Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Evil Is A Choice, Not a Birthright

"Dying overrated.
Human sentimentality has twisted it into the ultimate act of love.
Biggest load of bullshit in the world.
Dying for someone isn't the hard thing.
The man that dies escapes. Plain and simple.
Game over. End of pain.
Alina was the lucky one. Try living for someone.
Through it all--good, bad, thick, thin, joy, suffering.
That's the hard thing."
--Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever


Genre: Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 608
Publication Date: January 18th, 2011
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series:  Darkfever & Bloodfever & Faefever & Dreamfever
Goodreads Description

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.” — MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. — Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh -- a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it

The Conclusion

So, this is gonna have to be quick and dirty because the final book of this series is everything I wanted it to be so far be it from me to ruin it for anybody that hasn't read this series. Overall, this story to me was about personal growth, self-acceptance in the purest sense of the word, and overcoming the most intense of obstacles. Mac is a character I wasn't too sure I would grow to really love but wow, does this girl bring the heat. She has grown and adapted and evolved so incredibly much from the naive Southern Belle we met her as. She is a kickass bitch who not only kicks asses, takes names, but deports your ass. She is awesome. My favorite part of her transformation is when she gives Barrons (Jericho...drool) the business in regards to what they are. No spoilers but there is one particular scene where I was grinning like an idiot and wanting to fist pump. It was just awesome.

Jericho Barrons...I mean, what do I even say about this man? Except that he is simply one of the most complex, intricately developed characters ever. His alpha-ness makes other alphas run and cower. Learning his nuances and feelings was like Christmas freaking morning. Every little tidbit of information or insight I got on this man, I was salivating over. I cannot verbalize enough how fascinated I am by him.

OMG THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK?! How could I forget? I sobbed the first two chapters. Oh, my gosh. Obviously I won't tell you what happened but holy feels. The repercussions of the end of Dreamfever and the beginning of Shadowfever was something I never saw coming. No joke, the story from there just skyrockets into amazing. Plot twists come out of nowhere, characters are revealed to be so much more than we initially thought, questions are answered that we have been contemplating about since Darkfever. Like, I don't even know what to say! I cannot do this book justice because there are so many reveals that I am at a loss for words...damn, this review sucks doesn't it? Ok, so I'll try to give you a little insight as to what happens. We get more info on Darroc and his plan. He meet more of Barrons' men. We get SO MUCH history about the Unseelie King and his concubine. THIS was amazing! Ok, I'm done. I don't know what else to say. All I can say is read this series. This series is completely kickass and gets better as you read it. Each book builds off the last to a conclusion that you never see coming.

The Posturing

I know this was all meant to drive the plot but the stupidity of the other side-seers in regards to how tyrannic Rowena was drove me up the walls. Like, how can you not see how bat-shit crazy this old braud is? She doesn't care about you. All she cares about is herself and hoarding all the pertinent information you need. This lady was a bully in the highest degree. How could they not see this? I have no idea what this bitch's MO was besides just being the leader and everyone following blindly. I'm with Dani on this one, you're all sheep. Baaah.

VIP
If you love a good paranormal series that is equal parts sexy and mysterious, this series is definitely for you. It is a slow burn of tension and plot reveals that leaves you dying for more...I need more Mac and Barrons.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Scientific Proof of Destiny

"I meant it when I said I didn't believe in love at first sight.
It takes time to really, truly fall for someone.
Yet I believe in a moment.
A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth within you.
In that moment, you don't belong to yourself any longer, not completely.
Part of you belongs him; part of him belongs to you.
After that, you can't take it back, no matter how much you want to,
no matter how hard you try."
--Claudia Gray, A Thousand Pieces of You


Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 368
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: First book in the Firebird Trilogy
Goodreads Description

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.
The Story

People, please excuse me while I get my geek girl freak on. This book introduces us to the idea that there are alternate dimensions and universes that are layered on top of one another. Marguerite is our main girl whose father recently was killed and is using her parent's research to travel between dimensions in hunt for his killer. She believes one of her parent's research assistant's is her father's murderer so she teams up with a different assistant to bring justice to her father. This whole idea of millions upon millions of alternate universes laying atop one another is such a fantastic piece of mind-fuckery I was in awe the entire time. The idea that there could be alternate versions of yourself living all these crazy different lives IS SO FREAKING COOL! Add into that storyline the component of fate and destiny and you get a recipe for amazing. But I'll talk more about that later.

