let’s see if you can convince me otherwise.

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

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