First Dimension

"Don't you ever tell me how to speak to her."

First Dimension
Rebecca Royce
The Saga of Safe Haven, book one
ebook, 118 pages
Published 2010 by Liquid Silver Books
Previously published in 2009
ISBN 9781595786500

The only person who can save not one but two dimensions, Hadley Pettigrew is living a simple, undisturbed life on Earth, completely unaware of who and what she is. That is, until a dark, seriously sexy stranger kidnaps her off her science vessel and forces her to change all of her beliefs about what is and is not possible in the course of twenty-four hours.

When faced with the decision of letting his princess continue to suffer or using her daughter to return to his own dimension, Hawk easily chose to kidnap Hadley. What he didn't anticipate was how much he would admire her intellect or desire her body. Together Hawk and Hadley will have to overcome past obstacles to carve out a new future, not just for themselves but also for more people than they ever dreamed possible. The first year in a new dimension has arrived.

Who will live and who will die is almost as important as who will fall in love.

So this is a book one, but there was never a book two. There's no mention of First Dimension on the author's site either. At one time it was sold through B&N but Goodreads is the only place I can find it mentioned now. Oh, and Youtube. It's been on my TBR since 2010 and only now that it's dropped off the face of the Earth am I getting to it. Go figure.

Over two centuries ago, Hawk became the leader of his princess's guard, taking on a blood oath to never betray his loyalty to her and protect her no matter the cost. And, well, the task wasn't exactly a success. 

She's trapped now, within our dimension, in a coma wherein she is awakened every thirty years by a man named Pettigrew who then beds her and sires from her a daughter that will live no longer than thirty years. Whether trapped by a spell or by her own willingness who knows. And honestly, it takes a couple chapters in before you even come to understand that much. 

Having failed at every other attempt to free his princess, Hawk makes a decision that could ultimately condemn him a traitor and abducts one of her daughters in an attempt to return to his own dimension. He needs the royal blood to cross over, leaving behind the immortality and great powers he possesses here. His crew follow him into the madness of his plot where things don't go exactly as planned. 

The goal was to take Hailey Pettigrew, but Jeremiah, Hawk's second in command, leads them to Hadley, her twin sister. Here's where Hawk comes to regret his plan. He doesn't want to hurt Hadley and can't promise that he can save her life. 

Hadley is one unique woman. Sure, she's pissed at being kidnapped and held hostage from her bed in the middle of the night but aside from that, and even more than that, she's curious. As she watches Hawk suffer an attack that leaves his body going up in flames, only to regenerate before her very eyes, she comes to the realization that nothing is as it seems and becomes all too eager to listen to everything Hawk has to say, believing every word.

And once she crosses over with Hawk and (most of) his men, Hadley discovers a world beyond her wildest imagination. All the while conversing with a giant squid from her dreams.

I have to say, Hawk is rather extreme. First with Jeremiah when the guy suggests he be a bit nicer to Hadley and then, once in Haven, when his man Stone offers to assist Hadley as they make their way to Astor, the capital city. Woah! Who would have thought that would be such an issue. God forbid the woman mention Stone's name afterward, as she did, and create a whole issue out of it. "High School 101" indeed! Our dear hero has insecurity problems. Jealousy problems. Temper problems, too.

And I laughed my ass off throughout the entire ordeal. The guy is deliciously insane.

While it may take a bit to get into the flow of things, this story is actually a great twist on the whole making a deal with the devil thing. The attraction between Hadley and Hawk is instant and yes, the romance may feel a bit rushed, but it works in this case. For this reader anyway.

4 out of 5 stars.

Now, what the hell happened to book two?!

UPDATE (10/29/14)
First Dimension was re-written, and republished, under the title Everywhere and Nowhere on July 4, 2014. It's sequel is currently a WIP by the author.


Taming the Darkness

"I don't want something to fuck, I want you."