Seriously though, this alternate dimension and travel between them made my nerd girl heart sing. The science behind it, experiencing Marguerite in different types of lives was just so freaking cool. Hint: Take a peek at the cover and it gives a major hint to where a piece of the story goes and anybody that knows me knows how freaking excited I was when this location came into play. Can I jump universes?

The Inevitable

You guys. I LOVE reading books that discuss the idea of fate and destiny. So. Freaking. Much. What's even cooler than this topic? The exploration that certain people in every single alternate universe will be drawn to each other. They talked mathematical pull that in every universe, certain people will always find one another. If that isn't one of the most gosh damned romantic things I've ever read, I don't know what is. I believe in fate. I believe in destiny. I believe wholeheartedly in the quote at the top of the review. I don't believe in love at first sight either but I believe in a connection, a moment. I found this line to be so perfectly in sync in what I believe and just ever so beautiful. Reading about Marguerite experiencing different versions of herself yet knowing that at the core of her soul she is the same as are the people she loves was absolutely amazing to read about. It gave me all the warm and fuzzies feelings.

The Details

The details and descriptions of the different realities was really fantastic. Claudia Gray did an amazing job with visualization of all these different worlds. I could see each universe perfectly in my head and I thoroughly enjoyed one particular universe for many, many amazing reasons.

The Jumpers

Marguerite, Theo, and Paul are the main focus of the story and we meet them in turn in each universe as well. The mystery surrounding Marguerite's father's murder kept me on my toes while not exactly guessing, see below. I can't give away too much plot but I can say that I LOVED how certain character's stories intertwined and developed. So much freaking love for this aspect. I REALLY want to be able to talk more details but I can't! I'll let you read and find out :)

The Shock

This is actually both a Belle and a Beast for me. There was one major reveal of the plot that I felt was starting us and Marguerite right in the face the entire time. How she didn't question this avenue or add things up was a little questionable to me because this is a very smart girl we are talking about here. However, while the biggest "shocker" didn't surprise me...it wasn't exactly what I thought either. So I guess I was still surprised at the endgame of the plot twist but the majority of it was a little too obvious to me.

The End

Again, a more pseudo-Beast. I loved how the book ended. I didn't know it was a trilogy when I requested it, I thought it was a standalone so I was a little irritated I was getting involved with another series thinking it would end on a cliffhanger with no answers but IT DOESN'T! While there are definitely ways to extend this story, this book was a completed story with the best type of an open ending if you can even call it that. The major issues of this story is resolved, we have our answers, a circle is completed. While I would like to read more about the characters because I like them, the book felt like a complete and independent book. There's room for more for sure but I liked that this particular story resolved. Yay!

Backstage Pass
While I was hesitant to start this because it's the first book in a trilogy, I was pleasantly surprised to feel very satisfied at this book's ending. Don't let the trilogy scare you. If you love sci-fi and the idea of destiny and romance, you'll love this book. It is smart, funny, and heartfelt. A great read to get your mind thinking. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Forever and Everything

"I think Life is a book...God writes it.
We're His characters. He knows what happens on the next page, but we don't.
Heaven is where we get to read the book cover to cover and see how it all makes sense."
--Tiffany Reisz, The Saint


Genre: Adult Contemporary, Erotica
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA 
Pages: 446
Publication Date: June 24th, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: The Siren & The Angel & The Prince & The Mistress
Goodreads Description

In the beginning, there was him.

Gutsy, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Søren Stearns and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Suddenly, daily Mass seems like a reward, and her punishment is the ache she feels when they're apart. He is intelligent and insightful and he seems to know her intimately at her very core. Eleanor is consumed—and even she knows that can't be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. She vows to repay him with complete obedience…and a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets.

Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.
Mini-Review

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. This is the story and the origins of Nora and Soren. Excuse me, Eleanor and Soren. First of all, I loved that I could read this story with no anxiety. I know how their story ends. I don't have to be wondering if they get together or not. I just fell right into the story and loved spending time with Eleanor and Soren. Our story is told via flashbacks with Nora in present day grieving over an unknown situation and hanging out *cough* with Nicolas.

Let me tell you, the writing of Tiffany Reisz never ceases to amaze me. She tells this story with a beautiful hindsight and all the details finally fall into place. I was so invested in this story and I actually forgot I was reading at points and that we were heading towards a conclusion because I was so captivated by the story. I never wanted it to end. I loved seeing Eleanor and Soren's first interactions and what brought them to their epic relationship. Their conversations are deep, thought provoking, sexy. The way they connect fully and completely and the lengths they go to to be there for one another is breathtaking at points. You know going into it that certain things happened in specific situations but getting the details was enthralling. So much more happens that I could have ever imagined. Soren continues to make me weak in the knees and worship at his feet but it was Nora and Kingsley who really blew me away.

Nora...I didn't think I could love Nora anymore but teenage Eleanor was quite a treat. She is funny and witty and smart! Her dialogue is so freaking funny I was actually laughing at loud at so many points. I loved her vulgar mouth and how confident she was. The way she handles, because yes she does handle him, Soren was f'ing amazing. She takes it and gives it back just as much. For reals. My heart broke for her reading about the truth behind her relationship with her parents. I wanted to take her in myself and love her unconditionally. And while I did fall in literature love with Nora even more...

...meeting young Kingsley was my favorite part. I really connected with him in The Prince but always was a little wary of him and his jealousy of Nora. I take it back now because Kingsley is fucking awesome. So funny. So charming. So witty. His interaction with Nora were some of my favorite parts of the book. I felt like this book really helped us see his connection with Nora and how he really does love her and want to protect her. An incident with her father in particular warmed my heart even further to him.

If you have read The Original Sinners series and you have not read this yet, make it a priority. This is a beautiful story of where our characters came from and you can read it without any anxiety wondering how their story is going to end. This was the best part. 


VIP
This book had me absolutely enchanted. What I loved was that I already knew the ending and could just enjoy the story. I wasn't anxious, I wasn't nervous they wouldn't end up together, I forgot I was reading half the time because I was so enchanted by just being in their world and learning their beginnings. Le sigh...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Life in Books {27}



So I think I'm getting a little better at posting these...right?! Another ridick book haul...IDK how this is happening!


Bought
The Execution of Nora P. Singleton by Elizabeth Silver
The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Review
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
Riding Dirty by Jill Sorensen
Atlantia by Ally Condie
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgewick

Thanks Estelle, Harper Teen, Penguin, Macmillian, and Edelweiss!!!

Borrowed
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Butterfly and the Violinist by Kristy Cambry
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Amanda Pressner, Holly Corbett


Gifted
Another Man's Bride by Ariel MacArran
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
The Winter Guest by Pan Jenoff
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Thanks you Ariel and Hannah!!!!!

Bloggers Mentioned
Hannah at So Obsessed With 

What books are in your haul this week?!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bon Voyage

"I suppose I hadn't believed in Fate until that point.
But it's hard not to, when you think how far we had both come.
Hard not to when you think that there was no way across miles, continents, vast oceans, we were meant to see each other again."
--Jojo Moyes, The Ship of Brides


Genre: Adult Historical Fiction and Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 464
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Me Before You & One Plus One & The Girl You Left Behind & Silver Bay
Goodreads Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and One Plus One, a post-WWII story of the war brides who crossed the seas by the thousands to face their unknown futures

1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime.

In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever.
The Women

Because OBVIOUSLY this would not be a Jojo Moyes book without me falling head over heels in love with the characters. This book follows four women, all Australian brides getting on a ship to Britain to be reunited with their husbands. Their journeys are all vastly different but connected in that they are all sharing the same cabin. Maggie, a farm girl who is also pregnant by her husband is down to earth, sweet, caring, and kind. She sees people for who they are and treats everyone with respect...as long as they deserve it. Even though she doesn't believe she has it, I loved her motherly tendencies toward the other characters. She was the rock and glue that kind of held them all together. Jean, a 16 year old girl who wants nothing more than to be loved. She's one of those characters you're quick to dislike because of how she is presented initially but she grew on me so much. I love love love her. She is crass yet naive in so many ways. Avice...wasn't my favorite. She is a high society type and very stuck in her ways and her judgements. Superficial, self-absorbed, the works. She grows on me just a little and her story arc is one of the more interesting ones to say the least.

