Monday, April 23, 2012


Socialpunk, by Monica Leonelle.

On the one hand, she needed Nasser's hash and she promised she would do what he wanted if he helped her save Dash. On the other hand, she would never fall in love again, never explore the beginnings of feelings with Nahum, never have a chance to help Dash change his mind about her.

Not that it mattered with Dash; Cinder knew in her heart that her best friend just didn't love her like that. Maybe aligning herself with Nasser would be for the best. Maybe he would keep her from getting her heart broken again And she could do something real for once in her life, something important. She could be someone her hash depended on; she could balance out Nasser's not-so-brilliant moments, and she could help him keep them all safe.

Socialpunk is the first novel in the Socialpunk series, a new series by author Monica Leonelle, and a blogger friend of mine received an email asking for reviewers for it, which she then forwarded to me. I love dystopian literature, and Socialpunk definitely qualifies; it's a mix of The Hunger Games and the movie In Time, among other books and movies, in my opinion, and it catches your attention from its opening paragraphs.

The novel is a little hard to explain, so I'm going to use the synopsis from Goodreads instead:
Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

That's a little bit simplified, but it's basically the gist of it. Ima, aka "E," soon finds out that the world she considered her own is actually fake - an experiment - and she must go back to The Dome and save her friend Dash, before all of the residents of The Dome die.

The novel was very interesting; I will definitely be checking out Socialmob (Socialpunk #2) when it is released in July. The book is nonstop action throughout, and I started reading it today on my smartphone during a work break (I had a digital copy of it) and finished it just now on my iPad - it's that quick of a read. My only complaint about it is that the ending is very abrupt, as another reviewer also complained about, but I suppose that any loose ends can be tied up during the next book in the series.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this novel to review. The opinions listed, however, are my own.

The author is doing a giveaway, as well! Sign up below to enter:
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Born Wicked

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1) by Jessica Spotswood.

"Aren't you bored silly, Cate? I know I am. If I didn't have my novels, I'd throw myself right in the river." Maura's eyes snap as she stands and stretches, the fabric pulling tight through the bodice. She needs new dresses to fit her new curves. "What life do we have here, wandering around the house like ghosts? Don't you ever crave more?"

Do I? It's been years since I let myself consider what I want. It hardly matters. I didn't want Mother to die; I didn't want Father to turn into a shadow of his old self; I didn't want the responsibility of policing my sisters. I certainly never wanted to be a witch in the first place.

The universe has yet to take my wishes under consideration.

Watch out, YA books, there's a new star in town: Jessica Spotswood. Born Wicked is the first book (of what I hope is many) in The Cahill Witch Chronicles, and although the novel started off a bit confusing, I was soon enthralled in the story.

The year is 1896, and Cate's intention ceremony is coming up soon. In six weeks, she must decide if she wants to join the Sisterhood - a cloistered group of religious women who live in the city, New London - or announce her engagement to a man. Her childhood friend, Paul, returns from studying in the city, and she can tell that he is going to ask her to marry him. However, although Paul is a good friend, she finds herself more attracted to the gardner, Finn Belastra. At the same time, she must deal with hiding her witch powers - as well of those that her two sisters have - from the Brotherhood, the group of men that governs them and carts off witches either to the insane asylum or to their deaths. Cate also finds out about a powerful prophecy that might be talking about her and her sisters, as it talks about a group of three sisters, and she must figure out if she is the "most powerful witch" in the prophecy too.

This book was great and I can't wait for the second installment. The writing was excellent and the characters were definitely relatable, even though it takes place around the turn of the 20th century. The scenes with Cate and Finn are some of the best in the book, and the arrival of a new governess, Elena, stirs up some trouble as well. Things also pick up when Cate discovers other "secret" witches in town, and learns to improve her powers by working with them. Although the ending was not what I expected it to be, I can see why the author made it so, and I'm hoping that this will make for an interesting Book 2 in the series.

4.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I read this book for the BlogHer Book Club and was compensated for doing so. However, the opinions listed here are my own.

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