Taming the Darkness
Devin Harnois
Love & Monsters, book two
ebook, 145 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN 9781619213326

He used to fight monsters. Now he is one.

Claire Scarlotti has been fighting the nasties for years, but it hasn’t seemed to have made a dent. She hopes that volunteering for a secret project will not only make a difference, but gain her the recognition she craves.

But her new partner is going to be difficult. Especially at night, when he turns into a nasty. But nasty or human, she has to be able to trust him. If she can’t…well, her finger is never far from the trigger.

Victor Monroe volunteered to test a vaccine and ended up a monster. Half-nasty and half-human, he can’t always control his actions—or his desires. His first instinct is to drive Claire away to protect her. Until he discovers her touch is the human connection he desperately needs to tame his monster.

Now they must prove that Victor and others like him could be a valuable weapon against the nightmarish creatures that roam the world. If they can’t, they’ll be worse than failures. They’ll be dead.

Product Warnings:
Contains monsters, violence, a kick-ass heroine, a hero on the edge of sanity, lab experiments gone wrong, unexpected tenderness and safe sex that involves chains.

The blurb sets this story up oh so nicely. Claire is out to make a difference, and yeah, she's out for glory, too. So when given the chance to get out of patrols and actually do something that might change their situation in the war against nasties, she grabs it. Without even knowing what she's volunteering for.

Her task is simple. Partner an "alt"-a man who was once a soldier but, after his own stunt at volunteering, has been left as something in between human and monster. Victor retains his human form, able to shift into a wolf-like beast with all the instincts to kill that go with it. He can't always control his inner animal, especially after dark, but Claire awakens a strength in his humanity he's never felt before.

She fears him. He can smell it. But she defies her fear at every turn and that scares him. She's willing to be alone with him, touch him, even go into the fighting pens at his side. Claire knows she's a tad insane for the way Victor makes her feel but she's seen the man beneath the animal. And she connects with him.

It amazes me how simple these stories are of Harnois' are, and yet how good they turn out. Action. Romance. Lust. Despair. Happy Ending. All bases are covered.

4 out of 5 stars.


Burning Alive: Sentinel Wars #1

Whoever she was, he was keeping her.

Burning Alive
Shannon K Butcher
Sentinal Wars, book one
ebook, 254 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Onyx Books
ISBN 9781101046586

They are the Sentinels.

Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes-the Synestryn. Now, one warrior must fight his own desire if he is to discover the power that lies within his one true love.

Helen Day is haunted by visions of herself surrounded by flames, as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her from across a diner, she attempts to flee-but instead ends up in the man's arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine. For the man is actually Theronai warrior Drake, whose own pain is driven away by Helen's presence.

Together, they may become more than lovers-they may become a weapon of light that could tip the balance of the war and save Drake's people...

Damn Goodreads and their too good to resist Recommendations feature. When this series popped up, and looked oh so yummy, I had to snatch it up. All eight of them.

Helen has long suffered a vision of her death in which she burns alive as a man, all the while smiling, does nothing to aid her.

When she sees that same man across the diner where she and her elderly friend are having dinner, the woman can't help but stare at him in her moment of panic. And it doesn't take long for Drake to take notice.

As a Theronai, Drake, along with Thomas and Zach, have lived centuries fighting against Synestryns (demons and monsters) in a never ending effort to protect humankind. Earth is but a gateway to the world Athanasia, and the Synestryns want in. The Theronai bear a "lifemark" which resembles a tattoo of a tree that covers their torso that was but a seed at their birth and grows as they age. Until, ultimately, it withers. And as the leaves fall, they know their soul will wither and fade as well.

Their only hope is to find a Theronai female that can channel the power that they spend their entire life harvesting and storing. They themselves cannot use the power, only their bonded mate. Who can also ease the pain of their long lived existence and the battles and loss that have come with it.

When we meet Thomas, he has but one leaf left.