And then there's Frances. *sigh* Frances. I didn't know what to think of her introverted, closed-off self at first except there is way more to this girl than what meets the eye. She is quiet, shy, and a little more than nervous around people. She is also a nurse (woot woot!) who has seen the horrors of war more than most women. She is strong and capable and independent. She is such a fantastic character and seeing more and more of her inner thoughts and figuring out what happened in her past was the best part of the story for me.

The Friendships

While not everything was smooth sailing and these women rocked the boat more than once (see what I did there?), I loved the dynamic between all the women. They did not always get along and I wanted to punch one of them more than a few times but their relationships drove the book. They shared their thoughts and fears and were there to support one another when they needed it. At the end of the day, it wasn't every man or woman for himself, they fought for each other and it was beautiful.

The Ship

This ship took on a life of it's own. It's our only setting and it became a character in itself with the Captain acting as it's beating heart. The Captain was a constant throughout the book and reading his thoughts on the ridiculousness of transporting these women was hilarious. He is not perfect and he makes some decisions I don't agree with but he sneaks up on you in the endearing departments. I really liked how devoted he was to running a tight ship and caring for The Victoria and it's precious cargo.

The Story

The story overall was just...captivating. The lives of these women fascinated me as did the entire premise of this story. All these women in shotgun-esque weddings not knowing if they were going to be happy with their husbands they hardly knew. It's fascinating and terrifying. The fact that this actually happened and so many men had foreign brides from the war is a little unbelievable almost. I loved getting the background of how they all met their husbands, their thoughts while en route to meet them, and then a fantastic and surprising story aboard the ship I wanted to badly to happen but wasn't sure what the outcome would be. No spoilers but I pretty much combusted out with happy tears of joys at the end. I was also laughing with happiness. It was so good. Just so so good.

The Unfairness

This isn't really a criticism or critique of the writing AT ALL but I find when I don't have anything negative to say really, I'll put what ticked me off in regards to necessary plot. Example, I hated how it was okay for people to judge others so harshly. I will not give away what the secret of Frances' past is but I'd be lying if I said I didn't see red in the way people treated her. It made me want to get physical on somebody. Women are harsh and mean creatures and this highlighted how horrible women can be to one another. Add in that it's 1946 and reputation is everything and the only thing, my heart just bled for the unfairness of it all. See? Not a negative, just something I felt strongly about :)


VIP
Complex characterizations, emotional story lines, strong female heroines. This book has everything and more and is yet another Jojo Moyes VIP book. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Books Can Take You Places


Yeah...so there's gonna be more than 10 today...oops. This week's topic hosted by The Broke and the Bookish are the books that made you want to travel. A LOT of my travel destinations, ok let's be honest here MOST if not ALL, of my travel adventures are inspired by the books I read. Books give me a mad case of wanderlust and I've coerced, begged, persuaded friends and family members to agree to certain destinations because of books I've read. "Oh what made you wanna go there?...."Well, I read this book..." Obviously I was SO excited to share the books that have inspired me and my adventures. I have been fortunate enough to travel to a lot of my book-inspired destinations and decided to also share a few of my pics! Without further ado...let's go!

The Bronze Horseman--->Russia

This is my legit number one travel destination. I have wanted to go to Russia since being obsessed with Anastasia as a kid and then the Vampire Academy happened....AND THEN THE BRONZE FUCKING HORSEMAN...and multiple other books about Russia. I will go to Russia...I will. 

Arcadia Awakens--->Sicily

Well, I've wanted to go so Sicily since birth because it's where my family is from but this book pushed me to actually make a commitment to go. And this series kicks ass so that always helps.