Drake was... all right. In that overbearing, man-handling, alpha male kind of way. But curse him for faulting Logan for taking advantage of Helen's ignorance in order to get her blood. Drake certainly had no qualms about doing the exact same thing to get her to take his luceria. And thank you, Paul, for bringing that to everybody's attention.

Logan... That Sanguinar had me from the moment he opened his mouth.

Zach... Tons of fun to be had with that guy. Too bad his book isn't until the third installment. He and Lexi do get their start here though. And my, what a start it is!

Thomas... Damn. He deserved better. He deserved a story. He certainly deserved a better death. Thomas loses the last of his leaves and knows he doesn't have much time left. He pushes Drake to go after their fallen brother's sword (which is the plot of the whole book), but in doing so, it pushes Drake to put Helen in a position she is in no damn way prepared for, and it costs Thomas his life. And all for nothing. How does a guy live over four hundred years die by getting eaten by a worm?! Bad form, Ms. Butcher.

In this world, with these races, a Theronai female may be the destined mate for multiple men, but she has to choose. Only one can claim her and thus be saved by her. Drake is one option for Helen. Paul, is another.

Many of the reviews I read (and I do need to stop doing that!) bashed this book in one way or another. One such reviewer quoted a few times how things didn't match up. For instance, there was a line where Drake thought how much he loved her voice, especially when she was crying out in release. The reviewer claimed they hadn't been intimate yet, and even checked back to be sure of herself. Well, she was wrong. They had. Whether a failure of attentiveness, or the lack of memorable quality to the scene, it is what it is. I certainly don't mean to attack the reviewer in pointing this out. God knows, I miss more than my share of the details all the time. It was just something that hit me kinda hard.

Another thing many judged harshly was Helen herself. She wasn't nearly as annoying as others I've read and really, the worst part of her was her name. Helen Day. The girl spent almost her entire life believing she was going to die by fire. Hell, I'd be a nutcase, too.

Burning Alive does a great job in setting the stage for the rest of the series even though, in the end, you'll find the entire story was a distraction from what was really happening somewhere in the shadows. So yes, the sentiment "What the fuck did I just read?" was definitely shared here.

3 out of 5 stars.


Photo Opportunity

"You're an idiot-and a hypocrite."

Photo Opportunity
Jess Dee
ebook, 232 pages
Published May 2nd 2008 by Samhain Publishing
ISBN 9781599989303

Can friends become lovers...can lovers remain friends?

Daniel Tanner's through with being loved like the proverbial brother. He intends to make his best friend, Amy Morgan, blaze with the same desire he feels for her. The plan? Initiate a series of escapades that will have Amy falling into his arms--and into his bed.

When her trusted buddy suddenly turns up the heat, Amy finds it impossible to resist his sexy advances. But as his best friend, she knows a thing or two about Daniel. While he may be charming and gorgeous, he's also commitment phobic.

If she trusts her heart to him, she's sure he'll leave it--and their friendship--shattered in a million pieces.

At age fourteen, Daniel knew he wanted to be in Amy Morgan's life forever. He also knew he was in no position to declare everlasting love to his newly found friend, so he settled with just being that, a friend. And for seventeen years, that was enough.

After aiding in a fundraiser for the children's ward at a hospital, Daniel realizes his life is far from where he wants it to be, and he's done with the love 'em and leave 'em part of his life. There's only one woman he ever wanted, and it's long past time to make her his. And so, through an elaborate scheme, he sets out to make his best friend fall in love with him. He just needs her to see him in a different light. He needs to get past that first kiss.

To Amy, Daniel is the one constant in her life. Her father abandoned her after cheating multiple times on her mother, and Simon, her lover of two years, left after she caught him with another woman in their bed. Well, "left" after she kicked his sorry ass out, that is. She's long lusted for her best friend's body, but she swore to never chance their friendship with a fling. Besides, Daniel never stays with his women. But he's always stayed with her.

When Daniel needs to convince a married admirer that he's not interested, Amy knows they're heading into dangerous territory, but with one kiss, she loses her mind to the heat that ignites between them. While she tries to fight it, to get back over the line between friends and lovers, she eventually succumbs and once they've slept together she convinces herself that it's only a matter of time before he'll leave and everything they once had would be gone forever.

So when Daniel gets a job offer that will reunite him with one of his former girlfriends, Amy decides it's time to end it. Hoping against hope there's still a chance to save their friendship. Baffled, crushed, and utterly pissed, Daniel leaves. And he doesn't try to win her back.

As friends-to-lovers stories go, this is a great one. Very similar to Turn It Up by Inez Kelley, which still holds the crown as my favorite f-t-l. When rating this one, I was stumped. While it falls short of AH-mazing, there wasn't anything I found I would have changed. Ok, maybe Daniel should still have sent the flower every day he was gone. Then, maybe not. The guy had done so much. He had every right to say 'fuck it' and leave Amy with her hypocritical, idiot self.

The smut is steamy and the chemistry between them, as both friends and lovers, is very well written. Plus, you can't help but love Daniel. You just can't.

4.9 out of 5 stars.


Werewolves Be Damned: Magic & Mayhem #1

Werewolves Be Damned
Stacey Kennedy
Magic & Mayhem, book one
ebook, 267 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by Entangled Publishing
ISBN 9781622661046

Nexi Jones—part witch, part guardian, and wannabe kick-ass warrior—can’t throw a punch or conjure the simplest magic. But that doesn’t stop her from hunting the werewolves who slaughtered her human family. She’ll have her revenge, but only if Kyden, the elite guardian, would get the hell out of her way.

Kyden can’t decide if Nexi wants to get herself killed or if she just has no clue what she’s doing. But her father made it clear: keep Nexi safe…or else. Of course, the more Nexi runs toward revenge, the more she needs Kyden’s aid, and as she grows into her power and confidence, so does his desire to protect her. The only problem? She’d rather he dropped dead.

But when a vampire paints a bull’s-eye on Nexi’s back, she’s hard-pressed to deny Kyden and the help he’s offering. Even if it means getting her revenge will be a little bit harder. At least it will still be as sweet.

Stacey Kennedy is one of those authors whose work I either love (An Everlasting Bite, BB#1 and A Deadly Whisper, Watchers #1) or I just.. don't (Forever Bound and Whispers of Evil, Watchers #2). This, was one I just didn't, and couldn't, enjoy. And neither could I finish.

You could be born in a cave, raised under a rock, and possibly still know more about the paranormal than Miss Nexi Jones. The girl drove me batty. After just four chapters, in which I had to endure Kyden explaining glamour to the child -and she still couldn't grasp the concept!- I had to call it quits. Sitting through an entire book with a cast of characters who are forced to placate this wanna be avenger at every turn would have been excruciating. And I'm just not that kind of masochist.



Divided: Brides of the Kindred #10

"Go on Far - show me more." -Truth

Evangeline Anderson
Brides of the Kindred, book ten
Kindle Edition, 483 pages
Published March 12th 2014 by Evangeline Anderson Books

One girl who was supposed to be a nun

Two hot twin warriors separated at birth

Both of them want her
But neither one can have her alone.
Because with Twin Kindred, it takes two...

How does a girl who's about to take her vows as a nun wind up with two hot warriors to pick from?

That's Becca Malone's problem. After eating a piece of bonding fruit cake, she wound up with Far and Truth, Twin Kindred warriors who were separated at birth and never formed a proper Twin bond. Because the twins hate each other, Becca feels free to choose between them...until the three of them fall into a vision of unspeakable terror...a vision that is about to come true if Far and Truth don't quickly form a bond. And guess who has to be the bridge between them?

Becca is scared to death she's going to wind up bonded for life and Far and Truth aren't too thrilled about the prospect of sharing her. But when the ominous vision sends them on a trip to a rogue planet where the inhabitants live out their lives in a strange, mental internet called the Mindscape, they have no choice but to come together in the most intimate way possible.