The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen--London (The Tower, Hampton Court Palace)

I love London. It is my second favorite city in the entire world. I love all of it's history. I know more about English history than I do American...sad but true. SO many books inspired me to go and I honestly can't remember the first book I read or what it is that makes me obsessed with this city and it's history...it just is. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone--->Prague

The cobblestone streets, the magic, it's all there in Prague...and a ridiculously cool history of sex toys museum...no joke. The hours I spent there is almost embarrassing. 

Juliet--->Siena
Pretty sure Siena is one of the most romantic cities I can imagine after reading this book and will be on my honeymoon destination list...yes, there's a small list not just one place. Do we expect anything else from me?

Darkfever--->Ireland
Ok, again, I read this after I'd already been to Ireland but OH MY GOSH I WANT TO GO BACK RIGHT NOW! I looooooved Ireland and can't wait to go back!! 

City of Falling Angels--->Venice

Oh my gosh!!! I love John Berendt! His books make you want to pack your bags immediately and go wherever his books take place. Another one is listed below and he makes you FEEL the city. Venice is alive and palpable and this book makes you feel like you're living in the city as well.

Romeo and Juliet--->Verona
Because I'm obsessed with this play and while this balcony is manmade, it is still representative of the infamous scene...le sigh...Oh and there's the letter I wrote to Juliet :)

In The Garden of Beasts--->Berlin

This non-fiction book about the US ambassador during the 1930s is brilliant in foresight and makes Berlin a city of excitement and it truly is incredible today. There is so much to do and see and it is an amazing city.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil--->Savannah

I made my sisters and I take a trip to Savannah specifically because I read this book. Legit. I'd get people asking me, how did you decide on Savannah? Uh, because I read a book that takes place there. Seriously though. The descriptions of the squares, the Mercer house (pictured above), you see and feel it all. You want to slow down and drink something cold on one of  these epic porches. It is beautiful (but hot as all hell). That's the real Mercer house with me reading the book in front of it. Love this pic :)

The Fault in Our Stars--->Amsterdam


I'm gonna tell y'all a story about how and why I truly believe in book karma. So I read TFioS...LOVED IT. So when I went to Amseterdam I told myself I wanted to buy my copy of it in Amsterdam--obvious, right? What better place to buy this book? So I go to a bookstore in Amsterdam and ask the guy at the desk where an English version of The Fault In Our Stars would be...and he tells me the book isn't out yet in their country, it doesn't come out until next month...oh my gosh, my heart dropped. I was so heartbroken. I was looking forward all trip to this! Dejected, I started browsing around looking for something to buy...and there...just sitting on a low shelf in front of row of bookshelves was THE BOOK. The Fault In Our Stars...in English...in cellophane wrap...just sitting there. I thought I was on candid camera. I looked around. Picked up the book. And ran like hell to the register. I was waiting for an alarm to go off, like NOPE not out yet, CAN'T BUY...but nothing happened. OMG I FOUND THE BOOK WHEN IT WASN'T EVEN OUT YET! WHAT?! Now tell me you don't believe in book karma :)

Memoirs of a Geisha--->Japan

I am obsessed with the idea of geisha and their culture. This book is so phenomenal and I NEED to go to Japan to see the cherry blossoms and the old houses and temples and sigh....I just need to.

The Winter Rose--->Kenya

I've already been to Kenya before I read this but OMG this book make me want to go back! It is all colors and animals and adventure. I love Africa and cannot wait to go back especially after reading this book. 

Julius Caesar--->Rome


Because who doesn't want to reenact the stabbing of Julius Caesar in the Roman Forum?...That's that I thought. Even though TECHNICALLY he wasn't actually stabbed there, in the play he was so that's what we go with. Obsessed with Rome...OBSESSED. It is my favorite city in the entire world. Hands down, I'd more there if I could. 

The Lost Girls--->Peru, Brazil, Southeast Asia

I JUST read this book and I loved the beginning because I'm going to Peru and Brazil next month (!!!!!!) BUT it also really made me want to go to Vietnam and Bali. Southeast Asia sounds incredible and I need to add this to my top 5 destinations. 