Becca comes to realize she can't choose between the light twin, sweet and gentle Far and the dark twin, intense and passionate Truth. But how can she be with both of them at once when the twins have sworn to be forever...Divided?

Years ago, a ship was attacked as it transported a number of families and pregnant women through space. Among them, were a bonded Twin Kindred and their mate who was in labor. The female died after she birthed but one of her twins and one of her husbands died protecting them. Her other mate, Feels Much, took the newborn (Truth) and escaped to the planet of Pax, where the Rai-ku dwell. The remaining babe (Far) was birthed soon after and was adopted by a Twin Kindred family who raised him accordingly.

The Rai-ku live in a strict culture where mates are possessively protected and never shared. Touch, between males even among the same family is limited to acts of aggression and fighting. They'll shake arms, rarely. Truth was raised to be as the Rai-Ku. He does not seek his brother, or to share his intended mate.

Rebecca once aspired to be a nun, but the effects of the bonding fruit and her meeting of the brothers Far and Truth quickly ended that dream. Her long instilled beliefs are slow to follow. Raised by devout religious parents, Becca balks at the idea of being with two men at once, and even plays at choosing between Far and Truth. A plot to which the brothers willingly agree. Truth defies the thought of being bonded to another male while Far is equally loathe to the idea of bonding with a brother who doesn't want him... despite the longing he has always possessed for his twin.

Too bad. So sad. It doesn't work that way for the Twin Kindred. All or nothing, both or none, are the rules of the game.

After a possessed Donald (Maggie's ex-fiance) manages an attack on the unmated males aboard the Mother Ship, it's up to Rebecca, Truth, and Far to procure the enchanted amulet once used by an ancient race to rid the males of their demon possession. They venture into space, to a planet long dead and void, where the survivors fled into a world of virtual reality in order to carry on. There, by thorough manipulation, Rebecca and her to-be-mates relive the worst traumas of their lives in order to forge a bond to be of one mind.

Far's role left me breathless as he coaxed Truth to shed his long adhered to beliefs in the right and wrongs of sharing mates. Tempting Truth with his most natural desires and urges... Holy hotness!

With Far and Truth's Twin Kindred bond at long last secure, Truth goes all in. As their quest brings him back to Pax, where he must confront his stepmother and people, he's forced to become an exile and nearly loses his life to his younger half-brother, Garron, in order to do so. When the Rai-Ku call for a death match so that only one male may claim Rebecca, Truth is, at first, ordered to fight Far, who (fortunately and unfortunately) is already on the brink of death from the Rai-Ku's attack). Deceptively, Garron steps in to fight for him, (and so his uncle will not) and swears to protect Rebecca once Truth is dead. The two half-brothers have their own plan and through a brilliant, yet risky move, all four of them manage to escape Pax with the amulet in hand.

I intended to skim this book. Triangles and three-ways don't do it for me the way they do for others out there. But the more I read, the more I kept reading. Until every word had been absorbed into my self. All 162,000+ of them.

Far made the book for me. He was exactly what his character needed to be and Anderson scripted every turn so very well. From who gets the first kiss to the firsts of so many other things. Even who gets to die. Kat and her guys in no way compared to these three. Can't stand that woman anyway.

4 out of 5 stars.

Next in this series: Devoured. Garron's story. (Summer 2014)

Previously in the series:


Brighid's Cross: Keepers of the Flame, #1

Brighid's Cross
Cate Morgan
End of Days, book three
Keepers of the Flame, book one
ebook, 87 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 9781609286316

One woman with a job to do. One gorgeous hacker with a plan. One apocalypse. Any questions?

Aika Lareto is a descendent of St. Brighid in her incarnation of all things fire and warfare in a time when heroes were revered as gods. In 2025, this means Aika is hunted by all things demon and government. All she wants is to get on with her work as guardian of the dregs scraping out a fringe existence in London s blitzed underground the lost, forgotten and the just plain ignored.

Declan Pryce is the hacker who finds her first. Quite a feat, considering current ruling government conglomerate Dreamtech has issued a bounty on Aika's head for her ability to bypass their security systems.

When she escapes Dreamtech's net, the vote is unanimous.

Aika is a liability in need of immediate resolution dead or alive is entirely her choice.

No choice, really. She ll take death over disloyalty every time. Declan has a plan that doesn't include falling for an impossible woman in an impossible situation. She has plans of her own that don't leave room for a love life.

If they're incredibly lucky, it just might work.

Brighid's Cross is both book three in the End of Days series (shared with Mina Carter and Karen Erickson) and book one of the Keepers of the Flame series... and it has terrible reviews on Goodreads. But did that stop me from finishing up End Of Days? Perhaps, it should have.

This story is not told well. That is, I have no idea what the hell it was about. There was a plot. And there was a goal. And it was achieved. I'm just not sure what *it* was. She stabbed something? Something was thwarted by the action?

Okay, here's what I know, or, what I think I know. Aika is, or was, an angel in a world where angels are nothing more than evolved humans now living back on what is left of Earth. But mortals have the gift of choice. And that's all she ever wanted.

In this post-apocalyptic setting, Aika protects the survivors of the great war, living outside of a society that may or may not exist. Dreamtech is the villain, though I don't recall any demons.

Declan is a hacker on a search for angels, or Other, or any combination of the two. He first becomes aware of Aika via security cameras and tracks her down within hours of Dreamtech putting out a bounty on her. The two know each other a mere day before they end up in bed together so even the romance, and I use the term loosely, is rushed.

I have to believe the author knew what was going on, and maybe she shared with Aika. But it's a secret neither are sharing with anyone else.

1 out of 5 stars.


Free Four: A Divergent Story

Free Four
Veronica Roth
Divergent, book 1.5
ebook, 13 pages
Published April 23rd 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
original title: Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story
ISBN 9780062237422

#1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth retells a pivotal Divergent scene (chapter 13) from Tobias's point of view. This thirteen-page scene reveals unknown facts and fascinating details about Four's character, his past, his own initiation, and his thoughts about new Dauntless initiate Tris Prior.

There's a scene in Divergent where Four slams Tris with something along the lines of "I'm getting tired of waiting for you to catch on". A definite "Don't You Get It?" moment. Which she doesn't. And he doesn't go on to explain.

This is that scene, told through Four's point of view, and told remarkably well at that. It's only thirteen pages, and *should* be one of those free reads authors tend to have on their websites or as a bonus at the end of book one. You have to pay for this one though. A whopping 99¢.

More authors should re-tell scenes through another point of view!

4 out of 5 stars.


New Release: Divided (Brides of the Kindred, #10)

Evangeline Anderson
Brides of the Kindred, book ten
Kindle Edition, 483 pages
Published March 12th 2014 by Evangeline Anderson Books

One girl who was supposed to be a nun

Two hot twin warriors separated at birth

Both of them want her
But neither one can have her alone.
Because with Twin Kindred, it takes two...

How does a girl who's about to take her vows as a nun wind up with two hot warriors to pick from?

That's Becca Malone's problem. After eating a piece of bonding fruit cake, she wound up with Far and Truth, Twin Kindred warriors who were separated at birth and never formed a proper Twin bond. Because the twins hate each other, Becca feels free to choose between them...until the three of them fall into a vision of unspeakable terror...a vision that is about to come true if Far and Truth don't quickly form a bond. And guess who has to be the bridge between them?

Becca is scared to death she's going to wind up bonded for life and Far and Truth aren't too thrilled about the prospect of sharing her. But when the ominous vision sends them on a trip to a rogue planet where the inhabitants live out their lives in a strange, mental internet called the Mindscape, they have no choice but to come together in the most intimate way possible.