*~*BONUS*~*

Harry Potter--->Hogwarts

Thank you Warner Bros. Studios for allowing me my most epic travel destination ever...you brought me to Hogwarts, about to enter the Great Hall. I can die happier. 

What are YOUR favorite books that inspire you to travel? 
Should I add anywhere to my list?
OH and if you're looking for a few fictional lands I'd like to travel to, check out my Out of This World Discussion Post!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Name: Kelly Call Sign: Nomad

"He refused to believe the sole reason for existence was the perpetuation of existence at any cost.
There had to be a reason for it all,
a meaning, a point to living in the first place.
A better future had to be possible."
--SJ Kincaid, Catalyst


Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 432
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Insignia & Vortex
Goodreads Description

The explosive conclusion to the series reviewers have likened to Ender’s Game and “Hogwarts-in-Space”

This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.
The Plot

Catalyst finds us once again with Tom Raines on vacation with Neil, his dad. Security breaches happen and Tom finds himself eventually back at the Spire with a whole lot of changes. No longer a civilian training facility type school for the mentally gifted but rather a pseudo-military boarding school. Can you imagine how Tom reacted to this? I can't give away too many spoilers but know a LOT happens in this book and the journey we take with Tom travels places that are out of this world...pun intended. The twists we see in the final book are well-placed and click together like a well oiled machine. I was jaw-dropping a few times over things that happen but they all come together in the end. Sorry this is vague but it's the final book people, I can't spoil the story!

The Relationships

The final book in the Insignia trilogy was a fantastic blend of technology and human interactions. I want to talk about the human interest part of the book first and get to the tech below. I have said this since Insignia and reiterated it in my review of Vortex that my favorite part of these books are the friends' interaction. Tom, Vik, Wyatt, and Yuri make the entire book for me. Their interactions, their witty banter, their conviction to go to the literal ends of the Earth for one another. It's all so beautiful and I feel like the book's main theme surrounds these friendships. The character development of this rag tag group of friends is exponential as the series progresses. The mistakes that go along with growing up are as cringe-worthy as they are relateable. Who hasn't said something stupid in front of somebody they like? I love that the characters are flawed and learn from their mistakes. I love that Tom goes from being a socially inept loner to realizing what truly matters in life. THIS. This right there is what this book is all about...see below shortly...

The Love

Whether it be friendship, parental, romantic, or platonic, the love shown throughout this book is an amazing juxtaposition to all the crazy technology we get get exposed to. The world continues to evolve in the technology field but one thing remains constant and that is that love will always be present. Machines cannot replicate that of family, friends, and loved ones. I love, love, loved that a major theme, especially towards the end of the book, was the importance of relationships. No spoilers. That's all I'll say.

The Tech

The way technology is described and used in the book will never cease to amaze me. It's as scary as it is realistic to believe that the world can one day easily advance to this type of intelligence. I also love, like I say below, the frank assessment that technology and intelligence in the wrong hands is terrifying. The idea that total control is not completely a far out idea is scary. I was a little nervous while reading and wanted to put all technology away from for the time being...then I remembered I'm reading on my Kindle so there goes that idea.

The Evil

While this might sound weird, what I loved about this final installment in the Insignia trilogy was SJ Kincaid wasn't afraid to really make the villain a villain. The depths to which Vengerov went in order to succeed in, let's be honest here, world domination is deplorable and terrifying. But with how everything turns out in the end, it all makes perfect sense with the story. Not in the 'this guy is redeemable' type way, in the 'oh my gosh the world could come to this one day' kind of way. Terrifying. Honest. Brutal. I loved it.

A Twist

There was one major point in the plot that seemed to happen just a little abruptly and was resolved a little too quickly for me. I know that sounds weird but I felt like the pacing was just a little off. I was reading along with the story when this 'thing' happens which didn't seem like a big deal with how it was introduced and turned out to be a major plot development to spur the rest of the story. I don't know, I felt like I needed a little more lead up and build up to with details. Again, vague but I can't ruin the story.

Reserved Seating
If you love sci-fi, Ender's Game, or anything with technology, this is a series for you. Overall, it is a fantastic trilogy with an intelligent plot. lovable characters, and the idea that technology in the wrong hands is terrifying.