Becca comes to realize she can't choose between the light twin, sweet and gentle Far and the dark twin, intense and passionate Truth. But how can she be with both of them at once when the twins have sworn to be forever...Divided?

She did it AGAIN!

Just two weeks ago I vented about the surprise attacks of Evangeline Anderson's books here. And now, she does it again with Divided. I love the Brides of the Kindred series, although could live without threesomes and triangles. So this one is just a skim through until the next story comes along... whenever I can get my hands on it.


“See if you can figure out why they call me Four."

Veronica Roth
Divergent, book one
ebook, 487 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
(first published April 25th 2011)
ISBN 9780062077011

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves... or it might destroy her.

It's that time again. Time for another attempt at finding and reading a Young Adult book... and actually enjoy it.

Divergent - the book.

Beatrice was born in a world where cultures are strictly defined and abided by. Her family, including her mother, father, and older brother, Caleb, belong to the Abnegation faction. They are to be selfless. Absolutely no vanity of any kind is welcome among those in Abnegation.

Divergent opens up on the day of Beatrice's aptitude test, where she drinks a vial of clear liquid and suddenly finds herself in a different place, challenged by riddles. First, pick a basket: cheese or knife. Frightened, curious, and confused, despite the yelling at her to choose, she does not. Suddenly a dog appears. Growling. She can't bribe it. She can't fight it. There's nowhere to run. She chooses, based upon her knowledge of the beast, to show submission. A girl emerges, the dog attacks, and Beatrice saves her. From there, she is on a bus with a man who asks if she knows someone. A murderer. She does, or feels like she does. She tells the man no and in so, cannot save him.

In the end, only two factions have been ruled out: Amity (the peaceful) and Candor (the honest). Beatrice is equally able to belong to Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite (the intelligent). She is Divergent.

I chose to read this book for it's upcoming theatrical release and I've never read a book-to-film before. From its trailer I knew there was a love interest, though I had avoided learning whom. I first assumed it was a young man Beatrice, now Tris, met upon her arrival in the Dauntless faction. A man with no name. He was the one person she considered in a positive light. It was Four, however, who came to captivate Tris, and myself for that matter. And thankfully so. The alternatives were certainly not an option.

  • I could not be attracted to Al. I could not be attracted at anyone that fragile.

Praise be for that!

So yes, Tris chose Dauntless while Caleb, her "selfless" brother, chose Erudite. Throughout the first week of initiation, Tris must learn to fight, to shoot, and to overcome the ever present bullying she receives from a boy named Peter and his friends. She manages to find friendship with Christina, Al, and Will while Four is ever attentive throughout the process.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
“Fine.” He leans his face closer to mine, his eyes focusing on my chin, and my lips, and my nose. “I watched you because I like you.” He says it plainly, boldly, and his eyes flick up to mine. “And don’t call me ‘Four,’ okay? It’s nice to hear my name again.”
Just like that, he has finally declared himself, and I don’t know how to respond. My cheeks warm, and all I can think to say is, “But you’re older than I am…Tobias.”
He smiles at me. “Yes, that whopping two-year gap really is insurmountable, isn’t it?”
“I’m not trying to be self-deprecating,” I say, “I just don’t get it. I’m younger. I’m not pretty. I—”
He laughs, a deep laugh that sounds like it came from deep inside him, and touches his lips to my temple.
“Don’t pretend,” I say breathily. “You know I’m not. I’m not ugly, but I am certainly not pretty.”
“Fine. You’re not pretty. So?” He kisses my cheek. “I like how you look. You’re deadly smart. You’re brave. And even though you found out about Marcus…” His voice softens. “You aren’t giving me that look. Like I’m a kicked puppy or something.”
“Well,” I say. “You’re not.”

For a second his dark eyes are on mine, and he’s quiet. Then he touches my face and leans in close, brushing my lips with his. The river roars and I feel its spray on my ankles. He grins and presses his mouth to mine. I tense up at first, unsure of myself, so when he pulls away, I’m sure I did something wrong, or badly. But he takes my face in his hands, his fingers strong against my skin, and kisses me again, firmer this time, more certain. I wrap an arm around him, sliding my hand up his neck and into his short hair. For a few minutes we kiss, deep in the chasm, with the roar of water all around us. And when we rise, hand in hand, I realize that if we had both chosen differently, we might have ended up doing the same thing, in a safer place, in gray clothes instead of black ones.

After reading this book, I re-watched the trailer and was pleasantly surprised at the many scenes that I reacted to in reading that actually made it into the preview. His hand on her belly for one. Though, in the book, he brushed skin. A note: About 80% of the trailer is 30% of the book.

I'm very curious what they'll change. What they'll add. What they'll manipulate.

I never would have guessed Four was only eighteen. Could blame the trailer for that (the actor is about my age) but seriously, he should have been in his twenties.

The book ends at a slightly quickened pace, and disaster is, for now, averted. But it doesn't come without its casualties. Tris loses her parents and most of her friends. She's the reason for their deaths. She's even the cause for some. Four becomes her enemy although finds redemption before the final page turn and we leave them with their world on the brink of war.

Love is requited. Sex is put off. (And for a YA, I'm so very grateful for that.)

He turns toward me. I want to touch him, but I’m afraid of his bareness; afraid that he will make me bare too. “Is this scaring you, Tris?”
“No,” I croak. I clear my throat. “Not really. I’m only…afraid of what I want.”
“What do you want?” Then his face tightens. “Me?”
Slowly I nod. He nods too, and takes my hands in his gently. He guides my palms to his stomach. His eyes lowered, he pushes my hands up, over his abdomen and over his chest, and holds them against his neck. My palms tingle with the feel of his skin, smooth, warm. My face is hot, but I shiver anyway. He looks at me.
“Someday,” he says, “if you still want me, we can…” He pauses, clears his throat. “We can…”
I smile a little and wrap my arms around him before he finishes, pressing the side of my face to his chest. I feel his heartbeat against my cheek, as fast as my own.
“Are you afraid of me, too, Tobias?”
“Terrified,” he replies with a smile.

It took a good while for me to really get into this book. Well past half way. It was the world itself that had me intrigued for the first half. The characters won me in over in the second. My advice in reading this book? Pay Attention.

In many stories there are moments not all that pertinent to the plot but necessary nonetheless. Moments that serve merely to allow the reader a further glimpse into the character. Time, or events, that allow you to relate to the hero/heroine. To even bond. In Divergent, that's not the case. Every scene is vital. And it may seem jumpy at times. But every conversation will come round to a full circle. And in the revelation of this highly structured world's details, I can only hope, will a bond arise with Tris.

I still stand by my feelings toward YA characters. They're shallow. Too young. Too green. Their biggest problems have yet to brush the pains of life. But Divergent got me. It really did.

“I have something to tell you,” he says. I run my fingers along the tendons in his hand and look back at him. “I might be in love with you.” He smiles a little. “I’m waiting until I’m sure to tell you, though.”
“That’s sensible of you,” I say, smiling too. “We should find some paper so you can make a list or a chart or something.”
I feel his laughter against my side, his nose sliding along my jaw, his lips pressing behind my ear. “Maybe I’m already sure,” he says, “and I just don’t want to frighten you.”
I laugh a little. “Then you should know better.”
“Fine,” he says. “Then I love you.”

I may or may not continue to Insurgent in the future, but I will go on to the short stories of Divergent, told through Four's eyes. His story is the prequel. His story is the tale I want to hear told.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Divergent - the film.

(Coming Soon)


Upcoming Release: Shield of Winter

Shield of Winter
Nalini Singh

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch...
Coming June 3, 2014 to Amazon.com